Saturday, July 21, 2012


Holidays seemed to just fly by this time around. I was very lucky to have Dad and one of my nephews come to stay from Brisbane. Knowing I'd have 2 7 yos and an 8 yo in the house encouraged me to put together an itinerary and knowing I would have Dad on hand to help out and keep me company pretty much guaranteed a good holiday.

Our visitors arrived on the evening before the last day of term. Luckily the last day of term was a sports carnival so they got to watch the brats strut their stuff and I was able to get out of work early to join them for a nice lunch.

 On Saturday the kids had the last of their usual activities for the term and Hannah had an 'over the rainbow' party to go to.
On Sunday we drove into the Rocks because the Sydney Observatory had an open day. Boy that was and wasn't a mistake. I have not been there before and it is truly a lovely spot - even just driving about the old sandstone places nearby. But it was SO busy - we couldn't get into any of the 'attractions' they offer - and I had only wanted one to entertain the boys. Crazy because as members of the Powerhouse museum we can go there for free least we got to admire the views and play with some lego and check out the sun through a telescope before heading back to Abbotsford for some gelato. A good day.

 On Monday the itinerary kicked in...or was supposed to.

Like all good itineraries it had built in flexibility. So even though I had thought to take us all into the art gallery in time for the holiday storytelling activity and a potter about Hyde Park...I was able to change tac when Hannah's favourite person (my friends' 15 yo daughter) offered to host Hannah for a play date. Now as a busy teenager I knew that I had to seize this moment cos that girl's holiday diary was no doubt already chockas. So I dropped Hannah over there and when I came home I gave the boys the choice of park or library. They chose library. I then made a tea cake and my girlfriend, her daughter and Hannah joined us for a cuppa.

Tuesdays was planned as Powerhouse days and as I had prebooked and paid for activities there - there was no changing our minds. The first Tuesday I had booked the fellows into a scratch workshop for 50 minutes ($10). Dad and I played with Hannah in Wiggle world and then my MIL joined us at the cafe and we all went to the Narnia exhibition. Everyone enjoyed the exhibition.

[BTW - no I do not want Kit to grow into a computer geek and yes Scratch is pretty geeky - animated software design - so the boys learned to create a game of pong..that is write a computer program. Yes they loved it.]

Wednesday I had arranged to meet a 'virtual' family at our local park. It was lovely meeting them in 'real time' and I look forward to catching up with them in the future. They too live in Sydney but further out than me.

Thursday ... I had booked us in at Kuringgai National Park for one of their holiday workshops - I met two wombats. I had thought that getting the three kids out into the bush would be a nice change. Daniel's grandparents (other side of family) rang though and arranged to take himout so in the end it was just me and the twins which was actually very nice. It meant we had a lovel time together and my Dad got a bit of time to hiself and Daniel got to play with his 'other family' in Sydney - so very good all round. The workshop on wombats was very simply pitched but my kids both enjoyed it - it was just right - not too exacting but pleasant and they had fun together. It was nice to go native in the bush even if it was only for a few hours. When we got home we built a couple of the Lego holiday projects I'd bought.

Friday ... my day. I drove out to the national park to retrieve the camera I had left there and then pottered through a shopping centre before slowly making my way home. I met Phil after work and we ate out at a bar before catching the bus home at a very respectable 9pm. A good night.

The weekend was spent pottering about, not doing too much. On Saturday Phil was busy so dad and I took the kids to Sydney University - tot he Nicholson Museum to see the lego model of the Collosseum. It was really cool and the kids loved the grassy quadrangle. It was a bit of a damp and cold day otherwise I would also have walked them over to the duck pond which is another lovely part of the Uni. Anyway I'd highly recommend the Nicholson - it is free and child friendly and the lego model is there until next year - it is open during the week and I think on the first Sat of each month. I know that I will definitely go back.

Kit came home and tried to recreate Monet's garden with lego. Have I mentioned how much I love that boy?

For Sunday I had been going to join Dad and the boys on a picnic with my sister's inlaws (cos they live in Sydney and wanted to spend some time with their grandson) but the Armoury at Newington - it's a great place but pretty full on - too full on for Hannah (she had had a busy week and I wanted her to rest up).
So she was going to get a daddy and daughter day while the rest of us played at the park...except as usual there was not a single park to be had. I dropped off Dad and the boys and went home. We live near the Armoury so it was no trouble to go and pick them up later in the afternoon. That meant that there were now 3 of us mooching about at home so we all went out to a cafe for lunch and then we went and finally bought Hannah the new bike she has been longing for since Christmas.

Monday was actually one of my favourites of the organised activities. A friend from work had raved about the Rocks Museum. I'd never heard of it but when I googled it I found that it had free Discovery workshops for the school holidays. We hopped on a train and went in to it. It was really, really good. We walked around to a former convict house (M. Reynolds) and the kids played this great visual game - where they were given a pic of a modern artefact and had to then try and locate the 'then' equivalent - so hannah had a pic of a coffee mug and Kit a box of tissues and a handbag and Daniel a green shopping bag.

One child got a vacuum cleaner and another a of course we all went outside to peer into the well that would have been used for the family's water. Then the guides set up a few simple games that would have been played by the Reynolds children and that all the kids there enjoyed too - like hula hoops, quoits and hopscotch. In the paved courtyard and the dappled light - it was lovely. Back at the museum they then had a dress up session and an old style family portrait. My 3 all dressed up as children of the period and I suckered my Dad into wearing the Patriarch's nightshirt for it too.
 The kids then did some colouring in and cut out paper puppets - it was a great activity - well paced and very accessible. Afterwards we went and had an icecream and although i had planned to treat them to MacDonalds at Circular Quay Hannah was clearly knackered so we ended up back on the train and I got them Maccas at the drive thru to eat at home. That night we went to the local Club for some Chinese with my inlaws. It was great value and a good night.

The next morning Phil's face looked like it had exploded. He stoically stayed in bed all day refusing to go tot he drs. I took the kids back to the Powerhouse for their second workshop - Minecraft. For this one I had booked in Hannah as well as a schoolfriend of theirs - a boy who Kit plays with a lot and Hannah loves. Well Kit and his friend had a blast. Daniel managed to enjoy it and work out a bit of what to do and Hannah also gave it a go although she did tend to get a bit more frustrated - no doubt because she was stuck with me trying to follow the tutors instructions in helping her. the tutors were good but it was really difficult for her to follow and Kit was having so much fun totally engrossed in the virtual world set up with his school friend that I didn't have the heart to drag him away more than once to help her. Still I thinks he liked it and I learnt a little bit which is quite useful given how passionate the kids are about the game. Somewhere in there I rang and made a drs appointment for Phil for Wed and then we all came home and the kids got bonus time to sit on the computers and play minecraft.
Wed found us back at our local park - I had arranged a playdate with a school friend fo both kids - a little girl who Hannah particularly likes. the same morning her old friend who is now homeschooled texted to say that they would be at the park that afternoon - so I suggested if they could make it a bit earlier it would be great as hannah would already be there and she'd be absolutely thrilled to see Gen again. Int he midst of our park visit I left the kids there with Dad while I popped home to take Phil to the drs. he looked terrible! The Dr said it was the first time he'd seen this particular disease - mumps. Yep, poor man - apparently it is very rare these days cos our kids are immunised and most of us had it as kids...anyways it meant almost 2 weeks off work...
By Thursday I was pretty weary from our busy schedule. I left the kids with dad and went and did our big grocery shop then I called around at an old friend's place for a cuppa.
Friday...The boys were pretty much on the wall so I left them at home quietly reading on their beds while Hannah and I took her new bike to the park and then went and had an icecream.
Here Hannah is being transformed into a mermaid.

Before I knew it the holidays were over. Dad and I took the kids to the park for a play (Phil was still homebound with illness).
 I can't explain the smurf-face except to say that my cleaning her room lead Hannah to finding the Barbie makeup that she got for Christmas. I believe that she thought she was preparing for a party?
Last day together - what better time could there be for painting and explosions?

A good two weeks
Then on Sunday at 6am our visitors left. It had been a very busy quite tiring but lots of fun holiday. Kit rattled about our quiet house desperately missing his cousin. hannah cried at the drop of a hat I think she too was missing our visitors. Much as I loved having them here though for me it was a great day. I pottered about - restoring their room back into a 'spare room' doing some washing and finally I got the bubble bath I had planned all holidays...then to cap off my perfect day with my family - take away for dinner. For me it was then back to work... the twins stayed home for one more day - and 'looked after Dad' for me....and now it seems so long ago. We are at the end of our first week back and soon Phil too will be back at work after his illness...and on his final day he bought us an SLR I am not getting your hopes up...but I am hoping to play with taking some better photos - look out for an 'arty' post sometime soon...right here :)

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