Sweeney's Mama

Saturday, 28 April 2012


So ... wasn't April a glorious month, weatherwise?? Up until about twelve hours ago, at least?? I gave Sweeney's winter coat from last year away, without having a replacement on hand. That's how glorious it was. Now I've cranked up the heater, pulled the curtains, and am contemplating how to wangle having the oven on all day tomorrow.
Sweeney and Harper headed to their Nana's for the school holidays. That made things verrrry quiet around my way for two weeks. I ran, I read, I ate carelessly. I did just about everything in a more leisurely manner than usual.
It sounds like all three of them had a ball down there. The boys took in a ballet, learnt to make pizza, wrote charming letters home, and came back knowing more about the solar system than I do. 

The big thing for me, since Sweeney got back, has been rugby. In an unusual move, we went to see the Crusaders trample the Hurricanes the night he got home. He greatly enjoyed waving his flag and drinking lemonade. I rather enjoyed the actual rugby.
He and Harper have joined an Under-6 team, and today was their first game. They're called the Wild Jaguars. Spectators fell about laughing as our children ran the wrong way, forgot to pass the ball, froze in the face of the opposing team bearing down upon them. Pure gold.
And my mum's been in town, staying at Kimberley's. It's been great to have her just a matter of minutes away. Plus she's doing an awesome job of doing a mountain of chores for their household while Joe's consumed with study and being on section.
In other news, I've finally made peace with the fact that Sweeney is not made for fishing. After several tries, including one where Grandad's glasses fell into Oriental Bay, and Sweeney guided him back to the car, I realise that the kid just isn't built for contemplative activities. If he's outside, he's likely to be moving at max speed. Hence, the rugby.
It's so nice to have him back around the house. Turns out I really rather like it a bit noisy and on-the-verge-of-frantic, even if I'm the one making the most noise sometimes ...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Run Run Run

February was all about the running, for me. Did you know that I'm a runner? Oh yes. Not Usain Bolt or anything. Just slogging it out, looking reasonably appalling, usually bright red from the first couple of strides. Anyhow, Kimberley and I did Round the Bays this year. It required training and commitment, which meant I was entirely likely to give up quickly, so we joined a running group and put ourselves through all kinds of torture every Monday and Wednesday for what felt like years. Among other things, I know that I can jump up the Hood St steps now. Not in one go, mind. That would be silly. More importantly, I know that I can run for 45 minutes without stopping, although calling it running is kind of generous. So, in the spirit of recognising your limitations and accepting the aging process and all that, we're doing a 10km race in April. Training independently this time, and I actually am doing it. Now that 45 minutes is doable, going out by myself for a 30 minute run feels fine. That said, I'm not up for running in the rain or anything hardcore like that. In other news, I have an iPad now. My trusty laptop finally gave up the ghost, after several near-death experiences and technological interventions over the years. I found myself feeling strangely liberated as I did a perfunctory amount of research, made a careful decision to buy a Windows laptop, then lost my head when I saw a great deal for iPads and bought one on the spot. Genius. It's a different experience - the whole Mac thing - but there's a lot to love so far. The built-in camera, for one ... But can anyone tell me how to upload a photo from my iPad onto this-here blog post? I'm baffled, to be sure.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

In the Summertime

Sweeney and I spent a few weeks in Christchurch with Nana over Christmas. We went on a horse trek. We erected a Christmas tree that reminded me of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. We ate trifle and chips and dip and Christmas mince pies. Sweeney had a rad time with his bubble machine and his major lego haul. We experienced some whomping Christchurch earthquakes. We hung out with Christchurch friends, and Wellington friends who happened to be in Christchurch. The weather was extraordinary.
We travelled back up the island to catch the ferry. There was breathtaking scenery. There was fabulous, no-frills nosh in Kaikoura. There were seals just north of Kaikoura. Sweeney realised just how useful his binoculars could be. The weather was beautiful.
We stopped back at home for a few days, then continued north to Raumati Beach. Liisa pumped out glorious, non-itchy food. Rex ensured that a drink and the paper were within arm's reach at all times. Sweeney and Bela spent every second chatting to each other. We jumped in waves and took in more breathtaking scenery. We went to the park. The weather was horrendous, then splendid again.
Then we shot back to Christchurch for a spot more Nana-time, to celebrate her birthday with her. We dragged her around cafes and whatnot in weather that got to about a million degrees. We attended to chores that needed tending to. We ate salmon and salads made entirely from Nana's garden and trifle and more Christmas mince pies.
Then back to Wellington and back to work for me. For Sweeney, it's been a cracking pace of playdates, library visits, swimming lessons and hanging out with Grandad. The days are just packed, aren't they??

Saturday, 29 October 2011


I wanted to make morning tea for the team I'm leaving behind at work. I made them orange and sultana scones, and chocolate brownie. If you read the KitchenMaid blog, you'll see that her recipe is based on some legendary scones around town. I'd not heard of them until I read her post.
Then I had dinner with a bunch of gals, most of whom were locals to the cafes where these scones come from, and there was much murmuring around the table about their greatness. I don't like dates at all, though. I figured it'd be a dealbreaker.
Anyhoo, I ventured out on a walk that landed me in Lyall Bay a few days later. Sitting on the beach, watching the morning kick in, drinking a delicious coffee and feeling apprehensive about eating something with dates in. Here's a really silly photo of it:
Reader, I married that scone. Or near as dammit. Go get one. As soon as you can. I figure they must soak the dates, so they bake up like ribbons of date-tasting goodness, without that gritty texture that puts my teeth on edge.
Because, as nicely as my interpretation - I substituted stewed apple for an egg - of Lucy's version of these scones turned out, it wasn't anything like so splendid as what they're knocking out at Queen Sally's.
And the brownie?? I went vegan on it because we were out of eggs, and it needed a fully ripe banana, which suited very well.
In other news, it's Hallowe'en party time. I went to a little shindig after work last night, and snaffled a beautifully cut jack-o-lantern to take home. Sweeney and Harper loved it in their room with a tea light.
We took it to Bela's party this afternoon. It performed very well. Note special, festive horns.

 Then I took some photos of it in action, along with the special, festive horns. The tea light had extinguished, and the only other candle short enough was a bit of a whopper, so it's fairly blazing here ...
Then we went back downstairs and about three seconds passed before the smoke detector went off. As a result of all of this, Sweeney really likes Hallowe'en now. And he doesn't even know about trick or treating yet.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win

Sweeney's fresh back from two weeks in Christchurch with his Nana. Sounds to me like they had a fabulous time - reading books, watching Fantasia a bunch of times, gardening, going for outings, chatting, eating delicious food, and on and on and on ...
Meanwhile, I was here in Wellington, indulging in time to myself, which usually took the form of looking at things in shops on the way home from work, or hanging out with terrific people I don't see much. Or on one day, going back to bed with a great book, a pot of coffee and a pile of marmalade on toast. That was an ace day, to be sure.
Even the fact that Sweeney's picked up chicken pox hasn't spoiled the vibe. He's on the home strait now, the spots are fading. And to be fair, he hasn't seemed that bothered by it, apart from a tiny bit of head scratching. But he's hanging at home for the rest of the week, even though I expect full-scale cabin fever any minute now.
And with his spots, he reckons he's "just like a cheetah, Mum".
He certainly can run fast, and for ages, these days.
In other news, what about that rugby, eh?? What about those enormous men swigging beer from that teensy tiny cup??  Always makes me laugh.
And I won $15 in the sweepstake at work, for Australia coming in third.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

It's Oh So Quiet

Sweeney and I went to Christchurch on Saturday, to see his Nana. At his request, we spent a bit of Sunday at "the twisted bridge", that runs between Avonside Drive and River Road. For whatever reason, he really digs that bridge.
It was a lovely weekend. Apart from a terrible incident at the Northlands mall, involving a balloon animal in the shape of a motorbike, a rubbish bin and a boy with red hair, it was splendid. I came back to real life on Tuesday night. Sweeney's still there, hanging out for the rest of the holidays with his Nana.
And from the Department of Things You Never Thought Would Turn Up on This Particular Blog, what about that rugby, eh?? Piri Weepu winning the game against Argentina almost by himself?? Sonny Bill and his nifty offloads?? That try from Brad Thorn??
And can you believe that there are wikipedia entries for these chaps??
If New Zealand makes it to the final - and I'm sure they will - I'll take Sweeney to the Fanzone at Hagley Park to watch it with the rest of the population of the South Island. It'll be rowdy, for sure.
But in the meantime, this house is about 500% more tranquil than usual ...

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Never Never

Bed's made.

Books are where they're supposed to be.

Shoes are on the rack, clothes are in the drawers.

Cars are put away.

The floor is clear.

Even the planes have been detangled on the mobile.
So where is the little hero who managed all of this today?? He's spraying the sunroom with lego now. Oh well, we can clean that room up tomorrow ...

Monday, 26 September 2011

Little Star

 What Sweeney's been doing for the last while - highlights ...  
Caught some considerable snow action up the Rimutakas

Had a wicked time at the skate park with Bela
Stayed in Wellington while his mum and Nana were caught in the snow in Christchurch

Was awestruck with Harper at the Observatory

Made inarrpopriate use of the big gun outside the Observatory

Stunned his mother by asking if he could have a salad sandwich for dinner. Stunned her some more by actually eating it.

Went to see The Lion King in 3d.

Had that pesky dead tooth removed.


Saturday, 24 September 2011


Did you know that this is the Year of Chemistry?? No?? Well, it is. And to celebrate, the Royal Society are behind a project called Knit the Periodic Table. Yes, you read that right. A bunch of us needle wielders have knitted a square each. Mine's Uranium. I chose it. Here it is, at top right, with a bunch of other great elements ....
Aren't they great?? I'm looking forward to seeing it all put together. Typically, I have no clue when that might happen, or where it'll be ...
In other news, despite the lack of blogging over the last two months, I haven't been in a coma, or even asleep as much as I'd like. Just continuing to do just enough to keep us fed and clothed and educated and socialised and exercised.
Sweeney's settling into his new life as a schoolboy. My first parent-teacher interview went okay - no crying or punching - and it turns out that he's doing great, albeit in his usual galooty fashion.   

Friday, 15 July 2011

Wonderful Life

Yes, I've been off the air, but here's a quick catch-up on Things Sweeney from the last three weeks:
  • Sweeney turned five;
  • He had a Last Day party at EIK, and bid his preschool friends adieu. Don't get me wrong - he didn't actually say "adieu";
  • He had a party at home, with some friends and family. The weather was not only fine and warm, it was finer and warmer than was forecasted;
  • He and Blessing moved from his party to a sleepover at Blessing's, to celebrate Blessing's birthday. Quite the party boys;
  • He started school. He started school the day after he was supposed to start school, but that's post-party / sleepover tummy bugs for you;
  • He hung out with his Nana, who came up for the party and in fact made lots of party grub. We had a lovely day mooching about with her, then she saw Sweeney into his first day at school;
  • went to Cars 2 with Harper;
  • went to Kung Fu Panda 2 with his friend Reuben;
  • He rode his birthday bike, made up his birthday lego, ran cars down his amazing birthday track, drew pictures, printed letters and words, read homework books, chose his own clothes, packed his own bag, unpacked his own bag, demolished his room, tidied his room ...
I know it isn't really how it happens, but things feel like they've been turned on their head in the last three weeks. Things have been bumpy for Sweeney, what with all the new people to know and new rules to get the hang of since he started school. Things have been bumpy for me, too, what with a little work-related weirdness, and I had a stupid accident which left me with time to do nothing but think about how I'd like for Sweeney's dad to see how he's turning out. But he's not, and all the anniversaries around that absence have been packed into the last few weeks, too. And do you know what?? He would've loved how Sweeney's turning out.

So, here's a song that he really liked a long time ago. It's been on my mind the past few weeks, and it's really rather lovely ...
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