…and we’re back!

It has been almost exactly one month since we landed in the good ol USA. The arrival back took us a little longer than expected but we eventually made it home. When we were in LA, our flight was delayed because the plane needed to have mandatory maintenance.

What every airline passenger wants to hear, right?

When they offered for volunteers to change their flights to the morning and in return get free food, board and airline credit we decided to go for it. We were really anxious to get home but we knew one more night away from home wouldn’t hurt. There were about 6 other people who volunteered to do the same so we gave one of the United employees our boarding passes and he promised he would shortly return with all of our vouchers.

TWO HOURS LATER…

The original flight (new plane, phew!) had been moved to a different gate but here we were, thinking we were going to get our $600 airline credit. At this point we are exhausted and frankly really sad to still be sitting in the airport when we should’ve been in Texas. Oh and not to mention we still don’t have our vouchers or our boarding pass! All of the people who volunteered are starting to get anxious and it was total chaos with the United employees. Luckily (!!!) one of the ladies went to the customer service desk and stood in line for a few hours only to find out that everyone who volunteered to get on a different flight weren’t getting an airline voucher…or a dinner voucher…or a hotel voucher like they originally promised.

What in the world.

After she told us that, we grabbed our stuff and ran down to the other gate where the flight got moved to see what was going on. We checked in at the desk and they told us that we already had a seat on the flight that was leaving in 10 minutes. I grabbed my phone and quickly/frantically called my dad to see if my parents could leave Austin right then to come pick us up at midnight. They were able to come to Houston and get us. After we arrived, one of our bags didn’t arrive but after Dustin talked to a few employees we found out it was just a flight behind us so we stayed to see it coming off the belt like a glowing pot of gold. Phew! That would’ve been a head ache.

So, we made it home at 4 am and my parents crashed but we were wide awake. It actually didn’t take us that long to adjust to the Texan time so we were lucky to snap back very quickly. Now that we’ve been home for a month, we are well adjusted and transitioning into real life. Dustin has decided to go back into real estate and I am still trying to figure out my next move. We have had MANY discussions about what we want to do, where we want to serve and how we see our lives played out under God’s timing.

Apparently, I’m really impatient. And controlling. And anxious.

Not the best qualities to have when you’re trying to find a job…or just in general? I’m working on it! Luckily, we have family and more importantly, the word of God to remind us that no, in fact we are NOT in control, God has a perfect plan and everything happens in His timing. How is that so hard to remember? I’m like Dory on Finding Nemo…does anyone else feel like that?? Anyways, the job search is never a fun thing to do but I’m constantly reminded that it’s not in my hands (thank goodness!). Jesus Calling is a great book by Sarah Young and yesterday when I was at my max of feeling stressed/inadequate, this was what it said. (Unfortunately I read it this morning and not yesterday morning)

“You are on the path of My choosing. There is no randomness about your life. Here and Now comprise the coordinates of your daily life. Most people let their moments slip through their fingers, half-lived. They avoid the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place. They forget that they are creatures who are subject to the limitations of time and space. They forget their Creator, who walks with them only in the present.Every moment is alive with My glorious Presence, to those whose hearts are intimately connected with Mine. As you give yourself more and more to a life of constant communication with Me, you will find that you simply have no time for worry. Thus, you are freed to let My Spirit direct your steps, enabling you to walk along the path of Peace.”

Luke 12:25-26; Luke 1:79

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Milford Sound

Since we saw a lot of the south island with my parents, we decided to spend the bulk of our 10 days in areas where we hadn’t been yet. Milford Sound is one of those places that you have to go if you’ve lived in NZ for a few months. It would’ve been a sin to leave here without going. Although, there are kiwi’s who live here who have never even been to the south island (ruth!!). It’s hard to explain the grandeur of this place. We had the chance to kayak around the sounds, which was a one-of-a-kind adventure. We would probably classify kayaking as one of our top 5 favorite things. We also did a few hikes in the area and didn’t get eaten alive by sand flys. Win, win! (sand fly’s are like mosquitos but a lot worse in my opinion).

Excited to be in fiodland!

Excited to be in fiodland!

M to the ilford

M to the ilford

wow!

wow!

morning kayak

morning kayak

happy to have calm sea's

happy to have calm sea’s

Gertrude Saddle - such an awkward name =/

Gertrude Saddle – such an awkward name…

Milford track

Milford track

so darn cute. i'm just sayin.

so darn cute. i’m just sayin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Queenstown

If you follow me on instagram then you probably know how much I have enjoyed Queenstown. It has definitely been our favorite town mainly because it’s target market is tourists. A few kiwi’s told us that we wouldn’t like it because it was too touristy but we are well, tourists, so it was a blast! Our first visit we stayed there for a few days with my parents. We were up for whatever they wanted to do. My mom chose the calm, relaxing boat cruise around the lake and my dad chose the jet/speed boat that goes through the canyon. Dustin put together a quick little video to give you an idea of what we experienced.

They got SO close to the sides of the canyon, it was nuts! And the jet boat only needs 10 cm of water to be able to operate so it looked like we were going to hit rocks and tree branches but we didn’t. After our two boat rides the boys went to ride the luge from the gondola. The girls went shopping (duh). We had dinner in the sky tower that overlooked the city…it was awesome! Dustin and I spent 5 more days there on our own South Island trip. He did his big bungy jump and he also went mountain biking. I went shopping and got a massage while he was being a crazy man. I will dedicate a whole post to his bungy jump since he got it all on film. Did you know bungy jumping was invented by a kiwi in NZ? True story. Here are a few pictures – maybe you will know why it’s our favorite city from the pictures.

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Dream Holiday Homes

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cruisey

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Reliving the glory days of Beach Front Boat Rentals

The view from our hotel!

The view from our hotel!

happy, happy

happy, happy

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The Ultimate NZ Road Trip

My apologies for my lack of blogging these past few weeks. All good excuses, of course. The night we returned from our big trip with my parents, our friends threw Dustin a surprise birthday party! And then my parents left a few days later, followed by a baby shower I hosted, then one last “bobby” with our friends to say goodbye. Now we are back in our favorite city – Queenstown. But before I update you too much, let me give you a summary of the ultimate road trip with my parents.

As most of you know, Dustin and I didn’t date for too long before we got engaged and married. Of course my parents knew Dustin – but there’s so much more to learn when you spend two weeks on the road with your favorite son-in-law! When we were planning the trip, we wanted to have a variety of places to stay to get the full experience. It truly is in those moments of discomfort that you giggle the most. We didn’t think twice about staying in the same room as my parents at one spot because it was an in between place to stay on our way to a nice holiday home we rented.  Well there we were, all crammed into one tiny room not realizing that it would be stretching my parents out of their comfort zones to a) walk to the bathroom down the street b) share a room with their daughter & son-in-law. But by golley, it was fun! We laughed really hard about a few things and it was the running joke for the rest of the trip. Y’all, my mom slept in her clothes. It was hilarious! And Dustin was smart enough to capture the funny moment…

Nice and Cozy

Nice and Cozy

I don’t care who you are, that’s funny.  Dustin is really big on making memories and indeed memories were made. We did so many fun things it’s hard to pin what was my favorite. I loved Queenstown which is probably why we are already back and spending 4 more days here. The first few days were spent traveling down the west coast and then we made our way back up north again on the east coast. The amazing thing was that we saw so many different types of scenery. Snow capped mountains, giant cliffs over looking the ocean, seal colonies, rocky beaches, sandy beaches, pristine lakes, rocky mountains, lush green mountains, farm land, huge waterfalls, canyons…and I could keep going.  My mom’s favorite were the large irrigation systems. As my dad would say, “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” Hehe Ok, so it wasn’t her favorite but she kept pointing them out and it’s hard not to give her a hard time about her Hedley upbringing. It was a quick 12 days to have them here but Dustin and I both are so glad to share that special time with them. For most people they will only hear and see pictures of what we did but the fact that they got to sit next to us and experience the same things we did will always be a fond memory. We laughed A LOT, ate a lot of food and saw a lot of the south island…all elements of one fantastic road trip if you ask me.

Crayfish Trailer

Holy Guacamole!

Holy Guacamole!

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The “roaring meg” gorge.

Queenstown

Queenstown

Mama & Papa

Mama & Papa

 

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What a day, what a day!
I will update the blog soon about our trip prior to our crazy day in Kaikoura. Until then, I will tell you about our craziest memory yet! The whole trip we had been bugging my mom about swimming with the dolphins in Kaikoura. She finally agreed and we got signed up to go out yesterday morning at 8:30. My dad was just observing and the rest of us were going to try to swim with the dolphins. Key word – try! When we were getting ready to leave, my mom noticed that one of our tires was completely flat. We should’ve taken that as a sign. We decided to briskly walk down to the dolphin place just in time to get all decked out in our wet suit gear. A wet suit hat (?), flippers, body and jacket of the wet suit and our snorkle gear. They showed us this cute video about how it’s really fun to swim with the dolphins and how you will circle with them and sing with them.
Hmmm…not exactly how our dolphin encounter went.
Let me tell you what they didn’t act out in the prep video – how to walk on a boat that is rocking back and forth from the massive swells. Dustin has a tendency to get sea sick so he loaded up on ginger pills which were no help to the chaos. I’ll get to that in a minute. Ok, so we’re out on the water – excited for what the ideal and oh so optimistic video “prepared” us for. The boat is rocking pretty hard but I’m trying to act cool since no one else was showing any concern. Then one person threw up, then two and then Dustin goes out to the back of the boat looking pretty white. In the meantime, they spotted some dolphins so we go over to where they are and they are rushing us to get all of our gear prepared to jump in and swim/sing/dance with the dolphins. I stayed put in my seat feeling pretty uneasy about the whole situation. My mom, listening to the leader of our boat, gets up and slowly but surely rocks back to the end of the boat. Right as she goes to sit down a huge swell knocks the corner of the boat right into her forehead! As most everyone knows, your head bleeds a lot so it looks a lot worse than what it really is. Dustin tells me pretty casually that my mom hit her head because he is so sick he can hardly talk. When I look over there’s blood everywhere so I call for my dad to come out.
This is when the fight or flight kicks in and I happen to be neither…I freak. I obviously didn’t inherit my dad’s ability to rescue people (he used to be a firefighter). Oh no…I just panic and think of the worst thing that could possibly happen. My dad was a total life saver because at this point Dustin and I both are out of commission. During all this chaos, the rest of the people were jumping in the huge swells to do what we had originally come to do. I feel so terrible that I just want to cry and I have no desire to see any dolphins…I just want to get my family off the boat. At one point (not exaggerating) I look over and see Dustin huddled up in the corner – white as a ghost, my dad holding a bloody towel on my mom’s forehead and my mom covered in  blood.Somehow Dustin mustered up the energy to get on his gear (like a zombie) and I even think I heard him mumble something about getting his money’s worth. hehe
My mom didn’t want to ruin everyone else’s experience so she was insisting that I go in the water when we saw the dolphins. The problem was that she had blood ALL over her face and my desire to do anything else except get off that dang boat had gone completely out the window. Finally when my mom threw up, they didn’t even give her an option, they were going to cut the trip off by a couple of hours so we could take my mom to the hospital. To be completely honest, I don’t think anyone was disappointed because they discounted everyone’s trip and the weather was so bad that more and more people kept feeling sick.
Once we FINALLY got off the boat (hallelujah!!!), the company had someone pick us up at the wharf and drive us to the hospital. Mind you we are all still wearing our wet suits and Dustin is still not feeling great. Luckily my mom was doing fine, I think she just really wanted to get out of the wet suit. The doctor (who was wearing jeans) took care of her and gave her a few stitches on her forehead. Who knew her free souvenir wasn’t going to be a sea shell or a pretty rock, it was going to be a scar on her forehead! The company paid for all the medical expenses and completely refunded our money.  After it was all said and done we were very, very thankful for a minor injury and we can now laugh at the craziness of the trip. Swim with wild dolphins in the ocean? No thanks! I’ll take my controlled environment at Sea World, thank you.
I don't always go to the emergency room but when I do, it's in a wet suit.

I don’t always go to the emergency room but when I do, it’s in a wet suit.

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The end of Day 3

(My titles keep getting more and more creative)

Phew! We’ve been going since my parents landed! I felt like a kid of Christmas morning…I woke up at 12:00, 3:30 and 6 am on Saturday waiting for my parents to arrive. We have already made a lot of memories in the 3 days that they have been here. We headed out on our South Island road trip yesterday and had a memorable first night. Right after we checked into our placewe saw a family roll up with two bikes, two parents and three toddlers. This couple thought it would be a great idea to haul a 1, 4 and 5 year old across the country ON A BIKE…for 2 months. What!? We are all still amazed and we can’t stop talking about it. My dad even stalked them and took pictures of their gear to prove to our other friends of what we witnessed. To make it more extreme, they were camping out in a tent after a long day of cycling while we were sleeping in beds after a long day of driving. And I thought it would be tricky hauling 3 kids to Target one day when I’m a mom – sheesh! Besides our obsession with this family we’ve been stopping left and right taking beautiful pictures and exploring cute little towns. I’m already really impressed with the South Island. Now I know what people are talking about when they go on and on about how insanely beautiful it is. Pictures do a much better job of describing things than my small vocabulary does so here a few pictures to give you an idea of what we have already seen!

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Napier

The time is officially FLYING by! My parents come in 5 days, woohoo!! Dustin and I left for Napier last Thursday and we didn’t stop going until 10:00 last night. Napier was amazing!! Here’s a quick re-cap of why we went to Napier. Basically there was a big earthquake in 1931 that ruined most of the downtown area so they re-built the whole town in this Art Deco architecture and they have a big festival every year celebrating that time period.

Dustin did an awesome job of planning the trip and I was in charge of getting our itinerary together for the actual weekend. There were things going on hour to hour from Thursday until Sunday so we had to strategically pick out what we wanted to do. It was a little tricky since we had never been so we asked some locals for advice on what we should do. I will post pictures so you get an idea of what the weekend was like but basically about 30,000 people come in for the festival and a majority of the people go all out with their costumes! We saw a few people that weren’t dressed up but most everyone was decked out. During our time there we went to a NZ navy band concert, saw an air show, went to a car parade, ate yummy foods like ice cream, gf pizza and thai food, went to a concert where we danced in the street, took Charleston dance lessons, had a picnic by the beach among many other things.

One of the more funny moments was when we went to a murder mystery magic show on Friday night. It included dinner and entertainment and let’s just say the tickets weren’t exactly cheap. When Dustin saw the dinner was buffet style, he decided he was going to “get his money’s worth.” Let me say that one of my favorite things about Dustin is his ability to invest/handle/save money. I love when I get on the computer and he’s been reading articles about the stock market or he uses the stock market as an analogy in a really serious conversation. But sometimes the penny pinching endearing qualities can go a little too far! We were sitting at a table of sophisticated Brits when Dustin comes back with a MOUND of food on his plate. Like, stuff dripping off the side of his plate. I’m laughing between every bite out of nerves/embarrassment and Dustin even went as far as to announce to the table that he was trying to get his money’s worth. It was the same feeling I had when Dustin loudly voiced his opinion in Anthropologie that he liked when I shopped at Ross/Marshall’s better b/c it was cheaper. Things you don’t necessarily say out loud, ya know? haha But I love him for it and now it’s a really funny story to laugh about because we are never going to see those people again and it’s always good to have a husband to keep you humble!!

The highlight of the weekend was the car show – if you know my family you know that the majority of us love vintage cars. It’s in our Hines DNA. One of my life long dreams is to own a restored vintage car so I was drooling the whole weekend. (not really, that would be weird). My favorite part of the cars being there was when the owner would drive by on the street in their full 1920’s gear – it looked so realistic. Here are some pictures from the weekend – I will post all of them on facebook but this will give you a good idea of our weekend. Enjoy!

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Downtown Napier

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Cheers!

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Yes, please.

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We loved seeing people go ALL out!

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Murder Mystery Dinner Date

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Dustin got a little camera happy!

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Mr. Camera Happy! hehe I love this picture!

Dominoe's Pizza Est. 1931

Dominoe’s Pizza Est. 1931

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Fun, fun weekend!

Fun, fun weekend!

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