Monday, October 31, 2011

Boatsheds in the city

They sit with their tentacle like ramps suspended at circa 20°, these prominent fixtures along the shores of Herne Bay. Boatsheds at the foots of cliffs, perched on wooden piles typically sheathed with crustaceans. They are vintage beauties, and I romantically imagine the “boatie” type users of yesteryear, with sun-bleached hair and leathery tanned faces launching hand crafted wooden dingys into the water. Now they are either used as boat club rooms or for parties (I surmise from the myriad of two times I have seen inside one). The one we were at on Saturday afternoon was the former.

Herne Bay Beach Reserve

We were here last weekend for a two year old's birthday party.

We took Kien to this cute little beach armed with his brand spanking new bucket, spade, rake and boat. The tide was out so there were mudpools and rocks to explore.

The late afternoon sky provided some interesting cloud formations.

To me it looked like a canvas painting of a sea enveloping a volcano hidden behind an ash cloud.

It was a fabulous impromptu beach expedition, and if you are wondering why on earth Kien is in his jeans on the beach the answer is simple - we forgot. The shorts were in the bag with the towel and ready for him. We changed him when we got to the car after we left the beach.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Energy in a sea of green

The alarm went off at, not the Kien alarm...the iPhone telling me it was time to get up and moving. It was very hard to fathom that this morning I was going to run 21km when the most I have done during my 5 training runs was 7.85km. This was going to be an exercise in mental toughness, and 72% of me was ready for the challenge.

We got the 6am ferry and was over in Devonport for a spectacular sunrise.

7am - the gun went off and I was still queuing for the port-a-loo. Minutes later I was amongst the wave through Devonport.

The sun streamed from behind us as we made our way toward the city.

As we headed toward the bridge various people were out cheering and motivating and energizing us to move forward.

It's always so special to run across the Auckland Harbour Bridge - 1km to get to the other side. The silly shuffle I did to get up to the top must have looked ridiculous.

No sooner do we get off the bridge and we are doing a climb up Curran St. But once we are coming down it was 5km to the finish.

On Westhaven Drive was the 18km marker, and at this point I needed to summon up every ounce of courage and scrape anything that as left from an already empty tank. I kept telling myself the finish line was just around the corner...just one last stretch around the tank farm and we were home (I always talk in plural to myself when I'm hurting).

I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry at the finish line, but I was afraid I would create a trend. Besides, I had several bananas to eat and a litre of Powerade to drink.

Two hours and thirty minutes - not a blistering pace by anyone's standards, however with all things considered I am just glad I FINISHED.

It is a big ask to have babysitters turn up at 5am, so I am very appreciative Mum & Rod did this for us.

I'm linking this post with other bloggers who have been inspired this week by energy

Saturday, October 29, 2011

...and then he threw a wobbly, again

Standing at the kitchen gate and pointing at the spot he is occasionally allowed to sit on, he had a meltdown. This one was a doozy. He stamped his little feet and shrieked, then threw himself on the ground, rolled around a bit, and back on his feet to stamp some more. He carried on for 20 minutes, occasionally stopping to take a breather. He did stop for 42 seconds to watch a video clip on my iPad of himself giggling, but then he must have remembered he was still upset, and so he started up again. No amount of offers for cuddles could stop this one.

He asked for milk, and at this stage he was so beside himself he was tripping over everything, including his own feet. He wanted to lie on the couch next to his fish, but when he got there he wanted his koala, so he went and fetched it from his cot. But that wasn't satisfactory and he asked for his dinosaur and dog next. So he went back and forth transferring his stuffed animals one at a time from his bed to the couch, after which time he climbed up, rested against the fish, hugged his koala and finally the tantrum was over.

5 minutes later he was giggling again, and when Jef tried on his half marathon shirt Kien wanted to put one on too. So he slipped into mine.

An hour earlier Jef and I had buried our heads under the duvet to escape the shrill moaning and groaning of an unhappy child. I can't remember how that one started - probably over a sticker that wouldn't unstick, or he took a bite out of his cracker and didn't want it "broken".

We headed off to Newmarket to purchase Kien some sandals. Shops were not open until 10am, so in the drizzling rain Kien zoomed around.

The bed of flowers at the intersection exuded a wonderfully sweet fragrance, not to mention how pretty they were with smatterings of pink freesias nestled amongst black poppies.

We were standing right next to the Yoobee store when it opened, so of course we had to go in and take a look. This is the closest we get to an Apple store in NZ.

Kien was very interested in the guitar. He strummed and sang a little bit, but was very good not to take it off the stand.

We went to the Crocs store and tried on a pair of green ones. We needed some assistance, but the Assistant didn't look interested in assisting us, and neither Jef nor I was in the mood to ask for assistance, so we left the store...and then he threw a wobbly, again. Luckily this one was short lived as we enticed him with walking up the road to The Warehouse.

We came home with a plastic boat, bucket, spade, rake, sand molds, and a pair of toddler sunglasses. No sandals.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Plastic and melamine

I broke a plate the other day, actually two of them, and not just any old plate either. They were my mega expensive Royal Doulton side plates that belong to a set I purchased once upon a time when it was important to have porcelain in my 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a “formal” lounge, a “family” room, a “sun” room/conservatory, a rumpus room, 6 car garage, 22+ kitchen appliances, 912 square meter section with a 295 square meter suburban house in the heights of Pakuranga (I bet you didn’t know there was any such place, did you? It is true, Pakuranga Heights is a legitimate area, maybe because it is up on a semi small hill – although how can one really differentiate between it and just Pakuranga. I’m certain the people who live in the heights of Pakuranga would vehemently argue of the substantial differences).

I thought at 24 years old all of that would make me happy - mass accumulation of stuff for the satisfaction of my external persona.

I paid for people to do the chores I didn’t want to do, I basked in naivety and frivolity, and yet life just seemed overwhelmingly complicated. So I thought I would be happier if we lived closer to the beach, and we sold up and purchased a house, a pool, and a 10 minute walk to the beach in Browns Bay. Along with that came more dissatisfaction, more Socrates and Ayn Rand literature to provide guidance in my quest to find the meaning of life.

Fast forward to a Dr Brown glass milk bottle being knocked off the apartment kitchen bench into an open drawer and shattering my plates with an almighty crash that caused me to jump and my heart to skip a beat. I looked down, and there it was, staring at me from the third drawer down.

Ironically my Royal Doulton filled drawer has been invaded by plastic and melamine, and oh how much joy this brings me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just the two of us

I'm telling you now - when the sun is out in its full glory, puffs of cotton clouds scattered across the pale blue sky, sitting on a blanket playing footsies with sand, waves are lapping loudly, a toddler making engine noises while scooping thimblefuls of sand with his digger, and there's nobody else here except the two of us and some seagulls - this NEVER gets old. My little slice of Nirvāṇa!

I sat there breathing in the salty air and I felt so lucky and privileged that every Tuesday I get to do this (or something similar to this) with my son - just the two of us.

We were alone on the beach for ages, then this young guy came down the stairs and Kien went running over to him laughing. They walked down the beach and sat down, and I could hear them jabbering to each other - Kien doing his toddler talk with some recognisable words thrown into the mix as he attempts to string sentences together, the guy chatting back to him. I could definitely hear "more" and "again" echoing as they drew in the sand and threw rocks into the water. It was great - free baby sitting service on the beach!

The guy would have kept Kien entertained for at least 45 minutes. When he finally got up and waved good-bye to Kien as he walked away I thanked him, and he said he had a lot of fun, and the kid was just too cute. Aww, perfect words for a mother's ears.

As the afternoon became late a few people showed up to soak up some rays and enjoy what was left of a glorious day. The tide was coming in fast carrying with it some plump seaweed. Kien was keen as anything to look for seaweed so he could squeeze them.

He enjoyed being in the water. This is actually the first time he has voluntarily waded into the sea by himself. If I had gone for a swim I bet he would have wanted to come along too. I took off his sodden nappy and he was happy to go deeper. We jumped and splashed together, and it was glorious. We finally had to leave as the beach was running out of sand with the tide being so high.

Musician in the making

Remember this clip from last year? I thought he had some cool rhythms back then. Well check out his latest trick.

If you can't see the video (those of you getting this blog feed via e-mail) then go to my blog post on the web and you'll be able to see it there.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Action packed long weekend

It feels like since we have been back from Australia life has been that much busier. I guess settling back into our rhythm again, and with the long weekend, and with Jef having been stuck at work for an extra half hour or hour here and there I really have been feeling like it has been non stop. I guess that's what Labour day is all about then - having a break and taking a breather. Luckily for me my weekend extends to 4 days, so as everyone else headed back to the office today I was able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine with my boy. I'm yet to process the photos taken today, so will post those separately later on. In the meantime I've got plenty of this weekend gone.

His friend's 2nd birthday party

Kien got invited to a little boy's second birthday party on Saturday. Leo's birthday party was held in a boat shed on Marine Parade in Herne Bay.

Kien had a great time, eating typical kids party food, and riding in the car that he wouldn't let any other child play with. There was no point in me intervening - there were just too many children there who also hogged toys and hadn't a clue about sharing.

Kien also spent a lot of time outside - climbing the stairs up-down-up-down-up and running around the garden. I went and fetched him often.

As the DJ entertained the children with music and games Kien wanted to go after the runaway balls.

The view outside the window of the boat shed of other boat sheds is pretty cool.

Kien and I will be visiting that beach on one of our Tuesdays. It is small, secluded and cute.

Monday afternoon at the beach

So what did we do on Labour day? Why, life's a beach and we went there, tout à fait!

We went to St Leonard's beach again, but this time the tide was further out and we were able to explore the caves around the rocks.

Jef was teaching Kien how to skim rocks.

Kien was every enthusiastic. He ran around collecting rocks for his dad.

I am always amazed at how much Kien adores Jef. Jef can pretty much make Kien giggle emphatically by merely goofing around.

Is this a mini-me photo, or what!


When we drive around we hunt for diggers. When we spot one we all yell "digger" and point, and Kien then says "more digger?" when he can no longer see one. So Jef got him a toy digger, and Kien occasionally will take this to bed with him.

Finally, you know the Rugby World Cup is over when an ocean liner is leaving our shores.


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