Monday, March 23, 2009

A "Grand" Trip, Part One

Yes, finally happened! We made it to New Zealand to visit our family and meet our new granddaughter, Gwen! Ralph had received clearance from his surgeon that he could make the trip, so tickets and itineraries were hastily planned and off we went. It was wonderful!

The first part of our journey saw us riding our local shuttle down to the Phoenix Airport to catch a flight into LA. Luckily, all our bags could be check through to Auckland so we just had to shuffle ourselves around after checking them in. We took the shuttle as I don't like really small planes (which is what they use to fly from Flagstaff to Phoenix). I blame my brother for this as he was the pilot for the first plane I ever rode in - a Cherokee Piper. Now, you have to know my brother...who saw this as an opportunity to scare the bejesus out of me, again, and did exactly that. But I digress...where was I? Oh, yeah...
We caught a flight to LA getting there in time to have a bit of a meal as our overseas flight didn't leave until very late. After eating, we walked or sat and read until we we told we could board. On we went into the Air New Zealand flight of a 777-400! Although it was packed full like a sardine tin, it was a really nice, smooth flight. Both of us managed to dose off once and a while. I don't think I made it completely through even one of the movies.
Early on the Auckland morning two days later (you lose two days going over due to the International Dateline being crossed but it was actually a 12-hour flight) our son-in-law, Ross, picked us up after we went through Customs.
When ever we arrive in Auckland, I always enjoy the sight of two huge Norfolk Island pines as we step out of the front of the terminal. They're probably 60 ft. tall or better, but they are both a sign of "Welcome" to me, as is the moisture in the air and the smell of the ocean not far away.
After a fairly short trip we arrived at Ross & Kelly's house where Kelly and Gwen were waiting for us.

And here she is! Miss Gwen herself!

"So...You're my Grandpa, huh?"

"Why is Grandma calling me a "Gloucester Fisherman" because of my hat?"

Yes, I do have a few photos of me holding Gwen, but right now I'm taking the pictures...

Snuggles with Daddy

"Mom says Grandpa is trying to rot my brain with TV, but she doesn't understand that we're really watching a Cricket Match."

We had a lovely time visiting family. We really did not intend to do much travel or exploration. We took walks with Kelly and Gwen while Ross was at work, went out for some great meals, had a family barbecue to catch up with the whole clan, and did some short trips into town on the bus or train. Ralph was still recovering from his surgery and I was just plain enjoying myself. It was nice to be able to help out as well. I never thought I'd actually enjoy helping with the dishes or laundry, but I did.
We even went with Val and Hugo, Ross' parents, on a small train-trip through the New Zealand bush to a reservoir (more on this in another post).

All the grandparents & Gwen

At first the summer weather there was hot and more humid than we're used to in Arizona, but storms moved through cooling the nights off to where you could definitely tell fall was in the air. This last photo is of something I love, but don't see very often at my place. Rain. I loved it! :)
The other person's grass is always greener, isn't it? should see all the lovely green grass there is in New Zealand! :)
More to come...


Franna said...

Well, at last!!! What a cutie Gwen is.

How was it jumping from Spring into Fall in 12 hours? Those two seasons are rather similar, though.

I'm with you on the small commuter planes!
- Franna

Nancy K. said...

I'm so happy for you that you finally got to see your baby girl and her baby!!! What a thrill that had to be. Gwen is adorable...

Have fun and a safe trip home!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I, for one, am happy the suspense is over! GREAT to see Gwen, and hear that you had a good trip. Is a grandparent's love as different as everyone says it is?

Garrett808 said...

oh my she is so grown up already with all that hair! I'm so glad you could visit her and your family. Are you from NZ originally? I'd love to visit down there where I have a lot of pigeon THEIR summer/fall when its winding down here :) give LOTS of photos! I love traveling!!

Tammy said...

Hi Kathy,
It's great to see a new post from you. I'm so glad you finally got to see your new grand-baby. She is an absolute doll! It sounds like you had a really special time on your visit.
Take care,

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Sounds like a great time, and a wonderful visit! Welcome home.

Dave said...

Wow!!! How cool is that??? The world's most beautiful grandbaby in one of the worlds most beautiful country... Congrats to you all !!!!

Kelly said...

Hooray! Keep these blog entries coming - and please share lots more Gwen pics with your readers.

I'm going to suggest soon that you think about publishing some of your pics in a Picasa Web Album - similar to how I do it on Flickr - but a one-button deal in Picasa. Give it a try sometime. You have to make an "album" in Picasa first, and then you can upload the album to Picasa Web Albums. Yes, you can restrict access.

We loved having you visit and we all wish you were still here. Come back soon.

Sharon said...

Your grandbaby is absolutely adorable, and I think I suffer being an hour from my son's boys - oh my. Thanks for sharing your trip.

Tina T-P said...

What a cuties and yes, look at all that hair! Glad you had such a good time - sorry you came home to so many weather problems of your own in AZ. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the trip! T.

Val said...

Love the captions Kathy, they fit the expressions so well. Am glad those leaving comments think she is a cutie because as you know we think so to. Glad you enjoyed the rain, I guess when we have it so often we don't always appreciate it.

Wrensong Farm said...

Gwen has such an "intellectual" look on her face and I love her Gloucester fisherman hat! Great pics can't wait to see more. NZ....another place I have on my bucket list. :)
And you're right the grass is always greener....I would love to send you some rain right now (along with the accompanying mud!):)