July 2008 Archives
"The weekend storm, described as the worst in a decade, resulted at least three deaths, power cuts to thousands of home, road closures and widespread flooding.
"As residents continue to clean up from the weekend, they have been told to expect more of the same during the next 48 hours."
Thankfully we caught a break in-between the storms and had some gorgeous weather today. We grabbed some pies from the original Tricia's Pies and had a picnic lunch at the Island Bay playground (home of the gigantic slide). It was great seeing the sun!
"This is no ordinary storm. It's one of the largest and deepest lows we've seen for some years," MetService spokesman Brian Kreft said.http://www.stuff.co.nz/4629994a11.html
"By the time this system reaches northern New Zealand on Saturday, it is likely to have significant destructive potential."
It's definitely been the biggest storm we've seen in our brief stay here, the wind hasn't stopped howling for three days!
The girls and I, along with our very wonderful friend Nadine, headed up to Kaitoke Regional Park for a little half day trip. The drive was beautiful and took only about an hour from our door to the park entrance. They had a great website advertising the many hikes they offer and I was pleased to see that more than half of them were graded suitable for children.
I never planned on taking the girls on the swing bridge portion of the hike that crosses one of the rivers in the park, however, once we started down the trail, it was only a few yards before they saw it and wanted to go. I surveyed it for safety and it seemed very sturdy. A slatted, wooden deck covered with mesh to keep you from slipping on the moss that has formed on the wood. The sides were high with chain link fencing wrapping a u-shape from one hand rail, under the deck and back up to the other hand rail. The bridge itself is probably around 150 feet long (I am totally guessing here) but to me, it felt like 3 miles. This was the first time I really had to face a phobia while dealing with my children. I obviously didn't want to let them know that I was scared but I had to stay in control of them and my fear at the same time which was a true task. Both girls were in front of me with Nadine following behind. The girls were fearless and darted about, leaning from side to side to look down at the ducks swimming in the river. I barely held it together when they discovered that they could swing the bridge by leaning from side to side and started giggling like, well, little girls. I drove them forward in an attempt to stop the madness as quickly as possible.
Finally on solid ground we continued with our hike through the amazing rain forest. There were so many beautiful trees that when trying to take their picture there was just no way to capture the scale of these creatures.There were gigantic ferns and palm trees, vines so tangled they looked like a spiders web, and trees housing other plants that seemed like they could house us. I've seen the redwood forest and some of these monster trees made the redwoods look like saplings. Although we could hear it raining, we hiked under the cover of the forest for the first half of our loop.
Once out of the forest Nadine and I each picked up a child (did I mention how wonderful Nadine is?) and carried them the rest of the way through the rain. It was a great ladies bonding morning and I was so grateful to have children who enjoy being outdoors and hiking and haven't yet learned to love talking on their cell phones, hanging out at malls or otherwise being too cool.
Have you got any? I seem to have misplaced mine. Oh no, wait: some small villains stole it.
Here is a conversation I imagine takes place sometime after we put the girls to bed:
Sophie: Josie, it's your turn to get them up tonight!I almost got up to post this last night, as I lay wide awake from 1am to 3am struggling to get back to sleep. Thankfully I didn't, was able to catch a little sleep and still remember what I wanted to write today. Bon soir!
Josie: No Sophie I too tired.
Sophie: But I got up last night!
Josie: Sophie I told you!
Sophie: Josiiiiie! Ugh!
'The island where "Jaws" was filmed had a real-life shark scare Thursday, when an unconfirmed sighting of a great white forced the closure of two beaches.'http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/11/jaws.sighting.ap/index.html
After months of pining and test drives during their weekly expedition to Moore Wilson, Sophie finally got to get her very own scooter this week. She decided to name it 'Mine Dog', inspired by the name she gave our car ('Moon Dog'). So far Mine Dog has had a photo shoot, gotten to watch a tv show with Sophie and go into the bathroom while she goes potty. Mine Dog also has a special parking spot next to the bed in Sophie's room, where it (excuse me, 'she') has to stay when it's not being ridden.
"Do cats have skeletons?"
"I'm hard because I have a skeleton under my skin and muscles."
"You wouldn't want to make a sandwich with me because you might get a BONE in your sandwich."
Most recently, the topic has turned to death. It first started when we were discussing Sophie's grandparents and she asked where Grandma Berta was. Jake explained that she was dead. Sophie asked how she died and it took us by surprise. Suicide is a tough thing to cover and while we had discussed not making up a story for the girls, we hadn't expected either of them to ask so soon. We settled on "She was very sick." It was a very emotional 30 seconds. Sophie was sad that her Grandma was dead. She was worried that she was going to die as well because she recently came down with a cold. And Jake and I were raw from the sad fact that we had to discuss this with her at all. Since that conversation, Sophie has been concerned with things dying. She realized that when we chase flies around the house with a towel, we are killing them. "Not very good" I think were her exact words. Cats eat mice, Spiders eat flies, we eat fish and cows and pigs. We haven't really held back or disguised any of the facts from her. She expresses sadness but then digs in to her fish and chips.
We also recently rented Charlotte's Web from the library. Sophie has a pretty debilitating fear of spider webs and I was hoping that watching this movie would get her over it. I totally spaced on the end where Charlotte dies. We watched the first half last night and she was enraptured. She was terrified when the farmer was going to kill Wilbur, overjoyed when Fern was singing and swinging with baby Wilbur and heartbroken when Wilbur was sold to Uncle Zuckerman. When we picked up this morning, she was so confused when Charlotte was dying. She wasn't sick and nothing killed her. All the cute babies in the following scenes were distraction enough to keep her from crying. After the show we had a snack. While in her thoughtful spot we had this conversation:
Sophie: "Mom, why did Charlotte die?"I just couldn't let it go on any longer because I didn't want to get to the realization that Sophie will have to see some of her loved ones die. Mainly I couldn't stand the fact that Jake and I will die before Sophie (Please God) and I was closer to that conversation than I would have liked. This seemed to satisfy her thoughts on the subject and she went back to eating her salami, cheese and crackers. Then she looked up at me and said, "When Dad gets home, I'm going to tell him that I am going to DIE."
Me: "Because she was old honey. Spiders don't live very long."
Sophie: "I'm old Mom, maybe I am going to die."
Me: "No honey, you aren't very old. You won't die until you are really old."
Sophie: "I don't want to die Mom."
Me: "Well (conjure up James Earl Jones here as Mufasa during the circle of life talk), everyone dies honey. Just like everyone has to be born, everyone has to die. But remember, Charlotte had all of her babies so more spiders could live."
Sophie: "But what if they all die? Then there won't be any spiders left."
Me: "Some of them will grow up to have their own babies. Just like Grandma Roberta had daddy. He was her baby and even though she died, Daddy is still alive and he grew up and had you and if you want someday, you can have a baby."
Sophie: "Mom! Grandma Mary is old. Maybe she is dying right now!"
Me: "She's not dying, I just talked to Grandpa Joe yesterday. But she will die someday."
Sophie: "And Grandma Sue will die too?"
Me: "Yes, Grandma Sue will die someday too."
Sophie: "But not until after me right?"
Me: "Well.... sure."
"Ok honey. Sounds good."