Thursday, April 21, 2011

Camping Maddness #3! Our Wildlife Friends!

         Ok, by far, one of my favorite things about camping here in Australia is the crazy wildlife you see...  I mean, ofcourse I suppose it's only to be expected that when I simply go into my own backyard here I am confronted with all kinds of exotic birds, bugs, and animals that when I go out into the bush camping I am definitly going to see some pretty great animals!  So this camping blog is dedicated to them... To the animals. 
First of all... let me tell you, that if you come here to Australia... you really don't have to pay the expensive fee to go to the zoo to see some Kangaroos... or "boomers".  There was an entire settlement of them at the campground... just sitting there, lounging around.  It was so funny!!!  There was this big lazy one that our girls named "Max" who was always just lazily sitting there in the same exact spot everyday outside the camping office!  It was hillarious!
A whole flock of them... just sitting there relaxing at the campground.

Such lazy bums...

I know that some of you will appreciate to know that this Kangaroo reminded me a ton of LG and how his ears shot back every time I called out to him!  Hahah!

One of the smaller babies...

Way too freakin' cute.

       Ok, now I loved those Kangaroos... but let me introduce you to my favorite camping creature so far... Joanna... the hillarious, and I thought pretty freaking funny and cute Goanna... Yes, as Mick warned us all... don't get too close... as she can climb up us like a tree and claw our eyes out if she felt threatened enough... but I couldn't help it...  Maybe it's all thanks to the hillariously adorable portrayal of the animal on "Rescuer's Down Under"... but I love you Joanna... you are so cute.

The Girls following Joanna... where is she going?

Joanna skulking away
hahaha... ok I find this picture hillarious!  She tried to eat a stick or something and didn't like it much...

Joanna climbing a tree

She's looking at me!
Ok so at this point... she was just posing for me... silly thing.

Camping Maddness #2 For Your Viewing Pleasure

            Yes... I got tons of pictures... too many to share in just one blog post... So here are some more for you all. 
Lana relaxing...

Lucy helping sweep out the tent.

Views of our campground... filling up fast.

More views of the campground.

On the last day we had a big easter egg hunt for all of the girls, as this is Easter weekend...  They had a ton of fun and ate lots of candy.

Girls are ready to hunt for Easter Eggs!



On the prowl...

yes... Mick... love your hairy arm.
Mick is becomming a professional "photo bomber"
Counting their loot

Esther and Lana eating their candy


Camping Maddness

          Ah sigh... ok I am finally getting around to this camping blog I've been promising a lot of you...  I am clean, I actually have some makeup on and clean clothes and I am not being bitten by "mozzies" anymore...  Mick and I are pretty worn down after our two nighter with all five girls out in the great wilderness... but we did have tons of fun and are glad we did it. 
         The first day we got there I must tell you all was pretty bad... it didn't look very promising as it was POURING buckets of rain... I mean torrents, sheets... a monsoon of rain was comming down...  And that was after showing up to find that many spots of the campground were already flooding and very swampy... It was difficult to find a dry place to put the tent that wasn't already taken by another insane camper.  But we finally did and proceeded to set up our big new tarp as a roof while keeping the five restless girls entertained and somewhat dry.  We got the tarp up... the girls were pretty whingy though and they got muddy about every three seconds.  Needless to say, that first night was pretty freakin' bad and we didn't know if we would stay for a second night.  By the next morning I think Mick and I had maybe gotten three hours of solid sleep.  Anyway, the next day soon got better though as the clouds literally parted and the sun began to shine a bit more as the day went on.  In the end we stayed for the two nights we had planned on staying and were very happy we had.  After that first rough day the sun came out and it was warm and beautiful.  We swam at the beach and the girls played in the sand for hours.  On the last day as we proceeded to pack up to leave the campers had started comming in like crazy for the long Easter weekend and by the time we were taking down our tent I think our spot was one of the last coveted open spots there...  And sure enough some desperate campers who had just arrived rushed over to us and asked if we were leaving... when they heard we were they started thanking us and cheering like we were suddenly their best friends... Hhahahah...  When Mick went to check us out at the front office he found out that apparently yes, the campground was completly full...
        There you got through the words... now here are the pictures!

Our first day... setting up.  It's raining, but the campers are happy.

That first baaaaad night... :)

Yummy breakfast.  Mini muffins and a custard pastry.

Carsey eating her breakfast.
The girls had a blast playing in the sand on the beach.

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Lucy and Carsen in the water... yeah.. Lucy was kind of pouting at this point... gotta love it.

My handsome Mick relaxing at camp.
Taylah and Lana eating yummy breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs...  Taylah really wanted a breakfast like this.


Lana picked up the camera and handed it to me because she wanted me to take this picture of her... haha!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mick the Welder!

                  Ok, so I am hopelessly in love with my amazing husband...  He never ceases to impress me.  Over the past week as the days have been leading up to the two week school holidays, and as the psychotic hot weather has began to taper off a bit we have been really eager to finally take our girls out on another family camping trip.  When me and my girls had first come here to Australia it was one of the first things Mick and I did with all of our girls.  It was a great bonding experience for all of them and for us, and as camping usually does, it created wonderful family memories.  However, the one thing we realised really quick was that Mick's smaller trailer would not be enough space for our family as it had just doubled in size!  
Camping back in October, Lucy, Es, and Lana by the old trailer Mick had built.
                And so in the following weeks Mick had sold the smaller trailer, complete with a cage around it, and we had purchased an almost brand new one that was at least twice as big.  Unfortunately this trailer did not have a cage built around it, but that didn't worry Mick in the least as he said he would just build one. 
            And so it was that this past week we finally got around to building that darn cage!  On Friday after the girls' first day of school I picked them up and we went to join Mick at his work and help out where ever we could as he began to build the trailer.  Mick had picked up the steel pieces that morning and had cut them and when we arrived was already well into getting the beginnings of the frame on. 

Lucy helping out....

The Girls and Mick posing by the trailer after the first day.
                On Saturday I dropped Mick off early in the morning then took Esther to her gymnastics's class and then we joined him afterwards.  We were there all day!  I helped Mick with measuring and marking where the metal should be cut as he went around cutting and drilling and welding it all together.... I must say, it was pretty sexy... and I was so impressed with his ability and talent. 

Mick cutting the metal


Mick welding it all together.
              So after a very long day of work we went home tired for a rest, but for some reason Mick's eye was bugging him quite a bit, felt painful and scratched.  I encouraged him to go to bed early and rest his eyes.  He thought perhaps he had "welder's flash" a condition I guess you can get from the bright flashing light while welding.  So the next day when he woke up with his eye hurting even more we decided to go into the doctor.  Sure enough it's good we went, because it turned out Mick did not have "welder's flash" but had instead gotten a few pieces of metal in his eye from the day before.  For your sake, I won't go into details and just let you know that the doctor got it out and Mick was right back to work the next day.

Mick at the doctor's getting all better...

Girls with Mick at doc's

Loving It

           So on the first day of school I completly forgot to snap a photo of them going into class or comming out!  I guess it may have been all for the best as I didn't want to make the day any more anxiety ridden or possibly embarassing for them.  But on Monday I went in with a mission, to snap a few shots of them as they came out of school...  I will get more later, but first of all to all my American family and friends I must explain that there is no "infront of their school"... not really, as the schools here are almost like a college campus, simply different buildings with walkways and pathways inbetween... And all spread out. Very interesting and different from in the States, but I love how "outside" it all is... Ah Australian's really love their sunshine and fresh air...

Lucy and Esther smiling and happy outside the "Tuckshop" after school.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

BACK TO SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Ok so this week has proven to be quite a big week for our family.  Mick called it last Sunday night when he rubbed my back and reassuringly said, "Don't worry Brooke, I think this is going to be a big week for us."... Well my husband is a genious or he has supernatural powers or just simply... great faith...  Any of you who know me well know that I have eagerly and desperately been waiting on my partner visa to come through so that I could officially be allowed to stay here in Australia with the love of my life, my husband Mick... but also because without it my two daughters have been unable to attend school here, to make friends, to learn, and to continue to grow...  All three of us have therefore been waiting at home each day while Mick has been off at work, trying to pass the hours, learn something and not lose our minds.  In the end we have waited six long months, nine months altogether, if you count the summer vacation that had just ended before we left the states.  So nine months of noooo school... kids at home, reaching new levels of boredom that I didn't even know existed. 
           So this last week, as I sat at my computer and my girls bring the mail into me and I see the envelope from immigration, my heart skipped a beat.  I looked at it.  Could it be done?  Could my partner visa actually have been granted?  I certainly did not think so, the envelope was way too thin... Not to mention it just seemed completely impossible to me that it could finally be done... After all the past seven months had been what seemed like a never ending process of doctor visits, notarizing documents, phone calls, endless paperwork, and visits to the post office.  But sure enough it was!  I honestly didn't quite know what I was looking at... and the girls had left to go play, so they had no idea what had just come in the mail.  I texted Mick, he called me back, and I told him what it said... and yes! that's the one we had been waiting for.  I couldn't stop smiling all day.  Mick and I decided to tell all the girls that night, as they would all be together and we could make a bit of a celebration out of it.  So we bought a yummy cake, and wrapped up the girls' school uniforms (which we had already purchased back in November) with a note telling them that they were finally able to go to school!
The girls all posing with the cake before they found out the good news.

Lucy and Esther's reaction...
          So the next day, which was a Thursday we set an appointment to meet with the school principal after we picked up Mick from work.  This time we went into his office prepared with our visas in hand... It was such a great feeling.  The girls were so excited and the pricipal had fun teasing them and getting them all set up with which grade they should be in etc.  In the end we agreed with the principal that putting the girls in with their appropriate age group was the best, and so surprisingly enough, that means Lucy is now in 5th grade even though she had just began 4th grade in the states.  And Esther is in 2nd grade, the same grade she had began in the states.  With both of them being out of school for so long Mick and I and their principal will see how they do in these grades and adjust if it's needed.  Either way, they were pretty excited. 
           Originally, the principal said he would need them to wait until Monday to start school so that he would be able to give the teachers time to prepare for another student etc...  But as the meeting progressed and he could see how excited they were he eventually said... "you know what... just let them start tomorrow..." screams of joy ensued...
           I am very excited and happy with the school they are going to attend, the principal was more than helpful and after spending an hour talking with us, he then took us and the girls on a tour around the school.  It was perfect.

Esther in her new classroom

A big map of Australia in Esther's classroom

Lucy in her classroom, by some paintings of surfboards and sand... Ah so Australian...

Another view of Lucy's classroom

Esther sitting in the computer lab

The hugemongous new gym they just built!  What a beaut!

At our Celebration Dinner, yummy Thai Food!
                   The next morning the girls where up and more than ready for their first day of school!  When I went to pick them up they came running down the side walk full of happiness.  Lucy said it was one of the best days of her life... and Esther said, "It's good to be back."

Getting their lunch boxes ready and eating some breakfast

All ready to go!!!!!!!!!!!