Tuesday 31st December

I staggered out to the kitchen at 7:20am to get a drink of water.
Was greeted by Wilf making his breakfast.
He wanted to make me toast.
My eyelids weren’t even open, I was in remote control.
Breakfast that early?
No thanks – but thanks 🙂

Went back to bed.
Spent the morning in bed blogging, paying bills, etc.
Got up a few times to do other stuff, but figured there was nothing else better to do or nowhere else more cosy, so may as well be comfortable.
The kids were buzzing around.
Maria is here now so the three girls are a bit like musketeers.
One for all, all for one.
Where there is one there is three!
And Azzan sorta flits around the periphery fitting in where he can.
He was especially happy because his big bro-in-law Mat had brought down a superflous PC laptop for him to use.
He can now play all the other educational games that won’t work on our Mac.
His other big bro-in-law Nick spent some time sorting out internal stuff for him to ensure he could get the games up and running.
He is a happy boy 🙂

Finally had a shower and braved the world.
Sunni & Lily came down to see us.
We tried the high chair for size.
Just fits, with a bit of extra padding.
She was happy in there as long as Aunty Halia was playing ‘Imagine’ on her tiny music box.
I went out and sat on the deck and chatted with Mat.
A few minutes later Sunni came out to show me a photo of Lily fast asleep in the high chair 🙂
Not the first child I have had sleeping in there!
They took her up to bed and she slept for quite a while.

Tracey, Josie, & Jack came to visit.
Anson & Marah arrived round with Eden.
There are so many willing cuddlers here so the babies get lots of tlc and attention and the mums get to give their arms a rest.
We don’t breed small babies so that is most helpful!
Eden had lots of fun sitting at the backdoor in the sun with Aunty Cat & Skip.
Then we migrated down to the beach to say goodbye to Tracey & kids when Andrew arrived to pick them up.
Along the beach David & Nick were busy nutting out how to get the PL3 down the rails and into the water.
The rails are falling to pieces and splaying out so when the trolley rolls down it kept falling off.
Tim gave the boat to David ages ago, but it has taken a while for him to get his trailer organized.
Now the times and tides are right but they just have to get it into the water!
It is a real end of an era seeing this old girl leaving.
She has been a stalwart of Port Ligar for many years.
Many a fish has been caught from her, and many a friend has cruised the waves of our bay in her.
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Of course you cannot have a show without spectators and encouragers.
So we all stood/sat around and watched for a while.
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Anson and his girl headed off to find food.
We followed and the ham & bread was diminished some more.
It was after 5pm so not too sure if it was a late lunch, arvo tea of early dinner snack.
Who cares – it’s holiday time and we eat when we feel inclined.
I personally don’t eat ham but am very grateful to those who have donated a couple to our pantry as they are helping to feed the masses this week.
Mahalia had all her nail polishes out so Marah made the most of babysitters to sit down and get girly.
Amongst the stash she found a perfect match with her dress.
Mind you, I would be surprised if you couldn’t find a perfect match with the number of different colors Mahalia has collected!!
Sunniva& Mat headed off for a walk with Lily.
Living with these girls Eden is going to have to get used to photo shoots!

Marah took Eden home to finsih off some chores.
She’s not moving easily today, having some sciatic pain which is not pleasant at all.
Probably a result of long hours traveling and sleeping in different beds.
Hopefully it will wear off soon.
I went off to rest and left the 3 girls and Azzan to prepare some food for dinner.
I was tired.
My book hit the floor as I fell asleep.

It was around 7pm when I woke.
The girls had made some salads, boiled up some pots of spuds and carrots and Shoshannah had made a cheesecake.
Azzan thawed out lots of mince and Shoshannah whizzed it up into pattie mix.
Here are the busy chefs – apparently doing the Shakira pose.
Shanni is like ‘a what pose?’
Wilf & Diane came down and cooked up a storm on the bbq.
We were expecting 14 for dinner so cooked up plenty of lamb chops, sausages, & meat patties.
The three dogs were forever hopeful!
We had all the food prepared and ready to serve but only half the dinner party were here.
We phoned and text the others but to no avail.
I was getting rather perturbed as it was now way after 8pm, and we were getting really hungry.
Turned out they were all around socializing with Anson & Marah on their back deck and had no phone reception :-/
We started without them.
They finally turned up and joined the party.
I took a photo of the table just before Anson & Marah arrived.
Had to do a panoramic to fit us all in!
Note the Mat pose 🙂
Lily was completely unimpressed by the New Years Eve celebrations.
Lots of loving for Lily & Eden from Aunty Shanni & Uncle Zani after dinner.
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Mahalia, Azzan, Leeann & Shoshannah having an end of year snuggle.
And finally the pièce de résistance.
Shoshannah’s honey cheese cake topped with raspberry coulis.
It was delicious.
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The party time was just all too much for Eden.
She was definitely not keeping up with her Dad’s desires to party all night!
He was most put out to be in bed asleep by 10:30pm on a New Years Eve.
Welcome to fatherhood Ans 😉
They toddled off home, in fact everyone had retired by around 10pm.
All except the four youngest of the house.
I sat in bed munching on fresh chilled cherries and Roses chocolates (which Nick had given me earlier, thanks Nick xx)  and reading my book, while they partied on down on the wharf under the stars in their onsies.
They cuddled up in sleeping bags on the wharf and watched ‘Pitch Perfect’ by starlight.P1260847 P1260845 P1260837 P1260833
My book hit the floor around 11:30pm, I tried to sleep but with shrieks from the wharf and lights on in the hall it wasn’t terribly restful.
The kids came up around 12:30am so I got up, said goodnight and turned out lights.

Welcome 2014.

I don’t really want to welcome you in.
The change of one digit means that it is a new year, a year away from Tim.
Another milestone that I don’t want to be facing.

Monday 30th December

No time to sleep in this morning.
I was in the shower at 7:30am and after a quick drink of water, said my goodbyes to Sally & John.
Whizzed down the road to get a few jobs out crossed off the ‘have to do whilst out in town’ lists.
They never fail to appear, just have to glance at the car and they begin to grow :-/

Arrived at the hospital at 9:30am to help Phoebe while Seb went off to have some physio on his leg.
We had a lovely visit 🙂
I held and rocked our wee babe to give Phoebe a break.
She does love continual motion and after a while gets rather heavy on the arms.
But she is such a wee honey that I didn’t mind a bit 😉
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She is such a true Shand – as long as she has her thumb in her mouth she is happy.
All mine were thumbsuckers 🙂
But clawing her eyes at the same time isn’t really a good thing!!
We had to try and dissuade that before she drew blood :-/
Seb arrived back a couple of hours later.
She really knows her Daddy and quiets immediately he cuddles her.
We had a really big laugh over her appetite.
To assist the initial feeding processes (esp for a large baby with a big appetite before milk comes in)  they have this natty wee idea.
Instead of bottle feeding to supplement they put some formula in a bottle with a tiny tube and pop the tube into her mouth as she latches on, and then while she is feeding from Mum she is also sucking from the tube.
It makes babe think there is milk there already and they suck stronger.
She scoffed 10mls in just 3 large gulps.
The midwife was astonished and we all melted on the floor in laughter.
She truly is her father’s daughter 🙂

She’s a big girl with a big appetite and as soon as she had a bit of extra in her tummy she settled happily.
I left them to get her settled for a sleep and went off to get some lunch for Seb and get a few more things done from the list.

It had been rain showering all morning, but by lunchtime torrential downpours were hitting the city.
Town was manic.
Traffic everywhere, people running for shelter, rain and wind drenching everything…..
I grabbed the first park I could see and hopped out with my umbrella.
That barely coped with the downpour!
Had my head down and was going for it and walked straight into a guy who was also not looking where he was going.
He was taller than me and whatever hit my head jolly well hurt :-/
Onto the hot potato stall, ordered three to go and ‘I will come back in a few minutes to get them’ as I rushed past.
Lovely when they know you so well you can order on the run and pay on pick up 🙂
Then to the cherry stall, paid for three boxes and left them to pick up on my way back.
Farmers had a sale on.
Zipped over to the children’s department and found some pretty pink clothes for Sapphire.
Most of her clothes at the hospital were almost too small and were blue or white.
Back for the cherries.
Navigated the wet streets, crowds of drenched tourists, meandering vehicles looking hopefully for parks, and pouring rain, with umbrella in one hand, cherries and bags in the other and ran over to the bank to deposit some cheques.
Back up the street to the hot potato stand.
Had to do some fine balancing acts to juggle everything, hold the brolly, fumble in my handbag for my wallet, find my card and activate the eftpos!!
Succeeded in dropping my card in a puddle but thankfully the guy at the stand came to my rescue, picked that up and then got me a bag to put the boxes of cherries in.
Managed to get back to the car without dropping anything more.
Sat in the car, breathed deeply, took five and ate my potato while it was hot.

Then I headed back to the hospital.
The maternity ward is strictly closed from 1-3pm to allow the mothers to sleep.
They had been planning to bath Sapphire around 2pm so I knew it was okay to go on in.
It was all dark and quiet when I crept through the doors.
Phoebe and babe were sound asleep.
I tiptoed down to where I had left Sebastian resting at the other end of the ward in an easy chair with his feet up.
Good for him to be resting his ankle – torn ligaments have to have a lot of rest to heal.
He scoffed down the potato and I left him to rest some more and zipped back to check out a kitchen shop that was advertising closing down specials.
Turns out that they were closing down but in meantime have been taken over by another company so are not actually closing the doors.
The guy was extremely helpful and I came away with some excellent information.
Braved the central city traffic again and met up with Mira & Nathan at Starbucks.
Got drinks to take up for Seb & Phoebe too.

Martin & Sylvia were visiting their wee grand niece when we arrived 🙂
She was still sleeping.
She slept through being transferred from Phoebe to Sylvia, to Sebastian and back to Phoebe.
Fantastic sleep of over three hours.

Baby Munchkin is now officially named.
Sapphire Ophelia = Beautiful Helper 🙂

Mira was happy to be in there.
She likes hospitals 🙂
Seb took them & Sapphire for a wander in the corridor and I helped Phoebe for a few minutes.
Then we went walking too.
Good to be up and about after being in bed for so long.
We had a bit of a party in the corridor – we tend to do that when we get enmass!
Probably a bit much for the rest of the ward to handle so I ushered them back to the room before it all got too loud and out of hand 😉
Aunty Mira had a cuddle.
She is a very naughty aunty who likes to tickle wee toes!
Phoebe’s looking great + baby is beautiful = all is good 🙂
And baby slept on….and on…and on!

Finally it was time to change and wake her.
Can’t let sleeping newborns sleep too long at this stage.
Seb’s got it sussed 😉
It was 6pm already and Nathan & Mira were going to the movies so I said my goodbyes then too.
I needed to head back home.

I had two thing left on my list – needed to go to The Warehouse and had been putting it off all day as it is crazy in there at this time of year.
I found the two things I needed and was off!
Popped in to Andrea’s work to visit with her during her tea break.
Had a really good talk.
Shed some tears, appreciate the understanding, support and prayers xxxx
I had to let her get back to work to left around 7pm.

I had been trying to find a florist all day to get some balloons but they were all closed till after New Year.
Finally found what I wanted in New World along with some other New Years Eve treats for the kids.
Loaded up the car and decided to grab a burger from Burger King and get on the road instead of taking time to stop and eat elsewhere.
Sat in the car along the waterfront, ate the burger and read Bri & Abby’s travel blog – JustStayHome.
It is so good.
Am really enjoying following their adventures.
Really worth a read – Abby writes very well 🙂
And on that note I must share a Shanni-ism from a couple of days ago.
Raewyn  – “Bri & Abby are in Hanoi and traveling down through Vietnam through Cambodia to Thailand.”
Shoshannah – “So they’re not just going to Asia. They’re going other places as well.”

I drove home listening to Kerre Woodham’s story, ‘Short Fat Chick to Marathon Runner’.
It is very comical an inspiring to listen to.
The humor is very Kiwi so if you are not used to New Zealand wit then you might struggle with it.

I stopped at the cairn and had a chat with Tim.
I am loving my wee grandchildren, but am so sad not to have him here to share them too.
Talked to him about his newest wee granddaughter and shared some decorations and flowers with him.
Wept a while, left my tears mingling with memories.
I was showing Azzan this picture of the flowers this morning and told him that pink was for all Tim’s granddaughters, the cream lilies are for Lily and the blue flowers are for Sapphire.
And he said ‘And the flowers all came from the garden of Eden, so that’s for Eden’.
Brilliant symbolism Uncle Zani xxxx

Was very thankful to find the boundary gate open so I didn’t have to do battle with the wind.
Got home at 11:30pm.
Sunni had been texting me all the way – it was comforting to know someone cared to wait up for me.
Unpacked the perishables and went straight off to bed.
Read my book for a while until I was relaxed enough to sleep.

Sunday 29th December

We had some rain overnight.
Nice for the farm and gardens.
It was very quiet with just Shoshannah & myself in the house.
I was up and spa’d and sitting in the lounge getting some online banking underway before she even woke up.
I was pleased she had slept in, she never does and needed to after all her industrious days.
We pottered about for a while.
The others stayed put in there sleep outs, recovering from travel.
Wilf popped down for toast, insisted I had some too.
Andrew & Tracey arrived with Josie & Jack.
Lovely to see them all.
Andrew took the kids to visit the puppies and as an added bonus they got to meet Diane & Wilf’s pup too.
I decided to head out to town.
It was raining, and nothing was happening, and I was hanging out to meet my newest granddaughter.
Left around 1pm and trundled off into the mist and rain.
At least it wasn’t dusty and hot for the drive out!

I had to stop at Okiwi Bay – and had the added bonus of meeting Bex & Gus.
They were on their way to catch the boat home so couldn’t talk for long.
But lovely to catch up with them.
I was feeling somewhat famished so stopped in at Starbucks to pick up a frappaccino before going straight on to the hospital.
I arrived there around 4pm.
It was so lovely to finally meet the precious wee munchkin – as Seb calls her 🙂
She is just adorable.
All 10lb 10oz of her!
Seb has uncontrollable urges to shower her with kisses  🙂
It was good to see mother and baby looking well and happy.
All her sleeping positions were cutely comical.
She has such big hands, but beside her Daddy’s they look very small.IMG_5212
I whizzed off an hour later after Phoebe had eaten her dinner and did a couple of jobs.
Then called into Hangar 58 and they kindly put together 2 takeaway meals for Seb & me.
I took them back to the hospital and despite telling me he wasn’t at all hungry, he devoured most of his meal and looked a lot better for it.
Sometimes mothers do know best 😉

I let them to it around 7:30pm.
Whizzed out to Richmond to see Ross for a while.
Then back to Tahunanui and spent the night with John & Sally.

Saturday 28th December

Just me and Shoshannah, Shoshannah & me.
Lovely quiet morning 🙂
Shoshannah is happy and bubbling and cheerful and wonderful and blonde and crazy.
I love this girl to bits.
She lifts me up when I am down, she makes me smile when I can’t, she is such an incredible support.
Did I mention she’s amazingly wonderful?

I had a quick spa, didn’t feel like wallowing long.
Prayed long and hard for Phoebe & Seb and the baby.
I have been trying really hard not to be worried, too much has happened this year.
We need some good news.
Prayed for Drs to make wise decisions, and soon please Lord!

Found an envelope in the mail that I hadn’t opened on Friday.
The final findings from the Coroner.
A statement at the bottom of the cover letter says – ‘This matter is now closed.’
I sat and cried and cried.
It isn’t over, it isn’t finished. It can’t be!

Talked with Seb later in the morning.
They have made a decision re baby.
I am so glad.

Graham arrived down to continue with the vinyl laying.
Major job.
Jeff arrived around 2pm and was immediately roped in by his Dad to help nut out the logistics of matching patterns and getting the bench lifted enough to push the vinyl under.
It was very annoying to find that 3.9m of the vinyl was damaged along one side which meant a metre strip had to be cut off to allow for pattern matching.
Not happy!
It’s nigh impossible to cut and join exactly.
Have emailed the company I bought it from but the lady I need to speak to is away until the 6th.
So we had to make the best with what we had.

Just a few small things to do to get the job completed, but that can wait until tomorrow.
Loving my new floor 🙂
It makes the whole room feel fresh and spacious.

Jeff unloaded the 2 kayaks he had brought in for me.
Tim & I had bought a large sea kayak to use together just 3 weeks before he died, but without him I don’t want to use it.
So Bri & Nick are taking it off my hands and will put it to good use.
In replacement I have bought two ride-on kayaks –  single and double – to add to our very used collection.

Sunniva, Mathieu, Wilf & Diane arrived around 2:30pm with Lily, Tank and Diane’s new pup.
Lily and I hd cuddles while they unloaded the truck.
We had quite a conversation about her trip down from Auckland.
Long way for a little girl but she handled it marvelously.
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Not long after they arrived I received some fantastic news.
And I was able to introduce Lily to her new cousin 🙂

We had a pretty chilled out afternoon.
The travelers were all very tired.
It has been a long few days and a busy month or so previous to leaving.

I wasn’t feeling great.
Just heavy in spirit and headachy.
Resorted to Panadol which helped.
Spent the latter stages of the day cleaning up and putting furniture back in.
Wilf & Mat helped which was great.
Alan & Eare popped in and dropped off some scallops and fish – yummy!

Dinner was easy.
Home made hamburgers.
Really good to have the bbq going again.
It has been neglected for too long.
Mat bbq’d the meat patties, onions, fish and scallops – sooooo good!
Shoshannah and I have been having an ongoing joke about which baby is the cutest.
Shoshannah – Eden is the cutest baby.
Me – You haven’t met Lily yet.
Shoshannah – Nah! Eden is the cutest.
Me – Wait till you meet Lily.
So today Shoshannah got to meet Lily.
But Sunniva said she couldn’t cuddle her cuz she didn’t reckon Lily was cute!
But she got to cuddle her anyway – and I think she thinks Lily’s pretty cute now too 😉

Love Lily’s expression here – it’s like, c’mon you guys, what’s all the fuss?
Of course I’m  the cutest 🙂

We were all off to bed reasonably early.
It was so lovely to snuggle between clean freshly washed sheets.
Must remember to ban kids and dinners from being in my bed – I do not like sleeping with rice etc!!

Friday 27th December

Another slowish start for me today.
I was in bed when Shoshannah came to tell me that Aline wanted to pay for the call she had made to Germany.
I then hopped online to access my phone account.
But had some major problems trying to log in.
So got up and phoned Vodafone.
Spent 35 minutes trying to talk to someone who could help me – most of that time was on hold.
Another call came in on my cell phone so I hung up and addressed that issue, which required several more calls and some online banking.
Then back to Vodafone.
By this time I was getting very upset and frustrated.
I am feeling so low at present that dealing with any kind of stress is tipping me over.
I really had to fight the tears.
Probably took the best part of an hour or more to get it sorted and whilst waiting on hold – again! –  I finally managed to figure out the problem myself   :-/

Meanwhile, everyone was up and breakfasted and making plans.
Cat & Leeann decided to head out to D’Urville for a couple of nights.
Azzan & Mahalia wanted to go too.
So they had to get their jobs all done and get packed up.
Amazing what they can get done when they want to 😉
Mahalia did the sleep outs and the girls got The Cottage finished.
Aline & Toni were packing up to leave also.
Their 2 weeks has passed and sadly they have to move on.
There was time for a last game of Pictureka.
A quick bite of lunch and then at 1:30pm the mailboat was here.
Goodbye Aline & Toni – it has been lovely having you both.
I managed to fit a shower in around midday – water was getting pretty tepid by then.
But it was all action in the kitchen so lighting the fire was not high on priorities.
I was puttering along okay until I got hit by a very negative comment about something that I had been very proud of, which just reduced me to tears again.
I wish I was able to thick-skin it a bit sometimes, but comments like this just make me withdraw & crumble inside.
I am so missing Tim right now.
His arms around me always made things okay.

Graham finished grouting the tiles and then we enlisted help to move stuff from the kitchen before they all went sailing.
Nick & Leeann helped Graham get the vinyl down and then Shoshannah & I helped to carry it inside.
17m of it is rather heavy and cumbersome to move!
Graham cut off enough while it was up by the shed for the first strip to make it less heavy to move.
While they did that Mahalia & I moved all the stuff from the shelves and cleaned up the mess.
When we moved the fridge and shelving we discovered where all the mice had been coming from!!
Little blighters had chewed through the wall in two places.
No wonder the trap by the stove had been catching so many.P1020243
We had a bit of a discussion about what to do re the outside wall.
The original renovations we did 30 years ago are getting very tired.
But with an old house where do you stop?
If we were to sell, the house would most probably just get bulldozed so what’s the point in doing too much.
We just have to make it as comfortable and tidy as possible.

Shoshannah was busy with my camera – found loads of crazy selfies!
The delete button is very handy, liked this one though 🙂

At 3pm Cat, Leeann, Nick, Mahalia & Azzan were all loaded up and motored out of the bay heading to DUrville Island.
Bye kids – have fun 🙂
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Shoshannah went off to feed Anson’s dogs.
I helped Graham as much as I could and then went to rest and watch some more of ‘Call the Midwife 2’.
When Shoshannah returned we helped Graham some more with getting the vinyl straight.
He had to jack up the bench to slide as much under as he could.
Took a bit of effort as the bench is rather heavy.
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I am really happy with the vinyl I chose.
It is so much lighter.
I picked it out at the beginning of the year, Tim had seen & liked the sample.
So it feels good to know that he knew what we are doing.

Graham worked till 7pm trying to get this piece all done.
Shoshannah cooked chicken pieces & asparagus in the small bench oven and rice in the rice cooker.
We made Graham stop for the night and he had dinner with us.
Then he headed home for a feel deserved rest and we crashed out in my bed and watched ‘The Time Travelers Wife’.
It had been recommended to me, but I found it a very strange movie.
Plus I kept dozing off!
Was quite glad when it finished at 10pm so I could go to sleep properly 😉

Thursday 26th December

A really bleak morning inside and out.
I woke in tears and spent most of the day crying.
Got up and had a spa and then sat on my bed and cried.
Tried to activate myself but gave up and came back to my room.
Lay on my bed, wrapped myself up in a blanket and read my book until it was finished.
The kids carried on.
Shoshannah came to check on me periodically – she has an antennae that hones in on the mood of my spirit.
Sunniva called a couple of times, they are getting ready to drive south.
I got the washing on, Azzan, Shoshannah & I hung out the many loads throughout the morning.
Mahalia slept late and then helped the girls clean up the Cottage.
She and Shoshannah dyed the ends of their hair orange and then went off together to feed and run Anson’s dogs.
Azzan pottered around, cleaned his room, did Maths, made me a hot lemon drink.
I tried to do some paper work in the office, but didn’t get very far.
Cat had at 6am early to say she was heading out of the Mana channel and going to try and get across the Strait.
Just before 1pm we saw her sailing into the bay.
She had a good trip over, saw loads of large dolphins not far from home.
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Nick & Leeann drove up from Christchurch and arrived just as Cat was sailing in the bay, so it was all go as they all arrived and unpacked.
They all sat out on the verandah and chatted for a while.
I joined them and caught up on all her happenings from the past month or so.

Graham took Aline & Toni up the hill to restack some timber for an hour.
He spent the afternoon tiling the fireplace.
It’s really starting to look good.
So much tidier already.
He took so much time to get it all laid right and the tiles all even, that I was really annoyed to find after dinner that someone had stood on a tile while the cement was still wet and mucked up the job.
He fixed it as best he could, but that tile will be slightly lower than the others now darn it!
He was a lot more gracious about it than I was feeling :-/

I had taken a stew out of the freezer and thawed it in the wood stove.
Shoshannah put some potatoes on to bake and Azzan made a green vege stir fry.
I went back to bed and watched a few episodes of Call the Midwife 2.
Then made Banana Caramel for dessert.
There were 10 of round the table for dinner.
Caught up on 3 birthdays.
Cat, Leeann & Graham had all had birthdays over the past month and all were away so their presents were presented over dinner.
I had found a lovely heart shaped colored glass pendant for Cat, it reminded me of Hundertwasser style which we both love.
For Leeann I had bought some deliciously fragranted natural homemade soaps.
And for Graham I found a fun ‘who cares, I’m retired’ clock which has all the numbers fallen randomly.
Went to bed quite early and watched some more episodes before falling asleep around midnight.

Wednesday 25th December

I woke at 6:30am and was greeted by this.
A beautiful dawning.

And then 13 minutes later the sun burst forth over the hills.

I left the door wide open and enjoyed the morning breeze as it blew the curtains gently and stayed put in bed for a few hours longer.
I received a lovely email from a friend – read it with tears pouring down my face.
The fact that she had taken the time to write was such a blessing.
I have to share a wee bit of her mail here as it was such a blessing to give and now to receive her friendship.

 This time last year we were staying in your cottage enjoying the wonderful peace and tranquility at Port Ligar and our first Christmas together.
 Thank you to you and Tim for making this happen,.
 You and I had never met back then but you responded with an open heart to my email  request for a refuge after  three years of headache and hardship during the Canterbury  earthquakes.
 Thank you so much for offering us the cottage and such a wonderful holiday.
 Its was so good for G and I to spend time together in such wonderful surroundings and with such a nurturing close family right next door.
 We loved you all.
 Tim with his laconic and gentle humour and his wisdom, your own pragmatic robustness and fortitude, Azzan with his zaniness, Shoshannah with her uncanny ability in the natural world, and the rest of your family whom we met on Xmas day.
 Port Ligar was, in many ways, the beginning of our life together.
It was a wonderful experience and we do feel that we were truly blessed with our time at your cottage.
 And since then so much has happened…..

Yes, my friend, so much has happened since then.
And I look to you and see your healing and know that there is that for me as I walk my journey.
It is really hard, but there is light.
Thank you xxxx

Shoshannah was the first up.
She was wanting to get the day organized.
We dithered.
Do we stay put or do we go out?
Might go out.
So before we go there are a few chores to do, dogs to feed and run, and some food to prepare.
Azzan made me a lovely hot lemon & honey drink.
Then whipped off with my phone.
He seems to think that because the games he plays on my phone are ‘educational’ that I should allow him free range to play 😉
I got up and showered.
There were problems in the kitchen.
I had said Azzan could make cupcakes.
But Mahalia had gotten in there first and unbeknownst to me was making a pavlova.
That caused a slight issue as the oven usage was not at all compatible.
I explained to her the problem so she finished the pavlova off in the small oven once Azzan had the cupcakes ready to bake.
Shoshannah made rice salad and then I made a potato salad.
We finally left sometime after midday.
By this time I was so over everything.
The kids wanted to go out but Shoshannah & Azzan were really the only ones helping.
The others were off in fairy land.
Graham came round to start the job on the kitchen floor and fire surround.
This is what I have been living with since I returned from Auckland in early November.
The hearth was all chipped out in readiness, but the guys had gotten sidetracked with woodshed building.
We left Graham to his noise and dust and headed up the hill.
It was a glorious day and the clouds were lovely to I had to stop and take a photo.
Shoshannah opened the gate and was not at all impressed that I left her holding it open in the wind while I fluffed around with my camera!

We arrived at Waitata at high tide so I couldn’t drive along the beach.
I got a bit bushed, didn’t know how to get to the house.
I hadn’t been dong too well throughout the morning.
My fuse was very short and my emotions very close to the surface.
So sent the kids along to find out before the floodgates broke open.
Steve showed up and led me through a back way.
Finally arrived!
Big hugs with Bedelia while the kids unpacked the food bins.
So good to finally be there.
I chatted with Bede for a wee while before our meal.

Bedelia & Steve had cooked a ham and a turkey and veges.
We added our food to the table and soon we were sitting down to a wonderful spread in the sunshine and shade.
After the first course the kids all helped with dishes and then went off swimming with Olly.
Azzan commented to me later that the beach was really good to swim at, there was no pollution or rubbish there!
We enjoyed trifle, fresh berries and crew, along with Azzan’s cupcakes.
They were too warm to ice before we left so I brought the icing and jelly crystals and the kids iced their own as they wanted.
Must’ve been good cuz not too many came back home!
The afternoon disappeared.
We chatted inside with Bede & Audrey once it got a bit too cool outdoors.
It is so lovely that they have been able to come back to their old home for the holidays.
We did some reminiscing which was lovely.
The kids stayed outside totally engrossed in some game on Toni’s phone..
I finally pulled the kids away and into the car and left just after 6:30pm.
It was such a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
I wasn’t coping at home so thanks so much Bedelia for allowing me to escape.
Shoshannah took these just as we were leaving.
IMG_5139   IMG_5140
When we got back up to the main road the kids voted to go down and visit the Wenborns at their new holiday place.
So we zipped down there and spent half an hour with them.
It is a delightful wee cove.
I am sure they will get a lot of use from it in the years to come.
It is only about 35mins drive from us which is great for Phoebe.
We finally got home soon after 8:30pm.
I was so tired I got some food and came straight to bed.

Shoshannah went round to Anson’s to run the dogs.
Graham had been busy while we were out.
He has laid the new floor – the old was very bouncy – not many piles below methinks!
I have new vinyl to cover this soon 🙂
He has also begun the concreting process for the hearth.
I found this note he left.
Pretty cool eh?
The house was built in the 1880’s as far as we are aware so it is cool when we unearth treasures like these..
I left the girls to feed themselves and took my plate of food to my bed.
Now it is time to put my head on the pillow.
Am so tired tonight.
The day began grey, but the sun came out and my spirits were lifted somewhat.
It was a lovely afternoon 🙂

Tuesday 24th December

I stayed in bed for a while this morning as I was a bit tired.
Shoshannah got the fire going and then organized the wwoofers.
Aline did some gardening at The Cottage and Toni cleaned out the freezers.
Graham came down around 9am so I had to get up and go talk about boring things like hot water cylinders that don’t work etc.
In that conversation I discovered there were other essential farm items that have been broken, like the log splitter, the generator, trailer lights, etc…..
Also felt bad for Graham, because he’s the only one here that is able to capably do the fixing.
It all started to feel a bit overwhelming :-/

I got myself showered and then just after midday I went for a drive to see Sandra.
Seeing as I never made it yesterday like!
I decided that if I didn’t go today I wouldn’t probably get there for ages.
So left the kids to it for the afternoon.
Shoshannah had plans!!
She is doing a brilliant job getting the gardens tidy and house section cleaned up with the assistance of the wwoofers.
Yesterday they cleaned out the bootshed and today they tackled the meatsafe.
So that corner is all done and looks great.
Azzan is still battling a horrid cough which is making him vomit.
I gave him instructions to stay warm in his bed and watch movies.
He’s rubbing Vicks on himself and having inhalations and taking VitC etc.
Mahalia had hers for over 6 weeks – it is really yucky 😦

Before I left I called Phoebe.
They had just returned from their specialist appointment.
All is well and baby is still very comfortable where it is, so if he/she hasn’t made any effort to appear by the night of the 26th then they will most probably begin inducing.
So please pray that it will get moving on it’s own accord!

It was really, really windy at the top of the hill.
Quite a mission to get out and open the gate!
Spent a lovely afternoon with Sandra, and chatting with Jeanette too.
She’s also waiting to have her baby very soon – but at least she knows what date it will arrive on!!
The weather really packed it in, and as the afternoon disappeared and more family and friends arrived to visit and stay over, the rain came down intermittently and the wind picked up even more.
It was lovely to see everyone and spend time with them all.
Thanks for the big hug Bryony – needed that today xxxx
I took the opportunity between rain showers to head home.
I was feeling a bit down plus had a headache just quietly building in the upper left quadrant which wasn’t helping.
The long range forecast had been telling us that 24th/25th would be wet and stormy and tonight was certainly proving them right.
The evening was as grey as I was feeling.

Graham had been to Waterfall Bay and fixed the hot water cylinder (looks like a new one might have to be in the near future plans :-/ ) and then worked on my bathroom skirting boards.
When I arrived home he had left for the day.
Mahalia was occupied with Toni & Aline.
No sign of the other two so I came straight through to my bed and collapsed.
Jesika was at home doing nothing so we skyped for a while.
Shoshannah had dinner pretty much ready – the corned beef was cooked this time!   – except for the creamed corn which she kept on forgetting to use over the past couple of days, so she buzzed off to heat it up.
She made mustard sauce too as that is an essential part of the corned beef meal.
In fact the sauce is what the kids reckon IS the corned beef 😉
They were all hungry & I wasnt yet,  so they had dinner while I carried on talking with Jesika.
The kids were all being rather difficult so my conversation was frustratingly punctured by visits from Shoshannah who was trying to feed the masses but dealing with Azzan who was being stroppy, Mahalia who was being somewhat hyper with the girls and generally just not being terribly helpful to her.
I knew I should have stayed at Sandra’s for dinner – sigh!
I hadn’t talked with Jesika for ages.
Just been messaging via Facebook and Viber, so it was good to catch up properly.
She & Evan are having some major hassles with immigration getting his visa.
The whole story is so bizarre it is ridiculous.
Something that should be so incredibly simple has turned into a nightmare.
Dealing with bureaucratic ignoramuses that hide on the other side of a computer.
Hopefully they can have a relaxing time over the holiday period and forget the dramas and then start afresh in the New Year.

I got up and heated some dinner for myself.
Shoshannah went off to bed, I sent Azzan to bed and left Mahalia to turn off the lights.
Took my dinner to bed and watched the bonus section of ‘Downton Abby 4’.
It was really interesting seeing the actors behind the scenes etc.
Then watched the first episode of ‘Call The Midwife 2’ before turing off the light at 10pm.
I was struggling with my bedding, nothing was comfortable, I was feeling really upset and lost.
All I could feel was the soft cuddly teddy and pillows.
All I wanted to feel was the warm, hard muscly body of my man.
I cried myself to sleep.

Monday 23rd December

We were all up and moving early as we were on a mission.
Loaded all the troops on board and headed over to Waterfall Bay soon after 9am.
It was a glorious day.
We discussed what was needing to be done, dispatched them all in various directions.
Pig got fed first so he was happy.
Mahalia cleaned The Lodge.
Aline & Tina got busy weeding the gardens.
Shoshannah tackled the washhouse – huge job and she did it well with a song in her heart and music blaring from the stereo unit!!
Azzan & I did the rest of the house.
We cleaned and tidied from top to bottom.
Azzan folded clothes, sorted dvds, and washed mirrors and windows.
Shoshannah kept the washing machine going and I hung out all the washing.
Thankfully there was a good wind and lots of sunshine and most loads were dry by the time i got to hang out the next, as there were only a few pegs.
Note to self – add pegs to shopping list!!
We worked all day.
Once the girls finished in the garden they cleaned The Lodge windows.
They all did brilliantly.
We did it as a love gift to Seb & Phoebe xxxxx

I managed to hit my head on the beams 3 times and then Azzan elbowed my in the head while helping me to make a bed.
Too busy to take photos sorry.
Alan & Eare arrived at 5pm.
They are staying over while Seb & Phoebe are away.
Eare is a real cleaning freak so I am sure that whatever we did will be surpassed 100%!

We got back home sometime after 6pm.
Was planning to go visit Sandra all day but once we got started I just knew if I took off the momentum would slow and we wouldn’t achieve what I wanted to.
So another day Sandra xxxx

I had put a corned beef in the slow cooker but on arriving home found I had set the temperature to warm so it was still uncooked :-/
Boiled up some sausages and then grilled them while new potatoes boiled.
Made a salad and opened a can of beetroot.
Dinner was served at 7pm.
Mahalia, ALine & Toni watched ‘Despicable Me 2’ in the living room.
Shoshannah joined me on my bed and watched some Downton Abby 4 and Azzan retreated to watched how choice of movie in his room.
Very sociable lot – not!
But we had worked hard, were very tired, and just needed some chill out time.







Sunday 22nd December

I was awake at 4:30am so sat and caught up on some blogging etc.
Days have been too busy and I have been too tired to do it at night.
Consequently I was showered, packed and all ready to go when Sally needed a lift to church around 8:30am.
Dropped her off and then drove out to Richmond to catch the opening of the Benge & Co vege shop.
Got stocked up on fruit & veges and then headed into Stoke.
Stopped off to say hullo to Estelle.
She was flat out crazy busy, but it was good to see her and wish her well.
Hope you can stop and take 5 to breath over the next few days my friend!!
We will catch up properly in the New Year – promise 🙂
I was heading back in to the city when Ella phoned to see if we could meet up.
So I U-turned and spent 20mins shopping at Countdown in Stoke instead.
It was lovely to meet up with Alison there.
Tim & I had helped her in January when she was injured onboard their boat.
Then back to Crusoes to meet Ella and Kathy for a cuppa.
But I was really hungry so we decided to have brunch instead.
Rami was being decidedly cheeky and tried to call our bluff and served us a humungous breakfast!
I had Rosti with bacon, tomatoes and avocado – I actually did manage to eat practically all.
Problem is, I was brought up to clean my plate so leaving any is sacrilegious and therefore often detrimental to my well being :-/
Kathy had Rosti too but with Salmon.
This is the culprit for me feeling so darned full for the rest of the day that I couldn’t eat until next morning!!
He had time to come dish out some more cheek to us in-between clients!
It was midday by this time so I had to take my leave.
We literally rolled out of the cafe and said our goodbyes till they come to visit in a couple of weeks.
I had to fuel up so zipped across the road.
Don’t usually go to Z Stoke, so it was a real bonus to find Peter is working there.
Hadn’t seen him for ages, actually for ever ago – way before Tim died.
We shared hugs, and thankfully he is not one to fill silence with stupidity, so it was all good.
Chatted about Country Calendar etc while my diesel tank was being filled and then I was off to pick up Mahalia from Lily’s and onto Arrow Motels to say goodbye to Phoebe & Seb.
Seb is in a lot of pain – has not only hurt his back badly but his ankle appears to be either a very bad sprain or something worse.
Hope he can get back to see a Dr again in morning as the pain news he got over the weekend are just not touching it.
Phoebe is looking great – baby is well and happy where it is!!
So the waiting continues…….

Caught up with Dave & Paula at Verdict where they were just finishing lunch.
Lovely to see them both and esp to see Dave up and about and out of the hospital bed.

We went onto The Warehouse and New World.
Mahalia stayed in the car while I did the last shopping.
Stopped to get frappaccinos and then say goodbye to Nathan.
They’d had a fairly lively night at work with all sorts of crazy dramas!

We were away from the city at 4:20pm.
Had a good drive back, although both of us were very tired.
Mahalia because she and Lily had talked till 4:30am and had only 3 hours sleep.
And me cuz I had woken at 4:30am!
Lovely view at top of Okuri.
Clear evening – we could see right through French Pass to the Rangitotos.IMG_5101
I had bought some pretty flowers for Tim.
We tried to pull out the gorse but it was way too prickly so am hoping the boys will get it sometime soon.
Hate thinking of the cairn being overtaken by Tim’s most hated weed!

Stopped off at Anson & Marah’s to see them as they leave early in the morning for a few days away with her family.
Unloaded the highchair I had brought home for Eden.
They were delighted with the wee paddling pool/sandpit I had gotten for her too.
As I had it full of bananas that I found on sale in Countdown – that will be taken back later.
Mahalia walked home.
Shoshannah had been busy with her team of helpers and the house was very clean and tidy -looks so great.
Thanks Shanni xxxxx
My Blackberry Nip rose is in full bloom at the backdoor.
Haven’t had this many flowers on it ever.
So gorgeous.
Nice to be home.
Was in bed before 9pm.
Settled back in my pillows and watched several episodes of Downton Abby 4 that I had bought at The Warehouse – bliss 🙂