Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trip to 90-mile beach and the end of the world - Part I

We loaded up the car with the bare necessities (yes, that's a tiny potty) and hit the road to the Winterless North.
It was ~6hr drive up to Ahipara, which is the jumping-off point to the southern tip of 90-mile beach.  The girls were perfect the whole drive.  Oh, there were some incidents - but they were not the babies fault.  We overfed Claire ~ 1 gallon of milk which she regurgitated (completely regurgitated) for us.  That required a pit stop.  We got a great deal on a huge beach house with a beautiful veiw.  Here's a shot of sunrise.  It turns out that we were about 1km from a world-famous surf break, Shipwreck Bay!  It's a loooong left which my mate Jimmy Kooksley would love.  Si o no, Jimmy?
There were some fun walks along the beach...
and digging in the sand...
and sweet family time...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ambury Farm

We've rediscovered a public farm about 10miles down the road.  Kim visited Ambury Farm when we first moved here, but the girls are now at more appropriate stages to enjoy the animals.
The farm was bought by the city and is now a public park.  Cameron's lips are yellow because we just fed him a persimmon.  Yuck-o.  In typical NZ fashion, you drive up, hop out and go pet the animals.  Park ranger or warden?  I don't think so.  Long list of 'Do Not...'?  I haven't seen one.  The only instruction I've found is to please close the gates behind you. 
Let's go!
I will pet that sheep.
Ok, I'm good on sheep.
Kim and the babies approaching the chickens...
Lovely chickens, as usual.
Timmy the turkey
and Corky the goat

Friday, June 12, 2009

The runway in Milan...

...begins right here.


please note that the fashion accessory this year is a toothbrush.


This particular fashion show is brought to you by Gigi.  Other  fashion patrons include Mimi, and Joo-lee.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mas Pollos

We found perhaps the most awesome chicken in NZ.
and some chicken admirers...
The chicken below was admiring Chloe.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Things I love about NZ #22 - hardcore playgrounds


The playgrounds here are really cool.  All the equipment is like a no-net trapeze act.  I admit that I haven't visited many playgrounds elsewhere, but I know that I never saw a flying fox at a playground anywhere other than NZ.  What's a flying fox?  See below.


A flying fox is a swing attached to a cable that you slide down a hill on with your baby in your lap.  At the end of the ride, the swing collides with a bumper - often you see kids fly off the swing at that point, esp if 2-4 kids have piled on the swing.  A few weeks back our church was revitalizing a school in the neighborhood and part of that was redoing the playground.  Sadly, there are now a growing number of restrictions on building new playgrounds which are designed to eliminate any potential for fun that a child might have. 

Saturday, June 06, 2009

keeping it real...

...warm?  I'd heard of this film you can buy and seal up your sieve-like windows so I thought I'd give it a try.


Here it is.  See how it floats in the air?  It's magic.  And I was counting on it's magic to keep us all snuggly warm.  I employed a local handyman to assist me with the installation (Chloe).


Here we are shrink-wrapping our sealer over Chloe and Claire's window.  It was a fine job, if I do say so myself.  How'd it work?  Well, take a look...


Kim is wearing her jacket inside at midday and we have Chloe wrapped in a towel.  But notice the smile on Chloe's face?  We are happy Eskimos.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Pinecone

Now, there are answered prayers and then there are answered prayers. And, there are answered prayers and then there's one's FIRST answered prayer. Read on....

We took a walk the other day to find a we could use to make a birdfeeder. Though that was our mission, I was a bit doubtful we'd find one as I didn't really recall any pine TREES in our neighborhood. So, the whole walk Chloe's looking and asking for the pinecone. As we returned to our house empty-handed, I encouraged Chloe to pray that God would take us on a walk in the next few days someplace where we could find a pinecone and that He would give us one. She did.

The next day was saturday and we were going about our day in the usual lazy saturday way, when we suddenly remembered that Mike had a conference to attend. At the thought of being home on saturday without the car, we rushed around and got ready for the day, dropped Mike at the conference, and on a whim, headed off to Ambury Farm to enjoy the weather.

Since it was a whim, I didn't know just where I was going. I was looking for the farm, but turned at the sign that directed us to Ambury Riding Centre (figured the farm must be close). Chloe and Claire were excited to see a pasture full of horses with "coats" on and the sign on the gate said, "Feel free to wander," so we parked and went through the gate. It was beautiful. Heaps of horses in a huge open field and presumably all pretty friendly considering they're therapy horses. So, we took maybe two steps in and that's when we saw it. The pinecone. There on the ground, though the view was directly before us, lay a single pinecone. I glanced about and not a tree to be seen in this field of horses, grass, and manure. Neither was there another pinecone in all the field. That's when Chloe said, "Look, Momma, God gave us a pinecone!" I must say, it was as fortifying of my faith as it was the first brick in the foundation of hers. We spoke of it all day, she and Daddy made the birdfeeder that afternoon, and the next day when we hopped in the car she prayed, "God, I want to see a policeman." Not 5 minutes later, what do you suppose raced past us, sirens blaring? Girl's got faith....and, God is listening.
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Today Chloe said to Claire, "I love you. I'm going to pick you up!" And, reaching under her arms, she hoisted her up! They've really been bonding in the past few weeks and I'm just loving it. I think its all because at my mum's Bible study, we pray together for our kids very specifically and I've been prayin' for their relationship to blossom. God has really answered and quickly! Yesterday morning Chloe had climbed into Claire's cot to "comfort her for two minutes." Today when I went in, she'd taken off their pajamas and they were loving their "naked time," both of them giddy and jumping on Claire's bed! Chloe's recently taken to wanting Claire to have her bottle on her lap. Adorable. I'm lovin' these sweet sisters!
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Last vestiges of summer

It's mid-autumn here and it's freaking freezing.  Kinda.  It actually never gets colder than ~40 degrees here, but it feels so cold.  The reason is that it's pretty much like living outdoors here.  The houses here in NZ are pretty good at keeping the rain off you, as long as the rain comes straight down, but keep the wind off you?  That's what your coat is for.  The wind blows right through the houses and probably less than 5% of the homes have central heating - insulation and double-paned windows are avant garde.  When we first moved here we lived in a new apartment building which was well-insulated and the winter seemed quite mild.  We thought is was strange to visit someone's home and not remove your jacket.  I'm wearing my jacket as I sit here and type this.  We've been living in typical kiwi homes for the past 1.5 years so we've now adapted and I do think we're 'hardening up'.  It helps to reflect on and look forward to the beautiful long summers...



only six months to go...