Tuesday 19th April

I made it through the shower this morning but went straight back to bed.
First shower since Friday so am feeling so much fresher for it.
Just haven’t had the energy or reserves till now to be able to stand up long enough.
It was also the first time I looked in the mirror too closely and some very black circles have gathered under my eyes.
Headache not so bad but throat still very sore.

Azzan went off to work on his bike.
He is finding the early mornings a bit much on his school holidays.
He lamented that he had hoped to get some sleep ins during the holidays.
Mahalia had rowing this morning too so I was here on my own for the morning.

I spent all day on my bed.
So guess that’s an improvement from being in my bed!
Started watching some good old Kiwi reality tv.
‘Our First Home’.
Am actually really enjoying watching how they progress through the renovations under such pressure.
It also doesn’t matter too much if I doze off as Im not missing too much 😉

After she got home Mahalia made pikletes for my lunch.
Very innovative presentation.
I had to start on the left with the savoury ones and move across.IMG_6445

I was getting pretty desperate for some decent painkillers as all of mine were very outdated or not strong enough, so Mahalia took Caspian for a walk up to Renata’s and she kindly sent down something to help sort me out.
I’ve also been getting some really weird temperature spikes/surges.
Sorta hit like random hot flushes.
I haven’t been sick like this in years.
It’s really knocking me around.

Monday 18th April

Still not feeling wonderful so made the executive decision to stay in bed.
Well, Mahalia had already told me last night I was going to so I didn’t disobey.
Didn’t actually have the energy to anyway.
I cancelled the 2 meetings I had on today with absolutely no regrets.
Azzan’s bike was still over at John & Sally’s so I sort out the bus trip for him.
He had never used the buses before so I went online and figured out the route, the fare, the stops etc.
He was all okay about it so he set off at 9am to walk to the bus depot.
He text me at 9:30am to say he was safely on the right bus.
All good.
Then at 9:53am I got another text telling me “I’m in Richmond oops’!!
He had asked the driver to let him off at the stop I had said but she had forgotten.
He had sat himself right down the back of the bus instead of up front as I had suggested.
So by the time he realised and asked they were way past.
So she let him off in Stoke with a note for the return bus to take him back at no cost.
He had no extra money on him so I was glad to hear that.
Trouble was he thought he was in Richmond so he missed a ride with John who was nearby.
It wasn’t until he was talking to me afterwards that he raised he was at Stoke!
He had to wait until 10:30am for the next bus.
Which then arrived 15minutes late.
He made it off at the correct stop this time, phone me to make sure where to go from there and then finally made it to work just after 11am.
Only an hour and a half late.
But good lessons learned.

It was my lovely neighbour’s birthday today and I was not up to going to visit so I made her a card with a celebratory quirky bird on front.
But when Mahalia went to deliver it Ursula was also sick in bed so it didn’t get to her till the next day.
Happy Birthday Ursula.
No fun being sick, least of all on your own birthday 😦
Mahalia spent the day cleaning.
She cleaned the spare room and bathroom thoroughly and prepared it for our international student.
Depending of course whether we have any guests in the meantime.
It may have to be redone!.
I have made a long list of things to keep them occupied during the holidays.
As nothing much gets done during the term they have to make up for lost time during break 😉

Azzan got diverted after work.
He was on his way home and met up with a couple of friends so when back to Jack’s house for the rest of the afternoon.
He’s fortunate I am unwell and not watching the clock as he forgot to call me till much later.
He had an early dinner there and biked home.

Mahalia took Caspian for a run later in the day.
She picked up some painkillers for me from Renata as I had run out.
Then took Caspian up the hill and got caught out in the dark.
Daylight saving and the onset of autumn is shortening out evenings drastically!

Mahalia heated up the leftover lasagne and made a salad.
I managed to eat that and then we all hit the pillows.
I went out about 10:30pm to get a drink and saw the back door was unlocked so locked it and went to bed.
Then just before 11pm Azzan came into say goodnight!!
He had been outside star gazing.Hence the door being unlocked.
I cannot keep up with this young lad.

Sunday 17th April

I felt like I have a throat full of razor blades.
And my head was aching.
And I had a temperature which surged up and down.
So miserable 😦

Azzan went off to church.
He has friends at Unite so is enjoying going there.
Sebastian called up with some good news from work.
Good news is great these days.
Hasn’t been much in a while :-/

I was hungry in spite of feeling so rotten so text Mahalia asking for some breakfast.
I was thinking an omelette would go down ok.
But she brought me a bowl of fresh strawberries, feijoas & bananas and frozen berries with some left over fruit pie.
Totally unable to be swallowed food.
The strawberries and feijoas stung my throat something terrible.
I was pretty gutted cuz I really love both fruits.
But she was not too interested in making me an omelette at that stage.
Her tv programme was more interesting than her sick mother.
I was feeling really sore & sad and very neglected – poor me stuff.
Lay and cried for a while.
Then after resting for as long as I could I got up and made my own omelette.
It was huge and full of veggies.
But it was warm and non stingy and I was able to eat it – slowly – it went down well.
Back to bed.
Forgot how late it was until I realised that Azzan was not yet home.
He’d got wrapped up socialising – again!

I stayed in bed, watched reality tv shows on demand and dozed, and felt sorry for myself some more.
Hate being sick.
Feeling really miserable not having Tim to look after me.
He was such a compassionate man, always had a cuddle available which made anything so much better.

Saturday 16th April

We were up at 5am.
Jesika was of the opinion that if she should be awake then everyone should be.
So the kids were both woken to say their goodbyes before we walked out the door.
Doing the goodbye thing last night wasn’t acceptable 😉
I drove her to the airport and dropped her at the main doors to go check in while I navigated the new parking system.
We only had about half an hour to wait before she was called to board.
Goodbyes are so damned hard.
Final blurry eyed early morning selfies showing smiles which were followed by hugs & tears which were only captured in our hearts.
I hate that she is living so far away.
Thanks for coming over Jesika, it has been a very special time.
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When I arrived back home everyone was still in bed so I hung out quietly for half an hour.
Then caught up with Nicky for a few minutes before she left around 7am.
I hopped back in my car and went to raid the New World bread specials bin and then stopped off to visit the Saturday market.
It was only 7:45am so the stallholders were still preparing for the day.
I had a lovely visit with Belinda while she was getting her Lav Kokonas stall up.
Did a quick wander round.
Picked up two bags of Marlborough strawberries as this will probably be the last market they are at for this season.
Bought a cherry & chocolate pastry from Don Rodrigo Sourdough Bakery and then grabbed a take out mocha from Blink Micro Cafe as I came through Bank Lane before heading back home at 8am.
I’ve seen the micro cafe there before but never stopped.
He actually does really good coffee, I will be back 🙂
My throat had been a bit sore yesterday but this morning it was feeling worse.
As the day progressed the golf ball of razor blades grew so large I was getting more and more miserable.
Swallowing was getting very painful.
I started taking Vit C and found some pain killers.
Azzan biked off to Tahunanui to work for the morning.
Mahalia went off to work for the morning so I had the house to myself.
I crashed out on my bed in the sun.
I messaged John and asked if he could teach Azzan how to clean cars properly and funnily enough his job today was to clean the limo fleet.
John decided it would be better to learn on a really dirty car so supposed I come round.
Yeah I know my car is dirty – but it is Azzan’s job and he has been slacking lately!!
I dragged myself off my bed and drove back round to Arrow Motels and park it up for the guys to clean.
But beforehand they took a break and had morning tea – strawberries which I had brought with ice cream.
Once Azzan had finished the outside of my car he decided to leave his bike there and come home with me.
He has a bit of a cough and is feeling out of sorts.
I think we are all just incredibly tired.
Its been a long term.

I dropped Azzan & picked up Mahalia and shot down to Office Max to get her science book ordered.
My energy levels were dropping fast so I knew if I parked my car I wouldn’t be going anywhere so decided to get the jobs all done for the day.
Was gutted to find the shop shut 30 mins before we got there.
I was getting worse so when I got home I went straight to bed.
Mahalia told me to stay there tomorrow too.
I am not arguing :-/
I was pretty gutted as I had been planning to go out to celebrate Aaliyah’s first birthday.
Had to can that plan and hope to catch up with them next week.

Mahalia took Caspian for a ‘Jesika walk’ – rowing is off for a month now so she wants to keep her fitness up and Caspian loves the adventure walks Jesika took him on each morning.

Friday 15th April

There is something special about the last day of term.
It is worthy of celebration.
The kids were up early getting lunches ready etc.
Azzan came and asked if they could have the last jelly tip ice cream so I agreed as it was a celebratory sort of morning.
They had to share 😉
Mahalia still hasn’t gotten her bike fixed so she is walking.
Jesika wanted to leave early too so I zoomed through the shower and she dropped me off at Glen James Jewellers and then headed out to Richmond to spend her last day with Sasha and Arielle.
It was 9am so town was just beginning to waken.
Caspian thought Glen was wonderful because as soon as we walked in the door he unclipped his lead and let him explore the shop.
We chatted for a while and then he fixed my ring.
Just a small problem which I couldn’t see but could feel it catching on things.
He got that sorted and then we headed off to walk back home.
It is really nice to just cruise along with no agenda to keep to.
We walked along the river for some of the way.

I spent the day on my own just doing my own thing around here.
I was chilling out in my room having a late lunch when Sharon arrived.
So she joined me on my chaise and we sat in the sun and talked for a while.
Nic to have some company 🙂

Everyone arrived back later in the afternoon.
Then Anson called in on his way through to update me on farm stuff and to say goodbye to his big sister.
Before he left I nabbed them all for some photos.
When Anson is involved photos are never ‘normal’.
There is always a tickle or a squeeze which sets off squeals and squirms 🙂
Not too sure what Azzan just did but judging from his siblings faces he must’ve done something 😉IMG_6420IMG_6421IMG_6425
Finally one last relatively normal photo – although Mahalia complain because it makes her look short.
She and Anson are in reality about the same height.IMG_6429

I had been working on this picture today for Aaliyah’s first birthday.
Got it all finished and into the frame Jesika & Shanni found for me.
I hope the wee darling enjoys it when I finally get it to her.
Jesika & Mahalia went off to do some night time slow shutter photography.
Nicola & John arrived around 9:30pm.
They set up camp in the lounge for the night.
Nice to catch up and for Nicky to have a short time with Jesika before we all crashed out for the night.
It was much later to bed than I had anticipated so I did set the alarm so we don’t miss Jesika’s early flight.

Thursday 14th April

I was on pager today so needed to stay close to the city.
After the kids had gone off to school Jesika & I took Caspian and went for my type of walk.
It was a cool morning so Jesika was not enjoying the brisk temperatures.
She set up quite a pace so I was walking a lot faster than normal.
Thankfully she slowed up as the warmed up 🙂
We called into visit Gay and check out her garden.
She has done heaps since I last was there.
It is looking so good.
Love her Japanese themed back garden.
She walked out with us and then we carried on to The Bakers Cafe as Jesika hadn’t tried it yet.
We had Caspian with us so sat outside to enjoy our pastries and hot drinks.
The sun hadn’t hit the courtyard yet so we were thankful for our jackets.
From there we carried on along the river to home.

Jesika and I went grocery shopping to find all we needed for curry dinner.
Shoshannah arrived and after school she and the kids got themselves all dollied up and went off with Jesika for a photo shoot.

I got all the food prepared for dinner and tomorrow nights dinner.
Tonight we had self constructed hamburgers.
I have been wanting to get a second slow cooker for ages.
Figured that with cooking both meat and meatless meals it would make life much easier.
So did some searching and found one on sale at Briscoes.
Organised for Leita to pick it up for me.
I got everything ready for the slow cookers and then prepared the hamburger fillings.
Made the beef patties and waited for the family to return.
Dinner was absolutely delicious.

After dinner we did a mad dash get ready for the girls night out.
I put on my new pair of Hot Chocolates – Velvet Garden.
Shoshannah commented, ‘I like your shoes Mum.’
‘Awwww, thanks darling.’
‘I really do like them. They are almost nearly normal.’
Thanks Darling girl, guess thats a compliment even if is slightly backhanded 😉
Left Caspian home alone, poor baby :-/
Shoshannah drove Jesika and I took Mahalia and Azzan.
We dropped Azzan off to spend the evening with Georgia.
Swapped him for the slow cooker 😉
Then zipped down the street to collect Sylvia.
Miraculously we managed to find a park close by The Boat Shed.
We were a bit early so were really delighted to be shown into a private side room that Amy had booked.
Amy, Leita and Phillipa soon joined us so we were then 8.
Perfect number 🙂

Jesika had wanted to come here because Amy had highly recommended the organic Chai.
But of course we couldn’t only have that, we needed to have desserts too 😉

It was a lovely evening.
Fun, food and photos – had to take lots before Shoshannah left as she was about to disappear over the Strait and wouldn’t be seeing Jesika again this trip.
My eldest and two youngest gorgeous girls.

All good things have to come to an end so finally we had to leave.
Jesika came with us and popped in to say her farewells to Uncle Martin when we dropped off Sylvia.
Stopped off to pick up Azzan and then home to crash for the night.


Wednesday 13th April

Finally this morning I wake unjetlagged and bounce out of bed.
Jesika and I had planned to spend today together as it was the only day free in the midst of everything.
Sent the kids off to school.
Jesika had a call to make and then we were away.
I was quite happy being a passenger and tour guide.
We were heading to Marahau and Jesika opted for the scenic coastal route.
First stop was Mapua.
Always something more appealing under the wharf than on top.
Great angles and lighting for photos.
Did a quick cruise along the new shops and then carried on to Jester House.
Was trying to think of places she hadn’t been to before.
It was definitely a hit.
We wandered the grounds enjoying the funky play areas.
Then ordered morning tea.
It was absolutely superb.
Jesika said her savoury muffin was the best she had ever had.
I ordered the blackcurrant & apple shortcake.
Words cannot express how amazing it was.
I dont think I have ever had perfect shortcake before.
It was absolutely divine.
In fact it was half gone before I took the photo and I really struggled to leave some for Jesika to sample!

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We then carried on out to Marahau via Kaiteriteri.
Stopped off and had a cuppa with Clare.
Caspian enjoyed playing with her puppy and annoying her cat.
Nice to see her in her new home and her leg more operable.
We went on to have lunch at the Park Cafe.
It was ok but not a place I’d go out of my way to return to.
The surroundings were lovely so we took a short stroll.
Couldn’t go too far because it was a national park and no dogs allowed.

Then it was over the saddle and up to the Riwaka Resurgence.
I have never been there before so was keen to go.
Even though it was around 3pm by this time there was very heavy dew still on the grass.
I would imagine it to be rather cold here in winter.
It is not even a 10 minute walk into the Crystal Pool and then up steps to the Resurgence.
Jesika set up her tripod in the middle of the river.
The light was perfect.
The place was magic.
She was in heaven.

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Taking photos of the Resurgence.
That dark deep pool is where the Riwaka River comes forth from the Takaka Hill to flow 15kms on out to the sea.IMG_6269
Down river slightly taking photos near Crystal Pool.IMG_6289
We decided that as it was Aaliyah’s 1st birthday today and Jesika wouldn’t be seeing them again, that we would take the long route home and divert out to visit Marah and the girls.
We knew we were arriving at ‘hell hour’ but took out chances 🙂
Aaliyah was in her high chair eating dinner when we snuck in the door.
Marah was on the phone trying to sort out water problems.
Life is stressful enough with two busy little girls without having no water right on dinner time.
And also having two extra helpers wanting to shower after a busy day in the garden.
We had fun with Aaliyah who is on the verge of walking.
She opened her birthday presents, with help from Eden of course.
Isn’t that what big sisters are for?
I had a couple of small things for Eden too.
I had bought them both egg cups and tiny carry bags.
Eden took me literally when I suggested she could use her bag to collect the chooks eggs in.
I was meaning from the hen house in the morning.
But she circumvented that idea and got them straight from the fridge.
Oh my!
I am so glad I am passed the nearly 3 year old stage 😉
We didn’t stay long as we needed to get home and Marah needed to put her babies into bed.
Big hugs and tears goodbye and then we were off.
Marah was laughing so hard as we left because she and I were talking out the car window and Jesika just zoomed the car around cutting us off in mid sentence.
‘So that’s how you shut up a Shand’ Marah laughed as we drove off!!

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We hadn’t been too worried about being back early because Wednesday is Azzan’s afternoon for being very busy.
He goes from college to tennis to youth group and gets home around 9pm.
Mahalia had made a vege lasagne for dinner.
It was delicious.
We watched a movie while eating and waiting for Azzan to come home.
It had been a very lovely day.

Tuesday 12th April

Jesika and I went off to the 10am movies.
We had both been wanting to see Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
It did not fail!
It was totally Kiwi.
Poignantly hilarious.
Loads of guns and blood and humour that probably only Kiwis would understand.
It was brilliantly done.
Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Watch the trailer here to get a good feel for the movie.

Jesika wanted to go to Melrose House so we arranged to meet Sasha & Arielle there straight after the movie.
We had lunch but Jesika succumbed to the ginger loaf sandwich which was far too sweet for her in spite of its deliciousness.
Maybe we shoulda shared it.
Hang on – we did, didn’t we Sasha?   😉
Sasha and I opted for more healthy choices
There are still some very sweet old fashioned scented roses in the gardens.
Shame we can’t capture the scent to be released upon reading here.
I was feeling decidedly unwell earlier on.
A migraine was developing, I fought it for as long as I could but finally gave up and got Jesika to take me home.
Fell into bed and slept for the rest of the afternoon.

Mahalia made me dinner 🙂

Monday 11th April

A beautiful day.
So tired though.
I think the trip has taken its toll on me, especially the long journey home.
Really battling emotions today.
Tears very close to the surface.
Jesika took the kids to school this morning as Mahalia was just too tired to bike.

It was lovely to find Phoebe & Sapphie in my kitchen.
Sapphie was missing her daddy.
He’d been working away from home for a few days so Phoebe brought her out to see him.
She is such a cute wee button.
Quite a mischief.
Caspian loves to play with her.
We had a lovely time out on the front deck in the sun while Jesika did some photography while Nathan was still here.
Jesika has all the props.
Well not all yet, she’s getting there.
But a reflector and a tripod are a load more than I have so I reckon she has it all 😉
When the photographer loses her camera to the subject you never know what is going to be on your SD card later.IMG_6134
Sapphie loves my collection of wooden African animals.
She was playing with them ‘very carefully’ 🙂
Seb, Phoebe & Sapphie went off for some family time.
Nathan packed up and headed back south to work.
Roni came to visit with Shoshannah.
Jesika & I sat out in the sun with them and enjoyed the discourse.
Some exciting stuff ahead for my darling.
After Roni left Shoshannah also headed off for a couple of days.

Mahalia left school a bit early to walk to the orthodontist.
She forgot her retainer so I drove it over to her.
Jesika & Caspian came and waited there till she was finished so they could walk home with her.
She wanted to go help unload the boats afterwards but I put my foot down and made an executive Mum decision.
She was not happy with me.
She was beside herself with exhaustion this morning but as she is always the first one to go do these tasks I had no problem saying not this time my darling.
You need to get home and get rest and an early night.
She also  hadn’t yet had time to unpack her bags and get her washing out.

I carried on to the Girl’s College for the parent teacher interviews.
I got my body clock mixed up and arrived half an hour early so sat and waited.
At least arriving that much early I managed to get a park and a rest.
Most of the interviews went well.
There’s always one though eh?
I guess we can’t all get along with everyone so there will be clashes of personality along our life path.
Just have to work through them and let them make us stronger.

I arrived home to find Sapphie & Phoebe were back and preparing to head off home.
I was texting with Nicky (Phoebe’s mum) while Phoebe was feeding her some cold baked beans – one of her favourite food choices!
I said to Sapphie, ‘Say hi to Granny’ to which she replied with this look 🙂
When mum goes away I may as well feed myself straight from the can cuz that will save dishes.
Then it was time for them to leave.
I seriously do not envy Phoebe driving home at this hour on that road.
Done my time on it and am very happy to be right here in the city now.
Goodbye kisses for Aunty Jesika xxxx
The tiny bag I brought her back from Australia was the perfect size to carry her penguin in.

Seb stayed a while and then headed over to Havelock to be ready for work in the morning.

I needed to get to bed and try and have a decent nights sleep.
Night everyone.

Sunday 10th April

I went to bed knowing Nathan would be arriving in the early hours of the morning as he was driving up after work.
I had told him which door was unlocked.
At 5:30am I was woken by Caspian barking so I shot out to quieten him.
Found Nathan coming in the locked door.
He hadn’t interpreted my text correctly and had tried a couple of doors which woke Caspian.
So by the time I had checked out the unlocked door he had found a key and was walking in the locked door!
Guys + instructions = interesting results!
He fell straight onto Mahalia’s bed and went to sleep as he had driven through the night straight after a 1am work close so was pretty knackered.
Of course I never got back to sleep.

We were all up and enjoying the morning by the time he resurfaced.
He & Jesika retreated to the sunshine out the back garden.
Yes kids – that is my back garden!
They all argue with me as to which is the back and which is the front of my house.
Because everyone comes to the back door at the south end of the house due to convenience, it has become the main door so they think it is the front door.
I disagree.
My front door opens from the front gate and leads around to the front northern facing garden.
My house, my rules 😉
Plus you don’t have your washing hanging in your front garden.
That is just not proper.
Hence Nathan’s mix up when he arrived.
Later in the day Nathan went out visiting so Jesika & I went to see Leita and pick her brains.
Azzan tagged along to hang out with Georgia.
Unfortunately she made scones.
Unfortunately for our waist lines that is cuz they were too nice.
We had bought cream so we could enjoy a Devonshire afternoon tea.
The great debate of course was cream under or over the jam?
We say over.
Leita says under.
I reckon that makes them look like poached eggs 🙂

We zipped back home around 5pm.
I dropped Jesika off and Azzan and I went back to the supermarket to pick up a few supplies.
Nathan was back with Shoshannah and Martin & Sylvia had arrived too.
Sebastian rocked in looking for a shower so he stayed for dinner and the night.
Jesika made a Mexican type meal which was very delicious.
There was the normal shenanigans that occur when you get more than two or three of my kids together at once!
There was some very interesting controversial conversation.
Lets just say the younger generation kept us older family members very amused by their very blunt and often colourfully descriptive opinions 😉

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Mahalia arrived back from Twizel quite late so ,issued most of dinner but was able to catch up with everyone before Martin & Sylvia left.
Nathan & Sebastian dossed down in the living room.
I know why I invested in such comfortable sofas 😉
Shoshannah decided to stay the night too so she bunked in with Jesika.
Very cosy, not sure how much sleep was going to be had as that bed is only a 3/4 double.
Full house tonight.
Six of my babies under my roof at once.
That hasn’t happened in a very long time.
Nice 🙂