Trick or Treat!

Halloween is a new invention here in Rurutu and nobody really seems to know or care why we dress up as pumpkins for the occasion, but we all like collecting kilos of bonbons - the girls did trick or treating at school!


Mato is seven!

For her seventh birthday Matotea wanted cupcakes, so she could take some to school to share with her friends......I found an awesome, if rather wicked recipe here (I didn't do the ganache it seems too much, but I did do a rather good white chocolate frosting with lots of sprinkles).


What's new!

So it's been another eternity since my last post, seems like it's going to be this way for a while! School was in and was out again and now back in again!
Here they are whalewatching at the bustop! I can't say it's not a relief to have the girls back in school, particularly after the september school hols, when we were packed up to the gills all fortnight, and without Meme for help with the kids (She was on Tahiti for an artisans fair, coinciding with the Beach Soccer World Championship, which incidentally the Russians won! Tahiti coming a respectable fourth).

Now it's already mid-october, the whales seem to be getting a bit restless, it may be the beginning of the end of the season! Which is all good for me as we'll have some time to breathe and recuperate, and also our poor garden is sagging from neglect, so hopefully can get my hands dirty.  It's already getting hot and the lychees and mangos are starting to grow.......we've even got our first pineapples..yum...roll on the summer!

We're also preparing ourselves for big trip back to the UK next year, the passport service were here on thursday, so the girls and Viri got their paperwork in, it's all taking shape!


Amaiterai's first six months

It's all gone by in a big sleep-deprived delirious blur, and the boy is still showing no signs of sleeping nights! But he's the healthiest ball of smiles I have ever seen! He's literally brimming over with energy and charm, but please please please can I have more than 4 straight hours of sleep before the year's out? At his checkup, he passed with flying colors, a whopping 8.5 kg of bouncy grinning baby,  barely flinching at the jab. A real Rurutu pua tane!


A trip to NZ!

In july I made a trip to NZ with junior, actually with my mother-in-law and some of her family, trying to find their family in NZ, and do some genealogical research. I took the time out to make sure Amaiterai met his great-aunt and cousins too.
Amaiterai was a little bit shocked by all the changing faces, the cold and all the bustle of life in NZ, but it was an interesting interlude for me, and a chance to speak some english!



Quick on the heels of Heimana's birthday was the 14th of July horse race, what better way to celebrate the storming of the bastille!
 Actually it didn't go as well as hoped. Viriamu sailed through his qualifying round, the horse hardly breaking a sweat, but an ambitious bit of overtaking near a river bank put paid to his hopes in the final. He took a tumble, nothing serious bruised but his pride, however, the riderless horse continued a fair way alone, dazed and confused trying to find his way back home. It seems to be a bit of a saying of ours now, but "oh well, there's always next year"


Heimana is four

I managed to make it back from my NZ travels, just in time to celebrate Heimana's birthday, she's four. Before I left I asked her what she would like for her birthday, she though very long and very hard, and told me she wanted a cake and balloons!  
So that's what she got, she also got a sparkly mosaic crown and a throne (from tattie Tracey). We had an evening out at he heiva ground with her cousins, the kids were running around like wild things.
We had our traditional chocolate mousse cake....yum!


End of term show!

The end of june saw the schools end of term show, after weeks of feverish preparations and endless practising at home, the school show came. In a tragi-comic twist, Heimana ended up going onstage wearing her big sisters couronne (flower lei) and vice versa, poor Heimana, who was already quite nervous about her stage debut, was almost reduced to tears as her couronne kept falling down, but she made a valiant effort. Mato was, as always, an exceptionally graceful and absolutely focused member of the dance group. I really don't know where she gets the talent from, certainly not from her mum.


Heimana's artwork

Heimana's almost four now, and while big sister is definitely the big starlet, Heimana is quietly growing and developing her own personality - she's an easy going, slightly shy, slightly tomboyish girl, easily lost in her own little world. I often wonder where she's got to only to find her entirely absorbed by a drawing or a game. She's been showing a bit of an artistic streak recently. Like with  Mato's photos, Heimana seems to have a naive flair for art, here are a few of my favourite paintings, produced over the May school hols.

And also a cute little mother's day gift, she made at school, using clam shells.


A bit of a swell!

One of the things about living on a tiny tropical island, lost in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean is that we never forget that we are at the mercy of the forces of nature. If it's not a cyclone, or raging thunderstorm, it's a tsunami or maybe just very big waves! Yesterday morning we woke up to over >5m waves crashing in on the beach in front of us, and a couple even watered the garden for us! They didn't come any further, but it's the highest I've ever seen them and the car tires did get a bit wet.

Yes, the forces of nature are truly awesome, it's the sheer power of these waves to displace large rocks and tree trunks, which leaves you feeling very small. I've always liked that sort of thing, like staring up at the millions of stars, and knowing you are just a very tiny part of it all. I imagine some people must feel scared by it, but I find it comforting, it puts all your ridiculous anxieties and stresses into perspective - I think it's the reason that Tahitians are so zen and maybe also so religious. We live in the present, for only tomorrow will we know what tomorrow will bring!
  Oh yes, and  the 4m waves at Teahupoo on Tahiti meant that surf was up!


Matotea's changing face

We've been super busy this holiday week with guests up to the eyeballs, it's great that we're so busy, but it's definitely been our toughest challenge yet, particularly as 'meme', my invaluable mother in law, who usually helps with the childcare, has been away in Tahiti and elsewhere, pursuing her ancestors and Parau family, but more about that in the coming weeks! So it was twelve guests and three kids to look after, but we managed it, though I am spending today de-compressing and having some Amaiterai catch-up time! At the end of the school half-term Matotea and Heimana brought home their school portraits, I scanned in Mato's last three school portraits, it's fun to see how she's changed
and how fast she's growing into a beautiful young girl.


A Rurutu yokel in Tahiti!

I made a quick dash to Tahiti last week, to get Amaiterai's passport application in, unfortunately children's passports can't be done here in Rurutu. The idea even of getting a two month old baby a passport seems slightly ridiculous, particularly as eye color and height are obligatory. 

It's now been nine months since I was last in Tahiti, and I'm definitely losing the knack of  city life. The traffic jams and heat have lost their attraction, even supermarket shopping wasn't that exciting - even though we did find some craisins - one of the funny little things that I really miss from CA, and it looks like I'm not the only one to appreciate them.
Poor Amaiterai's eyes were like saucers the whole time we were in Tahiti, he clearly didn't quite know what to make of it all, and was all smiles when he got back home to his sisters, though fortunately he was good as gold on the flights.

Navigating a hot sweaty smelly city single-handed with a baby wasn't much fun, and running to and fro from the passport office was a real drag, though I was treated preferentially in the post office and supermarket line, which was a small and rather unexpected comfort. It was all a bit of a rush, but I did enjoy a quick stroll through Papeete market, it's such a vibrant place and always full of beautiful flowers, fruits and veg and an array of great characters.
I also enjoyed the views of Tahiti's majestic peaks, even from a school car park! I also enjoyed catching up with my wonderful friend Tracey and family, living the high life in Mahina!


School photos

Yes, it's that time of year again, and now I have two heis to make (it's worth it for the cuteness factor)


Easter extravagances

The easter hols are coming to a close, and we're still very much alive after two weeks of guests, girls at home and breast-feeding 7 week old babies......it's a lot to juggle, but we're doing it, and whatsmore, actually enjoying it, in a frazzled sort of a way.
Over the Easter weekend we went gourmet  with an excellent passion fruit cheesecake (thanks to the highly unexpected appearance of large quantities of delicious cram cheese at our local store, miracles never cease!)
  Still on a fermented food high, I tried a sourdough fruit brioche (an interesting idea!). Brioche is a traditional French easter thing, so the guests enjoyed it, though my jury's still out, sourdough maybe shouldn't go here!

We did even get some easter chocolates, thanks to some ultra thoughtful guests, the local store had let us down on that one!
In anticipation of a chocolate free time I had even gone  the extra mile to do some real painted easter eggs, blowing eggs is too much fun for young and old alike!

Then we had a brief break from guests, enough to have a restorative weekend off, and get gussied up to head off to our first dinner dance en famille (this makes it all sounds rather posh - but it was just poisson cru and chow mein served in mass under a lot of tents with some local dancing and drunkenness)
 Then we've been back into guests, but we all seem to be finding our equilibrium. Amaiterai certainly has figured out where he likes to be best......
 ........and Matotea and Heimana have been enjoying some impromptu horse-riding lessons.


Amaiterai's first month (and a bit!)

Blogging and babies don't mix!
Yesterday Amaiterai was 5 weeks old, he's thriving and has already gained 6 cm in length and over 1.6kg in weight. The month since he arrived has gone by in an eventful blur of sleep-deprivation!

We said goodbye to April a few days after the birth, having learned a thing or two about sourdough and lilikois (passion fruit). Inspired by April, I've gone off on a fermented food frenzy, making sourdough burger buns, sourdough rice crackers and sourdough potato pancakes to name a few, I've also had a go at my first batch of kim chee and a very passable ginger beer! Probiotics are us!

Naturally we celebrated St.David's day (March 1st for all you non-welshies) as well as Wales' victory in the six nations rugby, with a blistering win over England in Cardiff.

We've had a film crew visit us to film our extremely talented trilingual girls, for an educational programme about multilingualism, to be broadcast here in Tahiti.

 The grandparents spent the best part of Amaiterai's first month with us, babysitting their hearts out, before a return to chilly Wales a week ago, they left in the snow and two months later returned to snow!

We're enjoying hot and sunny weather, though there is a little coolness to the mornings, heralding the arrival of our autumn! In the meantime there's work to be done in the garden - Amaiterai is not the only thing growing round here, look at these fabulous irises that have just started flowering here in th garden.
The jasmine, ylang-ylang and honeysuckle are also putting on a impressive olfactory experience at the moment. The most exciting new acquisition is cacao, Viriamu's friend in Tahiti he sent him some pods, so now I have Roald Dahlish dreams of creating my own chocolate delights! Talking of chocolate we're running up to the easter hols and our first busy period at the guesthouse with our new recruit! Hold on for a bumpy ride....


Introducing Amaiterai - a Rurutu homebirth baby!

 Yes, he made us wait, but on tuesday 19th february around 7h30 our son, Amaiterai Rhys Teuruarii was born here at our home in Rurutu. The first baby to be born in Avera, Rurutu for over 20 years! The birth went without a hitch, thanks to my wonderful midwife and all the family's support. We went for a water birth in an inflatable paddling pool in our living room, an experience that none of us will quickly forget!

Three days on we're getting ready to say goodbye to April, a sad day, but she leaves behind her a happy and thriving family! Thank you! 


Fit to burst!

So here's a turn up for the books - I'm as pregnant as I've ever been. On wednesday I turned 38 weeks, which is a first for me - having had both the girls at 37 weeks and a few days, and there's still no sign of him!
 It just goes to show, you never can tell. It serves me right for being so sure he was on his way a week or so ago. Viriamu has been and gone to Tahiti, setting off to the big smoke for another salon, while I stayed home with the girls, parents and April. The girls morphed into quite a handful without papa's watchful gaze. But he's back now, after getting stranded on Rimatara for an evening when the plane had 'technical' problems, see flat tyre!

Fortunately for us, the salon went well, thanks to my stunt-double living in Tahiti, tattie Tracey, who was able to save our bacon and do the salon for me! She looked suitably fabulous in her local getup, and set off a whole lot of gossip by being there in my place, Viriamu's new vahine popaa, (he should be so lucky)! She even took a whole load of fabulous pics of her and her kids at the salon.........