Double Digits!

And then one of a sudden, our eldest, Tim, has reached double digits!
We tried out a new concept for his birthday party. 
Instead of birthday presents from his mates, he asked for a contribution to an afternoon of fun.
Memories over more stuff.
Climbing, running, swimming, gaming and a sleepover in the tent.
Although the last part turned out to be too hot and muggy to fall asleep and so they all ended up crashing on the couch.
Snags on the fire pit, until the next downpour changed that into a smoking mess,
marshmallows on the Weber taste just as well...
The reality of having a birthday on a weekday. An early start for a market restock, school, soccer training, a mum up to her ears in sign on duty and a dad with an early volleyball game.
And an exceptional busy week meant no time to bake a cake,
I did however had some leftover slice...
 A “new” bike (we’ve hit adult size now!) and bookstands for our reading worm.
It’s all about engineering, chemistry and robotics these days...


Chaotic weeks, beach and saying goodbye

Making the most of the heatwave:
Safety Beach, awesome waves
 and great climbing rocks!
(The monkeys of Gibraltar)
Bathroom in progress, we’ve gone into week 3.
We survived the very stinky waterproofing with dragging our mattress into the living room.
The floor tiles are in, quite a feat when needing to accommodate curved shower screens!
Grouting the floors and putting wall tiles up are on for today.
The house will be a noisy construction site for another 2 weeks, I can’t wait to have a real shower again and cut out the stumbling out in the dark to use the portaloo...
The end result will be make it totally worth it.
Craft morning at the gallery.
I’ve picked up my crazy quilt again (on the right). Tidying up threads at the back are so much more fun under the shade of a tree, with a cuppa and great friends.
The last two weeks have been very busy,
with the kids starting school, they are tired and tempers fly easily.
Tim and David both got sick and the week became a mess.

Taking a breather and making sure we touch base, quickly falls on the wayside.
A cuppa fixes a lot of things...

The trip to the beach was perfect, with the waves crashing down on you. Do you stand your ground or do you ride the waves to back to the shore?
I’ve become a soccer mum+
Soccer sign on days are upon us...
The dragon fruit keeps growing, fascinating.
Yesterday evening was hard. Our little Moon Dancer (Mooney) didn’t turn up for dinner.
The horses are normally calling out for me at the fence, together, but only Laura was there.
I found Mooney laying in the corner of the paddock, alive, but with heavy, laboured breathing, frothing from her mouth and thrashing around. Our little girl was unable to stand up and was in a very bad way. With the small chance she would have contracted Hendra, I knew we had to keep our distance, the hardest thing, you want to comfort her. The veterinarian was called and it was fairly obvious there was no coming back from this, putting her down would be the most humane thing to do.

This morning we had to tell the kids that their friend had passed away. Remembering together all the happy memories we made with her. She will be missed.
The kids are at school again and I’m waiting for the bobcat to turn up...
Sweet dreams little Moon Dancer, may the Milky Way be your dance floor.


Starting School

Alex started school this morning. 
Cool as a cucumber, he lined up and followed his teacher in.
Leaving me and David, not in tears, but still a bit unsettled. 
No doubt, Alex is so ready for the next step in his education. He’ll thrive on the mental stimulation.
But I keep thinking of how little Alex was (9 pounds, but still), 3 days old and being lugged around in the sling, when Tim started his first day at kindergarten. 
Only to be taking those steps himself today.
David misses his little big brother, but also loves the special one-on-one time with me.
With Alex now at big school, David was very keen to start preschool, he had his first day last week.
Alex proudly showed him around and introduced him to all the teachers.
He had a great time and loves the play based program.

And before you tell me that I won’t know what to do with myself this year.
Believe me, I will!
Between my granola, kids activities, soccer club, playgroup, craft group, a household to run, sports and a horse to train, I’ll have plenty on my hands.


Back to school

Last week of school holidays.
Slowly we’re getting back to normal, getting organised for school, plowing through the washing after 10 days of camping, playovers, sleepovers, catch up with friends, puzzling and confirming the after school activities in the week planner and getting the house ready for the jackhammer.

Picking blueberries at a neighbouring farm was a highlight in this busy week. We drove home with almost 7 kilo’s of blue goodness!
Friends that came down for the long weekend were so impressed with the taste and quality of the berries that I ended up with another impromptu picking session alongside my friend Sanne. Without the kids we were a lot more efficient too: 11 kilo’s to share.
January in Grafton: Mangoes!!!
A friend has opened a health food bar in Maclean. I’ve been asked to stock her shop and kitchen.
Sure looks nice!

I can see the kids starting to get bored. 
Kids are literally climbing the walls! Tim is sticking to the hallway, inside, where Alex has been targeting the roof of the house. Sitting on the back deck, “hey, it’s just like someone is walking on the roof”. “Alex!!!” 
Quite an accomplishment without a ladder, he just shimmies up the support posts of the front veranda.

New house rule: no climbing onto the roof!
(the drop towards the back is almost 6 meters!)
He has been limited to the roof of the carport...
The state of the bathrooms and toilet: very bare.
But at least the jackhammers have finished.
A portaloo (temporary toilet) on the driveway will be our reality for the next couple of weeks. Showers are out too, bit unlucky that we’re having a rather cool summer at the moment! Rain keeps falling, creating beautiful skies and an overflowing dam.
Sunflowers, so happy and bright.
The main deck is currently my sanctuary,
a tool free part of the house...
Making lists and getting work done. Busy with organising the start of the soccer season, the sign up days have started. I’m sharing the role of treasurer and registrar and we have our work cut out for us!
After years of barely any growth, our dragon fruit has started growing madly in the last 6 months, quadrupling its size. It has started fruiting, we’ve counted eight buds so far, so exiting!
The bananas trees are loving the rain.
 Bananas for our monkey


Camping at Hat Head

The Hat Head campground has the awesome layout being enveloped by the Korogoro Creek and the Pacific Ocean. The creek fills up with the tide and is fantastic for all kinds of water activities.
For ten days we got to call this home.
Camping, there is no better way to appreciate your bed, house and their comforts you take for granted!
We like to keep our holidays fairly basic, if we would like a house in the forest with a view on the lake, with a pool and great kitchen, we can just stay home...

Camping is close neighbours, making new friends, exploring, walks for toilets, showers and tap water. No electricity, no fridge, (no coffee machine!) or other electronics.
And after a cold southwesterly, that was raging for days on end, no gazebo. 
The tent (barely) made it through thankfully.
Our luxury was time, 
spend together, 
just hanging out.
Sitting for hours watching the waves.
The kids frolicking in the surf
Or sand
“The Gap”
 “Hat Head Hilton”
 Quiet talks
Going for day trips,
Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
Also a great vantage point to see the big swell caused by king tides combined with a raging south westerly. The beaches were getting mercilessly pounded.
 The gaol ruins at Arakoon.
Picnics in the national park.
After dinner swims.
First thing mentioned when we start packing up again:
“Picking up Tyson again!”
“Sleeping in my own bed!”


Thank you 2017!

2017 was:
The pool was in for a serious workout this year,
the kids are now all independent swimmers
A new veranda at the front.
All we need now is “an old rocking chair”.
Playing with chocolate
The hottest day ever: 47 degrees!
Bloody roos...
Turning 8
Summer salads
Camping at Urunga
Going for rainy walks
Making new stairs
Lots of granola baked
Big boy undies.
Puddle jumpers unite in the bath
Tomatoes galore
Cold winter days
Taking a bit more time for each other, going on dates, walking, concerts and salsa dancing lessons.
Bucket parade.
5 weeks long we go from one virus to the next, fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea going through all of us,
Walks through the forest
Bike rides
Taking grandma to playgroup
Alex is very keen, but no old enough.
Rain, rain, rain, it keeps pounding us.
New coffee machine!
Finishing my quilt for Lotte
Camping at Woody Head
“Puppy” loves company
Mothers Day
Drumming lessons for Sophie,
Tim sticks to his guitar
Picking up the grandparents at the airport.
Annual photo shoot
Collecting pecan nuts at a friends farm.
Work Christmas Party
Ready to start school in 2018
Camping at Sawtell
Creating a new front deck
The start of the dam.
Tim getting his own room
Turning 4
A new pen for the chooks
Too hot to play, Summer is so very hot this year.
Cooling of in the water through
Little Laura growing up and starting to fill out.
Finishing touches on the pool deck.
Tim’s 9th birthday.
A lasertag, pizza, sleepover party with his best mates.
The rain starts to fill the deepest point of the dam.
Puddle monsters cooling off.
Low after low gives us 700mm of water in one month!
The dam is full and we need to work hard to make sure it survives the onslaught.
Dam at full capacity
Going to “Rock on River Festival”
Prolonged rain breeds huge swarms of midges,
the horses are not impressed.
Camping at Woody Head,
our favourite spot late afternoon: “The Whale”.
Easter bunny with a sugar low
Easter fires, cleaning up garden waste
Neighbour with a stash of bush rocks...
To be turned into our own fire pit.
The start of our Full Moon parties.
Winter garden
A table runner for my mum
Handy Man
Valley Made Market
At the side line, cheering on Tim’s soccer team
Monkey Alex
Celebrating 40 years of Grafton Playgroup
BMX track
Spring Time
After school snacks
My sister’s first visit of Australia, David is instantly taken
Meeting our niece Lotte
Playing with cousins in Mulligans Hut
Saying farewell again in Woolgoolga
Baking with Sophie, so nice to see the sparkle back in her eyes.
Her epilepsy medication, took some fine-tuning this year.
My mum heading home again.
Cucumbers galore
Back to Sawtell, 
swimming the channel
Seeing the first plants growing in the dam.

2017 was great, but just flew by!
We hope to make many more happy memories in 2018.
Thanks for visiting.
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