Pictures From Late November 2016

As usual, most of the random pictures are of Little Miss. This one was taken at Castle Hill.


This was in Cass as well; I just looked at Esther’s memory card the night before she left for a couple of weeks in America.


An aunt sent this dress to us. I got the picture quickly after dressing Little Miss, before she got dirty!


The supermoon around the time of the earthquake.


Fun on the trampoline!


Mr. Inventor is a hard-working young man.



I never know what I’ll see when I look out the window! One evening, it was Mr. Inventor and Mr. Intellectual, giving several siblings a ride on the ladder!


Little Miss actually sat and read a stack of books for about 10 minutes one evening, after I bathed her.


This wild cat has been coming around in the evenings to look for food. We often have whey in buckets outside the kitchen door, and it likes to drink it. We were quite amused at the lengths the cat went to to get the whey! Unfortunately, this was just before our own cat disappeared. He always spent the evening with this wild cat and two others who also came around for food, but a day or two after we took this picture we saw him for the last time.


We had quite a surprise one morning when several vehicles pulled in. The mayor of our district was going around to the local schools and preschools, giving teddy bears to the little children of the area. Someone had suggested this to help children who were having trouble sleeping because of the earthquakes, and a large company donated the bears. He heard about us and brought our three youngest each a bear, too! They love them.


A few of us were privileged to see this beautiful double rainbow early one morning. There are perks to getting up earlier than most of the family!


Posted in Activities at Home | 1 Comment

Water Play!

One warm afternoon, Esther gave Mr. Imagination and Little Miss a tub of water to play in. They sure had fun splashing!


Posted in Activities at Home | 2 Comments

Gore Bay After the Quake

We took my mom to Gore Bay only once while she was here. I wanted to take her again yesterday (she left today), but Monday I ended up in the hospital with a miscarriage, so that changed all our plans for the week.

Gore Bay didn’t seem much different. The boys thoroughly enjoyed playing in the water. It was right on high tide when we arrived, so the water was gradually going out. That meant they had to stay fairly close in because of the undertow, but they had a lot of fun anyway. Mr. Inventor dug a pool for Little Miss to splash in. She loved that!


Among all the white and gray rocks along the shore, we found these red and green ones! They were much prettier when they were wet.


The hillside going down to the water was covered with nasturtiums and sweet peas in bloom. The smell was so heavy! It was really lovely.


One of the first things we noticed when we arrived at the bay was this fresh slip. The soil at the very top of the cliff had fallen down to the bottom. Then, soon after several of us thought we felt a small tremor, we noticed it was still falling; we saw clouds of dust going down several times. Esther tried to capture it in a video; this short clip shows some.


Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment


It’s now been a little over two weeks since the earthquake. We’re no longer feeling tremors very often, although I hear that Kaikoura still is. We’ve cleaned up all the damage here, and the helicopters are no longer coming in very often. I did hear a couple, several times today, but nothing like the 40+ landings a day the first week! For several days, maybe a week, there were a lot of loads taken to Kaikoura dangling from under a helicopter. This was one of the first few loads; sewer pipes to repair damage.


This was a load of water lines. It’s much bigger than it looks!


The rugby club building, across the road from us, where we had Seth’s funeral, was somewhat damaged. Several large windows were broken out, and dishes thrown to the ground and shattered. The boys took this picture through a window.


In a classic example of closing the door after the horse runs away, we had the boys put fronts on the shelves. I miss seeing my shining jars of food, but I will admit this is much safer when we live in an earthquake-prone area!


On our way to church on Sunday, we noticed this hillside. See the jagged horizontal lines? Those were not there before the quake! 42-img_1434

Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

Kaikoura Before the Quake

It’s almost unreal to think that we were in Kaikoura the day before the 7.8 earthquake of November 14, but it’s true. Everything was normal; we spent most of the day at church, then went across the street and over the bridge over Lyell Creek, then sat on the rocky beach for awhile. The boys had fun stacking rocks; Mr. Intellectual built several of these structures and then demolished them. Apparently, the seafloor rose about 2 meters here. They say that rocks are visible now that had never been seen before, and high tide now looks like low tide before! It will sure be interesting to see it when we can get back up there, but that will be a long time. The most optimistic estimate I’ve seen for opening the highway is six months from now.


We enjoyed watching birds—this gull and the shags who were hanging out in the creek.


Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

Early November 2016 Pictures

In this picture, there are 38 baby turkeys, 3 chicks and 1 duckling. All were hatched by their mothers, but we took them away to raise by hand, for the babies’ own safety.01-IMG_0974

Grandma and Little Miss admiring the nine chicks hatched a few weeks ago, which are being raised by their mother.


The little ones caught 20 snails after church and were playing with them.


Drilling a new well in a better location than the first one.


An aunt gave Little Miss a couple of nightgowns. She loves her “pretty dress”.


Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment


One day, about noon, I was sitting at the kitchen table helping a couple of the boys with school. I glanced out the window toward the paddock and saw a cloud of insects swirling around. I’ve seen something like that two or three times before, when we lived in Michigan; there was a colony of wild honeybees living in the wall of an old house just in front of our house, and they swarmed a few times. Mr. Intellectual ran outside to see what the insects were, and sure enough, they were honeybees! He followed the swarm across the neighbor’s paddock and onto another property yet, while I called a friend who wanted bees to tell him about the swarm. Pretty soon, the bees settled around a branch, and the boys hung around to keep an eye on it until our friend arrived to collect them. What a fascinating science class for that day!


Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

Little Miss, October 2016

She found this hat and put it one, along with the sweater she got someone to put on for her.03-IMG_0723

Esther made her a dandelion crown.


Little Miss and Mr. Imagination are best friends. They spent one evening crawling around the house pushing their vehicles.



When your brothers adore you, you can get them to do anything you like.


Another hat!


Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment

Day at the Park

After we took Gayle’s aunt and uncle to the airport, we met some new friends in a park in Christchurch. I had “met” the mother online; she blogs at Mommynificent. They were moving from Asia to America, and stopped off to visit a friend in New Zealand. We were happy to be able to meet up, and spent a couple of hours together at this lovely big park on a clear sunny day.

Little Miss loved getting swing rides.


My new friend and I, with our babies—only a month apart!


Mr. Intellectual gave us a scare. Shortly before we were ready to leave, he did a flip off his swing and landed on his face. Once he was over being dizzy he was fine except for the terribly-looking cuts and bruises on his face. By now, he’s looking good again.


Posted in Activities at Home | 2 Comments

Book Review—Christmas Embers

Chautona Havig has written yet another wonderful book! I’m losing count of how many she’s launched this year, but it’s quite a few. Christmas Embers is a powerful book. To read Esther’s great review, go here. If you want to buy the book, go here. During the next couple of days, there is a bonus study guide available; visit to claim it. (It’s only available to those who purchase through the 28th of November, 2016.) Sorry about this short notice—I wanted to get this review written and posted earlier, but there’s been a lot going on in my life and I haven’t had the brain power to do it any sooner.


Adultery. What really happens to a family when a spouse commits adultery? Is it really a big deal? It’s so prevalent today; surely that makes the impact less? Emily, a mom blogger, thought it was a big deal. As she discussed the issue with her husband Sean while she wrote a blog post about the topic, she thought of it as a sexually transmitted disease—it affects everyone you have been in contact with, including your souse, your children, your extended family, and even your church. She had just seen firsthand the devastation caused by a man’s repeated affairs. Emily was so very thankful for the agreement she and Sean had to tell the other at the very first hint of any attraction to another person, to talk about it and stay open about it.

Emily’s Christmas project that year would hopefully lead to a book contract. She visited her daughter’s classroom and drew a cartoon picture of each of the children while she discussed what they wanted for Christmas—anything, whether it could be wrapped and put under the tree or not. As she had hoped, she got some unusual answers. One little girl wanted “nothing”. One boy wanted his Mom home again when he got home from school. And Joey wanted his father. After just a little digging, Emily discovered that he didn’t know who his father was or where he was, and she set out on a mission to find him and help Joey’s mother, who was dying of hepatitis. And the next thing she knew, her world was spiraling out of control.

Christmas Embers is, in some ways, a hard book to read. The subject matter is not something we want to ever even think about, much less discuss. It needs to be brought out into the open at times, however, to be able to help people who are affected by the sin of adultery. Jesus made it plain that adultery is sin; it is listed as one of the sins that will keep people out of heaven if they don’t repent and turn from it. Christmas Embers shows clearly how adultery can affect a family, a community, and a church. This is a powerful story. Chautona Havig has crafted a masterpiece here, a beautiful, and ugly, picture of love and sin. She vividly shows the emotional fallout after sin is revealed. Can those hurt by other’s sin ever learn to forgive and trust the one who has wronged them—or is this sin unforgiveable? Is it ever possible to reconcile a marriage that has been damaged by this sin?

The characters are so real. I identified in many ways with Emily, and really grew to dislike her friend Kate. Why are some people so determined to drag others down to their level? As always, there is humor along the way. I loved the scene on Christmas morning when the children woke Emily up, and her daughter announced, “She’s awake! She wasn’t, but I fixed that.” You’ll find yourself laughing along the way, occasionally, and crying at other times through this story.

I appreciated the author’s care in writing this book to not show any graphic scenes. With the subject of the book being what it is, it would have been very easy to cross lines that should not be crossed, but she didn’t. She was afraid she had, and sent out the first half of the book to several people to make sure it would be all right. I read that first half, and told her I didn’t mind allowing my teenage daughter to read it—she was that discreet.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book and chose to write a review of it.

Posted in Activities at Home | Leave a comment