23 May 2009

From wild, wild weather to a warm, warm house

Last night was the windiest night we have ever known in this house. And the past few days have been some of the coldest May weather ever known in NZ, see this link from Stuff on all the early snow we've had 'Cold front blasts away autumn'. Today winds of up to 140km/hr lashed Wellington cancelling all ferry sailings and cancelling flights, see the early morning prediction in this news article 'It's going to get rough'.

We headed out to Lyall Bay this morning for a brunch catch up with the rest of the daycare crew at the Maranui Surf Cafe. Lyall Bay is on the South Coast, and even the short dash from the car to the cafe exposed us to the full force of the southerly gales. We all had the taste of sand in our mouths by the time we got indoors. The cafe is buzzing from very early in the morning, so even when we arrived at 9.30am, it was packed. We had great views of the waves crashing over the breakwater near the airport, and all the kids had a ball taking turns riding on the 50c camel ride.

We've had 2 days worth of work done on installing a ducted heat pump system early this week, and then the workmen requested to come and spend today on it so they could at least get the living areas up and running. It was quite possibly the worst day of the year to have to spend the whole day out of the house, but we had a lovely day in spite of it.After the cafe outing, we dropped the supermarket shopping at home before heading out to Upper Hutt to check out the Silverstream Railway Museum. It turns out we should have done a little checking beforehand, as when we got there we found out its only open on Sundays. Well the drive out and back gave Noah a chance to have a wee nap so it wasn't a completely wasted journey. We then made our way to the Museum of Wellington and caught up with George and Sam from daycare there. The kids had fun playing in the recreated ship's cabin, and watching 2 short movies on NZ, one on Maori legends and the other on the Wahine disaster. Watching the coverage of this terribly sad event that occurred on a stormy day much like today was quite sobering, especially as we had not long driven past the ferry terminal and seen all 3 ferries docked at the harbour with no intention of braving the wild seas.

We then headed to One Red Dog for some fries before heading to the library to seek out some books in a warm dry spot. At 5pm we headed home to find the workmen still hard at work, but at 6pm they finally called it a night having managed to complete the installation in the living areas.

We had already decided to get Chinese takeaways for the first time in years having been recommended the chinese takeaway in Karori by Sophary, George's mum. By the time we got back to the house, we walked into the warmest, loveliest lounge and dining area ever. In fact, as we were enjoying our Chinese, we started realising how warm we actually were and had to open the doors up to the rest of the house. Even without the system working in the rest of the house, our room upstairs has already warmed up about 5 degrees from what it was last night. Wow.

I've been fighting a nasty cold and sore throat all week, but somehow managed to drag myself into work every day. Thankfully I have started to feel a little more human again today just in time to enjoy today's activities. I'm starting to really notice Baby's growth now, and my belly is expanding at an ever increasing rate. He is certainly an active wee soul, with the kicks and somersaults he's turning at this point already giving me much entertainment throughout the day...though whether I'll still be feeling quite the same way about it in a few week's time as he grows even bigger remains to be seen.

Last weekend was a very quiet one, with Mark letting me have 2 girl's catch ups both Saturday with my church life group gals and Sunday with 2 of my ex-M-co friends, so there were no photos taken and not a lot to report.

Next weekend we are heading up to the Naki for the long Queens Birthday weekend to see GeeGee, Nana and Poppa. I'm half hoping some of the snow that fell up there stays around for the week, as it would very cool (excuse the pun!)for Noah to have his first experience of snow!

10 May 2009

Mint, Makara & Mothers Day

This has been a lovely, albeit chilly weekend together with GeeGee. Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, which was a bit of a surprise after the deluge of rain we experienced on Friday. We headed off to the supermarket a little later than usual, and then decided to try our luck at the Maranui Surf Cafe for brunch. It would appear that half of Wellington had the same idea judging by the queue for a table, so we decided a bracing walk on Lyall beach would work up a good appetite, and in the end went to Mint Cafe at the retail park as it was a whole lot less crowded.

In the afternoon, our friends Tracey & Dayne popped in for a coffee and catch up, and then Noah & GeeGee watched Madagascar 2 whilst Mark and I tried to do a spot of troubleshooting on our main computer which has started running decidedly slow of late. Then after Noah was safely tucked up in bed, Mark and I went out to Damian Broadley's surprise 40th party, which Tracy his wife had done a sterling job of arranging without Damian being any the wiser.

I was greeted this morning by the sound of two sets of not so quiet footsteps coming up the stairs to give me a Mothers Day card and some Favourites chocolates...mmm...a lovely way to be greeted! After Mark turned his hand at making some delicious white chocolate, lemon and poppyseed biscuits we headed off to Makara Beach for a drive. The drive there is reasonably windy and travels through some quaint countryside, it really is like stepping back in time 50 years to see some of the houses and it feels like you could be hours from civilisation rather than just 10kms by car. It was brisk at the beach, and there were plenty of showers out to sea. We had fun watching the waves crashing on the shore and the noise of the waves dragging the pebbles over and over under the surf was quite incredible. Noah tried to emulate Daddy throwing pebbles in the water, whilst I stood a wee way back out of harm's way with the camera, as not all the pebbles ended up exactly where they were meant to!

Then it was home for coffees, biscuits and a spot of lunch. Whilst Noah napped, Mark headed out for a mountain bike ride (brave man in this chilly weather!), I think the sight of all the road cyclists on the road to Makara had inspired him to get out amongst it.

I'm hoping for a slightly less manic week ahead. The Integration team (me and 3 other senior managers) are right in the thick of trying to assist staff in negotiations around new employment agreements with as part of the imminent sale of M-co. My situation is further complicated as I'm going on leave in four month's time and our NZ legislation states that if you haven't worked for a company for six months, you're not eligible for 14 weeks governmental paid leave, let alone any extended leave (as I'm planning nine months off altogether). So there's a few little things to work through to ensure we as a family won't be any worse off before I agree to sign up, and there are other staff with their own individual circumstances who have their own challenges to work through too. But we'll get there!!

Once all the employment matters are resolved, it's then full steam ahead with physically relocating our 20 staff down the other end of the CBD, which is scheduled to happen before the end of June, only 6 weeks away! I've no doubt that the next few weeks are going to be reasonably full-on, but will just to have to take every day as it comes with a positive outlook and remember to keep asking for God's grace to keep it all in perspective!

08 May 2009

A little brother for Noah.....

We are pleased to announce that we are going to be adding another little boy to the family in September! All went well with the scan, and everything appeared normal and growing as it should be. It was made all the more special that GeeGee was able to come along to the scan, and at eighty-something it was her first ever ultrasound experience, I think she found it all very intriguing and was amazed by how much detail you could see, and more than anything so happy to have been included in such a special family moment.

Here are a few of the scan pics, which I'm sure the grandparents will be keen to see!

Whilst it would have also been nice to have one of each (i.e. boy and girl), I wasn't holding out great hope that it would be a girl, given the weighting of boys to girls in both of our combined families. We knew that Noah will be such a loving, caring big brother regardless of whether the new addition was a boy or girl, but hopefully they can be good buddies and do lots of 'boy' stuff together, playing trains, football, lego, rough and tumble etc! The practical me also recognises it'll be a little easier on the wallet as we already have all the 'boy' gear!

And so now it remains to choose a name......! Unlike Noah, who was always going to be 'Noah' from the minute we knew he was a boy at his 20-week scan, trying to find another boy's name that we like equally as much hasn't been quite as straightforward....but we're working on it, or rather I'm working on Mark, I have a name I really like which Mark wasn't that keen on to start with, but he may be slowly coming around.....at least I've still got 20 weeks to work on it!

Anyway, just a quick update, as we're off to enjoy a lovely weekend with GeeGee! She was lucky to arrive at all today, it was a bit touch and go as to whether she'd make it to the scan as her flight was delayed by 20 minutes due to the weather, and even getting from the car into the airport terminal and back again proved to be an exercise in how to get a maximum soaking in a minimum amount of time. Nevertheless, once we were safely tucked up here at home this afternoon, we shut out thoughts of the wicked rain in the outside world and have just enjoyed being warm and cosy together!

03 May 2009

Make your own fun!

Having spent a bit of time this week going through my Little Treasures pile of magazines to pull out some creative play ideas and recipes, this has been the inspiration for some homegrown fun this weekend.

After the usual supermarket/plane spotting/Warehouse excursion, we came home and made chocolate crackles with Noah. He loved mixing the dark chocolate and ricies round the bowl, and decorating with M&Ms or Hundreds & Thousands. Mark and I then raced round tidying up the garden whilst Noah slept. The garden has been on the task list for the past few weekends but neither of us has had the impetus to actually get outdoors, so after a week of wet and cold weather, we thought we had better seize the opportunity on a half decent day as the weather is certainly starting to close in by the week.

After naptime, Noah helped me plant 4 pea, broccoli and leek seeds which we hope will germinate nicely in our little greenhouse ($2.99 from The Warehouse!). Then I suggested making a cave under the dining room table, and the size of the new table is just right for a pretty decent size cave. First we took 3 'friends' in to play stories and bedtime...Noah chose Hairy McLary, Happy Feet and the stripy lion. We lay down and Mummy told Noah a story about going on a plane to England. Then we brought in some other toys from the toybox, playing doctors with each other listening to heartbeats, and giving each other the cure-all 'Pamol' medicine. Then it was time for a 'cup a tea and fruit party' - all held inside the cave. The last thing we did was get out some torches and chase the light around the wall in the cave. Then it was time to pack up and head out, as we had arranged a curry out with Shannon & Guy at their local Indian in Karori. It was a great, authentic atmosphere, very laid back, complete with pink chairs you'd see in a school or church hall. The food was awesome, and the company great. Thanks you two! It was also fun to be able to have an evening meal out with Noah, the first we think since Disneyland this time last year. Shannon & Guy had just been on a flying visit to South Africa for a wedding and brought Noah back a very intriguing present, a little plastic box in the shape of Africa with some 'magical beans' inside - aka coloured capsules. The fun starts when you put them in the bath and they dissolve over a few minutes into little animal sponge characters - we only opened 3 in the bath last night, and were excited to see a whale, wild dog and fish pop out of their little capsules. We'll try and eke the other 20 or so out over the next few nights for more bathtime fun!

Today, I made a soup, we had fun building a very TALL tower, even taller than Noah with lots of farm animals hidden inside. We waited till Daddy got back from his bike ride to knock the tower over and watch all the animals come flying out, much to Daddy's surprise! Then I headed off to church while the boys grooved to some tunes (see video) complete with their rock guitars, made a very cool Thomas track and cooked bacon, bananas and pancakes for lunch.

A couple of weeks ago on our normal route home from the garden centre I said to Mark that we really should make the effort to go for a walk in Otari Wilton Bush (click on link to see map). We have lived in the same area of Wellington for seven years and never been before, which is a little slack to say the least, but often we don't get further than the main botanical gardens since its a walkable distance from the house. So this afternoon we headed off on a little adventure to the bush, and had an absolute ball along the way. We must take Nana and Poppa when they are down in August, as Poppa would most defnitely enjoy all the walking tracks. Today we just ventured around the Circular Track, first meandering along the Canopy Walkway which is at the top of the forest canopy (and there is a big 50 foot drop to the forest floor beneath, quite the impressive sight). We then bumped into our antenatal friends Judith, Hamish and Grace having a picnic which was a nice surprise. Judith is due with baby girl no. 2 tomorrow so they were savouring what might be the last of their single-child excursions! Otari bush is the largest remnant of original native forest in Wellington City and is incredibly dense and thick in places. We found a large meandering stream, a cave tree and a waterfall in our journey which criss crossed the stream several times. It reminded us both of Watersmeet at Lynton/Lynmouth in Devon where we have been several times with Grandma & Grandad, and also of the Te Henui Walkway in New Plymouth, although the bush at Otari is much denser than both of these.

Noah walked the whole track which at a slow pace took us about 45 mins to an hour, and we can definitely see many more Sunday afternoon excursions to this gorgeous spot on the cards. We can't believe we haven't been before but fully intend to make up for that from now on, with about six different tracks to walk on, there's plenty of variety and is such a stunning setting.

And thus ends a lovely homegrown weekend of fun!

Roll on next weekend,GeeGee is coming to visit for the weekend and we have our 20-week baby scan on Friday afternoon. Here's hoping bubs is keen to share whether it'll be blue or pink with us, I for one have been getting more excited the closer we get to the scan, knowing what a thrill it was to find out last time just adds to the excitement this time. We'll update you as soon as we know for sure!


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