Saturday, April 21, 2018

We took a flight

We needed to go somewhere, and not having a lot of time I looked at the options for flights/timezones/touchdown times/ease of commuting - and Tokyo won this round. Flying out Friday and coming back Tuesday doesn't give us much time, so we didn't want to stress about having to see everything. Just a few places at a comfortable pace was all we needed to do, and walking around the streets of Tokyo and tasting all the wonderful food on offer was enough.

We were fortunate to get on the flight. It was absolutely full leaving AKL. Luckily we were at the top of the priority list for onloading, and it was a surprise to find we were upgraded to premium. It was a very comfortable flight, and I drank sparkling wine the entire way up to Narita.




We got to our hotel pretty late in the afternoon/early evening. Rest was what we needed if we were to tackle the following days effectively. But first, Jef was frustrated that our hotel room had a balcony, yet they only allow you to open the window a tiny bit so you can't actually get outside. No, he wasn't having a bar of that!




We all conked out that night on the double bed, which was a tight squeeze for the three of us. Then in the morning I sent Jef down to explore the local Family Mart. It's like a dairy on steroids. He came back with our yummy pre breakfast snack - steamed pork bun. We ended up consuming a fair few of these whilst in Japan.
They make for inexpensive snacks whilst on the go at 122 yen, or $1.57NZD.


Ueno Park

Blossoms. You'd think I planned it - to be here at the height of blossom season when there's a window of 2 weeks. The Blossom Festival is crazy! People everywhere checking out these blooms.






They were beautiful though, undoubtedly. We've heard so much about the Cherry Blossom Festival, so it was a nice surprise to accidentally show up and see it for ourselves.
















It was tiring jostling through the crowd, but totally worth the visit.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A couple of stories from Kien

I can't believe how quickly these last couple of months has gone by for Kien being back at school...and then we will be finished with this first term! He hasn't written anything for this blog recently, so here are a couple of stories. The first he wrote today on the iPhone, and the second was written a week ago.

​When I went swimming

​Yesterday I went swimming. I went in the deep pool. First I practiced diving. Second I practiced getting into a boat safely or if I didn’t do it right the boat would sink.

Koala in Mars



Sunday, March 18, 2018

Art and life

My child oscillates between being delightful and being a down right thorn in my side. OMG, this weekend!! Not sure what's going on with him but he's been so fragile; having a meltdown because he didn't like the hotpot restaurant we went to last night, and then bursting into tears multiple times today because his iPod kept crashing from the stupid game that refused to load. It's enough to drive a parent to alcoholism, I tell you! So as I sip my Bloody Mary on a Sunday afternoon I'm letting him spend all of his points on watching youtube because I just am too tired to nag.

This afternoon, getting him to practice 5 minutes of keyboard was like extracting teeth. 5 minutes! I was rewarding him with 1 point for it too! That's 20 minutes of device time, or 1/3 of $2 if he want to save for Beyblades (3 points = $2). I think I'm extremely generous with the earning of points. But no, when Kien is going through a non cooperative phase the moaning and the groaning can make you feel like your ears will bleed. But this is life, right? As adults we also go through phases, and sometimes we also feel that the amount of effort it takes to, say, do a day's work at our job isn't worth the stress for the $. But if you want to eat, have a house, go on holidays, drive a car, and be able to afford hobbies then you just have to suck it up. The points system I've put in place for Kien is trying to teach him about this - well that's what I'm hoping its teaching him...there ain't no free ride. Either that or he just thinks I'm really mean. He has asked me why his friends can get to use devices FOR FREE. I told him I didn't care what his friends get or doesn't get because I am not their parent. He thinks I'm being unfair. So my natural response to that is...life is unfair, kid. Get used to it. Now go and empty the dishwasher and that will earn you a point.

The other day I was emptying his book bag and found a certificate he got. I didn't get around to asking him abut it. This afternoon I was tidying up the dining table and found the certificate, so I asked him to let me take a photo of him holding it for this blog post. He was like, "oh, when I got it in assembly they also made me hold it to get photos taken."
"What? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because it was a surprise", he said.
"And you were going to tell me, when?" Do you think he'd give me one photo with a decent smile after our conversation?




At the end of the year the school always does an art exhibition where the kids get to choose a piece to showcase. This is Kien's submission for last year.


The reason I haven't talked about this before is because Kien actually lost the artwork at the end of the year when they were cleaning up. Don't ask me how he could lose something so big - it's an A3 drawing stuck on heavy weighted paper to form a border. Anyway, we thought it was lost forever but then it showed up all of a sudden in his classroom at the beginning of the year. I was so happy when I found out it wasn't lost, because he had actually taken out the top prize for the 7 year olds category.


He was rewarded with $25 voucher at the local book store.


I asked him to explain to me all the details in his drawing. Oh boy, I think that's an entirely different blog post, all to do with nuclear weapons, saving villages and meteors. Yeah, too much for a Sunday afternoon frivolous post.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mangawhai lifestylers

I recently joined a private facebook group - Mangawhai Lifestyle Property Community, to learn a thing or two. The group is a relatively newly formed one, and last Sunday we went to a meet and greet brunch at one of the member's home. They had organised a local fellow to come and tell/show us all about summer pruning of fruit trees. It was fascinating and we learned so much. Plus strolling around on the beautiful property in the sunshine on a lazy Sunday afternoon is such a joyful experience.

There were a handful of kids of various ages, but only 2 that were 8, and they basically struck up a friendship immediately. They both ran around and played with the dog for the first hour, then they joined the other kids in the pool, then they got changed and ran around some more, climbing trees and playing in the willow glades.






They have exchanged email addresses so we'll see if they stay in contact.


In the late afternoon we stopped by our property for a brief checkup. Jef and I were up in our Totara glade and when we looked down we saw Kien had (obviously) climbed up on the container and was sitting there merrily.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Saturday cricket

The season is almost over. As sad as that may sound it means that we adults get our Saturday mornings back, and Jef doesn't have to rush home on Thursday evenings to take Kien to practice. We want Kien to do team sport because it teaches him commitment, team work, bla bla bla...but in him doing extra curricular activities the reality is that WE have to be committed too, and that means no lazing around in bed on Saturday mornings after a long week at work. Oh, the sacrifices!

Last Saturday the club game was held in Kohimarama. They had a really good match, and the Grafton United Cricket Club Y3 Panthers won their second game for the season! It was a great win too - Auckland University Cricket Club Y3 Crocodiles scored 84 runs vs the Panthers with a massive 124 runs.









Wednesday, February 14, 2018

On Motuihe island

Jef and Kien kayaked to the island when we were anchored in Waihaorangatahi Bay. Here are some photos Jef took whilst on the island.










Jef took some videos of Kien running through those birds on the wharf. I did a light edit to string them together. Here's a link to “Motuihe wharf” — Kien running with the birds on the wharf.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

We set sail on Auckland Anniversary weekend

We decided to take the yacht out for the remainder of Auckland Anniversary weekend. Jef had taken Tuesday off work to have a extra long weekend. It seems like forever ago that we had taken the boat out. It was good to be out on the water.


We had zig zagged all the way out of the harbour with the sails up, and once we got past Okahu Bay we decided to motor the rest of the way to Motuihe. If we had all the time in the world then, sure, we would have slogged it out for another 3 hours, but since we had set off late in the day it wasn't a good option. We anchored in Waihaorangatahi Bay, which was very full at this hour of the day. Always enjoy seeing the city from this vantage point.




The following morning I had to dive off the back of the boat into the frigid water...actually the water wasn't too bad once I was in. But prior to that we had visitors pop over.






Jef and Kien went off to the island on the kayak to do some exploration. I hung around on the boat and enjoyed the quietness.






That evening Kien and Jef did some fishing with the bait they foraged from the shore...and Kien caught me dinner! But in all the excitement no one took a photo of the snapper on the line. I sizzled the whole thing up in the pan and it was delicious. Then we settled in to another night, with hardly any boats around because for a lot of Aucklanders they had to be at work the following day.






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