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.
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.
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.
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.
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!