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Category Archives: Travel

Parenting Through The Holidays, Family Visits and Travel

Traveling

My family and I just returned to Australia from a 5 week trip visiting family and friends in America. While it was really nice to see everyone, the trip and the type of traveling we did, really pushed me to the limits. All of my parenting knowledge was put to the most extreme test. I’ve been reflecting on everything I learned over those five weeks and I wanted to share my experience with you.

Mentally prepare the kids

Briefly explain the logistics of what’s going to happen, how and when. If you sense any fear or anxiety, fun role playing can help. If you know you have to do something that your child will not enjoy (long plane ride, meeting strange relatives, sleeping in an unfamiliar place, using public toilets, etc.), you can do role playing to help lighten the blow. Read the rest of this entry

What I Learned About Expectations After Traveling With My Kids for a Week

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We took a last minute week-long trip to Sydney and we had a blast. But, the trip wasn’t what I thought it would be like. The ‘getting there‘ part was not just most of the fun, it was practically ALL of the fun. I’ve traveled with my kids before, but this was our first, sort of fun holiday, that included planes, trains, buses and tourist attractions. Usually when we go somewhere, we have an agenda, but not this time.

Our plane was delayed… that didn’t bother them too much, they kept watching the planes and asking which one was ours (they asked at least 800 times).

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What was really funny/not funny was that the few things I had planned out and paid a lot of money for, like our trip to the aquarium… Read the rest of this entry

A Balinese Taxi Driver Who Could Teach the World About Religious Tolerance

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Bali_Katesurfs

Roughly 85% of the population of Bali is Hindu, the rest is mix of Muslim, Buddhist. Less than 2% are Christian.

On my way to the airport, my taxi driver and I were chit chatting away. Of course, he asked the obligatory ‘how old are you, are you married, do you have children’, as every taxi driver in Asia has always asked me. I answered his questions, “32, yes, yes” and right then we drove past this magnificent statue of Arjuna driving a chariot with Lord Krishna standing on top of ferocious-looking galloping horses. The statue represents a famous conversation that takes place on the battle field from the ancient scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. I asked the taxi driver if he was Hindu, although I assumed he was. He answered “Yes” and explained the significance of the statue (although I already knew). Then he asked me what religion I was. Read the rest of this entry

American living in Australia, Pretending to be Bilingual

At our favourite wildlife sanctuarly... or shall I say 'favorite'?

Kissing a kangaroo…. At our favourite wildlife sanctuarly… or shall I say ‘favorite’?

My biggest Aussie language blunder EVER… Do you want to know it?   Read the rest of this entry

Wind that Makes for Crazy Days (and How to Stop the Room From Spinning)

When the room starts spinning... get unspun!

When the room starts spinning… get unspun!  They both wanted ‘up’ so I put them in a wrap and spun them ’round and ’round

In October 2007, my husband and I spent a couple weeks in southern California for a surf contest, the USA Surfing Championships.  (I’ll just casually mention that I won my division… ahem, 2007 Woman’s Longboard title…) But, what really set this trip apart from the others was the damn wind!  Our first day there, I noticed everything looked bone dry. I said to Art, “Man, it looks like a tinder box here.”  Two days later, a hot, dry and extremely strong wind called the Santa Ana winds started blowing and southern California was experiencing some of it’s worst wildfires ever.  Lots of homes burned, lots of smoke that we breathed in… and some of the most epic, uncrowded waves I’ve ever surfed in southern California… like ever, dude… Read the rest of this entry

Baby Wearing and Swell Festival Gold Coast Australia 2013

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September!  All the world through, I love September!  Swell Festival happens in Currumbin Beach on the Gold Coast, every year.  Here’s a few highlights from our walk along the beach.  I always forget that it gets so hot and sunny though… next time I’ll remember to go later in the afternoon… although, twas a beautiful day.  The featured baby wrap is a Didymos Lila Hemp Indo, size 3, that I bought from Wrap ‘Em, in Australia.  Please ignore poor wrapping job… Read the rest of this entry

Keeping Young Children and Babies on a Schedule (With Lots of Room For Spontaneity)

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Days like these, when routine goes out the window!

Days like these, when routine goes out the window!

We were just getting into the car to go home at 2:45 pm and Margo (almost 3  1/2) was starting to get delirious.  You know, speaking tongues and crying over everything… end of the world things like  wanting mommy to buckle her into the carseat instead of daddy, etc.  By the time we got home and inside, it was about 3:00pm, she cried some more about not wanting to take a nap, or that she didn’t have to pee before she went to bed (even though she did), etc.  We all got into bed (queen size, can you say squish), Art rubbed Margo’s back for about 2 minutes, and probably by 3:03pm, she was out like a light. Read the rest of this entry

Onya Baby Carrier Product Review

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There's a kid onya :)

Aleshia, from Onya, came across my blog and sent me this sample Onya baby carrier months and months ago.  She seemed super friendly and it turns out that she used to live and surf right near where we live now!  How cool! Read the rest of this entry

Five Year Aussie-versary. And, I’m Just Getting Used to Vegemite

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The flight

The flight

Five years ago today, Art and I first stepped foot onto Australian soil.  With us, we had 4 suitcases, 5 surfboards and as much carry on baggage as they would allow on the plane.  We left EVERYTHING behind.  Actually, we still have a storage shed full of crap sitting in Berlin, Maryland, if anyone wants to go rummaging around.  The storage shed is full stuff that we frantically packed away as we ran out of time getting ready for our over seas voyage.  I was planning on doing a year of university to get my Masters of Education so that I could become a teacher.  Art was coming for the ride and we weren’t exactly sure about his plan, but he wasn’t going to stay behind in Maryland USA all by himself!  Looking back, it was probably the scariest, riskiest and stupidest thing we’ve ever done in our lives!!!!  Drop everything and move all the way across the world!?!  Yes, we were indeed crazy! Read the rest of this entry

Mfest 2013, Springbrook, QLD Australia

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The fairy princess

The fairy princess

Yesterday, we drove up into the mountains to go to a festival called MFest.  The ‘M’ as in ‘mother’…  MFest is: ‘A Celebration of Motherhood and the Creativity of Woman‘.   It was the day before Mother’s Day, and I believe the festival happens every year, in Springbrook, QLD, at the Springbrook State School grounds, way at the top of the Gold Coast’s hinterland.  It just so happened to be raining a little that day, I’m sure the rain scared a few people away… but… if you’re going to Springbrook, you can expect a bit of rain!  Doesn’t hurt to pack your gumboots and something warm to wear!  After all, you are practically in the clouds on top of that mountain!

We arrived a little early, people were still setting up their stalls, and it was raining, so rather than sit in the car and wait, I decided to take the girls about ten minutes up the road to a really cool nature walk called, ‘The Best of All Lookout‘.  This walk is really awesome, it’s short, it’s  paved and meanders through some absolutely pristine rainforest.  You can see these ‘ancient arctic beech trees’ that are reportedly over 2000 years old.  If you look close enough, you might even see little fairies living under rocks covered in moss 😉  We didn’t make it far on the walk.  I had one girl on my back, and one girl on my front, and an umbrella, and it was cold and windy, so we turned around.  I’ve been there before, and while the lookout might not be best of all, it is pretty cool.  Margo was pretty excited though, that we were actually ‘in’ a cloud.

Back to the festival and (yay) the sun was shining again.  We hopped out of the car and had a look around.  It was sort of small and intimate, and had one large tent with live music, food stalls, craft and information, etc. and other smaller tents and stalls scattered around.  I have to say, it was a very mixed bag of people attending this event!  It was not just mother’s toting around babes and kids!  There were all sorts of people from all walks of life!

Margo got her face painted by a ‘Funksta’ Facepainting, of course, she wanted something pink…

Funksta Facepainting

Funksta Facepainting

And, the gem of the day (well for me anyway) were two woman giving talks about the placenta.. yes.. the placenta… We all sat around in this cozy tent with pillows and rugs.  They even had a stuff placenta as a prop.  One woman was a doula and the other was a midwife student.  One of the woman, Lauren Manners, based in south Brisbane, gave me her card, her business is called www.accomplishedbirth.com.  She specializes in placenta encapsulation.  I was stoked to hear that you can encapsulate a placenta, even if it’s been in the freezer for some time… like a couple years even… I might have to ring her up and have mine done one day.  They talked about the importance of the placenta, it’s role in sustaining life, the benefits of delayed cord clamping and the rituals of different cultures and even animals when dealing with the placenta.  Very cool stuff!

The stuffed placenta

The stuffed placenta

Anyway, the day was a success.  We only stayed about an hour and a half or so, it started raining again, so we high tailed it back to the car.  Margo loved being in the clouds.  I liked being on top of the mountains, and Goldie slept both ways in the car.  I even won a raffle ticket!!!  Woohoo!  Some family voucher to go camping!  Looks like we’ll be heading back to the mountains again soon. My only advice if you’re going to Springbrook is to not forget your gumboots!