Friday, December 29, 2006
Matthew did seem to enjoy opening his presents and was more intrigued with his new toys than I expected (lots of people told me he'd only be interested in the wrapping paper). It took us a while to open them all because so much of a day is eating and sleeping! And there are more presents to come because we are still waiting for parcels from the UK (I feel very sorry for Elisabeth who, having posted a parcel surface mail last year which didn't arrive 'til mid-January, decided this year to post it air mail and it still didn't arrive on time) - so Christmas will be an extended affair this year.
Christmas food was very different with a whole salmon (expertly barbecued by Dan), cold ham (which honestly could have fed an army) and lovely salads and bread. We also had a chocolate truffle cake for Christmas cake which was amazing! We ate outside, though in typical English style; actually it was quite chilly but we had to eat out because we could and it should have been warm!
The one frustration of the day (which continued into Boxing Day) was difficulty with technology in trying to make contact with family at home. When we could get through on the phone, after several attempts, the connection only lasted a few seconds. The internet was not much better and when we tried to use the webcam it crashed.
The rest of the week has been very quiet and relaxing. The weather has been much warmer so we've been for a picnic and walks and generally enjoyed time to read and play with our new toys (and that's not just Matthew!).
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Matthew is also getting into the spirit of Christmas and is obsessed with our tree. He's a little like the squirrel in Ice Age who is in pursuit of the acorn; he looks at where the tree is, appears to think out his route and then rolls - back to front, front to back, left to right, right to left (a skill perfected over the weekend) - and pushes himself however he needs to in order to reach those very pretty beads that hang nicely from the lower branches! Then, very cruelly, Mummy or Daddy swoop down and scoop him up - denied! I have a great little movie of it and if I ever figure out how to post it you can have a look but, for now, here are a couple of photos of his brief moments of triumph!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
So Sam (just finishing his breakfast in the photo!), Tim, Dan, Monique, Kirsten, Mel and Jaimee joined us in the rather large bach that we stayed in with Alastair and Helen and co when they were here in October.
The lads slept downstairs, the Shepherds on the middle floor and the girls had the top floor - though not sure the girls got a huge amount of sleep!
Our aim for the weekend was to hang out and deepen friendships by hearing one another's stories and by listening to what God had to say to each of us. This was all linked wonderfully together by food, silly songs, Cranium, street cricket, bedtime stories and the hot pools (which I appreciated far more today because the weather was dreadful). Matthew had lots of fun with different faces to entertain him and lots of cuddles! He also loved the pools - just a big bath really!
Anyway, our aim for the weekend was achieved and it wasn't for me but I feel totally blessed and encouraged by them all. They are fab!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
So here's our Plunkett group: from left to right - Tessa, Finlay, Braedan, Emma, Matthew, Ruby, Bradley and Evie!
Ah - how cute! What you can't see is that we had to give Matthew a toy because he kept hitting out at Ruby and you may spot Bradley pulling on Ruby's neckerchief - he wanted to suck on it and go to sleep! Poor little girl - she got the worst spot to sit! Finlay was very tired and about to lose teh plot and Emma nearly slipped and lay down chewing on her feet! Can you imagine the carnage when they're all moving?!
www.upsidedowncharlotte.blogspot.com) and this year our church entered as a walking group 'telling' the nativity story. Neil was an innkeeper, I a shepherd and Matthew a sheep! Matthew didn't seem too impressed and slept all the way so won't be scarred from wearing the little ears and outfit! Here he is with two gorgeous girls from church, Hannah and Grace.
He kept himslef amused by shaking the sleigh bells - maybe he thought it may drown out the bagpipes band marching just ahead of us!
The 'float' looked great with rickshaws decked out as camels and a stable and a host of angels, wise men and a star - such a success we won first prize!
The Christmas season is in full swing and we had the youth Christmas party on Sunday night. It was an 'S' party (because it's the youth gathering has been Sunday @ Six) so we had Star Wars characters, a stocking, Santa, soccer player, special agent, something and something else! We also had a sausage sizzle and played Singstar (Neil and I sang Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come on Eileen; we had no idea the words were quite as dodgy as they are!). Lots of fun was had and it was a great way to end the year.
On the last couple of Fridays we have been out walking with Matthew in the back pack. He absolutely loves being carried up high - he's the king of the castle - and he chats and giggles constantly (until he falls asleep!). In this part of the country you can either go for a stroll around the town or local park or go on a mammoth 3-6 hour tramp. There aren't gentle ambles between villages (and their local pubs) and along footpaths through farmer's fields. But we have found a few hour long walks in the local mountain forests which are really lovely, though can still be hazardous (Neil prefers 'adventurous') when trees have fallen and blocked the paths and we're trying to duck or climb over with a baby on our back - good job Matthew had a hat on is all I can say!
The beach is another favourite place to visit. Last week it was quite windy but the recent mixed weather (mixed putting it politely - it is so still spring here and not summer) had resulted in the tide bringing in an abundance of fantastic driftwood and somebody must have had fun building a tee-pee.
(PS: If anybody can instruct me on how to post two photos side by side without them touching I'd really like to know!)
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Anyway, I have included a picture but it's not very clear because by the time the tree was decorated we were all roasting as the sun had come out and was streaming through the window - you couldn't even tell there were any lights on the tree!
Friday, December 01, 2006
While we had our cake and ate it, Matthew was trying a different delicacy. Another gorgeous friend, Lisa, had spotted the sand pit and thought Matthew needed initiating into this new world - her theory is if boys (and probably girls too for that matter) come in grubby and caked in mud and sand they've obviously had a really good day! Well, he was certainly intrigued, enough for it to take a good few minutes before he decided to take the taste test.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Well here's the proof:
If you want to see the news footage go to:
They say it has nothing to do with global warming, although Al Gore was in NZ yesterday - works as a good PR job!!!
We learned today that the iceberg broke off from the South Pole, 7 years ago - that's an epic journey!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Mike and Sally (from The Order of Mission) came to visit the TOMees here in the South Island; it was great to see them and, as always, brings a mixture of refreshment, challenge and lots of laughs.
Matthew has had his latest round of vaccinations; he screamed with the most vigour we have heard yet and gave himself rash (which the doctore and nurse had never seen before) but after his bottle he was absolutely fine, smiling and chatting and there was no grumps later in the day either. He's sitting pretty well now, just the occassional wobble and he's rolled from his front to his back twice but, yet again, we missed it! He can pull his legs up under him now and get his tummy off teh ground - he so wants to crawl! Well, there maybe a lack of pictures of anybody else but I'm snap happy when it comes to our son so you can see a couple of the latest shots.
Matthew went through a stage of being quite confused by the grey box Mummy and Daddy held in front of him so although smiling one minute (honestly) he looks quite perturbed when the shot is taken!
Now he's getting over that so we have many more smiles captured for posterity!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
It started off pretty gently with a chilled couple of days; Matthew had his first experience in a swing, Helen and I ventured into Christchurch on the bus (more like a coach so the buggies had to be stowed underneath and apparantly the timetable is an estimate and they're "long gone" by the time quoted - very helpful - good job the bus driver knew us and waited as we ran down the street!) and had a picnic in the botanical gardens and Neil and Alastair had a ball skiing @ Mount Hutt.
Then the real fun began. 'Carnage' was the word most frequently used over the last week to describe our home with the presence of 6 adults and 3 babies. Great fun and lots of laughs; from food across children's faces/clothes/floor, an abundance of smelly nappies, to a pancake 'bake off' with different types of beer batter, mini golf and competition verging on the ridiculous (Neil and I being the main culprits) over the game of 'Cranium'. There was also the lovely Hanmer Springs with it's stunning mountains, hot pools and mini golf and Akaroa with the best fudge I've ever tasted. Everyone agreed that holidays are very different with children - it took us hours to get out the house and any plan we made rarely got seen to completion; if two of the children were ready the other would need a sleep, nappy change or feeding and then there's their parents too...
Anyway, it was "all good" and the house was strangely quiet when they left (though Benji, Nicole & Jake did return for a night at the end of their NZ jaunt so that let us down gently - and must have meant the whole experience can't have been too bad if they came back for more!).
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The night before Neil went away, Matthew was up several times so I think Neil left slightly anxious that he'd come back to completely wrecked wife. However Matthew seemed to get whatever it was out of his system and we had a great couple of days, including flitting around getting organised for the arrival of family (more of that in the next installment), a reassuring first trip to the doctors for Matthew (he had quite a disturbing rattle on his chest which he was totally not bothered about, it was just his parents he thought it didn't sound quite right. Needless to say he's fine and it's cleared up now) and an awesome time with our youth at their small group. The strangest thing was not being able to share it with Neil at the time; he was out of mobile phone range and it was interesting to realise how much we're used to at least being in touch by text.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
As for us ladies, we enjoyed being princesses, eating chocolate and being in a superb location. Even though the weather wasn't fantastic the views were, as usual in this country, stunning.
I did fine until the lunch time and then I just wanted to get home - I was missing the smiles and cuddles from my favourite man and boy!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Also bought this top from Next - no need really because he's got so many clothes but I couldn't resist ("Probably the best baby in the world" - completely biased)! There are two pictures because if you get a photo of Matthew smiling he's generally so excited that his arms are all over the place so you can't see the rest of the picture.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Matthew was adored and seemed to take the travelling in his stride; it did take a few days to adjust to the differences in time, temperature (minus 9 in Rangiora when we left to the heatwave of the UK!), food, bed etc but enjoyed all the attention and cuddles. He was very spoiled with gifts of clothes & toys too (so many that we had to post them back!). And he's changed so much - he's now smiling and chatting away and generally interacts much more with what's going on around him. The highlight was of course watching Matthew with his grandparents, aunts & uncles and cousin (our neice who we met for the first time too and who was dedicated while we were there) - very precious times.
Other highlights (not nearly as significant or memorable) included shopping at Tesco (Finest triple chocolate cookies), driving on motorways (you just get to drive faster than in NZ), listening to quality radio, eating great indian food, Neil finding trousers he liked and going to the National Gallery on our trip to London (actually, just being in London) and the hills & moors in Derbyshire .
Going back to the UK felt like going 'home' but coming back to Christchurch did too - especially returning to mountains and a home with a roaring log burner (stoked by Andrew) and homemade soup for lunch (from Christine).
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
While the adults were drinking in the amazing scenery, Matthew slept. He missed the drive there, he missed his Dad sledging down a near vertical drop and even having been woken up, fed and dressed in his bear suit he still slept on (just blew a few bubbles). I know he's a baby and wouldn't have got very much out of the whole experience but he never sleeps that much (except on Saturday night when he slept for 8 hours. This would have been great but it was the night of the England match which we got up to watch so we missed out on the benefits. Matthew must have been unimpressed by the football too - or thought he'd save himself from the disappointment).
Maybe Matthew will be more impressed with the heatwave in England than the freezing weather here. Speaking of Engalnd, only 48 hours to go and counting...
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
Anyway, Saturday night we went for a lovely meal (again, chocolate dessert being the highlight) and it was the first night we left Matthew with baby-sitters, the very able Dan & Emma. It didn't feel that strange to be honest. Matthew was sleeping peacefully when we returned, giving the impression he'd been like that the whole time but apparantly not! Generally he's a happy bunny but evenings have been more grouchy lately, giving the opportunity to try lots of different cuddling/bouncing/rocking positions!
Anyway, Emma & Dan did an awesome job (despite bits of information I think I forgot to tell them) and have said they'd do it again which sounds good to me!
Monday, June 12, 2006
Although we know the match wasn't fantastic, an England win was a good opportunity for Matthew to show off his England outfit sent over by his auntie and uncle. Kiwi friends weren't hugely impressed but seen as it's soccer there really isn't much competition.
On Sunday night the weather forecasters predicted heavy rain & strong winds (which did come & woke me up more than Matthew's night time noises) but did not predict snow down to sea level or how much there would be. Many areas of teh South island have been without power but our supply was maintained - good job too or we'd have been heading to friends who have a gas supply!
I was very excited about the substantial amount of snow and wanted to go out and play but Neil pointed out that Matthew is still probably a little young for such antics (and we may have lost him in his white bear suit!). The snow weighed so heavy on the trees that many branches broke and several plants have been trashed - a number of trees have blocked the path to the back door. So we stayed in and I had plans to curl up with the log burner roaring and watch movies all day but Matthew didn't want to play...
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Emma, Dan, Andrew and Christine came for a meal to celebrate Dan's birthday and Matthew did a great job of getting Emma to sleep!
We had our first trip to the mall too on Saturday and had quite a substantial shopping time without feeding or nappy interruptions. Neil & Dan decided a round of golf would be more fun which left Emma & I to shop and eat very nice cake.
The other exciting event of the week was booking flights home to the UK for 5 weeks time! We'll be around from the 7th July to 6th August and there's lots of catching up to be done which we're really looking forward to. Now just trying to get our heads round long flights with a small person...