Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Zealand - Day 4 - Alicia's 40th

Had breakfast at the camper van, then headed into town for coffees.  We first stopped at a jade factory to see how it was made.  The nice woman in the store let each of the kids pick a little present from under the tree.  Gia unwrapped heart shaped jade earrings, Lily a bracelet, and Caden a necklace.  Next-door we found a place with good coffee and chocolate croissants – with Lily, Caden and Gia all love.  We took them down to the river running right next to town and had the best time hiking in and around the river.  Lily practices her photography.  Corey was working with the kids on their rock skipping.  We came across a dead bunny.

Caden with a dramatic exit out the back storage panel.

Visiting the jade shop.

The shop owner gave the kids each a gift of jade - Caden a necklace, Gia heat shaped earrings, and Lily a bracelet.

After our visit to the jade shop, we picked up some coffees and chocolate croissants and headed down to the river to explore. We had a great time hiking about, skipping stones, and enjoying the scenery. 

Corey decided to attempt to be a 'cool dad' by taking Gia in the jogging stroller through the skater ramps.  I hid off to the side :)  It was pretty cute.

On our way to Queenstown to meet up with the Alexanders we stopped and checked out the Shotover Jet.  Kids were anxious to do it, but we convinced them to wait until tomorrow.

Next headed to Queenstown to reunite with the Alexanders to celebrate Alicia’s 40th birthday.  Woohoo!  We arrived around 3 and were not due to meet up with them until 6, so I put on my sneakers and headed out for a run.  It was a bit of a pilgrimage, retracing footsteps of 20 years ago.  Ran along the water, through the gardens, around the town, and up the hill to the little Catholic Church that was glistening in the sun and beckoning to me.  I stopped in for a little prayer before returning back to the camper to prep for the big 40th birthday dinner for Alicia.

We planned a surprise dinner for Alicia at the summit restaurant at the top of the gondola.  Stunning views and great food, coupled with live music.  A really beautiful night.  Lily – and all of us really – still under the weather.  Caden not eating dessert!  Uh-oh.  We headed down the gondola around 10pm.  

Playing with the rose pedals

A friendly visit from a park possum

 Santa letters :)

For Alicia's dinner out, we headed up the gondola to overlook Queenstown.
Caden and Riley on the ride up

Gia and me on the ride up

Beautiful rainbow in honor of Alicia :)

Our talented singer

Caden's amazing party trick

Alicia's Khalis pearl

Caden sick – in the bed – in the middle of the night this night! 

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