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.