Thursday, 4 February 2016

Sydney Opera House

Sunday afternoon walk (Sunday 24th January 2016). 

How would you like to remember you first visit to the Sydney Opera House?

After 2 days on the road and over 2000km cleared, we stopped in Sydney for a few days exploring with the kids.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Goodbye Queensland

5 years ago, we packed up all our worldly possessions into a trailer and with our 8 month old first born moved to the Sunshine State.  It was a fairly epic move.

We have loved our time in Queensland, but after 5 addresses, 4 vehicles and adding another 5 children to our tribe, it was time to move on.

2 weeks ago, we sealed up and waved goodbye to our container (our worldly possessions have grown with our family). 

We dropped off our truck to be transported.

Then handed in the keys to our house, and finally rolled out of Mackay at 11.30pm.  We got a few hours sleep in the van.  After driving all the next day, we barely crossed the state border that evening after our first leg of 1,108kms to arrive at our first stop in Tweed Heads, NSW.

We have been on the road since then and today the odometer on this trip rolled past the 7,000km mark.  (For anyone wondering what that distance compares to, it is the same as driving from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Houston, Texas; or from London, England to Kabul, Afghanistan.)

We are loving living on the road, but are nearing the end of that phase.

I'll do my best to post more updates soon, but life is pretty busy :D

Friday, 4 December 2015

Real Life Coopers

So you know how you see all those lovely photos people post of their beautifully decorated Christmas trees and decorations? Some of those photos even have angelic looking, well groomed, smiling children in them.  Well that is not how it went down in our house this week.

Tuesday 1st December, after looking everywhere in the garage and in the roof, I finally remembered where I had put the tree and decorations as the older boys were doing prayers in their bedroom, in their wardrobe.  (I don't believe in putting up decorations until December, and a real tree is completely unrealistic in our climate).

So, Wednesday we were ready to get into the Christmas spirit, music was put on, the children were let loose and Noelle stood back and hyperventilated while trying to swallow her OCDs.

It was a 35 degree C day, I'll let you decide if that is sweat down my back or if I am still wet from wakeboarding ...

Big kids put branches on the tree, little kids pull branches off the tree.

Kids climb in and out of boxes

Big kids put decorations on tree, little kids pull decorations off tree

Lights get a 3,2,1 countdown, and then many more 3,2,1 countdowns as they are turned on and off and wires are pulled out and chewed.

I give up on the tree, and just throw up some more random lights.

Not long after this with more decorations on the floor than on the tree, we all give up and everyone goes to bed happy.

The tree decorating has continued each evening this week, there may eventually be one of those photos I mentioned at the beginning taken.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Movember 2015

I have been a little less motivated with my mustache efforts this year,  it is my 7th year,  of ideas.   It is however a cause that is important to me, so here is the end result.   Look after yourselves men.  Ideas on a postcard for next year please?

Saturday, 26 September 2015

My Birthday

I am not really into my own Birthday, I am impossible to buy for and I prefer not to make a big deal about it.  That said, Noëlle did a great job with her gift this year (I have had it for a little while as she did it as a combined Anniversary and Birthday gift this year so I received it between the 2 dates), and it now holds a large amount of the board 'fleet'.

Noëlle commissioned a custom board rack for me.  She contacted a local men's club, bought and delivered the wood, collected the completed rack, wood stained it at home and assembled it.

It actually first arrived like this

Noëlle had asked for 7 - 8 slots on each side, it seems others think they know better, and that she must have been mistaken as there is 'no way' that one person could need to house 'that many' boards.  (Noëlle tried to buy a rack from a board shop going out of business for me a few years ago, and the owner, aside from being quite rude in his frustration of the demise of his business venture, also told
Noëlle that it was ridiculous that I would have the need of a large board rack).

Although I loved it, it did go back for more slots to be added and now holds 16 boards.  I also bought some wheels for it, Noëlle bought some more wood and while they were increasing the capacity we had them add a base so it can be moved around easily.  It will get a little more customised over time with stickers/decals, and possibly some helmet hooks, but I think it is great :D

For my actual Birthday, it was an all round water day.  Balin had chosen to do Grom Squad this Saturday, they are now on Summer hours, so alternate each Saturday between a 7am and 8.30am start, this week was a 7am start at the lake, so no lie in for me.

Being early and still a little fresh, there were only 4 kids there, so Balin got maximum water time, getting to do several double runs with Greg, this was his first.

The corners are the hardest thing to master on a cable lake and this gives him the guidance to work on it.  On the third corner, Balin lost his board and rather than Grego bailing out, Balin hopped onto the front of his board, you can hear how AWESOME he thought that was!

After Grom Squad, we came home to have a skype call with one of my best friends and his family, waiting for that gave me chance to set up our garden pool which the big boys played in until they decided it was too cold still.

We then spent most of the rest of the day at our local pool, where the littlies got to use the new swimsuits they got for their Birthdays.

The older boys had fun too

Oaklen was operating in his usual 'evasion' mode, testing our ability to repeatedly count to 6 while monitoring the crew while around water ...

We finished our day back at the cable lake for me to do some riding a bit of skateboarding and cycling with the boys.

All round a pretty perfect day :D

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Opening day, Aqua Fun Park, Mackay

Yesterday (Saturday), we spent a great (and very exhausting) day at the opening day of our latest water attraction here in Mackay - Aqua Fun Park, on Lake Grande, the 2nd lake in one of the local housing developments here that will eventually become a second cable wake park.

This is a bigger and deeper lake at the back of the development, but walking distance from the GoWake lake. It has a great path and network of bridges around it which is ideal for the boys to bike and skateboard around.

Vannes giving Raikkon the tour.

The park is a series of floats and obstacles set on the water that you swim out to for 50 minute sessions.  Our kids are all young enough that they get to play for free.  Technically we are supposed to have a 1 adult to one child ratio for children 5 and younger, but seeing as our little family are well known by the developers/owners/managers/operators of the lakes, we are all good, which is good as trying to keep Balin from exploring at his pace while I helped Vannes and Oaklen navigate around is next to impossible!

If Balin can't get over/round an obstacle, he just jumps and starts swimming to something else, taking a 'short cut' he says.

Oaklen is still our fearless adventurer.

 I couldn't convince him to try the biggest slide ... yet

Vannes on the other hand, kind of wimpered around for the first hour telling me how he wished he had never come, though he did seem to enjoy the water trampoline and pushing me in.

Vannes hitching a ride back to shore

By the end of the day he was converted though, he wished he 'could stay here all day', wished he 'would never, ever leave', and was perplexed by the accommodation provisions, asking one of the life guards 'but where do you sleep, there are no beds?'

Noëlle's sense of direction was as good as ever ;p

'Which big slide?' - 'Oh, you mean that one behind me?'

We also got her to succumb to peer pressure, OK, child pressure.  She climbed up one obstacle to go down the slide, but I soon had the boys all chanting 'MUM, JUMP, MUM, JUMP, MUM, JUMP' from the shore and half the people looking at her ... what's a Mum of boys supposed to do?

I am not sure that her attempt at a rope swing was so successful ;p

Unsurprisingly for us, we were the last to leave!

We'll be back ... regularly :D