Saturday, May 29, 2010

History Comes to Life


You don't see this everyday....well let me rephrase...WE'VE never seen anything like this before.

The Civil War...LIVE.

 Remember we are Aussies....we grew up in a country that has never had a civil war ....or a War of Independence....or any other war, for that matter on its home soil . So it is intriguing to me the idea that this country was once at war with itself.  To have that conflict as part of the national heritage and to see how important it is to Americans national identity even today.


So when we heard that there was going to be a re-enactment of a Civil War battle right here in town we just couldn't pass it up. 

The Battle itself was awesome.  The children were absolutely mesmerized with all the action, noise and activity.

After some initial attempts at detente, negotiations came to an impasse. 


Hostilities formally began


The Cavalry were there.


And the heavy artillery.


There was SO much attention to detail it was amazing. The "actors" for want of a better word, set up camp over the weekend and stay at the encampment all weekend. They dress in period clothing and everything is completely authentic...right down to what they cook with and sleep in.


Oh...and this beast ( forgive the poor picture) is 220lbs of Irish Wolf hound. Gentle as a lamb so the owner told me....hmmmmm. Whatever you say!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Its All About the Food


Ever feel like your life revolves around the food?

This week seems like it has been a bit of a foodie week in our house. 

Jack requested a special cake for his birthday last week.  He is a big Scooby Doo fan and wanted the Mystery Machine, so Ciara and Max set out to make it themselves. Very admirable considering my suggestion was to just get one from the Fred Meyer bakery.  (What a lazy Mum I am).


 So Ciara baked all the cakes, piled them up, found a recipe for fondant and then she and Max went about making and coloring all the fondant. The only help we gave was placing the blue fondant on the cake as it was really large and heavy.  They did an awesome job and Jack was thrilled....and the cake tasted pretty good too!  Look out Duff and Ace of Cakes!


This week we also took a field trip to a local restuarant for a tour of the kitchens and a behind the scenes look at how a restaurant operates.  Tomato St on Division has been there for 16 years and has recently been refurbished.  The food is fantastic...( we were allowed to sample)...and it really is a very kid friendly are given colored pizza dough and raw pasta necklaces to play with and they can draw on the tablecloths while they wait for their meal.  Parent heaven!

So after an overindulgent week of eating, do I feel any guilt.  Um, that's the upside of all this swim, bike, run training. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Last Soccer Game


So I hurried off after the half marathon to get to Jack's last soccer game for the season.

I arrived just as the game started...couldn't have timed it better.

The boys all had a great last game.  They won 8-1, Jack scored 2 goals AND snagged a trophy from the coach.  It was a fun season...Jack had a blast but it will be nice to have some free Saturdays for a change.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Windermere Half Marathon


I survived my first half marathon...and dare I even say was fun. Maybe not the last mile or 2 but in general it was something I would definitely be up for again.

13.1 miles (about 21km) and I did NOT have to be scraped up off the ground after I crossed the finish line.  That was a win in itself.

Matt snapped some pics as I finished. I'll have to remember to look up and smile next time.


So the race started at 7:00am at Mirabeau Park.  The weather was just beautiful and so I decided to chance it and run in short sleeves and a running skirt.  It turned out to be a good decision as it warmed up to about 70' by the end of the race.
There was lots of friendly chatter along the way as I bumped into people I knew. And the course was just beautiful.  Most of the way we were running along the Centennial trail right next to the Spokane River.  It was just breathtaking watching the scenery go by. At about mile 8 there was a long uphill but nothing monstrous.  It was a little undulating but generally pretty flat.  A nice course to run...I would definitely recommend it.


  Total race time was 2:10:43.  I didn't have any real expectations about my time so I was happy with that.  My goal is to eventually run a half under 2 hours.  So at least I have something to work on for next time.


As far as organization goes this race was great. Plenty of water and aid stations ..I think there was one every 2 miles or so.  They offered water, Heed, gummy bears and Hammer Gels which was nice.  And as always the volunteers were awesome and there were plenty of them pointing everyone in the right direction.  Good job guys.


Finally I made it to Riverfront Park and I could smell that finish line. The last 3 miles were a little tough but I made it. I got my pretty little medal and a nice long sleeved shirt. Good swag :-)

The organizers had a great little festival set up for all the finishers. Food, drinks, icecream and some bands playing. If I didn't have to take off to get to Jack's last soccer game I would have definitely hung out there for a while.

I am already planning to add this race to my calendar next year...highly recommended.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vacation portraits

fiji boys 2

OK, so I know you are OVER my vacation spiel.

But this is a bit of a tradition

Since I started dabbling in photography my nephews and neices kindly offer themselves up every vacation for the Aunty Donna portrait session. It started last time we all took a holiday together and the kids loved it plus I got some really wonderful pictures of them all together. Real keepers.

So I thought I'd share a couple of the portraits I took of the kids this time around.

The fiji girls

The Girls

the fiji boys

The Boys being restrained

family pic

The Extended Family

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vacation - The Final Chapter


For all of you blog readers that aren't sick of my recent posts, I have one more.

I think it would be remiss of me to talk about my vacation without mentioning the local people and culture. I have to say that the Fijian people are some of the most friendly people I have ever met. Relaxed and laid back but don't be deceived...they are some of the most phsyically fit and healthy people out there. Must be all that coconut tree climbing and rugby, me thinks.


Max took this picture as well as the one of the guy with the torch below. I think we have another budding photographer in the family. He and his cousin Daniel managed to befriend all the Fijian guys who worked at the resort. By the end of our trip they were all on first name terms. Talk about socialites.

We were treated to some fire walking and firedancing.  So glad they didn't call for volunteers for this one.  I could just see myself launching one of their fire ball things into the crowd or catching their grass skirts on fire.


Max and his cousin Daniel were taught how to climb coconut trees and harvest coconuts.  You never know when that skill may prove handy.


We watched the locals beat the Lali drum every night to call people to dinner.


And let me leave you with this image...another of Max's photos. Looking at these guys NEVER gets old :-)


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vacation - Part 3


Or - could this vacation recap get any longer.

Can you tell that I am still sadly trying to hold on to the last shreds of my holiday???

So if you are sick of my Fiji posts please feel free to skip this one....but seeing as all of our other Australian friends and family trawl this blog to catch up on what we have been doing I feel obliged to give them the full run down.

So what to do in Fiji for 2 weeks...well....

A lot of snorkelling and swimming. I could not believe how many tropical fish there were.


Lots of eating. I think we spent about $300 at the icecream shop during our visit.


Hanging out in the sun and playing in the sand...


(Oh yeah baby check out the sand sculptures.....The Great Pyramid in the center and then Elaine is working on the pathetic little sandcastles for this family!).
You can see our kids are quite "creative" with their sand sculptures too!


We did some kayaking


Drank our share of cocktails


(don't worry those are "virgin" daiquaris the kids are drinking....isn't a swim up bar an awesome idea!!)

Hot tubbing


Hair braiding


Family time


And yes I even fit in some running. (Oh, come can tell that the little dot there is me!)


It was ALL good!

The great thing about a vacation is the going...the coming back is a whole other thing. Now,  coming back to lovely 75' weather would ease the post holiday blues but NOT 45' windy, rainy weather. Ahhh....Spokane in the spring. Back to reality.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vacation - Part 2


So after a 10 hour flight we arrived in Fiji. My first impressions....beautiful, hot and tropical. We had a car pick us up at the airport because we had NO idea where our hotel was and I am SO glad we did. The roads there were giant pothole...and it appears that only the locals are privy to the road rules. From what I could glean from the passenger seat you either go fast or stop. That is apparently all a driver need know how to do.

Anyway after a 2 hour drive and growing a whole new patch of gray hairs we arrived at our hotel. When we pulled into the drive we all sighed. Oh I really felt like I was on vacation now. The resort was absolutely fantastic...right on the beach...great pool...nice big, cool could do everything or nothing.


After exploring the resort a little we saw a guest wedding there...very cool. What a great place to get married.


We went and explored the beaches while we waited for the rest of our extended family to arrive from Europe and Australia.


Finally...after concerns that some of our family would be stuck in Rome thanks to the cloud of volcanic ash from the Icelandic volcano...FINALLY...everyone arrived.

Now, time to get busy doing a serious amount of nothing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Vacation - Part 1


"No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one."
 ~Elbert Hubbard

Amen to man or WOMAN.

I love vacationing...I wonder if I could make a career out it. 


This one started in the wee hours of the morning.  Our flight from Spokane left at 5:00am so we were all up and leaving home at 3:30am.  The kids were great.  They are so used to the travel thing they have just learned to roll with it. Once we got to LA at 9:00am we had a whole day to kill before our flight left for Fiji at 11:30pm.  So we decided to get some sightseeing in and we headed off to see the Queen Mary at Long Beach. 


If you are in California and you have never done this I highly recommend it.  It really is living history.  You can walk all the way around it ( above is a picture of the engine...completely massive, and we also visited the Russian submarine that is moored right next to the Queen Mary.  The kids thought it was all very cool.


Torpedoes and all!


On the way back the kids got a glimpse of the REAL Goodyear blimp.  A six year old's vacation highlight right there!


Then after a bit of R & R at the Airport Sheraton we headed back to the airport for our late night flight.  A late night flight that turned into a VERY, VERY late night flight.  FYI we flew Air Pacific and decided that Air Pathetic was a much more appropriate title forthis airline.  Having 3 kids in LAX at midnight and having the flight continually delayed hour after hour stinks.  Will not be intentionally flying this airline again...Nuff said.

Part 2 Tomorrow - Bula Fiji!!!