Flashback Friday (on a Saturday!!)

Don’t judge. I’ve been busy. Also I generally don’t know what day of the week it is anyway…

Whilst in Melbourne (blog post to come. Also Orange trip blog post to come…) we headed down to Sorrento for a night to catch up with the splendid Aunty Alida and Uncle Wayne and family. I met these gorgeous rellies of Frith’s in Melbourne, back when we were only dating, and considering moving to Melbourne for Frith to study medicine. I knew I’d hit the family jackpot with them, and it made the decision to commit to the Melbourne move much easier for sure.

The family house at Sorrento was a place Frith and I frequented in our time in Melbourne, and this trip brought back so many memories.

Me and the fire pit circa April 2009. Pre kids.
Me with the same fire pit a decade later. With booze. πŸ™‚

I love how, in this post, I’m all “oh I’m so glad I’ve had this holiday from my exhausting life of zero children and a reception job with very little responsibility and my nights of 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep blah blah blah.” Ha ha. At the time I’m sure I thought I was tired and needed a break. So adorable…

I also love that our nephew Nathan was there with us back in 2009, and again in 2019. Back then, as a 14-year-old, Frith was giving him wheelbarrow rides and teaching him how to light the fire. It was fun to reminisce πŸ™‚

It was so great to be surrounded by family, with the kids playing together and being looked after by our little crew. One of Frith’s cousins’ husbands was taking the kids on trailer rides on the back of their ride-on mower. Unbeknownst to me, Chance asked if he could have a go at driving the mower. Jez so kindly gave him the guidance he needed, and taught him about a wide turn to avoid colliding with the tree. It was such a small thing to do, and Jez probably didn’t think twice about it, but for me, what I saw was my son who no longer has his Dad around, having yet another wonderful male role model in his life.

It meant so much to us both, in such different ways and I’m so grateful for extended family playing their part in our lives.

Thanks guys. You are all kind and amazing and generous and loving and wonderful, and we will visit again soon. I promise xx

When life gives you lemons…

…just order a shit sandwich, a Gin and Tonic, and dive right in.

These are lemons from my lemon tree. They are huge and juicy and I love having a citrus tree in my garden. When I started writing this post in my head a couple of months ago, the tag line was “when life gives you lemons…. share them with your friends” and it was going to be about how in the past 18 months I’ve shared a lot of my life-lemon moments with my people. Oh and how I’ve also shared my actual garden lemons with them too.

The point I think I wanted to get across was that the more people you have in your life to share your lemons with, both theoretical and physical, the less sour your life will be.

Unfortunately, I’ve been in such a mood, on and off, these past 10 or so days, that the post in my head took a turn for the cynical, and here I am. You see, on Sunday, my back situation started steadily declining, and by the afternoon I knew I was in a bit of trouble. Monday I spent in bed resting, but around 5pm, it went into one hell of a spasm and I just thought “of course.”

At 4 in the morning, when I had three kids in my bed and couldn’t sleep, I was messaging my friend in the UK (hi Kat!) and said “Without sounding completely hopeless I’m not even bloody surprised. I’m just like oh yeah. That seems about right” to which she responded “Sucks when you start to get used to the shit sandwiches”.

I couldn’t quite figure out if it was sad and cynical, or actually kind of dark and comical. I just wanted to give a big old “up yours” (my new favourite emoji, BTW) to the universe and be done with it.

Thankfully, with the help of some good drugs, my back was okay to fly and I had a marvellous trip to Rocky. And maybe it’s not a bad thing that things don’t rattle me much these days. It’s not like I’m waiting for shit sandwiches to be served to me on gold platters, it’s more that when they are, I can stomach them without too much drama.

And while life, and my tree, keeps giving me lemons, I know I have a whole bunch of people I can share them with. Maybe even in a G&T or two πŸ™‚

The first 40th

I attended my dear friend Luke’s 40th over the weekend, which has kicked off 40th season for me! I’m a 1980 baby, so many of my friends will be turning 40 next year, but of course some are a little younger and a little older, so it’s nice to space them out.

Luke and I have known each other since we were 15 years old. He’s one of those forever friends and we have so much history. I just adore him. He is one of those good humans I spoke of on the 10th. He has a beautiful wife and three gorgeous kids, and is just one of those people I will always make the effort to spend time with.

When he told me about the party a couple of months ago, I just said “yep I’m there.” No matter what, I was going. And it turned out that a friend of mine was driving through Brisbane on his way home to Mackay, so I got to catch up with him at the same time. It’s all in the timing!!

The party was up in Luke’s home town of Gympie. We started at the Bonsai Brewhouse at Cooran, and then headed back to his parents’ property for bonfires, wine, and great conversation. Okay, by then it was mostly talking shit and belly laughing over German sausage innuendos but whatever. My belly was honestly sore yesterday from all the laughing.

Luke, you’re a bloody legend. Happy birthday πŸ™‚

Kite Fest 2019

Just over two years ago, Frith and I took the kids (the three that we had at the time – I just realised I must have been about 35 weeks pregnant with Julius!!!) to the Emu Park Kite Festival. I just found that blog post and had a read and it’s quite relevant to this one too!

I had pretty much resigned myself to taking the kids this year, though I wasn’t overly excited about it. Jacques took Chance and Quinn last year and had a great time, but this year I was going to be there, as well as Darby, and that just changes the dynamic, as well as the rules of the game of spending money.

But. I was smart enough this time to go in with a plan.

I told the kids that they had $25 each to spend, and when they ran out of money, that was it. Of course that meant absolutely nothing to Darby, but he ended up somehow sticking to his limit. Quinn had another $25 in her wallet from her birthday, and I said she could spend what she wanted. And Chance had an extra $5 in his wallet, so he could spend that too.

And it actually worked!!!! As usual, Chance wanted to find an awesome toy, and Quinn wanted to get her face painted, and they all wanted slushies – some things never change!!

We went to church this morning, took Julius to Gran and Grumpy’s for a sleep, headed down to Clontarf and met up with Uncle Jacques a little while later.

The weather looked a little ominous for most of the day, but thankfully the rain stayed away for our visit there. Chance was super helpful, taking care of Darby and holding his hand and pointing things out to him. It was incredibly sweet.

After cruising around for a while, and thankfully not being lured into rides, showbags, or “sideshow alley” we made our way over the the kids area to line up for face painting. While Quinn and I waited, Jacques took the boys around a bit, and they chose a few toys to buy and played at the jumping castle. Not far from where we were waiting, I spotted this entertainer on stilts.

I’m not going to lie. I kept looking around for Darby in his red hat, and waiting to see a blur of red streaking towards big bluey there and taking their legs out from under them. Not in a malicious way, but just for fun. Thankfully I was just being overly paranoid….

After a 45 minute wait, it was Quinn’s turn, and I’m sure you’ll agree it was worth it!!

You guys, face painting is not what it used to be, that’s for sure! That’s a stick-on horn that she got to keep as well. It was mesmerising! And she was so pleased πŸ™‚

Even though they bought some dumb, overpriced toys, I really didn’t care one bit. They made all the choices themselves, and didn’t ask for extra money, or get disappointed about what was on offer. Chance and Darby bought Ninja swords (good grief…) and a few other bits and pieces, and they were happy to leave after a couple of hours.

We made our way home from Mum and Dad’s as this huge storm front was making its way over, and got home as it started raining but before it became torrential. It was a really soothing end to a super fun day.

Weekend Wonders

I think I’m still recovering from a very eventful weekend, and it’s Thursday, so we are already preparing for the next weekend!! Darby’s Godfather, Uncle Felix came up from Orange on Friday morning to Monday evening, and it was jam-packed with goodness!

It’s always a good time when Uncle Felix visits, like this time, and this time among others, in the past.

I had been making a to-do list for us to work on, with bits and pieces around the house that needed to be done. I bought my first power drill (woot woot!!) and in between making snacks for the kids, eating good food and drinking Prosecco, we got so much done!

Of course, there was plenty of time to play!

Friday night is always movie night!!

We hit the op-shop together on Saturday, for old time’s sake, and instead of the kids pestering me about buying crap, I directed them to Felix. Let’s just say he made a sizeable donation to Lifeline that morning, and our toy boxes are a little more full…

We had an awesome afternoon at home, after Uncle Jacques and Chance rode their bikes, and Felix ran, from Mum and Dad’s place. It’s about 10km and the weather was perfection!!

On Sunday we went to church in the morning, then headed up to Maroochydore to visit Felix’s family who were staying up at Cotton Tree. The weather was just as incredible, and the kids had two big swims in the pool, and we had a trip to the playground.

Felix’s Ouma then took us all out to dinner at an amazing Japanese restaurant at around 6pm, and the food was great, but the company was even better.

The kids were so well behaved. Honestly I was really blown away. There were only a few brain-farts during the day, and zero meltdowns which, after being awake and racing around ALL DAY, was a bloody miracle! The kids passed out in the car as we left at 7:15 and we got to listen to our own music and chat all the way home.

The next morning we took Julius’ new wheels, thanks to his Fairy Godmother Hayley, for a spin on the school drop-off.

And got through another bunch of stuff while we only had the two younger boys. When it was time to say goodbye that afternoon, the kids were so sad, but we are already planning a trip to visit Felix and his beautiful wife and baby girl in Orange in a few months.

I was pretty sad to see him go as well. Now more than ever, it is so incredibly important for me to fill my kids’ lives with amazing male role models, and I’m so fortunate to have people like Felix, as well as Uncle Jacques and Cousin Nathan (and others!!) who are such a wonderful influence and presence in their lives.

Until next time!!!

Melbourne Trip

Nearly a month has passed (flown by) since I took Chance and Quinn to Melbourne for a few days to stay with my brother and sister-in-law. It was so much fun and completely exhausting all at once! I honestly thought it would be such an easy trip, just with the two older kids, and that it would actually feel like a holiday.

Logistically, it was definitely easier. No nappies or toddler paraphernalia to pack, no stroller or nap times to consider, no bag of tricks for the plane ride to entertain kids for 5 minute intervals etc etc.

But emotionally? Woah. The kids were in this constant state of excitement/tired and overwhelmed I think, which was the perfect combination for meltdowns at 10pm, just around the time when I wanted to be hanging out with Kris and Kate, drinking delicious home brew. Not consoling a 6-year-old the first night and an 8-year-old the next night.

I really tried not to pack too much in to the trip, but I hadn’t really factored in all the walking we did, and all the time spent in the car getting from A to B. It really did take a lot out of them!

Anyway, I am already planning our next trip in October for PAX, and I’ve learned some lessons from this trip for sure! On with the photos!

Easiest plane trip EVER!!!! I got to read my book!
I took them to Frith St, Brunswick πŸ™‚
And of course, Savers on Sydney Rd!
There were lots of walks with Brews the Dog – the weather was STUNNING!
And a lovely catch-up with my gorgeous niece
Quinn got to know Brews and by the second day of our trip, was patting him and not as scared!! This was HUGE as Quinn is pretty much terrified of dogs, generally…
Melbourne really turned on the most gorgeous weather for us, but that meant I just carried jumpers around wherever we went! Trust issues much??
We spent the morning at the Melbourne Aquarium which was great and included a 4D Ice Age show which was hilarious!
Fluffy baby penguin!!!!
Ice cream every day! Of course!
We headed to St Kilda to see the penguins that night as well. It’s a thing!!
The Melbourne sky line from St Kilda pier, with all the boats. Just gorgeous.

I really loved taking the kids to Melbourne. For me, it was where Frith and I really established ourselves as a married couple, and we have so so many memories that I fall back on.

On the Friday morning we hit up ScienceWorks which was heaps of fun, then while Kris and Kate went their own way for some important business we headed over to our good friends place for a huge med school catch up. Almost all of our close friends from Melbourne Uni days were able to make it which was completely fabulous! There were 8 kids there and 9 adults for most of the evening and it felt wonderful being with my Melbourne crew again. These people are some of the best I know, and I love that we have all stayed close over the last 10 years.

Saturday was more catch-ups and then the flight home in the evening which was delayed for nearly two hours all up, but the kids and I kept ourselves entertained with eye-spy and guessing games.

Darby and Julius went really well with Mum and Dad (thank you!!!!) and we even found a gorgeous penguin onesie for Darby at one of the op shops we visited!!

I was honestly so exhausted by the time we got home, but with a little more planning next time, I know we can have another great trip.

Blood, sweat and tears

And boxes. And bags. And random stuff thrown into piles and dumped into the back of my car.

The sweat was me, the blood and tears were poor Julius. Yes, our first night in the house and we had a mouthful of blood. I think he did a big old face plant (which may have be accidentally instigated by Darby rushing past him) and put his tooth through the side of his cheek. Poor little guy.

Though they looked pretty happy once they were fed and bathed and ready to play again! Julius paused just long enough on his way up to Quinn’s top bunk to give me a big cheeeeeeese!

And I’m pretty pleased with myself now, with all of them asleep and the sound of my keyboard tapping away. Because the Wifi is working and the NBN over this side of the bridge is so much better! Winning!

I still have heaps to do, but we’re in and everything else will come in time. Happy School Holidays, one and all! πŸ™‚

Then and Now

Mia and Darby in April 2015. Darby is about 4 months old and Mia is about 2 days old!!

And this was Mia and Darby yesterday πŸ™‚

I know I keep banging on about it, but I love having friends in our life who have kids around the same age as our kids, and that they are growing up together and creating these memories together. It’s so special and it will be such a big support for the kids and I in the years to come.

And since then, the family have welcomed another baby into their family, which makes four for them and four for us! Now to try and get a photo of the eight of them together…. πŸ™‚

Happy 6th Birthday Quinn

Our baby girl is certainly not a baby anymore!Β 

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.Β 

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 πŸ™‚

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 inviteΒ 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. πŸ™‚

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!!Β 

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.Β 

Love, Mama xxxxxxxxx