Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dear Kim from Four Months Ago...

...I've got some advice for you.
 And even though you don't normally like taking advice, you really should listen to me.

First and foremost, it is all going to be okay.

Erica and Jonathan are perfectly capable of being pregnant with their 2nd child, and I'm certain that they are able to figure out the whole going to the hospital to have a baby again without you. The baby is not going to remember that you weren't there. Erica has her amazing family and Kelsey (also amazing) who all live within a few miles. Plus, you are going to overstay your welcome when you come back to visit.

Kelsey and Mikey can plan a wedding without you because they have Lisa and JP and there are professionals out there that take the reigns once they have been chosen and paid. Kelsey would have gotten really tired of you hovering really quickly.
Don't forget to ask Kelsey- What did Mikey say about bow ties? Are we a firm "no" still?
The house looks fine, and actually, the third couple who walks through it on the third day it is on the market is going to buy it.
They are going to be a perfect fit for the neighborhood with her adorable, barely-showing pregnancy and two-year-old little boy. The house will close less than a month after you have left, and you won't have to worry about taking care of it from afar.

Whiskey and the cat are in good hands. Wait, better than good. They will be taken care of better than you would take care of them if you weren't moving to the other side of the world. After what happens with Maysee, you'll see, the best decision that you can make is to let them be loved by someone other than you for the short period of time that you are over in Australia. It just wouldn't be fair to make them take that trip. You'll hear from many experienced people... It would break their spirit to be caged for that long after the lifestyle that they've grown accustomed to.

In spite of what you might think, you are not in control. You have no control over any of the things that I just mentioned.  They are obviously very important parts of our life, but you have to trust that without you, the world is not going to stop spinning.

Second, for the love of God, woman, pack your pillow in a suitcase.
How did the yoga mat make it but not your pillow?! The temporary pillows that will be provided to you are horrible. Have you ever woken up with both of your arms asleep? I know you haven't, but guess what, you will... Almost every night. Your back will hurt worse than when you were at the end of your pregnancy with the twins, but you are, of course, going to be stubborn and cheap and refuse to purchase new pillows because you know your pillow will be here at the beginning of April.
You're stupid for doing that, but, hey, what can I say? You have your reasons.

Third, don't touch anything that looks like it might be drugs.
Do you know if pot is legal or not in Australia? No? Well, me neither.
Update: Totally just Googled it. Yea. It's illegal.
Do you know what would happen if you got caught with a dime bag while you are holding a temporary visa? No. Me neither, but you'd probably get kicked out of the country if pot is illegal.
Long story, short... Don't touch that bag that looks suspiciously like a bag of pot in the train station because you aren't sure what it is and it is in the seat you want to sit in.
Come on, Kim. You aren't stupid.
You know, except when it comes to buying new pillows.

Fourth, eat a lot of Mexican food. 
You aren't thinking about it right now, but you have been spoiled. The margaritas and the food that you have been eating for the last seven years... You have been taking advantage of having that so accessible! Stop what you are doing right now, no matter what time of day or night, and go to the nearest Mexican restaurant, expensive or cheap, and order a bowl of queso and a margarita, frozen with salt. Then repeat, repeat, and repeat. 
Actually, come to think of it. Eat a lot of everything. Everything here is crazy expensive and portion controlled to the max. You are going to lose weight immediately due to this (and walking everywhere), so go nuts while you can.
And when I say "walking everywhere", I mean EVERYWHERE!
You aren't getting a car, dude, so enjoy that too.

You're worrying about the big stuff and sweating the small stuff, but looking back now, you should have just eaten a lot of queso, driven around aimlessly because you could, and stood in the middle of HEB to marvel at the massive-ness of a grocery store. 
I have a feeling that when you/I get back to the states we are immediately going to get a big car, a membership to Costco, and stock up on peanut butter and paper towels... Why? Because we can!
I would say "I can't wait!", but I can. 
We've got a few adventures between now and then.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Few Adventures...

The Aquarium

We had a great time visiting the aquarium.
The kids were free (since they were 3-years-old), but they won't get away with that for long.
Overall, the trip was pretty expensive (especially considering that the kids were free and that I bought discounted tickets online vs at the door), but it was fun.  The kids really enjoyed it!


(Press Play!)

The aquarium had an incredible project where the kids would color in a picture of a shark and it would project the shark onto the screen where it could "swim in the ocean". It was such a cool concept, and the kids loved finding and chasing their sharks.

The Gruffalo

On Tuesday evening, Blake left work a little early to come with us to a little production at Melbourne Town Hall.
We got to watch one of our favorite authors read and act out a few stories, including The Gruffalo and Room on a Broom, as well as sing a few fun songs and hear a few silly poems.

It was adorable and sweetly silly and a blast for both us and the kids!

 We even got her autograph on Easton's book!

The Statue by the River

So there is this statue that is down by the river. 
Totally thinking of Chris Farley...
Back to the story.

We can see it from our apartment, and we had been trying to decide if it was a dog or a dinosaur or a lizard. We just couldn't decide. 

Once Samantha and Easton had a chance to inspect it up close, Samantha had the obvious answer.

Samantha, "Daddy! It's a cat!"
Blake, "Why do you think it's a cat, Samantha?"
Samantha, "Because..." Looking at Blake with exasperation.
"It only has three legs."

I think someone misses her kitty more than I do.

More adventures soon...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Goals... For the Moment & Week One

Before moving here, I knew that I'd have to give myself certain goals to accomplish each day.

I needed these for several reasons:
  1. I could build a daily routine around them.
  2. I could hold myself accountable. 
  3. It gave each day a purpose.
  4. It made me feel somewhat more organized.
My goals were simple... Every weekday, the kids and I would get out to do at least one thing. Whether it was before naps or after, I was going to get out with them. Every weekend, we would get out and explore something. You know, do something slightly more substantial, something that required another set of hands with the two three-years-old in tow.

I, of course, have already had one day where I didn't follow through with this, and I've got to say, it was a bit much to be cooped up inside all day with Samantha and Easton in the apartment, especially since they don't have their toys and the television isn't set up yet. 

Here is how each day looked, now that you know my goal for each day:

Saturday, February 7th
Blake wasn't working, so today we set about picking up some groceries for our apartment. This is quite a feat because we hadn't yet figured out how to take advantage of the tram system to get us there and back... so we all walked to the closest Cole's.
Cole's is the better priced option when it comes to heavier grocery trips.
We passed Hosier Lane, which is famous for it's ever-changing graffiti. It is breathtaking, and boasts newer and more exciting sights each time you pass down the lane.

 Samantha and Easton, of course, loved seeing Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc. up on the walls.
We keep promising to go back to take a picture with Sully. They were disappointed that I left him out.

After dropping off the groceries, we had lunch at the apartment before heading back to the hotel.
That afternoon, we walked to Bourke Street to set up internet, television, and home phone services for our apartment. I also got a new cell phone that I can use here, and we went to Target to pick up a few home supplies.
Now, when I talk about Target... Think about Target before Super Target. No groceries or things like that. Only clothing, home appliances, etc.

If you want to have a good time, try walking down four city blocks holding a mop, an ironing board, and a few *heavy* bags of home cleaning supplies with twin three-year-old kids on a 90*F day. Good times, y'all.

Sunday, February 8th
In the morning, we headed by train to the zoo. We finally saw the kangaroo (as well as scores of other animals) that we had been promising Easton and Samantha throughout the transition of moving us to Australia.

Easton wasn't actually convinced that we were in Australia until he saw the kangaroos. At that point, he was satisfied.

We also saw a koala (adorable!) and hung out a bit with a wombat who really liked Samantha's company.

(Press Play!)

The trip was overall a large success until Samantha began complaining of a tummy ache. She and I headed back to the hotel on our own while the guys finished up their trip with a ride on an ancient carousel, literally 140 years old, and a visit to the see the seals and penguins.

After nap time, we took advantage of the indoor swimming pool in the hotel, Samantha's tummy feeling better after napping.

Monday, February 9th
Today was Blake's first day of work, and we toasted the day with hot chocolate and fresh blueberry muffins. 

After he headed off, the kids and I got dressed and walked down the street to our apartment where we unpacked our massive suitcases into the closets and bathroom cabinets. (Remember, aside from the odd yoga mat, our suitcases held mostly clothes and toiletries.) 
Blake came by the apartment for lunch, and we then made a beeline back to the hotel for naps. 

When Blake came back to the hotel after work, we went once again to the swimming pool and then the kids took a long, final bath in the tub. (Our apartment doesn't have any bath tubs... Just showers. Good times ahead, good times.)

Tuesday, February 10th
The kids and I checked out of the hotel after Blake headed to work, and we walked, with all of our overnight bags, to the apartment. 

The temporary furniture arrived shortly before lunch, and we watched as a few men brought the precious essentials that a family of four needs to live comfortably... A couch, a television, dishes, silverware, beds, linens, a trash can... You get the point.

After naps we went back to Target.
I had lived long enough without a coffee pot.

We stopped just long enough before Target for a quick strawberry smoothie and strawberry 'n cream macaroon. 

Needless to say, the macaroons were a hit. They ate them like they had never had anything so delicious. Easton, at one point, dropped a bit on the floor and might have eaten it while my back was turned. Yummy. 

We bought (aside from the Nescafe machine and necessary pods to make frothy hot chocolate, cappuccinos, and mochas) a dry, dusting mop, a basket for towels in the bathroom, and a hairdryer. 
Blake arrived just in time to help us carry everything home. Saved! 

Wednesday, February 11th
Today was the day that I broke my rule. 

We didn't go out, and we stayed in our pajamas all day. Relaxing.
In some ways, I felt that we deserved the break, but in other ways we should have escaped the apartment. Oh, well. 

Thursday, February 12th
It was a calm Thursday. 
We hung out in the morning, and then headed out to order a "surprise" for Daddy/Blake for Valentine's Day. After that, we wandered into an adorable little bookshop and picked up a couple of new stories and an old favorite.

We met Blake for a leisurely lunch at what has quickly become our go-to spot for coffee and muffins. 
The lady who always waits on us is from Seattle, and she is always sneaking the kids a little treat whenever we are heading out the door. 
Today was a chocolate chip cookie the size of my face.

The evening ended with impromptu fireworks right before bedtime. 
We had the best seats.
Friday, February 13th
Our plans for an Italian dinner in Melbourne's version of "Little Italy" were spoiled when the internet guy, who had come to hook up our apartment (finally!), told me that storms would overtake the city by the afternoon.
Sure enough, Blake stepped into the apartment after work, pizzas in tow, with water droplets spotting his shirt. He barely missed the downpour, the lightning and thunder that started shortly after and remained throughout the night.

Saturday, February 14th
Valentine's Day began on a sweet note when we sent Blake into the still-rainy weather to pick up doughnuts for breakfast and to stop by Little Cupcakes, a sweet, local cupcake shop, to pick up his "surprise".
Aren't I sweet to make him pick up his own gift?

They were seriously the cutest cupcakes I have ever seen! (And delicious!)
 My bad, that they were $11 a pop. Didn't realize that until after I placed the order.

After naps, we stopped by a local sweet shop where I had a light hot chocolate, Blake had a macchiato, and the kids had their first babycino, which is basically frothed milk with a bit of chocolate on top. 

Their babycino's came with a chocolate teddy bear.
I have a feeling that we'll be back here again soon.
Much better for our wallets than the teddy bear cupcakes...

The day ended with yet another trip to Target. 
This time I needed a slow cooker, shampoo and conditioner, and nail polish remover. I also picked up a 24-pack of individual apple juices for $12, which is an incredible price! (Blake wouldn't go with my request to buy all of the remaining apple juices and carry them all back to the apartment...Boo. Such a good deal.)
I could have gotten all of that from IGA (aside from the slow cooker), which is the grocery store right downstairs, but what can I say?
I miss Target.

Our first week was eventful, and I'm hoping that with careful planning, I can make sure that the kids and I not only have something to do each day, but that we can do it without breaking the bank.
I see more apple juices from Target in our future.