~~The Pizza Incident~~

Every once in a while we find an awesome writing prompt for Sophia to use for her schoolwork. This was one prompt that inspired a pretty awesome story that I will share below.

I posted this on my Facebook and everyone loved it so I figured I should also add it here. Everything below the prompt, is written by Sophia. I hope you enjoy her story as much as we all did.

The Pizza Incident Prompt

This story was written by Sophia Lawless 15 November 2018.

~~The Pizza Incident~~
~This work is purely fiction. The prompt I used is the image included below.~

Believe me, moving houses is fun, but one thing I’ll miss about my old town is the pizza store that was just around the block from my old apartment, and the dusty old library that’s been there for as long as I could remember. Trust me when I say that I’m borderline addicted to pizza, but there’s one thing that really gets on my nerves

whenever I go out for the delicious Italian meal: pizza with pineapple on it. In fact, I hate it so much that I set my apartment on fire by accident when my former room-mate decided to put freaking pineapple on the homemade pizza we were making!

This is why I had to move; I was banned from the building after that day. The incident was on the news too, so it’s not like any other place in that town would let me stay.

Back to the present though. I’d just finished packing everything into the apartment I’m staying at. Now, I was going for a walk to take my mind off things.

I was walking around the block. That’s when a sign on an old building caught my eye: ‘Rose’s Pizza & Book Place’. Peeking inside momentarily revealed it to be a library and pizza parlour, all in one! A piece of wood with something painted on it caught my eye. It said open.

I couldn’t believe it. My two favourite types of places, mashed up into one building.

Smiling, I walked in. Maybe this moving thing wouldn’t be too bad, after all.

As soon as I opened the door, the smell of tomato and fresh bread hit me like a bomb made out of pizza. I noticed that the lady behind the counter was fairly old, maybe 60 if I were to hazard a guess.

“Hello, and welcome to my pizza and book place. May I help you?”

The second thing I noticed about her was her thick Italian accent. Then what she said came back to me, and glancing at the menu board, I then responded with,

“Uhh, yeah. Can I get um..” I peered closer at the menu before finishing. “A small pepperoni pizza with extra cheese?”

She nodded and smiled kindly. “That’ll be ten dollars.”

I handed over the money before walking over to the library section and looking at the

titles of the books, while she walked up a staircase to what I assumed was the kitchen.

As I waited, I couldn’t help but notice a dark room beneath the staircase. I snuck glances at it every few seconds, but thought nothing of it. When my food arrived, I muttered a quick thanks before sitting at a nearby table and digging in. It was absolutely delicious; a cheesy, meaty, saucy dish, with just the right amount of herbs mixed in. I finished quickly, but the dark room underneath the stairs was on my mind every second of it. Even though the lady was at the counter now, she’d probably notice me looking at it every now and then, but still, I looked at it every few seconds.

Soon, she caught on. Noticing my glances, she looked to the dark space. With a wry smile, she then turned to me and said,

“Would you like to know what’s down there?”

I curiously nodded. Hey, as they say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

“Hm. If you’re sure, then I’ll show you.” she said, walking over to it and looking at me patiently. I quickly got up and hastily walked over to her. Being closer to
the dark room, I noticed that it held a staircase. Most likely it was a basement of some sort. For some reason, I had a strange feeling of dread as I looked down it.

“Come.” the old lady said, making her way down the stairs. I hesitantly followed, keeping fairly close to her. When we got to the bottom, it was too dark to make out anything. I was about to ask her if there was power down there, when she turned on the light switch to reveal…

I couldn’t scream.
I was too horrified. Why would someone do this? It was terrible. Panting heavily, I ran.
I ran up the stairs.
I ran out the door, promising myself to never think about this place again.

You ma

y ask, what did I see that day?

It hurts to think about, but I’ll tell you.

What I saw down that dark room…

Was the biggest selection of pineapple I’ve ever seen in my life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
top 10 anime plot twists
nah but seriously, I found a ‘dark’ prompt and what did I do?
I made a crackfic out of it

Dear Nature’s Fresh

Dear Nature’s Fresh,


Please do not put; “When life gives you bread this fresh YOU’VE GOTTA SQUEEZE IT!” on your packaging.

My daughter does not understand ‘squeeze’ the way you intended and we now have a mangled loaf.

Squeeze to her is what she does with soft toys… not bread.


Sincerely,


Hangry Mum.

Natures Fresh

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.

Te Papa Museum – Day 2 (ihc Take A Break)

This is the second day of our ihc Take A Break getaway. You can read more about this getaway in the post about day one; Wellington Zoo.

We slept so well in the hotel. All of us had a great night’s rest and we were up and ready for the day. Brent and Max wandered up the street for some butter and jam for the crumpets we had brought with us for breakfast. Brent and Max also gave some money to another homeless man by the store.

While they were gone, Sophia showered while I wrote out Nana’s postcard and packed up the room. She loved the shower in the en-suite and they had a blow dryer which was great as I had forgotten ours. I didn’t want her going out in the cold, windy weather with her gorgeous mane of hair wet.

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When the boys got back we had breakfast and finished packing. We really loved our suite, it was so cozy that it felt like our home. They had a lovely set-up for breakfast, even gluten free hot cocoa that was delicious! The kids loved that… so did I. 😉

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Brent and Max went to get the car as we did the final run through and moved everything in front of the door. He had to park up the block as they had run out of parking spaces for the hotel. Had we known sooner that we needed to book a park, we would have booked one last month when we confirmed our room.

The brochure said there was parking but not that we needed to make a separate reservation for it. It would have been nice to know that, but it worked out as Brent is such a Trooper (see what I did there?) that he always just goes with the flow. He and Max walked together and I think they liked the time alone wandering.

After we loaded the car up and checked out,  we were off to Te Papa and were very excited about our next adventure. We hit a bit of a snare with parking so Brent and Max went to park the car up the block and Sophia and I headed in to wander about the gift shop and wait for the boys to return.

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We looked around at all the amazing items in the gift shop and Max bought himself a necklace with a shark tooth shaped charm. Sophia kind of wanted an albino kiwi, but was not sure if really she wanted it, so we decided to wait until she was sure of something. She never did decide on anything in the end.

Next we went in to the Awesome Forces display. They had some great information on the Earth and sample rocks of the layers that they could touch and lift.

There were diagrams of the Earth as well as a movie that showed moving through the layers and how the movement effects the rock layers. Sophia really like this one, I think we all did.

They really like looking at the globe and learning about navigation. Brent was in his element, he is such a great teacher when it comes to science or math… well anything really.

There was a time traveler wheel. The kids really liked spinning it and imagining how long each age actually was. You could see their minds working to try and grasp the concept.

We then saw some bones and more stones. The kiwi egg inside the kiwi was really amazing. It was so busy that I started to get claustrophobic and had to stand off to the side and slow my breathing and calm myself. There was so much nose and movement.

We waited a bit for the crow to thin a bit, then headed on toward the quake simulator. While waiting in line for that, Sophia, Max and Dad tried the quake scale. unfortunately my mind was a bit foggy do I only remembered the camera at the end, but did manage to catch Brent jumping on the scale.

The Quake simulator is a tiny house and it feels so real. We all really liked that display. This is what their website says.

Visit our Earthquake House to:

  • feel a 6.6 magnitude simulation of an aftershock from the Edgecumbe earthquake of 1987
  • see some of the damage earthquakes cause
  • get a compelling reminder to quake-safe your own house
  • start a broader exploration of earthquakes and volcanic activity in our Awesome Forces exhibition.

A visit to our Earthquake House appeals to those who learn by doing and supports the following topics:

  • Disasters
  • Earth science – earthquakes and volcanoes
  • Pūrākau (storytelling)

Here is an awesome forces activity trail sheet for your kids to do while visiting.

Next we learned about volcanoes, volcanic eruptions and lava formations.

Then on to the waterways, water erosion and water disasters.

Next was wind, wind disasters, wind erosion and fossils.

Next we went to the Mountain to Sea exhibition and that was amazing. We didn’t take many photos as we were having too much fun. The amber was really neat to see with the bugs inside. We really like the tree house with the possum on the side and the natural sounds that were playing.

The colossal squid exhibition was “icky” up close (I actually gagged), but still amazing to see a creature this large. Here is a link to learn more about it’s anatomy, it is truly fascinating. It looked and felt (energy) like an alien to me.

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Next we headed over the Bridge toward Bush City, but we stopped outside to take in the view after a quick play on the giant xylophone.

The view outside was beautiful, but it was pretty windy which made it very cold.

Bush City Trail was really amazing, I loved seeing and learning about all the different plants. Also the hole that the Moa fell into with the bones was really need to see from the top (as in the picture below) and from eye level, inside the caves.

We had to skip the Fossil Dig as it was soaked, but we will go back again when it is summer and have a dig.

They had a small version of the glowworm caves too, that was very interesting. The limestone cave also had stalactites, cave wētā, and the bones of extinct flightless moa.

Then we wandered out to see the waterfall and rocks; some which date back almost 600 million years!

You can make your visit even more fun with the treasure hunt. For the Bush City Trail Scavenger Hunt form click here.

As we exited the Bush City walk we came into the courtyard of the Te Papa Cafe and decided to have a break and sit and have lunch. That was a nice little stop and recharge.

Next we went up to see the record breaking Britten V1000 Bike. Britten bikes were made in New Zealand in Christchurch before John Britten passed away from cancer. He had an amazing mind, you should read a book about his life.

We were bummed that the Fred Dagg exhibit wasn’t yet open, but we will go back again.

We carried on and went to the Blood, Earth Fire exhibit. We spent a bit of time there as there were some interactive displays.

Then we headed on to the Treaty of Waitangi: Signs of a Nation exhibit and the Passports and Immigration one. It was really interesting listening to and reading people’s immigration stories on the interactive displays.

After this we went into the Gallipoli: The Scale of our War exhibition (Field of Poppies). My camera flash wouldn’t turn off and flash is not allowed, so Brent gave me his phone to take photos. I wish I had traded him, as then I ended up with both phones and couldn’t contact him.

Although this was amazing and I loved the giant art sculptures, our clairsentient abilities went into overdrive and we had to get out. Sophia and I left the boys and tried to exit as soon as we could. I could feel all the emotions of the previous owners from the objects in the cases. All that fear, anger, feeling trapped and the sorrow was just completely overwhelming me.

It was absolutely packed to the point that you had to wait to get through each area. Half way out I had a panic attack and Sophia was so amazing. She grabbed my face and said, “Look at me mom, you are ok. Just breath deeply and take the pictures and I have your hand, I will get you out.”  So I took a few deep breaths and focused only on Sophia and taking pictures of the sculptures. I knew I had to be ok for her.

These sculptures were stunning in their detail and craftsmanship. I would recommend going just to see them. The rest of the exhibit I don’t remember much after I tuned in to a backpack, some tools and a gun, by accident. Usually I can control these when we are out together, but I was just tired and my guard was down.

The sculptures by Weta Workshop are 2.4 times human size and took 24,000 hours to create. It is such a powerful display and story. check out the brochure to learn more. This poster from the Te Pap site gives you an idea of the scale.

Gallipoli Poster

We got out and found a seat to wait for the guys in nice quiet corner and Sophia’s feet were hurting so I gave her a quick foot rub while we waited. It took them about 15 minutes but it was a welcomed break. After they came out we decided to go in the Earthquake Simulator one more time then head out. This was such a great visit.

After leaving Te Papa, we walked a few blocks to the Reading cinema to use our vouchers. by the time we got there it was too late to watch a movie, so we grabbed a bunch of snacks from the counter and told the kids we would rent them movies to watch in their rooms when we got home. They were pretty happy about that.

We left and drove home, Max was asleep before we hit the highway, and Soph slept for a bit as well. When we got back to town, we stopped in the movie rental place and then went next door and bought everyone their own pizza just because we could. Also, that meant lunch was sorted for the next day as we were wiped out.

What an amazing weekend!

We are so grateful to ihc, Boulcott Suites, Reading Cinemas and all the sponsors who donated to this amazing programme. We feel very blessed to have participated. Thank you so much from the Lawless Family.

I hope you all enjoyed sharing our journey with us.

Check back for our next adventure  in a couple weeks!

 

Wellington Zoo -Day 1 (ihc Take A Break)

We are so blessed to have been approved for an ‘ihc Take A Break’ getaway. We were gifted one night’s accommodation, four tickets to the zoo, movie cards worth four tickets, and $250 spending money as well as a beautiful art book!

This is day one of our adventure. Thank you to ihc and all of the sponsors for this generous gift. Be sure to apply if you qualify! I told a friend and her family also was accepted.

We drove to Wellington today to go to the Wellington Zoo! We had a great drive and arrived in time to find a spot right out front which was amazing! We had packed a lunch, so we ate that before we went in, as Sophia was hangry (hungry + angry) and we just needed to let her vent for a bit from the long drive.

She had us in stitches as she hated eating outside standing up and was just ranting about having to wear her jacket and feeling like a homeless person wearing all their clothes and eating by cars. Poor girl, we could just not stop laughing which made her more angry until she was fed then she was sweet as pie and ready to go in.

This was a crucial pause in the day to allow her to vent, eat, feel the warm suns, drink some water and re-balance before heading into another new environment. Had we not done this, it would have been a rough day.

Wellington Zoo

We had been having some pretty rough weather, but we lucked out and the sun was shining and it wasn’t too windy. You could definitely tell it is winter though… brrr.

After handing in our complimentary vouchers from ihc, we stopped in at the gift shop and looked at all the soft toys. Then we used the restroom before heading in.

The first thing we noticed was the Otter exhibit. They were so adorable and so busy. They were very cheeky as well asking for treats. Right near the Otters, were the Capybara, they are so amazing! They were getting loving scratches from a carer. She described their hair as similar to a hamster but more stiff.

Next, we headed over to see the Gibbons, they were very active and it was really interesting to watch how they move as they have such long limbs!

After the Gibbons, we went into the Kiwi and Tuatara hut. There was a one legged Kiwi, and he was not even phased by having one leg, still kicking the dirt and looking for food and hopping about. There were a few Tuatara, but the place was far too dark for me, I couldn’t see to walk out, Sophia had to guide me. Hence, we have no photos for this part.

Next we saw the Cotton Top Tamarin, Bolivian Squirrel Monkey, and Agouti. There was too much glare to get pictures of the others, but we managed a few of the Tamarins, they were my favourite, especially the babies.

We then made our way up to Conservation Corner. That was pretty amazing.

The ‘Green Zoo, Green You’ exhibit was also pretty amazing with the recycled archway and sculptures.

We then went into the Wild Theatre and listened to a talk about Tuataras. Sophia actually touched it too! When she first went up there were only a few kids, but then more came and they increasingly started pushing past her and she was getting frustrated so Daddy went and stood with her to be sure she was ok and didn’t get too angry. Max was not interested in touching it so he sat with me while they waited.

After the talk we headed up towards the Big Cats as we really wanted to see them. We stopped off at the Spider and Reptile Hut. That was interesting, Soph was cool with the Bugs and Reptiles, but did not want to see the Spiders and that was ok. Max and Brent loved it all!

We also stopped to spin the Tibetan Prayer Wheel, It was so beautiful.

We then saw the Red Pandas, Cheetahs and Lions. The Lions were asleep, so that was a bit of a bummer, but they were still magnificent! You can just see their manes showing atop of these rocks as they snooze away. The Red Panda pictures didn’t really show up, because they were in the tops of trees barely visible.

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We the headed through the African Village and saw the Ostriches, Guinea Fowl and Giraffes. I was in love with the Giraffes and didn’t want to move on, we spent quite a while there on all different sides. They are just so amazing to watch, so graceful.

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Next we saw the other Big Cats; the Serval and Caracal, and Sophia tried out the ear photo spots. They were all so beautiful, we didn’t want to leave this area.

From here, we carried on to see the Baboons and then moved on to Australian Animals exhibit. We saw a Tasmanian Devil munching away on a carcass, A bird of some sort, some Wallaby, and a Lizard.

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Then we saw the Dingos, and also saw the Nyala from the backside of the African Village exhibit. We also saw a large white Crane who was making heaps of noise at a helicopter, and a crazy and clever Emu who was trying to escape, he had a zoo worker watching him and we stopped to have a chat. The Emu was being all puffy and chesty, it was very funny.

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The man gave us an Emu feather as well. We collect feathers from as many birds as we can, we love getting them from zoos. The Emu feathers are very interesting in that they are two feathers in one. This one is very special indeed.

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Next we saw the Porcupine and Meerkats, the decided to head toward the cafe and have a snack and take a break.I loved oth of these as well. Brent had o idea Porcupines were this big, I had seen them growing up in Wisconsin, so it was nice seeing one so close and brought back some fond memories of trips to my Great Aunt Anne’s with my Grandmother.

Along the way we passed the Chimpanzees who were sitting atop the poles in there enclosure watching the world go by. I admit when I saw them, they looked ike they were plotting and scheming and I had a quick flash to the Planet of the Apes movies. We also saw more amazing birds and they were so colourful and cheerful.

We found an amazing Dragon along the way as well, and had to get some pictures.

After lunch we headed over to see the Sun Bear and Tiger. Unfortunately, we didn’t get many pictures of the Sun Bear or Tigers but they were beautiful. Both were being very noisy and the male Tiger was pacing like crazy. The female was asleep, as you see in the picture.

We carried on to the Kea hut and that was definitely entertaining. They kept fighting over a twig and squawking like crazy. A little boy, about 5 years old threw a rock at them and they took off after him squawking like they were telling him off and scared him. I don’t think he will throw rocks at birds again.

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We were very excited to find a Toyota Kiwi Guardians post. We have hidden the code as you have to find it yourself to get the medal. We will send away for ours when we get home and add it to the collection.

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We took another bathroom break and the looked at the cool interactive display of farming and sustainability artwork.

We then visited the Rabbits, Sheep and Kunekune pigs, we love pigs, especially these ones. The kids got to pet the Sheep as they were eating, but we forgot to take a picture.

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Near the Penguin enclosure, we saw this amazing sculpture of Tangaroa by Ngataiharuru Taepa.

The Penguins were not there sadly. So we went back to watch the Otters and Capybaras again for a bit on our way out. We also grabbed a postcard with a Red Panda for Nana because she always sends us postcards when she goes away.

At this point we were pretty wiped out as you can imagine, so we headed to our hotel planning to have a nice relaxing evening indoors.

Our hotel was amazing and they even advised Brent that they had upgraded us to a suite! Thank you to Village Accommodation and Boulcott Suites for your generosity. It was an amazing experience.

The hotel was located in walking distance to a food court as well as a heap of shops. we had planned to order dinner in, as we assumed Sophia was done, I know I was pretty tired after a very long day, but she was still raring to go for a walk, so we did.

We checked out the food court but nothing sounded good and no one could decide what they wanted. Besides that, it was pretty loud and too much going on, especially the mix of smells, that was pretty overwhelming which made it even harder to choose something.

After 20 minutes of wandering around in indecision, Max was really keen to try Burger Fuel. He asks every time we go on a trip if he sees one. I only wanted Hell Pizza, but we have that in Palmy, so with a promise for a future trip to Hell Pizza we were off to find Burger Fuel. Sophia was just keen to get out of the food court and she loves burgers, so it was all good. We went for a pretty good walk and found it, thanks to Brent’s amazing navigational skills (phone).

We got chicken burgers and the boys got beef and it was actually pretty good. We loved the ‘doofers’ that hold your burger together. I wish I had remembered to snap a picture. The atmosphere was nice but very small, and it was a bit chaotic as people were rushing in and out grabbing orders. Soph didn’t mind a bit, she was happy as just focusing on her food.

 

I loved walking around Wellington in the evening, it reminded me so much of Santa Cruz back in the day. I miss that atmosphere and the huge diversity in people, so many different faces, cultures and styles, I loved it.

We took our time walking back to the hotel and just enjoyed the atmosphere and all the people. The kids stopped and gave some money to the homeless and we headed back to snuggle in for the night.

The kids fell asleep straight away when they hit their pillows and I am sure we did too, after watching some Knight Rider reruns. What a long and marvelous day. Sophia did so well, I am so proud of how far she has come. Max was really good and engaged the whole time as well. It was a lovely day with family.

Tomorrow we head to TePapa Museum and we are really looking forward to it!

 

Nana’s Birthday Dinner – take 1

We had a good day, doing our normal Monday things.

I had two clients in the morning which was really great. Both sessions went really well and they were happy.

Sophia did some artwork. She is getting so good and does art almost daily, often two or three pieces. She made these two for a friend today.

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We met Joleen and Tommy at the Crystal shop to buy the kids a crystal and pick up my tarot deck they had ordered for me.

On the way in, Sophia noticed this cup in a puddle and started cracking up as it looked like someone had dropped their overfilled drink. She had to take a photo.

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I bought two decks, as they had one I really had been after for a while.

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I love both of these decks, they are very different but each is well done.  I love the illustrations and the explanations in the Earth Magic deck and the photos and lessons in the Past Life deck.

Sophia bought some yellow calcite. A very fitting choice for her at this time.

Yellow Calcite is often used to enhance one’s will and self-confidence. The sweet, subtle, and vibrant energy of Yellow Calcite can sometimes be felt when placed directly on the Solar Plexus Chakra and can infuse one with a sense of new hope and optimism to face the future.

When we left there, we took Daddy to lunch before heading home. Here is Soph being silly.

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Later in the evening, we celebrated Nana’s Birthday and it was great as we got to see the family.

Brent’s Step-sister, husband and kids also came and Devin joined us as well.

We all went out to eat at Caroline’s Boatshed and it was really nice.

 

The girls brought drawing and colouring pages to entertain themselves and shared with Sophia. She drew a really cute wolf and a donut with frosting, and her cousins loved it.

The boys, well, they did what teenage brothers do, and made each other the entertainment.

 

We also got to take turns holding baby Suri, their newest addition, who is five weeks old.

 

Dinner was amazing, very huge portions and the quality was just awesome.

Sophia had the child’s meal cheese burger, Max had the Chicken & Bacon burger, Dad had the Open Face burger and Devin had the Tai Beef Salad. I also had a chicken burger but gave Sophia the bacon.

We all had chocolate sundaes afterwards too, but they were gone before I could take a photo!

Nana opened her gift after dinner. it was a blue metal sunflower garden ornament that the kids picked out.

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We got pictures of the grand kids together (and Vicki, their exchange student from Germany.)

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We got some pictures with Nana as well. Unfortunately they weren’t looking at me.

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After tea we dropped Devin off at home and headed back to ours for a nice relaxing evening.

Sophia played with her toys and then read before bed. Max played a game and the went to bed. It was a nice night.

We will have her out on Wednesday as well as it is her real birthday. This was just the family get together. What a fun evening.

 

Recycle Centre, Pink Shirt Day, and a walk around the Lake

We had a huge adventure day today.

We started off with a trip to the Resource Recover Centre with the Homeschool Group.

We met some friends and we even brought some of our own recycling to add to the experience. We go all the time, but it is usually too loud for Sophia so she waits in the car.

We learned about the painted mural out front which represents a partnership with the local Iwi. We also saw the mural made with bottle caps! They were both beautiful.

Then our guide taught us heaps about what happens to the items we recycle.

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They smash the plastic bottles together. Then put them through a machine which makes them into chips, pellets and it can even be used for fabric.

Each family then did their recycling and we got to try the magnetic pole to make sure there was no tin in with  aluminum.

Then we looked at the vertical planters, community garden and worm farm.

After this we went inside the Resource Centre and learned the history of the building. It use to be a jail. They showed us an old cell and then what they have turned the place into.

Then we watched a brief presentation on landfills.

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Afterwards, we did a team challenge to make a landfill that won’t leak. Sophia worked with Tommy.

We then did art projects. Sophia chose to work on a mosaic out of bottle caps using a glue gun. She did fine except for growling at the boy who kept hitting the board she was working on with his head while banging around loudly in the cap buckets under the table.

It was all going great until she burned her finger on the hot glue gun. Then we had a full meltdown, as this was her first burn ever and it really hurt.

Luckily the rest room was just up the hall so we went in there until she was able to stop crying as she was embarrassed to cry in front of everyone.

It was not just the burn, it was also sensory overload, this was a lot of noise, movement and a quick paced visual tour.

We left and went to our favourite place for lunch, so she could have time to recoup before the next adventure.

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After lunch we bought some cookies for the next stop, and headed to the Women’s Network for rock painting for Pink Shirt Day. (anti-bullying campaign)

We had a great time and painted heaps of rocks while having delicious snacks with lovely company.

Then we took our rocks and went to the lake with Joleen and Tommy to hide our rocks for others to find.

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Before we went rock hiding, they wanted to feed the chickens.

Then they  hid the rocks all around the play area, and bottom bowl area.

The kids wanted to play at the park for a bit and we were very impressed to see them having a conversation as they usually are happy just to ignore each other. 😛

It was very cool to have them interacting. We even got told off for staring; “we are trying to have a conversation.” with the old hand wave as in turn around.

Joleen and Tommy had to go so Sophia and I decided to look for rocks and walk around the lake for exercise.

Sophia took a few videos while we walked a bunch of pictures. It was just so beautiful and the birds followed us around so we had lots of company.

The swans were so majestic and we even saw some Muscoveys that looked like our Sugar.

We love the back of the lake where the bridges were, it was so beautiful back there.

We loved how the birds all swim together and live as a community. Sophia commented that she wishes people could get along as well as the birds do.

There was so much  to look at and it was all so beautiful. This Pukeko decided to follow us around the side of the lake.

Such a cute and curious little fellow waddling alongside us.

We finally found the beginning and along the way we found  two rocks, one was Tommy’s Elvis rock that had been re-hidden on the opposite side of the lake.

 

We re-hid them both and headed home for a nice relaxing afternoon.

What an excellent day!

Today Sophia was up and did her book work before 9am!

The reason is she wanted to do some art, so she got it out of the way so she could concentrate on drawing.

After her artwork was done, she uploaded it to her art page and offered to do drawing commissions for others. She ended up with one request which she started working on later in the day.

Sophia also played her organ today for music, she was in the creative zone today.

Dad brought home dinner as tonight Max has ATC (Air Traning Corps) so we get a treat. He finally has his uniform and he looks so handsome.

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Max is loving ATC and looks forward to it every week. We are pleased he has found something that he is passionate about.

After dinner, Soph asked me to do a puzzle with her so we started on it. This is one she got from Nana and we have done it several times. It is beautiful and of course, there are cats!

Puzzles are something my family has always done for bonding time, and it always makes me miss my family, but it is so relaxing and one of my favourite things to do.

She is amazing at puzzles, and we always have such great conversations. This day she asked about gender identity and how someone knows what their sexual orientation is.

She wondered about how and when people know if they will like boys or girls, or when they grow up who they will marry or if they will marry.

She has such a healthy and open view of love. I really enjoyed hearing her views and allowing her to speak so openly about things she is curious about.

I talked with her about religious views on sexuality and spiritual views and my own view that all love is beautiful.

We had a great discussion and I love knowing she has such a balanced view on life and love.

We did half of the puzzle and will finish it tomorrow as she wanted to read before bed.

These kids are so beautiful, inside and out, and we are very blessed.

 

 

 

Bumpy days; Art, Meltdowns and Earthquakes

We have had a bumpy few days as you do. Sophia was out of sorts and everything was upsetting her. Her senses were heightened and she was quite grumpy, but we made it through. At least she did not feel the earthquakes last night, but she always gets a bit stressed and anxious during heightened seismic activity; we both do.

After breakfast, our morning chat and feeding and chatting with our duck Sugar, we started on work. We got through the book work without too much worry and some great breakthroughs in her grasp of division for Math. She worked on Grammar and Punctuation and we did a science test and she aced it and got 100%! (Just like every test in every subject so far.) 😉

It took a bit of work and some snacks to get her to work through her anxiety and mood, but we persevered until she was able to find the way through. By this I mean that I allowed her to roll around on the couch and attack the pillows, flap and have snacks, we had a few tickle fights, she swore and she clawed me, but, with more patience than I knew I had, we found a way for her to be able to grasp it herself.

She was very proud when she saw the pattern for herself and realised she actually knew how and could do it very easily. We celebrated with a hot chocolate and some cookies.

After her bookwork she did some more art. She has been on an art quest lately, researching and trying new things with her art. Along with this comes anxiety and stress as she is a perfectionist and gets really down on herself when her hands can do what her brain sees in her mind.

We have been working on drawing traditionally, then photographing and uploading the art and digitizing it with Fire Alpaca. She started this drawing yesterday, we finished the adjustments today and she uploaded, then completed the art in digital format.

 

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I love this one! This is an OC/original character by another artist that she is trading art with. GlowheartsAJ, the other artist, is drawing one of Sophia’s OC/original characters she created a couple of days ago. They trade their interpretation of each other’s art for practice, it is great to see her working with other artists in this way.

She started another abstract piece after lunch just because it was in her head, and I can’t wait to see what it is when finished. She is dabbling with perspective and shading.

I have spent some time today going over 2016 and organizing our binders. We will most definitely need a larger art binder. I will be printing out all of her digital art again, to place in her portfolio and we will keep this not only for home school records, but for her when she is older. It is also great to allow her to browse the pages and see how far she has come, especially on days when she is feeling not too good about her art.

I will be uploading more of her essays, artwork, projects and some assignments that I found adorable; as time allows.

All in all, she did well today considering how it started. So did I, considering my lack of sleep.