Well, we're home safe and sound. A little jet lagged and a little worse for wear, but nothing that won't mend with a couple of nights of sound sleep. Violet did amazingly well once again on the trip back. She slept a lot and watched videos and listened to stories and played. I can't believe how fortunate we've been, and perhaps the best part is that after three weeks away she is playing with all of her old toys like they are new again! More details on the trip home to come.
I've been to Australia thrice now, and this trip to Australia was very different from my past two forays in Oz. My first visit was just after college and my sister and I backpacked up and down the East coast. We camped on Fraser Island, sailed aboard a ship to the Whitsunday Islands, sunbathed on the Gold Coast, and snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef. It was an adventure and a half to be sure!
The second followed my sister's marriage. We visited her new hometown for a bit and then flew down with our spouses and parents to Sydney and did all of the touristy things, like climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, staying overnight at the Sydney Zoo, and visiting the Opera House. The hostels were traded for hotels and the backpacks for suitcases. We were then childless and did what we wanted when we wanted. It was an entirely different experience from the first one, but equally lovely.
This time we were there to help my sister with all of the trials and tribulations that come with new motherhood. There was no jet setting or backpacking, but there was a lot of much-needed family time. (I miss my sister dearly!) We experienced more of everyday life in Australia. We planned our outings around Violet's nap time and the baby's nursing schedule and we kept them short, sweet, and simple.
We spent time at the beach, we visited the local parks, and biked through the city. We celebrated Christmas in July as a family and witnessed our new nephew's baptism. We visited a friend's farm (as evidenced by the above photos) and rode through acres and acres of sugarcane fields on the back of a ute, we did some four wheeling, splashed through the creek, and fed the cows. But mostly we ate meals together as a family. We held a beautiful new baby (as much as Violet would let me). We looked up information about mastitis and diaper rash and oversupply and searched for pacifiers and practiced using the Moby wrap. We talked and we played and we just spent time together.
It wasn't glamorous or exotic or adventurous, but it was full of family and full of love - a different kind of perfect, but perfect nonetheless. :)