Another party 
Rachael turned 14 yesterday! Well, technically today, because she was born in British Summer Time. It was a long day...

We held a surprise birthday party for her. We had 11 altogether. While Bronwyn had taken Rachael and Sarah to their swimming lesson, the early arrivals hung up the decorations and got the house ready. Everyone managed to get here before they came back, and it wasn't easy hiding everyone in the corridor.

We went out for dinner with the two girls who were going to stay the night. I chose the curry. The girls decided I ought to go for the hot version. After a day of party food and hot chicken tikka, I was rather full! And tired... They came home and watched a movie afterwards, and eventually got to sleep. I think it was 3am by the time it got quiet. Rachael's pretty tired today.

The swimming lessons have been going well. Sarah needs to learn breaststroke and then she can move up another group. Again. Rachael still can't get her ears underwater, but has learnt to swim and tread water, and so long as she can cope in an emergency, it's good enough. There's a big push here to get everyone learning to swim, because we have so many beaches and a lot of the culture revolves around water.

I've gone up in the world. Well, about two inches. Bronwyn's bought a couple of chairs for the office to replace the dining chair and ancient bucket seat that we had before. Now I can choose between a fully adjustable operator chair and a high backed executive chair. I do love the arm rests.

Plenty going on otherwise. Bronwyn's going to get a new T shirt at her work, and they're going to fully support her to get full teacher registration. She's working Monday, she's been put top of the list for relief work, and she's going to do some voluntary work to make up the hours. She's also womanning the school crossing, and looking after out nephew Cooper after school several days a week. Meanwhile, I've now got 5 on the payroll for the youth charity, and another in South Africa trying to get a work permit. I've been tasked with buying laptops. And a car. Fortunately we have the money. We just need to work out what we need. So do we really need macbooks, or will a second hand Windows laptop do just as well? And why do we need a $30000 Hilux when we can get a minibus for half that?

Getting cooler, but no frost yet. Didn't get a frost last year. We have a tree stump in the driveway that keeps growing and then getting killed by the frost. Last year it just kept growing. Maybe another winter like that and it could just get big enough to survive...

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The birthday zone 
Four screaming girls. Plus Rachael, who spent most of the night screaming At the girls. But I'm glad to say everyone survived. Sarah had a glow-in-the-dark party sleepover, so we dug out the UV lamp and the fluorescent face paint and far too many glow sticks. I used a hula hoop and made a network of white streamers around the UV light. Looked like a rather eerie purple cobweb in the dark. We were all rather tired on Sunday, but Bronwyn managed to get everyone to bed early last night.

Rachael's birthday in two weeks time. Haven't planned a lot yet...

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Rachael and her friend Emily had a fantastic time at e-Camp (the junior version of the Baptist Easter Camp). She came back with a DVD full of all sorts of videos and photos. One of the favourite activities was bubble football, where everyone has to wear an enormous inflatable thing around their upper body, and then try to knock an equally large bubble around the pitch. Usually ended up with everyone upside down or rolling around on the ground.

Emily had to pay some forfeit, and had to drink breakfast, lunch and dinner on one go, liquidised. Apparently there were lumps of potato and other stuff floating in it. But somehow she survived.

Had quite a lot on in the last fortnight. Two ANZAC parades, trombone at church and today we were asked to play at the Korean Buddist temple to celebrate Buddha's Birthday. Interesting experience. They had three inflatable (Chinese) Buddhist monks standing outside. Plus some guy on the roadside wearing an inflatable head waving people in. We were almost the only white people there. But very nice people and plenty of food afterwards!

Ah well. School tomorrow. Rachael is madly trying to finish her homework...

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Big decisions 
It's quiet. Rachael's off at e-camp with her friend Emily. This is the junior version of Easter Camp, but with more mudslides and a trendier name. Hope the weather has been OK for them; we've had rain at last. The tank is full. The tents at Easter Camp got trashed in the storm on Thursday. But it sounds like they've found something else to sleep under instead.

Bronwyn has renewed her provisional teacher registration, but she's been told that she's got two years to finish the training and become fully registered. However, this means she'll need to find a job with a mentor for the next two years, or have to go through retraining. So it's now a big decision as to whether it's worth it, how much it means to her, and what the alternatives are.

At work, we've got a deadline of the end of the month, so we've been working hard to get everything finished. Except he wants a pre-release version ready to demo on Tuesday. Only found out on Thursday. Not sure that's going to be possible...

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Need a rest 
Golly, it's been a while since the last one...

My left eye is finally coming right. No, I meant getting better. I ended up at the eye clinic in town (I love the way the signs for Eye Clinic are huge...) and they gave me antiviral as well as more antibiotic. Seems to have done the trick. Probably devastated the local biodiversity on my cornea, but I'm not complaining.

The next meeting of the Nor West Aspergers Support Group is tomorrow. Sounds like we'll have even more than last time. After the kids tested the engineering capabilities of the tree house last time, I've collected more wood and started repairs. Meanwhile, Bronwyn has got a few fencing stakes and is planning a game of lawn darts. We live dangerously round here...

I've been busy. Our little charity that supported a youth worker in the local college is currently supporting three, and we're hiring a full time person to coordinate training programmes for the less productive portion of Helensville youth. Another one to follow, and we'll probably need an office. Oh yes, and a minibus. Make that a big one. And I'm treasurer, fund raiser and it's time for the annual audit. And I'm not actually a signatory at the bank. Spent two hours this week at the bank trying to sort that out. Meanwhile, I've organised a second cheque book for the Vintage Band to manage their concerts, and I'll be rewriting the constitution. And I've been invited to become a company director. I feel honoured, but I think I prefer to be doing creative and productive work instead!

Rachael's been rather piled up with work too, and hasn't been sleeping well. At least it's nearly end of term. She's been doing really well in Japanese though. Came in the top 3, and one of them happens to be Japanese anyway. Bronwyn has at last managed to organise a plan with the school for her Aspergers, so hopefully it will be better managed now.

It's been dry and warm. Still feels like summer, but quite a bit of fog in the morning. We've got the lawnmower working again (turned out to be some dirty electrics) but it's hanging on by some rather flimsy welding, so it might be time to get another.

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