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 ;-)!