Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kim Nominated Mother of the Year!

We're very excited to announce that Kim has been nominated for mother of the year. We're trying to pretend that she wasn't nominated by her own mother and are feeling very proud and honored! Kim says she can think of many mothers out there that she would consider worthy of the honor and is just happy to be considered among them! If you'd like to support her with your vote you can go to:
and vote. You have to briefly register, search for her and vote. We'd love your support and encouragement! Many thanks again for the honor!
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Hunt

Love these matching outfits and am finding it interesting and unique that they're in winter clothes for an Easter Egg Hunt. Claire was too busy eating soft boiled eggs (nevermind that the shell was still on it) and making sure to cover her brand new dress in yolk to participate in the hunt. Chloe brought her eggs instead, which Claire happily bit into, shell and all.

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Messes: Part 2

Am I just not paying enough attention (smile)? Here we are again. Similar story. Different day. This time, after using her pottie, she hopped up on her change table and tried putting a nappy on herself, including powder. I do not know how she managed to extricate this much powder from those tiny holes. I usually have to shake and shake just to get the normal amount needed. She's vigorous. She's tenacious. She's covered in baby powder.
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Messes: Part 1

I recently heard Chloe from her room saying, "I'm having a massage." When I went in to check her, this is what I found. Sudocreme. Everywhere. Oh, my. I generally find that extra messes for Momma make me stress, but in this case it was such a big mess, I just had to laugh, take pictures, and plan to spend the day getting it sorted. Oh my.

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Easter Sunday Dresses

We received these gorgeous handmade dresses in the mail from our friend Echo recently. I was blown away that she made them herself including hats! I was so happy to get to go to church as we were uncertain if Chloe would be over the chickenpox in time, but she was out of the contagious stage so we got to go. We've been reading the girls the Easter story and explaining how Jesus died on the cross and on the third day He arose from the dead and when the girls and I were on a bus-ride adventure downtown this week, we stopped into this 100 year old cemetary. There was a cross-shaped headstone and Chloe remarked, "Its a cross? Like Jesus died on?" She went on to say something a little strange to hear, but very poignant....."I want to die on a cross like Jesus." Ya know, she may not realize the gravity of her words, but she's two and she wants to be like Him. That's the awesome part. It did give me the opportunity to explain to her that Jesus died on the cross so that we wouldn't have to. That He saved us because we couldn't save ourselves and because He loved us so much. Big topic for a little girl, but she'll understand soon enough.

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We made this little trip to the icecream shop to celebrate Chloe successfully doing poos on the BIG pottie. I will be SO happy when that's a regular occurance. Chloe was present for the event, but the noteworthy pics are of Claire using the icecream as a teether and then of her realizing that its good for more than just teething! This is by far the largest I've seen her open her mouth.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Purple berries, puppies, picnics, ponys and waterfalls

Easter is a full-on holiday here.  Everyone gets Good Friday and Monday off.  Auckland really empties out as most people scurry North attempting to catch the last bit of warm dry weather before Winter sets in.  I was awakened Friday by angel voices in the form of a choir from the catholic church across the street.  Awesome.  We had a leisurely morning then headed to the Waitakere Ranges about 20miles west of Auckland to spend the day out in the wilderness, hiking to the lower Nihoputu dam.  Kim and I did this tramp (hike) when we first moved here to NZ and decided to revisit it b/c it has nice pram (stroller) access.


Chloe was noticeably excited about our new surroundings - it definitely impressed Kim and I that we need to get her out in the bush more often.  She was an excellent guide.  She managed to keep me from eating these purple berries.DSC_2191

It wasn't an easy task.  Purple berries?  But she used her stern voice (see below).DSC_2198

The trail wasn't ours alone, we probably saw ~8-10 other hikers  - most of them had dogs with them and we stopped them all and asked for a little pet.DSC_2203

We stopped at a primo picnic spot that we had scoped out the first time we were here ~3 years ago! It's a great spot at the top of these little falls, not totally ideal for toddlers and creepers, but we were able to relax with our PB&Js for about 20ms.


We also revisited a waterfall that some of you may recognize from our previous trip here.  Yes, the waterfall with a pony and treasure behind it. 


Wow.  The difference in my life between these two visits.  Two perfect, beautiful children, immeasurable growth in my marriage, a bit of character growth (if I do say so myself - there was and continues to be ample opportunity for improvement), unimaginable direction my career has taken...everything good, every last bit of it from God.  God's grace, beauty, generosity, patience, kindness...speechless.  DSC_2237


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Real Momma Party Planning

Disclaimer: Lest anyone fret, the following though based on true events is written in gest! What a wonderful first birthday for our lovely Claire! Love you all!

Inspired by some domestic divas I know, I set out to put on a big time first birthday party for Claire. My first step in the planning process was to read up on some of their party planning tips. Perhaps I should have been concerned when I read they normally plan their parties oh, several months in advance since I was only just beginning to plan a week AFTER Claire's actual birthday. They, however are domestic divas and I'm more of a "real momma" so I extend myself real momma grace, whilst admiring their talents! Thought I'd post some Real Momma style party planning tips, to contrast and encourage those who run a little more on this Momma of two under two's concept of time and "planning."

#1 (Already alluded to): Move house the day of your daughter's first birthday, give yourself a week to get unpacked and then begin planning her party. Set the date for three weeks later. If she hasn't yet turned 13 months, she's still 12 months old, right?

#2 Decide on theme. My diva friends recommend doing this well in advance so you can shop the sales and pick little things up throughout the year as you're inspired (brilliant). Otherwise, go with baby's favorite animal (Claire's was Elephant this year!), look online for cake ideas, never fully decide on an elephant shaped cake you feel comfortable with and two nights before party, change plan entirely, decide to use fondant for the first time and make a layered/tiered cake instead with elephant cut outs. Ask a REALLY GOOD friend to pick up fondant on the way to your baking party the next day.

#3 Evite. Fast, economical, half your guests may be busy momma's who never even check their email (aka fewer guests, less pressure!). Really, I do love evite. Cute themes, quick, and good for the environment.

#4 Make cake. I know this is totally non-PC for New Zealand and very much the norm in the US, but another thing I can advocate is Betty Crocker-in-a-box. Even comes with icing. Expensive in NZ, but available. I bought these as a just-in-case and am glad as I had NO idea what recipe to use for a cake. Also, since this was maybe the third cake I've ever made in my life, I was easily able to blame Betty when one fell and the other two overflowed (I'm sure it had nothing to do with how deep I filled the pans or the fact I cooked all three at once in an oven that was slightly on-the-tilt!). Bein' a "real momma" though, I am excellent with the improvise and just lopped off the tops until they were flat with the assist of that previously mentioned really good friend and cut out the middle of said fallen cake and said a thank you to God that I was doin' tiers instead of elephant ears!

#5 Specific to Fondant: Ya know, I am so excited about future fondant cakes. The thing that most appeals to the real momma in me is that I can cover up the cracks and holes that will undoubtedly continue to exist in my cakes (because I'm not so detail oriented) with decor! I found it very forgiving and fun.

#6 Hire help. 2 year olds are cheap labor. If they can handle a cookie cutter and you're willing to pay them in cookie dough and icing, you'll find you have a true assistant. Chloe sure was a sweet (literally) assistant for me this year and had so much fun helping me plan and present her "sissy's" birthday party! I even got to trade a few kisses for extra bits of dough!

#7 Finally, if the pressure of planning your child's one-and-only First birthday party just after you've moved house and in less than the well-recommended several months in advance gets to be too much, just say a little prayer and perhaps your 2 year old, too, will come down with chicken pox the night before, leaving you with a much more manageble number of guests, allowing you to just relax and enjoy the delight in her eyes as she tastes her (and your) first fondant cake.
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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Things I love about NZ #14 - Feijoa Season

Also known as the 'pineapple guava', feijoas come in season for about a month- 6 weeks here and when it's feijoa season we drown in them, which is a good thing.  Everyone has a feijoa tree or two which tend to get loaded with fruit.  The fruit drops all at once and then it very quickly goes bad.  So all your co-workers bring in bags of feijoas to give away as soon as their tree drops.  We got our second lot from the secretary at work, Carol (first lot from Mirko and Krystal).  They're absolutely delicious and easy to eat - no meticulous peeling or cleaning required.  Feijoas were introduced to NZ from S. America.  Some friends of ours took a feijoa tree with them when they moved back to Switzerland.  Switzerland apparently doesn't have very strict import restrictions.  What's special to me about feijoa season is the way everyone shares.  Something about it reminds me of how God fed the Israelites in the desert with manna.  You get this overflow that you can't store up so you start giving it away.  Then you start again the next day... DSC_1823

And here are two of the sweetest sisters you've ever seen having morning tea together.  It's tea-time tradition to eat yogurt with your hand here.  Spoons are for decoration.