Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kapiti camping

Another long weekend so I decided it was time to take freya camping. A bit ashamed that it has taken this long to take her, but her dad isn't very fond of camping. So we had a girls camping trip with our friends Kareen and her 22 month old Melina. We had a plan a few days before, but that had to change because the campground was fully booked, so we made another plan.....

We set off mid morning on Saturday to Otaki forks, only to be thwarted by a road closure due to another slip on the road after heavy rain the last week. So we headed to Otaki beach for lunch and spent a couple of hours playing at the beach waiting to see if the road to Otaki forks would open. 
Freya and Melina at Otaki beach

The road was still closed at 4pm, so time for plan C, we headed to the very basic Waikawa campground North of Otaki. This was also very boggy and wet, but we found a spot that was dry enough and set up camp. 

Camp, Freya and Melina playing in the tent. 

Freya seemed to take it all in her stride and tried to help put up the tents and then enjoyed playing with Melina in the tents. They both enjoyed splashing in muddy puddles and exploring the camp....with a few meltdowns when evil mums wouldn't let them play in the really big muddy puddles. Melina did manage to dive/ trip in to one of them and cover herself in mud. There were also a few meltdowns over sharing toys, books, chairs, balls.....I guess they are at that age where sharing is hard and meltdowns are common. But in between there were moments of playing nicely together....and a few minutes peace for the mums to chat. 

Just as we were corralling the girls into bed it started to rain....freya did very well going to sleep quite easily (she was pretty tired from chasing, playing and fighting with Melina all afternoon). Unfortunately I realised that our tent leaks quite badly as it looks like the seam tape is disintergrating. Luckily the rain stopped after an hour or so... And so did the drips! So my visions of a very soggy unpleasant night didn't materialise. But I was kept awake by hedgehogs trying to get into the rubbish bag...eventually getting some watermelon rinds. Freya slept really well, with only a couple of wakes. I wish I could say the same. 

The next morning after breakfast, a few more meltdowns, and packing up some rather soggy tents we set off to check out the Raumati water park/gardens that I had heard about from our previous neighbours. We arrived around 10am just as temperatures were warming up and just a few kids playing. Freya and Melina had a quick bounce on the seesaw, but then headed on to the spray pad. They really enjoyed running in and through the water sprays, with a couple of interludes playing in the sandpit and on the swings and slide. We didn't get a chance to check out the rest of the gardens as the girls got cold and it was time for some food before heading home at lunchtime, so the girls could have their midday naps. 

Raumati water park

A fun camping adventure.....meanwhile Aaron worked hard I the garden. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A week in Queenstown

After hanging out in wellington over Christmas we got away just before new year. Aaron drove the car down to Queenstown with most of our stuff over several days and nanna and papa, Freya and I flew down. Unfortunately for Aaron, he had to drive a few extra hours due to the main highway still being closed after the earthquakes a month or so earlier. He managed to listen to quite a few audiobooks on the way there (and back). 

We also met up with a couple of friends from Canberra, Dave and liz, who were holidaying in Queenstown at the same time. "Daze" (she could say Dave) soon became a favourite of Freya's. After all arriving on the 31st December....we didn't quite manage stay up and see in the new year. 
Colouring in with "Daze"

New Year's Day we were up bright and early as usual with freya! The weather didn't look great, but we headed up from the remarkables ski field to walk up to lake Alta. it was really windy and cold....we were slightly underdressed for the conditions. It was still very pretty, but unfortunately the clouds didn't lift off the peaks. Unfortunately the weather forecast for the whole week was pretty average. We got out for a few shortish walks on a couple of days. Nanna and papa took a coach tour to Milford sound for the day.Aaron and Dave did a few mountain bike rides (well shuttled each other, and took turns riding), and Freya got to try out a few different playgrounds around the area. She did splash in a couple of streams and dipped her toes in lake wakatipu, but no swims or kayaking in the lake this year....too windy and far too cool. Instead we ended up going to the nice warm indoor pool a couple of times. 

Arrowtown playground with the big kids "Daze" daddy and Liz
First fluffy
Family photo from the lookout above arrowtown.

We did have one great weather day when we did the first part of the Routeburn great walk track. We walked up to Routeburn falls hut and back. 6 hours of walking and one hour of stops for lunch and breaks. Freya walked 4 different times for up to 30 minutes, and tolerated being in the backpack the rest of the time, with a couple of short naps. Dave and liz (who are crazy runner people) ran the whole track in the day and we met them at the end. 

Photos to come

Not the most exciting week in Queenstown, but pretty relaxing and Freya enjoyed a lot of attention from 6 admirers! 


Well after years of Christmas being a non-event in our house, we finally had one that vaguely followed some of the expected festivities. We even had a Christmas tree....although it was very tiny and probably should have been called a Christmas shrub. The stack of presents for freya was larger than the shrub, but after seeing freya attempt to destroy one at a friends house I thought it best not to have one in Freya's reach until she is a little older. The Christmas shrub is now a pot plant and should grow over the next few years to something more like a tree. 
Our Christmas shrub

Having missed thanksgiving this year due to conferences and being too disorganised, we had our thanksgiving turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, with nana and papa and another family (Dee, Andrew, olive and Leo, who hosted us for Christmas last year). Aaron finally got his Turkey fix for the year....and there was enough leftovers, despite the extra people, to keep him going for another 5 days. 

We had hoped that freya would give us a Christmas present of a lie in...but no such luck....a normal 6:30am start. Despite having been intrigued by the pile of presents just out of her reach for the few days before Christmas....she was rather slow at getting them unwrapped. In fact after opening the first one, which was a kitchen and food set she spent a while playing with that. We finally convinced her to open a few more when her grandma Oregon was watching over Skype. 
Opening Christmas presents

After a bit more playing and finally convincing freya to wear a pretty dress....we headed over to our neighbours for Christmas brunch, as has been tradition for the last few years. Freya had great fun playing with the green Christmas Santa, and Aaron, nana and I attempted to get the hang of jacks hoverboard thing....with varying degrees of success. 
Trying to ride the hoverboard
Playing with Tom and a very large bear

In the late afternoon we headed down to the worser bay beach with some other friends who have a daughter Freya's age. Not the most successful beach trip as it turned out to be a little windy....but the girls seemed to enjoy themselves. 

I think Freya had fun. It certainly was a bit more Christmas like for us and nice to have nana and papa there to share it with. 

Nanna and papa's visit

Also known as Freya's maternal grandparents, or Helen's parents. But Freya can only say na na and papa at the moment. They were planning to come for Christmas this year, but we asked them to come a few weeks earlier to help Aaron out while Helen went to a conference in Auckland in early December. It was Aaron's first time solo parenting for more than a few hours, so great to have a couple of extra hands to make dinner and look after freya the days she doesn't go to crèche. 
Making cookies with nanna
Riding the purple dinosaur with papa

The following weeks before Christmas they took a short trip to the wairarapa to do some walking and wine tasting, explored wellington a little more and did a lot of work on the kitchen and garden, especially the neglected compost heap (it might now actually compost). Dad also got out for quite a few windy rides around the waterfront. Mum came swimming with freya and I and baked lots of yummy Christmas treats with occasional "help" from Freya. With the extra hands around to wrangle Freya, Aaron and I took the chance to wash the outside of the house and garage, and windows, and clean out the gutters, and snuck in a mountain bike ride together..... 

Great to get a bit of spring cleaning done to get the house back in order. Thanks mum and dad for all your help.