Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hector goes Canoeing (again)

 Over the school term break, we decided to head out on the water with Hector. As he is growing, Stephen cleverly thought to just hook up the clip-on high chair to the thwart of the boat. That way Hector could see what was going on. Awesome. Just toss on some blankets and you've got a cosy little seat. So all tucked up, we headed out onto the water.

Unfortunately, shortly thereafter this occurred . . . .

Pretty sure that is not a happy face. It turns out the downside of this cool seat is that one cannot sleep in it. Which is just what Hector wanted to do. So, after this shot was taken, Hector was whisked out of the high chair and cuddled by mom while dad paddled back to shore. Back on land, out of the enclosing grasp of the pfd, Hector fell promptly to sleep.

Lesson learned. Timing is everything.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hector goes to the park

Out for a walk at The Groynes.

A gorgeous autumn day, sunny & brisk.

A perfect day for learning to fly.

Encountering the world in a whole new way.

A great day out with the family.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Another Step Forward

 This past weekend was the "Grand" re-opening of Regent Street. Before the quakes, this was a well-recognized part of Christchurch with lovely facades and nice pedestrian and tram only access. As demolition took over the CBD (central business district), there were (well justified) fears that all our historic buildings would be flattened. So it was great when it was decided that Regent Street could be saved. And after months of work, it was finally opening.


Well. . . . . not so much.

Granted it was a rainy, rainy day. But with only three shops (of about 25) leased and open, it was a rather dismal and empty street.

If you look closely you can see some pompoms. They're celebratory. Right?

While there were very few people, the shops did look great (if a little empty). It will be great to see it once life has returned.

Our feelings towards the city rebuild today was well-represented by this graffiti face. Tired, drawn-out, and a little under-whelmed.

We had a great chauffeur for the drive home though. Which brought lots of smiles to our faces. As you can see, Hector is very alert to any other traffic.

After an underwhelming morning examining the city's slow progress around town, we had a slow afternoon ourselves. I suppose good things take time, and we are certainly enjoying our slow start to the autumn holidays.

Friday, April 5, 2013

6 Months Old

Tiny and new
One month old
Two months old
Three months old
Four months old
Five months old
Six months old
Man, they grow fast. Already halfway through the first year and he's changed so much. Pretty excited to see what the next six months brings.

Hector's Easter Weekend

Easter weekend, while distinctly un-spring-like, was gorgeous. So lovely in fact that we decided to go out camping in our brand new family tent. Stephen had been wanting to head out to Lake Taylor for months now, so we crammed the car full of stuff (literally, there was no view out the rear window and all untaken seats were taken) and headed out of town.

Lake Taylor is a few kilometres South of Lake Sumner National Park, down along a long dirt track and surrounded by sheep, cows, and loads of scrub. Two stations run alongside the lake, but access is open to the public and there is a DOC (Department of Conservation) campground at one end of the lake. And I use the term loosely, as the "campground" consisted of a fenced field with access to the water, a wee shelter with a map, and one outhouse. But the company was a pleasant mix of families out for Easter Weekend, travelers, and mountain bikers there for the biking.

We left town relatively early, much easier these days when wake up is around 6:30. Despite this, we still found ourselves in the long line of holiday traffic leaving the city at the start of the long weekend. This cultural more of city holidays was something I had only ever read about in books or seen in movies. So I was thrilled to be experiencing it firsthand - this was of course aided by the relatively short duration of the slow traffic. We did emerge from the melee of cars and turned down smaller and smaller side roads ending up on the gravel farm track that would take us the last 35 kilometres into the lake.

We arrived at the lake in time for lunch. And after a chat with a couple of dads who had already been there one night, we set up the tent in the recommended site to get out of the wind. Local knowledge is always something to take on board. Soon, our massive home-away-from-home was set up, the table was up, and we could relax in the warm afternoon sun.

Both Stephen and I were raised in families who camped. This was very different from the type of camping we were now doing. We could both stand up in our new tent. In fact, we could probably have swung wee Hector around without hitting the walls. We also stored all the food in the front room (yes, room, not vestibule, there were doors on all sides to keep out the sandflies) in order to keep the possums and rats away. The attached veranda (Kiwi version of the vestibule) allowed us shade and rain protection, eliminating the need to spend precious holiday hours setting up a separate tarp (there are some [dad] who would argue this is one of the enjoyable parts the holiday, but I get no end of teasing from Stephen for my mad tarp setting skills [don't worry, I will endeavor to still pass this unique skill set on to Hector]). And finally, our nearest neighbour was a cozy 3 meters away. We observed our neighbouring dads closely for more camping ideas (like using two plastic 4-drawer sets with a board on top as a kitchen set up for the stove - awesome). This fancy pants camping was definitely a skill we were looking forward to learning.

The weather on Saturday was absolutely glorious, with temperatures soaring to the low 20s on the Saturday. Perfect for a lovely morning paddle, a long run (for Stephen, walk for Hector and I) and a quick swim in the lake (for Stephen and I). In the evening, we cooked up a delicious Minestrone Soup and ate the requisite Easter chocolate for dessert. Hector enjoyed his avocado for dinner (after a tasty appetizer of camping equipment). After dinner, we got down into our bedtime routine (massage-mom story-dad story-snack-bed) and settled down for another night.

 On Sunday, after a glorious sunrise, we packed up our gear and headed down the road. We stopped to fish at the site of our camping equipment massacre (story not included here, sorry). Unfortunately, this only resulted in a car full of sandflies and a very unsettled little baby being bitten by nasty blood suckers. Eventually, we killed the flies, Hector went to sleep and we made it out to the smooth flat roads of the plains. Since it was still early, we headed to Hanmer for a soak in the hot pools. It was most satisfying to take Hector into the warm water and watch him enjoy the feeling of swimming. In fact, we were in the pools for almost an hour and he was still keen to stay in. But all good things must come to an end (a sad truth to have to pass onto ones child) and we drove back into town to spend the rest of the weekend relaxing at home.

I hope everyone had a lovely long weekend, whether you celebrate Easter or not. Cheers!