30 November 2008


It's official, I am finally able to say that I am definitely going to be a Chartered Accountant. The results amazed even me, I was hoping for a mark in the seventies, and I actually got 414 out of 500 (which works out to about 83%). When compared to an average mark of 65%, and a highest mark of 84%, it ended up being a pretty good effort!

I was able to celebrate with my workmates with a lunch at Wagamama on Friday, then it was down to business and the mammoth preparation for the big party on Saturday began. Thankfully, we had my friend Jackie from work stay the night before so she was a great help entertaining Noah and helping us get everything done around the house beforehand.

Celebrating with my friends...Caroline, and Marissa, Sarah, Sally
I meant to take so many more photos of the day but got so carried away enjoying the moment that it just wasn't possible!

Everything kicked off at 2pm, we were putting the finishing touches on all the food when at 2.30pm our first guests arrived. There was a steady stream of people arriving till the place was pretty packed and full-on for about an hour and a half with close to 50 people coming to help us celebrate. We were so so blessed with the most glorious warm and sunny day, and it made it so much easier to be able to open up all the patio doors and have people both inside and out. Most people had headed home by about 6pm, with Shannon, Guy and Jackie staying on to help us celebrate for a few more hours. The only slight on the day was Noah being very clingy at times during the party, he woke up from his sleep a bit grumpy and it went downhill from there. I think the main thing was that he found the sheer volume of people in his space a bit overwhelming. He brightened up a little when Magnus arrived to play, and was back to his usual cheerful and bouncy self once there were only a handful of people left. Nevertheless, it was a real treat to have so many people want to celebrate with us, as so many have had a part to play in my success in one way or another that I felt truly blessed and honoured to be able to share the day with them all. I would love to have been able to say a few words at the party, but it was unlikely I would have been able to catch everyone at the same time since people came and left throughout the afternoon, so for posterity's sake there are a few people that deserve a special mention:

Tracy Broadley, Steve Gregan, and Neil Pennington - my various managers at M-co who gave me the financial support, and always offered me every flexibility to be able to study part-time whilst working full-time for the last six years
Tracey Easte - for all your friendship and encouragement and lending me both your own PAS notes and good advice
Caroline Wakelin, Linda Wood, Vanessa Glennie, Anneliese Frickleton, Corrina Wilson, Tanya Edgar, Rama Rewi, and Bruce Cossill - my awesome M-co colleagues over the years
Jackie Field - for being both a great colleague and friend this year while I was doing PAS, you have made my life so much easier with all the extra work you have taken on as well as babysitting, catsitting and generally keeping me sane through all the various challenging changes this year at work!
Paula Rae - agreeing to be my Institute mentor and being a wise counsel and good sounding board at our monthly catch ups
Sarah Bracewell, Sally Gough, Marissa Martin, Bex Gilling and Becky Lusby - my dearest girlfriends from church who have both loved me unconditionally, and prayed with me and for me in good times and bad over the last few years - you rock!
My awesome family on both sides of the world - you have understood and been so patient when I have come visiting with various study books in tow, or understood when study has prevented me from being able to join in activities, or when it has meant I have not been able to visit at all. I have felt your love and prayers with me on every exam day of the last six years.
And last but not least Markie....what can I say. Without you, this really wouldn't have been possible. You have not only become a world class chef as a result of me stepping aside in the kitchen all those years ago, but you have also quietly achieved your own amazing successes as well - losing 30 kgs and being Weight Watcher of the Year, becoming an amazing daddy to our beautiful son, achieving a sub-4 hour in the Karapoti race, and coping with a broken arm and 20 stitches in your knee with all your usual optimisim and determination. And if that wasn't enough.....always, always being so understanding and never once questioning my choices at times when I had to put my studies first. I couldn't have done this without you.

Noah enjoys the privilege of putting the angel on top of the Christmas tree

Today, Mark went and helped Jonny tidy up his garden in the morning, and this afternoon I enjoyed a very rare afternoon nap when Noah went for his sleep. Obviously the excitement of this week and the nasty cold I have been battling really took its toll. After we were up and about from what was a delicious sleep which took a while to wake up from, we put up the Christmas tree. Noah was a great help this year, and was very excited at being allowed to put the angel on the top and turn the lights on. With the 1st of December on the morrow, Christmas is well and truly just around the corner now!

Our new table which was delivered this week just in time for the party, Noah chowing down at the new table, and enjoying the wooden nativity set Grandma sent him

24 November 2008

Fun with friends

Our weekend started with a fun trip to the Rail expo in Po-ree-ru-a as Noah called it. We went last year when it was in town, but with the advantage of being a whole year older and wiser, Noah was much more excited about the experience this time around. We met up with Magnus, Bronson, Keryn & Marissa there, and Magnus was equally enthralled with all the trains, Bronson being a little too young to fully appreciate it at only 5 months old. Noah especially enjoyed the Thomas lego train and the little train carrying jaffas in its carriages that tipped over for a surprise treat for him. Just before we went to the expo we had visited Toyworld, and the nice man who owned the store gave Noah a Thomas cap that made Noah fit right in amongst all the other train enthusiasts! The level of detail on some of the sets is amazing, some are so intricate and clever with all sorts of working parts. One of my favourites was an alpine set complete with a working miniature gondola.

Later in the afternoon, we did some tidying up of the loft and a spot of painting (the breakfast bar). Unfortunately, it took us 3 colours before we found one we were happy with, but think we have finally settled on a dark brown the same colour as the canvases I have just finished. Then Jared came over for dinner (mmmm....homemade pizzas), and then I left the two big boys to it and went out to Mana to catch up with Marissa & Sally for a lovely girl's night out and chat. I was a bit of a girl about town this weekend as I had two nights out in a row, the night before I had been out with my antenatal friends for a meal out at Hazel followed by a scrummy dessert at Strawberry Fare. Mark made the most of the nights to himself and had Gareth over on Friday and Jared on Saturday for some Fifa 09 football on the Wii.

Sunday morning we took a trip to the shops (looking for more paint for breakfast bar colour no. 2), then in the afternoon Mark took Noah for a swim with Phoebe and George and then the 3 families took a trip together to our local fish n chippie, and followed us up to our local park to have a picnic dinner and let the kids burn off some energy. It was a lovely warm evening and the bad weather that had been predicted never arrived (until tonight - Monday - anyway!).

Mark makes what is known as a 'Ghostbusters' coffee, and Noah 'helps' find the picture hooks to hang the canvases with

Noah and Daddy build baby lego planes, and Noah and his buddies play 'I Spy' with the digger while waiting for our fish n chips to cook

I finally finished my canvas painting in the week, and got them up on the wall last night (hence the delay in the blog). It was a bit of a mission lining them up horizontally but we got there in the end. We are both thrilled with the results, and it really feels like the lounge has had a new lease of life now.

This week we are gearing up for the big end-of -study party we're hosting on Saturday afternoon. We've invited about 40-50 people for a family afternoon BBQ, so will be hoping for some half-decent weather so we can make good use of both indoors and outdoors on the day. We decided to take up Shannon & Guy's offer of the table/chairs from Vast which will be arriving sometime this week, so it'll be nice to actually have somewhere to put all the food too!

I also hope we are actually celebrating not commiserating as my results come out midday on Friday. I've been having a few issues with random ailments of late, gunky eyes, blocked ear with loss of hearing, and a stiff neck/shoulders which I have been visiting the osteopath for. I think my body must have finally decided that it can relax and just let go after having to be so focused all of this year. It'd be nice to think that there is an end to all the ailments though as Mark is seriously considering trading me in for a younger model at this rate!

We'll leave with you a short clip of Noah the gymnast...pointed toes and all!

16 November 2008

Why? Why Mummy?

Noah has learnt how to make good use of the word every parent dreads....why! This week Mark went to Auckland for work for 2 days, and our conversations on the way to daycare and back went a little like this 'Why's Daddy in Auckland?' to which I replied, 'He's gone up there to work', 'Why Mummy?' 'Because he has some friends up there he wanted to do some work with' 'Why Mummy?'. Anyway eventually I managed to answer the questions sufficiently to his liking only to have the same conversation five minutes later. I honestly believe we must have had the same conversation about 20 times over the 2 days. It is lovely to see Noah's development and his ability to question what's going on around him, but it did drive me a little batty all the same!

Daddy cooked us a lasagne which we ate both nights, picnic style in the lounge. We called Mark on the phone the first night, and Noah yelled down the phone that his dinner was 'Yummo Daddy'. It must have been as he polished off his whole plate which included some rocket salad, courgette and tomato in order to be eligible for a custard yoghurt for dessert.

Noah and Daddy have a game of 'Race the Sticky Bugs down the Wall'

I enjoyed the Mummy & Noah time, and even got the energy up to walk up the hill 2 days in a row, rather than taking the easy route out with the cable car which I have done all winter on evenings when Mark stays out or is away. However, I couldn't really justify the cable car as the weather was so warm and sunny that it would have been a waste of a walk, and I definitely felt like I'd earned my lasagne when I got home!

It was a reasonably quiet weekend for us (shock horror I know!), yesterday Noah and I spent half an hour checking out the turtles, lizards, fish, guinea pigs, birds and dogs at the pet shop while Mark helped Shannon move a table at their shop Vast. Guy unfortunately had a bit of an accident earlier in the week and is laid up with a broken elbow and fractured wrist for a few weeks so we have offered Mark's assistance with any heavy lifting over the next few weekends. Noah and I also went to Spotlight and picked out a new duvet cover (Thomas the Tank Engine) for Noah in preparation for moving him to a big boy bed.

When we got home, Noah was keen to try out the new duvet, and happily went to sleep for his nap. Later in the afternoon, we took the sides of the cot to turn it into a proper bed. We also had a massive tidyup and moved a lot of Noah's toys/books back to his room to turn it a real little boy's room.

Noah enthusiastically embraces the new Thomas duvet cover concept

It was very sweet to see him climb up into bed and ask for a story - his idea! It was as if he had suddenly grown up overnight. Usually we read a book when we're getting changed after the bath, so it was amazing that he suddenly decided that being in a big bed meant he could drink his milk in bed and have Mummy read him a story. After I read him a book, he asked for another one, knowing little soul! Once I left him to it, we listened with interest on the monitor for a while but all seemed quiet on the Noah front. However, the night was not totally free of mishaps, Mark went in to check on Noah at midnight (after staying up to watch the England v Kiwi league semifinal) and found him head and torso out of the bed, feet still inside! We had enough foresight to put down our winter duvet as a soft landing for him so he was fast asleep in this position. Mark carefully put him back into bed and he was none the wiser. At 5am this morning, he took another tumble out of bed, luckily Mark heard him crying on the monitor and raced downstairs to pop him back in bed once again. When we finally got up, I went to see him and he said 'Mummy I fell out of bed but Daddy picked me up' and didn't seem too bothered by it all. Tonight we have made sure to tuck the duvet in a lot further under the mattress so hopefully that will help too.

This is how Daddy found Noah in the middle of the night, half in and half out!

Today, I went off to church while the boys went to visit the ducks. Apparently Noah found boundless confidence and went down the big big slide on his own while Daddy went down the other one, as well as having a go on the flying fox with Daddy running alongside. This afternoon, we walked down into town to watch the annual Christmas parade with Noah's daycare friends. Noah as usual was a little mystified by all the noise to start with, and said 'I want to go home'. However, after a few minutes he got into the swing of it all, and was particularly excited to see Bob the Builder and Shrek - 'Just like Shrek on my toothbrush at home, Mummy' he told me.

Fun at the parade!

As part of our tidyup, we moved a bit of furniture around, swapping the bookcase and wine cabinet over as well as moving the couch back against the wall. This is because we are thinking about buying a new dining table that Shannon has offered us but need to make sure it'll actually fit the space as it's a large square 1.5x1.5m. It would be nice to have a table that can actually fit more than 3 of us around!

This week I have made good inroads into the canvases I want to get up on the lounge wall before the party in two week's time. It still feels like an absolute luxury to have the evenings to be able to potter around to my heart's content, and the bliss is yet to wear off, I hope I don't ever take it for granted!

Noah and Daddy have a great giggle at a mock swordfight

09 November 2008


This was Noah's word of the week. He came out with it one night at dinner as we were eating spaghetti bolognaise, out of nowhere he said 'Delicious Daddy, delicious!' We asked him where he had heard that and apparently one of his pals Isabella at daycare introduced him to the word. He's been practicing it at every opportunity ever since.


This weekend we have enjoyed some fun family time together. Saturday was the usual trip to the supermarket and watch the planes (its been a couple of weekends since we had the time or the weather to do it). Noah is SO in his element watching with anticipation every little movement of the planes, and Mark and I said how lucky we are that we can drive 2 minutes down the road from our supermarket and watch all the comings and goings. There aren't many other cities in the world where you could get so close so easily.


The flaxes in our garden are flowering at the moment, and we have been blessed all weekend with regular visits from two friendly tuis coming to perch and enjoy the sweet nectar. It has been fascinating to watch them, particularly with the sunlight glinting off their beautiful dark turquoise plumage. Saturday afternoon we got outdoors and gave all the windows a jolly good clean (inside and out), so it is lovely to be sitting here on a calm Sunday evening looking out on the tuis hopping between the flaxes through crystal clear windows!

Sunday morning, Becky and Jonny & baby Brooke came for breakfast so Mark and Jonny could watch their respective teams (Everton v West Ham) league match together. After a quick walk up to the park so Becky could get Brooke off to sleep, we came back and enjoyed a webcam with Uncle Nic who is over from Oz for the weekend and staying with Nana & Poppa. Whilst Noah had his nap, we raced around and stained the outdoor furniture, and once he was up we went for a swim at Karori Pool. Noah gets more confident with each visit, and he was even more so this time when Phoebe and George (his great mates from daycare) turned up at the pool. We had no idea they were coming so it was great to see how excited he was to be able to hang out with them, and it was pretty much 'I'm off, see ya later Mum & Dad' as he ran over to be with them. As the outdoor furniture is still not quite dry enough to sit on, we decided to have a BBQ picnic dinner in the lounge tonight which was a bit of fun. It really has been quite the enjoyable weekend together, and for no reason in particular other than the fact we have simply enjoyed each other's company.


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