Friday, April 24, 2015

Changes Are A Comin'

I have been stalling on writing this posting...stalling!  I've been quiet on the blog, quiet on facebook and laying pretty low around Penang.  But the time has come, I'm on a big heavy train and it's moving, really, really, fast.  I can't stop it and I can't jump off of it, so I'm trying to sit back and enjoy the rest of the ride.

I'm sad to report, but our nearly four years in Penang is coming to a fast and rather unexpected end.  We are headed back to Austin, TX on May 13.  Eric's company unexpectedly pulled in our contract from December to July. Because we are expecting baby #2 August 6th, we have to leave before I'm too too pregnant to travel.  To say that I am shocked would be an understatement.  I have had almost three months to process this move and I have just recently been able to accept that this is happening.  It's a bittersweet transition for us but it's part of our greater JennEric adventure.  

Eric, Adi and I are really focused on enjoying our last few weeks in this magical place that we have been lucky enough to call home.  We are eating out, spending time with friends, swimming in our pool, walking in the gardens, drinking fresh coconuts, learning how to cook local food, and enjoying being together.  Stay tuned as our adventure continues.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New Zealand: Mt. Cook

Our last major stop on our South Island adventure was Mt. Cook National Park.  We splurged and rented a chalet at the famous Hermitage hotel so we could enjoy the beautiful surroundings at our own pace.  Mt. Cook was the highlight of our trip.  Not only was the scenery absolutely stunning, but we were able to do three incredible day hikes that we all really enjoyed.  These pictures are beautiful and do some justice but the real deal is so much more beautiful.  

We arrived late afternoon and decided to do a quick hike up to Kea Point to view the Mueller glacier.  The weather was perfect for hiking, pants and a light coat, sun shinning and Adi in her backpack, pure bliss.  Soon after we departed the winds picked up and the clouds blew in. We were able to enjoy the view of the glaciers for a few minutes before hightailing it back to the car before the rain started.  All in all, a great hike, we were cold but happy when we made it back to our room.

The next morning, the clouds had yet to clear and it was cold!  We decided to bundle up and take off on the famous Hooker Valley Hike.  Adi was decked out in her cutest winter gear, complete with boots and fleece lined pants, we were determined to not freeze.

Cuteness overload! 

Once we got moving, this hike was phenomenal!  We crossed two swinging bridges and watched as the clouds lifted and Mt. Cook presented herself.  It was a magical morning.

Hooker Vallet and Mt. Cook in the distance

Before turning back, we stopped for a snack and some playtime for Adi, who was a trooper in the backpack for the 3.5 hour hike.  How many 21 month olds get to do this?  Seriously, this kid is lucky!

Adi enjoyed the hike so much that she took her nap in the backpack, which gave Eric and I a rare opportunity to have a "date" lunch of ham sandwiches and chips.  She slept like that for a good 30 minutes.
After lunch, we headed for the Tasmin Glacier.  The sun had come out and it was nice and warm.  A steep hike up to the viewpoint and we were amazed at the size of the retreating glacier in the distance.
There is a small boat on the lake..that's how big the scale of the glacier is
Our happy little hiker
The drive in and out of Mt. Cook is amazing, along an almost neon blue glacial lake.  Gorgeous!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Zealand: Queenstown and Lake Hawea

From Milford Sound, we drove into Queenstown, where I could only score us accommodation for one night in this adrenaline filled town.  We were all super tired from our time in Milford and only popped into town for a quick dinner and stroll.  We had an early night and lots of sleep and woke up ready to explore some more.  We decided to go to the luge, as we loved it last time in Rotorua.  Adi was big enough and old enough to ride down this time, so we took full advantage of the course.  The views were stunning and fun was had by all!

Our Queenstown View
All FOUR of us rode the louge

The view riding back to the top of the louge

After a fun morning, we headed toward Wanaka and Lake Hawea.  We opted to take the scenic drive, which did not disappoint.  Adi, was a trooper and slept the entire drive, which left Eric and I to enjoy the stunning views together.

Our little professional traveler...nap time in the car
We spent the next three days at a small house in quiet Lake Hawea.  It was a nice and needed change of pace for all of us.  We were able to spend the days playing at the playground, going to the lake, relaxing and enjoying the amazing stars.  Eric went paragliding one morning and Adi and I watched "Daddy flying".

Adi favorite slide ever...the Dinosaur Slide!

Having a snack and waiting for daddy to jump
Here he comes
Eric's View

Safely on the ground and Adi was ready for her turn

Relaxing at our house in Hawea
A windy day at Lake Hawea
Before we headed off to Mt. Cook, we rode bikes around Lake Wanaka.  It was a lot of fun and we got stuck in a sudden and cool rain shower.

On to Mt. Cook...stay tuned!