Charlie’s Birthday Hike

Charlie turned 11 a few weeks back but this year he celebrated it a bit differently.  In lieu of a party, he and Alan asked a couple of his friends and their dads to go on a hiking adventure.

The first night was spent in Tawonga in the comfort of an airbnb!

The next morning they drove up Mount Hotham and set off on their hike along Razorback Ridge.  Reaching their camping spot late in the afternoon there was time for a rest and refuel before a further evening 2k walk to the top of Mount Feathertop to watch the sunset.  An awesome effort by everyone…..especially the boys carrying fairly heavy packs on their first hike!

The next morning they hiked down to Harrietville.  Lunch in the fabulous Bright Brewery and a swim in Sinclair’s waterhole near Porepunkah before the long drive home.

Charlie was super tired but very happy when he got home, telling us all about it…and asking Alan when they could go on their next one!

Dad & Son packed and ready to go

A swim in Bright on the way through….

Celebrating his birthday on the first night

Next morning… we go!

On the Hike

Camping Ground

Evening Entertainment….yes you guessed it!

Down to Harrietville

Lunch at the Brewery

Waterhole Fun

Self-decorated cake on his actual birthday 🙂

What a cool way to turn 11 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLIE!



Charlie’s Birthday Hike

It’s Oh So Quiet….

……because ALL of the kids are on school camp this week.  I know, unheard of, to have all of them away in the same week!  Big thanks to whoever it was at school who made that decision.

You’re probably wondering what the big deal is?  That might be because you have family, perhaps grandparents, around who willingly give you regular time out or it might just be because the challenges of juggling 4 kids is hard to comprehend unless you’ve lived it.  I could count on one hand the number of times we’ve had this opportunity in 12 years of parenting…..woooohooooo!

Ella left on Monday and as I waved Charlie, Ruby & Poppy off on the buses today I felt a mix of excitement for them and liberation for me!  I know they’ll have a fabulous time with their friends and I’m relishing the lack of routine and schedules.

We’re lucky that they all went off with big happy smiles.




Charlie (when he stood still for 2 minutes!)

On the buses

It’s such a bittersweet milestone of parenthood to see them go off on their first school camps (for Poppy & Ruby this year).  I’m sure the time will fly so I fully intend to make the most of it…….It’s oh so quiet!


It’s Oh So Quiet….

Turning 12

Turning 12….a big milestone for Ella!  Half way through her final year of primary school, gaining more independence every day and growing up so fast.  How can this be the last year before “teen” creeps into her next 7 birthdays?  How have we gone from playing with my makeup to applying mascara before we go anywhere that doesn’t involve sport?  How are we navigating tricky friendships and body conscious conversations already?  Well, we’re doing it because Ella is lucky enough to be surrounded by a supportive, grounded group of friends, family and teachers who help her navigate the other stuff.

With the end of primary school fast approaching and the reality that her classmates are moving on to various schools next year, we decided to have a join party with AJ, one of her best buddies, where all these kids could hang out together.  They wanted a disco party so that’s what we did – they danced, laughed, played jokes on each other, sang at the tops of their voices and had fun.  Such a great bunch of kids, she’s a lucky girl!

Thanks to AJ’s mum we have some fabulous photos to share:

Birthday Girls



Every party Needs Balloons


Photo Booth Fun!

Dancing & Singing







The After Party!




Turning 12

Death at a distance

When we moved to Melbourne in 2005, the possibility that one of our parents might fall ill in our absence was a thought that didn’t enter our heads.  We’ve been lucky I guess and spent 9 years travelling back and forth when we could and having our parents do the same.  The past 18 months have changed all of that.

Alan’s dad’s death last week, even though we knew it was coming, brings the reality of the distance home to us.  I (or should I say we) will be forever grateful that Alan went home last month with Poppy & Ruby.  He was able to spend some time with his dad and importantly they were able to say goodbye.

I chatted to a psychologist colleague last week who described that phone call telling you someone is gravely ill as “all our worst fears realised” and that we go into a spiral of emotions and questions in our heads.  Do they need my support right now or should I wait?  Our immediate reaction is to drop everything and run without considering the impact to our day-to-day lives.  She insisted we must never feel guilty for our decisions and that we do what is best at the time.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to travel home with Alan for the funeral so to all our wonderful friends and family who were there, I thank you for supporting him at a time when I couldn’t.  Not being there was hard.  The kids decided to write notes to Grandpa and we placed them in a glass bottle and threw them off the pier with some flowers.  As they did it they each told me their favourite memory of Grandpa.


Death at a distance

A Decade of Parenting….

…that title makes me feel old!  On July 22nd, Ella turned 10.  She was so excited and wanted everyone to know her age was finally double digits.  Isn’t it funny that we spend a lot of our young years wishing we were older?  Milestones such as 10, 13 followed by 16,18 and then 21.  Is that the last milestone we actually want to reach?  I didn’t feel worried about turning 30 and I don’t think I will about turning 40 when it comes, but I have lots of friends who have struggled with it!

Anyway, back to Ella.  We celebrated her 10th birthday by taking some of her friends ice-skating followed by a sleepover.  They whizzed around the ice for 2.5 hours and would have kept going had I not called time on it.  Back home there was dancing, music, karaoke and a movie before they headed to bed….this was where the hours of skating were on my side because they were exhausted!!

Birthday Morning



And of course cake!


The ice-skating team!


Happiness in all these faces





A Decade of Parenting….

The Friendship Minefield

This week our household has been experiencing some friendship issues and it’s hard to know where to begin in explaining to kids ‘what makes a good friend’.  I always find myself on the negative, telling them that someone is not your friend if:

– they make fun of or tease you

– they make you feel bad when you hang out together etc.

But last night we had a good discussion turned on its head, looking at the things we think make a good friend.  In no particular order, these came from all the kids:

– someone who respects what I think or say

– someone who makes me feel good or happy when we play

– someone who doesn’t say mean things about me to my other friends

– someone who doesn’t tease me

– someone who lets me choose what to play sometimes

– someone that I can trust

– someone who helps me if I am stuck or feeling sad

– someone who is nice to me and kind

We rounded it out recognising that we should be nice to everyone, ‘treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves’. We should stick up for our friends if someone is being mean to them and we should walk away if someone is not being a good friend.

Having good friends, however near or far, is an important part of my life. Good friends can be fantastic, but I also remember school days when your friendship group was so important to your self-esteem and confidence.  Charlie experiences very different issues to the girls which makes dealing with them all a minefield!


The Friendship Minefield

Where have we been?

I always have the best intentions to update the blog at least once per week, but somehow 8 weeks have slipped past!  Let’s put it down to having so much on……

We’ve had the kids first tryathlon, grand prix, a weekend camping in Bright, the colour run, going back to uni (for me!), Easter, school holidays, birthdays and a week camping at Bimbi park.

Triathlon action



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Fun in Bright



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Easter holiday fun in Anglesea


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Easter Sunday was my birthday and a beautiful morning for a family bike ride around the lake…obviously stopping for coffee along the way!





Sooooooo many kids camping at Bimbi Park – 14 all in but Josh is missing from the pic!




Now all of that was before term 2 started and of course footy season is now underway.  Char is no longer playing Auskick (with the comfort of going to the same oval, at the same time every Saturday) he has moved up to play in the under 8’s team and with that comes home and away matches.  His team are playing exceptionally well so far and he loves it!

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On a not so beautiful day, the car was the best seat in the house to watch the match!


Now footy is just the start of it…..SPORT is starting to take over. Between 4 kids and their footy, swimming, diving and basketball there are no days without training or matches.  The logistics are often challenging!



Where have we been?