Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 1 in NZ after the Long Trip

We arrived at Christchurch airport and my FIL and MIL were there to meet us. My FIL took these photos.  Andrew's best girl mate K was there with her daughter too! We had not seen her or her family in almost 5 years!

They brought Anika a pressie.




That is what I look like after 30 hours of travel.  ha

We said bye to K and S and piled into both of my inlaws cars. We needed both with all our luggage. MY MIL had rented us a car seat and that was all set up in one of the cars. 

We drove right to our new house. We did not take any photos while at the new house because a renter had JUST moved in.  It was a little smaller than in photos but the gardens were better in person. The neighborhood was cute. LOTS AND LOTS Of floor to ceiling windows, like many houses in NZ.

Then we went into city centre to see where Andrew's dads shop used to be....
The entire block has been demoed since the earthquakes and his store is now a parking lot :(

 
We went to my inlaws house to have lunch and settle in. I showered and got out of my  2 day old outfit and into something better suited for warm weather. 
 
We went to Andrew's old house...it is going to be demoed soon. It doesn't look bad from the outside in these photos, but it is off the foundation and the roof is all falling in. It is very warped.
The house is named Awhina- A Maori name. It Pretty much means "The Friends House" from what I understand. 
The Photo above is Me sitting in front of the house (LEFT SIDE in a red shirt) back in 2005 when I was dating Andrew.

 This is 2012. All grown in. Anika and I standing to the left of house. You can see the broken window.



The walkway is all grown in now.
 
The main hall in 2005 and 2012. He redid the wood floors in 2006.
 
 2005 and 2012 in the carport
2005 and 2012 out back.
 
Andrew got pretty emotional seeing the house.  I felt bad for him.  Sad to know it will be gone the next time we are there. He worked really really hard to buy that house. When I was there for 6 months, he pretty much just worked and we were at the house a lot because he had no extra money to do fun things.  I was a young college kid and didn't get it, but I get it now.  He made a lot of sacrifices.
The area the house is located is very posh and we love it.  I love walking to the cafĂ©, along a the river and to his friends house.  UGh, if I could just MOVE my family there and rebuild on that land, we would.
 
 
Anika had her FIRST meat pie!!
She likes to put herself in her seat and she was eating this while parked, and her straps were correct while driving. I noted this because I take car seat safety pretty seriously. We were  hit when Anika was an infant. I was also hit Yesterday in a snow storm. A guy couldn't stop and hit me from behind.  Also, car accidents kill more kids age 0-3 than anything else.  AND, lastly, I have a lot of friends and family who are VERY passionate about car seat safety so when I posted this on fb I didn't want them to blast me :) 


 Yum!!
 
Hanging out at Poppa's house.

 
Well, it only took me 2 weeks to write this post.  Life is just really getting in my way of blogging.
I don't even know if anyone is still reading, but I will keep plugging away when I can.
I would love to share more of our trip with you and record it for my memories before I forget!
 
 
 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I did it!

The words spoken by Anika, not me.
 

EVERYTHING, and I mean everything these days are "Ill do it" or "I do it myself"

From getting dressed to getting in her car seat- she is independent.
In some ways, its great she can do so much herself- gives me more time...but other times I have to practice my patience.

She is up to all sorts of things lately.  We went swimming with my friend and her daughter last night. I was SHOCKED that Anika liked it so much. She just swam and swam and screeched and had a grand old time.  Before swimming, we went out to eat. Anika sneezed, and then wiped her boogy nose all over her dress! ha.  Such a lady.  When I get dressed in the morning, she likes to come up and slap my butt. In a loving way.
I got a text from her sitter Thursday that Anika had said "Its bloody cold out"  - the bloody would have been something she picked up in NZ.
She also was farting at the sitter's on Thursday and every time she did she said "Kate did it" (one of her little friends).
At the grocery store today a couple people told me she seems feisty and bossy.  I cant even get over the people she has interactions with when out shopping. The girl just doesn't stop.
 

And, HAPPY New Year to all of you.
Ill be back soon with my next post about NZ!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

International Travel with Anika

 
I am going to start off my New Zealand posts with our travel.

Our plane was scheduled to leave Monday,  December, 17th at 10 AM.
We were flying out of Boston, so we had to be there at 8 AM. We live in NH, 2 hours north, so we had to leave home at 6 AM, but my mom was driving us and she was worried about city traffic, so she wanted to leave at 5 AM.
That was the plan.
Then, Sunday happened. It was snowing and freezing rain. It was supposed to last through the night and into Monday.
I did NOT want to head down Sunday night, but by midday Sunday,  we decided that was the safest bet. I had SOO much to get done at home, but Andrew just said "tell me what you want" and we just worked together as a team to get it all done. Actually, It was quite nice :)
I have to say, we were a total team through all the travel on the way there, so that made it all so much easier.
On the way back, we had a few spats. ha, but we were sad the holiday was over, so maybe we were no longer happy and excited and that is why?

On Sunday, My parents and my niece picked us up at 3/4 PM at our house and we all crammed into my mum's truck. And, ALl of our luggage :)  Oh, and Piri too. My parents didn't want to come back to our house later that night in bad weather to get Piri, so she went along for the ride too.
It was a LONG ride in bad weather.  And Andrew got car sick. And Anika fussed and cried. And my dad said "can you get her to be quiet?"
So, that was fun.
We got to our hotel near Boston (10 minutes from the airport) and got situated and said our goodbyes.
We ordered some dinner and ate around 8 PM ...
 
 Anika's makeshift table and chair.  We slept that night ok- Anika was OK. but up early of course.  
 

Before my parents left my dad took his hook off. He has had it since his first trip to NZ.  HE handed it to Anika and said "Grampa wants you to wear this because it is special,  and it is going to keep you safe on your travels"
And I was thinking, aww, that's sweet (because my dad isn't usually mushy) and then he continued ..
"and can you guys get a new rope for it, because the one on it is broken"
OK..so he had motives.
HA.
On Monday morning we got a shuttle from the hotel to airport.
We checked in at United.  We got our boarding passes and were NOT sitting together!
We had 2 adult tickets and an infant seat. Infant means she sits on our laps.
She can do that until she is 2.
Yes, having her in her own seat with a car seat is safer, but flying to NZ around Christmas is NOT cheap. Our tickets were quite a big chunk of money and we still had to pay $300 for her and that was just a small percentage of ours.
United people were ...well, assholes.
When we got on the plane, Andrew told the attendant we weren't even together and the guy said to figure it out. There was another family with their 5 year old and they had the 5 year old away from BOTH parents. Luckily, the other passengers traded spots with us.
Add on top of that, they give NO snacks on the flight from Boston to San Francisco.
That flight was, well Long.
We bought an Ipad a couple weeks before and put shows on it. and a few aps.
I had a small suitcase of books, toys, new toys she had never seen wrapped up, coloring, snacks, you  name it.
The Ipad was the big hit.
She didn't nap on that 6 hour flight. Andrew and I just took turns with her. He actually did most of the entertaining...the whole trip :) ha.
Oh, and she was pulling at her ears and wanted to nurse of course.
So, we did. I had a blanket and Andrew kept putting it on us and Anika kept pulling it off, and she finally snapped at him and said "NO daddy. NO blanket" and tossed it at him.
We had a few hours in San Francisco. It was when we were taking off from Boston,  I realized CRAP, I forgot to rearrange some of our bags at the hotel in Boston and I only had FOUR nappies with me in my bags! Our other bags were checked to NEW Zealand. I had 4 nappies to last me 24 hours.
I panicked. I have never bought a disposable, but I have never seen any in the airport!

I texted some friends and nope- they hadn't seen them either.
I texted a friend who lives in SF and asked if she has seen them at that airport and how far to the closest store. We thought one of us could get in a cab and go to a store, but Andrew was nervous about that and getting back in time.

As soon as we landed in SF, I asked an airport worker if there was a store that sold them...she said she didn't know, but then came back and said she called her friend and yes- there was ONE pharmacy in the airport that sold them.
I found the pharmacy and they sold them singly. Pampers. I picked up 4 and guess how much ONE diaper was ? $3.99.
Barf.
I had no choice- I bought MY FIRST disposable diapers because I effed up and packed all of ours in the bag that was checked through to NZ.
And, if you are wondering- I NEVER even needed them!  She ended needing one change when we got to SF, did her poop on the potty, then one change right before we boarded the flight from SF to Auckland, NZ,  and then slept too much of the 13  hour international flight, so only got one change on that plane.  So, I used our cloth.

Then, I got the rest of her diapers in Auckland.

Having a snack in SF.
 
 
 
That teddy is a travel teddy. It came with a little purse. Inside the purse, there was a little passport, a little journal and a little world map. Guess what country was missing from the "word" map??
NEW ZEALAND! lOl.

My mom gave her the bear when she dropped us off at the hotel. I was like, great one more thing to carry, but it provided a lot of entertainment...like, Anika trying to put on the bear's jacket (above).
you can see the nose of the plane behind her above.
 
 
Waiting to board in SF. She actually at this point had been awake since 5 AM Eastern time and it was 10 PM eastern time in this pic. ANd, she took a huge run around right before we boarded- tons of energy.  I also had to call Verizon when we were sitting there and get service turned over to an old blackberry because the Verizon Iphone 4's do not work in other countries. I turned off all the data, but wanted to have a phone working in case people at home texted or my mom needed to get in touch with me right away, etc.  I think I made 2 phone calls on it, but its $2 a minute so just short calls. And of course no email or internet- that would have cost THOUASANDS a day.

We were NOT guaranteed the bassinet seat, but we asked for it when we got to SF. It is only guaranteed to babies 8 months and younger.
The weight limit is 26 pounds and she weighed 23.

 When we were told we could have it, I was SOO excited. WE NEEDED this. She wont sleep in my arms.  These seats also have more leg room and no seats in front of them. When Anika accidentally kicks seats in front of us, it makes me nervous she is pissing off the people in front of her, and it just makes it hard for me to be calm. I do NOT want her to bother others.

United does NOT have family boarding on planes- rude. Air NZ does. Nice.
We were walking to our seats and this pretty nice flight attendant saw Anika and asked if she was the weight for the bassinet and I said yes and she said great. I was getting into the row and I heard her voice say "Andrew?" and I turned around and it was someone Andrew knew!!

An old friend of his! SO, um, from there on out- the flight rocked. She treated us like royalty. She also tried very hard to get the couple sitting next to us to move so we could have the whole row, but I guess they had paid extra for the bassinet seats since they have more leg room.  She was just wonderful. She saw that I was "feeding" and brought me tons of extra water to keep me hydrated.  Well, I really just cant say enough about her. But, not just her...on every NZ flight, the flight attendants are so amazingly nice. Even, the people on those flights- you can see a HUGE difference after getting off a US domestic flight. People are so much friendlier.
On the US domestic flights they just have us hold babies in our laps- NO belts for takeoff and landing.
On Air NZ, they had us strap her to us for takeoff and landing.
She fell asleep in my arms soon after takeoff, and I placed her in the bassinet...and she slept for NINE HOURS STRAIGHT!! NINE.

I ate the dinner they served and drank the complimentary wine, obviously and then I slept myself.
I slept about 7 hours.
Then I woke up, watched some tv on my personal Tv.
 
 
 You can see her sleeping in there.
 Then, she woke up and had some breakfast with us. Then watched some Ipad in her bed.
 
yes, she was watching Caillou and we have decided that show is NEVER allowed again.
What a whiny little kid. We swear she picked up some whining from him. Her behavior changed after we let her watch that show.

 
 
We got to Auckland in one piece and I felt good because I had slept. Andrew never can sleep.
We got our bags in customs and then had to recheck them, so we were rearranging a few things. The flight from Auckland to Christchurch is only 1.5 hours.
 
When I was getting bags rearranged, Anika plopped herself down and started coloring. 
 

 
The last flight was quick and easy...
And this is long, so I will continue in another post. I am also really tired. ha
Oh, but guess what I did get?
My ray ban glasses...see below :) 

 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Where was I for Christmas?

I know many of you know where I was by now, but if you don't know, we went to New Zealand for Christmas!
We left December 17th and returned early this morning!
We actually got home at 1 AM. We didn't get to bed until after 2 AM and I went to work today!
I had to go to work after taking that much time off. I am lucky my job let me take such a long holiday.  We went back to spend Christmas with Andrew's family and do a lot with the house over there.  I will post photos and stories in the coming weeks of all our travels. The trip over is about 30ish hours door to door, so I am sure you will want to know how Anika was on those long flights!
I took a lot of photos of Andrew's old house (So sad to see it the way it is now post earthquake- we fell in love in that house and that is where I stayed many many nights (almost all) when I was studying abroad there in 2005) and we saw our new house, but it has a renter already.
 
Just a few pics for tonight. I have 3 suitcases to unpack and lots and lots to put away. ALl of our Christmas stuff is still up.
We came home to LOTS of Christmas cards and I was so excited I sat on the couch at 1 AM with my wide awake child and opened them all and loved them all. I wish I had a better way to display them all. This way covers some up. Please give me suggestions for better ways.
 
 
 
Some pics from our 25 days away.
 
 Anika playing in Poppa's Zen garden! ha, not normally for kids play.  That truck was her daddy's when he was younger.
Anika and her cousin, Indi.
 
 
Christmas morning at Nana's and Poppa's. We just did a stocking for her and she got gifts from family. It was perfect. We have Christmas with my parents this coming weekend :)
 
 
 
 
Can you believe no one else really dresses up for Christmas in Christmas dresses in NZ?  NO little kids had Christmas dresses!
 
 
 
 
A delicious cake my MIL made. 
 
 
 
Photo from one of our road trips.
 
 
 
Mt. Cook
 
Lots of time with Poppa.

It was PERFECT and not nearly long enough! We both have a bit of the post holiday/vacation blues right now.  We talked A LOT about moving there. A LOT, but in the end, I will not take Anika from my mom and dad.  And, I don't want to leave them either :) One day.
Oh, and no smart phone for that whole time!!
When we drove in the car, we actually TALKED. Andrew LOVED me not having my Iphone- LOVED IT.  it was like the old days when we first started dating :) Except we had Anika this time to share the fun with.