Sunday, 27 April 2014

17/52 - a beachy kind of easter


We escaped town over the Easter weekend, heading to the coast to meet up with three other wonderful families. It was surreal and awesome to all hang out together again- just like the old days, but with a swarm of kids racing around our legs this time! ;)

Most of our time was spent at the beach. It was glorious. When you live inland, you kinda forget how the beach is one of nature's most beautiful playgrounds... seeing the kids race along the shore, jump the waves, dig in the sand... it was just so nourishing for us all. A true time of rest, relaxation and refreshment (mixed in with the standard amount of relentless childcare, of course - no holiday rest from that!!) - but with good doses of time with friends, the load just seemed lighter. Seriously love these families!

The day we arrived at the beach for an afternoon play and early dinner, the kids thew themselves into the ocean (fully clothed). Somewhat of an analogy for how they throw themselves into life in general, I guess. Just having too much fun!

Post-dip recovery, cosily wrapped in a towel...


Oh, this image brings up all kinds of nostalgia.

Remember being a kid? Getting fish and chips after a fun day at the beach, clutching that plain paper package close and enjoying the emanating warmth (mmmm) and that intoxicating hot-chip scent (double mmmm)??

We gathered our families around a patchwork of blankets for a delicious, traditional fish & chips dinner - from a classic old-school 'take away shop' that still wrapped the whole meal in one big parcel (none of these fancy-shmancy separate cardboard boxes and paper bags, thanks very much!!). Cheap as chips, too ;) Delicious, classic, Australian beach dinner. Always a winner!

Shared with family and dear old friends, in view of God's beautiful coastal creation. I tell you, what could be better?

This little dude was certainly loving every moment. Oh, and Eli? Those half-moon eyes are your trademark. I love them!


We let him loose on the beach... we just kinda had to as we were hanging there every day! And we also had to let go of any ideas about controlling his sand-intake. Thankfully after a good couple mouthfuls, he quickly worked out it was not that tasty. And he loved scampering all over the dunes and along the shore. 

But every now and then, we found him trying another mouthful of sand, just to double check the taste!!

Sand-consumption aside, I loved seeing him roam along that beautiful beach, my intrepid littlest explorer.


This guy loves the beach (he is a Perth boy after all), and he loves to play at the beach with his kids.

And I love watching him run, splash, dig, swim and explore with them, totally invested and involved in every moment. A beautiful fatherhood unfurling before my eyes.

This guy also celebrated his birthday on Easter Sunday. Being Easter, with kids and chocolate and church picnics and all that, plus being out of town, we didn't get to make much of a fuss on the day - and being Mark, he didn't expect or require much fuss but still...

we celebrate you and are so thankful for you, on your birthday and every other day of the year, my love! xx

ps never fear, further birthday celebrations awaited back at home!

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014.

More highlights from the week that was...

And here comes a truck load of beach photos... just a few moments captured in the midst of many more.

Ella, Lily and Eli, racing into the ocean - fully clothed, fully prepared to have fun!
Oh, to be a child again. Listening to them shriek and squeal and giggle and run was just beautiful. They were just giddy with the joy of being together and being free to play. I loved watching them embrace this beach experience with open arms - and soaked clothing!

The chill finally set in at dusk and they snuggled into towels, while their rather unprepared mothers (not expecting any swimming to happen!) scrounged through the car for towels and clothing. Our jumpers was the best we could come up with!! 

Fish and chips, the beach at dusk, dear friends and family. Let me tell you, this is the good life. What a wonderful evening it was!
Just happy to sit and take it all in...
Eli and Noah prepare to roll down the sand dune at dusk. If his profile on the left looks funny, it's because he is wearing Mark's jumper after soaking his clothes!
Lily and Ella, wrapped in their mother's jumpers, ready to roll down the dune.
Easter Morning. Four little friends scampered up to tell me (bright and early) that their Easter baskets were full of treats and I had to come and see. So, blearily, I came, saw and witnessed mass pre-breakfast chocolate consumption. Good times :) They were so excited!

Amazingly, they all nibbled half a chocolate bunny and decided that was enough!
He so carefully unwrapped his bunny. His hands caught my eye here. His beautiful hands are just looking so grown up.

Remembering the reason for this 'holiday'. Thankful for a man who gave His life for Love - that we might all have the chance to truly Live. So very thankful that gift! Lily proclaims it loud and clear through her Bible Class craft organised by my lovely friend Nicole!
After a lovely morning worshipping with a small church group, we all met up at this beautiful National Park/Beach for
a Sunday picnic lunch - which recalled many church picnics of my childhood. None with views as stunning as this, however!!!

A miracle - all three kids in the frame!!
The perfect hill for rolly-polly!

She watches carefully over her littlest brother.

A wonderful egg hunt was organised, and as we left our wicker easter baskets at home, plastic bags were called into
duty as the kids hunted high and low for dozens of plastic eggs.
She raced around, stuffing eggs in her bag as quick as a wink, but watching out that other kids found some too.
Watching Eli on the hunt was the cutest. He was so eager, intent, and excited.
Got one!!

The plastic eggs didn't quite all close properly and he was mostly concerned
about them all being shut together correctly, not what was inside!!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

16/52 - hooray, hooray, it's school holidays!


Many years ago, a lovely friend of mine gifted me this gorgeous little book featuring people in great art works, generally 15-18th century paintings by European artists. 

I casually placed it on Lily's bookshelf a couple years ago, with the cheeky high hope that in the midst of hundreds of children's books she might be drawn to the artistry within. Little did I know that she would discover it and fall in love. Without a word from me about it being anything different or special, she treats this book with such reverence. She pours through the pages, examining the paintings. She tells me often that she loves it, repeatedly adding that it is her favourite book. We sometimes sit and examine the pictures together, and she asks me to tell her the artist's names and read the complimentary poetry. We dissect and discuss what the scene might be about. 

As an art lover (though not art expert!), this warms my heart and I must admit, amazes me! It is a beautiful thing to see a child so naturally drawn to fine art from centuries past. And yes, it feels a little surreal to be discussing 16th century Dutch painting technique with a five year old too ;)

One of her favourite images - Madame de Pompadour by Drouis (1763)


Swinging through the Autumn sunshine... 


At the park on an extended playdate, Miles needed somewhere to hang out while I was pushing Eli on the swing - somewhere he couldn't also consume his body weight in tanbark!

Then I spied this shopping trolley sitting all lonely near by... and yes, yes, I did let him chill out in there. He loved roaming around and exploring this bizarre metal structure. I mean, a portable grated playpen, what's not to love?! ;)

Yeah, yeah, we are all class in this family, ha!


Hard at work in his man-cave, aka home office, aka future-walk-in-wardrobe ;)

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014.

More highlights from the week that was...

At last, at last, our chickens have started laying eggs!!! My murmured threats about KFC must have started to
sink in, haha ;) We all screamed with excitement when we discovered the first egg, frying it up that night for one precious and delicious bite each. We declared it the yummiest thing ever - and are enjoying seeing them now
arrive day by day. Having chookies is so much fun :)

They had a much anticipated school holiday 'sleep over' and actually fell asleep all snuggled up together. Pretty sure
that's the first time ever they have fallen asleep like this? Cue the 'awwwww'.

Quiet mornings, painting in pyjamas... these are the cosy home days we love! 

This holiday break seems to be an important time for reconnection for Lily. On the first day of school holidays, Lily hugged me hard and told me 'I love you, Mummy, I just love you so much' at least a dozen times that day. Over and over!! At first I was bemused (though appreciative of course) but then I realised... she had been so immersed in this new 'school world'. Now it was holidays and she was emerging, ready and needing to reconnect with me and the family, it seemed. We are ready to do the same! I am realising how vital these school holidays are. Thankful for quiet days of refreshment and reconnection. 

Eli wanted to paint a teapot after seeing a teapot painting on Playschool. He
asked me to paint one for him because 'he didn't know how to do it'. I suggested
instead that I get out a real teapot so we could work out the shapes together.

He examined the teapot and we identified spout, body, lid and handle and
he carefully painted each element. At the end he surveyed his work and was very
pleased except he noted 'Oh no, I didn't put them all together!' Bless his heart!!
We decided he could work on that next time, now he knew all the parts.
So adorable. Well done, buddy!


Oh E. Got tight ownership of the container and stuffing his face full of crackers! Mr Personality ;)

I won't even tell you how long he spent setting up all his 'friends' so they could watch Playschool with him. Yes, he made sure they could all see the TV. This boy is such a sweetie, he just slays me.

Experiencing the fresh egg, so smooth and warm!