Tuesday, January 27, 2015


We barely had time to unpack our bags, do a load of laundry then pack up again for a quick trip to the north island. Jason's office closes down for several weeks during the holidays and we wanted to take advantage of the time off and explore as much as we can. We're really starting to feel the clock tick down as we only have four months left here. We were originally going to all fly up together, but we found a relocation mini-van that saved us a lot of money so Jason and Maddox turned it into an adventure. They left a day before us and had a fun little boy's trip driving up to Picton then taking the 4 hour ferry ride up to Wellington. They spent the night sleeping in the van in a church parking lot before picking us up at the airport the next morning at 8;00. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but totally worth it!

Maddox's favorite part, besides camping at the church, was that he got to have a large ice cream cone instead of a kiddie sized one. Perks of an only child. He also lost his tooth right before leaving. I'm kinda fond of that cute little toothless grin.

The first stop in Wellington was the Te Papa Museum. A while ago the kids were watching a Nat Geo special about the colossal squid and when they found out that the largest one ever found is on display here, then a visit to this museum immediately went on their bucket list. It was a fascinating way to spend a drizzly morning.

Next up was a pizza picnic at Frank Kitt's Park right on the waterfront. It was a pretty good choice, if I do say so myself

Wellington is such a gorgeous city. I had been told that, but I didn't quite expect to be so blown away by it. Maybe it's because we've never been to a big city in New Zealand, I mean Maddox could hardly believe that we were going to an actual real city. It totally had a Vancouver/Victoria/San Francisco/Seattle vibe to it. Pretty much any big coastal city surrounded by lush green hills would fit the bill. We took a quick trolley ride to the top of Mount Victoria then a scenic walk down through the botanic gardens to the bottom. Our kids really don't like walks. Especially ones that involve looking at flowers. They think that's an old person's sport. Our entire week at the beach house was like a dream, everyone got along so well and Jason and I patted ourselves on the back for thinking we were such good parents. And then everything came crashing down. We were all so tired and grumpy at this point, but despite the tears, scraped knees, elbow jabs, snide remarks and evil glares that were being dealt out, we managed to make it down alive and some of us even enjoyed the scenery along the way.

By the time we made it to the bottom an hour later, everyone seemed to have cheered up. The giant dreidel and an ice cream bar melted away the last of the tears.

We strolled up and down Cuba Street admiring all the architecture

Then the last stop was the Otari Wilton Bush, where I would have loved to explore some of their walking tracks, but we all know where the kids stand when it comes to that kind of thing. Besides, it was getting late and we still had a good several hours of driving ahead until we reached our next destination. I wish we could have explored every nook and cranny of this beautiful city, the small taste we got left me craving more. A quick stop at the grocery store for dinner on the go then we were off, driving past endless rolling green hills while the only sound we could hear was Maddox snoring. Every day isn't always perfect, but I'll take it. The good, the bad and the ugly. I'll take it all.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Second time's a charm

Last year we explored around quite a bit while we were at the beach house. This year we wanted to mostly stay put, except for two exceptions. The first was Wharariki Beach with it's endless rolling sand dunes. When we went last year it was so windy that the sand felt like pins stabbing into our skin. We stayed long enough for Ryder to fall asleep under my dress, then vowed to come back the following year. We lucked out to get such amazing weather almost the entire week we were there and absolutely loved coming back and spending a day at one of the most incredibly beautiful beaches I've ever seen. And we've seen a lot.

The second stop was Totaranui Bay in Abel Tasman. Last summer this was our last stop after a long day of hiking and exploring. We underestimated how long and trecherous the drive was over the mountain on a single lane gravel road. We finally got there and were down to the last crumbs of food. The kids were exhausted and starving and the closest store was an hour away.  Needless to say, we didn't spend as much time here as we wanted to, but were completely in awe of the vivid orange sand against the crystal blue waters outlined by the lush green forest and knew we wanted to come back. This place is unreal. Both times that we've been here we feel like we're on a movie set. As we headed over this time, we patted ourselves on the back for being so much more prepared, only to realize we totally left the cooler full of food back at the house. A quick u-turn and fifteen minutes later we were back on the road and headed to paradise.

Yes, my legs are totally fried. Even with sunscreen this sun is still so intense. #gingerproblems

I had one of those mom moments here. The one where I want to memorize everything about this little space in time. The way the golden sand stuck on Kylie's sun tanned shoulders.  The freckles scattered across Jayden's nose and the way his eyes disappear when he smiles. The silhouette of Maddox searching the crevices of the rocks for crabs, his whispy hair blowing in the wind. The way Ryder's swim shirt is stretched tight over his little belly. And the way Jason is right in the middle of them all while I have the luxury of sitting alone quietly on the beach just soaking it all in. I love Kelle Hampton's blog, she has a way of putting into words just what I'm thinking. She described the need to reach out and give your kids an extra squeeze for your future self who wishes you could go back in time and just hold them like that for a moment. I did just that. Tousled that hair, brushed off that sand, kissed that forehead, held them a little tighter on my lap all wrapped up tight in a towel and said a silent prayer of gratitude for each one of them and the blessing I have of being their mother.