Archive for December, 2009


We’ve been away for Christmas which is why there have been no posts. We’re back briefly before heading for a small camping trip.

Check back later for a run through of what we’ve been up to, photos and even a link to a video!  Taken in Hi definition, by a professional camera man who used to be a professional editor.  Cor – how posh are we?

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Merry Christmas

Well that was different.  Mornign traditions remained and we opened the stocking presents from Farmer Christmas (as Emily insists on calling him still) on the bed.  Josie and I were up way before the girls, who typicially, decided to have a big lie in today.  After showering, dressing, crashing around etc. finally they woke up at a not to unrespectable 7:30am.

Even grown ups got stocking this year following last years “We don’t need presents” tom foolery which was miserable on the day.

After stocking it was down stairs for a couple of the main presents and breakfast (part 1).  Breakfast (part 1) was simple affair of toast cut inthe shape of Christmas trees or toasted Panetone .  At 9:30am we decamped for breakfast (part 2) at Gill and Gavins out West near Titirangi.

Gavin introduced us to a specialty of him.  Sounding deceptively basic, he frys off some thick ham, cracks an egg onto it, then puts a blob of pesto on top.  After frying the whole lot up, server on a spilt muffin.  It’s really good!

We stayed until about 3pm, then headed home intending to sleep, but then went straight to the beach.  This was a mistake, Emily NEEDED to go to sleep.  She didn’t and has been increasingly random in her behaviour all evening.

Our Christmas dins went down very well – Steamed Chinese buns, Teriyaki Chicken, sushi rice and eton mess for pudding.

Emily stayed awake until 9:30pm or later.  Josie crashed out about two hours ago.

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We were only discussing the other day when we’d have to take our first trip to Casualty with Lucy.  As it turned out it was yesterday.  She’s fine now, but gave us a bit of a worry last night.  She’d been climbing on the bench on the deck as she does and something made her lose her balance and topple off, head first a meter down onto gravel.  She bellowed straight away and had a nasty impact mark on her forehead.  We downed tools and scooped the girls into the car and went straight round to the emergency room of our doctors surgery.  By this time she’d calmed a little, but I was trying to apply and ice pack and she was not in favour.

The docs were great.  Straight through, showed concern and recognised anxious parents.  They did basic checks and observed her and were happy that there was no serious harm.  She is a mini-bulldozer.  We got a leaflet about kids head injuries and told to observe her very closely for four hours, then be vigililant for 24-48hrs.  I’ve had delayed concussion so I know it can creep up on you.  A full 24 hours later though she seems fine.  There’s barely a mark on her and she’s trying to climb everything.  Lucky girl.  Lucky us.

So it’s now Christmas eve.  We’ve just been out to look for some camping stuff for our trip in the new year and the shops are busyish, but nothing compared to the lunacy of what we’re used to.  We’ve just done all the wrapping that was outstanding and are about ready to go to bed.

Merry Christmas!

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Happy Holidays

Spent the day on the beach with our lovely friends today reminding myself why it is ace living here. The girls got caked in sand, I sat and chatted to Sasha, Lucy slept, and Emily swam across a river to another beach on her own (with a spot of help from arm bands). Then we popped back to Sasha’s for a cup of tea and a mince pie (I made them a couple of days ago – jolly tricky making pastry in high humidity). And then we had a small spritzer and some Bombay Mix. Absolutely super day.

Then Stevie texted and suggested going to watch the Beach Series again down at Takapuna. We picked him up from Akoranga bus station, grabbed a drink from the beach cafe and plonked ourselves down on the sand to watch the swimmers, paddlers and runners do their stuff. It was truly inspirational to watch all these people doing sporty stuff. Some were in fancy dress too – how 9 swimmers ever thought they’re be able to kick round a 1500m swim course pushing floats with Christmas trees and wearing santa outfits over their wetsuits is beyond me! And there were two young girls in the kids 2.5km run dragging a sleigh with presents and dressed as reindeer, plus various santas and fairies. The best one though was the canoeist with 3d reindeer, a sleigh with presents, a Christmas tree and a Borat santa outfit on who definitely stole the day for us! If you have no idea what we mean, Steve says ‘google’ Borat Mankini.

So that was our day – jolly sandy. Oh and I did a storming 5km run tonight – pace of 4:50mins per km. I was spurred on by the Beach runners 🙂

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I burnt stuff!

Josie went and got the gas this morning.  I plugged it in this evening and conducted the requisite gas leak tests (chucked some soapy water around) and in the absence of bubbles indicating leaks declared the cooking device ready for service.

Apparently the fat is supposed to drip down onto a plate that is heated by the flame and it vapourises the fat which turns to smoke thus imparting a smokey flavour in your food.  It cooked well and tasted lovely but I’m not convinced about the smokeyness yet.  More cooking to try it out.

Apart from BBQ adventures it’s been a very quiet day.  The most noteworthy thing is Emily having her first stab at spelling completely unaided.  She suddenly turned up at Josies side having written a menu for breakfast.

The first menu says: Waffle and bacon and cup of tea

The second menu says: Waffle, cup of tea and toast

We were very, very proud. Now we just need to teach her how to cook it all.

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Allow me to introduce you to the Masport Lifestyle 4.  It’s a powder-coated, cast-burner, hooded cremator of food.  I’m so excited!  I spent the whole evening putting it together trying to follow the instructions which appear to have been written by someone with no ‘i’ key or ‘l’ key on their keyboard.

Prior to the barbecue buying bonanza we had less aliteration.

This morning we put on a brunch for Nick and Carl.  The menu (and we even printed up a menu as well) was quite lovely.  Three small courses, resulting in food making up one god meal, spread over a couple of hours.  We had:

Waffles with bacon and maple syrup.  Followed by Sausage, egg, beans and toast.  Finshing up with fruit, yoghurt and museli It all got eaten andpeople were generally pretty happy to receive lovling

In other news,  Lucy has been helping herself to leftover on the table as you will see from these photos.

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BBQ shmarbeeequeue

Up an at ’em this morning! Emily was desperate to show off her swimming so we trudged down to the pool shortly after 8am despite the overcast day. True to her word she whooshed into the pool as Steve and I looked on like proud ducks watching over the ducklings on their maiden voyage. Then she whooshed out and announced it was a bit chilly, perhaps we could do it later.

We spent the morning speed browsing BBQs in local shops. We narrowed it down to two – one at $699 and one at $498 – more on that later.

Then we had a call from our Wellington buddies Neil and Elaine to say they had arrived in Auckland and were set for a coffee so we drove into CBD and parked at Stevie’s office. We walked up to meet them, coming across lots of music and dancing in a Hare Krishna stylie – I love Auckland for all this free entertainment that randomly happens but why does it have to be when you’ve just got your baby off to sleep…?!

We had a spot of lunch and an ice cream with Neil and Elaine as we caught up on news. They’re very lovely people and it is a shame that even our propoganda can’t persuade them to shift out of Wellington in favour of Auckland 🙂

Then as we were saying goodbye, a load of kids walked out of the shopping mall clutching a huge GhettoBlaster and started dancing in the square. They were having a dance jam session and it was truly fascinating. It was like something out of Fame but the music wasn’t as good as HiFidelity! We felt jolly old and out of touch with Yoooof Culture.

Then we stumbled across another free event which was being run by radio station, bFM. We saw rising Kiwi bands Artisan Guns and Lisa Crawford before Em’s mood swings became too much and we headed home. Artisan Guns were great – we have been listening to their stuff on MySpace tonight.

On the way home we decided to go for the cheaper BBQ so Em and Steve went off to purchase it after dropping Lucy and I home. They got there are the BBQ had been removed from the display 😦 As the shop was just closing Steve didn’t ask the sales guys about it so we are left wondering if our BBQ decision making efforts have been scuppered by dithering.

We got the Christmas tree out tonight and started decorating it. We’ll finish it tomorrow as Em got too tired and we abandoned ship. It wasn’t until 930pm that you could see the lights – I think we’ll have to keeep the curtains closed for the next week so the kids can see them! Anyway, time for bed – Steve’s been asleep on the sofa for the last half an hour.

I’m up now!

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Rising from the ashes

Thanks everyone for such lovely, gentle kicks up the proverbial backside after my king-sized grump in the last post. Pressures of parenting and all that. Emily looks like she’s just coming down with a whopper of a cold so let’s hope that has contributed to her behaviour these last few days…..I can but wish!

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. We were utterly shattered. Emily, Lucy and I had joined in the fun at the Kindy picnic to celebrate the last day of school. We had running races, tug of wars, egg and spoon races and jolly old sack races. Em did all of the kids ones and I did the grown up races – well you can’t expect the kids to do it if you don’t. Thankfully they weren’t anywhere as competitive as they were at Em’s UK pre-school when I was elbowed out of the way by the ferociously competitive mums!

It was a very warm summers day in the park and we had a lot of fun doing all this stuff whilst listening to Frostie the Snowmen and other Christmas classics – it is so hard to get our heads around this Christmas stuff! Sadly 14 kids left Kindy for good that day on their way to big school, including Em’s friend Dayna who is lovely, as are her mum, sister and brother (don’t know dad yet so can’t comment on him!). Unfortunately Dayna isn’t going to Em’s school but we will try very hard to keep in touch. So we are now in full PJ mode until 26 January as we are on summer holidays. Lazy starts should help get back in favour with Emily.

We spent the afternoon round at our neighbours before picking Steve up from his team BBQ down at Long Bay Beach. He gorged himself on steaks then successfully avoided all physical activity whilst clutching his groaning tummy as his colleagues played softbal.

Once we’d got the girls to bed Steve went off to the gym to work off his steaks. Then he handed me the baton and I went off for a run. It was fab, I rarely run late in the day as I tend to get out first-thing – I’d not made it that day because I’d decided to bake Mumble biscuits at 6am in my running stuff….don’t ask! Anyway, I flew round my 5.16km route and achieved a pace of 4mins and 57secs per km – my first sub 5min / km run – and I know I can push it much faster as I didn’t collapse at the end. I am nuff proud of myself. So the reason why we didn’t do a blog last night was because we ate late after all our exercise, watched a couple of episodes of Phoenix Nights and laughed like schoolgirls whilst cuddled up in our slightly wiffy PE kits, and then crawled to bed exhaustipated.

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Pass the teddy

Fed up, had enough, I’m going under the duvet until January.

I am utterly useless at Christmas and this year is even worse than normal. I am now fully of the opinion that to cope with Christmas when you live the other side of the world you have to do it all in October. Oviously this October we were still trying to figure out which loo rolls to buy and how to top up our mobiles rather than thinking about Christmas. In fact, it doesn’t feel very much like Christmas at all – the days are long and generally sunny, everyone is in shorts and buying new BBQs, and the kids are manic at school so you haven’t got time to shop even if you wanted to plunge yourself into the darkness of the Mall when the beach is quite clearly begging you to visit.

What I am trying to say is….I’m sorry I’m rubbish. It isn’t that we don’t love you. We’ve just had a huge amount to deal with over the last year and at the moment I’m not as on the ball as I could be. I am feeling pretty homesick at the moment and Emily is being very strong-willed and pushing every boundary ever set. The days are pretty stressful and the constant battles with Em are doing little for my confidence as a mum. The house is sliding into chaos and nothing seems to be getting done.

One of the girls at Kindy kindly had Em over to play this afternoon so I could get to the shops and do some Christmas shopping. It was lovely to have her help which came at just the right time. I went back to the shops tonight after cooking dinner and getting the kids to bed. I think Ihave broken the back of it. Tomorrow I will put all the christmas cards into the post – you maytreat them as being extremely late or as being very early for next year.

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Our rubbish house alarm took it upon itself to start beeping loudly today in order to deliberately wind up poor Hosie.  It prevented Lucy from sleeping so she had to go out in the car to enable her to kip.  She’d already been screaming because of missing her normal sleep slot due to helping out clean up Kindy prior to summer break.  All in all a bit of a grump inducing day for my poor old wife.  Coupled with that it was an ‘off’ day for Em haaving had a great day yesterday.  Oh dear.  I managed to get out of work a bit early to try and help out with dins and early bed.  Everything had calmed down significantly by the time I’d got home.

There was a right grumpy bloke on the bus on the way home.  He worked for theh bus company and I’ve seen him kicking around before so I reckon he’s a supervisor or manager of some kind.  Anyway, he had a go at a woman for popping a single choc into her mouth because you’re not supposed to eat or drink.  How ridiculous.  As I was getting off I staged my own mini-protest by taking a chocolate bar from my bag and eating before getting off.  I waved at the man to make my point.

Lucy’s playgroup was playing host to a travelling animal roadshow today.  They had the biggest dog you’ve ever seen!  Like a shire horse next to little Luce.  She quite likes animals and enjoyed inspecting them all and poking them where possible.  She has started to do animal noises and was witnessed woofing at a dog int eh park the other day – completely unprompted.

I’ve included a few pictures from climbing on Saturday and the visit by the travelling animal roadshow at Lucy’s playgroup this morning.

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