Saturday, April 30, 2011

April's end

The boys have been on holiday still this week; on Tuesday they spent the day with Caleb and Josh and then we had the Camerons around to tea, after which Caleb and Aaron went back to their place for an outdoor tenting sleepover! Apparently winter sleep-outs are no issue if you have a 1 degree tent and -2 degree sleeping bags...I don't think anyone would convince me that it could possibly be warm enough, but when I collected the boys on Wednesday morning after a double dentist appointment (two more fillings done, one to go) they were in high spirits and looking quite well albeit a little tired. They spent the day quietly at home. I made beanbags this week from a pattern I found here...on Tuesday I only got as far as ruling out inches on brown paper and drawing the pattern pieces onto it. On Wednesday I cut out the pieces after work (six side pieces required for each bag, plus inners, meant 24 sides cut plus four top circles and 8 bottom pieces...we all rejoiced when it was done!) and then started sewing up the sides before bible study. On Thursday Nick took the car in for some fixing up and the WOF (it had failed on Tuesday), and was gone a couple of hours while I stayed home with the boys. Due to some further complicated arrangements with Nick having a lunch meeting and the boys having afternoon plans and some shoots happening at work, I ended up not going to the studio at all so spent the entire day finishing off the beanbags. Getting the velcro fastening inserted and sewing the rounds onto the bags took longer than I had thought. By late afternoon they were done and ready for stuffing; I had bought two 200-litre bags of polystyrene balls which I thought would be twice as much as we needed. After much engineering and a little frustration and a lot of giggling we got one bag stuffed using nearly all the filling. It's a LOT bigger than I thought; somewhat of a monstrosity but it seats both boys comfortably. Friday I was back at work and the boys were home with Nick; in the evening we got our Royal Wedding vibes on and gathered at the Camerons place to watch. Nick and Matt went off to Mac club and then Burger King afterwards (anything to avoid our TV company!) and the boys watched a movie while Rachel and I provided our own running commentary on who was arriving and what they were wearing and the expressions on their faces and the moose antlers one dear royal seemed to be sporting. We thought Kate looked lovely although the bust on her dress was offputtingly Maddona-esque - and why did bride and groom both look so bored and sleepy? There was much biblical input although the clearest part was the reading of the Word - the short message was wafty with a moralistic emphasis and no gospel, full of high prose and theatrics. By 11.30 we'd seen enough (couldn't wait another hour for that balcony kiss) - it was great watching the wedding though; I remember watching Charles and Diana's wedding in 1981! Today has been a jobs-day - part of my job was to get lightbulbs and weather strips from the Warehouse where I bumped into Danielle, which led to coffee at Mitre 10's Sopheze insert for a great chat. Nick and the boys got under the house to sort out some insulation with a staple gun and carpet offcuts; after lunch I revved up Matt's hedge trimmer and took down heaps of foliage outside the diningroom window and along the driveway. Nick switched over to lawn mowing later and I zooted off to the church for my rostered cleaning. We had an amazingly hot and sunny day - just when we think winter has set in (with the highest temperature of 10 deg on Wednesday), we have these remarkable days tucked between (today's high was 22 and it felt hot). Short sleeves would have been sufficient but for melanoma-me it was long sleeves and jeans and a hat for all outdoor stuff :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Autumn Reds

Anzac Day today, which I recently discovered stands for the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. There was to be a parade in town but with the weather having turned cold and rainy there was no chance I was even going to try persuade the fam to go watch. Instead, we set up a meeting with Lyndsay and Nyree to discuss the youth camp which we're planning for a weekend in July. Nyree gave my hair a trim (part I of the plan), and then we stayed on for a remarkable lunch of hamburgers with bacon and patties, porkies, cheese, salad filling, and potato wedges and fries. Yum-a-lummo!! Left just before 1, around the time the Warehouse was opening, to get hold of some hair dye - part II of the plan. I now have very red hair which I rather like, as does Nick. Our evenings are now being spent more and more together in the lounge around the fire...there's music to be played, books to be read, conversation to be had - it's a happy time to gather in the warm room!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Girly fun on Easter Sunday

There were no chocolate bunnies or eggs to be found in our house this morning...rather, we greeted one another with the traditional "He is risen;" "He is risen indeed" Easter salutation. What a glorious unveiling of God's redemption plan! After the morning church service at which we had a guest speaker by way of Alfie Orr, we took a Dominoes lunch to the Botanical Gardens. We're feeling the need to soak up as much autumn sun as possible while it's available...and it was a magnificent day. The boys fed our left-over crusts to the ducks although it was the ubiquitous sea-gulls that snatched them up with gusto and delight. We extended an open home invitation to Andreas and Danielle's place (say what??) and were glad that Rene, Bron, Grant and Petru took us up on it. Andreas and Danielle graciously played along, providing cookies and coffee and apple tart (we quietly ate the tart while the kids were watching a DVD in the other room, heh heh). The four of us ladies got on to a discussion of what to do with Lynn's hair as it was getting seriously blah but I didn't quite know how to fix it. Had an idea of going reddish so we looked at styles and colours on the web, then started bringing out styling products and having fun...Bronwyn is quite the expert at the back-combing thing and after mucking about with my fine hair she demonstrated on her own mane just how effective it can be for adding volume and height. We were nearly rolling on the carpet in hysterics...thanks Danielle for the set of photos!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Music to my ears

Nick and I both out of bed at 7 am...why, we couldn't be sure as it was still dark. I think just a case of being wide awake and ready to start the day. Still had a rather late start to actually getting out of the house on an expedition to the Warehouse, what with producing duty rosters and bulletins for tomorrow and mucking about with music. We've been buying some tunes from Indelible Grace's hymn collection - they've taken the solid old theologically-rich hymns with unsingable music and rewritten the music, giving them a deliciously contemporary twist while keeping the beautiful truths - if you want to know more, go here and select the Indelible Grace version of O Help my Unbelief - one of our favourites - and here for the free sheet music and guitar chords for many revised hymns. Onto the Warehouse then where half of Timaru had gathered for some Easter shopping - the parking lot was so full we had to park across the road in Repco's parking! Caleb pooled his birthday monies and bought a nerf gun for Aaron and a big Lego collection for himself, which we all had fun building around the diningroom table. At 3 pm they biked up to the Phillipsies to play with Jayden and Dinnay. At 5 pm Nick and I took the left-overs of yesterday's soup (which was most of the pot still - I had made a BIG batch) for a cazh (that's teenage-speak for casual, I believe) tea of soup and home-made bread (Grant tried to get holes in the dough for some reason and was excited to find a little one). Erinmarie and Dannica have gone off to a youth camp on the North Island so it was just the eight of us...perfect number to all jump in the van and get ice-creams from Burger King. Lots of laughter and brain freezes all round...back to their place for several cups of tea and some serious and not so serious conversation. Home shortly after 9 pm, at which time we engaged in a Skype conversation with some SA family who were visiting my parents. Much hilarity ensued with both sides pulling faces and being utterly silly...managed to get some actual catching up done thanks to Heidi's sane two-minute summary!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A very Good Friday

Good Friday - a day to reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus. Nick presented such an awesome message on 'why Jesus had to die' - it wasn't merely so that He could identify with us in our sufferings, or for God to demonstrate His great love for us although these form part of the whole. The essential reason was for the payment of our sins - justice meets mercy at the cross. Our sins were never meant to be only forgiven and forgotten, but actually fully paid for in the currency of Jesus' own blood. With the penalty paid and the sentence served, there is forgiveness and reconciliation. What a beautiful plan started to unfold on this day! Attending the service were Sheila and Des, two South African ladies, one of whom has been friends with my mom since they were little girls at Sunday School together! After the church gathering we came home and I made carrot soup while Nick continued with some prep and the boys mucked about doing something or other. The weather was marvellous and so we took the opportunity to walk to Caroline Bay (Nick and I walked and the boys took their bikes). There was quite a buzz and vibe with heaps of people milling around the park area and vendors peddling their wares...we treated ourselves to ice-creams (I had brought a whopping $6, just in case) and then walked back. We had youth in the evening along the informal lines of watching the third Narnia DVD which Caleb was given for his birthday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nearly...not again

Yesterday afternoon the hospital phoned to say that there had been a cancellation again and they could take me for my nose procedure today - yippeeee!! Not that I'm excited about getting a new Michael Jackson nose, but I do really want to get it over with. The doctor operates in the afternoons on Thursdays so it was no inconvenience to get to the hospital at 12.30 today - I even got to go to work in the morning. Nick dropped me off and then started the long wait. I picked up reading the book I started last time. After an hour I was taken through to get my blood pressure recorded, my rings taped up and a hospital tag applied to my wrist. Then I was sent back to wait. About another hour later I was shuffled to another waiting room - the comfortable one with the big loungey chairs seating snoring patients having blood tranfusions and clicking machines dispensing saline and medicine into people - for more waiting. At 4.30 I was told "sorry, complications" - I had met patient #2 who was before me and hope that it was nothing too bad for him, but was utterly gutted that I was being sent home again with my nose intact. Caleb and Aaron had cycled to the Phillips' house in the morning and had a good old run around with Jayden and Dinnay until around 3 pm - it's so easy when friends live nearby and they can make their own transport arrangements. Nick had been hard at work on his Easter prep, so a busy day for them all. On the bright side of the no-nose, I could attend the Maundy Thursday service at our church in the evening. We were a small gathering but it was good to meet and listen to Nick's message on "Why did Jesus send the Holy Spirit?". I was somewhat distracted by Aaron who had developed a high temperature and severe lethargy - he snored his way through the proceedings and as soon as we got home I spooned Panado into him and he was more than happy to get into bed, missing out on apple crumble and ice-cream with Andreas and Danielle. Caleb stayed up with us, quietly listening to the conversation until about 9.30. Excellent to see the Bothas again - it's been much too long!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Caleb who?

Nick has encouraged the boys to actively make their own social arrangements for the holidays. I printed off a weekly calendar and they set to work filling it. Caleb did all the phoning and arranging and was very polite and pleasant; he organized for Ben and Josiah to come and play at our house for most of the day today. Trouble was, he didn't introduce himself as Caleb Clevely to their dad, so they were duly dropped off at Caleb Cameron's house. Oh dear - much confusion but Rachel kindly delivered them here. I left for work before they arrived, and when I got back they needed to be dropped off back home post haste. By all accounts the four had enjoyed an outdoor day (the cold didn't bother them - thankfully no rain) pedalling around the suburb, jumping on the tramp and playing an army game out back. I gave Caleb a haircut before tea.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Red skies at dawn (sailors be warned)

Every cloud has a silver lining, they our case, the cloudy cold days often produce spectacular sunrises and -sets and interesting effects in the skies. These two shots are from our kitchen window on two different evenings; the sky in the second pic had been blanketed all day by thick cloud which just didn't quite touch the horizon, like an ill-fitting lid which leaked light in - particularly amazing when the sun sank low enough to peep through the edges. Next is this evening's sunset from our back yard, followed by this morning's sunrise from the bedroom window - we are truly blessed with magnificent skies sometimes and I wondered if God had originally planned, as part of His creation, skies that would fill with colour and beauty just for our pleasure! Between admiring the skies I was also putting together a quick and easy mince and pasta meal for our Graham and Liz Gregory who we have met through the tangled grapevine of a small town - blogs and same building employment and scrapbook shop visits and so on. Had a most excellent time with them with many common interests to keep the conversation flowing, not the least of which was reformed theology! Hope that this is the beginning of a long friendship...certainly we are all properly connected now as FB buddies :)I also spent a large chunk of the day photographing stone tiles and fixtures, leaving Nick in charge of the boys at home. The boys resurrected their bikes from the garage and pedalled around the suburb; Nick also set them to work stacking wood for the potbelly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

One Decade of Caleb

By Caleb's calculations of time zones and things he wasn't turning 10 until the early hours of Tuesday, but we agreed that he could change ages when he woke up this morning! In the usual tradition we had hidden his presents but there were just two to start with - a DVD from Aaron and the closest we could get to an x-box. Aaron said that was the worst present anyone had ever bought for anyone, but Caleb appreciated the humour in it. For his main pressie we told him to look inside his violin case (he's been hiring one from the school of music)...he realized when he was unzipping the case that it didn't look like his, and soon twigged that the violin inside was his own! Very pleased with it. The last one was hidden in our room as it needed to be done in the correct order - a shoulder rest for the violin. Watch Aaron's expression as Caleb unwraps it! At 10 am it was party time. We did the easiest thing possible by having it at the pool, and they were running a super holiday combo special with unlimited access to the hydra slide as well as pool time for two hours. Bonus! All we had to do was show up with food - the boys did the rest and loved it. Matt came and kept Nick company and Rachel stayed a while too. I'd say a good time was had by all but I'm not sure about the vomiters - the slide was grandly pumping out chlorine fumes and most of the boys found themselves at least coughing if not worse. On the whole though it was a most excellent morning. Jayden went home with Nick and the boys; I went to work thus safely escaping the additional nerf-gun testosterone :) The Camerons joined us to watch Caleb's new DVD, the third in the Narnia series; we arranged ourselves comfortably in the lounge although had to sacrifice an interval for popcorn as Matt had to get to an 8 pm meeting. After they left Caleb and Aaron settled themselves in the tent in the garage and thus ended Caleb's 10th birthday. He now enters what people have described as the golden age - old enough to be independent but with no adolescent issues! Happy Golden Age Caleb, we love you heaps and enjoy you so much!