Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Girraween National Park

After a lovely and very quiet Christmas at home we ventured north on Boxing Day to go camping for a couple of days.

We were going to have Christmas in the tent this year but then I had the thought that if Santa was going to bring the children some hiking related gifts this year it would be nice if the children had them for the whole trip.  Low and behold Santa did bring the children some goodies which included little hiking packs, binoculars and headlamps from Kathmandu which were all well received on the big day.

We decided to head for Girraween National Park in Queensland which I had seen in a Parks Guide and thought looked really good.  We got off to a rocky start when Possum vomited in the car just 30 minutes from home but thankfully it was a one off thing.

Neither child had been out of New South Wales before and Possum asked if they spoke another language in Queensland.  She was glad to get there and discover it was all 'normal' (until State of Origin time anyway).

We had to book a tent site online which made me nervous.  What if it was too hot?  Not great?  Too close to water with the children?  I needn't have worried.  It was less than $35 for two nights for the four of us and it was a great place to camp.  Plenty of great sites all with a bit of bush between them and not too great a walk to the toilets and hot showers.  I would give this a big thumbs up and recommend it to anyone.  We stayed at the Bald Rock Creek camping area.

After pitching our tent we set off on our first hike.  We did 4 kms in 2 hours which is pretty good going with the children I think.  They LOVED having their own packs (great work Santa!) and I was glad to not have to stop every time one of them wanted a drink.

The photo above was taken at the base of the final section of The Pyramid.  The below photo (note the photo bombing child) shows The Pyramid in the distance and we climbed to about were you can see the top of the tree line up the rock on the right hand side.  We didn't go higher as we were mindful of not wearing the children out on the first afternoon and it was very steep and exposed given they only had sneakers on. 

After The Pyramid we walked to The Granite Arch.  A lovely couple offered to take a photo of us which was nice; we don't have many photos with us all in them.  I do think the types of people you run into in National Parks and camping about the place are generally good down to earth types as a rule.  The exception to this is the crazy hikers in thongs on quite an exposed slab of steep granite we ran into earlier in the day...

The granite rocks in this park are nothing short of beautiful.  I know the word 'amazing' can get overused but it really was.

  A shower of rain overnight kept everything lovely and cool and gave both children plenty of rock pools to peer in.  It was a lot of fun.  There was always something to look at and explore.

See Possum out in front?  She is a trail blazer and likes to set the pace.  Our rule is that she has to be able to see us all the time and stay on the track.  I don't want to quash her independence and love of the trail but at times I worry about her being so far in front of us.

On day 2 we did the Bald Rock Creek circuit which was another 4kms but all flat this time which was welcome.  There were plenty of swimming holes and wild flowers and it was lovely after the rain.

There was no shortage of scenery that made me want to snap a quick photo.

 We ended up walking back to this spot which was only about 500 metres from the camp site so we could have an afternoon swim.  It was quiet at this point as we avoided the swimming area near the day use car park that looked very busy the day before.

We are planning another trip back as we only did the walks in The Northern Section and there is plenty left to see.

Monday, December 23, 2013

{Six} Happy Birthday

 I find it very hard to believe that my first baby is now SIX!!  When I consider all her achievements over the past year I am both proud and surprised; school has been wonderful as has watching Possum grow and learn in her extra-curricular activities and at home.  A year makes such a big difference!

We had to buy a new bike to accommodate yet another growth spurt.  We took the training wheels off and while Possum is not always happy about this she is getting the idea and getting better.

We have not had much time for horse riding over the past year but every now and then Peppy gets put through his paces with some pretty handy groundwork given how little practice Possum has had.  They are learning together and of all of us Peppy the Pony has picked his rider as his favourite person.

Two days after her birthday Possum lost her sixth tooth.  Six teeth seems like a lot and I have discovered a love of toothy grins since the first ones fell out last year as shown in the above photo

School this year has been amazing.  Possum was reading before she started and she hit the ground running.  Her teacher has been wonderful and we are grateful for the school we choose.  I have loved that I got to work at the same school all year with her and watch her as she navigated the school environment.

Possum was awarded at the end of school presentation taking out the Kindergarten certificate for 'most consistent achievement'.  It was such a proud parenting moment for us!  All of kindy were given a book at the end of the year and her teacher picked Roald Dahl's The Magic Finger for Possum who read it during the rest of the awards ceremony and then finished it that night at home.  Her head is ALWAYS in a book when she has a quiet moment!

Possum's request for her cake this year was for the Australian Woman's Weekly 'dream time lizard'.  I think it turned out pretty well given we were up to 1am on the morning of her birthday making it!  Possum saw it and said it was just like the one in the book.  Win. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Groundhog day...

...Always busy, always tired, always behind.

Four days of work to go.  Three days of school to go.  Two concerts to go.  Then holidays and welcome unemployment.  Presuming parenting and full time study count as unemployment?  

Whatever it is called I am counting down the days!  More time for me, more time to study, to clean my house, to learn how to sew and knit again (it has been so long I am not sure I remember how!!)...

This year has been wonderful in so many ways but next year I am going to finish my degree and get back on the horse and live rather than exist in a hazy, busy fog.  Who knows, maybe I will even get time to blog?!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Funk and Photos

My Blogtober plans have gone awry already as I missed yesterday.  I was in a bit of a funk and I spent most of the day in bed and in denial watching bad TV downloaded to my iPad.  This seems to be the way I deal with things and I used to worry about it but now I figure if a couple of times a year I lounge in bed all day and watch telly while thinking about life things are not that bad.

Last term Possum did a unit of work on 'Transport'.  As a result her class went on an excursion which involved catching a bus to the train station, catching a train to a nearby town to see a train museum, catching a bus to the airport to see some planes and then catching a bus home.  


I tagged along and snapped a couple of photos.  It was a lot of fun.

I cannot believe that term 4 starts tomorrow.  Where did the holidays go?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

{Four} Belated Birthday Post

It is hard to believe that my small boy has turned four or that four years can feel like both the blink of an eye and an eternity at the same time.  As is traditional he picked a cake out of one of my Woman's Weekly cake books.  They love this part of the birthday and spend days looking at the cookbooks and thinking about options.

His early childhood teacher Bianca said that she loves Blue because he never fails to teach her something new each day.  I had discussed care options with her at one point and she said I was not allowed to move him and that was that.  Pre-school is his favourite and he loves catching the school bus home on pre-school days.  He NEVER naps during the day even though they all still try.

Blue loves being outside, he is gentle with animals but has started wiping his mouth after you give him a kiss because kisses are 'yucky' but he still happily lets me kiss him and snuggle him so that is ok.

He is starting to read some high frequency words by himself but would prefer to be read to than have to try to decode text himself.  He loves books and 'reads' in bed every night after we have read to him.  He always has a pile of books on his bedside table just like his big sister.

Favourite shows are Thomas and Friends and The Octonauts and his favourite colour is Blue.  He is dinousaur and insect mad and can cite strange facts on random topics at any given point in time.

He is happy to talk to anyone and everyone and is often complimented on his good manners when he answers 'how are you'? with 'well thank you'.  People often say he has an accent but he is just very well spoken.  He still has trouble with his 'r' sounding like a 'w' but this is getting better too and I predict by the end of the year it will be a thing of the past.

Friday, October 4, 2013

{Book Week}

I don't doubt that given the choice Possum would have preferred something a little more 'princess' and a little less elephant but I had purchased these costumes for a ballet concert only to have the teacher move away before the ballet concert could take place.  

I decided to use them for book week in a 'waste not want not' kind of way and I think it worked well.  To turn Possum into Elmer I basted some fabric off-cuts to her suit.  I didn't do anything to Blue's costume as he was happy to be the Tawny Scrawny Lion as it was.

I love the idea of book week and this did take the stress out of the costume making for our first year.

They were both excited to be able to wear there costumes to school all day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Warrumbungle National Park

Back in early July we did a VERY  quick visit to the Warrumbungle National Park. A lot of the park was still closed due to the fires that recently devastated the area in January of this year.  We had intended to visit the park at that time but the fires obviously put our plans on hold.  It is a shame we did not see the park as it was but there was a beauty in the recovering landscape that was very inspiring all the same.

Regrowth is evident and in places the green growth frames the burnt areas in a reminder that nature is a cycle. This provided a lot to talk about with both children as we walked about and saw the evidence of the fires everywhere.

Siding Spring Observatory. This is a must see kind of place.  I was not sure what to expect but it was very child friendly with lots of hands on activities that made science fun.

You could stand on the scales to see what you would weigh on other planets.  I think I was about half a tonne on the sun but thankfully earth's gravity is different ;)

Then you could see what 1 litre of milk would weigh on different planets depending on their gravity.  Some were lighter and some you could not lift.  It was great and a wonderful way of demonstrating the concept.

Both children had fun and it was wonderful that there was so much for them to do so I was not having to tell them to not touch everything every two minutes like some places. 

The telescope was well worth the look too.

Whitegum Lookout was an easy walk that is sealed for ease of access.  This was a great walk to see the signs of the bush fire up close so that we could discuss it with the children.

Burbie Canyon was an easy 2 km return walk along a stream.  The children had fun walking (and running) along the track, scrambling and jumping the stream.

The lookout and Burbie Canyon walk were the only two walks open when we went.  I think more of the park is open now.  We will go back and camp one of these days so we can explore more of the tracks and the rock climbing too.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Taronga Western Plains Zoo - Part 2

Never mind the fact that these photos are from LAST school holidays and I am obviously so far behind in everything that I despair of EVER catching up; here are the rest of the zoo photos as promised in Part 1 some time ago...

My children are part monkey, they HAVE to climb on everything!  Thankfully the zoo caters for children such as mine and there are plenty of things for them to scramble on.

I love the zebras.  They are one of my favourite animals.  I love the distinctive stripes and the fact they are like fingerprints; all different.  I also think I like their similarity to horses.

We sat and watched the zebras standing in the warm sun for awhile before moving.  There was a baby foal that was very new but the mum was smart enough to have the foal in the middle of the big yard as far away from people as she could get.

More climbing...

This was a highlight.  The Galapagos Tortoises were under the heat lamps in the shed with the exception of this fellow.  He not only braved the chill but came over for a gentle pat.  The children loved it and it was very awe inspiring. 

Such wonderful animals with their wizened eyes.

There you go.  Given we visited way back in July this post has been a long time coming.  I have a lot of other things to catch up on too but I don't want to rush these things..!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BlogtoberFest 2013

I have barely blogged a thing in months so it is mad to think I will be able to blog for the 31 days of October without missing a day so my aim is to just get back to blogging as I can, to catch up, to take photos and to write as I feel like it.  No pressure, just fun.

I didn't take part in Blogtober at all last year but it is something I have enjoyed previously in 2009, 2010 and 2012.  Wish me luck as I will need it.  If you want to take part, or just see who else is pop over to Shell's blog for a look.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Taronga Western Plains Zoo - Part 1

During the last school holidays, (5 weeks ago now!) we took a trip to Dubbo to visit the Taronga Western Plains Zoo.  It was an amazing experience for both children and I am so glad we went.

I took about 1000 photos and realised that my memory card was not big enough.  That has since been remedied so I will be ready for the next big outing; whenever that may be.

Because there are so many photos I have picked a few for this post and will save the rest for another day.  This is really my way of saying I still have not sorted them all out, but I am getting there... slowly... 

So many photos!