Sunday, January 31, 2010

Off to the Opera

Saturday night we went see Candide at 'Opera in the Park' with Steve & Selina
Selina & I with our 'I Love Opera' stickers

After lovely nibbles & drinks in the VIP tent (thanks Steve!!), we made our way to our seats

The show was fabulous!! Paul McDermott, the host of the show 'Good News Week' was the narrator and also played a few parts - he was quite good - I was impressed!

Candide is SUCH a bizarre story, but I liked how they staged it and the voices were amazing!!!
We also saw Hugh Sheridan (Ben) and Zoe Ventoura (Melissa) from Packed to the Rafters - oh and also Fuzzy - the host of video hits. Minor Australian celebs - but fun to see them nevertheless:) A LOVELY night with Steve & Selina - always fun to spend time with them:)

Week 18

*How far along?: 18 weeks

*Total weight gain: 3.6 kilos - which is about 8 pounds

*How big is baby?: Sparky is now the size of a sweet potato!
What my weekly baby email says: Baby's become amazingly mobile (compared to you, at least), passing the hours yawning, hiccuping, rolling, twisting, kicking, punching, sucking, and swallowing. And baby is finally big enough that you'll soon be able to feel her movements.

*Maternity clothes?: I got some lovely maternity shirts in the mail from Joni this week - thanks Joni!! :)

*Sleep?: Still having weird dreams, but otherwise sleep is still going well.

*Best moment this week?: Feeling movement!! Friday night I could feel definite movement - pushing up into my hand while I held it on the bump. I don't know if it was a kick or a poke or what - but it was definitely something. I felt it 5 or 6 times, Murray felt it too!!! VERY exciting:) I have felt at least one good kick every day since - can't wait to feel Sparky going crazy more regularly!

*Movement?: as above:) Also, receiving the package from Joni was exciting - looking forward to working my way through that 100,000 names book. Also I did the pre-natal Yoga dvd my Mom sent for the first time and it was lovely - very relaxing!

*Food cravings?: Nothing new really - other than I wish I could eat at Wagamamas every day. Murray and I went and had a noodle dish last night and yummmmmm I love that place!

*Labor signs?: too soon for that!

*Belly button in or out?: Innie, but gosh the indent seems to be getting wider - freaky!

*What I miss: I wish I could eat some brie - that's all:)

*What I'm looking forward to: The 19 week scan on Thursday - looking forward to seeing Sparky again - 12 weeks feels like YEARS ago!!

*Milestone: Feeling proper movement was a huge milestone and really exciting!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Top 5 Highlights of 2009

The lovely Vegemite Wife tagged me 19 days ago to do a 'Top 5 Highlights of 2009' post - so here you go - I'm finally getting around to it (in no particular order:)

My Top 5 Highlights of 2009

1. Moving to Sydney - It was a great first year in Sydney. We moved into our first flat of our OWN (we always shared in London), we both got great jobs, and we live in an area we love! It has just been a hard adjustment living so close to the beach :)

2. Getting a Car - I haven't driven more than once or twice a year (when I was in Minnesota visiting) since I moved to London in late 2001. So it was VERY exciting for me to get a car here AND learn how to drive on the other side of the car on the other side of the road! I do LOVE the freedom of having a car - although we have a lot within walking distance - I love my little Betty:)

3. Cruising with Family - Holidaying with my parents, grandmas and close family and friends was fantastic. It was SO wonderful to spend 2 weeks with them, so so many cherished memories:)

4. Spending time with fam & friends in Oz - It has also been a great year for reconnecting with family and friends in Australia. I'm lucky to have made a few great new friends in '09 as well:)

5. Getting Pregnant - I won't go on & on about this, but it was a blessing, and we are really looking forward to July 2010!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Years Eve 2009 / 2010

Better late than never right? Finally - some New Years Eve photos!

Me at our picnic spot

Murray enjoying his eskie seat

Murray & Helen

Sunset is coming - that must mean fireworks are soon!

Me & Anna

Murray & Ali

Come on already - we are ready for the fireworks!!!

Just stunning! I haven't seen the Sydney Harbour fireworks since 2001, so it was GREAT to be there & see it again:) The 9pm 'family' fireworks were good, but WOW the midnight ones were amazing. There was SO much to look at it was hard to keep track! There was a huge display just near us, the bridge display, another in Darling Harbour we could see, and even fireworks off of the buildlings downtown. Fantastic!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Australia Day!!

Today is Australia Day - we made our way to Steve & Selina's place for a yummy Aussie BBQ!
I was requested to bring tater tot casserole - and yummm it was good (if I must say so myself:)

Wouldn't be Australia Day without sausages & lamb as well - yumm

As well as Pavlova - holy cow it was good - I had 2 big slices!

and Lamingtons - yumm yumm yumm

I wore my new Aussie shirt :) This is me post BBQ & kinda sweaty - but I had to get a pic of the shirt!

And the bump:)

We had a great day at their place, then when we got back to Manly we very quickly changed into our swimsuits and headed straight to the beach. That was my first swim of the year in the ocean - SO lovely & refreshing!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I am going to steal an update layout from Melaina because I really enjoyed reading her updates!

So here is the first of my weekly bump updates

*How far along?: 17 weeks

*Total weight gain: I'm up about 3 kilos - which is about 6 1/2 pounds

*How big is baby?: Baby's now the size of an onion!
Baby's skeleton is hardening, changing from rubbery cartilage to bone, and fat is finally accumulating around it. His umbilical cord is getting thicker and stronger, and those little fingers and toes now feature one-of-a-kind

*Maternity clothes?: Yup! I have some comfy stretchy maternity work trousers now and a maternity stretchy skirt for weekends - just about nothing from my previous wardrobe fits me around the waist anymore!

*Sleep?: Good so far, but I am having some Really weird dreams!

*Best moment this week?: Telling work last week and the first of my work friends noticing without me saying anything! The bump speaks for itself:)

*Movement?: I really do think I have started to feel flutters in the last few days. It feels a bit like when your stomach rumbles when you're hungry - just light movements.... Last night I felt like there was a goldfish swimming around in there - hard to tell - but looking forward to feeling more soon!

*Food cravings?: Lots of fruit, and I'm back to loving tofu again - so that's nice for lunch. I crave Mexican and bagels pretty much all the time! Or anything with noodles - Wagamamas with Sue on Friday was fabulous! Oh and pickles!!

*Labor signs?: too soon for that!

*Belly button in or out?: Innie.

*What I miss: Not much really. I do miss the refreshingness of a glass of wine on a hot day, but really I'm fine with leaving that for 9 months. Sushi would be nice, but I can't say I hugely miss it. I am enjoying eating more fresh fruit though for snacks!

*What I'm looking forward to: Feeling movement regularly and especially from the outside

*Milestone: I finished reading a few books recently

Attack of the fifty-foot hormones, by Emma Tom - Very funny book, and full of interesting information (especially the Australia specific info). I especially like her 'real' lists of things to buy - what you really do or don't need - I photocopied those pages!! (I borrowed that book from the library:)

Feeding the Bump, Nutrition & Recipes for Pregnancy, by Lisa Neal - All pregnancy books cover eating, but this one has a TON of recipes. We have already enjoyed the healthy pesto, and 'rustic beans on toast.' I need to do some serious photo copying before I return this book to the library!

You Having a Baby, by Dr. Oz & Dr. Roizen- Very informative book. Much more medically based than other books I have read, but I did learn quite a bit working my way through this book. Thanks Mom for sending it!

And of course the bible - What to Expect when You're Expecting - I'm working my way through that book:)

Above is Week 12

And now - Week 17

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy 78th Birthday Peter !

We had a great weekend visit from Murray's parents during his Dad's birthday. Lots of BBQ and more importantly, lots of CAKE!!! (fancy cake courtesy of sister-in-law Helen)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Will Watch 2010

Yesterday I heard that Prince William would be touring near where I work, so I headed out at 11am, when they said he was due to arrive.
An hour later - he finally pulled up

This isn't my photo - but is exactly what I saw:) He waved, and that's as close as we got to see him, but it was exciting! I could see him from a distance after that, but didn't wait around while he toured cause I was boiling hot by then!!

I spent 6 years in the UK and never saw any of the Royals (well, other than Zara at the tennis, but I don't count that)!!

I'm glad I finally got to see him as after an hour in nearly 30c (90f) heat I was just about ready to give up and go back to my cool air conditioned desk. I sunburned my forehead a bit (opps - forgot to put sunblock there) but it was worth it. One of those spottings you just don't get very often! This was 27-year-old Will's first visit to Australia since 1983 when, aged just nine months, he accompanied his parents Prince Charles and Princess Diana on a tour.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I was going to get to bed early tonight.....

....but then I found a website where I can watch American Idol online - YAY! So I'm watching the Boston auditions now. We don't have cable, so I'm REALLY glad I found a place to watch it online!!! I'm missing out this year darnit!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010


Last night I went to the outdoor cinema with Helen & Anna. And no - this is not my photo and we did not see the wrestler. I just forgot my camera so had to find a photo on the web:)

We saw the movie 'Nine.' Before hand we had dinner & enjoyed the view of the Opera House & the Harbour Bridge - gorgeous! The movie - eh - it was ok. The cast was amazing (Kidman, Cruz, Dench), the setting was fabulous (Italy - stunning), but the story? A bit depressing and I thought the musical numbers they broke into quite often were odd and hard to follow. But it was interesting - and I guess that's a good thing:) I must say this is the first time I have ever seen Kate Hudson in a movie and thought WOW she looks exactly like her Mom Goldie Hawn now. Wow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Cruise & Manly with Family

Leaving Sydney on our ship Rhapsody of the Seas - Uncle Kevin & Great Uncle Norman

Gorgeous Sydney


After the ship was out of Sydney Harbour we went up to the bar with the best view for our first ship cocktail!
From left: Amy, Joni, Mom, Faye, Grandma Sis, Me, Murray, Norman & Kevin

The next day we were at sea - which means relax at the pool!

Aunty Joni & Uncle Kevin

Murray enjoying his drink of the day!

There were a lot of activities to choose from on cruise days including dance lessons!

And every evening we loved coming back to our room to see what towel animal we would have tonight - cute dog here with Murray's sunnies!

There was also a rock climbing wall at the back of the ship

Murray went up a couple of different routes - quite challenging!

Murray working on his brain power

And the food - how can you go on a cruise and not talk about the food - yumm

My Dad's friend Kim was the champ of eating in our group - he ordered 2 desserts and we all had a laugh at what they ended up looking like!

And you have to love the tricks the waiters can do - pretty darn amazing!

Ahhhh and a pig - cute!

Until I sat down and bumped the bed and his head fell off!!! Oops!

There was also napping at the pool of course

and cocktails!

and great to be with family - Me with Aunt Sue & Uncle Joel

There was also a lot of live music options - which means dancing of course!

Ohhh a snake


And the most important part of this holiday - family!!

Gotta love the chocolate buffet - fabulous - except for that it started just after we finished dinner! We had the late setting of 8:30, which means we usually finished up after 10. A chocolate buffet afterwards made us so full we could barely sleep - ha!

It was just fun to dress up a bit too - Murray & I with my parents

Grandma Sally also played Waltzing Matilda one night so we could all sing along!

The views from the ship were lovely as well

Our first cruise formal night! Me with my lovely Grandmas Sis & Sally

Murray looking like a giant next to Grandma Sis!

My Dad speaking at our private cocktail party - right at the back of the ship -very cool!

Me & Kevin

Grandma Sis & Faye

My parents - looking lovely all dressed up

and Kim & Mary

Next day we got a little boat from the cruise ship to a pontoon off of Airlie Beach
Joni and I opted for the sting suits - both to avoid stings from jellyfish and just for extra warmth!

They were NOT the most flattering outfits - did keep us warm though!

We saw some amazing HUGE clams - this thing is about 5 feet long!

Lots of lovely bright coloured fish

Not the most flattering photo of me - but kind of a cool pic

There are SO many different varieties of clams


Kevin enjoyed the snorkeling too!

A great day, although the boat ride out & back was quite rough! And AMAZING to see the great barrier reef for the first time:)

The next day our ship stopped at Port Douglas

First stop on our tour was a stop at an animal park - you can just see the joey's tail sticking out of her pouch!

Joni giving the mama a snack

Cassowary's sure are gorgeous - apparently they are quite mean though!

This is a photo of a photo - we thought it was cool though!

Fresh mango anyone?

Or perhaps a lychee?

We also did a boat trip where we looked for crocodiles, we saw one tiny baby one, wrong time of year for this I guess

Looking back to our ship - I love this photo!

Heading out of Port Douglas

Murray enjoyed looking at all the boats

Leaving Port Douglas

And our second formal night - me with my parents

Me & my Grandmas

Later that evening Kevin went to get drinks because the pool bar was closed!

And everyone sat around enjoying a cigar

Next stop was Cairns - We just walked around town for the day which was nice!

The boys patiently waiting as the girls shopped....

Before boarding the ship we had a cocktail party at the pier which was fun!!

Kim enjoyed his huge blended drink!

We went up that evening to the top deck to watch the ship pull away from the pier. This is only the second time our ship has docked here because it is SUCH a narrow canal - pretty amazing!

We also stopped one day in Brisbane & our friends who used to share a flat with us in London showed us around town! It was great to see them. Here's a picture of Murray, Mike & Me at Brisbane's highest point. Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of us with Jen & their cute little boy.

Coming back into Sydney

Garden Island

The Prime Minister's House

Gorgeous morning sunrise in the harbour

When we got back into Sydney some of us then went on a little city walking tour. We went to see the Opera House, then made our way back to explore The Rocks area.

Later that afternoon we made it back to the hotel in Manly

And caught up for dinner with my sister-in-law Helen

The next day was the official grand opening of Ben & Jerry's shop in Manly (Ben & Jerry were even there!) So cow's were all over the place - ha ha

I LOVE the ice cream van!

The view from the hotel rooms of manly in twilight - pretty colors

As you may remember from a previous post - some of the group went scuba diving

They went straight off of Shelly Beach

The walk from Manly to Shelly has all sorts of gorgeous sculptures for you to look at - this is my favorite

That evening we had a small group over to our place - and surprised Grandma Sis with an early birthday cake!! (her b-day we just over a week later on xmas eve!)

It was fun to have a mini celebration with her!!

Steve & Selina came down to say hello as well and everyone Loved their gorgeous little girls Amelia & Clara

For the group's last full day in Sydney, we took a tour out to the Blue Mountains

with a stop at Featherdale on the way - I love how you can get right up close to the kookaburras!

Mom, Me & Grandma petting a koala

Grandma Sally feeding the kangaroos

Ha ha - cute! We all enjoyed the park!

Mom & Me with the 3 Sisters

Joni enjoyed her souvenirs just a bit too much!

and Kevin caught a cat nap on the way back

It as a great day trip - Featherdale, fun revolving restaurant lunch with amazing views of the mountains, 3 sisters view point and then some shopping in the cute town of Leura!

When we got back we dressed up Norman for the ongoing group competition (the 35 of us had been split into 3 groups). The game was called 'tacky tourist.' We didn't win, but I think it was set up!! Our outfit was definitely the best of the worst - I mean how can you beat that umbrella hat for tacky??

We had our farewell dinner at Ribs & Rumps

And the food was fab as usual!

and back at the hotel we got some more pics

Me, Murray, and Murray's sister Helen

Love that shirt Norman! (I picked it out!)

ah ok? ha ha

It was a FABULOUS trip!!! We had SUCH a fun time with family, the cruise was great too, and it was wonderful to have everyone in our area of Sydney for a few days as well to show them around:)