Melbourne Junket

We’re hosting two of our offshore developers from the Philippines at work at the moment, and given that they’re both well into their sports, the powers that be decided it would be prudent to take them down to Melbourne to show them a game of AFL at the MCG. Both of my bosses pulled out of the trip for various reasons, leaving their tickets wide open, so Andy and I snapped them up!

A 7 AM flight ex-Brisbane on Saturday morning meant a very early start (to the tune of 4:30 AM), but we made it to the airport in plenty of time. Good thing too; Andy had “somehow” forgotten that he had a 6 inch camping knife in his knapsack, and suffice to say he did not have any luck sneaking that one through security! Similarly, Carlo had somehow managed to wedge a drillbit into his wallet, and that too was disallowed; Giovanni and I could only watch on with some amusement as all the contents of both Andy and Carlo’s bags were tipped onto the table for closer analysis. Thankfully, security let them both off with a stern look, and we proceeded to the flight otherwise unencumbered.

An uneventful flight and a fast Uber pickup had us in Melbourne city with a few hours to spare before the game, so we walked to Fitzroy Gardens, toured Captain Cook’s house, and grabbed a bite to eat before making our way across to the MCG.

Calamari and chips

Fitzroy Gardens

That’s the first time I’ve been to the grounds and I was well impressed by the sheer size. At some point through the game, Andy asked me how many people I thought were there; I guessed the stadium was about half-full and hence it would be about 25,000. Well, I was right on one hand – it was about half-full, but that meant it was closer to 50,000 in attendance! For a round two game! I have to say Melbourne, you certainly know how to turn on the crowds.

Carlo and Giovanni at the MCG

Though our seats were rather hot (we were sitting directly in the sun), I thoroughly enjoyed watching the game (Richmond Tigers vs Western Bulldogs) – especially the final quarter which had much more intensity than the previous three. It also helped that in the final quarter, the Bulldogs (who won 85 – 66) were kicking towards our end, which meant much of the action was right in front of us.

Our flight back to Brisbane wasn’t until Sunday evening, which left us the remainder of Saturday and most of Sunday to fill for ourselves. We managed to cover quite a lot, including the view from the Eureka Tower, St Kilda markets, Acland Street, Little Creatures Brewery, Queen Victoria Markets, and a few rides on the tram. We also found ourselves walking a lot of kilometres, and by the time we got on the plane on Sunday night, my legs were well tired.

View from Eureka Tower

Looking across the Yarra

Unsurprisingly, we also ate and drank extremely well in Melbourne. Brother Jason was on hand to pass on a few great recommendations, and I thoroughly enjoyed coffee from Brother Baba Budan, and my bacon bap from Cumulus Inc. Oh, and the donuts from Walkers Donuts!

It was a long, exhausting weekend, but I really enjoyed our little junket to Melbourne!

All photos from the trip available in the Melbourne Junket album on Google+.

Posted in travel, work

Five days at the Gold Coast

Mom and Dad’s unit at Grande Florida had quite a bit of vacancy in March, so we felt it was our duty as good family members to go down and keep it company last week. We really lucked out (in the US definition of the phrase) with the weather; the forecast said it was going to be cloudy every day with a sprinkling of rain, but mostly we enjoyed blue skies and warm sunny days. Which, of course, meant plenty of time spent in the pool!

Oscar on the Daddy Bus

The unit (and us, of course!) also enjoyed some visits from friends and family, starting with Mom and Dad on Friday. They were kind enough to sponsor a night off for Kristy and I, so we got to enjoy a dinner at a restaurant, sans-kids! We checked out Bắc to Nam and were impressed not only by their food, but their prices. Premium Australian beers at only $4 each!

Jason and Susan visited on Saturday, as did Al and Suz and their cohort of kids. We trundled down to the beach with Jason and Susan to do some building in the sand; Jason and I also hit the surf with Jason’s GoPro and hand fin. I was well impressed by the quality of the images!

Jason catching a wave

Kristy had found a list claiming to have the Top 10 places for coffee on the Gold Coast, so naturally we made it our mission to visit as many of them as possible. Borough Barista came out on top as our favourite, and we paid them at least three visits in our five days down there. We also loved Commune, but unfortunately we only checked it out on our way back to Brisbane. Next time we’re at the coast we’ll be sure to eat there; the prices were great and the food looked spectacular!

Speaking of food, we ate extremely well. Dee – from my work – told us that we had to try the Fish Tacos from California Tacos, and we were not disappointed! Their chicken California burrito was also excellent, but oh my was it filling! And of course, no trip to the Gold Coast would be complete without ribs from Hard Rock – and we enjoyed taking the G:Link tram to get in and our of Surfers Paradise. How very handy that it accepts payment via gocard!

We were predictably disappointed when Sunday rolled around and it was time to go home, but we overall very pleased with how our mini-vacation had gone. Poor Leo didn’t love sleeping in the portacot, and it was only on our last night there that he managed to sleep right through. Clearly a sign that we should have stayed longer!

Farewell, Summer!

A few more photos online in the Five days at the Gold Coast album on Google+, or on Facebook if you prefer.

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Posted in holidays, life in australia

The pursuit of sleep (part 2)

After finding out I suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnoea, the first step towards treatment was to go back for a second sleep study, during which I’d be rigged up to a CPAP machine. Whilst I wasn’t looking forward to a second round of sleeping whilst covered in sensors, I figured it couldn’t be any worse than the first time!

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Posted in healthy living

The pursuit of sleep

I’ve never been a great sleeper. To be fair, this probably wasn’t the case when I was a child, and even as an adult, I’ve never had any trouble falling asleep – it’s just when I wake up in the morning, I don’t feel refreshed, seemingly no matter how much sleep I’ve had. What’s more, just getting out of bed is a struggle some days. When Oscar heard this, he suggested that “maybe we should get bunk beds for our room, so that Mummy can sleep in the top bunk, and Daddy can sleep in the bottom bunk, which would make it easier to get out of bed!”. A novel suggestion sure, but I’m not sure it would solve my dilemma.

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Posted in healthy living

Happy 1st Birthday Leo!

Last Friday, our littlest man hit the ripe old age of one!

Leo on his birthday

As is tradition now, we started the day with presents in bed. Even with all the practice he got at Christmas time, Leo hasn’t quite got the hang of unwrapping presents yet, but lucky for him, Oscar was all too willing to help show him the way.

Oscar helping Leo open presents

Of course, Oscar was also quite willing to demonstrate how best to play with all of Leo’s new toys!

We had a party for Leo on Saturday, with just under 20 of his extended family descending on our back deck for afternoon tea. This also meant there were more presents to unwrap – so many that even Mummy had to get in on the action.

Unwrapping presents

And although he was given many lovely things, the present that lit up his face the most was easily his stylish new sunglasses!

Leo and his sunglasses

It was a wonderful afternoon – though, like his brother before him, Leo burst into tears at the end of “Happy Birthday” – I suspect that neither of them was a fan of the noise!

Happy Birthday little Leo, we love you to bits!

A few more photos online in the Leo’s 1st Birthday album on Google+, or on Facebook if you prefer.

Posted in birthdays

The Inaugural Croquet match

Way back when team Barbeque Chicken was a whole, in the glory days of our Putney apartment, Shelley and Julian introduced us to the wonders of croquet. When they first told us that “croquet is awesome”, followed closely by, “no seriously, it’s awesome!” – suffice to say, their comments were met with some level of scepticism. One might even say that we questioned whether moving in together was the right move or not. However, we had to give them the benefit of the doubt – mainly because it was too late to get our bond back.

Well, how quickly we were converted! It really is awesome! To be fair, I’m not entirely sure that we’ve ever played by the proper rules of croquet, but certainly the fashion in which we played – complete with “the hole of death” (where you lose a turn for falling in) and rebound shots – made for a very entertaining afternoon indeed.

Fast forward many years to Christmas 2014, when Mom and Dad bring over a rather large, rectangular present with our names on it. Oscar excitedly opened it and spontaneously lost interest upon discovering that he didn’t know what it was; I, however, was delighted. A croquet set! I immediately texted Julian and Shelley and instructed them to cancel all of their pending plans for 2015; it was time for a tournament!

We set a date, I mowed the lawn pitch, Oscar and Julian set up a course, and IT WAS ON, BABY!

Julian playing croquet

As it turns out, I don’t think Sir Walter bred his lawn with croquet in mind – it’s rather thick, and learning how much pressure is required to whack the ball any distance took a fair bit of trial and error. Also, the ground was still a touch wet, which made the pitch even slower. Combine that with the fact that Oscar and Julian had set rather a challenging course – up the hill, around a couple of corners, then back down past the trampoline – and it turned out to be quite a tough slog! Literally!

Shelley

But, all in good fun, of course! Julian managed to snatch victory by a single stroke, which makes him the current Croquet Champion of the Universe! Needless to say, we are thoroughly looking forward to our next match, and an opportunity to claim the crown for ourselves!

Croquet-risty

And, of course, if anyone else is interested in having a round, give us a shout… I’ll even mow the lawn a little shorter next time.

Posted in life in australia

Happy New Year!

As seems to have become the tradition, The Fourbies last night hosted a lovely little New Year’s eve shin-dig at their house. And, for the second year running, we once again made it through dinner without having to call the Fire Brigade, so I guess that counts as a successful party! Both of our kids were crashing by about 8 PM though so we had to call it a night early – though truth be told, Kristy and I were both pretty spent ourselves!

To start off the New Year on a fun note, Jason thought that we should head to Ceder Creek to build a dam. It was certainly hot enough to go somewhere surrounded by water, and I was not going to object to the idea of manual labour for the kids!

Oscar and Jason building a dam

Given Oscar’s enthusiasm for creek play on previous occasions, he unsurprisingly loved it. Every rock that he picked up had to be inspected by both Jason and myself; “Daddy, look at this one that I found!”.

Look at this one!

He certainly seemed to have a knack for finding those rocks too, especially given how few rocks there were around (yes, that’s sarcasm).

Creek play must run in the blood, as Jason and I were certainly having a great time as well – even Leo was getting into it!

Leo playing in the creek

He definitely caught on to the idea quickly enough, leaning over one side to pick up a rock, carefully inspecting it, then dropping it on to the other side. He’ll be a dam builder in no time!

By the end, we had certainly built quite a respectable dam, as well as some feeder rapids to flow into it!

Thomas Dam

We finally packed up to leave after about three hours of dam building, and immediately Oscar asked, “Can we come back and build dams again?”. Yes, I think we can!

A few photos from the day in the Dam building at Ceder Creek album on Google+.

Posted in life in australia

Christmas 2014

Work has been crazy busy over the last two months, so I was thoroughly looking forward to the four day Christmas weekend. We had lots of things planned, but I figured that pretty much anything was more restful than being at work!

Christmas morning started (very) early, with both kids wide awake shortly after 5 AM. We were sucked downstairs by Oscar’s wake in his rush to see if Santa had visited – and sure enough, he had, bringing along with him a bunch of new lego! Oscar was also quite pleased when he found out the largest present “under” the tree was indeed for him.

Wrapped up bike

(it was a bike, in case you’re wondering)

Leo was also quite pleased to find out that once the wrapping paper was off, it was up for grabs!

Leo playing with the wrapping paper

After some early morning present unwrapping, we had Jason and Susan, Nonni and Poppi over for breakfast and more presents.

Leo and Mom unwrapping a gift

In typical Christmas tradition, the day seemed to roll along with one meal after the other, so immediately after finishing breakfast, it was round to Mia and Pa’s house for morning tea, more presents, and then lunch. We had a large chunk of Kristy’s extended family there, and between Kristy’s Mum and Aunt Robyn, we enjoyed two of the most impressive desserts I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

Robyn's Pav

Wendy's cheesecake

Suffice to say, we felt well fed by the time Christmas was over.

On boxing day, Kristy’s parents and I moved a tonne (literally) of bricks from our house to theirs. It was hard, hot work! Thankfully, cousin Jess was hosting a pool party in the afternoon, complete with beers, nachos, burgers, and dive in movies – an apt reward for a morning of labour.

On Saturday, we joined Mum and Dad, Jason and Susan for a trip over to Coochie Mudlow island to visit our “cousins” – the Foleys. Its been practically a tradition since Jason and I were little kids that we’d spend time with the Foleys at Christmas, and although it was a bit of a miserable day in terms of the weather, it was really lovely to spend the day with “family”!

By Sunday, we were eager to just relax day at home, so that’s exactly what we did! We certainly had enough new toys to play with to keep us busy, and of course there was lots of food in the house (not to mention a boatload of fresh coffee beans). It was a fitting end to the long weekend.

Best of all, I’ve got Friday off work this week, which means last week’s four day weekend is being backed up by yet another four day weekend! I could get used to this!

Posted in xmas

This and that

Since having two kids, I have definitely found that its much harder to find the time to blog as frequently as I used to. Each night, in our heads, we have the kids “tucked in by 7 PM”, but in reality, its usually closer to 8 PM by the time we’ve finished off Oscar’s bedtime routine. After that its our time to do all the chores that have been backing up for the day, but so often we find that we’ve accidentally opened a bottle of wine, and that it’s far easier to just relax on the couch and unwind in front of a show or two.

So somehow, it’s been over a month since I have written anything on here, and so much has happened since then! I’ve no doubt I’ll leave something important out, but here goes my attempt at summarising some of the main events from the past few weeks.

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Posted in cystic fibrosis, life in australia, migraines, work

Happy Birthday to us

With both Kristy and my birthdays falling in October – as well as our anniversary – its always a busy month for celebrations! That said, once we had kids, celebrations seemed to be much lower key than what I remember them being when we were younger!

Kristy decided that she wanted to have a breakfast outing for her birthday, so we checked out Scout on Petrie Terrace. I’d have to say that it is the least child-friendly cafe that I’ve ever been to. Note that I don’t actually blame them for that – they’re free to be as child un/friendly as they want – but its more of a heads up that perhaps its not the greatest place if you need a highchair, or somewhere to park a stroller.

That said, their food and coffee were quite decent, and I’d happily dine there again (sans-kids). They definitely seem to attract a particular kind-of clientèle; of the six men that I saw in there, there was only one who wasn’t wearing a white fitted t-shirt and using an iPhone. And yes, it was me.

My birthday fell on a Saturday, and with a forecast for amazing weather, I figured we should spend the morning playing at the family-friendly Bulcock Beach. We grabbed a quick bite at Sandbar beforehand (excellent food, awful coffee) before joining The Fourbies, and cousin Koyalie down on the sand.

Playing on the sand

Leo

Gerrod, Oscar and Koyalie

Kristy and Leo

Gerrod and Chellsie

It was a beautiful morning, and I was surprised how warm the water was. It looks like its going to be long, hot summer! We tidied off the morning with fish and chips for lunch – also from Sandbar, and once again we were extremely impressed with the quality of their food!

So, all in all, I’d say our birthdays this year were fairly low-key, but its always wonderful to have an excuse for spending time with family and friends.

Posted in birthdays

Recent Comments

  • gerrod: No sorry – they were at Bunnings at Stafford (Brisbane), from memory!
  • Ben: Are those photo taken at the Hervey bay Bunnings warehouse.
  • Ben: Fingers and Toes
  • Stacey: Ooh good luck with your new bedtime friend!! Looking forward to hearing how much more awesome you feel in two weeks!! Fingers crossed for you.
  • Nick: Sorry to hear about that dude but I’m sure it’s much better to know. You’ll probably also feel amazing when you get real deep sleep again!

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Kristy out the front of the Reichstag

Rob

Ohhh!

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