Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Tis the season, to be jolly! 

We've now been in Western Australia for about a month and we've got about one more month to go here. Paul has had a lot of work over here. Which has worked in our favor this holiday season.  We've been able to spend lots of time with family and friends. We took a drive to the hills or Chidlow where Paul grew up. We met his sister and her two sons for some time at the local lake. After the lake we drove around town and saw the house(s) the Forsyth's lived in growing up. I saw their high school, football oval, town hall, local shops, and that about wraps it up. I think Paul's from a smaller town than my Dad! We also tried to do a bit of eye spy for kangaroos. We didn't have any luck. But my day will come. Oh yes, I WILL see a kangaroo in the wild. 

Lake Lesh in Chidlow

The bush we drove through, looking for kangaroos. 

The ocean on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve we had fish and chips in Fremantle with Mum, Paul's brother Michael, his sister Ness and her husband Dan, as well as the boys. The fish was great. I had prawns and chips. They were deep fried. Paul had battered snapper and chips. Mum had sardines which grossed everyone out! Paul tried it, and said it was actually quite good. After we finished our lunch we went on a speed boat ride on the Indian Ocean. The boys both said they weren't scared, and they were going to join. But they chickened out! I was a bit nervous. But once we got out there it wasn't so much scary, but very wet. It was a blast. I would definitely do it again! After the boat ride we went down to the beach with the boys. Paul, Ness and Dan swam out to the pontoon. But it was a bit too choppy for me. I'm not a strong enough swimmer. Paul also built sand castles with the boys. I did a bit of baking in the sun. We ended the day with some ice cream back at Mum's and some running around for the boys. 

Paul with his melted snow man cookie, Michael with his moustache from the cracker, and Mum laughing at her boys.

Ness liked the cookies too!

The picture doesn't do justice to show how wet we were after the boat ride.

Paul and I picked up a fairy costume for Charlotte. We or should I say I could not resist!

We continued my families tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve. Paul chose one in an interesting shaped box. Looks like my plan worked. I wanted to trick him into not knowing it was a shirt. Good thing it was a shirt he liked.

My gift was a Minnesota necklace and ornament. As well as some little flower earrings from a store back home. He sure knows me well!
After Paul's holidays started from work we moved into the Dempsey's. We'll have been here for about two weeks in total. We get to spend some good quality time with them, and their gorgeous daughter, Charlotte. We also get to have some home cooked meals vs eating out every night when we stay in the hotel. On Christmas Eve in the evening we had some delicious egg nog. I had a lot of firsts this Christmas and Egg nog was one of them! Christmas morning was started the right way with some mimosas!

After our Mimosa's Charlotte woke up to see what Santa brought. This was her first Christmas and above was her first Christmas present. She lucked out! Amy and Kieran are from Brisbane, and this is their first Christmas away from home. But they've got a great support system. Because Charlotte had plenty of parcels delivered by Christmas morning. We all took turns opening her gifts.

Purely by chance the men both got some new undies!

Charlotte let Uncle Freddy read her the book we got her.

The Dempsey's were happy about the coffee we got them! We all did pretty well this Christmas. The women probably did best. I got a new camera from my wonderful boyfriend, and Amy got a spa day from her loving husband! After we finished opening gifts we headed down to the beach for some escape from the heat in the ocean. Kieran has a paddle board. So both Paul and I got to try that for the first time. I also was able to swim out to the pontoon, because the water was still as can be. Charlotte got to kick around in the water too! 

After the beach we had a seafood feast with yummy sangria, compliments of Amy's cooking skills. I peeled a prawn for the first time. It doesn't sound like that big of a deal. But you have to rip of the head, then they legs and tails, then peel the rest off. For me that never even ate meat off of a bone it was a victory. My first Aussie beach Christmas was brilliant. I had a nice skype session with Justine. I'm lucky to have such a wonderful boyfriend. Not only did he give me a great present, but more importantly he makes me happy. This was my first Christmas with out my family. While I would have loved to have been with them, I have zero complaints. The day after Christmas is boxing day. We spent boxing day down by the river for a picnic with friends. Everyone brought the kid's out for some playtime with other kid's. Mr. F attempted to man the grill. Out of all the couple's there, there were only two with out children. We've made it to the beach nearly every day this past week. We've spent time with wonderful family and friends here, and we've got another month to go!

Yesterday we got out for a nice evening picnic and walk along the dog beach while the sun set. I can't seem to get enough of the ocean just yet.

Charlotte had a killer time. She's found her screaming voice, so she let her voice roar on the walk along the beach with Mummy and Daddy. 

I'm now feeling a bit pooped after all the holiday festivities. The temperature here has been about 40 degrees celsius for the past few days. That's over 100 degrees fahrenheit. The heat really takes it out of you. But I can't complain too much. Everyone at home is getting snowed in.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thanksgiving + Sydney!

Ready, Set, Recap!

We spent two weeks in Perth. After Perth we flew home to Melbourne and began packing for ten days in Minnesota. We had two days to band together and get packed for the states. We arrived in Minnesota on November 20th. I got to sleep in my old bed with my pretty flowery bedding. Our trip was very busy; filled with shopping, eating, doctors appointments, tattoo appointments, lot of driving and time with family and friends. Thanksgiving was on Thursday. Josh and I had hosted the two previous Thanksgivings in our old apartment. This year we held it at Dad's house. Previously Josh did the bulk of cooking with some help from me. This year Josh and Paul did the cooking while Dad and I chilled on the couch. This year was Josh's third turkey. He did a brine and it turned out perfect. The rest of our time was spent running around to see everyone. Everyday we had about three different places to stop at. My brother, sister, and two of my best friends have all moved into new homes. So we went around to all their houses throughout the ten days. We did a lot of eating out. But we also had plenty of home cooked meals thanks to my family and friends. We heard a statistic that 45 million turkey's come from Minnesota for Thanksgiving. I believe it, because in three days we had three separate turkeys. Paul ate pumpkin pie for the first time (a Thanksgiving staple)! He also saw a wild turkey down the road from Dad's. We were able to squeeze in a hair appointment for me. My hair has been bleaching in the Aussie sun, so I lightened it up at Lux Salon and Spa in SLP. Go support small business owner Lexi! I also squeezed in a tattoo appointment at Tiger Rose Tattoo in Northeast Mpls with Metal Mike. He did a rework of the heart on my sleeve. He did an incredible job. If you're looking for a tattoo artist I highly recommend him or anyone in that shop. We also had to make time for a doctor's appointment for me. I'm currently insurance-less which is a bit of a bummer. But I was due for a check up. Each day slid into the next. We woke up pretty early everyday to try and make the most of each day. I missed everyone so much, so it was really great to see my nearest and dearest. Unfortunately, ten days wasn't quite enough. We didn't get to see everyone that we planned to. But I'll be home again in July.

Paul had never cut a turkey before. So naturally it was his job to cut the turkey.

During the Thanksgiving cooking my poor boyfriend sustained a pretty gnarly burn.
He took it like a champ and kept on cooking.

Josh and I have always been on the same level.

Paul and I took our Christmas photos by Lake Minnetonka while we were in town.

My best cousin, Lauren and I got to spend some quality time together. She's a 25 year old woman in an 8 year olds body. Lauren already knows that she wants to go to school at 19 to become a teacher of elementary children. She's wise beyond her years. I can't wait to see what else she comes up with the older she gets.

We had a Taco Tuesday at Mayslacks, adorned with moustache's. It was a great night filled with beer, food, and laughs. It's a shame I made myself a doctor appointment so early the next day, because we had to get to bed at a reasonable time.

The night before we left we had one last dinner. I got to see some great friends and my sweet family. All in all our trip to Minnesota was perfect. I'm so glad we got to see so many people, and Paul got to meet some of my closest friends. I think next time we're home in July we'll do a bit less driving around and try and spend a bit more time with the family. We didn't get enough quality time with our family. Once we returned home to Melbourne it was time to unpack and repack for Sydney. Paul had three days of work in Sydney. Sydney is only an hour flight from Melbourne, so it was very tolerable. It's a beautiful place, both architecturally and the climate. The weather there is usually great. We had two nice days and one cloudy day. It's the kind of place you hate to love. There are a lot of tourists, and some shady characters walking around. But the sights are exceptionally beautiful. 

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

We took a ride up the tower in the background. It overlooked all of Sydney from above. The views were incredible. We're lucky that we went when we did, because the next day the fog came in.

Some ferry's in the background that go all over Sydney.

My coat and coffee yielding boyfriend always good with the thumbs up!

A view of the city with some "art".

A beautiful church probably the size of the Cathedral and this incredible fountain.

Sydney had Christmas decorations up everywhere. I loved it!

Note the Australia flags.

A view from the gardens with the Harbour bridge stage left.

 After Sydney we had one day to come home and unpack and repack for Perth. We'll be in Perth for a month or so. I'll be experiencing my first Australian Beach Christmas in only 12 days!