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 🙂

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.

It does matter

I don’t often read the news, but every now and then I scroll through and get sucked in to clicking on headlines. I came across this story today, and my immediate reaction piqued my interest, so I did some further delving into the depths of my mind, and here’s what I came up with.

In my opinion, It matters how people die.

For those playing at home, the article is about the Good Samaritan in Melbourne who stopped to help a motorcyclist who had been hit by a car, and she was hit by another car while assisting, and she died. This in itself is an absolute tragedy. Had it been five minutes earlier or later, she would most likely still be alive right now. Just one of those horrendous “wrong place at the wrong time” moments.

What I read today, was that the motorcyclist who she was trying to save, and who also died, was a “career criminal” and had been arrested for speeding and other driving charges.

My initial thought was “he wasn’t even worth saving!”


I don’t know if it’s the shite year I have had that prompted that graceless response, but even I was shocked by the harshness of it. I guess unconsciously, momentarily, I put myself if her family’s shoes for just a second. She was 27 and left behind a seven and five year old. The injustice of it stung me. The what-ifs are deafening.

Then I wondered, would it be easier for the family if she was saving an upstanding citizen, with no criminal record, who left behind a loving spouse and kids of his/her own? Or does that fact that she was selflessly trying to save a fellow human being, because that’s what we should do matter the most? It’s easier to want to save people who are just like us, but what about the unsavoury characters?

That’s what Christian grace is I suppose. Loving those who have done nothing to earn it.

And yes, this has to do with Frith and Etienne as well.

For the past 8+ months, with a select few, I have been continuously discussing the lead up to Frith’s death; what was he thinking? What could we have done? When did this start? How was he feeling? Why didn’t he reach out? And the aftermath; what do we all do now without him around?

When Etienne died, of a suspected cardiac episode, there was no place for those conversations. It was just a horribly tragedy.

It does matter.

The heartache that we are enduring, that the boys’ family are living every second of every day, is monumentally unfair. We/they don’t deserve this, but no one does. No one “deserves” anything in this life, good or bad. Some people work hard and get to grand places, but they are no more or less deserving than someone else who works just as hard and can never catch a break.

So what do we do with this unfairness? Do we let bitterness creep in, and take over our lives? Do we continue with the what-ifs? Do we acknowledge that other people have a rough deal as well, and we are just part of the unlucky bunch who drew the short straw? Do we keep asking the “why” and “how” questions until we are driven to the brink?

Do we accept that we will never have answers in this life? And that the only way forward is to keep putting one foot in front of the other?

Maybe we need to play the hand we get given, and accessorise the life we have.

I don’t know. I just know that, to me, it matters how we live this life, and how we leave it.

Flashback Friday

 I took the kids to the Redcliffe Show today. Well, I took Chance and Quinn. Good grief what an exercise in negotiation and teaching gratitude. Except that apparently gratitude can’t be taught. You just have to lead by example.

Three years ago, Frith’s Dad and I took Chance and Quinn and baby Darby to the Rocky show.

This is how that day ended. And it was pretty much the same today.

That’s why we did Family Lego Day the following year on show day. It was cheaper and heaps better.

Anyway, we are focusing on the positives!! I took Chance on the dodgems as requested! And this time I didn’t put my back out!

And Quinny and I hit up the Tea Cup ride! And this time I didn’t get sick!
The kids won crappy prizes in sideshow alley that disappointed them!
They drank red cordial slushies!!!

Just like three years ago!!

And Grumpy took them to look at the gemstones which was totally cute
Look. It was great. There were meltdowns and disappointments but the kids overall had a marvelous time and they are already talking about next year’s show. And so am I! I want to enter a few things into the show next year. If I remember… 🙂

The post about Pizzeys that never got written…

… until now!

Gosh I still cannot believe I didn’t write this post two years ago! I do recall at the time not having a lot of blogging mojo, so that might be what happened. It just occurred to me that I may have shared a few pics on fb but nothing on my blog! Anyway, here we are.

In April 2016 I met my dear friend Kate and her two gorgeous boys at Hervey Bay for the weekend, while Frith headed down to Rainbow Beach for our nephew’s 21st birthday camping weekend. Mum and Dad came up from Brizzie as well and stayed at Pizzeys, and we took a trip out there on one of the days. It was so nostalgic for me! We spent so many holidays here while I was growing up. For example, I think I would have been 11 or so (??) in this photo. The early 90s served me well as you can see!

The river is just so beautiful and while it has changed so much in 40 years, it has also remained the same.

I just love that we can come back here time and time again and pick up where we left off, with whomever happens to be around at the same time.

Dad is teaching Chance the importance of only keeping fish that we will eat, and how,  if you catch it, you have to clean it yourself. He’s slowly learning, and I’m so grateful to have Dad around to teach him these lessons.

Darby (18 months) and Quinny (3 years) checking out the catch of the day. And of course unable to both look up at the same time!!

Quinn getting her adventure on!

Darby and I enjoying the view together
And Darby getting up to mischief!
And I just noticed Darby is wearing the same shoes here as Jules was wearing on our visit to Pizzeys last weekend! Funny stuff!

Once the kids get a little older, I know it will be easier to take them for more than a few hours at a time, and I know they will treasure these times, and as they get older I hope they can appreciate such a simple, quiet, peaceful place that holds so many memories for so many of us.

Another Pizzeys Trip

Oh wow guys. We went up to Hervey Bay last weekend for my Mum’s aunty’s 90th birthday and it was so amazing to catch up with those rellies. They are just some of the best people in the world, and even though I only see them once a year (sometimes less!) it’s always good for my soul.

We made an impromptu trip out to Pizzeys on the Sunday, and the kids had an absolute ball.

I have spent the last 20 minutes looking for the blog post I thought I wrote about our trip to Pizzeys two years ago, but I can’t find it anywhere, and can’t believe I didn’t blog about it! So annoyed. So some background info: My mum’s family own some old fishing shacks along the Burrum River and the place is named after Jack Pizzey who founded the area (or something like that!?) and we have been going there since we were kids. We grew up fishing and crabbing and boating and swimming and just getting up to all kinds of fun and mischief with our “cousins” (second cousins once removed if you’re playing at home!) and now all of us cousins have had kids of our own, and so the adventures continue. I will blog about our trip from two years ago for my Flashback Friday post. Stay tuned!

Anyway, Chance was desperate to go fishing (“Mama, I was born to fish!”)

And the older boys took Darby under their wing and showed him the joy of Burger Rings fingers!

Quinny stayed pretty close to me as there were dogs around and she’s not a huge fan of dogs at the moment, and we all took turns following Julius around as well.

Quinny was also the only girl there. There are a lot of boys in this generation!

And they are really all just lovely. Even though it was an exhausting few hours, trying to keep track of Darby (the place is a death trap for an adventurous boy like him!!!) and leading Jules away from this and that, it was 100% worth it.

It’s a neeewwwww caaaarrrr!

I picked up my new Kia Carnival the day I went to see the Whitlams. When I say new, it’s a 2017 model that only got driven for a month during the Commonwealth games. So basically new.

The kids named her Spacey. Just like my friend’s car 20 years ago (couldn’t believe when they came up with that!)

It really is very roomy!! And Spacey!

And then I got some stripes, so we could stand out in a crowd. These cars are everywhere!!

And of course the inspiration behind the detailing. Just in case you’re new here 🙂

I’ve never owned anything like a new car – it’s amazing and terrifying! And of course the kids aren’t allowed to eat in it… for now. I know it won’t last but I’m certainly enjoying the novelty of some new wheels! Come for a drive some time!

Solo week away

I’ve been trying to blog about my week away for over a week now, but I’ve been having some photo uploading issues. That and I’m addicted to The Crown. Moving on…

When the school holidays were fast approaching, I decided I really wanted to get away with the kids for a week, preferably with someone else on hand to help out. I then realised that Nanna’s 100th birthday fell on the middle Sunday of the school holidays, so if I was going to go away, it would have to be the Gold Coast. I jumped on line and found something fairly reasonably twice (reasonable after 2 glasses of wine on a Friday night if I’m being honest!) and just booked it.

So on the Friday in the middle of the school holidays, armed with my niece and brother-in-law (who drove the kombi), we set off down the coast.

I had rented a 3 bedroom townhouse on a canal in Elanora called Isle of Palms, and honestly, apart from being a bit on the small side, it was perfect. There was a lot of this:

Josie and Jacques only stayed until after the party on Sunday, and after that, it was just me and the kids, and my father-in-law 10 minutes away.

Even though I was a little apprehensive, part of me definitely wanted to know that I could do this whole “solo parenting” thing, so I went in armed with patience, loose plans, a positive attitude, and plenty of snacks, and gave it my best shot.

And you know what? We did all right. Better than all right. The place was just fantastic for the kids, and we got to spend a lot of time with “Poppy” (Frith’s Dad.) This was at our back door.

I did every evening on my own, and thanks to allowing them to watch TV every night while I put Jules to sleep, everything went really well and they were all out to it by 8:30pm each night. Which meant it was time for Commonwealth games watching with a glass of wine for me! Winning!

I was definitely exhausted by the time we were heading home, but I had booked in a sleep in for the Sunday morning, so I had that to look forward to. All in all an amazing week, and I would definitely go back to this place!

A slow learner

I had a face-palm moment this evening. I’m totally spent. I’m the most tired and exhausted I’ve been all year, and it’s been an exhausting year. I feel like I’ve been super snappy and impatient with the kids, which makes them snappy back, and the situation always escalates.

Tonight, I was just too tired to argue. Anytime they did something that frustrated me, I just honestly didn’t have the energy to react. So I kindly spoke to them, and the response has (obviously) been a much smoother evening.

I know this guys. I’m pretty sure most parents know the theory, but the practice is hard, because parenting is a tiring and monotonous job. But then I likened it to being an adult in an adult situation, and what happens when you fight with your partner.

I happened upon this blog post the other day, that I wrote about a year ago. The general gist is that I was (finally) learning that the best way to deal with conflict in marriage is with kindness. Which is really hard sometimes when another adult pisses you off, you just want to give them the finger and tell them to get stuffed. Sure, a good old fashioned fight with some yelling and huffing isn’t the worst thing from time to time, but before things escalated in an argument with Frith, and before I got defensive, I started to really try to diffuse the situation with kindness and understanding, and pretty much every time, it was a winner.

And it’s the same with kids. Only they haven’t learned the latter approach. They are still of the screaming/defiant/stomping/crying method. It’s up to me as their mum to respond with (somewhat firm) kindness. Any time I respond with yelling/annoyance/frustration/threats, things escalate and I always have a battle on my hands to bring them back down.

Tonight, as I was feeding Julius off to sleep, the three kids came downstairs, and after Chance and Quinn couldn’t find me, they went to their room and started colouring in. I was waiting for Darby to come into my room and wake Jules up by jumping on the bed to keep me company, so as he walked into the room, I greeted him with a whisper of “Hey buddy! How’s it going? Would you like to gently sit on the bed and wait for me to finish with Jules, and then we can read a story together?”

The response? A whisper of “okay Mama” before he sat down quietly on the edge of the bed. That’s when I had my ah-ha moment. Honestly it was the sweetest thing. Normally I was yell-whisper not to disturb us, and he would always, in an act of defiance, jump on the bed, while I imagined him giving me the finger and telling me to get stuffed.

It is SO hard, sometimes seemingly impossible, not to lose my cool when things reach crisis point, but I really hope I can remember this evening, and that it serves as a reminder to me that my kids are just little humans that have to be taught big life skills. And now it’s up to me to do that.

My awesome foursome

Tall and proud

I went to a Hiit Out (High Intensity Interval Training) session tonight at the gym and it was taken by one of the lovely female trainers who’s positivity and enthusiasm is just what I needed.

Her catch phrase tonight (and maybe other nights) was “tall and proud people, tall and proud”. She was referring to our posture during some of the exercises, but I like to think she was also referring to the exercises in our heads.

I’ve been going to the gym 4-5 times a week and while I’m proud of that, I’m ashamed of the negative self-talk in my head. If I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror I get sad and disappointed and tell myself that I’m not good enough. I compare myself constantly to the other fit mums which is counter-productive and such a waste of energy.

We are all there to better ourselves, not to be better than anyone else. So tonight, with each slam ball and kettle bell swing, with each squat and press, I stood tall and proud, as I know I have a lot to be proud of.

And I’m tall. ?