Thursday, December 04, 2008

Daniel James Shepherd

Daniel was born on Monday 10th November so is now over three weeks old and settling nicely into the family! I know it's taken a while to post the news and photos but I'm quite amazed at how little time there is to do anything other than feed a baby (most of the time), try and have quality time with a toddler and sleep (the least amount of time!) - my expectations of what was going to get done regarding Christmas have flown out the window.
There's probably lots to say to introduce Daniel but I think pictures will say it best - and save time! Suffice to say we all think he's gorgeous and are enjoying getting to know him.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Baby Shower

I've just had a look back at the blog entry for my baby shower with Matthew and trying to work out if I'm bigger this time round or not! We did play 'Guess how fat I am!' again and nobody was as way out as they were last time; in fact, Chriscelle was spot on! Another game was guessing celebrity baby names and my least favourite was a blind taste test of baby food - I'd forgotten how gross it is!

The highlight had to be the chocolate fountain which was obviously really healthy as we had all that fruit to go with it! This is my friend, Ange, tucking in!
Anyway, two weeks to go and counting...

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Having given up relying on the weather forecast and thinking we ought to get out of the house (the coverage of the Olympics was just too good) and Bristol, we decided to brave the elements and head to the Gower, south Wales for a few days camping. Now I'm a reluctant camper at the best of times and given that my last experience was in the much warmer, drier New Zealand with very well equipped campsites, I was slightly nervous that I'd be put off for life. Especially when a friend said that their tip for a successful camp was to locate the nearest travel lodge!

But I have to report that I wasn't deterred, in fact I'd definitely do it again! The weather was dry for us to put the tent up and take it down and we only had one day of rain which Matthew proved is no hindrance to having fun on the beach.
The sun even came out and we enjoyed the fact the campsite was practically on the beach so we had easy access to great rock pools (Neil was definitely the most keen of us all and did catch the biggest crab!), sand (again, Neil had the most fun making a sand turtle, crocodile and mermaid!) and sea - which Matthew walked straight into to jump the waves and didn't seem to bat an eyelid at the ridiculous temperature (I guess he was born in NZ!).

We all slept well too and the earliest morning was 7am which is later than it is at home!
I also enjoyed visiting some old haunts in Swansea where my Nanna used to live and reminiscing at Joe's ice cream parlour!

Friday, August 15, 2008


We've just come back from a relaxing, though slightly soggy week away catching up with family. We stayed in Sheffield on our way northwards; Neil's parents have a caravan on a farm on the outskirts of the city and we thought Matthew may enjoy this. He loved the tractors and cows and didn't stir at all during the incredible thunderstorm at 3am which thrilled us as it lit up the sky and rumbled up and down Rivelin Valley!

The majority of time was spent in Hartlepool where Matthew enjoyed rock pooling (despite the fact it wasn't very successful and we only found one live and one dead crab) and the wildlife (frogs and squirrels) and toy (supersized football and bubble machine) delights of Grandma and Grandad's garden! We also went to Flamingoland - a theme park/zoo - for the day which, in between frequent soakings from unforecast rain showers, allowed Matthew the opportunity to 'fly' a helicopter and 'drive' a tractor!
Neil and I got some time out too and visited Durham (which we often do when we get time together 'up North'). I realised there are very few pictures of me with an ever expanding tummy so thought that now I've reached 28 weeks there ought to be some photographic evidence!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


It was sooooo good to meet up with Emma and Dan when they were back in the UK at the beginning of July - surreal to be walking around London with them when we hadn't seen them for 18 months but feeling as though it had only been a few weeks. They both did an excellent job of carrying Matthew around the dinosaur exhibit in the Natural History museum and bonus points go to Dan for participating so willingly in the lunchtime football practice!

The predictable mixed weather of the British summer has meant we've got out whenever we can. Mags and I met up with the children at Dyrham Park where Matthew and Skye demonstrated they can still get into mischief together - they really love it when they see each other again!

Neil celebrated his 31st birthday the day after breaking up from school for the summer. The weather was great so we headed to Chew Valley lake and Matthew was delighted that he could make a cake for Daddy's birthday and he could sing for him!
Matthew has grown up so much in the last three months; every few days his speech and language seems to have made huge steps forward and he's increasingly independent. He loves his Daddy very much and likes to copy him in many ways - including taking shots in football with his hands in his pockets (Neil obviously has a very casual style when playing with a two year old!) and shaving!

The other stage in his development has been potty training. I decided to attempt it this summer before Baby Shepherd #2 makes it's appearance in November. I was prepared for him not to be ready but he seemed to take to it well for the first few days. Bob the builder underpants sent by Nanna were definitely a big incentive in the early stages! It was after that that we had many, many accidents (definitely D2 for those into Lifeshapes) which was not the way Gina Ford had said it would go in 'Potty Training in a week'! We decided to stick with it, it seemed pointless to go backwards, and it's getting better but definitely not done and dusted in seven days!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Neil's football team won their league - they are the Bristol and South Gloucestershire Year 7 champions! Not only that but the staff at Fairfield can't remember the last time there was a winning football team from their school!

Monday, June 30, 2008


June was quite a busy month and we were away more than we were home. We were around for our local street party though, the theme of which was the Olympics so Matthew dressed up as a swimmer and got his first taste of sports day style games; he didn't really grasp why he shouldn't hold onto the 'egg' in the egg and spoon race!
We loved catching up with friends in Sheffield and had lots of fun hanging out with the Hewsons; this is Suse and our gorgeous boys at the butterfly farm.
Most of the Shepherd family met up in Liverpool for a trip to Chester zoo. It was nearly thwarted due to a pretty much unexplained illness for Matthew (we did have to visit Alder Hey children's hospital in an ambulance!) but we did make it and had a good day, in spite of rather windy and chilly conditions. Emma and Matthew enjoyed the tunnels and viewing of the prairie dogs but their highlight was the ice-cream and I think these cheeky faces say it all!

Saturday, May 31, 2008


So the major event of May is my excuse that I've been hopeless at updating the blog; we moved house and hence no internet access for weeks (ok, not months but then there's all that catching up to do...). So the era of The Ark ended and the Kellys and Shepherds went their separate ways; it's amazing how much Matthew and Skye have changed in the 11 months that we shared a house. This photo is a similiar pose to one posted just after we moved in last June:
Matthew turned two and likes to tell everybody how old he is - "I two!". The weather was fantastic and so hot that we needed a paddling pool, a big change to last year when there was torrential rain all day.
Matthew and I joined my mum and dad for a few days of their holiday in Cornwall and Grandad got up with Matthew so Mummy could have a lie in - what a treat!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


In the Easter holidays we went to Ilfracombe on our first holiday, just the three of us! Yes, we can't believe it took us that long either. We had great weather and enjoyed building sandcastles (well, Neil built them and Matthew knocked them down), rock pooling, walking, eating ice cream and just being together. Matthew had his first meal out at a tapas bar too but his highlight was the fact the apartment we were staying in had FOUR Thomas the Tank Engine jigsaws which he did at least three times a day!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I was very grateful to my wonderful husband and friends who looked after Matthew and made it possible for me to go to Stockholm for 4 days at the beginning of April. Mal was speaking at a church planting conference and it was great to go as part of his team - getting to know the team and learning from them was one of the highlights. I really enjoyed the opportunity for the space to focus on something other than being mummy (which I love, don't get me wrong) and to be involved in what God was doing in a different context. We didn't see much of Stockholm (probably a good job as the shops looked fantastic!) but the Sunday afternoon did give us a couple of hours to look around the old city which was beautiful.

I really enjoyed spending lots of time with Olivia.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


The Shepherd family joined us for Easter (well, Christopher and Carrie didn't make it but that's ok as they're moving just down the road very shortly!) and we had lots of fun celebrating with a
Middle Eastern symbolic breakfast (courtesy of the Calladines) involving crackers, coffee, sugar and egg yolk - it's actually quite nice!
hunting out Easter eggs,
eating chocolate,

going on the Avon Valley steam train (though Matthew wasn't as impressed as I expected, partly tired, partly poorly and partly because the train steamed into th station with quite a bit of noise and he was a little frightened; he remembers it fondly now however!)
and experiencing the competitiveness of the Nintendo Wii (and nearly losing our TV screen).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Coach Carter

So Neil had his choice of players (bar 1) for this weeks crucial match against a sport's academy local school. He was clearly inspired by Barnsley's win over Chelsea last weekend (the first thing Neil said to me when he woke up on Sunday morning was not "I love you!" but "Chelsea lost!")because they were 3-0 down at half time but came back to win 7-4! I'm very proud!

Monday, March 10, 2008


At the end of half term we went to Liverpool to see the Shepherd side of the family. I always love going to Liverpool (not least because every time we go out for a curry it's amazing!) and it was great to see Alastair and Helen's house nearly finished after over a year of building and refurbishment - it's so nice! We visited a children's centre called Underwater Street which had a fantastic range of activities, including painting a mini (as in the car!)! Matthew and Emma did manage to paint quite a lot of themselves too!

We also took a trip to a National Trust red squirrel sanctuary; I realised why people think they're so much cuter than grey squirrels. I was amazed at how near they came up to us, but then we did have a big bag of nuts to give away.

On the way home we stopped at The Iron Men, a piece of art - iron sculptures of men spread out down the beach over a distance of about 5 miles. At high tide only their heads are showing but as the tide goes out more and more of them appear. It was really quite impressive but my photos won't do it justice.