Friday, September 29, 2017

Flowers, hair and r2d2

Saturday 23rd: Brendon and Rachel loaded up all the building rubbish that needed to be dumped. Hezekiah was a great help too. He brought this piece all on his own. That's still from the container - so it's great to get all the rubbish taken away. There was so much from replacing the shower - so it had to be done sooner rather than later.
Almost half a tonne of junk.

While Dad was out I asked the children to clean the deck. The chooks keep coming up here when it's raining and have made such a mess again. We have a plan to lock them up in a bigger sheltered section when it rains, so it was time to get the deck clean. After a bit of working out how it's done, they worked really well as a team with water and brushes and got it looking SO good.
Daniel arrived before lunch for another weekend visit. I didn't get a photo of them heading to the park this time - but it was a much anticipated outing for Hezekiah and Hannah. They got the old chook area sorted first - so at least we have somewhere dry to lock them up if they keep wanting to come onto the deck to get out the rain.
After another week of no seizures Monday through Friday, Asher had a seizure today at 4pm. It took half an hour to get her settled for her sleep. Thankfully just the one today (not like the 2 last Saturday).
Sunday 24th: Today ended up being a bit of a repeat from last week though. She had a seizure at 11am again (during church) and then another at 6pm. Thankfully the day was better for her this week, but I think she knew something was not right before the 6pm one. She kept coming to me, almost for comfort, and I could see she wasn't looking great. I had just thought about putting a nappy on her but didn't get time. I think in years to come she would be able to tell us that one is coming. Most of the time they hit her by surprise though. Like this morning. She was happily hugging Dad while he sang and looked so comfortable and relaxed. I was enjoying watching her - and then saw as it hit.
Ruth was a star this afternoon and got the other two busy in games outside.
This allowed Rachel and Daniel to have a bit of time in conversation just with each other. :-)
Rachel got some lovely flowers from Daniel. It was nice that they ended up behind them in this photo.
Daniel ended up staying longer than planned this afternoon as we watched The Hunger Games in the afternoon. The movies came on TV recently and although I wasn't sure about the girls watching them - we decided to watch it with the older two while in Hanmer. Rachel decided to do her last English Personal Response on the first two movies. So although it was mainly because we had decided that Hannah could watch them too, Rachel enjoyed watching them again and having Daniel join in. She has written a very good response on a number of the themes in the movies. They are very thought provoking.
Monday 25th: Ruth had her guitar out this evening as the Kapa Haka teacher has asked her to practice a song for the end of year assembly. Asher wanted to join in, so we got "her" guitar/harp out and Hezekiah joined her in making a bit of music.
Tuesday 26th: Champion Centre this morning and then a hospital appointment with her neurologist after lunch. Her OT (and the team leader) from Champion Centre came with to the appointment this afternoon to chat about getting a letter from him in support of Asher's ORS application for her school start in Feb. (Ongoing Resourcing Scheme for students with severe and ongoing needs for special education.) I'm so thankful for all the help the Champion Centre give us through this time of transition to school.
Wednesday 27th: Final school assembly for the term this afternoon and I attended as I usually try to do. Today was an extra special assembly though with a lot more parents present as there were 12 students who shaved their heads for Shave for a Cure. There were 5 girls and it was quite emotional watching them. They were so very brave. This is Ruth's friend. She and another girl in her class raised $800 and $900. In total the school raised over $3,000. What an amazing effort.

I got Hezekiah's birthday cakes made this morning while Asher was at preschool. Once cool they went into the freezer. They will come out Thursday evening and then I will cut them into the shape while frozen (much easier to sculpt with frozen cake) and then Friday morning is icing time.
BELOW: Fun this afternoon. Lately Ruth has often gotten Asher onto her back. She is creating a nice new game with her. It was also so fun to hear the games Hezekiah and Hannah were coming up with.
Unfortunately this peace fell apart when I left for bible study at 6 and Brendon was out from 6-7 at karate. By the time he got back it was more like a war zone. We had planned to have them all home next week while Brendon comes with me to a midwife appointment. We will have to make other plans though. It will have to be "Divide and conquer". It's hard enough for Rachel to watch Asher, so we can't let her have that extra burden of a possible conflict amongst the others.

Thursday 28th: Normally Brendon takes the girls to dancing, but I was so tired this afternoon that I took them so that I could nap in the van while the practiced. I had been struggling to stay awake while watching Asher in the afternoon, so I knew 3 1/2 more hours would just be too much.
Friday 29th: Cake day today as it's the last day of term. So although Hezekiah's birthday is only on Tuesday, it was nice to celebrate with his class today.
Thankfully Josie came around and helped with Asher for 2 hours this morning, so Rachel could help me. She was a great help in rolling the icing out (and colouring the blue). Other than the big piece for his body, she rolled all the rest for me. We had a great production line going.
As I covered a piece, she got the next piece of fondant ready. It was also nice having her input on where to put what "decorations". She also always makes the butter cream icing. She made that while I was taking the children to school so I could get started asap.
I was glad I had done the cutting the night before. I worked solidly on the cake from 9 till when we left at 12:15 to take it for them to have at lunch time.
Hezekiah has been looking forward to today for over a week.
So nice to share this memory with his class. And there was enough cake for Whero class too(where he still has a few friends).
Singing Happy Birthday. The blue candles suited the cake well.
When Hezekiah got home he asked if he could have his presents today (he knows Hannah has bought him something). He will have to wait till Tuesday though. He will have a few friends over for a play in the afternoon (of his actual birthday), so it will be a special day for him and nice that he can look forward to that too.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A tired Mum but many blessings

Friday 15th: Ruth's class showing some of their artwork during primary assembly this afternoon.
I had Asher with me again this week and she did really well sitting in her pram through it all. She had her church bag of toys to keep her busy but did enjoy stopping to clap when everyone else was. :-)

Hezekiah was pleased to get a certificate.
Always such a highlight for the children if an aspect of their work is acknowledged in this way. This time he got one for "being an enthusiastic participant in group discussions."

Story time with Ruth this afternoon. Asher is getting a lot better with books and is enjoying spending more and more time having people read to her. It's still very limited to books she chooses (ones that she knows well), but it is improvement.
Saturday 16th: With rain forecast for tomorrow it was great that Rachel could get the grass cut today. It had grown so much and it always looks so very nice when just cut.
Asher always loves running to where she can look out and watch her. Ruth was thrilled to have Asher put her arm around her while they watched.
Not long after this photo was taken, at around midday, Brendon and I were outside chatting while we watched Asher on her bike. She unfortunately had a 1 min TC. Thankfully it wasn't a big fall off the bike. There was a lot more shouting at the start of it - which always tugs so at the heart strings.
She took a while to get to sleep and didn't even get to have a nice long rest as she was woken at 1:15 by another TC. This time going 1 1/2 minutes and it took her even longer to get to sleep.
We are thankful she had the whole week break (Monday to Friday with no seizures).
The previous 10 days had been so hard. I remember on Tuesday evening Brendon commented on how great it is that she has had such a nice break. And it had only been 2 days! It often feels like that though, and so having 5 days off was a real blessing.

We have had all the old underlay lying on our deck this week, so today was the day to get it sorted (and used elsewhere). Brendon took all the green pieces and used them to cover the weeds between the drive and the wood pile.
We don't really want to spray there as the chooks often peck around there.
And then I asked if it was possible to re-do the "hill" in the corner. The weed mat has long since stopped doing it's job. And again, it would be ideal if we didn't have to regularly spray this area. I got someone to weed it a few months back but the grass is getting a bit out of control again. So these three helped move the rocks out the middle section (the width of a piece of underlay).
Hannah and Hezekiah got rather tired out, but Ruth kept going and helped Dad put all the rocks back once the underlay was down (it's only red on the one side - and a brownish colour on the other - so that's it in line with Ruth's body). Ruth commended the next day on how nice it looked. So at least she could see how her work had paid off.
Sunday 17th: I slept quite a bit of Saturday morning but was still really tired on Sunday. So I stayed home from church and ended up sleeping the entire morning. I got up for lunch but spent most of the afternoon in bed too. The last week really took it's toll on me.
Asher had a seizure at 11am during church. She had a bit of a sleep on the way home but just seemed out of it the rest of the day. She kept coming to me in the bedroom, and then going back tot he rest of the family. She just seemed totally unsettled. Eventually at 7:30pm, just as we were getting her ready for bed, she had a seizure. We had been waiting for it the whole afternoon, so weren't surprised by it. Thankfully she didn't take too long to fall asleep and had a quiet night.
Monday 18th: Asher was fine by the morning and had a great morning at preschool.
With the extra shower leak that we didn't know about from the earthquake, the builder had to lift the vinyl and fix a whole floor board before he could install the new shower. So today we had the carpet company come in to put new vinyl in the bathroom. So good to have a nice clean floor.
The painter had popped in on Sunday afternoon to sand the plastering in the bathroom and "seal" it. So although the room is not painted yet, it is usable. We were not sure when the bathroom would get done, so it was a separate job for the painter and he just squeezed the bit of work into his week. He will finish up the painting when he gets a gap (as this wasn't part of the original plan for him).
Tuesday 19th: A very busy day for me today. Off to Champion Centre first thing (no photo taken today) and then to Rangiora on the way home to see my midwife. Thankfully we finished early at the Champion Centre and so I could renew my drivers licence in between the two. We had quite a wait as it was the lunch time rush. The lady was very apologetic for my weight though - seeing Asher getting a bit frustrated in her pram and me heavily pregnant too. Once I was at the front it was really quick though. What a very visual reminder that we have now been in NZ for over 10 years. At least my drivers licence is sorted for the next 10. :-)
Tea party with Hannah this afternoon.
Thursday 21st: It was sweet to hear Asher calling the cat to  "come here". Anakin wasn't responding, so I lifted him up onto her lap. She loved cuddling him today.
Whenever Rachel peels potatoes Asher likes passing the potatoes to her. I think she must have heard Rachel peeling today as she quickly headed to the kitchen to "help".
This afternoon a friend came over to help with some unpacking. She and her daughter unpacked and sorted the top two long shelves (and emptied 8 boxes). What a wonderful blessing. It took me a couple of months to slowly get those all packed. So it was wonderful having them all unpacked within an hour. It was a job that would have taken me a very long time, and one that I was not at all motivated to get to.
I have realized (perhaps out of desperation and exhaustion) that there are people around, like my friend, who offer to help, but it takes courage to ask for the help.
So another request I made was to a friend who helps people with different jobs. We have a drainage problem between the house and the garage and so when we have a lot of rain (like we did this week) this area if often a huge puddle. It's hard for me getting Asher to the car when it's like this as I can't just get her to walk along the path. I was amazed that he organized to come and have a look and work at fixing the drain this evening (I only told him about it this morning). Hezekiah was keen to help him and spent an hour at there "helping" (and chatting away). He was then sent inside to dry off while our friend continued.
Although we will probably have to replace the underground drain at some point, he has made a huge improvement and when I left on Friday morning (after another night of rain) I could just walk Asher along the path. What a blessing.
Ruth hurt her leg on Tuesday at high jump. She has been resting it this week (no more high jump and no dancing on today). It's still rather sore though. When Brendon massaged it for her this evening we realized it was a lot higher than we first thought. He had first thought it was a shin splint, but it's closer to her knee. She saw the physio on Friday after lunch and she explained what was going on. It's not a major issue and should clear up on its own quickly.
Friday 22nd: Asher had a follow up eye appointment today. We had to leave at 7:30, so it was a very early start. We were however still slightly late as some people jumped the cue at the shuttle. I was standing in the rain waiting to pay and a few quickly got past and paid someone cash for a ticket and got on the shuttle leaving just 1 seat left when we arrived.
Thankfully after that disappointing start, the appointments went much better than any previous ones. We had a very long wait between the appointments (the first one where they put drops in to dilate the pupils). She spent ages with her iPad sorting game and rings that she links and un-links. When we were called we just took the games to carry on. The dr was brilliant and got to work with the iPad to see into her eyes. Her glasses are still the right prescription. He then wanted a better look without the glasses, so I switched the iPad off and told her she had to look at the light first, then iPad. She is used to having "first.... then ....." plans, so she did really well and he got a few seconds to look in each eye. Without any screaming or shouting or hitting. What a blessing.
This evening Ruth asked Dad if he wanted some cheese and gherkin. She didn't just give him a gherkin with slices of cheese (the way he quickly makes that snack) but went to the effort of creating a fancy snack (with pickled onions too).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A dust filled week

Monday 11th: We had my tripod with, so decided to get a new family photo or two. :-)
Just a pity we could not capture the beautiful snow capped mountains behind us.
Packing up this morning. I was very tempted to start packing yesterday, but realized the packing to go home would be much easier than the packing to come. We don't need to think about what needs to be packed - but just pack everything that is ours. :-)
I asked Rachel to take a photo of me at my computer before I packed it up. This was how I managed to keep my blog up to date while we were away. The biggest reason for having it with though was to keep up with e-mail correspondence around the repair as well as paying bills ect. It's so handy having an all in one computer - as well as cordless mouse and keyboard. We didn't have wifi at the house, but I worked out how to create a hotspot on my phone and could finally get to use some of the data I have been collecting over the last year. It came in very handy this week.
On our way home we stopped at the Red Post geocache spot for Ruth. We had planned to try and get more done on the way home, but forgot to keep her surface out for looking them up (and my phone doesn't work on the site). At least we got the one though.
When we were almost finished our fish and chips lunch I went to pay and realized I had lost my card when I went to the shops this morning. I had received a call just as I was paying, so although I didn't even give the cashier my card, I didn't put it directly back into my "wallet" (which is my phone cover). I hunted through the car so many times I lost count. I called the shop but it hadn't been spotted. So thankfully I could cancel that before any other transactions went out on it. It's just such a pain though as I have to wait 2 to 3 week for the replacement.
Just one more job added to the list of things to do. I have a few automatic payments set up on the card - so I will have to make those payments another way over the next month.
The carpet company said they would be done by 2, but when we got back at 1 they had already left. I had hoped to send some pieces with them to get edged (into nice mats) but I will have to organize that another time now. Ruth wanted to get to school for the last two periods, so she got sorted and I dropped her off.

Hezekiah enjoyed helping Dad and Rachel putting Asher's bed together. Our goal for this afternoon is to get Asher's bed and our bed set up. Hannah helped watch Asher so that I could also get some cleaning done. We had quite a shock when we arrived back and realized the carpet company had not even vacuumed once they were done. The kitchen counters were also full of dust, so I at least got the kitchen clean and also got some basic things unpacked.
It was good to not have the pressure to have the whole house set up today. Hannah and Hezekiah headed off just after 3 to go home with the Spencer's for the next 2 nights. Ruth will be going home with her friend on the bus this afternoon and staying there for 2 nights as well. Hannah was especially excited about going on the bus to school tomorrow.
The 4 of us that were left at the house headed out for some pies for dinner and then Asher and I headed off to fetch Anakin. He was thrilled to be home and with his family again.
Rachel went out to the garage to see if she could find a way through all the furniture to some of the lounge furniture. It was the first to go out so that everything else could easily go out the lounge. So it was not easy to get to now. She managed to find a way though and wonderfully she was able to help Brendon get it to the house (the big 3 seated one). So at least the 3 of us could sit comfortably this evening and even enjoy a movie together and relax a bit after the afternoon's work.
Tuesday 12th: Asher and I headed off early this morning for Champion Center as usual. I was especially glad to be able to just get away from all the boxes (and dust) for a while. I had felt quite overwhelmed by the end of Monday with all the work that still needs to be done.
Asher was quite pleased with working out how to pick up the bees with these tiny tweezers (you have to pick them up by their wings). She has used very small tweezers in the past, but not lately - so it was a bit "new" to her (at least with this Champion Centre teacher).
After the session we had Asher's IP. I had brought her church bag with along with our laptop and some of her music DVDs. She played happily for most of the time next to me and then enjoyed a bit of time in the playroom.
It was again a good time with the therapists, discussion very specifically Asher's transition to school. She will be 5 in February, so her school start is not far away at all. Thankfully our focus is on getting her settled, comfortable and safe in the new environment, and this is the school's first goal too. We are not too worried about her "education" as such. As the headmaster said - that will come. We first have to work out all the practical things of her just being there.
It was wonderful to come home to a home that looked more like home. Brendon and Rachel worked really hard today, bringing in all the furniture and some of the more important boxes.
We have decided to put the dining room side board into the lounge and I'm pleased with how it looks. The lounge actually looks bigger now (the chairs moved just a bit further away from the TV wall). And the dinning room has that little bit of extra space which we needed (especially me with this expanding tummy - it was often rather difficult getting around the table).
It was another very busy day, so we were thankful to only have to prepare dinner for the 4 of us. We had another nice quiet evening, resting after the busy day.
Wednesday 13th: The children were excited about coming home after school today. They loved staying with their friends (and traveling on the bus) but where also excited about being home and seeing Anakin again.
(Right: Anakin even giving Asher some love - he is very pleased to be home with his family again.)
The builder was back today to finish up the shower. Hannah and Hezekiah liked watching what was happening. At one point I heard Hezekiah talking a LOT, so reminded him to not be a pain. The builder said he was fine, just being curious. "And that's how you learn." Hezekiah had fun looking through some of his tools and asking him questions about them. I was thankful he was happy to chat away to Hezekiah.
Thursday 14th: Asher's EIE does cleaning around the area for people, so I asked her if she would come and help me to get the windows clean. She came today and suggested we just take the dusty curtains down and wash them. So she helped take down curtain and hang them up again once washed. Thankfully we had the new curtains from the curtain bank for the bedrooms, so it was only the lace curtains and then the dinning and lounge that needed to be washed. It was wonderful to get so much done but also disappointing when we realized the lining of the washed curtains (specifically the lounge) just disintegrated in the wash. So it was like the curtains were just full of powder.
So although we had a great start with clean windows and curtains, it was very disappointing to still have all the dust being created in the lounge from the curtains (even after I had removed the crumbling linings). Thankfully I contacted the curtain bank again and told them what had happened. They have said they will look out for curtains for us for the lounge.
While the girls were at dancing, Hezekiah got to use Rachel's computer for his Math Seeds (the iPad was flat). It was fun using the touch screen. He is starting to learn about dividing - although in a very basic way. I think he calls it "sharing".
Back from dancing and Hannah got some reading done before bed. Ruth decided to use Anakin as a neck warmer. He was actually so relaxed up there (until I brought the camera out).

The girls got their exam reports today. We were very proud of them both for getting Very Highly Commended (80% - 84%). A great result for all their wonderful effort.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Walks, games and a dusting of snow

Saturday 9th: There was a bit of talk of the possibility of snow over the weekend, so Brendon asked the children to go and collect all their toys in the garden. Once they had finished they got going on their own game.
I saw them with plants and creating things but found out later that it was a " Mini Masterchef" competition. :-)
Not knowing how wet the afternoon would be, Brendon took the 4 younger children for another walk.
This time they had success with finding the geocache they were after.

Asher enjoyed getting out with them.
While they were out, I was treated to a facial and a back massage. I had organized for Brendon to have a back massage on Monday afternoon, and it was so good that he then suggested I get a session too. We got a discount for being "locals" (living in the Hurunui District) and were treated to longer sessions that planed. It was a real treat for us both.
Just after 1pm Asher had another seizure, so I was glad she got to go out this morning.
This afternoon there was finally a game of "Bang" played. Hezekiah wanted to play Chinese Checkers with Dad, so Dad played both games at once (which I watched Asher). There was so much laughing and fun. Special times.
This evening Jenga got brought out. With the cold and wet weather we have had this week I am especially glad we had a big box of games with us.
Sunday 10th: Ruth and Hannah played with the blocks a bit more this morning.
Although we only got a bit of rain yesterday, there is talk about a cold front bring rain (and possibly snow) this afternoon, so Brendon headed out for a walk again this morning while it was sunny. This time he only had the youngest 3.
Brendon again took them to a different section of the dog walks.
They especially liked going under the bridge.
So nice that the paths are buggy friendly.

Asher had another seizure at 1 today. She had over 2 hours sleep but when she woke up she didn't look great at all. She hardly spoke the rest of the day too.
Hezekiah was on the search for someone to play Chinese Checkers this afternoon and Rachel offered.
Ruth was very busy today with her hair. She managed to get 7 undone. That makes the total 25 this week. She has done so well. I had 15 to braid after her shower this afternoon. There are hardly any left to be done now (we only found 2 when we had a look).

The thunderstorm finally arrived this afternoon and there was a bit of snow amongst all the rain. It was beautiful to see the mountain behind the house with it's dusting once the storm had passed.

This evening Ruth asked Hannah if she would do her dishes for her, and then Ruth would give her a "facial". :-)

We have had a special time in Hanmer Springs these last 10 days. Tomorrow morning will be time to pack up and head back home. The carpets are going in tomorrow and so we plan to only get back after lunch. The school children will go home with friends in the afternoon so that Brendon and Rachel have Tuesday to move things back into the house.