How earthquakes affect everything

Prior to us moving to Invercargill I approached six different moving companies to give us a quote on what it was going to cost.

I mean, I had no idea. A company could've told me 2 thousand, 4 thousand or 6 thousand dollars - without asking several I would've had no idea what the actual "market price" for a move like that was. (It was 3 thousand.)

The unintended consequence of asking is that now, after earthquakes in Kaikoura have wiped out several major transport routes (including the only rail-link), I have received update e-mails from several companies explaining how the logistics industry has been affected by it all.

And, I mean, I did contact them all to let them know that I've used another company so they wouldn't have to hang around waiting for my service, but I guess different departments have different e-mail lists, so long story short: I've received several e-mails explaining that if I was still thinking of moving, it could be, how we say... a bit different than anticipated.

And I thought you might be interested in having a read, too.

"Dear Customers,

We wish to update all customers and those who are considering a move between the North and South Islands soon.

The Wellington Port remains closed to Container Ships and Rail cannot move between Blenheim and Christchurch.

This leaves freight operators with only limited choices. Uplift containers by road between Christchurch and Blenheim which will add a huge cost or coastal ship between the islands which is much slower and has limited capacity.

Other issues are fast coming to the surface such as the container hire companies do not carry many containers that are certified for shipping on coastal vessels. Road transport operators normally only carry a small percentage of the total freight volume are being swamped as are the coastal shipping providers.

We have been advised that some providers have already increased their rates from 14-22% effective immediately. Shipping is adding several days to transit times but with backlogs building , this could build as the Logistics Industry heads into its normal busy season of November to December.

I would urge you to talk to your local office and get clarification around what we can do for you right now. We have made a number of alternative arrangements for moving the inter Island consignments.

If you have decided to use another company , I would also urge you to seek clarification on any additional costs."


It's interesting to think about the inter-connectedness of it all. The fact that many rental car companies ended up with their vehicles "stranded" in Kaikoura, unable to be driven out, or that goods that were moved between islands now either got more expensive, or took a longer time to get to shops - or both - and that ferries that used to go between Picton and Wellington suddenly had an option of moving between Wellington and Christchurch instead (which would've meant that they could do way fewer trips each day given how much longer the journey took) - all these things I could semi-foresee, but it never occurred to me that there was even a difference between containers that are "seaworthy" versus "railworthy" and how that affects transport.

I mean, in addition to all the other thousand factors that do :)

Which is interesting, because it gives a feel for what it may be like when the Alpine Fault ruptures and very likely all three major routes across the South Island - Arthurs Pass, Haast Pass, Lewis Pass - are out.

In our family, right by the front door in the bottom of the wardrobe, is a three-day emergency supplies box. 24 litres of water, tinned and dried food, nappies, wipes, medicines, torches. 

I think I am starting to get used to living in earthquake country, and the topic fascinates me to no end!

Thanks for the vote of confidence, son!

I am serving everyone a dinner of roast chicken and potatoes. The Kid tries a mouthful and announces loudly, "That yummy! Mommy, who made this?"

"Mommy did," I say.

"Oh," he replies as if disappointed. "I thought daddy did."

PS. I mean, I know I'm not a culinary champion by any means, but I didn't realise yummy food automatically meant I haven't cooked it :P

Key Summit and turning 32

"What would you like for you birthday?" The Man asked and at first, I didn't know how to answer that.

I'm not really bothered or panging for any things at the moment, per se. Not really into cakes, either. A massage? Yes, that would be nice, but...

"I'll think about it," I said to him. Then I promptly picked up my stuff and went to have a shower which, like showers often do, gave me exactly the idea of what I wanted for my birthday, and that was: a day off so I could go to Te Anau and hang out with Krislin.

Krislin's a classmate of mine. We used to go to school together and then studied at the same university, though at different departments. Incidentally, she's in New Zealand at the moment and living relatively nearby in Te Anau, which meant that of all the things I thought would feel like a "treat" to me, being able to just go away for a day, have uninterrupted conversations with an adult and sleep in the next day, that was the most wanted.

And that's exactly what I got :). Thanks, hubby!

(And in fact, I got two sleep-ins! Saturday and Sunday morning. What a treat, eh!)

Krislin, in true champion style, even agreed to go walk up Key Summit with me although the weather was... uhm... let's call it, marginal. Ie, get-back-soaking-wet-and-cold,-with-hail-flowing-into-your-face kind of marginal.

But she did it, and it was awesome, and I so feel like I've had a weekend off this week!

Thank you to everyone involved. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

On the Milford road on the way to the start of the track

As we got out of the protective shelter of the bush, hoods came up and hats came down. The wind was pelting hail around us and had we been, say, another hundred metres higher in terms of altitude, we would've been in snow, which is basically to say that it was a bit cold and wet where we were :)

Didn't have gloves on me, so instead I dragged down my sleeves to protect fingers from getting too cold.

Up there it's a high-altitude wetland, kind of like a marsh on top of a mountain, with boardwalks to protect the surface from the plentitude of people who visit it each year.

Atop Key Summit, on a clear day, the view is something like that poster I am standing next to. Yesterday the view was more like what's behind me though :)

It started clearing somewhat as we were descending, revealing the fresh snow on the mountains.

Now we're talking!

I spoke to SIT - our local polytech - today and asked if they'd be willing to let me do a few classes next year, rather than do EVERYTHING in 2018 like the plan is at the moment, to which they said... yeah, probably can work something out :)

And I'm, like, yeaaaaaaah baby!!!

Basically: because The Kid is starting school next year and I want to be able to support him, then I won't go to school next year yet and will wait a year before I start school.

However, if this afternoon's meeting with SIT's tutors and their programme manager goes well, they will allow me to take one or two classes part-time, next year, which will mean both that 1) I will have something to do next year and 2) I won't have as much to do the year after that.

Win, win!

On hurting, and getting hurt, and consistency

"How's it going?" I get asked a lot these days when there's talk about preschool, and about how my kids are settling in.

And at the moment, I don't know how to answer that. I uhm and I ahm and eventually, I say, "So and so," or maybe, "Okay, sort of."

Because at the moment, almost every day that I spend time at preschool, at some point I mutter under my breath, "Oh for f*ck's sake!" and then I go up to some boys and have "discussions" with them, or go over to teachers who then have "discussions" with those boys.

Because those boys - at least for the moment - are bullies. Almost every day The Kid gets hit by someone there, and I am growing to become a rather permanent, intervening fixture at that preschool which I am already seeing that some teachers are appreciating, and some others probably think I should tone down.

To those latter ones: I don't care. I will keep standing up for the few kids who, like The Kid, are gentle and small in stature, and struggle for words. And when I see someone run into a little girl, ram her into a table, and then run away knowing that at that particular moment, no teacher was there to witness it and this girl does not have the ability to explain what happened to someone so she can get help - you kids are going to keep having discussions with me, and I will continue explaining to you that when you are strong and have big muscles, you need to understand that others may not be as strong, and you need to be gentler with them. And that if you do this stuff, you will keep on having to deal with me.

Even if on the inside I could so easily grab you by the scruff and shout, "Back off from my kid!" I will set an example on consistent, strong gentleness, and I will keep looking you in the eye, and we will keep having discussions where I will ask you questions, and prompt you to think.

...even if on the inside, and under my breath, I mutter, "Oh for f*ck's sake!" and I could so easily grab you by the scruff of your neck.

But I won't do that.

Instead, I will keep standing up for my kid, and any other kid I see you confronting, intimidating, and hurting.

Because the way you do things is not how we do things around here. Not on my watch, mister.


Hitting was something we never had to encounter in our wonderful preschool in Christchurch. Neither I, nor The Kid, knew how to deal with it when we arrived in Invercargill. I never had to hear The Kid say, "Mom, don't leave me here!" when going to preschool in the morning.

But we are both learning how to deal with things, and fix things, and how to stand up for ourselves.


There are a lot of therapies, support networks and such I am in the process of transferring from Christchurch to Invercargill to help both The Kid, who is heading to school next year, and ourselves.

Being a different district health board, where funding is allocated differently, most things aren't actually "transferrable" per se, but have to go through a new "needs assessment process" so that Invercargill officials can decide what they have funding for, and what they don't.

Yesterday as I was having a phone conversation with a (wonderful) service manager from Ministry of Education, she noted how frustrating such a lack of consistency must be for me, and I just... nodded, and said to her that I've learned through experience that if someone says no, I just have to keep badgering people and eventually, someone will say yes. 

I am aware that an unkind person could easily label me an overbearing mama-bear, like a caricature from a Hollywood movie.

Well to those sort of people, I have three words: I don't care.

I remain polite, respectful, consistent and gentle, but it's not my job to be likable. My job is to get the best - or near best - possible outcome for my children within the environment I live in (whilst understanding there are limitations) and if I have a feeling that something is being declined out of someone's ease, rather than actual good reasons I am comfortable with, then I will keep on calling, talking, approaching and writing, and eventually, most things I need my kids to be happy, come through. (Like, hey!, I have a GP in Invercargill whilst there are 4 pages of people on the waiting list who don't.)

Kind of like the "discussions" I am having at preschool. I am polite, respectful, consistent and gentle, but it's not my job to be likable.

And I bloody well will do my job to stand up for my kids!

The plethora of activities moving boxes have provided these two with

The Girlie is sitting inside a moving box in the background

Haven't done much today

I was changing the bedsheets this morning and it occurred to me that when kids were smaller I viewed changing the bedsheets as a genuine accomplishment. Getting it done - especially if in one go and without interruptions! - was a big deal to me.

Now, as I've changed a lot more bedsheets and have got more experienced in what time of the day to do it so I wouldn't get interrupted, nagged on, or not tired enough to be irritable by people climbing on the bed and messing it all up again, I've ceased viewing it as an accomplishment and instead, see it as a routine, gotta-be-done part of my day like brushing my teeth in the morning.

Which reminds me: in the first few months of my children's lives I viewed brushing teeth in the morning as an accomplishment also.

But it also occurred to me that it hasn't actually become any smaller of a task - it still requires time and effort, except now, after I've changed the bedsheets but haven't had time to do much else, I leave the house thinking, "Bugger, I didn't manage to do anything today."

Which isn't true. The bedsheets are changed!

And I reminded myself to notice the amount of stuff I do each day and congratulate myself on doing it, because for all the times The Man comes home in the evenings and I tell him, "Haven't done much today," it simply. Is. Not. True.

I do a heck of a lot, every day, for getting these two monsters fed, watered, clothed and tidied takes effort, and I do it almost every day.

Time to pat myself on the back for it!

Thanks, Krislin, for the photo!

Random things on a Monday

The son of New Zealand's current prime minister seems to be quite a... how do I put it,  a cheeky young fella :). Known to say and do things people cringe and lecture over, I've now come across several opinion pieces where people  complain over his antics and suggest that, as a son of a prime minister, he should set a better example than that.

I disagree. Suggesting that him being related to an important public official sets a different behaviour standard implies that the standard should differ person to person depending on their background. Would, say, a child of a rude person then be expected to be rude, also, no questions asked? What about children of criminals? Real estate salespeople? Burger King employees? Radio hosts? Teachers?

It doesn't matter who his father is. I would like him to have the same freedom to grow up and f*ck up occasionally as everyone else has had.


It's kind of the same how I get irritable when I get lectured not to do something by a person who's done it.


Yesterday I attended a writers group and, wow!, what a fascinating bunch of people. There was a manager of a large corporation who dabbles in historical novels, a full-time writer of erotic thrillers who has sold thousands of books and has a fanclub in UK, yet you'd never find the books in New Zealand bookshops, a teacher with an interest in historical books meant for young adults, people who write but have never published, people whose full-time job is writing but have abandoned writing for fun...

I enjoyed it. A lot. I'll see them again, and one day when I finish my book I may thank them for giving me a kick in the butt to finish it.


Life's kind of overwhelming at the moment. Not all the time, but sometimes. It feels like there are constantly things that need seeing to: appointments, plans, things to fix, articles to read. In stormy weather a child who's afraid of wind has been sleeping in our bed and it has disrupted everyone else's sleep. In the evening when the smartest thing would be to just sleep, it feels like I just need five more minutes to laugh at funny gif-s on Pinterest - except, it's never just five minutes, is it?  :)

And so with that, another day has begun. On today's agenda: a hospital visit, groceries, preschool settling in, school phonecall, immigration paperwork and maybe, if I'm lucky, a nap. Fingers crossed :)

Another random conversation

Me to The Girlie, "No, please don't eat your brother's toenails."


I want a girl

The Kid: "I want a girl."
Me: "..."
The Kid: "I want a girl."
Me: "A girl?"
The Kid: "A girl. I want a girl."
Me: "What kind of a girl?"
The Kid: "Duplo girl. I want a Duplo girl."

I stop feeling like my eyebrows are stuck in a permanently raised position and relax.

He wants to take a Duplo toy to bed with him, because he knows he's allowed to choose one toy for a cuddly, and he's chosen a "Duplo girl".

Well that was a fun conversation :)

What we've been doing

I have discovered with great joy that the Invercargill gymnastics club where my kids go once a week for Tumbletimes - an hour of random fun and joyful exploring filled with excited yelling and cries over bumped heads and hurting ankles - also runs classes for... adults.

And not, like, adult gymnasts - but "normal" people.

Like me.

People who want to jump on a trampoline or just want some exciting exercise rather than having to listen to their husbands trying to convince them for a second year in a row of how wonderful yoga is. (I mean, I love you, honey, I really do - but I don't want to do yoga. I really don't!)

So Wednesday evenings, here I come! And knowing my general ability to do things full-on, Southland Hospital emergency department, here I come, too :D


The Invercargill central Queens park has a... I don't even know what to call it. A zoo? Basically, a publicly funded, freely accessible area where animals are kept, and, boy!, do my kids love the peacock there.

There's also pigs, llamas, emus, deer, rabbits, turtles...

A great place to visit, basically.


Another thing we've loved exploring is Thomsons Bush just north of Queens park. It's a large, relatively ungroomed area - except for walkways and picnic spots and playgrounds, of course ;) - and well worth a visit.


Ky kids know that I don't have a problem with them making some sort of a mess when they're playing.

But they do have to clean it up afterwards.

For the little stubborn one, the concept may take some more time to settle in. Until then, her brother will continue having stickers and cookies after tidying up, just to drive the point that when there's tidying, there's rewards, and without tidying she'll keep on seeing her brother get the rewards and her not.

But for the moment, it looks like she's more interested in being stubborn than eating a cookie. I may have to keep fishing to find what, exactly, pushes her buttons towards doing what I'm interested in, because until then... I may have a feeling like I'm parenting a little version of myself.

Because, man!, do I remember adults exasperating over my antics when I was close to that age, and how important it felt to me to be stubborn.



Afternoon snacks on the deck. Definitely worth it!

On saying no

A house on Queen drive was something we weren't even going to look at. It was above our budget, we didn't want to stick our noses in it.

But then... I saw that they had dropped the asking price. It had only been on the market for a few weeks, and already the price had dropped, and I realised - OMG, these people are actually interested in selling their place, rather than fishing for a price!

I called up the real estate agent and went to see the place. And I said to him outright, that, look, we weren't even going to look at it, but I saw that you've dropped the price and I realised the seller might actually be interested in negotiating, so that's why I'm here. We won't pay over $200,000, but from what I can see here today, we're interested.

And to my surprise, he said that $200,000 may just make it. The seller is in financial trouble and wants the place gone.


Oh my god how difficult it was to decide!

Because please understand this: although the back yard had grass up to my thighs (the agent said it should've been mowed and I replied that with this, they could just really do with a sheep or two ;)), I fell in love with that land.

The back yard's beautiful. There's fruit trees, a decrepid greenhouse, it's sheltered from all the right directions and open to the sun from where it counts.

Oh my god, I could live in that back yard.

And that's where the hard part is.

At $200,000, the place would be below rateable value. It's well-positioned, centrally located block of land over 830 square metres big, and... man, I don't actually want to go into details. There was so much goodness in that place, in addition to all the stuff that needed work.

Both me and The Man went to see that place today. We know there are other people looking. We know that by December 8th, if no-one else has taken it, there's a Chinese investor coming to take it outright.

And it was hard. Really hard!

But we said no.

The house is too big. Just too big. Like, big enough that as much as it makes sense financially, and is a good buy, and all the other good things - it's not ours.

And with that, another no.

I'm learning a lot, doing this.

Let it go

I made the mistake today, for The Girlie's bedtime song, of humming "Let it go" from the movie Frozen for her.

Because it meant that for a long time afterwards I could then hear her singing to herself, whilst sitting in her bed, and loudly, "Let it goooooooo..... Let it goooooooooooo! Tada-tada-tadaa.... Let it goooooooo!"


Househunting is hard

This househunting business is harder than I thought. Doable, but harder than I thought.

It's hard to make decisions. Today I've grappled with the difference between looking at a house that could be absolutely beautiful and knowing we had the skills to get it there - and asking myself what kind of a house is "mine". As in: there are houses that I can look at and appreciate their beauty, and yet know that they're not the kind of homes I am the most comfortable in. The streamlined, modern homes in decorating magazines, with their all-white walls and minimalist furniture? Beautiful.

But not mine.

But I've also grappled with thinking about limits, and knowing that as we won't be getting an "ideal" home anyway - and I would very much doubt there even exist such a thing - then it's a question of what kind of a house is less "us" and what kind of a house is more "us".

Whatever we buy, it'll become our home. We'll make it our home.

But what kind of a house to choose?

And of course, it's the fact that on a housing market there does not exist two identical properties. Every single house is different, and therefore it's never really possible to truly compare several houses as one will have something another one doesn't, and another one will have something the first one doesn't.

That eventually, it becomes a question of balances, and choosing what kind of a win is worth a sacrifice in another area, and what's important - more important than something else.

And of course, we are not the only ones deciding the outcome. We may want a house, but not get it. We may put an offer on a house, but realise someone else already has the day before. We may decide not to pursue a house and realise a few months down the road when nothing else comparable comes on the market that we really should've gone for something we didn't.

It's hard. Harder than I thought.

Links to earthquake stories and photos

New Zealanders will probably know this stuff already, but if any of you overseas readers would like to get some bulletpoints on what has happened with this recent earthquake here, here's a collection of links to articles that have stories and videos and photos.

The seabed near Kaikoura has lifted by about 1.8 metres which means that if you looked at that beach now, stuff that used to be under water, is now visible on land. Seaweed, crabs, shellfish, fish - it's all "on the beach" now, instead of underneath waves. There is even a bunch of people gathering shellfish and putting them back in the water in attempts to save what's left of the colony.

There are a lot of landslides that have blocked the highway, so if you look at the photos and imagine what would've happened if this earthquake was in the middle of the day when there are many cars on the roads (instead of midnight when there were very few), it'll be easy to imagine how many more casualties there'd be.

On Clarence river a landslide blocked the river valley, creating a natural "dam" behind which water started gathering, and then at about 4 pm the next day - about 16 hours after the main earthquake - the dam burst, sending a wave downstream.

In Little Pigeon Bay near Christchurch, the tsunami which in other places was about 2 metres high, ended up being 5 metres high because as the water was coming into a long and narrow bay, it kept getting "squeezed" into a high wave and by the time it got onto land, it swept through a cottage, taking it off piles, and... yeah.

There is an impressive photo of a high-rise building in Wellington which has, for lack of a better word, "sunken" in comparison to other parts of the same building, so basically there is a photo where one part of the building is higher than the other - and then suddenly it's way lower than the other.

As the seabed is very deep off the coast in Kaikoura - it's a kind of an "underwater canyon" almost, it drops very steep and very deep - then another earthquake can trigger an underwater "landslide" where a lot of sediment, as it moves "downhill" under water, will displace water and create another tsunami up on the coast.

Before anyone asks:

We're okay, didn't even know there was an earthquake :)

Two days in. Wow I'm tired :)

Two days into househunting and I have already grown to both really like and really dislike the process, and especially the real estate agents.

Today I saw a cottage at 177 Macmaster street which was a hard case to decide upon. It is beautiful in some ways and very non-functional in others. I won't go into details, but the reason I actually wanted to write about this place is because of the real estate agent.

Jesus. F*ckin. Christ.

Have you seen a movie called The Time Traveler's Wife? Do you remember the bit where they started househunting and the real estate agent kept talking (in a really airy tone) about wonderful views and really very charming details and, oh, would you look at that wainscoating!


That's the bit I find so thoroughly irritating about this housebuying business.

Oh, it is so charming, isn't it! 
It is such a wonderful area.
Oh, it's the sort of a house that you will either really love it or you won't!

At one point I wondered, would the woman please, for the love of God, shut up.

I was asking her specific, reasonable questions. Is there insulation either in the ceiling or under the floor? How old's the roof? When was it re-wired?

And the answers to those were consistently, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. Basically, with information I got from publicly available websites for free, I knew more about the house than she did.

In addition to that, she was saying stuff that didn't make sense. When I asked her when was the place re-wired, (after saying she didn't know) she walked down a hallway, pointed to a modern "smart reader" power meter on the wall and exclaimed that it must've been done recently because the meter's new!

And I was standing there, thinking, no.

No, lady, no. A power meter can be attached to old wiring no problem, it is not a sign of new wiring.

I asked her if she knew if the place had any Dux Quest plumbing (which can't be insured and was the most widely used type of plumbing in the 1970's and 1980's, so it was possible the house had some given that being built in 1889 it must've been replumbed at some point).

She didn't even know what Dux Quest was. I had to explain it to her, and explain why insurance won't cover it.

And all through that she was repeating those vague, airy-toned sentences about oh, what a wonderful area, isn't it! Look how much interest there is in it! Don't you just love the ceiling detail! It is a charming house.

And the longer I'd heard her talk, the more I was thinking that it can't possibly take a lot of brains to become a real estate agent.

Or maybe that's exactly what they're trying to do, knowingly? Maybe that's how people choose, and buy houses, and therefore maybe the real estate agents have to be, precisely, like that? Ignorant of the details, pushing it all onto emotional charm, and trying to be as vague as possible?

Because I really did feel like taking a real estate agent and throwing it into another one, like an old Estonian saying goes. (Võta üks ja viska teist.)

A sad afternoon

I went to see a house that's for sale on 146 Earn st today, and it made me think about... lots of things, but most of all about vulnerability.

The place is owned by a person in Australia who uses it as an investment property. Each week they collect money from a family living in that house who pay them rent, and from what I understand and saw today, the owner puts nothing back in return.

The place:
* has no insulation. (As in, none whatsoever. Anywhere.)
* The roof leaks. In several places - to a point that there are places where water has come through the ceiling into bedrooms and has worn away building materials.
* It has not been re-wired since it was built in 1946.
* There's peeling paint, damaged paster, scrim coming off walls, water-damaged windows...
* Let alone the fact that it is not positioned for sun, so whilst the "utility rooms" like toilet and laundry are on the "warm side" of the house, the bedrooms and the kitchen get very little sunlight in them, and therefore it is very hard to dry out.

I'm not sure if I even have to keep describing the state that the house is in, because it is an godawful sh*thole.

But the thing is, there is a family living in there.

And that's the thing that I find so troubling.

I said to the real estate agent that this house is not worth what it's listed for. (Thinking back, I'm not even sure it's worth its rateable value which is what its council taxes are calculated off.) Why are they trying to sell it for 130? I asked the agent and the answer he gave me was not surprising, though it was painful to listen to, and deeply saddening.

They are selling it for 130 because they can. A few weeks back the agent suggested something is changed about the listing to get more people interested in this place, and the owner said back to him, no.

Each week they get rent money off it that lands in their bank account, so if it's not selling for 130 then they'll just keep advertising it for that price until one day, someone will take it. And meanwhile, they put no money in it and keep collecting rent which, may I tell you, is *way* in excess of what it would cost if someone paid a mortgage on this house.

I said to the real estate agent that soon, they'll at least have to put in insulation because it will become a legal requirement. (Recently a law was passed which will make it compulsory for rental houses to have insulation underfloor and in the ceiling, starting from 2019.) which the tenant laughed, well, maybe that's why they're selling it. That maybe, the investor just doesn't want anything to do with the property apart from collecting money that's coming off it.


I came home and described the situation to The Man. I said to him how deeply saddening I find this, because rental houses like that are tenanted by people who are the most vulnerable and that it's so easy for investors to do that, is unfair.

Each time this horrid scenario gets discussed on public radio someone will call in to defend property investing saying that there's plenty of good property managers out there who take care of their tenants and keep up with house maintenance and upgrading.

And yes, of course there are.

But that's not the point.

The point is, at the moment there is very little protecting tenants who live in such horrid conditions and there is very little tax property owners pay from their investment properties. It is one of the reason why property investment is so popular in New Zealand.

But it's sad, it's sad to see.


Photos of late

My kids love going to the library. To them, it's not just a place where we get books - though we do get them - but a place where they have fun.

Long may it last!

If a preschool tells us to show up as "party animals" then we bloody well do!

Mommy was very tired of face painting by this point, and decided upon two pink hearts, as requested by The Boss

...even if it then takes days for the black stripes to disappear.

Dads are awesome.

Duplo is awesome.

Trains are awesome (especially when mommy makes the track, eh, little one?)

And back yards are, of course, awesome.