Archive | April, 2013

Breathtaking Byron Bay

15 Apr

For our last day in Australia Rachel and Matt drove us down the coast to an absolutely beautiful spot–Byron Bay. For once I actually got pictures of the scenery rather than pictures of Ruby that could have been taken anywhere! The weather was perfect and the views from the lighthouse lookout were sublime:











We also got to splash in the Pacific Ocean at the gorgeous beach. Ruby was SO excited to go to the beach that she refused to wear anything but her bathing suit when we left the house this morning. The water was nice and cool but the waves were a little rough so we held on tight to our sweet girl.




Here is, quite possibly, the only picture of all eight Atwood/Shellock/Jensen family members in Australia:


Busy Sunday

14 Apr

We had a really fun, busy day today, so standby for tons of Ruby pictures. First we went to church, where we heard an exceptional sermon on grace by a visiting pastor. Ruby remembered the playground from the previous two weeks and was desperate to play on it after the service:


This afternoon we went to Newfarm Park, which has possibly the most awesome playground I have ever seen. There were tons of kids there, and Ruby decided that she wanted to play barefoot like the majority of the Aussies. We all really missed Ruby’s cousins Megan, Ricky, Jenna, and Ben–the day would have been even more fun with them!








Even PopPop, Auntie Elise, Uncle Adam, Auntie Rachel, and Uncle Matt got in on the fun:



This evening Matt’s parents hosted a wonderful barbecue with both sides of his family. It is so very nice to meet everyone and see how much Rachel is loved and has been taken in by everyone halfway around the world. Everyone has been most gracious and welcoming to us, and I hope we can return the favor sometime soon. Sadly this is the only picture I got tonight, but you can see how much Ruby has taken to Matt’s brother-in-law, James:


Baby Shower!

12 Apr

Back when our trip was in the initial planning stages, when I realized that Rachel’s mom, mother-in-law (Ros), sister-in-law (Courtenay), and two of her three sisters would all be together with her in Australia during her first pregnancy, I decided that a surprise baby shower was definitely in order. I had grand plans but then time got away from me and before I knew it we were here, with no means of transportation other than Rachel, no phone, and fairly helpless in general. Thankfully Ros and Courtenay are beyond wonderful and put together a great shower with lots of family and friends. Rachel was fairly surprised, although she did suspect that something might be going on.

It really was a lovely time together celebrating Rachel and her new baby. We played games, including “The Price is Right:”
and baby food tasting:
Ruby helped Rachel open lots of beautiful gifts to choruses of “oh how precious/cute/sweet!”

Ruby practiced her piano-playing skills:

It is so wonderful to spend time with Elise and Rachel, but we all really missed Rebecca, Megan, and Jenna today.


Mt. Coot-tha

11 Apr

While chasing after Ruby at South Bank yesterday, Mom injured her left heel fairly severely, so we have been taking it easy today. It has also been very rainy, so staying close to home has been rather nice. We did venture up to Mt. Coot-tha today for some spectacular views of Brisbane, and the rain obliged us by pausing long enough for us to take some pictures.

Ruby is loving having her Auntie Elise close again:

She also loved the view:

and splashing in puddles:

Ruby enjoyed ice cream at the cafe:

Dad and Rachel relaxing:

Pretty Mommy-to-be:


Splish Splash!

11 Apr

We had so much fun at South Bank the other day that we decided to take Ruby to “the beach” again today. Elise arrived this morning and Ruby was so happy to see her and have her along for another adventure.

Rachel took all but the first two pictures today–I was too scared to have my phone anywhere near the water, and Rach captured Ruby beautifully, as usual.

We started off at the lovely Gaythorne train station, which we are all becoming quite familiar with. Luckily it is a short walk from Matt and Rach’s house, and then we have a nice ride into the city:


It was a little chilly at first so we persuaded Ruby to try playing at the playground for a bit instead of swimming straight away:


Even though it never really warmed up, there were tons of kids enjoying the water and Ruby was desperate to join them. Of course she had a fabulous time splashing about:





After a wonderful time in the water Ruby finally gave into the cold and let me snuggle her and then dress her to come back home:


Brisbane River

10 Apr

Today we just relaxed around the house, but the day before yesterday we had a very full, fabulous day exploring both sides of the Brisbane River. Towards the end of our adventure I dropped my phone in the water (not the river; the splash area for kids), but after soaking in rice for almost two days it appears to be working just fine–hallelujah! I took a bunch of pictures, so here they are…

We took the train in and them Ruby wanted me to carry her while we walked to our first stop–a restaurant right on the water. She fell asleep on the way there and napped until we were all done eating.


After lunch Ruby showed PopPop the boats on the water:

Then we got to ride down the river on a (free!) ferry:


We visited Matt’s father at his beautiful office overlooking the river, and he suggested that we walk over to Queensland University of Technology (both his and Matt’s alma mater) to experience the cube, which is an amazing interactive display depicting the Great Barrier Reef. We were all enthralled, especially Ruby:


After the cube we walked over the river on the pedestrian bridge where Matt proposed to Rachel. Here they are standing in right where the magical moment happened:

The South Bank of the river has an awesome public pool and kiddie splash area where Ruby LOVED frolicking about. She was shivering and had blue lips but refused to quit playing “at the beach.” This is the only picture I got of her before I dropped my phone:

Every day here has been amazing, but Monday may have been my favorite thus far. Tomorrow morning Elise flies in, so our last five days here should be the best yet!


9 Apr

Yesterday we had a fabulous time in downtown Brisbane and I got a bunch of great pictures. At our last stop, as I attempted to capture Ruby frolicking in a water park, I dropped my phone. In the water. My dad shook as much of the water out as he could and it has been chilling out in a container of rice since last night, so I am praying that it works when I turn it on tomorrow. For today, my mom let me use her phone so that I could take pictures and post.

Well then. Today. Rach and Matt took us on a beautiful drive up into the mountains to a gorgeous little town called Montville. We meandered about, looking in shops, and eating delicious fudge. It is SO GREEN here and everything feels fresh and new. We are all just loving Australia.

Here is a vi

Ruby walking with Rachel:

and Adam (I am always behind because I am now pretty unbearably slow):

Mom, Ruby, and Rachel at a cute little cafe where we had lunch:


Lazy Days

7 Apr

The past few days here have been nice and lazy. It is lovely to be visiting for long enough to be able to just relax together and not feel like we are wasting time.

At church today Rachel baptized three of the girls under her charge as the children’s pastor. This was her first time and she did a wonderful job. Being from the Anglican tradition, it was really interesting to witness full immersion for the first time. While Rachel was in the baptismal pool Ruby kept calling to her and waving, and she was very glad to have her back in the seats with us.

Back at home Ruby decided she wanted to use the loo but forgot to take off her bloomers and diaper:

It’s been a bit rainy so we have been staying inside for the most part. I think that Ruby is ready for an excursion. Luckily we have one planned for tomorrow!



4 Apr

Today Mom, Dad, Rachel, her sister-in-law Courtenay, Ruby, and I all headed into the city of Brisbane for some sightseeing. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and we had a fabulous time.

Ruby enjoyed the train ride in:

I love this picture of Mom and Dad in front of a very pretty casino downtown:

Ruby spotted the “Wheel of Brisbane” and desperately wanted to ride:

Rachel, Courtenay, and I decided that was a good idea so we took Ruby up for a beautiful (if slightly scary!) ride:



All in all a really fun day with lots of pretty scenery and great company!

Yummy Ice Cream

3 Apr

Somebody is still a little jet-lagged:

This afternoon Rachel and I went for prenatal massages. Mine was the least relaxing, most painful, best massage I have ever had. I really felt like the masseur was taking apart my muscles and putting them back together again, which is exactly what I needed. My lower back has been in tremendous pain, so I am hoping that this helps.

This evening Matt’s parents took us out for a lovely dinner with his grandparents, and afterwards we ate delicious Aussie ice