Saturday, September 24, 2016

Millas Monarch 5th Birthday

Rā whānau kia Camilla! Now you are FIVE!! 

To celebrate, we had a monarch butterfly afternoon, as you have requested for the past year. And threw in some My Little Ponies too at the last moment. A girl can change her mind if she wants to! 

I made you some monarch wings to wear as well as for decoration, we had rainbow streamers, and a huge monarch cake! You were a pretty happy girl having all of these dreams come true!

We played a treasure hunt game where we found pictures of My Little Ponies in our garden, and then had an obstacle course! The obstacle course started our taking the ping pong ball (EGG) on a spoon and throwing it into the bucket with the leaves on it. Then, crawling through the tunnel (CATERPILLAR). Then, racing to the finish line with rainbow ribbons (BUTTERFLY). The little children were so happy to find out they could keep their ribbons!

You can't wait to be starting school in the new year, and you are loving being a 5 year old. You know you're a big kid now, and as always responsibility is high on your priorities list. You are nailing this 5 year old, big sister, growing up thing. I am so proud of you Milla.

For the last term, and until you start school in January, we have been having Mondays to our selves while Katie is at Kindy having her "special day" by herself.

I love Milla Mondays! You are such fun to hang out with. You talk my ear off all day, and we do something special together. Some times it's tumble times, or the library (our new favourite place to go together), or just to a cafe, or to Willowbank, or painting at home together, or ... where ever you want to go! It's lots of fun, as I said!

You've been practicing your phonetics, recognising more words in books and on signs and have been writing little notes. The other morning you came into my bedroom saying "look mum, I wrote 'Katie is in bed'", and sure enough, you had! Clever cookie. You'll love school! In the mean time, we've been playing word games, practising writing and trying to do fun creative learning to tide you over.

At Kindy you had a special celebration led by Kaiako Duncan. They sang you the whale song (a humongous whale, spouting out the water...)(aaaa... great white shark, great white shark...), happy birthday, presented you with your cake and card and Kindy book and talked about your time at Kindy. You were so excited to be up there, you spoke clearly and loudly for everyone to hear (which I was very proud of), and loved your time up the front under the cloak.

As a gift to Kindy on your birthday we presented them with a book we made together called "he iti kahuku". It's a story about a little butterfly who finds its mum at the park and dances under a rainbow. Kindy loved the book, and you were so creative to have made it! 

When I thought about it later, I realised it's about you! You are our little Monarch.

He iti kahuku tā māua, kei raro ki te kahukura

{Our little butterfly, under the rainbow}

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Graemes Mexican Party

Hola! Way back in May we celebrated Graeme's 30th Birthday at Mexico with friends and whānau.

Graemes birthday has been the event of the year for us. We love celebrating things, we love our people, and we love birthdays. So, we've been planning for these celebrations for a year, putting aside money each week for the last year so when the time came, we could do what our hearts desired.

After much humming and haa'ing, we decided on having our party out and about, and catered for. It was more expensive than doing ourselves, but it took all of the stress out and meant we could invite who ever and didn't need to be worried for a "wet weather option". I also hired a friend to make the cake! Best decision of the year. It was amazing!

It took months to find a venue, after a whole lot of emails, and venue visits at various locations around the city and still not finding any where suitable. I mused to myself "it would be amazing to have a party with mexican fried chicken handed around", and so I email Mexico and we were in! They ticked all of the boxes and were fantastic hosts! 

We ended up having 65 friends and whānau. Even though we don't see many of these people very often they all hold dear places in our hearts and it was so great to have them.

I have only included a few photos in the post, but we are making up a photo book so we have picture of everyone! Lighting was hard, and most were taken with polaroids, so our photos aren't the greatest!

Our kids came for the first hour, then Nannie took them back to her house where a family friend babysat them while they slept. They were so excited to be at their Daddies party! And it was great having them there!! Also, Aunty Izy came from Australia to join in the celebrations!

The birthday boy! I surprise him by secretly handing out little badges with his face on them with a golden sparkly crown. See if you can spot them in the photos. He turned around and realised everyone was wearing them! So great. There were also some larger faces stuck on the walls. Graeme is our Party King, so it seemed fitting to have his face everywhere.

I strung up a few banners and decorations when we arrived but Mexico in Christchurch is so bright and fun, it really didn't need much. The decor is ace, as is the music. The atmosphere was perfect!

We also played pinata, which was a bit of a fail! Graeme ended up whacking his friend Joe over the head (not surprising, since Joe was standing next to it saying "hit me!") but the string holding it up didn't hold so we ended up ripping it open with our hands! Still good though.

I said a speech for Graeme, and then it was backed up with a Māori waiata (song), as is custom when honoring someone.

During the week we had secret practises for Purea Nei, a beautiful waiata. Jared was on guitar leading it, and started after my speech. 

Graeme said he was looking around taking in the song and then started to realise that everyone was singing, even people who didn't know Māori waitata, and then he started to realise how special it was and that everyone must have learnt it for him! 

Well, they did! 65 people, singing a song most of them didn't know for their friend who they were honoring. It doesn't get much more special than that! 

You can watch and pretend you were there with the video below::

Most of all, Graeme had a great night! He felt loved, celebrated and honored! 

Friends and Whānau, thank you for partying with us and being in our lives! 

(ps, Blog post on our birthday holiday here (yes, the celebrations seemed to continue for a whole month!)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Queenstown Adventures - Graemes 30th

In May we were lucky enough to spend 4 nights in Queenstown, without the kids! Just us!! The kids were happy as can be with their grandparents, and we were living it up large with Hilton Hotel Life.

So, I never realised that hotel people do all your dishes. That was such a surprise to me. I need to get out more! haha! / become so wealthy I never need to do dishes again. It was like living in a dream! 

Anyway, 5 nights away, what a dream come true. We had been squirreling away money for the last year for this trip, as a big Happy 30th Birthday to the man of our house, so we could have some time away from our house! Graeme was also blessed by a lot of his friends for his birthday, with cash towards adventures in Queenstown. 

We planned to live up large, eat out and buy desserts, drink coffee and wander the streets and do as many adventurey things as we could. It turns out, we ticked all of those boxes.

The highlight for me was definitely Milford Sound. It's about 3.5 hours drive from Queenstown, so it really does take up a whole day; leaving in the morning, going on a cruise around lunch time, then returning home after dinner. It was a big day and we were shattered by the end of it. I think that was the one night we got takeaways and crashed in bed. 

But Milford sound, what a beautiful, stunning part of the world. Breathtaking. Even the drive there, I wish we had spent more time stopping off to take in the views. So much beauty and goodness that is so refreshing for the soul.

We went on a Jucy Cruise which was, I assume, just as good as all of the other cruises on offer. All up about 2 hours on the boat. 

I was lucky enough to end up at the front of the boat and was doused in water from a waterfall. It was a happy accident, and from then on we stayed at the front of the boat and loved our cruise. Much better to be out in the fresh air, although it was FREEZING cold. Wind chill felt like it was in the minus'! Still, I sipped my red wine, bathed in the sunlight and thanked God for all of these moments. 

Those last 2 photos above were from a video we took. We tried to get a photo of us and the waterfall, except the wind was all up in thurrr. You can see the video on my Instagram here.

Following that we spent our time in Queenstown on the shot over river (above). I had been on it as a kid, in which I had thought for sure we were certain for death, but it wasn't nearly as scary as I had remembered. Still, thrilling none the less. Graeme "woohoo"'d his way down the river, and it was a joy for me to see him having fun (while I held on for dear life).

We ate Fergburger, Winnies Pizza, drank lunch time beers and wines, sat by fire sides, talked about silly things from my "conversation starters" (which were a great idea to take, when you're wanting to talk about things other than kids, but your life only consists of kids). 

Speaking of kids, we almost forgot they existed. And when we phoned them they said "we need to make you a card, can we hurry up and say goodbye now?" So never mind them.

On our departing eve, we found the local c3 Church and treated ourselves to a couple massage which was divine. We finished off the day by eating a ridiculously expensive meal which was a ridiculously huge hunk of steak, and drank from a ridiculously large wine glass. Ridiculous. All of it. 

What is this life?

*Sigh* Last day and time to go home. 6 hours later in the car and we were ready for our own beds. But I definitely could have stayed in that dream bubble for a little longer.

Thank you to Nannie & Poppa, Grandad Jimmy & Colly for all of the Baby Sitting hours you racked up! And to all of our friends who put in for our adventures!

Lots of memories made. Thank you. 

Happy Birthday Graeme! xx

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Katie Turns Three

Sweet little Katie. Cheeky, mischievous, giggly, snugly, loud Katie. 

She turned 3 last week. Our little BIG girl! Who also started Kindy on the same day. There's too much growing up happening around here. 

Look at these Kindy girls!

We celebrated Katie's birthday with Kindy in the morning, a very little picnic in the botanic gardens with a few of her little friends, and a trip to the discovery room in the Museum next to the gardens. Followed by lots and lots of cake and candles. Katie blowing out candles is hilarious - she's too busy trying to sing "happy birthday" to herself at the same time!

Her Daddy surprised us at the gardens by turning up unexpectedly. He had tracked my phone to sneakily find out where we were and had taken the afternoon off work. What a (creepy) sweet thing to do!  Hehe. 

At three years old Katie loves:: Snuggling with soft blankets and fluffy toys. Animals. Anything "cute". Cheesy Dibbles (Twisties - the chip). Reading books with Dad. Ice cream. Minions. Her Big Sister. Bath time. My new scarf. Sleeping. Lots of Sleeping. 

Party hard Katie! xxx
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