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Archive for April, 2012

Yesterday after church one of the Home Groups we attend went for a picnic in Hagley Park.  Hagley park is HUGE (about 500 acres).  It was a beautiful fall day.  The colors of the leaves aren’t as dramatic as the fall leaves in Asheville, NC, but it’s still really pretty.

Here are some photos.

Here is our group.  Opps!  Sorry the photo is very blurry!

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Yesterday was ANZAC Day.  ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) day is a day of remembrance both in New Zealand and Australia to honor the men who fought at Gallipoli during World War I.  The holiday occurs every year on April 25.  Throughout the day there are many parades and services people can attend in honor of the soldiers’ memory.  The most popular are the “dawn services” that start at 6:30am (Yikes! That’s early!) Jeff and I are people who enjoy sleeping in so we did not attend the dawn services esp since ANZAC day is a national holiday and of course Jeff had the day off from work!!!  It was a beautiful day – full of sun and warmth!  Jeff and I wanted to go sightseeing so we traveled to Akarora.  Akarora is located on the Banks Peninsula and is about 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Christchurch.  The town had a slight hippie atmosphere to it.  There were a lot of tiny shops with homemade goodies, which gave us heaps of Christmas gift ideas for family back in the States.  There were an ample amount of boats in the water.  Families were playing in the bay and folks were walking around eating ice cream.

After our fun filled day in Akarora, we went home, baked some American biscuits, and went over to Yun Yng’s house for a potluck tea with our Homegroup.  We of course brought our biscuits to the meal and they were a hit!  New Zealanders couldn’t imagine putting things like fried chicken, sausage, or bacon, eggs, and cheese on a biscuit!  For them, butter is as far as they will go…no imagination.  There was a huge assortment of different types of food.  All the way from quiches to various Asian dishes that I can’t remember the names of.  But, amongst all of the dishes, my favorite (Jeff didn’t like it as much as me) was a Danish potato dish!  It was absolutely delicious!  It was made by Peter and Rie who are from Holland.   I had to ask for the recipe so I can make it whenever I want.  I can’t wait to make it!  The rest of the evening was spent enjoying everyones company.

***Please note: we have reduced the size of the picture files. If you are wanting to print any of the pictures out at home, please let us know and we can email you them.***

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Sleepless in Seattle….or should I say Sleepless in Christchurch.  I have heard over and over again how many pregnant women have trouble sleeping at night later on in their pregnancy.   I am not an exception to this either!  The baby isn’t waking me.  I’m not too awkwardly big and uncomfortable.  Nope, for me back pains are keeping me up.  It’s really annoying actually.  I’m only 29 weeks pregnant so hopefully the back pains won’t last until the baby arrives.  I actually got weighed on Friday at our GP (General Practitioner – aka Dr. Robertson).  I weighed 61.5 kg (135.5 pounds).  So that means that I’ve only gained 7 pounds since I became pregnant.  Dr. Robertson and Jodi aren’t worried about it though because my blood work came back normal with the exception of my iron.

Today I went baby shopping at Baby First with Wendy and Yun Yng.  It was a lot of fun.  I purchased a few things that were on the clearance rack.   Baby First is a whole saler (aka manufacturer/distributer) so when you buy their stuff in the warehouse then you don’t have to pay the retail prices.  Baby First is owned by Wendy and Peter’s family so I am able to go there to get some baby items.  Three of the four items I got were discounted because their package was damage, but the product itself was perfectly fine.  I purchased some nursing pads, a giraffe blanket (it’s SUPER cute!), a bundle me, and a Baby First brand fitted diaper (we figured we would give this brand a try as well.  From what I’ve been told it’s better to try a few different brands and see how it works for your baby.  So we will see how this one we got works and go from there.).  Here is a link to what a bundle me looks like: http://jjcolecollections.com/original-bundleme-thermaplush I’m really excited about it.  It was almost next to nothing price wise.  I also figured it would be worth having since I will have to take Baby Ray to the doctors starting at six weeks old, which will involve waiting for the bus and what not.

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The other day I was talking with Wendy about how I have attempted to make homemade mac and cheese here but for some reason the cheese and the milk wouldn’t mix together.  So Wendy decided to have us over for tea and make mac and cheese. Apparently you have to add flour to the mix here.  I didn’t have to do that at home ever.  Maybe the cheese at home has flour mixed into it?  Who knows!  While cooking, it was my job to grate the cheese. Coming from America, I can say that I have never grated cheese before.  I’ve always bought the two pound bag of shredded cheese and used that.  Well, shredded cheese is hard to come by here and it’s more expensive than the blocks of cheese.  (Also, the  cheddar cheese here isn’t yellow it’s white!!)  So I’m holding the handle of the cheese grarter in the air while attempting to shredded the cheese and Wendy comes over to me and tells/shows me that to grate cheese you don’t hold the device in the air, but hold it on the counter top and the cheese will fall in the middle of it.  Peter also taught me that you have to flip the block of cheese around while grating otherwise your cheese block will get cut at an angle.   Then on Wednesday night, Wendy surprised me with my very own cheese grater.  That was so sweet of her!!!  I can tell you I have already used it to make Cheese Burger pie!  I’m on my way to becoming a professional cheese grater!

Speaking of cooking, Jeff and I baked homemade American style biscuits last night!!!!!  Our biscuits are nonexistent here!!!  No one knows what we are talking about either when we mention them.  To New Zealanders, biscuits are our cookies. Making biscuits was a first for both of us and really had a lot of fun making them.   Jeff became “sticky finger man” while I became “covered in flour woman.”

We also had another 4.2 earthquake last night around 10pm or so.  I had fallen asleep on the couch and thought the shaking was Jeff trying to keep me awake.  Haha!

On Saturday, Jeff and I were invited to hang out with Wendy and Peter at their batch in Diamond Harbor.  The weather was beautiful and perfect for a walk around the area!  Wendy and Peter are awesome.  They are kinda like our adopted New Zealand parents!

Tomorrow Wendy, Yun Yng (her daughter is expecting her first baby late in July), and I are going to Baby First to buy baby items.  Man, we still have a lot to get!  It’s a bit overwhelming because the baby is due in 3 months!  One of the hardest things is trying to find more cloth diapers.  The majority of stores in Christchurch that carried them are no longer open due to earthquake damage.  We might just have to buy a lot from www.cottonbabies.com (a really great website for anyone in the States wanting to use cloth diapers for their children!!!) and have one of our parents ship it to New Zealand since they don’t ship internationally.  We will see though.  Speaking of babies, Jeff and I have decided on who we want to do our newborn photos.  We were debating between two equally amazing photographers, but we decided to go with Urban Light Photography because the package offered a hard copy of all the photos.  We thought having a hard copy would be useful when giving the baby’s grandparents and other family members back home photos of Baby Ray.

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Today I am 28 weeks 4 days pregnant and have entered into the Third Trimester of pregnancy.  It’s really hard to think that just in 11 and a half weeks we will have a baby boy in our mist (at least going by the due date of July 9).  On Saturday, after fasting for 12 hours, I had to go to St George’s hospital to do the Glucose Test to see if I have diabetes.  Jeff came along with me since I had to sit around for two hours waiting and give blood!  I hate needles and I wasn’t thrilled when I found out that I was going to have to give blood twice (once before the drink and once after the drink)!  Everyone I’ve talked to (back home and here) have complained how sweet and nasty the drink is.  Man, that drink was nothing!  All it tasted like was a flat lime soda (almost like Mountain Dew, but not quite the same flavor).  For me the worse part was not being allowed to drink any water for the next two hours.  Today I met with Jodi again.  Everything is normal.  I found out that I don’t have diabetes, but I have really low iron!  Jodi recommends that I now take three iron melts a day instead of just one.

Baby Ray should weigh around 2.25 pounds (about the same as a Chinese cabbage a.k.a. bok chow – which I totally know what that is now thanks to Yun Yng!)  and measures about 14.8 inches from the top of his head to the bottom of his heals.  Also, he can now blink his eyes and his eye lashes have fully formed.  Baby Ray’s heart beat was 128-135 beats per second today.

I’m not really sure how much I weigh. Apparently in New Zealand they’ve stopped weighing pregnant women who are in a healthy weight range. They’ve found that when they weigh women who started their pregnancy off at a normal weight, the women ended up gaining too much weight when their weight was monitored more often.  I have stepped on two different scales both of which gave me reading in stones and kg.  (AH!  Stones!)  According to one scale I’ve lost weight since my 18 week appointment when I weighed 133.5 lb, but according to the other scale I weighed 145 lbs.  The one that said I lost weight was brand new and in the store while the other one was older and in a garage.  So I am clueless.  Jodi isn’t concerned though.  She measured my belly today and it was 24 cm.  She said it should be 28 cm (1 cm per week of pregnancy).  She said sometimes babies just grow at different rates, but that she will monitor it.  I am still having back pains on the middle/upper right side of my back. When you touch the soar area on my back and compare it to the other side of my back you can totally tell a big difference!  I’m not sure if it means anything.  Also, this week, my nausea has made a reappearance, but it’s very mild!  Most of the time it comes when I get really hungry.

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Recap of Last Week

Since we didn’t have any internet at all last week, here is a recap of what took place. On Monday since Jeff had the day off from work, we had a skype date planned with both of our parents. Due to internet issues we were forced to do our skype date over at Malcolm’s house (that is Jeff’s boss). It was a little weird, but it was nice to talk to both of our parents. Malcolm didn’t mind at all and was happy to try to get rid of his 60 gigs of data that he only had five days to use it in. We got news that Ivy is very unhappy with her new living situation at the moment, which is breaking my heart. But Nubbs is doing just fine. (FYI Ivy and Nubbs are our two cats). Then we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the beach! So we traveled to New Brighten, which was badly damaged by the earthquakes. Good thing we had a map because it was like driving around in a maze with all the road closures. The waves here are so much bigger than the ones on the East Coast of the States! It’s a bit shocking how big they are if you aren’t used to seeing waves like that! Also to our surprise there was a carnival next to the pier so the beach had a fun and uplifting atmosphere to it. One of the greatest things about living in Christchurch is that you get the best of all worlds. You drive 20 minutes in one direction and you arrive at the beach. But if you drive about 30 minutes to an hour (depending on what direction you go) you are surrounded by HUGE mountains. It’s absolutely amazing.

On Wednesday at exactly noon we experienced our biggest earthquake yet. It originated at New Brighten beach. It was a 4.6 and only 9 km deep (FYI the more shallow the earthquake the worse it is. To those of you who don’t know much about km like me, 9km isn’t very deep). Jeff of course was at work and I didn’t even bother to call him because I figured he didn’t feel it since he hasn’t really felt one yet. But then I received a text from him saying “I felt that one.” It only lasted a few seconds where he was, but at the apartment it lasted about 20 or so seconds because I was closer to New Brighten than him. It was also a bit funny and comforting that I received texts from both Yun Yng and Wendy almost immediately making sure that I was ok.

On Friday night Jeff and I attended our first Praise and Worship with our home group (aka Bible study group). It was a nice time to spend worshiping Jesus. Of course we didn’t know any of the songs that they sang, but that didn’t matter. Church in New Zealand is very different from church back home. There is no Sunday school for adults. The only Sunday School is during the service on Sunday morning and it’s for kids only. The churches here are really good at doing things together outside of the church, like weekly Home Groups and daily hanging out with each other. It’s a different atmosphere and it’s very nice because church here isn’t a “Sunday” thing that you do.

On Saturday I had to do the Glucose Test to see if I have diabetes. (I will tell all about that in the next post). We also had Peter and Wendy over for lunch. We cooked apple chicken wraps for them, which was a different experience for them. Then we picked up a washing machine!! Yay we can have clean clothes now!! Then that evening, Jeff and I went over to Francis and Fredie’s (Francis works with Jeff) house for supper. They are both from Ireland and have only been living in New Zealand for 6 months now. Their accents are one my favorites!!! I could just listen to them all night. We really enjoyed the company and we talked about everything. In fact, we were there until almost midnight. It’s interesting that our politics are always brought up. So far we have gathered that people outside of America really like President Obama and that they think Americans are too fanatic when it comes to politics.

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Sorry for the delay in getting this posted.  We’ve had internet issues, but are back in business! 

We started off around 10am on Good Friday.  Our plan was to go to the grocery store, pick up some food for the weekend, and then head to Kaikoura.  Well, our plans were foiled!  In New Zealand, unlike America, everything (with the exception of gas stations, hospitals, and American fast food places like McDonalds & Subway) is closed for the holidays.  Even though it disturbed our plans to get food, we enjoyed that everything was closed.  Everyone deserves a break, regardless of what your job is.  Anyways, we grabbed a $7.00 footlong sub at Subway (not the $5.00 we are used to) and made our way to Kaikoura. 

After the two hour drive we finally arrived.  The landscape along the way was beautiful, but nothing compared to what awaited us in Kaikoura. 

Kaikoura is a peninsula that juts out of the mountainous coastline.  Off the shore of Kaikoura is a deep ocean trench that is known for sperm whales and giant squid (a sperm whales favorite food). Whale watching is very popular as is swimming with the dolphins (both cost a lot of money so we didn’t do them). If there is one word to describe Kaikoura it would be “magical.”  You keep thinking to yourself, “places like this really exists!”  Just imagine a town nestled between the mountains and the sea.  BEAUTIFUL! 

First thing first was to set up camp.  We stayed at A1 Kaikoura Motels and Campground.  (Yes, Amanda is pregnant and still went camping!) 

 The Green Lantern (aka the car) with our tent!

Unfortunately, we set up camp next to a family of five kids and the little boy was trouble with a capital T.  The little boy kept chasing after cars and running into the road when one drove by, threw rocks at the ducks, and the list can go on.  Luckily, he didn’t bother us too much.  The first night we decided to walk around the Center City of Kaikoura (it was all on one street and not very big).  There were a lot of restaurants and small locally owned shops littered with souvenirs.   

On Saturday, our plans were foiled yet again because Amanda woke up with a cold….or who knows what.  Major aches/pains, sore throat, etc.  Although, she didn’t feel good, she was still a trooper and refused to stay in bed.  We hopped in the car and drove North along the coast.  We had heard about Ohau Stream Falls from the locals and how the seal pups would swim up the stream to the waterfall to be mischievous.  We thought it was an exaggeration and we had to see for ourselves.  This is what we found:  (Sorry, we are still learning how to use our SLR digital camera so some of the photos are a bit blurry because it was very dark at the waterfall.)

It was absolutely amazing.  Seal pups were everywhere and very playful with each other as you can see from the video – (Unfortunately, we can’t put videos up on our wordpress blog unless we pay a yearly fee, which we aren’t going to do).  Apparently after the seal pups are born they swim up stream to have fun and then go back to the ocean where their parents are for food.  Also, during mating season they get away from the beach because the males become very aggressive.  

We returned back to the campsite for a little nap and then traveled onto the Kaikoura Peninsula of town to Point Kean.  From there you could see breathtaking views of Mount Fyffe and the other mountains in the Kaikoura range.  To give you an idea of scale, the tallest mountain in the pictures is 8,200 feet of elevation.  For supper we ate at the Whaler because they had a porterhouse special.  It was a really good meal!  If you ever come to New Zealand it is important to note that you do not pay tip because it is included in the price! 

On Easter Sunday, we woke up early to travel back to Point Kean to take photos with the sun being in a better direction.  Also, the day before we got Amanda some medicine and she woke up feeling better!  When we arrived there were adult seals everywhere – in the grass sleeping and on the rocks taking in the morning sun. 

 We hiked to the top of Point Kean and the views just kept getting better and better.  It was an amazing way to spend the morning that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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