Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Well I got distracted yesterday when I was writing about Quincy’s eagerness to eat. I bought him some hard teething bread sticks at one point – he showed little interest after a few chews – I think they were too hard and smooth. I gave him a piece of toast during lunch one day. He was SOOO happy! It fit his hand nicely and was fun to gum and kept him quite happy (and me!). He mostly just made it soggy and then I would trade it for a different piece. Whenever he dropped it he let out a cry just like when he is hurt which would miraculously stop when you held it back up for him to grab. So I now have gotten rather lax and let him chew on crusts from French loaves, organic breadsticks for 9 month olds etc. We are still only at the rice cereal stage at home! I introduced a bit of fruit puree into it today which he found tolerable. A week or so ago when I tried him on both a veggie and a fruit babyfood he made the most awful faces. Usually he leans forward to receive the next bite – not then!

This morning after a slow and wet commute in to drop Pete off (he has requested a 7.30 a.m. delivery time tomorrow!!) we stopped off at a café (see a trend?). My excuse is that nothing is open that early. We were in a suburb called Parnell. Shortly we saw a few police hanging out on the sidewalk outside. The buzz was that Clinton might be showing up – he shopped at a few stores there on his last visit (we read that he had about 1200 people in his entourage last time). He gave a 90 min talk last night for the meager compensation of $500,000. Some obscene amount per second. He was flown in on Sultan of Brunei’s jet. Anyway, Aidan’s day was made chatting with the cops. After buying the deerskin purse I had had my eye on (I had an awful morning – really woke up on wrong side of bed – bad back led to too many sleepless nights had caught up with me – but 2 large mocha lattes helped straighten me out) we cruised thru a glass shop and down the street a bit. On our return the cameras were out and sure enough there was Clinton. He gave a sweet young thing a big hug for a photo op – she looked a bit discomforted by it. Then he headed into the glass shop we had been in. He looked trimmed down a bit and very ruddy in his face under the white hair. He is quite the celebrity in NZ. After that stop we (I) decided to check out our local community of St Heliers. It was a bit larger than I had realized and a bit nearer. We won’t suffer for restaurants nearby! I think it will be a nice weekend evening walk there with Pete. There was also a nice library I joined (I owe them $50 “bond” though before I can rent anything). The librarys here are open daily except Sunday and something like 9-5 – much better than in SF. Pete tried out the local bus to get home. Worked fine and goes nearby our house – but with the walks on both sides and waiting and the ride he clocked up close to an hour. Oh well. He found a garage 3 blocks from his building for $6NZ a day – not too bad. So maybe next week he’ll pick up a 2nd car.

Monday, May 27, 2002

One last thing tonight - promise! Aidan is going through what Pete refers to as his "Rain Man" phase. He wants to be part of the conversation, so lately if Pete & I try to have a conversation Aidan will chime in. Just a fraction after we start talking he starts. He picks up a fragment of our conversation / a phrase and trys to get intonation down and then tries to talk over us. It is really really annoying!
I’m going to try to keep it short as it is already 11 p.m. and I am just starting. As you have probably heard – we have a home! 19A Dingle Rd – right near Dingle Dell Reserve, just inland and up the hill from the water so we have great views out a lot of the house. And there are 3 bedrooms plus a sun room with a single bed. A large kitchen with table adjacent with seating for 8 (and a leather sofa off to one side). It opens onto a nice deck with another table and chairs for sunny warm days (ha!). 2 stoves, a nice pantry, at least 3 means of brewing coffee (but no grinder!) – you get the picture. Family room has 2 full size sofas and a large chair/loveseat. We will be spoiled by the time we leave. Funny enough we haven’t yet found homes for what little we have and some stuff is still sitting out (there is plenty of storage tho). Have made a couple grocery runs and stocked up a bit too.

The weather has continued to be sunny with showers – kind of pretty and doesn’t really impact our day much (other than me avoiding playgrounds) as you can usually take cover for the fairly short rains. Have seen a lot of rainbows and the views are very pretty with lots of drama. Also rather blustery which I don’t mind as the weather temp wise is still similar to SF.

Saturday we checked out one of the large parks here – One Tree Hill (although no longer is there a tree!). There are actually very nice walks in the park along / under mature tree avenues etc. We did go to the summit – it reminded me a lot of going to Twin Peaks in SF – very very windy. Aidan was excited to see his first sheep and cattle of the trip – they live / graze in several parts of the park. After signing the rental papers at sundown we had a great dinner in a nearby ‘burb – probably the best dinner yet.

Sunday Pete’s co-worker for the project arrived at 6 a.m. He joined us for breakfast after helping us move a load of stuff to the house. We then took me back to have another session with the masseuse (had one Sat too as my upperback/neck was giving me fits). They have the chair kind of massage you can walk and have 10, 15, or 30 min for not too much $ ($25NZ for ½ hr). And then we checked out the Maritime Museum downtown. Quite nice – you can’t really do a museum right with a toddler though. Aidan really only wanted to find “steering wheels” to drive. Partway through he peed in his pants – and I had forgotten and left him in real underwear and neglected to ask if he needed to go. But to top it all off he decided to do a poop just before we cleaned him up instead of waiting and going on the toilet. I was a bit livid! He and I also had spent a long while trying to find Pete & Quincy with no luck. I was forcing the potty training a bit as a few days before he was deliberately peeing in his pull-ups. So he had an accident leaving a restaurant one night (fortunately outside). He had been dry since then but the excitement of driving the boats… Poor guy was constipated for a couple days too –wouldn’t go because it hurt. Then on Saturday I measured him with 101.5 degree fever too – very lethargic (although that can be kind of a nice break!). Back to normal now. Kept his pull-ups dry all day despite not getting to go potty for at least an hour after he requested at one point. How do you think he’ll like this reporting when he looks back from the future? Poor kid!

Quincy is much more the mover than I remember Aidan at this stage. Earlier I put him down on the floor and in a fairly short period he was almost 5’ away – not particularly deliberately, just rolling here and there and over and back. He also delights in rattles in a way I don’t remember of Aidan. Shaking and eating them. He so clearly wants to be eating when we eat. He is neglected in the solids department in that I can’t be bothered to give him his rice cereal everyday – it is so time consuming and messy! I had forgotten… I think he’ll be a messier eater in general than Aidan especially now as he likes to try to slide his fingers in between bites. Aidan never sucked on his fingers particularly. I just remembered today the trick where you let baby grab one spoon and feed him with another. Except Quincy doesn’t like to take the 1st spoon out of the mouth…

Today after dropping Pete at the office, heading to hotel to pick up laundry we forgot in the washer, we headed to Atomic Café (with sandbox in rear) for fluffy, trim mocha latte, and bread and jam snack. Followed by trip to Childrens Bookshop where Aidan plays with a train table and Mom can look at books sort of in peace. Bought Quincy another couple of wooden rattles as the 1st one I got him there has been so popular. Then the grocery (where of course Aidan rode the white car afterwards). He again sat next to Quincy in the “trundler”. (Very civilized carts with a variety of features to choose from – the stand in the corners for wine or flowers, the drink well for your Starbucks coffee cup, one kid or 2 upfront). Back home for naptime then off to pick Daddy up from work. Traffic around his office was terrible and we ended up in the car for almost an hour (I also took wrong turn and didn’t have map in car). Kids were NOT happy. We were so happy this morning when the commute was slightly over 10 minutes – and it is a pretty commute hugging the water almost entire way.

Quincy had gotten used to sleeping in our bed at the hotels. He would protest when returned to the co-sleeper crib and because I didn’t want Aidan woken he got away with it. The game is up. Last night he got to scream it out. Was probably about ½ hr or so and I was right beside him – and even holding his hand. But he did end up giving up and going to sleep. And then on subsequent wakings he was willing to go back into the crib without protest. I was interested to see how he’d do tonight. He passed out when nursing the 1st time. But he just woke after 3 hrs (typical and better than it has been!). He went back into crib and then smiled at me quite a bit and played with his blanket some. Then after 10 min or so drifted off. Into a happy place too to judge by all the sleep smiles he’s been doing. Phew!

I brought him into bed at around 5 a.m last night as the room was so cool and we don’t have heavy blanket on him. Turns out there is no central heating here! Just a couple space heaters! I found just before bed that there were a couple of windows that had been open (and wasn’t able to close laundry room one). I think in general that you probably have a great deal of control just using passive solar energy. There are lots of north facing windows and a large skylight – and they have absolutely everything with some sort of shading devise that you can pull down when needed. I think if gets hot here in the winter… Today the house warmed up fairly nicely from the sun. I did buy some high performance fleece pants at Kathmandu store that I love and have worn for the past few days. So I haven’t been cold…
Aidan woke inconsolable last night despite the fact that Pete was in bed with him. I went down and comforted him and asked him if he was scared “yes” said the little voice “can you tell me what scared you?” “daddy”. I think he had been perhaps asleep freaking out and Pete woke him. I lay down with the 2 of them for perhaps 5 min and he was back out again. He was upset to find himself alone after napping today too. Hopefully he’ll get comfortable soon so Pete can return to the master bedroom where he belongs. I have to say that I personally find Aidan’s bed to be the most comfy in the house. He always asks in a most pathetic way “will you sleep with me?” and if the answer is no “will daddy sleep with me?”. He did get used to going to sleep by himself again at the hotel although he wasn’t happy about it. Pete’s co-worker still has in the bed issues with his 5 & 7 yr olds – we need to get our kids in the right direction now not later!

well it is midnight - I did take a Quincy break but it isn't as short as I planned - sorry!

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Yesterday was a stormy but rather beautiful day. We found 2 playgrounds, both right next to beaches. The water was a glorious glowing green under the sunny sky with the dark stormclouds behind. There were a couple of windsurfers we enjoyed watching – they had enough wind to become airborn at times. Aidan and I had a nice lunch at an open air café next to the playground in the park – fortunately it had a fabric roof where we were sitting so we avoided getting wet. I had intended to check out the aquarium as a couple of Pete’s co-workers had been going on about it at length the night before but it was 2 before we knew it and I had hopes of a long nap. No such luck!

While at café another Mom & her 2 boys – almost same age – sat down next to us. They have just moved to Devonport after living in London & Glasgow for a number of years – we have our first playdate! Unfortunately her oldest son is 3 months younger and doesn’t really seem to talk as far as I can tell so I doubt Aidan will get that much out of him. Both boys were larger than mine.

We didn’t get the townhouse – lost it to another couple with 2 kids almost same age!! So we have a few places today lined up to check out today.

Quincy is waking sometimes as frequently as hourly now at night. And Aidan wakes up and crawls into bed – fortunately he is fine about being redirected to sleep in “Quincy’s” crib adjacent to the bed. Quincy tends to spend the night in bed with us now as he wakes and protests when put in his bed. I need them in separate rooms so I can let them cry without waking the other!

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Well, so far the car has been driving well and I am handling the wrong side of the road with minimal difficulties. Had a forey to the grocery yesterday. Aidan sat in the "trundler" (shopping cart back home) next to Quincy. That was a first in probably 18 months. Made life a bit easier! Lately Aidan has decided to help me shop and selects all the products from the lower shelves that I never noticed before - he found Bob Builder "Fun Bars" on our first grocery trip here.

Today hit a shopping area that had several children's clothing stores. Was able to get some shirts etc to replace the ones I've ruined so far in the hotel washing machine. Finally having some rain - today it drizzled a bit when we started out, turned very sunny, had a few cloud bursts during naptime, sunny again, drizzle again. I think tomorrow we might head to the Aquarium. Some women tonite at dinner were very excited about it altho John & Janell panned it. Had dinner at nice Italian restaurant with Pete's co-workers - 3 women and a man. Aidan was as angellic as you could hope for thanks to getting an order of blue cheese and bread on table immediately for him. He was flirting up a storm with the women and didn't want to leave (it was almost 9.30!).

Aidan now asks to play "cards" several times a day. I bought him a deck of Dr Seuss "1 fish, 2 fish, red fish, GO FISH" cards to play "go fish" a couple days ago. You request either color or number of fish on each card. We play open handed and he seems to love it. Pete played Crazy 8s with him and the deck this a.m.

He misses Isabella - he was impressed by her covering her hair with Humus that last day. And we have returned a couple times to Atomic Cafe ("ohh - it has the same name as my friend Thomas" he told me after mis-hearing name) - it has the sandbox he and Isabella played in. Unfortunately he is now convinced that all cafes must have toys and/or sandboxes. Not good. He also won't eat when we are at one - he just wants to play and preferably me play too.

No word on the townhouse yet - turns out we had competition. So we may be out hitting the pavement again this weekend unfortunately - we'd rather be sightseeing!

Aidan is also now convinced that we should (he and Pete) go swimming each evening. Quincy and I joined them yesterday. They stay for at least an hour and spend a fair bit of time in the jacussi. I could barely stand in the pool area and didn't feel safe towing Aidan around in it. He also asks after the large chess piece horses.

Quincy is really doing alot of turning over and rotating - Aidan didn't move like this for a month or two later. He also loves his rattles - Aidan was more indifferent as I recall. He also has a couple of nervous habits - chomps on his hands/fingers, scratches at his ears (used to be top of head). He actually made an ear bleed one night last week. I was quite disturbed to wake to see blood drips in his bed. I have kept those little nails a bit shorter since! I wonder how much is attributable to having an older brother?

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Today we rented ourselves a car at the stellar rate of about $225/month. That gets us a Subaru Legacy station wagon. It is a bit of an older car with a few dings around the sides (will help conceal any I add), and Pete’s comment that it sounds like mice or hamsters are running around inside the engine is dead on, but it has power windows and locks as well as AC – and has plenty of room – we might even be able to get all our bags in it if we pack carefully! So we have wheels! Have to admit in some ways I liked using public transportation and going at the slower pace little toddler legs take us. I’ll have to learn my way around the city and am not looking forward to navigating by myself – but we will have a much greater range of activities available to us now – not to mention how much easier it will be to get the groceries home!

After a farewell brunch with John, Janelle & Isabella (Aidan was amazed to see how Isabella could coat her hair in Hummus – I am betting Quincy will be more that type of kid), we rented the car. Aidan had a great time hanging out in the car “driving” while we sorted out the paperwork. As the day was a bit mucky – more drizzly than anything, but far from nice – Pete suggested we check out the War Memorial Museum. I agreed with no real enthusiasm. It was a really nice museum! I am sure I will spend quite a few wet days there with the kids. Downstairs was a lot of Polynesian / native Maiori type exhibits (some nifty stuff). There was some Korean musicians who danced and sang and played instruments. Aidan and Pete watched I think the whole hour or so. I sat outside the door with Quincy so he could roll around a bit – I figure hanging out in the stroller all day has to be awful – and I peeked in and was able to listen. Upstairs they had a natural history type area with a lot of stuffed animals and beach/tidepool sort of displays as well as a hands on area for littler kids – bang on drums, play in sand, read books etc. Pete checked out the top floor with the war memorial stuff – I didn’t hear a report back.

I cooked another pasta dinner and we had some corn on the cob – probably about the last we can expect of that this season – Aidan enjoyed chomping on it. And then Pete and Aidan went off to enjoy the pool & jacussi again before bed. Forgot to pick up the photos today before the place closed – but might actually have some photos I can upload tomorrow to ofoto! No promises however.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

made it to breakfast, photo place, post shop (very civilized here with places to by cards and magazines and all your packing materials and short waits to pay), bus to grocery and taxi home that day. pete surprised us by getting home before 5.30 - i think aidan was still napping.

don't know what is up with these hotels we stay in. around 2 just as i was thinking to myself "naptime" the fire alarm went off. i had to walk the 2 kids down 7 flights of stairs (after confirming with the front desk via phone). aidan got to see 3 fire trucks (and we had seen 4 race by when we had breakfast). he didn't like the loud alarm noise at all. fortunately it was over quickly - pretty much as we got downstairs they were packing up). when we were in brisbane there was an alarm around 8.30 at night - and that one lasted a good hour and half before they let us go back to our rooms - and not all guests were allowed to return. they couldn't find the problem (airconditioning fanbelt or something).

today, saturday, we rented a car and used it to get to the neighborhood where we were looking to rent - as between us we had double booked a few lookings! i took aidan and pete took quincy. we actually had gotten back together to see 2 good contenders and i think (hope) we have the one we want. assuming landlord likes our paperwork we may have a "home" next weekend! i'll write more when it is real. the location looks like pete could hop a 17 minute bus ride to his new office location from 1/2 block from the 3 bedroom townhouse with an enclosed patio. it is just 2 or 3 (long) blocks to a beach too - aidan LOVES beaches. he also loves collecting sticks and picked up a ton on our walk thru the neighborhood while house hunting. there are many restaurants and a few stores also a block from the house. and best yet it has a connected 2 car garage so i could take the kids to the grocery store (and the white car to ride!) which has covered parking and never get wet in the rains :-)

after a fluffy and mochaccino break we hopped in our car and headed to Devonport. i learned from actually looking at a map that it isn't an island at all but more of a spit of land that juts out in water (bay??) toward auckland city center. a fairly quick drive despite having to go over and around to get there. we hit up TWO playgrounds and the beach to aidan's delight. had a nice walk waterfront too - cute buildings somewhat victorian in their appearance with the wood cutouts like in s.f. only more simplified. went to a cafe and had very yummy meal - including a pizza that had curry chicken, cashews, bananas, and minted yogurt drizzled on it - they don't seem to have "normal" pizzas! aidan had two more fluffies. a week ago aidan hesitated over going down a slide over 4' high - now there doesn't seem to be any (especially tunnel ones) that intimidate him. and he is much more comfortable with bigger kids too - he was even intimidating a kid today that was 3 or 4" taller than him - he just walked up and stared him down or something and the other kid ran away each time. a surprising change in such a short time. of course this time last year there was no ladder too high for him to climb. he just had gotten cautious to the extreme the last few months and if there were any larger kids ("scary kids") present he wouldn't even go on the equipment.

we had to hightail it home to catch "survivor". did i tell you about the 1st time we saw survivor? i had seen an advertisement for it i thought - only it turns out it was "austrailian survivor"! have to say they looked like a heartier bunch. more used to roughing it. we finally found good ole USA one last week - and it turns out it was the episode that would have been on at home on the day we left! so we haven't missed a thing - too funny. we were also happy to see that they have "west wing" on tv - except they are only up to about the 2nd episode of the year so far! there are 2 sports channels, a movie channel (no commercials but surprisingly few movies i want to watch), 4 local channels - one with NO american shows! others include shows such as buffy the vampire slayer, charmed, simpsons, malcolm in the middle, judging amy - quite a hodgepodge all round. blue's clues is on at 8.30 a.m. for those mornings aidan is up and interested - and they do it the "right" way here by showing same episode each day for a week so the kids can master it. we don't watch much tv.

last night quincy mastered rolling - he was rolling back and forth all around and very happy about it. sometimes several rolls in one direction - so he might use it as a means of transporting himself across a room like thomas did before long. he is definitely ahead of aidan in this regard, but then i expected that as he has always been much happier hanging out on his tummy than aidan ever was. he doesn't like being upside down - one of aidan's favorite positions as a baby (and now!). quincy is very quick to smile at people - but only from the comfort of being with mom or dad. i let a nice grandmotherly shop clerk hold him the other day - he had been happy and smiling at her. in very short order the little lip was quivering and then the face crumpled and he started crying. i could easily run the risk this summer (winter) of having the 2 boys get used to only "mum" looking after them (ie tears when reunited with babysitters/school/gym childcare back home).

today aidan kept his pull-ups dry all day! he told me several times he needed to "piss" (we call it pee but he calls it like it sounds). i had him go in the grass at one point as we weren't near anything. i think he really liked that idea as the next time he told me we were also outside - but this time near an occupied playground. and he told me "there's grass to go piss on mommy!". oh dear! this potty learning has been two steps forward and one step back. there was the time i told him it was time to go pee and he went - only he was standing in the middle of the living room. and the time he tried to go without using his stepstool and hosed down the front of the toilet instead. and the time he ran into the kitchen (in his pullups) and declared "i am NOT pooping". i'm actually amazed at how well he is doing in general. i just need to remember to ask him more frequently when we are near toilets to use and be willing to move him into big boy underwear and make sure i have a change of clothes in the car.

we may get a long term car this week - i found a reasonably cheap place (altho i don't know how old their cars are!). i have a callus on my "tallman" finger on right hand from one handed stroller steering.

i think pete's co-worker (the tech guy) is showing up in a week. pete is looking forward to having a compatriat (and the help of course!). as i mentioned, pete has finally been moved to his real office. his project is with vodafone - the local cell phone folks. pete still hasn't wrangled a personal cell phone out of them for his use... he has been working at KPMG's downtown office - they are teamed on the project with e.piphany. pete will have a couple of them "shadowing" him - he hopes that they actually are good for something and not just pupils - we'll see how it works out.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

a beautiful day. we took the ferry (12 min) to a "suburb" on an island called Devonport. quite nice. there was a playground within sight of the ferry landing so aidan was happy. the cafe where we had lunch had a child's play area in the rear making isabella's mom happy - it is nice how they have toys or something in many stores and restaurants for the kids. we trundled up most of the way up the little volcanic hill for a great view back toward the city. on the ride over we saw one of the america's cup new zealand boats out for a tour - you can take a sail on one for a reasonable cost and help sail it. it would be fun but no kids under 10 allowed so doubt i'll get the chance as i have only been separated from my 2 for a total of 1/2 hour in the last 3 weeks! i finally did some shopping other than grocery. there looks to be alot of very fine wool products here (as you would imagine with a sheep to person ratio of 50:3). aidan must have collected 15 sticks along the way (i would periodically "lose" some of them). he also noticed a caterpillar that he was lothe to leave. had panini for lunch - they are everywhere - reminds me of our trip to italy - they use the same kind of grill and everything. i finally figured out the difference between mochaccino and mocha latte - size. have i mentioned the umbiquitous marshmallows? white and pink half spheres - about 1" diameter. not super soft so they don't actually dissolve in your drink. aidan is fond of them. kids are served "fluffys" here - foam in a cup often drizzled with chocolate.

lost quincy's hat overboard on return trip. we won't have much left after 3-4 months at this rate! pete lost toy "blue" (dog from blue's clues) a night or 2 ago. aidan has lost "wendy" stamp from bob builder show, a little fireman and something else i can't recall. he takes it really well though - a red pen is doing double duty as both wendy and a fireman! he is very insistant that we take whatever toys he is playing with when it is time to go with us - he doesn't play with them when we are out, just drops them. so far i have suffered least re clothes ruined from the washer (just socks and underwear grayed so far). i did another load yesterday and used cold water - and still a couple of quincy's outfits ended up tinged grey - i have no idea what is running as all these clothes have been washed together at home with no problems. guess we'll be leaving alot of his clothes behind when we return! pete is very cute in pink socks...

tomorrow i think i will attempt the following : grocery store, post office, photo place. aidan loves the white car to ride outside the grocery store. the ferry building on the island had an old fashioned looking car to ride that he shared with isabella. they are everywhere!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

ensuite means bathroom is connected to bedroom. pete reports that the equivelent of john doe is joe blogg. he didn't ask about poor jane. and did i mention that a place where children are watched is called a creche?

had our first truly sunny day yesterday and today looks to be more of the same. we went to the zoo. nice altho small - reminds me a bit of san francisco one but no train altho a bit nicer for the exhibits. they had a child play area where there was a very big and high tunnel slide - and aidan (who has been afraid to go on 4' long slides of late) went thru it at least 5 times and had to be dragged away. curious. the taxi driver told us that there was a really nice playground just around the corner in the large adjoining park. we were sceptical. it really was a great playground! aidan when we went back in the afternoon climbed through the enclosed maze bubble thing (4 bubbles connected on various levels) and out the tunnel slide. aidan is just telling daddy that there were really large birds to chase - true - a bunch of very tame geese and at least 4 black swans. you could probably have touched them pretty easily - they were all looking for handouts. i am generally very wary of geese but these seemed to be good natured and didn't peck or honk at anyone. aidan also still picks up a ton of sticks (and to a lesser degree leaves) whenever we are outside. they become all sorts of things - often musical instruments like horns.

went to very good seafood place a block from hotel for dinner. aidan's child meal was amazing - for slightly over $4 he got a nice fish at least 7" long on a pile of good fries and very tasty sauted veggies. he also got his milk and ice cream with chocolate sauce. it would have made a nice meal for me! my wood fired grilled salmon with avocado/pinenut accompaniment only cost about $10.

hadn't fed quincy in a few days - he ATTACKED the spoon and gobbled it all up. he also grabbed spoon and tried to help. and then he liked to put his hand in mouth so cereal gets everywhere. i can see i need to pick up a high chair and not continue to feed him on my lap where i can't see his face well. aidan gave him a spoonful - he wanted to help. quincy is doing more rolling over and really moves all around his mat when on his back so that he can play with various items.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

yesterday i convinced janelle to give public transportation in the bus form a try. we hopped on The Link and got off 3 or 4 stops along at area called Ponsonby. we had a nice wander through a neighborhood followed by a stop at "children's bookstore" - it had a brio train set up right at front - very smart so mums can shop in peace! picked up a few nifty books for aidan - one on going on a plane ride (which might make it's way to thomas before he heads to england), one on 1st day of school and one on listening (aidan likes to pretend he doesnt hear me sometimes!). also a wood rattle for quincy to gnaw on. we had lunch at an organic/healthy type cafe called Atomic - very yummy - and they had a sandbox with sandtoys and a chalkboard on wall next to it. a huge hit with aidan. he was too busy to bother with much lunch. then we wandered through a park and found another playground! i will take pete back to this one - it looks like it would really appeal to older kids as it has some long winding slides down the hill - and a mellow zipline that i really enjoyed riding.

for dinner we went back to Toto - our italian restaurant recommended to us our 1st night here. i have since read that it is considered finest italian restaurant in city. it is very modest in size but i am very impressed with food. we had 2 entrees, bruscetta to start, a salad, a juice, a glass of wine, and desert & cappucino - all for about $40. the kids were being squirmy so pete took them away when we had mostly finished with the entrees. i kicked back and ordered some tiramisu (came complete with chocolate covered espresso beans and milk & white striped chocolate shaving curls on top) and a flat white - pretty much a cappucino as far as i can tell. i had far fetched hopes of finding the boys asleep in bed when i returned - alas it was only a pipe dream.

this morning when i was putting quincy down for a nap aidan took himself off to the toilet and did a poop all by himself and told me afterwards (and showed me). his little seat wasn't even on the potty so he must have just balanced on the edge of the rim. i was impressed! when we are home he now uses potty whenever he needs to go. (i also encourage this behavior by having him run around naked!).

quincy did have a better nite sleep after tooth #2 was in but was up again about hourly last night. i am looking forward to having more than one bedroom again so i can let either kid cry a bit without worrying about the other - altho they both do a pretty god job of ignoring each other.

today i took aidan on a walk down thru sort of the main shopping area where i bought a pair of black jeans for about $10 - i think they will shrivel up if they ever end up in the dryer - but hey, the price was right! we had lunch on a patio by the ferry boats. i think in a day or so we'll ferry over to devonport for the day. i had both kids home and in bed by 2. quincy was up at 3 but aidan had to be woken at 5.15! needless to say he had been missing some sleep. they do good potato wedges here like australia - but here have the bad habit of topping them with mayonaise! and of course i forget to request it without. we had some for lunch. i also had some pasta with chicken and pumpkin - i have seen pumpkin on alot of menus here - in the store it is a green skinned squash with bright orange flesh. tasty. it is interesting to be heading into winter and see the return (for me) of autumn ingredients. the big grocery store does stock a variety of organic things - altho not the same ones we see at home. we have organic cherry tomatos, bread and hazelnuts here in our room that we bought. we like to drink apple/feijoi (sp?) juice - i wonder what the feijoi looks like.

after pete got home we cabbed it over to look at a partially furnished house - we need fully furnished. otherwise it was a nifty house. small bedrooms but nice downstairs open floor and the back doors/windows could all be retracted to fully open the wall to the back small garden. it had a heated mirror in bathroom so that you never have to worry about them getting steamy when showering. but everyone uses front load washers & dryers here - and they take all day to do only a few clothes. we hope to have resolved the living issue by this weekend. i just discovered today that there is no Target here - i expected to find one based on my Brisbane experience. it will take a while to figure out where to go for various items. in some ways this is a small town and certain things seem a bit hard to find. i was happy to finally see a childrens store of any kind - and it was next to a kiddie shoe store. i do have need of a few shirts for quincy - i went on quite a spree when i first started using the washer/dryers here - we have some funky looking clothes! pete bore the brunt of the pink load... too bad i don't always have matching socks in the same load either - my new gray sock might have been ok if it didn't have a white mate!

and sara - i am reminded quite a bit of england here. we are having lots of cadbury's chocolate - drinking, covering nuts & plain. i haven't tried the ice cream yet. the books i bought refer to things like the hood of the car as the bonnet etc. strollers are pushchairs which is new to me. (they were prams in australia). aidan strolled out in short sleeves today and the porter asked where his jumper was (sweater). i think the term for the bill at a restaurant is account - could you organize the account for me please? they like to "organize" things i've found. pete and i still haven't figured out what "ensuite" means (used in adds for rental houses) - any ideas? many are also listed as including "whiteware" which i took to be dishes but pete tells me means appliances. our hotel room dishwasher is one of those drawer size ones - and the room upstairs had 2 stacked. i have always liked that idea so that you can run small loads.

houses don't seem that different from the US here (from the outside). rather eclectic in general. i like that all the outlets have little switches by they so that they are not hot/live unless you want them to be). ginette asked for my observations re brisbane architecture. their houses definitely seemed tropical - were often built off the ground, had lattice wood work below, had low lines, had corregated metal roofs. i have seen a few houses here with corregated metal roofs too. previously i had only seen that on slums / in rural mexico. here it can be on quite upscale houses. the architecture of auckland is not particularly exciting. there are a few nice buildings and a few more historic buildings but in general it is quite a hodge podge. the city is not nearly as dense as san francisco either in the immediate downtown or in the inner suburbs. they haven't used their space to create civic space like brisbane though unfortunately - we would enjoy a few more parks with birds to chase...

well, i am off to join the boys in bed. oh yeah - aidan has decided that he likes to sleep in the co-sleeper crib that we brought along for quincy - he often naps there or starts his nights there. i told him it used to belong to thomas which may have something to do with it. i also remind him that thomas would be very unhappy if it was broken when he decides to use it to jump onto the bed immitating a frog. his head and toes touch so he is much too big for it. the hotel provided us with the same size playpen as a crib - we put the mattress (very soft) on floor for him. he often comes creaping up into our bed in the wee hours when he realizes where he is. we will have fun getting everyone sorted out sleepwise in september. at least he is going to bed again without us laying down next to him!

Sunday, May 12, 2002

well, our mother's day here is drawing to a close while those of you stateside are just beginning. quincy woke me just about hourly - and both boys seem to want to share our bed at night - but i found tooth #2 of quincy's had broken through this morning - so hopefully tonight he'll sleep better.

we had a nice brunch with our epiphany co-worker friends to start. then we returned to the hotel to pick up the mini-van they rented for a jaunt to the coast. not quite 50 km away we found two lovely beaches. the first we drove right up to. it was framed with some very scenic rock outcroppings that reminded me of oregon or washington coast. aidan and isabella had a great time getting their feet wet and digging in the sand. remember isabella has only been walking a few days... both kids were soon without their pants and soon had wet diapers (or pull-ups in aidan's case). she was covered with sand while aidan remained remarkably clean. we got there at about low tide. supposedly average tide is quite high around here - 3 metres - which can translate into a very large change in beach size between low and high tides. the second beach was down a single lane very windy road (kudos to john for driving on the "wrong side" on somewhat challenging roads). alot of the scenery reminded me of hawaii (the lush parts of HI) we saw a waterfall and then took a small trek through some great wooded glades and grassy areas to get to the dunes - and then we saw (and walked on) a beach where the water was out a few hundred feet - pretty amazing. part of Lord of the Rings movie was filmed at one or both of these beaches. we were all really glad we got out of town to see some of the beautiful countryside NZ is known for. the 2nd beach was included in a book of walks around auckland that i bought yesterday - i hope to try some of the in town ones this week.

we were treated to a tasty (altho slow) dinner back in town in the Ponsonby inner suburb (not a far walk from our hotel altho we still had van). a pizza place - altho topped with mostly "fusion" stuff - ie unlike any pizza toppings you have ever had before. we also enjoyed rocket (or roquette) salad with parmesan shavings. the rest of the world seems to call arugula "rocket" - and it seems to be a very popular salad here. we finished off with a quick stop by the supermarket - i appreciated having the van to bring home the packs of diapers instead of hanging bags off our stroller. and we now have ice cream (it would have melted at the normal snail's pace aidan & i walk home from there).

so far i have been quite impressed by the new zealand wines - will have to try to visit a few wineries while here.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

yesterday aidan and i sat down to tea and crumpets for breakfast in our hotel room - how very civilized of us!

today we rode the bus called "the link" (cost about 50 cents) around the city and got a bit wider view of things. saw a neighborhood we would like to live in - Ponsonby - but so far all corporate type housing we have come across is downtownish - not super family oriented area. we could actually get nice 2 bedroom in this hotel long term but as pete points out it would be living in a hotel. i have long term hopes of finding playgroups etc and striking up some local friendships. pete so far has hit it off with the 2 aussies on his team - and they will be leaving soon... hopefully we'll get to know some natives soon. pete still doesn't know where exactly he will be working as the company has a couple of locations.

pete is right about Brisbane having better parks - and alot more of them at that. so far we have only seen 2 playgrounds at opposite ends of town and they aren't very special. of course all aidan really needs is a stick or two to play with and perhaps a few birds to chase to be happy... it looks like there are alot of park/beach areas to explore in the area for future. we need to get a car or jump on a ferry or bus. tomorrow we'll head to our first beach with pete's co-workers. we are looking forward to it.

Friday, May 10, 2002

today janelle suggested we head to a mall in the burbs that she had heard was good. what a boondoggle! it was anchored by kmart to give you an idea. there were plenty of little car things for the kids to ride - they seem very common here - put in a $ and they rock back and forth. aidan actually prefers them not moving... he found Scoop and Bob from Bob the Builder cartoon (he has also had me buy bob builder "fun bars" at grocery store and a bob lollipop - altho he was a bit timid about biting bob's head off) and a train that he was very fond of. the train had 2 steering wheels so isabella got to join him for that one. tonite we went to another restaurant that was recommended as family friendly - we aren't sure what the heck that means to the kiwis as these restaurants seem quite formal to us. aidan's kiddie meal fish & chips was the best looking kid food i have seen - very artsy presentation and even included a little salad. he had a "bart simpson shake" to accompany it (the most chocolatey thing pete and i have tried). he now eats enough that sharing our food tends to mean we will come up short so we often get an extra appetizer - or "entree" as they are called here. our 1st nite dinner here was at "toto" - a very good italian restaurant i hope to revisit - again recommended as family oriented - all the business suits entering it gave us pause, but aidan is a fairly mellow kid after the seat arrangements are sorted out ("no - THAT table") and a decent dinner companion in general so it worked out fine.

toilet learning (you are no longer supposed to call it training!) is going reasonably well - it will take me putting him in real underwear to complete the task - and i am not ready yet... after lunch his pull-up was still dry to my surprise - when in apt he is good about going when he needs to but otherwise generally doesn't want to bother to take time out to go. he was excited to use the aidan sized toilet room at the mall - toilet, sink and paper towels all at his height! and a special changing room for quincy next door with padded surface, sink and microwave (for bottles?). in australia "parent rooms" were prevalent and quite nice. wish they were so supportive in the US! aidan has both the cognitive and physical aspects worked out about his plumbing - now he just needs consistant motivation. he is a bit hesitant about pooping in the potty altho sometimes does it - and he will tell me "i am NOT pooping" and then do it in his pants. not very subtle!

did i mention i started quincy on rice cereal? he has been very interested in our eating. i have given him about a tablespoon of food each day for last 3 days which he has enjoyed. he has a bit of trouble to start working out that he shouldn't push tongue out to keep food in, but he manages to get it all in in the end. i think he'd like to be given more as he seems quite happy about the whole thing. they don't have cheerios here - so what will i progress to?!! i need to hook up with some local moms to find out what the kiwi equivalent is for baby finger food. tooth #2 is right there but hasn't quite popped through yet. any day...

Thursday, May 09, 2002

i don't think i mentioned the australia money. i quite liked the paper money. i was amused by the coins. the queen is on one side of each coin - and she has been aged over time! she has REALLY aged in the last 5 years especially and in the most recent coins looks her age. there were animals on the other sides (kangaroos, koalas, platapus etc) and they occasionally change size for some reason. so far new zealand $ is a bit more boring altho still better than what good 'ole USA produces.

and then there is the coffee. in AU you pay 40cents extra for decaf. and marshmallows are standard fare on the menus! i wanted to try an afrogato - espresso with ice cream but didn't get around to it. i was quite curious about "flat whites" and "long blacks" - basically a cappucino but not so fluffy for the 1st and an "americano" - espresso and water for the 2nd. i have to ask for my drinks to be "trim" (non-fat) and you can also buy "skinny" milk (low-fat) which seems to be called "lite" here. i think i only saw one starbucks in brisbane but they are quite prevalent here - there was even one in the lobby of the grocery store we went to. in stores here in NZ bell peppers are called capscium. names in both countries have been a funny mix of english (british mostly) and native (aboriginal or maori). brisbane CBD (center business district) streets were named after british royalty - females in one direction and males perpendicular! here we are located pretty much at the cross section of Victoria and Nelson streets.

quincy is ahead of aidan - i found his first tooth today - bottom right. aidan's appeared on mother's day funny enough - but aidan is 1 1/2 mo older in the year than quincy. quincy is great/happy at hanging out on his tummy - i think he is quite strong because of it. and still so mellow but smiley. we love him!

aidan's latest issues - he has to dictate 1) what table we'll sit at in a restaurant and 2) which chairs each of us should use. he even designates one as quincy's. this can be a problem when waiters try to sit us "NOOO" he'll shout - "THIS table". we are finally experiencing the "no" phase in all its loud glory.
well we've had a couple days in auckland now. it was most of a full day to get here - a 3+ hr flight plus 2 hr time change and international check-in (slow) and transports to and from cities... left our AU hotel about 9.30 a.m. and got here about 5 or 5.30 p.m. Quantas airline wouldn't let us have our carseat on plane for stupid reasons and lame people. but they gave aidan a nifty Wallace and Grommet fanny pack with cards and coloring stuff and other things. lunch wasn't bad and we had about 8 movie channels to chose from (altho i think almost all movies were terminated just before they finished for landing!). auckland has surprised me a bit by seeming a bit more spread out than i expected. brisbane had at least one internet cafe per block - usually more, and a food court just about every block - and here it is more like a block between restaurants - at least where we are staying. hotel is supposed to be one of the 2 or 3 top hotels in town - and it is nice. such an amazing deal in US$. food ditto. if you look at any pics of auckland - we are about a block toward the water from the big space needle. we have alot of exploring to do. so far me & the boys have spent from about 10 til 3 both days going the (long) 5 or 6 blocks - 1/2 mile???? to the grocery store (a nice big one) with a park just this side of it with the only playground downtown (not at all impressive). today we had company - another wife from pete's company and her 13 1/2 month old girl Isabella. funny enough they live near us in the city (noe valley) altho we hadn't met them before. they'll be here another week which will be fun. we have a nice view out of our suite toward the water - aidan likes the buiding cranes he can see. pete and i were interested that the 2 most prominent building signage we see are for ibm and microsoft. tomorrow i hope to ride the local "link" bus that does a loop around the city to get oriented a bit more. and then maybe we'll have to stroll in the opposite direction down victoria toward the harbor and supposed shops and restaurants that i haven't found yet.

Monday, May 06, 2002

check out our hotel at the Heritage in Auckland to start - at a rate of only about $80US for a one bedroom fully equipped suite!

Sunday, May 05, 2002

naptime - ahh, how nice! aidan had a nice big breakfast this a.m. - making up for missed dinner last night. he slept from 5.30 til 10.30 then kept me up til about 1.30 a.m. today is Queensland's Labor Day. interestingly each Aussie state has it's own day and they are all different. off in NZ we will get Queens Day - the 1st Mon in June perhaps. we crossed paths with the Labor Day parade today. lots of union members marching along... and a scottish bagpipe band in their midst for some reason. didn't seem particularly interesting as parades go but aidan was interested esp as our paths were fairly similar so we kept sighting them. we crossed the river to pete's favorite (i think) part of town - South Bank - where we headed to "Paul's Breaka Beach" - a manmade beach area complete with fine white sands and life guards and lots of little kids in the shallows. aidan and pete spent probably close to an hour in the water jumping around and doing sand castles on the "shore" while quincy and i wandered thru the adjacent craft market. we had "kebab" for lunch - rather like a gyros with shaved meat. i ordered it on turkish bread roll - i really like the turkish bread they serve here - esp warm with "dukkah" egyptian spices. the aussies have also seem to have mastered all things fried. very nice "wedges" - seasoned potato wedges aidan always selects when available. pete is bemoaning having to leave "brisbie" and its tropical clime but i am looking forward to our next stop on this venture.
a nice day after predictions of showers. a walk thru craft fair by the water. onto the city botanical gardens where we detoured by a small playground before walking on the boardwalk through the mangroves. saw little orange crustaceans darting around. across the goodwill pedestrian bridge to south bank park area. lebanese lunch before heading to maritime museum. aidan loved "steering" the boats. hit another playground briefly afterward. aidan and i headed off to find daddy and quincy who were hanging out on a lawn somewhere. while mom was scanning the area for daddy (not there) aidan was scanning the area for birds to chase - his current favorite pastime - and fell into a water feature. fortunately it was only 9" deep or so and a bit more below ground level so it was mostly just a scary - and very wet - experience. a nice lady went to restaurant she worked at and brought back towels to dry him off. he then had to be content wiht wearing a quincy diaper, quincy pants, shirt & socks! he looked a bit funny but didn't seem to care and was soon back having a great time chasing birds (not near any water this time!). he passed out in stroller on long walk home at about 5.30 and quincy passed out around 6 back in the hotel. are they down for the night?? mommy hopes so! still no digital pictures - we are slowing working toward a solution. meanwhile i have shot 2+ rolls of 35 mm as well as the filled digital camera. daddy is off putting in a few hours at the office in hopes that he can play with us tomorrow. tuesday we head to new zealand... fyi quincy is trying hard to sit up (work those stomache muscles!) and is balancing fairly well while being held in sitting and standing modes. he continues to self soothe with finger and hand suckings/smackings. he also likes to scratch his head and play with his ears a bit. aidan tried (and would have succeeded if i hadn't intervened) to pull quincy out of his stroller to hold him/hug him.