27 July 2006

Happy Birthday Libby!!!

You're getting very grown-up now!!

9 July 2006

We all live in a yellow submarine!!

Well.... that's a bit of a fib, but on Friday afternoon we pretended we did for a while.

We took Libby to visit Kelly Tarlton's for the afternoon. Tom had never been and it's been years since I last went! I have to admit I was really looking forward to it!

Sadly only part of the complex was open as they were still repairing damage to the underwater tunnels. Despite that we still had a really fun afternoon.

The first thing we did was get into one of the snowcats so we could be taken through the penguin enclosure. At one point we were driven alongside the side of the aquarium so we were below the water level and could see how the penguins "fly" underwater. Funny, I always think of penguins as small wee fellows but the two species at Kelly Tarlton's made me realise that they aren't all quite so small. They were really amazing to see up close and we had to go back and have a second trip to get another look.

Next we stopped for a coffee break and icecreams. We were sitting right next to where the stingrays get fed and while we were there one of the staff appeared in the tank in to talk about the rays as he fed them. When dinner time was over we spent quite a bit of time watching them swimming about at the deep end of the tank.

After that we stopped in at the interactive centre where Libby made herself a mermaid crown and then very patiently helped Tom to colour in a picture.

It was certainly something different to do - we'll have to go back some time when the tunnel is open again!

8 July 2006

60 years, 60 hours, 60 challenges!!

Last weekend was my father's 60th birthday. He had told my mother he didn't want any parties but we couldn't let a 'big O' slip by without doing something special. I don't know quite how we managed to keep it all so secret and despite Dad having a few suspicions he didn't know what we were up to.

We packed him off on a 'mystery weekend' to Rotorua and eventually we all joined him there on Friday for a family weekend. The challenges were all pretty harmless really and just a bit of fun so he got into the spirit of things and started going through the list. There were the kiwi icon photos that had to be taken:

and the signs that included a '60' or 'sixty'...

You have to hand it to him, he was a pretty good sport about it all... until the challenge that involve 60 seconds pretending to try on lingerie!! Eventually though he cracked that one too... twice!! And then went and purchased some... so what if it was for Mum... the shop assistants didn't know that! We considered taking points off because he seemed to actually enjoy that challenge a little too much!! Hmmmm.... might have had something to do with that 60oz of beer we had him drink in the hot-pools!!
We had a pretty awesome weekend together.... but of course we had one last secret challenge for him to complete on the Sunday... the grand finale!!

As we headed off towards the outskirts of Rotorua I'm not quite sure whether Dad noticed that we seemed to be following the signs to the airport.... but he soon figured it out... about the time he saw the huge signage on the side of one of the hangars... "SKYDIVE WITH US TODAY!".

I tell ya, he fair leapt out of the car, "I'm not jumping out of any bleeping plane!!"

Oh dear!! Stay calm.... no way was I throwing my Dad out of any plane... far from it... we had organised something far more sedate... A flight in a glider!!

The glider club offer trial flights to the public as conditions allow. I had called the day ahead to ensure that all systems were go and the weather was just stunning! When we arrived we were told that this was the first time they had been able to use the airstrip in 10 weeks. There had been a bit of flooding and weather conditions had not allowed the grass strip to dry enough up until last weekend.

They got Dad all strapped in and ready to roll... off along the runway they went.... up... up... and away!! Not long after the tow plane came back into the strip and was soon followed by the glider.... there had been engine problems so the flight was cut short and they came back in to check out the plane. We waited about for a while to see if they'd get it going again but then decided to head off and have some lunch. Everyone was pretty tired by then and we all had to think about the trip home. When I rang the glider club to let them know we were going to head home I was told that the problem with the plane was a major and they couldn't fly any more that day. Since then the weather has turned to crap and I wouldn't be surprised if the airstrip is out of action again.... it may have been a short flight Dad, but it looks like it's the only one for a while!! Gotta use those windows of opportunity while they are open!

I think everyone had a good time! It sure looks like it!!