Updates from our first full week in New Zealand

It’s Sunday afternoon here in Gisborne. It was a beautiful sunny morning in the 60s. We went to breakfast at a local café, checked out some shops and went for a run along the boardwalk with beautiful ocean views. It’s supposed to rain all afternoon. The boys are napping (Jake) and taking a quiet time (Luke). Scott and I just finished lunch (grilled cheese and soup). So, I thought it would be a good time to check in and share some updates from our first week here!

I started work.


And it was tough. .. mentally! The people are very nice, staff and patients. The fellow doctors are awesome. There is a huge learning curve for the health system, computer system, and medications (same medications/different names)! Day 1 of seeing patients was really stressful and hard. Thankfully, I made some changes (asked to move offices closer to more help) and day 2 was so much better. Day 3 of seeing patients tomorrow, so hoping it continues to go well!

Jake started daycare.


Welcome Jake and Family


We are all in awe of your family Jake who have traveled all the way from Minnesota to sunny little Gisborne! And we feel rather special that you have picked The Point to be your turangawaewae (place where one has rights of residence and belonging through kinship). A huge welcome to you and your family. Even though you are in a completely different country with people that you have never met before you have slotted in so well and are already starting to develop friendships. When Dad drops you off in the morning you join in with the other tamariki (children) and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. You feel comfortable to communicate to the teachers and children and are starting to understand the centre routines and customs. I’ve watched you at kai (food) time, sitting at the table with the other tamariki and you are independent and quite capable of feeding your self (even if it is an omelet that doesn’t belong to you)

I am really looking forward to getting to know you and your family better and to watch you grow and learn.

From Annie and the team at The Point Early Learning Centre.

We bought a car.


The Toyota Wish. Basically a minivan without sliding doors. It has enough space for all of us + both running strollers.

We finally found a good grocery store.


There are two big stores and a bunch of smaller stores. Food overall is way more expensive, with the exception of fresh fruit and veggies!

I found an amazing coffee place.


And it’s literally the closest one to our house and my work. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Winking smile But. . .that is their “large.”

We’ve been running!!


We hiked to the top of Kaiti hill.


Fun fact – if we hike it 67 more times, we will have hiked the same distance as to the top of Mount Everest #goals

We went to the toy library.


This is a cool New Zealand thing. You pay a membership fee and then a small fee for each toy you rent, but you get to rent each toy for two weeks. This is a life saver for us. I only packed a few toys for each boy.

We survived the end of winter in Gizzy.


We’ve adjusted to the time change. Both kids slept until 7am this morning!! #hallelujah

I tried my first New Zealand BODYPUMP class. Spoiler alert, it was the same as in the US, just with a kiwi accent. Smile 

We’ve walked to the beach. (4 minute walk from our house)


We checked out Luke’s school! He won’t start for another week. We came in just at the end of 3rd term, so the kids are off for two weeks before starting 4th term!


Scott’s been working too! He’s been getting some work done while acting as the home school teacher for Luke, daycare drop off and pick up for Jake and trying to find applesauce and graham crackers at all the grocery stores (he found applesauce, but not graham crackers!). He’s looking forward to Luke going to school, so he’ll have a dedicated four hours to work in the mornings. He has a pretty sweet desk set up in the living room. The view out the window in front of him is the mountain with sheep on it and the window to his left is the ocean view. #toughlife

We’ve settled into our home. . . well Jake has. Winking smile 


Here’s the link for our house if you’d like to check it out.


Each day this seems more like life and not just a vacation. .. I don’t think it will ever feel “normal.” But, we are having fun with the experience and looking forward to all of our upcoming adventures!


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The Thompson Family goes to New Zealand!

Hello from New Zealand!!


Yup! We are in Gisborne, New Zealand for the next six months!

Here are some common questions I’ve gotten when I’ve told anyone that we are headed to NZ!

Wait, how long are you going for? 

Yes, really for six months!

Is your family coming with you? 

Of course! I couldn’t live without my boys!


What about your job? 

I’m in between jobs right now, I’ll start a new one in April when we get back to Mankato  ..  . but I’ll be working at a clinic in town four days a week as a family practice doctor <—what I normally do in Minnesota too. Winking smile I negotiated to have Fridays off for traveling/exploring/extra beach time.

What about Scott’s job? 

He was able to negotiate to work remotely part time. So, he’ll be working about 20 hours per week while Jake is in early childhood development program.

What about your house? 

Basically, we are being snow birds this year. . . why wait until retirement, right? So, it’s still there, just empty. Scott set up a bunch of cameras to keep an eye on it and we have two friends who are checking in on it regularly.

How did that happen? 

Like I mentioned, I am in between jobs right now, so I was looking for some temporary work. I have been doing some temporary doctor jobs in the cities for the past six months, but it all started with a “what if.  . .” and now, we are here! We started at thinking about coming to New Zealand for a long vacation. Neither of us had been here before. I was deterred by the long flight.. . and then I started looking at potential short term job opportunities, Scott started the process of requesting to work remotely, and slowly it started to fall into place.

Are you coming back?

LOL. Yes.

Where are you living? 


We found a furnished rental about two blocks from the beach! Luke is most excited about the bunk beds.

Is Luke going to be in school? 

Yes! We are actually going to be checking out his new school tomorrow. I don’t think that American grades translate directly to school in NZ, but I don’t actually know much about it. Thankfully, he’s in first grade, so either way, he’ll continue to learn! The hard part of school for Luke is that they have year round school, so he’ll have a long break (six weeks!) at Christmas. . . his teacher was great and supplied us with some workbooks and activities to keep him busy!

What does Luke think? Is he excited? 

I think his overall emotion before leaving was sad and nervous. He was sad to leave his friends, his room and his toys. He’s nervous about starting a new school. But besides being a bit grumpy from being tired (that jet lag is not fun!), he’s doing great so far!

How do you even pack for a trip like that? 


OMG. Don’t even get me started. Packing was one of the hardest things. . . and now that we are here, I’m not even sure if I brought the right things. It is COLD here. . . well colder than I thought it would be and I didn’t bring very many warm clothes. But, we each had a big suitcase to bring, then two carry ons, and three backpacks. Plus both car seats and two jogging strollers. Yup, we were a hot mess getting into the airport.


But, we made it!

and btw, if you are thinking about ever flying AirNewZealand with young kids. . . the sky couch is 100% worth it.


So, you’re like just going to skip winter? 

Heck yes!

What kind of money do they have there? 

Haha, Sarah. They have New Zealand dollars.

It’s my plan to check in on the blog regularly, so if you are interested in following along on our adventure, I’ll keep you posted!

Jake was up at 3am this morning. And down for a nap at 6:30am. I definitely need all the prayers for figuring out this time zone!


Currently, Luke is writing in his journal, Scott is setting up his work station, Jake is still napping and I am dreaming about my first cup of New Zealand coffee.

Cheers, <—because that’s what they say here. Smile 



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The Great MN Get-Together 2018


Remember me?

I’m bringing back the blog to share our adventure yesterday at the Minnesota State Fair!


I had checked out the list of new fair foods and come up with these 6 to try:

1. General Tso Chicken Taco
2. Nordic Waffles
3. Slider flights
4. Sweetie cakes
5. Heirloom tomato and sweet corn BLT
6. Grilled peaches

And #fail. We tried one new thing. Sad smile 

But it was super good.

The Nordic Waffles.

We tried the All Day breakfast and Raspberry and Cream.


Highly recommend the all day breakfast waffle: eggs, cheese and bacon in a waffle sandwich.


Up next, a fair staple for us: Corn. It was good, as usual!


Then, mini donuts.



While watching Luke ride the tractors. We tried to get Jake to go but he wouldn’t let me put him down.


A stop at the Little Farm Hands. . . 






Two more fair traditions: cookies.


And U of M dairy barn malts. Scott’s mint was amazing. You better believe I made myself a cookie ice cream sandwich. Winking smile 


Not pictured: Luke got an ICEE, Jake got a strawberry smoothie and Luke got a popsicle.

And a bag of cotton candy to take home and the threat of rain, we got back to the bus just as it started sprinkling and then ran to the car in the pouring rain!

Another great year! Already looking forward to next year and planning our time better to try more new foods!

Did you go to the State Fair this year?

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Coffee date. . . March 2018


Can I jump right in and say hi after it’s been almost three months since my last post? Seriously, life with 2 kids is no joke! But the joy that my family brings me, makes my heart so full, and so it is all worth it and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

If we were meeting up for a coffee date, I’d be drinking a caramel latte. #necessary after getting up at 4:40am! I’ve been up since 4:40 am to teach the 5:15 pump class. I taught 104 again after taking a break since launching it a few months ago and those lunges!

I’ve been still teaching BODYPUMP at least three times per week and CXWORX once per week at the Mankato YMCA. I am loving the latest CX release – #30. And speaking of lunges – the lunge track in 105?! O.M.G.

I’d tell you that Jake is growing up so fast! I am definitely already missing having a little baby. But that I am also loving this stage. He is full on toddler. He can definitely tell you what he wants and doesn’t want. And I think we are in t.r.o.u.b.l.e with this one. I think he definitely has a stubborn streak.


I also cannot believe that Luke is almost done with kindergarten! He is turning into such a fine young man who I am so proud of every day. Now, everything is not roses, we still have attitudes and fits but overall, he’s a great kid.


And I knew my heart would grow bigger watching them be brothers, but oh man, I just love watching them laughing and playing together.


You might be wondering why I have time to meet for coffee on a random Wednesday morning instead of being at work. . . well, I quit my job! I just didn’t agree with the direction of the organization I was working for and decided I needed to make a change. So, I am officially unemployed. Ok. . . not really, just for the month of March. But it feels crazy to not have a job. In all my adult life, I’ve never not been working unless it was for maternity leave. I am using the extra free time to spend more time with the boys, catch up on scrapbooking, and actually keeping up with the laundry. Winking smile 

Oh! I want to tell you about these leggings I finally splurged on with a gift card from my birthday from Lululemon. And OMG, they are worth every pretty penny.

true navy

And I need to share a recent life hack with you. Jake’s obviously in diapers and we have a diaper genie, but his room still doesn’t smell the greatest. But, I picked up a few car air fresheners from Bath and Body works.  Endless Weekend Scentportable Fragrance Refill - Bath And Body Works

No holder, just the pods. I opened one up and put in in the bottom of the diaper genie. Amazing. It’s enough scent to diffuse the room, but not overpowering. And bonus because there is nothing that Jake can get into with it. . . which is why I didn’t want to use a plug in, kid is into everything these days!

I’d pull out my phone to show you the cute Easter craft my sister and I did with the boys. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but we used white fluff balls for the tails. <love> And you know I have this one on display from when Luke was a baby!


And of course, I’d have to do a shout out for my awesome husband. I cannot believe we are coming up on our 10 year wedding anniversary this summer. He has been so supportive with my job change, the best Dad I could ever ask for to our boys and my partner in all things life. Now, before I make you throw up in your mouth, I will tell you that we argued about who should be responsible for breaking down boxes before they go in the recycling. #reallife #adulting


So, what’s new with you? Winking smile

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Family Vacation–Siesta Key

Hey! Happy Sunday. . . we are getting ready to pack up and head back to MN from Florida. We’ve been in Siesta Key for the past week enjoying warmer weather and beach time.

I thought I’d pop in to share some pictures!

View from our condo. . .




Jake’s first time in the ocean (gulf)



Baby flip flops


Beach runs, sunsets and naps


The best caramel latte from Buddy Brew Coffee (seriously, on my top 5 best ever list!), enjoying it while at my medical conference lecture (the reason we went to Florida)




Meanies Mini Donuts <—must have if you go to Siesta Key


Beach time






Gorgeous sunsets


Pool swimming


Perfection during nap time


Mini golf fun


And feeding the gators


Beach pictures <love>





And now wish me luck on our 3 hour flight back home with an 11 month old. Winking smile

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Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

We had lunch with Scott’s family yesterday. . .


And I’m feeling pretty darn thankful for both of my turkeys.


Also, I’m just thankful for our every day memories. . .

Having lunch with Luke at school.


Jake falling asleep while eating dinner {something that Luke never did!}


Playing at the Children’s Museum


Teaching BODYPUMP 


Fun with Aunt Jenny at Underwater World at MOA




And these. . . living in these slippers from Target. Love the price tag too!


And living in these out of the house.  ..  <—25% off right now with code Thankful


And decorating the Christmas tree as a family this morning.


my heart is happy.

hope you had a great thanksgiving with the ones you love.


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Life update–10 months, 13 years and Pumpkin everything!

Man, life is crazy these days! Two kids is no joke!!

I’ve been meaning to check in for a while. . . but life kept happening.

So, here is a quick picture post of our life lately. . .

Finally a haircut after 10 months!


Pumpkin Everything season. + a fun package from Krusteaz.


Fun (?) at the Pumpkin Patch





Current favorite thing


Oh the cuteness. . . I cannot wait until Halloween!


Abby turned 13!


Do me a favor and buy these muffins. They are so yummy! Seriously, a batch in our house lasts less than 24 hours. . . 5 year old, husband and baby approved!   Thanks again to Krusteaz for sending them!


Just a typical night. . .


Halloween trick or treat event


Spectating the Mankato Marathon


And 10 months old!!


Still soaking in all the baby snuggles I can!


Now, off to fold a load of laundry and get Luke over to swim lessons. Smile 

Hope you have a great night!!


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MN State Fair–2017

On Monday, we went to the Great MN get-together!


Luke has been every year and this was Jake’s first year.


We had perfect weather and a great day hanging out as a family.


But. . . the real reason we go, is the food!

Here are the highlights. . .

#1. Pie in the Sky sundae. From the Dairy Building.


A sweet and tart mix of crunchy, spiced “airplane” cookies and lemon curd, topped with dark chocolate drizzle and served with vanilla ice cream as a sundae or malt.

#2. Mini Sconuts


Buttermilk scone holes filled with chocolate, marshmallow and Nutella®, deep-fried and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar

#3. Cashew salted nut roll


#4. Mini cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting


#5. Cheese curds #fairstaple


#6. Luke’s ice cream cone


#7. Scott’s vanilla and mint milk shake from the dairy barn #yum


And if you go to the fair, do me a favor and take a pass on these. . .

#1. corn dog – just meh.


#2. Honey puffs <-new fair food this year, but not worth it.

Deep-fried dough balls crispy outside and sweet inside, tossed in a sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.


And we had fun wandering around. . .

riding in style. . .


Sharing his ice cream cone with Babe the Blue Ox.


Giant slide. . . Luke and I are on the far right. . .



Baby nap time


Building at the Home Depot barn




My boys. . .


Already looking forward to next year! And having another Pie in the Sky Sundae! Smile

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Weekend vibes at the Lake

Oh what a weekend!

We were back at the Lake this weekend. And I want to go back! I cannot believe that the next time we will be at the Lake, it will be the end of summer for Labor Day ..  . seriously, where did summer go?

Speaking of time going way too fast, how is this baby 8 months old?! Somebody hold me.



Anyway.. .  back to the Lake weekend.


Playing cards with Aunt Jenny.


Boat time.


Doing “kung fu” in the new PJs Aunt Jenny and Aunt Laura brought from China.


Hanging on the dock.


On Saturday, we headed to Camp Manitou (the YMCA camp that I attended when I was younger). . . we got to do crafts (make bracelets)


Check out the camp.


Go on a war canoe



And make s’mores!


There were sink baths. . .


And more boat time


and nap time.


and ice cream cones


And when I downloaded my pictures form the weekend. . . I found a nice montage from Luke. Winking smile 


Happy Monday friends!

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Weekend at the Lake with Magic Cookie bars {recipe}

*This post is sponsored by Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

This past weekend, we headed to the Lake for some time with friends.


We had lots of talking, laughing, swimming, and time in the boat.


I was recently sent some Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk to try in a recipe and share on the blog.


I knew this was the perfect weekend to try my Mother in law’s recipe for magic cookie bars.


And you guys, they are SO good!


Magic Cookie Bars {recipe inspired by my MIL – Way}

1/2 cup butter (melted)
1/2 cup each: white, milk and semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 can (14oz) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In 9×13 pan, sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over melted butter, combine and pat into bottom of pan
3. Pour Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk evenly over crust
4. Top with chocolate chips, coconut, and pecans
5. Press down gently
6. Bake for ~25 minutes until lightly browned.
7. Cool completely and serve.
8. Accept compliments. Smile 


And I already cannot wait for our Lake weekend next year!


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