Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thank-you from God.

For someone who is normally fairly quite private about religion I am going to do two religious blog entries in a row. The first one was a proud moment, this one is more humorous. I am known to raid Byron's wallet in a panic as I run out to Saturday night Mass as I rarely seem to have any notes in my own. So often when Byron goes to pick his wallet up on a Sunday I hear him call out "I've been robbed"  This time I thought God should leave him a little note...

...I wonder when he will notice?!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Both my girls have been Altar servers over the years. Gareth has watched on and whispered to me that he cannot wait to have his turn. In our church you need to have done three sacraments before you can train as an Altar server, Reconciliation, Confirmation and Communion. Gareth did all three last year and finally it was time to train up the newest recruits. He did his practises in school time and then was given a date for his first "real" turn at our parish mass. His sister helped him to get ready...

Then he took a deep breath and walked up to the Altar under the wing of a lovely family friend, Claire, who he felt very comfortable with, and also another boy from school. 

I was so very proud as I sat there and watched him try so hard to remember all his jobs during the Mass. I tried to be very discreet taking a couple of photos on my phone. I'm sure God will allow me this little indiscretion as I really wanted to be able to share the moment with Gareth's grandparents overseas and have something to look back on when he is no longer such a little boy...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Me and Mr B!

I often get a hard time for not actually appearing in the blog. That is because I enjoy being on the other side of the camera most of the time. My friend Julie snapped this photo when were at their house this week so I thought I would put shyness aside and say a big hello! And yes, this is a tan for me! The idea that living in Australia would leave me with a light healthy glow all through the year proved to be wrong. This is me in all my summer glory. You should see me in the winter, I'm invisible! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Card 2012

To all my blogger friends. I thought I would wish you a Happy Christmas with the image that we used for our family 2012 Christmas card. I hope that Christmas brought fun and joy into your homes. Here's to a wonderful 2013!

Happy Christmas!

To everyone,
Thank you so much for your friendship over the last year. I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas and find yourselves in the company of people you love and who love you back. May 2013 be a great year for us all. Full of health and happiness (and a few good blog posts!)
Gina xoxo

Monday, December 24, 2012

If all else fails... the instructions!

We made a gingerbread house today. We just forgot to read the part of the instructions where it said to bake for ten minutes to crisp up the pieces... That might be why it started to sag within minutes of us finishing it. Within an hour the roof had caved in and it was more like an earthquake zone than a gingerbread house! We will have to try again next year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How (not) to bake perfect Shortbread

A lot of our gifts to local friends and teachers are home-made. It costs us very little in terms of money but we put time and energy into it and enjoy the fun of making them.

This year I decided to make some shortbread biscuits. Sian was given a music note cookie cutter earlier this year by her friend Gemma. This made great cookies for her piano teacher.

Next on the list were our neighbours who were going away so I set to work one evening making stars. Unfortunately I was feeling pretty tired that night after a month of double hours in the hospital and I may have dozed off on the sofa... 
Luckily Byron smelt the burning, woke me up and had his camera on hand to record the moment forever...
So this Christmas season I urge you to pay attention and learn from me how NOT to bake perfect Shortbread!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Time to put the kettle on...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dr Who

On tv last week we watched a recording of a concert in London's Albert Hall. It was the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra playing the theme music from Dr Who. There was lots of audience participation with many of the characters from the series walking through the auditorium as the music played. When an ad appeared on the tv for the Australian tour dates I jumped off the sofa in excitement! They were already half way through the Sydney dates. I went online and searched how much to buy tickets... The first quote was over $600 but I realised that I was looking at premium boxes *phew* Searching again for the family tickets the bill was a much more reasonable price.

I persuaded Byron that going to a show as a family would have a much bigger impact and better memories than putting an extra gift under the tree (adding to the already overgenerous pile from Grandparents, friends and extended family) And so we found ourselves booking the very last tickets in the back row of the Sydney Opera House tonight.
It was amazing! For anyone who has seen the recent series you will understand the significance of  "Don't blink" next to the weeping angels. Scary stuff!!!
The actual performance was amazing. Broken down into lots of small 5 minute segments of music, each piece being introduced by the amazing Alex Kingston (who played River Song in the Dr Who series and also Dr Elizabeth Corday in ER) 

When the show finished we waited outside the stage door and were able to meet Alex and Sian got her autograph. It was all I could do to take a blurry photo of Sian and Alex on my phone and not push Sian out of the way and hug Alex myself!
It truly was a brilliant night and one we will talk about for a very long time!

Blog drought

I've been a slack blogger recently. More and more this year I find that blogging has slipped down the list of priorities. I think that when too big a gap stretches from the last published blog post the pressure seems to mount as I mentally count the things we have been getting up to and should have blogged, but haven't. There just doesn't seem to be the time to commit to words the things that have been happening in our increasingly busy lives. The more days tick by, the more unwritten posts sit in my head, the guiltier I feel and it all becomes too much so I push it to the back of my mind. Kind of like the ironing mountain that was engulfing the laundry room. Well yesterday I tackled it and after about 4 hours it is done. And today I am going to try to break the blogging drought with a post or two. Even if I have to back date them so they fall in vaguely chronological order to read back on in the future. Is that allowed? Will people miss out if the post gets buried in the past? Does it matter? See how I get my head in a muddle?! I hope that I will find a good rhythm again where blog posts flow in a fairly regular pattern and fit in with the whole work/family/cleaning/cooking balance. We can dream can't we?!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

High Tea

One of Rhiannons friends chose to celebrate her birthday with a beautiful "High Tea" at a small B+B called Fernwood in the outskirts of Newcastle. 

It was so lovely to see the girls all dressing up so beautifully and acting a little more refined than normal. Lets hope a little of the etiquette and manners stay with Rhiannon over the coming weeks!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Love is...

...sticky finger baby niece hugs!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Art Gallery visit

I love when free activities are available to kids. So many people are struggling to pay their bills with electricity, food and petrol prices creeping up at an alarming rate. It can be hard to find things to do outside the home that don't drain the bank account.

When a friend told me about a free Art exhibition about fashion and the catwalk I decided to bring the kids along for a look. We are very lucky to live close to Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery. We wandered through the exhibits and pretended to be models strutting up and down the red carpet. We were they only people there and were not a bit self conscious until we spotted the security cameras pointed at us!

There was a design table set up with blank card models and postcard sized papers with fabric images printed on them ready for you to create your own outfit. When we finished we could take our creation home or stand it up in the special grooves along a cat-walk and leave them behind to inspire the next people who came along.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

First day of Summer

After slapping on the sunscreen we jumped in the car leaving a long To-Do list and all our cares behind us! Two sets of friends who live just a few houses apart (and next to the lake) sent an invite out far and wide inviting friends to bring a picnic and water gear and chill out on the reserve outside their houses.

It was supposed to be a crazy hot day but the plans had been made long in advance so we decided to brave it with lots of cold drinks and shady hats etc. Surprisingly although it was hot the cloud cover protected us from intense glare and with lots of sunscreen applications no-one got pink.

It is so lovely when you can throw a group of kids together from a mixture of backgrounds and ages and yet they manage to have fun. It is a really nice bunch of families and it feels like a big safe extended family with everyone helping to keep an eye out for each others kids.

We left our house at midday thinking we might only stay a couple of hours but then found ourselves packing up as the sun went down and driving home in the dark! Sometimes the best days are those spent having simple outdoor fun!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

First day of Advent

Each Advent we get a calendar sent from Ireland and take turns opening the windows. When the kids were younger I took daily photos of the ceremony of opening the window and sent the photos via email to Granny and Grandad for them to see. It made for a fun and easy post-a-day through the month of December. As the kids have gotten older and I find myself starting my nursing shifts before they are up and dressed the photo-a-day has fallen by the wayside. I did manage to get this photo as Gareth opened up the first window while everyone else was slapping sunscreen on and getting ready for a fun day by the lake with other families living locally. Happy Advent everyone. I hope the countdown is pleasurable and doesn't fly by too quickly...