Saturday, August 28, 2010

More bikes.....

Today we went on a shopping trip for new bikes. Poor Maxi has been desperate for a bike as we left his balance bike at home with his little friend Bea. We thought we could pick one up second hand but they seem to be like gold dust over here, so today we finally bought him his very own bike. He is one happy little boy and rode it all the way to the shop and back, he's not quite back up to speed but I'm sure it won't take long.

Madeleine also got a new bike as the one Ben brought home is slightly too big. However I'm not sure what Ben and I were thinking as this one is even bigger - doh!!!! So now she has two bikes that are a bit too big for her but is very happy because she has a new one!!! I'm sure in six months time it will fit her just fine.

I treated myself to a new basket which looks very nice on my bike even if I do say so myself :) I am feeling slightly guilty though as when I got it home I noticed the bottom was broken, however before going back to the shop my bike fell over and bent it slightly. When I returned it to the shop I failed to mention my little accident and I feel a teeny bit bad, they probably think I broke it and I am trying it on by returning it. However Ben managed alleviated my guilt slightly by buying a set of $500 wheels from them.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Everyone is very friendly in Portland and especially so in Sellwood where we live. We are used to people cycling past us and having a little chat but yesterday a man gave me a little gift as he went by.

Inside was a little pair of scissors which will come in handy and a little note which said 'you have been gifted by mikethebike'. Thank you very much Mike :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finally braved the car on my own....

I finally decided to brave taking the car out on my own today. We started off badly as the key snapped in the ignition but I found the spare and we managed to get going again. Madeleine wasn't so keen though and refused to get in the car until I'd reversed it out of the garage, mmh didn't think my driving was that bad. It felt very strange at first and I lost count of the number of times I tried to change gears with my left hand, even though we have an automatic. We successfully made it to the supermarket without the Garmin, although we did have to drive around the block a couple of times. We shall be heading off out further afield tomorrow and may even attempt the dreaded Costco!!!!

The kids are doing great at swimming and are now ready to move on from Penguin to Otters. Jonah finally decided to try a back glide today which was the only thing holding him back and the girls also learnt how to do handstands. We heard some very good news today in that their swim instructor has been offered a job at the school so hopefully she'll be teaching the girls.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Everyone has these shopping baskets so Ben bought me this fabulous insulated one. It's great as I can now pack up mine and the kids lunch and it slots in to the back of the bike trailer so no more squashed sarnies. Can highly recommend them if they ever show up back home.

The kids are having another weeks worth of swimming lessons and yesterday Madeleine discovered she could swim too. She was so pleased with herself that we went back for the afternoon session and she spent 2 1/2 hours practising, well until she flipped herself over on the big rubber ring and that was the end of her swimming. Jonah is a changed boy, he can now jump in the deep end on his own, goes down the slide and spends most of his time underwater. Olivia is very confident too, probably a bit too confident for my liking. She decided to swim over the rope and then of course when she went to stand up she couldn't!!!! I had to fish her out but she didn't seem too phased. Maxi isn't so keen on the lessons but loves playing with his truck in the water and will happily amuse himself for a couple of hours.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ten waterfalls.....

but we only made it to one.

We went to another national park yesterday called Silver Falls. It was about 90 minutes south of us through lots of winding roads, poor Jonah looked very sick by the time we arrived there. It was a great place to spend a Sunday, we had a picnic by the river and the kids paddled for an hour or so whilst I chatted to an English family who had moved here 3 weeks a go. We then took the kids on a walk, there is an 8 mile loop which takes you past 10 waterfalls but as you can imagine we only made it to number one. I think this is definitely a place we will be coming back too and hopefully see a couple more waterfalls next time.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meet the gas guzzler........

..... our new to us 1998 Toyota Landcruiser.

Ben is very happy with his new car but why we couldn't get a normal car I don't know. When in Rome and all that.......

Actually to be fair we did struggle to find an 8 seater car in our budget so this does the job nicely. Thank goodness we have a double garage and that the roads are big as I'm not sure how I'd manage to park the monster truck.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How organised is this.....

I'm so impressed, the library has just emailed me to tell me that I either need to return our books or renew them online to avoid a fine. If only I had the same reminder at home, would've saved me a small fortune.

Not a lot....

Not much to report really, Wendy and I are enjoying the pool every afternoon. The kids have swimming lessons in the morning, then we hang around the park for 1 1/2 hours, have lunch and then head back to the pool for another 2 1/2 hours. I'm amazed how much Jonah is enjoying the water, he's made a little friend Henry and they spend hours throwing rings to each other and diving down to collect them.

Poor Jonah had a spectacular crash on his bike yesterday afternoon. I'm not sure what happened but one minute he was happily cycling along and the next he rode straight in to the back of a stationary car. His head hit the boot and for one moment I thought he was going to fly over the top of it. Thankfully no serious damage to him or the car and a very nice family came over to help us out. I think he was more shocked than anything but managed to limp home pushing his bike.

We also have a new chair which is super comfy and reclines for those evening snoozes.

Hopefully Ben will be back with something else new in a bit but I'll save that for later.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My little fish......

I am so proud of the kiddies, Jonah managed to have a go at swimming all by himself yesterday and spent two and a half hours in the pool yesterday just diving and swimming underwater. Anyone who knows Jonah will know how big a deal this is as he wouldn't even put his face in the water a week a go. Not to be outdone by her brother, Olivia thought she'd have a go too and was also managing to swim on her own by the end of the day. Madeleine wasn't so keen but I'm sure she will get the hang of it soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A relatively painless experience......

I registered the kids for school today and was amazed that it only took 10 minutes. The system is much different over here, everyone goes to their neighbourhood school and if there isn't enough room they just add another class. They thought I was very odd when I asked if there was a waiting list!! There doesn't appear to be much funding for education, we are having to pay $700 per month for the girls to go full time at kindergarten and we also have a huge supply list for each of them.

Here's Jonah's to give you some idea

1 box coloured pencils
1 box 24 crayons
1 box crayola markers
1 8oz bottle glue
6 large glue sticks
1 pair scissors
1 box tissues
12 pencils
1 pencil box
1 back pack (to fit in a locker)
1 pink eraser
1 bottle hand sanitizer
1 container wipes
1 roll tape
3 boxes zipper bags
1 disposable camera

They are also required to have vaccinations before starting school, chickenpox and Hep A seem to be the main differences to our vax schedule. Class sizes are a bit smaller as well, they have approximately 22 children per class but I think they only have the one teacher and no classroom assistants. It seems a lovely school though and I'm looking forward to the kids getting to know the local children and me the mums.

Just like home.....

We drove down to the coast on Sunday, which is about a 2 hour drive away. When we left Portland it was over 100 degrees and we were expecting a very hot day at the beach, imagine our surprise when we arrived to this. It was so cold that even I had to put on a jumper and I don't feel the cold like Ben. It reminded me of our holidays at home although I'm sure it would've been slightly warmer back home. The beach was absolutely stunning though and the kids didn't care that it was cold and cloudly, although I'll have to remember to put on the sunscreen next time as my face was very sore by the end of the day. We've promised the kids we will take them for a whole weekend next time as there were lots of tears when we had to leave.

Braai time

We headed off to Lake Trillium on Saturday afternoon and the kids had a great time wading in the Lake. It's a very popular place to go at the weekend and there were lots of people floating around on lilos or paddling around on kayaks.

They found a salamander in the waters edge and were very excited with their find. I was quite surprised that Madeleine and Olivia wanted to hold it.

Piet has been desperate to organise a Braai (BBQ) so today he got his wish and cooked us up a real meat feast. We must get ourselves organised with picnic plates as I can see us doing a lot more of this in the future.

We then drove up to the Lodge on top of Mt Hood, it was absolutely freezing up there and very very windy. I don't think I'll be brave enough to ski from here in the winter, think I'll stick to the nursery slopes down the road.

Birthday girl

On Friday it was Wendy's birthday so we baked her some cookies and went for a picnic on the waterfront. We all had a lovely relaxing afternoon, especially as Wendy bought us some very comfy picnic chairs from Target.

We hired another car for the weekend so we went to Ikea again for another mammoth shop. It was really nice to be out in the hot balmy night air, reminded me of being on holiday.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pot luck and BBQ

We braved another outing last night as our block was having a BBQ. It turned out really well and we got to meet lots of the neighbours who were really friendly and chatty. Most of them are retired so I was a little nervous when we turned up with our tribe but Jonah sat in the middle of them and made friends with everyone. One lady has promised to introduce him to her friend's little boy and one couple had a great dog called 'Oggy' who he took a real shine too. I also met a lady with 7 week old boy/girl twins and there were some little girls the same age as my girls but unfortunately Madeleine took a nose dive so we didn't get to meet them. The kids ended having such a great time that we stayed until the table were cleared away.

The big chop......

Madeleine has been refusing to let me brush her hair and told me she wanted it cut short, not quite sure she meant this short though. There were a few tears when she looked in the mirror but I think it really suits her. The funny thing was a lady started cutting Olivia's hair and then a man came out to do Madeleine's, oh no she wasn't having any of that so we had to wait for the lady. Poor guy, I had to explain how shy she was as he felt bad she wouldn't let him near her.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Keeping warm.....

I had to send Ben out to buy the kids some rashies (see I'm learning the lingo already) as they were freezing in the pool. Olivia still looks blue when she comes out but the others are noticeably warmer and really enjoying their lessons.

We had a nice afternoon yesterday as we were invited around to someones house for a playdate. The mum has a little girl called Maddie who will be in Kindergarten with the girls and an older boy who is in the year above Jonah. They all seemed to have a nice time playing together and it's nice to have someone to give me lots of tips for the local area. We are shopping in all the wrong places and it's costing us an arm and a leg. It all went really well until Maxi decided to wee all over her floor, I was so embarrassed. At least she had hardwood floors and not carpet, I think I would've been mortified if not.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Careful what you wish for.....

Well after weeks of me moaning on about how hot it is here, today the weather made a change for the worse and it's quite chilly. This would've been fine apart from the fact the kids are all having swimming lessons in an outdoor pool. Poor things, Olivia and Maxi were blue by the end of it and you could see the goose bumps a mile away. Not sure Maxi is enjoying his lessons as he cried the entire time, lets hope by the end of two weeks he'll stop clinging on to me.

The kids also found this green frog hopping around the public toilets, they were very excited and insisted in taking it's photo to show you all.

Local shopping....

This weekend was a local shopping event where you were given a passport and got a stamp for each store you visited. If you went to eight you got a small prize but if you managed fifteen you could enter the grand draw, think we only managed six before Olivia had a hissy fit. Anyhow it was a great idea as we got to see lots of new shops, there are countless numbers of antique/bric-a-brac stores, a couple of yoga/pilates studios and a great little toy shop that sold wooden toys, silk play scarves and felted toys. Obviously Maxi had to be dragged from the store kicking and screaming whilst the girls got to make a couple of fairy wands. There were also lots of street shows and we passed these two great bicycles but unfortunately didn't get to see their owners riding them.

We also managed to pick up a chest for our TV which looks great until you get up close. It does the job though and there's only so much Ikea furniture we can take.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our first accident.......

.....but thankfully we didn't end up at the hospital. Madeleine fell off the top of this climbing frame and I think she fell through the gap of the red hoops, right at the top. Poor little love landed on her side but after 15 mins of crying and a cuddle she seemed ok. I had a bit of a panic though as I had no idea where to take her, no car and not even sure if our health insurance is up and running. Thankfully there were lots of lovely mums around and someone even offered to drive me up to the local clinic. Madeleine wanted to take a photo of the offending climbing frame.

Just a couple more photos of our local park, we seem to spend most days there. I have booked them all swimming lessons for the next couple of weeks, the pool is that building in the distance. I'm hoping at least Jonah will be swimming by the end of it and Maxi will also be having his first lessons.

Kids and toys

The kids had some money to spend from Ben's parents so the girls chose 'Groovy Girls', not sure if we get these at home.!!! They are now planning to buy the sofa, new outfits and house to go with it. The Barbie obsession seems to be over for now.......

Jonah of course found his favourite thing in the world, LEGO!!! This is a great little set actually, it comes with a booklet to make 12 different machines and kept him (and Ben) entertained for hours. Maxi bought some huge bubbles but I forgot to take pictures, sorry.

Then the kids entertained themselves for a bit by taking photos of each other.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We have finally met some people

Today there was a playdate for the girls kindergarten class at our local park. It's a really good idea as gives the children (and mums) a chance to meet all their future classmates. The girls as usual played by themselves but Jonah found a friend to play with and the mum has invited us over to play next week which is great.

Last night we cycled up to the local farmers market, it was really nice as went on to 7.30pm so Ben could come with me and help keep an eye on the kids. We came away with a huge box of strawberries which just about made it home as we had to put them in the trailer with Maxi. We also bought a huge jar of black cherry honey, which even I liked and I don't do honey and Ben bought some goat for our Saturday curry. I think we'll have to get there a bit earlier next week as all the good stuff goes quickly, I was told to buy Brazilian cheese bread!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A bed at last...

I'm too old to be sleeping on the floor and was very thankful when Ben went and got us a new bed. It's only an Ikea one, held together by a million bits of metal but it does the job and is quite comfy.

I also unpacked these lovely trinkets that a very kind and special friend gave me the night before we left. It was so lovely to have something to remind me of home and really made my day when I put them up. Thank you xx

Sorry it's a bit dull at the moment....

I don't have anything exciting to report I'm afraid, the kids and I have settled in to a routine of going to the shop for lunch, coming home and then cycling up to the park for the afternoon. Hopefully once we get a car I will have some new and exciting stuff to write about.

We did try going to the swimming pool the other day but of course I have too many children for a safe adult to child ratio. Jonah was ok and I could see the manager was considering letting us in but Olivia and Maxi decided to start fighting so that soon made her mind up. I am trying to get them in for swimming lessons so hopefully they'll start next week and perhaps Maxi and me can splash around in the shallow end. As you can see it's a great little pool but only open for the summer.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The new house

Piet and Wendy modelling our new dining table and chairs. It's great to have a table that actually fits us all around with room for more people.

Ben in the new Kitchen, somehow we still manage to get in each others way.

Poor TV deprived children.

Our new sofa which I'm not quite sure on as slightly bigger than I originally thought.

Can't believe it's August already....

Yesterday we went on a bike ride along the Springwater Corridor. It's a 40 mile loop but obviously we only went a few miles. It's not far from our house which means we can easily take the kids for a safe bike ride.

On the way back we took the kids to the river again and Ben discovered he can buy a small sailing dingy for about $700. Hopefully this will be an incentive for Jonah to learn to swim.

Childhood memories

Can anyone else remember these plastic blow up bubbles?!!

Glou & G'Pa, (Ben's parents) sent them over from France and the kids thought they were the best thing ever.