Archive for April, 2015

This weekend, a group of moms and I decided to leave the kids and hubbies at home and enjoy nature.  We decided to walk part of the Saint James Walkway located in the Lewis Pass.  The hike was similar to the Lake Daniells Track (about another twenty-ish minute drive up the road).  The walk was very easy with all major river crossings bridged.  Plus, the track was mostly in the bush, making sunburn less of a worry.  The group decided to stay the night at Cannibal Gorge Hut which was 8.5 km from the carpark.  The group walked leisurely to Cannibal Gorge Hut stopping for lunch and a few snacks here and there.  It was a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of children.  At first, it felt a little strange not having to do anything for anyone, but I quickly became accustom to it.


The first part of the track was surrounded by trees that dangled white moss.  Sadly, this is the only photo I got of the trees.  It was definitely different and yet similar to the moss hanging from the Spanish Oaks in South Carolina.


The five of us.  From left to right: Sophie, Laura, Emma, Molly, and myself.


A clay human greeted you on the other side of the second swing bridge.  He was about the size of my hand.


First sightings of Cannibal Gorge Hut.  So where did the name Cannibal Gorge (or Kopi-o-kai-tangata in Maori) come from??  Well, it’s because of the numerous amounts of human bones found throughout the gorge.  It’s believed that the bones were the result of a victory feast from a war or battle.  Yes, the Maori used to practice cannibalism many years ago.  Cannibalism was seen as the biggest insult one could receive….being turned into poo.

Three of us (Laura, Molly, and I) decided to do the short walk to Ada Pass Hut (12.4 km from the carpark), which was only an hour walk further from Cannibal Gorge Hut.  Once at Ada Hut, we ran into a hunter.  He began telling us his hunt story.  He said he had been following a mom chamois (a European mountain goat) and her two babies.  He shot the mom and one of the babies.  Now, there is a baby all alone (heartbreaking!).  A hunt story you never tell a group of moms!!!  But, the hunter was gracious and shared some of the meat.


A trio-selfie.


Ada Pass Hut


The view from Ada Pass Hut.


Attempting to cook brownies in a dutch oven.  Emma put her amazing fire-making skills to work with the fire on top!

I never realized that I never before camped without the moon on a clear night until now.  I looked at the sky and was completely blown-away.  There were millions of stars and I could see the milky way galaxy!!  Seeing such a sight definitely made me realize how insignificant and small I was.  I definitely wish I received directions on how to take photos of stars from Jeff before leaving on this trip!

Cannibal Gorge Hut is infested with mice.  I’ve never seen an infestation so bad.  The mice were coming out during the day!!  They were very cheeky and crafty.  But, us women prevailed with the protection of our food.  Although, you could hear them rolling one of the stoves and utensils around on the floor throughout the night.


IMG_4188The hut covered in frost as the sun starts shinning over the mountains.


 The view from the start of the track.

It was a great weekend with amazing company.  Definitely missed my hubby though!


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New buildings are going up all over the central city, which makes our weekly walks around the central city even more exciting.  Not only do we see diggers, but we also see heaps of cranes, steel framing, concrete trucks, and much, much more.  None of pictures below are of the same building (except the bus exchange).  The rebuild of the city (well, the parts you can see, that is) is finally underway and is moving along very quickly.

The demolition-phase in the city hasn’t been completed yet, as there are still numerous building still to be taken down.

Plus, there are lots of new pieces of artwork up too.



The long reach excavator is taking down this building.


Four new buildings going up!



The new bus exchange.


A closer picture of the bus exchange.


How many cranes do you count?  I count 7.





A new building and an earthquake destroyed building sitting right next to each other.


This building just opened for business!!  I really like this building a lot!  It just looks so cool.



See the golden tree as the center-piece of the new building?  I do.  It’s the tree of Gondor…so when this building is completed it will make Christchurch the new Gondor.

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C is another month older!

Corbyn 16 Months Old (19)

C looks so much like a Hobbit.  Too bad, Peter Jackson has completed filming!

He enjoys looking upside-down.

Here are some of C’s newest words: bye, baba book (referring to Where is the Green Sheep?), hi, book, eeth (for teeth) and again.

C enjoys reading books.  It’s a common request for books to be read here!  C, unlike E at this age, has a normal attention span for his age.  C also just likes to sit around and flip through books.

C is now sleeping through the night.  As suspected, the dummy was the issue.  We now just tether the dummy to his sleep sack.  Most days, he is only having one nap a day in the morning around 8:30am.

He took 6 steps in a row this past month.  Every now and again, I will see him just standing in the middle of the room and attempting to walk on his own.  He really doesn’t care to walk and thoroughly enjoys crawling around.  There is no rush.  He will walk when he is ready.  Although, he now has no pants without major holes!

C now has 5 teeth and enjoys brushing them.

C has also entered a stage where he wants what E has and nothing I do to try to distract him gets his mind off what E has!

A friend told me that C ‘always looks like he is having fun and enjoying himself,’ which I thought summed C up completely.

Here is E at 16 Months Old.

And here are some photos from the past month:


Cooking in the kitchen.


Playing boo.




“I’m off to the lake, Mommy.”




Sliding toys down the slide is a huge hit!


Walking to Mommy.


The world looks different when you’re upside-down.

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Following the completion of the Lake Daniells Track we continued our Easter Trip by driving to Nelson Lakes National Park.  Along the way, we stopped at Maruia Falls where everyone enjoyed throwing rocks into the rushing water.


Once in Nelson Lake National Park, we stayed at the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) campsite next to Lake Rotoiti for some car-camping.

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Our cozy sight at Lake Rotoiti.

There are many tracks Jeff and I want to walk in this area and currently it’s just not feasible for us to do them with the boys as E weighs 35-40 pounds and is starting to hurt Jeff’s back.  But, we still decided to walk the Paddy’s Track.  About 2 hours into the track is the Bushline Hut.  We decided to not have a final destination and just walk till the boys were done.  We made it to the first saddle and about 30 minutes away from the hut when we decided to eat lunch.  The saddle offered great views of Lake Rotoiti and the surrounding area.  As our water supply was running a bit low and unsure if the hut had water, we decided after lunch to head back to the car.  Plus, the boys were done.  E did great walking and did about 300 meters of elevation change.


The yellow x marks where we stopped for lunch.


Pondering life on the way up.  Authentic beauty is found in nature.


An amazing view for lunch.


“Wait a minute here!”


Love them!


E’s smile makes me laugh!


My epically awesome looking husband.


A friendly German was passing by and graciously took a family photo.


E walking along the track.

After our hike, we sat at the bottom of the lake watching the ducks swim by and throwing rocks into the water.  Then, we all enjoyed a sweet ice cream treat.


Hours can be spent with water and rocks!



E with his chocolate ice cream.  C wanted E’s one and E was very sweet and shared his ice cream with C all by himself!


C tasting E’s ice cream.

We decided to head home on Saturday as the weather wasn’t looking great for the rest of the weekend.  In fact, it started raining quickly after we packed everything up into the car.  But, on the way home we stopped at Lake Rotoroa before heading out.


Lake Rotoroa looks eerie with the rain and cloud coming in.

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Jeff took Wednesday and Thursday before Easter off this year, so our 4 day weekend, became a 6 day weekend!  We started our Easter holiday by hiking the Lake Daniells Track located in Lewis Pass.  People have informed us that Lake Daniells is a very popular track especially on the weekends (40+ people there), so we decided to do this track during the week.  Our plan paid off!  We shared the hut with one other family of four.  The weather was great with sun and a slight breeze, which kept the sandflies away!  Not to mention, the views at the lake were lovely.  (Although, if we had been there when the hut was overflowing, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this track nearly as much.)

I absolutely enjoyed walking the Lake Daniells Track as it reminded me of the mountains in North Carolina with the gradual ups and downs and, of course, the entire track was in the bush.  There is just something peaceful about being surrounded by a lush green forest.  The hut is located at the lake and it’s 8.4 km from the carpark.  E did a fantastic job walking.  He hiked in and out about 3.5 km both ways.  E’s ability to maneuver around and over rocks and tree roots has increased ten-fold.  It just means we walk really slow.  It was also very educational for E as he is going through a “What’s that?” questioning phase.  Unfortunately, this might be our last overnighter-walk-in for a very long time because between Jeff and I it’s very difficult to carry both boys and all the stuff needed for overnights. (Sigh!  Yes, we are totally bummed out by this!)

Once we made it to the hut, Jeff along with the help of his side-kick son, E, cut firewood.

While walking along the track, a group of fantails started following us.  They followed us for a good while too.  It was as if they were playing with us.  According to what we’ve been told, fantails will follow you in hopes that you are kicking up seeds/food while you walk.  I’m not a big bird person, but I find fantails to be very gorgeous.

Overall, the combination of great weather, amazing views, happy kids, plenty of space, and fantails following us, this tramping trip was a huge success!


E figuring out how to navigate over the tree roots.


There were uniquely shaped trees along the track.  E called this one the “tunnel tree.”


Jeff and I can’t figure out how this tree occurred naturally.


Hands in the air provides entertainment and giggles.


AH!  Troll Bridge.  Half way point.


The 3.5 km that E walked wore him out.


Lake Daniells.  I was really surprised how clear the water was.


Getting the wood ready for a fire.


Jeff and the boys at the lake.  It’s so difficult getting everyone to look at the camera.


“Bird, Mommy.”


We got one of the two rooms all to ourselves!


C enjoyed crawling around.


The lake as the sunset.


Me with the boys.


A family selfie attempt.


“What’s that, Mommy?” questions E.



The fantails were a huge highlight for me!  I’m still baffled that I captured a photo of one with its tail spread out!


E likes to touch all the trail markers.  He calls them “road cones.”  So Jeff got E to rap “I touched that road cone, yeah.” 

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Monday, a week ago (March 30th), C took 6 steps.  Jeff and I have been trying to get C to walk back and forth between us for a while now, which C turned into a face-bombing-game.  But, C will walk to E and find it funny when he reaches him.  Overall, C really has no desire to walk yet, but steps come first!  He walks with his hands in the air and always starts with his right foot. IMG_2748

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“Broken Trees”

Autumn, much to my dismay, has taken over here in New Zealand.  It’s now that time of year where the mornings are chillier and the leaves are turning colors forcing us to put on more layers as we go throughout our daily tasks.  E kept telling me one day that the tree across the street from our apartment was “broken” because it was loosing its leaves (very fast, I might add, too).


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