Saturday, April 25, 2015

ANZAC Day - Lest We Forget

I have blogged about ANZAC Day before. ANZAC Day I look back at the photos of my Dad, Mum and Uncle Wilton and try to imagine what they were like back then.  All young with hopes and dreams.  My Uncle Wilton, so young and his hopes and dreams were never realized.

"They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
we will remember them."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hair Cuts and Archaelogical Digs

On Fridays, Sam and I usually go on a field trip of some kind.
When it is his turn to choose, Sam usually picks one of the area shopping malls because then he can ride his beloved escalators and have Chick-fil-a for lunch.
Every now and then he does surprise me with a different choice.
This past Friday was one of those days and I must admit, it did surprise me.
Sam chose to go and get his hair cut.
 Over the years Samuel has gradually gotten more tolerant of getting his hair cut.
Some days the hairdresser can use clippers.
Some days she can't.
Some days he will be fine with the noise of the scissors snip snipping.
Some days.....well, you get the idea!!
The hairdresser we go to is quite a drive away, but, Sam gets to watch "Wubbzy" while he is sitting there and they have trains in the waiting area!!
This visit was the best EVER!!
Sam did not squirm, wiggle or bolt from the chair once.
We will see how the next visit goes, but I am hoping that we can cross hair cuts off the list of things to conquer.

 Some of these photos are a bit blurry because I took them with my phone. 
This week we are studying Egypt and to kick it off, we are excavating a pyramid. 
 Sam is very busy and completely engrossed.
This photo does not show the end result clearly.
After much chipping and dusting, Sam found a statue in the middle of his pyramid!!

Sam thought this was much more exciting than spelling and math!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Still Call Australia Home...Wish It Was Closer!!

I've been living in the United States for nearly 29-years now.
I have lived here longer than I lived in Australia.
I still consider myself very much "Australian."
Though, for the past year I have been mulling over becoming an United States Citizen.
It is amazing to me sometimes, that even though it has been 29/30 years since I have seen some of the people that I grew-up knowing in Australia, they still have the ability to touch my life.  
One of the most difficult things to cope with living thousands of miles away, are the life changing moments.  I do miss the fun things like when the ladies in my family would get together once a month for lunch.  It is always difficult to miss fun things.  Birthdays, engagements, weddings and births.  But, perhaps the hardest to cope with are the deaths.  Aunts, Uncles, little nephews, family friends...
My Dad, my Mum and my brother.
All are grieved, all are missed.

This week I have been thrown for a bit of a loop.
Via facebook I found out that someone I knew from growing-up in Australia had been ill and the prognosis was grim.  I had reconnected with the family a little via facebook, and I followed his daughter's blog.
In church on Sunday, the congregation sang, "Abide With Me."  I have always loved that hymn, but, on Sunday, it caused the tears to flow.  I kept thinking of the Triffitt family, what had been and what was to come for their family.

Lisa King blogged about her Dad HERE.
If you check out her blog, be sure to read the two posts about her Dad.

That Sunday morning in church, it hit me.
I knew why I was feeling so emotional.

Way back in 1983 - can it really be that long ago??  Nick Triffitt was my Bishop at church.
A Mormon bishop is the leader of a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi.
I was 20-years-old (nearly 21) and at a bit of a crossroads in my life.  I was dating someone pretty seriously, but I wanted to serve a mission for my church.  Nearly everyone thought I should get married, well, at least everyone who shared their 2 cents worth with me!!!  I went and spoke with Bishop Triffitt and told him that I wanted to go on a mission.  He also thought that I should consider the marriage route.  Finally, he said that we both should spend the week praying about it, and next Sunday dedicate a fast to the situation.  We would meet again that Sunday after church.
When I walked into his office, Bishop Triffitt had the papers that needed to be filled out sitting on his desk.  He said that we needed to get things moving as quickly as possible, that the Lord wanted me to serve a mission.
Looking back, Bishop Triffitt was a very young Bishop.  He may have been young, but he made a difference in people's lives.  I only wish that it had all clicked with me earlier.  He listened to the promptings of the spirit and in return, guided me.  I will be forever grateful and I hope he knows that his guidance set in motion a happy life.

I do have one more story to tell, and I like to think that my Mum is confessing this to the injured party!  Maybe she already did, but my kids love this story!!
When Nick Triffitt was still Bishop, my Mum made him a Christmas fruit cake.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Mormon Bishops conduct tithing settlements with members of the church.  It can result in some very long Sundays for the Bishop.  So, Mum made one of her fruit cakes for him to munch on during the afternoon.
Mum used alcohol to soak the fruit.
Usually not a problem for the alcohol is cooked out as it bakes.
This particular year my Mum forgot the alcohol step.
Not thinking, Mum poured some alcohol over the top of the fruitcake as it sat cooling.
Bishop Triffitt said it was the best fruitcake he had ever had.
I told my Mum that I hoped he wasn't pulled over by the police on the way home!!

My thoughts and prayers are with Nick Triffitt's family as they mourn the loss of a husband, father, brother, grandfather...
A few years ago I was attending our church's temple in Orlando.  Each of the temples have a beautiful room called the Celestial room.  There wasn't anyone else in there for a short period of time and I was waiting for Jim.  There was a brother and sister (siblings, not just a brother and sister in a church sense) there who were attending the temple for the very first time in preparation for going on missions.  There were many family and friends attending with them, and as they came into the Celestial room, they stood by the doors and waited for the brother and sister to come in.  As they did, everyone hugged everyone and the tears flowed.  Joy on every one's face.  Happiness.
I remember thinking that this is what it was going to be like.
This is how it would be when I got to seem my Mum, Dad, brother and our little Emma.
This is how I imagine my former Bishop.
Joy and happiness.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Tale of Three Roads...or...Farewell to Ireland

 Time to play catch-up on my blog again.
But, I would first like to do one final post about our trip to Ireland.
 The most difficult thing on our trip was the driving.
Not because you drive on the left side in Ireland.  Jim handles that very well.  But, the size of some of the roads.  
We put the roads into 3 different categories.
The first being the narrowest.  Just when you thought there could be no road narrower than the one you were currently hurtling down at a break neck speed, the GPS managed to direct you to a road that had the width of a sheep trail.
Roads without any type of paint lines were the scariest.  Extremely scenic, but terrifying.  Usually could not fully appreciate the view because your eyes were shut or covered.  Especially if a car was coming the other way.
There was an added danger bonus when Jim covered his eyes.
Just Joking!!!
 This photo is a bit blurry.
Hard to focus when hanging on for dear life.
My eyes may or may not have been shut.
But, at least this road had a line.
When there was a solid line, that was a good thing.  It usually meant that there was room for two cars to go down either side of the road without one having to pull over as far as they could to the side.
We breathed a sigh of a relief when there was a line.
 The best road of all was one with dashed lines.
 Even better still was this......
For some reason, our GPS had an aversion to this type of road.
 Not sure if this wave has an official name or not.
We came to call it many things.
The Irish Wave
The Gratitude Wave
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for letting me squeeze by wave.
Everybody used it.
Even the person who sped past at 200kms an hour and side swiped our car.
 On the Tuesday morning we left, we had our last full Irish breakfast.
Yes, we even ate white and black pudding.  Miriam's (the owner of the B&B) husband is a butcher.  It changed my opinion of black pudding, and I had never had white pudding before.
Tomato, sausage, bacon, baked beans and scrambled egg.  I ordered the scrambled egg for Sam.  If it was a true full Irish, it would have been fried eggs.
 Sam had pancakes, they were yummy.
 It was a rainy day.
We made our way to the airport.  Turned in our poor sideswiped car with a minimum of fuss and started the drudgery of working our way through customs.
Aer Lingus was a pretty good airline to fly with.  Would recommend them. 
We are always so concerned about Sam when we fly.  We always arrange for one of us to sit in front of him so we don't have to worry about him kicking someones seat the entire flight or putting his tray up and down, up and down.
Sam was an angel.
The kids sitting behind us???  Not so much.
The parents didn't help, felt like turning around and telling them to chill out, they were making matters worse, but, because I have been there done that, I didn't.

Great trip.
We met some wonderful people and had some wonderful experiences.
Would love to go back and repeat some of the things we did and try out and see some new things.
Our family loves to travel and have been able to do so.  There are many more places on our wish year.  Oh, wait, it is already next year!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Last Full Day in Ireland.......insert sad face

We woke-up to our last full day in Ireland.
Sam was ready to go home, he was missing his routine.  He went back and forth with wanting to go home and staying in Ireland forever.
Must admit, I was feeling the same way.
Ready to go home, but not wanting it to end either.

Everyone was heading to
Miriam and her family as well as several other guests at the Old Bank B & B, were planning on going there today.  We were surprised at how much Halloween was celebrated in Ireland.  Bunratty Castle was hosting children's Halloween activities in the afternoon.
We planned on going to the castle and playing it by ear as to whether we would stay for the afternoons festivities or not.
We arrived right at opening, so there was not a crowd at all.
Sam checking out the inside of the castle.
View from the top.
Two of my favorite people!
Inside the castle.
Shall we dine???
Some more shots of the castle.
 Some history of the castle.
What do you mean you can't read this......
You need to brush up on your Irish!!
here it is in English.
Sam found some wonderful slopes to climb up and run down.
Sam had to settle for these slopes.
He wanted to run up and down the moat slopes, but it was a little too steep in Mum and Dad's opinion.  Sam, of course, did not agree, but he humored us.
Jessica and I enjoying the Autumn colors.
There was a folk village on the grounds.
These photos are some of the interiors of the cottages.
Sam was on a mission to find just the right magic stick.
Me and my sweetie.
Me and my other sweetie.
One of the cottages.
Walls are made for walkin'
More of the village.
Pig pen........
missing the pigs.
Hay stack.
Keeping the haystacks dry.
Hounds relaxing under the trees.
Most of the demonstrations, etc., were not going to start until the Halloween event started at noon.  But, there were a few going on.
We walked into one of the cottages and they had a cooking demonstration.
In one corner there was a gentleman reciting a poem. 
 It was kind of odd.
He was facing the fireplace with his back to everyone.
There were two people sitting in front of the fireplace and he seemed to be giving them a personal show.
Afterwards Jim and I were talking about it and I had to laugh.
This guy was not part of the scheduled entertainment.
In fact, I had seen him wandering around with his family.
He was dressed the part.....kind of.
Also, the poem he was reciting was all about England and the storming of strongholds. I know this because when I recognized him as the gentleman wandering around with his family, I really started to listen to what he had to say and the content of the poem.
Probably a good thing that he had his back to everyone!!!!
Sam made friends in the gift shop.  He really liked this animated witch.
Sam also made friends with the security guard who you can just see on the left.
 We had planned on checking out this pub, "Durty Nelly's."
"Durty Nelly’s can truly be described as one of Ireland’s landmark pubs. Nestling in the shadow of the magnificent Bunratty Castle and the adjoining Folk Park, it is the first stopping off point for generations of visitors to Ireland arriving at nearby Shannon Airport.
Perhaps the biggest single charm of Nelly’s – as it is known locally – is the fact that it’s a meeting place for both locals and tourists alike, and the interaction between the two is what makes it such a unique Irish pub.
You’ll typically find groups of overseas visitors and locals chatting away as if they were lifetime friends, swapping stories or asking after friends or relatives who’ve settled around the world – or stayed at home in Ireland.
Over the years, it’s hosted a host of global celebrities drawn from entertainment, politics, the arts – all of them lured inside our doors by the legendary hospitality of Nelly’s."
This place had been recommended to us and we had been told that it was the place that all visiting dignitaries were taken to eat when visiting this neck of the woods. We suspected that it was probably a bit on the "boisterous" side inside, and even though it sounded like fun, we needed to keep things quiet for Sam in preparation for flying home. Instead, we headed in the opposite direction.
 After a bit of trial and error, we ended up at

The castle was closed, but we had a nice stroll around the grounds.
This was a rather creepy statue in the very middle of the walled garden.
They eyes followed you.
If you don't believe me, stand-up and walk from one side of your screen to the other.
Don't take your eyes of the statue.
We came across a lone squash sitting on a bench.
I think the statue had something to do with it.
View from the garden.
Jessica strolling away.
Away from the statue.
This statue would be great on a Dr Who episode that features the Weeping Angels.
Did I tell you that it was creepy??
Back to more pleasant pursuits!!
Even though it is Autumn and the garden is being prepared for winter, it is still beautiful.
We had to go through special gates to prevent the cows from escaping, or munching their way through the gardens!!
One final photo as we drove off.
This may appear to be a pile of rocks.
But, during our visit to
we saw and learned many things.
This was The ‘Giant’s Grave’ Megalithic Tomb.
Another stone wall for Sam to balance on.
No matter how much Samuel encouraged, Jessica would not walk the wall with him.
Beautiful view of the loch.
Visitor's Center
The Lime Kiln.
Bourchier’s Castle 
Lough Gur 
Carraigcrothera – Hangman’s Rock
Hurry up everybody!!!
The lady at the visitor's center said that the except for a few steps, the walk was very mild.
For mountain goats maybe.
I lost count of the steps.
This picture was taken near the top.
It was easier not to use the steps.  But, you had to be careful not to slip because of the blackberry bushes either side.
I had visions of Brer Rabbit and the briar patch.

Yay, the top!!!
The view was well worth it.

This is the Wishing Seat.
They wouldn't tell me what they wished for.
Samuel reminded me that it wouldn't come true if they told.
Our last stop was the Grange Stone Circle.
It is Ireland's largest stone circle.
Jim read that if you place your forehead and palms on the circle's largest stones, you would be energized.
We decided to give it a try.
I rationalized that a full body plant would give me more energy.
I was feeling a little weary.
It was time to head back.
Sam tried his hardest to dismantle some of the circle.
Jim and I can move at great speed when sufficiently motivated. do the math.

We headed back to the bed and breakfast.
We were the first back for the day, everyone else was still at Bunratty Castle.
We found out that it had been just packed in the afternoon, an hour wait time for a ride on the train, etc..  We had made the correct decision to leave when we did!
Our last night in Ireland, so of course, our meal was fish and chips!
We liked these fish and chips the best of all the ones we had tried.
They were very busy.  It was a Bank Holiday and many places were closed.
It would have been nice to go to the Pub and have a meal - the food is pretty much always delicious and it would have been nice to talk with some of the locals.  But, by the end of the day, Sam needed to chill out and relax.  We were just fine with that.

We spent the rest of the night packing and looking over our souvenirs.
It was a rainy night and we all drifted off to sleep with the sound of the rain on the roof.