29 March 2009

Key calamities and a Butterfly Update

This has been another low key week for us. The only real drama of the week was Friday night when Noah and I caught the bus home. It was all going swimmingly until we got off the bus at about 5.45pm and walking down Zetland Street I had a sudden realisation that I didn't have a key to get in the house. I had a key to all the patio doors but we always leave the latches up (far too security conscious!) so that wasn't much help. I tried to unlock the back door and force the latch (the only door that only has one latch rather than too). After about 10 minutes I gave up, I guess they are called security latches for a reason! I had already tried to contact Mark who was managing a golf hole at a client day out but didn't want to rely on him getting back to me in time to rescue us. As it turns out God was definitely on our side, Noah and I had spotted Jackie in Lambton Quay from the bus window and she always has a front door key. So a rescue call was made, Jackie was thankfully still in town and about 20 minutes later Jackie and her friend arrived on their white horse (aka a cab) to rescue us.

We managed to feed and water Noah and I then dropped Jackie and her friend at her friend's house a few minutes drive away (but had to drive illegally with Noah in the front seat of the car and no child seat). Talk about feeling like a bad parent! Anyhow, we got back home in one piece and had a nice bath together to relax and destress. When Daddy got home at 8pm, he was most surprised to see Noah still up, but as it turns out hadn't checked his phone to receive my text or phone message so just lucky we didn't have to rely on him otherwise it would have been a long, cold wait! I bet that Grandma can associate with us as a similar thing happened to her when she got home earlier than Grandad one day. I'm definitely getting a couple more keys cut to the front door on Monday!

Saturday Noah, Jackie and I went to visit my old colleague Rama who had her second baby, Kohurangi about 6 weeks ago. It was great to catch up with her as well as Anneliese, and nice to have the old M-co Corporate Services crew back together again if just for the morning! Noah also enjoyed playing with Rama's little boy Te Aorere in the sandpit.

In the afternoon, we hung out at home playing with LEGO before a quick trip to the garden centre. Last night, Mark and I observed Earth Hour between 8.30-9.30, turning off the computer, TV, and all the lights in the house. We had a great vantage point from our upstairs bedroom, but it didn't seem as if there were that many other people joining in. Maybe it will take a few years of celebrating this as an annual event before it truly catches on. Apparently, NZ saved 3.5% energy over the hour it was observed, so still a great effort from those who participated.

Earth Hour as seen from our bedroom window

This morning was our first family trip to the ducks in a very long time, and Noah was really confident on the big slide, flying fox and swing. This afternoon we also went for an awesome swim at Karori Pool together. I was astounded at how Noah has grown in confidence, he is tall enough to walk around in the pool now, and also has absolutely no fear jumping in whether one of us is right there to catch him or not! He is totally happy going under water, using a kick board and throwing a ball to us standing on his own in the water. Wow, they do grow up fast!

Stepping stones at the Botanical Gardens and the boys tackle the Flying Fox

Monarch butterfly update:This week we have been amazed to see a solitary butterfly emerge from the only chrysalis we have left. Of the 21 or so caterpillars that devoured our swan plant till there was nothing but sticks left, only 2 made it to chyrsalis stage. Then one died before it had a chance to hatch, and after four weeks with no apparent activity we weren't holding out any hope that the remaining one would survive. However, the butterfly chose the perfect day to make a grand appearance (Saturday afternoon when we were all at home). We were very excited to see him emerge into the bright sunshine, and he couldn't have chosen a more perfect day - certainly the warmest of the past week. And it was lovely that Jackie was with us to share in the experience.

Our beautiful butterfly emerges from his chrysalis to the bright sunshine

We continued to watch the butterfly throughout Saturday and Sunday but he didn't seem very keen or able to fly away. Tonight (Monday) we rescued him (or her)and brought him inside as it is meant to rain tomorrow. We have searched the Internet to see if we have any plants suitable for food, as butterflies are keen on plants with nectar. The best we could come up with was rosemary and daphne, but we at least feel like we are doing something to help. One of his wings seems quite damaged, and we are not sure if he was simply too long in the chrysalis stage and outgrew his little cocoon long before he decided to venture out. It has been a learning experience for us all watching this beautiful creature start life as a miniscule white egg, turning into a fat and colourful caterpillar before wrapping itself up to go into solitary and quiet confinement before emerging as such a beautiful and graceful butterfly. Even if our butterfly isn't able to fly away and reproduce, it has been a joy to watch this circle of life.

Next weekend, we are off to the Naki (just for Saturday night) to catch up with GeeGee, Nana and Poppa. Noah is already talking about going to the lake to see the birdies, the tunnel and the fountain in the lake. We might have to take our togs and see if we can squeeze in a trip to the wave pool whilst we are there. Till then...!

22 March 2009

Coldplay and Greek Dancing

This will just be a short and sweet blog this week. Apart from my excursion to the Coldplay concert in Auckland on Wednesday night, it has been a fairly quiet week - the first in a while!

The concert was amazing, and Coldplay really knew how to please the crowd, playing a perfect mix of new and old, and getting everyone up on their feet. The effects were pretty special, giant yellow balloons bouncing around during 'Yellow', giant rotating globes that descended from the ceiling with images projected on them, and a rain of multi coloured star tickertape on the last song. I hadn't fully appreciated before what an amazingly talented pianist Chris Martin is, and I also was in awe of the way he could run all over the stage for 2 hours, belting out lyrics at the top of his voice, and seamless interchanging between just singing or combining it with either the guitar or piano. Well worth the ticket price and the plane trip to Auckland! I also had a lovely time catching up with Andrea, my best friend from school who I hadn't seen for a proper catch up for a good couple of years.

This weekend, Noah had a long overdue haircut, and happily sat and watched a Wiggles DVD throughout. He has rediscovered his love of the Wiggles of late, which is a bit of a shame in that we just had to sell our tickets to the concert in two week's time, because we realised we'd already planned to go to New Plymouth to catch up with Nana & Poppa & Gigi. Never mind as we will have a lovely time, and Noah won't even realise what he's missing.

Noah does Scary Hair Day for his teacher Gina's last day

We also enjoyed a bit of a tidy-up around the house, and now have a few things to put on Trade Me. We dropped into the Dixon St Deli for a quick coffee catch up with Gareth who flew out to Melbourne yesterday, before heading out to Queensgate for a bit of retail therapy. In the evening, I went out to Vivo for a lovely Italian meal and long overdue catch up with Marissa, Sally and Bex.

Today I went to church, and Mark managed to fit a bike ride in before we headed out to Beck's 3rd birthday at the Splash pool in Kilbirnie. Last week when Mark and Noah went to Karori pool after farewelling Grandma & Grandad, Noah found a newfound confidence and amazed Mark with his desire for jumping in off the side without any assistance at all! Mark said he lost count after about the 30th time! I will have to make sure I go along next time so I can see him in full flight too!

'Ooooo aaaaaarrrrr', pirate fun at Beck's pool party

The most fun part of the week has been our nightly Zorba the Greek dancing sessions. Noah has mastered some of the moves really well, and it has been an energetic but fun end to each day! Here's a video I took during the week of the boys showing off their moves!

14 March 2009

Hellos and Goodbyes...

All good things must come to an end. The house is quiet again. No more Noah yelling 'Grandma, Grandad' as he bounces in the door from daycare each day. Even though it was really Grandma & Grandad's holiday, we feel that we've been on holiday with them this whole time, the atmosphere at home has been like we're on a magical summer tour for the past six weeks even though we've actually been working most of the time.

When Grandma & Grandad arrived back from Nana & Poppa's 10 days ago, we met them off the plane at the airport. Noah was SO excited to see them come through the gates, yelling 'That's my Grandad & Grandma', much to the amusement of all those in the waiting area, and I think Grandma & Grandad were tickled pink to receive such a welcoming reception. We drove around the corner to Lyall Bay and enjoyed an impromptu fish and chips by the sea. As it was 6.30pm and peak travel time, Noah was kept entertained with several 737's taking off in the space of just a few minutes.

Friday night we enjoyed catching up with our friends Tracey, Dayne and kids Cameron & Mikayla at home, where we all enjoyed Grandma's homemade lasagne for dinner. Saturday, we had a quiet morning around home, then travelled out to Plimmerton to Magnus' 2nd birthday party at Marissa & Keryn's. It was a lovely party, complete with pinata full of goodies for the kids, and some yummy party fare. Daddy & Grandad hit the shops in Porirua whilst Noah, Grandma and I attended the party - not that those two ever really need an excuse for shopping! Sunday morning, and we were up bright and early to avoid the crowds heading for the Newtown fair, and wiled away a lovely couple of hours at the zoo. Noah was in his element, racing ahead telling Grandma & Grandad which animals came next. Then we enjoyed another Kiwi traditon with Grandma & Grandad for lunch - homemade corn fritters, sitting outside on our patio in the sunshine - divine. Noah, Daddy & Grandma headed off for a swim with some of his daycare friends whilst I enjoyed a 1.5 hr bike ride around Karori and then sat down to figure out the logistics of my latest creative idea - some artwork for above our bed inspired by a picture I saw in the Air NZ flight magazine on the 'flight that shall remain nameless' home - but more on that later once I've got something to show for my efforts! Mark and I enjoyed a night out at Becky & Jonny's for dinner on Sunday night whilst Grandma & Grandad babysat.

This week has been pretty full of events. Wednesday night, Mark and I enjoyed a meal out at the General Practitioner to farewell Mark's friend and APX colleague Gareth and his partner, Lisa who are moving to Melbourne. Thursday night was a fish n chip night at daycare to farewell 3 teachers who are leaving. Noah's gorgeous teacher, Robbie has just been made Centre Manager and it was her job to farewell her team members - quite an emotional undertaking. She did an awesome job of what was a rather sad and poignant occasion, and which was her first big event as centre manager. Grandma & Grandad really enjoyed the opportunity to see Noah in his daycare environment amongst all his lovely friends, their parents and his wonderful teachers. The fish n chips from the Wellington Trawling Market really lived up to expectation too!

Poor Grandad had a fall in the week and is nursing a suspected cracked rib, poor thing! We hope that it doesn't hinder their travels back home via Perth and South Africa too much. Luckily, he has been able to take his mind off the pain somewhat with all his Trade Me bargain hunting. For someone who has never really used the computer or Internet, he is fast getting up to speed with buying bargains online. His best buy so far was a beautiful amethyst bought tonight for $103 which had a buy-now of $380. We'll be very interested to see what that goes for in Inglenook (their little antique shop back home in England).

Well without further ado, its high time we explained the 'hello' part of the blog title. Friday morning was a very special morning for us in our household as we had an important date to keep, our 12-week ultrasound scan to say our first 'HELLO!' to No. 2! It was made all the more special for us that both Noah and Grandma could attend the scan too. All is well, and we will be excited to welcome him or her into the world sometime around the 24th September this year! Noah is very much wanting to be part of the action, and is convinced he also has a baby in his tummy too, even though we have told him that only mummies have babies, he still replies 'And me!' Bless him.

Friday night the four of us went out for a last lovely evening meal at Tinakori Bistro to celebrate the (near) end of our fantastic six weeks together while Jackie babysat.

Saturday we ventured down to the Kelburn Fair and then onto the Greek Food Festival. The fair was a bit of a bunfight (Markie's words), but the food at the Greek Festival was to die for. First up was a little souvlaki, then we all indulged in some gorgeous bifteki in pita breads, before moving onto the gorgeous loukoumades, which are a kind of fried-dough pastry made of deep fried dough soaked in honey and cinnamon, and sometimes sprinkled with sesame. We devoured a whole box in no time! Then we were entertained by some lovely Greek dancing, and Noah enthusiastically clapped away in time to the music. I think what makes the Greek festival so charming and quaint (when compared to the Italian festival which is next week that we also love attending annually) is how everything is so homemade and there is such a family feel about it. The Italian festival by comparison is much more commercial because it is all the local restaurants promoting their fare. We certainly all came home with a lovely full-belly feeling of homemade Greek goodness this week! Going along always brings back such extra special memories of all the wonderful holidays we have taken to the Greek Islands, not the least of which was our honeymoon to Santorini 5 years ago (and which incidentally is the subject of my new artwork!)

Saturday afternoon we took a trip up to the local park which we had completely to ourselves, something we can never quite believe! Then we enjoyed a beautiful lamb roast together tonight, our first in many months after all the summer BBQs. The highlight and fitting end to today was our impromptu dance (Grandma & Grandad included) to Zorba the Greek. It's a traditional Greek dance which starts off very slowly and gradually gets faster and faster. Here's a link to the song on Youtube 'Zorba the Greek'. It would have looked hilarious if you'd been a fly on the wall or anyone looking in the window for that matter seeing us all kicking our heels up and dancing around the lounge. I have a feeling it might become Noah's new favourite song! But what an entertaining and fitting end to a wonderful last day together.

This afternoon after dropping Grandma & Grandad at the airport, we came home and decided to see if we could see their plane take off out our bedroom window (as we often do see all the planes). Well we learnt something new today, it turns out that we can actually see planes on the runway and waiting at the terminal from our window!We actually saw their plane move back away from the airbridge (the red Qantas tail was a great help!) and then saw it taking off through a gap in the trees, we watched it go up, up and away, and because of the beautiful clear windless skies we could see it for many minutes as it climbed higher and higher, before it turned and flew over the hills of Brooklyn and past the wind turbine and out of sight.

And as I write, Grandma & Grandad are now winging their way home across the seas via Perth and South Africa before arriving in England in 2 weeks time. For us, we will treasure and hold onto the many, many wonderful memories we have created over the past six weeks together. We couldn't have asked for a more special time. Noah has simply blossomed in their company, we have so enjoyed being an extended family and for a few glorious weeks, it has been a magical interlude, imagining how different life would be if we really lived so close that we could see each other this much all the time. As sad and heartwrenching as it is to see them go again, we are so very blessed to have even had them here at all that we will linger in these lavish memories for a long time to come.

01 March 2009

Marvelous Mini Breaks

We have just returned from a lovely 10 days away on 2 separate mini breaks with Mark's mum and dad. Last Saturday we went up to Allie's beach house, the scene of our special day five years ago.

After Wellington was belted with some terrible weather on the Friday, the remnants of Cyclone Innis passing over us, we weren't holding out much hope for a nice day. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that out at the beach a gorgeous, sunny day awaited us....the day we should have had five years ago. We enjoyed a lovely relaxing afternoon on the beach, reminiscing and revelling in our memories.

We were incredibly fortunate to have amazing weather for the whole time we were at the beach, especially when the weather in Wellington 40 minutes down the road was nowhere near as good. Sunday we went to a quaint cafe in Waikanae called Relish, which is housed in a beautiful old villa. They had the best cheese scones which we all partook in! Then we headed down to Waikanae Beach for a look around and a play in the park. In the afternoon we enjoyed an hour or so down at the Raumati Gardens riding on the miniature trains that come out to play every Sunday afternoon.

Monday we took a jaunt up to Otaki, stopping in at the lovely Red House Cafe for coffee on the way up, and lunch on the way back, enjoying a bit of outlet shopping at Icebreaker, Bendon and Pumpkin Patch in the meantime. Monday afternoon we caught up with my friend Linda (her husband Andrew just completed our landscaping) and her wee boy Oliver for afternoon tea. It had been a fair few months since we last caught up so it was lovely to catch up on all the news.

Tuesday morning we took a trip out to the picturesque and serene Nga Manu Nature Reserve. This is a beautiful spot out the back of Waikanae where you can easily wile away several hours amongst native NZ wildlife, kereru, kaka, kea and even kiwi (it was the first time Mark's M&D had ever seen a kiwi so they were especially thrilled). We enjoyed a sumptuous lunch at The Front Room before heading home for another chilled afternoon on the beach.

Wednesday we cleaned and tidied up before enjoying brunch at The Busy Bee Cafe. Then there was time for one last swim (in fact Mark and his dad braved the waters every day we were there), then we headed home to Wellington. Mark and I also enjoyed the opportunity to run, walk and bike on the beach each day, making a change from our usual circuits around the hills of Wellington.

Thursday, I worked most of the day whilst the others prepared for our flight up to Hamilton. Then we were up, up and away late afternoon, arriving in Hamilton in time for dinner with M&D. Friday, we enjoyed another jaunt to the Hamilton Gardens (a first time for Mark's M&D), and a lazy afternoon around the house.

Saturday it poured all day, but we made the best of it by getting out amongst it, enjoying a lovely brunch together at The Lilypad Cafe, another quaint spot complete with its own lily pond, and garden filled with outdoor art. We got all our old books out of the garage (including our Little Golden Book collection) and Noah was most enthralled and didn't know quite where to start.

Sunday, we took a brief jaunt to my brother Sam's bike shop as it was our only chance to see him over the weekend, busy boy that he is. Mark, Noah and I were due to fly back to Wellington at 12.55pm, or so we thought. So we hopped in the rental car, going via the petrol station to make sure we returned the car full up. And that is where our happy week away ended and our nightmare journey home began. We arrived at the airport at 12.30pm, quite pleased that our detour to get petrol hadn't made us too late....boy were we in for a shock. When we got to the check-in desk, the guy behind the desk said...'that's your plane just taking off on the runway'.....and our hearts just sank.

We are still asking ourselves how we could have been so foolish as to not double check and triple check the flight time, convinced we were that it was 12.55pm, when in fact it was 12.25pm. If only we had just taken the car straight back without filling up, if only we had checked the flight time again at some point over the weekend, anyway the one great thing was that we stuck together through the whole ordeal. There were no recriminations, no blame laid, just a matter of pulling together to figure out how best to get ourselves out of such a bad pickle. As it turned out, our only real option was to book 3 more seats on the 2.50pm for the *choke choke* sum of $734.

And so we are now home again, a few hours later and poorer than planned. Of all the dozens, if not hundreds, of flights we have taken between us in our lives singly and together as a couple and family, we have never even come close to missing a flight before. But I guess there is a first time for everything. On the positive side, we are firm believers in things happening for a reason, and God being in every situation. We don't know why and we probably never will know why, but for one reason or another we were obviously not meant to be on that flight, so we have to believe that, and simply move on. Onwards and upwards as they say!


Related Posts with Thumbnails