Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eva's First Birthday

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Eva turned one this month and we designed her cake after her party dress! Love this gorgeous little niece of mine!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Best fish-n-chips eva…

Initially, I thought the fish&chips at the Pig-n-Whistle were champion.  The batter was nice and thick with a great dark beer flavor.  But then I went to The Grange in Hahei (When Dad Cook came for a visit and we were on our way to Cathedral Cove).  The presentation was over the top and everything came together perfectly.  However, on our last visit to Hahei and The Grange I was sorely disappointed.  (The picture below is my recent Grange experience – the magic of photography makes it look better than it was)DSC_6639 Things were not up to scratch and as I recall I think those f&c cost me ~$35!  I asked our waiter what happened and he said that he hadn’t been working there long but that the place was under relatively new management.  So, I visit Oz with my mate Walid and we stop in to one of the only pubs near our hostile in Adelaide – The Union.  It was a nice place, buzzing with the Friday after-work crowd.  Under ‘Pub Classics’ the first item was ‘Coopers Pale Ale Battered Garfish and Chips’.  For a measly $19, who could resist (Walid was paying)?  The presentation was nothing special, but the first bite surprised me - I may have even made some dramatic response.  It was absolutely delicious.  The batter was on the lighter side which really allowed this great fish to jump out at you.  I don’t know what Garfish is but I highly recommend it (at least at The Union).  So, in my 4 years of sampling real fish&chips the best I ever found was in Adelaide at The Union. 

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Trevor and Val’s beach house (Mike’s B-day gift)

What an awesome birthday I had!  I told Kim that I wanted to spend the night away somewhere for my birthday.  Kim secretly asked our dear friends Trevor and Val, who had offered to let us stay at their beach house a while back, if it would be available.  It was and what a wonderful time we had!  Look at this charming beach house – and it was so nice on the inside, too.  My favorite part was the remote controlled fire place.  This is about 1.5 hours north of Auckland near Whangarei.    DSC_1087 (Large) Here’s the view from the deck.DSC_1079 (Large)At low tide the girls and I went looking for sea monsters.DSC_1121 (Large) With some ambivalence, I report that we didn’t find any.DSC_1140 (Large) We stayed for ~ 3 days which gave us some nice opportunities to explore the area.  We found what is probably my 4th favorite beach, Ocean Beach (Karikari, Matapouri, and Omaha would be my top 3 – no, wait.  Ocean beach is no. 3 and Omaha is no. 4).DSC_1182 (Large) Kim and the kids are circled in this pic.DSC_1213 (Large)It doesn’t look like there was anyone else on the beach because there wasn’t.DSC_1272 (Large) Did this beach have a blue lagoon?  Of course.DSC_1229 (Large)Here’s daddy showing the girls how to…I’m not sure what I was doing.  DSC_1282 (Large)
DSC_1203 (Large) Of all the fun we had on the trip, I think this might have been my favorite part.DSC_1103 (Large)

Monday, September 06, 2010

What’s the word I’m looking for…

Hilarious.DSC_1076 Claire is the quintessential morning person.  Here she is in daddy’s ‘shoe-shoes’.  She is so bubbly and lively in the morning.  She get’s it from her mum.  Chloe and I are a bit more…hmmmm…reserved?  Ok, we’re grumps in the morning.  Well, we’re off to the beach for the week.  We’ll post some photos when we get back.  To our credit, Chloe and I do warm up nicely after a couple hours.DSC_0985

Monday, August 02, 2010

A visit to another planet

Mate, I just had an awesome weekend in Oz.  I friend of mine from LA was in Adelaide for ‘business’ and needed a travelling companion so I volunteered.  I met him in Adelaide and we did lunch at a cafe before heading off to Cleland Wildlife Park.  Standing in a paddock with kangaroos, emus, wallabies, wombats, koalas, tasmanian devils, dingos, potoroos and crazy neon birds with their synthesizer-like calls was like being on Mars.  Here’s a wombat.DSC_0589 They are strange animals – they reminded me of a mix between a pig and a dog.  They were very playful and feisty.  Marsupials, no less.  Here’s me petting a joey in gray kangaroo’s pouch.DSC_0383 Yes.  These kangaroos were sweet and tame and if you give them a little food they’re happy to have you take a peek in their pouch.  Their pouch is weird.  It’s not just a passive little pouch.  The mouth, at least, is muscular and you could feel the momma kangaroo contract and relax it.  Here’s a 6-legged kangaroo.DSC_0405 Here’s a 2-headed kangaroo.DSC_0412 These kangaroos might just be the sweetest animals I’ve ever met.DSC_0398 Were the emus sweet?  Not so much.DSC_0368But they were quite exotic looking.DSC_0361 The tasmanian devil (here eating a chicken head) was not sweet.  They’re not especially aggressive or evil, they get their name from the cries they make at night which apparently are a bit spooky.DSC_0455 The enormous pelicans were not sweet, but they were enormous and from the moon.DSC_0528 DSC_0533 Were the koala’s sweet?  DSC_0478 There’s an urban legend (in Oz) that the eucalyptus leaves make the koala’s high which is why they’re so docile and sweet.  It’s just an olde wives tale.  Or is it? DSC_0491 My favorite extra-galactic animal was the red kangaroo.DSC_0462 These guys were so sweet, they’d let you pet them even if you didn’t have any food for them.  They were so gentle and nice, even to Walid (who argued with them about free will then called them racists).DSC_0469 The rest of the trip was awesome too, but more like living on earth.DSC_0577 p.s. if someone suggests that it was my fault that we didn’t get to see a spectacular ocean-side outcrop known as ‘the apostles’, they are probably exaggerating.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A beach trip a while back

We finally made it to Matapouri, on our second attempt.  Our first attempt landed us at Goat Island which was heaps of fun, but Matapouri was beautiful.DSC_7026  See, I wasn’t exaggerating.  That’s our sunshade which got demolished by the wind, and the little blip out there in the water is me and Chloe and Claire.  We have a blast out in the water together with our swimming tube.  The girls loved playing in a little tide pool.DSC_6996 Claire almost drank the tide pool up. DSC_6987looks like paradise to me…DSC_7018

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Neat-O Spider Webs

The other morning I went outside and found that dew had collected on the spider webs in our yard.  DSC_9987



DSC_9992 And, some recent photos of the ninos.DSC_0144


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Christian Collage





DSC_9975 With a special appearance from Chloe and Claire.DSC_9880


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Has anyone lost their slug?

Chloe found it (and a lost pill bug, too).DSC_9714 We’ve told the girls, and Christian, but we’ll mention it to him again, that the only animals we don’t like are roaches and flies.  Fear of dangerous animals is the best way of getting yourself attacked by one.  That’s mine and Marlin Perkins’ motto.  Here’s another angle on the slug (and pill bug) for possible identification purposes.DSC_9718 The slug has been on a trip down our drain, but it just drains to the backyard so we can easily retrieve him or her.  I think Chloe learned a valuable lesson about the tenacious slime a slug leaves behind.  This will probably come in handy during adolescent encounters between her and her brother.  Or she and her brother.  It’s always the pronoun that sounds most preposterous.DSC_9725