Sunday, May 29, 2011

Say I love you every day!

Today at district conference we were advised to do several things which would improve and strengthen marriages.
1. Say 'I love you' every day (not just 'ditto' Tane :) )
2. Go to bed at the same time (ha - with a wee baby that is near impossible)
3. Go on 'date nights'.
4. For husbands to buy their wives flowers and be romantic.

So today after conference I discussed this with Tane, and he asked 'I don't get what the big deal is with flowers - you can't eat them?' (Typical) Which made me laugh. And then I told him how flowers are beautiful and symbolise love and appreciation.

As I thought about these suggestions I was reminded of some of the gifts Tane has given me over the years. The last time Tane bought flowers for me was my final day as a trainee intern. I was working at a general practice in Blenheim and we were having morning tea. Tane appeared with a beautiful bouquet of flowers to congratulate me on completing my degree. I really loved them.

I must say though I was surprised last week when Tane returned home from work with a Hershey chocolate pie which is one of our favourite deserts. Burger King has just opened up here so it was a real treat. I was super excited, but when I opened it up was super disappointed to see it had been half eaten. I was about to question Tane for eating it when I realised it had been fully sealed when I opened it. So Tane went off to BK to return it and get another one.

My favourite gift Tane bought me was a tube of glue. It was one christmas and you may not think glue is a pretty good gift, but it was. Why? because he had really thought about me when he chose this gift. He didn't just buy any old glue, he bought glue for scrapbooking - which is something I enjoy doing. Then he attached a note to it which said 'You are the glue that holds our family together'. It made me realise that he not only had taken notice of the things I enjoyed but also that he appreciated me.

So even though flowers are few and far between, I do get sweet surprises from time to time - I can't complain about that.

After 58 years of marriage...

Last night I was assessing a patient at work. He didn't give me much details about his medical problems, but did say quite a lot about his wife who had recently passed away. He was obviously still grieving and told me they had been married for 58 years.

I felt completely inadequate to be the recipient of such personal emotion, so just lamely held his hand and tried to be of some comfort. As he spoke of her I could see the fondness in his eyes and longing for her to be with him. I started thinking about my own marriage, how our 10 years was comparatively short, and yet I would imagine the grief I would experience should Tan pass away would be severe.

I though about where we would be after 58 years of marriage. I will be 77 and Tane 83 years old. Wow that is kinda scary!

I thought about the future I though what will be most important for me is at this age: that we have family around us who love us. Lots of children and grandchildren. We hope to have also served a mission or two together and travel the world - but if neither of those are possible... to have a happy family, and be firm in the faith to the end. I don't think I could wish for more than that.

Don't stuff your things under the bed!

My mum always made us clean our rooms properly... and would check them when we were done. I have always told my kids to clean their rooms properly and if I find they have just filled drawers with their things or thrown it under the bed, they have to do it again until I'm satisfied. Which is why I giggled to myself when I found myself doing the same thing. I don't usually do this but extreme circumstances call for extreme measures. The real estate agent called and said she would be bringing someone to view the house in an hour. Luckily I  pretty much had the lounge and kitchen sorted, but the boys room was lets just say looked like the 'floordrobe'. So as I was proceeding to deal with a mountain of clothes there was a knock at the door and there they were.
So under the bed went all the clothes.

Its a pity though that the housing market is so flat. It doesn't seem to matter whether clothes are on the floor or on the drawers, there are still very few buyers out there. But we live in hope.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

She's on the move...

I knew it wouldn't be long before Ella-Rose got into the DVD collection. She's 5 and a half months and although not yet crawling, she can certainly get around the room by rolling/wriggling. Unfortunately a few months ago, the kids broke the doors off the front of the entertainment cabinet, so its going to be a free-for-all until I find a secret hiding place for them (the DVDs that is not the Kids).

I can't stop taking pics of Ella-Rose she is so cute.

Cool Kid!

Sometimes Anna-Maria gets herself dressed in the morning and other mornings she whines for me to dress her. Today was a surprisingly cheerful morning and she dressed herself and came out looking like this.

She is really enjoying herself at kindergarten, and is making quite a few new friends. She gets grumpy with me thought if I am late as she does not like waiting for me. Earlier this week they had a miniture pony come to kindy. She brought a copy of her kindy photo home today, it is really cute. I will post it when we get the official one.

E = mc2

I had the pleasure of going on a school trip with Joshua. We went for a walk in the bush with a guide from the dept of conservation who pointed out native birds, trees and bushes. Today I went to school and had a look at some of Joshua's recent schoolwork. His description of Pine Valley went a little like this -

"At Pine Valley I saw a hen and a fern. It looked like each leaf had 2 or 3 mini plants. There was a bridge next to it and a light well near it (If you beat the light to the ground you would be going at E=mc2 = mass speed of light  Einstein says)."

It's really neat to observe the ages and stages of each of my kids. Although the stages of child development are typically the same, each child experiences it differently due to their unique personalities. Likewise they develop their own little areas of interest. As you can see Joshua is very much interested in science at the moment. In particular he is enjoying learning about atoms and nuclear energy, bombs, weapons, war, and time travel. He may not have the concepts completely right but he is certainly enjoying discovering these areas of knowledge. I just wish his teacher had the same enthusiasm for his learning as he has. She thinks his efforts to express his interests like this amount to sabotaging the classroom.

Joseph on the other hand is very much interested in motorbikes, cars, racing cars. His basic reading skills are coming along steadily and it won't be long before he too is reading books to himself in his own areas of interest. Anna-Maria mostly likes picture books and of course likes looking at pictures of dancers.

Australia vs New Zealand

All blacks vs Wallabies, Jandals vs thongs, Ozzie vs Kiwi...

Is the grass really greener across the ditch?

Since Tane and I have been married there has been a dramatic drainage of our friends and colleagues from this side of the Tasman to the other. Everyone says life is better over in Australia, and Tane has been wanting to go for a long while now. But I don't want to go just because everyone else says it is better because, I know there are always two sides to the story.

However, we have decided it is time for a change. We've been here for 4 years now... and it was meant to be only 2. We are ready for a new adventure and an opportunity to try life is Australia has arrived. But as I sit here wondering I'm thinking... Is the pay really that better over there? Does it cost more to live, and eat? And what about the lifestyle???

Not to mention the bugs and creepy crawlies. Are the cockroaches really much bigger and fly and land on you??? ugghhh
Will we enjoy the surf or will we spend more time sitting on the beach waiting for jellyfish and sharks to clear off?
What about the spiders and snakes... will we be stung and poisoned before we even unpack?

More seriously, we think we'll give it a go... we can always come back if we don't like it right?
But come to think of it... none of my friends have returned yet.. (so it must be pretty good)... and it doesn't look like they are coming back anytime soon.

I don't think we'll be going this far away from civilisation. I mean, there are a few essentials such as a hospital, a court, schools, church and a beach for surfing. 

At the moment we're just waiting for the passports...supposedly a 10 working day job but you know government departments... it has now been a month, which is over 20 working days. They did however manage during this time to send us two letters letting us know we could pay an extra $153 if we wanted it processing urgently. (ha! - the cheek!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If I earned a dollar...

... everytime someone asked if I want more kids, I would be seriously rich. I think we would have a really nice house or at least a flat screen TV, or at least an iPhone or iPod. It happened again tonight when I went to work. I bearly had a chance to sit down before someone asked "hows the baby?" quickly followed by "do you want anymore?"

What is it that fascinates everyone so much that they want to know the ins and outs of how many children I have. Neither is there an end to comments on whether I should or not. When I told people I was pregnant with Ella-Rose the first response was (from a doctor colleague) "after that you have to have a tubal ligation" (sterilization for non-medical types). Another doctor comment went like this "don't you think there are enough people in the world?" To which my response was "Not in the South Island there aren't".

When I said we would probably have more children... they just shuddered and said I don't know how you do it, but the truth is... I love my kids, my husband is great and one day my kids will be grown up and gone and that will be all too soon. When I see newborn babies now I realise how much Ella-Rose has grown and think, I don't want her to be the last newborn in my arms. I see Anna-Maria give me a kiss at school and don't want Ella-Rose to be the last child to kiss me goodbye. So just to make everyone around me think I am completely CRAZY... yes I hope there will be more children to come... just not yet.

Happy Feet!

Anna-Maria loves her dancing class. It is a pre-school dance class and covers basics of highland dancing and ballet. Most days of the week she asks, "Is it dancing today?" because she can't wait to go again.  Last night she had a huge grin on her face as she told me about good feet and bad feet. Good feet are pointy toes and bad feet aren't. So she gave me a demonstration and was giggling the whole time.  

I'm so glad I enrolled her in dancing. I was going to wait until she was a bit older because I didn't want to be the kind of mum that pushes my children into activities they don't want to do... as this does happen to some children. Also because I always wanted to do dancing when I was a child, I didn't want to be the kid of parent that lives out MY unfulfilled childhood dreams through my children. But know I see how much she loves it I don't think I will have to worry about that, I think she'll be the one wanting to dance. I think my role as a parent is to expose them to different areas so they can have the opportunity to find their talents - and then help them develop them to their potential. Thats what my parents did and I turned out ok (I think).
Good feet - giggles from Anna-Maria

Bad feet (more giggles)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sleep deprivation... aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

Well what a day! A day full of bloopers. I had to get the car to the mechanics by 9am, which of course meant having the older kids bundled up and booted off to school and kindergarten. Upon arriving at the mechanics I realised the 30 or so lemons on the floor of the car may be in the way of the mechanic as he goes to repair the airbag so quickly had to gather them up and place them on the seat (they are waiting to be processed into lemon honey after being kindly donated to us from a friend at church).

Leaving the car and the KEYS in the care of the mechanic I walked back home, upon which I noticed to my disgust there was doggy-doos in the middle of the drive-way. Now anyone who knows me will understand that having to pick up doggy-doos is my pet hate, and the main reason I don't think I could have a dog. It just makes my insides turn inside out. I just ignored it and hoped the neighbour or my lovely husband would deal with it later.

It was then that I realised I had handed over my keys to the mechanic including my house key, so I had to 'invade' my own house via the kitchen window. After wrestling my way through 3 loads of washing and commencing on the kitchen to my horror I got 'the phone-call' from the real-estate agent. We are unsuccessfully trying to sell our house and she had some-one coming over at 4.30pm. By this time it was 1.30, but as I was walk to pick up the kids I had 1 hour to sweep and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors, vacuum the entire house and put away tonnes of washing, toys and books.

Anna-Maria set to work at full-speed (luckily the baby slept). This also meant I had to deal with the doggy-doos as no-one would even want to enter the property with such a welcome. I kept an eye on the clock so we would be out the door by 2.30pm and was getting pretty pleased with how much work we had accomplished in 45 minutes. A few moments later when I glanced at the clock I realised I was a whole hour late. It was 3.15 not 2.15pm... school had already finished. Luckily Tane had brought the car home as it would have taken me until  3.45 to walk to school.

When we arrived the kids were riding their bikes around the playground and Joseph exclaimed "Mum, we were wondering where you were!" OOOOPPPSSYY!! SO I was aiming for an early night and after a not so disastrous family home evening, managed to get the baby and myself off to sleep. It was not to last however as we were jolted awake by 2 squabbling monkeys a.k.a.the boys. GGGRRR. So back to the ususal cycle of baby awake in the late evening and sleeping in the morning.


Ella-Rose is having fun blowing raspberries at everyone today. The kids find her very entertaining.

Chocolate Brownies

I love chocolate brownies... especially with a large spoonful of cream on top. Yesterday the kids made brownies for dessert for the missionaries coming over. Joseph and Anna-Maria are also fans of chocolate brownie and were very enthusiastic helpers (and tasters).


After licking the bowl out.
Ella-Rose couldn't resist trying to get a taste of brownies either - she missed out on brownie... but managed to sneak some cream.... and make a mess of the carpet!

What does God look like?

Today after church Anna-Maria asked me "What does God look like?" It warmed my heart that a 3 year old would have such spiritual sensitivity to ponder a question such as this. I asked her what she thought, but she shrugged her shoulders and said she didn't know. So I asked her if she thought he looked like a bear or a butterfly. She disagreed, but thought he looked like a person.... She wanted further details about how our Heavenly Father looks like, but unfortunately I don't have those answers.

She next exclaimed "I don't even know his name!" He is called Heavenly Father... but that wasn't good enough... "what is his first name and last name?" she asked. It is great she is beginning to sense Heavenly Father is close enough to her that she is wanting to learn more about him. I guess the best place to continue this dialog with her is through the scriptures... which gives me a topic for family home evening tonight.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Almost sitting!

My failed attempt to capture Ella-Rose sitting on video camera. She just got a little to excited and forgot her arms were there to prop her up not for showing off for an audience.

Drive-in Movie Night

We have just been to a really cool movie night with the kids. They had been so excited about it all day.... especially Joseph. Every 15 minutes he would demand everyone get in the car or would be exclaiming how we have missed the activity. All the kids took a cardboard box and decorate it like a car, then 'drive-in' to watch the movie. They had a really awesome time. The kids all put 'stereos' (cracker boxes) in their cars.

Today Anna-Maria asked me to attach her 'compost' to her belt... she meant 'compass'.

Earlier this morning we did our weekly ritual of going to the library after the boys rugby games. We are always the last to leave (they close up at 1pm) and I am sure we take the most books... Today we managed to take out 65. I think we get our council rates worth - thats over 3,000 books a year - which would cost a fortune and besides, in our small place we would have no place to keep them. It is bit of a mission to get them all to the car but none of the kids are willing to leave any behind. We take out so many books we have to reserve a corner of the lounge as the library book corner and keep all the books together in a book. Joshua's favourite book of the week is a book about watch this space if he tries to start pranking us... He had a very mischievous look on his face as he was checking that one out.  :)

The privilege of motherhood

I was just about to settle down to sleep. had just hoped into a nice cosy bed, when the air was getting pretty chilly in the house... and then I heard it. The gentle waaah....waaah... of Ella-Rose. Sometimes that makes me feel so tired, if I've been woken, but tonight I just didn't want to get out of the nice warm cozy bed. But I thought back to the clip I watched recently (see below) about a mother who volunteered in an orphanage in Romania. She spoke about these many young babies and children with no-one to hold them and cuddle them at night when they cry... and it made me think I am so blessed to be able to get out of my warm bed to feed my baby. I am so blessed to have a warm bed, and warm beds for my children. That we have a roof over our heads and delicious food in our tummies. The daily rituals of being a mother may sometimes feel tedious, but when our work is building testimony and character, the leaders of tomorrow and an eternal family... when I see it how God sees it, then I am reminded of what a privilege motherhood really is.

Now I am back to bed so 2nd time lucky!

Motherhood is a blessing

Friday, May 20, 2011

Josh the Photographer

Josh handed me the camera and stated "more pics for you to delete". I had a look, and this pic of Anna-Maria was cute.

I think she's crackers!

Daddy Time!

One of the things we love about living in a small town is that things are relatively close together. Tane bikes with the kids to school each morning and I walk to school and they ride home with me. The first week or so the kids complained but now they get grumpy if they can't ride with their dad and have to go in the car. It means we have to be pretty organised and aim to have them out the door by 8am, but they love spending this time with their dad. I think Tane really loves it too, as if I offer to take the kids if he is running late he generally refuses. You're a good dad.

Kids say the cutest things!

This morning during scripture reading, I asked the kids who will judge us at the last day. Joesph answered 'the judger'. Cute.

Joshua had a tooth pulled out recently by the school dental nurse. Josh asked the nurse if she was going to knock him out, and she asked him if did he want to be knocked out with a brick. He said "no laughing gas". She told him that would make him talk like Donald Duck, but Josh (quick on his feet) replied "No helium makes you talk like Donald Duck, laughing gas puts you to sleep."
When he had a mouth full of cylindrical cotton rolls afterwards he exclaimed to the nurse "I think I look like Winston Churchill!"

No TV??

Since we have been married we decided not to have a TV in our home. Obviously there are some really good informative shows and some good entertaining ones, but we realised that a lot of what is on TV is simply rubbish. We also wanted family life to have more of an influence in our children's life than the characters and the characteristics they would be exposed to via TV. So what do our kids do for fun??? They make their own fun. As I was flicking though old photos I came across a few of the things I have found my kids doing 'for fun'.

             Playing with baby
 Nappies do have alternate uses

 Fishing and rowing on the trampoline

 Playing offices (like Daddy's)

 Boxes - oh the things you can do with them

 Climbing on the clothes line

 Diving onto the trampoline 

 Normally children drive their parents up the wall, but ours drive themselves up the wall.

PS. We do have pizza and movie night every Friday night (we watch the DVD on our computer) 

New tastes

Ella-Rose is starting to eat solids... which she enjoys some days and not so much on others. Today she didn't seem so keen - mashed avocado yum yum. She's a little monkey who is keeping me up tonight... hence several postings. Ahhh but she is so worth it. 

We have progress!

Anna-Maria was so pleased with herself... She didn't cry when her burger fell out of her bun during dinner last night!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have been pondering starting a blog for the past few months, and trying to decide what form it would take. As a busy mum, I have tried scrapbooking, and on-line photobooks, but there always seems to be such a time-delay between getting photos printed after the photo has been taken, and thus capturing my thoughts about the event are lost. So here is my feeble attempt to capture thoughts, feeling and photos together in an amazing stash of memories.

My children are my treasures and my favourite poem about children conveys the way I feel towards my children.  Indeed we are low on treasure as most in the world would see it. However we are rich beyond measure when it comes to our 4 children.

by Edgar Guest

Some folks I know, when friends drop in
To visit for awhile and chin,
Just lead them round the rooms and halls
And show them pictures on their walls,
And point to rugs and tapestries
The works of men across the seas;
Their loving cups they show with pride,
To eyes that soon are stretching wide
With wonder at the treasures rare
That have been bought and gathered there.

But when folks come to call on me,
I've no such things for them to see.
No picture on my walls is great;
I have no ancient family plate;
No tapestry of rare design
Or costly woven rugs are mine;
I have no loving cup to show,
Or strange and valued curio;
But if my treasures they would see,
I bid them softly follow me.

And then I lead them up the stairs
Through trains of cars and Teddy bears,
And to a little room we creep
Where both my youngsters lie asleep,
Close locked in one another's arms.
I let them gaze upon their charms,
I let them see the legs of brown
Curled up beneath a sleeping gown,
And whisper in my happiness:
"Behold the treasures I possess."

I love my kids!