Friday, December 30, 2016


My baby boy is now SEVEN. His little face with his missing front tooth peered out at me from under the covers yesterday morning, smiling, excitedly asking, "is it really my birthday, today?". I nodded, and he was like, "SEVEN, I'm now seven!", as if it was the best age to be, ever! Then I looked at my Fitbit and told him that this time 7 years ago I was waiting for him to sleep, that his daddy had just driven us from the hospital to Birthcare, and he was lying in his cot looking at me with those enormous eyes, blinking, staring, not sleeping. The nurses checked in on us, one at a time, hour after hour, exclaiming how he should be asleep by now. Little did I realise this was going to be my life for the next few years! He giggled after I told my story, telling me it was very funny. Then he threw his arms around my neck and pulled my face close, squeezed tightly and gave me a kiss, and asked for the iPad.

He was a palaeontologist after breakfast, slowly chipping away with his hammer and chisel to dig out the bones buried in the clay brick. This kid has been interested in dinosaurs for as long as I can remember. He even wants to go London so he can visit the Natural History Museum - the one that David Attenborough's "Alive" documentary was filmed in, which uses CGI imagery to bring to life several of the extinct animal skeletons in the museum. He loves that doco.

We had his friend, Naotaka, (who shared their birthday party together a couple of weeks ago) over for the day. Both boys had such a good time. We broke out the water balloons.

After all the birthday gifts at their birthday party and Christmas presents I can safely say Kien was present-ed out, to the point where he didn't even expect/ask if we had got him something. We had, but I think I'll save that for another time.

Last night I asked him if he enjoyed his birthday. He said he did, very much. He loved the balloons, playing with his friend, and our house. He's said a few times that he loves living here, and that he doesn't miss the apartment anymore. He also told me that his favourite daddy is Daddy, I'm his favourite mummy, and Koala is his favourite best friend. And then he continued talking about all sorts of things (like he does every night) and asks me to explain why we dream, how our eyes work, why our heart is so important...and then I tell him to be quiet and go to sleep...and then he yabbers on under his breathe thinking I can't hear him until he passes out, eventually.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A merry little Christmas

I haven't been well, and if you asked Jef he would say he wore the brunt of all my frustrations over the last few days. But anyway, on Christmas eve we spent the day at home trying to enjoy some peace and quiet. Kien got into the stash of water balloons, and a lot of merriment was had with throwing them out windows and smashing them all over the place. Between Kien and Jef they blew up a heck of a lot of them too!

At nightfall we ventured up the street to see the Franklin Rd lights. After all, t'was the night before Christmas...

I was feeling so poorly by the time we got home but I had all of "Santa's" presents to wrap. I sent Jef off to put Kien to bed and got to it (after a couple more Aspirins). I've come to a conclusion that I could never be a professional parcel wrapper upperer! But finally I had everything set and done.

Christmas morning there was one very lucky, and very surprised little boy.

We try to keep reminding him of how very lucky he is. Especially after a second round of gifts at my folks place, and then a third round of gifts at Rod, Grandma Gun, and Karen's. Wow, I'm overwhelmed by how generous everyone is. I am so grateful, and feel very fortunate indeed. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2016

It rained and we laughed

All week I was hoping for sunshine, or at least no rain for the previous Saturday (not last weekend). Birthday party preparations for the last 3 weeks with the other mother who was also helping me organise our boys' shared occasion together. We were expecting the sun to be out and all the kids to be running around out the back. But no, the weather forecast all week told us it was going to rain, and no matter how much hoping and wishing and praying we did it was no use. No matter, the party had to go ahead, so we texted all the parents on Thursday night to tell them to bring swimming gear.

The people from Bouncy Fun arrived at lunchtime on Saturday to put up the bouncy castle, and we hoped it would fit out the front. He said it wouldn't fit, and I was like, "please make it fit!". And guess what?

Our friends Anna and Joe came over early from Waiheke to help out with preparations. I talked them with balloons and house decorations while I decorated the cupcakes. The roses were supposed to be bright red, but I just couldn't get it red enough so I settled on bright pink instead. The night before I had spent the better part of my Friday evening making little eatable bees. 2 hours later I had completed 20 of them. It was my first time so I didn't have a system, but if I ever decide to make bees again I'll be so much faster.

When the kids started arriving I was wondering how we were going to survive 3 hours of kids being cooped up in our little house. But it was fairly obvious from the get go that they are at the age where they can pretty much entertain themselves. Some of them immediately got into their togs and bounced in the castle and got completely soaked. Jef opened up the spa pool and everyone was more than happy to get wet...except the 2 birthday boys. But that's okay, everyone had their own little group to play with and they were all happy, which made me happy. Jef was the bouncer at the gate to make sure we didn't have any escapees and everyone was safe.

We had a face painter organised to come over. Most of the kids got theirs painted.

Kien's teacher, Amandine, popped in to say hello. The kids were so excited to see her.

After the kids refuelled with party food we hung the piñata up for them to bash down. It was so funny when they were all chanting "SMASH IT, SMASH IT".

The triceratops piñata was so cute. Pity it had to be destroyed.

The kids all overdosed on lollies and piled into Kien's room to chill out, and that's how the parents found them when they came to pick their child up 3 hours after drop off. Before long the only 2 kids left were the two (pre)birthday boys.

I feel completely satisfied that we were able to pull it off and everyone enjoyed themselves (well I hope they did!). Naotaka's mum said she was very happy. It was his first birthday party ever where he's been able to have his friends celebrate with him. Like Kien, Naotaka's actual birthday is during the school holidays. I've promised Kien for almost 2 years now I'd organise a birthday party for him. Tick, I've delivered.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Player of the day

Cricket - it's more his style. He seems really engaged (most of the time), he actually doesn't grizzle about having to go. After a season of football over winter I was really hoping summer cricket was going to be easier. So last Saturday when Kien came back with the player of the day bat, I had to ask Jef if that was "for real". With football when Kien came home with the player of the day trophy it was definitely not for real. In fact Jef said it was probably the worst effort Kien had put in, but that it was his turn to get it, so therefore he got it. I would of preferred they just didn't give it to him! But anyway, this time around he truly deserved it. Do you think I could get him to be normal for a photo though?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Trick or treat

The downpour when I was leaving work pretty much reflected how I was feeling about taking Kien trick or treating last Halloween night. I was trying to leave work at a reasonable hour, but when I got downstairs it was raining a ridiculous size of drops, and I did not have an umbrella or a coat. Time to call for help, and Jef said he would come and pick me up, but had to get Kien first. They didn't arrive until 40 minutes later because the traffic was atrocious. So I was beat, and didn't want to do anything at all. Luckily for Kien, Jef was enthusiastic to take him out and wander the streets. So off they went after dinner.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I went for a run

I decided to run the Auckland half marathon 3 days prior to the actual event. I hadn't realised the marathon was happening so soon until I was going for my lunchtime run on Wednesday and saw all the road closure signs. I started looking on TradeMe for a cheap entry ticket for the event, and on Thursday afternoon I had lost all the auctions. I bumped into an old colleague whom I did a huge project with when I used to travel back and forth to India pre-Kien (he just happened to have a meeting in the city that day). He would often decide at the last minute to do marathons and would buy his tickets off TradeMe for next to nothing. I told him I was doing exactly that this year and was on the hunt for an entry. That night he messaged me on Facebook as he knew someone who was giving away a ticket. By Friday morning I had scored myself a free entry, and by lunchtime I had walked to the Viaduct Event Centre with my running buddy (who wasn't doing the event) and collected my race pack.

From that point on I was nervous. I didn't know how how I was going to be/feel on the run. But I just decided to treat the event as training. Queenstown was what I had registered and trained for over winter, so this run was just a lead up.

On Sunday morning my alarm went off at 5am, I got my race bib on, did some blister management/prevention and grabbed my gels and bananas for later. Then it was time to get my groove on and walk to the ferry. The queue was massive, but moved pretty quickly, and before long I was heading off across the harbour to Devonport.

The run wasn't too bad actually. I made sure I was pacing well over the first 13.5km to the bridge and held myself back so I didn't bolt and burn out, and before I knew it we were on the motorway heading toward Smales Farm and beyond.

Its a special thing to run over the bridge, and I savoured every moment of it. I would have stopped for a selfie, but it just seemed like too much of an effort :-). There was also one last climb up Curran St before a straight 5km to the finish line, and I wanted to get down to Westhaven and run a familiar route. So after I consumed my last gel at the 16.5km mark I picked up my pace homeward bound. As I was running down Westhaven Drive I got a text from Jef saying they were close to Swashbucklers waiting for me.

Kien and Jef were waving and I was waving and it was awesome. It felt so good to see them.

Then it was down the straight and around the tank farm where I spotted the 2hr pacer on the other side. I knew he was a couple of minutes in front and I wanted to catch him, but I was tired and didn't want to blow myself out. As I was heading down Halsey St I checked my Strava and I had already hit 2 hours, so at that point I just wanted to get to the finish line as quickly as possible. Rounding the corner and running down the straight it felt pretty amazing. I could see the clock ticking, and I knew Jef and Kien were at the finish line waiting for me.

My personal best half marathon - 2 hours and 2 point something minutes. I hoped for sub 2 hours, but I knew realistically I was going to be between 2 and 2:05. So all things considered I was within my estimation, and I'm happy with that.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

School Halloween disco and cricket (not all at once)

First year for Kien to attend a school disco; last year we were in Europe.

There were lots of carnival type games for the kids to play, and since it was also a school fundraising event, us parents spent loads of money for our children to try and win a (really poor quality) 1 cent lollipop...which may end up in the bin (ssshh, don't tell Kien). We also paid for him to decorate a cookie, and that was a bunch of fun. He spent ages perfecting his hat shaped biscuit.


We enrolled Kien into club cricket for the summer. He is in team Wildcats playing for Grafton United Cricket Club. Saturday morning was their first game (2 hours!) which Jef did the honours of taking him to. Sounds like (and looks like) Kien had fun.

Jef and I weren't sure what to expect after his first season of football in the winter. He was variable on any given day whether he wanted to participate or not. So I'm glad to see that right off the bat he's participating and having fun. Jef tells me Kien is a great bowler, and he can bat too. So with a bit of practice I'm hoping it will be a good season.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mellow weekend

Last weekend felt like we were on holiday again. We were busy on Saturday morning. I was faffing around decorating cupcakes for the party at Oma Rapeti, Kien's old daycare. It has been 5 years since they established themselves, and Kien was one of the founding pupils. He loved that place and all the teachers there. Whenever we go back it feels so homely and inviting. So for their fifth birthday celebrations it was high tea, in the morning. I forgot to take any photos, especially of my cupcakes, that Jef said flew off the cake stand before any other plates were touched. Bright red roses with sprinkles work their magic on impressionable youngsters every time! Anyway, photo of the day goes to Jef (the only photo) is of Kien playing in the cool basket - I love that thing, and would totally have one if we had some room.

Saturday afternoon we took the ferry over to Waiheke Island. Stayed at Anna and Joe's place near Palm Beach. We were lucky that the weather turned out to be quite lovely on Saturday - not that we did much of anything. We just lazed around and cooked and ate and drank and it was a merry time indeed.

On Sunday we had reservations at Tantalus Estate. Joe is Head Chef there, and they got a really positive write-up in the gastronomy section of the Denizen. So of course, do we need an excuse to go and try it out?!?

We were seated overlooking the gardens and vineyard proper. There were also vats below us that *we think* are used for brewing specialty beers. At one point the sun was streaming through the windows and the maitre d' had to open up the sliding doors that connected to the courtyard. It was fabulous.

We'll definitely be back to sample more from the menu. I know its not like me (hahahaha) but I had stuffed myself all morning full of food so I wasn't as hungry as I could have been. I'm saving myself for next time!


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