Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Playing restaurant at Oma's!

In the summer school holidays we visited Oma.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Holiday 2010/2011 Part 2

Hamner Springs - Couperus Family Reunion!

Raewyn and Joanna organised the South Island Reunion. It was the first time a Couperus Reunion was held in the South Island. It made sense as we had planned to go to the South Island on holiday and Albert's parents were spending Christmas with Raewyn and Family. So that just left Josh and Family, thankfully all went well with Monique and baby (Natalia) and so they were able to join us as well!

We stayed in Hamner Springs Forest Park which is a very nice setting, perfect for lots of little ones (and big ones ;)). As Hamner Springs is a little Tourist place all the food etc was brought in. A huge exercise for the organising families. They even managed to bring in icecream! Our food was delicious and there was plenty of it. (I'm sure that is where the weight gain came from :))

On Wednesday we went to the Hamner Springs Pools. We made a whole day out of it and went there by opening time in the morning and didn't leave until close to dinner time. We enjoyed it and the slides especially the new one was awesome. It was very very busy (despite the overcast day) which made the wait for the new slide a patience exercise. Thankfully we got a good spot to sit (due to us being there early) and so this was helpful to supervise the kids in the pool as well as putting all our gear. As all the kids are little, Michaela was the only one who was allowed to go in the pool by herself, it meant that all the parents were very busy. Thanks to Beppe as she took turns with the grandchildren to take them around the pool. It was a very good family day out. Poor Zara had so much fun during the day that the batteries ran out later on in the afternoon. There was no consoling her at all, after she had shed ALL her tears she fell asleep on the deckchair which is very rare for her!

On the first night at the camp all the kids had trouble going to sleep from all the excitement, on the second night however, not a peep was heard, I think we successfully tired them out!

On the following days we had a family photo plus individual family photos, the photo's look awesome! Louis and Joanna organised a games morning with the families divided up into teams and competing against each other. A lot of fun even though my team lost! Each family weekend the games get more fun as the kids are getting older and enjoy participating. Monique sat out and was our all important referee! (there were some close calls!)

Some of us went for a mountain bike ride in the forest, some very lovely mountain tracks and walks, well worth the effort. I went out with the boys as I needed to get some 'bike' time in. I'm a typically mum now and don't like taking too many risks as I see the dangers of loose gravel while going very fast, this didn't worry the boys (men) however and had to wait for me on the downhill, I was however pretty good at keeping up with them on the uphill!

We also took the kids on a bush walk which was lots of fun and we even had morning tea in the forest.

At night once most of the kids were in bed we played some games or just talked. Daniel and Raewyn taught us a game called scattergories. Each team compromised of each of the couples. You get a list of categories and then we would take turns rolling the letter dice and whatever letter came up you had to find a word in the category starting with that letter. It is a lot harder than it looks. Josh and Monique are the masters of this game, they bet all the other couples just about in every game! I'm just thankful that Albert was on my team as I'm hopeless in thinking on my 'feet'! Great teamwork!

On Saturday is was time to say goodbye, a sad time as we don't know when we are going to see some of the families again. We packed up and our fleet of Toyota Van's left in different directions. We travelled with Daniel and Raewyn and Heit and Mem back to Nelson where we were staying the weekend. Heit and Mem were flying out of Nelson late that afternoon back home.

We travelled in convoy back through the wonderful scenery, it is such a beautiful road. We stopped for lunch which in hindsight probably wasn't a good idea for Zara.

In all our travel we have had no problems with carsickness. I provided the big girls with some peppermints on the long journeys and some snackfood including a drink. This took care of any niggles and plenty of stops ofcourse. On the way to Nelson after lunch though, Zara didn't feel too good and all of lunch came back up. Poor Zara :(.

Our weekend in Nelson was uneventful as we did some last minute washing and had some early nights. On Sunday afternoon we attended the church service at the youth camp that was held at Teap.ot Valley. This was the first time we have heard Rev Andrew de Vries and we were not disappointed. A very good message aimed at his target audience the youth!

We packed up for the last time on Monday and after saying goodbye made the final South Island journey back to Picton to board the ferry home.

The ferry journey was very busy but enjoyable as on board as part of the school holidays they had a Magic Show which the girls enjoyed. Michaela was chosen to 'help out' in the Magic Show. All the girls came away with some sort of balloon creation. A very nice end to an AWESOME holiday.

Once we got to Wellington we drove to Levin where we had dinner at their awesome adventure park and savoured the last hours of our holiday!

On reflection, all our hard work (well with God's help ofcourse) parenting our girls is soo worth while, the girls were soo good on our holiday, it was a pleasure to take them! This is the first time we have been on holiday without a little little one and I have to say it was very nice! Times and seasons I say ;-)!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Holiday 2010/2011 Part 1

Here is the blurb about our holiday. I'm planning to make a photo album and hopefully once it is finished I'll post the link so that if you are interested you can have a look at our album.

We had three lovely weeks in the South Island, mainly visiting family. We took the lunchtime ferry over to Picton on the 18th of December 2010, Albert's birthday. We celebrated his birthday on the ferry with the opening of presents and a celebratory lunch of bacon and egg buns. Upon seeing his birthday lunch he cheekily asked me whether I had any salt and pepper to go with it. He was expecting a 'no' but I produced the above items instead. He was speechless!! That doesn't happen very often. His wife had thought of everything!

We spend the rest of the weekend visiting with Raewyn (Albert's sister) and Daniel and their boys, David, Benjamin and Jonathan in Nelson. The weather wasn't very kind to us but nevertheless we had a great time getting to know the nephews/cousins. We went to a aquarium while we where there were we got to touch a stingray, we passed however on touching the eel!

From Nelson we travelled to Greymouth to visit our friends Mark and Louise and kids. Again the weather wasn't very nice but that made a visit to Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes even more spectacular! We also visited the Brunner mind memorial, WOW, we thoroughly enjoyed some of NZ history especially relevant after the Pike River Mine tragedy. Best of all it was FREE. There is so much to see on the Westcoast and we only saw a little bit of it. We also got to have a ride on the Fire truck at Mark's work, a real treat both both the adults and the kids.

From Greymouth we travelled through Arthurs Pass which in it self is pretty spectacular (although if you travel if often like Mark and Louise I'm sure it just becomes another road!) We met some of the locals namely a Kea. The Kea was very rude and jumped on our car as soon as we stopped, which we thought was quite cute. We fed it one of our banana's and even took pictures. Some overseas tourists took some pictures also at this very friendly bird. Five minutes later while stopping at yet another look out, we noticed big signs - DO NOT FEED THE KEA!!! OOPS!

We spend one night in Geraldine in a Motel which for the girls was a new experience. The motel owners were very nice to us as they let us sleep in a studio unit with all our girls. We have all our own sleeping gear and so putting the girls on the floor was no problem at all.

The next four days we went camping with my brother TJ, Miriam and Elijah, Eva and baby Esther. Our family arrived first at the DOC campsite and proceeding in setting our tent. As we were choosing our tent site one of the other campers told us that the spot we had chosen was very windy and it blew their awning over. We thought that we would be OK as Albert had checked the weather forecast and the wind was supposed to be dying down. Well the wind didn't and by the time we set up our tent it blew over. OOPS. We folded and packed everything in the car again and made a call to TJ, help! They chose another campsite and off we went. As it turned out God looked after us and the second campsite turned out to be perfect. The campsite was all fenced in with a huge field for the kids to play in. It did mean a longer time travel to go to the Christmas day service, but it was all worth it. So we spend Christmas 2010 camping, what a neat experience. Miriam provided all the food (and menu) which included a Pav, Ambrosia, steak, crackers, pancakes and lots more! Who says camping is not much fun?

After packing up on Monday, Eva fell and got her hand burned in the open fire, this put a bit of a damper on the rest of the week for Eva but she was very brave and recovered very quickly. We spend the rest of the week until Friday with TJ and family at their house in CHCH. We did lots of visiting of parks. We took advantage of the very cheap sales at the outlet stores and bought Albert just about a new wardrobe. This included a Otago hoodie and some new running shoes both at half price!

We visited Willowbank Wildlife Reserve (thanks money given to us by our great Oma and great Beppe), again a very nice day out. We also went to the Airforce Museum the main part of which is free. We treated the girls to a behind the scenes kids programme. Oh that was soo cool. We all went on a flight on a Andover Plane which had a crash landing and so we had to jump out of the plane!

Michaela's Birthday!
We started of New Years Eve with pancakes for breakfast! After we packed up at TJ's we put up our tent at Albert's brother Louis, Joanna and Joel, Caleb and Ephraim. This was our for the next couple of days. After lunch we went for a swim at the QEII swimming complex, if you haven't been there you are missing out. For dinner we had arranged to meet with TJ's family and Louis family at the local park and have Fish and Chips which was very nice. Michaela chose to wait until then to open her birthday presents. She had asked for a toolbox to put all her craft stuff in and a bible dictionary. She had her main party and birthday cake early in December for her school friends.

New years eve wasn't much of an evening I have to say, an early night sounded good to us and our hosts. The next couple of days were spend catching up with Louis and family and we also had some time with Albert's other brother Josh and family who flew down from Palmerston North for the Albert's side of the family reunion in Hamner Springs. The weather was very hot and we were grateful for Joanna's parents pool in which enjoyed a cooling swim.

On Tuesday we packed up our tent and gear for a family camp in Hamner Springs....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Family Photo Jan 2011

A new family photo, taken at Hamner Springs!
(Thanks Monique & crew)
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Michaela's Birthday Party

Already weeks before Michaela's birthday party, Michaela made me a list of things she likes to do at the party, the kind of cake she would like, what food to serve and when, the games she likes to play, the dress code etc. She knows what she wants. I went with most of her suggestions although modified some of them. For the games she wanted pass the parcel but instead of the normal pass the parcel I suggested that instead of having a lolly between each layer, there would be a task, like ten star jumps or some quiz questions. She also specified a horse cake and I have to confess that cake decorating is not one of my talents. So I used my mouse and searched the net. Thankfully Bett.y did a video on how to make a horse cake and you could go their website to download the horse template!! That's my kind of cake decorating!

All the girls in their finery
Michaela wanted supper in the family room a bit like grown ups have.

The Horse Cake
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kate's kindy trip to the Museum.

Kate went on a kindy trip to the local Museum. Here the lady talked about bones of extinct animals. The kinds had to look at the bones and they learned about what kind bones are in animals. As an activity they got to put together some of their own creations with the bones. This did mean that there were some funny creations! They also look at fossils and they went for a treasure hunt around the Museum to look for different items. It was fun to be part of the trip.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Raukawa continued

Found some more pictures of Grace at Raukawa. High ropes, building a shelter, flying fox and doing some team building.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

School's Raukawa Day Trip

At the end of the year the girl's school went on a day trip to Raukawa Adventure Camp. Both Albert and I went and Albert had Michaela and a group of her class and I had Grace and some girls from her class. We had to get up early, as we were going on a bus to take us to the camp. It was a full on day, the weather was very warm which was a blessing but as helping parents we had to make sure that the kids in our care, drank enough, ate at the right times, got sunscreen re-applied, got toileted etc. Out girls had a ball trying out new things outside their comfort zones. The water slide was a big hit. In this photo there are the two teacher of the classes that went. I hope you forgive for putting this on my blog :). Good on you Maree and Judy for giving the waterslide a go!

Grace on the flying kiwi. Once she was harnassed, she got pulled into the air by a the rest of the team of kids and adults and so the kids 'flew' for a bit. All our kids in our group had a go, well done.

At lunchtime those who had energy to burn, were taken on a walk to see the waterfall. The view was well worth the 'stomping through the bush'. Thanks so much to the teachers for organising this AWESOME day out!
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Nephew and Nieces

I went down to CHCH at the end of October to my brothers 30th birthday party. Here are some pictures of my nieces and nephew.

Here is Esther
Elijah, isn't he cool with his sunglasses and the tiara?

Here is Eva in my old pram. I loved that pram it was awesome! I'm thankful it went to a good home!
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Sunday, March 20, 2011


Here are some pictures of Kate and Zara swimming! You might notice that there is no water about, you are wrong, you will need to use your imagination! I'm not sure where the play came from but the younger girls have been fascinated by going swimming. They told me that Mama has waterproof shoes so that I can walk on the carpet and not get wet! It has been cold but it hasn't stopped them to get their clothes off and put their togs on, Zara insisted on even wearing her swimmers nappy. I love their imagination, who needs toys?

Sisters in the 'Pool'.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Man's best friend...

Albert and Pesto.
Pesto is my dog just for the record but ever since Albert has started to run to train for the triathlon, he has taken her for a run with him. Now when ever Albert puts on his bike shorts and shoes, Pesto comes to Albert and sits very nicely next to him on the left and looks up at him as to say, look at me I'm sitting so nicely please take me out for a run with you! She is devastated when she can't go but recovers within seconds! Don't you just love dogs?

Here is Albert teaching Pesto how to work the laptop!! :)

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Friday, March 18, 2011

A visiting furry friend

This Axel, my parents dog. We look after him while my parents are on holiday and they in return look after Pesto when we go on holiday.

Here is Axel with Kate's Doggie.
Pesto and Axel playing.
Mama (& Papa) here is proof that Axel was inside at night!
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Flowers in Albert's Lawn?

This is photographic evidence that YES those are yellow flowers in Albert's Lawn! (for those who don't know Albert, he is very fussy with weeds in his lawn!)
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Funeral, friends and a playground

We looked after our friends daughter one weekend while the parents had a weekend away. Unfortunately that same weekend a funeral was held that Saturday at our church in Palmerston North. So Rachel had no choice but to come with us. The funeral was long and all the five girls do soo well. We decided to treat them to a play at the Esplanade with an icecream following the play.

All the girls at the inground trampolines.
Grace posing for us :)
Albert on the sea-saw with Kate (not in picture)
Zara going down the big kids slide and loving it!
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

A dinner guest!

This is Tabby our cat, inviting himself to our dinner, do I need to say more?

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Open day at Zara's Creche

Zara's Creche had an open day to which the whole family was invited for some fun, obstacle course and some Fish and Chips dinner.

Albert reading Zara a story, notice the facial expressions!

Kate dressed up as a .....
Albert and Zara on the obstacle course.
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