Saturday, June 17, 2017

Photo Friday [189] - Back in the USA

Here are two weeks' worth of photos for you, covering our travels from Brisbane to the USA.

 We had three full days in Brisbane, Australia to take a little family break between the stress of leaving and the stress of arriving in the U.S.  Brisbane is a favorite city of ours, with lots of things to do.  We aimed for low-key activities for the kids, which included spending hours at this great splash park in Southbank Parklands along the river in downtown Brisbane.

We also visited a few different playgrounds and let the kids run around and burn some energy, and fulfilled their top requests.  Caleb wanted to ride elevators and escalators,  and Greg wanted to eat in a restaurant.

 Playground fun - pushing mom in the merry-go-round.

On our last day in Brisbane we visited the Lone Pine Koala sanctuary, which was a lot of fun for our kids.  Lots to see and do, but not so huge that is was overwhelming.

 Kangaroo feeding!

Petting a koala.

Feeding wild lorikeets.

 In the taxi, on our way to the airport.  "There are just so many cars here!"

Waiting to board our airplane to Guangzhou, China.

A horrible quality photo, but it's the only one I got of this wonderful seat that attaches to our roller bag to keep the toddler contained!  Best travel accessory!

We arrived in Los Angeles last Tuesday evening and crashed at a hotel to get about six hours of sleep.  In the morning it was back to the airport, and our family split up.  Brian was on a flight to Portland, to pick up a vehicle, and the kids and I went to Denver to visit my family.

We spent our first few days with my brother and his wife, getting over our jet lag.
Yeah.  Jet Lag.  The littlest one had her nap and sleep times reversed, so she kept waking up very chipper at 2 or 3 a.m.  We seem to have it all straightened out now though.

 A highlight of our time with Ben and Meggin was visiting this great community pool/water park with some of their friends.


Both of my brothers are great cooks, and so we got to enjoy good food at both of their houses.

Kate loved Buckwheat the beagle.  Not sure now mutual the feeling was.

On Sunday evening we went to Fort Collins for stay with my parents and visit my grandparents. Brian joined us there on Tuesday.

 Kate with Grandma Kathy

 Greg got an eye exam this week.  We were sure that he needed glasses, but the optometrist said that his eyes were just fine.  Good news, but Greg was disappointed - he really wanted to get glasses.

Our kids have talked and talked about visiting their great-grandparents, so we have enjoyed our time with them:

Grandpa Keith is pretty cool.

That's not all that we've done this past few weeks, but it's all I have time to post right now.  We're busy making some memories with cousins today.  And Monday we'll begin our road trip to Oregon!

Until next week...

Friday, June 2, 2017

Photo Friday [188] - PNG to Brisbane!

We've got our first day of travel under our belt now, and we're about to go to sleep here in Brisbane, Australia.  Caleb said at dinner, "I can't believe it's furlough today!"  Indeed, we've been talking about it for months, and it's strange now to have it here - today.  The photo above was taken after we landed in Port Moresby and were waiting to get a ride transferring us from the little MAF hanger to the international terminal, but let me back up a bit.

I have no pictures prior to Thursday, because we were busy, busy, busy finishing up our packing and cleaning.  Wednesday night we moved from our house to the Ukarumpa guesthouse so that we could finish cleaning while not trying to live there at the same time.

 Our last day in Ukarumpa was rainy, but we had this gorgeous rainbow right before sunset.  (It was much better before I ran to get my camera, as rainbows always are...)

By the way, I was extremely thankful for the clothes dryer Brian bought me earlier this year.  With such rainy weather in the days before we left, I would have been majorly stressed out trying to wash all the linens and towels before we left.  

Greg had a wonderful last day of school, which included a field trip to the secondary campus and getting to be acknowledged for his summer birthday before he left.

This morning we went out the airstrip bright and early.  Well... the early part was right, but not the bright part.  We had no idea how long we would have to wait for the fog to lift.  We were told that a flight two days ago was delayed for hours.  Thankfully our flight got off the ground only an hour past the scheduled departure time.  Foggy mornings are par for the course this time of year at our airstrip.

This girl was ready to travel in her favorite sparkly skirt, tiny backpack, and her new pink travel pillow.

But the kids realized all too soon that while the airplane ride is fun, travel involves much more waiting than flying.  Just when the mud puddles were beginning to look just a little too irresistible to my kids (carefully scrubbed the night before in readiness for the first world), a new app I had downloaded onto the phone for the trip saved my bacon (and the clean sets of clothes we might need later...)


 Ready to go in the Kodiak, with our friend and neighbor Jonathan as the pilot.

Goodbye, Ukarumpa!

Greg watching the beautiful PNG scenery pass by.

To make a long story short, we made it to Port Moresby, and then (after more painful waiting) to Brisbane.  It's been fun to watch the kids.  Greg, the "experienced" traveler, remembering things and informing his little siblings how Australia works, and the little ones stopping to stare at things like the automatically opening doors of the shopping center and commenting on how many signs there are.

Yes, we went shopping straight away -  for some food to have at the flat where we will be staying for a few days.  When we walked into the Woolworths we were greeted with the huge, brightly lit, and clean produce section, and the kids may have freaked out a little.  We headed straight for the grapes (which were devoured at dinner) and I have a cantaloupe for breakfast.  These are the things we've been looking forward to.

Off to sleep now, like the rest of the family.  Thanks for praying for our travels.  Maybe it's the novelty of it all, but the kids did much better on our first flights than we expected.

Until next week...