Rory Gardiner's Webpage

29, Jan, 2014

January 2014 update

Happy New Year!  We hope you all managed to enjoy some time away from work with those you love.  We want to start the year by welcoming baby Holly Leona who was born on the 23rd of January to Trudi and Craig on their kitchen floor in Dargaville.  We send our love and best wishes for your future together.  We also would like to wish Grandad Gardiner and Auntie Teri Happy Birthday for their special days during the festive season.  Auntie Teri’s was extra special as it was the big 40!

The last five weeks have been a blur, and I have been left wondering where the holidays went.  It started with a big family Christmas.  Grannie and Grandad came down from Northland to stay with us and it was a 5.30am start on Christmas Day because some children don’t know how to sleep in.  We had morning tea at Nana and Poppa’s with Uncle Guy, Sacha and Corbyn, then lunch at our house with extended whanau.  It was lovely to receive texts from the special people in our lives who we couldn’t be with on the day.  Grannie and Grandad took Sam and Rory up North with them on Boxing Day, and the pace of life slowed a little for four days.  Sean and I managed a trail run on the Mangaoraka track on the mountain, and took Colt tramping to Whitecliffs.  We walked to the Te Horo stock tunnel, through it, then up to the Parininihi trig for lunch.  We walked down a spur, across Waipingao Stream, and up Mt Davidson where we saw a NZ falcon soaring on a hot updraft.  Colt walked an amazingly long way.  He loved the beach with its smooth, fine, untouched black sand which was almost blue.  We followed the big boys up North and it was a long hot car trip with traffic bumper to bumper around Wellsford.

We made the most of our time in Northland where it was hot (30 degrees one day) and sunny.  Sean and I had a few runs to the top of Puhipuhi and several walks up the back of the farm with the boys.  We made two trips to Mimiwhangata for exploring, swimming and snorkelling (on the first trip we got a flat tyre on the gravel road).  On New Years Day we drove to Opua and caught the vehicle ferry to Russell which the boys enjoyed.  It rained for an hour while we had a look around and morning tea at a cafe.  A man from China, with little English, approached Rory and asked if he could have his photo taken with him.  He recognised what Rory had been through and I think considered him good luck as he had survived.  We went for a drive up Flagstaff (Maihi) Hill (where the Union Jack was cut down by Hone Heke) and saw several Weka up close.  We drove home via the coast road and stopped at Elliots Beach to swim and explore the rock pools and caves.  We had a pot luck lunch with our old friends the Millers (Andrew, Denise, Lewis and Cole) and enjoyed the afternoon swimming in their pool and soaking in the spa.  A morning was spent with Dianne and Riccardo at Mangapai pouring over the incredible photos from their trip to Europe last year, and riding horses Mr T and Soky (which is a highlight for all three boys).  Grandad Gardiner took Sean and Sam fishing off the rocks at Taupiri Bay early one morning and they came home with fish for dinner.  Colt and I popped out to see Great Aunt Pat Honnor and to treasure hunt in the second hand shops.  We were sad to leave, and typically it was wet and flooded on the drive home south of Te Kuiti.

Sam and Rory were lucky enough to get some exclusive ‘me’ time.  Sam went away to Ohope Beach for 10 days with friend Jordan (Ladbrook) and his family.  The highlights for Sam were; lots of swimming (at the beach and in the campground pools), spending a day in Rotorua on the luge, soaking in the hot pools in Tauranga, biking around Ohope, riding a sea biscuit behind a boat, and hanging out with friends and relaxing.  A big thank you to Darlene and Marc for taking good care of Sam.  Rory was whisked off for six days at Camp Quality in Hastings.  He was eager to get on the bus, and give me the slip, on the Tuesday morning.  He had a new companion, Mike Higham, to break in and wear out.  The highlights for Rory were; a day at the Splash Planet water park, the food (all you can eat), the games day when the Black Caps came to participate (Rory was in the winning team – Yellow), the Beach Day (swimming, boogy boarding, hole digging and a bbq), and the Disco on the Saturday night with a DJ.  Rory came home shattered on the Sunday afternoon.  A big thank you to Camp Quality and Mike, Rory had a wonderful time.

There hasn’t been a lot of space to fill in but we have managed to fit in some other activities.  Sam and Rory have spent a few days with Nana watching movies (the Hobbit, the Book Thief), swimming at the Aquatic Centre, and volunteering at the New Plymouth Hospice Shop.  They have also accompanied me on a couple of site visits for the Taranaki Tree Trust, and to the office for a few hours.  We had a pot luck dinner with the girls and their families one evening and as usual there was plenty of delicious food and great company.  We went for a walk on the Te Henui walkway in New Plymouth with Nana, and Colt loved the smell of the ripe karaka berries.  We took Ethan with us for a tramp from the Manganui skifield to Tahurangi Lodge.  The track passed under an imposing sheer black rock face, and the fog rolled in as we ate lunch at the Lodge.  While the boys were away Sean and I cycled the length of the New Plymouth Coastal walkway with Colt on the back.  There were lots of people out being active for Colt to watch and chatter about.  Nana looked after Colt while Sean and I slipped away for lunch and a movie.  We finished the day at Peter and Julie Fryers for a delicious pot luck dinner with the other members of the Taranaki Ornithological Society.  On the Sunday we headed out for a day in the field with the Taranaki Botany Group who were putting together a plant list for a forest block owned by the NZ Forest Restoration Trust at Omoana.  We walked up a papa stream from the boundary to the forest edge recording plants, counting feral goats, exploring caves and fossils, and admiring the waterfalls.  It was an enjoyable day.

Last Saturday Sean and Sam rode in the Round the Mountain Cycle Race for the Canteen Taranaki team.  Sam had helped pack the bags for the 1100+ competitors a couple of days earlier.  Race day it was a 7.30am start on a brilliant New Plymouth day.  The team of six took turns cycling different Legs, five of them on mountain bikes.  Sam cycled Leg 2 from Okato to Opunake (35km) and Sean cycled Legs 4 and 5 (43km).  Rory, Colt and I were there to see them transition in Inglewood at 1.10pm.  The team were all jubilant to finish at TSB standium 1 second short of 6.5 hours in 32nd place in the team event.  That night we went up to Pukekura Park to hear Celtic band Shaskeen Reel perform on the Hatchery Lawn.  We all enjoyed it, although Colt then Rory fell asleep on the picnic rug around 9pm.  We saw a little of the Festival of the Lights before heading home.

The boys are getting ready for their return to school; Sam on Friday and Rory on Monday.  We have dug out clothes and school bags, and purchased their stationary.  Rory has had a numeracy assessment at Clever Kids to guide his weekly tuition sessions for the first three terms this year.  Sam has started playing Futsal in the summer league at the high school, and swimming lessons resumed this week.  Rory has had a blood test to check his thyroid levels to see if they have increased in response to an increase in medication.  We are trying to ensure he has enough energy to get through the day for the first six months of this year.  Last night Sean took Rory to the first get together of the Taranaki Parafed Youth Sports Club for children with disabilities.  Sam is assisting as a volunteer.  They enjoyed mini-put, darts, ping pong and a sausage sizzle at Icon Sports at Tariki.  The next session is surfing.

Colt is growing up amidst what sometimes feels like organised chaos.  When he turned 3 he told everyone he was 13!  He thrives being in the thick of it all and punches well above his weight and age.  It was hard for him to return to crèche after the holidays but he had a stiff upper lip, giving me a hug and a high five on the verge of tears as I left with a lump in my throat.  We attended the first session of Playcentre for the year yesterday morning and he and Rory spent ages playing shops with the groceries, trolley, money and cash register.  Playcentre has been such a wonderful place for Colt and I over the last couple of years it is with sadness I have decided to give it up.  We are out of the house four days during the week and what we really need on the fifth day (Monday) is a day without commitments, to catch up or be free spirits.  It was a hard decision to make and we will both miss the wonderful mums, the companionship of the other children, and the fun activities.