Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Day of School

There is something decidedly weird about posting a picture of your daughters first day of school when she is nearly 13 yet at the same time I still look at her and think she's too young for it all. How on earth people send their kids off at 5 years of age beats me!

But anyway here she is in part of her school uniform. It was too hot for the school jumper and all their blazers (which are burgundy in colour) have been held up and we'll be getting them in a couple of weeks.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Post Camp Review

The Fashionista came home from camp on an absolute high ... I seriously thought that I might have had to put her on a string and let her fly out the car window on the way home. Those little footsies were not touching the ground ... she glowed!

Apparently she
  • made lots of lovely new friends
  • rode mini quadbikes
  • went on a sea biscuit in the harbour (one of those inner tubes that gets toed by boats)
  • participated in a talent quest; she danced of course
  • made crafts (see hat above - formerly all white truckers hats)
  • swam in the camp pool a lot!
  • did a confidence course
  • did archery (she stunk!)
  • used air rifles (she stunk again!)
  • participated in a sand castle competition (the group she was in won!)
  • slid down a hill on a zoom slide (see video at 2:20 mark)
  • did tobogganing down a hill
  • did some team building activities
  • had a go at BMX riding on a set track. She ended up being the only girl to make it onto the leaders board and apparently when her name was called out that evening, all the little boys in camp groaned to hear a girl had made it onto the male dominated board ... which still cracks her up when recalls it.
  • and of course because it is a Christian camp (there are lots of non-Christian children who also attend so you don't need to be Christian to attend), there were bible games, memory work and bible stories which were all good fun apparently.

Here's a video compiled by the camp organisers. TF is in a few shots but as the video is quite long, if you simply look at the 2:20 mark you will have a bit of a giggle.
Click here for the camp video

Each group of 10 girls (or boys ... they are kept separate for some things, like sleeping ... lol) is assigned an aunty (or uncle for the lads) who sleeps in their dorm room with them and basically is responsible for their every need. TF was blessed with the most wonderful young lady, Aunt V, who sadly may not be back for the next camp as she is finishing Uni this year and hopes to end up in full time employment. Aunty V did so much more for TF than simply making sure she went to bed on time, went to all her sessions, etc. She had some wonderful conversations with TF and ended up being the most wonderful mentor and example of a kind, warm and modern, open-minded Christian woman that TF herself would like to be one day. 

It turned out that TF was the only pescatarian (a vegetarian who includes seafood in her diet) or even vegetarian on the camp (surprising with over 160 kids I thought) but the lovely kitchen people made her special dishes, similar to what everyone else was eating but substituted vegetables for the meat. She was really impressed at how lovely and kind these ladies (and gentlemen) were at accommodating her dietary needs.

She is already looking forward to next years camp. So am I, Agent Smelly is going to go too, so the Papa and I will get some alone time for the first time in like FOREVER!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Not Quite There Yet ...

Well I have just been for my post op meet up with my surgeon and the great news is that all my tests came back showing nothing "sinister". 

The not so great news is that within the next six months I am definitely going to have to further surgery which will take 5 - 6 hours. Most of the work will be concentrated on my bowel which is apparently a bit of a mess with the endometriosis so a bowel surgeon will be required and they will probably have to give me a hysterectomy in order to access it properly.

There is no guarantee that all this surgery will cure me but there is about an 80% chance that it might stop it from occurring again.  If it doesn't it will mean I will probably require surgery again at some later date when it all starts to come back ... 'choice' as the kiwis say!

The surgeon also recommended placing me on some medication (a monthly jab in the butt) which will cause immediate menopause ... this hasn't thrilled me at all as the side effects may possibly worsen some other issues I have. I am going to try and see my GP, whose opinion I value, to discuss this with him. I sort of got the impression from the surgeon that these drugs would make the operation easier for him, not necessarily do a whole lot for me.

I have also spoken to a lady who has run a support group for many years and she has given me some great advice on other options that may be available to me instead of the injection.

It is all a bit confusing and quite a steep learning curve. I do wish I could simply put it all behind me (I feel fine!) but sadly that is not an option. 

Hopefully this will be the last you hear of it all until after my successful op later in the year.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Abandoned Mama

Yesterday I dropped my big girl, The Fashionista, off at her first ever summer camp. For those of you in the States summer camps aren't that common in this part of the world.

She could of at least tried to look a little sad at leaving, nay, abandoning me!

A nearby homeschooling friend who she mostly chats to online, invited her along just before Christmas. TF was rather interested and showed us the details and we agreed she could go. It's $210 but we thought considering that it's 7 nights and days with meals and lots of fun activities (paint ball, swimming pool and beach, camp fires, flying fox, BMX bikes, archery, air rifles) that it was pretty good value.

Agent Smelly is also old enough to attend but as AS still falls asleep in the car on the way home from Guide Camps, which only go for the weekend, we thought it might be a bit much for her. We discussed it with her and she agreed that she really only wanted to go for one or two nights so we suggested she wait for another year or two.

Unfortunately when we tried to book the camp, we were told it was full but TF was first on the waiting list for girls in her age bracket. I heard from Miss E's mama this week, that Miss E had told her that she felt bad because she was praying that someone would cancel or drop out so that TF could go but it meant someone else would be disappointed. She even had a sticky note attached to their home computer screen saying Pray TF can get a space on camp. The whole family apparently were quite aware of Miss E's desperation to get TF to attend with her.

Well of course she did get accepted a week or so ago and then the excited emails arrived daily from Miss E (I can't wait until camp, only x many more days until we are on camp, etc) which kept us all in fits of laughter leading up to the camp.

So anyway as I said, I dropped TF off at camp yesterday, which is just over an hour away. She was so very excited and happy to be there and I was kind of being brave and being happy for her (despite her abandoning me ... yes she reads these) but also a little sad for me cause I am going to miss her (feeling guilty yet baby girl?). 

This is the view from her bedroom window people. She's on the top bunk, right beside Miss E, and so this is what she sees looking out her window from her actual bed! It's How hard will it be waking up to that everyday.  This beach is a "surfing mecca for wave riders, with three world-class point breaks". One of the bays is said to "offer the longest left hand rides on the planet".

The following photos I took whilst on my way back into the nearby township, parked up at the one way bridge waiting for out turn. The camp is 6km out of town.

I had to console myself (due to being abandoned and all) by shopping at the little township. Luckily for my credit card I am still in recovery mode so I only managed a couple of shops.

Well there's always next week when I pick her up ...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tweens and Hair Colour ... yay or nay!

I think I might be getting soft in my old age. I never thought I would let my girls put colour in their hair, but guess what we did in the New Year ... yup pink and purple ends.
The Fashionista put a bright pink through her crazy curls.
Now some of the reasons I was initially against them putting dye in their hair (despite me having done so since I was 18 or so!) was that:
  • I wanted them to know just how beautiful they are naturally and yet also didn't want them to put too much value on how they look
  • I didn't want to put chemicals on their head (actually I am still not keen on that and it's one of the reasons I let them dye the ends only)
  • I didn't want them "judged" or pigeon-holed by other people
Agent Smelly went for a purple which actually blends into her hair quite well.
Now here's why I changed my mind;
  • firstly when you ban something you make it so much more interesting and desirable to kids
  • their hair is going to keep growing so it can easily be cut off or even coloured over again. Piercings and tats are forever and we can worry about that if we ever come to it
  • surprisingly it can boost a child's confidence if it looks cool ... so many of their friends are "totes" envious of how cool their hair looks and have complimented them.
  • it gives them a chance to express some creative individuality in their own way on their "own" bodies. Their bodies belong to them, I do not own them and they need to learn that they have the final say in what can and can't be done to them.
  • we are only young and carefree once, so why not let them have fun whilst they can. We need to lighten up!
Have you ever let your kids do something that you never thought that you would? Would you let your tweens and teens colour their hair?

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Years Eve 2014

For the first time ever I decided to make countdown to midnight bags. I found some easy printables from here which I came across in Pinterest (of course!).  As we had my mother-in-law, and her 80 year young brother and baby sister coming at 6pm for dinner I made the bags to start from 7pm.  I filled the bags with the activities and placed them all in a big cane basket on the coffee table. In the basket were also some things I couldn't fit in the paper bags, like a hot glue gun.

7:00 PM - Review 2014 and Set Goals and Resolutions

At 7pm we each filled in a 'New Years 2014 in Review and 2015 Resolution page' which I got from Thirty Handmade Days. The forms were perfect, great questions and not too long. When we had all completed our forms we handed them to the person on the right of us to read out.

The Fashionista's 'Greatest lesson learned' was to "not take everything so seriously" and her 'Want to get better at' was "relaxing" (something we can all learn from I think) and her 'Goals for 2015' are to "have a great first year of High School".

Agent Smelly typically made us laugh with her comments. Favourite food ... "bacon and sushi" ... but apparently if we could make a "bacon sushi" she advised us, then she would be in heaven!  Her greatest lesson learned was "Don't bug (The Fashionista) or she won't let me go on her computer" and hardest thing this year "cleaning my room" sort of summed it up for her. I was excited to see that one of the things she 'wants to learn' in 2015 is to cook properly. Guess what we'll be doing more of next year.

The girls favourite books were unsurprising but Uncle B's "turf guide" made us laugh - no guessing what his hobby is. The classic 'want to learn' for 2015 though was "sky diving". Now that sky diving might not be so odd to want to try, but considering the person who wrote it was my 86 year old ma-in-law, we were vastly amused. She confessed later that she doesn't really want to sky dive but she didn't really have anything new she wants to learn, although she does still have things she wants to get better at and goals for 2015.


At 8pm, the activity in the bag was to take photos with some photo booth accessories which I obtained from Kristen Duke Photography's blog earlier in the day. They were an easy, free download which was pretty awesome of them as most I could find you had to pay for. Thank goodness for chop sticks.

(Sadly the only group one of us four came out blurry).

Just before 9pm our guests left (Uncle B lives in a retirement home and they are usually in bed by 8.30pm so for him it was a big night out).  We already knew this would happen so I made the rest of the begs for things just the girls could do. My 9pm bag had international New Years Eve Traditions in it. We all read one or two of them out and I included some activities that they could do also, if they wished to. We also had the option to come up with a new family tradition to do at midnight.

So like the Italians we gals or ran off to pop on red underwear because apparently ...

Every Italian on the 31st of December will be making sure they have some red underwear to wear to welcome the new year in and hence shower themselves in luck!

A tradition apparently dating back to medieval times when men would use a red drape over their groin area to protect themselves from the witches who at the turn of midnight would be out on the village streets looking to cast spells and make mischief.

The colour red is good luck and brings good fortune. It keeps negative energy away and calls on the protective presence of archangel Michael. 

Quick ... put your red knickers on before midnight!

For Germany we made four leaf clover badges ...

In Germany (and Austria) people take part in a form of fortune telling known as Bleigiessen. They melt small quantities of lead on a silver spoon above a candle. The molten lead is then tipped into a bowl of cold water where it solidifies. Then people try to tell the future from the shape it made. A heart or ring shape meant a wedding, a ship a journey, and a pig plenty of food in the year ahead.

People also would leave a bit of every food eaten on New Year's Eve on their plate until after Midnight as a way of ensuring a well-stocked larder. Carp was included as it was thought to bring wealth.

Many Germans give small gifts like Marzipan Pigs, four leaf clovers, horse shoes, toadstools because they are signs of good luck! 
Make a four leaf clover badge to give away as a gift.

10:00 pm - MOVIE TIME

The bag included a DVD to watch, so we all settled onto the couch to watch a movie. We actually started watching this a bit before 10pm as I noticed earlier when putting the DVD into the bag that it went for just over 2 hours and we wanted to be finished by midnight.

11:00 pm - SNACK TIME
This bag had a bag of funny face lollies and some popcorn to make and eat during intermission


We woke the Papa just before midnight (he always falls asleep watching movies!). We popped the party poppers that were in the bag. Can you believe I have never popped a party popped before; I think they used to frighten me when I was younger. Then we completed out new family tradition. We each took a small piece of paper from the bag and wrote a wish that we had for 2015, set it on fire and popped into a little goblet to burn. We had to do it within a minute in order to make our wish come true.

As I mentioned in the beginning this is the first time we have had countdown bags and they were a resounding success. Even our visitors commented on how much they had enjoyed them. So next New Years Eve I will try and be more organised (I decided to do this all on NYE so had to make do with what I could find online) and make my own bag designs and forms.

Do you have any traditions that you follow for New Years Eve?

Wishing you all a very Happy 2015 ... I hope your year brings you much good health and happiness.

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