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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Summer is here!

After reading about your Frenetic Friday, I feel a tad guilty about my posting today.....the one consolation being, that it is Saturday here, and so that might make the essential difference...?! Saturdays aren't meant to be frenetic or have bad weather....

I think the preceding weekends of fine weather, have been the foretaste of summer to come.....but today, it truly felt like summer is here! I just adore these days of sun and clear blue skies. If only it stayed a balmy (but tolerable) 23 degs and didn't get any warmer!!! I'd be a happy camper!!
But it looks like it the weather forecasters may have it right, and it's going to be another scorcher of a summer. My boys are already turning into little brown berries....with their sandal strap and short sleeved marks....
Sigh. And the empty bottle of sun block lotion.
Enjoy your weekend.
I hope it is less frantic and the outlook is sunnier all round!

Frenetic Friday

It was a crazy day at school. Just like most days!

Here's what stands out in my memory:

Got to school in time to set up a couple of work areas for parents leading Christmas activities

Just as the bell rang, got stuck in the office (where was that secretary??) with about 6 parents all asking questions. Worried in the back of my mind about just what my students would be doing

Answered the phone (still no secretary) to find out that one of my students, Little N, may have leukemia and would not be at school. Mum was trying not to cry on the phone as she told me. How do I go through the day with this on my mind??

Cruised around the school putting out fires - the biggest one was that most of the kindies ended up in the wrong rooms! As I attempted to figure out where a couple of them were supposed to be, they drifted away and reappeared in another wrong location!

21 different activities and 40 parent helpers to check on throughout the morning

Pouring rain, so all the children had to stay inside at recess and lunch

Back to the regular routine for the afternoon - what a relief!

Long drive home on the crowded, rainy, dark freeway.

Now the real job begins: time to write report cards. Should be a rockin' weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's in the Air!

Christmas is coming - I recognize the signs!
First, Big Bear has started playing piano at home, preparing for the church Christmas choir. It's always lots of work for him, but I enjoy hearing him practice. The same phrases over and over again. Looking forward to when he has all the songs perfected and I can hear them in their entirety! Second, tomorrow is Christmas Activities Day at school. We have all the elementary students signed up for a couple of different crafts and a whole whack of parents coming in to help. It's when I pull out all my tacky Christmas jewelry and jingle all day!
Third, it's report card time! This is the time when everyone else starts asking if I've done my Christmas shopping yet, and all I can think of is getting those report cards finished. Shopping??? It will have to wait till Dec. 19 when school lets out!
Speaking of shopping, I know a few people who will be doing some hard-core shopping tomorrow. For all you Down Underites, today was American Thanksgiving. This means that tomorrow signals the beginning of the Christmas season there, and is the biggest shopping day of the year in the US. People there line up for crazy sales and stores open early - I mean 4 or 5 a.m. I think I prefer Thanksgiving in October, the way we do it here in Canada. Not connected with consumerism frenzy! Little Bear crossed the border yesterday with a group of student friends to stay with someone in Seattle. I'm assuming that he ate turkey today, although I have no idea whose poor mother he's sponging off of!

A trip to the Sky Tower

Today’s blog is dedicated to a wonderful sister-in-law who graciously shared her birthday with us yesterday!

Hope the journey is exciting this year.....

the view amazing.....

and the company, fun !

In all ways, we hope your year is just “spot on” !

And at year's end, you are able to say, "Woohoo! What a ride!"

Bless ya!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Birthday greetings to K from Canada - we would have loved to be at the party! Especially a summer party!
What is it about grade two that draws kids to puddles?
I decided today that seven-year-olds are really, really good at recycling.. And at finding great uses for all kinds of things. Today, they were reusing plastic bags to create rivers. It was very serious work.
First, fill a small bag with water from one puddle.
Empty the water in your small bag into a larger bag that your friend is holding. Don't get her wet!
The friend then pours all the water from the larger bag into the river that flows into another puddle.
These kids were reminding each other that water always flows from higher ground towards the lower ground. They must have a really, really good teacher (see the Travelholic Teacher for evidence of this)!
It was an informative day on playground duty. And the sun shone, too!
I also spied a jaguar and a snake having a pencil fight.
Life is never dull around here...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Last night I had my first 8-hr sleep for months! I’ll admit it - I was shattered! This year has been one of the busiest years in memory, and the last 3 months have been unbelievably full on. However, it is a tiredness laced with much satisfaction. This past weekend, we celebrated K’s birthday. It was a wonderful, wonderful day…..

The day began with our ‘decision’ to go for a family walk up the road. It was a beautifully sunny Saturday and the streets were full of people arriving for an annual festival and also a notable flower show. E suggested that he would like to take a photo of the church up the road. K, who was engrossed in an article in his favourite magazine, decided that perhaps E and I could go on ahead, and he and L would follow behind a few minutes later! However, this drew much protestation from E, L, and I, who argued that it wasn’t much of a ‘family walk’ if the whole family wasn’t participating together in it! Anyway, we managed to draw K away from his interesting article and he lolloped along beside us. Gradually, unbeknownst to K, the rest of us fell back a little and K ended up being ahead by a whisker.

As we went past the prearranged point, there was a sudden surge of activity as water blasters and hollering men burst out on an unsuspecting K and bundled him up. It was a perfect ambush! Well done guys!!! K was then (forcibly) dressed in a white sheet which had targets painted onto it. It meant that he became somewhat of a liability for whichever laser strike team he was on, due to his ‘reflectivity’ in the dark!

The Boys (Men!) ate and played and ate and played at the Laser strike venue, and had a lot of fun charging around in the dark, implementing questionable team tactics, and shooting other team members and bases. I heard of one poor Dude whose team members had disappeared into the dark, leaving him as the sole defender of their team’s base. As the enemy teams approached, he cleverly feigned that there were lots of his team defending the base, yelling out, “OK, you take the right, so-and-so you take the left….etc”. Desperation breeds ingenuity – the NZ army could do with someone like him!
I won’t bore you with all the in-between details, except to move on to the fact that everyone made it out to our picnic lunch at the Park without getting horribly lost…the “Boys” even managed to transport K over there in one piece, and on time, to be welcomed with a barrage of ‘poppers’. Later on, when K and I were reflecting about our day, we both commented about how touched we were, that our friends had made SUCH an effort to be there for K’s birthday, and to help him celebrate. For many, it required a great deal of effort, organisation, and sacrifice just to be there. But everyone was there to enjoy the day and to share in K’s happiness in having friends and family around him. For many weeks, friends and family from around the world had also sent in special quotes and messages and photos, and we were able to present K with a specially bound photobook containing all these well wishes.

Various renditions of the “Happy Birthday” song were performed, and we were truly blessed with song, dance, speech, revelations, and sheer talent! The entertainment was indeed special!

And another one of our talented friends had made the birthday cake and what a birthday cake it was! I do believe, I have tasted The Most Wonderful Cake on earth now. A sumptuous chocolate sponge, layered with a heavenly creamy filling of strawberry and boysenberry mousse, and with the most delicious fresh strawberries and boysenberries on top, and rich dark chocolate twigs all around. Unbelievably delicious.

Anyway, here are a few photos to give you a taste of our day. The children had unlimited space to run around together; trees to climb; kites to fly; others to play ball with. The sun shone gloriously, and even though I spent most of my time under the shade of the tree, I came home burnt! I was somewhat put out by that! However, it was just wonderful to see 70+ friends and family mingling, relaxing, and enjoying each other and the beautiful day. As we continue to muse about this special time, we acknowledge the privilege it is to have friends and family who will go to such an extent to share our happy occasions with us. And though you and others couldn’t be with us in person on the day, we knew we were being thought of and cherished from all around the world. A wonderful, wonderful day! Thank you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

West Coast Weekend

I spent part of my weekend on a school board retreat on the Sunshine Coast. We took a ferry on Friday after school and stayed at a pretty amazing home right on the ocean. It is owned by a couple who allow non-profit groups to stay for the price of cleaning and electricity.

Although there was a rain and wind storm Friday, the grey and gloom lifted on Saturday for a beautiful day. We took a prayer walk in the afternoon and explored the spectacular property. This couple employs a full time landscaper/caretaker who helps them achieve their vision for the land. They recently added a chapel capable of seating about 30 people!
As we waited for the ferry to go home, I shivered in the cold and admired the new snow on the mountains. What a gorgeous land to live in!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

At the risk of unceremonious incarceration...

I thought that with the end of the year being nigh, I would take the great liberty of sharing a lunchtime snapshot of what 'the ladies' get up to! Actually, it was Super Sal's birthday.....but y'know how it goes - any excuse for a feed! I ate so much that I was accused of being a wee piglet (by one who should know better! I am, after all, a growing lass....).
Perhaps it was telling that I couldn't finish my dinner that evening....and then I awoke at 2:15am feeling like a Slobby Sharpei! One day, my family will thank me for this.... but my nightmares of round rolls got the better of me, and at 6am, I dragged the lot of them outta bed to go for a 4 km brisk walk in the early morning air! My husband was so shocked at this uncharacteristic turn of events, that there were no complaints from him (despite the fact that I'd woken him up at about 4am because i needed some company....)!
And now I'm tired and there's still SO much to do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To be or not to be...

Someone told me today, these pretty weeds in my garden are called
"Granny's (Grandma's ? Grandmother's ?) Bonnets"

We were discussing possible future careers….

E: I think I might like to be a teacher.
L: (very definitively!) Well, I NEVER want to be a teacher!!!
E: Why not???!
L: Oh, I’ve seen what my teacher has to put up with!!!
(Oh, the insight of one so young!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Strawberry season

And I love strawberry season!
It's hard to believe, but these are as good as they look....possibly even better tasting than they look....al naturelle or with a touch of icing sugar and some hokey pokey ice cream....Mmmmmmm!
I thought this momma of a strawberry should be documented in the annals of our blog!
Oh, and I heard last night that I've passed ! Hurray! The sweet taste of no more papers till March.....YUMMEEEEEE !

Sunday, November 16, 2008


It's the most wonderful time of the year!
I'm certainly not talking about the season - it may be spring in New Zealand, complete with sunshine and flowers, but here it's gloomy and grey. The leaves are steadily falling from the trees and the geese are flying south for the winter.
No, it's not the season that makes me glad.
I'm currently at the annual fall scrapbooking retreat! Just think of it: meals made and cleaned up for us, no schedule, nobody to drive anywhere, no phone to answer, no pile of laundry staring at me accusingly (that'll be waiting for me at home...). Just time. Time to scrapbook and be creative!
Outside it's drizzly and gloomy. The apples from summer are still trying to hold on to the tree outside the window. But inside, we're cozy and well-fed. I'm working on the Ali Edwards inspired Week in the Life project. I took all the photos the week of October 21 and it's not even a month later that I'm getting it done! Life is good.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And yet another notable day

Well, it’s the end of an era. Truly it is! And what a ride it has been.

Today, K’s formal research project was accepted
by The Powers That Be…….and is also soon to be published.
He has now officially gained the right to pay lots of money
to The Controlling Bodies for the rest of his working life,
and also earned the right
to put A Whole Lot More Letters after his name.

We will celebrate appropriately in due course when the Bits of Paper arrive. Till then, the champagne’s cooling.

We will then celebrate again mid-2009 when he gets a free trip overseas to be officially Bopped On The Head.

But now that the fun’s over, it’s nearly time to
do all those other important jobs…..
Like building that tree house.
And oh, did I mention those Matrimonial Credits?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Notable day

We don't recognise Remembrance Day here to the same degree as in the Great White North, but we do observe ANZAC Day in April. I remember being very touched by the Remembrance Day services when we were in Vancouver. It is so good that even the young children remember. There are some very good cultural occasions that you in the North could pass on to us in the South.
However, today also marks the last day of the semester for me and my fellow classmates....if I could sum up the energy, I would whoop around the room. The boys were a tad late to school this morning as their mother pushed the 'send' button on her last academic requirement, into cyberspace. It was a good feeling. And coffee and gallivanting with the ladies afterwards was simply bliss!


Ask any Canadian over the age of five about poppies, and you will hear about Flanders Fields, war, and Remembrance Day.
From the end of October, pin-on poppies sprout from lapels in memory of the war dead, and you can get them from veterans and cadets at malls and grocery stores for a donation to the Canadian Legion. I suspect, however, that most children (and maybe some adults) wouldn't know a real poppy if they came upon it in a garden.
I went to the local cenotaph today to see the wreaths laid in this morning's ceremony. Poppies were everywhere. I remember being slightly surprised, when traveling in France and Belgium, to see all the poppies growing wild by the roadside. They really are a symbol of the European killing fields and of all the cemeteries where Canadian soldiers are buried.
Remembrance Day is one of the most significant holidays for me. I always make sure my students know about historic events, such as the Battle of Vimy Ridge in World War I (did you know that there is a little piece of Canada in France?), and my boys have been well versed in Canadian military history. We visited war sites in northern France, and I stood and cried at the graves of forgotten young men . Take time to remember soldiers then and now.

Monday, November 10, 2008


We have survived our horrendously busy weekend. The boys got through 3 concerts, a competition, 2 lessons, an exam, and some other social engagements, in just over 3 days. Tomorrow is Senior Athletics. And also my last day to hand in all semester work. It might be an all-nighter...

We were finishing dinner tonight (at 7pm’ish our time)….when we realised, that this was the time, almost to the exact hour (10 pm’ish) exactly a year ago when our contingent arrived on your doorstep to stay for awhile! It was so exciting!!! And almost unbelievable that such an occasion would even eventuate.

Little Bear had kindly vacated his room so that E&L could sleep in his room. Such a nice Bear!

And I have distinct memories of nice red wine and cheese – a delicious gouda with cumin? Of course, all laced with wonderful company!

I think I’d much rather reminisce than have to do more reading and journaling….

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