Thankful, thankful and not so shank-ful

We had a great Thanksgiving week. So great, that I never even ONCE threatened to shank anyone. 
My aunt, uncle, and cuz Patrick came down from wayyyyyy up north. You know, north Atlanta. 
I always love having time with my family. We’re a rarity nowadays with so many gone. 
Lolo and Linds are both always so busy with work so I planned on Monday night for all of us to go to a painting party. AT, UJ and Patrick had never been.
*Well, wouldn’t you know that our sweet Cocoa became very sick that afternoon and I ended up at the emergency hospital with her. Apparently, she didn’t want me to paint.
But, my people had a nice time and that made me happy.
You know what else makes me happy? People cooking while I watch.
The Coach disassembling my turkey and his dad’s ham.
We had an early dinner because Lindsay had to work that night.
Lolo had to work the night before and Thanksgiving night, so we didn’t see her on Thursday; our very first time not having both kids at the table. I guess that means I don’t need a kids table anymore?
Wahhhhhh….
Since the girls were little, this Naked Kelly doll has shown up in some weird places…..She’s always been naked, but now she only has one shoe. This girl is living some sort of wild life and I hope my pilgrims don’t take after her lead.
On Friday Lolo came over as did Linds and we had some family time. The kids ate some leftovers, called it Thanksgiving, then we went to the marina for a nice dinner. But first, Christmas pictures.
Lolo + Nathan = 2x popo
Lolo and MaxMax
My DNA

We had a great week and now we’re moving onto the next holiday hoopla.

*Cocoa had a bad case of pancreatitis and stayed in the hospital for two nights. During an ultrasound, they found she had some tumors near her pancreas. We’re not doing any more digging. It’s a wait-and- see kind of thing. Right now, she’s eating, drinking and seems pain-free. Hopefully, that will last a little while.
XOXO

Queenstown to Mt. Cook, NZ ~~They said getting there would be the most fun.

Our first adventure after enjoying a few days in Queenstown was a drive to Mount Cook to see the famous Tasman glacier.

We’d noticed the day prior that it was getting REALLY windy as we were exploring the area. Someone in a shop mentioned something about a cold front coming through the next day, hence the wind.
We didn’t think much about it. We woke up in the morning and started getting ready when I opened the curtains and noticed some snow flurries.
What? 
It’s spring in NZ.
I put on the tv and the local news said that a lot of roads would be closing as well as the airport.
I was thinking: These people are really exaggerating….it’s just a few flurries.
Again, I’m a Florida native, so I know winter weather.

By the time we were dressed and we ate our breakfast, it was FULL-ON WINTER.

I don’t have any photos of the full-ON winter because I was FULL-on driving on the left side of the road in the right side of the car while it’s FULL-ON snowing.
It was at least 3 /12 hours before we arrived in clearer weather.
I was stressed to say the least; both hands on the wheel the entire time. My body so tense it would take at least 3 glasses of wine and a full body massage to get back to my normal.

We were about an hour short of our destination when we the weather cleared up and we found a spot to stop, stretch our legs and thank the good Lord that we made it through the snow storm.

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we came around a corner and saw this huge BLUE lake; we had to stop and take it in.

After about 10 minutes we were back in the car towards our destination: Mount Cook.
We didn’t know what to expect at a hotel that was located in a national park, but we loved our quaint little bungalow.

It was really overcast and dreary again by the time we arrived at our room, then the sun went down. The next morning we opened the curtains and were able to see the view from our window.

It was a beautiful, clear and crisp morning and we were ready for our glacier tour.
We were driven to a national park, and had about a mile walk till we reached the boating area.

We were so happy for clear skies!

They loaded us onto small boats/rafts that held about 15 people and we zipped around the lake and learned all about glaciers and icebergs. 

Iceberg

How did I make it on this planet for 51 years and not realize that a glacier and an iceberg are two different things? Apparently, my Florida public school education didn’t focus on such things.

mountains behind us
Iceberg
GLACIER!!
Behind us here is the Tasman Glacier. The huge lake we were boating on was once part of the glacier, but like everything else, it’s melting. In about 40 years, the (very large) glacier will most likely be gone. 

We got up close and personal with an iceberg. Inside it are rocks, dirt, debris….whatever the glacier picked up from the earth as it formed. When the iceberg breaks off of the glacier, it floats around, melts and drops all the debris into the lake. Our tour guides said that every day (sometimes by the hour) the view of the icebergs changes as they melt and others come off the glacier.

It was a really cool (brrrr) learning experience and also a bit sad. This is proof that our ecology is changing at a really rapid pace and it appears that we’re not going to be able to halt it the way we (humans) live. 
I skipped a great day on our wine tour on the Southern part of the South Island before we moved onto Mt. Cook, but I’m going to combine it with our wine tour of the Marlborough region. 
So.much.good.wine. 
XOXO

The one where I can’t stop gushing about New Zealand and SHEEP {pt 3}

For the last few weeks, I keep coming to my blog page and I attempt to write/document about our super duper fabulous once in a lifetime trip, but then my brain goes
BOOP. 
BOP.
BURP.
The burp was from a ginger ale. 
There is so much to write and share it becomes overwhelming. 
***
We started our trip on the South Island so we could drive north while seeing all the good stuff prior to meeting up with Lindsay in Wellington. 
Our tour people set up some good stuff for us. One was this boat cruise to a working sheep farm with a beautiful dinner. Sadly, this was on our first night….although we really weren’t jet-lagged, we did want to go to bed at 9pm {NZ time} 
But, when you get on a boat, you can’t just willy-nilly walk back to your hotel when you want to go to bed. 
You’d have to swim, but the water was really cold. 
beeUtiful views for days. 

We watched a sheep get all its hairs cut.
It was awkward. for me and the sheep.

New Zealand is known for it’s Merino wool which comes from Merino sheep.
You knew that.
Merino wool is unlike most wool. It’s soft and fine. It doesn’t make your skin feel like it’s going to itch until you insist on one of those white straight jackets.

So, this night was our first encounter with NZ sheep.
During our next 13 days, we encountered eleventy billion sheep.
Around every corner on our drive were fields and fields of sheep.

“Does this wool make my butt look big?” 
Kelly and Suz with some sleepy sheep. 
Something else that was interesting. They sell items everywhere made from Merino wool; sweaters, socks, hats, scarves….all very soft and lovely.
We also noticed lots of these items that were a mixture of Merino wool and possum. 
I’m.not.kidding. 
Possums in NZ are not native and they’ve become very invasive pests. Mostly because they kill all the flightless birds in NZ. Yeah, the poor Kiwi bird is a dying breed and possums are one of the reasons. 
So the NZ’ers have found that while trying to reduce their numbers, they can use their coat for clothing items.
Pretty darn smart if you ask me. 
Now, I’m off to find another gingerale and gather my thoughts. 
XOXO