Wednesday, September 29, 2010

school holidays

As always school holidays aren't going quite as planned.
On Monday I took Heidi (and Noah and Isaac of course at its the holidays) to meet 'nana' - the family member who lives 8 hours away who will become her permanent caregiver. I took various toys with me in the hope of entertaining our boys so I would be free to discuss Heidi. There were two adults and two little girls (aged 2 and 5 who are cousins not sisters so I'm a bit confused who they belong to) there and we had a good introductory meeting with Heidi returning to my side occasionally.
I didn't realise that the plan was for her to go and spend the rest of the day with her relatives, but luckily had a bit of extra food and clothes packed (no spare nappies as both Isaac and Heidi had already needed changing by that point!) so off she went and that gave me a bit of unexpected time to spend with the boys in town. - Noah was very pleased when we bought some junior meccano for him (I just have to disregard the bit that says age 4 plus as he's 11) and had an early lunch at Mc Donalds.
Heidi was returned back about half past four very exhausted, (this is not the optimum type plan for introducing children to new caregivers) Isaac had hardly eaten all day and had several dirty nappies, so they both had a bath and quickly to bed.
Yesterday I had to take all three children to the hospital as Heidi had a check up appointment for children in care. We also wanted to get Isaac weighed - except by that time he had barely eaten for 3 days and I wasn't so keen on seeing how little he weighed, but he was up by 200g and has now just passed the magic 12kg mark once again. Hopefully when he's well he will return to the 12.2kg he weighed last Christmas.
Heidi weighed 10.35kg (she is 17 months old compared to Isaac's 60 months!) so she has gained 1.4kg in her eleven weeks with us (900g in the first 4 weeks). The social worker was there for the appointment and was amazed at the change in Heidi - she is just a typical toddler now.
It was good to have a chat to the social worker as I was expecting as the relatives obviously did that Heidi would be going back with them at the end of the week, but it seems the approval process hasn't all been completed so the plan was for Heidi to spend 4 hours with them today and then they'd drive the 8 hours home.
We have a student nanny for two days so I said to Noah that while Heidi was out, the nanny could have sole charge of Isaac and Noah and I could go to the movies.
But now everything has changed
in the middle of last night's home group Heidi was sitting on my lap as she was a bit unsettled when she did an amazingly big vomit - oh our family does liven up homegroup -she repeated this at 2am and then took an hour to settle.
This means that obviously there is some kind of bug that both Isaac and Heidi have (and please don;t let it go through the rest of the family!) I managed to contact the social workers and 'nana' has decided to forgo her visit with Heidi and instead drive 8 hours next week to see her.
So now we're stuck at home all day with sick children - just what I love for school holidays!
Still we have the nanny again tomorrow and I'm hoping Heidi will be well enough to leave then so the nanny says she'll look after both Isaac and Heidi so Noah and Lily (who has Thursday as her day off) can come with me to see Despicable me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sydney weekend

We had such a great weekend in Sydney with Beth and James.

We chose to be flying in some of the worst weather NZ has experienced - on our first flight the pilot said "I have now taken this plane as high as it's allowed to fly, so you will just have to put up with a few bumps and if you're from Christchurch as I am you'll be used to bumps by now anyway!"
The wind was so strong and against us all the way to Sydney so we arrived almost an hour late. It was a fairly bumpy landing and the steward then said "The pilots are really earning their money today!"
Coming back though the wind was in our favour and the flight only took 2 1/2 hours rather than the usual 3 1/2. The final flight to Palmerston was the roughest landing we've ever had and the stewardess made us all applaud the pilot and then her as she'd still managed to serve us half cups of coffee!

Anyway the weather in Sydney was lovely a good few degrees higher than here. We got a family three day pass for the monorail and went round it innumerable times - Paul and Noah the most as they ended up doing a quiz about the monorail stops (On the last night this meant I took Lily and Noah back to the hotel while Paul continued a monorail journey to see if her could get the final clue!!)
We went to Beth's law office on Martin Place which was quite breathtaking, very plush- reminded us of 'Boston Legal" then we had tea in the food court underneath Myers - I could remember this from 15 years ago when we lived in Sydney for a while.
On Saturday we went to the fish market on the light rail (included in our monorail price) then went to Paddy's markets where I bought Beth a "Jimmy Choo" bag - the real Jimmy Choo shop is right near her office (along with prada, Gucci and the like) and the version I bought was a lot cheaper but with a worse quality zip!! - I cannot actually believe the market is legally allowed to sell rip-off merchandise, in Singapore markets they even hide some of the stuff away.
In the afternoon we went to the wildlife park at Darling Harbour where Beth informed me I was still able to embarrass her as I sang "Never smile at a crocodile" when I didn't even have Noah or Lily beside me!
We went to a lovely Darling Harbour restaurant called pancakes on the Rocks for tea,. Unfortunately we had to queue a long time for a table and we could see Lily wilting with tiredness in front of our eyes so we had to cut the visit short and miss out on the pancakes.

On Sunday we caught the train out to McQuarie university, where James studies and had breakfast at their fantastic local mall (which we again remembered from 15 years ago because there is an ice-rink there) then walked to their apartment. it was a lovely place and we got a quick glimpse of Beth's wedding dress which is beautiful.
We caught the bus back to Sydney centre and then went to Wicked which was fantastic - so many layers of meaning. James even thought it linked to his philosophy studies. It was about being different and how the way people are treated impacts on their choices, some of the words were fantastic - one song towards the end (click to hear it and read lyrics) seemed very applicable to families who have a child with DS, could be a new title song for our welcome pack!

"I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good"

Now back home I am rushed off my feet catching up with housework etc. Hannah has said she will not look after two pre-schoolers again unless we pay her a million dolllars!

Heidi has changed into a typical toddler-very demanding and touching everything and moving stuff from one place to another. She is very interested in phones and pretends all remote controls etc are phones. She gets into the garden (which is very muddy at the moment) if there is the slightest gap in the sliding doors. She's becoming very picky with food but will eat most things later from the floor!

She is about to meet the family member who is being approved as her carer so we will probably only have her for another week or two.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

hectic days

I got Isaac to kindy this morning to find all the other children dressed in pyjamas - I had managed to miss the notice about the kindy dress-up breakfast!
Life has become a bit hectic (when isn't it?)
Last Monday I got a letter saying pub charity had approved the application of the local Down syndrome association to attend the DS national forum which is held every 2 years. Unfortunately the forum started that Friday!! I had a hectic time ringing round everyone who might be interested offering them an all expenses paid trip to Auckland. Finally I went (leaving Paul at home alone on his birthday looking after 4 children!) with my friend who has adopted a little boy who is now aged 2.
I met up with my friends form Auckland and was able to introduce my two friends with adopted children to each other which was lovely.
I also got two nights undisturbed sleep (strange that luxury for me now is to get to bed by 10pm not chat till late) and got enthused again with some DS ideas.
The speaker from e reader pro (a special reading programme for children with DS) was there and inspired me to make some resources to teach Isaac to read, I bought a CD full of workbooks specially designed for Children with DS (precision academics) and now I'm mulling over whether Palmerston North could become a centre of excellence for Down syndrome in NZ and offer Down syndrome health clinics - Paul could fairly easily be persuaded to be the physician for these.

In a few days we're off to Sydney to see Beth and we just discovered that the season for 'Wicked' has been extended so we've bought tickets - all very exciting.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

flooded river

We live right by the river although apparently we are not in a flood zone and the council tell us that most of Hokowhitu and the central square of Palmerston would flood before us.
Anyway after torrential rain on Monday the river flooded its banks and at its highest covered the grass all the way to the stop banks.
At about 2.30pm on Monday afternoon it came over by the little fishing platform then you could see the water actually moving across the grass. I went to school for Noah's IEP which lasted just over an hour and came home to see the river completely flooded (this was much more exciting than the IEP which seemed to be exactly the same as his last one!)

lots of people parked along the road to take photos and tell us this was the highest the river had been since the floods of 2004 (when we'd been living in Auckland)
The water was really wild with whole trees being washed along.
During the night they opened the flood gates (they had to get all the farmers whose fields were about to flood to move their stock first) and over Tuesday morning the river went down as fast as it had risen.
The photo of Noah in his suit shows what the river is usually like compared to the flooding.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

birthday photos

I've finally sorted a few photos - Lily's birthday last week and Isaac and Heidi in the garden

I am still enjoying dressing Heidi like a little doll in all my second hand shops finds. I think it"s a Libety lawn smocked dress - and look at the cute socks and shoes
Today is Rachel's birthday and NZ father's day. We were woken by Paul's family to see if we were OK as the British news had been about the earthquake devastation in Christchurch. We hadn't heard of it till then and hadn't even felt the earthquake, but it is very bad, luckily no-one has been killed.