st. louis... in a nutshell.

two weeks ago we visited st. louis for our second and final VISIT home.  the next time we go will be our permanent relocation back to the lou - we can't believe how quickly the time has gone!

our trip home was so wonderful!  it basically consisted of babies, babies and more babies. they are all babies of people who are really close to me so our visits were even more special.

here are some adorable photos of my brand new niece, drew, and my nephew, hudson.  they are both so cute and i cherished every minute with them.

drew is soooo tiny!  she was 6 weeks here and in between the 6 and 7 pound range!! 

i also met two of my close girlfriends' bambinos - elle and keane.  they, too, were incredibly precious and while i got to hold them their moms and i got to catch up... a perfect world.

my best friend, amanda, is also pregnant so i got to enjoy a day with her, decorating and crafting for her upcoming arrival.  stay tuned on her progress as i think her lil' miss (yes, it's a girl!) will be here in no more than a couple of weeks.

the rest of the time was spent visiting with my family, jim's family and other friends - i even paid a surprise visit to my friend allissa's bachelorette party!

oh, and we can't forget jim's good friends' wedding - emily and brian.  jim was a groomsman.  the wedding was at the sheldon concert hall and it was absolutely gorgeous.  we had a great time.

overall, we enjoyed our trip home immensely and we are looking forward to being home permanently so we can enjoy our friends and family whenever we want.

but not before a few more australian adventures...


V8s; and i don't mean the juice.

i know i say this a lot, but i apologize for the delay in posts.  we have been busy, busy!  i have "heaps" to tell you, but let's take it one step at a time.

beginning with the weekend before our trip home to st. louis.  this was jim's birthday weekend since he celebrated turning 28 on july 5th.  we had a small celebration at the mine with presents, decorations and cake, but for the weekend jim wanted to head to townsville (again!).  this time, however, there was an event on called the v8 supercar races.  

so, i got jim general admission tickets for his birthday and we headed up north for the weekend.  

can i just say that every which way we turned we were surprised by the unexpected?!?  it was AMAZING!  

starting with us stepping out of our hotel on saturday to find our way to the races.  we could hear the cars zooming around the race track so we thought it wasn't too far, but we weren't sure if it was walking distance or if we should grab a cab.  so, we stepped into a coffee shop to see a guy wearing some jim beam memorabilia; surely he was going to the races, right?  so, we were asking him for some advice as to how we should get to the races when the super nice individual offered us a ride with him and his friends that were on their way.  after making sure, several times, that he was okay with his offer we took him up on the ride.  we soon found out he was #12 , racing for jim beam!!  and his buddy was #49 racing for VIP (which is a pet store here)!  i sort of felt star struck even though i know nothing about the v8s.  we soon became both steve owen (VIP) and dean fiore (jim beam) number 1 fans.   

we even got some memorabilia and another photo op since we now had a "connection"!

continuing with our expecting the unexpected story... we were probably 500 feet into the race grounds when we ran into a friend of ours who gave us complimentary passes to box seats!  benefits included free food, beer and much better seats than ours, which were on the lawn (score!)!  

soon we realized that in order to get to our box seats we also were afforded visibility of all the pits!!  how cool is this and how lucky are we?!?

i think the jim beam team quickly began thinking we were stalkers as we just kept "showing up" wherever they were...

and this was our view of all the pits stops from the box!

we were happy happy campers.

but the luck did not stop there.  soon we learned that we were going to get an up and close personal tour of the holden pit where we got to see the insides of the cars and some of the drivers on a more personal level!

so that pretty much takes the cake, right???  oh no... the luck keeps coming.  then we found out that we get to explore the grid before the big race!!!  we pretty much felt like royalty.  

this is the view from the track up to the boxes were we got to watch the races.  

here are the announcers as they appear on tv.  

here are the announcers as they appear in real life - look, the gal is standing on a yellow box to make her appear taller.  ha!

our buddy, and ride to the races, dean fiore before the big race!

jim loved this guys name... r. kelly.
we just had a fabulous time and are so grateful for all the opportunities that were presented.

i know this post is photo heavy, but here are some more cool photos from the day...


you can just call us... SCUBA CERTIFIED!!

not this past weekend, but the weekend before we had part II of our two part scuba certification.  so, we headed out to airlie beach with our friends jo and keith.  what a great weekend!  the weather was perfect, we stayed in super nice accommodation and we are now scuba certified!

first, the accommodation.  we had a 2 bedroom apartment with a spectacular view.  it reminded us of our apartment in mackay so we felt right at home. 

this was from the boat on sunday... our hotel was the one right in the middle to right of this pic... the white building

we had our first day in the classroom where we all passed our final exam and then a day of practice in the pool.  i think we all felt a little rusty in the pool since we hadn't dived in a little over a month.  personally, i had a little freak out in the pool when we had to flood our masks all the way.  this is just not my cup of tea... water up the nose EVERY TIME!  but i learned in the pool that you can stay under water while choking on water and you still live.  this came in very helpful for the next day when we had to do the same thing in the ocean. 

that evening, we had dinner at the hotel and celebrated jim's birthday.  jo and keith are too sweet and they even got him a cute little caterpillar cake!  

the next day we woke up to do our open water dives.  again, another gorgeous day was in stow for us!  since our last trip out wasn't so pleasant, as you can see here, we were more than happy to have the sun a-shinin'!

just like last trip we made our first stop out with the tourists as they visited whitehaven beach.  jim and i have now been to whitehaven three times since we have been here, but i have to say that this was the most beautiful i have seen it.  absolutely breath taking!

a little information about the softest sand you will ever feel in your life.  the closest thing i can compare it too is powdered sugar.

just relaxing on the beach!

keith was snoring sleeping.  he he!

jim and i before our open water dive.  

overall, we all felt pretty good by the time the day was over we all felt really comfortable.  the water temp was 21 degrees (celsius) so it was kind of chilly, but with the wet suits it really wasn't bad.

of course, i had the same freak out moment in the ocean as i did in the pool when i flooded my mask, but i was so grateful that i learned how to cope with it while i was in the pool the day before.  phew!

oh, and the fish!!  towards the end, after we were done perfecting our drills, we were finally able to enjoy our surroundings.  we saw all kinds of beautiful sea creatures, but nothing over the top like a shark or anything.  it's still just such an amazing feeling to be able to enjoy that part of the world.  so much fun!

so, anytime anyone wants to go diving make sure you invite us!  we are ready and waiting!