For the last two weeks or so we’ve been treated to a nice grouping of planets rising in the northeast each morning around dawn. Here’s a few photos I took on my little Canon IXUS with exposures in the 5-15sec range. Be sure to click through to the Picasa album for full size images…

Jupiter, Mercury, Venus (brightest) and Mars, 6:21am 13 May 2011:


Jupiter, Venus and Mercury, 6:16am 19 May 2011:


Jupiter, Mars, Moon, Venus and Mercury (low on the horizon between Petone and Somes Island), 6:43am 31 May 2011:


Mars, Moon, Venus and Mercury, 6:44am 31 May 2011:


To help identify the stars and/or planets, I use and recommend Your Sky – a fantastic site/tool to make a sky map for any location and time. To get started, look for the links to select a nearby city – for example, here’s the current sky map and horizon view for Wellington. On a related note, if you want to track satellites in real time, try this website which lets you track all sorts of satellites overlayed on a Google map, as well as the International Space Station.

Family update

And since I’ve rediscovered by blog today(!), I might as well post again to complete the trifecta for the evening.

Here’s a couple of recent photos of the kids and the vid we grabbed of some of Amy’s earliest steps…

Riding hippo at the zoo – shortly after her new hair style thanks to Mum and Aunty Jen,

Next up, the video of Amy starting her walking. Soon after this she reverted back to “knee-walking” with only the occasional steps. Now however, she chooses to walk whenever she can and delights in pushing her little prams around the house – very cute!

Early steps,

And along with her early steps, her first words are taking off – many related to food (that’s my girl!) including “more”, “milk” and “custard”. Her first word was of course “Dad”, although I believe Lou will say it was “Mum”… and rather than call the cats by name she delights in squealing at them! 🙂

Finally, here’s a recent pic of Matt – also at the zoo where he loves to drive the jeep!

Matt has taken great joy in Amy’s walking and delights in pointing out every time she walks across the room. He’s also super at entertaining his little sister, and I think between the rough and tumble he’s actually getting protective of her! As for entertaining us, Matt (like all toddlers no doubt) comes out with some funny things at times, but it’s the way kids approach language that fascinates me and makes you realise how silly some expressions are. One quirky statement of late is “I did that last day” – meaning yesterday – which actually makes perfect sense! 🙂

Ah the joy of kids – just as long as Amy grows out of her obsession with the Hi-5 Dance Hits DVD… 😛

Holiday greetings!

Merry Christmas (belated), happy holidays and hello 2010!

Sadly, our family holiday to “the bach” in the Sounds is over and I’m back at work in Wellington. We had a great time with the Noble and Chinn families this Christmas – staying with John and Jenny and my sis Nicola, husband Andrew and kids Oliver and Katie.

Following our time away, I’ve now uploaded a few snaps to my Picasa Albums, and here’s a sample,

The family on Christmas Day,


Matt with his first fish!


Amy the little rockstar!


For more photos, including a sneak peek at our Christmas fare, click through to the photo albums.

And wherever you are (or were), I hope your Christmas/holiday time is equally enjoyable.

See you in 2010!

Happy Birthday Amy

One year old today!

Boy how time flies. This time last year we had our little girl at home after an exceptionally good delivery in the wee hours of the morning, with just 4 hours or so in hospital. Since then she’s delighted us as she’s grown up into a cute little girl who will soon be running around after her cheeky brother.

For a look back on the past year in photos, check out Amy’s Introductions, 3 Months, 6 Months and 9 Months albums.

Three and nine

A little belated, but hey.

Matt is now 3 years old and Amy is 9 months – oh how time flies!

The lad turned 3 on August 2 and had a fun party with some of his friends at Tinytown in Kilbirnie – toys, playhouses, cars, a bouncy castle and party food! Lots of party food and an awesome clown cake out of our new kitchen!

And his fav toy is of course from his parents(!) – his new scooter,

Along with his third birthday came a new room at Kindercare – his creche – “Pre-school One”. So far so good – he loves the new room, new toys and big kids playground!


The day after Matt’s birthday, Amy turned 9 months old – meaning about now(ish) she’s spent as long with us as she did growing inside Mum! How’s that for a random fact and celebration?! She’s going great guns with her growing – 95th percentile for height, and weight, well, um, apparently it’s not polite to mention a girls weight (or her thunder thighs!). Moving along, she’s also crawling now and for the most part has abandoned commando crawling in favour of all fours,

This has created all sorts of new challenges for the boy as Amy can now get to his toys! Additionally, she’s very vocal and has teeth,

Actually that popped out around a month ago and now the front two bottom ones are well up.


So there you go. A quick update on the kids, and for the family we’ll try and get some fresh vids online soon so stay tuned…

Taupo Easter Trip

A little late in the making, but here’s a brief update on our Taupo holiday at Easter.

In short, we had a fantastic trip with 3 nights in Taupo staying at a friends holiday house. The kids travelled really well – this being our longest car trip with both Matthew (2yr 8mth) and Amy (5.5mth).

The trip north took around 6 hours, including 2 decent stops for the lad to run around in Otaki and Waiouru. And to further help out the little guy combat boredom, we broke out a portable DVD player for the last part of the journey, which inevitably meant driving to The Wiggles!

Once in Taupo we played tourist with a toddler friendly focus – including playgrounds, train rides, visiting the Huka Falls, the Honey Hive and the AC Baths. 🙂

For the trip home, we decided to take an alternative route, sneaking through the Gorge, down SH2 and over the Rimutaka Hill to avoid the inevitable  nightmare traffic on SH1 trying to get back into Wellington at the end of a long weekend. Our route was thus,

and took just half an hour longer than the trip north, and again we stopped twice for Matt to run around. Google maps tells me that route is about 60km longer than via SH1 and I’d definitely do it again – I’d far rather drive a little further and stay moving than be in a stop-start queue between Otaki and Porirua!

So all-in-all it was a successful holiday and we’ve uploaded a few snaps to my Picasa Web Albums here.

30 and 3

…months that is.

Matthew turned 30 months old yesterday and Amy 3 months today! The kids are doing great – Matt is a little chatterbox and fun to talk to while Amy is all smiles, wriggling lots and sleeping well most nights. A couple of recent pics…

Smiley girl,

and Matt riding a Rhino Hippo(!) at the zoo,