Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Parliament and the Australian War Memorial

Greg's mom and stepfather visited in October to help out with the baby. We used the opportunity to visit some Canberra landmarks we had just never gotten around to visiting. This is Parliament. The wind was really picking up that afternoon, so we got a nice shot of the flag. That's one pretty sweet flagpole.

This is actually new Parliament. It openned in the 1980's but was part of the original design of the city. In 1913 they couldn't afford to do it the way they wanted, so they built a smaller, more ordinary structure to serve as a temporary Parliament. That "temporary" turned into 60 years. That building is called old Parliament, and now houses a museum, a very nice restaurant (we ate their for Valentine's Day one year), and some office spaces.

Now, back to new Parliament! Below are a couple pictures from the receiving hall, which can be used for hosting official functions. The mural along the back wall is pretty spectacular.

Like the US, Australia's Parliament is split into two houses- the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each chamber has a very strong color scheme. The Senate is red. Unfortunately, it wasn't in session so we couldn't watch any of the hot legislative action, but it was a pretty nice tour nonetheless.

After our tour of Parliament we headed over to what is probably the biggest tourist draw in Canberra- the Australian War Memorial. It's kind of a Smithsonian museum and national monument rolled into one. Very impressive. This picture is taken from the entrance way into the memorial section. The structure in the back houses The Tomb of the Unknown Solider, paying tribute to all Australians killed in combat.

On the second floor, running along both walls are the names of all those soldiers who died, in what conflict they were fighting, and what unit they belonged to. Flowers are regularly placed along the walls.

This is inside the tomb itself. Check out that quintessential Aussie bloke admiring the awesomeness. Nice shorts.

And here is us on the front steps. Immy was passed out. It had been a busy day.

After the War Memorial, we did the most Aussie thing possible- the pub! Here is our baby girl, at about four weeks getting her first Aussie pub experience. Now, before you call us out for stellar parenting, remember this is a pub, not a bar, and no one looked at us funny at all. It's a family place.
She's not a happy camper in this picture. It had been a long day and she was sleepy. At 6pm it was time for bed- wild and crazy times!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Last Thanksgiving in Australia

This year was a bittersweet Thanksgiving. It was our last one in Australia, and this has been our favorite tradition the last three years- sharing a quintessentially American holiday with our Aussie friends. It's been a huge hit, and we're a little bummed that we won't be doing this again. On the other hand though, it's Immy's first Thanksgiving and that is super exciting. She even put on a fancy dress and everything for the occasion.

Mmmmmmm, look at that bird. It doesn't get much better than that. As always, we cooked ours on the grill. Poultry on barbeques is a specialty of ours.

The masses started circling . . .

The feast! This year we had turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, green bean casserole, Helena's Potato Salad (a recipe which Greg is totally stealing), cranberry sauce, and gravy.

A nice of perk of it being summer is that you can eat outdoors which is pretty great. Look at those happy post-turkey faces.

One of the things we have made for a long time now is the pumpkin roll. It's Laurel's preferred alternative to pumpkin pie. However, the ovens here aren't long enough to fit the long pan necessary to produce a thin enough cake to roll without breaking. Instead, we have created a kind of pumpkin cake oreo. It's two layers of pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting in between, and powdered sugar sprinkled on top. It's not going to win any awards for presentation, but man it is delicious.

This year everyone was particularly excited by the idea of dessert, because our turkey feast was followed by a second sweet-feast. Not that anyone was complaining. Just extra full of sugary goodness.

Immy has learned the first lesson of Thanksgiving. There is no escaping the Turkey Coma, even when it's diluted in breastmilk. Fortunately mom's shoulder makes an excellent napping spot!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spooky Cupcakes II!

Sorry for yet another long delay guys. As you are no doubt aware, we've had a bit of change in our life lately, and blogging has just fallen way down the list of daily priorities. Stupid life, always getting in the way of things (just kidding Immy!).
Now, let's go into the wayback machine to October 2012. It was time for Year Two of our new Halloween tradition- making spooky cupcackes! Once again, Greg was on the sidelines (hangin out with his visiting Mom instead of playing cricket), while Laurel and her friend Helena got down to some serious baking.  Here they are hard at work preparing the raspberry blood drippings to go on the zombie braaaaaaaaaaaains.
That is some professional looking application. It's probably good they didn't let Greg help, he would have just tried to glob in on with a spoon.

Last year's batch of Spooky Cupcakes was such a hit, we decided to make three of the four kinds again. Sorry, eyeballs and worms, you didn't make the cut this year. You were a little too spooky. At both our offices, those were the last ones to get eaten. So here are the completed mummies and brains, just as delicious looking as last year.

Later, some angry ghosts got called in to protect the brains. One thing is certain at Halloween from now on- if there are no other cupackes there will be ghost cupcakes. They are Laurel's favorite.

Here is the new one we made this year- gingerbread graveyards! If they weren't so ghastly they'd be adorable.

All four, for your viewing pleasure. In case you were wondering, they were even better tasting than they look, and that's saying something. Greg supports any tradition that includes delicious things to eat.

This year we've started what will probably be a lifelong, non-seasonal tradition: taking pictures of our daughter in situations she's probably not totally cool with. Thus, creating memories that she will be incredibly embarressed about when she's a teenager. But whatever, look how cute she is as a spooky pumpkin! She even tolerated it for a few minutes!

 . . . and then it was no longer okay. Happy Halloween everyone!