Saturday, September 19, 2015

Matt Enters His Mid-Thirties

As one gets older, there seems to be less and less of a celebration, so there's really not much to report about Matt's birthday, but since I love to make cakes, I have to at least document that endeavor.

One of Matt's favorite dinners is beef roast and veggies in the crockpot, so I tried to deliver. A few things went wrong. I had never heard of the roast they had at the store. You'd be surprised the number of things that are difficult to understand even though everyone is still speaking English. I made my best guess and brought it home. When I was preparing the seasonings, I realized that the Worcestershire sauce I had was not gluten free and I couldn't use it if I was going to eat the meal. The whole thing took much longer to cook than I expected as well, and without the sauce, it tasted wrong. It was just a sad, sad meal and I felt like crying. Matt, as always, said it was fine and tasted good. His mother raised him right, especially when it comes to not being fussy about food. He'll eat anything I make and be grateful, but it was just awful that it turned out to be a failure of a meal on his birthday.

I did, however, do my best to make a nice "cake." Cake is not Matt's favorite dessert. He much prefers cookies. So for the past couple of years, I have made cakes out of cookie dough. This time, I did a double-layer cookie cake using two springform pans. I put nutella between the layers and on top. I asked the boys what I should put on top, thinking they would pick a superhero or a video game character, but Scott said, "You should draw a picture of Daddy catching a falling star." I thought that was quite specific and decided to go with it. Unfortunately, I lost my small piping tip and it came out quite rough. It was fun, though, to see Matt dipping his slice of double layer cookie cake into a glass of milk and taking a bite.

I had the boys pick out presents at the Warehouse, which is kind of like what Wal-Mart used to be in the 80s. They picked out a Star Wars Rebels ball, bubble wands, a mash-up version of Star-Lord, and a couple of books. Pretty much everything a 34-year-old man could want. We did our best with limited experience shopping in New Zealand (aka no Let's face it, though, when Matt wants something, he usually buys it, even if it's not his birthday or Christmas, so what can we do?

Happy Birthday Matt! We love you for everything you do and all that you are to our little family.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Sunday of the Seals

When we first moved to Wellington, our ward met at 11am, so we had a little time before church to drive around if we wanted to. The boys often woke up around 6am, and Marie was about ready for a nap around 10am, so sometimes we would try to take a drive, so she could get a snooze in before church. One Sunday (13 September), we drove to Red Rocks Walkway, somewhere Matt found to park on the water, relatively near the church, and realized there was a seal colony that lived a little ways from where we parked. It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to go home, quickly eat something, pack some food, and get dressed in warm clothes, and go back and take a little walk. There was a website Matt looked at that said it was a 30-45 minute walk. So, we figured that might be a little longer with the kids, but worth it to see the seals. Well, it turned out to be 1.25 hours walk one way instead. After the first 40 minutes, I started asking strangers going back if they had actually seen seals and how much farther it would be. They said another 30 minutes, and I was sad. Matt asked if I wanted to turn back, and I said, "No! We're not going back because we have come this far and we are never doing this again!" So we kept at it. At this point, it was 4 or 5pm and the sun was most definitely setting. We did see some beautiful views and we did see the seals.

 That's the boys in their new red jackets walking with me.

 Bobby, posing with the beautiful scenery
 A friend from church had the same idea and offered to take this picture for us. They didn't make it to the seals that day... they turned back after 30 minutes or so.
 Matt carried Marie the whole way and had Bobby on his shoulders over half the time.

 Very occasionally, Scott got a shoulder ride as well, but we were very impressed with him, he walked almost the entire way.

 Matt, Bobby and Marie are over that little crest there, and Scott had gotten ahead of me, and he could see the seals. He came back to encourage me--he was SO excited!

 Once we turned around to go back, this is how it looked. By the time we got to the car, it was very dark. Probably about 7:30pm.
The boys complained a lot on the way back, but when we got settled in the warm car, Scott said we should do it every Sunday. We were not keen to agree, but it was a fun memory we made together. And, we were glad we did it because we found out later that the seals migrate further south in October.

To give you an idea, here's a map of the walk we did, and it's proximity to the city. It's apparently supposed to take 50 minutes, if you don't have three kids with you and you're not really out of shape...