Coronado

Being Three

Wow, being three is tough work! Where did those last three years go – I now truly understand when people say to me, just enjoy the time with the
boys as it will be gone before you know it. Being three is all about counting and waiting for the next birthday. We seem to be in birthday season here and the boys are always trying to count on their fingers their age (holding up three fingers is tricky)and when can they have their birthday again! They have already started getting out the Australian Women’s Weekly birthday cake book in readiness for next year – the shortlist at the moment is a turtle for Sam and a fairy cake for Jack.

The boys had a fantastic birthday. It was a holiday on their actual birthday so we took the boys to the zoo and met friends there. The boys love the zoo so it was a great way to spend the morning – we ended the morning with singing happy birthday to the boys and sharing a box full of donuts with our friends. The main party was the week after. After many late nights baking and getting organized, the day arrived. We were so lucky to have Jack’s godmother Meagan, Calum, Lily (my god daughter) and Alexandra with us to share the day – and also help out! Meagan is a cake decorating, baking, cup cake cooking master! So she was set to work straight away with icing the cakes and generally getting things sorted while the boys took the kids out on the boat.

The boys had a rest while we did the final preparations for the party. We organized a bouncy castle for the kids which was set up on the back garden – it was definitely a highlight for Jack and Sam! We felt so fortunate to have so many old and new friends to celebrate the boys birthday. It was fantastic to see the excitement on their faces as they really didn’t remember their last birthday. Even after much discussion about the cakes Anthony and I decided on two number three cakes. Sam wanted a lady bug cake and Jack an octopus cake – so we improvised with a red with brown M&Ms for Sam and an M&M rainbow cake
for Jack. Thankfully they didn’t seem to notice that they were not exactly what they requested! They were just happy to pick off all the chocolate.

We all had a great afternoon and evening and finally succumbed to bed at 9  that night once a the chocolate and sugar had worn off.

Happy birthday our  gorgeous boys, now we are asked every day when their next birthday is!

 

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Life is a beach

The last few days here in sunny Coronado have been extra sunny and extra warm! It has a lovely feel in the air – that feeling of the beginning of summer that I remember from growing up in Ballarat. But instead of the heat extending into the night, it has been cooling down enough to sleep well and for the house to cool down. The boys and I have taken full advantage of the weather and have been exploring our local beach which is literally at the end of the street. The only challenge is the 300-400 metre walk across the sand to get to the beach.  Oh, and did I mention that the water is freezing! Not that it is a concern for the boys.

The weather however, has put the locals in a bit of a spin. It is very early for the heat to arrive here, and the temperatures we are experiencing are very high even for the summer months here. It is very dry heat with bursts of the Santa Ana winds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Ana_winds). The temperature was so high for here, that they even declared a heat day at the local schools. Parents were advised that they could pick their children up from noon and take them home. I suspect many parents left the kids at school as at least it is air conditioner there – houses are on the island are generally not air-condition – another indication that it does not get as hot here as it does in Australia. I remember all those summers getting stuck to the plastic chairs at school when it was hot!

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The heat is certainly keeping people inside – while we are outside! We virtually had the beach to ourselves yesterday, it was actually quite eery.. when we were at the beach in the morning I think it would have been about 30 degrees (celsius), so whilst it was warm, it was not extremely hot by our Australian standards. I just kept thinking how busy Bondi and Bronte would be on a similar day. The normal Coronado weather of low to mid 20’s will return this weekend. I can’t say I have not disliked these last few days, they have been rather nice!

 

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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
(http://coronadoflowershow.com).

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

Hot Chocolate… Run?

This running business is getting quite serious.. I never really understood the fascination that people have with running and what would motivate them to run for hours or even days at a time. I am still not entirely sure what the driver is, but I am certainly becoming more and more interested in it! It may be driven by the increase food and sugar I have been ingesting since I have arrived… Peanut Butter Cups are now my enemy. I am only allowed them on weekends! But, also, it is an exercise I can do any

So, since my last blog about my running, I have completed a 15k run with my friends Michelle and Nerys.. named the ‘Hot Chocolate Run’ after the bowl of hot chocolate we received at the end .. the last thing we all wanted after the end of the race. We trekked into town (all of about 10 mins away) and met at the starting line at 645 in the morning! It was a grey morning and my first thought was from where I was standing at the starting line, there were a lot of hills! Anyone who has been to Coronado can confirm that there is a distinct lack of hills! So this run would be my first time having run 15 ks… and at hills. Well, I have done the City the Surf a couple of times, and honestly I just walked the hills.

Anyway, I have decided that if you are going to run these types of things, you should always run with friends. It certainly keeps me going.. instead of the internal dialogue I have to motivate myself from stopping, friends help pass the time and comment on the others running by.. oh and also where the best cinnamon buns are. it was wonderful to run down that last hill to see Ant and the boys waiting for us. The run was so well organised with a kids designated area where there were jumping castles, this country certainly caters really well for kids.

So, with 15ks done, the logical thing would be to do a half marathon. I think that if these runs only referred to the distance, I may be less concerned, but as a half marathon has the ‘m’ word in it, it seems more scary. So the it has taken me over a month to decide to join up for a half marathon in June! Can you believe it, me.. doing a half marathon?!! I can’t really believe it myself.. see you at the finish line after 21 kms!

Done  15kms!

Done 15kms!

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With our pretty unimpressed support crews

 

 

 

Swimming and biking

We have finally started swimming lessons! Even better than that, is that the boys go in the pool without us. We have been wanting to do swimming lessons for some time, however it was just not possible as it required two of us in the pool with them.

They are having lessons with their new friend Darcy at the BBMAC pool which is part of the local high school (http://bbmac.org). They have a lovely instructor Jose which they were very well behaved for. I was amazed that he was happy to have three two year olds in the pool! By the end he had them travelling along the side of the pool and putting their heads in the water.

The key was having Darcy there. The boys think the world of him and as he was in the water with Jose they were comfortable about getting in. Darcy is also a whizz on the balance bike. He thankfully has the same one as the boys, so he has been getting the boys on their bikes as well. But, they are still not as “fast as Darc’ as I hear them say when then are on them.

Jack

Jack

Sambo

Sambo

Testing the water

Testing the water

Jack and Darcy

Jack and Darcy
Jack on his bike
Jack on his bike

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Thirty Year Storm and high temperatures

Yes, literally, we have experienced the thirty year storm in Coronado. It generally does not rain here, and when it does it makes the front page. So when ‘the storm’ was being reported on in the local and national papers we were bracing ourselves! The reality is, we now live in a dessert, not that you could tell by the green lawns around us, but you can tell by the slightly strange tasting water, which I was ready for after three months in Ballarat.

Having lived in Sydney for the last ten years, I have grown used to, and enjoyed a good storm. That was until the boys, where rain and storms cause a personal melt down (mine.. not the boys!). The boys are very active and out door  kids, so the thought of being inside with them for a day or so sends shivers down my spine.. especially when the day starts at 0515 in the morning.

Anyway, the day of the storms arrived, with it came high temperatures… the boys that is. They both were not well at all and were relegated to the couch! Thankfully they have recently discovered the movies ‘Cars’, so between napping and watching Cars were go through the first day. As for the storm… I was still waiting, while it was raining, it was a storm. The local council set up a ‘sand bag corner’ for people to pick up sandbags for their properties – a little extreme I thought! However, this is a town where it hardly rains, so the infrastructure to cope with anything more than a light shower is not in place – we don’t even have guttering on our house.

Overnight on the Thursday it certainly was heavier rain, the boys by this stage were still not well, so we had another day of Cars! I am now a ‘Mater’ fan and can’t help but say “Sally” when I see a Porsche go by! I was getting cabin fever by this stage! Thankfully it was the weekend. Whilst the boys were not 100% better we decided to head out. It was only then that we realised that the ‘thirty year storm’ had really hit. Many of the roads we crossed to get off the island were flooded. Most of the houses here also back onto rear lane, this seems to provide a natural draining system – so people were utilising the sandbags to stop the water from entering their garages.

By day three of the wet weather we decided to brave the wet roads and venture out. When we first arrived we spent a fantastic day at Balboa Park (www.balboapark.org) which is amazing place to visit and keep on visiting – it is where the San Diego Zoo is. One of the places on our list after our first visit was the San Diego Air and Space Museum (www.sandiegoairandspace.org).

We have found that museums and other attractions here are very family friendly – and are priced that way as well. Children under three are free.  Behind the turnstiles the museum starts off as a hallway of fame recognising significant figures in the history of air travel (of little interest to the little ones) before opening up into a wonder of aircraft on the ground and suspended from the ceiling.

The boys had a ball pointing out various parts of the planes and sitting for 30 seconds or so to watch each of the various video displays. The highlight for the boys was the ‘Robinson Helicopter’ like their Papa’s which they were able to climb in and out of. They also enjoyed the children’s play room full of interactive science experiments including computer flight simulators, a pedal plane and the ability for the kids to ‘fly’ a fully operational plane in a wind tunnel.

We also took the opportunity to try the free cinema to watch a short presentation on aviation history. What we didn’t fully appreciate was this the cinema was a 4D ‘experience’, which we quickly came to realise as the seats moved about, fans blew and jets of water and air squirted us. While being a little shocked (as were we!) the boys seemed to enjoy it with Sam keen for more but Jack declaring it as being a ‘bit scary’.

So, we survived the 30 year storm, along with two sick boys!

Postscript.. poor Sam ended up having an ear infection!

Jack taking off

Jack taking off

Robinson R44 - getting some practice

Robinson R44 – getting some practice