Sunday, August 12, 2018

Crawling, teeth and netball season over

Wed 8th: Ruth was excited about getting her own Math's workbook. They don't need to own a copy, but it makes it much easier and also allows her to work ahead if she wants to. She is year 8 this year, and doing year 10 work already. And a young year 8 too. Well done Ruth. I'm so glad you can enjoy Math with me. :-)
Thursday 9th: It's a great help having Megan take the children to school on Monday and Wednesday morning. Rachel also helps with a lot of the other school trips. On Thursday morning though, Rachel is working, so I have to pack Anastasia up and head up with them all. What a stunning morning though. I quickly took this photo as I left her classroom. Spring seems a little early this year.

Anastasia enjoying some of Asher's favourite books.
BELOW: I wanted to get a video of Anastasia's new forward movement. A proper leopard crawl now. And I was so impressed when she got up on her knees for a bit too. It won't be long and she will be crawling around very quickly. As it is she can get all around the room very easily.

Ruth was a very happy girl today as her friend gave her these two slimes. Ruth does love slime. And these were such lovely colours and the purple one was also very unique with the bumps in it.
Ruth had a very fun audio for us to listen to. They are learning about recording in Music and so their teacher had let them listen to this. Have a listen here (but use earphones).
It's brilliant. She had me listen first and I was convinced the children had put something on really loud in the room next door. Then it was Brendon's turn, then Hannah and Hezekiah.
Hannah was so funny. She kept looking around.
Our ears and brain truly are amazing creations. Such fun too.

Such a lovely photo. Such pleasure on Anastasia's face.
We had a bit of a jolt this evening just before 8pm. Only a 4.3 but it rattled the house and Hannah. It's been ages since we last felt one.
Friday 10th: Ruth took a photo of the sunrise this morning but added a star filter on her phone. A very pretty picture, even if there is some artistic licence in it. :-)
Asher had a seizure around midday today. It was almost 2 minutes, so a little longer than most of the recent ones. It made me realize though how long it has been since a long seizure (over 3 minutes). It's been over 16 months. So we are very grateful for this. She also had a lot of violent arm movements after the seizure and it reminded me of how we used to get that every time but she hasn't had that in a while too. Hopefully it's just a once off and doesn't happen too much again.
Rachel headed off this morning to have lunch with a friend and then work at the Disney on Ice. She didn't get to see any of it as she was working as a cashier, but she was excited about just being a part of it. It's fun to see all the girls dressed up for their special outing.
She called me after her shift to share her excitement. There had been a mother come and ask if there was a first aider. Rachel said she had first aid training and offered to see if she could help.
She gave the exact advice that was needed and the mother came back after the show to thank her. She was so pleased to be able to use some of her training in a "real life" situation to help someone.
Anastasia sees Asher on an iPad so often, so she is very interested in it. She loves the Giggle Gang. This must be the youngest I have had a little one on a device. How things change.
Saturday 11th: Final netball day today and wonderfully it was in Hawarden today, so I managed to get up to watch.
Great jump Ruth.
I was great to be able to watch again as I could see how much Ruth has improved through the season. Well done Ruth.
And then at 5 they had the prize giving for the club. Ruth's certificate said "for your commitment and improved netball skills this season."
For not having ever played before, she did very well this year and we are very proud of her.
Great to be able to give their coach a couple of gifts to as a thanks for all her time and effort.
Sunday 12th: We sorted out this toy basket and Anastasia decided the basket was a great teething ring. :-)
She finally has a couple of teeth through. The top left and bottom right.
Some other sorting out that happened was in two of the kitchen cupboards. We had way too many mugs (some very old ones) so Ruth went through all the mugs and all the plastic things. She did a great job sorting it all out and repacking the cupboards. Nothing like some extra little jobs to earn some bonus pocket money.
Anastasia is getting really good at crawling forwards now. Rachel was surprised when she saw her crawling forward at church this morning. Rachel keeps feeling like she goes away for a bit and comes back with Anastasia having learnt something new. She has gotten really quick at getting around the lounge now and this evening decided a couple of times to head over to Anakin's box.
So although a couple of little jobs got done, it was still a nice relaxing day to end the week. Rachel stayed with friends after church and then went to a worship service with them in the evening. As they were after 10pm getting back, she just stayed over with them and came home in the morning.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Lions Speech and St John Prize Giving

Sunday 5th: In anticipation for Ruth meeting the potential piano teacher, I asked her what song she would like me to get her sheet music for. She chose "From Now On" from The Greatest Showman. It's 16 pages long! She got started on it today. At first she wasn't thrilled with the key that it's in (it's in E which has 4 sharps - 4 black notes keys in the scale). She is getting the hang of it though.
Monday 6th: I ran to get this photo when I spotted her as I had just recently been working on Asher's baby book and there was a photo almost exactly like this. So I thought it would be nice to get the Anastasia version. :-)
This is the one of Asher at 7 months. Anastasia has a lot more hair. And they are both drawn to the music box. :-)
All the children have received RISE awards over the years. They get them for doing something that fits in with the R.I.S.E. values that the school focuses on. Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence. Ruth got one last week for her Service in the 40 hour famine. She was thrilled today to be one of the 2 RISE award recipients who got drawn for the principles reward. 2 get drawn every week, and this was the first time any of our family got one. So she was very excited to be able to choose a selfie stick from the collection of rewards.
There was an app that Asher loved using at the Champion Centre that I finally decided to buy for her to have at home. It's called Special Words and uses flash cards to help children learn to read by sight. I think that this is going to be the only way Asher will learn to read. Phonics will be too complicated for her and she also has a good memory. I have adjusted it to just have a few words for her to start with. For now it's just for her to get really familiar with the app. Ultimately the school needs to decide which words they want her to learn first (in sets of 4) and we can load them up ourselves. She is just loving the app and spending ages on it.
I had to smile this afternoon as she played on the app, played with the shapes, and also played with a car (it's a bit hard to see - but it has 4 blocks that come off - so they were on and off as a part of this game). She does love doing a few things at the same time.
Tuesday 7th: Rachel baked cakes yesterday to take to the St John Prize giving this evening. The tops that needed trimming got some extra white chocolate ganache on them and added to desert for bible study last night. It was really delicious. I didn't get to try the sponge cake when she made it last month, so I suggested she make it again, this time in the size that she will be doing for the wedding cake in February.
It's a rather big cake, so we took a photo of Rachel holding it to show how big it is. Thankfully it only has 1 tablespoon of wheat flour in each batch (this was two batches), as it's mainly cornflour. So for our family it can be seen as wheat free enough for us to eat. Hezekiah is the most sensitive and he didn't even want to try any - so that worked out ok (there was ice cream last night - so that wins over cake any day for him).
The only tricky thing now is that the bottom tier (even bigger than this) is a wheat based chocolate cake. So we may have to find someone who wants to buy a huge chocolate cake off Rachel (at cost price) in the next couple of months, so that she can have a practice run with that layer too.
Anastasia decided she wanted to chew on that label on her excersaucer seat. It was a bit hard to get to buy she persevered. Such a cutie.
At 3:30 I took Ruth up to the hall to enjoy afternoon tea with the Lions before their bi-annual speech competitions. The speeches started at 4:30 which I managed to get to. I got to listen to the only senior entry but then had to go home to feed Anastasia. I then headed back and they were just in a small break before the Junior Sections started.
I was concerned I wouldn't get to hear Ruth as I needed to leave by 5:30 to get to the St John prize giving. One of the Lion's members suggested I check when she was speaking and ask if she could be soon. They had done a random draw for places, but thankfully the person who was supposed to be 2nd had not arrived, so Ruth was able to jump into that spot.
So I not only got to hear her, but she was then also able to come with to the prize giving. She was sure she wouldn't be getting a placing, and really wanted to attend the prize giving. So the timing worked out perfectly. It was a pity to miss the other speeches, but was just a rather full day for us.
We were very excited to hear later that Ruth had in fact won 2nd place. She missed being in the group photo they took on the night, but the lady from Lions came around on Thursday to congratulate Ruth and give her the certificate and prize. Well done Ruth.
Even though we left a bit later than I had hoped, we managed to get to the prize giving on time. Ruth and Hannah joined me. Rachel had already been here for over an hour helping set things up. She was running the prize giving this evening. She did so very well. She looked very clam, even though she had some last minute extra VIP's arrive (whom she needed to introduce to everyone).
Great job Rachel.
There were loads of badges presented and then they moved to the promotions. Rachel received her Cadet Leader today. The highest rank for someone under 18 in St John cadets.
I love how happy Jo looks. I know they were very proud of her. She learnt afterwards that not many people actually achieve all 3 levels.
Often they skip one and go straight to Cadet Leader when they get close to 18. So a great achievement to gave gone through all the ranks.
Here Carrie (current DM - District Manager) and Jo (previous DM) are putting her new strips on.
This was really special for Rachel.
And then Rachel received her Grand Prior. This is a very special award and they need someone of the order to present it. Thankfully Judith Hoban could attend tonight. She is a Dame Grand Cross.
This is a nice photo as you can see her old brassard - filled with 15 gold badges (she only needed 12 for this GP award along with 100 service hours). Not many of the cadets will have a gold filled brassard. You collect green and blue badges first and then from the age of 13 you can work on your gold ones. Rachel wanted to make sure that she had as many gold badges as she could.
The photo we took at home later (below) shows her new brassard with the GP patch. She also received a beautiful silver embossed batch that she will be able to put on a different top that she will probably get next year.

I got goosebumps when she received this award because all the leaders and VIPs stood to applaud her. It was amazing. I get goosbumps again now just thinking back to it. It was so very special. Carrie had tried to get the cadets to stand too - but they missed her signal. :-)
Judith then turned Rachel around and spoke about what an achievement this was. How much work she had put into it as well as the support from her family to have made this possible. It was very special.
Well done Rachel. We are so proud of you and the hard work and commitment you have shown in reading this goals.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Planking, lanterns and snow.

Tuesday 31st: Anastasia didn't have a great night and was really restless. I wondered if it was because she couldn't move much (as she sleeps swaddled). So today I tried to see if she could have a nap without being wrapped up. She eventually fell asleep, but woke after 45 minutes and I had to wrap her up to get the rest of her nap. I think the restlessness is more related to teething. We can see the top teeth are really close now.
(The funny thing was that the bottom teeth actually broke through by the end of the week. So it was the teeth, just not only the ones we were watching.)
She loves this ball. There is a song on the Cedamont Kids (I'll be a sunbeam) where the girls play with balls.
She gets very vocal when that song comes on and now we know that she just wants to have her own ball for the song. And this one is it. I just love how she holds it with her feet as well as her hands which is seen even more when she is lying down and holding it. So cute.
LEFT: Ruth and Asher enjoying some chill time after getting home from school.
LEFT: Doesn't she just look like a little doll? Such a cutie.
RIGHT: Asher spotted Anastasia's high chair and remembered sitting in it herself and enjoying clipping and unclipping the belt. So she enjoyed clipping for a bit.
Wednesday 1st August: Another thing that Anastasia now enjoys (that Asher still plays with often) is this musical keyboard.
I had a very busy day today with deciding to deworm the whole family. Not something people talk about much, but something that is very common in South Africa. I know many families who just deworm the children every 6 months. It's different in NZ, but there are also families who do it regularly here.
Our main reason for doing it this time was because Hannah has been eating like a horse. I remember so clearly when I was a child, that when my brother started eating loads, we would get de-wormed. So we will see if this is the cause of her huge appetite (she out-ate the two big boys on Friday night). 5 loads of washing today and all the floors done. I did the towels last night after the last shower. It's never ideal to have to do all the bedding for the household in one day, but thankfully the rain held off and I managed to get it all dry by Thursday (with the last load going on Thursday morning).
I had to rotate things and as soon as they were almost dry they came in for a final dry at the fire and the next load would go out.
We had a busy afternoon with Hannah's Student Led Conference at 3:14 and then from 4 to 5 we met up with all the different teachers Ruth has this year. We got to see this creation of hers from art. They had to design the character and then create it. I love the eyes.
It was a nice time to catch up with the different teachers and hear from them how she is doing. She is a very multi-talented young lady and is doing well in all her classes and is a pleasure to have in class. We are very proud of her and thankful that she is working so hard at school and is so successful in all that she does.
Thursday 2nd: We have been enjoying many beautiful sunrises lately. I asked Hannah to go out and get a photo of it this morning. She didn't know how to zoom in, so it's not a great picture of what our eyes saw. The colours were magnificent.
Yesterday was too busy for the children photo, so we got that taken this afternoon. I love how Anastasia was playing with Asher (and am very thankful Asher didn't push her off).

Asher had a seizure at 1:35 today. She slept so long afterwards that she was still asleep when I fetched the children at 3. I'm glad she could get that good sleep afterwards.
Ruth made a delicious salad for dinner this evening. I added some left over chicken and it was a complete meal for me. So enjoyable.
The Ministry of Education co-ordinator is making books up for Asher and asked for photos from at home. As she speaks to Nana every week, I thought I would take a photo this evening. If we even mention Nana she will go over to the computer and expect to talk to her.
One of the things that came from the Parent Teacher meetings was that I got the name of a piano teacher that comes into our area to do lessons on a Friday. She doesn't have any gaps at this stage but will have one next year. She is happy to take Ruth from where she is and help stretch and help her grow. She will sit and work out songs herself, so I want her to be able to enjoy that freedom and also take it to it's full potential. I'm not terribly worried about her reading music. This teacher is happy to help push her to her full potential and just work really slowly on the music reading side of things. So the talk has gotten Ruth more motivated in her playing and has done a lot more practicing this week. Her latest creation is one of the songs from The Greatest Showman. So fun to listen to. We just need to get the piano tuned as there are also two notes that are not working (which is a real pain).
Friday 3rd: Just so that you know she does get herself into a perfect crawling position. It's just more "safe" to move her hands backwards, underneath her body. So she ends up going backwards.
When she really wants to go forwards she knows she has to do something different and so she tries to push herself forward by going up on her toes. Such a strong plank. She has the tummy muscles strong enough, she just has to realize that moving those hands forward won't throw her totally off balance. I'm so pleased I got a photo of this stage though. It's so funny and cute to watch.
It was nice that I could leave Anastasia at home this afternoon and attend the assembly without distraction. Asher is still not really interested in showing off her work. It may be something we just have to not bother about for a while as she got quite agitated after this.
Well done to Hannah for getting a certificate today.
It said: For great effort in reading with your "ITTM" (I think that means).

Ruth left early this morning to join in the school ski trip. So she is officially the first one in the family to go skiing.
She had her camera with and took some photos of the surroundings (which I still need to get from her) but she didn't take any of herself. So I was very pleased when the teacher said he had ones of her. And such great photos too.
What a great experience.
We are also very thankful to friends who lent Ruth loads of appropriate ski gear.

Ruth got home just in time to change and then we headed out to the Lantern walk. We arrived just in time for the older children to go join in the start of the walk, but by the time we had the buggy set up and Anastasia in the pouch, the group had left. At least the older 3 got to go on the full walk. Rachel wasn't with as she was helping with some St John competition training. We had planned to bring the car down to the Mill (where the walk ended for a story and soup) but the car got stuck in the mud. So it was a bit stressful until we had gotten Asher's bag of toys from the car. She was really unsettled and we were so pleased that her Dora cards helped her settle so quickly. The room was very dimly lit and very noisy, so she did very well (once she had her familiar things). Anastasia then got tired, so we headed home with the younger two and the older ones stayed for roasting marshmallows. Thanks to Noor for giving them a lift home at the end.
Saturday 4th: A nice afternoon walk up to the park again today. Hannah and Hezekiah decided to climb this tree. You can see the red from his spider man suit two thirds of the way up. Hannah was just to the right. They were at least 2 stories up, so I wasn't wonderfully comfortable until they were back on the ground.
Asher enjoying the small slide. Thankfully she didn't want to attempt the high one. My dislike of heights had already been pushed today.
Hannah always does different things on the flying fox. So I was really pleased when she kindly helped Hezekiah to be able to get on backwards.
He also realized that if he starts off sitting forward (which he can do on his own) he can then quickly stand up and then hop around to be facing backwards too. :-)
Rachel had her Amberley work and then headed into town to work at the Rugby final. Although the stadium was packed, it wasn't as busy for her. She says that perhaps because the tickets were so much more expensive, people didn't spend as much on food and drink.
She then stayed with a friend in town and went to church with her in the morning, had lunch together and then headed home in the afternoon. So it was a lovely opportunity for them to have the time together.