Xmas Day

Christmas here is always hectic in a laid back sort of way. As always the kids do the tour of the family, with multiple gift giving sessions, which started on the 24th and went on until New Year.

It was also Heimana's christening (all kids here get christened on the 25th)...

...she was very well behaved, mainly thanks to her godmother's fancy hat/hairdo, which had her mesmerized for the whole of the ceremony. After church we had a family feed here at home, Viriamu roasted a lamb on a spit that he put together himself.

I must admit I was a bit stressed about his homemade contraption, but in the end it all worked out nicely, I was impressed.

Of course there were the obligatory kids everywhere, climbing up the furniture and getting the whole house in a good old mess....Matotea was in her element, this year she's really into the whole Christmas scene and keeping her grubby little fingers off the presents was no easy task!

Here she is on Christmas Eve, quietly hidden away in the grandparents room
reading Barbar's Christmas

Father Christmas brought her a Hello Kitty bouncer (even better the grandparents got her a fairy outfit but more of that later).......and a singing book for Heimana.

At the moment Matotea's 'de-camped' to Meme's house to hang out with her cousins, poor old grandmere and grandpere have been abandoned!



After our New Zealand adventure we went to another extreme and headed for the Tuamotus, to Rangiroa, the second largest atoll in the world!

It's all pretty much around sea-level, and prior to European contact the only drinking water came from rain or from coconuts! So hats off to the Polynesians who had made the place their home. The blistering sun gets you from all angles, with little shade offered by the trees.......we Brits found it all a bit too hot......sweating in the shade, nursing a glass or two of Rangiroa wine (it's the only island in French Polynesia boasting a vineyard, OK the red's not great, but the white and desert wines are quite passable)......

Viriamu and Matotea felt a bit more active...heading out to explore land and sea!

It's mainly a spot for diving and snorkelling, so we did our obligatory dolphin encounter and lagoonarium visit.....but again a whole day-trip on a boat seemed a bit much for us, so we didn't get the best out of it!

(above: Matotea spontaneously doing her 'Titanic' thing.....does she watch too much telly I ask myself!)

Back in Tahiti

After the excitement of airplanes we spent a few days back in Tahiti preparing for Christmas and New Year, shipping wine, ordering oysters and mussels for the holidays....

.....we also discovered that Tahiti also has a good selection of playgrounds and they also have fruit yoghurt, almost as good as in NZ!


NZ holiday - Raglan

After the bustle of the big city we headed to Raglan, for a few days on the coast.....with the mistaken hope of being able to have a bit of beach-time....

The weather was fairly continuously wet and foggy, but the house we rented was in a beautiful spot near the shore and made a nice place for the kids to be able to kick back and unwind a little.

We all needed a little bit of time to relax, between the two kids and our busy itinerary!

NZ holiday - family

The holiday was also a brief opportunity for Matotea to meet some of her kiwi ohana. Her second cousins Bobby and Bryn came to visit us in Raglan with their mum Trish and Pineapple the duck - a highlight for Matotea.....

We also made it to Aunty Norma's birthday celebrations, nice restaurants lose their appeal a bit when you have to small kids to juggle, but nevertheless it was a nice chance to catch up with the relies.


NZ holiday - Auckland

Outside the zoo we spent most of our time in Auckland shopping for bits and bobs we can't easily get in Tahiti. Sight-seeing consisted mainly of trying to find places to shelter from the weather or ways of showing Matotea a bit of 'big city' life!

In the motel we spent a lot of time in the bathtub, a bit of a novelty as we only have showers back at home.

We braved the chill winds to visit a good playground or two!

NZ holiday - The Zoo

Probably the highlight of Matotea's trip was a visit to Auckland Zoo. Actually it was much more specific than that.........sure saw some exotic animals, but actually she was most taken by the all terrain pushchair that we rented for her, she didn't stop talking about it over the week, as well as when we got back to Tahiti!

Sure the giraffes were OK too......

.....as well as the mosaic tuatara (which we thought looked more like a gecko)....


NZ holiday - Avion bleu

Our holiday started with two much anticipated trips on two airplanes, the first was the normal AirTahiti one,

but the second was a big blue airplane (avion bleu), a word now synonymous with holidays -

I was more than a little apprehensive about taking both the kids on a flight, particularly after some memorable experiences with Matotea, when she was a younger, but in the end they were both so excited that they were rather overcome by it all!


Ten Reasons why I like living in Rurutu: #3

How many tiny tropical islands roast their own coffee? Ours is delicious, hand-picked and roasted in small quantity......the next project would be to grow cocoa beans, so that we could have our own chocolate too!


Summer's here

Finally the season seems to be changing - the flowers and fruit are here. The first mangoes are falling from the trees (Hurray!) and the mini sunflowers I planted a month or so ago are in bloom. The weather is sunny and so we even ventured out onto the beach, though Matotea was the only one brave enough to actually get submerged. Even better we're on holiday - we've closed the guesthouse for a whole month, for a well earned bit of R&R. I for one aim to enjoy my delayed maternity leave! At the end of this coming week we head to Tahiti en route for a week in New Zealand. It's been more than a year since I left PF, so I'll be glad for an injection of 'Big City' life!!!!! But before that happens we have lots to do to get ready for our 'Tree Day' which kicks off on thursday and runs 'til saturday, with a big meal and another visit from Maeva and Marco.

Other breaking news.....
Heimana is just starting on solids, here she is (above) enjoying her first homemade carrot, potato and umara puree. Unfortunately, along with her appetite for REAL food comes teething, it's early, but the signs are there - she's drooling like crazy, is avidly mauling anything within grasping distance, our fingers, her hands, my breast, she's also as grumpy as I've ever seen her, poor little thing.....so she's been getting lots of attention and distraction!

Her intensive exercise regime continues - who said you can't run before you can sit up?

Matotea's 'balloons' which, in the past few months have morphed through wiggly lines and dots have now magically turned into blob people overnight. This is a family scene, daddy and mummy blob (center and far left, respectively) are accompanied by Matotea (flattened blob in bottom left corner, see how she is symbolically placed beneath us, I interpret this as an early attempt to express her angst at being suppressed by her parents, we alwys spoil all her fun ;-) ) and Heimana (who initially was NOT going to be included - who wants a baby sister anyway? - actually appears here with arms and legs).

Wales beat Samoa in the rugby albeit unconvincingly, my alliances are a bit split here particularly as the Samoan team were playing "for the tsunami victims", but anyway it's just fun to be able to follow the rugby from Rurutu - once more let me say YAY for internet!