Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

What did you do on Christmas?
We were up by 5:45 and home from the beach by 10:30.
Merry Christmas y'all!!!

Arohanui. Much love to you all xoxoxoxo

I know I know I know

Same old story here . . . Jenny promises to blog, Jenny doesn't blog, Jenny gets threats and hate mail from friends because she isn't blogging. So sorry. In my defence, I haven't had great internet connections for the last 3 weeks. But, no need to worry. We are now in Australia, Brisbane to be exact, with fast Internet. Sooooo, let's start the circle again. . . Jenny promises to blog. . . OFTEN! I will have to do some catching up over the next few days. But, here is a quick update to satisfy the angry. . .

New Zealand was beautiful. The family in New Zealand is beautiful. It was wonderful, and very hard to say goodbye.

We got to hear lots and lots of stories. Oh how I wish now that we would have recorded all the stories. All we needed to do was walk in the door, push record, and have a million tapes to record every single word.

Grandad is a professional hair dresser. World competitions and everything. So, of course he had to cut the boys hair. He tried to have me be his apprentice and teach me how to do it. But alas, I think we decided I am hopeless at it.

We went to Raglan Beach. It's a black sand beach. It's beautiful, but terribly hot on the toes. The kids had a great time having running races on the beach.

The temple in Hamilton has Christmas lights. We were lucky enough to be there when they flipped the switch on. It helped it feel like Christmas.

In Australia and New Zealand each city has a Carols by Candlelight. It's very fun, and pretty to see all the candles in the park lit at the end of the program.

Nathan has always talked about carols by candlelight, so it was fun to finally see, and be a part of it.

We went swimming at a beautiful lake in Rotorua. The water was crystal clear. I got eaten alive by sand flies.

If you look in the background of the picture, you can see a flat top mountain. It's actually a volcano. The top of the mountain (Taraweria) blew off when it erupted in 1886, and buried an entire village. (there, a bit of New Zealand history)

We had a delicious fajita night. And taught everyone how to make mexican food. Crazy to be in a country that doesn't have a Taco Bell. Dwayne was super excited for the fiesta and dressed up just for the occasion.

And last but not least, of course we went to a Hangi (the equivalent of a Hawain luau) The kids loved it, and were amazed. Especially Elijah. He didn't' move a muscle during the performances. Marlee loved the hot chocolate bar. She had waayyyy too much to drink, and started feeling sick and threw up in the bushes right after this picture was taken. She was perfectly fine after that. Fun fun fun.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kia Ora!

WE. ARE. HERE!!!! Sorry it has taken so long to finally post. We’ve been busy and had some internet difficulties. Here is a report of our first days here (a bit lengthy-sorry):


The flights went well. The boys were so excited on our first flight to LA they could hardly stand it.

Marlee was a bit nervous, but after we took off, she was in love with flying. Elijah did well too, until it was time to land, and his ears started to bother him. The LAX airport is always an interesting place. I love people watching in the airport. We got through our second airport security fine, and only had an hour till we boarded our next flight. We boarded our Qantas flight anxious and ready to sleep (it was about 11:30 pm by then). Unfortunately there was a medical emergency with one of the passenger’s right before take off. So that delayed us a full hour!! They had to take ALL of the luggage off the plane to find the one suitcase that had the medicine this person needed. AHHHHH!!! Like 13 hours on the plane wasn’t long enough, they had to add an extra hour!!?? Anywho. Our flight had at least 50 kids under the age of 12 on it, so it was nice to not feel “alone” in our trek. And surprisingly it was a quite flight.

Our kids did really well. They all slept at least 5 hours, so that helped. We had a patch of turbulence that made me a bit nervous, but I survived. Vance liked the Qantas flight better than the Delta flight, because it had better food. We were happy to find all 10 pieces of our luggage made it to New Zealand safe and sound. And surprisingly, there were other families with much more luggage. Marlee was excited when we went through customs in New Zealand. She turned to me and said, “Mom, they are talking Maori, and I can understand it!!!” I then explained to her that the customs inspector was just speaking with an accent, and that it was English, not Maori. J After meeting family, and trying out how to fit all of our luggage in one van, and the rest of us in another van (had the same problem in Salt Lake too) we went to see Nathan’s Nanna and Grandad in Hamilton. This picture made me realize that all the stress and sleepless nights getting ready for this trip was all worth it. This is why we came. . .

Of course the kids had a blast riding on the golf cart with Grandad. (I think Grandad enjoyed it too) After that Nanna read them “The Cat in the Hat”.

It was beautiful seeing them with their Great Grandparents, and their cousins. I was amazed that there wasn’t any shyness with all the new Aunties, cousins, and Grandparents. Everyone was holding hands and enjoying each other straight away.

We spent the next day just relaxing. It rained the first few days we were here, so we didn’t make it to the beach straight away. But we were able to get a few walks in around The Mount, and see a cruise liner come to port (just across the street from where we are staying). We’ve had family Bar BQ’s, eaten Fish and Chips, and meat pies, attended a Christmas fireside, celebrated Marlee and Marshall’s birthday (they both turned 7 this last week), checked out the mall, taught them how to make “American Bar BQ chicken” aka chicken with bar bq sauce - grilled, and had a stomach bug. Yup, that’s right throw up. It seems to be a small 24 hour bug. Elijah started, then Nathan, then Van, then Cherie and Nathan’s mum Maerea. I’m sure the rest of us will get it sooner or later. But, like I said it’s not a bad one, just a bummer when we all want to be out doing something. Like this. . .

Love to you all. Miss you all, but are glad that we are here. We heard that it’s FREEZING in Utah today, so for all you Utahan’s out there if I walk out my door and walk directly across the street this is what I see . . .