I put my foot down and booked out the weekend. For the first time in a very long time we didn't have any meetings or work committments. It was time for family fun time. As a bonus, my husband took Friday morning off work as well.
I've been reflecting for awhile that it has been pretty hardgoing with two children. I knew it would be difficult before my daughter was born, but I think it wasn't until she was about nine months old that I started enjoying things. The constant lack of sleep hasn't helped (I have just succeeded in dropping the dream feed) and I'm pretty sure my mood was teetering on the low side from the contraceptive pill so I stopped using it. At the same time my daughter got over her pram aversion so we have both been enjoying a nice walk on fine days between the morning and afternoon sleep. All of a sudden my humour is back and I can just relax and enjoy watching the girls grow!
I've also been thinking that I have been busy doing the same old things and it was time to find some new things to do in Wellington. I happened across Wgtn to do site which gave me a few new ideas. So last Friday we headed for Aotea Lagoon, just past Porirua. It was a very cool place to visit. There is a pretty cool playground, with a separate toddler section, giant fort and climbing tower. While the baby slept, my husband and daughter went nuts on the slides and ropes! We had a walk around the track: "Look a water-volcano (fountain)" "A moving X (windmill)." Cool stuff. Conveniently I had forgotten to put a loaf of bread in the fridge (a necessity now that our heat pump means we have a warm house) so we had a decent amount of mouldy bread to throw to the ducks and swans. We picnicked in the rose garden, played on the equipment at the exercise stations and counted the marine life (two live and one dead crab). A fantastic place to spend a couple of hours on a sunny day. We then had a finger-biting dash back to town trying to keep both girls awake in the back seat as we had our standing gym class date. We were both late for our respective obligations, but given how fun the morning was we weren't too fussed about it.
On Saturday we decided to go back out to Porirua annd have a look around. I realised that I hadn't been to Porirua mall with the baby so it has been a very long time since we have been there. Taking her to the mall sounds like a minor thing, but I can still remember going there while being dreadfully sick just before we lost Joanna, and in some small way it is nice to go back as a family of four. We had a big run around outside the mall, then came in for lunch. A small amount of shopping followed - we had both forgotten how cheap K-Mart can be for 'creche clothes' and my daughter had a great time going round saying "Hey, this is size five, I could wear it." The evening wound up with a friend's mid-winter celebration so Vincent and I then frantically prepared our contribution to take. WE WERE EVEN ON TIME, which I think qualifies us for some kind of national award! I got to take along a couple of my homemade cheeses - it was cool to finally open a not-overripe camembert and share it with friends. I also made a feta and caramelised onion tart - yum.
Here in Wellington this weekend there was a special promotion for Wellington attractions - you could go to most of the big attractions for a gold coin donation. Apparently the reasoning is that it is a good opportunity to get in now before the tourists invade for the Rugby World Cup. We have never been to Staglands so decided to check that out. It was about an hour long car trip inland from Upper Hutt and while the baby slept the four year old decided to moan. "I want my Wellington" "I'm bored" "I don't like these trees." It was quite an impressive display of moaning. It was raining pretty heavily as we arrived, so the bored girl decided to start her bored crying. She cried all the way to the cafe, where a hot chocolate and some food perked her up quite quickly. She took a look at the map, saw the potential and from then on was quite excited.
It is a lovely reserve, not that large that small feet will wear out, and you can even take a large pram (but not a stroller - it would die) around. We had an amazing time feeding the animals, seeing birds and just getting muddy having a nice walk around the track. They are so family friendly - there are good food options, pram friendly, clean-well maintained high chairs, sell disposible rain ponchos, have heaps of picnic spots, free use of BBQs and encourage you to bring your own food if you want. You can take your togs and swim in the river in summer as well. So cool. It really reminded me of growing up in New Plymouth - river swimming and muddy walks through forests. Nice. One of the coolest parts of being a parent is replicating the best parts of your childhood with your own children.
Neither of us had been in Upper Hutt before so we checked it out on the way back to town. The four year old conceeded that it had been a good day, and entertained herself by reading her book to the car. Her pronounciation of 'badger' is the cutest thing ever.
We were pretty knackered after all that, and after a weekend of ignoring the housework we spent a fair amount of time getting the house back in order for the week ahead!