A very stormy day

We woke to news on the radio of a severe storm hitting NZ.
It was blowing a strong southerly and raining a bit here but nothing too drastic.
Azzan came in around 6:30am wanting to have a spa. I talked him in to cuddling in bed for a while to wait till it was light.
Then he was out there wallowing in the warmth with the storm buffeting around him – he looked very comfortable. Tim’s boat was wallowing around most of the day – it was a big sea rolling in and it is still crashing in tonight.

Azzan & Hali were still not very well today. They spent all morning curled up on the sofa watching movies.
With Aidan & Chika’s help I made a huge pot of soup and got dinner prepared. Then we had one of Shanni’s pizza’s for lunch.

After lunch I got Azzan & Hali to have a sleep.
Shanni got out the sewing machine and I started cutting strips for her to learn to sew on.
She has never used the machine before so was very excited.
I figured if she learned to sew straight lines it would be a good start.
So we made strips

She had to redo some of them, some of the seams were a tad too narrow!
But she had a great time and loved it.
She sewed a lot of strips together and then ironed them and then I cut them into strips the other way and she sewed them again to make patches.

It was good for her to actually achieve something tangible from her first sewing lesson.
I figured a basic patchwork product would be achievable and all it took was straight sewing.
She did very well for a first time – but I am darn sure I will not be teaching her to drive a car   
She was very proud of her finished result.
It is a present for someone so I hope they appreciate the effort from both of us!!

Nathan has also been wanting to learn to sew so once Shanni got out a machine he was wanting to as well.
So he got the other machine at the opposite end of the table.
Figured out how to thread it and he was away.
He wanted to make a balaclava so he got a woollen hat and lay it down for a pattern on a piece of polar fleece and he was going for it.

I was chuckling though – look at the angle he has on when he is sewing around the corners
He was very pleased with the end result

He even figured out an ingenious way to add buttons at the back.
I don’t think he would be a successful bank robber though – his balaclava is too identifiable

Over the years I have accumulated several sewing machines. So I have my own Janome and 2 identical Brothers plus my Janome overlocker. The Brothers are ideal for the children to learn on and use.

I have been battling a headache again today. They seem to be a dauiy occurance. I think it is still part of the throat bug I had last week plus the ongoing neck/spine problem.
Tried to bribe Shanni into a massage before I could teach her to sew.
But it really didn’t help much.

As soon as Shanni had finished sewing the power went off.
It had been fluctuating all day.
It was good timing – so the children cleaned up all the mess and got things sorted for dinner etc.
Tim, Graham & Aidan had gone visiting our neighbour Peter for the arvo – not much else to do on a day like today except hang around annoying us!!

I was feeling really yucky so lay down by the fire and read my book in the remainder of the late afternoon light and dozed of to sleep. Woke to several phone calls then decided we needed to get dinner sorted before it got too dark. It was good we had it all cooked and it was hot on the wood fire.
Tim arrived home in time to get the 12v light connected so we didn’t have to rely on candles too long.

After dinner Tim and crew had a game of cards by the dim 12v light


Aidan and Chika were the two intrepid dishwashers tonight.
Aidan has been pretty buzzed by being part of a storm in the back of beyond. Being a city boy he hasn’t experienced anything like this before – mind you Chika probably hasn’t either!!

Azzan had been resting on the sofa by the fire. He came over looking for a torch so he could get his pj’s and go to bed. Poor wee fella, looked so miserable. So I filled him a hottie and read  him a story and tucked him down.

The power has come back on again so I am making the most of it to update just in case it goes off again.
The storm is pretty ferocious. The North Island is really copping it again. Cat is working up in the middle of it helping to keep the Telecom communications towers operating. Seb text to say it was real fun out there on the boat!! I guess they are doing a bit of surfing on their way up the Sounds. Anson has also just text to say he had a full days work today and hopefully a couple more lined up,  so that should keep him happy. He hates not to be working. Especially as that is why he is over there. He is not good at sitting around twiddling his thumbs.

Marlborough has issued a civil defence emergency, the Whangamoa hills to Nelson are closed because of the high winds and Nelson is getting a huge hammering too. Shanni was talking to a wee friend over there who told her that their trampoline had been blown away and that she had seen a house and a shed roof blown away. Another friend text me to say the power was off and trees were blowing over and sirens were constantly going.
I was talking to my sister tonight and she got a real scare when winds ripped out a line of fully grown macrocarpa trees by the roots near their house, she also nearly got done in by flying corrogated iron.

I am going to go tuck Shanni into bed and find my book and snuggle down for the night too.
No spa tonight – we had to turn it off cuz the power fluctuations were playing havoc with the electrics.
At least the power has been on long enough to heat my electric blanket

There’s a bug in the house…..

Mahalia woke us around 4am – she had a headache. So she crawled in between us and went off to sleep.
I didn’t!

Azzan came in before 7am asking to have a spa.
I decided it was time to get up!

Azzan had some very random thoughts this morning….

‘I know why I cost so much.
Cuz when I take up a word my brain goes up
and my body shivers’

I joined him in the spa and then got the washing on and organised the crew for the morning.
Mahalia & Azzan were both feeling under the weather so I made them and myself a hot grapefruit & honey drink each.
They then cuddled up on the sofa and watched some movies.
I assigned Shanni to the kitchen with Chika – supposedly to bake and do veges for dinner.
Shanni then decided she would make pizza for dinner.
Nathan was directed to his school books.
Tim & Aidan went up the hill to do some more fencing.
I figured Chika @ 30 was old enough to be the responsible adult in the house.

I drove around to visit Sandra & Herb. They live about 25mins drive closer to town and had picked up a parcel for me that the courier had delivered late so I had missed getting it on Saturday. It was medication for Shanni’s eyes so relatively important to get asap. I had a lovely visit with them and a nice peaceful drive each way. They are heading off to the USA next month for a months tiki-tour so were real keen to hear about our adventures over there.

When I got back home it was lunch time. The pizzas were finished – they had made 3 enormous ones. I had to hide them because we had soup for lunch and they looked too inviting to wait for dinner.

The two little ones were looking decidedly unweller than before. – how’s that for good grammar
All Azzan wanted was a cold frozen berry so Shanni got them both some. He ate one and went to sleep.
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Hali ate hers and dozed
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and then went to sleep, but I can’t show that photo to you cuz she will kill me in a few years time – it is not very glamorous-!! Just picture head right back, eyes firmly shut, bright red berry lips, wide open mouth………….
Enough said.

Shanni started writing letters. Nathan did some more maths and played his computer games.
I did some sewing – managed to sew on a button and get rid of 3 articles from the mending pile.
It turned really cold here this arvo. The wind is blowing the waves on the beach again.
They are forecasting another ferocious storm – way worse than the last one.
Looks like we may cop it this time though as it appears to be a wider spread front.

Azzan staggered off the sofa and ended up on the floor in front of the fire.
Where he promptly went back to sleep for quite a long time.
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We didn’t have dinner till about 7pm cuz the guys were late home. They were out chopping up firewood.
By this time Azzan had staggered over and collapsed on the floor in front of the cd player nearer the kitchen table.

We were talking around the table.
Only 6 of us for dinner tonight.
I was asking a Today in History question that I had heard on the radio while in the car.

I asked – ‘Who died in 1974 on this day in history at the age of 32 when she choked on a sandwich?’

While everyone was trying to guess and Nathan was trying to figure out how someone could choke on a sandwich a wee voice came from the floor…
‘there must’ve been too much tomato.’

So who was it??
Mama Cass of course.
Although it is only speculation that is how she died.

We finished dinner.
The pizza was superb – we all knew it was cuz Shanni kept informing us how amazing she was at making pizza

I ran a bath for Mahalia.
Then Azzan said he was hungry so I cut off a small piece of pizza for him.
He sat at the table looking very forlorn with his arms down at his sides.
I cut the pizza up real small.
He then told me that ‘I can’t lift up my hands.’
So guess who had to sit there and spoon feed the wee invalid
Each time I left him to eat, he had kiwi fruit next and then a drink of apple juice, I was told he couldn’t lift his hands.

I guess it is pretty good to have a mother to fuss over you when you are feeling not the greatest

I was browsing through the Spotlight catalogue tonight and couldn’t believe my eyes.
There on a page 2 of the dress fabrics is a picture of some fabric which I had not seen in 30 years. It is so close to my wedding dress fabric it could almost be identical. Of course I had to show Tim and see if he knew what it was. And surprise surprise – he said ‘That is your wedding dress.’ It was quite unusual at the time – not the norm for a wedding dress. It is the fabric of the dress on the little girl at the bottom left of page 2

Talked to Cat tonight. She is up in Waiouru tonight. She is certainly covering the country side at the moment. They were due to start work tonight at 9pm – hope they manage to get the job finished before the storm hits them. Anson is not getting much work as the weather over there is not good either, so he is getting pretty disgruntled and is threatening to move on somewhere else if things don’t change real soon. Bri’s due back in NZ in the next day or so. It will be good to hear all about her trip to Thailand & Cambodia, but as she is scheduled to begin work with Cat’s company as soon as she gets back she will probably not have time to come home. Sunni and I are emailing wedding invitations etc back and forth trying to make some decisions. Seb must be out on the briney somewhere. I haven’t heard from him since he left port so I guess he is keeping busy or is out of range.

I better go do Shanni’s night time eye medication. We have to be constant and deliberate about this for a month to see if it is going to help her. She is happy with it so that is a good start. The opthamologist can only offer steroid eye drops so we have a heap of stuff from the alternative clinic we go to to try. Anything is better than steroids!!!

Plans change……..

I woke up this morning with a throat full of golf balls and a head aching.
But once I had surfaced and had a shower I felt more alive.

My thoughts for the day were to get the sewing machines out and start teaching the girls to sew.
They are very keen to learn.
So I said we had to clean the house up before I could even consider it.
The girls got stuck into their rooms, Nathan did the living room and Chika swept and vacuumed and cleaned bathrooms.
I did the washing – it is so good to be able to hang it outside on the clothesline now.
The wind and the sun make it worth the effort.

Then lunch time was approaching so I decided I should make a pot of soup. Chika and I cut up a heap of pumpkin, carrot, swede, broccoli and onion and made the yummiest brew of soup. It was soooo good

Then I discovered that I needed to have my gst filed by today.
Oh dear
I had gotten it practically finished and had been waiting for some phone calls to be returned from several people to clarify things.
One of those I found out was away on leave, hence her not returning my email.
Talked to the accountant.
Had another go at the mussel invoices.
Couldn’t see any rhyme nor reason to them.
Put my head down and cried in frustration.
Then I addressed the issue more calmly and plodded my way through and after several hours managed to get everything all sorted out.

Knowing that I was going to be tied up in the study most of the arvo I had recruited Nathan to cook dinner for me. So I stayed here until I had everything totally finished, filed the 3 gst returns and paid the dues online.

By that time everyone had finished dinner and I was freezing cold after sitting in the study for so long.
I sorted out some dinner and warmed up in front of the fire.

I am now thinking I might just have to go hop in the spa and get really warmed up before bed.
Nathan cleaned it all out yesterday so the water should be less green than it was when I got home!

Graham & Shanni sorted out where they are going to rebuild the new bird avairy for her birds.
Now they just have to sort out materials.
The children have enjoyed playing most of the day since they finished cleaning.
They also went out and helped Tim with some wood gathering tonight.

Tomorrows another day – so tomorrow I will reschedule the idea of sewing

I will leave you with this story that I have been wanting to share with you for a while.
It is about the power of passion.

There’s a story about Socrates in which a proud young man supposedly asked, “Oh great Socrates, I came to you for knowledge.” Socrates led him down to the sea into waist-deep water. “Tell me again what you want,” he said. “Knowledge.” Socrates pushed him down under the water, holding him there for 30 seconds. “Now, what do you want?” The young man spluttered, “Wisdom, oh great Socrates.” Again the philosopher pushed him under. When he let him up again he asked, “What do you want?” “Knowledge, oh wise and…” he managed to spit out before Socrates held him under again, this time even longer. “What do you want?” repeated Socrates. The younger man coughed and gasped. “Air!” he shouted, “I want air!” Socrates replied, “When you want knowledge as much as you want air, you’ll get knowledge.” Then the old man returned to the shore.

A stormy day.

There were many deep and meaningful discussions happening through out today.

We woke at 5am and the power had been restored so that was great. Those guys are amazing – they work in horrendous conditions, we are so quick to complain when the poser goes off but I often think we should be calling to thank them for getting it going again.
There has been a horrendous storm hit the top of the North Island today – You can read about it hereand here
Although the waves were crashing loudly on our shores we missed the main ferocity of it.

I managed to get all the 4 loads of washing done and actually hung out on the line as the wind was blowing enough to do some drying. The children played, unpacked, played, ate, played, tidied rooms, ate, played some more and ate some more!!

Graham arrived around with a big pot of soup. That was great cuz i hadn’t done any food. so soup and bread and fruit were the on going snacks through out the day.

We had a great time around the table with Aidan, Graham, Tim & I. It is such a blessing to be able to talk about the Lord so freely with like minded people who are wanting to learn. We talked for hours and hours – the day just disappeared.

Aidan had decided he wanted to be baptised so finally we ventured down to the sea.
It was not the warmest of days but when the desire is there who cares?
God knows the heart and Aidan was wanting to be obedient despite the winter chills.
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Behold a new creation

We spent the rest of the day eating, talking, eating and talking.

The children fixed themselves 2 minute noodles for dinner and Tim had them snuggled into bed soon after 7pm. So we sat down and watched ‘The Ultimate Gift’ – even though it was the 2nd time for me to watch it in just over a week I was still really moved by the story.

Now, after this major update it is now tomorrow and I need to get to bed.
Chika is eager to clean house in the morning so who am I to stop a good woman

A friendly sort of day :-)

Everyone slept in Saturday morning. I was first up as my throat and head were both aching and in the shower before 8am. It was an overcast frosty morning. The cow was bellowing so Phillipa came zooming out to milk her before she got too upset.
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We then had breakfast and packed up. Pay & Phillipa had to go make some furniture deliveries before 10am so we said good-bye to the children and then followed them down the drive a few minutes later. When we got to the Harris’s we found a lounge full of young lads still engrossed in their movie. They had watched the 3 Lord of The Rings dvd’s during the night! In between to give themselves a break they watched ‘The Snowman’ We prised Nathan away and headed off to Richmond to get last minute things. The Police Station was closed so I was still unable to get the papers signed that I had missed on Thursday

After getting a pie for Nathan & I and sushi for Shanni and then frappacino’s at Starbucks we headed outa town around 1pm. We drove back over the Whangamoa’s and then up the Maungatapu Valley road to visit our friends Sharon and Dennis who live at the very end. Their daughter-in-law Hasmig is visiting from Cyprus with wee Kezia for a few weeks. They were the reason for our long drive up there.

We had a lovely afternoon with them. A wee friend Susanna was staying so the 3 girls had a great time playing dolls in the bedroom
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Pat and his 4 boys turned up too bringing a heap of food for dinner. Nathan and Billy are the same age so it was good timing for them to catch up with each other.
Kezia adopted Nathan
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Al the children enjoyed a game of cards
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then Sharon had a meal organised for us all in no time at all.
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Billy & Pat were sizing each other up so I had to get proof that he ain’t as tall as his Dad just yet
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Three generations –
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It was a happy time – this is the first time Kezia has seen her grandparents since she was born.
And although Armenian is her first language she has picked up English at nursery school and speaks like a native.

We all finally had to pull ourselves away and bid our farewells, knowing that children were all getting tired and we still had a 2.5hour drive ahead of us.

It was quite windy along the road and a bit of rain spitting but not as bad as I was expecting. Nathan snored his way home. I guess the sleep over was taking it’s toll on him by this stage Shanni dozed off and on and The Cathedrals singing kept me awake. Shanni very bravely opened the gate at the top of the hill cuz Nathan was snoring so loudly I didn’t have the heart to wake him. She’s not too keen on the dark and it was quite windy.

We got home around 10:30pm and found Tim & Aidan still up and deep in discussion about baptism.
I started unloading the car and then the power went out. So we all piled into our respective beds and kept cosy despite the cold wind blowing and the huge waves crashing on the beach.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch….

We all stayed back in the warmth and had a leisurely breakfast.
Pat left for work.
Johanna had been very unwell the previous few days but was a lot better thankfully.
Phillipa took Lydia, Hali and Azzan down to milk the cow. First time Azzan had seen a cow being milked so he went off happily munching his toast. It was jackets and gumboots weather.
I was glad to hop into a hot shower while they were gone. I really don’t do cold well at all. When they came back they were excited to be finding ice around the garden.
Azzan thought his made a great crown – a bit drippy though!!
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The girls found this piece on the chicken’s water container
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Jacob was finding bigger and bigger pieces and had great delight in melting them under the hot tap.
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They found this huge piece – makes a great ‘mirror’
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Then they decided they would love to have a bonfire. So they battled the elements and got one burning. We found them out there toasting their marshmellows in a very civilised manner
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I had some Jaffa Thins (chocolate biscuits) so I showed them how to make s’mores by sandwiching the toasted marshmellow between two biscuits. They thought that was pretty good and demolished the whole packet!
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It was a glorious day although the wind chill factor was a bit too cool for me to stay outside for too long.
They look right up the valley to where the crew was skiing
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so we could imagine that they were having a brilliant time.

Phillipa and I spent most of the morning playing on the computer. I was showing her how to get her blog going. I had set her up with her own xanga site a year ago but she needed some on the job training to get started
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Here she is hard at it, so if you want to go meet her then click here

While we were engrossed Azzan was being sent back and forth to the house to get drinks and more food. He was a very happy and obliging messanger service.
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We gave him a pot of saveloys and french bread to toast over the fire and of course some BBQ sauce.
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There was only one catastrophe – and that was Azzan. Poor wee man burnt his lip on a hot marshmellow. He has made quite a mess of it, a large burn on his bottom lip and on his chin. But after a spot of TLC and some ointment has headed back out to join the party again.

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This was such an exhausting morning for them that the next thing we knew we had a lounge full of children stretched out watching Celtic Woman dvd’s. We soon gave them a short shift outside as it was a beautiful day and their time together was too short to waste in front of a square baby sitter.

Jake and Azzan had been playing in the creek prior to this unbeknownst to us. They had flooded their gumboots so when we sent them back outside they were not at all happy about putting them on. So we gave them plastic shopping bags as liners….
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they work a treat

Once 4:30pm came it was a mad scurry to get all the chores in and the wood bins filled as once the sun disappears over the hill it gets very bone chillingly cold. We got dinner on and the children packed up all their gear as I knew Tim would not want to muck about once he arrived.

When they got home Shanni pleaded to stay with me as she was sick of travelling and just wanted to stay put. So we fed Chika & Tim and the wee ones, loaded them into the ute and then managed to squeeze Nathan & Nicholas in too. They were heading over the hill for a sleep over birthday party and by squeezing them in it saved Pat having to make a special trip. Poor Chika was getting quite confused as to what was going on. Her English is not great so while I was trying to explain to her Tim was – ‘Just tell her to get in! I am going!!’

They had a long drive home and didn’t get there till just on midnight.
We proceeded to dish our dinner and we sat and watch the dvd’s I had brought out – ‘High Kings‘ and ‘Celtic Thunder‘. Pat loves live music so he was set for long night of enjoyment

I was pretty tired by the end of the day.
My voice was returning but my throat was sore and my head aching. So I filled a hot water bottle and snuggled down in my bed around 11:30pm to the sounds of Fiona Pears playing Hava Nagila

Friday on the slopes

I woke to the alarm at 6:30am and found that the ski-field was open with a 1m base and all was looking very favourable for a good day on the slopes. So we woke the troops and got them fed and dressed warmly and shunted them out the door before 8am. The had about an hours drive to get to the Rainbow car-park where they were meeting up with the rest of the home schoolers group. Tim took Nathan, Shanni, Nicholas and Chika (Japanese wwoofer).

They had a great day – in fact it was one out of the box. The field was shut the day before and the forecast for the following days was very miserable. They were totally blessed to have such a great window in the weather.
I raided Shanni’s camera for these photos that she and Tim took.
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She was delighted to see her first keas. Cheeky birds that they are! They need no encouragement to steal food, tear strips off your tyres or window surrounds or even radio aerials-!!
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Feed time – they took so much food there was no chance they would go hungry-!!
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First time on skis. She LOVED it.
Nathan & Nicholas were away up on the heights, but she stuck close to the learners area and made friends with Simon, the son of friends of ours who was a big help to her as she was doing battle with the ski tow.

Tim took the camera up the top and got this great photo looking over Lake Rotoiti towards St Arnaud Village.
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The ski basin.

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Coming home down the mountain, the weather packed it in right at the end of the day and there were icy patches apparently. I am so glad I was not driving – I do not do ice-!!

They got back to the house around 6pm, tired but happy. Nicholas had collided with a snow boarder and had some serious grazes to show for it. They were all a bit snow burned, but that’s a healthy addition of Vit D in mid winter that we can all do with. Generally they were all very happy with their day on the Rainbow. We fed them a quick dinner while Tim repacked the truck.