Monday, April 30, 2007

Films of Iain

Here are a few films of Iain we took this morning. They're not as exciting as some we've taken in the past. Like many kids, he stopped doing much once the camera was out, but at least you'll get to see a few minutes our boy in action.

'A day in the life of Iain': part one, two, three, four, five, and six.

Kilby will especially like part two.

And probably the best clip: Iain crawling.

Friday, April 27, 2007

How to make a Regency bonnet from a cereal box.

Do you need to make an 18th century hat before tomorrow with only the things around your house because you procrastinated? No? Well, I did. So I thought I'd share my discovery with the world, since, although I googled it, I got nuthing for making a Regency bonnet out of a cereal box. Funny, huh? Eat your heart out, Jane Austen.

Ok, here was my inspiration. This hat costs, $115, FYI. Obviously, mine isn't quite as nice since it is made of paper and cardboard, but it was also free. Free is good.

This picture is from I also found to be helpful.

The first thing I decided to was to make a complete rough draft of my hat out of construction paper so that I could use that as a pattern. Since I only had one empty cereal box with which to create my masterpiece, I figured I'd better know what I was doing before I cut it up.

So I taped two pieces of construction paper together for the brim. Then I cut a very wide scoop shape, and also a small arc at the bottom.

I placed that on my head and was pleased that I had the rough outline of the brim. To get it to hold its shape, I attached a strip of construction paper across the back. You can see one side attached in the picture above, and both sides attached in the picture below. In the old days, hats were designed to be worn with certain hairstyles. This one fits nicely over a bun, which also helps the hat stay on your head. The strip fits under the bun, and the bun pokes out of the arc. Confused? Sorry. I'm trying my best!

So I was finished with my brim design and had to focus on the crown. This time I cut a piece of construction paper in half and taped it together lengthwise. I folded about an inch and a half of the paper down to form the top of the crown.
I put my brim on and played around with the right fit for the crown. When I found a tightness I liked, I stapled the crown into a cylinder shape. The hardest part was getting the top of the crown (which is ultimately the back of the hat) to cooperate and fold over while allowing the crown to stay circular. I cut slits about an inch and a half deep from the top at about 2 inch intervals and this is what I ended up with. This will ultimately be the back of the hat, but of course you will be much neater about it when you do the real thing.

Then I taped the crown and the brim together to see what the rough version of the hat looked like. It was at this point that I thought I might actually pull it off.

Here is the finished product. To make it, I simply traced my pattern pieces onto my cereal box for the brim and a piece of pink cardstock for the crown and followed the same pattern as above, but much more neatly and carefully. Then I covered the cereal box with scrapbooking paper, securing it using a gluestick. I recommend using the inside of the box as the bottom of the hat and covering the side with the writing on it, because you actually see under the hat quite a bit when it is on.

I jopined the crown and the brim with staples at the back and some tape on the inside of the front. To cover that, I glued a strip of paper around the bottom of the crown. I dressed it up with a pretty scarf and stapled some ribbon to the sides to tie it on. Voila!

This is my best "Oh, Mr. Darcy!" pose.

A Typical Sunday Afternoon

We are so very blessed by our church family here. Every Sunday since we have begun attending this church in October we have been invited to someone's house for lunch and fellowship. Such visits are really a little bit of heaven on earth. We get the blessing of relaxing together and enjoying the fellowship of other people who love Jesus. Together we share our earthly struggles and heavenly hope. Now that the weather is turning warmer, we've been eating out in people's gardens. Here are a few photos from a few Sundays ago.

These particular pictures are from Katy and Chris's house. Here is dear Katy, one of the kindest people I have ever met. She truly has a servant's heart.

Here is Iain with our friend Christina. He loves all the extra attention he gets when we go out.

Here is Mark, who is our church worker. Mark does a mean Elvis impersonation and is letting Iain try out his Elvis glasses. Viva Las Vegas!

I absolutely adore this little suit. Mom brought it over for Easter and it fits him just right. What a constant reminder of God's graciousness this little boy is! We're so overjoyed and thankful to be his parents.

Sundays are such a refreshment for me in so many ways. I feel so blessed to be part of the body of Christ.

"How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron's beard,
down upon the collar of his robes.

It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore."

Psalm 133:1-3

How I look forward to that "life forevermore" upon Mount Zion! How much sweeter will those days be? It is hard to imagine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Who is Jordan, you ask?

Having noticed that Jordan never posted the revealing results of her signature analysis, I thought I would post them for her. Do you want to know exactly what kind of person Jordan is? You are about to learn! (As long as you can look past the many typos in this oh-so-professionally-done signature analysis.)

"You are likely to be a generally well balanced person having a sense of direction and self control.

"From this sample of handwriting it appears that you have a smooth flowing and rhythmic aptitude. [What exactly does that mean? -BSD]

"You are an intense person with a lot of vitality and a zestful, exuberant attitude and enough energies to meet your general requirements.

"The writer feels more comfortable keeping their thoughts to themselves and not sharing their opinions unless they really need to. [This is the point at which we knew this was bogus. We had our suspicions earlier, but here we were sure. -BSD]

"Money will always come to you, it may be not as much as you would like, but sufficient.

"Impulsiveness often leads you to blurt things out with little thought for the consequences, expressing your emotions to easily and freely. [How does this not contradict two items earlier?! -BSD]

"Signature Analysis performed on Brighton Pier, England. 7 Apr 2007"

So there you go: now you all know my wife as well as I do, and all because she paid £2.50 and signed her name on a piece of paper. And for all of you who are still trying to sort out your own identity, you should come for a visit! While you're here, you can visit the pier and know thyself after all.

The tiny baby says "waa, waa, waa".

I was recently reading Iain a book which he was greatly enjoying when he suddenly burst into tears and collapsed on the floor. I had no idea what was wrong with him, so I picked him and we kept reading the book. He seemed fine. He wanted to read again, so we did:

"A cow says, 'Moo.'
A sheep says, 'Baa.'
Three dancing pigs say 'La, La, La'".

He was laughing by this point, because I am quite the dramatic reader. Then, as I read the next line I realized what caused Iain's melt down.

"'No, No, you say, the pigs say 'Oink!'"

Apparently I'd made the "no, no" part a bit too dramatic. The poor baby thought he was in trouble! Brian and I had a good laugh over that and I now read that part of the book in a much more subdued tone. At least he understands the word "no". You wonder how much they get it sometimes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thomas Family Vacation

Well, my family arrived on Sunday, April 1st. It was an appropriate because their presence in England felt surreal for all of us. I was just thrilled to see them. They kept saying how much bigger our flat looked over the internet, which completely bemused me, but a friend of ours who used to work in real estate told us it is true. Apparently if you take a picture from the corner of a room, it looks bigger. Lies, damned lies, and photos of homes.

Brian rode the train to Gatwick to greet them and they all rode down to Brighton in a 7 person "people carrier". I cooked up a big lunch and we all sat around catching up and eating. That is a really hard trip because of the time difference. By the time they got our flat it was 6am Fort Lauderdale time.

After lunch they felt like stretching their legs, so we took a tour of campus and strolled on over to the village of Falmer. We rode the bus up the hill, which was a big hit with everyone since it was a double decker and they got to ride on the top in the very front. You can really see a lot from up there.

This is my fab brother Matt. He is 17, funny, and very tall. Look out, ladies. I don't think he really wanted to pose with this random house, but he's just cool like that. What a nice guy.
Here's the whole family: my Mom, my Stepdad, Scott, Matt, and my sister, Juliet. They also graciously indulged my random picture taking. I was so excited to see them that they could barely breathe without my trying to taking a picture of it. I was so happy to see them that I felt I needed to document it all. :) I did settle down by the end of the week. A funny note about cameras: They had 3 starting out, by slowly over the week they died. With some creative thinking they were able to keep at least one operational at all times, but it was a bit funny.

Here is Jules making friends with one of the horses up at Falmer. I love this picture.

After checking out the quaint houses, the horses, and the sheep, we headed across the highway that tragically bisects the village to see the old church and the pond.
After that, we headed back to the flat for some tea and biscuits. Brian and I wanted to be good British hosts, so we had laid in a stock of McVittie's, Bourbon Creams, and Shortbread. Mom decided to come to evening church so that she could meet some or our church family here, and the rest of the crew headed back up to the hotel for some much needed rest.

Mom brought Iain some clothes, including this adorable pony outfit.

On Monday Brian made the real breakfast of champions: a full English breakfast. It consists of egg, bacon, baked beans, toast, sauteed mushrooms, and a fried plum tomato. It is mighty, let me tell you. After you eat an English breakfast, you'll know why they once had an empire on which the sun never set.

After breakfast we drove down the beautiful coastal road to Seven Sisters Country Park. The Seven Sisters are 7 gorgeous white chalk cliffs right on the coast.

To get to the cliffs and the sea you walk across rolling downland. I took the low road which was paved with the buggy, while 3 daring adventurers climbed one of the hills. Apparently they saw tons of rabbit tunnels up there.
Here they all are, enjoying an exceptionally warm spring day at the park. Last time we visited, it was November and quite cold with a stiff wind coming off the ocean. It was great then, but it is even better when you aren't freezing to death.

Resting by the stream that rolls out to the sea.

Brian brought the kite, which again thrilled Iain. Unfortunately, it got lost at sea. RIP, kite.

After wandering around the park for awhile, we headed to the farmhouse to enjoy another English masterpiece: a cream tea. I'm going to cry when we move back home and I can't have cream tea anymore. (For the deprived, cream tea consists of two scones, some jam, clotted cream, and your own little pot of tea.)

After restoring our strength with the proper quantity of jam and cream, we drove up to Beachy Head. Brian and I hadn't been there before, and it was absolutely breath taking. Pictures can't do it justice. The cliffs overlooking the lighthouse are dizzingly high and there isn't a fence or guard rail. Just you and open space. The afternoon sun reflecting off of the chalky cliffs, contrasted against the deep grey sea was so lovely.

There's my brother as we often saw him on the trip. He is really getting quite the interest in photography.

Poor Juliet! The wind up there was so strong that we were afraid that it might literally sweep her off the edge. So when we finally got her picture near the edge, she was clinging to Mom for dear life! Hey, better safe than sorry.

Yeah, life's been different ever since my husband was convicted of murder.

After an awesome day outside enjoying God's amazing creative power, we headed over to the Fry's house for dinner. Katy and Chris go to our church and thought my family would like to spend some time in a real British home. We had great fun chatting about cultural differences over dinner and playing games afterwards. It was so nice for our family to get a taste of the warm hospitality that we have been so blessed with here.

On Tuesday we caught the train to London. The weather was chilly and rainy, which is so very typical of the strange weather patterns you get here sometimes. It was beautiful and warm the rest of the week, thank heavens.

Our first stop was Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. After waiting for awhile for the guards to show up, we decided to ask the Bobby where the guards were. "Redeployed" he said. So that was disappointing. Hoping to redeem our trip, and thinking my sister with like the horses, I suggested the Royal Mews. Tip: Don't waste your time. It is only slightly interesting and not worth the money. Two strikes!

Here is the State Carriage at the Royal Mews. It was cool, but like I said, not really worth the price.

Riding the Tube.
After the Mews, we headed over to Westminister Abbye, which never disappoints. We saw the graves of Mary I, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Henry V, and many others. You aren't allowed to take pictures inside, so I guess you will have to come and visit us and see it yourself!

We grabbed a quick lunch at the Abbey and headed off to see the Tower of London. Brian and I visited there not long ago, so my family took Iain with them and Brian and I toured the HMS Belfast. The Belfast is awesome, but not a baby friendly attraction, so we were glad to have the chance to see it. The buggy wouldn't have handled clambering up and down ladders and balancing on narrow catwalks. The spaces were so tiny! It seems unbelievable that she was capable of housing 1,000 sailors. Some of them slept in the gun turrents or in the hallways it was so crowded. Even the Admiral's and Captain's quarters were smaller than our bedroom!

Tired and cold, we snapped this shot in front of the Tower Bridge and headed to Victoria to catch the train back home. Once we got home we ordered Indian take away for the first time. It was awesome! We had a feast and everybody tried a lot of this and a little of that. There is nothing like some good food and a warm place to rest after a long day.

On Thursday we drove to Stonehenge. On the way, we saw some awesome looking castle ruins and decided to take a break and check them out. You can see that Iain is ready to go!

It was another gorgeous day and it was nice to get out and stretch our legs. The castle was called Cowbray House, and Elizabeth I once stayed there. It burnt down and has been in ruins ever since.

After continuing on our way, we made to Stonehenge a bit later than we expected. We hit some major traffic on the way that slowed us down, but we still had plenty of time to see it. Iain enjoyed his travels as always.