Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kapiti camping

Another long weekend so I decided it was time to take freya camping. A bit ashamed that it has taken this long to take her, but her dad isn't very fond of camping. So we had a girls camping trip with our friends Kareen and her 22 month old Melina. We had a plan a few days before, but that had to change because the campground was fully booked, so we made another plan.....

We set off mid morning on Saturday to Otaki forks, only to be thwarted by a road closure due to another slip on the road after heavy rain the last week. So we headed to Otaki beach for lunch and spent a couple of hours playing at the beach waiting to see if the road to Otaki forks would open. 
Freya and Melina at Otaki beach

The road was still closed at 4pm, so time for plan C, we headed to the very basic Waikawa campground North of Otaki. This was also very boggy and wet, but we found a spot that was dry enough and set up camp. 

Camp, Freya and Melina playing in the tent. 

Freya seemed to take it all in her stride and tried to help put up the tents and then enjoyed playing with Melina in the tents. They both enjoyed splashing in muddy puddles and exploring the camp....with a few meltdowns when evil mums wouldn't let them play in the really big muddy puddles. Melina did manage to dive/ trip in to one of them and cover herself in mud. There were also a few meltdowns over sharing toys, books, chairs, balls.....I guess they are at that age where sharing is hard and meltdowns are common. But in between there were moments of playing nicely together....and a few minutes peace for the mums to chat. 

Just as we were corralling the girls into bed it started to rain....freya did very well going to sleep quite easily (she was pretty tired from chasing, playing and fighting with Melina all afternoon). Unfortunately I realised that our tent leaks quite badly as it looks like the seam tape is disintergrating. Luckily the rain stopped after an hour or so... And so did the drips! So my visions of a very soggy unpleasant night didn't materialise. But I was kept awake by hedgehogs trying to get into the rubbish bag...eventually getting some watermelon rinds. Freya slept really well, with only a couple of wakes. I wish I could say the same. 

The next morning after breakfast, a few more meltdowns, and packing up some rather soggy tents we set off to check out the Raumati water park/gardens that I had heard about from our previous neighbours. We arrived around 10am just as temperatures were warming up and just a few kids playing. Freya and Melina had a quick bounce on the seesaw, but then headed on to the spray pad. They really enjoyed running in and through the water sprays, with a couple of interludes playing in the sandpit and on the swings and slide. We didn't get a chance to check out the rest of the gardens as the girls got cold and it was time for some food before heading home at lunchtime, so the girls could have their midday naps. 

Raumati water park

A fun camping adventure.....meanwhile Aaron worked hard I the garden. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A week in Queenstown

After hanging out in wellington over Christmas we got away just before new year. Aaron drove the car down to Queenstown with most of our stuff over several days and nanna and papa, Freya and I flew down. Unfortunately for Aaron, he had to drive a few extra hours due to the main highway still being closed after the earthquakes a month or so earlier. He managed to listen to quite a few audiobooks on the way there (and back). 

We also met up with a couple of friends from Canberra, Dave and liz, who were holidaying in Queenstown at the same time. "Daze" (she could say Dave) soon became a favourite of Freya's. After all arriving on the 31st December....we didn't quite manage stay up and see in the new year. 
Colouring in with "Daze"

New Year's Day we were up bright and early as usual with freya! The weather didn't look great, but we headed up from the remarkables ski field to walk up to lake Alta. it was really windy and cold....we were slightly underdressed for the conditions. It was still very pretty, but unfortunately the clouds didn't lift off the peaks. Unfortunately the weather forecast for the whole week was pretty average. We got out for a few shortish walks on a couple of days. Nanna and papa took a coach tour to Milford sound for the day.Aaron and Dave did a few mountain bike rides (well shuttled each other, and took turns riding), and Freya got to try out a few different playgrounds around the area. She did splash in a couple of streams and dipped her toes in lake wakatipu, but no swims or kayaking in the lake this year....too windy and far too cool. Instead we ended up going to the nice warm indoor pool a couple of times. 

Arrowtown playground with the big kids "Daze" daddy and Liz
First fluffy
Family photo from the lookout above arrowtown.

We did have one great weather day when we did the first part of the Routeburn great walk track. We walked up to Routeburn falls hut and back. 6 hours of walking and one hour of stops for lunch and breaks. Freya walked 4 different times for up to 30 minutes, and tolerated being in the backpack the rest of the time, with a couple of short naps. Dave and liz (who are crazy runner people) ran the whole track in the day and we met them at the end. 

Photos to come

Not the most exciting week in Queenstown, but pretty relaxing and Freya enjoyed a lot of attention from 6 admirers! 


Well after years of Christmas being a non-event in our house, we finally had one that vaguely followed some of the expected festivities. We even had a Christmas tree....although it was very tiny and probably should have been called a Christmas shrub. The stack of presents for freya was larger than the shrub, but after seeing freya attempt to destroy one at a friends house I thought it best not to have one in Freya's reach until she is a little older. The Christmas shrub is now a pot plant and should grow over the next few years to something more like a tree. 
Our Christmas shrub

Having missed thanksgiving this year due to conferences and being too disorganised, we had our thanksgiving turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, with nana and papa and another family (Dee, Andrew, olive and Leo, who hosted us for Christmas last year). Aaron finally got his Turkey fix for the year....and there was enough leftovers, despite the extra people, to keep him going for another 5 days. 

We had hoped that freya would give us a Christmas present of a lie in...but no such luck....a normal 6:30am start. Despite having been intrigued by the pile of presents just out of her reach for the few days before Christmas....she was rather slow at getting them unwrapped. In fact after opening the first one, which was a kitchen and food set she spent a while playing with that. We finally convinced her to open a few more when her grandma Oregon was watching over Skype. 
Opening Christmas presents

After a bit more playing and finally convincing freya to wear a pretty dress....we headed over to our neighbours for Christmas brunch, as has been tradition for the last few years. Freya had great fun playing with the green Christmas Santa, and Aaron, nana and I attempted to get the hang of jacks hoverboard thing....with varying degrees of success. 
Trying to ride the hoverboard
Playing with Tom and a very large bear

In the late afternoon we headed down to the worser bay beach with some other friends who have a daughter Freya's age. Not the most successful beach trip as it turned out to be a little windy....but the girls seemed to enjoy themselves. 

I think Freya had fun. It certainly was a bit more Christmas like for us and nice to have nana and papa there to share it with. 

Nanna and papa's visit

Also known as Freya's maternal grandparents, or Helen's parents. But Freya can only say na na and papa at the moment. They were planning to come for Christmas this year, but we asked them to come a few weeks earlier to help Aaron out while Helen went to a conference in Auckland in early December. It was Aaron's first time solo parenting for more than a few hours, so great to have a couple of extra hands to make dinner and look after freya the days she doesn't go to crèche. 
Making cookies with nanna
Riding the purple dinosaur with papa

The following weeks before Christmas they took a short trip to the wairarapa to do some walking and wine tasting, explored wellington a little more and did a lot of work on the kitchen and garden, especially the neglected compost heap (it might now actually compost). Dad also got out for quite a few windy rides around the waterfront. Mum came swimming with freya and I and baked lots of yummy Christmas treats with occasional "help" from Freya. With the extra hands around to wrangle Freya, Aaron and I took the chance to wash the outside of the house and garage, and windows, and clean out the gutters, and snuck in a mountain bike ride together..... 

Great to get a bit of spring cleaning done to get the house back in order. Thanks mum and dad for all your help. 


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Earthquakes and storms

It has been quite a week. Most of wellington and the upper South Island of New Zealand were woken abruptly at 12:02 am on Monday morning by a big (7.8 M) earthquake (or it turns out it was probably a couple of quakes) which lasted for over a minute. Fortunately freya slept through it. Aaron was standing in her doorway ready to grab her if needed. We were very lucky....just a few spices fell off the spice rack. But others were not quite so lucky.....

The biggest luck was the fact that it happened in the middle of the night as most of the damage seems to have been to office buildings in town and landslides completely blocking highways. Down south the main highway is closed due to lots of landslides and the road and railway lines are broken up in places, and several bridges are damaged. There could have been a lot more fatalities and injuries if it had been during the day. 

After the main quake there was a tsunami (although it wasn't very big). Lots of people from down on the flats evacuated to higher ground. Luckily we are high enough we just went back to bed. There have been lots and lots of aftershocks, some pretty large. It has made for a shaky week. 

To make things worse however, the main quake on Monday morning was followed by a large storm, which then resulted in more slips and flooding. Wellington was pretty much shut down for several days as no one could get in or out of town and buildings were being checked. Something's returned to normal by Tuesday...but others took a couple of days, and still others will probably take months - like the highways down south. 

For wellington it was a lucky escape as none of the quakes were under us.....but it certainly has increased everyone's awareness....time to update the emergency kit. 

18 months

Well our little baby is now a full blown toddler. She certainly has a mind of her own. Knows what clothes or shoes she does or doesn't want to wear. Having little melt downs when she doesn't get her way or another kid has the swing or toy she wants. Hopefully she will learn how to share at crèche! 

Her climbing has improved significantly, she can now climb up the ladder at the playground all by herself.  Freya has started a gym class for "tumbling tots" which she seems to enjoy. But this may have encouraged her climbing on to the chairs and dining table and she has tried to climb out of her cot..... She is walking much more, walking about half way back from the playground one time. All this activity has resulted in her slimming down slightly. 

Climbing the ladder at gym class

Her language is also coming along. Her understanding is really good and we now have "no" and nods for yes. This makes a big difference to the frustration levels. She is very vocal and loud, but doesn't have many words yet. The latest words are bubbles and turtle....but Freya can also make most of the farm animal noises now. She still loves books, her teddies, and her drawing has changed from lines to circles and squiggles. She is also now enjoying puzzles and shapes and can spend ages playing with balls. She loves to help with cleaning with her own brush and does some mixing of food in the kitchen. She can spend quite a while entertaining herself now....

Shapes and books..
Puzzles...this one was a bit easy. 

We did try to measure her height and weight the other day...but it looks like she hasn't grown much, and may have even lost some weight...hard to tell when she was wriggling so much. She feeds herself and is eating pretty well, trying new things. She loves weetbix, pizza, sausages, mashed potatoes, but also oranges and yoghurt and fruit smoothies. Lately she has also been eating tomatoes and hopefully she will eat everything, unlike her fussy parents. She has also decided that she wants to drink from a normal more sippy cup....except for milk at bedtime. 
Drinking from a glass

She loves not wearing a nappy and now that we are going into summer she is having a lot of nappy-free time around the house and garden. She has used the potty a couple of times....but the novelty has kind of worn off and we haven't had much luck lately. But it is early days. 

She loves being bring on summer and the better weather. It has been a very wet and windy October/November. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tararuas tramping

I thought we would have taken freya for an overnight tramp before now....but time has just slipped by and there has always been something else going on, or we were too tired, or we thought she would keep everyone else in the hut awake. So an easy ranger tramp was a good excuse to go....and now freya generally only wakes a couple of times a night it was time to give it a try. We also went to a hut where there were a couple of bunk rooms, so less chance of waking others.

It was also great to have a couple of other adults who could carry some extra stuff for us as it turns out that you can just about carry freya and her clothes...but not much else in the baby backpack. And Aaron couldn't carry everything else. So others carried Freya's sleeping bag, some food, and a stove and fuel. 

We were headed in to Atiwhakatu hut in the Tararuas. A 2-3 hour, undulating big hills. The Rangers and rest of the group were much faster and headed off...and we trundled along behind, catching up with them when they stopped for a snack or break. Freya loved the bush and there were lots of shrieks with delight.....especially when she spied a dog and other people. She was pretty happy most of the time in the pack and even had a 30 minute snooze...although she woke when we stopped. She loved to play on the bridges and walked for about 20-30 minutes....with lots of stops to pick up and throw rocks.
Freya loved playing on the bridges

Tramping and tripping.... focussing on her feet.

She enjoyed the hut. Watching the girls try to start the fire and all the different things to explore. As luck would have it another toddler turned up who was a little older than freya...and they enjoyed racing each other and playing with Freya's ball. 

Despite quite a few people at the hut (17), we got a bunk room to ourselves, and freya slept okay. She was very tired after lots of exercise and not much sleep that day. 

Sunday morning we woke up to rain. So we got to test out our rain cover for the baby backpack in anger. It seemed to work just fine. Freya wasn't too fussed by the rain, especially dressed in her galoshes and coat. In fact I think she enjoyed the whole experience. Hopefully we can find other excuses and people to act as Sherpas over the summer. Although at 12 kg Freya is getting a little heavy.....

Testing out the rain cover for the baby backpack - you can see little ted sticking out - Freya is fast asleep warm and dry.