Monday, November 30, 2009
I've mentioned my beloved flat white (espresso with milk), but did I you know Aussies call bell peppers capsicums and raisins sultanas?
That strollers are prams, cribs are cots, sweaters are jumpers, preschool is kindy, diapers are nappies and pacis are dummies? Also elevators are lifts, drugstores are chemists and friends are mates...
Incidentally, I packed two boxes of regular (yellow box) Cheerios for my sister since the only kind they sell are these presweetened multigrain Os.
I also found it interesting that, while Gerber dominates the American baby food market, Heinz has it cornered in Australia, selling everything from jarred purees to toddler snacks.
Even fast food outlets are a little different. Subway was heavily promoting its new Chicken Tikka sandwich and I'm guessing you'll recognize this fast food restaurant...
Apparently someone had already trademarked Burger King down under.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
She complained she couldn't sleep, so understanding mom that I am, I let her drag her comforter and pillow to our bedroom floor. And that's when the fun really started. A, who'd been moaning for Mommy off and on for about an hour, escalated her demands to a full-throttle holler. So I brought her to bed.
Fifteen minutes later Z was standing next the bed, tears running down her cheeks. She wanted to snuggle Mommy too. Since A seemed mostly content and our bed really isn't build for 4, I led Z back to her room and promised to lie down with her there.
Minutes later A was crying for Mommy and Z's telling me she "doesn't want A to lose her voice." So the two of us headed back to my room. Two small children in mom and dad's bed in the middle of the night -- two small children whose brains think it is the middle of the day even though it is the middle of the night... it was a party that had Dad running out before midnight and them keeping me up until after 2.
I've got my fingers crossed that an early morning plus melatonin at bedtime will mean a more rested me as I head back to work tomrorow.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
My last flat white of the trip
Friday morning in Sydney we awoke--as usual--around 6am. I fed the kids a light breakfast, showered and finished packing. I hit Big W (the Australian Walmart) for new coloring books and snacks for the plane while Josh kept an eye on the kiddos at the mall playland (big box and grocery stores are frequently located inside malls in Oz) and then we met up with Eleanor, Simon and Sam for breakfast at Bill's, the first place we'd gone to in Australia when we last visited in 2004, and the chef/cafe behind a couple of our favorite cookbooks.
From left: Josh, A, me, Z, Eleanor, Sam and Simon
After sharing plates of scrambled eggs, ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and corn fritters, we headed over to Centennial Park (the Sydney equivalent of NYC's Central Park) with Eleanor and Sam (Eliza was at daycare) for a final hour under the intense southern hemisphere sun. I hadn't brought a hat or sunscreen, and my skin was starting to turn pink in 15 minutes. The stay-at-home moms were out in force and far more prepared for the heat and UV rays--they'd all set up picnic blankets in the shade and were laying out hats, suncream, umbrellas and water bottles.
Fair Z knows how to avoid a sunburn
At 12:30 we returned to Eleanor's and changed into our air travel clothes. It was 32 degrees celsius as we arrived at the Sydney airport--driven, as it turned out, by the most incompetent cab driver in the world. We should have known something was up when her words, after we'd belted in our kids, were "So you know the way, right?" We--the out-of-towners--had to guide her to the airport as she braked and signaled randomly through intersections, causing the usually polite Australian drivers to lay on their horns. As we approached the airport, she asked, 5 times, which airline we were taking. Each time we said "United" and she replied with "Okay, American."
We boarded our plane at 2:40 and took off, on time, at 3:30pm Sydney time. After 13 hours in the air, we arrived in LA at 9:30am. Nothing like flying over the international date line to get you to move backwards through time. LAX was a nightmare of standing in line after line with cranky kids, but our four hour 12:30 flight to Chicago was a (relative) piece of cake. We got home at 7:30pm, completing the world's longest Friday when we collapsed in our own bed at 10pm.
20+ hours of travel with two kids is really not much worse than 10 hours of travel with young kids, but the lack of sleep and constant catering to their whims is a real brain draining. I woke up this morning to the realization that, after paying our cabbie last night, I left my wallet in the taxi. Which means that, in addition to leaving Z's Leapster 2 (and all of its games) on a Jetstar flight from Byron Bay to Sydney, I lost my drivers license, ATM card, one credit card and $250 in cash coming home.
Oh well, I'm still calling the trip a success. More Australia posts to come. Soon. And more pictures can be seen here.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I'm typing this from Byron Bay, at the very easternmost point in Australia. We're sharing a beach house with my sister, her family, and her mother-in-law. We're swimming in the ocean, building sand castles, napping in the breezes and eating really, really well. (My sister married into a family of foodies.)
Z's shaken her sickness. It appears that despite her double vaccinations against the flu and H1N1, she caught one of the two viruses (the latter, most likely).
I think I'll try handgliding before the week is out and we return to Sydney. Then get ready for a more in-depth update and PHOTOS.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I pride myself in being an excellent juggler. I can't literally keep three balls in the air, but I somehow manage working full time, being an involved mother to two little girls, serving as co-president of our Montessori school and studying for my Bat Mitvzah.
So it was inevitable that something would fall through the cracks.
My sister, who lives in Australia, called me at work on Wednesday afternoon.
"Are you all packed and ready to go? Do you leave tonight or tomorrow?" she asked.
"Oh, we don't take off until Friday night," I responded.
"Um, it takes two days to get here and I'm picking you up at the airport on Saturday. Are you sure you leave on Friday? Check your itinerary."
Gulp. I leave Thursday. In just over 24 hours! My stomach dropped and I start furiously sending emails--while still talking to my sister, who lives in Australia. Tell husband. Tell the housesitter. Find alternate transportation to the airport. Cancel daughter's haircut. Finish up at work a day ahead of schedule. My multitasking skills shot into overdrive as I tried to figure out how I, planner extraordinaire, could screw up the day of our flight--for a trip I've been planning for 6 months.
Thanks to my sister's phone call, we got out right on time. I can't bear to think about what would have happened if we'd shown up at the airport on Friday.
Originally posted to Chicago Moms Blog
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
We finished our morning with lunch at Katy's Dumpling House, and as we drove home, windows down and A drifting off to sleep, I felt so, so lucky. Fresh air and time spent with good friends--it was exactly what I needed.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Tomorrow is Z's birthday, so tonight I wrapped and hid presents around the house and wrote clues for her to follow. I also made Smitten Kitchen's Brown Butter Crispy Treats. Because I love Rice Crispy Treats, brown butter and salt.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
A promptly stripped off the pirate costume and pulled on the Tinkerbell dress from last week (which, if you recall, replaced the bumble bee costume we'd originally agreed on). Here she is freezing her tushie off with her BFF Stella.
Z unzipped her furry, warm monkey costume because she was self-conscious about the big belly (really? does this need to start now?) and put on the 2T pirate costume previously modeled by her little sister.