Tag: travel

Stuff to do in Kalbarri, Western Australia.

Have you ever been to Kalbarri? It’s just over 500 km north of Perth. It’s a bit of a drive, but it was just the thing we needed after a long, cold and ridiculous winter. It was quite the family affair: my brother in law, sister in law, a couple of nephews and my parents in law were all in attendance.

I was excited for sunshine and a bit of camping. Well, when I say camping, it was all rather civilised. Powered sites, our cosy camper trailer, roast dinners (not joking – Weber BBQs can do amazing things), those super comfy camp chairs that I got on sale at an outdoorsy warehouse place.

I thought I’d share some stuff you can enjoy there (because we did):

Be thrashed at Play mini golf at the Pirate Theme Park

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Look, I am not that good at mini golf. Unless the wind is in my favour or I play against small children (who may still beat me). But I love a good putt. It brings out the silliness in people of all ages and the Little Mister somehow got a hole in one (this has happened both times he’s played in his very young life – what the hell)!

We played as a fairly big group and it made for a really fun morning.

Get out on the water

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We got a couple of great beach days in. Sandcastles were built. Water fights between cousins were had. At one point, the Little Mister just cut out the middle man and poured buckets of water on himself, he was having so much fun!

The town is situated where the Murchison River meets the ocean and it’s just stunning – perfect calm, shallow water for kids to play in and for everyone to get on the water with every kind of apparatus imaginable!

We hired a pedal boat (they look really relaxing and fun but OMG it’s a good leg work out) and a stand up paddle board (SUP) and had SO much fun! The family shared them so the cost of the rental wasn’t exorbitant. I am not a typically sporty person as such, but if you get me on the water, I’ll try most things! Well, except for kite surfing, because I don’t want to die!

Feed the pelicans

Turns out this is a big deal! Every day at 8:45am, local volunteers will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about pelicans, and then with any luck they’ll fly in like clockwork and peeps can feed them some fish!

It’s so funny, because even though I’m so used to pelicans (my hometown being quite a popular place for them to steal people’s take away food and terrorise small dogs on the foreshore), there was something quite fun about everyone getting together and making it into an event! Some things are just more awesome on holidays!

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Visit the gorges and walk along the cliffs

You cannot visit without checking out the god damn beautiful scenery. Holy shit. My eyes were just hungry for it. I just wanted to take in all that natural beauty and the wide open spaces!

We visited the gorges first. It’s probably not for anyone with a massive phobia of heights, but wow it’s worth a little bit of a wobbly kneed peek over the nice solid look out barriers at the very least!

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From the gorges to the cliffs over the ocean, I was blown away…not literally, because that would be fucking scary. But you know what I mean, right?

Again, not for those with a debilitating phobia of heights, but amazing all the same. I was so scared I’d lose my phone or camera over the edge but the adrenaline rush from fearing a permanent loss of your technology really is like participating in an extreme sport for some (ahem me) haha.

I wish we’d had more time (and a more cooperative child – his new nickname is Sacka – short for Sacka Potatoes) to walk the amazing trails along the coast, but there’s always next time (I really want there to be a next time)!

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Eat fish and chips

I really feel like you can’t go on a coastal holiday in Australia without sampling the local fish and chips. We went nuts for it on the last night of our stay. It was perfect because nobody had to cook and we (the middle generation) also got to shout the parents in law because they’d been really generous throughout the trip and they needed some payback!

Kalbarri has a few fish and chips spots, but we chose The Jetty Seafood Shack. May I add that it was a really good choice? Because it was. YUM.


So there you have it. The highlights of our recent holiday getaway. And as I sit here listening to my husband trying not to throw his guts up after eating a dodgy chicken servo pie on the way home (WHY?!), with the wind and rain howling outside, I am grateful we got a proper taste of spring before our crash landing back to reality!

Have you been to Kalbarri? Anything you’d add to the list? Where do you like to escape to when winter gets too long (I may just take notes)? 

The Happy List #44: Melbourne edition.

Oh hey there! So, it’s been no secret on my social media accounts that this time last week I was having an absolute ball in Melbourne. I hadn’t been for 5 years (i.e. I was pregnant with the Little Mister so it’s been a while) but now I had the perfect excuse. My brother lives there – yay!

The Little Mister and I joined my parents on a trip over (sadly Mr Unprepared couldn’t get away due to work constraints) and I swear there isn’t much I didn’t love about it. Except the flight home, but that’s a whole other story (and surprisingly does not involve the Little Mister) haha.

So, here’s a shortlist of the things that made me happy – a special Melbourne trip edition!

Seeing the Little Mister with his uncle

Definitely the biggest highlight. It was hero worship all the way. He’d been missing his uncle a lot since he moved to the eastern states. I think there’s some weird soulmate thing they have going on. Any time we went somewhere, he chose his uncle’s hand to hold and whatever his uncle said, he pretty much did without complaint (by 4 year old standards haha). Just the way he literally looked up to him was freakin’ adorable. He wanted to be just like him and while this means that he now wants to support a rival AFL team (Mr Unprepared is not sure what to make of this) and spent the holiday wanting to stand on the tram like a grown up (because apparently that is the very definition of being a grown up), I am so happy for him that we had that experience.

Getting to visit mythical places that I’ve only ever seen on social media

Yep. Look. I’m from Perth. Things are looking up for us, but it’s not quite Melbourne, OK? Melbourne has this well established ‘cool’ factor that we do not. So, of course when I saw (and partook in) places like Doughnut Time and we ate at Supernormal, Kitty Burns and visited the Jurassic World exhibition at the Melbourne museum, I was going out of my mind with the obliteration of the FOMO I had been storing up since forever!

My black puffer jacket

It was a last minute purchase right before we left for Melbourne. I had started to freak out about the cold weather and even though it was pretty much the same as the weather in Perth while we were there, I was scared there’d be more wind and rain. It cost me $30 from Cotton On (I think it was on sale) and boy was I glad I bought it! Not only did I blend into Melbourne wearing it (pretty much the whole population had a black puffer jacket but for me it was a sign that I was nailing the whole ‘dressing for winter’ thing – something I am horrendous at normally) but it truly went with everything I wore and kept me feeling cosy.

Nailing that step count!

While eating tons of delicious and not always nutritious food was a big weakness, I was so stoked with the exercise we got done. We caught a lot of public transport (gosh the tram system is amazing) and walked so far. It was awesome. My fitbit was going off all over the place! We had three full days in Melbourne (not including plane travel days) and I racked up 46,252 steps during that time. Which is a lot for me these days, as I have struggled to hit my daily target of 10,000 a lot.

Reliving great Melbourne memories with my Little Mister

Like I mentioned above, I hadn’t been back to Melbourne since I was pregnant with the Little Mister. It was obviously a very special time for Mr Unprepared and I. We had just announced my pregnancy publicly and we were off for a fun time interstate before we became parents for reals. It was so fun telling him that he’d been to Melbourne before in my belly. Great memories flooded back of dinners with friends, footy games and wandering around the city doing whatever we felt like. Sharing some elements of that with the Little Mister meant so much to me.

It was a really nice escape, which I think I needed on an emotional level, because when you’re going through all the infertility shit you just have to get away sometimes. Remembering my first, very special (although fraught with ailments – the rose coloured glasses are only so good haha) pregnancy and the fact that my body did that and could maybe do it again, was a nice reminder to look at the positives and to not be scared to feel hope.

All in all, the trip was a massive success. Here are some other things that made me happy:

  • My expectations for travelling with a 4 year old were spot on, which meant no disappointments. He did so well and it was way less stressful than the last time we’d done something ‘big’ with him at the age of 2.5!
  • Catching up with family friends.
  • The electronic babysitter aka iPad (it doesn’t come out with us much but was very necessary in a restaurant at dinner time after a long day)!
  • The Little Mister sleeping well every night in the hotel room.
  • Hilarious conversations with the Little Mister (often in public and on embarrassing topics at a loud volume).
  • The Little Mister telling everyone in Melbourne that we were from Australia. I think he meant Western Australia, but it was bloody funny. If I tried to correct him, he was most offended!
  • Realising that I’d packed the EXACT right amount of stuff for the Little Mister and I. I nailed it. I packed so well. This is not a common occurrence. Some might call it a miracle!
  • Seeing how happy Melbourne has made my brother since he moved. Good decision, bro!

I’m sure there are many other things that should be on my list, because I truly had an awesome time. I missed it as soon as we got on the plane home! Lots of great memories were made.

Have you travelled lately? What’s been making you feel happy? 

How (NOT) to pack a suitcase.

The countdown is on. In 3 sleeps (I count everything in ‘sleeps’ because I have a four year old and to be honest I am kind of immature when it comes to EXCITING THINGS anyhow), I am going to be on my way to Sydney for what has accidentally become my annual birthday getaway (this being only the second time)! I will be travelling with my parents (who practically live there anyway), sleeping on the fold out couch and shopping, socialising, drinking and eating.

Woohoo!

I am going for what will essentially be a long weekend. I can’t wait. It’s not long enough away that I start to feel guilty, but it’s long enough (and far enough away) that I can forget a bunch of responsibilities and just relax/have fun as an individual entity. YES!

This morning my mum called me and asked, “So, are you all packed for Sydney yet?”

And we laughed and laughed. Oh, how we laughed.

Because it’s me we’re talking about. I mean, come on. Packing is not my forte. I am neither organised nor timely.

It always works out in the end, though. Right? Kind of?

I thought I’d put together some tips so you too can be as awful at packing as I am…

Enjoy!

  1. Pack at the last minute. I mean it. Put it off for as long as you can. Become distracted by ‘life’. And by ‘life’, I mean the internet and agreeing to countless social interactions that steal away the time that you could be packing. I’m serious. Fill those little moments of ‘free’ time and pack them tight with other shit to do. Before you know it you’ll be packing in a panicked frenzy at some weird hour the night before. Because people in a panicked frenzy know how to GSD (Get Shit Done).
  2. Realise that you need to wash all of the clothes you might bring, because right now they’re just lying unwashed in your floordrobe (because domestic goddess – obvs). Pray that everything will dry before your flight leaves. Also pray that the mental list you’ve made of the stuff you’ve washed and need to pack won’t fail you when you’re in the aforementioned panicked frenzy.
  3. Put absolutely everything you could ever possibly need in your suitcase. I mean it. EVERYTHING. Umbrellas, raincoats, summer clothes, winter clothes, activewear, swimming gear, a beach towel, clothes you can wear when you feel fat, clothes you can wear when you’re feeling skinny, party dresses, 10 times more of the daggy underwear that you actually need because who knows what could happen (seriously – WTF), every pair of shoes. You get the idea. I mean, while you’re away you just never know. You might need that dress you haven’t even worn in 3 years.
  4. Take a few things out. At some point, you’ll realise you are being ridiculous and you’ll start to google the airline’s baggage weight limit. So you’ll take out a few things. You know, so you can close the suitcase. Sure, you’re only going for a weekend. But it’s always good to be prepared. Like I said; anything could happen! Remember NOT to leave room to bring home any stuff you buy while you’re away. That’s what the fucking unzippable suitcase expander is for, people. Keep up.
  5. Don’t ever nail the packing of your toiletries. Where’s the fun in that? The whole point of going away is so that you feel a sense of adventure and fun. If you replicate your exact toiletry products/routines from home, then you’re just not living. Try to get out of your comfort zone. Forget your razor so by the time you realise you have super hairy legs, it’s after hours in a city you haven’t been in for a while. Because you don’t have your own transport, you’ll need your parents (yes – you are a grown person) to drive you around in their rental car until you find what you need at a dodgy 7/11 kind of place. You could also mix things up a bit by packing two bottles of conditioner, instead of one shampoo bottle and one conditioner like a normal person. You should use the tiny bottle of shampoo at the hotel. Ration that stuff out for like 4 days. It will feel like you’re Bear Grylls in the wild, surviving off whatever you can find. SENSE OF ADVENTURE.

If anything, these adult fails will give you a sense of childlike escape from all that awaits you at home when you get back in a few days. I’m doing you a favour.

Is anyone else out there as good bad at packing as I am? Do you love it or hate it? Have you ever had an epic packing fail? 

Trip of a lifetime: One year later.

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Exactly one year ago, my family took a very important trip. We went to South Korea. We also couldn’t help but add Singapore and Japan to the list (which were AMAZING), but let’s face it. Korea was where it was at on a very personal level.

If you’re new to the blog, let me quickly catch you up. My brother and I were adopted from South Korea when we were only a handful of months old. We’ve been raised as Aussies and until 2014, we’d never been back to Korea before. The opportunity came up (after years of talking about it) because everyone in the family was free to do it at the same time in June 2014. We just had to seize the moment and book that shit in!

We travelled for a month. Myself, Mr Unprepared, the Little Mister (who was 2 and a half), my brother and my/our parents (adoptive but I prefer to call them my ‘real’ parents because they are).

Looking back on the experience a year later, I have so many mixed feelings! Some of my memories are just amazing. I feel so much pride that we undertook such a crazy journey – especially with a 2 year old in tow. We ate some amazing food, we soaked up the culture. We lived out of suitcases. We just threw ourselves into it and got as much out of the experience as we possibly could.

I feel grateful. I am so glad I had that experience. On a personal level, it really cleared some things up for me. I’ve never had a desire to find my biological family. I mean, never say never, but up until now my feelings have not changed. Going to Korea really made me feel comfortable with this. The language barriers, the cultural differences (travelling with a child really highlighted this). Being reunited with your birth family would be an enormous undertaking. It wouldn’t be that easy. And that’s if your biological relatives even wanted to meet you (there’s a lot of shame). I don’t think I am missing enough in my gorgeous life to be willing to go through so much. I am at peace with that. Really, deeply peaceful about it.

This trip changed my life. I wondered if I’d feel a strange resentment towards the country that gave me up and made me look ‘different’ from a lot of my Aussie peers (a great source of curiosity for the ignorant). Would I want to back pedal and claim no likeness to the Korean people? Would I feel so culture shocked that it traumatised me? Would I feel ugly if I compared myself to their beauty standards (they’re big on plastic surgery and the K-pop image)? Where the hell would that leave me after spending my childhood feeling inferior to my white friends (luckily I’m well over that now)?

Turns out, I realised I own my identity as an individual. A unique person who has an amazing story of my own to tell. I got to go to this strange (to me) and wonderful country and I got to sit on both sides of the fence, so to speak. I realised I’m different everywhere I go! And I’m so stoked with that! I’m just me. I’m not a culture. I am not a race. I’ve never felt more ownership over who I am in my life. That trip made me stronger. I will be eternally grateful for it. It changed who I am because it didn’t change who I am. How’s that for confusing? But do you know what I mean? Realising that visiting Korea wasn’t going to unravel me or throw my identity into chaos and confusion, was so…oh I don’t know the word. It was positively powerful.

There are some tough memories of course. The weird, overwhelming sadness I felt at times. Shit had happened to me in this country. It led me to an amazing life, but shit happened. Shit I’d always wondered about and felt sensitive about (rejection issues anyone?). While I’ve worked hard for a lot of my adult years to understand myself better and to grow through these feelings, visiting there unexpectedly (who was I kidding?) opened up some wounds again. I felt very tender. Add the fatigue and stress of wrangling a 2 year old – probably leaving me a bit more vulnerable – and there were some feelings/moments that still feel very raw to this day. I hope that rawness fades over time.

Sometimes I even think, who the eff did we think we were trying this kind of trip with a small child?!! The things we did! The stress we were under daily! The fast pace of the holiday! Even the child free me would find it a huge task! It really wasn’t the kind of trip you would normally plan, with a toddler in mind. At least not something I (a big chicken) would normally plan! But we just had to do it. We couldn’t waste time. No-one wanted any regrets. This was the trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful that our beautiful Little Mister got to share it with me. With us. How very special.

A lot of fun was had. Some days I just walked around in awe. I couldn’t believe I was able to have such an amazing experience. I wanted to absorb everything I was seeing. Oh, if eyes were cameras, dammit!

So a year on, I feel a bit jealous of the travelling me of 2014 (certainly doesn’t help that my parents went to New York without me – the injustice!!), but I feel happy to be home too. Feeling more settled than I have in a long time.

Hashtag f*cking blessed.

Peace out xo

Sydney is only a day away.

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Somebody. Pinch me.

Tomorrow, I will be in Sydney. For a few nights. Child free. And while I’ve been very excited about it, and feeling a little guilty about not feeling guilty (haha), I think my nervous stomach (blergh) has betrayed me. This will be the longest I’ve ever left the Little Mister for. It’s not a super long time (not even a week – four nights), but it’s new to us. Of course, he will be fine with his dad. This could actually be quite good for the both of us. Still, it’s weird. The best thing that could happen is that I have a great time and miss him terribly by the time I get home. Then I’ll know I had just the right amount of time out!

Let’s just say I’ve been terribly stir crazy lately. I am more than ready to shake everything up!

True to Kez style, I haven’t really packed yet. Yesterday I threw stuff at my suitcase. Literally. Just threw stuff. At it. Not into it. At it. I wrote a list, though. I may be crap at packing, but I’m good at lists. I know that by tonight’s end, I will have way too many things in my case. My method of packing is not meticulous and well thought out like my mum’s (she’s amazing). I just throw in ANYTHING I might need and then remove a few things so it all fits. When I reach my destination, I end up living in about 5% of the clothes I took with me and something is sure to be missing. Very precise. Not.

Did I mention that there needs to be room for all the things I hope I can buy while I am there? Oops.

I am travelling with my parents. They were already going over for my dad’s work, but some good timing (and a little advance on my birthday privileges) means that I am now tagging along! I am excited about quality girl time with my mum. We are going to shop until we drop (if picky me can find anything I like)! We are also going to spend time with family friends and a long lost cousin of my dad’s who I am going to meet for the first time (she’s not ‘long lost’ anymore haha).

I find that I am excited about the smallest things.

  • Sitting on a plane child free.
  • Reading a magazine. I am determined to finish a Marie Claire. Just the one.
  • My handbag containing no child related items.
  • Doing my hair and make up properly EVERY day.
  • No-one yelling out for me in the night (it could be creepy if they did haha).
  • Not having to have constant eyes in the back of my head, always supervising someone.
  • Not having to plan each day around the needs of a three year old, which can often limit your options.
  • Not cooking dinner. No rushed meals as witching hour descends. Sorry, Mr Unprepared! 😉

Sorry not sorry, Little Mister! Haha.

I am going to miss him. I mean, duh. I am going to enjoy photo updates from Mr Unprepared. We’ll probably Face time or Skype or something. I’m going to tell everyone (who wants to know) about him. I will think about him every day – especially when I see/do things I know he’d love. But I am going to enjoy this break. F*ck yeah, I am!

When did you last get a break? What would you do if you could take one right now?

Orange…and black.

This post was inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge x

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These are the hats Mr Unprepared bought while we were overseas. The top one is from Japan and the bottom one is from Korea. Both countries are absolutely mad for baseball. Both have teams called the Giants. Both teams wear the colours orange and black, which is quite a striking combination. Haha striking. Baseball. Get it? Unintentional puns are my specialty.

We’d watched a travel doco about South Korea before our trip and it had featured a bit about the baseball culture there. We’d learnt that the team for my birth city was the Busan Giants and it was quite amusing seeing the different chants and dance like rituals the fans undertake while watching the games live. It looks like amazing fun! Mr Unprepared decided that, despite us never giving baseball even a thought, he would adopt the Busan giants as ‘his’ team. Which was actually quite touching because I was born there and it was his left of centre gesture (very him) to show me he’s got my back. And that he likes sports, but mostly that he’s got my back. That trip was a pretty big deal, being my first time back, you see.

So we got the Little Mister a shirt to grow into for next summer and Mr Unprepared found a hat.

Then we got to Japan. We figured out pretty quickly that the Tokyo team is also named the Giants and by now Mr Unprepared was on a roll. We were hanging about outside the Tokyo Dome (a huge stadium) one night and there was a game on. Oh how we wanted to go in!! We had an early start the next day, though, and it would probably be just a bit too much for the Little Mister to deal with. We were SO CLOSE. You could just about feel the excitement. One day we’ll do it!!! One day!!

Mr Unprepared had just bought a hat and I think he liked being a part of the crowd – he almost looked like he was going to the game haha.

I have no idea how each teams’ seasons ended. Or anything about them. I doubt we’ll ever remember to check in during their baseball seasons. But it’s fun to think of them as ‘our’ teams anyway. The hats are fun souvenirs, with good memories attached.

Have you got any cool (or even daggy) travel souvenirs? Tell me about them by leaving a comment!

We broke all the rules, but that’s OK.

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Before we headed away on our big holiday, things were going quite well in the toddler stakes. The Little Mister hadn’t needed a dummy (when not sleeping) in a really long time and he was toilet training like a little champion! He’d even recovered from his night time anxiety and was sleeping again after a rough few weeks (his last molar not doing us any favours with teething). Things were looking optimistic!

We’ll just give him his dummy and his giraffe blankie (“Giraffey”) when we’re in transit (on trains or planes) in the hopes he’ll nap and we’ll figure out a way to get hold of a cheap potty training aide of some sort (like a toilet seat or a portable potty) to take around the place with us for the hotels. Easy, I thought. 

YEAH RIGHT.

One thing about life is that you can never fully predict how things are going to be when you jump into the unknown. Especially when a toddler is involved!

Of course we got overseas and everything went right out the window! The Little Mister wanted his dummy EVERY minute of the day and everyone knows that Giraffey comes too! It was hard to accept because it felt like a massive backwards step for him. He was dribbling everywhere (despite not teething anymore), you couldn’t understand any of what he was saying on account of the dummy, and he was chewing on it when he was anxious, which seemed dangerous when he broke them. If I’m honest, the ‘from back home’ me was also expecting to be judged for it like I am at the bloody supermarket here. Silly, I know. If someone was to ever judge me, I should have just thought my usual mantra, “F*ck them. I know my truth,” but I think I was feeling vulnerable with the whole ‘visiting my place of birth for the first time since I was adopted’ thing. I wasn’t my fierce mama self and we were all in a crazy, new situation to adapt to. It was no surprise that the Little Mister was searching for more security and comfort too. Besides, it wasn’t even an issue in the end. No-one cared. They still thought he was incredibly cute. They saw past the dummy and blanket and that was it. A kid is a kid. In fact, it was refreshing!

May I also add that the fear of losing the one and only Giraffey was nerve-wracking haha. Our whole family group was always on Giraffey patrol which could be exhausting! Make sure he doesn’t drop it on the train tracks boarding a train! Make sure he doesn’t drop it when he falls asleep in his stroller! AAARGH! We had to rig up a complex (haha) system where Giraffey was attached by the neck to one end of a safety restraint (a wrist to wrist strap designed for parents and toddlers) and the other end hooked over the handles of the stroller (or to him when he was walking)! I have done some scary things before in my life, but nothing was as important as keeping Giraffey in one piece!!

As for toilet training, well that was a bust. We had hoped that he would toilet train when back in the hotel and that we would just use nappies when we were out and about. In our minds, we thought it would help keep his training topped up and we could just be more intensive when we got back home. I didn’t want him to forget any of the progress he had made before we left home.

In reality, this wasn’t going to happen. We were always on the go. We changed hotels every 3 days on average (sometimes more than 3 and other times less). We were always in transit. It wasn’t the ideal ‘toddler friendly’ holiday but we had so much to see and it was a group effort. The Little Mister was often overtired or looking for comfort and familiarity. He was also intimidated by grown ups’ toilets (as opposed to a smaller potty – something we had a hunch would happen before we went away). We did find a rather nifty toilet training seat at Gangneung (where my brother was born) on one of our crazy looking for ‘diapers’ missions, but would he have a bar of it? No way! He did love that the seat had Pororo (a friendly cartoon character) all over it, at least.

Not-so-helpful (or even slightly rational) thoughts ran through my head when I was tired and weary.

What if he never toilet trains again in his life?! What if he takes a dummy with him to high school?! THIS IS A DISASTER! 

But let me tell you, Holiday Kez. Everything will be OK.

The Little Mister was obsessed with his dummy and Giraffey for maybe 3 days when we got home. After that? Back to normal as if nothing had happened. On our first longish outing since we’d got back, I did secretly pack them in my bag in case of an all out, ridiculous meltdown but that meltdown never happened. Awesome.

Oh, and 3 days before we headed for home, the Little Mister asked me out of the blue if he could use the toilet. And sat on it. And did a wee on cue. And was so proud of himself. I wanted to jump up and down and throw a parade, I was so proud of him!

We’ve been home a month now and toilet training is progressing. We had some accidents as he tried to adjust back to winter weather and the need to wear warm pants around the house (he now has learnt how to take them off properly and is working on going on his own without being scheduled or prompted again). It feels like we’ve started again in some ways, but it’s great because he’s a few months older than when we started and understands so much more easily. The world did not cave in on itself. I know am hopeful that we’ll be kicking arse at it by the end of the coming summer. Everything’s coming together. Yay!

Another thing we did while we were away was to try and save money by sharing a bed with the Little Mister. We tried to get twin double rooms in some places and king sized beds in others. Sometimes I shared with the Little Mister in our own bed and other times the Unprepared Three huddled in together. We did struggle in Tokyo with a rather small bed between all of us (the cute little improvised bed we made for him on the floor was great until he woke in the night and thought he’d fallen out of bed and got back in with us EVERY TIME). He got used to being with us in bed and it comforted him as we were in all these strange places, with no room being the same as the last. When we got home? He wasn’t that anxious at all. He knew he was home and while he wanted his room floodlit (I hear it’s a pretty normal phase for this age anyway), he started to settle well within the week.

Discipline wasn’t always easy while we were away either. There’s no place for time outs – something that had been so effective at home. That was difficult. I would have to continue to cuddle him while he played up because we were stuck together, so he’d get more hyped up and think he was being rewarded for his behaviour. It made life harder for us as parents too. We had nowhere for ourselves to get away for a few minutes and cool down when we felt our patience evaporating. We’d feel shitty and be like, “UM – I’M GOING…TO THE OTHER CORNER OF THIS SAME TINY ROOM BECAUSE I’M MAD. DON’T LOOK AT ME.”

Cabin fever did become an issue!

BUT…The Little Mister has come home and is his good little self (as good as a 2 and 3/4 year old can be haha). He hasn’t suddenly become some kind of monster who will never be reformed.

GUYS, WE DIDN’T BREAK HIM!!!

Also, I learnt a lot too. I learnt to just go with it. Remind myself it’s not forever. Have faith in him. Have faith in us as parents. Not feel guilty for not being able to provide him with the creature comforts of home. Remember that this was a once in a lifetime journey and sometimes you have to compromise more. The Little Mister was SO GOOD for a two and a half year old. He adapted as well as he could, with a couple of compromises (i.e. constant bribery and sometimes fast food was the only option) and a couple of tools (dummy and Giraffey). He was happy. He loved seeing so many new things on our daily adventures. He went with the flow as best he could. He didn’t go to bed at the right times and he didn’t always have a day time nap, but he was loved and he was protected and we had a lot of help which we were grateful for. We did our best to keep him happy and catered to (which wasn’t always easy). He bonded with my parents and my brother so well and that was really special. He got to be so much more of a ‘big boy’ and do so many more things than he’d experienced at home. He loved it.

EVERYTHING IS FINE!

While it was stressful bringing a 2 year old on this kind of journey, we learnt so much. If we hadn’t taken the opportunity, citing having a toddler as an excuse (and a valid one at that), then we would never have done something so meaningful with my family and we would have never learnt so much about ourselves and about the amazing places we visited. I feel so happy that we went. I don’t regret it one bit and we feel proud. We could conquer anything now! Although, we’ll wait a few years before doing something like that again!

I will never take the fact that I live in a house (with different rooms in it) for granted again!!

I always say that you make the rules (and routines) so you can break them. This holiday was a perfect example.

Have you ever travelled with a toddler? What weird things did you worry about? Was it all smooth sailing? x

 

Oh, deer.

One of my favourite spots to visit in Japan was Miyajima. We took a train from Hiroshima, then a ferry. I knew about the beautiful Torii gate that you see in all the iconic photos of Japan, but not much more than that. It turned out to be the most beautiful little place – somewhere I would definitely like to visit again one day.

We would have loved to see the gate at high tide (a time of day when it looks like it is floating in the ocean), but that was at like really early in the morning and we were all tired so…um…not gonna happen. I know. Where’s the dedication, you ask? Um…never mind. We got there just before the tide became low, so it wasn’t too bad. It was great to get some photos. It is honestly just spectacular. It just felt magical.

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If we hadn’t been so pushed for time (i.e. had a toddler), I think we would have all stayed a lot longer. There were little cafés, restaurants, shops full of souvenir trinkets. It was really cool. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but it was a peaceful place (at least it was when we visited in June). It just felt…nice. The energy about it was so inviting.

Oh, and there were deer.

Just roaming around the place. Some of them were really cheeky and wanted to see if we had treats in our bags. They were SO CUTE. Or should I saw, kawaii (Japanese word for ‘cute’)? At one point, a deer tried to eat my shorts. Just came up for a friendly nibble of my shorts pocket. I was looking at it, laughing and thinking, “Oh that’s adorable.”

Until the deer started taking the whole leg with it. Just a mouthful of denim mum shorts. Like disappearing before my eyes into its gullet. It wasn’t so cute imagining myself walking around in no shorts, so I had to put a stop to it. BUT MAN, IT WAS SO CUTE THAT I WAS THINKING ABOUT LETTING IT JUST TAKE EVERYTHING. A deer tried to eat my shorts, guys.

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When we first came across the deer (plural), I had flashbacks to some kind of deer park I’d visited as a kid. The poo everywhere and all of that kind of thing, but Miyajima was so clean! I saw deer poo maybe only once. Gotta hand it to the Japanese peeps for keeping the place so lovely!

Anyone want to pack me in their case and smuggle me back there? Anyone?