Sunday, 28 December 2014

Summer Solstice

   We do a secular Summer Solstice celebration at our house, one where we make our own traditions. Solstice morning, we brought up the drift wood tree from the garage, the one we had been working on building for the past few weeks. Mom and Dad tied some more pieces on it. It was a work in progress - still is. I got out the knitted ornaments Sebastian's grandmother made and gave to us when we visited the States earlier this year. Mom got out some silk ornaments that our family had made years ago. They were made using scraps of Mom's painted silk and a design my cousin Aubri shared with us one Christmas, an ornament making tradition her family had when she was a kid. Over the past week the decorations have been embellished with sea shells, hoarded scraps of decorative ribbon, and anything else that we have felt inspired to add. I love that our tree is mainly decorated with handmade or found objects.

 Mom holding a piece of driftwood in place while Dad ties it with twine

The tree early in the morning

Sebastian sorting out the decorative ribbons for us

   Then we gave Sebastian his presents. He definitely gets the concept of presents this year, and he thinks they are great fun to open.

 Opening a kid sized set of gardening tools

 Such concentration!

 Sebastian checking out his new game with Daddy

That afternoon, we had a Solstice party. I have zero pictures of the event, because I was too busy enjoying myself. Highlights included visiting with our awesome friends, enjoying a turkey dinner that took me right back to my childhood, and a lively game of Cards Against Humanity.

That night Mom threw the turkey carcass in the crock pot and made stock for soup the next day. When Sebastian saw her fishing out bones with some tongs, he just had to get in on the fun. We got out his little tongs so he could help. 

   The soup the next day was delicious, and so were the left over turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


Sebastian, getting his style inspiration from Doctor Who in this picture. We took a little weekend trip up to Paraparaumu recently. We found Sebastian this awesome rainbow hoodie at the local weekend market and then he borrowed my scarf.

Paraparaumu makes a handy weekend getaway for us at just a 45 minute drive up the coast. It's a laid back little beach town with just enough cafes and restaurants to give some variety, and some funky shops to browse.

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Monday, 8 December 2014

The garden

This one is from a few weeks ago when we visited Aotea Lagoon. Loren is holding Sebastian up so he can get a good look at the whisteria. It grows on an arbour that covers a walkway to the rose garden.

Sebastian's favorite thing at that park though is the windmill. He calls it the "mind-wheel"

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

At the Aquarium

We visited the Island Bay Marine Education Centre last week on a Playcentre excursion. Here's Sebastian at the touch tanks.
He also got to feed the fish in one of the big tanks and watch the octopuses get their breakfast (live crabs). My favorite were the shark egg cases - you could see the tiny shark babies wriggling around in their translucent cases.
On the way out he had to check out the odd little compartments that line the outside of the aquarium building. Looking very colorful in his new pink boots and bright Orange safety vest (worn for safety on Playcentre outings).

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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Z is for Zealandia

A couple of weeks ago we took Sebastian on his fist visit to Zealandia. Our friends Angela and Aaron came along too. Here's a picture of Sebastian "hanging out"with Auntie Ange.

Zealandia formerly went under the more dignified name of Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. I volunteered there for years, but at this point I hadn't even visited in years. Sebastian loved it and was able to walk the main track mostly on his own. In fact we all had such a lovely time that we got an annual pass, with intentions to return often. Incidentally this also means we can bring friends along with us and get them in for half price.

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Spring is Here

One fine Spring morning Sebastian and I went outside to see how the flowers were coming along. Here he is checking out the pink flowers on the vine that climbs our balcony railing.

And here are the sweet peas that showed up unexpectedly this year.

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014


Auntie Angela and Sebastian were doing some yoga poses. Sebastian showed her how he can do downward dog. But then he got distracted by her hair.

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Sunday, 10 August 2014


Sharing some eggs with Grandpa. A routine part of our morning.

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Test number two

Sebastian eating brunch at Chalk in Wellington last weekend. He loved the pancakes! 

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Wednesday, 6 August 2014


I am testing out a blogging app for my phone. I am hoping it will facilitate more frequent updates. These photos are from Monday. We took the train to Mana and explored the rocky beach.

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Monday, 28 April 2014

Seven Years

Tonight it's cold and it's rainy and it has gotten dark far too early. I am grateful to have a trip to look forward to. And this trip is a really big deal. We will spend a month in our old city, our old neighbourhood, back in the States. It was seven years ago this Tuesday, we arrived in Wellington. That's usually what I think about on the anniversary our arrival. But this year I am thinking about our departure. We woke up that morning, got in our rental car, and drove to our friend's flat to unload one more thing - an old computer. Then we stopped in a cafe - I think it was Royal Ground. We sat there with our coffees, looking across the table at each other, spending these last few minutes in our city. I was so busy with logistics up til that moment, that it hadn't hit me, really down to the bones hit me til then what we were doing. I remember that as the moment it started to feel real.

Seven years later we are going back for the first time. I am anxious about logistics once again - that's just who I am - but I'm starting to feel something else. Excitement. Anticipation. It will be so amazing to see everyone. It will be really strange but also really good to see our old city again. We usually spend our anniversary of moving to New Zealand by visiting a new place in New Zealand. But this is the year we look back at what we left behind. And it will be Spring. This year, we get an extra month of Spring.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Last week in pictures

 Sebastian in his monster PJ's riding his bee down the hall with his stuffed piggy

Loren and Sebastian looking out the window on the train. We usually go out to brunch on Sundays. Sebastian really wanted to ride in his stroller instead of taking the car, so we got him in the stroller and walked to the train station. We went into downtown Wellington and walked around and had brunch at one of the cafes at Midland Park.

 Last day of my circus aerials class. I asked a classmate to take pictures. I especially enjoyed the tissu (what I'm on in this photo). This is me in a foot lock - not the most flashy move, but one I am particularly pleased to be able to do. It involves tying a knot around one foot with the other foot while up in the air, and it took me all nine classes to be able to do it. In the back ground you can see the apparatus we spent the other half the class on: the static trapeze.

We have been coming up with rainy-day activities as we get on into Autumn. Tutu got Sebastian some water colours to play with.

Friday, 4 April 2014

This week: Playground and Garden

 Sebastian putting his hands in his pockets and looking so grown up

 We did an excursion (a.k.a. field trip) with Playcentre this week. We went to Central Park in Brooklyn (a suburb of Wellington). It's a nice playground, and far enough away that we had not explored it yet.

  He liked the playground's fire engine, of course. Here he is operating both wheels at once, and probably saying "vrooooo!"

 watering the new garden bed - and wearing Mama's gloves

Sebastian helped me plant sugar snap peas this week. On Monday, he collected worms from the compost heap with Granpa's help. This is one of Sebastian's favourite things ever right now - catching worms. While they did that, I dug out an old flower bed - a raised bed near the front door that has been mainly neglected by us. I put in some compost, and Sebastian came along with his worms so I asked him to put them in the new soil. He happily dumped them in, then helped me water the soil.

On Tuesday he helped me put up the trellis. Though there wasn't much he could do, being so short, so he also did some raking of leaves and inspected the large spool of twine I was using for trellis construction.

On Wednesday, I completed the trellis while my parents took Sebastian out to Pataka (the local art museum). When he came back, he helped me sow peas! I poked holes in the ground, gave him the peas, and he planted them in the holes and covered them up with dirt. He did about 3/4 of the row with me this way. Then he wanted to cut open a pea to see what was inside. I finished off getting the peas in the ground, then cut open a pea for him to inspect. I am a new but enthusiastic gardener, and I love that Sebastian is old enough that I can start to share this with him.

Sowing peas

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Weekly Posts?

I am trying something new here. At the end of the week, I am going to try to write a post, and, however short or badly edited, I am going to put publish it. I will look at my phone, and add a picture or two. Maybe the post will be just a picture or two, with captions. That's okay too.

I didn't take many pictures last week. This is pretty much it:

I finally got myself a gathering basket, and I was rather pleased with it. Last week I got out to the garden with it and harvested some late runner beans. I had announced to my family that my runner beans were finished and they could start buying beans at the grocery store again, and then one of my perennial vines came out with a whole lot of late season flowers, so we enjoyed some unexpected runner beans last week.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

21 Months Update (Where Did The Summer Go?)

I have been neglectful of this blog, I know, but it's been a busy summer. Full of trips to the beach, little excursions, gardening, and generally spending time outside with Sebastian whenever possible. In Spring, my parents fenced in our little patch of grass, making it toddler-safe. This Summer, they made the deck leading out to the grass safer, too. This made the hugest difference for us this Summer, because we could finally open the door in the living room and just walk outside and explore the yard. And finally we could leave that door open and get some air flow through our house on a hot day.

Sebastian, at 21 Months:

At Lindale Farm, "riding" the tractor with Daddy. He is saying "vrrrrrrrr!"

I actually had to go back a few weeks to find a picture where Sebastian is looking directly at the camera. He is a very busy little boy, and most of my shots of him recently look more like this:

 Checking out the paints at Playcentre

I got a smart phone over the Summer specifically because I wanted a decent camera that I could take with me everywhere and that wouldn't be too distracting to Sebastian when I used it. I have been using the camera phone exclusively since I got it, and it takes great pictures. Most importantly it has allowed me to take far more pictures in more situations than I ever would have with my big, bulky SLR.

At 21 Months, Sebastian is playful, busy, interested in everything, and has a great sense of humour. He loves to tease you and make you laugh. One of his new favourite jokes is to call something the wrong word or call someone the wrong name. It's so clear when  he's doing it on purpose because he gets this mischievous smile on his face, and because it's something you know he knows the right words for. For instance:

Sebastian: (points at his father) Tutu! (what he calls my mom)
Me: That's not Tutu, that's Daddy!
Sebastian: (points at Tutu) Daddy!
Tutu: I'm not Daddy, I'm Tutu!

.... And so on. He also does this with characters in his favourite books, with colours, with anything he knows the names of well enough to play around with them.

Another favourite joke is this: For a while he has liked to bring me or Loren our shoes if we are getting ready to go outside. But now he'll bring both shoes over, and while you're putting one on, he'll run down the hall and toss the other shoe in the corner out of sight. Then I'll go "Sebastian, where did my other shoe? Do you know where it is?" He thinks this is hilarious! Now he is doing variations of this game with socks, or just about anything where he can create an expectation that he is bringing us something, and then change course and go hide it somewhere instead.

This is taking me forever to post, so I'm just going to wrap up with a few photos from the previous month and call it a day.

 Reading books with Tutu. We think they must have been saying "roar!"

Checking out the bees with Grandpa at the honey shop near Lindale Farm. The shop had an indoor bee hive, covered in clear plastic, with a clear tube leading to the outdoors (that is what they are looking at here).

 Making bread with Sebastian. He's been into play-dough so I thought he might enjoy bread dough. I had never been brave enough to make bread before this. We both had a lot of fun with it!

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