Monday, January 30, 2012

School Days

The boys started the new school year Monday.  They both have been ready to go since we came back to Australia.  Will has been especially eager since he's been wanting to go to school for the past year.

I think this is the definition of excited!

Nathan was ready to go as well.  He is ready to start Year One, although I am a bit apprehensive.  He is back in the class of the teacher who suggested he move back to Kindy.  While that was in fact where we wanted him to start out in the first place, Bri and I both felt that she moved him back a bit quickly - like she didn't even give him a chance.  I'm sure they are unfounded concerns, but we'll keep a bit closer eye on his progress and interaction.  Nathan, however, told us that Miss Wilson is his favorite teacher in all of Junior School.

We packed lunches and had everything organized the night before.  Both boys were up at 7am.  Nathan was even showered and dressed by that point.  It was an easy morning and I had plenty of time to take first day pictures.

Summer Uniform

Will has the Sports Uniform
I took the boys to school and dropped Nathan off at his class first.  He found friends and immediately  told me he was good and I could take Will to his class.  I gave him a kiss and hug and we were off to Will's class. 

I made certain Will knew where I was hanging his book bag.  Before I could show him where his water bottle was to go, he told me he was ready for school and I could leave.  I made sure he found his teacher and then I headed to where the morning assembly was.  Both boys appeared to be settled in and happy.  Since Brian had been working from home that morning, I called him and we met for coffee.  It was lovely.

I spent my first day childless in a really exciting way - I mopped and straightened up the house from the weekend.  I'm going to have to find some ways to fill up my days! 

I was a bit nervous to see how the boys would be after their first day.  There was no need, they both had great days!  They made some new friends and enjoyed their classes and were excited to go back the next day.

As excited as they were, it must have been a long day and they were tired.  Brian had to wake both of them up this morning while I was showering.  When I came downstairs to fix breakfast I couldn't find Nathan.  When I called for him he told me he was upstairs.  I asked what he was doing upstairs and his answer was "sleeping in your bed."  Poor little guys!  Luckily, they were still excited to go and once again kicked me out.  I told them I was happy they liked school, but it would be nice if they missed me just a little bit!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Aussie Aussie Aussie!!!

To which the only appropriate response is Oi Oi Oi! 

Thursday was Australia Day, so I'm taking a small break from holiday postings to blog about that.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  From what I had heard, it was similar to our Fourth of July.  Mostly I knew that Brian was off work and we would we be having something off the barbie at some point that day.  I was happy when our local paper had a section devoted to what was happening around the area for Australia Day. 

The closest celebration to us was at Fly Point, which is the same place the Christmas on the Bay was at.  It's a nice park right on the water and just a few blocks from the marina.  It is also supposed to have some of the best snorkeling around.  When the boys get a bit better at swimming I'd like to find out for myself.

There were lots of booths and carnival type rides set up.  Entrance was free, but of course all the rides were at a cost.  No big deal, the boys had a great time.  It reminded me a lot of a county fair.  There were lots of demonstrations happening - line dancing, the surf club put on an exhibition, and a few local bands played.  There was even a breakfast with a Bush Poet - which we skipped since none of us are big poetry people.

We knew for certain we wanted to see the raising of the Australian Flag and the National Anthem.  We headed down about an hour and a half before that began and just wandered around.  The boys even got Australian flags for a donation to the local marching band.

The boys saw the child sized Jeeps and that was all they wanted to do.  Nath quickly informed me that he had a "child's license" and was therefore able to drive.  He never could tell me where he got said license from, but we let him drive anyway.  Brian had to cram in a car with Will, since Will couldn't reach the pedal.  It was hysterical to see all these dads with their knees up to their chins helping their children.

See what I mean

Nath was very serious, but not very fast

The almost wreck

The boys also enjoyed watching the sheep shearing demonstration as well.  They were going to shear an Alpaca later in the day.  I'm pretty sure the Alpacas were aware of this.

"Hey!  That's what he's going to do to me?"

The local fire and police departments had vehicles on hand for kids to see.  The boys always love climbing into these big trucks and driving.

I told them this was the only way I better see them in a police car

And a car for me

At this point there was an announcement to gather around the flag pole.  A local boy scout raised the flag as a family sang "Advance, Australia Fair."  The boys waved their flags.  Nathan told me he liked being an Aussie.  We promptly had a discussion that he isn't an official Aussie, even while we're here.  He's decided to be an unofficial one, which is fine with us.

He was singing along with the Anthem
After singing the anthem, the family immediately yelled "Aussie Aussie Aussie" to which the crowd responded "Oi Oi Oi!".  Now, Brian had told me about this cheer and I thought it was silly.  I still think it's a bit silly, but it was fun being in a crowd of Aussies while it was happening.

We decided to partake in good old Aussie cuisine while we were there.  Bri, Nath, and I had meat pies while Wills ate a sausage.  As a side note, while I do enjoy a meat pie, it always makes me think of Sweeney Todd.  Hopefully the Rotary Club (they provided the food) isn't up to anything sinister!

After our time spent there, we decided to head to the Inner Lighthouse.  The boys have been wanting to see it, and it seemed like a good time.  It is still functional and the Marine Rescue works out of there as well.  There was a small museum dedicated to maritime history - well done, but not that interesting to the boys.  However, the view was beautiful.

Lighthouse from the parking lot

Old Lanterns

Beautiful  View
As you can see, the sky was greying up, so we headed back to our house.  The kids had a rest time and then we spent the rest of the day lounging around the pool.  Bri was disappointed to miss the Hornet flyover, but he didn't miss a thing since they flew over our house on the way to Fly Point.

It was fun to be apart of the celebration.  This was our first real holiday while in Australia.  And, much to Nathan's delight, there were no fireworks like on the Fourth.  All was well at our house.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Holiday Part Two

The day after Christmas the entire Jackson clan headed to the Newport Aquarium.  Last time the boys were there the acted less than stellar.  Needless to say, they were told that there would be serious consequences for poor behavior.  They behaved like the angels they appear to be when they are asleep!  Here are a few of the better pictures from that festivity.

but he was all about the drums

Jackson didn't want his picture by the tree....

Scuba Santa!
The boys loved Lorikeet Landing - which is funny because we live about 500 feet away from a Lorikeet preserve and constantly see them flying around our house.  However, they don't typically land on you like this!

I really am not a fan of birds that close! 

The day after the aquarium, we went to Union Terminal to see the train display.  Nathan loves trains and this was his request for holiday activities.

I love the architecture of this building

One of the murals inside

Not only did we get to see the trains, we also saw Cincinnati in the 1950's, if I remember correctly.  They did a wonderful job.
Crosley Field

Music Hall

Thomas, of course

Riding the train

Will is proudly wearing his new watch

From here, we were off to Brian's side of the family.  I will catch up with the third part of the holiday series tomorrow!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Holiday - Celebrate

Warning:  This is going to be a picture heavy, word light post. 

On December 17th, we left back for the US for summer/Christmas holiday.  We were there for a month staying with family.  We did a lot while there, so I'm going to give you snapshots of our activities instead of lengthy descriptions.

My parents picked us up at the CVG airport the evening of the 17th, after a long but uneventful trip.  The boys had been asking for Skyline chili, so off we went - and did it ever taste good!

Brian and I were excited to see our church family at Immanuel the next day, and it was as wonderful as we expected.  We miss belonging to a choir, and there just isn't that option anywhere close to where we live.  Praise bands are the norm here, which isn't our favorite style.  We were happy to see a lot of our friends.  In fact, my only complaint about the whole trip is we didn't get to see them enough.

After a quick lunch at Izzy's (mmm, Reuben) we were off to go see Harry Connick, Jr.!  We found out that he was playing a concert at the Catholic church in Richmond, KY.  Shout out to my mom and sister-in-laws for letting me know and obtaining the tickets!  We never figured out why he was at a small church for his only holiday concert, but I could've cared less.  The concert was amazing.  He had his standard combo and a gentleman playing the guitar.  Oddly enough, the highlight for me was when he played piano with the guitarist on "The Old Rugged Cross."  I never knew that song could groove, but groove it did.  I'll never be able to hear that song without remembering that concert.

Close enough to see his hands very well

Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed during the concert.

A few days later we went to Southern Lights with my sister's family and my parents.  The Kentucky Horse Park has light displays all over, along with Santa, petting zoo, and...
Nath took his job of holding on to Jackson seriously

Wrangling three boys for a pic is hard work!
The following picture isn't from the Horse Park.  We spent a few nights at my sister's new house.  The boy cousins had a blast romping around together.  As you can imagine, it got very loud at times.  Here's what happened when we told our boys to put on their pajamas.

Sometimes you just have to do the opposite of everyone else
That's the perfect picture for the first time he brings a girl to see Aunt Kristi!

Aunt Elaine was kind enough to hold off on decorating Christmas cookies until the boys were able to help.  They had a blast decorating, until they were tired.  I'm glad we were able to keep this yearly tradition going!

It's important work placing Red Hots in the right spots!

Caught red handed!

Love the lip bit in concentration
He likes sprinkles

This was the first Christmas we haven't had the morning as our little family, which felt a bit weird.  We opened presents from Santa, then went to my parent's church.  It was a nice morning, just a bit different.

"How did Santa know I've always wanted this?"

Not quite awake yet

Cousins with stockings

Grandma brought back pink rattlesnakes from the Grand Canyon

As a side note, the boys took their snakes on the plane back to Australia.  They had the snakes poking their heads out of their backpacks.  We got some odd looks and I kept an eye out for Samuel L. Jackson.

This post has gotten long enough, and I haven't covered several things.  I"m going to break this up into two posts and try to post more tomorrow.  Good night - or G'Day for most of you!