Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Blue Mountains of Australia

On day two of our Easter holiday, we visited the Blue Mountains. This was about a 90 minute drive north from our home in Sydney. The blue mountains were beautiful, and it was fun to go on a hike with Gregory. George and William were not in the mood for an hour hike so Stan volunteered to take them on short walks to lookout points, and to hang out at the visitor's centre while Gregory and I had a little one-on-one time. It was really fun to be outdoors two days in a row. Illawarra and the Blue Mountains are two lovely places to visit and close enough to Sydney that we didn't need to get a BnB. On our hike, Gregory updated me with all the lastest news of minecraft, asked me what was my favourite dragon, minecraft tool, and dinosaur. He told me about school, moving to different countries, and how he was settling in. I think Gregory has matured a lot this last year. He is a wonderful child, so caring and mindful of others. He has learned to roll with life, and to adjust the best he can and adapt to new schools and new ways of doing things. I am proud of him, and I am grateful for his good example. I love my three sons. They are each so incredible, and I feel so blessed to be their mother.


Illawarra is a beautiful rain forest, about a two hour drive south of Sydney. We went there for a day trip to enjoy some nature and get outside of the city. It was a good day for us. We all had a really fun time together. Sometimes when we go out for an adventurous day, things don't work out and it ends up not being that fun, but this was not like that. We all were having a fun time together and it was a needed break from our life in the city. It's amazing that someone built this tree top walkway. In a couple of weeks, we are coming back to go zip lining, and we cannot wait! The boys get a sixteen day break in April, so we are trying to plan some fun things to do. One will be zip lining!

This tower, Knight's Tower, is built up on the walkway which is already high up from the forest floor. It was a bit scary walking up this narrow stairway up above the tree line, but it was also beautiful and well worth the 106 stair climb. We took William out of his stroller so he could stretch his legs and enjoy the experience with us!

This photo gives you a good view of how high the walk way is. Not only is it high above the ground, but it is also very long. I kept thinking that we had found the end, but it was just a dead end and we had to backtrack and bit and the walkway would continue in a different direction.

We came back about a month later to do the zipline. It was really amazing! So glad we came back. Here's a video of our zipline adventure.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Sydney Royal Easter Show

We had a really fun FHE together at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I was excited to go and do something together, and I didn't expect it to be such a fun show. They had a rodeo, cowboys riding horses and bulls. They had mini play of The Man From Snowy River. Motor bikes doing flips and all sorts of crazy things in mid air. And because it's Sydney, they ended the show will an excellent display of fireworks! I'm glad we went.

I have not been shopping for a while, and we were out of food. It is hard to get the groceries to our apartment. I have to park down in the underground car park, then load as much food as I can onto the pram, then chase a toddler around and try not to let anything dump onto the ground. It always feels good to get everything safely inside! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Six Months in Sydney

The other day I was driving home from taking Gregory and George to school. I was coming into the city over the Anzac Bridge, and from there you have a nice view of the city, the harbour, and the Harbour Bridge. It was beautiful, the sun was shinning, the palm trees were visible as I neared the I-Max theatre and Darling Harbour and everything was happy. The best part of it was that it all felt so familiar. I have felt that we are home now for a while, but it was nice to feel that  familiarity of driving in the same places, not having to think which lane I should be in, or when I needed to merge or turn or whatever... it all was very familiar, my routes to and from school, Broadway Shopping Centre, the swimming pool, Costco, church, and the park are all memorized now. I am not so dependent on the GPS, which makes me feel happy. I have a sense of direction, I know where I am and I can now get around more. Life has fallen into place for us in Sydney, and we are very happy to be here. I decided that as fun as it is to move around the world and see new places and meet new people, there is something important about finding a place to call home. We've now lived in Sydney for six months, and time has a way of making you feel like home. I still have to use the GPS when going into North Sydney or to a beach. I probably could get there but with a few wrong turns. The other day I was driving to a stake primary activity, and I forgot to bring my phone which means no GPS... I did get lost since the stake centre is in North Sydney over the Harbour Bridge, but with some prayer and luck I actually found the church with only a few wrong turns. That was a bit frightening but it turned out well.

The normal day to day is like it would be anywhere else except for that fact that we live in a city and I try and take advantage of that. The disadvantages are obvious, the boys cannot go outside on their own. There is no yard for them to go out and explore. In Ireland the boys could go out the back and play on the trampoline or in the fort, go out the front and play with all the children, ride bikes and scooters, or play on the green. But now if we go outdoors we must all go together. I take the boys out with me and go and see things during the week on my own, and on the weekend Stan and I do family dates. Our last family date was to Coogee Beach and then dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. It was a really fun day together.

I made a video of what we've been doing lately.

My boys and I love green smoothies. I like to start them young with their greens! William just cannot get enough of that green goodness!

William loves to play in the sand, and he is so good to wear his hat. He is such a smart boy. He knows that his hat will protect his eyes from the sun and he prefers to wear it when outdoors.

This is the view from our balcony. I spend a lot of time just looking outside from our apartment and watch the boats come in and out of Darling Harbour.

I was collecting the boys from school on the ferry one day this week and thought this was a cool pic. There is one point when three ferries cross paths, so I took a photo.

The boys, but especially George, love chocolate. The corner store just at the entrance of our building sells these giant Cadbury chocolate bars for 2 AUD. It is the best deal I've ever seen for Cadbury chocolate, so when we come home from school, sometimes we stop in and get us some chocolate.

 Darling Harbour always is celebrating something. Here it is celebrating love. These little love boats are so cute and it would be romantic to take a ride. George and I had a late night walk one night this past week and we enjoyed looking at these small love boats.

On the way to Coogee beach we ran into this spider. Can you see how HUGE it is???

 This is the walking bridge that connects that goes across Darling Harbour. We walk across this bridge all the time because Coles is on the other side. When I am not up to making the trek to Costco, we just walk over to Coles and get some food.

Here is the same bridge looking at the city whereas the photo above is looking towards Pyrmount.

Here's another view from the same spot on the walking bridge. You can actually see our apartment building in this photo. Can you see the building with the bubble-like roof? Well we are just s few buildings away from there.

William likes to be Stan's hat. He wraps his whole body around Stan's head and holds on as Stan walks around. It is so cute how William plays with his daddy!

Gregory has started football (soccer), and his team is taking things very seriously. They have a paid trainer, practice uniforms as well as game uniforms, and I have seen Gregory improve so much already. My boys are great athletes, so with a bit of training they really do well. I am so proud of Gregory and his willingness to get in the game and try his best. He really is enjoying it this season.

Stan and I have been working on building his ultimate gaming computer for months. It has been a huge project, and Stan has worked and worked on it for hours late into the night. Everything is customized and done so well. I am so proud of how he has completed this project and has done such a good job! He is very bright and teaches himself to do all sorts of difficult and technical things.

Painting has been a family favourite. The boys just love to paint, and it is fun seeing them get so excited about doing art.

Just a few minutes away is the Wild Life Park, which is like a mini zoo. We walked there this week and spent some time with the Aussie animals. I really love koalas and they usually are sleeping since they are asleep for about 21-22 hours everyday. Anyway, I was happy that they were awake today!

This is funny... I look so tired... but tired is okay when it means your having fun and making memories, right?!?

This little zoo is fun because at certain times during the day they bring out animals for us to touch. The boys really get excited. Sometimes we have the place to ourselves, but not today... It was a bit crowded, but the boys were good to squeeze themselves through the crowds.

This croc is mean. I guess he has to be in isolation because the last two crocs that have lived with Rex have also been killed by Rex. He is huge!

If we were still in Ireland, we would be celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Our good friends, who still live in Ireland, sent the boys some new Paddy's Day t-shirts. Thank you Megan! We'll be celebrating with you on the opposite side of the world!