Thursday, January 26, 2012

Today

Psh. If you want to know about where I was 2 years ago, come look through my iPhoto. I'm done with this.

As fun as New Zealand was and as much as I learned about myself, I wouldn't say it was the defining moment of my life. It was a lot a amazing experiences and I spent many a solitary hike pondering about who I was/am and who I wanted to be. But it didn't define me.

As I left for New Zealand there was something much more defining going on in my life. Our dear cousin Steven Koecher disappeared without a trace. From that moment on, our entire family has been different. We were brought to our knees with sorrow and aching, we've been leaning on the Lord's arm, and we are stronger for it.

From this tragedy our family bonded like it never had. We have always been close but now we are one.

A year ago today our family was blessed with this little ray of sunshine! And we were again brought to our knees, but this time with gratitude. Jaela was only expected to live a few days and Today she is celebrating her first Birthday. We sure love her!

Another person who has had a massive influence on me is my husband, Robert. He celebrated his birthday on Tuesday the 24th. He has been my best friend for many many years (no that isn't a cliche, it is real. All you people claiming you're marrying your best friend, unless you have held a bleeding pig head between the two of you and you're taller than him, you have no idea.) Ok, maybe that isn't necessary. However, I can not say how thankful I am that he was born, that he moved to Utah, that he moved to my ward when we were 12, and that he loves me.





Love that guy!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well I feel dumb. Mainly because I just looked back in my archives and found that I did indeed post about my New Zealand trip. I have no memory of doing that.  What I did not do was supplement those posts with a lot of pictures; The scenery was the best part!

Therefore, I will probably just post links to those post and update them with pictures. (Call me lazy, but I'm just busy, alriiiiight?)

A few more lame pics to day SEVEN, here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mount Doom

January 19th we hiked the Tongariro Crossing and went back to Discovery Lodge. That's it. No traveling or anything, just the hike. I actually posted about this hike here.

Seriously, I talked about hiking Mount Doom in detail in the above link.

Some point along the amazing Tongariro crossing.

The guiding Cairns.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Glow worms!

January 18th I woke up to this:

I petted a dear. Big deal.

Later in the morning we went to the Waitomo Caves. It. Was. Amazing.
We floated through these caves in wet suits and inner tubes with a small headlamp that we usually kept off. 




The light that comes from the glow worms is so pure that it really looks like you are gazing at the stars. Next to the car ride to Waitomo, the caves were the most beautiful thing I have seen.

After the caves, we made lunch and packed up camp. We hit the road to Mordor.

Ok, we were actually going to Tongariro. Discovery Lodge. We got to stay in CABINS this night! It was a good thing too because the next morning we would be hiking Mount Doom! Mount Doom's real name is Mount Ngauruhoe. Read here for mostly true information.


Thar she blows!

The adorable cabins we got to stay in.

 We had been doing all our own cooking but this night, when we got to the Lodge, we got to eat dinner in their little restaurant. I got some kind of Thai curry/rice/lamb thing I think? It was delicious!

 Oh, and I made a little friend on my way to dinner. Rude at first, but I eventually won his heart.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hamilton to Waitomo

January 17th of a couple of years ago we were in Hamilton.

We got up, packed up, and headed to church somewhere in Hamilton and then visited the temple again, spending most of our time in the Visitor Center.

This MTC is now just a school...I think. 
 

At the Visitor Center, we watched a documentary about Matthew Cowley. The members down here (there) revere the missionaries that brought them the gospel. I told a woman that my dad had served here. She grabbed my greenstone necklace (pictured above) and just squeezed it. She held it as we spoke then pressed it to my cheek when we parted. Also, an Elder Marion J. walked up to me and asked if I knew a Christina Naegle haha. Apparently, he had just spoken to my Aunt Cristy on the phone the day before! Small world.

Beautiful temple :)


We left the temple, and began the drive to our next camp spot in Waitomo. 
Juno Waitomo Holiday Park
600 Waitomo Caves Road, R.D.5, Te Kuiti, New Zealand. The drive, as quoted in my journal, was "the most beautiful drive I've been on, I think."




We arrived at our sight in Waitomo and there was a TRAMPOLINE!
And a beautiful sunset...

Aaand we watched Lord of the Rings in preparation for the climb up Mount Doom the day after next. Sweet as.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Hamilton

January 16th, we woke early and drove to Mount Maunganui.

As you can tell by my beautiful face, we tried to run up the thing. 
A view from the top!

After descending the Mount we spent a few minutes on the beach. 

We then quickly got ready and packed up camp and headed to the Hamilton Temple to do some baptisms!


We then drove from the temple to Hamilton City Holiday Park.
14 Ruakura Road.

Alex's footie pajamas made their first debut.

We had a delicious spaghetti dinner with garlic bread and turned in for the night.

Mitai

Today (as in yesterday, the 15th. I'm already a day behind!) in New Zealand, we stayed in Rotorua again. Everyone chose between two activities; You could either go Zorbing, or Sledging. Sound fun? If you've never heard of Zorbing, this is it.  Fun idea but...let's be hones, it didn't look that fun. I chose Sledging. The river in that link is where we actually were.
I can't find the action shots of our sledging trip right now. This "getting ready" shot will have to do. This is about 1/2 of us. The other half chose Zorbing and had an awesome time.

That evening we went to a Mitai. There, we enjoyed a cultural performance,
 a tour around the place, (this is a spring. The water was crystal clear and there were EELS living in there!)...


...and, of course, fooood. Look at that!



After we ate ourselves silly we headed back to camp for a good nights rest on pads and sleeping bags. Ahhhh :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Feliz Natal

Our Christmas break was full of family, food, and fun. Before the new year gets away from me, I'm going to document it. For posterity's sake. (I apologize, this post is HUGE.)

Robert has been working early mornings at BYU. Today he received his bonus!

Sprite and Popcorn..

 He sold his Bonus and bought himself some winter riding clothes! (Ok, we consumed his bonus and used our own money for the clothes.) He can now ride outside in the winter time. Toasty.


Before Christmas, Steph, Brian, Jenny, and her fiance Edwin came over for a Brazilian Churrasco. Brian provided the meat and grilled pineapple. It was amazing. Jenny brought Guatemalan Tamales, and Robert and I made beans and rice. It was totally better than Rodizio. . .

Charlotte and Hazel tagged along, of course.

As Steph and Brian were leaving, who should stop in but the Jolly man, himself. SANTA!
Last year Charlotte was terrified of Santa...

He gave her a fright at first...

She was deciding whether to cry or laugh...

And with her mom, dad, grandparents, aunt, and uncle all saying, "It's Santa," as cheerfully as possible she decided it was the coolest thing ever!
"Haha! Sanna. 'Nomen. Saaaana."
 He even said hello to Hazel.

Christmas Eve arrived and, thanks to Brian and the traditions he brought from his family, the Naegle household performed its first ever Nativity. 
The Three Wise men.

The Narrator and donkey, (making him a talking ass?) stomping off. 
Nice tail, Dad.
 I mean, not much of a tail. But you're kind of attached to it, right?
 Wise man and the baby Jesus.
Gangsta
 Perfect little angel adjusting her halo.
 Three wise men, donkey, Joseph and Mary, Baby Jesus, a Shepherd, and the Angel.

Christmas Day arrived. We had the most perfect German pancakes (thanks Robert) and bacon and headed off to church. We have always done Christmas that way. We don't come into the living room until mom and dad have slept then showered. It was usually around 9 am. (I know, right?) We inevitably saw the bigger, unwrapped gifts that Santa had brought us but we didn't get to open any. Next we have breakfast. (Then we go to church, if it lands on a Sunday.)

Finally, we open presents.

Charlotte loves her hat. 

Hazel, the freakishly perfect baby. 

A few days after Christmas we went shooting up North Canyon. Against the law? Maybe.
Good thing we only had a .22 and a BB gun.
Amish woman with a gun, aka LeAnne.
He hit his target shooting backwards. (Never mind that it was a 3' x 5' box.)

We found this crazy fort up there, complete with cardboard and a red flag.

We made our way up to Aspen Grove again this year, even though there was hardly any white stuff.
The kiddos watching "Pooh Bear."
Robert and I left Aspen Grove on New Years Eve and spent it with his family. We sneaked up on them like this: 

(I know it's blurry. Our vision was to ring the doorbell, hide, and have Robert's helicopter hovering in front of the door when someone answered it. You hear the door creak open, see the helicopter take off, then it, uh, gets stuck in the tree.)
video

The next day we made more German Pancakes. What?

Our Christmas vacation came to an end and we went back home with a couple of gifts. 

This snowman belongs on a White fridge. (Why did I capitalize "White?" We may have made some racial jokes about this snowman. I don't know.)

Fred makes yet another friend.

'Twas a very merry Christmas. We loved spending time with our families and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.