The Arrival of Grandparents!

Our first visitors to our new home in Australia were about to arrive! The spare bedroom was ready and waiting, and 3 very spirited grandchildren were bursting with excitement! Matt’s parents, Blair and Jean were set to arrive into Sydney at 8:30AM on April 4th. They were arriving just in time for the Easter weekend and the first term two-week break.

Elijah and I made the two hour trek to the airport in Sydney, with an Aussie flag ready to be waved frantically at our guests! Elijah had been talking non-stop about “Ganpa and Gamma” and “aipane” for the weeks leading up to their arrival. The whole journey to Kingsford-Smith Airport was consumed with talk about two of his favourite people on earth!  Little did I know his reaction upon actually seeing them would be one of pure disbelief and skepticism!

The flight was on time and their journey was comfortable as they had been upgraded to business class!  There were big hugs, and they were thankfully greeted with warm Australian weather, as well as a disbelieving and muted grandson!  It wasn’t until after lunch in Springwood, en route to Blackheath that Elijah finally came out of his shell and held his “Ganpa’s” hand as they walked the streets of this quaint village!

After a quick catnap and more cuddles at home, we all walked up to the school to collect the other two excited grandchildren.

While waiting patiently in the school courtyard for the final bell to ring, Blair and Jean were able to meet some of the other Blackheath parents and new friends.  As soon as the bell rang, Leina came running into her grandparents arms and what a special reunion it was!  Blair went around to the Kindergarten courtyard to greet a very ecstatic grandson – Cohen held on tight to Grandpa long after the hug was initiated!  And then it was Grandma’s turn for a Cohen bear hug, and she too was not left disappointed!

The first stop after the grande reunion and introductions to their teachers, was the bakery on the way home for a classic grandparent treat – chocolate infused croissant and a hot chocolate!  Check out the happy grin!

The kids were so eager to show Grandpa and Grandma the route home from school, which was made much more interesting by the sugar rush!

It wasn’t long after the school pick up and bakery treats that Matt got home from work and was warmly and lovingly greeted by his parents.  And this was the start of what was going to be fantastic quality bonding time with such special visitors!


The Wheels on the Scooters Go Round and Round!

We have received a special request from Leina, Cohen and Elijah’s Nana!  Nana has asked that we send photos of the route we take to school every day, so I thought I’d turn the photos into a blog post and share it with everyone!

Our journey starts at least 20 minutes before the bell rings, which means leaving the house by 8:30 every morning and after our steep descent out of our driveway, we turn left down First Street.

The steepest part of our journey is up Cleopatra Street, which is the next left.  The scooters are often walked up this part of the route and there is a lot of whinging from Cohen at this point!  It usually sounds like “my legs huuuurrrrrrrt”!!!  I’ve been walking this route almost daily for the last couple of months and I’m still out of breath at the top of this hill and I too can feel the lactic acid building in my legs!

We turn right onto Govetts Leap Road and there is little bit of a reprieve from the last hill, but not for long!  Govetts Leap Road is very hilly, so the scooters get walked again!

And we often take a break half way up the hill!

We pass by ‘Parklands, Country Gardens and Lodges’ every day.  Word on the street is Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman honeymooned here many moons ago!  Check it out at

We take a little break on the lovely bench on Govetts Leap road – nicknamed the ‘Eina and Ooie Bench’ by little brother Elijah!

Our journey continues on Govetts Leap Road until we turn left onto Prince Edward Street and travel along past one of the kids’ favourite parks “Jubilee”.

 We make a wide right turn onto Leichhardt Street from Prince Edward which is the street that Blackheath Public School is on.  Leichhardt is a gentle and gradual up-hill climb past beautiful trees that are just starting to change color.

We cross Clan William Street, and then safely cross Wentworth street at the designated “zebra crossing” just outside the school grounds.

We walk down Leichhardt Street past the front doors of the school….

and we’ve arrived at the gates of Blackheath Public School!

Sometimes Elijah and I walk back home through Blackheath’s downtown, which is a very neat walk past little cafes and shops and at the end of the day we do it all over again!  We leave the house by 2:30, sometimes waking Elijah from his afternoon nap, and get up to the school for the bell at 2:55.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little journey to school by scooter!  I “reckon” this little walk will be missed when we get back home to Canada!

Thanks for your request Nana!  If anyone else has a special request for a blog, please forward it along, and provided it is appropriate for posting, we may happily oblige!

Blackheath Public School Welcomes 2 New Students!

One of the first buildings you come to on your drive into Blackheath is the quaint little Public School.  Surrounded by lots of trees and green grass, and a large play structure, it is a welcome site and will be Leina and Cohen’s school for the next year.

The 2012 school year officially started on Monday, January 30th, and this was also the first day of school for Leina!  Although a bit emotional getting ready at home, she was able to collect herself, get dressed in her uniform and walk the 20 minute up-hill walk with confidence, alongside her brothers and mom!

We were fortunate to get a peek at the school and meet both Leina and Cohen’s teachers, as well as the principal, Mr. Rudd, in advance of the first day of school.  This helped to calm some nerves before the first big day!

So on arrival on the Monday, we waited patiently in the school courtyard as all of the kids arrived and met up with their friends.  It is customary on the first day of school, for the students to go to their previous years classroom to catch up with their former teacher, and to talk about their summer holiday.  After about half an hour of visiting in the old classroom, then the bell rings, and the students proceed to the hall where they are all seated and wait for the teachers to read out the list of students in the new classes.

So Leina, Cohen and Elijah and I went to the hall and waited in the chairs along the wall for Leina’s teacher to call her name.  Leina stood in line with the others in Year 2 when her name was called, and then they all marched like “honey ants” to their new classroom with their teacher, Ms. Balaam.  Leina is in what they call a “composite” class with 25 students in both Year 1 and Year 2.

At the end of Leina’s first day, the boys and I met Leina in the courtyard and it was readily apparent that Leina was happy to have her first day under her belt!

Tuesday was day 2 for Leina, and the highly anticipated day 1 for Cohen!  Cohen who is much more affable when it comes to new experiences, took the whole morning in stride.  Leina on the other hand was having second day jitters!  She had found the first day a bit overwhelming and was unsure and a bit uncomfortable with all of the attention she had received that first day.  She expressed an interest in being matched with one buddy and so she insisted a note be written to her teacher with this request.

Once the note had been written, and lunches had been packed, and a visit to the park on the way home had been promised, the two kids were dressed and ready to get on with their school day!

Once Leina proceeded to her class on day 2, then it was time to take Cohen around to the Kindergarten courtyard to await the welcome and roll call for his class.  Ms. Drake called Cohen’s name last (this usually happens when your last name starts with a ‘W’!), and he was off!  Parents were welcomed into the kindergarten room to help the kids get settled and Cohen had no problems finding a seat and sitting down to draw on a dry-erase board!  “Been there, done that” kind of attitude – he’s had the advantage of 5 months of Kindergarten back home in Canada under his belt!  The nice thing is this is 5 year old “kindie”, so he doesn’t stick out, height-wise, as much as he did in junior kindergarten back home.

The teacher was amazed that the first thing he did when he sat down at the board was to print his name!  Well done big guy!

At the end of the day both kids were excited to buy freezies at the canteen in the courtyard, and share the details from their school day!

So they have their first week under their belts now, but the week has not been without lots of tears (namely Leina, but some from Mommy as well!).  It’ll take a while to adjust to the new school, new teachers, new classmates, new language, and new routine.  So we are all trying to be patient and optimistic!

We are very impressed with Blackheath Public – the staff and volunteers, and the feeling of inclusion that is demonstrated here.  We are looking forward to a good school year for both kids!