Monday, October 28, 2013


Church camp 2013...this year our camp was held at Glenroy Lodge in Hororata, about an hour and three quarters' drive from us towards Christchurch. The campsite facilities were lovely although we were a little concerned during the planning stages about 70 campers sharing two showers...glad to report that the site is better equipped and did have an extra ablution block not featured on our original map ;)  There is only one main hall, so eating and meeting happened in the same venue which meant shifting chairs and tables before and after every session.  No matter though, there was a large enough contingent of males in the 10-25 year range to get it done quickly each time.  Our speaker, Joe Fleener, soothed our ears with his American accent while challenging our hearts from the book of Philippians.  We had five sessions over the course of three days, with a lot of free time and great eating in between times. The teenagers particularly appreciated his ministry and picked his brain during a spontaneous Q&A time after one evening session. 
Nick and the boys slept in tents the first night (I assigned myself to a dorm, thanks!!) but the tenters had it bad with excessive wind the first two days of camp.  Andreas had to drive into Christchurch on Saturday afternoon for more tent pegs, and Nick ended up just collapsing our big tent and leaving it flat until the wind died down sufficiently to pack it away.  We found two beds for the boys in the mens' dorms on the second night.  On the third night Nick moved into the lounge above the hall but that was where all the late-night board-gaming, table-tennising and fellowshiping was also happening, so he found himself awake until after 3.30 am, and was up at 6.  Not the best night's sleep - looking a little ragged on Monday morning!!
Being surrounded by so much nature...such a blessing but oh the allergies.  I suffered through puffy eyes despite an antihistamine.
So there we go - all wrapped up and looking forward to our next one in 2014!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Breaking chains and barking at passersby...

Lovely Bronwyn hosted a 'couples evening' at their home...a beautiful affair which we knew was going to be awesome as soon as we saw the elegant table setting and smelled some delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen.  
I miscalculated my dates so ended up double booking myself with an orchestra practice which I couldn't miss as we have a concert in two weeks (Caleb will also be playing as his primary school orchestra is joining with our youth orchestra for a few pieces - he and I sat next to one another at practice!).  I slipped away just before dinner was served and arrived back to enjoy a plateful of a salmon gnocci entree and venison casserole, followed smartly by vanilla cheesecake - wow!! 
Amidst a lot of laughter, there was also a little fire incident involving a menu and a tealight candle...oops! 
Bron and I had planned a few fun games and activities, designed to bring out some interesting facts.  We learned that Elijah likes pepper tree leaves in his peanut butter sandwiches and that no one in our group was born in February.  Fabulous evening, well done Bronwyn and we look forward to the next event!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Our spring weather is as changeable as...well, spring weather. We've had warm fine days, warm cloudy days, cold cloudy days, cold fine days, wet days, windy days, and hail days.  And sometimes all of the above in one day.  This hail came down quite suddenly and shared skyscapes with the sun.  The hailstones were small but many, affording the boys a good bit of fun before it melted away in the rain which followed (briefly, before the clouds were blown away and the sun came out again, which was before the clouds blew in again). 
Aaron played a basketball game this evening and their team won, dramatically, with a score of 22/21. It was a fabulous game to spectate and I was one of several parents yelling in excitement from the sidelines, nearly hoarse by the end of it and feeling as victorious as though we had been the ones shooting the hoops. Go TCS Hurricanes!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

We've missed you, Caroline

We gathered together a small crew after the evening service for a beach visit - we'd been keeping an eye on the weather forecast and today seemed like it would be a good one for the first beach excursion of the 2013/2014 season.  It had been cloudy all day but with a few northerlies about it was pretty mild.
The Phillipsies all came, along with Zayn, Zildari, Inge and Kenan. 
Erinmarie dared Caleb and Aaron to immerse themselves in the ocean, so that was an easy $5 earned!!  Aaron looking a little gap-smiled there, having lost two teeth on the weekend.
And then the sun came out - well, more accurately described it started sinking out from below the cloud line.  What a magnificent evening!
We hadn't thought ahead to bring any beach balls or sports gear, but the kids improvised with a game of 'toss the sand clods'.
Bronwyn and Charity arrived...
By around 7.30 pm we were about ready to head off, still exclaiming at the sunshine and brightness of the day at that time.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

An unsurprising but surprisingly fun shower

Last Saturday night when Graham, Liz and Sascha came for dinner, we used all their hands for putting together a "nappy cake". Of course I couldn't say anything about it at the time because it was to be a surprise for Rosanna's baby shower today, but thanks fellas for the help in producing this creation of nappies, baby products, lime green and orangeness! 
So, with not too many weeks left, it was high time to get our church ladies together for a shower.  Bronwyn and I had a good laugh about our cultural differences at approaching the organization when, a few weeks ago, she asked me a question regarding the date right in front of Rosanna.  I stared at her as blankly as possible, wondering how I could possibly cover up the faux-pas, but apparently in kiwi-land showers are not intended to be surprises at all.  Does make it a lot easier to plan when you don't also need to concoct a fake event to which to invite the mum!
We held the event at Liz's house and had a fabulous gathering of 17 ladies, young and old.  Liz is a great party planner - she's really an ideas person, and between us we came up with several baby-related activities (apart from eating) - guess the girth, draw the baby, charades, a baby trivia quiz, guess how many nappies were in the cake, nappy shotput, memory game, and getting Rosanna to work out who the gifts were from by matching the baby photo to the giver.  It was a fun-filled afternoon although I see everyone looks very serious in most of the photos in this post - they must have been concentrating hard!
Can't wait to meet the new little person, Rosanna!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Being at home ranks higher than a swim

First week of holidays has nearly come and gone. The boys had to do their room - a typical holiday fun activity I schedule in for them. I offered them a swim as their reward for a job well done, but they have been enjoying playing with the neighbourhood kids so much they asked for the swimming fee as cash instead! 
This afternoon's game had to do with flowers possessing magic powers, potions, apothecaries, swords and all things medieval. 
Since the start of daylight savings at the beginning of the week, the days have suddenly opened up into sunny evenings and time for play outside after tea still.  We're loving spring!!