Chin is Up

I am a lucky gal to have such kind, insightful and encouraging people in my life. Thank you all for the virtual hand holding!

This past weekend I had friends come to Sydney. They take an annual birthday trip in August and this year they chose Australia (lucky me). I joined my friends J, Letti, Nolan & Christine for dinner in the city at Rockpool Bar and Grill. The decor was art deco, the food was divine, the service was top-notch and the company couldn’t be beat. Sunday morning they joined me in Manly and we walked along the boardwalk before lunching at Pantry Manly. Another amazing meal (thank you, Jill)! And both restaurants were very gluten-free friendly!

Manly Beach with J on his BDay

Manly Beach with J on his BDay

Side note: Phill stayed with the kids while I was gallivanting around Sydney all weekend. Ladies, yes, he is amazing.

I really enjoyed the visit from my American friends. It was the first visit to Australia for all of them. So, as the only resident (of 2.5 weeks) of the bunch, I filled them in on everything I knew. The lingo, the history, places to eat, things to see, stuff to do… I explained as much as I could and did so with passion and gusto. With every story, every explanation, my happiness level crept up and up. I was playing tour guide, if only for a few hours, and got to explain how totally badass the town is where I now reside. It was a surge to my sagging spirits, a boost to my bummed out, homesick attitude. I live in an amazing part of the world, a place where people dream of visiting. Pity party is over, y’all!

I will leave you with several photos from our walk around the Cove on Sunday morning. Cheers!

photo 5 (3)

photo (7)

20130825_102036

20130825_102337

photo 1 (9)

Picking out mommy, daddy, Stella & Declan shells

Picking out mommy, daddy, Stella & Declan shells

Advertisements

Choices

So Phill is away on his first business trip since we arrived in Australia. Exactly two weeks after we arrived. But, hey, who’s counting?

I’ll be honest and tell you all that I am struggling. Life in Oz is vastly different from our life in Austin. Phill’s working a lot more. I’m at a loss without the arsenal of a full kitchen so we are eating out a lot. Stella’s not in school anymore. I spend a good part of every day mentally preparing to drive on the (wrong) left side of the road. Boy, oh boy. That will be an adventure!

Need this said to me on repeat.

Need this said to me on repeat.

I could take solace in the fact that at least we moved to a country where they speak English and aren’t facing a language barrier like my friends in Switzerland. The Aussies do, however, have their own language and style of speaking. But that’s a post for another day.

Tonight, in a desperate attempt to elicit a third nap out of Declan, I popped the kids in the pram and headed out. We walked through the Corso and over to one of the play parks located on the boardwalk of Manly Beach. We left there and headed toward Shelly Beach. It was getting dark and Stella kept asking if it was past her bedtime. We turned back and headed home about halfway to Shelly Beach. We walked along in silence until Stella said, “Mommy, I like going places in the stroller instead of the car.”

Her statement has really stayed with me. I’ve spent all evening mulling over what she said. Our life in Austin was, as is all of Texas, rather sedentary. Need to pick up a prescription? Car.¬†Want to go to Lincoln’s house? Car. Dinner out? Car. Groceries? Car (ok, that was walkable, when it wasn’t 100 degrees). Anyway, you get the picture.

I am still amazed that my (almost) three year old had that thought and was able to articulate it to me.

Since we’ve been here, Stella has flourished. She’s zooming all over the place. Skipping, jumping, running, running, running. She’s never been a very physical kid so this is new for her. And, apparently, it suits her well!

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy wallowing in my own misery and homesickness. To hear that she is pleased with this aspect of our new life here in Australia makes me deliriously happy. Maybe even enough to boost me out of my funk.

I think we will look back on our choice to move to Australia with fondness and appreciation. Living the ex-pat life will, and maybe already has, changed us forever. Best decision ever?

Possibly.

Sunset in Manly

Sunset in Manly

P.S. I never did get Declan to take that nap.

Liar, Liar

I feel so much better today! I think putting my feelings into words and then getting such lovely, lovely feedback from you guys did the trick. I have such kind and wise friends and family! Thank you all for the encouraging words.

 

Also, Baby Declan went and made a liar out of me.

 

He pushed through his first tooth yesterday! Ha! I do not recall Stella’s teething process being this bad. Maybe I just forgot? Either way, I am I glad to have that sorted. One down, 19 to go!

 

Happy D

Happy Baby D

Now can we go back to being happy all day and sleepy all night?

 

Declan is 6.5 months

 

Life in Manly

Life here in Manly is pretty sweet. We are surrounded by such beauty with all the perks of a city within walking distance. This beach is basically our front yard.

Manly Cove

Manly Cove

Beach babe

Beach babe

Manly Wharf is just across the street.

Atop the shell at the Wharf

Atop the shell at the Wharf

We live a block from the Corso, the center of Manly filled with restaurants and cafes, all kinds of shops, even a play park.

Kids at the Corso play park

Corso play park

And I take a daily walk along the boardwalk with sights like this.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach

Stella will start school again (twice a week) in January. So, for now, I get to spend all day every day with my two amazing children. I’ve been given an amazing gift.

But, you guys, I am homesick! The feeling started creeping up a couple of days ago but has really come on strong today. I miss my car, Wheatsville, my family, my friends, Stella’s friends, my gym, my coffee machine (tear). I miss being able to call up friends for a last minute dinner (and knowing where to go). I miss my favorite gluten-free brands. I miss Stella’s school (or I miss Stella going to school… ?).

On top of all this, we are tired. Bone tired. Declan is super smiley and all around adorable during the day. But he turns into this awful crying, whining, giant fuss bomb at night. He is the WORST SLEEPER. I want to blame teething but I’m not sure I can anymore – it’s been almost 4 solid weeks of this.

Please do not think I am ungrateful. I do know this is an amazing opportunity and adventure my family is on. I just felt like having a good vent. So thank you, thank you very much for listening.

UPDATE: Just after I posted this, Daniel Tiger came on the TV. Thank you God, thank you Universe. We needed that little piece of home.

And it was a NEW EPISODE!

And it was a NEW EPISODE!

UGGA MUGGA! ūüôā

No Boys Allowed

This weekend Stella and I had ourselves a lovely “girl date.” We went to one of the numerous cafes in Manly, Three Beans, for a gluten-free cupcake and a babycino. Stella was happily in her element! Using her dessert fork, she took the tiniest of bites of her cupcake and carefully sipped her ‘cino.

My super cute date

My super cute date

And last night, I went into Sydney with Jill, Polly and Brigette for a girls night out. Polly and Brigette are fellow Americans living in Manly. They could really empathize with my newbie status and all the circumstances and emotions that go along with that. We took the ferry and went to Peter Doyle for dinner, which is located in the Quay. Their website claims “great food, great views, great wine and a great time with friends.” And that is EXACTLY what it was. Our table overlooked the harbour and the Opera House and was simply magical. And, since this is the only picture I got, I made them all agree we just have to go out to dinner again and get ourselves a proper GNO picture.

View from our table at Peter Doyle

View from our table at Peter Doyle

And, maybe I’ll even have a few more questions after that…. and need another dinner……

Sydney Wildlife Zoo

Friday the kids and I hopped the ferry into Sydney for a fun filled morning. Joining in on our fun – Jill and Nate and our new friends, Dominique and Gabby and Jasper.

Gabby, Nate & Stella on the ferry

Gabby, Nate & Stella on the ferry

Ferry to Darling Harbour

Ferry to Darling Harbour

Ferry snack

Ferry snack

The ferry dropped us in Darling Harbour and we made our way to the Sydney Wildlife Zoo. We saw all kinds of cool Australian animals! We saw¬†lots of lizards, spiders and snakes, all of which I zoomed right past. Our favorites were the¬†Kangaroos, Echindas (spell check is desperate to change that to “enchiladas”) ,¬†Wallabies,¬†Tasmanian Devils,¬†Kookaburras, a Wombat named Meg and a giant saltwater crocodile named Rex. He’s so mean he has to live by himself as, rumor has it, he’s had previous roommates for dinner. Stella loved the Nightfall exhibit that displayed tiny white glow-in-the-dark mice scurrying all over.

Saying hi to the wallaby

Saying hi to Meg

Kangaroos!

Kangaroos!

One lean mean crocodile

One lean mean crocodile

Woke up for a quick scratch

Woke up for a quick scratch

We missed the ferry so we adventured through China Town and took a train back to Circular Quay. Once back on our ferry home to Manly, all the kids were hungry, tired and cranky (NAP TIME!). All except Declan, of course. He slept in his pram all morning so he was awake and ready to party!

Smiley boy!

Smiley boy!

As I write this, Stella is teetering around the apartment wearing the high heels that I wore to my Girls Dinner last night. She’s talking about going to a fancy dinner and drinking ros√©. Whoops. Ha! That’s my girl.

Stella is 2 years, 10 months

Declan is 6 months

Spiders….?

Here and there throughout the years, I heard whispers of Australia and its spiders. I paid it no mind right up until we got here. A few days after we arrived, friends asked us if we had seen any spiders. Um, excuse me? I honestly thought spiders weren’t anything I had to be concerned about. Aren’t those just tall tales? No? Well, surely they don’t exist in the city…

FALSE.

 

You GUYS.

Huntsman Spider

The Huntsman Spider

 

Uuuuughhh, makes me shudder. Excuse my language, but I don’t give a &#*$ if they are poisonous or not (they’re not). I will freak the FREAK out when I do cross paths with one of these creatures. I’m mentally preparing myself for the first encounter. Which means I’m jumping at every shadow and triple checking each room as I enter. Stay tuned, y’all. I hope to never ever have a post titled, “Today I Freaked the FREAK Out.”