Eve Eve Eve

Sep 12

In our family, we count down to special events in Big Sleeps.  141 Big Sleeps, 40 Big Sleeps, and now we are down to 3 Big Sleeps.  It’s Aussie Eve Eve Eve, people.

In 3 Big Sleeps NanaRoz, Maren, Greta and I leave to see Nana’s side of the family, all of whom live in Australia.  Mom (Roz) was an exchange student in high school where she was placed at my Dad’s high school in suburban Cleveland, Ohio.

By the way– can you imagine getting your placement envelope?  She’s coming all the way from small-town Australia, and gets to go to (drumroll….)  Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Cleveland.

Lucky for us, it worked out for the best.  Mom and Dad got married in Australia five years after they met during her exchange, and then promptly moved to the U.S. to start their life together.

I always knew that my parents had a wonderfully romantic love story, and that always made me happy.

We’ve always had a strong connection to the Australian Mob; we make the most of our across-the-pond visits.  All of them have been here at some point or another, and I’ve been blessed to travel there quite a bit.  My mom’s favorite saying is “It’s only miles between us, nothing else.”  We’ll be visiting with my grandmother (Ma), my four sets of aunts and uncles, and my eight cousins.

This will be our trip to celebrate five-years-worth of birthdays, Christmas’s, school holidays, picnics and vacations.  This is our post-cancer WOOO HOOO trip.  We have one month to cram in as much as fun and celebrations as possible.  The most important thing about the trip is seeing our people.  Lucky for us, an added bonus is that this whole side of the family lives in actual paradise.  Colorful lorikeets (think parrot, but smaller and cuter) are all over one family’s tree, kangaroos are frequently spotted bounding through another family’s property, and there are adventures and experiences awaiting us that are uniquely Australian and amazing memory-makers in their own right.  I am so excited to see my girls experience the country and people I know and love so much.  It is so important to me that my girls get to know their Australian family, and I feel so blessed that Brad is so supportive.  Brad came with me on a trip in 2005, and we vow that he will go again when we go back when the girls are older.

Now that it is only 3 big sleeps away, I have a lot to do.  I am a packing goddess.  I’ve managed to pack a month’s worth of necessities for M, G and I into one medium-large suitcase and one small suitcase.  My carry on bags are crammed full of entertainment for Maren and Greta–which is necessary given that we’re traveling for a full twenty-four hours to get there, with the longest single flight lasting seventeen hours.

I was feeling pretty great about my packing skills until I collected Greta’s ancillary equipment.  (She’s two.)  For her, we need a pack n play, stroller, and carseat.  She is the weakest link, for sure!  We’re trying to whittle it down so we don’t have to strap Maren and Greta some stuff on the roof of the car when we get there.

I’m typing this from the Chemo Room.  I’m getting a big dose of my cancer-fighting medicine, another trip-preparation step.  Instead of my usual one-week dose, Dr. Wonderful agreed to give me a bigger dose to last me the duration of my trip.  After the trip, I’ll go back to weekly visits to the oncology office.  One of the many things I love about Dr. Wonderful is that he is very cognizant of the fact that we do all of the cancer-fighting and treatment so that we can live our lives.  Whenever possible, Dr. Wonderful works treatment around the life-living going on.  I love that about him.

Mom and I will both be blogging along the way, and I will probably ramp up my Facebook usage from almost-never to at least daily so that we can check in with Brad and our people back home.

Thanks for your prayers: this trip is possible because mom and I are both cancer free.  I am humbled in the face of my blessings.


  1. Marsha Vonderwish /

    I am so very happy that you, your Mom and sweet girls get to go on this fab trip!!!!!

    Have a GRAND time!!!!

  2. PurpleN /

    Have a wonderful trip. Do you think that they offer any rentals in Australia for things like pack n plays, carseats etc.? That way you wouldn’t have to lug everything with you. Just a thought …

  3. Jen, wishing you 4 girls the most wonderful trip!! I have always enjoyed living vicariously through you Aussie’s in these splendid trips and feel like I will be there in spirit. Send my hugs and kisses to all of your family members, especially Pat!


  4. Rita O'Brien /

    Have a fantastic trip down under.As a fellow aussie I know how excited you must be and what an experience it will be for the girls. I tried to message Roz on her blog to wish her safe travels but it wouldn’t go through so this message is for her also. Safe travels and I look forward to hearing all about it on your return.

  5. Aussie Sarah /

    I’m feeling all excited and happy knowing that in three sleeps you will be in my neck of the woods! How cool! Have THE BEST TRIP!

    Are you sure you can’t borrow a car seat and pack n play (ports cot as we call it here!)? That would be so much easier! I’m guessing you will be in QLD, do you need any help finding stuff to borrow? I live in Sydbey but have friends all over so if you want help sourcing goods I’m happy to help!

    Happy travels!!
    Sarah x

    PS my husband went on exchange at the sane age as your mum, Detroit!! Thankfully he didn’t meet the love of his life there but we are still very close with his host family. We’ve been to all their children’s weddings and they came to ours!

  6. Safe travels and love to all the family!!! Enjoy!!

  7. Margaret /

    My brother was on an AFS scholarship (same as your mum) in Cleveland the year after her.
    I hope you have a wonderful trip. I was planning to fly to see you, but the time I would be there, is the day you are leaving. BooHoo!
    love to all,

  8. Golly, Jen, I remember your mom taking you & your sisters to Australia by herself years ago. I so admired her spunk to tackle such a long flight without your dad’s help! Having just been to Australia, I really, really wish I could go back with you ladies…what fun that would be to have personal tour guides, especially in Brisbane…so many wonderful sights! Will look forward to reading your blog! Safe travels. 🙂

  9. Just reading this now…..hope you are having a wonderful, magical time in Australia. Jim and I escaped to Martha’s Vineyard for a week. I did not know you we’re on FB. Can you send me a a friend request so I can follow you? I will never find you on there! Xxxxooo