28 June 2009

A tough week

I guess we have to have them from time to time, to make us better appreciate the times when life is easy and all is going well. It's not been one thing in particular, rather a culmination of things, me having to work late at home till about 10pm most of this week, Mark having his boss down from Auckland a few days which added to his work pressures, Noah getting up earlier than usual and in a particularly unreasonable mood a few mornings as well as waking up with a nightmare in the middle of the night one night, Mark putting his back out on Friday morning whilst running, and then me coming down with flu-type symptoms overnight last night, and having to spend the day in bed today with a splitting head, body aches and a cough that really physically hurts.

We both felt so jaded and out of it on Friday that we left work at 4pm to come home early and it meant I didn't really get a chance to get nostalgic about leaving the M-co work offices for the final time after seven years. At this rate, I'm not sure it would even be wise to go to work to our new offices at NZX tomorrow, but will have to wait and see how the morning finds me. Not really the start I want being sick on my first day but it can't really be helped. And, given the current state of the spread of the dreaded swine flu around the country, I don't really think people would really appreciate me spreading my germs around.

Anyway, will try to think of some of the positives from the week rather than moan and groan the whole way through the blog. Yesterday, we had a nice catch up for lunch with our church friends Sally & Olly, Sally is due with her first baby about three weeks after me so we have plenty to chat about, and they have kindly offered us their single bed for Noah as they will need to make room for the cot in their room. The timing should work out well as we can put Noah's bed (currently the cot with the sides off) away for a little while whilst baby uses the bassinet and then there shouldn't be any negative associations with us having taken Noah's bed and given it straight to the baby.

Yesterday afternoon, Zealandia (aka the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary) had an open day with a Gold Coin Donation entry (usually $14 entry which we think is rather steep for what is essentially a bush walk with a few native bird sightings thrown in), so we went along and met up with one of the other daycare families there. We realised that we had only been once about five or six years ago and there has been a lot of development in that time. We enjoyed sighting the shags on their island in the lake, watching the clever kaka operate the bird feeders made just for them which the smaller birds are too light to open with their claws, and a sedate boat ride on the lake on the way home.

This morning Mark took Noah off to the zoo (so I could go back to bed and rest), and took him out again this afternoon out to Petone for a ride on the miniature train to give me a quiet house. Bubs appears to be as happy as Larry, kicking and moving away inside to his heart's content so I am sure he is safe and sound in his little cocoon, but nonetheless all prayers for a quick recovery and no worsening symptoms are gratefully appreciated.

21 June 2009

We're all going on an aeroplane....several times!

A quiet weekend at home, as poor Noah has a nasty, barking cough. In spite of this, he has been in good spirits and we've had plenty of home made fun. This has mostly involved riding in aeroplanes in the tent and tunnel set and under the bed covers.

We clipped tickets for all who boarded which included Noah, Mummy, Daddy, his 2 'George' monkeys, his teddy bear and Coco the serval cat. We had fun telling stories about what we see when we go to the zoo (the plane's destination), and we had breakfast in the plane this morning and muffins for afternoon tea in there too. We changed location later today and the plane became the bed in the spare room. We hid under the covers (Murphy included) for quite some time, chatting and playing happily while Mark made us dinner. Last night we indulged in fish n chips from our local chippie and they have yet to disappoint!

We have been on the lookout for a birthday party venue for Noah for a few weeks (3 years old is only just around the corner now!) and have a few options having visited another place yesterday, so now just need to make a final decision and get the invitations out!

One funny moment this week was when we were eating dinner and Murphy kept trying to jump up on my lap. Mark said 'Murphy's a naughty poo poo isn't he?' to which Noah replied 'We don't use toilet words Daddy'. That told you Daddy!

I went to a parent's workshop at daycare on Thursday night and found it very informative. It is often difficult to get time to find out in detail what goes on when you're surrounded by lots of kids and noise at 5pm each night. As a result we encouraged Noah to participate in show and tell on the Friday (as we hadn't really been up with play of it till now) - he took in a wooden fish that looks like Dory that we got from the Maldives, and will continue to look out for other things that he can take each week.

I am having a bit of a busy time at work at the moment with the move to NZX offices scheduled for the end of this week. I ended up having to go back to work on Friday night once Noah was in bed so I could get some packing done (till 10pm), so not the most exciting Friday night I've ever had, but it meant the rest of the weekend I could switch off and not think about work which has been nice. No doubt it'll be another hectic week ahead before the move, so I'll be very much looking forward to another quiet weekend to have a bit of downtime with the family!

The drawers and bookcase from the baby's room are now down in the garage waiting for me to find time to sand and paint them, and then I'll be encouraging Mark to get onto painting the room. With only 3 months to go now, it's probably a good time to start getting prepared! I suddenly thought this week that I haven't been taking any regular 'bump' shots, and now that there is definitely a bump to see, cornered Mark into taking a couple of shots for me! We also seem to have tied our names down a final 2, so making definite progress finally! But if you ask Noah what the baby is going to be called, he has already come up with his own name....... 'Pluto'. Well he is my favourite Disney character, but rest assured it's not one of the ones on our shortlist!

14 June 2009

Fun in the Bay

We have just returned from a lovely weekend in Havelock North with Tracey, Dayne, Cameron and Mikayla. We had all sorts of fun both out and about, and just enjoying each other's company in their home.

The drive up was mostly in the dark and rain but thankfully its a very good road, and we arrived safely at about 7.30pm after a quick stop in Dannevirke for KFC (first time I'd eaten it in years!). Once Noah was in bed, us four adults enjoyed a nice evening together with a few drinks (only half a glass for me!), and even got to sample some of Dayne's home-made port...mmm mmmm.

Saturday morning dawned much brighter, so after a yummy cooked breakfast, we headed to Haumoana Farmyard Zoo, arriving just before the place had even opened we were that keen! Being the first in the zoo meant the animals were all very friendly, ever hopeful we might feed them some nibbles! I'm not sure whether the kids had more fun seeing the animals or jumping in the puddles that lay around, a bit of both I think!

After a run-around in the little park there, we headed to Clifton Bay cafe for scrumptious coffees, fluffies, muffins and scones, before going down to the beach to throw some stones in the wild water. It was invigorating, but a little hazardous for poor Cameron as one of Noah's stones went awry and sconed him in the back of the head giving him quite a decent cut which drew blood, poor thing. After Dayne had tended to his wound and he had recovered, we went home via the Arataki honey centre and found out all about bees, indulging in some yummy free honey tasting and getting dressed up as bees to boot!

In the afternoon we hung out at home, Cam and Noah enjoyed playing Mario Kart on the Wii, building trains and watching Happy Feet. In the evening, the big boys went out to watch the rugby whilst Trace and I stayed in with the kids, enjoying a couple of 'real' scrabble games. We always have at least two games on the go at any one time via the Lexulous application on Facebook, but playing the actual board game felt quite weird after getting so accustomed to the online version. A little wine (only just a little for me!), chippies and chocolate also helped wile away a lovely evening together.

We got on the road just after 9am this morning, and other than a stop for coffees at Beyond the Bridge Cafe and a pie at Wild Bean Cafe in Otaki, we made good time, getting home at 2pm. We even had time to get the supermarket shopping done and a swim/aquajog at Karori Pool with what was left of the afternoon.

It was so lovely to catch up with the Easte family, and Dayne sent us home laden with cauliflower, parsnips, lemonades, lemons and oranges, and fish. There was absolutely no need for us to stop at the market gardens on the way home after being spoilt so much!

Last weekend at home was full of cleaning and tidying. We managed to take a long overdue trip to the tip, and now the garage looks quite presentable again. We've also managed to clear out all the 'junk' from what will soon become the baby's room. The next task for us is to paint the furniture and walls in the room, after which time we will be much closer to being prepared for baby's arrival! It wasn't all work and no play however, with a trip to Porirua Pool and a evening meal at Keryn & Marissa's on the Saturday, and a lovely early curry at Flavours in Marsden Village with Shannon & Guy on Sunday night.

At dinner, Shannon asked if I was still doing my early morning walks at 6am which I am every Monday and Tuesday, so I very much enjoyed Shannon's company on both days last week, hopefully we'll be able to make it a regular occurence as it certainly made the walk pass very quickly on both days!

The sale of M-co to NZX officially went through on Tuesday, so the real end of an era for many of us who have been there for upwards of five years (seven for me!). It was a very busy week one way or another, and with the physical move of staff down to NZX premises scheduled for just two weeks away, it is likely to be remain so for a few more weeks to come.

Noah was truly a delight this weekend, very easy to please on the journey so long as the Wiggly Safari DVD with "Bindi's dad" Steve Irwin at the Australia zoo kept playing on the portable DVD player, and he very much enjoyed having fun with his playmates Cameron and Mikayla over the weekend. Hopefully fast forward in time a couple of years and he'll be having just as much fun with his little brother!

08 June 2009

In memory of Marigold

This week we recieved the sad news that Mark's Auntie in South Africa passed away....We want to therefore dedicate this post to Marigold and all the fun and laughter she bought to our lives.

From Mark - I always remember Auntie Marigold for being heaps of fun and up for a good feed! One particular memory will always be with me......I was on my way home from New Zealand after having my year out from University and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit South Africa. Uncle John and Auntie Marigold put on the most amazing itinerary for me including gambling at Sun City (ha ha - only joking mum!), a safari in the Kruger Park and then a mammoth overland trip from the Highveld to the Cape. Well, whilst on this trip we stopped at numerous 'watering holes' to recharge the batteries one of which was the Karoo National Park.....It was late, so we all just bedded down for the night and met early doors for some breakfast. Auntie Marigold knew that I liked my meat (at the time when I was a 'little' larger) and apparently the Karoo was famous for its Lamb. Having just come from the land of Sheep, I wasn't too bothered that I had missed out on a nice evening meal of Lamb chops in the famous Karoo National Park.....as it turned out Marigold had other ideas! We went for breakfast in the hotel we had stayed in and I ordered the cooked breakfast (pretty standard eggs, sausages, bacon and toast). Unbeknownst to me...Marigold had 'struck' a deal with the chef! She had only ordered me 4 'massive' lamb chops to have with my breakfast at about 8 o'clock in the morning....I was made up of course having Lamb chops (famous ones at that) at 8am for breakfast.....nice one Auntie Marigold...you always looked after me.

I think that everyone who met Auntie Marigold really got to meet her..... she was probably the most sociable person I have met and incredibly good fun. So many different people will miss you as you really did have a place in everyones hearts. I am so glad I got to spend time with you, especially on my two trips to South Africa.

Memories of Marigold from Mark and Meg's 2002 trip to South Africa

Memories of Marigold from our NZ wedding 2004

Uncle John, we are so sorry for your loss and wish we could be there with you and the rest of the family. Special thoughts go out to John, Jackie and Guy and of course all of your lovely families. May all the beautiful 'Marigold Memories' live on....

01 June 2009

Winter is well and truly here

Today was officially the first day of winter, but you wouldn't know it, as the entire month of May has plunged us into early snowfalls and freezing temperatures, this long holiday weekend (Queens Birthday) being no exception.

We headed up to Taranaki leaving bright and early at 7am on Saturday morning, and made good time to arrive at GeeGee's by 12.15pm, and just in time for lunch. As the weather had taken a turn for the worse mid-morning, we decided to make the most of the afternoon by visiting the Taranaki Transport, Aviation and Technology Museum. This was really just a collection of old (freezing cold!) sheds manned by a lovely elderly gentleman. However, walking into them it was apparent that the memorabilia had been lovingly collected over probably 50-100 years, and I think pretty much everyone in Taranaki must have donated something to it, such was the variety! From farm implements - old tractors, harvesters and mowers, we moved on to the next shed complete with a working printing press where a lovely man explained how a line of typeface would be set in lead - he even made us a line of lead that said 'Noah' to take home. From there we went into a room filled with old gramaphones and thousands of old records. We had great fun having a go at working the old telephone exchange and printing press, rushed off to fight a fire in an old fire engine, and the boys even got to sit in the cockpit of an old Harvard plane, Noah was in his element!

We were all rather frozen by this point however, as there was no heating and it had been pouring with rain the whole time we had dashed between the various sheds so we headed back to GeeGee's for a cuppa to warm up!

Sunday morning we all took a walk down to the supermarket to get our daily dozens and some milk, but we hadn't gotten very far before a bitterly southerly blew up and the sky turned very ominous forcing Mark to race home to get the car to meet us at the supermarket. Unfortunately, Nana and Poppa had to head home before lunch on Sunday (Poppa's work demands calling) so the three of us and GeeGee headed out to Kauri Cottage in Egmont Village for a nice hearty lunch of burger and chips.

The temperature gauge was only registering about 4.5 degrees outside at this point so we made the most of the warmth indoors to spend the afternoon jumping around on GeeGee's furniture, making caves, building towers etc! It was rather nice to be away from the Internet, housework and the pull of other 'things to do' around the house, which made for a very relaxing couple of days.

We kept a firm watch on the weather forecast after seeing reports that there had been snow in the hilly suburbs of Wellington and that there was 5-15 cm forecast overnight for both Mt Egmont and the central North Island. With the possibility of the Desert Road being closed we thought it wise to make an early start home in case there was lots of extra traffic diverted our way as well as the usual delays faced by long weekend traffic getting back into Wellington, so we shipped out by 8.15am. The first sight that greeted us was an amazing amount of low lying snow in the farmland foothills under Mt Egmont. Had we been less concerned about getting home, we may have tried to divert to see if we could see some 'real-live' snow up close, and that is still a dream of mine for Noah to play in the snow, but in reality there will be plenty of other opportunities to do this!

All the worry of the trip home was unfounded, and we made extremely good time, arriving back at 1.30pm. After a spot of unpacking and tidying up, our lovely antenatal friends Judith & Hamish popped around with Grace (Noah's buddy from the early days) and their new 3-week old baby, Kate. It was lovely to see and hear how much more relaxed second-time parents are, which will be something for us to aim for in a few month's time!

A short week ahead, and it looks like the sale of M-co to NZX will go through sometime during the week. We have a final staff dinner out to celebrate the end of a real era on Thursday night, and it is bound to be a nostalgic evening. I have thankfully been able to secure some additional assistance at work to try and cope with the mounting workload of tasks that must be done during the settlement of the sale to NZX, i.e. accounts, final payroll etc. Neil (my old manager and current director of M-co) has kindly arranged a secondment with Grant Thornton so that Jackie could come back to help out us get through the volume of things to do. Knowing that also helped me relax a great deal more this past weekend!

Noah was in fine form this weekend, which made a pleasant change from a few trying evenings this week. As much as he is enjoying being with the older children in the 'over threes' of daycare, because he is still so young we are noticing that some days it really takes it out of him, the additional brain stimulation and energetic play really draining him by the end of the day.

My final thought for the week was of a precious moment this morning. GeeGee was most delighted when Noah, after waving a vigorous goodbye through the car window, said to GeeGee 'I'll miss you GeeGee....have a lovely day!'. Moments like this are what makes life so very special.


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