- I simply cannot believe this is winter. 35 degrees yesterday, frolicking through the waves, sweating…now I get why Canadians would often greet me with “Why on earth would you leave Australia?”
- Have been very pleasantly surprised by how amazingly well the kids have transitioned into new life – they have even in bathed, pj-ed up and in bed before 7.30 each and every night. They even sometimes say “thank you.” Unbelievable.
- We’re living up the Sunny Coast for the next little while, which, while completely fabulous and gloriously beachy, means that we still haven’t managed to see 90% of the people we know who are all the way down in Brisvegas. Naely because we don’t yet have a car. Feeling very bad about this. Keep telling myself that we’ll get there, we’re here after all. So from here to there is just, you know, not very far.
- Have been so enjoying seeing those people we have managed to see thus far, including my big bro James who in a wonderfully serendipitous turn of events has himself moved his entire family up here too!
- Am rethinking my life – a lot – in light of having just entered this whole new chapter of life. There are lots of changes coming, very exciting changes…but in short, I feel like I’ve emerged from our travel experience so much surer of who I am and how I wish to go about living this crazy thing called life. Career. Babies. The World. And more. I’ll write more detailed musings on this at another time, but yes, these things are on my mind.
- Am taking great pleasure in that the kids (the 2 older ones, obviously) are now at a stage where I can lure them through the bed-time routine painlessly with the magic words “…then we can watch Australian Idol together”. Not only is it the first time in years I’ve watched the thing, but my whole fam is also wildly enthused. Many more thoughts on this to come.
- Missing Loose Moose. Big time.
- Making plans for my fringe festival show – excited.
- For the first time ever, Hubby and I are completely united in a vision for my career. WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
The Return to Oz Debrief: in ten bullet points or less August 25, 2009
I do believe in magic, I do! I do! August 12, 2009
After our first horrifying day at Disneyland, this was me.
We never even made it back there from the hotel, opting instead to invest in an early night for all. This investment paid us MASSIVE dividends on day two – boy oh boy, I’ll write more about this another time when we’re not still in LA land and trying to make the most of our final hours on this fine continent, but let pictures speak the words I presently cannot:
Ah yes, magic exists. Little Mister got his act together and had not ONE tantrum the entire day. There were a couple of threats mind you, but they fizzled out almost as soon as they began. Ah me.
There was an actual point during the day that I realised I was just walking around with a big stupid grin on my face. Okay Disneyland. You win. And then, in a final moment of private victory:
My own little happily ever after…
Disneyland – A Tantrum Filled Odyssey August 11, 2009
So today, after years, indeed, decades, of dreaming about it, I finally set foot in the most tanrum-riddled happiest place on earth. It took a whole two minutes for Little Mister to set the precedent for the majority of the day.
This little whopper was over a Buzz Lightyear toy at the main entrance. A toy which, might I add, he already owns. Yes, oh yes.
Around this point I was distracted momentarily by a beautiful breeze that swept past me with such sweetness, such no-nonsense-ness, such proper British-ness, that it almost blew me off my feet. I looked. She looked. We locked eyes. Mary Freaking Poppins.
Then she ran away, leaving me to stand there stunned and trying to find my voice. I grabbed Ella’s hand, then dropped it, grabbed it again, then dropped and began running after said British nanny, who apparently was in rather a hurry to be somewhere. I snapped photos like a mad banshee, until I came to my senses, realised that not only were my photos pointless given they were all of MP’s back, but I had a still-tantruming child to deal with fifteen metres behind me and five minutes into our Disney experience there I was looking like some crazy-haired Mary Poppins stalker.
I may be mad, but no stalker am I. Haha! It’s purely coincidental, I tell you, that we bumped into her again a coupla hours later. Yes, yes. Coincidence. Stunning.
Anyway, Little Mister got over his tanty just in time to undergo Jedi Training. We’d heard about this from my good mate Penny, who told us the key was to make some signs for the kids to hold in the crowd so they could show just how keen they were and hopefully improve their chances of being picked to be part of the display. So it was armed with a sign reading “Aussie Jedi: Ready for Training!” that our kiddly-winks made their way up to bust some moves.
And I know I probably sound like any Jedi mother when I tell you that he proceeded to whip Darth Vader’s butt.
So awesome. So rocking. Such a high.
But apparently, what comes up, must come down. Continuing with the space theme, we launched our family upon the Buzz Lightyear ride and – in an ill-conceived notion to fit all five of us in the one tiny little coaster carriage (essentially like trying to squeeze all of us into two air-plane seats that are pre-stocked with a layer or two of children), I’m not proud to say that we broke the entire coaster. That’s right. Production on the Buzz Lightyear ride halted for a good six minutes. So for those of you there sitting in the neon-lit dark buzzing away without motion for that time, you’re welcome. Such is the magic of our family.
Up and running again, the ride was enjoyed by all.
Only to have us disembark – in a classic Disneyland move – straight into the merchandising area, where yet another piece of classic Buzz merchandise set off the boy’s longest tantrum ever. I’m talking well in excess of two and a half hours. No, really.
I’m sorry, are you tired of me mentioning how long this tantrum was? Because seriously, it was something else. I’m talking TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Of gems including (but not limited to):
“I WANT MY BUZZ TOY!”
and my personal favourite:
“ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GIVE ME MY BUZZ TOY AND WE CAN GO HOME!”
What to do? We tried to reason. Nothing. We tried to ignore it. Nothing. We just went on rides anyway. Nup.
So we opted to head home early, hoping that a mid-afternoon nap, some time away from the overstimulating paradise and perhaps a swim later, we might return in better spirits. Whereupon I find myself employing some sort of blogging-type-catharsis.
To be continued…
Disneyland better freakin rock August 9, 2009
Would somebody out there please remind me why we’re doing this crazy travel with family thing? Because after the umpteenth tantrum tonight thanks to a wacky combo of kids being completely out of routine, us being beyond exhausted and having essentially raised a temporary white flag to trying to enforce any sort of consistency in our lives, given that upheaval in the next week is completely inevitable, and just trying to settle them down in a new venue every few days or so, I think I’m starting to lose it.
If I ever had it.
Tonight we’ve been madly packing, re-packing, culling, cleaning, sorting, all while trying to feed, bathe, brush and get the already over-tired kids to bed on time. Impossible. Plus Littlest has begun to teethe. Yes. Oh yes.
Remind me again?
Okay, procrastinatory blog mission is officially over. Let’s do this thang.
PS The fringe show wrapped up nicely, I’ve had so many nice comments from people, I’ll write more about that soon.
So long Seattle…and thanks for all the fish! July 20, 2009
I feel like by the end of this trip we’re going to have attained a PhD – alright, alright, maybe a slight exaggeration, but at least a Graduate Diploma – in travelling with kids. When I remind myself that our itinerary on this trip is completely toned down compared to the original draft – i.e. that the first plan involved about six additional destinations crammed into an even shorter space of time – it almost makes me shudder. What were we THINKING?!?!?
Anyway, the bottom line at this point is that we chose to use today as a bit of a ‘rest and recover’ mission. While it is my nature just to go forth and conquer despite my body telling me otherwise, I can also recognise that with kids in the travelling picture you just have to roll with the punches and do what you’ve gotta do, even if it means doing a whole lot less than you wanna do. If that makes any sense whatsoever.
So this morning Mister B set off on his own adventure while the kids and I slept late and then fudged around our apartment. It was surprisingly blissful – we’re also seeing the kids’ personality differences emerge hugely in travel terms. Little Miss is a natural born traveller who throws herself in heartily to the nomadic lifestyle. We started her up early in the piece with a travel journal (we did this for Little Master too, but he hasn’t shown any interest in it whatsoever thus far), which she has set upon with relish!
Here she writes, draws and posts in postcards and other memorabilia of our travels, a great way to distract her ever-active mind, especially when it turns to darker things, namely tormenting her little brother with taunts like “I’m sleeping on the BEST bunk!” Because of course, there is a hierarchy of bunk-beds and if you ain’t up the top, then you ain’t up the top.
Where was I? Oh yes, personalities. Little Master, on the other hand, has been doing surprisingly well especially given how much walking this past week has involved, but the little dude is just, well…a homebody. Too much time out and he just doesn’t do well – he loves the novelty of setting up camp somewhere new, don’t get me wrong, but once camp is set, he likes to stay there. Often. So today – just hanging around the hotel room, eating everything here in our little kitchenette, lying around and watching cartoons and just generally chilling out was exactly what he needed. His behaviour the entire day has been EXCEPTIONAL. Which is so awesome, as at times you can forget that in the heat of the moment, your kids are just kids and not spawned from someplace…you know…hot.
This oh-so-flattering shot was taken mere seconds after Little Mister – in a particularly nasty public tantrum outside Seattle’s Pike Place Market – reached up and in an act of vengeance for my refusal to piggy-back him, tweaked my nipple. Yes. You read that right. Tweaked it. In public. In the birthplace of Pearl Jam. So wrong on so many levels.
Littlest Boob, meanwhile, is just awesome – though he’s developing so many changes daily that I’m starting to freak out about him actually becoming mobile before we’ve finished our travels. Which – oh, poor me, look at me and my wonderfully developing baby – is awesome, but to be perfectly honest, is a little tricky to factor into life on the road. More on that another time…
So today. Yes, that’s where I was. After Mister returned – rejuvenated after some awesome solo time doing his thang – Little Miss and I headed out for a very brief but suitably fabulous time hanging out in Fremont, which I’d been advised was a terribly funky neighbourhood in this city and had a Sunday market to boot. In a nutshell, it was seriously cool – great vibe, cool sights, wicked little vintage shops everywhere plus a chocolate factory with as many free samples as you could stomach – in other words, Seattle’s stocks shot up in my world quite dramatically.
Above: me after way too little sleep last night.
Above: But then we stumbled into quite possibly the cutest little cafe setup I’ve seen in ages, so it was all okay. If I get to bed in the next ten minutes, my head might possibly even deflate in time for our significant car trip tomorrow.
Oh yeah and we finally had a west coast salmon for dinner tonight – a whole fillet for $1.88!!! My head almost exploded just thinking about that. So scrummy, I’d been told that was on the list of must-dos this trip.
So even though I didn’t spot Eddie Vedder, nor did we cover even close to as much sightseeing as we would have liked, all in all Seattle was pretty rocking.
Hopefully next time we’ll be a little less exhausted to make more of it. At least this way we’ve rested up a little to make the most of the next week, ALL of which is camping.
Wish us luck! Agh!
Whistler! July 13, 2009
FINALLY! After a planning mishap that saw us add an extra 3 hours to our travel time today (AGH), we arrived at our incredible abode – we’d originally booked a small 1 bed apartment but due to scheduling conflicts they upgraded us to a 4-bedroom condo and after the crazy trip to get here, thank heavens for that. A-mazing. We are spoiled indeed. Photos coming soon, I promise! Just as soon as I find a way to get this lack of camera cable issue sorted. Update: sorted! And hot dang if I ain’t gonna milk it now.
Yesterday was our last day in Kelowna and was basically us demonstrating that when travelling with kids, flexibility is the buzz word to end all buzz words. We threw our plans in the bin in favour of a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, after realising that the kids – several days into our trip and experiencing significant cabin fever – were at risk of killing each other. Mister Boob took Master Boob on a little father son date, Little Miss, Littlest Boob and myself descended upon the hotel pool area for the afternoon, where she could swim out the angst while Littlest napped in my arms and I dreamed of Tahitian shores.
Oh and in there we squeezed the farmers markets and quite possibly the most delightful picnic lunch I’ve ever had. I’m talking organic feta, fresh baguettes, donuts, white cake and cherries, cherries, cherries! Just awesome. Sickening. But awesome.
So yesterday was us doing what we had to do to survive. Which ultimately paid off massive dividends today during our marathon drive, when the kids not only endured the crazy trip extension but behaved their butts off. I’m serious: it was like they were sedated, only not. Note to self: can cherries sedate? Must look into this. Potential goldmine.
Then we arrived, all barely holding it together by that point and were greeted by the sweet, sweet sight of our amazing condo. Oh boy. We knew we’d been upgraded, but by the time we were still hours away from Whistler, both Tim and I were eyeing each other with the ‘you know, we don’t HAVE to go up there, we could just find someplace to camp around here’ kinda looks. But we persisted and one glance at our abode all but melted all the yukkiness away. Ah. Again, photos coming soon!
We even splashed out on a nanny for the evening and had a few short, but divine hours strolling the streets of Whistler by ourselves. So fun. We frolicked. We flounced. We eyed off touristy merchandise like kids clothing saying “I love ewe” and oh how we laughed!
Whaddya know? Life really can be a musical.
Turns out getting upgraded from the teepee was a very lovely twist of events indeed, considering that the weather dampened – and cooled – considerably overnight. We took our good time getting sorted in the morning, photographing hummingbirds (so cute!), avoiding psychotic geese in the on-campground pond (they’ve now joined Hannibal Lecter on my list of mortal enemies) and finally proceeded to make the leisurely two hour jaunt to Kelowna.
Miracle number one of the day was getting everybody ready and into the van with minimal fuss. Miracle number two was getting ALL THREE KIDS TO SLEEP AT ONCE. I know. Inconceivable. Awesomeness in that we had some blissful peace in which to chat between us – not that we haven’t talked the rest of the trip, only this time we didn’t have to do it over the blaring sounds of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Doctor Seuss’ ABC’ or the french version of ‘Pocahontas’, previously loved but currently heading to destination: hatred after waaaaaay to many plays.
Ah, BC. So beautiful. So breathtaking. Lovely. I must admit though, I’ve probably been looking forward to the Kelowna leg the least of the whole itinerary. Namely because of all the places we’re visiting on this trip, this is the one we’ve already done – this time last year in fact – and I felt like we’d pretty much already sussed it out. But inspired by a book on ‘Adventuring with Children’ which Master Boob and I take turns reading chunks of to each other as the other drives, we decided to make the effort to check out some cool things to do within a half to hour’s drive of our hotel this time around.
Starting today with a tour of a very friendly fruit orchard, resplendant with a very quaint little gift store, free wine and apple juice tasting, a hay wagon ride throughout the orchard (lovely, but a little hair-raising given that the tourguide a) had no qualms about turning his entire body towards us to deliver his very informative spiel with his BACK FACING THE WHEEL and then b) letting kids aged between 7 and 11 take turns driving us while we eyed off a good fifty feet drop beside us!
Anyway, we came, we saw, we ate tons of apricots.
It was cool.
Oh and the gig last night was surprisingly awesome – the crowds can be a little unpredictable around here, I’ve heard tonight the place is likely to be packed with Hells Angels and tomorrow night is an insane football match or something, so yes, me, complete with my tin whistle, should find myself with a real audience made in heaven.
Now, off to satisfy my whingeing kids insatiable desire to frolick in the pool. What can I say? It’s a tough life.