Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Meri Kirihimete! Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!



I love this time of year. Not only is it busy and therefore totally exhilarating for an extrovert like me, but it's when we get to hang out with family and friends and enjoy each others company. This year is the first time that I get to cook Christmas dinner for my family. What fun! I've been planning menus and shopping for months so all that is to happen this weekend is to clean the house, buy the strawberries and cream and have fun while everyone is caught up in the last minute panic. We are closing the office until the 7th January so we are in for a great break.....and hopefully some lovely, summer weather.

The flower above is from the Pohutukawa tree, New Zealand's Christmas tree. The large, full tree blooms over Christmas and often lines the streets and beaches. It is just gorgeous! We planted a little one outside our house and it should bloom soon. It is a definate reminder that we are back in NZ.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy your time with family and friends, remembering together that the Son of God came as a baby to grow and learn like us and then die for us so that we might be with God. How cool is that!

With love and blessings to you all

Richelle

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

House Renovations





October was a frantic month for me, mainly by my own doing. I decided that I wanted to do up our wee house and make it more our own. That meant painting 2 bedrooms and creating a new garden. Dear hubby would roll his eyes as I outlined my plan but he lovingly helped look after the children while I created a unique space for each of us.

First to be hit was Isaac. His favourite colour is orange, and it has been ever since he was very little so it was only natural that his room would include it. I had taken the boys to choose their own colours which they really enjoyed although mummy was on hand to give some creative direction. In just a weekend I had completely changed his room and by the end of it it was even tidy! (No mean feat in a boys room!) He was thrilled. The next weekend was the rose garden. Ever since I can remember I have always dreamed of a rose and lavender garden but having always rented homes we were never able to complete one. It was a BIG job digging up grass, turning the soil and planting the plants but the outcome was just gorgeous. I have been enjoying the roses since. Then the following weekend it was our room's turn to be made over.....in red! Now I have to admit that there were many people who have questioned my colour choices but not a one of them has a bad word to say about the final outcome. And if I was truly honest I would have to say that there were times (after I had bought the paint) that I wondered what it would look like in the end but I'm pleased to say it looks fab!!!!

I love to be creative and I love colour....bright, bold colours. My family would expect nothing less of me then to speak loudly when colours come into play. Definitely no pastels for me! I miss being creative and have found art and music a hard thing to find time for in my busy life. One day I dream of learning how to dance with my hubby, of creating works of art that inspire and encourage, of wistful days full of colour and fun. Those days will come in time and I'm going to make the most of them when they do. Until then I will take pleasure in the simple things and enjoy the amazing colours that God has put into place throughout creation.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Riding the waves of change.....again!

My darling is home again after travelling in Asia for the last 2 1/2 weeks. It's nice to have him home again but with it comes still more change.

The boys and I find that when he goes away it always takes us a litle while to settle ourselves into our new routines and expectations. We kind of get ourselves settled and then he comes home again. That always requires another change in routine.

We are always really excited as we count down to his arrival. This week I have spent many hours tidying the house and organising things so I could spend time with him when he got home. I didn't sleep well last night as I ran through our reunion and all the things I wanted to finish before he arrrived and then I was up super early this morning to arrange all the last minute things. The boys and I skipped school and work and went out for lunch on our way to the airport which was nice. We were all really excited to see him. He was through customs and immigration really quickly and soon we were on our way home. And then it happened....an arguement! All over a misunderstanding but it was all about re-adjustng ourselves to each other again. Silly how that happens. Most of the trip home was in silence with just the boys chattering about what pressies their dad had brought them.

Don't get me wrong. I do love having him home again, I just hate having to ride those waves of change yet again. Things will be better tomorrow. I think I've spent 5 minutes alone with him since he arrived and now he is snoring away soundly in the bedroom. The boys have had some nice time with him which is good. I'll get a couple of hours tomorrow between work and when the kids arrive home from school. It's not enough by far but we are taking Friday off to celebrate our wedding anniverary so I will hang out till then. We'll have to plan something nice to do together.

Thankfully there are no more trips planned until at least February and before then we will have a couple of weeks holidays together as a family. That will be nice. We're not very good at taking a break so we're all looking forward to that time. We're hoping to improve next year and have already marked out holidays and weekends fo breaks away from work. I just hope we're good enough to stick to the plan. We'll see :-)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I'm struggling with Church.

It's not that I don't believe in it it's just that I don't like what it has become. To be honest we haven't really been much this past school term. In fact I could probably count the number of times I've attended since August on just one hand. I haven't been going to my women's bible study either mainly due to work pressures and family stuff.

We have been attending the same church all year. The boys love it and I guess I realised on Sunday that we need to keep going for them. The friends that they have made and the good influence of their leaders are what they need in their wee lives. But what's in it for me? I looked aound on Sunday and thought about the sturcture of the service. Why do a bunch of people, who don't really know each other, stand and sing together? The whole singing thing just seems wierd. The performing aspect of worship leaders and musicians drives me nuts. I feel like I'm in school when someone stands at the front and lectures me. I've sat through many a sermon in my life and many a service and they just all seem to be missing the mark. Not that it's about me! I know that but I'm feeing isolated and foreign in my worship.

People who I have been talking to regularly this year or I have prayed with don't remember me the next week. No one has called me to say "where have you been? How are things going?" Do they assume I'm ok because I'm a missionary? They shouldn't, 'cos I'm not.

I fully believe in the community of God's people. I guess, for me, that's my work community. We have devotions every moning, sing together (at least here it makes sense), and pray for one another. We have shared communion, tears and joys and it's far more meaningful to me than the big church thing. I don't know what we are going to do next year. Unfortunately Nigel feels much the same so that doesn't help things. I guess we'll think and pray about it over the Christmas break and see where the Lord is leading us. It's a tough one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another Gold Star for me and another 5 kilos down. That's a total of over 10 kilos (22lbs) lost!!!! Yippee!!!! My aim is to reach my 10% body weight loss by Christmas which is easily achievable (or so I think today).

With any milestone being reached we are asked to share with the others in the group our pearls of wisdom. For me it was something that the leader had said the previous week. It was just a 2 word phrase but it rang true in my head....."Expect success". That was it. "Expect success". I wrote it down on every page of my journal and saw it every day as I tracked what I was eating or even as I was just sitting watching TV. It rang true in my head and heart and obviously changed my perspective on a few things. I realised that I have always been happy to accept whatever came my way. I never really put high expectations on myself and certainly never gave myself any weight loss goals to achieve except to be fit and healthy by the time I turn 40. I guess with a change in attitude and thinking to always "expect success" I will achieve that goal and with a more determined path to it.

This morning as I left the house the thought struck me that perhaps my life has always been marked by my lack of successful expectation. I am the kind of person who can generally wing her way through things and achieve a successful outcome but perhaps I need to be a bit more determined in hunting down that success rather than happening on it by chance.

My leader will be so pleased with me! It's amazing how two little words can make a big difference in how we view the world.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

School work has changed a lot since my day! Makes me sound old but the coolest thing I got to do in a days work was use three colours of felt tip pens to decorate my headings!! I was the hipist thing around :-)

Caleb has been working through various modules at school including cooking, woodwork and music. These past six weeks he has been working on a computer animation which he proudly showed us yesterday. I think he's pretty clever. What do you reckon?

It's been a while since I blogged. Sorry about that guys. I've managed to steal the computer off the kids tonight and shoo them all out of the room so for a few minutes at least I have a little space. It's nice to sit quietly. I don't seem to have too much of that time at the moment.

Work has been hectic as we brought 2 new staff members into our personnel team and I have been the one helping them, orientating them and answering all their questions. I feel like I am literally running around the office then racing home to the boys and hooning round the city dropping kids off at their various actvities. It has been a really busy few weeks and I don't see it getting much quieter any time soon. Although I do have to admit to also pushing myself at home to get things done which is another post in itself. God has been teaching me things about myself which will make it here when I can find another spare moment.

Anyway this is a lighter post. I have managed to catch up on some friends blogs and have seen a couple of cute videos which might cheer you up. The first is a fun look at language learning and thr sometimes inane things we actually learn.



This next one is all about mother's and the many words we use in a day. I have to admit to finding bits funny because they reflect my own language use. You'll see what I mean.



Hope these have brightened your day a little. Blessings!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Meet Saskia Lily Connors born Sunday 30 September 2007 and cute as a button!!!!!

This past week has been full of excitement for us as a family as we welcomed wee Saskia into our extended family. She is the first born daughter of Nigel's youngest sister and her husband. We have prayed for her for many years and have trusted the Lord to bring her into the world after Jill and her husband suffered 4 miscarriages in just 3 years. It has been heart breaking for us all but especially for them. Saskia is the product of much prayer and pleading with God. She is a very special baby indeed.

As soon as she was born we raced down to Rotorua and Taupo to meet her and have plenty of cuddles. She is so little, just 7lb 11oz (my boys were never that small!) and man, what a placid baby she is! They tell me she has a good set of lungs on her but from what I saw I don't believe them. My boys were so proud to be able to hold her and kiss her. They know how special she is and just delighted in her.

I love babies! I'm very glad not to have to do the whole sleepless nights and dirty nappies again. It's cool being an aunty. you get to hug them, spoil them then hand them back. What fun!

Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm Home and feeling great!

I know that might not sound like much but after all my world travels recently it is nice to be home and hanging out with my boys. Needless to say they were thrilled to see me which was nice. They literally hung off me for my first week home, always pouncing on me and hanging off me whenever there was a spare leg or arm to go around. They loved their gifts that we had bought (always a bonus).

Nige came home last week and brough with him more goodies. Even some for me which I love! I have to admit though that it has taken a little adjusting for us all to be back together again. Just a matter of realigning ourselves with each others annoying little habits! Not that I have any mind! We are all back at work this week although it is school holidays again so I am trying to get as much done while looking after the boys full time and organising a big list of things to do.

My big hooray though was when I went to Weight Watchers upon my arrival. I was thrilled to only have put on 400g in the whole time I was away. That was amazing!!!! Last time I went away to a conference I put on 1.5kg in a week so this feat in just 4 weeks was awesome. It has been hard to get back into counting points again and even sticking to what I am allowed but I will just have to pull my brain back into line and get on top of it again.

One of the good things about being away is coming home and this time it felt like I was coming "home". A really nice feeling to be settled and enjoying life again in the place the Lord has me.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The trip back to Niamey was supposed to be a cruisy flight of just 2 hours but again plans changed. The plane was not able to get to us in Maradi due to the weather so after waiting 4 hours for a final decision to be made we realised we had to go by road. I was prepared for anything but a plane ride would have been nicer!!!!

We are so thankful for the Nicholson family (kiwis) who were travelling to Niamey that day. We hitched a ride with them and set off. The first part of the trip was to Galmi where we rested the night in the guest house run by still more kiwis. That meant 3 hours had been done and we slept well that evening. Unfortunately the morning came round too soon and at 5 AM we piled into the cars again and began the marathon drive to the capital. Many had spoken of how bad the roads were but I'm not sure I believed them until we got onto them:-)

We had divided ourselves on gender lines....the boys in the HiLux and the girls in the Toyota sedan. Many a time we were lured into a false sense of security as we whizzed along tar sealed roads only to find huge pot holes in the middle of the roads. And when I say huge I mean HUMUNGOUS!!!! There were times when I was sure our wee car would be swallowed whole by the gaping caverns. The boys just flew over them all but Frouke took her time and took great care of the car. Many a time the tar seal disappeared and we were left to drive through thick, red, slushy sand also with huge holes. We liked it when the boys were ahead of us as we could see the holes and work our way around them but often they would hoon off and forget us girls. We travelled on detours of detours as roads were wiped out due to flooding. We sat, trapped by two big trucks as they tried to fight each other for the little passing space that there was. We drove through ditches that had been filled with tree branches to stop you getting totally stuck and then we met up with a huge traffic jam where trucks had spun off the road and caused a back up that would last for hours. All the time I was fearful that we wouldn't make it in time to catch our flight this morning but God was good and kept us and our vehicles safe. We snuck onto a new road that had been closed off by trees and bulldozers but that wasn't going to stop ingenious kiwis from going where they needed to. We just drove off road, round them all!

Twice we had toilet stops. I hate public loos but couldn't hold on any longer. The first was my first ever squat pit loo complete with horrible smells that made me gag and millions of mosquitoes buzzing in the nether regions. The second was a millet farm where I squatted behind a tall plant hoping no one could see me from the road. Little did I know but a Nigerien was riding behind me on his horse and got a full view of my little white behind! You've just gotta laugh!!!!

Nine hours later we arrived into Niamey totally exhausted but thankful for the Lord's protection and mercy. My African experience was complete. With 3 more days travel ahead of me I am tired but really excited to be heading home to NZ and my boys. I have missed them terribly so am looking forward to lots of snuggles and kisses. This afternoon we fly into London and then I will hit the sack again before my marathon 26 hour flight back to Auckland tomorrow. Nige leaves me and heads for the USA but he will be home again in just 10 days. I'm really looking forward to hanging out as a family again.

I have so much to tell the boys of my adventures. More than I could possibly write. It has been a thrill to see how the Lord has been using kiwis just like me in Niger.I do miss being on the field, at the core of missions work but then again it was such a joy to see kiwis thriving in difficult places. I'm glad I can go back and send some more.



PS...I was told to look out for giraffes as we travelled yesterday but despite 9 hours of looking I never saw one. How disappointing. Nevertheless I found this one so thought I'd pop him in here :-)
Niger!


What a trip! Just a few minutes ago we arrived back in Casablanca, Morocco after spending 10 days in Niger. We have had a whirlwind visit but a great time all in all. The weather was gorgeous....quite like Guayaquil in the hot season and then again in the cooler season when the rains began. It was nice to sweat again after freezing our butts off in NZ this past winter. As can be expected in Africa things did not always go according to plan but we were flexible o see where the Lord was leading us.

After arriving in the capital, Niamey, early Wednesday morning we visited Sahel Academy which is a missio school established by SIM. It was exciting to see people really enthusiastic about ministering to kids. Great stuff. The next morning we jumped on the SIM Air plane (a little Saratoga Piper, 4 seater) and flew to Galmi. It was a beautiful day to fly and we saw so much of Niger from the air. It was fun to land on the dry, red sand airstrip with all the village kids and young mums running out to see us. Thankfully they had scared off the cows!!!

Galmi is a mission hospital established by SIM many years ago. I'm not very good in hospitals as the smells and sights of sick people make me quite squiffy (nauseous). I did do very well though and even got to goo over newborn twins. So cute!!!

My African experience was almost complete the next day when I got dreadfully sick. The old vomiting and diarrhoea with high, high fever. Not nice at all. Thankfully I was in the right place as I had doctors fussing over me and people visiting my room to take blood samples. No malaria was present so I was even more grateful for that. After 24 hours of feeling like total crap I perked up and was able to travel the next day to Maradi where we currently have 2 kiwi families living. It was great to be able to see them in their context and get a feel for their struggles and joys. All the families we saw are doing so well. I was so proud of them!

Maradi is a biggish town and we enjoyed poking in the markets and seeing the many ministries that are going on there. We visited a tree planting project, a Bible translation project and even another hospital (this time I nearly did puke!) I faithfully wore my skirt and head covering every day which was driving me nuts by the end of it. I'm so glad I could wear what was comfortable in Ecuador. Yesterday I rebelled and wore my capri pants but regretted that decision when I had to pee behind millet plants in the middle of nowhere!!!!! But that's another story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007



The trip continues!

It seems ages since I left NZ and began this big trip. I am really missing my boys but I know they are doing well at home with the grandparents. Nige joined me in London last week and we have been tripping around since. Currently we are sitting in the airport at Casablanca, Morocco awaiting our flight to Niger.

We have had a great couple of days here experiencing Moroccan culture. We have managed to ride a camel, eat pomegranates, relax at the beach and shop at the markets. All heaps of fun. At times we felt as though we were back home in Ecuador. Things are very similar except the fact that they speak French and Arabic and the women are covered from head to toe. The men still leer at the women and I did feel a little underdressed in my capri pants at times but all in all it was fun.

The weather has been a lot warmer than in England for which we are very thankful. It honestly couldn't have gotten much colder! Now we head into 40 degree temps so expect to sweat a lot more. I have my skirts and head scarf packed so I suspect I will be quite hot most days.

In the next 10 days I am hopping on 10 different planes. Not too enthralling I'm afraid. My tail bone is already really sore and the seats on the planes seem to be made in such a way that I'm always sitting on it and hurting it more. I guess I'll pop some pain killers and that should help.

It's nearly time to board so I must pull out my French dictionary and try and learn a little more than hi and thanks. I'm thankful for people in Niger who will be able to speak for me. Still half the fun is in the trying.

Thursday, August 23, 2007



Greetings from England!!!!

I've been here for the past 5 days and it hasn't stopped raining since! They say this is the worst summer in 50 years but I think it's like this all the time. It has drizzled and been grey ever since I arrived.

The great thing though is that I have seen some amazing countryside and the manor where SIM UK has it's offices and guest house is incredible. It's like living in a castle. There is an amazing story as to how the Lord provided for them. The manor is just gorgeous.

The meetings are going well. It is so inspiring to be around professional communicators who have a passion to see God's mighty deeds shared with the world. I mentioned the other day that I dreamed of being a journalist when I was younger but for various reasons that never happened. Now I feel like God has brought me back full circle with a way by which I can express myself and God's work creatively. There is much that I can and want to accomplish in the communications area in NZ it will just be a matter of time and resources. Watch this space!

Nigel is currently flying the world to catch up with me. He should be landing in London in just a few hours so I'm really looking forward to seeing him. The boys are doing okay at home although they are missing us both terribly. Caleb has been sick a couple of times this week with a migraine and ear infection so that has been hard to be away as a mum. I'm so grateful for caring grandparents.

After we leave here on Saturday Nige and I are going to do the sights of London including the London eye. Should be a fun weekend and we'll have to make sure there is a visit to an English pub as well.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

One Year On.

Yesterday was one whole year since we left our beloved Guayaquil. We can't believe where the year has gone. So much has happened....good and not so good. I've just written a newsletter updating people on where we are at and it caused me to reflect on the past 365 days. As I said before...where has the time gone?

To celebrate we went up the sky tower here in Auckland. It is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere and has a revolving restaurant. What fun to see over Auckland city. It really is quite breathtaking with the water surrounding it, the boats, the tall buildings and the volcanoes. You really must come sometime :-)

So here are a few picis of our afternoon out.


The Sky tower, right in the heart of Auckland City















With my two lovely boys.



The thing to do is to bungy jump off the top of the tower! Here a brave soul (hanging in mid air in the blue and yellow suit) tries it. Not my cup of tea!



In the observation deck there are glass floors that you can walk over. Caleb and I did it but it was fun to watch others edge around it. Here Caleb is lying on the lfoor, thundreds of metres up in the air.










The boys had fun making this photo.

Thursday, August 09, 2007



I just love it!!!! Makes me giggle every time I see it. It also reminds me that in a couple of weeks this will be me....but having to deal with French!

Our big trip is upon us. I leave Friday 17th August for a week in London for the SIM Communications consultation. This is where all the people involved in media/communication work in SIM get together to ponder the bigger issues and get inspired. I'm going in my role as NZ Editor of our magazine, "Serving in mission Together." I'm really looking forward to the time away although I must admit that I'm not so keen on the long haul flights by myself. It's something like 28 hours to get to London with just a brief stop in the middle somewhere.

Nige is meeting me in London on the 23rd and then when the conference finishes we are stopping off in Morocco for a couple of day en route to Niger. This is where we are going to be spending the bulk of our time, travelling the country, encouraging our kiwis there and having our first African experience. We are really looking forward to it although the French is going to throw us a little! I studied French in high school and only know a little...enough to introduce myself, count to 10, ask if they speak English and maybe a swear word or two :-) Not sure how far that is actually going to get me. But we are going to make the most of it and I hope to see some giraffes while I'm there.

After 2 weeks there we hop back on a plane to London where Nige and I part ways....him heading to the USA for meetings and me back to NZ. After 3 1/2 weeks away I will be well and truely ready to be home again. The boys are staying in NZ with grandparents who will look after them. It will be the longest time that we have all been apart so there are going to be some tough days. They have primed us up to buy them pressies from every country we visit so that's their incentive to letting us go so far away.

I'm not sure that I will get to post while I'm away but will try. Otherwise I'll just have to recount all my experiences when I get back. This week is hectic with all the things that need to be done before I go, one of which is our one year anniversary of leaving Ecuador. Can't believe the year has gone by already. We're going out for lunch together as a family so that will be special. Hopefully I'll get to write about that before I leave as we're going to a really neat place.

Until then it's time to get some more work done and then it's onto packing. I thought I had finished with all that!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Haka.

For those of you who know New Zealand at all or for those of you who have ever seen the All Blacks play rugby you will know that the Haka is a traditional Maori dance. It is very spirited and revs up even the most timid Kiwi. When you are away from your home country it can even bring a tear to the eye :-)

My eldest son was sent this version of it the other day and I liked it so much I thought I'd share it with you after all my heavy posts of late (more to come). Do enjoy a take on Maori culture.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

As I look at the ticker above I see that we are fast approaching the one year anniversary of our departure from our beloved Ecuador. I can't believe it has been a whole year! At times it seems like it was just yesterday and other times it feels like the place never really existed. It's another part of balance that I'm not coping particularly well with.

I'm finding it difficult to keep both parts of my life on some kind of equal level. There are days when I really miss Ecuador and my special friendships there and then there are days when I actually enjoy living in NZ. But when I feel happy to be here I feel as though I am betraying the love and care of those I have left so far away. I find it tough to keep memories and my life now all together in my brain. Most of the time I seem to push one to the side and try to concentrate on the other. At the moment I am trying so hard to keep it together here in NZ that Ecuador hardly features at all and then when I think I am doing well something reminds me of all that I have lost and I lose it completely. I try not to allow myself to grieve or remember as it is so painful and I feel as though I can't keep doing a good job pretending that all is okay here. Does that even make sense? I have so many emails from my friends in Ecuador and I haven't responded to them in months. I feel terrible about it and it makes me feel worse but how do I explain to them the inner battle that I have everytime I remember them? I long so much to just talk to them but even thinking about calling them makes me run for the bed covers and hide. Nige has spoken to them a couple of times and I have been secretly glad that I was out when he did so I didn't have to speak to them myself. Doesn't that sound horrible!What I really want is just to see them and hug them, to take them out for coffee and dessert or empanadas, to just hang with them but that's not possible and that's what hurts.

The other day in church the woman who prayed for us looked at me and said that she could sense that I had deep grief which I wasn't allowing out. How true was that! I hold it all in to protect myself and my family. I hold it in so that I can be strong for everyone else in my family who is falling apart. I have to be the strong one. I have to be the one they can rely on and turn to when everything else turns to custard. I know that one day I won't be able to hold on any longer. One day it will all just fall out of me and I will finally get to grieve for my heartland. I'm scared that once I start I will never stop crying.

I guess I had better stop here. My eyes are moistening up and I still have emails to answer. I think we might just have to do something special together as a family on the 12th August to remember and celebrate our Ecuadorian-ness. Perhaps I should go hunting for plantain and make Caldo de bolas. Que Rico!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Keeping your life in balance is a tough thing to do sometimes. I haven't written for quite a while because I just haven't been able to bring my head into a space to be able to do so. There is so much running through it that I chose to steer clear of writing it all down. Now that I've worked through some stuff I'll post over the next couple of days what has been happening. Needless to say it's all about balance.

The past two weeks have been school holidays so I have been mainly at home with the kids. The first week Nige and I took as holidays and tried to do something fun every day with them. We went to the city centre on the train then walked for hours up and down the main street. We went ten pin bowling, shopped, took in a couple of movies, had a late night up where we watched videos and ate popcorm until midnight and other things. At times we all had fun but all of us were very tired and stressed so most days ended up with someone being grumpy and that getting us all in a foul mood. Not pleasant at all! We were glad to get back into some kind of routine the next week with Nige and I balancing the kids and our jobs.

We tried to begin a bible study group with some young marrieds at church so I spent the day cooking desserts and cleaning. All to no avail. No one turned up!!! At least in NZ you can actually get to a certain time after the start time and say no one was coming whereas in Ecuador everyone's sense of timing is so up the wop they could still turn up 2 hours later and be on time. In the end we took our desserts to a friends house and shared them with them which was nice. We weren't too disappointed and will try again next week but this time I'm not making so much to eat :-)

It's just been a really hard month of late. Work has been so busy and stressful for both of us that that has impacted on our home life. The boys have been busy, tired and stressed (more on that later) that they have been unbearable to live with and Nige and I have also been having trouble keeping in check our grief at leaving Ecuador. It tends to sneak up on you when you are feeling most vulnerable. One Sunday we went forward for prayer and since then have had much better days. God just seemed to step in a lift our burdens and heartache. He's good like that huh? I'm so glad I have him to rely on. Some days that's all that gets me through. I remember once being told that cultural change is like being tossed about in the boat on the sea. The sea can be fierce at times and holding on difficult but the boat (God) remains the same. He will always be my refuge. I'm so thankful for that.

So I'll ty and post more later. I'm doing this while at work....the only place I seem to be able to use the computer. Hope the boss doesn't mind :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Injections! I hate them!!

I feel like a pin cushion sometimes. It seems that I have had more than the normal person when it comes to jabs. I guess living overseas means you need to be up to date on all those nasty bugs like typhoid, rabies, yellow fever, meningitis, TB, tetanus etc etc etc (the list could go on for ages!) This past week Nige and I have been updating our jabs in preparation for a big trip to Africa in August (I'll tell you all about that another time). That means that between us we have had 9 injections! Nige was brave enough to have all his on one day but I spread mine over a couple of days. They have left my arm red and sore, not to mention a little itchy and blistered. The biggest hassle has been my mantoux (the TB indicator jab in your forearm). If you have antibodies you have a small reaction....mine was massive. So big in fact that the nurse called the Doctor in for a look. They promptly sent me off for a chest xray and blood tests as well as several urine tests all with the purpose of checking that I am actually TB free. The only good thing to come of all this is that I can't ever have another mantoux which I am quite thankful for (apparently the reaction only gets worse everytime). So that was my last week and this week taken up with bldod tests. Yuck! I guess it's all in the name of good health.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This week I reached my first 5 kilos lost! YAY!!! That meant that I received a bookmark with my first gold star to mark those 5 kilos. For every 5 you lose you get another gold star. What a great feeling. It has taken me ages to get here but it is great now that I've reached this first milestone. It makes the rest of my journey look possible.

We are invited to give a pearl of wisdom when we receive our award. Mine was "Don't give up". It doesn't matter how much you might have fallen off the wagon one day or one week there is always a blank page the next day so you can start over. That's how I live sometimes. I think it's a good motto as well in our every day life. No matter how much you might have stuffed up you can always start afresh tomorrow and not look back.

Be encouraged today.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Goodnight Kiwi was a hit as I was growing up. I didn't get to see it very often as it was played at the closing down of broadcasting on the TVNZ network. He has become quite iconic and was only taken off air once the TV station went to 24 hour broadcasts. This is a trip down memory lane for me and many other kiwis.

Autumn!

It is such a beautiful time of the year and one that I have missed out on for the past 8 years as Ecuador has just two seasons a year...wet and dry. As I sit in my office and gaze out the window I see trees still changing the colour of their leaves. The wind blows and causes them to flutter gracefully to the ground below. What a sight! I have been watching the treess on the sides of the road as I drive home. The colours are vibrant and varied. Reds, oranges and yellows. Like tongues of fire crackling in the cooler weather.

The majority of New Zealand's native trees are evergreen. they don't change colour but remain a vibrant green throughout the year. As you walk through the native forests you are hit with the wetness of the moss and ponga ferns as they grow in the shade of the great kauri trees. It is all quite stunning. But being a girl who just adores colour (you should see my house!) I am in awe of God's handiwork as he paints each leaf a different shade.

Now that the big trees in the centre of my office window have shed their leaves I get the most stunning view stretching across the harbour to the peninsula on the other side. When the sun hits the glistening water everything just seems right in the world. There is a huge Norfolk pine tree which stands tall and proud and remains green while the rest of the view is dotted with the colours of Autumn. Now those of you in the Northern Hemisphere will have to wait to enjoy all these colours but I do envy you a little as you enter into summer weather, beaches, picnics and ice creams. Still today, I wouldn't trade my million dollar view for anything!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A new family photo What do you think?

It was taken as a school fundraiser for Isaac's school which is quite a good idea. The pose is a bit formal for us. We are usually much more casual but it's still cute don't you think? I like to have updated picis as the boys change so much in such a short amount of time. We have always tried to send out a new prayer card every year. It's really fun to see what they have all been like. We have one friend who has every one on his fridge, dating all the way back to just us and Caleb (now that's a long time ago).

It's birthday time this next week. Both boys have parties so I will be busy making cakes and organising games etc. I can't believe my baby will be 10 and my eldest is nearly a teenager. Where did the time go?

Monday, June 04, 2007

So I'm A Snap Dragon. It sounds horrible but the description is as follows: "Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Sounds like me....don't you think?


I am a
Snapdragon


What Flower
Are You?


Sunday, May 27, 2007

An Australian Trip

One of the reasons I haven't written much recently is that I have been traveling. At the beginning of May I flew just 3 hours to Sydney, Australia for a personnel consultation for SIM. What a great time I had! I arrived a couple of days early so that i could hang out with my Aunt who I hadn't seen for several years.
On our first day together she must have driven me all round Sydney to see the sights. I had never been there before even though it is so close to home. We drove over the Harbour birdge and round the Opera House. It's architecture really is quite something to see. Then we drove round several beaches including Bondi Beach which is well known for it's surfing. It was a beautiful day to do all this as well and was quite spectacular. I managed to get a little shopping in for the lads back at home in NZ which I always enjoy doing. I had been sent on a mission to find a kangaroo exactly like the one Isaac had lost the year before. What a job that turned out to be!!!! It was so important to him that everytime he talked to me on the phone he cried because I hadn't found "Jack" yet. God knew how big a thing it was for him and thankfully i found one in a shop at the airport as I was a bout to leave the country. He was thrilled and it hasn't been out of his sight since!

The next day all the SIM sending office Personnel people from around the world (South Africa, USA, UK, NZ, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Korea) met up and we travelled 2 hours south of Sydney, into the bush, where we stayed at this campsite for the rest of the week. It was a gorgeous setting with thousands of gum trees and a beautiful river just down the path from our cabins. What a peaceful place to be. The only bummer was that I didn't have cell phone coverage but when we went for walks I managed to pick up the odd signal so was able to stay in touch with home.

We worked hard everyday from early in the morning until mid evening. It was tiring but was also an excellent way for me to get my head around issues in the SIM world and network with others from different offices. It gave me space to think about how we do things here in the NZ office and ways in which we could improve oursleves. I learnt how thankful I am to work in the NZ office as we have a lot of freedom to develop great relationships with our missios and encourage/mentor them. What a privilege. All in all it was a great week away. I missed the lads terribly but we all survived our time apart. They had a nice party for me when I got home and the next day was Mothers Day so it was extra special.

PS....On one of our walks we saw a real, live wombat! He was so cute (this is him here....thanks Laura for the pici) He was just sitting in the long grass as we walked by and didn't seem bothered by our presence at all. At the time I was talking to Isaac on the phone and he thought it was a pretty cool thing to see. No koalas or kangaroos though. Maybe next time.
Persimmons!

I've discovered persimmons.

They are a sweet, pear like fruit that looks like an under ripe tomato. Actually it looks like a "ripe" tomato if you go by an Ecuadorian definition of "ripeness". I have to admit to being a little sceptical when I first saw someone eat them. My recollection of these fruit was when my family moved to Auckland when I was 16 and we had a persimmon tree in the back yard. We had no idea what to do with them so when we thought they were ripe we ate one. It was like chewing on a hunk of cornflour....it sucked all the saliva out of our mouths! Not pleasant in the least. In those days we were told that you had to wait until they were almost rotten to eat them and then they were delicious but the thought of eating almost rotten fruit did not enthrall us at all so we didn't bother. These days you can eat them crunchy. They must have developed a new brand of them.

Since discovering them I have eaten one a day for the last couple of weeks. No one else in the family really likes them. They're not as adventurous as me :-) But then again I don't have to share them so I don't mind. I wonder how long their season is? It would be great if they lasted all winter but somehow I doubt it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Confusion! Total and utter confusion!!

That's me. Things have been quite overwhelming these past couple of weeks....hence no new posts. But I will rectify that in the next wee while and bring you up to date with all that has been going on.

Today is the last day of the last remaining full time personnel worker in the office. That means we go from 3 full time workers to just 2 part time ones and I'm heading the team...the team of 2 that is! I have spent the better part of these past couple of weeks trying to get my head around all the systems and procedures that are already in place. We have been looking at revamping the way we do things and I think it will go well for us and the people we serve. With Jen leaving today that means that tomorrow I can finally get settled at my desk with a phone and hopefully a computer that doesn't keep crashing on me (oh the joys of a PC when you're a Mac girl!!!!)We will begin to look for a third person to join the team but until then Sean and I will hold the fort.

I keep telling Nige that my brian feels mushy and he always replies, "Welcome to my world!" It seems that as you dig a little deeper things get muddier and murkier. Not all hopeless though, it just means that the future looks very busy. Fun though :-)

So that's me now. A working woman, mother and wife etc. It is kind of weird having to go into an office for work when I am so used to just stopping at my computer in my bedroom and working there. It's a nice change though.

More later. So much to write about and so little time. I'm off to chat to the guy who works on our computers and hopefully get some things sorted out.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

These past couple of weeks I have been praying fervently for a good friend who is struggling with the actions of her son. He has made some wrong choices and must face up to the consequences of his actions. This, of course, impacts on the whole family and has broken the hearts of his parents. I have been sympathetic in my prayers, asking for wisdom, patience and love for them as they deal with the things at hand. Little did I realise that things weren't so hot in my own household.

Yesterday we were called to school regarding the actions of one of our own kids. Things were so bad that dire consequences were called for. We were so angry that we were incredibly calm with him! He knew then he was in big trouble!!! It broke my heart that my child had chosen the wrong path and now had to face the consequences....we all have had to.

This whole incident has made me reflect on how we are all handling the change back to NZ. I can't blame that entirely for his actions. He has to learn to deal with peer pressure around him and make the right choice all the time. But I do believe it has something to do with it. We are all struggling at the moment in our own ways. We are all facing decisions on a daily basis that we have never had to make before and there is always an opportunity to make the wrong choice. As parents we need to be more vigilant in helping/guiding our children to do what Jesus would do and stand firm. It is a daily task and one that requires much prayer and wisdom. It's heartening to know that God is a parent as well. He has had a son, live on earth and be surrounded by opportunities to sin. Yet he didn't. I know it's unrealistic to expect my kids, even myself, not to sin but we have a great role model to aspire to be more like. That's what we daily work towards. I think it's time to be more conscious of our efforts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Friendship: a precious thing

One thing I loved about travelling back to Palmerston North was the fact that I got to hang out with friends. It had felt like an age since I had had a coffee and chatted with a close friend. I realised that that is what I am missing in Auckland. Don't get me wrong, I do have friends up here but the difference is that I am starting over.

I have been thinking about my firends a lot lately. My buddies in Palmy have such a long histroy with me. We all married at the same time, have had kids together and shared many ups and downs. With my friend Jen, we have cried and laughed and prayed together for years. Even though we hadn't seen each other for a long time and hadn't always been good at emailing, it felt like we had always been together. I miss that kind of history. My friends in Ecuador are the same. We have shared so much together that, even now, we don't have to say some things yet they have already been heard. Does that make sense?

I am missing that kind of freedom and relationship. It's hard work having to build up relationships again, trying to begin a history, trying to establish that kind of freedom in sharing. It is beginning little by little. I am enjoying the Woman's Bible study group on a Monday morning. Each week I see the same people and we are learning together and praying for each other but it is still at the "hi, how was your week?" stage. It is hard to break through and be intimate. I guess I just have to lead by example but I have to admit to that getting rather tiring at times.

I know deep friendships will come but they take time and a lot of energy. Some days I just can't be bothered trying.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Travelling again

I looked back on my last post and realised it has been a while since I last wrote. I guess my excuse is that we have been travelling and taking some time out as a family. Much needed might I add as well. We went to Tauranga and stayed with Nigel's parents which was lovely. We took a day out to go to Rotorua, New Zealand's cultural city (see left). It is a beautiful spot set on lake Rotorua. It is famous for it's geothermal activity and historic Maori village sites.

We visited Te Puia which is one of the most well known geothermal areas. We saw boiling mud pools, pooling water pools where the Maori traditionally cooked food and also a couple of geysers. They were amazing. The smell is what really takes your breath away though. The kind of stink of rotten eggs pervades the whole city. We soaked in geothermal hot pool and all came out smelling of sulphur.

The really fun part of the day was riding the gondola up the mountain and hooning down it on a luge. The boys thought it was great! Nige was determined to take the advanced track and ride to his hearts content. I took the slower one with Isy as he was uncertain of the unknown and freaked a little at the speed he could go. Nevertheless he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

After Rotorua and Tauranga we went back to Palmerston North where we caught up with friends, played and did a little work. it was a nice week or so away. The weather has turned cooler so we have brought out our long sleeve shirts. Soon it will be time to put the fire on in the evenings. The electric blanket is being used already! It's nice to jump into a toasty bed and snuggle up in flanette pyjamas. Haven't done that in years!!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Like a Yoyo! That's how I would discribe my weight loss journey. One week I've lost, the next I've gained. It wasn't entirely unexpected this week though as I literally ate out every day. By the last day of the week we went to Burger King and I ate a yummy burger and chips. Who cares!!!! By then I knew the whole week was a dead loss so decided to enjoy the freedom.

But there is no guilt about it. I just ate too much this past week. I'm not going to turn it into emotional self bashing or into saying that I can't do this (which I would usually do). I'm just going to start anew today (which I have). I really need to get my exercise programme working so that's going to be my focus for the next few weeks. With Easter and loads of chocolate just around the corner I am going to have to be careful but I'm taking this slowly and not about to throw it all in.

Have a happy Easter everyone. Enjoy the chocolate eggs (I will be) but more importantly celebrate the fact that a Man who loves you very much died and rose again to give you the gift of eternal life with Him. That's cool!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To Smack or not to smack?

That's the question which is dividing New Zealand at the moment. The government is trying to pass a law which will make it a chargeable offence to smack your child under any circumstances. They say it is to step out child abuse but the country has gone up in arms. They don't want it. Recent polls say that 84% of the population do not agree with the bill yet the government is trying to get it passed under urgency. It would appear that the politicians aren't listening to the country's wishes.

Now, I haven't waded into this debate at all. I have to admit to having smacked my boys. Now that they are older the frequency of smacks is very low, in fact I can't remember the last time I smacked my oldest. But there are parents out there who beat children within an inch of their lives or have even killed them and they should be stopped.

Sue Bradford, who is the politician behind the bill, has said that this new law is to give the Police the right to prosecute for excessive force used by parents. That's all well in good but it seems that they are throwing the baby out with the bath water and taking this whole thing to extremes. The Police have already said that once this thing becomes law they will have to follow through on any complaint of a child being smacked. Having worked as a social worker for many years I have seen the effects of abuse on children but I think there is a line that has to be drawn between abuse and a small smack on the hand.

The debate consumes TV and radio news. People have become very vocal about their right to discipline, or not, using physical force. Knowing this government it will become law in the next couple of weeks and then parents will be looking over their shoulders everytime they discipline their children. I wonder what kind of future we will have with our kids?

Monday, March 26, 2007

I love that my kids have many international friends. It was such a great experience for them to grow up in Ecuador. They are truely more Ecuadorian then they think. Over the years they hung out quite naturally with Ecuadorians, Americans, Indians, Nigerians, Taiwanese, South Africans, even Australians! They have made many friends with MK's over the years, some of those friendships are long lasting. I think that's one of the great things about MK's (missionary kids). They relate easily with kids and adults from all cultures.

Coming to NZ I wondered who would be my boys friends. They were quick to relate back to the average kiwi kid but I have noticed that since coming to Auckland they are mixing more with international children. Isaac has a great friend from England and Caleb has made friends with a couple of muslim boys. He is our great thinker and has been having late night chats about the differences between Islam and Christianity, why we do what we do and why they do what they do. Deep questions come out of my 11 year olds wee brain. I am proud of him and his thinking as well as his caring, loving heart.

Auckland is an extremely multicultural centre. 20%of our population are Chinese which has been a huge change since we left the country 9 years ago. My mandarin learning should help then! Walking down the street is an international affair with many different languages being spoken. I love it. I have even heard Spanish which just thrills my heart.

Given my boys naturalness in relating to others I wonder from which culture they will marry. Not that I'm hoping that will happen soon but it will definately be an interesting time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Daylight saving has just ended. For us that meant turning our clocks back an hour on Saturday evening, well Sunday morning. It gave us an extra hour in bed which I would never complain about but I have to admit to finding staying up at night harder and harder.

Since Sunday I have been in bed at 9:30 PM which my body tells me is really 10:30 PM. Makes for a pretty boring social life don't you think? I start feeling droopy at about 8:00 PM before the boys are even getting ready for bed. By 8:30 PM I just want to tuck myself up in my snug duvet and sleep. The other night the boys were still wide awake and I was already in bed sleeping.

The good thing about the end of daylight saving though is that we are getting up a little earlier than normal. That makes the morning routines run just a little smoother and I'm finding that the nagging mother hasn't really had to show her ugly face again. Even our youngest is ready for school with time to spare which is a miracle! With just under two weeks left of my life of luxury (I begin in the SIM office the 3rd April) I'm hoping that my morning routine will run just as smoothly then. There will be a lot to do before I can walk out the door every morning. Of late I've been taking it all a little slower and easier but that time will soon run out.

On another note, I'm glad to post my weight loss this week having lost 900g. Yippee!!! I was thrilled as I had worked hard. Let's hope I can keep the momentum going this next week. It's getting harder as our youngest is now selling chocolate easter eggs as a fund raiser for school. There are several packets just waiting to be bought. But I will not succum!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm not doing so good. Well not as good as I would have liked. This whole weight loss thing is hard work. As you can see by my ticker I seem to be putting on weight rather than losing it! I'm going the wrong way!!!!

I guess I still have lost a little bit but it is quite disheartening to lose some of your hard earned work little by little. Last week it was 300 grams and this week it was 500g. I did everything I could think of to weigh in lighter....I didn't wear my heavy earrings and I was sure to take my cell phone out of my pocket but all to no avail. I'm not going to give up though. I'm not! I'm not! I'm not!! This week I am walking more and trying to make sure I don't eat more than my points (perhaps last week was a result of the fish and chips and pizza we had!!!!! :-) I'm even saving points as we are away for the night on Friday and then have a BBQ on Sunday, probably with sausages which are deadly. I'm hoping to have a better weigh in next week. Here's hoping.

One good thing is that Nige put on more than me so that was good. Not that I want him to fail but it is nice when I beat him at something (usually he is losing heaps more than I am....it's a male thing I guess).

I know this is a long journey that I have begun but I'm very impatient and extremely hard on myself about what I see as failure. I still have 2 1/2 years to get to my goal wieght so I guess I should just slow down, learn how to change my lifestyle little by little and enjoy the small successes. Hopefully next week is one of them.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Yesterday we went on the annual church picnic to Motuihe Island in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf. What a spectacular day it was. The sun was out, there were 300 of us on the ferry zooming acros the pristine seas to a gorgeous recreational reserve island. It was just stunning.

We have been going to Eastgate Christian Centre for 3 weeks now and have decided that this will be our church home in Auckland. The first week that we went the boys so enjoyed their time in children's church that they begged us to return the next week. What could we do? When your kids beg you to go to church you can't say no can you? They have struggled so much with tradtional churches and rather boring children's programmes in Ecuador that this was just a delight for them. They have thrown themselves into church life and Caleb has even been asked to be a part of the kids worship team. He was thrilled and so were we!

Anyway we decided to take the plunge and get involved in church life. I have been going to the weekly woman's bible study group which is a nice way to get to know new people. Yesterday was a larger scale "throwing ourselves in" thing. It all went very well with us meeting new people and having time to chat to them about life. It is hard to relate to them though as we don't have much in common, except our love of the Lord but apart from that we are a bit of a novelty and they just seem so busy in their lives. By 3 PM I was feeling overwhelmed by the share number of people on the island and the need to get to know them. I went to the beach and watched the boys in the water for an hour or so. I had a little solitude and time to think about all I had left behind. Life seemed so much more simpler then. As much as Ecuador has its ups and downs it was very familiar and comfortable. Now I am up in the air again.

It's hard to settle down again. I fee like I should be packing my bags any minute now and winging my way home. Last week I went to the fruit and vege shop and saw a huge Ecuador banana sign and burst into tears. The dear old lady beside me didn't know what to do and I had no desire to explain it all to her. She probably wouldn't have understood anyway.

All in all it was good day yesterday and I think an important one. Nige got to meet some new people that hopefully he will be able to connect to. We got home sunburnt and exhausted but it was so lovely to be outside the city for a while and just relax. We haven't had much opportunity to do that as a family for a while.
Ni hao

I like to keep my brain working and this year have decided to take the challenge to learn Mandarin. I have signed up for community education which is a weekly class run through the local high school. Every Monday evening I pop off to school to learn a little more language and try to remember what I learnt the week before. There are about 17 of us each week all with varying reasons to learn. Some are even ethnic chinese who don't speak mandarin so it's fun to learn with them. I have to admit to it being a real brain and tongue strain at times. It seems that I get stuck with my Spanish tripping me up on vowel sounds etc so I have to work hard to get it right. Sometimes the letters look like they should sound a particular way but really have a different sound altogether. But I'm really enjoying getting out of the house and doing something new, just for me.

This past weekend I attended a morning sushi class. It was really fun! We learnt four different types of sushi and even got to eat it all for lunch. Yummy. I was introduced to sushi in Ecuador, believe it or not. My favourite was an avocado roll which is really not that good for you but delicious. I came home and made it for tea as well. Isaac wasn't too thrilled by it but Nige and Caleb enjoyed it so I think I will make it again sometime. The great thing about it is that it is yummy but not high in points value so doesn't adversely affect my diet....which is going well I think.

So what's your hobby? Anyone learning a new skill or food? Let me know. I think it's fun to do new things.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My New Ticker

I did it!I signed up for Weight Watchers. It was a big step but I did it.

I have always struggled with my weight. It has been my friend and my enemy but I have decided that I need to do something about it. There have been times when I have been quite happy with myself and other times when I realize what a slob I can be.

Nige and I have talked about health and a healthy weight for a long time. I decided that I wanted to be fit and healthy by my 40th birthday so I've got 2 1/2 years to do something about it.

Last week I went to my first meeting and got lots of info. I have done pretty well during the week and not even been hungry (most of the time). It seems to be a good programme and Nige has decided to do it with me. Tonight is my first weigh in after beginning the eating plan so I hope that I have lost soemthing. I think it would be quite demoralising if I haven't.

Some of you may think I'm mad to be telling you all this and to have my wee ticker up top but I figured that it would help keep me on track and accountable. We'll see how it all goes. 38.1kgs seems a long way off but little by little I might even get there. A brand new me!

The big thing for me will be adding exercise into my routine. I have been such a sloth for so many years. Last week I went for 2 walks first thing in the morning (once kids and hubby were off for the day) but so far this week I haven't been out. Maybe tomorrow.
What does my car say about me?

I'm enjoying tootling around the city in my wee car. It is nice to not have to move the seat out every time I get in the car and to have the stereo blaring at just the right level. Nige has a work car which is a real blessing so, by default, the one we bought upon our return has become mine. I looked at the back of it the other day and wondered what it said about me. So here's what I came up with:

1. It's a Mazda Capella, a Japanese import. It's not flashy and neither am I. I feel like an import most days as things seem quite strange to me at times.

2. It's white. So am I

3. It's Christian. So am I. We put the fish symbol on it as a reminder of Ecuador and as a statement. Most christians in Ecuador, dare I say all who own cars, have this fish on the back. I don't really know what it's supposed to prove as they are all appalling drivers but nevertheless it's there so we added ours as well. Not many people in NZ have them.

4. "Don't Mess with Texas" is the bumper sticker. This reminds us of our good friends that we left behind in Guayaquil. The Garzas (who gave us the sticker) and the Muse who are also Texans. We have learnt a lot about Texans over the past few years of working together. They are a very generous, loving, encouraging and caring bunch of people. They love to eat (so do I) and have lots of tex-mex food which is just yummy. We miss them all.

5. "HELP! Dad farted and we're trapped!" This is the surround of our license plate. The kids and I bought it and giggled all the way home. What a hoot. It's nice to see people's smiling faces in the rear vision mirror, when they read it. I have a bit of a naughty sense of humour which can get me in trouble sometimes but I love to giggle away with others.

6. The inside is a bit higgeldy piggeldy. There are map books, drink bottles and empty shopping bags everywhere. I even think there are several odd socks. A bit like my life. All a bit untidy at the moment but a good clean up will change the look of it completely. The thing is....do I have the energy to begin the clean up?

So there's a little insight into who I am through my wee car. What does your car say about you?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Meet Santiago. He is so cute I had to introduce him to you all.

As many of you who have been reading me for a while will know, we had to leave our beloved cat Hine behind in Ecuador. It was a heart wrenching moment when she was taken from the house. The boys literally threw themselves on the ground in despair. They didn't know how to handle the pain in their hearts at their loss.

We had said to them that when we get into our own home we would get a cat so it was time to keep our promise. The boys and I tootled off to the SPCA here in Auckland and looked at heaps of cats and kittens. We even found a boy cat that looked exactly like Hine. We had already discussed that if we were to get a cat like her then it would have to be called Dos (Two) as we really couldn't call it Hine (much to our youngests disgust). In the end we happened upon 10 week old Santiago who was up at the window checking us out. We all agreed that he was to be our cat so we paid all we needed to and brought him home. That was 2 weeks ago and he has turned out to be a real snuggly, smoochy little fellow. He has also decided he likes to climb my pot plants so I think I'll be buying a squirty bottle to train him out of that habit. We just love him. Now our home feels like a home with our newest member of the family.

Yesterday the boys started their new schools. They were both very nervous and a little scared but they did such a good job of settling quickly and I am really proud of them. I have to admit to a few tears as this was so unlike when we hit Palmerston North. There they had friends, knew the school and teachers. Here they knew nothing and no one. It's hard to watch your little ones (well not so little now) go off into the big, wide, uncertain world. I know that they will do well and we have been preparing them for months for this to happen.

Today they went off unfazed by anything (even their ugly sandals!). We even managed to find a shortcut for them to take to school. I'm letting them walk home by themsleves this afternoon so that will be nice for them. They are keen to show how grown up they are now and I guess I have to let them do that. They are truely great kids and I'm proud of them.