Pemberton and Surrounds

Lots of you have already seen and commented on our little preview of our recent vacation, but now, a week after it ended, it’s time to share about our experience in a bit more detail.  This trip was our longest and furthest away from Perth (as a family) since we arrived in Australia; a whopping 4 hours by car to the south, for 4 nights!  With all 4 of us!

This was also the first break we’ve had from the FIFO routine since Kate was born, and it was very refreshing.  It allowed us to step back a bit and think about how it’s really been so far, and how well we’ll be able to cope with it on an ongoing basis.  I (Tim) am going back to work with a fresh energy, feeling confident that I’m in the right place and doing the right thing for now, despite how hard it is to spend those 8 day stretches away from the family (particularly Eden, since Kathryn and I get to talk a lot in the evenings).

On to the vacation itself!  The place we stayed at is called Pemberton Farm Chalets, as recommended by our friends Simon and Helen.  Their website is pretty old school, but the chalets are quite cosy and the location was absolutely perfect for a family like ours, with young kiddos.

friendly mama sheep

We arrived on Thursday arvo, after a pleasant and somewhat drawn out drive down the number 1.  Perth is built on a sandy river delta, but as we travelled south the soil must have become much more fertile (i.e. it was actually soil), as the depth and richness of green began to increase.  Eden knew we were heading to a farm, and there were a lot of farms along the way.  Many, many times she cried out, “There’s the farm!!” as we crested a hill to see a paddock full of sheep and/or cows grazing below us.  “Sorry Eden, that’s not the right farm”, we would respond, “just a little bit further…”

kookaburra sits on an old fence po-ost

The chalets (cabins would be a better term in my Canadian mind) were located in a line along the southern hill of a scenic, east-west trending valley.  Below and just outside our front window was a paddock that typically contained about a dozen sheep (4 of which were adorable, several-week-old lambs) and anywhere between one and 6 or so kangaroos.  There were a couple of horses in the next paddock over, and a fat, old goat.  Throughout the day, it seemed like the sheep had a tendency to graze in a pattern from bottom to top of the hill, possibly following the sunshine.

lambies cuddling

The rest of the farm consisted of a playground with swings and a climbing structure, an old-school trampoline with no guarding on the sides or over the springs, a tennis court, a barn area with chickens, rabbits, and supplies, a pool – that was closed for the winter – and the office.  It was small enough that we didn’t mind giving Eden some freedom to roam, particularly when she went looking for her friend Diva (pronounced like an Australia says “diver”), the semi-tame ‘roo featured in the video from our previous post.

playing on the death trap (Kathryn’s nickname for it), Diva reclining in background

The inside of the chalet featured a fairly firm queen size bed for Kathryn and I, single bunk beds for the girls (they slept on the bottoms!), a fireplace (Kathryn was in heaven), and a spa bath.  The bath was nice, but they didn’t have anything to take the natural tint out of the water, so there was some sediment in it and it looked like a tub full of pee; that didn’t stop Eden (or any of us) from enjoying a good bath or two!

Eden playing with boats in the rip currents

Highlights of the vacation – besides the relaxation and peace of it all – included feeding the animals, experiencing some of the southwest’s natural beauty, and (for me) climbing a super high tree called the Bicentennial Tree. We’ll let the pictures do most of the rest of the talking (click on any of the pictures to open a scrolling ‘gallery’ view):

Alone Time

Eden’s down for a nap and Tim just took Kate out to the shops to give me some alone time!

Alone time…

What is alone time?

Most days/hours/minutes consist of me being needed. Needed by a 5 month old who nurses on demand…and is very demanding. Needed by a 2 year old who seems to be going through a “mommy only” phase, a whine and cry and “mommy pick you up” phase, especially when the 5 month old needs me. Sometimes it’s nice to feel needed, to be the only one who can calm the tears; most times it’s exhausting and I want to escape…to have some alone time.

Now that it’s presented to me I don’t know what to do. Honestly I have no idea…and I have many ideas.

I don’t want to waste my time on Facebook, maybe I’ll have a nap…but I’m not super tired which means it will take me too long to fall asleep and by the time I do it’s likely Eden will be waking up. It’s probably better if I stay awake…maybe I should bake something! I enjoy baking (and Tim enjoys the results) but then I end up dirtying the dishes and there are still some lunch dishes to wash…I don’t really want to wash dishes.

Maybe I should take advantage of this time and clean off the cluttered desk and book shelf, but no, this is my time and I want to use it doing something for me.

I used to enjoy scrapbooking and I have a lot of crafty supplies, maybe I should make something out of paper, or work on either of the unfinished scrapbooks I have stored away. It’s likely that Eden will wake up and want to get involved and I’m not really willing to sacrifice my expensive paper to scribbles and tears. Besides, crafting something takes time and I don’t really have much of that on my side. By the time I would get my supplies laid out I would have to put them away.

I decide to get caught up on a favourite blog I haven’t read in a while. I read a few posts and feel myself getting drawn in, but I don’t want to be sitting in the same spot when Tim returns. He’ll think I just wasted my alone time online. So I close it.

Maybe I should drink a cup of tea and enjoy a piece of 85% cocoa dark chocolate that Tim bought for me the other day. Hum, I don’t really feel like tea and I don’t like the guilt associated with eating chocolate.

Maybe I should do some exercise or yoga stretches, that would make me feel better about myself…

Maybe I should hang up that load of diapers that just finished in the wash.

Maybe I should read the bible and have a quite time with God.

Maybe I should wash those lunch dishes and get started on supper.

I already went through Kate’s clothes today, removed the too-small ones and replaced them with ones that almost fit; at least that’s done.

Maybe I should sit out in the sun and get some Vitamin D.

Maybe I should weed the garden for Tim, wouldn’t that make him happy?

Now I’m feeling more like taking a nap…but Tim’s probably going to be home any minute and Kate will want to nurse, and of course Eden will wake up just as I’m drifting off…

…mmmmm sleep. Just heard Eden chatting to herself and then the garage door open. I guess I dozed off after all. I hate that I feel mildly guilty for sleeping, like I wasted that precious alone time, but it felt so good….

The diapers still need to be hung, supper still needs to be started, the desk organized, babies fed, diapers changed, toddler comforted. Maybe it was sleep that I needed after all.

Early morning view from our cabin in Pemberton, WA

Do you have this problem of  what to do with alone time?  If you’re lucky enough to get some, that is….

Taste of Vacation

We’ll be posting more about our little vacation we just got back from within the week, but for now we decided to offer a brief glimpse into what our time was like over the past few days at Pemberton.  To summarise it in a couple of words, I’d say refreshing and fun!

Hope you enjoy this video of our very first morning there:

First morning at Pemberton Farm Chalets