Debbie, Dominic and I managed to get away for a wonderful holiday at the end of last week. We made plans near the start of the year to attempt a journey northward in the school holidays, and as the time approached we felt much excitement and trepidation. Dom had previously been to Lower Hutt and Wellington many times, up to Palmerston North once, but this trip was going to be a comparatively epic 7 hour journey up to Tauranga. Given that he had previously cried and been very upset in 2 of 3 longer car journies (the drive back from PN, and one trip back from LH when we got stuck in traffic for an extra 45 minutes) we were more than a little nervous about how the journey might go. On top of that, it was also his first time staying away from home (that I can remember, anyways).
It went brilliantly. We left at 6.10pm Tuesday, and Dom was awake until about 6.45 or 7. Debbie sang to him, and he was pretty happy despite being in the car seat. He then slept for an hour or so, waking up near Bulls. We had a brief stop to feed Dom and use the scummiest public toilets ever to have fancy SF automatic doors, then got moving again. He was very happy to feed in the back of the car when we stopped, and look out of the windows at the headlights whizzing by. He was less keen on going back into his car seat, but after 20 minutes of serenading he drifted off to sleep for another hour and a bit. We had a similar stop in Hunterville, with nappy change, then managed to get through the desert road and Turangi before stopping when he woke up in Taupo. A last speedy dash through Rotorua and on to Tauranga saw us arrive just before 1am, completely exhausted but safely at our destination, with less than an hour of grumpy Dom in total for the trip!
The holiday itself was lovely - Dom really likes being fussed over, and he got a lot of fusses from his grandad, grandma and uncle. We walked around the Mount, taking turns to carry Dom. We went shopping, but didn't end up paying for much thanks to generous parents. We were given a snazzy 3G phone which is video-calling capable thanks to my big brother, and we ate delicious food and had our car cleaned courtesy of my dad. He cooks a mean Chinese meal - in quantities that allow it to be the next day's breakfast and lunch :-)
The drive back was even better, with Dom hardly grizzling at all. We left a little earlier, and so were home by midnight. And we now have a heat pump / air conditioning unit in our lounge, so we can be warm on crazy early winter mornings when Dom decides that 5am is play time.
And, I have another week off! How lucky am I? Real lucky. Word.
Dominic hasn't quite figured out how to put the pieces back into his shape/hole toy, but he does often enlist Humpty to help (usually by bashing Humpty's arm or head into the shape toy repeatedly). Their success rate hasn't been high to date, but they do seem to be enjoying themselves.
Is it just me, or does it look a little like there's a Penny Farthing bicycle missing from this photo?
I saw a very cute thing in detention the other day - a student sneakily reading a novel. It's a common sight to see a student hiding a cellphone under their desk and trying to low-key text, but this was the first low-key novel reading I've seen. I suppose the youngster in question was worried that someone would look through the window and see him reading, and his lackadaisical, devil-may-care badass loner who plays by his own rules (BALOR) image would be blown. He had permission to read the novel (it was for English), but he was being sneaky about it anyway...
Today Debbie and I made caramel slice using a recipe my sister sent us, and it's really, really good. It's a fairly simple recipe too, which is neat. It does make a huge batch though, which leads to me eating too much caramel slice and getting a sore tummy.
Yesterday I finished reading through the first draft of my kiwinowrimo novel, and today I typed up the last few changes for the second draft. I'm getting a few people to read it (just people who've volunteered - I'm not inflicting it on any unsuspecting passersby), but I'll also be sending it off to Random House this week. After them it's on to Scholastic, then I'll need to look around at other NZ publishers.
On the whole, I'm pretty happy with it - it's a solid NZ teen novel that would be entirely appropriate to teach at a Y10/Y11 level. Here's hoping a publisher agrees with me :-)
It's been a long week, and it's only Wednesday. I am still very much looking forward to the holidays, but will be happy to survive until the weekend :P
It's been amazing reading Gino's blogs, and seeing his wee one. It brings back many fond memories and also makes me realise how far my family has come in 4 months. I had a nap last night from about 7.15 to 8.15pm (the first hour of Dominic's big night-time sleep) and it was very nice. I woke up in time to watch House, then pretty much was back in the land of nod before 10. Dominic had a rough night at the start of the week (Monday night) and that had left me pretty shattered. The amazing thing was that a 'rough night' meant Dom didn't properly get to sleep until 10pm, and then woke up at about 5.15am. That's a hell of a lot more sleep than Debbie and I were getting when he was a newborn, sleeping for about an hour and a half max at a time (and more often than that for about 45 minutes). Still, it left me really knackered. I'm still recovering.
Lastly, this has been the week of depressingly pathetic debates for my juniors. Why is it that the lazy little darlings think it's in any way acceptable to get up without a speech and get a mark fit for a 7-year-old? I'm pretty sure one slacker who underperformed for a Year 3 student today had written at least some of a speech, but decided not to use it. What a waste of time. And I liked that class two weeks ago...
Dominic is cool, but you already knew that. Here are photo images of the Dom:
Dominic likes to get up very early in the morning. In a couple of weeks we are getting a nice heat pump installed, but until then we have to rely on a none too effective little fan heater. This means that the lounge is very cold some mornings, cold enough to require the wearing of hats.
This was taken during period 4 today - I had to run a detention at lunch time, but I had a non-contact after that and was able to zoom home on my bicylce to see the family.
I have been up since 5.30am today, which is more of a sleep-in than I had on Saturday :-) It was awesome though, playing with Dom and Debbie before school, and going on an hour long walk before ducking back home for a quick change/snack/zoom to school.
I am very much looking forward to the holidays :-)
This year the write-an-rpg-in-10-days competition Game Chef is running two sections. The first is called 'Artists First', and I have just completed my entry. The idea is that a bunch of artists of varying skill levels (there are some incredibly impressive entries up in the artists' work-in-progress threads) will each create a set of pictures for an rpg that doesn't exist yet. In a couple of weeks' time, a whole lot of Game Chef designers will then choose a set of pictures and make up an rpg which uses those pics as its inspiration.
Artists can only submit 3-5 pictures, one set per artist. I've been doodling a lot this week (instead of editing my manuscript, which will make my self-imposed end of term editing deadline a little harder), and have now submitted my top-secret set of 5 pictures. I'll share them once the design contest goes live, but for now here's the 6th pic that I had to leave out (click for a slightly clearer version):
Congratulations to Gino and Viv on the arrival of their wee baby boy! I was at home for lunch today and noticed a text message on the phone - from yesterday! From memory it said "It's a boy! Born at 8.32, 3.7kg". Or something similar.