Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Visit from Aunt Jojo

My sister just (well, a week ago) left us from a glorious ten day visit.

I didn't realize how lonely I get until I had her with me for a whole ten days.

It's not just the loneliness that comes with being a stay-at-home mom. It's just living here, isolated, away from family, away from friends I've had since... forever. With a time difference that makes talking to people sometimes difficult to line up, and everyone (myself included) having fairly busy lives, so contact is limited even more.

So it's lonely here. But I don't notice HOW lonely until I have someone with me. Especially a WOMAN someone. Especially my SISTER.

It was a great visit. And I miss her terribly.

Mmmm. Wallaby.
We did a lot of the typical stuff with her that we do with all our visitors who stay long enough to do things with. Local wildlife at Wings Wildlife Park, ice cream, multitudes of honey and bees at Melita Honey Farm aka The Honey Place, fudge and coffee at Fudge n' Good Coffee, fish n chips, the beach (not together this time... because of naps and rain and mostly naps), being inside an I-spy picture at Reliquaire, and sampling local or national foods and drinks at random places very close to us. Including a wallaby my brother-in-law shot for us that I brined for a few days and roasted (best tasting wallaby I have EVER made).

Joanna had a benefit none of our other guests have had, though. I have my Australian drivers licence (because my permanent resident visa was approved, Yay! It's a long long story, that one), and finally feel (sort of) comfortable driving around myself. On the wrong side of very narrow roads.

Playing with Aunt Jojo in his "hole".
It is not a slide, it is a hole.
Of course, since she's family, Joanna spent a TON of time with her nephew. And Simon soaked it up. He adores his "Aaa Joooo" (Aunt Jo). His thought process probably went something like this: "Someone to play with me, make noises, color, is completely at my beck and call? And is closer to my height than Mama and Daddy? I LOVE YOU!" He loves her so much, in fact, that when she left, he kept asking where she was, and has, for 5 days now, thrown MASSIVE tantrums at dinner time (his time to process why his new favorite person is no longer with him). How do I know it's over Joanna leaving? I don't 100%. But after about 15 minutes of screaming, crying, and flailing he scarfs down his food quite happily (including broccoli and kale), so it's not a food issue.

Wings Wildlife: Where you can pat and feed

Joanna (and all of us) got to pat the baby Devil!

Who needs to pat a baby Tasmanian Devil?
Simon has LEAVES.
Because those are rare...

Simon being cheeky with the wonderful woman who was
giving talks and letting us pat the animals.

We all got to pat Doug,
the most adorable baby wombat EVER.

I thought a bird this large would be SCARY.
Nope, like me, he LOVES the emu!
He tried to share his water with it.
We miss you Joanna! We were so glad to have you visit us!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hike to Westmorland Falls

This past weekend was a very busy one for us. It was labor day weekend in Tassie, which meant three day weekend! Three days Phillip had off work to spend with Simon and me.

But since an old friend/my sister-in-law's now-fiancĂ©e-but-over-the-weekend-was-her-boyfriend was visiting, there were extended family outings planned. Which turned in to just the two of them, us three, and my mother-in-law, for a hike to Westmorland Falls. Then an "only our little family" outing to   Steam Fest, but that's fodder for another post.

Playing with a new texture: moss
Hiking with a toddler is... interesting. This was a fairly easy hike. Not flat, but not a whole lot of steep inclines that can be typical of hiking paths around here. But it was not stroller or pram friendly at all. Thankfully, Simon seems to have even more energy than your average 1.5 year old, and wanted, and was able to, walk most of the 2+ hour hike. The only parts he didn't walk were the parts we deemed to steep and slippery for him, or when we walked very close to water or over bridges. And he fought us the whole time to get down and walk himself.

A little over an hour of walking and we reached the main falls. It was beautiful. While us adults find such things calming and want to relax for a bit by them enjoying the beauty, our little toddler wanted to keep waking and exploring (no tired feet or little legs on this one, let's keep moving!). Phillip was kind enough to take him tramping through some mud and bushes so I could take photos.

Throwing leaves off the bridge on the way to the falls

The walk back was slightly more relaxed. Simon walked nearly the whole way back, complaining, again, at any assistance given so he didn't tumble head over heels down steep embankments. I ended up with an excruciatingly sore knee (no idea why) and a bad blister because I stepped in water while taking photos.

It was a lovely walk though, and we'd love to do it again!

The end result of over two hours of walking
Simon was pooped at the end of the walk, but somehow not utterly exhausted. He napped for a solid 40 minutes in the car, woke up, and ran some more.

I don't wonder why I'm so tired at the end of every day, any more. This child needs this level of activity every day to keep him happy and sane!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bitten. Again.

As if snakes weren't bad enough, I have to also worry about venomous ants. 

I got bit for the first time, by Jack Jumpers, last week. 

I've been bitten by Inchmen before. It wasn't nice. Hurt a LOT, and was swollen and itchy for over a week.

When Phillip and I were in Hobart for Ben we visited a free museum (doctors encouraged us to get out of the hospital in between tests as much as possible). There was a Jack Jumper nest on display. And some facts about them being the deadliest animal... creature... in Tasmania

Which was surprising. I mean, it's an ant. And not even a large ant. 

But they have a pretty venomous sting that, unfortunately, can commonly cause anaphylaxis. 

They can also jump. 

And have quite a temper. 

And there are at least 3 nests on the small bit of property we own, and the immediate surrounding area that our landlord lets us use (though we don't technically rent that land). I knew they give pretty painful bites (second-hand knowledge till now), and that Phillip is so allergic to the sting, the surrounding area gets ridiculously swollen. Yet another thing I've had to avoid like crazy during outdoor play so Simon and myself don't get stung. They are EVERYWHERE around our house. 

But when we took a walk one evening with Simon, and I saw some blackberries that looked ripe, I was thinking more along the lines of "there's no snakes around, yay! Simon loves blackberries, I can give him a small treat!" than looking out for yet another Jack Jumper nest. So as I reached to check the blackberries, I started to feel a sudden BURNING sting on my ankle. 

Looking down, there were Jack Jumpers swarming everywhere around my foot. I have no real idea what happened next except I apparently, in a panicked tone, asked my husband for help while flicking the ants out of my sock and backing away from the nest, then grabbed Simon and we walked away, me swearing in my head and trying not to panic. 

The ants didn't stay on me, and I only ended up with three bits on my ankle. Somehow I didn't get stung on the hand while pulling the ants out of my sock. Based on my reaction from the Inchman bite, I was thinking something along the same lines would happen or worse, and began frantically (calmly) Googleing what to do for the bites.

I was worried for nothing, as it turns out. All night, the most that happened was the bite marks stung badly now and then, and a week and a day later, they are just VERY itchy. But no worse than a mosquito bite. 

And I have, yet again with my reaction to something, scared Simon sufficiently enough that he really doesn't want anything to do with these bugs. He kept saying "Ma, ow. Ow. Ba bu." (Translated: Mommy, ow. Ow. Bad bugs.) I'm taking that as a very good thing to come out of this.

Also good? Learning the ant stings don't do much more to me than hurt like hell.