2nd Birthday Bonanza

With a title like that you’re thinking one of 2 things, either:

I am one of those (insane?) parents who not only celebrates the birthday of their children but the entire month, or
We somehow had another child born within a couple of weeks of our first – now that would make for a good story.

With a title like that you’re thinking one of 2 things, either:

  • I am one of those (insane?) parents who not only celebrates the birthday of their children but the entire month, or
  • We somehow had another child born within a couple of weeks of our first – now that would make for a good story.

note, you could be forgiven for choosing option 1 as we did go away for 3 days leading up to the little guy’s 2nd birthday, you can read about it here Our Quick Escape – Part 1

Or I could be wrong and its something completely different, either way I’ll offer up a third option;

More 2nd Birthday Parties to Attend!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but my wife has a group of Mum friends that she is really close with. They all met during antenatal classes before babies came along and stayed good friends, the Dads became friends too, albeit not as close as their other halves.

Anyway that means they have a group of friends all with kids around the same age. That’s means the kids all know each other and are growing up together (to a point). This also means that their birthdays are around the same time of the year.

Last year that meant every weekend for almost 2 months there was a 1st birthday party to attend – if we’re honest it was the most social any of the group had been in 12 months.

This year the calendar isn’t quite as fully booked, but there has still been some fun to be had, you can check out the celebrations for Oliver’s 2nd birthday here 2 Years of Parenthood

Want to see how we celebrated his friends birthdays?

Party Number 1

Well 2 if you count ours as number 1.

So our Party was held at a Pub, Party number 2 was held at a local Play Centre called ‘Megamania’ – Think Multi-Story indoor playground.

As far as a venue for a kids party goes, this would have to be right up there. Its secure so your kids can’t escape – not that they would want to, they provide party food, drink, and cake – because you can’t have a party without cake, and the fun is physical enough that your toddler will be worn out enough by the end to have a sleep – at least you hope so anyway.

toddler playground megamania

The playground itself is imposing enough for an adult (would be close to 3 stories tall), let alone a toddler.

No, don’t worry, the playground doesn’t have some inbuilt spy cameras, to give Ollie enough confidence to play by himself, Down Under Dad had to play with him for the first few times.

You can see below just how high the playground is

toddler playground megamania

After being forcefully removed by his Dad as cake was being served, the little guy ended up going back inside all by himself – #proudparentingmoment right there.

If you look closely you can see him up the top

toddler playground megamaniaIf you look over the right of the photo you can also see the large red slide. While this was the cause of much joy and laughter, it wasn’t without some bumps.

At some point Ollie decided to go down on the slide by himself. Long story short he ended up with a small friction burn on his chin. Like a true toddler though he continued playing like it was nothing, he did however drag Dad back up to the slide each time after that though.

Overall the Party was a success, although it didn’t quite wear him out as much as we would have thought.

Party Number 2

or is it 3??

The next party was something completely different again. The venue? a local park, if you have been following you would know that this is a dream come true for the little guy, check out Weekend Adventures .

Luckily at the moment we are going through a surprisingly warm time for the middle of winter. Not only is it warm but the sun is out and there is little wind. Perfect for a day at the park.

One of the bonuses of this park was it was also only a short drive away, no major planning needed and anything we forgot was a short trip back home.

note, not that we did, I did see that as a bonus though in case we needed it.

A feature of the park was a large network of paths connecting BBQ areas and playgrounds. This proved to be the perfect chance to try out one of Ollie’s birthday presents.

toddler bike

Before you say anything, yes he does have a helmet, but it was left at home – only a short drive away. Not that we did go get it, #parentingfail ,  to be fair he didn’t actually spend a lot of time on the bike.

He did however choose to eat freshly cut fruit over crackers and dip, already choosing the healthy option, that has to be a #parentingwin right there.

toddler playground park

Did we mention at earlier that this party was held at a park? part of the reason not a lot of time was spent on the bike was that he was distracted by the play equipment.

Here you can see him climbing up the netting, the first couple of times he got stuck at the top but once we showed him where to hold on, he did it all by himself, over and over and over.

Unfortunately our time at this party was cut short as Down Under Dad had to work in the afternoon, however a great time was still had.

 

Our Quick Escape – Part 3

Our third and final day of our 3 Day Escape wasn’t as jam packed as the previous 2, however that didn’t stop us making the most of our time in the Hunter Valley.

Our third and final day of our 3 Day Escape wasn’t as jam packed as the previous 2, however that didn’t stop us making the most of our time in the Hunter Valley.

While it was only a 3 day break, our little holiday was the perfect way to spend some quality time as a family of 3 before things get a whole lot busier When 3 become 4. . . It also happened to line up with the 2nd birthday of our little guy so it was a great way to celebrate it as a family.

If you can’t tell by the title this is actually the third and final part of our adventure. I encourage you to check out our experiences on Day 1 Our Quick Escape – Part 1 , as well as our adventures with Snow (in this part of the country?) on Day 2 Our Quick Escape – Part 2.

All caught up now? Here we go. . .

Day 3

After being so excited the day before that we got up at 2am (can you feel the enthusiasm?) , Day 3 started a little slower. We knew we had until 11am to be out of the hotel (thank you late checkout), but we also didn’t want to start our day too late.

After our little guy felt the need to open the door to the balcony and proclaim to everyone “ooo its cold” over and over it wasn’t long before we were out of bed. After packing our bags, double checking under the beds, triple checking the cupboards, and quadruple checking the bathroom (I know it was only 2 days but when you have a toddler you will find things in the most surprising of places), we decided we needed breakfast.

We had avoided breakfast at the hotel buffet so far as the price was a little steep for us, but being the last day we also thought it would be convenient. Walking past the buffet and seeing the lineup snake its way throughout the lobby of the hotel cemented our decision to find food elsewhere.

taste of the country

If you read Our Quick Escape – Part 1 you will know that on the first day we found a great little cafe that did All Day Breakfast – not that it was late, just we already knew they did good breakfasts.

Breakfast was fairly uneventful, the real run began when we got to the Zoo

Hunter Valley Zoo

The Zoo had been one of our main reasons for coming to the Hunter Valley. Our little guy had always been fascinated by different animals in books and on the TV, so we thought he would be impressed to see them up close.

A short drive away, a handy voucher giving us discounted entry, and we were ready to go.

After we paid our entry fee and purchased our bag of ‘animal food’, we headed in. We immediately heard over the PA system that there was going to be a ‘Lion Talk’ starting in 10 minutes. Anyone with a toddler knows their attention spans can be short, and standing in a crowd listening to someone talk through a speaker is not going to bode well.

It also meant that the walk-in area where you can feed to kangaroos had next to no one in it so it made for the perfect first stop.

Hunter Valley Zoo

Kangaroo Joey

While I understand why they do it, its safe to say just about everyone who comes to the Zoo buys some animal food as the kangaroos were pretty well fed. Upon realising this the little guy decided that the ducks on the other side of the fence were more deserving of his attention, as well as his food.

feed kangaroo

After getting bored of feeding the kangaroos, ducks, and the odd Llama, we decided to keep moving. Next stop were the Monkeys. Kangaroos, ducks, and even Llamas were something Ollie had seen outside before, so the Monkeys were the first animals he had only ever seen in a book. You could tell he was impressed, until we moved on the only words out of his mouth were “Eee Eee Eee” – in case you couldn’t tell that’s the sound a Monkey makes.

monkeys

As we continued through the first half of the Zoo, the animals were more suited to older kids. What do I mean by that? A toddler isn’t exactly interested in birds, or any animal that’s smaller then they are, especially when they aren’t moving much.

We then moved towards the larger animal enclosures, walking past a number of Crocodiles. Again no matter how much enthusiasm Mum and Dad showed towards them, Ollie wasn’t interested unless they were moving.

Beyond the Crocodiles were the Lions – thankfully by the time we got there the crowd had already dispersed. Unfortunately that also meant the Lions were using this time to rest and weren’t being overly active.

note, I’m not 100% sure if the Lions were actually more active during the talk, however with never seeing a Lion in the wild, I’m not sure how active they are.

As we checked out the other large enclosures we noticed an Emu had come over to the fence and a couple of people were feeding it. I used this opportunity to get rid of the last of our animal food that we had been carrying around and allow Ollie to see it up close. That was were it wrong. . .

Now just to clarify nothing bad as such happened here and no one was ever in danger

With child in one arm and food in the other I reached out to the emu – with the food, not the child (I shouldn’t feel the need to clarify that), and the Emu promptly snatched the food out of my hand. While some of us thought this was funny, the look on the little guy’s face was one of shock and horror.

Let’s just say we moved away from the Emu pretty quickly. Fortunately the scare from the Emu was quickly forgotten about when the Lions decided to use that time to be more active.

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To paint a picture for you there are two Lion enclosures with a high wall between them, they each hold a different type of Lion, a male and female of each.

When the first one decided to open its lungs and Roar, the other 3 did the same. What followed was a ten minute symphony of loud roars that would have woken anyone up.

The rest of the visit was rather uneventful compared to the Emu’s and Lions.

Time to head Home

While no one was ready to hop back in the car, all good things must come to an end.

As I mentioned in Our Quick Escape – Part 1 we were lucky that our Destination in the Hunter Valley was only a short drive from our home of Newcastle . While it was only a short drive, 3 big days had obviously warn the little guy out as he was fast asleep as soon as we pulled out of the driveway from the Zoo.

quick escape hunter valley

That marked the End of Our Quick Escape. However the busy week didn’t finish there, Day 3 of our Holiday was also the day Ollie turned 2, you can read more about it in 2 Years of Parenthood .

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap Up – Sunday 22nd July 2018

The weekend is Over, you have done what preparation you could for the week ahead and now its time to sit down and get that final bit of relaxation time in before heading to bed to start the week.

The weekend is Over, you have done what preparation you could for the week ahead and now its time to sit down and get that final bit of relaxation time in before heading to bed to start the week.

This is the perfect time to catch up on the week that was, especially if your like me and have been slacking off, too busy, or just focused on other things, that’s fine, I understand, this post is made for you, a summary of the last week, or so.

Disclaimer, this is actually a two week summary as I missed last weeks. Sorry to mislead you but Weekly Fortnight Wrap Up just didn’t have the same ring to it.

Our Quick Escape

I told you I have been busy, our little family went away for 3 days to the beautiful Hunter Valley.

The first day was really a half day by the time we arrived. A filling lunch at a nice little cafe, a play in the park, and exploring the hotel rounded out the day, check it out here – Our Quick Escape – Part 1

quick escape hunter valley

The second day was fully packed from the time it started (around 2am). There was plenty of good food, we found some snow (in this part of the country??), and enjoyed some hot coffee. Some more fun back at the hotel and the day was over. Find out more Our Quick Escape – Part 2

I also told you I have been slacking off, so much that I still haven’t finished Part 3 – Coming Soon.

The Little Guy Turns 2

I’ve been blogging now for a few months and I just realised I never actually mention our little guys name. Oliver has finally turned 2 and Mr and Mrs Down Under are celebrating, not just his birthday but making it through 2 Years of Parenthood .

There was a wild party at the local pub to celebrate (as wild as it gets for a 2 year old), and plenty of new toys to keep Ollie occupied for at least a couple of days.

car

Twitter Mention

So it turns out that something Mrs Down Under stumbled upon on Youtube – Super Simple Songs is pretty well known. They should really teach you this stuff before you become a parent.

All I did was tweet something that my child did and tagged the artist and it went viral, well as viral as someone with 170 followers on Twitter can go.

baby shark

If you want to stay up to date and hear even more bad dad jokes (only the best ones make the blog), then give me a follow @DownUnderDadbg

Bucket List Contribution

A few weeks ago I came across a post from Wendy at Travel Drink Dine , asking for submissions for an Australian Bucket List. What better way to highlight the great city Down Under Dad comes from then by contributing a section for my hometown of Newcastle. You can find the full list here by following the link Reblog – The Ultimate Australian Bucket List – Travel Drink Dine

Random Facts about Newcastle

The contribution to the bucket list was only short and was more touristy then anything, sure it might interest you if you were travelling around Australia, it didn’t really give you much information.

After reading The Cole Campfire’s Top 10 Random Facts about Oregon I decided to make a similar list.

If you want to know more about where Down Under Dad comes from, check out Top 10 Random Facts about Newcastle . While it doesn’t neccesarily sum up the best things about Newcastle, it certainly has some interesting facts that not even the people who live here might know.

Nobbys Beach Newcastle

Dad Joke

Have you been paying attention? I told you only the Best Dad Jokes make it to my Blog. 2 Dad Jokes made it to the hall of fame that is the Down Under Dad Blog this week.

You can read the one about the Surgeon and his Patient here 14/7/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

Or if the Pope is more your style check out 21/7/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

dad joke

As I said at the start this wasn’t so much a weekly wrap up but a fortnightly wrap up as I’ve been a combination of Slack and Busy. This week should see a change in that.

Hope you’ve had a Great Week! Enjoy the week ahead. If your still awake and feel like some more light reading, you can check out the previous Weekly Wrap Up here – Weekly Wrap Up – Sunday 8th July 2018.

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Top 10 Random Facts about Newcastle

With a name like ‘Down Under Dad’, its pretty easier to pick where the writer of this blog comes from.

With a name like ‘Down Under Dad’, its pretty easier to pick where the writer of this blog comes from. However Australia is a diverse country with many different places and lifestyles scattered throughout an area larger then Europe and close to equal that of the United States.

One such place is my hometown of Newcastle. Want to know more? Here’s 10 random facts that you may not already know.

1. Newcastle is Australia’s second Oldest City. Settled in 1804 by convicts that were rebelled in Sydney.

2. The Bogey Hole was actually carved out of rock by Convicts for the governor’s personal swimming pool. Still a great place for a swim on the coast, just keep an eye out for the waves.

bogey hole

 

3. The Hunter Valley is Australia’s Oldest Wine Region. OK so not technically a part of Newcastle the city, but it is right outside.

4. Newcastle’s Fort Scratchley is the only coastal fort in Australia to return fire
at an enemy vessel during a time of war. During WW2 a Japanese Submarine shelled Newcastle targeting the steelworks, while they weren’t successful, Fort Scratchley did return fire.

5. Nobbys Lighthouse used to be on an island. Until the break wall was built to protect the entrance to the harbor and created one of Newcastle’s classic beaches.

6. A 225m long Bulk Carrier almost called Nobby’s Beach Home. After getting beached during wild storms, it lived there for almost 2 months.

pasha bulker

7. Sand from Stockton beach is exported to Hawaii.  We really do have some of the best beaches in the world.

stockon beach

8. Newcastle is home to the largest Coal exporting port in the world. Always fun for the kids to watch the big ships coming in and out of the harbor daily.

9. Newcastle shares its airport with the Australian Air Force. Its not uncommon to see the fighter jets practicing maneuvers over the beach. Although if you wait until you hear them its normally too late.

10. One of the most well known landmarks is shaped like a giant, uh. . . Remind me again why we are proud of it.

queens wharf tower

 

This post was inspired by a blog that started around the same time mine did. The Cole Campfire Blog recently posted Top 10 Random Facts about Oregon . I actually learnt some interesting facts from it which made me think not all of my readers would know where i’m from let alone where I got the name Down Under Dad.

Hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learnt something. I’d love for you to share some interesting facts about where your from. You can leave them below or link back to my blog.

Reblog – The Ultimate Australian Bucket List – Travel Drink Dine

Reblog from Travel Drink Dine

Want to know more about the Land Down Under? Check out this bucket list of Australian Destinations from Travel Drink Dine.

Reblog from Travel Drink Dine

Want to know more about the Land Down Under? Check out this bucket list of Australian Destinations from Travel Drink Dine.

Want to know more about where Down Under Dad comes from? Check out my submission under NSW – Newcastle

Are you travelling to Australia? This list has been created with a number of travel experts to become your resource for the ultimate Australian bucket list.

Source: The Ultimate Australian Bucket List – Travel Drink Dine