We were no sooner back from our restful trip to Tonga when the day came that the much anticipated and long-planned family trip finally arrived. My extended family – sister Joy, brother-in-law David, one year old niece Sienna, and my parents Carmella and Hugo, made the long journey from San Francisco and Florida and arrived bright-eyed and bushy tailed on a Saturday morning.
We’d been planning this trip for the better part of a year and I wanted to really show them a good time. This would probably be the only time my parents would make it to New Zealand and it would probably be a number of years before my sister & family would journey back again.
I rented a large ‘people mover’ so that everyone could fit comfortably as we toured around and managed to purchase or borrow several key pieces of gear that a one-year old needs.
It was a great trip! We spent several days at our new place in Christchurch, reconfiguring the house so that everyone had a room. Bruce & I moved out into the sleepout while the rest of the family took over the house. On their first night, Christchurch welcomed them with another aftershock which jolted most of us from a peaceful slumber.
We spent five days at our place in Wainui and the weather gods blessed us with some stunning sunshine and warmth. I took my sister and mom to a Italian cooking demonstration class at The Gables where we were treated to Lynn and Chris’ culinary delights, learning how to make stuffed peppers and onions, fresh pasta, and amazing desserts and finishing with a formal sit-down lunch in their beautiful B&B.
We did quite a bit in our few days as we were generally on the go in short spurts always mindful of baby Sienna’s napping and eating schedule! We managed to get over to Akaroa for an afternoon of meandering and shopping, down to the beach for a quick dipping of the toes and a play in the sand, got in a game of tennis, and we did manage to sit around and enjoy Wainui and our lovely views from the front porch.
Oh, and everyone had a chance to do something in the garden!
We did a lot of eating and cooking and my mom got a kick out of Bruce’s bread-making technique and my sister and I had a go at making crackers from freshly made juice pulp.
Sienna got along fantstically well with her first cousin Nina! And gramps and nana got a lot of quality time in with both of them!
Then it was off to Kaikoura for a couple of days. Joy & David managed a dolphin swim while Auntie Kathy got to babysit for Sienna. We did a couple of walks, saw the Seal Colony (represented by one lone seal), did a bit of shopping, and a whole lot of eating.
Next it was over to Hanmer Springs for a night and a soak in the tubs with a few stops along the way for a proper Kiwi roadside picnic!
Then back to Christchurch for their last few days which happened to be over American Thanksgiving. We passed on the turkey and instead had mom’s famous home-made manicotti and meatballs along with several other yummy dishes. It was another gorgeous day and I had a few friends over to meet them.
Sadly, the trip ended too soon and it was time for them to head off. It was a whirlwind trip indeed. I am grateful that they were able to come all together and appreciated the time we were able to spend together as a family!