Friday, April 25, 2014

An unconventional Easter

I don't go over the top on birthday parties. I have yet to master the fine art of the waterfall braid. And pretty sure I'm the only mom feeding her kids sugared up breakfast cereals instead of green smoothies. But that's something I know how to do. I was a little sad to be out of town for Easter. The brown eggs had already ruined our egg dying tradition and instead of an elaborate yarn maze leading to their generous baskets overflowing with candy and presents, I threw jelly beans on their sleeping bags while they slept and lined the edges of the navy and gold microfiber couches with chocolates. Now, I've really grown to appreciate big chain hotels with their crisp white sheets, clean showers, continental breakfasts, and most importantly their central heat. This holiday park got enchanted fairytale points for the beautiful white stallion that roamed freely through the forest next to it, but the cottage itself left much to be desired. The only source of heat was a small wall heater so we moved all the kids mattresses into the living room so they could keep warm (and then the power went out in the middle of the night, but that's another story). As the sun shone through the dingy lace curtains across our faded floral bed spread the next morning, Ryder stood at the foot of my bed with his pajama bottoms twisted up, his belly poking out and a confused look on his face and asked, "you give me treats mom??". I whispered that it was the Easter bunny then laid there with a smile on my face as he ran to wake up the other kids and listened as they squealed in delight and scrambled to find all the candy. They spent the next little while bartering candy and paying Maddox one jelly bean for each minute of a back massage. Instead of a big breakfast we ate three day old muffins that I made before we left and drank half frozen Orange Juice (ghetto fridge problems). I was really sad that being hours away from the nearest branch meant not being able to go to church on such a special Sunday, but instead we spent the day marveling at God's creations and the long drives and walks provided the perfect setting for some spiritual discussions. Jayden really impressed me with his deep thoughts and questions. Judy and Pete joined along on some of our explorations today and the first stop was the McLean waterfalls. The jungle vine swing on the hike up was a good omen.

So were the little teasers along the way

We finally made it and our theory about if you've seen one waterfall then you've seen them all, flew right out the window. Mind officially blown. If it were 50 degrees warmer I would have stripped down to my skivvies and jumped right in. It was incredible.

Next up on the agenda was the Cathedral Caves. One of the largest sea caves in the world and the fact that they can only be visited at low tide and you still run the risk of a freak wave coming sorta added to the thrill. And the scenery made me stop in my tracks and say a silent prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to be here and experience the sound of every crashing wave and the feel of every grain of sand between my toes.

From there we had one more set of falls that just couldn't be missed. The drive included pastel coastal scenery, an eternal golf course of rolling green hills and about 283 rounds of "Do you want to build a snowman". And a vow that our next car will most definitely have a built in DVD player.

They climbed in this huge hollow tree and the tour group that walked by got quite the kick out of it. As we speak, images of my kids in a tree are now circulating around China.

The Purakaunui falls were spectacular. I expected to see a Toucan fly by and hear monkeys calling in the trees. And then I looked down at the gloves on my hands and the scarf around my neck and was reminded that we were in a rainforest, just not a tropical one. But even under a wool coat they were pretty impressive to look at.

Our last stop was Nugget point. It's no lie that I have a thing for light houses and this one satisfied every single last one of my lighthouse needs. Ryder fell asleep in the car so we tag teamed this one and Maddox and I were on the first shift. The 20 minute walk took us about 45 minutes because he loves to stop and smell the flowers. And try to catch butterflies. And explore hideouts under trees. And check the tension in the wire fence. And read every plaque. And re read every plaque because I talked too fast the first time. And examine every rock that has the slightest potential to be a diamond. I think this boy was put into my life to teach me to find joy in the journey. And to teach me that I really stink at practicing patience. But I loved holding his little hand in mine as we stood on the edge of the earth and talked about what a beautiful world we live in.

We went back and cooked up a proper Easter dinner of roast chicken and new potatoes. I sort of felt like we were on the set of A Christmas Story as we ate our feast around our retro wood laminate table surrounded by peeling peony print wallpaper. But it was sort of cozy and the view out the window of the setting sun over the green hills was peaceful. We ended our Easter with a little devotional and testimony meeting and a reminder that sometimes all the bunny fluff can get in the way of the true meaning of Easter. Slowly I'm learning that less is more and simplicity is divine.


Ali said...

Oh my word - so stunning - I used to think Book, now I'm thinking Calendar.

Favourite shot has nothing to do with which photo is most gorgeous (that game is too hard with you!), but which photo reveals your parenting style best. 3rd from the bottom - kids who are allowed to get muddy and sandy!! Yee-ha... that's the way to grow up. May you be a shining example to all the parents who keep their kids too clean, out of trees and indoors when it rains :-)

Super duper stuff!

Julie said...

Your blog is amazing! I am always so happy to see that you keep up with what you are doing and record all the beautiful moments! So many people including myself have stopped blogging and I regret it so much!! Thanks for sharing all your experiences with us, you and your kids will cherish it forever!

Ronnie said...

I couldn't agree more. Divine simplicity. But there is nothing simple about that place. WOW! I am in awe of that scenery. I'm thinking we need to replicate this trip in November...
And thank heavens for Judy, you got to step in the family shots. Don't get me wrong, I love Jason and your cute kids but seeing your smiling face and yellow boots in those pictures is just the best.