Lucy's Birthday

Trip Start Aug 20, 2009
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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, November 28, 2009

I had forgotten what a busy time of the year it is for the Parkys!  What with Dan's birthday just after we arrived, then Halloween, then Bonfire Night and now Lucy's birthday, then it's only another month until Christmas...............where has this year gone?  I say it every year, however, it seems to have gone even quicker this year.  I have been told many times that time gets quicker the older you get, I dread to think what it is going to be like by the time I am retiring!  Blink and the day will be gone!

With the move into the house and the unpacking of the many boxes, Lucy's birthday preparations this year were very last minute.  I can not remember a birthday when it has been rushing around the day before!  At least we had bought some of her pressies for her during our stay at Disney World, and what a good choice they were, seeing as though she is now Tink mad!

She was up bright and early as expected and had most of her pressies opened after a couple of minutes!  She was thoughtful and left some pressies and cards for Daniel to open when he woke up.  Glad she did, he would have been gutted if he hadn't been involved!

As her birthday was on Thursday, it was a quiet affair.  After a quick visit to the supermarket to get supplies for her cake, Lucy and Dan played with the new Sylvanian, Littlest Petshop, My little Pony, Lego etc etc while I got to work on decorating the cake!

As some of you know, I have really struggled with converting my super quick cake recipe over to baking with butter!  Lucy's cake was to fall victim to the same problem (although I can tell you that I have now sorted the matter and just replace some of the butter with milk!)  There was a wopping big hole in the middle of her cake, it rose and then it fell........big time!  After stuffing it with chocolate buttons and icing, no one was any the wiser!    It was pretty quick and easy to convert the stodgy mass into a toad stool and some of Lucy's faries hid the dodgy bits!  I was rather impressed with the look of the finished masterpiece, as were Lucy and Daniel, which is all that mattered!

After a quick lunch we headed into Auckland to visit the Fairy Shop in Ponsonby.  It is a shop full of everything to do with fairies, and the odd bit of Pirates to keep the boys happy.  Lucy visited it last year when we were over here, and has been desperate to visit again ever since we arrived.  She was really good and decided only to buy a little bit of bling for her finger and to save her birthday money for the toy shop!

Luckily for Lucy the toy shop had a sale on.  She knew just how much cash she had to spend and she spent every cent - she obviously can calculate money in her head quite well.  We came out of the shop with 2 My Little Ponies, 2 fairies and some Littlest Petshop.  Lucy and Dan then spent the journey back home ripping the boxes open in the back of the car!

For her birthday tea, Larissa, Brent, Emily and Issy came over.  Lucy really enjoyed it as it gave her another chance to show the girls her toys and her new bedroom.  They bought Lucy a netball ring which is now up on the wall on the deck for her and Dan to shoot through.  The kids had pizza and the adults Thai curry then the dreaded cake!  It looked good but was rather heavy to taste!  I have to say, it has actually improved as the days have passed, or we have got used to it!  But as I said before Lucy was happy so we were too :-)

Lucy's big treat came on Saturday when we headed north up to Pakiri Beach for some horse riding on the beach.  It was a couple of hours from our house so we planned a couple of stop offs on the way.  It was fantastic to get out of Auckland and see some of the fabulous NZ scenery.  There has been a lot of rain recently so everywhere was looking particularly green.  We stopped off in a little village called Matakana, which is famous for it's farmer's market, which we have to say was lovely.  It was like stepping back in time, we have visited markets before, but this one seemed different.  There was such a lovely atmosphere, with a band playing, lots of produce to buy and sausages on sticks which the kids loved!  We have decided to come back when we have visitors to show around.  The coffee at the local cafe was pretty good too!

We next headed off for Goat Island Marine Park for a spot of lunch on the beach.  This area is famous for there being lots of fish to snorkel with in the channel between the mainland and Goat Island.  Unfortunately due to the direction of the wind, the sea was rather choppy so was not ideal for snorkelling.  The children did enjoy a dip in the sea with their wetsuits and masks on and even though they saw no fish, they were happy.  Once again, we have decided to come back here for us all to have a go.  Mummy and Daddy are going to have to go out and buy wetsuits sometime soon! 

We found a sheltered part of the beach for our picnic, which we ended up eating rather quickly due to a group of pesky seagulls and some rather cheeky ducks.  They are obviously very used to being fed and were not shy in asking for it.  We even saw the ducks stealing from picnic blankets, they didn't get a chance with us, but one of the ducks had a nibble at Dan's finger, while another tried Jeff's sock!

Next it was off to Pakiri beach, which we could see in the distance - it looked rather an impressive white sandy beach which seemed to go on for ever!  We were not disappointed, after driving down a gravel road we arrived at the riding centre.  It was obvious from the start that we had made a good choice.  The horses looked loved and well looked after and the staff knew what they were doing and were very friendly and helpful.  After more coffee it was off to the helmet room and then on to the horses!

I think we were all looking forward to the experience, but for different reasons.  I have missed not riding over the last 10 years or so, and was looking forward to getting back in the saddle.  To Lucy, Dan and Jeff it was a new adventure.  Jeff had a lovely looking horse called Cruise, who came out to meet us with his ears pricked - very interested and keen to go out.......always a good sign!  Cruise had obviously been doing this for a while and gave Jeff a good ride, although it was Cruise who was in control!  Lucy had Georgina, who liked her belly and grabbed at grass given half a chance!  Lucy was over the moon to be riding a 'white' horse and Georgina was gentle with her and gave her a lovely safe ride.  My horse was Lanny, who had a little spark which I enjoyed.  He was interesting to ride and he seemed to enjoy it as much as me, although like me he would have loved a good blast along the beach!  However, for obvious reasons that will have to wait for another time!  I have to say my favourite was Dan't horse - Black Jack.  He had once been a pig horse and had been mistreated in his past, however, he was a fantastic ride for a little 5 year old.  He was so well behaved, not once grabbing for grass and kept Dan safe and sound - it was so lovely to see.  You could see both Lucy and Dan growing in confidence as they began to trust their horses.

To get to and from the beach we had to ride through rather a deep river/stream which everyone enjoyed.  Good job no one fell off as it would have been rather a wet ride and both Lucy or Dan would have had to swim as they wouldn't have been able to stand up in it :-/  The beach was as gorgeous as we had expected.  Beautiful white sand all to ourselves, not another person in sight apart from our party of 6.  Us and Jenny and Trev, our guides.  The waves were crashing onto the beach.  It was BRILLIANT :-)  We all ended up with huge smiles on our faces for the rest of the weekend.  What a fantastic birthday treat, which we will have to do again.

We drove back towards Matakana, happy and stopped off for super burgers - a great end to a brilliant day.  The journey back didn't seem to take half as long, strange how it never does!  Once back at the house we had two exhausted children to carry in and get into bed.............
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