Sunday, January 20, 2019

Weekend in the Lewis Pass

We were blessed with the use of a holiday house up in the Lewis Pass this weekend. We had a nice relaxing Friday. We didn't leave too early as we had planned to have lunch in Culverden on the way up. Rachel was working till mid afternoon, so when she arrived she was quite tired. So she stayed home while we went out for a short walk down to the river on the other side of the main road.
I forgot my phone charger, but thankfully had my new GoPro to try out (mainly bought for an up-coming swimming weekend). It was nice to make a Quick Story video with the good photos. I had over 130 photos from the weekend, so had to just pick the best ones to add.
The sky was just so beautiful.
The video quality is not that great - designed for watching on a phone really. It was quick and easy to get made though, so it will have to do as a record of the fun.
On Saturday morning, before 8:30, we were already out on our first walk. We did the Loop 1 today as they say each loop can be an hour. So this was the test to see how we would do. It only took us just over half an hour. It was really beautiful. This was my favorite photo.

Loop 1 video

As the walk was so much shorter than we had planned, and Anastasia wasn't due for her nap yet, we decided to try find the spot in the river that is good for swimming. We made a wrong turn after finding the old chimney, but soon found the right path and the children had so much fun. It was so beautiful.
The water was freezing, but Anastasia even wanted to spend time with her feet in it. Eventually the sand flies forced us to head back to the house.
So picturesque.

Loads of fun.
Swim video.

While Anastasia napped we played a few games
And then after lunch we decided to get another walk in before the rain arrived. We took a short drive to the start of the Nina Valley walk that Ruth often goes on with the Kiwi Watch group at school.They hike all the way to the hut and empty traps and re-bait them. It was so nice to see some of what she does. She was able to show us a trap with a ferrit in. The highlight was the swing bridge. :-) We walked for about an hour and the rain started just as we got back to the car.
Nice to be able to get family selfies.

Nina Valley video
It stormed Saturday night. Hannah did especially well as the house moved a lot in the wind (especially for those of us sleeping upstairs).
The rain had cleared in the morning but it looked like more might come, so we decided to head off asap to attempt the Loop 2. It was drizzling when we left, but it was mostly dry through the walk.

The Loop 2 is obviously used far less and was a lot more tricky for Brendon with the big backpack with Anastasia.
When we got to the grassland (that we remembered from the map) we didn't feel confident as to where the path went from there, so we ended up having to just forge our way through the last bit of forestry. We were all very relieved when we finally got to the road.
Loop 2 video.
It was such a lovely weekend. It was Brendon's birthday today, so it was a nicely timed weekend away to celebrate with him. His gift from us all (that the children contributed to) was a fitbit. We decided to give it to him on Friday though so that he could enjoy using it through the weekend.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Wound, afro, gene test and party

Saturday 24th: Enjoying a cuddle with Anakin.

Such a great big brother to sit and read with Anastasia.

Although I am constantly asking Ruth to please not draw on herself, she has now taken it to a new level. This is her wound creation. I really don't like pen on their skin, but this is incredibly well done. It looks terribly painful - but is just ink.

Almost done getting all the braids undone.

Ruth's hair without any braids. She is not mad about her afro and doesn't like having it loose (that's the reason we only have a photo from behind). We do still need to get it all nicely brushed out and then will have to figure out what she is going to do with it now.
My back has been hurting a lot lately, so I was doing one of the stretches that the physio gave me (with a pillow under my back) and Asher decided it was a great time to come and have a cuddle.
Anastasia just loves all the different blankets we have for her. At first they were used for when I was breastfeeding, but now they are just for her enjoyment. She always has one in her bed and generally has one or two around in the lounge. She often carries one around in her mouth! Such a cutie.
Tickles with Ruth before she heads off on her Wellington trip tomorrow morning (Sunday to Thursday). We still need to wade through all the photos from that trip - so I'll leave them all for a separate post.
Tuesday 27th: Hezekiah had blood tests for the first time today. He has been on a gluten trial for the last 4 weeks due to increased stomach pain. Instead of just doing the blood tests that the GP had suggested, we decided to take him to Dr Ford (the expert on Gluten intolerance and Coeliac in NZ). Added to the GP's tests we also did the test for the Coeliac Gene.
We had the consultation with Dr Ford this morning and I learnt a lot more about Gluten intolerance and Coeliac. We managed to get the blood tests done at a lab in town before heading home.  The GP had suggested this as they are so experienced with children. They were really good. Hezekiah was also very brave and it went very well.
I had also had blood tests done to check for the gene and thankfully mine came back negative. So I will never get Coeliac disease. Hezekiah however is positive. Thankfully the other tests show that at this stage his body is not presenting with Coeliac disease. He is just more at risk of developing it in his lifetime. So being on a mostly wheat free diet is a good choice. Dr Ford also suggested getting the other tests done every 4 or 5 years, because even on a limited gluten diet, he could still develop Coeliac.
Asher had an appointment with her neurologist this afternoon, but thankfully he had organized to just do a phone call consultation this time. We told him we have increased her newer medication to 12ml twice a day (up from 10). He had said we could do this if we felt we wanted to. He has told me that we can safely move it up to 14ml if we feel the need at any point. I love that he is so trusting of our judgement of these medication decisions.
I told the doc that when she went up to 12ml we did see side effects. Her behaviour was really difficult for a week (at home and at school). Brendon encouraged me to just hang in there though, and by the end of the 2nd week it had all settled down. The doctor was very pleased we persevered. As he said, if the side effects are controlled, then it's worth trying. We don't know how much control this drug can give her if we don't give it a go.
Thursday 29th: Anastasia enjoying playing with some cooked carrot today. Unfortunately every time I introduce a new food to her, she seems to have a really bad night. So her stomach is just taking longer to mature and get comfortable with these new foods. I'm glad I didn't rush her food intake earlier. She clearly was just not ready for it.
Great to have Ruth back today. So many lovely memories made on her trip. Such fun stories to share.

Ruth always enjoys doing things with Anastasia. So she is very pleased that I am now giving her a bottle of milk during the day, as she can then get to feed her. I decided I needed the reduction of stress on me of breastfeeding. I was constantly worrying about my own diet and making sure that I had enough milk for her. I'm pleased I was able to provide for her for over a year (and actually much more than the others as it was breast-milk only into her 10th month)
Friday 30th: The farm's Christmas Party this evening. It is Rachel's last one with the farm as she will be finishing up on the farm in December. She has worked there for 5 years now (ever Thursday morning). She is very grateful for the opportunity, but also excited about the new adventures ahead.

Another advantage of getting Anastasia onto a bottle was that I could leave her at home and enjoy a child free evening out. I am so grateful and enjoyed the special night out.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Soccer, cards and tough kids

Sat 17: A different kind of massage for Dad this afternoon. :-)
Playing drums this afternoon. Friends gave us these two drums and Anastasia just loves this big one. I can give her the drum stick and say "go bang on the drum" and off she goes (it normally sits in the corner). So sweet.
Ruth bought and painted these for Rachel for Christmas.

Below: . Hezekiah had some soccer practice with Dad this afternoon. It was nice that the girls went out to join them. Made some of the exercises a lot more fun.

Practicing his dribbling. Hezekiah has very high standards for himself and is frustrated that he is not instantly good at it all. It was good to see him go out and practice on his own over the next couple of days.
Anastasia discovered that she can push these soft balls through this part of the bead chaser. It was so much fun to watch her.

Sunday 18th: Ruth tickeling Anastasia. So much fun.
Monday 19th:I made a good start on our Christmas card / decorations today. We ended up doing just short of 300 of them.
I made some thick stencils for the star and then realized I needed a handle on them, so glued some rocks on the top of the stencils so that I could easily move them from one set to the next. I spray painted the black around the star so that the lovely shiny star was left in the middle.
Thursday 22nd: Tough Kids for Ruth and her friends today.
Fun that it's a dress up.

Not just a normal race, but also a big obstacle course (with mud).
Such a special day with so many great memories made.
Friday 23rd: Last primary assembly for the year. Well done Hannah on getting a certificate. I made it just in time to get this photo as I had an appointment in town which ran late.

Hezekiah got his sports certificate.
And they showed some of their art.
Thankfully his teacher let me just take these photos after assembly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Happy 1st Birthday Anastasia

Wednesday 14th November: Lovely to celebrate Anastasia's birthday on the day with this lovely cake that Rachel made for her.
Asher wasn't interested in being in the photo.
Happy Birthday sweet girl.
Time for cake.
Some went into her mouth but I'm not sure how much she swallowed. Loads of fun to play with though.
Such a cutie.
12 months and 12 teddies.

So stable on her feet now.
And already walking.

It was quite something to reflect on the fact that these were her last monthly teddy photos. I've been doing these photos since Rachel was born over 17 years ago. It's been a fun tradition.
And so in light of the baby reaching this milestone, I went back to look at the other children's 12 month photos.
And Asher.