Archive for March, 2017

Pack N Play

March 14, 2017

Our last full day in Australia was pretty low key. The final track meet was scheduled for the evening and I was mentally preoccupied with trying to get a head start on the packing and making sure I had in my possession everything needed for our inflight survival back to the US. But the boys couldn’t give a toss about any of the major details involved with getting us back home. They were going stir crazy in the hotel room wrestling with clothes I was trying to pack and refusing to let me round up their books and toys. The same books and toys that had been scattered around the room for days, ignored by both of them, but suddenly when I needed to pack them away, it was all “Noooo Momma, I’m going to read/play with that right now so you can’t put it in the bag” Ahhhh! Doing my best to stay in a place of patience, I decided it would be a best to quit the the idea of getting any kind of jump start on the packing and just go ahead and take them to the park. A couple of hours playing outside in the heat and they’d be tired enough to nap in the afternoon, and thats when I’d becoming a packing machine. There is nothing more productive than a mother, blasting through a to-do list or work load, while under constant threat that at any minute one or both of the kids would wake. Post nap and we were back on the tram, this time taking the right tram in the right direction to the final track meet.

The playground sandbox. A favorite with Cullen.

A combined hill sprint/resistance run for Keane.

Ah, the drinking fountain, now the real fun starts.

These hippy kids of mine and their love of not wearing shoes.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped for lunch at an almost deserted restaurant with excellent views of the bustling Melbourne streets.

Keane engaging in some people watching.

There’s nothing more impatient than a hungry toddler, but watching cartoons on Momma’s phone is a great distraction.

Cutie.

Big brother wants in on the cartoon fun.

And by the looks of it, it was hilarious.

Evening time and we’re back at the stadium.

One of our Australian thrower friends brought his son to the meet. He’s the same age as Keane and instantly they started playing.

Right now the boys don’t have the attention span to last an entire track meet. So we always try to sit in a place where they’re free to get up and run around without getting in anyone’s way.

Daddy trackside with his Go-Pro videoing some of the athletes.

Keane has questions.

Cullen is mostly curious about the can of Red Bull he stole that momma won’t let him drink.

The Team Bolt relay in action again for the final event of the evening.

Maybe a good 15 mins or so of spectating here.

Meet’s over, selfie time with the track fans.

Post meet and its access all areas.

As you can imagine, when this man shows up to race, there’s a constant mob of thousands of track fans trying to get a moment of his time, a selfie, an autograph or even a high-five. While you don’t want to be another person looking for a piece of him, you can’t help thinking for the scrapbook moment your kids will now have forever. Oh, and in case you know nothing about track, thats Usain Bolt.

And one with Cullen looking up.

The Secret Beach

March 12, 2017

I promise, just a few more posts on all things Australia to go, then we’ll get back on track with life in real’ish time. The 10 days we were in Oz seemed to fly past. I thought we’d end up spending a ton of time on the beach, but we were trying to pack as much into the trip as we could, while still being realistic about the fact that we were traveling with a 4 year old and a 2 year old, and of course there was the small issue of the husband being there to work. But we did manage to squeeze a 2nd beach day in a couple of days before our departure. For this beach experience we drove about an hour north of Melbourne to a place little known to tourists, but luckily for us, we knew a few locals who let us in on this hidden paradise.

It was an off the beaten track, small cove and there was literally us and 2 other people on the beach.

The water was so calm and clear. Not a wave in sight and just the gentlest of breezes. The boys had no problem wading out a good distance from the shore line.

Waaaaay out there.

I think it might be illegal to go to a beach and not build sand castles.

Each castle topped with its own dinosaur.

The smash of course being the best part.

Cullen was a little fixated on dinosaur poo and kept picking up random rocks and telling me he found dinosaur poop.

Look momma, I found a BIIIIG dinosaur poop”

Buried alive.

Spontaneous shot-put practice.

Australian Wild

March 8, 2017

There is absolutely no way you can take a trip to Australia and not make the effort to meet yourself some kangaroos and koalas. During our long flight to Melbourne, I got talking to a fellow mother, an American women who now lives in Australia with her husband and 3 kids. And yes, she was flying with her 3 kids, a 6 year old, a 3 year old and a 15 month old. Ahhh! Now thats a mother who needed to be greeted upon landing with the biggest bottle of champagne. Such a trooper and thank goodness the gods of seating arrangements put us next to each other, cos we tagged teamed all the kids and navigated some of the flights hairier moments by sharing snacks, toys and silly games. Needless to say, most of our bonding was focused on surviving travel with kids, kids in general, and how coffee, tea and wine have become a stable in both of our lives since we joined the motherhood. Briefly touching upon our mistrust for mothers who don’t use 1, a combination of the 3, or all 3 of these liquids as a way of surviving a day with children. Either they are 1. lying or 2. have nannies or some other form of back up adult supervision available. Anyway, in between “the mother struggle is real” chit-chat, this lady asked if we had any plans for our visit? I touched on the fact that we were there primarily for the 2 track meets, but with a bunch of free days between the meets, I was definitely hoping to we could figure out an opportunity for the boys (and maybe myself) to meet some Australian wildlife. Preferably not in a zoo like manner, where you just get to stand and stare at them through wires fences and cages. We were looking for something more up close and personal. So she told me about this amazing sanctuary, Healesville Sanctuary about and hour and a half drive outside Melbourne. Not exactly close, but not far enough for us to say “no” to this hands on experience.

Kangaroos here we come.

Well hello cuties.

Just these simple ropes, which were there primarily to keep the humans from roaming all over the place.

As you can see, the kangaroos can do and go whereever the heck they want.

The boys are about to feed some of the kangaroos, but first they have to listen to the feeding guidelines.

Getting some grass and carrots ready to feed.

These animals were so sweet. And adorable. The boys were a little standoffish initially.

Daddy did a little demonstrating and with all his fingers accounted for post feeding, the boys were ready to give it a go.

Happy boy.

Next stop, the koalas.

Pause to check out this long beaked fella strutting around.

Here we are, the “OMG how stupid cute are you, koalas”.

Apparently the koalas are not all that friendly. They don’t mind you being in their space, but they’re not a fan of being touched or cuddled. Then why in the world were they made so adorable? So hard to resist giving this guy a great big cuddly squeeze.

Keane and Benny (the name of the koala) making some friendly eye contact.

Shy little wave from Cullen.

Family shot, with Cullen and I making the same pursed lip expression while Daddy and Keane stay focused on Benny.

Play time.

We stopped by the dingo den.

I imagined dingos to be a lot more mean and aggressive looking, and less like this, fox/dog’ish/family pet’ish.

A dinosaur skull? Well, according to the boys.

Stepping Into Psycho

March 6, 2017

Oh the Super Bowl, yes, this happened while we were in Australia and for those of us that are Facebook and/or Instagram friends, you watched as I shared lots of little videos of The Husband (a huge Patriots fan) spiral into a jittery, edgy, mess of extreme emotions throughout the rollercoaster of a game. Well, you watched from the back because me and my camera were not allowed to be anywhere near his line of vision. Early in the game I’d been shooting photos of the boys and documenting the scene of our al fresco viewing, when suddenly The Falcons (the team The Patriots were playing, that also happens to be the home team from the state we live in, Georgia) scored the first of many, many touch downs. Of course I panned my camera around to get The Husband’s reaction to the situation and lets just say, his reaction, was straight up psychotic. With the eyes of a wild man willing to hurt me, I was told to “get that camera out of my face“. Apparently, “this is f#king serious” and my clicking if it continued, was going to be the downfall of Patriot nation. Wow, up until that moment I had no idea of how much power I was holding in my hands. I thought I was just capturing and preserving future family memories, little did I know I was actually controlling the outcome of the game. Now with this knowledge it became clear to me that my husband was officailly certifiable, at least for the duration of the game. So I appeased and did my best to avoided poking the bear by placing myself out of his line of vision and shooting strictly from the back. Behind his back. We all know how the game unfolded, dramatically. But thankfully the outcome was favorable to The Husband, which was lucky for me, my camera and possibly our relationship. And the victory also meant he was done with his bout of crazy and ready to function as stable member of society once more.

The big screen in Melbourne’s Federation Square was set up ready to broadcast the game. We grabbed ourselves some of the best seats.

Settling in and settling the nerves.

The boys couldn’t have cared less about the game really. What they were into was all of the birds, and how with the distribution of some cookie and cracker crumbs, they had the power to bring all the birds directly to them.

The reaction to the first Falcons touch down.

The reaction to my camera clicking. And you don’t need to be an excellent lip reader to figure out his word choice in this frozen moment.

So I switched my focus back to the boys and all of their birdie fun.

A quick check in with the husband, from the back of course.

A bold and risky side capture.

Back to the lads.

Post game and look at crazy there, all smiles and the picture of stability. With the Patriots victory, he’s all about jumping in for a family selfie.

The Tram To Dodge

March 1, 2017

After being in Melbourne for a few days, we decided we were ready to go native and start using the public transportation. The night of the first track meet it was decided that Keane, Cullen and myself would take the tram to the stadium. Daddy had to be at the track several hours ahead of the actual competition start time and knowing it was going to be a late evening for the boys, getting an afternoon nap and some good food was essential for their (and my) survival. So we opted to follow on later, by tram. The boys were so excited. We figured out our tram number and waited impatiently for it to arrive. Eventually tram number 12 showed up and we hopped on to take the short 15 minute ride to the stadium. Initially the boys were a little reserved as they began to take in the whole process of public transportation. Eventually they settled in and began to enjoy the thrill of the tram. 20 minutes into our 15 minute tram ride however, I started to feel like something wasn’t right. There was no sign of the stadium lights shining high above the surrounding trees. The streets were beginning to look sightly more derelict and the people a little more sketchy. Oh shit, did we get on the wrong tram?? I quickly began packing away my camera and phone, trying to avoid looking obviously touristy and not wanting to give anyone a reason to approach us. I asked a lady sitting across from me, a lady who I noticed had a kung-fu like grip on her purse (not at all reassuring), if the tram was headed anywhere close to Albert Stadium. “No“, was what she told me. Apparently I needed to be going in the opposite direction. Damn it! We got on the right tram, but headed the wrong way. Ugh! What a rookie tram using move on my part. Now the focus had to be on getting back, cos there was no way I was seeing this tram ride through to its finally destination to Lord knows where. Not wanting to panic the boys but needing to move swiftly to get us out of our current situation, I ushered us off at the next stop. Keeping the boys closer than close we played the “eye-spy” game for distraction as I waited and willed the next tram to hurry the f*ck up and get us out of dodge. It was only a few minutes, but you know it felt like an entirety before the next tram arrived and we were safely on our way back and outwards in the direction we were originally suppose to be headed. But now we were really late. Our little tram adventure had cost us most of the meet. As long as we made it for the final few races and the boys got to experience the electric atmosphere of competition, everything would be fine. Cos now at least, we were safe.

All joy and excitement as we see our tram approaching.

Taking it all in.

This was the last photo I took before I realized we were headed to dodge and sh*t was about to get real. By the look on their faces, the boys might had picked up on it too.

With our detour to the derelict behind us, we are now safely seated and ready for some races.

Australia’s Michelle Jenneke winning the women’s 100m hurdles.

I think this is Cullen’s cheer face, but can’t be 100% sure.

Men’s long jump winner Jarrion Lawson posing for selfies with some of the young fans.

Bolt getting his warm-up on ahead of the relay.

The relay at this meet was unique it that each team had 2 men and 2 women. And on their team Bolt was going to be handing off to US sprinter Jenna Prandini. Ahhh! Mad props to Jenna cos I can only imagine the minor fear one must feel waiting to receive a baton from the fastest man in the world.

They practice their exchange in a standing position first.

Then its time to practice at a running pace.

Get out! Get out! Willing Jenna a super fast start ahead of the fast approaching Bolt.

Nailed it! A successful exchange, now everyone is ready.

Look at this, the boys practice their own baton exchange.

The All Stars relay are ready to rock.

And the crowd is ready to cheer.

A badly timed bathroom break by Cullen meant we missed the first 3/4 of the race. But we were trackside and ready to high five team member Asafa Powell on their victory lap.

To give them a slight thrill, the meet DJ brought the boys up on stage and told them to throw their hands in the air. So they did, awkwardly.

So awkward.

The meet is over, time to invade the track.

Athletes shaking hands and signing autographs.

Infield invaders.

Here comes the rain. Time to roll out.