A few days at home………..

Because we spent Fri in town Saturday had a weird feeling.
We all kept thinking it was Friday – so felt we had lost a day
We were all really tired so were a bit more chilled out.
I stayed in bed a while and read my book.
Then decided to have a soak in our bath.
I normally don’t have baths these days cuz the spa calls louder.
But I had been given some delicious looking bath melts by a special friend who will be totally mortified when she reads what happened.
I ran a big hot bath and dissolved a bath melt.
Then spent the next couple of hours leisurely lapping up the luxury of a soak with a book.
Of course I got many interruptions during that time because as all mothers know, as soon as you disappear into the bathroom or toilet or to the phone the kids just have to talk to you!
When my book was finished I pulled out the plug, stood up and reached for my towel.
However, I did not take into consideration that the bath melts which left my skin feeling delicious were also rather oily and had left the bath with an oil film.
So when I reached for my towel my feet slipped out from under me and I very inelegantly crash landed into the bath hitting various parts of me as I went down and taking my lovely warm dry clean towel into the water with me.
At the same time because of the shock of the fall both my calves went into violent cramps.
I hurt my wrist really badly so spent the rest of the day nursing it along.
As Murphy’s Law decrees there was no one around to get me another towel despite them all knocking on the door for the previous 2 hours!!

I was really annoyed with myself for doing such a stupid thing as I was actually doing what everyone has been telling me.
De-stressing and taking some time out for myself.
Tim is threatening to wrap me in bubble wrap and tie me to my bed!!

Tim and the guys have been fencing most days.
The boys are proudly displaying their blisters with macho pride.
They are a great bunch to have around.
Bright, willing and fun.

They get stuck into the dinner dishes each night.
They totally amuse me.
Two guys in one sink!

There has been a lot of laughter caused through language differences.
We are all supposedly English speakers but the use of words is vastly different between countries.
Anson came in laughing over a conversation between Michael & Tim.
Michael walked up the hill and said,
Hey Tim, what’s cracking?’
Tim replied ‘Crack? I don’t do crack. Do you do crack?
Michael was like ‘Oh no, I’ve done it again‘!!

It has been raining on and off all week and through the weekend.
Aidy decided to go to town for a couple of days so headed off early Sunday morning.
We all just blobbed out.
The 3 guys slept in till early arvo.
Graham came down and we had fellowship.
It was really interesting cuz Nathan was talking about something and Azzan (7) very seriously asked him if he was talking about convergent evolution.
We were all pretty gob smacked because he then proceeded to give us a pretty good description of what it was. I certainly learnt something that I hadn’t known before!!

Shani went off hunting with Anson in the afternoon.
While she was away I discovered that her room which she had assured me was clean and tidy was most definitely up to my standards by a long shot.
Mahalia graciously offered to clean her room.
So we both got stuck in with cleaning stuff and vacuum cleaner and gave it a total make over.
Elizabeth arrived just as we were finishing so helped make her bed up.
She had braved the weather in her wee car and managed to get almost to the door.
It has been 15 years since she was last here – so lovely to have her.
The kids really enjoyed her company.
When Shanni got home she was most bemused that we had had to clean as she was so sure it was all good

I had mentally allocated the next two days to doing school work with the children and getting their project finished as we are all very ready to move on to the next topic.
However, plans changed big time.
Sunday night I got a call from the real estate agent to say we had an offer on Mum’s house.
That meant I had to find some way to get paper signed.
I do not have a fax and it was going to mean a 6 hour trip to town just to do it.
I had been given a scanner recently though which I had not had time to try and get hooked up with my computer.
I tried it late that night but to no avail.
So Monday morning was spent trying to figure out what to do.
Elizabeth and Nathan were big helps.
Nathan got Mum’s computer together and working.
She had bought a new printer scanner not long before she died.
Elizabeth was able to figure out all the rest.
So I was downloading all the paper work which was emailed through.
Then I did all the signing.
Then she was scanning it and transferring it by memory stick back to my computer and then we were able to send it all back.
There was a lot more to it though so basically dealing with all this caused me to loose a complete day to battling technology and heaps of phone calls.
I was so tired and frustrated by the end of it.
But also pleased that I had avoided yet another trip to town.

I did suggest to the kids that they could begin making covers for their Cinderella projects.
Mahalia was really the only one who did.

Shanni wasn’t feeling 100% so she blobbed out on the couch and read her book most of the day.
Elizabeth bought out her violin after lunch and Azzan had fun having a go.
He has been pestering me for ages to learn the violin so it was a good chance for him to try and see what it is all about.

He loved it

Tuesday morning was spent in the kitchen.
I made so many different things.
Some to eat that day and other things to leave for the guys.
We managed to get things done and the kids packed their gear ready for our trip away.
Elizabeth was a great help in the kitchen.
She had to leave mid afternoon.
It had been raining more so Anson towed her car up the hill.

I was also getting very stressed & upset by other issues going on and not coping terribly well.
The rest of my day was spent trying to get ready for town and holiday and fielding multitudes of phone calls.
At 10 I went to look for my sleeping bag.
I was sure it was up in the attic cupboard.
I got a torch to go hunt but Tim would not let me climb the stairs.
He was terrified I was going to fall and hurt myself again.
So he went fossicking and found it.
Every time I put my foot on the stair he would tell me off
I finally managed to fall in to bed around 11pm.

Town days

We got to sleep in for an hour longer than usual.
Left home at 7am.
Shanni had chiropractor at 10:15am so I left her there, dropped Nathan at the library in town and then whizzed Azzan & Mahalia out to Brightwater for riding.
The weather actually cleared and they had a great morning.
Shanni’s speech teach picked her up from the chiro but when I went to pick her up I discovered that her speech lesson was rather short cuz she had fallen asleep on the chiro’s table and he didn’t want to wake her so left her to sleep a while!

I took her to the library and picked up Nathan.
Dropped him at Kip McGrath and then whizzed back out to pick up the riders.
Got back in time to have a chat to Nathan’s tutor.
She is very happy with him and I now have some homework to do re getting him linked into NZQA somehow so he can begin working for NCEA units.

I dropped Nathan & Mahalia at gymnastics and then zipped back to the library to pick up Shanni, Joel and Asher.
Yari was having a driving lesson so Chrissy was going to be late to gym.
I had to leave gymnastics as I had a 2:30pm appointment so the children were delivered to their 3:30pm sessions by Margaret and Victoria.

I just had a half hour with the chiro.
It went well and he was pleased with my progress.
Went and watched Azzan dancing.
I am very impressed as to how he concentrates so hard and is really picking up the dance routine so quickly.
Next term there is a show and there will be lots of practises so we will have to juggle the trips to town as there will be loads more prior to the show.
I rounded up all the children by 4:30pm, took the girls to Katherine & Sophie’s for a b’day party night.
Then went to get some groceries while I waited for Seb to arrive in town.
We chatted for a while and then the boys and I drove out to Wakefield and spent the night with Chrissy, Russell and the boys.

We were up and packed and gone by 9am Friday morning.
I had several things to do in Nelson as well as picking up the girls.
Then we zipped over to Blenheim.
I had to go check up on the commercial cleaner I had contracted to clean Mum’s house.
He was supposed to get the job done at the beginning of the previous week.
I had 3 separate people check the job over that time and each time the reports had come back sub-standard.
So I had to waste an entire day going over there to check it out and pull him back in to get the job done properly.
I was pretty disgusted actually when I checked it – Mahalia at 10yrs of age cleans our bathroom 100% better than his crew had done. Plus they had left splatter marks over doors and window surrounds and many other things.
He has now completed the job but I was pretty upset at having to go chase him up all the time.

The kids made the most of the time in Blenheim and went to the library while I was busy.
They were actually very good which was a blessing as it was a long and busy day.
We managed to leave town before dark.
By this time of the day it had turned very cold and was wet driving in.

Catastrophes and schooling

Monday will go down in family history as the catastrophic day our Fissler pressure cooker died and also the day my special blue glass Starbucks cup broke.

Tim was cooking pumpkins in the pressure cooker when the wee pressure valve decided that after nearly 32 years of constant use and abuse it had had enough and it blew right through the rubber.
I have spent some time this week contacting Germany and then NZ agents to see if the part is still available.
Just heard back on Friday that it is not
And the other bad news is that to replace it with something of equal quality is going to cost around $600-800!

In the midst of everything else I had made myself a cup of herbal tea and it had gotten cool so I did the most stupid thing.
While I was cooking dinner I sat it on the edge of the woodstove to warm it up.
When I picked it up again the bottom of the cup remained stuck to the fire and the tea all splashed out the hole of the top part that remained in my hand

I loved my mug so I was pretty gutted at doing such a dumb thing.
Some wonderful friends in the US have located some on ebay but the cost of the freight from USA is just way to exorbitant so I will move on to my next favourite Starbucks mug and hope I don’t break that too soon.
I vocalised to Tim that I was glad that I had broken it myself.
To which he admitted he had also been quietly thinking the very same thing!!

It was chucked in the rubbish bin but I couldn’t bear for it to end like that so I fished it out and pieced it together to take the photo above.
Azzan is convinced it should have a funeral.
But I am going to pass it on to my friend’s daughter as she does mosiacs.
At least I will know that the lovely blue glass will give others pleasure

The kids and I spent 3 very busy school days doing a lot to our Cinderella projects as I wanted to finish with the books and return them all to the library.
With everything that has been happening this year the project has been prolonged more than I intended.
We have read so many versions from so many different countries and from all sorts of perspectives.
The artwork in many of the books are a study in itself.
These are some of the books we have read.
Yeh Shen.
The Persian Cinderella.
The Rough Face Girl.
Moss Gown.
The Invisable One.
Kongi & Potgi.
The Little Blue Slipper.
The Turkey Girl.
Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.
Princess Furball.
The Irish Cinderlad.
Billy Beg & The Bull.
Smokey Mountain Rose.
Prince Cinders.
Cinderella & The Hot Air Balloon.
Ella Bella Cinderella.
Cinderella – Art Deco Love.
Cinder Edna.
Ella’s Big Chance.
Cinder Elly.

It has been really interesting and the kids are picking up on other stories and seeing the Cinderella ‘type’ in other literature.
Azzan now wants to find one in Maori folklore.
If anyone knows of one please tell me.

We had fun making paper lanterns – they tied in nicely with the Korean story.
The kids really had fun and made all shapes and sizes.

We were discussing proverbs one day and I was giving the children the beginnings of some and getting them to think of what the endings could be.
It was really funny.
Some of the answers were
Misery loves…

A chain is only as strong as…
-your mind
(it’s weakest link)

The shoemaker’s son always goes…
-to town
-with leather

which led on to discussions as to what the above actually means.
Then they came up with their own renditions.
A beauty boutique’s daughter is never pretty.
A hairdresser’s daughter always wears wigs.

I had a dvd from our library which I had sitting on the shelf for ages but had not had a chance to watch.
As it had to be returned I decided I needed to watch it.
It was such a good movie.
Well done and most interesting.
Fascinating perspective.
I would highly recommend ‘Blame it on Fidel’

We have had rain off an on all week.
The men have been trying to work amongst it.
Tim has had a very sore shoulder which has been responding to Voltarin and heat packs.
But I think I still need to get him seen to despite his reluctance!

I made another large pot of soup on Wednesday.
I am having fun trying to make the pumpkin soup different each time.
I now have some leeks so am making it chunky with leeks and carrots and barley.
Very tasty and warming on these chilly wet days.

I gave Mahalia & Azzan some extra incentive to clean up Sylvania & the school room as it was a tip.
They worked like wee trojans and did an excellent job so were very happy to be rewarded with a Sylvanian Country Bus.
It was worth every cent of the bribery to me to have the school room cleaned up

We had three young men arrive in on Wed night.
They were staying with friends of ours and were keen to come help dig fence post holes.
John & Conor from Ireland and Michael from Colorado.

They are adding immensely to the humour of the place.

I had to get organised for two days in town so Wed evening was quite busy.

A very leisurely Sunday

We woke this morning to no power.
I called up Marlborough Lines at 7am to report the fault.
Apparently it was a big one affecting most of the Sounds back to Rai Valley.

I had a soak in the spa before it got too cold and read my book.
Am still ploughing through Tim Severin’s book about Genghis Khan.

I decided to get the scrapbook out that I bought last week and all the cards we were sent after Mum died.
I spent the day sticking them into the book.
It was fun as I hadn’t really had time to digest a lot of them so I was able to reread more slowly and enjoy what people had written.

Tim and the 3 youngest children were also at the table just chatting away about random things.
I was talking about the cards and what I was doing when Tim commented,
I’m glad your Mother had a daughter named Raewyn because I was able to marry her and have all you lovely children.

Azzan profoundly responded,
It doesn’t really matter what they’re called.
It matters what they are like.

Adrian decided to go out kayaking.
It was still raining but the bay was flat calm.
Tim headed off to bed and slept for several hours.
The girls have plauyed with Sylvanian’s most of the day.
Shanni has been making clothes for them.
Azzan has cleaned his room and all the bedding went out to the wash.
A good day for it all to be there – not!
But he did find his jacket.
I had a very strong feeling it would turn up in his room if he just looked a bit harder!!

The power ended up being off all day and didn’t come on till 5pm.
So we got the wood stove cranked up and poached eggs for lunch.
Glen arrived over and we chatted while I carried on with the cards.
Anson phoned to say his team had won the game yesterday and therefore won the trophy.
He did end up playing for the last 40mins despite being knocked out last week.
A player was injured and they were short of a man.
They made sure he had on all the head gear and played in a position where he was most unlikely to get into trouble!
He and Seb had had a celebratory night out on the town and didn’t get to bed till 5am.

Once the power came on I got the washing machine & dryer started and have made a hole in the large pile that accumulated there today.

Dinner was easy – leftovers.
Nathan made Butterscoth Semolina for dessert.
It was too yummy – I had to have seconds.
Azzan was very entertaining at dinner.
He was singing lots of different songs.
I am constantly amazed at his retentiveness.
He had just about all the words off pat to several Taylor Swift songs plus others.
I realised tonight that when he stops acting the goat he actually has a very tuneful singing voice.
Might have to cultivate that

It has been a nice relaxing day.
Just what the doctor ordered!

French Pass Mid Winter Christmas Party

We got to FP just before 5pm.
The evening was great.
Val and her helpers had the hall decorated and the pre dinner nibbles were on the tables.
We got our food contribution sorted and then joined the others.
It was a lovely, cosy, sociable evening.
The children all had a ball.
They were the only children and were certainly not at all backward in their socialisation skills!

We all had Party Poppers.
Azzan let his off but I was not fast enough to catch it as it sailed across the table….

and landed on Neil’s lap.

We had all brought a gift from the $2 Shop to put under the tree and they got randomly passed around by Father Christmas aka Robin!

If you got something you didn’t particularly want then you could negotiate with someone else for theirs.
The kids did pretty well out of the deals!!
It was great to meet up with old friends.
Some like Gabrielle and Simon who we hadn’t seen for many many years – like when they were barely out of primary school and moved away.
Now they are married, living back here and expecting babe No 1.

Nathan & Simon apparently were discussing explosives for a lot of the evening!!

There was about 32 of us there.
Valerie had the tables all set up so pretty with checkered clothes and candles etc.

One of the gifts I had bought went to Simon but he thought it suited Azzan much better.

Sandra got the other one so they had to model them together.

Herbie looked lovely with his yellow top knot.
Phil was being as cheeky as ever

I got Phil to take some photos of us girls.
The first photo was of the table corner – good shot Phil!!

Then he managed to get this one, but Sandra got lost in Anneke’s hair
Finally he got a lovely one of Anneke, Sandra and Sandra.

But then we decided to get one of all us girls so I gave the camera to Shanni and she was clicking away merrily while several of the ladies were talking away merrily!

Finally we got a good one.
Me, Sandra, Anneke, Sythe & Valerie at back
Rossi & Sandra in front

Nathan got this wonderful creature in his present.
It makes interesting noises.
He wasn’t swapping it with anyone

At the end of the evening the kids decided they would quite like some balloons so Danny helped them get the ALL down.
Mahalia took them over to the corner and tied them all together.

Azzan and Sythe had a fun game of chase with them.

Azzan got them all together and then we had to fit them in to the back of the Terrano.
That was interesting.
Do you know how much room balloons take up!!

We left around 9:30pm and got back home just on 11pm.
It was a wonderful night
Thanks so much Valerie and your helpers for organising it.

Pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins!

Saturday morning
I couldn’t sleep as it was raining and windy and cold.
So I was up at 6am.
It was still pitch black.
I got up and spent the morning updating my blog.
It was also Sunni’s 29th b’day party day so I spent a bit of time reminiscing over old photos and posted a few for the world to see on Facebook
She was a lovely baby and she is now a very beautiful young woman.

Someone had not fueled the fire the night before so the hot water was not hot.
Shanni had a shower and used what hot was left.
So I spent all morning in my pj’s while the water heated again.

It was wet so it was a great time for the guys to have chain gang session with pumpkins.
They processed a whole crate of them.

I wisely stayed out of the kitchen!

When the guys took a break just before lunch time I hopped in and made some date scones.
We didn’t really stop for lunch – the scones sufficed!

Once the men had finished and cleaned up I got in to the kitchen and cleaned up after them!!
I then finished making the food we were taking to French Pass.

Once that was all done I went and had my shower.
Then it was 3pm and time to pack up the car.

Tim arrived in about 3:20 looking for lunch.
Phil and Sandra were about to leave so I persuaded Tim to ‘move it’ as they would be waiting for us!!!
He raced through the shower while I loaded kids & gear.
We were unbelieveably out the door within 10 mins.

I was at the top before Phil and Sandra.
They arrived and Sandra hopped in with me and the children and Phil went with Tim, Nathan, Graham & Adrian.

We had a good drive around chatting all the way.
It was lovely cuz we don’t get to see much of each other these days

A productive day in town.

It was dark and cool when we left for town at 6am
The children mostly sleep for the first hour or so these mornings.
Makes it for a peaceful drive and helps them to cope with the long day.

I took the three piano players out to Richmond first thing and left the with Nick for their lessons.
My wonderful friends were helping me out with transporting them back to Nelson as I was busy with appointments.
Chrissy picked up Nathan & Azzan.
Sally & Nick took Mahalia with them.
Kashana & Hali were very delighted with this arrangement
No riding today cuz I just couldn’t fit it into our time table.

I took Shanni back to Nelson and left her with her speech teacher.
Then whizz around doing a few jobs.
Only so much you can fit into a half hour though.
Picked her up and went to the library.
Filled out a million forms to join us all up with the city library.
We are now members at all three libraries.
That should cover things properly for the kids!!
I left Shanni there while I shot off for my chiro and massage appointments.
They both went very well.
I came away feeling great.

Picked up Shanni and then met Chrissy at Victory Square park for lunch.
She had picked up Nathan from Kip McGrath.
He is getting very excited about all the study opportunities his teacher is proposing and I am very excited to see his positive outlook.
The boys played on this wonderful climbing frame while Chrissy and I shivered, ate lunch and talked.
We were very glad when it was time to head around the corner to gymnastics.

After gym Nathan went to the library and the other three went to their dance and music classes.
I found some curtains for Anson at Spotlight’s sale and then sat in on the kids dancing.
It is fun to see how far they have come in the past two terms.

I had a scant hour left to finish the last few jobs so left Shanni reading in the car and raced the other two around the streets.
Got everything done and then met Nathan at Countdown where I did a fast shop and left town at 6pm.
By that time of night all the kids want to do is to leave!!

We got home at 9pm.
It was a good day