Monday, January 30, 2012

Tomorrow, tomorrow!

In 48 hours we'll be in Paris! Unfortunately, over half of that will be spent on airplanes... with a baby...

We've spent a busy few days in Auckland, or at least its felt busy cause we've been feeling so tired. Caught up with most of the people I was hoping too. We've been staying with good family friends, who were neighbours for the best part of a decade when I was kid. Feels a lot like coming home, staying at their place.

Louis eating the garden.

We've neglected to do any quintessentially Auckland things, except lunch in Mt Eden village. Which was lovely. I don't think we'll make it up Mt Eden or (n)One Tree Hill. I haven't glimpsed the harbour bridge or the sky tower, and I haven't been to Mission Bay, on this visit at least. Plenty of times before, of course.

We've spent lots of time with my grandparents as well. It's been great giving Louis some time with them, and them some time with him, before we jet off across the globe.



And now it's our last night in NZ... for now. Our washing is in the dryer, and two out of our three suitcases are already in the car. The plan for tomorrow:

Louis will be up around 6, so breakfast, etc. and all the usual morning habits... Louis will have a morning nap and we'll get on with the last of the packing and rearranging... until the final suitcase is only 20kgs and the hand luggage is organised and logistically brilliant. At around 10.30 we'll put Louis in the car and head off to the airport. Lunch with Luuk's family, and my grandparents, and then the big send-off.

My thinking is to nap on the first flight, between movies, and then stay awake at Singapore airport - swim, food, possibly a massage, definitely a good run-around on the playground (for Louis, not me) - so that I'm exhausted and relaxed, all ready to sleep for the whole second flight... all 13 hours and 50 minutes of it :( Here's hoping for a tail-wind. And here's hoping that Louis sleeps for a whole lot of it as well, in his car seat, on his airplane seat. So glad he has a seat!

Here's also hoping (last one) for a good night sleep.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nous Visitons nos amis et famille

We've had a great few days tripping around the Waikato/Tauranga visiting friends and family. Louis has recovered from his shots (apparently, though a rash can take longer to appear) and his teeth seem to be niggly but not a constant misery. Whew.

Luuk with friends, picnicking.


On Tuesday we had a picnic lunch at Memorial Park in Tauranga - delish food, good (and rarely seen) friends, happy kids and huge playground! Louis was off on one adventure after another...


Sign on the fountain: This is not a paddling pool. All children must be supervised by adults. Council takes no responsibility blah blah blah. Should be a Tui ad.

Louis in the foreground, splashing in the puddles, and in the background are our friends, circumnavigating the fountain.


 Thirsty? 


We spent the evening with other friends in Tauranga, where we got spoilt with fresh snapper for dinner and a gorgeous bbq-ed brunch the next day. Then visited cousins, aunt and uncle. Caught up, played rummikub, then went out for pizza the size of a tractor tire!

Lunch with cousins in Tauranga

 Happy munching on pizza crust and playing with the take-away menu... until his ears started bothering him, just before we left.  Either that or he is sick of us talking...

We returned to Hamilton, doing our audio french lesson as we traversed the Kaimai ranges, and spent the next two nights with our friends in Hamilton. It was a gorgeous, and steamy, day so we happily spent the remainder of the afternoon lazing around in the backyard, nibbling on strawberries and plums, while the kids played in the sprinkler and paddling pool. 

 Louis and Eli, splashing about!

Louis enjoying a cupcake for dessert, sitting in a 'bumbo' (I want to get one when we get to Paris!)

The first night with the Hamilton friends we stayed up late playing 'Tetris Link' a new game to us, but very quickly a favourite. The second night we were up late watching 'The Help' and eating dairy-free (read: tofu) cheesecake - which I was thoroughly impressed by! Not that I'd pick it over actual (dairy-full) cheesecake, but it was eminently edible.

Yesterday we went to Nana's for lunch (in Te Awamutu) and then on to my cousins' farm, where Louis spent a joyful afternoon playing with his second cousins, and having a nice long nap. We ate lots of yummy cheese scones and caught up with the cousins, and played with the kids. What a lot of cuties!


Probably stayed a bit late in the end... according to the wee man at least. It was a bit of a drive to get back to Hamilton, from out in the wops of the Waikato, but he kept entertained with the stereo remote...

Look who's talking (on the remote 'phone')

Now we're back with Luuk's family, getting our packing sorted. The plan: to pack and weigh the suitcases, and then for all 3 of us to live out of just one case until we get to Paris. We'll need 3 or 4 days of summer clothes, all the stuff for the plane/layover, and at least one winter outfit for arrival in Paris. Hopefully we then don't have to repack the night before we leave in Auckland. If we only open one suitcase, and everything that comes out of it goes back into it, then the weight shouldn't change right?

Well, that's the plan. Might be blogging from Paris next! Au Revoir!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The tooth has landed!

Louis' first tooth has come through! And on which day do you think this happened? Yep, the same day as he got his 15 month shots... Poor wee guy. Bit of a rough day yesterday.

The injections were rough: one in each thigh and then one in his shoulder, just under his skin, slow and torturous... He cried and screamed and tried to climb out of my arms. Fair enough, really.



Perked up with a few cheerios and a rollercoaster/shoulder ride on Luuk en route back to the car. Played at the preschool playground at the mall while we had lunch - back to his happy self. Amazing.

Slept in the car on the way to Nana's but, of course, woke up when we got there and then he was miserable. After nearly an hour of crying, Luuk went and got some pamol, and eventually he calmed down. His gums looked so sore and bruised. Felt so bad for the wee man. Horrible day.

But this morning, after breakfast, he was watching his cousins (watching Elmo), and I gawked curiously into his mouth... and there it was, a little bit of tooth. Voila!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Packing up

I skipped a few weeks of madness, because of the madness of packing up, but I thought I might update now... now that I've had nearly a whole day of leisure - chatting, reading, a french lesson, a movie, a nap... it's been lovely.

The whole moving-to-france plan has been in the pipe-line for a while but we had no specifics as to when until just before Christmas. We only got flight dates sorted just before new years, and were still under the impression we had to do our own packing, so spent most of that week sorting and packing... then found out that, for insurance purposes, the movers have to pack the stuff. Sweet, right? Except it was half-done already. Anyway... in the midst of all this was another wolloping earthquake, christmas, new years, and a visit from Luuk's parents. Little Louis is coping remarkably well with his constantly fluctuating routine!


Once upon a time when we still had furniture (above), before we sold/gave away/stored all our possessions...


The furniture was gone, boxes everywhere, but the wee man got on with his milestones, picking up a pen and starting drawing! On paper! I'm so proud. Writer or artist? Both? Either. Usually pens are used as drum-sticks or lolly-pops...

video


Who needs furniture to have a good time, anyway?


Opa and Oma visited for a few days - a few very hot, summery days, in which we endeavored to eat the contents of the freezer, and made significant progress. The home-made ice blocks were a winner, for sure.

On the last day of their stay we had a garage sale and pawned off a lot of our stuff on friends and total strangers. Made a hefty stash of cash and got rid of about two thirds of the stuff. The rest went to book shops, salvation army and the tip (some of it recycled, some not) on Monday. Noteworthy moment: throwing a perfectly functional Rimu desk, piece by piece, into the pit at the dump... It didn't sell and we didn't want it. What else could we do? Still feel a bit bad about that...


We stayed with Mum and Dad for the last few days in Christchurch, while our house got packed and sent to storage, and we cleaned... ick. Was such a relief to have that behind us.


Last evening in Christchurch, after a delish(!) dinner of Lamb with feta and lemon and rice (Mum went through a Mediterranean phase, that, thank god, she never quite got over. Love it.), we set about the mission of taking some half-decent family photos... Good luck getting everyone smiling and looking at the camera at the same time. Getting Louis to look at the camera isn't so difficult. It's getting everyone else to stop looking at Louis - that's the trick!

And now, we are swanning around the Waikato and surrounding regions. We have 3 mammoth suitcases and a baby backpack. Somewhere in the world, between Christchurch and Paris, is a half-cubic meter of stuff we shipped over. We are semi-homeless, semi-jobless wanderers! Only technically, however, as we've got the apartment we were hoping for, come mid Feb, and there's a temporary apartment booked for us for the first few weeks in Paris. And, of course, Luuk has a job, it's just that he hasn't signed in France cause we're not there yet, and he's resigned here, because though he'll be working for the same company, it's a separate office... anyway, boring technicalities. I quite like the idea of being wanderers, but I suppose it's better this way, what with having a baby about to start walking, and another one cooking (and kicking).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our journey so far

We left Christchurch yesterday, but it feels like it's been longer than that. We drove north along State Highway one, with an angelic sleeping baby, until Cheviot... and Louis woke up. Too soon! Poor little guy was a total misery guts until Kaikoura. He enjoyed the primary school playground there, mostly because it has stones rather than bark, and he just adores stones.

We were on a strict time frame, ferry to catch and all that, so continued on, to Louis' great dismay. Fortunately he nodded off again some time later and only woke up just before we arrived in Picton. Our itinerary said 'final check in' was at 1.25. It lied! Loads of people arrived after us, and we were 2 minutes late, thanks to the misleading signposting that I'm hoping some poor sob in Picton gets a kick out of.

I was glad to see the crossing conditions were meant to be 'calm'. I sometimes get a bit of motion sickness but was fine this time. Just sleepy. Pregnancy is bloody exhausting.


Louis loved being on the deck, looking out at the strait, wind and ocean spray in his face...

 

We spent a lovely evening in Wellington with my cousin, her husband, and their son, who is a little bit older than Louis - hilarious bath times, delish(!) dinner and a good night's sleep. Headed out pretty early this morning (early for a saturday at least) and made good time. Louis slept till just before Taihape, where we stopped for lunch at what was rumoured to be the best KFC in the country. Couldn't tell you if the food was markedly better than elsewhere but the service was fantastic. Then we went scouting for a playground...

video

What a brave wee man. Adrenaline junkie in the making... yes, it worries me a little. Un peu. (Better?)

Next stop was Waiuru, mainly for the photo ops...

Riding on a 'small' tank...? (above)


Riding the bigger tank (above and below)


Here comes the tank.


Apologies for the self-take but it had to be done.

Somehow, heaven knows, Louis stayed awake and happy for most of the rest of the way. Had a wink of sleep before we swapped drivers, which of course woke him up, and then he wouldn't go back to sleep, despite bottles of milk and bed-time toys being thrust at him. Gave up half an hour from our destination and plied him with a different toy every few minutes until we arrived (when he was quite contentedly playing with the stereo remote - should have tried that earlier). The cousins arrived a few minutes later! Timing, people. Tres bien!

After dinner, the filthy kids had a bath together. Oh joy of joys.



These joyous spongey things were added to the mix and Briar gave up on the game, escaping with her gorgeous dry hair barely damped. Louis and Xanthe, on the other hand, couldn't get enough of the splashing and spraying.

video

Sorry it's long. Feel free to stop watching. There's no great punch-line at the end. I just can't be bothered editing video with a tracker-pad, on a laptop, after a nearly-nine-hour road trip.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sometimes escapism is the best option

There are a lot of big things going on right now. I spent much of the day reading a young adults novel. Then I had my hair done and dove deeply into fashion magazines and celebrity gossip. And now I'm watching an episode of The West Wing that I've seen at least twice before.

Am I processing the humongous life-changing events going on? Probably. While I'm sleeping. Or while I'm not sleeping and should be.

So, how does one process big change? Do I write in my journal about moving to Paris with my baby, while I'm pregnant, and speak only a little French. Vraiment, un po.

Well, yes. I do journal, however I mostly write to-do lists. Not about how I feel. When I try to put what I feel into words it sounds like a bunch of cliches - excited, nervous, anxious, sad to say goodbye, happy to be going on an adventure, all that.

My head is full of plans. I have dates and bookings and errands coming out my years. Somehow, despite all that, what kept me up last night was excema and when I did sleep I dreamed about a an earthquake. Yeesh. Maybe I'm not processing Paris at all, just dealing with now. I suppose I'll have plenty of time to process the big move when it's happened.

However, I suspect the first month in Paris will be fill of dates and bookings and errands... essentially the mirror images of all the appointments we're doing now, plus the extras thanks to the famous French love affair with bureaucracy. But I don't mind that. I believe in bureaucracy but explaining why is annoying and irritating so I'll leave that subject here.

Watch this space. I'll let you know how the processing goes, and do some of it right here on my handy-dandy blog.

ps. Grr. Louis, my baby, is still crying over half an hour after the phone rang and woke him up. I tried to calm him down but it's so light outside and will be for another hour. He's in a porta-cot in the study at my parent's house (where we're staying)... not in his own bed, own room, in the dark... Fingers crossed he'll run out of steam soon.

Sometimes escapism is the best option

There are a lot of big things going on right now. I spent much of the day reading a young adults novel. Then I had my hair done and dove deeply into fashion magazines and celebrity gossip. And now I'm watching an episode of The West Wing that I've seen at least twice before.

Am I processing the humongous life-changing events going on? Probably. While I'm sleeping. Or while I'm not sleeping and should be.

So, how does one process big change? Do I write in my journal about moving to Paris with my baby, while I'm pregnant, and speak only a little French. Vraiment, un po.

Well, yes. I do journal, however I mostly write to-do lists. Not about how I feel. When I try to put what I feel into words it sounds like a bunch of cliches - excited, nervous, anxious, sad to say goodbye, happy to be going on an adventure, all that.

My head is full of plans. I have dates and bookings and errands coming out my years. Somehow, despite all that, what kept me up last night was excema and when I did sleep I dreamed about a an earthquake. Yeesh. Maybe I'm not processing Paris at all, just dealing with now. I suppose I'll have plenty of time to process the big move when it's happened.

However, I suspect the first month in Paris will be fill of dates and bookings and errands... essentially the mirror images of all the appointments we're doing now, plus the extras thanks to the famous French love affair with bureaucracy. But I don't mind that. I believe in bureaucracy but explaining why is annoying and irritating so I'll leave that subject here.

Watch this space. I'll let you know how the processing goes, and do some of it right here on my handy-dandy blog.

ps. Grr. Louis, my baby, is still crying over half an hour after the phone rang and woke him up. I tried to calm him down but it's so light outside and will be for another hour. He's in a porta-cot in the study at my parent's house (where we're staying)... not in his own bed, own room, in the dark... Fingers crossed he'll run out of steam soon.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Eating out the pantry

All systems are go. We are only living in our flat for one more week! Last night we inventoried our pantry and now we just have to eat accordingly. Should only need to buy milk this week! If you are in Christchurch, come to our garage sale on Saturday 14th. We're getting rid of loads of stuff! I'm even considering baking for it - to use up some items from the pantry! I have stacks of dried fruit and plain biscuits, and there's a tin of sweet and condensed milk... bakeless slice? or a whole lot of muesli bars!

We are making a lot of lists. Last night we ventured a to-do list: holy cow. 3 whole pages of a notebook (A5 size, thank god). Next job is to sort this list into things that we can do before the garage sale and things that we have to do afterward (like cleaning out the fridge: can't be done until we're no longer using it really.)

Meanwhile, I'm starting to think about France. Until a few days ago I was so focused on all the things that needed to be done here, to get us up, up and away, that I hadn't really started looking forward to Paris and all its perks. Started reading the Lonely Planet guidebook we got for Christmas, and then found a website for the local community around where we are hopefully (probably) going to live. The neighbourhood hosts an annual cheese and wine festival! A video about it: http://www.ville-antony.fr/4-28283-Foire-aux-Fromages-et-aux-Vins.php

Fortunately this is in September so I'll be free to eat as much unpasteurized cheese as I like. Bring on the blue! In the meantime, there's a language to learn (the more I learn the more I feel overwhelmed by how huge a language is, and the less I feel I know!) and a life to figure out... where to buy bread? and where to get coffee? the quickest route to the train station and the best way to transport groceries, including nappies, and a baby, or two, on the train.

Aaaaah!
So for now I'm mostly focussing on the to-do list here, in christchurch, and then there's the list of people to see up north before we catch our flight. There are also packing lists and shipping lists and I'm yet to write a list of toys (which will need to be sorted into 4 categories: store in NZ, ship to FR, in suitcase, or in hand luggage for plane trip). Fun fun fun.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nous allons a Paris!

Today, the moving company lady came to look at how much stuff we're storing - "a half-house load"... tehe. Why are we storing out 'half-house-load' of stuff, you ask?

We're moving to Paris! I keep on saying it, just throwing it into every conversation. Still not sure I believe it.

Starting to get excited though... now that the house is almost packed and half the furniture is gone (given away or in the garage sale pile - in the garage). Have put winter clothes into suitcases and sorted out all my other stuff. Only thing left is the kitchen, really.

Have done 30 french lessons c/o Pimsleur. There are another 60 to go...
Have got my international driver's licence. Though, heaven forbid, driving in Paris... non, merci.
Have returned some of the random assortment of other people's stuff we discovered while sorting through our own.
Have new copies of vital documents: birth/marriage certs, etc. Translations into French are in-process.
Have new passport.
Have got extra dosage of sun (oops) to make up for missing out on February (best bit of summer) in NZ.

Don't have flights booked. Hm... And meant to be leaving before the end of January. But hopefully will have that sorted this week. (Suspect my hopes are in vain.)
Haven't made garage sale signs. May have accidentally given away all my paints. Oops. Anyone got white or black paint, hanging about in need of a cause?
Haven't handed over all the stuff we're long-term-loaning to people.
Haven't weeded the garden (but struggling to see the point as it'll only need to be done again in a couple of weeks when we leave.)(To be fair, always struggle to see point of weeding).
Don't have accommodation in Paris. But am assured someone is working on it. Someone in Paris.

I have so many lists around, it's crazy, but I would actually go crazy without them.


 bghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh;[-                    vvv                         egg jfk mii kjc  eo okko

Louis says, 'get off the compooper mum, you're boring!'
so bye.