Sand in our toes

Ah New Zealand, you never fail to disappoint. We have just had 2 wonderful weeks spent exploring around Kerikeri, the Northland of New Zealand and then on to the Coromandel Peninsula for Christmas and New Years with my sisters and their families. I am so thankful to have been able to spend this amount of time with my sisters. It has been years since we were together for Christmas, and all of our kids had an absolute blast celebrating the holidays “kiwi” style.

Gorgeous Kerikeri
travelling to Russell, New Zealand
pre Christmas dinner with Nana
Jamey and Becca with their cousins, Christmas morning

We played in the surf, played on the beach, hiked to beautiful Cathedral Cove. We slept in, ate wonderful meals, kids played tag around and through the wonderful home we rented. We hiked, we kayaked, we read. We enjoyed listening to great concerts at the park in the evening. We fished, played mini golf, enjoyed fish and chips on the beach with Ev’s brother Aaron. Our kids loved the quaint seaside town of Whangamata where town was only a 5 minute walk away as well as the beach. Ev and I loved having more kids around for Jamey and Becca as well as different adults to spend time with. After 4 months with each other pretty much 24/7 we were thankful to spend time with our extended families.

Kiwi Christmas on the beach!
enjoying fish and chips on the beach, watching the ocean from where the fish was caught…
Aaron and I catching a wave

A fun day was had with our 3 New Zealand nephews and my brother and sister in law adding to the fun at a “beach dig for prizes” (see the pic). I was so happy to spend time with my friend Julie and her husband Mat and their kids Emily and Sam as well. Julie and I traveled to New Zealand 20 years ago (wow!!) this month to begin work at Starship Chidren’s Hospital and little did we know how that decision would change the course of both of our lives.

Cousins on the beach
Tristan and Damon
Beach dig for treasures…hard work, so many laughs (and some sand in the eyes!)
my friend Julie, my travel partner to New Zealand 20 years ago

We celebrated New Years Eve with a wonderful meal of steak and New Zealand green mussels, and cheese fondue for the kids. We watched the sun go down on the last day of 2016 playing on the beach and in the waves. This morning, after packing up after 8 wonderful days and nights together, Evan, Becca, my brother in law Greg and I decided it was time to continue with Ev’s tradition of the Polar Plunge…but lucky us, jumping in the Pacific Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere, with warm sand in our toes and the warm sun on our shoulders.

Luke and Greg, enjoying a gorgeous hike together
New Zealand green mussels, we can never get enough!
saying good bye to the sun for 2016
pre plunge!
warm sand, cool water

After 8 days and nights together, I was sad to say good bye to Jen and her family after our Polar Plunge as she and her family headed further south to see more of New Zealand. We are now back up in Auckland to spend time with Melissa and her family for a few days before they head home to Canada.

I will never forget this Christmas and New Years Eve holiday. It was sunny, and sandy and messy and funny. We all lost it from time to time as we tripped over crumpled towels and swim suits left in piles by busy kids, but the memories that have been made are priceless.

It has been wonderful sharing New Zealand with my family. I am so very thankful that Melissa and Darren, Lexi, Bobby, Katie and Izzy and Jennifer, Greg, Luke, Brodie and Noah traveled all this way to see this amazing place while we were here. It compounds the joy when you share it with people you love.

Happy New Year, here’s to an interesting, healthy and adventurous 2017!


Love always,


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I am excited to be heading out to see the world with my husband Evan and our two, soon to be adventuring kids, Jamey and Becca.

10 thoughts on “Sand in our toes”

  1. Happy New Year! What a wonderful, heartwarming summary of what sounds like a great time! It is cold here and we are buried in new snow. We are heading out for a New Year’s day x-country ski! Love to you all.

    1. Karen, I love that you and Steve are always out there no matter the weather! Happy New Year to you guys! Keep warm, or come visit us here!! Much love from the other side of the planet!


  2. Ah, Happy New Year to the barefoot family! Oh, the places you’ve gone, the people you’re with! Thanks for the cheery update. Do you see a beach treasure dig in Coeur d’Alene’s future?

    Im in Seattle for a week or so, skiing with college friends. All is well- except for my wallet, which I misplaced yesterday. 🙁

    Love you all!!

    1. thanks David, it has been pretty sweet to be with my sisters and their families. I will be blue when they fly back to Canada, but this time together has been wonderful. A beach treasure dig in CDA would be awesome! I tell you, it was not easy. The prizes were buried deep, like about elbow deep for the kids, and even deeper for the adults. Our team of 15 never found a prize, it was that tough…but fun!Have fun skiing and hopefully your wallet turns up…Happy New Year fellow traveler!

  3. Happy New Year to you all! Your words are drawing me back to New Zealand, maybe it’s time for us to take Josh on another family moon!!!! Enjoy and God Bless you all!!!!

  4. Amazing post Nic! Wow, am I every glad to hear you guys are having so much fun, and with FAMILY. Seeing all those photos of you all together has me feeling how YOU must feel seeing our photos from Idaho – happy for all of those together in the photos, but also a bit sad that you’re not there along with them 🙂 Just make sure that Jamey and Becca know that Emlyn, Ben, Raya, and Drew love them too, and wish they were there for this part of your adventure! Not sure if you are going to be seeing Meliss, Jenn & crews at all before they leave, but if you do, enjoy your last few days with them. Love and hugs from chilly Canada. xo Pete

    1. thanks for your message Pete. I admit in part, it is hard to see your photos from Canada when everyone is together, but the pictures also make me happy knowing you are all together. I so wish Idaho was closer to you guys…so much! Meliss and Jen have now left for their journeys home. I was sad to say good bye to each family but loved having them here. We thought of you guys alot and of course wished we could have you here with us as well. Happy New Year Pete and please give your family a huge hug from us here in NZ xox

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