Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mokau Beach Holiday Day 3

Abby's ABCs

She got to the end and asked us how to spell "and," then she asked, "now how do you spell now I know my abcs, won't you come and sing with me." Needless to say, we moved on.

Abby baking bread in the hut

Family photo in the hut

This was our last full day in Paradise. The weather has been absolutely stunning and we have thoroughly enjoyed days in the sun, gorgeous sunsets and crisp mornings. And I have enjoyed time in bed, reading and watching BBC dvds while trying unsuccessfully to get over this bug. I hate to harp on about being sick while on holiday but it is rather uncanny that I haven't been sick for ages and ages and I get struck just days before we go away. But when I think back to the last months since the twins turned five and how quickly those months have flown by, I realise that I really have never stopped. It's only a wonder that I didn't get sick sooner. However, the holiday was mainly about a break for Paul and he's certainly had that: the dining room table on which we were supposed to eat our dinner is now home to several puzzles, all of which are not completed. Not Paul's fault, but the fault of missing pieces. However, no way of knowing that until the puzzle is completed. He's puzzle-mad, that husband of mine. Anyway, I digress. We ventured to the river and the beach again today, this time consumed by making sand creations and shell sculptures. The tide was heading out, the sun was warm and we were pleased to see the hut from yesterday still standing. A group photo was necessary. And tomorrow we must pack up and leave, heading back to Taranaki for more adventures at home. Still 1 1/2 weeks of holidays left and surely I'll be better soon. Surely. I'm counting on it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mokau Beach Holiday Day 2

Sam and Violet discussing Construction plans

The cliff above Sam's head before the explosion and avalanche

Sam and Paul, working on the hut

Ta Da. The beach hut

Our Abby peaking through the gaps in the hut

A ditto day today. More time at the beach building huts and enjoying the warmth of the sun. Except I've been even sicker today so have spent a lot of time in bed reading my book, while Paul has played with the kids and taken them to the playground at Mokau school. My throat is so sore it hurts to breathe and I'm all aches and pains. Nurofen Cold and Flu works a charm but I'm aware that the only way to really get rid of this thing is to rest. At least the family is happy playing while I rest. And Paul is getting his much desired break and change of scene. Oh, I almost forgot the highlight of our time at the beach: happily scouring the beach for hut-building materials, we suddenly heard this great sonic BOOM coming from the highway. And then we saw half the cliff fall away. It was a controlled avalanche, obviously, but quite spectacular. Possibly not so spectacular for the miles of cars waiting for the road to clear while they travelled north and south. Fish and chips for dinner tonight from the Whitebait Inn: highly recommended. And now a nice quiet evening of games and puzzle building. My book and my bed are beckoning.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Winter Mokau Beach Holiday Day 1

At the top of our accessway to the river

Violet and Abigail

Sam and Madeline at the Mokau River

The waterfall we discovered

The girls, aka the Drama-Queens

Reminiscent of our beach time on Vancouver Island in December...except a whole lot warmer

Madeline's shell rings

Walking to the beach

Not a bit cold

I was the smart one behind the camera

Me and the kids with a view of home in the background

Mt. Taranaki


After dropping off Paul's parents at New Plymouth airport for their flight to Christchurch, we headed off on our holiday caravan style. By that I mean that Paul was in his car with the older two, while the twins and I followed along in our stereo-less courtesy car, bopping along to the Cranberries and Jason Castro care of Paul's cellphone. We had to take two cars on holiday, seeing as my van had a prang (entirely someone else's fault--and someone else's insurance thankfully) last week. Two cars for six people does seem like a bit of overkill but the holiday was booked and we knew we had some fantastic weather ahead of us.

We arrived at 13 Point Street, Mokau, just after mid-day. After exploring our bach and a quick bite of lunch, the children discovered there was a path from our backyard down to the Mokau River. We went on a little trek as a family, finding a waterfall and cave at the end of the line and then following the river in the other direction down to the beach. The waves were fantastic for jumping and dodging (or not--very wet children) and the beach was full of driftwood for hut-building. I should have thought to pack togs but who knew it would be this warm in July? The water certainly wasn't warm, but it didn't seem to bother anyone.

Back to the bach for some late afternoon down time: bach dvds for the kids, a nap for Paul (who did say something about a puzzle a few minutes ago, but now I hear him snoring) and blogging time for me. Unfortunately I have come down with a bit of a flu or something the last few days. All aches and pains in my head and back and a very sore throat. If I can manage to rest it off, I'm looking forward to an evening of wine and holiday food: a quick easy tea for the kids and maybe some mussels and yummy cheeses for us when they've gone to bed. If not tonight, then certainly tomorrow night.

Friday, July 15, 2011

When a Russian Indian is Exactly Perfect

You know it's been a tough day when you've had two glasses of wine even before you go out. Actually, it wasn't a tough day at all; many parts of the day were enjoyable. There was just one really niggly annoying thing (which wouldn't go away) that required fortification. And a good laugh. Thankfully, I had the foresight earlier in the week to know that a night out tonight, Friday night, the last day of a long term, would be exactly what the doctor ordered. And I nailed it.

Paul and I decided to try something a bit different for us and booked a table at PaNKaWaLLa on Devon Street. We love a good curry and were unphased by the prospect of an Indian meal, but decided to brush up on all things Mumbai just to be sure. Paul assured me it was the real deal: the maitre d who took our booking was decidedly Indian. So who could blame us for being a little bit taken aback and unprepared when having to decipher and interpret the accent of our waitress who was...Russian? Blond, blue eyes and very awkward. Who knew? I couldn't understand a word she said and was so completely overwhelmed by her...well, Russian-ness, that I made Paul signal me (a twitch of the ear) every time she approached, just so I could be ready to concentrate. It was just so funny. Not so funny when she forgot the cutlery, not to mention the plates ("please, don't eat: wait for plates" or something like that), but we were in such a mood that I'm sure she felt well forgiven. Actually, yes, even that was funny. The best thing about the night was that there was a huge party next to us, nearly 20 tables long, which meant that our meals took ages to come. Not a problem. The wine flowed freely, as did the conversation and the laughs. And besides: our baby-sitters were free tonight. We didn't mind how long the meal took. Enough said.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Canada Day Kiwi-Style

Abigail on the winter water-slide

Our Canada Day picnic feast

See? Proud Canadians!

Violet and Madeline still celebrating Canada Day on the see saw

Sam and Abigail, side-saddle style

Canada Day.

You might think from the title of this blog and the photos above that I had it planned all along. Beautiful sunny day, playing together as a family, picnic feast, roast dinner, etc etc etc. All that was missing was the street parade and fireworks. In actual fact, it all happened because of a bribe: "if you help us tidy up and clean the garage, we'll have a family picnic." I had two goals for such a sunny day: get the garage clean (Paul and kids) and create new garden for birthday gift plants (Paul and me). Then I noticed my neighbour's Canada flag waving (he's a Swiss Kiwi wanting to emigrate to Vancouver, hence the flag), saw my friend's notices on fb and realised, oh, it's Canada Day. Of course! That was first and foremost on my mind, naturally.

So while the children played in the sun, pretending to clean things in the garage which really meant pulling everything out and putting it on the driveway, I got busy in the kitchen, baking brownies and savoury scones for our picnic. Then they decided, "hey, the sun's shining; let's get out the waterslide." I went along with their enthusiasm as long as I didn't have to a) get togs and towels or b) clean up togs and towels. I must admit, they had a great time and what's a snotty runny nose among friends?

As I was preparing the last minute touches to our picnic (what could we possibly have in the fridge that would go with savoury scones and brownies--oh yes, salami, cheese, mandarins and carrots! Excellent!), Paul came into the lounge with a very satisfied smile on his face. I had no idea what he was up to but realised he had brought in a chair...with four legs. If you are friends of ours, you will know that we've had a chair crisis for at least...two years. Ever since we moved to Ingleside, our dining room chairs have been dropping, one by one. We've been managing with three chairs, 2 office seats and a piano stool for quite some time. But my lovely husband has just today discovered that three chairs with broken legs can become two sturdy chairs and one chair with no legs. I'm embarressed by how long it's taken us to work that one out! I'm sure he was inspired by Canada Day.

The picnic soon followed and it was a grand feast. I even found our Canada flag to adorn the celebrations. What a great time we had eating a variety of cheeses and sundry delicacies. Until my lovely husband said, "why don't you tell the children how Canada became a country and why Canada Day is celebrated?" Umm. Oh dear. What were those Social Studies and history lessons we yawned through at elementary school? I do have a book on my shelf...what's it called? I bluffed my way through a brief (very brief!) history of English and French relations and left it at that. Lovely husband indeed!

The afternoon was taken up by the children riding their bikes and playing on the see saw (oh what a fantastic toy that is--thanks Dave!) while Paul and I finished the garage and planted the new garden. We didn't exactly turn the soil for the entire garden I had envisioned, but we did plant the two things that needed to go in. And not only did we tidy the garage but Paul took the horrible mattress (bain of my life) to the dump. Such an improvement, Paul even got his car in.

But the day wasn't over and I cooked a roast pork, crackle, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and corn, and...what was that other thing? OH! Sweet potatoes. Still in the oven. Oh dear. Might just have to make a casserole with those for tomorrow. Needless to say, we opened a bottle of 3 Stones Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for the celebrations--highly recommended--and lit the table centrepiece candles for dinner. Another grand feast enjoyed by all.

And to top off the night, at this very moment while I blog, Paul is reading to the children one of the last chapters of Anne of Green Gables. We've been working our way through it for several months and have thoroughly enjoyed our Anne moments together. But I had to check which chapter we were on tonight, knowing that we're near the end. It would not be possible to finish this day with that dreaded chapter of our beloved Matthew's death. I know we have to face it sometime soon (how will we do it?!) but not tonight. Not to cap off the most perfect day we've had in ages. Our Canada Day.