Saturday, May 3, 2014

Is It Really May?!

 I can't believe it's really May and the last time I wrote something was in December!  "But what's a few months amongst friends, right?" said the Joe.  I think he's right.

 So Big E had a big birthday and turned 4 in April!  He is such a funny kid and loves being goofy and cheeky (just ask his teachers at preschool!).  We celebrated with some friends, a few games and cake.  Of course there are multiple stories about each of these things:
I didn't ruin Pass The Parcel this time (like I did at Duncan's birthday party) since I knew about putting a treat in EVERY layer. 
Just ask Joe about his hand and the pinata. 
And Ewan asked for a red dragon for his birthday cake, but you'll have to look at the Facebook pictures of how I NAILED IT! for that story. 
Anyway, Ewan had a fun party with friends and got nice gifts that we enjoyed (and are still enjoying) from his friends and family.

And then...

The parents thought the water was a bit cold, but the kids didn't mind.
After Easter Sunday and during the Easter Holidays (between terms at school), we got to go away for a week for a family holiday!  We went to Red Beach, which is about an hour north of us here, and stayed at a little cottage owned by a Scottish couple.  We have mutual friends in Scotland, which is how we found out about the place, and enjoyed getting to meet them, chat and play with their dog, Panda. (Well, at least 2 out of the 4 of us played with Panda).  Whilst on holiday, we went to a few different beaches, playgrounds, parks, and visited the thermal pools in Waiwera and Shakespear Regional Park.  We all had a great time, and here are some photos (mostly of play in the sand and sea) from our holiday:

Goggles on and ready!

Daddy helping them go around fast!

After the roundy-round feeling a bit queezy, I think




Silly boy!

Silly boys

I think this frame is famous at Shakespear Regional Park

Don't forget to apply suncream.  Or sunscreen. Or sun tan lotion.  I think my Fitzy friends will be proud of me for doing this!  I really am getting better at remembering!

 Thanks for stopping by to see if we've updated our blog yet!  Ha ha!  From now on, I hope to update a bit more frequently than once every five months.  Just so you know.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Uncle JC

JC and Joe on Mt. Eden with the Sky Tower behind them
JC and Joe have been good friends since 6th grade (right?), so it was great to have him come visit us in Auckland.  Uncle JC brought toys for the boys and Dunkin Donuts coffee for us (hooray!), and spent a couple of weeks with us here in New Zealand.  He did the daily life stuff, like walking to pick up the boys from school, going to the Walking School Bus BBQ, buying carrots and other veg at the local vegetable markets and playing the "bad guy" while superheros Duncan and Ewan attacked.  We also got to do some more touristy stuff, which was great fun.  We went to the Waitomo caves that are full of glow worms, and to Hobbiton, which is where some scenes from The Hobbit movies were shot.  Pretty cool stuff!  We went to a Waikowhai beach and Mission Beach, and JC went to a couple of different islands and explored the city of Auckland, as well.  If you see him, you should ask him about those trips and see some of those pictures, cause they're pretty cool.

And now a few photos from stuff we did with Uncle JC:
Duncan and Ewan painted "Welcome Home" signs for Daddy and Uncle JC, since they came back from America together
Ewan may have gotten some paint on his hands.  And face.  And belly, and legs.

Digger from Uncle JC at Waikowhai beach

Ewan drove the dump truck all over the beach at Waikowhai

Checking out the photos

Joe and Big E in the water at Mission Bay
Sand angles at the beach in Mission Bay
Of course the digger and dump truck went to this beach, too

Ewan making sand angles
They got a bit sandy

At the playground

After seeing the glow worms in the cave

Strolling along the beach

Hobbiton!There are many more fun pictures of The Shire, but that will require a whole new blog post all by itself, so I will just give you this one of us at the sign before we enter The Shire.

It was great fun having JC here with us and wish he could've stayed longer.  I think he is planning his next visit to us, though, so we will get to hang out with him again in New Zealand soon!  Yeah!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beautiful New Zealand

New Zealand is beautiful!
We have had a chance to see some of the beautiful places that are not too far from our house.  We've gone to the Waitakere Range a couple of times now, so here are some pictures from there:

Ewan and Duncan on the monument

The view from that monument

Climbing up

Hanging out

We have seen some of the beautiful parts near our house, but we're also looking forward to seeing more with JC as he is coming to visit this week!!  We're excited to show him some of our favourite places and also explore new places with him.  New Zealand is beautiful!

 And here are some photos of the flowers and bushes that make around our house beautiful as well:
Ewan loves the roses

 Not sure what these are called, but they're big and kinda cool

We have a big bush of these right at the front steps

We have several different pink rose bushes

And a few red rose bushes, as well

If you come visit us you can see all these beautiful places and more in person! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Kiwi Life

Ewan's favourite flowers are roses, so he was happy to see our rose bush with "Double Roses!" (which just means 'more than one rose, since this is actually quadruple roses)

First of all, Kiwi refers to people who are from New Zealand.  The fruit needs to be referred to as "Kiwi Fruit" and the bird, I think can be called 'Kiwi' as long as the context is clear that it is the bird you are talking about and not people.

It has been fun to hear the vocabulary used here in Auckland.  Some of the words that we kept from life in Scotland have been useful (such as 'nappy' not 'diaper'), and some of our Scottish-speak has to get abandoned (it's called soccer here, not football - who woulda thought?!).

Some words we now have in 3 dialects of English like:
America- Candy
Scotland - Sweetie
New Zealand - lollie
America - flip flops (or flippers, if your name is Hayley)
Scotland - sandles
New Zealand - jandles
  and one more:
America - popcycle
Scotland - ice lollie
New Zealand - ice block

Another funny thing about New Zealand is that many of our American or Scottish words are acceptable and understood and used interchangeably.  For example, pants.  Now in Scotland, we stopped using that word to mean 'trousers' cause it really means 'underpants.'  In America, of course, that word refers to the outer layer of clothing worn on the legs.  Here in Auckland, you can say 'trousers' or 'pants' to mean those outer layers and it is all understood and no one laughs at you.  You can also use 'pants' to mean underpants and the context of your sentence defines the word.  Some words I still use the Scottish way and am not really sure if I should or not.  'Garden' is an example of a word that I use to mean 'yard' but I'm not sure if it does mean 'yard' here or if it means more like a vegetable patch, like it does in America.  In any case, we do have a back garden (as in, we have a yard with grass and a patch of dirt with some seeds planted in it), so I often stumble over my explanation of what I was thinking of when I said "garden" and the person I'm speaking to just listens and smiles.

It has been amusing to hear Duncan and Ewan figure out what/how to speak and to try to figure out what things mean.  Now that they are both in school and Kindergarten (preschool/nursery), they are surrounded by other kids and teachers who speak a bit differently than we do at home.  Not only the accent, but also some of the vocabulary (like I was just talking about).   The other day Duncan was telling us that he was going to belly flop int the pool.  He explained, "That is what they call "dive" here."  The poor little mites are trying to listen for difference and learn new words, but I'm sure we'll all be a bit confused at times!

Of course another point about the language of New Zealand is the Maori language.  There are Maori words scattered throughout a regular conversation.  Some words I can guess their meanings from context, other times the kind Kiwi speaking knows that I don't know what they're saying, so stops to define the word for me.  Ewan has been coming home and sharing some of his Maori words, as they do some teaching and talking in Maori at his Kindy.  It had been fun to hear him tell us about these words and try to teach the rest of us a thing or two!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Things and Stuff

So, our stuff from Aberdeen and Boston have arrived!!  This is pretty exciting for all of us, since Duncan and Ewan now have more toys than the one suitcase full we brought with us.  Joe is excited by all of his books, and I am excited to unpack stuff from Boston that we put into storage 5 years ago!  Thanks to the Fair family for storing all of our stuff all those years!  It has been fun to unpack and find out where all our stuff is gonna live in this house.  We are glad that our stuff is here and so thankful to the people of St. Margaret's Church who have let us borrow their things until now. 

Ewan and the castle

Duncan LOVES the drums!

Ewan the scooter-boy

Duncs on his Two-Wheeler

The Helmet (do not speak of yesterday's game)

And now some pictures of our house as we put stuff here and there and everywhere.....

Then new dining room look

I was pleased to find out that a dish towel from Aberdeen, utensils and glass apple from B'ville and the broom/mop from Auckland are all matching!  And who would've thought they'd all be mint green?!

Big E in the Hanshin Tigers hat

Looking from the kitchen into the dining room

The boys love their bunks!  Thanks, Uncle JC!

The living room still full of boxes and stacks of books, but it's getting there...

Looking from the other corner at the living room

The nook is now office/book space

The toy room has toys new and toys old(er).  Duncan and Ewan say thanks to Mr. Alfred, Mrs. Punita and Mr. Rufus for giving us the Foosball table, and thanks to Pops and Mumbles for the Imaginext stuff!