Monday, September 13, 2010

It's been a while!

Woooow I didn't realise how long it has been since we wrote on our blog - so much for the every day post that we talked about a while ago..

Life is crazy at the moment, so much going on. My husband is working in Karratha for 4 - 6 weeks at a time and comes home for 6 days in between stints. Our summer stock gets here any day now so we have been busy preparing for that. We are moving both of our families to Bali soon so Jac has been over there looking for houses etc.

On that topic - we move on the 1st of Feb so we didn't know what to do about Christmas this year. It can't be a big one because we can't take much with us so last night we sat down and emailed Santa to tell him our's what happened:

From: Kate Samson []
Sent: Monday, 13 September 2010 4:44 PM
To: Caroline hamilton (AKA kate's mum, AKA Santa)
Subject: santa cheque
Dear Santa,
I hope your getting excited for christmas time. We were just thinking, and because we are moving to Bali and cant take much stuff on the plane, we were wondering if it would be ok if we got a santa cheque instead of some toys? Because then we can buy some toys in bali.
I promise ill be a good boy and good girl..well maybe she wont be good but i will the way do you still go to bali? I hope you do. How are the elves?
See ya, bye
can you please email me back if you have time

From: Caroline Hamilton (AKA kate's mum, AKA Santa)
Subject: RE: santa cheque
Date: 13 September 2010 8:58:06 PM

Dear Xaviah,
Thank you for your email, Mrs Claus told me it had arrived, I am still not very good with computers so she is helping me and the elves are trying to teach me as well!
Yes, I am very excited that Christmas is getting closer and soon we will be very busy checking all our lists and getting everything ready. The elves are working hard but they seem very happy, they love making the toys for all the children. The reindeers have had a lovely rest since last Christmas.
Wow, are you moving to Bali? I love Bali, yes I still go to there, it is very hot so Mrs Claus made me a nice summer suit to wear. I will write on my list that you will be there not this Christmas but the next. You are so lucky to be going to live in Bali, wait till I tell the elves and Mrs Claus they will be so excited for you.
I think a Santa cheque is a really good idea, yes a very good idea, then you can get your toys in Bali and won’t have to leave them behind in Australia when you leave. You will have to tell Mummy and Daddy what you want with the Santa cheque when you get to Bali. I have just a couple of small things here for you already, so I will still bring them on Christmas day just so you know I haven’t forgotten you!
Xaviah I know you will be a very good boy, you have been such a good boy for Mummy since Daddy had to go away to work, I am very proud of you… as for that sister of yours…..sometimes I can hear her get a bit cranky…she is loud isn’t she? Could you tell her about the Santa cheque and that I have a couple of small things for her as well that I will bring on Christmas day because I know she is going to be a good girl.
Well my dear Xaviah I had better go and tell the elves all the news about you and Maya, have fun living in Bali, I have heard there is a really fun school there called “the Green School” maybe you can get Mummy and daddy to have a look at it if you haven’t already chosen a school to go to, it looks really cool.
Hope you and Maya get something you love with the Santa cheque.
Lots of love

Xaviah has a nasty virus at the moment and didnt want to get out of bed this morning but after I read him this email he was ecstatic. He has since then made me count his pocket money in his money box because he wants to "be a saving boy" and save his money to put with his santa cheque. He said "ooooo mum do you reckon Santa might even give me "a 50 buck"?"

So cute!

Friday, July 23, 2010


More from our China Trip..... We started and ended our trip in Hong Kong. Its funny when we first arrived, I really thought "Wow, this is what China is like!" but after going to China then coming back to Hong Kong, I realised what a huge difference there is in their culture, language and even appearance! Hong Kong was a fantastic, fun experience.

We arrived early on the Thursday morning after flying all night and caught the train from The Airport to Mongkok station. My first thought was that "everything is so clean! and not what I had expected at all" we then caught a little red taxi to our hotel "Langham Place" which we would highly recommend! The taxi driver couldnt fit our 3 HUGE suitcases in the boot, so they were hanging out the back of the boot with straps holding them in! The taxi drivers have a very strange way of driving over there! The 3 of us were cracking up laughing because the drivers kept putting their foot down on the accelerator heavily then lifting it off...putting it right down and then lifting it off! So we all kept flying forward, then back, forward then back!.

The hotel had amazing views out over the city, even the bathroom had views. Kate and I were laughing, because we shared a room and the wall of the bathroom was glass with a thin white blind! It made going to the toilet and showering a little bit awkward until we made sure that you couldn't see through the blind. he he.

We ventured out to have a look at the shops and walked down to the food markets. Kate is just about vegetarian, so it wasn't a very pleasant experience for her! It was very interesting though to say the least. The shops dont open until 11am in Hong Kong and stay open until late at night, so we had to wait a while to start spending our Hong Kong dollars. Kate had downloaded the "LUXE" Guide onto her iphone, which is a great little tool for any city guide so that you enjoy the experience and go to quality restaurants and sight seeing venues. It recommended that we catch a cab to "Stanley".... so we hopped in a taxi and drove 40 mins to Stanley. I honestly felt like I was in The South of France, it had beautiful promenades, old heritage buildings, cute little pubs and tea houses and boutique style markets. We LOVED it!

Time kept getting away from us while we were there, we even forgot about dinner most nights, because we were shopping until 8 or 9pm! On the trip home, Kate and I took a walk up to The Bird Markets, which Kate's mum had recommended seeing. Mum was a bit tired after a busy week in China, so she stayed in her room and had a nap. On the way to the bird markets we came across a really cool clothing and accessories market!! We were so excited...because just about every stall we looked at, had really great stuff! we had to control ourselves though, so that we could go back and get Mum. We passed through the flower market on the way to the bird market which was gorgeous, I love the smell of fresh flowers! They also had some stunning bonsai plants too. Its just so interesting though, each street and area are for different products... there is a gold fish street, a "bunnings" street (well thats what we called it), a food street etc. The bird market was beautiful, Kate bought a wooden bird cage, which she really wanted to get for decoration and for our up coming photo shoot (it was such a mission to get home though!!! well worth it!) and some cute little hand painted bird feeding dishes. We dashed back and got mum and then headed back to the clothes market to do some serious Hong kong shopping! ha ha. We have NEVER shopped so much in our lives! It was overwhelming! SO MUCH FUN...WE CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK!

Hong Kong was nothing like I imagined and I could easily spend 2 weeks there sight seeing and of course SHOPPING!

In Sydney before getting on our flight

Kate at Stanley


Me on the fairy

mmmmm! fresh meat!
Kate on the train from the airport
The beautiful fresh fruit at the markets

The amazing view from our room

The Glass wall looking into the bathroom

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bali street dogs

I think it is really important for children to grow up with animals in their lives. I teaches them so many things...

We don't currently have a dog here in Australia because we have a cat "Smokey" that is too much of a prince to handle having a dog around and we also have 2 little finches "Stormy and Rosie" that are out of their cage more than they are in it and I don't think they would appreciate having a dog either. As it is they have to take turns with Smokey for indoor rights, day on day off! So I have promised Xaviah and Maya that we can get a dog when we get to Bali, they are very excited. It's sort of like a little bribe in our household to make pulling them out of school and taking them away from friends and family a little bit easier.

I have been looking around and found B.A.R.C. (Bali Adoption Rehabilitation Centre). Their aim is to help the street dogs of Bali and relieve suffering, starvation, abuse and neglect of the many street dogs that are there. Anyone that has been to Bali would have seen at least one street dog I'm sure. My heart sank when I had my first encounter - so skinny and starving, looking through piles of rubbish for any type of food they can find.

This is the quote from the B.A.R.C. website that really got me:

"There are no words to describe the suffering of these dogs, they cringe at the sight of a human, we are, the enemy, the abuser.

They hide, from detection, they live in fear, they have never known love or affection, or food given freely. When we get them, usually their spirits have been broken, we hope the love and meds, warm blankets and a pause from the rigors of a very hostile world will mend each one.

Slowly they do trust and respond lovingly to humans."

I have already fallen in love with the beautiful girl below "SUZIE".

Above is Suzie waking up from her coma

Suzie was found in a rice field with no food or water, just left there. To survive she ate rocks, grass, insects and her own faeces. When she was rescued she was in a coma for a week. No body thought she would survive. But she did and she is happy and healing.

Suzie now

I hope that Suzie find a loving home really soon but the selfish side of me hopes that she can stay at the shelter for just a couple more months so that the loving home that she finds is our home!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Winter days

When Summer is here my family and I are at the beach or outdoors everyday.....

When Winter comes around we neglect the outdoors way to much.
Winter days on the Gold Coast are so beautiful and I've decided to make the most of the wintery feelings and get out there before we move to Bali! I know, I know - it's not as cold as some places....but I am not a Winter person AT ALL. I do still think it will be hard for me to be in Bali heat all year round...I know that maya will have sweaty wet hair all day long and X will smell like a smelly little school boy......

......but I say bring it on!!

more of china

Hi Everyone,
I hope you have all had a lovely weekend! We have had a super busy week or two that has just passed....Kates little girl "Maya" turned 3 on the 8th, her little boy "Xaviah" turned 6 on the 13th and my little girl Lily turned "6" on the 15th....HECTIC!!! Its really funny, because we both have to schedule in our parties each year...Mayas was last sunday, Lilys was Friday night and Xaviahs was Saturday!! ha ha. They have all had a ball.....way too much sugar though! As we speak its 9pm and my little boy Kai is still wide awake! For the past 4 mornings he has woke up asking for lemonade and a lollie bag. Lily had a Disco party on friday night that was so much fun; we hired a DJ and decked out our double garage with helium balloons and streamers.... it was fantastic. We used "Cliffhanger DJ's" from the gold Coast, he played plenty of games which kept the kids entertained and had all the special effects, like the bubble and smoke machines and strobe lights. I was totally exhausted on Saturday morning, I am so glad that July is just about over.

I thought I would pop some more pictures up tonight of our trip to China last month..... We visited this amazing island, which was just off the coast of "Xiamen"..... it was like no where else that I had ever seen! The buildings were over 400 years old, there was a quaint little seaside village with little boutiques and restaurants, it was not at all what I expected to see in China! It was like a little holiday getaway hot spot. Kate and I kept saying "Imagine being able to have one of our photo shoots here!!!" Anyway, take a look at the pictures:

The fairy ride over, looking back at Xiamen

A lovely lady guiding her blind son through the town beggng for money :(

Inside one of the village boutiques, an old wooden bike that had a pet bird on it.

One of the gorgeous villagers with my Mum

A chinese fortune teller!!

A laborer on the island

A local lady waving to me out her window

One of the little lanes

a busker

The beach on the island

Kate in front of one of the cool old doors

Some more old buildings with so much character!

A beautiful old door

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bubble London

A few weeks ago, while we were in China actually, our wonderful agents Domino Baby who look after UK and Europe for us took part in Bubble London.
Below are some pics of our stall...

I wish we could have been there to help them on the day! Maybe we will be able to get over there for the Jan 11 show! We will be Indonesianites by then so a trip to a cooler climate might be in order!

All of the clothes you see in these pics will be available on our shores in September - the other side of the world has to wait a bit longer!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

June update for our gorgeous little china doll Hannah

Name: Hannah Gender: F
Birthday: January, 2010
Special Need: Heart Defect, Pierre Robin Syndrome, Malnutrition
Admission Date: 5/14/2010
Admission Weight: 4.3 kg Current Weight: 5.4 kg

Report: At her mid-month visit in June, Heartbridge Manager Cindy found that
Hannah had gained weight since her last visit. “I can see her cheeks are more filled up
now.” I am really anxious to get our month-end update from Mona so I can see just how
much weight Hannah has gained…I am amazed by how much better she looks!
(At the end of the month I found out that she had gained a pound and three-quarters!)

After a bath and some formula, Hannah could barely stay awake to finish her bottle.
Cindy says that Hannah has to suck so hard, her lower lip almost completely disappears
when she takes a bottle.

Backing up just a tiny bit, there is a small “bonus” to our June updates:
Executive Director Amy Eldridge, Director of Operations Paige Mills-Haag, and
Administration Director Sheri Russon all visited Heartbridge on June 8th. Amy noted that
Hannah is “SOOOOO tiny” and also how her eyes followed them all around the room. It
was wonderful to hear once again how well all the children are doing!

At the end of the month, nurse Mona reported that Hannah had a great month. She gets
an adequate amount of sleep, and everyone was happy to see she gained nearly a full
kilo. It is quite a job, but Hannah’s nanny manages to get it about 200 ml (or 6-3/4
ounces) of formula at each feeding. Mona also tells us that Hannah had her Hepatitis B
vaccination this month.

From Mona: “At five months, Hannah smiles, grabs objects and plays with her hands. She
can roll over and creep but cannot return to the supine position. She doesn’t like to lie on
the mat, but she does enjoy lying on the rocker as shown on the photo. She rocks herself by raising her right leg up and down. Hannah is lovely and she’s very easy to care for.”

We would still like to see Hannah become a little stronger before having her heart
surgery, but she has truly made amazing progress since her arrival on May 14th. It
shouldn’t be too much longer, and then after she has healed from surgery, we can
have her lip repaired as well.

Thank you so much to everyone that donated, for giving Hannah this chance for health and happiness. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this precious little girl!

I hope it is not too long into the future that we get an update that says Hannah has found a loving home!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A view of where Three little Trees are made

Myself, Our manufacturer Herbert and Kate

Kate and I had a fantastic time in China and Hong Kong, it really opened our eyes to a very different but very polite and friendly culture! We could not get over how welcoming EVERYONE was over there; everywhere we walked people were calling out "hello...welcome to China!". We were like celebrities, I guess because we were in a very business orientated district, it was quite rare for them to see 3 Aussie females in sun dresses! he he. Even walking down the street in front of our hotel, we would see people walking out of their shop to see us!

Most of all though, It was great being able to meet all of the wonderful people behind our Three Little Trees Production! Our factory was full of happy, smiling faces and it was so interesting seeing how our designs evolve into garments! Take a look!

Our Manufacturer Herbert and My Mum. He showed us such great hospitality and all the sights of "Real China"
Happy faces in our factory
Another happy face sewing another label
One of the pattern makers
Head of Production

Monday, June 28, 2010

We are back!!

Hi everyone!!

Well its taken a few days to get back into reality! We had a fantastic experience in Hong Kong and china and got to see things that you could not imagine still exist! The orphanage of course was the high light of our trip, so I thought today I would blog about that...
We were both feeling a lot of emotions leading up to the day... excitement, joy, sadness, anxiousness and nervousness all at the same time! Approaching the orphanage, I was really surprised how pleasant it looked. We were met at the gates by the manager of the orphanage. It was great that we had our friend and manufacturer, Herbert there with us, as no body spoke a word of english! We had two HUGE bags full of toys, clothes and blankets thanks to you all!

unfortunately we were not able to personally give the gifts to the children, which we thought was understandable, as they would most likely have to go through them all first to check that they were clean and no hazards.

We could tell however that they were EXTREMELY GRATEFUL! We walked through the corridors and viewed each room. There was a physio room, which we thought was a wonderful resource given that the majority of the children have some sort of disability.

We then walked past the little pre-school room where they were all eating their lunch and looked really happy!

It was very nice to see. The tears had already started welling in my eyes.
We turned the corner and were greeted at the end of the corridor by a very special little man that had a very old soul. His eyes looked straight into mine; I knelt down and opened my arms and he walked in for a cuddle!

The next room, was just so heart breaking and heart warming at the same time! These babies were just beautiful!

Most of them were born with some sort of problem. We were talking to our chinese manufacturer and he said that in the city they can only have one baby each and in the country they are allowed 2 as long as the first baby is a girl, then they are allowed to try for a boy. So pretty much, when a baby is born that is not quite perfect they are very unwanted by most chinese parents. Most could not afford the medical needs of these children and others would much rather try again for perfection. These babies are left on the side of the road to be picked up by the police and taken to the orphanage.

Its horrible, but it is the reality that these poor babies face. this orphanage has around 130 orphans from all over Quanzhou and the money that all of you helped us raise will go towards sponsoring a beautiful little girl "Hannah" that was born with heart problems, cleft pallet and a few other health issues. We have also asked to provide the babies with some soft mattresses. This was a bit distressing to us, they used towels that were tied around their waist with rope as some padding on the hard wooden base of the cots.

We should not have favorites, but we each fell in love with a baby and cannot get them out of our head! I have even looked into adopting a Chinese baby, because I was so touched by my experience. Unfortunately, it looks like the Australian government just makes it extremely hard and costly to adopt an international baby. There is no way around it except living in another country for more than one year, then adopting through their countries government only, then applying for a visa once you are ready to return to Australia! I can't believe that Australia has so many resources and so many parents that need a baby and these babies are sitting waiting in orphanages for a home and our government cannot simplify the process. I was shocked to hear that Parents usually wait around five years before successfully adopting an international baby. Kate's little guy that really touched her heart was 4 months old and was in desperate need for surgery on his cleft pallet. He was beautiful and so alert for his age!

The little girl I cannot stop thinking about was on her way to the USA the next day to join a family. She had so much personality and was my snuggley Koala bear!

There was a gorgeous little boy there too, that was so positive and happy but will and has come up against so many challenges in his short little life that it deeply saddened all of us. He was born albino, blind, cleft pallet and a heart condition........WHY?
Lets hope someone can find it in their heart to choose him!

"Love without boundaries" is doing a fabulous job supporting the orphanages in China. They help provide bedding, clothes, toys and much needed medical assistance. It has really inspired Kate and I to go further with this and assist in Balinese orphanages next year. These children will never be forgotten by Three Little Trees! xx