More Aussie Summer Frolicking: The Pool

While Christmas day in Australia was a highlight, it was just one day in week-long relaxing holiday in the country. Well, it was relaxing for me. May not have felt the same way to my Mum and Dad who were busy hosting a revolving door of visitors.

I think I’ve mentioned before that this visit was a special one for me, not just because I was able to spend time with my family, but because it was our first Aussie Christmas since Thomas was just 3 months old. Christmas is an expensive time of the year to travel to Australia – it’s a big holiday that it falls in the middle of Summer which means costly airfares. And, while that makes for an expensive vacation, it also means plenty of opportunities to spend time outside during the most wonderful time of the year. On the flip side, it can also mean plenty of HOT days when all you want to do is hibernate inside the nice cool house and avoid the swarm of flies that seem to appear every time you step out the back door. The other option on a hot day? The pool.

I grew up in a suburb of Melbourne where the local pool was the Summer gathering place to keep the neighborhood kids cool on those hot humid days. Fun fact: the pool in our neighborhood was attached to a Tupperware facility. It was free at certain times of the day and rumor has it that the water was heated as part of the process for cooling the Tupperware plastics. I hear it’s now a gathering place for the neighborhood ducks.

My parents now live in a country town on the Victoria/NSW border and, like a lot of small towns, it also has a neighborhood pool. Unfortunately it is just a little too far of a walk on a hot day with small children and shade was surprisingly hard to come by which is a big no-no in a country that aggressively pushes the “slip slop slap” message thanks to our very own giant hole in the ozone layer. But, lucky for us, my parents have neighbors with a pool and they kindly offered it up for our use while they were out of town over the holiday. The bonus was that we had it all to ourselves and that meant hours of fun.

Ahhhh, the Aussie Summer. There’s nothing else quite like it.

And that completes the first part of our Aussie vacation. Next time I’ll start posting highlights from our trip to Tasmania where we encountered everything from penguins to ghosts and devils to criminals. Back soon.

Christmas Down Under

I know, I know… it’s been almost three months since Christmas but things have been a little nuts around here. The good news is the search for a full time job is well underway and, in the meantime, I managed to land some work through my brand new LLC, Lyrebird Images. Well, the Lyrebird Images part has been around for a while but today I made it official. AND we bought a new camera.

Next on the agenda? Business Cards.

But back to the purpose of my post. Christmas in Australia. It was warm, it was family-filled and it was fun.

There are few places on earth where a morning of opening Christmas gifts can be followed by a run down the slip-n-slide and I was so excited to be able to share this with my children. Sure, snow and ice can make for a pretty and cozy Christmas, but my childhood will always be filled with the memories of playing outside, cold drinks and icy poles on the veranda and cooking a hot dinner even when the temperature sometimes tops 40 degrees celsius (104F).

Of course, there cannot be presents without first leaving out the traditional beer and biscuits for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer. I just love all the fake smiles in this photo. It cracks me up every single time. Oh, and it should be noted that they’re wearing their new Christmas Eve pajamas.

On Christmas morning we opened stockings and tried to avoid stepping on the soccer cards that had mysteriously multiplied like gremlins.

And then “Santa” came out to open the presents under the tree and it might have been the best moment of the morning.

Negotiating the gift-giving strategy.

Uncle Jono received a new umbrella that came all the way from America with a side of campy photo opportunity.

The best part about the gift giving were the accompanying hugs.

And the candy canes that Santa left in our stockings.

This is, by far, my favorite photo of the day. Who else can boast a Clarke Griswold photobomb?

The boys received more than a few Aussie soccer-related items.

And Ben received this headband…

Mum received three bottles of Clinique lotion. She asked for it and we all delivered!

And then everyone checked out their loot and read the instructions…

…Until it was finally time to carve the roast beast.

A wonderful, hot and sunny Christmas Day to remember.

New Beginnings

Today is the beginning of a new journey. After eleven years working for the same company, I am heading out to embark on a new adventure. And, while I didn’t exactly choose the timing of this change, it feels like the right time.

The hardest part is saying goodbye to my co-workers and friends, some of whom have been with me from my first day, shared in the joy of pregnancy and new motherhood (twice), been with me through hard times and stressful times and provided me with the beginning of a life in what was a brand new city where I knew no one except my husband. But, as they say, Portland is the world’s biggest small town and our paths are guaranteed to cross again.

So now the search begins for a new adventure. I’m looking for something challenging, creatively rewarding and fun – something that will nurture my passions and make my heart soar. And you know what? I have a feeling it’s out there waiting for me.

On a related note, I now have more time for family, lifestyle and event photography in the Portland area. If you’re interested, please contact me for rates and availability.


Wordless Wednesday: Keeping Classically Cool with the Slip-n-Slide

It seems ridiculous to be posting photos of slip-n-slides while a good portion of the Unites States is buried by snow. But, in fairness, these photos were taken only about 6 weeks ago and are a good reminder that the world has another hemisphere.

One thing I realized about the slip-n-slide is that it’s not like riding a bike – you CAN forget how to do it. After we’d finally worked out where to set it up (NOT on a downward slope), I tried once or twice with limited results and gratitude that no one else was holding a camera at the time. Thankfully Uncle Jono arrived a couple of days later to show us how it’s done. I’m not sure Charlie quite caught on but, clearly, it didn’t matter. Fun isn’t about doing it right.

Aussie Cousins

When I asked the boys what they were most looking forward to about their trip to Australia, there was no hesitation – catching up with cousin Charlie was at the top of their list. And, thankfully, they had quite a few days to ensure some cousin bonding time and, of course, teach him how to play soccer. I just adore these photos that show the cousins in their element as they ran around under the Australian sun (covered in sunscreen), teaching Charlie how to kick a soccer ball and just generally getting hot and sweaty while they enjoyed every minute.

As I look outside at our rainy northwest winter day, these photos make me feel warm again. Instead of longing to be back (although there is a little of that), I find myself looking at these memories and feeling the warm sun, hearing the giggles and enjoying the moments of pure relaxation once again.

I know that you can see every single rib in their ribcage but I promise you that my children eat constantly. Being a boys just expends a lot more calories than you can imagine.

It’s only fun until someone gets hurt… Good thing he has his cousin to make sure he’s ok.

This photo cracks me up. It looks like I caught a picture of bigfoot.

And this is a favorite.

Gotta love cousins.

Crazy Weeks and Hungry Hippos

It was just a week ago that I posted about wanting to post here more often and then, well, last week happened and it all went out the window. I spent the week up in Seattle working long days (and nights) and then we hosted a Super Bowl party on Sunday which meant the weekend leading up to it included a much-needed house cleaning. In short, the blog moved down the list of priorities but I am determined to get back on the train so I thought I’d drop by today to share just one photo and quick story from our Aussie adventure.

And the moral of this story is that you will not realize how noisy a game of Hungry Hippos can be until you give it to three rambunctious cousins. Just one of the many “quiet” moments of bonding between these monkeys.

It was a lot of fun to see how they interacted now that Charlie is old enough to communicate with the boys. Samuel enjoyed this brief period of not being the youngest, despite the fact that he and Charlie are the same size “and I’m three years older, Mum!” Thomas was there to impart some older brother wisdom on the young cousin who will soon become one himself. Charlie was just content to follow them both around and hand out icy poles (popsicles) on demand.

The best part about this whole reunion was that, as soon as they saw each other, it was as if they had not been a day apart – and the weeks of built-up excitement about seeing their cousin paid off in spades.

See? Just like peas in a pod, er, hammock.