Archive for September, 2008

Away for a couple of weeks

Hey my imaginary friends and a note to myslef for years to come, LOL.

The little boys and I are off to Taupo and Auckalnd for a week and a bit. See you when we get back. If any Auckland people would like to see the boys and I send me a text. I would love to meet some of you!


Just a quick up date too. Yesterday we had the fundraiser crop I organised for our school. We raised $130 for the school. I met some new scrappy friends and we had a blast. I taught a class and every loved it and came away with their own unique spgettie creation. All nerves aside, it was kind of fun. And a big bonus on top of that I have new stampin’up! customers! Including a few that want to join my monthly stamoing club. YAY!

I was on my own for 2 nights because Steve and the bopys left for Taupo on Friday night. VERY bizarre with a very quiet house. Did’t really like it at night. During the day was good though.

Righto off to the shower, finish packing the car and hit the road to Taupo.


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Woo Hoot Wednesday

Gotta woohoot this week!

First of all I am excited because my Mum is coming to visit in October. She will be here for Isaac’s birthday and Tobyn’s production. Plus she will be here to keep me company for some of the time Steve is on another business trip.

I got a whole lot of AC Thickers from Scrapbookart. And I got a threading waters punch for $27, how fantastic is that?

My Stampin’up business is going well so far. My sister has booked a demo and I have 2 people confirmed for a workshop in October. Plus a couple of Mum’s at school are excited about it and I am sure there will be a couple of demo’s with them.

The fundraiser crop on Saturday is filling up nicely. I have 15 confirmed people and I know that there are a few others from school but I don’t know numbers.

I got my hair cut and coloured yesterday. I had been putting it off for ages because the last time I got it done it cost close to $200. Well I was sick of tying my hair up in a ponytail so I bit the bullet and made the appointment. It was so nice to sit and have no demands! But still $200!!!!!!

OK something different…a couple of cute things from Isaac today…

Steve was pretending to sit on him and Isaac said “Daddy, don’t sit on me, I’m not an EGG” LOL, I was expecting him to say I’m not a chair.

And another Isaac thing…he smooched his first girl today, LOL. Adele came with the twins and Caitlin was lying on one of the kiddie couches, Isaac went to her held her head and kissed her, right on the lips. The adults were ROFLOL. A few minutes later Isaac was sitting down with his legs outstretched, Caitlin gave him a little punch where it would have hurt if he was an adult. Too cute.

Righto off to upload some photos to snapfish.

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My Boys

For no other reason than I love my boys this post is all about them! A couple of weeks ago I was looking through my photos and couldn’t find very many of my hubby. Now how can I scrap things about him if I don’t have the photos? So on father’s day I thought it would be a good opportunity, and I thought why not try and get all 3 of them together too? A much harder task than I would like!!! Trying to get 3 boys to look at the camera and smile NATURALLY, argh. But I did get a couple of pretty nice photos!

I don’t know if I have talked about Steve and my weekly activity before. Every week we take turns to organise something. We started earlier in the year beginning with the letter A. We use the letter of the alphabet as a quide, it gives us a starter. It is fun and we have done a few things, most revolving around food, LOL. Most of the time we involve the boys, but occasionally we do it just the 2 of us. Well were up to R and it was Steves turn yesterday. I reminded him at lunch time and as usual, with both of us, he didn’t have anything planned already. But, he made a phone call…outside…of which Tobyn heard some of and said, ‘Why are you organising a baby sitter?’ And I heard. Steve said ‘why do you think I made the phone call outside? It was not meant to be heard by Mum’ LOL. Anyway he organised a baby sitter, though it had to be early, 5.30pm. He told me I had to ‘dress up’ a little. He went out and got a few things for the boys for tea and was longer than I would have thought it would take. As we were about to leave I went to go out the front door and he said no come this way…down to the bedroom and he had Red Roses and Roses Chocolates and we were going on a Romantic Outing to a Restaurant called Rendezvous. Didn’t he do well? It was lovely if a little unsual, we must do it more often! We were home by 7.30pm though, LOL. Larissa had to be home by 8.30 because she has exams this week. Isaac was a little naughty and wouldn’t have a bath for her, or go to bed, he thought it was all a great game, LOL.

He’s going to shoot me for this next photo! He likes me to pose nicely when he takes photos of me. Well shouldn’t he recipricate for me? And this is what I get, LOL

This weeked Steve and his Dad spent all day Saturday pulling out about 30 red robins to transplant down the hill in preparation for the retaining wall to finally be built. We have been waiting for close to 2 years for a retaining wall to be built and stop our hill falling away. I had a guy recommended, he came and had a look, drew up a plan and we said yep go for it. A year later he had not come and done anything. After numerous phone calls and promises of coming we heard nothing. Finally he told Steve he had decided he wouldn’t do it. He wasn’t going to call us, GRR! He said he didn’t think our budget would be big enough to cover what we wanted him to do. He didn’t give us a chance to say whether we would up our budget though. But he did put us onto another guy. This guy came around the day we called him. He was a great guy, he had some good ideas and was open about legal issues etc. So we said go away and come back to us with a cost. Which he did and within days we had a quote, which we were very happy with and told him, ‘go for it’ Well that was back in Febuary. Yes I know it has been wet over the winter, but what about before winter? Oh he got a bigger job, at the Manawatu race course. Now I completely understand that he would want to take a bigger paying job, but a courtesy call to let us know what was going on isn’t too much to ask. So last week Steve gave him the final ‘we need a date!!!’ call. He said he will be here mid this week. If we don’t see him by the end of the week we will have to try somewhere else. I really do hope we don’t have to go somewhere else! It was great to have the kick up the a** for Steve to move the red robins, and it is amazing to see how much more space there is with them gone. We had thought we didn’t have space for a trampoline but now we do! So even if the retaining wall doesn’t get done before Christmas we can still get a tramp for the boys. And i do mean boyS, Steve is looking forward to having a trampoline too, LOL.

Well I got a bit off track with my blog post about my boys.

Tobyn has been on track at school. It does take effort on our part to keep him motivated and positive. But when we are all on board he does really well and gets really positive comments from school. But every now and then I get a comment that concerns me. A few weeks ago his teacher told me of an incident at production practice. Apparently he had back chatted a teacher and was rude. This was a complete surprise to both his teacher and I, Tobyn is never rude! He has a negative attitude and looks moody often, but he is never rude. So I had a talk with him to find out what was going on. He isn’t enjoying the production…why? Because he can’t act the way he thinks he should as a goblin and Mrs D won’t listen to any of the kids ideas. OK I understand that would frustrate you, but Mrs D is the director and has to direct all the children so it is easier for her to have everyone do what she says. And about the rudeness, what was going on there. He didn’t really know and the incident I said he didn’t think he had been rude. But he did agree that he should apologise to the teacher concerned. So the next morning the 2 of us went to the teacher, he apologised and had a nice positive attitude. The teacher was pleasantly surprised and thanked him. When I said about the rudeness she said that wasn’t her, the not following instructions was but the rude thing she thought was Mrs D. So I asked Tobyn if he should apologise to Mrs D, which he didn’t hesitate in saying yes. SO we went to Mrs D and with a nice clear positive voice he apologised. She was very positive back and said what a big, mature thing that was. She was impressed and she has always been a bit negative with Tobyn. He proceeded to say that he would work harder at production because he really wants to be in the production and she said she was thrilled because he would leave a big hole, he is a great actor and does the dance really well, and when he is on the ball he is fantastic. you could see his face light up and his positive attitude has been so great to see. But I know that even the smallest thing can push him down again. I think we are going to have to watch him in the pre teens and teens, I want him to know that we are here for him if he ever has any issues. And after the apologies I brought up the rudeness with her and she said he hadn’t been rude, just a poor, moody attitude. So it appears that he actually wasn’t rude at all…go figure, chinese whispers are a terrible thing!

Isaac is as usual charming everyone he meets. He has stepped his language up another notch and we have awesome conversations. He has an imaginary friend call Tiger, he is a friendly tiger and he goes EVERYWHERE with Isaac. If I forget to buckle him in the car I have to stop and buckle him in. A couple of weeks ago Tiger was visiting the King at the King’s castle, a tall building in town, we had to stop and pick him up. Steve had to get out of the car and get tiger! Anyone else done this for their kids? I love it, I love his imagination, I love how vivid it is, although that can back fire at times too because he has had some vivid dreams too, and quite scary ones I think. During play he talks with his imaginary friends and makes his toys talk to each other. I could go on, but this post is long enough I will put more into another post.

Here are photos of him with his friends, Adele’s twins, Alyssa and Caitlin. Doing their favourite little rhyme.

Criss Cross, Apple sauce,

Spiders running up your back,

Warm breezes,

tight squeezes

now you’ve got the tickles


And lastly exciting news for me, My stampin’ up! box arrived on Friday. I have spent the weekend looking at my stuff, watching theDVD and thinking about the ways I can make my business successful. I want this to be a business not just a hobby, so got to work hard! I have lots of ideas, just got to figure out which ones re best and which ones to focus on first. I am hampered a little in the 1st month because Steve is away for 3 weeks, so I have to work out how to manage that. Fortunately My Mummy is coming up from Chch for some of that time!!! Of course she will host a demo for me, LOL! Yay. Now because of my pre occupation with my stampin’up stuff I didn’t get my entry for the Sketchbook Olympics done. I wasn’t feeling all that motivated with it anyway to be honest. I really didn’t like my entry last week, but I guess you get that when you leav eit until the last minute! It was swimming and had to have a nautical/water theme. I LOVE the photo I used, but my idea in my head didn’t translate to the page and I don’t think I did the photo justice. Anyway, I think I will bow out of the comp now and scrap just for me for a while, maybe my mojo will come back then.

Anyway here was last weeks entry, enjoy and goodnight, until my next visit to my blog,

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A couple of layouts

Before my next installment of our trip to vanuatu I wanted to put some of my recent layouts on here.

The 1st one was for week 2 of the sketchbook Olympics. It was rhythmic gymnastics. Now that brings back memories, one of my 3rd form extra curricular activities was rhythmic gymnastics! And it lasted all of one term, not much good if you can’t do handstands and cart wheels. But I did enjoy the sketchbook event. We had to use flourishes and ribbon. The 1st thought that came to mind was red and black and Paris. So out came my box of photos from our time overseas in 1997. It was hard to decide which photos to use, and the fact that they are not digital and I can’t easily print out a different size was a challenge. In the end I love my layout, I think it is rich and elegant just like Paris. Paris is a BEAUTIFUL city, with all it’s murkiness it is beautiful. My favourite parts…The Arch De Triomphe, Mont Martre, Musee D’Orsee and Disneyland Paris, LOL. I would LOVE to take the boys there and I would love to visit more of Europe! Paris was all I got to see. Steve has done the whole Conitki thing when he was single, but I never did. One day?  (Now I see another layout with this blog post on it for our time there)

One of the things I am struggling with in this competition is opening myself up and having great journalling! My 1st layout didn’t have any journalling, partly a time factor and partly because it didn’t need journalling. This layout didn’t have much journalling and the next one I am showing has a quote. One of my problems with my scrapping is that I leave the journalling until last and then i don’t have room for much, LOL. Maybe it is time to rethink how I scrap and start with the photo and journalling and then base the layout around that?

So onto week 3…The Decathlon. We had to use 10 elements, no more, no less.  A very hard task for someone that always adds just that little bit more! I had to really think about this one! I am amazed at how a few participants managed to get their layout still looking full and ‘busy’ with only 10 elements!

I would like to add some more birds or some leaves to the tree, to fill it up a bit. I don’t often stamp directly onto a layout and now I know why, because it is hard to rectify a mistake! The bird on the left hand side doesn’t look right and if I had stamped it onto cardstock and added it that would have been another element so I left it as it was. The tree idea evolved as the layout took form. I wanted to keep a nature type look to it and fill space and the tree was thought up. I cut out the trunk and branches on the left and it needed more over to the right, so I have to give credit to my darling for drawing the smaller branches! I can not draw to save myself, but he is a very clever sketcher!

The 3rd layout today was supposed to be for a spring challenge on SBO, but I misread the instructions a little. You were to use 2 or more of the following colours, red, pink, green and yellow. I used all 4 in some small way but I also have a lot of blue, so didn’t end up entering it. The layout is of Tobyn’s fear of anything creepy crawly. The photo was taken in 2003, so he was 5 and there was a tiny caterpillar on his back, he HATED it! That brings me to this morning…at 6.30am he came into our room, Mum, Dad, there is a HUGE bug on the steps to your room. Grr, I don’t want to think about big bugs at 6.30! As it turned out it was a slug a couple of inches long. Must have come in on Steves gumboots.

I have done a few more pages but not taken photos. I have been trying to scrap a few things just for me, not for ‘show’. It is nice to get some older photos scrapped and stories told.

If any blog readers are in the Manawatu, Palmy area I am organising a fundraiser crop day for our school. Sat Sept 27th. And I will be teaching a class! :-0 Yes I am in shock too. I am a little apprehensive about it because there will be a mixed crowd. Some experienced scrappers, some brand new scrappers and some that have a done a little but not ‘artistic’ scrapping IYKWIM? Anyway I decided to bite the bullet when my friends said I should teach a class. I know it will be fine, but that won’t stop the nerves. I remember someone saying about acting, when the butterflies aren’t there anymore it is time to stop. I will remind myself of that in a few weeks time.

And some other big news in my craft world…I have signed up to become a Stampin’ Up demonstrator. I was 1st introduced to SU while in the State and I bought quite a bit of stuff then because there wasn’t anything like it in NZ. When it did come to NZ I was so excited and have considered signing on for a while now. But I was too busy with Isaac, and came up with lots of excuse why not to do it. So a couple of weeks ago while talking with Adele we decided we could do it together. We considered being business partners but I couldn’t see how that would work, so we both signed up and will support and encourage each other.Our 1st big demo will be in Oct and we will do a Christmas Card/Gift wrap demo.

So there you have it my scrappy news.

And on a side note, I am making a trip to Auckland in the 1st week of the holidays. So if anyone is around and would like to meet for morning/afternoon tea let me know and we can see what we can do.

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Our long lost family

Yep that is what it felt like when we visited Tangoa Island, Vanuatu! The moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu lives on this small Island of around 700 people. The ministry training centre was very close so we were invited to visit, which we were more than happy to do…that was until we saw the mode of transport to the Island and the stories of sharks!

Tobyns’s Canoe

The moderator in her offical capacity, LOL.

From the time these locals arrived to pick us up they LOVED Isaac!!!!!

Now this was very cool until they wanted to put Tobyn and Isaac in a dug out without Steve or I! They had Isaac in front of Tobyn, and my mind was racing to Isaac standing up and looking over the side and falling…and what about the sharks? So I grabbed Isaac out!

It was a nerve wracking but once in in  a lifetime memory building experience! Once we got to the other side we had to climb a hill to get to the village. Now to go back an hour or so, Isaac had been having fun waiting for a canoe. He had managed to get himself very wet and sandy! So when it came to climbing the hill and him wanting to be carried up the hill Steve and I were not too obliging! But, Ferau came to the rescue! She was one of the girls that took to Isaac in the previous photo. She came and swung him up onto her shoulders and carried him up the hill. Once at the top of the hill she asked me if I had a change to which I replied “yes, where can I change him?” she said “I will do it” and she took the change and Isaac and gave him a cold shower, dressed him, washed and hung his clothes to dry.

He was funny with the shower. I think he was too shocked to be bothered by it, yet when we were giving him cold showers back where we were staying he screamed every time! But Ferau seemed to have a way with him and it was gorgeous.  Every now and then throughout the day Ferau would turn up grab him and take him off for a little while. He came back with cheezels, fruit and new friends. All of this was so comfortable. We felt like family, only family and very close friends would treat us this way in New Zealand.

We were welcomed onto the Island in a small service in the unfinished Church. It was a beautiful Church though and I don’t think it needed anything more done to it.

And Isaac could be the next minister there? I am sure they would welcome him with open arms!

After our official welcome we were treated to morning tea. We had children milling around wanting to touch us and hold our hands and get close to Isaac. After morning tea we were given a tour of the Island, which took all of about 45minutes! The adults were taken by the hand by the small children, it was such a joy to watch again how we were treated like long lost relatives.

And again Ferau picked Isaac up and popped him onto her shoulders. And introduced him to lemons.

After our walk we had some free time before lunch. I taught the children a couple of short rhymes…criss cross apple sauce, spiders running up your back, warm breezes, tight squeezes, now you’ve got the tickles. This produced peels of laughter. Now at this point we noticed the magnet Isaac was…he had children around him ALL the time. They followed him everywhere…

Isaac was completely in his element! He loves attention and he was getting plenty of it. The kids were even copying everything he did and every noise he made. This was such an obvious sign of how different it was for Tobyn and Isaac. Isaac didn’t need to communicate with words, he just got on with the kids without them. Tobyn  couldn’t fit in because he needs spoken language, it is very important to him and because they didn’t understand him and vice versa it was very hard for him. Back to Isaac…he spent AGES with the kids making noises, jumping and moving with them all following him. It was fantastic to watch.

After lunch we wanted to go for a swim so the woman were showed to the ‘outhouse’ where there was also a longdrop, the first we had seen! And then we walked down to an area of beach that is the locals picnic spot. This was where we swam. It was beautiful and so nice and refreshing. Again Ferau came and took Isaac and had some fun in the water, for a short amount of time because Isaac was not too fond of the open water. So he then went up onto dry land and spent time with Ann and the children again.

Whenever we went swimming the woman had to wear tee’s and pants and had to swim a little away from the men! But it seemed to be laxer on this Island. It was at this swimming time that Tobyn seemed to start to come out of himself a bit. Someone had brought down a ball and he enjoyed playing ‘volleyball’ with the others. It was so great to see him coming out of himself and obviously having fun.

But it wasn’t long until he found his safe place up a tree again. Tobyn seemed to retreat to the safety of the trees. It was almost as if this was his place, a place he felt safe and controlled.  A place that if others wanted to joing him it was OK but he felt safe there and he didn’t have to communicate with anyone. It wasn’t until after we came home that I realised what the trees meant to him and I love that he was able to find his safe place in a place he felt quite uncomfortable in.

It was also on this Island where I got my hair braided and found out my new title of Mama blong Vanuatu.

Such a very special Island and we will remember these special people forever.

But something they failed to tell us was of the dangers of where we swam! It wasn’t until after we returned to the ministry training centre that we were told of some stories of sharks! One was earlier this year where a young boy lost an arm to a shark and another in 2004 of a young woman who lost here life when she had to jump out of a dug out taking on water! Then when we got back to New Zealand Steve did a search on the net and found that the Lonely Planet guide says what a beautiful Island Tangoa is and the water lookes beautiful and inviting but it is not a safe place to swim!!! But I believe that if it really was a danger our new friends would not have taken us swimming. I think that because it was winter the water would have been too cold for sharks anyway. And at the end of the day we all came out alive and well and had an absolutely fantastic day.

Thank you the people of Tangoa for making us so welcome and providing us with some absolutely amazing memories. this really was the highlight of our trip!!!

Right I will leave Tangoa here and be back soon, hopefully not long!

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School Vanuatu Style.

I know they are well spaced out but I am trying to limit my computer time, it really can be a time waster!

Anyway here is the 2nd instalment on our trip to Vanuatu. Today is all about the school. We went down to the school for 2 mornings. Visiting 2 different classes where we, or should I say Steve and Tobyn talked to them about school and life in New Zealand. 

We were impressed with their classrooms! Beautifully presented with every desk having fresh flowers displayed and great work on display. But the rooms were old and dark. the 2 rooms we saw were probably 2 of the nicest rooms.

Their English wasn’t very good so we don’t know how much they understood. The teacher’s english wasn’t all that good either but we think they picked up enough to be able to talk to the kids after we had left. They are taught in english and there written english is very good.

The school is quite big and the age range is 6-15. Once they hit 15 they don’t have to do any more schooling. Schooling isn’t enforced so there is a small amount of children that get very minimal schooling. One of our team went for a walk in Port Vila on his own and came across a 10 year old boy working on  a construction site. The school was right across the road but he had chosen to work instead of go to school. They walk to and from school, a 20 minute walk for the children where we were staying. If they have to walk more than an hour to school then they have to board.

Vanuatu in general has a very strong christian basis and is stuck in victorian times and this includes the school. But because of this the singing is amazing. If I could work out how to get a video on here you could hear how amazing it is. They are so passionate about singing and sing at the top of their lungs. It wasn’t always in tune, but the passion was gorgeous. Kids sing every where they go, when they walk to and from school, while they are playing and just before bed. In the evening lying with Isaac in the dark I could hear beautiful singing, Isaac didn’t miss his CD player at night, LOL. Isaac picked up on all this singing and joined in and sang while playing, it is so natural for him.

At the end of the day often the children would walk via the beach and river and have a dip. They would also pick up fruit from the trees along the way and eat fresh fruit, how cool is that. Our kids don’t get to do that kind of thing. All the fresh food and walking does mean that there are very few overweight children!

So that is it for the school, next instalemt coming soon, promise, LOL.

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