Monday, June 27, 2011

Moments that matter most

As I watched this video clip today I though to myself "What moments matter most to me?" I realised that all the moments in my life have been special because they have been moments shared with my family. Even moments of personal achievement have only been significant because my family have been there with me.

Holding my baby in my arms for the first time... feeling the thinness of the veil, smelling the newborn smell, and watching the infant open their eyes for the first time... squinting against the harsh light. When Joshua was placed in my arms, it felt so lovely, but also so foreign. I was full of excitement mixed with uncertainty. Would I be a good mother? Would I live up to all my own expectations? And where was the instruction manual? By the time Ella-Rose was born my heart was simply full of joy and appreciation for yet another beautiful child becoming part of our family. I had changed a lot in those 6 years since Joshua was born, I felt like I had loved her for a thousand years the moment she was placed in my arms.

Being sealed to Tane for time and eternity. It was so special... over 10 years ago... and yet it feels but a moment ago. I remember walking up the temple steps with my dad to where Tane was waiting for me, and he told me I looked beautiful. That meant the world to me. Then kneeling across the altar and looking into his eyes. I love going to the temple and doing sealings. Each time we do my heart recaptures those emotions, yet they are more powerful with time.

Watching my children laugh and laugh and laugh as they play. - Anna-Maria often get the giggles while she is swinging or jumping on the trampoline. Joseph has been a bundle of laughs since he was born. He always smiles. Even when he is angry, he can't help but burst into laughter a second or two later. Joshua is developing a quick wit and he sometimes has me in stitches. 

Tane and I graduating from our degrees. We had meant to finish together, but as we had 3 children along the way... I finished 3 years after Tane. He waited to graduate for 3 years so we could graduate together. Why was it such a special moment? For many reasons. 
My parents were there... and I owe them so much for their support of me in obtaining the best education I could. I remember wanting to give up during my last 6 months and Tane told me how disappointed my parents would be if I did. I reaslised this was so true and more than my desire to achieve for myself was my desire to show them that all their support and sacrifices they had given  since I was little was worth it. 
Tane and I graduated together. Tane had been such a big support. Since we were married he was adamant that I would finish my education, he valued mine as valuable as his own (although when we were engaged and I told him the size of my student loan he nearly drove us off the road).
The kids were there. My education was important, but having my kids there made it very special. They got to be a part of the excitement and I hope I have set an example to them of their potential.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child. We went on a visit to the firestation, and Anna-Maria was fascinated by a flock of birds that kept circling the sky around the firestation.

Seeing Ella-Rose grow from day to day, develop new skills. At the moment she is saying 'dadadada'. She really loves her Daddy a lot. She gets so excited when Tane comes home from work.

Watching Anna-Maria dancing. She loves it. We went to the pools on Saturday and after we were dressed and waiting for the boys, she practiced her skipping and galloping up and down the corridor.

Watching the boys do the in Haka in Kapa Haka group at school.

The kids helping out around the house with a smile on their face.

Helping the kids learn to write... at 7am in the morning when it is -1.5 degrees celcius outside but 24 degrees inside. :)

Reading stories to the kids, snuggling, kisses and saying goodnight.

My bucket list

 I have always loved history and geography so my bucket list is essentially a list of places to visit. So here is my bucket list (not necessarily in order).

We would love to take a round-the-world trip with the family to visit the following places:

UK - London, catch-up with family

France - Normandy, Paris,

Italy - Rome, Pompeii, Venice

Germany - Berlin, Visit Annemieke

Turkey - Gallipoli

Hawaii - surfing

Vietnam and Cambodia


USA - New York, Palmyra, Nauvoo, Salt Lake City, Disneyland

Cook Islands- visit family

Peru - Cuzco, Inca trail

Australia - Cairns - the Great Barrier reef

Do volunteer medical work in developing county - probably when the kids have left home.

Learn to surf

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Inspired by My Mum

Today at church we had a brilliant speaker who spoke on Elder Quentin L. Cooks talk LDS women are incredible

As I listened to this talk I immediately thought about my own mum. She is one of my best friends. She means the world to me. She is one of the most dedicated, patient, Christ-like women I know. Becoming a mother myself makes me love my mum even more as I think about the sacrifices she has made for our family over the past almost 30 years.

She is one of the most self-less people I know - although I know she does not see it that way. You see I have a brother who we all love dearly, but he can be quite difficult to look after at times. He has an intellectual disability. She has had to do the majority of care for him for about 17 years... and it is a thankless task most of the time. No paycheck or recognition comes with this job which is harder than most, yet she does it day in, day out, because he is her son, because she loves him.

She was always at home when we were growing up which was great. She was always there to help with assignments, she encouraged us to do our very best in all that we did. Despite our very modest circumstances, she made sure we made the most of the opportunities we had, which for me was playing the flute and participating in the orchestra. She didn't drive, so would take us on the bus across town to get there.

She cooked, cleaned, cooked, cleaned, cooked and cleaned... I now know what that is like, it can be completely defeating to look through the once tidy house and see it completely upside down. I must admit it is very satisfying having a clean house... I just wish it would stay that way.

I remember driving my mum crazy when we were little. I kept coming up with these crazy ideas that I wanted to trick my mum. First I thought I'd trick her into thinking that it was snowing in the house, so Angela and I ripped up white paper into tiny pieces and spread it all through the lounge. We then hid behind the couch to hide till she came in. The Angela would jump out and say 'we ripped up paper to make it look like snow'. I always got cross with her because I thought if it wasn't for Angela telling her we would have had her fooled.

The other brilliant idea was to 'trick' her into thinking the house was on fire, so we cut up lots of yellow paper to look like flames. Again we hid behind the couch and again Angela 'ruined' the surprise by telling mum what we had done.

The other thing that really did drive her crazy was when we would take balls of wool and tie it like a spiders web round our entire room. We would tie it to everything. I think once she couldn't even open the door because it was tied closed to every other peice of furniture in the house. She was pretty mad about that... but our excuse was that we didn't want our teddies to get hurt if they fell out of bed so we made a safety net. I don't think she bought it.

Most importantly, my mum instilled in me a love of the Saviour Jesus Christ and nurtured the beginnings of a testimony of the restored gospel. We had scriptures and family home evening and family prayers, not perfectly, not daily or religiously, but just as regularly as an incredible LDS mother could manage. I did not realise it until I was an adult, but by small and simple means she made sure the spirit of the Lord was in our home.

When we were younger and stayed with family members, they would sometimes take us with them to the pub or club. We would play with other children in the playground, but I never felt comfortable. Looking back now, I realise that what I was missing was the spirit that was ever present in our home. As a child I often wondered why I did not feel the spirit, and church did not feel that much different from home. Now as I look back it was because the spirit was ever-present at home and at church and it was only when I was away from these environments that I felt the absence of the spirit.  What a blessing it was to be brought up in such an enviroment. I only hope that my children will feel the same spirit in my own home.

My mum is a righteous and strong women, she has endured much. Today I was described by the sister giving her talk as being "steadfast". I am steadfast because I have had a mother who has been steadfast all my life in the face of all the difficulties she has had, she has always moved forward with faith. I also know that she is who she is because she also had a mother who likewise continues to move forward with faith - my Grandma Rae. My aunty Ruth and sister Angela are also women who are incredible LDS women. It is such a blessing and privilege to be surrounded by such women.

It is because of my mum that I am the person I am today. I agree with Abraham Lincoln who said "All that I am I owe to my angel mother."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Peek-a-boo baby

Ella-Rose is really getting the giggles now. She likes us playing peek-a-boo with her and thinks it is really funny. Check out her giggles-  it's infectious.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Things I'm loving this week!

Listening to Josh play the piano.

Watching baby Ella almost crawling.

Seeing Joseph's cheeky smile.

Brushing Anna-Maria's beautiful hair and helping her try on different headbands.

Sneaking a quick date with Tane while my parents look after the kids.

Laughing at Joshua's jokes.

Watching Tane playing with the baby and tidying up while wearing the baby in the baby sling.

Reading stories with Joseph and Anna-Maria

Watching Anna-Maria dancing, taking her to watch 'the big girls dancing' and listening to her explain how to do the moves correctly.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's always fun when Grandpa comes!

The kids were happy this week, Grandpa came to visit for 4 days. He came and watched them at rugby practice and came to pick them up from school. Yesterday Grandpa picked up Anna-Maria from Kindy and took her to the bakery. She chose the largest item she could see - a big chocolate lamington... and she ate the lot.

On thursday evening Grandpa did a chemistry experiment with Joshua making crystals. The two boys have had fun playing with Grandpa's ipod, listening to the music and all the little gizmos on it like the stopwatch and the pedometer. We used it to test the boys their times tables and their basic facts... they had lots of fun and seemed to learn twice as fast... we should have done that ages ago. Joseph told me he wants to get an ipod. I told him they are for big people and seeing as mum and dad don't have one it is unlikely he will.

Ella-Rose was funny. She was all smiles when we went to pick up Grandpa... that was until we got home and he held her. That was it. She just packed up and started crying... with that look at me... 'pick me up mum!' After that she was a little more weary of him, but then started to smile when he talked to her. By the end of the 2nd day she was much happier and all smiles when Grandpa was holding her.

It was a shame he was only able to be here for 4 days, but we are planning on visiting them in the not too distant future. Miss you already Grandpa xxx

Day 1: Who are you???

Day 2: Best friends

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday stroll

We went for an afternoon walk around the Taylor Dam, something we have not done together since we have lived in Blenheim. Josh was enthusiastically taking pics of naitive birds. Joseph and his friend enjoyed hammering rocks with other rocks... being boys.

We have not yet been successful at getting a complete family photo as baby is usually asleep when we try an attempt. She was asleep again while we went on our walk, hence her absence from the pic.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The things kids say!

Anna-Maria on carparks - "park-ups"

Joseph on a lost soccer boot we found in the park - "Some people have too many soccer boots so they leave them at the park. They are nutters!"

Joseph: "Look at the Bulls!"
Mum: "They are cows not bulls. The girl ones are cows..."
Joseph: "... and the boy ones are bulls and they have to fall in love with the cows."

Joseph to Dad: "I will even love you when you're old and lose your marbles."

Recently we borrowed a DVD from a friend which had all the songs from Les Miserables. We all have loved watching it and we all have got certain songs ingrained in our heads. This morning I was singing "One more day to revolution, we will cut the fat ones down" and Anna-Maria gave an unsolicited response -  "Daddy is the fattest one." :) Kids can be so straight up sometimes.

At church Joseph pointed to a senior missionary couple and asked "why are some elders called the elderly?"
I just cracked up laughing! :)

Grandma's visit

It was really nice to have grandma come and visit us this week. She was only here for 2 whole days, but we made the most of it. We went to the park so the children could show grandma their tricks on their bikes.
The kids were pretty sad to see her go. She went on the ferry on Friday morning after taking the kids to school. When I picked Josh up from school he was upset still and missing her already.

I'm still a few kilos heavier than the 3 kids combined. Maybe when Ella-Rose is old enough to sit on here we will balance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Anna-Maria

Anna-Maria had her 4th birthday. Mum came to visit... which I think was the best thing about it for the kids. They kept talking about 'the party', but all we did was have pizza and chips and watch Shrek, but they really loved it. They were all excited about Grandma coming to visit and kept competing to sit on Grandmas knee. Anna-Maria wanted a house cake, so this is what we managed... with lots of helpers involved.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What a day!

Well we got to church just in time... and got all the kids sitting still. Then just as the opening hymn is starting I got a whiff of an unpleasant smell. No not the baby's nappy... it was worse than that.

So I ask Tane to check my shoes... clean, his shoes... clean, Anna-Maria's... not clean. Right - off they come. I am supposed to be conducting the music but am promptly disposing of shoes in a plastic bag in the car.

Back in my seat... I get another whiff. Check the boys shoes and off comes Joseph's - and into the car. So that's two children now in socks. Thankfully that was the end of that episode...

I glance around to make sure the rest of the primary presidency are here but I don't see anyone else... and we have no teachers either, they've just been released. I get this kind of sinking feeling at the realisation I could be 'it'.

However - thankfully the president and a teacher are here... but that doesn't mean we are without problems. I end up taking the 2 CTR classes and the Sunbeam class which is an interesting combination, but I think we managed to learn something about the 1st principles and ordinances of the gospel. One little boy was completely full of energy and kept chalking on the board, playing the piano, kicking over chairs and jumping off stacks of chairs... Thankfully he settled down when I asked Tane to come and sit with him.

By the time we got to music time I think the children had no recollection of what the word reverence meant despite reminders, sticker bribes, revent songs, fun songs and being told off. Children were standing on and jumping off chairs so in the end they were all put away and made to sit on the floor, which may have been worse as then they were lying down.

By this time as the president was finishing off sharing time, I was sitting on the floor with a glazed over look on my face. "This is completely crazy"... and I'm thinking in my mind "what can we do to improve our primary?"

I come out of primary and tell one of the mums it was the 'worst sharing time ever...' but I am still managing to smile as I write this which is why we'll do it all again next week. Because we love the kids, and the Lord. But next week we've put in a request for an army of helpers. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

2 Kea Scouts

We enrolled Josh in Kea scouts at the beginning of the year as we thought it would appeal to his nature... bushcraft, learning new skills, camps etc. Joseph also wanted to join, but was too young. But this week he was finally old enough and is now officially a Kea Scout. He is very excited and is especially looking forward to being able to march in the ANZAC parade (like Josh did) next year in honour of those who served in the war - including some of his ancestors.

Dandelion Clocks

Yesterday was fun. The sun was out even though it's winter so we spent the afternoon out on the deck. Anna-Maria played on the trampoline while I pegged out the washing. Ella-Rose was trying to crawl on the deck and I was keeping an eagle eye that she didn't back herself off the edge - she didn't luckily. Anna-Maria and I then proceeded to do the long overdue chore of weeding the vegie patch. We still had our corn and tomato plants in although they were severely dried and withered. The vegie patch was also full of weeds.

After a while of weed pulling, we sat on the deck for a break. I spotted a dandelion clock and a few more, so Anna-Maria collected them all and we spent a few moments 'telling the time' while blowing the seeds away.

But blowing dandelion clocks is like eating too much desert or going to bed too late. It seems like a good idea at the time, but you know you're going to have to pay for it later. Come next summer there will be twice as many dandelion weeds to pull out (but twice as many dandelion clocks to blow). What fun!