Monday, December 31, 2012

utah friends

We were so lucky to be able to spend special time with friends and family while we were in Utah.  

Oddly, we didn't get any photos of the people we spent the most time with, Laura and Tom and Lynne and Patsy.  Thank you for letting us stay in tour homes and dealing with our chaotic life.  

We did get photos of some friends.....
Tara and I are friends fist and fifth-cousins second.  

We spent a morning at park with Michael, Scott, Ann and her kids.  Michael and Scott, we can't wait to see you here in Auckland!
We also spent a some time at the park with Jaclyn and her kids.

Joanna and Andy
The Hermanas- Melissa, Sher, Sherrial, Marcy.
Ann and Brian- Kendall, Joanna, 

We wish we could have seen everyone.  Time went quicker than we thought it would.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Napier round #2

Lonnie had work in Napier the week before Christmas.  He was going to be gone for five days so we decided to go along with him.  We did the same thing two years before, while I was pregnant with Trent.

The sky was clear when we stopped at Lake Taupo so the kids could get out and run around. 
The weather was beautiful, hot and dry in Napier.  It is such a pretty city (more like a town) with beautiful parks along the waterfront and a walkable city centre, which was especially nice because Lonnie had the car all day while working.  Trent and I had the pram and Max and Maya had their bikes which they put to good use.
When we were out walking one day Max and Maya came across the Ska8 Zone and immediately dropped their bikes and ran in thinking it was a playground.  After I was able to chase them down they asked if they could ride their bikes on the ramps.  I was surprised when I was told yes and even more surprised at how quickly their confidence grew.  

It is a bit hard to see, but Max rides past first (in a red shirt) then Maya (in blue polkadots).  

We stayed at the same house we did two years ago (the white one in the photo).  It is up the side of a cliff on a road that can only be accessed by foot.  Fifty stairs was a lot for the kids to climb especially with three kids, a pram and two bikes, but the kids were easier than they were two years ago.

the only thing better than a sleeping baby a naked sleeping baby.  Trent likes to snuggle his monkey and blanket and prefers to sleep with at least two pacifiers which he calls sussies.   Thankfully our sweet boy likes to sleep.  Unfortunately he is a light sleeper and  has a hard time going back to sleep once he wakes.  He is now 18 months old.   The time has gone by fast.  I remember people telling me that time would go fast with the twins.  It didn't.  The first year felt like a lifetime.  There were so many changes, so much learning and so little sleep.  This time around I feel like I can't hold back time.   At night when I breastfeed him and then snuggle him in my arms before I put him to bed I like to ask him "Who is my baby?"  
His sweet responds is, "Me!".  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

mt victoria

One of the kids' favorite places- Mt Victoria in Devonport.  It has amazing views and a bit of history to explore.

Friday, December 28, 2012

why I my windows are never clean

....and why it doesn't matter.

new zealand thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the one holiday in New Zealand that tends to make me homesick as it just disappears into the work week.   I miss being with my extended family and eating tasty dinner that is best made by many hands.  On Thursday Lonnie worked late and we had sandwiches for dinner.  But Saturday we held our our Thanksgiving dinner with American friends plus a few honorary Americans.   

I made the turkey, which cost $80 for 5.5kg, made me miss the fat hormone feed American turkeys that are almost given away at supermarkets.  I also made pumpkin pie, which turned out quite nicely.  I love pumpkin pie.  Marney made a delicious yam casserole out of kumra, you never would have know the difference.  She also made delicous canndied carrots and green beans, plus an apple pie.  Deric and Rachel made a mountain of buttery mashed potatoes and a sweet and tangy green apple desert.  Calla and Bryn made the cutest table decorations, a turkey out of a paper bag, a pilgrim hat out of a flower pot and a glass jar filled with corn kernels and a candle.   Sasha and Jordan made stuffing that tasted just like home even though Sasha had never made stuffing she and jordan also made no-bake cookies.   Jordan and Andy made homemade rolls, yum.   Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that require certain foods for them to feel authentic and together we managed to make it really feel like Thanksgiving! 
The kids didn't eat much of their meal.  they were too excited to play.  
My Dad said a little while ago that one of the best things about having Filipinos over for dinner is that they bring lots of food and wash all the dishes.  Deric and Rachel are always the first ones to help clean up and they always bring lots of food.   (Which is not why we invite them, but it sure make it easier to have parties when they are around :)
I'm so grateful for my New Zealand family that helps me feel at home on special holidays.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

pants to church

I wore pants to church today.  There are no rules against women wearing pants in a Mormon church, but culturally skirts and dresses are definitely the norm.  I can remember only one other time, when not camping, that I wore pants to church in all my 30+ years of attending church.  For an explanation of the issues and history see here.  I think this post matches my feelings and motivation.

It was an interesting Sunday, atypical in so many ways.  Lonnie had to go out of town for work, and we decided to come along with him and enjoy a change of scenery.  On Saturday we drove the 6 hours from Auckland to Napier.  Lonnie had to work on Sunday morning, which thankfully only happens maybe once a year, and we were left without a car.  While I had initially thought I could walk with the kids to church, after seeing that it would take an adult more than 40 mins to walk I decided it wasn't very smart to try and get my two 4 1/2 year olds (Max and Maya) plus my 18 month old (Trent) to walk that far.  Even with the pram we would have arrived grumpy and sweaty.  So I decided to call a taxi (I had never before taken a taxi to church).  I arrived at an unknown ward, in a taxi, as a single mom (for the day) of three young kids, wearing pants.

We arrived just as the opening hymn was being sung and found a seat next to a young woman.  I was nervous about getting the kids to sit still, which is hard on a normal Sunday, without the help of my husband.  My kids did alright.  I chose to ignore their noise a couple of times, as there was no way of leaving sacrament meeting with just one child.  I would have been followed by all three and once we were out of the chapel it would have required my best WWF moves to keep them in the building.  If I had not been alone I probably would have taken Trent out, but it wasn't really an option, so we had to stick it out.  The young woman sitting in our row was kind when my daughter slid over next to her and asked her to color in her My Little Pony book.  Thankfully we didn't get too many looks for being so loud even though it was a quiet ward and we definitely raised the noise level.

I really enjoyed the talks that day.  The ward was largely Maori and Pacific Islander.   A young woman talked about becoming a missionary rather than going on a mission.  She was waiting on her call.  A man talked about his life.  Shortly after he was baptized he had gone inactive for several years.  He later felt a call to come back to church and work on his family history.  The talks were honest and genuine.

I held on through sacrament meeting with the hope of dropping Max and Maya off at Primary and Trent off at nursery.  Unfortunately the ward lacked our age group and there weren't classes for any of them.  I started to feel nervous.  Was it a mistake to come to church today?  I couldn't possibly get the kids to sit still through two more hours of meetings.  I looked and felt out of place.  Thankfully the Relief Society President came over and talked to me.  Then the Primary leaders found a teacher for Max and Maya.  The teacher was a kind, older woman who put me at ease.  Trent and I went along with Max and Maya to the first hour of class time.  When all three kids were done with sitting still we walked with the teacher over to a stream to feed the ducks.  She never asked about my lack of husband, car or skirt.

When it came time for Primary singing time Max and Maya happily went with the teacher and I took Trent with me to Relief Society.  I walked in late and sat in a row by myself to give Trent room to run around.  The woman in the row in front of me smiled and welcomed me.  The lesson was on temporal salvation and had a lot of participation.  There was even some respectful disagreement while talking about the dole.  I was impressed that the women were able to disagree with one another and not make sweeping generalizations.

I was so busy chasing kids and trying to find a place for us at church that I didn't really have time to think about the fact that I was wearing pants other than the fact that it made it easier to wrestle the wiggly kids.  I didn't feel like anyone looked at me strangely.  I was warmly greeted and treated very kindly.  In some ways I think it was easier because it wasn't my ward.  No one knew me so they didn't have expectations as to how I should be dressed.

I gave a big smile to the only other woman I saw wearing pants when I crossed her in the hall chasing my kids to Primary.  She had spiky hair and a happy smile and was talking to a lot of people.  I thought, maybe she was wearing pants for the same reason I was, although I knew that the "pants event" probably wasn't as well known here in New Zealand as it would be in Utah.  I wasn't able to talk with her until just before we left to go home. 

Lonnie was running late when he came to get us.  He was dressed in his field work clothes and was wearing dirty work boots.  The other woman who was also wearing pants had a sweet seven year old son with autistim who had kept Max and Maya happy while we were waiting.  The woman was a recent convert to the church, having been baptized when her husband, who was less active, had begun attending church services again.

When I told her I liked her pants she said that it was all she had to wear.  I told her that it was only cultural that women traditionally wear dresses to church and that she should feel confident that she looked great and was perfectly dressed for church.  I was happy to be wearing pants if only to let her know that she wasn't the only one wearing pants that Sunday.

It was a good experience to feel for the day what someone might feel like coming to church as a bit of an outsider.  There is a real strength in gaining a persective on what others might feel. 

Of course, it is not about the pants.  It doesn't really matter what you wear to church as long as you are being respectful.  What does matter is that we recognize that there are aspects of our church culture that don't match our true doctorine.  There are women (and others) in the church who are hurting because of  cultural limitations that are not rooted in true doctrines of Christ.  I wore pants to church in hopes of opening up a dialogue seeking for greater compassion for those hurting.

I love this scripture in the Book of Mormom:

2 Nephi 26:33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he ainviteth them ball to ccome unto him and partake of his goodness; and he ddenieth none that come unto him, black and white, ebond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the fheathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

We are all invited to come unto Him.  Racism, economic discrimination, sexism, judgement, and religious discrimination have no place in the church.  Wearing pants to church was a small sign to show that I recognize the pain of feeling unwelcomed or undervalued at church.

We are all alike unto God.   

I'd love to hear about your expereiences.  What do you think?

Friday, November 30, 2012

jumping in

I wanted Trent to wait until Max and Maya were done with their bath, but he had a different idea and jumped in fully clothed.  

scandrett regional park

Scandrett is an old farm.  The kids had a nice time exploring through the buildings.  
Max and Maya climbing a pohutakawa tree.  This beach would be even more amazing with the trees in bloom.

We went on the Mullet Point walk.  It was a nice easy walk, although a little too steep in once place for a pram.  Max especially loved chasing the sheep.  More amazing views of Auckland harbor.  
We spotted a large pod of dolphins in the water and watched them swim around the point.  
The kids, along with Oliver S., right before I accidentally knocked Maya down.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


For the past six months Trent has had four top teeth and four bottom teeth.  He is currently getting six more all at once....needless to say, it has been a long, grumpy, snot nosed week.

But here is a funny moment....
Trent has started talking more and this was a recent conversation.

Mom: "Trent, say Max."
Trent: "Maaa!"
Mom: "Trent, say Maya."
Trent: "Myyy!"
Mom: "Say Mom"
Trent: "Mama!"
Mom: "Say Dad"
Trent: "Dada!"
Mom: "Trent, say Trent"
Trent: "ME!!!"

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Halloween isn't a big holiday in New Zealand, which is nice that there is little pressure on me to spend hours and $$ on cool costumes.

Max wanted to be Spiderman, so we borrowed a costume from a friend.  Max has never seen a Spiderman movie but he likes the idea of having super powers.
Maya wanted to be a princess.  I have been fighting the inevitable princess obsession, but gave in Lonnie convinced me I was making too big of a deal out of it.  Anyway, I fixed up her old dress up and she loved it.
She also insisted on wearing sunglasses while we are at our ward Trunk or Treat.
Trent was the only child that couldn't share on opinion on what he wanted to wear so I could dress him however I wanted.  I figured with The Hobbit coming out this year, and living in New Zealand our little man should be a Hobbit.  He fit the role perfectly.  He already has a very Hobbit-like wobbly walk.  He eats more than 5 times a day and he is much too brave for his own good. 

Yes, that is a Twilight bucket.  No I don't know where he got it, but I can promise you it didn't come from me.  He probably stole it from a teenage girl at the Trunk or Treat.  No one can say no to those chubby cheeks.
Our little Hobbit was the star of the show.  He looked darling and LOVED collecting candy for some of the neighbors.

arataki visitor's centre

Took a Sunday drive up to the Aritaki Visitor's Centre in the Waitakare Ranges.   It was a great stop off on a lovely drive through the ranges west of Auckland.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

california science center

We spent our last day in the States, with a stop over in Los Angeles.  I was great to see Aimee and Andrew again and we also spent some time at the California Science Center.  I hadn't been there for a very long time and it was amazing.  A definite hit all three of the kids and apart from paying for parking it was free!  

Among other really cool things, like a wall of frozen ice, there was a huge aquarium with surf, that you could see from the top or underneath.  
Maya walked around with a monkey wrapped around her all day long.

Trent about to eat a shark.
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