8 March 2014 – an afternoon on the harbour……

The morning of Saturday 8 March was the start of our next holiday. We were off to Singapore, via a little trip to Sydney and Wollongong.  We had originally planned to be away for the weekend, just to catch up with some friends and attend a Christening. There has been a last minute addition of a week in Singapore off the back of the Sydney trip… very last minute since we only booked it 2 days before we had to leave!  This meant lots of last minute packing and organising.

Our planned departure time of 8am, came and went.  Due to an over-excited Astrid who had been up late the previous night too excited to sleep, and then got everyone up at 6am but seemed to delay us getting ready through the magic of 2 year old time-wasting. We finally got out the door at 8.30am, with the car packed and most things remembered.

We seem to do most of our travelling by flying and we hadn’t actually driven to Sydney with Astrid for well over a year and a half. She doesn’t often spend more than an hour in the car at a time, so a 4ish hour trip was going to be tough for her. I think it took about 15 minutes to hit ‘are we there yet?’  Luckily Soren slept for most of the first 2 hours and Astrid was mostly well-behaved, despite wanting multiple toilet stops and refusing to rest. With only 15 minutes of screaming for food as we made our scheduled rest stop of Camden Valley Way, Soren also did pretty well. After a feed at the obligatory Golden Arches, he was ready to roll. Astrid preferred to keep playing in the palyground but we were already running late so we headed off. Soren loudly protested being put back in the capsule after not enough play time and Astrid waited until we hit the motorway to ask for yet another toilet stop (when of course she hadn’t needed to go 30 seconds prior)………

Finally on the way again, both kids fell asleep and we looked like we were only going to be 10 minutes late to meet our friend at Circular Quay.  Then we did what we always manage to do, and miss the last turn (I blame the GPS for being slow to update) and we had an inadvertent trip across the Harbour Bridge and back.  Annoyingly Astrid had been asking all morning to go across the bridge and we said we weren’t going to……. then we did it twice and she was asleep.  I was not waking her up though!

We ended up being about 45 minutes late to meet our friend, Petronella, but luckily she is very forgiving!  It was well and truly lunch time so we headed to a cafe that looked nice in the Rocks area and had some well deserved lunch.  Soren lapped up the attention he was getting from Petti, and Astrid demolished a croissant with butter and jam. We won’t talk about her stealing her dad’s chips and dipping them in butter (and then jam) and several other food atrocities……… she had fun though!

After lunch we walked back down through Circular Quay to find a grassy spot to sit and feed Soren. Astrid was all fired up and running around like a headless chook, including interesting headstands and somersaults…….. and that is when lunch came back up! Luckily all over the grass but she did require an outfit change. I was carrying spare pants for her but all the tops were back in the car. Anto got his first dash of the day back to car, but in the interim McGyvered a temporary outfit for Astrid out of one of Soren’s muslin wraps!

Assuming that Astrid had just done too much running around (and standing on her head) post-lunch we weren’t too worried.  She seemed fine and I finished feeding Soren and headed off to walk around Circular Quay and investigate a ferry to Manly. Astrid was keen to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and it was a beautiful sunny (although slightly windy) afternoon. The forecast was for showers and thunderstorms but we had lucked out so far.

Offered several different options for ferry rides, Astrid opted for the ‘long ferry’ so we decided to head to Manly.  It’s been many years since we did that trip and it was a beautiful afternoon so we figured it was a fine idea. We had just missed one ferry but decided to grab tickets and wait for the next one which was in half an hour.  Mid-way through the ticket purchase Astrid had round 2 of the vomitron afternoon and managed to get herself and the stroller, and leave a puddle near the ticket machine.  Luckily Anto had bought extra clothes back with him so we got her cleaned up quickly. The stroller didn’t fare well though and there was no paper towels in the nearby toilet we decided to ditch the stroller to the car and deal with it later.

With 15 minutes til the ferry was due to leave, Anto thought he could make it to the car and back in time. It was quite warm and humid so he had a very sweaty run with an empty, smelly, stroller (apparently not easy). He made it back, literally 10 seconds after the gates closed…….. much sweatier than before and we got to spend another half an hour waiting for the next ferry!

We had a walk and a drink and it wasn’t long before we were off on the ferry. Astrid was beyond excited and Soren was also having a ball.  The views were pretty nice heading out of Circular Quay and Astrid got her look at the Opera House and the Bridge.

Soren spent most of the ride chatting to Petti and thinking this was the best way to get out of sleeping yet!  He had been good at  napping in the ergo prior to the ferry, but wasn’t having any of this napping business now there were ferries involved.

We got to Manly and decided to grab an icecream and have a look at the beach.  We debated the wiseness of giving Astrid icecream but she seemed fine and we assumed that the running around had caused the issues previously.  Once we all had our icecream we sat under some trees to eat (Soren very jealous he wasn’t allowed to have any!) and enjoyed the sunshine and lovely afternoon.

Astrid was dead keen to play in the sand but we had to get back so we settled for a short look at the water and the sand with promises to come back another time.  It would have been nice to stay there for another couple of hours, but probably lucky we didn’t!

Astrid conned Petti into carrying her back to the ferry but politely asked to be put down 5 seconds before emptying her recently consumed icecream all over the ferry terminal……. This time Anto copped most of it, much to his annoyance since his spare clothes were back at the car.  The return ferry ride was not filled with as much excitement. Soren had a lovely nap in the ergo and Astrid spent most of it hanging over the side of the ferry ‘feeding the fish’.  She left some puddles on the ferry deck too. She was not looking happy!

It was now well after 5.30pm and Soren was in need of another feed before the drive to our hotel. None of us feeling much like dinner and all the lunch places had shut and dinner places were yet to open so we opted for yet another McDonalds for coffees while I fed Soren and Astrid had some dry crackers to settle her stomach.  Poor Petti got to spend her Saturday evening at McDonalds with a vomity toddler, she didn’t seem to mind though.  All fed and watered and now 7pm we decided it was time to head to our hotel and try and get the kids to bed.  We bid farewell to Petti and found our car, now with it’s own vomit odour and Astrid’s clothes drying on the bonnet that Anto had left there several hours earlier.

Astrid was tired but looking not too bad. We had told her to let us know if she felt sick and hoped for the best with the car ride out to Liverpool.  For no apparent reason every hotel room in the city under $400 was unavailable for that night, when we tried to book accommodation a couple of weeks back. We ended up settling for a Mercure in Liverpool since it was convenient for our trip to Wollongong in the morning. The downside was a longish drive now with 2 tired kids.  Astrid was fine for the first 10 minutes as we navigated out of the city and about 30 seconds after we hit the motorway and had nowhere to stop she was sick again, all over herself and her carseat.  I managed to clean her up as much as possible without being able to stop and the poor poppet fell asleep, exhausted.  Soren then took over in the crying stakes as he too was overtired but he also managed to fall asleep.

We made it to our hotel after 8pm, all very tired and smelly. Anto got all our stuff into our room while I stayed in the car with the kids so they could stay sleeping a little longer.  We then commenced level 1 decontamination procedures and pondered what to do with the bag of vomit clothes, car seat and stroller.

Our hotel room was awesome and Astrid ended up with her own king-sized bed (that she later had to share with Anto since Soren ended up in the other one with me).  Sadly we were a bit tired and over it. It was well after 10 when everyone was fed and the kids were asleep and Anto had to venture out to try and find some way of washing clothes and carseats. He didn’t manage to find an open laundromat but did get breathalysed, seemingly even young cops give you a pittying look when you explain why you are driving around in circles the wrong side of 10pm with a vomit filled car…!

It turned out to be a bit of a vomitron afternoon but we had managed to have a good time despite the smelly bits.  We were hoping for another visit to Sydney soon with more time to catch up with people and less stomach-emptying!

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