I remember going to the movie store on a Friday night about six months ago and small talking with the clerk, because that's what you do when he hooks you up with coupons every time you come in. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. We asked him his plans for the weekend and he said he was just going to hang out at home. I distinctly remember it struck me as odd, like the thought had never really occurred to me that people would do anything other than explore paradise on the weekends. Since then our weekends of exploring have slowly been replaced with weeding the garden, dance classes, grocery shopping, chores, church activities, errands, and just life in general. In a way it feels good settling into life, but I've really missed waking up every Saturday with a picnic basket to pack and an adventure to begin. After we were headed down the Noah fast track with three days and three nights of non stop rain and wind, the skies cleared up and made for the most beautiful Saturday. The thing I need to remember about New Zealand is that if you can just hold on through the eye of the storm there will be sunshine waiting on the other side. It may take me a week to find it, but it will be there waiting for me with its white fluffy clouds and long grass swaying in the breeze. We started the day with a hike to a cave. I expected the kids to complain, only because they complain on almost every hike we go on, but I think the long break we've had from hiking has rejuvenated their spirits. It didn't even dampen their mood too much when halfway up we discovered that the cave had been closed due to earthquake damage. Instead we hunted for the frogs that were taunting us with their croaks from the stream below while Jason and Jayden continued exploring.
(Jayden had already started hiking down and missed the photo shoot. Ryder was clearly excited that he didn't miss out too.)
No, we didn't plan to match, and no those aren't MC Hammer slash Justin Bieber pants that I'm rocking. Just a jacket tied around my waist. Just felt the need to clarify.
Afterwards we explored a new beach. Didn't I tell you that all roads lead to the beach.
Happiness is getting rewarded with ice cream for peeing your pants while everyone else watches in envy wishing that they had peed their pants too. I know, sometimes I question our parenting techniques too. Maddox had a little accident while gleefully running through the grasslands as I snapped pictures and yelled orders to channel his inner Lion King. He wouldn't stop crying, even after I let him go commando and tried convincing him it was fine if his shorts were a little wet. Just pretend like you're wearing a swimsuit. We're going to the beach anyways. He was so embarrassed and felt so bad that only an ice cream cone, and stories of us peeing (and maybe even pooping) our pants at school, would put a smile back on his face. Since we're too cheap to buy everyone $4 cones we bought a box of popsicles to share as a consolation prize. If someone pees their pants and expects to be rewarded with ice cream we'll know why. I mean, that strawberry Tip Top is pretty tempting.
There are all these cool caves and tunnels that go through that mountain in the background, it's a shame you can't explore in there because of the earthquake damage. After three years I'm wondering if they'll ever reopen some of these sites. But these boys didn't seem to mind, they were too busy building the Alamo.
Ryder has a pocketful of ninja poses that he pulls out whenever the camera is aimed in his direction. These are a few of my favorites. When I look back at this age, I hope this is what I remember.
We flew kites, Maddox and Jayden dug trenches, Kylie and Jason played with the frisbee (thank you to the Herrera's for sponsoring today's beach activities), we explored tide pools, watched as sea gulls dove for mussels then dropped them from the air in an attempt to crack them open (pretty fascinating), then packed up and ended the day at a birthday party for a friend. If that's not a perfect day, I don't know what is.