Nothing could have made Christmas more normal than spending it with my extended family; Colette, Jordanne & Sharn, Ashley & Luis (their boys - Lucas and Ricco) and Mike, Nanny Liz and Grampy Ray.
They welcomed Ollie as one of the family with open arms, making him feel comfortable and at home and I relaxed as soon as i'd had a mummy cuddle from Colette! And a sister squish from Ash and Jordy!
We got to spend Christmas Eve out for dinner and drinks with Mike and his parents - generously paid for by Mike (thank you) and Christmas Day morning at Nanny Liz & Grampy's for a good English fry up.
The rest of Christmas Day was spent at home with Colette and the gang and Sharn's (Jordannes boyfriend) lovely family drinking, eating and laughing (a lot!). The only strange thing was BBQ'ing the food rather than roasting it (oh and being in shorts).
We got to see lots of Mount Maunganui and Papamoa during the 2 weeks we were there - climbing "The Mount" for Ollie's first 360 view of Tauranga and Papamoa, sunbathing on the beaches, watching Ollie jump off the cliff at McLaren Falls into a big river, walking with Ashley and boys up to the Papamoa hills, Ollie's first surf lesson courtesy of Sharn, eating fresh fish and chips in Tauranga (we watched it being skinned and filleted) me getting an amazing tattoo of a compass (again courtesy of Sharn) and generally spending lots of laughter and fun times with the family.
Ollies first surf lesson!
Spending New Years Eve with Ashley at Luis' bar made the whole thin even more special and fun - Ash we love you lots! We drank the night away, danced, got a random subway half way through the night (standard) and watched the beautiful fireworks over The Mount!
Spending this time with my extended family means so much to me - it made me a lot less homesick but also made me realise I will miss you all so much when we go home!
This was the perfect way to start our New Zealand adventure, sad to move on but excited to get going we're heading to Rotorua - the Stinkiest place in NZ!