Archive for November, 2015

After C was released from the hospital, Jeff and I decided to replan our trip.  The original plan was to drive to Tongariro National Park to hike the Tongariro Crossing immediately following the Hui and then make our way back through Rotorua and Tauranga.  But with C still on the mend, we didn’t feel comfortable going to a Tongaririo National Park where the closet emergency service avliable  was at least an hour away.  Plus, we didn’t want to do a 7 hour hike with an unwell child EVEN if the weather was absolutely perfect (aka sunny and no wind).  But, we put the hike towards the end of the week in hopes the great weather would continue.

So on Monday (November 9) we decided to not do heaps.  First on the agenda was to finish a few extra things in Tauranga before our car ride to Rotorua.  First stop was a natural mineral water hot pool called Fernland Spa.  Since we arrived in the morning, the pool was shaded allowing us to stay in the hot water longer.  We enjoyed the pool to ourselves for about an hour.

Fernland Spa

The boys spent the majority of the time throwing leaves into the pool.  C had absolutely no issues jumping into Jeff’s arms.

Fernland Spa 2

E showing off his big leaf.

Then we decided to see that one waterfall (waterfell as Elijah says), called Omanawa Falls we missed on Sunday.  From the carpark for the waterfall, you walk 10-15 minutes down a farm road that curves to the waterfall.  The waterfall is located next to the first hydro-electrical power station.  We were very disappointed because there are two ways to get down to the water, but both were completely closed off.  In fact, we ran into a local from the area and he was highly disappointed that the path was inaccessible.


An awful photo of Omanawa Falls.

Following lunch, we made the drive to Rotorua and enjoyed walking around the central city’s thermal area, which is free.  Plus, amongst the boiling, steaming, and smelly pools of water and mud we found a paddling pool for the boys to play in.




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Sunday morning (Nov 8) C woke still running a fever, but was acting fine.  So Jeff and I decided to stick to our plans, explore Tauranga a little bit more in the morning and then head to Tongariro to do the Tongariro Crossing.  The first stop was to see Mount Maunganui.  We really wanted to hike to the top of Mount Maunganui, but decided against it because of C’s fever.  So we chose to hike Moturiki Island located adjacent to Mount Maunganui.  It was a quick and easy walk that ends at the end of the island with great views of Mount Maunganui and Motuotau Island.  Plus, there were lots of boulders for the boys to meander around.  When we were leaving C had the biggest tantrum because he wasn’t ready to leave.


Family photo with Mount Maunganui.  

After walking Moturiki Island we decided to make a quick stop at the Elms Mission House and Gardens.  C was still upset about having to leave the boulders behind.  He eventually fell asleep in my arms as we walked around.  The land was purchased by A.N. Brown from the local Maori for the Church Missionary Society in 1839.  The house was completed in 1847.  At the house, Maori were given the opportunity to learn about Christianity, and were educated in reading and writing, as well as agricultural and domestic skills.  The house was given the name the Elms due to the all the Elm trees that the Brown family planted on the property.  The house contains a free standing library, which was completed in 1839 and contains over a 1,000 books that belonged to Archdeacon Brown.  I would love to catalogue that collection!


The Elms Mission House.


The book collection.

I transferred sleeping C into the car and the plan was to see two waterfalls and be on our way to Tongariro.  We reached the first waterfall, McLaren Falls.


McLaren Falls

C woke up.  He wasn’t eating or drinking, he became very lethargic and he was radiating heat from his body.  Jeff and I decided at that point we needed a doctor.  We traveled to the Tauranga after hours (in New Zealand that is where you go to the doctor on the weekends or at night for emergencies that are not bad enough for the ER).  C had a 40C fever and was wheezing.  The after hours sent us to the hospital where C was admitted in to the Children’s Assessment ward.  Seven hours later and lots of pedialite and medicine, C was released from the hospital.  He was still running a slight fever and the doctor said he had an acute upper respiratory infection and two massive ear infections.  We stayed in Tarangua for the night.

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From November 5-7, the church we attend, Oxford Terrace Baptist Church, sent Jeff and I to the New Zealand Baptist Hui.  Now, you are probably asking yourself what in the world is a “hui?”  Plus, what in the world is a “Baptist Hui?”  A hui is the Maori word for a gathering.  When you add Baptist to it, it just means the gathering of all the representatives from Baptist churches around New Zealand.  This year’s hui was in Tauranga which is located on the North Island of New Zealand.  The four of us flew to Auckland on the morning of November 5th.  The flight went well and seemed rather short to me and Jeff.  Randomly, C started running a fever in mid-flight though (which went away that afternoon).  Then, we drove down to Tauranga.  Along the way, we stopped in Paeroa the home town to a popular New Zealand drink called L&P.  L&P is a drink mix of lemon juice and carbonated mineral water from the town of Paeroa (hence the ‘P’).


L&P it’s world famous in New Zealand.


The radio/navigation system in our car was useless as it was all in Japanese!

Since Jeff and I (along with our pastor, Chris) were representatives from our church, we were able to vote on important matters such as new leaders, the financial budget, the Christian definition of marriage, and same sex marriage.  Sadly, the voted outcome on same sex marriage wasn’t lined with our thoughts on the subject.  While at the hui we were able to listen to some amazing speakers and witness the commencing of ten new overseas missionaries, plus meet a lot of current missionaries  already serving overseas! We also welcomed home a few returning missionaries including a couple serving overseas for 40 years!!!

While Jeff and I attended the adult hui, the boys went to a special children’s hui.  Talk about fantastic.  I absolutely miss being able to listen to an entire service!!  The boys did great, but had a few issues with separating from us.

C started running a fever again on Friday night, but was acting fine again during the day on Saturday.  The hui had scheduled a free time on Saturday afternoon where we explored Tauranga.  We went downtown and saw the historic sites and visited the Tauranga Art Gallery and explored Gate Pa.  That night, C’s fever heightened.  The meal that night at the hui was a hangi, which is a traditional Moari meal that is cooked underground.  It was a great way to end the hui.


The Tauranga waterfront.  C is easily distracted by birds.  He loves chasing them.


The Harry Maclary gang was on the waterfront as well.


A waka.


Tauranga’s old post office.


The boys exploring the Tauranga Art Gallery.


Gate Pa.  On April 29, 1864 around 2,000 British troops armed with heavy artillery were gathered around this area.  About 230 Maori warriors were waiting and ready to fire upon the British from their fortified pa on the top of the hill.  Interestingly, the Maori were only armed with simple muskets and traditional Maori weapons.  The Maori were successful in their defence and apparently very compassionate to the wounded British soldiers.


One of our boys’ favorite games is “the running game.”  The game is where the boys run towards Jeff or I and tackle us.  That’s what E is doing here.


Now it is C’s turn at the running game.

We had decided to extend our trip for a week after the Baptist Hui to explore more of the North Island which included plans like hiking the Tongariro Crossing.  More on the rest of the trip in another post.

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New Zealand celebrated Labour Day on October 26, giving Jeff a three day weekend.  Months ago, I had planned for Jeff and I to celebrate our wedding anniversary over Labour weekend and had sorted out a babysitting-swap plan.  But, last month we ended up having a surprise weekend to ourselves giving us the chance to walk to Brewster Hut in the Haast Pass, making this Labour weekend trip just another trip without kids.  The plan was to drive to Nelson Lakes National Park and hike to Angelus Hut.

We dropped the boys off early (a normal hour for people with children) on Saturday at the babysitters and quickly drove the four-ish hours to Nelson Lakes National Park. We arrived in the Mt Robert carpark, which was full, ate lunch and headed up the Mt Robert track towards Angelus Hut.

The start of the track is a series of steep, tiring switchbacks to the top of Mt Robert. From there the track follows the ridge which is much nicer. The weather was great so the very exposed route was quite pleasant.


Finally done with the steep switchbacks and are now on top of Mt Robert.


We encountered a ski lodge along the way.


The track easily followed along the ridge.


The track was also well marked.


Jeff taking New Zealand’s sun protection “slip, slop, slap” slogan seriously.


Jeff and I took our time walking the DOC estimated 6 hrs to the hut.  It was quite nice taking the time to enjoy everything. 


I have never seen so many alpine tarns along one track before.  Tarns were everywhere and on both sides of the ridge.


We had to climb over this rocky bit.


A snow and iced covered tarn.


Look at all those veins!!!  I found the rocks really interesting on this track.  It’s almost like the rocks had veins pumping blood through them.


Angelus Hut located next to Angelus Lake is situated in a bowl so we had to climb down to get to it.  The hut is at 1,650 meters of elevation.

We had been told that Angelus Hut is a very popular hut and that we should take a tent. With the long weekend and the prediction of good weather, we decided to heed the advice and we were glad that we did. The hut was bursting at the seams with people. Jeff asked someone how many people were sleeping on the floor of the hut and he responded, “hmmm maybe 25.” That means there were more than 50 people in the 28 bunk hut!  Plus, there were 7 tents set up around the hut.

It was a little cold but we were prepared for it so we had a very cozy night in the tent by the frozen over lake.


Tent out and ready for the night in solitude!


Such a beautiful place for a hut.

In the morning, we ate breakfast, and decided to pack up early and begin the 12km walk out. The original plan was to stay two nights and go up Mt Angelus or one of the other peaks near by but my hip began hurting on the way in so we headed back early. The night was quite cold so the snow had frozen over and we put on some borrowed “mini-crampons” and headed straight up the icy slopes. I was amazed how easy it was! We are going to have to get us a couple pairs of these!


The morning sun getting ready to creep over the top of the mountain.


Jeff was brave and decided to do a snow (ice?) angel on Angelus Lake.


I totally love doing life with Jeff!


Using crampons to climb the icy bank was a lot of fun.


On the way out, clouds lingered in the some of the valleys below.


On top of the world.



We got back to Christchurch early mostly because we received a text from our babysitters saying half their family came down with strep throat!  But, we ordered thai food, cuddled on the couch, and watched a movie.  All in all it was a great weekend and a hike I would recommend to anyone…who owns a tent!

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It is spring time here in New Zealand.  So that means one thing. Hayfever! Hayfever during the spring season affects most individuals.  Jeff normally is affected by hayfever year round, but for the first time in his life he isn’t being bothered. Me on the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever sneezed so much in my life.  About three weeks ago I was inducted into the hayfever group.   I average about 20 sneezes a day!  Oddly though, when we leave Christchurch my allergies end immediately!  I first noticed it when Jeff and I left the city for Labour weekend (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten to write that post). Now, we are on the North Island and my hayfever has completely disappeared. I am not sure what it is about the air in Christchurch at the moment, but my body does not like it one bit!

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Happy Halloween

Friday afternoon E’s preschool held a Halloween Party.  Now, Halloween isn’t heavily celebrated here in New Zealand.  Since moving here, the holiday has grown quite a bit though.  Here is a funny cartoon about Halloween and New Zealand:


E dressed up as a police officer and C was a hobbit.


E and C spent Halloween with their friends, Joel and Kayleigh.


It was impossible trying to get a photo of E and C standing nicely next to each other.  This is as good as I could get.

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E: 3.4

E is another month older.  He loves holding C’s hand.

E has started singing and talking to the doorknobs.

E sidetracked in potty training when we moved into our latest flat, but he is finally now back on track!

His imagination is skyrocketing.  One day, E, C, and Buckbeak (yes, the character from Harry Potter, which my children know nothing about) were having a party in the bedroom with a telescope looking at the stars.  E is getting really good at make believe play too.  For example, he cooked me some mac and cheese using rocks.

Elijah 3.4 Years Old (16)

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