Friday, 31 December 2010

A year ends

It is two hours from the end of 2010. A year which sadly ended with having to put my cat Tigger to rest. R.I.P. Tiggy-tiggs.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The sun appears - hooray!

It's been a rainy, windy couple of days, but the sky is now blue and the sun shining, the wind little more than a light breeze. Perfect for backyard cricket. Oh and for getting No.3 haircuts:

Tyler was in a helpful mood this morning, and who was I to stand in his way?? Dave and Leona are staying with us for a couple of days, so I did a big cooked breakfast and when I was about to launch into the dishes, the wee dude offered to help.

I always find it interesting the varied positions which Tyler seems to find comfortable to watch tv.

Chris is off to Te Anau for the night, to catch up with a bunch of old school mates, one of whom he hasn't seen for 20 years. Naturally he wanted to look his best :) so I gave him a haircut and finally persuaded T to have one too.

Apart from that, we are just chilling out - playing Connect Four and cricket, eating more than is good for us and enjoying the company of family. And soon friends, as the Harwoods arrive on New Year's Eve for a couple of days. It's so good to have a house big enough to accommodate everyone! Although with two 6 year olds, a 4 year old and a 7 month old, I'm guessing the house will seem quite full ;)

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing Day

The Campbell-McLeod family had a lovely Christmas full of family, love and laughter.

Our day started at 5:10am, when Tyler got into our bed and said a very loud "Merry Christmas! - I'm not going to check out my Santa sack yet". Excellent we thought, he'll go back to sleep, but noooooooo. 5 minutes later he pipes up "Do you want to know what time it is?". I mumble something and he leaps out of bed looks at the clock and announces brightly "5:15! When can we get up?" Negotiations ensued resulting in 5:45am. From 5:15 till 5:45, the time was announced approximately every 5 minutes. We then sent him off to check out Santa's presents which he did by dragging the sack back to our bed and announcing every item with squeals of "Awesome!" "Cool!" etc very loudly and with every light in our bedroom on. As I had most of my brain in gear by that stage it was really very nice watching his wee face light up with each discovery :)

We had coffee and croissants for breakfast then Chris got his chef game-face on and started doing rude things to a turkey, so Tyler and I headed over to Mum's, along with the Howards, to exchange gifts.

Back to our house where Chris had laid on a feast (with plum puddings from Mum and honey & ginger-glazed carrots and a salad from the Howards). We had turkey, ham, new potatoes from our garden, peas, carrots and several salads. Then a brief rest followed by plum pudding with custard and cream, brandy snaps, fruit salad and jelly. There were 11 of us altogether and it was so nice to have everyone here and still have lots of space.
Once we'd digested all that lot, the Howards and Parsons departed and Chris, Tyler, Bruce, Ali and I played backyard cricket accompanied by much kidding around and laughter.
Anton, his girlfriend and his flatmate came over for tea and departed with as many leftovers as they could carry.
I tucked T-man into bed about 9pm and asked my usual bed-time questions:
Me: Did you have a good day today?
Tyler: It was the best day ever!
Me: So what was the best part of the day?
Tyler: Everything.
I'll second that.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve

Yes, it's finally here and Tyler is beyond excited. We have ready a carrot for Rudolph and some milk for Santa. We had a great big chocolate-coated oat biscuit ready for Santa but as I finished making a hot drink for Chris and I this afternoon, I looked up to see him mid-munch on said biscuit. Oopsie Daddy! Substitute sorted. T-man snapped a few photos this afternoon for your viewing pleasure:
He made this at school for me and Chris
Santa's Little Helper
Prezzies under the tree

I am off to the Basilica to sing twice tonight - firstly at 7:30pm for Christmas Carols & Vigil Mass and then at 11:30pm for Midnight Mass. It will be great to sing some really traditional Christmas music.
I just realised I haven't blogged since before we had the Advent Verspers performance. It went well, and I was reasonably happy with my aria. I managed to do a number of the things I had been trying to technique-wise so that was a bonus. The whole service was lovely.

Monday, 13 December 2010

When is a naughty word not naughty?

Me: Oh bum, I forgot to go to the supermarket.
Tyler: Hey Mum, isn't bum a naughty word?!
Me: Ah, um, depends on the context really.....
Tyler: Oh! You mean like if I say 'BUMblebee' it's ok?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Feeling Christmassy

Saturday was Christmas-tree-putting-up day. Tyler was very excited about this and was thrilled that the new Christmas tree was put together using letters of the alphabet so he could work out which branches went where. The intial decorating resulted in a large cluster of ornaments right at the front, so there was a little surreptitious after-the-event redecorating to balance things out :)

New nativity scene

Another new ornament.

Living round the corner from 'The Christmas Shop' is dangerous to one's purse!

We also have the hanging Advent Calendar going - it has pockets in which I put a piece of paper with a picture of a place or thing for Tyler to go and find a wee treat. He bounces out of bed in the morning and the first thing he says is "Can I go and find my treat now?" He can always tell me how many sleeps till Christmas and we are also counting down the sleeps till school finishes.
Last Friday I sang and played my flute at the SGHS Old Girls Association Christmas function and it was great to catch up with a number of people I knew, including my first music teacher at Girls' High, Mrs Doris Scott. On Sunday was my singing teacher's end of year recital - she has mostly school-aged pupils but she asked me and another adult student (my singing buddy Ruth) to come and perform too, because she wanted the younger ones to see what they could aspire to. No pressure then! I had my first performance of In uomini, in soldati and it wasn't too bad (even making up two lines worth of words on the fly).
The next singing engagement is on the 19th at the Basilica where I will be performing the 'Echo Aria' (Flost mein Heiland) from Bach's Christmas Oratorio complete with continuo and oboe. Really looking forward to it.

Chris is busy finishing of the outside tidying up and flossying, which has included concrete curbing round the edge of the garden and has given it a really nice finish. He had a good day at softball on Saturday, making one huge hit which got 2 of his team home and him onto second base, and taking several really good catches. I asked him how much softball he'd played before last year when he joined the Wallacetown team and he said, "Well, none really". He looks like he's been doing it since childhood. Irritating for those of us without a co-ordinated bone in our bodies.

Monday, 29 November 2010


My goodness we've had some amazing weather recently! Makes it very hard to work in an office. Saturday was the annual Santa Parade and although it rained in the morning, it had stopped in good time for the Parade, and it was very warm. Tyler ran into a little boy in his class so they watched the Parade together. T was most impressed that Mrs Claus was in the sleigh with Santa.

Sunday was a scorcher, so we took our newly-acquired jetski out to Oreti River and blatted around on that. Then we tied the biscuit on a first Tyler, and then Tyler and I together hurtled around. Tyler wasn't content with level of bumping over the wake and actively tried to make the biscuit jump, shouting Yeeehaaah! all the while (while his mother on the back was just shouting fullstop).

Sunday night was the last A Capella concert for the year. We did the Mozart Coronation Mass and my singing teacher Rebecca Ryan was the soprano soloist. She also did Mozart's Alleluia (which she casually handed me the music of the other day and said "I think you should look at that". Eep!) I had a small solo bit in one of the carols we sang in the second half and it went OK. The Mass itself rocked and we were all on a high at the end.

Every Wednesday Tyler plays touch and last week he was awarded the Player of the Day trophy. He was very proud (as was Chris who helps coach and ref).

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Mr Gappy

And here he is, minus one top front tooth, courtesy of some sustained wiggling this afternoon and last little tug from Daddy. The tooth is already safely tucked under his pillow.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


Tyler is about to reach another milestone, he has not one but two wiggly teeth. He is very excited about the prospect of a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Meanwhile Mum and Dad have been consulting his classmates' parents re the going rate. Obviously the kids at school have been discussing the ins and outs of Tooth Fairy behaviour because when I asked him what would happen if he lost a tooth he nonchalantly replied "Oh you just write a note to the Tooth Fairy and leave it under your bed".

We had a busy day today, up early to cheer on the Preston Russell Law Vikings at the Corpor8 rowing - they won, hurrah!! - and then a joint birthday lunch at Eat on Windsor with the Howards and Mum & Richard.

Singing tomorrow at the First Church sesquicentennial celebrations morning service - I have the solo in Psalm 23, the 'Vicar of Dibley' setting by Howard Goodall. We are also doing Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence and the Clare Benediction.

Words of wisdom

At practice for First Church choir on Thursday, the minister of the church (who sings in the choir) got Tyler to stand by him and have a sing. On the way home Tyler and I had this conversation:

Me: Did you have fun singing with the minister?
Tyler: Yes. Mum, what's a minister?
Me: (Thinking - how can I summarise this?!) Well, at church on Sunday's he stands up in front of everyone and tells them about things that are in the bible.
Tyler (firmly): I know what's in the bible.
Me: Do you? What?
Tyler: Words.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

All the fun of the fair

Ok so silly me forgot to take the camera last night so unfortunately no Guy Fawkes photos. But Tyler had a great time and completed tired out the words 'wow' and 'awesome'.

Today was the Sacred Heart School fair. There was a children's Mass first and the kids were fair busting to get through it and outside :) The weather was a misty rain when we first went to church but by the time we got out it had stopped and it got progressively better as the day went on. Tyler had a ball, and spent his own money and his mother's with abandon. His favourite thing was getting his hair done at the Funky Hair stall by his teacher.

His mother and father followed more sedate pursuits i.e. Devonshire Tea and cake stall.
I'm back into singing lessons with a vengeance now and have a bunch of new music to learn including Despina's aria 'In uomini, in soldati' from Cosi, the upper part of the duet 'Christe Eleison' from Bach's Mass in B minor and the amazingly-named 'The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation' by Purcell. Looking back, it is exciting to see how far my technique has developed this year. I have had a number of comments along the lines of how much richer my voice is sounding, so the practice is obviously paying off.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

'Tis the season...

Ha, you thought I was talking about Christmas didn't you? Well I will, but first we have to get through Guy Fawkes. Yes I know the official night was last night, but Saturday night's work so much better for that sort of thing, don't you think? So in about 2.5 hours, we will be trotting down the road to a paddock beside a friend's place, with our box of fireworks (with compulsory sparklers), to dance around a bonfire and ooh and aah at the fireworks display. I love daylight savings and the long, long, evening light, but it sure makes for a late night! Hopefully some pics to come from that.
We visited the Christmas Magic Shop today, and I overspent my self-imposed budget, but came away satisfied :) We now have a traditional style Nativity set, a centre-piece for the table and number of smaller decorations including a snow globe that Tyler particularly liked. It's really the start of the Campbell-McLeod family's Christmas decorations collection.
On a completely different note, here is what greets me when I pull the curtains at the front door in the mornings - a riot of colour. The photo doesn't do justice to the vibrancy of the colours.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Two weeks of Term 4 already gone, touch rugby started and lo and behold some astoundingly beautiful weather for Labour weekend and this weekend. The only fly in the ointment was losing to the Wallabies last night. :\

Halloween tonight, and although Tyler asked periodically throughout the day if he could go trick-or-treating, I managed to avoid him going. My two singing buddies were here for our regular wine and nibbles, so I gave it a Halloween theme: I wore a witches hat, had spiderwebs hanging down from the ceiling and draped over furniture, gummy lollies shaped like eyeballs and body parts and Tyler's favourite, jelly with snakes set it.
Christmas is clearly not that far away, as singing engagements are coming thick and fast. The ones I'm looking forward to most are the Vespers concert on Dec. 19th at the Basilica to dedicate the new continuo organ and I get to sing an aria from the St Matthew Passion accompanied by instruments and continuo and then the Midnight Mass also at the Basilica.

Some random photos for your enjoyment. Firstly, the other night I went in to check on T just before I went to bed and found him with his favourite toy, Blueberry -

And one I took while at Chipmunks recently:

Friday, 15 October 2010

He's the man!

The scene: Tyler in the bath surrounded by bubbles
Tyler: Muuuum! Come and look at this!
(Muuuuum comes running)
Tyler (face artfully decorated with bubbles in the shape of a goatee): Look at me!
Me: Oh you look cute, you look like Daddy.
Tyler (standing up and looking in the mirror): I'm all man!
(Me: hysterical laughter)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

What a difference a haircut makes!

Pedro has been in dire need of a haircut for some time, so off the dog groomer he went late this afternoon. What a difference 2 hours of TLC makes!

Well as you can see, no photos! But not for lack for trying. I am about to throw in the towel with Blogger and move everything over to Wordpress. Watch this space....
Edited 4pm 10/10/10
Hooray - I remember that you can go back to the old Blogger editor and the picture uploader works!!! So here are the before and after photos....

He's like two different dogs *lol*

Last day of the school holidays so I have been sorting out Tyler's summer uniform. Of course the weather has to turn nasty just as they go into summer uniform. And touch starts this week too. Typical.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Dunedin visit

On Friday, Tyler and I headed up to Dunedin for an overnight stay. He was very excited because I booked us in at the Aaron Lodge Holiday Park which has a heated indoor swimming pool. So pretty much as soon as we arrived, we were off for a swim. It's a small pool and even the 'shallow' end is 3ft deep so almost up to Tyler's chin.

After dropping off a bottle of wine and some chocs to Stewart Robertson of Advertising and Art who created our new A Capella Singers logo pro bono, we headed off to Sawyers Bay to visit Rachel, Sam and Morgan and new baby Scarlett. Miss Scarlett is just gorgeous and like her siblings is an early mover. At 6 months old, she is pulling herself up to standing and trying to walk!

Tyler and Scarlett
  We had tea at Cableways and then after a decent interval we went back to the swimming pool. As I was feeling a bit cold I decided to sit beside the pool and watch Tyler. He was having fun toddling around in the shallow end and then all of a sudden, having pushed off the bottom a bit hard in the direction of the deeper water by mistake, he was going under and swallowing water big time. I ripped off my sweatshirt, jumped in and grabbed him. Both of us got an awful fright, but thankfully Tyler seems none the worse for his experience, and even as we were heading back to the motel unit (me fully clothed and soaking wet) he was planning his next swim!


The next morning we went to the Museum, and Tyler really enjoyed the rainforest butterly exhibition. He had a beautiful black and yellow butterfly sit on his finger. He also had heaps of fun playing with the kids interactive science exhibition. 
At the rainforest butterfly exhibition
 We then headed for home, stopping in at Dunedin airport to catch up with the Howards who were checking in for their flight to Brisbane.

Only one more sleep till Chris/Daddy gets home!!

Edited for the umpeenth time: As you can see I've managed to get some photos to load, but they have been severely distorted. To see them properly, just click on each one (and then hit the Go Back button on your brower to return to the blog)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


I took Monday and Tuesday off work to spend some time with Tyler, and recover from singing comps. Luckily the weather was pretty good, so we got to run around outside playing ball-tag and laughing ourselves silly. Chris rang from Sydney on Tuesday - they won their first game so all good. Home-boy that he is, he is already looking forward to coming home :)

I finally organised for the piano-tuner to come and sort out the piano. And there goes my prize-winnings from the weekend! (and then some). Currently it is a mere shell, with all it's innards in his workshop and not likely to be back for about 2 weeks. However when it is all done, it will be restored to it's not inconsiderable former glory. He tells me that it is a very very good quality piano and in original condition in the sense that no-one has mucked about with it and added unwarranted bits and pieces. Once he's finished I'll get it professionally polished and the old girl will be a sight to behold and hear. Yay - no more sticking B clashing with B flats.:)

Tyler spent the day at the OSCAR holiday programme and had a great time. He's also there tomorrow. I think he's missing his Daddy as all his drawings are of or about him. Friday I have another day off work and we are heading up to Dunedin for the night and to visit my friend who has a new addition to the family who we have not yet met. We are staying at a Holiday Park that Tyler loves because it has an indoor swimming pool. He doesn't know that yet, so it will a lovely wee surprise for him.

The stoopid photo thingy is still not working, sorry. I'm going to go and have a whinge at the Blogspot people.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Baa Baa Black Sheep Tyler Styles

Tyler (singing):
Baa baa black sheep
Any any wool?
Bless you, bless you,
Never wanna fall

Me: What are those words?

Tyler: Duh! Those are the words of the song!

Me: Ohhkaaay.

I was going to put some photos here but the photo uploader has been changed and now isn't working, grrr.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Singing competitions

Competitions day - morning session complete. Two wins from 2 classes! Operatic Aria and French Art Song. With a special thanks for 'such a beautiful Clair de Lune' from the adjudicator.

Four classes this afternoon - 2 of which have a high potential for disaster :) Updates to come.

UPDATE 5pm: No results yet as they were running late and I had to nip home to feed the kiddies. However, Oratorio was so-so (with one glaring error), Comic was great so hoping to place in that, own Selection was a disaster and Duet was ok, despite some probs with the piano accommpaniment. Voice is very ragged, so I may not do Lieder class and just give up the remains of my vocal chords to the Scholarship class. Back later......

UPDATE 10am Sunday: Didn't update last night, too tired and quite frankly I was bummed out. Came second in the scholarship, basically because I made some errors in the timing of a couple of entries in the test piece. Technically it was fine. And 'Let the Bright Seraphim' rocked! But thems the breaks. It's what happens on the day. I even pulled out of the Lieder class so I could give it everything in the scholarship. I did end up with a first in the Comic, so I'm very happy with that. And despite what I felt was a disastrous 'Rejoice Greatly' in the Own Selection class, I came 3rd. Haven't seen the adjuicator's report on that yet, and I'm curious to know what it says!

So summing up: 3x 1st, 2x 2nd, 1x 3rd and 1x 3=  Not too bad an effort. Not to mention about $600 in prize money - having said that, the money is totally not what motivates me when it comes to singing.

Feeling a bit jaded this morning, which is the norm. There are a couple of classes this afternoon which I'm not in, so I can go along and just relax and enjoy other people's singing. Not to mention I can listen to CD's other than those of the songs I've been rehearsing!

Sorry it's been all me me me meeeee! Normal Tyler and family updates will resume shortly :)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

More snow........

After the last lot of pictures it snowed steadily and heavily for another couple of hours. We stayed snug and warm inside (although of course no SKY) until it stopped snowing and the sun burst out. Tyler made his first snowman, all his own work except for the mouth which I made with a small piece of rhubarab from the garden.

Nobody knows (tiddlypom), how cold my toes (tiddlypom)... cold my toes (tiddlypom) are growing. Yes and other bits of me too as soon as I step outside the door. The snow is falling thick and fast.  It's a winter wonderland out there - in Spring. Here are a couple of pics from earlier this morning when the snow was only light. I'm about to pop outside to take some more - you'll see the difference and hour of snowing makes.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

House photos

Finally some house photos. A lovely day today here in Invervegas. Chris has done a heap of work on the garden - unfortunately we didn't take any 'before' photos. Anyway here are a few:

This is my equivalent of Chris' 'man-cave'. It has the computer, piano and finally a bookshelf to hold all my music.

This is the main lounge

The dining room

Tyler's room

Our room, featuring our new Superking bed

Our room again, looking towards the ensuite

The towel stand. I'm showing this because it makes me feel flash :)

Outside facing the lounge, Tyler and Pedro enjoying the sun

Some of Chris' handiwork  - this time with Tigger enjoying the sun

Outside the kitchen/dining area - Chris is digging out the stony bit by the three short bushes

And here is Tyler reading in bed

Thursday, 9 September 2010


Yes, it's been 3 weeks since my last confession post. I have not yet taken photos of the new house, but finally I have a relatively free weekend ahead and so I promise I will! Especially as Chris has been buried in the garden (no I haven't bumped him off for the insurance) and has been weeding, digging up, tearing down, and beautifying.

The house is pretty much set up now, and we are revelling in the leg/arm/body room of a new Superking-size bed. I no longer end up shaped like a pretzel if the wee dude pops in for a snuggle in the mornings. 

The A Capella concert last Sunday went very well. It was great having the power of 70ish voices for the massed items (March of the Hebrew Slaves and Hail Gladdening Light). I was a busy wee bee as not only was I singing the normal choir stuff, but played a flute obligato for one item and then had a solo item of my own. I performed the Flanders & Swan song 'A Word on My Ear' about a tone-deaf soprano and the audience response was all a performer could wish for. At one point I lost the plot with the words but handled it in a such a way that the audience thought it was actually part of the performance. Not often that will work :) 

Tyler continues to do well at school, and his reading is coming along really well, even though he declares "I hate reading!" (usually because instead of doing his reading homework he'd rather be kicking a ball around or playing with his toys). He is a very snuggly/huggy/kissy wee lad and I fervantly hope this will always be so.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Electricity? Check. Phone? Check. Newspaper? Check. .........
Only 2 more sleeps till we own the Wallacetown house! We're getting pretty excited now and Chris and I find ourselves lying awake at night planning where certain things will go, what new furniture we need etc etc. It will so good to have a big kitchen again, and warmth all through the house and a wardrobe in our bedroom. No more loud traffic early in the morning waking Tyler up. No more dicing with death getting out of the drive and into the traffic flow at peak hours. And as an added bonus, more singing practice time in the car :)

Once we get Tyler's new bike, we will be able to go down the road to the local school for him to learn to ride it.

Musically busy from here on in too. 31 August is the Music Circle tea meeting, then on 5 September is the A Capella concert where we combine with the Central Otago Singers and I have a solo item. Speaking of A Capella, I have created a website for them - very fledgling, but take a look here A Capella Singers.  At the end of September are the Southland Competitions vocal section. I'm in 8 classes, with 9 songs to prepare as the scholarship class has a test piece and an own selection. I have 4 new pieces to learn, 3 in other languages, but they are all lovely. I'm especially enjoying Blute Nur from Bach's St Matthew Passion. And I even have a Christmas singing engagement already - an aria from the Christmas Oratorio.

Now I must stop avoiding packing *girds loins* 

Sunday, 15 August 2010


The last little party-goer has left and now I can relax and enjoy a bit of fairy bread :)

The day started at Sparrow's fart with Tyler demanding to see 'The List'. This is the list I had to make up at his request with clues of where to find his presents. We tried to get him to cuddle up in bed with us and doze off and though he did try, I gave up at 6:30am when he started to sing 'Happy Birthday to me' rather loudly. Once the initial oohing and aahing over the various presents was completed I was able to leave him to it and crawl back into bed for another snooze :)

1pm we were invaded by his little friends and the fun began. Firstly the present-opening followed by 'Pass the Parcel' and the Chocolate Game. At 2pm Wayne McEwan, the Magic Guy presented his show complete with live rabbit and the kids absolutely loved it. We threw rugs down on the lounge floor and the kids hoed into the birthday food - all the usual suspects: cheerios and tomato sauce, savouries, lollies, chips and I even made some fairy bread. All washed down with fizz. Good luck to the parents trying to get their kids to sleep tonight ;)

Here are some photos: