The end of March

Well, I was right.
The past 3 days have flown.

Linnea, Hanne & Shanni spent Monday morning covering all the flower gardens with thick layers of pea straw.
They all look so good now.
It was such a lovely day that Tim suggested the girls might like to go kayaking after lunch.
So they went for a paddle around the bay.

I gave Anson his pictures I bought in Nelson last Thursday.
I was pretty chuffed to get them as they are the original posters which you cannot get anymore.
Plus they are framed in solid oak frames.
When he opened this one he told me that the guy in the picture is his boss from when he was shearing down South a couple of years back – Darren Ford.

I couldn’t resist this one for him either.
Shearing has been his main employment and rugby his main leisure passion.

For those of you who are not Kiwis – these DB posters are iconic NZ.
Check out this advert on YouTube

The children have been swimming, playing with Lego etc.
We haven’t done any structured school work these past few days.
I have read some more Cinderella stories to Azzan.
Smokey Mountain Rose was really funny.
I made a huge mince & vege casserole and we ate it with fettucine and grated cheese while watching ‘Joey’.
It was quite a funny movie with a good morale to it.

Anson went hunting Monday evening with Alan.
Glen came around later and they all went possum hunting.
Linnea & Hanne included.
They got back home at 2:30am!

That did not make life terribly easy for the girls on Tuesday.
I never realised that they had such a late night early morning until lunch time when Alan & Anson finally crawled out of their beds.
Alright for some to be able to sleep in eh?

I baked a big, very delicious, banana cake and blueberry. apple and choc chip muffins on Tuesday morning.
Tim had taken steak out of the freezer for dinner so to go with it I made cauli cheese, Shanni provided fresh carrots & peeled potatoes and Nathan made garlic potato wedges.
But at lunch time when Tim was cutting up the steak he decided it was not a tender cut and would not be good for frying so we would need to get something else out
So instead, after consulting with Anson,  I mixed up a marinade gravy and popped it all in the slow cooker and by the time we ate dinner it was absolutely delectable.

Shanni & Hanne mucked out the chicken house.
Linnea & Hali cleaned The Cottage.
Then the two girls cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed, folded washing and washed windows.
Azzan & Hali cleaned their rooms.
Shanni has been gardening and getting her birds sussed.
I hear her practising her clarinet many times throughout the day.
Nathan has been hopping around the house driving me crazy.
Crutches are so loud!
Especially when they are operated by a 6’2″ young male!!
He has been pottering away at his school work.
And telling us in great depth as to how his crutches could be transformed into lethal weapons
I think his foot may be improving.
So tomorrow the crutches will probably be return and he can use a mountaineers stick if necessary.

The sky was a real picture this morning.
It looks so like a water colour painting as it reflects the sun rise in the clouds.
I just never tire of the beauty of our bay.
It is different every day and changes by the minute.

This morning the girls hitched a ride out with Glen.
They had to get to Wellington before Easter to catch the Russian Embassy open to apply for visas.
They are planning on returning home to Sweden via the Trans Siberian Rail.

Tim took them up the hill to meet Glen to save him coming all the way down.
Then he was straight back onto the wharf building again.

Azzan was practising piano but having some problems so Mahalia showed him what to do.

He is learning to play Amazing Grace with two hands.
He figured out how to play the melody all by himself so Nick is helping him refine it

I finally managed to have a sleep this arvo.
I knew if I didn’t I would be a total write off tomorrow.
I read some more of Genghis Khan’s adventures before dozing off.
His army is attacking the Afganis now!
He was totally relentless, but it is a fascinating piece of history.

Had a call from Blenheim Police this arvo to say Jesika’s wallet had been found.
She & Bri are at present traveling home from Christchurch.
When I managed to get hold of them she wasn’t yet aware she had lost it.
They had stopped at Kaikoura and she had left it in the toilet by accident.
Someone had found it and taken it to a nearby holiday park.
Unfortunately all her cash had been taken from it before it was handed in
Thankfully her cards were all still there though.
I managed to organise someone to pick it up for her tomorrow to save them going back for it.

The wharf is progressing.
Tim has spent the past days plodding away on it.
He has the beams up and now the decking is beginning to grow from the shed.

Alan is on holiday at the moment so is helping Tim when he can.

There is a planned mass attack this weekend so there should be some major progress happen.

I have spent so much time on the phone and computer these past days.
It has been a mix of business, kids lessons, appointments, sorting things for Mum as she decides what to do re her on-going care, etc.
She has pretty much decided it is time for her to move into a rest home.
She had an assessment done last week and was assessed as needing hospital care.
She has been visiting the 3 resthomes who provide hospital care in Blenheim this week and is now deciding which she prefers and then just has to wait for a room to become available.

It has taken up so much of my time I just haven’t had any spare to give to the kids.
I hate weeks like this.

Tomorrow is the last town day for the term.
We are all so ready for the end of term.
We are also looking forward to all the older children coming home.
Over the coming week they will all be here at some stage.

A nice languid Sunday

The children were all up playing soon after 7am.
I could hear them in my half awake stupour.

The sky this morning was very stormy.
Quite picteresque though – I thought the clouds looked like a water colour painting.

We all had a pretty quiet relaxing day.
I pottered around.
Sorted out clothes.
Changed my bed sheets.
Started tidying my room.
Put several loads of washing through.
Caught up on my blog etc.
The kids all were allocated a task each.
Shanni cleaned the kitchen and did dishes.
Mahalia swept the wash house area.
Azzan swept and tidied the living room.
Nathan did what he could – some piano and school work.
I eventually went out this afternoon and lazed in the spa and read my book.
I am onto Book 3 of Genghis Khan.
I love the depth & accuracy of research that Conn Igulden has done plus the fact they are extremely readable and very very gripping stories.

I saw the boat approaching so I decided it was time to hop out!
I had more washing to hang on the line and my sheets were dry so Shanni helped to make our bed.

Mahalia was sorting out all of her horses so I had to take a photo of her entire stables

We did a bit of internet research about the Schleich horses and from there the Haflinger horses.
They look like they could be a good breed to have here being Austrian mountain ponies.

Tim dropped Anson off to get his truck.
He drove over to Waterfall Bay so they could unload the boat there as it is easier at a wharf.
They had all had a great time.
Anson shot a deer.
Hanne & Linnea helped to clean up all the food etc and Nathan directed the unpacking of the camping gear.
Tim eventually arrived in and collapsed on Shanni’s bed.
I found him gently snoring.

Shanni was so proud of her tidy room so here you can partly see it.
I can vouch that it is tidy – the floor is clean and everything is put away.
Most unusual!

We cooked up some cod for dinner and had that with the leftover campers goulash.
When they are out camping Tim combines everything they have into one pot to make their meal.
Looked totally gross but everyone enjoyed it and came back for more.
The fresh salad appealed way more to me.

There is a cold southerly pounding on the beach tonight.
TIm and the girls are complaining of the cold.
I guess they haven’t warmed up from the boat yet.
I am snug and cosy in my new dressing gown and pj pants which I have been wearing ALL day

I think it might be beneficial to head off to bed fairly soon as the next 3 days will no doubt fly past very busily till our last town trip of the term.

Saturday in Nelson

I didn’t get to sleep til very late so was rather needing sleep on Sat morning.
However I was woken at 7:10am but the sounds of ‘Amazing Grace’ being played on the piano down stairs by a small boy playing – with both hands!!

I guess it was sorta like being woken by the dawn chorus!

We got up and while the children had breakfast and packed I got the washing on and had my shower.
It was blowing really hard still.
We cleaned the house, loaded up the Safari and headed into the city.
I had a few things to do so while I was in Farmers the children went to Crackerjacks.
Mahalia had some birthday money from Granny & Graham to spend.
When I caught up with them she was deliberating over the Schleich horses.
Here are the ones she eventually decided to add to her stables.

We then went to suss out the Saturday market.
It was fun to wander around looking at everything.
The gusts of wind were proving to be rather a pain.
Every now and then a big one would hit and people would grab their stuff.
I saw a book stall go flying – books everywhere.

I met a girl from my high school days who actually recognised me.
Her face was familiar but I had to ask her who she was.
Well, I hadn’t seen her in over 36 years!
Then we found a stall selling cds and dvds and advertising The Valley of Horses in Golden Bay.
So of course we had to stop and chat a while.
Sika and his partner Caitlin also are musicians.
It looks like we might have to go for a holiday over there as the girls are very keen to ride their horses.
They teach natural horsemanship.

We caught up with our nurse Charlotte.
Haven’t seen her in ions cuz she has had a huge op on her shoulder and has been out of commission for months.

Shanni kept on being stopped by people wanting to ask about her bird.
She was quite an attraction on her own.

I had told the children they could get something to eat at the market.
Lots of choice but they finally decided on hotdogs on sticks.
Then all they wanted to do was go to the $2 Shop.
I guess it was more in their price range

So we did a fast shop there.
Azzan’s buy was purple hair dye spray.
He had a long chat to the shop attendant and discovered that it shampoos out easily so therefore Mum would be okay with him buying it

The kids had had enough of the market so we headed back to the car.
Met up with Amy & Phil on the way.
Hadn’t seen them in years so was lovely to catch up.
Chatted awhile.
Realised it was midday so we then had to move it fast.
Zipped into Richmond Mall to get sushi for lunch.
The kids ate and changed into their riding gear as we drove to Edencourt.
I left them there for a couple of hours and went to pick up Sally.
We drove onto Wakefield and blobbed out in the sun at the Chateau Rhubarb cafe.
We talked and ate and enjoyed iced teas.
Divine peace and quiet.
That’s if we turned off the sound off Tinga telling us very loudly that he didn’t want to be in his cage in the car all alone!

Dropped Sally home and got back for the kids at 3:30pm.
It was a blustery sweltering afternoon.
Got a few groceries, ice blocks and a frappacino as we whizzed back through Nelson.
Called back into the house to make up the bed and lock up.
All tidy.
Thanks so much Frances and John

We all just wanted to get home so drove through with only one stop at Okiwi Bay for the kids to play for 10 mins.
The sun was setting as we drove towards Elaine Bay.
It was beautiful.

Shanni was eating an apple and I was rather amused at Tinga.
He wasn’t going to let her eat it all by herself.
He loves apple.
Especially if Shanni is eating it with him.

We arrived home at 8:30 and found Nathan home alone.
Tim etc had cleared off to D’Urville Island.
So we unloaded, unpacked, got the washing started and put kids to bed.
Nathan had had a restful day with his foot up so that was good.

I am hopeless when on my own.
Hate going to bed.
So I pottered around for a few hours and then read till about 1am.

The girls day at Whenua Iti

Tim took Mahalia & Shoshannah and Yari out to Whenua Iti for the day with our home schooling group.
They had a great time.
There were about 30 children.
They were divided up into 3 teams and spent the day doing 3 activities.
It was all team work.
They had to all help each other to achieve.

All the photos were taken on Shanni’s camera.
There were so many good ones but I have selected the best action shots from the day.
They pretty much tell their own story.

Shanni & Hali getting harnessed up.

Mahalia ready for the first activity!

Shanni all ready for her first go up the ropes.

Tim trying to keep cool in the shade, chatting with Kathy Cohen and bird sitting Tinga.
Busy day for him

At the end the 3 coaches got all the children into a close circle.

Then closer and closer together

Now, try and sit down

They arrived back all hot and tired.
But they said it was a brilliant day.

Thanks Michelle for organising it

Friday – not really the day I planned but it was okay, I spose ;-/

The wind was blustering about the house so loudly that I was awake very very early.
Tim & I talked for several hours, we hadn’t really had that opportunity for quite some time.
Been a bit like ships passing in the night for weeks.
Then all of a sudden I realised that it was 7:10am.
It was all go.
Woke the kids.
Sussed out Nathan.
He couldn’t put any weight on his foot
So I made a couple of calls.
Found Yari was keen to take Nathan’s place.
Organised with Chrissy for her to meet Tim at 3 Brothers corner at 8:15.
Hey – that’s only 40mins.
Made scramble.
Chuck food into chilly bin.
Throw breakfast at Mahalia – always the last to get there!!
Push girls out the door to Tim who was already waiting in the truck.
They have gone.
Big breath!!
Now, we can tidy up, dress and get ready for our morning.
My plans have had to change
Call the Dr.
Appointment at 11:15 for Nathan.

9am.
Out the door.
In the Safari.
Nelson temperature this morning was already 20’C.
(Yesterday at similar time it was 8’C)
Starbucks and florist.
Then drop Nathan at Zumo – cafe with free internet – Nathan is in heaven
Then Azzan and I met up with a few other homeschoolers to do a tour of the Post Office sorting area and see how snail mail happens.
Not a lot of that these days so good for the kids to be made aware of the behind the scenes stuff.
Because I had the Safari and the only park available nearby was between two other cars it took me a while to park the jolly tank.
So they had all gathered and were about to start by the time we got there.

We were given a guided informative tour by the Nelson/Marlborough manager.
He was great.
Very personable and good with the kids.
He began the tour with the posting box outside.

The children had all bought letters to post.
A lot drew their own stamps on.
When I asked about buying stamps he said they didn’t need them and that he would see that they all got posted – wasn’t he a sweetie ;

Then he unlocked the box and took out the red bag.
The key to unlock is computerised and tell when and how often each box has been unlocked and emptied.

Inside the bag is emptied.

The mail is sorted address side up.
He took out the children’s mail and we followed those letters through their journey as we toured around.

Two volunteers sorted the letters.
A bit slower than the paid mail workers

Then the letters were whizzed through the franking machine.

He then talked to the children about addressing the envelopes and what was needed and necessary on each envelope.

Reiterating the journey via the poster.

Then back through the area where the mail is put after the night sorters have put them into bundles and then into these slots so the posties can take them for delivery.
Each item gets handled at least 13 times from the post box to the delivery!
So remember that next time you moan about postal charges

The trusty 5 speed bikes the posties use to deliver all the mail.

It was a very interesting hour.
Thanks NZ Post.
You actually do a realy great job

As I was walking back to the Safari I noticed a framed poster in a shop window.
Went in to ask about prices.
Ended up getting two of the series.
Original posters in solid oak frames at a real bargain price.
Can’t show you what they are yet cuz they are for a present for someone who reads my blog!!

Then I went to pick up Hopalong Cassidy aka Nathan.
The Dr gave his foot a good look over and decided x-rays would be the best option.
We had 30mins before they could do it so I whizzed Azzan into Postie Plus.
He urgently needed another pair of shorts and undies.
The lady showed me a pair of school shorts.
Very nice.
Price?
$29.95.
You gotta be kidding!
Checked out a sales rack and found not just one pair to fit the lad but two.
And the prices were $10.50 and $8.40.
Two pairs of very trendy cute pants that will fit him through next summer as well.
That was certainly more to my liking

Back to Nelson Radiology.
They took several x-rays.
The Dr had called before we got there to order another one.
She was not going to muck around by the looks of things.
The Dr was busy and couldn’t read them straight away.
So we left to go visit another tertiary institution and suss out some info for Nathan.
Yet another place that the govt has tied up in knots and 16 is the red tape minimum age

Got a call to say the Dr couldn’t find any breaks at this point.
So we whizzed into Prices Pharmacy and hire a pair of crutches.
Nathan was a lot happier with those to use.
I was starving by this point so we went to Morrison St Cafe and met Phillipa there for lunch.
It was good to sit a while and chat.
The day had come out very hot.
We hopped back intot he car.
Sweltered our way to the YMCA to suss out some more courses.
Yes!
The govt has them tied up in red tape too.

We said goodbye to Phillipa and headed into the Info Cenre to met Hanne & Le=innea.
Our two new Swedish wwoofers.
Drove back to Alan’s to meet up with Tim.
Seb popped up to say g’day to his Dad.
When he finally arrived he loaded on the fridge that had been fixed.
We swapped kids.
The wwoofers and Nathan went home with him.
I took the youngest 3 and headed back into the city to meet Seb at Starbucks.

We sat upstairs and blobbed a while.
The girls filled me in on their day.
Seb took forever.
Finally we met him on the street at 6:15 just as Phillipa arrived too.
We stood on the street for ages and talked in the cool of the evening as the kids rarked around the stone statue and Jacob & Azzan whizzed up and down the pavement on a skate board terrorising any of the late shoppers.

Cotton On was still open so Phillipa and I went to have a peek.
They had a heap of sale items and specials happening.
So we had fun.
The girls got tee-shirts for $5.
Shanni found a cute one with – guess what? birds on it
Mahalia was bemoaning that no-one makes tee shirts with horses on them and then she found one – just one – long tee shirt/dress thing which was way too big for her – but it had a zebra’s head on it.
How could I say no??
Plus it was marked down more than the sale label said!
I bought a cool pair of pj pants and a new cuddly dark blue spotted dressing gown at half price.
All ready for winter now.

We finally decided it was time to go.
Got back to the house at 8ish.
The kids had porridge for dinner.
I ate my cheesecake left from Mothers night.
Don’t ya just love city slumming living?

They were all pretty happy to go to bed so I sat up and played on my laptop and talked on the phone and just chilled till it was far too late and my coach turned back into a pumpkin.

A day in town and Mothers night

Thankfully the rain had stopped when we left Thursday morning.
It did mean the road was not dusty too.
Always a bonus.
It was cold though.
On arriving in Nelson the temperature was 8’C.

We got to music just as Nick was unloading the van.
Great timing cuz Sally and the kids were there too.
Arranged to pick up Kashana after music.
I left my crew there and buzzed off to do some jobs.
Picked up the youngest 3 plus Kashana at 10:30 and headed into town.
Dropped Shanni off at Katherine’s.
Mahalia & Azzan had dentist appointments.
Both have their accident damaged teeth to monitor.
Azzan’s xrays are fine.
Mahalia’s are showing some changes in her damaged tooth.
James is going to suss it out with a specialist.
So far it has been going well but there is some slight changes in the appearance of the nerve.
Please pray that it does not die and the tooth will be saved.

Got a quick lunch and then headed to gym.
Met up with my other two there.
Gave Kashana back to her folks.
Nathan had an accident when jumping into the foam pit but I never realised how bad it was cuz he never really said.
He just raided the first aid bag and taped up his foot.
I had to drop the kids off fast and get to my chiro appt by 3:30pm.
The days I race to do this he is always running late.
Can’t win.
Anyway, he read my xrays this time.
It appears I have a problem which probably stems back to over 25 years ago when we rolled the landrover.
Sort of a side ways whiplash that has never been treated.
The muscles in my C2 & C3, I think it is, are pulling the vertebrae and twisting them.
That is why I feel such a lump in my neck and the pain that comes from that.
Because it has been untreated for all these years it is now transferring muscle pain and constrictions etc further on down my neck, clavicle, shoulder regions to compensate.
They have to be taught to pull correctly and between the chiro and the massage therapist they are hoping with intensive treatment over the next few months they may be able to get it all functioning normally again.
Be nice

Tim picked up the children.
Nathan went with Yari to Vertical Limits to climb for a few hours.
Tim took the kids back to the house we are staying in and got them fed and into bed.
I got changed and drove to Richmond at a snails pace in the midst of 5pm traffic.

I had organised our Term 1 Mothers Night out at Cafe on Oxford.
We had a brilliant turnout – 23 in all.
Quite a few new mothers which was fantastic.
Nice to have this opportunity to met everyone.

Here are the early birds.
Jenny, Ainsley, Corene, June, Bronwyn, Angela & Sally.
Becky and I were at the other end of the table.

We of course had to re arrange all the tables as we like to be around one together.
Kim and Elaine chatting across the wide void.

Most of us had preordered so we had our meals by 7pm.
They were all delicious.

I had a great time chatting with Karen and Becky.

Bronwyn, Angela and Sally down the other end of the table.

Phillipa & Victoria having a chat off to the side.

Rachel & Kim – last to finish – obviously the one doing all the talking

Then desserts.
Angela got the first Brownie Stack.
It looked so impressive.
She hasn’t eaten it yet.
That lovely  bump is ALL baby

Estelle had to cancel out at the last minute but the chef mistakenly prepared her dessert.
So I had to help out – couldn’t have that ice cream melting and the brownie wasting.
I was VERY glad of Karen and Becky nearby to help eat it.
It was to die for and ever so excessively rich.
I brought my cheesecake dessert home for dinner tonight.

Nicole did a superb job of waiting on our tables.
I know we made her job harder by creating that huge table and all the noise but she served us all with a smile

And Rachel’s wee man slept through most of it.
Isn’t he gorgeous.

Chrissy bought Nathan out with her after climbing.
I then discovered that Nathan had really hurt his foot at gym and made it way worse at climbing.
When Yari was belaying for him someone knocked into him and he slipped causing Nathan to fall and of course he landed on that foot!
So we came home and I iced it and bandaged it and put him to bed in the downstairs room with pillows under his foot.

Our French guys last night

Wednesday night after dinner
Nathan challenged Stephane to an arm wrestle.
As you can see they were fairly evenly matched.


And now the left hand!!

Stephane won both times – just!
You can see by his colour how much energy he was exerting.
However he declared he would NOT be challenged to another with Nathan after the next two years cuz he would be far far too strong for this old man

After all of this the guys went out possum hunting with Anson.
Then they watched ‘Danny Bhoy’ and didn’t get to bed till after 1am.
So the next morning they were all rather sleepy on it.
But they had to be up before 8am as they had a ferry to catch in Picton at 1pm.
Tim cooked up mussels for their breakfast.
They enjoyed them!


Maxime and Anson arrived around.
Maxime got stuck into the butterscotch coconut dessert I had made the night before but no one had yet eaten.

He LOVED it so they all got into it.
Wasn’t a lot left by the time they departed.

Anson with the French Port Ligar rugby team.
Maxime is going home to practise and get strong so he can come back for the world cup.

They finally left at 9am.
We were all sad.
They were not keen to go but time constraints sad they had to.
Anson went back to do housework and rest up a bit.
The weather was not terribly condusive for much outdoors work as it was incredibly windy.
It was sposed to blow up to 35knots around our area and 50knots in Cook Strait.

It was very quiet then.
I got the kids to sort out sleeping bags and clothes.
The girls played with the Lego most of the day.
Then we sat and watched ‘Ella Enchanted’.
It was all part of our Cinderella unit and a great time to blob for a bit too.
 
Tim fixed my Safari.
The filters were blocked terribly so that is why it wouldn’t go anywhere.
Now it goes like a rocket!!

It came into rain, thunder, lightening, blew a gale.
Power flashes.
Quite dramatic afternoon.

Had to do some paper work for Tim.
Got that out of the way finally.
I managed to get reasonably organised although I didn’t feel terribly that way.
Got to the spa and bed well before 10pm.