Saturday, October 31, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I made greek marinated chicken breasts and baked up some pita chips. After the appetizers were out for a bit, the kids all decided to hop in the pool for a quick COLD swim. Of course ours were the last ones out. Even the local kids (Alex & Aaron) didn't make it all that long!!!
After everyone scarfed down lots of appetizers, we still made room to put away 2 of the 3 lamb pieces and all the chicken along with the haloumi cheese Greg pan fried and the greek salad we ate with dinner. Oh, then there was the dessert... left over birthday chocolate torte, caramel slices and lemon bars. Way too much food, but way too yummy too!
I got an email from Mom yesterday telling me Gramma was ambulanced to the hospital in Sioux Falls, SD on Tuesday night in the US. Luckily mom and dad were still around so that she went to the dr. in the first place and that she had someone to be there with her for the 3+ hour ride to the heart hospital.
It is occasions like this that really rip me apart. Being so far away from my whole family and not being able to go see them if/when I want when things like this happen is just really difficult for me. I don't even know if I would have gone over had we still lived in IL, but just the option of being able to go is no longer there.
I have talked to Gramma and mom each day since I found out. She seems to be doing a bit better. She is surrounded by many talented doctors and specialists in the heart hospital, so I know that she should be in good hands. But those hands aren't mine to give her a hug or to hold her hand when she is laying there in the hospital bed. The best I can do is call her from 6000 miles away and chat for a few minutes.
I know that is all I can do and mom says Gramma appreciates it when I do call, but for someone who is still fortunate enough to have both of her grandmothers still alive (and normally in fairly good health) it is hard to be soo soo far away.
Highlights from her visit just about a year ago...
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Plus, I got a new IL drivers' license and it doesn't even have a photo and its still valid. Oh the joys of being an expat overseas.
Celebrated the day with kids going back to school for the first day of Term 4. Then off to a relaxing acupuncture appointment to fix the nasty headaches that were creeping back after missing a week. Then a quiet afternoon of reading and a nap. Then swimming lessons for the kids and Jim coming home early for a family dinner.
Opened presents after dinner and then blew out the candle on my yummy super dark chocolate torte.
|From Nikki's Bday|
After that, we skeedaddled and left the kids with gramma. Went to enjoy a free movie of my choice from the local cinema since it was my birthday. Chose to see Mao's Last Dancer in the La Premeire section, which meant cozy loveseats for two, a bar and snack menu as well as free popcorn and soda. Only had to pay for Jim's half of the ticket (which he definitely ate/drank in popcorn and soda).
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Mary offered to hang out with the kids tonight so Jim and I could go out for dinner. Already bought a frozen pizza for the kids, so rather than make her eat cheese on cardboard, we got her a yummy looking chicken salad to eat while we were gone.
Left them all with the promise of watching the Karate Kid and ice cream cones for dessert. Oh, and the promise of an early bedtime. Andrew was waning on the tennis court at 4pm.
So, met a couple we met at the pool for happy hour. They were on their out for the night and suggested we meet up for a quick drink before we headed out for our respective 'date nights' while all the kids were under the care of babysitters.
After drinks Jim and I went into Coffs Harbour city center. Drove the long way around to get there, but found the main street eventually. Parked the car and at an Asian Restaurant. Can't remember the exact name. It was really good. Started with roti bread (for Jim) and Money bags (minced chicken, peanuts and veggie parcels with a spicy sour dipping sauce) then had Tom Yum Goong soup and then finished with a prawn, calamari and chicken and glass noodle salad. Yummy once I picked out the red peppers (Jim assured me there wouldn't be much according to his gourmet cooking experience) and red onions. Oh and put a bit of the soup broth over it for a twist on the flavor.
Came home and found gramma still awake (I called it) and that gramma conned the kids into staying up til 8.30 so SHE could watch the end of the Karate Kid. How funny.
We had a slice of the caramel mud cake I got this afternoon and a glass of icy cold milk. Great way to cap off the evening. Now off to bed and a good night's sleep before tennis at 9 tomorrow.
I took Emmalee down to the beach today to watch the surfing competition that was going on. Instead of being interested in the goings on, we decided to walk the beach and look for pretty rocks and shells.
I can remember being her age and walking the beach with my parents in Hawaii or other places and doing the exact same thing. Don't know what it is about shells or beaches or rocks that attract little girls (who knows, I'll take Andrew tomorrow and see what he thinks…) but it seems to be magical.
She spent the whole walk of the beach collecting until her crocs were stuffed full. If she had bigger shoes or pockets, I am sure she would have collected even more.
There just happens to be an under 16 surfing completion at Diggers Beach, just behind the resort we are staying at. Jim and I stopped down and watched for a few minutes. Then after a while I offered to take Emmalee down to the beach to watch. I thought she might be interested, since I remember loving to watch surfing at that age. It just amazes me how the power of the waves can be harnessed by such a small board. In a way, I can see how people think surfing can be a 'religion'. You have to have absolute trust in the ocean and faith in yourself. It think its quite peaceful and amazing.
The waves aren't too great, but there were some good rides we saw. Think I'll go back tomorrow to watch a bit more.
Both kids have been really into tennis lately with the new tennis lessons and last week's tennis camp. Andrew especially.
Jim booked the courts here and Jim, the kids and Mary went over to hit the ball around first thing this morning. After a bit I met them and got to hit around, too.
Then this afternoon they went back to the courts while Emmalee and I went to collect shells.
Andrew was wiped out but still wanted to hit it around. This is him giving it his best…
Monday, October 12, 2009
Squeaked in just in time – Jim dropped us off to join in the tour as he parked the car. Don't think we really needed to hurry. It wasn't a big place and the tours were quite casual. We caught up at the first stop a male koala who was there recuperating from an accident I think.
Learned a bit about koalas – like one of the main things they get treated for by doctors is Chlamydia. They have two fingers webbed together. And they are solitary creatures. Guess that is why we never see two or more together except at the zoo. Saw one that had been mauled by a dog, another that is their celebrity – a 16 year old named Birthday Girl, who had been visiting the hospital for the last 13 years. She is now a permanent member of their 'family' since she has severe arthritis in her hips.
It was interesting, but as we were with the kids, it got boring quickly. Especially with the knowledge there was a gift shop where they could spend their hard earned money. So, I took them over and they both managed to part with a bit of money and walked away with koala memorabilia.
With not a lot to do in Port Macquarie, we offered an afternoon of bowling to the kids. They jumped for joy and we headed over to the local bowling alley. It didn't look like much from the outside, but it was ok inside.
Got the kids all hooked up with bumpers for bowling and the three adults went without. They had a blast. Between the bowling and the ride on motorcycle video game (which they never put money into but had a great time riding) I think we got our money's worth. Both kids got a strike or a spare and had a lot of fun. Jim of course won and I dragged up into last place as Mary did really well in the last frame.
If bowling wasn't so expensive in Sydney, I think we would do it a bit more often with the kids. Too bad.
Just this afternoon on the drive to Port Macquarie with the sun shining brightly (and hotly) through the front window, I turned my watch around so the face was on the inside of my arm. As I did that, I was hit by a really strong memory of my grandpa Bob. He used to wear this old, classic, simple white faced watch on his left wrist, but with it facing the inside of his wrist. How very strange that by doing something as simple as that I got a trip down memory lane.
I thought how I was excited to be bringing his first great grandchild into the world and how the last time I saw him was on a quick trip before the baby shower for Emmalee. Wasn't sure it was right to go thru with it after having just buried him, but mom said to go ahead. I was able to tell him about the baby (didn't know if Emmalee was a girl or boy) before he passed, but a bit of him lives on in her name. I chose Emma after his mother, my great grandmother. It was such a beautiful name. And in a way a tribute to that part of my family.
Although Emmalee will never know her great grandpa (either of them actually), I had many years of knowing my grandpas. And I hope that she gets the opportunity to know her grandpas for as long as I did and even longer. I am not sure what things about them will trigger a memory for her, but I know there are going to be some for each of her grandpas. And that every memory will be special to her, like mine are for me.
Friday, October 9, 2009
The kids made it through four days of intensive tennis camp -- from 9.30 - 3.30 T-Fri. All four days it was forecasted to rain, hail, blow gale force winds, etc. Was surprised they weren't predicting a dust storm, too! But someone was watching over them -- days 1-3 it didn't rain at all until camp was completely over. And then it cleared up by morning. Then today, the last day with tournaments and all, it didn't rain until lunch time. The rain came down, lightly and wet, but not too hard or too windy.
Both kids made it to the quarter final bracket of the Division 3 (7-9 year olds) and got slated to play each other based on overall score. Didn't know how well it was going to go over -- little brother vs. big sister, but I kissed them goodbye and wished them both luck.
I arrived a few minutes before camp was over and they were in the middle of the awards ceremony. Both of our kids managed to walk away with certificates AND trophies. And not all kids got anything more than a certificate, so it was quite an accomplishment. I found out the quarterfinal match was a tough one with Andrew squeaking out a win over his sister with a score of 7-6. So it was a really close, hard fought game.
Andrew is excited to go back to another camp, so maybe over the summer holidays. And both are excited to start lessons up again once term 4 begins.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
They were 'graded' and placed into groups of 8 or 9 kids at their skill level.
When I picked them up, they were all smiles. I asked what the best part of the day was and each replied (separately) that everything was and when asked what part they liked the least, they replied nothing! So, I think it was a success.
Now, I just have to hope it doesn't rain for the next three days like it is threatening to. Seriously -- at 5 tonite the sky just opened up and poured. All I can do is hope it will be the same for the next three days -- rain AFTER 3pm so the kids don't get soaked or rained out! Because sadly it is a high of 60 all three days and a 40% chance of rain. UGH!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Seemed quite a few more Sydney-siders had the same idea as us, because when we got to the museum (after finding a GREAT parking spot), we stood in a long, slow line waiting to get in. Once we did, the kids picked up their passports to adventure, a new initiative the government has to get kids/families to experience cultural things. Kids get the passports stamped at various places around the city and beyond. Somewhat similar to the passports they got when we went to Disney a few years back.
First thing in we had to visit the dinosaurs. Don't know what it is, but the both LOVE that exhibit. Then off to see Australian animals and the water life. Found out there are two meter long worms just under the surface of beach sand and the lines we always thought were water running back out to sea are probably the worms wriggling along. EWWWW!
sarcophagus, dozen or so carvings, so hieroglyphics in limestone, a bit of jewels and a CT scan of a mummy so the kids could see what was inside. Seeing as their attention span was/is much shorter than mine, the exhibit was about the right size for them. But I could have stayed longer or wished to see more.