Leaving for Tim’s mystery holiday

Friday was rather a busy and stressful day.
Tim had an awful lot on his plate and was trying to make decisions as to which was the most important job to get done and then juggle them with the weather.
The guys headed up the hill first and did some tailing.
They came back for lunch looking absolutely knackered.
The wind was exhausting up there.
Then Tim took Marc & Nathan out on the boat to get some mussel work done.

I got some food prep out of the way in the morning plus the washing.
The kids took Adrienne & Poppy around for a look see and explore.
Poppy discovered the playhouse so she and Mahalia spent most of the day playing in there.
I got all the stuff done in the study that I needed to.
Tried to think of all I needed to tell Adrienne but then figured that with Nathan & Anson around she would be fine.
I had a mental list of everything I needed to get done.
Packing was one thing that kept going to he bottom of the list!
By evening I was had it and couldn’t face sorting clothes so just collapsed into bed.

Saturday morning I got up and tackled the clothes mountain on my bedroom floor.
Anson was around early.
Tim got him sussed to get the boat in and carry on with mussel work with Nathan.
Marc said goodbye to Ralph & Cyril.

I was sorta planning to leave just before lunch time but the guys were all ready and packed and we were ready to go by 9:30am.
The three young’uns all gave me a big hug goodbye.
Azzan was only sad for a moment!

Adrienne decided that she was going to be ‘Mary Poppins’ and not a babysitter for the kids cuz they are all pretty self sufficient.

She took this as we left on Tim’s birthday mystery tour.

Marc found the drive out rather hard and we had to stop a few times for him.
He & Seth were very glad to get to Nelson and off the windy roads.
We dropped them off and then did a few jobs before picking up some food and going to have lunch with Seb & Bud at the castle.
It was nice to have a couple of hours to just blob and chat with them.

Then it was 4:30 and we had to head off to Alan’s.
He took us to the airport.
He was busting to know where we were going but I managed to get all the luggage checked in while they were talking and without them seeing the luggage tags and tickets

Tim didn’t have any idea until we were seated in the plane and the hostess welcomed us on our flight to…….

We flew out over Nelson taking a different route than I had hoped.
But got a good view of the city.

This was as clear a view of home that I could get.
For those of you who don’t know the lay out of the Marlborough Sounds, our bay is at the back centre of the photo.

We arrived in Wellington, got our bags and then went outside to wait for our ride.
She got held up on her way in by an accident but eventually
Cat arrived!!
Tim was totally surprised

When we jumped into the car we were met by her new baby –
a 19 week old Schipperke

He is very cute and a most agreeable puppy.

Cat cooked us dinner on her yacht and then we chatted for a while before hitting the bunk.
It was weird sleeping on a boat.
I haven’t done that in a very long time.
Tim of course was out to it like a light but I kept hearing the wind whistling, ropes slapping, the hull creaking and the boat rocking.

Last day of the term for us :-)

After my early start I followed Shanni into the shower.
She had used most of the hot water but at least it wasn’t cold.
We were away before 6:30am.
I was driving the Safari as we needed the 7 seats for our return trip.
After driving the automatic Terrano so much I keep forgetting the Safari is a manual and keep stalling it

We were unsure if the weather would cooperate enough for riding so had arranged for Callum to text me at 9am to confirm or cancel.
It was fine and clear as we left home.
Just very breezy.
Lovely blue skies over head but the skies over Nelson way were grey and bleak and not at all promising.
We hit rain on the Whangamoa’s so the kids were resigned to not riding.
We got to town at 8:30 and  proceeded to get a few jobs done.
Then we got the all go from Callum so began to head out to Edencourt doing a few more jobs along the way.
Dropped Nathan off at the library.
While the kids were riding Shanni and I went to Richmond so she could spend her birthday money.
Graham had sent her a Farmer’s voucher and Lydia had given her some money so she was very excited to be able to go look for at clothes.
I left her with a lovely sales lady who took her to look and see what she liked while I went to post mail.
When I got back I found her in the changing rooms.
They had picked out an armful of tops but she had really chose just one.
She put that on and then was not at all interested in trying on the others.
She had found THE one and that was it.
I had told her I would top up a wee bit if necessary.
When we went to pay I was only asked for another $4.99 – not the $20 I was expecting.
I thought there was a mistake and then realised the top was reduced in the days sale.
Good choice Shanni

We went back to get the children and found them still out in the paddock.
The day had turned out crisp and clear.
There was fresh snow on the hills all around which was still falling when I dropped them off.

I like these next three photos.
You can see how much they are both enjoying the action.

Mahalia was rounding up some sheep.

While Azzan chatted to Olivia & Callum.
I am sure they know all our family secrets by now

I had to hurry them along as I had to get Nathan to his English lesson at 12:10 and Shanni to piano at 12:30.
We just made it.
I took Hali & Azzan up to the Winnington’s.
Margaret was going to take them to gymnastics for me as I had to take Shanni to the hosp for an appointment after piano.
I was concerned that the hosp appointment might take ages, as they so often do, so had made contingency plans for the others.
But surprisingly enough we were all finished and out of there in time for Shanni to get to gym in time.

Then I zipped Shanni to her final clarinet and singing lessons at Soundstage and dropped the other two at dancing.
Chrissy took Nathan to his last history lesson.
I am in the process of restructuring our lessons for next term.
There are changes of teachers and classes so a different timetable for me – hopefully more streamlined taxi-ing and better use of our education budget

Adrienne & Poppy were waiting at dancing with their bags.
We repacked the Safari and loaded everyone in.
Picked up the other two and were out of town soon after 5pm.
Record time for us.
I never did any grocery shopping so am hoping they will have enough food while we are away!!

We stopped several times along the way to let Poppy get a break as she gets a bit carsick.
They all had fun at Okiwi Bay playground.

It was jolly cold so the kids all came running back to the car for more clothes but Azzan then took off his shoes

We had several stops along the way for Poppy – poor wee mite wasn’t traveling well at all.
She ended up sitting on Adrienne’s knee for the last stretch.
Azzan enjoyed watching movies on their iPod and the girls watched another on the dvd player while Nathan watched another on his laptop.
Talk about sociable!!
Well, at least that meant Adrienne & I could talk without too many ears listening

The guys were just cleaning up from their dinner when we got home so we unpacked the car and the children showed Poppy & Adrienne around.
I made a quick pot of pasta for us once we got home as we were all hungry.
Azzan found this tiny wee stick insect.

Everyone is snuggled down in their beds now.
Nathan & I have been waiting for our rice pudding to bake.
I make a very delicious brown rice pudding.
Quick, simple and extremely delicious.
We have each enjoyed a heavenly bowl of rice pudding and yoghurt so can now head off to bed with full and content tummies

Winter arrives again with a roar!

Winter decided it hadn’t been properly this year so it has come again with more fury than ever.
New Zealand is really copping a major amount of really horrendous weather right now.
Gale force winds, heavy snowfalls, flooding, and all of this on top of THE earthquake!

We woke Wednesday morning to snow on the hills across from us.

Mt Stokes and surrounding hills, even a coating on the Titirangi & Waitui hills.

And while I was shivering on the deck taking the above photos I spotted an armada in Ketu!
The commercial scallop boats are here with a vengeance
Oh well, I guess that puts paid to any more decent hauls of scallops for us for a while!

Tim has been battling the weather this week to get the essential work done.
He and Marc have been trying to get mussel work done when it is calm – but that hasn’t happened a lot.
Anson & Seth have been cutting down trees, cutting up firewood, mustering sheep etc.
They have all been mustering and preparing for tailing.
It is a battle with the wind and rain as to which job gets to be first on the list each day.
Each job is essentially important this week as we are going away on Saturday for a weeks break.
Tim is getting frustrated with the weather because these jobs have to be done before he goes.
But I am sure Anson & Nathan will be able to keep on top of most things.

I spent Wednesday morning cooking to try and get a start on some meals over the next few days.
I ended up in bed for the afternoon as I was feeling very yuck.
Headachy and very tired.
I woke to an essential phone call around 4pm.
Had to try and put on my ‘with it’ cap and make coherent conversation.
Rather difficult in my dazed state.
Then on top of that Azzan and Shanni were having a wee session.
I had to sort that out which didn’t thrill me at the time.
Azzan is tired too but he is not dealing with it wisely which adds to the stress of life at times.
I am also realising that I am dealing with a fairly sensitive perfectionist so I have to try and change disciplinary tactics as the ones I have been using are not working.

He is such a wonderful loving giving child but he is focusing on some very negative things right now which I am finding quite disturbing.
He is convinced he is fat.
So I have been jollying him out of it by agreeing with him and telling him in a joking fashion that yes he is so fat I can’t get my arms around him and he can’t possible get through the door etc.
But that is not working.
He was so upset with Shanni that he told he he wanted to die
This is my baby – he is 7 years old.
Where on earth is he getting these ideas from?
I talked with him and reassured him that he was the absolute best thing that ever happened to me and what on earth would I do without him.
He cried and we cuddled and then he bounced back to the normal loving wee man he is and proceeded to give me a real good massage as he could see I had a headache.
He then brought me drinks and just wanted to be with me and do things for me.

When I talked this over with my friend today she mentioned to me about the five love languages.
I really need to read that book and get my head around it all I think.
Maybe by the time I have brought up my 10th child I might actually get a handle on it all!!

Shanni helped me get some food packed for our town lunches.
I tried to get some online banking done as I am way behind with my accounts from being away in town.
But by 9:30pm I was had it so just crashed into bed.

I had a very fitful disturbed sleep.
I don’t usually dream dreams that I remember.
But I was having vivid dreams and was tossing and turning.
The storm outside had built up to quite a frenzy and I think in my sleep I was feeling tossed about by it all.
Then I woke up properly at 2am.
My head was aching, the wind had stilled, the sky clear and the moon was full and shining so brightly in our window.
Tim always leaves the curtains partially open so he doesn’t break his neck falling over all of my mess when trying to get to the bathroom at night!
I got up and took some pain killers, had a drink, pulled the curtains and fell back into bed.
I slept much better until 4:30am when I woke to Shanni in the shower.
She had set her alarm clock wrong – an hour early

Home at last!

After being away for several weeks I had a lot of unopened mail & phone messages to deal with.
I was in the study doing this when I was presented with this wonderful arrangement of daffodils by Azzan.
The stalks were beautifully wrapped with even a wee lizard climbing amongst the flowers.

This letter written by Mahalia was attached to it

The kids got loose with my camera later and these are a few photos I found!

I cleaned out the fridge and sorted out all the leftovers.
Then Glen arrived to say goodbye.
He is off to Thailand for a month to collect his wife.
She has finally managed to jump through all the red tape hoops and is now allowed to come into NZ.
It has taken nearly a year since they got married

I made a quiche with all the left overs.
Marc is vegetarian so I thought it would be a good extra to have on hand for him.
It came in handy for afternoon smoko in the shearing shed too.

Tim had taken pumpkin out of the freezer for lunch.
He told me it was soup and was fine.
I went to taste it just before the guys came up from the shearing shed and it was yuckily bland.
So I made some fast additions to it and created a much tastier soup which they were all pretty happy about.

Mahalia was not feeling well so I tucked her into bed after she had finished the lunch dishes.
She had already cleaned the bathroom in the morning.
She was obviously overtired.
I was too, as was Azzan.
But he was not going to give in
I told him he needed to go to bed for a sleep but when I went to look for him he had disappeared so I tucked myself into bed instead.
Azzan has been int he spa as much as he possibly can.
He has really missed it.

The power went off – due to a tree on the lines causing a fire back near Rai Valley apparently.
Tim shot up to Graham’s to get the generator as they were right in the midst of shearing.
It was only off for about 45mins thankfully.

I watched ‘Patch Adams‘.
I have seen it before but enjoyed re-watching
It is a brilliant story which has now made me follow it up online to see who this guy is.
Robin Williams did a great job playing the lead character.

Nathan cooked a roast of mutton for dinner.
It was delicious.
I had a large banana cake in the freezer and had taken it out earlier in the day.
Iced it for desert.

Here is Shanni with her two possum babies.
Cyril and Ralph.

Being nocturnal they were rather lively after dinner.
She is feeding them with milk through a syringe but they are beginning to eat solids as well so it won’t be long before they can go out into the aviary.
Anson stayed for dinner so he was telling Shanni how much the pelts would be worth once they get bigger – brothers!

I am very glad to be home.
But I have high expectations of what I need done in the small amount of time I have here.
Therefore I tend to get very grumpy and bad tempered when those expectations are not met.
I have to try and get a better balance and take the pressure off

Farewell to Margaret and visiting friends….

I slept in on Monday morning.
It was such a lovely comfy bed and the room was dark and the house extremely quiet so I had the best sleep in ages.
The children were up and entertaining Sonia when I finally found my way to the kitchen.
We were packed up and away by around 9am.
Went into town to do a few jobs and go to the library before the funeral.

It was quite windy and the rain was all around but not quite in Blenheim yet.
We got blown into the church but thankfully were early enough to have time to make ourselves presentable before everyone else arrived.
It was a lovely celebration of Margaret’s 83 years of life.
She was a quietly gracious, devout, Christian lady – a fact to which all the speakers testified.
We spent an enjoyable hour over morning tea with her friends and family before they headed off to Seddon for the internment.

It was wet and stormy when we left.
We were all ready to just head home.
But as we drove through Renwick I carried on with our wee tiki tours that we had been doing over the past two weeks.
I turned the corner where I grew up, showing the kids our house.
Mahalia was only a baby when Mum sold the house and Azzan wasn’t even thought of.
So they were quite interested in seeing it – they were especially interested in the wee park and memorial stone at the old cemetery that was next to the house.
I explained to them that when we built the house there 45 years ago the cemetery was very very old and broken down and I had scrambled amongst all the graves and written down everyone’s names and information and from there the council had then officially closed it and erected the stone with all the names I had collected.

As we were about to leave Renwick I said to the kids that I just wanted to pop in and visit some old friends.
They sighed but were very good about it.
Max & Helen have been family friends for over 48 years.
They were partners in the orchard that my parents developed at Renwick.

They were absolutely delighted when we knocked on the door.
We spent a lovely time with them.
Mahalia took some photos before we left.

Azzan was getting very restless and wanting to go home so I sent him & Mahalia off to the car and said I would follow soon.
He said his goodbyes and gave them both big hugs.
They thanked him for coming to visit.
Then he announced –
Mum said..
I should have stepped in right then!!
if we don’t visit old people when we can, we will be sorry because they might die before we see them again.

It was raining by this point so I said my farewells and ran to the car and drove westwards towards home.
I was really tired and found myself getting very sleepy before Pelorus Bridge.
We stopped at Rai Valley and stretched our legs and got a quick bite to eat.
Great time of day to go to the tearooms – all the savouries were half price.

Azzan pleased to be allowed to play in the Okiwi Bay playground so I stopped on the proviso that it was only for 2 mins.
I sat and waited and nearly half an hour later I woke up
I really needed that break.
The rest of the trip home went quickly.
Azzan watched a movie in the back seat and Mahalia was happy to listen to her new iPod.

I stopped at the top of McLarens Hill to take this photo.
The afternoon clouds and setting sun were really pretty.

It is the season for one our most beautiful native flowers.
The clematis.
I have been seeing vines of it along the west coast road as I returned from Greymouth and then more as I got closer to home.
This vine was half way down our hill.
The photos is a bit blurry but you can see how it lightens up our bush so beautifully.

We stopped to have a chat with Anson – he was running his menagerie of dogs.
Azzan hopped out and ran from there.

It was really good to get home

A lovely last day in Nelson

After a lie in this morning we got moving around 9:30am.
Packed bags, cleaned rooms, stripped beds, got washing started and packed the car.
Had a quick breakfast and then said our thanks and farewells to Frances and John.
They had a busy day ahead and are getting ready fro their Australian holiday so I didn’t want to stay under their feet too long.

We went into the city cuz I was wanting to catch up with a friend.
She however was busy so I got my last frappacino for a while and we meandered out of town taking the back route for a change.
Because we took this route I discovered that the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival was on.
It was supposed to be on last Sunday but due to the rain was postponed until today.
I didn’t know this until I saw all the cars parked for miles and people heading into the Miyazu Gardens.
So we quickly changed out plans, found a park and headed in to see what was happening.
We could hear the drums as we approached but got there just as they were finishing.
We were quite disappointed because we knew our friend Fumio was playing them.
We found him and he showed the kids the drums.

They were going to play again at 1:30pm.

We then went for a look around.
It soon became apparent that we needed real money to buy anything from the stalls.
The children were very good and never asked for anything as they knew I only had $2 in cash on me.
So we cruised around and looked at things and talked to people.
This is the origami stand.
The origami flowers were beautiful.

I had never been to these gardens before and quickly decided that we must return another day when there are fewer people there.
The textures and water features were simply beautiful.

At 12:30 a puppeteer did a display for many sorts of puppetry and masks.

I talked to Mahalia and asked if she would like to stay a bit longer cuz if so then I would zip into town and find a money machine and get some cash out.
She did and agreed to mind Azzan and not move away from the area they were in.
I hurried as fast as safely possible and was back within 15mins.
I found them both sitting on the grass bank under the blossom.
Good kids

We the got them some sushi and I got Japanese vegetable pancakes with noodles.
It was delicious.
We went back to watch the calligrapher and then asked her to do each of the children’s names.
But instead of their precise names we asked for the meanings.
Azzan means ‘strong one’

and Mahalia means ‘gentle’

Then it was 1:30pm and the drums were about to begin again.
It was great to see and hear them in action.

Before we left we went to say thank you to Fumio and he let Azzan have another play on the drum.

Some of the water features

Outside the main gate is this really cool stone ornament.

It was 2pm when we left.
Stopped in at Gary’s and loaded up Anson’ shearing plant as he is wanting to shear the lambs this coming week.
We got to Blenheim and went straight to Sonia and Lindsay’s.
We sat and chatted.
It was nice to stop a while and not do anything.
The kids were pretty energetic so Azzan was pleased to have some lawn to do handstands etc on.

I got the children off to bed very promptly after dinner then I sat and chatted and looked at old photos with Lindsay & Sonia.
A pleasant evening

As I am beginning to fall asleep at the keys I think I should close this off for now.
Night all

The final day of the show.

Because of their late night I had told the children to sleep in and chill a bit this morning.
So they did.
They watched a movie and then sometime midmorning I had a quick shower and began kicking them along.
They were in a real go slow silly mode so after a while I began to get quite frustrated.
As I stated to them later – I let them sleep and rest late so when I ask them to move they should respect my wishes and move!
But because they didn’t the last hour before we left got very stressful for me.
I could see the morning disappearing and I had several things I had to do before their matinee.
I was near tears when we finally left the house around 10:30.
They got a good talking to in the car on the way into town
Went straight to the library to drop off and pick up books.
Then we zipped around to ‘Deville‘ cafe to meet Kathy.
As it wasn’t long before the children were dancing again I got them some lunch.
The kids baskets there are always a hit.
Full of fresh fruit, juice, popcorn, cheese & crackers etc.

The strawberries were very impressive!

I had a delicious vegetarian Quesadilla.
It was absolutely delectable and had a complete half pan fried avocado beside it

It was really lovely to catch up with Kathy.
We don’t see enough of each other and now she is moving back to the North Island we will see even less.

The kids being nice to me after their rough start to the day

  I had to run to get them to the theatre by 12:30 so it was a quick bye to Kathy and we were off.
Seb had picked up Cat’s motor for me and he was following me around the city trying to pin me down long enough to give it to me!
Eventually caught up and had a chat for a few minutes.
His work has just put him through a dive course which he absolutely loved.
He is also about to go through some aquacultural training which will up skill him – at least on paper!
He’s had the skills for a while but it takes time to get to the paperwork.

I had some time to fill in before picking the children up again so sat in the car and updated my blog while I had time and peace.
From the theatre we went back tot he studio.
It was a pot luck party.
There as food for Africa!!
Peta is quite strict about having healthy food so there was a fantastic range of fruits, vege sticks, sandwiches etc.
There was water and orange juice – no fizz or lollies etc.
It was great.
Kids enjoyed chilling out together and watching a dvd of the show.
Azzan was glued to the screen for most of it.

At half time he and I walked over to Countdown.
He is very concerned about the family who have lost their house in a fire this week.
So I let him choose some groceries to put in the box as he has been putting in his muesli bars after every performance

I had talked quietly with Peta about Azzan’s concerns that he was not dancing well in one of his dances because he didn’t have a partner.
She took him aside later on and had a wee chat with him.
I am so impressed with how she handles these kids.
There are so many of them but she takes the time to make each one feel special.
She asked him how he felt about the dance and told him that she thought he danced so well and that he danced much better as a solo.
She told him that she thought he was a brilliant solo dancer.
He came away feeling much happier about it all.

We went straight back to the theatre as it was time for the evening performance.
I didn’t bother going anywhere o just sat in the car till it was time to go in through the front entrance and enjoy the show for myself.
It was great.
Everyone did so well.
The little ones got some very loud claps – they were so cute.
There are 4 older boys in the dance company.
It was wonderful to see them dance.
They have all been dancing for 10-12 years and obviously still enjoy it.
There were dancers of all ages and stages in life.
A group of ‘mature’ women brought the house down when they came on dressed in very buxom outfits and wigs brandishing wood spoons dancing to ‘Think‘ by Aretha Franklyn.

As it was the last night there were some presentations of flowers to Peta and the other teachers.
Then Peta presented the iPod to the child who had sold the most tickets.
I was completely blown away when she turned and gave it to Mahalia.
I have no idea how many friends of ours went, but it was obviously enough.
Thanks so much to you all for naming her.
She was absolutely delighted.

As Azzan and she had decided it was best for only one name to go on the tickets for the competition they were going to share the prize.
But Azzan was quite happy when I said he could have my iPod as I never use it these days.

We walked back to the car.
Put the key in the ignition and turned it and….
nobody home – again

So I called the AA again.
They were great and despite being told they would take 45mins the guy arrived in 5.
The kids had just begun watching a dvd.
Thanks goodness for AA membership and laptops

We got back home and I left the car running for ages.
Actually forgot about it.
Cooked dinner for the children and me.
Put them to bed and was about to go to bed myself when Frances reminded me the car was still running!!

I am hoping it will start in the morning so I can get into town to organise a new battery.
The one in the Terrano is the same one that was in there when we bought it and it is definitely in need of replacing.

We are coming to  to the end of a busy 2 weeks in town.
Not too sure if I really enjoy being in town all the time.
It’s exhausting.
It will be good to get home but that has been delayed by a day as I have yet another funeral to attend on Monday in Blenheim.
Margaret has been a lifelong friend of our family and was close to Mum.
I cannot not go to it so we will head over to Blenheim tomorrow.