Jul 22, 2009


Remember this post about rocks?

Barb-Harmony Art Mom (of Outdoor Hour fame) suggested in the comments that a rock that we thought was just a pretty painted rock, might be a rock with shell fossils embedded in it.

And she was right!

I finally got around to having a closer look at the rock, and you can clearly see that those white circles are little shells - like pipi or cockle shells.

I found a good New Zealand shellfish identification guide, here. It's hard to tell what sort of shellfish these are, since the outer surface isn't really visible - the ones which would have been on the outside have broken, leaving only the outline shape of the shell. We are not going to break it open to see more!

So that's pretty cool. We now officially have fossils in our rock collection!

The only downside is that we found this rock in our garden, quite clearly placed there by the previous owners of the house (now both deceased), so we have absolutely no idea where it was collected from. It would have been nice to be able to 'complete the paperwork' for this specimen, but we're pretty happy just to have seen it and to know that it is possible to find them ourselves.


Jul 17, 2009

And it will get bigger...

Just took another belly photo.

I'll be 34 weeks tomorrow.

That leaves another 6 weeks for this baby to get bigger.

And then it has to get OUT.


Jul 13, 2009

bed rest

Well, almost bed rest.

Self-imposed couch rest, really.

At 33wks of this pregnancy I've been having braxton hicks contractions on and off for over a week now. So far they've tapered off after about an hour and half, and they stay about 8 minutes apart and never last longer than about 30-45secs, but each time I get them they either last for a little longer, or they are a little stronger, or they take longer to settle down.

Last night was the first time they've woken me in the night.

So, in an effort to stay pregnant for at least another 3 weeks, I'm self-imposing as much 'bed-rest' as I can manage. The more time I spend upright, the more frequently I have contractions, so my goal is to keep horizontal as much as possible. Merl has dropped down to half days and I'll be using DVDs to babysit the children in the mornings!

Meanwhile, I doubt there'll be much internet browsing or blogging happening. So if I'm not around for a few days or so, that is why!

On the plus side, I'm getting some quilting done on a quilt that my mother started for me for when I moved into my big girl bed. Yes, you read that right - it's a UFO (unfinished fabric object) from 30 years ago. Mum passed it onto me to finish about 6 years ago, when I made my first quilt - by machine. I've never really had the patience for hand-quilting (and this is an entirely hand-pieced, hand-quilted beastie), but now I've got little else I can do, and the sewing is very therapeutic and rhythmic and I can even read stories while I do it, so long as the kids hold the books up for me!

I'm hoping to get it at least mostly finished before the baby arrives, or it may well spend the next 30 years in a cupboard. And I'd really rather sleep under it myself. A precious joint-project with my Mum, whom I'm missing horribly at the moment.

Jul 8, 2009

Honest Scrap award

I am still making up my mind about the whole blog 'award' thing. Part of me thinks of them as chain-letters (albeit fairly benign ones), or thinly veiled self-promotion (hey everyone - I've given you an award and now you have to link to my blog on your blog!). But on the other hand, it's an award. And it is nice to know that someone out there, who doesn't actually know me in real life, is interested in my aimless ramblings. And I like her blog too, so I don't mind promoting it here :)

Alecat at Serenades and Solace has awarded me the Honest Scrap award.

To keep this award, there are some rules by which I (and future recipients) must abide:
1) Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award.
2) Share "ten honest things" about myself.
3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.
4) Tell those 7 people that they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving it.

So, here are 10 "honest things" about myself (warning, I am tired and unimaginative - these are not the 10 wittiest honest things, or the 10 most interesting honest things... they are just things)

1. we have ugly carpet in our living room
2. the mouse infestation continues unabated
3. I am 32 1/2 weeks pregnant
4. I love the Princess Bride
5. both Merl and I need to refer to the commemorative cross-stitch to double-check the date of our wedding anniversary (thank goodness my sister-in-law gave us one!)
6. I read a lot of mystery novels and am ecstatic that our local library has just stopped charging rental for them
7. We are at the library almost weekly
8. We have fish and chips for dinner every Friday night
9. We don't have a television, but do use the computer for movies and other media
10. Star Trek - the Wrath of Khan gave me nightmares for weeks and weeks when I saw it as a kid. The thought of little grubs crawling into those poor men's ears...

As for passing the award on, these are a few places that I visit...

Rhonda Jean at Down to Earth no longer accepts awards because she gets so many, so I won't pass it on to her - but I'll keep her on my list of 7. Lots and lots of old-fashioned cooking and gardening and soap making and philosophising on the wonders of simplicity and greenness.

Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers is one of my must-visits. There's always something new on her site, and its always thought-provoking, informative or just plain helpful. And frankly, she should win an award just for the name of her blog.

Missy at Caffeinated Jive is a good read. I first came across her as a contributing author to some no-longer active unschoolers combo-blog thing that I can't remember the name of now. Refreshingly non-republican (has anyone else noticed how few non-republican american homeschool bloggers there are in the world? I found Missy's blog about the time of the last US election and was utterly ecstatic to find someone who didn't view Obama as the antichrist - who in fact thought he'd be a good thing - yay!)

Katherine at No Fighting, No Biting is a homeschooling US Navy-wife convert to devout catholicism. I like reading her blog because she is quite different to either myself or anyone I know around here, which is also refreshing.

OK, I know that's only 4, but I really really need to go to lie down now. My belly is aching and it needs to be horizontal. I haven't finished - but I may do so later. Or not. We'll just have to see.


Jul 7, 2009

Quick hits: Panda Style

Miss 5 was in the process of getting ready for bed and ran into the living room naked and holding a book.

Miss 5: Daddy, listen to this about Pandas!

Me: Why are you naked? Finish getting into your PJs

Miss 5 (in a superior tone): THIS is about NATURE



Jul 3, 2009

I'm back!

2 year olds should not repeatedly press the power button of the computer!

It leads to the family not being able to even boot up said computer. Which means, in this household, that there is no internet, no email, and (most importantly perhaps) no DVDs.

Fortunately we could still play the Wii, so all was not lost. But it has been an odd week.

It started with the death of the computer (long live the computer!). Fortunately we have a wonderful friend who potters around with the actual hardware of such things for fun. So it has been returned to us in full working order, and luckily, with no memory loss! Yay! No catastrophic data loss! It even remembers my log-ins for things - which is more than I can usually do. It only needed a new motherboard, CPU, power thingie... (no, I don't really know what they do - Merl has tried to explain it, but I confess that my eyes glaze over a little).

Then Merl went to Wellington for more work stuff. Inconvenient. He'd only been back for a week, and was requested back at 'head office' again - at short notice (like, a phone call on Friday to say 'be here Monday morning'). Usually we have at least a couple of weeks notice. Anyhow, it was only a couple of days this time - not a full week like it normally is. And I have friends who are raising children all by themselves all the time, so I should just suck it up. But I do miss him when he's gone. Especially at the end of a long day. AND there was no computer to play DVDs for the children at the witching hour, either.

But all was well, as he returned home Tuesday evening.

Wednesday was great - I felt full of energy and pottered happily around the place. We visited my aunt in the morning and had a good natter over coffee while Miss5 hung out with my uncle outside, setting up their bird-feeder. Then we came home to a freshly cleaned house (I am the only full-time Mum I know with a cleaner - but I just can't quite seem to feel guilty about it!) and got stuck into some actual school work! (I know! shock! actual lessons!). Miss2 had found a CD in my 'teacher box' with a fire safety song on it, so I followed their interest by producing the Teachers Manual for a fire safety unit (provided by the Fire Service) and we made a big poster about fire, and discussed safe and unsafe fires, and how important it is to 'Get Out, Stay Out' if the smoke alarms go off, etc, etc. And then after lunch we made bird feeders ourselves, and I re-hung the auto-feeder for the chickens at a better height for them (I will post more about this in a chicken post later in the weekend I think). I even cooked a real dinner! Wednesday was great.

Thursday was a bit different. I woke in a bit of pain - sore lower back, a bit achy, hadn't slept well, that sort of thing. Then the ligaments in my belly were agonisingly sore for most of the morning - not easing up when I lay down or anything. So I spent the morning on the couch with a couple of wheat-sacks, while the kids engaged in 'self-directed learning' with colouring and reading and finger puppets and all sorts of things. I noticed that I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions. On and off. No real pattern. Nothing to worry about. Probably. I'm only not-quite 32 weeks pregnant, so it can't be... It'll be fine... sweetheart, can you go through to Mummy's bedside and bring me the pregnancy books from the bedside table please?

Hmmm. Symptoms of pre-term labour are - lower back pain, contractions (usually falling into a pattern and getting stronger), lower abdominal pain. Hmmmm. I'm probably fine, I say to myself. There's no pattern there.

Later in the morning I notice that I'm having a 30second contraction about every 10 minutes. But after about 5 of them they go away. So that's okay, I say to myself. They've stopped now.

I have lunch and return to the couch. I end up by having contractions on and off the rest of the afternoon - but still no pattern to them - but I'm starting to get a little more concerned - so when talking to a friend in the early evening on the phone I ask her what she thinks.

She, very sensibly, thinks I should have phoned my midwife hours ago. So I apologetically phone my wonderful midwife (who is flying out of the country on her holiday the very next morning). All her back-up people are busy. She sighs and says "you really don't want to be in labour now - they'll ship you out because NICU is full". I say "I know I don't want to be in labour now - how can I make sure that I'm not?" And she says "well, you'd better meet me at the hospital right now."

The upshot being that, I was hooked up to the monitors for long enough for her to decide that I might be in pre-term labour, and go and get authorisation to do a swab-test for it. I never knew there was a swab-test for pre-term labour, but there is. It's really expensive so they don't do it unless they think there's good reason. It's a check for some sort of fetal factor which, if present, indicates that labour is likely within the next couple of weeks. Cool, huh?

And I was 99.4% likely to NOT be in pre-term labour. Which was absolutely wonderful and my midwife and I happily went home at 11pm. (She to do the suitcase packing that I'd interrupted). But she did warn me to take it very easy over the next few weeks because the test does have a small margin of error, and I didn't want to risk anything.

So today was another day on the couch. And, thankfully, we have a computer again and the girls spent the afternoon reacquainting themselves with Asterix and the Berenstain Bears before we tottered out to the library about 4pm.

So that was my week - how was yours?
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