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Fi mum23

Royalty, Wife, Mummy, friend, teacher, student & fitness blogger

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Holidays

Cruising to New Zealand Day 11 -15

At 0906 Sea Princess entered Dusky Sound the first of the Fiord transits of the day.  Sea Princess exited Dusky Sound at 1023 and proceeded around the coast towards Thompsons Sound entering at 1150.  After winding through the narrow Fiord Sea Princess was clear of Thompson Sound at 1300.  At 1622 Sea Princess entered into Milford Sound the last of the Fiord passages of the day.  Once at the end of Milford Sound Sea Princess started her thrusters and swung around and proceeded back out towards the Tasman Sea exiting Milford Sound and disembarking the Fiordland Pilot at 1752. 

We tried to set ourselves an alarm so we wouldn’t miss any of the Fiordland National Park but we kinda either set it wrong or slept thru it, I can’t remember.  Either way, Dusky Sound and Thompson Sound was pretty boring really compared to the grandeur of Milford Sound at the end of the day.  The weather was rainy, cold & dreary, but it was still lovely.

After nearly 2wks of seeing nothing but sky and ocean when going out on the open decks, it was kinda surreal to walk out and see these towering majestic mountain surrounding the ship.  We are 14 floors above the water level as it is, so it was amazing to feel dwarfed besides these mountains.  Seeing snow atop them was pretty darn cool also !!!

When it came time for lunch, we were torn what to do as we wanted something more than the outdoor grill but didn’t want to head indoors and miss anything, so we went to the dining room and talked the waiter into giving us a window table and opening the curtains up as WIDE as they would go.

The chicken was to die for… and having the view we had out the window beside us….  perfection !!

The kids were all busy at the youth centres and were missing everything, so I went in search of them and dragged their butts out into the open to enjoy this most likely once in a lifetime experience.

Room on the front open deck was at a premium while in Milford Sound.  It really was breathtaking and everyone wanted to experience it to the full.  It was quite cold to be out there, but well worth it.

It was really interesting to be told that the Fiords are far deeper than they are wide, so this answers the obvious question of how such a big vessel can get in there.

The wildlife consists of dolphins, seals and birds.  Introduced species include mice, rats, hare and deer.  Among the birds are the Kakapo, the only flightless parrot in the world.  Also, of course, there is the Kiwi.

Access into the park is limited, with the drive in being a 9hr journey from Christchurch.  Helicopters and scenic flights run and we did see a helicopter during our day there.  We did also see some kayakers which was pretty cool as they seemed like little dots down there in the water.

Sadly, the day did need to come to an end and we began our journey home. There were mixed emotions that evening as we realised we’d hit our home stretch, as we were keen to get home and see loved ones, but also, life on the ship is just so relaxing and we knew that we just wouldn’t relax to that degree once at home.  Surprisingly, the last 3 days at sea really dragged.  Our first sea day heading home was also our second formal night of the cruise.

It was on this formal night that we had the Princess cruises 50th birthday dinner.  They’ve been having lots of different celebrations all through 2015.  This is the menu from the evening.

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Also, just to show how much I fully immerse myself in a cruise, one of my favourite parts of the day was straight after dinner when the following days ‘Princess Patter’ would be waiting for us outside our stateroom.  It told of the following days events, weather, destinations etc.  Each day also gave you a rundown on a particular senior crew member.

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In the last few days, I headed out with my camera to hopefully get some good shots of the ship etc.

The second last night of the cruise was hands down my MOST favourite part of the cruise.  Christmas Carols in the Atrium with the senior officers & crew !!  As the average age of passengers on the ship was about 65, the crowd was full of ‘older folk’ who REALLY enjoy their traditional carols.. and man did they all get into it.  You haven’t been apart of Carols until you’ve done it with 4 packed levels of robustly singing cruise passengers.  Jordan Peterson was on the piano and leading the singing but really didn’t need to do much leading.  Jordan was one of the cruise entertainers who we had come to love listening to most nights after dinner.  He really is very talented and would have a go at anything requested of him …. and basically do a great job every time.

The last sea day of the cruise involved a lot of packing & organising etc as everyone needs to have their luggage outside their stateroom before going to dinner that night.  This is so the cabin stewards can collect them while everyone is at dinner, rather than possibly disturbing people by doing it later in the evening.

Enjoying the last few days of the cruise….  favourite spots on the ship, favourite food, favourite times of day (Movies Under the Stars), seeing the last few sunsets over the ocean.

Sadly, the day of disembarkation had to come around eventually, and on Friday 18th Dec, it was upon us.  We had chosen the latest disembarkation timeslot of 9.45am thinking we may as well not have to rush off the ship, but something more like 8.30 would’ve been better as nothing is really open & available anyway as the crew is busy preparing for the next influx of passengers arriving that afternoon.

Top things I’ll miss about the cruise & therefore the biggest blessings of going on a cruise –

  • Endless hours with my husband
  • no cooking & cleaning
  • staring out into the stunningly blue ocean with no land in site
  • Talking to my Heavenly Father on Promenade deck looking out to sea.
  • the cruise atmosphere.
  • Yeah ok…. THE FOOD !!  (However, I do only put on 200g, so I think that’s pretty darn good… the secret is to always take the stairs.)

So that’s it peeps…  Cruise done & dusted !!  I really want to shout out right now to my DH who, without his years of hard work and dedication to providing for our family, this cruise would not have come about.

The ships final log read…

At 0200 the Brisbane local pilot boarded us as we commenced our alteration to port to enter into Moreton Bay to assist us with our transit up to the Portside passenger terminal.  The passage itself took around 5 hours, with us approaching the berth to be all fast starboard side alongside by 0700.  

& finally, all I can say is… if you’ve ever dreamed of cruising.. you should so do it !!!!!!

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Blessings Peeps !!!  xox

Cruising to New Zealand – Days 9 & 10

Sea Princess log Saturday 12th December 2015.

In the early hours Sea Princess made her approaches to Akaroa Heads.  From there Sea Princess proceeded toward her anchor position in Akaroa Bay.  When in position Sea Princess let go her Port Anchor at 0644.  Shortly after, the first passenger tenders proceeded ashore.

Akaroa was our only port that required use of the tender boats.  We were going on another booked tour today..  Scenic Akaroa by Double decker bus.  This was a great sightseeing tour around Akaroa and the spectacular Banks Peninsula area while riding on board a beautifully restored 1960s London Routemaster Double Decker Bus. ( of course we sat on the top level.. why go on a double decker bus and sit on the bottom level?  I mean, seriously)  We headed all the way up into the hills and made a stop at the Hilltop Cafe (aptly named right) We had a great morning tea there as well as had pictures with a particularly friendly sheep.

While on the tenderboat heading ashore , we were chatting with the gentleman I was sitting next to.  He asked where we were from etc, all the normal question guests ask each other when chatting, but while talking to him, I really seemed to recognise his voice. Anyway, he went on to ask us if we ever attend the EKKA and as soon as he said that, I knew where I knew his voice from.  He’s an announcer at the EKKA, and has been for as long as I can remember.  It was really fascinating hearing some of his stories.  He actually does announcing work all over Australia, including all of the other ‘EKKA type’ shows in other states.

We sat with him & his wife up at the cafe and continued to chat while having a very nice coffee/hot chocolate.

The town of Akaroa was originally founded by the French, and it has certainly retained a lot of that heritage throughout.  Jaz unknowingly dressed to fit in beautifully.  LOL.

After being dropped off in the town centre by the DD bus, we leisurely made our way through the town and back towards the ship.  There was a lighthouse we’d been told was worth seeing up past where we would re-board the tenderboat.

The sights, mainly the gardens, in the town centre really reminded us of having been in NZ back in 2008.  The soil must be fantastic over there as the gardens are always stunning, as well as the general countryside being so green & lush.

This stop in Akaroa was the closest to anything we saw last time we did NZ.  We didn’t go to the North Island at all last time, so each stop there was completely new, and we also never got to the very bottom of the South Island, so the next stop of Dunedin was much anticipated.  One of the tours available from Akaroa was a bus trip into Christchurch,  which was one of the places we based ourselves in 2008.  You could also do the Tranz Alpine  train journey over Arthur’s Pass from this destination also. We did this last time and it was AMAZING !!  I would highly recommend it to anyone going to NZ.

After exploring the lighthouse and surrounds, DH & Master 13 headed off up a bush track in search of further adventure while Miss 14, Master 10 & I headed back to jump on a tender boat back to the Sea Princess.

Being out on Promenade deck was interesting to watch the passing scenery as we made our way out of Akaroa Harbour.  The ships log read as follows.

With all passengers back on board and all tenders recovered at 1735 Sea Princess commenced heaving her port anchor.  The port anchor was ‘aweigh’ from the sea bed at 1755 and brought home at 1810.

Hearing the anchor come up was fascinating too as it was a full 15mins of very loud ‘clunk clunk clunk’.  You couldn’t hear it from inside but as we were out on deck, we could hear it very clearly.

Sunday Dec 13th brought us to dock in stunning, but bitingly COLD Port Chalmers. The ships log read..

At 0537 Sea Princess embarked the local pilot and made her approach into the channel.  Swinging the vessel in front of the berth arriving all fast at 0722.

(I’m thinking whichever Officer did that log wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat.. LOL)

We had been warned by the Captain the previous night that the temperature in Port Chalmers/Dunedin was to be a chilly 11 degrees.  I promptly went to the store onboard and purchased an additional jumper, as well as a scarf.  As we were lining up to disembark, you could feel the cool air coming in through the open door at the gangway and many of us were commenting that it didn’t seem too bad and we’d probably find it quite pleasant.  Well, the very instant that you stepped out of the ship, the cold wind hit you.. and I’d say the wind chill factor was -50… ok, it probs wasn’t that cold in reality, but it sure felt like it.

We had a booked tour organised for Dunedin and the train we were to board was waiting for us on arrival and sitting only 50m from the ship.  You’d have thought we would have found it ok, being such a short distance, but no, that was the longest 50m of my entire life.  Brrrrrrr.

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The train took us through the dramatic Taieri Gorge on a journey that crosses 19th century cast-iron bridges and travels through 10 mountain tunnels.  I just LOVE train journeys so I really enjoyed this trip.  The commentary was great by the volunteers in our carriage.  They told us all about the lore of the central Otago region and it’s colourful gold rush days.

Disembarking the train at the heritage listed Dunedin Railway station, we boarded a motor coach for the scenic drive to Larnach Castle.

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William James Mudie Larnach, of Scottish descent, was born in 1833 in New South Wales, Australia. His banking career began in Melbourne then followed the gold rush to the Australian goldfields where he was manager of the Bank of New South Wales at Ararat. His bank was a tent and his equipment consisted of dogs, a gun, and strong boxes.

Gold was discovered in Otago, New Zealand, in the 1860’s. Larnach was offered the position of manager of the Bank of Otago in Dunedin, which serviced the extensive goldfields. He sailed for Dunedin in 1867.

Larnach’s brillant career encompassed his merchant empire Guthrie and Larnach, banking, shipping, farming, landholding, politics and… speculation. He travelled extensively and was a cabinet minister in the New Zealand Government, holding various portfolios, over a period of twenty-five years.

Larnach was married three times and had six children. He was pre-deceased by his first two wives and his eldest daughter, Kate.

He took his own life in the New Zealand Parliament Buildings in 1898.

Building Larnach Castle
Larnach was a man of great vision and created a magnificent residence for himself and his family.

A story is told that William Larnach and one of his sons went for a horse ride along the top of the Otago Peninsula to choose the best site for their home. Today you can still see why this site was chosen as it has wonderful panoramic views of Dunedin, Otago Harbour, the Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean.

First the site was clear-felled, then the hill site was levelled by putting pegs into the volcanic rock and pouring salt water on them to split the rock. Approximately 200 men spent three years building the shell of the Castle and then gifted European craftsmen spent 12 years embellishing the interior.

Materials from all over the world were used – marble from Italy, slate from Wales, floor tiles from England, glass from Venice and France. No expense was spared in creating Larnach’s dream home! Many New Zealand native woods were also used – kauri ceilings, rimu floors and honeysuckle panelling. In 1885 a 3,000 square foot Ballroom was added.

The Larnach Family
Larnach’s first wife Eliza Guise, had six children – Donald, Douglas, Kate, Colleen, Alice and Gladys. Eliza died at the age of 38 when Gladys was still a baby. Larnach then married Eliza’s half sister Mary Alleyne. They were married for 5 years when sadly Mary also died at the age of 38. Larnach then married a much younger lady, Constance de Bathe Brandon.

Larnach was struck by tragedy when his favourite daughter Kate died in her 20s. Five of the children were sent to England for their education. This meant long sea voyages and a lot of time away from the Castle and family.

After Larnach’s suicide in 1898 the family was further torn apart by legal battles over Larnach’s property as he died intestate. The family then sold the Castle in 1906.

Going up the very narrow 27 steps to the tower was pretty cool.  You can defs see the full 360 degrees from up there.

You can see from the picture above that the castle was built was scottish ‘castle like’ features, but also the Australian ‘Queenslander’ style with the wide verandahs.  You can see they are now glassed in, but originally there were open as William Larnach was  used to in Australia, but apparently they were soon to learn that they were very unprotected high on the hill, back when there were no trees to form a wind break etc.  It was very unpleasant to be outside so the verandahs were closed in with the glass you see now.

During the drive back, we were treated to all sorts of fun info on Dunedin & surrounds.  For example, one of their streets is in the guiness book of records as being the steepest street in the world.  Some of the other passengers from the Sea Princess had a go at running down it. (the younger passengers clearly)

The buildings throughout Dunedin were really lovely.  Very obviously Scottish design etc.  Another interesting note was the Welsh Dragon over the doors of the Dunedin Fire station.  I could show you soooo many pictures, but I’d be here all day.

At 1703 all passengers were back onboard Sea Princess and at 1704 The Captain gave the order to commence singling up the morning lines.  At 1705 all mooring lines were back onboard and Sea Princess began thrusting off the berth and proceeding out through the narrow chanel before setting South Westerly courses around the southern coast of New Zealand toward the Fiordland National Park.

Ok…  that’s it for days 9 & 10.  Man this holiday is taking forever to blog post.. mainly because my internet is rubbish…  bring on NBN…  hopefully that will greatly improve things.

Blessings peeps !!!

 

 

Cruising to New Zealand – day 1-5

Once again, quite a while between blogs… sorry about that peeps, but in my defence, things have been busy, plus as you can from the title, I’ve been OS (literally.. LOL).

So, to begin covering this particular event, I’ll start back on the magical day of Friday Dec 4th when we woke to a beautiful sunny day, perfect for boarding a cruiseship and heading to New Zealand.

There was MUCH excitement that morning and it was a little torturous to have to wait until our boarding time of 1.30pm.  As it turned out though, we needed the time as we realised we needed a few things from the shops, plus we had to get to Officeworks to print out boarding passes (that I hadn’t realised I needed to print.. whoops).  Then, to keep the morning interesting, it wasn’t until we got back home again that I realised that one of the boarding passes hadn’t printed (whoops again).  So, with the only options being heading back to Officeworks, or leaving Miss 14 at home for 2wks, we went with option #1.  (lucky her right).

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Sorry for the blurriness…  Master 10 took it.

12.30pm saw us jumping in a maxi cab (with our hoards of luggage, but not as hoardish as it should have been.. more on that later) and heading to the Port of Brisbane !!  A little bit of waiting at the cruise terminal.. maybe an hourish, and then we were finally boarding the Sea Princess.  Dear friends of ours came to wave us off, so once we did a quick “Oooh, Ahhh” at the atrium of the ship and dumped our hand luggage in our stateroom, we went in search of an open deck so as to wave to said dear friends.  (It’s appropriate to mention that my wish came true and the ship was completely decked out for Christmas…  I was VERY happy about this.)

It’s funny because when you first get on a ship, even if you’ve full on studied the deck plans prior, it’s really hard to find your way around, but once you’ve been on there a few days, it’s like “Wow, how did we not know to just go to THAT obvious place to wave them off?”  So, where we waved them off was by far not the best place to do so.  We were up on deck 14, so a loooooooong way up from where they were down on the level 3 viewing platform.  Promenade deck 7 would have been sooooo much better had we realised at the time.  Oh well, must remember that for next time.

After waving off our friends, we headed to the compulsory ‘Muster’ which is basically the safety talk like you’d have on an aeroplane, but obviously related to sea-type eventualities, as opposed to air ones.  As there are 1500 passengers onboard, it was held in 3 seperate locations. Pretty darn boring really, so good to get that out of the way.  Next stop for Terry was an alcoholic beverage of some sort, because on a cruiseship, alcohol can apparently be drunk at any time of day..  LOL.

That afternoon, the ships log read…

At 1535 all passengers were aboard Sea Princess and all departure checks were complete.  At 1700 The Captain gave the order to let go the morning lines as Sea Princess began to back up to the swinging position, swinging her bow to starboard and Brisbane Pilot was off the ship and and we set ESE’ly course bounded to Auckland.

The kids were keen to ‘sign in’ at the youth centres.  Master 10 reaped the most benefit from kids club while on the cruise.  He made a bunch of friends and just had the time of his life.  He even took part in a ‘Jnr chef at Sea’ day and made & decorated a cake that we had for dessert that night.

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We throughly enjoyed the 3 sea days it took us to journey to our first port of Auckland, NZ.  It was seriously amazing being out in God’s gorgeous creation.  I cannot even begin to explain the stunning colours of the ocean.  From deepest deep blues through to pale aquas.. it was just beautiful.  I really enjoyed just staring out at it for many hours over the 2wks.  There was certainly something very relaxing about being in the middle of the ocean with no signs of land anywhere you looked.  It was most definitely a very blessed experience !!

For breakfast, we always used the buffet, coz seriously, who doesn’t love a buffet brekkie!!).  Lunch was either the outside grill, hamburgers & hotdogs with salad etc, or the buffet, and on the very last day, we tried the pizzeria.  We had chosen the 7.45pm dining sitting as we figured that we might like the extra time when coming in after shore days etc.  There were a couple of times that we wished we’d chosen the 5.30pm slot, but all in all, the later one was better.  You could always go to the buffet for dinner if you couldn’t wait that long anyway, but DH & I  never did (the kids did often though).  Dinner at the dining room was just too good, plus we loved our waiter Larry, so wanted to eat there each night.  Terry got very used to being called ‘Sir Terry’ by both Larry & our cabin steward, James.  LOL.

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A little about the crew which is quite interesting.  The majority of them have families back home but are on the ship for either a contract period of 6 or 9 months.  They are predominently from areas around the Phillipines but there were also some crew from South Africa, Japan, America and other areas.  Larry has 2 kids at home, aged 14 & 20.. seriously, he doesn’t look old enough for that does he, but he did show us pictures of them.  (Yes, you do end up getting on that well with your closest crew members.)

The menu was great, with a lot of selection staying the same throughout the cruise, but each night there would be specials for that night only.  The chicken and leak pot pie was a big hit and each of us had that at one time (Master 13 & Miss 14 had it a few times).  Desserts were, of course, always dangerously delicious.  The below pic of Jordan adequately shows his reaction to seeing the buffet for the first time… let’s just say the food was what he had been most looking forward to.

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Lots of relaxing happened on those 3 sea days, lots of reading on Promenade deck (soaking up more of God’s gorgeous canvas), lots of lazing by the pool, lots of enjoying the entertainment, lots of Movies under the Stars (well, actually we did that nearly EVERY night of the cruise.).  It certainly turned out to be a good thing to have those 3 days, as once we arrived in NZ and were going ashore each day, it did become quite busy and therefore tiring.

We had booked a tour for every shore day, but once we got onboard and found out that our older 2 children were classed as adults when it came to pricing, we cancelled all but 3 of our tours.  This actually turned out to be a good thing, not just money-wise, but because we found great things to do on our own.  It is always a gamble to know which destination warrants a paid tour, or whether you can explore on your own and see just as much.  It definitely pays to research prior, including looking at maps etc to see what is near enough to the port to explore and what isn’t.

It was during those first 3 sea days that we had our first formal night.  Now, this is the story about how our luggage was ‘not as hoardish’ as it should have been.  We realised on the first day that we had left our suit bag at home.  It didn’t just hold Terry’s suit, but basically ALL of our formal wear, and all of Terry & the boys collared shirts.  There is a dress code for the dining room in the evenings, so it could have been interesting, however, we managed to get by,  helped by the fact that they never super enforced that dress code anyway.  Terry hired a tux onboard and once we got to NZ, we were able to stock up on some good wear items… at surprisingly great prices.

Getting professional pics taken is always a fun part of cruising as you can  literally have as many taken as you like with no obligation to buy.  They simply print out EVERY photo they take and then you can just purchase the ones you want.  What we did was we’d go down and make a ‘maybe’ pile and add to it each time there were new ones, and hand back the ones we defs didn’t want, and then at the end of our cruise, chose what to purchase from our ‘maybe’ pile.  It was a good strategy I think.

The ships log read..

At 0537 Sea Princess embarked the local Auckland pilot before proceeding into the approach cannel arriving starboard side to quay. Queen’s Wharf Auckland at 0655.

Our first stop in Auckland was one where we chose to cancel our booked tour and head off on our own.  The shore excursion people onboard had advised us that it was a particularly easy port to get yourself around in, with the CBD being literally a stones throw from the dock.  Miss 14 had been the most disappointed with the missing suit bag as she had used her own hard earned money to purchase a formal dress that she was REALLY looking forward to wearing.  She’d purchased it at Dotti and as we were coming into Auckland, I was joking with her that I could see a Dotti store ahead… Funny thing was, we disembarked, headed up one of the main streets, and FOUND A DOTTI STORE.  Bahahahahahaha !!!  We managed to get, not just one formal dress but 2, for a bargain price of $130 !!!  Woo Hoo !! It’s amazing how quickly a stroppy 14yr old can turn it all around with a full shopping bag in her hand.. LOL.

After our shopping, we headed off in search of.. well, whatever we could find.  First stop was the Art Gallery, then onto the War Memorial Museum via the rather large botanical gardens.

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& Yes, we did totally run around the inside of this rotunda singing “I am 16, going on 17”.  I mean, seriously, it must be done.

Note to self – do not take fluro pink & yellow running shoes on holiday as your comfortable walking shoes… it’s the first thing I notice in EVERY picture.  arggghh.

My phone told me that we did in excess of 12000 steps that day, so it was VERY suitable to get in the hot tub once we headed back onboard the Sea Princess. PS.  That pool Miss 14 is in, actually this whole area was a designated kid-free area which we didn’t realise until AFTER this day.. whoopsie.)

With all passengers and crew onboard the order was given to let go the mooring lines.  At 1753 all lines had been let go from the mooring bollards on the quay and Sea Princess commenced thrusting off the berth and moving astern.  At 1845 the local pilot disembarked the vessel and shortly after we commenced increasing speed and making our way towards Tauranga. 

Ok.. so that’s it for days 1-4…  Next instalment coming right up.  xox

 

Life is continuing….

Oh my goodness, if I’d left it another two days, it would have been an entire month between blogs…that’s downright SLACK !!!

So much has been going on.. which does help to explain my slackness in the blogging department.

The highlights are –

  • Baby Boy Lucas is now HOME and powering on like the little warrior he has proven himself to be.  He’s settling in at home, putting on weight, getting to know his big brother, and is having his first immunisations today.

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  • I scored myself a not very pleasant intercostal injury about a month ago and am actually still suffering from that.  However, it IS improving (PRAISE GOD !!) so things ARE on the up & up.  I think I did it because I did either too many sit ups, or did sit ups incorrectly.  I had both an ultrasound and an X-ray on my right side chest/ribs etc but it didn’t show anything.  As a result, I’ve had to change my exercise routine …  for the first two weeks, I couldn’t do ANYTHING.  I am pleased to say though that I must have been doing just enough to keep the weight loss train going as the number has continued to drop slowly each Tuesday morning for my weigh-in.
  • We are now down to only two weeks and two days until we sail far far away across the sea !!!  Our renewed passports finally arrived so this is a relief.  I cannot even tell you how excited & humbled I am to know that I get to enjoy two weeks ‘off the job’.  No cleaning, cooking, washing….  Thank you Jesus !!!
  • Sadly there is ups and downs (more downs)  in family over the last few weeks that look to be continuing for a while.  However, God is teaching me a lot throughout.  It’s so easy to see someone’s actions as selfishness on the surface, but when looking deeper, you can expose emotional issues that deserve additional care.  Also, sadly, it is human nature to ‘arc up’ when someone does something to upset you, when in fact, we’ve been commissioned to Love thy neighbour, repay bad with GOOD, do all we can to expand God’s Kingdom, and most importantly, be the LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS !!!
  • DH is really enjoying having his aeroplane and being able to go up to the airfield whenever he can and go for a fly IN HIS OWN PLANE.  He’s been waiting a very long time for this and is LOVING IT !!  He’s also made a nice group of friends up there, which is just as much a part of the whole ‘scene’ he’s been wanting to be apart of for so long. They sit around with their drinks and discuss all things ‘planes’.  I’m really really happy for him.  & as you can see, the kids are enjoying it too.

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  • The biggest homeschool excursion (78 people) I have ever organised went off without a hitch (or any drownings)… Woot Woot !!

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  • Miss 14’s dance comps all went very well.  Now to enjoy the break before it all starts again in Feb 2016.
  • The 2016 homeschool journey has been decided on which is also a weight off my shoulders.  The older two kiddos are currently working through diagnostic testing for next year and are doing very well with them.

So there you go, that basically brings you up to speed, to a degree, on our lives.

Even amongst the ups and downs of ‘life’ I love how God makes ‘lessons’ out of all situations, good & bad.  I’ve also been reading Jefferson Bethke’s Jesus>Religion which is really opening up my view on things.

Blessings xox

Dollars & Sense

It’s getting real now…. buying the last few things required, the bags are half packed, pet-sitters organised, housesitter booked, nearly good to go. I seriously can’t believe (& DH seriously has no idea. LOL) just how much planning has gone into this trip. I’m still working on things… getting prices, booking & paying for things. It’s actually quite tricky, as even though we have an itinerary, it’s seems risky to book and PAY for tours when you don’t know if something could hold us up, or somewhere might be particularly boring, so we end up ahead of time.. who knows.
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I spent nearly all of yesturday, except for the Orthodontist and Optometrist appointments, working out exactly how much money we need for the trip. A daunting task really… not because it highlights how much you’re going to spend (coz let’s face it, we’re gonna spend it, so why stress about it.), but for someone like me, who likes to plan,make lists, itineraries etc etc… You start to think.. what if this doesn’t work? Sooooooooo.. what I have decided to TRY and do is let it all go….. have the itinerary, but just treat it as a guide, and not lose it if it’s not stuck to. Wish me luck with that. LOL.
One thing that we would LOVE to do, but most likely won’t, is a helicopter ride over either Kakadu or Katherine gorge. It’ll cost about $500 min for only a really short flight, so It’s just so hard to hand that kinda cash over for such a quick adventure. However, we did pay more than that and did it in New Zealand, and it seriously was one of the BEST experiences EVER !!! There is a particular flight in Katherine that takes you up 13 gorges and then you land for a quick photo op etc. I would so LOVE LOVE LOVE to do that one, but it would cost about $1250 to do it. If you end up seeing it in the blog… we musta felt rich that day.. Bahahahahaha.
I have a few nit-picky things to find out today.. like, what is provided in the motorhome, linen ? etc etc.
Plus, something I have only just remembered… Master 9 will become Master 10 halfway through our trip. (Just another thing to think about is that his birthday party is THIS Sunday morning and I haven’t hardly planned anything.. except for the jumping castle.) I will need to think about a plan for that morning, so he can still have the ‘normal birthday morning’ that we would have at home… Presents in bed, loads of photos etc etc etc.
OKies… Have a blessed day peeps !!
Lv Fi xox

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