Sami and AJ went back to school last week and were happy to do so. The house seemed so quiet. As it was the first week back after the summer break, it was a short week which we made even shorter by taking them out of school on Friday. We were going to my oldest niece's 18th birthday party. That's a big thing in Australia because that's the age you are legally declared an adult and can drink and gamble and do all those grown up things. (Hmm)
Anyway, we left early on Friday and were having a lovely drive until we had car trouble. We ended up having the car towed. Sami and AJ thought this was a grand adventure as it was a big tow truck we got to ride in. We had to wait for a rental car but again, the kids were great and we had fun exploring a thrift store we found and just looking around. More excitement when we got the rental car as it was a cute thing, very different to our station wagon. It ended up taking us 10 hours instead of 4.5 to get to our destination. We were tired, but happy. In the morning, we had passed an accident where a motorcycle rider was lying on the road, being attended to by paramedics. We kept thinking of him all day, declaring our inconveniences to be minor compared to what that man was going through.
The next day we hung out with my Dad and Stepmum. We went to the train museum they have in their town. It was very interesting but even more so for Cary who loves trains. After lunch, we drove about 30 minutes to Tamworth (Australia's country music capital) where my sister lives. We checked into a nice cabin at a caravan park then went over to my sisters place. She kindly lent us her car and Cary dropped off the rental car. We went back to the caravan park, went for a swim and got ready for the party. My niece is named Amy so she had an 'A' themed party. Sami went as an angel, AJ went as "The Amazing AJ" (big cape, fancy hat and a wand made up most of his outfit. Nuke went as an Army guy (he has camo pyjamas so he wore those and was ready to go straight to bed when we got back). Cary went as an American - he wore a red t-shirt, blue shorts and white shoes and cap - and he already had the accent down! I went as an American Indian (Apache) after borrowing some things from Sami's dress up box and braiding my hair. It was a fun little party. It was great to see our kids having a good time, dancing and playing around with their cousins and other guests. Nuke is especially smitten with Ros's other daughter Katie who is 16. She adores him too. I wished they lived closer. We left the party I think about 9:30pm and the kids were asleep a few minutes after going to bed. None of the usual chatter, just "good night" a kiss, hug and yawn and they were gone.
We left the next morning to come back home. We drove for three hours straight and then stopped at Dorrigo National Park. It was so beautiful! It's been declared a World Heritage area. It's located at the top of a mountain and we enjoyed walking out on a skywalk bridge over the treetops and then doing some bushwalking. It was a great way to break up the trip. We'll have to go back when we're more prepared with extra water and food and do a bigger bushwalk there. AJ especially was loving all of the little lizards and bugs that he seems to have a knack of finding. An hour after we left there, we were back home and ready for a long relaxing swim down at the creek.
The next day, the kids went back to school and our boxes finally arrived from the USA! We packed those in early September and now we are having fun rediscovering forgotten treasures. We had packed 35 boxes but one somehow went missing before Cary even got it to the transport place in Las Vegas. He couldn't find that box anywhere so I guess we just were not meant to have those things. If it had been a box that had photos in it, I would have been upset. But it was things that can be replaced like children's games, some videos and books. So 34 boxes came. I think 21 of those were things like photos and other favourite household items (like my vitamix blender), sentimental things from when the kids were babies, kids toys, books, personal papers, paintings and some of our musical instruments. Cary had some of his treasures in there too - vehicle flashers, speakers and other guy stuff.
It seemed to take such a long time for the stuff to get here, and I had mentally let go of it. When it did get here, I was not in any hurry to open the boxes. But after opening the first box, I got excited to see that stuff again, and I just kept going. I soon had open boxes scattered around the house. The kids were very excited, mainly to see favourite books, also some of their toys. In some way, it's like the past has caught up with us and where we are feels more right now that we have old familiar things around us. In another way, it's like all this extra stuff has created more clutter in our home. A fact that I am aware of and so I will be leaving some things boxed up for a while. I am rearranging closets and shelves so keep the energy flowing as freely as possible but it's taking some time. Yesterday I found that I was getting very agitated from the extra stuff and the extra work it was creating. So I just left the house and took the kids to the park for a while which helped to clear my mind. Ahh, for me, there's nothing like the sea breeze to refresh the soul!