Happy 6th Birthday Quinn

Our baby girl is certainly not a baby anymore! 

Quinn started her birthday week at their new school, and it went wonderfully well. (Huge sigh of relief from me!!!) She and Chance both made new friends and some of the mums even came and introduced themselves to me which I really appreciated. And yes, the uniforms for the new school are almost identical to their old school. 

All the kids actually slept in a little on Friday, and once everyone was up, Chance hid Quinn’s three gifts to find and unwrap. She is a very grateful person, no matter the gift (or no gift) which makes me very happy 🙂

She took cupcakes to have with her classmates which were well received.

And we had a little cake with a few people on the Friday night. We were supposed to have fish and chips and cake at the park, but as usual, my rainmaker baby ensured that wasn’t going to happen!! Just like the last three years on her birthday!!

For Quinn’s birthday last year, I had the crazy idea that I needed to invite all the people, and even though it was so amazing having my people surrounding us with love, it was not what Quinn wanted. So this year she invited three of her friends from school last year, and their mums and one younger brother stayed, and we had a super low-key day at home.

It was the absolute best!! They ate food, opened presents, made beaded bracelets and keyrings, ate cake, jumped on the trampoline and finished off with a movie. Exactly what she wanted. She was thrilled. And she liked the cake too. 🙂

I thought it looked kind of dodgy, but it was my orange polenta cake with sour cream ganache (I didn’t have normal cream so I googled sour cream and it’s a thing!!) and my goodness it is the most freaking delicious cake ever. Even gluten free!! 

What a year it has been for you Quinn. You talk about Dadda all the time and you are keeping his memory beautiful and pure and alive. You remember so much and I hope you always hold the love he had for you, close to your heart.

I’m so proud of you, and even though we clash a bit, with you being so strong-willed, I hope I can learn to be more patient with you, and to not take your outbursts so personally. I know it’s not about me; it’s about you exploring the world around you, and testing the limits. I promise to always be here with a safe, warm hug. I love you so much. 

Love, Mama xxxxxxxxx

A Grumpy Birthday

Happy birthday to you Grumpy!

We celebrated (last Sunday!) with cheesecake, a bike ride, some model tank building, chocolate cake, and watching the Snoopy Movie together to top it all off. Not bad for a Sunday. Happy Birthday Dad. You truly are a wonderful Grumpy 🙂

When mix-masters go bad

Frith bought me a Kenwood Mix-master for my first mothers day. As I’m sure you can imagine, I have given it quite a workout in the last seven years. Lots of birthday cakes and yummy desserts and even the odd savoury treat.

Last year, it started to lose some mojo. It just wasn’t beating as fast as it should have been on the highest speed, so Frith and our neighbour had a look at it and tried to fix it. It was also slightly off centre so it didn’t pick up all the mixture on each rotation. They did their best but it didn’t really improve on performance.

It still worked fairly well, so I just put it on the list of “once it breaks I’ll get a new one.” And since my Mum has had hers for decades I wasn’t expecting anything to change any time soon.

Things changed on Friday when I was mixing the batter for Julius’ birthday cake. It’s one of those really runny cakes (and literally the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made) and it was on the very lowest setting while I was pouring in the hot water at the end. All of a sudden, it found the mojo it had been missing, and sped up out of nowhere, spraying me and the kitchen with cake batter.

I screamed and Dad came down to see if I was okay. I honestly nearly cried, but then decided it would be best to take photos instead.

It’s what bloggers do I guess 🙂 And you know, it does mean I get to put “new stand mixer” on my wish list! I’m lusting after a KitchenAid of course, but that might have to wait a wee while. In the mean time, I always have my trusty hand mixers to keep those cakes rolling out.

A happy Easter

Gosh what a weekend. I’ll get straight to the photos.

I had a lazy start to good Friday, getting the opportunity to go back to bed for a sleep in (thanks Mum and Dad!) and not emerging until nearly 10am (woooooo!!) After a bit of coffee and colouring,

we then got set to watch the start of the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race. From the comfort of our balcony. With snacks.

The kids got such a kick out of it!

Darby with his “noculars”

After some yummy lunch and some quiet time, we bundled the kids into the bike pram and scooters and…. headed across the road to “our beach”.

That’s mum and dad’s house up there on the far left. Next to the huge block of units.

So yeah, like I said. Our beach. Jules getting his squat on to build up those quads.

Gosh this kid loves any kind of water!!

And Quinn is never afraid to get a bit of dirt in the skirt! (or boardies in this case)

If Darby has a truck in his hand, the world is good.

And Chance always says he doesn’t want to go to the beach because he doesn’t like the salty water and sand, but once we get there, he’s right into it.

It sometimes feels like a lot of work getting the kids across the road to the beach, but it’s always worth it and they always have an amazing time.

We went for a sleepover at aunty Liesel’s house last night, which included a huge stacks-on, meat cooked on the BBQ, and a Lego hunt this morning, all of which Frith would have been proud of. Not many photos taken, as I just wanted to soak it all up.

Now there is faaaaaaar too much chocolate in the house for my lack of discipline at the moment, so I might take it upstairs for Mum and Dad to watch over. I can’t believe how much chocolate the kids put away today (okay, I can)!!

Even though I’m still finding it hard to find joy in my days, I always see it in my kids. They have fun. Every single day. I know it will come again for me, and in the mean time, I will feel snippets of it through them. They truly are gorgeous, spirited kids and I’m so blessed to call them mine.

You let her go

I don’t believe in ghosts. I don’t believe in mediums or psychics. I don’t believe in fortune tellers.

I do believe in God. And I do believe in signs.

I’ve brought my laptop down to my new favourite cafe which is at Woody Point, while my nanny (who is a friend) is at home with the boys. This is the second time I’ve done this. My last two blog posts were written here.

When I arrived, I ordered my standard coffee, which many of you know by now is a small soy cap. It occurred to me that Frith actually put me onto ordering cappuccinos. He always liked to eat the froth and chocolate off the top before hitting up the coffee underneath. He took his time, and he would judge the coffee on the amount and texture of froth.

Our favourite cafe in Wangaratta uses actual chocolate shavings as sprinkles.

This was Frith’s 30th with a very baby Chanbe. See those sprinkles!!??

SONY DSC

Anyway my point is, I used to order soy flat whites. And not long after we got together, I changed my coffee order to caps. And funnily enough, my froth was always better than his. He often had froth envy.

I looked on the lunch menu today and saw they had a beef brisket sandwich with caramelized onions on sourdough toast. I’ve just listed three of Frith’s favourite foods, and they are all combined here. He only ever cooked two briskets in his life and they were both the best meals I’ve ever had. Hands down.

One was in Rocky (September 2015)

And one in Cairns just last November.

This is what Frith would have ordered at this cafe, and he wouldn’t have been disappointed in the least. I don’t normally like to order things that I can (and do) make at home (I never order pulled pork because quite frankly mine is the best). I ordered it without a second thought and it was absolutely on par with Frith’s.

But here’s the thing. As the meal was placed on my table, the next song to come on was “Let her go“. When Frith drove our car full of stuff down from Mount Isa to Rocky, this song was on his playlist, and he told me after that trip, that when he heard it, he got really really sad and missed me a lot. It wasn’t often he would say things like this to me. He was very free with “I love yous” and “you’re so pretty” but telling me that he missed me was a rare thing.

It was nice and I always remembered that, especially when I hear that song. So in a way, I had lunch with Frith today. He was with me in spirit. And it was nice.

Tonight I had the end bits

Frith’s favourite part of any cooked meat was the end bits. Juicy yet crispy, meaty yet fatty, and just all delicious goodness. I would always serve them to him, to show him in a small way that I was thinking about him and that I loved him. He appreciated this small gesture, and devoured those end bits with a big cheesy grin.

While we lived at college, after a few months the cooks got used to him asking for the end bits of roasts, so they would put a pile of them aside just for him. It was really the sweetest thing. I remember one time they piled his plate so high with them as a bit of a joke. I can’t remember if he ate it all, but he would have given it a red hot go.

Tonight I cooked a roast lamb and decided to serve myself the end bits.

I can totally see why they were his favourite. I devoured them myself and started thinking about all the meals we shared over the years. SO many meals. SO much food. And so many people we shared them with.

I still can’t believe he’ll never eat with us again. That doesn’t seem right to me. I found his BBQ the other day and wondered if it would ever be lit up again. The kilos upon kilos of meat that he cooked in that thing is immeasurable. It’s times like this that I just want to ask him what on earth was he thinking in that moment of pure madness. There were so many more good times to be had, and now I’ll have to have them without him.

The numbness and shock is wearing off, and what is left is frustration and sadness and anger and desperation and everything in between. At the end of the day I have nothing left to give, and that’s when the kids need me the most. Thank God for my parents being able to step in and help with stories and bedtime, and for my wonderful family and friends who are helping out in many other ways. I hate how frustrated I get with the kids when they take ages to go to sleep. It was hard enough when Frith was around; now some nights it seems impossible.

I wish I could say I was doing better, but I feel as though things are going to get worse for a while, before they improve. It’s like I’m slowly thawing out and things are hitting me in a much more real and permanent way.

Like those end bits of meat. And finding his boots. And looking at photos of him with the kids. And not knowing how or when to tell the kids what actually happened. I’m tired of talking about it, but don’t feel like I have anything else to say, or the energy to say it.

So instead I will write. I will make plans that, even though they don’t include him, would excite him and honour him. I will make photo books for the kids. I will keep his memory alive, as there was so much good in him and so many wonderful things that will never leave us. And I will say goodnight to him every night, wherever he is.

But most of all, it just occurred to me, I will give myself a break, and time to just be with these feelings. Yeah. Just be.

Happy Birthday Quinny

I thought I’d better get into blogging about this before I do what I did last year and went months and months without the full debrief!

As Quinn’s birthday was looming, I took the steps to plan her birthday party. Last year was a huge affair with a jumping castle and loads of her friends, and ours, and it was a fantastic afternoon that continued on into the evening, as our gatherings always did.

This year was going to be a smaller affair, but it turned out bigger than I had planned. The weather didn’t cooperate with the coldest February day in years (on record?? Surely not) It was raining, windy and cold. And the party was at the local playground.

The good news is, we had the place to ourselves! The bad news was that the kids got soaked through within the first five minutes so were a little miserable on and off for the afternoon.

Quinn wanted a cake with ballerinas, Minnie Mouse, flowers and something else I can’t remember. I suggested a mermaid cupcake cake like this:

Bless her cotton socks she agreed, and was even excited about it! As was I! There was a slight transportation issue with the mermaid tail cupcakes…

But with extra icing and a metric tonne of sprinkles, no one was the wiser…

Ha ha. Nailed it! 🙂

The birthday girl was a little overwhelmed with all the fuss, and stayed close to her Mama. That was fine by me. I don’t often get lots of cuddles from my baby girl.

She was all smiles when it came to the cake.

Again, it’s not what we planned, but we were surrounded by some of the best people in our lives and for that I am grateful. Happy 5th Birthday to my Quinny. You have always been Dadda’s girl, and I know you miss him but his spirit lives in you. You are determined, caring, hilarious, and kind. You will always be our baby girl, even though you are growing up before my eyes. Your family love you so much and I know you will go on to do great things in your life. We will be there for you every step of the way.

Love, Mama  xxxxxxx

Merry Christmas 2017

Another great one!

Darby looks so grown up in this photo!

This is the same Christmas tree from six years ago! (That baby is Chance!)

We’ve had a wonderful day full of family, food and great presents! Jules’ first Christmas!

So many lovely memories in mum and dad’s new house. Mango smoothies for breakfast!

Ouma and Jules

Cheesey cheese!

Grumpy is good

Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you have had a wonderful day xxx

Happy birthday Darby

How are you three????

I feel like all of a sudden he’s grown up. A uke was the obvious choice for a present. He loves his bittaaar.

He was a bit unwell yesterday and still recovering today. We had a belated party down at the park with Chance’s school friends and he kind of fell asleep like this.

After that party (more on that later) we headed home to continue the celebrations with some of our nearest and dearest. Which included his Minions cake!

I’m not going to lie guys. I’m pretty damn happy with my efforts on this one.

And he loved it too if course. Gosh there’s so much to say about such a little guy with such a huge personality. We just adore this kid beyond words. He is kind and generous and curious. So curious. And we encourage that wonder and joy of discovering new things as much as possible.

Darby you are a treasure. Happy birthday nugget xxxxxx