My dad (aka Pop) came to stay with us from Wednesday to Monday, both to help me out whilst I’m sick and Warwick’s working hard, and also to spend some time with growing Gabriel and Briar of course!
My dad is a historian specialising in Northern Territory (specifically Alice Springs) history and a published author. Each year he travels home to Alice several times, and one of these visits each year is for Alice Springs Heritage Week. He hosts numerous tours and talks throughout the week and he mentioned that he wanted to visit the War Memorial in Canberra to chat to their research centre team about an army camp that was based in Alice Springs during World War 2.
Although I’m quite unwell with a flu that has infected my ears, I suggested we tag along as I knew Briar would enjoy the bus trip and a bit of a walk. My new ringsling had arrived, which I bought with birthday money from my inlaws, and I was keen to try it out. Gabe gave it a stamp of approval by falling asleep within minutes.
The bus trip from Queanbeyan to Canberra city takes over an hour due to the winding route and frequent stops, but Briar loves sitting up the front with Pop. If she ever gets bored, she never fails to find some friendly stranger to play peek-a-boo with.
Generally we catch the bus into the Canberra Centre to “ride the horseys” on the carousel, however we told Briar we’d be seeing some different horseys this day. Our bus dropped us off just before Anzac Parade and we walked to the War Memorial. In the photo below, you can see the War Memorial building in the distance.
Having only driven down Anzac Parade in the past, I had never noticed how significant and beautiful the memorials are that line the street. In future, I’ll definitely recommend it to our guests who come to visit.
Briar was delighted to see the horses we had promised her and even more delighted to look at all the rocks on the ground. I had to explain to her that these weren’t rocks for throwing.
As we walked past the Vietnam War Memorial, it became apparent we’d come across a significant ceremony. There were at least a dozen veterans, plus several busloads of Vietnamese nationals gathering with Australian veterans to commemorate the war. We hurried through, conscious that they were about start their ceremony and didn’t need a very loud toddler chiming in. I was a bit relieved to have an excuse to hurry past that particular memorial as Briar was a little too keen on the water features and was intent on jumping in. I bribed her with a piggy back ride and we moved on.
Briars favourite War Memorial was the one for the Korean War as it had lots of rocks. As well as the white pebbles on the ground, there were several large boulders scattered in front of it. Briar informed me these big smooth boulders would make great slides, so again we moved on before we caused any deep disrespect.
All this time, Gabriel was being gorgeous and alternating between snoozing in the pram and cuddles on Pop’s shoulder.
After a lovely walk, we headed to Poppy’s Cafe for lunch and coffee. Briar was getting tired and I was hopeful she might snooze in the pram before too long. As is the case with most two year olds, tiredness equates to hyperactivity so she was intent of fighting sleep by jumping around as much as possible.
Whilst Briar got her wigglies out, Gabriel woke up and sat in the pram smiling. He is just such a content and easy baby. We’re so lucky. I love Briar’s energy, but I love Gabe’s peacefullness. They are the perfect pair.
After lunch, Pop headed to the research centre whilst Briar and I went and looked at some planes. She was quite excited and fascinated by the war planes but also very tired. I breathed a sigh of relief when she fell asleep in the pram.
After my dad had finished chatting with the research centre staff (who it turns out knew no more than he did about this mysterious Alice Springs camp of soldiers) dad had a browse in the book shop, and I enjoyed a rare moment of peace and quiet with my two sleeping beauties.
Dad and I then walked back down Anzac Parade to catch the bus home. Briar snoozed in the pram, Gabe snoozed in my baby carrier, I wouldn’t have minded a snooze myself.
Unfortunately we missed our bus by only a few minutes and watched it drive past without us. But let’s be honest, there’s no point crying over a missed bus so we rugged the kiddos up and the boys went for a walk up and down the beautiful leafy streets whilst I sat with sleepy Briar at the bus stop.
As someone who used to never stop, I really do appreciate quiet moments of doing nothing. Having my children has slowed my life right down and its exactly what I needed.
Canberra is so gorgeous in the Autumn and I love living somewhere where the leaves change colour and fall to the ground. Its a lovely season which we didn’t experience in Brisbane or Alice Springs where I grew up.
By the time the next bus to Queanbeyan arrived, Briar was waking up and pleased to get another ride. She’s always cuddly after a nap, so she sat with me whilst Pop and Gabe sat together.
As a whole, it was a really nice and simple outting and although I was physically exhausted by the time we got home, I was glad we’d made the effort to tag along with Pop today.