Friday, November 21, 2014

A trip to Costco

Yesterday we headed to the shops to get Mike a phone. The cheep one we had simply was NOT user friendly. While there we told James he could look at the toys. Yikes, a month out from Christmas, how to keep him from begging for everything under the sun? When Sam was a squirt I learned taking her photo and sending it to Grandma Marty did the job. It worked for James too. ya go Grandma Marty. 

Of course there was so much to see that James had a hard time pausing to look at mommy while I took the photo. I told him "Look at the apple." At which pint he'd open his eyes as wide as he could. I showed him his photo and he laughed and said "That's so silly!"

James took this picture. I don't understand why Buzz has punching action when he never punched anything in any of the movies. 

Sam had her eye appointment in the afternoon. She had stressed about getting drops. Yes, she got them. She squirmed and squealed that it strung. 

She did really well and the eye doctor who specializes in pediatrics said "Her eyes look good. She doesn't need to patch anymore. I'd like to see her again in six months."  Although it was a private pay appointment we were charged the same amount as what Medicare will reimburse. So that was great all around. 

Today Mike and I were childless, so we decided to check out the new Costco. New as in its grand opening was yesterday. This is the first Costco in Adelaide. It was a bit of a trek. Still, less of a trek than many Canadians make to bellingham. 

Here's what I heard from other shoppers: 

"Why aren't the staff wearing uniforms?" I think they were all wearing black tops. There was no red vests as per Costco norm. Everyone is still learning though. One of the employees referred to it as a "market" not the warehouse that it is. 

"How much is a gallon?" That's right, a gallon, as in Ziplock gallon freezer bags. The stores here carry Glad bags and store-brand bags, not ziplock. 

In addition to Ziplocks, Costco has Hershey kisses, Reese's peanut butter cups, giant marshmallows, Skippy peanut butter, and lots of Kirkland items. It may seem like no big deal; however, these items are not carried here...actually, I did see Reese's cups at one store, but they were in the speciality section and were over $5 per package.   

It was really nice to see that all the produce was from either Australia or NewZealand, no other countries. The prices were either the same as the grocery store, such as apples at $4.99/kg or less like bananas that sell for $4.99/kg in the shops and were only $2.85/kg at Costco. 

I was told they couldn't issue me a Costco card as my number is from the USA. I wasn't going to argue and simply figured I'd try the membership desk next time we go as they'd have had a bit of time to settle in by then. Thankfully there were no issues at checkout and my name and number showed up in their system quickly. 

After checkout we stopped at the deli (as per Costco tradition). It was nice to get a slice of pizza for $2.99 and a hotdog with drink+refills for $1.99. Dad can now officially feel at home when he visits. 

The deli prices may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Seriously, many delis around here only carry soda in the can and you're looking at paying $3 per can. Even most fast food places don't offer refills and charge around $3 for a small. 

I'm a bit conflicted though. It was really nice to be submersed in the familiarness that is Costco, especially since we're all feeling homesick. The big but is that we're in a foreign country, not America. It's nice to have a taste of home. I love Australia for being Australia and it would be sad for it to become more Americanized than it already has. 

Before heading home we went to the Costco fill station. Elsewhere petrol is $1.49/Liter, at Costco it is $1.18/Liter. If they keep that up membership would pay for itself in no time.  

After all the groceries were tucked away, I opened the Skippy and took a little taste. It was so smooth (even with nuts). I then offered some to Mike. He closed his eyes, let out a little moan and said "Now that's peanut butter."  The shops carry store brand, cheep brand, or Kraft peanut butter and none of it even comes close to the smoothness of Skippy. 

After the kids were home from school we headed south to look at some furniture. Driving down I took a wrong exit from a roundabout and my friend Siri (the gps system on my phone) took us on a ten minute wild goose chase rather than telling me to turn around. Seriously, we went on a dirt road and over a single lane bridge! 

We did get back on tract. As we drove into the beachside town it reminded me of Oak Harbor. 

The people selling the furniture were very kind. In chatting I learned they are Dutch. This is the view from their home. It really reminded me of the view of City Beach from Grandpa and Grandma J's home in O'karber.  

After returning home we jumped in on making more Christmas ornaments. As I'm not going to spoil any surprises, here's a cute photo of Sam trying a Gingerbeer. We were tempted to try the Sasparilla, maybe next time. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No snow, Christmas prep

I've enjoyed photos of snow friends have been sharing lately. The snow is beautiful, the cold is not. We had our cold void of snow a few months ago and are currently welcoming the nice weather. 
Yesterday was another beautiful day. Work went well and I ran a few errands in the city before heading home. No jacket required. 

The migraine medicine has been doing its job. I've had short lived severe headaches every few days. Thankfully, no migraines. Due to the doctor's caution about increased appetite/hunger, I've gone back to counting calories and sticking to a strict 1500 or less.since returning from our vacation I miss running and hope to get back to it as the headaches improve. 

Last night I was startled awake by my tummy. Apparently the bug the kids had made its way to me. Blech! Feeling much better after 14 hours of sleep. 

This is the view from just outside our back door this evening. It's warm, there's hardly any breeze, and the birds and chirping pleasantly. 

This evening the kids and I worked on Christmas ornaments. They spent a fair amount of time arguing over who was making ornaments for who and what colors things should be. 
James kind of had his own idea of what he wanted to do and came up with something entirely different than I intended when setting things up. I encouraged him to follow instructions, when he said he really liked what he was making I stopped and praised his creativity. 
It is challenging for coloring outside the lines. I frequently have to remind myself the purpose isn't for the children to create copy-cat projects, rather to have fun during the process and have fun memories doing projects together. 

A woman from church once shared that she had bought a new Bible. The very first day she had it, her youngest daughter got ahold of it and colored on many of the pages. The Mother was so mad. She was furious. She stopped and instead of reacting, she prayed. When she was done, she didn't yell or punish her daughter. She talked to her about the importance of the Bible and how it is different than other books, how it is God's words to us. Then, in the margins of the pages, she wrote her daughter's name and the date, like a mother would for her child's peice of art. 

I'm sure there were many other times this mother yelled...not judging her, it's just I can't imagine a mother who always prays and uses a challenging situation as a teaching opportunity. I try to keep my patience with the children sometimes it's easier than others. 

Although the kids' bickering really got to me this evening, it warned my heart that they love their family so much as to argue over who would would be making a gift for each one. Seriously, it was nearly each family member, "you don't get to make on for Jordan, you got to make Grandpa's! You can't make that one for Sister, I already made this one for her! 

What I appreciate about this mother's story is that we'd all be able to understand if she lost her temper; however, she didn't. It's just a good example. A Mr. Rogers type reaction. An ideal reaction, a goal. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our Last Night

Our last night in Surfers Paradise and Mike and I decided to go on a date. So of course, five minutes after ordering our dinner my phone rang. James was upset and wanted to be picked up from kids club. 
Thankfully they understood when I said we had left the resort and that it would be a little while before we'd be able to pick him up. He had been whiny and clingy so it wasn't a complete surprise. 

We got James as soon as getting back to the resort. Sam wanted to stay and play. James was happy to be snuggled after we had gotten the bulk of the packing done. Sam was in good spirits when we got her; although, she complained of a tummy ache off and on. She didn't last long before she was in the bathroom throwing up. 
From this I can only conclude that we are not exciting vacationers and simply do better staying home. Poor kids. 

This morning went off without a hitch and the flight was smooth. When we began our descent James dozed off. Mike said to me, "Do you see he is sleeping?" I had. James promptly responded "Daddy, I was NOT sleeping!" And then Immediately fell right back to sleep. 
It feels good to be home. Bags are unpacked and clothes are washing. Kids are asleep and tomorrow it's back to the old routine.