After Cian's party we decided to do a quick visit into the center of Sydney to show Nessa the sights.
We got a ferry into Circular Quay and watched traditional aboriginal Didgeridoo playing.
I never knew that it was an Irishman who named this unusual instrument.
Apparently the word is derived from the Irish term dudaire, which is is pronounced dooderreh or doodjerra and means a pipe smoker, a nosey person or a trumpeter or horn blower. The Gaelic term for black is dubh, pronounced duv or do. In combination, the terms produce doodjerra doo.
That's the end of today's history lesson and now on to other important matters! Coffee!
Next stop was a coffee next to the Opera house and looking out on the Sydney Harbour bridge.
It still surprises me that you can see the two most iconic symbols of Sydney from a cafe with a cappuccino in your hand!
All caffienated up we then climbed the steps up to the Opera house itself and went inside. there was a great buzz of excitement, it was interval time during an opera that was being performed that afternoon. All around there were people dressed up, laughing and sipping champagne.
Byron didn't have to ask Ness and myself twice! How posh!
After Cian's party we decided to do a quick visit into the center of Sydney to show Nessa the sights.
My gorgeous nephew Cian had his second Birthday party today. We went to Sydney for his party and had a great time. We knew that Cian liked construction toys and so when the birthday invite had a digger and builder on it we should have guessed the theme.
After 3 adventure filled days and chilly sleeping bag nights away at camp we finally collected Sian this afternoon. She had a wonderful time and doesn't look as though she was homesick for one moment.
After a shower and dinner she got into her pj's, wrapped up in her dressing gown and told us all about her great adventures before going to bed and cuddling up on a soft mattress under a warm duvet.
....Before you could say "pink rosy cheeks" she was out like a light!
It has been 10 days since Sian's school rang to say she was sick. 10 days of sick kids off school, high temperatures, sore throats, Strepsils, Betadine gargles, Echinacea, Penicillin, Calpol, Neurofen, vomiting and trips to the G.P.
At last this morning Gareth and Rhiannon went to school again looking pale and snuffly but not sick enough to stay at home.
It was the first chance since Nessa arrived on Wednesday that we were able to leave the house and go for a walk. The sun was shining, the lake was gorgeous, all hints that springs arrival is around the corner.
The time flew and all too soon we were back in the house getting ready to collect the kids from school and Sian from camp.
Roll on the weekend!
When you have spent 24 hours cramped up in a plane flying half way around the world you are bound to feel a little tired.
When your good friend doesn't even meet you at the airport and you have to catch a 2 hour train to get to her house your shoulders are bound to be tense from carrying your bags.
So the very least your friend should do when you finally arrive is let you have a lie in and then pamper you for the afternoon.
A real friend would not only pamper you but would join you in that fun and pampering so you feel right at home....
Just before Byron lost his job we were planning a family weekend away during the school holidays. Everything changed after that phone call and for obvious reasons we put on hold the weekend away as we tried to conserve the money we had not knowing how long it might take Byron to get a new job.
We had dinner in the fabulous Blue door Restaurant on the Saturday night and again had to pick a sleeping Gareth and Rhiannon up from where they had laid down in front of the warm heaters and carry them home.
Sian was vey excited when she woke up this morning and got ready to leave for camp. She rounded Gareth and Rhiannon into the car while I was still getting dressed!
We got to school in plenty of time and she ran around saying hi to her friends and looking not even the tiniest bit sad or lonely. I brought my camera with me but as I turned it on realised that there was no memory card inside it. Monica came to the rescue taking lots of photos which she emailed to me before I got home!
Thanks Monica !
Sian is tucked up in bed.
While Sian and her friend Gemma were shopping recently they saw a lovely digital watch and decided to buy one each. Sian was watching a show on the Disney channel this week when she noticed the main character was wearing the same watch. She was very excited by the coincidence. And guess what, the TV character had an annoying little brother too....
Sian got a sudoku book about a year ago and although she can easily do the small 4x4 and 6x6 grids she finds the full on 9x9's a real challange.
Come on Grandad Joe, What more of an inspiration could you need. You are not going to let your 5 year old grandson beat you at this are you...???!!!!
Rhiannon's class went to the local library on a small trip to learn about science earlier this week. I was originally supposed to be one of the parent helpers ferrying kids back and forth in my car but unfortunately it was my first day at my new job and I had to pull out.
I was collected from work later that day by Byron and a car full of very excited kids. Rhiannon was bursting with excitement as she told me all about the day. The library had been great fun with floating eggs, flying, burning tea-bags and even more exciting... TV cameras! The local news was filming the day and it was going to be shown on TV that night!
At 6pm we all sat down in front of the TV and with trusty camera on hand turned to "movie mode" we watched with great excitement as Rhiannon was interviewed!
The image is wobbly and fuzzy but gives you a glimpse of the TV footage. Please ignore the upturned collar, the scruffy hair (I left for work at 6.30am so bear no responsibility!) and instead look at the twinkle in her eyes and the grin on her face!
It was my birthday on Monday. What better way to celebrate than by getting up at 6am and going into my first day in a new job.
With Byron out of work and no job on the horizon we were getting a bit stressed and so when a friend asked would I think about going back to nursing I contacted a local hospital. I rang them on a Friday morning, dropped in to collect an application form at lunchtime and found myself being interviewed in the reception area. I was told I had the job starting in a week with an orientation day on Friday 16th.
I was a bit stunned to say the least. Byron and myself agreed that if he was at home he would take over all kids duties, school runs, homework, laundry and meals. And so I find myself out of bed at 5am heading into a new job that I started only a couple of days ago. My first day on the wards was yesterday, my birthday :( and when I got home from the hospital the phone rang over and over with Nurse managers booking me into shifts over the coming week. To say I feel overwhelmed is an understatement.
To add to the confusion Byron has finally got a job. No longer working from home unfortunately but a job none the less. Wonderful news after such a long time without money but making the going back to nursing much more of a challenge knowing I will have 15 minutes from the time my shifts end to the time the kids come out of school.
If our blog slows down you will just have to assume it is because it is taking a back seat to a new busy time in our lives. In fact to all my friends, if I neglect our friendship over the coming weeks and months and you feel the need to have a face lift or tummy tuck just book into the blue hospital, Toronto and we might just get to spend some quality time together....!
For several months now, the whole family has endured early starts to each Saturday as we take Gareth to play rugby. By early, I mean leaving the house at 8ish, sometimes travelling about 45 mins to the rugby ground. Rhiannon isn't too keen on this, but she amuses herself with her mp3 player and often stays in the car.
Sian is keen to watch, and would love to play.
Gareth? Well, he's just Gareth and is playing because his mates play too. They get better every week, and now I don't have to yell from the sideline anymore if he stops concentrating on the game to admire helicopters, sports cars or somebody else's gum-shield! He doesn't score many tries (well, never), but he gets involved. I joked that the day he scores his first try was the day I'd buy him golden boots!
This weekend was rugby gala weekend, where teams of all ages in the area converge on one sports ground for a marathon of games. Gareth was lined up to play 4 games (7 minutes each). Sian wanted to play so much that I persuaded the under 10's coach to let her play and she was so chuffed - and also the only girl on the team. At one point, I was watching Gareth play, and only had to turn my head around to watch Sian in her game too!
Anyhow, the magic moment happened. The tactics have been sinking into his head each week, and when given the ball he decided to sprint into the gap, rather than jog into the nearest opposition player. He's getting faster and stronger, and with a couple of firm palm-offs, some slinky side-steps and a gracious dive, he scored the first try of the game!
Well, I may have a tainted memory of what exactly happened as I was screaming and jumping around, but you get the gist. The little fella scored, and he looked so happy. Almost as happy as his dad....
The icing on the cake was that Sian was also in a try scoring mood, she was keeping up with Gareth and helping win her games. She is so fast that nobody could catch her.
Unbelievably, Gareth scored THREE tries, and Sian also scored THREE tries.
Apparently, there were murmurs and giggles from the other parents as I swaggered up and down the pitch sideline, with full bragging rights on my rugby superstars.
And Rhiannon? Well, she was more than content to just sit and watch.
Best day ever.
I thought I would tell you about a "Girls night out" I went on last night. It was to celebrate three August birthdays. Annette, Karen and mine.
We booked a table in Warners Bay, Blue Water Pizza. We chose the party platter and had a wonderful meal. Plates and plates of food came out and it was really lovely but when we were about three quarters of the way through there was an AWFUL smell. It seemed to be coming out of the air-con vents in the ceiling above the table. It smelt like a babies nappy, an un-flushed toilet, someone with a stomach upset... I'm sure you get the idea....
We were the only customers left and after 20mins of smelling this stench we started wondering out loud what it was. Up until this time we had all been politely assuming the person next to us had a slight tummy upset and was breaking wind (?!)
When Anne-Marie went to speak to the staff she came back saying the smell was significantly worse downstairs and that the staff behind the bar were mopping up what looked like raw sewage off the floor behind the bar. This was the point that we pushed our plates away and feeling very queasy made our way downstairs leaving un-eaten food and half full glasses of wine behind us.
We felt so sick trying to talk to the manager as he stood in this puddle of brown water that most of us went out the door to breathe in fresh air and a valiant few remained to argue about what on earth was going on while they still had customers eating.
Maree Newton showed us a thing or two about assertive complaining and we said we were not paying for such a dreadful meal in a restaurant that clearly broke all health department regulations.
After standing outside for a few more minutes we decided to go to a local bar, Pippies for a coffee and spent a couple of hours drinking and dancing before calling it a night....
There were many laughs about it afterwards.. (pardon the puns!)-
"What a particularly sh*** night out" "What a bummer" and "Sh** happens"
Somehow I don't think we will be returning there anytime soon. I think I am off the idea of pizza for tea too.......
Gareth brought home some worksheets he had done in school recently. It was lovely looking through his work and seeing how he has improved in his writing and drawing since the start of the year.
Then I saw this one....
Drawings of things he likes to do...
(click on the picture for a larger version)
There seems to be a common theme running though them that involves a screen, a keyboard and a mouse.
Why couldn't he have drawn himself bouncing on the trampoline, eating organic, lightly steamed vegetables or reading an educational book with Dad in the evenings....
Oh how I dread meeting his teacher and seeing her smug smile when I bring him into school tomorrow!
I just noticed that we first started our blog way back in August 2005.
3 years, 643 posts and over 18,000 hits later and we are still writing about our day to day lives, mostly happy posts and the occasional reality inspired one too. We still think about our blog as being our family photo album. A place to remember good times and maybe let time go by with less posts when life is less than rosy.
We started it out for you. We knew we were getting ready to emigrate and we wanted a way to tell you the smaller details that would get forgotten on the individual phone calls or emails. To be honest we probably have continued it for ourselves. It is a way to look back on family times, almost like a journal but with loads of pictures too.
If you are still reading it then it is working on both levels. We still really enjoy feedback through the comments box at the end of each post. If you are reading this, go ahead, don't be scared, click the box... you know you want to.....!
Happy Birthday Mr B!
I'm not the worlds greatest housewife and vacuuming and dusting isn't my number one favourite pastime but generally I keep the house just above the point at which social services would remove my kids from me.
With asthma and eczema in the family I have read up a lot about allergies and the negative effect of keeping our kids in a sterile environment where they get no chance to build up natural immunity. Boy oh boy did that article cheer me up as I looked around my messy house!
I did do a little bit of a double take this morning though as I sat down to check my emails. The kids had been playing with a new computer game at the weekend, Spore: Creature Creator. They needed a password to log-in and had agreed on "Monster" Gareth being 5 couldn't remember how to spell it and drove his sisters mad asking them to type it in for him each time he made a new monster. They had finally written it down for him...
... in the dust on the desk!