Grandpa John’s Birthday

We all went to Brent’s step-sister’s house for a celebration of his step-father’s Birthday. We stopped and picked up Devin on the way.

This is the first birthday without John since he passed, so we wanted to all be together with Brent’s sister and her family and his mother Frances, to celebrate in his honour.

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It was such a lovely time, and the kids enjoyed spending time with their cousins.

We ordered pizzas then Brent and Ben went to pick them up while the kids played.

Johns 76th Birthday play

Tamaryn had a beautiful table display ready to light and we sang for Papa John and then had cake. Nana blew out the candles on the cake, and the kids blew out the heart. It was very touching and a lovely tribute.

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Nana told the kids, that she was not able to get a present for Grandpa this year, so she would give all the kids presents instead and gave them each a bag of their favourite lollies.

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Nana Frances with Devin, Max Sophia, Sophie, Stevie, and Sadie.

We took turns holding sweet baby Surie. She is so precious, just like all her sisters.

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After they ate their chocolate, there was lots of giggles and squeals. Then, it went very quiet so I went to check on them and this is how I found them…

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Sophia, Stevie, Sophie and Sadie all reading together.

All of our girls are so amazing. Each with a unique and dynamic personality.

It was such a great evening, we turned what separately could have been a lonely and painful occasion into something beautiful celebrated all together.

I can’t wait to have family time again very soon!

Trialing School Day 1

Sophia is off to school today for a 20 day trial with the expectation to have her enrolled if all goes well.

This was her idea, she has been talking about it for a month, but last week she said she was ready for me to make an appointment so we did.

This past week we have been meeting with the new (to us) Principal and the Teacher of her school to set it all up.

She got the news on Friday that she would be going back, so she had time to process over the weekend. She was very excited that she was going to start today.

She has been practicing getting up with her alarm for the past couple weeks, and getting herself ready so that she would be all good to go this morning.

She showered last night so she would have less to this morning. She got up on her own to her alarm, got dressed, ate breakfast and did her hygiene routine before getting her bag ready and helping me pack her lunch.

Her Teacher is the same one who taught our son Max in year 6. He also worked with Sophia when she was there before so she is also familiar with him. He has also known Brent since they were in school together.

He is a lovely man who has extensive first hand ASD knowledge as a co-carer for his adult autistic brother-in-law.

This Teacher and the new Principal are why we decided to trial her this year when Sophia asked if she could go back to school. She knows she is ready and we are pretty confident that she is right.

We had excellent meetings and discussed her diagnosis and all of her possible triggers and preferences. I went prepared with a printout and he was happy to have it. Here is the link Diagnosis and Triggers for Teacher. We also discussed her strengths and methods for success.

He said most of the triggers and allowances are similar to those of his Brother-in-law so it was easy for him. What surprised and delighted me, is that he even knows the intuitive nature of the sensory issues with regard to feeling others emotions.

He also knows how sensitive the girls are at menses and said staying home is not an issue and of he knows when it is, he knows to be more sensitive with the girls.

We are really looking forward to seeing how well she transitions back into school. She has grown so much in the past couple of years, especially with regard to her self-confidence and knowing who she is.

I took this photo this morning of her first ‘school’ day of year 6.

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“I am nervcited Mom”

We went in early, and it was nice seeing the teacher and some of her old friends waiting for her when she arrived.

He assigned her a desk next to her BFF when she was there last, so she was even more excited. When I left, another of her old friends was showing her around and she was settling in.

She knows her ‘safe space’ and that she is allowed to go there when she gets overwhelmed. She also knows the school well and the staff and that she can ring me.

I am sure she will have a fabulous day and I am very happy for her. We are confident she will breeze past her 20 day trial and want to continue.

I will write more after school, now I am going to bake a cake for the family as they are all awesome and deserve to be spoiled.

 

 

 

Menarche or First Moon

Today my sweet little 10 year old started her period!

I am still in shock, but knew it was coming. She is so young still. I asked her if I should write in the blog about her Menarche, or post it to Facebook, and she said, “Of course mum, do both, it is exciting! I am glad I got it.”

We have had a great outlook on periods in our house. I never complain about getting it and I am happy each time. When I get cramps, I can feel them coming and usually can take my medication before they get too bad. Some days I miss that window and I have to lay down as I get really ill, but I never complain just state what is happening.

She has seen how the process goes through me, we are all very open about it as it is a natural body process. This was all modelling as I wanted her to be excited about getting it as it really is a miracle how our bodies work. I pray she does not get the pain, cold sweats, nausea and sickness like I use to as a teen. My early period days were horrible. Endometriosis is common in my family.

We have had some great conversations about menstruation and the body so it is no wonder that she was looking forward to getting her first moon. I am due tomorrow, so we are in sync as well, which does help.

Brent is amazingly supportive, and always buys my menstrual products and never makes a fuss. He even brings a big block of dark chocolate whenever I ask him to buy them. He also spoils me rotten and sometimes he brings me Baileys ice cream too. I am sure he will spoil Soph as well.

Sophia’s moods lately have been all over the show, but the past two days, she has been super sweet and cuddly and having food cravings like pancakes, so I made them for breakfast. She was stoked when she woke up because of the smell of them cooking.

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I had spoken to her Aunties and cousin in the states, about getting her gifts and a card for her first moon celebration and they mailed them this week, so that is perfect timing. I have told her Nana here in NZ as well, so she will be at the party.

I had a very old Capricorn necklace that was her great grandmother’s that I have been keeping for her for this day, so I gave that to her today, rather than waiting for the party. I know she won’t wear it, she does not like anything around her neck but she tried it on and has put it in her special box for keepsakes. I wanted her to have something today from her Ancestors.

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Brent will take her to lunch this weekend and get her something special, a bracelet or something from him. This is a tradition in my family. My Papa took me to buy a dress when I started, and my step-dad and mother took me for pizza and dancing to the jukebox to celebrate. Both are lovely memories that I cherish.

We will wrap all the gifts when they arrive as well as ours and get or bake a cake, and she wants pizza, so that is very cool. It will just be a small gathering for family.

I will also have a ceremony for her in our Red & Magenta Tent to celebrate her Menarche and welcome her to the Women’s circle.

I will also be letting her join me in the Womb Blessing ceremonies and give her this card. She has been wanting to do them with me for over a year.

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We have been preparing for a while for this day as I started mine at age 11, and her aunties and cousins were all about a similar age or younger, so we knew it could come at a young age for her as well.

She rang daddy and told him and he congratulated her and teased her a bit. Then she told Max when he got home and he ran in his room, then came back out and congratulated her. He had brought her home a slice of apple crumble from cooking class he had made so that was a nice synchronicity. She loved their reactions and giggled at their antics.

Brent will bring home a box of chocolates for her. We already had her products and I have showed her what to do. He is also bring a booklet by Miranda Gray called Let’s Go Menstrual which is a great resource for her. You can get it here by signing up for her newsletter.

Let's Go Menstrual

I have also added Period Tracker App to her phone and will show her how to use it after it is finished charging up. This is a valuable tool in tracking your cycles, symptoms and moods. The logo is a pink flower if you decide to get it. I use it and it is very accurate for me.

So here we are in the next phase of her development already.

She sure is growing up quickly but she will always be my baby.

 

 

 

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Day two of our Adventure weekend

We were up early and all pretty excited about the day. We left the hotel at 9 and went in to town to get a better look around before we left.

It feels a lot like parts of New Plymouth and has some great little shops and cafes.

I wanted a coffee so we stopped in at The Coffee Gallery. They had decaf so I got a decaf mocha and Max got a Turkish delight hot chocolate. Brent and Sophia did not want anything. They were soooo delicious! Very cute little shop with a lot of artwork and jewellery for sale. Definitely a must for a great coffee and atmosphere.

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We still had time to spare, so we popped in at the OpShop up the block and found an Avengers cartoon dvd set in a metal case to add to our geekdom collection.

Then we headed up the road to Hobbiton! Road signs have never been so exciting.

The drive there was so beautiful, and the expected thunder storm had passed over night to leave us a beautiful day for our adventure.

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And there in the green countryside we found Hobbiton!

We arrived 15 minutes early for our 10am private tour so we had a quick rest room stop and a look around the gift shop while we waited. What an amazing  gift shop. We were going to but a felt Gandalf Hat for Lamby, but I will just make her one myself.

The tour was just us and our tour guide, Waiata, in a private bus. It was absolutely perfect as it was pretty busy there.

Our Guide was great and shared a bunch of movie trivia and facts about filming as we went along. The drive in was beautiful. This is still a working farm which is pretty awesome.

And here we are at the entrance. They had a huge umbrella station at the entrance too for when it rains. that was pretty cool. They handed out a small pamphlet to each of us for the tour.

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Up the path we started off with a couple homes at Gandolf’s Cutting and then went through the garden. It was just magical! All the small details, like the rabbit hutch, bird feeders and even the little books in the windows.

At the gate for the garden, he told us how they created the lichen with sawdust and paint. Also they employ full time gardeners to keep the crop seasonal and fresh.  The tour guides also help with maintaining the site which is really awesome.

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Next we headed toward the frog pond and the orchard and saw more hobbit homes.

There was so much detail and character for each home. I just loved seeing the workmanship that went into, and continues to happen on this site. Look at the chairs and the smoked fish and even the fences are all handmade. My favourite things were the mailboxes and hanging bird houses.

We made it to the Frog Pond and Orchards towards Gully’s Gardens.

At Gully Gardens there were more homes in a small group which were fenced off. I would have loved to e able to just sit down there and relax in the energy of this place. A bit up the path, there was one home with small jars out front that were so cute, and the firewood area was pretty cool too.

Next we walked up a steep hill and looked at the upper area where more homes were added on for the Hobbit movie.

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We then carried on toward Bag End, stopping at more hobbit homes along the way.

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And there, at the top of the hill, we found Bag End. It was the highlight of the tour.

We headed down towards the Green Dragon, but along the way we stopped off at more homes. We loved looking at all the detail of each unique little home and yard.

Next we went to the Carpenter’s home and Brent got to try out the tools. Very clever craftsmanship in this small area. The small ladder and the sawhorses were so cute. That is also the canopy from the backside of the party area.

We followed the path along to Samwise Gamgee’s home. It was a larger scale in a block of homes.  The yellow door that you see in the pictures is Sam’s place.

We carried on over the ‘Merry Meander’, over a small bridge and through some bush.

This brought us to ‘The Water’ and another large tent and an ale wagon. The opposite side is a small pond where we saw two black swans and their young ones decide to go for a swim.

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We then came up on the bridge and fishing area near the Watermill.

We reached the Green Dragon Inn and went in for a specialty drink while we waited for lunch. I tried the stout and Brent had the ale. Max had a ginger beer and Sophia had water in a cup like ours. They were really good. The decor was so cool inside too.

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It was lunch time after this so we headed into the Festive Lunch tent and had some delicious food.

It was a lovely atmosphere, with rich colours everywhere, buntings and flowers. The food was a buffet style and was very nice, especially the dessert table.

There was even a very plump cat who decided to sit next to Sophia and got a couple scratches (and bits of her meal.)

WP_20170811_333After a quick stop in the loo, we headed to the 2nd gift shop and had a look on our way back to the van. There was a cute tiny door outside the loo and the shop looked like a Hobbit’s shop with some great stuff in there!

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Max got to sit in the front on the way out as he had offered to get the gate for our Guide Waiata.

We went back to the start and after making Waiata pose for a picture, we headed in to the large gift shop. We the sat for a bit while Sophia wrote out the postcard for Nana. They could be mailed from there, so it was even cooler to send. I wore my new elf ears and the kids were not impressed. My husband however, thought I was adorable.

What an epic adventure this was. I would dare say the best one yet in my life and I am looking forward to going back for the evening dinner tour one day. Thank you Waiata and all the staff and workers of Hobbiton, you are all amazing; keep up the great work.

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We left Hobbiton just after 1 and headed back to Tirau on our way to Rotorua. It was such a beautiful drive. We also snapped a pic of the good shepherd and the dog from the front.

We then stopped off at the Mamuka Blue Blueberry Farm to get some treats as Sophia and I love blueberries and we all love supporting local businesses. We got blueberry juice, Blueberry Mankuka honey candies and some blueberry truffles. All delicious!

We checked into the hotel just after 3pm and were pleasantly surprised by this gorgeous place. Upstairs had 3 beds and downstairs had the main area with the large bed, bathroom, lounge and kitchen with a dining table that extended and just off the bedroom was the patio with the outdoor spa pool.

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Sophia wanted to play on the playground so Max walked her over and stayed with her. We could see her from our window, so it was just perfect. After they came in, Sophia wanted a (not so hot) spa pool before dinner so we filled it up and she told Max he could get in too, so that was nice. They stayed in for a while then when Max got out to shower, she put on her goggles to see how the bubbles looked underwater and had a nice play making a splashy mess.

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We all decided on Carl’s Jr for dinner as it is another place we rarely eat at. It was a nice place. A woman dropped her whole milkshake as we were finishing up ordering and it went everywhere. Thankfully only a small bit on the woman’s own shoes, and no one else, it was mostly the floor and the doors. Sophia felt so bad for her, she even asked where the napkins were so that she could help her clean up her mess. We told her that was very kind of her, but the worker was getting a mop and bucket to help her.

Dinner was very good. When we got back to the room, Brent and Max watched The Fastest Indian; a story about Burt Monro – research him, what a mind – I would bet that he was on the Spectrum.

I partly watched the movie while reading a book, and Sophia did more reading before bed enjoying the large bed with Lamby tucked in next to her. We placed the decorative pillows near the rail to drown out the sound from the television below.

Day two complete and what an awesome day it was. Tomorrow will be just as epic, I am sure of it.

The kids were so amazing through the whole day. Sophia showed no stress or anxiety except in the crowded shops and in the food tent when large crowds came in. She quickly grabbed my hand both times and cuddled in close, but was able to regulate with a nice long squeeze from me or daddy. She always does well when we go as a family, we all do.

Day one of our Adventure weekend

We all got up early, had breakfast and jumped in the car for our fabulous adventure weekend.

We left the house at 9:30 and knew it would be a long drive, but wanted to take our time and enjoy the sights along the way.

Our first official stop was in Taihape at 11:15 to see the giant gumboot.

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This was pretty epic, but way to cold for a longer visit than eating our picnic lunch.

We carried on to Desert Road / State Hwy 1. At about 11:55, we had a great view of Mt Ruapehu.

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We then headed on to Turangi and stopped at 1:15 for a treat and to let the kids play a quick game of connect four at the Cadillac Cafe.

I had something new and different; it was called a Cruffin and was like a croissant but made in a muffin tin with filling. I had the chai tea one, and it was delicious!

Next we stopped off at 3:30 in Putaruru at the Over The Moon Artesan Cheese Deli. We had been told to check this store out on our trip, so we did. It is a lovely little shop with some great choices. I got some smoked Gouda and the kids grabbed some light snacks.

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Then we headed on towards Tirau to see the corrugated steel dog shed and other amazing works of art. Arriving at 3:55 we were pleasantly surprised that there are also sheep buildings! We spotted a few corrugated works, but didn’t remember to take pictures, they were a pukeko and poppies on some businesses, a good shepherd at the church and a bus full of animals on the school fence. This is pretty epic craftsmanship.

We then headed straight into Matamata and checked in to our hotel at 4:30. It was a nice place, old but clean. Pretty cool layout too.

By this time we were all pretty tired and the kids did some catching up on computers before we headed to look for a place for dinner.

A couple goes around town and we couldn’t decide on what to eat, so we just went to Subway. We don’t eat there very often and the kids love it so it was perfect.

When we got back to the room, Max and Sophia played on my computer a bit more, then Soph read before bed.

Brent and I watched Hitman. It was super cheeserrific and we turned in when it was over.

Even Lamby was tired from our long journey.

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Day one was amazing and we are all ready for sleep and tomorrow we to go to Hobbiton!! I may burst, I am so excited.