Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rich & Judi in New Zealand!

A sunny day in Auckland
For the last three weeks in February, my mom and dad came back to New Zealand for a second time to see more of this country - oh and also probably to see us, too.  :-)

It was fantastic. They had amazing weather, saw beautiful places, did new & interesting things, and had good food and good wine.

We had a couple of days at our place in Auckland before starting things with a bang by doing one of the top 10 day hikes in the world - the Tongariro Crossing. Anne had to stay behind for work training unfortunately but the three of us conquered those volcanoes! It's like nowhere else - and the difficulty of the 8 hour hike made the next day relaxing in Taupo a good reward.

From there they went off for about a week on their own while job duties called for me.  They spent time in Napier/Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Picton, and Marlborough Wine Country before Anne and I rejoined them on the South Island.

A lovely drive down the east coast of the South Island To Kaikoura had us eating fresh crayfish (lobster) by the sea, seeing seals, and doing a lovely walk along the beautiful coast of the Kaikoura Peninsula.  From there we went on to Hanmer Springs where Anne and I had never been before.  Lovely!  The thermal pools were great and it's a lovely alpine village.

The lovely Abel Tasman coast
A couple of days in Nelson Lakes National Park were well spent with hikes and relaxation before heading up to the Abel Tasman National Park area.  We really saw and did some great things here - sea kayaking along the coast, a hike on the Abel Tasman Coastal Walkway, and saw seal pups swimming amongst people at a beautiful beach.  Wow.

They spent a couple days in Nelson after that (even went paragliding!) while we went back to Auckland - stupid job again!  But then we had a few days left in Auckland together where we had them get to know Ponsonby (where we live) a little better and even drove up to Matakana for some wine and beach time.

We've had a stunning summer weather-wise and they got to reap those rewards while they were here - sunny and warm most everyday it seemed.  We were thrilled about that!

Most of all we really really enjoyed spending time with them and sharing some more of this amazing place we live in.  New Zealand is really something, and it didn't disappoint!  It really meant a lot that they came back for a second visit and I think it's safe to say they had a blast.

Click here for more photos of our time together.

And click here for some video highlights, including those adorable seal pups and a sting ray "glide by".

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Remy McSwain, Action Cat!

As usual I'm a little late getting to the blog, but in early January we got a cat! This is a big deal because Anne is allergic to...well, everything.  Certainly anything furry and cuddly.

But we finally decided to look into Siberians - which are naturally low in the protein that people get allergic to. We got on a kitten waiting list here in Auckland and a litter of 5 was born on September 30, 2012.

It wasn't until January that the allergen levels of each kitten was known and since we were first on the list we got to choose the one with the lowest levels in their saliva. This little guy is so low in allergens that Anne doesn't react at all - and now we have a kitty!  He was just over 3 months old when he came to our home and has grown like crazy since then!

We both love cats - me especially - so this is a real treat.  We have named this little gem Remy McSwain, Action Cat.  Cuz he kinda has an action here persona about him and this seemed like a good name for him.

He's mellow, sweet, loves to be held, plays and plays a good part of the day and NAPS a good part of every day, too.  He goes between completely mental and nap-master is no time at all. We love him to death!

Remy (then named Barney) at 5 weeks
As evidence of how smart the little guy is, he has recently figured out how to type and use the computer. So we helped him setup a blog so he could share with the world the awesomeness that is Remy.

So yeah, that's how we we roll.  You should check it out and sign up for updates when he posts them. (There is a "subscribe by email" section on the slide-out menu on the right side of the blog.)

Here's the address:
remymcswain.com