The boys and Oz
I loved seeing Sydney this time through the eyes of my kids. I have travelled to Sydney to see my family many times, but we have not been in the last 4 years, so neither Daniel or Joel remembered it. Daniel remembers traveling to England and seeing Mark's side of the family a couple of years ago when Mark's Mum passed away, but other than that all their memories are of Peru.
The whole reason we went to Australia this time was because my sister Chloe, was getting married to Sam. The boys got to meet their Uncle Sam and enjoyed playing cards together and Daniel went with us and Auntie Chloe to see Uncle Sam play AFL which he really engaged with.
All the boys got to be pageboys at the wedding, which was held under the "Wedding Tree" in Watson's Bay in Sydney harbour. They all looked so cute in their suits! We managed to keep them quiet during the service with the help of the kindle and promises of cupcakes.
The following day, Uncle Ben took the boys to run around the park next to the hotel and to climb the wedding tree which they hadn't been able to climb in their suits!
One of my favorite places near my parents house is Narabeen lake and so I loved that the boys loved it too. The first day we went to see it, it came in view and all the boys gasped and exclaimed "Wow! It's beautiful!" I was surprised at how much they appreciated the beauty. They loved spotting the cockatoo in the tree and feeding the fish in the water. Joel was keen to go on the kayaks, but we said that would need to be another day. On the way home, I pointed out a local primary school. "Yes, Grandma Sue", said Joel. "You need to tell us all about it in case I want to send my kids there!"
On the second week we went with my Uncles and Aunts to Palm Beach and took a boat out on Pittwater. The boys all took turns to help steer the boat.
After the boat we took a long hike up the hill to get to the lighthouse. All the boys had been keen to climb the hill because we have a photos of the beach (see on the left below) and the lighthouse in our dining room! Daniel climbed down the steep way with steeps with Grandad Julian, whilst Mark, Joel, Kaleb and I took the ramped path. We got to see a kookaburra and a blue-tongued lizard on the way down.
Another family day out saw us visit Sydney Aquarium. The boys' favorite animal was the dugong, a dolphin/seal animal. They also loved running down all the ramps to get to the underwater tunnels!
On the final day, we finally kept our word to Joel and returned to Narabeen lake to go kayaking. Well, they went kayaking whilst I enjoyed a peppermint tea and a chat with my Mum! Of course, they insisted on getting wet!
Another favorite for the boys was my parents' two dogs: Bailey and Tia. Nearly every morning Daniel helped walk them and Kaleb or Joel sometimes went too, although Joel preferred cuddling up to them on the sofa. The dogs soon learned that the boys were the best chance at food at dinner time with all the crumbs falling to the floor! A couple of the days we took them to Bayview beach, a beach where dogs are allowed and the boys swam and played with them in the water.
One of the most beautiful things for me was seeing the boys develop their own relationships with their grandparents and uncles and aunty and extended family. It was also lovely to have time with the boys where we weren't interrupted by other people all the time. The boys are very patient sharing us with so many people here in Lima, and we do make sure we have a family day each week, but it was great to be able to have a longer period of time as a family to do things together. I am looking forward to them being able to meet (in Kaleb's case) and develop their own relationships with other family members when we plan to visit the UK later in the year.
Despite all these beautiful places we visited and fun trips we went on, if you ask Daniel what his favorite part of Australia was, he will tell you: "the swimming pool!" The boys went in often multiple times a day and Daniel often joined Grandad Julian for his early morning swim before breakfast. Can you believe that that boat didn't survive beyond the second week?!
I really appreciated the time we had in Australia and it is lovely to think that the oldest two boys will have life-long memories of their trip. Today as we were in the car on the way to the local Lima zoo, Joel and Daniel talked together about missing Australia, the dogs and the family. Daniel went off in search of the kangaroos and Joel wanted to know if Uncle Ben was also leaving school now when we saw a school emptying out on the way home. I love that their worldview is larger and that they loved the trip to Australia too. Now if only there was a cheap direct flight!