Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life in Melbourne

Well I guess that you can guess by my lack of recent posts that we have really gotten into our new life here in Melbourne, Australia.  We have a wonderful home base, a schedule that we swear by, friends and family galore, excellent drinking water, a mini-van, full time twins and TV!!

We are two weeks in with two to go and I am already starting to stress about the plane ride home to New York, what life will be like with the twins once we get back and how we will cope on our own and in considerably less space.  All good things to worry about but really nothing to be done from here - so I will try to let it go and just continue to enjoy our Melbourne days!

Below are some highlights of our Melbourne fun so far.

The Melbourne Aquarium - 

The Wild Animal was not at all phased by sharks.

The twins really enjoyed (ie slept through) the aquarium.

They have tons of super large sting rays!

Me and the Wild Animal in the largest shark ever's mouth!

The Melbourne Zoo -

Feeding time at the orangutang exhibit.

Neve looking at apes.

More twin feeding.

Neve actually preferred the wooden orangutang carvings over the real thing. 
For a Wild Animal, she has surprisingly little interest in her own kind.

One of our at home events with the family -

Cousins Cameron and Ronan.

Cousin Matthew showing Neve how to read.

Aunt Di and Ronan.

Day trip to Myrniong -

Brother James, cousin Lachie and cousin Eloise at the farm.

Neve was thrilled to wear her first real Australian hat!

She was thrilled to meet her first pony.

And she was thrilled to pull the hair of a cat named Mouse.

The James Berry family with Neve and twins on the side.

Gemma enjoying (ie sleeping during) the day trip.

The Melbourne Botanical Gardens -

Jessica taking a break in Neve's stroller.

The twins enjoying (ie sleeping in) the fresh air.

Neve getting showered with leaves.

Neve and da da playing in the gardens.

Gemma snuggling up and enjoying (ie sleeping in) the gardens.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy One Month Birthday Gemma & Ronan !!!

The twins are now officially one month old in all time zones they have or will inhabit!  It feels like they have been in our lives far more than a mere 30 days while at the same time it feels like a whole month could not have already passed.  Time is a funny thing - running differently depending on what you are experiencing.

We are adoring the twins and their turtle ways.  I like to say that Neve is the hare - always on the move, always into something, charming, gregarious and confident.  The twins are slow and deliberate, personalities still mostly under wraps, but they are relentless and never ever stop.  It always surprises me that these mostly sleepy little things could be so exhausting but as we all know, little turtles can cover some serious ground and they do!  The twins are a 24 hour operation running at a deliberate pace and Neve is a 12 hour operation running on overdrive.

At any rate, a photo update below dedicated to the big one month birthday of our little turtle twins!

Happy one month birthday baby loves!!!

Ronan has crazy neck power for his age.  
Can totally lift that big head in tummy time already!

It is all SO exhausting!

"I just had a thought - let's play!"

Gemma - playing with her hands and having a hard time 
lifting her head which I think must be due to the poundage stored in those cheeks!

So pretty!!

So sleepy! 
BTW - this is exactly how Neve used to sleep!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

It Really Does Take a Village 

Please do not interpret my silence over the last couple days as our having fallen into a twin zombi coma.  We have actually been doing pretty darn well if I do say so myself (but only with the help of friends and family and anyone else who happens to get within range  - so watch out cause we are totally shameless!).  The twins are back on the 3+ hour feeding schedule and we have instituted a mandatory simultaneous feeding system to ensure that no one gets out of synch ever, ever again.  It's a little less lovey dovey bonding moments and a little more octopus arm training but the system is keeping us sane and well, right now that's the key to the survival of the Berry/Sharp household.

We even scooped up the whole brood and went to a party hosted Charles and Di (Hamish's brother and sister in law) for Granny Sue's birthday over the weekend.  I fretted over the planning of how to get out of the house, but the deployment went pretty smoothly and it has given me the courage to go forth more with the entire brigade.  I've just got to find a way to pack the diaper bag (which is really a gigantic canvas bag that you can shove endless amounts of crap into) in a way that you can actually find what you are looking for.  Whatever it is that you seek, it is always on the bottom or hiding from you and you have to empty the entire thing out on the floor - usually while babies are crying and Hamish is looking at you skeptically and passing judgment on your packing skills.  Not fun!

The party, on the other hand, was very fun and Neve, Gemma and Ronan all had a great time and laughed like little children all the way home they were so giddy.  Neve got to explore yet another new home, she was allowed to pull pots and pans out of the kitchen cabinets, had a bit of a jump on the trampoline, ate cookies, played with her cousins and Aunt and Uncle (and TONS of toys) and was in a total state of ecstasy.  Neve seems a bit tamer in Australia, the country of her citizenship.  Perhaps all we needed to do was to bring her to her homeland for a mental holiday!  She's eating, sleeping, pooping (we need to diaper train SOON) and seems really genuinely joyous here.  It's wonderful and let's say that so Neve's mood goes, goes the rest of the family!  Hooray!!

Gemma and Ronan on the other hand were held by Grandparents, Great Aunts and Uncles, Aunts and Uncles and dear friends for the entire party and they were VERY pleased by this.  So pleased in fact that Gemma decided that we should keep up the trend that night which I did until a real battle of the wills occurred.  I'm not sure if someone actually won or we just agreed to an unspoken truce for the sake of the family, but we called it off around 4am and went back to our respective corners.  Ronan decided to stay out of it which shows good judgment on his party - not good to side against your twin sister or your mother against the other!

The house continues to be a great source of comfort for us here.  No real reason to ever leave and a great spot for people to drop in on us. There has been an inordinate amount of tea consumed in the kitchen and Sue keeps bringing over baked goods so we are all constantly caffeinated and sugared up to the max.  It rained today and we did some serious in home rain watching sessions while also catching up on parts of the Queen's Jubilee celebration.  Not sure how much the US is watching the celebration of Queen Elizabeth's 60th year on the throne, but here in Australia, it is a MAJOR thing (and goes nicely with tea and baked goods!).  The daily events are shown live on TV at night and then they do recap shows during the day, followed by smaller recaps of the recaps in the evening.  

So far they have had a big floating parade down the Thames.  The Queen and Prince Charles were on one boat, other royals (Kate Middleton or whatever she goes by now) on a barge and then like 1000 other boats trailing behind and on the side.  It looks pretty cool when shown from a sky cam view, but other than that once you've seen 5 minutes, it's pretty much the same thing - boats floating for hours down a river and the Queen smiling and doing the Queen wave. Sometimes the boats go under a bridge, as they do, and old steam trains roll by at the same time or they go by an art's complex and a little show is done - but that's really about it as far as I can tell.  But if you're not watching closely and just sort of listening to it in the background (like if say you are tandem feeding twins and trying to keep Neve from grabbing up all the "ba ba's") you would think from the commentary that this was one of the most exciting live events ever shown on Earth.  In fact one commentator said last night and I quote "in 150 years, people will still be talking about this historic event".   That made me burst out laughing and accidentally pull the bottle right out of Ronan's mouth (and he did NOT think it was funny at all and let me know).

Anyway, one other funny cultural aside.  There is a very nice grocery store very close to us and I have been doing daily visits (cause we always seem to need something).  Anyway, on day one I was looking at the meat section and there were steaks and legs of lamb and these lamb and rice meatballs that looked pretty good and were well priced.  I thought about getting the meatballs but already had too much to carry and left them.  So, next day I went back to the store again and again found myself in the meat section and again saw those lamb meatballs and actually picked them up to go in the cart but this time I noticed that there's a picture of a dog on the front and I think to myself, "that's kind of bad advertising cause it makes it seem like these are dog food or something which is crazy cause dog food is NOT in the meat section of the supermarket."  Then I started looking at the rest of the things at this particular end of the meat section and they all had either a cat or a dog on them and one read "only for feline consumption".  So my fellow Americans, be forewarned, just cause it's right next to the steaks and there is no sign or distinguishable barrier, make sure you fully read the label before thinking you are getting a yummy meat bargain in Australia, cause you might just be picking up DOG FOOD!

On that note, take care!


G H & N R G

Granny Sue and Gemma at the party.

Ronan and Pete.

Neve loving the trampoline.

Neve restoring nutrients with her Uncle Charlie after the trampoline.