Monday, May 05, 2008

We're home!!

And boy, I tell you what, Dorothy was right - there's no place like home!! We certainly realised this while being away with 3 kids, two of which are babies - for 2 weeks!! We're pooped!!
WARNING - long post ahead.... 2 week holiday to report. If you make it through, good for you!!

We had a lovely time though. We flew into Melbourne and hired a car to drive to Mt Gambier. You may think 5 hours in a car with 2 babies is not such a good idea, but they were pretty good, and better than having the 2 of them on our laps in a teeny Regional Express plane I think!! The laptop with movies was a life-saver! So the cartrip was not too bad at all. We got into Mt Gambier at 10pm and the kids were wired and up till about midnight!! lol...

We spent the first week mostly at home because the gastro bug had made its way into the house. It hit one of two us each day for a while week almost!! Miraculously, I was the only one spared - praise God!! Mum's don't get sick right? I guess I'm around the kids so much that I've built up a good immunity to nasty stuff! So yeah, the first week was almost a write-off for doing stuff, so we had to cram in the last 5 days there!!
We did manage to fit in a day play at the farm owned by Greg's Aunt and Uncle on the Monday though, before the gastro set in... Aunty Di took the boys with her for a few hours, so we had a nice few lazy hours with only Lani to worry about. Then we joined them for a pizza lunch. Andy and Di own a plant farm, with lots of space and a few animals to boot - chickens and ducks and the dog! The boys had a ball making cubbies out of tree branches that were being trimmed at the time. The space is so lovely!! I would love to live in a farm if it wasn't so much work - as Greg and I are not green-thumbs, it would probably never happen for us...

We had such a lovely surprise on the first Tuesday night! Greg and I went out for a date for coffee and a movie, and Greg's cousin decided to meet us for coffee, but instead of his wife, he brought Greg's sister, Andrea - who'd come as a surprise all the way from the UK!! It was soooo good to have the whole family together!!

We celebrated my MIL's 60th birthday on the Friday. ANZAC Day means lots of parades for MIL Sandy and FIL Chris though, as they both play in the Pipe Band. We took the kids along for the 10am parade and service, and I was surprised how emotional it made me. I felt so proud to see the diggers coming (mostly driving) down the street - proud of our heritage, proud of what they did for our country, proud to be Australian. The kids (especially Jai, being older and all) enjoyed watching the parade too. We stayed for most of the service too, before the little ones started protesting! Not sure if we'll be taking them to the one in the city, but if we happen to move to Mt Gambier at any stage (hopefully!) we'll certainly be taking them along each year - its an important part of our heritage... We also had a small dinner and cake for Sandy Friday night, but a few of the family were out with the bug, so it wasn't quite the same.
We celebrated Saturday night with a party though. Everyone was mostly better by then, so were able to enjoy the night, praise God for that! We ate roasts cooked in the BBQ, and salads, and traditional fruit cake with marzipan icing (Greg's absolute favourite!) for the birthday cake, and other yummy desserts. We got the family together for a photo too - everyone together... probably won't happen again for a very long time!! The family were interested in seeing my Patooties Nappies and I had a couple with me that I needed to give to customers, so I could show them off too... got a few tips from Aunty Di who's a seamstress, and some more from Greg's cousin Brooke whose a graphic/website designer and offered to help me with a business card. Family are great huh!! Greg's Aunt Heather asked me to send her a bunch of brochures too as she works at a uni and will hand them out at the childcare centre there! Thanks Heather!!

We said goodbye to Andrea early Sunday morning. Was too short a visit really, but with only 12 days to plan it (last minute), she could only get a week off work. We then headed to the family church to worship together, even if Greg and I spent most of the time in the cry room playing with toys!! lol... the worship was lovely though, open and really just lead by the Holy Spirit, just how I love it - lots of time for worshipping and call for prayer needs too.

We were hoping to go Ice Skating while we were in Mt G, as they had a special school holiday program in town, but with everyone sick, it just didn't happen!! Poor Greg has been wanting to ice skating forever and it never seems to work out. :(

So we were able to do a few small outings the next week. However the rain also decided to join us that week, hindering plans a little more too.

Took the kids out to one of the other cousin's house for a play. They also have acreage and the kids had a ball. They also have a pet peacock!! How cool - was strange just seeing a peacock strutting his stuff around the yard though, lol.

Despite being sick and bad weather, the boys lucked out with a few trips to the local parks to play though. Greg and I took the kids to the local wildlife park and playground on Tuesday arvo, and it was nice to just walk around as a family, looking at the kangaroos, swamp hens and turtles and we even spotted an echidna hiding in the brush. The kids loved the park and so did Greg - I reckon I seem to get just as many photos of Greg playing on the playgrounds as I do the boys! lol, he's just a big kid really...
We went along with Sandy and Chris to a friend's re-affirmation of wedding vows party on Tuesday night. It was so lovely to see an older couple re-affirming their love for each other in an intimate ceremony with friends and family (and us tag-alongs too)... great feed too! We actually went to visit them earlier in the day too to feed their cows and sheep. Eli and Jai loved it!
Wednesday Greg and I went out for a lovely breakfast together, and a little walk around town without the kids. We love going out for breakfast, but obviously don't get to do it much!!
I also got to catch up with the beautiful Ali, my mate from SOF. We had a lovely lunch together -at the same cafe where I was for breakfast (lol, I think the girl looked at me strange...). Was so good to chat with you IRL honey! And of course we got a few snaps to prove it!

Thursday saw us pack up and get in the car for a few days in Melbourne. We were going to stop at Sovereign Hill to kill a few hours, but it was raining on the way, so we decided we'd try and come back the next day for the day. We stayed with my Aunt and Uncle in Essendon. They have not had little babies around the house for a LONG time, so I think it was a bit of a different thing for them, and the house was a little hard for the kids too as it was not really baby-proof at all... but we were very thankful for the hospitality of course. And it was fantastic to catch up with the family again. While we were there, the gastro bug went through their house too... I felt so bad in case it was from us or if I was a carrier (seeing as though I didn't get it myself)... but it was a week since any of us had it, so I think it might just have been co-incidence...

Friday we took the kids back to Sovereign Hill for the day/afternoon... it rained on the way out there so we half-thought we'd have to turn back, but the rain held off for most of the day, just a little mud to deal with and a few sprinnkles... needless to say, we ended up hiring a buggy pram with nice big wheels that could handle the mud and dirt tracks, instead of our teeny stroller. And Lani loved being in the Baby Bjorn for the afternoon, being able to see everything happening. Jai really loved the place, there was lots of interesting things to do and see. Not so interesting for the little ones though, except Eli loved the big horses and carts that went by frequently.
We took the kids on the Underground Mine Tour, which possibly wasn't the best idea... Eli wasn't too interested in the man talking and just wanted to run around in the dark, lol... he was particularly not impressed with the train ride (rollercoaster ride really) back to the start.. I thought it was great though, but he screamed the whole way, poor Monkey. Lani loved it though! Go figure, lol.

They have the BEST boiled sweets that are made in the confectionary company at the Hill. We watched them make the lollies, and of course had to bring some home. The Raspberry Drops are THE BEST.... maybe not so good for my diet though, as Greg and I will be starting Weight Watchers next week (well he'll be eating healthily with me, but not actually coming to the meetings...).
We were well and truly pooped when we got home... but the night wasn't over. My cousin from Townsville was in Melb for a conference, so she popped in Friday night to hang out... was nice and chilling though, as we were tired!! Saturday we got ready nice and early and headed down to the Mornington Peninsula. We were having a family photo shoot with my beautiful friend and talented photographer Katie Toland. It was SOOO GOOD to meet you IRL honey, and I can't wait to see the photos all edited up. I decided though, that I don't want to be a children's photographer anymore - and I take my hat off to you darl... children are HARD to photgraph - or just mine! LOL... I was exhausted just from chasing them around and telling them to look at the camera! Ha!! We got a few in the studio and some at the beach too.

Saturday afternoon, Greg headed off to visit his WOW mate, and a few of the SOF girls came down to Katie's for woodfired pizza and a hang-out! It was lovely to meet Megan and Mary, and we missed Gennie and Tam who couldn't make it :( Katie took some fun photos in the studio of us girls, so will be fun to see them when Katie gets a chance to edit them (she's a busy lady this week trying to get orders our before Mother's Day!)...
Poor Eli didn't sleep all day so was rather feral. I think everyone was a little over our holiday and just wanting to get home by this stage too! The kids mostly slept on the way home, but Eli was woken at one stage and decided to cry for about 15 mins! Ohhh that's so hard when you're in a car and can't do anything!! Not to mention when we're all dead-tired!!
The kids all slept so well that night though, and Eli even slept in till almost 7am, which was a nice change after he'd been getting up anywhere from 4.30-6am every other morning!! (and still up at 5am at home today :()

I met my beautiful friend Hayley briefly, as she leant me her portacot for Lani to use. I was sad that I didn't get the time to spend more than 10 mins with you honey, but I made sure we snapped a quick piccie:

We were SO HAPPY to get on the plane yesterday!! And even happier to walk in the door. Oh, it was so good to be home! We've realised that a 2-week holiday with 2 babies is an awfully long time!! They were unsettled a lot of the time coz they were out of their comfort zone, and had all sorts of sleeping problems, but we're happy to be home!!

Don't think I've forgotten anything... hope not....

Today is Labour Day here in Qld. So we're having an old friend of the big boys (Greg and Jeremy) - and his wife and new daughter - over for dinner tonight - so I gotta unpack, do grocery shopping, a quicky tidy and make a couple of nappies that are a gift for them from my SIL today!! (they are going to use MCNs so I get to talk nappies!)

Oh, and I almost forgot to say, we came home to a lovely clean home. My dear BIL got the cleaning bug yesterday and went for it - HOORAY!! Sooo appreciated!! He CLRed the toilet, cleaned the oven (!!) and the bathroom and a lot of things I've been *meaning* to do... THANKS JED!! I just need to mop the floors today really and we should be right!! Now to just try and keep it clean, which will be a feat in itself with the kids around!! *sigh* nothing stays clean for long with kids around!

And a few other things to mention that happened while I was away...

CONGRATULATIONS to the beautiful Carol who welcomed her little princess Lily Angelica into the world on Anzac Day.... and also to my wonderful friend Tam who delivered little Xander Levi last Friday - I was so sad I didn't get a chance to visit you honey.... will just have to stick with virtual cuddles like I had to with D... he's beautiful!

Also thinking of Gayle and family today at little Ella's funeral... may the Holy Spirit comfort you all as you celebrate her short little life today. HUGS honey, it devastated us all xxx

CONGRATS to my Lusi for your new line of stamps - can't wait to see them honey. Need a chat-ski soon K. Love you xx

Uhmmm, there was probably more but I forget.... to all my mates, love you all! xx

Anyway, if you made it through, good for you. This post is mostly for my own records really... maybe I'll get a chance to scrap it sometime....

Ciao, N xx


Jo Hutchison said...

Welcome Back Nat and family.

I've been checking in every couple of days for the next instalment. You were right, it's a marathon post but it sounds like you all had a fabulous time (apart from the bug of course)

You're braver than I am to take 2 littlies on hols for 2 weeks.

Enjoy your time at home again.


Gayle Smith said...

WOW Nat! What a full-on holiday...good on you for doing it!
How nice to come home to a clean house too!
Thanks for the update.

Karen L said...

What an action packed holiday Nat - there honestly is no place like home though is there. Still it sounds like you had a great time, especially catching up with family and friends. You ahve some great photos there. What a lovely welcome home too - with a clean house. That in itself is priceless. Good to have you back.

Michelle B said...

Nattie, your chilluns get more scrumptious every time I see them! So glad you had a good holiday, but I think you are a wonder woman taking two babes on holiday that far away, surviving plane trips car trips gastro major family events and not coming home a babbling mess ! I know I would! LOL

And go Jed with the house cleaning - if only it was a more regular thing now hmm?? ;)

Chrissy said...

Sooo good to have you and your darlin fam home safe n sound sweetie! Have loved looking at all your trip piccies, what an amazing family time you've had. You'lll need a holiday from your busy holiday! LOL

Hugs to you
Chrissy x

Natti said...

Michelle, its 1am and Lani thinks its playtime... she's been awake since 11pm.... I'm about to turn into a blubbering mess now!! Eli thinks its great to wake up at 5am - so 4 hours sleep it will be for me tonight - not a happy Mumma will that make for tomorrow!!
It might take a few days to transition back to 'normal'.... remind me never to go away again...

lusi said...

honey glad you are home safe and sound but what an amazing holiday you had! LOVE those park shots!!! Thinking of you and chat soon almost-birthday-girl!
Love you,
Lus x

kathie said...

It sounds like you had a fab holiday away! It's hard travelling with a tribe isn't it.