Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mangawhai glades - part deux

Last Sunday we went up to Mangawhai again. Jef just wanted to get stuck in and clear out everything that shouldn't be there. I just wanted to lie around and do nothing, and maybe take some photos, and go to the beach and walk around the rocks. Kien didn't know what he wanted to do but anything that was interesting. We all got our wish.

On a clear day we can see the Hen and Chicken Islands from our property. Looking north in the direction of the township we see the Brynderwyns.

It was a beautiful day, and I settled on a blanket in the middle of our glade.

Jef and Kien got stuck in. Jef demolished the structures they had left in the forest, and Kien chopped down pittosporum that was growing wild.

In the end Jef cleared 2 structures, and in the process uncovered lots of spiders and wetas of varying sizes.

I took Kien to Te Arai Point for a quick walk around the rocks.

No 3G or 4G out there, as I discovered on our drive back to the property. I obviously didn't make a turn somewhere that would pop me just up the road from our property. Instead I drove along Oceanview Rd for ages, and a roughly 10 minute drive back ended up taking more than half an hour. I live and learn.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Making the most of a beautiful day

Re-posting since none of the photos came through - urgh, Google! What are you doing to me? When Picasa Web got shut down by Google and replaced by Google Plus and Google Photos its been so much harder for us bloggers. Hopefully I've sorted it out, but we shall see...

On Saturday we took the boat out for a few hours to fish and generally enjoy the harbour and the sunshine. Jef spent all morning/early afternoon cleaning the boat – Kien and I are so grateful! We motored out to a spot across the harbour where we saw some other fishing boats somewhere around Stanley Bay. We anchored up for a few hours and dropped the line over. It was a bit choppy out there, but not too bad. Kien was so excited - he's been saying he wants to catch his own fish on his own rod, because the last time he had something on his line the rod snapped.

We had a pleasant afternoon on the water, and as the sun was setting we decided to come back into the marina before it got dark. Auckland is so beautiful from this vantage point.

Coming in to Westhaven marina to our berth is very pretty, especially at sunset.

We are going to make the most of these beautiful weekends out on the harbour while we still can, and very soon we will be putting Cariere on the market. With our limited time it is hard to justify having a 28ft yacht and paying for a marina berth to keep it in when we can hardly use it. So I'll savour these times.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The fishing trip

2 weeks of school holidays and all routines go out the window! But we are back, and I'm reining this little dude in again. We are back to the points system for earning screen time - and here's his story, which is worth 3 whole points (and I'm being really generous by making a point worth 15 mins instead of 10 minutes set last term).

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Our glade in Mangawhai

Finally, after 10 months of waiting for the title, we settled on the Tuesday before last, and we are now the owners of some acreage, grass, Totora and Pine trees. So last weekend, being the first weekend of actually owning our piece of land, we went up there and camped. We knew the weather was not conducive to camping, but we didn't care.

It was overcast, but not raining on Saturday, so up until about sundown we didn't get wet. We put up the tent and then went for supplies in town. Then we came back and settled in for the night. Despite the rain we had a good campfire going.

We went to sleep with the rain clattering on our tarp and the camp fire well and truly dead from being drenched. In the morning there were scattered showers in amongst sunshine - but all is well...I had coffee...

...and Kien enjoyed hanging out in the tent. Summer, here we come.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The perserverence continues

Now that I'm almost back to full health we are back to practicing writing. Here's Kien's latest little story. If you haven't heard of The White Rabbit Project, it is a Netflix series that was a spin off of MythBusters, and produced by the same company.

I've written a few little notes for Kien to discover in his lunchbox. He then thought it was funny to write a note back!

The cheek of him!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Last couple of weeks...

Oh boy, these last few weeks has been rough. I was in bed for an entire week and only went back to work from last Monday. I've still not been able to start up any form of exercise through, which is very disappointing. Anyway, life moves on, and here are some photos.

We went to the Army Surplus store and Kien insisted on a hat. So we got him a hat and a badge. He loves his hat and wears it often.

Kien brings home a lot - A LOT! of art work. Here's one of his 3D pieces.

While I was sick Jef took Kien for a walk. Kien came back with these in his pocket which he collected for me.

School photos last week so I did Kien's hair (after I blow dried it and combed out a bunch of lice eggs - gross). He wouldn't stand still for a pic either but I managed to get one that was not blurry.

He came home from school on Tuesday and did some earning for points that he can spend on rewards.

I managed a walk during my lunchtime at the beginning of the week when the weather was lovely. Walked around the viaduct area.

Beautiful cloud formation one night out walking.

Koala is never far way.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trampoline park

Taking pics inside the my phone while the kid is jumping around is not conducive to non blurry photos. Ah well, they are only token photos anyway.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Transforming ninja star

We've confiscated all devices until he learns to appreciate how good he has it! I think we are now on to our third week where he's got to earn time on any devices by doing all his homework and keyboard practice. There have been a few tears, but all in all it has gone quite well. After his drama class today he came home and we did some origami. We made balloons and these transforming star things. Now he's doing his Reading Eggs (digital reading lessons) while I post this. BTW he insisted on drawing ++ signs above "magic Es".

Monday, August 7, 2017

For the love of bees

I took Kien to Bee School at Vic Park yesterday. This is our first step in the journey to becoming beekeepers, which Kien is very keen for. He's been asking when we are getting hives, and I've been putting him off for years - yes, years. We'll get there soon! Here's his story for the week.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pacific Nations Cup - Samoa vs Fiji at Apia Park

A memorable experience we had whilst in Samoa was us going to a rugby match to watch the home team play. I'm not a rugby fan...I actually can't stand it. But when we were told the staff from the resort were going on the back of a truck...well it was a case of FOMO - that's "fear of missing out" for those non acronym conscious amongst us.

Our ride to Apia Park was exciting. It's a fun way to get from A to B, and we didn't even think about the danger aspect!

We arrived to a lively atmosphere.

Our journey home was extremely lively, with stops at a corner store to ensure we were well hydrated.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

My beyblade

You have no idea how long it took both Jef and I, in separate shifts, to get Kien to write this story. The stubbornness that kid shows is palpable. Perseverance pays off at the end of the day though. Thanks, Margaret, for the nudge to make the effort with these exercises.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Samoan road trip

Unlike the last time we were here (when we didn't do anything whatsoever except laze around reading books and swimming all day, every day), we took the opportunity this time to hire a van and do some exploring...a van seating 12 people and there were 14 of us. Good thing there were some pint sized people amongst the group!

We visited a waterfall - pretty. Easy money for the village people here - they charged 10 tala per person to view the waterfall over that gnarly cliff.

Then we were off to the idyllic To Sua ocean trench. Over the course of millennia, erosion of the lava fields around Lotofaga left the area pocketed with tide pools and a series of blowholes, the largest of which is To Sua (name translates to “big hole”). Surrounded by lush gardens, the natural salt water pool is sunken deep into the earth, and we had to climb down a very steep ladder to get inside. Kien was too scared to go down the ladder, so Jef stayed behind with him while the rest of us went for a swim.

By the time we finished our swim we were all extremely hungry. Good thing us mothers thought ahead and had packed a picnic lunch. So we occupied a gazebo in the groomed gardens that kissed the cliff face.

We then drove all the way to Lalomanu, a beautiful village on the east coast of Upolu. We stopped at the local store to get some cold Vailimas. There were some cute piggies on the side of the road too.

This spot was heavily damaged by the 2009 tsunami, and even now the reef is still recovering. You can see this when out there snorkelling. But man, this beach is so beautiful. The next time we visit Samoa I want to stay here for a bit. Its quite different to Return to Paradise beach.

What a fantastic and exhausting day. We took the long drive back to Matautu, witnessing a spectacular sunset across a still river.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Return to Paradise

Highlights of our Samoan vacation - well, everything was a highlight as far as I'm concerned; going back to the wonderful Return to Paradise resort where we stayed last year, having lots of friends with their families with us, making friends and having fun with the resort staff, snorkelling in the clear turquoise reef just a few meters from our room, cooling off in one of the 4 pools, getting warm in the spa after spending too much time in the pool, walking back and forth barefoot in the soft sand between the villas, giant clams, unexpectedly swimming with a turtle, stopping at roadside stores for Vailimas, catching a ride in the back of a truck with the resort staff to see Manu Samoa vs Flying Fijians rugby match...the list goes on and on. I haven't even mentioned the fact that I travelled back to Auckland in the cockpit watching the Captain and First Officer doing their thing while another pilot explained what was happening. Now that was fun.

I've got squillians of photos which will take some time to sort through (no doubt), but while it's all fresh in my mind I'll post what I can.

We came in on Saturday afternoon with 9 whole days stretched out in front of us. Kien was so excited that he was now on school holidays. Jef and I were so excited we were not working. It's been a tough year with so much going on, so this was a welcome break.

I love it here at this beautiful beach in Matautu. When the wind blows the sea is rough and wild, but at other times its so calm and clear. The snorkelling is pretty amazing out there.

We spent a lot of time in the pool. There are four of them here, and depending on the temperature and position of the sun was the decision for which pool to swim in.

We played pool, caught a shuttle to Apia, found hermit crabs, and generally just walked back and forth on the white sand between our beachfront room and the main villa that our friends were staying in.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Finally I went for a run again

Oh boy, I'm been entrenched in a relentless project that we didn't think would ever finish...but it did! We went live on Wednesday with all fingers and toes crossed, and hark, it was smooth - no catastrophic failures! We worked the previous weekend to make sure we had covered as many scenarios as possible, and even on Tuesday we were pretty nervous. But yes, its all gone well. Phew. So I went for a run, which I've not been able to do for some time now because of all the lunchtime meetings I've had to attend. It feels nice to be out there again...tiring, but nice.

On Friday I started really early, and by 10:30 I was itching to get outside. The fog was starting to lift out on the water, and it was a perfect morning for a run.

School holidays start at the end of this week, and we're off to Samoa. I've been looking forward to this break for quite a while. It couldn't come soon enough, although it's a bit stressful because I've now moved on to another project, and it will be very demanding when we get back. Ah well, one day at a time. In the meantime I can't wait to be warm and spotting clown fish while snorkelling.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A quick trip to the capital

Last month we went to Wellington for a quick weekend getaway. A colleague/friend was taking her kids there via train, and since Kien is good friends with those kids I thought it would be great to meet them there. I was not however going to spend an entire day on a train - been there, done that in Vietnam, got well and truly impatient, so no thanks, I'll fly! Plus, breakfast (and lunch combined) in the Koru lounge, yes please!

We stayed at the Copthorne on Oriental Bay. We've never stayed down this side before - we've always been more centrally located, so it made for a nice change.

We happened to have been there through a cold snap, and oh boy was it cold and windy. We did a fair bit of walking which kind of helped a bit.

Satnam and the kids finally arrived on Saturday evening, and we walked across town for some dinner at a little Vietnamese restaurant. There was a light festival happening that weekend (which we were not aware of) but it was good to be able to catch some of it on our walk home from dinner.

Sunday morning we visited Te Papa. Gallipoli: The scale of our war exhibition is still running. The last time we were here it was so crowded that we didn't want to queue for hours to see it, but this time, since we got there so early we were able to go through. If there is an exhibition that is worth coming to Wellington for then this one is it. It is truly spectacular with the giant models that look so realistic (and huge).

We all loved it.

We then took the cable car to the top of the hill - how novel.

A run around the playground for the kids to burn off some steam and then we took the cable car back to the bottom again (because we purchased return tickets).

Then a walk back around the waterfront for beers and ice-creams before heading back to the airport.

That's it. Another weekend over. They go so very fast, don't they?!?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Somewhere wild with my wildling

That's about the size of it...the boy that made me a mother is a wild child and is giving me a run for my money. He's dirty and smelly with his bare foot ways and unkempt hair, a face always marked with berry juice and clothes I'd be embarrassed to donate even without the holes. Yes. That boy. He calls for me every morning. "Mummy" is the first word he utters. The next are usually "I love you, can I have the iPad?". Yes, this is my life with the Kien. So when Jef asked me what I wanted to do on Sunday for Mother's Day all I knew was that I wanted to be somewhere wild with my wildling.

We decided to go to Mangawhai to see how the driveway was getting on at the property. After that we went to Te Arai Point. What a fabulous beach! Especially if you walk around the rocks for a while and discover a secluded bay that no one has ventured to on that day. Our footsteps were the first to mark the shelly sand on that beach.


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