“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
L.O.V.E. i love you and you love me...
nanma and nandad live in The Big Smoke and don't get to see the 5kiwis very much. it's nandad's 65th birthday celebration on saturday, so two days ago i decided to make him a special pressie:
it's an A3 canvas with photos of us arranged on it, with various layers of chocolate and pink acrylic paint, and shellac, LOVE wooden lettering and words sprinkled over: believe, hope, imagine, treasure, trust, remember, dream, dance... and a wire heart intertwined with pink and red beads.
so now we can "be" with nanma and nandad all the time!!!
i love the textures in it, and for an eleventh hour project, i am so happy to say: it worked!!!
(oh, and i've finally made peace with the word "shellac". it's the only word i spelt wrong in a spelling test when i was eleven. i topped the class and got to walk across stage. and all the woodwork boys laughed that i spelt it "chalak". i thought it was swiss, lol. strange but true.)
Half a year ago we had a Really Scary Moment.
On a hot sunny day, the kids were playing in the surf at The Mount, and all of a sudden a big wave swept M5 off his feet. Thankfully, Deb of the Sparkly Ears heard his panicked shriek and I dashed into the waves, clothes and all (for a fleeting moment I was gonna drag off my jeans, but realised I wasn't wearing audience-friendly-undergarments, lol). Just as I reached M5 and grabbed hold of his arm, another freak wave crashed to the shore and swept both of us back under the surface. For a brief second the thought of, "How will I find M5 if he gets swept out?" flashed through my mind, and as I came up for air, I lifted my head and saw that R13 was pulling him out of the surf.
It was definitely an Angel Moment.
Since then, M5 hasn't gone near the surf waves. And he's been holding his nose if ever he dips his head under the quiet-water.
Not any more... bring on the swimming lessons:
our boy is being transformed into a Fish!!!!!
About eight or so years ago, when I was snowed under with babies, toddlers, and the early daze of homeschooling, my Darling Auntie said to me, "I'll be your Mending Lady!"
Since then, I have sent bags and bags of holey-kneed-jeans and broken elastics her way.
Now that we live 200 kilometres away, it ain't so easy...
We've been running out of clothes to wear !!!
So yesterday the Old Faithful Machine ventured out of the garage, and hemmed two pairs of jeans for Hubby, fixed pleats on R13's school skirt, mended a hole in J11's camo pants, re-hemmed S9's jeans, and re-fashioned some of S9's holey-kneed-warehouse-jeans into...
new pseudo-pumpkin-patch-jeans for M5
complete with Holy Knee Patches
and a Puppy Power Pocket.
I think the wardrobes are ready for w****r now.
a little walk, a little talk.
While the bigger boys were playing cricket at The Mount yesterday, M5 and Tiahnee and I took off for a little walk around the sunshiney village. We popped into the $2 Shop, and then bought bubbly lemonades. I walked a few steps behind, just admiring their body language and conversation.
M5: I love you, Tiahnee. Do you know, you're my Third Best Friend? When I'm 27, you'll be 28... (kisses her)
T: And when you turn 6, I'll be 7. And when you turn 7, I'll be 8. And when you turn 8, I'll be 9. And when you turn 9, I'll be 10. And when you turn 10, I'll be 11... (takes a breath)
M5: I love you.
T: I don't. I love you *and* Kate. You're my best homeschooling family.M5: You're bee-yoo-tee-ful, Tiahnee... (glances behind at me) ...and also *you*, Mum.
J11, here you are again, making beautiful music.
You often escape to the piano and play your heart out. When I was your age, I started learning how to play the piano too, but I didn't like to practise very much. Contrarily, you have the perfect temperament for a pianist: you just patiently tinkle the notes over and over, until you get them right.
Mozart's Rondo is one of my favourite pieces, and you make it sound so melodic... wow!! Just look at all those teeny weeny notes all dancing together on the page. Now they're tinkling on the ivories, and in our hearts!!
While your younger brothers were turning flips and digging sand at the beach yesterday, you made a Very Cool Scuplture.
I do love home education, you know... there's all this *time* for you to explore your talents... and the world of books, music, beautiful things... whenever the muse descends. And I get a front row seat as the bud petals of your Very Creative Self unfurl...
bowling and tadpoling
*singing and patting self on the back*
i got 103 at ten pin bowling this morning!!! (i usually just watch and cheer the kids on, but today deb talked me into *do it self* and so i got 3 spares and of course i did a few loud victory laps... naaaaaaaaaa-na-ne-na-ne-naaaaaaaaa-naaaaaaaaaah... na-ne-na-ne-naaaaaaaaaaaa-naaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh)
and J11 generously lent S9 his camera, who took this funky shot of one of ollie's tadpoles: late afternoon, during a fly-by and a sniff of auntie carol's juicy squooshy mini plum cakes.... i think it looks very ahty-fahty.
this little artist of mine...
our artist's easel has been *worth its weight in gold*.
we originally gave it to D17 for his first birthday. hubby and i made a special trip to get it from the toy boutique on the Shore of The Big Smoke, and all the five kiwis have spent many happy hours over the years, humming to themselves while creating wonderful masterpieces.
today's tune hummed by M5 is "This Little Light of Mine"... and today's paintings have *all the colours* thickly applied in a circular motion.
let it shine, baby.
When you're seventeen, as D17 is, it's tricky to make Big Decisions About The Rest of Your Life. Next year, he'll probably head off to university... either three hours drive away, where the rest of the rellies reside... or two days drive (plus a boat trip across The Choppy Strait) away. No surprises which one I favour.
It's a large decision, "What will I be when I grow up?" I always wanted to be a teacher, which I became... and still am, of sorts. Hubby tried all sorts of stuff before landing in his adored profession.
Yesterday I found someone else who believes:
EVERYONE HAS A GIFT. Easier for some, and I assent that one's *calling* can change over the years, and be fused with other parts of one's life/others' lives. It's just difficult to watch as our seventeen year old begins to make The Big Decisions, especially as I still feel seventeen some days. It's hard to let go.
YOU JUST HAVE TO FIND IT
AND FOLLOW YOUR CALLING.
(Hilary Swank, in Marie Claire, May 2007)
We needed some therapy today: how's these for *swank style* then...our new shoe collection... OH YES, and the best part is that my silver strap wedges cost only $4.97, and they say *go crazy* which is one of my gorgeous brother's sayings...
Perhaps that can be our new seventeen-year-old mantra.
extra! extra! (read all about it..... lol)
we've got a couple of extras sleeping over this weekend - Blonde Ballerina and Soccer Boy... i took the girls out shopping yesterday... it was really funny... i left them to it and zoomed off in the opposite direction, but we kept bumping into each other all around town lol... i think they were stalking me. it's raining today and so Soccer Boy has decided not to go to his cook-out... we're having a cook-in instead... Daddy is cooking up mountains of fried potatoes which seem to be complementing the homemade sherbet quite nicely... eeeeeeewwwwwwww
trash to (vintage retro) fash
i'm all excited about fleur's fab fash show... and my auntie gave me a pile of her throw-outs, so i thought i'd have a go at my own trash-to-fash lol.
(close your eyes boys: cleavage-shot-ahead)
here's my new top (thinking of you leighleigh: i got *two* little tops for cheep cheep at jeans west today.. soz rach, yes they're probably sweat shopped... i know, *serious cringe moment*) it's actually a sweet, adorable mini dress which looks fantastic worn over my flared jeans. and the trash-to-fash moment is the re-threaded retro vintage necklace, full of wooden beads, amber, sparkles, polygonic-copper (is that a word??) which just tops off the outfit...
looks like i dragged it outta my mum's seventies wardrobe: totally groovy baby.
trash to fashion in cambodia
Fleur... wishing you a wonderful fash show tonight...
can't wait to see the pix
another *tweet* day in the sunny bay
it all started with the idea of making a few mosaics on rocks with hayley's crew before they head south for the winter.so we went to the village yesterday and found some bits'n'pieces... and a friendly elephant.
one of our resident artists, J11, drew inspiring pictures of native NZ birds...
and today we all sat out in the sunshine where J11 helped M5 to glue the little tiles of his "ruru", an owl.
we're in the middle of a huia and a kiwi too... we're thinking we'll put them here... when we get around to the digging.
you are "speshal" today (and every day)
Hubby just got a letter in the post today:
(i couldn't resist opening it, *naughty* i know)
We are pleased to advise that you have been recommended for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Education in Educational Administration. Please find enclosed a copy of your final results. You have been confirmed as graduating in the June Council.
and the enclosed copy has four completed Master's grades of A, A, A-, B+ .
Land sakes, you have completed half your Master's degree and have FIRST CLASS HONOURS grades !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm unbelieveably proud of you, babe. For the last five years you've juggled your eighty-hour-a-week job, your blonde lover (that's me lol), five gorgeous kids, lawn mowing and other miscellaneous garden gnoming (couldn't resist that).... and a ton of extra study... and you have even achieved your grades-goal!!!
I think that definitely qualifies you for the *you are special* dinner plate tonight :o)
ode to jo(e)
ok, i really love jo(e).
i love her Smashing Pseudonyms, her fabulously descriptive vignettes of family-and-friends, and her latest trip to Paris... and i am in awe of her ability to w-r-i-t-e.
jo(e)'s is the blog i go to when i feel like reading a little story... and i even featured there once.
jo(e)'s teenagers rock, really rock. they're creative on so many levels, and as a bleating mummy who hates rosters but loves kids-who-clean-up-after-themselves-and-others, i am in absolute hysterics reading the latest shenanigans in jo(e)'s kitchen...
le petit sac français is here..
and i absolutely *love* it!!!
i have been coveting sarah's handbags ever since the ultimate blog party... and now, i have my very own...
*kate holds handbag to heart and twirls around and around*
merrily, merrily, merrily...
R13 (third from the right) got out on the water late yesterday afternoon for her first rowing practice in the boat!!! i was amazed at how well the new rowers got into the rhythm. they were travelling really quite fast.i am so excited for you about your newest interest, R13. i have many happy memories of *rowing the boat* on numerous expeditions during my childhood: there's such a wonderful freedom about "gliding like a silver arrow" out there on the water. plus you're gonna have six-pack-abs, baby.
The Gourmet Foodies
My friend Kelly has got eight chicks together to make a *foodie club*.
Last night was our first divine dining experience:
A Moroccan Feast...
We started out with a glass of Riesling - which left beautiful honey flavours on the palate, and then we were invited to go into the lounge which was all set up with candles at a low table and embroidered cushions for sitting around it.
The whole evening was a real education, with history, culture and cooking tips. We began with a hand-rinsing ceremony with olive blossom water, which filled the room with its fresh citrusy scent. Then the feast began with olives and chermoula, and a broad bean dip (which was a wonderful hummus texture and delicate flavour, not like broad beans at all, thankfully!!), flatbreads, and a selection of spiced mixed nuts, all deliciously served with salted preserved lemons...
At that stage some of us lay back on the floor, sighing contentedly and wondering how we would fit in the next course: which was really no problem at all for Miss Piggy....
Ahmed's Tagine of Lamb with Figs and Sesame Seeds: this had been cooked slowly for several hours, and each piece of meat had a wonderful velvety texture and went surprisingly well with the figs (which are traditionally "not my favourite", having gutsed too many up my auntie's tree once when i was a little 'un), couscous, a delish beans-and-tomato concoction, and more flatbread.. which was really useful to scoop up delectable mouthfuls: Moroccans eat with only their thumb and two fingers of the right hand. Oh, and we were onto the berry-bodied Syrah by that stage.
The party continued as we all assembled our desserts: stacking rounds of thin pastry with ground almonds and cinnamon and fragrant orange blossom custard, and then we heaped our bowls with berries..
Lastly: mint tea, into which we spooned tiny little hard cubes of sugar. Lots and lots and lots of sugar.
But wait, there's more: The last surprise was a bong, which had strawberry tobacco in it from Kelly's travels... we tried and tried to make it work, but unfortunately all our teenage experience seemed to be lost in a gentle, full-tummied haze of forgetfulness....
my quiz addiction: i'm blue
but my real favourite colour is...
You give your love and friendship unconditionally. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.
Find out your color at QuizMeme.com!
it's autumn, supposedly...
but these leaves ain't leaving our trees just yet: which means it must still be summer.
(oops.. hope i haven't jinxed it. in the half an hour since i took this hot-and-sunny photo, it's come over all rainy...)
won't you take me to TAMAGOTCHI TOWN *again*??
it seems we still haven't got them outta our system....... M5's and S9's previous tamagotchis are no more. no problem: forget about the last one. get yourself another........
(huge shout out *thanks* to uncle T for sharin' da lurve)
roses are red
violets are blue
Todd's finally here
and we're all missing you
(how's that for the naff-est poem???)
yep, T. did a wine tasting at the local vineyard and bought/brought us a gorgeous pinot noir, which we polished off in the late afternoon sunshine with wedges of cumin gouda, parmesan and grapes. after a hasty roast chook and huge convos, he's popped off to see the locals. looking forward to rendezvous-ing later..... but just to say:
i love my flowers.
the most beautiful bone carver in the world
R13 has the jewellery bug too.
she's made this divine piece at school:
it's a celtic triquetra, just like the one that's inked on her Daddy's inner forearm.
you are such an artiste, babygirl.
and you have perfectly-shaped eyebrows :o)
S9 catching a whole lotta air...
nush took these pix of you at the BMX track a week ago, and i love them so much 'cos they totally show your fun-loving personality. you really are all *go*, S9... the first things you say when you sneak into our bed in the mornings with teddy is: "what are we doing today? who's coming over? where are we going? who are we going to see??"
and then you zip outside and turn all sorts of flips on the trampoline.
you are an acrobat, the original energizer bunny.. and you have a ridiculously hilarious sense of humour!!
"Little High, Little Low"
We love that ol' mouse movie, Stuart Little. Whenever the Little Family meet each other, one yells, "Little Hi, Little Low..." and the response "Little Hey, Little Ho!!!" is reciprocated with great gusto. We have an interesting twist on that which we dreamed up after watching the Littles:It's just so comforting to snuggle up at the dining table together after a long day/weekend all doing our separate things, and r-e-n-d-e-z-v-o-u-s. To get the party started, we often do a quick whizz around the table and everyone gets to share a little "high" that's happened over the day (something we loved) and a little "low" if ya wanna divulge that too. It opens the windows to our hearts.Tonight's highs included: Running to the top of The Mount during yesterday's "The Amazing Race" that Hubby participated in - yep, they ran/found clues/sang/ran/
herded cows/hitched rides all around The Sunny Bay: and almost came first !!!!!!!!!, R13 is excited that she has nearly finished her speech for school, the boys loved going to the Dairy after tidying up the garage today (thanks, lads), D17 had a blast in The Windy City: spending the weekend with other teen lads doing paintball, and playing "scum" (it's a card game, lol) until the wee small hours. Oh, and I made a necklace... Lows included: J11 getting spaghetti sauce up his nose !!!!!!!
"Team Old School": Hubby and the mates, pre-race.
i am really, really lovin' all this *sharing the lurve* that's going on. my latest *swap city* is this oh! so gorgeous pearl organza twist, designed especially for my inspiring friend rach who resides, for now, in The Big Smoke.it's elaborate, intricate, delicate: all the things that rachael is. and she's made me this oh! so funky pink-and-choccy beanie.... yum. now everyone's gonna want to lick my head.
*singing* LeFou, I'm afraid I've been thinking -- a dangerous pastime, I know --
When Hubby and I were first married, we listened to a talk by a mustard seed guy who had done a wee survey of nonagenarians (people in their nineties, see i'm educated lol), and the question he asked was:
If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?
and their answers came to these:
1. risk more
2. reflect more
3. do more things that will live on after i'm gone.
That's not my total philosophy, but I do find myself coming back to it.
Barb asked this question yesterday:
So what would you do as a job if time and money were no object?
and I found myself *thinking* this out loud:
well, i have been thinking and dreaming a bit about this over the last few months:
i'd pop the whole fam-damily in a plane and head to the sunny south of france and hang out there for a year, just living. the kiddos would go to the lovely little village school and learn to speak french fluently, and hubby would have a happy job in the nearby city - or not - and i would walk around the village buying all sorts of baguettes and petits pains aux chocolats and drinking little bitter coffees and chatting to all and sundry and generally *being* french.
one day, when the kiddos are *all grown up*... if we still live in NZ, i wouldn't be able to settle for just one job.
i'd like to juggle being a doula, making sparkly things, being a coffee barista, a chef, and working in a wonderful place that smells nice.
well, i do most of those things now, so hey, not much of a lifestyle change, huh :o)
Go on then, close your eyes and float a balloon or two...
Victorian Tea Party
Incredibly Posh British Accents abounded at noon for our High Tea, complete with silver teasets and pinky fingers protruding from the teacups.
We dined on all manner of delectable delights, including Millionaire's Shortbread, Baby Shower Bears and Spring Flower Baskets, all painstakingly handmade by Deb's kiddos.....
The Gorgeous Lady Deb, Lady Katherine De Burgh (in my wedding dress, ouch, can't breathe. How on earth have I put weight on my *underarms*???), Miss H and Miss L.
Lady Bella with High Prince J11 and Bella's Princesses.
Bella, underneath That Fabulous Hat.
"Please ring the bell for tea, Kitty.."