Friday, February 21, 2014

"We knocked the Bastard off"- Sir Edmund Hilary after climbing Mt. Everset

The summit of Mt.Taranaki is usually cold and windy. A -4 wind chill would not be unusual for a summer day at the top.  We got very lucky on this day and had warm weather and no wind, it was beautiful! We managed to hang out at the top for an hour, and take lots of photos. 

Getting some sugar on the summit!

Planking on the peak!

Hanging out with their mates at the summit!

Right before we arrived at the summit a young backpacker who did not speak a word of English fell and sprained his ankle. As a result, we got to witness a live mountain rescue. It was hard to take pictures because of all the flying rocks and dust, we had to hide behind rocks every time the helicopter got close.

So proud of O for making it to the top. He keep all of us going with his humor , and enthusiasm.

A few photos of the crater. Owen was hoping to get a good ride on the snow but only managed some snow up the bum, and cold biscuits afterwards! 

This photos really captures many of the moments we had with the kids on this hike.  No, it is not a corpse, it is Lindsey having a moment. It was an awesome day in so many ways, but at times it was also really hard for the kids. Our kids are relatively fit, and they have a border line obsessive Mom, who loves to exercise and wants her kids to grow up with the same passion for being healthy. Climbing a mountain is not just about fitness levels and endurance, it is %70 mental. Starting the climb with positive attitude, and trying to maintain that attitude throughout the climb is a must as well as believing in yourself. And having a few bags of lollies to help get through the tough times is a must as well! We spent 12 hours on the mountain that day, 6 hours up and 4 hours down, an hour on the summit and an hour waiting on friends. Accomplishing this climb together as a family was priceless, and ranks up there as one of our best family days ever!

Enjoying the waves the next day. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


   Summer has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere and the Kiwi's and and other expats are all flocking to the beaches and soaking up this summer warmth that we are experiencing. I believe that on a sunny blue sky day, Oakura is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I know that that can be said about many places in the world, but this is why I think it about Oakura. We have the beautiful and majestic Mt.Taranaki to the South, which looks completely different every day depending on the clouds, snow and sunshine. The Oakura river to the the East, which becomes a playground for the locals in the summer. The Tasman sea to the north is the draw for many of the locals and visiting tourist, and has some of the best surf breaks in the world.  The Oakura beach is the heartbeat of this community, it is where the action is. But yet, there are many days no one is on the beach and one has the place to themselves. My kids can walk/ride bikes/scooter/skateboard anywhere in this village and I do not get heart palpitation the minute they walk out the door. They wanna go on a one an hour walk on the beach with the neighbors dog.....sure, I'll see them when they get home. They want to  ride their bikes up to the local dairy and spend their allowance on lollies...sure, I'll see them when they get home. Yes, there are creeps every where in the world, but with NZ having such a small populations, it makes for less creeps.  But the real attraction and the most beautiful part of this place is the hearts and souls of the people that live here.  The other expats, and the locals here seem to have figured out what is important in life. I have not meet anyone that lives in Oakura because they were transferred here. Yes, maybe some in New Plymouth but not out here. The People that live here do so because of the lifestyle that it offers their families. The big paychecks and low cost of living are not the reasons why expats live here.  They realize that life is short, we only get to live it once and they live it on their own terms. Not the terms that society can often box us into and restrict our movement. They do not complicate their lives with much materialistic goods, they don't like drama in their lives, and they always make time for what important- friends and family. I have learned so much from living in this village, and I Thank God that we get to spend as much time here as we have.  Even with all of the these reasons why Oakura is one of the most beautiful places in the world, there is  still a big tugging on our heart strings to return home at some point and live more of a "normal" life. Live the American dream.  Go back, buy a house, have a mortgage, get a pet, cheer for the our college football team, become a rampant consumer again, and live the conventional life. When we really start to weigh our options, we are not so sure if that is what we want anymore. And it is scary, to think about living a life that you never envisioned yourself living. Not really having a plan just living day to day in a place that makes that makes you smile every time you wake up. 

We had such an amazing trip back home for the holidays that I feel incapable of putting it into words. It was everything we had hoped for and more. Just a few pictures to tell the story....

My sweet 92 year old Grandpa, with two of his great grandsons. 

My Mom and sister. 

Cousins from Atlanta. It has been almost 3 years since we have all been together. 

My favorite people!!

Love this picture because this is what Owen use to do to KD's ear when he was little. I caught him doing it  right before we left for the airport. 

Skiing in Vermont with Brads family. 

The Artic Vortex we were so lucky to be a part of,  it made for  lots of hot chocolate between ski runs. 

Hanging out in times Square.

At the top of the Statue of Liberty with East Coast cousins. 

Brad and his sister Molly

This picture is taken at a trendy restaurant in Tribeca called Bubby's. Lindsey's wish to see a movie star in NYC came true here during our lunch.   If you look real close, you might be able to recognize Orlando Bloom in between Brad and I. He was there with his smokin hot x wife, Miranda Kerr, celebrating their son's birthday. If Brad only knew Miranda Kerr was sitting behind him, I think he would of excused himself for the loo a few more times!! 

9/11 Memorial. A very spiritual, and moving monument to the victims of the terrorist attacks. 

Owen doing what the rest of us felt like doing as we traveled through the LA airport with 15 bags of luggage. 

One final stop at Disney. It was a blast and a great way to leave the US.  The goodbyes are never easy, and this helped ease the pain for the kids, and myself. 

We were so lucky with the small crowds, we hardly had any wait for the rides. 

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