April 2014

ANZAC Day 2014

Each Anzac Day becomes more poignant to me due to Anthony’s 3 deployments to the Middle East in the last 9 years, and my own grandparents (on both sides) involvement in World War II. Our family involvement extends back to World War I as well. Anzac Day provides me the opportunity to reflect on the contributions others have made to enable my family to have the amazing and fortunate life we lead today.

Due to the number of Australian and New Zealand contingent based in San Diego, there is an Anzac Day Service held each year which is organised by the service members in San Diego and the Consul Generals for both Australia and New Zealand.

It felt like a cold spring/winter Melbourne morning on the flight deck of the decommissioned (now museum) Ex-USS Midway where the service was held (http://www.midway.org) . It was honestly one of the coldest days we have had since we arrived in January. It was very different to see all the men in their white uniforms instead of the usual black that they would be normally wearing if they were home in Australia. I have to say that white ceremonials are certainly the smartest of the their long list of outfits!

Each of the families here had contributed to the day, whether it have been through baking ANZAC biscuits, making rosemary pins for each person attending through to men who marched and formed the guard at the bow of USS Midway. I felt very honored to have been asked to read at the ceremony. Overall it was a wonderful day. The guys were able to head out after and enjoy some of the more traditional Australian ANZAC Day activities.



A boating life

We have a guest blogger!

Ant here with details on ‘the boat’! Coupled with a lifetime dream of owning a boat, I chanced on the discovery that boats are roughly half the price here when compared to prices back home. After much research and driving Clare to the brink of insanity with trips intothe suburbs to view various boats, we settled on a 20 foot Maxum bowrider with a 5.0 litre Mercursier V8 inboard (yes gas is cheap here!) and stern drive unit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKPsdjGLjPM). This particular boat also happened to come with an upgraded stereo and wakeboard tower. :+)

We have discovered a program set up by the San Diego Port Authority called Dock and Dine (http://www.portofsandiego.org/recreation/go-boating-on-the-bay/97-boating/695-dock-and-dine-on-the-big-bay.htmlwhich provides 17 odd spots around San Diego bay where a free dock is available to tie up if you eat at the local restaurant. We are aiming to work out way through all 17 spots before our time here is up! Joes Crab Shack seems to be our regular so far due to the family friendly nature of the restaurant and undercover dock.

I have tested out the wakeboarding with a couple of mates including the resident Finnish military family and we are planning on taking the boat to the local reservoir (http://www.sandiego.gov/water/recreation/reservoirs/elcapitan.shtml) in search of some flat fresh water. I haven’t yet got Clare behind the boat but I am sure when we have visitors, the inspiration will be there to get everyone up behind the boat. I am super happy that the boys enjoy getting out on the water and love going to see the seals that laze onthe navigational markers in the shipping channel.Sam slowly beginning to enjoy the ride

Happy !

Jack loving the excuse for a cuddle with Granny The New Toy

Granny and Pa come and visit

I would like to blame Mum and Dad for my lack of blogging over the last 6 weeks – but considering they were here for two weeks of the last 6, it does not seem right! I have just been lazy! It is actually very tough living in paradise, trying to find time between the beach, exploring San Diego and boating (will get to that later).

We were so fortunate to have my mum and dad stay with us at the beginning of April. We had a huge list of things to do while they were here. Apart from seeing the usual San Diego sites, we wanted mum and dad to get to know our new home town. It is now Spring here and Coronado knows how to turn it on. Each year at this time, they hold the Coronado Flower Show – Home Fronts awards. Judges literally walk up and down every street here and award the best houses in each street. It must be a very challenging job as the gardens here are amazing. Ours was a little less impressive, so we had to fly in Dad to sort it out! However, the
day we pulled everything out was the day we were judged… so we will have to aim for next year to reap the rewards

Thankfully the boys were able to pull through for us. Unbeknown to us, they had been entered in the ‘preschool’ category at the flower show by their teacher at the playgroup/preschool they attend each Monday morning. I went to pick them up this week and Sam had been awarded first place and Jack second place! We now have their plants and hand painted pots very proudly displayed on our outdoor table.

Award winners

Anyway, back to Mum and Dad’s visit. Mum and Dad arrived on a Saturday morning after leaving a cool Melbourne morning. It was perfect for us as we were able to take the boys in to watch the planes arrive. It was very strange seeing Mum and Dad as it certainly did not feel that it had been three months since we had seen them last in Melbourne. I am just thankful for things like FaceTime and Skype, as the boys knew exactly who they were, and I am sure that it why it does not seem that long since we saw them last.

We spent a lovely weekend just catching up (me especially on the Australian food magazines Mum and Dad had brought over) and exploring Coronado, especially the Hotel Del Coronado where Mum and I had a lovely morning at the day spa! We decided not to venture to far from San Diego as Mum and Dad wanted to have some down time and just spend the holiday with the boys. This was fine with me, as there is still so much we are yet to do here. So Mum and Dad tagged along and became involved in my very Californian life, with preschool drop offs, walks and trying to find good coffee.

In between all of this, we brought a boat (more details to follow). Dad and Ant had lots of fun getting the boat sea worthy – with a couple of boys trips to Home Depot, West Marine and Joes’ Crab shack to test the boat. We had a fantastic afternoon out on the boat all together. After the boys initial hesitation, they were hanging off the back asking for the boat to go faster.

Between trips to the Zoo, games of Ice Hockey, ferry rides, a visit to the new Children’s’ Museum, swimming lessons, too much yummy food, wine and shopping, it was sad having to say goodbye. It is lovely knowing that Mum and Dad now know where Jack and Sam go to preschool, how close the beach is to our house, where Ant works and how he gets there via the ferry, where the good coffee is on the island and had the opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people we have met since we have arrived.

We only have another 8 weeks to go until they arrive again- and then 12 weeks until Robin and Carolyn arrive. We are so fortune to have parents who love to travel and are healthy enough to do so.  Mum and Dad were totally amazed and fell in love with Coronado as we have. Dad has many more streets to explore over the next three year on his early morning walks. However next trip we are heading to Sequoia National Park.

Hi Pa!  Mum enjoining her belated birthday present New toy Dinner time! Seeing the seals at La Jolla La Jolla Balboa Park