Tag Archive: kids


It was Andy’s birthday last week, so we went away for the weekend, which was AWESOME!

If you’ve never been to the east coast of Australia, may I suggest a visit and if you’ve never been to Australia, then what are you waiting for?! It’s lovely! πŸ™‚

The idea was to plan it all and present it as a fait accompli as a gift to Andy. He’s done this very thing for me a lot since we met and we both love it. I looked at hotels and cabins and camping spots and found what I thought would be great. A cabin nestled between two farms, next to a river. When I rang though, they were booked out. It turns out that the weekend just happened to be one when there was a big monthly event happening. Great for our entertainment, not so great for finding accommodation!

Fortunately for me, for us, luck was on my side, as it so often is and on my way from one site to another, I found a Glamping spot! Glamorous Camping, or Glamping, is the sort of camping experience I might have scorned once. A sort of luxury camping, in a tent, amongst trees and bush but with beds and a bathroom and a kitchen. We even had a heater and a TV….oh and a lovely verandah with a table and chairs……Glamping! πŸ™‚

At this time of the year, winter here, it’s an inexpensive option. Cheaper than a cabin but in my opinion, far more fun and interesting. Needless to say, the kids loved it.

We spent two nights there and we could hear the rolling waves from the beach, lulling us to sleep, gentling us into the morning light…and the birds…loud, vibrant, calling to life. They created a joyous, optimistic atmosphere, dipping and gliding as I drank my morning coffee and watched.

We went to markets and ate in cafes and walked on the beach and played mini-golf. It was a great weekend. On the birthday morning, we woke Andy (he was already awake and watching the World Cup from the warmth of our giant and comfortable bed) and brought coffee and presents, then went out for breakfast. Photo time I think πŸ™‚

 

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It’s been a bit of a roller coaster day, in terms of emotions. I worked for three sets of people, all of whom were lovely, all of whom I learned something from but by the time I got home, I was ready to snuggle close to my family and feel the comfort of my own reality seep into my bones.

I find it quite sobering sometimes, being amongst photographs and memories that stretch back so far. Echoes of children’s voices and vibrant family lives, wound down to a quieter, sometimes more lonely time. Almost without exception, they are kind to me and thoughtful and I work as hard as I can, in the short time allotted, to do the things that they’ve identified as being the things that will be the most useful to them.

I dust pictures and clean bathrooms, vacuum and do laundry. I bustle about, making beds, polishing mirrors, wanting to leave things fresh and bright for another week. I used to think that cleaning was depressing, menial, that it meant something about who I am but the fact is that it’s just making things clean and I am still me and better for this experience I think. More than that, it makes me so grateful for everything. I’m grateful to have work that is meaningful. To know that what I do makes a difference, sometimes a significant difference to quality of life, for some people.

I’m grateful that all the movement makes my body sore with exertion by the end of the day and that I have the willpower now, to say no thank you to offers of chocolate cake and lamingtons and biscuits. Though if there’s time at the end, I may have a tea if it feels as though someone just needs a conversation that day.

I feel grateful to be reminded of how precious life, and the people we love, are. When I get home and Sam and Zac tumble, like overgrown puppies into my arms, when I walk into Andy’s arms, strong and warm, and there’s talking and noise and vibrance, I feel incredibly grateful for my life.

I feel more aware, more alert, more loving and more present, as a result of this work.

 

I like to think I move with some degree of gracefulness, despite my family often comparing me to animated teddy bears or penguins in various television shows or movies. I know that when I walk, there’s a bounce in my step which can apparently be translated into catwalk-style movement by swaying my hips from side to side, except that when I do that, I feel like some sort of exaggerated, rounded Mata Hari-type person. So bounce I do and it gets me from place to place tolerably well most of the time.

Today we had a list of things to do but first, it was time to play Tip-Chasey. Most people will have played this at some point. One person is ‘it’, they chase everyone else and when they tip someone, that person takes over as ‘it. Clean simple fun.

There are lots of variations and today, we played the one where someone stands at ‘home’ (the big tree in the yard) and everyone goes to hide while they count. When they’re finished, they go and look for the other players and everyone tries to get ‘home’ before they’re caught. We played a few rounds, worked out the finer details, tried to outrun each other. Needless to say, I got caught over and over again. Until…..

The tree which was ‘home’ is in the back yard, so I, feeling very clever, went out the front door and climbed over the fence, then ran back towards ‘home’. I almost made it too, Zac close on my heels, but for the slope we were pelting down

I tripped, and like Jerry Lewis in slow motion, fell over my feet, arms and legs like windmills and came skidding to a halt, on my stomach, on the grass. Oh the ignominy. Because having ascertained that I was okay, they laughed their faces off, doing action replays, describing it again and again, laughing some more.

Right, I was going to win the next one! I found a perfect hiding spot, waited until the seeker, Andy this time, was engaged in a different part of the house. Then I burst from my hiding spot, and before they had time to react, I had made it onto the back verandah, vaulted down the stairs and was leaning against the tree, clutching at my breast. I’d won and victory was sweet! Except that on the way down the stairs, I’d somehow caught my breast on the corner of the railing as I’d jumped and I was leaning against the tree because I was in the middle of keening with the pain of it.

We stopped playing soon after that and went to the movies instead but I can be graceful, truly…..sometimes…..

 

Dinner tonight was the roast beef I was going to cook last night, which brings me to Day 6 of my challenge. I’ll have to think of another one for when this one’s finished…..

Roast Beef

Roast Beef

 

 

Burnt Quiche

Today had all the potential to be ‘one of those days’ and yet it wasn’t. It started with a sleep-in, which was pretty lovely, then Zac and I joined Andy and Sam, at a game in which Sam was playing. He got a goal, which was great and we were really proud. Picture us beaming.

I discovered that an old friend of mine was visiting in a town 45 minutes north of us (it was on FB you know) and arranged to drive up for a visit. I left my family and started driving, rounded a bend and realised two things at the same time. One, that I was over the speed limit and two, that there was a police car on the other side of the road, whose lights were now flashing.

I pulled over, took out my driving license and waited, stomach clenched, for him to come to my window. He was quite nice about it really but still, suddenly owing hundreds of dollars to the council was a less than auspicious beginning. He went back to his car, I put my seat belt on and prepared to drive away but the battery was dead…..

So I called Andy, who came immediately, kids in tow, to jump-start the car. In twenty minutes it was done and I kissed them all, thanked them and kept going. Incidentally, my friend’s response to me texting to say I’d be late, with a harried explanation, was an “okay, breathe”, which reminded me immediately of why I like her so much, despite not having seen much of her since we were kids.

I had joked about getting lost on the way, which turned out to be prophetic. Even with my trusty talking phone giving me directions, I ended up inexplicably describing a large circle through farmland, which wasn’t where I was aiming at all. I couldn’t be too upset about it though because…well, look….

 

Left

LeftΒ 

Right

Right

 

We did get to meet in the end though and it was good. It was an easy visit and I left feeling enriched by the conversation.

I had planned to make roast beef for dinner but by the time I got home, it was too late for that, so I decided to use the last of the cream from last night’s dessert and make a Quiche Lorraine instead. I had some nice bacon and some fresh free-range eggs, a couple of sheets of pre-made short-crust frozen pastry, an onion and some cheddar, a little garlic. Easy. I had visions of a puffy, tremblingly custardy quiche, dotted with crispy bacon pieces and some chopped spinach and parsely. It was going to be fabulous.

I pottered about the kitchen, looking up now and then at my family, engaged in various leisure activities, warm and comfortable. It was a nice evening. Then, quiche in the oven, I sat down to talk with Zac and got completely engrossed. So much that I didn’t quite realise how much time had gone by, and the gloriousness of the quiche was reduced to a flattish-looking, brown pancake-y thing.

This isn't what it was supposed to look like at all!

This isn’t what it was supposed to look like at all!

 

Still, it tasted okay and Andy and the boys wolfed it down like starving things, so I wasn’t too upset after all. πŸ™‚

Later, the guinea pigs got out, to Zac’s great distress and there was a huge amount of running around, trying to collect them up without scaring them to death. They were caught in the end, and put safely back in their play area, with a chopped carrot to help them feel better but by then, Zac, who has never had hayfever as far as I remember, had spots and swollen eyes and the sneezes.

So he had to be hustled to the shower, still crying, then given anti-histamine to make him comfortable again. The upside is that, as I write this, he is snuggled, sleeping, next to me and all feels right with the world after all.

Good night πŸ™‚

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