Another lovely day

We woke to yet another beautiful day.
The children packed up all their gear – man! have they got enough clothing to last a year! I packed way too much for them – but it was really hard to know what to bring – at this time of year you need a bit of everything cuz the weather is so changeable.

Anyway, we managed to repack the Safari and I fitted everything in and there will be enough room – just – to fit my stuff in tomorrow.

The children had lots of fun with Alvin over breakfast – he was on a late shift so had the morning at home so it was nice to spend the time with him.

We were on the road soon after 9am. I took a different route and we got a bit lost – but not really. I just didn’t know exactly where I was for a while but for the third time this week we basically took a scenic route which was fun cuz we saw different roads and buildings – another part of Chch that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise – all part of the educational process in the learning about the city

We popped into Every Educaid again. They have such a great shop and a huge play area which the children were only too happy to use while I picked up some more math games etc.

Then we drove across town and found my cousin Sally’s house. She wasn’t in when we arrived so we fed the ducks and swan in the Avon River just across the road, with the stale bread we had been keeping in the Safari just for that very purpose. It was a lovely interlude in the day.
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Sally was out running and jogged up with Jack the dog soon after. We had a battle to pull Shannie away from the ducks After a muffin and drink of water we all loaded into the Safari and drove to QE2 park only to find that the children’s pools were all shut this week for maintenance

So we drove all the way across the city to the Pioneer Poolcomplex – basically around the corner from where we are staying! The children were very quickly in the water and never got out for near on two hours-!! Finally, I suggested that as it was nearly 2pm that maybe they might like to get out and have some lunch. Even then they took their time.
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We got them dressed, they found a playground outside so had to try that out for a few minutes, then we drove back towards Sally’s, stopping on the way at Eastgate Mall for lunch. That was really funny. The children all wanted totally different food today and the food court was a bit strange and spread out. So I left Shannie getting a Turkish lamb pie, Sally took Hali back up the mall to find sushi, while Azzan deliberated as to whether he wanted a cheese burger. We were queuing at McDonald’s when he all of a sudden changed his mind and decided he wanted a meat pie. So we walked back to the bakery to find one. Of course that was a take away in a paper bag, but he ‘needed’ a knife and fork so thankfully Shannie wasn’t using hers – she’s a fingers girl, so that made him happy. Then Sally and I were able to find our food. By this time it was after 3pm so we zipped back to Sally’s as her children were coming home from school. We had a quick drink and muffin and then I headed over to Sarah’s. I had mapped out my route so managed to get across town quite easily despite the busy traffic.

I stopped there for a cuppa, Hali went off to Aikido with James and Stephanie, and Azzan was very quickly into the dress-ups with Sigal and Shannie. No doubt Sarah will have photos of their visit with her family to share – thanks Sarah – I really appreciate you having my three tonight – it was just lovely to have some time out

I left the children there and headed into the city centre. Parked up and went and bought the movie tickets and waited for Corrine to arrive, she’s always getting held up in traffic We didn’t have time to eat a meal so got a frappacino each at Starbucks and wandered back to theatre – Regent on Worcester. We saw ‘La Vie En Rose‘. It was the most enthralling movie I have watched in a long long time. What a story. What a singer. What a woman. If you haven’t seen the movie – you just gotta. It is riveting. At the end the whole theatre was just silent, as if we were all holding our breath and didn’t want to let go – totally moved beyond anything. I was just breathless and shaking with the intensity of it all.

here’s the theatre review – “From the slums of Paris to the limelight of New York, Edith Piaf’s life was a battle to sing and survive, live and love. Raised in poverty, Edith’s magical voice and her passionate romances and friendships with the greatest names of the period -Yves Montand, Jean Cocteau, Charles Aznavour, Marlene Dietrich, Marcel Cerdan and others- made her a star all around the world. But in her audacious attempt to tame her tragic destiny, the Little Sparrow – her nickname – flew so high she could not fail to burn her wings.”

We decided to go find some food – there was no way we could leave and just drive home after such an amazing movie, we needed to wind down and talk it through. We walked around to The Strip on Oxford Terrace and found The Boulevard. We had a wonderful dinner. And the dessert was divine – crepes with marscapone and strawberries etc – it was simply to die for.

I hadn’t been feeling too great for most of the day but after the movie and time to sit and chat in the cool of the evening I realised that I was feeling better than I have in days.

What a wonderful close to the day

Antarctica here we come!

We were on the road by 8:30am
Zipped up to get sushi for lunch from a place Susan had recommended only to find there is no sushi ready till 9:30am. Bummer!

So back into the traffic and head across town to The Antarctic Centre.
We met Sarah, Stephanie and Sigal there.
We spent the next 3-4 hours enjoying all they have to offer.
A great place – very interactive and despite the initial horror over costs it was very worth while. Especially as it was for a whole day and we could’ve gone back later on if we had wanted to.


There was a room which was set to a temperature of -8’C and each hour a storm blew through with a wind chill factor of up to (or should I say down to) -17.9’C
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The children braved it out inside the ice cave

and after the storm had fun sliding on the ice and throwing snowballs at us – brats!


In another room there was a reading of Scott’s diary and the special effects portrayed the times he was writing about – the falling snow flakes delighted the children.

There was also a lot of info about the penguins – here the children are measuring up against all the different varieties.

We spent quite a while with the Little Blue penguins. They have about 18 penguins living there. They are ones that have been damaged and would not survive in the wild. Some had damaged wings, beaks, some were blind and some even had amputated feet. One was found by a truck driver walking down the road with a fish hook stuck in its eye. Others have been savaged by predators. Very sad indictment on our society that we damage our wild life so cruelly.

Feeding time brought a lot of activity in the water – we were standing by the observation window – they were so cute to watch.
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Azzan enjoyed meeting this cuddly Weddel Seal

and trying on the snow jackets
he decided they were way to big and heavy for him.

The snow cat and sled were fun and they loved seeing in the tent behind. It had a concave glass window so you could see exactly how they live – or squeeze into – a small tent out on the ice. Not too much room to swing a cat!

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We finally left the lovely cool environment and headed to Northlands Mall Food Hall for a late lunch. My children are about sushi-ed out now-!! We then did a bit of fun shopping – found a cool shop that was selling Indian jewellery for $2. So of course we all chose a gorgeous necklace each – including Azzan who does not like to be left behind on the pretty colours etc

We said our farewells to Sarah and the girls and headed off to visit Aunty Rona. It was lovely to be able to see her again – the children all love to visit her and they all comment about how they love her so much. Ann & Ian arrived while we were there – they had been shopping for A Rona.

Life proved to getting a bit much for Azzan. He curled up on the floor and before we realised it he was fast asleep.

I thought I was going to have to carry him out but he woke up enough to be very sweet and give A Rona a big love before leaving.

We got back to Alvin & Vonnie’s in time for dinner. Hali was VERY tired so had a cooling bath while the other 2 zipped up to the playground. They don’t seem to be too bothered by all the busyness whereas Hali is finding it all a bit much.

I managed to get them all into bed in good time tonight on the promise of taking them swimming tomorrow

Monday in the Museum

We had a much needed morning at home today.
The children caught up on rest and baths.
After they had soaked, and I had done the washing they got stuck in and had a huge clean up for me.

Shannie emptied out the Safari, cleaned it and repacked it very tidily and Mahalia gave the bedroom a massive clean out. They did a wonderful job. Then while they played with their Sylvanian’s I had a visit from Kerri who came to show me the PhotoMax business. I have signed up for it as I am very impressed with it all. Tell you more as I work it all out.

When she left we got organised and headed into the city. I really didn’t have any idea what we were going to do until we met up with Sam. But on the way in I thought to myself that I might just see if there were any parks near the museum. Sure enough there was one right outside, so we paid for 90mins thinking that would be plenty. We went up to the cafe and had lunch – it was VERY good food. Then we proceeded to work our way around the museum. The children loved it. It was a bit tricky taking some of the photos because of the lighting and I didn’t like to use a flash too much, but I got some of the children’s favourite things.

Mahalia was delighted to have a ride on the horse

and then they all ooohed and aaaahed over this gorgeous Victorian dolls house

The dinosaur skeleton was a HUGE attraction

as were the Kiwis. In fact Shannie’s favourite part of the museum was all the birds – I shoulda known that eh?
There were some huge bugs in the recycling/ save the planet section

and the Penny farthing had to be ridden by them all. As with the horse though Shannie was the only one who could reach the pedals

Azzan was pretty impressed by the suit of armour
he was also vbery into the Mummy display. He was remembering very clearly that he had seen them at Te Papa and was recounting all about that.

They were all extremely impressed by the enormous moose skeleton

There was even this wonderful stone covered in cuneiform writing which was great as they had recently studied all about it

I spent quite a bit of time with the two little ones in the costumes hall. It was wonderful. There were some 1920’s dresses and they were noting that it was the type of clothes that Thoroughly Modern Millie had worn! When we were looking at some of the military uniforms and medals – Azzan commented very sagely that – ‘I wasn’t in the war. I was too young.’

Outside was a wonderful fountain, the children couldn’t understand why there was a fence around it though. They are still learning about the not nice parts of city life

We then discovered that 90mins had not been long enough and we had overstayed our parking ticket by more than half an hour. Thankfully no parking wardens were around so we popped in a bit more money and headed across the street to the Arts Centre
in search of Fudge Cottage. The children had very definite memories from last time so knew exactly how to find it-!!

We then all enjoyed a gelato ice cream from a street vendor before hopping into a very hot car and heading up to Northlands Mall to change Shannie’s top for a bigger size.

We then went around to Sam’s house and waited for her to arrive. Brayden was there recovering from having 8 teeth removed. By this time it was getting on for 5pm and the traffic build up was horrific and she got caught in it on her way back from the city centre. We had a short visit with Sam and loaded Sylvie’s cases in the Safari and headed over to North Beach. We spent an hour with my dear friend Kay and met her husband to be. They get married on Nov 17th so it is all very exciting.

I had promised the children that we would go and have a walk on the Brighton Pier so despite the late hour we did and it was very pleasant.
Azzan was in hysterics watching the surfers trying to catch waves and crashing into them. For some reason it really tickled his fancy.
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It was really lovely there in the late evening – there was just a light breeze and the waves along the coast were so beautiful

Hali was very very tired so we drove across town into the setting sun which made it very hard to see at times. I got a bit lost but eventually found the supermarket, grabbed a bit of food and then came home and cooked dinner while the children washed up and got the pj’s on.

My cuz Susan arrived for a visit so we entertained her while we were eating. Then the children hopped into bed and allowed us time for a good catch up.

It is now very late and I am more than tired.


Thankfully the children all slept in till after 8am today. It was a chilly morning with the promise of sunshine. We got dressed and packed up.
The pergola looks so good now Graeme has finished the logs on top.
A friend is getting married there soon, hence the rush to finally get it completed.
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Perfect spot for photos

Shannie pensively resting.

Nicky made the children some scrampbled eggs and then we left for Christchurch. I managed to find where Clavary Chapel meets each Sunday and joined Wayne and Emma and their 8 children for church there. Corrine breezed in late – she had overslept. It was lovely standing beside her during the singing – she has a magnificent voice and I hadn’e had the priviledge of hearing her sing before. I was most impressed with the teaching. Pastor Kris was teaching from Luke 11:1-4 on how to pray. It was excellent, he has a real down to earth and easy to listen to way of teaching. I learnt a lot today.

After church Emma and I zipped through the supermarket and bought lunch then we all headed to Deans Bush. It is a lovely wee park area around the original and oldest house in Canterbury.
There are huge trees – some over 150 years old. We ate a very tasty picnic lunch, Azzan felt mosr comfortable lying on the lush grass while he ate.
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The children played lots of games
Afterwards we found heaps of broken bottles and glass right where they had been running about – we spent a long time picking it all up marvelling how miraculous it was the children had not been cut on it and also questioning the mentality of the louts who leave such a dangerous mess behind.

Dean’s Cottage – the oldest building in Christchurch
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And the mansion beside it that they built afterwards. What a transition!!

The children had fun trying to catch the ducks – thankfully none fell in

Around 4pm we went our seperate ways. We went to Louisa’s. The children just quietly chilled with George, Oliver and Madeline. I lay on the carpet in the sun and had a sleep. It was so good. Louisa fed the children and then after a dancing display by Oliver – he learns Ballet, Jazz, Irish and Hip Hop dance – plus Azzan doing the Mango for us – his name of his dance as he floated and twirled around the lounge, we headed back to Alvin and Vonnie’s. I got the children quickly into bed and finally had a chance to sit and talk with them. We have hardly had time to catch up since I arrived so it was good.

So, now I am heading to bed and hopefully I will get to sleep in a bit.
I told the children that we wouldn’t go anywhere tomorrow till after lunch. Hali said ‘that sounds very relaxing’ – to which I heartily agreed.

A long and tiring but fun weekend

Sat morning Azzan & I threw our sleeping bags and some clothes into the Safari and went around the road to visit my cousin Susan. Couldn’t find her so we went shopping to spend Azzan’s gift voucher Granny had given him to spend at The Warehouse. He was so cute. He walked up and down the toy aisles trying to decide what to get. He looked at all sorts of things, deliberating and weighing up what he should get. After quite a long time I suggested he might like to have a look in the craft aisle. He said that he didn’t want to cuz he really wanted to get something playful!

Anyway, I could see that he wasn’t finding what he wanted so I suggested to him that I buy his voucher off him and give him the $15 in cash to spend at Toyworld. He happily agreed to this so we zipped on down to the Toyworld shop we had found the day before. He went straight to the Sylvanians and then deliberated as to what box he should get. Should he get the hamster family because they are related to his mouse family. Or should he get the boar family? Or maybe the TV. Then he decided he wanted Ivy Cottage. I said that he had already bought the shop and he didn’t need another building. But he said his mouse family needed a house to live in so they could go from there to the shop – how could I argue with that?? Then he decided he needed the kitchen furniture as well. So I ended up subsidising his b’day money much to his delight-!!

It was then time to head over and pick up the girls. Louisa was most amused because she had taken the children out with her to drop George off at tennis and my girls commented that they had never been out BEFORE breakfast before-!! I managed to get them cleaned up and changed and out the door to get to the Westpac stadium in good time. The traffic was building so I was pleased to get their early. Corrine got caught in it so we waited quite a while for her and the boys to arrive. The Thomas show was great. Of course it was directed at the little people – with lots of noise, over accentuated dance and singing with quite a simple story. Shannie couldn’t believe that I had dozed off during the first half when I told her. She said incredulously ‘Even with all that noise?’ I did stay awake for the 2nd half. Shannie was very impressed with the special effects. Azzan was sad when it ended because he felt it was too short.

Afterwards Corrine and I met in The Square and sat and had a drink while the children let off lots of energy using the place for gymnastics. I am sure they entertained a lot of the tourists. As we were leaving we could hear some very rousing music and as it was near Corrine’s car we went closer to have a look. I realised it was a group or Hare Krishna’s. They were singing up a storm and one girl was ready to talk and pass out tracts so we made a wide berth and then went back to our find our car. Azzan, my friendly wee man, who loves to talk to anyone he meets kept asking me later on ‘Why couldn’t we talk to the Christians?’

We then made out way out to North Loburn and joined the Wenborn’s for dinner. As we turned up their drive the children were saying – ‘This is Brianna’s house’ – I had to remind tham that actually it wasn’t anymore. The family were all in varying stages of fancy dress as they prepared for the party.
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Azzan didn’t leave Phoebe for the whole night. She was his girl!!

It was such a cool evening. They had decorated their studio as a Turkish poker den and the tables were all laid out with lovery food and poker games. Those that wanted to played games of Texas Holdem poker and the rest of us socialised. It was a great night.
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Lizzie, the birthday girl laddling out the delicious fruit punch.

The delectable deserts with the cake Phoebe had made and decorated

Bethany & Lydia in La Laun Dree cafe

The night proved long for some…

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We were all summoned into the living room and listened to Sarah and Bethany play and then – a guest gave a wonderfully funny clown performance to Lizzie for a present.
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She was hilarious – I wish I had been able to video her. She got Andrew and another guy up to help her and to try and get them to do what she wanted through mime was an absolute crack up.

Then is was time for Dave to tell us how wonderfu Lizzie is – but we all knew that anyway
and then he swooped her onto the floor for a tango
but then Nicky arrived and she and Dave entertained us all with their flashy crowd pleasing steps!!

Shannie and Azzan managed to stay awake for all of this but Mahalia didn’t

We carried them all out to Brianna’s sleep out around midnight. I followed at 1:30am. It was a great night but I knew morning would be coming all too soon.

Day 2 in Chch

Alvin & Vonnie were both gone by 7am. I was up then and was doing some emails when the children woke at 7:30am.
I got hem breakfasted and sorted and we were out the door by 9:30am. When I walked out to the car I realised I had over dressed – the day was already very warm, so I went back inside and changed – first day that I have worn a summer skirt and top this season. Mahalia was raving about how pretty I looked and that I should wear it to the wedding. Sweet child

We drove to the airport and watched the planes coming and going.
Funnily enough the thing that gave them the biggest buzz was going up into the car-park building and being able to see out all across the airport.

We waited for the airplane to arrive and couldn’t find Peter (a wwoofer who is coming to us an a couple of weeks) who was flying in from the USA so we headed off to the Shoe Warehouse. It is a bit of an act trying to find sandals for 3 children at the same time. I left Mahalia to sort herself out while Shannie and I tried sandals on Azzan. Finally found what he liked and then Shannie needed the toilet. Sent her to find out where it was. It was way across the other side of Bunnings – a huge warehouse next door. Way too far to send my 10yr old on her own. So I dumped the sandals at the counter and took off with 3 in tow. Got everyone sorted and whizzed back to find some dress sandals for Shannie. She is only 10 but is already in adult sizings. So I asked someone for help and after trying on many pairs around the shop Shannie finalised her decision with a lovely pair toe sandals. It was a three pair for the price of two deal so a good time to be shopping there.

Then we found a nice cafe just up the road called Anna’s and had out lunch there. It was mainly older people there so they were all giving the children very generous smiles and attention. The food was good. Azzan cleaned up all of his pie and half of Shannie’s which she graciously allowed him to have because he really, really wanted the same as hers but there was only one and he really didn’t want the one he got but it was too late to change as I had already poured on the tomato sauce and had begun cutting it up before I realised there was a problem. In the end Shannie didn’t want to have any of Azzan’s pie so he cleaned up the whole lot with great relish-!!

We then found a wonderful Toy-world shop in the same complex – it must be one of the biggest in the South Island. I had been trying to find Sylvanian’s for the children and they had the full range so it was a very intense time for them choosing what they would like. Shannie had in-depth discussions with the manager about what Lego she wanted and what he actually had in stock. It is so frustrating when they see things advertised but they are either not available in NZ or they have deleted that particular one.

We then braved the Riccarton traffic and found Briscoes – once again there was excitement as we navigated onto the top floor of the parking building and then great fights over who was going to push the lift buttons. – Unbelievable-!! Just got a trolley and was about to go find the presents I was after and then Mahalia needed the toilet then Shannie ran into her legs with the trolley so we had tears as well. I parked the trolley and raced the children across the road into the mall and found the bathrooms. Then it was back to Briscoes, found the wedding present and a 21st present, called in to Starbucks – got a much needed pick me up, it is all right I got a Caramel Light frappacino with no cream!

We left there and headed back towards town. By this time it was turning very cold and the traffic was getting extremely busy. As we were passing Mocha I popped into the cafe to see Lydia. She told me that Lizzie was having her 21st party Saturday night and could we come out to it. Yippee – that will be fun. Then it was around the corner to Every Educaid. The girls stayed in the car and played with the Sylvanians and Azzan helped me. I had gone looking for art paper. I have not been there for years and had forgotten what an amazing supply of educational stuff they have. I had a great time. Got some language learning kits so we can learn German and Spanish, plus lots of art paper etc.

Then it was down the road to visit Aunty Rona. We found her in her tiny wee hospital room. She has been shifted since we last saw her as she keeps falling and needed to be in the hospital wing. She is bright and we had a lovely visit. It must be so hard for her not to be able to get out hardly at all now. She loved to go out for a coffee and now she has to rely on the wheel chair taxi and others to help her. Azzan gave her lots of loves – which she loves
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By this time it was getting on for 5pm so we drove through the rush hour traffic – very slowly – to meet Louisa and the children for dinner at their place. By 5:30 they still hadn’t gotten home so I called and found they were delayed so we agreed to meet at the Northlands Mall Food Hall. Most of the children opted for sushi. Azzan insisted on a full size packet AND he had to eat it all with chopsticks – he is a very persistent young man!
Madeline and Oliver and my three enjoying their dinner. George took a while longer to decide – there was too much choice!

While we were eating I saw a familiar face walk past so called out ‘SAM’! And yes, it was my niece. So she came over and joined us and we had a lovely catch up time. Louisa took all the children back home with her so Sam, Azzan and I went and did some shopping. He was pretty tired by this time so we headed back to Louisa’s place with the girls new pyjamas so they could stay the night with Madeline. Azzan cuddled up on my knee while we had a cuppa. He said to me ‘Did you know we are God’s Barbie’s?’ I was like ‘What? Why?’ And he said ‘Because God makes us walk.’ Very random thought patterns I think this all comes from the fact that Barbie and Kelly dolls feature quite highly in his world because he plays so much with his big sisters. He is quite keen on having his own Kelly dolls hence my thoughts on redirecting this interest to Sylvanian critters!

I finally got Azzan back home and tucked up in bed by around 9:30pm. He was a tired wee man – but very happy to be sleeping with his mummy tonight. I just hope he doesn’t kick & wriggle too much!

I hd just sat down here to update and Vonnie came out for a coffee, a smoke and a chat. She had not had a great day, she got word that her aunt had died, and then tonight she had gotten word that one of her patients is critically ill in hospital tonight so she is probably going to head it to the hospital in a few hours time to be with her. (She is a care giver to several seriously handicapped adults and she is very attached to them all)

Looks like we have a pretty full on day tomorrow so I am not too sure if I will get back her till Sunday.
See you then

Day 1 in Chch

We were all awake bright and early today.
Vonnie is gone by 7am and Alvin was on a later shift so I was quietly doing some emails and the children were all watching Animal Planet when he came out around 8am. They were watching a programme about bobcats and lynx so had plenty to tell me about them later on.

It took me a while to get myself organised.
The children ate their breakfasts and entertained Alvin while I had a shower.

Then we headed off into town.
I had bought a couple of MP3 players last time I was here and they just would not work with our iMac’s so I returned them – no hassles there so that was good.
We then drove across town to see Christine. Charlotte is home from Sydney and was sposed to be flying back with Mark yesterday but Arabella got an ear infection and couldn’t fly. That was a bonus for us cuz we got to spend some unexpected time with them today.

Arabella is so cute – she is 16months old now and was right in there with my children with the toys. It was great to watch the interaction. The Duplo was very popular and Shannie made a wonderful bus out of it which they all enjoyed playing with.

Two lovely ladies – Charlotte and Arabella

We then zipped over to Hands Ashford to find some hessian for Phillipa – she needed some for placemats for the wedding. Got that organised and then headed to Papanui to look for clothes for the girls to wear to the wedding. JK had nothing – everything is just too short and expensive. So we went across to Northlands Mall. It is so huge now – it takes forever to get from one end to the other. I thought we would have a quick look in The Warehouse. It was a total chamozzle as they were renovating the store. Found the girls clothes and Mahalia immediately found a dress which was perfect and she was delighted with it. Thankfully it fitted – she is borderline these days in her age group as she has growed so much lately-!!

Shannie took a while to find anything. Everything I could see was so short and tarty looking and she wanted something longer. Then I found another rack of clothes and a skirt – THE skirt. I called he over and showed her and she fell for it instantly. It was a crinkly peasant hippie type one in pinks and purples with greens and other colours scattered through the pattern. Then she found a caftan style green shirt with sequins around the cuffs and neckline. I just had to laugh – shades of her mothers 35 years ago – it is exactly what I would have chosen then-!! Anyway, she was very happy with her purchase We looked for sandals for her and Azzan – gave up and bought her a cheap pair of jandals as it had come out very warm and her feet were just too hot. We found nothing for Azzan. And by this time he was being rather difficult so I gave up and let him go barefoot. We whizzed thru the checkout ands tore down the mall to find Deirdre, my first flatmate from 31 years ago. She was at a conference in Chch and had escaped early to meet me. We had a enjoyable catchup over lunch and the children found a fun place to let off a bit of steam nearby.

After saying good-bye to her we headed back to the car – Azzan was getting beyond himself by this time. I had bought sushi for the girls and he wanted some. But he wanted to eat it with the chopsticks and threw a bit of a wobbly when Shannie wouldn’t let him. So I chucked him on board the shopping trolley and fled to the car. Once he was safely strapped in Hali placated him and he happily ate his piece of sushi and was smiling again.

We then called into see Catherine (Charlottes older sister) and her 4 – the three oldest had just gotten home from school. It was really funny – Shannie preferred to play with the Duplo in the hall with Thomas and Azzan

while Mahalia and Sophie did the little girl stuff in the front room.
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Catherine gave my children some clothes – Mahalia was delighted to have a new summer skirt and top. Azzan was also doubly delighted cuz she gave him a new t-shirt plus a heap of clothes that Thomas didn’t need.

Sophie serenaded us on her violin
Catherine has all her children playing violin with the Suzuki method. She is a great advocate of it and after hearing Sophie play I can see why

There was enough food for my children to have dinner with the others. There was a LOT of noise and hyperactivity so after they had eaten I decided it was time to take out leave. We headed across town and found another Warehouse and then a supermarket to get some food for breakfast and dinner for me.

Home just before 9pm, quickly cooked dinner and got the children all off to bed. I have now had my dinner and am just about to follow them. I am really weary tonight, but it was a good day catching up with so many wonderful friends

We got here!

I didn’t quite get away form Motupiko as early as I had planned.
But it was ok.
The children had a lovely time down looking at Angela’s chicken’s. They were so excited cuz they saw an egg beginning to hatch out. When they got back they had a lovely time in the sandpit.

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I finally had to call them to dust off the sand and get ready for our travels.
One last pic with Lydia and Jacob before we left at 11:30am.

The girls love to play spotting games – counting cars and trucks etc. Azzan joined into the I Spy game

‘I spy something beginning with ‘H’.’
We guessed all the things we could but to no avail.
the clues were rather random.
The last one being that it sounds like ‘sssssss’
I said but that is not ‘H’
We finally gave in and he gleefully said ‘It was Tap’
I said that tap didn’t begin with ‘H’ and it does not make the sssss sound.
He said ‘I forgot! But it does make ssssssssss when the water comes out’ – duh!

It took just an hour to Murchison – we got out to stretch our legs and I bought a South Island map book for Shannie – she loves to navigate for me. I do know how to get to where we were going but map reading skills are an excellent thing to learn and what better time to do it.

After the little ones had finished eating their ice blocks I told them to cuddle up with their blankets and sleep cuz we had a long drive ahead of us. And they did for quite a while. Even Shannie dozed off. The weather deteriorated the closer we got tot he Lewis Pass. We had rain for quite a lot of the way. There was also very very strong winds with signs warning of severe wind along the way. I got very dozey so had to pull over for a break just thru the Pass. I found my iPod so the four of us were all connected with one ear piece each singing our hearts out – well, I was anyway – to Vege Tales – On the Road Again. Great songs for travelling too.

We didn’t stop again until we got into Christchurch around 4pm. Then it was a quick fuel stop. And as it had come out very warm some more ice blocks were in order. By this time Azzan was reaching the end of his tether. He was getting rather stroppy. So I didn’t dally. We just zipped around the ring road straight to Alvin & Vonnie’s at Halswell. It was so good to unpack the car and just chill. I sent the children down to the playground at the end of the street but they didn’t stay too long. They were just happy to crash out in front of the TV for a bit before dinner.

So they have now had dinner, and a bath and are sound asleep in their beds.
I am just planning our day tomorrow and sorting out how we will fit everything into our week and then I will be off to bed too. After two very long days I am well and truly ready for a good sleep tonight.

A very long and busy day

Well, you know what happens when you have a later night than you should and you have the alarm set for 5am?
Yes, that is the night that Azzan wakes at 3am crying 

I managed to stagger into his room to see what the trouble was – his duvet had fallen off his bed onto the floor and he was cold. Unfortunately he hasn’t gotten to the stage yet of actually getting out of bed quietly and getting it back on! So I covered him up and went back to bed.

Only to have him come in for a warm up cuddle a 5-10mins later

He went back to sleep but it took me ages, I was really only just slipping back into dreamland when the alarm went off. I was up and dressed, had the car packed up and the girls up and dressed and he was still snoring with his Daddy when I pulled him out of bed at 5:30. He is a good lad though and wakes easily once he is standing.

We were gone well before 6am. Great start. It was blowing an absolute gale – I thought Shannie was going to get blown clean over to Wellington when she got out to open the gate. We had a good drive out. No one was sick – yahoo! It was raining off and on most of the morning but the afternoon came out really warm. Our morning was very busy – I had made a list and successfully got around all the appointments and jobs as I worked thru it systematically. Even was able to give Shannie and Hali an hour or two with their little girlfriends Kathryn & Sohpie between appointments while I zipped about doing other things. After Hali’s dentist appointment we whizzed thru the last few jobs on the way through Richmond and drove over the hill to Motupiko. The children were very glad to get out of the car and have the rest of the day to play with the Ashton children.

Phillipa and I chatted a bit and then zipped thru showers and headed back into Nelson to our home ed mothers night out. Picked up Chrissie on the way. Met up with Estelle and Ainsley. The 5 of us had a delicious meal at Smugglers Rest at Tahunanui. Estelle then had to buzz off to hear the Cornish mens choir and the rest of us joined the other 8 women who arrived then for our desert evening.

All in all it was a great night. My camera batteries died so I have no photos to share. But it was a wonderful restaurant – will be definitely going there again. Great atmosphere, friendly service and terrific food. It had the best and most diverse desert menu I have come across in a long time.

We got back home around 11pm. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. But we sat up and talked over a cup of herb tea till around midnight.

This morning is bright and sunny. No wind as such today. It looks like it will be a good day for a drive south. Phillipa has taken the children down to her sister’s place so Shannie can see Angela’s chickens. She apparently has a heap and is right in to it. Shannie will be hugely inspired!

As soon as they get back we will pack up the car and head south.

Will check in as I can during the week.


A few more hours and we are outa here…..

I got productive early this morning and told the girls what I expected them to do towards packing.
Namely tidying their room so I could at least see some made beds and find some town clothes.

Well, the day went – not too sure where but it sure didn’t go where I planned it.

The girls spent most of the morning with Cat working in the vege garden. They are really enjoying seeing all their plants growing up there. With all the rain we have head recently it has given them quite a burst of growth.

I made Tim & Cat some more wheat free bread – it turned out really good – I seem to have perfected my recipe and they love it which is good. I add heaps of pumpkin and sunflower seeds and linseed. Much nicer than the bought stuff.

I seemed to be busy all day but never got to the packing until later this arvo. Then when I got to the girls room again around 3ish I hit the roof. Not a thing had been done.

So they came in and started cleaning very quickly.
Azzan had gone to bed and had a sleep so by the time I had raised Cain with the girls he was awake so I packed his clothes while he was resting. He is a heap better – in fact this morning he was percolating on all four cylinders. But by this afternoon he had flagged. After I had packed he went out and had a spa and was very ready for bed tonight.

I managed to find most of the required clothes for them all and tonight after dinner I loaded them all into the Safari. Along with all the other stuff I have to dsistribute around the town.

I also finished packing up my art gear – unfortunately when I bent down to get some stuff off a low shelf I slammed my head hard and very painfully into the corner of the filing cabinet. Man! did I yell! It is still making me feel yuck – put my whole night off kilter it did

After dinner the children had gone off to bed while Tim & I finished our dinner. I went up to see if they were in bed waiting for Daddy to read to them and found the girls in a very creative mess – I just could not believe my eyes – the mess was horrendous – I hit the roof so loudly that they scarpered and cleaned up very very quickly.

I am planning on getting them up and be gone from here by soon after 5:30am so needed them in bed pronto – they knew that but it hadn’t seemed to have registered till then

I am nearly finished packing up my stuff – it is really difficult at this time of year to know what to take as the weather is so changeable. So I tend to over pack.

Cat asked for a haircut in the midst of all of this tonight – so that got done. She is looking forward to us going. She loves it when the kids and I clear out and she can do stuff around here without us in her hair. I think she loves it as much as I do when I see them all sail out the bay on a camping trip – bliss

Seb & Cat are leaving for work at 6am so it will be an early mass exodus in the morning. Tim, Nate and Anson won;t know themselves! It’s Nathan’s real birthday so who knows what mischief he is cooking up

I am off to chuck the last bit in to the car and then I am in the spa and off to bed.
I am totally whacked.

What a day