Monday, September 9, 2013

Ferry ride out to Devenport

Quick post today with some pictures we took on our way out to Devenport.  I wish we had gotten more of Devenport itself- it's a neat little seaside neighborhood with some quirky shops.

Without further ado- pics!
Auckland

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week one recap

Well we've been in Auckland for a week now! Steven started his new job on Monday (that's technically your Sunday yanks) and I started my new job of Stay At Home Mum. It's been great, my days are full of Isabelle. We are both (mostly me) very excited to have the option of staying in pajamas all day. 
That photo was taken at 3 PM. Whatevs! 

We have done quite a bit of exploring this week too. We've ventured to Sylvia Park Mall via the train. That place has EVERYTHING including a children's crèche. If you don't l know what a crèche is, lemme break it down for you...

"The Treehouse is a crèche centre you can drop your 0 – 5 yr old children in for an hour and a half while you have your own shopping time or get things done that need to get done. If required for a $5 fee sessions can be extended to 2 hours. The Treehouse is fun, educational environment for your child to help their growing minds and bodies."

!!!!!!!!FOR FREE!!!!!!!!

Also included at Sylvia Park is a crazy nice parents room, which includes unisex changing area, NURSING BOOTHS! A bathroom stall big enough for you and your pram (stroller). I'm continuously blown away by all the resources for parents and children here. Another example is Plunket. They're an  organization that monitors your child's development. They provide nutrition support, breast feeding support, car seat installments with a phone number to call 24/7. Even for non emergencies. It's amazing. 

We also visited a local park, it was actually a nature reserve with wetland, but really just a park. Once you're past the entrance gate dogs are allowed to be off leads. There were dogs running around, playing in the water, it was so cool. Also beautiful birds everywhere. At the end of the trail was the nicest play ground Isabelle has ever played on. 


We are settling in nicely here in Auckland, trying to embrace all the local quirks like bringing our own bags when we go to a shop. We are very excited to get into a house eventually. We are staying in a furnished apartment right downtown in the CBD a block from Stevens work, and while its a beautiful apartment and right on the bay...it's SO LOUD past 8 PM. The courtyard behind our building is a hub of businesses and bars, so there's always music blaring and people shouting. It would be great if we were a bit younger, or child free. 

All said and done, it's been a great first week. Bring on week 2. 




Monday, September 2, 2013

A few pictures from a game at BFHQ

Played a game against Wayne- DAK vs New Zealand rifles.  The game itself was short and not exciting so not worth a full batrep.  But I snapped a few pics of the studio models I used, and wanted to share them.  It was pretty neat playing on the boards I've recognized from waaaaay back.

Panzer IIIs roll across an air strip.

 A Panzer IV F1 makes its way past some knocked out Shermans.

A Mark IV Special watches the horizon for Tommy tanks.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Eagle has Landed

We finally landed in Auckland!  After a 13 hour plane ride, that baby was done for.  So were we.
Read on for a ton of pictures of our journey- mostly Isabelle's journey!  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Transition Phase

Adios, house!
As of Thursday, we are totally out of our house!  Finally the intensely stressful work of simultaneously packing our lives and keeping a toddler alive has passed.  No more packing, and we have family to help with the kiddo- and that leaves me feeling strange.  I'm a problem solver, and for the next few days there's no problems to solve!
Lydia and Isabelle leaving Richmond

I am, however, quite relieved, and am enjoying the time with our families.  There's been all kinds of bittersweet goodbyes, but finally the stress is giving way to excitement again.  I can't wait for the adventure before us!

Monday, August 19, 2013

All For One

Today was a very memorable day that certainly deserves a quick blog post. Today was tattoo day! 

Throughout the years Steven and I have thrown around the idea of getting tattoos, and after mentioning this to my friend Ashley and her hopping on board, we decided to finally do it! Our last big hurrah before moving. I'm so glad we did it! To put it lightly, I had MANY last minute revisions and, oof, many nerves. I couldn't be happier with our results though! 

Without further delay, a photo collage:


Mine are the elephants on top. My little tribe. Look close, the little one has a bow. 
Next is Ashley's finch. She tells this great story about her mother getting finches. Finally is Steven's MacLauchlan clan family crest. 


And here's our celebration beer afterwards!



 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Last day

This Wednesday was my last day at my job here. Man, what a weird feeling that is to leave your job, as an adult, without another one lined up. Part of me can't really accept it yet. 

I've taken care of patients at my job for the last 5 years, only missing a brief 3 months when Isabelle was born. It's going to be weird not walking into that place, bleary eyed, at 7 AM every morning. I will miss my coworkers dearly. Truthfully, it was harder telling my long time patients that I was leaving than it was telling anyone else. I will honestly miss taking care of these people and I will miss working alongside a team of doctors who have taught me so much. 

Wednesday they were sweet enough to throw be a Bon Voyage lunch. 

Shout outs to my PAR bestie/Steven's vestie, Ashley, for this mocha chocolate cake. It was from Whole Foods, so it was still healthy. 


I can't believe this chapter in my life is over. It's been a fabulous 5 years. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Here Once was a Mighty Game Room.

As of just a few minutes ago, my game table was disassembled.  Many a good game has been had in that spare bedroom in our little house.  It was there that the WWPD Podcast began, and there that my best battle reports were photographed.  You've served me well, room.

See it when I first got it all together.

Lots of pictures of the game room in use after the break!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Packing update

I swear I've spent every waking moment the last few weeks putting my stuff in boxes. And when I sleep I spend all night dreaming of putting my stuff in boxes. It's weird to see all off our things packed tightly in boxes, stacked up against the walls in (what used to be) our living room. 
Our house is a wreck, last night we ate ramen noodles off of paper plates while sitting on the floor. I start to think, "this is my life now." Sometimes I get overwhelmed and think that this will never end. But...then I remember I'm getting on an airplane on the 25th - HOLD UP - *RECORD SCRATCH err-a-eerp* THAT'S 12 days! 
This was the state of out house last week, since this photo was taken we have added more boxes, and subtracted the kitchen table. 


Don't be jealous. 

 

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Countdown Continues

My coworker and I on our last
 trip up to DC!
DC metro panorama with coworkers
More and more stuff is getting knocked off the to do list.  14 days until the shipping company arrives, 17 days until we leave VA for good, and about 20 days till we touchdown in Auckland!  We're almost done with the forms needed for immigration (fairly in depth health history and criminal background checks), and it will be fantastic to be done with that piece.  My game room is about 75% packed up, the living room is completely dismantled, and after this weekend we won't even have a kitchen table!  We're crossing our fingers that the house will sell quickly, so send us some positive vibes.

Isabelle and Grandpa coloring
Scout A. Moose MacLauchlan-Torres
On Sunday, I had the awful experience of putting one of our dogs to sleep.  I planned to write a whole post about it, but didn't feel comfortable.  Suffice it to say, it was a bad situation, and I think we made the right choice for her.  Thanks to our good friends Jaime and Christine who had provided her a new and loving home a few weeks ago.  She was an ornery dog at the worst of times, and a sneaky diva at the best.  But she was with me every night, sitting on my lap while I painted miniatures or watched Netflix, and I am thankful I got to be with her at the end.  We will miss that little hound.  There will always be a (long, hot dog shaped) hole in our lives without her.






Here's my current top 3 list of things I am going to miss in Auckland (and would be delighted to find out are available!):
*Chipotle.  Seriously, I love that place.
*Sonic.
*Tex-Mex.

This list is heavily influenced by it being lunch time, and me not having eaten yet.  More to come!

After the break, there's a ton of pictures of Scout.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My interview on Throck of War regarding my move to Battlefront

For anyone who missed it, here's a link to my interview on Throck of War.

In other news, holy crap, the shipping company will be picking up our stuff in 22 days.  I feel like there's still so much to do!  The timing is so difficult.  Need to sell our cars before we leave the country, but we need to drive our cars until we leave the country.  All of the stress of figuring everything out has a way of sapping the excitement.  Sometimes we have to sit back and remember "Hey!  We're gonna live in New Zealand!" to stay positive.

That's enough of an update.  I'll leave you with a picture of Isabelle eating my mom's chicken and dumplings (certainly a meal I will miss!) and a lizard on our deck cause.. lizards are cool.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions pt 1

Panorama view of Auckland
Lydia and I get asked the same questions about New Zealand over and over, so I figured I'd make one consolidated place to answer a lot of those questions!  Feel free to email me any other questions.

Q. Are you going to be on House Hunters International?
A. Probably not.  But after being asked this one thousand times, I did apply!

Q. Are there things that will eat you down there?
A. Unlike it's neighbor Australia, New Zealand has very few dangerous animals.  In fact, New Zealand was so safe for the birds, they just stopped bothering with wings!  There's only 2 venomous spiders on the island, and from what I gather they're pretty rare.  My dad was excited to learn there are no snakes!  Indiana Jones probably retired there.  No indigenous large mammals there, though some have been introduced.  What they do have, however, is the demon beast known as the weta.   Seriously, those things are gross.

Q. How much stuff are you taking?
A. Well, obviously almost all of my miniatures!  We're taking maybe a third of our furniture, but are also taking the opportunity to shed a bunch of accumulated junk.  All in all, we're fitting what we want to take into 450 cubic feet.  (That's 12.7ish cubic meters).
The flag

Q. Do they drive on the wrong side of the road?
A. It's not wrong to them!  That's going to take some getting used to.

Q. What's the climate like?
A. The climate is classified as Oceanic, much like the Pacific Northwest.  Wikipedia has this to say about Auckland: Auckland has a temperate climate, with warm, humid summers and mild, damp winters. It is the warmest main centre of New Zealand and is also one of the sunniest, with an average of 2060 sunshine hours per annum.  "Centre", heh.  Gonna have to get used to some British English spellings!  My poor spell checker is going to be so confused.  Where do I specify "The Queen's English"?

Q. What is the cost of living like?
A. Auckland is hit with a double whammy of being a large city, and being on an island that relies on imports.  It's pretty high!  Lydia and I will definitely have to adjust to that- we've been spoiled living in a Richmond suburb!

Alright, I'll leave part one at that.  Feel free to ask more in the comments and I'll try to field them!  I'll also probably screw up half of this, and my Aucklander friends can call me out.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

US Bucket list

There's a list of things, mostly food, that Steven and I must do (eat) before leaving the country. Yesterday we were able to cross one from that list: Chicken Fiesta!

Steven and I have had many dates at Chicken Fiesta over the years. We've seen it go from a hole in the wall that could seat about 10 people (and it was always packed) to a full restaurant with a second location. It's by far one of our favorite places in RVA. 

Here it is folks, our last #1 chicken sandwich combo with fried yucca. 
If you think that sandwich doesn't look like anything special you're WRONG (stupid). Whatever kind of black magic seasoning goes on that bird before its sent to slow cook on a rotisserie makes it a freaking fantastic chicken dance party in your mouth. Oh and that green and yellow sauce, yeah no idea what they are but I do know that I'd like to slather it on everything. 


My only regret is that Isabelle never got to try it. That baby doesn't know what she's missing.




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

T-Minus 33 days.

In 33 days we're boarding a plane with one way tickets to Auckland.  Holy crap!

I can't even begin to describe how stressful it is simultaneously packing, selling various items, preparing to sell a house and 2 cars, and carrying on with (somewhat) normal lives.  With a toddler.

This past weekend was Historicon, which was an absolute blast!  I got to see a ton of good friends, and had tons of people say some very nice things to me.  Knowing that I've positively impacted people's hobby is a fantastic feeling, and makes all the time spent on WWPD totally worth it!

Luke and Jon got me the plaque pictured here, and it meant a lot.  They rightly know that I'm a plaqueman!  I'll take a plaque over prize support any day of the week, and now I have a ceterpiece!

My favorite part of Historicon was the hangin' out after all the games wound down for the day.  Always a good time!  Thanks to everyone who came and hung out.

Alright, done with this rambling post.  More to come!

-S

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hello World!

Hi everyone!  Lydia and I plan to use this to discuss our big move to New Zealand.  For those of you who may not know, here is the announcement.  Right now we're in the process of planning how in the hell we move halfway round the world!  But we're incredibly excited, and are looking forward to living in another country.  Get ready to be bombarded by New Zealand facts!  Until next time, here's a few pictures of me, Lydia, and Isabelle.