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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Daily Pics: Digging Dallas

Best ways to get to know a new city is to eat and walk. We found a local gem (thank you Yelp) of a place – Cosmic Cafe – a Himalayan vegetarian restaurant. Good for the body and soul and even had a meditation center upstairs to boot. Our inner Om connected with our stomach yum.

We had a lovely lazy morning in the hotel room, I had some me time at the gym, off to lunch then a walk along Dallas’ Katy trail green belt area. Just soaking up the glorious Dallas winter sun. 

 

Baby with love me sleep sack

Love me…so easy to do

 

Christmas tree at the Hilton Anatole

It’s starting to feel a bit like Christmas

 

Gym

Feels so good to exercise

 

Baby watching babies crawl on iPad

Teaching Baby Boy O to crawl by showing him how

 

Indian food platter

Cosmic Cafe Om and yum

 

Happy man with Indian food

One very happy English Hubby

 

Baby eating naan

Baby Boy O getting in on the action

 

Buddha painting

Loving the vibe

 

Sunshine on trees by creek in Dallas

Winter sunshine

 

Katy Trail Dallas

Stumbled across the Katy Trail

 

Before I die list

Not sure eating a panda would be on my list

 

Bar

It’s thirsty work walking the trail. Had to stop for a cold one

 

Baby smiling

So happy to be outdoors

 

Baby asleep in cot

Out cold after a big day

 

Yesterday’s post: Speed Bumps on the Road to Dallas

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Daily Pics: Speed Bumps on the Road to Dallas

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. They forgot to mention the speed bumps along the way. Little annoyances that slow you down, scrape the bottom of your car and test your ability to practice mindfulness and compassion. I am pleased to report that we got to Dallas in the end, but only after clearing a few trying hurdles along the way. What hurdles you may ask? Here’s a selection:

  • We discovered our storage unit had a residual oil leak from the previous tenant. Although the manager promised to have it cleaned up before we moved in, it never happened. The last thing we wanted was for our tiny house on wheels, with all the personals we left behind, to smell of oil after three months in an unventilated storage unit. English Hubby came across a fix on YouTube. Cat litter. Yep, sprinkle it on and it soaks up the slick and smells. Cat-astrophe avoided ūüėČ
  • We took Rover to the RV service center to be winterized yesterday. They forgot to drain the pump, which would have frozen over and cracked should the temperatures dip below freezing. A number of calls and an impromptu pit stop back at servicing and it was fixed. Not a biggie, but begs the question why things can’t be done right in the first place. 
  • Just as we were storing the RV, we noticed little mud dauber nests on the struts. Not wanting to come back to an infestation of wasps, we had to destroy their little nests and just hope they don’t return. We could be in for a nasty surprise in three months time, but hey ho.
  • Then after covering 200 miles and arriving at our hotel in Dallas, the front desk informed us there were no more cribs left. What happened to the special request, and phone call to confirm that we had a crib for our seven month old you may ask? A mystery that will go unanswered. 
At the end of the day, speed bumps make the journey memorable. A lot of good things happened too, too many to list without boring everyone to death. 
 
Cleaning up the RV for storage

The big clean up

 

Packing up the RV

Packing up our tiny house on wheels

 

Empty RV fridge

With a valiant effort, we managed to eat most of our food

 

Couple in front of an RV

Getting nostalgic as one chapter ends and another one begins

 

High chair and placemats at chick fil a

Brunch at Chick Fil A whilst we wait for Rover to be fixed. So impressed by the high chairs which came with sanitizing wipes and fresh plastic placemats for kids to eat off. So thoughtful and great service

 

Mud dauber nests

Unwelcome surprise in our storage unit

 

Man sweeping storage unit

Nothing a broom and a stick could not fix (we hope!)

 

RV backing into a storage unit

Wide load

 

RV in storage unit with brake light on

Precision driving

 

Family at sonic

Mid way pit stop and diaper change at Sonic

 

Roller skating sign at sonic

With roller skating waiters and waitresses…so very Happy Days

 

Baby in car seat stretching

We all had a nice little stretch and cuddle

 

Dallas theme song and skyline

Playing the original theme song…

 

Dallas skyline at sunset

…as we roll into town

 

Hilton hotel room

Cribless at the Hilton

 

Baby sleeping on bed surrounded with pillows

Sleeping amongst a castle of fluffy pillows

 

Yesterday’s post: Set…

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Daily Pics: Set…

In the midst of a packing frenzy. Trying to pack for three months abroad, five countries, seven stops, winter and summer seasons, three people, two bags plus baby gear. Add to that, packing up the RV for storage. As Irish Lass commented on Facebook, such a huge first world problem to have!

As with any challenge, solving it starts one step at a time, and with long lists of things to remember on Evernote – remember to empty rubbish bins, give away condiments and frozen stuff, pack international plugs, passports, print travel insurance docs, pack 6 – 12 month clothes, winter and summer stuff…and the list goes on. Ready, set…

 

Baby on bed with clothes all around him

One very important thing to pack!

 

Shoe rack baby clothes holder

Repurposed show rack packing hack

 

Baby clothes in shoe rack in bag

Rolls up and packs beautifully! And everything is ready to go on the other end

 

Vietnamese restaurant with green walls

Crappy Vietnamese. Should have known from the green on the walls

 

Yesterday’s post: So Very Thankful

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Daily Pics: So Very Thankful

Our first thanksgiving as a family of three. We have so much to be thankful for. Our complaints are small, our challenges insignificant in the broader scheme of things, we have good health and a precious fortunate life. Today we had a great opportunity to give back and help others. We helped fold clothes, prep food boxes and set up tables and chairs for Thanksgiving lunch at the Dream Center in Conroe. Our contribution was so minuscule when you realize 45 million people in America are at minimum wage or less (think $7.25 to $9.50 range). That’s a lot of hardship for a lot of people. I’ve come to appreciate it more and aware of this hidden issue since finishing Linda Tirado’s book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America. I am thankful for so much and thankful I can help others too. 

 

Baby on front looking at trees

The only way we can get him to do tummy time. The boy loves trees!

 

Mum and baby in Pom Pom hat

We waited so long for you, so thankful to be your mum

 

Thanksgiving volunteering

Driving to the wrong side of the tracks, parking next to a lady turning tricks, trying to order chaos. Some things feel broken and need fixing

 

Man standing in front of dream center

Such a small drop in the ocean, nevertheless it was a drop

 

Baby reading book

So thankful for my beautiful sister who sent us this book

 

Thanksgiving lunch in the hall

Breaking bread – Thanksgiving turkey and pot luck lunch at Thousand Trails Lake Conroe

 

Baby with sweet potato on his nose

Someone liked their sweet potato

 

Baby with two teeth crying

Poor Baby Boy O. Second tooth breaking through. Grumpy

 

Thumb sucking baby

Binky is so yesterday! He’s started sucking his thumb

 

Dad giving baby a bath in RV

Last tub bath in Rover (for a little while at least)

 

Yesterday’s post: Ready…

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Daily Pics: Ready…

Were getting ready for the next leg of our journey. There are an incredible number of things to think through. What to pack, what needs to be done first, dependencies, contingency, milestones, status reports…hold on wait…slipping back into work mode. Today we planned, ate watermelon and burgers, slipped in a second massage at the great Thai place (little gem in Conroe) and got the storage organized. All in a day’s work. 

 

Baby eating watermelon

One of his favorites, so far

 

Thai massage room

Who would have expected to find a traditional walk on your back type Thai massage in Conroe Texas?! Reminds me of the days living in Bangkok 

 

Five guys burger and fries

Then followed by Five Guys for lunch. Heaven.

 

Man closing door of RV storage

Storage organized. Rover has a home for the winter 

 

Baby and mum sitting by the campfire

Baby Boy O’s first campfire

 

Yesterday’s post: Practicing Mindfulness

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Daily Pics: Practicing Mindfulness

It’s been eight years since I started practicing meditation. Some days my mind races all over the place like a monkey swinging from tree to tree. Other days, there there are moments of mindfulness and calm. The world seems to be as it is and right here is where I need to be. Nowhere else, nothing else, just here. This morning was one of those days. Baby Boy O and I went for an early morning walk in the cold. He fell asleep, I did nothing but breathe.  

Baby asleep

Sleeping beauty

 

Carter's store

A sad little outlet mall off the interstate where unloved things sit on shelves. Looking for warm clothes for Baby Boy O

 

Picnic table by RV

Making phone calls in the sun

 

Dinner on the grill

The day seems to disappear, and then it is dinner time

 

Campfire

Sitting by the fire, red wine, pistachio nuts and sweet potato chips

 

Yesterday’s post: Alone at Last

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Daily Pics: Alone at Last

Having a baby changes you in all the ways you can imagine, and even more the ways you didn’t know to imagine. Sleepless nights, constant feeding and care, crying, diapers, smiles and all that stuff came easily. The harder part is working out how to make this constantly changing symbiotic relationship positive and enriching. When this little being is physically, and if not, then mentally joined at to you at every moment, finding the line between us and me is a see saw that can slope one way more than the other. Equilibrium takes vigilance and effort. Today that see saw got balanced. Driving in the car alone, having time to think (not about Baby Boy O) and doing something for me, and me alone. A long overdue and welcome step in the right direction. 

 

Baby with spew

Wouldn’t trade him for the world in spite of another round of chunder

 

Lunch on picnic table in the sun

Lunching in the sun, then off to a Thai massage

 

Yesterday’s post: Sunday Afternoon Stretch

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Daily Pics: Sunday Afternoon Stretch

After what seems like a very long stretch of bad weather, the sun finally broke through. I don’t know how people who live near the poles cope. Darkness, clouds, rain and gloom can really be a Debbie downer. Today it was a sunshine day and we escaped to Sam Houston National Forest for a wonderful leg stretching hike. We were all so glad to be outdoors. Baby Boy O was beside himself, all chatty, his legs kicking and arms waving all over the place. Thankful for a wonderful happy Sunday. 

 

Baby with rattle ring

Magical moment – morning playtime in bed

 

Baby and mummy

Went for a morning walk around the campground

 

Panera bread steak sandwich

Slightly addicted to Panera Bread’s steak and white cheese panini

 

Sam Houston loop trail

Setting off on the loop trail at Sam Houston National Forest

 

Sun shining on lake Conroe

Beautiful Lake Conroe. Beware of the alligators

 

Baby and dad with stick

The cobweb sweeper stick

 

Family photo in the sun

Sunshine and happiness

 

HEB supermarket

Another new supermarket chain. One of our last shops as we need to eat everything down before we put Rover in storage

 

Sunset and moon

Driving back after a long fun day

 

Yesterday’s post: Storm Clouds

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Daily Pics: Storm Clouds

Sometimes there’s sun, sometimes there’s rain, and then there are days like today when everything is stormy. The weather’s been crap, we lost power at one point and we’ve been stuck indoors for what seems like weeks. Baby Boy O was upset, sweaty and teething. Misery loves company. 

 

Baby teething

Ouchies! But thank goodness he is sleeping


Panera bread

Heading out for an exciting lunch

 

Yesterday’s post: Pause Button

Tomorrow’s post: Sunday Afternoon Stretch

 

 

 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Daily Pics: Pause Button

After three intense weeks of travel we have decided to hit the pause button and stay put for a little while. We are north of Houston, pointed toward Dallas where we’ll soon be heading off on the overseas leg of our travels. Storage for the RV is now arranged, next comes the packing of bags and packing up to leave Rover over the winter. Parked up at the Thousand Trails on Lake Conroe is a great place to catch up on all the small tasks that seem to grow as the days pass.  It is also a good place to practice meditation and be in the moment, especially since these moments seem to fly by. November already. How did that happen? 

 

Baby chewing on zebra

Practicing being ‘in the moment’ with Mr Dribble Guts

 

Baby sleeping on dad

English Hubby on daddy duty

 

Baby looking out RV window

Being in the moment – watching Baby Boy O watching the rain fall on the trees

 

Panda Express Chinese food

Craving for Chinese food. This was the best we could find in Conroe Texas

 

Baby with groceries in stroller

Another Walmart shop. Something for everyone

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Daily Pics: Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Today’s soundtrack belongs to Otis Redding. Today we caught our breadth after a few hectic weeks covering many miles and entertaining very important guests. It was nice to bask in the sun, stare out over Lake Conroe and go for a walk. We got back to our half day split routine where English Hubby was on point for Baby Boy O in the morning and I took over in the afternoon. It feels good to be productive and relaxed.

Baby sitting in bed

Hoping for a lie in, but Baby Boy O had other ideas at 5.30am

 

Baby with big tears

Someone was a little upset today

 

Baby sitting looking over lake Conroe

Taking him out always cheers him up

 

Lake Conroe

Afternoon duty, taking Baby Boy O for a walk

 

Baby and mum

Too excited to sleep. So many interesting things to see

 

Waterfront RV site on lake Conroe

Looking back on our waterfront site

 

View of the dock

Practicing meditation along the path

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Daily Pics: Baby Gap

91 days oversees is starting to dawn and get daunting. The weather has a slight chill, which will be nothing compared to the wet English winter. It’s just occurred to me that we have nothing for Baby Boy O that is fit for snowy climes. So hi ho hi ho it’s off to Baby Gap we go. Stumbled on the lovely Woodlands shopping area where a little bit of damage was done to the credit cards. 

 

Baby sitting in seat with bobble hat

Oh little sweet pea

 

Baby in stroller wearing bobble hat

Getting a little nippy in Texas

 

Conroe campground pond

A walk around the campground to watch the ducks

 

Baby in snowsuit

Mummy, I can’t move in this snowsuit!

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Daily Pics: See You Soon

We say “see you very soon” to Mah Mah and Yah Yah, bidding farewell from a Walmart carpark. We will be seeing them in a couple of weeks time, which makes these goodbyes much easier. After the airport run we scooted off to Houston to meet Finnish Gal and Handyman Dan for brunch. A lovely afternoon getting acquainted with Houston town, with our very own historical tour guide. 

 

Dirty RV

Caked in dirt

 

Baby looking at lady

First Finn he’s ever met

 

Walking by the river in Houston

Post brunch walk around Houston

 

Baby in stroller with lady looking at him

Always time for a quick cuddle

 

Houston by the river

Industrial meets…

 

Houston city from railway angle

…city…

 

Houston meets green belt

…meets park green belt

 

Little bird graffiti

With little gems for a keen eye

 

Canoe tree art

Is that a canoe up a tree?

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Daily Pics: Buc-ees and Popeyes

And so continues our crazy manic round trip to San Antonio and back to Houston. A day of driving and high fructose corn syrup excitement with a pull over in the rain stop at Buc-ees. This little beaver has been taunting us for miles, inviting us to stop in. Only Texas can come up with something this cheesy, so we curbed and spent some money on sugary fake food. If the glycemic index hadn’t already shot through the roof, we would send it sky high by finishing the day with an infamous Popeyes fried chicken with all the trimmings dinner. Heaven have mercy on our waistlines. 

 

Baby and dad cheek to cheek

Y’all have a great morning

 

Morning cuddles with grandparents

More morning cuddles

 

Man eating campground breakfast

Campground breakfast on classy foam plates

 

Baby smiling wearing winter hat

Still a barrel of sunshine even though it is wet and yucky out

 

RV at Buc-ees

Buc-ees, Buc-ees, Buc-ees. We wanna stop at Buc-ees

 

Man and baby at buc-ees

No turning back now!

 

Dad with cowboy hat and baby with Texas hat

Only in Texas

 

Aisles in Buc-ees

Aisles and aisles of crap

 

Beaver nuggets

Beaver poop

 

Popeyes chicken

Fried chicken heaven

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Daily Pics: Last 4 Hour Stand

The battle at The Alamo lasted only 45 minutes, much faster than it took English Hubby and Yah Yah to work their way through the museum and historical site. We made our last stand at the mall during which Baby Boy O sprouted a tooth, mastered calculus and graduated from college. Only after, English Hubby returned to meet up with us. It was a long, long day. 

 

Baby's first tooth

Breaking through, his first Texas tooth

 

Baby and grandpa taking

Having a man to man talk 

 

The Alamo

Making a last stand

 

Baby in bear suit

All dressed up and nowhere to go, except the mall for four hours

 

Taco dinner

Capping off the Mexican theme

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Daily Pics: Grumpy and Cold

When we did our road trip in 2005 we had countless days of sunshine, warm weather and only five days of rain. This time around it seems like San Antonio is intent on tipping that record on its head. Not sure if we were brave or foolish to head out in arctic conditions to dinner on the Riverwalk tonight. I can report that no one caught frostbite, but I think we were all pretty close. 

 

Cleaning up puke on the duvet

Puke is never a good way to start the day

 

Baby on okay mat crying

Our little slug baby refusing to do tummy time

 

Baby being held by grandpa

Much happier when he is being held…

 

Baby with grandparents at whataburger

..and held…whatababy at whataburger

 

RV rest stop

Roadside nap

 

Father eating dessert

Like father…

 

Man eating dessert

…like son

 

Yesterday’s post: 

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Daily Pics: Houston Space Center

Unlike many, I’ve never wanted to be an astronaut. I like gravity and oxygen too much. The predictable way water runs downhill, the abundance of air and not having to worry about freezing to death or being radiated by the sun to a crisp every time I step outside just suits me fine. Nevertheless spending the day at the NASA command center was pretty cool. It really is amazing what brainpower, ingenuity, physics and some metal and duct tape can do. The thing that stuck me most – the tour guide said the average age of the men (of course they were all men in those days) running the command center that put Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon was 26 years of age. I guess Jesus was 33 when he was crucified, leaving behind a major religion. Mark was 23 when he became the Facebook billionaire. Feeling a little small and insignificant. I guess that’s what happens when you see the earth from space. 

  

Baby napping on diner bench

Starting the day with a nap…

 

Breakfast at IHOP

…and a hearty breakfast…

 

Baby with grandparents at IHOP

…at IHOP

 

Space craft

Then off to the Houston Space Center

 

Baby and alien friends

Baby Boy O quickly made friends who were out of this world!

 

No stroller sign

Houston, we have a problem

 

All bundled up on the tram tour

Luckily it is easy to bundle him up all nice and snug

 

Mission control

Mission control

 

Baby and dad with astronauts

Standing in good company

 

Liquid nitrogen

Some seriously cool stuff

 

International Space Station mock up

Real life mock up of the International Space Station

 

Orion space craft

Headed for Mars

 

Rocket connector

Built by rocket scientists

 

Baby and dad staring at each other

Star struck

 

Astronaut toilet

How do astronauts go to the bathroom? With difficulty…

 

Moon rock sign

The real stuff

 

Moon rock

It rocks! 

 

Space shuttle endeavor

Endeavor, the space shuttle, not boat

 

Space suit

All suited up

 

Baby in rocket command seat

In the rocket command seat

 

Baby bathed by mah mah

Getting him clean for his next mission…off to sleep

 

Yesterday’s post: Hello Texas

Tomorrow post: 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Daily Pics: Hello Texas

Heading west into the lone star state. Another day, another Walmart. I never thought I’d be a fan of the evil mega store, but when you’re traveling cross country, they sure are a convenient one stop shop for groceries (with a growing selection of organic produce), baby stuff and odds and ends. Hopscotching between grocery store chains like Krogers, Piggly Wiggly, Food lion, H.E.B. and countless others has its drawbacks. It takes forever to orient yourself and find what you need, and after a while it becomes frustrating playing the ‘which aisle is it in’ game. Here’s to crossing over to the dark side. 

Baby in play seat outside RV

Left to his own devices

 

Waffle House

Breakfast waffles

 

Kitchen in Waffle House

A new perspective after reading Hand to Mouth: Living in a Bootstrap America

 

Texas welcome sign

Into Texas we go, waiting for English Hubby to catch up

 

RV in Walmart carpark

Running through the rain at Walmart

 

Grandpa pushing baby in stroller in Walmart

Playing Choo Choo trains up and down the aisle

 

Tamales

We’re definitely in Texas now!

 

Yesterday’s post: Duck Duck Closed

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Daily Pics: Duck Duck Closed

Baby Boy O had his first close encounter with feathered and webbed footed friends this morning. It’s fascinating to watch as his reaction which swung quickly from nonchalance to a ‘you’re not going to leave me with them are you’ frown. Can’t blame the poor kid. They are noisy creatures and even more so during feeding time. 

Speaking of feeding time, today’s adventure was a non starter. Lunch in the carpark of the Acadian Cultural Center was the highlight, given the museum was closed. At least lunch was good.  

Hungry ducks

A flock of hungry ducks

 

Worried baby

Please don’t let them eat me

 

Sitting around in the RV

All work and no play

 

RV in carpark

Having fun at the Acadian Cultural Center (carpark)

 

Freeway with oil refineries

Spot the oil refinery

 

Yesterday’s post: The Sugar Palace

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Daily Pics: The Sugar Palace

Ankles were quite the thing back in the day. Seeing them on a lady meant one of two things – a pistol duel at dawn, or marriage. So walking up stairs was a logistical nightmare. Men had to head up first or be trusted to avert their eyes honorably. How the last couple of hundred years has changed our ideas of modesty, fashion, beauty and manners. Since the days of the sugar palace (aka Houmas House) very little is off limits. Thank goodness as sandles really don’t look good with socks!

Baby sleeping in star fish position

Starfish napping

 

Baby in play chair with fruit

Baby led weaning fruit fest

 

Lilly pads

Gorgeous gardens at Houmas House

 

Baby in car seat smiling

The little Yankee taking it all in

 

Houmas house

The sugar palace

 

Southern belle at Houmas house

The southern belle

 

Houmas house dining room

Exquisite dining

 

Baby and grandpa sitting

Resting weary legs

 

Baby tickles

Belly laughs in the garden

 

Factory

Banks of the Mississippi once lined with plantations are now filled with industry

 

Man filing up at gas pump

After dinner left Baby Boy O with the grandparents and went in search of Walmart. Failed miserably.

 

Yesterday’s post: Louisiana Plantations

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Daily Pics: Louisiana Plantations

Started off the day playing with our new toys. Baby Boy O tried out his play seat and we took the Shark out for a spin. It’s probably not natural to get this excited about a vacuum cleaner, but ever since starting the road trip we had been holding down the fort with a hand held dust buster which doesn’t quite have the suction power to get between the pile. You can imagine what we managed to pick up off the carpet with my favorite new piece of equipment. 

After waging a jihad on dirt and dust we headed out to explore a few plantations. First stop was the majestic Oak Alley Plantation where we walked through reconstructed slave quarters, learned about the history of the house and the people who lived within its four walls, and indulged in a huge lunch which culminated in an almighty sugar high with the best pecan pie ever. 

Our final stop was the Laura Plantation where stories were brought to life and the creole culture shone through. Again a very checkered past with slavery, with the sugarcane plantation held firmly by a family of matriarchs. It was a hard life back then. Makes you realize we have it easy. 

 

Baby in SuperSeat playing

Baby Boy O having a ball in his SuperSeat

 

Shark vacuum cleaner

An absolute god send!

 

Grandma grandpa and baby sitting in front of RV

Baby sitting duty

 

Crawfish étouffée

Finally got to try crawfish étouffée, a Louisiana special

 

Oak trees

Beautiful Oak Alley Plantation, leading to the Mississippi

 

Oak alley plantation house

A Louisiana Taj Mahal, built for his wife (except she was still alive)

 

Oak alley plantation tour guide

Southern drawl

 

Oak alley plantation bedroom

Steeped in history and fascinating stories about the people who lived there

 

These beautiful plantation properties also provides the perfect backdrop to play with black and white…

Balcony at oak alley plantation

Afternoon on the balcony

 

Beautiful oak tree

Majestic oaks

 

Sugarcane burning

Billowing smoke from the sugarcane burning

 

Sunset at Laura Plantation

Sunset at Laura Plantation

 

Orange tree at Laura plantation

Orange tree from the slave quarters

 

Baby Boy O and dad at Laura plantation

My boys in black and white

 

Yesterday’s post: This is How We Roll

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Daily Pics: This is How We Roll

Time to say farewell to New Orleans, crisp white sheets, rainwater showers and housekeeping. Back to the reality of life on the road, lunches in Walmart car parks and exploring the big wide world, notching up hundreds more miles under our tires heading as we head west along the scenic plantation route toward Houston. This is how we roll! 

 

Baby lying on bed talking to grandpa

Morning chat with Gong Gong on Skype

 

View of French quarter from 14th floor

Not a bad view from the 14th floor – trains, paddle steamers and so much to see

 

Mum and baby having breakfast buffet

What a big mess a small baby can make

 

Four adults and one baby in a cab

Jenga style packing, but we all managed to fit in one cab back to the RV park

 

Grandpa holding baby in Walmart carpark

Packed up and headed to Walmart to buy groceries, cabin linen, a vacuum and a baby play center

 

Yesterday’s post: Snap Happy in the French Quarter

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Daily Pics: Snap Happy in the French Quarter

Whilst English Hubby and the In-Laws were off on a cemetery and swamp tour, Baby Boy O and I had a marvelous time wandering around the French Quarter on a photography safari playing with apature, shutter speeds, perspectives and angles. Natasha talked about the ‘establishing shot’, one that gives the audience a sense of place, an understanding of what makes it special, a recognition of newness with a dash of familiarity. It occurs to me that life feels like a series of estsblishing shots. Everyday on our road trip we’ve had to mentally take one to ground ourselves, and at the same time appreciate our new surrounds. 

Beignets and coffee

A delicious way to start the day at Cafe du Monde 

 

St. Louis cathedral in New Orleans

Situating shot one – St Louis Cathedral, it’s importance accentuated by the sky

 

Statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback

Our first photography assignment using the light (this one done with an iPhone camera, not the DSLR) 

 

Photography tour group

Photography safari, a great way to practice photography and have welcome help to push a stroller

 

Baby asleep in stroller

An absolute angel and the best photography buddy you could ask for. He soon became the subject 

 

Photography gallery

Taking in the galleries 

 

Foot massage in New Orleans

And a little break for sore feet

 

Bluegrass band

Bluegrass beats on Royal St

 

Baby listening to bluegrass

Listening intently

 

Streets of New Orleans

Soaking up a sense of place 

 

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles to the blues

 

Natchez paddle steamer

Off to dinner on the Natchez paddle steamer

 

Jazz band

Jazz on the Mississippi

 

Steam engines on the paddle boat

Powered by Thelma and Louise

 

Paddle steamer

Pushing forward

 

Yesterday’s post: New Orleans Culinary Experience

Tomorrow’s post:

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Daily Pics: New Orleans Culinary Experience

Food can tell you so much about a place, a culture, an history, a moment in time. Which is why one of my favorite ways to experience a new city is to do a food tour and what better place than the melting pot of New Orleans. We learned about Creole and Cajun food, and what differentiates them – sauces, alcohol and tomato – all pointers to the higher brow Creole cooking. We heard stories of how the different settlers of New Orleans and Louisiana – French, Germans, Italians, African, Irish and more – all brought something to the table, adding their own favors to the mix. We saw bread pudding with hard sauce being made, along with gumbo, jambalaya and sweetest of the sweet pecan pralines. New Orleans has been a feast for the senses.

 

Baby with dog toy

Special delivery all the way from England for Baby Boy O. It talks with an English accent too

 

Sign for rubys slipper

Breakfast nawlins style with eggs on cochon and biscuits

 

Grandpa pushing stroller

Exploring on foot

 

Beer sign

Q&A session

 

French quarter street

French quarter sightseeing 

 

Baby biting on hot sauce bottle

Looking to spice things up

 

Sitting at the table at New Orleans cooking school

Getting ready at the New Orleans cooking school

 

Hot biscuits

Biscuit starter with sweet molasses

 

Baby eating biscuits

Everyone got in on the action

 

Cooking school demonstration

Watching Michael bring it all come together – gumbo, jambalaya, bread pudding and pralines

 

Spoons of roux

Different shades of roux

 

Baby with plastic cups on his hands

Keeping himself entertained…for almost three hours 

 

Pecan pralines

Delectable sweet buttery pecan pralines

 

Bluegrass buskers

Buskers on Royal St

 

Not haunted sign

Good to know it doesn’t come with any added extras

 

Red wall of photos

Next part of the foodie tour in the hallowed dining rooms of Antoine’s

 

Green dining room

Each Krewe with its Kings and Queens of Mardi Gras

 

Sandy with shrimp Remoulade

Sandy taking us to try Remoulade shrimp, the German side of New Orleans

 

Fine dining room

Fine dining in the back room

 

Mardi Gras ball gowns

Party gal Germaine’s Mardi Gras ball gowns

 

Grandstand at Antoine's

Grandstanding

 

St. Louis cathedral

Strolling by St Louis Cathedral listening to the jazz

 

Baby asleep in stroller

Someone held up very well, having been out all day

 

Tujacques bar

Last stop for beef brisket

 

Pouring grasshopper cocktails

And world famous grasshopper cocktails (yuck!) 

 

Dad and baby in over 18 bar

Little rebel

 

Baby with grandparents in pub

Having a good hard look

 

Arm in the mouth of an alligator

We’ve taken a bite out of New Orleans, now New Orleans is taking a bite out of me!

 

Baby looking in the mouth of an alligator

Where’s my mummy?

 

Yesterday’s post: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Tomorrow’s post: Snap Happy in the French Quater

 

 

 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Daily Pics: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Mah Mah and Yah Yah have arrived after 19 hours in transit. Plans almost foiled by a missed plane connection, a mile long train which stopped strategically so no road traffic could actually pass, and an intricate logistics shuffle to leave the car back at the RV park and get to the hotel in the French Quarter. The good news is that everyone arrived safe and well, Baby Boy O is sleeping like an angel and although we had to wait way too long for our dinner order which subsequently came out cold, the hotel did the right thing and comped us for our meal. Funny how the world always looks better and brighter when you get more sleep. Things are on the up!

 

Man working on laptop in RV

Busy morning with conference calls, work stuff, digital admin and the usual bill paying madness

 

Drive by mail boxes

Mail run and spotted the lazy man’s solution

 

Christmas trees in the department store

Running errands at the mall and noticed Christmas trees. Really? Already?

 

Baby in car seat in front of hotel with bags in background

Crazy how much stuff is needed for a three night stay

 

Paddle boat on the Mississippi

View from the 23rd floor of the mighty Mississippi

 

Baby and mum in mirror

Fluffy robes, white bath, smelly soaps. Happy to be pampered

 

Yesterday’s post: The Big Easy

Tomorrow’s post: 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Daily Pics: The Big Easy

We may be in the big easy, but it wasn’t an easy night of ‘sleep learning’ for Baby Boy O. He cried for the better part of an hour, perhaps even more. Did I say cry? I meant wailed, sobbed, heart breaking howls until he fell asleep, dried salt crusted tears on his face. It had to be done. Somehow he (we) had gotten into the habit of waking up three times a night. An untenable and unsustainable pattern of sleep deprivation that felt like a slow steady torture. Something had to change. Hopefully this is the first step in the right direction. 

 

Baby in dinosaur romper sitting

All happier after a good night’s sleep

 

Winn Dixie supermarket

Taking a stroll around Winn Dixie

 

Baby climbing on dad

Using daddy as a climbing frame after resisting nap time

 

Baby by the pool

Thoughtful reflection by the pool. Getting sleepy…

 

Yesterday’s post: iDisaster

Tomorrow’s post: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Daily Pics: iDisaster

After driving 200 miles yesterday and hop scotching across Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, Sunday was a vey welcome day of rest. However that desired calmness was to be shattered by one little baby boy who, in the last 24 hours, refused to sleep longer than a two hour stretch and an iPhone who decided today was the day it would commit electronic suicide. 

I have to admit I’m not sure which one was worse. Grumpy baby or dead iPhone. Even getting a brand new replacement was bitter sweet. The last backup was in April. Thankfully most photos, with the exception of about 100 taken over the last five days, had backed dutifully. Nevertheless losing some of Baby Boy Os first Halloween pics was sad. Today’s post is thin on photos. 

 

Sleeping baby

First photo with replacement iPhone. He’s finally asleep, but not for long

 

Yesterday’s post: From Walmart to Whole Foods

Tomorrow’s post: The Big Easy

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Daily Pics: From Walmart to Whole Foods

Access to healthy food choices is so important to overall health. It’s fascinating to see how variety differs significantly as we drive through towns in America. On the whole, access to fresh produce has improved since we did our last road trip in 2005. It is nice to see Walmart stock more organic products and a decent selection fresh produce.

I am so very thankful that the diet we grew up with was one that was balanced and healthy. Junk food was rare, water was the main drink in the house and processed foods were occasional. I am soberly reminded every now and then that not everybody had the same privilege. This morning we did a quick top up shop in Walmart. As we were checking out the slightly older cashier asked me what vegetable this was? I replied broccoli!

Contrast that to the Wholefoods in Jackson Mississippi. We happen to stumble across an on store chili competition. Ten delicious chillies made with all sorts of ingredients like shrimp, andoullie sausage, truffles, white beans, polenta and more. All competing for taste buds. We happily obliged.

Disgusting pink punch drink at Walmart

Not sure anything this color should ever be ingested

 

Jar of pickled pigs feet

We’re in the south now

 

Whole foods chili cook off

A great idea by English Hubby to stop at Whole Foods for lunch

 

Small sampling cups of chili

So many delicious choices

 

Baby eating chili

Even Baby Boy O got in on the action!

 

Empty chili cartons

Chili magic act…we made it all disappear 

 

Cup that reads a good day to have a holiday

A nice reminder that right now we are on holiday everyday!

 

Welcome to Louisiana sign

Moving from Mississippi to Louisiana

 

Sunset over the swamp

Sunset over the swamp

 

Moon rising

Blue moon over the bayou

 

Yesterday’s post: Trick or Treat

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 31 October 2014

Daily Pics: Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween! Poor little Baby Boy O doesn’t know what hit him. After a long drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway he gets stripped and changed into a ridiculous outfit and made to pose for pictures for his mum and dad’s viewing pleasure. After all that effort he doesn’t even get candy. Life’s tough buddy. 

 

Car gauges

Rocking the fuel economy using cruise control

 

Mum and Baby Boy O dressing up in lion cub costume

Way too big for him so there was a lot of tucking and cinching

 

Baby in lion cub costume with pacifier

Lion cub eating puppy dog

 

Baby lying on bed with lion cub outfit

Whatcha doing Baby Boy O? …just ‘lion around’

 

Yesterday’s post: The Farm

Tomorrow’s post: From Walmart to Whole Foods

 

 

 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Daily Pics: The Farm

Ever since watching the documentary “The Business of Being Born” I’ve been enamoured with the idea of The Farm. The commune that was established back in the flower power era was, at one brief point, on the list of potential places to give birth. In my mind’s eye we would make the 1,000 mile pilgrimage from New York City to Summertown Tennessee a month before Baby Boy O’s arrival date, arriving joyous, round bellied and greeted by mystical midwives who would sprinkle rose petals as I walked along the path to motherhood. 

Today’s lesson is two fold: firstly, the dream can differ significantly from reality, nevertheless the dream makes you recognize the elements that personally ring true, like the desire to be closer to nature and the belief in the human body to do what needs to be done. Secondly, is that even I have limits to the level of ‘granola-crunchiness-walk-on-a-rainbow-flower-power-patchouli-incense-chanting-and-drumming-earthiness’ I can take without wanting to jump in my petroleum burning vehicle and order a non-vegan burger.

All that being said, I have deep respect for the philosophy and conviction that seeded and grew The Farm to what it still is today. 

 

RV on road with 11 ft bridge

Break on through to the other side, conquering yesterday’s predicament

 

Sign for the farm

Pilgrimage to The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee

 

Visitors center at the farm

Finally made it

 

Door of the visitors center with visiting times

Open 9 to 5…not. Thankfully there were instructions for a self guided tour

 

Philosophy of the farm

The philosophy and conviction I deeply admire

 

Man holding baby in store

Dined on vegan fare at The Farm Store

 

Yellow school bus in disrepair

Legend has it that an old school bus with seats removed and cushions on the floor was a the original midwifery center where babies were guided into this world

 

Barrel with bicycle

Pang of guilt when I mentally calculated how many gallons of gas we’ve used on this road trip

 

Gates leading to organic garden

It may have been organic, but it wasn’t much of a garden

 

Eco house with grass roof

Experiments in alternative ecologically friendly housing

 

Bamboo

Sustainability is key

 

Eco house with black panels

In harmony with the land

 

People in front of Eco house with one man drumming

Accidentally intruding on a meditative drumming session

 

Pumpkins and fungus

Pumpkin power

 

RV on the Natchez trace

Back on the road again in our tiny house on wheels – perhaps even in our gas guzzling vehicle we have a smaller carbon footprint than the average person?

 

Yesterday’s post: Predicament

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Daily Pics: Predicament

Simple predicament…bridge clearance = 11ft, RV height = 11ft, destination = half a mile past the bridge, alternative route = 21 miles around. 

Sometimes life throws things at you and in these moments you recognize that if you can’t go through it, under it or over it, it’s time to go around it. It may take longer, but you do get there in the end.

 

Nachez trace parkway sign

Things are much simpler when people walked this route by foot

 

Bridge with 11 ft sign

One 11 ft bridge

 

Man on RV measuring height

Meets one 11 ft RV. Confirmed by measuring tape

 

Man holding baby ready for bath

Made it to the campground in time for bath time

 

Yesterday’s post: Corvettes and Chevys 

Tomorrow’s post: The Farm

 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Daily Pics: Corvettes and Chevys

If today had a theme, it would be cars. We paid a visit to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. A car collection and memorabilia mecca for enthusiasts. Not being a rev head myself, the most fascinating part of the museum was created in February this year, when a giant sink hole (like the one that revealed the entrance to Mammoth Caves) opened up and swallowed part of the museum, cars included. 

It was also time to say goodbye to our trusty Chevy Cruz. After three faithful months, over 5,500 miles through sunshine and rain, it was time to retire him back to the rental farm for an oil change and service. In exchange we now have a spacious silver bullet of a car. 

 

Blue corvette

The Italians have Lamborghini, the Germans have the Porsche, the Americans have the Corvette

 

White 1960 corvette

A classic beauty

 

Racing corvette surrounded by mannequins

The mannequins adds to the faux racing excitement

 

Blue racing corvette

Throwback to racing days of yesteryear

 

Red corvette

Similar to my first (remote controlled) racing car, a hard earned prize for getting my first filling at the dentist

 

Red concept corvettes

Fast forward to concept cars. Hail the curvature of mighty fiberglass

 

Corvette museum sink hole

The coolest part of the museum – a sink hole that opened up and swallowed eight Corvettes

 

Corvette broken

Chewed up 

 

Black Chevy and silver Nissan

Farewell Chevy, hello Nissan

 

Yesterday: Mammoth Caves 250 Feet Underground

Tomorrow:

 

 

 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Daily Pics: Mammoth Caves 250 Feet Underground

Mammoth Caves National Park rocks! Pun intended. We descended 280 steps, ducking and weaving our way 250 feet underground to the largest cave system in the US. A maze of tunnels 400 miles long, created by water seeping its way through limestone over millions of years. Baby Boy O did remarkably well spending near to two hours strapped to the front of dad. Thank goodness for good hearted National Parks guides and their torchlight tricks.  

 

Sign for mammoth caves national park

Loving our national parks

 

People waiting at entrance to mammoth caves

One of the many entrances to the cave

 

Cave rocks

Subterranean  

 

Baby with dad in mammoth caves

My little adventurer

 

Baby and dad in caves

Ducking and weaving

 

Frozen Niagara mammoth caves formation

Frozen Niagara formation

 

Stalactites and stalagmites

Stalactites hold tight to the ceiling and stalagmites might grow up to the ceiling one day

 

Mammoth caves bus

Baby Boy O wakes as we get on the bus back to the visitors center

 

Beautiful trees

We go for a lovely walk on the heritage trail as we wait for English Hubby to finish is second tour down in the caves

 

Yesterday: Shoney’s Sunday

Tomorrow: Corvettes and Chevys

 

 

 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Daily Pics: Shoney’s Sunday

One of the pleasures of road tripping across America is being able to sample various fast food “restaurants”. Living in New York City quarantines you from the delights of interstate dining where clusters of eateries vie for your dining attention. For miles leading up to the turnoff are signs advertising all you can eat buffets, breakfasts served past noon, crispiest fried chicken with a serving of heart attack. Today we caved and ventured into one we hadn’t dined at before…Shoney’s. 

 

Baby in PJs in bed

Lazy Sunday morning in bed

 

Baby smiling

All dressed and ready to go

 

Baby with apple pieces

But first, an apple snack

 

RV park

A stroll around the RV parking lot aka campground that was our home for the last three nights

 

Shoney's restaurant

Sampling the delights of Shoney’s

 

Buffet

All you can eat buffet with a tiny salad and tons of fried food

 

Salad plate

Fairly healthy, minus the fish fry and fried okra

 

RV in Krogers supermarket carpark

Next a top up at Krogers

 

Dinosaur by the interstate

Then off to Mammoth Caves National Park…yes, that is a dinosaur by the interstate

 

Yesterday: Kentucky’s Finest

Tomorrow: Mammoth Caves 250 Feet Underground

 

 

 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Daily Pics: Kentucky’s Finest

Kentucky sure is proud of its bourbon heritage. Two tours and several tastings later I’ve come to intellectually appreciate the art of bourbon making, however the enjoyment of the drink itself still eludes me. Nevertheless loving another glorious day in the sunshine.

 

Sign for awesome flea market

Hard to resist, but the Kentucky Bourbon Trail awaits

 

Man and stroller in front of Jim Beam center

First stop, Jim Beam. 95% of the worlds bourbon is made in Kentucky and 50% that comes from here

 

Man pouring corn into hopper

English Hubby giving them a hand

 

Bourbon barrels

It’s all about the barrels

 

Washing bourbon bottle

Giving a hand to wash…

 

Baby touching bourbon bottle

…and bottle

 

Bourbon making process

Making this stuff is a piece of cake 

 

Collage of Jim beam

Thanks to the Beam family 

 

Standing on the devils cut

Walk in a straight line please ma’am

 

Kentucky farmland

Back roads

 

Makers mark distillery

Trying out a smaller distillery

 

Tour group at makers mark

History lesson 

 

Stream flowing through makers mark distillery

Beautiful grounds with the right water being the key ingredient

 

Vat of bourbon mash

A matter of yeasty chemistry

 

Baby with makers mark label

Baby Boy O having a taste…of the label

 

Man tasting bourbon

Now for the real taste test, finished off with a chocolate bourbon ball

 

Makers mark advertisement

Cheeky

 

Baby kissing mummy

A different sort of cheeky, with a big serving of slobber

 

Yesterday: Louisville Surprise

Tomorrow: Shoney’s Sunday

 

 

 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Daily Pics: Louisville Surprise

Lexington was what we pictured it to be. Louisville was not. It was way cooler! To our surprise there is a great vibe and a laid back feel. As Maria the ex-New Yorker said, “it is a city with small town culture”. Loving Louisville.  

 

Main Street Louisville

So very Main Street

 

Airstream coffee trailer

Stumbled upon a pop up space

 

Pop up food stall behind mound of grass

Hand crafted local beer, pulled pork and more

 

Lunch in Louisville

Perfect for a bite

 

People dancing

And an after lunch Nia session

 

Plants growing in bottles

Green scene

 

R2D2

R2D2 came to visit!

 

Mirror with lots of reflection

Look closely…what do you see?

 

Solar powered trash cans

What a great idea

 

Dummy grenade sign

What a dumb idea

 

Large baseball bat on side of building

Off to the Louisville Slugger factory

 

Holding Mickey mantles bat

Batter up! Holding Mickey Mantle’s bat

 

Baseball bat factory

Hands on in the factory

 

Baby with miniature baseball bat

Little little league

 

Statue on main st Louisville

Art on the streets

 

Limo covered in spots

Kitsch

 

Horse statue with feather boa

Kentucky chic

 

Baby in stroller giving thumbs up

Thumbs up to the coolest kid in town

 

Material art

Gallery in C21 hotel

 

Gallery space in C21 hotel

Hotel with a twist

 

Family selfie

Modern day family selfie in the elevator bank

 

Louisville skyline

Louisville skyline

 

Ohio river

Meeting of the rivers

 

Muhammad Ali museum

Quick visit to the Muhammad Ali museum

 

Quote

An interesting character

 

Shadow boxing Muhammad Ali

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

  

Yesterday: Year of the Horse

Tomorrow: Kentucky’s Finest

 

 

 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Daily Pics: Year of the Horse

Lexington Kentucky is exactly how I had pictured it – long white fences, green rolling hills and lots of horses. Personally I’ve never been a horse person, but one can’t help but appreciate the majesty of these fine creatures when you get to see them up close and personal.

 

Baby on activity mat

Today’s milestone – his first unassisted forward roll onto his tummy 

 

Beautiful red tree

Watching the change in season is just beautiful

 

Champion race horse

Parade of champions – what a way to retire

 

Sign for da hoss

English Hubby’s favorite

 

Miniature horse stable

So small we couldn’t even see it

 

Man and baby watching horse show

Horses of the World show 

 

Baby and mum on a horse

This one refuses to move!


Baby stroking a horse

Nice and gentle 

 

Family photo with horse

Horsin’ around

 

Horse follows baby

She had a little crush on him

 

Baby laughing in stroller

My little boy, born in the Year of the Horse

 

Bronze statue of Secretariat

Magnificent creatures, each with their own personality

 

Plate of KFC

Had to have Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky!

 

Yesterday’s post: Winners!

Tomorrow’s post: Louisville Surprise

 

 

 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Daily Pics: Ouchies

Getting Baby Boy O’s vaccinations on the road is not as simple as it seems – calling countless pediatricians, some of whom won’t do alternative schedules, many of whom don’t use the same triple dose shot, a false start and then having to play the medical records transfer game. Still, none of that compares to the pain Baby Boy O had to endure. He was such a brave little trooper today, earning himself two Spider-Man band aids. 

 

Happy baby

Waking up so happy

 

Baby feet sticking out

Little Houdini with his feet 

 

Books about god

You know you’re moving closer to the Bible Belt when you see this resding material at the pediatrician.

 

Lexington diner storefront

Lunch after pricks and post office run 

 

Burger and slaw

Bourbon burger with Renada’s homemade slaw and family secret potato salad recipe

 

Blue grass tour bus

“House” farm tours

 

Horse capital of the world sign

Equine epicenter

 

RV servicing center

Barter – RV servicing for advertising 

Baby with Spider-man band aids on his legs

My brave little boy coming home with Spider-Man trophies

 

 

Yesterday: Bridge Day

Tomorrow: Winners!

 

 

 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Daily Pics: Bridge Day

What would compel a sane person to attach a backpack, throw themselves off a bridge, free fall toward the ground, pull a chute and hope to god it works, then try to navigate the winds to land on a small target by a raging river? Respect to professional base jumpers. 

Funny thing is after watching a few hurl themselves over the egde for Bridge Day, you start to demand more theatrics. The daring but plain forward free fall is no longer enough. Twists, pikes, backward flips and tandem jumpers captivate. You quickly get dulled to the fact that each time they jump they are dicing with death. So blasé. More more more! 

 

Baby strapped to mum in a sling in an RV

My barnacle baby, strapped tight so I can get a few things done around the RV

 

Items in a kitchen sink

Securing the fort. Packing up the RV to move onto the next destination

 

RV parked up

Farewell Summerville Lake Retreat. It’s been swell

 

Baby giving mum a kiss

Baby Boy O has learned to kiss…actually it is more like smooch and lick

 

People on the bridge

Thank goodness we took a bus to Bridge Day. No parking here! 

 

Baby in carrier with dad

Hanging out with dad. No parachute here

 

New river gorge sign with zip liners

No zip-lining today

 

View from the bridge

Just a small drop

 

Baby with hoodie smiling

Don’t throw me off please!

 

One base jumper jumping off bridge

One base jumper

 

Two base jumpers jumping off a bridge

Two jumpers

 

Bridge jump landing spot near river

X marks the landing spot

 

Concession stand

Not a real Philly cheesesteak nor an Italian sausage

 

Fake Philly cheesesteak

Impostor!

 

Baby and mum in front of yellow school bus

Ride back to the car park. Baby Boy O’s first school bus ride

 

RV on road with motorcyclists following

Cruising along the Midland Trail

 

Golden dome of Charleston capital building

Quick stop in Charleston to drop off the grill at the UPS store

 

Grocery bags full of food in RV

Restocking

 

Happy baby having diaper change

Nappy / diaper change

 

Welcome to Kentucky sign

Hello Kentucky

 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Daily Pics: Around The World In 91 Days

Airline tickets are now booked. In December we will depart on the next leg of our nomadic lives, with stops in London, Singapore, Bali, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and back to Dallas to resume our road trip. 91 days hopping countries, and continents via plane. Lugging baggage and adjusting to time zones with a little one in tow. All I can say is thank goodness for our brilliant travel agent who helped us through a monumental booking exercise – juggling a multi-city gig, making flight times as reasonable as possible and planning with precision to avoid rush hour traffic en route. As John “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team genre use to say, I love it when a plan comes together. 

Really looking forward to quality time with family and friends all round the world. 

  • Thanksgiving in Dallas: ~24 Nov to 1 Dec
  • Christmas in London: 1 Dec to 27 Dec
  • Years’ end in Singapore: 28 Dec to 31 Dec
  • Wedding in Bali: 31 Dec to 7 Jan
  • Sun n Surf in Sydney: 7 Jan to 13 Jan
  • Chinese New Year in Melbourne: 13 Jan to 23 Feb
  • Hanging out in Hong Kong: 23 Feb to 28 Feb
  • Lounging around Los Angeles: 28 Feb to 2 Mar
  • Returning to the RV in Dallas: 2 Mar onwards, heading east
 
 
Computer

Planing frenzy: Tickets – check. Travel insurance – check. Request for bulk head bassinet seats – in progress. Visas – to do…

Monday, 13 October 2014

Daily Pics: In Search of Wifi

The person who said plans never go to plan is totally right. The campground we picked was in the middle of a communications dead zone – crappy cell signal and snail paced wifi. Great for tuning out, but horrible for a work day where English Hubby was planning to make calls and I was planning to respond to emails, research flights and catch up on blogging. We hotfooted it out of dodge and ended up an hour and a half further west. At the end of an impromptu transit day, I’m thankful for so many things, not least of all for fast wifi. 

 

Baby with plate of food and pear in mouth

Tasting menu – cucumber, pear and carrot

 

Dad and baby with baked bean surprise

Baked bean surprise comfort food

River view

Picturesque campground if you ignore the fact that it is wedged between a scenic byway and train tracks

 

RV on a highway

Getting outta there and heading to the land of wifi

 

Indoor grilling of vegetables

Indoor grilling since the winds have picked up. There’s talk of tornados in Kentucky!

 

Steaks on an indoor grill

Thankful for Walmart where we bought this hardworking little grill

 

Steak and grill vegetable dinner

Dinner fit for kings and queens

 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Daily Pics: Frederick

Spent the day exploring the little historic city of Frederick. A few square blocks of historic buildings, sites and civil war personalities. More interesting than I’d thought it would be was the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. It wasn’t a flashy museum as museums go, just a few rooms packed with eye opening information.

Did you know the biggest cause of death during the civil war was disease (round of the mill diarrhea and so on) caused by unsanitary conditions in the camp?! Further exacerbated by poor diet and overall health of the soldiers. When you spend over 95% of your conscripted time off the battlefield, hanging around with others waiting to head to the front line, it can be a real killer.

My favorite snippets were of the women who assumed male aliases and dressed in drag to fight in the war. Passing the not so thorough medical exam, they often refused medical attention when injured on the battlefield in order to hide their true identities. Full of historical facts, stories and gory details like descriptions and photos of battlefield amputations which were rather common, the museum is not to everyone’s taste.

 

Canal with walking paths

A stroll along the canal. Amsterdam it is not!

 

Bronze statue of children reading

Past the library

 

Baby eating from spoon

Playing with solids

 

National museum of civil war medicine sign

Worth a visit

 

Diorama of civil war soldiers

Wonderfully fake, a little kitsch but informative

 

Civil war surgery kit

Upon leaving, we heard a guy tease his squeamish mother by saying “let me buy you a bone saw as a souvenir”.

 

Mum kissing baby

Managed to find a delicious authentic Thai restaurant – Sumittra. Also the perfect place for pre lunch kisses

 

Ducks in the canal

Post lunch walk along the canal

 

Purple water lilies

Beauty grows from mud

 

Sweeties store front in Frederick

A sweet reminder

 

Historical church

History on the streets

 

Happy Halloween pumpkins in Frederick

Getting to the season

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Daily Pics: A Long Time Since Movie And Red Wine Club

It’s been a long time since movie and red wine club. We went from being fancy free and single, living the SITC lifestyle, to somewhat happily married surburbanites with little boys. It was a beautiful calm morning sitting on sofas, sipping cups of tea and getting philosophical about life with Conscious Christine. Always an eye opening conversation with a treasured friend.

 

Conscious Christine and buzz light year with baby boy o

Morning cuddles with our boys who came to us against the odds

 

Tummy time

Trying a bit of tummy time

 

English hubby taking baby boy o to rover

Loading up the previous cargo

 

Five guys burger

Taking a sneaky Five Guys lunch break

 

Bags of jook

Something a little more healthy for Baby Boy O

 

Yesterday’s post: Two Little Boys Hiking In The Woods

Tomorrow’s post: Frederick

 

 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Daily Pics: Two Little Boys Hiking In The Woods

Woke bright and early on a crisp autumn day, blended up some green juice, booted and suited up to go hiking in the woods. It was a divine walk along the lake in Nockomixon State Park. Two Aussies, one Brit, three Yankees, one stroller, a baby bjorn and a posh fascinator. A brilliant start to a camping tradition.

 

Morning buddies

Good morning buddy!

 

Sydney gal with fascinator

This is how we go hiking all the time

 

Before hiking shot

The before shot

 

Baby boy o in stroller

If you go into the woods today…

 

Beautiful state park lake

…you’ll find a big surprise..

 

Baby boy o in bear suit

…if you go into the woods today you won’t believe your eyes…

 

Hiking friends

Nice to stretch the legs

 

Breakfast back at the cabin

Well earned breakfast

 

Baby boy h eating avocado

Don’t think much about this green stuff!

 

Campsite

Farewell campground

Baby boy o throwing up

Cry baby spewy baby

 

Entering Baltimore

Hello Baltimore

 

Baby boy o and buzz lightyear lying on a mat

Hang in’ out with Buzz Light Year

 

Choosing Halloween treats

The agony of choice

 

Cienna wine

Wine with good old friends

 

Yesterday’s post: Cabin Dwellers

Tomorrow’s post: A Long Time Since Movie and Red Wine Club

 

 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Daily Pics: Cabin Dwellers

Having fled the Hillbilly Hilton¬†were now settled in a much nicer campground. Our friends are meeting us in New Hope and then coming to join us for the night. We’ve promised them a campfire, a cook out, s’mores and good old fashioned outdoor fun. They have the cabin and we have moved to the adjacent RV spot. Welcome cabin dwellers.

 

Baby in frog PJs

Excited about his little buddy coming to camp out

 

RV levelers

Leveling up

 

Baby and dad in new hope

Hello buddy – Happy Baby H

 

Baby with striped hat

Rockin’ the hat

 

Baby sitting on mums lap

Hangin’ with mummy

 

New hope clock

Lazy afternoon in New Hope 

 

Hippies use side door sign

Going with the flow

 

Message on staircase

Artistic delivery up stairs

 

Mum dad and baby on bridge in new hope

Crossing the bridge

 

New Jersey Pennsylvania border

Crossing the line

 

Canals by the Delaware river

Miles of canals 

 

Mums and babies in front of cabin

Cabin friends

 

Woman cooking veges over a grill

Camp cooking

 

Man grilling meat

Jaybo, master of the grill cooking up steaks, ribs and chicken

 

S'mores around the campfire

Squishy s’mores and wine around the campfire

 

Yesterday’s post: Hillbilly Hilton

Tomorrow’s post: Two Little Boys Hiking In The Woods

 

 

Friday, 3 October 2014

Daily Pics: Hillbilly Hilton

On the whole RV parks are pretty nice, but every now and then we come across one that qualifies for hillbilly hilton status. This weekend our friends are joining us for some good old fashioned camping. Thank goodness we checked in a day ahead to do a reconnaissance of the place. We had booked them into a cabin trailer. The rental trailer smelled of putrid air freshner, covering up the wash of disinfectantant, masking the smell of stale cigarette smoke. The couch and bed were so disgusting I felt the need to take a shower after being inside.

 

Horrible rental trailer

Not fit for human consumption

 

Disgusting swimming pool

Swampy

 

RV on the freeway

We got out of there as fast as we could!

 

Man at table planning trip

Finding a nicer RV park for the weekend and forward planning for our trip

 

Man assembling electric grill

Found a much nicer campground! Perfect place to try out our new electric grill

 

New electric tabletop grill

Gave up on the electric grill which kept blowing the switches. This little baby will have to do!

 

Yesterday’s post: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Tomorrow’s post: Cabin Dwellers

 

 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Daily Pics: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

After dropping the RV off for a much needed wheel alignment, we spent the better part of the day in the laundromat. English Hubby is the king of laundry, and no one can separate, wash and dry like he can. Whilst he laundered, I shopped for groceries. What a glamorous division of labor. After that it was back (again) to the RV servicing place to try to work out why the stereo system keeps turning itself on at random times. Still a mystery.

 

Wheel alignment place

Fixing the wobble with a wheel alignment

 

Baby in stroller in laundromat

Getting clean!

 

Man plugging in an electrical cord that does not reach

Just short!

 

RV on freeway

Off to Pennsylvania to set up camp

 

Yesterday’s post: 24 Hours in Manhattan

Tomorrow’s post: Hillbilly Hilton

 

 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Daily Pics: 24 Hours in Manhattan

24 hours is not a lot of time unless you happen to be John Bauer. Still dazed from our return to the big smoke we had a ton of errands to run and it was just one of those days where nothing would be easy, especially not a trip out to the storage unit to pick up our packages in the rain, then a drive out to New Jersey to pick up our RV. All I can say is that we survived and the three of us are still talking to each other. Just.

 

Baby in stroller in manhattan apartment

A tough day

 

Yesterday’s post: Return to the Big Apple

Tomorrow’s post: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

 

 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Daily Pics: Return to the Big Apple

One very sleepless red eye journey later, we are back in the big smoke. Delirious and lugging insane amounts of luggage, we make our way to Big Red’s apartment to catch some much needed shut eye. Frankly the rest of the day is one big blur. Somehow we manage to engage in conversation and eat Seamless web delivered Indian food (how I miss delivery) in front of our lovely friend who is on a juice cleanse. Not only did we subject her to the smells of chicken tikka masala, samosas and naan bread, but to add insult to injury Baby Boy O would burst into tears everytime attempts at cuddles were initiated. Going to chalk this one down to jet lag.

 

Manhattan skyline from front seat of a car

Good morning Manhattan

 

Baby in orange car seat

Baggage safely delivered. Knocked out cold.

 

Yesterday’s post: Farewell Canada

Tomorrow’s post: 24 Hours in Manhattan

 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Daily Pics: Farewell Canada

For every hello there is a goodbye, and today we say a sad “see you later”. It has been an amazing week and a half, being with family. This bit is never fun, but it is a great reminder to enjoy every moment because it is only this very moment that we have.

 

In bed with the grandparents

Good morning to you, good morning to you, good morning Baby Boy O, good morning to you

 

Runny eggs in a bowl

Dad’s breakfast speciality, perfect runny eggs

 

Baby and grandma

Poh Poh I don’t want to leave, can you come with me?

 

Aunty teaching baby to use chopsticks

Learning to eat with chopsticks

 

Siu Mai

So many yummy things to try

 

Har how

Daddy’s favourite

 

Gai lan

Don’t forget the greens

 

Loh bak

Traditional favorites

 

Lai Wong bao

My favorite

 

Baby and grandma at dim sum

Poh Poh’s favorite

 

Grandpa pushing stroller down ramp

After lunch shopping so Gong Gong can buy Baby Boy O an outfit

 

Grandparents giving baby a red packet

Thank you Gong Gong and Poh Poh

 

Kisses and hugs for baby

So many hugs and kisses – Poh Poh wouldn’t let this one go!

 

Family photo with mum at Vancouver airport

See you soon!

 

United States departure sign

Back “home” we go

 

Me and baby with bear

But not before running into a big black bear

 

Baby sleeping in sling

Fast asleep before the plane takes off

 

Mum dad and sleeping baby on a plane

Waiting to get off the ground

 

Baby sleeping in bassinet on plane

Thank goodness for the bulk head seats with the bassinet

 

Flying into the sunrise

Sunrise. Hello New York!

 

Yesterday’s post: Forget The Ryder Cup

Tomorrow’s post: Return to the Big Apple