25 January 2009

Hanging with Jackie

Noah & Jackie enjoying a fluffy/coffee & a bit of Horton hears a Who

Noah has had a fun weekend, much of which was spent hanging out with Jackie (my friend and colleague). We went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button together on Friday night so it made sense for Jackie to stay the night and then she kindly babysat for us last night so we could go out to Marissa's 30th birthday party. We also went to George's 3rd birthday at Te Papa, which was heaps of fun. They had a room all set up for the kids to listen to stories and half the room was behind a curtain which was opened up after several stories to become a lovely room of adventure for the children to play in. There were sea creatures, farm animals and a bridge to try to fish off.

The children listen intently to the farmyard stories which set the scene
And we're off to feed the animals, hey look a Mummy duck & a baby duck
It's Bruce the Shark! How tall am I....about 92 cms I think!
We found some eggs under the hen! Magnetic fishing provides good fun
I caught me a stingray. Party time at Te Papa
George makes short work of his three candles while Noah eyes up the cake

Noah had a ball at the party, but was also equally interested in going to see the 'scary pig'. On the few occasions we have been to Te Papa, we have usually visited the native animal section and there is a rather big and mean-looking bush pig which used to scare Noah out of his wits. We talked about it before we went, how it wasn't real, just pretend, so he conquered his fears and even told the pig about the cut he had on his finger and how he had to wear a plaster. I was so proud of him for wanting to go and see it, and for not chickening out when it came to it.

This morning Mark went out for a bike, so Noah, Jackie and I went to the Open Day at the Island Bay Marine Education Centre where there were various tanks of fish, turtles, lobsters, seashorses, and some fantastic open display tanks where you could touch shells, seaweed, sea cucumbers, starfish, and limpits. Even I was a little nervous about touching some of the stuff, but Jackie was brave enough to pick up a starfish after a fashion. Then we explored the rockpools for a while so Noah could indulge his desire to 'throw stones in the sea'.

Fun on the South Coast

This afternoon was spent doing some mega spring cleaning in advance of our special visitors who arrive one week today! I don't think the house has ever looked so clean, or certainly not since we tried to sell this time last year anyway! And we are thrilled to hear that Grandma & Grandad have arrived safely in Hong Kong and have already found time to enjoy a harbour cruise and a dim sum lunch! See you next week!

19 January 2009

Lots of catching up!

A few pics that didn't make it onto our last blog from our trip to the zoo. Noah was particularly fascinated by the bears eating pineapples

Noah the future England footballer modelling his Christmas present from James & Ann-Marie

I'm big enough to carry my own bag now

We were rather remiss in not doing a blog last week. We had such a busy weekend last weekend and were out most of the weekend. We also realised that we took no photos at all so thought we'd wait until this weekend for a bit more news and pictures.
Last weekend was a series of catchups, firstly morning tea at my friend Tanya's house. Noah enjoyed playing with Hannah who's about his age, it was very sweet seeing them enjoying a tea party together in Hannah's play tent. It was also the first time I had seen Noah playing 'baby' with Hannah's dolls - I think he has done at daycare but it was very sweet to see him want to undress and dress a baby and put it to bed.

Then it was off to Lucy & Aaron's to see the new edition to the family, William, who arrived on New Year's Day. Aaron's is Mark's new work colleague and Mark also used to work with Lucy. Later in the afternoon Mark took Noah for a swim whilst I did a spot of tidying around the house. I had a nasty bout of strep throat during the week and had to make an urgent trip to after hours to get some antibiotics. I spent a day in bed on the Wednesday which was much needed and thankfully the antibiotics started to work within 24 hours.

The new wheels!

Mark started his new job on Monday and by all accounts it was a good first week, fairly quiet but an easy introduction to what he'll be doing. We picked up our new car on Thursday and took it out for a nice long run over the Rimutaka Hill to visit our friends Sarah, Paul and Riley who is just a few months younger than Noah. One of the reasons for going was because the annual Wings over Wairarapa airshow was on. Sarah and Paul left Wellington and moved back to Masterton (their home town) back in August last year, and now own the most gorgeous old homestead complete with swimming pool and tennis court!

Wings over Wairarapa

We took a brief jaunt to see what we could see of the airshow from afar and found a good vantage point to see some pretty impressive aerobatics. Then it was home for a swim in the pool and a relaxing evening together.

Noah and Riley sharing a few laughs over an ice cream

Sunday morning we visited a playground in town that was fully built by volunteers, it was the most impressive adventure playground I have ever seen. Then we fed the ducks before enjoying a yummy brunch at a local cafe, and then headed home back over the hill. I drove both ways (more to stop the car sickness over the hill than anything!) and relished driving our new wheels!

Fun in the park with Riley

The other advantage to having a car and carpark in town is the ability to drive to work which we did all this week. Getting home at 5.10pm instead of 5.50pm has felt like an absolute luxury and has allowed us to all eat together as a family every night this week.

Today (Monday) was a public holiday in Wellington, starting with a run for us both (separately however!) and then a morning in the garden doing some tidying and trying to beat the rain that threatened ever darker throughout the morning, before turning into a torrential downpour at lunchtime, thankfully just as we were finishing up!

Helping Dad in the garden..although I'm not sure that's what the pliers are really for!

This afternoon we had antenatal friends over for a BBQ, and a lovely chance to see how much the kids have all grown up. We don't get together that often but when we do it is always nice to see much the children change and develop. We also finally managed to cook the famous 'terracotta chicken' that Mark, Steve and Hamish had discussed several times at previous get togethers over the past year or so!

The famous terracotta chicken, and Thomas, Piper, Grace & Noah enjoying an icecream together

And now for a short week....and only less than two weeks till Grandma & Grandad arrive. Noah in particular is getting excited at the prospect. He asks all the time 'will Grandma & Grandad come to the park with me? Will Grandma & Grandad come to the zoo with me? Will Grandma & Grandad come and see me at daycare? Will Grandma & Grandad watch me swim in the pool?' I think it is his way of trying to determine exactly how long they're here for, and because we're saying 'yes' to all these things, he knows they will be here for a nice long time!

03 January 2009

Holiday Roundup

Well our lovely 2-week holiday is drawing to a close. It has been one of the most relaxing 2 weeks I can remember, but when I look back on all we have done, it still seems an awful lot!

After our lovely outing to the Gardens, we had a most enjoyable BBQ and evening in the sunshine that night, then attended church on Sunday and had a relaxing afternoon together before heading to the Naki (Taranaki) to see GeeGee on the Monday.

A sunny evening in Matangi, with interesting cloud formations. Big toes, little toes
Helping Poppa empty the trailer, cafe outing after church (oops Nana didn't realise she was in the shot and forgot to smile!)

We only really had one full day in New Plymouth but made the most of it, catching up with Great Nana, and my Aunty Jan and husband Adrian in the morning. We were treated by GeeGee to a cafe lunch, and decided to give Noah a special treat that night, heading out to catch the festivities of the Pukekura Park Festival of Lights. First up was the excitement of the miniature train ride, and then the lights spectacular. Noah was very excited (translation: a little overexcited in fact) to be allowed to stay up so late (the latest ever, he was finally home with lights out at 9.30pm!)

Noah enjoys the Festival of the Lights but the miniature train ride was definitely the favourite part of the night!

We arrived back in Wellington on New Years Eve, and whilst we had a superb time away it was also lovely to be home, and we were blessed with the sight of pohutukawa in full bloom in the garden, and were greeted by an abundance of pea pods, courgettes and raspberries ripe for the picking!

Pohutukawa - vibrant and fluffy like I've never seen it before!

New Years Day was a lovely day spent at home in the garden and later playing in the paddling pool enjoying the sunny (if a tad windy) day. We had bought some $2 water pistols after our water bottle water fight episode at Nana & Poppa's so enjoyed shooting at each other, and also trying to shoot little army men off the side of the pool. Mark and I also took the Wii Fit out for its first outing that night. It was rather fun as well as being quite the workout! As far as the balance games went, I was absolutely terrible at heading the football and got more blows to the head by flying objects such as football boots than I actually managed to head the ball! But I was surprisingly good at the ski jump! I also found some of the muscle workout exercises were quite sweat inducing, particularly the press ups and lunges. It is very cleverly done with a trainer and everything...I can see us having a few fights about whose turn it is to use the Wii before long!

On the 2nd we had Jared, Carrie and Charlotte over for coffee, Noah really enjoyed Charlotte's company, they had a ball jumping on the spare bed and playing in Noah's elephant pool and with the train set. After a mammoth 3 hour sleep (Noah, not us...we wish!), we headed out to Pauatahanui to catch up with Mark's boss Andrew, his wife Nichola and their wee girl Maddison.

The gigantic spider Noah spotted whilst we were hanging out the washing (about 6 cms long and rather hairy!) and Noah being a helper washing Baba's car
Mum, what are these really for? I feel silly!
Having all kinds of fun with Charlotte
Not Bob the builder, Noah the builder

Unfortunately the weather that we had on New years Day did not last and we've had a couple of grey and windy days. It hasn't stopped us enjoying ourselves though! Today we made the most of the afternoon when the weather perked up and headed out to the zoo. We have found ourselves barely needing the stroller these holidays, and Noah managed to walk all the way round the zoo today, no trouble at all. It was feeding time at the zoo (literally) while we were there, and so we were able to see the pelicans, baboons and giraffes all being fed which was fascinating. We had the place to ourselves, in fact Wellington seemed pretty deserted all round today which made it very easy to get from place to place!

One memorable moment today was when Mark and Noah were standing against the airport runway fence watching some planes take off when the wind clean lifted Mark's cap off his head and over a 10-foot barb wire fence onto a side area of the runway. Mark was a bit gutted as it is his favourite cap! Mark pleaded with me to go and see if anyone was inside the Life Flight (rescue helicopter) centre next door...and luckily there was a very obliging lady who was happy to go and retrieve it for us. So the hat was back on his head in a matter of minutes! We remarked on the way home that there are probably not many international airports in the world where you could have your hat blown off your head into a secure airport area and actually get it back again!

We are not sure what tomorrow will bring yet, Mark has been asked to go for a bike ride but he's been fighting a strange malaise for about a week now - headaches, lethargy and aching muscles and had to take a fair few painkillers yesterday to get rid of yet another a thumping headache, so it seems that a mountain bike ride might be a bit too much to ask of his body at this point. I seem to have escaped it so far, and have been enjoying lots of running with the iPod Shuffle Mark got me for Christmas. I think I am up to 10 runs in 3 weeks now so I feel like I might be just about back on the exercise wagon...not before time. Or at the very least I have hopefully just about offset all the naughtiness of Christmas indulgence!

Well, our feet are firmly into 2009 now. It's back to work on Monday, although Mark will only have a week before he starts his new job with Hertz on the 12th January. And it's also just 4 weeks until our lovely parents arrive from the UK, we are already feverish with excitement!

And now I'll leave you with my favourite shot of Noah from these holidays taken in the London copper's hat sent by Baba for Christmas...gorgeous!



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