The Big Apple

We’ve spent the last two and a bit days in New York. It wasn’t nearly enough time but we packed in as much as we could. We arrived at our lovely motel, after a very long transit from the airport, and had a couple of hours sleep before heading for dinner at the Shake Shack. The next day we visited the massive Times Square Toys-R-Us and M & M shop before jumping on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour and heading downtown. We saw various landmarks and suburbs including the Empire State Building, SoHo and Hell’s Kitchen before hopping off at the 9/11 Memorial and walking along the river to the Liberty and Ellis islands ferry. Initially we weren’t going to catch the ferry to the island but you couldn’t really see Lady Liberty that well from the mainland. Ferry trip over, we hopped back on the bus toured some more of the city on our way home. The next day we hired bikes and rode around Central Park. Even though the city is very green, Central Park is like an oasis amongst the buildings. Right on the boundary of the park is the American Natural History Museum and we spent several hours in there exploring the labyrinth of displays. Again, not long enough but we got a good taste of it. After that it was a quick shower and change before catching the subway to Times Square. Here we grabbed a hotdog from a street vendor (when in Rome…) and headed to the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway for The Lion King. It was a fantastic way to end a big day! Now we’re sitting at the Amtrack Station, waiting for our train to Washington where we will spend a couple of days with our friend Joan. An announcement has just said that we’re delayed so looks like this post will go live today after all!

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Aloha

First stop on our US trip was (technically Guam but we didn’t go outside the airport) Honolulu! We arrived in the afternoon, headed out for dinner and then home for an early night. The next morning we went on a tour of Pearl Harbour. It was great, but we definitely needed more time. In the afternoon the boys had the obligatory swim at Waikiki Beach. Next day we went shopping at the outlet stores. Finn fell in love with a pair of Vans that he ‘just had to have’ and w all ended up with a few new things–shoes, jeans, underwear, socks and other bits and pieces. The next day we were back on the plane and are currently in New York.

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More bits and pieces

Lots of little things in this post. The boys had their school athletics day just before the holidays and Pat (Terry’s Mum) came up for the day. Despite stiff competition, Finn managed to just pull off another age champion medal. Riley also did really well, especially as he’s a lot smaller than most of the other kids in his age group. The fancy dress ball was just before the holidays as well. Finn made his own leprechaun costume as part of his art project. His friend Bridget went as a pot of gold (complete with a rainbow on her head). Riley’s group made a Jack Sparrow costume but, as only one of them could wear it, we quickly threw together a William Turner costume for Riley to wear to the ball. The wildlife shots for this post are of Gillie, the Boyd’s forest dragon that Riley and I found in the middle of the Gillies Highway on a trip to Cairns. Gillie was very cold and wet, and we weren’t sure if he was injured, so he came with us to Cairns and we released him the next day at home. He was fine once we warmed him up. Some recent reef fishing photos (where Finn kicked our butts), the kids doing a high ropes course in Cairns, a couple of waterfall shots from Lake Eacham, and the Atherton Show complete this post’s photos. Oh, except for the awesome new sign the local mountain bike club installed on their trails! And purple is my favourite colour!
Mum and I are currently at the kids’ band practice. She’s been here for a week (including the reef trip where she caught a nice trevally) and is heading home tomorrow.

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Sail away!

A couple of weekends a go the boys did a learn to sail course on Lake Tinaroo. They absolutely loved it! Riley will do more sailing with the club later this year, and Finn is trying to work out how he can go to sailing AND athletics at exactly the same time on a Sunday morning. These photos are from the second day when we went to pick them up.

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The baby turns 10 and other stuff

Long time no post, I know! As with any family it’s been go, go, go in the Vallance household.
One of the most memorable event in recent times was Finn turning 10! It’s funny how my kids’ ages make me feel older than MY age does. The family’s “party rules” allow for a party on 10th birthdays so we took Finn and 6 of his mates for lunch at McDonalds and then a 2 hour game of laser tag in Cairns. On the way home we stopped at Emerald Creek ice-creamery for a cooling off, and then had a Lego cake and chocolate fountain when we got home. Big day but lots of fun.
Finn also did well in cross-country this year. He came first in his school cross-country and about middle field in the district comp.
Riley received a(nother) principal’s award last month for his work at Environmental Captain at school. He’s implemented a recycling program at the school (with the help of the council) and runs a gardening club for all ages during lunch on Thursdays. They weed the school gardens but they’ve also got a few vege gardens going. One of the gardens is growing sweet potatoes for the tree-kangaroo rehabilitation centre.
Both kids represented the school at the music camp this year and had a fantastic time. There were about 70 kids involved from around the region and they made some great noise.
Anyway, that’s it for now! Hopefully next time won’t be so far away!

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