Birthday weekend for mom

I realize it’s pretty late to be recapping last weekend but I’m going to do it anyway because (a) these are my favorite posts to read and write and (b) my sister loves feeling in the loop with the family goings-on.  So.  This past weekend we went to visit my parents to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  I thought we were going to have to cancel because P got a GI bug last week that was annihilating him but he turned a corner on Saturday.  Thank goodness.  Poor baby was trying his best to be happy but it wasn’t pretty.  In true “when it rains it pours” fashion, he also took a big spill and got a goose egg unlike any other I’ve seen on his head.  Sometimes life is a doozy packman.  Might as well learn it when you’re young.


Annnyway, we made it to their place in time for lunch, so I threw their fridge contents in a bowl. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, and fried eggs.  Topped in EVOO and TJ’s balsamic glaze.

P grubbed too.


Blueberry goatee.

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We were supposed to head into the city (SF) for dinner on Saturday night but I cancelled the reservations on Friday because (at the time) P was still ailing.  He had 3 am wake-ups the two nights prior and lots of blow outs that required full baths so I wasn’t really in the mood to make a big fuss for a date night.  Still, we took advantage of my parents staying home to watch him and went out for a bite at Roam (it’s minutes from my parents’ house).  We’ve gotten take-out from this place before but it’s more fun being in the scene.


In addition to the sweet potato fries I got a bison burger with a fried egg on a GF bun.  I also got extra herb mayo on the side.


Kyle got the “French & Fried” which has fries IN the burger!

It was an early night for us though, and I’m glad it was because P woke up (again) in the middle of the night.  As much as I’d love to have a nice full night of rest, I really and truly love snuggling with him in the dark.  He’s such a love bug and it melts my heart that I get to share those precious moments with him.

Per our Sunday tradition, we went for a family run around the neighborhood.

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After everyone else got up and I fed P his breakfast, we all walked to La Boulange for breakfast.

I got an egg scramble and fried potatoes with a decaf soy cafe au lait.


Pattycakes ate a second breakfast (making up for lost time after that GI bug!) and swiped much of the fruit on the table.


The fountain outside was a big hit for the water baby.

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Think he gets enough love and attention?


After his morning nap my parents worked on the yard and the rest of us supervised.  My mom showed P her garden which is a way more massive version of ours and not long after it was

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Eventually we lunched.


And then dipped in the pool!

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The pool was 78 degrees!! It took patty-cakes some time to warm to the situation but he was into it once he started splashing.

Just a nice lazy Sunday.

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Little man boycotted his afternoon nap so he and Kyle played with the dogs while I made my mom’s birthday brownies.

I used coconut oil and 2 eggs, but when I poured it into the pan it didn’t seem like very much batter.  Hmmm…

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Afternoon apps!

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My dad BBQ-ed for dinner.  The dogs helped.

Then we sang happy birthday!

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And about those brownies…

Ummmm…”crunchy” is how I’d describe them.  It was impossible to cut and serve out of the pan (without a chainsaw that would ruin the pan), but after I pried the first bit out, I was able to grab the entire thing in one piece.  The edges were hard (but still edible), while the middles were soft.  I don’t think I’d make glutino brownies again, but we all went back for seconds so that says something, right?

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Breakfast: a man with a hat (aka eggs with spinach and Canyon Bakehouse toast with avo)

Lunch: salad with leftovers

My sister stopped by to play with her ‘phew for a bit before his nap so she got to see his walking skills in person.  I spent the afternoon running very important errands (See’s candy and WF) and shopping (Old Navy).

Kyle was away for a business dinner and my dad was spending the night at the vineyard (my grandpa just got out of the hospital) so it was just the girls for dinner.


Melon is soooo summer.

P devoured 1/4 of the melon in 3 seconds flat before doing a complete 180 and shunning it like I was trying to poison him.  Such a bizarre thing to watch.  But it left the rest for our salad.


Yup, it’s the butter lettuce, avocado, cantaloupe salad with poppyseed dressing.


With chicken to call it a meal.  My sister joined us after she got off work and we all had a nice relaxing time chatting over fresh summer fare.  Mmmm…

I waited til Kyle got back to dig into the brownies for dessert.  Naturally we finished them all off.

Tuesday morning we hit the road early (P woke up at 4 am anyway) and it was back to the grind.

But now it’s already another weekend and we have big plans to soak up this 100 degree weather.  🙂

My highlights: weeks 11 & 12

We finally have internet (FOURTH Comcast visit since moving…sooo…third time is not the charm).  Meaning this post is semi-current!  [Depeding on how long it takes me to write and publish]

Where to begin!  It has certainly been a crazy April.  But I have to back up to the end of March first.  When we said goodbye to our (rental) house and moved 2 minutes south.

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We moved here when P was a mere 3 months old and now look at him!  Almost walking and ready to take the world by storm.


I was in a salad for lunch phase – the above has kale, goat cheese, avo and strawberries and the below has spinach, dried cranz, carrots, avo, and goat cheese.


I had several others very similar to these always with a snacky carb on the side, like chips, crackers, or rice cakes.


No such thing as moderation when it comes to Costco bags of tortilla chips.  They are freakin’ addicting as all hell.  Damn you salt.  Why you gotta taste so good!


Despite appearances, he is NOT stuck in this photo.  He enjoys crawling over the non-door side of his car so much that he stops half way over and plays with the balls that go in the holes.  Upside down.  NBD.

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I went home for a day to honor my favorite teacher (turned vice principal) who won the Citizen of the Year award in my hometown.  I can think of NOBODY more deserving.  She is truly the essence of everything good and she radiates love and warmth while keeping rambunctious kids in line.  She left such a huge impression on me that I have stayed in touch with her long since middle school.  I chose her as my sponsor for my Confirmation and she attended my wedding.  I love her and was so happy to attend the ceremony.  It was also a monumental night because it was the first time neither Kyle nor I did Patty-cake’s bedtime routine!  We’d been doing the bottle for a week (started after returning from Oz) and it was going so so.  Luckily, my sister is a pro.  P loves her like crazy and I knew she’d be the perfect one for the job.  And it went great!  He cried a bit but not much and then slept through the night while I wined and dined with my mom at the event.  I had a million different emotions as I left that evening.  Bittersweet for sure.  Baby steps for us both. 

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The next day I drove back to Davis and went to town packing up our house.  Kyle was away for the weekend so it was on me to TCB.  I treated myself to sushi, chocolate and Roscato (the trifecta of my dreams).

By the way, packing with a 13 month old is no easy task!  I had to do it in short bursts while he was occupied or napping and then store everything out of reach.  The first pic is all the contents of our pantry (JUST the pantry!). 

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We decided to got the DIY route with this move (we’ve done so many I feel like a pro), so aside from large furniture we did it mostly on our own. 

I took tons of trips like this.  Car packed, baby in tow.  Thank goodness the houses were close to each other!  It took a lot longer than it should, but not as long as I thought.  Obviously we were not super efficient because I was working around P’s nap and food schedule (as well as my ability to load and unload the car). 


I did the toy room first in the hopes that he’d be self sufficient there so I could get things done, but he found the stairs to be way more entertaining.

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Fabulous.  Baby gate from amazon on the way!


[Empty] home sweet home.

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My last breakfast in the old place – thank goodness for frozen quick breads!

My mom came and helped me on Sunday and we did a TON, including the whole kitchen and mega cleaning.

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Kyle returned on Monday and that’s when sh!t got real.  We spent the first night in our new place and stayed up way too late making towers with empty boxes.


So worth it.  Progress pics…

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Just pinch me. 


Breakfast for the wee one.


Breakfast for mama.

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Then back to unpacking.  That’s pretty much how the past weeks have gone.

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The weather was poopy for a while, but then it decided to be spring for reals and it has been gorgeous ever since.


On the plus side P and I got to rock our raincoats that we bought for Australia but never wore.


Sandal weather.  I love it.


I transplanted my chard from the old place and it seems to be doing okay.  Only time will tell… In the meantime I have sunflowers and tomatoes going strong.


Too many meals were from the WF/Co-op/Nugget prepared foods section and I was just ITCHING to get back to cooking.  Which I have!  And I love!  But can we talk about the fact that the Davis Whole Foods has paleo labeled items?

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Vita unpacked!!!


Looky looky!  The return of tempeh!

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I made this mustard tempeh salad which I plopped on greens.  Then added P’s leftover peas because why not?


It was a totally random dinner but it was quick and easy and that’s all that I cared about since I had a date with the garage shelving unit on the agenda.

The reason I’m back on the tempeh train is because I am no longer nursing P.  🙁


It was a sad day but I have LOTS of breastmilk stored up still so that’s a small comfort – even though I really miss the special one on one time that nursing gave us.

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I gave P some hemp seeds in his oats a while ago and he didn’t have a reaction so I made hemp milk and added it to some other eats of his to see if he liked it (he did).  Then he drank it plain.  So now I’m making it and giving him 50/50 breastmilk/hemp milk in the morning and at bedtime.

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Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go through the hassle of straining it, but the seed particles get stuck in the nipple of the bottle so I use a cheesecloth in a strainer and that makes it all silky smooth. 


He sucks it down like a champ.  


And now I’m in a hemp phase.   I sprinkle some on avocado rice cakes with a bit of nooch…mmmmmm…fave breakfast of the moment.

Parts of Kyle’s birthday weekend

I took pics of the days surrounding Kyle’s 30th, but never shared them!  Never too late to celebrate?


Here’s the young man and his tower of 30 beers.


Kyle requested an al fresco themed birthday dinner, and since it was gorgeous weather it seemed like a brilliant idea.  We hit up the farmer’s market that day and hung out in the park with friends, soaking up the social scene.  It was a taste of what it to come (once the weather finally commits to warmth in entirety). 

The above platter had some old & some new items, including Redwood Hill Farm’s camellia goat cheese (strong and pungent!) with crackers and rice cakes, (home-made) candied walnuts, TJ’s baked green beans, strawberries, and TJ’s prosciutto.  With champagne on the side.  Cheers to three oh.

The next day we headed to my parents’ for the weekend.  I had a lunch with my sister, my mom and some of her friends (who I’ve known my whole life) and P got to meet his new buddy, Jack! 

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Don’t they look like besties already?

I was INCREDIBLY late on account of the most embarrassing jet lag fiasco ever (I was up at 5 am but somehow fell back asleep and didn’t wake back up until 10:30!!).  Yikes.  After running around like a cuckoo bird, I finally made it out the door.  The drive to my hometown is just under an hour so I made it as everyone else’s plates were cleared.  Ha! 


I still ordered a salad anyway.  My sister fed P and I caught up on everyone’s lives.  Luckily everyone was able to hang out for a while so I didn’t really miss too much. 

Later on my sis and I took P for a walk around the res.  Then she headed into work and my mom and I got started on dinner.  Kyle didn’t get home til after I did the bedtime routine (and dinner) so he didn’t get to see the little guy all day.  🙁


But he had a present waiting for him when he arrived so that counts for something!?  Wrapping was done by my dad, FYI.

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We made a simple dinner for the three of us (my parents and myself) since Kyle was in the city for a work dinner.

“Foil chicken” is the most passed around recipe in my family and so I figured I should share it on the blog.  I’ve made it with tofu in the past and it didn’t work as well but I never tried tempeh so perhaps that could work for a vegan option.

Foil Chicken [gluten free, dairy free]


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • dijon mustard
  • oat flour
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 4-8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tbsp tamari
  • 4 tbsp Earth Balance


Lay out four pieces of foil and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse and pat dry each chicken breast.  Spread mustard over surface of chicken and dip both sides in flour.  Place on foil (repeat for each breast).  Top each breast with onions, mushrooms, tamari, and Earth Balance.  Wrap foil tightly around each breast.  Place on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve over rice and/or veggies.


We had ours with brown rice and stir-fried broccoli, zucchini, and snow peas.

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The next morning I worked out while my mom played with P.  Then I made us both breakfast.  Flax4Life has several GF muffins and I’m slowly working my way through all of the flavors.  Last time I was home I had the carrot ones.  I think I like blueberry best so far, but I know they make a chocolate one so let’s be real.

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For lunch I had a few pieces of GF toast with avocado and goat cheese mozzarella.  Canyon Bakehouse bread is maybe the best at replicating wheat bread.  

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For Kyle’s birthday dinner my dad BBQ-ed and my mom made cake.

I made a salsa for the fish with mango, avo, yellow tomato, cilantro, and lime juice.  Guess what wine that is?  Should be no surprise to regular readers.

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The spread!


Happy birthday Kyle!


This is the same cake my mom made me for my birthday, but she made this frosting instead

I love chocolate so much. It was hard to not go back for a second (or third) slice.

We slept in the next day and I went on a run by myself, which ended up being one of my longest runs since having a baby.  It wasn’t anything crazy but I’m starting to feel like I’m getting my endurance back.  Slowly but surely.  There are no races in my future, but I do see distance increases (if I’m being ever so hopeful). 


I made eggs with sautéed spinach that I topped with avocado and a GF blueberry muffin (half of which was eaten while I cooked the eggs). 

We enjoyed NCAA basketball and the sunshine as a family.  Weekends are the best.

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We ate lunch outside (leftovers made into a salad) while P practiced walking all over the yard.  He is getting so good at walking!  Sorry for the surprise photo mom!


We went back home after lunch (timing our drive with P’s afternoon nap) and watched more basketball until dinner.  I made us taco salads.  And definitely had quadruple the amount of chips shown.  So much, in fact, that I didn’t have room for leftover cake.  Now there’s something you won’t hear from me often ever again.  Don’t worry, I made up for it the next night.  🙂

And for those interested in baby travel crap, P has not been adjusting to the jet lag/daylight savings time changes AT ALL.  Rather than post about it (which would come across as a confusing mumbo jumbo with no helpful tips whatsoever), I am just going to address it quickly now.  I’m trying my best to sort it out, but in the meantime we are all in agony, so yeah.  Sleep fail, rock on.

Australia: Bondi and back

Sunday was our last (full) day in Sydney 🙁


We slept in a bit and after feeding P, drove over to Bronte for brunch. 


Bogey Hole was one of several cute looking cafes on the main street along the beach front.  They were all pretty packed but after a short wait we were able to snag a spot outside that fit us all, including a very fussy P in his stroller.

Kyle got a banana smoothie and toast with jam.  I think we were all feeling a bit blah from the previous night.


Laura and I got the same thing – toast with poached eggs (only she added goat cheese and smoked salmon to hers and I added a side of avo to mine).  They didn’t have GF bread, so I just got sourdough (I tolerate it fine, but am still avoiding allergens as best I can while I nurse P).  We are both lactose intolerant though, so when it came with butter on the toast, my sister asked for a new slice.  I probably would have just eaten it to be honest, but they took mine away before I could stop them.  And then they ran out of sourdough.  So I got the only bread option left which had sesame seeds on one side.  Doh!  Their service wasn’t that great and it was really busy which made it hard to flag someone down without being insane.  So rather than be super obnoxious Americans, I just ate the bread.  It was the last day so I just said f^&% it.  I tried my best the whole trip and this one meal wasn’t going to end the world.  Silver lining – the bread I got was way bigger than the sourdough slices. 

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Chris’ breakfast sando on the left, Laura’s toast and eggs on the right.


Despite his beach-y getup, P was sooo ready for his morning nap by the time we finished eating.  Sadly for him, we weren’t going home.  In an effort to live on the edge (and not follow his finely tuned schedule), we went for a long walk.

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The Bondi to Bronte walk is gorgeous!  I felt like every moment was a photo op and then when I looked at all the pics they looked fake they were so pretty.


Almost as soon as we got to Bondi it started raining.  There were still surfers aplenty.  I had been to Bondi with Laura for our sister date, but that was at night and Kyle hadn’t been at all yet.  So we popped in to Iceberg’s overlooking the water, just to wait out the rain and enjoy the views.

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P was really into the coasters (whatever works!).


Auntie Laura fed him puffs one by one, which kept him occupied for quite a while, but the rain didn’t seem to be breaking, so the boys cabbed it back to the car (in Bronte) to come back and get us (in Bondi).


It was kinda an in between meal time when we got home, so we just decided to make sandwiches.  Grilled cheeses for the non-lactose intolerant boys, and goat cheese versions for the girls.

I actually ended up doing on open faced thing with strawberry jam as well.  And used some extra GF crackers to polish off the rest of the goat cheese.


I can’t recall when we did while P napped, but I think it was playing catch up on mid-week episodes of “the Block” since the new room reveal was that night.

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Catching up on the latest in Australian Law…

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For dinner we BBQ-ed shrimp and salmon, and paired it with a big salad.  Chris was in charge of the seafood, and we loved the shrimp he made earlier in the week so much that he repeated that.  The salmon was cooked in foil with lemon and herbs. 

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We ate out in the front yard so we could enjoy the scenic views of Double Bay.  P was already asleep, so we just tiptoed back and listened in the window a few times to be sure he wasn’t making a peep.


The last supper.  🙁


The next day was mainly packing and travel. 

I went on a quick jog to get some last photos implanted in my memory.


Would you ever move back to the States if you lived here? 


Laura was nice enough to come home on her lunch break to drive us to the airport.  It was seriously sad saying goodbye to her.  I’m even sad just writing about it again.  We all miss her so much.

I packed as much food for P as I could.  We were out of pouches but found more at the local stores (organic, gluten, dairy, and nut free).  I also made a porridge out of leftover quinoa, carrot puree, bananas, canned pears, and cinnamon.  Basically all the mushy baby stuff that was left.  Fortunately, we still had puffs, so paired with bananas and the pouches we were pretty well supplied.  For him. 

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The flight home was long.  Duh.  And the melon chunks I saved from the flight for P were confiscated by LAX customs.  It was an honest mistake but they treated us like hostile criminals and Kyle is convinced his passport is now flagged for all future travel.  Fruit smuggler!  We also had to switch terminals and therefore go back through security (unlike our first flight which had an inter-terminal shuttle so we didn’t have to re-do the fun that is security with a baby).  In the end, the staff was nice and we had plenty of time between flights so it wasn’t a big deal.  Then we found delicious food in the terminal to perk us up even more.


Lemonade!  I went crazy with all the yummy options.  Plus the tags list every allergen and the staff knew what was in each dish (sesame seeds aren’t yet listed as allergens, but I suspect that will soon change since they are “the new peanut allergy”).  It’s hard to tell what all the yumminess is above, but the Brussels sprout slaw and tomato and avocado salads were my faves.  I was so full and happy, I didn’t even care that our second flight got delayed.  I took P on some laps around the terminal until he fell asleep in the ergo.  Then I sat down and fell asleep myself!  Finally it was time to board.  Once again the crew was awesome about the peanut thing.  We made friends with our neighbors across the aisle, who were insanely impressed that P was so well behaved.  Then once they found out we were on the last leg of a 20 something hour journey from Sydney they were even more amazed.  We have a great kid, I tell ya.

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I practically dove into this green smoothie the second we got home.  Okay, not really, I’m type-A so of course I unpacked and put everything away and started laundry first.  But then I made the smoothie. 

And that was our trip!!! 

Australia: Zoo fun

The weekend arrived and we were finally able to go out with all four of us again.  Saturday started with a nice brunch at Cafe Indigo.  It is clearly THE spot in Double Bay.


Kyle got the blueberry pancakes (above) and I got my sister’s fave, the breakfast bruscetta (below).


My sister got a new (to her) order, which looks very similar to the salmon benedict but has avocado instead of hollandaise.


P fell asleep in the stroller at lunch so I cut out a bit early to go back home and put him down for a proper nap in the pack n play.


Once he woke back up we headed off to take the ferry to the Taronga Zoo.


We bought tickets in advance because then it comes with the gondola ride up to the entrance.  Scenic and lazy fast, yes please.


Pretty good views once you reach the top!  The weather was warm and humid but you could tell a storm was in the works just barely holding off. 

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We saw koalas, komodo dragons, crocodiles, and a few other Aussie specific species, in addition to giraffes and monkeys and more universal zoo creatures.


The seal show was definitely a big hit as P likes all things water and balls.  There had a few California sea lions!


We broke for lunch afterwards, but I wasn’t super hungry.  The meal options were decent, and then I saw roasted pumpkin and it made my day!  My eyes were bigger than my stomach because I got both of these (one with potatoes too) and it was a LOT of fiber to take down at once.


After lunch P fell asleep in the ergo for his PM nap, during which we saw big cats, goats, monkeys, kangaroos, and wallabies.  And a lot of others, but those were the highlights.


Group shot!

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We went back to show P more kangaroos once he woke up because there was a place that let you walk amongst them.  We cut that one short once I saw a wallaby sizing P up.

We stayed around until the very end which meant we missed the gondola ride back.  Instead we took a bus back to the ferry.  Patty-cakes learned SO many transportation words on this trip!  It started pouring the second we docked in Circular Quay, so we huddled behind the ticket counter as best we could while waiting for the next ferry to take us back to Double Bay but man was it coming down!  That said, it only lasted an hou ror so and then was basically gone (maybe a light drizzle continued, but barely).  We were SO lucky it didn’t rain on our parade ruin our zoo plans!  Seriously, talk about good fortune with the weather! 

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The boys went out to a pub to watch (Australian rules) football and rugby, so Laura and I ordered pasta take-out and watched Memoirs of a Geisha.  I read the book so long ago I honestly couldn’t remember anything, which was kinda awesome.  I really liked the movie!  The Brumbies won, but the Swanies lost so it was a bittersweet night for the Aussies among us.