My new blog

Monday, September 29, 2014

Wow. It's finally happening. After registering the domain name 2 years ago, my new blog is finally "live". Until the last few months, I just hadn't had the motivation to do anything about it. I had a few ideas floating around in my head, but it wasn't until I got chatting to a friend of my sister-in-law, that things started to get moving.

Kate and I had a photo shoot, mentioned earlier, and she came up with some great concepts for the blog header. I absolutely adore what she has done and am so excited about my new space.

There are still a few things to be tweaked, like the links to all the old stuff, and a few "features" but I feel a blog is always a work in progress, and I'm just keen to get it up and running.

This space has been lovely to work with over the last 6 years, but it's nice to have something shiny and new, and something much more personal, and made just for me.

So what are you waiting for?? Go check it out! I'm now at:

I know I know I know!

Monday, September 15, 2014

I know it seems I've been completely absent from the blog scene recently but the truth is, we've been working on setting up the new blog! I was hoping to launch it by this weekend but I want it to be just right, so please bear with me! I promise it will be worth the wait!

In the mean time, Mum has been here for a week which has been bliss. The kids are having a great time with Gran and I'm having a great time having extra sleep and not having to solo parent while Hubs is working long hours. I also had a wedding last Saturday which was lovely, and we are thinking about going away somewhere next week as Hubs has 5 days off in a row.

So lots still going on, and I really hope I can share the new blog with you all very soon!

Boredom's a funny thing

Friday, September 5, 2014

There's been a lot going on up here in the last 7 days. But it's all been emotional, mental stuff. Hence why I've been a bit absent on the blog. I'm not quite ready to get into it all just yet, but soon.

The thing is, I'm completely exhausted, but if I take a look at what I've done this week, there is no reason for it. I'm bored. So so bored. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of stuff that I could/should be doing, but it's mostly day-to-day stuff that doesn't get me terribly excited. I have so much time on my hands, that I keep thinking "I can do that later/tomorrow/the next day." And then a week goes by, and the dining room table is still a mess, the dumping corner is out of control, and blog posts haven't been written.

Thankfully I have kept on top of all the washing and am managing to keep the rest of the house relatively tidy. I just don't have much for me at the moment, and I need to find something, fast, before I drive Hubs and myself crazy.

Before Hubs and I moved to Melbourne, I was always busy. A night off was a luxury and I appreciated down time. When we left all of our family and friends in Brisbane, it took a lot of adjusting to a more quiet life. We still had lots of social engagements, but nothing like we used to. And then once I stopped work to look after my babies I've gotten progressively more light-on with things to keep me occupied.

I know I've said it before, but I keep thinking "once we settle down I can find something for me" but surely I can find a temporary hobby/interest to keep me sane in the next few months? I'm really hoping to pick up more weddings, wherever we move to next year. I've loved planning the 4 weddings I've currently got on my books. It gives me a creative outlet, and gives me time away from the day to day stuff.

I know that the busier I am, with meaningful things. the more motivated and productive I am in general. Maybe this year's Christmas card can start being planned; maybe I can put together some more stuff for my celebrant business; maybe once the dining room table is clear, I can start on some hand made cards. There. A few ideas. It's a start.

One of those shopping trips

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You know the one. The 3-going-on-4-year-old wanting everything he sees and throwing a massive tantrum in the middle of the 5pm rush; the 18-month-old voicing her displeasure over the load in her nappy the size of Texas; the looks of pity and acknowledgment and "ah yes I've been there" from fellow parents and onlookers.

Yesterday I did not have that shopping trip. Yesterday I was grateful, for so many things.

It was just after 4pm when I put Quindy into the pram and set off to pick Chanbe up from kindy. I planned to pop to the dodgy Woolies which is just around the corner from where we live after picking Chanbe up, to get a few necessities, depending on how long the kids remained happy once we arrived. It was a lovely walk to the shop - about 1km - and the kids were happily chatting away.

We went through the shopping rules again, as we always do, and as I heard Chanbe say "no asking for food, no asking for drinks, no asking for toys" I praised him, only to be told "no Mama, I'm telling Quinny." More praise.

We arrived and Chanbe immediately wanted to get out of the pram and help me shop. I took a breath and decided that this could work. He put his shoes on (no kid of mine is going to be walking around the Bronx Woolies barefoot) and we put the basket in his seat. The next 20 or so minutes were bliss. I would point to the item on the shelf, he would pick it up, give it to Quindy, and instruct her to put it in the basket. I ended up doing a slightly bigger shop than I had planned, simply because it went so well.

When we went to the checkouts, Chanbe wanted to show me the toy section. Here we go, I thought. But I said to him that it would be lovely for him to show me and then we would have to go and pay for our shopping. He pointed out a few things and that was it. Another sigh of relief and more praise for good choices.

I pushed our ginormous pram through the checkouts, paid for the shopping, gave the kids an apple each, and we were on our way.

This is how $60 of shopping fits nicely in the pram:

On the walk home, I thought about how grateful I was to have had such a positive experience. Parenting is hard work sometimes, and I know that I can get overwhelmed and bogged down by the monotony and challenges that this job brings. But yesterday, I chose to be grateful.

I'm grateful that I have 2 wonderful, healthy children who make me smile and make me proud.

I'm grateful for our awesome pram that I was a bit hesitant about buying initially, but that I haven't regretted once. We get comments on it every time we go out which makes me love it more.

I'm grateful for this beautiful weather we are having. I struggled a lot with the summer months up here, but the last couple of weeks we've had lovely cool nights and beautiful days. The sun isn't too hot, and there has been a nice stiff breeze to keep the flies away.

I'm grateful that I never have to worry about money to buy food and to pay for living costs.

I'm grateful for my fully-functioning, albeit slightly slow and sluggish body.

I'm grateful that even though I'm experiencing some not so fun ligament pain, I can get out and exercise which is so good for me at the moment.

I'm grateful that I have a loving husband who has a good job that enables me to be at home with the kids.

I could go on, but you get the idea. How can I not be grateful when I have all of this;

... and more:

Wifey: 26 weeks with #3

A little obsessed

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Can someone please tell me why I'm all of a sudden a little obsessed with this guy, and this song:

I know I'm totally behind the times on this one, as the song was released back in 2011. It was #1 in Triple J's Hottest 100 in 2012, and even though we did appear to have listened to the countdown that year, (I checked my blog history to confirm this!) I guess I just hadn't heard the song that much at the time so it went under my radar.

Hubs and I listen to Triple J's Like a Version albums. A lot. We have recently acquired volumes 7 and 8, and Eskimo Joe do a "version" of Somebody that I used to know on volume 7. This is what sparked the obsession. Then I looked up the original and watched the above video clip. About 4 times in a row. Firstly, I don't normally like covers that sound exactly the same as the original - I figure, what's the point? Add your own spin! - but I do love that Eskimo Joe have pretty much replicated the awesomeness of the original. And I don't know what it is about that clip; the simplicity maybe? The close up of his face and his amazing mouth and voice? The fact that he really looks like he's singing his heart out in the clip? The artwork?

I really don't know. All I know is that at least a dozen of the half a billion - yes, billion - views of this clip on youtube have been me.

I wake up humming the song every morning, and go to sleep as I belt out the chorus in my head every night. It's got me good.

I have been waiting a long time for this

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It started not long after Quindy was born. Chanbe was quite put out but the new human being taking so much of his Mama and Dadda's time, and he let those feelings be known. Frequently. I shed tears over his behaviour towards his little sister. I wondered where my gentle little boy had gone. I couldn't leave them in the same room together, and whenever he was around her, I was on edge.

I would be so jealous when other mums gushed over how their older child was so kind and gentle with their new baby. I wondered why he was acting this way and how I could possibly make it stop.

The answer? Understanding. Patience. Gentle teaching. Time.

The combination of these things has resulted in Chanbe growing into a very loving and caring big brother. Oh how I have waited for this moment.

They play together so beautifully now. Most of the time. They still have their disagreements, but it's more that Quindy is sticking up for herself and Chanbe will come and tell me if she's doing something to him he doesn't like. It takes a lot of self control for me not to say something along the lines of "buddy, you had it coming", instead I take the approach of "if Quindy is doing something you don't like, you need to ask her to stop" just as I have been teaching Quindy that for months. She can now say "No" to Chanbe if he starts getting a bit over enthusiastic.

A few times, the kids have wondered upstairs together, and after a little while and a lot of silence, I'll go and check on them. I've found them a couple of times like this:

Chance reading Quindy some stories

This "milestone" for want of a better word is all the more sweet, having had to work very hard and wait a long time for it. It has certainly made life easier and more harmonious around here.

Of milk and Arrowroot bikkies

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quindy had her 18 month immunisation on Monday, and after a non-eventful 48 hours, she has become rather unsettled and feverish. All perfectly common reactions and nothing serious, but last night her sleep patterns mimicked those of a 2 week old baby. The fun really started around 11pm when she was wide awake and completely inconsolable, and wouldn't let me sit down or lie down with her. Then she demanded I take her downstairs and after lots of to-ing and fro-ing and trying to work out what on earth she wanted, we ended up in front of the pantry.

She wanted an Arrowroot bikkie. Oh, and some milk in a sippy cup to go with it thanks Mama.

She went from having a complete meltdown to being perfectly quiet and content, munching on her Arrowroot. She even offered to share it with me. And once her milk was finished, she climbed off my lap and took her empty cup to the sink.

I took her back upstairs and after some cuddling, she went back to sleep around 1am. I chuckled to myself that it could be that simple. Of course, she woke up twice more in the next 2 hours, wanting another bikkie the first time, and then a squeezy fruit pack the second. I kept marveling at the peace she exuded while eating her bikkie and thought "I want to remember this."

And now I will.

Half a lifetime ago

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

While I was in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, I was happily driving my family around, which included my parents, when I noticed my dear darling Father kept looking over my shoulder at the speed I was travelling. I assured him that I knew how to drive and stick to the speed limit, and it occurred to me that I had, in fact, been driving for half of my life.

Way to make a girl feel old!

The year was 1997. People were flocking to cinemas to see the epic movie Titanic; "little" Johnny Howard and the Liberals were running the country; Tubthumping became the latest teen anthem, and this happy little blogger was in her final year of high school.

I always felt out of place in High School. I had a lovely group of friends, 4 of whom I'm still very good friends with today; I was very much involved in the music program, playing double bass, bass guitar and baritone sax; I did a lot of extra-curricular stuff like fund raising, school musicals when the school had them, played hockey and did tap dancing and jazz. But I never really knew who I was. I was a follower. I would always try and get cool hair cuts, but they always just ended up looking a bit boy-ish, or flick out uncontrollably once the hairdresser's blow-dry wore off.

I didn't really know how to talk to boys, so I would just try and make funny jokes that just weren't funny, or I'd pay them out. While others were excited by it, I dreaded free dress day, as I had very little personal style, coupled by the fact that I was convinced I was vastly overweight (turns out, I wasn't) and used to wear oversized clothes to hide my huge arse (that wasn't actually that huge).

Side note, I love this conversation between Charlotte and Carrie on Sex and the City:

The problem was my head. I tried so damn hard to fit in that I was constantly worried about my actions and what I said and how I looked. I know that hindsight is a wonderful thing, and that no 17 year old has it all together, and that most of my insecurities came from comparing myself to others instead of learning to accept myself for who and what I was. Because, looking back, I was pretty awesome.

I wish I had a photo of myself back then to show you, but alas all those pre-digital photos are packed away in a box somewhere in the garage. Or in my mother-in-law's garage.

I like to think I've come a long way in the last 17 years, especially when it comes to loving my body, knowing what hair cuts and clothes suit me, and how to talk to boys. I wonder what life-lessons I will learn in the coming 17 years, and beyond. Maybe I'll finally understand how to work our damn media PC.

On a side note, I want all of these songs on our media PC. Well, most of them. Please? Hubs?

3 years on

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's hard to believe that it's been 3 years since Nanny passed away. In some ways it feels like just last week, and sometimes it feels like I haven't seen her for much longer. We still miss her and keep her memory alive by using "Nanny-isms", most commonly when we say "just for fun" which was her response to our questions of "why did you cook this/buy this/do this?"

I stumbled across the draft of the tribute I wrote for Nanny's funeral the other day. I ended up just using it as a bit of a guide, and improvised the last part, and it was really nice finding it and reading over it again.

Nanny was an extraordinary woman with the simplest of pleasures. She lived for her family. Anyone who spent 5 minutes with her would know that, and anyone who spent half an hour with her, would become a part of that family. If you ever came to visit for a Sunday lunch, she would ask after you the next few weeks and ask when we would be bringing you back again.

When you grow up with an extraordinary person like Nanny in your life, that extraordinary becomes your ordinary. It often took outsiders to remind me what a special woman Nanny was. People would gush over her crispy potatoes, chicken, turkey and sausage, English salad, cucumbers, borsch, crumbed stead and pork, barramundi on Fridays, veges, jelly, ice cream and custard; her 10 layer Napolean and 6 layer walnut cakes, her apple pies, her banana cake, and of course, her pierogi, yet they were weekly staples for us at Sunday lunch.

Nanny didn’t try to be extraordinary. She just was. But she wasn’t all butter, sugar and cream. She had a quirky streak to her that brought a smile to our faces so often. “Come here, I shmack you” she would say. We realised in the last 5 years or so that getting a Nanny shmack was to be celebrated, as it meant she had missed you and she loved you very much.

She could also lay on the guilt like the thick layer of cream on top of her walnut cake.

Why you leave so soon?” she would say.
When you coming back?
and one I’ve heard a lot in the last few years
Why you must live in Victoria? When you coming home to Brisbane?

This was just another way she let us know she loved us. Though she could never understand why someone would choose to leave their family, when she had no choice to leave her own all those years ago, she always supported us and welcomed us like rock stars whenever we came to visit.

Nanny gave so much of herself to us, and I know everyone here has been touched by her generosity and kindness in many ways. I think we are all better people for knowing her, and I think a great way to honour her memory is to eat creamy cakes, drink good vodka, always cherish our family, and learn to make pierogi, just like Nanny made it.

To be honest, there isn't a great deal of sadness around her passing, as she lead such an amazing life. But it breaks my heart how this little guy brought her so much joy:

Yet she doesn't get to see him like this:

And the fact that she never got to meet our little girl. That hurts a lot. But I'm sure she's up there, looking down on us all, and gushing over the cuteness as much as we are.

Time to Bounce

Friday, August 8, 2014

While we were in Brisbane, Mum wanted to take Chanbe to Bounce - a huge indoor trampoline centre. This place is massive and amazing and unfortunately, when Mum took Chance along, he was just a bit overwhelmed with the noise and all the people. Is that what happens when you live in a small, quiet town? Anyway, we thought if I went, and we took other kids he knew, that might encourage him to have a jump. So our friends Liam and Alex came along and even though they were all a bit hesitant at the start (it really is very busy and noisy!) once it was their turn, it took all of about 3 minutes and they were hooked. There were 6 areas you could jump in, but Chanbe stuck to just 2. This one was a huge hit:

And he probably spent the most time in this area. Just lots of trampolines to jump on and you could climb up the angled trampoline walls and slide down. It's so wonderful to watch your child just having the time of their life.

Of course, when it was time to go home, he didn't want to get off! You have to book ahead and you pay for an allocated hour (or more) so we were there from 12 til 1. It may have taken some ice cream bribery to encourage him to leave :-) You know, whatever works. We will definitely go back when we're in town next. Wanna come?

Happy Ruby

Sunday, August 3, 2014

My parents celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary this year. The actual date is still 2 weeks away, but we were almost all in town (poor Hubs had to work :-( ) so we went out for a fancy-pants lunch yesterday at the Ocean View Estates Winery. It's also the same place where one of my cousins is getting married next April, and where my dear friend got married back in 2007. The weather was absolutely stunning.

I didn't realise Mum was mid-blink for this photo! But it's still cute :-)

This was taken during dessert - I ordered the chocolate fondant with Guinness ice cream and salted caramel. Oh boy. It was ridiculously decadent. I had ordered the crusted prawns for entree which were delicious and the crispy lamb ribs for main which was probably the best lamb I've ever had in my life. Oh man I want to try making that at home.

After dinner and a few beverages, Aunty Kate decided to join Chanbe on his rolls down the hill. It was rather gorgeous.

And although Uncle Kris didn't partake in the rolly-poly, he was happy to do some spin-arounds.

And Grumpy was happy for a footrace down the hill, and a slow trek back to the top.

We decided to hire a mini van so we could all travel together. That is, so everyone who could drink, did drink, and I drove the booze bus home :-)

It was such a wonderful day. The kids were absolute angels in the restaurant and made me very proud. The food was delicious and the ambiance and view were delightful.

Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad. Here's to the next 40! :-)

This is getting out of hand

Friday, August 1, 2014

I remember about 10 years ago, a few months after I had found the perfect Black Colorado slip on sandal, thinking that I should have bought another pair of the same shoe to keep for when I wore my current ones out. By that stage they were out of the range and you couldn't buy them anymore. Plus, at $100 a pair, I did find it a bit hard to justify. The shoe gods had other ideas however, and a couple of months later as I was browsing the Lifeline store not far from where I was working (don't ask me which job it was. Maybe this one??) and I happened across the exact pair of said sandals... In my size... barely, if ever worn... For $9. I couldn't believe my luck!

Now I don't normally buy second hand shoes - they have to be in near-perfect condition and look like they've never had someone else's smelly feet in them. Especially if they are shoes that you don't wear socks with. Yeuch. Thankfully this pair ticked all the boxes and I was rather pleased with my find.

Anyway, this story isn't about second hand shoes, it's about buying another pair of the same shoes when I come across a winner. Early last year, I bought a pair of Piper ballet flats from Spendless Shoes in red, featured in this post. About a month after I bought them, I went back and bought the same pair in black.

And since then, this has happened: (note, the black and red pairs are actually replacements for the 2 original pairs I bought and wore to death.)

So that's 6 pairs of the same shoe in total.

When does love become an obsession? I love these shoes. They are incredibly comfy, super cute, and the range of colours makes them extremely versatile. Plus I've told so many people how amazing they are. AND they're still in the shops! Perhaps not in all the colours and sizes, but they are there! I have refrained from buying ALL the colours - I think I'm missing the brown, white and pewter. They are a fairly cheap shoe, so they don't last years like better quality shoes, so that's why I've bought them in bulk.

They really are a winner!

Electric Blue

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You know when you have a great night out, and on the way home you get treated to some awesome tunes to top off your night beautifully? That's what happened to me this weekend. On Friday night I met my two dear friends from high school - yes, we've known each other over 20 years! - at the Alfred and Constance for dinner and lots of chats. It was a great night out and after catching the train from The Valley to Eagle Junction, I jumped into my car and cranked the tunes, hoping for the best.

I got a few gems including "More than Words" which is one of my most favourite songs and a great one to sing along to in the car. I was on a high when I got home, really feeling blessed that after 20 years of friendship, I can still depend on these lovely ladies in my life, and that is a great feeling.

And it happened again tonight. I met 2 of my dearest friends from uni, girls I've known for 15 years and have been a huge part of my life for that whole time. We went to a place called The Royal which is an Italian restaurant in Nundah. The food was so yummy and the company a delight. I hopped in the car and started cruising home. A few sing-along songs came on, but the one that finished off my night, and ended just as I turned the engine off when I pulled up, was Electric Blue, by Icehouse. This was one of the first albums I ever bought on record and it's still sitting in my parents' collection. I put it on sometimes when I'm visiting the house at Kelvin Grove. Good times.

So that's 3 dinners with 6 of my most favourite women in just over a week! And there's more to come this week too. This is incredibly therapeutic and I'm really enjoying such great quality time with the wonderful women in my life. Thanks ladies. I'm looking forward to more great times to come.

Happy Birthday Ma

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The main purpose of our visit this time around was Hubs' Mum's 60th birthday. Hubs and I took it upon ourselves to organise the "do" and it was so lovely to be planning such a lovely occasion and being surrounded by family is always wonderful.

We stayed at the family house in Wooloowin which was  vacant at the time, so it was a bit of a "camp out" which was fun! And a bit chilly in the mornings!

We came across my old violin that I had in primary school. (Did you know I played violin for 3 years? I then saw the light and switched to double bass. I never looked back, and I think everyone was grateful!) Hubs decided to pick it up and give it a crack, and I asked if he'd like me to teach him to play Happy Birthday for his Mum. He did as much practice as time permitted (not much) and Chanbe was happy to help him out with a few pointers too.

Saturday, the day of the party rolled around, and there was lots of preparation to be done for the 4 potjies we put on. Okay okay, Hubs put on! I was his Sous-Chef for the day and just did what I was told (within reason...) He was the master of ceremonies though, and did an amazing job keeping everything bubbling away.

He did 4 pots in total; 1 lamb, 1 beef cheek and ox tail, 1 beef brisket and 1 goat. I was rather skeptical about the goat but it was incredibly tasty!

This was the final product: 4 amazingly tasty dishes, each with its own flavours, served over polenta. Everyone raved about the meal and I was very proud of Hubs' efforts - feeding 30 or so people is not easy!

We then took our places around the fires and kept toasty warm. It was a rather chilly evening, so I was so glad we had these. It also created a wonderful party ambiance. 

Ma made a lovely speech and Hubs said a few words too. It was so special for Ma to have her 4 kids and partners and all of her grandkids together.

Everyone had a lovely afternoon and evening and it certainly kicked off a great holiday for us!

Happy Birthday Ma! And here's to the next 60! :-)

The previous post

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I just thought I'd inform you that the previous post was something I wrote during a creative writing workshop over the weekend. I attended a three day celebrants conference down the Gold Coast and it was so fantastic. I met some great celebrants, one of whom lived in Redcliffe and was kind enough to give me a lift home on the Sunday, and learned some invaluable skills to take to future weddings.

I've been wanting to revamp my methods and ways I run my weddings and I have heaps of ideas to try out over the next 4 weddings I have booked in the next little while. It also confirmed in me that I really want to give this Celebrant gig a good go. It's a bit tricky in Mount Isa - not many people actually come to Mount Isa to get married - but I'll certainly be trying none-the-less.

Anyway, the creative writing workshop was really challenging and a lot of fun. I'm not big on that style of writing but when given a task to complete in 5 minutes - write about your favourite song or piece of music and how it makes you feel - I was immediately excited to give it a go. And I was really happy with how it turned out, as was the facilitator. I think I'd like to challenge myself a bit more with my writing; both here on the blog as well as in my wedding ceremonies.

It's going to be fun!

Call Me Al

Monday, July 21, 2014

The synthesized organ begins and my hairs stand on end. I'm immediately taken back to the Transcontinental Hotel* in my 20s as Paul Simon starts telling me about a man walking down the street. I have to stop what I'm doing and listen. I know the words by heart but never tire of them.

This is my song.

The song builds up, the rich harmonies wash over me and sooth my soul. I breathe them in, waiting for the bass solo which I always have to air guitar in my head, if not physically. I start to get sad as I know the song is coming to an end, and as the repetitiveness of the chorus begins, I am brought back to the task I had abandoned to absorb myself in those nights out with friends at The Trans, listening to my favourite cover band play my favourite song.

It's back to reality. At least for now...

*The Trans did not look like this when we used to go :-)

Dinner with the girls

Friday, July 18, 2014

Get a photo. I told myself at least 5 times leading up to tonight's dinner. Get a photo.

I arrived back at the car. Dammit. I forget to get a photo.

I just had dinner with 2 of my best friends. I've known these girls my whole life and they've known me most of theirs. They've seen me at my best and my worst. They've watched me triumph and they've seen me struggle. They've celebrated my joys, and wept for my heartache.

They have always felt more like sisters to me than cousins. Up until last year they didn't even know they were identical twins. I was always convinced they were fraternal, because I could not remember a time when I couldn't tell them apart. Plus even though they were similar, to me they have always been very different people.

But one thing has remained constant. They have always been there for me. We are all living in different cities these days, which makes nights like tonight incredibly rare and special. Just the three of us. Reminiscing, talking about family, our parents, our current challenges and future plans. I've never been embarrassed to tell them how much they mean to me, and their ability to ring or text or email at just the right time is uncanny.

Amy and Emma. You are beautiful, talented, generous, loving souls and I miss you heaps. But I know we'll always be a big part of each other's lives, and we'll always have Spaceballs.

Happy Birthday Hubs

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On Hubs' birthday last year, we found ourselves at a cocktail party, drinking far too much and finding out our friend Sonia had decided to apply to go to Mount Isa in 2014, mainly because of all the extra financial incentives. Hubs and I told her she was crazy and that was that. Or so I thought. We then started joking about how funny it would be if we considered Mount Isa. Then we looked into it. Then Hubs applied. And the rest, as they say, was a disaster... ha ha. I mean history... We still joke about that night with Sonia and now that we have made it halfway through, we are feeling like we have achieved something that we found quite challenging at the beginning.

So what does this all have to do with Hubs' birthday? Well, since his birthday falls in the middle of the year, and since we move every year, we have usually established some new friends who make up the guests at Hubs' birthday gathering. And as I looked around at the 10 adults and 5 kids that made up our little group, I couldn't help but feel very blessed that even though we haven't had the best of years, we have still managed to befriend some wonderful people who were excited to be a part of the celebrations.

Although Hubs had to work the night shift that night, he still had a lovely time and I know he appreciated our new friends making the effort on a Monday night. Chanbe had already told me that we had to make a green dinosaur cake for Dadda, so I had to oblige. Certainly not one of my most skillful efforts, but with Chanbe decorating with the smarties, it turned out pretty cute. And it was this recipe which is my current chocolate cake go-to. So delicious!

Just happy.

Happy birthday Hubs. It's been an interesting year, that's for sure. I love how you still say and do things that surprise me and keep me guessing. You are such a good egg and I love that so many people get to find that out for themselves. You show them the real you and that's who they get to know and love, just as I have and continue to do. 

Our inaugural family camping adventure

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I grew up camping. Even though Hubs can't believe I could ever be so tough and not-princess-like to "rough it", as a kid it was always an adventure and there was always fun to be had no matter what. Can I help it that, as an adult, I'd rather have a flushing toilet instead of having to squat, and a hot water to shower in, instead of a cold bucket of water to splash over me? And that I'd prefer a tent over a swag? (Who wouldn't?? Seriously??)

Anyway, a friend of ours who has organised a few 4WD days with us was keen for a trip to stay at Lawn Hill National Park (check out the map of Qld to the right of that page - we actually couldn't be any further from Brisbane if we tried!) and we were SUPER keen too, so he booked the campsites (there aren't many there and they book up fast!) and we (I) offered to organise the food for everyone (7 adults, 2 kids, 3ish days). It was all booked and we were enthused. I spent a couple of days getting the food organised, as well as eskys and all camping paraphernalia I could think of (thank you google).

We planned to leave on the Thursday whenever we could get away, and meet the others up there late Friday night (aka we would see them early Saturday morning). Hubs was on night shift Wednesday night and I spent all of Thursday morning getting everything ready to pack in the car. Of course, out of the all the days to be late, Hubs didn't get home til 9:45am (he's usually home by 8:30am) and I informed him that everything was ready so if he was keen, we could "just pack the car" and leave asap, instead of him having a couple of hours sleep first. He was happy to be persuaded so after a shower and coffee, he got to packing. This took about 2 hours all up by the time we fit everything in, and this was the end result! (This is obviously on the road.) (Oh yeah, and we borrowed a canoe for the weekend...)

Gosh there's so much to tell about this trip but I don't want this post to be too wordy! Our camera batter died on the second day and my phone was dead so we had to rely on our friends to take photos which I copied over last night. But after 4 days of camping, we neglected to get a photo of our tent set up, which is a shame as we were quite proud of ourselves that we managed to set the tent up first try after never having done it before and only ever seeing the tent up once just before we bought it for $70 at a garage sale in Townsville over a year ago! And with Hubs not having slept for 24 hours!

There's so much more I could say, but instead here's what you're waiting for:

We stopped at the Riverslea Fossil site:

The next day while Quinn was sleeping and I was "supervising" Hubs took Chanbe on a walk up a "big hill". That's the gorge right in the middle and the campsite to the left. Rather stunning, no?

The next morning, our friends had arrived so we decided to check out a lovely swimming spot. Hubs, Chanbe, Felix and Erica took the canoe and Sonia, Amber, Lindsay, Quinn and I went by foot. It wasn't very far, but it was a very exposed track.

Matchy-matchy stripey tops!

After the desert-feel of the walk, we go to the top of a (small) hill and had an "ooooooh" moment.

We couldn't have timed it better, with the canoe load arriving at the same time.

Just a touch (a touch) of paradise

Obviously Chanbe had an absolute ball

And Dadda enjoyed his Tarzan moment

There was a lot of this... 

...and this...

A beautiful sunset at the camp ground

On our way home on Sunday, we stopped for lunch at a creek crossing.

Years and years ago I found this recipe that I've always wanted to try!
You cut the tops off oranges, scoop out the guts (to eat later!), fill with cake mix, put the top back on, wrap in foil and put in hot coals for 20 minutes (ish!)

You can see the oranges in the foil underneath the jaffles

They were super delicious! Very moist and orangey.

Quinndy pointing delightfully at something

Chanbe made a very close friend in Lindsay, our pediatrician friend. A good friend to have!

The whole group on our way home at sunset

There are so many photos that I didn't get like the campsite set up (as mentioned) and my super-grubby kids on the Sunday after not bathing for 2 days and me just giving up on wiping noses or food off faces. It was super adorable, though I did enjoy taking to them with a nice wet washer before we got into the car!

I also hadn't mentioned that Hubs had been feeling ill since waking up Friday morning. He powered through the 3 days of camping, but then collapsed in a heap on Sunday night when we got home. After 2 more days of fevers and aches and pains, I sent him to the doctor. He had to have Wednesday and Thursday off work and still isn't 100%. This is a photo Chanbe took of him:

So all in all, apart from the sickness, it was an amazingly successful camping trip and we had a lovely group of people to share it with. We are already looking forward to the next adventure! Maybe this time I'll even remember to get a photo of the tent!