Friday, January 23, 2015

the grand canyon trip with motorcycle

We took some of our Kiwi relatives to visit one of the natural wonders of the world in our own backyard.  First, we stopped at the Little Colorado River Gorge.  In some ways I love this even more than the Grand Canyon.  We also stopped to by some turquoise jewelry.  There is not a better place to stop for jewelry than on the side of the road in Navajo country.  It was scary to have Callum on the edge.  My fear was definitely heightened for his safety!  

Taking Callum to the Grand Canyon was neat. I was surprised to see that he was interested and even delighted by the sheer beauty of the place.  I could tell he could tell that it was a very special place.  

We have visited the Canyon in winter time on previous occasions.  However, it was an unseasonably warm day this trip.  We loved the sun and temperature.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

the one resolution

I am one to be big on resolutions, goal setting, actionable items, and constantly thinking about how to do better and be better.  When I thought about my formal resolution for this year, one thing really stood out to me that will have ramifications in a lot of different areas of my life. 


That's it.  That's my resolution.  Confession-I hate to cook.  I hate to doing mom jobs.  I find no happiness or satisfaction in kitchen things.  Because of this, Jason cooks.  He loves it.  He's good at it.  But he's in nursing school and has zero time for that.  I now have a child that eats people food.  However, he rarely eats food I offer, and I feel somewhat responsible for that because I often eat random things like toast for dinner.  Additionally, it fulfills my need to be fueling healthily for my run.  Furthermore, this will help Jason with his fitness goals.  Lastly, this may be an opportunity to have more family time on crazy week nights where two parents work.  

Basically, I am wanting to cook a variety of meals on weeknights like normal moms do.  I've never done this and am completely intimidated by it.  This coming week will be my first go. 

On the menu we will be having...

Taco Salad 
with homemade salsa, avocado, and turkey meat

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Butternut Squash Soup

Steamed Veggies with Rice and Breaded Talapia

Not bad, right?  

Wish me luck. In my world, this is a more challenging undertaking than running a marathon.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

the long ride home

In summary, our trip was full to the brim with fun, sun, laughter, sunshine, family, and Christmas.  I left New Zealand feeling like I did everything and had the time that we had hoped for.  There was a bit of family drama, all three of us succumbed to a terrible flu, the sun wasn't always as warm as I'd liked, and we endured many hiccups in the world of airports.  All in all, we fulfilled our New Zealand sickness and both agreed that we were ready to come back to our home.  

The plane ride back was not as smooth as we had assumed it would be.  Remember on the way over how Fiji Airways let us use a bassinet?  Remember how we were seated in the bulkhead-aka dream seats on an international flight?  We figured the same seats would be assigned to us for the way back to LAX.  As a matter of fact, I asked the counter agent in Auckland if we were seated in the bulkhead...the answer was yes.  I smiled and said thanks for the great service!  Contrary to her response, we were stunned to board the plane and find that seats 28 E and F were actually the middle two seats in the row of 4 in the middle of the plane!  In other words, we were seated in the absolute worst seats possible for an international flight (WITH A LAP TODDLER).  After begging the flight attendants and being told there was nothing they could do, we gave up and took our seats.  I had visions of Callum squirming non-stop and me being unable to get out of my seat because we were trapped on both sides with random dudes.  

Well, it was a bit of that.  From Auckland to Fiji Callum was super wiggly.  We were seated in the bulkhead for this flight, so there was no harm done.  We had a long layover in Fiji, so we decided to get out of the airport and see some things.  It was extremely HOT and humid-big surprise.  We didn't venture far for fear of sweating through our clothes and not having any thing to change into.  We all bought popsicles and laid on the grass and stared up at the palm trees for a good while.  Eventually, we wandered around the airport and managed to get dinner.  We met this super annoying American that did nothing but say rude things about everything we would say.  It made me less excited to come home.  

As we boarded our flight to Los Angeles from Nadi, that is when we discovered the seats of death.  Like I said, we took our seats and had to figure out how to entertain Callum and keep him happy all within a very small personal space.  When they served dinner we had to balance tray tables and food with Callum kicking.  That was fun.  

At some point after the in-flight meal, he finally just fell asleep on me.  I knew it was a good sleep because he had a bit of a snore going.  His body was on me and his legs hung out onto Jason's legs.  The flight from Fiji to California is only 9hr 45min as compared to the usual 12 hours that it is for a direct flight from New Zealand.  I kid you not.  From the time he fell asleep until they turned on the cabin lights for breakfast somewhere close to California, Callum slept!  I am so proud of him.  There was one little moment where we cried in the night, but it was inconsequential.  

The big problem was that Jason and I could not get out of our seats without being the annoying people that wake people up on international flights or at the expense of waking Callum up.  I did not get up even once.  Do you know how bad this is for your health?  Again, I was extremely disappointed that we were told it was a bulkhead seating assignment only to find that it wasn't.  Not cool at all Fiji Airways.  We are disappointed.  

We landed in LAX to find a chaos of Americans taking domestic flights.  How annoying is LAX for domestic flights?  After enduring a line that snaked outside of the terminal and far outside, we checked in to find that it was too early.  Uhhhh.  

After finally finally getting through the check-in process we got crappy airport food and found a quiet corner in the terminal.  Our only goal was to get Callum a sizable nap, so we could clock out until the next flight.  It worked.  He slept like a charm. Jason watched movies, and I read my new book.  

The flight to Phoenix was great.  It was practically empty, and Callum got to stretch out on his own seat.  For the first time in my life, I was extremely excited to get home to my own house.  Is it because I'm a mom now or just old?  Either way, both Jason and I took comfort in pulling up to our snow covered driveway even though we had just been in summer paradise.  

For the record, being in New Zealand reminded us how much that country means to us.  We intend to move back because I cannot accept our kids not understanding what it means to be Kiwi.  That whole thing is a chapter for another time in our story.  

For now, we soak up and enjoy every little precious minute we get here with Kiwi family or there in the motherland.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the pyramid

We all had our must-dos while in New Zealand.  One of mine was to have a dedicated amount of time to just being on the beach doing beach things as a beach family.  When you live so darn close to the beach, surprisingly this doesn't happen unless you really make it happen.  On the second to last day, we went to Te Arai Point early in the morning.  

I went for a run while Callum, Jason, and Damien started building an epic pyramid.  By the time I returned from that amazing run, the pyramid was half done.  I quickly joined in and kept having those moments where I thought, "Am I actually doing this right now in this place?"  

Admittedly, Callum was still quite under the weather.  Several days prior to this event, all three of us went down hard with a fierce bug.  Callum was feverish and croupy out at the beach, but we just had to take him.  

the kaimoana

Out of duty of being a good wife, I joined Jason on his sea fishing trip.  We launched the boat off of Port Albert--just a few minutes from the house.  I was recovering from a terrible 24 hour bug that caught me in my tracks after visiting Bland Bay.  Again, I went along despite feeling sick because I knew Jason really wanted to have this experience.  

As soon as the boat got out I knew I was in for a treat.  I am such a sucker for devouring the coast and coves of the North Island.  

This was my second time ever fishing on the sea, and I was all game this time.  I baited my own hook with squid.  I caught several kowai within minutes of lowering the anchor.  We spent several hours out on the sea, and the truth is that I loved every minute.  One highlight was when Jason's dad caught a large shark.  He was annoyed because they are rubbish to eat, but I thought it was so cool to see one live.   I was sad when Jason's dad said bring the lines in.  

Not to be all lovey dovey, but it was quite nice to have some time with Jason.  Callum stayed behind with Nana, and we enjoyed just being together.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

the boxing day fun

Today was all things New Zealand outdoors.  I started the day with my usual run along the paddocks.  By mid morning we were packed up and ready to give the new jet ski a go at Tomarata Lake.  Nearly all of Jason's siblings were out on the water with us.  

As he has for the whole trip, Callum was a Kiwi kid through and through.  He ran around in togs, barefoot, and chippies in hand for the whole time.  He does so well with all of his cousins, and it makes me so happy to see him fit in with his Kiwi culture.  

At one point I made a comment about wishing to see the beach as it was just minutes away from us.  My sister-in-law drove me over to make my wish come true.  While everyone else continued to jet ski, I was happy to run down into the surf and lay on the very warm and very white sand.  This was the beach where we took our engagement photos, so I am always very keen to give this beach a go.