Tuesday, 30 August 2011

If all the rain drops were lemon drops and gum drops...

The rainy weather was feeling a bit left out today, what with all that sunshine getting so much attention lately, so it decided to come back for a visit.

I invited it in (to the front lawn - not the house itself - just to make things clear) and offered it a home made chocolate chip cookie, but after the initial smiles and welcomes and puddle-jumping fun, our conversation grew stilted. Awkward. 

The rain has a habit of outstaying its welcome.

I tried to drop a few subtle hints as I felt too polite to simply ask it to leave, but in the end I had to slip back inside and hope it would simply go away.

Playing outside with the rain always leaves me longing for a nice warm shower.

 The Lily Bug on the other hand, would have been happy to stay outside and continue dancing between raindrops. And throw soggy grass at the car. All. Day. Long.

Monday, 29 August 2011

A cow, a chicken, and a llama walk in to a bar...

I'm not sure if I'll ever try feeding a cow from the palm of my hand again. It seemed a good idea at the time, and how could I say no when she was looking at me all sweet and doe-eyed like that?

Cute as they may be, I should have taken note of all the goobers on the end of her nose before tenaciously (though not tenaciously enough) reaching my hand towards her mouth. Who knew how slobbery those creatures are? Oh well, we live and learn I suppose...

When a friend invited us to join her on an outing to Kiwi Valley Farm Park last week, we were keen as beans. Here was the Lily Bug's opportunity to ride a pony for the very first time, and Guy Smiley's chance to meet the living embodiment of the animals in his favourite farm-themed cardboard picture dictionary.

Is it just me or does this expression say "I'm trying to stay calm but DEAR GOD SOMETHING HAS HOLD OF MY ARM!"?
 There's a certain light that flares in a child's eyes when confronted by something that truly amazes them.  When a mythical creature known only in books materialises before their eyes and those eyes all but pop with awe, their faces light in a way that cannot be faked, or reproduced, or ignored.

Even if you live in the furthermost corner of the furthermost land and your children have long grown accustomed to the sights and sounds of rural life, there was surely a moment when their gaze focused on a chicken or a cat or a monkey for the very first time, and a little burst of wonder lit their eyes.

Unfortunately I failed to adequately capture any kind of boggle-eyed wonder in my photos as almost every one was out of focus, or I kept missing the right moment. And eventually it dawned on me that I was so busy taking pics like a snap-happy tourist, I was forgetting to actually take part in the outing and enjoy the moment. (That happens far too often.)

But at least a few farm animals were workin' it for the camera...


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Making the most of Global Warming's early days...

 Before it gets too hot to leave the fridge.

Impromptu trips to the beach when beautiful weather is least expected (and there's still enough petrol in the car) are always on the top of my Win My Heart Over Again For Suggesting It You Beautiful Man list. (Wait, I think I suggested this one...?)

Ignorant to the fact it's still technically winter and the west coast winds render the beach cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, J chose not to bring a single article of warm clothing, and promptly froze his balls off as soon as we stepped foot on the sand. Right there on the edge of the world, it was cold. Really damn cold. 

That near-flawless blue sky was really misleading.

(Damn it. I meant to photoshop out that person in the background. How dare they be in my photo of awesome striding? D'oh!)

Immune to the temperature, the Lily Bug began splashing through the shallow stream that fed into the sea. We hurried her along, least she slip into her mermaid form before having the chance to play on the sand.

Guy Smiley just wanted to run. Run run run. He could see that empty lifeguard tower waving it's flag at him like a matador to a bull, and he wanted to charge. So he did. As fast as his chubby little legs could carry him.

Fortunately his ever-protective little big sister was keeping a close eye (cause mum was too busy snapping pics and dad was recreating the Great Pyramid of Giza.)

"Come back! Come back!" she cried, but the little gingerbread man just kept on running.

You're fighting a losing battle Lily Bug. We may as well race out to the lifeguard tower and chase each other around and around until we collapse on the sand in exhaustion.

Around and around and around... collapse.

Sufficiently in touch with nature and frozen to the bone, it was time to head home and cross fingers that the long windy windy windy road wouldn't lull everyone in the car off to sleep.

Oh, and of course, this time that gentle little stream was far too inviting for the Lily Bug to ignore. Instead she just ignored our cries of "Stop! You're getting soaked! It's time to go! Noo....."

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.  ~Albert Camus

(Linking up with the Summer Photo Challenge.
Because here in NZ, it's kinda almost summer. Kinda.)

Wordless Sunday (on a Tuesday): Something Blue

It's two days after Sunday, which means I'm a tad late on joining in on the Wordless Sunday game, but... Better late than never right? And the photo was taken on Sunday at least...  :D

Linking this week with Jacqueline Grace Photography

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

My Other Car Is A Horse.

Snow is all the rage at the moment, although despite claims of it falling in our Auckland suburb, we were merely treated to a small bombardment of mini-hailstones that melted as soon as we tried to grasp them between numb fingers.

The Lily Bug shot outside to catch the hail, but caught more in her wildly unkempt gossamer hair than she did in her cherub palms. But for a moment it was the most exciting thing in the whole wide world ever. Like, even more exciting than blue food colouring in the bath or a super-massive bowl of dishwater bubbles to smear all over the furniture. Then she went to the freezer and chucked a few ice cubes in a cup. Same thing as hail anyway. Kinda.

As if to prove yesterday's arctic weather was all a strange dream, the sun elbowed away the clouds for a wee while this afternoon in a gallant effort to remind us Spring's not too far away. All those flowers I struggled to grow in the garden that J struggled to dig, might bloom again soon. Though, given the mess of weeds out there, there's probably a higher chance of snow in Auckland or Hell freezing over. (Which is pretty much the same thing by the way.)

Those heavy black storm clouds framed the horizon as we left Kindy today, yet somehow by the time we reached our street they had fled, tumbling right off the edge of the world. Blue sky and sunlight had taken their place. How completely unexpected. And halfway down our street, right at the fence line of their paddock, were the horses that mum so often promises (inside her head) she'll take the kids to visit some day soon. You know, some day soon when we're not in a hurry to go elsewhere. When the kids aren't half-asleep in their car seats. When it's not raining.

Today we had time on our side, the kids were wide awake and ready for new adventures, and the sun had kicked those storm clouds to the curb.

It's about time Guy Smiley gets up close and personal with the animals he's always neighing to in his picture books. And the Lily Bug was so brave, going right up to them and giving them pats, when it doesn't seem so long ago she was so very timid and clingy and nervous of everything that existed beyond our doorstep.

The horse was nibbling playfully at Indie's hair. Well, I'm assuming it was nibbling playfully. Though, 'deranged with hunger' is another possibility that now comes to mind...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Wordless Sunday: Reflections

Linking with Kendylsplace for this week's Wordless Sunday.

These photos come from a mid-July afternoon at our favourite playground. Summer days in winter are awesome. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Have a Smurfy Day

The restless night and runny nose that kept the Lily Bug home from Kindy happened for one reason today. So that mum could make playdough, Smurf could rescue Smurfette from being trapped in the dough, and the two could share a kiss...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Wordless Sunday: A Childhood Memory Revisited

I realise the idea is meant to be 'wordless', but I have to explain. I just have to...

When I think of childhood memories (the happy kind) the first thing that springs to mind is Whangamata. My mum and dad had a piece of land down there, and that's where some of my most cherished childhood memories were spent.

Another childhood memory is that of horses. I was horse crazy. My mother alleges that they had to stop the car every time we drove past a horse, so I could get out and give it a pat. One time, they came across a drover on horseback, and asked if they could get a photo of me sitting on his horse. I was about two and a half, and the photo is one shown below (I'm sitting astride a cream horse).

I couldn't get the family to Whangamata this week, much as that would have been awesome, nor was I in the mood to visit any of the horses down the road, in today's bleak weather. But I've been scanning childhood photos and collecting vintagey papers & embellishments for an upcoming scrapbook project, and today seemed just the right kind of day to splay them all out...

And then there was the Mess picnic at Long Bay, and my huge (or so it seemed when I was 3) blue elephant which used to take me on magical journeys upon its back. Until my mother gave it to my nephews, and they trashed it. *sigh*

Linking up with The Memoirs of a Mother for this week's...

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Letting Go


1. No longer needed or useful; superfluous.
2. (of words or data) Able to be omitted without loss of meaning or function.

This week has been a difficult one to blog about, to find words for. No particular reason, nothing to tilt the world on its axis and leave me speechless.  No reason to get my knickers in a twist (as my mother would - and often does -say).

Well, there was something. I suppose.

The Lily-Bug started Kindy.

I know, I know. So what? Right?

It's just that... I can count on one finger the number of times I've let her in the care of someone (other than immediate family) since the day she was born. And for the first two thirds of her three and a half years, she was the clingiest little thing in all the world - I never thought I'd send her off to kindy at all. I never thought she'd let me go.

But she did. Quite happily. Let me go.

Look at her charging off ahead of me; the little girl who is usually too scared of the road to help me check the mailbox.

She has been sooo excited about the prospect of kindy for weeks now. And I don't blame her one bit. My attempts to stave off cabin fever through the winter are failing. There are only so many times we can haul the spare mattress into the lounge and use it as a hut/crash pad/slide before the novelty of collecting bruises like they're stamps and sustaining moderate brain damage after repeat run ins with Guy Smiley's big boulder head begin to wear off. Painting, drawing, squishing play dough, rainy trips to the park, watching Little Einsteins over and over, tickle fights, straining mum's neck while using her as a human jungle gym.. It all gets a bit mundane.

No no don't stay Mummy! You drop me off here and pick me up later! I'm alright!

I fully expected her to enjoy Kindy. I just didn't expect her to declare "I don't wanna go home mummy!" when it was time for us to leave that first day. And I tell you (whoever you are - if anyone is there at all), that statement was like a wee knife to my gut.

A still small voice inside my head tried to counsel that it was nothing personal, and that the Lily Bug's eagerness to drag from home that spare mattress, stuff it in the bright yellow tunnel of Kindy's playground and bunk down for the night, was entirely expected given that she was crazy excited and fully willing to continue playing for at least another 18 hours.

The voice of reason is too damn quiet for me to hear at the best of times.

I bet myself up all night long, and all throughout the next day, questioning my entire parenting ability. Or lack of ability? Why didn't she want to come home? Is it because I lost my cool and yelled on the weekend when she was having that meltdown about the shower plughole? Am I a terrible mother because I use the computer while the kids are watching their morning kids programs? Am I failing as a parent because I let them watch tv at all? No, it's because I yelled on the weekend, isn't it? And, truth be told I think I yelled on Monday too... And probably the week before...

During Wednesday's Kindy session, I left her for the last hour, and throughout this time I fretted that she'd yell "go away mum! I wanna stay here!" upon my return. I knew if this scenario came true, I'd cry. In front of the teachers, in front of the parents picking up their kids, in front of my own children... I'd bawl my goddamned eyes out.  It was a scenario that played over and over in my head so clearly, the fear of it all but squeezed the air from my lungs.

Then it came to crunch time. 2.50pm. I walked through the Kindy doors with no small amount of trepidation, and found my little Lily-Bug sitting anxiously on a teacher's knee, waiting for mummy. She ran to me, threw her arms around me in a massive bear hug, all but squeezing the air from my lungs - and this time I welcomed the feeling.

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” — Herman Hesse