27 January 2008

Changing times


This week has seen us doing some fairly momentous thinking about whether our future as a family really does lie in this house. Much as we would be incredibly sad to leave it, we also need to be realistic about what our priorities are as a family are. With our good friend Jules going overseas for two years, we have the opportunity to rent/property manage her place in Karori which looks as if it will work out beneficially for all of us. It would also be a great chance for us to save some fairly good money over the next couple of years for our family's future. We certainly aren't in any trouble financially, it's just that we have some long-term goals that don't necessarily marry up with staying in our house for the long-term so far better to seek out some other alternatives now which can enable us to achieve our goals. All this is dependent of course on us being able to sell our house as well so first things first...

Doing all this thinking however certainly has got my poor brain in a spin and haven't been sleeping the best as too much going on in it for me to be able to relax and go to sleep. Hopefully now that we've talked through things, we can make some concrete progress.

In other news this week, Noah has had a good week, albeit suffering from a slight virus which may or may not be a mild dose of the chickenpox. Three kids at daycare were supposed to have come down from it and were off sick, and Noah has been a bit spotty in the evenings but the spots certainly haven't developed into anything, disappearing again in the morning.

Yesterday we had our usual family outing to the shops, then a haircut for Noah (No. 3) and passport photos (the countdown is on till the big trip!). Today Mark had a 4-hour orienteering mountain bike ride with a group of friends, so Noah and I hung out at home this morning then ventured down to the gardens to catch the tail-end of the Teddy Bears Picnic. That combined with a few webcams with family and friends has made the weekend just fly by.

Not too much else to report, I think we are both pretty worn out from all the scenarios we have been discussing re the next 2 years and now just need to let the dust settle and trust in God that we are making the right decision and that the rest will work itself out over time.

20 January 2008

Adventurous Boy

We have noticed that Noah has become more adventurous of late, which we have seen by his attempts to throw himself headfirst off the futon couch - it has effectively become his crash mat at home, and his daring at the park in going down the slide all on his own. He's also very adept on the stairs, and can now successfully negotiate the down steps with 'no hands!'

It's a long weekend in Wellington, not that we really feel we need another holiday this close to Christmas, and we made the most of our time by going out visiting some friends on their gorgeous 10-acre block just outside Paetahanui on Saturday morning with a combined trip to the supermarket and baby shop (to buy a potty!) along the way. It is probably still a little early for potty training but we figure it can't hurt to have it in the house and remind Noah from time to time what it's for, and if an oppportunity does present itself, we'll try to pop him on there at the appropriate time.

Yesterday (Sunday) Mark went out for a practice bike ride in preparation for his Akatarawa Attack race next Sunday (a 4-hr orienteering mountain bike ride with a team of friends), whilst Noah and I made some lemon muffins - Noah was very helpful in trying to get the rind off the lemons and also helping with the washing up - although I think most of the water from the sink ended up on the floor by the end of it. It was such a lovely morning we also took a trip to see the ducks. Noah has FINALLY figured out that the frozen bread is actually much better thrown to the ducks than in his mouth, so was enthusiastically helping throw in the 4 pieces we took with us. Then it was a short hop up to the play area where Noah showed off his new-found confidence in climbing up the jungle gym and then sliding down the slide for me. Once Mark returned from his ride, we both enjoyed a quiet and relaxing coffee (me in the sun outside with a book whilst Mark surfed the net).

This afternoon we took Noah to his very first cricket game, a 20/20 (20 overs each) cricket match, Wellington vs. Central Districts. We stayed for about an hour and a half, Noah was very good and enjoyed going to see the rollers for the pitch - he thought they were diggers, the fact that they were about the right size, orange with Hirequip signage one can hardly blame him. We also saw plenty of helicopters and planes overhead to keep him amused for the duration.

Late in the day, the 2 children from next door (Natasha - five and Chris - three) came over for a visit, bringing us several bunches of flowers (clover/daisies/grasses), enjoying playing with some of Noah's toys and sitting down with us to watch a Baby Einstein DVD before Dad (Alan) came over to coax them home with the prospect of making homemade pizzas for dinner.

Earlier in the week, Mark and I were fortunate enough to be invited to The Police concert at short notice. Neither of us are massive fans but it was an enjoyable night watching Fergie (the sideline act) and catching up with Keryn and Marissa (for Marissa's birthday treat) all the same. The polished light show/stage effects were quite impressive and it was a treat to be able to go to an outdoors evening concert in Wellington with such good weather!

Today (Monday) is so hot and still - a perfect public holiday day really! This morning we've webcammed with Grandma & Grandad, and then 'Aunty' Claire in the UK for the first time which was a treat - although Noah had just gone off for a sleep so missed this one :-(. We're off to Jules' for lunch today so I can help her set up her new laptop with the Internet etc and then a swim - a must on such a warm day!

14 January 2008

Bug Life

Well 2008 has kicked off with bang in more ways than one. What with the great weather we are having (albeit a little cloudy today – Sunday), we thought we couldn’t be healthier…..well was I wrong!!

Noah’s day care had a bit of an epidemic with a gastroenteritis outbreak on Tuesday and nine of the full time teachers were bedridden for at least 48 hours. This caused a little bit of concern for us as we expected the worst with Noah, and just assumed that the bug would hit him. But somehow (??) Noah managed a full week at day care and escaped the vicious little bug with ease. Daddy (me!) on the other hand got a dose that I can’t wait to forget. I won’t go into it too much, but lets just say it hit me hard and I knew about it!!!!

As I had to take Friday off, both Noah and Mummy carried on as normal as though there wasn’t even a bug, and had a great day. I was resting when they arrived home to hear Noah shouting 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy' as the stroller passed down the street (very heart warming to know he had missed me). Mummy managed to communicate with Noah and let him know I was not well by saying/signing “daddy’s got an ‘ow’ puku” (Maori for tummy). Noah continued to keep asking mummy if daddy’s puku was still ow long into Saturday by which time I was feeling a lot better (bless his cotton socks).

Noah did have a visit to the doc’s on Thursday as one of his ribs looked like it was sticking out, but the doctor gave him the thumbs up and Noah didn’t sign the ‘ow’ word (putting his two index fingers together) whenever we touched it, but we were glad we got it checked out all the same.

This weekend was a very relaxed one. Mum and Noah did the shopping as usual whilst I stayed at home, not wanting to spread the bug. We spent some time building towers and cranes with the mega-blocks and Noah was in a great mood as you can see from the photos. Later we took a road trip to Makara (wild west Wellinton coast a half hour away) to see what animals we could see. The road to Makara is very windy and narrow, so not the most pleasant trip (as I was still feeling a little queasy), but we did stop to see a digger (OK so not an animal, but he loved it anyway), some sheep and some horses. We decided to go all the way to Makara beach, but I swear the winds were near to 100km an hour, and none of us wanted to stay…so back in the car it was.

Meghan has been on hospitality at church all day today, so it’s been one of those ‘daddy day care days’. I’ve been feeling a whole heap better today, and me and the little fella have had a ball. It started with a trip to the ducks at 8.45am, followed by the park (this week Noah was climbing up the apparatus and sliding down the slide all by himself!!), home for a sleep (Noah that is…I had a coffee and caught up on the football news from the weekend’s games), Mum joined us for lunch, we then went for another swim (which Noah loved) and then home for some tea, whilst mum went back to church.

The weather is supposed to continue for the coming week, so more bbq’s are on the agenda…

Its now Tuesday and I (Meg) came down with the lurgy yesterday, although it didn't develop into quite as violent a bug as Mark had thankfully. Instead I felt very queasy when I woke up but thankfully rather than spending the day hugging the toilet like Mark, I just felt very odd all day, wiped out and weak, dozing in bed for a lot of the day (which is not like me!), in-between trying to get some work done on the laptop from my sickbed! The great news is that I felt nearly 100% again this morning as if it had never happened and so was able to get back to normal life. Here's to a more healthy week ahead for us all!

06 January 2008

To Swim or not to Swim

No new photos from us this weekend as after taking some several hundred over the holidays and posting so many on the blog we're all photo-ed out, but we just wanted to share with you our two swimming experiences from this weekend.

Yesterday we took Noah to Karori Pool (this was his third swim in as many weeks after a couple of not so great attempts in New Plymouth both of the Sundays we were there). We had taken him to Karori Pool half a dozen times last summer (not that he would have remembered mind you), and we enjoy the location as it is close to home and not as busy as some of the large aquatic centres around Wellington.

Noah spent the better part of the first 10 minutes desperately crying and clinging madly to me (Meg) and any attempt to sit him deeper in the water resulted in even more vigorous crying. We thought we were going to have to get out at that point, but we managed to save the day by taking it right back to basics and sitting in the shallowest pool (about 0.25m). Daddy then put his face in the water and blew bubbles encouraging Noah to do the same. Once he was comfortable with this, we then rolled a ball back and forth with Noah sitting on my knees which he enjoyed. Eventually we were able to graduate to the 0.40m pool (Noah not letting go of us for a moment though), enjoying putting our hands and faces into the water spouts and under the water fountain. After some time, we managed to get him into the 0.8m pool and then swam him along holding him under his shoulders - all in all we spent an hour in the pool, a vast improvement on all our recent attempts.

Today (Sunday) we went back to the pool (there's nothing like striking while the iron is hot!) and went from baby pool to bigger and then biggest kiddy pool in about 5 minutes flat. Today Noah was like a fish in the water, happily kicking his legs as we swam him along, going under the waterfalls, being dunked and letting us stand him on the side and then hold him as we 'jumped' him into the water. He even held onto a flutterboard with us holding onto him around the middle and happily kicked away. In the middle pool (which he can stand up in) he even ventured for a walk in the water on his own which was the thing he seemed most scared of doing yesterday.

This was yet another introduction to a new experience that has been so VERY Noah...so unhappy and cautious to begin with, yet loving it once he's had time to adjust. After the wheelbarrow experience at M&D's where he cried and cried the first time and subsequently loved it, riding in Poppa's barrow has definitely made an impression on him as all he has wanted to do this week is be taken for a ride around the house in his own wooden trolley (our city version of a wheelbarrow!).

Our first full week of work for a while awaits us tomorrow..it's bound to be a bit of a shock to the system!

02 January 2008

All Good Things Come To an End

Today is the last day of what has been a wonderful 12 days together, with so many new experiences for Noah and fun family times it has certainly been a holiday to treasure for us. Here’s a few snapshots from the last few days:

More Fun at Matangi
As well as hanging out with the cats and horses, we had fun digging up 'tartoes' with Poppa, and watching Noah pose like a nude Greek statue on the kitchen floor! The adults also got the chance to try out petanque on the great sized lawn once Noah was in bed.

Bad Parenting 101
One of the more hilarious movies we took was of Daddy 'helping' Noah ride his bike, though as you can see from the video Noah might have had more success on his own!

The Zoo
Mum & Dad were very excited about taking Noah to the zoo, and he didn't disappoint. He insisted on walking the whole way around the zoo, and every time we left an animal he would say 'tataa' and wave to them before saying 'more...more', i.e. what's next?! He enjoyed seeing the monkeys and rhino and we even made up a new sign for rhino whilst we were there which Noah readily copied.

Family Portraits
We also took the opportunity whilst at the zoo to try and get some nice family shots as it is always so easy for the days to pass without remembering to stop and take some just the three of us.

Hamilton Gardens
We left Poppa and Nic at home in peace to finish off putting up the new shade sail for the kitchen deck and took a trip to the Hamilton Gardens. Noah was very independent and wanted to walk everywhere on his own.

I've used Picasa to make a couple of the shots with Noah and the fountain a bit more arty, and am hoping I might be able to enlarge the one of Noah running towards the fountain to put up on the wall. To me, the photo really looks like he is 'Boy Alone' in the midst of a vast space.

Fun in New Plymouth
After a wonderful (and spontaneously extended by one day) 5 days with Nana and Poppa, it was time to hit the road back to GeeGee for a couple of nights. When we arrived, we enjoyed a gorgeous warm afternoon in GeeGee's back garden playing with some water in the garden. The next day we returned to Okurukuru, the gorgeous winery cafe for lunch where we had so enjoyed a visit the last time we were in New Plymouth. This time, though, we had the added attraction of not one, but TWO helicopters on show, and we even saw them both land, Noah was simply in helicopter heaven!

Festival of Lights
Whilst in New Plymouth, Mark and I took a rare opportunity to enjoy a night out on our own, visiting the famous Pukekura Park's Festival of Lights. For me, this was a trip down memory lane as we used to visit the park every Christmas holidays when staying with Granma, but it has certainly developed into a much bigger event than fifteen years ago. We also drove past what must have been New Plymouth's most lit-up house in this year's annual Light Up Your House competition - quite a sight!

And so ends, for us a most memorable and fun-filled Christmas holiday. Sadly, tomorrow it is back to work and daycare for us all. My first PAS study pack is due to arrive at the end of this month which I am trying very hard not to think about until I have to. That being said, we do of course have plenty to look forward to this year, with our trip to the UK to see Mark's family now only 15 weeks away and the time is bound to fly between now and then.

From the much more relaxed and refreshed team M...that's all for now!


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