The feeling, when you get your first wage packet in 11 years ๐Ÿ˜Ž …yeah THAT ๐Ÿ˜

The feeling, when you get your first wage packet in 11 years…. yeah that! ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿพ

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So… a few things have been going on in the southern hemisphere! Since Sid started school, I’ve been rattling around the house a bit (there’s only so much cleaning you can do in a week, right?!) (Ok. You may replace ‘cleaning’ with ‘shopping’. Or ‘exploring. Or ‘hot pooling’. ๐Ÿ˜†) .. so I decided that I need to get back into work.

After 11 years of being self employed and earning only from my hobby, I threw myself into a frenzy of job applications and an interview.

At 46 years old, with 4 growing children, no recent work experience and zero interview confidence, that work market is a pretty daunting place ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿ˜จ

My first interview absolutely bombed. I think maybe my tactic of going in there and asking for flexitime was what shot me in the foot? Or maybe it was my bad habit of nervous waffling about dogs and naughty children… or possibly the answer to the question about what wage I wanted?ย  (“Anything you want to pay me” is NOT the right response, if anyone is curious ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ)

Needless to say, I didn’t get the role.

I flicked off a few half hearted applications while wallowing in my self-pitying-age-related-children-blaming depression.. and then BOOM: I saw my ideal job.

Part time. Education related. IT.

That job NEEDED me. I needed that job. It was a match made in heaven! I applied, and a week after applyingย  I got invited to interview. ๐Ÿ’ƒ

I ran through all the nightmare interview scenarios in my head.. what’s the worst that can happen? I could trip over on my way in the door .. been there, done that. I could have a mid-sentence hot flush.. actually that’s pretty much guaranteed at this moment in time ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ™ˆ I could have a coughing fit..again, been there, done that ๐Ÿ™Š

I was interviewed by 3 people.. situation-based questions.. lots of them.. and yes, once again, I waffled, and waffled, and flushed, and waffled some more ๐Ÿ™ˆ

I’d also been asked to take in my passport, license, and my qualifications, and as the interview wrapped up (after just 20 minutes) I offered them to the interviewers like my final straw-grasp attempt at redemption… only to be told, “it’s ok, if we need them, we’ll ask for them…” before being ushered out the door.

Burn. I rang Mark and told him that I’d fluffed it, and to get the wine in.

But fast forward 2 days…

I got a phone call, asking for my references. I hastily tracked some down (it’s been 11 years you know! People disappear!) And thank God, they still had a good recollection of my work ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…

…and they offered me the role ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช

I’ve just done my first 2 days, and I’m bloody loving it โค๐Ÿ˜Š

Me, in a nutshell:

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๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š have I mentioned? I LOVE it.

Meanwhile, the kids are in term 2 at school, and are hard out doing cross country. They’ve taken the new early starts and late pickups very well and I couldn’t be prouder ๐Ÿ˜Š When I picked Sid up on day 1, his teacher asked me how my first day went, because Sid had told her I’d started a new job, and according to Sid, my new job is “fixing cars” ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

I feel a tad over dressed for that Sid ๐Ÿ˜†

The boys have started footy season, they’re playing for Papamoa FC juniors โค

Look at these little cuties:

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And here’s what Saturday morning football looks like to me ๐Ÿ˜‚

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Doughnuts and coffee? Oh, go on then ๐Ÿ˜

So today, we’re celebrating. My first wage packet. No matter how useless I felt after the rejections, and the bad interviews, I’m glad I kept on applying. The right job was out there, just waiting for me to grab it by the horns ๐Ÿ˜Š

People, never give up. Good things come to those who keep trying ๐Ÿ˜Š

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So proud of the little buggers ๐Ÿ˜Š

So proud of the little buggers, I am ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Today, school held a celebration assembly, and my little fish Tom got this!

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Not only has he been put up a year at school (he’s one of the youngest in year 4) but he’s also the only one of mine who has never really had a proper swimming lesson. One day he just jumped in, and kinda swam, and he’s never looked back. It’s a style of his own (it involves a lot of splashing and deep breaths) but the spawny little hero managed to get 1st place in the year 4 boys freestyle โค๐Ÿ’ช

Proud doesn’t come close! He’s a right chip off the old block. ๐Ÿ˜Š While watching him I was overcome with an urge to jump in and show the teachers where he got the skills from ๐Ÿ˜‚ but I refrained.

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We’ve also had our top three boy’s Learning Conferencesย  (parents evenings) and Fred has been doing awesomely at spelling, Joe has a reading age well above age 10, and Tom’s classmates voted his top area of strength to be his good looking-ness ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

Again, he must take after me ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

These boys are rocking NZ. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Sid’s meeting is next week, but the smart little shit is already counting up to 60 and reading well, so I know he’s doing ok โค (Not only that, his knowledge of how to useย  our technology is way better than his Ma ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜†)

Joe and Tom had their footie trials, and Joe has been selected for the 10th gradeย  Papamoa Premier training squad.. first tournament is at the end of April, can’t wait! Still waiting to hear about Tom, fingers crossed ๐Ÿ˜Š

Easter passed by in a blur of wine and chocolate (I think I remembered which one of those to give the kids) and we had a great time with friends who came down from Auckland.. then Monday was spent lapping up the last of the amazing Autumn weather on the beach.

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(That’s Sid mid-sneeze ๐Ÿ˜…)

I also discovered a bonus to having a son who dislikes new shoes (well, who doesn’t like anything new really) – the offending items become MINE. Hello new trainers ๐Ÿ˜Ž

(There’s a little silver lining to the ASD ๐Ÿ˜‰)

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I can only hope that they don’t overtake me too soon on the shoe sizesย  ๐Ÿ™‚

The weather has been amazing still.. for being Autumn we’ve been very spoilt. However I’m starting to panic as by Thursday the temperature is due to drop to a chilly 17 degrees. May have to crack out the long jeans ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next week Tom is off for his first overnight camp with school, staying at a Marae, having a Hangi and a swim. He’s going to love it! And I am really going to miss him. ๐Ÿ˜ขย  I do wish them the best of luck with his snoring though. For a small boy, he makes a lot of noise ๐Ÿคฃ (that skill is definitely from his Dad ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜š)

And 120 kids sleeping in 2 rooms? I’m quite relieved I couldn’t volunteer for that one ๐Ÿ˜‚

So. Clocks went back, kids got up early, and I have to remember that the UK is now only 11 hours behind us. And the sunsets are still stunning โคโคโค

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Just waved the old girl off at the airport ๐Ÿ˜ญ

That hurt ๐Ÿ˜ข I’ve just waved the old girl off at the airport, and it suddenly feels like England is a million miles away again (and everyone in it) ๐Ÿ˜ข

Having Pamlarrrr here has been awesome! The kids have loved it, we’ve had more meals out than I can shake a stick at, and all my bits are as wrinkly as they could possibly be, due to hot pool dunkage ๐Ÿ˜†

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Spending time with Ma has been ace. So today’s blog is dedicated to her.. and I will be filling it with Mother Action Shots, you have been warned! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Mount Maunganui lunches are IMMENSE, we caned The Coffee Club twice and can highly recommend the Mushroom, Blue Cheese, Walnut and Caramelized Onion Open Toasties… *drools* ๐Ÿ˜ whilst people watching, and taking in the beautiful view:

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The weather’s been fab. We’ve been very lucky! We’ve been for plenty of walks, if you’d been around Papamoa Beach, you would have spotted the Great British Tourist ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜Š (She’s just missing her knotted head hanky!)

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And we didn’t manage to climb The Mount, but it was way hot, so we just lingered around the bottom really, and admired the runners as they sweated their way to the top.

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Fred even managed to reach his Grandma some tricks on the laptop! I’m not sure she really appreciated the weirdness of The Binding of Isaac, but she gave it a good shot.

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Right about now, she’ll be winging her way over the ocean from Sydney to Dubai (that’s if she made the connecting flight: there was about 50 minutes between touch-down in Arrivals, to take-off in Departures (Sydney). I hope she bloody ran! ๐Ÿ˜†)

I miss her already.

Mum, if I haven’t told you enough, THANK YOU.

Thank you for putting up with me through my troublesome years. At the time, I think I thought you were put on this earth to annoy me, and to stop me having fun. Can I please just apologise massively, and say: I GET IT.

Since having our four (gorgeous but annoying) little humans, I can almost hear Karma chuckling.

Was I really that bad? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ

Love ya Ma โค (and Thank You Dad for letting us have her ๐Ÿ˜˜)

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(And a special mention to Mark for putting up with the Mother-in-law ๐Ÿ˜‰)

 

Long journey, but she made it ๐Ÿ˜Š from snow to surf in 26 hours โค

Say Hello to the Old Bird ๐Ÿ˜Š

My Supermum, the woman who dragged me through my teenage years kicking and screaming, has travelled half the world to come see us ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜

Through blizzards, cancelled trains, London Underground mayhem and dodgy dashboard lights, she made it โค and today, we tootled to the beach for a swim and I even got her on the surfboard ๐Ÿ˜

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Meet My Mum, the Legend โค

After a week of severe snow in the UK, it was a bit touch and go as to whether she’d even make the flight.. train lines from Carnforth and even from Lancaster were cancelled on the Friday ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜จ but Dad drove her to Preston and made sure she got on that train (I think he’s looking forward to a few weeks of peace ๐Ÿ˜‰)

After that drop, it was all up to Mum to make her way to Euston and then Heathrow. Dad rang me to confirm that he’d washed his hands of her til late March ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‰ so she was on her way. 11am Friday, she was en route!

Our Weekend Of The Pickup (for us) started with a little trip up to Stanmore Bay on Saturday morning to see some lovely friends..ย  we set off with the idea of popping in to the brand new Krispy Kreme Store and Drive Thru in Manukau, but after spending an hour trying to find the entrance, and watching the 50+ people queue, we gave up ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜ญ

BURN. No doughnuts for me! I did manage to find a squishy keyring though so all is not lost ๐Ÿ˜†

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We had a fab Saturday catching up with friends and having a lush BBQ, and Sunday I was super excited about picking the old trout up from Auckland airport, plane due in at 1.05pm.

Kate checked the flight info and the plane was a smidge early: the airplane was scheduled to touch down at 12.44, so we made sure we were parked up by about 1pm, the kids were excited, but not as much as I was! ๐Ÿ˜Š

2pm came and went.. the flight information board confirmed that mum’s plane had landed at 12.51 and was processing.

Kids got hungry but I didn’t want to leave our front row Arrivals Lounge seats, so we let them starve for a bit ๐Ÿ˜‰

2.30pm came and went, by now the kids were proclaiming that we were nearly murdering them with the lack of food, so with an eye still firmly on the arriving passengers, we queued for the old favourite: McDonalds.

Flight Info on the board disappeared and the people coming through the doors were from all sorts of other places, and all from post 3pm arrivals ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Panic was setting in. My mind was full of scenarios: had the old boot locked herself in the loo? Had she fallen asleep on the underground and was still on the Piccadilly line? Was she being detained by a drug-sniffing beagle in aย  back room? Was she wandering the corridors of Auckland airport?

I went to ask at the airport help desk, which was unhelpfully manned by 2 nattering older ladies who answered all of my questions with, “I’m sorry, we can’t help you due to the Privacy Act” ๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜’ and then continued their Very Important Gossip ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

By 3.30, I was bloody frantic. I was in tears and had no clue what to do. Answer me this: what DO you do if the person you are waiting for just doesn’t turn up?ย  Twilight Zone music was already playing on repeat in my head.

The kids were quiet.

Mark was quiet.

I was trying my hardest not to cry, when just before 4pm, a flash of purple velour appeared behind a few emerging passengers โค

I knew it was her before I could even see her face ๐Ÿ˜Š and that was it, my floodgates were open. I don’t think I realised just how much I miss the old goat.

The plane had been delayed at Sydney, the pilot had a random light appear on his dashboard and had to get it seen to before taking off. It was a 3 hour delay, resulting in the landing only being at about 3pm.

Anyhoo… she’s here ๐Ÿ˜Š

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I’m smiling ear to ear, and the only thing that would make this moment any better, would be if my Dad had made it too… Next time, Dad, promise?

For now, we’ll look after her ๐Ÿ˜Š

The kids are in Gramma heaven, I’ve got my Mum back for a bit, and I’m forcing her to relax with me in gorgeous Papamoa Beach โค

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Love you, Ma ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’–ย xx

This, I love โค

This, I love โค

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Look at those little bare feet ๐Ÿ˜

The kids have taken to school in New Zealand like ducks to a pond.. I’m so proud of them, I could burst.

I drop them there in the morning, and the school is buzzing with chatter and happy faces: before the bell rings at 8.40, the kids are allowed to play, run, climb, play football in the field, and when the bell goes, everyone scuttles to their classroom, with or without shoes. It’s ace.

I pick them up at 2.30, and more often than not, their sweaty little trotters are out and their shoes are in their bag (or forgotten at school) and they’re all happy โค

It reminds me of when I was their age too, growing up in South Africa, we never wore shoes unless we absolutely had to. I bet our feet were permanently filthy ๐Ÿ˜†

Whatever they teach over here, it’s working, the boys are consistently in a good mood when they come out of school!ย  (Different matter when they come home and get on each other’s nerves though eh? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

So this week, I’ve had to learn about weeding. With renting the house, comes the responsibility of gardening ๐Ÿ˜ฎ and I haven’t got a bloody clue what I’m doing. (Good thing Mum’s coming out in a week cos she can give me some tips!) Mark made a great start by pulling everything up (weeds or not) on Sunday, so on Monday I thought I’d do the rest of the garden. Armed with wheelbarrow, snips, trowel and a mini hand rake, I attacked the garden and all its beasts.

I have to say, flip flops were not my brightest idea ๐Ÿ™ˆ

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Anyway. That’s done. Trouble is I’ll have to do it again in 2 weeks. I know now to change my footwear ๐Ÿ˜†

This weekend, Fred has been invited to a friend’s birthday party. It’s a boy in his class, and although Fred’s a bit nervous, he’s very excited about going. It’s that annoying autism paradox: he wants to go, but the thought of going makes him anxious ๐Ÿ™ˆ

He’ll probably worry for a few hours beforehand; what food there will be? Will he like it? Will he have to eat it? Will there be cake? Will he have to talk? Will people expect him to play games?

We’ll get there, and he’ll work through it all in his head for a while, maybe seem a little awkward, and maybe will talk about his favourite pc games in a lot of detail! But he’llย  (hopefully) enjoy being at the party and will relax a little once he’s sussed it out.

Once we get back home, he’ll probably need time alone in his room to de-socialise, his head and body will be tired out from the effort of trying to figure out what people want, and he’ll take his own time to get back into his headspace.

He copes with a lot of things that I don’t even know about or understand, he’s brilliant. And at school this week apparently he spelled anti-disestablishmentarianism correctlyย  (I’m not sure I even got that right ๐Ÿ™Š๐Ÿ™ˆ)

Anyway, Happy Friday everyone, schools out ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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I need everyone to cross their fingers. And toes.. And legs and eyes… ah go on. Cross it all ๐Ÿ˜Š

It Is Done.

I need you all to cross fingers, eyes, toes, legs, in fact any body part you can muster: four big residency applications have been sent off. (I just hope that I signed and dated and ticked everything that I needed to ๐Ÿ™ˆ I swear that having 4 kids has lost me quite a few brain cells. These days, filling out even a shopping list is difficult ๐Ÿ˜†)

33 pages per child. My mind is suitably numb. But to be able to gift to our children the chance to live in this place, it’s so worth it โค

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The boys had to have their medicals this week, to make sure they’re healthy for their residency application. Have you ever tried to get a nearly-8-year-old and a 5-year-old to pee in a pot? Jeeeez, you’d think I’d asked them to go pick up a dog poo ๐Ÿ˜

Loads of bribery and bottles of cold water later, we got the required dribble. And yes- once you start, apparently you can’t stop, good job I’m not precious about being weed on. Needs must ๐Ÿ™ˆ

The next examination was a cough-while-I-hold-some-body-bits for them all, and the 2nd customer was little Sid, who, instead of doing the required cough, manufactured the largest belch you have ever heard. Right in the doctor’s face. ๐Ÿ™Š

We’re definitely a memorable bunch of buggers.

So… the nippers have been at school for 2 weeks! Even Sidย  (who turned 5 on Waitangi Day- which is the national day of New Zealand, commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and who now thinks the world has a day off because it’s his birthday ๐Ÿ˜†) has started. Too bloody cute ๐Ÿ˜

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We’ve had a plethora of baking birthday cakes, (Sid =5 and Tom =8! I feel I’ve made a rod for my own back when I let them start choosing what cakes they’d like to have, I swear they confer and try to think up the toughest baking item they can think of! Check out these bad boys…๐Ÿ˜ )

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Then there’s been a flurry of school day trips to Water Adventure Parks, not forgetting birthday Flip Out trips and Surf days. Not sure about the kids, but I’m knackered ๐Ÿ˜‚

We’ve also birthed some Monarch Butterflies ๐Ÿ˜

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And I’ve got a big amount braver, like WTF is this beast? We’ll I battled it and won. Go me. (Picture has the laptop cable brick in for a bit of perspective: the bloody thing was MASSIVE)

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By the way, school here in New Zealand is awesome, the boys are loving it! โค

I have a year 6 (Ruru Whฤnau), a year 5 (Kereru Whฤnau), a year 4 (Pukeko Whฤnau) and a year 1 (Korora Whฤnau)ย  and the school is full of happy faces and bare feet. Or flip flops. (Or jandals if you learn the local lingo ๐Ÿ˜€) Joe is learning to play football with no shoes on, Tom has been put up a year, Fred has learned to wear a sunhat (!!) and Sid is… well SID. Crazy as ever ๐Ÿ˜‚

Homework is optional, they have the choice of voluntary surf lessons on a Friday lunchtime, and I’ve signed them up for bucket drumming on a Tuesday. What’s not to love? ๐Ÿ˜„

Oh, and no one writes in cursive. Apparently that’s a very foreign language ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ my top 3 are going to have to learn to write non-joined up again ๐Ÿ™ˆ – good luck with that ๐Ÿ˜†

Oooo and I nearly forgot! Best news ever! My mum is coming to visit in a couple of weeks! We’re all very excited! The boys are already planning where and when they will be jumping in on grandma for cuddles ๐Ÿ˜Š (every morning about 6am ๐Ÿ˜‚ Pamela, you have been warned ๐Ÿ˜†)

Happy Friday everyone ๐Ÿ˜Š xx

We survived being without Wi-Fi for a week! Some with a better temperament than others ๐Ÿ˜†

Its true. We CAN survive without Wi-Fi. However some members of this family coped better than others ๐Ÿ˜‚ย  (hey kids ๐Ÿ˜‰)

We are finally connected! The family have retreated to the various corners of the house with their technology and we are back to grunting at each other (rather than having to actually interact ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Life is back to normal ๐Ÿ˜Ž

During the barren wasteland of Wi-Fi-less-ness, we did get up to a few things…

We found an old pool in the garden shed, and removed the resident cockroach to reclaim some paddling fun..

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We discovered some amazing caterpillars and a few more Praying Mantisesย  (or is it Manti?)

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We explored the surrounding area and found that the tsunami evacuation routes mean that we’re only about 10 minutes meander from the sea. This place is truly paradise โค

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(Although shortly after this photo we were assaulted by sea lice, which I can testify are really, REALLY itchy ๐Ÿ˜ฏย – they are tiny jellyfish larvae which are small enough to get inside your togs and get stuck there. They then die as you exit the water, emitting their tiny, itchy stinging stuff, and you don’t notice until you are covered in the nasty beasts.. go ahead. Google it. Yuck.)

We discovered that we have THE BEST neighbours… Dawn and Gerry live next door. They are retired, and like to go freedom camping.ย  They are just gorgeous (and I can only hope that our feral kids don’t put them off us too soon ๐Ÿ˜†). Not only are they lovely, but Gerry used to repair machinery in a bakery. On occasion, he still gets called in to help, and when he leaves the bakery to come home, he likes to raid the doughnuts.. can you tell where this story is going? YES INDEED ๐Ÿ˜ he dropped round to us 8 jam-filled balls of doughy loveliness and 12 cinnamon doughnut rings.. he’s my new favourite friend ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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We had a visit from our lovely old friends from north of Aucklandย  (love you guys..) and it was great to catch up and meet their children โค

It was the last weekend of the summer holidays here, and on Tuesday, I finally cracked on with checking out schools. It’s been a lovely dream to have home schooled them for the last three months, but they’re really getting on each others nerves. It’s time to let them shine outside of home โค

The first school we visited, the kids fell in love with. I had primed them to be on their best behaviour (ok, I’m not ashamed to admit it was bribery) and they all earned themselves a Macdonalds icecream for sure. We had to wait and see whether we’d get a school place (I’ve never been so nervous!) but my unruly rabble must have made a good impression, as we were accepted ๐Ÿค—

The boys weren’t too impressed as we got the uniforms the same day, and this morning they started school ๐Ÿ˜‚

Proud mum alert ๐Ÿ˜Š

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They all survived. Fred, I am especially proud of, as his anxiety was through the roof, but he faced it with true bravery, my total hero. He’s adamant that he doesn’t want to go back tomorrow, but we’ll face that hurdle in the morning. Tonight I’m celebrating the victories ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฅ‚๐Ÿ˜Š

Here we go again….. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Well, here we go again! Hopefully the last time for a while… for the 7th time in 3 months, we’re moving house ๐Ÿ™ˆ

No mean feat for a family of 6! (One with a Lego and action figure obsession! What’s the betting he totally notices any bits that we lose? ๐Ÿ˜†)

But look. LOOK. Behold the new Zaturowski home ๐Ÿ˜

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We’ve signed up for a while. We can relax! The bad news is that it doesn’t have fibre Wi-Fi tho so we’ll have to wait to be connected.. which may be a blessing as I’ll get my kids’ attention back ๐Ÿ˜† (actually the jury’s out as to whether that’s a blessing or a curse ๐Ÿ˜‰)

This week, the footie stars in the family had a morning of training and mini tournaments, it was lovely to watch! As soon as the football training season starts I’m definitely signing them up.

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We’ve done a smidge more home schooling.. the kids have learned body parts and done some online maths.. more than that, we’ve had surf lessons, swim lessonsย  (Sid is absolutely sure he can now swim; I’m not convinced but he does seem to bob around well in the swell ๐Ÿคฃ ) -I love this crazy kid:

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and dead-things-on-the-beach education…

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I’m going to miss living right across the road from the beach.. but I’m going to love having a place to call home โค

Deeper down, it’s been a hard week mentally. I think we have all exited the honeymoon period, and hit reality. There have been a lot ofย  arguments and tears this week ๐Ÿ˜” and that’s not just me ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜‚

The lack of routine was showing, so we’ve put some rules in place. The kids helped to write them and they have the opportunity to earn up to a dollar a day in pocket money if they keep up with their chores. Sounds good and it’s working!ย  Let’s see if this lasts ๐Ÿ˜‰

For now, we’re watching Men in Black and enjoying our last bits of WiFi before we move.

We’re off to Papamoa Beach.. See you on the other side! ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒž

I think we may just be living in the most beautiful place in the world…. ๐Ÿ˜

I think we may just be living in the most beautiful place in the world… ๐Ÿ˜

This week, we had a little visitor…. how cute is this guy? ๐Ÿ˜Š

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(It’s ok, he’s on the outside of the glass, and he’s tiny. We’re safe ๐Ÿ˜†)

We also had some huge storms, the whole of the North Island was a bit buffeted by high winds and high tides, which were, in their own way, amazingly beautiful to watch and also a little awe-inspiring.. The power of the wind and the waves was more than a little humbling, and during the wash-rinse-spin cycle (24 minutes duration) if the local launderette (yes, I’d more than had enough of washing our stinky undies) I popped to the beach in the rain to watch the high tide roll in.

There was one mad bastard out on a crazy kite surfing mission, and the rest of the beach was underwater with huge white, washing-machine waves sucking in and out. It was stunning, and no photo could really do it justice but I tried.

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We stayed indoors for a bit… with no TV…ย  I think I broke the kids by ‘persuading’ them to do some learning work in the holidays (“oh my god that’s SO unfair”) and after day 3 of rain, I finally cracked and bought another ๐Ÿ˜‚

I have to say, the peace and quiet of 4 kids watching a film on the telly is hugely underrated. I have regained some sanity ๐Ÿ˜…

We visited Kaiate Falls.. and again we were blown away by the absolute beauty that is on our doorstep..

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I’ve come to realise how totally lucky we are to be here โค

In other news.. I think I’ve managed to give myself a weird home made tattoo ๐Ÿ™ˆ

I had a couple of little critter bites on the back of my neck (remember the mount mauler? Still itchy ๐Ÿ˜ž) and my old lady grey hairs were growing back so I thought I’d better dye them dark again.. can you see where this is going? I managed to drip hair dye down my neck and the bug bites stung like crazy and I now have 2 little black dots that make me look like I’ve been savaged by a vampire ๐Ÿ™ˆ Not cool. I hope they bloody wash out.

So, storms are over, my hair is back to normal.. what else is there to do? Ah yes.. visit the most beautiful beach I think I’ve ever seen… ๐Ÿ˜

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‘Take every chance you get in life, because some things only happen once” – Karen Gibbs

โค๐Ÿ’™๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒž

Only I could get stung on the arse by a bloody wasp ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ

Only I could get stung on the arse by a wasp ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ

Yesterday, we all popped down to the beach to take the boards out (more about those in a minute!) and the kids and I are easing ourselves gently into the water, backwards while trying not to scream too loud at the chill factor, when Tom and Joe start looking nervously at my back and telling me not to move ‘cos there’s a wasp on me. So what do I do? What any normal person would do. I begin the Wasp Dance and start stripping off, while flapping around in the hope that the Wasp will be embarrassed by my moves and bugger off.

I whipped my shorts down to my knees, turned around a few times (it’s quite impossible to see your own back though) then pulled them back up when I realised how silly I must look. Meanwhile the Wasp is obviously caught in my flapping boardies and gets pulled back up, and onto my more-than-ample bum cheek. Well, OUCH. The pain was bloody immense! I whip my shorts off again and flail around in the water for a few secondsย  (kids were killing themselves laughing by this point) before trotting back up the beach in absolute bum agony, keeping my stiff upper English lip, before asking mark to check my arse to make sure the vicious wasp had left my butt in peace.

OMG the pain. It stung for ages and parts even went numb. I hate wasps!

And for this story, I thought you might appreciate a photo of the wasp rather than my bum ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

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But let’s get to the good bit!

This week, after waiting for what feels like forever, we finally got our Christmas presents to each other.. our surfboards arrived!

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They are gorgeous ๐Ÿ˜

We’ve waxed them, been out on them, been up on them, and fallen off them. We’ve been washing machined, eaten sand and seaweed, and been munched by the Mount Mauler (don’t ask, and don’t Google ๐Ÿคค)

More than anything, we’ve had a relaxing week at the seaside with the kids… this really is what I wanted when we planned this whole trip. I’m loving it, despite the bloody big wasp sting on my backside โค๐Ÿ˜Š