29 June 2015

Packing up 13 years of life in 2 days

It seems a bit too late to be writing this - almost too long after the fact when it's already three weeks since we left Wellington - how time flies!

I still have posts about our time in Rarotonga I want to write.

I still have posts about settling in I want to write.

But for some reason my brain is fighting against following a logical sequence of writing it all down so I figure I better just write what I can when I can or I can see it simply won't ever get written at all!

We arrived back from our tropical holiday in Rarotonga on Tuesday 2nd June to cold winter temperatures and a house waiting to be packed up and cleaned from top to bottom in just 2 days. We also still both had a day of work each to finish when we got back as well.

When we arrived back, the first thing we had to do was drive out to Lower Hutt to pick up the car we'd bought a few weeks back. To cut a long story short, we realised it had a fault when we bought it and we had to get the car company we bought it from to fix while we were away, but we then had to pick it up straight after we got back from holiday so we could have the car for all the to-ing and fro-ing needed over the course of the next few days as well as the long trip we had to make north.

The house movers came to start packing up the house on Wednesday morning and they sure didn't muck around. By the time we got home on Wednesday, it was three quarters packed and it proved hilarious trying to find things we needed to use around the house - like plates to eat with, cutlery and plastic bags to put all the random collection of cleaning products and various 'things' we found around the house that couldn't go into the removal truck (or that didn't make it in time).

Someone didn't seem too perturbed about all the packing up around him - so long as some 'technology' was found for him to play on - the Nintendo DS came in handy as literally EVERYTHING else - books and games included - was in a box by then!

And another little someone sat in the packing paper as if to say 'please don't forget about me'!

It was a little challenging getting all the holiday washing from Rarotonga dry and ready for packing within 24 hours but we got there in the end.

We set aside one room (Mylo's) below to keep all the things we needed to take in our cars separately so they didn't get packed up. At one stage there I was wondering how on earth we would fit it all in.

The kids spent a day and a half at school on the Wednesday and Thursday. On the Wednesday, both their classes had a pyjama day and a shared farewell lunch for them and Noah also got to hang out with his best buddy from school one last time after school as well.

Then on Thursday, they went on a pretty big adventure after school, flying north to Hamilton as unaccompanied minors ahead of us, met by Poppa at the other end. Apparently the air stewardess said they were 'the best little unaccompanied minors' they'd had - a great accolade!

On Thursday morning I went to work one last time to finish off my handover and was surprised by my work mates with a lovely morning tea and a digital photo frame as a farewell gift. 

Then it was home to clean, clean clean.

And clean I did. Starting in the kitchen, cleaning every cupboard and drawer while still trying to keep out of the way of the movers who were by then starting to load up the big truck. After an hour I moved onto the 2 bathrooms - and Mark was by this stage out at the airport with the 2 boys waiting to board their flight. By 4pm, the entire house was empty and I waved farewell to our whole house which was now on the back of the truck - we would see it again at the other end on Monday morning, but it still felt weird to think our entire worldly possessions fitted in such a small space when they'd just come from filling a 4 bedroom house!

The Wellington crew at Allied Pickfords were a great bunch to work with and made the whole process of packing up a very smooth and straight forward one for us which helped hugely when we were on such a short time frame!

As I hoovered my way through the house, I found myself getting most emotional as I went through Noah's empty room. He was only 6 months old when we moved to Zetland Street and eight years of his growing life had been spent here. As I vacuumed, memories came flooding back of having to rock him to sleep in those early months (and the fact he proved to be challenging to get to sleep for a couple more years!). For him more than anyone else, this house felt like it had been a coming of age from a baby to a growing young boy and I really felt the weight of the time span as I stood in his empty room. I guess if I had to have a 'moment' somewhere, it felt right that it was there in that room.

After allowing myself time to weep a little over the years gone by - both the good times and the sad times,  Mark arrived home and helped and after finally knocking off the cleaning at around 6pm, we left Murphy behind with enough bikkies and his basket in the almost empty house and headed out for one last night on the town farewelling our lovely city with a decadent night out at the Museum Hotel.

Which turned out to be an incredible treat after such a full on day!

23 June 2015

Sneak peek: The wedding of Sam and Alesha {Pacific Resort Rarotonga}

I was honoured to be asked to be the official wedding photographer at my brother's wedding in Rarotonga on 29 May.

And I was both nervous and excited about being given such a big responsibility. Fortunately I also had my other brother Nic (who is a fantastic photographer in his own right) as my seconder for the day.

We had a fun time driving round the island in the hours before the 4pm ceremony and were lucky to find some incredibly scenic locations for the photos. And the weather held out for us too which was such a blessing.

I am still working my way through the 2,000+ photos that were taken between the two of our cameras on the day (and it's likely that I'll be editing for some time to come!) so this is just a very brief selection of favourites from our pre-ceremony location shoot for you to enjoy in the meantime!

19 June 2015

When I close my eyes, I still dream of the Pacific

So it's pretty cold where we are right now. We're headed into the shortest week of the year which also means the darkest and quite possibly the coldest. 

We had a wicked frost on Wednesday here in the Waikato this week and although we are more than used to cold weather coming from Wellington where howling gales bring bitterly, biting cold days where the temperature struggles to get to double digits, the temperature there hardly (if ever) drops low enough overnight for a frost. When I woke up on Wednesday and went on the bike trainer it was -1 degree and even when I dropped the kids at school a couple of hours later it was still saying 0 degrees in my car. Brr! That being said it still warms up nicely during the day here even up to mid-to-late teens in terms of temperature so we can't complain about that!

I must admit though when I was cycling on the bike trainer that morning with hat, gloves and a puffer jacket (that's a first for me!) it was all I could do to close my eyes and dream of being back at the Pacific Resort where we stayed in Rarotonga 2 weeks ago. 

The resort is situated right on Muri lagoon and is a truly scenic spot.

The hotel pool was where we (well the boys anyway) spent the most time. As well as a great sized deep pool, it was surrounded by lots of comfy couches and recliners to wile away the afternoon reading (like I did - reading The Wild as I'd enjoyed the movie) and hanging out with the family.

There was a great rock for jumping off and doing bombs into the water - it didn't take Noah long to figure this out!

All the paths around the resort were surrounded by high bushes which made it feel as if you were privately tucked away while you were walking around and not in someone else's personal holiday space which was great.

There were scooters for hire right outside the front door of the hotel too if that was your thing.

Our room was just tucked away down the path below.

And Sandals Restaurant where we ate our buffet breakfast each morning was literally a 1 minute walk away. Sitting in the open with the warm tropical air around you while munching on a veritable feast was a pretty pleasurable way to start the day.

And beyond the restaurant the beach was waiting. The kids club was on every day and we could have sent the kids there as they had loads of activities on throughout the day but in the end we just all hung out together which was actually nicer as a whole extended family we were just enjoying the time and opportunity to catch up on the past few months apart.

And having the opportunity to catch up in such stunning surrounds was icing on the cake.

Having the Barefoot bar right on the sand meant coffee on the beach in the morning = no problem. Cocktail on the beach in the afternoon = no problem either!

It was pretty hard to tear ourselves away from this view any time we had to go back to the room.


Within the resort, we stayed in one of the older style family rooms which in all honesty were a bit dated compared to some of the other accommodation options that were available within in the resort. But for us the desire for our own space away from the kids (i.e. having 2 bedrooms) far outweighed the 'niceties' of staying a newer, more swanky room.

And still, falling into this bed after a long hard, day at the pool or in the sea was still a pretty comfortable experience as you can see.

And wouldn't you know it, right then my daydream abruptly comes to an end, and when I open my eyes I realise I'm still sat on my bike trainer, pumping my legs to keep warm in a freezing cold garage in the middle of winter.

Ah well, at least these lovely dreams and memories are free!


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