TRIP TO THE ZOO

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It started out as an innocent and educational experience to entertain the kids in the school holidays – a trip to the zoo with three mums and nine kids. Trying to capture this beautiful experience with photos to share, I was patiently encouraging the kids to look at me whilst standing in front of an elephant. The kids had other plans, as they could not turn their attention away from the elephant. Hysterics rang out from the four pre-teen boys who were captivated with; well let’s call it the elephant’s fifth leg!

Until this point I had been oblivious to the fact that the elephant’s trunk wasn’t the only thing swinging in the breeze. All the mums stopped trying to take photos as we zoned in on what must be the longest appendage in the animal kingdom! How this elephant’s long schlong didn’t have gravel rash was beyond me.

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It took a while to quiet down the hysterics and loud exclamations about the size of his doodle. It is a unique type of embarrassment to hear a group of kids in your care, all yelling at each other whether they had seen the size of the elephant’s willy.

We managed to usher the kids away from the elephant enclosure to take in the seal show. As we watched on, the presenter ensured us we would be impressed by the next seal, which proceeded to balance on his front flippers exposing his excitement to crowd. I whispered to my friend that he wasn’t nearly as impressive as the elephant!

As the day drew to an end, we caught a gondola from the bottom entrance of the zoo back to the top, taking in the beautiful vista of Sydney Harbour. As it happens, the carriage goes straight over the elephant enclosure, which undid the good of all the distractions of the day, bringing the randy elephant back as the topic of discussion.

Our trip to the zoo was definitely entertaining and was absolutely an educational experience for us all – just not in the way that we had envisaged!

HOLIDAY ABROAD

Our family has just returned from an amazing holiday spent in the tropical warmth of Phuket, Thailand. 

This time overseas, spent free of other commitments and distractions, was a lovely chance to bond as a family. Although we had wi-fi in our hotel room, the days were free of the kids feeling the need to constantly be on social media or a need to amuse them with ipads.

Instead our days were filled with wonderful adventures of riding elephants, snorkeling with tropical fish and literally flying through the jungle on ziplines. The water was warm and an incredible aqua hue that was inviting to swim, sometimes for hours on end.

We visited temples, chatted (as best we could) with locals and haggled in markets to buy souvenirs. We then caught tuk tuks (open truck like taxis with booming stereos and flashing lights) back to our hotel. They were literally like little discos on wheels, which provided a fun and unique way to end each night.

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On our final night, we released a heart shaped lantern into the sky and as I watched it drift up in the night sky, first out of our reach and eventually out of our sight, I felt it was a metaphor for our time with our kids. One moment they are larger than life, within arms reach, then they will slowly drift away as they forge their own path in this world. Whilst they will carry our love with them, we may not always be able to hold them and enjoy their immediate presence. Our kids are literally growing up in front of our eyes and each passing holiday marks one less chance we will spend time together just as a family without external distractions.

Life is about enjoying quality time with your loved ones, having fun experiences and being appreciative to be able to do so. Our time in Phuket ticked all these boxes and so I’m truly grateful that we have such wonderful memories of our time together as a family.