Monthly Archives: May 2017

Holy Kiwi!


Sometimes I find myself thinking of what it will be like growing old with this hubby of mine who is sitting next to me.  It usually hits me when he is doing something like hanging the Christmas lights on the second story or doing some sort of heavy lifting.  In a house full of females, I think it will definitely be noticeable when he is not our “go to” guy, when his sons-in-law start saying things like, “Oh Brian, I’ll get that.”  But for now, he is Mr. Manly and that wasn’t more evident than this weekend.

Holy Kiwi!  I am usually up for an adventure, and I come up with plenty on my own, but then Brian does the same which can make things quite full on.  One of the things we wanted to do while here in New Zealand was to hike and stay and a full stocked hut in the forest.  Brian thought it would be perfect to do this when my mom was here because she loves hiking and walking.  He contacted the Department of Conservation and found that this certain hut was about a 5k walk, about 2-2 1/2 hours, from where you park your car and it was very family friendly. The path was about 2 people wide and when he asked if we could take the stroller, the man couldn’t exactly answer that.

Well, I will answer that now that we have taken the stroller and the answer is no.  The family friendly hut is perfect for families with walking children.  While it was difficult getting there with the stroller and our 6 sleeping bags that weren’t the tiny kind that real hikers use…thatwasn’t our hut.  That “family friendly” hut was a shared hut, and in planning for this outing, we thought, let’s go 30 min. further and have our own hut. What’s 30 more minutes when you have already walked 2 hours?   Thirty minutes turned into 1 hour 30 minutes.  The terrain was now very narrow climbing over fallen trees, up steps of tree roots, through thick muddy patches and across streams.  Much of the time there was a near cliff on one side.  On 2 occasions, Clover is heading down the side but thanks to Mr. Manly, he never let go.  All the while, Clover is saying, “It’s fine.  He’s fine.”  Though Mr. Manly has the hardest job of all with the stroller and hiking backpack on his back, who do you think is his assistant?  Me.  I am doing pretty good because I have to.  The kids are being amazing and I tell my mom, “We can’t complain because they have been walking for 3 hours and they aren’t complaining.”  And so we keep on trekking, because there is nothing else to do.  We are approaching night.  Finally Brian asks if I’m okay, and maybe I was being a bit dramatic, but I said, “No!  I’m dying here!”  Physically, I felt like it was perhaps the hardest workout I’ve ever had, but really, I was just freaking out inside every time Brian fell or the stroller skidded scarily down the side of the near-cliff.  And so I decided to carry Clover and let her walk when she could.  That way at least my mind was at ease that Clover was safe, or safer at least.  The signage kept us going, 30 more minutes.  And then 30 minutes later, 20 more minutes.  Twenty minutes later, 15 more minutes.  It was like a cruel joke.  Piper said, “When we get there I’m going to get in my sleeping bag and read!”  And then Tatum said, “I’m going to watch TV!”  Sorry sweets, no TV, no electricity even.

We finally arrived, and we had fun playing cards, and eating a yummy dinner.  Tatum said she liked how quiet it was.  We went out looking for kiwi after dinner, and hit the hay, because now we knew what was in store the following morning.  We had to get back to our car!

From the time we left our car to the time we got back, we were gone 24 hours.  In that time we hiked 11 1/2 miles.  Seven hours!  Carrying our gear and stroller, crossed multiple streams, ate dinner, slept and played a few games of cards. On Saturday night when we got home we all slept like babes.

Tatum and Piper were amazing troopers.  Piper didn’t surprise me, but Tatum did.  Two hours into our walk back, she asks my mom to tell stories of when I was little, and she says, “This is fun!”  Yesterday, back at school she wrote about her adventure. I love her added little sound effects 🙂.  I’ll go ahead and fix the spelling, but here’s what she had to say:

Zoom!  Hop in the car.  It’s time to go.  I had to wait one hour to get to the parking lot.  It was pretty on the first part of the walk.  And then it was shady and cold.  We brought the pram.  Clover almost fell off the cliff.  *Dun dun duuun*  Every sign said something like 10 minutes but it felt longer than it was, really longer than t it really is.  Then when we got there we were exhausted.  We came home on the beach.  I loved it!


When we thought we were halfway there, but no, not even a third of the way.



Bridges and rivers and forests, Oh my!






Hong Kong in a Nutshell



In just a few short hours I get o see these two after 8 long days. I  couldn’t have imagined what their time would be like, but from the pictures that showed up on my iCloud every morning and the few conversations I had with them, it sounds like it was a wonderful week of bonding.  They journaled, painted, ate yummy food, and of course Brian did his fair share of embarrassing Piper by buying a funny hat and wearing a medical face mask. I expected it would be a time of growing closer for the two girls who see each other about every year and a half. But what I didn’t realize is that it was much needed for the dads as well.

I am grateful for the week they had to spend time with their oldest and to pour into them and pray over them. I was laughing so hard I was crying watching the “talent show” that they did on their last night together (gotta get permission before I post it 😉 ). Tatum was next to me, beaming as well, and said that she can’t wait until it is her turn.

On their last day there, they said goodbye to their friends who were catching an earlier flight and went on a boat excursion to see pink dolphins. We had gotten some books on Hong Kong and found out that there is a rare breed of pink dolphins, only 60 remaining in the world. When Piper was little she wanted to go to the Amazon to see the pink dolphins that she had learned about on Dora or Diego (gotta love what they learn on TV!). So when Brian heard there were pink dolphins in Hong Kong, he knew he had to add it to the agenda. With only 60 left in the world, they managed to see 6 or 7.  Pretty impressive!  Here are some pics from their last day together.

I think that it is so great that so many of you thought that this adventure was such a cool idea.  The best gift really is time.  It’s not too late if your kid is 14. It doesn’t need to be a week in another country.  It doesn’t matter if it is a son or daughter, or if you are a mother or a father.  It’s about quality time with your child.  It is as much for you as it is for your kids.

All about Dad this Mother’s Day


Today is Mother’s Day, but this post is actually about how awesome Brian is.  He and Piper are headed to bed early tonight because tomorrow they are off on a 10 year old adventure.  I haven’t read the book, I don’t know all the ideas, but before we ever knew we would be living in New Zealand, before we knew we would have 3 kids, Brian was inspired to take each of his children on a 10 year old adventure.  The book is Love Does by Bob Goff, and the gist of the 10 year old adventure is doing something really special with Dad, spending one on one time and celebrating turning double digits.  Because most likely, they will be double digits the rest of their lives.

Their trip is extra special because they are actually meeting up with another super dad and daughter, Jason and Ella Fizzard who live in Vietnam.  The 4 of them are off to Hong Kong to have some fun, hang out on beaches, and for the girls to know how much they are loved.

And that’s all I got written on Mother’s Day.

Hmm, what was I saying.  Well, I love the 10 year old adventure because it was Brian’s idea and I love that the girls have a dad who is so invested and wants to spend time with them.  Now they are off, and I already miss them, but I am excited.  I know that Piper might think this is all about fun and adventure, but in another 10 years I hope she looks at the experience and sees that it was so much more than that.  She is loved and she is valued by the most important man in her life right now.  He took time from work, he saved money, and spent countless hours planning for this.  He packed their journals and watercolors, he read to her the chapter from the book Love Does about 10 year old adventures last night, and he has an art project planned that has to do with a map of Hong Kong.  The thought that went into this was a labor of love no doubt.  And I hope that Piper remembers always how much she is loved and how a man should love her when she is ready for that, even though I may never be.

hi from oz

I told Piper that I needed a picture a day.  She said, “A picture a day keeps the sadness away.”  So here they are on the plane in Sydney.  The caption said, 5 + 5 = 10

And now I am waiting for tomorrow’s pic.