Wednesday, November 25, 2015
(I'm writing this in January of 2017, so the details are a bit fuzzy...)
Matt took a couple of days off for us to take a 7-hour drive up to Hamilton to go to the temple there. Our stake had gone up several weeks before, but we were unable to attend because of Matt's work schedule, so we had our own temple trip. We left Thursday, 19 November around 10am, at almost the exact moment that my sister-in-law went to the hospital to have her third child. That definitely added some excitement to the drive for me! And of course, there was very beautiful scenery along the way.
We passed Mt Doom from the Lord of the Rings along the way, which is actually Mt Ngauruhoe in Tongariro National Park.
We stopped to walk around and probably change a diaper...
We arrived in Hamilton late Thursday night and had dinner at the hotel.
Matt and I took turns going to the temple during the day on Friday.
The kids spent the whole day at an indoor playground called Chipmunks because it was raining most of the day. Then in the late afternoon, we dropped the kids off at a woman's house who is a member of the Church in the area. When we visited New Zealand in 2014, Jodi volunteered to watch our kids for us, so I found her phone number and asked if she could watch them for us again and she was willing! She has a son named Matt and a daughter named Becky which was pretty funny, and Becky loved helping out and asked to always be our babysitter when we went to the temple. The kids had a wonderful time and ate more dinner at their house than they usually do for me.
On Saturday we started driving back home. We stopped at Huka Falls, which was so beautiful! Huka is the Maori word for foam. The river is normally 100 meters wide and then has to go through this canyon which is 15 meters wide, so the water is flowing really fast.
We also stopped in Taupo for lunch. Matt took the boys swimming at a pool there while I sat in the car with a napping Marie. I was starting to get a cold or something and didn't feel up to swimming. I drove around until Marie fell asleep and the parked at the shore of Lake Taupo and watched the waves gently hit the rocks. It was very peaceful.
We spent the night in Turangi, at the southern tip of Lake Taupo. Then we woke up early so we could go to church at the smallest branch I think I have ever attended, so they were very happy to have us, and we were exceptionally conscious of how loud our children are. We got home Sunday night and went to sleep and thus ends our first New Zealand road trip.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
A few days before Halloween, there was a Relief Society activity where we learned about decorating cakes. I thought it was unlikely that the cake provided would be gluten-free, so I made a cake to bring to the activity. We didn't get very far with the decorating part on that night, we only learned the basics about making the cake flat and smooth and how to make really good chocolate frosting. When I got home I had a plain, frosted cake and had the decorating itch, so I stayed up till 11pm making this:
I found this super cute costume for Marie and had these cute little crocs sandals we inherited from an American friend we knew in Laos.
Scott also had a Halloween-themed Disco the following Friday night and he dressed up as a ninja using one of my t-shirts and a gi we bought for him in Xi'an, China. I thought he looked pretty awesome.