Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Paradise found

The stars aligned. And the sun. And the moon. And we'll throw in a few meteors for good measure. This was our first saturday with good weather, happy kids and not a single sensible or responsible errand to run. The beach was calling our name. We beckoned the call and, at the risk of sounding cliche, I'm saying it...today was perfect. We're talking perfect weather, sandy beaches for miles, sandcastles, lots of digging and collecting, long conversations while watching the kids play, a back up change of clothes to avoid any chaffing, ice cream on the board walk, a seaside playground, a scenic drive, a park over looking the ocean, iconinc NZ rolling green hills dotted with sheep, a husband who pulls over so I can snap a picture without me even asking and a pizza picnic at sunset to end the day. It was that good. And then some. Of course perfect also includes wrestling down a toddler in a parking lot to change a dirty diaper while onlookers give me the wonk eye, and scraped elbows at the playground, and arguing over who has to sit in the back, because that's all part of a family, and that's perfect in its own way too. I knew if we could somehow claw our way out of the Belle Bonne motel we would eventually unleash the true beauty and the picture perfect moments would come gushing out like an unstoppable tidal wave. Or more like a tsunami. Did I or did I not warn you? We've had our fair share of hard days while trying to adjust here, and I know there are more to come, so when days like this happen I'm going swaddle them up like a baby and embrace every moment.

Ryder is deathly afraid of the water, he makes me hold him tight if we go by it, but usually he makes me stay a safe distance back with him and rarely ventures off my lap.  Today he found comfort in the safe confines of the rocks.  He sat there for a good hour refusing to come any closer in fear that a shark would eat him.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The daily grind

I dread turning off my electric blanket and getting out of bed.  Even at 7:30 am it's still dark outside.  Ever since I cold turkeyed Ryder from his sippy cup he has been ravenous and wakes up "hunging fo ceweal" every morning.  We slip down to a chilly kitchen, turn on the fireplace and heat pump then the two of us settle down for breakfast.  It sounds cozy except that it's not. Ryder sits in front of his spread of cold cereal ("Wheat Poppas", which subconsciously makes me sing "I love it when you call me big Poppa, so throw your hands in the ai-ya if you a true playa" every time), toast with jam, an apple which he insists I take the first bite out of, yogurt, occasionally oatmeal, a glass of milk, a glass of water and a glass of juice.  And then he still points to the pantry begging for an ice cream cone. And then at least one of his breakfast items ends up on the floor in a fit of anger. I'm exhausted before the day even starts. But it's nice to have a ritual, a routine.  It makes me feel settled, grounded and at home. Eventually the others stumble out of sleep and join us. Without cable, our days are constantly yo-yo-ing between dressing Ryder in a leotard and making up dances, to all out combat with everyone in tears, everyone in their rooms and everyone's potential birthday presents stripped away (we do own 2 DVD's and the day we got them it was like addicts going through withdrawals. they watched them back to back to back to back bringing the tally to 8 1/2 hrs of straight tv.  A personal record, I do believe.  Since we now have the entire script of Rio and Madagascar 2 memorized, we are considering doing ourselves a favor and at least getting Netflix).  The mornings are lazy, kids laying around in pj's with bed head watching one of the two movies or playing Dragonville on their itouches.  Then come the golden hours between 1-3:00, the warmest part of the day.  We try to attempt an outing a day and with so many places to go, we could never get bored.  Museums, parks, beach, parks and more parks.  We come back and get settled into dinner and the evening routine which usually involves clothes being draped around the living room, emptying the food scraps into the composte bin and washing out the filter on my little vaccuum that could.  And then letting the kids fend for themselves while I escape to my room for some peace and quiet (we used to play games at night, but then I got selfish and preferred spending my evenings in solitary confinement).  So that's it.  Some days feel foreign and exotic and some days are down right mundane.  But this is our life.  Our new life.   

I decided I couldn't wait for the cherry blossoms to make their debut in Hagley park before having our picnic, and even though I couldn't find a red and white checkered blanket per Maddox's request, this picnic in the park was still pretty dreamy.  Cue angels singing.  I loved this day because we had no agenda.  I let the kids lead the way and I just tagged along.  We hopped from tree to tree, explored down by the "rainforest", found some fish, named them, concocted a plan to catch them and then begged about 17 times to let them keep them as pets.  Which understandly led to the "why can't we have a dog?" scripted conversation that we have on a weekly basis.  Which then carried on for the next 35 minutes.  We went to the Canterbury Museum which was surprisingly really cool.  Not sure why that was surprising, but it was.  The only thing I didn't like was that in the back of my mind I kept making earthquake evacuation plans.  I really don't get nervous about them at home, but when you're on top of a 4 story building, or on the bottom of the 4 story building right in the center of the earthquake zone my mind starts going there. We spent a good solid 3 hours in the museum and topped it off at the cafe with "fluffies", a fluffed up milk with marshmallows concoction that Kylie was convinced she couldn't go another day without.  I tried to tell them it would taste just like milk fluffed up.  They were surprised when yes inded, it did taste just like milk fluffed up.  After dumping a full packet of sugar in them, they decided they kinda sorta liked them afterall.

Deep in the heart of their dog conversation.  Debating whether they should get a Yorkie or Golden Retriever.  As if either is really an option.

Ryder got into a serious spitting war with another little girl his age.  It went down in the books as one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed. 

We have quite lovingly named this the Ursula tree.  We all have our favorites, this is mine.  .

I left the water bottles back with the picnic stuff and they were all convinced they were going to die of dehydration.  As soon as the blanket was in sight they made a mad dash, leaving the little ones behind in a crying heap (this is Maddox riiiiight before he crumbles to the ground). They didn't listen to me when I said to save some and Jayden ended up with a big old mouthful of Ryder's backwash.  Karma's a beast.

Spring is right around the corner. Can. Not. Wait.

And this is another day that we went to a dirt bike park.  It was quite a work out for them and zapped all their excess energy.  We will definately be making a repeat visit.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I hope these kids know how lucky they are.  I hope they know what an incredible experience this is for them.  I know they probably don't, because they're kids, but my hope is that one day they will look back and appreciate it.  Horse riding is the one solitary thing that I've found that is cheaper here than in the US--$6 for a 1/2 hr lesson (which was really more like 45 min, sometimes island time works in our favor).  They got to experience something new while surrounded by beautiful countryside, yet tonight Kylie told me she would still rather be back in Arizona.  Of course this was while we were at the Pak n' Save and the Pak n' Save tends to bring out the worst in everyone. It was still kind of disheartening, though.  But I know they are having fun, and I know they had a great time today, they're already begging to go back. I just have to remember that it took me some time to come around, so I'm learning to be patient.  Days like these are going to get filed away in her memory until it's overflowing and she has no choice but to fall in love too.

The boys had the best time jumping in mud puddles, chasing bunnies, chickens and quails and pestering the poor ponies. (And Chels, I had to document proof that other people really do exist here, I'm just always trying to cut them out :) ^^

Ummm.....yeah. That just happened.  I told him to pet him and this is what I got.

The clouds were rolling in as we drove away.  We stopped at a little farmers market and stocked up on fruit.  As we drove back home munching on apples I felt all countrified and satisfied.  It was a day well spent. Someday they'll realize that too.