04 December 2012

Cape Barren Goose
Zoe & Neo at Remarkable Rocks
Willoughby Lighthouse

First Echidna I've seen in the wild
Kangaroo Island is amazing!  The number and variety of animals was one aspect we enjoyed.  The beauty and diversity of the landscape/seascape another.
Dave enjoying the view from our Holiday House

We stayed at the best holiday house - Dolphins Encounter in Penneshaw.  The views of the ocean were wonderful.  A pod of dolphins swam past everyday.  We enjoyed watching them play and feed in the crystal clear blue waters.

Penneshaw is home to a Little Penguin colony.  We went 2 different nights to witness the little penguins returning to land after a day at sea to feed and care for the chicks on land.  The Little Penguin is in decline for many reasons - human and sea lion.  The sea lion population on Kangaroo Island is growing.  We saw Little Penguins dashing across the road.  We also saw chicks outside their nest awaiting the return of the parent.

Dave at the "Remarkable Rocks"
Dave, Tristan, Neo & Zoe at Admirals Arch
We drove 3 hours from Penneshaw to Flinders National Park where we saw the "Remarkable Rocks" and "Admirals Arch" where seals congregate.  Three different species of seals were present at Admirals Arch: Australian Sea Lion, New Zealand Fur Seals, Australian Fur Seal.  

The discovery of KI grabbed my imagination.  Matthew Flinders, who circumnavigated and mapped Australia for England, found it a welcome refuge.  His ship crossed paths with Baudin, on a expedition for France - while their countries were at war back home. A crew member on Baudin's ship carved a message on a rock while waiting for the water barrels to fill.  That message was written in 1802 and still exists today.

We took the ferry back to the mainland.  We enjoyed the 40 minute drive through vineyards to Adelaide.  
Giant Water Lily at Botanic Gardens

Gorilla finger statue outside Adelaide Zoo
Clara, Tristan & Neo at The Beach House
In Adelaide we stayed in the suburb Glenelg.  We took the tram to the CBD.  We walked through the Botanic Gardens.  We went to the Adelaide zoo.  The kids enjoyed Saturday morning at The Beach House.  Our week trip was over too soon and we were back on the plane for Sydney and work/school.  

Dave enjoyed another week stay cation in a quiet house.  

30 October 2012

My New Job & School Holidays

With Dave on his trip to the outback, I had planned to do a trip to Sydney.  Unfortunately, I was sick with fever and chills for 2 days, so I didn't get to my trip.  Instead I networked for a job!  I phoned a friend who is a bookkeeper.  She suggested I contact another bookkeeper whom she knew was looking for help.  On Tuesday, I phoned but couldn't get through so I sent an email introducing myself and I told about the class I had just completed.  One hour later, I received a phone call inviting me in for an interview on Wednesday.  When Dave called Tuesday night, he was surprised but encouraging.  I was afraid I would have to cancel the interview due to illness, but my fever broke and I was fine for the interview.  I was hired on Wednesday and began working on Friday - all before Dave had returned from the Outback!
Neo loved the giant bucket that dumps water.

I love my job!  My work hours are the kids' school hours.  I drop the kids in the morning, go to work, and get back in time to bring them home again.  The work is very challenging.  There is a lot to do.  I try to work 20 hours per week.  During the 2 week school holidays, I took Neo into work with me on 2 mornings.  They are very flexible.

During school holidays - last week of September and first week of October - the kids and I went to the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.  Tristan stayed home with Dave, who enjoyed a 4 day public holiday weekend.

They had a fast moving waterway.  This was fun and Zoe, Neo and I went through it several times.  Neo and Clara also did the swim test to be permitted to climb the inflatable.  Neo scrambled over it easily.  Clara had more difficulty.

After swimming, Zoe enjoyed an ice cream with a Flake
The space is huge at the Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre.  

During the school holidays, Zoe went to a full day horse riding program.  She loved riding and would like to go again during her summer holidays.

Zoe's first trail ride.
 Neo learned how to lawn bowl.  He has good form and is working on accuracy.  I've joined a bowling club where they allow kids to bowl - it's called "barefoot bowl"
Neo's Bowling form

05 October 2012

Dave's Odyssey - Outback New South Wales

The car as camper
The last week of August, Dave drove to Outback New South Wales alone in our white station wagon.  The station wagon was set up to provide a place to sleep, in the event no accommodation was available or if Dave wanted to "camp" somewhere.  He left on Monday and returned on Friday before noon.  On the first day, he drove 12 hours from Copacabana to Cobar (point A to C on the map).  Monday night I called every hotel in Cobar, but everything was booked.  Cobar is near to the mines - present day miners sleep in the hotels during the week.

Dave drove down the road to a roadside rest area where a few other people were already camping.  He slept over night in the sleeping bag and on the air mattress in the back of the wagon.  On Tuesday morning, Dave drove another 8 hours from Cobar through White Cliffs (point D) on to Tibooburra, his destination.  It's 200 km of dirt road from White Plains to Tibooburra.  He spent 2 nights at the Tooles Family Hotel .

While in Tibooburra, Dave went fossicking.  He said he found metal cans left by the miners a century ago.  The soil is red with iron.  The car still oozes the red soil from crevices.  Dave saw a mother emu and young just a few feet away, red and grey kangaroos, wild pigs, lizards, sheep.  He didn't take many pictures - and the ones he did take were corrupted.

Dave on his return
Dave chose to drive "The Cut Line" - 400 km of dirt road from Tibooburra to Bourke - for his return journey.  He said it was amazing.  He saw kangaroos boxing in the middle of the road.  They would stand there and watch as the car approached, before eventually moving off the road because there was no human around for miles.

View Larger Map

05 August 2012

Olympics at Home

While the world is focused on the Olympic games in London, our little school in Copacabana hosted their own games on Friday.  "Countries" were represented by the students.  Metals were handed out.  Clara and some of her friends from the High School came to assist with the games for volunteer credit.  In the end, Denmark came away  with the most Gold Medals.

Neo and friend - Olympians for "France"
Zoe in the hurdles

Tristan participating in the Olympics

Clara was  honored at a Mayorial Reception for participating in the door knock campaign for the Red Cross.  Other schools also raised money and were invited.  Copacabana was the only primary school that raised money for the Red Cross via a cake sale.  The Copa representatives are up front with the Mayor.  Clara is just behind.  Her friend Matt is wearing red.  An article appeared in the local paper with a group picture as well.                                                

Mayorial Reception for student Red Cross Door knockers  
Clara's school had crazy hair and dress up day.
Clara started working on her hair at 3:30am

Tristan has been chosen to participate in the Mathematical Olympiads held at his school.  The problems he is asked to complete are not simple.  Here are samples from the website.  In the latest competition, Tristan had 3 out of 5 problems correct.  I didn't do as well.  Here's one problem:  Find the sum of the DIGITS of the first 25 odd natural numbers.

Copa school held their sports carnival on the Friday prior to the Mini Olympics.  All students ran the 100 meter.  Those who placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd ran in the time finals.  Tristan and Zoe also ran in the 200 meter races.

Neo is proud of his 3rd place ribbon
Neo in the 100m race.

18 July 2012

Winter School Holidays - 2012

School in Australia is 4 terms x 9 - 10 weeks with 2 weeks off between terms.  The children have just returned to school for Term 3.  Our Winter Holidays were close to home.

On Monday of the first week, Clara had her cast removed.  YAY!   She had her first Physical Therapy (called Physio here) appointment that afternoon.  On Friday, she had her first Hydro Therapy appointment, back at Gosford Private Hospital, where she had her surgery.

The cast is being cut away.  The saw only
rocks back and forth.  It's attached to
a shop vac to remove the dust.
Clara in Hydro Therapy

Zoe and Neo created new stuffed animals with Stufflers.

We went to Wyong Fun Festival.  The boys are eating Fairy Floss!

Dave at the Surf Club Cafe for our Saturday morning coffee
and Whale Watching.  We've enjoyed seeing several migrating
Whales this winter.  Some viewed from the house.

Blankets to snuggle in
at the outdoor cafes in winter.
In Winter, the outdoor cafes are still outdoor - with portable heaters and blankets.

The following Monday we went to Sydney to see Narnia Exhibition (Clara stayed home to rest her leg).  Neo made a shield.

Neo with his shield.

 We also went on the monorail for the treasure hunt.  It was a lot of fun.  We discovered more about Sydney by participating in the treasure hunt.  Dave told me that the monorail has been sold and will be dismantled soon.  Another good reason to have ridden the Monorail.

Because the monorail is elevated, it provides a different perspective for viewing Sydney.  It stops right outside of the 2nd floor of Queen Victoria Building (QVB) - a very posh address for shops in Sydney's CBD.  Dave had recommended we see it.  There's a statue of Queen Victoria out front - and her dog as well.  
Sushi restaurant we discovered (yummy) due to the treasure hunt!
Neo loved the conveyor that brought the dishes around.

Inside Queen Victoria Building
Tristan liked the havaianas vending machine :)

Promotion for The Dark Knight Rises
The car used in the movie
We took Clara to Powerhouse Museum and Paddy's Markets on Wednesday.  We enjoyed dumplings in China Town.

Friday, we saw BRAVE in the movie theatre....$56 for 1 adult and 4 children - which was a special rate.  The movie is great!  I highly recommend it.
Queen Victoria's little dog Islay
He was painted many times by her.
He now collects money for deaf children.

25 June 2012

Term 2 Ends - 2012

This is the final week of Term 2.  The children are officially 1/2 way through their school year.

The kids had "crazy hair day" at school.  Neo and Zoe got into it.

Copa School's P&C held a mini fete (fair) at the surf club.  It was from 11 - 2pm on Sunday.  Clara volunteered to do face painting, and earned credit through her high school.  Nice!  Tristan won chocolate prizes in a coin toss game at the fete.  Zoe helped me make and hand out popcorn.  Neo went in the bouncy castle 3 times, played the coin toss game, and played with friends.

Saturday was the 5 Lands Walk (MacMasters Beach to Copacabana to Avoca to North Avoca to Terrigal).  Copa school again participated by making art for the event.  Tristan made Icarus.  Zoe made Medusa.  Neo made a gold face.

On Monday 25 June,  I had the honor of driving Tristan and a delightful and accomplished year 6 student (Emma), to the 2012 Multicultural Perspectives Public Speaking Competition.  Tristan and Emma were chosen to represent Copacabana School because of their speaking ability.  The competition comprised of 2 parts: a 3 minute prepared speech, followed by a 1 minute impromptu speech the students had to present 5 minutes after hearing the topic.  There were 6 schools represented.  One winner was selected to go to the next level of competition. Tristan did very well and he looked great :)
We received the school reports from each of our children.  All are doing quite well in school.  We are very proud of their accomplishments.

13 June 2012

Start of Winter 2012

June 1 is the beginning of winter.  We have been enjoying our fireplace as the nights get cold.  The days have been quite stormy - lots of rain - 5 year record set for amount of rainfall in Sydney over 24 hour period.  It's been raining for days.  But not today :)

We saw our first migratory whales from the balcony of our home.  We have moved the 2nd table into position to be close to the fire and be able to view the ocean.  I spend a lot of time here.

The children continue to be active.  Tristan represented Copacabana Public School at the Brisbane Water zone Cross Country.  He enjoyed the day and ran well.

Zoe is playing soccer.  The fields are quite muddy, as you can see.  Zoe is really enjoying soccer.  They are playing better week by week - both as a team and individually.

We were able to see Clara's stitches for the first time - eleven in total.
 Top pic: with stitches.  Bottom pic: without stitches.
Yes, her cast is PURPLE!  It sure looks blue in the picture.
She has returned to school (happily) and her friends used white out to write on her cast.  She is finding it tiring to be in school all day.  I drive her to and from school each day.  Eventually she'll take the bus again - but not yet.