Monday, December 31, 2007

Annual Auckland Zoo Trip

Every year we go to the Auckland Zoo, between Christmas and New Year. It was a tradition we started way back when, and it's been good, but we thought we might vary it each year. The only problem is I have a set of photo frames, and each year we take a photo of the boys on the concrete elephant, and I still need a couple of slots filled, so until next year at least, we will go again.

Camerons Birthday fell on the Sunday we were away, so we took a 'mini party' with us. He got up and got excited when he saw the cake and balloons, but hadn't realised that under the paper was a present. He had been eyeing up the Mars Mission Set in the lead up to Christmas, so he was pretty pleased to get it.

I happened to be surfing the Trade Me message boards one night last week, and came upon a thread titled "Free tickets to Alvin and the Chipmunks". I clicked it expecting it to be filled with replies, but no, no one had replied, so I jumped in, and then thought it through. We had been talking about staying in Auckland for a night to do a couple of things, so we decided to do it that weekend. We thought we'd do the zoo, and pick up the tickets from the lady (who had won them on the radio station, and didn't have kids) on the Saturday, as we had to be at the theatre at 11am, so there was no way we could have driven from home, over to the North Shore and be at the theatre by then.

We didn't tell the kids what we were doing, just that it was a surprise that we had organised for Camerons birthday. On the way over we saw a billboard and the kids said 'we want to see that", and we replied, 'well, it doesn't come out until Jan 1st, so we'll have to see'. Right up until we were seated, and even when the film started they hadn't realised what they were going to see. Because the freebies were supplied by More FM they were in the theatre, with giveaways. The chick said, 'my birthday is on Christmas Day, and it stinks I have to share presents, does anyone else have a birthday around Christmas Day,' so I jumped up and pointed to Cameron. He got a little pack of goodies, t-shirt, watch, keychain, stickers, so he was pleased, but wouldn't get a photo with the characters.

While looking for something different to do we came across the Amazing Maize Maze, so decided we would do that on our way home on Sunday. It was great fun, although we were probably a bit analytical about it, and came out quite quick. We didn't need help to get out, nor did we need to open our map. We also didn't get to go over the bridge, so Braden and I went back in to go to the bridge, but it was pretty hot by then so we were just happy to get into the shade after that.

Christmas Day (before the year ends)

Christmas Day was quite casual for us, we spent the day with MIL, and 2 x SIL's, at MIL place. We did presents, we kept this one (PS2) till last, as we knew everything else would be forgotten. MIL had done everything for lunch, which was turkey, ham, hot vege, etc, then trifle, cheesecake and fruit salad. Just enough. Then we did the traditional crackers, Braden got a $20 win, so he's excited. Unfortunately the weather turned ick, and we couldn't go try out the cricket set at the school, so we just settled in for the afternoon, had a snooze, played with the toys, and wandered home around 8pm.

Boxing Day, my family came to our place. It was nice that all the siblings could be here, not all the partners, as they were working, but it was a nice casual, just sitting around, BBQ lunch, chilling out.

After lunch, I introduced a new toy. Wow, we had so much fun with this, not only the kids, hubby did too, and all only $2. It was a mega slingshot, really needing 3 people to operate it, (although Jon decided if you were tall enough you could do it yourself) We originally started using it horizontally, but not wanting to break any windows, we decided it was more fun to watch the balloons go up and come down.

As you will see in the photos, this is what the kids were up to in my previous post.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A bit of fun

Before I share more photos and fun from Christmas Day and Boxing I have a small RAK to someone who can guess what has just happened in this photo.

Questions? Ask away?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Well, here we are......... 2 sleeps till Christmas Day. I'm not feeling terribly inspired this year, not sure what it is...... I haven't even done any baking to speak of, Braden asked if we could make cookies tomorrow, so might have to do that to bring out some Christmas cheer. We are off to spend Christmas Day with Jon's family, just us, his mother and 2 sisters so a reasonably quiet day, with no preparations needed from my as she likes to do it all her way!

Ooops, I tell a lie, we, being the kids and I, made 100 or so little Christmas puds, out of the Mallowpuffs (we've all seen them by now), and gave them out to their class, (and I gave them to the class I have worked with mostly this year), so that was a marathon effort, but the kids did a good job.

Being Jon's first day of holiday, we had a sleep in, and after brunch we spent the afternoon in Hamilton, just a family day out, and doing a few bits and pieces. We caught up with GMIL (Grandmother in law) who we will not see on Christmas Day, and got a couple of things that couldn't be found in town here.

We then went to the movies, saw Fred Claus, it was OK, not hilarious, but the kids loved it. We then had some dinner and wandered out to The Base, had a wander around the Warehouse, Briscoes, and unfortunately just missed Mitre 10 Mega.

When we got home it was the night for us to drive around and look at the lights in town, mostly the same ones as last year....... a couple of new ones..... one cul-de-sac had a Santa giving out lollipops, and even his dog had lights on him. We've done our house up this year, so got a few ideas of what else/different we could do next year. Then tomorrow night we will walk the streets nearby, before heading off to bed in anticipation!

Jon is test driving the kids Playstation, "just to make sure it works", LOL, and I'm about to wrap the last couple of presents. Tomorrow will be a little bit of housework, and mow the lawns, (as my family will come to us on Boxing Day) and then we will do child swapping with a friend so she can get a few last minute groceries, and then just relax.

Hope this finds you all happy and healthy, and we'll see you in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Things moving along.....

... the days are going quickly but I'm not worried. We are spending Christmas Day with MIL, and 2x SIL's, a very traditional Christmas as MIL is from America, but that is all organised. Boxing Day I have invited all my family here, and that will be very casual, come and go as you pleased type thing, so am not worried about that.

We decided last year to really get into doing the house up with lights, but said we would start earlier this year, to be ready. Well, about 2 weeks ago we put several strands up, but didn't get any further, so yesterday I spent the day up and down the ladder, hammering, tieing, to finish off. Unfortunately we don't have much of the section/house facing forward so can't do too much more. I put the tree up, and the kids decorated, mmmmmmm, oh well, that's what it's all about!

One week, one day, left of school. We are really going to enjoy the weekend and Monday, as Jon has usually worked right up until Christmas Eve, so it will be nice to go visit a couple of family members we won't see on Christmas/Boxing Day, and might go see the new movie Fred Clause.

Braden learned to ride a 2 wheeler about 3 years ago, when Cameron got a new bike, and Braden got the smaller bike. However, sometime after that he must have had a fall, or a scare, and refused to get back on it, so I relented and put the trainer wheels back on. He rode it like that for a while, until I said I was taking the training wheels off again, and he has not got back on it since....... until last week. I was watching him across the road at a neighbours place, trying his bike, and actually succeeding. Now, we can't keep the little blighter home, he's off down the road all the time, but is pretty good, as he has end points where he can ride to and from.

Right, been on a school walk today, absolutley knackered, (and the child I was looking after had jandals on which gave him blisters, so it was a long tedious walk), so I'm going to put my feet up, relax, watch a half hour comedy, before getting dinner.

Saturday, December 01, 2007



After doing a couple of hours in the garden, and basically having nothing to show for, because our garden has got so over grown, I decided we would go for a family afternoon, so we cleaned up and headed over Waihi way. A year ago we went to do the Karangahake Gorge Tunnel walk, but parked in the wrong carpark, and started at the wrong place. Anyway, on our way home that day, we found the right place, and said we'd be back.

It was a great day, but forgot hats for the kids, eek, so lathered them up in sunblock and headed off.

The best part for me, was stopping by the river, and Jon teaching the boys how to skim stones, that was neat to see.

After getting back to the car (man that tunnel is deceiving, it really doesn't look that long, you can see the end, yet it is 1100m long, and takes ages to walk, and COLD) we let the kids change and have a play in the river.

We then came back through Tauranga, and grabbed pizza's and took them down to the playground for a while, before heading home, everyone quite tired.