October 25, 2009

Lots of great times in September and October hence no time ..

Dunedin Teachers College Reunion - the year of 1985 - we congregated in Wellington - a lot have settled there because others had. Great to hang out with a few soul mates and friends from a long time ago. Talk about talk. All pretty much still teaching ..... no blokes brave enough to face it !
Week with Mum and Dad in Christchurch - just hanging - Grandchildren - Grandparents - such a privilege and a delight. History lesson number 1 - Young Victoria - lovely movie - nothing too memorable. Also great to catch up with cousins and friends .... ohhhh the South Island ....

Enviroschools Hui - Otaki - Tainui Marae - awesome - finding out about Te Rauparaha from within his own hapu. Hearing about Climate Change from a Maori Perspective...... Tane and Tangaroa have always fought ... so don't live in that zone where they meet !!! Tawhiri has always been angry - we've just been feeding him and giving him more power ..... look out !!

Andrew now in full time employment with the Greater Wellington Regional Council ..breakfast together and even car pooling to town one morning a week !

Mummas and Bubbas gathered at our place in the second week of the holiday - our antenatal group that have been the best support and friends - all of the kids continue to be great mates.

Mum and Dad flying visit to Masterton .... come to look at options for moving up here soon. Very exciting. Anika can't wait ... she thought the motel was their new house ... was a bit small !!

Garden nearly under control - fully mulched .. potatoes in ... more and more summer veges planted out - pumpkin and bean seeds in the ground ... more lavenders planted on the bank .... more bits - especially daisies planted in the bigggg bank area ... currently rediscovering the area in front of the solar panels.

Painted the french doors outside again ... a touch up and a finish off ... good weatherproofing .. the beginning of some more outside finishing off now that we have lawn and people will stand out the front and look at the house.

Now a lovely evening tonight - history lesson number 2 - being swept into a different time and place with Coco Avant Chanel - a gorgeous movie - Audrey Tatou plays it beautifully (as she did in Amelie). Andrew then went to It might get loud - so is now playing his guitar and listening to Led Zeplin.

This coming week ... most of the Stewart female relatives are having a night out at Mumma Mia staying at the lovely Copthorne Oriental Bay - then driving home to celebrate Christine's 40th at the Gladstone Vineyard the next day.

So ... it has been an uplifting, exciting couple of months and that includes nothing of the joys Anika and Hazel bring each day in their own little ways. Life is good.

August 29, 2009

August is gone ... spring has sprung !

Very wierd month this .... we have been full of colds and sicknesses .... yet the weather has been absolutely marvellous ... warming up week by week. Now it feels like it is summer.

Firewood pressure has gone off - we are actually generating some electricity - so petrol bill has gone down.

Anika is asking some great questions and has become a reader over the last 6 months - very exciting to see her grow in confidence with learning. She and Andrew were exploring google this morning to find out about warm and cold blooded animals as we weren't sure about birds.

Anika has attended her first "5" year old birthdays of people who haven't been "our" friends first. Good to see how others do it ! Anika is becoming more and more influenced by her friends and by advertising. She has finally discovered McDonalds and wants to buy a toy there. We did well getting to 4 and a half. Santa and birthday lists are getting very long with all of her requests for "things".

Hazel loves being outside and is outside at the first hint that anyone is heading that way. She is always looking for fun and is a busy wee thing -
expressing her needs very aptly through two words in a wide tonal range - with non verbals - pointing and head nodding and shaking.

Hazel is expressing her frustration of being an aware toddler without language by hitting and throwing everything and everyone. She is learning quickly about consequences and behaviour is beginning to modify.

I am back to only doing my Enviroschools work so my life is alot more manageable - and therefore home life is better. I am doing a short stint of music teaching at a local school - with a focus on instruments of Maori (taonga p√ľoro) with the seniors which has been really interesting.

Andrew has been very busy increasing his legal understanding of how the environmental court works - applying for funding, searching out experts as Sustainable Wairarapa, who he is the chair for, is taking the local district council to court to try and prevent 25 more years of discharge of effluent - directly and indirectly into our awa - the Ruamuhunga. They are hoping to make progress at a mediation process.

Andrew in a suit - first time I've seen him in a full one - off to a meeting with lawyers.

Andrew and I both joined Facebook - submitted to the peer pressure of families. Is quite fun - more time on these jolly computers. Very easy to use and publish photos.

So no great thoughts to share with you all - other than it is a gorgeous clear blue sky day and we have had a cracker frost this morning ....
- the daffodils are out on the bank
- the kowhai flowers are out in the bush
- hence the tui are rushing around madly
- there are lambs everywhere
- the paradise ducks have 6 chicks
(we will count down with them - as happens every year -
only raised 1 in the end ..)
- the hawks (kahu) are doing dippy dives showing off to each other
- the garden is covered in peastraw waiting for some action.

July 12, 2009

Anika drawing - September 2008

We have just imported a huge amount of video material onto the new apple and I've started to make movies with it. The new imovie programme is taking a bit of time to get my head around. So loved the earlier version. So watch this space for more sophisticated movies.

Alot of the material is from last year - so bear with us.

June 14, 2009

Ngahuru - Time of Plenty - Enviroschools Wairarapa 2009

Who, when and where ?

Twelve schools from across the Wairarapa joined us on our journey on the 28th May 2009. It was about students and their teachers being ambassadors to take back their learning to share with the whole school. We based it at Pukaha Mt Bruce - the only large bit of the 70 mile bush left. (I think ..)

The inspiration .....

Hapu around Masterton, or Whakaoriori, used to take a yearly journey up through what was known as 70 Mile bush, now only about 2 miles, to a clearing called Hamua where they traded with other hapu and collected resources along the way. The young and fit would go. The older and younger would stay behind. (Kia ora Joe from Rangitaane)

We created an Enviroschools event that reflected this journey. We wanted to focus on looking at our environment through the eyes of Maori as their wisdom about relationship with the natural environment is very relevant - especially because we are so disconnected from it. The concepts of whakapapa, whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga help us to get our heads around some of this wisdom.

Pukaha is the National Wildlife Centre where rare birds can be seen and are breed to be released locally and in other protected areas. Also there are tuatara and tuna (eel) that are able to be viewed and are protected. Birdlife include takahe, North island kaka, kokako, kiwi, kakariki, hihi and others.

How did we run the day ?

We jumped on a bus altogether to take our journey up to Pukaha. Joe spoke to us about places on the way and introduced us to some plants that were used for food sources and for other uses.

Once at Pukaha we were welcomed in by our local school - mihi to our local environment there - acknowledging the place. We wanted the students and teachers to go away with the knowledge that what was being shared was taonga - treasures that have been collected and researched by our facilitators.

Once welcomed we connected with each other through the land - we mapped out the Wairararapa using some materials and invited the participants to place themselves on their tuurangawaewae - their standing places. Some of us were off the map to the North - to the West or to the South. Some interesting connections were made - one for me I need to follow up as we didn't have time to talk !!

Karakia to the kai and the kai was then devoured - Joe gave us an opportunity to sample berries from the bush and some traditional fried and rewana breads.

Workshops were then offered - Rongoa - wairaukau - Maori medicine based on plants, Harakeke - flax, Tuna - eel. The other half of the group went off on a Ngahere Quest - finding resources in the bush, and using them to make things.

What was cool about the workshops is the facilitators that we ended up with were true treasures in themselves, Joe and Warren - guys with a love for tuna - who are wanting to make a significant difference for the restoration of population, Holly - who studied tikanga, art, and craft of harakeke for many years and passionate about sharing that, Arihia - a practitioner in rongoa.

April 15, 2009

Wonderful One !

What can you do when you are 1 ?

See how much your tree has grown since you had your placenta planted.

Stay on your swing as long as you like and complain bitterly when someone tries to remove you.

Have your first birthday cake.

Look gorgeous on your birthday.

Have a laugh.

Dress up.

Let your big sister dress you up.

Dig in the garden and eat it.

Climb high ladders.

Do a funky dance !

January 19, 2009

Fabulous 4 !!

It's nearly a month of celebration for Anika - being a Boxing Day baby. Pre christmas birthday party with her antenatal friends as they all have birthdays close to christmas - Christmas Day - the real birthday on Boxing Day - then dribs and drabs of presents arriving after christmas in the mail from those far away.

The name of cake for the Antenatal Party is called a Circle of Friends. It is lovely to see how this group of kids have bonded so well and I hope will be friends for life !

Fabulous 4 - what does that look like for Anika. Yes - friends - very important to her - is this a home day ? Can we have someone to stay ? Play ? Are we going out today ?

It's about believing in things - like Santa and that he is all powerful and is able to organise Mum and Dad to give you a bike for christmas.

It's about loving your goggles so much that you wear them all morning and take them to bed and they are highlight of Christmas Day. A special fashion accessory to go with the new bike !!

It's about being like your friends - having the same stuff, doing the same things - cup, plate, santa sack, bikes etc.

OK - (see below) this is a little extreme but this is not about Anika but about a tradition that 'the' cousins have of receiving the same P.J's from Grandad each Christmas.

But hanging out with her cousins is what being 4 is all about - working out how to relate - compete, control, follow, laugh, dance, dig, share .... it's great to have cousins that are your friends as well !

It's about telling everyone you are that magic number .... 4 !!!!!!!!

And it's about knowing ... knowing that you know how to do everything that is important in your world right now. "I can do that. You do it like this."

Finally it's about learning how to be a big sister with a crawling - grabbing - vocal little sister. It's about playing without being too rough, sharing - some of the time, kissing and cuddling her while having your hair pulled and face grabbed, learning to put your play stuff up high so it won't get wrecked, dragging her away from stuff that you think she shouldn't be into, being an entertainment unit for her, enjoying having someone to play with on the 'at home days' !

December 8, 2008

What about me ...

It's Hazel's turn to have a voice - now she is 9 months old !!

I can clap my hands. My more recent trick !

I am happy to sit and entertain myself as long as I am near people.

I like being with people and visiting new places - I've been to quite a few schools with mum.

I want the things I can't have. (Especially mum's laptop chord.)

I can eat well cooked stuff and lots of lovely sweet fruit !

I will let you know if I am unhappy.

I practice my new skills - today it is learning to climb the steps in the living area !!

I can lean a long long way forward and then sit up again.
I can move backwards and sideways on a shiney floor on my tummy.
Breaking news ... I am now crawling on my knees and hands - look out !!

I like to investigate everything and tasting it is a very important part of my research.

I reward favoured people with grunts, babble, a screwed up face smile and profuse spit spreading bubble blowing.

I giggle when bounced on a bed or tickled under my arms. I laugh at peek a boo.

I enjoy singing loudly and my cry at being put to bed is especially loud.

I sleep long hours most nights.

I am not so keen on being put in and out of my carseat - in and out - in and out - at least 3 days a week when we go to Masterton.

I have an excellent fend ... used on my mum as soon as I have finished feeding so I can see what everyone else is doing. Also used on my sister when she hugs me tooooooo much and a little hard !!

I can say mum mum and something like dad dad.

I love my mum and dad and big sister Anika ... most of the time !