During the one week September break, we took the troop to Melbourne for a cousin’s wedding along with the entire clan. The kids couldn’t wait to go on holiday with their cousins and this was Kate’s first time taking the plane. The day before we left, #3 was brimming with excitement and said, “We’re going to Melbourne tomorrow! Aren’t you excited mummy?” I told her flatly that I had absolutely no expectations of this trip and was thinking of it as a work trip so anything extra would be a bonus. I have learnt that this works out much better than looking forward to a holiday and ending up pretty much being overworked and exhausted and not being able to see or do the things I wished I could have. I have learnt that disappointment comes from unmet expectations. And besides, travelling with an extended family of 30 people sounded pretty… unpredictable. Tempers? Tantrums?
|Thought of checking Kate in as well|
The wedding was beautiful and the weather was glorious. The wedding venue had accommodation for everyone and even a hall with a fully equipped kitchen. My father-in-law prefers to cook as he feels that outside food can’t compare to home-cooked food. So here we were on vacation, with everyone pitching in to cook and clean. Just to get dinner ready for the clan, it took 2 hours of preparation and 2 hours of washing and cleaning up. After 2 days of that, everyone agreed unanimously to eat out.
The kids asked to see kangaroos and koalas, so we went to the nearest wildlife sanctuary where they could get up close and personal with the animals. Kate was absolutely fearless and followed the lone kangaroo deep into where a whole lot of huge kangaroos were hanging out while the adults kept their distance.
|Feeding the wallabies|
We stayed in the Mornington Peninsular area as we found an accommodation there which could fit 30 people under one roof. Turns out they added bunk beds in an outdoor quarters and thus managed to fit 30 beds in the house. But it was good fun as the kids had lots of company to play hide and seek with and the adults could sit around and chat instead of all heading back to their own hotel rooms. In the vicinity, there was this Enchanted Maze Gardens where the kids had a great time zooming down the tube slides and finding their way out of the mazes.
There’s so much to do for children and families in Melbourne and it’s a really lovely place for families to vacation together as the activities suit both young and old. A rare chance to have 3 generations of relatives on horseback together. After an hour of horse riding, we were supposed to head to town where we were going to spend the last 2 days. But the hubs told me there was a change of plans. They wanted to go go-karting. Again.
|The littlest is 7 and the oldest 60+|
The hubs said that #1 insisted on going go-karting again as they enjoyed themselves tremendously the day before. I told him that I would not allow her to have her way when we were on holiday with so many other people and their needs have to be considered as well. He sheepishly muttered, “But we (the guys) also don’t mind”. I see. Put the blame on the kids. How convenient. But there was no way I was going back there to wait for a couple of hours. Thankfully each family rented their own car which made it that much more convenient. So while the males sorted it out on the tracks, the ladies checked in to Crown Hotel and had a head start on shopping. Win-win situation.
On our drive back to town, we passed this awesome playground which the kids enjoyed tremendously. By its unique structure, I knew there was something different about it. I read the plaque and was intrigued to learn that this was a community project. The kids designed their dream playground, the adults and kids rallied to raise funds by cookie bakes etc, the local companies contributed materials, and everyone chipped in to make this a reality. Wow. The power of synergy. Maybe we should moot this idea to the authorities to build a dream playground by East Coast Park.
|Playground by the sea|
The kids had a wondrous vacation, and they especially loved the ‘air-con’ weather. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the 9 days… and I dreaded the cold weather. But surprisingly, the holiday turned out really well and there was no disagreements or issues travelling with the whole family spanning the ages of 1 to 74. It was a great family vacation, but I was glad to be boarding the flight home. I probably need a week to recuperate from this trip.
|Praying for a safe flight home|
And as you can imagine, handling winter clothes for 6 kids, shedding jackets off and on as the weather fluctuates wildly in a day, by the end of it, it really didn’t matter what Kate wore, as long as she was dressed.
Oh dreads, I can’t quite kick up my feet and rest. Kate has a running nose from the cold and whines to be carried and #3’s PSLE is in 5 days and I gotta make sure she is not spending her time dreaming of her trip in Australia. She keeps telling me that instead of a dog, now she wants to buy a horse.
Sure. Just keep dreaming, just keep dreaming…