Archive for August, 2008

Sketchbook Olympics

I signed up for yet another scrapbooking 6 week comp. This time at The Sketchbook Each week we will be given an Olympic event and some essential criteria to make our layout. To join we had to choose a country to represent. We then had a chance to do a warm up challenge about ourselves using only the colours on our flag. I chose Uruguay, flag colours…White and blue with a yellow sun outlined with black. I am really very happy with my layout, another one for my BOM.

So the 1st official event was cycling. The only rules were it had to have spotty patterned paper and at least one circular element. Ironically I had just done a layout that fitted the criteria and it was looking me in the eye stuck to my scraproom door. I wasn’t going to use it, I didn’t think it was quite what I wanted, but I knew that if I needed to I had a layout ready to go. The event was announced Tuesday evening, by Wednesday evening there were 3 very sick people in this house. Steve was off work for 3 and a half days, Tobyn slept away Thursday and Friday as did I. Isaac was the only well person in the house, which was hard for him, hence there was a lot of playhouse Disney on while he was up those 2 days. Steve and I wanted to be well for Satuday night, we had an 80’s night to go to. We got there but couldn’t enjoy as much as we would have liked to. Sunday morning the team that went to Vanuatu were taking the service, so again we had to be well for that, plus have our bits organised. So, no scrapping was getting done. I thought I could get it done Monday, but guess what? Isaac got sick and spent the day sleeping on Mummy. So thank goodness I had that layout done. It didn’t have any jounralling but I wasn’t stressing about that. It isn’t a winner, but I like it and I get 1 point for entering.

There is some amazimg layouts in the gallery and with 90 odd entrants it sure is a big comp. Waiting for week 2’s event now.


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The first few days.

 Photo credit to Norman.

We arrived in Port Vila to a pretty mild afternoon. The welcoming musicians were amazing. It really gave a great feeling to the place. The airport was reminiscent of our little airport here in Palmy, not surprising considering Port Vila is smaller than Palmy.  We had a short wait to go through customs. A hint for getting through customs quickly…have something to declare…the line is always faster, in my experience.

Once outside we found a taxi…or should I say a taxi driver found us. To my surprise he said he could fit 4 adults, 2 children and ALL our luggage into his sedan??? Because the law’s in Vanuatu are very lax! No seat belts required, and you can cram bags in and tie them down pretty well. That was the beginning of our experience with transport in Vanuatu with many more interesting experiences to come.

Our 1st night was pleasant, not too hot and our 1st meal was OK. We had a smorgasbord meal joining with a team from an Auckland Presbyterian Church leaving for home the next day. 6 of our team had been in Vanuatu for 2 days already and had spent some time with this other team.

The next morning was an early one, rising at 5.30. We were leaving Port Vila to fly to Espiritu Santo Island for our week in the village. This morning gave us our 2nd experience of transport in Vanuatu. The day before Pamela had booked 2 taxis to take the 10 of us to the airport. When the Gregory’s arrived at the front desk we could see frustration on our friends faces while a couple of them were trying to tell the desk people to ring and get more taxi’s because none were coming! Finally ONE yes one taxi arrived!!! So we thought it most important that the moderator andher husband and the 2 eldest others go in this taxi. Then after a while another taxi arrived. But get this, it was the size of a Nissan Micra and was supposed to fit 4 adults 2 children and luggage? Uh-uh, not going to work! So the Gregory’s waited and hoped that something would turn up SOON! In the end Steve went out and waved down a van, as we were loading the van our taxi arrived, LOL, but we went with the van anyway!

When we arrived at the airport the queue was LONG and not moving fast! As it turned out the computers were down, LOL. And most people nowadays have computer generated tickets. Are you getting a  good picture of Vanuatu’s systems? Definitely Island time in all it’s glory. Finally we were checked in and had our hand written boarding passes. Andthe call came to get on the plane. As we enter the rear of the plane an overwhelming scent hits us…Island body odour…thankfully our seats were right at the front!

After an hours flight we descend into Luganville, a new looking airport surrounded by Palms. As we disembark we are hit by the heat! I guess it is a little like going from Palmy to Auckland, an hours flight and quite a different climate. We entered the building and were greeted by some of the staff from the area we were going to. We waited for our luggage to come off the plane. It was passed through a little window, no conveyor belts here. We took our luggage out to our waiting vehicles, hoping it was a better experience than earlier in the morning. They had a Ute and a van waiting, YAY. All our luggage and the Moderator andher husband were loaded onto the Ute. Though I am not sure Pamela would like to be referred to as being loaded onto, LOL. The rest of us went in to van and made our way through Luganville, stopping to stock up on essentials such as WATER and a  few other things for the boys to eat. The road was initially nicely sealed but it wasn’t too long until it was NOT. Dirt roads and lots of pot holes made for a very bumpy jerky 45min ride. Even with the bumps Isaac still managed to fall asleep. When we got to Talua Ministry Training Centre, our home for 5 days we were greeted by Roy wearing his snorkel gear hoping to get a good reaction out of Isaac and that he did!

We arrived at around 11am and were welcomed by the secretary of the centre. We were told to sit and chat with each other andlunch would be served around 12.30. So we had to fill in a couple of hours. After about half an hour the children from the pre school emerged andmy boys started to kind of make friends while kicking a soccer ball and climbing a frangipani tree.

After lunch we were told where we would be staying…finally! Although Mama Lynda approached me before telling everyone because they had made a mistake with us. Despite being told numerous times that we were a family with a 10 and 2 yr old they didn’t realise how young our kids were. The billeting arrangement they had was that Steve and i would be with one family and the boys next door with another. Clearly that wasn’t suitable with Isaac so she thought Isaac could go with Steve and I and Tobyn on his own with the next door neighbours. In the end I had Isaac and Steve went with Tobyn. We were billeted with Ministry Students and their families. Our families both had 2 young children, 6,3,2,2. And they were awesome people, so welcoming and giving! In fact they gave us their master bedroom and the parents went in with their children and they all slept in the floor! The houses were very basic, though I think better than in the villages with thatched roofs andhouses that might not stand up to some storm conditions. But they were 2 bedrooms and a study with a small living/kitchen/dining. Cold water only and no cooking facilities in the house. The students lived in groups of houses, 3 to a block and our billets were right beside each other so that was good for us!

One big plus for me was the toilets! Men and woman toileting and shower areas were separate. Sadly for the boys their toilets were quite a walk away, and Tobyn got caught out a couple of times in the night 😦 I was expecting a long drop, but yippee we had flush toilets..but wait…visitors even had their own toilet which had the only working door. BUT…the flush did not work, so we had to fill a bucket with water and slosh it down the toilet. The showers were communal and COLD. I wasn’t looking forward to showering Isaac or myself in those showers. We were lucky to be able to use Pamela and Roy’s facilities. Being the moderator and husband they got special treatment and had private sleeping area with ‘ensuite’. So when it came to showering our family it was communal, much faster and easier!

OK, do you think that is enough for one post? I do. Hopefully I can keep other posts more succinct, but somehow I don’t think my waffly nature will disappear too quickly.

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Sounds of Vanuatu

Well, I was hoping to put some video on here but I can not figure out how to do it. So if anyone can help me, I would really appreciate it!!!

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 And the reason woo hoot wednesday is back…? Because I have finished editing my 400+ photos from our holiday!!! So now I can do other things on the computer when I have the time. So huge WOO HOOT for that.

Woo hoot for sunny days and getting washing dry! I do think it is funny that only a few months ago we were wishing for rain because of the draught conditions and now I wish it would stop just for a few days so I can hang my washing outside.

Woo hoot for Tobyn having a fantastic run at school over the past few weeks. When we came back from Vanuatu he slipped back into some bad habits at school. He was not as happy as he had been and was slacking on his work. After I had a talk with his teacher and then with him he has stepped up to the mark. And because of the great attitude he got a certificate at Friday’s assembly for “Having a positive can do attitude and getting results” I am very proud of that. And he is also so positve at home, helpful, polite and kind…with the odd annoying of Isaac and tuneless humming…but we can’t win everything right?

Woo hoot for nights out. Steve and I went to Beauty and the Beast the musical. Put on by our local theatre society. It was fantastic! But my friend ordered the tickets on line and we were in the FRONT row, very close. But great none the less. It was so fantastic and I heard not sold out any night so I decided to treat Tobyn and took him the next night. He was so thrilled and really enjoyed it. Next year we are going to send him to a more advanced/better drama school. He does speech and drama through the school but it seems pretty basic. He said she likes to do a lot of games, not exactly what we think he should be doing. So we have a few choices, 1. Helen O’Grady, with his cousin and one of his best friends, the focus here is more on speech and drama no singing or dance 2. Starpac at his old dance school, the good thing about here would be they do dance, drama and singing and he knows the studio and the teachers, 3. Abby Theatre School, which I don’t know much about. I am swaying to starpac because Steve also wants to do Jazz and I think  I will start Isaac at Jazz next year, so we would get a good discount, LOL. Also I am not sure I want him going to the same place as his cousin.

Woo hoot for the olympics, We are getting a good medal tally now. 3 golds, we are watching the medal ceremony for the board sailing as I type. As a family we are enjoying watching and cheering. Tobyn wants to go to the Olympics as a gymnast…that would mean actually going and learning gymnastics, LOL. Funny that last year he had NO idea what he wanted to do outside of school. Now that I have not been pressuring him to do anything he is coming up with all sorts of things. Isaac said while watching the swimming ” I want to do that when I get older” Now, I have NO aspirations for my children to be olympians! But I will support them in their endeavors to do there very best at whatever they want…except that Tobyn now wants to do fencing, not too sure about that one.

Woo hoot, hee hee, lots of woo hoots this week! I have 2 layouts in the latest up2scrap, so exciting. And here they are for you to see. The 1st one is my little guy, isn’t he just so cute, LOL. I was surprised that this one was accepted, but I think it does look great in the mag, better than I thought it would.

 And the 2nd one is me with my siblings ready for Church. I am the oldest girl with the lovely ringlets. We grew up adventists hence the Sabbath Best. We went to Sabbath School not Sunday School. I love this layout, it is so bright and fun.

Well I will leave it at that for now because this post is long enough already. Next on the blog agenda, VANUATU stories.

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Hello blog, I am still alive and well! I have been very busy editing around 400 photos. And that takes quite a while!

See that boat in the photo? We went across that stretch of water in one of those small dug out canoes…and experience for sure!

Steve and I went to Mamma Mia last Friday, FANTASTIC movie. I would like to go with a group of girlfriends now. This Friday we are going to see our local theatre societies production of Beauty and the beast with a couple of friends. It is so nice to be going out on dates, we haven’t done this in ages.

Something cute Isaac said on the weekend. Okay to put you in the picture…

We were heading out to drop Steve off for his trip to Melbourne. It was a Sunday moring. Isaac wanted to get the mail. Now if I was in the right frame of mind and the best Mother in the World ALL the time I would have taken him to see anyway…but…I said there isn’t any mail today Isaac, I need to buckle you into the seat. He was NOT happy. As we were driving down the road a little voice form the back seat says…

“Mum, you cried me in the car, you need to say sorry” And Mummy said sorry!

Right off to a playgroup I don’t go to often because normally my friend Adele is here. But today is the Twins 3rd birthday…HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAITLIN AND ALYSSA. And Adele I hope you are coping with the in’laws OK.

Oh and the last thing, have you seen the latest up2scrap? Check it out and I might have something to show later on today 😉

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I was tagged with this AGES ago and it has been sitting in my unpublished bin waiting for me to have the time to do it. So here it is Sandra, done and dusted. I am not going to tag anyone because I think most people have already done it, but if you haven’t have a go and let me know.

Ten years ago: We had a 1mth old baby. Steve was in Europe and I had my Mum and my sister here with her 1yr old.
Five things in todays ‘to do list’: Grocery Shopping; playdate with Camden for Isaac; buy 2 birthday presents, both biys have birthday parties this weekend; more washing to catch up with; vacuum

Snacks I enjoy: Anything that is not good for me! Chips and dip, nuts, sweets. But at the moment I am enjoying carrots, so sweet and juicy with that crunch factor.

Things I would do if I was a millionaire: Pay off the house; buy Mum a house that is warm and close to us! Put alot of it is a long term savings for the boys futures. Buy Steve a convertable and me a cool car.

Places I have lived:

Palmerston North, NZ

Al Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Reading, Berkshire, England

Springfield, Missouri, USA

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I had this post all planned last night but the internet was being a pain! So if this ends up a with some editing problems put it down to the fact that I am rushing to get this posted this morning before the day gets very busy.

Do you remember back to late June when was crazy and had agreed to a sleepover with 6, 10 year old boys? Well it went really well! We kept them busy so they didn’t have a chance to trash the place. And they really were very well behaved.

Tobyn requested a cupcake birthday cake. He doesn’t like cakes but LOVES cupcakes.

I made 2 batchs of cupcakes and thank goodness I did, they ate them all bar 3!! So the boys arrived and we let them hav e about an hour of free time and then the games began. Steve is ‘Mr Party Game Man’ He has always loved doing the games for Tobyn’s parties. So her was the plan:

1. The Chocolate game the kids actually didn’t enjoy this! Only one boy got to eat any chocolate LOL.

2. The Name on the Back game: i.e Steve thought up some famous people and each child had a name on there back and had to ask yes or no questions to figure out who they were.

3. Live Cluedo. Steve Made up cluedo cards appropriate to the kids, rooms and weapons used. It had to be modified once they started but seemed to work pretty well. Isaac was murdered by R with the cuddly toy in the family room.

4. Pizza and Cake

5. Movie, Indiana Jones,  projected onto a large well with living room set up like a movie theatre. We gave them all a bag of chocolate coins which they had to use to purchase there tickets and food and drinks. I wasn’t sure how this would go with 10 year oild boys but they loved it. Some of them even put their money together and purchased and shared. It was a lot of fun! The movie itself had to be moved to the small screen because we couldn’t get the sound very loud through the computer. Next time we will hook it up through the DVD plaer and the sound system. It was a good idea and the kids were very graciuos about moving to the small screen.

6. To bed at 10.30pm with lights out at midnight. And they were very good…but…at 3am Tobyn came through to use our bathroom  and we could hear noises. Steve went down and they were ALL awake and playing The Game of Life. I had to go down again and tell one of them if he didn’t be quiet I would have to move him out. They then slept through until 8am.

7. Breakfast of pancakes.

8. Detective treasure hunt game Steve made up. Complete with cade breaker card. They loved this game!

The boys were picked up around 11am and they only had about 1hr free time when they wanted to play Buzz on the playstation.

So all in all a good party. Tobyn was very happy and the boys had a great time. My recommendation for parents of boys wanting a sleepover…keep them busy and it is fine! Though, I don’t think we will be having another sleepover party until Isaac turns 10!

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