Category Archives: Holiday

It’s My Party And You’ll Celebrate If I Want You To

It’s all about me. That’s why I coerce my Australian friends and family to participate in American holidays. I lure them to our house with Thanksgiving dinners and All-American Fourth of July feasts. I also appreciate how Pandora Radio has a Fourth of July station which I played all-day-long! The only thing that makes it seem like pretend to me is that it’s bloody cold during Independence Day, and hot as Hades on Thanksgiving. This Independence Day was also a first for me, not because it was my first abroad, but because my lovely sister-in-law brought me a present. It was Jack Daniels, she hit the perfect present bulls-eye with that one!

It’s also all about Charlie, that’s why I dressed her up in red, white, and blue courtesy of my friend Vanessa who got her this cute Stars and Stripes jumpsuit. I want her to feel connected to both countries because I know it’s not easy being a citizen of the world.

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She will hate me one day for this outfit but I don’t care!

I think we all want to feel like we belong somewhere, or to something. That’s why we are so patriotic, join clubs and groups, accept the “membership” cards for various stores, and never, ever actually cut ties with our families no matter how crazy they make us. We all crave community, and lucky for my people, they get fed. Maybe it’s just how mothers show love, but I think it’s how Americans show love as well. We feed. (Perhaps that’s why most of America is working on a new level for the BMI scale!) I know each time I have a get together with my American family I leave with a food baby. Keeping with tradition, I subjected my Independence Day guests to Ribs, Chicken Wings (and Teradactyle sized drumsticks), Tater Salad, Fruit Pizza, and some red, white, and blue strawberries I made. Check out my Pinterest for these recipes, I will attempt at remembering to post them on the Tasties page here as well.

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Yes, that’s the fruit pizza, similar to the one I made at Easter. Yum-O!

I originally planned on getting this amazing pulled pork from Costco but of course they didn’t have any, in any aisle, because believe you me I checked! I also had to trim the chicken bicep off the wings, who knows if that’s what they’re actually called but I’m running with it. And when I say trim, I mean I had to cut the wing skin, grab the joint and twist like the poor chicken had offended my grandmother and my name was Tony Soprano. (Side note, may James Gandolfini rest in peace.)

Earlier I was chatting with my friend Lauren who is also an American living in Oz, and we were discussing how sad it makes us to see the photos online of our favorite pastimes. She taught me a new phrase, FOMO, to which I was befuddled. Apparently it’s “Fear Of Missing Out”. That girl is a genius, because I’m cursed and she put a name on it. I have FOMO over things back in the US, and now I’ll have that about things happening in Australia. I’m visualizing summers here, and summers back in the US. Now THAT’S a dream come true!

Very soon, less than two weeks soon, we will be hopping on a few airplanes and will eventually land in Denver. I can hardly wait to see my family again, let them chase Charlie for a bit, because I’m a little worn out, and enjoy a nice cold Fat Tire. Look out America, I’m coming for you!

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Here I am in Vail last US summer, enjoying a Fat Tire.

xxOHM

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One Hot Mess and a Koala

Nothing makes me want to live off the grid more than dealing with government agencies. The only problem with off the grid living is the lack of niceties and little comforts I’ve grown accustomed to. I mean, where would I get the vanilla almond butter I’m addicted to or a pedicure? First world problems I tell ya.

I’m currently in the process of applying for Permanent Residency in Australia and holy mackerel is it a long and loaded process! As an American a little part of me is an entitled, spoiled, white girl who thinks I should just be able to fill in a form, tell them I’m not a baddie (Aussie speak for bad guy), and go on my way. But no. I have to trudge through all the bureaucracy and mountains of paperwork like the rest of the population and wait my turn. (Cue foot stomping). Let me share with you a tiny bit of what is required. Fingerprints, sent to the FBI (12-16 week turn around time), Australian National Police Check, Blood Tests, Chest X-rays, family history (including step and half siblings and their marital status), certified copies of everything from my passport to my first library card (ok the library card part is a lie), four new passport style photos, three different forms all five plus pages in length, a personal story as to how I came to be in Australia and married to that handsome guy with the cute accent, and a little more than $4k. Just for starters. Thank goodness for Google and the really nice lady at Immigration who answered my questions! I’m hoping the process for Lucas’ green card is less painful, but I’m not betting on it.

During all of this I have to keep reminding myself it’s all worth it. Australia is a pretty great place to live and I was lucky enough a couple of weeks ago to experience even more of what this great country has to offer. My little family packed our bags, left our coats in Canberra and headed for warmer, sunnier weather at the Gold Coast. It was exactly the little break we needed, and bonus! We were able to spend quite a bit of quality time with some old friends of Lucas who I now get to call my new friends. The feminine half of our friendly duo is also an American and I wish she lived closer! It was so refreshing to spend some time with someone who knows what it’s like to challenge yourself with a move to a new country. Dare I say, it made me feel human again! Little victories.

20130527-110454.jpg Lauren and me, a couple of American girls in Oz.

Since moving to Australia I’ve been hearing about all these fabulous things there are to do and aside from visiting some of the most pristine beaches on the planet, I’d yet to experience anything truly Australian until we visited the Gold Coast. While it is yet another gorgeous beach, a little bird told me that I could cuddle a Koala just twenty minutes up the road. Stop. The. Press. A lifelong dream of mine was going to come true! We toured the Currummbin Wildlife Park and paid $30 to have our photo taken while cuddling the cutest of wild animals known to man. I was so stinking nervous and heart-poundingly excited to hold the little guy I was afraid he would feel my nerves and claw me to death with the sharpest, longest claws I’ve ever seen on a 1 and a half year old. All went well however, and he was as snuggle-riffic as anything called a bear could be.

20130527-110858.jpg I can’t remember his name but he was so soft!

Charlie also wanted to get in on the Koala cuddling and in true Australian hospitality, the handlers let her have a pat as well.

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After feeding Kangaroos, cuddling Koalas, seeing Dingos, Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, and the largest Crocodile I hope to ever see, I feel a little more experienced here. I can’t wait to take my family and friends on these adventures when they visit us here. Life is happening here and now and I’m busy living it, and loving it!

Stay tuned for the One Hot Mess adventures that I am positive will ensue as I proceed down this Immigration track, dual citizenship is so much easier when you’re born with it. Count your blessings Charlie!

xx OHM

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Oh No She Didn’t!

I’ve been called a lot of things in my short life, but not being compassionate isn’t an old favorite. Today an article was passed under my nose regarding immigration and Australia. It also included the name of the particular type of Visa I hold in the title. Of course my interest was peaked! After making a dispassionate (Merriam-Webster defines this as cool, composed, unbiased), remark on said article, I was clobbered with a follow up comment which was an obvious reaction to a misinterpretation of my original thought. Now, I don’t tend to argue with people. Not in person and certainly not online. There is far too much lost in translation to ever have a proper debate in the land of cyber geniuses. A woman (I’m sure she’s a nice lady) who I have never met and isn’t privy to my political leanings, or even my view on humanity assumed I was being a meanie poo-poo head about refugees who come to Australia on risky boat trips. I can’t blame her, we live in a highly politicized society, one where many believe one party is a totally different than the other.

20130428-202714.jpg This photo, courtesy of the Herald Sun is of some Boat People.

Normally, I don’t give a rat’s pahtoody (like my creative spelling on that?) what people think of me. But in this instance, I needed to stand up for myself, and make it clear to those who don’t know me in all of my crazy pants glory, that I DO care about my fellow man. More so now than ever before. Why?, you ask. Because a little person came from my body and changed me forever. It’s a little sad to realize we live in a world where this is a normal assumption, and I have to defend myself, but that’s the next point to my little rant.

I wouldn’t say that prior to becoming a parent I didn’t care about people, or shelter animals, or whether or not my wine bottles in the recycle bin actually were recycled. I would say that after becoming a parent, I am keenly aware of the horrific goings on of our world. Tragic stories, crimes against humanity, acts of war, all violently thrash at my heart strings. I know there will not be peace in my lifetime, as there has never been peace in anyone’s lifetime. I know that I, one woman who has stood up for her rights and won, one mother who would go to the end of the earth to ensure a better future for my daughter’s world, will not make a big difference but I can make a small difference. I can nurture that difference, teach her to do things in the name of peace, not to harm others. To embark upon this world with an open heart and mind, a wisdom to know the right battles to fight when necessary, and a compassion for her fellow human and the nature that surrounds us all.

xxOHM

p.s. I know this was a bit of a “deep” post and not in my normal comedic fashion, but I promise to post something funny very soon! For now, here is a funny photo to satisfy your insatiable appetite for a laugh…

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Family Holiday and Poop in the Tub

Contrary to popular belief there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. There is also, of course, too much of a bad thing. This weekend was filled with both. I am happy to tell you though, it was much more the former.

We had a lovely four day weekend, filled with family visiting from Sydney, copious amounts of wine and chocolate, and way too much poop in the bath tub. I’ll get to that last part in a minute. Let’s start from the top.

I am very lucky to have married into a tight knit family who visit each other often. Lucas’ brother came down to Canberra with his four girls- his wife, two daughters, and the family dog, Rosie. I suppose it’s his lot in life to be surrounded by beautiful women. Tough gig.

As with any of our family get togethers we tend to cram as much food and wine into our bodies as humanly possible. I’m not sure why we do this but it sure is fun when you’re having a picnic Easter lunch on a hillside instead of any of the flat surfaces available in the park. It’s even more fun when an entire bottle of Pinot Gris gets shared with your sister-in-law who just so happens to be wearing black suede stilettos. Yes, you read that right, half drunk, on a hill, in a park, in heels. She did borrow her daughter’s “runners” (Aussie speak for running shoes), when it was time to visit “Grandma Jones” (CJ speak for the toilet). I am not above admitting that I also had on some fabulous footwear and while my boots were black and heeled, they were not stilettos, perhaps I’m just not that brave. Matter of fact, there was quite a bit of borrowing going on, I never felt as old nor as cool as I did when my 13 year-old niece borrowed my jeans.

Aside from our hillside shenanigans, we had much more fun. Like decorating Easter baskets, which my sister-in-law and I somehow ended up doing by ourselves when the kids ditched us. It was also rib-stitchingly good when we were out for a coffee in the city and a runner “stacked it” (Aussie speak for crash or fall down). It was the “stack that kept on stacking” according to Lucas. This poor woman was just out for a run, in a Phoebe from Friends fashion I might add, when she brought us to tears. Just as she turned to take the sidewalk in front of our little cafe area, the curb jumped up and tripped her. Her feet shot out like duck paddles and she was horizontal for at least three slaps of the asphalt. It was like she was training for the next Matrix movie and had to nail the scene where the bullets come at your back but you can’t touch the ground with your hands. When she finally recovered she gave a thumbs up to another table and kept running, yet again nearly stacking in on a newly installed rail lining the path. We were dying of laughter. Almost as much laughter as when it was footy pyjama time!

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My niece and I rocking the onesie look.

As with every holiday I try to inject some of my own family traditions, it keeps me from feeling too homesick. This holiday for me is always marked by fruit pizza, which is my stepmom’s specialty. I’ll post the recipe in the Tasties section of the blog. Check it out, it is so yum.

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I’d say the highlight for me during the whole weekend was when we all jumped in our cars and drove down the road to the new Cajun restaurant. An American guy (I’m sold just on that), is from New Orleans and has opened a few restaurants around Australia, along with being a celebrity chef. He’s a big personality and I’ve seen him a few times at the markets peddling his chicken wings. Had I known then how unbelievably delicious these wings are, I would’ve been partaking in them for a much longer period of time. But, I was hesitant to buy wings from a sidewalk vendor. We have been stalking his restaurant for weeks now, waiting for it to open and fortunately, we called, learned he finally opened and we made a booking for Saturday night. Why on earth we thought it was a good idea to take Charlie to a restaurant I have no idea. We’re optimists I guess! We even packed her high chair in the car and trucked it in the restaurant with us as we learned they didn’t have high chairs there. She didn’t even sit in it once. An overstimulated baby just won’t nap and then they fall asleep on uncle Simon at the dinner table.

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I hungrily jammed as much ribs, jambalaya, shrimp creole, gumbo, chicken wings, and cornbread in my face as I could before Charlie had a full on meltdown. That kid had great timing because I am now addicted to the Soulfood Kitchen in Erindale thanks to her mini nap. I wanted to tell the people looking at the menu on the door as I exited with a crying baby that it was awesome and they should totally stay but I think Charlie would've nullified any uptalk I could give the place.

After our Happy Easter it was the first official Geelong Cats game of the year. To say Lucas is a fan would be an understatement. He's a fanatic. This morning, he woke up and told me he was nervous about the game. You'd think he was playing his debut game for the Cats. I have to say, he comes by it honestly, his dad and brothers are all huge Cats fans. Biting their nails, pacing nervously, and making Corona (the best beer available in Oz) disappear at rapid rates is all normal behaviour to be expected from the Copeland male during a game. I am happy to report they won, and none of us women have to deal with sulky males. Phew!

Following the game, the Sydney Copeland Clan headed back north and we began to settle in for the evening which is where poop in the bath tub comes in. Charlie has her dinner, followed by her bath, and then goes to bed almost every night. This routine of ours helps the little miss settle down and drift off to leave mommy and daddy in peace until we are too tired to keep our own eyes open. This evening we had a first. Charlie actually pooed in the the tub. It's not the first instance in which there was poo and Charlie in a tub at once as I did neglect to check her diaper before yanking it off and dunking her in the tub. But it was the first time she actually added floaties to the water. She was making her "poo face" and I thought she was acting funny but it wasn't until I saw the friendly fire that I grabbed her up out of the water and Lucas made a mad dash for reconnaissance materials. We almost made it a whole year. Here's hoping we make it to the next visit by the Easter bunny before we deal with any more pootastraphies.

xx OHM

p.s. I know teenage Charlie is mortified I wrote this.

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