Saturday, September 27, 2014

afl grand final

today was like all doug's birthdays and christmases came at once... all his dreams came true... you get the picture. he got to go to the afl grand final. the superbowl of australia. the ultimate game. the one all the boys want to go to.

we got a phone call when we were in samoa, from my eldest brother jared, who managed to get hold of us on mum and dads mobile phone... to tell doug that he had just won a ticket to the grand final, which included flights, transfers and accomodation - and he wanted to give it to him as a gift. no questions asked. he wasn't interested (if you've ever met my brother you will understand... he is really not into sports at all) and knew doug would be, so he had the prize reissued to him. one ticket. the ticket of a lifetime. what an amazing, generous gift. he spent the rest of our trip muttering, "i can't believe it", on the odd occasion. 

so just three days after we got home, off he went again... flying virgin to melbourne. this is how jared actually won the tickets in fact. he has been flying to and from kalgoorlie each and every week since the rest of the family moved back down to perth - so much so, that it put him into the top virgin australia frequent flyers for the year, who they gifted the package, from wherever they happened to be in australia. score.

apparently it was amazing, pre-show and half time entertainment was great, the atmosphere electric. the team he was barracking for even won! he sent me a heap of pictures including this one at the final siren, when the hawks had won! (i watched a little throughout the afternoon and even i, who knows nothing about football, could see that the swans didn't even stand a chance)

not bad for free accommodation hey? doug was thrilled with the room... and the hotel even had a gym and pool which he gleefully made use of. 

my husband claims to not be able to take a photo? after seeing this i beg to differ... showing off that he was flying away yet again, while i got to hang with the kids all weekend... haha

and just for your information... even though virgin weren't handing out business class seats to their competition winners, they did at least give them all a business class meal (jealoussss) which looks pretty darn good in my opinion.

no matter what he does, i am fairly certain he will never be able to pay jared back for this amazing gift and opportunity, one that we probably never could have managed (tickets are hard to get) or afforded (tickets are expensive and flights over the grand final weekend cost a lot). we are so grateful and still in shock.
thank you a million times over! we love you!

Friday, September 26, 2014

he's seven months!

an update on our monkey a few days late (due to his monthday being the day we got back to brisbane) but he is becoming a little boy and isn't so much a baby anymore. sniff.

while were in samoa baby j cut his first two teeth. one the day we arrived, which would explain why he was so inconveniently unsettled the whole way on the plane and just wanted to be held the whole time. the second was a few days later... but now he has these two adorable little stumps in his bottom gum. i love baby teeth. (side note, i am not at all fond of falling out teeth, not because i think it is gross, or hate blood or can't deal with it, nothing like that, i simply despise the gappy i've-just-pilled-my-teeth-out look. i know it's meant to be cute and endearing, i'm just not into it.)

baby joseph also had his blessing day in samoa -- what a special occasion it was for our family. you can read more about that if you please, by clicking here. he waved for the first time, at a shop assistant, not one of us, but seeing as it was my favourite shop over there i was totally okay with it. haha. he met his nanna and grandad for the first time when we arrived in samoa and enjoyed every minute of cuddles with them. 

he is testing out his voice and babbles away, while rolling around the floor whenever you leave him to play with things around him. all in all he's super cute... those bright blue eyes were a killer in samoa, everyone loved him and wanted a cuddle... but most of the time he wanted his mama. i was fine with that, he is sweet and cuddly and nothing in this world makes me happier than being his mama.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

theron is the man!

we've just gotten home from a great night, being part of our friend theron's melchizedek priesthood ordination. he waited for us to return from holidays so that doug could be a part of such a special experience.

in our church, worthy young men receive the melchizedek priesthood (which you can read more about here) at age 18, and most generally submit their mission pages shortly after - which i am guessing will be in store shortly for theron! can hardly wait to see where he will be off to...

as you can see, there are an awful lot of people who care for theron and play an important part in his life. his dad passed away just 3 months before madeline was born and although we all still miss him terribly, his family have coped amazingly and grown from strength to strength in his absence.

theron was just 10 when we got to know the pinker family well... and we have watched him grow into a amazing, faithful, young man that we know paul would be so proud to call his son. we spend a lot of time with them and feel as though they are the kind friends that one can call their family. we are so proud of theron for taking such a big step and look forward to watching him continue to grow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

why you shouldn't travel with children

there a million reasons why you shouldn't travel with children. we got home today after 18 days away and i am very ready to tell you a few of them.

1. so much luggage. 3 suitcases, 2 car seats, a pram, a cot, and a carry on each. i am sure you can imagine that there was even more on the way home... 
2. they can't sit still. 6 hour flights? somebody shoot me
3. they can't be quiet. i told madeline i had changed my name and wasn't going to be mummy anymore, so then i had to hear why? why? why? instead
4. everywhere you go, you have to take a bag. a big one. nappies, wipes, toys, water, change of clothes... to start with
5. they don't want to sleep. ever. if they fall asleep for a minute, they might miss something important.
6. they never want to eat anything you put in front of them. "i don't like that."
7. they won't go to anyone but you. "i don't want you. i don't like you. i want my mummmm!" luckily nanna has 4 children and 7 other grandchildren and wasn't offended
8. you can't do all the fun stuff. no mountain climbing, no volcanic crater exploring, so sliding rocks... but let's play in the playground... yay.
9. they can't keep their clothes clean. insert washing every day of our holiday here.
10. they get sick. joseph cut a tooth the first day we were gone, vomited all except for maybe one day, both kids got heat rash and madeline had a fever.


1. they are the cutest
2. the sweetest
3. the cuddliest
4. the best
5. i can't deal with being away from them for more than an hour
6. their smiles make me smile
7. their laughs make me overjoyed
8. when they are asleep in my arms i forget every single thing about them that ever annoyed me
9. i love their little clothes and shoes and feet and toes and hands and faces and everything
10. it would not have been even the littlest bit of fun without them. i wouldn't have even considered leaving them behind. i love my babies and i can't live without them.

but anyone that's ever traveled with children will read this, laugh and say - yep. that's exactly why. why you shouldn't travel with children.

Monday, September 22, 2014

a day with the milnes...

maddie testing out one of the life sized ponies at costco

it is always far too long between visits with the milnes. i hate that we live so far away from each other, but i honestly feel as though the old saying "true friendship can survive years without speaking but seem like you saw each other yesterday." well that's us. the girls are getting along like a house on fire and we are having the greatest time. what a pity we don't have longer here.

maddie clinging to uncle james in the wind

we started our day taking the kids down to a park on the foreshore in scarborough... which was amazing, but right as we were on our way, a strong wind came up and it got very cold. the girls made it about 5 minutes in, before they came back and said they wanted to go. oh well. was a good thought. we did however check out a few shops along the strip, including a hidden gem called "earthly gifts by the sea" (if you are ever in qld, go check it out - 79 landsborough ave, scarborough) they had the cutest jewellery and really different homewares. well worth a look!


then... we all headed over to costco! this was a new and exciting adventure for us, as perth is yet to get one! that's a picture of our lunch in the above shot - a slice of pizza the size of a dinner plate and as cheap as anything. and actually good! costco memberships are currently $65 for a year in australia, and well worth the price - some of the items on sale are so cheap it's ridiculous.

take these dickies shirts... which joseph of course had to have a roll around in. in regular street stores they are between $45 and $60 each. but here at costco? $14.99!! i kid you not. doug was so thrilled. (as was i, what a nice saving for us, with some new shirts for him.) score!

we loaded the three girls into the trolley together and they were so happy. they laughed and sang and played together... and it made me wish again that we didn't live 4380km from each other. (yes i just looked on apple maps, and fyi, this route requires tolls.) they were instant besties on saturday afternoon when we arrived... i think every dress up costume they had was hauled out, and they ran giggling back and forward through the house. it was music to my ears, how sweet it is to have friends so close that they are like family.

our happy girls

the three of them were so excited, we were in the toy section and i pulled out these three horses, that were all but real pony size, and the perfect size for them to ride on... madeline was so excited that she kept turning to me and grinning so i could take her picture. i now fell like i can report back too, what do they sell at costco? real life sized kids ponies! that's what. 

unfortunately the time came for us to say goodbye, and of course the girls were unimpressed that we were taking their friends away - for who knows how long this time. damn this large world. if only we had a way to keep every one we loved close.

we miss you milnes! :(

Sunday, September 21, 2014

kendall boys

this photo makes me so so happy. steve is so thrilled with having a grandson and it's evident when you watch them together. joseph looks pretty pleased too, as you can tell from this picture. what a precious memory we managed to capture here (thank goodness for iphones and their instant camera open function) of granddad and grandson.

it is so hard every time we leave. we love to spend time with them and wish we could stay longer. alas the real world calls and the day after tomorrow we will be off to perth again. but in the mean time we'll enjoy all the cuddles we can!

three generations of awesome ♥

Saturday, September 20, 2014

not goodbye - see you later!

we left samoa today, and had to say goodbye to my parents... again. i'm not okay with this. but... i am taking comfort in the fact that they'll be home in 12 short weeks and that after that, they certainly won't be leaving for 18 months again. thank goodness.

it has been an amazing 2 weeks with them. exploring samoa, relaxing and not having to live by a clock, having extra hands and hearts to care for my babies... and just basking in being their little girl. i love my parents so much and i have missed them so much while they have been away.

we left for the airport just after 4am, we'd had just a few hours sleep between packing and saying goodbye to people. but somehow we made it. we also made it through the horrendous process of check-in with so many items (blerggggg) kissed my parents goodbye and raced on through to the boarding area.

this is where we discovered that the egg at the check-in counter had seated all 4 of us (not counting joseph, his boarding pass was attached to mine obviously) in different parts of the plane! madeline was sitting by herself!!!! a three year old. i couldn't even deal with it. oh my goodness. i spoke to someone as we boarded who sent madeline up to stand with doug while they sorted it and we all starting praying that they could sort it out. (this is where i feel like i need to specify that virgin runs differently in samoa to other countries. the check-in staff are employed by the airport, not virgin and simply check in passengers and bags. it was in no way any fault of the airline or it's staff. it was simply a mistake made during check-in. also, in the check-in staff members defense, i am fairly certain after checking in 3 cases, 2 car seats, a pram and a cot he was a little flustered and may not have been concentrating that well on what he was doing.)

virgin samoa to the rescue. it turned out the seat next to doug was actually empty. madeline sat in it, the other gentleman was asked very politely by the cabin crew if he would mine relocating so that our family could all sit together. he was very obliging, and we were sorted. phew. another 30 mins on the tarmac while our flight plan was relodged 3 times (only in samoa eh...)  and we were finally on our way. we were so spoiled by the staff. we were given extra food, madeline was slipped some lollies and a free tablet with kids movies and nothing was too much trouble. after such a shaky start and feeling so anxious i could finally relax. i cannot tell you enough times just how wonderful virgin have been during this trip. i would fly with them a million times over.

touch down! we are in brisbane for a few days with steve and niques. our holiday is almost over, but i think i'm okay with it. there's something about being on the home stretch. not long now and we will be in our own beds!

Friday, September 19, 2014

apia, samoa temple

this is the view of the apia, samoa temple from the main road. it is right there, right in your face as you drive past. in fact, it is used frequently as a landmark for directions - and is mentioned as a "must-see" in every guide book on the island.

the original temple, on this same lot, was dedicated in 1983, but was destroyed by fire in 2003. the church rebuilt and the temple shown was dedicated in 2005, it is believed the fire was caused by an electrical fault, as it was during the routine maintenance that occurs on every temple around the world each year.

the building is stunning and is known by everyone in the islands. the beautiful placement allows it to stand proudly at the front of the church owned land, which contains the mission buildings, the distribution centre, temple accomodation, staff housing and of course pesega college - the church owned college here in samoa.

mum and dad's house is less than a five minute walk from the temple, all through the church grounds... you can see moroni standing proudly on the spire reaching heavenward from their house... and this became incredibly apparent to me when i got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night our first night here and happened to glance out the window and see him right there. what a wonderful blessing, to have a temple within walking distance.

it was a lovely time, being able to wander through the gardens at our own pace, the evening before we were leaving to return to australia, as a family. to be able to take photographs... and to simply stop and look at the effort and beautiful workmanship that goes into each and every temple that the church constructs.

it makes me so happy to know that there are temples built in all four corners of the globe. my favourite "mormon message" which brings me to tears every time i watch it, tells of the struggle of a family living in polynesia, to make it to the temple when they earned such a meagre living. you can watch it here. as more temples are built throughout the world, more people are able to obtain the blessings held within and i know there is nothing better on offer in this world, than to know i am able to spend not only time, but eternity - with my family.

a friends mother wrote in our wedding card, "any of you would go around the world for the sealing ordinance if you knew its importance., if you realized how great it is. no distance, no shortage of funds, no situation, would ever keep you from being married in the holy temple of the lord." (pres. spencer w. kimball - october 1979 ensign first presidency message.)

how true it is. the lord's house is where we need to be. there is no greater possible joy to be with one's family for time and all eternity and the sealing ordinance has made it possible for all worthy members of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints to enter in and partake of that blessing.

my camera certainly got a workout today... i hope you enjoy the pictures! ♥

e paia i le alii
o le maota o le alii

the house of the lord
holiness to the lord

i love this photograph of madeline, she can't wait until it's her turn to go in.

all the windows of the apia temple are set with polynesian inspired artwork. what a beautiful place for the islanders who enter therein. built to suit this gorgeous place.

please if you have time, read a talk entitled, "god's gifts to polynesia's people" by elder thomas s monson 1966. it tells of the faith and love of these amazing people, who love their lord.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

fiafia night at le manumea

mum and dad had promised us that before we left, they would take us to a fiafia night at one of the local hotels. "fiafia" means celebration, get-together or happy... and this night was certainly all three!

we arrived to the hotel and were escorted to a table near the buffet table, where we were treated to many traditional samoan foods, such as taro & green bananas cooked in coconut cream, palusami (a dish with baked coconut cream and taro leaves) and oka (raw fish soup). what a treat!... you know because i haven't eaten enough while i've been here... everyone has spoiled us so much, with so much and such good food being served to us each and every day.

the dancers for the fiafia night were incredible at le manumea - the costumes so well made, the women smiling all the time (which unlike some dancers did not look in any way forced - they seemed so genuinely happy to be there and to be able to entertain.) and such an amazing portrayal of traditional polynesian dance. i loved watching them, with their fluent and effortless movement as they went from each dance to the next.

there was education included also as we were taught all the uses of the coconut. nothing is wasted. you can drink the water, eat the flesh, make cream and milk, make a wonderful natural oil that can be used for so many things including skincare and cooking, the stringy part can be used as a loofah and then the husk is burnt to cook umu once everything else is done. what an amazing tree to be blessed with!

we were also told about the malu, a sacred tattoo originally given only to the daughters of chiefs, which extends from the upper thigh to below the knee. they are now more common and even tattooed on some that would be considered "not worthy" of the honour, but are still held sacred to the samoan women.

the log drums used by the group were incredible. huge - with such a distinct sound. for doug it was love at first sight... we may have to look into getting him one!

a demonstration of 5 different ways to wear a lavalava (sarong) was done by the girls and as they displayed each one - i finally found mine! i had spent my time here looking at each one we came across... but just wasn't keen enough on any of them to buy one. however, in the demo a rainbow streaked purple one caught my eye, which was being sold in the hotel gift shop! yay. one more thing to check off the must-do/ must purchase list here in samoa.

the men in the group also performed during the evening doing tribal dances, a slap dance... and were even quite comical, dressing a little to demonstrate the fa'afafine... the "third gender" of the islands. (this is a little difficult for me to explain because it's new to me... take a minute and read about it here - it's genuinely quite interesting) they were so funny and had the audience roaring with laughter.

near the end of the evening, the fire dancers performed... it was like nothing i've ever seen before. i said to mum that i was amazed no one had burnt themselves - and she assured me that they do. all part of the job. one of the boys in their primary class at church is learning to be a fire dancer (he is 8) and has had plenty of little burns along the way.

i was even lucky enough to snap a few good shots. what an amazing thing to watch.

after the finale, doug and madeline were lucky enough to have their photo taken with the cast who were ever so kind, very obliging and very attractive haha. what an awesome experience, i would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting upolo.