Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Right now I'm curled up in bed under an electric blanket, my typing hand is frozen. Ryder is going on his third straight hour of Netflix while he sits next to me leaving a trail mix of wheetbix, pretzels and raisins on Jason's side of the bed. I'm still in the same yoga pants I slipped into yesterday afternoon and even though it's noon I've still got a serious case of morning breath. We've had torrential downpours and hurricane gusts of winds for the past three days straight. So it's only appropriate that I post about our amazing weekend in Queenstown so that I can remember why we really do love living here. The lack of central heat is really making me forget. My Julie friend was so nice to watch the kids as we made the most of our quick two night stay. The short plane ride boasted such spectacular views. Lake Pukaki, don't forget that a piece of my heart will always belong to you.

And there's something about couples only getaways that make husbands lose all inhibitions and let their wives talk them into taking emberassing pictures like this, or videos of them jumping on the bed, or pose like Leonardo Dicaprio on Titanic and even convince them to pay $70 an hour to sit in a hot tub (fortunately for them it was already booked up). Man, I love Jason, he is such a good sport. After we rode the gondola and luge ride with the kids this summer we knew we had to come back. Only this time it was pouring rain and we showed no mercy as we raced down the track. I'm not too proud to say I came in last place, caution is my middle name.

From behind it looks like they're racing Jazzy scooters. It made me laugh because you know that will totally be us in 40 years.

The hour long wait was worth it for Fergburger. Even if I did only get a veggie burger. That totally still counts, right? That fueled us up for the long drive to Te Anau, the gateway to Milford Sound.

We never go out to eat here, as in maybe three times in the past 8 months, so it was such a treat to eat real grown up food that I didn't even have to prepare.

We parked illegally and dodged traffic for this picture. Totally worth it in my book.

We picked up some meat pies (um, eww) for the road then embarked on the long wet 2 hour journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound. The rain was freezing, but it made for the most amazing drive as we were enveloped in fog and surrounded by waterfalls.

Then as soon as we got there the clouds parted like the Red Sea and the sun shone down for our entire cruise. It was the best of  both worlds, countless waterfalls from all the rain and sunny skies to keep us warm.  Milford Sound truly was amazing. We've seen so many incredible things in these past 8 months that it sure takes a lot to impress us now, but this blew us away. I had the hardest time narrowing down the pictures and I obviously didn't do a very swell job at it. My apologies if you have an aversion to waterfalls or a ridiculous amount of nature pictures. (these are a mix between mine and Melissa's cameras, I have to give credit where credit is due)

The crew collected buckets of water from the waterfall so we could all take a swig. It was delicious.

There were quite a few seal colonies basking in the sun and we even saw a pair of penguins, my first ever sighting.

You can see the glacier at the top that feeds into the lakes and falls below. I'm running out of ways to describe the beauty here.

the drive back to Queenstown was filled with a back seat Austenland viewing party, mediocre cafe food, bouts of car sickness and plenty of eye candy.

The next morning we had booked a jet boat tour which was so fun, but it would have been even more fun if it wasn't so bitter cold that we had to keep our faces covered the entire time and my muscles were so sore from shivering. The water sprayed on us by the 360 degree spins probably would have been a tad more enjoyable as well. I'm dying to do it again when it's warmer, if there is such a thing.

Then we went to the Kawarau bridge and cheered on Melissa as she stared death straight in the eyes and bungy jumped at the first commercial bungy jumping site in the world. She is such a daredevil and I love that about her. I was thiiiiiis close to joining her and I regret chickening out.

We took them to Arrowtown, ate at a cute cafe, devoured the homemade fudge (red velvet fudge for the win) and strolled through the Lord of the Rings filming location before heading to the airport. It was a quick trip, but I would say we did a mighty fine job jam packing it with fun.

We like to refer to this as a minority sandwich. Ya know, cause Mike's part Mexican and Jason's Chinese. Sometimes we crack ourselves up.

Valium and People magazine were the only thing that got me through that flight on such a tiny airplane, but happy to report no panic attacks. Kylie would be so proud.

Fish and chips for dinner that night, because you can't come to New Zealand and not have fish and chips. It's sort of a right of passage and would be a disgrace to the mom and pop fish shops on every corner.

Even though it was so short and we barely had time to miss our kids, it always feels good to be all together under the same roof again. I always come home refreshed with more patience, more excuses to squeeze and kiss them and I always tend to fall just a little harder in love with Jason too. Getaways are good therapy.

It was a sad good bye the next day, the kids decorated the drive with farewell notes using the sidewalk chalk Melissa had bought them. She sure knows how to spoil them and I love that she loves them like her own and I'm pretty sure they love her more than me. That's okay, I don't blame them. I don't know how we lucked out to score such amazing friends, they really are one in a million and being with them made us realize just how much we miss them. The countdown is on until we get to visit them in four months!  Until then I'll just hibernate in bed and relive the memories of such an amazing week.


Chelsea said...

I'm just in awe of every picture and post that by the time I get to the bottom, I forget what to say! I'm so glad you got some quality time as couples and that Melissa and Mike got to come try NZ on for size! Looks like it was an amazing week! I still can't believe she bungee jumped, and I love her for it. I WOULD NEVER. The thing about the video she posted is that she didn't even look nervous or hesitant at all to jump! Like she's jumped off a million bridges in her lifetime. The last picture makes me sad for your goodbye!

Ali said...

I'm joining Chelsea here: by the time I got to the bottom, I forgot what to say - not because it was in any way too long or not entirely delicious, but because... well how do you really make a valid comment on so much loveliness?!!!! If a picture tells a thousand words, and there are a zillion beautiful pics, ... there are no valid words left really :-). STUNNING - most of all that you are loving and sharing the best of life!


Jodee said...

OK Jame, you are doing it. With me. We are jumping. Cause you won't want to regret it twice!
I love that we are getting this amazing preview of all the fun and beauty of NZ. Those waterfalls and green cliffs are gorgeous. And I love the cute couple pics and goofy kids you all turn into. So fun!

Janessa said...

Amazing! I love that you got to go back and experience such an incredible place as an adult without any kiddos. (Though the family trip was fab too! I'm sure it was a different experience though.) Bummer about the rain but you got some incredible pics because of it and it didn't seem to slow you down at all. That is so awesome that Melissa jumped! I didn't think you'd even come close to doing it. I probably would have peed my pants if you said you did it. I do remember you priding yourself on being a daredevil when we were little and climbing the mountains in our backyard in Orderville, so I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. You totally need to go back and do it before you move though. That would have total bragging rights on your life resume. I love the "Wong Way" pic! Totally worth putting your life on the line dodging traffic for. Kind of reminds me of our near death experience taking a picture in front of the 6th floor museum in Dallas. I even saved my shoe! Those waterfalls are unreal! That is so cool that you even got to drink the water from it. Ah, life in paradise! I'm so glad you got to share it with such good friends. You guys are so lucky to have each other!