SMIGGLE 30 SECOND GRAB

Dita was lucky enough to be chosen by her friend Matilda to take part in claiming a super exciting prize – a 30 second grab at their favourite store, Smiggle!

Since Tillie won the prize a couple of weeks ago and chose Dita to accompany her, there has been high excitement and a few nerves about what to expect on the big day. As it happened, the girls had nothing to worry about – the staff were incredible and gave them time to look around the store beforehand, scoping out the things they’d really love, and moving anything that they’d eyed up that might have been just out of reach to easier to grab spots.

When it came time for them to take their turns to race around the store, both girls surprised us with how calm they were – each had a mental checklist of the items they really wanted, and swiftly grabbed their spoils. Their enormous grins said it all, they were just delighted to have had such a cool experience, and to share it with one another.

We were even more proud of Dita when we realised she’d grabbed a watch and slapband for her brothers, the exact ones they’d been hankering after since our last visit to Smiggle – that she’d managed to include them despite only having such a limited amount of time was such a gorgeous thing to do. Big sister for the win!

All in all it was an amazing experience for all of us, and such a cool way to start our weekend. Thank you Matilda for choosing Dita to share in your Bestie’s prize – none of us will ever forget it!

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LYALL BAY BEACH + ISLAND BAY PLAYGROUND

Between torrential winter weather, school holidays and Ezra moving to more kindy sessions, our weekday adventuring had taken a backseat. When we saw the blue skies and managed school drop off without our big winter coats, I knew it was a day for mama and Ezzy to go exploring!

We zipped around to Lyall Bay, mainly because I knew there was a cute wee playground there which is a good starting point for any serious adventure. As it happened, we spent about 3 minutes at the playground before E spotted a bunch of “good sticks” on the beach, and we were off! All sorts of treasures awaited, including an impressive array of driftwood, rocks and stones of every colour, huge pieces of dried seaweed and some excellent piles of small stones, perfect for jumping into. Add in planes taking off or landing every five minutes and an assortment of dogs racing around the sand, and Ezra was in HEAVEN!

After we’d pored over every special rock and shell he could uncover we wandered along to the local cafe for some lunch – its this sort of situation that really shows me how much Ezra has grown up. It was a complete pleasure to have this thoughtful little guy as my lunch date – the conversation veered towards farts only once, and otherwise stayed on the safe topics of “will my special stick still be where we left it outside?” and “can I eat both of these marshmallows at once?”.

I’d promised a quick stop at one of our favourite playgrounds, the enormous one at Island Bay, as I’d made the fatal error of driving past it on our way through to the beach – as it was we ended up having it almost entirely to ourselves and Ezra got to fully explore all the things he wanted. So much of his life is dictated by everyone else’s routine that it was really nice to just let him take his time, until he was ready to head off back towards home. I hope that today’s weather is a hint of things to come and we can have lots more adventure days over the next few months ❤

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SATURDAY SPORTS

It was a glorious winter morning that we woke to on Saturday, and I’m pretty sure both Martin and I internally cheered that we wouldn’t be shivering on the sidelines for sports today!

Arlo had the privilege of playing his game this week at the Basin Reserve – the grounds were flawless, and with the sun streaming down into the park it was a truly special experience for the kids. He had an excellent game and we were so proud of the amount of heart he shows when he’s playing – being part of the team and supporting his mates is always his biggest priority and its lovely to see.

Later in the day, with the skies still decidedly blue, we took Dita along to her netball game at the local high school – she offered to play for the opposition as they were short on numbers, and it was great seeing her give it her all. She has learnt so much this season and has a real natural ability, so hopefully she’s enjoyed it enough to play again next year and continue to develop her skills.

Winter sports are nearly done for the year – I won’t miss dragging kids out of their beds (because the only day they sleep in is when we have sport to get to) or freezing on the side of the field, but its been so lovely seeing the kids enjoy being part of a team, and we will all no doubt be excited for the seasons to start up again next year!

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TE PAPA FARMERS MARKET & CROC SHAKES

We’ve been meaning to check out the Te Papa farmers market for a long time, and when the weather looked good a couple of Sunday’s ago we decided to make a break into town to stock up the fruit bowl! We were surprised with the huge variety of things to do in and around the market area – giant bubbles being blown for the kids, an amazing food truck market alongside the excellent range of fresh fruit and veges, as well as being in close proximity to a great playground and skate park.

Ezra had a world-ending meltdown about not being allowed a hot dog which meant we kept our time in the busy market pretty brief – but the kids then decided they wanted to spend their weeks pocket money earnings on a Croc Shake each so we wandered in that general direction. Shakes in hand, we visited the playground and also watched the skaters on the skate bowl.

The couple of hours we’d paid for in parking went too quickly! This is an area of the city we haven’t really explored yet, so next time we’ll try and make it further around Oriental Parade. It’s so much fun sharing these adventures with the kids, who find new treasures at every turn.

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JULY SCHOOL HOLIDAYS IN AUCKLAND

Phew! We made it to Auckland and back again in one piece – in fact, I am so very proud of my little band of merry travelers and how incredibly well they coped with our latest Auckland adventure. I felt that all three kids were more settled this visit, I think because we moved around the different houses less – plus we had a visit from Martin to keep us going through the first week, which broke up the trip for all of us!

A big positive for me was that they were AWESOME in the car, especially on our way home. We decided to stay overnight in Turangi, which cut our journey time significantly – everyone was upbeat and positive, and dare I say it, the two 4 hour car rides were FUN! What?! These are the children that can barely make it the ten minutes to school without pestering one another, and yet they managed to keep the tablet off for over half of our day one drive, preferring to chat and watch the world go by. It was so lovely to just hang out and listen to their funny conversations, and I think we were all surprised by how painless it was.

While we never seem to be able to visit or spend time with everyone we’d like to, we did manage to snag some quality time with a lot of those on our hit list ❤ Decent catch ups with friends, and staying with family, it was so lovely to prove once again to the kids that distance really doesn’t matter – friendships and family are always there for us.

I took a bunch more photos of the kids this time around, so be forewarned, this is a huge post. Some are cheesy, some touched me for reasons even I don’t understand, some are family mementos, some are just because they capture something that is so very Dita, Arlo or Ezra right now and I needed proof of it. I hope that there are maybe one or two here that resonate with you too.

See you soon Auckland. We love you and all our best people very much.

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EZRA’S DINOSAUR BASH

We had a very simple little party for Ezra this morning, full of dinosaur goodness just as he requested. I was slightly worried that the three mates we’d invited would make the party feel a bit twee, but I couldn’t have been more wrong – once the boys and their families arrived we had more than a houseful and it was just perfect. Ezra was right at home in the chaos and noise!

It would have been easy to put this party off until next year for his big fifth (hold me, how is that only a YEAR AWAY?!) but I’m so glad we didn’t. The joy he had at sharing a morning just for him with his little friends, with plenty of cake and balloons and dressups, was such a reward for us. It really is a testament to how well he has coped with such a huge transition to life here in Wellington, and how great he is at choosing friends with awesome families to boot!

Happy birthday Ezra James Gray. We love you so much!

 

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SICK DAYS

Unfortunately over the last week or so it has felt like we have a revolving door of sickness, one person gets sick, passes it on, then someone else brings home a new bug for us all to enjoy. Typical winter stuff, but it has hit us all hard and we’ve been going a little stir crazy with all the enforced downtime.

I decided to photograph the reality (good and bad) of our sick days, as there have certainly been some really nice moments that have come from slowing down and finding ways to keep three kiddos entertained.

I’m confident two bigs will be back at school tomorrow, and the little will be returning to kindy on Friday, and I’ll be fumigating the house as soon they all leave – I’m not sure my sanity can take a repeat in the very near future, as nice as some of the moments have been!

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EZRA TURNS FOUR

Last week Ezra, our little spitfire, turned four. It seems incredible to me that he’s that big already, but I can’t really remember life without him either – life is certainly louder, more chaotic, messier, and I never get to go to the bathroom in peace, but man, the laughter, smiles, cuddles and warm little body tucked up in bed with us 3 times a week makes it so very worth it.

His big request this year was for a big Lego haul (and a pirate treasure chest from Poppa and Nana Shell, since he has coveted Arlo’s one for the last two and a half years), and everyone delivered in a major way. He has amassed a sizeable collection and is already pulling it to bits and making incredible new creations out of it all – his specialty.

After presents and cards he had a very exciting day with dad, who took him out for lunch and to his weekly gymnastics class. While Martin kept him busy, I surprised the bigs with an early pickup from school and a mystery ride out to the airport to collect an extra special present – Grandy and Uncle Alex, in town for one night only! The kids were so delighted to see them walking through their gate and sprinted for cuddles. Ezra, in typical Ezra fashion, when he arrived home to his surprise visitors, simply smiled and said “Grandy, it’s my birthday!” as if she’d just popped in from across the road.

We all went for a dinner out, where I can report everyone behaved beautifully (praise the Lord, it is never a given thing taking three children anywhere public that they will do as is expected of them). The next morning we picked Grandy and Alex up from their motel and explored Te Papa, showing them all our favourite exhibits ❤ A quiet afternoon at home followed, where we all just enjoyed one another’s company (and Alex was put to work helping with all Ezzy’s Lego) before heading to the airport to drop them off for their flight again.

It all went too quickly, but it was just so lovely to have family around on a special day – not just for Ezra, but for all of us. Thank you to everyone who made Ezra’s day as awesome as it was, your phone calls, cards ands presents were so appreciated, and we can’t wait to see you all in Auckland over the school holidays soon! ❤

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISTER STREET

Martin’s birthday fell on a super busy week for our house, so we decided to throw him a surprise dinner the night before his actual big day. The kids rushed around getting everything ready for when he arrived home, and their excitement was so lovely – a true testament of just how special he is to all of us, and how much they wanted him to enjoy his celebration!

Handmade cards, some cheeky old man pressies (grey trackies just like grandad’s, slippers that he can wear to the shops like he has started to insist on doing, just to name a few items), vege burgers for dinner and an iced banana loaf for dessert. Simple, honest stuff, just like our favourite guy 😉

On his actual birthday he worked from home, so Ezra made sure he got lots of extra cuddles while the bigs were at school, and then we had a movie fundraiser night for Arlo’s Keas Troupe. It was a super fun way to hang out as a family, and do something quite out of the ordinary for a Wednesday night ❤ Happy Birthday Mister Street, you’re pretty hilarious, work really hard for us, love us endlessly and we appreciate all of it. Love you!

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ESCAPING THE SUNDAY GRUMPS + BOTANIC GARDENS

There is something about Sunday’s in our house – somehow, no matter how grand our Saturday is, no matter how well we all sleep or start the day with the best of intentions, Sunday almost always inevitably ends up with feral children and grumpy stressed parents. This particular Sunday it was threatening rain too, which is the trifecta! Instead of staying inside the house and battling it out to the death, we opted to brave the weather and visit the Botanic Gardens for our first time since our move.

Martin and I were a little skeptical that we’d make it up to the playground with everyone’s moods being as dark as they were, but being in the gorgeous surrounds and the fresh air definitely lightened all our spirits and even the littlest Street managed to walk his bike up the sizeable hill to the excellent kids playground.

After lots of runs on the flying fox, some sliding, swinging and a few spins on the rocktopus later, I think we all felt remarkably normal again. We only made it through a tiny part of the park too, so this has been marked for another Feral Sunday in the future to shake the grumps loose – it was an excellent remedy!

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