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 🙂

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!!!

Look Who’s Talking

Watching Kirstie Alley in labour and remember how amazing it was for me, all four times.

Feeling very nostalgic watching this movie. Also feeling very in love with my four children right now. It might be worth noting they are asleep…

Finding it slightly amusing that this is what my Saturday night is looking like these days. It could be worse. I could be watching Love Bachelor Island Chef. (Note: I don’t know much about reality TV).

Another wine? Don’t mind if I do ?

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!

25 years of The Whitlams

When I was 20 years old, my big brother allowed me to accompany him to a Whitlams gig at The Arena in Brisbane. He was a HUGE fan, and I was just getting into their music. He gave me some rules to follow (bottom line: be cool and don’t embarrass him) and I had a fantastic time. I saw them a few more times over the next few years, but not since.

About two months ago, I had a hankering. I decided that I wanted to go to a Whitlams gig. I didn’t even know if they were touring, but after a quick Google search, I found out they were on their 25 year Anniversary tour. What luck!! As the Brisbane gig had already sold out, I looked further afield. I even considered going to Melbourne, Cairns, Townsville and Albury, and making a bit of a trip of it. But since I hadn’t weaned Julius as yet (still haven’t) I didn’t want to go too far. So I booked two tickets to the Gold Coast gig at Currumbin RSL.

My friend Nathan, visiting home from the UK for a bit, was keen to come along, so we grabbed a yummy RSL dinner and joined the cue to get in around 7pm. When the supporting acts started (Deborah Conway and Alex Lloyd – both brilliant) it occurred to me that the Whitlams might not actually come on stage until 10pm!! And I was already yawning!

Anyway, we were one of the first ones in, so we positioned ourselves right at the front, near the keyboard. Thankfully they came on around 9:30pm and I did perk right up immediately!

I was rather excited when Tim and the boys came out.

The energy they still have on stage, even after 25 years is so fantastic.

Yes I was this close!!!

They played all of my favourite songs (there aren’t many that aren’t my favourite!) and it was so much fun to sing along.

Even though I didn’t get home until 1am and couldn’t sleep for a while because of the  adrenaline and the ringing in my ears, it was totally worth it!

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

Farewell BBQ

Even though we are not leaving for a couple more weeks (gosh that’s frighteningly soon) we had our farewell BBQ on Saturday and it went a little like this.

Quinn: “Mama, is our BBQ going to be epic?”
Me: “Yes darling. Yes it is.”

We hired a jumping castle for the 25+ kids and they had a ball! (This was early on in the piece when there were only a dozen or so kids)

And a little bit later on

There’s always a bit of a slow start to these events I find. By 1pm we had pretty much done all the chopping and preparing that we could do. We had decided to serve our much loved pulled pork with crunchy noodle salad on sliders, mini hamburgers with our homemade tasty BBQ sauce, and twice cooked lamb wraps with tzatziki and cous cous tabbouleh.

Turns out that at service time, I needed all hands on deck! Thankfully my gorgeous friends Sian, Sarah and Nadia were at the ready, with Hayles kindly refilling my Mimosas. Unfortunately the only photo of the production line I got is blurry and not great. So here’s one of me instead!

As if I did it all on my own! These girls are the absolute best if  you don’t mind me saying so.

Life will suck a little without them. Okay. A lot. Pretty much all the good times I have had over the last 2 and a bit years have involved one, more, or all of these ladies. They get me and they get my family and they love me and I’ll absolutely treasure the time I’ve had with them.

Leaving them is going to be hard.

Anyway, back to the party! The pulled pork sliders were incredible as always

And the lamb wraps were a massive hit, as were the burgers (no photo though!)

Desserts were a-plenty and a-mazing! (See what I did there?!)

Kate’s chocolate and berry cake was just the best!

The afternoon was leisurely, the evening stepped things up a notch, and fun was had into the night. We finally got to bed around 1am, happily exhausted. I would have liked more time just to sit and chat, but it’s often the way when you’re the host. Hubs outdid himself in the meat cooking department, and my crew upstairs really helped me not get too overwhelmed, and made my life a thousand times easier.

One of a few farewells coming up I’m sure. I’ll be sad to leave. That’s all.

The food post: Cairns 2017

The food and coffee situation on our Cairns holiday lived up to the expectations we had. And exceeded them. Here we go.

This is the K-mann’s back area set up, with cooking on coals and a pizza oven. There was am abundance of yummy nibblies and I think my kids ate their weight in pistachios while we were there.

Dessert early in the week – a date and nut slice that had chewy and crunchiness.

The worst photo of the best brisket imaginable.

This caramel slice nearly undid me

BBQ chicken wings with rice and shredded cabbage. This got messy and awesome.

Daily (hourly) coffee made with love.

Honestly there were so many good dishes for the week, and all lovingly prepared, from the delicious Vietnamese chicken baguettes that greeted us on our first night, to the (absurd) number of coffees we consumed daily, to an incredible chocolate meringue dessert very early on, to pancakes made to our individual liking on the final night.

Good food with great company and tasty wine is the best recipe.

Happy 10 years

10 years ago, I married this man.

I could not have known then, that he would take me on such a unique and extraordinary journey. Our life is like no one else’s I know.

He makes me laugh, and has certainly made me cry. But he gets me. He’s not afraid to have the hard conversations. He’s not afraid to be completely honest with me, even if it’s hard in the short term. He knows that, no matter what, we will always find our way back.

We both know that we are in this together; for the long run, and that it may take time, but we always work things out. We are stronger for those hard times. We have been tested and we have come through.

We drive each other crazy with our quirks, but we accept the other just as they are. We know we are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we don’t need to be. He is my soy cappuccino and I am his Rum and Rooibos.

Here are 11 things after 11 years together, 10 of them married, that you may not know.

11 years together
Officially got together 26th November 2006.

10 years of marriage
Married 1st December 2007 (engaged June 2007)

9 houses
Mission House (Toowong), Newman College (Melbourne), Wangaratta (unit), Mount Beauty, Wangaratta (house), Townsville, Ingham, Mount Isa, Rockhampton.

8 car seats
In each car!

7 years as parents
The journey began with Chance on the 27th November, 2010, right before our three year wedding anniversary.

6 hospital jobs
Wangaratta (as a student), Mount Beauty (student), Townsville, Ingham, Mount Isa, Rockhampton.

5 Days of Day Camp 1999
It took for Hubs to know I was the one. It took my slightly longer but when I knew, I knew.

4 kids
Chance (27/11/10), Quinn 1/2/13), Darby (7/12/14), Julius (18/5/17)

3 different cars
Kombi, Falcon station wagon, Land cruiser. And we still have the Kombi and Cruiser!

(I’m 4 days overdue with Darby in the below photo. We went out for our anniversary dinner. He was born 6 days later!)

2 people 
Just me and him.

1 marriage
Happily Ever After.

Happy birthday Chance

My big boy turned 7 today. What a champ. Then and now. Aw my baby! ❤❤❤

I made him this fairly dodgy monster truck cake that I was almost embarrassed of, until Hubs asked me “Does Chance like it?”

He. Loved it.

We had a little party for him Friday night  over at the K-mans with his favourite dinner (hot dogs) and a piñata and pass the parcel.

(Super dodgy dark photos dammit)

Today, his actual birthday, has been spent in the kombi as we make our way back south.

How gorgeous is this kid!? He has really stepped up into big boy status since Julius came along. I really need to just let him do his thing more and try to step back because he’s got it covered. He’s learning so many new things and I’m learning so much from him at the moment and it’s hard letting go and watching from the sidelines. But he’s doing just great and it’s wonderful seeing the person he is (fast!) becoming.

His dinner request was Maccas (easily pleased!) and they are all drifting off to sleep as we do the last leg to Mackay for the night.

Good night my darling boy. You are such a gift to us all and we love you so much.