Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Welcome Easton Neal Sharp

My sister blessed our family with the most precious human being!!!  I am madly in love and can't wait to get back down there and give him sweet kisses!!

Shelley requested a rustic canvas...this is what I was able to come up with.

Happy nephew kisses,

Back to Wellington for the SFT Workshop

We arrived back in Wellington on Friday night just in time for dinner.  We were staying with some of Jared and Rachel's friends that attend the congregation where we were holding the workshop.  Carl and Adeline Cumings are AMAZING!!!  Adeline's family owns a Malaysian restaurant, so we were soooo excited to go eat there before the workshop started!!  It was DELICIOUS!!!!

Once we finished dinner we headed to the church building to make sure Gary was all set up for the workshop.  Carl was so helpful and anything Gary (or even I) needed he was on top of it immediatly!  Everyone was so excited for the number of people that were there throughout the entire weekend.  Of course, just like any other workshop or meeting, Sunday morning was the most attended.  However, we were incredibly pleased with how it all turned out. 

Here's the crowd on Sunday morning:

Gary did the worship and the Bible class.  Rachel and I went upstairs and did a kid Bible class so the parent's wouldn't have to entertain them for another hour.  It was a lot of fun and those kids were super smart!!  I wish that I would have gotten pictures of them because they were beautiful kids!!!

Our only group picture from the whole visit :).

After church we did a little more Wellington site seeing before Jared and Rachel had to leave us.
This is a Catholic church that you can tour.  This is were Carl and Adeline got married...GORGEOUS!!

This is the Bee Hive.

Super awkward shot!! 

Gary and I stayed the night with Carl and Adeline and we went to another congregation with them that night and then over to the Moore's (Kevin Moore was one of my teachers at Freed and his wife was my aunt's friend) and had a going away party for a couple that had been living there, but was moving back to the states.  It was nice to get that last little hoo-ray before we left too :).

Group Photo

We then went back to Carl and Adeline's for our last night in New Zealand.  Kevin then came and picked us up super early to catch our flight.

We had a great time while we were there and we can't wait until our next visit!!  We have both stayed in contact with people there on a personaly level and Gary on a professional one (SFT). 

Thanks for reading all of my posts about New Zealand!!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Hobbiton and The Maori Experience

Even though Taupo is pretty touristy, most of the stuff that people really want to see is about an hour away.  So, we still had some driving to do on our fun day!!

Before Gary and I even got up, Rachel and Jared had a little 4th of July celebration with their gifts

Jared wanted to be sure you could see the pillow sticking out because he didn't want people to think his belly was that big :).

Isn't she just the cutest pregnant thing ever!!

Rachel and Jared already had our fun filled day all planned with exact times that we would need to be at places.  Hobbiton was first on the list for the day.

Hobbiton is right outside the town of Matamata.  They have totally embraced all of the tourists and are extremely welcoming and love to tell you all about their experience.
Their Gollum/Smeagol Statue.

We had to ride one bus from town out to a stopping place where they had the gift shop and restrooms.

  This is what we saw when we got off the bus.

We hopped on another bus that had several other people on it including some very rude people that were listening to their music and watching portable devices while the tour guide was trying to talk.  They were of a specific nationality, but I will not share that with you at this time.  I will be kind :).

Now entering...

the garden is pretty much the first thing you see.

The couples at the first hobbit hole.
It was raining a bit and even though Rachel and I had bought gumboots (no we didn't spend much for them) the day before, for some reason we didn't think about wearing them here.  Wish we would have!
The Green Dragon pub was across the big lake

you can see a little construction on the left side in this picture.  They are making an actual restaurant now that filming for The Hobbit is done.  I sure hope we can go back and see that one day!!
The bridge in the middle is the one that Gandalf the Grey crosses to come into Hobbiton.

Up Next...

The party tree, where they have Bilbo's birthday party
little hobbit stools
The party tree from up above

Now for...

where Bilbo and Frodo Baggins live
We couldn't walk up and see it, but don't worry the set is actually in a studio and not through that little door...sad day!!
However, on a happy note.  Jared Kyle may or may not have found 2 of the leaves from this tree (on top of bag end) laying on the hobbit path.

Now just for some pictures...

We even saw a couple having their wedding pictures taken.  Did you know it costs $10,000 just to have your pictures taken here??!!??  They better be some major fans of Lord of the Rings!!

There was another person who was going to direct the movies, but it didn't work out.  This was part of the set he had built before Peter Jackson took over.  They used a little bit of it, but mostly used the set they made.

There were some hobbit holes that were small (for the tall people in the movie) and some were big (for the small people in the movie.  They had to make sure everything was to scale.  This is Jared standing beside one of the small hobbit holes.

Our guide was a lot of fun and you could tell he really loves his job!!!

There was one hobbit hole that we could go inside and take pictures.  There was nothing inside except a bunch of wood and it went probably only a few feet back.

Once we got back to the place where the gift shop was our guide let us feed some sheep.  That thing was sucking on that bottle so hard I thought he was going to rip it out of my hand.  Rachel is behind me and we were giggling the whole time.  We didn't do it for very long because those things were sucking it down and we wanted to give other people a chance.  

After we left Hobbiton, we made a stop to ride the luge.

Riding up the gondola to the luge.

Riders ready!  The pregnant one couldn't go :(.

Ready, set, LUGE!!!
It was really fun, but I wish we could have done it again.  There was a little girl that was stopped on the track and trying to get going.  Jared and I were able to pass her and get our speed going, but Gary got stuck behind her and came in last place.  Don't worry the little girl was fine, just breaking too much :).

Riding back up.

This is a New Zealand native drink.  It was actually pretty good!!

The last stop of the day was the Maori Experience.  You can learn about the Maori people here.

They had a clothes shop.  We watched a lady make one of the skirts.  I even videoed her.  It was very interesting.

There was also a wood working school where the younger men learn to make the maori masks.  

That evening we got to enjoy some entertainment and a hangi.  

We were first brought 'into the home' in a traditional way.

(sorry for the bluriness)  This is the warrior coming out to meet our captain (random selection from the crowd).  The warrior places something at the captains feet and then backs up in fighting position.  If the captain of the 'other tribe' picks up the item they are welcomed into the warriors home.  If not, they fight.  Good thing he picked it up :).

They did music and singing outside.

They had all kinds of dances and singing.  The boys learned the haka and us girls learned a poi dance.  Yes, we got it all on video, but don't have any pictures...sorry.

After the entertainment was over we got to eat!!!  It was buffet still and SOOOO good!!  There was this little girl sitting across the table from us and I feel in love with her.  We first saw her in the gift shop and she was just staring and smiling!  Her name was Tahi, which means 1 in the Maori language.  She even came over at one point and sat in my lap!!!

After dinner we all hopped in some covered golf carts and they carried us down to where the geyers were.  Earlier in the day we had gone on a tour, but the geyers weren't going off.  Luckily, they were that night! 

You can't tell, but that's us in front of the rupturing geyser.

We even enjoyed hot chocolate on the hot rocks.  Yes, those rocks kept your bum warm!!!

Hope you enjoyed our fun filled day!!

Up next...SFT Workshop!!  The main reason we went to New Zealand!!