Thursday, December 27, 2007

Friends and Food

We joined with a collection of friends for a post xmas picnic at Kaitoke Regional park. It's a lovely bush set picnic and camping spot just north of Wellington, on a good day swimming is an option in the river. We had a day that couldn't decide what it was doing. It was mostly a sunny, slightly windy day with spits of rain.

the picnic

Xmas Present

We had second great Christmas celebration. The plan was for presents and a BBQ, which all occurred. The weather was not favouring us so the sitting outside was not pleasant, and so abandonned, and the backyard cricket was cut short, many rain delays. Still everyone seemed to have a good time and we enjoyed being with everyone.
Christmas in Wainuiomata
So click the picture and you'll see what I managed to capture.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Here we are

It's the tail end of what has been a fun Christmas day at Foxton Beach. The weather though not frightful has not been the balmy backyard summer day weather that I imagine from a southern hemisphere Christmas. We've have opened presents and eaten, and eaten and eaten as expected. The children don't seem sure on their time zone, but having been awake since 7.30am they are looking tired. they've had heaps of fun digging up Grandad's yard and playing with their toys and each other. Madeline was worried when the cousins left, but was reasured she'll see them again tomorrow.
Foxton for Christmas

Two days ago we were in the snow in Santa Fe and the cloudy skies outside keep me thinking of the snowy weather. It is a huge contrast being back by the sea in green New Zealand. We manouvered our collection of baggage through Alberquerque San Francisco and Auckland to leave a couple of items on the plane in Wellington nothing major thou and we'll collect them from the airport after Boxing day. Izabel has caused some entertainment on the trip, we have to fill in different potions of the forms for our Canadian, and the gate staff at SFO insited on seeing her outbound itinerary before she could board the flight. But we're all here and are looking forward to a few less airline meals over the next couple of weeks.

So Merry Christmas to you all!! We have several more Christmas events to come, hopefully we'll get some NZ summer in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Where are we??

You might have noticed that my brestfeeding and typing skills are not up to scratch and I haven't been very good at practicing.
We've started our world tour. We left Victoria tuesday 4 December for Heathrow headed for Bristol for two nights and Oxford for one. We attended the exor Chritmas party and award dinner, Richard got an award, everyone admired Izabel who hada pretty dress for the event.
Now we're in Sanat Fe for a couple of weeks and it's snowing!!! So the kids are pleased.
We head to NZ leaving here on the 22nd Dec for a month. So you can all use your powers to make sure that the airports we need (Albuquerque, maybe Denver, San Franscico) are not closed by the weather at that point.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Back in the Water

Izabel had her first bath with her siblings tonight. They were very pleased for her to join them. She seemed to enjoy it mostly thou didn't like it when Madeline dropped water on her face.


Last weekend we got out of Victoria and found the Salmon Run was happening on a nearby River. So we stopped and had a look.
Salmon Run,

All the little ghosts and goblins

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One of the features of North Amreican for Liam and Madeline is Halloween. Luckily their wardrobes contain enough fancy clothes so it didn't matter that we'd not created or purchased any special outfits for this year. Lots of houses in the neighbourhood had decorations some quite spectaular. Izabel and I stayed home and answered the door to many trick or treaters, lots of whom were delighted to see such a small baby.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Local fare

If I manage to retain my 40 week size this will be one of the culprits. Not that I've made it myself, but thrifty at the end of the road always has some. It's best when the chocolate on top is about 2mm thick, the yellow layers is soft and creamy and the base is well pressed, so it's not to crumbly.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A web presence - finally

It's taken a while but here are some pic of Izabel's birth. She arrived at 9.58am PDT October 18 and was 8 pound 6 oz - unlike what I emailed some people.
Everyone's very pleased with her, Liam and Madeline both want to hold her all the time. She's waking up again so more later.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Liam spotted this guy (actually I think girl) on our lounge window. Which lead to much photography and a seach of the internet to identify it as a Cross spider (harmless), Liam still wants to get rid of it.
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The parcel arrived - Thank you

This was followed by the creating several paper pirate hats do Madeline, Richard and I all had some too. Pirates had soup for lunch.
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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

World? Breastfeeding Week

I'm pretty sure I was in Santa Fe for World Breastfeeding week in August and I know thats when it was in NZ, but It's World Breastfeeding Week here this week
There was a Breastfeeding Challenge on saturday morning which Madeline and I took part in. I had a email today saying that our 124 children nursing was 5th in North America. Here are some photos that were taken on the day, Madeline and I are in there and we're at the back of one of the group shots. There were prizes for all sorts of things, like oldest (~3 1/2), most concurrent(2), youngest(10 days), and donating to the milk bank. The event was outside in Centennial Square and it was cold, one of the things mentioned was that none of the Shopping Malls were prepared to host it. Otherwise it was a nice event, I met some more of the local LLL Leaders, there were snacks provided for the participants and we got a collection of vouchers and things to read.
Some high school students who were helping read this out. I'm sure I was going to write somewthing else but the children have called me away and I've lost my train of thought so you can have this lot.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The current state

This is 37 weeks and 3 days. (Yesterday)
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

So I've shopped now and the I have list has grown
Now I also have:
1 dozen cloth prefold diapers - I'd normally call them cotton flats
20 blue disposable underpads - only 20 not the 24 thew midwifes list calls for
9 receiving blankets
a set of sheets
4 towels
oral thermometer
hydrogen peroxide (for clean up )
a plastic container (well 2 actually as that was the size the packet was and they don't do conveniently sized ice cream containers, and 2 litres of ice cream might be a challenge at the moment, not having any stomach space left)
1 hot water bottles
ice cube trays - thou not yet in the freezer

and we also had:
tea, juice, herbal teas for the beverages, but I did get a couple of bottles of gaterade as I remember having lucozade previously.
touches and extra batteries, which thanks to Josh's efforts while in Santa Fe I know are all good.
Large pot - the house came with one of those
plastic sheet or cloth, we have either a tarp or a 2 plastic table clothes so I think thats covered too.

The one thing on the list from the midwife that I don't have is "hospital bag packed" I haven't done one in the past either so I'm feeling almost superstitious about it. I never needed one before.
I do know where to find nighties, undies, diapers, toothbrush and car seat

Am I ready?

So I have:
pads for me
birth pool
spare sheets
six cotton fitted nappies
six hemp fitted nappies
six covers (free so hence the fitted nappies rather than more pockets)
one maya wrap sling
one packet of disposables
cotton singlets ("onesies")
woolen singlets
car seat
camera battery is charged
energy drinks

still need:
hot water bottle
old towels ( think this will be cheap towels or our camping towels)
large plastic sheet (think I'll get a cheap plastic shower curtain)
blue mats
ice cube trays
oral thermometer
receiving blankets

Madeline was here by now, Liam still had 27 days before he turned up.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Technology for Treasure hunting

Today Liam and Richard went on an adventure. They downloaded some geocache sites into the GPS and went off to find them. The sites were all within about 1/2 a km of our place, near the boat pond and beach at the end of the road. They came back having found two of the three they set out looking for. One of the favorite instructions was to watch out for muggles (ordinary folk, not looking for geocaches) and not disclose the cache to them.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Out and about

We had our first Victoria gymnastics today. It's quite different from the ones in Santa Fe with lots more kids on Liam's age group. I think it will be better for him as he has a group of boys to do gym with rather than mostly girls. They have several male coaches too, which Liam has one of. Liam didn't seem to get so much attention when he was being distracting which was good.
Madeline found it a bit strange having me doing the assisting her bit. She had also not had a sleep so wasn't focusing very well either. She was asleep on the way home.
Earlier in the day we ventured out and found a Safeway which was definitely a cheaper grocery option than the Thrifty at the end of the street. The milk company is having a promotion of chocolate milk, as a healthy alternative to soda, and similar to juice, both kids got hats, which are quite nice. The product lines in the supermarket are much more like New Zealand than Santa Fe, less variety in tortillas and chilli and more french breads, ciabatta and the like.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Around and about

Today was Grey and overcast till late afternoon, but at that point the kids and I went out for a walk in the neighborhood. We found a playground about a block from here which I'm sure we'll visit again.
The people in the horse and carriage rides which go past our window had blankets on their knees today. Yesterday they had little canopies, they might have had those this morning too but there aren't so many in the mornings.
I've arranged gym and dance for Liam and Madeline. Madeline hasn't done dance before but she's been very keen. Her Gym will be the biggest challenge as its a parent assist class, still I remember helping Liam with Madeline in a backpack. First class is on friday.

Monday, September 03, 2007

We made it

We are in Victoria, the house is nice, big enough but not too big, clean and not too many things for the kids to break. We couldn't get more downtown. Yesterday we took a bit of a drive around Victoria it's very green and holds tightly to it's English heritage, lots of Street names which are familiar, pubs, tea shops, fish and chips, and even pies - with meat in them!
Madeline is enjoying having her room.
She was rather upset by us taking the beds down in Santa Fe and has spent much of the trip here asking to go home. Thou she also wanted to camp again last night. She's a rather well traveled two and a bit, She is heading for her third birthday in her third country.
Liam enjoyed having his Junior Ranger hat in the car with us and wore it to receive several of the badges he gained on the trip.
After we left Denver which seemed to take a while (we stopped at REI and got Richard a GPS for his birthday, had lunch, ...) we headed into Rocky Mountain NP our first night camping, from there we went to a State Park in Wyoming, there were heaps of bugs and we couldn't find the bug spray! Not on the way but South Dakota was our next stop, we visited Wind Cave and Liam got his first badge for the trip, camping gas was hard to find in South Dakota, but we did and then camped in the Black hills before visiting Mt Rushmore NP, Minuteman Missle NM, and Badlands NP. We had thought of camping there but decided we'd better get back on track and so headed west planning to camp near Devils Tower. It was raining thou so we stayed in a motel in Sundance.
We visited Devils Tower NM the next day and had lunch there before driving on to Yellowstone NP we camped in Norris Campground here for two nights then moved to the John D Rockerfeller Jr. Parkway where we camped two more nights. We had a look around both Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP's but I think the kids enjoyed the hot pools by the river in the Parkway area almost as much.
Time for another hotel night to get some washing done, we stayed in Grand Falls, Montana then headed to Glacier NP. We couldn't drive through the Going to the sun road with the trailer but camped on the East side and drove over and back in the afternoon and took a boat trip on St Mary's lake in the morning. Before driving around the south side of the park and ending up driving into Canada that afternoon.
Richard pleased to get the Boarder crossing over with since his situation is a little strange, he was here till this morning and is now back in Santa Fe for the week. But he'll be working here and his work visa is not sorted out. Still we had no problems and spent the night in a Hotel in Grand Forks BC since we knew we had lots of driving to cover.
Liam was disappointed that this motel had no pool. His swimming is getting very confident with the pools in the last two hotels. Still we got to Vancouver and stayed in a hotel with a pool and they swum that afternoon and in the morning. It was a long weekend this weekend so the BCferries were fairly busy so we had an hour or two waiting for the ferry but we were in Victoria by three.
So yesterday we sorted stuff out and did our drive before having fish and chips for dinner and this morning we put Richard on the plane back to the Southwest again! It's a holiday today so tomorrow we'll figure out gym and dance etc

Sunday, August 19, 2007

We're off again

We packed and cleaned and now we're on the road. These pictures are in Denver with a collegue of Richards's.
Liam and Miles are having a great time and Madeline loves all the attention, she and Fern took Patch for a walk.
Everything we're taking to Victoria is in the UHAUL, so Liam has been counting the UHAULS on the road, 32 between Santa Fe and Denver.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Catch up

Today we farewelled what I can fairly confidently say are our last visitors in Santa Fe. Merewyn and Josh have spent the last couple of weeks camping in our playroom and joined us last weekend for a trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Signs around the park warn of 140 degree F sand temperatures, we had more trouble with rain and thunder storms. It's a lovely park and we had a good weekend. Liam, Richard, Merewyn and Josh climbed to the top of the Dunes while Madeline and I slept.
Madeline and Liam both completed their Junior Ranger badges.
There were bear boxes to keep your food in at the campground which Liam and Madeline thought made great hiding places.
We have 16 more days in Santa Fe of packing and sorting before we head northward to Victoria in BC (yes Canada) for a few months, so having found a midwife I like in Santa Fe I've now also found a Midwife I hope I like in Victoria. We haven't found a house yet but I'm working on it. I'm undecided about what we'll do for schooling for Liam. hummm

Our last trip was to Aztec Ruins and Durango, Aztec was our last New Mexican Park, Durango was for the bakery which makes great bread.

Our next trip is the two weeks we plan to take driving from here to Victoria, hitting as many of the sights as we can handle.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


From Madelines fir...
Madeline had her first gymnastics class on Thursday. She was keen to go back as soon as we left.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Miss M

This girl's just had her first visit to a hairdresser. Charles (as favored by Liam) trimmed the ends and cut her bangs. He also hot curled the back. Thou she looked very serious to start with I think she was getting into it by the end.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Off with a bang!

Santa Fe along with the rest of the country celebrated 4th of July with a fireworks display. otherwise we spent the day tidying the house and rebuilding the computers. There was rain earlier in the evening and we wondered if the fireworks would be rained off, but it all cleared up before the event started.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Madeline had a day at La Casita this Thursday, she had a lovely time from all reports. I had a haircut and brought some sandals. I could have done so much more. I'd forgotten how much you can get done by yourself! But it was strange not to have at least one little companion with me.

We had a La Leche League Leaders meeting at my place on Friday, so Liam stayed home to play with some friends, we had twelve children here, and they had a great time and required very little supervision. Ages from 15 years - 18mths. We even managed to talk about some LLL stuff in between all the catching up and other important stuff.

Richard returned from his trip on Friday night so Saturday we packed a picnic and headed back to Peco's National Monument. We went here on one of our first weekends in New Mexico but we hadn't really looked around the ruins of the pueblo.
Sunday we went to a Greek festival, they had food, music and dancing Madeline really enjoyed the dancing.

Monday, June 18, 2007

the other weekends that I haven't mentioned

We have been away every weekend since memorial day, I mentioned the Villanueva trip on memorial weekend, the weekend after we left Santa Fe on friday night and headed for Elephant Butte Lake, like heading to Taupo really, large lake in the middle of the state. Lots of people were there camping and preparing for fishing/waterskiing type activities.

We drove in about 8.30pm and left early next morning - it was hot here and exposed. We were heading west to Gila National Monument, it was about another two or three hours drive from here. It's an old mining area and there are little towns which still have one or two shops operating, thou mostly as cafes now.

The National Monument is within a National forest so there's heaps of camping around about. The monument is based on some cliff dwellings from the Mogollon culture. Naturally we completed the Junior ranger program, but this place is different, they have a junior, junior ranger program, so Madeline did that and got a badge too.
The campground was nice and there was a fifteen minute walk to another cliff dwelling just behind it so we did that in the morning after we'd packed up. We had quite a drive to get home but we broke it up with a stop at a campground which Liam was able to find some bouldering to do so the kids got a good leg stretch after several hours in the car and with several more to come. We drove through the very large array and took some pictures and read the signs but didn't go to the visitor centre. We stopped in Socorro and got chocolate and ice creams, for some time Madeline had been asking for chocolate but otherwise was bored and pretty well behaved. Liam was asleep. Our trip was something like this.

Last weekend we camped much closer to home in the Hyde State Park about 20min drive towards the ski basin from Santa Fe. We went with friends from school and so had a collection of kids who played in the river near where we camped they built a dam (naturally) and floated various things from the bridge upstream down to the dam. We walked up to a waterfall nearby which was pretty and had water in it which is not always the case in these parts. In the evening we had a spectacular thunder and hail storm, but the state parks in NM have these really nice shelters so we were able to watch and stay dry.
We'd noticed a blocked inlet and an outlet pipe into the area we'd put our tents up and in the morning when I found a map we discovered we'd camped in the ice skating pond!

Big and small

I have this email that comes to me once a week and reminds me that I'm pregnant (they think they're telling me about each week but...) somedays I have these oh thats right I am pregnant moments. So apparently they caculate me to be twenty four weeks and the baby is 21cm long. I'm feeling lots of wriggling from in there but mostly people don't pick that
I'm pregnant but none of my clothes fit, and I have let out the adjustment on my preggy jeans severl times now.
This weekend, husbandless, the rest of the family went to a picnic that my midwife hosts at a park once a year. Liam and Madeline played really hard for three hours with the other kids and I got to talk to some adults some of whom had very small babies. We had a nice picnic and I collected some maternity tops and newborn clothing from the swap pile. I had nothing to contribute having already passed anything we are not using or expecting to need next winter.
I do now feel like there are a couple of options on what to dress this baby in when it arrives. I'm glad I collected up woolen things when we were in NZ 'cause there don't seem to be the same sorts of things here.

Sunday needed an activity, the day always proceeds smoother with a bit of a plan or direction. Liam was keen to visit 'Stan' and although initailly reluctant to drive to Alberquerque again (we took Richard to the airport yesterday) it wasn't a bad choice of activity. Madeline was also into a dino-saur visit and we had some dynatheatre passes we could use to see one of their films. So we loaded up and headed down to Alberquerque, we had lunch at the museum cafe, bith kids demolished their pizza which weren't small and I had a delicious chicken and green chille baked potato with guacamole, it had cheese it it and whipped butter yum! Then it was on to see 'Stan' in his central position in the museum atrium. We continued though the walk through time backwards, then forwards and finished up with a trip down the Nile river in Mystery of the Nile in the dynatheatre. We emberged into a very warm afternoon with the car saying it was 103 F but I think it reads a little high. The water I had left in the car would have made an acceptably temperatured cup of tea. Santa Fe wasa much more pleasant 90 F when we returned. Were forecast 90 F (about 32 C) for most of this week.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another canyon

We arrived in New Mexico a year ago on the 18th so we've had two memorial days here now. We had the school picnic on Saturday this weekend at which we drew the raffles school has been using for fund raising. I now need a child minder so I can have the haircut and go out for dinner. I have some lovely new red glass earrings and a voucher for $100 worth of cosmetics.

We then left town Sunday morning and headed to Villanueva State park, not to far away but a nice canyon with a very full Pecos River running through it.

It was good to get our camping gear all together again and remember what it is we always forget (pillows again). The park had ramada's at each site which are built to look Spanish colonial, so they were more substantial than the usual roof on four poles which was nice when it rained and thundered for a bit in the afternoon. I didn't find the mats as comfortable as usual but my pelvis is not in as gooder shape as it has been.

We walked up to the canyon rim and along getting views over the Pecos Valley. This area is very fertile and well irrigated (thanks to the river) and a lot of the produce for the Santa Fe Farmers Market comes from around here. It's also very popular with fishers but with the level being very high and the water quite muddy the few we spoke to hadn't had a lot of bites.

We think we might manage a 10 day trip soonish but we're trying to decide where. Maybe Texas? or Utah?

The other project seems to be coming along, I can feel lots of movement and I met with my midwife on Friday and heard the heartbeat for the first time. Madeline was a bit unsure about the noise coming from my tummy, but told the midwife there was a baby in her tummy too.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Now I'll be clever for ever and ever

So Liam is six.
He's had rather an eventful time in the last week or two. It's then end of year for everything, so we've had a gymnastics display and a dance performance, a pizza party for his class and a school picnic for everyone. So slipped in there last Sunday was Liam's party. Saturday was his birthday but with the dance recital in the evening we thought he'd enjoy both more if the party was the next day.
I've had several people tell me me stole the show at the dance recital He and his class (four in total) were butterflies and their piece was called 'improvisations'. Much as you'd expect from creative dance for 5-6 year olds they leaped and danced around the stage together and apart. Liam's costume has black tights and t shirt with butterfly wings of cream satin with black wing markings and scarves tied around his body and over his face (this one was see though orange) but part way though the scarves around his middle started to slip and slid down to his feet, so he (at the back of the stage) wriggled back into them, this and his status as the only boy in the school made him quite memorable.

His party the following afternoon was at home, a collection of about 12 children had fruit salad and juice (Liam's picks) and mini hot dogs and cake, shaped like a sun, to go with the yellow and orange cups, plates and table cloth.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In the swim

Last Thursday the kids and I set out to Albuquerque with some shopping tasks to complete. Liam need ed new sandals and I needed some cooler maternity tops, and a swimsuit.

We headed first for Kohl's where we've had success on shoes for Liam before. He found some sandals he likes and that fit, we found some tops for me and as an extra some sun dresses for Madeline. These are a complete hit and she won't wear anything else. She changes from one to another mid day. Several of them have bandanna/headscarf's with them, and these must be worn with the correct dress.
The swimsuit shopping was a success as well and the price was a pleasant surprise after my memory of a similar purchase in NZ being about $100.

Now that I have a swimsuit Liam decided it would be nice for us to go swimming on mothers day, so I could use my new togs. It was easier before they could head in opposite directions in the pool.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

For the birds

La Casita had a field trip last time it was our turn to participate. We went to a cafe in the rural area around Sante Fe which had wonderful cinamon rolls and LOTS of birds, which is what Liam's class is looking at at the moment. This emu was especially keen on grapes.

Spring snow?

Friday was spent baking up a storm as Saturday was the school yard sale and Cinco de Mayo Feista. I forgot (again) that it's a bad idea to bake spongy type cakes. Still the Lime sponge loaves tasted OK, they were just concave on top. The millionaires slice worked a treat and my muffins worked well too.
Saturday was FREEEZING! We had rain and wind and snow. Still there was a steady stream of people and the sale made ~$700
Richard was jetting off too so we spent the afternoon in Albuquerque before his plane. I got to go to some scrapbooking shops I was curious about and Richard visited the model shop.
We arrived back in Santa Fe to more snow, which was quite steady for about 2 hours. Today there are some large clouds around but the sun is shining.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Today we made Lemonade.
It was supposed to happen on Tuesday, we went out and brought our lemons and got them home before realizing that a citrus juicer hasn't featured on the needed utensil list till now.
So we headed to the shop which I could get the coffee cups we needed from, thinking they'd have a lemon juicer too.
I successfully purchased the coffee cups, but we could ream lemons or have fancy press things, but no ordinary juicer, the man was very helpful and knew what I was after and that they normally had stainless steel ones. But had none for me.
So today we headed back to the supermarket where I'd get the lemons from and brought a Lemon juicer.
The rest of the lemonade making was quite straight forward, I made the sugar syrup and Liam and Madeline juiced Lemons.
Very tasty result.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Off we go again

We head back to Santa Fe today, having not been sure when we would leave suddenly on friday it was all go and we fly tonight! ( Monday)
So we're all packed up again and ready to fly. It's been a nice visit but it will be good to get Liam back into school and all our other activities.
Besides it's starting to get cold here now so we need to get into summer.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Well we've been in Wellington for a while now it feels. I'm discovering I've adapted to some things American more than I thought. I keep trying to pay for my petrol at the pump before I pump, and I get a fright from the number! I expect to be able to swipe my eftpos card before they have finished scanning the items.

I go to the wrong side of the car to get in, but have been fine once driving. Light switches are fine for me now thou.

People seem to think Liam has some American acent, but he's already swapped back to a zed from a zee.

I think the Southwest will look dry and barren again when we return the view as I drive over the Wainuiomata hill is rather more lush than we've been seeing.

I'm seventeen weeks pregant so I guess these more adapting still to come and some American experiences I hadn't expected.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Planes and hurricanes

We have survived two of our three plane flights with all our baggage intact!
Walking onto the air new zealand plane and hearing all those Kiwi accents was strange, I've never been aware of kiwi's sounding different before, but they understood me, and my children without repeating myself!
Liam was wearing his Hurricances shirt and it was commented on straight away.
The flight was uneventful and the children watched movies and slept most of the way. Generally I think the shorter flights are harder for us, two hours from Alberquerque to San Franscico was tiresome for Madeline who'd not had quite enough sleep in the afternoon.
We arrived in NZ at almost exactly time change time so everything fell back an hour, we only spring forward last week! It changed the line up of international to domestic flights but we've been able to move up to the earlier plane so don't have to wa it an extra hour in Auckland, Though now we're in the koru lounge and the boys are watching the Hurricanes v Sharks, they probably won't want to get on the plane 'cause the rubgy's not finished!

Friday, March 09, 2007

IT's happening

Yesterday I posted our return tickets to NZ to Air New Zealand in LA for them to reissue. The young lady travelling with us means we have to have paper tickets not e-tickets. So we'll be leaving Albuquerque on Friday the 16 March and Arriving in Wellington on Sunday the 18th.

Argh what do I have to do here before then? I have a week and I'm substitute teaching one day and partipating one day.

That hour we loose to daylight saving this weekend might be critical!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Catch up

So Since we got home, in the snow, we have had snow delays for school but no snow days and today as I type we're expecting 60 F - Last week we had 40 highs.

We have maintained our weekend trips and have visited Petroglyph NM near, almost in Alberquerque, Fort Union NM just north of Las Vegas (New Mexico) and White sands and Carlsbad Caverns our furthest venture south.
White Sands was amazing, but not in its usual sense. A guide book we had said White sands was great for people who like the beach but not the water. There has been ALOT of snow all over New Mexico and ths has resulted in Lakes all over White Sands, like the one Liam is paddling in. So those people better not go to White Sands at the moment.

We had warm days but frosty nights while we camped we drove through a little town called Cloudcliff which has one of the only outdoor ice skating rinks in New Mexico.

Calsbad Caverns were impressive, the scale is so different from any other caves I've been to. We walked in through the natural entrance it very developed with paved walkways and rail all the way, but then there is an elevator too. The amount of carparking around suggested it can get very busy there in high season. We ment the only kiwi Park Ranger, which was interesting he's been working for the Park's service here for about 10 years.

The last few weekends have been in Santa Fe doing ordinary things like garden maintance and school activites.

Looks like our next venture might be a bit further afield involvoing several plane flights and a huge time zone change. Richard is mid ticket organisation and its looks like we could turn up on a Southern hemisphere door step soon rather than later. We intend to be there over Spring break (here) the Easter holidays (there)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

San Diego Zoo was day two it's a large zoo and we had a great day, Californians were experiencing there week of winter and so both Seaworld and the zoo were very quite by their normal standards, lucky us this continued through for Disneyland as well. I think a lot of the animals were enjoying the cooler weather, but then others were huddling under their heat lamps. Cheetahs seem to have an eye for my children both these ones and the ones in Wellington get this look of interest in their eyes and start pacing trying to figure out how they could get them to fall into the enclosure.

We look around the historic San Diego plaza area and had a get Mexican lunch their before heading up the coast to LA, or more accurately Anaheim.

We had three days in Disneyland and went on every ride we cared to, there were hardly any ques so in some cases we went twice. Liam and Charles got trained as Jedi and Madeline got sound advice from Cinderella about not losing your shoe, as she tied her lace. Everyone was shattered by the end of day three.
Many tears were shed as we said good bye to the NZ based component of our party.
Our return trip took us back to Indio, where we did get the date shake this time and past the

Salton sea, more time below sea level to Organ Pipes National Monument. We had our first border check point on the way there. You would think we'd left the country the way they do the border checks just after you leave the national monument, they thought we should be carrying our passports but they didn't make us unpack our stuff to check for drugs and illegals.

We headed on to Tuscon and stayed in a nice campground near the city, visited Saguaro National Park and saw LOTS of the big cactus, and lots of other types of cactus too, Liam's becoming quite a cactus expert having done both these Junior ranger programmes.

One day to drive home for work the next day. We took a more direct route drove though a mountain pass rather than up the 'I' which would have been fine had Tuscon not received a snowfall, not common in the south of Arizona.

While we say a few sprinkles it wasn't till north of Globe that things got serious. We slowed for the conditions and traffic was OK. Thinks got worse and we followed a snow plow for a while. We saw several people unaccustomed or unable to drive in the snow, highlights being a rear wheel coupe seen 90 degrees to the centre line at times, and a Police SUV being towed out of a ditch by a passer by.

We passed many cars simply stopped going the other way but we crept on, now in very slow traffic. Our unconventional route took us away from the traffic and fortunately a drier road until we got to the familiar I40 just before the New Mexico boarder. A short stop for food brought darkness and more snow. Driving at night, in snow, on the interstate is not fun. It's not obvious where the road is but the other traffic seems to fly past at times.

That said we saw stranded Truck in the middle of the road and two cars on their roofs before we got home. A very long day in the car (14 hours) but we were safely home.


So we had had some tyre excitement prior to entering Joshua Tree, I've never hear a tyre actually burst before. In fact the tyre "issues" started with a flat tyre in Williams, in the motel carpark. The local tire (sic) guy wasn't that keen to repair it becuase it was so worn, but did, so we left the brand new spare in it's place (tyre 1). Then on the way into Las Vegas a different tyre delaminated and made a strange thuking noise. So one new tyre in Las Vegas (tyre 2). At Indio, after Joshua tree we purchasing two more tyres(tyres 3 and 4). The intention was to replace the exploded tyre and the very worn spare but the final tyre on the car showed very serious cracks on the inside wall, the same area of failure of it's partner the exploded tyre. Tyre prices seem to get considereably cheaper the closer to the coast you are, these ones were $20 less per tyre than the one in Vegas, which we'd thought was a good price.

So we left Indio, Date capital without the requiste date shake, but with four shiny new tyres on the car, and the bodgy patched tyre from Williams still as a spare.

We were in the swing of camping after the past few nights so found a site near the Anza Borrego Sate Park, a camp fire and cards, the usual evenings entertainment. This campground was a step up from the others it had showers! We were glad of this with a hotel in San Diego being the destination for the next night.

So Bright lights and big city beconed and we headed down the 'I' to San Diego, took a look at the water and checked into the hotel. Apprently the coldest weather for some time.

We had tour guides for the next day, our itinerary featured Seaworld. We had a behind the scenes look, featuring flamingo, Manatees and the hospital area. We petted dolphins and saw the Shamu show. favourites were the manatees, especially feeding them, commersons dolphins which are really little and the beluga whales. I went on my first roller coaster here, Journey to Atlantis, I think it had the longest drop of all the rides we were to do over the next few days.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Liam and Charles had an enormous sandpit in the dunes at Death valley. They climbed the sides of mosaic canyon.
We camped under a tree in Death Valley, in summer this would be essential I imagine, the tree had very long bent over branches which created lovely tunnels big enough for tents. Liam and Charles had a great time playing under there own tree as a secret fort.

We left Death Valley and stayed the nigh t in the Mojave Preserve. Heading for Joshua Tree National park. We camped at Jumbo Rocks where the boys again scaled the boulders.

Monday, February 05, 2007

More of the vacation meander

We had a great time in Moab, Merewyn and Josh's climbing sparked a theme for Liam and Charles which continued most of the trip. Arches National Park was spectacular and Junior Ranger badges were completed. While the weather was clear there was dfineately ice in the wind when we went for a short walk to view some of the arches. Mostly we looked from the warmth of the car.
We visited one of the areas of Canyonlands NP and viewed the canyon created by the Green River the climbing the day before was on the Colorado River, I've found this on the web which is of geological interest.
Many National Parks have campgounds and they are mostly in very scenic locations, Canyonlands one was nice, we had lunch there, in the snow.

Our initial plan was to camp in Valley of the Gods, but we revised this plan and found a motel in Bluff (mentioned in a book by Tony Hilleman I discovered in when I read that far in Tucson on the way home.) We used their hot tub and noticed that when the water splashed on the ground, as it does with small boys in a full hot tub, it froze.

We drove though Valley of the Gods the next day awand also saw Goosenecks state park and Monument Valley, another lunch picnic in snow provided the boys with a sledding oportunity on a found mirror. It was funny picnicing in snow in the campground which we had needed our mats because the ground was so hot.

Big drive to Williams foor Grand Canyon, we decided to walk down one of the paths into the Canyon, Cedar Ridge,which was excellent, and gave quite a different perspective. Liam walked all the way there and back, doing math squences with Aunty Mere on the way up.

Spent another night in Williams and went driving around back roads before managing our firsts night camping. We had a campfire and enormous steaks for dinner,then Josh managed two enthisiastic boys and prickly pear roasting, Madeline was very keen on eating the results, hard to describe really, kinda slimey not much flavour.

Next morning involved dropping Merewyn and Josh off for their return trip to the north. Madeline was not impressed about loosing her travelling companions, but slept most of the way to Las Vegas, waking at the Hoover dam.

We stayed on 'the strip' in Las Vegas and had two nights in the city before heading for Beatty on our way into Death Valley. our first stop in Death Valley was Scotty's Castle where the boys played in the spring and Liam managed to fall in!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Off on the Adventure

It sort feels like cheating to be writting this having arrived back in Santa Fe, but anyway on the 27 of December our troup set off for an adventure. Our first destiation was Durango and a steam train ride to return Santa to the north pole. We sang carols, had hot chocolate and nougat chocolates on the train and santa gave all the children a bell. There was plenty of snow on the ground in Durango but it was the next day, after finding a wonderful french bakery, an indestructable coffee pot and some hiking boots, that we encountered our first snow storm. We were driving down the hill from Mesa Verde where we'd had a picnic lunch (discovered just how good that bakery was) and visited the Spruce Treehouse for a Ranger talk when the snow hit, and the sunset, a slow drive down the hill. We were heading for Moab Utah that night so assumed we'd be later than we thought but we out drove the storm and found our house in Moab without any trouble.

So this was how Xmas happened

I know, its the end of January and Im finally writting about Christmas ! It was buzy! We had all our travellers arrive from their far flung residences with various amounts of complication. It seemed simplier to arrive from NZ rather than Canada.
Christmas Eve involved baking cookies at a friends place, and icing them which the children had a lot of fun with. Pierre created a feast involving Teriyaki pork and chicken after which we all went to Canyon Road for the Farolitto walk. We had hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows on a bonfire one of the places had. We returned home and some of us went to the neighbourhood party, a bonfire down the road.
Christmas day dawned with stockings for the kids, we had Breakfast then presents as we had others coming to join us fo lunch. The menu was prawn cocktails, raspberry glazed ham, stuffed turkey breast, passole and beans followed by christmas pudding. Passole is a New Mexican dish, a special type of corn is boiled with pork and green chilli is added, its very tasty.