Posts Tagged ‘family’

December 2, 2020

We hit the road early and drove past Paua beach and it’s many permanent campers and went to Loisels Beach at Waihau Bay. We were the only souls there, yet the campsite had 22 empty caravans parked there. It was a little weird. Kind of like a ghost town.

The beach was really quite nice, but no good for fishing, despite the picture of a man fishing there on our map. We thought it was a bit too shallow for fish. We stayed there for lunch, Darren and Boy had a swim and then I washed my hair in the sea. After that, we drove back out  and onward to Tolaga Bay.

At Tolaga Bay we had a look at the town and marveled at how such a tiny grocery store could have almost everything you would need. It had a general store feel to it. We bought some milk. Then we drove to the campsite and called it a night. We were almost the only ones there, and no campervans littering the lawn.

December 3, 2020

In the morning I did a lot of meal prep, then we packed a lunch and walked the 600 m out to the end of the warf. It was windy out there! But we managed to keep our hats… And our plates with only one mishap. Darren then tried fishing but sad to say, didn’t even get a bite.

The kids and I walked back to get some coats and met Darren back at the end, where we took some photos and then gathered up our things and went back to the bus. We drove to a little park so the kids could play. The town was quite friendly. Some kids gave Boy and Girl a lolly each. Girl fell and scraped her knee, but Darren saved the day by buying popsicles. Back at our camp site, we had dinner and then I did some laundry by hand before calling it a night.

December r 4, 2020

We just did some ‘housework’ today. I hung laundry in the sun, cooked and tidied up for the weekend. We lazed around our campsite and enjoyed the nice weather.

December 5, 2020

On this day I did some crafts in the morning with the kids and then after lunch we took a walk up to the top of the Tatarakahe Cliff walk, which was a short walk up to the top of the cliffs that line Tolaga Bay. At the top, we were surprised to notice how the cliffs decend almost as quickly on the other side. We had 360° views from the top except for a tree that was in the way. It was a short and steep climb, but we all did well. It was fun to spot our bus far below, and to look at all the things look so tiny.

December 6, 2020

I packed a lunch and we drove to the trailhead of the Cooks Cove walkway. Darren went fishing and the kids and I walked up steep farmland to a tall lookout over the Cove where Captain Cook came and restocked on firewood, water and food. It was one of the first places he visited on his first trip to New Zealand. The locals here were very friendly upon his arrival. After 6 days he continued around the coast of New Zealand.

This walk was really quite neat for me. Mostly because 8 years ago, plus just a few days, I did this walk as my first ever bush walk in New Zealand. Little did I know then, that I would come back and do it again with my then unborn children. Back then, I had thoughts of staying but really only dreamed of staying maybe 3 years. A couple months ago I recieved citizenship in New Zealand. I am really glad I was able to come back to this place.

After the lookout, the trail literally plunged down, down, down, into the bush, made of twisted and whimsical trees, until we came to the very bottom at near sea level and a short walk to Cook’s Cove. My phone didn’t charge the previous night, so I wasn’t able to get a photo of the kids in front of it… I’m really sad about that, but I’ve included a photo I found online. The kids had a realy good time. They ran and played on the down and flat parts, and didn’t complain much on the ups.

After climbing back up through the trees and back down the farmland, we met Darren at the bus. He didn’t catch any fish, but did see a ‘captain cooker’ down at the river. That is, a wild boar initially brought over by Captain Cook himself. Darren said it was unusually friendly, and we wondered if it was someone’s pet. After a short rest, we drove to Tokomaru Bay for the night. The kids played in the sand and Darren fished some more before bedtime, catching a small kahawai.

Cooks Cove. Click photo to see the original.
A ‘captain cooker’

December 7, 2020

We have had a lot of curveballs come to us this past week. We started our trip without an end date in mind. First, we decided to return home early January to get ready for my new job, then Darren got a phone call for an appointment we need to be back for just before Christmas, and then we talked with a lady that may have somewhere for us to stay while I work next year, and she needs to meet us before December 14. So, we’ve decided to accelerate our travels and head home by the end of the week. Because of this, we didn’t stay in Tokomaru Bay another night, but headed off to see the rest of East Cape.

Kawakawa Tree leaves and berries. Also is known as the Pepper Tree. Berries taste tropical, but full of small black seeds that taste like black pepper. Leaves can be used to make soothing lotions.

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November 6, 2020

It started raining so we quickly went back to the bus and packed up so we could leave the gravel pit and head to the beach. The weather cleared up soon after that and when we arrived at Porangahau beach we enjoyed a lovely time playing on the beach and setting up camp.

Darren bought a surf casting fishing rod just for this trip so he gave that a go but didn’t catch anything. Without Internet we tried to figure out when high tide and low tide were by looking at a calendar to find when the full moon was and by doing all sorts of mathematical gymnastics.

November 7, 2020

For Sabbath morning, we sang some songs and read the story of Samson. We did a few crafts to go with the story and then took a little walk on the beach. I discovered that my tide calculations were incorrect, so I tried to figure them out again and the new time made more sense.

Boy found an empty bottle so we caught a few sand creatures and put them inside. We came back to the bus and packed a picnic which we enjoyed under some trees. Then we went back out to the beach and played in the sand. Darren enjoyed burying the kids and they found it funny trying to get out. We came back to the bus and cleaned up the sand that had made its way into every nook and cranny of Boy and Girl.

I tried to find things in nature that could make a full rainbow. I think I did pretty good. I couldn’t find blue, but blue is always the hardest. If I could pick a piece of the sky I would. The kids and I took a walk around the little beach town and spotted a few Tuis flying between some trees. It was a lovely and relaxing day. We had dinner and just chilled until bedtime.

November 8, 2020

In the morning I washed a basket full of dirty clothes at the fountain near our site. The kids played in the cold showers outside the toilets. We had lunch and then packed up the bus and went fishing by a bridge. The wind blew off Darren’s hat and we couldn’t retrieve it. Later on the only other fishers at the river brought it back to us. We were so surprised!

Darren helped Boy reel in a kawaii fish. We put it in a bucket of water and it jumped out right away and landed back in the river. We all laughed! Later he reeled in a Spotty, that we through back. After about 2 hours Darren helped Girl reel in a short finned freshwater eel. We got cold so we stopped fishing and headed to our next stop for the night.

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November 5, 2020

After leaving the Ferry Scenic Reserve, we stopped in Woodville to top up our water and check out a second hand store. Then we headed towards Dannevirke, where Darren bought a few supplies. From there we headed east to a little campsite called Ngapaeruru Scenic Reserve.

By the time we arrived, it had begun raining. Darren didn’t like the look of the grass that was available for parking, so we decided to have dinner, have a little walk and then drive to a less boggy spot farther up the road.

Kahikatea Trees

The walk at the scenic reserve was interesting, although quite run down. There was a large grove of Kahikatea trees to walk through which was beautiful. Kahikatea trees are tall and beautiful trees. Their English name is White Pine, although it’s not the same as the white pine in America. Kahikatea trees are endemic to New Zealand. They where nearly all cut down in the 1900s because they made such good boxes for transporting butter due to the fact that they didn’t taint the butter with any flavours from the wood. There are small protected groves of the trees scattered around New Zealand. Kahikatea forests are one of my favourites here.

After our walk we found a gravel pit to park for the night. In the morning we had breakfast and had a little wander around before heading to our next destination. Boy found a tiny egg under a bridge, which was neat. We cracked it open and marveled at the tiny yolk inside.

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Last week, I took the kids to the Waitahinga Trails. This was about 45 minutes north of Whanganui. It was quite the drive, but I needed to pick something up from Whanganui anyway, so thought I’d find somewhere neat to explore in the area. There were a lot of tracks here, but I decided to do the Chicken Run track because it had a nice spot to stop for a picnic lunch and two lookouts of the mountains. It was a loop track whith was a bonus too.

One thing I was surprised by on this track was the difference in the way the trees looked. You truly did need to pay attention to the blue triangles posted along the way because if you lost site of them, it would be quite easy to lose your way and get lost. The track itself didn’t look that much different to the rest of the bush in many places.

Boy did well, carrying his water and some spare clothes. At the end of our walk, Boy dropped off the painted rock that he found on our last hike. He left it with hopes another little boy would find it like he did. I carried Girl, our lunch and more water. The track was a gentle uphill until half way, then down hill on the way back. We were able to see both mountains and the lookouts. Mt. Ruapehu was the most impressive. Mt Taranaki was a little bit hard to see, perhaps because it was not covered in snow.

When we were about to leave the first lookout, a friendly lady showed up and was able to take our picture. I would like to come back sometime and check out the other trails in this area. The walk took us about 2.5 hours.

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We bought the hiking pack that Girl sits in a month or so ago and used it on our last big hike as well as this one. It’s been really handy being able to carry a little bit more of the essentials because we can go farther, safer. However, I don’t think my back has liked the way the weight has been dispersed on my body with Girl up so high in the back. It’s taken a while to find my normal again after these hikes and I will be selling the pack on to someone else.

I’m a bit dissapointed but I think it will be better to wait until Girl is another 6 months to a year older and walking better on her own to do any longer hikes. I can always take her in my other baby carrier which I have no trouble with and do shorter walks, and I can also push her in the pram (stroller), on flatter, or paved tracks. This will not stop us, just change some of the things we do for a while.

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My mum came to visit us for the month of November. One thing she helped me to do was to look into some of the things for mums and children to do around our area. My favourite thing I discovered was the pool. Our pool lets parents in for free twice a week when they bring their preschoolers. Each preschooler costs $2.50. We went together in the second week my mum was here and we had a really nice time. I’ve decided to make it a scheduled thing that I do every other Wednesday. Boy hasn’t had much experience in the water and I want him to overcome his timidity around the water. Girl is really eager to explore and have fun though as she is younger. We went back last week and I know it’s going to be a great tradition. Boy is branching out already and is testing himself. He choked down a mouth or two of water today but he recovered in a flash and was ready for more. Our first time he was afraid to get in and today he was walking in the middle of the pool with water up to his chin. Here are some photos from our first trip together.

There are some parallels between learning to swim and learning to be a Christian. You aren’t just learning to swim, you are also learning to trust your teacher. When we become a Christian, we aren’t just learning how to be like Jesus. We are also learing to trust Jesus. He may allow us to stumble a bit and to choke on some water. But, he’s not going to let us drown. If we stay with Him, he will buffer our falls and give us a hand to lean on and will even hold us until we grow the confidence to swim. With swimming, I expect my son and daughter to eventually graduate from my lessons and to be able to swim on their own without me there, but in our Christian walk, there are always new lessons to learn. Our growing trust in Jesus is just as important as our growing abilities. Trust is what allows us the freedom to live without worry or fear, but instead with joy and peace in all circumstances, even in those we don’t enjoy.

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It was bittersweet. Moving out of the bus we had been in for a year and half. That bus had become home. Beautiful memories were made there. Life lessons were obtained. We were finally moving into ‘our’ bus, the one we had spent so much time and energy building from scratch. I was at least a little bit sad. Darren said to me, ‘I know, but soon the new bus will feel like that.’ And I knew he was right.

Our old bus

We moved in with the help of Jessica, my highschool friend that came to visit us for a month. We traveled together and had a lovely time; it was sad to see her go home. (You can see more of her blog and pictures from our trip on the links in my last few posts). When we got back to the farm where we park most of the time, it took a little while to feel really settled. Quite a lot of stuff was still in the other bus.

‘What are we going to do with all this stuff?’ I asked?’ Since, along this journey we had given away, sold and cleared so much unneeded clutter already, so that we could fit into the other, larger bus. ‘How do we still have so much?’ I asked. Then I suggested that we get a little shed or something to store the things we don’t use all the time. Darren said, ‘No, I don’t think we should. I feel impressed that we need to fit in our new bus. We need to feel comfortable driving away from here and not coming back for whatever is left.’

It’s been a bit of a struggle. More than just the things we need to fit for functionality and comfort, are things we’ve been holding onto for nostalgic reasons. Things we are afraid to let go of. Are these things wrong to keep? Absolutely not, but we’ve been feeling through this journey, that God has been trying to communicate with us something deep. ‘I think He’s trying to tell us to just let it go, and to lean more fully on Him’, Darren said the other day. And I believe he’s right.

My brain has been ruminating on these things for the last few weeks. I’m feeling positive about the changes happening inside of me. This move has been another level of minimising, that I didn’t know was possible. And I believe it is freeing, if you are able to accept that, not letting it make you resentful. You can let things go physically, but letting go emotionally is more important.

Some things we’ve realized in the last few weeks are:

1. 95% of tasks can be done with minimal tools. The other 5% needs specialised equipment but is largely unnecessary and if it is a must, it can be borrowed, or rented. For example, I don’t need a waffle iron. I can live quite happily without waffles, and if I must have a waffle, I can borrow a waffle iron for a weekend.

2. If you have less space, you save money. I go to the shops and see all these cute and lovely things that I want until I think, ‘where will I put it?’ I leave with my money still in my pocket and then I realize I didn’t need the stuff anyway.

3. Less means more peace and freedom. If you are not attached to things you can get up and leave any time you want without worrying about your belongings. If someone is in need, you can freely give what you have. Less stuff means less time trying to keep it organized (which actually is very time consuming). If you have less, you can spend more time doing what you love instead of working to pay for your standard of living.

4. Less stuff and less space means you have to give up the way you do things too. It’s a call to embrace gratitude and to be content. That is one of the most worthwhile attitude I think you can have. It’s worth more than all the things you give up.

5. People have stuff and keep wanting more stuff because it’s a distraction from the things that really matter.

6. Everything we have truly is disposable. That is what I am being pressed to acknowledge. Things will wear out eventually. If I were to lose everything in a fire, it would all be replaceable. Even our very lives! We are here for a moment in time, the only thing really special about being you is how you can add to another persons life, and how you can be sure your heart is in the right place. If you can’t do that, what purpose is your life? It could be gone in that house fire as well and not matter. Clinging to things for nostalgic purposes is what people should do less of, because in the end God does provide all we need, even the comfort we yearn for. The important things in life are relationships and experiences. Life will be over as fast as last weekend. Time continues to march on, and stuff will not change that.

I’m not saying everyone reading this should go out and get rid of everything they own. But for us, we’ve been lead in this direction to help us understand these things. It reminds me of the story about Jesus and the rich man:

KJV Mark 10

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Our new bus

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