Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Feeling the love :-)


There have been many times over the past few months that I have missed you and wished we could have coffee, chat and catch up without the tyranny of distance. To share our stories - triumph and tragedy - without the awkwardness of Skype or phone.  But mostly, I've just missed the companionship and comfort of being surrounded by people who know me as well as I know myself.

But I have been lucky, there are people on this side of the Pacific that have provided me with unconditional love and support while I have been here. This was most recently evident at my baby shower.

My baby shower was wonderful.  One of the (few) advantages of Zac's early arrival was that I was able to indulge at my shower - blue cheese (I craved this so much during pregnancy); red wine (always a requirement on a chilly day); and skinny jeans (no one wants to wear a moo moo to their own party).  The games we played did not involve chocolate in nappies, but rather how many pegs you can take off a clothes line with a glass of wine in your hand - classic! But the best part of the day was the company. It was the first time that I felt like I had just sat around and hung out with everyone. It was exactly what I needed and I was so grateful.  I truly felt the love.

A few days later, Tristan surprised me with a trip to the mountains. It was the babymoon we had planned months ago, but I thought we would never get a chance to take. It was only an hour or so away, so we could visit Zac in the morning and go spend the night in the mountains, then see him again on the way home the next day. It was perfect! Of course there was another motive - there was a heap of powder and Tristan wanted to get in a few runs each day. But I didn't mind in the least - it meant I could hang out at Starbucks and read (or sew).  The best part was that we got to spend some real quality time together. We had a spa out in the snow, a wonderful dinner at a cute little Italian restaurant where we got to drink Aussie wine, and a lunch at a "bakery" (I think someone needs to advise America that to call a cafe a bakery you actually need to bake something...).

I can't describe how relaxed we were after those few days away. And HAPPY.  We knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and we had survived this tumultuous adventure.

The theory of jumping country and spending three years starting a family was fabulous in theory.  But, as the cookie crumbles, we were given a less than perfect pregnancy, an extremely early delivery, and an extended stay in the NICU.  Without the support network that we take for granted at home, this was difficult (...might be a slight understatement).  But the truth of the matter is that without the wonderful Aussies, Brits, Canadians and the odd local, this chapter might have been completely unbearable.

Everyday we get a little message from home sending us love, luck, prayers and support.  It has meant a lot. We feel the love.

Everyday someone here will do something that will make us realise how lucky we are, and even though we are far from home, we aren't alone. It means so much.  We feel the love.

And, lucky for me, everyday I get a cuddle from both of my boys and their love buoys me though another day.  I am always feeling the love. 

It was a week where I felt the love so strongly, that I feel the need to thank you all.  Mwah!

I hope that you can feel the love too ;-)

Friday, 3 February 2012

Australia day antics and adventures

I must admit that celebrating Australia Day when you are away from home takes on a whole new meaning.

When at home Australia Day typically means a public holiday (a requestite for all us public servants who have been back at work for a whole three weeks after Christmas without a break - shocking!), drinking Tooheys Extra Dry (lovingly known as TEDs in our home), listening to JJJs hottest 100 (counting the half a dozen songs we know) and spending as much time as possible in the water with your mates who will attempt to drown you at least once over the course of the day. Second to Christmas, its our favourite holiday.

This year, Tristan and I enviously read our Facebook updates watching you all complain about the heat/fires/floods and other marvelous meteorological events that make our great country the land of droughts and flooding rains. You spent the day celebrating with your "family", eating snags, pizza shapes, cabanossi and cheese, and running around in your board shorts and national footwear. You watched the Sydney fireworks on the news - after all, who wants to get up at the crack of dawn to get a decent position on the foreshore, where you can't drink and need to sit beside/on a complete stranger for hours on end only to realize the wind is blowing all the smoke from the crackers directly into your eyes so you can't see them anyway!!! Needless to say, we were very homesick.

In an effort to bring the land of Oz to the Mile High City, Tristan and I agreed to host Australia Day celebrations way back in August. The plan was that this would be our last sha-bang before RJ arrived (oh how plans change). Of course, life in its many twists and turns resulted in us paying near no attention to the date. So a week before the big day we realised that we had a party to cater for, but didn't even have enough seats for all our guests to perch on. Luckily, the great Aussie bregade came to the rescue, agreeing to each bring an Aussie platter, Tristan moved all our patio furniture into the basement (liberally "borrowing" odds and ends from our departing brethren) and we made a made dash to Sam's to get meat and salad for a BBQ. Like any good Aussie household, we didn't need beer as the pantry was already stocked ;-)

The day started out like any other: a visit to the hospital to see our little boy - who incidentally was wearing his Aussie Day best thanks to Aunty Ange. I gave him a bath and inked his feet for more footprints, while Tristan ran home to get the party started in my absence.

When I got home a couple of hours later, the house smelled of sausage rolls. Yum! Drifting into the basement I was confronted with a sea of green and gold, and Aussie flags decking every surface. There were dips and chips aplenty, Tim tams and crackers galore, beer in the esky, and wine chilling in the fridge. Devine!!!!

Denver pulled out some good weather (42 - F not C) so not long after I got home (literally Tristan didn't even give me enough time to eat lunch) we grabbed the bat and ball and headed to our local oval to confuse the neighbours with a game of cricket. It was so much fun. The little tackers put the grown ups to shame. The girls stood in the out field doing their best to disappear anytime someone new was needed to bat. And Tristan played one handed as to not spill his drink.

Later on Tristan pulled out his BBQ skills and delivered the best Aussie BBQ that Denver had ever seen. There was potato and pasta salad, something that looked like beetroot (....), a huge salad that was barely touched (in the tradition of Aussie Day - you don't make friends with salad), steak, lamb, hamburger patties (that shrunk on the BBQ and looked more like meatballs) and sausages of the chicken variety. It was a grand feast that was serenaded by the gentle whispers of Richie Benuet and the Australia Day Test match at Adeliade Oval. It felt just like home.

Then came my favourite part of the day - DESSERT!!! The Aussie ladies of Denver delivered such delight that my taste buds are still dancing. There was pavolva (covered in aerobar flacks), laminations, chocolate crackles and cake. So good! The best part was that there was left overs!!

After heavily indulging and being glad that I was wearing track pants with an elastic waist band, everyone decided to head home (early mornings the next day meant we really couldn't indulge too much more...). In an effort to help, one of the kids was carrying the left over cake to the kitchen and just missed the bench. It was the funniest thing I had seen in ages. Chocolate cake all over the floor, the little tacker standing in the middle of it not knowing whether to laugh and or cry, and Tristan's devastated face when he realised his morning tea for the week was on gone (though we did manage to save some of it). Classic Aussie Day memories.

It wasn't the same as home, but it's uniqueness made it special. The importance of being Australian when you are away from home just seems to be more. You want to scream from the mountain top that you come for the sun burnt country and make every American eat a tim tam so they can appreciate how crap their cookies really are. While we are enjoying our American adventure, we will always call Australia home - and miss it terribly while we are away.

Hope you are all well and enjoyed Australia day where ever you may have been in the world.


Tristan, Penni and Zac