Saturday, June 28, 2014

Picturesque woodlands

Viv invited me to come along to Genevieve's birthday party to photograph it - no pressure, as Viv is a professional photographer.  It's not always ideal to be behind the camera though at such an event - you really do want to look like you were present at key moments in your children's lives!  She knew I would have fun though as she had such a lot of prettiness going on, and I definitely did. The Lord mercifully blessed us with another glorious day in Timaru...the plans for a Botanical Garden woodlandsy party would have been severely dampened if rain had been pouring down.
The sun does a really small arc in the sky at this time of year, so shadows are long and highly contrasted.  You just have to work with the light and effects instead of working around it...opportunities for contre-jour photography abound.
Viv's creative genius at work - what a great cake!
Hmm, Marc is ever the stirrer - this time with a knife.  Graham thought the cake was pretty good too.
The golden piñata...I left before the girls managed to smash it open, which apparently took a mammoth effort - that's one tough pinecone!
The one above is called "Graham and the Big Tree"...
Thanks for a great afternoon, Viv and co!  (A note about the photos - Viv uploaded an album to her facebook page with pics of the girls; I have chosen to use less 'face' pictures on this post.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Flyin' with the birds

I must remind myself in future, when it gets to around April and I'm anticipating winter with dread, that it's not all gloom and rain and cold...we do sometimes get to sit outside and enjoy lunch in the sun! Liz and Graham kindly had us around to lunch along with Simon and Monique and the girls, who we are getting to know and appreciate more and more. 
Mmm, tucking in to a bacon and egg burger!
Caleb bought one of Callum Upfold's handmade whips (this is a spot of free advertising for Callum - get in touch with him if you would like one!).  Caleb is learning some of the different techniques for cracking it and is getting pretty good at simulating a gunshot!  Had to make sure first that the animals weren't bothered by it before letting it fly in the paddock.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tea, tea hee

"We'd like to pop in for a cup of tea" turned into "stay for dinner, pork belly on the weber"...who could resist such an invitation, AND the opportunity to spend the evening with the Upfolds!
Lots of chatting and theological discussion (make no provision for the flesh)...
...plenty of laughter...
...great food, and enough to pick on afterwards... many dishes to wash, and hands to help...
...children galore to entertain one another...
...opportunities for unusual photographs...
...and even one who tried hard to avoid the camera (didn't succeed).
Great evening, thanks Luke, Sharon, Seth, Callum, Timothy, Zani and Tuia!

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Magic Celebration of Symphonic Marching and Overtures

The one thing I enjoy even more than going to watch an orchestra play, is playing in an orchestra. I love the weekly rehearsals; I love being part of a music group; I love having to push myself to learn tricky or complicated bits in a piece; I love watching those who play really well to see what they do; and I particularly love getting dressed up for a formal concert! The theme of this evening's concert was "Formal Classics" - as such we were required to look a little sharper than the usual uniform of green polos and black pants.
I made my dress, which featured a train which floated out the back when I walked.  I felt the part!!
We played a selection from the baroque, classical and romantic periods; we particularly enjoyed Smetana's "The Moldau" and Schubert's "Rosamunde Overture". 
Great to have some friends come along and watch!
We had around 40 in the orchestra for this evening's performance - a pretty good number.
Nick captured the whole setting from the stage of the Waimataitai School Hall.  Not a bad venue accoustically.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Baking Quest

TCS young leaders have been holding a series of 'talent quests'. The boys weren't brave enough to enter the musical instrument one (although Caleb would say it wasn't bravery holding him back, it just wasn't his thing); they don't have much talent by way of dancing that we've experienced, and would rather have their fingernails nails ripped out slowly than sing in public.  BUT...Aaron didn't hesitate to put his name down for the baking section.   He has a rather keen interest in food and baking.  He set about making a carrot cake - I provided the recipe, ingredients, and supervision (including 'you've forgotten to add flour'), and he did the rest - all the measuring, mixing, and the final icing of the cake. 
The competition was really well supported, with over 30 entrants, if memory serves - the judges had to sample and rate everything and felt green by the time they were done.  The left over baking was sold to fellow students to raise funds for a school in Fiji.  Aaron didn't win a prize in the competition, but he did happen to be in the right place at the right time to get himself photographed by a Timaru Herald photographer - I'm not sure how they got wind of the competition (perhaps the delicious smells wafted uptown), but it was in the next day's newspaper. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Basketball finals

The boys have really enjoyed playing basketball this season - they've had excellent coaches who worked the team hard, and taught them many valuable skills. To date TCS Thunder, the Year 7/8 boys' team, has been undefeated so tonight it's the final with the top two teams playing.  We were in for an exciting and nailbiting game!
Waihi's team tops were also blue, so our team had to take up pink bibs to differentiate.  Game on!
At first it seemed like it would be a close game, with TCS taking and maintaining the lead for a good part of the first half.  But sadly, the opposition picked up their game, and also sent one of our players off the court with a broken foot (we discovered later).  They're known to play
Caleb takes a free throw after being fouled...
...this one went in!
The final score was 20-15 to Waihi.  Well done to both teams, and especially our team who did well to rank so high in the competition!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

40th Birthday Hoedown

  • noun: a social gathering at which lively folk dancing takes place.
We wanted to do something big and fun to celebrate my 40th; we hit on the idea of a barndance several months ago and have been planning it ever since.  The first item needed was a barn - but barns in Timaru tend to be used as barns, with animals and feed and equipment.  So, we simplified and held it in our school hall.  The next big need was a caller for the barndance.  These are like hens teeth - I chased down every avenue I could think of and came up with as many dead ends.  Nick graciously stepped in (this is how I know that he REALLY loves me); we bought a manual complete with an instructional DVD and music, and gathered a group of friends the week before to have a practice, for the benefit of the dancers and the caller.  The rest was easier by comparison - invitations sent, outfits planned and made, food bought, and the hall made up to look like a farm yard.  Liz and Graham were brilliant in setting it up, finding an amazing array of old stuff around their section which fitted into a trailer.  Matt de Beer loaned us several bales of hay, and the boys' scarecrow was set in place.  Let the hoedown begin, y'all!
After sausages in bread and finger foods, we warmed the crowd up with a few activities.  Tug'o'war was first, with ladies competing first and then a kids' attempt.
Gum boot tossing is a must for any western gathering;
then we had a showdown in which contestants had to single-handedly unwrap a chewy lolly and swallow it as quickly as possible. 
Horse race relays followed - teams had to shuffle back and forth with a miniature horse tucked between their knees and a toy gun in hand.
We had also been running an ongoing quiz activity; since no one at the party has known us for longer than four years and a few months we thought we'd give them a little look into our history by way of photos ranging 40 years.
And finally, it was time to pull out the moves - do-si-do, swing your partner, 1-2-3-stamp, walk the highway all started making sense. 
It was a jolly, lively evening and I suppose we might already be looking forward to the next event - since we have a professional caller now and all :)
I was blessed with beautiful gifts which I got to open on Sunday night at the Bothas - one really can't sit in a corner by oneself to unwrap a pile of presents! 
Thanks again to everyone who helped with settting up, clearing away, catering, planning, and those who came and participated and dressed up and had fun.  We are privileged to belong to such a marvellous family through our Lord Jesus Christ!