30 June 2010

RAW(e) & Wordless: Summertime

In a land far far away, somewhere on the other side of the world, it is Summertime. Sigh.
Down here at the bottom of the world, we are in the middle of winter (although it's been very mild, so mild that spring flowers are popping up everywhere).
But still, hardly Summertime.

So we must dream of summer, and imagine the BBQ's, beach swims and camping trips that ther other half of the world is enjoying right now. We can reminisce. And join in with RAW(e) because, down here in New Zealand, when we do Summertime, we do it well.

Here's My RAW(e) entry...

And for Wordless Wednesday, here's some other photos of summertime to remind us shivering southerners that summer will come back, eventually...


Sun, sand, sea, sunburn, sausages, swimming, sunsets... 
28 June 2010

Mamas Go Adventuring

How often do you get to go away to a nice hotel with a good friend, leaving all your kids and housework and troubles behind??? Not often right?? Right. Not often.
It's a rare treat, a luxurious indulgence...
I got to spend the weekend just gone with my lovely friend Gail - a girls overnighter in a nice hotel at an inspiring conference just for us women. We looked forward to it eagerly, leaving the kids in the more-than-capable hands of their daddies.

I was ready with my randomly packed suitcase when Gail knocked on the door. Kisses, hugs and waving goodbye... feeling like schoolgirls let out for the holidays, we were off.

Over the Bridge we went. Overseas, as the rest of us Aucklanders laughingly refer to the North Shore. Another world, over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

To the Spencer-on-Byron Hotel; the name sounds posh and it did not disappoint; our room upgraded to a suite with a fab view over the Harbour and out to Rangitoto Island.
Out comes the chocolate, on goes the kettle, the iron and the hair straighteners.
We have a few hours before the Conference starts, so once we are all ready, we hit the town in our high-heeled boots and order gourmet pizzas at a place close to the venue. We drive because it's raining, and we are wearing boots.

Time flies when you're having fun... sharing never-heard stories of long long ago and far far away.
On our way into the conference, we spot a hungry door-attendant and hand him our doggy-bag of leftover pizza. He is very grateful (a student, what can I say??)

The place is packed with girls from all over New Zealand; the buzz of girl-talk is deafening. It's fun. We know we're in for a great time when the guest speaker gets up; Dr Pat Francis, what a living legend. This woman is a millionaire humanitarian pastor from Canada who is walking the walk, not just talking the talk. What an inspiration. We love her honesty, her rawness, her passion. Her confidence is infectious, she really knows who she is, and who God is in her.

What she has accomplished in her life is phenomenal, yet she makes it sound so simple. Believe what God says. Believe it and act on it. This simple faith has propelled her into an unimaginable world of influence, brushing shoulders with heads of state and being appointed to the UN committee on reducing poverty. But the focus isn't on how great she is - rather, how great God is. Gotta love that.

Afterwards we spill out into the chilly night and race eagerly to the car, thinking of our lovely hotel room, the view, coffee, the bottle of wine I stashed in the fridge...

Gail opens the car, we hop in. She puts the key in the ignition... er, try that again; she puts the key in the ignition... um, the key won't go in. She puts the key in the ignition... No. She doesn't. the key is broken. One of the threads has raised up and come away; the key is twisted and if we try to force it, we are scared the whole thing will snap...

We stare at each other, as our vision of a relaxing evening recedes rapidly.
Instead we are stranded in a strange place in the dark, with a car that can't be started.
What do we do???? we wonder.

Then I remember my AA card (that's the Automobile Association, not the 12-step programme). Phew.
We ring the toll free number and try to explain where we are... er we have no idea, but we do our best.
They promise to have someone there within the hour. Sigh.
Gail goes in search of coffee and I stay to guard the car and wait for AA to rescue us.

By now the street is emptying and cars are few and far between. I stand on the side of the street, grateful the rain has stopped. To amuse myself I take some pictures of the moon. And the street. Rubbish photos. Bah, never mind.

Gail is back, we sip our mochas and laugh (it's that or cry, right??)...
A car full of hoons approaches slowly... young guys hanging out the windows.
They wave to us and shout, "Hey ladies what you up to????" and whistle and toot...

Me and Gail look at each other and burst out laughing - we got tooted at! Us, two mummies stranded in Takapuna. We still got it!!

Eventually AA turns up (they were lost, our directions were crap) and a nice man rescues us by using his pliers to straighten out the key, and some lube to ease it in. We get the car started and snap his photo. We are bloggers, after all!!

Back safely at the hotel... we realise that the key is now permanently stuck in the ignition. Oops. We can drive the car, but not lock it. Luckily the hotel has secure parking so getting the key out will be a problem for another day. It's 11.30pm.

In our lovely suite at last, we flop on our beds. Only us!! This would only happen to us!! But we are still smiling, laughing even. And snapping photos as only bloggers do.

Photos of the toiletries and the beds; photos of each other taking photos... bloggers!!

A txt from Mr G. All is well at home and he says, "Treat yourselves; order room-service breakfast!"

I don't need to be told twice. The room service card is hung outside our room, we jump into PJs and robes, sip tea, read magazines, talk into the night... before we know it it's after 1am. Oops!

We are woken the next morning by a banging on our door... room service!

Out come the cameras again... Bloggers eating breakfast, photos of bloggers taking photos of their breakfast...

Ahhh yes, that was the end of the drama. The rest of the conference was great; we also got to go shopping and take in a movie... and then I returned home early, missing the final session. I missed my family! They had survived without me wonderfully; they'd had a bundle of fun with daddy although they said they missed me...? And I was sooooo tired. Zzzzzzzzzz....

I couldn't help myself, I just fell right to sleep on the couch; all that adventure really does tire you out.
25 June 2010

Eyes Wide Open

So easy to walk around half asleep. Or half awake. Whichever. Neither is good.
There's so much happening. The world is turning, life is passing by... I need my eyes open.
Thankyou Cat and Gail for your thought-provoking posts. I am taking a leaf from your books and listing here some things I've noticed, now that I stop to think about it...


  • Time flies. It really does. Time's wings are silvery sleek and she just slips past without us realising.
  • Time is slippery and impossible to grasp. You can't hold onto a moment no matter how hard you try.
  • Time brings change. Always. Constant change is the paradox we live in.
  • Chubby sticky dimpled little hands are wonderful to hold. They make your heart go flip-flop.
  • Grownups are always busy. Kids find that quite annoying.
  • Temper tantrums can often be halted by a snuggle or a warm shower (that goes for grownups too).
  • Leaving dinner prep until 5pm is a guaranteed recipe for chaos.
  • My kids watch too much television... Way. Too. Much.
  • Letting my kids watch too much TV is way too convenient. It is also a recipe for guilt.
  • Chaos and guilt are just plain awful! They leave a terrible taste in my mouth and a nasty ache in my stomach. Those recipes suck!

  • Certain songs really tug at my heartstrings. Abba: Slipping Through my Fingers. There's one to make you think.
  • Little girls grow up too fast. You want to hold onto them and always be able to kiss their sweet sleeping cheeks and put pigtails in their hair, but you can't do it forever.
  • Spending time with good friends is like taking medicine. I feel so much better knowing I am not the only mother struggling with guilt and chaos.
  • The Housework is not going anywhere. If I clean up, the mess will be back in five minutes, so i might as well play choochoo trains instead.
  • Playing choochoo trains is a good use of the afternoon. It is also good medicine for guilt over the excessive amount of TV certain little people watched earlier.

  • No matter how much dinner I put on my schoolboy's plate he will still come back later looking for weetbix.
  • No matter how much weetbix my schoolboy has before bed, he will still call out asking for a drink of milk and a cookie. Might as well just accept that fact and go with it.
  • Children grow up too fast. While I was sleeping my baby turned into a toddler, my toddler turned into a schoolboy. And as soon as I turn my head away for a second I just know that my schoolboy will become a teenager. It will happen in the blink of an eye and I can't stop it or slow it down.

  • No matter how many good intentions I have, with the slightest excuse I will not make it to the gym that day. Or that week. Or the week before. I really should never have signed up.
  • Some things never change. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. Once a workaholic always a blogaholic, er... um... yes I admit it. My blogging addiction is out of control. 
  • I need to turn off my computer more. But it's so haaaard! I like it here in Blogland. There is no guilt or chaos. Just afterwards. When I walk out and find...

    > the toddler has taken the Sky access card and used it to play shops. It will take an all out hunt by the whole family to find it and restore access to our TV...

    > the toddler has become very adept at changing DVDs all by himself; he can work the remote just great. I know this because I left him watching Thomas the Tank Engine, but when I return he is watching Hi-5...

    > the toddler has helped himself to three yoghurts from the fridge. he is walking around eating them and dropping glops of yoghurt in a trail behind him...

    >he also helped himself to some fresh baked scones and there is one smeared into the rug in the lounge. I only have myself to blame...

These are the things that happen when I do not notice what is going on. When I walk around half awake or half asleep. Whichever. Neither is Good. I need to wake up and live more completely in the Real World. Because Time flies. It really does.

Abba: Slipping Through my Fingers. !!!WARNING!!!Tissue Alert!!!
24 June 2010

KidsClick Results: "This is Me"

Next Week's Theme: "GREEN" (link up here)

It was fun getting to see all your lovely faces at KidsClick this week! What a handsome/beautiful bunch you all are!
There were some great self-portraits, where people had put in lots of effort to be creative, which is awesome to see. I'm sure that made it really tricky for the judges to pick a winner... in my mind you are all winners for putting in such a good effort :)
But we have to choose just ONE each... so lets dim the lights and get to the results....

Judge #1:
Little Man, from Iowa, USA (age 10)
Little Man was one of last weeks' winners, with his yucky photo of a mouldy strawberry. Little Man has chosen:

This is Me, Mario, by Mario, age 5 from Auckland New Zealand

Mario's picture is especially bright and clear and sharp. The colours are lovely. This was one of my personal favourites too, so great choice, Little Man! Mario gets to be a judge next time, well done Mario! Your picture is wonderful :)
Little Man didn't choose a runner up so I have picked one for him:

This is Maddy, by Maddy, Age 13, from Brisbane, Australia.

I loved the reflection in Maddy's sunglasses, and the bright green grass behind her. This was one of my favourite pictures. (If for some reason one of our judges can't judge, then Maddy will step in as judge next time; a bit like at the Miss Universe pageant eh??!)

Judge #2:
Amelie from Sydney, Australia (Age 7)

Amelie's favourite photo was:

The Power of Two, by Tyrese, age 8, from Auckland, New Zealand.

Well done Tyrese. It's a lovely smiley photo of you and your little sister :)
(Amelie didn't pick a runner up either, so we will just have one runner up this week, Maddy)

Which means that our two winners (and next time's judges) are Mario and Tyrese. Well done!

MY PICK: This Week for Outstanding Photo, I have chosen:

This is Me, by Aiden, age 7, from Vancouver, Canada.

I really love the way Aiden's freckles are so sharp but the rest of him is blurry. I like the funny mustache and the light. This photo was definitely outstanding for me.
So Aiden will get to write a post on the KidsClick website about how he took this picture and what his tips are for taking great photos. Big Al did a great job sharing his photography tips last week, did you read them?? CLICK HERE

Aiden has a blog called Aiden's World. Why don't you stop by and visit him? Thanks Aiden and well done!.

Next Week's Theme is: "GREEN"

This was suggested by Lucy, from Frog Goose and Bear. She had some great suggestions for themes and I love the idea of doing a green theme. It's a theme with a twist!
You can take a picture of something the colour green OR something Eco-friendly! Remember we are looking for unusual and creative photos. read up on the tips and then get clicking!

You have two weeks until
Thursday 8th JULY, 7pm
to link up HERE or email your photo entries to me: greatfun4kids@live.com

(Mums, if your kids haven't joined in KidsClick yet, why not link them up this time?? You don't have to be a blogger, just email me their photos, along with their name, age and where they're from. The kids are having great fun learning to be better photographers!)
23 June 2010

Wordless Wednesday: First Kiss

Who is this sweet young lady; the first one to steal my son's heart (and a kiss)??

A young lady of refinement and beauty; she comes with an impressive pedigree;
her mother is English, her daddy, French.
She left our fair shores many years ago
but my lad has never forgotten his first kiss with...
(mainly because his mummy took this photo)
Ah Sophie, what say you - cute, n'est ce pas??

They were three years old and the best of pals. Dash and Amelie.
We were sad when the Blancs left NZ :(
Thank goodness for Blogging!
22 June 2010

The Pitter Patter of Little Feet

It's bedtime and all is calm. Scrag has gone down in his cot with his bottle. Dash is in his room quietly playing cards. I am perched on the edge of Miss Fab's bed saying goodnight, when I hear the distinctive sound of Scrag's door opening.

Thinking it's his big brother going in to kiss him goodnight, I race up the hallway whispering furiously, "Dash, get out of Scrag's room... he's going to sleep...!"
Er, no. He isn't. He is standing in the hallway, in his fluffy turquoise sleepsuit looking very pleased with himself.
He has climbed out of his cot!

I'm stunned. Those cot sides are high! This cot has kept our last bub contained long past when the others were climbing out and moving into big-kid beds. (Thirteen months old, those other two monkeys climbed out of their cots). With this lovely cot (borrowed from Gail) I have been lulled into a false sense of security. My little one goes down easily. If he makes a protest, I can ignore him for a bit and he'll drop off to sleep after a bit of complaining or singing.

Surely those days can't be over already?
I have to hope maybe this was a fluke, right??

I pop him back in his cot, and flop onto the couch in the lounge to watch TV.
Creak. Pitter patter, pitter patter. The sound of little feet coming my way.

A be-dummied grin appears around the corner of the door. He is so proud of himself.
Back to the cot we go; flop back on the couch, turn up the TV...
Creak. Pitter patter, pitter patter. The sound of little feet coming my way.

This is getting a bit monotonous and I groan inwardly realising the shape of my evening to come...

How long can we play this game? All night it seems. He really doesn't want to go down in his cot.
OK a snuggle then. He lays in my arms and his eyelids droop. Righto, back to bed sonny boy.
Back to the cot we go; I flop back on the couch, turn up the TV...

Creak. Pitter patter, pitter patter. The sound of little feet coming my way.

Every time I return him to the cot there is a a great outcry. Miss Fab has successfully fallen to sleep, but poor Dash has his room right next door to the battle ground.
By now it's 8 o'clock. Now I have a big boy complaining as well as a little boy. Dash is lonely. He doesn't want to sleep by himself; he wants a snuggle...

A lightbulb goes off in my head.
"Want to sleep with Scrag??" I ask.
Oh yes! He has been waiting for this day since Scrag was born; the day he gets to share a room with his little brother. We rush to get blankets and pillows. The boys snuggle in together on the bottom bunk.
I return hopefully to the couch and the TV. All is quiet.
Then I hear whispering... and movement... Dash appears at the lounge door.
"Mum he's annoying me! he won't go to sleep!"
Sigh. Well it was a great plan, I thought.

I scoop up the little one and pop him in his cot. Sirens begin to wail, as a storm of tears bursts upon us...
"MUP! MUP!" he pleads. "Doh! Doh! Gucky bo'nighnighs! I'na Doh bed!" (Click here for a translation)
One last chance, I warn him. Go to sleep like a good boy.
The storm subsides as quickly as it began. The boys snuggle together in the bottom bunk; as I leave the room I hear Dash whisper to Scrag, "Now go to sleep Scrag, OK...?"

I flop on the couch, and turn up the TV.
Peace reigns throughout the house as they finally drop off to the Land of Nod together. It's 9pm.

Later, daddy comes home and moves Dash up to the top bunk, but not before I snap a few pictures of my sleeping sons, nestled cosily together.

This morning the boys are full of plans. Dash is busy making up Scrag's bed with his Thomas quilt and pillow. He even makes his own bed...! As far as the boys are concerned, Scrag has now joined Dash in the big boys bunks. They are now sharing a room.

How long will it last? How long before the novelty wears off and Dash wishes for his own space again?
Who knows, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. But as I write this now, my baby is having a nap in his big boy bed. It's the end of an era.