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Australia bound

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Nine Days Old.

Our little family is Australia bound today.

Our departure from Thailand has come with a strange mix of feelings between being sad that our holiday is over and being a little bit relieved that we’re heading back to the comfort of home.

As Hubby and I sat at the airport this afternoon, after a relaxing morning at the resort swimming, packing and saying goodbye to all of Ayla’s newfound Thai friends, we made a point of listing all the wonderful things we’ve done on this family holiday so the illness that struck each of us down wouldn’t win out.

Ayla met and rode her first elephant and she played putt putt in a dinosaur park that took us through an active (replica) volcano.

Ayla also made destroyed her first sandcastle on the beach, she felt the buoyancy of ocean waves for the first time, she visited Fantasea theme park and even won her first prize on a carnival game!

Ayla hand fed thousands of tropical fish, she saw monkeys and lemurs, and iguanas. Ayla rode in a tuk-tuk, rang the bell in a bar and fell asleep on her Dad’s head.

We also made new friends from the other side of the world, dined in luxury restaurants, floated in stunning swimming pools and relaxed on a tropical island.

So all in all, we can’t complain! It definitely was a great holiday with lots of great memories to bring home.

But it seems the dreaded illness isn’t finished with us yet!

Ayla has had an upset stomach all day despite this being her fifth day without eating solids, and as I write this now in Singapore’s Changi Airport her temperature has climbed to 39.5 degrees…. Only four and a half more hours for red eye flying until we’re back in Australia.

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Sun, sand and saltwater

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Eight Days Old.

Miraculously, I awoke this morning with a full nights rest and hardly any trace of illness… I don’t know how it happened but my goodness, am I grateful!

It meant that we were finally able to have a family outing for the day, our first one in five days and I couldn’t wait to take Ayla on the short boat ride over to Coral Island for some sun, sand and saltwater.

Ayla had a ball crawling around on the beach and Hubby and I found myself keeping track of her by following the strange markings she left in the sand in her wake!

The water at Coral Island was so clear that when we took Ayla in for a swim could see the fish darting in and out amongst the coral.

Ayla also made friends with a couple of young children who were on the tour with us, and at lunch when they started playing hide-and-seek-tickle with her Ayla was so happy she nearly squealed the place down with delight.

On the way back to the mainland the tour stopped for a snorkel in a beautiful bay where we could hand feed thousands of colourful fish within meters of the boat.

Ayla was mesmerised as she looked down at the water from the boat’s flybridge, seeing the bits of bread I was throwing turn into a splashing, shimmering whirlpool of aquatic activity.

All in all it as a great day out, partly because it’s the best we’ve all felt in nearly a week and partly because we are half way around the world, making special precious memories as a family… and there’s not much better than that!

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Bug

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Monday, 24 March 2014: Fifty One Weeks Old

Ayla is all better again thank goodness; although she’s still got no appetite for solids, Ayla has able to keep down full feeds of milk and plenty of water all day.

Hubby is tonnes happier than he has been these past few days as well, and he was finally keen to get out and about and do some exploring, but there was just one problem….

Today it is me who is sick.

I now have so much more sympathy for what Hubby and Ayla have been through and I hope to goodness this horrid bug doesn’t down me for days.

I feel terrible for letting the team down. Today, one of our last days on holiday, and all I wanted to do was sleep.

After literally hours in bed while Hubby sat by the pool with Ayla I was finally able to manage a trip down to the beach for a swim, and of course another rest.

Tomorrow is our last full day of holidays and I hate the idea that all three of us have spent more than half the trip sick!

I’m just glad that it’s not our first time to Thailand, and that all we really wanted to do here was relax, rest and recuperate, which I guess we’re still on track for achieving!

I was also grateful for Ayla today, who managed to put a smile on my face when she started putting on my clothes!

It was the first time Ayla’s ever tried dressing up and when I found her on the bed with my bikini top correctly around her neck and the bottoms in her hand I couldn’t help but laugh – my little girl’s growing up!

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Holiday mode

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Saturday, 22 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Five Days Old.

Ayla is much better today, 100% in fact, and the tooth that had been causing her all the grief seems to have retracted into her gums to return and wreak havoc another day.

Hubby is still unwell but definitely better so that meant we were able to leave the resort this morning and check out Phuket Aquarium.

It was fun; Ayla enjoyed it as we knew she would and Hubby was happy to see Barramundi and Mangrove Jack in one of the tanks!

Ayla’s favourite exhibit was the “creatures of the deep” section where there were strange fishlike creatures preserved in liquid in clear Perspex orbs… I think Ayla might have been more interested in the watery orbs than the creatures though.

We escaped the heat of the day in our hotel room where we had lunch and a nap then in the afternoon we took Ayla to the beach to build sandcastles and have a swim.

We had bought a sand play set at the aquarium and a few of the other children at the beach wanted to share it with Ayla which meant we got to meet a couple of other traveling families and it was nice to make new friends.

Ayla played in the sand for ages and systematically destroyed the castles and sculptures as fast as Hubby and I could make them and when the time came to rinse off in the sea Ayla giggled at the waves as the gently lapped her belly.

It was lovely to be on a beach relaxing, and it felt like we were finally getting into the holiday mode we so desperately needed.

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Lucky!

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Friday, 21 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Four Days Old.

Lucky we didn’t have much planned today because two thirds of us are sick!

It turns out that one of the meat-on-stick “delicacies” Hubby ate last night had probably seen better days, and as a result he was up half the night being sick.

Then this morning Ayla woke up with a mild fever due to teething which understandably made her miserable, irritable and clingy.

Thankfully though I’m ok – a little tired but certainly not sick – because I needed all my energy to keep my little family afloat today!

It was our last day in Patong and we were transferring to the southwest tip of Phuket Island to stay the next five nights at a resort in Cape Panwa, a one hour car trip away.

Fortunately we had a late check out from our hotel which gave us just enough time to get Hubby well enough to travel and allow Ayla a big morning sleep to tide her over for the journey.

It also gave me plenty of time to have breakfast (alone), pick up the laundry, pack our suitcases and book a taxi for the transfer – phew!

The fever meant poor Ayla napped fitfully for two and a half hours and when the time came to check out I unwillingly had to wake her.

Ayla’s temperature had climbed to 38.2 so she was definitely feeling sick and sorry for herself and the only thing that would keep her happy was mummy cuddles.

Don’t get me wrong, I love mummy cuddles but having a sick clingy baby and a sick sleepy husband was exhausting!

When we got to the resort we knew we’d made the right decision in choosing Cape Panwa as our final Thailand holiday destination; it’s breathtaking.

Our resort has two pools, a private beach, sea view balconies and stunning restaurants, the perfect environment for rest, relaxation and recovery. And the local village is quiet and minimalist, with a long esplanade that meanders along the shoreline and looks out across a crystal clear bay to an assortment of nearby islands.

We did very little this afternoon. Ayla’s fever came down after some baby panadol and she able to sleep peacefully for another three hours. Hubby was still ill but slowly on the mend so managed a short walk down to and along the beach.

The day ended with a brief dinner at one of the resort restaurants before we retired to our room for air conditioning, movies and darkness.

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Precious

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Thursday, 20 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Three Days Old.

Ayla learned how to give a massaaaaaage today.

On our way back to the hotel after our morning walking Ayla fell asleep on Hubby’s head again so I seized the opportunity and snuck in for a massage while he put her to bed in our room.

But in staying true to Murphy’s Law Ayla decided she didn’t actually want a nap at all (she must have been “faking” her sleep on Dad’s shoulders!) and I was only about half way through my massage when Hubby and Ayla peeled back the curtain.

Ayla was a little frightened at first I think, watching a strange lady poke and prod her Mummy but after a little while Ayla worked out “if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em!”

With Hubby on the massage mattress beside me, Ayla kept swapping between us helping the massage lady out; if I was getting massaged on my legs, Ayla would be at my legs slapping and pulling at the skin, and when the lady was doing my shoulders Ayla thought it would be funny to tickle me under my arms!

The result was one oil, slippery, happy but tired little baby and not surprisingly when Ayla actually went down for a nap she was slept for a good couple of hours.

When Ayla resurfaced we headed to some night time beach markets at Patong Beach that we had passed yesterday on our way to Fantasea.

It was great! There was everything from carnival games, to shopping stalls, a jumping castle, live music and what seems to be the Thai equivalent of takeaway food… Meat on a stick.

We had a fantastic evening, stuffing our faces with random delicacies, shopping up a storm and having fun with the games.

Hubby even won Ayla a couple of stuffed toys and I’ll never forget seeing her hang off my hip holding on to one of the prizes like it was the most precious, sacred thing in the world.