Sunday, May 20, 2007

We have had weekly violin lessons and try to practice daily


Our violin teacher has taught us a new song. Another new one is expected for next week too. She has some interesting tricks of the trade on different skills too.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Photos from the Lord of the Rings tour

From lord of the r...

More than 100 photos are now online in the album.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Birds of all sorts are here


Friday, May 11, 2007

Here is a little more about what we are doing in New Zealand.

Erik wrote, mostly:

We got bikes and now can bike around the city. It is lots of fun to bike all over the city.

We went to a place called Willowbank. It is a place where they have lots of animals that are native and animals that were brought to New Zealand. There were lots more animals that were brought to NZ then there were native to NZ. Tonight we are going back to Willowbank to see a Maori show. New Zealand has no native people or mammals. Some arrived sooner than others.

Two of the most popular symbols of the country are the silver fern and the kiwi. Both reside at Willowbank. The silver fern is a plant with one side of the leaf is green, as one would expect. But turn over the fern’s leaf and the underside is silver.

The kiwi is a bird that can not fly. The kiwi was able to thrive in New Zealand, in part, because it did not have many predators. There was a huge eagle that is now extinct. That eagle had claws the size of a tiger’s and a three-meter wing span. It was the largest eagle in the world and was known to pluck up children under the age of 10. So, I imagine that the kiwi could have been a nice snack for that eagle. But, the kiwi was safe from snakes and reptiles as there are none in New Zealand. The kiwi is nocturnal and is just one of the many native birds to NZ. Both the fern and the kiwi are huge symbols on many designs and logos.

A violin teacher came to the house the other day. She is very nice. We are learning a Maori violin tune and maybe we will even hear it tonight as we attend the Maori presentation / show at Willowbank.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Update from Erik


Here in New Zealand it is the Wednesday the 7th. I am having a blast and I would like to thank Uncle Bob, Caz, Grandma, and all the other people how have kept me updated it has been lots of fun. I had so much fun at the rugby game here are the basic rules for the game. You have to pass the ball backwards like a lateral in football. You can kick the ball down the field when ever you like. The play is continues until there are 5 downs. To be down you have to have the ball and you pinned to the flour. Uncle Bob so you scored a touchdown in rugby with some one on you back pretty impressive. The French rugby team is one of the best in the world and they are hosting the 07 rugby world cup.

When we went swimming with dolphins it was so cool. Since the water is coming strait up from Antarctica the water is very cold so we had to get the proper gear on. We put on 2 wetsuits with bootees glove and a face coverer we also had goggles and snorkels.

When we went out and saw lots of Hector dolphins the rarest and smallest dolphins in the world. We saw lots of outer wild life also. There were no Hector’s that wanted to swim. Then when we were about to go in there were 3 dolphins that came up to the bout and we jumped right in. it was so cool to see dolphins only a foot away from you under water and on top of water. One thing that I will never forget is I turned my head around and the only 6 in. away were these 2 dolphins side by side it was amazing.

We also went to Arthur’s pass by train and hiked around Arthur’s pass. The train ride is called Transalpine and it is rated in the top 5 most scenic trips in the world. It definitely was one of the most scenic trips I have ever been on the beautiful foot hill and then the out stunning Alps. There is so much vegetation it was amazing. When Captain Cook arrived in New Zealand they say he found over 1,000 new plants that no won had ever found before. It is so beautiful here in New Zealand.

That’s it for now I will tell you more another day.

This is Erik


Monday, May 07, 2007

Erik swam the 50-yard free at the League Meet

Erik's time was 29.13.


Hi Mike,

We're all doing well in New Zealand. The boys are on a swim team. We'll be able to swim in a few meets too.

One is a two day meet in Dunedin. The other is a developmental meet at our home pool.

I have taken two days (in the first week) of swim coaching / swim teaching training. I think I'm going to go to the New Zealand coaches conference for a few days in a few more weeks.

So, I'm going to have a new bag of tricks upon our return. Some of this stuff is very interesting. Some is very much what we do already.

We have rented 3 bikes (boys and me). We get to bike all around town.

We swam with the dolphins too. That was right at the edge of the coast out this harbor. Lots of excitement there.

Our swimming is in 25 meter pools. There is an indoor 50 meter pool -- but it is about a 1-hour bike ride from here. Too far for daily trips. Plus, it gets dark here about 6 pm.

Team URL is

But it is said as Far-a-new-ee. The Wha is pronounced as "F" --- go figure.

Most impressive are the swim lessons. I've posted some photos at my blog.

Oh, we went to a rugby game too. The local professional team is called the Crusaders. They lost the last regular season game sadly. Now they are in the final 4 of the playoffs, but have to travel to South Africa (vs. Petronia) for the first round of playoffs. Ten of the players on this team are past or present members of the famous New Zealand "All Blacks" -- a national All-Star team.

Grant and Erik are in different workout groups, but with the same coach. Erik was leading his lane today. Grant is one of the smallest guys in the lanes. Their practices are short -- but with 6 or more in a lane. The team has 5 coaches and 200 kids. But there are always 8 or 9 teachers on deck and in the water at any time. There is an 8 lane 25 meter pool, 3 lane teaching pool and 1 lane tiny teaching pool -- all jammed in a building with about 4 feet of deck space around the edges.