Mid year catch up post!

We are half-way through 2019 already and so much has happened, but I’ve been too busy, living and loving it, (and side-tracked by Instagram and Netflix, ahem!) to write about it – so, before this year runs away on me all together I’m going to have to write this catch-up post.

Running at a park run in Greytown, in the Wairarapa.

I continue to be happily busy supporting my two home educated daughters and my oldest daughter, who is thriving at her school in year 12.

I still love running – and have done three Xterra Wellington trail races this year! The longest one was 20kms in the Remutaka Forest Park, where the course ran through Department of Conservation land with incredible native bush tracks and fantastic ridgeline views back across Wellington harbour. The area is the spiritual home of XTERRA Wellington Trail Running, with the first ever event being held here back in 2008, and it was absolutely breathtaking to run (literally, with over 750metres of elevation gain!).

Xterra Orongorongo Long Race

In May I visited my folks in the UK, where my dear Mum continues to succumb to devastating Alzheimer’s disease. It was wonderful to be there to hold her hand and to help my Dad and sister with her daily care. We managed a week in North Wales, enjoying the beautiful walks and gardens, and had the most amazing weather.

My dear Dad and sister assisting my Mum on a beautiful coastal walk in North Wales, May 2019.

With my sister, Dad and Mum in North Wales, May 2019

Running with my sister in the hills of Wales.

It’s been an incredibly mild year, with many beautiful sunlit days, and Wellington’s wind hasn’t even been much of a bother (but then I’ve had two decades of living here to adjust – or be eroded to a crumbling wreck of my former twenty something self). My hubby and two home ed. daughters have made the most of the sunshine to spend countless evenings and weekends surfing and boogie boarding at Lyall Bay, one of our local beaches.

Hubby and daughter catching the waves at Lyall Bay, Wellington.

Hubby paddle boarding at Lyall Bay.

They joined me in the ‘Round the Bays’ Wellington running event in February – running 6.5kms along the waterfront. I’ve ran the half marathon of this event a couple of times, but it’s more fun to run with the company of these two!

Round the Bays Wellington, February 2019

Round the Bays, Wellington

Another fun running event was the 10km ‘Round the Vines’ in Martinborough – that I ran with a friend (we dressed up as Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo!). I was proud of myself to have done the 10km run after having ran the 5km Greytown park-run in 25 minutes at 8:00am that same morning (I was also very proud of my 13-year-old daughter for joining me at the park run)!

One of the delights of seeing our daughters grow in age is to share in their new interests and have a go ourselves! Hubby has previously enjoyed stand up paddle boarding, but this year – with our 13-year-old daughter’s encouragement, he’s learned to surf (she taught herself – through watching YouTube tutorials and putting them into practice)! I had a go – but I ended up half deaf for a week or two afterwards (having been rolled countless times in the waves – much to everyone’s amusement!) and decided to keep my head above the water and stick to gentle swims and paddle boarding.

My and our dog, Cocoa, watching our daughter catching waves at sunset in Lyall Bay.

As the nights started to draw in, and autumn approached, another new outdoor activity became popular in the family – mountain biking! We are fortunate to have an amazing mountain bike park here in Wellington – The Makara Mountain Bike Park. It has so many wonderful trails, in native forest and up to ridgelines, with tracks for all levels and abilities. I enjoyed running the trails of the park in the ‘Mad Makara’ Xterra Race in June – some 18kms of trails with 807m of elevation gain!

Mad Makara Xterra – the long course

Our youngest daughter finally learned to ride a bike this year – after insisting for years that she was happy on her feet, roller blades and scooter. Anyway, after running behind her 13-year-old sister on a mountain bike trail she got to thinking that wheels might be worth giving a try after all and quickly learned to ride a bike!

Miramar mountain bike trails. Our youngest discovers wheels are just as fun as feet!

We’ve had some beautiful adventures together since she’s taken to cycling – from the rugged south coast rides, to see the NZ fur seals that over winter there, to quiet country roads amongst the vineyards of Martinborough.

Sisters on the Red Rocks coastal trail, Wellington.

NZ Fur Seal at Red Rocks, Wellington South Coast

Country roads of Martinborough, lit by the setting sun and glowing with autumn light.

Autumn colours in Martinborough

Hubby even joined in a mountain bike race with our 13-year old daughter, in the hills above Martinborough…

And when we’re not outdoors the physical energy continues indoors, with dancing, singing and workouts! Home ed. drama classes have been a highlight of our weeks – with a meet up every Wednesday and involvement in a Shakespeare Festival.

‘Joan’ entry into the ‘Nimble Soles’ SGCNZ

Our oldest daughter is a fan of musicals and is forever singing and informing us of the newest musical to hit Broadway – so we end up joining in and car trips are a tuneful ride to the sounds of ‘Hadestown’ and ‘Dear Evan Hanson’! Her school choir sang amazingly at the regional Big Sing competition and have made it through to the ‘Finale’ in August – being held in Dunedin this year!

QMC Choir

She’s had a busy year of extra-curricular activities, continuing to take lessons in singing, drums and speech and drama, as well as being a member of her school choir, the school orchestra and playing a role in the school production this year, which was ‘Into The Woods’.

Into The Woods

Our home education continues to go well, within such a great community and some wonderful friendships that have grown over the years. This year social meet-ups have involved trampolining, beach and park days, weekly dungeons and dragons games, drama classes, water-colour classes and board game meet-ups.

Sunset magic

Our 13-year-old chose to study maths and english through the correspondence school – Te Kura – this year. Since she doesn’t fall into any of the categories for free study we do have to pay for this, but it’s proven to be worthwhile – with her completing her entire Y9 course in one term, doing extension papers in the second term, and now commencing her NCEA Level 1 Maths in Term 3 (which is normally done in Y11 at schools in NZ). When she turns 16 all the courses will be free for her to study – so for now we’ll just pay for two subjects a year!

Our youngest daughter (Y5) is often to be found on her Minecraft realm, chatting with her friends and building! She is a lover of art and started the year making some incredible oven-baked clay characters. She’s now into digital drawing, particularly anime style characters.

Clay creations from our youngest daughter.

She also loves to make costumes and attended the Wellington Armageddon event in her own design!

Our youngest in the costume she made of Armageddon Wellington, 2019

It’s wonderful to see her follow her passions in her own time. She finds brilliant tutorials online to guide her in what she chooses to learn (as does her 13 year old sister when wanting to learn a new gym trick!).

A creation by our youngest for her ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ character

Our 13-year old loves pushing herself to learn new skills and has taken up spring board diving and ‘free running’ this year (as well as surfing and mountain biking!).

The first half of this year has seen us celebrating too – with hubby and I celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary in May!

Twenty years of marriage celebrated in May this year!

We enjoyed a wonderful meal out at a lovely restaurant in Wellington.

Hubby also joined me on my 45th Birthday in a ‘Beer and Pie Hill Run Challenge’ for a charity I support (he’s a good sport like that!).

GVR run on my Birthday – up and down ‘The Tip Track’ in Wellington!

I came second place woman!

The views at the top were worth it all!

I was just glad we made it up and down without chundering – and then there was the surprise of a Birthday cake at the end!

Made me chuckle: the envelope drawing on one of the cards from a daughter on my Birthday!

Another big celebration was our oldest daughter turning 16! We headed out for a celebratory meal on the evening of her Birthday and the next evening she had a great time at her ‘Year 12’ Formal Dinner/Dance! Her combined Birthday/Christmas gift is a trip to New York in December, with her Dad accompanying her, to see some of her favourite Broadway Shows!!! She’s already booked to see Hadestown!

I should also mention that this little ‘ole blog is celebrating its 16th Birthday! I don’t write here much these days, but it was so good when my daughters were young – and there wasn’t Facebook or Instagram back in 2003! This blog is something we look back on as a family and it’s been wonderful to share our adventures with family and friends living so far away from us. Nowadays we feel more connected, with the ease of Skype and so on.

Anyway, here’s to the next half of this year and hopefully I’ll post up another blog post or two before Christmas! In the meantime, I’ll just keep running around like the crazy lass that I am!

Running with my dog on Wellington’s south coast.