Phew! What a month.
As you know, we've had good friends visiting us from the UK for the past 4 weeks and it's certainly been busy. So much so in fact, that the house feels eerily quiet this past week, and we've come down to earth with a bump...
It was strange hearing English accents again every day, the first time for nearly 6 months. Gina and Josie got on as if they had never been apart (I can still hear them yabbering on) and Stef and I made sure that the sacred ceremony of burning sausages on the bbq remained sacred. The house was generally a fairly noisy, upside down, inside-out type of affair - which has to be expected for a house packed with 10 people; and it's a tribute to everyone involved that we're still on good terms at the end of their holiday! Well Done!!
So, it's back to normality again this week. We first had some bad news that the landlord wanted to put our house back on the market, with an 'open house' every Saturday. This means that potential buyers or nosey-parkers (sticky-beakers over here) can come and check out the house every Saturday. This made us feel quite unsettled, but we've managed to persuade the landlord to allow us to stay here until the end of March 2007 while our new house is being built. Happy days.
Poor Gina though, she's been cleaning madly all week in readiness for the open house.
We also signed our final tender with our house builder this week, and this means that actual building will commence within 20 working days. This is great news, so expect to see regular updates of the build process on this blog.
It's Father's Day in Australia this Sunday, and in preparation for that (and in recognition for the stunning roles us Dads play) there is a Dad's breakfast BBQ being held at the kids' school tomorrow morning at 8am. The kids are very excited about it, and I must admit the idea of a sausage sandwich and a coffee first thing in the morning appeals to me to ! I'm sure there'll be photos tomorrow, watch this space....
Phew! What a month.
Today is our last real day together as a family of 10. We would have loved to go out on the "Red Dragon" for a spin around the lake but the skies are grey and the lake is choppy so we decided to head off to Warners Bay for a coffee and a play in the park. The mood in the house is a bit flat and I think the tissues will be coming out a few times between now and the airport tomorrow.....
Today is Pirate day in Rhiannons school!
Danielle made her an authentic "antique" treasure map using tea bags and matches!
It didn't take much persuasion to get her out of bed and dressed for school this morning!
Today was Tenelles Birthday so we all went out for abig family tea to celebrate.
It was great fun and remarkably calm despite having twenty something adults and about 12 kids!!!
I think Tenelle enjoyed herself which was the main thing. We managed to hang on in there until a little after 9pm before the little ones got tired and we had to call it quits.
It was payback day today and Stef and Danielle had their day on their own in Sydney. Like us I think that they enjoyed their peace and quiet as much as seeing the sights.
Here are a couple of their photos....
It was a lovely sunny day today and Josie and myself needed to find something to amuse the kids while Stef and Danielle had a day in Sydney.
We went to the beach and built sandcastles, splashed in the sea and buried the kids and formed sand "mermaid" bodies on top of them.
It was the first really sunny day and we all got a little bit of sun.
Better buy some more sunscreen next time we are in the supermarket, summer is coming!!!
Josie and myself abandoned the plan to visit Sydney with Stef, Danielle and the little kids. Instead we disappeared off to the train station after the school run and jumped on a train for Sydney on our own!!! What a fabulous day. The best bits were having a conversation without being interrupted! Two hours on a train in each direction and I don't think we paused for breath! Another bonus was having coffee and cakes without having to share them with lots of grabbing little fingers! We half hoped that we might come home to a quiet, tidy house with all the kids sleeping fast. Instead we were "welcomed" by a houseful of excited kids who were nowhere near being ready to tuck up in bed....Never mind, we can but dream!
Sian made another step towards her First Holy Communion today when she made her Confirmation. We had a lovely family get-together with Anne, Kel and Tenelle and had a big family dinner in the afternoon. Sian wanted her favourite meal:Chinese!
We made mountains of food, chicken in Black bean, Chilli Lime, loads of spring rolls + enough special fried rice to live on for a month! We were stuffed but just managed to squeeze in some passionfruit cake before heading off to church for 5pm.
It was a lovely ceremony and very relaxed. The Bishop was very humorous and really made the kids feel at ease. He asked them a few questions and gave them the option to "phone-a-friend" if they were unsure of the answers. He had everyone laughing along and feeling involved.
The only thing missing was family. Uncle Joe (Sians Godfather) and auntie Rhonda had to stay in Sydney as they spent a few hours in hospital yesterday: a false alarm about the imminent arrival of their baby due in 4 weeks time. They want to stay within quick reach of their hospital which is reasonable in the circumstances! Granny, Grandad Joe and Carrie in Dublin were also missed greatly. Thank you to everyone for your good wishes, cards, presents and phonecalls on the day. You were all missed.
It's my Birthday today and I have been treated like royalty. Mr B provided breakfast in bed and the kids ran into our bedroom shouting "Wake up. It's your birthday!!!" (just incase I had forgotten!). They were so excited as always, giving me homemade cards and helping to unwrap everything. After the ritual chaos of torn paper and phone calls from Ireland and Wales it was time to come back down to earth and start getting ready for the school run. As I was brushing Sians hair there was the roar of a loud engine coming up our driveway. It sounded like a jumbo jet was landing on our front lawn. The kids were squealing with excitement because they knew my birthday surprise had arrived.....
When I opened the front door (in my Pj's) there were Anne and Kel on Kels Harley-Davidson!
They had been planning with Byron and the girls all week to surprise me with a morning ride with Kel while Anne and Byron carried on with the school run. They had all the leathers, gloves and helmet ready for me. It was amazing!!!
I clung for dear life to Kel all the way as we whizzed down the road with all the kids shouting and waving goodbye.
We went on a great ride out to the Rathmines, Fishing Point and Balmoral (Where we are building the new house) Eventually we came full circle and passed by the girls school just as Byron and Anne were pulling out. The ride ended all too soon outside Hughzies cafe in Toronto where I was meeting my friends for a birthday coffee. Even the waitress was excited for us!
It was a fantastic start to the morning and will really be a birthday to remember!!!
I feel whole again!
This afternoon we went camera shopping and bought a fantastic new digital camera!
It is a Canon PowerShot S3 IS. 6.0 Mega Pixel, 12 x optical Zoom with so many amazing functions that I don't know where to begin!!!
Watch out Blog, you are about to get a lot more colourful again!!!
We have just come back from a wonderful 3 nights in Shoal Bay. We stayed at the holiday park that we were in 3 years ago.
It was while we were staying there in 2002 that we had the famous "Are you thinking what I am thinking?" conversation that started as a bit of fun over a bottle of wine and ended up with us arriving in the land of Oz with three young kids, 8 suitcases, no job, no house and big dreams.
It was another fabulous holiday with lots of ice-creams, swimming and bottles of wine in the evening.
On the Saturday we went on a dolphin cruise with Josie and Stef and saw a couple of dolphins that kept a reasonable distance from the boat. Later that afternoon when we were back on Shoal Bay beach we saw what we think were the same two dolphins swimming very close to the shore. Byron decided to be brave and swam out to them. He got to within about 30 feet of them and they carried on swimming and surfacing then diving back under. It was magical to watch. None of us were brave enough to join him!
How I missed having my camera with me. It is frustrating to have no photos to put on the blog today. You will have to take my word for it. It was breathtaking!
It was Stefs Birthday this morning but we all wanted to wait until we got to Shoal Bay to celebrate so unfortunately for Stef he missed out on breakfast in bed. Never mind, we made up for it by buying him a sticky caramel mud cake in a lovely cafe and embarrassing him infront of all the other customers by singing a very loud and tuneless "Happy Birthday" to him. Well worth waiting for!!!
Any one who knows me knows that I love having my camera with me most places I go. I love writing on this blog but generally put up a new post when I have taken a photo or 2 (or 3 or 4!)
My current camera is only 2 years old but has put in many hours and sustained a fair few drops and knocks over that time. I have taken literally hundreds of pictures with it but it finally gave up the ghost this week.
It may be a bit quiet on the blog for a little while.
I think I will go make a cup of coffee for Mr B and see if I can start dropping some gentle hints about a new one....
Rhiannons class were participating in the Westlakes Music festival today. Danielle, Charlotte, Josie and I went along to cheer them on. Rhiannon looked terrified! She is the little short girl in the front row 4 in from the left. She held on tight to the edge of her cardigan for dear life!!!
Charlotte has invented a very funny game with her brother Ross....
When she is finished eating her own ice-cream cone but Ross is only half way through his she starts to play with him. She runs slowly towards him in the buggy laughing "I'm coming to get you!" He gets all excited and holds his ice-cream out for her to take a bite...?!!!
Good game Charlotte!!!
Ross has been trying and trying to stand on his own and today he took his first real steps!
It was a bit shaky but there were about 4 or 5 tiny baby steps as he walked/fell into Danielles arms! By the time we managed to grab the camera and turn it on he was getting tired so the photo doesn't quite do him justice but watch this space for more impressive pictures of the newly mobile Ross!
Byron is still very possesive over his big shiny BBQ.
He won't let me so much as turn it on never mind cook anything on it. He has reluctantly allowed Stef to don an apron and join him outside for the cremating of the fried breakfast, but it may be some time before he shares his big shiny tongs with him!!!
The men felt the need to escape the house and drove away an hour ago with their fishing rods, buckets and bait. We have been left with a houseful of kids and it is getting near to grotty time (tea-time!) We are good mothers and therefore we are putting the needs of our kids above our own....... Yeah Right!!!!!
Another year older then...
This last year has been a bit of a roller-coaster, and this was my first Australian Birthday. Back in the UK, my birthday was always in the middle of Summer, so I guess I'm going to have to get used to a cold birthday from now on.
It was the usual manic start to the day with the kids jumping into bed prompting me to guess what my presents were before opening them up. They laughed when after feeling each present I suggested that they may be a pair of underpants, and laughed even more when my sister actually did send me some underpants. Thanks Julie for the rather attractive, if not a little chafing, Welsh Dragon G-string. Ouch.
Mrs B did her usual sterling job of making sure I was the top-banana all day - nothing was too much for her, and she indulged my demands of a trip to Starbucks (with 6 children in tow), making lime green jelly with condensed milk (a childhood favourite), and ensuring that any party guests had to sit outside for the fish and chips dinner.
It was good to speak to family and friends on the telephone in the UK and Ireland - thanks everyone for making such a big effort especially with the difference in time zones. Thanks also to everyone for my brilliant birthday presents!
The night ended with a few too many glasses of wine and an impromptu game of truth/lies. I'm not quite sure what I ended up admitting to, but I have the feeling that there will be some wry smirks in the kitchen this morning...
Its been a great week so far. The weather has been generally bright and sunny so we have got out and about in the daytime while the girls have been in school.
The first few nights have been a bit unsettled with Charlotte and Ross still on UK time. They are awake anytime between midnight and 5am for at least a couple of hours.
Poor Josie and Stef! We are just putting pillows on our heads and sleeping through! We had a breakthrough 3 nights ago when we bribed Charlotte with an ice-cream if she stayed in bed all night. 3 ice-creams later and we have all had lots more beauty sleep.
The good weather has broken, we had amazing thunder and lightning last night. One clap of thunder was so loud I swear the sofa shook! It is raining on and off today and poor Byron and Stef are being left to entertain all the kids while Josie, Danielle and myself have a child-free afternoon at Rhondas baby shower!