Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feverish and furry

The boys have come down with some form of germy-bug...Caleb started on Sunday with extreme fatigue, and on Monday it was clear that neither he nor Aaron were fit for school. They were not the only ones though - seems there is really something going around as I had one phonecall after another in the school office with absenteeisms. On Tuesday Aaron went back to school, but I had him coughing up a horse at home again today, Wednesday, along with Caleb who has been bedridden for the better part of three days. I am so glad that Nick can shift his office to home when the need arises, and very much appreciative of his @homeness. The boys both perked up a little yesterday evening when Graham and Liz came over for a meal and music practice - we've successfully roped them both into playing in church this coming Sunday! Had a super friendly cat come to visit today - beautiful pure white fellow, playful and affectionate. Itchy eyes and a scratchy throat later, I remember why we don't want pets...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bye bye Brookers :(...

Seems we have petty crime in Timaru - Nick's ax has disappeared from the courtyard, and we can't fathom where it would have gone. Have finally concluded that someone came and nicked it. Went on a family outing to the Warehouse in the afternoon - Nick bought himself a new wood splitter, and a mini version for the boys to make kindling. I bought blonde hairdye - with spring coming, it's time for the red to disappear. Unfortunately Nick had more success with his ax than I had with my dye, so I'll have to make another separate attempt as I ended up with blonde roots on top of the my head and the same pinkish red for the rest. I've been cautioned by a few in the know not to experiment too much as (a) I could go Khaki Green or (b) my hair could break off at the roots. Neither one of those would be a satisfactory outcome.
The final final farewell for the Brookers happened on Saturday night at the school, in the style of 'bring your own takeaways for a picnic' - a great idea. The PTA organized drinks and desserts and had done a superb job of setting up the hall with picnic tables, benches, and bin bags for the rubbish. There was a good turnout; most notable was the group of ex-TCS students who presented Shaun with a canvas autographed by them all. I think it says a lot about a principal when past students who are now cool teenagers come back to pay tribute!

Friday, August 26, 2011

And the winner is...

Have I mentioned that our school is in a transition period? This week we farewelled Mr Brooker, the principal of Timaru Christian School. It's been excellent working with Shaun over the last few weeks in the office, and we've known the school has been in good hands! But change is inevitable, and Shaun and Bronwyn are relocating to Auckland. The staff had a final morning tea together with speeches and pressies, and the kids got together for a final assembly on Friday afternoon and sang a song and prayed - it was an emotional day; rushing a student to hospital with a broken arm didn't help either but certainly made it a memorable day! In the evening I had the novel job of photographing the winners of each category in the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Hospitality and Tourism Awards, under the auspices of Callander Girl Photography - Rachel had set up a backdrop and lighting, so all I had to do was arrive and click the button on her delicious D700. It was fun, especially sitting in the green room with the MC / guest speaker who was unknown to me, but as it turns out he is a famous personality, and I quote "one of the most recognised faces on New Zealand television". Well there you go...we don't have a TV!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Caleb asked if he could drive home after school today - I said sure (he's 10). I let him get into the driver's seat and turn the key; he got a real thrill out of starting the car. Aaron had been lagging and by the time he reached the car Caleb had already evacuated my seat and left the car running. Aaron wanted to have a turn too, of course, but I told him he could when he's 10, with the explanation that there would be lots of things that Caleb would be doing before him since he's older. "But," Caleb consoled him, "by the time you get to drive you'll be that much closer to the possibility of having a hover craft!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Red Mountain Music

Nick and I have been playing a lot of music together lately - he's thrilled to finally have a melody instrument to accompany him on the guitar, even though it's not a terribly wonderful sounding melody instrument (yet). My progress on the violin is slow but I have to remind myself that I've only been having lessons for two and a half months! Nick has come across an excellent resource: Red Mountain Music is a group of reformed Christians who are wanting to re-introduce the theology of the great old hymns but with modern tunes. For $16 (plus $10 postage if you're in NZ), you get to download 26 mp3 songs, a pdf download of every song in their catalogue, as well as the physical CD in the post. We're pretty excited about learning these fantastic hymns! If you go to their website, have a look around at their various resources and samples, as well as the Gadsby Project.

Either or there...

Nick's message this morning was from Acts 20:7-12, where Eutychus falls asleep and tumbles out a window...his main application was NOT that he shouldn't be preaching until midnight, but we all appreciated the humour! The point really was that preaching wasn't merely the latest technology of the day, but the God-appointed means of grace to grow the church...we don't rely on gadgetry and gimmicks to draw people; the Holy Spirit continues to use the "old-fashioned" preaching of the Word to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment. Lunch was spent happily at Andreas and Danielle; we very nearly mucked up the entire arrangement having totally (and to our utter embarrassment) forgotten that we had been invited. It was when I invited Danielle to lunch at our house that it all came to light. Doh! Meanwhile, we'd invited John to join us, so had to ask if the Bothas could feed an extra - turns out that they'd stolen our guest anyway so it was a case of all the same company, just a different venue. And way better food. We had a fondue!Amazing how co-operative the boys are for photos when there's a bribe involved..."you can watch a DVD as soon as I've taken a good pic"...^ What a yummy pudding :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Always winter but the sun was shining

Saturday excellent time for catching up on missed housework. Nick has been very gracious in picking up many of the tasks, but over time many small things escalate into several things needing major attention! The sun was out and we got through three loads of washing, apart from the other washing needing folding and sorting, amongst other things. It was very rewarding to have a tidy house again. AT 12.15 we went to pick up Jayden and headed to the Theater Royal for the Connect Church's presentation of "Always Winter, Never Christmas" their rendition of CS Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". For an amateur production it was superbly done with excellent sets and costumes etc, and it sure was fun to pick out people that we knew - included in the large cast were a few from our school - teacher, parents, kids. Nick and I had cameras at the ready and were disappointed to hear the "no photographs permitted" announcement! The boys asked if Jayden could stay at our house for a while after we got back; after some manly wood chopping (kung-fu style), they played indoor games so Caleb could join - the passage makes an ideal cricket pitch! And then onto the evening, in which Liz and Graham joined us for a stew and fellowship. We had advised them to bring musical instruments; we made an interesting foursome of guitars, trombone and violin!! It was great fun and lovely to catch up with them again.(You really have to click on this last one to see Jayden's expression - priceless!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

And Timaru gets...?

After the excitement of Monday's snow, we were all geared up for it on Tuesday, anticipating a school closure or at least a half day...there was a substantial amount of snow on the ground, but horror of horrors, it started raining around 6.30 am...all the snow melted although my tiny snowman braved the rain for several hours before disappearing into puddle. And that was the end of the snow. It rained allllllllll day - dreary and cold. And hugely disappointing, I might add, that while practically the whole nation was making snow angels, we were just wet. By Wednesday it had started clearing up, and Thursday we had washing hanging outside again. Caleb was off school on Friday as he had been coughing a lot during the week and needed a day of being inside and resting. Aaron tried to plead sore tummy, cough, sniffs...anything to stay home, but no joy from his parents on that one! Work for me has been up and the morning I leave home feeling stressed, and in the afternoon I come home depressed about the many things I still don't know about the job!! Poor Nick has had to deal with a trying wife this week :)

Monday, August 15, 2011


6 am...still dark outside...but wait, look, there's a sprinkling of snow on the ground!! I wanted to wake Nick and the boys but had to contain my excitement (I really felt like a kid at Christmas) until 7 am when the household was stirring. By then it was actually snowing again, little flakes mixed with tiny hailstones. Way cool. The boys were all set to have a day at home but we waited and 8.15 there was still only a patchy whiteness, and nothing on the roads so we were good to go. School attendance was at about 50%; we were one of only about three or four schools left open in Timaru and my school morning was spent largely fielding calls. There really was no need for panic though; by mid-morning the snow had entirely disappeared and the sun was shining. And did it stay that way? No no, the pattern of the day was heavy cloud, blizzard-like conditions with heavy snowfalls for about 10 minutes, a clearing of the skies, sunshine. Start up again - clouds roll in, strong cold winds, snow, hail, clouds dry up and the sun shines. So I guess we had about 8 or 10 blizzards during the course of the day; disappointingly not enough to settle and make things white, but certainly enough to walk about in and experience the wonder of snow - the gentle plopping of a flake is far different to the harsh splat of a raindrop as its fall is ended on a bush or tree. During the next sunny spell the boys went outside to play with the tiny bits of snow that remained - Aaron put together a tiny little fellow. It had gotten pretty cold during the day too; by tea-time we were disinclined to be anywhere except the lounge. Nick and the boys sat civilly around the coffee table, but I huddled next to the window staring at the flurry which was pretty mesmerizing! Very First Snowman. In my maturity of years, this is the first time I have ever had the joy of packing snow together to form a body and head. I see there is some measure of skill involved :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rustig (restful)

A 7 am start, and much staring out of windows to see if there was snow. There was none. Church was well attended and Nick's message from Acts was convicting and challenging. Home for a quiet afternoon and more watching of the skies, but with the sunshine so bright, any form of precipitation was not looking to be a likely outcome. It did start snowing just as we left home though for the afternoon service, lasted about five minutes, and that was that. Back home after church for a quiet evening in the cosy lounge; we watched "Letters to God" together - a tear jerker to be sure! Great family viewing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Filling up Saturday's schedule

The rest of the school/work/workatschool week passed by quickly - I got totally frazzled on Thursday morning when the school's newsletter had to go out, and couldn't quite get it ready by the first deadline, despite missing morning tea - it was one of those mornings where you really want to get stuck into something but there seem to be more 'interruptions' than time to deal with them! By the end of Friday afternoon I was feeling a lot more settled in the office, starting to find my way around, and have concluded that I quite like my job :)

This morning when we woke up it was bliss to know that we had not a single plan in place - the day was ours to do with as we wished (to the glory of God of course!). After Aaron's ukulele lesson we went to the Warehouse (where everyone gets a bargain) which is now a flash new Warehouse Extra, with lots of shelves still needing sorting though, but it's considerably bigger and better than our original store. I acquired a pair of snow boots since there are heavy snowfalls forecast for the next few days for the entire country including Timaru (which we found hard to believe considering how sunny it was at lunch time), and I had visions of walking to church over ice-covered pavements in regular shoes with sodden feet. Better to be prepared. We stopped in at a filling station later in the day and people were filling up gas bottles, in readiness for possible power cuts!! Timaru is not known for snow, but when it did snow heavily six years ago, all sorts of things happened - power outages for a few days for some people. We've got the potbelly on which we can cook basics and boil water, so we'd be okay for a day or two if that happened. After lunch we started a game of monopoly, and were still in the thick of buying properties from the bank when Josh C called, wanting to know if the boys could come and keep him company while Matt was playing tennis. Since we had organized some visits for the afternoon, we were happy to oblige instead of taking the boys with us. First stop then, after dropping Caleb, Aaron, their scooters and some spy-gear at the tennis courts, was at John on his farm in Waimate. As he's in the middle of his very busy cow season he's unable to get to church as regularly as he'd like, so we took a bit of church to him. Had a good visit for an hour, then headed back up State Highway #1 to Lindsay and Nyree. Again, enjoyed a lovely visit with them, and Nyree trimmed my hair. She is an excellent hairdresser; between her and the scissors she successfully interpreted my vague instructions. Lovely to meet Lindsay's daughter Rachel - a bubbly 19-year-old with the most wonderful elocution! Left them around 4pm and went to collect the boys, who were now with Josh at Caleb's dance competition. We arrived in time to watch one of Caleb's numbers and he's really excellent - he came second in this one and won a trophy for best boy. Back home at 5; Nick and the boys shifted all our firewood to just outside the back door in case of snow - Nick even had the presence of mind to leave a shovel right there in case we had to dig our way out the house. Well, one never knows. Back to our Monopoly game after tea which ran until about 9 am and in which Nick won again. We didn't really expect any other result!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Look mummy

Sometimes, instead of sitting reading in the lounge before school, the boys will play in their room together. This morning they made a mummy...discovered in Pompei in 1952. The boys pick up the story: "They first found his hand and then they dug the rest of him up and he had the bible in his hands. So they put him on a blanket and carried him away."

Monday, August 08, 2011

Callander Girl achieves prestigious NZ title!

Yesterday, Sunday, was a blessed day and lovely to have a rest. Nick was back in the pulpit after a few weeks of being on and off with Micah, then youth camp, then Vijay's ministry. We had our monthly fellowship lunch, then had to pop in at Andreas and Danielle to collect their car to borrow, as ours broke on Saturday night. It was quite strange, really - as Nick was pulling into the driveway after dropping off Erin-Marie after our evening out, the car started revving really high. He turned it off, and as soon as he started it up again it was full throttle. We had thus to walk to church on Sunday morning, and the Lord in His grace and goodness held off some very large raindrops until we were literally at the door. It started off as a lovely walk in the sunshine, but grew cold and frightfully windy until the rain came. We felt so blessed! Back to the car story though, Nick tried it again in the afternoon and lo and behold the problem had resolved, and has been fine since. Double blessing!

And then Monday came, and back to school: my nerves were frayed as I considered all the tasks I had before me at work and knew I wasn't sure how to do! But the morning went quickly and nothing terribly awful happened...I was hugely relieved by morning's end that I'd been able to work through a few bits and pieces without falling apart. Off to the studio at 12, where excitement was running high as Rachel, my lovely boss, had found out that she was in the running for some very Serious Photography Awards...I'll speed on to the next bit which is 11 pm on Monday night where winners were announced at a gala event in Rotorua: Rachel now holds the title of NZ Wedding Photographer of the Year! You can read about it here. This is a huge honour, and I don't think anyone was more deserving of the title - congratulations Rach, and did I mention I'm a huge fan?? Yay, whoop whooop!!!(Pic from Timaru Herald by Natasha Martin)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Bit of a stag night, what?

Had a very enjoyable day, catching up on 'stuff'...with having little time during the week now to do home things, weekend time becomes quite precious! Nick got busy with mowing the lawns and carting firewood, while I did housework, went shopping for birthday presents, and cleaned the church. Nick was out with the car when I needed to get to the church but since it's within walking distance it wasn't too much of a problem - but instead of walking Nick and I thought it would be fun if I took Aaron's scooter. Well. It wasn't fun. I nearly died of heart palpitations on the way there and had to lie on the church floor for five minutes to get my breath back. The way home was easier as it's mostly downhill and I must have looked a right sight...the mom with a bag of cleaning supplies whipping down the pavement on a too-short scooter.

At 5.45 Erin-Marie was dropped off at our house and Nick and I went out - we were guests at a joint birthday party for Lizzie and her mum, who we had heard much about but not yet met. It was a real treat for us to be there - Liz and Graham had expended hours in the effort of producing a three-course meal and transforming Liz's scrapbooking classroom into a stunning marquee with yards and yards of white fabric. Graham even went so far as to shoot the main course himself...and oh deer, the puns made our harts ache. Liz had organized some party games and it was great to get to know the four other couples besides the Gregorys and us over ice-breakers and nonsense. Live music and entertainment was also arranged, and helium balloons rounded off the evening although Nick and I had to leave before we could be transformed into chipmunk singers, to get back to relieve Erin of her child-minding duties. It was a most excellent evening!!

Friday, August 05, 2011

FBS...full brain syndrome

And just like that, another week is over, and my week of training in the school office comes to an end...we felt like we nowhere nearly covered the vast amount and variety of work, so I'm a little nervous about Monday when I can't hold Magda's hand! We worked until 5 pm on Friday, by which time my head had no more room for any further info and Magda and I were both trashed, so we called it a day. The boys had been very patiently waiting in the library, not once coming to ask how much longer we were going to be, and not even asking for anything to eat!!

Nick had surprised and blessed me by picking up some of my housework tasks during the day...I dropped Vijay off at the bus station this morning at 8 am, and so after four weeks we have no more house guests and things can return to a state of 'normal' much as can be in the Clevely household! Nick had stripped the bed, done a load of washing, turned the guest room back into my craft room, vacuumed the carpets, washed the dishes, and had the kettle boiled ready to make coffee. I didn't have to cook either - we decided on hot dogs which Nick assembled.

Youth in the evening was cancelled due to so many kids being sick and unable to attend, so instead we went and hung out with Chrissy, Isaac and Jeremiah for an hour.

Monday, August 01, 2011

School is fun!

Yay, holidays are over and we're back at school!! I think I was more excited than the boys to be going to school this morning...couldn't wait to get tucked into my new job. I had an excellent morning with Magda who has done a lot of groundwork in putting together office procedures and so on, and who kept up a running commentary on what needs to happen in the office and how it gets done. There's a lot to take in! Thankfully I have another four days of training still before flying solo. I saw Caleb at school who brought the register to the office, and watched as he skipped his way down the corridor back to class.
The boys were learning about "Ichthus" at holiday bible club, and they have put together this little rappy tap...way cool, lads!