Wednesday, 22 July 2009

QLD July 2009

We are currently in QLD enjoying a very mild winter. Kids are having a great time with their grandparents. Having the same issue I have every year - they don't want to go anywhere because they are perfectly happy playing here all day.

Today they have spent a massive amount of time with Grandpa making wooden warships out of wood. They do the woodwork one at a time, so it is a huge task for Grandpa. But he loves it - which is so nice for the kids to have a grandfather who wants to spend time with them.

Tomorrow is the big Target Toy Sale and the catalogue has been poured through, lists have been written and it should take a total of 1/2 hour there in the morning because they already know what they want.

The weather has been beautiful, we have been doing daily scooter rides and park plays. The other day we even went scootering along a beach path and ended up on a spit where people were fishing and the ocean stretched out as far as we could see. It was truly glorious.

Yesterday was Seaworld. M girl was finally tall enough to go on the corkscrew - plus she was big enough for the new ride - the jetski rescue - really good fun. We went on them around 20 times (until I was going to be sick). Also saw the oldies but goodies - imagine dolphin show, seal show, 4 D SOS movie and pedal boats. Add to that all the little ones ride (carousel, helicopters, climbing, trucks) and we had a very full day.

But the best bit - I can get up at any time and then either go for a run or a swim. If I'm not back before 10:30 - guess what - no one cares.....guess no one did at home anyway - but I don't like to waste that much of the day doing exercise. I am only getting 1 hour of exercise in - but not leaving until's all very relaxing.

J comes over on Sat. Then the real holiday will begin. He stated that the Outback Spectacular looked .......okay. So he misses out - we are going on Friday night.;Google;Outback

Have a look - it's really going to be great. Plus we are taking Grandma and Grandpa - so they are also very excited as they have lived here every winter for the last 20 years and only get to go to the tourist things when we come and shout them.

Don't worry - I won't come back to Jakarta with a cowboy hat (or one that isn't a surfie chick one).

Before you ask - I feel like a bit of traitor that I wasn't in Jakarta during the bombs. Happy no one from my family was there. J actually rang me about 10 minutes after it happened. He was no where near it (not even in Jakarta), but was in Indonesia. Security had been quite relaxed. We were at the Ritz Carlton for brunch less than 2 weeks earlier. Security will be on high alert again now. I feel bad for my friends who are there and are in a state of panic still.

I think I'll keep to my favorite shopping centre (where you rarely see another foreigner) and have some lunches at home or in small establishments for a long while.

Monday, 13 July 2009

QLD July 2008

When we were in QLD last time - we went to Movieworld.....

And seaworld (each are only 10 minutes in opposite directions from the grandparents house).

We even had Nan, Grandma and Grandpa together for a whole week. Boy - did the kids get some serious attention that week. They had 6 grandparents - and these three were/are the best as far as attention, respect and wanting them to grow into well rounded, real and amazing people (yes this is actually the middle of qld).

This is my favorite view. It's on the way home (away from Australia) as we fly from Sydney to Singapore.....this view is consistent for hours. As a child I got to sit in the back seat for 36 hours as we drove from east to west and vica versa around 10 times. I hated it. The fact that I get to fly right over it in 4 hours........and I'm not expected to entertained by it, or stop for "exploring" (code word for - got to go to the toilet every 3 - 4 hours, if we stop the car let's turn it into a camera occasion). Geologically though - it is pretty cool.

This is Australia. It is why I don't explore in Australia. Trust me - I have been to places that people don't even know exist (for a good reason) - and spent weeks/months there. Bring on a well watered tropical forest or beautiful european countryside (or snow) any day.
We are going there in a few days. Seaworld is a definite because Munchkin is tall enough to do the Corkscrew - so she is tall enough now for all the adult rides - plus you really can't get enough of dolphins can you? Movieworld and Dreamworld are going to get missed this time. Compared to Disneyland - Movieworld is way overpriced and does not give the little kids enough action. Dreamworld is great - but I can't do alone with the kids as it has some great rides, but both littel ones need an adult to supervise each and it's really a more spring/autumn venue.
Taking the kids skiing in Aus for the first time - also taking them to their first MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) AFL (Australian Football League) football game. I haven't been for 19 years (and that was my first time). Really looking forward to it - the kids have NEVER seen an AFL game in their entire lives (we lived in NSW when in Aus, they are into Rugby League).
Considering J and I grew up where everyone was watching it all weekend (even the grandparents)- it will be an educational experience for them - they will have no idea what is going on - but the atmosphere will be electric (North Melbourne vs Carlton - J's team vs the Enemy (my team is Collingwood)). It will be huge.
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Sunday, 12 July 2009

NZ Aug 2008

This is the Jakarta to Singapore route - first class. How wasted is that leg room? Qantas double booked and we had to fly to Brisbane with Singapore. It meant going to Singapore then departing off the plane in Brisbane at 6am jakarta time. The scheduled flight had us going straight from jakarta to Sydney, going through customs at 3am jakarta time (with three kids by myself), then transferring to domestic and flying to brisbane - arrival similar time. We were physically jumping up and down in the air with happiness at having been bumped. It was actually disappointing to get through customs and being in the airport (it took 15 minutes from plane to rental car office). We were normal people again.....boohoo.

Who are these colourful fashionistas? I barely recognise these kids. The only surviving ski wear is the red ski jacket.........

Did I mention that last year we went to NZ for an adrenalin filled holiday?

Who is this purple girl? Why does she look so happy? 5 days of skiing will do that for you.

Shotover jet.

Yes we did the shotover jet (without tears - they are for babies, not 5 year olds). Lots of 360's and going really close to rocks. Failed to scare me though - I've gone backwards at night without lights/engine in a 10 seater wooden flimsy boat down the Barito river with Coal Barges pulling 5,000 tonnes of coal towards us (and yes - it was our coal). A 4 tonne boat with a well trained operator who does the exact run 5 times a day does not scare anyone. It was a tonne of fun. Expensive for the time that you are on it - so it's not a repeat on the same visit thing - but it was definitely worth doing.

This is J. I did it when he had proven it could be done safely. He asked for his arms to be wet (idiot), he was wet to his waist (and very lucky we had some extra clothes in the car because this was the only midday). C girl really wanted to do it - but she was 1kg too light (and would have been the youngest by 1 1/2 years). I wasn't really upset about that - not sure I could have coped with my baby jumping from such a height. I understand the thrill though. In my hometown I was one of the youngest kids to ever jump off the canal bridge (and my Mum was there to watch). Now of course there is a sign telling everyone it's too dangerous as the river below is too warming I think, same.

On our one day without skiing, we did the Shotover jet, bungee, a beautiful drive to a country pub where we had a fabulous lunch, then a quick drive up to the snow field where we hadn't gone to skiing (because it was an hour away). We didn't make it all the way. We stopped at this great little spot and had a snow fight, made snow angels and had a snow fight.

This is the view from our apartment. It was 2 minutes walk from some great resturants and take away places. We could cook a hearty breakfast before skiing, then when we got home we could either take the kids out for dinner (really yum Italian restaurant and Irish Pub), or cook the kids steak and vegies and we could have thai or indian. We had a car for our stay, so we could go and come from the mountain whenever we wanted. Ski lessons were only 2 hours twice a day (and yes - we were the nasty parents who put our kids in twice a day). But they improved immensely and as the lessons started at 10, we didn't have the issue with HIM (Dad) who wants everyone dressed and ready to go at the crack of dawn (or at the bus stop 10 minutes before the bus is due to come).

A great family holiday. Posted by Picasa

Friday, 10 July 2009

Summer (winter) holidays

We've just finished the first week of 7 weeks of holidays.

The holidays started with a bang. Went to Amigo's for dinner last friday night. It was overrun with kids from our school so Bear boy, C girl and 3 of her closest friends (who were at our house for a sleepover) went there for a lovely dinner (can anyone say - pitcher of long island tea). There was a party for the kids finishing year 7. Two other mothers of girls C girls age joined me in studying the dynamics of the year 7 girls/boys. I think they must go backwards before they go forward again (boys/girls dynamics). It was very funny, but also very scary to think our girls might be there in two short years. I think the boys from year 5 are more mature than the year 7 boys (or they are better friends with the girls to start off with, so don't have the issue).Munchkin went on a sleepover for friday and saturday. She went to the new water slide park on the sat. Considering the family she went with have 2 twins her age, plus they took another friend, plus a 2 year old - they did great. The report is it is not up to western standards (so noone from this family will be ever returning). A child died at waterslide park here on Friday (didn't know until the sunday) - believed to have happened under a raft in the wave pool.

On sat night C girl went on a sleepover - Munchkin was still on hers, Bear boy had a friend sleepover. In a moment of silence, they decapitated and delegged 7 bratz dolls - not recoverable. I don't believe they knew that they were completely broken.....but the punishment lego bought in Aus (that is a very harsh punishment (target toy sale starts on the 23rd).
On sat night (while the boys were terrorising the doll collection), J and I went to a farewell dinner. We ended up at Eastern Promise - an excellent band later and a quite quick night ended at 2am.
On sunday we took the little people to brunch at the ritz carlton with some friends. 7 victorians, 1 nsw, 1 qld and 1 whinging pom. Had a great time. The boys ended at the FEZ bar to watch the AFL clash and the wives and kids ended up at our house for pizza, champagne and a play.
C girl and Bear have been doing a soccer academy all week and today was the finish. C girl won the best player/attitude for the U10 age group. She did pretty well considering Bear boy expects her to do exceedingly well and when she misses a chance at goal has no issue in berating her. She learnt some neat tricks and now wants to do ASA 3 times a week. Not sure she can commit - considering she is thinking of doing swimming 5 times a week - think that there is schoolwork that needs to fit in there - somewhere.
Off to Aus next week. A great week of skiing is expected. Looking forward to it immensely. Will have to go to QLD for 2 weeks first - but there are some great friends to catch up with while we are there - so the time between us getting there - and J arriving will be pretty quick.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

KL medal 1

Bronze for ball throw (lucky most of them throw like girls).

Sorry for individual blog posts. Found easy way to post individual photos.
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KL medal 2

Gold medal for 60m sprint
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KL medal 3

Bronze for the running relay - Year 5 girls

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KL Top bunch of kids

Shuttle relay just finished - meant that all of Year 5 got a silver medal. Well deserved - especially for the one on the far left - he had a really bad chest infection and went straight to SOS when he got home.

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KL medal 4

Silver for Shuttle Relay

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KL medal 5

Bronze for 50 m freestyle

Swimming was really tough. We were no where near them and up in the stands away from them. I had to yell her name so she could find me (and so she knew we were watching). This was with a zoom lense and was the closest I could get.
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KL medal 6

Bronze for Medlay relay
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KL medal 7

Silver medal for freestyle relay

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Fond Farewell

The person who I started this blog for died last wednesday (the day C girl turned 10 1/2). She had been fighting Pancreatic Cancer for 2 years and 8 months. We believe the artificial pancreas that was put in to replace the cancer riddled pancreas gave out, she was in chemo for liver cancer at the time. Within 24 hours of her dying she had taken her beloved dogs for a walk (owned by disabled neighbour), visited an elderly friend and gone grocery shopping. Her pain started in the afternoon and by 7:30 she had been admitted to hospital.

She died at 11:30 am on Wed. I spoke to her at 9am and she was unable to speak - but I did speak to her and she heard me tell her I love her (and to stop fighting because I couldn't make it in time).

We couldn't get a flight out until Wed night and it was only with J's company that we managed to at all. Without the kids though - there was no possibility of getting 5 flights.

Thankfully J came with me. We had virtually no sleep on the flight and we shared the 5 hour drive from Melbourne to Portland between us. On arrival at 4pm Thursday afternoon - the normal funeral fun began. Families unfortunately have their own dynamics. But at the funeral on Friday, we didn't do what my Mum wanted, as some people believed their own wishes were more important - but we were all still on talking terms (how's that for a method of getting away with what you want).

I wore a beautiful black silk dress with colourful flowers on it with black boots. Not many people wore a dress (too cold). But Mum dressed up every sunday for church and I had never seen her wear pants to church. I think I inadvertantly achieved my lifetime dream...... to not look like I came from there, in fact , before the funeral most people didn't have a clue who I was. It has been over 20 years since I lived there and I can count the number of times I have been back on two hands.....okay - some people looked at my face and knew instantly how I was related - but they didn't know who I was.

My kids wrote their Nan a letter each (We always put something special into the casket before burial). I read her the letters privately as soon as I saw her (in the funeral home) - think it was the first time in my life that she didn't interupt me with a smart alec statement. She looked peaceful.

My brother ran the service - him being the biggest godbotherer ever (I mean minister). It was very sad - obviously - but his talk was 90% pretty good (the non religious part bit I mean).

I said something at the service.

I told her what she meant to each of her grandchildren and what they liked doing most with her(which I stole from their letters), how much they loved her, how much they felt her love. I am grateful that we were on such good terms when she died. If she had died 12 years ago we would have been almost strangers.

I have promised my kids I would never take them to see their grandfather again after their Nan died (something C girl asked again after finding out Nan had died and before we left for the funeral). (Do not leave me a comment about them missing out on have no idea). So I will miss my sisters family and my Aunt and Uncle's family, but I won't go back there again.

Feeling a long way away at the moment (from where?). C girls friend left last week (see photos below), as did his Mum who was my friend. School finished yesterday - a long 7 weeks holiday. Everyone is leaving for holidays over the next week. 2 of the 3 kids are on a sleepover tonight. We are going to a farewell dinner.....

Arrggghhh - need to cheer up. But don't worry I will. I went swimming yesterday, I went running today. I won the Heart of Gold medal yesterday at school for the work I have done with the scavenger kids and PTA....the school has 1300 students....they gave 3 awards. I even went shopping today....and enjoyed it.....who is this person.

Promise - I will be back in full swing tomorrow (after brunch at the Ritz Carlton).

Plus skiing in 4 weeks, with J's brother and his family (and potentially his two sisters with their families as well) we dare cross our fingers and hope for such luck?

KL Underwater Fun

I love this photo. Underwater fun on quarantine.

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Kuala Lumpur June 2009

After being quarantined in Kuala Lumpur, some of us parents decided that we would attempt to finish on a positive note. So we went to a water slide/adventure park - then went out to dinner.

We all knew that it wasn't as much fun as competing for the two days and then basking in their glory.......but we tried. They all wore their good clothes (which was planned for a gala dinner and dancing). It was a little out of place at the steak restuarant, and there was no dancing. But there was balloon keeping in the air, they were together, not quite as much fun as soccer, but an attempt at least. Great kids. Unfortunately - two from this group are leaving/have left now.

This is friday night before leaving. C boy (below with C girl), left on the following tuesday. That was almost 2 weeks ago. She is still very unhappy about having such a great friend leave - but she informs me that they are going to Uni together so it's not the end of the world.......good to know (she needs to start saving).

Posted by Picasa(His knees are bent - there really isn't that much difference between them).