Melbourne Trip

I had heard a lot about Melbourne before we went for our visit - in retrospect, I probably heard too much because my expectations were sky-high.  I was impressed driving in from the airport on Thursday night - the streets were wide (if you live in Sydney you will get why that is a big deal) and the city looked large and very planned.  We finally arrived and checked in to The Rialto around 10pm - I knew it was going to be a good stay when they took our bags from us and took them up to the room while we were getting checked in.  The room was sumptuous - not huge; but well appointed.

Every single detail was perfect and the shower alone was worth the price tag.  Joe immediately collapsed into the luxurious bed; but, me being me, I needed to take a couple of hours to wind down.  I decided to unpack and settle the room - and check out the mini-bar.  Then I decided that I wanted a bourbon and ginger; but there was no little ice/freezer compartment in the fridge.  I pressed the "instant service" button on the phone, asked for ice and was promised that it would be delivered promptly.  It was...  in a silver bucket big enough to bathe a baby in, on an additional silver platter, with a doily.  I could have made hundreds of drinks with all that ice!  Anyway, drink in hand, I finished unpacking and then decided to give the shower an inaugural run still with drink in hand.  It was perfect.... enough said....

We ventured out the following day for a self-guided walking tour of the city...  It was very quiet since it was Good Friday and not much was open; but we still had a great little wander.  There was a lot that I liked about Melbourne; but there was a lot that I didn't.  The little lane ways were gorgeous.... This one in particular, full of graffiti art was one of my favourites.  We walked around the CBD, went to Southbank, walked around Federation Square and rounded out the day with dinner in Fitzroy.  Back to the hotel for a nightcap and called it a day.

Saturday the city was much more vibrant - everything was open and there were tourists everywhere!  We had to pick up our rental car around 3 so we had an early breakfast at the hotel and headed out again.  We went to the Observation deck at the top of the Eureka tower.  It was cool seeing the city laid out like that and I got to see where the Australian Open is held (fairly easy to spot due to the massive quantity of blue courts).  It made me realise that we still have not been to the top of the tower in Sydney - We will have to rectify that this Spring (Fall if you are reading this in America) when Joe's parents come to visit.  We wandered some more and ended up at a Yum Cha restaurant looking out over the river for lunch and then went to pick up our rental  car.

Side note - I was nervous using Europcar as I had never used them and they seemed very "Budget-esque"; but they were the only ones with cars left when I was planning the trip so I had no choice.  I have to say though, very very good service - nicer even than Hertz!

Anyway, that was the end of the Melbourne portion of our trip - here are some more photos for your viewing pleasure.....

This guy was crazy-talented!

I've just realised that I now have a picture of Australia's highest restaurant and now Australia's highest postbox - apparently, instead of getting into the giant things that are so prevalent here, I am now into the highest things!

This picture is for Matt

A lead up to the Melbourne Trip...

As some of you may be marking off the days on a special calendar and trembling in anticipation may know, Joe and I are leaving on Sunday the 22nd for an almost 3 week holiday in the States.  Excitement abounds and I am even more busy than usual - what with the packing and preparing...

You would think that being busy would be bad for blog writing; but, in this case, it is forced me to get some stuff done.  I've been wanting to blog about our Easter holiday; but the photos have been sitting - leering at me from my sadly neglected pictures folder.  How do you choose 4 or 5 good photos of the 12 Apostles when you have about 40 photos of them in different shades of sunset?  See... you understand now...

Well, Joe's mom (i.e. the greatest MIL ever) has planned an open house for us during our visit so that we can see the whole family without having to cram a bunch of individual visits into our time there.  We decided to put together a folder of pictures so that people could see where we have been and how beautiful this country is...  Well, actually, I was just going to throw everything into a folder and let it play at random; but Joe has been nice enough to put together something with some heft and depth.  The photos will actually be in order and there will be some labels and explanations as needed.  That will save us from standing next to the tv all day saying - "Yes, this was our trip to Thredbo" - "Oh, that's an Echidna".

Anyway, this whole process necessitated an afternoon on the couch with Joe going through my pictures folder.  I have come to realise that I am not nearly as organised as I like to think I am...  The pinnacle of embarrassment came when I had to show him a folder entitled "Random Australia" in which I had pitched an alarming number of completely random photos.  Add to that the existence of additional random folders in my on-line Picasa account that I had uploaded from my phone; and I am truly feeling sorry for him.  We had many conversations like this one yesterday:

"Oh honey, I don't really like that photo - you should really put up the one of the Botanical Garden"

"Where are those ones?"

"Oh, they are in the folder called Nature - Sydney - Garden"

"That one is empty"

"Oh.....  Did you try Random Australia?"


"Oh....  Here, let me have the mouse"

click.... click.... click... click...

"Here they are!  On-line in my Uploaded Blog Pictures folder"

"Thanks (almost invisible eyeroll)"

Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that we went through all the photos from our Easter holiday and they are now sorted and done.  I was going to have this blog post actually be about Melbourne with some pictures; but now it's sort of long and I don't want to blow everything at once!

Tomorrow my pretties - tomorrow....

But here's an arty picture of the Opera House to tide you over (I know that it doesn't have anything to do with our trip to Melbourne; but I'm feeling guilty for not having any other photos in this post!)

Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him

Hey All,

I know this is supposed to be a post about our trip to Melbourne and our drive on the GOR; but that will have to wait.

There is a blog that I have been following for a while - My best friend Meaghan introduced me to it and I was hooked from the first entry I read. - Please make your way over and check it out.  It's a very funny account of infertility... until she has a baby - then it becomes a very funny account of pregnancy and motherhood in general. The story turns sad though and Jen and her family need help - here is a link to her friend Andrea's blog with all the donation links and information - - Please go there and donate... And if you are living in Cleveland, please consider attending the fundraiser.

I would try to write my own synopsis of the sad story here; but I would do a horrible job.  So, I am going to unabashedly copy straight from her friend Andrea's blog:

I am lucky enough to have known Jen (you might know her as Jennepper!) for a few years and to be able to call her an "in real life" friend. Gianna even considers Oliva one of her BFF's

Jen is amazing. As is her husband Mark. And their girls.

It took 3 years for Jen & Mark to successfully conceive Olivia. Miss O was born on valentine’s day 2009 and has been adorable, dramatic and awesome ever since.

Last summer, Jen & Mark decided to add to their family and after a successful FET they found out they would be having identical twins. Unfortunately, her pregnancy wasn’t all roses & sunshine – there were lots of concerns and doctors and drama. In the end, Jen ended up in the hospital around 32 weeks with hopes of seeing her girls very soon. A c-section was scheduled and the wait began. 
Things went wrong. Very wrong. The girls were born via emergency C-section on December 29, 2010. Itty Bitty Baby, Ainsley, was small but mighty and taken straight to the NICU. Hog Baby, Evelyn, was just as beautiful but born perfectly still.
Ainsley is a fighter. A beautiful little girl who is surrounded by so much love, hope and prayers. She has been through a lot in her short little life – including spine surgery, G-tube surgery and most recently a tracheotomy. 

The road ahead is long and her family has been adjusting to their “new normal” that includes 2 full time working parents, spending time with Olivia and spending whatever time they can with Ainsley along with countless hours in the car coming to and from all of these places.

Who knows what the future holds, all we can do is focus on the now.

When someone is hurting, or in need, as friends we want to do SOMETHING. If we could take away their pain and their hurt we would, but since we can't we typically try to fill their bellies and put a smile on their face in any way possible.

A group of friends, and mom’s, have come together to do just that – support, fill bellies and make smiles. At first our small group of amazing women were able to provide them, amongst other things, a basket full of goodies including gas cards, parking passes, groceries and dinners.
With the long road ahead for the Knepper's, we want to do something more and we want to reach out to all of YOU – all of the wonderful people who follow Jen’s blog, know her in real life and just want to extend their prayers/thoughts/hope into action.

Please share this page, Jen’s story, and ALL of this information in whatever way you can.

Blog about it and link back here. Share the button we have created on your blog. Tweet it. Facebook it. Email it. Donate. Pray. Love. Hope.

We are accepting donations, of all shapes and sizes – there is no such thing as an amount too small.

There is also an event.

Myself along with several other "in real life" friends have put together a fundraiser dinner & Reverse Raffle where 100% of the profit will benefit the Knepper family.
There will be food, booze, reverse raffles, live entertainment, lots of goodies to be raffled off with a side of relaxation.

The event is planned for Saturday July 23rd in Northeast Ohio.

If you are interested in attending the event or if you would like to donate an item to be given away (we’ll take whatever you want to give us!) please contact us for further information.

If you have any questions at all – email us.
We can’t wait to hear from you!

No family should have to go through something like this. No baby should be in the hospital for this long instead of at home. No parent should have to experience loss and joy on the same day, and no one should have to travel this long road without support. As a mother, I can't imagine her loss. As a friend, I can't imagine her strength.

Please share this page, Jen’s story, and ALL of this information in whatever way you can.

Blog about it and link back here. Share the button we have created on your blog. Tweet it. Facebook it. Email it. Donate. Pray. Love. Hope.
Are You Listening