"Life should not be a
journey into the Grace
with the intention of
in an attractive
and well preserved body
but rather to
skid in sideways,
champagne in one hand-
strawberries in the other,
body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out
What a ride"
The schools here are divided into 4 terms, with a two week break in between each term. We just finished Term 1 on Thursday. The term was filled with lots and lots of activities and events to keep all of us active and very busy. Swimming is part of the curriculum here in NZ so therefore the kids swam everyday at the school pool. Because Oakura is a Coastal town learning how to swim is just as important to the school and community as reading or writing. The school has a very small pool on the property where the younger kids take their lessons, and the older kids head into town to swim at the Aquatic Center. The kids also have a beach education day, they spend the day at the beach learning about ocean currents, and rips and then head into the Ocean for a swim. This is taught by the Surf Lifesaving Cub. Environmental Education is valued highly in NZ, so the kids spent another day outside at the river picking up trash, and then they all got to have a swim at the end of the day. The school system really encourages the kids the be physically healthy and they are constantly providing opportunities to do so. Being healthy and fit is not only benefifical to one's health but it also gives a kid confidence. The school had a Junior School Triathlon which meant it was only for the 5 and 6 year olds. It was held back in Feb., which was great for Owen since Grandma and Grandpa were around to watch. It was a lot of work for the teachers to set up the mini course but it was well worth it as all the kids crossed the finish line with smiles on their little faces. It was one of the cutest things I have seen in a long time. They started with the run, then bike and finished with the swim. The run was maybe 300 yards, and the bike ride was about 100 yards slightly uphill and in the grass. About half the 5 year old's still had training wheels on their bikes!! The swim was the entire length of the 20 meter pool, which is only 3 feet deep. Owen ran, biked and swam as fast as his little legs and arms would go, he had a blast and loved the cheering squad he had on the sideline!! The older kids got to participate in a triathlon later in the term. It was put on by Weet-bix, and done in a typical kiwi fashion. It was held on Wednesday so they got to miss school, and it was totally non-competitive. It was all about competing, finishing and having fun. 1,500 kids took part in the race and it was held at the port. Both my girls had butterflies the morning of the race but they did excellent and had a sense of accomplishment after the race. The highlight of the tern was both girls got to go away to camp with their classmates. Skyler's class went to a camp called Vertical Horizon which was about 45 minutes away. They left on Monday morning and came home Wednesday night, which was the perfect length of time as this was the first sleep away camp for most of the kids. The camp reminded me of a upscale Girl Scout Camp, nothing flash but very clean and super cool activities for the kids. Then the year 7and 8 kids went to Wellington (capital of NZ) for 5 days. Brad took the time off and went as a parent helper, which I thought was super sweet that he wanted to go and spend the week with his daughter and 66 other 11-13 year olds. They did everything from swimming at a water park, visiting Parliament and meeting John Key, had an amazing race around the central city, and a sleepover at the Zoo. Both Lindsey and Brad had an excellent trip, and some lasting friendships were made.
|The bike's ready for the junior triathlon.|
|Owen at the starting line.|
|Going neck to neck in the swim!|
|Crossing the finish line with the senior kid's at the sideline cheering them on|
|Owen loves to Boogie Board|
|Love that smile!!|
|This is our friend's car, which makes me smile everytime I see it!|
|The group of year 5 and 6 that went away to camp for 3 days and 2 nights.|
|Lindsey and her buddies in the Amazing Race.|
|Daddy participating in the activities!|
At the Weta cave, where they did all the special effects for Lord of The Rings
|The year 7 and 8's in Wellington|
|Lindsey getting ready to start the triathlon.|
|The transition area from the swim to the bikes!!|
|Skyler getting ready to start.|
|At the finish|
|Proud of my girls!!|
|Skyler and her buddies.|
|Owen and Jasper|
Owen has decided with a little encouragement from Dad to play Rugby this Fall. He so far is enjoying the game, the younger kids play Ripper Rugby which is no tackling. It's kinda like flag football. I am not sure who was smiling more at his first game, Owen or Brad!
|Owen making a break for it|
|Smiling is no way to intimidate you opponent|
|Owen catching a wave.|
Skyler has totally embraced the opportunities presented to her while living near one of the best surfing area's in the world. She has participated in 3 surf competitions this last month and placed in each of them. For her birthday last week, she wanted a new wetsuit and surfboard. She has impressed us with her determination and gutsy attitude. Surfing has an element to it that she is not use to in playing other sports, it's called fear. Not only is she nervous about not doing well, she is also nervous about getting pumbled by a wave, or the board smacking her in the head, or a rip carrying her out to sea. That's a lot to overcome for 10 year girl who was born and raised in the middle of the US, 18 hours from the nearest ocean. So needless to say I am bursting with pride when I see her out there catching waves.
|Her first competition she got a little help from Mom, and then she kicked me out of the water and wanted to do it herself. I hold my breath everytime she goes out, and breath again when she is safely on shore.|
Every year the ASP Women's World Tour comes to Taranaki. It is one of 7 stops they do around the world. The top 17 women surfer's in the world come to our beaches and battle to be #1 in the world. It is a nine day surf festival that has activities on and off the beach. Yesterday we went to watch the aerial competition, and tomorrow we head out to watch the women surf. One of the top women surfer's in the world, Paige Hareb, lives down the street from us and Skyler is hoping to get her autograph. As part of the festival they put on a microgroms competition for kid's age 12 and under and Skyler insisted on entering. We were at the beach from 8 am to 6 pm. It was a warm blue sky day so we did not mind spending all day in the sun. She won both her heats and made it to the finals, and placed 3rd overall out of 8 other girls.
|Heading into the water.|
|We all came out to watch her in the finals.|
|getting a little help from Dad after the heat|
|her competition in the final|
|Receiving her medal|
|Her new medal!!|
|Some kite boarders out enjoying the high winds.|
We are off the Australia and The Great Barrier Reef for the next 3 weeks. The kids are on holiday, and there is much to be explored. We hope to blog from Oz. Cheerio and Happy Easter to our Family and Friends.