Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Treating ourselves

I set a target to have our exemption application for tamāhine 1 completed while whaiāipo was home on annual leave and yay! On Wednesday morning, I accomplished my goal. Considering I don't need to send it in for a few weeks yet, I'm patting myself on the back for following through with my goal. Kudos! to me

We invited friends over on Thursday to play after school and they ended up staying for tea. That was great because the children continued playing till 8 o'clock before it was time for them to head home. I know they would have played longer, but the nights are certainly getting dark earlier so we need to start putting toys away around 8 o'clock now. It's such a pity our summer season is drawing to a close; ie by 8.45pm it's pitch black now ... boo hoo hoo. Ah well, I can't complain. Our summer has indeed been wonderful, and I am extremely grateful for that.

I mentioned completing the exemption at the start, right? Well, because I accomplished my goal, I made a spontaneous decision following our visit from Wharangi (our Tipu Ora kaitiaki). Around mid-morning Friday I suggested we phone Nana Nancy to see if we could spend the weekend with her. Nana was very happy to have us, so we completed our mathematics, started packing our gear and tidied up the house before we clambered into the car to head over to Tauranga.

After a wee rest and chat with Nana, I prepared some handwriting for the children. Tama 1 was in for a surprise today because rather than just practicing individual letters, I decided to raise the bar and see how he coped with stringing cursive letters/words/sentences together.

See what you think ... (please remember to double click for a better glimpse)

I'm more than happy with his first attempt at cursive words and sentences. My own writing left a lot to be desired that day, engari, it just goes to show we're not always perfect, lol.

The children read a couple of books from Nana's shelves and then we called it quits for the week's mahi as Uncle Russell and family arrived around 5ish.

Saturday morning we caught up with Nana Maureen. She has a friend out from England at the moment so we were lucky to catch up at all as they'd just come back from visiting family in the Coromandel and were about to head down to New Plymouth (or was it Wanganui?) oops, can't remember sorry!

No sooner had they left when we made a quick exit with Nana up to Waihi. We needed to make it there by 12.30pm to catch the train to Waikino. We made it with 10-15 minutes to spare! Phew!!

Just a pity they have EFTPOS and credit card signs. The EFTPOS machine
simply looked so out of place, hee hee. Imagine if it existed 100 years ago?!

The kids were absolutely thrilled with their train ride

We didn't get much time to explore the ticket office as we had to
board the train within minutes of purchasing tickets.
The kids enjoyed the jigger though and figuring out its purpose.

This particular bridge crosses over the main state highway.
The kids ooed and aahed as we went over the cars on the road.
The cars tooted every time the train was near the road which
thrilled the kids even more.

This picture was drawn by tamāhine 1. The road I mentioned
in the photo above indicated we went over a bridge with the state highway
below. Well, this is her interpretation of us going over said highway.

"Look, Nana!"

At certain intervals throughout the train journey little 'creatures' appeared

While the whānau sat down to refreshments, I quickly took some
photos. Just as well too I might add because the turn-around
was much quicker than anticipated!

Over another bridge. This time we went over water.
"Wow!!!" they kids said.

Quick photo with one of the railway workers. The children are actually
standing on the old luggage scales, but because they're all crowded
on top, you can't see the scales. Hei aha

And then we headed to the Martha Gold Mine

This is a Caterpillar 777C Dump Truck used at Martha Gold Mine.
Click here to learn about machinery used.

As good intentions go I thought I'd talk about the mine more, but I'm afraid I've found it difficult enough to get to the computer this week, so I hope you don't mind if I cheat and just provide a few links to some great resource websites (smile)

The last time I went to Waihi, this lookout didn't exist. The only thing I remember walking around was the Cornish Pumphouse, whereas there's now a trail around the entire site. Had we come prepared I would most certainly have enjoyed taking the walk. Oh well, it leaves us something to do the next time we visit eh?!

We stopped at Katikati (known as Mural town) to visit Nana's gentleman friend, Bruce. Here are just a few quick photos of his lovely gardens which he hosts regular tours around ...

The children have stayed with Nana and Bruce here a few times
so they were able to give us a running commentary of what we would
be seeing at each turn.

We then called in to visit Russell and family for a cup of tea and biscuits. The three older children went with Marie (Russell's wife) to the end of the cul-de-sac where they have a lovely little playground to play at. They thought that was neat. I think if we lived in town, I would probably want to live in a cul-de-sac. Nancy lives at the end of one also, and they are quite safe - away from main traffic. In saying that though, I'm quite happy where we are, thank you.

Although whaiāipo has another brother living in Tauranga, we didn't manage to catch up with Dean this time around ...

By this stage it was getting late in the afternoon and time to head back to Nana's to prepare dinner ...

And have a cup of tea and chat about our adventures

Sunday we headed home via Bayfair at Maunganui. The two older children won't remember going to any big malls like St Luke's in Auckland and I really wanted to show them what a mall is all about.

Although we have the Pukeroa Oruawhata 'mall' at home,
I don't class it the same as it's not enclosed, let alone have a parking "building".

The kids thought the cars going up and around and down were just fascinating.

Well, that was last week. The only major excting news to report this week is that the grinder pump for the sewage system has been installed. We now have a large green mushroom at the back of our property.

We've had a lot of contractors working around us this week. At long last, they are finally starting the process of connecting our area to the city sewage system. Don't get too excited though, it'll be months before they connect the entire area yet!!!!! This is just phase 1 of who knows how many more phases to go.

We've even scored a little bit of topsoil to add to our bike jumps.
Not a huge amount, but something is better than nothing.

Oh, and here's a nice little story. I invited some of the guys who stuck around here for lunch to join us inside out of the heat (as y'do). Anyways, I had an enjoyable chat with one of the young guys working on the wiring side of things for the alarm (shown below). He and his wife (who was homeschooled) just so happen to be planning to homeschool their children!! He thought it was great to meet someone doing the same. That's pretty neat eh?!

The alarm looks very fancy dancy indeed.
According to the experts there shouldn't be occasion to use the alarm.
They are confident the system won't break down ...

Ah huh!

And of course ...

we're back into school work

As you can see, tamāhine 2 has decided to join in.
Wow, just think, one day (soon enough) I'll have all five doing school work.

Last, but not least ...

Whaiāipo started back at work this week.
I miss him already!!!
But I am eternally, eternally grateful we can look forward
to more family holidays in the future.

Oh yes, my life is truly blessed indeed. Thank you Lord!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Our wonderful Waitangi weekend


To Do List

Take recycling into the city
Take spare keys up to Nana and Koro
Borrow chilli bin from Uncle Warrick
Ask Uncle Warrick if he wants to housesit while we're away
Pack our travel bags
Get as much school work done as possible

Ngā tamariki (the children) were brilliant today. Considering they had a number of interruptions to contend with, tama 1 and tamāhine 1 cooperated beautifully throughout the day. The first interruption was taking the recycling into the city. I set a target for them to complete their maths and they finished exactly on time.

We headed to the recycling centre via Ngongotaha as whaiāipo had a 20-30 minute stop to make out that way. As we waited for whaiāipo I asked tama 1 to read.

After doing what we needed to in town, we grabbed some lunch and headed home.

Following lunch tama 1 and tamāhine 1 had their handwriting exercises. Tama 1 made a lovely job of his cursive letters "I" and "J" today. Cursive writing is certainly tricky to develop, but slow and steady makes all the difference indeed.

Tama 1 regretted getting up from his desk to grab himself a drink of water --> tama 3 was on the seat in an instant, and refused to budge, lol. In the end, tama 1 sat at the dining table to complete his writing.

Later in the afternoon tamāhine 1 read one of her Correspondence School books which arrived in yesterday's mail.

The rest of the afternoon the kids pitched in to tidy the house, pack our bags and even got to bed early. We were all very excited about waking up and getting on the road tomorrow morning for out first family weekend holiday ...

Friday - Waitangi Day

I set an ETD (estimated time of departure) for 9.00 am and guess what? We were in the car and away by 9.02 am.

We arrived at Pukekohe by midday which was good timing. It meant we didn't have to wait for the track to be cleared to get across, plus the boys were there to greet us at their pitch.

No sooner had we arrived when this is how whaiāipo spent his entire afternoon ...
working on one of the bikes ...

While he and Graeme played mechanic, Kerry and Russell rode ...

Meanwhile, whaiāipo continued to work on the bike ...

The kids found ways to amuse themselves on a scorching hot day
(easily into 90-95% humidity)

While the boys rode and the children played whaiāipo continued working on the bike ...

Tama 1 and tama 2 took some photos to while away the time.

Here's a photo of what is obviously special/important to tama 2 which
I thought was kinda cute ...

Either that or he knew the helmet belongs to his daddy.

And just in case you didn't know, this is how the old bikes are started.
"The trick," says whaiāipo "is to start them in the pit and then
get to the line and keep it going."


Our family fun day at Auckland Zoo

After years of being too broke to make it to the zoo, we are here!
I cannot begin to express the emotions I was feeling at this particular moment in time!
Joy, excitement, relief, satisfaction ...

We spent five hours at the zoo and we could quite easily have stayed even longer there but the heat - especially for the babies was far too intense. The humidity was 95% and although the temperature was only 25C
-->oC for those of us from Rotorua it was the humidity that was just difficult.
We didn't let that deter us though ...

We only had to wait ten minutes and then it was time to feed the giraffe

We enjoyed sharing our lunch break with family

Lunch at the zoo

Gotta love the elephants

The sealions were gorgeous

The lemurs looked so cuddly

The alligator may only have been a baby, but it was still amazing to see it up close

Meerkat tunnel -
just a pity whaiāipo didn't know he was lifting
tamāhine 2 up with the sun right on her face!

Just one of the play areas where the kids enjoyed themselves.
They had a lot more energy than their mother, I can tell you!

Ice blocks while we wait for the tiger to return

The tiger was definitely worth waiting for

Goodbye Zoo!
We finally made it and it was worth every minute!
Thank you!

After the zoo we went up Maungawhau (Mt Eden)
and Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) - or as we call it "no tree hill" -
but that's another story, lol

By this stage it was nearing 6 o'clock and we had to return to
Douglas and Sonya's for a BBQ
and of course, enjoy the backyard with the cousins

While the other kids had baths, tama 2 enjoyed reading with Aunty Adelaide

Cousin Ivy insisted tamāhine 1 talk with her while she had a bath


Sunday was full of farewells ... to cousins
[Douglas emailed me yesterday to let me know Ivy really missed the kids when we left ..
neat alright!]

Farewell to my third brother Craig and my mum's oldest surviving sister - Aunty Adelaide

We stopped at Pukekohe to see the boys again.

Then headed homewards and took a slight detour to visit Candyland

We got home to find Uncle Warrick had left us some kai in the
fridge and some fruit in the bowls.
Tino pai

I should point out that tama 1 turned seven years old today
and that we went to the zoo yesterday for his birthday present
because cousin Douglas had some mahi to prepare on Sunday.
But I don't think it made too much difference to tama 1 to celebrate the day before.
In fact it feels like we really celebrated his birthday for an entire weekend!

I must also mention that while we had a chat to Douglas and Sonya on Saturday night I indicated tama 1 would be seven the following day, and do you know what Douglas and Sonya did? They snuck into the lounge after midnight and hung up a birthday banner and balloons for tama 1 to wake up to. Isn't that just gorgeous? Gosh, I do love my family. Not only that, but before we left them that morning, they wrapped up a present for tama 1. He was overcome with surprise and became very shy. He is very humble as he's unused to receiving gifts. Now he just thinks he's the king of kings to have his gift.

And, before I finish this post,
I simply must share these two drawings by tamāhine and tama 1.
We literally no sooner got in the door when they were straight up to the kitchen bench with [new] pens and paper to record their special weekend.

Tamāhine 1 has drawn an elephant drinking at the water hole,
splashing water over its body.

Tama 1 has drawn our whare in Rotorua, Aunty Adelaide's and cousin Douglas's whare
plus Sky Tower in Auckland.
[I would think that these pictures are testament to the fact they enjoyed their weekend eh?!]

Speaking of Sky Tower, here's my photo I took as we drove along the motorway at 80kmph

And seeing as I've included that one, I might as well include my Auckland city photo taken at 100kmph approaching the Harbour Bridge ...

[it looks heaps better when you double click to enlarge it I have to say! lol]

We had a thoroughly wonderful time on our family weekend holiday and I hope you've enjoyed sharing the experience with us. Arohat-tino-nui to Ivy, Max, Sonya, Douglas, Aunty Adelaide my big brother Craig and of course Kerry, Russell and Graeme for sharing in our family's holiday.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano