Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

We tried for a nice Christmas Eve photo, but this is the best we could do!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from our house to yours!
Lots of love...

Cari, Steve and Jesse

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I'm getting really excited for the big day! It's also starting to feel a lot like Christmas. I've decided I should be very careful what I wish for because...wishes really do come true!! I've been saying that Christmas just doesn't feel like Christmas in summer and how I wish it was chilly and wintry annnnnd GUESS WHAT? Summer disappeared! It's been so cold these last two days! It's been 10 degrees during the day, cold, damp and rainy. I even had to put our wool blanket back on the bed last night and I've worn a sweater and jeans two days in a row! I'm drinking tea to help warm up! That is crazy for December weather in Australia but oh so much more Christmas like for this Canadian girl! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas...

...thanks to these yummy smelling tree ornaments I made to attach to a few gifts and hang on our tree. I used a different recipe this year than the usual one I make every year. Rather than just cinnamon and apple sauce, this recipe calls for a few kinds of spices. Extra smelly goodness!

1 cup cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. allspice
1 tbsp ginger
3/4 c. applesauce

In medium bowl, combine cinnamon, cloves, allspice,
ginger & nutmeg. Add applesauce, stir to combine.
Work mixture with hands 2 to 3 minutes or until dough
is smooth and ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut dough with cookie cutters.
Using straw or pencil, make small hole in top of ornament.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.
Remove from the cookie sheet and bake on the oven
racks for another hour and a half.

Add a pretty Christmas ribbon or string and voila! :)

Original recipe found here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ice Skating in Australia

In an effort to make things feel a little more like Christmas, Steve and I organized an ice skating outing and invited a few friends along to join us. We went to the Icehouse, a newly built arena in Melbourne. It was so much fun, with Christmas lights, Santa, warm Canadian mittens and best of all, familiar Christmas cheer!
Can you believe that Steve and I have never gone skating together before? I skated so much as a kid, but pretty much haven't been on skates since I graduated high school. I think it's like riding a bike though and I found my skating legs quite quickly. Sadly, those same legs were a little stiff and sore for days after. Definitely not in the same shape as when I was a kid! Steve was quite impressive and skated up a storm!

A big thanks to our friends who joined us and helped make it such a fun evening!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas in Australia

I love Christmas. Seriously, I love everything about it, but to be honest, since moving to Australia, Christmas really hasn't been the same. It just doesn't feel like Christmas and truly, I really think that as long as we live here, it never will. Christmas is not meant to be celebrated in summer. It goes against every Christmas song ever written. It's not bad, just very different. But, since we do live here and I do love Christmas, I try my best to keep the spirit and excitement of Christmas alive and embrace the different. This year it's been harder to do than last year, I think because we went away for Steve's race and taking a summer vacation made it feel more like, well, summer than Christmas. I also think not working at the kindergarten this year hasn't helped. Last year, I was busy doing Christmas related things with the kiddies and even if they do have to be slathered with sunscreen before going outside, they still get just as excited about Santa as kids who have to bundle up in snowsuits! Also, Steve and I have both found that the city of Melbourne doesn't do Christmas well. City of Melbourne, where are the decorations?! You'd never know it was Christmas by walking around the city!! Having said that, I've been trying to stay festive by baking Christmas cookies, listening to Christmas music, doing Christmas crafts and of course, putting up our Christmas tree. We went to the same Christmas tree farm as last year and picked this pretty little tree to bring home. The smell of pine all through our house has most definitely helped to bring a little Christmas cheer to my heart! I feel very fortunate to now live in a state where they grow Christmas trees! I also picked up some eggnog today and visited Steve at work, where he made me an eggnog latte with their fancy coffee machine and it tasted just as good as the ones I love from Starbucks at home. My to-do-list for the next few days includes EA's Christmas party, making a few homemade Christmas gifts for friends and watching a few of my favorite Christmas movies. I'm determined to enjoy the holidays, even if the temps are rising and the sun is shining brightly!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Ironman Western Australia

I can honestly say I have never worked so hard for anything in my life. So many early morning weekend rides, long evening swims and runs in between. A co-worker who did an Ironman years ago, once told me that the Ironman is the most selfish event you can ever do because of the amount of training that is involved. I now believe him, and so does Cari.

Busselton Ironman was an extremely well organized and fun event. Busselton is located 2 hours south of Perth Australia. The whole town gets involved so the vibe is awesome.

Athelete support tents.
Lucky number 265. On Saturday I dropped off my transition bags and bike.
There I am!
Setting up in transition....
Things happen a little different in an Ironman. Usually all my run and bike gear would be set up next to my bike in transition. At an Ironman you place your run and bike gear in separate bags, as you enter the transition area you yell out your number and someone grabs and passes you your bag.
Swim start. Busselton has the longest wooden Jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. It's almost 2km long which makes it perfect for a 3.8km swim.
Lot's of people wrote messages along the run section of the race. It made for some funny reading during the run. My favorite one read, "If your spouse still loves you, you haven't trained hard enough"

Race morning! Alarm went off at 2am. I actually slept really well the night before the race. Got up, ate, even had a shower to help get my head straight. The morning of was beautiful, 15 degrees and no wind.
It's a good thing sharks don't eat long sleek black creatures that swim in the ocean.

Only minutes to go.
Ironman has a mass swim start, when the gun goes off all 1200 - 1400 people go at once. It makes for a pretty close and personal swim for the first 500 meters. I did the swim in 1hr 13min, it turned out a lot better then I expected. I've trained hard for the swim, many evenings spent in the pool doing 50 - 70 laps at a time.
Coming out of the swim they had a fresh water spray which was nice.
End of lap turn around on the bike, that's not me in the pic. It was a 3 lap course, each lap was 60km. The bike leg of the race was really good, a slight wind came up during my 2nd lap which stayed for the rest of the ride. I held back on the ride, kept my heart rate down to make sure I had something left for the run.
Game face....
Don't ask....
I did the bike leg in 6hrs and 3min. They had bike catchers to take your ride and rack it for you, that was another first for me. As soon as you dismounted someone was right there to take it away.
Off for a run. So after a 3.8km swim then a 180km bike ride you have to run a marathon (42km). The run is the biggest killer of an Ironman, and it chewed me up and spit me out. I ended up with a time of 4hrs and 54mins. I'm not happy with my run result but I learned a lot from this race and will change my run training to help bring the time down. The first 15km off the bike I felt pretty good, the last 10km of the run I actually still felt pretty good but the old legs were really starting to complain. But I finished, and at the end of the day that's all I cared about.
At the finish you are greeted right away with a helper, they grab your arm and talk to you, making sure you're ok. Someone else drapes a Ironman finisher towel around you and then a 3rd person places a medal around your neck. The "helper" walks with you to the recovery tent and then goes back to help someone else. It was a very smooth and helpful process.

Steve (getting a tattoo) Dickinson