Our three week sojourn started with a drive from our home in Victoria up to Sydney. We've done it in one go a few times before and it normally takes us about 10 hours. I had a very carefully arranged schedule of everything I wanted to get done in the lead-up to going away. I did not take into account the fact that I always get very stressed out prior to leaving home and my usual mode of operation in these situations is to go into ostrich mode. Long story short, I left everything to the last minute and instead of getting away at 7am, we finally pulled out of our driveway at about 11am.
We stopped for a few hours on the way at my Mum's place. It was great for my Mum and stepfather to see the kids - they last saw us in January and Wombat has grown a lot since then. It was also great that the kids got to spend some time with their Granny and Pop. Mum cooked us a really awesome dinner - we had a combination of cold prawns and chilli and garlic prawns for starters and salmon on a bed of cooked tomato and some other veggies that escape my memory. We discovered that Seagull is a big fan of cooked prawns. Leaving Mum's place coincided quite nicely with when the boys would normally go to sleep, so they slept for most of the way up to Sydney, only waking briefly when we moved them from the car to inside.
When we stay in Sydney, we stay in a really nice two bedroom unit that is owned by my mother-in-law. We're very fortunate that she has decided not to rent it out and it stays empty except for when she decides to stay there or we are up in Sydney. Thunder Maker used to live there and I moved in with him when I moved to Sydney. It's always nice to go back there, especially with our boys. It's especially nice to have our own space when we are in the area. We would drive my MIL absolutely batty if we stayed with her for a whole week. As much as she loves to see us, especially the boys, she really likes her private space and we are the same.
This is the view from the lounge room of the unit.
We spent most of the next week visiting my MIL. The boys really enjoyed spending time with their Omi. My MIL is from Germany, hence why she chose to be called Omi. We have all been pretty worried about her, as she was really sick at the beginning of the year. After a couple of weeks spent in hospital, the doctors worked out that she has Wagner's granulomatosis. Basically, it's an auto-immune disease that attacks the lungs and kidneys and the diagnosis is determined when a whole heap of other stuff is ruled out. Sometimes it only affects the lungs and that's what we were hoping for at first, but it became evident a few days after the diagnosis was made that my MIL's kidneys were affected too. She was on dialysis for a few weeks, but has since been taken off it and seems to be coping quite well without it. Anyway, we are now more aware of the need to make sure that she gets to see the boys as often as we can manage it. It's hard, given that we live so far away, but we would really like to make sure that the boys have as much of an opportunity as possible to develop a relationship with their Omi.
While we were visiting my MIL, we tried to show Seagull the little ring tailed possum that had taken up residence in the wisteria vine covering her tennis court fence. I'm not too sure that he could really see it, even though it woke up and looked at us all. Our dog certainly noticed it though. Fortunately, it was up too high for her to get at. We also had a surprise visit from the boys' aunty and uncle. They are both teachers and were supposed to be away on holidays, but they decided to come back home early and dropped over to my MIL's place one day to catch up with us all. The funny thing is that Seagull was saying their names that morning, even though it has been ages since we have mentioned them to him. I was telling him that we wouldn't see them while we were visiting, then they just happened to be there that day when we got to my MIL's place.
We also decided to take the boys to the Sydney Aquarium. As you may be aware from one of my previous posts, Seagull loves "fishies". He was very excited to see all of the fish at the aquarium. He especially loved going through the walkways where the roof and walls are all part of the tank. He loved it when the sharks and zoom fish (sting rays) swam overhead. I loved it when the dugongs swam overhead.
At the end of our week in Sydney, we started to make our way up to Rockhampton. Over the next however many days it takes me to get around to writing it all down, I'll write up more about it, including some classic one-liners from Seagull during the drive.