Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trip to the USA

On September 28th Elle and I finally left on our trip to The U.S.A!  We flew out at 10:30 at night and were so happy to find that no-one was sitting next to us on the plane which meant I got a great nights sleep stretched out on the seats while Elle stayed up watching movies.  Once we got to LAX we had a 5 hour layover and then we were winging our way to Salt Lake City, Utah to meet Mum and Dad.  It was great to be with them again and we talked for a few hours before hitting the sack for the night.

Thanks Mum and Dad for the matching pj's
 The next day we walked up to Smiths supermarket with Mum and then spent the rest of the day at the Gateway Mall while mum and dad went to meetings.  That night we went out for dinner, had a little look around the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and went shopping at our favourite U.S Store: Walmart

Joseph Smith Memorial Building
Elle got tired so Grandpa pushed her in the trolley
On Friday we did more shopping at The Brickyard which had some more of our favourite stores - Ross, Khols and TJ Maxx.  We shopped all day until Mum & Dad came back to pick us up, and then we shopped some more! 

Ross, oh how I've missed you!
Saturday was General Conference so we were up early to get to the Conference Centre.  It was awesome to finally attend a live session of General Conference - and even more awesome to be there and see Dad sitting on the stand.  We had a quick picnic lunch afterwards and then met the family who had come to listen to Dad speak.

Waiting for Conference to start
Elle & Dad
Lunch between sessions - I'm surprised Dad could even eat knowing he was speaking soon!
Family photo after conference
That night Dad & Wade went to the Priesthood Session while we hung out with Jess and the kids.  We had dinner, went to the Deseret Book 'Ladies Night' and visited the Church History Museum.

We're pioneers
Sunday was a busy day.  After breakfast we headed to the conference centre for Music and the Spoken Word and then conference.  In between sessions we got to go through the underground tunnel on the church golf carts to the Church Office Building for lunch.  It was awesome! 
Salt Lake Temple
After the Sunday Afternoon Session we headed down to Provo to visit cousin Kim!  It was so good to see her and to hear of the awesome time she was having at the MTC.  She will be a great missionary.

All pointing to where we live
Next we headed to Orem to have dinner with our good friend Gil Elegante.  She put on a beautiful meal for us and we had a great time reminising for a few hours with her.

The next few days weren't so busy for Mum & Dad so we got to hang out with them a bit more.  The highlight was definitely Tuesday when we went to the Temple to do baptisms.  Elle was able to baptised for a family name she found herself.  It was a really special experience followed but lunch at the General Authorities lunch room where Elle got to meet the Prophet!  She even got a hug.  We also went for some lovely (albeit adventurous) morning walks, went shopping, ate too much and then it was sadly time for Mum and Dad to go back to the Philippines.  The week went by too fast but we had the best time together.

Park City

Before Temple Baptisms

Cheesecake at Olive Garden
We had 5 more days after Mum & Dad left.  We spent the first night at Tracy's and then went to Wade's for a couple of days.  We had a great time hanging out, eating too much (again - who can resist a 59cent donut), shopping and carving pumpkins! 

On Saturday it was in the high 20's, on Thursday it snowed!

Pumpkin Patch in Logan

Elle's jack-o-lantern

Then it was back to Tracys for a family dinner, last minute shopping and lunch at Aunty Judiths.  We stayed our last night at Aunty Judiths house and she dropped us to the airport.  30 hours later we were finally home.  We had a great trip but it was good to be home with the boys.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Farewell Sister Farthing

Cousin Kim left for her mission on Monday.  We went up to the airport to farewell her as she headed off to the Missionary Training Centre in Provo, Utah.  She will be there for the next three weeks and then will start her mission in Arizona.

We are so proud of Kim and her decision to serve the Lord as a missionary for the next 18 months.  We know she will be a great missionary and will touch the lives of many.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Temple Baptisms

Particuarly ugly picture of me but the camera went flat so its the only one we got - outside the door to the Temple
On Tuesday Elle was able to go to the Temple to do Temple Baptisms.  She's been waiting since she turned 12 in May!  It was a lovely experience especially since Jonathan was the baptiser.

The next time she does Temple Baptisms will be at the Salt Lake Temple.  19 days to go!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stake Glee Fest

Elle and Ryan both participated in our Stake Glee Fest on the weekend.  They spent lots of time practicing with their groups to learn their song and dance moves.

Muffy, Terina, Tiana, Shavaria, Elle, Maddy & Ilai - waiting to go on stage
 Elle sang "Say a Little Prayer" with 8 of the Young Women.  They looked lovely and sounded great!  Ryan sang with 6 primary boys "Blame it on the Boogie" - They looked great in their 70's costumes (sewn by yours truly - a stressful day on Saturday sewing 6 pairs of flares) and were pretty smooth up on the stage!

Ryan looking pretty happy in his afro
It was a great show all round but in my opinion I think our ward had two of the best acts of the night.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

School Performance

The Fijian Group
The kids school performance was held this week, with 2 shows on Wednesday and one on Thursday.  This year was a Polynesian Culture theme and Elle and Ryan chose to be in the Fijian group.  Unfortunately their tutor never showed up so Elle was assigned to teach the girls group and the boys group learnt their dance off You-tube!  They both did a great job - it was a very entertaining performance.  Kelly and I sewed their costumes which we think turned out quite well considering we were only given a roll of material and just made up the pattern.

They also performed with their school Kapa Haka group which was fantastic.  They practice hard and give up their Friday lunch times to be a part of the group.

Kapa Haka - couldn't get any pictures of Ryan - the boys were at the back

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

Yesterday it snowed in Temple View.  SNOWED!  The whole country has been hit by a severe wintery blast and since Sunday it has been snowing in strange places like Taupo, Wellington and as far north as Auckland!  Mount Pirongia had a nice dusting of snow in the morning - something I've only seen three times in my entire life! 
Snow on Mount Pirongia - the most I've ever seen it covered
The day was very cold but it had a different feeling to it.  Somehow I knew that if it was ever going to snow in Temple View, yesterday would be the day!  I kept looking out the window to see if it had started yet.  About 12:30 we got a pelting of hail.  Then about 1:00 I thought - I'm just going to have one last look out the window and luckily I did because lo and behold fine white flakes of snow were falling down from heaven!  I quickly called Crystal then ran outside and jumped around like a crazy person.  It was amazing!  Soon there was enough to build a snowman and we had a huge snowball fight!  Well I wish that happened, the truth is it melted as fast as it fell and stopped after about 2-3 minutes!  But I don't care.  I am 32 years old and for the first time in my life (maybe ever?) IT SNOWED IN TEMPLE VIEW!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beehives President

Elle was called and set apart as the Beehives Class President yesterday.  It was lovely to attend her setting apart and to hear the encouraging words of her blessing.  As I listened to to the Bishop I was reminded of when I was called as the Beehives president - 21 years ago!  Even as a 12 year old that calling taught me leadership and responsibility and helped to prepare me for the many church callings I have had and the many more which are still to come.  We know Elle will do a great job in her first church calling.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jonathan's Trip to Utah

Sadly we found out last week that Jonathan's Aunty Polly passed away.  She has lived in America most of her life after marrying Uncle Charles who served as a missionary here.  They had returned to New Zealand twice to serve as missionaries in the New Zealand Temple - the last time being just before we got married.  When we were in the states in 2009 we had some lovely visits with Aunty Polly, Uncle Charles and their family. 
Jonathan with Aunty Polly and Uncle Charles - Christmas 2009
Jonathan decided on Monday night that he would attend the funeral.  We spent Tuesday in Auckland getting an emergency passport - which thankfully only took 4 hours (it helps when you know someone behind the desk).  Then we booked tickets and he was off at 3am on Thursday morning.  The ticket was cheap but the downside was it took 30 hours to get to Utah - he had a layover in Sydney and San Francisco.

It was a whirlwind trip - just five days actually in Utah, but he seemed to pack in a bit of everything: spending time with family, visiting old mission companions and shopping. 

Jonathan with some of his cousins at the funeral

Jonathan with Charlotte, Jack and Kate
If Elle and I weren't going next month I would have been insanely jealous!  haha But I'm glad he got to go and represent his family and have a bit of a break while he was at it.

While he was gone Mum and Dad left for the Philippines which was sad but exciting too, the kids started back at school and I started back teaching Seminary - last term for the year!

Its good to be back together as a family.

Monday, July 25, 2011

These are a few of my favourite things...

Mum and Dad leave for the Phillipines on Thursday!  We are all feeling a bit sad but its exciting to know that Elle and I will see them in 8 weeks time when we meet them for General Conference.  And then they will be home for Christmas.

Last night I decided to cook Dad a few of his favourite things for dinner - no, it wasn't "Crisp Apple Struedal and Schnitzel with Noodles" (Love that movie! - infact we watched it last Sunday - we consider it a church movie for Sundays in this house.  Hey, it has Nuns doesn't it?  I also heard once that when the Von Trapps got to Switzerland they became Mormons? - Mormon Folklore I am sure)

Anyway, I didn't even have to ask Dad what he would want.  Spaghetti and Meatballs and Creme Brulee for dessert!  Ryan and Jonathans favourite too.  The girls passed on the meatballs but the Creme Brulee was perfection even if I say so myself.  It is so easy to make I don't know why I don't make it more often ... oh thats right, because its pretty much PURE CREAM! 

Happy Boys

First bite and the perfect crack of the carmelised sugar - thanks for the blow torch Crystal!
Because Elle, Mum and me aren't fans of meatballs we went out for a lovely girls only lunch today.  It was yum and we all felt excited about the realisation that the next time we would all go out to lunch together would be in America.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wedding Anniversary

We celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary yesterday!  THIRTEEN YEARS!  Crazy how fast time has gone by.  

 Thirteen things that we've done since we got married in 1998! 

1. We've had 2 kids.  Elle was born 9 months after we got married and Ryan 2 years after that. 

2.  Jonathan enrolled in and 4 years later graduated from Waikato University with a BSc and a BTchng

3.  We've gotten older...and hopefully wiser.  One thing's for sure - I wouldn't want to go back to being 19 again!

4.  Jonathan became and high school maths teacher and started earning real money!

5.  We bought a house and became fully fledged mortgage paying adults!

6.  We've taken a trip to the Gold Coast, 2 trips to Fiji and a trip to the U.S of A.

7.  We bought our third child off trademe.  Our maxy boy.  Life wouldn't be the same without him.

8.  We've lived in 4 houses - all within about 200 metres of eachother!  Crazy!

9.  This one's kind of embarrasing but...I learnt to drive!  That's right, when we got married I couldn't drive.  (Crystal and Jonathan would argue that I still can't drive)

10.  We've served in many callings at church - Young Mens President, Primary Counsellor, Family History Library Director and Relief Society President to name a few.  And the latest being Counsellor in the Bishopric and Early Morning Seminary Teacher.

11.  We've owned 5 cars - beginning with the 2 door Toyota Celica which was a pain to put the car seat in.

12.  When we got married we had a film camera, no internet, no computer, no cell phones a 14inch television and a video machine! - things have surely changed in 13 years!  We now have broad band wireless internet, laptops, digital cameras, cell phones, i-pods, dvd players and an xbox.  Technology definitely makes life easier!

13.  Our families have grown.  Since we got married the new additions to the Ardern's are Jessica, Charlotte, Jack, Kate, Sam, Preston & Nakita.  And to the Warwick's: Uki, Sarsha, Connor, Mason, Chris, Maddison & Logan!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fruit Trees

A couple of years ago we planted two mandarin trees and a lemon tree.  This year we had a bumper crop of fruit which inspired us to plant some more fruit trees.  Apparently July is the best time to plant trees so yesterday we purchased a Tahitian Lime tree, a Louisa Plum tree (my favourite), an Apricot tree and a Granny Smith Apple tree (the best for Apple Crumble).  Right now they just look like big twigs in the ground but the man at the garden centre assured us we'd have our first crop of fruit in the summer time - albeit a small one. 

A typical winters day in Hamilton - rain, hail, thunder and lightening but Jonathan still got out and planted the trees!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kapa Haka

Elle and Ryan both joined the school Kapa Haka group this year.  They have been practicing hard for a performance at Aberdeen School which was on Friday.

My camera is crappy so I only got one good photo - well, one sort-of good photo.  Ryan needs a haircut.

Good news though, we had a big clean up in the weekend and I found my good camera behind the couch.  I lost it in February!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Brace Face, Metal Mouth, Tin Grin

Elle got her braces on two weeks ago. She now has a mouth full of metal and we have a bank account not so full of money :)  They are pretty expensive - like, $8,000 expensive, but we know it is worth it to have a smile you can be proud of.  I had my braces put on when I was 12 too - my teeth were overcrowded like Elle's but they were also terribly buck; the result of sucking my thumb til the age of seven.  Even though I didn't want braces I'm so glad mum and dad made the sacrifice to get them for me.  I can't imagine what I'd like look now if I still had those bugs bunny teeth!
She had a fair amount of pain 4 weeks ago when she had four teeth removed in order to open up some room for the crowded teeth to move into.  And the first two days of having braces was pretty painful too - a feeling I remember well.  But she is doing great now so that is good.  Two weeks down, 2 years to go.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cooking up a Storm

Our Stake Ball was on Friday night and I was asked to be the caterer.  It was a big undertaking - finger food for 500 people but I was keen to give it a go!  Without my usual cooking buddies Mum (in America) and Crystal (new baby) I asked my sister in law Kelly to be co-chef with me.  I knew it would all work out when we had our first meeting and both of us had come up with the same list of foods to make!

So, food for 500 hungry mormons.  Needless to say it was a huge job!  To save money we made almost everything from scratch.  Our menu included mini wildberry cheesecakes, fudge brownies, chocolate truffles, lemon meringue tarts, caramel slice, cream puffs, mini carrot cakes, german chocolate cupcakes, savouries, sausage rolls & quiches, spring rolls & samosas, asparagus rolls, salmon and cream cheese crostini, beef crostini, fruit platters and 2 types of cheeseball and crackers.  Yes, we were literally cooking for days!

We had lots of happy eaters and recieved lots of compliments and thanks.  The best compliment we recieved was from the ball organisers who wrote us a card and said "we loved how you all worked together and looked like you were having fun doing it" - Jonathan, Laugharne and the kids were a HUGE help on the night and worked like little soldiers for hours and hours.

The theme of the Ball was 'A Night of Magic' and the colours Red, White & Black.
We made aprons to match and Kelly made the amazing cupcake tower
(built by Warwick Builders/my cousin Carl)
The food
The Warwicks working hard in the cafe kitchen

Sunday, June 5, 2011

80's Party

Crystal as an 80's bridesmaid - I even did her hair in a french roll.
 I found my outfit many years ago at an op shop - got the top for 50 cents!
Julie turned the big 3-0 on Saturday and her sister threw a suprise 80's party to celebrate.  Luckily for me, Crystal AND Julie, I just so happen to own three fantastically tragic 80's outfits!  All that was needed was half a can of hair spray, too much blue eyeshadow, some bright red lipstick, a pair of pointy stelittos and we were good to go!  One thing's for sure, I would not have liked to have been a teenager in the 80's - it took forever to tease up my hair like that!  Worth it though, I won the prize for best dressed!  (or should it be worst dressed?)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Player of the Day

Ryan joined the school Basketball team this year.  His Aunty Jodhi and Uncle Uki are the coaches and four of his cousins are in the team.  They all practice together every day and are improving each week.  Unlike Softball we think its great that the games are on Friday afternoon and they only last for 30 minutes - haha.

Today Ryan got player of the day!  Woohoo go Ryan.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Cross Country Race

The kids had their Cross Country Race on Tuesday.  They all got bused out to Church College to run around the #1 field.  How that is considered cross country and why they couldn't have run around their own fields I will never know.  But I'm sure they had fun on the bus ride!  It was raining off and on but the clouds managed to hold back while the kids had their runs. 

Elle and her long legs - she came 2nd for her year group

The head students also ran with the junior kids

Ryan has gotten a lot fitter since he started basketball and managed to run the whole thing with only a few stops