Friday, November 25, 2011

A spot of tidying

Did you know that parents nag, a LOT?  Well if you didn't know that, I can tell you that they do, particularly when you make a mess and don't ever clean it up.  I am pretty good at making a mess and I don't like cleaning it up but some times it is easier to just clean up rather than listen to the nagging.  Today was one of those days.

Instead of listening to the complaining about the mess, I decided to get to work and start to clean my room.  I picked up all the treasures that were stored safely all over my bedroom floor and stacked them on the shelves.  The paper planes that I didn't need any more made there way to the recycling bin and the clothes that were strategically shoved into any corner of my cupboard were all sorted.

I think I made mum proud because when she came to see what I was doing she was so excited she took photos.

She may have been disappointed that she didn't get 'before' photos to show just how much work I had done but she was pretty happy with the end result of my cupboard clean out.  It wasn't just the hanging space that I cleaned out, I cleaned out the storage baskets too.  I folded all my jocks and sorted my socks too!
Folded jocks!
Sorted socks!

Isn't it is strange that a clean cupboard and bedroom can make parents happy!

Love AJ Pickle


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Cub Princess

Today was the day, the day that I have been practicing so hard for, it was the day that I was invested into my Cub Scout group.

I joined as a new chum a while back with my friends and we were all going to be invested together but then I went away on holidays.  My friends were invested when I was away and I had to be invested all on my own.

I was so nervous.  Can you tell?

Now that I am a real cub I am not so nervous.  I am looking forward to earning millions of badges to cover my entire uniform!
Love Princess George the Grey Six Cub

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another Mini Adventure

I was starting to worry that being back home in Melbourne that we wouldn't have time to go on adventures any more.

Luckily we found time to go on a geocaching adventure today, on our way to a barbecue.  OK, it may not have been a successful geocaching adventure, we didn't actually find the cache, but we did have a great time exploring this cool park.

Can you believe that this park is actually in suburbia?  It was so quiet and relaxing to explore that it was easy enough to imagine that we were far away from suburbia and relaxing in the middle of the bush.

I hope that some day we get to come back here and find the cache!
Love AJ Pickle

Sunday, November 06, 2011

All Things American

Our quest to do All Things American continued.  Our bus was a little late arriving in at Penn Station because we had to drive through the New York Marathon.  (If only we had arrived earlier, we could have run the marathon too!)

We had too much luggage to take on the subway so we had to catch a cab to our hotel.
Once we had checked in, we headed out to explore the neighbourhood that would be our home for the next few days.

The next typically American thing we did was buy homemade brownies from a sidewalk bake-sale in the Bowery.  The kids had just made the brownies and wandered out to sell them.
Beautiful Brownies

I wonder if we will stumble upon a lemonade stand like we did last time we were in America?

Either way, what a great start to our stay in New York.  I think we are really going to love this city!
Love AJ and Milla

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Bring it on!

We have been trying to do as many American things as we can during our holiday here.  Trick or Treating last week was awesome and very American; it was just like we have seen on TV.  Today we tried another typically American thing - we went to the football to see the Brookline Warriors play the Milton Wildcats.

I have to say that I am not a big fan of football and I had never even heard of American Football before but since the rest of the family were going on an adventure I figured that I had better go along too.  I am really glad that I did, not because of the football but because of the cheerleaders.
In Action

The cheerleaders were way more interesting to watch than the football.  They were really friendly too, they lifted me over the fence onto the playing field so that I could have my photo taken with them.

Milla is a Wildcat :-)

It was like being a part of Bring It On.
Maybe if AJ moves to America to be an ice hockey player, I can be a cheerleader.
Love Princess George

Treasure Hunting in Boston

After the Duck Tour we had seen some pretty cool places that we wanted to visit properly but since we had 'seen' heaps of the typical touristy places we decided to explore and geocache at the same time.

Armed with the iPad for directions and co-ordinates, we head out on our treasure hunt.

There were muggles everywhere so we had to be pretty careful to find treasures without everyone else finding them.  Some we sat by for ages and ages before we had a chance to sneak in and grab the cache.

We managed to find a cache hidden in a church...

There was another one in the middle of Boston Common, right near this big monument...

But by far the nicest location for cache we found was by the banks of the Charles River...

If you haven't tried geocaching, you really should, it is the perfect way to explore a city!
Love AJ and Milla

Not-Quite-Normal in Boston

After a late night out at the ice hockey, we decided to take easy this morning.  Instead of getting up early and heading out, we decided to head downstairs to the pool.  We were only planning of spending a few minutes in the pool we ended up spending a few hours swimming in the pool.
 It was great fun but it turns out that I may have spent a few too many hours in the pool.  By the time we got out of the pool my eyes were hurting.  By the time we headed out into the sunshine my eyes were watering.  We were on our way to lunch but had to stop because I couldn't see.

Instead of going straight to lunch we had find a pharmacy to get some drops for my eyes so that I could see again.  Hooray for the iPad and being able to find a pharmacy without having to walk all over Beacon Hill for hours on end!

Finally I was able to see again and we headed out for lunch.  The place we went to for lunch is apparently pretty famous, but I have never heard of it before, have you?

Anyway, I haven't heard of the place before but the food was pretty good.
We thought that when we were in the mood for famous things we should try some food that was famous in Boston - Boston Cream Pie.  Well it turns out that Boston Cream Pie is really only cake with lots of cream in it and some pretend chocolate stuff on top.  It was OK but I don't think it was so great that is should be famous.  I think I would prefer to eat a piece of chocolate cake instead.  Either way, at least now I am feeling better and have had a big lunch, I am ready to get back out there and explore Boston for one more afternoon.
Love Princess George

Friday, November 04, 2011

Boston College Eagles

I know that it was only last week that I said I wanted to be a pilot but I think I may have changed my mind.  Before I become a pilot, I will go to college and play ice hockey.

It was so cool to go to a game.  Not only was the game awesome, but just sitting in the crowd was so much fun.  There was a band that played and  the crowd cheered and chanted constantly...

Oh and there was a giant eagle wandering around the stadium.

Dad gave in and bought us merchandise when mum wasn't looking!

Best of all, there were awesome hockey players out on the ice!

After watching the Boston College Eagles play, I might even go to college in Boston and play hockey for them.

Check us out, we look like we belong here!

Love AJ Pickle

Boston Ducks

So after the saga of finding a place to stay in Boston, we decided to sleep in a little before heading out to explore yet another new city.

When we did go out exploring we realised just how cold it was.  You can bet that mum reminded us a million times that 'it was a good thing we went shopping in Niagara!'
Yep, it's as cold as it looks!

OK, so she was right but that is not the point.  We were glad that we were rugged up and we continued our time exploring Boston, looking for some ducks.  Just up the road from where we were staying was Boston Public Garden.  It was a great place to wander but a few too many signs telling you too keep off the grass!  Luckily there were plenty of paths to follow.

Chilling with the Mallards!
Eventually we saw some ducks.  They weren't the kind of ducks we were expecting but they were pretty cute - statues of Mrs Mallard and their ducklings Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack.  They were the characters from the book Make Way for Ducklings that was apparently written about a family of ducklings who lived in Boston.  We haven't read the book yet.  In fact we hadn't heard about it until now but having seen the statues, finding the book is something we need to do.

Once we said goodbye to the ducklings we kept on exploring, looking for more ducks.  Finally we found the ducks we were actually looking for - the Boston Ducks.  We had read about the Boston Ducks on the internet and it sounded like a fun way to see a new city without having to walk everywhere for a change.

Look, it is our Duck :-)
The Ducks were funny little amphibious vehicles that drove us around the city streets to see the sights and then, can you believe it, straight into the river!

Once we were in the river, the driver decided that he needed a break so he let me drive.  It was pretty cool driving down the Duck down the river.  Eventually we convinced Milla to take the Duck for a drive too.

Duck Driver AJ
Duck Driver Milla
Us and our duck
The Boston Duck Tour was a great way to get around.  It showed us some pretty cool places that we can wander back to and explore some more.

It looks like Boston will be a great place to stay.
Love AJ Pickle


We have been in the States for more than a week and have had an awesome time.  Everything we have done has been so much fun and surprisingly hassle free, even the delays, the really long flights, transit times and overnight train rides (well except for losing a diary on the Amtrak!) that it was inevitable that something would go wrong.  Well go wrong it did.  First there was the arrival at Buffalo airport only to find that our flight had been delayed for a billion hours.  OK, so it was probably only 3 hours, but 3 hours feels like forever when you are in a tiny little airport and there isn't much to do.  The best part of being trapped in Buffalo was eating Buffalo Wings - who knew buffalo had wings?

Anyway, eventually our flight was scheduled, the very last flight of the night in the airport, so it was already way past our bedtime and we were starting to get really tired.  Luckily the flight to Boston was short, it took as long to get our stuff from baggage collection at the airport to the hotel as it did to fly from Buffalo!

When we got to the hotel was when the next catastrophe occurred.  We found out that somehow when we cancelled one of the nights at the hotel they cancelled the entire booking!  So here we are, stuck in a fancy-schmancy hotel in Boston with no booking and no rooms available.  Luckily the concierge was really nice and he called another hotel just up the road, found us a vacancy (in a place that was really nice and had a swimming pool) and then helped to take all our bags over there.

So there you go, a few minor dramas but now we get to sleep in a great hotel and wake up ready to explore another new city.
Love AJ and Milla

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Goodbye Niagara

there is always something to climb!
Well it is time for us to say goodbye to Niagara, but not without one last chance to explore and have some fun.  We had spent a fair bit of time at the falls themselves and also downstream from the falls so we decided to see what adventures we could find in the upstream area.

Normally when there are fun places like islands to explore we are allowed to just run off and explore but for some reason mum and dad didn't really want us wandering off on our own.  Perhaps it was because we were at Niagara and the river there is a little more dangerous than the Maribyrnong!  Either way, it was way too cold to go too close to the water.  We still had a great time exploring 3 Sisters Islands.

Love AJ and Milla

mini falls above the falls
relaxing in the forest

mist rising from Niagara Falls
upstream from the falls


Everyone knows that we like to follow the signs that give us advice about what is happening around us.  I didn't think that meant that AJ would follow all of the signs that he saw!

AJ is Slippery on the walkway
In fact, it looked like AJ was having so much fun slipping just like the stick figure on the sign that we decided to join him.
Look we are ALL slipping!
There are fun things to do everywhere we go!
Love Princess George

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A family in shadows

Who knew that we could have a family photo taken in Niagara.

Look, there we are!
This is one of my favourite photos from Canada!
Love Princess George

A Day for a Stroll... To Canada

Yep that's right, we went for a walk today TO ANOTHER COUNTRY!  I never really thought that you could just walk over a bridge and be in another country.  Sure it was a pretty huge bridge to cross the Niagara River from the United States to Canada.  I don't really know if the river is in Canada or the United States, if they share it or if it is no-man's land but we did stop to get a photo taken half way across.

Where are we? USA or Canada, or somewhere in between!
We had to stop at the other side of the bridge and answer questions about why we were going there before they would stamp our passports for us.  Once the passport was stamped and we walked out the door we were in Canada.

Now I guess when you go to another country there are all sorts of things that you can do, but do you know what we decided to do?  Find somewhere to rest!

Resting and trying to work out what to do next!

Mum and dad surprised us and we bought a pass for us all to visit some of the crazy fun things that were around...  First stop was to play mini-golf with some dinosaurs.
After my first hole-in-one in Canada!
Next we wandered through a wax museum.  It was terrifying but exciting.  Luckily it was too dark to get photos of us screaming!  Then we went for a ride on a giant ferris wheel to get a good view of the falls and all that was around it.
Riding high
Oh and of course we went treasure hunting (geocaching) and our treasure hunt took us to a cemetery!
Found the spooky treasure!
We wandered around until it got dark so that we could see the coloured lights of Niagara Falls.

Waiting, waiting, waiting for dark
Red mist over Niagara
After walking all day long we were pretty tired but we had to walk all the way back to the United States!  Of course that meant stopping for photos on the way back, half way across the bridge.
Back in the middle of no-where on the bridge
The view of Canada from the bridge
It was pretty amazing spending a day in Canada and doing all the fun things there but I am really looking forward to wandering around the forest areas of New York state as we keep exploring around Niagara.

Oh and it was pretty cold today so I was really glad that we went shopping yesterday and I had a new warm winter jacket to wear.  Don't tell mum and dad, we are still pretending to be annoyed about being tricked into going shopping!
Love AJ Pickle

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Manipulative Parents

After starting today in the middle of the night, travelling through a few different states by train and then  spending all day exploring the US side of Niagara Falls, all I really wanted to do was to go for a swim and to relax in the spa and all AJ wanted was to eat dinner in the hotel buffet.  Now seeing that the hotel we were staying in had both a pool and a hot tub, as well as a huge buffet that should have been pretty easy right?  Wrong, it was too early to go to dinner and not everyone even wanted to go swimming.  Mum didn't even pack bathers so she didn't want to go swimming at all, sure she was prepared to sit by the pool if we went swimming but first she needed to find something to read.

I thought that I would be helpful and give mum the magazine that was in our room.  I should have checked to see what the magazine was about before I gave it to her, it was a magazine about all the places to shop around Niagara.  Big mistake.

Before I realised it, mum had convinced us that we should all go shopping instead of doing what we wanted to do.  Sure it involved suggesting to us that we go shopping tonight, for just a few hours and then spending all day tomorrow in Canada.  The other option was to eat dinner at the hotel and hang out at the pool and then go shopping all day tomorrow.

I am pretty sure that mum wouldn't spend all day shopping - she hates shopping.  Even dad, who loves to shop, wouldn't survive an entire day shopping.  It really isn't worth the risk.  So now I am off to do some shopping but look out Canada, we are heading your way tomorrow!
Love Princess George

Science Project Inspiration or A whirlwind tour of Niagara

So after a really long train ride through the early morning hours from Cleveland to Buffalo and then a squishy taxi ride to Niagara with a Japanese backpacker we were all pretty exhausted.  We could have spent the day relaxing at the hotel but we were pretty excited to get out and explore - we could hear the roar of Niagara Falls from our hotel and wanted to check it all out.  We knew that there was going to be heaps to do so we figured we would go straight to an information centre to see what we could find the best things to do.

Before we knew it, we were signed up for a tour of the Niagara Area where we would get so see some really cool places that were too far for us to walk too.

First stop was a whirlpool downstream from the falls.  We made sure we actually stayed behind the fences here - it was a pretty big drop to the water and the water was moving pretty fast.  My swimming is much better than it used to be but I don't think I would be able to swim in a whirlpool, especially in the cold!

I'm staying on this side of the safety rail!
Now the tour guy said that the river wasn't really high today, that heaps of the water must have been diverted through the power plant.
Ready to look through the power plant
That sounded pretty interesting so next stop for us was the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant.  The power plant was pretty interesting.

AJ wants to build a power plant now!
I wanted to learn more about the falls and the power plant but we had to jump back on the bus to see what else we could find.  Next stop - relaxing at the aquarium.  Now the aquarium is tiny compared to the Melbourne Aquarium but it was pretty cool.  The seals were great.  I especially liked that the aquarium rescued animals and looked after them.  They even had a tank full of seals who had to stay together because they were blind.

The busy tour didn't stop there.  Next we headed to the craziest museum ever, it was a museum of Niagara, not just the falls but all the crazy people who went over the falls in barrels!  Really, so many people decided it was a good idea to float in a barrel over a ginormous waterfall... for fun?
There is no way I am going in one of these!
We saw what was in the barrels and the mess they ended up in when they were pulled from the water downstream so I don't think that there will be much chance of me jumping into a barrel to drift over any waterfall, especially Niagara Falls!

All this touring and we still really hadn't seen the actual waterfalls.  Luckily that was the next destination for us.  All I can say is WOW - the waterfalls were amazing, the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Falls too.

There was so much mist from the waterfalls that there were always rainbows but no way to get to the bottom of the rainbow to look for pots of gold.
Under the Rainbow
We did get to go almost to the bottom of the waterfalls but since it was the off-peak season, some of the paths were closed and this was as close as we could get...

Our family under the falls
... It was still close enough that we needed rain ponchos!

Rest Time
We found a few places to rest throughout the day, some were more comfortable than others!

A Leafy Resting Place

We wandered through the parks to different lookouts to see the true beauty of the falls.  There were so many beautiful places to explore.

We finished off the day watching a movie about the history of Niagara Falls.  It told a few different stories, one about the Native American history of the falls, the story of the first crazy person to go over the falls in a barrel as well as the story of a brother and sister who survived the falls.

I am super exhausted and need some rest and relaxation but this place is amazing, I can't wait to explore some more tomorrow.

Love Princess George