Thursday, 22 February 2018

{January} Sunshine Summer Travels

Summer travels. 

Six stops in two and a half weeks, three states and a whole lotta people, fun, memories, swimming, friends, scenery and car time!

After our annual week at our much loved Christian family camp between Christmas and New Years, we hit the road for an epic road trip - driving up to Queensland, convoying with some dear friends who were visiting from Hawaii. It was so special to be travelling together. We joked that there were not many other families we would want to spend *quite* so much time with, but with these guys, it was just easy breezy and such a delight. Kinda awesome when two families can click so well, even when travelling. That's how you know they are next level friends!!! Love them so much and can't wait to hang out in Hawaii later this year (still can't believe that is happening!).

After an overnight stay, we ended up staying at a quirky Air B&B, and going to Australia Zoo (fantastic, as always!), then on to visit our darling friend Georgia and her crew on the Sunshine Coast. Hanging out with their clan is always so lovely, our kids are twinning and each duo gets along so well. They are just all so dear to us. It's always a delightful time.... Georgia is teaching us how to be more chill, haha! 

Like a very bad blogger, this was the only time I actually pulled out my big camera on the trip!!!! #oops - I was just a little tooooo relaxed, clearly! All my daily holiday snaps are over on my Instagram, if you wanna scroll :) But while enjoying the beach life with dear George and our combined six kiddos, I did manage to take a few 'proper' photos! 

After that delightful stay, it was a few days with my Dad on his new property, out in the middle of nowhere. So relaxing, and a taste of the country life! Including waking one morning to the sound of gunshots. #nothanks

On the way home, we spontaneously decided to add one more night's adventure visiting another Christian family camp in the stunning Gold Coast Hinterland.

Did I forget anything!? Perhaps. It was one of those delightfully exhausting holidays. So many people, so many different locations, so much driving, fun, adventures, conversations, food, memories, a few melt downs (!! let's be honest!) and all the rest. 

We came home to (amazingly) another whole three weeks of school holidays as they were super long this year. And we really needed that time to wind back down after all that travel! 

Here's to summers with the kids. There are not so many left together, really. 

What a blessing it is to make these memories, in these golden days, with our perfectly imperfect family. 

Thanks Georgia for snapping this pic! The big leap xx

These images summarise time at my Dad's place. Hammock time and enjoying the serenity....

Back home again, time to relax and enjoy some quiet, lazy, home days. Travel is wonderful but there is a certain loveliness in summer holidays spent tinkering around the home.

Nothing I love more than seeing the tops of that trio's heads. All burrowed together, makes me melt every time!

Our summer, our January. 

Monday, 12 February 2018

52.52 Our Busy Christmas

Christmas 2017.

There isn't much evidence in these photos, I realise, because it was such a busy day, I mostly just snapped random moments on the trusty phone (argh, so easy, I am getting so slack with my big camera!).

Our day was action packed and really lovely. I felt so grateful for this Christmas, ever more aware of the magic that is these early years, we just want to soak up the season so much! It feels like such a privilege to witness our kids and their excitement over Christmas :)

We started the day with the hazy glow of early morning stocking-opening. Is there anything more magical than seeing the kids diving into the stocking and squealing as they pull out all those tiny treasures!? Who knew a toothbrush could bring such delight, haha!

(Randnom sidenote: I got them all cheapie electric toothbrushes this year.... soooooo good and effective!) 

We try to include some element during Christmas Day of giving back to others (on a day we often are blessed so much) so after our early start, we dropped off some little chocolates with thank you notes to those who serve our community on Christmas Day - the police, paramedics, and hospital emergency room staff.

Then it was Christmas brunch with my in-laws and mum - delicious and lovely family time! So lovely to see the grandparents enjoying the morning with the kids, with family gift opening and even some good old daggy Xmas games this year!

Then our tribe went into the city to help serve at a community lunch. We first went a couple of years ago and it was such a rewarding and special experience, the kids still asked about going back, so this year we did! It is really such a special place. A room filled with hundreds, so much community spirit soaking the air, Christmas carols and smiles everywhere. Seeing the kids taking and delivering drink orders, clearing plates, making new friends. I was fit to bursting with pride and gratitude.

We then rolled on to our fourth stop of the day, popping by to see the extended family to spend time with them and share dessert! We ate way too much of course, and it was good to wind down with them all.

We made our way home in the late afternoon, happily exhausted and thankful for the many connections we had made that day and ready for a quiet and relaxed night together. And the kids were needless to say, excited to just play, play, play with their day's bounty of gifts. 

It was a Christmas to be thankful for, that's for sure.

Eli got a cheapie version of a Go-Pro as he is sooooo into photos and videos. He was SO intensely into it, it was awesome!

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.

So here ends the 52 project. 

And now we are in 2018 and for the first time in.... years... I am without a photography project for the year. I am kinda sad about it but also lacking inspiration!? Maybe this year I will try to do more actual blog posts (gasp!) instead of just photo posts. But I am also sad that I am falling so behind in my photo taking. Hmmmm.... well, let's see what unfolds this year, huh!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

51.52 Decorating Christmas Cookies and Memories

'Twas the week before Christmas, the kids were done with school (hooray!) and we had a whole week to get into the Christmas spirit before the day itself.... it was so lovely to have the chance to wind down and gear up together! 

We don't usually do cookie decorating, partly because the cookie making stage often seems too much prep, to be honest! But then a friend gave us a plate of plain shortbread cookies and since the hard part was done, we decided to just have FUN! I pulled out a bunch of sprinkles that sit in the cupboard and rarely get used, made some simple icing and let the kids go wild. There was icing everywhere, sprinkles everywhere and the cutest, messiest, not-very-Christmassey cookies. And let's be honest, a whole lot of finger licking and sprinkle-sampling went on too. It was really cute and actually relaxed and enjoyable!!

Cooking with kids is admittedly not my fave thing to do (looks so sweet, usually mayhem, haha!) but this really was so fun. I think because it was easy and simple and it was neither a lot of work to prepare or pressure riding on the outcome (either of those seems to guarantee that the stress overcomes the joy of the process!!!!). The kids had a blast just decorating like crazy, haha. They were verrry generous with the sprinkles, needless to say!

With a quiet day just before Christmas, we made cookies and memories and mess and it was truly as sweet as the sprinkles.  

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

50.52 Casting Stones, Lakeside

Our favourite spot in the summer.... by the lake (with fish & chips close by!).

It's as good as it gets when you don't have a beach here in Canberra (and fine with me... no sand to contend with, and plenty of shade!).

The kids skipping (ok, just throwing) stones into the water, racing around on the grass, scampering through the 'enchanted woods'.

Lazy, hazy days of summer... here we come!

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

49.52 Trimming the Tree

Trimming the tree and soaking up the magic of Christmas.

Carols playing, I made egg nog, the kids decorated the whole tree themselves and did beautifully. 
They absolutely love to trim the tree and there is nothing sweeter than sifting through and handing out ornaments, reflecting on their origin, then sitting back with Mark and watching the kids decorate with glee and abandon!

And we decorated in late November this year. Missed the early December rush and got extra time to soak up the magical sparkle. No regrets!!! I think we will do it early from now on!

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.