Sunday, June 28, 2015

Katies Birthday - Matariki Party

This year, for Katies Second (!!) birthday, we celebrated Matariki with some little friends!

Katies party fell one day after the New Moon during Matariki, and right now Camilla and Katie are obsessed with stars and the moon, so it seemed a perfect time to decorate and celebrate the Maori New Year with them!

Matariki is a formation of 7 stars that appear for a few weeks in Winter in New Zealand, which marks the Maori New Year - a time for clearing the land, planting new crops, remembering the dead and celebrating new life.

If you're interested, you can read more about it here.

We decorated our lounge with a dark blue sheet that had the stars pinned to it in the Matariki formation. From the roof hung strings of silver shiney stars that glimmered and danced the light of the fairy lights around the room. 

It was truly magical to be in there with all the lights going. Camilla was so excited about it, and has been dancing under the stars ever since. 

All of this was so easy to do for such a great effect!

Katie had a little gaggle of Tamariki who came to celebrate her birthday with her! 

Together they coloured in little pottle's and planted tulip bulbs in them which will come out bright pink in Spring. 

Don't all kids love colouring and gardening? It was a success in terms of entertaining kids so the Mums could have a cup of tea in peace!

The kids loved it, and as we buried their bulbs we got to talk about how God makes things new and grows things, and how beautiful this earth is. The tulips were to then be planted at home, with another opportunity to talk about growing things if they wanted.

The blue cupcake time was hilarious. I over did it on the food colouring, and some of the kids ended up with blue poos in the days following! Hee! 

Katie LOVED being sung to, all that attention and a cake being placed in front of her was just so exciting!! She spent the following weeks requesting renditions of "Happy Birthday" and "Ra whanau", to which Milla happily obliged.  

Celebrating Matariki and Katies birthday combined his year was simple, achievable, and spot on for child understand and stage. Next year we will venture into more detail and try some new things out, including flying kites and marae visit.

I've always wanted to have a mid year celebration become a tradition in our family, and I think this one will be it! Next year, we will also throw a Matariki celebration for the Adults too!

Happy Birthday Katie!! 

Nga mihi x

Saturday, June 20, 2015

On Trying To Fly

Running up to me:

Camilla (in tears): "Mama! Why can't I fly!??!!? I tried to fly and it didn't work"

An hour later you danced with your daddy under the sparkling stars and glowing fairy lights in our lounge. He spun you around and held your hands as you danced you around the room together. You were the happiest I think I have ever seen you.

Girl, you can fly, you just don't know it yet.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dresses For Cambodia - THE FINAL + Fundraising for Sarah

My Sisters, this is it! Our Dresses For Cambodia campaign has come to an end. The Dresses are piled high in my spare bedroom, awaiting packaging and suitcasing, to be sent to Cambodia.

I'll show them all to you in this post, and tell you the story of how they came to be. At the end of this post I hope you'll consider donating a few dollars to our friend Sarah who is living side by side our brothers and sisters in Cambodia.

On the 22nd January 2015 I put out a call to see, tentatively, if anyone would like to contribute to my personal desire to send handmade dresses to Cambodia with my friend Sarah who was returning indefinitely to serve the Khmer people who she had loved over the past year in 2014. 

Its always been my desire to support and bless Sarah in some way, I think she is an incredible person who I have had the pleasure of knowing for 8 years. Those kind of people (like Sarah) just attract a want and need to love them and help them in what ever they are doing. 

In church one night in January I was wondering how I could do that, and the idea was planted that I could sew. Sew I could! I could sew dresses for little girls in Cambodia. Who doesn't love having a new dress? Surely girls all over the world have a deep rooted desire to be a princess in a new dress, I wondered as I watched my own 3 year old daughter spin in her own beautiful dresses.

I emailed Sarah and asked if that was something she thought would be useful to her / the girls of Cambodia.

In her excited reply she told me of an organisation that she knows there that pick up street children each morning, ranging in ages from 1 year old plus. She told me that this organisation picks them up off the street and clothes, feeds, teaches and dresses the children for the day. Then they are (sadly) returned to the streets for another night, and the same process is repeated the next day.

Usually the children are given soccer uniforms to wear as they are so readily available over there.

Sarah said it would be brilliant to be able to gift beautiful handmade dresses to these girls.

Often these children aren't given anything. So for them to be told that women across the world had made a dress just for them would be the best thing. 

And so, on the night of the 22nd of January, I sat at my laptop and told you this sad story, wondering if we could join together and do anything about it.

In my mind I thought we could make 20 or so dresses and that would be fantastic. Sarah was ecstatic about 20 dresses.

Over the next few days a flood of emails hit my inbox and I was overwhelmed and encouraged by the response.

By the end of the week the first dress had arrived.

And they kept coming. Some sent one dress, some sent 10. Some sent clips and hair ties and packages of new underwear. What touched me most was that people would go out of their way to sew for someone else. To bless a little girl across the world. A little Sister, and tell her that no matter who she is, or where she is from, she is loved and valued. She matters.

A good friend of mine, Rosita, designed up some beautiful tags to attach to each of the dresses.

On the front says "Little Sister" in Khmer. Sarah tells me that it is the highest honour to be called someones Sister in Cambodia, which I thought was highly fitting for The Sisterhood.

Without a doubt, I want these girls to know that we have made these dresses because they are our Little Sisters.

On the back of the tag is a series of numbers which I have circled to show the size, and I have also written each of your names in the "Made by..." part.  

Sarah is returning indefinitely to Cambodia in September to love on our Sisters there, and she will be taking our dresses with her.

My initial goal of 20 dresses was blown out of the water! As always, you responded with generosity and eagerness at blessing and loving. All together we made.... *drum roll*...


Wowza!!!! I can't believe it!!! Can you imagine how many piles of dresses I have in my spare room now?! How many dresses you have made!! And why it took me weeks to tag and photograph them all!? Its beyond crazy!!

Infact, 177 dresses is far too many to fit into one suitcase! There are only so many dresses one can give out.

So that we don't overwhelm our Friend Sarah with our dresses, I'm going to be sending them to Cambodia in two lots; Sarah will take with her 100 squeezed into a suitcase when she returns in September, and I will be sending the remaining 77 with our Church missions team who are also going to Cambodia in August / September to serve the community. It's a happy co-incidence really that they are both going at the same time, and are both intending on giving out the dresses and blessing the children in different parts of Cambodia. 

Happy Happy! Can you believe it!? 177 dresses for little girls who spend their days worrying about their family members, their food and where they will sleep. 

Sure, our dresses may not save them, they may not be feeding them or providing for their practical needs, but they may give a moment of hope, a moment of a joy, perhaps even a smile. And that means the world to me. 

Its important to me that I support those who are out there in the world. The world changers, the hope givers, the smile creators; The Lovers.

My friend Sarah is one of those people. 

With her permission I have set up a Give A Little fundraising page on her behalf. It is my hope that we, together, with the little we have, can also financially provide for her as she returns to serve the Cambodian people.
If you are able to, please consider donating to this Give A Little Page for Sarah. I am hoping with the money we raise we can help contribute to her flights, or support her while she is over there. Once the fundraiser is finished 100% of the donations raised will be passed over to Sarah for her to use however she needs.

I know that many of you have asked if you can support Dresses For Cambodia / Sarah in a financial way, and this is how you can if you are able. 

In response to this post, the dresses and the fundraiser Sarah has said:: "I'm in a second hand shop and bawling my eyes out. It touches my heart so much that you've done this for these young girls. Sometimes all it takes is knowing one person is thinking & loving you. You guys are those people. So incredible. I would have never thought that this many people would reach out and be keen to help I'm so blown away & humbled. I can't wait to help you guys give these away!!!!!!! "

If you click on the DONATE button below it will take you to the fundraising page for you to contribute if you are able.

And now, my heart felt thanks to those who encouraged me along the way, and to those who used what they are good at to be a blessing. THANK YOU to the women who created dresses, prayed and loved.

Without you, this wouldn't have happened. It really does just take a few people joining together to see something happen. I feel honoured to be a part of this, and to know I am surrounded by such beautiful women like you.

And to my Friend Sarah. Girl, I love you to pieces. I have always admired your heart, commitment, friendship and your joy at serving others. Its who you are. Thank you for taking our dresses with you and for being so excited about this. I hope that one day I'll be as selfless and giving as you! Thank you for teaching me what it means to come alongside people and Love them. From all of us here, Thank you.

Thank you. Over and over again, Thank you.

Please share this post with your friends and whanau to show them what can be done when I few people gather together! Check back here to see how our fundraiser for Sarah is going!

Love always, Sophie xxxx

Everything I've written about Dresses For Cambodia
Sarah In Cambodia Fundraising Page
Sophie Slim Facebook Page for Updates

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dear Camilla, a 3.5yr old Update

[into Mums lipstick]

It is high time I did a blog post all about Camilla, my special 3 3/4 year old who is growing and learning at lightening speed. These are the days I want to remember, so it's important I visually get them down to reflect on. So really, this is a post for us, but you are welcome to read it too :) 

Camilla my sassy, opinionated, thoughtful, colourful, rule follower and pattern maker. I love you completely.

It's been a long time since I've written a post all about you, so here it is, all about your 3rd year. You'll be turning 4 in 3 months. You check the order of our birthdays mosts weeks just to make sure your birthday is still happening. We've just had Daddys (May), now we will have Katies soon (June), and then it will be your birthday after that (August), and my birthday is a few months after yours (November).

So, you are eagerly awaiting the day you turn FOUR. You'll have a party, maybe another Frozen party you think? I'll try and steer you towards something else (you had a frozen birthday party last year), but once you set your mind on something theres no convincing you otherwise. 

You know that after you turn FOUR, you'll turn FIVE, and thats when you'll officially be a big School Girl, a day you are hanging out for. 

You are like a sponge Camilla, you are always asking for more information, how to spell things, what words are what, how many things are in that thing, how did the colour get like that, what does that word mean. How to say different things in Maori. I know you are going to absolutely love school, but I try and teach you as much as I can at home while the goings good. You soak it all up, and at the most unexpected times bring it all back up. You are constantly listening and learning!  

Right now you are really into words and letters. You have been able to write your name for about 6 months now, and you're always practicing others. 

One day I woke up and in the early morning you had gotten your birth details print off your dutchess and had been practicing letters and numbers in the dark while we slept. 

You also love to draw people. This is what your people look like right now. Those big circles are elbows, knees and feet. This is a picture of "your family. You (Milla), Katie, Eda, Jared and Georgia"

Some times Katie draws with you, sometimes you love it and teach her new things (how to colour in your bubbles you draw) and other times she frustrates you. Katie doesn't play by the rules yet (she accidentally draws on the table and rips up paper) and that bothers you. 

If you could have a perfect day it would involve unlimited paper, felts, glitter and glue and being left to your own devices. You could draw all day long. 

Well, drawing and dancing, which is the new "in" thing right now. Earlier this year you got some beautiful dresses from my job at EziBuy and you LOVE to "put on Taylor Swift and dance ballet" with them. We put music on in the lounge and you can spend an after noon spinning, lifting your legs and arms and going into another dance world inside your mind. 

We watched some videos on youtube of some very graceful dancers and you were so inspired with some new moves, you've been dancing every day since. 

You love to keep the music on and wait for Daddy to get home. He is like your Prince Charming. You are always saving things for Daddy to see. You crave his praise and approval so much and of course he adores you, so it fills you up to see him. 

You love Daddy dates and fluffies, time at the park and museum and spending quality time with Dad. 

When you're not dancing and drawing, you are probably at Kindy painting, hanging on the monkey bars, swinging from the rope swing or racing around with your little friends. 

In the photo above you are standing in front of your perseverance poster. The Kindy Kaiako are always praising and commenting on your perseverance, you are always (and have always) taken your time to learn a new task. First you watch to see how it is done, you figure it out in your head, and when you are ready you attempt it, usually doing it the first time around, and if not you'll try and try again until you have mastered something. 

[at the Kindy Wheelathon, we all dressed in waiporoporo and you rode your scooter around the track!]

[Your friend Lucy at Hollys 3rd Birthday Fairy Party]

A little while ago we went to McDonalds for lunch after church. When we sat down at the table you looked around and noticed there was no playground at that particular McDonalds. The following conversation happened::

Camilla: "Mum, there is no play ground at this McDonalds."
Me: "No theres not, good noticing"
Camilla: "...Maybe you could think about that next time..."

You love your little Sister Katie, even though right now she's learning to push everyones figurative buttons. 

You two are still sharing a room and that is going well, hopefully that will continue for a long time. 

In the morning you creep out of bed, put on your dressing gown, check to see if Katie is awake, then you'll go and do something in the lounge. 

Some mornings you sneak into the kitchen and make your own cornies, and choose your own clothes and get dressed yourself. You are so independent! It makes us laugh, you are so capable and we are always surprised by it, even though we shouldn't be. You've been this way since day one. 

You love to encourage and teach Katie new things. You are like a mother to her, always bossing her around and deciding what she gets to do. 

For a while you nicknamed her "Kayde" but that seems to have stopped now. 

And Little Eda, who we spend a lot of time with, between connect groups and Maori courses, you end up spending a lot of dinners and nights at each others houses. You love Eda to pieces, and some times seem to love her a lot more than our own family. 

Whenever we go to the "Fruitwell Whare" you are always thinking of things you can take as gifts for Jared, and you think of Georgia as your own Mum some times. 

And lastly, all the other things that make up Milla: hut building, present wrapping, book reading, bouncing and tumbling and flips on the trampoline or off the couch, riding your bike around the house and doing skids with your brakes, and gazing at the moon and stars. 

Oh you love those stars and glowing moon, sunrises and sunsets, clouds and sweet sunshiney days. You are full of wonder and awe at our world and the beauty it shows you every day. We gaze up at the stars and compare the size of the moon some nights before bed, and you "Waaaaoooowwww" with delight. 

Little Camilla, I hope that awe never gets old. This is a beautiful life we have, and we have a beautiful place in which to live it.

Peace and Love,
From Mama xxx

oh! AND PS! You stopped sucking your fingers at night time when you realised that Ana (from Frozen) wasn't sucking hers when she was in bed! Yess

More posts about Camilla here

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