Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas in the US

Taliesin West

'Jeepin' with Uncle Les and Kendall

Our driver for the day

Hiking up Camelback Mountain

Christmas trees at the summit

Oregon coast

Blow hole at Depot Bay

Christmas Day bike ride at Marys Peak

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beach weekend with Rangers

Over the last few years it has become a bit of a tradition for the rangers to head to the beach for the weekend at the end of year. We are very fortunate that the other ranger leader, Jo, has a very nice family bach at Peka Peka beach on the Kapiti coast, which we are allowed to use. This year the weather wasn't great - but we still made it out kayaking and swimming on both Saturday and Sunday morning. Some of the girls got quite good at surfing the small waves. The rest of the time we spent playing board games and cooking... pizza, cookies, meringues, spring rolls...

Hannah kayaking

Sophie on the swing at the beach house

So the end of rangers for another year... lots of certificates and awards presented to the girls. A couple of girls leaving us to head off to Uni next year. Can't believe I have now been doing rangers for almost 5 years and seen quite a few girls grow up.... I guess I might have to as well next year!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Peanut - 19 Weeks

Today we had our 19 week anatomy scan to check how peanut is developing. Perhaps we need to stop calling it peanut as it is a little bit bigger now.... 

Everything was fine. A good strong heart beat and everything else was present and correct and normal size - so that is a relief. For a while she kept putting her hand in front of her face making it tricky for the ultrasound specialist to measure the nose, chin and jaw, but eventually she moved it away. I say "she" as they are 90% sure that it will be a girl as there was no evidence of any boy bits...

A few scan images below.... 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tramping on Mt Taranaki

The New Zealand Geosciences conference was held in New Plymouth this year. A great excuse to go for another tramp on Mt Taranaki. However, I am not in top tramping fitness... so we chose a pretty easy tramp up to Pouakai Hut, only 2 and a half hours from the carpark, starting off pretty gently and slowly getting steeper. I went with one of the students who grew up in New Plymouth and had done this tramp many years ago and wanted to take her 10 year old niece on her first tramp. We were also joined by her brother, Ralph.
Sophie, Ana and Ralph Barton

On the drive up to New Plymouth it was rainy and cloudy and we could barely see Mt Taranaki, but as we arrived at 1pm in the afternoon the clouds lifted and we walked up the Mangorei track in the sunshine and got some great views back down to the city and the coast. When we got to Pouakai Hut we dropped our bags and headed up to the ridge above the hut and got some great views across to Mt Taranaki. It was perfect weather with no wind and warm, so we spent quite a bit of time just hanging out before heading down to the hut for dinner. 
Pouakai Hut

Looking across at Mt Taranaki

We had a nice evening eating and playing cards. Unfortunately when we woke up in the morning it was cloudy and drizzling... we had originally planned to walk out along the ridge to North Egmont (part of the Pouakai circuit), but there was no point as we wouldn't have been able to see anything. So we had a lazy start and then pottered back down the same way. Probably enough for Ana, the 10 year old... 

I felt pretty good on the walk up - but had to take a little more weight on my shoulders as I couldn't tighten my waist belt around the small "bump" that is developing. So this will probably be my last overnight walk - unless I can convince someone else to carry most of the stuff. I will just have to stick to some day walks over the next few months. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

6th Annual Kiwi Thanksgiving

Strong winds meant an indoor Thanksgiving this year

4.5kg of yum!

Thanks to: Sam, Barbara, Thomas, Elsa, Andrew, Dee, Olive, Leo, Reo, Greg, Clare and Andrew for sharing the day with us.

And of course Helen and Peanut for cooking up a storm.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunny day on the other side of the harbour

Snow capped Kaikouras

Lake Kohangapiripiri

Bluff overlooking the South Coast

Pencarrow Lighthouse

Miramar Peninsula and Mt Kaukau

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Reclaiming the Slope

Summer is teasing us and on days like today Aaron has been out in the sunshine trying to re-tame the garden after the neglect of the winter... removing all the weeds and planting some new plants in the hope that eventually we will cover the slope so well that the weeds don't have a chance.... ;) we can live in hope! It is a great time of year with garden coming back to life and the veggies all coming through. I just hope that the inclement spring weather (usually very windy) doesn't destroy too many of the plants... that is why we keep a few in the greenhouse as back up to replace any that get decimated!

Bring on summer and nice days in the garden and outside!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Peanut - 12 Weeks

We have made it to 12 weeks and I have had another scan and blood tests to check everything is okay with the baby. The baby now looks like a baby and is 7 cm from head to bum.. and reassuringly it seems to have 2 arms, 2 hands, 2 legs, 2 feet, a spine, a nose and a strong heart beat... Fortunately the blood tests also came back with good results. We are happy and relieved.... 

I have also stopped feeling nauseous, but I am still constantly hungry. I do have higher energy levels and am not so tired. We have certainly got over the shock and are getting more used to the idea of having a baby. We have started to tell our friends, which is nice not to keep it to ourselves anymore and share our excitement. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Unexpected news!

In late August while I was up in Auckland for a conference I got a little surprise. After several years of trying to have kids and currently on the waiting list for IVF next year, we discovered that we were pregnant. Needless to say this was a big shock.... here is the rather amorphous blob from our 9 week scan - about the size of a peanut. Amazing how much extra such a small thing required me to eat... Although I can't really complain as I only had mild nausea and was never sick. I was just very, very tired. We are slowly getting over the shock... and getting used to the idea. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend in Auckland - Waitakeres and Waiheke Island

Although I have been to Auckland for work several times in the last few years - the last time Aaron and I were in Auckland was over 10 years ago... when we were on holiday visiting from Australia. As I was heading up to Auckland for an Antarctic science conference we decided to go early for the weekend - primarily to go and see the Cirque de Soleil show - Totem that had just opened. My real birthday present.

We arrived very late on Friday night after a few delays... then on Saturday morning we were picked up by a friend Bruce who gave us a tour of the Waitakere Ranges to the west of Auckland. An area that he mapped for his PhD (many years ago) and now well known for its surf beaches. We had a lovely sunny day doing some short walks in subtropical bush, visiting beaches and waterfalls.
Aaron overlooking Karekare beach, Waitakeres
Our tour guide Bruce Hayward standing in front of one of his outcrops - pumice and lava rocks!
 Kitekite Falls

On Saturday night we went to the circus. There were some very impressive acts... we were especially blown away by the 5 uni-cycling girls that managed to cycle 2 m high unicycles with 1 foot and then flip cups from the other foot and catch them on their heads.... or on to someone else's head... I don't think I could do it not on a uni-cycle...

On Sunday we headed out to Waiheke Island. This island is known for wineries and holiday homes. We took the bus around the island and checked out quite a few of the holiday houses - homework for Aaron's latest design project.

 Onehanga Beach
 Rocky Bay
The interesting library.... part of the architectural homework....

We had a lovely weekend, with great weather - but still much more to explore around the Auckland region. We might have to go again in the near future....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Helen's Birthday Weekend

The weekend began with dinner at La Boca Loca (the local Mexican restaurant) followed by a movie at the local cinema.

The Roxy Cinema

Saturday we went to Makara Beach to go for a wee walk and check out the local wind farm West Wind.

Looking north

The Birthday Girl

Ship in Opau Bay

West Wind
Sunday the weather was still really nice so we went and rode the Rimutaka Rail Trail.