Australia – Sunshine Coast
Yoga – Finding Balance
When we landed on Christmas morning in the Brisbane Airport my head was spinning. We left Bali at 9.30pm Christmas Eve and landed in Brisbane at 5AM Christmas Morning. I realized on the flight that Vivian most likely had a fever, we had an hours drive to get to our accommodation, and I really hadn’t done much planning for Christmas. Needless to say I was feeling a little off balance. Luckily the airport was pretty quiet on Christmas Morning and we had no trouble getting our rental car organized. I was surprised to learn we would be driving a Mercedes!
When I initially made the reservation 6 months ago I thought the advertisement of ‘a Mercedes or similar vehicle’ would most likely land us in a mid size Toyota Camry, but true to the advertisement we were going to be driving the Sunshine Coast in style. Here is me trying to figure out all the gadgets and getting myself a bit accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the car and mentally switching myself to the left side of the road. Talk about being off balance!
I had experience driving on the opposite side of the car and road but it had been over 20 years and I was a bit nervous. Being Christmas Morning there was very little traffic on the road and I was able to get my bearings and move us along. We made it to the gorgeous house where we were going to be house/pet sitting about 9AM. I rushed inside to get the stockings stuffed, my dear friend Kim and her daughter Holly were there with some presents for the kids, and we had a dog to bring it all together.
My head was spinning slightly less and I felt like i had my bad mom guilt under control. We got organized and headed over to Kim’s house for a massive Christmas Dinner with all her children and grandchildren. It was a wonderful day. The kids had a blast playing and swimming. We had great conversations. The food was wonderful and it was an amazing feeling to drop into the home and life of my soul sister and be able to pick up where we left off 20 some years ago. It was a fantastic Christmas gift to be with them.
We have been on the road for just over 4 months and although our time in Japan, China, Bali, and Malaysia was wonderful it also took a lot out of me and I was exhausted! Over the past four months we have seen and done so much and made countless adjustments. It all hit me at once and I collapsed on our bed and slept like I had not slept in months. Over the next week I would turn to my yoga practice to help restore my balance.
I incorported tree pose, warrior 3, and balancing half moon into my asana routine. (You can click on the links for yoga journal tutorials on how to do the listed balancing poses.) I struggle with balance on many levels and this practice is essential to help me realign a sense of core stability. After my asana work I held onto that sense of balance and incorporated it into my meditation practice letting it work on my breath and slowly infusing my whole self with a greater sense of balance and stability.
If you are interested in checking out your balance you can simply practice at the kitchen counter. Lift one foot and play with balancing, see if you can let go of the counter, then try it with your eyes closed (hold on to the counter at first!). Slowly you can take this practice away from the counter (or wall), but it is best to have something to hold onto when you first attempt balancing . Finding our balance using our internal kinesthetic awareness is a powerful tool for lifelong balance and this simple daily practice can make a big difference. Give it a try!
Travel – Australia and the Sunshine Coast
Although part of me really wanted to just stay in bed and lounge around the house for the week we were in Brisbane I couldn’t contain my excitement to see this magical part of the world. The number of outstanding beaches in Australia boggles my mind and the Sunshine Coast boasts some of the best. There are thousands and thousands of miles of coastline and most of it is uninhabited. The land mass of Australia is similar to that of the contiguous states of America and while the United States has a population of 323 million people Australia has a mere 24million (less than the population of California!). Needless to say finding a lovely beach that isn’t crowded is not a problem.
We happened to score our house/pet sit right in the gorgeous town of Mooloolaba and it’s gorgeous beach. Here is a quick view..
Living up to it’s name the Sunshine Coast we had serval sunshine filled days at endless stretches of white sandy beaches. (We also experienced some massive thunder/lightening storms!) The water was the perfect temperature and we were fortunate to be in an area that was currently free of the blue bottle jellyfish. If you plan to head to the beaches of Australia I recommend doing some research into the jellyfish seasonal migrations. We ran into them during our stay in Hawaii and while they are not dangerous it is certainly unpleasant. This blog (https://thriftyfamilytravels.com) is particularly useful when it comes to researching Australia and the Sunshine Coast travel.
Another of our favorite outings around Brisbane was the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. One of Vivian’s Christmas wishes was to hold a koala bear and this was the place to do make that wish come true. It is a sweet little sanctuary that cares for koalas and a few other Austailian favorites like dingos, tasmanian devils, the kookaburra bird, platypus, kangaroos/wallabys, and the wombat. We really enjoyed it and felt it was good value for the money. I know the Australian Zoo (Steve Erwin) is also amazing but it was out of our budget. The Lone Pine Santuary came in at half the price and delivered the experience we wanted.
One thing I really wanted to do while we were in the Brisbane area was snorkel the southern most tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Our snorkeling experience in Bali was average and we were disappointed by the bleached coral. I was hoping we would have better luck with Lady Musgrave Island. So I used our Christmas money from Grandma and Grandpa to purchase a day tour on the Lady Musgrave Experience.
We had to drive about 3 hours from Mooloolaba to get to the village of Bundaberg to catch the boat. We had hoped to get to Bundaberg early in the day so we could tour the Bundaberg Brewed Drinks factory and the Mon Repos Turtle Center, but alas we were stuggling with some health issues and only just made it to town in time to eat dinner and get a good nights rest before heading out at 7am for our 3 hour boat ride to the island.
Lady Musgrave Island
I typically get very sea sick so I was a bit nervous about this expedition. I made sure all our family took a motion sickness tablet the night before and the morning of our tour. I was impressed with the results. There were a lot of people who got sick on the ride out to the island but we make it unscathed. We did have a little tummy turning but it was remedied by standing on the upper deck with the wind in our face and the endless blue ocean all around us. We had a great day on the water snorkeling and exploring the island, but it was a bit of a disappointment because the reef is mostly bleached. Our expectations of Finding Nemo were too high..
After getting back to Mooloolaba we had a day to recover and then got ready to celebrate New Years Eve on Mooloolaba Beach. It was a wonderful evening and under a gorgeous full moon we watched the fire works cascade over the ocean and said goodbye to 2017 and all it’s tumultuous life changing events and welcomed the clean slate of 2018.
Momma – Dealing with Illness
On our flight from Bali I realized Vivian had a fever. Luckily the plane was about empty and she was able to stretch out and go to sleep. The Ibuprofen brought the fever down and when we landed Christmas Morning she was alert and doing well. We went on to have a lovely Christmas Day. That night she complained of a headache and had another fever. Again the ibuprofen brought down the fever and the next morning she was again up and perky and ready to go. Then one day later she had a rash on her back and belly that traveled to her arms and legs, but did not to up onto her face. We were a bit alarmed and I was trying to hold back my panic. After doing some research and making a few calls we felt confident in a diagnosis of Roseola which is a common childhood virus, but it typically is caught by children from ages 6months to 2 years. Apparently Vivian had escaped exposure to that particular virus when she was younger and had most likely recently picked it up at one of the hotel pools.
It was a rather scary few days with the unexplained high fevers and accompanied headaches and rash. I was very relieved to learn what virus was attacking my baby girl. She was a trooper and made it through just fine, but it was a worry. My heart goes out to parents and families who are struggling with sick children. It is such a helpless feeling to see children suffering and not be able to fix it. Knowing that this was her fight and all I could do was support her and give her the encouragement and love she needed while her body healed itself was tough.
A few days later Leo started throwing up and couldn’t hold water down. He had convulsive throwing up each time he tried to drink water for about 6 hours. I sat with him all day and asked him to take sips of water. We stayed home and just worked on getting 2 cups of water in him over the next 6 hours. Finally by that evening he was able to keep down a cracker and his water. We suspect he had dehydration sickness because none of us came down with a similar stomach virus which would be typical. We had spent several days in the intense summer sun and didn’t drink enough water. Between all the travel and excitement/dissapointment of Christmas coupled with hours at the beach we think he just got too dehydrated and his body went into revolt. After a full days rest and recovery he was back in action.
Just in time too! The next morning we were up meeting the New Year with a gorgeous sunrise over the fantastic Sunshine Coast and getting ready to fly to our next destination Melbourne, Australia! It had been an exciting and intense last week of the year. Making it to Australia and having a home to stay in with the accompanying crazy dog to care for was wonderful. Having Christmas and getting to catch up with my long time and dear friend Kim her husband and her family who I had not seen in fifteen years was fantastic. The day of snorkeling, holding Koala Bears, and lovely afternoons at gorgeous beaches was magical. BUT, it was also all a bit intense and tulmultuous when you throw in a virus and some serious dehydration sickness!! I think it is time for us to take it easy for a week or two…. So let’s head to Melbourne!
Until next time…
Enjoy the moments,