Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm watching you, I'm watching you, I'm watching you, I'm...

On Sunday we enjoyed a delightful lunch with Cynthia, one of our more 'mature' church ladies. She's full of spinsterly cheek and nonsense; Nick jested that she needs to respect her elders! Had a lovely time together with her. Yesterday, Monday, was great - a good school day, and a beautifully sunny afternoon. I was doing a spot of sewing when this fellow ran right past me. I will only ever get so close to one of these if I'm armed with either a macro lens or a can of doom; I don't think I'll ever be able to spray a spider again though, imagining it yelling "aaargh, it's gone in my eyes!" Took a short drive to the beach after tea as it was still warm and light and we didn't want to waste the weather. The little dashing rocks beach is quite secluded and private with only the occasional jogger or dog walker passing by. Nick and the boys made a raft from driftwood - looked like heaps of fun! While passing through a paddock on the way to the beach, we saw a curious sight - four cows meandering along the path. First time I ever saw the cows come home!Today, Tuesday, was also good - I split my working hours into two sections at the beginning and end of the day, with a chunk of time at home in between in which time I did a load of washing. Aaron had a friend over to play after school.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pleasantish Point

Perfectly wonderful summer weather again today...Nick mowed the lawn and I did two loads of washing. We took a picnic out to Pleasant Point (sounds lovely, doesn't it) which is a quiet little town with absolutely no buzz on a Saturday afternoon. It has an historic railway station and an ancient train which runs every few weeks - next run is 12 December but I doubt we'll go back to watch :) Had a church family over for a cuppa in the afternoon - Dries and Kristi and their boys Neil and Mark. Their boys are younger than Caleb and Aaron but the four had a super time on the tramp, and inside playing with cars.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Many boys

Jayden came home with Caleb today (I say Caleb although I mean both boys, but Aaron was instructed not to be the annoying little brother). They divided their time between the trampoline and the garage - great to have him over. Nick had two guitar lessons in the afternoon, and when Rachel and Josh came to collect Caleb we invited them to stay for tea, as Matt had other plans. And so it was that we had five boys and as many hotdogs, three grown-ups and a few mince rolls and a bowl of choc-chip laced green salad at the table this evening. Jayden was collected during tea but afterwards, as the day had been so hot again, Nick took the four remaining boys to the beach. Cold? Yes, but it didn't seem to bother any of them!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jumping from this to that

Last night after bible study (and while it was still light) Matt and the boys dropped off an early Christmas present for the boys...a trampoline they found on TradeMe! The boys love trampolining wherever they go, which makes me wonder why we didn't find one for them earlier. They got an awesome deal on this one and the boys are thrilled - thanks Camerons! They couldn't wait to get home from school today to test it out. We had a build up of weather in the afternoon and it rained, but cleared up and we still had a sunny evening. Reminded me of the SA Highveld weather - huge afternoon thundershowers followed by clear skies before sunset. Beautiful!A more relaxed Thursday than usual for us all with no more clubs for the year. Nick helped me with the grocery shopping - I appreciated his pushing the trolley and doing all the lifting etc, but I'm convinced that I spend more when he's around! Still, it's more fun this way.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Which tells of many things

Before the blog gets too far away from me...here is a run-down of the last few days! We had Andreas and Danielle to lunch on Sunday; I had made a double bobotie before church and so the meal was already halfway prepared. We had an excellent afternoon of fellowship with them before heading back to church for the 4.30 service. Forgot myself with all the chatting and didn't take photos! Monday was a big day for all at the school as The Inspectors were there. Added to that it was my turn to provide the weekly staff lunch (hence the bobotie practice run the day before). Throw some complicated children and a spilled pot of yoghurt into the mix and you get a pretty nasty day. I was glad when Monday drew to a close. Yesterday, Tuesday, was a good deal better. Aaron had a play date after school and I stopped in for a cup of coffee (vanilla latte, yummm) and chat. In the evening we attended the school's year-end function at the home of Thys and Adele (below) de Beer. It was fully catered and really lovely and we felt privileged to be a part of it. Other than that, I've been spending some chunks of time on the polymer art. For practice and to learn techniques, I copied a bracelet sent by my super-polymist friend - I have to stress that this is not an original! I've recently heard about, and started looking into, art clay silver - a whole new medium in itself, but one that can be combined very effectively with the regular coloured polymers. I'm hoping to extend into this area as well in the future, but one thing at a time! The two pendants were made with silver in mind for the frames.Aaron has been at a birthday party this afternoon; his second party invitation from school. He has blended well into the social scene at school. Caleb, on the other hand, sits alone at morning break. This is great for me as I can sit with him, but my heart breaks at his solitude. We are making it a matter of prayer - I have no desire to see him be the most popular kid on the block and I'm quite happy for him not to be sucked into a peer group and lose contact with adult company, but for his sake I don't want him withdrawing and becoming a loner.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rain, rain and tiny little things

After yesterday's soaring temperatures it was a bit surprising to wake up to rain and grey skies this morning, which continued throughout the day. No matter though as we had no outdoor events to attend, unlike yesterday or last Saturday. Harvey Norman's monthly photo competition is on the theme of macro and as there were no other entries in the album yet, we decided to help them out by providing several photos. We have loads of aphids on our roses so those were easy takers, and with today's weather conditions the flowers were all beautifully decked in rain drops. Later in the day we found a spider so he became our unwilling model too. So much fun! Aaron had a birthday party during the afternoon - good thing the swimming pool is indoor and heated as it was a swimming and McDonalds party. He came home in high spirits with a bag full of party loot. He and one other boy were the only invited guests - apparently the birthday boy thinks they are the only 'cool' boys in his class :) Quite an honour for our little friend-maker though. Caleb was not in the least put out that Aaron got to go...he amused himself by pottering about in the house and the garage and reading. We could probably leave him entirely on his own for several days at a time with enough bread in the freezer, and he'd fend quite nicely for himself.Not that the whole day was fun and games though...I also cleaned the house quite thoroughly, did some ironing, and finally got stuck into packing away the boys' homeschool books and sorting out the big bookshelf. I had been avoiding this task as I thought it would be odious, but once I had started it wasn't so bad.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Athletics Day

It was the boys' first athletics day with the school today - which also coincided with one of the hottest days we've had in spring!! We thank the Lord from whom all blessings flow. Several schools participated in the event which was held at Timaru's premier events centre in Aorangi Park. The day was super, with activities happening in small groups on two fields, rotating through each of the events. Aaron participated in long-jump, high jump, relays, hurdles, shot put, bean-bag toss, skipping and one other thing which I can't remember; I didn't see all of Caleb's events as I was on Aaron's field with the younger group but he also had hurdles, high jump, long jump, relays, and a few other things. As we had suspected neither of our boys excelled, but neither was completely hopeless either. They were both quite good at the high jump. It was a blessing that Caleb was well enough to participate without his asthma overreacting. Aaron's section finished their events shortly after 11.30, after which their school day was done. We went home for lunch, then I went back to watch the last of the events of the older section - the relays. It was pretty exciting and although TCS didn't rank highly overall, we have some outstanding athletes who did us proud. Nick came along for the morning to spectate and photograph; the two photos of Caleb are by him.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The remainder of Thursday

Aside from the cellphone incident we had a peaceful morning...being a Thursday it was a swimming day. I stayed on at the school for a while after, only getting home at about 2 pm. Had a mad rush to get sorted for the final camera club and then we were back at school just after 3. We just did a wrap-up, recap and prize-giving today (well done to Hannah K who was named the Best Overall Photographer). Nick had his final guitar lesson as well, followed by the boys' last badminton session. All good things come to an end, as they say.We had been enjoying the swashy clouds during the afternoon, so after a quick tea we drove south. The boys took books along with them, so every time we stopped for photos they got a few pages in. Makes it less painful for them that way. The skies weren't as photogenic as we'd hoped, but we certainly did appreciate more of our Canterbury scenery.

What do cows have to do with anything?

Tuesday and Wednesday seem to have come and gone rather rapidly...on Tuesday afternoon the boys had two friends over, and the Garden Fairy paid us a visit to plant tomatoes and potatoes. I must not forget to water them, under threat of death - the method was not described but I am sure it would be humane and creative. Yesterday I brought Caleb home from school with me at 12, as he was coughing and coughing and coughing and coughing and coughing and coughing and coughing some more. I stopped by a pharmacy on the way home for some cough medicine. This is a novelty for me - on the island the options were (a) let him get better on his own or (b) make a doctor's appointment and probably get prescribed antibiotics or simply nebulized. We had already been nebulising him. I had little confidence in OTC cough syrups but desperate times call for bottled meds. The curly-haired lady gave us Duro Tuss...keep that name in mind because what I am about to say next is very important: after one dose, Caleb's dry, irritating, insomnia-inducing cough had tamed into a slightly phlegmy occasional cough which did not last more than about 20 minutes. Voila! That's Duro Tuss, ladies and gentlemen. We also have him on a daily antihistamine dose until the pollen season passes. He was so much better today although I could still hear him at school occasionally, his cough indicating his whereabouts like a cowbell on a wandering bovine.
This morning at school I made the mistake of not switching my phone to silent mode. I have a noxious ringtone which is embarrassing everytime anyone phones, but too funny and hideous to hide away. Consequently, when the personnel agency phoned offering me a short-term temp contract (which I couldn't take for obvious reasons), my camera bag started screaming at the back of the class. Mrs Thompson jumped in her seat, I sprang up, Petru started giggling, and the class didn't know what to think. I silenced it as quickly as I could but not before Grant came out of his class to attend to what he thought was a drastically misbehaving child in the bathroom. Oh dear, oh dear...our whole class ended up in fits of laughter and it was some time before Mrs Thompson's face resumed its usual colour and the tears dried up!

I did issue the warning...

Monday, November 15, 2010

My to-do list is not shrinking

It was only after I had fetched the boys from school in the afternoon that I really managed to get stuck into anything - the biscuit tins were woefully empty and it was time for granola bars and choc-chip peanut butters again. Aaron was elsewhere occupied and unavailable for cookie rolling which led me to reconsider the whole "roll into a ball and flatten with a spoon" method. Instead, I rolled chunks of dough into logs, refrigerated for a few minutes, then sliced into biscuit sizes. They each just needed a minimum amount of reshaping after that and turned out looking pretty biscuity! My new favourite way of making biscuits...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pancakes and pebbles

After yesterday's activity we were tuckered out and so happy to be at home between services. We sort of skipped lunch as Andreas' 40th birthday was still being celebrated - pancakes and guava tart after church for everyone! Andreas must have felt that his pancake-flipping practice at the SA Fair had well prepared him for service in the church kitchen as he diligently stood over the stove with two skillets. Much appreciated, Andreas and Danielle. We all drifted off in our own directions during the afternoon; I put together a marine-inspired bracelet, the beads of which I formed from clay on Friday evening after our visit to the beach.

J and K

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Suid Afrikaanse Fair

The day of the South African Fair dawned bright and clear - praise God for a sunny day for the fair! Our school was hosting the event as a fundraiser, but at the time of writing I don't know what funds were raised. It was an awesome day though and the different stalls really came together so well - there was so much preparation involved from some very dedicated and enthusiastic South Africans to make the day a success. We had a fishing game and a beat-your-competitor-off-the-log game, a baking (tuisnywerheid style) stall, face-painting, a bric-a-brac stall (at which I picked up two gorgeous bone china cup-and-saucer sets), and then the food stalls: vetkoek and mince, pancakes, drinks, and of course boerewors rolls with traditional shewa. What would any SA event be without the smell of genuine boerewors cooked on a fire drifting on the breeze? So tantalizing. In the kitchen the ladies were hard at work to serve tea, coffee and a selection of cakes to the coffee-shop patrons seated at tables in the hall. Well done to all involved!!
By the time the cleaning up was done we were thoroughly uitgepit (ooh dear, the Afrikaaners reading this entry might have to correct my spelling). We weren't home for long (during this gap I walked to the corner garage to buy a copy of the Timaru Herald in which I had another 'pic of the week' published, yay!!) before the next event which was a music practice at the church with Bronwyn, followed directly thereafter with a 'do' at Andreas and Danielle's house - a 'thank you' to all those involved with the fair at which we were served left-overs from the fair and from Andreas' 40th birthday celebrations the night before. We sat ourselves on their lawn which boasts a magnificent view over Timaru.
Rushed to eat though as we were due at our next and final event of the day - bonfire night for Josh's birthday at the Camerons! We missed the lighting of the fire but by the looks of the smokey heap it wasn't a roaring success :) I walked up the *steep* hill to say hello to Rachel who has thrown her back out in a big way and got embroiled in a conversation about a poor cow with a disjointed hip, and horse manes and the best way to trim them. It was educational. When I went out again to join the bonfire, I was dazzled by the evening sky...and discovered one of life's ultimate disappointments (second by a long way to talking to people who have no desire for Christ) in having the wrong lens on the camera...a 50mm prime lens is highly unsuitable for sunsets!!!!! I captured only a sliver of what was available - it was absolutely magnificent and kept getting better until an 8.45 pm desaturation.