Sunday, July 31, 2011

Snow Fun!!

A great way to end the school holidays! We went with friends of ours to the snow. We had a really great time. Here are the kids being really excited as we approach the skifield.

Tane took Josh skiing. Josh had a lesson first then spent most of the time of the beginner slope. Josh is really starting to enjoy himself and is pretty good on the skiis. It is the 4th time he has been, so now he spends more time on his skiis than in the snow. Tane is getting pretty good too. Towards the end of the day Tane took Josh onto the advanced learner slope and he did really well on that. Tane thought he was going to crash in the barrier at bottom of the slope, but he has learnt how to control his speed, so was able to slow down.

Me and the 3 other kids hung out in the area where everyone was sledging. It was very cool. I kept going down the slope with Anna-Maria, and Joseph did it him self. Baby slept in her buggy, then tried touching and eating the snow. 

The only little hitch we ran into was that I had left Tane to sort out the food... I had bought it the day before but he was to pack it.... So he just grabbed umpteen boxes of muesli bars, chips, chocolate and bottles of water. But there was nothing substantive... He had severely underestimated the amount of energy that skiing saps out of him, and how hungry a family with 4 growing kids would be... so after eating the entire contents of our car... the kids were still hungry... luckily they could survive the 1 hour drive home with promises of fish and chips without having a melt down... A promise which did come true and the day ended with smiles and full tummies.

Comments from the Daddy Daycare Centre

My wife has been working a few shifts at the hospital, conveniently during the school holidays, and I organised the time off work to spend some quality time with the children. to put it another way, this was the "dry run" for when we go to Australia when Deborah goes and works full-time.

Well what do I make of it? Key for me, and for the kids, was routine.Getting them up at the same time, or similar, because it was the holidays and sleeping in for an hour was a nice treat.

26 July 2011

Went to Kungfu Panda 2 with all of the kids. I am a self confessed movie buff and I love it when block buster season is out, cause I would try to see all of them if I can. The kids were the first ones to remind me that today was the long awaited movie day. I told them that they needed to do their homework, which unsurprisiningly they did with a cheerful attitude. Josh did piano pieces without complaining and he even did written book reviews, and to my surprise, he did a very good one on robots. Joseph did addition cards and Anna did her word cards without a hitch. Strange what a little motivation can do for the troops! When I started tidying up the kitchen, Anna unloaded the dishwasher by herself.

The kids insisted on getting some treats for the movies, but not wanting to disappoint the kids and not wanting to pay for trumped up prices the cinemas charge and the lousey service they provide, the kids and I trundled off to the supermarket to get us some treats. Drinks, caramel popcorn, whittakers chocalate and 2 bananas for baby was all we needed. Now you might wonder why we got "whittakers". It's because Deborah has told them of the evils of normal chocolate and the harrowing pictures of some little kid their age making the chocolate in sweatshop conditions. the least Joshua and Joseph comment was that we could buy only "free trade" chocolate and the only one there was, you guessed it whittakers! Next stop the movies.

One thing that I did not think of was the parking. Being a small town and I thought "no problem", but no, it didn't dawn on me that school holidays, combined with the Cheap Tuesdays would create and perfect textbook example of supply and demand in economics101 senario where supply, being carparks, was outstripped my all those mummys in Blenheim getting to the cinema carparks before me and forcing me to pay a premium ($1.50 to be exact) in parking meter fees. Lucklily it didn't stop me or the kids from getting some good seats for the movies.

The Movie Review... Kung Fu Panda 2

To cut a long story short I saw hardly any of it :(... On cue, baby was being restless and I had to take her out. The funny thing was, I didn't really mind. Coaxing her off to sleep was something special. And while I could hear the movies behind the door to the cinema I took more enjoyment watching her go to sleep. When I did get into watch the movie I liked what I saw. Josh, Joseph and Anna by this time had drank almost all of their drink bottles and I was running through my mind that each one of them at various stages of the movie would want to go to the toilet. Funny enough none of them did.

We got home with mission accomplished.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Random pics from the week that was

Anna-Maria's Kindy photo

 Ella-Rose... Joseph's 'purple grape'. Other people think she looks like a Teletubby. I think she is much cuter than a Teletubby.

 Peace at last!!

 This is what Daddy thinks of this!!

Story-time with the kids. We read The Wind in the Willows

Spaghetti and marshmallows

This week has been pretty hectic. It's school holidays, but Tane and I had a change of roles for the 2nd half of the week. He had time at home with the kids, and I worked some shifts at the hospital.

Firstly family home evening this week was great. For our activity, we decided to have a competition to see who could build the strongest and tallest towers with spaghetti and marshmallows. It was pretty hilarious. The Spaghetti are used for struts and the marshmallows as the putty between them.

Joseph teamed up with me, and Josh with Tane, with Anna-Maria helping us out. Joseph and I were doing pretty good at the start for the tallest tower, except we didn't count on one thing... BABY!! One foul swoop with her hand and it was all over... spaghetti was flapping in the wind, broken and sad.

After baby had dealt to Joseph's tower

Anna-Maria doing her own thing with the spaghetti and marshmallows
 Tane and Josh did well with theirs and managed to balance a book on top.
Getting ready to put it to the test.
It worked... just..Tane was scared to let it go incase it came tumbling down, but it did hold... for a short while... till the kids destroyed it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rugby World Cup Fever!!!

If you haven't already heard, I took the kids down to the Convention Centre for the 2011 Rugby World Cup Roadshow. Joseph and Josh both play rugby for the Harlequins. They love it and are very excited about the Rugby World Cup. If you click the link below you can vote for the kids to win a family holiday (we are currently in 27th place)

Anyway... on with the story...We woke up at 5am so I could feed they boys and the baby (Tane and Anna were in Auckland). They got dressed in their rugby uniforms and I painted their faces. They were really excited also because they had the chance to be on TV. So we got there just on 6am.

When we arrived, there was a group of kids gathering together for something... I thought they were getting ready for a photo or something so I told the kids to go stand in the front (because they were smaller than most of the kids)... Then I realised they were to sing a song to be videoed and broadcast on air. So while I was feeding Ella her weetbix, they were being drilled in a song all about how their dad loves rugby. By about 6.30am it was time to be filmed... I didn't get to see it, but Tane and Anna watched it in Auckland. He txted me and said their faces looked like 'stunned mullets'.

The boys with Tamati Coffey - Host of the RWC Roadshows
The boys with a random guy that all the kids were mesmerised with...  he had a suit, mask shoes, had all  made from mirrors, it was pretty amazing.

After that they looked around at some of the displays they had. One was on Russia as Blenheim is hosting Russia for the RWC. They got to look at and have a photo with the Ellis Webb Cup (the Rugby World Cup). It was smaller than I had imagined. They even convinced me to get in the photo. The kids had a taste of the excitement which is yet to come...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hats off to Daddies!

Daddies who love their kids.

Dad and Anna-Maria skyping the boys

Tane has been away for the weekend. It really made me appreciate life with a participating father. It wasn't the getting the kids ready for church that was difficult, it was more the fact that he takes care of Ella-Rose while I spend 2 hours teaching the 3-11 year old children at our church. She is very particular about her parents at the moment and screamed hysterically anytime any one of the very willing mothers tried to prize her out of my arms so I could get on with teaching. She couldn't even be bribed with a mandarin... even though she was happy to munch on it while I held her.

So the lesson was a little crazy to say the least... teaching forgiveness to 12 rowdy CTRs and sunbeams, followed by a sharing time of 'forever families' and temples to the whole primary - with Ella-Rose in my arms. Needless to say I was glad to get my heels off after that!

Joseph really made my day when he came out from the bedroom long after the other kids were asleep. He retold me the story I had told them in primary... almost word for word. He told me he learned how to be kind (because the boy had been kind to another boy who had been mean to him). It made me realise not everything I say falls on deaf ears.

Tane usually cooks pancakes for Sunday breakfast. Josh has been learning with him. As he wasn't going to be there I made them for Saturday lunch. There was some pancake mixture left over so while I was talking to Anna-Maria on Skype (she was lucky enough to go to see Grandma and Grandpa with her daddy), Joshua decided to make pikelets... from the leftover mixture.
They did not look too appetising, but he and Joseph enjoyed them. It is neat to see how they are learning little things from their daddy. Tane jokes with them about how they have to cook pancakes for their mission companisons and their own families one day.
We managed the Sunday roast and the chocolate brownie without Tane, but somehow a roast for 3 seems to be almost as much work as a roast for 7 (we usually also have the missionaries every sunday). I realised why it felt like so much work though... as Tane usually does the clean up afterwards... which I really appreciate!! :)
It was pretty funny, because he cooked the same sunday roast for my parents- right down to the corn on the cob and peas. We got all the details on Skype from Anna-Maria. She spent a lot of the afternoon watching and talking to the boys and in some ways it felt like they were in the same room.

More pics the kids took while skyping their sister.

So thanks Tane for spending time with your kids, cooking great meals... and fresh bread, and helping keep the place clean and loving your wife. I love you.  Keep up the great work.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday fun!

What one busy crazy fun Friday. It began at 6am... like all our Fridays a the moment... but this one was different. We had to be at school by 7.15 as the culture group was having a shared breakfast. They got sponsorship from local stores to provide bread, cereal, sausage, bacon, Milo, milk, beans and spaghetti... The kids loved it. They fed the siblings and parents too. I got to lunchtime and thought 'I'd better eat' and then remembered the reason I wasn't hungry.

At lunch-time the kids had a shared lunch and parents were invited to join them. I spent lunch with Josh and he showed me a lot of the work he had been doing this term - I had spent Tues lunchtime with Joseph as they have had concerts at lunchtime all week. After lunch the school put on a concert with all the classes performing but also there were some individual items. Joseph and Josh both performed Maori songs for Maori language week.

Joseph singing a Maori hand action song

Josh singing a song about Maori colours
In the evening was the school disco. I had bought tickets for them the week before and they had refunded the ticket I bought for Anna-Maria as they said no non-school children were allowed. That really upset the kids. Especially Josh. He really has a strong sense of justice and fairness (I don't suppose that has anything to do with having a lawyer for a father). They kids were so upset we encouraged them to write a letter to the principle of the school about it.... so they did, in their own words...Joseph even added a picture of how he felt... Excuse the spelling mistakes... they are 5 and 7 yrs old.

Josh wrote:
Dere Mr Hewscon I thour that our valu this term is kindness    we are not being kind Because you will not let my sistere come to the Disco.    IT IS Not Kind or Fer!    Or scool moto is Be Kind Be Safe Be Fer!

Joseph wrote:
Der Mr Hewson I jus fond out that kindy kids cant cum to the disco    my sistr was very exuted but when we got the tcket the said she cayldnt come   that is not fair or kind    from Joseph

The pic was

Before we left Joshua had a plan. He said "I know... if they don't let Anna-Maria in, then none of us will go. Joseph wasn't keen on that idea as his heart was set on going and having a fun time with his friends. I was really pleased to see how much they (especially Josh) cared about their sister. We took her anyway, she got in and she had a blast. I think they (the school board) were concerned that parents would leave their pre-schoolers there and take off... as if!!! It was like a noisy, crazy zoo!! The kids spent all their pocket money on lollies, juice, and glowing necklaces, bracelets and rings.

Anna-Maria was sooo happy to be able to go!

Joseph had all the moves!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Family Home Evening fun

In our church we are encouraged to have family night every Monday night. Its a time to get together sing songs, share each others news, have a lesson, play games... and the chldren's all time favourite part ... eat dessert.

One of our all-time favourite family home evenings was reading the kids the story of Captain Moroni and the title of Liberty. This was always one of my favourite stories... and Captain Moroni is such a heroic freedom fighter it appeals to the nature of our boys. After we read the story we gave the kids an old sheet which they were able to act out the story and rip their coat and write "Freedom" on it. They then attached these pieces of cloth to broomsticks/mops and paraded round the house holding them.

The kids had a blast making and waving them around. Some of the best FHE's have been the simplest.   :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The best 3 dates

1. The first date (Aug 2000)

When Tane first asked me on a date I turned him down (go-karting). I turned down the 2nd (Salsa dancing)and 3rd dates also (a trip to the beach). I'm not sure if I turned down any others (he will remember though).

I decided I'd go on one date and then I could say 'no' once and for all. So he took me to dinner at Mecca in Mission Bay. I had been told by others that he wouldn't pay for my date so I didn't take my wallet.

When we got to the restaurant I didn't want to order anything. So he ate a really nice thai beef salad, while I just watched. We then went to see X-men, for which he had already bought tickets for. I had a pretty good time but I had already made up my mind... there would be no more dates (famous last words).

I was right... there were no more dates (for about 4 months)

Obviously Mecca in Mission Bay now is a special place for us... I've forgotten how many times we've eaten there. 

2. Piha (early Dec 2000)

Tane's favourite beach is Piha... he loves to bodyboard there.

This was not supposed to be a date but it ended up being one. It all began one saturday morning when I got a phonecall from Tane. He was going to take us (me and a friend) out to the airport to see some friends off back to the States. However he had an acident riding his bike. I really wanted to go (at this time I didn't drive and didn't own a car, so Tane was frequently driver for me, my sister and a few other friends). I managed to convince him to still take me (although I do not think he needed much convincing).

After the farewells a friend of mine wanted me to go back to her place, but I felt bad to leave Tane when he was not supposed to be driving. My friend and I drove back with him. He suddenly asked if we wanted to go to Piha... why not?? this is non-threatening just 3 friends going to the beach.

As we drove out there I began to realise how much my friend and Tane had in common. I thought they would make a pretty good match.

I spent most of my time taking photographs of the beautiful scenery and did not spend much time with Tane. By the time we were going home it was getting dark and I was getting tired. I thought to myself, 'either I start a conversation or I go to sleep.'

So I asked Tane a question: "when were you converted to the church?"... His reply "When I was eight... I was baptised...

"No, when were you really converted?" And then came an answer that would change my life. An answer which made me come to realise that Tane was not the man I had judged him to be.

Having been raised in the church, I have always wondered if I would have accepted the gospel if it had been presented to me later in life. That nights I heard how Tane's parents had not been to church since he was a baby... that he was baptised because of missionary efforts, he attended youth because of faithful youth leaders... which lead to him going to church college and being involved with further acticvities where he could feel the spirit and develop a testimony. I was amazed that he had saved for his mission and gone while his parents were less-active, with no family pushing him, that he had come back home and was still strong in the church.

Our conversation lasted a long time... long after the 40 minute ride home from Piha... and needless to say... from that moment... I was hooked.

3. Matapouri

Tane and I started dating in Dec 2000. For New Years our YSA friends had already organised a trip to Matapouri. We camped on land belonging to our friends - the Waetfords. By this time I was head over heels for Tane and he for me. We spent lots of time lazing on beautiful beaches and spending lots of time together. We went to some beautiful beaches: Whales Bay, Sandy Bay and Mermaids lagoon.  We had a blast. We had dinner on New Years Eve at a restaurant called Snapper Rock at Tutakaka... and returned there several times since including on our Honeymoon - again really good food. The remainder of New Years Eve was spent dancing away to Jared Waetford's sound system in their makeshift camp dance area.

This trip started a tradition which we continued most years until we moved from Auckland. Each year, even when Josh was 3 months and then when Joseph was 2 months, we ventured up there for a week.

So there you have it, 3 great dates that have lead us on this crazy adventure so far...

Making friends

Ella-Rose is at a much more fun age at the moment (from her sibling's point of view). She now really cracks up laughing at their silly antics. She even tolerates them holding her - as long as she is not tired.
Joseph thought it would be fun to try sunnies on Ella-Rose
Cuddles before bed
The 2 girls