Wednesday, May 16, 2018

6 months and drill champs

Sunday 13th: Hezekiah has been learning to play the ukulele at school recently and got our one out to practice today. I was concerned that it wasn't in tune, and so Ruth said she would tune it for him. I asked her how she knew how to tune it (I know she can tune a guitar by ear - but I also know that the strings are very different on the ukulele). She said she has heard them before, so knows what it needs to sound like. So she tuned it up for him and then she figured out some chords. Very soon she came to say that she can play any song with just three chords. She gave us the challenge to give us any song. I thought of a tricky one I play on the piano that has some strange chords, and within a minute she gave me a starting note and accompanied me. It was amazing to watch. No one was able to mention a song that she could not accompany us with. Such raw talent. And just beautiful to watch.
Ruth got Asher strumming a bit too. Asher does love music, so it's nice having an instrument that fits her. She just needs to learn to be gentle with the strumming as she can be a bit rough still.
Rachel was finally home this afternoon after her St John Competition Camp. Her drill team got first place and so they will be going to the Regional Competitions later in the year. She was so pleased.

At 8:45pm Asher had a 1 minute Tonic Clonic. She was really restless for at least 20 minutes afterwards. It's always so hard when she feels so terrible and there is nothing we can do to help her feel better. It's always such a relief when the pain / discomfort settles and she can get to sleep.
Monday 14th: The school have used some of Asher's funding money to buy her a stand for her iPad. This helps her to sit nicely at the table when using it (as she used to crouch over it as there was such a glare). She has also taken to the "wobbly" chairs in the class. She can wiggle herself around while she works which seems to be a great help for her.
And just like that this little girl is 6 months old.
Such a happy little girl. Her second name is Joy and she is living up to it. She is so joyful herself and bring so much joy to the family.
Such a sweetie.
And very good at rolling from her tummy onto her back now. She can get onto her tummy, but doesn't do it all that much yet.
She had gotten herself onto her tummy here and was moaning a bit - so Brendon went to "chat" to her. Asher decided this was a perfect time to hop on Dad's back.

Anastasia has started enjoying making some lovely noises. She so enjoyed "talking" to us this evening and it had everyone laughing and having fun with her.

It was tricky to get a good video of it - and we only just got a tiny bit at the start of this one. At the end though, you see her lovely response when I call her. Without fail I will call her and her face will just light up.
Ruth's guide project this evening was to make bath bombs. She found these citrus moulds and so made some orange smelling ones. They do smell lovely. Good job Ruth.

Unfortunately Asher had another seizure at 9pm this evening and was again restless for at least 20 minutes. And then at 10:30pm she woke up and was very unhappy. There was a lot of neurological activity (even though not a "normal" seizure) and so we gave her a dose of Midazolam to stop it. Thankfully it worked quickly and she could say "hi" and then get back to sleep.
Tuesday 15th: I'm concerned Asher's UTI has not cleared, so I got another sample to the doctor's today. Unfortunately there was a mix up in the results and they told me on Wednesday that it was clear. On Friday I heard that it had not actually been clear, but thankfully by Friday she was finally feeling better.
These photo was on Tuesday - having a rest with Ruth after school. She obviously wanted some extra physical contact today and so Ruth was a great big sister in giving her the cuddles she needed.
She unfortunately had a really bad few nights. This evening it started at Bible Study with her having a bit of an episode.
When Asher had this strange neurological activity I could see that she was not great and would say "are you alright". This has become her way of communicating when she feels that way (she says "alright?" when clearly she is NOT alright) . It's not a logical thing for her to be saying, so after disusing things on the way home from Bible Study we decided to try and teach her to say "feel bad" when this happens. Unfortunately she had these "bad" feelings again at 9:30 and 10:30 on Tuesday evening. It was so bad at 10:30 that I had the Midazolam drawn up and ready to give her, but it thankfully stopped.
On Wednesday night her "bad" feeling happened at 8:30 and we again had to give Midazolam to stop it. Her appetite has also been really low this week, so it's been hard to see her struggling.
On a positive note, she is learning quickly and even said "bad" on one of these occasions. Not "feel bad" but just bad, over and over. At least she is telling us accurately how she is feeling.
Wednesday 16th: Hannah headed off on a school camp today. She has been so excited and counting down the days. They will be back on Friday afternoon.
On Wednesdays the teacher aides all have a meeting first thing in the morning, and so I stay with Asher till they are done. It was really great to see her enjoying the kinaesthetic sand (have you felt it before - it's wonderful to play with).
RIGHT: A fun app that Asher has at school. It's a bit like a puzzle for her, but she will slowly learn about letters this way.

There was a planned power out today as they upgraded a lot of power poles around us.

Thankfully we did know about it, so we had made plans for Dad to BBQ when he got home. Rachel and I used the wood burner to heat / cook our lunch. It was not the best day for the work or a BBQ, as it rained solidly the entire day.

Ruth playing with her two little sisters. Quite a few children in Ruth's class will be going to boarding school next year. We have chatted about what some of the advantages and disadvantages would be (just in theory - as the cost makes it not even an option to consider). One huge reason I don't think Ruth would enjoy it is that she would miss these two too much. Ruth is so good with little children and enjoys them so much. She has a special relationship with both of them.
Anastasia has really been enjoying this crocodile that she was given.

More fun with Ruth.
And I forgot to put a photo on of the lovely card Asher "made" for me for mothers day. What a clever idea.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Uniforms and UTI

Saturday 5th: Anastasia and I have had a cold this week. My nose was fine last night, but my throat was sore this morning, so Ruth gave me a massage before she left for netball. Asher enjoyed a bit of a cuddle at the same time. :-)
Ruth's first day off at netball (as it was rained out last Saturday). It is a grading day today, so she will have a lot of shorter games.

Asher enjoyed brushing Hannah's hair this evening. Hannah didn't enjoy it all that much though. Thanks for your patience Hannah.
Sunday 6th: I have been wanting to split these bulbs for ages, and so I finally got out there today. I wonder how many years they have been in here?
BELOW: I just spread them out along the wall. I only did 2 of the 3 bunches, so I have even more to do next year. We have loads of daffodils at the garage, so I plan to put a row of them in front of these next year too. There are some daffodils here, and that's what gave me the idea.

Ruth created a new colour slime with two others she had.
Such a pretty colour.

Ruth really likes helping Asher do things. This evening she helped her slice some cheese. Asher was so pleased.

Monday 7th: Rachel started a defensive driving course this afternoon. There will be 10 hours of lectures over the next two weeks (Monday and Wednesday afternoons) and then she will have a driven test with the assessor. Getting this course done will allow her to go for her full licence in October (at just 17 1/2 years old).
Tuesday 8th: School photo day today. I tried to get the outside photo similar to last year, but it was rather windy. It's probably not the best time of year to be trying to get an early morning photo outside.
So I took an inside one as well.
Ruth - year 8. Hannah - year 6. Hezekiah - year 2. Asher - year 1.

We had Asher's IEP (Individual Educational Plan) meeting this afternoon before school finished. Anastasia was great and just fell asleep in my arms - while looking around at everyone. It was a excellent meeting with lots of positive feedback on things that are going well. It's also good to discuss "next steps" and talk through some of the issues. I am again so very thankful for the team of ladies that are supporting Asher.
I'm pleased Asher was able to be a part of the school photos today. She had a seizure at 3:45pm, so I was glad it had not been earlier in the day. She wasn't feeling great this evening and so I eventually got her to lie down with me.
Wednesday 9th: She had another seizure today at 1:15pm. The teacher aides all had a meeting at 11, so Rachel had gone up to help watch Asher while they were busy. It wasn't long after Rachel left that she had the seizure. She had refused to eat lunch too. I started wondering if she had a UTI as she had been touching herself a bit before school this morning and was refusing to drink or eat at school.
So as soon as Brendon was home I headed to the doctor's rooms with Asher. Her temperature was slightly up. Ears, throat and chest all seem fine, but her urine has blood in it. So she most likely does have an infection. They will send the sample off for testing, but we made the decision to start antibiotics this evening already. We are hoping that by getting her over the infection quickly, we will reduce the amount of seizures she has due to it.
Thursday 10th: Another seizure today at 12:20pm, just as she was about to start her cross country practice with her class. I'm glad we have started the antibiotics, and hopefully they will start working soon and this run of seizures will stop.
Ruth and I had a long day in town. As a final precautionary check, she had a heart scan this morning. She has a few markers of Marfan Syndrome, and although her specialist thinks it's unlikely, he agreed that as we don't have any family history for Ruth, it would be good to just check that all is fine with her heart. She does get chest pain at times, so it will give me peace of mind knowing that her heart is ok.
She also had an optometrist appointment - and has new glasses ordered. She had a check-up in September last year with Hannah, and although there was a very small change, they felt her glasses were still fine. Over the next few months though, her eyes changed so much that the reading section of her bifocals became fuzzy. Her eyes have been getting tired, so we knew she would need a new prescription. I'm again so glad we have a Community services card and that her glasses are fully funded. Even with her needing bifocals again. Anastasia was a star with all the stops and bits of shopping we also managed to get done.
Friday 11th: Asher's class showed some of their art at assembly today. In an attempt to include Asher, they kept her in her buggy. She was not at all interested in holding her art, but was happy to clap for them all. :-) It was good to try something different and every time she is involved will help her learn a bit more.
Ruth and Hannah decided to rake up some leaves to have some fun this afternoon. Ruth came to show me the photo on the left and I just though they had put shoes down.
Only then did I realize that it was actually Hannah under it all. So I suggested that she stick her hands out too. So they went out again and this photo was one of the fun results.
I headed to squash again this evening. Ruth and Hannah went to Youth, and so Jens came to play with Hezekiah while the girls were all out. Youth only starts from age 7, so it was nice that the boys got time to play too.
It was a very busy day for Rachel today. She started with a introductory hair dressing course in town today. It goes on for 6 weeks, each Friday. After that she went for an interview at Vbase - the catering company she did her hospitality course with during the holidays. Then she rushed home to get a lift to the St John Competitions camp in Hamner for the weekend. So it was a very full day for her.

Friday, May 4, 2018

21 years

Monday 30th April: Kids back to school today. And this evening we had a visit from Eben, a friend from 20 years ago, and his new wife Minette (they got married on Saturday).
After dinner the children sang some songs for them, including showing the faces pulled at the end of a haka. Girls don't do this part - but if they did, Hannah would be very good at it. Hezekiah was pretty good too, he just needs to lift his chin up a bit so we can see him better. :-)
Asher enjoyed some cuddles from Minette, who had shown a bit of extra attention to Asher and so she had responded with much affection back.
We had a lovely evening with so many laughs and some tears too (especially when they read Rachel's Gallipoli poems). The funniest part was when the girls taught them how to do "flossing". A "new" style of dancing that is now getting popular. Hannah is so funny with it and puts on such a show. She does the actual dance well, but then does a silly version too which is just hilarious.
It was great to catch up with Eben after so many years and also special for us to get to meet Minette.
Tuesday 1st May: Anastasia just loves this toy on her ExcerSaucer. Such a happy girl, despite those teeth worrying her. A nice toy to chew on. She also moves around so well now and can get to whatever toy she is interested in.
I wasn't sure how happy Asher would be in the holidays with not being able to go in the car every day (she just loves the car). Thankfully she adjusted fine and then adjusted back into the school routine easily again this week.

Hezekiah's gun and phone creations from school.

They are working on telling the time in his class. So he had this to bring home today. I always take a photo straight away as then we can keep a record of it all.

He made sure I took a photo of the back too. Home time is obviously very important. :-)
Wednesday 2nd: As Rachel is decorating cakes this year to build up her portfolio, I suggested she make us an anniversary cake. She had a bit of an issue with her ganache crumb coat (the ganache was just too runny - the first time that has happened to her). She also didn't flatten the cakes, as we had hoped the ganache would fill the gap. Soft ganache was just not going to do the trick. So in future she will always cut the tops of her cake so that they are flat.
She could not just easily apply her butter icing today. So she had to try this method. It worked ok, but the ganache was just too soft and was slipping off the cake (from that middle "gap" because of the cakes not being cut flat). So she did a good job in getting it presentable. It was a good opportunity to learn some lessons.
It was the first time she has put fondant onto a cake by herself. She generally got me to help with this part with previous cakes. So she did a great job. Not only that, she did a better job than I have ever done. She worked slowly, stretching the fondant so that she didn't have any "folds" on the sides. I have always had folds, so she did an excellent job.
I had wanted this embroidery flower look. It was a good thing she did this one as an experiment, as it's not as easy as it looks. The challenges helped her figure out better ways of doing it. And I do agree with her, the white on dark fondant will look much nicer. I just didn't want too much colouring on the cake. So I asked for purple on white. I'm sure white on dark purple would have been much nicer. So orders will look quite different. I just loved the piped icing border on the tray though. No improvement needed there - it looks better than anything I have every tried.
Great job Rachel.
She got the cake finished up this evening so that we could enjoy it together as a family. Our anniversary is only tomorrow. Brendon and I are going out for dinner tomorrow, so at least we can enjoy some cake for morning tea (and the kids get to take cake to school for morning tea too).

Children's monthly photo taken this afternoon.

Hezekiah was playing with Anastasia and I quickly got this photo. How incredible to see the size difference of those heads. Such a special photo of my two smilers.

Thursday 3rd: Unfortunately Brendon woke with a terrible migraine this morning, so he spent the whole day in bed. He was feeling better through the afternoon though, and so we were still able to go out for dinner. Normally his migraine medication works well and within a couple of hours he feels better. This time it didn't work though, and he just needed the extra 8 hours of sleep.
Brendon had an open venison sandwich with such amazing fries.
I had a chicken dish with cheese and bacon. It was very tasty.
So thankful for the 21 years we have been married, and for such a special evening to celebrate.

I'm glad we had an early dinner and were home when Asher went to bed, as she had a seizure just as Brendon was putting her into bed. The teachers had described her having a conscious Tonic Clonic seizure, and Brendon saw this too this evening. It was only 30 seconds but she was restless for an hour before she was finally asleep.
Friday 4th: Ruth saw an advert in the school newsletter about squash on Friday evenings. Open to all. So we headed up this evening. I played a bit with Ruth (as we were there first) and then I had a game with the one lady that attends. I was so pleased that there is at least one other female. I always feel bad for the guys when they have to play me, as I can't hit it anywhere as hard as they do. After our 3 games she then played with Ruth a bit. I could see her improving within the few minutes of playing. So I'm sure she would be able to take to it quickly.
Thanks for the suggestion Ruth.