30 January 2011

Australia Day 2011

Australia Day is on 26 January. This year it fell on a Wednesday. Dave had the day off of work so we had some family time. We swam in the pool, enjoyed watermelon, and cookout foods. Then we went down to Killcare Beach where 3 of us swam (Zoe, Tristan and I) and Dave and Neo explored the rocks. Zoe and Tristan jumped the waves at the shore. Clara was worried about Blue Bottle jellyfish, so she didn't swim. The swells were high, but once I got past them, the water was calm and fun to float on.
Neo in the rocks @ Killcare Beach

Clara keeping watch @ Killcare

Tristan and Zoe enjoying the waves @ Killcare

In the evening, Zoe, Neo, Clara, and I went to Woy Woy for the lantern parade. Zoe and Neo made lanterns earlier during summer vacation. There was a big festival going on in Woy Woy when we arrived, with a band stage and many vendor booths. It had been a hot day, so children were jumping off the pier into the Brisbane Water. The parade started at 8:45pm. As we walked along the parade route, people were taking pictures and videos. It was fun. The parade ended in a park along Brisbane Water, where the fireworks were scheduled to go off at 9:15. We were front and center!

Zoe & Neo in the parade

Pelican in the Parade


Neo & Zoe with lighted lanterns (candles)
The boat we followed, prior to it being lit.

16 January 2011

Zoe Turns 8

January 10 was a Monday this year, and Dave went back to work after 2 weeks off for Christmas and New Year holidays. The children continued on summer holidays. After a leisurely morning, we made our way to the Box Head trail in Bouddi National Park. The views were fabulous! We also saw a wolf spider, many small lizards, and Saint Andrews Cross Spider. We did not walk all the way down the trail to the actual Box Head. We just went to a higher lookout.

View from the fire road on the way to Box Head Track - Rip Bridge and Brisbane Waters

View of the Box Head from the furtherest lookout we reached
Lion Island in view

Putty Beach from the Box Head Track

Zoe and her birthday cake (no matches to light the candles...oops)

11 January 2011

Queensland Floods

Queensland Flooding

During my mom's video call to wish Zoe a happy birthday, she mentioned that people are concerned about us because of the news reports of flooding in Australia.

First, we are fine. The floods are many miles away to the north of us in Queensland.

Having said that, I thought I'd share about the areas that are experiencing the flooding. On 10 January, a "wall of water" 8 meters high (which is higher then 26 feet) came through the town of Toowoomba. It's also been called an "inland tsunami". There was no warning when this wall of water came through. The news stories and video footage is shocking. Click here and here for some video news coverage.

This Queensland map show city names - You can see Toowoomba to the Northwest of Brisbane

Now Brisbane is bracing for the city to go under water as all that water make it's way down and into the Brisbane river which runs through the center of town. The last great flood in the area was 1974 and this is projected to be higher and the results worse.

My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones to the flood waters. Also to those who have lost businesses, homes, vehicles. The devastation is unbelievable....and the Brisbane river has not peaked yet.

We live in New South Wales, shown in purple above. We are 1 hour north of Sydney.
Byron Bay is about 2 hours north of us. Brisbane is about 4 hours north of Byron Bay.

01 January 2011


Christmas and New Year's Celebrations

Our Postie, Ian, on Christmas Eve delivery

With such an auspicious date, I felt I should write about our Christmas and New Year's celebrations. These have been very nice family celebrations.

Salvation Army brass band on Christmas Eve @ Erina Mall

Dave's last day of work was Friday, 24 December. He worked a 1/2 day. Friday night, Clara and I went to the mall for the last bit of Christmas shopping. I took the kids to church to see the story of Jesus' birth performed in a pageant. Then we enjoyed mud cake and opened the Christmas stockings - to reveal pajamas, our family's traditional Christmas Eve gifts.

Christmas Eve wearing their new PJs

On Christmas morning, we had a Skype video call with grandma Sorenson who was able to watch the children open their gifts. Tristan received Star Wars legos and a solar vehicle kit. Clara was the recipient of clothing, bracelets, a watch, itunes, and mobile phone. Zoe had requested and received Zoobles, and Zhu Zhu pet plus accessories. Neo received a race track, Toy Story 3 dvd, Leap Frog learning videos, Leap Frog writing handheld, and The Snowman dvd. They also received books, dinosaur board game, and floor puzzle. Dave received a watch, exactly like the one that recently broke. I received a new shirt on Christmas. We had a lovely Christmas dinner, played outside, and swam in the pool.

Tristan with solar boat he made

For Boxing Day, Clara and I went early to the mall to hit the sales while Dave and the other kids stayed home and enjoyed their new toys. We bought Clara some new shorts and tops. We bought Dave a new cooking pan. Clara spent her Christmas money on a music CD and purse.

On Monday, 27 December, Zoe finally got her wish: to take Dad to the Power House museum in Sydney. She had gone with her class during term 3, and had asked to go again with him alone those many weeks ago. While they were on their outing, I took the kids shopping to spend their Christmas money. Neo bought a plastic cricket set, at Tristan's urging. I bought an electric griddle for Dave, which works beautifully. My new laptop was an excellent value for such powerful and feature rich machine. I had spent many hours researching and pricing replacement laptops. When I saw the price for the features, I knew it was a good deal. I have been enjoying using this new machine, and the children have inherited my previous laptop. Since it was a rainy day, the boys played cricket indoors.

On another day, we went on a family walk to Mt Ettalong Lookout. Dave had never been on that walk. It's an amazing walk with Pearl Beach on one side and Broken Bay on the other side.

New Year's Eve day, Dave took a walk down to Maitland Bay, while the rest of us took a swim. In the evening, we packed a bbq supper and went to the newly opened Peninsula Recreation area. There's a flying fox, electric bbqs, covered picnic tables, skate board parks, swings, climbing walls, etc. Then we went over to Saratoga, where we watched the fireworks that were being shot off across the water. I was the only one awake to watch the fireworks on Copa beach at midnight, and the fireworks @ Sydney Harbor bridge on TV.
Tristan wearing his new hat at the playground

Spider climber
The first day of the year was a 90 degree F day. We spent some time in the pool. Dave and I enjoyed a walk on MacMasters Beach.

Happy New Year, 2011!