Thursday, January 1, 2015

Miles, Miles and MORE Miles

In the last 16 days of December, we have put in a few miles:

Adelaide to Melbourne = 451 miles by air
Melbourne to LAX = 7932 miles by air
LAX to Chicago = 1749 miles by air
Chicago to Des Moines = 298 miles by air
Indianola to Plattsmouth = 167 miles by car
Plattsmouth to Columbia = 295 miles by car
Columbia to Plattsmouth = 295 miles by car
Plattsmouth to Indianola = 167 by car (x 2 cars)
TOTAL MILES = 11,354 miles

And unfortunately, all those miles didn't even allow us to see family in Cape Girardeau and Phoenix!

The good news is that the 2+ weeks of traveling (okay, really the past 6 months of traveling) has shown me how much I love living in Indianola, Iowa.  From being greeted at the airport by friends to walking into our home that still feels "new" after 2 years, there is no other place that I can imagine calling home.  

Here is to many more wonderful memories in 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Home. Sweet. Home.

As I sit here and update the blog on Sunday evening (it has obviously taken me a little while to actually post this blog!), it is hard to believe what we were doing only a week ago...  A week ago Australia time I was at an Urgent Care Clinic with Bryson getting antibiotics for an ear infection.  A week ago USA time, we were flying over the Pacific Ocean.  To think back and review all of the things we have accomplished in the past seven days is overwhelming - we have been busy and despite a little jet-lag, fairly productive.

But before we skip ahead to the Christmas holidays, I still need to upload and share our final week of pictures in Adelaide.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Years and College Football Bowl Watching.  Thanks for following us during our 2014 adventures.  I can't promise that these blog updates will continue to be as exciting in 2015, but feel free to follow along if you want.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Final Countdown

Sing along with me..."It's the final countdown" and then keep singing all the dum dum dum's that are really the only good part of the song!

Ryan, Bryson and myself are counting down our remaining time in Adelaide by days (as of this writing, we only have 4 more days here), I'm pretty sure Caden is counting down the HOURS until we get home.  Regardless, I think all four of us agree that this week seems to be c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g along.  But we'll be home and back in an Iowa winter soon enough...and then we'll wonder why we were so anxious to leave South Australia!

Last week/week #21 wasn't full of pictures or much excitement, but I can't stop the weekly photo albums now.  Enjoy...and the next batch of photos will probably be sent from the good ol' U.S. of A.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Throw Back Thursday

It's gotta still be Throw Back Thursday somewhere (even though it is Friday afternoon here), so here is my last week, Week #20.  It was a full week: the majority of the Simpson students flew home (we miss them!), the boys had their school performance, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Australia (not an easy thing to do) AND Caden and Bryson completed their first ever triathlons.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week #19 - short and sweet and to the point

I know many of you are anxiously awaiting pictures from the triathlon this past weekend, but you'll have to be patient.  I'm still a week behind and trying to catch up! But I'll throw a teaser picture at the end to hold you over...

Week #19 was actually a pretty quiet, low-key week for us which means you'll be able to fly through this album of pictures in no time.  But be warned, the album next week will have more pictures than you care to look through.  It all balances out in the end, right?????

p.s.  for those die-hard readers, what do you think of my new background?  I was tired of the orange and I was hoping this red would put me more in the Christmas spirit.  I'm having a hard time thinking Christmas when I'm sweating my booty off and taking multiple showers a day...I know, I know.  Rough life I'm living right now!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Power of Curiosity

We spent our Thanksgiving arvo (afternoon) sitting on our rears...but this year we were enjoying the Gilles Street Primary School Performace entitled Power of Curiosity.  Every class participated and Caden's teacher, Val, has been in charge of the whole school production for the past 10+ years.  The entire show lasted just under 1.5 hours, so be thankful that we didn't record the whole thing...just our favorite parts.  I have tried to give a little description before each YouTube video so you know what you are looking for while watching.  Grab some popcorn, curl under a blanket and enjoy the Power of Curiosity!

Ed is the speaker (a 7th grade upper classman).  Caden is 'The Thinker' in blue and Oscar is 'The Thinker' in green.  It was a huge honor to be chosen as thinkers and I think they both nailed it!

This is Caden's Grade 5 class Chain Reaction.  He will be the first to admit their class performance was on the weak side, but Val had a lot on her plate, so we should give her a pass.  Caden is in red and towards the back right corner of the stage.

This is Bryson's Reception/Grade 1 Space skit.  As the rocket, Bryson starts in the back left corner and after "blasting" off, cruises in and out of all the planets.  Please all note the two astronauts (Jessica & Ava) that are 'moon walking' across the stage.  Precious!

And here is the finale when Caden and Oscar got to come out again as The Thinkers and take a bow. If you want to skip ahead, C-Dog comes out around 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

If you still haven't had enough (!), there are a few other shorter clips of some of the other classes that we recorded.  This first one is a young New Arrivals class (back at home this would probably be referred to as the ESL class; doesn't New Arrivals sound better than ESL?).  Catchy song, adorable costumes and hysterical choreography....

This one is less than a minute long!  It's the Reception Class and Odile, our bus-riding-lives-down-the-street friend is the purple flower at the beginning.

Finally, want to hear some cute children Aussie accents?  Watch this!

I try really hard not to brag too much about my boys because once I get started, I may not be able to stop.  But as I walked out of school yesterday with the Rocket on one side of me and The Thinker on my other side, I was a very proud mum!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Heaps of Thanks

As I sit here, I have a VERY full tummy from our Australian style Thanksgiving dinner and Ryan and the boys are down the street playing soccer and enjoying the beautiful 70 degree evening.  To say I have a lot to be thankful for right now is kind of an understatement.  But I'm going to use this opportunity to try to thank those that have made this once-in-a-lifetime experience happen.

Ryan's hard work, dedication to teaching, relationship that he's built overtime with students and the respect that he has (rightfully!) earned from his peers brought us to where we are today.  I hope no one EVER doubts the time and attention that he puts into his job.

Simpson College realizes the benefits of studying abroad and has created an atmosphere that encourages and facilitates learning overseas.  Without such a program for SC students, we wouldn't be here.

To my 12 newly adopted SC "kids"...I miss you!  Thank you for signing up for this big adventure and allowing our family to accompany you.  It has been a joy getting to know you even more and I look forward to continuing our Bachelor tradition come January!

Caden & Bryson - thank you for (mostly) being such willing participants. I realize that this wasn't necessarily YOUR choice, but you have not only done it, you have done it in an outstanding fashion.  Daddy and I couldn't be any more proud of you and you have done a fantastic job of representing all the cool aspects of being American kids!

Being half-way around the world (literally) has given me the chance to appreciate the extraordinary family and friends that will be waiting for us when we return to the States. When people ask if we are excited to be heading home soon, I immediately say YES because I miss each of you.  Thank you for your love, support and encouragement.  The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a kid; I think it can also be said that it took a village to convince me that this was something our family could do and a village full of motivation to keep us happy while we were here.

After only being at my position in the Simpson Athletic Department for 6 months, I had to summon up the courage to ask if I could leave for 6 months and still come back to my existing job.  The fact that they wanted to keep me enough to allow this to happen is a fact that I will never forget and I will always hold dear to my heart.  Brian, thank you for giving me the opportunity to return to my job and Pat, thank you for jumping back into the frenzy and covering for me.  I owe you both!

Adelaide, Australia is a remarkable city and I would encourage anyone to visit.  Although we were in the heart of 1.2 million people, we immediately felt a part of the city.  If we could do this entire thing all over again, any place in the world, I honestly wouldn't choose a different location.  In two weeks time, I will be leaving a little bit of my heart in this wonderful city.

Don't laugh at my last two thank yous because I truly mean them.  Thank you to Zoloft for enabling me to enjoy this trip without being overcome by anxiety and panic attacks.  Four years ago, there is NO way I could have imagined packing up my family and moving overseas for the semester.  Also, thank you to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook for keeping me connected to life back home.  It made bouts of homesickness just a little bit easier.

Okay, no more sappy thanks. Enjoy a few pictures from our modified Thanksgiving dinner and stay tuned for another post soon with GSPS Performance videos.  They are worth the wait, I promise!

our home away from home, Thanksgiving 2014

we had the basics: turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes

...and mac & cheese for my picky eater (although he did like the turkey
and even went back for seconds)