August 21, 2010


So if you remember I wrote about turning thirty (click here) and now that's next on the list of my catch-up adventures. Varian planned a surprise day and my requests were somewhere beautiful and beachy that we hadn't been to before. I didn't even try to guess but was excited to see wherever he wanted to take me. We loaded the car about 4 am and started driving, all the way till we drove onto the CAR FERRY that would take us to North Stradbroke Island. YAY! I've never been on a car ferry and so that alone was way cool, but South Stradie is one of my favorite places here so I was excited to see the North Island.

Then we stopped for just a few minutes here where we didn't see much of a spring, but did see these creepy spiders (oh, but it's a mommy and baby spider, that's not creepy). 


We went on a hike to Blue Lake. Here are some photos of the hike, we didn't seem to manage to get any of the lake.

I think those trees are so cool! And again, I can't get over the funny expression of that kid!

After getting back from our hike from Blue Lake we then went to picnic at Brown Lake. There weren't lots of flies, I just thought this one was kind of pretty (and huge).

Varian's birthday treat for me. He was making me a cake later (for my "nothing day" celebration) but I told him I'd love him to put candles in anything so I could still blow them out and make a wish on my birthday. And he knows I have a thing for cold pizza, so this is one of the things he brought for our lunch.

After lunch we walked on these cliffs. It was so gorgeous.

This is my view that I had while nursing Jaren. I felt very "one with nature" and my child as I sat here. It was breathtaking. We had left our things in the car and Varian went back to get Jaren's bottle (we've sadly had to nurse and bottle feed him). But Varian didn't see that we were off the path a bit and missed us and then I started looking for Varian who was looking for me, all the while Jaren is getting more and more ravenous and ornery. It was a tad stressful, but in the end we finally found each other and Jaren was able to finish his lunch. 

A kookaburra we came across. No this particular one is not sitting in a gum tree, but they often do here so it's a fun little tribute to that song. And they really do sound like laughing. I used to do a pretty mean imitation of them...but too much teasing from Varian has stunted my natural kookaburra call. :) 

We then went swimming at this lovely beach. The water was warm and the waves were the perfect level to bounce around in. Jaren mostly slept in his car seat and we took turns staying with him. But after swimming Varian came back and gave me an amazing back massage on the beach. HELLO! Happy Birthday to me!!! It was heavenly! I'm so spoiled! (TMI alert - it was wonderful and a sweet gift, although being a breastfeeding new mom I discovered that the sandy beach is a lot more comfortable/relaxing in theory than it is in reality. Ouch!)

We got back home in time to do a quick "freshening up" and then Varian took me out to dinner at this Thai place that we've been wanting to try. Oh, I love Thai! We got different curries and they were fantastic! As was the Jasmine Coconut Rice that I'm Vanna Whiting in this photo.

My birthday is the day before Anzac Day. It's like our Veteran's Day but bigger. In fact it seems to be the most patriotic I've ever seen Aussies get. They have crack of dawn ceremonies (maybe one day we'll go if we can make ourselves get up.) But we do fully enjoy the public holiday. So we used it as my "nothing day" celebration and This is the photo of this amazing 3 layered Chocolate Mousse cake Varian made me. Yum!!! He also made me sausage gravy on biscuits here (something they don't have here so it was a special treat and one of my favorite breakfast items). We had a yummy lunch and snacks as we watched movies (??? I can't remember exactly what they were and Varian and I are laughing that I'm being so specific. This is like Elementary school when I used to write down what I had for school lunch that day. But I wanted to write about how Varian spoiled me.) So needless to say the middle of the day was yummy food, followed by a meatloaf and mashed potatoe dinner (again one of my favorites) and then that yummy cake. And although I'm not that big of a fan of cake, with all those layers and mousse it was fantastic.

August 14, 2010

Mid-April Moments

Here are a few shots of our mid-April adventures. First of all April Showers bring May Flowers when April is your spring. Here April is more Autumn, but still the flowers come. One of my favorite things about Australia (and yes there are some things) besides the ocean is that there is always something in bloom. Trees blooming all over the place. My favorite are the Jacaranda trees (glorious explosions of purple in the "spring" here) but these ones bloomed at the end of our road and I had to stop to take a picture. Aren't they beautiful.

Then Ipswich, the city where we live, had a celebration so Jaren sat in his chair as I got ready.

And off we went to the fireworks. Yay for Jaren's first fireworks. He was even asleep in his stroller and I woke him up so he could see them.

Then they had a PARADE, which is not like Australia at all so I was impressed.

I just love that face in all its expressions!

This night was one of Varian's rugby nights. Okay so I have to say that Australian football is WAY more entertaining than American Football, especially because they're not allowed to have time-outs (except for injuries and scrums), so if there's 10 minutes left on the clock it actually takes 10 minutes and not 30 or 40 or a million like it does in good ol' USA ball.

Varian follows the Brisbane Broncos (and yes even I have found myself liking it somewhat). Our friends gave us this little shirt for Jaren when they first heard we were pregnant. It says, "Daddy's Little Bronco"

This picture I put in an album for Dad for father's day and I think Becca pointed out that they look like they're kissing. EEK! They did just score a "try" but I don't think they were celebrating it with a kiss.

ps: I even actually know quite a few of the players name. I know this is me we're talking about. I don't know any celebrity names, especially sport figures. But I try to learn for Varian's sake. Ah, that is love. :)

August 8, 2010


Varian's Birthday Weekend Part II - The Australian Adventures:

So remember the previous day we've just had the crazy cooking spoiling day. Then we woke up and left the house around 3 am to drive up to Tin Can Bay. I was a little nervous how Jaren would handle this trip as we hadn't really done lots of day trips with him, but he was an angel! Tin Can Bay has a place where wild dolphins have been coming for 20+ years. IT WAS AMAZING!

Here at this little grundgy diner these forest ranger-like people will sell you $5 fish and let you feed these dolphins. While we were waiting for it to open we could stand there and watch the dolphins swim around.

Now their rule was that you weren't allowed to touch the dolphins but if they came up to touch you that was ok. So while Varian waited in line to buy the $5 fish pass and my sweet mother-in-law Michaela finished feeding Jaren his bottle, I went to wade up to my thighs in the water and stretched out my hand hoping that the dolphins would come swim up to me.

As I did this a memory came to my mind of talking with my Loveshack roommates about how I used to pray at Sea World that the dolphins would come up to me and let me pet them. They laughed and thought that was the craziest story, but I have to say that those dolphins came up to me more than anyone esle. I remembered that story and thought, why not say a little prayer. So I said a prayer and began doing my amazing dolphin calls and hand flips in the water :) when all of a sudden the dolphin that had been pacing back and forth about 10 feet away, turned and passed all the other people and swam over to me and let me rub it's beatiful face. Oh my heavens, what a treat! I loved it and did feel like it was a tender mercy that Heavenly Father had sent just to help me feel loved and to be a witness that He's aware of my prayers. Now I realize not all prayers are answered so instantly and favorably, but I still strongly believe that we can pray over all things and that God does care and listen. Ah, it was sweet.

Ok, back to the story. I ran over to Varian saying, "Is it your birthday or mine?" I felt so spoiled this whole day. We went and picked up our $5 fish (totally overpriced but worth it), and fed those sweet dolphins.

Here's the picture of me trying to pet the dolphin again with the ranger lady trying to stop me. Ha-ha! Little did she know I had already been chosen. He-he.

Varian and Michaela, and Leah and Panu also fed the dolphins. But we did it in turns so someone would be with Jaren so I don't have photos of Leah and Panu.

It rained on and off (I should say poured) throughout the day but Jaren was such a trooper and just kept napping well. This is at Tin Can Bay while he waited for his dolphin-obsessed mother to come back, but later he just kept taking naps in our arms covered with a poncho to keep the rain off. See pictures below. 

After this little adventure we went over to a local farmers market where we bought some honey, a Peter Rabbit book (I love the movie "Miss Potter" and am since more enamored with the books), and a flame tree for only 2 DOLLARS! Yay, Varian and I are into plants and landscaping lately. 

We then did a little walk to the Carlo Sand Blow. The wind blows up sand from the beach which has then wiped out the vegetation, creating a giant lake of sand -15 hectares - whatever that means.  :) 

Have you ever seen the Ewok Adventures. Doesn't this make you want to stick your hand in, or your whole head to see what little furry monster might come out and attack you? 

Yes that is a pink poncho, and yes Varian is wearing it. (Much to his chagrin, as you'll see he had me wear that one later on.) But we had to keep the baby dry. 

No, we are not trying to do a Michael Jackson - cover the baby photo. It was our "keep him sleeping, keep him dry" plan. Next we picnicked in a windy, rainy pavilion. 2nd Carrot Cake - it was a great success!

Then we talked Leah and Panu into staying through the rain storm to enjoy the adventures of Rainbow Beach. And it was adventurous - because "the sea was angry that day!" The rain started bucketing down on us and we had to wade through thigh deep water. Jaren was just in heaven being cuddled all nice and warm (and dry), but at one point a giant wave came up and splashed against a rock that I was standing next to. The water back-splashed onto me- soaking the bottom of his blankets so his legs were wet. Varian in the meantime is holding onto my arm trying to make sure his wife and child don't get swept away into the sea. At this point we both kind of stopped to question if we were being idiot parents and if we should go back. I wondered how I would manage breast feeding Jaren if the rain didn't let up. But we decided to wait out the storm a little longer and were so glad we did. 

We rounded a corner and saw there was  more beach so we could walk away from the waves, and then the rain stopped. 


And THEN even the sun started peaking through the clouds. 

OKAY - can you see in this picture that there is an actual RAINBOW coming down onto RAINBOW Beach. I joked that this was Heavenly Father's Birthday gift to Varian. It was really cool. Here's another good shot of the rainbow. 

We then climbed up the hills for which Rainbow Beach actually gets it's name.

The wall was very crumbly - almost like sandstone, just bright yellow. 

This rock seemed almost volcanic, and was like using black chalk. 

At this point we decided to wake up our angel sloth baby who had been snoozing away the entire time to feed him. As he woke up he became engrossed in the surroundings, perhaps it was the tiny white sea-crabs that were crawling all over the ground that caught his attention. 

Ok, that face cracks me up. He seemed mesmerized by the sand. Funny kid. :) So we relaxed on the beach for awhile and then made our way back home. It was a great Australian Adventure day.

As an addendum to his birthday celebrations I should write about what happened the next day. The next morning (Easter Sunday) Varian began unloading the dishwasher and he started to notice that his back was bothering him. Then all of a sudden he announces he can't even move. We managed to get him to the bed, where he remained for the rest of the month day. Phew! Poor him and poor me! It was tough. He was in serious pain and couldn't move. I thought I was going to have to go get my nice Samoan neighbor Pese to help me get him out of bed just so he could use the bathroom. For weeks he couldn't even pick up Jaren and I really came to appreciate how much Varian helps around the house and with the baby. Those poor single parents out there! It was really hard trying to take care Varian and Jaren on my own. Later that night our big feet was to get him to the car for the family birthday dinner. Once there, we sat him on a rolling office chair and wheeled him around the room so he wouldn't have to get up again. Not exactly the way we had planned to spend the last 2 days of his bday/Easter weekend. 

So Happy (Late) Birthday to my darling sweetheart. I love him so much!