Saturday, 21 September 2013

36/52 - road tripping into the sunshine


The very first of many, many happy hours spent on the beach during our holidays.

She is so at home here - a beach baby at heart!


Running wild and free.... he loves it and he needs it!


I've heard of being born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but a solid gold teething ring?!

How decadent ;)

(Grandma Teresa will do anything for the grandkids including handing over her jewellery!)

Project 52: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

More highlights from the week that was....

This week we hit the road. Our family of five squished into our little car for our (usually) annual road trip up to Brisbane to visit family and friends - and of course enjoy a little bit of the wonderful sunshine! I was really ready for this break - things had been getting a little too busy of late. I had been feeling quite worn out in the lead up. Maybe it was the long winter getting me down?! We were ready for relaxing quality time with family, time with friends and time for rest. I was so thankful for the chance to refresh in the sunshine!! Holidays are so good for the soul and I think also so important to disconnect from daily life. Getting away gives new perspective to all kinds of things in your normal life and this 're-set' was so welcomed. I also love the chance to adventure with the kids and enjoy so many new experiences with them - they always seem to mature so much when we go away.

A loooong road trip with three kids under six may sound insane and perhaps it is, but the drive always somehow seems to go pretty smoothly, quickly - and even dare I say fun?? Although I would fly in a heartbeat if it was financially and practically an option, somehow we have turned into quite the road trippin' family and have quite the routine down by now. Now, I know life is supposed to be about the journey and not the destination, but when it comes to road trips, I am of the 'let's just get there' mentality. As long as everyone is happy, we keep on driving and don't stop unless necessary, haha. I can't stand the thought of breaking a trip into multiple days and trudging into motels along the way if we can at all avoid it. So we go hard, and always manage to get there in one day! I always tell myself we can just stop at a motel if we need to but so far it's never come to that. One thing that works for us is leaving super early in the morning (well, middle of the night really) so you get some sleep before you go, then pop sleeping kiddos in the car in the early hours and then get a few hours on the road with everyone still sleeping before the day of driving really starts.

So we left at 2am on the Thursday, and managed to roll into my Dad's place at 5.30pm - just in time for dinner! We did Canberra-Brisbane in 15.5 hours (14 hours driving time) with 3 kids under 6!?! Only possible because the kids are truly champions of the road! They do soooo great - they don't complain or fuss about being in the car, or ask to get out or anything (just a couple of 'are we there yets' of course). They just happily cruise along and are always excited about the big holiday we have been talking up for ages!

A huge supply of snacks and activities help, of course :) I have a massive bag of each by my feet in the car- I literally have to squeeze my feet into a small slot for the whole trip haha - but it's so worth it!  I just pass back a regular supply of snacks and activities and they are happy. Eli proclaimed at one point 'I love eating adult food in the car'. I guess the "special fancy road trip food" (like cheesesticks which I never usually buy) felt pretty gourmet to him!! Though Lily did announce at one point 'Remember, Eli, the road trip is not all about food, it's about having nice family time'. !!! Mmmm, something tells me she has heard some variation of this herself a few times. (My kids loooove to eat, can you tell?!?!).

They never seem to end up doing too many of the activities I have conscientiously prepared, preferring just to make up their own silly games and songs together. At one point we were informed from the back seats 'We're just having a little Lily and Eli day'. Oh, ok then! One 'special' activity they came up with was using a Magnadoodle. One kid would sing loudly (drone) 'Close your eyes, close your eyes' over and over (AND OVER) while drawing a picture which the other kid had to guess (after opening their eyes at the correct time of course). Slightly painful but I just turned up my iPod!! There was also some very silly singing of some song they made up called 'Everybody knows the Banana Song'. Let me tell you now, nobody knows that song!!

I wasn't sure how Baby Miles would go but he was such a gem - just gurgled and squealed happily in his seat, gnawing on his toys. He would then just drift off to sleep and wake again sometime later. He was amazing! Got road trippin' in his blood, I guess! Such a content, happy kid - never ceases to amaze me. One little trick I came up with was having a bottle of expressed breastmilk ready in the chiller bag I had, so that when he woke for a feed at a time when it wasn't good to stop, Lily got to feed him the bottle from the backseat. She was soooo proud of doing that and it saved having to make an emergency stop in the middle of nowhere!

Another little funny from the trip I noted down was when I was driving and everyone else in the car was asleep or drifting into it. We passed The Big Banana (Australia's Kitsch Icon!!!!) and I heard Eli mutter quietly just to himself 'Dat's a big banana'. For some reason, this had me chuckling for at least 100km :)

Very proud of all three kiddos and glad the trip went so smoothly and safely. Lily proclaimed as we were on the home stretch 'Good driving, grown ups!!'. When I commented about what a great trip it had been and how proud I was of the kids, Lily replied 'Yes, there was just a little bit of arguing' Haha - thanks honey for keeping it real :)

We arrived at my Dad's house in time for dinner and ready to relax. Holiday Mode is switched ON!!

PS Excuse all the little kiddie anecdotes... I just couldn't resist noting a bunch of them down to remember for years to come... what kid doesn't want to reflect back on those torturous long family road trips, right?!!

PPS Do any other parents experience those first few moments of being on holiday where you are like 'YEAHHHH HOLIDAYS! Let's relax!!!!.... oh wait.... we brought the kids with us.' Haha - we find there is always (still!) that moment of re-calibrating your expectations of what a relaxing holiday is now, with little kids who still (apparently) need caring for and monitoring ;) Good thing they are so cute, right? xx

When we left at 2am, the kids looked like this. EXCITED!!!! A middle of the night adventure, and off on holiday, what
could be better? Thankfully they calmed down and drifted off to sleep!
At dawn, they looked like this!!! :)

Our happy little road warrior! (iphone pic)

Livin' it large - Spa time at Grandpa's house! The ultimate heated pool for kiddies, haha!

My darling triplet nephews! I have missed this trio so much! And so grown up now - 21 months.
I had to bribe them with sultanas to sit with me for 5 seconds for this photo. They are busy boys!

Alex, Joseph, Sam (I think!) eating sultanas (and dirt)

When you have three toddler brothers the same age, there are a lot of games like 'Swinging this palm leaf in your face till someone cries or rips it away from me.

Like father, like son.
Deep in quiet play with his animal collection
Lily and I helped Grandpa paint the new fence.... and Mark helped put it up. A little holiday handiwork!

Late afternoon walks along the beach was one of my favourite things to do. (iPhone)

I just love these casual shots of us as a family of five strolling together!
(thanks Dad!)

We spent a relaxed late afternoon at the sandbars near the where my Dad lives. Surrounded by mangroves, we collected shells, looked for crabs and watched the kids run wild. These wide open spaces just open something within the kids too - they run freely and with abandon - it's a beautiful thing.

There was about 50 metre stretch of beach between the water and the shore. Eli walked back and forth between this
stretch at least a dozen times. He would collect a couple rocks at the shore, then walk it down to the beach and throw it
in. Over and over. My boy, haha!

Kaos is my Dad's Staffordshire Bull Terrior. I am not really an animal person (gasp!) but I love this this
dog! Just so friendly and gentle, and the kids simply loved having him as a companion on the trip. So cute seeing them play together. Kaos was very long suffering with their affections - and the kids really wore him out with their play!

Beach Dancing

So intent on digging up her treasures

I am convinced the beach is one of nature's most beautiful and perfect playgrounds - without even needing to
swim! I loved watching the kids free to run wildly along the shore, dig, explore, find, get dirty, chase, build, draw, splash, etc. They were so busy, so happy, so creative and so relaxed. I cherish the childhood they are relishing!

Chilling out with my darling (and Kaos) chatting
and watching the kid's play. Good, good, blessed times.


  1. Holiday pictures! Yay!

    Firstly, you really are some road tripping super-heros aren't you? Hardcore! Oh, and I giggled at Eli's 'big banana' comment too :)

    Secondly, the pictures of the triplets bring back memories of when I looked after trippies in London. I often felt like I was on triage duty - summing up the chaos and assessing which one had the greatest need. LOL. I can remember trying to get them out of the house and every time I thought we were ready to go, I'd turn around to find someone had removed a shoe or a hat.... it took forever to get anywhere!

    And last (but by no means least!) - Holy smokes, how great are those backlit pictures you took at the beach? Looooove the ones of Eli dancing!! Gorgeous!

    1. haha - glad to know i'm not the only one amused by eli's funny banana comments, that kid can make anything funny!

      ahhh your triplet memories sound very accurate - its very much like that and they are like a little horde of ants running around at times, busy busy busy!! you are SUPERNANNY looking after them solo! how old were they>

      aww thanks for your kind words on the beach pics. I was (honestly) trying to channel you when i was taking them!!! however I was feeling rather frustrated bc they didnt seem as golden/glowy as when you take that kind of shot and i was feeling frustrated cos i didnt know what I was doing wrong! wrong iso or some other setting? any tips appreciated! but it was fun to experiment and most of all so happy to capture such happy little shots of my boy! xx ps - shots of T coming too :)

  2. These are so lovely! What a beautiful collection (and lovely memories) from a very special trip! xxoo

    1. thank you! yes it was a very special and relaxing trip for sure!

  3. Ahh this holiday looks wonderful! You guys are awesome for driving that big long stretch- I think melbourne to Adelaide is hard at 8hrs! The blonde triplet looks like Eli! Too cute! Love the honesty from Lily :) xx

    1. dont worry, we have had worse trips to sydney (3.5hrs!) than the can-bris ones.... for some reason the long hauls go smoother than the short ones it seems! YES several ppl commented up there that Eli looks similar to Joseph (blonde triplet). its pretty cute huh!

  4. You guys are super-star travellers. Seriously, I could not do what you did. But then again I am not the best road tripper out there ;) I loved your travel anecdotes. So funny! Especially the Big Banana one. Eli!
    Kate, those shots of Eli at the beach are magical. The light is sensation and you totally worked it and got the flare! But on top of that it perfectly shows the joy of the moment. I just adore Eli's outstretched arms! beautiful!
    Can't wait to see more piccies :)

    1. it's funny cos for sooooo many years I have whined about and avoided road trips whenever possible. I guess i am coming to accept w a big family they are now my lot in life, haha! but truly, the kids are the real stars, they just do so well!!
      thanks for the beach pics praise.... i was really trying though as above, i didnt think they turned out as i had hoped. might chat to you about some tips for that kind of shooting as i was really going on a wing and a prayer!! but yes the main thing is i was so happy to capture just how carefree and joyful he was w all that space and water and mess, lol! PLENTY more pics to come.... argh im so behind!

  5. Cute pictures. And wow, life is never dull when triplets come and visit. They're gorgeous too! x

  6. Oh Kate, I can feel the excitement in this post! I am sure the reason your kids were so perfect is your genuine positivity and excitement about the trip :)

    Your photos are all great! But I do agree with Amber and Tarnya, those photos of Eli on the beach are sooo good, they perfectly capture his joy and they really made me smile and I see what you did with the DOF in a few of them ;) well done!

    P.S. I am working on a post about our catch up (and Amber's because I forgot to post that!!!!) so will tag you in that in our goup when I get it up :) xx

    1. that's so kind Andi!! we were all very excited about this trip so i think you are right that it probabably helped everyone get through the road trip part of it!

      oooh im excited to see your post and i need to post my pics too - i got soooooo many cute ones of the 4 kids racing around at the beach, it will need its own post too!! :) such a great time. cant wait to see your shots.


  7. This just brought back so many memories of our parents loading us all (5 or 6 of us at the time, but the family later grew to 9 kids!) in a VW van at 2 in the morning and drove till late breakfast at a service station (the only time we ever ate out!) and then on. From England to Austria. I remember lying in the back watching the street lights flick by. Your kids are absolutely awesome. But I knew that: great parents. The casual shots of you all are just priceless. I hope it happens to us one day! Oh yeah Vanessa can do it!!! Your photographs get better every single week. So lovely. And did Miles suddenly start looking a lot like Eli?


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