Thursday, July 28, 2016

Australia: Day Two

Today we didn't have a ton planned because we wanted to give ourselves a chance to sleep in because of the jet lag. Weird thing is that it's the kind of jet lag that made me wake up earlier than I normally should. I just read until the Eric and Portia woke up.

We decided to walk the scenic pathway from Bawgolhah Heights to Manly Beach. It was a lovely, wooded walk that stayed close to the bay. The views were gorgeous and Portia was playing Pokemon Go on the way to find the cool Australian Pokemon. And wanted to stop everytime we could get pretty close to the water. But it's nice when you don't really have a schedule or a plan for the day because you can wander wherever you want and do whatever you want to do.

We went to the Manly Aquarium. Our favorite was the shark tunnel, which had some huge sharks in it, some sea turtles and stingrays. It wasn't a very big aquarium so we spent the morning there only.

Next, we went to a gourmet fish & chips place, called Fish Mongers. Portia didn't want fish so she had McDonald's. I had the shrimp. This guy's a beast! I'd already eaten all my delicious chips!

Portia wanted to get over to the waves (it's just not the same on the bay side) so we spent the next hour or so letting her play in the waves. It is winter there, so it's pretty chilly (not exactly swimsuit weather) but she enjoyed getting her feet and legs in the water.  We walked back the scenic walkway to our place.

Tonight, we drove to Sydney to see the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House! Eric was really excited because the symphony played the live music of Raiders of the Lost Ark while the movie played on a big screen.

It was a really cool experience. I started getting pretty tired though and with the lights turned low, it was hard to stay awake. I may have nodded off a time or two.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Australia: Day One

 Quigleys went "Down Under!" We left on a Monday for Sydney, Australia, skipped Tuesday—somehow during our flight—and spent our Wednesday wandering around the Royal Botanical Gardens, near the Sydney Opera House. We walked around a lot and looked at all the trees, flowers and gardens. One of the first thing we noticed upon stepping into Australia was the loud squawking of the Cockatoos that are all over the place. They're loud, but exotic and very cool. 

We stopped by the New South Wales Public Library nearby because it was beautiful. Then we ate at an outdoor bistro called Piccolo Me for lunch. Portia had a sausage roll and Eric a meat pie and I had a chicken avocado sandwich with some mint hot chocolate. Did I mention Bianca is still at Meadowmount until mid-August and couldn't come on this trip with us. In my defense, I gave her the option for us to go before she left and she acted like she didn't really care. So Portia's an only child for this trip.

We rented a small car (they drive on the left side of the street again so thankfully, Eric is doing all the driving) and drove to the house where we're staying the entire trip at Balgowlah Heights, near Manly Beach. We have a beautiful view of the bay from the huge windows of our 2 bedroom/2 bathroom place. 

And nope, I didn't see one spider inside the house—people kept warning me about the huge spiders that were crawling all over Australia!) Our place is very comfortable. I took a nap and had a difficult time waking up when Eric and Portia were hungry for dinner. We drove all over looking for a quick place to eat but it was more difficult than you'd expect. All I wanted was McDonald's fries and it closed at 6pm!!! Instead we found some Chinese restaurant and brought back some takeaway. Meh! Australia seems a lot like the US. Same types of foods and the streets are big and wide. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Visiting Home: July 2016

Since Bianca was gone nearly the entire summer, Portia and I went on a trip with Susannah and her kids to St. Louis. They picked us up on the way and we took turns driving all the way to Columbia, Illinois.

We did tons of fun stuff, like eat at Imo's:

visit Grant's Farm:

go to the zoo:

and visit the Magic House:

One day, Portia decided to try to make a bit of change by playing her cello outside the Painted Lady before a summer outdoor concert at the park nearby. She did make a dollar and some change with the help of her cousins.

Yes, that's the girls on the street in front of The Painted Lady
Portia even was teaching Ella cello lessons every day:

Because we were there over the Fourth of July, we got to celebrate with our extended family as well.

Pretty much, we went there to be together and spend time together as a family.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bianca's off to Meadowmount

Bianca was so excited to get accepted to Meadowmount School of Music for this summer (seven weeks, which is sooo long).

Eric flew out to New York City with Bianca in the middle of June. They spent a couple days exploring New York, then he drove her to upstate New York, near Lake Champlain, where she spent the next 7 weeks.

We missed her a ton, and I think she didn't like being gone for quite that long. She got a little homesick near the middle and asked to come home. But she made it through and had a good experience. For a while, she was sending me a picture a day so that we'd stay in touch.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Portia turned 9!

Portia is obsessed with the Warrior Cat book series. She's read nearly all of them (and I'm pretty sure there are over 20—and they're long)!  So, she was dying to have a Warrior Cats birthday party. Although it was rainy (so they couldn't adventure out in the woods in our backyard as she wanted), Portia was pretty happy with how it all turned out. Portia and Bianca helped make the cat-ear headbands and I had cupcakes custom made with the Warrior Cat clans on them.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spring Break in California with my Sister!

The girls and I spent spring break with Susannah and her family in California this year. She's truly the best hostess ever and spoiled us with tons of day trips and lots of yummy meals. I'm so lucky she's my sister! And I love when my girls get to spend time with their cousins, although sadly it wasn't their spring break.

We went to Disneyland:

We went paddleboarding on the ocean and saw seals (no sharks, thankfully):

We went to Santa Monica Pier and did some shopping and ate at Steak 'N' Shake:

It was the first day of the opening of Harry Potter world at Universal Studios and was crowded, but we went anyway. We even met some friends from our neighborhood there:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Portia's Reflections Entry is going to State!

Portia wrote a song on her cello (called Hunting Birds) and is going to state for Reflections! So proud of this little composer! Sometimes it's okay when you're messing around on your cello instead of practicing!