Thursday, 31 December 2009

A new tradition for our whānau perhaps?

Pre-movie experience

To celebrate New Year's Eve, whaiāipo and I are taking the children to the 6.15pm session of Princess and the Frog at the local cinema . Because whaiāipo is working, I know he'd never finish work in time to make an earlier show, but at least with daylight savings, the children won't be tired, and we'll still walk out into daylight afterwards eh?!

This is the first EVER time any of the children have been into a cinema so I'm looking forward to sharing the experience with them.

[Come yesterday - when I wondered if I was going into labour - I had reservations about whether I'd be in attendance today or not!! However, I guess I experienced Braxton Hicks. Either Braxton Hicks, or the baby truly wanted to let me know he didn't appreciate me digging etc over the weekend.]

I must share with you that whaiāipo received the tickets for two adults, two children and $20 worth of candy from a client in December 2008!!!! And yes, on the very last day of the vouchers validity, we're only just getting around to using them, lol.

We only need to pay for two of the children which is great and I'm sure the candy will keep the littleuns happy.

I thought I'd start my post "pre-movie experience" when the children are excited at the prospect of experiencing something new. We let them in on the secret last night and it's been the buzzword ever since. I'm looking forward to sharing their thoughts on our return this evening. (Okay, so while others are probably preparing for NYE celebrations, Maree will happily sit on the computer blogging instead!!!!)

So, until this evening ...

Post-Movie experience ...

It's about 9.30 pm now and the children have headed upstairs (reluctantly I hasten to add) to get ready for bed. They look tired but, as expected, they've had a wonderful evening going to the "movies".

They all did exceedingly well to sit through the movie. Both whaiāipo and myself thought it would've been tamāhine 2 who wouldn't handle being in the enclosed environment, but it turned out to be tama 3. He did very well for three-quarters of the movie, but then he wanted to run about the place. Whaiāipo took him outside for a walk while I remained with the other children.

My mother had made the comment to me yesterday that we'd probably be the only ones there and in actual fact, we made over half the viewers!!! There were five other people with our family of seven!!!

We all enjoyed the movie very much, so I am eternally grateful to Gordon and Pam for kindly giving us the tickets. What a thoughtful gift for a family. Whaiāipo, being the likeable fellow that he is, obviously made an impression to be given tickets not only for himself but his family as well.

I honestly couldn't even tell you the last time I would have been to the movies. I have absolutely no idea, but it must be at least ten years plus at least!!! The last time I went to the movies, I'm sure I had to push the seat down (y'know the folded-type seat and armrest I'm talking about?) Nowadays they have very plush, comfortable seating together with a cupholder!!! I made the comment (not being facetious, just making an observation) that the tickets are a lot more budget to the old days. Whaiāipo then informed me you can pay for them online (E-Tix), print them, take them into the cinema and go up to a scanning machine which spits out your ticket so you don't have to stand in a queue! I'm thoroughly impressed. So, the next time we go, I'll do it all online. (Listen to me! "The next time indeed!!)

What a neat way to see out the old year to begin a new year. I'd really like to think we could make this a family tradition. Let's hope we do?!

From our family to yours ...

Happy New Year

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

When his mother would believe what she hears, tama 1 says it's not so

I am reminded this evening of a statement made by tama 1 about a month ago as we discussed some engineering.

Apologies for leaving it so late to add to the blog, but better late than never I guess.

We were watching something on telly when the following statement was made:

"The Airbus A380 was the largest aircraft ever built."

Tama 1 promptly says,

"No, it's not. The Hindenburg was three times longer at 245 metres. If they meant airplanes instead of aircraft then it still wasn't the Airbus A380, it was the Antonov AN-225 Mriya.

Tama 1, then followed this up with the following statement ...

"Actually, it has been reported that German Aeronautical Engineers are rebuilding the Hindenburg. The Hindenburg II is expected to be as large and have a two-level gondola at the bottom to carry 250 passengers."

[This is verbatim ... he stood next to me and dictated it so I could correctly record it on the blog!!!!]

So, after discussing this for a while, we have tried to work out by what means an aircraft/airplane/airline/call it what you will, is measured to warrant being the "biggest". Is it by the length, or by how many passengers it can carry?

Whatever the answer, I just loved the fact our son was able to teach his parents something that night.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite

Monday, 28 December 2009

Family Christmas Project: Phase Two - commence construction

First thing after breakfast, the children had to put on their builders attire.

Builders aprons together with all the necessary builders tools, eg hammers, screw drivers, measuring tapes etc were the only present the children received from Santa.

With hard hats on they were out there helping dad measure up and get the stringline up.

They learned how to measure accurately using their builders square and builders pencils.
They had a beam each to measure 60cm, and using their squares mark around their beams.
While the children did their part, dad used the posthole borer digging to the required depth. The children then helped dad carry their posts to each hole.

Although we received rain in the late afternoon and I allowed the children to keep working with their dad, I eventually had to insist on them retiring for the night because the babies were playing and slipping on the slide too often.

After kai, whaiāipo was determined to get the beams around the tops of the forts up. This photo was taken from the comfort of indoors.

Just before 9pm, whaiāipo accomplished his task and cleared the bulk of his tools into his work van. Such a pity he has to return to work tomorrow. We could have this project finished by the end of the week. Hei aha, we're all stoked to see the fruits of our labour thus far.

BTW, the green slide is only placed on the right fort temporarily. It will go across to the left-hand side once we're further along in the project.I am especially proud of tamāhine 1. She worked like a trojan - she honestly put in a massive effort. She dug the most dirt of all the kids and did whatever task she was asked to do without complaint.

As she looked out watching her dad this evening working in the rain, she commented to me "if it wasn't raining I could be out there helping daddy."

My angel girl, with her heart of gold was a joy to watch. Y'know, she even helped her father cook scrambled eggs for kai tonight. None of us were interested in a big tea, but I was pleasantly surprised my baby girl had the energy to help cook dinner.

Tino ātaahua

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ka kite ano

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The Family Christmas Project has begun

By the end of Sunday ...

It took us two days to clear the site and spread the dirt. I feel absolutely exhausted. The children put in a fantastic effort. The heat really took a lot out of us all, but here's the result of our labour.

There were 320 wheelbarrows of dirt to be shifted (16 barrows per cubic metres. Therefore 10 cubic metres per truck load. Two truckloads equals 320 wheelbarrows.)

Phase One: Complete

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ka kite ano

As another year draws to a close

Ever since I started my blog(s), I have considered printing them as a real book. The one and only place I ever knew about was Blurb.

Until today.

I was catching up on some Yahoo group mail when I learned about Blog2Print.

It was great to learn of another site because I had honestly (no, honestly, I really had) been thinking of getting the school blog printed in the New Year. My thoughts are to print from Romankids Homeschool Academy's inception through to the end of 2009 as the first volume.

So, just in case anyone else has thought about having a hard copy of their blog, then you may be interested in one of these websites. Perhaps you know of another and would like to share?

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Winding Down; Slow-Mo; Bring on Christmas, Part Deux

Carrying on from where I left off yesterday ...

The kids are basically doing whatever they please.

Considering we always do maths, you'll be shocked to know we've only done one day's worth of math lessons this week. Everything really has started to come to a standstill. I only seem to manage little spurts of energetic enthusiasm.

That lack of enthusiasm is obviously rubbing off onto the kids and that's fine by me. They are (all) more interested in playing and making a fleet of Air New Zealand aeroplanes. [There's plenty of learning going on with that and it's fun. Tama 1 has painstakingly followed the designs from his chart of planes. No detail is overlooked.]

Tama 2 is making great progress with his repeat reading of the Montessori lessons. We started with Starfall also which we're taking nice and slowly. As hoped, his reading is improving his pronunciation/annunciation. I'm trying not to place too much expectation on tama 2 and keep a relaxed method of learning for him. He, himself, is trying to be like his older brother and sister, which is helpful to a certain extent: it provides extra motivation.

We started manuscript writing and he's doing very well so far.

I'm curious to know how others record their work. For some time now I have used Google Documents. I like the way I can do spreadsheets, documents, presentations, forms etc. I've enjoyed using Google Calendar also for recording both school work, appointments and important dates like birthdays etc. I gave up trying to figure out a way to get Word documents to upload to the blog so I decided I'd use Google Documents because one is given the option to share it with others or keep it private. I like that idea. I know there are similar computer assisted programs like this, but Google has been my preferred choice. I'm hoping to organise my Google Documents with more precision next year. I think that if I'm ever subject to an ERO Review then I can at least send the Review Officer a link to any or all of the documents.

I've again run out of steam, but I will finish the subject of winding down, because I'm quite sure you've got a good picture that it's all wound up on this side of the world.

It was a fantastically hot summer's day today. I had a close relative of mine from Auckland pop round this morning as well my dear friend Auriel. A truly lovely way to spend Christmas Eve.

Our shopping this evening went pretty much as planned. We have the large "surprise" to share with the kids. I'm looking forward to the morning. We're planning to have a BBQ. Nana Nancy will pop over to see us around that time and we'll call up to see my folks later tomorrow night.

Be safe and have a wonderful day with your loved ones.

Here's to a wonderful Christmas.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Winding Down; Slow-Mo; Bring on Christmas, Part One

Christmas is just around the corner but I really wanted to try and get a post done to at least wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Safe and Prosperous New Year.

We have yet to do any Christmas shopping ourselves. This year we have decided to fix up what toys the children already have because whaiāipo and I feel the children have everything they could want. If possible, I simply wish to get a new netting surround for their trampoline, oh and a new (spring) pad also. Their swing set is in dire need of a complete overhaul, so depending on the price of new swing seats we will try to upgrade that equipment also. The two older children could certainly do with new bicycles, but that can wait for birthdays. What they have at the moment will suffice.

I did purchase some books a few weeks ago with the great intention of cheating wrapping them as gifts but decided that no, in fact they won't be given as Christmas gifts. I bought them for the purpose of school - thanks entirely to the Supervision Allowance - and that's how they should remain.

[I reminded myself that although we're far from financially comfortable, our circumstances have at least changed enough that not EVERYTHING has to be used as a gift simply to fill Christmas stockings. Hence the decision I don't NEED to use the books as gifts. For me, that's enough of a gift to myself to know we're getting financial control once again.]

[To think, this time next Christmas I'll be jumping with joy knowing we'll have cleared past debts. Wow!!! That's very exciting to me!!!]

You may recall I mentioned in a posting not so long ago that we waited over a month to get our hands on Mercy Watson to the Rescue? Well, I decided to buy our own copy ...

Where did I buy it? Not in New Zealand that's for real!!!! Would you believe it is cheaper (by quite a lot I might add) to buy books from the United Kingdom or the States!? I would normally choose, however I chose ...

Why? Well, because ...
  1. They offer FREE worldwide delivery, no matter how little or how many you purchase.
  2. The books I wanted were discounted.
  3. They offered a FURTHER 10% discount on their ALREADY discounted price!!! ...No, honestly they really did!!!! CRAZY huh?!!!
As we go to press, we're waiting on the remaining three books and hopefully they arrive tomorrow.

No major though as I already mentioned I don't plan to wrap them as Christmas gifts. In fact, we've opened them and started reading already.

One interesting point to make is this ... each book has arrived INDIVIDUALLY packaged!!!! What a hoot!!! So, on Tuesday when I had my appointments with the obstetrician and then the midwife), we arrived home to find eight packages in the letter box. What an absolute giggle.

[The books are all part of the LessonPathways Year 2 Language Arts suggested reading list.]

[I decided that if all the children are to follow in the same vein as tama 1, then it would be worth the investment to purchase our own copies, rather than use the local library.]

[And even if we didn't continue with supplementing our school curriculum with LessonPathways, the books would never go unused.]

I find it fascinating that they have come from the UK, individually wrapped, and have cost me a lot less than buying them from the likes of Fishpond, the Nile, Wheelers etc.

I did manage to find a couple of the books on TradeMe, and I would've purchased from there but to bore you with details, I kept the books on our watchlist and when I noticed people placing bids, I flagged making bids on them myself because by the time I added the postage, I realised I would actually get a better deal from the Book Depository. And yes, I will put my hand up and admit, I decided it was more worthwhile buying brand new.

There was no comparison.

Aaaah ... but what really swung it was that extra 10% discount.

From our recent purchase, I started reading with tama 1 this week ...

He's really enjoying this chapter book. We're but a few pages shy of finishing chapter 4 of the 195 page story. One of our tasks at that point is to discuss things like:
There's a few other activities we can do, and we'll see how we get on with those. Depending on due date of baby number six, we will either carry on straight after Christmas, or take a break. I'm finding it tiring to do too much at the moment and the kids really aren't interested in school work ... Christmas beckons, so why should I push them to do school work? Let's relax, enjoy summer and count down to our new family member's arrival eh?! Too right!!!

Tama 1 is also very keen to read the other two Runaway Ralph books so I will make a point of saving up for those.

When I read about the author, Beverly Cleary, I discovered she has written many, many books indeed. If this book is anything to go by, I would say I'll be investigating the others too because I'm really enjoying the story myself which is great. I've read a chapter ahead so that I can be prepared for any questions tama 1 may have. Basically he's only asked me what a word means such as: anxious, wavered, scrounge, accustomed, droned, provoked, relished, awed ...

I've got some more to chat about but I've run out of steam to do much more tonight. So I've now edited the heading to indicate this is Part One. I will hopefully post tomorrow to share the rest with y'all.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Quick reflection

It's around this time ... when I get closer to a new baby arrival ... that I hold my youngest in my arms and sadly admit they will no longer be my baby. Soon they will look like a giant to their new sibling. It's a bittersweet moment.

I am down to weekly midwife appointments and I have to say I've had mixed emotions this time around. With this baby, I have seen my chosen midwife probably a maximum of four times. The other times I have been seen by someone else. No, that's not a problem and in fact I like the other ladies, after all, Tuia did deliver our last two babies and I enjoyed having her. So, on the one hand, I really don't mind if Tuia is the one I have to phone to deliver tama 4, but it's been sad not seeing Aroha (my chosen midwife). A minor quibber, but it's made me feel less special. Just because I'm having my sixth child, does that warrant me any less of a client? Okay, it's probably not by design that Aroha is not available to see me, but I really like her and get on well with her, so I just wish I'd seen more of her because she's been my midwife for all the kids.

Another thing I find interesting is that I have been asked to see an obstetrician. When I asked my midwife why, she said it's because of my age and the fact that I've had so many kids already. What a hoot!

At first I really wanted to decline the appointment but then I started to reflect on the learning experience for the children (well, possibly ... it all depends how busy they are and whether it's a simple "in/out" type of appointment). But I also told myself that I will attend the appointment so that the obstetrician has the "privilege" of meeting "me"!!!!

Apparently he will want to explain the risks involved. I suspect he will also want to try and convince me that six is enough and give me the old "have you thought about contraception?" speech. Well, he'll be in for surprise! My body, my choice.

But yes, I held my little man this afternoon and for the second afternoon running, he fell asleep in my arms. He hasn't done that for a very long time, so I don't know if he is picking up on my body shape and that a change is fortuitous or whether he simply wants a cuddle, but I've enjoyed holding him. Soon he will be a big brother, no longer the baby.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

It's so much fun when you receive a package

Wednesday the 9th

9.00 am-10.00 am

I browsed around the WatchKnow wiki site. In all honesty that's all I did ... "browsed" ... but it looks inviting. It feels safer to me to have the kids use this sort of site rather than stumbling upon unsavoury videos on YouTube. It's well-categorised and I do like the way you can use an age filter to only look for clips that are age-appropriate. It's still in the early stages of development, but I'm sure it will gain momentum very quickly.


The children and I were very, very excited today because our eagerly anticipated Math-U-See textbooks arrived. It was particularly exciting for me because I had ordered three levels ... Primer for tama 2, Gamma for tamāhine 1 and Delta for tama 1.

It's neat looking at the bookshelf to see we now have a growing collection ...

Primer .... α ... ß ... γ... δ

I enjoy having children who love maths. I had the warm fuzzies when I walked in the door with the package today. The kids told me they had been sitting on the couch waiting as I yakked to Martha - our postie - trying to guess what colour Delta would be. Turns out tamāhine 1 was right. Kōwhai (yellow). As soon as we had it open, the kids were all nose-to-books scouring the pages.

They were all very keen to start using their new textbooks, so it wasn't long before I had three students with three different MUS levels opening their clean, crisp new textbooks. It was so obvious tama 1 wanted to get stuck in because no sooner had I put the δ DVD into the computer and was watching intently to see what pointers I could pick up on, when suddenly tama 1 comes over and plonks himself next to me chatting about it.

As we watched the first few lessons on division, tama 1 was answering all the questions with ease. As soon as he registered just how simple divisions were, he was keen as mustard to work on the first lesson.

All three had their first lessons completed within minutes.

Considering I maybe could've/should've started tama 2 on Primer months ago, I decided to wait until now and I'm glad I did. I haven't done any formal maths with him prior, but he's been confidently using numbers of his own accord. As he worked on the first lesson (or was it lesson two?), I asked him to try and skip count in two's. To my surprise he did indeed count in two's. That was neat because it's been months and months since he's listened to the skip counting songs on the MUS Songbook and CD.

Late this afternoon I started looking for our Math-U-See DVD's because I feel I need to watch them again in case I've forgotten anything important. After an hour of tearing my hair out I had a rest and then went to it again. By this stage I'm getting extremely hot and bothered, and grumpy. As soon as whaiāipo got home I took advantage of the kids bombarding dad to head upstairs and look in the boxes of miscellaneous goodies. What was a tidy mess is now a disaster zone. I couldn't find α (Alpha) or ß (Beta). Talk about throw me into a frenzy. I finally gave up, had dinner and suddendly remembered ß (Beta) wasn't in the proper DVD cover as I had bought it off a friend so it was in a CD case. Phew! I found that one ... now, where was Alpha?

What do you do when you're in a flap? You jump on Twitter and tell the world you're losing your marbles.

Thursday the 10th

But what a good idea it was to blurb it on Twitter. Why? Because my girlfriend sends me an email this afternoon to let me know she read the Twitter message and she in fact has the Alpha DVD. Yay!!! I hadn't lost it after all !!! Thank goodness for that. At least I know where it is now. There's no urgency to have it, but you know what it's like when you're organised and have things in set places. When you can't find it where it should be, then you get very tetchy and restless.

Well, I had actually planned to write about some other things as well as math, but MUS seems to have completely dominated the discussion. So, I think I'll leave it there and try to come back with something else over the next few days.

The summer heat has been quite intense these past few days. Our house gets the sun in the main living areas by 1 o'clock and we are under intense heat until 8 o'clock, so you can imagine how uncomfortable it is downstairs. Because we live so near the lake we can't leave the doors open after dark because we get inundated with troutflies which is no fun whatsoever. This being the case, I can't stay downstairs too long because it's simply too hot and my pregnant feet are feeling it tonight. So, I shall leave it there and head on my merry way.

Rock on Supervision Allowance. Sure hope I see my bank account has a pleasant figure appear for me on Friday morning.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano