13 December 2007

Pre-Christmas Christmas

Just a quickie update as Christmas rapidly steamrolls towards us.

We had Libsta up for a visit last weekend, the last time before Christmas. It was a very busy couple of days!
Lib’s plane arrived at 7pm Friday evening and we had a fish and chip dinner at her request … picnic style on the lounge floor.

Saturday morning we installed the Christmas tree and decorations before heading off to Lollipops playland for the Kiddies Party put on by my work. Libby had a fabulous time trying out all the slides and swings before it was time for their meal and presents. She was so excited to get her present from Santa!

After such an exciting afternoon it was a pretty quiet evening ready for the next day ... and the big event of the weekend… the Christmas Parade at Birkenhead. We were not only going to it… Libby and I were part of it!! My bellydance teacher had been invited to have a group on the parade and she in turn invited any children to join us. Libby was so excited!!

She got to see a lot of the floats while we were all assembling before the parade and had an absolute ball dancing up the road with us and waving to all the people … no time to stop in front of Tom to get a photo… she had her public to see after all!!

Not only that but she got to meet Shrek, the Pink Panther gave her a big cuddle and Santa himself talked to her at the end of the parade.

It was great to see how much she enjoyed herself, she couldn’t wipe the huge smile (complete with missing front teeth) off her face.


18 November 2007

Picnic in the park

Last weekend my brother, Brendon, and his family were visiting Auckland so they organised to have a get together with us, my youngest brother, Robert, and his tribe and Mum and Dad. The plan was, weather permitting, to meet in Cornwall Park for a picnic.

Libby was up staying for the weekend so she was looking forward to seeing my neices and nephew.

We were blessed with a gorgeous day so we slapped on the sunscreen and headed off. Cornwall Park is a fabulous place for a picnic! When we arrived we found the others had picked a spot next to a huge old Magnolia tree. What a great setting!

Not only did the grand old tree provide a fantastic setting for photos, it was also a source of fascination for the children... well... the older ones anyway, Georgia wasn't so fussed on it just yet!

We had all taken a plate to share for lunch so we had a nice selection to choose from. The kids also had a lot of fun in the little tent Rob and Stacey had brought with them and playing with the ball... and at one point we had a couple of runaways on our hands... we looked around for Libby and Tiali, who were there a moment before, only to see them racing off across the park... can't blame them really, it was a great day for playing chase!!
It was a lovely lazy, relaxing afternoon and our first real taste of sun in a long time! Well, maybe not the first, but it was certainly the first opportunity we'd had to enjoy it, with the added bonus of good company!!

4 October 2007

Weekend up north...

Life has been so busy this year that we haven’t made it up north much. We had Libby come and stay with us for the first week of school holidays and planned to spend the last weekend of her stay visiting Mum and Dad.

We packed up the van and hit the road about 4:30 Friday afternoon. A pretty normal trip up there and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset on the way. Had dinner when we arrived and packed Libby off to bed.

The next morning we hung out around the house. Lib and I spent some time exploring the gardens and Tom sorted out Mum’s outlook connection to her new ISP. It was a lovely sunny morning and we enjoyed mooching about soaking up the sun. Mum and Libs had a bit of a blast around the garden on the quad… something Libby enjoyed as she thinks she is driving the bike!

After lunch we went for a ride into town and went for a wander around the Community Gardens down by the river. I can’t remember when this project first started but it is certainly becoming more established now and makes for a nice place to hang out. The highlight for Libby was the play area which is built in the shape of a tall ship and has slides, swings, ladders…. and a fireman’s pole!

Lately Libby has been a bit more hesitant having a go at some activities which is unusual for a wee person that up until now has been fearless when it comes to climbing, jumping and swinging… Not sure where that’s coming from! Although she wanted to go down the pole she stood by it telling us “I can’t do it!!”. Tom went and took her down with him. The next time she decided to go by herself but needed a bit of coaxing from Tom as her guided her onto the pole, holding onto her as she slid to the bottom. After that she went “all by myself!” and then there was no stopping her!

A quick bit of retail therapy was had after that at the Warehouse before we went to visit Grandma…. Janene’s Grandma, not Libby’s.
As we headed back out home to Mum & Dad’s it was decided we’d whip out to the beach. Lib fell asleep in the car and was a bit groggy when we first arrived but soon woke up once she realised where we were! We found an old screwdriver which was the perfect tool for writing her name in the sand so she wasted no time in making her mark.
There was a shout from the wagon, Dad had spotted something unusual in the surf…a massive lump of kelp?… or…. is that a seal? It was in very shallow and looked to be flailing about. We weren’t sure if it was playing or whether it was injured so went down to get a closer look. Libby was keen as mustard to check it out and we had to watch she didn’t get too close in case it was in a … er … grumpy mood. Anyways, as we got closer we could see that it was okay and that it was simply playing. Rolling about in the shallows and no doubt getting a lovely old back scratch and exfoliation! When we got to the waters edge it finally noticed us. Sitting up it took a good look, we didn’t move any closer at this point because, well basically we didn’t want to piss it off! It mustn’t have been as interested in us as we were in him because it flopped back into the water and rolled and lolled his way further up the beach… nothing to see here folks!

We had a lovely roast dinner in the evening, set our clocks back for daylight saving so we would be on time to leave on time in the morning.
Another weekend had flown by all too quickly!

2 October 2007

Libsta - Dance Star

Go girl!!

11 April 2007

Home sweet home!

It feels more and more like home every time we go out to Great Barrier. Looking down from the plane always blows me away... especially when we can see the bach clearly!! Not so this trip but we looked down over the settlement and couldn't wait until we had landed... home again! We had five days over there this time and couldn't wait to get started! The ealiest flight we were able to get onto was the 1:30 flight on Good Friday. We got a transfer up to the bach, dumped our gear and jumped in the wagon to head down the island to the wharf at Tryphena where friends were waiting for us at the wharf. They had taken the ferry over and rather than trying to figure out a way to get to the bach ... and where to find it... they waited for us to arrive and pick them up.

The kids were buzzing... "We saw a stingray!! Right in there... look there he is!! His name is Stumpy, he has no tail!! Cool eh?!"
Anna smiled and told us, "It's so beautiful" and we had to laugh, they hadn't even left the wharf and the Barrier Bug had bitten them already!
We all headed back to the bach where the tent was pitched and we showed our visitors where everything was.
Later on we went down to Okupu wharf where I went out to set the long line, our latest toy! While I was out doing that the other fished off the wharf in the hope of catching a few squid and maybe a fish or two for dinner. I pulled the long line in after a while with 3 small snapper, all of them went back to grow bigger for another day.

The next day we were treated to a stunning sunrise. Tom and Mel went out to set the long line again and while they were gone I took the kids for a walk up to the creek that is our water supply, then we left a note and headed down to the beach where they had a great time beachcombing. Luckily I'd brought along a plastic bag each for them to collect all the treasures they were finding, shells, sea eggs, crab bodies, fish skeletons... I began to wonder how they were going to get it all home again!!
When they guys got back from fishing we all piled into the wagon and took a trip to Whangapoua for a bit more hunting and gathering. We collected a feast of cockles and mussels to take home for dinner and Kyle tried out his snorkling skills in the creek... the muffled squawks through his snorkle letting us know when he had spotted another fish cruising by. Fresh salty air and plenty of exercise meant that the kids were fast asleep not long after dark and to be fair the adults weren't far behind!

Another day, another adventure! Tom got up early and went out for a fish in the hope of bringing home breakfast. By about 9 oclock we decided to fill in time by beachcombing again and of course the kids found another bundle of treasures newly distributed by the tides. Tom came home with one fish which was enough for all the adults to have a bit wrapped in bread. The kids reckoned they didn't want any after seeing the raw fillets although Rowan changed her mind once it was cooked and managed to get a bite of each of our sandwiches.
Then it was into the wagon and off to the hot pools. There is about a 30 minute walk along a bush track from the road to the springs. We spent the time trying to convince Rowan that the springs were a creek like the one our water comes from and not spa pools with water jets but I don't think she really believed us until we actually got there. Tommy went a lttle further down the creek and created his own pool by moving the rocks around. It didn't take much convincing to get in with him! Aaaaaah!!! Lovely!

So, after a warm dip in the hot pools it was time to try another variety... the mermaid pool! This is a big hole in the rock that is left exposed at low tide. It is quite deep but that didn't phase the kids at all. Plus they were plenty of creatures to check out both in the pool and in the rocks around it.

While the kids were checking out the mermaid pool Mel and I took the double kayak out for a quick spin. Had a near perfect lauch through some mild waves and managed to stay dry on the way out. The swell was pretty big once we got out further so we had a quick paddle about then headed back in. I couldn't let Mel get back to the beach still dry so we caught a wave in and I "forgot" to keep the kayak tracking straight and... oh dear... wipe out!! Heh!! Tom and I went out for a spin after that and had a bit of fun in the surf coming back! In the meantime Kyle and Rowan (aka Hiawatha and Pocahontas) were trying out Libby's kayak in the more sedate waters of the creek. Once they got the hang of that they moved on up to the double... like ducks to water!

Sadly we had to say goodbye to our friends the following morning. We were up early getting them packed up to catch the 8:30 ferry back to Auckland. We said our goodbyes and waved them off. As we headed back to the bach we stopped at Pah beach to watch the ferry disappearing into the distance....

We had about 36 hours left on the island ourselves... what would we do now? ...

...Go fishing of course!! Ha! But that's another story!

28 March 2007

Better late than never!!

!Well!! Libby came to visit for the weekend... just in time for St Patricks Day! Happy days! We all went over to the parade in Queen St which Libby enjoyed immensely and wanted to be part of! "C'mon Dad... march!!" ... hmmmm... maybe next year... What d'ya reckon Tom?
We had a fun afternoon after that, going to our local where they were having face painting and dancers coming in. Libsta loved the dancers, pretty dresses and fancy footwork! Once they'd finished Libby wasted no time in filling their space, the band started up and she was away!! Even got a round of applause! After that it was hard to keep her away from the dance floor...
Go Twinkle Toes!!