Sunday 27th September

First morning after daylight saving is always confusing.
Today was no exception.
Shoshannah had arrived home somewhere around the 3am mark – but whether it was before or after the clock changed we still don’t know.
It was still late and she didn’t have enough sleep.
She battled on and was way better than we all expected.
Mainly because she had planned a bbq today in honour of her 18th birthday.
Well, she called it a bbq but actually she had no idea what the facilities on Rabbit Island were like so lets just call it a picnic 😉
While I was waiting on everyone to surface I put out the garage sale items and opened the gate for a couple of hours.
Only two or three people ventured in and one sale was made.
Once we were all ready to go I called into the supermarket to pick up some food to take along.
We arrived at Rabbit Island around 1pm and spent some time trying to find Clare & Chrissy who had arrived first.
It is a bit of a maze with all the one way roads and myriads of picnic areas so after circling the mulberry bush about three times we finally located the girls.
It was a lovely spot – a daisy strewn field with a picnic table.
Shanni spread out the blankets and unloaded the food.
Soon the rest of her friends arrived, some by car and others on their bikes.
Dave brought Sophie & Katherine so I sat and enjoyed some adult conversation with him for ages.
Then David & Sasha arrived with their bbq, so we could actually say it officially was a bbq 😉
The afternoon was spent reclining in the sun, eating, drinking iced juice, socialising and playing games.IMG_9831
Azzan was the only young male in the group and wasn’t at all phased.
He had my camera so that kept him and Sophie & Mahalia occupied.
It was lovely on the beach, albeit a tad breezy.
The girls spent some time sunbathing on the sand.
It was all too soon 5pm and we had to pack up.
Shanni with her International friends.
Shanni being Shanni 🙂
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And Shanni with her Kiwi friends, except Jillian who had left already.
We called into David & Sasha’s on the way home to pick up some stuff.
Then back to the house to meet up with Seb & Phoebe who had just returned from their Christchurch visit.
Clare & Shoshannah went home with Seb in his truck, and once Phoebe had revitalised with some food, a few stretches and a rest, Azzan hopped in with her & Sapphie so he could help to keep her awake on the last leg of their journey.
Quiet reigned supreme once they had all gone and Mahalia & I collapsed into bed.

Saturday 26th September

I was up early to prepare for the garage sale.
We had signed up as part of the Treasure Trail in The Wood.
It was the first time I had ever had a garage sale and was a bit nervous about it.
The kids were very keen to do it.
Azzan especially as it is vitally important to him that we de-junk.
I totally understand him, as I am not coping well with all the boxes of stuff that have followed us here from the farm.
Shanni was happy to be heading off to work as she wasn’t that interested in it all.
Mahalia had gone to rowing so didn’t get back to help until we were about to start.
Nathan was up in time to help me set it all out.
Azzan biked to the market before 8am to pick up his beanie from a friend and then biked back to the supermarket afterwards to buy some disposable cups.
He had made a large urn of lemon drink and made himself some pocket money by selling cup full of it.
The morning turned very warm so people were happy to have a cool drink.
There were people at the gate way before 9am.
It was scheduled to begin at 9:30am and we were still flat out setting up so we turned some away but then relented and opened early just after 9am.
It was a very sociable time.
Ursula & Bill set up a table here too.
Plenty of room for us all 🙂
A couple of lads came by and asked how much the truck was.
I didn’t think Seb would be that happy about turning tomorrow and finding I’d sold his truck so Mahalia wrote not for sale on the tailgate!
All in all it was a successful morning.
Azzan had to bike off to tennis at 12:30pm but he was happy to have been part of most of it.
We closed the gates at 1:30pm and did a big clean up.
Between them Nathan & Mahalia made short work of returning Ursula’s stuff over the fence rather than having them trundle it right around the street.
Good to have young strong bodies to help 🙂
Shoshannah arrived home from work and Nathan headed off to his work later on.
Azzan arrived back just as the girls and I were leaving to go celebrate at the Sprig.
We found a table outside and enjoyed curly fries and cold drinks.
Azzan was being a bit cheeky so we were quite happy when he wanted to go home before we did.
Shanni was tired from work so walked back soon after him.
Mahalia was not at all happy at how her li’l bro had been speaking to me and encouraged me to not accept his behaviour.
So on return I had a bit of a chat with him.
I can see some pubescent behaviour kicking in and I also realise I need to nip some of it in the bud now as it will be a lot harder once he is another year or so older.
He is a delightful, caring, loving young lad.
He has a lot to offer the world but I know without a strong male figure in his life it will be harder for him.
I am so glad he is enjoying spending time with his big brothers.
Shanni spent her afternoon preparing to go out to the Devilskin Mountains and the Moon Tour  at Rattle & Hum bar with Anson, Marah, David, Breyon & Laurie.
She was ready early in the evening, wish I had taken a photo cuz she looked lovely.
She had to wait for all the others to get into town and they were way later than they anticipated.
It took a while for Marah to settle the girls for their babysitter – I think they instinctively knew Mum & Dad were escaping 😉
So finally around 9pm they called so I took Shanni into Breyon & Laurie’s motel and she joined the party from there.
I came home to find my two babies had gone off to bed so I ran myself a bath.
Set up my laptop on a chair and reclined for while.
Soaked my aching body in some Epsom Salts.
Watched a long documentary on Netflix about The World’s Fattest Man.
It was really interesting.
Woke up after 11pm and realised I had slept through half of it.
Those salts really do relax you!

Friday 25th September

Last day of Term!!
Azzan was delighted this morning about this fact.
I asked him if he was not enjoying school.
To which he replied, ‘Mum! It’s the last day of term. You wouldn’t be normal if you weren’t happy about that!’
He biked off happily to enjoy his last day and Shanni went to her NMIT Trades carpentry class.
I got myself ready to venture off to watch Mahalia compete in her end of term event –  The Body Fusion and the Trades and Primary Industry class showcasing their make-up and hairdressing skills in a 1950’s Rock n Roll Vintage environment.
I thought I should try an scrub up for the event and judging by the compliments received throughout the day I guess I did ok 😉
I arrived before 11am so chatted with one of Mahalia’s tutors.
There were free ice-creams, cocktails, coffees and nibbles being hand round throughout the event by the students from the hospitality department.
The young folk from the carpentry & engineering departments had constructed the sets and seating etc.
Margaret & Katherine came to watch as did Sasha.
Then the students all arrived with their models and eventually the first heat was underway.
Waiting for the signal to begin!
They girls already had their models makeup and clothing done appropriately for the theme, so they now had 30minutes exactly to do their hair into their take of a 1950’s style.
It was a nerve wracking business but Mahalia performed it in a seemingly calm and undistracted manner, even though afterwards she commented that it was really scary!
Her friend Hine was in the same heat as her and was recognised at the award ceremony with a Highly Commended which we were all delighted about as she did an awesome job.
Counting down the minutes!!
Sitting still for the judges.
Lunch was also provided for us by the hospitality students.
Awesome food!
Wished I had taken some photos, but I was too busy enjoying it 😉
Second heat began at 12:45pm.
Mahalia’s friend Bianca was in that one.
Her model had amazing hair and she also did a fantastic job despite the nerves.
Waiting for the judges decision after the photographs.
Sasha & I sat on the stairs and got a good view as well as resting our legs.
Here’s some of the photos I took during lunch.
Unfortunately Sophie had to leave for her music lesson so she wasn’t there for the final photos.
Shanni popped over during her lunch break and caught the end of Mahalia’s session.
Lovely to have a photo of the 2 sets of BFF’s 🙂
And not to be out done by the youngsters.
Margaret and me 🙂
During the day I had time to talk to all the tutors and they were all singing Mahalia’s praises.
I am so proud of how far she has come and who she is becoming.
I know Tim would be incredibly proud of his four youngest babies.
It is these four especially that are missing his paternal love and adulation during such a period of immense personal growth.

Afterwards we picked up some of Shanni’s construction pieces she headed off to the beach to meet friends and Mahalia & I came home to collapse.
We decided to have a quick mum/daughter date at the Sprig for curly fries and a drink.
Nice to sit and dissect the day.
As soon as Azzan arrived home we were off like a scalded dingo!
I had three things I needed to do over in the Tahunanui region and then at the last minute I had to add a quick call into the bank.
So going into the city centre depleted the already limited time before the places I wanted to get to closed for the week.
We zoomed over the hill and I dropped Azzan off at the recycling centre while I raced back to the wholesalers.
Then back to pick him up – he never found what he needed – and on to Miller’s to suss out their mulch etc.
The guy was very helpful.
Showed me their product, helped me decide what I needed, and then I placed an order to be delivered on Monday.
I was rapt to find it was half the price of other places I had investigated and the delivery fee was nominal.
Plus when I went to pay they have GreyPower discount.
So in effect, I got it delivered for $5!!
Happy dance 🙂
We stopped off to visit John & Sally while over that way and had another bonus of having a quick goodbye cuddle with Alison & babe.
Back home to find Mahalia had only just started making dinner because the instructions I had written down for her were still in my handbag – duh!
She was really whacked so went off to bed as soon as she had finished.
Shoshannah & Clare arrived home after the movies – they saw Everest on their way home from the beach.
Clare dossed down on our comfy couch for the night.
I wanted to get as much done in preparation for the garage sale as possible.
But had to eventually leave it as I was just too tired.
It has been a very busy term!
I might just have to concede with Azzan – I’m happy it is finished 😉

Thursday 24th September

I woke at 4:45am and realised Mahalia was not yet up.
Woke her soon after, it is the first ,morning she has slept through.
I made her porridge while she quickly got herself ready.
She was out the door by 5:15am.
Amazing how quickly you can do it when you have to.
Shanni was off to work around 8am.
It was her last Gateway day on the building site.
Azzan got himself fed and lunch packed while I showered.
Mahalia flew in just before we left.
I dropped Azzan at the marina at 8:30am where he was joining his classmates for an educational morning sail on Steadfast.
I wanted to go have a look at the yacht and the marina as I hadn’t been in that area before but there was no way on this planet that my lad was going to get out of the car if I did.
So I got back in the car and let him go off to hang with his mates until the teachers arrived.
Sigh! kids!
But he did get a hard time when he got home about it 😉
Not long after I got home a little visitor toddled up the hallway to find ‘Nonna, Nonna…..’
Interspersed with ‘woof woof, woof woof,’ as she talked to Caspian and then to me in great excitement at having finally arrived after their 3 hour drive.
Phoebe & Sapphie had left early as they were enrolee to Christchurch to go visit some new cousins.
Sapphie was very excited about the prospect of meeting some babies 🙂
I left them to have some breakfast and I zipped back into town to meet Seb at the lawyers.
We had some papers to sign.
Got that job out of the way and then back home so they could rearrange vehicles.
Seb left his work truck here and they went the rest of the way in Phoebe’s car.
Nathan woke in time to hang out with them for a short time.
Just before they left I captured these few photos of the wee cutie – love the changing expressions.
Waved goodbye to them and then tried to get some office work done.
Gay arrived at the door so was a welcome distraction.
I feel a little bit like Bernard Black in Black Books when he was trying to do his tax and kept welcoming and inventing distractions!
It was such a beautiful day I got Caspian’s lead and walked with Gay to her friend Kevin’s place.
It was lovely to meet him, a delightful elderly gentleman with an equally wonderful garden.
Had a stroll around and admired all the fruit and veggies.
Left feeling very inspired.
Took the long route home so Caspian got a decent outing.
I was on pager so was staying reasonable close to home.
It has been so quiet lately, which is a good thing ultimately, but I almost forget I have it in my pocket.
I had just begun back at my desk when I received a plaintive request from a very tired young son who needed a ride home.
Why so tired??
I have just had 2 periods of PE and the whole morning sailing and I am so tired.
The car was out on the street so I zipped up and got him.
Back home to find Mahalia’s dilemma about her model and timeframe tomorrow was not yet solved.
There had been a last minute hiccup happen yesterday which she had been trying to work out but so far the tutors hadn’t sorted it.
I was cross as she was running out of time so insisted she called the head tutor.
Should’ve done that way sooner – to was all sorted in minutes!
She got herself all ready to go stay with Sophie for the night so they could practise the makeup and hair for next day.
So I left Nathan to cook dinner and we took Caspian for a ride.
He was so funny when he met their cat.
He has not yet felt the sharp end of a cats greeting so we were keeping him on tight rein.
But once the cat found some higher ground he was allowed off leash.
He was still incredibly curious.
Mahalia diverted him outside to meet Missy, their dog.
They had a wonderful time tearing around like mad idiots.
I chatted with Dave about gardening and landscaping ideas, and Sam had some Caspian cuddles before we left.
Nathan had made a delicious stir fry beef dish with rice.
I carried on with my office work while it cooked.
We had dinner, Shanni cleaned up, all off to bed early and I carried on getting the scanning & banking done.
I wanted to be in bed earlier but knew if I didn’t make the most of the uninterrupted peace and quiet it would be another week before I got it done.
Finally crashed out around 10pm.

Wednesday 23rd September

Woke with renewed vigour today.
Must’ve slept better.
Had things to do this morning so I was up and through the shower before 7am.
It was raining.
Azzan headed off to school and soon after I received some photos of a very strange thing in Hardy Street!
We found out later what the story was – you can read about it here.
 passed by later and took these photos.
The dry ice was no longer wafting about so the effect was not the same as when Azzan biked past.
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I dropped Mahalia off at NMIT then had time to quickly run in and change some tops at Jay Jay’s.
Then a fast call into the bank and up to Prep.
I got there early so waited in the car for 10 mins but Azzan is so used to me being early he was stressing that I was late.
Then he took me on a meandering tour around the college to get to reception.
I was sure I knew a quicker way but as he is a Prep boy and doesn’t have to access the front of the College he only knew the route they take when playing games at break time.
So by the time we arrived at the desk I was out of puff, but we were still early enough I had time to regain my equilibrium 🙂
We were soon called into the Year 9 Dean’s office and had a very enjoyable interview with him.
Azzan was incredibly nervous but I found the whole process to be very friendly and welcoming.
Afterwards I followed one happy boy back to his class area in a more direct route.
Left him to continue his day and I came back home.
Then I whizzed back into the city to meet Mahalia at lunch time.
She needed to get some make up for her model for the 1950’s competition they are having on Friday.
We thankfully found a helpful shop assistant and soon had everything she needed.
Walking along the street and I saw an old friend who I have recently been trying to track down.
Hadn’t see Annie for years and years so was overjoyed to finally catch up.
We chatted for too long so Mahalia said goodbye and headed back to polytec.
After exchanging phone numbers we parted company promising to catch up real soon for a proper talk.
That encounter so made my day 🙂
I walked upstairs to change my appointment at Rennaissance and then did a wee tour around the Wednesday Farmers Market.
Jana was there with Colin so had a quick convo with them.
It was a tad drizzly so my umbrella came in handy.
Except when I was trying to juggle too may things in my hands at the bread stall and dropped everything.
Back to the car and home for a while.
I went to bed for an hour or so as I was really tired – decided to rest up while I could.
Glynnie popped later in to use the internet.
She and Nathan discovered sparring partners as they each had differing views on world events.
It was rather comical to observe 🙂
Azzan is a keen follower of Pinterest and had been wanting to make some bacon & egg muffin things for a while, so tonight he got to and did them.
They certainly looked ‘interesting’.
But I guess to some, as long as there is bacon involved it will pass muster 😉
Mahalia got inspired so made a veggie option with eggs in pastry.
They were certainly interesting.
All have been eaten so weren’t that bad!
I finally managed to make the pear ginger sponge pudding.
It is mainly sponge with not a lot of pear.
Just needs lots of milk or custard or ice cream.
But hey! Can’t complain.
Mum actually made pudding.
First time in can’t remember when!!

Tuesday 22nd September

This morning was not a good.
I was feeling like total rubbish.
Thankfully once the kids had all headed off to school I had nothing on till later in the day.
My head, shoulders, back, stomach – all aching, feeling sick and so cold.
Once they were gone I went and had a soak in the bath with magnesium sulphate in the hopes that it would help to relax me.
Several of us had tried to get the fire going for me but it was a dismal failure.
Thankfully after the bath my body core had warmed way up.
I was sitting at the table trying to eat breakfast when Glynnie arrived at the door with a big smile.
My morning slowly began to improve.
Nothing like a friend to help raise the spirits.
After a while I threw some salad into a couple of ciabatta buns and we munched on them as we took Caspian for a walk.
It was good to get out and stretch the legs and clear the head.
It was threatening to rain as we left but thankfully held off.
I love this neighbourhood.
There are some really interesting homes and artwork to pique interest as I walk.
Today I spotted this blackboard at someones entrance.
It says

Bub Bridger - 1924
If you love me
Bring me flowers
Wild daisies
Clutched in your fist
Like a torch
No orchids or roses
Or carnations
No florist's bow
Just daisies
Steal them
Risk your life for them
Up the sharp hills
In the teeth of the wind
If you love me
Bring me daisies
Wild daisies
That I will cram
In a bright vase
And marvel at

We walked back along the river
Caspian stopped to talk to some dogs behind fences along the way.
Back home again and Glynnie headed off.
I drove out to Richmond for the parent teacher interviews.
Got there early so sat and chilled for 20 mins.
Then chatted with Shanni’s English teacher.
He was absolutely delighted with her progress.
Was so impressed with her work ethic, her ability to come directly & immediatley to him with queries and her ability to action critiques.
She has blossomed since last year, has faced challenges square on and is looking at finishing her year with a really good achievement.
Then on to her Psychology teacher who also had nothing but praise for her.
Loved having her in the class.
She is focused and works hard and puts 100% into it all.
She was thrilled to tell me Shoshannah had attained an excellence just today!
Her Outdoor Ed teacher was away on camp so I went directly to her Gateway advisor.
I spent an hour with her.
She was amazingly helpful.
A very persistent woman who insisted on checking out all the career path options that Shanni is looking at to see how they will work and to ensure she doesn’t get mucked around in the system.
After many phone calls to tertiary institutions and internet searches I came away with my brain in overload.
But a good overload as it was all helpful and gives Shoshannah information to assist her as she heads into her next phase of life.

Nathan had gone to German class and Shoshannah to Youth group so only Mahalia & Azzan were home.
Azzan was getting ready for Sea Cadets but there was some confusion as to what was happening tonight.
Finally after many phone calls I managed to discover that the reason we were so confused was that we had not been put on the email list so we hadn’t been getting any of the weekly info.
So he changed out of his uniform and into some warm civvies.
We got Caspian sorted and the three of us were out the door again.
Dropped Azzan off for his end of term fun night and Mahalia & I popped into the Vic Rose for dinner.
Nathan had sent me some vouchers so as it was just the two of us for dinner tonight I accepted them.
Mahalia ordered the tomato & mozzarella tart with salad and roast potatoes.
And I had the chicken burger with onion rings.
Both meals were really good.
Mahalia had enough to take home the leftovers for lunch tomorrow so that was a bonus.
We sat and talked over some of her career options as she had been to another interview today.
It is good to have a one on one date night just to touch base and talk without interruption.
Life is so busy with everyone going in all directions that often we don’t connect properly for ages.
We didn’t dally long as we were both weary.
Once I ascertained that Nathan & Shanni could pick up Azzan from Sea Cadets I fell into my bed.
I was still body achingly weary.
Mahalia took Caspian for a quick run around the block.
Azzan reported in on return, they had been doing stuff around town.
Mock injuries/accidents and rescues and reports.
Apparently he was commended for doing the most informative and detailed report.
Should that surprise me?



Monday 21st September

Mahalia went off to her 5:30am rowing before any of us were awake.
Shanni woke feeling much better after a 12 hour sleep – whew!
So good for all of us 😉
I was greeted by these two darlings at 8am, bright eyed and bushy tailed, all ready for school.
This will be the last & only year that I have two wearing a school uniform!
Shanni took the car today as she had things to do after school.
Azzan made lunch for both himself and Mahalia, on her rowing days she only has such a brief turn around to have breakfast and get ready for class.
I was up and ready to do the taxi route.
Mahalia rushed in the door and got ready in about 10 minutes flat.
We were all in the car and gone before 8:30am.
I dropped Nathan off at work, then Azzan at Prep and then on the way back let Mahalia out at NMIT.
I had a brief stop at home to have my breakfast and then I was off to counselling.
Back home to wash the dishes and try and clean up a bit.
Caspian announced Glynnie’s arrival.
She played some games with him in the yard which made him happy.
Then I made a cuppa and we made ourselves comfy in the sunroom.
Beautiful day.
Had the door open and the water fountain turned on.
Sat in the sunshine out of the breeze and wallowed for a while.
Just nice to lie back and relax and chat with a friend.
The kitchen end of the house is the busy part so when I come down to the sunroom I can just stop.
Finally though all good things come to an end.
We both had things to do and places to be.
I was getting some things done in the kitchen when I heard Caspian barking.
Lloyd & Val appeared at my door.
Such a lovely surprise.
But Caspian was nowhere to be seen.
Finally found him in the hall.
He had come in through the sunroom and the wind had slammed the door closed so he was racing up and down the hall alerting me to visitors but he couldn’t get to them so he was getting very anxious.
L&V hadn’t been here before so I gave them the royal tour.
Then realised I had to get moving if I was going to get to my seminar in time.
They needed to head home to feed the stock so quick hugs goodbye and then I scurried about getting Caspian sorted and myself in some semblance of respectfulness to make an appearance outside the gate.
All the kids were busy after school and wouldn’t be home till around 5pm, so Nathan had already taken some food out of the freezer for dinner.
I needed to take dinner with me but was running out of time to make something so I planned to fly into the supermarket on the way.
But as I drove through town I thought maybe a Tank smoothie and salad might do the trick.
Ran in and got a Mega Green smoothie to try and replete my drained physical resources and got a wrap to take for dinner.
Then zoomed out to Saxton Field.
I knew the seminar was at Saxton Oval but I had no idea what that was or where it was.
I got a tad lost and then met another girl who was also lost so we followed each other and managed to finally locate it.
A most intriguing building.
About 50 people turned up for the Safeguarding Children seminar.
It began at 4:15pm and went through till after 9pm.
We had a few short breaks.
There were about 5 or 6 speakers.
The content was very good.
But I really struggled to stay awake throughout it all.
Kept nodding off which was very frustrating.
The first few speakers were women and without a microphone their voices were difficult to hear and also at a resonance to lull me off.
The final speaker was John Parsons who was excellent.
I stayed awake to hear all of his presentation.
He is an  Internet Safety and Risk Assessment Consultant who works with all ages and stages of society to educate us in the dangers of the internet.
The only complaint I would have was that his time was too short and therefore very rushed.
I made a beeline for home as soon as it was finished.
The kids were all in bed but Azzan came out for a hug as I arrived in.
Tucked him back into his blankets and then fell into mine.