Monday, June 30, 2008

Where's Molly?


Lucky Aunty Bec got to see Molly when I picked up Jack from Royalla this afternoon. She has certainly grown in the last week and her 0000 Wondersuits that I bought her are a tight fit. She is only 3 weeks old but she has already been to Bemboka and it was a bit cold this afternoon so her mother dressed her in this awful 'Where's Wally hat.' I'm sorry Molly - I couldn't stop her!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Family

Aunty Rhonda and her beautiful daughter Stephanie flew down from Ballina this weekend. Stan cooked up a feast for the whole family to enjoy.

Even vegetarian Stephanie enjoyed the meal, she also enjoyed stirring up her uncle Stan.

Rhonda and Gail have had a very tough year, both suffering cancer. They will be the golden age of 60 this year, so a cheesecake was in order!


Happy 60 Years!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Back to Work

It was lovely to see everyone at work this week and they were all so happy to have me back. I was surprised since I only worked there for 2 months before going on 3 months leave! They organised a delicious dinner to mark the end of the term and Jack had good company with Jackson who is 2 months younger than he is. We had dessert at Koko Black as I had to drop Stuart off there because his LICENSE is SUSPENDED. He was unable to get his regular medical check done for his license because we were OS so they sent us a lovely letter today saying that he was no longer able to drive.... until he gets his medical check done. Well, Koko Black was an over indulgence as is always is. YUM!

Jack had 2 days with his Dad where I got to come home to slow cooked dinners and a tidy house and 2 days were spent at Royalla on the farm. Apparently Jack loved spending time with Molly and he wants to cuddle her all day and Dad reported that he was a 'kissy boy' as he kissed everything, especially the cat. I like the kissy boy, I got lots of kisses and hugs when I got home. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Boy Gets Grill

Stu made dinner for friends last night and it was amazing. He worked all day and then came home to make this delicious feast for our friends. I did the dishes :)

Entree
Hot Crab Dip

Main
Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange Mojo

Avocado Salad with Tomatoes and Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette

Hot Buttered Corn on the Cob

Dessert
Grilled Pineapple with Butter-Rum Glaze & Vanilla Ice Cream


Stu said, "We are in our own country now, you can stop taking photos of our food."

His American inspiration was Bobby Flay from Iron Chef America.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

For the Mama

Here are the pics of Molly from Thursday.


Molly



xxx

Aunty Bec & the cuz

Happy Birthday Justine!

Kai came over to play today for the first time in over 3 months! We missed him and his mum and Jen too.

Jack's Las Vegas scar under his right eye is healing nicely.

It was Justine's Birthday today and she is hiding a 9 month pregnant belly behind Kai.

Jen helped to build towers and read books.

And I made some birthday cupcakes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Home

One week later and things are back to normal. I am starting back at work on Monday and Jack will be spending 2 weeks with his Nan-R on the farm. Over only 2 days spent at Royalla, Jack has become very fond of his Nan R and the aunties and uncle so I know that he will be fine. I'm sure to be suffering a second round of 'separation anxiety' but it's much easier to leave my boy now than it was 12 months ago when we did this the first time.

Jack just loves animals and he loves his cat who is a little fatter than when we left. Here is my boy in his winter dressing gown giving his cat a kiss for ol' times.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Molly, Molly

We had lunch in Royalla today, it was lovely. Nan R made spinach and cheese pastry and fondue for dessert. I came armed with the camera for Molly but she really didn't like the flash.

Here is my niece, warm and cozy in her pram.

Jack loved following his Pop around the farm and helping to give the ducks some water. He can say 'Nanna' quite clearly but when we asked him to say 'Pop' he said, 'Duck.' So Pop is Duck for now. It was funny to see how he loved to follow Pop and Uncle Mike around and as soon as he came into see the girls he decided we weren't any fun.


Here is my beautiful sister who is now a mum. She is doing a great job with Molly and she is very relaxed(and very exhausted today).

This is Molly's favourite place to be.

Monday, June 16, 2008

5 NEW web albums

Just so I don't have to bring all of my albums over to your place and bore you to tears for hours on end.....

You can view all of our albums from the trip using the links on the right under 'USA Album'

I have added 5 albums from the last week, there are lots of little videos in there too.

The slide show below is from the Grand Canyon album

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friends & Family

In the last 48 hours since we have been home we have had the chance to catch up with some old friends and the families. The bags are unpacked and the washing is done. Stu said after everything was done it felt like we had never left. But so much has changed. Jack was so excited to see his grandparents and aunties and uncles and although he hardly recognised the house and the cat. He remembered those that were important. He gave both Grandma and Nan R big kisses and he loved seeing Grandma's dog and Nan R's ducks.

We are all exhausted despite getting a great nights sleep and the freezing weather is a shock but it is SO GOOD to be home. We love this lucky country, the food, the friends and even the family.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

We're HOME!

We had a few hectic moments on our trip home but we are here and (amazingly) so is our luggage.

We stood in line in Las Vegas airport for 90mins before finally getting to the front of the line (with $650 excess baggage) and we were told our flight was cut off 3 MINS ago. So we missed our flight out of Vegas but thankfully we were put on another flight with a different airline and we were so lucky to get this flight as it was 98% full when we got our seats. This airline did not charge for our baggage as they connected it through to Sydney so it actually worked out a lot better although it was 3 hours later so we only had 2 hours in LA to make the next plane.

In LA we were not able to check in because Jack DID NOT HAVE A TICKET. Apparently he needed a paper ticket and it cost $500 for one. We told them we didn't have one to get here but they really didn't care. AND THEN the printer jammed so they couldn't print the paper ticket. We were again in line for around 90mins and Jack was exhausted (it was 10pm) but we made our flight with 5mins to spare as a Qantas lady escorted us to the gate so we would make the flight. We had an issue with the luggage here as well because we had checked some to Canberra and they counted 9 bags when we only had 6. So they DELETED 3 bags.

In Sydney we were very fast to domestic check in but again missed our flight by about 10mins after waiting in the line for an hour. Seeing a pattern here? We were told that we would be charged for excess baggage again but luckily the lady said, "Next time you fly with us we will charge for the baggage. I will let it go today." Flights to Canberra run every 20mins so we were the last people seated on a plane that ran an hour later than our scheduled flight. 28 hrs after stepping out of the Bellagio we walked into our home. What a fantastic feeling.

Jack slept for 11hours of the 14hr flight to Sydney so Stu and I also got a good sleep and Jack was a great traveller after all that he had been through. We were so excited to meet Jack's cousin Molly yesterday too, she is beautiful and really does look just like her mum. Jack loved Molly and gave her about 15 kisses and he obviously missed Aunty Rach too because he gave her about 3 kisses too.



A BIG HUGE THANKS to Jules for organised a cuppa and some sandwiches for when we walked in the door and the suitcases and power adapters and the care packages and baby formula and for making us feel missed and collecting and scanning the mail.

A BIG THANKS to John for caring for our fish who are doing so well.

A BIG THANKS to Jen for caring for the cat who is looking so happy to see us and also for looking after our home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reality Check

Just in case you were thinking this week was all too dreamy....

After finally getting out of the car from the Canyon and into the Bellagio Suite Jack was running and fell right onto the corner of the draw. We spent 3 hours in hospital getting it neatly glued closed. He was fine and running again about 10mins after it happened. I am still coming to terms with the fact that his perfect little face has a permanent Las Vegas scar but I'm so thankful that he is ok and I am REALLY READY to go home tomorrow.

It could be worse.

Grand Canyon

It only took us 3 hours to drive to the West rim of the Grand Canyon so Jack was happy to sit in the back of the Hummer with his dual DVD players with bose headphones. We had a Maccas breakfast and a nap and before we knew it we were there much earlier than we expected.

We went on the Sky Walk which is a glass bridge over the canyon and we were up about 200 floors with only glass between us and the Canyon floor. We weren't allowed to take anything onto the glass (inc camera) in case we dropped it on the glass floor. We have a nice family photo that the Sky Walk took for us, stay tuned for that.

Stu did most of the driving and really enjoyed the 40miles on the dirt road and through some pretty rough terrain. He fish tailed the hummer around the corners which totally freaked me OUT! Apparently he knew what he was doing and was in control the whole time. Yeah, sure.

Jack and I loved the Native American Indian dance and they were amazing. These guys live about 2 hours from the Canyon (in the middle of the desert) and get brought out here to work everyday.


It was 110 degrees (44C) so we drank water and mostly stayed in the shade. It was SO HOT!


This one of Stu and Jack is best of you click on it and view it large.

Did we win big?

After our big night out in Vegas we have had everyone ask about how we did and I am happy to report that our winnings paid for our drinks for the night. Vegas was more exciting at night and we walked the strip and visited some of the other casinos.

The Venetian was the second best to the Bellagio and we were amazed how they turned night into day.


Most romantic Stu took me on a gondala ride with Figaro singing as he steered us around the Venetian.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ready to hit the tables

Jack is asleep and the nanny is due in half and hour. I am just too excited - I had to share!

Chilling out at the Bellagio

Jack slept in until 8.30 this morning so we took it as a sign that he needed a day of rest. So while he napped Stu enjoyed the fountains and I enjoyed the luxury of the Bellagio including Tiffany & Co, Armani, Chanel, Dior, Fendi and not to forget Yyes Saint Laurent. We also hired a nanny for after Jack is sound asleep tonight so that we can see a show and hopefully win some $$$ to spend downstairs!

After the nap we made our way down to the pool and it was beautiful. The umbrellas sprayed mist so that the air was not too dry over the pool cafe where we had lunch. We are living the fine life this week.



We took a little walk around the hotel before the afternoon nap and I thought you might enjoy this little tour. This is the chocolate fountain that can be found in the patisserie.


We did have some trouble choosing dessert again.

The lobby has a garden and Jack loved the trains and fountains. The flowers leave a lovely fresh scent right up the the casino.

This is one of the many, many bars and I'm not sure where you should put your cocktail on this one.


We found this cheeky boy running riot in the casino so we strapped him down in the stroller. Luckily everyone thought he was very cute.


We are taking the hummer for a spin to see some desert before dinner.

Mum & Dad - could you please send some money!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

We drove in a straight, flat line for 3 hours and it looked like this for most of the way. It was hot in the desert at 100 degrees!! (38C)


We finally found the beautiful Bellagio where we are staying for the next 4 days and it is amazing. The fountains are breath taking and Vegas has an exciting atmosphere. Even more exciting when you are driving around in a HUMMER! Stu lived the dream today and swapped the Jeep for a Hummer and then drove it down the Vegas strip. People stopped to take photos of Stu in his Hummer - it was very 'celebrity.' Jack enjoyed the sun roof and double DVD players in the back seats.

This is the view from our room - magic.

We are driving to the Grand Canyon tomorrow, it is a 4 hour drive from here. We had some dessert left over from the buffet if you want to share our left overs....


Sunday, June 8, 2008

LEGOLAND




Lego Land was a blast today and now we are just exhausted from all of the walking. Jack had a great time on the rides and Stu enjoyed the Lego sculptures and Lego tour. We all had a good time walking around and finding all of the things that were made of Lego. I really enjoyed mini land where we found ourselves back in DC.

We had originally planned to fly to Vegas tomorrow but the excess baggage for a domestic flight would set us back at least $300 so we are driving the 3 hours instead. This arvo I plan on sipping a cocktail by the pool and having a long afternoon nap. Well deserved!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Disneyland



All of my dreams did come true today. I met Mickey & all of the wonderful Disney characters that I grew up with. We arrived at Disneyland at 9am and we stayed right up until the end. We dined in the Disney cafes and restaurants and Jack slept in his pram during his usual nap times. We went on the tea cups and flew on Dumbo the elephant. We saw the most amazing fireworks over the castle and Tinker Bell flew over head. The parade was something special and Stu enjoyed Tomorrow Land and riding the segway. Jack loved the steam train and he danced to the music of the performers. All of us enjoyed riding the boats in Adventure Land.

I loved every minute of Disneyland, it was wonderful.


LEGOLAND tomorrow!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Welcome to the world, MOLLY!

CONGRATULATIONS RACH & DAN!

I am the proudest Aunty in LA!

Molly arrived on the 6th June at 7.54am by natural delivery and she and Rachael are already at home.

I called Nan R & Pop for 5mins this morning after I checked Molly's blog and I am without skype so it cost me $50!

We will be home from 10pm LA time and you can skype us until midnight.

We feel like we really are a MILLION MILES AWAY right now and we are missing you all like crazy.

LOVE LOVE LOVE, Kiss Kiss and Hug HUG!

Love to you all,

Bec, Stu & JACK

Los Angeles, California

After recovering at the airport hotel we started exploring Los Angeles. We picked up a car for the next 3 days that would be big enough to fit all of our luggage. We can't fit it all in the boot so Jack has bags packed on either side of him also.

Our first stop was Venice Beach and it was beautiful. The weather was perfect and it was a great place to chill out. We had lunch with a view of the ocean and we took a long walk on the pier and the fishermen showed Jack their latest catches. Jack also enjoyed chasing seagulls.



We drove to Griffith Park Observatory to see the park and the HOLLYWOOD sign. The traffic in LA is crazy and at some points there was 4 stories of traffic intersecting like spaghetti. All of the traffic was flowing at about 120kms/hr so it was a nice 30min drive to the park.


Jack had just fallen asleep in the car when we pulled over to see the observatory and we figured he would go back to sleep on our way to Disneyland but he was far too excited and managed to make it through today with only a 5min afternoon sleep.

We are at Disneyland now and it's far too exciting that the park is right opposite our hotel and there are so many people walking out and we have to wait until tomorrow to do it all.

Excess Baggage

Just letting you all know that we made the trip to LA. It was a crazy adventure as we made it to the airport as they told us to step away from the glass for the tornado warning. We had the MAXIMUM allowance for baggage including extra 'baby items' and 2 x 70 pound suitcases each and two enormous carry on bags plus a nappy bag. They told us to board the plane in a rush to avoid the storm but unfortunately everyone wasn't fast enough and the storm approached so we couldn't take off for THREE AND A HALF HOURS! We were stuck on the tiny plane that wasn't going anywhere with no idea of when we would be able to take off. When we finally did take off we flew through some crazy turbulence. Jack fell asleep as soon as we took off and woke up when we landed 5.5hrs later.

We are well rested now and our bags all made it (one of our cases was the LAST one off the plane.) Amazingly Jack has adjusted to the 3 hour time difference all ready and we just enjoyed a lovely buffet breakfast in the hotel. We are heading to the Disneyland hotel after the morning nap.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Last day at work

When Jack heard that his 'Dad Do' was going into work today he quickly picked up his little brief case so that he could go too. The dress code at Verizon is very relaxed but we were pretty sure that thongs and boardies would be pushing his luck.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Welcome to America


Alistar, Prescott, Amy & Eli arrived yesterday afternoon from Canberra and came over for dinner last night as well. They are all safe and sound and Eli was kicking and smiling with delight when we welcomed her to America. Eli had a lovely flight and was a good girl for the whole 26 hour journey! Amy, Prescott & Alistar all looked very tired and they all had a million questions but they were also very excited to be here.

Welcome to America - have a fun, healthy and safe adventure!