Tuesday, 18 December 2007

This years Christmas tree...

Our first real Christmas tree in New Zealand!
By day

By night

A beautiful dress sent by Auntie Fuffy

Friday, 14 December 2007

The BBQ King!

Well summer is well and truly upon us now and the BBQ season has begun. We love summer food as it's so quick and easy. Paul, after 2 1/2 years, has now perfected his skills and is now the king of barbecuing! Not only has Paul been cooking for us every night, but has also been entertaining his worship team with an end of year gathering, slaving over a hot barbecue for hours cooking for about 30 people. Here a just a couple of photos from a great night!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Thank you!

We would like to thank everyone for the gorgeous toys and clothes they sent Gracie for her birthday. Here are just a few photos of Gracie enjoying them....

'Look at me, I'm so grown up!'

'Sorry, can't stop and chat-I have places to be...'

'Wow! I have crocs like mummy!'

A family photo...

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Happy Birthday Gracie!

Today is Gracie's first birthday. I really can't believe how fast this year has gone-it really is true; time flies when you're having fun! We feel so blessed to be able to celebrate Gracie's first year with us and how much she has grown and developed. We love her so much and are constantly thankful for such an amazing gift. Happy Birthday Gracie!

Presents on the bed.

On Friday Gracie had a little joint birthday party with her friend Amelie. It was a fun afternoon is not a little crazy at times- I think the girls had lots of fun which was the main thing! 

Gracie in  her party dress

The ladybird birthday cake-lovingly made by Gracie's Godmother, Anna.

 A very chaotic pass-the-parcel!

A weekend full of fun!

The rain stopped for one glorious day on Saturday so we made the most of it and headed to the beach. We took Rosie, Pete, Amy, Harry and of course Gracie to Bethels beach for the first time- one of our favourite beaches. We had so much fun swimming/paddling in the water and getting sand everywhere! One on the highlights was Paul pulling Harry along the water on a body board and Harry thinking this was the best thing ever! 

After the beach we headed home to rest before going to Christmas in the Park. When Paul and I went last year, I started having mild contractions whilst dancing around so it seemed fitting to take Gracie along to experience it for herself. I think we all had a great time and Gracie was mesmerised by the fire works at the end- when we finally put her into bed at 10:30 we could hear her chatting away to herself for quite a while still pumped from a brilliant day!

Amy Arrives in NZ.

Last Saturday Paul's youngest sister Amy arrived in the country. It is great to have her here with us and we are looking forwards to Julia arriving next Saturday. The weather has been pretty bad since she arrived but we live in hope that the rain will stop for good soon so that we can enjoy a sunny Christmas together.

Here is Amy enjoying a chocolate dipped strawberry:great jet-lag food! 

The family enjoy a BBQ outside-true NZ style!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

It's a busy life!

Just a few more photos of our lives over the past month...

Matilda, Noah and Gracie have fun together at the zoo.

Gracie's good friend Aaron turns 1 -neither baby have any idea what to do with this strange object in front of them!

Gracie and Amelie learn to share.

The babes on one of our Tuesday morning get-togethers!

Gracie's discoveries!

Gracie is turning one next week and we can't believe how the time has flown. She is changing from our baby into a little girl. Each day she becomes more independent and learns new tricks! Here are just a few photos of her latest discoveries.....

The toilet roll gets longer the more you pull at it!

Windows are great for making funny faces!

Trees are very big and great to walk around (thankfully no climbing yet!)

Another half-marathon!

Last weekend Paul ran his second half-marathon along with Pete and a few others from church. Gracie, myself, Rosie, Matilda and Harry all set off early to cheer our men in on the finishing line from about 8am. Paul did really well, beating his previous time from last month (he can give you the exact timings!). It was a beautiful day and we spend the rest of the morning soaking up the sun and enjoying the vibe. Well done Paul, we are so proud!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Crazy Hair!

When I'm out and about I often get stopped (usually by old ladies-which I love because it reminds me of my Grandma) who comment on the colour of Gracie's hair. They say things like 'oh, just look at the colour of that hair, isn't it beautiful' or 'it's so rare to see hair that colour these days, it's so lovely' etc. 
The thing is with Gracie's hair is that it changes colour ALL of the time! In the morning it can be mousey brown, by lunch time it may be carrot, a hint of blonde mid afternoon and then mousey brown again by evening. There is no order to the change in colour but it does change at least once every day. 
Paul stated before Gracie was born that he would adopt out any child of his that was a ginger! I tell people who ask that Gracie has Paul's colouring yet lately I've been told that Gracie and I have the same hair-how can this be-am I Ginger?!
Another thing I am beginning to encounter with Gracie's hair now that it is getting longer is the amount of clips/ties/and bands available to keep the hair out of little eyes. It's crazy and I am quickly learning what looks best and what Gracie will not take out right away. Why do I do this? because I am desperate for her not to have a fringe as I can still painfully remember my hair styles from long ago!!!

'mummy, you can't be serious, this looks rather silly!'

"umm, please do something with my hair, you can't take me out like this!"

"If I make silly faces, maybe mummy won't notice I'm slowly pulling my hair band out!" 

Sunday, 28 October 2007

My First Half Marathon

On the 2nd July this year I went for my first run in a very long time... I ran 1.6km and it took me 15 minutes (I know this because I logged it on www.mapmyrun.com). 

It was an absolute effort, but none-the-less I decided that I would run on a regular basis to shift some weight, and to improve my general health. 

On the 29th July I turned 27 and received an iPod Nano, and a Nike+ sports kit (it measures and logs all your runs). Soon after I decided to enter the Auckland Half Marathon to see if it was something I could achieve. 

Since the 1st of July i've run 683km's,  lost over 2 stone and have made running a major part of my daily routine. 

Yesterday, I finally ran the Auckland Half Marathon, and I achieved more than I ever thought I would!!! I finished the course (21.1km) in 1h:31m:24s which is an amazing time for a first effort. It's a great run, on which you get to run over the harbour bridge, although I don't really remember it! shame... 

Out of a field of about 6000 runners I finished 206th overall, and 110th in the 16-34 year old Male category. I even beat former All Black Ian Jones which is pretty cool.   

In honesty it was utterly exhausting, but it was totally worth the effort and I've got the bug!!! I'm considering entering an event in a months time, and would plan to beat that time; I'll keep you posted! Here are some photos...

Receiving some pre-race physio from my good friend Si
In my gear, ready for the race
Laura & Gracie waiting for me near the finish line
Completely exhausted!
Ah... post race massage! 
The official results... click on image to see full size

Friday, 26 October 2007

Adidas Auckland Marathon

Well tomorrow morning I'm running in the Auckland Half Marathon. I haven't entered a running race since the egg and spoon at primary school, so I have a mixture of nerves, anticipation, and excitement. It should be a lot of fun!

I'm still taking sponsorship, so if you'd like to donate some money to the Heart Foundation NZ please follow the link and make a donation with your credit card. Every penny counts! 

Here is a photo of my badge - go 7055!!! I'll post again tomorrow once i've completed!!! 

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Some photos of Gracie

A tour of our new house

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Please Sponsor Me!!!

Some thing a little more formal... I'm running in the Auckland Half Marathon on Sunday 28th October, and I've decided to raise money for The Heart Foundation which is the official charity of the race. Please click on the link below to go to my sponsorship page, where you can make an online donation with your credit card. 

This is my first ever half marathon, so I've got no idea what to expect but I've been training hard, and am hoping to finish in under 1hr 40 mins - we'll see how I do! 

Thanks for your support! I'll try to get some pictures up, although I don't tend to let Laura photo me in my running gear! 

An eventful week...

This week I (Paul) went away with the staff from St Paul's to a beautiful place called Tarawharanui; It's a national park an hour or so North East of Auckland. I thought I'd write about it because I had a couple of experiences that I've not had before.

Firstly, on Wednesday afternoon we took a rowing boat out to a place in the bay, where we dived for scallops - this was great fun, although diving down to 5 or so meters and then trying to find scallops proved to be exhausting. We took 34 scallops back to our bach once done and they were cooked up and served as a nice mid afternoon snack!
Yesterday (Thursday) was even better. The team were sat on the deck having breakfast at about 8:30 when one of the team members spotted dolphins in the bay. We wondered down to the beach and watched them for a while, until I was able to persuade Mike & Rachel to go out in the rowing boat with me to get a closer look.

We got out in to the bay and they seemed quite happy to have us around, so we decided to jump in and swim with them - we swam with them for about 30 minutes or so, which was utterly exhilarating! 

Given that we weren't in wetsuits, we decided to head in to avoid hypothermia, but returned 30 minutes or so later with wetsuits, flippers, snorkels & masks, and spent a further half an hour swimming, diving, and playing with the dolphins - it was certainly the best experience of New Zealand that I've had, and one that I'll never forget.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

This weekend....

This weekend we have had beautiful weather. We've been out in the garden playing , out walking and as always, at church!. 
This morning we watched the All Black's get beaten by France which was amusing! It's a shame we couldn't drag ourselves out of bed at 2am for the England match-we did however watch the replay this afternoon. It's never the same when you know the result!
Gracie and Paul watch the rugby

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Growing up fast...

I had written a blog post a few days ago that I felt explained and captured Gracie's personality at this moment in time; sharing this with all of you who don't have the pleasure of seeing her daily/weekly/or haven't even met her. I was so frustrated as I knew I would never be able to re-write the blog post in the same way because it just seemed to 'flow' as I wrote it. Rather than attempt to re-write it now I think I'll just share with you this one photo I've uploaded. I think this shows her determination to get where she wants to be regardless of our countless attempts to move her away from the cupboards. What's that they say about feisty redheads?!