Tuesday, April 26, 2011

 Today was preschool graduation for the little rascals from our co-op preschool and we had a little party at the church.
 It's been great to see these kiddos enjoy going to school this past year.  Zeb loved it! It doesn't hurt that he gets to go to school with three of his very favorite people!  I am so nervous for him and the move. I think that he's going to take it the hardest! luckily all three of his school mates are also leaving Toledo.  Any suggestions for making a move easier on a three year old?!?
I just keep telling him that everybody is leaving so we have to.  He does have a few good friends sticking around but he doesn't need to know that!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

the dum-dum factory!!

This week we went to the dum-dum factory in Bryan, Ohio to take a tour!  and it just so happened that Kent is working in Bryan on an 'away' rotation (it's about an hour away) so he got to come and join us.
As soon as you drive up to the factory you can smell the flavor of the day. I think yesterday was cotton candy. Who knew that the factory in Bryan makes 8 BILLION dum-dums per YEAR?!  that's INSANE!  and they make those nasty nasty circus peanuts.  Does anybody still eat those?!  ugh.
we took a tour on a trolley through part of the factory and the kiddos enjoyed laughing and giggling.

 We couldn't take flash photography so I got a few blurry pictures.  The kiddos had a lot of fun and so did we.

The kids mostly loved the all you can eat free dum dums.  The lady said I could have as many as I wanted. I filled my purse :)
 Here's a picture of our clown car. We carpooled with the stewarts and the kiddos were in heaven.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Moreton Island

I think this will be my last of the Australia posts. So- all of you readers that have been holding back on the comments- now's your last chance.

 Did I mention that Australia just kept getting better and better? 

Our last full day in Brisbane- we got up early and set off for Moreton Island- the most amazing little island off the coast.  We took the 'Dolphin Wild' cruise and loved every single second.  The crew was hilarious and so nice.  And the views were unreal.  The best I've ever seen in my life.

The boat ride out was about an hour and was really really fun.  It was pretty choppy and I loved it.  I think even Kent enjoyed it- thanks to the dramamine he took first.
on the way out to the island - Dolphins came and 'played' with the boat.  They rode the wakes- and jumped around for all of us. It's like they were paid or something!!  It was my first time seeing dolphins in the wild. I loved it.

Quite the impressive animal!  I really wish that I could have touched one!!!
After a few dolphin sightings we got to go boom netting. Maybe this was my favorite part of the day. It was sooo fun.  That's why I'm including about a zillion pictures of it.

They suit you up and throw you on a giant net behind the boat!
At first it's all fun and games.  They drive around and you play in the water-

 and then they start getting faster and faster.
we got on the net with three Brazilians who were about our age and wanted to be as crazy as us and then I almost died. Okay- it wasn't that bad- but it was pretty insane!
 We loved it so much that when a few other people had their turn- they let us on again.  Check out the water - I've NEVER seen water that color!! and the views!!  Maybe everything seemed so much brighter and more vibrant because we'd come from five months of drearyness!

This day was probably the hottest we had- so the swim felt wonderful.

After boom netting we anchored down and they fed us lunch. It was pretty tasty- if you like giant prawns with ridiculously long feelers. SICK. Do you see that long antenna hanging down out of the picture.  Kent actually liked the critters. 

I didn't even try them.  I tried lots of new fish on the trip- I didn't feel the need to eat these.  Luckily they had chicken, too.  Can you see my sunburn already coming through? I had just reapplied the sunscreen.

After lunch we got to go ashore and conquer this beast. It doesn't look tall here- but do you see that red little circle at the top of the sand? Inside the circle is a person.  The dune was humongous. Monstrous!
Here I am halfway up the dune yelling to Kent that we need to beat the other two guys to the top.  I had sent kent back down from that point because I'd forgotten a camera and I really wanted pics from the top!  We beat the other guys even though they had quite the head start.  I was pretty proud of us :)  It was ridiculously hard climbing up sand that steep and that high. 

But- of course- the top was well worth the effort. 
Coming down the sand dune was just as great.  You just run and jump and soar. It's a little like flying.

After scaling the dune- we took some time to enjoy the water and play around a bit.

And then finally set off on our last adventure for the day- snorkeling in the shipwrecks!!!  They've got an amazing reef that has grown all along the wreckage. 

I'm a novice snorkeler (it was my first time) and I was a little nervous- but all went well. I'm still not sure if I could do the scuba thing- but the snorkeling was amazing.  We saw sharks- coral growing along the shipwrecks- and a plethora of fish.  We took rolls with us and let the fish come up and eat out of our hands. It was crazy and a little creepy.

The day ended with a great dinner and a run to the store for lots of tim tams. If you haven't had a tim-tam slam- you haven't lived!  Tim-tams are great little chocolate cookies that are all over Australia.

I may have a few more pictures that pop up- but for now I'm finished!  The airplane ride home was 14 hours and quite pleasant. I had my own little tv with an unlimited choice of movies and tv shows, a great shoulder to sleep on (thanks, kent!), and not another care in the world.  Even a cramped long plane ride can be amazing when no toddlers are involved.

It was the trip of a lifetime and the Australians are some of the nicest people on the planet.  Going on big trips like this can be so stressful! You stress out that you shouldn't go. You shouldn't spend your hard saved money. You shouldn't leave your kids with other people for nine days (okay- so I never really felt bad about that).  You know- the list goes on. But I don't regret a single bit of it!    So again thank you to EVERYbody for making it possible!  Thanks a million Dave and Michelle! and thanks mom and dad so so much. Thanks to Pat and Brent!  to Metta and Clair.  To all of kent's sisters and nieces and nephews!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I never thought I liked the ocean...

and then I visited the Sunshine coast. WOW. what an amazing place.  I do like the ocean.

This day was one of my favorites!  It was just so beautiful and relaxing and australian!  Do you see Kent coming in on a wave?
 I've never been anywhere tropical (unless you consider san diego tropical).  The sunshine coast is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen!

Even the walk up to the beach was exciting!  You go up and over a big mountain/sand dune covered in thick vegetation-
and then you just step onto the beach. It was incredible!!

The beach was called 'Noosa heads' and it was nearly empty even though the temp was in the eighties!!
Since they are going into fall- all of their summer stuff is on clearance and my uncle found these snazzy boards for a few bucks. 

Here's Kent in his baywatch pic that I took.  He got a lot of body boarding in.  I played for awhile but kept getting sucked into the waves. I'm no good at water. But it was the perfect temp for swimming and we loved it!
Really- the whole day was perfect!  definitely part of how I envisioned Australia!
After Noosa we went for fish and chips and then to check out a place called 'Mooloolaba'.  It was just a little way further along the Sunshine coast and was also incredible!  Such a different beach than noosa-but still fabulous.
The sun was getting closer to setting so we didn't swim- but spent lots of time searching the tide pools and getting wet.
I thought that Kent was going to get knocked off the spit here.

Here he is getting something off his leg completely unaware.

And then realizing what's happening.
And after the wave.

I nearly got soaked with my camera!  The tides were coming in and would get unexpectedly high occasionally.
Here I am searching for critters.  There were TONS of crabs but they were super fast and very sneaky.  It was nearly impossible to get a picture.
Here are a few of the creatures I caught on camera.
and this crab- well- he's dead. it's the only way I could get a decent shot.  Could you tell he was dead before I gave it away?

Every time I'd see a bunch of them- they'd take off between the rocks.
I really miss Australia- and looking at all of these pictures isn't helping matters.