Category Archives: Good Times

Lake Taupo

We briefly visited Lake Taupo last month.

Lake Taupo is 380 km from where we live in Wellington and it took us about five and a half hours to drive there. It was the first stop on our tour of the North Island with my in-laws. It is the largest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere and totally breathtaking.

Oreti Apartment

We stayed on the bottom floor of the apartment

We stayed at Oreti Village, which are lakefront rental apartments on the southern side of Lake Taupo. We arrived late so we didn’t get to enjoy the place as much as I would have liked but the unit had a full kitchen, roomy lounge and two bathrooms. This two bedroom unit was great for two couples or families and without a doubt, I would have happily stayed there for a week if given the chance. The beds were comfortable, there was a large deck area and the view was just spectacular.

Lake Taupo

Early morning Lake Taupo from the balcony

It was quite cloudy and cold in the morning but it made for quite an amazing sunrise. Sadly, I was too busy staring at the lake to take many photos but I did take some. I ended up with some favorites from this day and I’m super happy to be sharing them here.


The lake was so pretty first thing in the morning

Lauren's favorite were the visiting quail

Since our visit was so brief, we didn’t fully explore the area on this trip. We absolutely will on the next one. Some of the things we’re thinking about doing next time:

* Maori Rock carving cruise and if we make it in the summertime, we’d love to take the one offered at twilight. Unless Lauren is older when we go. If that’s the case we’ll…

* take a guided kayak tour of Taupo. I love kayaking and I suspect that this would be knock-my-socks-off gorgeous.

* checkin’ out the hot springs

* walking (or biking, if possible) the Great Lake Walkway



Today’s regularly scheduled post about menus has been bumped by a day to make for this very special post.

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband.

Often, you drive me nuts. But that’s ok. Cuz I drive you nuts too.

Your friggin’ awesome job has brought our little family to this kick ass country and for that, I will be eternally grateful. Even if it’s hard to be this far away from our friends and family, this experience is so great for all of us.

I think your little dances are hilarious and I love that you’re teaching them to Lauren.

I feel so lucky to have spent the last adventurous year with you and I can’t wait to see what 2011 brings.

I love you.

Fluffy Chicken

I love how much this chicken made you laugh.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope 2011 is filled with much laughter, love and joy!

Happy Holidays!

According to the local post office, I would have had to get my holiday cards out by Nov 22nd in order to guarantee that my cards make it to the US in time for Christmas. I SO didn’t make it. In fact, I’m fairly sure the thought of sending out cards didn’t even happen until after Nov 22nd. Since I ran out of time to get my holiday cards out this year I decided to make a card online to share with all the folks that I would normally send one to. It sort of feels like a cop-out to me because I didn’t have to spend hours addressing and stamping cards. However, I am thrilled that I was able to get something done to share with all the people in my life that I’m missing so very much this holiday season.

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Santa Parade

On the 14th of November Wellington had it’s Santa parade. The super nice girl that worked the front desk of the hotel we were staying in told us about it as we were heading out for coffee in the morning. Since we were still so new in town we decided it would be fun to check it out.

As soon as we headed to the parade, Lauren passed out

We found an open spot curbside and settled in to wait for the parade. Lauren woke up about 5 minutes before the parade started. We could tell by the look on her face she didn’t understand why the heck we were sitting on the sidewalk staring at the street but she found out soon enough.

The first marching band got Lauren really interested in the parade

Nothing says Christmas like Darth Vader.

And Vikings.

The mantis was so cool. She was one of the coolest things I saw that day.

Of course Dora was there. She seems to show up everywhere there are children. She. Is. EVERYWHERE.

The bagpipers made me think of, and miss, my mom. Every time I hear them I think of her. I think she would have enjoyed how many times bagpipers turned up in the event.

The big Guy. His arrival was sort of anti-climactic for us. Lauren is too young to know what seeing the chubby bearded man means. So she just pointed at the plastic reindeer with wide eyes and said, “Wow!” It was incredibly awesome. It made sitting on the curb for 3 hours TOTALLY worth every second.

Overall, it was a super fun day and I’m really glad that we went. We all got a dose of holiday spirit that we needed.

Pumpkin Patch!

Ok, I’ll admit it. I didn’t want to go to the pumpkin patch. I thought it would be lame. I was wrong though, it was totally fun. I got a crapload of pictures and smiled a lot. It was a great day and I’m so glad that hubs insisted that we go.


I got to thinking while wandering the dirt paths. Mostly wondering why I didn’t want to go today. I don’t have any bad memories of pumpkin patches. I’m not afraid of corn, pumpkins or those corn husk bundle thingies. In fact, I remember going to a patch once either on a field trip or with brownies and I had a blast. I even remember buying a TON of pumpkins and trying to stuff all of them in my backpack to bring home.

Inside the hay bale maze

I didn’t have an epiphany out there in the dirt. I still don’t know why I didn’t want to go. I think it may have been a combination of laziness on my part and my not going often when I was little. ::shrug:: It probably doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that hubs and I started a new tradition this year with little L.


Since leaving Culver City we’ve been couch surfing. Hubs and I sort of feel like hobos but it has been nice hanging out with our families. Our first stop was Arnold, CA, which is the small mountain town that my in-laws call home.

Our Mountain Retreat

Our time in Arnold was fun. We relaxed. We watched a lot of sports on TV. I drank a lot of vodka. I got mildly addicted to Bones The bugs in that show gross me the hell out though.

One pretty day after the rain, we all went to Murphy’s, which is one of the small towns down the hill from Arnold. Little baby didn’t play too much because everything was damp but she enjoyed having us hold her on the grass.

Lauren with Daddy and Papa Locke

A couple days later just the three of us went to a really pretty local park. Right as we turned into the parking lot, baby passed out. We still visited the park though.

The playground

Asleep in front of huge tire

Asleep on slide

Asleep on cool log picnic table

Awesome, huh? I sure think so. I am so happy that we got to go up there before we left.

Next stop: the SF Bay Area.