Saturday, February 25, 2012

A few little adventures

Last week seems like ages ago. After last week this week was calm and mellow, though until this weekend I was still a bit exhausted. 
Andrew and Andrea are fantastic - I don't know if I have said that enough. In any place of employment feeling appreciated and cared for are by far some of the greatest benefits that can be offered. The week of Mia's birth I did put in extra hours, patients, work, but I knew that would be the case when I took the job. All the same, Andrew and Andrea wanted to make sure I was feeling appreciated and didn't want me to feel overworked so they gave me a three-day weekend and a gift card to the movies! 

Monday-Thursday were business as usually w/Mackay. Playgroups, playdoh, library rhymetime, and gym class. Friday I went to the movies which are located in a mall and then spent the afternoon at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. To get there is about a 1/2 hour drive with no traffic and of course I hit rush hour on the way home thus making the trip back about and 1 and 1/2 hours. The Gardens are wonderful. The lay out is very open and you are encouraged to wander freely. No admittance fee and the place is HUGE - I spent over two hours roaming and didn't seem everything. 
Saturday I took it easy at home. Today I was going to take the bus downtown but ended up doing a forest gump and walking which took about an hour. I am now much more tired and my feet are sore since I wore flip flops. It is nice though how you feel much for acquainted with a city and its geography after having walked it. I ended up, thankfully, where I was headed - Queen's Street (the shopping/dining section of the Central Business District or CBD or what at home we would call downtown) and the Auckland Art Museum. I took the guided tour, which like admittance was free, and loved hearing about the history of the building and the history of the art. The museum was set up much more like a gallery and had a great sense of continuity from Victorian to Contemporary. As usual, I felt quite contented and overwhelmed at the same time after only a short trip, so I can't wait to go back! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Taking care of children is hard work.

I am tired.

The week starts all over again tomorrow... I hope I am ready.

That being said, this week was lovely, spending so much time w/Mackay and really feeling like I was helping and being needed is a wonderful feeling. We did stick to our routine as much as possible and he was just a rock star when you consider how different and difficult the week was w/o mummy and daddy around. He is really starting to understand the position I play in his life which is amazing and sometimes frustrating for both of us, though definitely comes with the territory.
Baby Mia Johanna joined us on Tuesday the 14th at 0849 coming in at 50 cm and 3200grams = 19.6 inches and 7lbs 1 oz and healthy!!!! I am totally in love with her already. The c-section went well, but unfortunately Andrea lost a lot of blood during the procedure and post-op and ended up needing a blood transfusion yesterday. All the same baby and mommy were able to come home yesterday!
Mackay adores his sister. He constantly wants to hold and pick her up, which is tricky since she is so floppy, but a great sign of how loving he will be with her.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Beached as

I don't know why posting is a little intimidating. I think its may be because I feel like I have to get everything I been doing and thinking about for the past week packed into one post and I don't like writing all that much. Hopefully practice will help. 
First off I have some super amazing youtubes to share if you are at all interested. Look up "Laughing Baby - a peapod moment" or the likes to see Mackay laughing his head off at Andrew feeding their dog Shelly. Andrea is a distributor for peapods reusable nappies so there are a few other peapod commericals on youtube starring Mackay. This video is sure to make you smile, everytime. It is a bit old so he actually does look quite different now: obviously bigger, blonde hair, more teeth, ect. 
The other you tube video is called "beached as" and is just a funny clip of New Zealand slang, it was a HUGE hit here a bit ago. 

 We do have a pet. His name is Rusty or if your Mackay "Ruthy." He is really well managed (no litter box needed - wahoo) and very sweet. They did have two large dogs (Shelly and Bianca) until a few weeks before I came, but due to the increased household and there general needs for attention they have been pawned off on Andrew's parents.

Another great week has passed. I am now driving (on the LEFT) which is strange to say the least but I am getting the hang of it. After a few practice runs with Andrew and then Andrea they are letting me our on my own and with Mackay. I was really starting to get the hang of our schedule and Friday was an awesome day for the two of us. We went to an Au Pair Link playgroup in Orakei (20-25 minute drive to the east side of Auckland in the morning and played in the pool in the afternoon. He was pretty cuddly all day and his listening skills were at their peak - again it was wonderful! Also last Monday I made my mother's famous (or least  my favorite) banana chocolate chip muffins. They were gone in like two days!
Yesterday was a big adventure day as I went with Au Pair Link (my placement company if I haven't already said that) to Rangitoto Island. It is an extinct volcano that is about a 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland Terminal Harbor. Once on the island the hike up is about an hour and usually had an incredible (!!) view back towards Auckland, all they bays and many near islands. I didn't get to see much of the 360 degree view since rained/misted/fogged all morning. All the same the hike was great and all the green luscious forest was really fun to go through. 

As it does here (like in CO), give it a few hours and the weather is completely different. By the time we were back on the early ferry to Auckland the clouds started to clear up and I did manage to snap a picture of the Auckland skyline from the water. With one of the other Au Pairs, I went to Mission Bay, an eastern suburb of Auckland and one of the nicest beaches in the area, to have my first NZ swim in the Pacific. The afternoon was absolutely beautiful weather and we sat on the beach for much of the pm. 

Andrea's mom is in today to help out for the week as baby is due in two days! Mackay and I are going to try our best to stay with our routine this week so the Sandringham Au Pair Link playgroup is tomorrow. I am off to make some banana bread (yes we did let a few bananas go past their date so the freezer is a bit full of them) and then have a relaxing afternoon. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Another three day weekend

 Last Monday was Auckland Anniversary day, like if each state had a 4 of July, and this Monday is Waitangi Day - the actually comparative 4th of July. So to get it right I had three days of training, a three day weekend on a vacation island, a few days of work and then another three day weekend to start out my year in NZ... no I do not miss real work.
That being said, almost 2-year olds are a lot of work. They are top upped with energy and attitude to spare. I am loving every minute. It does feel a bit weird to have playing, going to the park, and coloring as part of my daily working tasks and I keep feeling like I am not doing my job. We are going to start on a little routine next week where we go out adventuring in the morning - different play groups monday (with other au pairs in the area), tuesday (at the civic center), wednesday gym class, thursday library songs and stories, and friday play group (with au pairs from another, but still close, suburb). Afternoons will be filled with arts, crafts, music, stories and just the two of us play dates like going to the zoo (we are signed up for an annual zoo pass), the local park (literally just out the back yard), or the pool.
Hopefully having some idea of a schedule will make the time fly by and make me feel like I am really doing a "job."
I can already tell how amazingly lucky I am to have found my au pair family. We get along very well and there are clear boundaries of what I am responsible for and where my "shift" ends - one of my great early on concerns. Of course the schedule and responsibilities are always open to change as the needs arrive. The newest member of the family is due on Valentine's Day via c- section so all my planning is sure to go right out the window but it doesn't hurt to try.

Today I went on my first out the suburb area outing by myself. I can easily walk to pretty much anything I could possible want and I am going to be starting my left handed driving experience this week! Even so, I opted to ride the bus to downtown Auckland today. As like most non-European transit systems the bus services work wonderfully here as long as you have a few particular destinations and a flexible time table.
I went to get a cup of coffee with one of the other au pairs I met at orientation and walk around downtown. It was funny how proud of myself I really felt once I had mastered the ability to travel on my own in the big city. It  was a little feat, but it was nice to feel self-reliant to move about - a small comparison to an almost 2 year-old mastering stairs or better yet figuring out that annoying gate at the top of the stairs, something Mackay has done, but not consistently, YET.
Anyways things are fitting together nicely here, soon be be shakin' up by a new member to the family and I am starting to get my feet underneath me, continuing a fantastic beginning.