Holiday | Tales from the Boys

We are in the Sydney right now!!! We had a good flight here and we are missing you so much!!!!! Ethan here I am missing you so much plus daddy bought me a stuffed shark that says austrailia on it by by.

We love you and we are doing really good right now dont worry about your boys. We have both been checked for bombs and we are all clear, we will email you as soon as we get to LAX love you so much!!!!!!xxxooo

Ethan on a Plane!

Sydney Airport Lunch

Dave and Ethan

Acquisitions | Kmart Shoulder Tote

In prep for our trip {which at this point is Dave & E’s trip and my maybe trip!} I popped in to Kmart to get some socks and undies for E , and spied this sweet and cheap shoulder bag which will be just perfect for my carry on; probably too big now that I’ll be sans child if I fly!  Anywho, $19 from Kmart, available in a variety of prints, all which were very cute!

Canvas Navy Tote from K-Mart

A couple of terrible very bad mistakes that you should never make whilst planning your very expensive trip.

LEARN FROM THIS PEOPLE.

I make these mistakes so you don’t have to mmmkay, I’m a giver like that.

Don’t leave something potentially trip-ruining til the last minute if you can do it earlier.  Case in point.  I {like most NZ’ers} assumed that I would have no problem with my application for the USA Visa Waiver Program.  So, on Thursday night, 4 days before departure I sat down and filled out the minimal online forms for Ethan and I – E is traveling on his NZ passport so needed the waiver also.  Ethan’s was approved lickety-split, min was denied.  D E N I E D.

Don’t expect to be able to talk to a human at the American Consulate in Auckland either, that would make way too much sense.  Their handy info line diverts to a call centre in India.  Where those staff that man the line know pretty much nothing about travel complications and how to resolve them.

With no help to be found anywhere I realize that I need to apply for a Visa, earliest appointment Wednesday.  Plane leaves Tuesday.

I apply for an emergency appointment.  D E N I E D.

Are you taking notes?  Don’t do this to yourself, the stress is unbearable and when your eyes are red from crying all day it makes it hard to keep reading emails from ass-hats at WebJet.

On that note, here is my next little Travel Gem for you;

Never book potentially complicated flights that may have the remotest change of needing to be changed with www.webjet.co.nz.  They had a nice price on our fares, that I will admit.  However, their customer service stoops to lows I had never even imagined were possible.

To change a booking you submit an online request.  I did this Friday lunchtime.  19 hours later on Saturday night I received a reply quoting the price for the flight change and the new date but they had scheduled 9am instead of the 9pm flight I requested.  I shot off a quick email thanking them for their reply and pointed out the error.  Fast forward to Monday 6pm and I still had no email form WebJet despite calling them every 4 hours for the past 48 hrs.  Their phone service crew were unable to process the change themselves, refused to put me through to ticketing and said there was actually no way for them to even call the ticketing department!  It was like pulling teeth.  While crying.  And yelling.

Make these two terrible very bad mistakes and you too will have to put your ridiculously excited 7yo on a plane to the holiday of his dreams without you.  Yes E has Dave with him and yes they will be fine, but I’m missing out on all of that fun that goes along with doing something with your child for the first time {that they can really remember}.

Woe is me.  Fingers crossed for Wednesday, I am hoping to encounter no more ass-hats, or complications before I finally might be able to get on a plane Friday morning.  If my Visa gets approved, and if I can get it on time.

Viewing Deck

Dave and Ethan on the plane

Sunday Love

Oh my.  What a week, the stress has been almost all consuming, but it’s Sunday again and time to reflect on all of the little moments that helped me through the week!

First up:  Rugby.  I am LOVING that our team The Western Pioneers won the 2012 North Harbour Premiere Rugby Conference.  Dave and Ethan spent Saturday afternoon at North Harbour Stadium cheering the boys on {with a huge Kumeu contingent!} and the boys got to bring the silverware home and send Silverdale home empty handed – much to the delight of the enamored junior players who spent an afternoon learning about what Club Pride really means.  Ethan {who normally shies away from large, loud crowd functions, was front row and centre as his triumphant team arrived back at the clubhouse with trophy in hand and sang their team song!  He then collected as many autographs as he could and declared it an AWESOME night.

 

Western Pioneers Win!

Loving a sneaky after-boy-in-bed takeaway mission!  So bad, but SO good!  Our local makes better fried chicken nibbles than any famous alphabetized chicken establishment you can think of, holla Huapai Takeaways, we love you {only occasionally and NEVER more than twice a month ; ) }.

Chicken Fried Rice

I popped into the Takapuna Markets for a quick solo {!!!!} scout around this morning and picked up some lovely spinach which I promptly used in a fab recipe I’m fixin’ to share with you – practicing my southern-speak for hanging with our friends and fam in Florida.  I also scored these 3 beautiful orchid stems for a measly $3!  Love.

Orchids

Choco-Ade?  Are back?!

I die.  I loved these bikkies as a kiwi kid and I still love them in their marvelous re-release.  Good on you Griffins for listening to your customers, Georgie Pie anyone?

Griffins Choco-Ade Biscuits

So in love with our doggies this week, and every week.  There are lots of suitcases around however, and Mum has already arrived in Chicago so the dogs are on high alert.  they know something is going on and they are worried.  Many extra cuddles are going around as we prepare to leave them in the capable hands of my cousin and his  lovely girlfriend.  Watching the Olympics is also excellent for rainy Sunday dog TV.

Dogs on the couch

Oooooohhhh. So love new recipes that are amaze, and perhaps even better than you had hoped!  Found a cracker today, will share soon x

Spinach, feta, chorizo calzone

Things I’m Loving is hosted by Meghan at MNM’s

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

Milo Giveaway…….. & the winner is!

Just so everything was on the up-and-up I used the webs definitive random number generator that I’m sure you’re all familiar with ……… Psychic Science {or, the first result from Google that was free!},

Free custom random numbers for lotteries, prize draws, gaming, divination, research
I love it when I find a website that helps me with my divination!  So handy.
Anyway, without much further ado, the winner of the VERY awesome Milo Prize Pack pictured below is;
Post number 20!!!!!
Random number generator
Milo Giveaway Winner
Darrenrae!  Congratulations, we LOVE indoor climbing here too.  Please email you delivery details to [email protected] and we will get your prize sent out!
Thanks so much for all of your fab entries, there were so many awesome ideas submitted that I am going to collate them into a post and printable for everyone to enjoy.

Five things.

As I wind up my final week at work before three weeks of stress vacation {!!!!!} I find myself being the perfect Gen-X’er and wishing to consume more, MORE MORE.  Just in case you were looking for some ways to part with your cash, this weeks Five Things is brought to you by my stomach and my empty wallet.

ripe-avocadoes

  • First on my list is avocados.  I despise this time of year when buying avos is totally hit and miss.  I also feel cheated about only getting to eat ONE Reed avocado this season!  Just as well Mum planted a tree for us, I’m going to Miracle-Gro the shit out of it!

water

  • Second:  I need more water, possible a drip for a day or so.  To say I’m struggling with water intake is an understatement at best.  I have more favorable options, and water plays second fiddle most of the time.  Must try harder.

Bacon

  • Bacon.  Bacon bacon bacon bacon.  Craving it.  Luckily my awesomely healthy “Melissa’s Special Meat, Cheese and Anything that isn’t a Carb diet” lets me eat a lot of bacon.  I still find it’s not quite enough.  There is always room for more bacon.

time

  • Time is something I’m thinking a lot about lately.  Especially, what I’m doing with my time and how to find more of the damn stuff.  I would ideally like another 4pm every day.  This is the best hour.  The after school feeding frenzy is done, bags are unpacked, lunch-boxes washed, washing off the line.  It’s a good hour for me, so I’m putting in a request for two of them.

Friendship bracelet

  • I really can’t get enough of little handmade, simple friendship bracelets.  I’m fairly sure that I could wile away a good week just playing with beads and varying types of string and yarn and making hippy bracelets for all of my kin {that’s what a hippy would say!}.  I also love teal and red together.

Let me know what Five Things you’ve got on your mind this week xx

Things I’m Loving

Whittaker's Dark Ghana

I am loving dark chocolate {I keep a king sized block in my bedside cabinet and have a couple of squares each night before bed}. This is nothing new, and really, if i’m honest this photo is actually just a by-product of falling in love again with my DSLR.  Taking snaps with my iPhone is so handy and convenient and the pics go straight into my photo stream.  You can’t take photographs like this with your iPhone though……..yet.  This week I am going to take my Canon with me wherever I go and enjoy  taking real pictures again!

Sports Award for Rugby

We are all loving the rugby season.  E’s team is doing so well, with some HUGE wins under their belts, 75-5 this weekend!  E plays his wee heart out every game and makes us so proud.

Dirty Knees

I took this pic at around 6.30pm last night.  When E finally finished playing rugby for the day.  He had one of his team mates over for a play after their game, and than Dave took them back up to the club at 3pm to watch the Prems beat Takapuna!  So it was rugby all day, and the guys loved it.  What was left of Ethan’s skin under the mud did not love being rubbed clean however!

Rainy Day Sunday

Today was rainy and gloomy and we all had a busy day yesterday, so we lazed a little this morning and it was lovely!  There was no rugby, no netball practices at 4pm {WTF was that about team mates?}, no painting, no gardening, in fact I was the only one who had an important ‘to-do’.  Dave has a possible promotion in the works so I had to update his CV format for him –  fingers crossed!

Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs

I really look forward to our Sunday breakfasts.  Dave cooks something delish every week.  This week it was Smoked Salmon, Brie and Scrambled Eggs.  Don’t get me wrong It was great, there was just something about it that was not quite right and I can’t put my finger on it.  One of these things didn’t go with the others, any ideas?

French Braid

I love french braiding my hair, it’s possibly a little too young for me now, but I figure if I keep it looking messy and casual I might be able to get away with it now and then.

Last weeks goal was to get up an hour earlier Monday through Friday.  I completed this 3 out of five days, so will go for all five days this week.  The extra time did allow me to dry my hair in the mornings instead of tie it up in an unbrushed top-knot {which is how I wear my hair 95% of my life}.  I am sick of being time poor!  My hair won’t be this long come Wednesday as I am visiting a new stylist to deal with my roots and ends before the wedding – 8 days til departure!

My Hair!

Things I’m Loving is hosted by Meghan at MNM’s

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

 

Denver & Depression

This is a post that I started the other night and never finished.

Feeling so sad that nothing can change your mood.

 Having two sad things combine in your head into a giant mean-sad combo that takes over your being for a while. It makes you feel like your are suspended in and surrounded by the sad and you can’t see the end of it, only feel everything.  I feel so sad for Denver. All I can think about is reform of liberal gun law, working it around in my head from every perspective, trying to figure out if it would or could ever change a country so in love with guns.

I also feel so sad for Ethan right now……

 

And that’s all I wrote.

The sadness has moved on into a numbing ball of stress, which I’m not sure I really enjoy any more than a numbing ball of sadness but work with what you’ve got right?

Can’t think, can’t write {that makes me sadder} so all I can offer is a picture of a Shi Tzu.  My darling Louie guarding his breakfast.

Shi Tzu Lou

Giveaway {closed } | Peaceful Baby Sleep Book Review

Peaceful Baby SleepLast month I received a gorgeous wee book in the mail to read and review.  I was excited.  I love books and LOVED this book in particular as it gave me a chance to go back to those precious long days {and short years} of Ethan’s early life.

This would make a perfect baby shower gift for an expecting mama – it’s brimming with positivity and chock full of lovely, feel good personal experience.

Reading through the experiences I immediately flashed back to the awful (and only) evening when I attempted to let Ethan self-settle before he was one.  I knew it was going to be rough.  He had been feeding to sleep at every nap and every bedtime, it worked for us and I saw no need to change our routine until someone chastised me for it, and my self-doubt set in.  Obviously it was time to sleep train the baby!

I scoured the web, I had everything I needed to do written down, I had a stop watch to time the intervals between going in to see him, I had my best friend laying on the floor crying with me outside Ethan’s room {Dave was at work}……It was one of the most hideous experiences ever.

I had treated bedtime like a science experiment and I knew I would never do it again.

Charlotte visits this issue in her book, as well as many other facets of parenting through the baby stages.  This book is NOT, however, a how-to guide and I don’t think it pretends to be.  Peaceful Baby Sleep is a collation of data collected from Kiwi Mums, describing their experiences and sharing their own natural instincts and the value placed on these maternal cue cards.

This book would be a wonderful reassurance for a new parent who is doubting themselves at every step and milestone.  It emphasizes that there is no one recipe for success that can be applied to every baby and every family; the stories shared are aimed at empowering parents to believe in what they know to be right for their baby.

The only {minor} complaint I have is that it appeared approximately 95% of Weston’s respondents seem to advocate co-sleeping, which I don’t think needs to be portrayed as mutually exclusive with any style of attachment parenting, again take from it what you will, different things work for different folks.

You can visit the Peaceful Baby Sleep Facebook page here and purchase online here.

Win your own copy of Peaceful Baby Sleep! Congratulations Michelle West!

Just leave a comment below telling me how you used to get your little ones to sleep, if you entered on the previous Peaceful Baby Sleep Post you are already in the draw!  Random winner drawn Sunday 22nd July, 2012.

Back to school; How was your day?

First day back and school and 45kms done – another 15 to go before we get home {I’m typing this at my own personal nightmare location – the pool, that’s another blog post}. Monday’s are a wee bit chaos-flavored as I drive in circles to get E to swimming right after school. Monday is our ‘be prepared’ day. Afternoon tea and swimming gear must be packed and taken with us when we leave the house in the morning, homework is done in the truck while we wait for the lesson to begin, and dinner must be at least at concept stage so we aren’t kicking off the week with an emergency fish ‘n chip run!
I had high hopes for this morning which were quickly dashed with 2 swipes of the snooze alarm. I want desperately to be out of bed at 6am and reclaim an hour back into my day.  The things I have planned for that hour!  Blogging, bed making, laundry folding….. it sounds riveting doesn’t it?  Problem is I have managed to get up at 6am exactly ONE TIME THIS WHOLE YEAR.  I am a snoozer, a sleeper, a very grumpy morning person who likes to get out of bed on her own terms.

I am a morning failure.  Tomorrow, however is another day.

Learning spelling words in the car before swimming
Learning spelling words in the car before swimming