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[Thursday, 2013-11-26 08:20]
Blueberry vomit makes a mess!


I've just finished looking through the latest batch of photos dowloaded from our digital cameras. Between the two cameras there were just over 900 photos. I've skimmed through them for this blog, but the originals are still at home in an unsorted pile.

Aliana and Majandra are off to day care today, and then this evening after work they will come with Briony to meet me in town. Briony's off to a Thermomix cooking class, and I'm taking the girls to look at new car options for my parents. They recently got rear-ended in their VT Commodore, with the other car smashing into their tow bar. At first glance it appeared only a scratch as the tow bar took all the force. But upon further inspection the impact had bent the chassis where the tow bar is attached and all the inside of the boot was crumpled up. The car was valued at $4500, with a proposed $3900 repair bill, so the wrote it off and my parents are off to get a new car.

We've done a few nice things since my last entry, and I also have a few things to report.

Majandra

Majandra is now dummy-free and it was a lot easier than we thought. We actually tried this once before, but Briony caved and gave the dummy back to Majandra. We just tried it again one night recently when Majandra was getting into bed and laying down without the dummy. I knew any moment she would ask for it, so I got in first and proposed that we go to bed tonight with no dummy and there'd be a special treat in the morning. The special treat was a box of museli bars I'd already bought, but forgotten to give to her. She agreed, this went OK, and that was the first night dummy free. I conveniently forgot to give her the treat, and then I used the same tactic the next night. She's been really good with the whole thing, and now we've been almost a month without dummies.

Majandra has decided that she likes bikes and scooters, and she's got the hang of these toys really quickly. I'm also glad that she's snapped out of the weird cranky / naughty period she went through a few weeks ago. Oh and the "pretties" - OMG. She's got these glitter face paints, and fingernail stickers, and she's completely obsessed. She's put them in a clear plastic case, and she refers to them as her "pretties". She takes them everywhere - in the pram, in the car and more. She doesn't really do much with them, but she still takes them everywhere.


Aliana

Aliana has changed a lot in a short amount of time. Most notable is that she's happier. For a time there she seemed to be always concerned or worried, and didn't interact that much. We were paranoid that it was something we were doing. But now she's crawling around, making noise, laughing. She's crawling around like there's no tomorrow, and she's really fast. She's completely obsessed with some toy cars that I got out recently, and she always plays with a "Rory" car that we've had for a while but Majandra never really used it. Aliana pushes this around the house in the way you'd expect for a toy car, crawling after it. She's actually playing with more toys in general now - she's up into the toy box and Majandra's stuff, just investigating and exploring everything.

Aliana is up a lot more now aswell. She can't walk nor stand on her own, but she's always standing up against furniture or other things she can hold, and she walks along the furniture without too much trouble. Of course what this now means is just like Majandra at her age, she's INTO EVERYTHING. She's getting into the DVDs and CDs, books, clothes, and she's constantly unloading the stuff from the kitchen drawers and the bathroom vanity. We've just put a rubber band around the bathroom vanity door handles as it's not really a good idea to let her play with hand creams and shower gels, not to mention the mess all over the floor.

She has also developed a fondness for the washing machine. It's a front loader, and she sits there for ages just watching the clothes go around and around.


The girls are also playing with each other a lot more. Majandra has wanted to play for a while but Aliana didn't really get it. Now they play, poke each other, Majandra tickles Aliana, and they just have a good time.

So what have we been up to?

This time last month, we went up to the Barossa for a weekend away. The idea came from Oowan and Fiona suggesting a winery tour. The traditional idea of a "winery tour" really doesn't work with two children so we toned it down a bit. We went up to the Barossa on the Saturday, and our first stop was the Whispering Wall at Williamstown. This is a water storage reservoir where the dam wall is just the right shape to reflect sound waves. It's called Whispering Wall because if you stand at one end of the dam wall and talk quietly, a person at the other end can hear your voice perfectly. We messed around here for a bit, and ate some lunch on the grass afterwards.


After lunch we headed to Tanunda Caravan Park where we grabbed the last available cabin which was one of the budget ones. It was simple but perfectly OK. We spent some time on the playground in the evening, and also I took Majandra in the pool. It was a bit cold, but she still had a good time. We grabbed some pizza for dinner.

We were woken around midnight by Majandra vomiting in bed. There was no warning so we weren't able to get a bucket for her. She'd also been eating blueberries so we ended up with purple vomit all over the sheets. She then slept in the big bed with Briony, and we were up a couple of extra times for small vomits, but luckily we had a bowl on standby.

On the Sunday we went to a small winery called Whistler Wines just outside Nuriootpa, where we met Oowan and Fiona for lunch. Actually it wasn't a lunch as such, more of a platter, however as with most of these "platter" type things it was mostly meat so Briony sort of missed out on food. Still, it was nice to catch up and it was a lovely spot to chill out for a while and have a glass of wine. I was about half way through my wine, when Majandra asked to go to the toilet. I took her inside, and when we came out there was chaos and it turns out that Aliana had vomited all over herself so we started packing up ready to head home.


Even with the vomiting from both girls, it was still a nice weekend away and good to be away from housework for a while!

Actually after the events above, Aliana was actually sick for the next 4 days. She was happy and seemed OK, but she could not keep anything down. Any food we gave her came back up after 20 minutes. So we had to give her a tiny bit of food, then a tiny bit of milk, so she could keep it down. We have an awesome photo of her in the cot with purple blueberry vomit.


The next big thing for us is Aliana's first birthday. It's not fair to compare her and Majandra, but at the same age Aliana does seem younger in the way she acts and what she does and knows. We're aware each child is different though, so she'll do things at her own pace.


We organised a birthday party for Aliana. Briony did most of it, and she did a really wonderful job. At the start it looked like there would be hardly anyone there, but it turned out to be exactly the reverse - the community centre was packed!

We had a stack of toys including a little roller coaster thing which everyone loved, heaps of food, beer/cider for the grown-ups and everyone got together for a chat and all the children had a play. We didn't get as many photos of Aliana with the cake as I'd have liked, but that's just the way it turned out.


This year we decided that Majandra could go out trick-or-treating for Halloween. We'd never done Halloween until last year, and even then it was just staying at home waiting for the crowds of children to rock up at our front door. I remember Briony stinging out and telling me not to get too many sweets, only to find that we ran out with still heaps of children coming. Luckily in our area we put a "Halloween Friendly House" sign up so the children know which houses (not) to visit, so I just pulled the sign down. Anyway that was last year. This year Majandra dressed up as a witch, got her bucket, and went around the nearby streets. I didn't realise just how many children (and associated parents) were out. There were groups and gangs everywhere, and Majandra had an awsome time!


And, some miscellaneous photos ...


Time to sign off now, until next time.


[Saturday, 2013-10-05 13:35]
Blogging in a Boeing 737-700


I'm on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Adelaide. This is the second leg of the return flight from Tokyo where I've been all week with some of my colleagues from work. Tokyo is a cool but very different place, and we saw lots of interesting things. What we didn't do was sleep very much - so I'm looking forward to an early night tonight! I did get some sleep on the Tokyo to Sydney leg, I think I slept for 5-6 hours and I know I definitely slept right through breakfast.

I thought I'd take the opportunity to do my blog during the flight. The weather has started getting nicer which means I can start riding to work again. Of course this means less time for blogging as I can't type and ride at the same time! Speaking of riding, we all went out for a ride in Belair National Park the other week. That's Briony's first bike ride in almost 12 months and Aliana's first time in the Chariot bike trailer. We ended up doing about 20Km all at a fairly relaxed pace and it was just a nice family outing.


I wrote in my last entry about Briony being sick, and this actually turned into a whole string of sicknesses in a row. The fact that her vitamin levels are really low probably doesn't help so she has to take some supplement tablets and also make sure she gets outside in the sun more often. That should be a bit easier now that winter has finished.

The most significant thing that's new is that Aliana can now crawl. She absolutely zooms around the house now, and she's into everything just like Majandra at the same age. She gets into the CDs and DVDs, and mucks around by the wine rack. It's hard to keep an eye on her all the time and a couple of times Majandra has been to the potty and Aliana has almost tipped the contents all over the floor. I'm thinking I'll have to install a gate at the top of the stairs too.

Aliana also takes little steps with some help from us, or from the child walker toys. She did 10-15 small steps like that about a week ago. She definitely needed heaps of help, but it shows that she gets the basic concept. Then there'll be no stopping her.

What else do I have to report?

Oh yeah, we got a dishwasher. Briony's mentioned getting one a few times in the past but I've never been particularly interested. I think I'd pre-formed my own opinion that a dishwasher would use lots of power and water and just generally be bad. Once we decided to look at it in more detail we noiticed water usage is typically less than doing dishes by hand. The power usage isn't terrible eiher. Our kitchen already had a dishwasher provision which means it has an extra tap beneath the sink and also one of the cupboards is removable. It was fairly easy to remove the cupboard, it literally just slid out. Once that was done we went and bought an Asko and had it professionally installed. So far it seems to perform quite well, and I must confess my opinion about dishwashers seems to have been wrong the whole time. We should have done this years ago!!

Also Aliana has started attendng day care at the same place as Majandra. She's only been for a couple of sessions for a few hours each, and then one session around 6 hours. Apparently she's been just fine, which is just what I'd expect from Aliana :)

We're about 45 minutes away from home, so it's time for me to put some photos on here and then sign out.




[Monday, 2013-07-29 08:38]
Blog in July


Wow, that last blog was a monster effort. So that was 8 months of blog crammed into one, and from the time I wrote it, it was another two weeks to find the photos and get it uploaded. LOL.

In the last three weeks or so, Aliana has really wanted to stand up. She just needs a bit of help to lift her weight and then she pushes her legs and stands. Of course she can't stand on her own yet as she hasn't got proper balance or muscle control but I'd say within the next few weeks she'll be able to stand up against the couch or play table without falling over all the time. She still can't crawl, but she's getting on all fours and just needs that little more courage to get moving.

I mentioned in the last blog that Aliana is hard to feed as she tries to grab the spoon and also bounces in the chair which means food everywhere. She's still like this with the spoon, but we've discovered the trick is to distract her then shove the spoon in her mouth and under no circumstances allow her to touch the spoon with her hands! Also with some foods she can now feed herself - for example spaghetti, steamed vegetables, pumpkin (LOVES it), chicken, watermelon, cheese and potato chips (just kidding). She quite likes toast aswell. Last week when I got home from work Briony told me that she'd heated up some pizza for Majandra. Majandra didn't want it, so Aliana ate some chicken and pineapple pizza. Oh, and check out Aliana scoffing the chicken sticks that we did on the BBQ recently ... she scoffed it, and threw a tantrum if we took it away!


Majandra had a really nasty cold or flu earlier this month. It started with a cough at night time and it just got worse and worse. She went almost a whole week without eating more than a morsel of food, perhaps just a couple of squeezies. She definitely had no dinner for at least 5 nights in a row, and often during this time she was in bed well before I got home from work. Poor Majandra, it must have been awful.

Briony has now caught what we assume is the same as Majandra had. It hit Briony really hard with coughing, runny nose, tiredness, headache, blocked sinus. We think some of these symptoms might be from a secondary/unrelated complaint but regardless, the last three weeks have been miserable for Briony due to the sickness itself but also that she's been confined to the house and hasn't seen the outside world. Just to top it off, yesterday she complained about conjunctivitis.

Onto happier stories, late last month it was Majandra's third birthday. This was just excellent timing as my sister and her family were over from Tasmania and also my brother returned home after an 8-month assignment in Afghanistan with the Army. So for the first time in ages we had the whole family together (a thought went out to Ted, who passed away at the end of 2012 ... we miss him). Majandra and her two cousins Alanah and Jade had a wonderful time playing together, and on the Sunday night I made a fire in the back garden and we had toasted marshmallows.


Apparently Majandra's pregnant. For a few weeks now she's been talking about the babies in her tummy. One day they are people babies, a boy called Gaga and a girl called Baba. Then the next day it's a baby crocodile in her tummy. This morning it was a baby elephant and a baby dinosaur, and when I asked about Gaga and Baba I was told they were in her tummy too. Every time we hug Majandra, or pick her up, she reminds us to be careful of her babies.

Majandra has also become quite obsessed with bags. She has a pink "hello kitty" backpack that I bought when I was in Hong Kong two years ago. She absolutely loves it, and frequently stuffs it with biscuits and toys and her magic want, puts it on her back and walks arund the house with the toy pram. I think she's trying to copy Briony and I, so cute, except when we find 2-week-old bananas stuffed in there. She's also quite fond of packing the green shopping bags - just like Briony and I pack food/clothes into green bags when we are going out, Majandra has been packing anything and everything into green bags "ready to go out".

I don't think I've mentioned before about our weekly trips to the Bean Bar in town. Every Saturday Briony goes belly dancing in the city and I'm nice enough to drive her in. While she's doing her class I'll go for a walk into town with the girls and our usual stop these days is the Bean Bar which is on the ground floor of my work building. I'll have a mug of their awesome Chai Charger, and Majandra gets a Babycino with marshmallows. A few months back this started as a really messy exercise. These days it's not so messy as Majandra has learned to eat the froth with the spoon and then drink the warm milk afterwards. I've ben giving Aliana a little bit of the froth too, she quite likes it. Often on the way to or from the Bean Bar we'll stop to feed the birds. The girls like it, and it's just nice for me to sit there doing nothing for a few minutes. The other week I was taking photos of the bird feeding and an passing English lady stopped to tell me that my two girls feeding birds was the most beautiful thing she had seen in a long time and could I email her some photos. While this is the first time someone's asked for my photos to be emailed, I've actually had several times where we'd be feeding birds in Rundle Mall and random people will stop to take photos.


Just to finish this week's entry, here's a couple of funny things the girls are doing ...

  • Majandra likes to make angry faces ... example she's trying to sleep in the car but Briony and I are talking, she'll put on this angry face and say "your talking woke me up"
  • When Aliana wakes at night for a feed and I get her out of bed while waiting for Briony, Aliana will make this excitable noise that's half laugh and half cry the moment Briony appears
  • Majandra has this accusing way of saying YOU!!! Recent example is her shirt was on the floor with sleeves inside out. I asked her who left the sleeves inside out, she pointed at Briony and said YOUUUU!!!
  • Aliana has started copying us when we shake our head from side to side
  • At meal times when Majandra has had enough to eat, she tells us "had a bit enough" which was funny, but then even funnier when we heard the lyrics to a PINK song which say "a litle bit enough".

I'd better finish off, else I'm not going to finsh July's blog entry before the end of July!

Here's some photos of the two girls together ...



[Tuesday, 2013-06-18 08:17]
Still cleaning up after camping???


Life's been busy as usual, and I'm proud to say that on Monday night just gone I finished re-packing the camper trailer from the last time we went camping. Yes I know that was two and a half months ago. I had to get this done because all the camping stuff combined with the last items from clearing out Ted's place, meant the garage was so full that I could not park the car in there.

But I still feel like I'm playing that game ... where you've got a board of mixed-up tiles that make a picture and only one tile is missing, and you have to use that blank spot to get all the others in order. I really need to have a big sort out in the garage and under the house, there's just too much 'stuff'.

The last 6 months has actually been quite a challenging time for us, with the passing away of Briony's father, Ted, last December. His unexpected death was saddening in itself, but then after that initial shock comes the realisation that his house needs to be sold. But before it can be sold it needs to be cleaned. And before that, all his stuff needs to be sorted out.

Ted's house was a big, two-storey family home. There was so much general stuff to sort through, starting with his filing cabinet which had paperwork dating back to the 70's and 80's. Following that was for Rob and I to go through the garage, while the girls sorted through the house to work out what what stuff we wanted to keep. We had a lot of tidying up to do in the garden including paving, where Ted had been half way though some DIY projects. Then it was open inspections, one contract of sale that fell through, and finally it's sold and settlement to the new owners happened two weeks ago.

So what about this mega five-month blog catch up that I keep talking about?

For starters it's now almost 8 months since Aliana was born and I haven't really written squat about her on this blog. That's not entirely by choice, but I do feel a litle guilty about it.

First of all, she's a lovely litle girl (I can't really call her a baby any more). Right from the start she's slept well and we rarely have any trouble getting her to sleep. The only problem is that she seems to take after Briony in that she's a very light sleeper - the slightest noise will wake her up. So as much as we want to get her used to household noise, it's hard because we don't want to wake her. A few weeks ago she also had the nasty habit of waking up at 5:45am for three mornings in a row. I don't know if she somehow knew it was annoying, but two of those three mornings were over the long weekend where I'd have loved a sleep-in!

Aliana really wasn't very good at feeding back at the start. I don't know the exact story as I don't have breasts, but whatever she was doing was really hurting Briony, who ended up with sore, cracked nipples. It took some time for that to resolve itself. She still hurts Briony occasionally but for the most past the feeding is now OK. Here's some feeding photos ...


We had thought that Aliana might grow up to be quieter than Majandra, but as she gets older we're not sure about that. She does seem a litle less interactive but that may well be our fault as our time is spread little thinner these days. But what we have noticed is that she makes a lot of noise when frustrated. So if we walk away and leave her alone for too long she'll do this high pitched scream. If she has something and we take it away (say she picks up something dangerous), she'll do that same high pitched scream. I saw her doing it yesterday and I swear she was clenching her fists at the same time.

She's almost 8 months old now, and she happily sits up by herself and she can of course raise her head when we have tummy time. She's rolls occasionally but not often, and she's still some time away from crawling.

Here's some photos ...


Aliana is really hard to feed when it comes to actual food. She seems to really want to do it by herself. If we give her a sppon of fruit puree or weetbix etc, she grabs the spoon which gets food all over her hands, and that food ends up everywhere. She also bounces excitedly in the high chair which makes it difficult to aim properly at her mouth and of course that means even more food all over her face. What she seems to love is food that she can hold and feed to herself - bread roll, toast, rice crackers etc. She'll happily hold larger items like these and just munch away.

She's really started to get into the solid food more and more over the last few weeks. Right from many months ago she's always eyeballed our food. We've got at least two photos of her eyeing food - the first was staring at a Panna Cotta, the second was eyeing off a hot cross bun. Over the last few weeks she's ben eating quite a bit - she's had fruit, melon, spaghetti, potato, and last night she polished off a really big serving of steamed vegetables. I saw the aftermath of dinner time all over the high chair and floor, and Briony told me that was due to Aliana stuffing her face with everything in sight.

Aliana has a lovely smile, and she has two bottom teeth through. I always get a smile when she sees me now, which it's lovely to see the recognition in her eyes. Of course she recognises Briony, geting really excited when seeing Briony for the first time after waking up or being in the car etc.


It's also funny when Aliana sees Briony, particularly when she's hungry. Aliana will just do this funny laugh thing, like seeing Briony is the most important thing because that means food has arrived!!

Majandra is a really good big sister to Aliana. They get along well, they play together a little bit but Majandra of course doesn't understand that Aliana doesn't have fine muscle control yet and that's why she appears to grab everything. Majandra is obsessed with getting Aliana up. When Aliana wakes and we hear her on the baby monitor, Majandra has to go inb there first. She gets up on the nursing chair to reach into the bassinette, upwraps Aliana, and sometimes then pulls/pushed the bassinette out into the living room area. Majandra also loves giving hugs and kisses to Aliana.


Speaking of Majandra, it seems we've come to what we hope is the end of the terrible two's (which is interesting because it's her third birthday next week). Majandra has been quite difficult for the last 6 months or so, which combined with the Ted and Ted's house thing has been quite trying.

I recall Majandra's atitude at Christmas time - didn't want to get dressed, didn't want a nappy change, didn't want a bath, didn't want to get out of the bath, didn't want to put pyjamas on, didn't want to go to bed, didn't want to get in the car, didn't want to put her seatbelt on.

In fact just writing this reminds me of Majandra's screaming tantrum while we were driving over to Clunes at Christmas time. We'd stopped on the roadside for a sandwich but then Majandra refused to get into the car. So we had to force her into the car. Then she screamed and wailed like she was possessed. This went on for about half an hour. She was very, very loud.

There were several of these similar tantrums between probably December 2012 and April 2013. Just a general refusal to cooperate. Thankfully she seems to be a lot more cooperative now. What's the magic trick I hear you ask?

I don't think we've done anything extroadinary, she's just grown up and out of her difficult stage. We haven't been violent or smacked her, but one thing that has worked a few times lately is what I refer to as "calling her bluff". This wouldn't have worked 6 months ago as she would not have understood. But now she's older and gets more things. So these days if it's a child care day and she won't get dressed, we take her with pyjamas or no clothes, whatever she is wearing at the time. Another time recently we were at Ted's house and I was going to take Majandra to the shops. She was whinging and would not get in the car. She would not let me pick her up and put her in the car. So I got in the car, closed the door and started the engine. What I got was lots of tears and instant cooperation. I guess this is just the same tactics my parents would have used on me ...

Majandra's routine for bedtime these days involves one or more stories, then one or more songs. We sing Walzting Matilda, Sing a Song of Sixpence, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Three Blind Mice, Twinkle Twinkle and more. Sometimes I'll stop part way through and let her fill in some of the words. She's got an incredible memory and with only a bit of prompting she can sing all four verses of Waltzing Matilda and she can do Twinkle Twinkle all by herself.

Majandra's vocablary has exploded, and I'd ben keeping a list of her words but she's progressed so quickly that my list became out of date almost immediately. Some of the highlights are perhaps a few thing that she gets obsessed about. She really harps on about any litle scratch or sore, and she insists on showing everyone (including strangers) her injury. At one point we put a band-aid on a scratch and she then became obsessed with band-aids. After a little while when the band-aid got a little tired looking, she'd say "new band".

She went through a phase of telling us who has to do something and who has to go first. This was at the same time as her attitude phase, and while it was amusing it was also annoying at times. For example I might try to help her with something and she'd demand "mum do it". Or Briony would do something and Majandra would demand "dad do it". These days it's all about "I do it myself".

She's saying her name properly now. She used to call herself Ha-ta, then it was Haan-dra, and now she says it properly. She also used to call Aliana "Ana", and I remember when Aliana cried, Majandra would pat her and say "it's OK Ana". Now she says Aliana properly, albeit that Majandra doesn't pronounce her L's properly yet.

Some of Majandra's latest stuff is playing magician and using the word Magicadabra, and then she makes whatever she's holding disappear although she calls it missingappeared. When walking and she wants to go in front, she says "I be the driver". She's obsessed with spiders and beetles. And she still love trains, planes, helicopters and tunnels. She's also grown to enjoy babycino's from the coffee shop, along with the pink and white marshmallows.


Back to Aliana, I can see that she's at that stage where she's becoming a fun little girl. She smiles when I get home from work, smiles when I sing, laughs when I whistle and she enjoys a good tickle. It's going to be really wonderful to see the two girls playing together.

And it's interesting that as much hard work as the girls are, there's a temptation to have a third child. I don't think we will actually do it, as three children would mean we'd need to - OMG! - sell the Outback and get ourselves a people mover!

That's enough for now, until next time, adios!




[Thursday, 2013-03-28 20:09]
Cobdogla Camping, and has it really been five months since my last blog?


I'm writing this blog with a guilty conscience that I haven't actually done a blog entry in four whole months. In fact its almost five months.

The last blog entry was a very brief paragraph plus a few photos a few hours after Aliana was born. This was at the end of October 2012. Absolutely heaps has happened in five months, but I've hardly had chance to sit at the computer, let alone get stuck into the blog. I think next week I might have to do a mega blog entry as a catch-up for the last 5 months!

Our most recent adventure is a camping trip to Cobdogla, a small town around 200 km from Adelaide. It's in the Riverland, 5 km before Barmera. There's not much in Cobgodla itself, it's a few houses, a primary school, a liquor shop, a second hand shop and of course there's the Cobdogla Station Caravan Park.

There's also the Cobdogla Steam and Irrigation Museum that I desparately want to visit but as it's only open four times a year I've not yet had the opportunity. I really just want to see the Humphrey Pump - a massive pump that moves 6 TONS OF WATER with each stroke. I can almost feel the vibration and noise now ...

Anyway we went camping with my parents last year over the Easter long weekend. This year we have taken the trip just ourselves and it's the weekend before Easter so its still quiet (for those that don't know, Easter Weekend is THE weekend to camp and pretty much every caravan park in the state will be booked out).

Briony picked the Cobdogla Station caravan park as its not far from home, there are several towns near by and the caravan park has some animals that we are allowed to feed.

We arrived to the caravan park on Thursday afternoon after a fairly smooth and uneventful drive. Majandra was demandng of attention and supervision, plus Aliana was unsettled, which meant I ended up unpacking the camper trailer and doing most of the setting up by myself. The setting up took way longer than it should have, but thats OK as we sort of expected things to take longer anyway.


While we were setting up, a nice man from a nearby caravan came to help us put up the front awning which is the hardest part of the whole setup. We got that done, and eventually started making dinner. In a moment of distraction while I was not thinking, I picked up the hot pasta dish by the handle, forgtting it would be hot. I burned my fingers, and dropped the pot back onto the stove. I thank my lucky stars that I didnt spill any hot water on Majandra as she was quite close to me.

Briony and i were a little concerned about the overnight temperatures up here which are around the 10 degrees. For this reason we'd settled on a powered site and we'd also brought a heater. As it turns out Aliana was perfectly warm enough without the heater.

Majandra was be just toasty in the new 'tent bed' we got for her. Its called a Kindercot and we bought it because its easier to transport than the traditional portacot. Its awesome as it is mosquito proof and as its fairly enclosed it seems to stay quite warm. I can't believe I didn't find these online ages ago - they only weigh two kilos and they fold up into a a bag which is about the size of a small overnight bag. It sure beats the other ones we have which are really heavy, a pain to set up, and take up heaps of room. It comes with a self-inflating matress and also includes small sleeping bag.

DAY ONE

Today we all got a sleep in until 845. After shower and breakfast we went to Banrock station winery. They have some nice walking trails including a boardwalk through wetlands. The wetlands were dry, but the hour's (slow) walk was still nice and Majandra was quite happy in tbe child carrier on my back. After the walk we had lunch and fruit smoothies on the deck and both girls were well behaved. Briony had a Panna Cotta for dessert and Aliana was eyeing it off, while Majandra was busy giving herself a milkshake moustache.



On the way out from Banrock Station one of the staff asked where we were from and where we were staying. She mentioned there was a gala at St Josephs school in Barmera that night, and that it was free entry. Since it was fee, we thought we should go.

We went for a drive so the girls could sleep before the gala, and the drive took us into a reserve near Overland Corner. The reserve was a nice area along the riverbank with a few tents and caravans along the stretch. We found a quiet spot where we fed Aliana then headed back to camp to get changed.



The gala at Barmera was good. When we arrived and parked the car, Majandra saw the bouncy castle and almost wet herself with delight. There were a few stalls, the obligatory sausage sizzle, and entrtainment for the children. Majandra went on the bouncy castle, had a pony ride, spent some time on the playground and then had a sausage while I had a steak sandwich. There were no vegetarian options in sight. We finished the evening with a coffee and cake.


After the gala we headed back to camp and got both girls to bed wihout any complaining as they were both dead tired.

DAY TWO

For our second night at Cobdogla we had a nice sleep, but were woken just after dawn by loud banging noises, again and again.

The moment I heard the noise i knew it was gunshot. I then associated this with the game reserve down the road and I knew they were shooting ducks. I assumed Briony also knew what it was but I was mistaken. When I asked her if she had heard the gun shots, her face changed as she suddenly realised what was happening. From there we had to ignore the noise and not think aout it. For the record, we're definitely OPPOSED TO ANY FORM OF "SPORT" THAT INVOLVES SHOOTING OR HARMING ANIMALS!!

After hot cross buns for breakfast, Majandra and Briony played catch and then Majandra took all her clothes off and did a squat-pee on the grass. You only have to show her things once! We showered and headed into Barmera at around 11. We went to the playground adjacent lake Bonney. We spend around 2 hours there, then walked to Barmera main street for some lunch. It was very quiet in the town and we were disappointed that the bakery was closed (it was a Saturday). We ended up going to the supermarket and getting crackers, cheese and a chocolate milk each. Not quite what we had in mind but it was still a nice family lunch. We also grabbed a few vegetables for feeding to the animals back at Cobdogla Station Caravan Park.


We were heading back to the car and Majandra piped up that she wanted to go in the water. She was referring to Lake Bonney which was only 100m from where we'd parked the car. We took her in the water wearing just a shirt (and sunscreen) since we didn't have her bathers with us. She spent some time messing around under the jetty and also watching a couple of teenage girls who were jumping off the jetty, while Aliana stayed in the shade on the grass. It was a lovely 27C so once Majandra got out of the water she was dry in no time at all.


Back at the caravan park we fed the animals, bathed Aliana and put her to bed, then has pasta for dinner. I did't burn my fingers this time! After dinner and some wind down time Majandra went to bed without any hassle.

DAY THREE

The trend seems to be that while away camping, we get a sleep in ... perhaps we should go camping more often!

After breakfast and shower, we headed in the general direction of Renmark for the day. Aliana was having a big scream in the back of the car and Majandra was asleep. We'd stopped a couple of times to give Aliana her toy but that only lasted a few minutes until she cried again.

On the highway I saw a sign showing the way to a place called Lyrup, along with a note that it's the same direction to the Lyrup Ferry. I thought it might be nice to have a Ferry ride so we headed across the river. Majandra enjoyed the Ferry although being a narrow crossing we had to get her out of the car, look around and then get back in the car all within about three minutes.

There wasn't anything to see at Lyrup but we did notice a playground on the river bank. Aliana was still screaming so we decided to stop at the playground for a feed. As it turns out, the playground was a bit hit with Majandra and we ended up staying there for about an hour. We had tears when it was time to leave.


After Lyrup we continued onto Renmark. There's a lovely park on the river bank so we decided to have a late lunch. I left the girls at the park and I walked to the same fish and chip shop as last time and grabbed some food. Majandra decided that my chicken burger was pretty good, and she didn't mind the chicken chippees either.

Most of the normal chips got fed to the seagulls and I have to admit I did take pleasure in Majandra's torment with this one! I threw a few chips on the ground near her and the seagulls flocked around her to eat the chips. Her reaction was so funny that I couldn't resist but to throw a bigger handful of chips. Of course all the noise sort of freaked Aliana out a bit, so I asked Majandra to walk away a little bit then I threw another handful of chips in her direction. Hopefully the following video works, it's quite amusing!

After Renmark we headed back to camp, wound down and went to bed.


DAY FOUR

This was our last day out camping. We'd actually decided to stay an extra day and even paid for an extra day at the caravan park but at the last minute Briony remembered she had a dog sitting commitment so we unfortunately had to leave.

While Briony showered I took Majandra and Aliana to the waterfront. There's a small pontoon (floating jetty) down there and we sat there overlooking the water while we ate our corn flakes. We threw a few into the water aswell, I was hoping to see some big fish but we only saw little tiny ones. Aliana started getting restless so we had to head back to camp.


Packing up the camper trailer and tent was a monster effort as Aliana was crying and Majandra needed supervision. The whole exercise took about 3 hours by the time we were done. Briony had a little dig at me that it would be quicker if we had a cabin. I reminded her that even if we had a cabin we'd still need to pack all the bags and bedding which would easily take over an hour, and the price of one night in a cabin was more than the 4 nights cost us in the camper trailer. Plus, cabins are no fun. Am I allowed to say that cabins are for wimps?

Once we were packed up we left the trailer on our site and spent some more time at Lake Bonney at Barmera. This time the bakery was open and we got some broccoli and cauliflower pies that were just amazing. Majandra and I spent some time dipping our feet in the water and drawing pictures in the sand. I drew some pictures and asked her to tell me what they were. I was quite surprised that she didn't guess the aeroplane, but also quite pleasantly surpsrised that she knew what the traffic lights were!

After Lake Bonney the two girls were tired and we started the trip home. Majandra was asleep before we'd even reversed out of our parking space. We went home the alternate way via Loxton, Karoonda and Murray Bridge. Briony complained that it took longer but I enjoy the different scenery plus also nobody else goes that way so there's hardly any traffic at all!

That's all we have time for today - another blog entry soon!






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