Covid19 Lockdown at our home!

When the new year ticked over, I felt such hope and promise for a wonderful 2020. In fact my first Instagram post for the year said ‘I have decided that 2020 will be a ridiculously amazing year’. Today, I woke up with similar excitement. I decided that no matter what the circumstances are, I am going to have a great day. I had a delicious breakfast with lots of yummy feijoas. Our neighbour gave them to us over the fence a couple of days ago, making sure we kept our 2-3 metre separation of course! Actually this neighbour and I have chatted over the fence more in the last week, than we have in the whole 22 plus years that we have been neighbours. See! Good does come out of bad situations.

Back to today. While eating breakfast, I had worship music playing and I was singing and humming along with my faith in God strong and sure. ‘Waymaker’ is an amazing song that speaks truth about God working in this world and in lives without us even knowing what is going on, or what the outcome is going to be. We just KNOW that He is working in our midst, and we praise Him for it. He is the way maker, a miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God, and that is who He is! I had found a recipe that I had post onto my Facebook last year for a feijoa loaf, and planned on making this loaf straight after breakfast. Life was ticking along nicely, no big dramas, everyone was happy and entertaining themselves without conflict. So peaceful and my heart was happy.

And then, once again, before I could gather myself, I was once again in stress mode! The strong-willed youngest argued over a teaspoon! A teaspoon! She wanted the bigger one, not the one I gave her! There is always a trigger. My response should be ‘walk away’, but when these so-called little things happen ALL THE TIME, I react! And ultimately, I’m the one who suffers! This is the reason that Grand parents should not be in the role of a parent. We aren’t young and don’t have boundless energy for the growing and disciplining of young children. We are getting old, and need to have life slow down and become more peaceful. Life with children isn’t peaceful! Well certainly not all the time!

Yesterday was Resurrection Sunday! We have been talking about Easter all weekend, and the significance of the cross and what it represents for each one of us. I’m so thankful for my salvation and the hope for eternal life because of the fact that death has been defeated by Jesus, and that He is alive! He has risen from the grave! Hallelujah! Read Romans 10:9&10. Believe, confess and you are saved. So, where did I spend Good Friday morning? Not at home celebrating, but at the accident and emergency department, trying to find out what this annoying rash is that has been on my chest for the past few days! Turns out that I have shingles!

What causes shingles? Stress! One of the main causes for Shingles in my age group is stress! I have been told so so many times in the last 4 years that I need to have more down time, to slow down and have less stress. But it is actually impossible! We have three children aged 14, 10 and 6 to care for and raise.  Living life with 3 children means that peace and harmony are virtually non-existent in our home, even though we as the adults are working hard for it.

Last November both my husband and myself developed Viral Conjunctivitis. A horrible horrible viral infection of the eyes, that cannot be treated by antibiotics, your body has to fight the virus in order for you to be healed. Four months later I was still having steroid drops in my left eye as there is still remnants of the virus in my eye. It has possibly caused permanent damage! When Corona Virus hit the world, my husband and I were very wary. We knew from personal experience that a virus is extremely hard to be healed of, especially if your immune system is low. To be raising three grandchildren in our 60’s means that we are constantly running ‘on empty’. The Corona Virus has put NZ in a state of Lockdown! That means for 4 weeks we are to stay put! No school for the children. No ability to distance from each other for a period of time, except for getting outside and doing projects around the house. My husband has been fortunate that he is still employed and is working from his home office. So from 7:30-5:30 Monday to Friday, he is ‘at work’, and I have full responsibility of the home and children’s needs.

The first couple of weeks seemed to be pretty successful. I made a schedule for the children which consisted of working in the areas of education, chores and exercise, to gain rewards of computer time, Playstation time and special treats. And because it was pretty much self-directed, I was able to find time to get out and sand and paint two walls of our house. A project that has been waiting a very long time to be completed. My husband also helped in the weekends. We also managed to pull out a lot of old tree stumps and add iron on a boundary fence. We have only 5 stumps left of about 20! I was feeling so positive and also elated that these jobs were getting done. But each day, there was housework, meals to prepare, check that the children were following the ‘program’ and also personal hygiene to take care of. Mostly, I needed to keep control of all these things whilst trying to get some freedom and alone time while doing outside chores. How people home school is beyond me. They must either have very compliant children, who have somehow grasped the idea that their education is a top priority in their life, or the parents are enforcing the ‘rules’ constantly in order to achieve the daily requirements! I personally can’t wait until the schools reopen. I thank all the teachers for willingly choosing a career that means they are surrounded by children for 6 hours everyday. God bless you! I need that school time break every day!

By the third week, I knew I was getting very tired and run down. I actually felt the challenge to slow down, but resisted because the sense of achievement was such a great reward and honestly a great feeling for me! I wanted to get all the delayed jobs completed before Lockdown finished. My mind was buzzing with all the plans I had, and even sleeping was broken and difficult because I couldn’t switch off.

Then the rash appeared!

Now to do a little reflection. I’m trying to ‘care less’ about getting the children to use the time as constructively as I was trying to do. I’m also trying to stress less and get more rest. I have to! This Shingles is slowly spreading from my chest to my neck and up to behind my ear, under my chin, and over my shoulder! I don’t want it in my ear or eyes as the prognosis isn’t good if you get shingles there! I have no control of it so I can only rest more and pray! I can still be thankful though. I am thankful that I’m loving Lockdown for the ability to stay at home and not have to meet all the daily commitments we used to have. Our weeks were so busy going places for this and that. I’m thankful for the internet, and the ability to keep in touch with family and friends via messenger video chats. I’m thankful that I have shingles and not corona virus (although shingles is so darn itchy and stingy). I’m thankful that I have constant companionship. Children may be hard work, but they are also great entertainers. I think I would be rather bored without them around. I’m thankful that these children are healthy, they eat well and they sleep well. I’m thankful that we get the opportunity to help show them what a good loving home should be (when I’m not overtired and stressed). I’m thankful to be able to give them the security that they have a stable home and that their daily needs are taken care of.

I’m sad that the children’s parents didn’t provide Easter goodies for their children. They didn’t even hear from their mother, in fact they haven’t heard from her since January. I took them down to say hello to their Dad for Easter (from the car). They had home-made cards that they wanted to give him. He was super happy to see them, but he had been drinking and was way too giggly and silly, and he didn’t have the promised Easter eggs for them. A 37-year-old parent who behaves more like a selfish irresponsible child than their own children do! I’m thankful that the children don’t see that behaviour, all they see is their Dad. They love him so much! They were so happy to see, and talk to him, and they quickly forgave him for his broken promise, in fact they excuse all his failings. Oh to love like a child!

PS I made the Feijoa loaf and it was delicious 🙂

Parenting all over again.

For the last three and a half years I have had custody and guardianship of three of my grandchildren. We brought them home on the 20th of December, 2015. It has been three and a half years filled with many wonderful and happy times, but also times filled with lots of worry, stress and extreme fatigue! Parenting full time isn’t meant for 60+ year olds, but sometimes you have to do, what you have to do! And under the circumstances, we had to!

Today must be a good day! I have been thinking about my life, and feeling thankful. I am so thankful for all the little things I get to be involved in with these kids. The list is endless!

Every Monday, after school, it’s gymnastics for all three. Tuesday it’s tap for Ella, and Basketball for Christian. Friday it’s Park City youth group (Pumped) for Jayden. And Sunday it’s church and Sunday school. Then everyday it’s the things that every family does with their kids. I get the happy good mornings and the last kiss and cuddle at night. The daily I love you, and the grumpy tired tantrums. I get to buy and pick their clothes, along with washing them, folding them and putting them away in their drawers again. I have even enjoyed sewing pretty dresses and dance clothes for my little granddaughter. I love to see her dancing in her special Nana made clothes.

I’ve seen the first day of kindergarten, the first dancing lesson, the first day at school, the first nervous day at high school. The annual dental check ups, the tooth fairy visits and all the excitement that comes with that.

I’ve cuddled them when they have been sick. Made the trips to the doctors. Sought after the best treatments, picked up their medicines and supported them to health. I’ve also disciplined and dealt with bad behavior. And as any good parent does, I’ve talked about how they could do better next time. I’ve also taught to apologize and also the importance of forgiveness. What a privilege to speak wisdom into a child’s life!

I have loved organizing advent calendars and watching the joy each morning brings as we share the days up to Christmas. I’ve also had 4 Christmas mornings and days! Secretly buying the Christmas presents, filling the stockings and wrapping the presents. Sharing in their joy is heart warming.

I’ve made 12 birthday cakes and planned 12 birthday parties. Each birthday has had a theme where the invitations, decorations and cake, have all matched the special theme that the child has wanted. It has been so good to be able to bless them and see the happiness a birthday party gives them.

We have had many weekends away and holidays including two trips to Australia. We did a road trip from Sydney to Alice Springs, spending time at Uluru! Then flew to Brisbane to experience the theme parks and beaches. We even had a weeks holiday on a houseboat on the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney! We stayed with my eldest and his wife, and another three of our grandchildren. The kids reconnected with extended family and we all loved it.

We’ve had a weekend of fun in Rotorua, a week away exploring Taupo and Mt Ruapehu. We have had a driving holiday to Cape Reinga, the very top of the North Island. We stayed at many places on the way there, and back, and saw all the tourist spots and highlights on our travels.

Right from the first day the children arrived at our home, and it then became their home, we changed, and created the surroundings to suit family life. We added swings, rings, bars, bikes, hoops and scooters. We made a special girls room for a little girl, and a LEGO table for building and storing for the boys. We made built in drawers in the wardrobes so the room space was bigger for play. We installed insulation in the outside walls to make the room warmer and cosy . I guess we were probably going to do that at some stage, but having two little boys in the room was really the motivation to get the job done.

I’ve brought the school stationery and covered the books in plastic wrap with pictures that are special to the boys. Brought lunch boxes that have separate little spaces for the different types of food, then prepared the food and filled the spaces, daily!!! Ahhhhh back to making school lunches!

I’ve been to the yearly triathlons, swimming sports, beach visits, sports games, parent teacher interviews and chats with the principal to discuss the children’s learning experience, or behavior!

We went to the pre high school days visit. Filled out the enrollment papers and then once accepted, returned to the school for the information day. I shared in the excitement and nerves of starting secondary school. Together we went to organize, and buy, the new school uniform. I had this experience with the little 5 year old as she started school as well. Both the start of secondary school and the first day of school are such momentous events in a child’s life. And I got to be the ‘parent’ to support, love and be there for each child! How spoilt am I?

As our household food needs have advanced from just two adults to a family of five, I have kept up with gardening, preserving, freezing and making jam. We’ve brought in bulk and tried to be as wise as possible with grocery purchases. We have had fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the garden to help with healthy living, and to teach the children the benefit of reaping the rewards from a little hard work.

So as I ponder the wonder, and struggles of daily life parenting our grandchildren, I wonder what on earth their parents are doing? What do they do with their day? What is their motivation for living day to day? What are the excuses they are making for not being a healthy influence to their children.

Wouldn’t you think that losing your children would be enough to motivate you to turn your life around? Wouldn’t you want to become the person that your child could look up to? Wouldn’t the thought of someone else bringing your children up, be enough to make you take the steps to sort out the mess you have made of your life? Everyone knows that a child needs to be loved unconditionally, have a home to come home to, food to eat, to feel that they belong, and that they are accepted and important to their Mum and Dad, and extended family. Does addiction mess around with your head that much, that you lose all sense of what it means to be a good parent? If so, I think addiction is a very selfish illness. And I feel very sad for the children. They must feel that they aren’t important to their mum or dad, and the feeling of being neglected by them must bring so much hurt! All I can do is try my best to provide the children with their basic needs, plus add a mighty dose of love, acceptance, value and a sense of belonging to each one of them. I hope and pray that with Gods help, I can do enough to help them to become whole and healthy, and eventually secure and contributing adults. That their sense of abandonment be replaced with the knowledge that both Grandad and I have opened up our home and hearts to them. That they have love and security here with us. We are on their side and we are their loudest supporters!

Young people please listen. When your parents warn you of the dangers of bunking school, being promiscuous, being lazy or selfish, taking drugs, or hanging out friends that are a negative influence on your life; please listen! Your parents love you and they only want you to have the best life that you can have. When you are feeling like being rebellious as a teenager (or anytime in life), please don’t think that just sampling drugs won’t hurt. They can give you an amazing feeling of euphoria, and can be an amazing way out from the normal humdrum way of life. But that feeling can become more desirable than living a clean drug free life. The high on drugs could make normal life seem dull in comparison, and the need for self control and self discipline, just too much like hard work. Believe me, taking drugs can totally mess up your thinking and your life! And it can end up being a full blown addiction!!!

Not only can addiction mess up your immediate life but it can also ruin your future. It can make it very hard to get a job or keep a job! It can take priority in your life where all you want is your next fix. Drugs will just mess with your head and cause you to forget the things that really matter, like your darling children! The effort it will take to clean up your life and become a healthy person again will seem overwhelming and way too difficult. But it can be done! It will be a long bumpy road but one well worth traveling. Get help immediately! Go and get some counseling and find out what it is that triggers your need to take drugs. If the pain of change is lesser than the pain of staying the same, you will make the change. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you’ve always got! Be brave and get better not bitter.

In conclusion, I couldn’t imagine raising our grandchildren without my amazing man, their Grandad. And I am so very thankful for his love and support. Together we are honored, and yet exhausted, to be parenting all over again. These are great kids and we love them very much. Our lives are enriched because of them. And yes, I am thankful.

I am in London!

Well….. I have arrived! And I am so happy to be here. G7 is gorgeous and she doesn’t seem to mind that this strange lady has taken over looking after her every day while Mummy and Daddy go to work 🙂 And I am so very thankful 🙂 Imagine if she was so shy and cried every time she looked at me. Instead, when she sees my face she smiles and talks to me in her baby talk…. I love it! I am such a super spoiled Nana 😉 and I love her dearly. We are going to have so much fun together for the next three months!

I arrived Monday afternoon and C2 and D2 showed me around the local area. Three parks within a half hour walk! I ventured out  for my own discovery walk Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to see what the local area had to offer a visitor from far off who was a little scared to take buses and trains yet! I found lots of little dairies, hairdressers, land agents, fruit and vegetable shops, off licenses and a mini supermarket. There is a school over our back fence, so joyful sounds of children playing are heard at play times, lunch time and after school. Within two blocks I found a very old church dated back to 1884. It was called ‘Christ Church’ and is a Baptist church by denomination. The notice board advertised bible study groups, friendship groups, the Sunday service times, and a mothers and toddlers playgroup held every Friday morning! Yay… I decided that this will be my weekly activity and also a great opportunity to meet other locals, also very good for G7 to be with other babies and help with her social development 🙂

So today is Friday! Playgroup day! Arghhhhh… And I am off!

I am feeling a little apprehensive! I don’t know anyone! New in town! A foreigner! And a little old to be a playgroup mummy! How will I fit in?

I loaded the nappy bag with everything I may need for G7. It was bulging!  I had forgotten just how much stuff babies may need on outings! And off I went!

I survived and I’m now back home again….

Yay! I had a great time 🙂 This playgroup is held at  ‘Christ Church’ on Bellevue Road corner. The ladies that run it are extremely friendly and caring. They made me feel very welcome 🙂 There were 12 caregivers/mummies that came along with what seemed like hundreds of kids! Man it was noisy! I’m not used to so many children’s play noises all at once anymore. G7 loved it! She happily lay on the floor kicking her feet and joined in making noises! The young mums were very friendly as well, but best of all, there were two other Nana/caregivers, who I approached as soon as I could, and then sat with for the rest of the morning. One was her first time as well, and the other her second. We happily chatted while watching and interacting with our grandchildren and other children as well. I got offered cups of tea with plastic plates and plastic biscuits, which I played along drinking up my ‘cup of tea’. It was fun!

Next week I am meeting up with Helen at the local coffee shop for coffee together before playgroup. Helen is looking after her grand daughter every Monday and Friday. She drives a little way to playgroup! Both her and grand daughter are lovely. I may have found a new friend within a week of being here. This is such a great start and I am feeling very happy and contented.

I came home with a very sleepy G7 who is now way out of routine. She didn’t want to drink her second bottle of the day with all the fun going on around her. I finally managed to get her to drink it when we got home, and she is still sound asleep. It’s now 1.15 and by now she is suppose to have had her lunch time solids and another bottle! Hopefully she will be a hungry little girl all afternoon or Mummy D2 may growl at me hehe!

I also had a lovely skype chat with my man at home in New Zealand while G7 is sleeping. This day has been so good and it is only early afternoon.

Okay G7…. enough sleep. Nana is ready for our next adventure together 🙂

A Parent’s Love

Over the years of being a parent I have had so many happy loving moments that they are too numerous to mention, and each moment makes the role of being a parent worth the sacrifice and commitment of being a Mum. I have loved being a Mum (and still do) and I am now enjoying the role of being a grandparent. If you look at my last few posts you will see that we have been blessed with three more lovely grandchildren this year alone….making our grandchildren seven in number. Wow…God is good 🙂

There has also been those times when parenting brings a hurt that is almost unbearable. These are the times when you try to share a desire for the very best for your child, when you give the best wisdom you can from your own life experience, or wisdom that comes from God and His word to your child, but they just choose to walk a path that is completely opposite. As a parent you wonder why? What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? And yes… I know what you the reader would be saying. ‘You can’t live your child’s life for them’, ‘They have to grow up and make choices and live by the results of those choices..and grow through them’… But there is nothing wrong with wanting the very best for your child!

Seeing your child with wounds of the heart because of their wrong choices is one of the most painful things in life. You see…you love them so much, you don’t want them to be hurt that way. Falling over and skinnng a knee can heal really quickly, painful at the time, but actually has no life long effect. Being rejected, cheated on, disrespected, used and lied to is much more damaging. These hurts can take a lifetime to be healed from, and sadly, unless attended to,  they can also affect future relationships. These wounds of the heart are that severe! Believe me I know. Those of you who know my history will know that I am talking from experience. And…because of my life, I have never wanted my children to suffer those very deep and painful wounds for themselves.

True healing can come from a relationship with God, but it can take years. It is a process. How much better it would be to never have made those wrong choices? I hope you, the reader has faith. God loves you, and His plan is perfect!

While travelling home from Sydney today I watched a movie called ‘Grace Unplugged’ It’s a great movie about a father trying to lead his child by example (hopefully we all do that), and to help her make decisions that he felt were the best for her to make (yes I could see where he was coming from), but instead the child, Grace, gathered resentment towards her father and his faith, and walked completely in the opposite direction. And sadly, both ended up with huge regrets…. the ending you can probably guess, but the movie is well worth watching to see the end for yourself. Anyway…. I could see some similarity in my life!

Once home and reading through my many emails I came across a link to a ‘You Tube’ clip from a church that I regularly watch messages from. This video/teaching is great! Well I think so anyway 🙂 And, I wonder just how many parents of young adults that are getting into boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, would like to have access to great teaching on this very subject. Below is the link. Have a listen…and maybe send the link to your young adult to have a listen to as well….then, like me…. pray pray and then do some more praying 🙂

Grandie Fill!!!

The school holidays are now over. I am in a mix of emotions! So happy to have had the grandsons to stay and have lots of Nana cuddles, but sad because all too soon the time was up and they have now gone back home to Palmerston North. They are fabulous little boys. G2 is quieter, very thoughtful and loving, and an absolute lover of computer/video games! He reminds me of his Uncles, C4 and C1. He gets totally into this other world. His Mum and Dad have to make sure that he is having adequate breaks away from the computer as he would play games all day. He is actually quite clever and has left me one of his games to take care of. I have been sucked into the quest, and have been feeding his little monsters and looking after his ‘earnings’ as best I can, but it is getting very close to me saying ‘no more…that’s enough!’ G2 won’t have access to my computer again until the next School holidays and I am NOT going to keep doing this for 10 weeks! Far too time consuming and very addictive I must say! Even if the look of his gorgeous pleeding eyes remains forever burned in my memory…I will stop arghhhh!

G4 is far more active than G2 but that could also be his age. He turned 4 in May and he hasn’t a care in the world. He makes the most of every environment he is in! We went to the indoor playground, the local parks and to the zoo, and he ventured off in all directions in each place. About 2 years ago he ran straight into a wall in McDonalds playground because he was running so fast and got an amazing bleeding nose! Blood everywhere! Believe it or not he did exactly the same this holidays…at McDonalds as well….same place! You just have to love him though. He has such a cute look of innocence and gives love so freely!

Both boys slept in C5 room in our old bed. Yes Robin and I have finally brought a new bed..after 23 years of marriage…and I love it. I have had longer and more refreshing sleep than I have in years. It’s not a soft bed but it has memory foam and moulds to your body shape. I haven’t had an aching hip or shoulder since sleeping on it! Yay! But…back to the boys…every morning they would come and hop into bed with me. I loved it! Even though they would have a cuddle and then one would lay with my iphone and the other with the galaxy pad…we were together and that was all that mattered! I miss them soooo much.

Whee...Jayden goes down the slide
Whee…G2 goes down the slide
Christian in the ball play
G4 in the ball play
face down in the ball pit!
face down in the ball pit!
Jayden learning to play table tennis
G2 learning to play table tennis
Stacie helping Christian play table tennis
Stacie helping G4 play table tennis
Smile for the camera Christian
Smile for the camera G4
Just look at that cute face :-)
Just look at that cute face 🙂
The look of concentration
The look of concentration
all in onesies!
all in onesies!
a favourite park to visit. Lots of boys activities!
a favourite park to visit. Lots of boys activities!
Just too him!
Just too cute…love him!
Lovely pose Christian :-)
Lovely pose G4 🙂
both boys on the big swing
both boys on the big swing
Jayden posing for the camera
G2 posing for the camera
Christian loved this!
G4 loved this!

One proud Mumma

This year has been a huge year for our eldest daughter C5. On January the 15th she turned 21. We celebrated with a big family dinner on her actual birthday and then on the following Saturday night we had a combined dinner with her special friends at a local nightclub ‘Crowded House’. We had a lovely meal together and talked into the late evening and left C5 and her friends to continue celebrating into the early hours of Sunday morning. She is a very friendly and well loved young lady and her many friends helped to make her evening special and celebrate her and her very special birthday. C6 and I had fun purchasing 21 gifts and wrapping them up. It was a delight to watch C5 see all the presents and then watch her open each present up. She is so beautiful and photogenic. Her face is a delight to watch 🙂

Then on the 24th of May…C5 had her graduation ceremony. What a fantastic celebration of her three years of study and the end with her capping! She is now a qualified nurse and is working at ‘Carefirst’ in New Plymouth. Even better she loves her job!

We are very proud parents. C5 is a delightful person. She is so loving and caring and giving. She has brought us so much joy and happiness. We can’t wait to see where her nursing takes her in life, and we also look forward to everything she does in the future. She is also an amazing photographer and has suprised many people with her most fabulous talent at just managing to ‘snap’ that photo at just the right time. An ability many of us would love to have. God certainly has gifted her with many wonderful qualities. We love her as she is…she is just perfect!

Jessica wrapping the 21 presents
C6 wrapping the 21 presents
Look at that beautiful face! How can you NOT love her!
Look at that beautiful face! How can you NOT love her!
Another present
Another present
Birthday cake. Isn't she beautiful!
Birthday cake. Isn’t she beautiful!
Blowing out the candles!
Blowing out the candles!
Our two beautiful girls! We are so proud of both of them :-)
Our two beautiful girls! We are so proud of both of them 🙂
JO! Your tongue!...we do have some fun as well!
C5! Your tongue!…we do have some fun as well!
Yes they're my girls alright!
Yes they’re my girls alright!
Mum, Dad and daughter x
Mum, Dad and daughter x
Joanna and her good friend Ed
C5 and her good friend Ed
Celebrating you Joanna!
Celebrating you C5!
Here's the proof!
Here’s the proof!
An amazing beautiful and talented young lady!
An amazing beautiful and talented young lady!
Yes Joanna...we are very proud of you
Yes C5…we are very proud of you
Celebrating YOU young lady!
Celebrating YOU young lady!
Joanna and her study buddies
C5 and her study buddies
The Capping
The Capping
And she can officially wear the cap! Congratulations Joanna. Well done! It is a great achievement.
And she can officially wear the cap! Congratulations C5. Well done! It is a great achievement.