MAXIMILIAN | WEEK 5 11/24/2014

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Max. Maxalicious. Maximoo. Little guy.

Max has been growing up on this trip. He can walk further. He can play more imaginatively. He has patience for longer books. And (very very happily for me and Carl) he can also sleep later in the mornings. I hesitate to type this for fear the sleeping gods will laugh at our happiness and Max will returns to his 4am ways – I will cry if this happens.

He is also getting more opinionated. He likes Carl (and only Carl) to help him eat, sing him to sleep, and buckle his carseat. This preference for Carl borders on the obsessive: “Daddy? What you doing? Daddy? I’m hungry. Daddy? I’m thirsty. Daddy? What you doing?” Sometimes when I tell him I love him he feels compelled to note, “I love Daddy instead.” But he and I do share an excellent sense of smell. He has a particularly excellent sense of bathroom smell and essentially refuses to use the toilet in the camper van because “I don’t like that smell.” I’m sort of with him on that one.

He likes new clothes and always notices when he’s dressed in a new item. He loves cheese. He is very good at blowing his nose. He likes to climb, mostly on things that aren’t designed for climbing – the security sensors when you leave stores are one of his recent favs; the driver’s seat in the van is another. He likes dragons with large wings. He loves reading about the little yellow digger saving the whale.

While he may now sleep later, he is grumpy in the morning. And at any time of the day he doesn’t especially love to answer questions. When pushed, he will answer questions related to his name and his age with a shout, “I Maxi. I Maxi Freeman.” He usually then stomps away.

He loves Paw Patrol, a children’s show about pups who save the day. This is funny since he is noticeably scared of dogs in real life. However the passion with which he sings the theme song is pretty adorable: “Paw patrol, paw patrol be there on the double!” He also talks a lot about winches, a direct result of repeatedly watching the pups use various machinery to save the day.

And something we’ve learned on this trip is that Max loves the ocean. Even when it’s (absurdly) cold. Appropriately for a little surfer dude in training he often says, “Oh maaaaaaan” when he’s feeling frustrated or disappointed. He frequently informs us, “I don’t like wet things” when we’re wiping his face or when he spills on himself (he seems to manage to spill at least a little water at every single meal). His aversion to water seems limited to not liking wet clothes, hence his preference for nude ocean splashing. My heart sings when he runs in the waves and along the beach, his deep, dark eyes sparkling, his husky giggles carried through the wind.

Adventure Mondays Adventure Mondays     Adventure Mondays Adventure Mondays


Lots to be thankful for this week. But least you think I can’t get my complain on, I’ve included some grumblings to keep these reflections truthful.


Kind gestures from strangers  “Rest a while. Enjoy the view. But leave the seats so others can too.” I was charmed by this message left on two chairs along the hiking trail — not sponsored, not gimmicky, just simple kindness.

Oh Phelups!  Grace has basically made up her own swear word, and I sort of love it. She uses it when she’s feeling frustrated or angry, and it’s starting to catch on; I heard Carl using it earlier today!

Children’s hiking boots  I was torn about whether to spend money on these before we left for the trip, but it was worth it. The boots let Grace and Max know to expect an adventurous and longish walk ahead and they’re just sturdier and more supportive than regular kid’s shoes, especially on rocky and muddy trails.

My legs  Strong, steady, taking me to new views and vistas.

Apples and carrots  The go to Freeman family driving and walking snacks. Crunch!



Shoe and sock removal  Max insists on taking his shoes and socks off within 10 minutes of having them put on. By the end of the day, this is highly highly irritating. Your toes are delicious, Max, but come on!!!

Crumbs, sand, dirt, dust  When your living room, dining room, bunk room, and kitchen are all basically one small box, every bit of dirt on the floor is more apparent and more disgusting. Who wants to sleep directly on top of dinner crumbs and bottom-of-shoe debris? Not me or Carl! How many times can two adults sweep the floor in one day? I’ll tell you: too many!

Losing my temper  I used to think I was so patient.

ABBA on repeat  Oh, Carl…

Stomach issues in a camper van  I’ll just leave it at that.


Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Adventure Mondays

Another day, another gorgeous walk. This one was 10km around some of the most beautiful bays I’ve ever seen, with a leisurely picnic lunch (and dip) at Deep Cove in the middle. We passed exactly two other walkers in the several hours we were out.

Every time I think New Zealand will have to start going downhill from a natural beauty point of view, it just doesn’t! And unlike our last epic walk at Tongariro Crossing, Max could manage this one (not anywhere near as steep); he walked about 6km before he needed a ride on Carl’s shoulders — way to go, little guy!


Epic views are even more epic when you’ve walked uphill to see them.

There are infinite shades of green in New Zealand.

You don’t need a huge kitchen to cook a decent meal. I already basically knew this from NYC living, but it appears the adage extends to micro kitchens.

There are many, many, many different kinds of sheep. I could literally stare at them for hours at a time (it’s unclear why or to what end).

I could never be a pioneer woman. This I’ve learned mostly from binge reading the Little House series with Grace; we’re currently deep into On the Banks of Plum Creek.

When you have limited water supply, you use a lot less water. Also you sort of miss long, steamy showers (something else pioneer women went without).

Whoever invented the dustpan and broom likely had a child who ate crackers just like Max.

Children love playgrounds, regardless of world location or excellent tourist/nature activity options in the surrounding area.

Consistently going to bed early (basically with your kids) really reduces the overwhelming desire to both nap and lose your temper during the day.

Consistently going to bed early (basically with your kids) really reduces your sense of being an adult with interests of your own.