Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 11: Christchurch and Arthur's Pass

Oct 1st

Logan slept in until 7:30am!! I know I keep saying it, but seriously. I think wearing him out by crawling around the night before is really helping.

We went for breakfast at another hotel, recommended by one of our guidebooks. It was okay, but they were a little snooty and cleaned up the buffet SUPER FAST, so we had to hurry and cram our plates high with food before it was all gone. At least the food was light (cereal, toast, fruit) since my stomach wasn't feeling too good this morning (nauseous and feeling 10 lbs fatter! Do you think it's from all the carbs?)

We did a really quick self-guided two hour walk around Christchurch's town center for some pictures (of course!) and a little culture. We saw their famous Cathedral (it was nice, but we've been spoiled by the ones in Europe), walked through some city streets (very European/English), an art museum, a few old buildings, a couple parks, etc. Everything we stumbled around town seemed very picturesque. It started sprinkling during our walk, so we stopped at Sala Sala to fill our tummies with a little lunch and stay dry. YUM! (altho, Logan peed through his outfit - again - and a little on me, with no change of clothes on us! dangit!) :(

Our walk around town was short because we had to get on the road for the long drive ahead of us - through Arthur's Pass to the other side of the island. And, it was supposed to be beautiful so we wanted to make sure we were on the road to see everything before it got dark. :)

And all the reports were totally accurate. The drive was absolutely stunning! It was pretty damn cold on some parts of the pass - the coldest the temperature registered (on the car) was 5 degrees Celsius. Brrrrrrr.

We drove through gorgeous views of valleys and snow tipped peaks. My breath was really taken away - and I couldn't help thinking that the mountains we were driving through would make for some really great snowboarding! :) We also hit some slippery, icy, steep curves down the mountain, after the top of the pass, which really freaked me out. Jill thought it was funny that I was so nervous. I think I'm more nervous and antsy (in the car) now that I'm a mom, since I don't remember ever getting this nervous about driving through passes and valleys pre-Logan.

The mountains and peaks looked so tall and enormous to me, yet the highest point we drove through was about 3300 feet, and the highest peak in the National Park is only about 8-9000 feet. Which made it kinda weird and puzzling to me - why did it feel SO much bigger? We didn't stop for pics unfortunately (no time!) so I took some blurry lame ones from the car window as we whizzed by instead. Oh well.....

Once we got to the west coast, we stopped in a small town called Greymouth for dinner and groceries since the place we were staying at didn't have a store or restaurants. It was 7pm and not ONE restaurant was open!! JEEZ. We finally found the Bonzai Pizzeria that was open, so we scarfed down a couple of pizzas (they were pretty good but not great - I think we were all just really hungry). Then we bought groceries and headed to Punakaiki where we were staying for the night.

It was dark, late and we were all pretty tired from the drive when we checked in (Logan was already conked out in the car). Our cottage charged us for a crib ($15!) which was a first, but Jon and I were too exhausted to argue, especially since we were only staying there one night.

Just give us a damn bed already so we can stretch out and crash. Please.

Happy Halloween!!

As most of you know, Halloween is, for some reason, one of my most favorite holidays. I think it's the idea of dressing up as someone, or something, else for a day that turns me on. Although I didn't dress up myself this year (something about now being a jam packed busy career woman with a baby in tow), I made sure Logan was dressed to kill at any and all Halloween costume parties we've attended this year.

Jon even got into the holiday spirit - helping me decorate the front porch, complete with our Obama pumpkins and eery green lights. He also helped tend to our crackling cauldron of dry ice and handed out HUGE bars of candy. Apparently he thinks we can buy our way into the good graces of the neighborhood.

And, he's probably right, as every kid, big and small, tonight skipped away onto the next house exclaiming how COOL our house was, while the parents standing back on the sidewalk waved, and gave us a thumbs up for the political statement our pumpkins expressed (some even took pictures!! hehe). ;-)

Even though the trick or treating ended early due to the rain, we had a great time seeing all the many costumes knocking at our door and greeting each one of the kids in our (still fairly new) neighborhood tonight.

And our stinky skunk even visited a few of the nearby houses to wish everyone a happy Halloween!

Now, what to do....what to do with all the extra candy we have left...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Every Pumpkin Counts

When I was younger, my parents used to host a huge pumpkin carving party where all the neighbors on the block would join us on our deck in the backyard, carving pumpkins and talking and laughing and drinking and generally having a grand ol' time.

I was always so proud - BOTH my parents have always been very creative. In life, and of course, in what they've carved on their pumpkins. And, the QUALITY with which they produced those masterpieces was always top notch. I suppose I could have been a little biased, but I always believed our house had THE BEST pumpkins EVER.

As years past, we continued the carving events, sometimes out on our front porch instead of the back deck, when less folks showed up. But slowly, that tradition faded away as we kids got older and less interested in doing "dorky" stuff like carving pumpkins with our parents.

Recently, my parents turned me onto this awesome site, which I immediately added to my blog reader. And, as I watch the numbers tick upwards into the hundreds day after day, with people all over the WORLD posting to the site, it has made me more and more proud and excited and thrilled (and scared), about the upcoming election.

So does it really surprise you that I caught the fever?

I was up for the challenge. Was everyone else?

Jon had never carved a pumpkin before, so he wasn't so sure. Uncle Kai definitely was - as you can see from the amazing portrait he carved, above!

With only 30 minutes notice, I showed up at my parent's house the other night with several pumpkins to carve - ready to roll up our sleeves and tackle some of the magnificent stencils provided on the Yes We Carve site, so we could contribute to the momentum of this wonderful movement.

Although Logan fell asleep right as we got started, I like to think that this was his first year experiencing the resurrection of a family tradition I hope to keep alive for at least several more years to come.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 10: Kaikoura

Sept 30th

Logan woke up at 5:30am SCREAMING bloody murder (worse than ever before - and yet I feel like I say that every time!). He was super hungry and then passed out. UGH.

We spent most of the day in Kaikoura - what a cute little beach town! I really liked it! We had breakfast at the Kaikoura Food Company (aka Fudge Factory) where Jon and Jill got the biggest honkin' plates of french toast you've ever seen. All in the name of carbing up. :) My food was simple yet also delicious - a bagel with cream cheese, pesto spread, gruyere and tomato = YUM. Eric, Jill and Jon couldn't resist the free fudge tastings (too sweet for my blood!) and we ended up buying a few boxes of fudge as gifts for some of our friends back home.

We walked around the town of Kaikoura, checking out gift shops (puau shell jewelry, wool clothes, etc.) and then headed out to a "seal colony" at the peninsula's point. We only saw one seal, but were captivated by the most beautiful views of the coast and snow capped mountains behind. We took a few group photos of all of us with Eric running back and forth from his tripod to us, across the slippery moss covered rocks in the freezing cold! :) I'm sure to the outsider's eye, we were quite the entertainment.

Logan has been doing much better during the day trips - he seems to like hanging out in the backpack carrier (an Aussie told Jon that it was a "BRILLIANT" idea and he wished they had those things when his kids were young) :) About the only real trouble (other than the middle of the night wake up calls) that he is having is some uncomfortable constipation, the poor kid. :(

Kaikoura is known for crayfish, its namesake (Maori for "to eat Crayfish"), so Eric decided that we needed to find the BEST crayfish in town to try before leaving. So, we walked and drove all over town looking for crayfish to try out. Unfortunately, with our luck, almost all places in town were closed, but we finally got a recommendation to try The Pier Hotel and Restaurant where Eric finally got his crayfish fix (similar to lobster, he said it was really tasty, but not sure it was worth the price - they are expensive!!) and they made me a really nice veggie dish as well.

Toward the end of the afternoon, we piled back into the car to get back on the road for Christchurch, our next destination. I was really disappointed I didn't get to go whale watching or dolphin swimming :( especially since Kaikoura is known for some spectacular experiences like that. But, no one in our group wanted to try it since they were all worried about getting seasick (we would have been in the open sea). Oh well. Next time? :)

We arrived into Christchurch in the evening - it is a very big city with a real English feel. Eric was craving steak (again) but I just wasn't in the mood to do another plain veggie option. In fact, I was actually craving Chinese takeout myself. So, we ended up "compromising?" with Italian instead (but no one got pasta!) :)

Logan started getting super cranky the minute we arrived at the restaurant. Jon didn't want one of us to miss yet another dinner walking him around outside the restaurant. So, we decided to order takeout instead. But, they took FOREVER and made us order larger sized orders of things for "takeaway" (we're still not exactly sure why that was) :( The food was okay - we all watched TV and hung out in the living room before bedtime (Jon had put Logan down earlier).

As we were cleaning up in the kitchen, Eric noticed a really strange sign posted above the sink. It said no fish or curries were allowed (to be cooked) in the unit, otherwise the hotel would charge a fine, since it's hard to get the smell out. Kind of a stuffy attitude, don't you think?

Yep, definitely felt like England. ;-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 9: South Island's East Coast

Sept 29th

We ate "brekkie" at the Dog & Frog Cafe in Picton before heading south to our next destination. We stopped in the small towns of Blenheim and Renwick, the center of Marlborough's wine country, for a few different wine tastings along the way. It was a relaxing start to our day, and especially nice given our craptastic day yesterday where we missed the Queen Charlotte's track. We ended up buying wine, oils, and dukka (an Egyptian blend of nuts, seeds and spices that you dip bread into) at a couple different places, in memory of the visit. :)

We had a delicious late lunch at the Allan Scott winery where I had another tart which was really good. I was definitely diggin' the veggie tarts in New Zealand! :) We all stuffed ourselves silly, treating ourselves to a few decadent desserts too. Overall, I was really happy with most of our food along the trip, even if it was expensive, and even though it was totally screwing up my diet/weight loss program. :( Ah well, you only live once, right? ;-)

It was pretty damn cold and rained all throughout the afternoon, as we left the wine country and hit the road for Kaikoura. We had an absolutely GORGEOUS drive down the east coast - through several valleys and peaks along the way, with mountains on your right and rocky beaches on the left. I loved it. I had Jon stop soon after we hit the coast, since I saw a black sand beach that I wanted to take pictures of. Jon, Eric and I took off to document the beauty while Jill and Logan napped in the car.

While I was collecting a number of smooth round rocks from the beach (now displayed in one of our guest baths), Eric set up a shot of himself and Jon, with his camera on the tripod. But, the wind was so SUPER strong, it knocked both the tripod and camera over, straight into the sand! :( His camera seemed to be okay afterward though, thank goodness. We also pulled over to check out a colony of seals sun bathing on some rocks. This time, I stayed in the car with dozing Logan so Jill could join the guys on another photo opp.

A bit later down the coast, I suddenly noticed, out of the blue, these gorgeous snow capped mountains. They had popped up out of nowhere - but were so beautiful and cool. Yet, so weird to see them right next to the coast. :) I was really impressed with the drive down the east coast, definitely one of the more prettier drives for me.

We arrived at our hotel/lodge in Kaikoura just about dusk - we stayed at these newly built apartments located on a golf course at the foot of the mountains which was lovely, although they were also a few minutes out from the center of town which was disappointing for me.

After unpacking and checking out our digs, we drove down to the shore to check out Kaikoura's downtown and grab some dinner. Just like everything else in New Zealand (it seems), all but the bars and SOME restaurants were closed. Yet it was 8pm! (We never really did adapt to this oddity)

We ended up at a schwanky super quiet restaurant for dinner. Logan was pretty tired and starting to get cranky. But, he wasn't hungry (just LOUD), so Jon and I took turns walking him outside along the beach. He finally fell asleep on me, so I missed dinner, but I wasn't that hungry anyway, and the sound of waves crashing along the beach right next to me more than made up for it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Explanations make everything better

You know how something happens and you really don't know why - but later you discover why and all of a sudden it makes everything so much better? Having that REASON or explanation somehow calms you down. You've solved the puzzle, the mystery.

You think, *whew* I'm not an idiot after all. THAT is why it happened.

I see this happen all the time at work. I'm generally the one delivering that explanation to my client and I can actually HEAR the "aha" moment on the other end of the line.

Aha! THAT is why it happened. I hear a sigh of relief.

And that's what I thought today when picking up Logan from preschool.

Another tooth has broken through, and when I noticed it, I suddenly remembered our awful morning yesterday where we couldn't console him, no matter what we did.

It all makes sense now.


Your new tooth is why you were a freak yesterday. Your new tooth is why you woke up screaming in pain. Your new tooth is why you were so unhappy and upset that it took me over an hour to calm you down.


I'm not an incompetent parent after all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And we have a winner.....

Tonight, Logan's school held a Fall Harvest Festival where all the kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes, danced to music, ate a lot of various foods, and jumped to their heart's content in a big bouncy house.

We dressed Logan up in his stinky skunk costume and of course, our cutie was a HUGE hit. :) So much a favorite that, he was awarded the "Cutest Infant Costume" award of the night. A basket of goodies (with family recipe book, several CDs, a stuffed animal, baby cream, bottle, etc.) was handed to Jon and I as we were leaving. They were SO excited to grant Logan the prize.

We had grand plans of dressing Logan back up in his costume when we got home, and taking a pic of him with his prize basket. But alas, you know how those grand plans always turn out. No costume, no pictures, hardly much of a dinner.

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised. We had a pretty tough morning - early morning - today. Which is why I'm going to keep this short and get to bed SOON!

Logan woke up earlier than usual, about 6am this morning. He was crying, squirming, didn't really want to eat or even be held. We tried everything to calm him down - rocked him, patted him, offered a bottle, laid him down with us in bed. He couldn't be consoled. He was just worked up and VERY upset. And, the worst part about it, you could see he was still very tired - his eyes were still closed as he was pushing against both of us while we tried holding him, crying and resisting our help. It was extremely frustrating, and BOY was it exhausting.

He finally relaxed enough to fall back to sleep next to me in bed, about 7:30am. And then about 15 minutes later, I looked over at him (he was still very restless) and suddenly projectile vomit was spewing out of his mouth, literally like a fountain, up and back down all over me, the pillows and our bed.


I stripped both myself and Logan and jumped into the shower to wash us down while Jon stripped our bed and pillows to throw in the laundry.

It wasn't the best way to start out our day, but winning "Cutest Costume" tonight helped brighten all of our spirits. :)

Over Medium

In my last post, I said:

"The cafe didn't know how to cook an egg 'medium easy' for Eric which disappointed him."

I stand corrected (thanks for the catch Eric!). It's "over medium". Whoops! Told you I didn't know what the heck "over medium" was.

And now I know....

North Americans may choose among the following methods:
  • 'Over well', 'Over hard', also called 'hard' — cooked on both sides until the yolk has solidified.
  • 'Over medium' — cooked on both sides; the yolk is of medium consistency and the egg white is thoroughly cooked.
  • 'Over easy', also called 'runny' — cooked on both sides; the yolk is a thin liquid, while the egg white is partially cooked. This is occasionally called 'sunny side down.' These are also commonly referred to as 'dippy eggs' or 'dip eggs' by Marylanders and by Pennsylvania Dutch persons living in southern Pennsylvania, mainly due to the practice of dipping toast into the yolk while eating. Also called 'treasure eggs' in southwestern Pennsylvania.
  • 'Sunny side up' — cooked only on one side; yolk is liquid (the oil or fat may be used to baste the sunny side, however.) The egg white is often still rather runny as well. This is often known simply as 'eggs up'. Covering the frying pan with a lid throughout cooking allows for a less "runny" egg.
  • Another style known simply as 'Fried' - eggs are fried on both sides with the yolks broken until set or hard. These are common in fried egg sandwiches and in Asian cuisine.
Who knew eggs could get so complicated?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 8: Marlborough Sounds

Sept 28th

Logan slept all through the night and didn't wake up until 7:30 - Yippeee!! :) Definitely started the day off right. I think he got a lot of excess energy out playing in the kid's area all night on the boat. Again, could we be onto something here? ;-)

Jon and I slept together on one of the twin beds which reminded us of old college days. Ahhhh, how sweet. Jon did end up moving to the other bed once Logan woke up in the morning since we couldn't quite squeeze two adults AND a baby on the single bed. ;-)

Our hotel was located in the heart of Picton. So, we walked to a local cafe for brunch. The food was so-so. The cafe didn't know how to cook an egg "medium easy" for Eric which disappointed him. Jon and Eric discovered (and then ordered) latte/cappuccino bowls which were so humongous (they were literally BOWLS of caffeine) that the two were very jittery the rest of the morning.

Just what we need - jittery nerds. And what do jittery nerds do with their jittery selves?

Well, once back at the hotel, the boys wasted 30 minutes of Jill, Logan and my lives, arguing over how to work around the hotel's Internet access so that we could have free access.

30 minutes later, and they didn't figure it out.

30 minutes wasted, that we'll never get back. I wonder if it felt like just 5 minutes to Eric and Jon tho...

We set off for Captain Cook's Monument as the starting point for our 6-hour hike on the Queen Charlotte Track, that we had planned to take that day. The drive was gorgeous for the first hour or so, curving around the nooks and crannies of the Marlborough Sounds. But, then it got MORE curvy and windy and everyone (primarily me!) started getting carsick, cranky and tired.

Where was the fucking Queen Charlotte Track??

We finally stopped at a resort in a small town called Portage (I'm not even sure I'd call this a town) and found out that you cannot DRIVE to Captain Cook's Monument, you can only get there via boat.

Seriously?? You're kidding!

No, I'm really not.

And by then, it was too late in the day to go (I forgot to mention but we had also lost an hour with the time change).

The drive was super scenic and the Marlborough Sounds were really pretty, but what a waste of a day! :( Once again, I was kicking myself for not planning or researching our activity any better. Gah.

So, we took our time on the drive back home since everyone was starting to get a bit carsick. Poor Logan was an unhappy camper. I actually got really bad room-spinning vertigo when we finally got back to the hotel which wasn't fun. I suppose all day in a car on windy roads will do that to a person.

Though we had been sitting in a car all day long, we were actually in fairly good spirits over dinner, at a fancy little restaurant on the wharf. When we got back to the hotel, the four of us crowded on Eric and Jill's bed in the living room watching TV (since Logan was already down in the kid's our room sleeping) before calling it a night.

Off to bed to get rid of the vertigo!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 7: Wellington

Sept 27th

Logan woke up about 5:30 but went back to sleep by 6am or so. I'm pretty sure he woke up from the cold (his blankets had been kicked off, he was scrunched up in one corner of his crib, and his eyes were still closed yet he was crying), so we just fed him a warm bottle of milk and he soon fell back to sleep.

We got a later start than we had planned. After packing up, I asked around at the front desk about a half day LOTR tour (including Helm's Deep), that we had hoped to do. Yet, no one knew anything about it nor had heard about it. Gah. I was kicking myself for not doing enough research ahead of time (I had just assumed the hotels would know all about it!). :( So, we took a cable car up the local mountain and then walked around a beautiful Botanic garden instead.

It was windy as hell and super cold but I had a warm jacket with Logan on me as well, so I didn't think it was all that bad. ;-) Jon, Eric and Jill were freezing their asses off however. Although I was warm, the walk was hard on my back. :( Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

During our walk we came across a kid's playground that had a small zip-lining set up (cool! if only Logan were old enough!), tons of tulips, an herb garden, and more. It all reminded me of the Golden Gate Park. We meandered down several paths through the gardens and back into town, where we went searching for a place to eat lunch.

And yet....

Yep, you guessed it. Everything was closed. *sigh*

Molly directed us to a German beer house (for the life of me, I can't remember it's name unfortunately) which was open - yay! - and had great food. Logan pulled the napkin out from under my soup bowl and spilled the entire bowl all over my plate and table. Damnit. Gotta watch for that. He's growing increasingly quick on the draw!

Jon still needed his LOTR fix, so after lunch we headed out to some suburbs of Wellington to visit the Weta Cave, a small museum which featured props, books, displays and clothes galore on all the various movie characters that Weta Workshop has created over the years. Jon, Eric and Jill watched a short film on "behind the scenes" stuff, but Logan and I skipped it since he was SO loud in the small theatre.

We left with tons of time to get to the Ferry - and it's a good thing too. We got totally turned around and lost while trying to find the Ferry terminal. It was actually really hard to find! When we finally did find it we were right on time for checking in. ;-)

While Jon went off somewhere to straighten out the rental car return, Eric, Jill and I checked ourselves, and our luggage in.

Shortly after, I realized OH SHIT. I left Jon's Dramamine packed in our bags! And, if any of you know Jon well enough, you know he gets TERRIBLE motion sickness :(

Sooooo, I sweet talked the guy behind the counter to let me back into the checked luggage area to rummage through ALL the bags in the back and find ours to get the meds out. I was taking so long he actually just left me back there so he could go back up front to man the counter (again, never in the States would we be allowed to do that!).

Only, I couldn't find it.


Where the HELL did I pack it???

I got back to where we were all seated, not sure what we were going to do, when I finally remembered I had smartly packed it in the diaper bag ahead of time so that we'd have it with us while traveling. Yeesh. Planning ahead sure as hell doesn't work if you don't remember you did it. ;-)

Unfortunately, Jon still got sick. :( The ferry ride was long and a bit rocky (particularly in the channel between the two islands), but not that bad for most of us. There was a kid's play area that Logan (and I) basically spent the entire time hanging out in until he finally fell asleep on me (in the Ergo carrier) toward the end of the ride. It was night time and dark out, so we didn't get to see much of the ride at all, but apparently it's supposed to be "one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world". :)

We checked into our hotel in the small teeny town of Picton. Jon, Eric and Jill wanted to find somewhere to eat, but Logan was conked out and I was pretty tired myself. So, I had them drop us off so I could put him (and myself) to bed while they went out for dinner.

Jon and I got the "kids" room with two singles since that's where Logan's crib had been set up. Oh boy - it was going to be a cozy couple of nights.

Editor's Note: Shortly after I published this post, Eric reminded me of the name (and link) to the Beer Cafe we ate at in Wellington. Not German, but Belgian! Leuven, the Belgian Beer Cafe. Thanks Eric! :)

Weekend Playdate

Yesterday Logan and I joined Jenn, Robert, Kim and Molly at Vasona Park for a few hours. We enjoyed a nice picnic lunch (in gorgeous fall weather, I might add!) then took the kids on a train ride. Logan seemed to enjoy the train well enough, but more than that he was very interested in all the big kids running around (his latest interest it seems). :)

After the train ride, Kim and Molly left for grandma's but Jenn and I decided to take advantage of the park and stayed to wear our boys out a bit more. ;-) We rode on the carousel, which Logan seemed to also enjoy for awhile (and then quickly got tired of it and wanted off) and then we walked to the nearby playground to try out the slides and swings (a HUGE success with smiley Logan!!). I'm pretty sure he would have gone down the slides all day if I had let him. :)

All in all, a fun Sunday with the kids! Jenn was smart enough to bring her camera -- these are a few of my faves, but you can click on any of them to get to her entire album of the day.

Thanks Jenn!! :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Big 3-0

Uncle Zane turns the big 3-0 today. And, to prove he's as young and spry as ever, he decided to do a bike ride from Santa Cruz to San Francisco today. Dragging Claudia and a few of his dumbass good friends down with him.

Ahhh, Zane, just give it up. You're now over the hill like the rest of us. ;-)

Happy Birthday Bro!

Project Pumpkin Photos

Yesterday Jon and I took Logan to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. I had grand plans of us leaving early in the morning to beat traffic and meet up with our friends (the Hicksons and Jodoins), but alas, sleep caught the better of us and we didn't wake up in time.

Still, we had a relatively easy drive up and only hit a bit of congestion towards the end of the drive. When we got to the festival however, it was MUCH more packed than I had realized it was going to be. Yikes. There were people EVERYWHERE which made it tricky navigating a stroller through all the crowds.

Honestly, I had really just wanted to take Logan to a pumpkin patch so we could get some cool photos and let him crawl around a bit, since that's what my fond childhood memories are of our trips to Half Moon Bay when I was a kid. Yet, the festival didn't have a pumpkin patch in sight.


Nathan texted us about a pumpkin farm just a few miles down Highway 1, which not only had a nice pumpkin patch for photos, but had a hay maze for kids to run around in as well. Sounded like fun! So, after eating some yummy pumpkin pie and pumpkin ice cream (delish!), we took off to check it out.

And, I've decided, this will definitely be a spot we come back to when Logan's older - what a fun haven for little kids! There was a petting zoo, all sorts of fun areas for kids to climb on or run around in, a hay ride (complete with tractor), a hay maze (we didn't go in but I'm sure it will be cool once he's older and able to walk), and more.

Jon took several pics of Logan and I'm really happy how they came out!! The drive was totally worth it.

Project Pumpkin Photos was a success. :)

Editor's Note: Unfortunately my iMac is in the shop at the moment, which means I can't get to any of my photos :( Luckily, I had grabbed these few last night when putting together this post. I'll upload the rest that we took to an album later next week when I've got my iMac back home....(this also means I won't be able to post any pics of NZ up for now either! ugh!!)

Train Ride

Mama wants to take me on a train ride today but all I want to do is
sleep! :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 6: Huka Falls & Lake Taupo

Sept 26th

Logan woke up at 5:15am :( But, he fell back to sleep from about 6:30 - 7:30am so I got a little bit more sleep before starting the day. When we all finally got up, we started packing for the long drive to Wellington (well, I packed while Jon walked around taking pictures of the beautiful B&B we were leaving!). We said goodbye to our fabulous host John who we would miss - he asked that we send him a picture of all of us since he enjoyed our company so much (I think because we were so loud, friendly and outgoing and made ourselves at home more than his other guests, that he really liked that). And, we'll miss his beautiful dog Loki too.

Logan fell asleep shortly after getting on the road - bonus! :) We stopped at Huka Falls about an hour or so south of Rotorua. Jon thought it was spelled "Hooker" Falls (based on how John was pronouncing it with his Kiwi accent) and wondered why he couldn't find it in Molly.

The falls were absolutely gorgeous - beautiful turquoise blue waters, crashing down onto thundering rapids below. It was magnificent! We took a ton of pics before getting back on the road.

We stopped at Lake Taupo (mid-way point) for lunch. The Indian restaurant that we wanted to try out was closed (damn travel books keep failing us!) so we found a Thai restaurant instead.

Once we were back on the road, Logan fell asleep again (woohoo!). The drive around Lake Taupo was very pretty - the lake was huge and had stunning white snow caps on the volcano mountains in the background. Reminded me of our good ol' Lake Tahoe. :) Unfortunately, we didn't stop to take any pics tho. :(

The drive ended up being one of our longest - approx. 6 hours I think (not counting the stops). Luckily, Logan was pretty good the entire day.

We stopped somewhere in the middle of nowhere for a bathroom break and ice cream. Jon decided to buy some Lotto tickets (just in case!), we got a ton of crappy junk food to snack on in the car, and everyone felt pretty yucky afterward with all the sweets we inhaled. :( On top of that, Logan gummed a brittle gingersnap cookie that I gave him to try - which made a HUGE muddy mess all over him, and me.

When will I ever learn?

Once we arrived into Wellington, we were all pretty tired and hungry. Our hotel was in a strange setup - in the middle of a street mall, with no parking directly under or next to the hotel. Instead, they have spaces reserved in a parking lot a few buildings away. We got turned around (which pissed Eric off) trying to find that damn parking lot since the streets weren't clearly labeled and the hotel and parking lots were both on hills which made things more confusing (the lobby was on the 4th floor if you came in from one direction, but "ground" floor if you came in from another). After a long day's drive, it was the last thing we wanted to deal with.

When we finally checked into our room however, the hotel was actually pretty nice and schwanky. We ordered Indian to be delivered (we were craving it ever since we got denied at lunchtime), watched TV and let Logan crawl all over the place, which he absolutely LOVED. Especially since the coffee table, which was a modern design, had all these cut outs that he could crawl under, through or peek up at us from.

Our suite actually had a washer/dryer, so I did a load of laundry but MAN the dryer was super weak and the clothes were still damp the next morning after three rounds!! :( There are some things back home that I would definitely miss if we ever lived abroad.

Logan fell asleep shortly after dinner and seemed to sleep the best he's ever slept yet. I wonder if it could be because of all the exercise he got crawling around the room once we checked in?

Hmmmm, we may be onto something here.


We got Logan's 2nd flu shot taken care of today (when they are young, the first dose is actually 2 shots spaced out 1 month apart) and it's just amazing to me how he doesn't even bat an eye when Dr. Safir gives him the shot! I really hope our tough guy stays tough!! :)

Jon came home today - so we had a wonderful greeting at the door when we got home after the dr's appointment this afternoon.


I'm so exhausted, I'm about to fall asleep at the keyboard before finishing this post! The funny thing is, Logan did great sleeping and didn't actually keep me up too late each night this whole week, and yet somehow, not sure if it's the weather or what, I could hardly keep my eyes open when I stumbled into work every day. Ugh.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Grocery Cart

Picking up some dog food. I think this is Logan's first time riding
in a grocery cart, like a big boy! ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Barack My World

A few folks have asked about this new necklace I'm now sporting (probably since I never wear jewelry) and which you can see me wearing at Molly's birthday party.

Did I get it from New Zealand? Nope. Is it a coincidence that the design is in the shape of Obama's campaign logo? Why no actually, it's no coincidence at all.

I've started doing some of my online shopping at Etsy, a cool place where you can find a bunch of great handmade items. I love browsing at all the beautiful and creative artwork that folks are now selling out there!

Anyway, Etsy shop Silver Cocoon is selling a few pieces of jewelry in support of the Obama campaign. I originally hopped on the bandwagon to buy a couple of her pins for my parents, avid Obama supporters. But, couldn't help but snag one of the necklaces for myself too (Jon says I've turned into an Obama freak).


They are simply gorgeous, wonderfully made, and though a bit pricey, I like the fact that she's offering free shipping and will make a donation to the Obama campaign with every piece sold.


ps. Heather, her shop is located in Minneapolis. So no excuses. I expect the next photos you post up have a few with you wearing a necklace of her's too. ;-)