December 2007- Driving home for Christmas, Lowell and I decide that this would be a good year to travel to NZ. Carlynne piped up: "Why don't you just find a job and live there for a year?" Alrighty then.
Early 2008- I had a successful phone interview for a job in Auckland- set to start in September.
A little later in 2008- Lowell searched church websites in the Auckland area, and chose one based on web design (and kind of the doctrine also). Lowell contacted the church and promptly heard back from Andrew of pastoral care. He kindly offered to pick us up from the airport and even host us until more permanent accommodations were found!
Late August 2008- We arrived in NZ and attended Northwest Baptist Church for the first time. Libby was at the door to greet us and immediately invited us to her home group. Good ol sweet Libby!
September 2008- Among amazing home groupers were Lance & Natalie whom we began to hang out with regularly.
December 2008- Nat invited us to her parents' place for Christmas.
ENTER GRANDMERE AND POPPY: Nat's parents. Well, at the time they were introduced as Jim and Alison, but quickly became mama & papa G-dub, and are now lovingly referred to as Grandmere and Poppy.
This is Grandmere from those days. She is pretending not to be completely enamored...
Hahahaha! You can see how they really quickly cemented themselves in our hearts (Grandmere and Poppy.... not these nearly naked running men).
Fast forward six years, and Grandmere and Poppy were our very first Kiwi visitors!
After picking them up from the airport, we packed their first Canadian night with Lowell's family as well as farm visits. Iced tea with Dave, Lori & fam, supper, saskatoon pie, snow mobiles and the pumpkin chucker with Lando & Marti, then snack and visits with Lowell's parents before sleep finally claimed our poor exhausted/over-stimulated Kiwi travelers.
|She reeeeeeally enjoyed Marti's homemade saskatoon pie. Like, really really.|
|So did Poppy! He's savouring...|
|Grandmere was slipping in and out of consciousness and I really thought we were going to lose her until this hugely impressive pumpkin chucker gave her a second wind!|
|Soaking up the Sled Parlor!|
|Grandmere! Wear your helmet!|
|That's better. ;)|
Sunday morning was country church followed by a spin in the fancy car and a big & tasty farm dinner courtesy of Lowell's mama.
|They really loved the whole coffee-in-church thing!|
|They also loved a church smack dab in the middle of prairie land.|
Off to Banff!
Calling a cozy little B&B home for the next couple nights, we ventured out to tour Banff and Lake Louise.
|We forgot to bring any books on our little trip, but the boys were happy to settle for a few songs on the phone!|
|Close up. Isn't that the cutest? Just snuggled right in.|
|Stef's sleeping nook/closet.|
|My boys, mountains, and coffee. My favourite things.|
|Shadow chasing en route to view the beautiful Lake Louise.|
|Goofball showing off his new merino/possum wool toque that Grandmere made!|
|This is NOT the first time that our blonde haired blue eyed Canadian boys have been nabbed for a touristy shot. For real!|
|A restaurant named after Poppy!|
|This is soooooo them.|
|I was very excited about treating them to Beaver Tails, but by the time we got around to hitting up the shop, they were closed!|
|Grandmere LOVED this pink bike belonging to the sweet shop. Good thing it was locked up, otherwise I think that sucker might be on its way to NZ right now!|
Once we arrived in Lethbridge, my parents became the official tour guides as Lowell and I worked during the day (but proceeded to bum meals, convo, and hot tub time in the evenings). Mom & Dad kept the standards high as they continued to overwhelm Grandmere and Poppy with western experiences: Waterton National Park, Hutterite Colony, Dutch bakery, local strolls, and some serious laundry time.
On Friday, Ryan, Julie Anne & Elise joined us for the day (as Julie Anne also knew Grandmere and Poppy from NZ). We posed for some Oh Baby shots for Grandmere & Poppy's daughter-in-law, Ellie. She's editor of this magazine, and it was hand delivered to us straight from Kiwi land. Super high quality magazine... we definitely promote it. ;)
Side note: Ellie & Josh have three daughters named Joanna, Lottie, and Abigail. Lottie was born when we were in NZ, and as a way of paying homage to our kiwi roots (and because we loooooved the name and it met our super strict criteria), Fraser would have been named Lottie Rose (Rose being a family name) had he been a girl. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone though, that's a secret just between you and me... in CASE we still get a chance to use it. ;)
Back to the fun. Grandmere and Poppy were quite taken with our fall leaves, so we had some fun.
|Grandmere and Poppy are from a town called Kumeu (where we in fact lived while in NZ), so here they are with doggy Kumeu!|
|Fraser summed it up accurately: "Grandmere is hilarious and Poppy is nice!"|
Saturday was the dreaded day that we headed to Calgary to bring Grandmere and Poppy back to the airport. But not before meeting Carlynne, Dan & Fin (who just happened to fly into Calgary the night before) for lunch, and visiting the stampede grounds!
|Briefly pulling ourselves together for one final shot.|
We had an AMAZING time with our kiwi parents, we love them to bits, and can't wait to see them again! Can someone please invent some type of plane that would allow us to get to NZ in like 30 minutes for like 5 bucks? Thank you.