Although they’ve never ridden a quad bike before, both Aisha and Brioni mastered it and gained confidence when they were given the opportunity today. Our hosts have a child-sized quad bike which they brought out when we got home today from … church!

“When in Rome…” is usually our style, and so — in a completely unexpected way — we ended up in a church this morning. Our current hosts have started going to church recently, and so we accompanied Bro, Teresa and Jack to The Well at Awanui. It was a good thing that daylight-savings ended today in New Zealand, because it meant that we arrived in good time for the church meeting, rather than in the middle of it!

The girls and I ended up with the rest of the kids in a large bus to one side of the shed in which the main meeting was being held. A woman told the story of strongman Samson, and then it was time for morning tea.

Our girls eating biscuits in Sunday School, April 2012
Juice and biscuits are a treat — enough to encourage our girls to try out Sunday School again!

When the bus started to heat up, we moved all the children back to the hall. We sat to one side of a partition through which I could hear the sermon being preached. The kids drew, coloured-in and played until the meeting was finished.

Playing with playdough at Sunday School, April 2012
I busy myself with making play-dough snails for the girls, which are well-received.

Playing with playdough at Sunday School, April 2012
Our family is a classic rent-a-crowd. When we arrive for Sunday School in this little Awanui church, we almost double the numbers of kids attending.

Lunch in the park, April 2012
After church, we buy hot chips from the shop across the road and eat together in the park.

Lunch in the park, April 2012
Teresa and Bro encourage Jack to have some "kai" — the Maori term for food.

Back at Takahue, Bro got out the child-sized quad bike he had just collected from his parents’ farm. David was the first to ride it, and Brioni was happy to sit on the back.

David rides with Brioni on the back, April 2012
Brioni is the first to bravely try out the quad bike. She loves it!

David and Brioni on the quad bike, April 2012
The quad bike is so much fun for both of them.

Aisha on the back of the quad bike with David, April 2012
Aisha does have a turn, but reluctantly.

Once the girls were comfortable with riding behind him, David let them have a turn without him. Brioni eagerly took up the challenge, and it was just a little longer before Aisha, too, was riding by herself.

Brioni on the quad bike, April 2012
Five-year-old Brioni is happy to start driving by herself.

Brioni on the quad bike, April 2012
Brioni sits confidently and steers easily. "It's just like steering my bicycle," she announces.

Aisha on a quad bike, April 2012
After building up her confidence, Aisha starts venturing further away from us and into neighbouring paddocks.

Sitting outside our truck, April 2012
We sit outside the truck to watch the girls ride in circles around us.

Delaney asleep on the box, April 2012
Delaney falls asleep on a box in the back of the truck and misses most of the action. Although she doesn't nap every day, she lasts better when she does.

Lauren and Elijah, April 2012
I'm sure this is the kind of thing that Elijah will love doing when he's older!

Elijah Rainbow, 4 months old, April 2012
At four months old, Elijah is quite aware of the activity that happens around him and responds to his sisters' attention.

After spending most of the afternoon riding a child-sized quad bike, Brioni is now asking for one. I wonder aloud at how we could make one fit inside our truck, but she seems to think it could sit under the dirty-clothes tub! (Our mountain of laundry is not that big, however.)

Jack, April 2012
When his rest-time is over, 3yo Jack (and his truck) comes out to play with us.

Jack and Calista, April 2012
With less than a year's difference in age, it's not surprising that Jack and Calista connect well.

Teresa and Lauren, April 2012
Teresa comes out to join us and watch the kids as I string together the beads from a broken necklace.

It’s nice to be at someone’s home on the weekend. That’s usually when others have the time and are relaxed enough to hang out with us.

Sitting outside our truck, April 2012
It's fun to sit and relax and talk with our new friends.

Girls eating melted ice-cream, April 2012
For afternoon tea, Teresa offered melted ice-creams. We cut the corners of the plastic packagings, and our girls suck the ice-cream out.

Sitting outside our truck, April 2012
This is a really nice spot to hang out. The countryside is so green, and we are parked on a beautifully mown lawn.

Bro on the digger toy, April 2012
Bro brings out a bigger digger toy for the kids to play with. (Or perhaps it was for himself...)

Kids on a dirt pile, April 2012
There's a large dirt pile directly opposite the truck, and so the kids play games up and down it.

Jack and Bro on the quad bike, April 2012
Jack gets a turn on the quad bike with his dad.

Bro and Elijah, April 2012
There aren't many men who ask to hold our baby, but Bro is one of those who did!

Aisha on the digger toy, April 2012
Aisha works the controls to lift the bucket and tip the dirt out.

Brioni and Calista beading, April 2012
Following my lead, Calista and Brioni start beading as well.

Jack, April 2012
Jack likes to pretend that his truck is stuck in a hole. I wonder if that's something he's learned from 4WD adventures with his father!

Today has been a very special day for Aisha and Brioni. And it’s been just as exciting for David and me to watch our girls master the techniques they needed to ride. First they had to conquer their fears. Then they had to practice and improve. It’s great to have the opportunity to try out such a fun toy, and we’re thankful to our kind hosts for letting our girls have a go!