Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quiet time at home

Just a quiet day at home.  Terence is off to the CCF Dad's day out where they'll be doing all things that boys like to do.  Terence finished our first garden box this morning and I was going to go and buy the lining so we can start putting soil inside, but Bianca is not feeling well at all.  So much so that right now she's asleep on the couch.  And that is totally unlike her.  Sigh!  I hate the cold and flu season.  So we won't be doing much today.  I will start planting some little seeds into little containers and put them in my greenhouse and then hopefully by next weekend Terence can make some more boxes.  And that is pretty much it.  Hope your weekend is going great!  And well done to a blogging buddy for finishing a 10km race!  How amazing!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Exciting times around here!

Photos to come!

Today Terence started building our very first timber garden box.  It will be 1.2m x 1.2m and 30cm high.  That is going to be shared by the girls.  So we'll had a line of shells perhaps or something to split it up.  And then they'll get planting.  I will have some garden boxes too and can't wait to start planting.  Today Terence also bought me a little green house.  So tomorrow I'll start planting some little seeds in little cups and put it in there until such time as they are ready to be planted out. 

I am keen to plant tomatoes, spring onion, capsicum, strawberries, carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, some salad leaves and so on.  Oh and herbs. 

Last year I had a few planter bags, but this year I want something that is a bit bigger and more organised. Cannot wait!

Friday, August 26, 2011


I tend not to dwell on what ifs.  Throughout Bianca's leukemia journey I always pushed the what if questions out of my mind the moment they popped up.  Even when we finished treatment in 2009 and we suddenly lost the "safety" of the treatment and it became a waiting game, I stopped myself freaking out about bruises and things.  Today however I was reminded of that day in 2007.  Today just for an instant I couldn't help wondering.

We went to the shops this afternoon to buy things for supper and a few more things for the special meals I'm trying to stick to.  As we pulled into the shopping centre parking area Bianca suddenly said "Mum, I have a lump!".  So I parked and asked her where the lump was and there it was, exactly where it was on the 31st of May 2007.  Behind her head underneath her hair.  Granted it is not as big as it was then.  But it is there.  And so now we are going to keep an eye on it.  In all likelihood this is simply just because Bianca might have a mild cold.  Overall she is fine.  She is energetic, she is not pale, there are no weird bruises, she has no fever.  She is no different than she has been.

I hate reminders like these.  With things like this you simply can't help some of the what ifs that pop into your mind.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

You know spring is just around the corner when...

Little lambs come out to play

Hawks go soaring through the sky

The Rosellas delight us with their vibrant colours

Girls have picnics on the grass

 The Silvereyes / Wax Eyes visit us for some bread crumbs

Learning to throw a frisbee on a bright sunny day

Playing at the park

The beautiful sounds of the Tui (click here to hear)

And beautiful sunsets (when it starts getting dark later than before)

Spring is right around the corner :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What a great day!

The past 2 weeks have been crazy busy.  And freezing cold.  But today is a nice sunny day.  Right now the girls are playing outside (Caitlyn dressed as a pink fairy and Bianca as a witch but a "friendly witch").  Today was Bianca's last netball match of the season and wow, her team did so great!  They won 8 - 2.  Absolutely amazing.  They have come such a long way, but then they had an amazing coach.

So after the game everybody came to our house and we had a shared morning tea and a little ceremony.  The past 2 weeks I prepared some photos (of the more than 600 I took during the season) for each girl which I put in an envelope for each girl.  Basically photos showing the girls in action.  And I took the team photo and put it in a little folder with the names so they could have a keepsake.  Vanessa handed out the certificates of participation that the netball association prepared for them and then it was time for our big surprise.

The parents all wanted to give Vanessa something to say thank you for volunteering to coach and so we've all collected some money and got Vanessa a shopping mall gift card.  I then made her a "coach of the season" certificate and put this in a frame alongside the team photo and then I made a bit of a scrapbook as a summary of the netball season.  And it showed some photos of their practices, getting ready for that very first match, some action photos and I made a page showing photos of each girl in action i.e. a Bianca page.  And then I also copied around 600 photos to disk for Vanessa.

I then got each girl to read a line to Vanessa i.e. Vanessa, we had a lot of fun playing netball... etc.  And so 6 girls each said something and 4 of them gave gifts (there were 10 in the team).  And of course Vanessa became all emotional and the one little girl said "those are tears of joy!". 

It was such a fun day!

Unfortunately it does mean I fell off the wagon with my new journey to become healthy and fit.  But I'll just have to try harder from next week again!


Monday, August 15, 2011


Today I was standing on the deck and right at the bottom of the paddock behind the paddock behind us I could see something that looked like it could possibly be a brand new little lamb.  So I took a photo and when I cropped it and enlarged it saw this:

A sign that spring must be right around the corner.  After all August is halfway finished and in 15 days it will be officially spring!!!

But then, looking out the window this morning we saw this:

A sure sign that winter is still very much with us.  Sure the snow is cold, but it was so beautiful!

Snowflakes against the dark sky

Our deck tonight

Even Prince Charming thought it was cold

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Never, never, never in a million years will I enter my kids in something like this.  I think it is terrible that kids are made to look like this.  Like mini-adults.  I think it is sick that kids that young are taught it is important to dress like that and act like that just to be beautiful.  I think my girls are beautiful just the way they are.  And I love that they are kids.  Simply kids.  They look like kids, they act like kids, they dress like kids.  They are kids!  End of story!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yesterday was a challenging day

Yesterday morning started with seeing a sheep in the paddock behind us (or rather not the one directly behind us, but he one behind that) on her side and kicking with her legs.  On the weekend the farmer asked if we could just keep an eye on the sheep and if we saw one on its side to help her up and see if they can keep moving.  Right now they are all pregnant and so soon there will be little lambs :-).  The guy next to us is also helping the farmer looking after them, but I think we have a clearer view of them. 

So I walked to the sheep and I tried to roll it back onto its tummy and oh my word!  She is heavy.  But I sort of got her onto her tummy and she was sitting like that with her head up. 

I came home called the rental agent (because I don't have anybody else's numbers) and asked her to ask the farmer if there is anything else I need to do, I can't physically lift her, she's too heavy. 

Later on I saw the guy next door looking at her and working on getting her up and I got some water which the sheep drank.  But no matter how hard we tried, she just won't actually stand up.  And as he said - she has to want to stand up.

So we faced her uphill to make it easier than downhill in case she does try to stand by herself, made sure she wasn't actually lying on her feet and I promised I would get back after 3 with some more water.

So later on came back with water and I had to sort of walk right around the other sheep who by now were at the top of that paddock.  She was still in same position as we left her, but not interested in any water.  As I sat there trying to get the sheep to drink water I noticed how all these other sheep started looking at me and baa-ing.  And it felt freaky.  Almost like any moment now they were going to start chasing me or something.  Ridiculous I know since they are more wary of me than I am of them, but this is thanks to the movie "Black Sheep" Terence once watched where I saw snippets. 

This morning?  It looks like she's on her way out :-(.  Not fun.  I guess this is the not so fun part of being a farmer.  I phoned the guy next door, not sure what if anything I could / should do and I don't want to stay there and cause further distress so now I'm waiting for him to call me back.  But I'm guessing he is going to say there is nothing more we can do :-(.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A proud moment and exciting times to come...

So proud of Caitlyn.  This morning she got up before us.  The kids know that on a weekend we get to sleep in a bit.  So this morning Caitlyn decided that she was going to make her own breakfast.  First she decided to make toast and dragged a chair to the kitchen so she could reach, but we were running low on margarine and so she changed her mind and put some corn flakes into a bowl with some milk.  She made a bit of a mess (but cleaned it up later on) and couldn't finish it all because she put too much into her bowl.  But she did it.  My 4 year old made her very own breakfast without any help.

The next few weeks I'm thinking it is going to get pretty exciting around here and just another sign that spring is not too far away.  The farmer whose property we are renting has a sheep paddock behind and to the side of us (we are not responsible for the sheep or the sheep paddock), but he said that in the next few weeks he is expecting lambs to arrive.  So exciting and so cool.  I can't wait :-).

Thinking about tomorrow...

You'll see a new tab on the side where I will record more detail of my weight loss and getting fit attempts.  We have a long way to go in learning to plan our meals properly so that we have 6 smaller meals each day.   They say that is the key - to feed your body often with smaller meals rather than less with bigger meals. 

Tomorrow is going to be challenging with regards to walking I think because I have Caitlyn at home the whole day and then in the afternoon Bianca has gymnastics at 5:30, finished at 6:30.  I pick up Terence from the train station and we pick Bianca up.  Then Terence will have squash probably around 7 / 7:30pm which means I probably couldn't go walking until 8pm.  Hmmm, it is still quite dark at this stage at 8pm.  This is where it will be nice when it is summer because it will only get dark around 9pm. 

Of course I could probably go walking with Caitlyn during the day, but it won't count much for exercise because she likes to take a break and sitting under the trees every 2 minutes.  :-). 

So maybe I might just haul out the Wii Fit tomorrow and spend some time doing that.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What is it about the teletubbies?

Is there something about the Teletubbies (or Lala in particular) that I'm missing?  Looking at my statcounter there have been at least 50 different IP addresses searching for teletubbies and Lala (in particular) and in the process finding this entry I wrote in May.  Is Lala and Teletubbies simply that popular still or is there something I'm missing?

It seems netball cakes is the other keyword people use to find their way onto my blog after I did this entry.

And action...

Yesterday I discovered a new blog.  A very inspirational blog.  A mum of two who lost a huge amount of weight simply by finding a healthier way to eat and getting active.  Sure it's taken a little while, but then weight loss simply can't be an overnight thing and it has to be a lifestyle change.  It is amazing to find a real person who achieved such a wonderful success. 

I need to lose weight.  One of the things she said in one of her blog entries really made sense.  You don't see yourself the way others see you.  I know in my mind that I'm overweight and that I have lots of weight I need to lose, but looking in the mirror I don't look that overweight to myself, but if I saw myself through another person's eyes I think I will have a very different perception of myself. 

Remember also when I recently said I don't do forums?  Well I am now a member of a new forum.  A forum where I will hopefully get lots of ideas, tips, motivation and support as I embark on my weight loss journey.  It is too easy to give up when it is just you, but if you have others following your progress then it would not be so easy just to give up.  What I don't like about so many of the other forums is the fighting, the bitterness, the arguing where with this particular forum from what I can see and the entries I have looked at so far, it seems to be a nice supportive community and so I will make this community part of my journey.

So who is with me?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Our weekend in a nutshell

Bianca gets guitar lessons on a Wednesday at lunch time.  Her teacher offered to do this for free, because he loves singing and he loves to play and so this worked perfect for us.  After Wednesday Bianca came home and I could see a few things that looked like she wasn't doing it quite right.  She's really new to it and it will take time, but I cannot play the guitar and there is no way I can help her.  So I asked her teacher if he could please just give me a bit of guidance on how it is supposed to work.  This afternoon when I picked Bianca up from school he quickly gave me a quick demonstration.  And wow!  He plays well!  And he sings well!  And he made it look fairly simple and straightforward and I can hear the beat and we went home all motivated.  Got home, tried what he did and... it sounded nothing like his demonstration.  In fact where I can actually hear the melody when he plays it, it simply sounds like some weird attempt to play when I try...  Somehow I don't think the guitar is a very easy instrument to play (and to think I wanted to learn to play the violin...).

Tonight Caitlyn got sick and vomited all over her lap just after she ate some of her supper.  Sigh!  I sure hope it was just a one off and not a tummy bug we are dealing with.  It has been a long time since we dealt with this kind of thing...  So we might be in for a long night...

Tomorrow Bianca has netball and cheerleading.  She'll be playing Goal Shoot in the second half.  It is not her favourite position anymore, but at this age they rotate every week.  Then in the afternoon cheerleading.  We've been working hard at handstands and she cannot quite do it without help, but she's getting better at it.

And hopefully on Sunday we'll get to go swimming for a bit.

And that is our weekend in a nutshell.  Hope you all have a good one!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bones don't wobble

Today it was time again.  Time to start walking again.  Now I could try and convince myself that I'm simply big boned, but bones don't wobble.  So it is time to try and get fit and lose a bit of weight. 

Today is a beautiful day.  A bit chilly, but clear blue skies, sunny and simply beautiful.  As I walked past all the houses and the trees it was so cool to hear all the different birds.  Especially the Tuis.  And I even got to see a pair of Kereru (New Zealand wood pigeons).  They are simply beautiful.  It almost felt like spring is in the air...

Hopefully I'll keep going this time round.  I do enjoy walking even if I'm horribly unfit and soon enough it will be summer and getting dark much much much later than it does at the moment.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seems like a lifetime ago

Tonight for the first time since 2006 (that would be 5 years ago), Bianca and Caitlyn had swimming lessons.  Well actually this was the first time ever that Caitlyn had swimming lessons.

In 2006 Bianca was 3 and she had swimming lessons and actually had a bit of a 3 year old crush on her swimming teacher :-).  She made great progress and all was going well.  Then Caitlyn was born in February 2007.  We had the best of intentions to continue with Bianca's lessons and the best of intentions to start Caitlyn with lessons as soon as she was old enough.  Bianca was actually just starting to get used to the whole concept of putting her face in the water.

Sometimes I look at photos we took not too long after Caitlyn was born.  Caitlyn had her very first "swim" with Terence in his arms and on that day Bianca was jumping in over and over and over and each time showing off how she would put her face in the water. 

Little did we know that not long after Bianca would be diagnosed with leukemia.  It is hard to think that on that day where she was so happily playing in the pool, we were completely oblivious that she actually already had leukemia cells invading her body.  We didn't know it then.

On the 5th of June 2007 we had a meeting with Doctor Anne - Bianca's oncologist.  We sat in this tiny little room.  I had this list of questions typed up because I didn't know if I would be able to actually physically ask those questions.  And Doctor Anne was going through the treatment documents.  We had to sign a bunch of forms. Doctor Anne was explaining about some of the side effects how it would make Bianca lose her hair, how it would make her sometimes feel grumpy or possibly depressed or have cravings or mood swings and she talked about neutrophils.  I had no idea how they determined when her neutrophils would be high or low.  It was this totally foreign concept that I suddenly had to learn about.  I remember saying that Bianca liked swimming and that we planned to continue her lessons if possible and Doctor Anne gave us this very definite "NO"  "Sorry, but no swimming".  We never realised that a swimming pool (and an indoor one especially) would be one of the biggest health risks to kids with cancer.  The risk that they would pick up infections that could make them deathly ill and land them in hospital.  And so for the next 830 days (the time it took for her treatment) we avoided indoor swimming pools and we had to stop our plans for lessons.  Sigh!  Just when we were making such good progress too!

So now, finally 5 years after the last time Bianca had lessons, nearly 2 years since Bianca stopped treatment we finally started lessons again.  With the Raumati Swim Club.  And I felt a bit anxious.  Not so much about Bianca, but more worried about how Caitlyn would be. Would she actually be happy to get into the pool without me?  Without freaking out?  And she did fine.  Apart from a few tears as soon as she got in, she had a great time.  Bianca and Caitlyn have a long way to go, tonight they practiced blowing bubbles and getting their faces a bit in the water.  But I believe that they'll get there.  Soon enough they'll be just where all the other kids are.  This is simply just one more step into normality away from the world of cancer.

Just a fun little goal :-)

I'm in my 30's and I'm learning to play the recorder.  That's right.  I bought a recorder and a book a while back and I'm slowly but surely making my way through it learning to read the notes and to play a few tunes.

Why? you might ask - well no real reason.  Just that I've wanted to learn some sort of music instrument and I have yet to convince Terence to allow me to learn the violin.  So I decided the recorder would, not only be easier and simpler, but if I turned out useless the $20 or $30 I spent on it would not be as big a loss as spending hundreds of dollars on a violin.

I have no aspirations on becoming a world famous recorder player (is there even such a thing?) or to even play in front of an audience - so this is really just a little goal for myself.  I didn't grow up learning to read or play music.  I don't think I would have been all that interested when I was younger, but now that I'm an adult I thought it would be cool to be able to play at least something.  So the recorder it is :-).

And so far so good - I can (providing I have the notes in front of me) play Old McDonald had a farm, Hush little baby and Twinkle twinkle little star.  And I'm learning "Ode to Joy" which is a bit harder to get my head fingers around.

Sometimes goals can just be for fun! :-)  Have you learned something new just for the heck of it?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to school and back to routines

I've actually got some photos to post from our trip to Aotea Lagoon on Friday, but I need Terence's help downloading photos, so as soon as he can help, I'll do that :-).

Today was back to school for Bianca.  And she was excited.  She was ready an hour before the time. 

With the start of Term 3 it means we are now back into our usual routines.  Homework, mathletics, reading every night, gymnastics for Bianca on a Monday, netball and cheerleading on a Saturday.  Busy, but fun times. 

One of the things Bianca is working towards the cheerleading competition she'll be doing in November.  That means today I had to start looking at flights and accommodation because the competition will be in Auckland.  One of the things Bianca is so excited about is possibly meeting up with her best two friends from Auckland. 

I also had to start looking at a local cattery to keep Prince Charming and Looey for the weekend.  I'm a bit anxious about that - they are really, really wary of strangers.  I have no idea how they'll cope with something like that and I guess we can only find out.