Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Marching into Autumn

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

My birthday marks the end of February, and therefore the end of summer.  Some years I'm lucky to have super sunny weather and others I remember it absolutely bucketing down with rain.  This year I am fortunate that it was sunny.  As much as I don't mind a rainy birthday, I'll admit I'm  glad it was fine this year because it marked my first birthday without my mum.  My third brother has his birthday seven days after me, so as of yesterday we've all had our "first" birthdays without mum.  We reflect on the significance of that, but we don't dwell on it.  We celebrate and don't mourn.  Our mourning will come this month when the 18th marks the first anniversary since mum's death, and then again when we hold the unveiling.  Pretty sucky huh?!  (not the most polite description of it, but that's what popped in my head, and really, it does suck ...)

Here are the banners the kids made for my 45th birthday.  Yep, 45!!  I'm not ashamed to admit my age.  Doesn't bother me, because I look and feel younger.  Having kids later in life makes me feel younger still. I love each and every one of them and I love each and every banner the three big kids made.

The two banners with planes were made by tama 2.  I was hoping that maybe I was getting a surprise flight somewhere, yeah right!!! lol.  The top banner is by tamāhine 1...

Tama 1 drew the night sky with fireworks. Tama 2 had me flying in the daytime in the first banner, and then in the dark on the next, so I figure I was flying out NZ day time and arriving in some foreign country at night.  Wouldn't that be exciting? ... one can always dream can't one?
Spot the difference in coffee machine!!  I love my coffee machine, and as much as I should give up coffee for Lent like a friend is, I choose not to.  I'd need to take a detox programme to achieve it!!!  I don't drink and I don't smoke, but I do like my coffee.  I've at least cut back from the umpteen dozen a day I used to guzzle.  I now drink between four and six cups per day ... on the best days I drink three and that's phenomenal considering my history of coffee consumption, :-)

Funnily enough, I've been talking about buying a new coffee machine later this year, and obviously tama 1 overheard me!!!  Check out the machine he made me for my birthday ... I absolutely love it ...
Check out the water holder even!!!!
Tama 1 also made coffee beans!! but I forgot to take a photo.  He made a packet of coffee beans and the brand name is "Shuttle Coffee".  The flavour is called "Blast Off."
The biggest surprise on my birthday was to have whaiāipo announce he wasn't going to work that day.  How totally fantastic.  I had a great birthday, and so long as the Fat Dog still makes birthday cakes that we can order, then my mum is with me too.  How's that, you ask?
Well, my mum used to work in that very same building when it held State Advances.  It's been a family favourite for donkeys.  Every time my big brother would come home from Kuwait, and mum was alive, we would ALWAYS go to the Fat Dog to have a fantastic meal, chin-wag and good ol' family laugh.  So buying a cake from there is the very next best thing to having my mum with me.  That may sound drippy and nonsensical to many, but I thought I'd share that little something with y'all nevertheless.

Off the topic of my birthday now ...

The last two Monday evenings (yes, on my birthday even) tama 1, tamāhine 1, tama 2 and myself have tagged along to St John's.
We thoroughly loved the Penguins session,
but as for the (junior) Cadets ... well, the jury's still out on that one.

I had tama 1 and tamāhine 1 participate with both the Penguins and (junior) Cadets.  We finished at Penguins on a major high, but then I (nota bene: not the kids) felt extremely deflated following (junior) Cadets.

We went back for a second trial last night, minus the (junior) Cadets.  I chose to leave tama 1 behind because I wasn't keen to have a repeat of last week's (junior) Cadets.  At the completion of another fun Penguins class, I had a nice kōrero whakakata with the Penguins leader.  Suffice it to say we might give the (junior) Cadets another crack.

Last week the kids friend was awarded the mascot, Primo, to take home for the week. This week, guess what?! Tamāhine 1 has the honours!! As we headed home I had her ring ahead (because I'm very conscious I'm not allowed to talk on a mobile while driving!!!  What a good citizen I am!!) to let whaiāipo know our ETA.  Well, that entire 25-30 minute drive home I spent listening to tamāhine 1 talk to tama 1 about the class!!!  As we hopped out of the car she hid Primo behind her back and then the shouts of glee from herself and tama 1 as she revealed what she had !!!! OMG !!!!  Priceless.

Today, in between school work and sports, tama 1 made a uniform for Primo ...
Here's the back shot of his Official Medical Penguin jacket (complete with Super Penguin badge) ...
Here's Primo watching the kids as they did their mahi ...
 
I didn't think they'd be quite so buzzed about a toy penguin, but hey! I was wrong!

After some class work today the three big kids went outside to play soccer.  It wasn't so much the fact that they went out to play sport that I took the photo, but more the fact they were ecstatic about their brand new shoes.  Their first pair of brand new sneakers ... no hand-me-downs, but brand spanking new.  CHEAP but NEW.

The hardcase thing about the shoes is that I actually brought them because I had hoped to start the three of them at Chapman College on Biak Street in Rotorua.  We spend our days with bare feet or sandals, but I can't have them trudge along to somewhere like this without decent shoes eh?! lol
(It's a Christian school which commenced in 2009 if I'm correct.  On Friday afternoons they have made available three or four activities which homeschoolers have been invited to partake in for a small fee per term.)  Unfortunately we're too late to get in for the first semester, so we shall simply have to wait until semester two.  I sat on the fence about registering because (1) The house situation prevents me from getting involved with too many new things - just in case we end up shifting soon! and (2) I'd overspent at Christmas/New Year on school course work so I didn't feel I could afford it.  But that's okay because our calendar is busy with the children's Latin, Mythology et cetera as well as my own Classical Studies.  Speaking of which, I really had better sign off because I'm meant to be working on the Trojan War.  At the completion of this assignment I have my first Standards Assessment.  Yuck!!  Sounds scary.

Latin is rocking along for tama 1.  Tama 1 works on his own for the best part of it and then I try to get up to speed later.  We review together, discuss and then tackle exercises and reading together.  At the moment we no sooner seem to understand one grammar point when we quickly forget it because we learn a new one.  Up until today we felt comfortable understanding nominative, genitive, accusative and vocative declensions but now we're struggling with ablative and dative.  We'll need to do some serious swat to get those sorted.  Trying to look at each word and breaking it down into its correct form is jolly hard work.  However, it's important to me that the children become fluent in Latin.  You've heard me rabbit on about wanting to get back to Greek at some point too, but it's a case of finding a course that I can "click" with.  So the goal this semester year is to become confident in Latin before attempting Greek again.  My whānau probably look at me thinking, "why aren't you teaching the tamariki te reo māori?"  Well, my weak answer is, "I will, but at the moment they will learn it from what they see and hear around them.  Latin is a vital component to learning any language - Māori included.  Already tama 1 can see a few similarities between the languages which is terrific.  I am quietly confident his comprehension of one will equip him with the skills to learn the other -- and many others in fact.  I'm nowhere near as fluent in languages as my big brother or sister-in-law, but I still aspire to get close to their abilities and I want the same for our tamariki.

There's loads I could write about Latin and Mythology but that'll have to wait for another time.  I've already noticed I have five drafted blog posts from last month so they're so stale and outdated now that I'll simply have to bin them!!!  I don't know how other homeschoolers keep up with blogging!!!  You're all wicked!!!  Me, I'm struggling to keep up with what our family does let alone record it all.

Tama 1 continues to love Youngzine.  He now has two badges.  I'm amazed at how addicted he is to it.  I won't ask him to give that up for Lent though!!

Here's a little sample of their handwriting:
Tama 2 above.  Tama 1 below (American Declaration of Independence)
Tamāhine 1
Okay, that'll have to do.  I really have got to make a start on my studies.

Probably a few things I've forgotten to mention.  Hei aha.  Oh, one thing:  no news on house yet.  We're still here.  Keep praying for us or keep your fingers crossed.  We remain positive....

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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