Last chat before August!

Where has July gone to?
Darned if I know – sorta seems to have been swallowed up along with June
Tomorrow is the 31st and I am off to Nelson with the children so this will be my last posting for July.

Yesterday we spent the day with some neighbours.
They only live half an hour away.
We pass their place everytime we go to town.
They have lived there 5 years.
And………..it was the first time we had been to visit them.
Isn’t that shocking

It was a wet day so just the best sorta day to socialise. When we got there the children and Tim went out with Ken to check out the bull. He had bought it off Tim a few months back and they just wanted to make sure he was doing his stuff!

When they got back the guys cranked up the bbq and cooked a heap of meat. We had venison steak, chicken drumsticks, venison & mutton sausages, meat patties, whitebait fritters – so good

By the time we were eating the rain was coming in steadily so no more outside chat. We spent a lovely afternoon together and never got back home till near on dark. Nathan opened a few cans of baked beans which were eaten with leftovers. No-one was particularly hungry for some reason!

Today was wet again so more washing hanging around the fire. Tim has called our neighbourly electrician who installed the dryer for us and he is going to come check it out tomorrow. Judging by the fuse it could be a fairly major problem. The fuse is totally burned out – could’ve been a serious fire on our hands. I think the Lord was watching over us on this occasion.

Sky is proving to be a bit of a Houdini. Tim & Nathan have been trying to construct a kennel and run for her up by the dog kennels. But she hates being away from the house. She is totally amazing as to how she gets out. Tim watched her at one stage literally climbing up the wire at the corner of the cage, She is one clever dog. Tim is looking at her in a positive light – if she is this smart now then she is going to be one terrific cattle dog!

Had a few chats with Jesika on the phone today which was good. Once she begins work I dare say the phone calls will be less. It is hard to get in touch with Brianna because when she is working they are often out in the bush.

Anson arrived home tonight – the children were all over him. They do so enjoy seeing their older siblings.
The children and I have been packing this afternoon. We are leaving here around 7am for a week in Nelson. We have appointments and social functions and home school things to do etc. The three days increased to 5 because Anson so wanted Tim & I to come watch he and Seb playing rugby on Saturday. As it is the last game of the season I figured I would brave the concrete jungle with four children and stay out long enough to watch the game.

Here’s where I found Azzan this afternoon. He enjoys finding hidey hole caves and this would have to be his favourite spot. Behind the sofa surrounded by books! My little book worm

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It rained today….

so I have a Chinese laundry here – and as I said before, not my favourite way to decorate my living room.

I had hung the washing on the line although it was looking a bit bleakish. The past two mornings have given us red skies but no rain so why expect it today? Well, it came about an hour later so I tore out and grabbed it all and found the clothes horse and managed to squeeze it all around the fire. Trouble is that it is not that cold so we don’t need the fire to be blazing too hot so it is taking an age to dry everything

I assigned specific chores today. Seb took Shannie to the bathroom to teach her how to clean it properly. I specifically wanted him to show her the correct way to clean the toilet because she is going to be my right hand cleaning lady this summer in the tourist accommodation. So what does he do? Gets her to do the bath and hand basin and he does the shower and toilet – duh! Well, I guess there is always next week

Nathan disappeared before he got his job delegated. He went down and helped Tim kill sheep. Way more in his line of expertise. I decided it was time to clean out the first aid shelves. Had a huge biff out of expired items and sorted out what I needed/wanted and tidied everything in the pantry. Took a while so I didn’t get to stop for breakfast until nearly midday so skipped lunch.

I was able to do a spot more art work, then had a catch up with Jesika and Cat on the phone. Cat is staying with Sasha for the weekend in Invergiggle (Invercargill to you foreigners) and I had to call Sasha with a message from Jesika – so good timing to chat to them all.

I had lots of fun cooking dinner tonight. Decided sausages and roast pumpkin was a bit boring and as I am getting limited with fresh groceries I decided it was time to haul out some recipe books. Found my brand new ‘Moosewood Cookbook I bought with my birthday vouchers and had a browse. (I have nearly worn out my 25yr old copy so was thrilled to find the new edition) Greek Pilaff looked good so I improvised slightly, changed the celery for capsicum and carrot – very tasty. About 6pm I decided we needed just a little something more to add to the meal so browsed the pages some more and found Zucchini and Feta fritters. Man! They were good. The whole meal went down a treat. Mahalia told me when she had finished that ‘I’m replete Mummy’. You see I do teach them good manners even if they don’t know much else

Seb and I spent the rest of the evening shut in my study working on another of his English books. He had to write formal letters and emails, and have them all laid out properly with no spelling or punctuation errors etc. So this time he typed them up on my computer so he could change them if needed and use the spell check. As well as that it means his teacher doesn’t have to try and work out his hand writing He has now finished three books this week that he had to redo. Here’s hoping he passes the units this time. If he doesn’t there will be trouble cuz I have literally walked him through each book, page by page to make sure he answers each question properly and completely. He tends to flit from page to page without comprehending it all properly and needs to be made to walk in a straight line!

Aren’t big bro’s just the best?

We had a big clean up day today.
Shannie did real good!
She cleaned up the front deck – the other two were sposed to be helping but maybe we won’t go there-!!
Then she took it upon herself to clean The Cottage. We had guests in for a few days and they had left some money for the cleaner. Tim told the children that whoever cleaned and found the money could keep it. So she is now $20 richer and she did a great job too.

Seb raked the back lawn and Nathan swept the back concrete and cleaned wash house area.
Nathan sorted out a new home for Sky as she is beginning to be a bit of a nuisance around the house. She is cute but shoes are going missing and messes are appearing in inopportune places

The weather has warmed up considerably which is great cuz my dryer had a melt down just before I went to town last. So I am very grateful for the sun and wind to dry the washing. Today’s still needed to finish around the fire which I totally hate. I just abhor living in a Chinese laundry. Can cope with it for a short time but not a whole winter with the amount of washing these guys create.

Nathan cooked dinner tonight. He made a very yummy salmon pie with salad and roast pumpkin. He wasn’t too keen to do it but I said it was an integral part of his schooling and gave him two recipes to choose from. He did good

I have been working alongside Seb with his English. Just making sure he has got it all sussed before posting it in. He is doing good too despite not enjoying it much. I have just enrolled him in Science and Maths so hopefully by the time those lessons arrive he will have his English under control and nearly finished.

The younger three children spent most of the afternoon outside and I had some peaceful creative time. Made a few cards which I am really pleased with. Have to try and get photos in daylight tomorrow – tonight’s with the flash were not a good look.

Tim took Nate and Seb mustering this afternoon. They saw a few new lambs so I guess Spring is springing

Seb & Azzan were having fun before dinner while I was pottering at my desk so I had to grab these photos. They do so enjoy each other – it is lovely

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By the way – the movie we watched last night was excellent. Highly recommend it. Remembrance of Love – made back in 1982. Based on the Holocaust Survivors get together in Israel in 1982. Very moving.

Tonight we watched ‘Roll Bounce’ – had to show the guys after watching it with Azzan in Greymouth.

Fun and games

Today I was up and at ’em. early but still didn’t get to the school room till around 10am!
There always seems to be something gets in the way.
Not to worry, the children had a good session.
Had a closer look at Mercury & Venus today.

Did you know that it takes Venus 243 earth days to rotate on its axis and only 225 earth days to orbit the sun?
In other words it’s day is longer than it’s year

Just a bit of useless information for you to store in the grey matter for next time you want to startle someone with your amazing genius

The sun was streaming into the school room by 11am so Shannie had to spread herself across the desks on the other side of the room to bathe in the sunshine. She was continually asking if they could have a break cuz she just had to get out side while the sun was out. She forgot that she had only been in the school room for a scant hour!

The all headed outside after lunch. For once I was organised and had a very yummy soup made before school – maybe that was why we started late?? Tomato, carrot and swede. I added cayenne, parsley and coconut cream. Man it was good! My normal pumpkin soup is great but it is nice to have a change in variety.

I actually made a few cards this afternoon. Am still struggling with a lack of inspiration so just tiddling around. Am in the process of something pretty cool at the mo so maybe I am on the up and up again.

Tonight after dinner the children decided to attack Seb and Tim with hair brushes. Normally it is me Azzan hair dressers, but tonight he decided Seb needing some help. So while Seb was trying to read a book Azzan was trying to get rid of tangles – or as I normally experience when he does my hair – make tangles

It was funny to watch the faces while the beauty treatment was happening. Wish I had videod it. Anyway, when Seb finished the book he decided Azzan had done enough and he took the comb off him and threw it away. Azzan promptly booted him in the gut. It was so fast and impromptu that Seb didn’t realise it was coming. We were on the floor in stitches! It all ended up in a giggling match with Azzan trying to get away from his big bro.

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Just off to watch a movie – someone left it here with no cover so no idea what it is about except that it has Kirk Douglas, so should be ok!

I woke at 5am this morning and got up briefly to give Cat a hug good-bye. She and Simon left for Wanaka. Long drive but sounds like they had a good trip and got there at 6pm.

I didn’t want to get up this morning so lay and read my book till 9am. Then thought I should rise and get something done for the day. All the children were industriously playing with their dolls in the attic, Seb was doing school work in a half hearted manner and Nathan was wandering about tidying his room and later grudgingly did school work when I suggested he should . Although when I went to find him later he was in front of the computer screen and doing his reading – I didn’t realise he could multi task-!!

Because they were all so busy I decided to get my book and read over breakfast. Most leisurely.
Finished the book and then got onto helping Seb. He is wading through his Correspondence School English course. Because he needs a certain number of NZCA credits as the pre requisite to his Navy training the easiest way is to do them via Correspondence. He really does not enjoy academia but is coming to terms with the fact that if he wants to join the navy he just has to get on and DO it!

I had a long chat with the navy recruitment officer today – very helpful chap he was too. Then spent ages sussing the maths and science curriculum to enrol Seb in. Couldn’t talk to the teacher I needed to so will have to wait until tomorrow now. I find that a real pain. I try and get forms filled out, need help in a small area, can’t get to talk to who I need so the forms get put to one side. It is so much more better to get them done once and finish them I hate the paper rustling war It just so feels like a waste of time to be moving them here and there. Can’t clear my desk and start a new project.

Caught up with a few friends on the phone tonight while the guys watched a new movie Nathan talked me into buying- ‘Flags of our fathers’.

The puppy is now definitely named Sky. She is a character. The cats don’t see eye to eye with her. Several times I have heard her yelping and find she has received a faceful of pins from one of them – she will learn one day. She certainly keeps the children entertained. Nathan & Mahalia especially. Azzan is finding her jumping up a bit overwhelming, so despite the fact that he loves her to bits he tends to keep on a higher plain

All in all today has been relatively peaceful. Quite pleasant in fact

Back home again

As usual I woke well before the alarm clock so by just after 6am Azzan and I were heading towards Nelson. We had a good day getting everything done. All went well, so by 5:30pm we were zipping over the hill to Motupiko with a couple of roast chickens for dinner.

We arrived just after Phillipa and the children had gotten back from skiing at Rainbow. They had had a great day. Nathan went with them so had heaps to tell me. There was a mountain of gear to unpack and sort but it all got done most efficiently and we then sat down to a yummy dinner.

After, we managed to get the little ones off to bed we sat and watched ‘Ladies in Lavender’. A delightful movie with Judi Dench. However, by the time it finished and we sat around with another cuppa and more chat it was close on 1am before we climbed into our beds.

Next morning was quite leisurely. Nice to sit and catch up with everything and everyone for a change. Azzan and I left mid morning and got to Greymouth in just 3 hours. Had a 10mins stop at Murchison. We found The Sundowner Motel quite easily. Lovely clean, comfortable, colourful accommodation. I had a shower and then we both rested up on the bed with his cuddly blanket and watched a movie called ‘Roll Bounce’. It was really good. Some amazing talent there amongst the young roller skating fraternity and some good messages too. Azzan loved it

I decided around 3:30pm that it was time to go find the venue of the party. Well, it took us a good half an hour to find it. Greymouth is such a huge town – not! First of all I was turning out of the motel and the cellphone went so I reached behind to grab my bag and get my glasses. Can’t read the text without glasses. No glasses. I pulled over and searched. Couldn’t find them so we did a u-turn and went back to the motel. No glasses. So I had another car search and found them behind Azzan’s seat. Okay. So we are off again. Couldn’t find the right street so stopped off at a fuel station and asked. ‘No problem, it is just over there behind that building across the rail tracks.’ So I drove on and around and looked and went around in a few circles and looked again. Finally we went a bit further and found it just as Uncle Earl was arriving. So timed that well.

Spent a couple of hours at the Union Hotel meeting and greeting the long lost cuzzies. Hadn’t seen most of them since Neville’s 50th b’day about 5-6 years ago. Duncan and Mum were driving down from Blenheim. They arrived a lot later cuz Duncan went tiki touring over a 4WD back route. Glorious trip apparently. But they got to the motel and found Mum had booked into the wrong motel. Thankfully Greymouth is a small town and the hostess was able to sort it all out, cancel the other booking and give them a unit near us.

At 6pm we all moved into the Copper Room for a delicious smorgasbord dinner. Lots of food, more chat and laughter. Lots of photos. Great fun.
Here’s Uncle Earl with his children – Karen, Ronnie and Neville. PICT2394 PICT2405
And with all the grand and great grand children. Only 2 were missing.

They had the cutting of the cake which Uncle Earl shared with his son Ronnie. 80 years and 52 years = 132 years between them.
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Mum and Uncle Earl are the last two in-laws left on my Dad’s side of the family.

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I was Karen’s bridesmaid back in 1975 – wish I had a scanner to show you what we looked like back then – maybe not

Azzan did very well. Managed to last the distance although he was getting very weary by the time we left at 10pm. Uncle Duncan decided to put a restraining order on him while the photos were being taken as he kept on getting into them all
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We slept well and then after packing up went out and had breakfast at the Jade Boulder cafe. It was very good. Popped around to Neville’s place to say good-bye to the cuzzies and then I zipped back into town to meet up with Sarah and James and girls. It was lovely to have that hour to catch up – thanks for lunch guys! They took the photos that time so none from me unless they decide to share Had lunch and then we were on our way north again.

Duncan and Mum had diverted over to Maruia to have a dip in the hot pools. We had a good drive up and although there was frost and ice along the sides of the road it was a pleasant and smooth drive. Because I was out of cell phone coverage it wasn’t until next morning that I got a text from Duncan warning me of black ice. He had gotten caught in a patch which gave them a nasty scare. It was apparently touch and go and only due to his 4-wheel driving skills that he managed to negotiate out of it. If it had been me I would’ve canned it totally He did say they needed a strong coffee when they got up the road further-!!

We had another pleasant night with Phillipa, Pat and the family. Then Monday morning gathered up Nathan and all the gear and headed over to Nelson. The temperature was considerably warmer than the night before so no ice thankfully. We had another busy day in town – didn’t manage to leave town till 5:30pm.

I gave Azzan my ipod to listen to – it was really funny, he would be as quiet as a mouse and then he would burst into song at the top of his voice or want to tell me all about what song he was listening to. So, he never slept the whole way. Nathan tried but Azzan’s loud singing prevented that!

Tim and the girls had coped fine with the fishing party during our absence and on Monday with Cat, Simon and Seb’s help had got the Lodge cleaned in good time.

Today was a beautiful day so Tim took everyone out fishing. Fresh fish for dinner was lovely. Seb & I stayed back to get stuff done but I think he did more sleeping than schoolwork – naughty boy I called Jesika and had a good catch up with her, she was staying the night with Rosina up at Sunbury – enjoying being out of the city.

Cat & Simon are leaving for Wanaka at 4:30am so we are all off to bed early tonight. Just heard that the lass that was sposed to be coming to manage The Lodge in September can’t come now so we are now back in the market for a manager. Anyone interested??

Early mornings again and a new baby

So once again Tim is off to town at 4am.
I have my phone alarm set for 3:45 but as always I wake at 3am.
Tim decides at 3:30am that seeing as he is awake he will get up and go. So he and Nate are well gone before 4am.
I didn’t bother getting up, it was too cosy and I wasn’t feeling awake enough.
I read my book for a few minutes and then went back to sleep.
Then…
bump! thump! and oomph!
A book is dumped beside me with ‘can you read me this story Mummy?’ as one 4 year old is crawling cross the top of me.
I peer across the room at the clock – 7:30am
Whoever invented morning?

I got myself up and went to greet the day – and the girls. They had already been up for a while and were busily playing with their dolls in the living room.
I chucked a log on the fire, put on a load of washing and got to the bathroom.

Throughout the few minutes duration it should have taken me to wash and dress the phone went at least 6 times!
Tim was in town.
He called to ask me what his eftpos card pin number was cuz he was getting road used miles and they won’t take visa for that.
Visa is easy for him cuz he doesn’t have to remember a pin – all he has to do is sign and he can manage that much
So, I scurry and find his pin.
Next call – that doesn’t work. Is there another possibility?
I don’t think so – so I call the bank to see if they can get some money for him. Not our local branch so they don’t know how to do it. Maybe it is only wombats like us that go to town with out money and cheque books and have to avail ourselves of this service, so I know it can be done!

Then I have a brain wave and look elsewhere. Success! found his pin. Forgot we have new cards now so pins had changed.
Call him back. Thank goodness he has an obliging lady at the other end – she knew my voice well by the end of all this.
Try this one Tim.

Then I call our local bank branch and tell her I have pin sussed and ask her to let the other branch know how it is done for future reference.

By this time I have managed to finish my ablutions and am trying to dress.
The phone goes again!
‘I have put in 3 incorrect pin numbers now so the card won’t work. How can I get it going again?’
Another call to the bank.
This time she calls the other branch and gets it all sussed.
I call Tim back and tell him to go to the bank, give him the address but haven’t a clue where it is. Guess he can figure that out. After all, he’s a big boy now he should be able to do that much shouldn’t he???

Back to getting dressed.
Phone goes again.
This time it is the bank lady saying she has it all under control and how much would he like so she can get it done for him so he doesn’t have to wait when he gets there.
I mean to say, how nice is that?
So while I had her on the phone I got directions as to how to find the bank.

Then I call Tim back and give him explicit instructions.
Since then the phone hasn’t gone again so I guess all is under control.

By this time Azzan had given up on his mother getting food for him so he had raided the pantry and opened a new container of juice. Forgetting that there were already three opened containers in the fridge already!

Tim always makes porridge for breakfast but I don’t. So the orders were in this morning for eggs and toast. – that was easy – thankfully

The rest of the day went quite smoothly. I happened to look outside around 11am and saw sun on the deck.
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This is very exciting I hope you realise
Shannie comes in and gives me a sun report now – as to where the sun is reaching each day. After nearly 2 months of no sun this is an extreme highlight for all.

We had pancakes and maple syrup for lunch. Nice and healthy – not! We had a good clean up session today. The girls finally got their rooms how I thought they should look. I finally got into my bedroom and sorted all the china and glass ware that Cat had dumped in there after she moved the cabinet from the living room to make way for the new fire. Got all that sorted – boxing up what I don’t want to pass on and and wrapping safely the pieces I am keeping.

We had a wee restful interlude watching a couple of episodes of ‘Little House on the Prairie’. Bit of a tear jerker it was cuz their wee baby boy died. I think the high sugar lunch was telling on Azzan cuz he couldn’t sit still for more than 2 seconds through out the whole episode. Then I got more cleaning and packing done. Dinner was easy and late. Baked beans, poached eggs and hash browns with salad to add the healthy bit

Tim arrived home at 7:30pm – just before dinner. He bought this wee critter back with him. She is so cute. There is dissension on her name – I’m voting Sky, Azzan wants Mary and there are many others being tossed about by the girls.- I guess Tim will have the final vote. Just as well Azzan is coming away with me in the morning – give the wee lady time to settle in without being loved to death. he was leaping all around with it tonight saying ‘it’s very excited’!! I think it was him that was excited
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I am off to Nelson at 6am tomorrow morning and then onto Greymouth for the weekend. My Uncle is having his 80th birthday.
Be back Monday night – see y’all then