kate5kiwis: February 2007


“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.” — Mitsugi Saotome

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ma vie française: my french life

I've really been missing my français fridays...
I'm pining for Paris.
My friend Mel shares my love for toutes les choses françaises: all things french.
She brought her newest literary acquisition, all the way from vegas, to persuade me that moving the family to Saint-Rémy de Provence for a year or two really is a good idea.
, I think I could do it.

This book is full of delicious photos and vibrant memories, historical and cultural tidbits, little snippets of sagacity in a rich, eloquent, yet chatty style.
It makes one want to lick the pages.

She says:

A weekend in Paris is like a tablespoon of elixir: it should be taken full strength and on a regular basis.

Food is an integral part of french life, to be shared and savoured.

Style takes time, the french have time.

A scent is more than a few dabs on the wrist and a brief squirt behind the ears: perfume is personal magic.

Nowhere else will you find the shrug of the shoulder, the tilt of the head and the little puff of air that regularly escapes a frenchman's mouth, or the formality of good wishes that introduce every conversation.

I miss the soft crunch of gravel in the Jardin des Tuileries and the formation of sharp box hedges at the
Hôtel des Invalides.

*kate exhales longingly*
Ah, moi aussi
: me too.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

stretchy dollar cheer, er chair...

one of the things about having an unconventional family size is that furniture sets usually come in fours or sixes. hardly enough. our dining room table and chairs set was very generous when we got it, i think we had two little kids and a baby, and we had to squeeze it into our dining area. but we've totally outgrown it now: it has only six chairs (which i have since reupholstered), and now we have a bigger dining area... i have been thinking that we might upgrade to a bench seat on one side.. but haven't found one for a price we wanna afford.
imagine my joy when i found this wonderful chair yesterday for the grand price of $5 from a friend's pre-garage-sale-sale (got that??).
it doesn't quite match the others... but who cares?? it reminds me of my uncle lew and auntie kaye's chairs they had at kitenui avenue when i was a kid, and that *stretchy dollar* phrase is uncle lew's too...
so when summer ends (in the l-o-n-g d-i-s-t-a-n-t f-u-t-u-r-e) and we no longer eat outside, we'll all be able to snuggle around the inside table for dinner and laughs and sharing of hearts. i'm really excited about that.

Monday, February 26, 2007

"danger? i laugh in the face of danger.. hahahahahaha..."

(guess the movie line)
i feel like we're The *Bona Fide* Home Ed'ers today:
we've done *two* science experiments..
(that don't involve eating food)
it's a world first, i know.
J11 got this oh-so-dangerous-book for his birthday.
and since then, he's been commandeering all adults-passing-through to "educate" them a bit.

(that's the very patient Anne)
anything we ever wanted (or think we wanted) to know or do: it's here.
and there's even an online quiz.
see if you can beat *boy wonder*...

and today, J11 decided to make flame-proof cloth (p. 141)
so we mixed up some aluminium potassium sulphate from his crystal-making-kit and oh, dear.. the solution wouldn't dissolve (too saturated: see, i *do* remember something from sixth form chemistry) so we added a little more water and heated it a bit in the nuke-box. and soaked the cloth, and now it's hanging on the line. we'll light it as soon as it's dry...
(we hope not)

oh, the second science experiment??
J11 just got a wasp sting ( i got one yesterday in the exact same place on the lawn. strange but true)
so we whizzed inside for the vinegar.
the rule is Baking soda = Bees, Winegar = Wasps.
J11 informs me that "as a wasp's sting is an alkali, the vinegar (acid) neutralizes it. it becomes a salt plus water."

and that's another moment in the life of an uneducated mommy learning at the feet of her brainy kids.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

*kate bursts out laughing and nudges hubby*

Saturday, February 24, 2007

caffeine convos

i grew up with the scent of freshly ground and percolated coffee wafting up my nostrils every evening as mum and dad partook of that fabulous ritual.
perhaps that goes a way to explain my addiction?
oh, how we really *love* our coffee roaster-and-blender peeps. they operate out of the back of a garage/warehouse in the city... very cool.
they have fallen in love with our kiddos too, and every time we visit to grab another bag of freshly roasted beans, guess who are allowed to scoop/weigh/grind the beans??
today it's M5's turn...
and we all sniff and chat and laugh...
and become educated in the art of making the best coffee in The Sunny Bay of Plenty.

Friday, February 23, 2007

dizzy by the daisies

i guess when you get *this many* sardines in the pool the only way to swim is around and around in circles...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

woozie twozie

Being the beginning of the school year, with all sorts of getting-to-know-you games going on, R13 has been instructed to bring a baby photo for a class guessing competition. This is the one she chose:

I remember the day it was taken, on Brendan and Ineke’s garden swing, beside Aimee's gorgeous little garden house. It’s not so clear in the photo, but R13 had Nathan's gumboots on with her favourite Minnie Mouse outfit and her hair done up in two "whale spouts" with the compulsory two-year-old extra hair decorations: it looks like she's been ratting thru Aimee's hair-bands box. It’s a typical photo of Twozie-Woozie, all grins and wiggles and bounce.

After sorting through the h-u-g-e pile of pictures, R13 exclaimed, “When I have babies, I hope my girl looks JUST LIKE ME.. because I was JUST *so* CUTE!!!!!”

Well of course I agree, but then I am JUST *so* BIASED.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

*big wide grin*

See, the thing about being a mummy is that you get your very own Instant Fan Club. For seventeen-and-nearly-a-half years, I’ve been greeted by smiles and cuddles and sometimes… ok, most of the time… extra little bods in our bed, listening to the sun coming up.

And it makes life beautiful.

Even when the bodies stay in their own beds and I wake them later with the sunshine streaming in and our chirpy Good Morning Song (I’m thinking I must’ve made it up, it’s rather tuneless and has many variations… good morning to you.. how are you today… it’s time to wake up… and kiss your mummy…. and make a cup of tea..) I get grins and sleepy kisses and heads-nestling-into-my-neck and retelling of dreams from the Littles and *bonjour maman* or *grazie mamma* and heads-hiding-grins-buried-quickly-under-pillows from the Bigs..

and the Littlest Pattering Feet Boy comes sprinting down the hall and body-slams my legs and squeals: “Hi, Mum-m-m-m-m-my.”

And I smile to myself and hug my mummy-ness and whisper, “Thank you,” in my heart.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"All Play"

i remember seeing someone's home ed'ing blog header once which says:
we just play. that's what we do.
i really like it.
on sunday we got to do two of my favourite things at the same time.
creative play.

i don't know why i wasn't a playcentre mum.
i think i would've *loved* it.

my *kids* would've loved it.
painting, sandpit, water play, junk construction, dressing up...
kids and mums playing and learning together.
so much therapy here: who needs a shrink???

Monday, February 19, 2007

never wake a sleeping furball...

y-a-w-n... s-t-r-e-t-c-h...
oops, The Outside Cat has been discovered *inside*.
well, she used to be an Anywhere Cat, until a year ago when another cat moved in next door and Our Lucy started leaving Little Cat Messages on piles of clean washing.. and beds..
and even though she is hugely loved by the kids and hubby (who delights in giving her "Flying Lessons" up onto the roof)...
guess who did the clean-up once too many??

i'll tell you: moi.
she really is the most beeee-autiful fluffy cat, but i am not keen to start up the washing machine again.
so, she got the boot and scooted outside....
with that "who, ME??" *didn't-you-know-pussy-cats-rule-the-world* look plastered on her face.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

what's pink and sparkly and oh so groovy??

making bead bracelets with a bunch of cool chicks,
that's what.
you are beautiful. unique. treasure each moment.

Friday, February 16, 2007

i love fridays

that's where we go.
that's what we do.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

sneaky peeps

i'm so
jealous of
the gorgeous deb's
camera zoom.
i think.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

mini me is no more....

R13 is having a wonderful valentine's day.
It all started out last week, when she came home from school with some french vocab to learn, and as I looked over it with her, I realised that she had left off all the accents and had bungled a lot of the masculine/feminine parts of each noun.. imho it's so important to learn each word correctly first-up.

After my initial rant about the french teacher, and why is he being so lax about the vocab? etc.. R13 admitted that she'd been sitting near the back of the classroom and really struggling to read the board. Ok, it's a skill she hasn't needed during her years of home education.. but we immediately thought:
*needs new glasses*.

So R13 and I marched off to the optometrist yesterday.
And after an eye test, it turns out that her prescription has slipped from a minus 6.5 to a minus 7 which is borderline for new specs. So she decided to try...
soft contact lenses...


She floated off to school this morning with the new valentine's look, and a little sparkly *R* keyring from her daddy-valentine.

Breathe in through the nose.. and out through the nose..

The E word. Exercise. Not my favourite. I know I promised myself. And (typical moi) I am on and off the wagon. I think a little angel has whispered in M5's ear, cos every morning, M5 says, "Mum, can we do our pilates now?" and the lads faithfully lie on the floor with me and stretch and roll and "breathe into their powerhouse"...

And guess what? I've had my arm twisted to do my first triathlon in just over three weeks!!!!!
It's only a mini-triathlon, and hardly competitive, but it's a start.

Monday, February 12, 2007

clock work

R13 came home from her first day of school last week with a Technology project: to design and make a three-dimensional clock, mechanism provided. She is thinking of something heart-shaped with corrugated aluminium hearts for decoration.
A little spark flew into J11's mind: for the last couple of days, he has been researching and designing himself a clock: thinking about wood and mechanisms and the how-tos. He wants a house-shaped clock with drawers and the clock part on the front of the roof.

He's going to be wowed by our dahling Carol-the-girl-scout's new cuckoo clock (from the Black Forest in Germany: where they originate from), gifted to her for her *surprise* fortieth partee on Friday night: where hubby and I boogied down to various beats: YEAH, TOAST etc... and he entertained us with his Michael Jackson moonwalking moves and the Thriller dance, and we all did the Brooklyn Hustle.. remember dancing *that* in your youth?? I know you do!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

electronic image

We know you're 'ere, poppet:
Come out, and we promise we won' hurt you...

you do freak me out babe: the man-hunter-hormone just kicks in and you go mental around the house, stalking flies.. and buzzing them. nasty.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

life is like a box of chocolates

Hey, Nik, do you remember that Valentine's Day card I gave you six years ago when we all lived in The Big Smoke:
roses are red, violets are blue,
we're having a baby
a week after you...

I think our little white chocolate and dark chocolate babies are growing into gorgeous boys.

Oh, how I love that bounce, that joie de vivre, that five-year-old mischievous sparkle.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Take me to the place I love, take me all the way...

S9 leaped out of bed this morning and started drawing...

He thinks he's not a natural-born-artist, but I can really see the similarities between his portraits and the real lads: especially John Frusciante and Anthony Kiedis (the one in the middle is Flea)

RHCP are S9's fave band at the mo, he spends a-g-e-s listening, watching the RHCP: Live at Slane Castle DVD, singing, looking up guitar tabs, practising Under the Bridge.....
D17, hubby and I are loving it too.
(I'm a storm in a teacup girl...)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

school daze

baby girl.
gets up early. makes bed.
packs bag. dons uniform.
wakes daddy. straightens hair.
eats brekkie. chats to granny.
makes lunch. special treats.
hums song. hair up.
photo pose. sparkly grin.
kisses brothers. squeezes mummy.
little prayers. hops in car.
drives away. first day.
off to school.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Quilting Quraze...

Mum's been going through rather a quilting phase...
We started off last April with a four-generations quilt for my bro and new sis for their wedding last July, which we carried half way around the world. The middle of the quilt has pieces of lace from Gran's wedding dress and my wedding dress, and each quarter was designed by Gran, Mum, R13 and me:

Mum's on the left: pulled fabric embroidery attached, and some of her favourite flowers.
R13's on the right: one heart for each of the generations: pieces of fabric shared.

Mine on the left: seven-petalled flower for The Gang, wedding lace in the centre.
Gran's on the right, the centre is a handkerchief sachet given to her by her husband Howel (Mum's father) before their wedding.
We sewed a border of vines around the centre squares, symbolising our family tree.

Then J11 and I made a star quilt together.
In August, Mum made one for my cousin's first baby (hi, Nik!!)
And now she's finished another, which is pictured here with Gertrude, her childhood doll, who resides happily in R13's collection.

Tonight, we had a delicious dinner party to celebrate your early-Birthday, with scallops-and-bacon kebabs on the barbie. We also had birthday speeches: they say it takes a village to raise a child, and we're thankful that you and Dad are so involved in all of our lives: it's good that our *village* spans 200 km.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Cliffs of Insanity

Last year when we went camping atTarawera, we were introduced to the tradition of floating down the river on tyre inner tubes ("..out for a pleasure cruise.. through eel-infested waters..") and walking to the waterhole and jumping off the eight-metre high cliffs into the waterhole. Last year, Hubby and R13 and D17 and I all jumped.

I know that *jumping off high places* is a rite of passage through childhood, but I have to admit that I think I'm over it: in fact last year was the last time I've done it. I really freaked myself out. I think it's because (I've lost so many pairs of glasses in water) I can't see and am jumping blind: I can't judge the distance from the top (holding my breath) to the bottom (splash). It's like taking a giant leap into space with your eyes closed, and frankly, I can feel blonde hairs turning grey just thinking about it.
I know what you're thinking: "My way's not very sportsmanlike.."

Hubby still gets the adrenaline rush.. he loves it, as do D17 and S9.

S9 is a very interesting creature: he's the family clown, to be sure, but he is a calculating kind of clown: he never goes first, and when he does go, he always puts a spin on the stunt:

I hold my breath, and try not to close my eyes...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ah-so... oooh, ahhhh...

R13 has been making the most of her last few days of *freedom* before school starts, writing book reviews for the local library and going ten pin bowling/partying with the other teen-book-lovers in The Sunny Bay.
She's also been indulging her love of paper-folding, making all sorts of bits'n'pieces, artfully crafted and intricately joined together, and sending thousands of text messages out into the universe. I think there's a chocolate-chippie-bikkie-baking plan in there somewhere too.

I love your creative buzz, chick, i'm really gonna miss ya all day long.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Welcome to our 'OOL. Please note there's no "P" in it.

yessir, it's the summer s-a-l-e week in the sunny bay: we got this 'OOL for less than half price: the kiddos have been living in it...

i offered M5 a lollipop if he could swim all the way across it *without* holding his nose (all summer he's been doin' da one-armed-wiggle-stroke).. with instant results!!!

(although he has swapped plain goggles for The Mask in this photo..) so now we have another fish in the family.

Friday, February 02, 2007

quiet, very quiet...

You know those *it’s-gone-very-quiet-all-of-a-sudden* moments and you can actually hear your own heart beating, and get your swirling thoughts in logical order, and then you get *that* panic feeling and rush to check that big brother hasn’t tied and gagged little brother and hidden him in the wardrobe…??

We just had one of *those* moments:
But not a gag in sight.
Snuggled down on the bed on top of extra mattresses and pillows,
big brother is actually *reading* to little brother !!!!!!!!!
It’s the third book in a row and they are both so happy:

Even I am speechless: extrovert S9 has stopped still long enough to get lost in a book…

Thursday, February 01, 2007

doctor gadget is in the house

J11 got accosted by a travelling salesman yesterday and bought his first digital camera (it fits in the palm of his hand) for $20. but wait, there's more. you should see the software for this baby. it sings, it dances, it even makes your breakfast...