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Christchurch has a new playground.

Christchurch lost a lot of things to do as a result of the earthquakes in 2010/2011 but it looks like we are finally getting on our feet again with the opening of the brand spanking new Margaret Mahy Playground.

What I loved about it. Plenty of room. There were a LOT of children/parents here tonight and it didn’t feel crowded. There was plenty for the kids to play on, and many different options for different age groups.

I love the community feel, I saw a few people I knew, and I over heard overs catching again after some time.

I love the different textures and heights, underground, on top of the hill, light, elements – all blended well together.

I love that there is a lot of seating areas.

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A couple of things I was concerned about, was how slippery the concrete got under the splash pad. I saw a couple of kids slip and fall. And the landscaping, there is no shade. New Zealand Architects should know better. SHADE is a MUST in summer here.

Still love it though, as did Mac.

Being new to a neighbourhood

At school today another mother asked me what I do with all my photographs, she thought I must have thousands of really good ones. No, I have hundreds of really good ones and thousands of a bunch of mediocre crap ones. I lied and told her I blog. Well… it’s not really a lie, I do blog, just not very regularly anymore. And I should, because this is our family record keeping.

So here is attempt number 6,709,426 at blogging.

We moved 8 weeks ago, to a new(ish) home in Wigram Skies. When I was a kid this area was an air force base. Out our classroom window every Wednesday afternoon we watched planes doing acrobats and flying in formation. We frequently saw the big Hercules that service the Antarctica bases landing and taking off. It was a normal part of our lives in this area. Now it’s housing and shopping. Weird.

But I love living here.

First think I like to do when I move to a new area is source out a playground. For some reason I hate playgrounds but when you have an only child at home, playgrounds become your solace. Recently we found a super fun one within a 5 minute walk from the house. So when the whole family was over, one Sunday evening we took a stroll over while dinner cooked.

With my family of men, I love having these lovely ladies over to even out the numbers. The little grand daughter of mine is nutcase! but love her to the moon and back.

fam1fam2Mac trying to be a bat. or some other upside down creature. Livy found it all fascinating and tried to copy him. Monkey see, monkey do.
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This girl. As strong as an ox and gentle as a lamb. Pre Teen, awkward, beautiful, uncertain, determined, vulnerable. She will be okay. She will do just fine.

fam3She really is a powerhouse.
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This girl. Fierce and feisty. She hung onto the flying fox as though she owned it. I can not believe how fearless she can be. Love her.

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I am pretty sure this girl gets her crazy from her daddy

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an injury took place so we shuffled things around a little and the biggest kid got to ride in the stroller, while its usual occupant rode in the bike trailer. All were happy.

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tangent

someone NEEDS a haircut!

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A new whare for the family.

We moved.

We moved because we had only rented a house on Dyers Pass Rd for 6 months, Mike wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay in New Zealand any longer. I pretty much loved it up on the hill, except the house was falling apart. The earthquake damage meant that none of the doors shut properly, and if you didn’t make it click they would swing open. The garage was a nightmare to get into and there was no play space for the kids.

But.

The view, the view was MAGNIFICENT!

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as you would imagine, I was scared to leave this view, wondering if I would ever find the peace an outlook like this brings me. bedroom sunset

But we had to move, and now…this is my view from the kitchen window. Not the majesty of the Southern Alps, but not too shabby either.

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I love the swale, it’s neat to watch it grow with the rain, then disappear quickly with the sunshine. I love that our view will never be built out because of the swale. I love to see the bird life that visits when there is water. We love living here.

 

Grave Update and Whanau

That’s a funny title right there, grave update.

Nothing bad has happened.

In fact this grave update is a good thing.

Back in April I went out to my fathers grave and was disheartened by the state of it. It look dreary, unloved, like no one had been out there is YEARS. So I mentioned to my sister that I wanted to replace the marble chip on it as it was grey and dirty. It was first laid in Nov 1975.

I spoke to my sister about having a family gathering to all work on it together and she asked me to wait until her and her family were visiting in July.

So I waited.

And boy am I glad I did.

We all gathered at his graveside on Sunday afternoon. Joy and I had purchased the stones early and we had gathered some ideas. I just really wanted a koru design on each side, with different coloured stone.

This is what it looked like when we started. Shameful.

grave BEFORE

We sprayed it down with a strong solution of bleach and water to help with the weeds etc.

Then we drafted a pattern out of bracing strap, and filled it in. We all helped, jobs didn’t need assigning family worked together seamlessly.

I was proud of my big boy, just getting to work without question. I’ve always loved that about him.

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The final result

Before and after.

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We took the opportunity to grab a few family shots too.

My family Kieran, Sandra, Me and Mike, in the front Bailey, Olivia and Macallum

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My sister and her family. Ivy, Alexandra, Francesca, Joy and Nicholas

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My brother and his family. George, Waka, Pieter, Amanda and JhzanalWakaFam

Big family photo with the addition of my mother. 2 brothers and 2 nieces and 1 nephew were missing. whanaueditedBLOGSIZE

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a few weeks later I went back and it looked BEAUTIFUL, shinning brightly above the rest. All the stones had been washed clean from the rain, it looked STUNNING. I felt really proud of what we had created in memory of our father (David) George Pomare.

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10 points to me, I survived the school holidays

The winter school holidays were a little tough this year. The small lad was lamenting the absence of his besties, The Twins. He was hoping they would come to NZ again this year, like last year, but we never heard a word from the family despite our constant emails. Kind of rude if you ask me, but I guess you aren’t asking me! I tried to acknowledge his feeling without letting him mope around.

Some love the school holidays, I do and I don’t. I love not having to make lunches, I love not having to get someone up and moving early in the morning. I love the lack of schedule. People with several children complain about their kids fighting when they have too much time on their hands, but having a lonely only is harder to deal with IMHO. The only way I know how to manage having no siblings to play with, no friend invites or meet ups is to keep him busy, no grandparent input. I kept him busy, but scheduling down time too.

One thing I always used as a gathering activity when I was an Occupational Therapist for the Otago Youth Wellness Centre, was a puzzle. A big one, 1000 pieces at least. We set it up on the table and would leave it there, as each of the kids arrived they would sit and try to place pieces, it was our opportunity to catch up with them, see how things were going. Puzzles are wonderful activities to move in and out of, because conversation is not the focus you can talk when you want or stay silent.

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I got a big puzzle from the supermarket one morning and thought it would be a good activity for Mac and I to work on during the holidays. We found our ‘Warbird Rally’ puzzle from the Country Road series by Ken Zylla  and we got to work on sorting the edge pieces out first and putting the perimeter together. Mac remained very focused and determined. I noticed that he because frustrated when a piece he thought should have gone in a certain spot didn’t fit but that’s all part of the learning that comes from doing a big puzzle. We completed the puzzle in 3 days, with Daddy joining in to complete several sections.

Never underestimate the power of a puzzle.

Usually during the July school holidays the city puts on a lot of activities for the kids calleds KidsFest, some free, some not. BUT they fill up FAST. I didn’t get the booklet about it until the last day of school so when I called the places Mac wanted to try everything was booked out already except horse riding and trampolining.

Our first activity was horse riding. Mac LOVED it, now as a mother I think GREAT he had a good time, wasn’t hurt and it filled in some time doing something outdoorsy…. but as an OT I think WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…. horse riding is amazing for postural control, which supports good penmanship – something my aspie boy struggles with. As an OT I am also thrilled about him having contact with animals because he so desperately wants to have a pet.  I was surprised that this mild mannered boy within a very short time was solo, reigns and all.

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We had to do a bit of babysitting so for the second week we had Olivia on the Monday, we went to a play as a family on Monday night, Bailey came with us. Tuesday was our rest day of blobbing and watching movies, then Wednesday -Friday we had Bailey staying and Livy staying on Friday.

I took Bailey and Mac to Orana Park on Wednesday. They had maps with the feeding times for each of the animals so I got them to pic two animals in each category and we made a point of going to those feedings. It was a long day but fun.

we saw Monkeys

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Meerkats

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Otters

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Black and White Lemur

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Giraffes, the kids got to feed the Giraffe too. Which they thought was super dooper cool.

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Barnyard friends like this little cutie

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and a llama and a bunch of alpaca

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This wild little beast is a Tasmanian Devil. weird right?

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A little unnerving to have this big cat on the opposite side of water from us. He looks to be sizing us up as his next meal.

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The rhino with the backwards horn was entertaining

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My favourite area was the New Zealand alpine bird and native bird aviaries.

zoo8These Kea are vicious looking but aren’t.

zoo9The leopards were a big hit though.

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feeding the rainbow trout thrilled them too

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Our next KidsFest activity was Trampolining. Both the kids loved it but again as an OT the proprioceptive feedback prompted me to sign him up for term long lessons.

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