Sigrid has been on her mid-stay camp, and is looking very tired. I've been in rehearsals with the brass band most of the weekend. I've had a very full week at work too.

It's not really half way for Sigrid yet. But it already feels like she's been here a very long time. She's very much at home, and there's been no complaints whatsoever.

Brought home a cornet from the band for Rachael to try out. She's managed to make some sort of noise, which is a good start. Once she can play a scale, she's good enough to join the junior band.

The band is sounding a lot better. The national contest is coming up next month. I'm practising in the car, doing tonguing exercises and buzzing tunes. Just not while waiting at the lights...

Sigrid's been through mock exams at school, and is still breathing. She doesn't actually have to come away with any qualifications, but she wants to do well in English.

It's wet. Really wet. I cleared out the leaves from the gutter so at least most of it went down the right way. The farm is pretty waterlogged. At the band hall, someone's dug a little trench to take the water out to the ditch at the road. It was so deep it was threatening to overwhelm the septic tank.

Dataview has now officially merged with Watchdog, who specialise in internet filtering for schools. We had a little celebration last week. They work on the ground floor, and we're upstairs. It's going to make some things easier, because we'll have enough staff for us to be able to specialise, rather than running around trying to fix all sorts of things and not really doing anything well. It's going to be interesting.

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Clogged up 
Almost all of us have had colds this week. I'm just about recovering, Rachael's been off school for a couple of days, and Sigrid has been too. We're running short on tissues and cough medicine. The temperatures have dropped quite a bit. My work was planning to give me a flu jab. Not sure I'll need one now!

Sigrid's ball dress has arrived from China. Bronwyn bought her a matching eye mask. Now she just needs some shoes. She's really excited, although currently she's not got the energy to show it.

Bronwyn's been busy - she's going through leader training for the Girl Guides plus lots of other activities, and she did a day at her old childcare centre this week. She also managed to walk up to the top of the hill along the road and back, which must be at least 4 km, with a walking stick. Not bad going.

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Dangerous activities 
My bum hurts. I fell over while ice skating, attempting to push Sarah on her skating frame with one hand. It worked a lot better if I held the frame either side of Sarah, but then I had to skate very wide in order to avoid her wildly kicking feet. I tried to encourage her to skate alone, but she didn't manage to make more than a metre of forward progress after randomly waving her feet in all directions.

Rachael had her party today, so we all went ice skating, followed by McDonalds, accompanied by six screaming girls plus two quieter Scandinavian ones. They could skate quite well, but then they've had more exposure to ice!

We lost a calf this morning. The gate got somehow left open, and several wandered out on the road. One got hit by a truck. It's an automatic gate, controlled from three different places, and we think two people activated it at once, thus leaving it open.

Nearly finished the project at work. If someone tries to change the spec one more time, I think I'll chain them to my chair and make them do it!

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The birthday zone 
Sarah's sixth birthday yesterday. She had 4 friends round to the party, and Bronwyn made everything pink. By the evening the P word was deemed to be inappropriate. But they had a great time, quite a feast, and Claire turned up with some helium balloons. Pink, of course.

Next week it will be Rachael's birthday, and we're going ice skating on the Saturday. Rachael's really looking forward to it. We missed the usual afternoon tea for Sarah today, because otherwise it's going to be one continuous birthday party!

Bronwyn has been looking for a job for most of the year, and had to go through the process of renewing her practising certificate. Well, she had a really goo interview with an agency last week. They've yet to check her references and make a final decision, but it looks like she got the job. So now she's got to keep her phone by the bed so they can ring her up at 7am to send her to a random childcare centre. Should be fun.

Meanwhile, I've been working flat out to complete a project that was due a week ago. Nearly there, but nobody's been able to test it yet. We've had quite a lot go into this latest version, so I can predict some fun once the schools get hold of it!

Sigrid enjoyed her day out in Auckland with Kristine. They had no map and very little apart from hand bags, but Sigrid had done all the planning beforehand, and it obviously worked out! Kristine left us with a beautiful painted wooden spoon and a card, which I'll hang up on the wall shortly. Very nice gift for just a weekend, and we hardly saw her!

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Going in circles 
The doughnut machine got returned, but because Bronwyn had left the lawnmower in its usual spot, they put the doughnut machine in Bronwyn's spot. We were off on holiday. So now Bronwyn's car doesn't fit in the garage. I moved the lawnmower back to it's proper spot. Yesterday, Bronwyn's dad arrived with ten bales of hay. Two bales went out in the paddock, and the other eight got put in the doughnut machine spot so we can feed the calves when Bronwyn's parents are away. So we're not quite there yet.

You might have heard about the tornado that went through a local shopping center this week. We're all fine. Bronwyn's sister often works in a building nearby. She wasn't there that day, but all her friends saw it. The student nurse who tried to resuscitate the one fatality and gave first aid to the others used to go to our church - her dad said she'd been in TV at least three times. She's fine, but it must have been quite an event. I commented to Sigrid that she's done the earthquake, the tsunami, and now the tornado. We'll probably get some flooding shortly, and then she just needs the volcano. Usually the youth group do that one once the snow's good.

Managed to survive the week without spending too much. Also went and paid for a library book that went missing. I had searched the house for it several times. Hours later, Bronwyn found it, on the windowledge by the door, waiting to be taken back. There's also been a DVD missing for about 5 months, but last week they found it in the shop! I think we're slowly getting there.

Sigrid's friend has been up with us for the weekend, and they're planning to spend all of Sunday touring Auckland on the buses. There's hardly any buses between here and the outskirts of Auckland, so I'm taking them in early, and picking them up late tonight. New Zealand doesn't have rural public transport. It pretends to, but not in any useable form!

Sigrid has made some focaccia bread for Bronwyn today, since it's Mother's day here. Bronwyn doesn't know about it yet - it's out in the kitchen waiting...

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