Friday, April 27, 2012

Into the hockey season

Drum roll....Caleb and Aaron had their first hockey games of the season.  Whoop whoop!  After only two or three practice evenings they were cast into the fray, versing other schools.  They are both on the "St Joseph's" school team as TCS didn't have their own hockey team, so they will be playing in blue shirts for the duration of the season.  It was pretty exciting, really!  The boys were both nervous but apparently this was a team-wide emotion - the competition is no joke and no one seems to be in it just for fun.  The boys are playing in different age groups and as such play separate games at different times on different turfs.  That meant a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the games to see how both teams were going.  Caleb's team lost 8-1; Caleb was playing back for the first half then got moved to wing position.  Aaron was center back and center forward so had a fair bit of time with the ball.  His team won 2-1.  Well done to both boys who played with much heart and effort.  You did us proud!
Pre-game muster - final instructions from the coach.  The boys were impressed with the goalie's extensive gear and are hoping that they get a turn too.
Hmm, lots of time staring down the field waiting for the action to move his way...until at last it finally does.  One of our gals from church was playing on the opposing team - I asked Caleb if he said hello; he said, "nah, I just tackled her". 
Aaron - jumping over the ball, towards it, or just for joy?
Those mouth guards - eish - don't make for the best faces.
Get it!!
We hustled the boys out of there as fast as we could so we could still make it to the optometrist to collect Aaron's glasses (pics to follow) and carry on with our Friday Family Fun as usual - pizza and Tintin in the warm lounge!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Day done properly

I love it when a new school term starts with a short week - two days of school, a holiday, another two days and then weekend.  This week's intermission was thanks to ANZAC Day, where remembrance services and ceremonies are held nationwide.  Aaron actually was the one to suggest going to the service at Caroline Bay - mostly because he wanted to see his friend's father who was the guest speaker, but also because it was something to do.  Caleb went kicking and screaming (all internally of course) but I think it was important to understand why this is such a big event on the Kiwi calendar.  A parade was headed by pipers, the steady drone of the bass notes mixing with the shrills and trills of the pipes - fabulous!!  Then came the brass band, followed by invited guests.  It was a pretty good service I thought.  No prayers were offered for the dead; I had forewarned the boys that we may well get up and leave if there was going to be any of that sort of nonsense. And I think it's right that we remember that the country's freedom came at great cost - it was also right that mention was made of Jesus Christ who offered the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom (although at that point it became a little sketchy who is free...the whole world?  The Bible teaches otherwise.)  I'm also pleased to say that the boys and I can now sing the NZ National Anthem in Maori with semi-decent pronunciation, so long as we have the words in front of us :)
After lunch the day's plans shifted gear; the boys got invited to Ben and Josiah and Nick came home and said he'd gotten far enough along in his prep to take the afternoon off.  With such perfect weather and the sudden freedom, what better thing to do than the grocery shopping together?  At least that was my ideal afternoon; fortunately for Nick's sake we bumped into Grant and Petru at PaknSave and they invited us to join them at the beach directly after.  Saved!  This was a great opportunity to meet Petru's brother and family who are in NZ for a few months. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

To Nimrod and back

Violining Victoria is back in Timaru, filling in a maternity contract at the hospital.  She might only be with us for a few months, but it's excellent to have her as long as possible anyway!  We invited her around for Sunday lunch but during the chatting afterwards we got invited to Mt Nimrod for a 'braai', so readjusted our plans and Victoria came along too, joining with the de Beers and Kempfs.  Mt Nimrod is a nature reserve, but was a bit further than we anticipated - by the time we got there it was just about time to turn back!  Good thing Nick had thought ahead and took his afternoon sermon with him to read over instead of us having to rush back.  Spent a relaxed afternoon playing music and barbequing; Aaron stood in the river and got his shoes soaked and muddy.  Still had a bit of a panic in the end to get to church on time but we made it just on time.  Nothing like foregoing a music practice to utterly shatter confidence when it comes to playing in church either :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

War zone

Can't believe we have been blessed with still another beautiful day!!  Did some bits and pieces of errands and jobs before going to collect firewood - a family affair in which all four of us loaded up three cubic metres of pine into a borrowed trailer.  We have heaps of bluegum drying out in preparation for winter but needed some softer wood as well to keep the harder bluegum going - oh the wonderful things one can learn in a cold country!  The boys earned a reward by way of sundaes from Burger King, which we ate while meandering down to Caroline Bay.  Also stopped in at the Warehouse (where Caleb gets a bargain) to spend Caleb's birthday money from Granny and Grandpa.  He found a Lego set at a bargain 50% discount, yippee...he and Aaron had a good half an hour building this chunky dragon which has a flexible construction and looks fearsome.  After that they pulled out nearly every box and container of toys in their room to build an exciting game of Lego and pirates and hapless soldiers and possibly even a car or two.   I didn't even bother trying to get them to tidy it up.  I figured that much effort into setting up a playing field must surely be rewarded by staying that way until they got tired of not seeing their floor anymore, or until one of them impaled a bare foot in the middle of the night. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

(Forthcoming) Attractions

Last day of holiday club invariably means dress-up...the theme this time was 'circus'.  I had taken the boys to the $2 shop yesterday afternoon to pick out supplies, so this is what they wore - self-styled capes from scraps of material in the garage, glittery hats and golden masks.  I applied my own eye-liner very delicately to both boys but they were unimpressed with the result, claiming they looked like girls - off they went to the bathroom to apply their own messy macho face paint.  Much better result though under the masks!
I had an afternoon meeting with Nyree to discuss the planning of an exciting event...ladies of Timaru, watch this space!!  The boys tagged along and found Dominoes to play with and Rachael to entertain with their witty chatter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Happy birthday 11-year-old Caleb!  Technically he wasn't born until 1.08 am on Thursday morning NZ time, but we thought we'd be kind and not bother about time zones.  We kicked off the day with the traditional present hunt; the main part of his present had not yet arrived in the mail so I printed out the order confirmation and tucked it into an empty cereal box (we didn't actually give him fruitful muesli as a present); socks were his idea and the Lego was an added bonus!  He stood up to make a speech after opening his gifts but hasn't yet mastered the art of verbose eloquence - or perhaps he is gifted in simple speech..."thank you" was all he said.  After the morning at holiday club we brought Ben and Josiah back home with us, stopping off for pizza on the way.  This was not a party year for him but having two friends over as a holiday activity was permissible.  They spent a good afternoon together.  Toasties for tea and bible study concluded a very good day.
(This cute canary is not ours - we are bird-sitting the school pet over the holidays.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cold day, hot air

The boys are at a holiday club at Church Street Chapel this week, so I have two hours free every morning to use at the school, unravelling the mysteries which occur over holidays - 80+ e-mails and a whopping pile of post, for starters!  The day was grey and cold; Nick got a fire going at lunch time (some change from yesterday's short sleeves and open windows) so naturally the boys and I spent the afternoon in the lounge.  They don't seem much bothered by the violin - only when I start talking about relative minors and sharpened sevenths do they tell me to please shush :)  Watched a couple of Bean episodes late afternoon and consequently tea ran slightly late.  Chips, drumsticks and baked beans - which got the boys thinking of some wind-related stories.  Poor Aaron currently has the top bunk and with hot air rising...well...Aaron asked Caleb to come up to his bunk to experience what Caleb had created...Caleb said he got halfway and nearly passed out! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

My nerd herd

Had a splendid day of sunshine and blue skies and warmth - yes, we can still wear t-shirts in NZ in April!  Aaron had an optometrist appointment in town, so off the three of us went on a mission.  He is now officially a Salzwedel offspring with confirmed short-sightedness, but his prescription is still very weak.  Caleb started wearing glasses just after he turned six, so Aaron's eyes definitely are not as bad as his brother's or as mine were.  We've chosen a sturdy pair of frames and Aaron is excited about looking like a nerdy intellectual (his words) in the near future! 
Had Jemima over to play in the evening - in less than an hour we played through an entire book of duets - simple pieces but so pretty with two violins.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Just us

Spent Saturday quietly at home; Nick and the boys took a bike-ride to the DVD shop to return our hirelings - they came back tired and complaining (the boys, not Nick).  I assembled flat-pack cubbyholes and cleaned the house a bit.  Great to have a day at home.
Today, between being blessed by two excellent church services, we called in at a family in Timaru who have some old violins knocking about, one of which might become a new Clevely baby.  Had a look at two and played both, bringing one favoured one home with us to test drive.  Quite a difference from my current model!  After the evening service we invited Justus over for a cup of tea; got spoiled with a live impromptu performance of Bach's J.S. Partita No. 3 in E, BWV 1006.  Ha!

Friday, April 13, 2012

People, people, people

Said our goodbyes to the Roodts mid morning - until we meet again!  Most excellent to see them all, and hopefully we won't have to wait another two years before connecting up again.
The boys had a school friend come over to play shortly after their departure, enjoying time in the garage with scissors, tape and boxes...amongst other activities such as hockey and Lego.  Had a chat over hot chocolate with Adam's mum when she came to collect him - good to get to know Nicole a bit better. 
Nick was home early afternoon, so I could do the grocery shopping on my own.  I bought a 'menu planner' app a few weeks ago and it's taken a long time to get it set up with ingredients, pantry items and recipes etc, but it was such fun to plan two weeks of meals and then have the app figure out which groceries I need!  Getting myself properly organised in the kitchen means I can try out new recipes instead of the usual 7 or 8 things I stick with - also means we don't have to resort to takeaways as a last-minute plan :)  With the freshly stocked pantry it was still a pizza night though; we took a family trip to the Warehouse (where everyone gets...), spending the rest of the fortnight's grocery money on furniture items and vitamins; headed to the DVD shop for our family Friday fun and then stopped at Dominoes where our pizzas were just ready (again, yay for iPhone apps!).  We had a good chuckle at how convenient our life is, especially when Nick pulled up right outside the door of the pizza shop...actually our lifestyle is way too comfortable and we have to guard against too much ease - remembering the Puritans who, when given a piece of bread, would remark, "All this, AND Christ?"

Graham and Liz called in just after our family movie finished (actually quite well timed!) with their fish and chips, as we haven't seen them in a while what with goings away and holidays and all.  Graham found an interesting part in his fish - we weren't even sure whether it was a fish part or some entirely different species which the fish had stomached, but whatever the case, mine was turned! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wir haben kein Deutsch?

We sent the Roodts off in the direction of Tekapo this morning, armed with sandwiches and some vague directions. They had a great day out and apparently had absolute calm at the observatory - no snot getting knocked out of them :) They were home mid-afternoon; I didn't even let them have a cup of tea before herding them out to our regular spot at Dashing Rocks. It always makes a pleasant walk and I thought it best to go while the weather held. I handed my camera over to Stu with a crash course on aperture and shutter speed - in return I got to use his compact digital but didn't keep any of the photos.
Home again in plenty of time to finish preparing the pea and ham soup which had been going in the slow cooker all day in preparation for a large evening gathering in which the Phillipses joined us around the table for some good conversation and as usual, much laughter.  I hadn't known that Bernie is quite as lively as she is, and when we ended up sitting next to each other during an ad-hoc game of charades we dissolved into German conversation, voices, giggles and utter ridiculousness.  What fun!
Chinese whispers - what started as "I am the Vine" transformed into "Lynn is divine" - ha ha...of course we know that only God is divine! (and we are da branches)
Nick and I watched a short silent Maori movie with Petru and Stu in the lounge, leaving other company behind on their own - bad idea, as the diningroom had been rearranged when we returned after the 8-minute clip!
Great fun guys, thanks for the laughs!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bucklands to the Roodts

The boys and I were packed and ready early on Wednesday morning to leave the Bucklands.  We got off around 8.50 headed for Christchurch as we had a few stops to make - first was to a camera shop to see if they would like my D80 which is now for sale as Nick is giving up his D200.  A few wrong turns got us there eventually; it was a failed mission though as they were completely disinterested in a straight trade.  Alas.  Back in the car for the next stop which was a violin shop.  It had been raining all morning and all the car windows were severely fogged up; I had Caleb navigating on my phone which kept losing track of us, and then there were endless roadworks and detours all over Christchurch, added to the one-ways and heavy traffic and our slightly balding tires, all of which made me very nervous!  After half an hour of driving we gave up entirely and headed to our third stop - Hallensteins, to see what marvellous bargains we could acquire for Nick and the boys (the one in the Hornby Dressmart has the best sales ever!) - came away with a lambswool jersey for Nick, jeans for Caleb and a jersey for Aaron.  Eventually, back on the home stretch for the two hours to Timaru.  So glad to eventually arrive home safely. 

Time for a quick cup of coffee, a bit of supply shopping, some final tidying up, macaroni cheese made and ready to go in the oven before our houseguests arrived around 4 pm: The Roodts!!  We know Rich and Bernie and the boys from our days at Constantia Park Baptist in Pretoria, SA - so we would have met when Aaron was just a few months old.  They emigrated to NZ around the time we left for St Helena, and we last saw them shortly after we landed in NZ when they came down to Timaru for Nick's induction.  What a blessing to meet up with them again!  Bernie's mom is over from SA for a holiday so they are doing some SI travelling and visiting. Great to see the boys again too, who are now young men and still as twinly in looks as ever.  We gathered around the dinner table early, then dragged Bernie and Stu off to the Bothas with us for bible study.  They were pretty much dead on their feet by the end of it all after a very early morning and busy day - no rest for the weary!

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Hawarden we go!

I'm not really a fan of split-family holidays, but the boys and I have several days off school while Nick is still hard at work.  Instead of being bound to the house, we decided to take a short trip up to Hawarden to visit the Bucklands for two nights - also because I wanted to do a book swap, deliver some second-hand clothing, and return the negative scanner.  All seemed like a good excuse to hit the road!  We left mid-morning, ate on the road, and arrived early afternoon.  It was excellent to spend time with Brendon and Belinda, Rachel, Ruth and Hannah again, and to meet Hezekiah.  The kids took only a short while to reconnect before they were playing really well.  Rachel took the boys to see the horse that she regularly rides, graciously taking them for a ride as well.  Caleb stayed on help muck out while Aaron came back and got stuck playing Barbies with the younger two - fortunately Belinda figured out that Lego would be more to his liking and had a huge tub available!  On Tuesday we took a walk down the road to the shop and had a peek at a museum which was closed, had horse rides again with Caleb actually riding on his own this time, more Lego, plenty of violin duets, trios and quartets, much chatting, time in Rose Cottage and just a jolly good time all round.  Thanks so much to the Bucklands for our relaxed mini-break!