Archive for February, 2010


Life is full of cycles and our time here is no different.  As we approach the end of our time in this house, Emily has completed another cycle and spent her last morning at Kindy.  She had a really good time and wasn’t even a little bit upset.  She was mostly excited about it being her day.

It’s lovely, they make a real fuss of all the big ones going up to school.  She made herself a crown with a big number 5 on it and got to sit on a throne for the day.  She got a birthday chocolate muffin that she made herself then chose the colour of candles.  She then gets to chose a couple of pages from her kindy scrapbook to share with everyone and they all sing Happy Birthday To You and then Happy School Days To You.

They said some lovely things about her and we think she’s had such a good time there it was a pleasure to give them a little gift of some gorgeous marbles for the future Emilys and others that pass through.

So we have her to ourselves until her birthday proper when she starts at Torbay school.

She took the opportunity to celebrate being between establishments by trying to knock all the stuff she’d learnt out of her head.  In a silly clown footed stumble she managed to trip down a single step head-long into a door frame and now has a humdinger of a bruise on her forehead.  After an hour of ice on it she seemed to be back to normal and has been ok the rest of the day, so I think she has shrugged it off.  We’ll keep an eye on her of course.

We have lots of pics but no time to sort them out. There will be a bumper crop of pictures next week, sent from the comfort of our very own home 🙂

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Shoot me up

Sorry for the lack of blogging at the moment – evenings are a tad busy at the moment. I’ve also been going to bed early because I haven’t been feeling too well – very tired and a huge loss of appetite, as well as a few other niggles and I have even had to cut right back on running.

Anyway, I went back to the Dr last week at vast expense ($50 a consultation, so around £22) and they actually did a blood test. They called on Saturday with the results when I was out, which was a bit worrying until I remembered that the surgery is open every day of the week so my leg wasn’t about to drop off or anything. Anyway, got to speak to them on Sunday and it turns out I am vitamin B12 deficient. They have put me on a series of injections, one per week for four weeks, then one per month for two months before another blood test.

I had my first one yesterday, again at vast expense – $30 for the nurse to stab me and $3 for the vials of B12 I need. Within about 4 hours I had started to feel pretty good, after 5 I had put the Gypsy Kings on and was dancing round the living room with the girls doing flamenco. This morning I managed a 6.5km run at an ok pace and only felt tired after about 5km as opposed to 1.5km which it had been and hence why I had cut back on running. So I’m quite into these drugs now and am rather looking forward to next Monday for my second stabbing.

In other news, bought Em her first bed yesterday – oh how I miss IKEA for cheap furniture! Cost us $920 and that was with 20% off. It is a good solid bed and a half decent mattress and should last for decades. Some of you may even get to sleep on it when you buy your tickets and come and see us – HINT!!!!

Anyway, must go – Steve and I are off to the solicitors to sign the paperwork for the house and mortgage 🙂

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Well I took Em off to her settling in morning at school today. She was very positive about going and it was quite clear to me that I was holding the hand of a very grown up little girl as we strolled up to the school office.

We were taken to Mrs de Lange’s class in room 10. It is the transition class to help new entrants cope with the move into formal schooling. They aim to have kids in the class for about 8 weeks but it is entirely dependent on the child. When they are ready they move into year 1.

Our session lasted until 10:50 and I was there the whole time. With my adult eyes and ears it occurred to me just how regimented life is at school. There was one teacher who didn’t stop bossing these little tots about. I know it is important but give them a bit of a break love!! And I thought I nagged Em a lot!!

They did lots of letter work, talked about the weather, read a story, had an assembly (during which they sang the NZ anthem and school song) plus did lots of fitness which is basically lots of groovy moves to songs. Em joined in the group letter sessions by the end of our time with them which was lovely and Mrs de Lange is impressed at her maturity and confidence – yeah, clever Stevie and Hosie!!

She was brimming with excitement for the rest of day which we spent at Nathan’s house having lots of fun. She regaled stories of her time at school to Steve and all looks good for our return visit on 5 March before starting full time on 8 March.

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Eight days to go!

It is so weird – the days are flying by with all eyes on the house move yet it also feels like a million years away. Packing has ground to a halt – we are at the “can we live without this for a week” stage which is making it jolly hard to fill the last 16 boxes.

But all this house stuff pales into insignificance when compared to Em’s forthcoming move to full time school. I must admit I have really enjoyed the last couple of days with her. It was great to do the Teddy Bears Picnic together and I rather regret not having taken her out of Kindy a bit more so we could have full days out. And today she has been so lovely and helpful and polite – her manners were beautiful today without exception, as well as her lovely writing and just general Emily-ness. At least we have 5 days to ourselves before she starts school to bumble about, get her uniform and make her bedroom all special. I might have to take her to the zoo and up the Sky Tower, maybe even the Aquarium – who knows. I think I will miss her when she toddles off on that first day – it is like a different world this school mum business and one I still don’t feel grown up enough to enter!!

As for Lucy Locket, I went to the local Community Creche yesterday to pop her name on the waiting list. Basically this is a creche that allows children 0-5 to have 2 half day sessions per week. It is rammed full of play equipment, has a far higher staffing ratio than Kindy and is a way of helping kids develop social skills. Given Lucy’s confidence, she doesn’t really need much help on that score but I am conscious that I may need a bit of a break which is hard without family around, also that I may well try and find a spot of writing at some stage and would need a few hours a week to concentrate, and, more importantly, that she’d love ransacking the place. I had been told that there is a waiting list of up to 18 months so I thought I’d get organised. It seems the waiting list for under 2’s is only a few weeks – gulp – so she should have a place early next term. She’ll be ready, not sure I will though! But I can defer for a bit I think if losing both my kids to the system within 4 weeks proves too much 😉

In Stevie’s world, he is suffering extreme paralysis of the mind and wallet. As Chief Finance Officer, I have sanctioned the purchase of one item of electrical equipment to keep him occupied on his bus ride to work. His commute will be an hour rather than half an hour and we have dismissed the idea of cycling to the P+R (11km cycling everyday), or a motorbike to the P+R (lots of money to run another vehicle), in favour of walking up the road to the bus stop and sitting down for an hour on the 76X. Not used to such rash decisions from the expenditure committee, he is all of a muddle and can’t decide what to spend his gadget voucher on. A bit like when Charlie finds the money on the pavement and can’t decide which Wonka bar to buy……

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I didn’t take Em to Kindy on Wednesday, choosing instead to take my girls to a teddy bears picnic at Browns Bay. Part of the council’s “Summer in the Bays” series, there was a mini-train, travelling farm, face painting and lots of toys for kids to play with. It really is lovely to have all this free stuff to do. It was particularly nice that kids from the local intermediate school (aged 11-13 I think) were in charge of face painting and crowd control with the various activities, as well as handing out free biscuits, stickers etc. What a smashing community glow came over us all 🙂

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Closing in…

Well it occurred to us tonight that the days are getting much shorter, so as you chaps in the UK look forward to summer, we have a few months of rain ahead, some of which fell today. It is still sticky and humid though.

It is just 12 sleeps to go until we have our own home again and the novelty of our rental is definitely wearing thin. Can’t wait to get rid and chuck on my slippers in our own pad! The forthcoming changes, and loss of best friend / boyfriend Nathan to the clutches of school, are taking their toll on Sqemily a bit and even kindy have noticed she has been a bit quieter these past few days. That said, they reported back at lunchtime to say she got really stuck in to the Chinese New Year party they held there today so it sounds like she’s a bit up and down.

Talking of which, there appears to a be a bit of a virus around. I took to my bed at 5pm on Saturday, tried to eat half a plate of stir fry at 630 and went straight back to bed until the morning. Then had a 2 hr nap on Sunday lunchtime. Steve is now feeling a bit peeky and our lovely friend Desna had a similar bought early last week. We are wondering if Em might have a bit of it too…..

We are finding enough energy to plan Em’s 5th birthday party – guess what, that’s right, it is a Disney Cars theme! She remains obsessed with that movie but we’d rather that than Barbie and princesses. I am just hoping that our new oven will be better at cakes than the one in this rental. I’ve given up baking my smashing sponges here – it is too depressing to watch them all sinking. I sketched out a cake idea for Em today and if it works should be ace and will easily feed the 16-18 friends joining us on the day. It is lovely to think we can easily accommodate them without worrying about what we’ll do if the weather is bad. Hooray for open plan living.

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What a pain in the… leg

Well now I only went and hurt my leg a few days ago.  I think it was as a result of the cramp I mentioned, but the next day I couldn’t straighten my right leg and walking was excruciating.  The muscle just above my knee at the back but to the side was like a lump of wood.  Owwww.  I tried walking it off, but nothing seemed to help, then it decided last night to just get better whilst I was asleep and this morning it was all sorted.

Packing continues at a slow but steady pace.  It’s getting harder to pick out the stuff that we won’t need to keep out.   We are managing to balance packing with keeping a bit of a life though. Beach yeasterday afternoon and a barbecue with friends today.

Josie has been hit by some sort of sleeping weirdness.  Is it stress, virus, late nights, whatever I’m not sure but she’s been curling up in the middle of the day and on Saturday night she was in bed at 7pm and pretty much slept through.

As a result I spent the evening expannding my brain by watching TED talks on YouTube.  If you’ve not seen these I urge you to check them out.  They are a bunch of free talks on any topic and typically about 20 minutes long.  I’ve watched stuff on the science of motivation, string theory, memetics, the future of schooling, the brain, and more that I can’t remember.  I know some people can’t stand him, but Jamie Oliver has just presented to them his views and wishes to address the issues of obesity and got a standing ovation.  I’ll link to that one, but basically if you search for TED Talks in YouTube you find their ‘channel’ then you can just scan recent titles or search for a topic.

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Oh Crikey here we go again

Hooray the house has a sold sticker slapped across the sign which is great.  So now we’re into a countdown towards another hump of disruption in this path of ours that we chose.

We have finally figured out that Emily has a particular pattern of behaviour that seems to be a direct reaction to extreme tiredness and/or insecurity.  She went to visit her new school today and on the exterior had a fantastic time playing and found the whole thing very exciting.  On the inside though we think the whole disruption of it is hitting her again.  And it wont get better for weeks.  At least we’re now tuned into it and can handle it a bit differently knowing the cause.

Having been to the schools we’re finding out how much the ‘free’ schooling is over here with a voluntary (hoho) parental contribution,  compulsory stationery, school uniform (no George uniform for £2 here) etc. The list goes on.  Still, the schools are very good in this area so we can’t complain.

We finally caved in and finally plugged the TV into the aerial last night.  The sole reason was to watch the final season of Lost which has just started here.  I am very impressed with the High Definition picture we’re getting through our new Freeview receiver.  Freeview seems to be nothing like the spitting, popping, intermittent, rubbish service we experienced in York.  Apparently the signal strength is better here or something… The reason we bought a new receiver is that the digital receiver in the UK TV we brought over with us doesn’t work with NZ digital telly.  The system that drives the identification of the channels and the programme guide is the same, so it claims to have tuned in and you can see what’s on.  However, as soon as you try and view anything it’s black screen time.  Uses a different compression method apparently so buying locally is essential.

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Well that’s that then

Well that’s that then.  The house is ours!  All official and legal and bound.  We move in on the 26th Feb.

It seems scarcely possible that we’ve actually managed to look at nearly 40 properties, discount scores more on paper, find one we liked where the area was ok AND it was in budget AND the vendors can move out on our moving date AND all the paperwork and contracts and searches and building inspection and stuff has all been done and we only found out we were moving about 3 weeks ago.  The packing is started, we’re investigating postal redirection, I’m going to switch over the phone contract, hopefully keeping the same number.  It’s fair to say we’re a little bit excited!

To all those requesting skype sessions, yes I think I’ve managed to tame the main computer, although we can do it on the laptop if it’s a problem.  We’d love to catch up with all or any of you on skype.  Please don’t be afraid to suggest a time.  The worst case is it overlaps with something unmovable and we’ll just suggest an alternative.  If you want to talk to us the best choice is your morning/our evening because the girls will be in bed.  If you want to see the girls it’s your evening/our morning that works best.

I tried going to a swim class tonight.  Basically it’s just a bunch of people doing what an instructor says and writes on a board.  It is something I’m apprehensive about because I don’t feel that I’ll be able to keep up or complete the suggested programme.  It was all going very well and I was swimming at a pace and intensity that I’d not normally achieve which is positive.  Unfortunately I got cramp in my calf whilst using a kickboard.  I turned round and walked back, stretched it out and had another go.  My foot and calf cramped up.  Back I went again, feeling not a little embarrassed at this point.  The instructor suggested I try breaststroke legs instead and I managed a whole 10 m before pretty much every muscle in both legs cramped up in the most excruciating way.  After that I did a few bits to warm down but that was pretty much the end of my swim.  I will go back though.  I will try again and I will try and figure out a way to stop cramp.


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sweaty boxes

Phew it is a bit sticky over here. I never thought I’d moan about 25 degrees but it is sooooooo humid and sometimes there isn’t even the tiniest of breezes. When the sun is at full strength it is stifling, it just feels so much hotter than the 25 degrees the thermometer says. Still, mustn’t grumble – it will soon be winter and we’ll have no heating, no insulation and no double glazing. Then all you chilly chaps in the UK will have your revenge mwaaaaa haaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa 😉

Now then, we are box-tronic over here. I cannot even begin to express just how stressful we found moving over here. The guys from Pickfords were packing furiously; Steve was frantically cleaning / delivering random objects to friends / legging it to the dump; and I was snatching stuff out from the hands of the packers and trying to pack 8 suitcases and 4 items of hand luggage for 3 months, whilst still meeting the weight and size restrictions of Air NZ. The memories still haunt us and we are utterly determined to avoid the same draining chaos this time. So we have starting packing already and with great aplomb (what a lovely word that is!).

I have set a target of 7 carefully stuffed and labelled boxes each day for this week. We have already broken through the 30 barrier. Trouble is, we’ve done the easy stuff so far – clothes, stationery, shoes, books, dvd’s, cd’s, sewing stuff etc. And thankfully not all boxes were emptied when we arrived so we have had a couple of quick win boxes. But now we are about to hit “wrappy-up carefully” territory which will take a lot longer to get to the ultra-satisfying rip of the parcel tape and squiggle with a marker pen stage.

No news on the house front which is very frustrating. Today was our deadline to accept various terms on the sale agreement. I called the solicitor this morning and instructed her to undertake title searches, and to write to the vendors solicitor listing 3 remaining conditions we would like to be met following on from the building inspection report. Other than that we were very happy to proceed with the sale. She’s whizzed through it all but we have not heard back from the other parties yet. I was hoping to sit back with a glass of wine and sigh in a super relaxed, clever mummy for getting it all sorted kind of a way. Instead I’m still a bit stressed and Stevie is making a hot chocolate for us both before we toddle off to bed. Hopefully the booze can come out tomorrow.

Sorted Em’s school today. She finishes Kindy on 25 February and starts at Torbay School on her birthday, 8 March. I’m so looking forward to sending her off to school – she really needs more than playing now and is wanting to write and draw all afternoon after Kindy. All the pictures have houses in them and people with big smiles so I think she is taking all this in her stride – it is me that is covered in coldsores and going increasingly grey!!!! Anyway, if you fancy having a look at Torbay School, be our guest.

Finally, thank you to all of you who sent lovely messages about Grandpa. It was so very kind of you all and hugely appreciated. The funeral is on Friday when I shall be thinking of my family and of course my smashing Grandpa..

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