Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Travelling with Kids without going crazy

Having travelled with our twin boys in America , on Aussie road and caravan trips many times - including 10 weeks across the Nullabor to Western Australia - these tips are gold from travel guru Sheree Everitt

I'm happy to share her tips for success and happiness ...

I shared mine before my boys started school.

On one hand, taking your kids on holiday can mean opening their eyes to new places and experiences and sharing their surprise and joy. On the other, it can mean putting up with fights in the car, whinges about changed meals or routines, missed school and the dreaded ‘are we there yet?’.

Having traversed all corners of the globe with her husband Spida Everitt and children Boston, 12, and Anais, 16, for her hit TV show Great Australian Doorstep, Sheree Everitt is an expert at making the holiday a positive one.

“Children are never too young to take on an adventure, says Sheree. “My son Boston was 17 months old when we left for our very first eight month journey around Australia,” she says. “Sure, we had no idea what we were doing. I had never been in a motorhome or caravan before either and we took enough gear for a small country.

“That first trip we took 5 kids – 17 months, 7years, 9years, 14 years old, and, we also through another 14year old nephew in for good measure - because four kids just wasn’t enough of a migraine for me.” According to Sheree, the trip was a huge success and it inspired a desire to share her love of travelling with her kids wherever possible.

However, as anyone with kids will tell you, travelling with kids is not always easy, but with a few insider tips, you can be prepared for the challenges and spend less time arguing, and more time enjoying.

“Most kids are really resilient,” Sheree says. “And they adapt in just a few days. Mothers on the other hand, take a little longer.”

What are some of your favourite destinations to take kids?

“Anywhere in Australia. The beach, the lake, a river, the mountains, the sunshine, the snow. Australia has it all. We are all so very lucky to live in a country that is ridiculously easy to get around, with no borders to cross and it’s all at your fingertips. Just step outside your front door and you will find an incredible spot. If you haven’t travelled with kids before, start off small with a weekend away or overnight stay.”

What are some of the rewards of travelling for kids? 

“Getting them out into the community is priceless. Getting them to meet other children from all walks of life. The kids are seeing and experiencing life in its rawest form. And seeing so much nature, so many vistas and views and learning so very much about Australia. It really is a priceless experience.

The kids also learn so many more life skills and daily chores that they definitely wouldn’t back at home. “And for the family, spending so much quality time together and learning to live together and co-exist in a whole new environment and on a totally different schedule is such a rewarding and bonding experience. Your usual 9 to 5 routine just goes out the window, which is particularly awesome for fathers who often miss out on so many things in their children’s day to day lives.”

Is there anything you look for in a location specifically when you are travelling with kids?

“As long as there is a beach or an area they can run around in, then they are fine. Whether it’s the snow, the water, the outback, the mountains, there will always be something for kids to do – just use your imagination. And if nerves are wearing a bit thin, look for a great caravan park with lots of kids entertainment!”

What about schoolwork, what do you advise to do there? 

“If you are away from school for prolonged periods, you will need to speak to your child’s teachers and take some work with you. In my experience, when the kids were doing schoolwork on the road, they got through it so much faster than they would have at school. I found that the school work is not a big challenge.”

reading time in the caravan.

How do you ensure everyone gets a bit of ‘me’ time and doesn’t drive each other nuts?

“We have a loose schedule. We have ‘quiet time’ and ‘mummy time’… there’s also ‘daddy time’ but that is normally away from the family at the pub. Isn’t it funny how men always seem to find the closest pub so easily? We have set times of day for ‘quiet time’. It depends on what we have done or what we have coming up in the next few days. But we always do ‘quiet time’ at least four or five times a week when on a long journeys.”

Do the kids have specific jobs on the road? 

“Absolutely. We make a big list at the start and they each choose three jobs. Then at the end of each week we swap jobs, but the other person has to agree to swap. It’s a good lesson in negotiating and the best part is that the worst jobs are constantly enjoyed because they know if they whinge then no one will want to take the job at the end of the week.”

Are there any places, or types of place you wouldn’t go with children?

“Not really. Maybe Kings Cross*, but other than that no. As long as you do your research and have all your safety measures covered, then you can go anywhere you want.”
On top Pildappa Rock

What do your kids say about travelling?

“They love it! We have taken our kids to Disneyland a number of times, and yet it never gets talked about. What they do talk about is the time we stayed on Marillana a very remote outback station in the Pilbara. They talk about the time we got stuck on our way to Cape York… the doll collection in the scary house in Rainbow, Victoria…the time they had to clean the dishes in the river in the Kimberley.”

(Well my kids can't wait to return to Disneyland ...)

Sheree’s tips for travelling with kids
  • Keep a routine with their school work. 90 mins a day and have it at the exact same time each day. 
  • Wake them at the same time, feed them at the same time, everything needs a time. Kids love routine. When there is no routine there is no formation. 
  • When you are on big travelling days, pack their lunch and morning tea just like when they are at school. Make sure they have healthy food and not petrol station snacks. Lots of fruit and vegies! 
  • They need their sleep so ensure they go to bed on time. 
  • Make sure they have chores to do. It teaches so many great lessons
  • Brush up on some games to distract them on long tips, preferably some learning ones, but Eye Spy is always a good fall-back.
This view was magic Fenchman Peak

Ps * Kings Cross station is a short walk to some great Sydney parks, outdoor art and sculptures and a great vista of Sydney Harbour and Opera House.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Hunt and Peck

Can you touch type ?
Not me , not really.

I'm more of two-three hunt and finger pecker.

This is my grandfather's first typewriter.
I remember being given this at 21 years old. Not so much to use but keep.
I own it and it still works.

I'm quite fast as a finger pecker.
However - I've been inspired to give touch typing a go for 30 days or longer.
Brain training and all that.

After 3 days of 30 mins or more, I can feel and see a basic improvement.

Pathetically slow but mostly accurate.

They recommend that. Master accuracy before speed.

This is the program I'm using. It breaks it down simply and keeps a record of my progress. Sam tells me he has an account from school , but he wasn't using it properly when I checked him.

After I master the skill - it will be the task of the twins to learn over the school holidays in preparation for Yr7. 

Yeah I know, like weren't they just starting school the other day. I remember the excitement and anticipation.

It starts again ... orientation letter arrived today 27th November.

Monday, 15 October 2018

'Tully' - my mother told me don't run with scissors in your hand

Hello, it's been a while.

I've had busy six-seven months.
Squeezing in a six-week overseas holiday that I didn't even blog about.
Almost, four weeks in USA and then 2 weeks in Italy.
Working and parenthood, it's not easy.
Attending new courses for volunteering and advocacy with the Cancer Council and Encore training.

Florence, Italy was for 2018 IBCPC PARTICIPATORY DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL - a sporting event and above all a social occasion which welcomed 4,000 to 5,000 people from all over the world. Mostly women, breast cancer survivors participants in Dragon Boat races, paddling together on the Arno. Many accompanied by their friends and family, their faithful and enthusiastic supporters.
Another bunch of stories for another day.

Due to my flight arrangements, I was traveling onto Italy and they home, I was not booked a seat near my hubby and sons.

At all, unless I changed seats. I did once or twice.
A win against the whining ...
I didn't have anyone to talk to (or fights to referee)

So I had about 10 flights, many long hauls. The opportunity to watch many movies, uninterrupted.
New release movies, so many hours to pass and I have never watched so many in my life.
I missed a few film endings. Some I caught again.

'Tully' was one of the ones I was enjoying when the pilot shut down the in-flight entertainment for announcements and getting ready to land.

Now, I was totally hooked on Tully and had yet to reach, what I know now is the "big twist".

Tully, is a film about motherhood or parenthood. Part comedy, charming with the focus on fine-tuning motherhood or not ...

I knew nothing of what was to come.

When I was asked if I wanted to review Tully - of course, I said, 'I missed the ending .'

I didn't get to follow it up because I've also been away 4-5 weekends since I returned in mid-July.

Writing a few thoughts about a film like Tully, the crux being a significant plot twist which calls into question the events leading up to it and the entire movie was a challenge.

How do I describe Tully, only summarizing 'her' plot and not reveal anything?
Of its climax!

 'Marlo (Charlize Theron), a mother of two - heavily pregnant with #3 is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to accept the extravagance, she comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis).'
We all know the palpable truths about new motherhood that are unassailable. The bone-deep exhaustion, the breastfeeding, the pumping anxiety, the mess, the never-ending struggle to find a 'balance' and still sparkle. ie. make the class cupcakes.

In comes Tully, a free-spirited 20 something to rescue Marlo and baby Mia, a friend in a time of need. Drew, the clueless husband exists in the background, playing video games with his headphones, and simply heedless.

I could really identify with all the deep themes of postpartum motherhood and the twist well'll find out for yourself. It's unique and quirky. It's funny, fantasy and it's the truth.

I can say at the end of the movie, Drew has his own awakening - actual 'co-parenting' with Mia's care and sharing Marlo’s earbuds while helping her cook dinner.

What did your mother tell you?
Does your partner co-parent?