Saturday, May 26

Thanks Nana!

For the lovely surprise present Maddy received today. He wore his new all black t-shirt today (which fit him nicely) and we attempted to play the card game also. I am trying to teach him the song "He's got the whole world in his hands" which he loves to sing along to. We normally sing a few songs/rhymes after reading a few books every night, so this is the new addition. Thanks so much for this book - another great one to add to his collection.

We hope you got your "Mother's Day pressie" :)

Love Us xxox

Tuesday, May 15

Update on Maddy!

As of today we were informed by our doctor that Maddy has been given the "all clear" for enrolling him into school. He had his physical and next set of 4 immunization injections last Wednesday and all the results were good. He had to take an extra hearing test with an ENT specialist and was told he passed with flying colors. He has excellent hearing so I'm assuming when he doesn't answer us when we call him, its because he has chosen not to i.e. selective hearing like his Daddy (haha).

When the forms arrive in the mail this week, we will go back to Stenwood Elementary School to finish off his enrollment. I am so happy that he is looking forward to starting Kindergarten in September :)

Saturday, May 12

Samoa's Malietoa Tanumafili II, Head of State for 45 years, has died.

Taken from:

"This death is an epoch moment for Samoa as it has never before had to choose a successor Head of State. Two key decisions few living Samoans have ever had to deal with will now have to be made: who will be the next Head of State, and who will next be bestowed with the "tama-a-aiga" or princely title of Malietoa. Who will assume that title could take years, but the next Head of State is almost certain to be another paramount chief, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi. In the 1970s he was prime minister and was known as Tupuola Efi.

Malietoa Tanumafili II was born on January 4, 1913, the son of the first Tanumafili. The title Malietoa is one of Samoa's most powerful and gave the holder title over much of Samoa. In the 19th Century, backed by European colonial powers, various Malietoa holders and other paramount chiefs would make war on each other.

Under New Zealand rule in Western Samoa, Malietoa Tanumafili I was a strong supporter of Wellington, putting him in opposition to the majority of Samoans who backed the Mau movement and independence.

Samoa had experienced tension and bloodshed over which paramount title became de facto king of Samoa and when independence arrived in 1962 there was high level worry over the possibility of this arising again.

In a remarkable compromise Samoa's constitutional conference decided that two rival paramount chiefs should be joint Head of State for the terms of their lives. Thus Malietoa Tanumafili II and Tupua Tamasese Meole became the joint Head at independence in 1962. They stood together with New Zealand Prime Minister Keith Holyoake and raised the flag of independence at Mulinu'u.

A year later Tupua Tamasese died leaving Malietoa alone. He defined the post by a gracious dignity and sincere warmth of character. He was a nationalist, immensely proud of Samoa, but he was also an intelligent leader well aware of the need to offer a guiding hand rather than an oppressive one.

The office of Head of State was required by the constitution to act on the advise of Parliament and the executive government, and while there were moments of tension over the years in Samoa, Malietoa always acted with great care and never betrayed any political bias.

But he was also the Malietoa and he had to lead the governance of his own aiga or extended family. His power was illustrated a decade ago in the village of Malie where he ordered the banishment of two matai or chiefs who had defied village council rules.

A letter from Malietoa revealed his power.
"I am astonished at the arrogance," he said of the chiefs who defied him.
"I am Malietoa, the father of our village. "My life is 84 years old and this is the first time inside of Malie that a position has arisen where ... a speech by a Malietoa has been belittled."

He informed the pulenu'u or mayor that the men must leave Malie, and return their chiefly titles.

He said they must also "remove their houses and... let there be no gravel or sand (of theirs) remaining on the soil of Malie."

Another chief had said no one in the history of Malie had ever disobeyed Malietoa.
"He owns the soil, the trees. But for the fact that this Malietoa is humble, the two men would not be alive today," he said.

As Head of State Malietoa was entitled to live at Vailima, the lovely sprawling estate in the hills above Apia that was created by Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson. He never lived in it, preferring his own rather more ordinary house in town, but he would use it for official functions. But when Vailima was given to a US Mormon trust for development, Malietoa steadfastly refused to return to it.

Malietoa remained remarkably healthy throughout his life. His romantic life was a matter of discretion and the number of children he fathered is not fully known. He also had a great passion for golf and until late in life would play a round or two a week.

Malietoa's death ends the last of a once powerful 20th Century Polynesian triumvirate. The three were all related: Samoa's Malietoa Tanumafili II, Tonga's King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and Fiji's Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

All three men were heads of state at times of independence and all held powerful chiefly titles recognised as royal across the Pacific.

Ratu Mara was the youngest of them but when he died in 2004, aged 84. He had taken Fiji to independence in 1970 and also served as president. He was also a paramount chief of the Lau Islanders - and by extension a prince of Fiji.

Tonga's King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV was a cousin of Ratu Mara and he ruled Tonga for 41 years, died last year aged 88."

Happy Mother's Day Nanna and Grandma :)

Just wanting to wish Nanna and Grandma a Happy Mother's Day today :)
Hope Papa and Grandpa spoil you both :)

Love Maddy, Mommy and Daddy xxoxx

Friday, May 11

More Pictures Of Our Trip To New Haven

Listening to his songs on the train

On the Jungle Bars @ the Park
Aunty Lu and Maddy @ the Lookout
BBQ'ing with Uncle Steve
Serving Lunch for Aunty Lu
Up, up and away in a hot air balloon

On the merry-go-round
Driving A Car
Behind Bars
Aunty Lu sitting in a wheel barrow chair @ the Children's Museum

New Haven Was So Much Fun!

What a fun time we had visiting with Aunty Lou and Uncle Steve :). We took the Amtrak train to New Haven, which was over 5 hours long. To my amazement, we had no trouble finding our way to Union Station in Washington DC. I made sure Maddy had a lot of things to do to keep him occupied throughout the trip. He had books to read, puzzles to do and color in, cards to play with and children's music and rhymes to listen to on our shuffle ipod.

We did everything we could that a 4 1/2 year old would enjoy doing. We visited The Peabody Museum which had an awesome Dinosaur Collection on display and where Maddy spent most of his pocket money on the souvenirs in the shop (his favorite thing of all).

We visited the Children's Museum which allows kids to interact and learn about music, mathematics, linguistics, space, city connections i.e firehouse, post office, a small town, a green grocer etc, reflections in mirrors, a video and puppet stage place where kids can dress up and put on a show (maddy was a pirate), natural surroundings through magnifying glass, and a few more other activities. We were there for three whole hours and of course had to stop off at the souvenir shop to buy a few books and stickers. Each room had a special theme, with colorful and bright murals on the walls created by local artists - it was absolutely amazing and fun at the same time!!

We were fortunate enough to visit the Mystic Aquarium where we saw for the first time, several Baluga Whales - they were beautiful :) Other animals we saw were seals, turtles, frogs, toads, fish, stingrays, sharks, and pretty much everything else you can find in the sea.
We played at the local park, went to the Lookout where we could see all of New Haven, played at the beach and ate at a fish diner called Libby's. The fried fish was absolutely wonderful and reminded me of the fish n'chips we use to eat in NZ. We ate the local pizza which was also great, went for walks in the evenings to buy ice cream and also spent a day in New York with Uncle Steve's family. As soon as we arrived, it didn't take long for Maddy to make two new friends. He was off playing the whole time and I only saw him when he was hungry (takes after mommy I think!).

Overall, we had a fabulous time there and want to thank Aunty and Uncle for having us, and we look forward to returning one day soon.

Wednesday, May 9

In Tanzania

I arrived safely in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania yesterday evening. Only 2 more weeks to go before I fly home to Rachel and Maddy. Woohoo! This was posted via email.