27 December 2007

Country Life

Oh what it is to be on holiday in the country... the sweet sound of birds, the wind rustling in the trees and the occasional animal call.

Mark and I were commenting that coming to visit Nana and Poppa in the country actually feels like we’ve gone to a real holiday destination because it is so different to our daily life in Wellington. I also think that having a little one really opens your eyes to the joys and delights of all that is around us which might pass us by if we simply looked with adults’ eyes.

We have taken several trips in the wheelbarrow to see the cows/sheep/horses/donkeys, with muscle assistance kindly provided by Poppa and Uncle Nic too. Noah is clearing saying ‘Nana’ and ‘Poppa’ now, and asking where they are if they are not in the room, amazing given that he only started saying these words on Christmas Eve. He is quite enthralled with the 3 cats (Nigs, Tui and Frank) who are all a little wary of this wee creature who is ever so interested in them and likes to follow them around.

Yesterday afternoon we took advantage of the Boxing Day Sale and picked up a ride-on bike (which Noah has been riding confidently all over the house) and a kite. It was incredibly windy yesterday afternoon so we were able to get some good speed and height up when we took it out for its inaugural flight. Noah with his keen eyesight also spotted a ‘bboon’ (hot air balloon) in the distance this morning.

Noah helped Poppa dig up some potatoes ‘tartoe’ for dinner and very proudly carried his own ‘tartoe’ inside to give to Nana. He also enjoyed helping Nana pick some mint & chives for the salad.

Last night Sam & Ainsley came for dinner with Kip - who Noah is still not too sure of when he gets up close and personal! Noah did his best to make eyes at Ainsley across the dinner table with a face covered in blueberry pie which was hilarious. After packing Noah off to bed, all seven of us played two games of Cranium together - good fun!

Tomorrow the much anticipated trip to the Hamilton Zoo awaits!

25 December 2007

Crackin Christmas

This morning dawned warm with fluffy clouds and although at midday it has now clouded over we are lucky to have enjoyed a morning outside as rain was most definitely forecast. We opened Noah’s curtains this morning to find Poppa out in the field doing some early morning work (naughty) and two cats outside the window. In a matter of seconds Noah was half hanging out the window waving to Poppa and exclaiming at two cats come to visit him.

Daddy was so excited about opening Noah’s presents this morning (was that so he could play with them or Noah…!) that we barely got through breakfast before he was dragging us all into the lounge to rip into them. There was clearly an aviation theme running through most of them, nothing like encouraging him down a certain pathway from an early age! The rip-cord helicopters (from the $2 shop) were great fun to fly outdoors, and the pull-back and go TNT jumbo jet that Poppa got from his work was quite the hit too. However, he really is still too young to appreciate all the presents and was quite happy to leave them all behind to go and play in the dirt outside with Daddy. Then we braved another trip in the wheelbarrow (with no complaints this time…so very Noah!) travelling a bit further down the road to see some sheep and a very friendly horse. He very nearly fell asleep in the wheelbarrow on the way back, and so we have packed him off to bed for a nap to recover from the morning’s excitement. Daddy and Poppa have since been busy building Poppa’s Christmas present for the last hour, a gas barbecue which we are going to try out for lunch very shortly!

Heavenly Holidays

We’ve been on holiday for four days, and what a fun time we’ve had already.

Saturday was spent packing for our road trip, Daddy went out for a bike ride and got very sunburnt (silly!) and we took a late afternoon trip to the supermarket and the obligatory trip to the airport to watch the planes on the runway. Noah has developed his confidence so that he is not fazed at all by the 737’s taking off even though the roar is extremely loud and even Mum & Dad find it quite breathtaking.

Sunday we travelled up to New Plymouth, spending a wonderful hour on the way at Virginia Lake in Wanganui, playing amongst the ducks, watching the somewhat aggressive and large swans being fed, and marvelling at all the exotic birds in the aviary. Once arriving at GeeGee’s (aka Great Granma), the afternoon was so warm that we decided to take a dip at the aquatic centre. Noah, as usual, was far from happy about the experience to start with but gradually got more confident the longer he was in the water. We were in the toddler pool for some time, and then braved the big pool to experience the wave simulation, but it was 5 degrees colder and we only lasted a couple of minutes as even Noah was visibly shivering and saying ‘cold …cold’. Then back to GeeGees for dinner and a catch up with Wendy, Derek, Bethany and Bryn.

Christmas Eve we got on the road mid-morning and thankfully Noah went straight to sleep through the windy parts of the journey over Mt Messenger and the Awakino Gorge. It was only Mark’s second time travelling this road (and probably about my 60th!) but we both were able to enjoy the gorgeous and dramatic scenery, and thought that this northern West Coast journey was reminiscent of our South Island West Coast road trip earlier in the year. We arrived at Nana and Poppa’s just after lunch and spent a lovely afternoon getting acquainted with Uncle Nic and Sam’s toy trucks and tractors, and riding in Poppa’s wheelbarrow (to floods of tears – only our Noah!) to see what animals we could discover in the nearby fields. Then we were even privileged enough to be allowed to ride on Poppa’s ride-on mower (this time Noah was po-faced but no tears which probably means he did enjoy it!)

Noah’s favourite sign at the moment is ‘where?’, and he has been using a great deal to express his desire to question…‘where’s… Poppa…the cat’ etc.

After dinner, Uncle Sam showed up with not one but two dogs (his wee fox terrier Kip rather dwarfed by his friend’s dog Pedro, a Staffordshire-cross). Noah was most interested but from a distance, his little face was priceless when Kip got a little too up close and personal, his mouth forming a perfect ‘O’ of surprise and trying his best to hide behind us. We all enjoyed the beautiful warm evening and sat outside till long after 8pm.

17 December 2007

Short n Sweet

As the number of sleeps to Christmas are flying by at a rate of knots and we're busy trying to get ready for our trip up to see the family, this is literally just a hello and to post a few photos from the week.

Noah met Romeo the bunny on Saturday at our friends' Sally & Olly's housewarming. If we went outside to see Romeo once while we were there, we went a dozen times as he was rather intrigued by this gorgeous animal and kept signing 'rabbit' 'rabbit'.

Saturday night we caught up with Shannon & Guy who are about to open their furniture store Vast next week, Jonny came over to stay the night so the boys could get up at silly o'clock (4am) to watch their West Ham v Everton derby, and then Meg was busy all Sunday on hospitality at church. The two boys went out to feed the ducks who nearly feasted on them they were so hungry. Mark said the pigeons were literally landing on their heads (which Noah wasn't too happy about) and Mark even picked up a pigeon in each hand.

I had a full-on day at work today trying to firefight a potential major telecommunications disaster, finding a temporary fix at 4.45pm after working on it all day and having the horrible potential of having to sleep the night at work as an interim solution, which thankfully I didn't have to do.

Onto packing and organising, and we're sure we'll have plenty of blog updates over the holiday period to come! In the meantime, click on the link below to check out us three starring as Elfs in our very own Christmas carol...
(You need to have Flash Player installed to view it but it's worth it!)

09 December 2007

Trip to the Bay....

It was a busy ol weekend for us. We jetted off to the Hawkes Bay (4 hrs away) on Friday afternoon to stay with our good friends Tracey & Dayne and to attend a friend's wedding. The trip up there was pretty tedious with a ratty wee boy in the backseat for most of the trip.. but hey we made it in one piece which is the main thing.

We were able to enjoy a lovely chilled out evening over a gorgeous home cooked meal (rack of veal) by Dayne and a few glasses of wine. Saturday dawned dreary and rainy (not a typical day in the Bay!) so we went out for a spot of breakfast at a family friendly cafe and then hung out at home indoors until we had to head off for the wedding, leaving Noah in the Easte's capable hands! The rain cleared sufficiently afer the ceremony for the bridal party to get a few outside shots and it certainly was warm later in the day. The ceremony was held at a beautiful rural church a half hour drive from where we were staying in Havelock North, and the reception at the gorgeous Te Awa winery.


The groom is a helicopter pilot in the NZ air force and got married in his 'gears' and they exited the church to a Guard of Honour - pretty cool! The aviation theme continued through to the reception where the MC played the part of our flight attendant guiding us safely through the meal and speeches, very cleverly done and entertaining. The food was amazing as was the wine, and the speeches were both funny and very touching. Even though we only knew a couple of others at the wedding, it was a lovely chance to spend some time just the two of us and Noah was (we hear) a good boy for Tracey, going down to bed with no fuss. Albeit we did have an hour and a half of unexplained crying as we got home at 10.30pm but other than that, it all went very smoothly.

This morning we were able to get outside in the garden and admire Dayne's handiwork which is impressive given they have only been in the Bay for a few months, including a very comprehensive vege garden, and some landscaping with plans for more over the summer. We were very spoilt to come away with bags of grapefruit from their tree, and some fresh vegetables, and both Noah and I have enjoyed cauliflower cheese for dinner tonight as a result - thanks Dayne!


After a yummy cooked breakfast prepared by Tracey we hit the road, taking a more straight forward route home. The highlight of our time on the road today was a little cafe called Beyond The Bridge just before the Manawatu Gorge. I had discovered this little gem two months ago when travelling up to Tracey's birthday, and it didn't fail to disappoint again today. It comes complete with views of the many wind turbines on Te Apiti wind farm (so Noah was in his element!), chickens, horses and a fantastic peaceful rural setting for a cafe with plenty of outdoor space for kids to run around. It even has a sandpit which Noah discovered on our way back to the car so we had to stop for a few minutes play. He was most intrigued by the chickens, calling them 'Doodle Doo' as in 'Cock-a-doodle-do' - too cute.


Thankfully even though Noah only slept the first hour of the trip, he was in much better spirits which we think has something to do with the fact that we elevated his car seat a wee bit so he could better see out which seemed to keep him far more entertained and we didn't even have to get out any toys or books the whole trip whereas nothing could keep his interest for more than a couple of minutes on Friday on our way up.

This week he also amazed both us and his daycare teachers by sleeping 3.5 hours one day - a possible growth spurt, and has been eating like there's no tomorrow which is such a relief after his extreme fussiness a couple of months ago.

This week we did a fair bit of research and have now 95% confirmed our flights to the UK for April (only 4.5 months away), travelling on Lufthansa via LA and Bangkok. We have picked our flights based not just on price although it is a factor, but on the fact we can fly straight into Bristol (avoiding London Heathrow altogether) which is only an hour's drive from Mark's parent's house. We are also going to stopover in both directions to break the journey which will be challenging enough with a 20-month old. Originally we weren't that fussed on staying in LA but many people have convinced us that Anaheim will be really fun and is a good place for families. On the way back we may just stay at a brand new resort hotel right next to Bangkok airport (I didn't need much convincing after I found it has a lovely pool (including pool bar) and it might be nice to have a tropical relaxer for a day or two on the way home.

Anyhow I have certainly made up for the lack of conversation in last week's blog and there are plenty of jobs calling out to be done after being away this weekend, so I'll leave it there. Can't believe only 2 weeks till Christmas, there's still so much to do!


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