New Zealand

Andrew’s Big Birthday Gift

We already have 2 kids that have left home and now live in the city and we know these moments are not nearly often enough.

Abi just got back from Europe a couple of weeks ago. We are so glad to have her back.

Last weekend was the first time, since Christmas, we have had the whole family together. Abi had just flown in from her travels in Europe, Sam had picked up Jenna down from the Auckland Airport.

All arriving in time for Dad’s Birthday.

What a great weekend it was! We all slept together in the yurt.

As if to celebrate the occasion we had a Hungi with a group that was up for the weekend. This was followed by a trip down to a friends house for her party and a lamb on a spit.

The next morning me and the girls made a half dozen birthday pies for Andrew to share with everyone. Thanks to …. who sent us half a dozen pie tins from America! Only a small bit of pie was left in a tin for Andrew to smuggle back into the yurt for a mini feast of his favourite dessert.

A great weekend.

One of those great times when your smile goes deep down inside from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.


New Zealand

TJs 9th Birthday

Celebrated TJs 9th Birthday in New Zealand. TJ woke up with the sun. She made her way through the mist to the semi-visible car and gathered the gifts from the dash. The whole family piled into mum and dad’s tent and opened the first of her gifts.

The tents were still soggy with mist when we then packed them into the car  for a day of birthday adventures.

First stop was with one of Andrew’s childhood friends. She had 11 kids. She has been busier than us. Instant party! We thought one cake just wasn’t big enough so we made 3. Seeing as the theme was an “apple birthday” we decorated the cakes with apples.

Of course, we had an assortment of New Zealand sweeties.

Feeling a need to climb a mountain on such a momentous day we climbed up one of the many volcanos in Auckland.

After the long hike we went to the Allis Family’s house for more cake. Actually we were supposed to have just one apple strudel (Margaret promised to show us how to make an easier pastry from scratch). However, all the bakers were feeling festive so we ended up with 3 cakes. Elizabeth made  a blueberry and sourcream cake. Abi made half of a lemon cake. Luke made the other half of Abi’s cake chocolate. Then Margaret made a large apple strudel that we affectionately called “the slug”.

At the end of the day, TJ took great joy in recounting all 6 (or was that 5 and 2 halves) birthday cakes. She loves to count and what can be more fun to count than birthday cakes.


A Special Birthday going across the Dateline

Andrew always jokes about skipping someone’s birthday.

Well, this year it almost happened. We celebrated Hannah’s 13th birthday on a dramatically shortened Friday the 13th as we flew across the dateline from U.S.A. to New Zealand. The plane took off, in LA, on the 12th of January and we landed, in New Zealand, 13 hours later, on the 14th of January.

We had a multiple day celebration as we sometimes do when we just can’t fit all the fun into one short day. It started with a Birthday Party at “Chuck-e-cheese”. This is a noisy, child friendly pizza parlor that most parents try to avoid whenever possible. We brought in gifts, balloons and a cake. The balloons and a plastic birthday crown became the common denominator over the next several days. Hannah was hardly seen without them as she enjoyed multiple birthday cakes over the next few days. She had a ladybug cake at Chuck-e-cheese’s, a brownie cake on top of a swingset, an ice cream cake at Johnny Rockets and some chocolate cake left over from first class by some very nice flight attendants. Many people loved her big gift of “five-fingered” shoes. I think she had a good birthday.