Thursday, February 27, 2014

A quick stop

During my lunchtime run via Princes Wharf today I scampered past a Korean frigate with lots of civilians on it.

I did a double take, then turned around and ran back, and noticed their giant sign:

Of course I had to go onto it.

I think I saw a sign that said something along the lines of, "No photographs" or whatever something like that. Urgh, come on - you can't invite me on board and not allow me to take photos.

I went into the machinery control room and saw all the screens and buttons etc but there were too many people inside the surprisingly small area. Being part of the Signals Corps once upon a time I'm particularly interested in the comms equipment they use.

That was an interesting little stop. Then I continued on my merry way.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers

All of a sudden I see my son growing up before my eyes. It's frightening how fast we've transitioned to this point.

We are very lucky our dwelling is so close to some awesome parks and playgrounds, not to mention Kien's daycare just across the road. It's pretty awesome to be so close to the central city, and yet we are surrounded by leafy trees, and just down the road is 8 hectares of open space. Western Park - otherwise known as Our Park, according to Kien. He's been coming here for as long as he can remember.

Ever since we gave Kien his balance bike for his 4th birthday he's been riding it to and around the park. Here's where I hear the soundtrack to Fiddler on the Roof.

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When did they?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears.

OMG I sang that when I was at Intermediate! Now I want to cry.

Sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the years.

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers.

Blossoming even as we gaze.

He stopped to befriend a man and his helicopter. What's new?


One of the teachers from daycare wrote a learning story about Kien and sent it to us a few weeks ago. It is so good to see how much of an interest they take in developing the children. Here's what Melissa had to say.

Paper Planes

This morning you were interested in making a paper plane, Kien. You had a piece of paper in hand. I asked you how you were going to do this, and you replied, "I know, we'll get the paper plane book." You knew just where it was as you led me to the high shelf, and spotted it out of so many books lined up.

We sat on the couch together and you looked through the book. It was full of instructions on how to make lots of different paper planes, and you chose the one you wanted to make.

The instructions for making the plane were quite complex, so we talked about how to follow the steps and what the different symbols meant. I encouraged you to have a go but you were a little unsure. We talked through each step, and I helped you with one side of the plane, while you watched and tried the other side. This gave you more understanding of the step required.

As you looked at the book and your piece of paper you said "Ah, fold it, fold it," as if you were making connections between the book and the 3D model.

What learning do I think is happening here?

Kien is again exploring his interest in construction. It is great to see this interest weaved into different curriculum areas and materials. While the instructions for making the planes are quite tricky, Kien persevered and he seemed to enjoy the opportunity to construct in this way.

Opportunities and possibilities?

We will make this book available to Kien. Other children have also started engaging in this interest so this may be a good way to encourage a small group to work together and share their knowledge to achieve their goal.


At Grey Lynn Park there is a paddling pool that is perfect for kids to splash around on a hot summer day. I took Kien there the other day. He loved it.

He sat in the sun to warm up again after being in the pool for ages. He wanted to sit by himself, he told me.

He found a branch of agapanthus on the ground when he was exploring and brought it back to me. "Here, Mummy. I found these beautiful flowers for you", he said.

Sunrise, sunset, swiftly fly the years. One season following another, laden with happiness and tears.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Swimming, drawing, climbing and being a general chatter box

Third week/time having swimming lessons, and he is becoming so much more confident with putting his head underwater. Both Jef and I love the water, so I'm so glad Kien is following the trend. I have him enrolled in the Tepid Baths Swim School. These photos were taken this morning, and I didn't even have to hide for most of the lesson (Kien gets distracted when he sees me and keeps calling out and wanting me to come and talk to him).

I remember a time when he didn't even like showers, and now here he is doing full submerges. I'm so excited about the possibilities! I went ahead and recorded for y'all a short little clip of Kien jumping into the pool and going under the water.

Full credit to the instructor who takes these kids for their lessons. She is so patient!

I think the thing that Kien likes most about going for swimming lessons is the long shower he has afterwards. SERIOUSLY. Looooooonnnnnggggg. He just stands there and keeps pushing the button over and over and over and then 30 minutes later I'm telling him to get out and he's telling me he's still cold and can he please stay in for 2 more minutes. I don't mind really, we don't have anywhere we need to be, and the reason I booked his lesson for 9:40 in the morning was so that we would have a leisurely walk down, and then we don't have to rush if we had a lunch date or anything.

Today we had a lunch date with Jef, but it turned out to be a late morning tea break instead because we were way early. Kien likes to draw on the whiteboard in his daddy's office.

This is me standing on a block of snow.

This is Jef and I walking on snow. He also drew snowflakes, but they were too high up and I couldn't fit them into the frame.

This is actually the first time he has ever drawn people and faces resembling people and faces. Usually they are abstract lines and blotches that he says are people and faces and animals etc. I couldn't believe it when he took great care in drawing toes and fingers too.

We then said good-bye and left Jef to do his work and we headed up to the Auckland Museum. It was a glorious day - the sun was beating down on us by this stage and guess who forgot to bring sunscreen and hats? So an emergency stop at a convenience store on K Rd and we were good to go again. We walked down to the duck pond area and Kien was off to climb trees.

It was lovely to sit under the trees which the warm summer breeze tickled my skin. At that moment I felt truly grateful for being out in the beautiful sunshine with my son, and it wasn't even midday yet!

Today my little chatter box of a kid was on fire. He basically ran up and talked to anyone who would indulge him with any form of conversation. Sometimes I felt really sorry for those poor unsuspecting adults who are supervising their kid(s) and then this child rocks up to them from no where and starts a full on discussion about what he can see and what he can do and birds and trees and hey look at those beautiful flowers and grass and bees don't want to sting you unless they have to and nectar and etcetera. Sometimes I sit there and listen to him and then I have to call him to come and talk to me instead so as to leave the adults in peace with their own kids. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do - some adults like it and engage with him for ages, and others are polite to him but I'm pretty sure they'd much rather be getting a response from their own kid.

This little girl was repeating everything Kien was saying. I think her caregivers found it frustrating when they'd ask her which species she liked and it was always what Kien liked, including saying the same phrase, like, "look at how massive that is, whoa, it's so awesome!"

By the time I picked up some lunch for Kien and got home after dodging a whole bunch of footpath fixer uppers I had racked up 16600 steps on my pedometer. I had every intention of going up to the Ponsonby library after lunch, but once I sat down I kinda didn't want to get up again. So we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon inside with all the windows and doors open, the crickets and birds chirping loudly, and the sweet summer smell wafting through the air. Perfect.

Four - a birthday party

When your child is born in between Christmas and new year it is a bit of a struggle to throw him a party on the actually birth date. All through the last half of the year he was asking when his birthday party was going to be, so I knew I had to bite the bullet and throw him a proper party for his forth, with his friends and all. I thought that maybe mid December was a good time since people were still around - **note to self** - send invitations 6 weeks out, because leading up to Christmas is also a very busy period - **and note2 to self** - UNconsider December! But anyway, we pushed forward despite the lack of numerous RSVPs, and a couple of "maybe" from Kien's friends from daycare.

The morning of his birthday party he had a fever. He was crook, Man. He asked to speak with a doctor! I put on my thinking cap and phoned a friend - someone with years of experience in raising 3 boisterous kids of her own. "My son needs to talk to a doctor. Can you please be doctor and speak with him?" I pleaded. No problems. She told him to listen to his mother, take some medicine, keep a wet flannel on until the fever breaks, and no iPad. You know what? He actually listened. The fever broke a couple of hours later, and by 1pm he was running around downstairs on the grass like nothing was ever wrong.

By then the giant bouncy castle had been delivered and blown up, the gazebo erected, the food brought down from upstairs, and the next door neighbour's grandchild and Kien became besties.

I asked Kien's favourite teacher from daycare to come and entertain the children, and I'm so glad she did. She was such a hit.

I was actually rather surprised at how much the kids ate. They seemed to have really enjoyed the selection on offer. I tried to provide a variety of snacks, with a few healthy options as well.

Anna took the kids through a bunch of games, including the classic "pass the parcel". Kien was more interested in doing his own thing, but that's alright, everyone else enjoyed it.

One of Kien's friend's mother made the themed cake. It looked awesome, and way too good to eat.

It was pretty windy when it came to blowing out the candles. We had to do a bit of huddling and wind blockage.

That day there was forecasted thunderstorms in the afternoon, and we could actually hear it getting closer and closer. The dark clouds were making their way across the sky toward us, and I was afraid the party was going to be a washout. Luckily it passed by us, or rather diverted away from us, so we got a few sprinkles, and that was about it.

So there it is - Kien's fourth birthday party posted 2 months after the event.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Annual family gathering

It was discussed back when the Cole family met up at Glinks Gully to fly flax darts for Uncle Mostyn in 2012 that the only time we ever saw each other were at funerals and weddings (and their ain't that many of those), so Jacki took it upon herself to organise an annual once a year gathering for anyone who was able to make it to Auckland. Leanne organised the venue, and in February 2013 the inaugural event occurred. A couple of weekends ago was the second. Here are all of four photos I took on the day.

Oh, and at the inaugural event last year Jef took all of three photos.

I'm pretty sure next year there will be lots of photos!


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