Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beaches, yogis, and lunching, Oh My!

After dropping the kids off at school I ran Gia to the ocean, just under 2 miles away.  The journey there takes over the Swan River, and then winds us through the shipping docks, which is certainly not the most scenic part of the area.  However once through, the vistas are breathtaking.
There is ship off in the background.  Not sure if these tractors or cars are coming or going...

These two photos that were "selfies" cracked me up, as Gia and I had the same goofy face, unintentionally.

Tracking our footprints.

The yogi and his nephew.

 We walked the beach, looking for shells with natural holes to help keep the inventory of the necklace shop up :)  We had a great morning.  And had a fun haphazard meeting of an American, who has been living in Thailand as a yogi, walking along the beach with his nephew who was Gia's age.  The funny thing is I had snapped there picture as they walked by, thinking the photo of their silhouette was striking, and then met them later in the morning when they walked back by.  His sister married an Australian so he is over visiting.

On the way out from lunch -"Gia, don't step in the puddle!", but really, how can you not when your mom forgets your shoes.
After our beach excursion, Gia and I 'lunched' at one of the cafe's recommended by the owners of the home we are renting.  We had the place to ourselves and enjoyed a delicious lunch overlooking the ocean.

As we headed home, I realized it was already after one.  Rather than head home for a short bit and then tackle THE hill again, we decided to go for coffee.  I know.  A bit ridiculous.  But we only have 6 months so we need to make the most of it, right?  Anyway, our timing couldn't have been better.  We were in the cafe 20 minutes when the skies opened up.  We ended up spending the afternoon there until pick up time.  Life is good.
Gia testing the weather.
This little video captured a great 2-year-old moment.  I wanted Gia to tell me she was in Australia, however when I kept asking her where she was she answered honestly, "I right here!" :)  Love my curly girly!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tea, Lorikeets and the finest shell jewelry in the land

Getting to school is getting easier.  Corey walks his bike with a kid perched on the seat, and I push the running stroller with one kid in the seat and the other just above the wheel.  The hill we walk is INTENSE!  I swear I am at a 90 degree angle from the stroller pushing it with all my might.  I console myself with the fact that is surely must be a good workout.  A definite highlight is this bird nest of the Lorikeet.  These birds are stunning and are as present as robins.
My picture from afar.
A pic from Google to show you the Lorikeet in all its glory.
Today at drop-off a parent came up and introduced himself to me, saying he was the father of a little girl named Hope in Lily's class.  He said Hope was a bit nervous to ask, but was hoping Lily might come over for a play date.  Not sure how he recognized me, as I was no where near Lily's classroom, but I suppose I must look like an American.  I told him I am sure Lily would love to come over and then inquired where they lived.  He said South Fremantle, so they would just pick her up.  Not sure how to handle this, but without a car, we cannot drive her, and since I don't really know them, I am hoping they will let Hope come our way instead.  

At Caden's class, we set by his little BFF Gerogia before school started and had a chance to meet her mother.  I let her know that Georgia and Caden would be raising their children in Indiana :) Which, speaking of kids, Caden asked me to show him how I did some craft-thing the other day so he could do it with his kids someday!?!?

Anyway, school continues be going great for both of them!  Descriptions used thus far are that "we feel like the principal" and, "it feels like we are famous".  Ha!  

So Gia and I walked back home with our neighbor Emma and her little girl Daisy.  As we were talking about her renovation underway, she invited me to have some "tea" and have a look.  I wasn't sure exactly what she meant by tea, but welcomed the opportunity to visit with someone older than 7 during the day (no offense to my posse!).  

Emma's house is right at the stage of chaos before greatness.  The walls were being demolished and much of the floor was cement, but WOW!  The house is going to be incredible!  She pinky swore it would be done before we leave so that we can join in on the house warming party.  Gia and her little girl Daisy hit it off.  As the construction noise reached decibels where conversation was no longer possible, the girls would giggle and cover their ears :)  And the painting of daisies above Daisy's head is pure coincidence!

We stayed until about 11, and then headed home.  The sun was out, so Gia and I sat out on our back porch and read.  Gia fell asleep after awhile and we enjoyed a really restful afternoon.

We picked up Lily and Caden at 2, snacks in hand, and walked into Freo to get the rest of our materials needed for our anteater costume and pick up a few groceries.  Corey met us to run the errands too.  He took his bike home to get tacos started (Indiana tacos was Caden's request to differentate the Indian naan) and the kids and took the bus.  It was our first time on the connected bus, where there was a partially rotating middle to enable both bus cars to make the sharp city turns.  The kids were thrilled!  I kept thinking about their great bus knowledge at such an early age, unlike my first bus trip in college where I found myself traveling back and fort to the commuter lot before getting kicked off instead of being taken to my dorm.
The kids spent the evening making necklaces out of their shell collection to display in their store.  And in case you are wondering, yes, we do ship to the U.S.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A not so manic Monday

I love school starting at 9!  We have such a full day before the day even starts.  The kids are waking by 6:30.  This morning Lily showed us how she learned to make hot chocolate in school Friday (I know, right?) and the kids ate some of their raspberry muffins, did some reading and craft projects.  They then had a second breakfast of cheerios before we all walked to school.

Caden continues to amaze me with how well he has adjusted.  No tears at school yet!  Gia and I did a koala puzzle with him before heading out.  Lily just pops right in!

I packed coloring books and crayons in the stroller for Gia so we headed to George Street this morning for a coffee - which turned into a veggie omelet for me (my stomach is still not recovered from this bug, so I am in search of my familiar pre-Oz diet to help get back to normal) and the largest piece of carrot cake ever for Gia!  Gia managed to eat the frosting only so we took the frosting-less cake with us.

We realized that we uncovered a whole underworld of mommy's here on George Street.  They start with a coffee and then meet up at the play area.  Gia and I are working hard to break-in - kind of.  I am still enjoying the anonymity that comes with moving somewhere new - although it is funny how often I run into my running pals Rachel and Rom.  I am talking like 3 times a day.
Gia, owning the street - shoe-less of course and wearing a coat only after serious negotiation.

We stayed at the play set enjoying the sunny morning until 11:30 before returning home.  Gia devoured a kiwi, which she proudly cut herself, and then we read books until she napped.  And yes, I recognize it is a pretty good schedule.  I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed this week and Lean In by another Sheryl Sandberg last week.  Interesting contrasts!

We packed a snack of strawberries and their mint cookies - think Girl Scout Thin Mints with an Andes Mint on top covered in chocolate - for Lily and Caden and headed up in a light rain to pick them up.  I had a chance to meet Lily's Monday teacher, Ms. Nicola.  In Lily's class she has Mrs. Millie Taylor Tu-Fri and Ms. Nicola Vinicombe on Mondays.  Caden has Mrs. Jeanette Howart three days and Mrs. Nicola Sparks (no relation to Nicholas Sparks :) the other two.  Apparently the norm for the teachers to work part-time.  Seems like a good way to give the kids exposure to differing styles, and the teachers a less demanding schedule.

Caden had quite a story today at pickup as to why he had a bandaged knee.  Apparently a little girl was trying to pull him somewhere to "marry" a girl who she said was pretty, but Caden didn't think she was pretty - although he swore he didn't say it aloud.  Gasp!  The highlight of his day was a little obstacle course they had set up.
Out little 'ladies man'.

Lily's highlight was practicing her upcoming 'assembly' where she will play a baby anteater that is upset about deforestation.  We are working on a costume from old toilet paper tubes, a juice cap and tissue paper.  Show is Friday, so we will post pics then.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Our third Sunday in Perth

I met my friend Rachel at 7:15 this morning for my second attempt at a 20-miler.  Rachel was kind enough to agree to run 8 of it with me.  We did the hilly river trail, which then evens out to a nice flat trail along the river.  We had an amazing view of Perth with the sun coming up.  Stunning!

So I managed to do the 20, in spite of the hills.  I uncovered some new areas, and strangely enough, happened across the youth hostel I stayed in when in Perth as a college student 20 years ago!

Two interesting things of note from this run - one, there is a crazy amount of wealth!  The houses along the river were gi-normous!  And two, I had the coolest toilet experience ever!  This futuristic metal box has these buttons on the outside that glow indicating if it's open or not.  You hit the button to enter and the door slides open.  You step in, and a voice welcomes you and lets you know that you have 10 minutes to use the toilet, and that when you are done, the toilet will flush when the sensor recognizes you are washing your hands.  Then the voice turns off, and classical music comes from the speakers.  I am seriously planning a family excursion there soon.

When I got back to the house, Corey and the kids were at the park.  I took a shower and packed some stuff for the beach with the intent of meeting them to enjoy the sunshine and hang out in Fremantle until the welcome mass at ND at 6.  As I left, they were all on their way back.  So we had lunch and headed out around 2:30.

We went to South Beach to look for starfish, however it was quite a bit chillier with more clouds and wind by this point.  Corey stopped and picked up some 'gourmet burgers' from Missy Moos to eat on the beach and we had a little picnic.  Then we headed to the welcome mass at 6pm.  Kids were spent and last bus was at 6:55, so we left early.

Caden is the amazing photographer of these photos.

 Half way home on the bus, Corey realized he left his computer bag so he bolted off the bus and ran back.  The kids and I rushed home for a bath before bed.  First full week of school this week!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Two week anniversary in Australia

Time is flying by.  I cannot believe we have been here 2 weeks already!  The morning began early with Lily and I having coffee in the kitchen and reading some more Harry Potter.  We constantly have music in our little kitchen with Pandora playing through out laptops.  So nice.  We did a bit of dancing to one of my all-time favorite songs, Cannon in D.

Once Caden and Gia were up we tackled making our raspberry white chocolate muffins.  This has been a much sought after item here in Australia, and at $4.50 a muffin, I thought we should just make and freeze our own.  They turned out delish!

Corey and I cleaned up the house a bit, wrestling out the vacuum for our first time, and then took advantage of a break in the rain and headed to the grocery store.  It is amazing what you can fit into a jogging stroller and a backpack!  We are now well stocked to feed us and fifty other families this week!!!

On the way home, the kids and I stopped at our closest park, just off Marmion St., which we have strangely not played at yet, while Corey rushed back to get the groceries in the fridge!  As you can see, the kids had a blast!

All playsets are under a cover or tree to protect from the sun.
 We were downright shocked on our way home to run into these little cuties.  They came right up to us - which caused Gia to tremble in fear and shriek like someone was pulling off a finger nail.  The kids were thrilled that the chickens wanted to follow us home. Me, not so much.  However I am planning on an after-dark excursion through neighbor's backyards to 'borrow eggs'.  All the better if they happen to have a lemon tree!
Tonight we decided to walk to dinner again.  I am determined to do that darn 20 miler tomorrow, so I thought some good carb-loading of pasta might help with my psyche.  Here we are walking to dinner...
 Our table.  Cute and quaint with homemade pasta and great kid stuff.  We will definitely return.
Walk home was again golden.  Not sure what it is, but the kids are so talkative and inquisitive on the way home from dinner the past couple of nights.  Caden IS grandma Sandy with his constant stopping to admire flowers.  I love it!

Lily fast asleep next to me now after insisting I should keep reading Harry Potter as she is just "resting her eyes".  Reminds me of my grandma and grandpa Hale.  Gia, Caden and Corey are asleep on the couch watching footy.  Caden keeps asking why the kids always talk about the Fremantle Dockers at school!  We tell him, they are just big fans, kind of like many people about ND football :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

The unexpected joys

Today was one of those exceedingly happy days.  The day began on a rough note, with Gia and I still sick, and then turned in to a fun stay at home day for us where we colored, read books, painted nails, and had a pretend bakery in the bubble bath.  And maybe a little coffee too made by sweet daddy before he left for the day :)

On top of all the play, I managed to get some chores done, read a couple of blogs I've been wanting to read (Momastery, thanks to Elle and Marta - and I already read my kids the 'Adam letter' (, , and Renascence ( from my talented and amazing friend Leah, and started a new book on e-loan from the library - Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I dreaded school pickup in the wind and rain, especially with Gia still asleep, but we only got a little bit wet, and we were rain free when the kids actually got out of school.  I love that not having a car makes your get outside, when you definitely would have just hopped in the car.  

After school the kids and I ventured to a new coffee shop on George Street.  So many to try! They actually sold cake pops here - our first siting in Oz.  We made it home in just a few drops of rain.  

The real kicker for the day was an amazing family night.  We headed out in the rain again to try this little Indian restaurant, randomly located at a corner in our neighborhood we pass when we walk to school.  The kids absolutely LOVED Indian food.  Caden suggested we eat there every day :). They called the naan that they filled with their rice, chicken and yogurt sauce 'tacos'. 

After dinner we walked home in the dark, laughing, chatting about school, and admiring the stars.  Lily asked if we could camp out under the stars while in Australia and Caden reminded her about our upcoming camper van trip.  So looking forward to it!  I am so thankful for this experience, especially holding off on getting a car so that we would have these great treks in the rain together with nothing to do but admire the trees, flowers and stars and talk.  
The walk home :)

Once home, we played UNO until bed.  It really was a perfect day.  Lily, Caden and I began tackling the here's Waldo book I picked up at a resell shop -where I am proud to report we found all people and the bonus items - after much staring at the page.  Then we read a bit more of Harry Potter.  Heading to sleep now with a full heart and big smile.  Oh, and one more picture to share - this is the picture Caden drew for me at school.  

It is Caden giving me flowers.  So love that boy!  Did I mention he offered me his coat at the playground this week, unprompted, when he thought I was cold?!?  He is such a sweetie.  So far he has two little girls he loves to play with - Aerial (which she corrects when we say AIR-e-al to ARE-e-al) and Georgia.  He has already asked if he could invite Georgia to visit in Indiana when we have to leave!!!  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A taste of East Freo Primary (EFP)

The really amazing part of EFP is the engagement with the parents.  At least 1 parent arrives 30 mins before classes begin and they often sit and read or do a puzzle for 20-30 mins.  Class officially starts at 9am so we arrive at 8:30, sit and read for 20 mins, the first bell rings, we begin to clean up, and the parents all move outside and continue to mingle for another 20 mins or so.  It is really a special thing and a great reminder what's important in life.  I should mention that it is a split of about 70% Mom's and 30% Dad's.    

No news

I made it 11 miles this morning before realizing I was taking my turn with the flu.  Sweet Corey cleared his day and managed the kids while I remained in bed the ENTIRE day.  Unfortunately I was too sick do much other than sleep.  Feeling a bit better now, so will hopefully have a more exciting post tomorrow.  Happy it's Friday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Took some coaxing to get Lily into school today.  We weren't sure if she had a legitimate tummy ache or some anxiety about the reading that the class was planning on for the day.  Corey eventually convinced her to go in, but we hung around for a bit to make sure all was OK.  This gave us a chance to catch Caden's recess in action and blow some bubbles.

Gia and I headed off to find the Office Works store to get the kids required school supplies.

We set off down the hill as instructed and were thrilled to come across the Fremantle Arts Centre that had a bunch of kids Gia's age milling about.  Turns out every Wednesday at 9:30am they have the 'Fun Bus' come to the Art Centre and set up mats all about the grounds with different activity centers.  Quite a social hour for the 'mum's' too.

We stopped at bike shop next for me to pick up some 'fuel' for the 30K (20 miler) I have scheduled tomorrow morning with Rom and Rachel.  Despite a stop at the 'toilet' at the Art Museum, Gia wanted to go potty at the bike shop.  If you envision the big warehouse with some burly tattooed staff, you can imagine the state of the toilet.  It ended up being a false alarm.

We could not find the office supply store, and realized we went a few blocks too far, needing to head back the direction we came, but on the parallel road '_'  We ventured in and I immediately asked for help deciphering the list of items to get.  The words used to describe things are quite different.  While we meandered the aisles, Gia announced as only a 2-year old can at a practical scream, that she has to poo - and afterwards that her bottom made a 'baby poo'.

Within 15 minutes of returning to the store, Gia announced she had to poo again - and shortly thereafter, that she had pooed in her pants, as she held up her finger to prove to me that it was indeed true and confirmed by touch.  Ugh!  Back we went to the toilet, washed out her clothes, paid, and left as quickly as possible.  She was asleep within minutes, tucked into a little ball so that her little dress covered her up, thank goodness.

Next stop was a cute little resell shop I discovered the day before where I netted a baby doll to replace the one still traveling with United Airlines for $4.  I picked up some leggings for my naked girl and met Corey and our cohort of ND students for fish and chips down at the wharf.  Afterwards Corey and I grabbed a coffee at this great little coffee shop that is also an art gallery and art studio.    

Gia still asleep, I began meandering back towards the school.  There was a parent meeting at 2:30 on reading with your 'pre-primary' student, so I planned to arrive an hour or so early to let Gia play a bit. My casual walk turned into a half sprint when a call came in from the school that Caden fell and was shooken up due to his teeth going into his lip.  They said he was fine, but wanted me to pick him up.  It took me about 10 minutes to get there, and the poor little thing looked so pathetic.  He tripped running up the cement stairs and smashed his lip into the stairs.  We left and milled about at the play area of the school for a bit waiting for Lily to finish at 3.

Once we had Lily we went to our spider web play set on the school campus to enjoy an after school snack.  Within 30 minutes of this, I was rushing Caden to the toilets for vomiting.  After being sick for nearly 10-minutes straight, I piled he and Gia into the stroller and Lily and I ran them down the hill, then struggled up the hill to home.  Of course we had to pause and admire one of the many lemon trees on our block, while I explained one more time why we couldn't steal some until they had fallen on our side of the fence.  But really, can any one family consume this many lemons?!?

By the time we got home, Caden seemed great and wanted to play in the backyard.  We did this for a bit, before Gia needed to potty one more time.  This one required a shower '_'  Corey has a dinner late tonight, so my early run tomorrow is the only thing standing between me and multiple glasses of wine.
Just finished reading with the kids in my bed and all 3 fast asleep - I am calling 'uncle' and soon to follow.