Friday, December 18, 2015

Nearly there...

School finished yesterday which means Christmas and our summer holidays are officially nearly here!

We put the tree up last weekend. It was a little earlier than usual but we had our annual Christmas drinks party that night and wanted to have it up for that. However, as all the kids are now older, this year's party included a few youngsters who completely took over that room and so none of the adults actually got to see the tree.

We even managed to work out how to do a self-timed photo on the iPhone ;) !

After a few days of having the tree up, my early Christmas present arrived! Which means the whole tree had to be moved into a dark corner and is no longer the glory of our lounge room. But look what we have instead!!!

Both children have just written their letters to Santa and they are sitting by the chimney today. Molly wrote her's with a cheeky glint in her eye as she once again asked Santa for a horse/pony and questioned how he can get up and down a modern gas flue. Alfie however put a lot of thought and research into his. Why he needs a FitBit I have no idea, but I fear he could be slightly disappointed when the big day comes :(

The last week of school was the usual type of week of no work, lots of games and lots of fun. They had a blast, despite the fact that one day they were all plunged into the outdoor pool which has only just opened for the year and has only got to 18 degrees so far, brrrrr! Check out Molly's face! She actually went purple after 20 minutes and had to be pulled out by a member of staff! ;(

Alfie and I went to the official Wellington Santa Parade last weekend, which is always so much fun no matter what age you are. We found a sunny spot on Willis Street and watched all the completely non-Christmas-related floats go by (Minions, Harry Potter, rugby players, etc)..... until finally we saw Santa at the end!

Molly and Jake were part of the parade this year - Molly was a Pohutakawa Tree and did a great job of high fiving everyone up the street (Jake was a marshal - you can see him in a green Santa hat at the right of the picture below).

So now it's Day 1 of the school holidays, which means that by 9.30am this morning every single room in the house looked a little bit like this..

There is paint and glitter all over the dining table, scissored pieces of paper all over the lounge room, nail polish on EVERYTHING, blue wall paint on the sink (how??) and rolled up newspapers all over my bed. I actually can't bear to photograph any other rooms. HELP!!!

I seem to have had about 107 different kids at our house today (maybe it was actually 7? It felt like 107), and they spent most of the day setting up a "stall" outside the house where they tried to sell their services: 50c a hair spray (purple only), $1 a face paint and $1 for painted nails.

Most of our household possessions, including all toys and my whole cupboard full of towels, were taken outside to make this stall, posters were made displaying prices and balloons were tied to the road signs.

Then every car that drove past was yelled at and screamed at - they certainly gave a few drivers a real fright - and after 4.5 hours they had a grand total of two customers (both were given free face paints). Lots of fun but man am I shattered!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What's Been Happening?

Well, a lot actually!

The Davey's have been to visit from Auckland. Alfie and Cam displayed their usual amounts of energy together (including a 9.30pm trampoline session followed by a 7am soccer session, god help us). But in between all that we had a great time at the new WWI memorial museum and on the waterfront.

And the kids all met Graham Henry who walked past while we were having lunch! (That's the All Blacks coach, mum! ;) )

Last weekend, Molly had her end of year Gymnastics Display...

Since our new next door neighbours have daughters of babysitting age, it means Jake and I have had a few dates lately! We've been out to dinner, and to a 40th birthday party....

It's been a very busy few weeks for dates in fact - we went to a Robbie Williams concert and to an Elton John concert too. Both were outdoors and both were amazing, just brilliant! For such a small city, Wellington's definitely punched above its weight this year and we've seen some great bands.

Not leaving out the rest of the family completely for our nights out, we all went to a Phoenix v Adelaide soccer game the other night. The Phoenix won and all the fans took their tops off. It's a well-known tradition apparently. The kids can't stop talking about it.

In the daytimes we've been working hard on the garden. I'm not sure if it's due to the law of probabilities (as we have such a big section with so many plants and trees) or if we're just unlucky, but so many things in the garden need to be pulled out or treated at the moment due to fungal infections, lemon borer, etc. Anyway, Jake and Alfie are good puller-outers and I'm the official planter of new things. (Molly doesn't yet seem to have a role, but that will be changed soon!)

Aren't I doing a good job of planting?!

As the weather has started heating up again, there's been a lot of outdoors time actually. The water slide has been permanently out over the last week.

Which means we usually have a collection of various local kids wanting a go too!

And still there's no rest! The kids made an indoor tent the other weekend, which we were all forced to sleep in. Jake snuck out, leaving me with two wriggly children on the floor all night. 10 days later and I'm still tired and recovering, but the kids enjoyed it!

But we've still found the energy to make the most of the hills behind our house a lot lately. It's so beautiful at this time of the year, and we're so lucky to have this on our doorstep. Jake has been running up in the mornings before work, and I have been going walking along the ridgeline in the evenings when he gets home. It's an amazing spot.

If life seems busy that's because it is! It's always the way at this time of year. October to March are usually bedlam, and we have to be careful to give ourselves some rest. Quiet time for us recently has been scarce, but when it's come it has involved a spot of reading in the garden....

And hanging as a family on quiet beaches like we did on this gorgeous day last week....

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Some of you may know that last month Molly was diagnosed with a number of food intolerances.

Under the guidance of an amazing lady named Paddy O'Sullivan, we've had to completely eliminate these things from her diet for 6 months. We will, at a later stage, re-introduce things and see where we're at, but for now it means some slight inconveniences!

Here's the list of banned foods:

1) Yeast
This means no breads or pastries (unless it's a strange bread-like creation invented by me - I've found that baking powder is quite a good subsitute for yeast, but it's still not quite the same). It also means no Marmite/Vegemite and having to check all labels thoroughly as yeast is hidden in a lot of things. Hellers Bacon for example!

2) Chicken and Eggs.
(Which came first, hahaha!). It's a bummer as eggs are the only thing Jake can cook. Great for him for the next 6 months though.

3) Mushrooms.

4) The entire Nightshade family.
This includes a collection of everyday vegetables that we have always eaten plenty of, eg: tomatoes, capsicum/peppers, potatoes, chilli and other spices.

As a family we're adapting well. Lunch boxes have been hard and I've had to allocate extra time each night for making up no-nightshade salads and no-yeast breads. But I'm getting there.

Parties and events are another story though. Molly's social life is a little bit of a whirlwind and in the last week she's been to a party at a farm - so I had to bake no-egg cupcakes and no-egg cookies and popcorn (she can't have potato chips/crisps) to send along. And also a party at a friend's house where pizza was served for dinner - so I had to invent a yeast free pizza base and a tomato free pizza topping - and then top the pizza with no nightshades!

Anyway, we're doing ok so far, and in 3 weeks here are the benefits:

- She's put on 1.5kgs in weight. (This is more than she's put on in the last year!)
- She's sleeping well, yay!
- Her constant aches and pains are pretty much gone
- She can breathe through her nose for the first time in years! Well, just one nostril, but it's a start!
- She has colour in her cheeks and is noticeably less pale
- And some other stuff which is too personal to discuss here ;)

So, all going well, except I am sick of the kitchen and inventing new recipes. So if you're planning to visit us in the next few months I'm afraid you might be roped into kitchen duties! ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Thanks to Granny, Molly got a brand new set of hair recently. And doesn't it suit her well? We have all fallen in love with this one! 

There's probably not many grannies out there who can say the best present they've ever bought their grand-daughter is a new head of hair!

Molly is accumulating quite a collection of wigs now. We have them displayed all over the house!

It means we also have to accumulate lots of wig stands. Some of them are cheap plastic heads picked up from school fairs.

But she has a couple of very posh handcrafted ones too. Check out the latest one! (FYI Granny this came with the new wig). Pretty clever stuff huh?

She's recently joined a children's alopecia pen pal club. She's got two pen pals: one from Brisbane and one from Canada, each the same age as her.

So we have a lot of letters, photos and emails going backwards and forwards at the moment, which as far as I can make out, mainly seem to be about Minions (the movie), Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor (the singers) and gymnastics.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

October = Rugby World Cup Month

So October came and rugby mania began. We worked around the small issue of the games being played on the other side of the world and got up at 3.45 am one Sunday to watch the semi finals. We were so pleased with our win but boy were we all wrecked for the rest of the day! 

The following week was a little easier - we didn't need to get up until 4.45am for the final! The ABs played well and ours was a very very happy household by the end of the game!

Mind you, the early start was followed by a hosted breakfast on the other side of town with a colleague of Jake's and then the annual school fair..... which meant we weren't a very happy household by the afternoon. The word TIRED doesn't even begin to describe it!

Alfie still managed to find the energy to "Fight the Knight" at the school fair though!

The following week when the All Blacks brought the cup to Wellington for their official parade, I took the kids out of school for the day (along with most of Wellington - the teachers must've had a very easy day last Friday!). We went into the centre of town, along with around 100,000 other people, and enjoyed the sunshine and the atmosphere - and seeing the players and the cup of course!

This is what Civic Square looked like for the afternoon - we're in the middle of that somewhere! (Crowds like this are pretty rare in Wellington) 

Photo from 
 It was so crowded that Jake had to lift Molly and Alfie up for ages so they could see the team. Go the muscles! ;) And it was so hot and tiring that Molly had to be carried home afterwards - thanks Alfie!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The end of Winter...

It's been a long and tough Winter on this side of the world - thank goodness it's nearly over! New Zealand and Australia have been hit by a couple of really horrid flu bugs and I don't know a single family that's escaped it.

Alfie came down with it first in our family, followed by Molly.....we're in Week 7 of Term 3 now and I've just realised I haven't had a single week all term when no child has been off school for at least half a day. Thank goodness I work for myself! 

Apart from having flu-ey children, blankets & sick buckets all over the place at the moment, the other familiar sight around the house these days is sewing stuff piling up everywhere. If it's not Alfie earning another badge to sew onto his Keas uniform, it's Molly needing a button moved on her ballet skirt or a ribbon sewn on to something or some other dance-related sewing requirement.

That's right - the busy activity schedule shows no sign of slowing down. Alfie played in a tennis tournament last weekend - 6 games: he won 4 and lost 2. Great stuff Alfie!

His Winter Soccer season ends this weekend - and what a season it's been! His team, the Thatchers, went unbeaten all season, and other recent highlights have included a kids against parents game, and the Phoenix (Wellington's soccer team) coming to watch them play one week....

Of course the games always include some ridiculous silly-time too....

Molly, meanwhile, continues to compete in gymnastics most weekends at the moment. She's loving every second of it, but the countless hours of training each week is leading to a lot of aches and pains and strains, so I think it'll be a good thing when the competition season is over next month and she gets to give her body a bit of a rest!

Her ballet exam is coming up in a couple of weeks, so rehearsals have stepped up there too. And as if that wasn't enough, she's also been a member of a school dance group this term who performed at a big dance show - "ArtSplash" - last week. She enjoyed that a lot! 

Flippa ball has been great for Molly, as she gets to play a team sport once a week. She's been player of the day twice now - never for her ball skills but always for her team work and defence skills. We're really enjoying our Friday afternoons at the moment as after the Flippaball game all the kids have a swim and a spa, including Alfie, and it's a great way to round off the week. 

Here she is demonstrating her defence skills! 

We do sometimes get a break from the kids sporting activities though! Last weekend we had a fabulous day on the south coast walking along the cliff tops...

And the other day we spent hours on a beach on the Miramar Peninsula collecting bits of sea glass....(doesn't Molly look tiny in this picture?!)

But in general it may seem all busy busy at the moment in our family - and that's because it is! Except if your name is Bear or Ninja. These little guys like lazing around and sleeping so much but they have been a great distraction and great friends for the children in those short spaces of downtime! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Changing Rooms

I'm having a work-on-the-couch day today. Lovely.

I just looked up from my screen and it suddenly dawned on me how much we've done to this room since we moved in 2 years ago - without really realising it.

Here's how the room looked when we moved in...

And here it is as it looks today...

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Winter Weekend at Waitarere

Ha ha ha - a corny title, I know! ;)

We spent last weekend up at Waitarere Beach, because Molly had a gymnastics competition in nearby Levin on the Sunday and we thought it would be easier to be based up there rather than drive two hours on the day. So we hired a bach that we'd been to before and took the opportunity to kick back and relax...

We've been up this way countless times before.... it's a beautiful, desolate, switch-off kind of place. And a beautiful, desolate, switch-off kind of place was so very much needed for all of us at the moment. Life's been busy!

So, switch off and recharge our batteries we did! Our time at Waitarere was lazy and included lots of reading and/or drawing time on couches under blankets and duvets....

And there was lots of time spent sitting on the deck playing games with plastic animals and bits of wood...

And lots of board games by the fire...

It wasn't all laziness though! Both Jake and I got out for a couple of runs each. I have to confess to being not only a fair-weather runner, but also a flat-terrain runner. This is the reason why I have barely run since we left Auckland in 2007: the Falkland Islands were too cold, Alice Springs was too hot, and Wellington is too hilly ;) 

But Waitarere Beach is just right! You can't beat a running route like this...

And during other moments of energy, we all played on the beach. At this time of year there's usually a lot of driftwood along this part of the coastline. Molly made good use of it to practise her beam routine in time for the competition on Sunday..

She also used it for climbing and exploring...

Meanwhile Alfie and Jake made good use of it for stick fighting competitions (?) 

And Alfie and I built a driftwood teepee. We had a lot of fun doing that!

This kind of stuff is what helps Jake and I feel normal again when life gets too crazy. It's really been too crazy lately! Just playing on the beach is the most amazing remedy for stress. We should all do this every week! 

Long jump competition...