June - August 2006

(Don't forget you can click on the following photos to see them bigger)

Lovely Fiji!

   Well we had a lovely holiday in Fiji :o) We stayed at the Sofitel on Denerau Island, which is just along from the Sheraton hotels and the Westin (which was next door). We stayed at the Westin many years ago, and it was interesting to see how much it had changed (upgrades were still being completed). We preferred the Sofitel ;o)

     The pool was amazing it just went on and on (keeps going left and right of this photo!  The weather was fabulous (Right: Check out this photo I took of the resort on a pretty typical day!) We had lovely sunny days, blue sky (occasionally lightly overcast). The temperature was about 26-28oC. Only one rainy day, but we managed to have lots of fun that day too with each other as a family.

Is this paradise or what?!

     The water slide was a big hit - we all loved that! Sadly on about the third day, I was coming down it with Emily and was so busy making sure I held her above the water as we came off I forgot about me - forgot to bend my knees as I came off and hit the bottom of the pool (it was a fairly shallow pool for kids) and BANG, shock went right up my weakened spine, causing me immense pain for the rest of the holiday! Lucky for me I had packed painkillers! They helped a lot, but nights were bad (probably the cold in the air conditioned rooms in hindsight). I still kept water-sliding after that... I figured I couldn't injure my back much more and might as well enjoy it anyway!

      I had taken over my scrapbooking to do in the evenings, and managed to complete about 9 pages, some quite simple, others quite complex! It was a nice distraction in the evenings as I was in a lot of pain/discomfort, and was most comfortable when sitting/standing, so it was an ideal activity! The lumps in me grew like crazy it seemed while we were over there (no vitamin C infusions, and no chemo till after we returned) so that bothered me at times :o/ But hey, we were in paradise and during the day, I almost managed to forget about it as we all played together, had yummy meals, went for walks, frog-hunted at dusk etc etc. There's a bit more detail on the cancer side of things in my cancer diary.

     The girls were fabulous and had a wonderful time! The only thing the Sofitel was lacking was a playground but we happened upon the Westin's playground later in the holiday and it was amazing! We were allowed to wander in and use it and were were always the only ones there! The Sofitel does have a Kids Club, but we never used it, the girls were great so we felt no need for it! I did go for a Massage at the Spa, and I even did a parasail on our last day there! That was fun :o)

     We came back from the holiday happy and refreshed and ready for the next cancer battling nightmare to unfold ;o) So glad we went, it was just what we all needed - had been about 1.5 years since we'd had ANY holiday! So we savoured every minute :o)

Lydia in her new outfit!

The girls having fun on just half of the fabulous playground at the Westin

Tucking into another yummy
complementary brekkie

The nightly frog-hunting ritual

Emily having a ball in the pool

That's me up in the sky!

The monster continues to rear its ugly head!

     Well my battle with breast cancer continues, with few wins as yet, but we live in hope that things will improve! At least my hair's growing back and looking pretty cool with the "chemo-curl"! My current status is that the lumps are also re-growing and I now have secondary liver cancer also (not so disastrous as primary liver cancer) which can only be treated in same way as my existing breast cancer i.e. whatever works on my breast cancer will work on my liver lumps too. However, as yet, nothing has worked! Operations are out, as is radiation and the chemos I have tried ("the best of the bunch" according to my oncologist). I've just started a new chemo (Xeloda) which works very differently to my previous chemos (no hair loss or nausea for example). The side effects come and go (dehydration, chronic muscle spasms etc) but I coping fine. I'm also doing vitamin C infusions twice a week (the "natural chemo") and have finally achieved the target blood level of vitamin C required to "do its stuff". Fingers crossed eh?! The infusions take two hours each time - a drip into my hand usually. My back is having major problems so I'm having physiotherapy twice a week also! Doesn't leave me much kid-free time to get the basics done!?!

     I've changed my diet quite radically, cutting out all high-glycemic sugars, coffee, alcohol, red meat etc. I now eat a more vegetarian diet, the only meats I'm having now are fish and chicken, tuna etc, in moderation. I have a swag of vitamin supplements specially chosen for their breast cancer fighting properties - I take 29 daily! I'm working on getting out in the sun more (it was a no-no throughout my previous chemo and radiation period), exercising more, inhaling better and supposedly meditating though to be honest I don't get to do that much with two young kids and so many appointments!

     Our amazing friends continue to reveal themselves through this nightmare - lots more calls and visits lately, emails from old friends I haven't talked to in years etc. Its great - I thank you and salute you all my friends :o) I've developed a good friendship with our new next door neighbours Michelle and Leo who moved in shortly after my operation last year. They've only known us as cancer battlers and are unphased by it, and a great support. They have two daughters Sonja 15 and Alicia 9. Alicia is a delightful girl who loves playing with our girls and our girls simply adore her! They play together at least once a week (sometimes 3 or 4!) and I now collect her from her school on Fridays after collecting Lydia and bring them back here to play. She's almost like a babysitter and I can get other things done while she's here - just the ticket!

     We continue to employ our nanny Megan several afternoons a week to help out with things and keep the girls happy. She's heavily pregnant now with her first child, so we're not sure what will be happening after baby comes! Mum and Dad are finally returning on 9th September from their 5 month holiday - that could be good timing!?! I have contacted Support Services asking for a couple more hours help a week, fingers crossed!

Alicia and the girls on their way to Lydia's school disco
(a bit late for Emily!)

Paul's 40th Birthday bash!

     It was Brent's cousin Paul's 40th birthday back in June, and they of course decided to celebrate it hugely! It was a 70's dress-up theme held in the large function room at Albany stadium. We had an awesome night - can't believe how the time flew - it was great! There were some awesome getups there - silly us left renting ours till the last week, so, with 300 people raiding all the Costume Hire places before us - there was very little left! My wig was riding up in the pics, I realised shortly after and fixed it up! You'd think I'd have been onto it, being used to wigs now and all, but nooo! A lot of family commented on how much sympathy they have for me now after they had to wear a wig for one night - I thought that was quite amusing!

     The night out was great for Brent and I (hardly ever get out these days :o/!!!)... must get out more often, whenever we can! Great night - they had Ewan Gilmour the comedian do a great act - he knows the birthday boy ;o) Great live band, wine, food... Got home late - yeeha! Our girls were at their nanny's house for the night, so we could sleep in ;o)

The whole family getting into the theme

The Tyler-Davies family in disguise!

Other recent fun happenings (in no particular order)!

Lydia learns ballet! 29 July 2006

     I was almost as excited as Lydia when her time on a waiting list ended and she got a place in a beginners ballet place at "L'acadamie de Danse" in Browns Bay. We rushed in almost immediately to buy her ballet "uniform" (shown on right, she also has a gorgeous wrap-around over top that ties in a bow at the back :o) and that night she wanted to dress up in it and dance around for the camera! Lydia's very keen on ballet, thanks to the recent Barbie movies and her Angelina Ballerina books. And some of you will know I love dancing and wished I could have had lessons when I was a child! So I'm living my childhood wishes vicariously through my children! Isn't that the best thing about being a parent ;o) Love it!

Right: All set for her first ballet lesson!

Swan Lake On Ice - 30 July 2006

     I decided to take Lydia to see Swan Lake on Ice, as she loves dancing to the classical Swan Lake music (thanks to "Barbie of Swan Lake"), she understands the story and is fascinated when she sees ice skating on TV etc. How right I was! She was completely entranced through the whole thing, bursting into enthusiastic applause at all the right times, and in the second half when I was wondering to myself which actress was the disguised Odile in the ball scene, Lydia leaned over to me and asked "Which one is Odile mummy?". I was impressed with that! The show was outstanding and we both thoroughly enjoyed it :o)

Brent turns 40! 8 August 2006

     Brent asked for a low-key celebration of his 40th birthday. I still think any birthday is worth celebrating, especially a 40th ;o)
     We ended up having three seperate mini-celebrations! First a small family brunch on the Sunday at Glyn and Noleine's house. Then on his actual birthday we'd booked a table at the Ascott Metropolis hotel in town for Brent's family and cousins. We were seated in the wine parlour room and were waited on exclusively by two waiters - the rest of the restaurant was empty! Lots of fun was had, we were there for hours! Devine food, wine and service - highly recommended!
     Then on the Friday we went out with our friends for dinner at the
Blankenberge Belgian Beer Cafe in Takapuna. More lovely food, we all had a fun night and it was great to catch up with everyone again :o)

Here we are dining at the Ascott.

Mini Golf 8 July 2006

     Not quite sure why its never occurred to us to take the girls here before, but anyway, one Saturday I did and I was thrilled at how much they enjoyed it! Emily decided the best way to play was to pick up the ball and walk up to the hole, put it down about 12 inches from the hole, and then try to hit it in ;o) Lydia was keen to learn how to play it properly so I was showing her how to hold the golf putter correctly (after the pic shown here ;o) and she took to it very quickly, even scoring a hole in one on a tricky elbow fairway! It wasn't altogether a fluke - she scored similar to me on the other holes too - a bit of a natural perhaps like her paternal great nanna?!

Fun day at Howick Historical Village 15July 2006

     Jo, a good friend from my Coffee Group invited us to join them at a children themed "Live Day" at the Howick Historic Village. Never having been there before, or knowing that it existed (!? how embarrassing!) we didn't really know what we were going to! But we turned up all keen and were very pleasantly surprised. What a great setup! My family tree interest extends to the lives our ancestors lived, and it was great to be able to show it three dimensionally to the girls. It was only a few weeks after the girls had seen me interviewing Brent's Uncle Tom I was able to say "this is what Uncle toms house would have been like when he was your age" etc - Lydia was most interested and seemed to take it all in. The kids were given treasure maps with clues to find throughout the village, and a yummy prize and cute things to take away at the end. We had a "lesson" in the old school room, given slates to write on etc, went to the post office and received a letter, got to play with old toys, and so on. The whole day was very educational and loads of fun! The highlight was the puppet show held in the homestead at the end of our visit. "The Puppetman" was awesome, putting on a circus themed show. Afterwards he let the kids hold / play with the puppets, all of which he'd made himself. Both girls were entranced and talked about it for weeks afterwards! I'm planning to book him for the girls' combined birthday party next year ;o)


Alicia and Lydia have fun collecting hail stones
Major hailstorm - Auckland style ;o) 16 June 2006

     Hailstorms are about as rare as hens teeth in Auckland really, and usually not worth mentioning as the ice is so small its melted in minutes! We had an impressive one (for Auckland) though back in June on a quiet Friday afternoon, and the girls thought it was fabulous! The ice blocks were pretty big (up to about an inch long) and damaged the leaves of our succulents extensively as they bucketed down, but the aftermath was very pretty and the girls set out with containers to collect the biggest ice cubes. Lydias collection is still in our freezer! It was lovely to see them enjoying something so simple for so long!

I took this photo about 15 minutes after the hailstorm (on a mostly sheltered deck ;o)...

Daffodil day 25 August 2006

     Wow, what a pleasant surprise it was to discover what a keen supporter of Daffodil day Lydia's school is! We arrived back from Fiji just two days earlier so found out just the day before that Lydia was to be in a singing show for the parents and school the following day and she was to come dressed in yellow or green! (Lydia had absolutely no yellow or green clothes so I rushed out to buy something - managed to find a green jacket on sale, and some yellow ribbons for her hair - not bad going in the 40 minutes I had to find them!) Poor Lydia had missed out on the preparations and practice but joined in well and tried to sing along to the songs she didn't know ;o) Northcote Primary School put on a great show, the older kids parents had made lots of food and treats for sale, all money donated to the cancer society :o)

     I wasn't aware that so many of the mothers of the kids in Lydia's year know my predicament (I have no problem with that, just wondering how they found out as I always go there all dolled up in disguise LOL). Anyway, one mother came up to me after the show crying saying she was thinking of me all through their performance and she got all emotional thinking about it! I was touched that she cared so much, and not quite sure what to say, I just ended up comforting her really! Very sweet!

Lydia (in green jacket towards bottom right) and her cousin Katie (behind her to the left in yellow with white sleeves) during their show with their classmates.

Lissa's Birthday Party - 26 August 2006

     Yep, its birthday season! We went up to Ken and Lissa's brand new house to celebrate the day with friends. The new house (designed coincidentally by Brent's cousin Owen) is a work of art, most impressive! Outside they had new lambs for the kids to feed - our girls thought that was just fabulous! They keep saying they want a pet (usually a rabbit ;o) but we just can't accommodate that with all that's going on, so any opportunity like this they get very excited! It was a lovely evening, and we all had a great time :o)

See? We got up to a fair bit lately! Now I will try to focus all my energies on beating this constant challenge ahead of me. Thanks for visiting!