Friday, September 16, 2011

Heading out

Hiya! So I've sort of neglected to mention that we are flying back to the US for a month. Hey--we're flying back to the US for a month!!

I'm writing from the international terminal at the Sydney airport. In a couple hours, we'll get on a 9 hour flight to Honolulu, and spend a week in Kauai with Jason's mom and dad. I'll spend the first hour in Hawaii shaving my legs, which will be emerging from a long Aussie winter. So if, at some point this week, you glimpse a blinding flash far out on the western horizon, know that it's me emerging in a swimsuit.

The kids haven't seen their cousins in almost 2 years, and we are so excited! Now I'm just hoping that we make it through the flight without Grace causing some kind of international incident or a major FAA code violation.

You'll be hearing from me soon! Oh and one more thing. In case you ever need to know... If you've just put your ATM card into the machine to get cash? And there's a power outage in the building? The machine will eat your card and never give it back. Never never never. And when you call your bank they'll tell you that for security reasons, they don't retrieve eaten cards from stand-alone ATMs.

Then, when you tell them you're leaving the country the following day and would really like the power to access your money, they'll say, "Yeah, that's a real bummer, huh?"

Guess how I know. GUESS.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Warden Threw a Party in the County Jail

Last week was the school musical, "A Secret History of Rock 'n Roll". It was the social event of the season.

Well at the very least, of our school. The musical was performed in this large outdoor covered area, and the stands were packed with eager parents half an hour before the thing even started. Don't even THINK about showing up at the last minute and getting a good seat.

Each grade level took on an era of rock and did a dance to the music. There was Jerry Lee Lewis, U2, The Beach Boys, Aretha--you name it. The kindergarteners did an Elvis medley. Watching 60 five year olds dance to a mashup of Jailhouse Rock and Blue Suede Shoes was just about as adorable as you'd imagine. To the power of ten if one of those 5 year olds belongs to you. Nate got chosen to wear a Very Special Sparkly Jumpsuit and dance in the front row. Complete with an inflatable guitar and a giant pair of gold sunglasses. He didn't mind the attention so much.

Ava's class danced to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and her dance group did their routine to "Walk Like An Egyptian". The night for her was full of activity, as she was in "two dances with a costume change, Mom." She didn't tell us she would be front and center in her class dance. Obviously, it's cause she's the best? And perfect and wonderful in every way?

See her? You have to squint a little. She's in the blue dress, between the two girls in front. Clearly, A STAR IS BORN.

It was kind of strange for songs that felt like "my era" to be portrayed as history now (U2, Nirvana, etc.). But I guess that's the way it's always been. I was telling the kids about how I got to tour Elvis' home when I was a teenager. One of our family's spontaneous, "let's see where we end up" road trips took us to Graceland. It's kind of an epic part of our family history, and funny that we ended up there, considering that my parents weren't big Elvis fans. I remember we listened to Paul Simon's Graceland album as we drove. And the night before the tour, I dreamed that I kissed Elvis. And, strangely, Mr. Spock. Okay, did I just write that? I did. I wrote that. What can I say? I was 13, it was a confusing time all around. I also feel the need to add that it was the young versions of both that I kissed. Is that helpful in any way?

Anyway. Ava and Nate were fascinated that his house had a name, not just "Elvis' house". Nate wanted to know if he could go see it too. Then they asked how he died and why he died before he got old. Hmmm. I glossed over that a bit, and said that he did a lot of things that weren't healthy and made choices that weren't very good. I left out the parts about fried peanut butter sandwiches and passing out on the potty. Some visions shouldn't be tainted.

Who have you dreamed that you kissed? 'FESS UP.

Let's rock. Everybody, let's rock.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nate just told me I'm almost 100.

Yesterday I turned 35. Just now, sitting at the table eating leftover birthday cake, Nate asked how old I was. I told him. "Wow! You're nearly a hundred!" Remind me to write a note to his teacher re: counting.

All in all, it was a nice day. Jason took me out to dinner and a movie the night before, which was fun.

You need to find a Thai restaurant right now and order the Lamb Massaman Curry. Cause I don't really like lamb. And I don't really like curry. But this was so delicious that I wanted to crawl inside that bowl and live there forever. Or, maybe just take all that curry and pour it into my purse and take it home. Yum. This was the same restaurant where we had the argument about who was more easygoing. But luckily I didn't bring it up again because I'm so easygoing, and we had a lovely dinner.

I'm not sure what I was doing on my 25th birthday. That was pre-children, we were living in Dallas all footloose and such. We had an apartment the size of your bathroom and worked with college students, so we basically still had that lovely, pancakes-at-1:30am student lifestyle. I'm sure there was a party. And I'm certain that I didn't spend the hours before my birthday dinner date combing through a child's hair to check for head lice. Oh yes, I said it.

I'm not gonna talk about it too much cause it makes my head itch. But we've had this *issue* for a couple of weeks now. My head was itching in that above photo, cause I finished treating the kids' hair, showered them, changed clothes for dinner and ran screaming from the house. It was a little hard to decompress after 2.5 hours of combing, combing, shampooing, sterilizing, and watching multiple episodes of "The Suite Life" on Netflix.

Despite that, I'm thankful to celebrate another year of life! A life that's helped produce some lovely, if mildly infested, children. And a husband I'll be forever grateful for. ("Amy, we are not going to talk about lice anymore. Stop obsessing! This is your birthday dinner!") And of course, there's Grace whom I have taught to give a remarkably good Stinkeye.

No, really. You have to admit--that is a really good Stinkeye. (Read here for my performance of it.) The disdain, the annoyance, the disbelief communicated in that expression! It's taken me years to perfect that look, and she's got it already. I think it's all due to me! What can I say? It's my legacy.

This is what I have to show for the past year.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wild, wild life

Y'all, look at this bird.

Don't you wanna snuggle it? Or okay, maybe just pet it? It looks so fluffy! Like those cartoon birds in a Pixar film. This, my dears, is a Tawny Frogmouth. From far away, it can be mistaken for an owl, but please don't embarrass yourself in front of others and call it an owl, okay? My neighbour and I spotted one in her yard a few months back, and I was excited to see one up close. I don't really know why. I'm not really a bird person. But isn't it appealing, this bird?

Some of you (you know who you are) will need to forgive me when I tell you that the name Tawny Frogmouth makes me think of an exotic dancer. Or perhaps a TV news anchorwoman. You know, like, "Reporting live from the 14th Annual Chickpea Festival, I'm Tawny Frogmouth." If you're wondering whether I spent the whole day yesterday making Tawny Frogmouth jokes to myself, you would be right. "I painted the sunroom the most sublime shade of green. It's Behr's Tawny Frogmouth." "Well, the first few days of our Fiji vacation were fabulous, but then Troy caught Tawny Frogmouth from the salad bar at the hotel. I know, right? That rash took ages to clear up."

Shall I go on? No?

Yesterday, we went to the Australian Reptile Park. Today is Father's Day in Australia, and we celebrated a day early. We had a great time checking out all the animals. I got to pet the cutest little baby wombat! Grace mostly followed the emus around. They didn't seem to wanna hang around her.

She marched after these 2 for quite a while, shouting, "Hey!"

We had a fun Father's Day service at church today, and then had a barbecue and bonfire with some friends tonight.

Our friend Holly shared her last bag of American marshmallows with us. That is true friendship. Of course, a bonfire is not exactly relaxing when you have a 2 year old on the scene. Grace has no concept yet of fire safety, as you might imagine. We wrangled, we distracted, we admonished. Jason eventually gave up and brought her home early--a father doing his job on Father's Day. What a dude. And then the rest of us watched the little dog chase the alpacas around. What? You don't have alpacas at your Father's Day BBQ and marshmallow roast? That's odd.

With very busy weeks on either side, it was a great weekend. How are you? Any interesting wildlife sightings?

Well, from all of us here in suburban Sydney, I'm Tawny Frogmouth. You stay classy.