Friday, 28 September 2012

Grand Final Weekend

It's only 15 hours until the start of the AFL grand final for 2012.

And oh how I wish I was in Melbourne right now as my beloved team Hawthorn is playing in the grand final (the equivalent of the Super Bowl final!)

I have been thinking back to the 2008 grand final when I was in Boston. What a wonderful day it was watching the game on the big screen at Tommy Doyles Pub in Harvard. 

It was great to be with fellow Hawk and various AFL supporters.  And it was a great consolation to go to a home baseball game the next day and hear the roar of the crowd.

This year I am in Wilmington NC.  I will be on my lonesome in front of the computer watching the game.  Given it starts after midnight I may not watch it live but save it for early Saturday.

Thus my phone, facebook, twitter etc will be OFF.  Do not try to contact me to tell me the result!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Taronga Zoo

Another of the must do things in Sydney is to visit Taronga Zoo. Although it would have been easier to drive there, it is almost compulsory to catch the train and ferry.  The ferry is a beautiful ride across the harbour and once there you take the SkySafari cable car up to the entrance of the zoo. On a clear blue winter day, or in fact most days of the year, it is a wonderful boat ride.


We ate a picnic lunch at the zoo.  The highlight being a very aggressive kookaburra who swooped so close to my face I felt his feathers as he tried to steal my sandwich from my hand. He did steal a sandwich from a boy next to us and gave him a nip on his hand.

We saw lots of poisonous snakes (in cages!), patted a blue tongue lizard and visited the sleeping koalas. In the afternoon we watched the seal show, saw the fairy penguins and then headed home.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Grandparent fun

The kids LOVED hanging out with their grandparents in Sydney.  Given their usual shyness with new people I was a little worried about how long they would take to warm up to their grandparents.  The answer was no time at all. Love at first sight.

And they loved playing with the chickens and collecting eggs, painting and doing stickers. All the things they can't or don't do very often at home.

Here are some photos of the fun times:

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Parental Leave Pass

We love our parents being grandparents!  And that is certainly the thing we miss most about not living in Sydney (aside from passionfruit that is!)

Grandma & Grandad took the kids on their own for one night while Nanna & Grandpa braved it for two nights.

The first night we stayed at the Observatory Hotel.  We walked around the actual Observatory at dusk before heading in to Galileo for dinner.  It was a wonderful time! What an awesome hotel.  If you get a chance to try out their showers it is worth the $.

The other two nights we stayed at the Marriott Harbourside thanks to our Marriott points. Although we had a city view room the manager was happy to upgrade us to an Opera House view.  Pretty nice - see below!

We spent our days wandering around the city visiting old haunts.  We walked around to the Opera House, through the Botanic Gardens, into the Pitt St Mall and then down to the QVB.  We stopped along the way at the Lindt cafe and various shopping excursions.

However the highlights were the dining experiences.  You know we love to eat! And even though we are now gluten free it doesn't mean that we can't eat well.

I already mentioned Galileo's at the Observatory which was as always a fine dining experience.

We also visited Cafe Sydney.  Andrew hadn't been there before but I had and was extremely keen to go back.  We had a reservation but had to wait in the (unlit) bar area for 30 minutes.  Given there was no one throwing a tantrum, wiping their runny nose on my sleeve or jumping on the seats I really didn't mind that much as I enjoyed my bellini.  But the manager was upset so she asked if we would like a table on the balcony at the front (ie with the best view!) Well, yes we would.  I was a little worried it would be cold but they had outdoor heaters and wait for it, personal blankets on each seat.  The waiter was a celiac so he could easily tell us what was gluten free.  The food was superb! The view was sublime! And the company wasn't too bad either.

 On our last night in Sydney we met up with Dave & Kel in Woolloomooloo to dine at China Doll.  The food again was amazing. The waitress was a little forward (maybe she had a tic but I'm pretty sure she was winking at me suggestively) but the Asian food was just what we had been missing.  And here we are on the pier for my favourite photo of the time in Sydney. [Alexis your necklace is a world traveller!]

Monday, 24 September 2012

Lynda & Keegan's Wedding

Now the event blog you've all been waiting for - Lynda & Keegan's wedding.  You know that's why we went back to Australia for the first time in 5 years! 

Lucy was a flowergirl and Henry was a ring bearer.  Both did their jobs absolutely beautifully! 

The wedding was at Hurstville Presbyterian Church and the reception at the State Library. 

Of course, there are lots and lots of details in between but its not my story to tell.  We had a fabulous time and here are some of the photos.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Rose's 99th birthday tea

Andrew's grandma Rose turned 99 years old whilst we were in Australia.

So the family held a small afternoon tea to celebrate.  And the best part was that after 5 years we were able to be together in the one place at the same time.  All four grandchildren in the same city, time zone, country, and hemisphere! It probably won't happen again for a very long time.

Here's the photo of the clan:

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Felicity's baptism

Felicity was baptised at Hurstville Presbyterian Church.  It is the church that both Andrew and I were baptised, where we were married and where Lucy was baptised.  There's a whole lot more history than that but I won't bore you with it now.

Even though we obviously don't attend the church now, they were kind enough to allow us to have Felicity baptised there while we were in Australia with all of our family in attendance.

It was a beautiful day!

Afterwards Andrew's parents hosted a large bbq for many friends.  It is all a blur actually as there were so many familiar faces to catch up in just a few short hours.  I loved being able to sit down and chat with some dear friends and compare notes on this mothering journey. There is something so wonderful about old friends that know your background, who you are and live in the same culture. It is worth bottling and smuggling back to the US.

Thank you to everyone for attending and making Flissy's baptism day so wonderful!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Adventures in Balmain

When you go traveling you expect strange and sometimes scary things to happen.  Our memorable event was a morning trip to Balmain.

Our plans were to visit Sucre for a hit of liquid chocolate, run around the park and then go to Brioche, a gluten free cafe for lunch.  Nothing too stressful before the big day of Lynda's wedding.

All started well.  We had a great parking spot, we were sipping hot chocolate and we found some fun play equipment at Gladstone park.

Lucy jumped up for the swinging flying fox, lost her grip and fell down.  She hit the back of her head on the metal platform.  It looked bad as it was happening. 

Andrew cuddled her and whilst touching the large bump showed me that his hand was covered in blood.  (I feel sick just writing this!)

So we gathered everyone up and started heading out of the park to the car, not sure what we were going to do.  At the edge of the park I saw a cross road sign that I thought meant hospital.  So we heading a little way down the street and sure enough there was Balmain hospital complete with emergency department.

Lucy and I checked in whilst Andrew took the little ones to get lunch.  We were seen fairly quickly.  As the nurse and I looked at Lucy enormous bump and blood I started to feel strange.

As we walked Lucy through to be glued up I fainted.  When Andrew came back with lunch he found me lying on a hospital bed with Lucy holding my hand.

Once I was ok Lucy was taken to another bed and her head cleaned up.  The doctor pronounced that she would be all fine to be a flowergirl the next day as long as the hairdresser didn't brush the back of her head!

So we headed home a little shaken up.  But now I know that in my little girl is very strong and brave and able to comfort her mama in times of need!

On the way home we took a wrong turn and caught this great view of the city from Balmain.  It is one of only a few photos we took that day and a reminder of that day when God provided a hospital in just the right place!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Hanging out at Cronulla

So we went to Cronulla a few times whilst we were back in Sydney.  So many fun memories!

We drank lots of coffee from Grind (I'd rather be there right now), played at the beach, walked the esplanade and had a picnic lunch in the park.

The first week of our visit was cold but after that it was very mild.  You can see the kids wearing just long sleeve tshirts in the photos at the beach and I'm down to a thin cardigan and long sleeved tshirt!

Yes we miss our visits to Cronulla.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Blue Mountains

We headed west to the mountains of Katoomba for a daytrip. It was absolutely freezing! 

A fog was resting over the valley which made the Three Sisters very easy to see.  Thankfully the fog was only in the valley or the view may have been very uninteresting.

We met up with our friends the Phillips family, had lunch together at a cafe and then rode the Scenic Skyway across the valley.  The Skyway had a glass floor so that you can see all the way down to the bottom of the valley. A little scary for some of the party!