Thursday, October 30, 2014

It could pass as Utah

The vast difference in the landscape here just floors me. We bounced along a dusty dirt road to these clay cliffs and I swear we were in the middle of southern Utah. This little gem is off the beaten track (literally and figuratively), it's not one of the regulars on the tourist stops but it definitely should be. They are stunning creations of nature that doubled as a mighty fine playground. Until we started rock slides, had a potty accident, and then lost a child. That was a scary ten minutes or so. Buuuut, it was still a pretty incredible place.

This is the point where we had bitten off more than we could chew. It got pretty steep and the ones in front kept causing rock falls that would come down and hit us below. It was kind of scary trying to get back down with the little ones with out slipping on all the loose rocks. We had a few tense moments. Jason took Maddox another way down but let him go down first so that the rocks wouldn't hit him. When Maddox got down he couldn't see the rest of us so he went to the car to try and find us. There is nothing worse than the feeling of not knowing where your child is.

Kylie wants to do a "dancing around New Zealand" gallery wall in her room when we move back

I told the kids to pack coats because it was supposed to be cold and rainy. Why do I even bother checking the weather forecast? I ended up as the pack mule carrying everyone's jackets, because you know, it's totally my fault for telling them to dress warm.

We sort of stumbled across this little lagoon and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was so picturesque and I love just sitting back and watching the kids play.

This time a cookie bribe was involved

Jason took Ryder on an adventure that ended with hide and go seek in the woods. It always ends with hide and go seek in the woods with that boy.

I think it was about donuts this time

I seriously love when the sun hits the water at a certain angle and it just bursts with color

And then Jason and I took a nostalgic trip down memory lane when we came across this McDonald's playland grave yard. I mean, you really haven't lived unless you've experienced life behind the bars of a Hamburglar jail. It wasn't until we noticed the security van that we realized how suspicious we looked with silly grins on our faces and a zoom lens poking out of our car window taking pictures of kids on a playground. We decided it was best to leave at that point. We went home and ate a crock pot roast dinner, listened to some Ariana Grande, squeezed onto the hide-a-bed while we switched between watching Toy Story and X-factor, criticized the judges for their poor critiques and ate ice cream out of mugs. These are the days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Labor (I mean "Labour") Day weekend

We're so spoiled here. I feel like we need to take a trip at least once a month. We haven't taken a trip as a family since our vacation to the states in July and I was beginning to feel deprived. Which pretty much means I'm never going to survive real life when we move back. I keep thinking we've seen pretty much everything in the South Island, and then we discover some place new that blows us away. Our Labor day weekend getaway started out with plastic Mario caps in McDonald's happy meals, which is pretty much a good omen if I've ever seen one.

We flipped a U-turn when we saw this bouncy house outside a cute cafe that advertised real fruit ice cream. The kids got some awesome static hair while I sat in the sun eating everyone's ice cream and pondering how sexy Jason's calves looked while he changed the tail light on the car. It was an above average pit stop, I would say.

And the thing about road trips here is that getting there is half the fun. You never know what you might stumble across, like these canola fields for days...

Nobody wanted to get out of the car for a picture. I think Jason felt sorry for me because there were all these other couples taking pictures of each other in the flowers and then there I was by my lonesome taking pictures of empty fields. So he offered to take my picture. Which I always feel awkward taking pictures by myself. So hey. Here's a picture of me standing in front of some flowers. With my hands in my back pocket because I have no idea where to put them.

And then Ryder joined me. He's always up for an adventure. And he probably felt sorry for me too.

Our first stop was Lake Tekapo. We went here last summer and were anxious for an excuse to come back. It's such a beautiful lake that changes colors depending on what angle you look at it. The funny thing is that it was actually warmer this time than it was during the summer months. I'm really hoping this summer is good to us, the weather last summer was just cruel.

The sun was out but the water was still freezing, these are glacier lakes after all. But the kids are always up for a good dare. Jayden and Maddox won an extra scoop of ice cream for going all the way under. I think it took them a good three hours before they finally thawed out.

Maddox learned the fine art of skipping rocks and has joined the ranks with the older kids. It's always a fun way to pass the time.

This area of the high country is known as the Lakes District for all of the incredible blue lakes. Lake Pukaki is my favorite. It is actually one of my favorite spots in the whole south island, and you can imagine how hard that is to narrow down. The stunning snow capped "Aoraki" Mount Cook (the tallest mountain in all of Australasia) is the perfect backdrop to this turquoise lake. It's just postcard perfect.

This cheeky monkey proved to be the best little travel companion this trip. He was always the first to volunteer to get out at the scenic look out points while all the other kids preferred to stay in the car and play their electronics. He was just so happy the entire time, travelling is so much more enjoyable now that he is getting older. I mean, just look at that face.

We picked up some fresh fish from the salmon farm. It was delicious. I still can't believe I like fish. We found a cute little holiday home (they call them a "bach") in Twizel. We always say a prayer before we start a trip and it was Maddox's turn to say it. He prayed that the house we were staying at would be nice. I knew what he meant. He wasn't wishing for marble bathrooms and plasma tv's, he was simply hoping there wouldn't be mold growing in the shower and that no one would walk away with a communicable disease. We've stayed at some pretty sketchy places along the way, but thankfully this one was pretty decent.

After dinner the kids groaned when we told them that we were taking a scenic drive. I know how they feel. I haven't always shared the same interests as an 80 year old grandma. Sure I took up crocheting years ago, but the scenic drives are a new thing. I remember my grandparents always wanting to take scenic drives and I just never understood the thrill. But now I do and hopefully one day they'll at least be able to look back at the pictures and appreciate the beauty.

It was so windy. This lake had some pretty impressive waves, you would think it was the ocean.

And you know I've got to say it..."a perfect ending to a perfect day". You've come to expect that from me by now, it's sorta my tag line whenever sunsets are involved.