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.
Today looked like it was going to be our last day of sunshine for a little while, so we decided to head to Zealandia for a little nature walk/hike. None of us had ever been before, so we weren't totally sure what to expect. It's basically a huge nature reserve full of wildlife, birds, reptiles, and bugs! There was lots of walking involved, but the kids did great!
So many different native New Zealand birds, and the kids get excited about DUCKS. :)
We made it to the top!! Took a while, but we got there in the end.
Can you spot the Tuatara?? We saw a couple of them, and they were pretty big!
Cole really liked opening all the secret doors and compartments they had all over. This one was a tuatara skull, although for some reason he kept calling it a pumpkin (??) which then got him talking about Halloween. So silly. :)
We tried to go in the Weta Cave but it was a bit swampy and dark, so we passed on it. We didn't actually see any wetas, so we just settled for this guy.
At the entrance to Zealandia, we found this little gem of wisdom. Seemed appropriate.
In the afternoon we went back to our house and Mark took the kids swimming. Don't be fooled, the weather was cold and a bit rainy, and the pool was FREEZING. No way I was going in there! Riley just went for it, Jack was excited about it but never actually got in, and Mark...
Enjoying our trip so far!! Tomorrow it's supposed to start raining and probably not stop for the next week, so it should get interesting trying to find activities to keep the kids occupied, but I'm sure we will figure it out!
Been a while since I updated here! A whole lot has happened in the last few months, but I figure I might as well just jump right in to today! We arrived in New Zealand yesterday and the weather has actually been pretty good so far! The flight over was long, but Riley and Jack were really really good, Cole was pretty challenging, but he's two so that was to be expected :) We all survived though and the weather is much better than expected so far!
Riley and I are writing a little story during our trip, about her favorite stuffed animal "Glamour." I'm taking the pictures, and she's coming up with the ideas and writing the story. Should be quite cute when we are done with it!
She says, "Mom! let's take a picture so it looks like I'm throwing Glamour in the pool!!"
The home we are renting is right on the beach, so this is just a short walk down the steps to the beach.
Such a pretty evening at the beach!!
This is Riley's wild and free, unbrushed, been on a plane all night hair do.
We started out our second day here with the kids waking up wellllll before the sun. So after a few hours indoors, we rallied everyone to go on a little hike. Knowing my children might need a little extra motivation and excitement, I made them a little scavenger hunt for our walk. They LOVED it. Cole led the way up the first big hill...
Such a nice day on the Kapiti Coast!
Searching for sticks, shells, and rocks.
This photographer mom might have put "take a picture with all three kids together" on the scavenger hunt list. Worked like a charm.
Climbing and sliding in the sand!
Just a boy and his stick, playing happily without a care in the world.
Poor Jacky got licked by a dog and broke out in hives all over his face. :( Good thing I always have benadryl with me everywhere we go!
Nana met us at the beach and helped out with the scavenger hunt. Can you spot her and Riley hiking up the steps??
Such a pretty hiking trail!
And we will finish with... sheep!! Now all the kids are napping and will be ready for more adventuring when they wake up :)