A WET MORNING AND CHOCOLATE SCONES

It was a pretty average day for us here. About lunchtime I discovered Alfie (our mad Tonkinese cat baby) had a sizeable gash on the back of his thigh so it was off to the vets we went. Thankfully the vets were absolutely lovely and able to fit his surgery in today, so he’s already tucked back up with us at home tonight…but it cost a bomb. And while I was chatting with the vet about their plans for the cat, Ezra moved my phone from the chair I’d popped it on, dropped it, smashed my screen and rendered it useless. So all in all, not a super positive day around here.

Once I got everyone into bed tonight, I flipped through my camera like I do most nights, reflecting on what I’d managed to capture amongst the chaos of our day. And from the photos I remembered that Ezra and I had a lovely morning together while the rain poured outside, baking chocolate and coconut scones. He was in his PJ’s (there is never a happier Ezra than one who gets to spend the day in his jammies), and we worked as a team to make a delicious morning tea. In the midst of all the cat and phone drama (first world problems alert) I’d forgotten all about the loveliness of the morning. Another reason to be grateful for keeping my camera close, and a reminder that there were plenty of moments today to be appreciative for.

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NANA & GRANDAD COME TO STAY, APRIL 2017

The biggest downside of our move was always going to be the new distance between us and family. We are so lucky to have a big, super-supportive extended family, and our weekends almost always involved visits to some/all of the grandparents. The kids have never known any different, their entire family has always been close and a big part of their everyday lives. We knew that being in a different city was going to be challenging for all of us.

Thankfully all our grandparents are adventurous souls willing to visit, who also have space to spare for us in their homes. This weekend Martin’s parents, Nana and Grandad, came to spend the weekend, and it was an excellent excuse for all of us to explore some new places, show them how life works for us down here right now, and eat all the food!

We met them at the airport, and it was so lovely seeing their happy faces come through the arrivals gate. The kids excitement was palpable, and it was so heartwarming to have family near us again. I didn’t take as many photos that first day as I’d planned, simply because we immersed ourselves in the process of catching up, but we visited the building site in Woodridge and showed off our little rental house, before heading out to a delicious dinner at The Southern Cross. The kids totally went OTT on treats, but their smiles and full bellies were 100% worth it.

Sunday was for adventure, we made a quick stop at Mt Vic, then drove around the coast, from Miramar through to Seatoun, where we stopped for a quick ice block and coffee, then onwards through Lyall and Island bay. The kids had their rugby club day, and serendipitously it was being held at their school – so we managed to kill two birds with one stone and show off their lovely little school and kindy, and give them a taste of what the rugby season ahead holds for us! Then Nana and Grandad offered to watch the ratbags so Martin and I could escape for a lovely child-free dinner at an amazing vegetarian/vegan restaurant, The Botanist. Being able to order almost anything off the menu was a rare treat indeed ❤

In a way, having family here made me feel the distance even more – its easy when you’re busy with your regular life to just get on with what needs to happen, but when you are reminded of how special and necessary time with family is, you notice its absence all over again. I’m so looking forward to giving myself and the kiddos some very anticipated time with all our special people, family and friends, over the school holidays in a couple of weeks time. We are so very lucky that we have all these amazing people to miss us too.

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EZRA’S TRAIN ADVENTURE

On our way home from school drop off this morning Ezra spied a train filling with passengers at Johnsonville. In his best hard-done-by voice he expressed his deepest, most heartfelt desire to ride on the train “like daddy” (along with plenty of “its not fair” and “why can’t I go to work” yadda yadda), and with Thursday stretching out ahead of us I decided to make it happen.

We prepared for the apocalypse that is leaving the house with E, with jackets (too cold) and snacks (too hungry) and comfy shoes (too hard) aplenty, and walked the 3 minutes down to our local train station. Can I just say how much I adore the Wellington train network? On time! Clean! Fast! It’s the best and because E is 3 he’s free, so for $8 we can get to town and back and turn it into a super fun experience.

Essentially our whistlestop visit to town included the train ride itself, eating snacks, looking for the letter E everywhere we went, some balancing on walls, climbing on things we probably shouldn’t have, a quick bite to eat, and then the same thing in reverse. It was an excellent way to fill in a foggy gray day, and I’d like to think Ezra’s antics gave more than a handful of people a wee smile or giggle along the way.

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OUR DAY IN THE LIFE, MARCH 2017

I’ve wanted to do a Day in the Life project for us for a really long time. Like years. But there was never a good time, a time when I was completely on top of my editing, or when I knew I could focus for the entire day on shooting. But going to bed last night I put my camera by the bed and cleared my memory card, knowing that I could make it happen today.

It was nice shooting completely without any pressure or expectation. On their own these images are just snapshots, many technically imperfect, but together they really sum up life right now for us. There were times when I couldn’t shoot as much as I wanted (during the mad morning rush as an example), or missed the moment I’d hoped to capture. I felt uncomfortable taking photos at the kids school, in front of parents who would no doubt wonder what on earth I was doing, and Arlo was at a play date this afternoon so he doesn’t feature as much as he would on a normal day.

All of that aside, I’m so glad I made the effort to carry my camera with me all day today. I love the story this tells, of our new life here. The laughter, the tantrums, the busy moments that evident through their absence. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to make the time to do this monthly and preserve the changes we all go through as life down here settles into its new rhythm.

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MT KAUKAU WITH THE BIGS

In a spur of the moment decision I asked Dita and Arlo whether they’d like to join me for a climb to Mt Kaukau’s summit – the weather had managed to clear after a dreary morning, and we’d been talking about attempting it for a couple of weeks.

I went into the walk not expecting too much from them, given that when I’d been I’d found it pretty hard work. We chose to take the Truscott Ave route along the ridgeline, and despite being the longer way up, it wasn’t quite so intense which totally worked in our favour. The kids were incredible and managed the steps and hills, slippery from the rain, without complaint! A major win!

It was lovely to spend some time just hanging with these big kids who I so rarely get to enjoy as just the three of us. Dita commented on the way down that her favourite thing is to “be in nature, with the birds and the trees and just the breeze on my face” which made me realise how important it is to schedule this sort of activity for them – they’re old enough now to push through challenging walks, and we have so many amazing adventure spots right on our doorstep.

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CUBA DUPA

We made it along to the amazing street festival that is Cuba Dupa! There was so much food, entertainment and people-watching available, the kids were totally overwhelmed in the best way possible. This will absolutely be an annual must-do for the Street’s!

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SEASHORE CABARET, PETONE

With Martin working from home some days, we took the opportunity today to escape the house for a child-free lunch. Petone is just down the motorway from us, and I’d seen Seashore Cabaret pop up on some of the Wellington Instagram accounts I follow, so that’s where we headed.

The food was epic (with good vege/vegan options to satisfy both of us), the atmosphere quirky and eclectic just the way we like it, and the staff were super friendly. Bonus points go to my husband for being A+ company and managing an adult conversation without interruption! Who knew we could still do that?

We’ll be back for sure, next time with the kids even. I like the idea of trying to squeeze all five of us into the photo booth for posterity ❤

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GEARING UP

We have two little rugby players in our midst this year – both Dita and Arlo have signed up for this season at our local team, and I’m so excited to see them out there on the field, building on their confidence and making more friends. It means I’ll be shopping for a sleeping bag jacket for those wet and cold Saturday mornings on the sidelines too!

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MT KAUKAU AT SUNSET

After what was an incredibly stunning day here I decided I needed to witness what I knew was going to be a special sunset. And by witness, I mean, not standing at the bottom of the garden, peering over the fence at it.

Since sunset is right on the kids bedtime, it wasn’t a practical plan for all of us to hike up the hill (its a tough walk for littlies anyway, with plenty of stairs and steep spots).  I had a wee brainwave and posted on a Wellington mums FB group to see whether any other locals were keen for a mission up Mt Kaukau for a treat of a view – one lovely lady came back and said she often made the trek up the hill and would love the chance to chat and get some exercise while I snapped away.

I’m so very glad my plan came together the way it did – I made a friend, got some really great exercise in, and satisfied my need for sunset photos. My heart was so full coming back down the hill, having seen our amazing city bathed in pinks, purples, blue and orange, having discovered hills and crevices I’d not seen before, having ticked this particular box I’d been mulling over all day. I know next time I make it up the hill it will be a completely different painting in the sky ❤

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TITAHI BAY + THE BOROUGH, TAWA

Ezra and I dropped the bigs at school bright and early, and headed to one of our favourite spots, Titahi Bay. It was a gorgeous morning, and we decided to head to the boatshed end of the beach this time to explore the rock pools and peek through the cracks in the sheds.

After we spent an hour poking anemones, collecting paua shells and choosing the shed we’d most like to have for ourselves, Ezra proclaimed he deserved a fluffy. I’d wanted to pop in to The Borough in Tawa for a wee while, having heard it was good for kids AND supplied great coffee (each point equally as important as the other for my #mumlife), and since it was on the way home, we headed there. Coffee + fluffy + large chocolate chip muffin + toy cars + lots of room = stress-free morning tea outing. We’ll be back to sample more of the awesome kid and adult menus ❤

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