Saturday, December 25, 2010

We have a house!

also posted at:
Don't forget to move your bookmarks to the above blog! We are moving!!! Follow us there....

In honor of our soon to be new home-land, Andrew received a build your own Vincent Van Gogh house for Christmas. Jim picked it up on his interview trip through Amsterdam in November.

After a great Christmas dinner at the Ford's house this afternoon, the Rhomberg boys sat down and re-constructed a piece of history. I'd say it turned out quite well. Not that I'd want to live in it. A bit too cramped for my style, but very stylish nonetheless.

Friday, December 24, 2010

We are on the move

Some of you may have heard.
Others of you may have guessed from the cryptic photo blog from the beginning of December.
Jim has accepted a job in the Netherlands starting late in January so we are on the move once again.

We are no longer going to be the family down under, but rather a better way to describe us would be a globe trotting family... so in light of that news, we are moving to a new address and a new blog space... you can find us at:

So, bookmark that site and I'll try to keep up with our movings and musings as we go from the land of Oz to the of Windmills and Tulips.

Merry Christmas

Haven't posted much lately, but lots has been going on. So, we'll post some photos of holiday cheer here.

Jim celebrating down under Santa style with 'Aussie egg nog' (VB Beer!)

Kids Decorating Gingerbread Cookies

Kids in front of the huge Christmas tree in Martin Place - Sydney's version of Rockerfeller Center's Christmas Tree without the ice rink!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Where in the world are the Rhombergs

All of us are awake on Sunday December 5th. Two of us just woke up -- two of us are just going to bed.

Two of us are still enjoying warm-ish weather, if not humid weather.

Two of us are not exactly enjoying weather that we haven't seen since we moved away from Chicago five Christmases ago. (One of us is still thrilled by the sight of huge fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky) Two of us are not thrilled when the wind whips that snow into our faces and we can't see where we are.

Two of us are spending a week with the grandparents -- having a great time.

Two of us are spending a week together -- having a great time (we hope!)

Two of us are hoping we packed enough warm clothes to keep from freezing articles of our body off from the earliest snows of the season in this region.

So, where are we two and why are we here...

(No posting comments grandparents, Sam, Debbie and P&K)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010



One sunny day a farmer was farming his crops. When he went back into his house he heard some rumbling noises. He looked out the window, but no one was there.
He was walking outside when he saw a person cutting down his crops. The farmer yelled “STOP!” and chased him all around. He looked back at his field and there was nothing there.
The next morning the farmer went outside with lots of seeds in his hands. He put the seeds in the ground and hoped they would grow.
About a month later the crops were fully grown.
By Andrew R 12/1/10

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Like a scene from a Hitchcock Movie

Here I was minding my own business (ok, surfing the web - or skyping mom or something I think) and I hear this horrible squawking noise. Not five minutes after mom had just commented on how she could hear the birds chirping in the background. And I had said, "Yes, that's because I have the door to the back open because it's so nice out." Oh and the front door too to get a nice cross breeze. (And that's because we don't have screens)
So back to the squawking, then there's this panicked fluttering and thumping sound, so I look out of the corner of my eye and see not one but TWO myna birds in my bay kitchen window. Trying unsuccessfully to fly out. Very unsuccessfully. I very casually walk over to the sliding doors and open them even wider, hoping to not get them spooked and  try to find something to shooo them out of the kitchen with.
Dumb birds. They would rather keep flying into the window then go to the fresh wide open airway I have now made for them. Smart little birdy makes a break for it and flies out the patio door to freedom. His pal just keeps flying into the bay window. Flutter, thump thump. Flutter, thump thump. He gets out of his daze enough to fly to the CLOSED kitchen window. You know, the one with BARS ON IT. No little birdy, no getting out that way. So, he hops to the floor and starts walking around. I am waving papers at him to direct him out. Not taking directions to well... Finally dumb bird two makes his way to the FRONT DOOR and leaves. Good riddance.
Could have been worse though...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming

Its been a few months since my last real posting. Many things have happened.
Hmmm… Haven’t really posted anything since July. Not that there wasn’t anything to post. Just many things going on. Travelling to the states. Moving to a new house. Kids going to school. Too many activities to keep up with.
When we moved here, I expected to be here 18 months to 2 years. Come December (in 6 weeks) it will be four years! I never expected it to be that long. Time has flown by, but there are times I have hit the writing wall. 18 to 24 months of writing was easy to do. But 48 months, that’s a whole different ballgame. I think I just needed a break.
I get these postings in my head, but the energy just isn't there. Finally uploaded photos, so I now I just need to catch up.
Bear with  me as I try to catch up… and take it day by day. We are still here, still busy.
Might try different things too. Who knows.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Flouro Disco

The band hosted a disco Friday night to raise money for new instruments and to help pay for the Senior band’s country band trip at the end of November.

From 5.30-7.30 the kids get to have a sausage sizzle and get their hair sprayed with fluoro hair spray, nails painted, faces painted, buy glo-bands and dance their feet off.

Andrew loved having his fingernails painted orange, yellow, red and purple. Had to get a double spray of hairspray (he can thank his mommy for that).

Sister came home with fingernails painted, face painted (to match Serena) , glo-bands and sparkle hair spray.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Non-traditional birthday

This year I turned 38. I am now in the same age number as Jim (finally!!).
This is the 3rd birthday I get to celebrate in Australia. The day started out with a birthday song and signs from the kids. Then off to school as usual.
As I opened the door to take Emmalee to school, a box dropped in on me. I opened it to find a dozen beautiful fresh cut long stem roses from Jim.

Tuesday is scripture day, so I had to teach year 2 & 3 right away at school. First off was my year 2’s. One of my students has the same birthday, so while the teacher was telling him happy birthday I told him it was the best day ever to have a birthday. Which led her to figure out that it was my birthday. So,  my 2nd grade class sang happy birthday and then I got to blow out my first birthday candle of the day. Then my lovely son mentioned it to the year 3 teacher, so I got my 3rd graders to sing to me, too.
Off to coffee I go. Nick, the coffee guy surprises me with a special coffee top.
Then Jim comes home from his work meeting early enough that he offered to pick up the kids from school so I even got a birthday nap. – I had to set a timer for him to make sure he remembered to leave in time to pick up the kids, and to make sure that I could fall asleep and not worry. But it always scores daddy points for Jim when he shows up to pick up  the kids.
After the clarinet and flute lessons we headed over to Borruso’s for a non-cooking dinner for me. Then off to the house for birthday cake that Jim ‘brought home’ from the work meeting and birthday songs.

Unfortunately the birthday celebrations had to come to an end. Jim had to go to the Netherlands for work. The airlines had a car coming to pick him up at 7.45 and we would be left behind. Lucky for me the kids were great about his leaving and went to bed well. I was left to enjoy the rest of the evening on the couch with my pint of Ben and Jerry’s Caramel Swirl Ice Cream that I found at Woolies. YUMMY!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July

From our 2nd Firecracker!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

This is from my SIL, Katie. Just a reminder while we are back in the States for the summer. That drowning is a silent killer. And why I don't take my eyes -- or ears off the kids or a second while they are swimming... at the pool or at the beach. Even at 8 and 10. And with our old house sitting up on the deck while they were one level below me was just too far away -- I wasn't comfortable... I know drowning can happen in seconds. Faster than even a parent can run.

Thanks Katie for reminding everyone...

article from

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

Post image for Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning
by Mario on May 19, 2010
The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”
How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.
The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D.,  is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water.  And it does not look like most people expect.  There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.  To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this:  It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.  In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).  Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:
  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Th e respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006)
This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue.  They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.
Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are n the water:
  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.
So if a crew member falls overboard and every looks O.K. – don’t be too sure.  Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning.  They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck.  One  way to be sure?  Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are.  If they return  a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.  And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.
Mario’s Note:  Thanks to all of you who have posted and linked and Tweeted and shared this article.  As soon as I get home (July 7th) I’ll upload a short video along with a pool safety checklist.  Thanks again for all the support.
disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Coast Guard.
Read the article at

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Prairie Home Companion - Ravinia

Saturday we got to bring the kids back to Ravinia again. Its been 4 years since we left and maybe 5 since the Justin Roberts (kids) concert we took them to a LONG time ago. They don't remember it at all. And it hasn't changed much at all -- other than no smoking allowed, which I think is great.
Garrison Keillor has a radio show that is broadcast live and we got to be there for it! I am not sure how much of it the kids understood, but I thought it was great. If you want to hear what we got to listen to, here is the link:

The show opened with a 4th of July Open Song. It was an ode to those who dream the impossible dream. You can listen to it here...

The kids got to laze around on chairs and on the blanket while snacking away on picnic food and listening to the show. The weather was nice, if not a bit warm. Not a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful way to spend a Saturday.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day in the Windy City

Friday was a busy day. We got up early(ish) to head into Chicago for a big day of adventure.

Our day started with a stop at the American Girl Store -- where else? Emmalee has been planning this stop for the last 12 months. Meticulously thinking through the best ways to spend her hard earned and saved money. Pouring through the AG catalogs for ideas. Making lists. Discussing them with her 'girls' And Friday was the big day.
From July 2 - Chicago Trip
It all came down to this:
  • Ear piercing for Katie with extra earrings
  • A hair brush and sun hat for Katie
  • A lounge/futon chair that folds out into a bed for Katie (that is small enough to pack into a suitcase!)
Gramma Sandi surprised her with a red bikini for Katie and a beautiful tap dancing outfit for her too. Mom got Emmalee an American Girl sun hat. Damage completed in approximately 1 hour.
From July 2 - Chicago Trip
Boys survived 4 minutes in the store before they were released to go out into the wilds of the city (Hershey's Chocolate Shop for s'mores and other chocolate goodies). They were good natured upon return - feigning interest in what Emmalee had bought and what she still wanted to get.
From July 2 - Chicago Trip
Then onto the good at FOOD LIFE at Water Tower Place. Where you can order anything you want in the food court and just swipe a card. You just pay at the end. Prices weren't too bad and there are at least 8 different food types to choose from. Makes it easy for groups to find different styles to suit all.
After lunch we headed over to the Museum of Science and Industry. They had a new weather exhibit that we were all interested in, as well as the OMNIMAX theater that we had gotten tickets for.
The kids were really interested in the weather exhibit. I would say we spent the majority of our time there. We did go see other things, but as you can see, quite a few of the photos were taken there...

We watched an OMNIMAX movie about the Tahitian Wave which was good and fit in with what the kids were learning about oceans and waves, so it ticked some boxes about education on the trip. Jim went to see the one about the Hubble Telescope, which he really liked.
Afterwards, we left when the museum closed. Dad took us on a scenic tour of the South Side of Chicago, thru 95th Street and Evergreen Park to avoid I94 and 4th of July weekend traffic. So what normally takes 10 minutes, took over an hour to drive. Instead of driving north, we drove South West. Jim still isn't sure what dad was doing.
But we ended up calling Sam and decided to meet him at UNO's in Schaumburg (eventually) for dinner. Had to get a deep dish pizza fix in for Jim before he leaves. Arrived there at 8pm (after leaving museum at 5.45pm. Kids were getting antcy and hungry. But UNO's didn't dissappoint.
Jim got his deep dish pie and was satisfied. He can go back to Sydney and survive another year without artery clogging 2 inch thick cheesey pizza!
From American Girl

Friday, June 18, 2010

Supper Out at the Legion

Tonight in honor of Grandma, Bryan suggested that we all go to the Legion Hall for supper. Since Grandma loved going out - and going out to the Legion was one of her favorites, we chose there.

There was a specific time table we followed -- couldn't get there at 6 when the doors opened -- that would have embarrassed her. Couldn't go too late because the good salads would be gone. So 7pm was the decided time for the group of 11 of us to meet up there.

As we walked in, Jaeda and I were on the outs -- everyone else seemed to know someone and was hugging, so Jaeda joked that maybe we should be hugging, too. Eventually they found a table big enough for all of us.

Ordering was another story -- then dad ordered wine -- asked for the best red they had -- eventually got to a merlot. Ended up being a whole whopping $7 a bottle. Not a glass, a bottle. Nice change from Sydney prices. Dinner was a bit of a debacle. No one got quite what they ordered, when they should have gotten it, from the baked potatoes running out to the steaks being cooked a bit more than we would have liked -- and taking a good hour plus to come out. But gave lots of time to chat. LOTS OF TIME.

And in the end.... What did the bill come to???? A grand total of $106. For 11 people to have steak and side dish with salad. Unbelievable!!! And I have the photo to prove it.

Jump to the Future

Star Date June 16, 2010

Sounds like a Star Trek episode. Almost feels like one.

Two months of no blogging. And now I am in a completely new house. New country. New time zone. Without a husband or children. And its really weird.

After much pushing and prodding to bring the blog back to life, it is back online.

I have arrived in the USA safe and sound. Touched down on Monday in Chicago. Hit the road Tuesday morning at 8.07am. Arrived in South Dakota by 9pm at the Atteberry Farm. Hit the couch for a quick sleep by 11.30 and was up for a day of sorting by 8.30 on Wednesday with everyone.

Its been weird. Not something I can put into words quite yet. The house doesn't look the same. Definitely doesn't smell the same. Doesn't feel the same. There is a void here that won't be filled again. I know this is the last time I will be here and it really bring conflicting feelings out. The memories are strong. They make me smile, they bring tears to my eyes. I can't imagine what they are doing to mom and all her siblings right now.

Went up to Grammas grave to see her for the first time. That is when it really hit me that it was real. It was so strong it physically knocked me over. I couldn't stand up after sitting down with her. I have never felt that way before. Something just kept drawing me back down.

I am glad I am here though. Being with everyone is helping. And I know that is part of what I need to help me to move on...

Boys vs Girls

Isn't that the way it always happens? Boys do one thing, girls do another?

Jim is the first to point out that I am the first to ADMIT that I am NOT an outdoorsy girl. If there is an option to do the lazy, relaxing weekend option vs the outdoorsy, rugged option – gee, guess which one I would pick….

Jim felt like going to Balmoral Beach and was trying to drum up support for his choice. Not my idea of how I was wanting to spend my Saturday. And I had already told Mom I was going to take her into the city to the Rocks Market to pick up some gifts for people back in the states (wonder who they are…), get more coffee pods and a couple of other things. So I had an out. Anything that has the word shopping remotely attached to it will attract Emmalee's attention, so she chose to avoid the beach. Which left Andrew and Dad.

So, we split up and Andrew, Jim and Dad went off to Balmoral Beach for lunch of fish and chips at the beach. And the girls headed into the city for some shopping. I think both groups worked out quite well. Mom made out well at the Rocks Market – she got a cool sweater that can be worn 7 different ways and some other things. We got our coffee pods and walked past a St. Patrick's Day parade that was just starting out.

GMOTUS and GOTUS head to New Zealand

Another early flight – Grammy and Grampy are determined to make sure that I don't get my beauty (or my un-grumpy) sleep while they are here. Had to get them to the airport and Jim got the kids to school again.

One week touring the South Island of New Zealand. A few less suitcases, a cell phone with instructions to buy a SIM card upon landing so they can contact us from over there and an itinerary based on weather. What more could they ask for? And what could possibly go wrong? Stay tuned…

GMOTUS and GOTUS Have Landed

What is up with these early morning flights? Had to set the alarm at 6.30 to go and get Grammy of the United States and Grampy of the United States at the Airport. Left Jim with the kids to get the off to school for band, with an 8am drop-off. Not too bad – he could get into work by 8.30.

I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Got a great parking spot. Waited for them and finally see them wheeling the trolley with three big suitcases, two roll-aboards, 1 HUGE Rubbermaid tote and a couple of small bags with them. All to fit into my Holden Astra. ALONG with them (and me!) Luckily with a little engineering and tight squeezing we made it without leaving anything or anyone behind.

We even made it back to Northbridge in time to say hello to the kids before the 9.10 bell rang. They were quite excited to see the grandparents before school I think.

Got home and the unloading began. Out came all the goodies I had requested. And all the goodies Debbie had requested were sorted out and bagged and ready to go to Maggios for our coffee date with Debbie. Had to have a breakfast and coffee to start out the trip for Mom and Dad at Maggios. Debbie said it was like Hanukkah for her getting all of her Clinique and Kindle goodies as soon as Mom and Dad arrived.

Came home and finished unpacking and rested up for the rest of the day. Of course we had to be at school for pick-up or the kids would have not been so forgiving. Then off for pizza at Borussos for dinner. Funny thing was dad was so tired he could hardly hold on to his wine glass – and he had hardly anything to drink – it was just tiredness and jetlag. Had to tuck them into bed just after 8.15 – had to give them props for staying up that late!

Time Sure Stops for No One

Here it is Friday the 16th of April. And I haven't blogged in over a month and a half. Can't say its because there has been nothing going on. More like too much going on and not enough motivation or desire to keep up with it. So, guess while Jim is watching 'Friday Night Footy' I'lll try to catch up at least a little bit. Or until my fingers give out.

Since January the owners of the house have been trying (to no avail) to sell the house we are renting, which has meant open houses and inspections. Not happy places for me. At all. So I haven't been in a happy place to feel like writing for blogging. Just trying to get by day by day. Still no resolution on that front. In fact, the agent has requested two more showings, to which Jim has said no. So we are at an impass. Not sure what is going to happen now. Whether they will insist we show it or we will have to ask to move on to other residence (since we figure at lease end we will be kicked to the kerb anyway!)

Let's see… since March 5th a lot has happened… kids have finished their first term of school. Andrew has gotten his first reconciliation, and Mom and Dad finally made it over to see us. After the cancelled trip in December, they made it here March 19th not too worse for the wear. Can't say how they'll be when they leave tho!

Harry Connick Jr.

New Orleans meets the Opera House. Quite a combination. You can take the boy outta the bayou, buy you can't take the bayou outta the boy.

After Andrew's reconciliation, we raced home, did the gifts, got the kids jammied up and had Debbie come over so we could go see Harry Connick Jr. at the Sydney Opera House. It was our 2nd show there and the 1st for mom and dad. We just squeaked in for time – left mom and Jim down at the bar to get a drink while dad and I went to grab the tickets at will call – and came back to slurp the drinks down before rushing back to the Opera House for the 9pm show. He was the only act with a brass and string band. And a grand piano of course. Our seats were dead center, but pretty far back. Still quite good. Especially for last minute booking over the weekend.

He started the set with just singing and having the band accompany him. That was good. He's a pretty funny guy when he talks and tells stories. Then he went over to the piano. His piano playing is amazing. I just don't like it when he goes off on one of his tangential riffs for ever and ever. It just goes on and on and on. Seriously dude, bring it back in. I was getting bored. His playing is great, but the riffing just gets to be a bit much.

He brought in a New Orleans trumpet player to play with him that I just loved. I like that type of nightclub sound. Then he brought out his daughter who is hardly older than Emmalee. The thought of being able to say that you sang at the Sydney Opera House when you were a pre-teen would just be amazing. And then of course I was sitting then just adding the years to Emme's age thinking of how big she would be when she got to be that age and it was just killing me!!!

The show was good, but not a Josh Groban show. I think I would have liked Harry Connick Jr. better in a smaller venue like a nightclub or a jazz club. Maybe its just me. But that is just the way I was feeling.

I do know that Mom and Dad said they enjoyed it – and 4 days into the trip they were able to stay awake for the whole show!