Archive for March, 2010

One of the things I was reflecting on today is just how much ‘stuff’ we seem to cram into the time we have at the moment.  Weekends are now filled with lots of different activities and moving between one and another seems low effort.

Of course sometimes your plans to get things done are scuppered by weirdness that you just don’t expect.  For instance the DIY shops and indeed all shops are closed on Friday and Sunday.  I know it’s a pretty big deal for Christians, but for the rest of us it’s a chance to get some quality DIY done…  So I went this evening to get DIY supplies and at 7:35pm found a dead, closed shop!  What use is that?  Do they not realise people work for a living?

Talking of Easter Emily came home yesterday and showed me some work they had been doing which included literature about Jesus, for obvious reasons.  I asked what she knew about him and she told me that he died on the cross and came back to life again.  Pretty big concepts for a five year old. I’m not sure if she really, really understands what dying is.  I think that the schools have a duty to make it clear that this is what Christians believe, because they explain that other festivals are relevant to other named religions e.g. EId or Ramadan.  I’d like to see balance.  Still she gets chocolate and that’s all that matters to a five year old.  And a 35 year old to some extent too!

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Srubbing and splashing

Goodness – it is Tuesday night already and I haven’t done an update since Saturday. Sorry chaps.

Well we had an amazingly exciting Sunday. Up early and we took Steve to the gym, I nipped to the shop with the girls and then returned to pick up an aching and groaning Stevie. I couldn’t give him too much sympathy as there was DIY to do!!

I’ll let Steve fill you in on the latest hole drilling quota but I will let you know it has gone up significantly 🙂 Poor Lucy has had all fun in the kitchen stifled by a proliferation of door latches. I now have to allow an extra 5 minutes on cooking the average meal to negotiate them all 😉 The padded notice board was put up, as was my new washing line. Then we cracked on with the most exciting job of the day……washing the windows with our new telescopic house washing pole and brush thingy. We were POPPING with excitement!!!!

Em immediately decided she had to be dressed correctly and popped on her beach gear. This was promptly followed by a demand that she be sprayed with the hose! Halfway through the scrubbing she then started directing Steve to lob jugs of water over me as I washed the bathroom windows, quickly followed by her ordering me to throw water at her! Oh how incredibly proud Steve and I were at Em’s prankster actions!

Anyway, we needed to wash the windows because you don’t really get window cleaners here. I have no idea why not but maybe it is because the classic Kiwi house is one story and has an overhanging roof thereby keeping windows clean for longer and proving easy to reach without a ladder….. Our windows aren’t all on ground level though so we had to get a long pole capable of reaching a storey up as well as cleaning the windows along the high pitched roof in the living area. It was quite hard work, exercised the arms and made us all a little bit damp with Em’s pranks and the general watery trickles that went down your arms as you worked. Still, we had a really fun time and there was a huge amount of laughter.

After all our hard work we walked down to the beach and had a play in the sand – so nice being able to do that. Then Steve cracked on with tea as I went on a run. I had the best run for ages and loved every minute of it. I covered 12km with lots of big hills. I have come to the conclusion that I am quite good at running up hills as I shot past a couple of other runners. Now I just need to get faster on the flat! So that was Sunday – lots of exercise, lots of jobs done and lots of mucking about with the kids.

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Home comforts

Yippee Skippeeeee we have found some insulation!!!! It is indeed a gift heaven-sent.

Stevie popped his head into the loft hatch this morning – he was supposed to be having a shower but decided he wanted to investigate where the shower extractor fan went to as he couldn’t see an outlet on the wall outside – anyway, he peered into the roof to discover a land of pink fluffy snuggly duvet-like insulation. We are most definitely delirious with cheer. Now we only have to fund insulation for the floor and all the walls, and the high ceiling in the living space. But it means we won’t totally freeze in June 🙂

On a similar theme we decided to go to the North Shore Home Show on the off-chance we might be the lucky winners of a heat pump or a ventilation system for the house. We await the draws with baited breath!

We spoke to lots of different people about various heating options, as well as people who fix roofs etc. We have made no decisions yet about how to make our house warm in the winter but are at least a little better informed. At the moment I am still sat in teeny shorts and a tshirt, it is 10:20pm and I am warm, not a goosebump in sight. I can’t yet get my head around the sudden drop in temperatures that will occur soon. Nor can I truly grasp the impact of an absence of any heating in the house. Still, “she’ll be right” as they say in NZ.

Our quest to discover the true extent of garbage strewn throughout our bush continues. Today, Stevie found an old petrol lawnmower with a broken handle. He was ecstatic and no doubt will spend some time away from hole-drilling duty to see if he can get it working. This joins the spiral staircase, child’s bike, box cart, numerous rugby balls and one ladies shoe that we have found so far. Our garden is indeed a veritable Aladdin’s cave!

Tonight we have put our moving boxes on Trade me (the NZ version of ebay) because we don’t want to store them and we’ll have a full packing service when we move again. Hopefully they will bring in a few bucks. We’ve also put our small chest freezer on which we used to store our veg crop in. We won’t be growing this year although I do hope to buy a lemon tree, a lime tree, whack a few toms in a planter and sneak a couple of courgette plants in somewhere. And maybe some flowers to tumble off Stevie’s big “deck.” Anyway, regardless, the freezer is going and the proceeds will slide into the insulation fund.

Whilst Stevie cooked tea, I pulled together a rather smart padded notice board for Em’s room. I shall take pictures of my craft project once it is on the wall and then you can furnish me with praise 😉

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Stevie did 1.8km at swimming class tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very proud wifey 😀

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Deep, deep rapture! I went to a Tupperware party last night, The last one I went to was my mum’s in about 1982. I was quite incredibly excited about this milestone in my life. For those who know me personally, you can imagine my excessively daft giddiness as I skipped off to my new school friend Lisa’s house with a credit card in one hand and a catalogue in the other. Anyway, I came back $87 lighter but await with tremendous excitement the arrival of my 5 new items of kitchenware. Oh and I came home with a fab set of mini kitchen tongs which I won in a game. We’ve used them twice today already to retrieve sundried toms from the jar for Steve’s sandwiches, and to remove the tomato skins from the huge vat of rich tomato sauce I rustled up for tea. All jolly exciting 🙂

In other news, I have started running again this week but I leave the house at 6am and run by the light of the moon and the twinkling of the stars. Actually I need a torch to get up our driveway it is so dark. Torbay is really hilly and I’m finding it a bit tough. Not just the up bit but I don’t like running downhill as it is terrifically jarring on my chassis! Still, it is shaking the cobwebs off and giving me a spot of thinking time.

I run past the beach every time but it is so dark that you can barely make out the breaking waves. You can hear it though, and the little chirping cricket fellas which gives it an “on holiday” feel. In fact I get that pretty much everyday. I walk Em to school up a whopper of a hill – the sort that makes you walk at a funny angle with your arms outstretched when pushing the pram. And after I have delivered my precious bundle to room 10, I get the chance to admire the view on the way back down the hill and it is glorious. The sun shimmers off the sea and you can see any number of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. I get a “happy to be alive, pinch myself” moment every day of the week. I wonder how long it will last? Particularly as autumn is arriving – we had a spot of rain today, I mean really, what is that all about?! I am however still trotting about in teeny shorts determined to make the most of the last throes of warm weather.

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Leaving the house in the morning I get a chorus of ‘bu-bye’s from Lucy and slightly less baby like sounds from the other two.  Fast approaching 20 months now her language is really coming on.  It’s a fascinating thing to observe and the two girls have been utterly different.  Lucy is an incredible mimic.  Her ability to form sounds which are very much like real words just from hearing them once continues to astound me.  And when you are doing it you can see her focussing really hard on your mouth and her mouth moves a little as if trying to match the shape.

Coming home is equally nice, not least because I’m home, but because I get a lovely welcome from all including a realy nice full ‘Hellooo’ from Lucy.  Usually accompanied by a squeal and a sprint across the floor to get a cuddle.  You can’t buy that.  So back to language.  The process for learning language seems pretty straight forward to me.  The brain develops in a particular way so that when language learning starts, the baby makes noises through random production of sounds and mimicry.  We spend so much time showing them big clear stylised pictures of things and saying the word over and over.  Ball, dog etc.  At some point the baby makes a sound like a word we know and they get praised.  Reinforcement, trial, reaction starts in a never ending loop.

But the concept of audible symbols is in place before any specific language of their own has appeared.  I believe kids understand you a long time before they can even vaguely start to make the noises themselves.  But what is understanding in this context?  Probably a symbolic relationship between a sound and some state or action with powerful emotive force to the baby.  Amazingly Lucy is saying ‘Dub-die’ in response to being given food or indeed any action which you finish with a ‘There you go’ type statement.  We firmly believe that kids are never to young to learn please and thank you.  It’s just another word, it’s not a tricky concept.  If you get in early it becomes second nature and I think the results stand up for themselves. But even we are amazed that Lucy is using a ‘thank you’ symbol, albeit a different word, in the correct context for thank you already.  We’re really hoping that the transition to proper ‘Thank you’ will be easy, with Lucy’s own version already in place.  Of course it could just as easily vanish as her understanding increases.

She also will shout ‘Meeee’ to any question starting ‘Who…’  or where the inflection goes up at the end ‘Who would like some yoghurt?  gets the same response as ‘Who looks like a potato?’  much to my continued amusement.

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Lucy aka ‘destructo-monkey’ is developing some strange habits.  Her latest which ties in with the whole desire to get naked the whole time (I have no idea where she gets that from…) is to utterly destroy her bed between the time we put her down and when she actually falls asleep.  Silently.  She does not make a peep.

I know full well that we’re blessed with our two and their ability to sleep through (Lucy from day 3) so we kind of take it for granted that we put her down, close the door and don’t hear from her again until the morning.  So instead of crying or shouting she seems to be engaging in some sort of subtle protest, because when I look in on her before going to sleep myself her cot looks like the Somme.  Telly tubbies are strewn around, BuzzyBeeBear is half-crushed beneath her, the blanket that was on top of her is now screwed up and she’s laying on it, the sheet is also now removed from the matress and tangled in with all the teddies, the blanket and is also underneath Lucy.  It’s like she’s trying to hatch a giant teddy bear duvet.

So to sort out this mess is no less of a miracle.  I remove all the teddies, remove the blanket/sheet mess from under her and leave her laying on the bare mattress.  I then tuck in one end of the mattress and half way up the bed.  Then I pick up Lucy, stand her up, holding her with one hand and quickly pulling the sheet straight, then quickly lay her down again.  She is still fast asleep at this point.  A quick tuck in of the sheet and then just a simple reassembly of the blanket and teddy placement.  She could sleep through a full on SAS assault I reckon.  Flashbangs? Pah!  Carry on snoozing thanks.

On another note I went swimming this evening after a week off due to snot related issues and did 1.6km.  But most excitingly I got promoted up a lane!  Out of four lanes I’m now in lane three (four is fastest).  Unfortunately I got another incredibly painful cramp in the side of my ankle of all places.  This is horrible to deal with because you can’t bend your foot the opposite direction…

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I got it all wrong

I was looking at next week in the calendar when I did my calculation in my previous post.  It’s actually only three weeks since we moved in.  So in fact the number of days is now 23 not 28 as previously suggested.  On the plus side there are four new holes in the house this evening and several NZ plugs on our electricals.  So that takes the hole to day ratio is corrected at 41:23.  How about that!  It is my aim to keep a higher number of holes than days.  If not, I’m not drilling enough.

As for electrical plugs we finally got sick of wobbly unsafe adapter plugs and bought a load of new ones from Mitre10.  Just a note on this if you are in the same boat.  Do NOT buy the ones they sell in Bunnings.  The screws on the connectors in side are made of cheese.  The HPM branded ones you can get in Mitre 10 are top notch and work really well.  Very positive feel when you screw them up and good grip of the wire.  We now have TV, kettle, toaster and coffee machine all changed.  I’d previously done a couple of extension leads which also works but is kind of cheating.

Unfortunately Josie has succumbed to the lure of house magazines and is now asking me my opinion on all manner of hints, hues and tones. The soft furnishing books are out and I fear there may be late nights and swearing at sewing machines ahead.

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I’ve just worked out that we’ve been in the house for 28 days – it is our four week houseiversary.  In that time I have drilled exactly 31 holes.  So the hole to day ratio is:


I’ll keep you updated as I do more drilling…

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One possible definition I found on that vast waste of time we call the internet was:

prescribed guide for conduct or action

Of course there are loads of variations, rules in language, the verb  to rule ( I rule, he rules, she rules, they rule, we rule… does that make it regular?)  you can rule a line etc.

Well, we’re all learning new rules at the moment.  Rules like the description in blue up there.

Emily is at the sharp end with her still exciting trips to school.  To answer a question my Mum asked “It’s probably not quite sunk in yet that she has to go every day – we wait for that realisation… so what new rules is she learning then?  She put her hand up at the dinner table last night.  She started to say something, Please can I have some mustard I think and then stopped herself and her hand shot up in the air.  Bless her heart.

Lucy in the mean time is learning a whole new set of rules every single day and they keep changing and it must be so confusing…  “So I can run around like a lunatic when you sit on the floor and make faces at me, but when you’ve got the minty stick in your hand and you want to rub it on these fantastic new white fangs I’m growing I have to be sensible? Hmmm, no I think I’ll run around like a lunatic”.  And so the new rules go over her head.  They must be sinking in at some level, but she’s not got the same considered temperament as Em had.  And she hasn’t learned that whilst not a rule we provide pyjamas for a reason and you get cold if you take all your pyjamas off in bed.  Thankfully she also hasn’t learned to break the rule – the nappy stays on!

Josie faces a constant daily challenge to corale the girls through their daily routine and is often the creator of rules in a bid to help Em in particular understand that pratting around in her bedroom is not a great idea when it’s time to go to school.  And school seems to be just as big a source of rules for Josie as it is for Em.  She’s worried about being late, reading the wrong book, not giving her the right snack and you know what Josie’s like.  If there’s something to worry about she’ll find it.  So she didn’t really need to be given loads of stuff to explicitly worry about!

As for me I’ve got corporate rules to learn.  New Zealand employment law rules, conventions for dealing with my colleagues.  And I noticed an interesting thing whilst using the lifts and waiting for the lifts.  The effect of personal space is quite powerful.  If you deliberately shuffle around a bit whilst waiting for lifts and ever so slightly move into someone elses space, you can (like a matching pole on a magnet) push them around without even touching them.  What kind of bizarre rule of social interaction powers this behaviour?  And there appears to be a rule about the way many people fit themselves into a lift.  How do people learn these rules because everyone seems to follow them?

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