This is an area to discuss the things I've done to support my relationships with my two children, things I've discovered about different forms of school in the United States and New Zealand, and any other random things we've done together.
The move to Auckland should have hit the kiddos harder than Keith or I, but honestly, they've kind of been our rocks. I know that sounds COMPLETELY backwards, but we're the ones freaking out over every little difference while they get excited about every new thing and want to take pictures of everything and giggle about the new things they are seeing. It's been kind of nice. And it constantly reminds of us of why we wanted to move in the first place--to give our kids new experiences and live within another culture.
One of the big changes for the kids has been that right now is the middle of the New Zealand winter. Which means it's the middle of the NZ school year. However, we're not being mean mommy and daddy right now--I just reached out to the area school last night to set up a meeting to discuss starting them off in school. Hopefully in at least 3 weeks. I don't want to burn them out on school already.
The other adjustment for the kids: winter doesn't mean snow here. It means rain. Lots of rain. I think it's been sunny for a total of 3 days while we've been here. Which isn't horrible. It's actually been kind of nice. We came over just as Colorado was starting to hit some warm days and we went back into a fall-type weather. I've already been warned that summer's here are toasty and humid, but at least we didn't jump right in to that. We've got some time to get acclimated.
Since it's just been me and the kids at home during the days, we've been checking out some local parks. Best part about parks here: they have all the old fun toys on the playgrounds that were ripped out because they were "unsafe" from when we were kids. You know, like monkey bars and see-saws. And the kids are totally tearing them apart. We drove by a park the other day that had this huge rocket-ship monkey bar thing in it--Keith totally flipped out! Apparently they used to have one like it in Boulder when he was a kid that got taken away. As he put it: it was totally not safe, but we have to bring the kids over here! They'll love it!
We also took the kids to the Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland. You can tell it's one of those places school kids here go to all the time and it's completely cheesy for them, but the kids loved it--it's on the bay on the East side of the city, so you get to check out the Port and it's all underground, built into the hill. They have an underwater tunnel for the shark display and we got to see the sharks get fed while we were there. I totally had a Jaws flashback. But the kids loved it. They also do a seahorse (or sea dragon) rescue which included videos of how they rescue the seahorses from Milford Sound and how they carry babies (the dads do it, not the moms!). I've never seen so many seahorses in my life--it was pretty cool. But my personal favorite--the penguins!!! We're so close to Antarctica here--they have a penguin rescue center that I am pretty sure was the basis of the Happy Feet scene where they end up. I felt like a kid again--I freaking love penguins!!!
We also had an outing to the Whatipu Campground and the beaches around it this past weekend--we did a quick hike through the caves around the marshes there before we got rained out. Planning on going back to check out the beaches soon! Amazing that we can go from city to rainforest in roughly 30 minutes. Or from one side of the island to the other in under one hour :)