Fast Facts about the Day Family
Parents: Joli and Tim Day
Children: Harley O’Neill, 19; Levi O’Neill, 17; Caden Day, 9.
Occupations: Tim is director of rehab at Request Physical Therapy; Joli is manager of O2B Kids.
Pets: Dog (Sally); Cats (Adelaide, aka, Addy; and Uluru, aka, Roo); red-eared slider turtles (Frankie and Crush, who’s lived in the pool for 10 years); fish (5); Kangaroos (Jack and Jirra).
Q: Why do you have pet kangaroos?
A: We heard someone in High Springs had one, and I think it brings Australia a little closer to home for Tim. They are really very interesting animals to watch, and they really do box! They LOVE Fritos and mini marshmallows!
Q: What is your favorite family activity?
Q: What are some things you will always find in your refrigerator?
A: Milk, Coke, Diet Coke, cheese, coffee creamer and baby carrots.
Q: What brought your family to Gainesville?
A: In 1993 Tim was recruited (from Australia) to do physical therapy and strength training for the LA Dodgers. He moved to the states within a week. After he was finished with them, we met in Jacksonville in 1998, and a month later, Tim was hired by Shands Rehab and moved to Gainesville. I came with Harley and Levi in the summer of 2000 to join him, and we had Caden in 2003.
Q: What is your favorite thing about where you live?
A: We have almost 6 acres, which gives us some privacy, but we are still close to town. We love all the wildlife. There often are foxes, rabbits and tons of birds in the front yard. A white-tailed deer ran across the front lawn today.
Q: If your family was stranded on a desert island, what three must-have items would you bring?
A: When Harley was about 9 or 10, we actually asked her this question and she said chicken alfredo. I’m sure that has probably changed since then. I’d say chocolate, pencil with paper and wine.
Q: List any hidden talents any family members have.
A: We all have AMAZING singing voices and dance moves, especially in the car and shower! We have future plans of producing a modern-day version of the Partridge family. Truly, no hidden talents; we use everything we have!
Q: Where is your favorite vacation spot?
A: It’s really too hard to choose one. Australia is always amazing. We sailed a 40-foot catamaran in the Whitsundays (lower Barrier Reef) for five nights, and I literally stomped my feet in refusal to getting off. We love camping at Ginnie Springs and generally do so over Thanksgiving with 30 to 50 friends and family. Skiing is a favorite, and we all really enjoyed Amsterdam (I think it was the millions of bikes). If there is a bike tour available, we are on it. Thailand is my favorite for food, and we love the beaches with the huge limestone karsts and longboats. We are considering retiring there.
Q: How does your family have character?
A: Guess I haven’t really thought of us that way, just not typical. We all tend to go against the “norm” in many aspects of our lives. Our house has 17 different (bright) colors, we have turtles in our pool, kangaroos in the back yard, a 400-foot zipline and are lucky to vacation a lot, but not extravagantly (stayed in a hostel in London so Harley would know what to expect). We also tend to travel in large numbers due to the fact that I have five siblings and Tim’s family often joins us.
Tim and I are two of three founders of Kids4Kids Charities, which raises money for local children’s charities through the efforts of children. The main event is a kids triathlon at Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club in the fall. We have raised over $35,000 and hope for this year to be our biggest to date. All of our kids have participated and volunteered during these events. We enjoy doing triathlons and runs as a family as well. In 2010, I did my first, hopefully not last, Ironman in Cozumel.
Tim was on the Australian National baseball team and has engineering and physical therapy degrees and a master’s in business. He also does a lot of data base development on the side. He is ALWAYS looking for the next thing.
Harley has always had a very different sense of style in fashion, dance and life in general. The popular majority doesn’t mean anything to her. She is currently traveling the world at 19 and has been since August 2012. She saved up for years, and Tim and I completely supported her decision to do so. Scary at moments, yes, but I promise that she has learned more about anthropology, economics, geography, history, transportation and politics in the last year than she ever could have in a classroom. She will be home in August to start back at Santa Fe College.
Both Levi and Caden have been very active in sports throughout school — soccer, basketball and cross country. They both have very open minds to different cultures and customs.
Q: How many countries have you visited?
A: All of us combined, well over 50, maybe 60. Tim did a ton of traveling, pre me; and I lost track of where Harley has actually been a while ago. We are checking off Liechtenstein, however, in July. All 62 square miles of it!
Q: What was the most interesting experience you had on one of your travel vacations?
A: In November, right after the shootings in Cairo, we sailed down the Nile on a felucca, with our guide and his brother, who were very active in the Egyptian revolution. Our last day we walked through Tahrir Square, and it was amazing how different it was from the way it is depicted in the media. It was eye opening and sad — definitely makes you grateful for what you have. Of course, the Pyramids and all of the archeological findings are amazing but unbelievably taken for granted by so many people there.
On a totally separate note, while in Amsterdam, we ended up in the red light district around 8 p.m. We were all strolling along between a canal on the left and, let’s just call it “window shopping” on the right, when we realized that we would either win the “Parents of the Year Award”(not) for having the only 7-year-old there or the Coolest-Parents Award from our 15-year-old son, Levi, who didn’t know which way to look. “Caden, look at the pretty swans!!! Oh my!” It’s all about EXPERIENCES!!!
Q: How long has your family owned a vineyard?
A: Twenty years, Marandoo Estates SA [in Australia]. The aboriginal meaning is “place of plenty.”