Saturday, 27 October 2012

40 Days To Go

And so, the momentous 40th day mark was celebrated in style with some single parenting. Malcolm was on call and was at hospital the whole day. My father was at a tennis tournament in Shang Hai and my mother went along as his coach. Feel free to laugh, I did for a long time. And thus, I was on my own. I took the opportunity to knuckle down with our trip planning whilst listening to the wonderful sounds of my children practising their piano. Concentrating whilst trying to ignore the countless stray notes took some doing, but I got there in the end. The goal was to complete my super spreadsheet so that the travelling party of 12 would all be informed of the costs involved and the breakdowns. Having different members partake in varying activities at different didn't make the task any easier, but its done!

Much has happened since I last updated. The cruise line has decided not to visit the Egyptian ports and hence we will now be visiting the Greek island of Crete and the Italian port of Naples instead. Malcolm has found another "special' private tour operator for our visit to Iraklion on Crete. His name is Gregory, and his wife will cook for us. I organised the shore excursion for Naples and opted for the safe option of visiting the Herculaneum, going up Mount Vesuvius and finishing with a tour of Naples itself.

We've mostly decided on what we'd like to see at the various places and worked out which city or transport passes, if any, would be most economically sound. The exception is Florence.

To finish off this post, I am most happy to report that the Disney Store in Bologna is only about 200m away from our hotel. It is also conveniently located next to the Zara store...

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Celebrating 160 Years

Celebrating two birthdays as well as 39 years of marriage
 On the weekend, we celebrated a few things in one gathering! Aunty Mary turned 70, Uncle Paddy turned 90 and they had their 39th wedding anniversary. It was a simple gathering of many Albanys which was always great fun. Tessa, Malcolm's cousin, put a beautiful video together of Uncle Paddy's life, Aunty Mary's glory years and their married years. Uncle Paddy was a handsome young lad, so very much like Errol Flynn! It was rather sad to see him so frail now. An Albany do would not be not complete without someone bursting into song and dance. The honours went to Aunty Rita who did the family proud!

Malcolm trying out his grandfather's hat, practising for the day he becomes a grumpy old man

Party time with the Albanys...a room full of them

A very emotional Uncle Paddy

Aunty Rita bursting into song

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

An Au Pair Comes To Visit

Alex, our third au pair
We recently had the pleasure of meeting up again with Alex, one of our previous au pairs. I received a message saying that she was here and would love to catch up!

Alex came to Australia from Hamburg, Germany, over three years ago to help our family. Jonah was only 8 months old at the time and Lara and Elliot 4 and 6 respectively. How time flies! While she was here, she developed a relationship with an Australian young lad which is ongoing and so we've had the opportunity to see her again a few times since. It must have been the week for past au pairs I've also received beautiful messages and emails from Heather and Shannon!

We had a lovely evening. We had time to explore the Rocks before dinner and discovered parts that we had never seen before! After dinner, we went for another walk hoping to get a closer look at the Radiance Of The Seas that was docked at the International Passenger Terminal. Alas, she had sailed off. We left Alex to enjoy the rest of her 10 days here with Jay before we meet up again in December, this time in Paris. Surprisingly, she has never been! It will be fun exploring the city together. At least she can speak some French...

That little opening looks interesting...

Let's practice our stair climbing in preparation for all the buildings and structures that we're planning to climb in Europe!

It didn't take long for a little some to get "tired"

The view that we were rewarded at the top

A pretty alley way that we found and had never come across!

We discovered that it had been preserved from way back when...

Things you learn! I never knew that Hickson Rd was not the original shoreline

The Wharfs and buildings right on the waterfront are now hot property having been converted to apartments and restaurants

Our restaurant for the evening, Indonesian cuisine

One my favourite dishes, squid with green chilli

The best and only way to have satay...Indonesian style!

Our view from our table. Ah one day...

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Cirque Du Soleil's Ovo at the Entertainment Quarter, Fox Studios
We just came back from seeing Ovo, by Cirque Du Soleil. It has been a busy week and we're pooped so it will be a short post! In short, the show was AWESOME! The whole family loved it. We've never seen Jonah sit so still for so long before. The music, the performers, and the costumeswere all superb, and the changes between acts and seamless. It was well worth the money that we paid to see it. I'm almost positive that the whole family is now secretly yearning to be a circus star...

Unfortunately, they did not allow photography inside the big top so you'll have to be content with photos outside!
Lining up to get into the carpark

And we're out of the carpark!

Bee line towards the big top...

...via the gozleme stand!


Picnic style

Jonah prefers to lie down

Jonah also prefers to be fed...

Time to go in. Yay!

The next stars of the circus?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

4 Minutes In The Corner

The birthday boy!
Our beloved monster turned 4 today. How time flies! To maintain sanity, we had a simple "tea and cake" party to mark the occasion. The Birthday Boy didn't care, all he wanted was for people to come to the party. The type of party was irrelevant! Family and close friends arrived promptly at 930am for morning tea. The single game of Pass the parcel to Afro-circus, and Gangnam Style was a hit! It was a wonderful morning of fun and laughter. It was also an extremely low maintenance party thanks to friends and family who helped clean up. By 1130, we were all tidied up and ready to go for lunch!

Lara and Elliot always happy to be at a party

Elliot organising "pass the parcel"

The party bags

The  "healthy option"

Lemon tart

Hazelnut torte

The Disneyware are making special apprearances

The tea station

Mmm...yes there are nine candles on the cake. Daddy put them in...

Let's blow the candles out quickly so we can eat it!

Pass the parcel. I won! Oh no...

Its a princess pencil and notebook set! Just what a boy always dreams of

The children with their pass the parcel loot

Jonah with his presents

A new scooter from nanna and grandpa!

Alysa loves her cousin
Lunch was a small affair. Comfort chinese food was always appreciated on cold rainy days. The afternoon comfort activity of choice was mastering the boardgame, Le Havre, whilst listening to the sultry voice of Madeleine Peyroux. That was for the parents. Elliot and Lara happily went home with Oma and Opa. Jonah and Samuel were content with sticking bits of whatever they could find together with sticky tape to make spaceships. All in all, a very satisfying day with the exception of Jonah's discovery that he now has to spend four minutes in the corner upon a naughty deed. Three is no longer!

All eyes on the screen at lunch

Showing Uncle Brian how its done


With fried goodies

The boys amused themselves by making spaceships whilst their parents played a boardgame. Samuel's ship

Jonah's version.