Archive for November, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving with friends.  It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious!



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C is an excellent toy car driver.

C’s uncles have been in town this past week or so and we have discovered that C is going through a big mommy and daddy stage right now.

C’s sleep has declined this week. C is now waking around 3+ times at night.  Jeff and I believe this is due to teething. Corbyn 49 Weeks Old (7)

49 Weeks Old on November 22, 2014.

Here is E’s 49 Week Old Photo.

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On Monday, November 17th, my other brother, Justin, arrived in Christchurch.  He had only four full days to see as much as possible.  So I took him on a road trip! We, by no means, saw everything New Zealand has to offer, but we hit a few of the highlights on the South Island.

First stop was Lake Tekapo, Church of the Good Shepard, Mount John Observatory, and the tallest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook.  Unfortunately, Mount Cook remained shrouded in clouds the entire time we were in the National Park.  Justin was able to hike to the Tasman Glacier.  E, C, and I were unable to do this hike due to sleet, so we just stayed in the car while Justin explored.


Lupins at Lake Tekapo.


Justin and Lake Tekapo.


C enjoyed ‘stretching his legs’ in a manner of speaking on the rocks.


The Tasman Glacier in Mount Cook National Park.


On Wednesday we drove to Queenstown to explore and shop with our final destination in Te Anua.


Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown.


We woke early on Thursday with hopes to drive to the Milford Sound located deep in the Fiordland National Park.  The weather had been crazy there all week and the previous day all travelers to the Milford Sound were required to carry chains with them.  The New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) updated the road conditions at 7:30am where we discovered the road to the Milford Sound would close at noon that day!  We were very upset because we would now be unable to take a cruise of the sound.  But, we drove out there anyway.  It started snowing a little before the Homer Tunnel, which was completely covered in snow.  After talking to a NZTA worker at the tunnel, we decided to keep driving all the way to the Milford Sound.  Thank goodness we did!  I decided since we were there and had about two hours before noon to explore and talk to Mitre Peak Cruise, who we had booked our cruise with, to get our money back.  When we went up to the desk, they quickly informed us that a boat was getting ready to leave and we were welcome to get on it.  We of course said ‘yes!’  The cruise was cut short by 30 minutes, but that’s not a big deal.  Justin loved the Milford Sound.  It’s one of my favorite places.  Following the cruise, we  had 2o minutes to get out of there!  We made it in time!  Unfortunately, the rain had set in so we couldn’t do any of the walks, etc on the way back to Te Anau.


The Homer Tunnel.


The view from the other side of the Homer Tunnel was hiding behind the clouds.


The Milford Sound covered in mystery.


A weka walked by and decided to be photogenic.


Can you see the kayakers?  I would not be kayaking out there in heavy rain.


It’s amazing how E and C have no care in the world for the views.  But, what was important was fighting over the air vent.



The rain and snow created lots of waterfalls throughout the fiords (and yes, that’s the way New Zealand spells fiord).

Then we retraced our steps back to Christchurch.  However, we made a little detour through Wanaka.  Unfortunately, the awful weather followed us back up the island all the way to Christchurch.  It was a very trying trip with both boys in the car.  Next road trip, the boys will be separated.  I’m pretty sure Justin won’t have children anytime soon now.

But, before Justin left the country, we showed him around Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, and Lytteton.

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Last weekend we celebrated Canterbury Anniversary Day giving Jeff an extra day off from work.  My brother, Joseph, was in town for a few days after finishing his year in Antarctica.  He made the request to see lots of green.  So Jeff and I decided that we would all drive to the Marlborough Sound to hike the Nydia Track to fulfill Joseph’s desire for green nature, plus the weather was looking the greatest on the east coast of the top of the South Island.

We left Christchurch at 7am on Friday morning in hopes to make it to Havelock by 12:30 for our shuttle to the start of the Nydia Track.  We somehow made excellent timing and arrived a little before noon.  Unfortunately, the shuttle, provided by Bluemoon Lodge, was also taking a group of 5 bikers to the same track as well and they were running an hour late.  So we had no choice but to wait.  Honestly, having to wait was a little irritating since we knew that not only did we have about an hour drive still to the trail head, but that we also had to walk 4.5 hours before arriving at On The Track Lodge in Nydia Bay.  We also had some issues with the price from the Bluemoon, a backpackers lodge that offers transport to various tracks, around Havelock.  Shane, the owner, kept changing the price on us per person.  It started at $20 and went all the way up to $80 and having to pay $20 each for our two very young boys.  Jeff was over it and told Shane that it was cheaper to pay for the shuttle package offered from On the Track Lodge and Shane finally caved and charged us $50 each and the boys were free, which was still ridiculous.  If we do it again, I wouldn’t use Bluemoon as a means of transport or even a place to stay.  In fact, I would drive there myself and hike from Duncan Bay to On The Track Lodge and then back out again the same way the next day.

Around 2:30, we finally arrived at the Nydia Track head at Duncan Bay and started our long walk.  C wasn’t happy at all.  E wasn’t happy because we couldn’t let him walk due to the time restrictions.  I now get carsick and was nauseous with a headache.  But, other than that, everything went well once we started walking.


Everything looks very calm in the picture, but really this was very chaotic.  Also, this picture was taken with Joseph’s camera.  The rest of the photos are from mine and Jeff’s camera.

The track was a very gradual uphill that slowly climbed up and over the saddle offering views of Duncan Bay.  The track was covered in a typical New Zealand forest filled with lush, green, fern trees and every other tree you could think of.


The view from the road the Nydia Track started off of.


Duncan Bay


The hike started at the water level and gradually climbed upwards.


The entire track looks like this.


Fern trees were everywhere.



Along the way there is a tiny pool with a pet Eel, named Ella swimming around.


A reliable way to tell the current weather.


Two very happy people because we finally know how much further we had to walk.

We arrived at On The Track Lodge around 6:00 or 6:30pm.   Words really can’t describe how amazing On The Track Lodge is.  The owner, Duncan and his parents run and operate the place.  They are very welcoming and extremely nice.  I totally recommend it to anyone.  After they boys went to bed, I went and enjoyed the hot tub with Joseph.


The lodge, a welcome sight.  Duncan even had cake waiting for us when we arrived!


E was pretty excited about the train.


The coolest hot tub operated by wood fire.

We woke the next morning to rain as expected.  Luckily, the rain stopped earlier than predicted and the sun came out, making the day very beautiful.


C helping Jeff hold the umbrella.


E was allowed to go into the Train room and he loved it.


The entertainment value of throwing rocks into water never waivers.


Another cute photo of E.


The kitchen at the lodge.


Group shot in front of the lodge.

After some exploring, we quickly ate lunch and sadly left On The Track Lodge.  From the lodge we walked to Kiauma Bay.  Along the way, we crossed over two saddles.


A very tiny river crossing.


These flowers were every where on the track near Nydia Bay.





Unfortunately, half way up to the first saddle Jeff and I realized we left our water bottle at the lodge!  Joseph had walked way ahead of us and we only had E and C’s tiny sippy cups.  So we had to stop at every stream we could find to refill the cups.  It was slow going, but we made it.  We ran into the group of bikers when we were about 75% up the second saddle and they had kindly brought our water bottle with them.  Once off the trail we had to walk another 45 minutes on a road to get our ride through the Marlborough Sound back to our car.


Us on the boat ride.  I find it funny that we are all looking in a different direction.


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C learned to say ball this week.

Corbyn 48 Weeks Old (2)

48 Weeks Old on November 15, 2014 on the Nydia Track

Here is E’s 48 Weeks Old photo.

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On November 14th, C became 11 months old.

C’s vocabulary consists of ball and duck.

C breastfeeds three times a day.  I believe he is about to drop his feed in the middle of the day as he only drinks one side.  C loves food.  He currently eats three big meals a day, plus two snacks.  His favorite foods are carrots, bananas, marmite and cheese on rice crackers, and mandarins.

No teeth yet.

C still does the army crawl.  He will sometimes do a real crawl, but only in the bathroom after bath.  He pulls up on anything and everything.  He hasn’t learned that he can move his feet to walk along the edge of things yet.  He can walk around the back deck in his walker.

C still takes two naps a day around 8:30am and noon.  At night, he wakes at least twice.

Overall, C is a very smiley boy.  He is very good at expressing how he feels about something.

Corbyn 11 Months Old (7)

C chewing on a rock on the Nydia Track.

Here is E’s 11 month old photo.

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I was recently walking around the Botanical Gardens in Hagley park and much to my surprise I discovered white, orange, yellow, red, and pink azaleas.  It was absolutely amazing.  The mixture of colors were so vibrant.  I’ve only known and seen azaleas as a pinkish-purple color.  Sometimes it’s so easy to forget that there are so many different species of a plant living in other parts of the world.  As usual, the photos don’t do justice.





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