Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lurary Caverns and Maze

Today we drove for 2 hours to explore the Luray Caverns and maze in South Virginia. The hedge maze was wonderful and we got lost quite a few times. Jack really enjoyed the ride in the baby backpack but it was very hot at 27C for Stuart to carry him around.

Ellen came with us and her and Stuart took a break with a lovely view of the maze.

Jack took a minute to dip his feet in the water fountain.


But of course he got carried away and ended up right in the pond! We couldn't help but to let him go and have a laugh. Jack thought this was the best part of the day.

We went for a long walk through the caves and Jack eventually fell asleep on Stuart's shoulders.

The caves were just as beautiful as the ones in NSW and very similar too. The water in the picture below was so clear that you could see the reflection of the decorated ceiling.


You can view the web album here

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy Baby Shower Aunty Rach

Here is Rach and Nan B. Rach is holding her present from us, Molly's name to go on her nursery wall.

It was so great to talk to Nan B and Aunty Rach on Skype today. Have a wonderful day Rachael, we hope you enjoy this time because soon you will have a little (screaming) 'ball and chain,' you will never be the same again. Once you have a baby you join a whole league of great women before you. It will be the most exciting and scary time of your life and you will learn so much.

My only advice is this: If you are not sure - ask mum or Nan B. They won't offer the advice but if you ask them they will help. They were both amazing with Jack and seemed to know even before I did, exactly what he needed.

When you are ready for some time on your own (probably months down the track) Stuart, Jack and I would love to babysit. We will come to your place so that you and Dan can go to dinner knowing that Molly is safe in her own bed.

We are so excited for you and Molly, our only wish is that she is fit and healthy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Little Gym

Dad took the day off work and came to The Little Gym today to see Jack's class.


The parachute is first for the brave kids.

Stu took Jack on the balance beam and his skills are improving. A few weeks ago Jack would bend at the knee everytime he was put on the beam.


Mr Chad helped Jack do backward sumasaults.

There are balls.

And bubbles. You'll all be pleased to know that Jack is at the top of his class for 10mth - 18mths.

Virginia Falls

After two days and nights of very heavy rain the Virginia Falls were raging. It is located in a beautiful National Park only 30mins drive from our place. The weather was also wonderful at 27 C today.


We were very careful to stick to the paths as signs warned of 7 deaths on average per year in the area from drowning and also 'rabid raccoons' with RABIES!!!

Little Gym & Virginia Falls Caught on Tape



Jack does a hand stand with Mr Chad



Bye Bye Big Birds at the Little Gym



Virginia Falls

The blogger photo-uploader has gone on strike this arvo so it's just a few short videos today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Otani

We had some delcious Japanese food for dinner tonight and Jack also enjoyed the show that the chef put on for us. Other than smoking onion towers, he also made fried rice and there was a lot of fire and knife juggling.

OTANI Japanese Steak & Seafood YUM!

This was by far the best meal out that we have had since we have been in Ashburn!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Delights of the Day

We hung around Ashburn on Saturday so that Stu could take a break from the rush. We went to the mall and Jack got a hair cut. Stuart bought some new shoes - he got them for 70% off the already reduced to clear price, so only paid $7 for a neat pair of New Balance size 13. Stu was so impressed that he asked that I put a picture of them on the blog... will have to update later.

Today we went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. Jack had a 3hr morning nap then we went to 'Moes' for lunch and it is a Mexican place that has the same concept as subway where you go along a line and choose all of your toppings. No nachos will ever compare to Juliette's - they were no where near as good. Before driving to DC we went through the petrol station and paid at the pump and then went through the drive-thru ATM. These are just a few of the lazy American customs that we are enjoying.

The rain was bucketing down as we drove to the museum in DC and it didn't slow down when we had to walk 3 blocks from the car to the museum either. Jack was fine - he had the umbrella and the big rain coat. But Stuart and I were soaked, it was a perfect moment, we just laughed and laughed!

Notice nice neat haircut but still has a blue lip from the accident late last week.

The museum was great fun and they had a 'Discovery Room' where Jack enjoyed playing with other kids. He enjoyed the magnifying glass and the shell collection. It made me wonder what he might do when he is all grown up - he is absorbing so much information and he already loves learning. Stuart loved the T Rex skeleton and my favourite was the 45k diamond.

45 Carat Hope Diamond Est. Value: $250 millionUSD

T Rex

The rain slowed down for us to walk back to the car and on the way home we had dinner at Vapianos where they make your pasta in front of you with fresh pasta and fresh ingredients. All of the herbs are grown in the restaurant and the pasta is also made fresh and you can watch it being made.

Jack had a good time in the car on the way home and he has some new dance moves to 'if your happy and you know it.' More pics and videos to follow.


Jack found his favourite part of the museum right here

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jack's nose



and as you can see - he has almost got the mouth and eyes as well.

We are getting ready to sing 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes' with Kai when we get back.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cruise around NY habour

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Hello Dad do" Jack's first sentence

Another video by request from Aunty Rach

Brought to you by our friendly sponsors - Verizon :)



Please excuse the excess drool - Jack fell over today and put his top teeth through him bottom lip! This boy is tough and no stitches this time thank goodness! He actually did walk straight into a glass door like a pigeon. No Nan R, I did not beat him up! He was just in a hurry to get to the park.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Central Park

It was a beautiful, sunny day in New York City. We checked out of our hotel after the boys had their morning nap and we headed up to 5th Ave, to find the 'Build a Bear' store for Jack. We were lucky to find 'TomTom' after we left him in our hotel room. We were really very lucky that house-keeping was so honest.

Here is Jack giving his newly stuffed bear a bath. Jack decided to hop in too. His bear plays his favourite lullaby and has a heart in it which Jack made a wish on. (Is this kid spoilt?) Jack also dressed the bear in NYPD gear and little sketchers. Stu said it was the 'off duty' gear.


We took a short taxi ride up to central Park which was a lovely oasis in the middle of the hectic city. It was busy but quiet like a library. We had a nice picnic on the grass and Jack was able to run around.

This is called the 'sheep station' in central park. In the summer you cant see the grass because of all of the people. This is where the open-air concerts are held.


Here I am!!! Having a horse and cart ride in central park with my two best boys. This was the most memorable part of our journey so far and I loved every minute. Our driver was a relaxed and friendly, local guy (very different to the Taxi drivers) and he told us all about the park on way though. It was just wonderful.


Jack also had a good time on the ride but unfortunately he has learnt to call out, 'Hello, Hello' to passers by and has also learnt this clever little trick below.




Here is the link to the web album

Liberty

Empire State Building
Today was perfect. We had the most lovely weather for a cruise around the harbour in New York. As you can see we got right up close to Liberty herself.




We also stopped to take a moment at ground zero where the two towers once stood. The place had a very strange and quiet feel to it. Jack was asleep in his pram so we also stopped at a cafe up the street to have a quiet cuppa. Even the cafes around the streets there had a 'ghostly' feel to them. I could imagine the chaos and terror that was felt back in 2001. I wonder if this area will ever truly recover from the devastation?



We went shopping at Macy's which is the largest department store in the world and it is HUGE. Jack met a lovely little 12mth old girl from England (Shanti) and we had a nice chat with them. Stuart says that she looks like a cabbage patch doll :)



After all of this we had dinner at Planet Hollywood where many famous people have dined, including Jack Duncan! Today after the boys have their morning nap we are heading to Central Park and then to the 2 storey Teddy Bear factory on 5th Ave. to pick up Jack's souvenir.

Back to Ashburn this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

NEW YORK

HI MUM!! I'm in Times Square, New York - all the way from Bemboka to the BIG SMOKE! We have had the MOST AWESOME time ever and we still have 2 days here. This place is just amazing and the $1 bus ride was very comfortable. Jack slept for most of the way here and he is just taken away by the hustle and bustle of the city. We arrived right outside Maddison Square Garden. We have a nice hotel which is just around the corner from Times Sqaure but far enough away that it is quiet. The Toys R Us we went to in Times Square is 5 stories and we went of the Farris wheel that is in the shop which was fun for Jack Rabbit. We had some NEW YORK cheesecake in NEW YORK which was the best cheesecake we ever tasted and we also went to M&M world which had 4 floors of M&Ms.

The Taxi rides are an experience themselves as the traffic is CRAZY. The drivers are quick on the horn and pedestrians just walk right out in front of cars. Scary! The police and fire trucks speed though the streets and Jack is just so excited by the chaos.



We went up the Empire State Building and I really had a 'moment.' aaahhhh...... serenity. When you get up the 86th floor it really takes your breath away. It is just beautiful and romantic - just like the movies. I felt like Meg Ryan. It was quiet and serene despite the other 100 people up there with you. Jack tried to throw his dummy over as his gift to the city. Thank goodness we had thought ahead to attatch it to his jumper. We also went up to the 102nd floor which was a lot quieter (because you pay extra to get up there) but we were able to find all of the land marks on the map. Jack could also run around up there because there were only a few other people and it was all inside.

The guy in the gift shop on the way down asked where we were from and when we told him he said, 'That's funny cause you don't sound like you have an accent, mate.' Maybe we have been here too long already! I hope we don't start to sound like the yanks! Maybe he was on drugs?



There are heaps more photos but we will upload to picasa when we are back home. Today we are going for a cruise around the statue of Liberty and we are going to see ground zero and pay our respects for the lives lost there.

After that we are taking Jacko to central park where he can run around crazy and I am hopeful to find a horse and cart.

We are having the most AMAZING time.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ashburn, Virginia

Jack and I went for a drive today to take some photos because the weather was so nice. Jack wasn't in the mood to be my mascot so this is why he isn't in the photos today. We all have our moments.

This is the local high school, all of the high schools have big sports stadiums and lots of sporting facilities like tennis courts and basket ball courts.


The big yellow busses are parked out the front of the schools. There are no public busses in the area so this must be how the kids get to school. There is at least 60 busses parked out the front of this school and they are quite big too.


All of the houses in Ashburn look the same, they are made from plastic! There is wood and insulation but the panels of the exterior of the houses is plastic. Strange also that the new suburbs have big telegraph poles above ground.

This is our apartment (second floor) which is looking particularly beautiful with all of the cherry blossom trees at the moment.

Our cars were all covered in pink confetti this morning - just like a wedding :)

You get the point by now - I like the Cherry Blossom Trees in Ashburn.

Jack's Belly

Hanging out in Virginia

The internet is a lot faster in the US so it doesn't take an hour to upload 30sec videos :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Checkup at the dentist

Jack went back to the dentist today and as you can tell he was totally cool with it. This photo was taken right outside our apartment and I wish I had more time to take photos of the Cherry Blossoms around this area because there are so many and they are just looking so beautiful. We are on the second floor.

These are Jack's X rays and he got to keep them as a souvenir of his trip to America. There is only one minor chip and no other permanent damage. Also there has been no more seizures and the only outcome of that event was that I have taken Jack's temperature at least 6 times a day since it happened and I took him back to the doctor a few days ago when it got to 37.5 and she said that he was fine :)


Friday, April 11, 2008

Outlet shopping with Ellen

Apparently the sun does shine in Ashburn!

Notice the first day with shorts and t-shirt! It's 26 degrees and sunny here today. Hooray!


Jack refused to have his nap this morning so Ellen and I decided that he was better and well enough to go shopping. Eventually he fell asleep in the pram and we found some real bargains at the outlet mall in Leesburg. The brand names here are half the price that they are at home. Jack bought some new gumboots (very Bemboka) because it rains here a lot and Ellen and I found some perfume for 50% less than it would cost at home. Jack enjoyed playing at the park which was in the middle of the mall. The malls here are mostly not undercover like at home and they don't have parent rooms like home but they all have these cute little parks for the kids to hang out. Ellen and I were also a bit confused as there was a food court which only had two checkouts so you get your food and then go to the checkout - hmm... how does that work?


Another cool thing here is bread in a can and these disposable bibs that kids wear around here. What a good idea - they are also very cheap and no more soaking in the napi san for two days after a spaghetti meal!


Jack's favourite meal - spaghetti of course!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ocean City Adventure

We decided on an adventure this weekend. We didn't book anything or even buy a map, we just thought we'd rely on TomTom (the GPS) and find the beach. TomTom did find us a little beach on Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis but it was a little strange because there was no parking and the beach said 'Private Property' but we didn't care since we had driven for 1hr 1/2 to see it. We thought no one would mind if we played in the park for 20mins.

In the background we caught sight of a very long bridge so we decided to go on an adventure to find it.

I was totally freaking out as we drove across the 7km long bridge with 5 narrow lanes of traffic but the boys wound down the windows and thought it was fun.

We had lunch in a restaurant across the bridge but the fish and chips weren't as good as Batemans Bay. We asked a local where the ocean was (as we had just driven over Chesapeake Bay) and they pointed East - 2hrs drive. So we drove to see the Atlantic Ocean and it looked like so much fun that we decided to get a room for the night. We had no change of clothes so we went to the factory outlet mall and bought some bargain brand names. I had fun picking out a new outfit for the whole family. Here is Jack in his new OshKosh.


This is the view from our hotel room of the Atlantic Ocean!



The next day the weather turned windy and cold so instead of the planned beach day we drove to the Smithsonian National Aquarium in Washington.


Click on the link below to see the Adventure Album.


Ocean City April08