It took over four years, but I finally had some some family come and visit over the past couple of months! That’s me and my cousin, Little Baby Dallas up there. Hard to believe that was 1981 and I can still remember us playing the pinball machine at his old house and even changing his diapers!

Here we are now and he turned 40 while he was over on this side. I still call him Little Baby Dallas, though and I probably always will. We went to a winery across the river from where I live (I’m pointing to my town) and keeping with tradition, found row #40 to remind him how old he was in the picture (well he was ALMOST 40).

It was the only one written in marker for some reason, so it would have to do! He’d been wanting to come to New Zealand and Australia ever since he was little and he finally made it. He spent a LOT of time driving though, so next time he knows what to expect.

We did some bush walks and saw the huge eels in Norsewood. We had a good time catching up after 11 years on the balcony and watching the sunset.

It was also his first time hanging laundry on a line. It was kind of funny seeing him mortified that I was hanging up his boxers. I remember that feeling when I first got to this side, too! He obviously forgot that I changed his diapers. He also hit his head a lot on that thing, whereas I can walk right under it without a problem.

He did admit that in Oz he didn’t see a koala or a kangaroo, so he’s obligated to come back and have ME show him around next time! He did take my advice and walk the Sydney bridge which I’m sure was fun and check out that view!

Walk the Sydney bridge

Come back any time, Baby Dallas! It was great seeing you again!!

About a month later, my mom and her husband, Ed showed up! They’re no strangers to New Zealand with this being about their 7th or 8th trip here. I took them to most of the same places as my cousin and threw in a couple more, since they were here a bit longer than he was.

We also saw the eels and went on the bush walks where the cute fantail birds followed us around for quite a while.

I thought we’d scoot down to the river and made them tramp through spikey plants and blackberry bushes. The end result wasn’t all that great so we didn’t stay too long there.

We stopped in at Junction winery where the owner was a former All Blacks rugby player. Whenever I go there, Jo, his wife, has him make an appearance even though he’s working hard on the farm. He seems to enjoy taking a break and talking to the people that come in. They have a great wine tasting and we left with a couple of bottles. Their cute grandson was helping move wine boxes around in his tractor.

Junction winery owners Jo and John Central Hawke's Bay
Junction winery owners Jo and John

Junction wine rose

The next day, we hit the beaches of Pourerere, Aramoana and the Te Angiangi Marine reserve. The day was perfect for it! We checked out the critters in the tidal pools and marvelled at all of the paua shells.

While I realize this picture doesn’t seem too special, that paua shell was darker than normal and it was under a few inches of water. Sure doesn’t appear to be!

Mom picked up this crab shell and noticed it looked like a devil face! Funny how a lot of creatures have that look to them.

As we walked to the reserve, we came across a huge clump of grass. I commented that this was where corndogs were grown…haha.

Then of course I can’t help but take photos of my favorite wind swept trees on that crazy hill.

We also watched a seagull pick up a big shell from the beach then fly up and drop it to try and break it open.

I also spotted this crab (not hiding very well) in the sand.

I was pretty worn out and losing enthusiasm for making dinner later that night, so mom jumped right in and made it herself! I gave her the recipe for a creamy pasta bake and we added in some chicken. Turned out great…thanks, mom! Wine was not part of the ingredients 😉

Sadly, the day came when they had to move on to New Plymouth and we said our tearful goodbyes. They were warmly greeted along the way by a little town festival featuring American cars and more!

Ugh…a Camaro…don’t get me started. Where are the Kleenex!?

It was great seeing family again so thanks for coming all the way out here! Should anyone else want to take that 8,000 mile flight, there’s a nice guest room and remodelled bathroom waiting for you! The eels will be happy to see you, too!

The view from my balcony


8 thoughts on “Real Live Visitors!

  1. Hi Stephanie,
    Your photographs were as wonderful as they’ve always been. Great to see Dallas – I met him once years ago. I send my love you your mom and Ed and to you both. Thanks for the post – loved it as usual.

    1. Awe thanks, Kay! A couple of those were mom’s photos but you know she’s a great photog too! Hope you’re doing well, I hear the bluebonnets are already sprouting!!

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