Monday, November 30, 2009

Home for the Holidays

This afternoon we went to the airport to welcome Penny home for Christmas. She last came home in Feb 2007 with Sam and Ella and she was pregnant with Owen. Today she came with Same, Ella, Owen and Elliott. Her husband Chris is going to fly in on Dec 18 to spend an Aussie Christmas with us.

Penny is amazing!! She left from Atlanta Georgia airport on Friday with the 4 kids and Chris and flew for 5 hrs to LA. There Chris returned home for a few more weeks of exams and study and Penny booked into a hotel. At 11.20pm on Saturday night, loaded with Sam (5), Ella (4), Owen (2) and Elliott (7mths), Penny boarded the plane to Melbourne and landed this morning at 9.40am.

There Tammy met her to help with the kids and they boarded a plane for Launy at 3.30 pm. It is going to be a wonderful five weeks catching up with them.

Welcome home Penny.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday - Sydney

After leaving Canberra Monday afternoon, we headed back on the Hume Highway toward Sydney. The mercury stayed in the 30s which I thought was very nice. Along the way we got a phone call from Rob Polley. Him and Felis were up getting a boat and were driving it from Sydney to Melb roughly the same time as we were driving from Melb to Sydney.

But his car had broken down (maybe a head gasket) and they had to dump the boat and drive only 80kms an hr and stop every half an hr to fill the car with water. Can you imagine it!!

When Rob rang they were at Albury-Wodonga which is only about half way but luckily Felicity's sister Sarah lives there and they could have a break but not for long as they had to catch the boat back to Devonport.......aahhh. I was thinking how horrible it would be to have the car break down, not realising our fun in that department was soon to come..............

Anyway it took about 3hrs to get into Sydney and we drove straight to Carlingford where we booked into the temple accommodation for one night. The next morning Simon and I took it in turns to do a session each at the temple while the other one stayed with the kids. Sounds good in theory right!!!

The temple accommodation is only a 5min drive to the temple which is why it is such a great place to stay if you are attending the temple from interstate and at only $70 a room, it fits the budget too. Anyway we left at 8.30 and dropped Simon off for a 9am session.

If you have ever driven along Pennant Hills Rd in peak hour and tried to turn into the temple accommodation driveway, it is almost impossible so I drove past it and panicked and ended up turning left onto the motorway, the M7. Aaahh!!!

So lots of sweating and panicking, going through tolls with no e-tag, I turned around at Baulkum Hills and came back toward Pennant Hills Rd along the M7 BUT there was no slip road back up onto Pennant Hills Road and I went under it and continued on the M7 in THE OTHER direction!!!

Through some more tolls, a tunnel and into Lane Cove before I could turn around, back through the tolls and tunnel and up onto Pennant Hills Road and into the temple accommodation, only 50 minutes after we first dropped Simon off. I had no phone (who was I going to ring anyway) and no money but the trusty sat nav did the job in the end for me and we got back okay. Phew!! The kids were happy to get out of the car.

After our morning at the temple, we headed off to our friends, Ryan and Nicole Hargreaves where we were staying the night. I was very excited as Nicole had arranged for the four of us to go and see the musical Wicked at the Capitol Theatre. What was even more exciting was that Nicole's Mum, Julie and her sister Jasmine were babysitting all the kids, including Jonty. (you guys are the best!!)

Talen, Hallie, Sarra, Piper and Deakin
It was still in the mid 30s so it was a beautiful night to be out and Sydney was so busy and bustling because it was Melbourne Cup day and it looked like a lot of Sydneyites had joined the bandwagon!!

The singing was so superb, it did literally pick me up and carry me away in the songs. Nicole had got us excellent seats, just 9 rows from the front smack bang in the middle so we saw everything so clearly. I was enthralled throughout the whole performance.

I didn't take these photos and can I say that this was the highlight of our holiday. Not the fact that we had time without the kids (well maybe a bit) but that it was fantastic in every sense. The costumes, live orchestra, singing, storyline (it's about the Wicked witch of the West and Glinda the good witch of the North before Dorothy drops into Oz).

It featured Rob Mills from Australian Idol series so I thought that was funny as I kept connecting him to that and waiting for him to stop and stand out the front ready for some judging on his singing. :) When Bert Newton who played the Wizard of Oz came out, everyone clapped and cheered. He looks stouter in real life. They must make him suck it in on 20 to 1.

The next day after our cultural night out, we took the kids on the ferry from Paramatta into Circular Quay.
It was an absolutely freezing day, compared to 36 deg the day before, I think it was like 17 or something. Simon went out on the front of the ferry with the kids but Jonty and I stayed inside where it wasn't so blowy.

Simon loved looking at the houses on the waterfront and wondering how much they would be worth. There were certainly some amazing places.

The kids had fun going under the Harbour Bridge.

And they LOVED the Opera House.

I didn't love all the stairs.

But Jonty didn't seem to mind.

It was so nice to walk along the Quay and look at the shops. We even stopped for lunch before catching the ferry back to Parramatta. But $60 later and we probably won't stop there again.

We had a lovely tea back at Ryan and Nicole's chatting away and having toasted marshmellows late at night. I hope the kids weren't too cranky for school but it was so good for our kids to be off the road for a bit and have a play with the little friends they hadn't seen for 12 mths.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday - Canberra - Aussie Mint and Parliament House

I am so slow plodding through these holiday posts. I think I will just have to do a heap at once or I am going to fall so far behind, especially with Christmas coming up!

Okay so after the war memorial, we headed over to Australia Mint where all our dough is made. I thought it would be quite boring but it was actually very fascinating and interesting.

I think these were all 20 cent pieces being made. There were millions of them.

Oops I don't think this 20 cent piece came out right. In the information box, it explained that somehow a bolt had become trapped and disfigured it.

I can't remember the name of this robot, probably something like Big Bertha, but it was so 'talented'. Once a drum was filled with coins, it picked it up and poured out the coins and then replaced the drum in exactly the same spot to be refilled again. No man could have lifted that drum, not even 5, it was so heavy with money.

Jonty spent ages just staring down at the work floor watching all the different stages of the money being made. We got to walk along the top and watch through the glass. At different points along the top, there would be information areas which explained what the workers were doing and the history behind our money.

After Australia Mint, we popped in to see Kevin but he wasn't working that day.

Maybe next time Ruddy?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy 1st 'surfers' birthday Jonty

Today our little boy turned one and what better way to spend it, than at Surfers Paradise going for a swim!

Definitely much better than being in labour a year ago. Jonty was born on the 11th of the 11th at 11.35am, aah so close to the 11am minute silence but I was a a bit busy then so thought I would make up for it this year, by having two minutes silence instead. :)

The other 3 also enjoyed helping Jonty celebrate his birthday at the beach. :)

A good ole Coles cake finished off the day nicely.

We let Jonty get stuck into it with his hands and he loved stuffing his face.

Ten things I love about Jonty Jonah

1. big brown eyes
2. puts himself to sleep
3. when he grins his toothy grin, he wrinkles his nose
4. beautiful head of blonde hair
5. always ready to interact with others
6. happy and contented
7. loves a cuddle
8. the way he kicks his legs about when you are holding him, in excitement at seeing the kids after school
9. this one lone freckle on his right knee
10. the way he just goes with the flow when I run around like a chicken with its head off

Happy birthday you beautiful brown-eyed boy.