Wow! How am I not in a straight jacket after this week?

I have decided that school vacations are simply to remind parents how lucky we are that the kids are not home all the time. A week ago Friday, started the beginning of a 2 week vacation for students in Australia. Here between every term/quarter, the students have a 2 week holiday and then 6 to 7 weeks of summer vacation which starts just before Christmas holidays and runs through January into the first week of February. This is the final vacation break before “the big one”.

The kids arrived Friday night (3 youngest boys) busting through the door…. “I’m starving… when’s dinner??” The whining continues until dinner is completely on the table. Friday nights are always chaotic when the boys arrive. The routine takes a day or so to slip back into those over-stimulated brains which are running as if on a sugar high and an adrenaline rush times 1000!

This Saturday is like any other non-sporting (Rugby season is over and softball has yet to begin) Saturday. Get up, make breakfast, dressed, teeth and hair, beds made, rooms picked up from the trashing the night before. And that’s before 10am. You have one complaining about wanting to go to the park. Another about wanting to use Skype to call New York. It’s enough to do anyone’s head in. Matthew and I just look at each other, shake our heads and smile. This is our life and this is just how we want it (most the time…. a glass of wine, a good book and peace is always good too! but hey, I’ll get plenty of that next week). Hectically happy is what I like to call it. We go about the day wedging in time at the park riding bikes, playing on the playground, running home for drinks and lunch, throw in a few chores, and head back out to do it all over again. Wrapping up the day with showers, a fire out on the patio and the latest episode of Warehouse 13. Damn, after all that I could use a beer. Lucky Matthew is so good to me and got us a 6-pack of Guiness. YUM!

Sunday is Myki’s and my day. This one Sunday a month we adventure on the trains and trams through the city to meet up with our group. We have done it almost every month since moving here. It’s our chance to do something, just us girls. And it gives Matthew and the boys a chance to “rough it” without us. Matthew is a great cook and this is one of the few times he gets to make dinner. This Sunday is roast beef with veggies in the slow cooker. Yum. No Leftovers. And even better, I come home to find out that the littlest of the clan decided today is the day he was not going back to training wheels on his bike.

Nice and clean… for now.

Monday and Tuesday I was on my own…. deep breath. I can do this.. after all… I ran a daycare for 10+ years. 4 kids busy all day… going back to basics… day care schedule back enforce! Funny how it works on my toddlers in daycare as well as the 14-year-old. Really both days looked a lot like Saturday with a few added meltdowns at the park and an occasional argument from the under 11 boys. Holy crap was I exhausted every night! Monday we rearranged the little boys room. The 3 of us discussed how the room should be arranged and set to work. Luckily it really only took about a half an hour, including vacuuming. We also had a visit from Matthew’s parents. We knew they were coming (they live about a 4 hour drive from us) to spend time with his sister (she is about 10 minutes from us), but I didn’t think they would have time to swing by until later in the week. Now we have plans for Wednesday. Yay!

Tuesday night our favorite neighbors end up in a mess of their own with their youngest child so we take their older daughter (which I love because she balances out the testosterone in the house) and she gets to sleep over for the next couple days. She is 8, gets along great with all the kids and hey… the more the merrier. Bring it on!

Melbourne Zoo, September 26, 2012

Wednesday. Awesome day. Matthew has the rest of the week off work. I love having him around and funny as it may sound, I wish he didn’t have to work so we would have more time together. He works very long hours and sometimes it seems he is only home to sleep so having him home feels wonderful. We manage to get everyone up and ready to run for the day, neighbors daughter included. Matthew leaves to get his oldest son and is back before his parents arrive with his youngest nephew and we are all off. A boatload of kids, 4 adults, 2 cars, a bag full of snacks and homemade pumpkin muffins. We are off to the Melbourne Zoo. Myki and my very first time there. We manage to get through a good chunk before a lunch break and then head off for more. After a good 5 hours of almost non-stop tourist behavior we decide it’s a good time to head home before we all fall over. Matthew tells me we might have gotten through half the zoo. Anyone who has ever been there (or the Bronx Zoo) will understand the sheer size of the place. Matthew and I pull all our strength together to get dinner and the night routine done and put on a movie for the kids. Naturally they are all happy to stay up late, but somehow we manage to get them into bed at normal non-school bedtime.

At the zoo… enjoying a break. Perfect opportunity for a family picture.

Jello.. That’s what my legs felt like for the first hour I was up on Thursday. Coffee.. that’s all I could focus on for that same hour trying not to think about my jello. And the kids slept in. Hallelujah! The zoo worked after all. And to make my legs cry some more, today was planting day…. We are beginning the work on our veggie garden only to find out after running to the store to buy the last of what we need (or so we thought) that our ground is clay… so we switch to getting our container plants pretty and ready to go out front of our house. For now, the seedlings will have to stay in pots until we figure out what to do with our lovely back yard full of clay.

Friday the kids head to their mother’s house and we are off duty….. I’m not cooking so we get to eat out. What a crazy week. To top it all off there are 2 major Grand Final Games this weekend. Australian Football Grand Final is Saturday and the Rugby Grand Final is Sunday. And somewhere in between all that hostility towards our electronic picture machine we still have to wedge in grocery shopping and an appointment to see a lizard enclosure. Sleep, where art thou…… not in the schedule?? Bring it on! I have a full pot of coffee!

If you are interested in more photos from the Melbourne Zoo, I have created an album on the My Crazy Australian Life Page. Enjoy and feel free to share your favorite spots to visit with your family.


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