This was a fun filled, long day in the sun! Definitely the best weather we had the entire trip, so we had to take full advantage!
Mark and his dad went golfing in the morning, so I walked with the 3 kids to the local playground where they played for almost 2 hours. We walked back home for Cole's nap and a little down time, before heading back out to the beach! We walked about haldf a mile down so we could go where the river meets the ocean, which was fun for the kids :) They all LOVE the ocean and the beach so so much.
We even got grandad in the ocean! Although he got suuuuuper sunburnt with that sleeveless shirt!!
Cole liked to run into the wave and try to jump over it just as it hit, and the stomp and splash repeatedly.
Jack spotted the seagulls and is about to go run after them :)
Again with the seagull chase, this time by Cole.
Once the kids had had enough of the ocean we walked a few minutes over to this playground where it was finally warm enough to play in the splash pad! Take note of Riley about to get dunked in the 3rd picture below:
After all that excitement, we got the kids cleaned up, ate dinner, and then I forced everyone to go on a mini hike so that I could get a couple of pictures at our favorite hiking spot. What a mission! The kids were so exhausted but yet energized at the same time after a long day of fun in the sun.
Gettig photos of the three of them together was.... challenging.
Coley's face in most of these photos is priceless. I love that little two year old so much :)
Apparently daddy was being SO FUNNY right behind me. Or at least Cole thought so.
WINNER. Thanks Nana for snapping this one! Then two seconds later Mark smushed Jack's foot and it was all downhill and tears from there. Oh well!
Quick stop down at the beach for a quick photo with Nana!
And that's it! Tomorrow is the last half day of our vacation, and we will be headed to the airport for a long flight, then back to the US we will be!!
We got some good afternoon weather today!! Nana took the big kids to the beach while Cole slept, this photo below is right behind our house, I'm standing basically in the backyard at the gate down to the beach to take this picture.
Riley and jack and Nana made a little river and a volcano, and I kept catching jacky dancing around like a crazy person. Kid likes like the beach!
Wind blown cutie!
Me: "Jackson, smile!"............. fine, I'll take what I can get.
Soooo pretty today. Can't beat the beach on a nice (ish) day!
We had our New Zealand Christmas celebration today with Nana and Grandad. Since we won't get to see them for actual Christmas, we put up the tree and celebrated and opened gifts today instead.
Mmmmmmm dessert! New Zealand pavlova, my FAVORITE.
And Cole's favorite- green jello with sprinkles. Ha.
Don't think I took any pictures yesterday, as it was a fairly uneventful day. Well, that's not entirely true, it just wasn't very picturesque. We went shopping in the morning, then relaxed inside a bit and had a generally low key day. And actually, I wanted to share some iphone pictures we've taken since we've been here, totally forgot about some of those :) So these are from day 1-9.
Nana stocked up her house with all kinds of new and cool toys. Cole approves.
See that big slide Riley is on top of?? She only fell off it once. I wasn't there to witness, thankfully, but you can see the lovely bruise she got a few photos down. OUCH.
A FLUFFY!!! Basically just steamed/frothed milk, which Cole refused to even try, and just ate the marshmallows.
The place we are staying has a little two wheel bike, which is actually pretty small for Riley, but Mark took her on a run/bike ride and she actually made it for 3 miles and was pretty great! She loved it :)
We were worried that Nana was only seeing the mischeivous/troublemaker side of Jackson, so we had them spend some one on one time together so she could see the sweet and amazing kid he can be. All was great, they made a cake, and then we made the mistake of letting Riley join at the end so they could decorate the Christmas tree together. And there went the angelic Jackson. :(
The place we are staying! The view from the back/sunroom.
When they aren't fighting, sometimes they are really sweet together.
Riley loves her fluffy. And Christmas time at the mall is always fun. Until Cole starts destroying all the ornaments on display....
Below right: aftermath of falling off the slide and rolling down the hill.
These crazy kids.
Short and sweet- started the morning off with a little river walk! The goal was to walk to the beach and then build sand castles, but it was SOOO windy, that by the time we got to the beach, the kids were getting pelted with sand, and it was getting in everyone's eyes, so we just turned around and walked back.
Luckily there was a playground close to where we parked, so the outing wasn't a total bust as far as the kids were concerned. They are certainly getting their fair share of playground time, they got to spend nearly 2 hours at another playground this afternoon meeting up with some distant family members for a little playdate as well!
Today we went to Reikorangi farm to see the animals! Cole was SO EXCITED. I literally should just follow him around with a video camera at all times because he is just so funny and so so cute all the tiiiiime.
Jackson had a handful of food in his hands so allllll the birds followed him around everywhere he went.
There were two peacocks and they are seriously the most beautiful creatures. And they make the most obnoxious noises.
Riley really wanted a picture of her next to the peacock but the bird wouldn't cooperate lol.
The ugliest kune kune pig. So big and hairy and bald at the same time lol.
The pony kept trying to eat Riley's jacket, which she thought was pretty funny.
Mark was like, "Come take a picture of this, Jack is surrounded!" and not two seconds later he comes running over in tears because a goose bit him!
Cole says NAUGHTY GOOSE! Or pretty sure he was saying "hi goose" over and over and over. :)
Ugliest bird of the day below:
On the way home we stopped at a playground, and Riley has decided that NZ playgrounds are way WAY better than US ones.
Up they goooooo.....
She made it to the top!
Meanwhile Cole hung out here. The whole time. His favorite thing of the day by FAR!!
This morning Cole and I slept in (!!!) and Mark took the big kids out to a local Christmas parade. And since I wasn't there- no pictures. Once they got home we hopped in the car and met Mark's parents at the bowling alley! By then it had started to rain so it was perfect timing. I think Riley had only been bowling once, and I'm not sure the boys had ever been, so it was fun for all the kids.
Coley was so cute, he'd hit the pins and get so excited and do this little dance and clap routine.
Surprisingly it stopped raining in the afternoon, so while Cole napped, I went out for 2 hours of solo time, trying to shop a bit and explore. So nice and peaceful!! Then when I got back we tried to take advantage of the break in the rain and head to the playground, which was really a cool playground, but it was SOOO windy!! We only stayed for about 30 or so minutes before we decided enough was enough. But look at the slide! That was Jackson's favorite part of the playground.
Can you find Riley at the top of the slide??
They had this cool little zip line as well, which Riley loved.
Aaaaaand monkey see, monkey do. Cole was certainly not about to be left out of the fun!
Other exciting things from today: Found a dead hedgehog in the pool (sad), made significant progress on the legos the kids are building, discovered Mark loves riding kid's scooters, and that's about it! Let's see what tomorrow brings (hopefully not rain)!
Rainy day meant a little bit of indoor mall shopping, followed by some lego building, and then some indoor pool action. The kids LOVED it. The water was super warm, there was a huge water slide, and it was just a perfect rainy day activity.
The waterslide! It was 2 stories tall, and Riley went down with daddy the first time just to see what it was like, and when she discovered it was super fun, she went down all by herself. Over, and over, and over again!
Coley was a bit hesitant to get in the big pool at first, but once he got in he was unstoppable. A jumping machine! He would jump in over, and over, and over again.
And then when we got home, we got a break in the rain so we kicked the kids out of the house to go play. And what do ya know, Jacky asked to learn how to ride a bike with no training wheels, so....
HE DID IT!! He was so proud of himself, and of course we were proud of him too :) The house we are staying at has so many fun toys and things for the kids to do, it's pretty awesome.
Then down to the beach we went, although it was high tide so we couldn't go past the rocks, but that's alright. The kids collected 578968 shells so they were happy.
And then this because it was pretty. ;)
The rain officially came today, which worked out fine because we had planned to spend the morning at Te Papa, the country's National Museum, which is all indoors! Perfectly planned, if I do say so myself. Kids got to see lots about the history of New Zealand, although they mostly just liked the animals and volcanoes.
We were there just in time for this cool little kids' story time adventure, which was pretty fun. They read a couple of New Zealand Maori stories, sang a few songs, then got to play in this indoor playground area for a bit.
And lucky for us, the rain stopped and the sun came out here and there in the afternoon, so we headed out to the beach behind where we are staying. In case you are wondering if the ocean looks particularly brown- yes, yes it does. Basically super brown waves, not making it the most picturesque beach, but still plenty of fun.
That's Kapiti Island right behind Riley, you can see it clear as day!
Jackson leaving his usual love notes in the sand. In case you can't read it, it says: NO RILEY.
Aren't they all so precious sitting there on that rock when you can't hear them complaining or see their little faces?? Adorable.
Then we turn 'em around and get smiley, stone cold straight faced, and silly. I guess 1 out of 3 ain't bad.