Sunday, May 31


Yes... they are on their way... You can thank Chi, Mitch, Bao, Ty and Thao for distracting me with Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook... but I'm making progress... just slowly... in between the bejewelled games.. :p

I'm almost done with the SeaWorld photos from our first visit (hopefully be up tonight or tomorrow night)... but I just thought I'd start off with the photo of Beth from the first day... this is what total exhaustion (as a result of 1.5 hours sleep in 24 hours) looks like...

Total Exhaustion

We've actually been very, jetlagged for most of this week and found it a lot more difficult adjusting our body clocks here than we did in San Diego... We've had 4am starts with Beth for 2 days... 5am start for one day and now we're only just beginnning to start at the more respectable hour of 6am... So we've been having early nights to match... Beth wanted to go to bed 5pm one day, but we managed to drag her out to 7am. I've also had a horrid cough and that really rundown feeling... beginning to feel better now, although the cough is still persisting...

Tuesday, May 26

Last Days and Travelling Home ...

We spent our last days in San Diego in a low key way...

Saturday we caught the trolley out to Fashion Valley mall in Mission Valley... turned out to be a bit pointless for us because it was full of designer and high end shops and department stores (think Tiffany & Co, Abercrombie & Fitch, Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, A|E, Guess, Hugo Boss, Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales... just to mention a few) and Phan and I are neither into that stuff (nor do we have the money to spend on it!)

So we caught the trolley a couple of stops down to the Mission Valley Westfield, which also turned out to be fruitless... our planned day in shopping ended up with us hardly buying anything! We had walked quite a lot too, so we were really tired at the end of the day.

Sunday morning, we had our last breakfast at the hotel and packed up all our luggage in the morning and checked out at 1pm. We went and let Beth have one last play at her favourite park & playground and then we had our last American burgers at the Yardhouse for lunch. Beth devoured some fish and rice for her lunch. A stroll back to our hotel (where Beth grabbed a quick nap in her stroller) and then we went to the airport early at 3:30pm, even though our flight wasn't until 6:30pm... we were hoping to grab an early flight back to LAX... which we actually did... So after checking in our baggage (which was going straight through to Brisbane, no need to go pick up our luggage LAX and have it screened, thank goodness!) we caught the 4:30pm flight to LAX. Our flight from LA -> Brisbane wasn't until 11:20pm... so we had 5 hours to kill at LAX, until boarding time... The advantage of getting there so early was that there were no queues or hordes of people to contend with. Picking up our tickets to Brisbane and going through the security checkpoint was a breeze. It's actually amazing, the things you can find to do at an airport to amuse yourself... We browsed a bookstore for a short time (and read all their kids books) and then got Beth a croissant to snack on... then we played hide and seek in an empty part of the terminal for an hour... Beth thought it was hilarious and the best fun... it's so simple the things that can amuse her... and then we played catch with a soft toy beanie bear I had in her amusement bag. A snack from Burger King (the weirdest, dodgiest "chicken nuggets", I've ever had!) a few toilet stops and 5 hours passed... it was a bit of a wait, but it passed by faster than I thought.

Our flight back to Brisbane was completely full... We didn't have as good a flight back as we did on the way to San Diego... Beth was exhausted from her day and fell asleep at about midnight, but proceeded to wake up in an angry/annoyed mood every hour taking about 10-15 minutes to settle from midnight until 5am... that was tiring and trying... she would only settle if I was cuddling her and singing in her ear... At one point, she was asking to "Go back to hotel room", just because she wanted to be in a bed to sleep... poor thing. But then suddenly at 5am, she was happy to cuddle up in Phan's lap and slept for 2.5 hours straight... thank goodness. Phan and I only managed to have very broken sleep on the plane... maybe totalling 3-4 hours in total... and Beth was awake after having about 7 hours sleep (a pretty good effort in the end!). Unfortunately, Playschool and the Wiggles did not have the same effect of mesmorising her and entertaining her as it did on the way over to San Diego... so after 1-2 hours of watching TV shows, she'd had enough and wanted me to play with her and entertain her... so we played with stickers, post-it notes and playdough and then had breakfast served and finally at 6am, our 14 hour journey on the plane was over. We survived the flight and I was so relieved. Considering Beth was really only bad for 5 hours of our 14 hour flight, we were really very lucky and Beth really did very well on the whole... I guess those 5 hours just felt *really* bad because I was exhausted and tired and trying to rock a 2 year old to sleep in the confined spaces of a plane is hard work.

One last little hurdle to get over at Brisbane Airport... We had to go through quarantine becase we declared that Beth had had a small cough in the last 7 days while we were in San Diego (in line with the regulations and scans occuring due to swine flu)... She'd had it for about a week and is basically at the end of it and she'd not coughed on the plane. I was expecting this process to be a huge headache, but it actually turned out to be a blessing... we were escorted off the plane by a quarantine officer (complete with surgical mask), so we got to get off the plane first, and then got taken through an express line at customs. The quarantine process was very simple and straight-forward and Beth was cleared of having any sign of swine flu after we went through a thermal imaging machine, answered some questions and had her temperature taken. The only process probably only took about 10 minutes... and after we were cleared (we don't need to quarantine ourselves), we ended up having to wait for our luggage anyway, so it didn't add any time to the process of getting out of the airport.

All our luggage came through, getting our luggage through quarantine was painless and before you knew it we were in a taxi and on the way home. We had a lovely taxi guy too... he told us a funny story or two about the odd people he'd met while driving taxis. We had an awesome run with the traffic and we were home by 7:30am!

It's soooo good to be home... Beth was a little stunned at first about being home... but in no time, she'd pulled out almost all her toys and was so excited about having her toys to play with she couldn't decide what to play with first!

She also loves having her "teapot" bed back again... We had a 2 hour nap this afternoon... and we tried to wake her up after 2 hours (didn't want her to sleep too long) and I took her out to the lounge room but she (as Phan puts it) had a spastic and just kept saying "Sleep... Bed... Want to sleep" and then crying and throwing a tantrum... and when I stopped cuddling her, she just bolted and made a run back to her bed and climbed back in and asked to be tucked back in... it was so sad and hilarious at the same time. So we let her have an extra 30 minutes sleep and then manage to perk her up and get her out of bed with the offer of Playschool and Natural Confectionery Snakes... (yes, bribery works on sleep-deprived children).

And on that note, I'm badly in need of some sleep myself... Beth reached her breaking point at about 7:15pm tonight, so she's in bed and in lala land, so I should take advantage of that and get an early night myself.

Stay tuned for posts with photos soon...

Sunday, May 24

Legoland... We Loved It!

I'm posting this retrospectivly... I started this on Saturday night, but with being busy packing and getting ready to come back home, I didn't get a chance to finish writing it until today.

Yesterday we went to Legoland... and I think it was the highlight of our trip... We all loved it!

The day started early for us... Our shuttle bus picked us up at 7:40am... I woke up at 6:20am and got ready and then roused Beth an hour earlier than she normally gets up.

We didn't get to Legoland until 10:15am due picking up other passengers at hotels and then 7/8 of the bus got taken to the Wild Animal Park and then our small minority got taken to Legoland. We had one mini-disaster about 20 minutes away from Legoland when Beth threw up all over herself and me (she gets motion-sickness and the roads were pretty bumpy). Luckily it was mostly juice in her vomit and she hadn't had much breakfast and had refused her bottle of milk in the morning! What a way to start our trip... but from that point onwards the day just got better and better.

After a quick pitstop to clean ourselves up (thank god for bringing a change of clothes for Beth! And I wrote off the jacket I was wearing (it was warm anyway and I didn't need it) and got most of the vomit out of my jeans with hand soap from the restrooms!) we headed off on our Legoland adventure...

Legoland has really considered the needs of the kids so well... Especially younger kids. They had a little pamphlet on the best attractions for kids who are 2 years old (which was just perfect for Beth), so we decided to follow what that suggested...

We stopped and marvelled at the many amazing lego sculptures around the park (I took like a gazillion photos... I can't wait to share!) One of the first things that was suggested for 2 year olds was to visit the Fairy Tale Brook... We thought it was just going to be a place we could walk through, but it turned out to be a (very slow moving) boat ride... Now Beth has never taken well to rides of any kind... She doesn't even like sitting in those $2 coin operated rides at the shops... The queue to go on the ride was really short, so after a brief few minute wait, we got into one of the boat and Beth looooved the boat ride! We saw lots of characters made from lego from various fairytales - the 3 little pigs and the big bad wolf, sleeping beauty, little red riding hood, the troll and the 3 billy goats gruff (the troll, scared her though), a treasure cave and genie from Aladdin... it was all so amazing... they even animate lots of the characters so they move or pop out of the water and stuff.

Going on that boat ride right at the beginning of our day, really set the scene for Beth becoming adventurous enough to go on other rides. One of the really great things about Legoland is that a lot of the rides are designed for kids Beth age (and height) accompanied with an adult.

After our boat trip, we wandered on and saw a Chewbacca made of Lego (Ty, you would have loooooved it!) and then we discovered these water-based play activity things where you can shoot lego sculptures with water spouting guns or turn handles to make things go up and down (hard to explain, it makes sense when you see photos)... Beth had fun playing with that and then we discovered the coolest water fountain ever!

The water fountain had about several different instruments (double bass, clarinet, xylophone, harp, trombone and a few other things, all made of lego of course), which spouted water. In front of each instrument on the ground outside the fountain were touch sensitive circles, which if you walked/jumped on them, would make music come from that particular instrument and make water flow out of it. Beth adored jumping/dancing on the circles and making the instruments play music (her favourite was the clarinet)... Hell, I loved jumping on it too... :) Lots of kids (young and old) came along to play on it... it was hilarious because I reckon we were there for about 15-20 minutes and several different groups of kids came through and then left when they got bored, but Beth just stayed there and kept dancing. She could have stayed there all day!

We finally convinced her that there were more things out there for us to see, so off we pottered to Playtown, which was like a big kiddies playground with a house, slides, little duplo block building stations and generally lots of things to do for the toddler age bracket. Beth had fun playing here and while we were in the upstairs part of one of the houses, she caught a glimpse of a train ride... "Train! Red Train!", she exclaimed, so I asked her if she wanted to go on it and she got really excited and started walking down the steps out of the house. This ride could only accomodate, one adult and one child per "carriage", so Phan took Beth on this ride... After a little hissy fit about having to wait to go on the train (there was a very small queue and Beth's not that great at waiting... I don't know how to teach her about patience!), she finally got to go on the train with Phan and looooooved it! It was so great to see her finally becoming a little bit adventurous!

After the train ride, we pottered over to Funtown and Beth and Phan went on a helicopter ride! Yep, she was becoming a daredevil. I didn't get any video footage of this, which I'm regretting, but I did get photos... It's basically a whole bunch helicopters on poles which go up and down and spin around, but the person in it gets to control what the helicopter does... which is good for our Beth who likes to be in control of what's going on... She went on this ride with Phan again... and when she got off she kept telling me about the "Red Helicopter!" Right after this ride, we went on a plane ride... again similar concept... planes are in a circle and you can control them going up and down... I went on this ride with Beth and whilst she enjoyed it, I think I made it go up and down too much and she got nervous towards the end... :p

After that, a bite of lunch ... and this is another thing that Legoland does well... there are great food options... They have all the regular junk (hamburgers, hotdogs, chips etc), but they also actually have healthy food options (steak sandwiches, chicken stirfry with rice, pre-cut fruit cups, juice (trust me, it was impossible to find juice as a drink option at the zoo and SeaWorld!)) which are reasonably priced for a theme park too... After lunch, Beth was tired and wanted to have a sleep, so we reclined the stroller and let her have her dummy and we thought that we would go and browse Miniland USA whilst she was sleeping.

Miniland USA is basically a miniature lego replica of famous cities in the US... San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC, New York just to name a few... and honestly, these were amazing to see! The detail, the little scenes created... Wait til you see the photos... it will amaze you! There was a Daytona racetrack recreation, with details down to the people in the grandstands. It also had 2 interactive racetracks where you could race cars... and although Beth was really, really tired, she got so excited when she saw the cars, she asked to hop out of the stroller and walk around and look at it all! We thought, she would find it boring, but she really enjoyed walking around Miniland USA. It was all amazing, but one of the highlights for me was the scene recreation of the inauguration of Obama at the Capitol in Washington... so very clever and really done very well.

Then we walked over to the Imagination Zone, which is an indoor area with more lego and duplo blocks you could ever imagine and we played with that for a short while before moving on to Castle Hill (which had the most awesome red dragon made from lego!)... not much for Beth to do here... although we did stop to have the famous "Granny's Apple Fries" here... which sounds bizarre... but it is literally apples cut/shaped into chips and fried and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and served with cream. I know, why would anyone want to do that... only an American would think "Hmmm... how can we make this apple taste better... I know lets fry it up, and serve it with cream!" The only reason we tried it was because Phan had read reviews on Legoland and everyone raved about them... even people who didn't like Legoland said the apple fries were worth trying. And our verdict... they actually are really good and very moreish! Beth was not too keen on the fries, but she did enjoy licking cream off them.

You're probably thinking, what more could we possibly fit into this day... but yes, there is more... our last area to visit was the Pirate Shores, which is a HUGE water play area! They have this ride where 2 people ride in a boat and they have a water cannon that works by turning a handle and you squirt water at other people passing by in other boats and at people on the sidelines who also have water cannons squirty things... it looks like so much fun (esp on a hot day)... Beth was too young for the ride, but it was a lot of fun to watch and we did have a go at using the water cannons on the sidelines.

We let Beth have a little run around in the water playarea (in just her nappy and tshirt)... it was just complete and total chaos here... kids running around and having so much fun... it made me want to be a kid just to play in here!

After our water play, we went on one last ride which was a car (on rails) that goes through a safari area with lego african animals... Beth loved this and was happy to wait in line for 15 minutes to go on it!

And our last stop for the day was of course the lego souvenir shop via a little tour showing the machine process they use to make lego. We couldn't leave without getting something to remember our visit. (We don't normally do sourvenir shopping - we didn't buy any souvenirs at the zoo or SeaWorld, just our photos and memories). We got Beth a duplo block set and for ourselves we got a chess set made from lego that looks so cool!

Beth hadn't napped at all during the day... she had tried several times, but just as was about to, she would see something and want to get out and have a closer look... there was just so much for her to see and she just didn't want to miss out! As soon as we got on the bus though, Beth crashed out... which was good, because it meant she couldn't get motion sick again and throw up. It was only a 1 hour trip back to San Diego (we didn't have to go via Wild Animal park) .

So ... if you couldn't tell from the detail of this post... I loved Legoland... so much to see and do and so much fun... I think I enjoyed it so much because Beth loved it so much and they really have geared this theme park to be suitable for younger kids, although there is plenty for bigger kids (and big kids at heart with a sentimental love of Lego) to do too.

Friday, May 22

Another big day at the zoo...

The second visit to the zoo for Elizabeth and me... Phan's first visit... It was a fantastic fun-filled day ... but a much more efficient visit since I kinda knew my way around the zoo and didn't walk around in circles getting too lost... We lost our map within 15 minutes of getting there and after that we just tried to read the big map boards and signs that were around (but still confusing!)

We got to see some animals on this trip that I missed out on seeing the first time... So our highlights today were -

- the hippo (again!)... I love the hippo... he was in the same spot, as if he hadn't moved since Monday.
- the meerkats ... I can't believe Beth and I missed them on our first visit... I thought it was too far too walk. They are ultra cute and so busy and move around a lot! Beth knew what they were the minute we saw them, and we don't know how she knows, because she hasn't seen The Lion King!
- the camel (he was big and made a hilarious loud noise that had Beth in a fit of giggles!)
- the gorillas (they were a really animated group today waiting for food at feeding time and there was one gorilla that was collecting lettuce leaves and hoarding them... so funny!)
- the tigers (they were moving around today)
- the rhinoceros (they are so big and some interesting textured skin)... there were 2 that were interacting with each other which was just fascinating... Beth looved them... She calls them "noceros"
- the galapogas tortoises... they didn't move, but they are so impressive just for their size!
- a 2m (small) komodo dragon... it was sleeping, so it didn't look scary, but man was it big!

I know that it sounds like I've named every animal in the zoo, but really, they were the highlights, there were heaps more animals we saw... like the snow leopard and black leopard, the okapis (which is a weird half zebra animal thing), every type of monkey and wild pig you can imagine, a polar bear (eating carrot!), deers, gazelles, this mini gazelle thing called a "dik dik", tamir, takin (weird buffalo animals), lots of bears, hornbilled birds, toucan like birds, snakes, lizards, frogs... sooo many different animals, I can't remember them all!!!

Early night for us tonight (we hope)... we're off to Legoland tomorrow!

Thursday, May 21

American Food... redeemed in my eyes...

After having sampled some pretty bad American food, today all was redeemed...

I had planned to take Beth to the Children's Museum... but we got there only to find that it was closed on Wednesdays... poor planning on my part... So Beth and I played at the nearby (lame) park for about 40 minutes and we went had lunch at the (famed) Richard Walker Pancake Place... Beth and I shared a strawberry waffle and oh my! It was *big* and it was *really good*... Beth was sooo excited to see strawberries (there were lots and I'm sure she ate half of them!). While we were waiting for the waffle to come out, we were given some whipped butter in a dish and maple syrup. Beth through the whipped butter looked like philly cream cheese (which she loves just eating by itself in the morning at breakfast), so she started poking and licking the butter... I tried to stop her, but she insisted and I'd already had to endure a 15 min tantrum whilst we were waiting for the trolley, so I couldn't face another battle and just let her go for it. After that, we headed to Horton Plaza and not long after Phan came and joined us... he grabbed some lunch and then we wandered around and did a spot of shopping... wandering here and there... popped into Borders and found some classic children's books and some bargains... And Beth had a nap in the stroller, so I took the opportunity to browse around Macy's again... I found more pants in the petite section that fit me! (Again, very exciting... I tell you, I never find pants that fit me!) And I bought a great new swimsuit for 50% off! ... I love Macy's... I wish there was one in Australia. Beth woke up not long after that... and then we headed off to get dinner... authentic Mexican tonight at family friendly "Fred's Mexican Restaurant"... Phan ordered tacos... and I ordered a burrito which was *massive* ... it seriously could have fed all three of us! Beth had a chicken taco with mexican rice on the side which she really enjoyed. After dinner we went to an chocolate/icecream sundae place... Ghirardelli and got one of their world famous sundaes... OH. MY. GOSH! It was amazingly delicious... as good as Bracegirdles in Adelaide (and this is a big call!)... Beth totally loved it too... so yummy... my Bracegirdles craving has subsided for now since I've had Ghirardelli!

So after that massive food-fest today, I'm sure I've put on a few pounds, just from today, which I will hopefully work off when we go to the zoo tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 20

SeaWorld Take 2

Our second visit to Sea World was a much better paced visit than our first and with Beth in a great mood we had a really wonderful day. When I told her this morning we were going to Sea World again she asked me "Dolphins again?" She really remembered the dolphins from our first visit. So we got there and the first thing we did was go and watch the dolphin show... Beth was sooooo excited! She kept pointing and saying "Dolphin!" and making "ooooh" sounds. After the dolphin show, we caught the sea lion show, which was hilariously funny... They based the show around popular TV shows so they had "Sea Lion Idol" and "Survivor Sea Lion" and "Sea Lion CSI"... it was very clever and Beth really enjoyed this show too. After that show, we wandered around at our own pace and visited the exhibits that we missed out when we went with Phan last week... so we saw the flamingos (the flamingos at the zoo were better though), checked out the Forbidden Reef which had stingrays that you could actually touch (Beth really enjoyed the stingrays, she wasn't game enough to touch one, but she did like putting her hands in the water) and we checked out the moray eels (really creepy looking!) and then visited two awesome marine/aquarium displays that Beth was totally enthralled with... she loved the sea turtle and one of the tanks had "Dory" fish (the blue fish from "Finding Nemo") and she kept calling out "Dory! Dory!" whenever it swam away... so cute and funny! Then we checked out Shamu from the underwater viewing platform (which was just so beautiful and serene to watch). After seeing all those exhibits, we decided to check out the Sesame Street play area... Beth really wanted to play on a lot of the equipment, but she was just a little bit too young and a little bit too short... she missed the cut off for the jumping castle area by about 1/2 an inch)... she did get to play in another bouncy area designed for kids her height and shorter, but she was really eyeing of the other equipment! Then she started staring at these water spout fountain things, and it was getting really warm, so I let her go and run around in them (or rather stand inanimately as it spouted water around her)... I had a spare change of clothes on her anyway, and it was warm enough that she didn't need a towel. She had great fun doing this for about a while... and I got to chat to this sweet 80 year old lady from Oregon who was at SeaWorld with a group of 16 people from her extended family. After all our fun and games, I decided we should check out the dugong exhibit one last time, but on our way there, we passed the Dolphin stadium again and Beth could hear people there and asked me in her best expectant voice "Dolphins again?"... How could I refuse? So we went and watched the dolphins for a second time!

After that, we were on our way out to catch a cab back to the hotel, when Beth fell asleep in the stroller, so I decided to let her have a short 20 minute nap and I went and watched Shamu again from the underwater viewing and then made Beth wake up (which was a challenge, I was poking her face and ruffling her hair and no response!) and we caught a cab back.

Dinner at the Yardhouse again... I had a lovely chicken pasta and Phan got a (big) cheeseburger and Beth just shared with us.

Tomorrow is going to be a low key day at the Children's Museum... conserving energy for Thurs & Fri which will be big days for us again...

Tuesday, May 19

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo... how about you, you, you...

Today we went to the world famous San Diego Zoo... and if I felt like i walked 1000 miles yesterday, today I walked 2000 miles!

Well... what can I say about San Diego Zoo... there is a reason why it is world renown... it is amazing! Firstly, it's huge! Beth and I spent 4.5 hours there (and I reckon of those 4.5 hours, 3 of those hours were spent just walking!) and whilst we saw most of the zoo (and all the important exhibits), there were lots of things we missed, like the children's zoo, the galapolgas turtles, the reptile park, the meerkats... There is just so much to see... lucky we're going again with Phan later in the week... It's also a multi-tiered structure... so there are lots of slopes and hills and boardwalk things through treetops/rainforests... It's been amazingly designed to make it feel as realistic/natural as possible.

Our favourites animals -

Peacock - There was a peacock just randomly roaming the park grounds (not in an enclosed cage) and it was the first thing we saw when we got to the zoo. That pretty much set us up for the day... Beth was captivated for it... I was trying to put sunscreen on her and she sat in her stroller yelling "Peacock! Find Peacock! Peaaaaacock!" over and over again until I actually went and hunted down the peacock so we could stand there and look at it!

Flamingos - I've never seen them before in real life and found them fascinating and their colours so beautiful and vibrant. Beth found the sight of them standing on leg one of the funniest things she'd ever seen.

Monkeys - (Emmi, you won't like a lot of this part of the zoo... more monkeys than you can poke a stick at!) We saw alot of different types of monkeys.. small ones, big ones, gorillas, orangutans, baboons, cute little spider ones, ones that had characters and were cheeky, others that just sat in one spot... Beth loved them all... Her favourite was the swamp monkeys that kept playing with each other and there was one that couldn't handle the antics of the other monkeys and kept putting his hand over his eyes... so cute! The gorillas were also fascinating... we got right up and close to one, it was sitting right up against a glass wall and eating grass... I love looking at their feet that are like hands.

The Hippo - We got as close as we are ever going to get to a hippo... It fell asleep in the water with it's head on a rock right up against a glass wall... The only stopping us from touching it was the glass, it was soooo amazing... You could see every single little whisker on it's face... You would hope that glass is really strong, in case it ever got angry and decided to ram the glass!

Zebras - Beth loves zebras... I don't know why... they are beautiful though.

There were also so many other animals we saw... giraffes, rhinos, hairy pigs/warthogs, tigers, lions, bears, fish, turtles, snakes, lizards, hyenas, wallabies, gazelles, camels and other strange animals I've never seen before... honestly, we saw so much... Beth missed out on some of these animals because she had a nap in the afternoon... so I'll have to take her to see those animals again when we go with Phan. The only thing we missed out on seeing were the elephants, which was a shame... The Zoo has just completed a $45 million new complex for the elephants called "And Elephant Odessey" and it opens this weekend, so all the elephants have been transitioned to their new home and we just missed out on seeing them!

On the whole it was a great experience... apart from the occasional toddler meltdown (she drank all her juice and wanted more!), the only grueling part was the fact it was really warm and there was a lot of walking up and down slopes (hard work on the legs!) and also it gets a bit weary-ing have to continually get a toddler in and out of a stroller so they can see the animals and then because Beth is super safety-conscious, I had to buckle her back up everytimg I put her in the stroller... so I was a bit over having to do that over and over again... But it was so worth it... such a great place to visit.

Speaking of buckling in... Beth last night talked in her sleep and started saying "Stroller... Buckle in... Buckle in"... it was hilariosu! She's even safety conscious in her sleep.

Okay... SeaWorld for us tomorrow... but I really need to rest up so I have enough energy to walk around again!

Monday, May 18

And I could walk 1000 miles...

Well, it certainly felt like I walked 1000 miles today... Today I had plans to visit Seaport and browse the shops, but with a demanding toddler in tow, I ended up changing our plans and winging it... Firstly, we missed the trolley by a couple of minutes and on the weekend it only runs every 30 minutes, so I decided to walk 5th Avenue and checkout the downtown shops and restaurants along the way. It's about a 20-25 minute walk to the Convention Centre (which was the direction we were walking). Half way down our walk, she starts yelling out repeatedly "Park! Park! Park!" So I decided we would check out a park near the Children's Museum, which turned out to a be a huge disappointment... it was grey and like a concrete cage! No slides, only 2 swings and couple of spinning things (which Beth didn't realy like). I was going to take Beth to the Children's Musuem, but it didn't open for another half an hour, so I decided to walk around Horton Plaza for a bit... went there, walked around, then I went into Gymboree again (I can't stay away from that store!) and bought a few more things for Beth (they were 30% off today!) I picked up the most gorgeous little top that was $25 reduced down to $6! And then, we had a bite of lunch before we wandered back to the Children's Museum. Just as we got there, Beth fell asleep! So I sat in the grasslands near by for an hour waiting for her to wake up... 60 mins passed and she was still fast asleep, so I decided to go for a walk and check out what the "Park at the Park" near Petco Park (which is a stadium) was like. That turned out to be boring... just a mound of grassland where people who can't get into the stadium can hang out. There was a baseball game on though, so it was really interesting to see the huge crowd and noise and the atmosphere that is associated with a ballgame... After all that walking, I decided I needed some coffee to perk me up, so I decided I would go and experience Starbucks in the States. I got (in true American style) a mocha (pronounced "Mow-ka", not "Mok-ka" apparently) frappochino ('cos that just seemed the most American thing to get). The coffee was a bit weird... but I just needed a caffeine hit to wake me up... Beth was still sleeping, so I just hung out at Starbucks and rested for a bit before I decided to walk on back to Horton Plaza again... Beth woke up (in a good mood for a change) and started telling me about the train that she could hear going past the minute she was awake. She'd slept for 2 hours, and it was too late to go to Children's Museum... so back to Horton Plaza and we wandered around Macy's for an hour. I managed to pick up 2 pairs of Levi jeans that fit (and I hate shopping for jeans, I have a lot of trouble getting ones that fit and don't gape at the waist!)... they were also petite sized, so they actually fit in the leg as well... I don't have to take them up! And the best part (and I don't mind paying good money for jeans)... they only cost me $57.57US for both pairs (that's about $26US each)... They were only $44US each full price, and then the guy at the cashier got me to sign up for a Macy's card and even though I was declined because I'm from overseas, I was eligble for a 15% and then a 11% off coupon... it was awesome! He was so cool for rigging the system so I could get the discounts...

Phan then met up with us ... he finished at the conference for the day at around 4:30pm, so we decided to gave dinner while we were at this end of town (which tends to have more of the good restaurants)... We ate at Sammy's tonight... a wood-fired pizza place... ordered a chicken, a new-york style and a hawaiian (for Beth) pizza... really decent pizza... very kid-friendly place (they gave beth a colouring sheet and crayons)... the place was buzzing for 5:20pm on a Sunday afternoon!

And that was pretty much all we did today... I will try and take Beth to the Children's Museum next week... it looks like a really cool place!

Tomorrow we're planning to go to the zoo... or Seaworld again... depends what kind of mood we're in... but I'm thinking probably the zoo...

Sunday, May 17

Brief Rundown to Date...

Tell you what, this holidaying is tiring work! (No, I'm not complaining... it's been lots of fun, but holidaying with a small child can really wear you down!)

Just thought I'd better jot down my random thoughts before I start to forget what we did on what day...

On Thursday, (the day I was knackered, due to the midnight waking), we went to SeaWorld... Phan and I woke up at 8:30am-9am and Beth slept in until 10am! So we didn't get to SeaWorld until late morning! SeaWorld was good, but Beth wasn't in the best mood... still quite jetlagged and she was badly constipated (sorry, if TMI... but it was due to not drinking enough fluids on the flight over)... so she was cranky and tired... The highlights were seeing Shamu in the "Believe" show (amazing!), watching the beluga whales (they are so unique looking!), seeing a polar bear come right up to us (with only the glass between us), watching the pets show with lots of really well trained dogs doing tricks and even geese and pigs doing things, and the dolphin show (which was great, but I think the show at SeaWorld on the Gold Coast is better). We only spent 4 hours there before we called it a day... Beth was really grumpy and tired and as a result, I was also getting grumpy and tired. Also, the queues to get food were ridiculously long, so all we had for lunch that day was a muesli bar after having only had a minimal breakfast (I had a custard danish thing, Phan a raisin snail thing)... so we were both starving! Beth finally did a poo in the afternoon (yay!), and the we took her to the toddler park to cheer her up before we wandered off and found a great little Thai/Japanese restaurant called Thai Island & Sushi... Ordered some food "to-go"... an inside out california roll for entree and then sesame chicken and a tofu & vege stirfry with lots of rice. We were eating Asian food in an effort to get Beth to actually eat since she loves rice (she'd eaten very little since we got here). An early night for all of us...

Friday... no midnight waking! YAY! Beth slept straight throuhg until 6am... and was so chipper and awake once she was out of bed. Phan's first day of the conference, so he headed of to walk to the conference (1/2 an hour walk) at about 7:15am, and Beth and I wandered down and had a slow and leisurely breakfast in the hotel breakfast room. Beth hates American bread (too sugary for her I think), but I have discovered, she will eat it if it is smothered in philadelphia cream cheese (she tries to lick off the philly!). She also loves to sit there with a plastic knife and spread the philly on the toast by herself... So that amused us for about half an hour, and then we went back to our room, where I got all our stuff ready for our day trip... I ordered a complimentary shuttle bus to take us to Balboa park at 9:45am and by 10am, we were exploring the park.

Balboa Park is HUGE! Imagine a massive botanic gardens, with 13 museums scattered around the grounds + an whole heap of gardens, fountains, ponds... It is realy just beautiful and such a wonderful place to explore. There is a massive pipe organ in an open air amphitheatre and we were lucky enough to see it and hear someone play it because there was a group of school children there on an excursion getting a tour and having a person talk to them about it. There is a puppet theatre at the park, so I took Beth to see a puppet show... they did the story of "The Gingerbread Man"... with a bit of a unique twist on it. Beth was really uncertain about the whole puppet concept to start with (even though she's seen puppets before), but by the end of it, she was loving it! At the end one of the puppeteers came out and walked a marionette puppet called "Tiko" out amongst the children so they could give him high fives... Beth even gave him a high 5! After the puppet show, Beth fell asleep and I wandered around the grounds exploring... so much to see and do... there is an amazing botanical building with a beautiful lilypond out the front... I explored a Spanish Art Centre made up of quaint brightly coloured buildings/studios, walked past a HUGE morton bay fig tree, stopped to rest by a fountain... I managed to take some photos, so I will share them once I get back home (converting photos on the netbook, is cumbersome process!) Beth woke up mega cranky... and after bribing her with snakes to cheer her up, we went to a playground with lots of slippery dips which Beth loved! (I have to mention, the map was really confusing, so I had a really difficult time finding this playground... I reckon I walked around for about 15 minutes trying to find the damn place, but it was worth finding it in the end!) We spent about 1.5 hours at the park (it was cloudy and overcast, so it was good weather for her to enjoy all the equipment) and by 3pm, I called it a day and rang for a shuttle bus to come pick us up... I was knackered from all the walking... (hard work pushing the stroller and taking photos, reading a confusing map all whilst heavily laden down with a back pack with all our necessities!) Back to the hotel to have a rest and at about 4pm, we had housekeeping knock on our door to make up our room, so I took Beth out whilst they did this. We went and explored the local CVS/pharmacy (it's like a mini-grocery store without fruit & veg/pharmacy/kmart dept store)... I bought weird chocolate (Nestle Butterfingers... it was on sale 50% off!... I can't even describe what it tastes like... weird, but I've eaten the entire thing, so it's not that weird) and i got Beth Animal Crackres (which are kind of like a bland biscuit thing in the shape of different (deformed) animals... Beth really likes these biscuits, so we've added another snack to the list... Back to the hotel, and Beth got to watch some Playschool, while I had a micronap (I needed it!) whilst waiting for Phan to get back from the conference. He got back at a reasonable hour and went and got "to-go" from the same Thai/Japanese place.

Saturday - conference free day for Phan. We thought that Beth would be up early after she got up so early on Friday... but nope... we all slept in until 9am again! We rushed down to grab a bite of breakfast and then back to our room and got ready to head out to Balboa Park (I wanted Phan to see it... it was the only chance he was going to get!) Because I'd already scoped out the place, I knew where the best places to go were... so we went to the Botanical building and took a look around, then I wanted to go in the Natural History Museum... Beth had fun here... loved looking at a tadpole tank and playing with some animal puppets... She also liked pushing buttons on the interactive exhibits. Spent about 45min-1hour here... then we stopped and had some lunch by a fountain and went to the Reuben Science Centre. We loooved the Science Centre (yes, we're all geeks here)... Really good value and I think we spent 2+ hours here... The 2 level has a Kid's Centre, with all these great things for young kids (ages 5 and under) to play with... wheels that turn, things that pump out air, vacuum suction things... conveyor belts with different things you can put on them... Beth had a ball up here... It was really fun! Then we checked out some of the stuff aimed at older kids and adults, which Beth still enjoyed... She loved any exhibit that had a screen and buttons (and there were lots of them)... Her favourite thing was this 3 person quiz game about the planets... It was hilarious... We each took a buzzer and played the game and Beth beat me once and tied with Phan on several occasions! She has intuitive knowledge of the planets! After that, Beth crashed in her stroller... so Phan and I took the opportunity to have a rest and then we called for a shuttle to take us back to the hotel.
We did get a drink at one point, and whilst we were waiting to pay for it, we spotted one of staff members making someone nachos with cheese sauce and seeing that they had run out cheese sauce (from a machine!) so they had to refill it with the most revolting looking yellow liquid in a plastic bag! Honestly... that was just scary... we're not having ordering anything with cheese sauce after seeing that!

After having asian food for the last few nights, we decided to have a proper American meal tonight and went out to dinner at Yard House... It's a great place... looks very swish and trendy and not like the kind of place that you can bring kids, but surprisingly, they really look after the kids... They gave Beth a colouring in book with crayons and then a drink of water in a cup with a lid and straw... They have a kids menu (she got chicken strips with rice) and she got a drink of orange juice in a cup with a curly straw! (Very novel!) And as part of the kids meal, they also give them dessert which was a strawberry iceblock... Really, I highly recommend this place... They really take care of the kids and the food is good quality for the adults too. I wanted to experience a "real" hamburger, American style... so I got a hawaiian burger and Phan got a bacon and cheese burger... very generous sized burger with a good serve of fries... I was soooo full at the end of it... and I was very pleased with my first taste of an American burger after having experienced some pretty average American food so far.

Dropped into our local CVS on the way home to grab some milk, nappies... and whilst we were there we spied some Almond M&Ms and couldn't resist getting them (and boy, are they moreish!). Now Phan's watching some NBA recap show on TV... and I'm doing this recap before I'm going to head off to bed before another fun-filled day tomorrow!

Sorry, for the lack of photos... I have taken some good photos (got some great ones at Sea World!) if I get really motiviated, I'll put some up, otherwise you're just going to have to wait 'til I get back to Oz...

Friday, May 15

No Update Tonight

Hungry, awake toddler @ midnight + Mummy with only 5 hours sleep + constipated, grumpy toddler all day + trip to Sea World + only eating one meal today = one really exhausted Mummy...

I'll be back tomorrow with some stories, if I get a decent night's sleep...

Thursday, May 14

The Loooooong Night, Shopping, The Park & McDonalds...

Phan and I ended up going to bed around 9pm last night... which was just as well, because Beth woke up at midnight thinking it was breakfast time and demanding breakfast. Luckily, I had packed some nutrigrain as a snack in our luggage, so we had some breakfast on hand... So here we were... midnight, feeling oddly refreshed after only 3 hours sleep, feeding Beth nutrigrain... I honestly thought that we weren't going to be getting anymore sleep that night because Beth was full of beans... dancing around... poking Phan and going right up to his face and saying "Hello Dad!" when he was closing his eyes and trying to get some rest... but then we turned out the lights and I got her to lie down next to me and after 2 hours of tossing and turning from her, she finally fell asleep at 3am! And then we all slept through straight until 9am! Sooo good to have a decent block of sleep.

We get breakfast included with our room, so we headed down quickly to get some breakfast before it closed at 9:30am... None of us were that hungry... Beth managed a bite of toast (literally, one bite) and a glass of juice, I managed half a bagel (which was weird... the bread here is really sweet and feels stale!) and half a cinnamon scroll (which was ok) and Phan (who is normally not a breakfast eater), managed some scrambled eggs and a breakfast biscuit thing. After that small bite to eat, we went back and sloooowly got ready to go out. We didn't leave until 10:30am and went off to catch the San Diego Trolley... we needed to go to a supermarket and there was a big one called Ralph's near one of the Trolley stops and also near the Westfield Horton Plaza shopping centre. So we went to the shopping centre first... it was a multi-level open air plaza... a bit confusing to negotiate, but we figured it out. Beth got hungry and asked for a sandwich at about 10:30am, so we bought her a turkey sandwich, which turned out to be the worst $10 we've ever spent... the bread was dry, the turkey ok, the lettuce was a token addition and it was served with the weirdest potato crisps I've ever tasted... they looked like thins potato crisps, but they were kinda bland-ish/yet sweet... not salty at all... it was really strange. Then we did a spot of shopping and Beth fell asleep in her stroller (poor little monkey was really tired, but it was perfect timing for an afternoon nap)... Phan scored a pair of casual Vans shoes on sale for $50US and I bought a couple of things for Beth from Baby Gap and I went nuts in my favourite US kids clothing store, Gymboree. I loooove the clothes Gymboree have... bright, colourful... it's such good quality clothing that really lasts. I've spent a fortune when I buy stuff online (which has only been on 2 occasions), so I probably spent as much as I would online, but without the additional shipping costs! I was just so excited to be standing in the actual store!
After my mini-shopping spree at Gymboree, we stopped for Phan and I to have a bite of lunch... we got some teriyaki chicken thing, that was pretty decent (and good value) and followed that with cookies and cream icecream which Beth loved. Then off to Ralph's to grab some fruit for Beth to snack on and some bread and stuff in case she wakes up needing another midnight feast!

Back to the hotel at 4pm for a rest and then we headed out to this little toddler park that is a short walk from our hotel... Beth had a ball here... looooved the slides and the rock climbing wall (which she can climb all by herself). Then after that, we wandered over to our nearest McDonalds (which seemed a bit of a dodgy place...) it had a bit of a bogan feel to it... and didn't help there was a sign saying "No loitering. Please consume food within 20 minutes." (Seriously, that's what the sign said!) and there was classial music being played outside the McDonalds, which I'm pretty sure is a tactic to detract loiters! Anyway, the only reason we had Maccas was so I could see how big the food sizes were... we got a large and it was HUGE! Phan was going to supersize, just so I could see, but I got to see a few people around me with the supersized drinks, which was really just ridiculous!

And that was our day today... And a couple of photos (and these haven't been processed, 'cos we can't run PS on this notebook)... sorry, the comments don't line up with the photos, but I can't be bothered fixing that... but you should be able to figure it out!

San Diego Trip - Day 2 - The Trolley The famous San Diego Trolley

San Diego Trip - Day 2 - Horton Plaza Horton Plaza where we had a good time shopping.

San Diego Trip - Day 2 - The Bad Sandwich The Bad Sandwich... what a waste of $10AU.

San Diego Trip - Day 2  - The Toddler Park Beth loved this park!

San Diego Trip - Day 2 - The Toddler Park 2 She was so happy... this will look really good once I've processed it... notice that lovely sunflare in the corner?

San Diego Trip - Day 2 - McDonald's Our Dinner... Phan's hand is in the photo for context of size... ;)

San Diego Trip - Day 2 - The View The view from our hotel room.

Wednesday, May 13

Greetings From San Diego!

We made it! But we almost didn't due to a few dramas we had!

Tuesday morning, we got to the airport at 8:30am, 2.5 hours prior to when the flight was due to leave (11:05am)... we thought that would give us plenty of time... But due to a series of circumstances, we cut it pretty fine! Firstly, the check-in line was moving at a snail's pace... we got to the counter after waiting an hour! And then discovered that the tickets for Phan had been booked under the wrong name (due to a cultural discrepancy, where his passport has his middle name and first name reveresed around). So Phan had to get his tickets reissued in the correct name before we could check-in... Qantas service people were cranky cows and said this wasn't their problem and that we had to get our travel agent to book change it. So Phan was on the phone with our travel agent (who luckily enough was at work and was right on the case)... it was all very frustrating, because I remember telling the travel agent to book Phan's tickets under his middle name (Tien) because of his passport... but we think the system got confused because of Phan's frequent flyer number, which was linked but uses his first name... anyway... multiple phone calls and what seemed like the most AGONOZINGLY loongest time and then at 10:20am, we got the all clear, raced over to the check-in counter to find the flight 2 minutes away from closing check-ins for our flight and we were the very last people to check-in for the flight... Then Phan had to run our stroller over to over-sized luggage at the other end of the terminal. And then at the very last checkpoint, Phan was lucky enough to be randomly chosen to be frisked and is bag checked *again* (for like the 4th time!). On the upside, we have discovered the one advantage of being the very last people on the flight... we got an express card to get through the security & customs queue...

So after that mad frenetic rush... we were just relieved to get on the plane. I have to mention... Beth was sooo good while we were at the airport... She was pretty happy to stand around and talk with us and was totally oblivious to our drama. I also had the foresight to pack her a ham sandwich and a bottle of juice before we left home in the morning and that kept her occupied for about half an hour too.

And then the 13 hour flight... What can I say... It was long... but it actually didn't feel as long as I thought it would (perhaps because I'm remembering when we had our 17-18 flight to Europe for our honeymoon). Beth was *amazing* on the flight... thank god for inflight entertainment and The Wiggles ... she has never liked The Wiggles before (she was scared of them because they are men!), but all of sudden it was her new favourite show.... I'm sure she spent about 2.5 watching the same Wiggles episode. And then I'm sure she spent a good 4 hours watching various playschool episodes. The rest of the time she spent eating or trying to have sleep... and we spent a small amount of time playing with some of the toys and stickers I had packed into her bag to amuse her. The only not-so-great thing about the flight... Beth only slept for 40 minutes at about 6pm (Brisbane time)... and then althought she tried really hard to have more sleep, she just couldn't ... but then fell asleep from sheer exhaustion about 30 minutes before the plane was due to land (which was midnight Brisbane time and 7am LA time). Because of this we tried to let her have a decent rest and got off the plane last... We had to go through customs anyway, so no rush and our connecting flight wasn't until 11:15am. Fortunately, we got put into an express queue again (I think because we have a young child... all the other people in the queue also had young kids) and then our luggage went onto the Qantas/business club carousel (because we had been so late!) and then once we cleared customs a second time, we did a bag drop and then on to catch our connecting flight, which wasn't until 11am... We had 2.5 hours to kill (we were told to allow lots of time for clearing customs)... so we caught a shuttle bus to the American Eagle terminal to find it really empty with nothing to do... and then some customer service people asked us if we wanted to catch the 9:15am flight to San Diego... since Beth was still in a pretty good mood, we took them up on the offer (who knew if Beth was just going to crack it from lack of sleep at any minute and we didn't want it to happen on a plane!)... but still had to wait in San Diego Airport for 2 hours for our luggage to come in on the 11:15am flight... But it was just good to actually reach our destination city after the drama we'd had in the last 24 hours... we didn't mind waiting there and Beth just reached this state where she became manically, deliriously happy and non-stopping chattering away and laughing... it was hilarious! She was dealing with the lack of sleep a lot better than Phan and I...

Got our luggage, called for our shuttle bus and finally reached our hotel... (and Beth crashed out in the shuttle on the way...) We were kindly allowed to check-in early and got upgraded to a city view room... Beth was still asleep, so we took the opportunity to get some much needed shut-eye. When we woke up mid-afternoon, we freshened up and then went looking for something for dinner and for a supermarket (which the Americans have no idea what you're talking about if you call them that... it's a food store or a conveninece store or grocery store here!) to grab some basic essentials (nappies, drinks, milk for Beth) After much searching we found a not-too dodgy looking Chinese place and got some to take away (or as it is called here "to-go")... I think Beth was really craving some rice after having had to eat a weird cheese pasta on the plane, not having a proper dinner (they didn't serve a dinner meal on our flight) and a heavy breakfast of hash brown with bacon and scrambled eggs.

So right now.. Phan is enjoying watching the LA Lakers in a playoff live on TV... Beth is chilling out with her milk and I'm here doing this update... it's daylight savings in San Diego, so the sun doesn't set until 7:40pm and apparently the sun rises at 5:50am... looong days... which will be good so we can squeeze lots of things in!

We've encountered some very friendly and helpful Americans already... and from our very limited exploration this afternoon, I'm enjoying the city... it's an eclectic mix of cultures... lots of weird food places (and weird foods in the supermarket!)

It's been a looong 30 hours... I've had 1.5 hours sleep... Phan's had 2.5 hours sleep... Beth's running on 4.5 hours sleep... I think bedtime is not too far away for us!

Youtube is not working for me here for some bizarre reason, so I've uploaded these clips into my Facebook account and embedding them into here... hope this works... this series shows the progression of super happy, but tired, deliriousness -

Beth @ LAX on 1.5 hours sleep (2am Brisbane time, 9am LA time)

Beth @ San Diego Airport on only 1.5 hours sleep... (about 4am Brisbane time, 12pm LA time)

Beth @ Hotel on 4 hours sleep (about 10:30am Brisbane time, 5:30pm San Diego time)

7:45pm SD time and she's asleep... and I'm off to join her!

Sunday, May 10

And the best bit of Mother's Day today...

"Happy Birthday Mother's Day"

Lots of cuddles, kisses and laughs from my little girl... ;)

Happy Birthday Mother's Day!

Yes... that is the exact phrase I was greeted with this morning from Beth... Obviously, they are almost the same thing to her... there's a present... and a card... why not put both days together? :)

A lovely low key day in store for me today... I asked for no present this year, because I wanted extra spending money for while we were in San Diego... But Phan surprised me with a pink Esprit argyle long-sleeved top that we had fleetingly passed in Myer last weekend while we were shopping and that I had made a passing comment that I had liked it and I needed some more long sleeved tops. I love how he notices the small details... :) Phan's working this weekend... so when get gets back we'll be heading out for some morning tea or afternoon tea... depending on the hour... And meanwhile, Beth and I are about to head off to mass this morning... so I better get going!

"Happy Birthday Mother's Day" Me and to my heavenly mum... and to all you mum's out there too!

Friday, May 8

Afternoon Sun

Afternoon Sun @ The Park

Wooo hooo - I got me some more sunflare! And this was taken last Monday with my Canon G10 (the point & shoot)... which just goes to show, it's not all about the equipment (although it does help... :)) Bizarrely, I think this is one my much better attempts at capturing sunflare... I do think so much of it is related to the time of day... I wish I had my 40D with me this day, but we'd ridden on our bikes on that day, and I don't want to risk putting it in the back of the Croozer and I'm too unco to ride a bike with my camera gear (and too paranoid, that'll I'll take a crash and damage my gear!)

I'm sooo tired today... went to a great park this morning with our playgroup friends... Elizabeth was sooo excited about seeing Skylar and Veronica again... We're having erratic sleeping patterns at the moment too... some days we have day naps... other days we don't... yesterday I tried to force her to stay up while we were at the shops and she ended up falling asleep in the stroller for 40 mins(which if you know my child, is a rather infrequent event)... some days we go to bed at 7:30pm and wake up at 7am ... other days it's 9:30pm and wake up at 5:45am (which was what happened today!) I think I'm getting over my frustration of her not sleeping and beginning to just take it and go with the flow... She's incredibly happy and incessantly chatty regardless of her sleep pattern, so it's not affecting her at all.

Preparations for San Diego are going well... I've made a gazillion lists, because I'm forgetful and paranoid... it's one of my compulsions, which all my family are aware of ... I've started packing Elizabeths "entertainment" bag for the trip... so far it contains:

- 2 sticker books
- colouring book & pens (I got the special invisible ink ones for the less mess
- playdough
- more stickers (she's obsessed with them at the moment)
- little post-it notes (she finds them fascinating),
- 2 new Mr Men books (Mr Tickle & Little Miss Whoops) to read
- a cheap imitation $3 my little pony with a brush and comb (hoping the novelty of
it being new will entertain her)
- a toy camera
- finger puppets
- little magnetic board with stick on pieces
- a gazillion snacks

Phan also bought a new little netbook (one of those miniature laptops, about 10" in size)... it was partially funded by a voucher he got given for his birthday, plus he haggled them down to a great price... it has 6.5 hour battery life, so we're preloading that with Playschool episodes and some of her favourites movies (Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc, Elmo's World), we've also got our portable DVD player and the ipod video for backup... We gave her a trial run of using the ipod with headphones the other day... she didn't like wearing the headphones at first but after about 5 minutes, she'd figured out how it all worked and became completely mesmorised in it!

Sounds like we have a lot to keep a child preoccupied doesn't it ... but it is a 13 hour flight, which is a loooong time for anybody, let along a 2 year old! If anyone thinks I've missed anything, let me know! :)

Monday, May 4

Just Smile

Just Smile

It's been a fun and busy weekend for us here... Today was May Day Labour Day public holiday in Brisbane, so we spent a lovely family day together... we went to the pool this morning (I made Phan come with us... LOL.... He's not a fan of the water, but I wanted him to see how much progress Beth has made in the pool.) and then we came home, I did 2 loads of laundry, snuck in a 15 min nap whilst Beth had a nap and then once Beth woke up we went for a bike ride... It's been a while since we've taken the Croozer out with us... so we went to her favourite park and she had a great time! Then for dinner we went out to Trangs for the second time in 3 days... Beth is always up for some pho, it's her favourite meal.

Sunday, we went to church in the morning, then shopping at Chermside (I needed to get a backpack for our impending trip to San Diego, we leave in a week! Eek! I have so much to organise between now and then!). Then I went mad in the afternoon whilst Beth decided she didn't want to have an afternoon nap... (I hate it when she doesn't want to have a sleep... the variation in routine, just kills me!). Phan mowed the lawn in the afternoon, due to Beth insisting we had "Loooong grass!"... and whilst he was mowing, Beth exclaimed all afternoon "Daddy cutting grass!"... she was excited to have a neat and tidy yard again!

Saturday, I can't remember what we did... not much.

Anyway... I've been busy on my digiscrapping blog if anyone feels like checking it out... It was iNSD (interNational Scrapbooking Day) on Saturday, which means there were lots of big sales going on in the digiscrapping world... I picked up some mega bargains... spent a bit more than I planned to, but I haven't bought any supplies in 6 months, so I thought it was worth it. I won't need to buy anything else for the rest of the year... I'm pretty much set!

Okay... and now I'm sooo tired... I had a crappy night's sleep last night... I dreamt that our house was burning down and that we were trying to save stuff from the house whilst it was on fire. Yeah, totally crazy... I know in real life, I would just grab the computer (because that has all the photos on it) & leave the house to burn down... you can always replace stuff. Anyway, I woke up feeling totaly exhausted from the dream... like I hadn't slept at all! Such a weird feeling... and such a relief that it was all a dream!

Anyway... this blog might go quiet for a while since I have stuff to do before we go to San Diego... We'll see how we go... otherwise, the next you might be hearing from me will be when we get over to the States!

Friday, May 1

Shorts To Make You Smile

Shorts To Make You Smile...

I'm in a photography groove at the moment... :)