Saturday, February 28, 2015

Love day

I love the holidays, I really do. I love the little details and traditions that make them special. But I'll admit, as I was cutting out 40 paper hearts at midnight to heart attack their doors and setting my alarm to wake up early to make our traditional crepe breakfast, I was wishing that maybe I hadn't loved holidays so much. I sat there with the glow of Netflix on the computer screen and the rhythmic breathing of Jason sleeping in the background, trying to think of phrases to write on their hearts. I started out with the generic "I love you!" "you're awesome!", but as I tried to put more thought into each one, I was overcome with gratitude for the opportunity I have to raise such incredible kids. For the chance I have to get to know each one of them so intimately, to know their strengths and help them with their weakness. All my thoughts came pouring out and before long I ran out of hearts, but still had so much more that I wanted to tell them. Forget the heart confetti and red balloons, this is what Valentine's Day is really about. Oh,and fondue dinners too, because, I'm kinda fond(ue) of them. Oh I'm a clever one, watch out.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

First day of school

Summer was so good to us, but I think we were all ready for a little structure and schedule ("we" meaning "me"). I still don't know which is more exciting for me, the first day of school or the last day of school. Although these past two years I've missed the start of the school year hype. The aisles filled with bins overflowing with discounted glue sticks and markers, notebooks with their crisp white sheets of paper waiting to be filled, freshly sharpened pencils, and everything new. New backpacks, new shoes, new clothes, new lunch boxes, new water bottles, new socks and even new underwear. A new beginning, a fresh start. Instead I had to drive all the way to the other side of town to the one store that carried the specific supplies, parked illegally, tried to keep Ryder from stealing the pencil toppers and breaking the printers while I searched every barcode for the correct eraser and dug through boxes of pens looking for the exact brand and model number. Then waited in line for only about 3 hours. Fun times. And instead of new attire from head to toe, I was rummaging through last year's uniforms that got crammed in the bottom of drawers, shook out the wrinkles and spritzed them with air freshner. And that was the extent of our fresh new start to the year. But this year was extra special. It marked the first time all four kids started school on the same day. I know I should be sad, but after last year's experience with sitting there counting ceiling tiles at kindy with the umbilical cord still attached, it felt a little exhilarating. I wasn't quite sure how to spend my first day. A long run in the park, a lunch date with Jason...but settled on the ever exciting cleaning day schedule. But I did blast Taylor Swift and danced like no one was watching. Because no one was watching, and that was thrilling. But of course I'm always ready to see those cute smiles come back in the door at the end of the day. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I love sitting around the table munching on after school snacks and hearing all about their day. And the good news is, in a few short months they get another whole entire summer break. My childhood dream come true. Lucky ducks.  

Kylie year 8, Jayden year 6, Maddox year 2 and Ryder in kindy. Kylie is much too old for me to trail along to school. I was lucky enough to catch a quick picture (with horrible exposure, not sure what setting these pictures were on) before she walked to school with her friends.

Jayden wouldn't let me walk him into his class, because clearly NO other parents were doing that

Maddox on the other hand...I'm pretty sure he will still request me to hold his hand and escort him to class when he's in highschool. Once a mama's boy, always a mama's boy.

 Ryder is going to be so lonely without his partner and crime. These boys are lucky to have each other.

I couldn't leave without tracking Jayden down and telling him goodbye, even at the risk of embarrassing him. Ryder is pretty much a rock star at their school. With such a small student body everyone knows his name and he struts around like he owns the place as everyone huddles around to give him high fives.

They're doing an open classroom concept this year with three different grades all together in a non traditional classroom. Should be interesting to see how they manage it, all I know is that this looks like fun.

And this one absolutely loves kindy now. He talks my ear off the entire way home about how Jethro ate his entire sandwich, or how Alfie got hit with the ball, or how a cat snuck into their playground, or how Sonja sat next to him at morning tea. I eat up every last word.

He still has his morning routine. He insists that I carry him in, which normally I tell him he's too big to be carried, but these mornings I love his chubby little arms wrapped around my neck. We sign in, hang up his back pack, go to the bathroom then I give him a big kiss and a push on the swing. Heaven forbid if it's raining. It throws his whole routine off and he's a mess. When I pick him up I always find him in the same place where I left him, swinging without a care in the world and a huge grin on his face. A great start to the new year. Even if his shirt isn't ironed and his shoes are stained.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Boats, trains and wild animals. This last week of summer pretty much fulfilled all of Ryder's wildest dreams. Except for a camel ride. That is actually his wildest dream. This was the last voucher we had to cash in, and even though Jayden was gone to a birthday party it was now or never. Ferrymead is a little town set up to reflect an older time period where you can buy homemade jam from the general store, .50 could get you into the picture show and the one room school house boasted a shiny brass bell. Sometimes I fantasize about living back then when life was simple, a living was earned by the sweat of your brow, straws were shared at the soda fountain bar and kids ran around outside from sun up to sun down instead of staring at a electronic screen. But, ya know, baking bread every day would get real old real fast. And I'm not exactly sure what their hairspray situation is, so maybe I'm not really cut out for it. But it was fun to take a little peak into that lifestyle, if only for a few hours on a blazing hot afternoon. I could feel the sweat trickling down my back and didn't dare raise my arms. But you know I'll take the heat over the cold any day.

Getting their train ticket stamped and making it legit. This sweet old man had the quietest little whispery voice and Ryder's impersonation of him had us all rolling on our red pleather train seats laughing.

Little People in a Big World....we had the best time with these fun house mirrors.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quail Island

When we first got here I made a bucket list a mile long of things to do here in Christchurch (and of course an even longer one for New Zealand as a whole). It's amazing how much we've crossed off that list and I'm feeling an extra urgency to finish it all off as our time is winding down. I just love how there is so much to do, so many great places to spend a Saturday together as a family. I made the kids research the history of this little island before we left (an idea I got from one of the mommy blogs I read, ya know, the ones that equally inspire me and make me feel like a horrible mom all at the same time), and even though they groaned (a lot), it really helped the history come alive. It was more meaningful and they got excited when they found things like the dock Captain Scott (famed for his Antarctica explorations) used to load the animals onto his ship before heading out on his last ill-fated exploration, or the shipwreck graveyard, or the huts they used to quarantine lepers. Jayden couldn't seem to keep the terms "lesbian" and "lepers" straight. I'm sure tourists passing by wondered what we were teaching him when he would wonder why the lesbians had to live alone and how many lesbians died there. The ferry ride back was a highlight. The wind had picked up and there were some pretty impressive waves, so we all stood at the bow all Titanic like as the boat rose and fell with a crash, spraying everyone with water. It was better than a roller coaster ride. Days like these are my favorite. These people of mine are my favorite.