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.

Read more ›

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.

Read more ›

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

Brisbane to Gold Coast ride

Somehow, Ben and I let Jason talk us into participating in this year’s Brisbane to Gold Coast ride. Ben had admittedly done it twice before, and Jason had the Ride to Conquor Cancer under his belt. But not me – I was a “long ride” newbie, and with my prior history of suffering migraines after intensive bouts of exercise, I was understandably a bit nervous about it all!

Thankfully, it seems that the surgery I had earlier this year is really paying off, and I’m finding that even during strenuous exercise, its much easier to breath through my nose. This also results in a much clearer head, so much so that since the surgery, I’m yet to suffer another migraine. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a difference this has made to life in general, and I’m supremely hopeful that the migraines are now gone for good (though I still pop a nurofen or two sometimes before exercise, just in case).

We were quite sensible about our preparation for the marathon ride, arranging a number of “training” rides before the event. The standard weekend route for me started from our home in Everton Hills, down to the beginning of the Kedron Brook Bike Path at Osbourne Road at Mitchelton, then all the way along it to Nudgee. From there, we’d hook a left through the Boondall Wetlands, eventually ending up Sandgate, where we’d stop for a mid-point coffee and banana bread at Cafe on the Park (the banana bread is exceptional, by the way). Once we turned around and made the return journey, it was about a 70 kilometre round trip, with a good mix of hills and flat sections to boot.

So, finally the big day arrived, with a very early start seeing us at the starting line before 6 AM. We had planned to ride the event with Jason’s team from the Ride to Conquor Cancer, but given that nearly every rider was wearing the same jersey, it was impossible to keep track of everyone.

B2GC Starting Line

Probably the part I was most looking forward to was the first 40 KM leg, as a large chunk of it was straight along the South East Busway. By far, this was the best part of the ride – very smooth roads, uninhabited by cars, the bulk of the riders still together, the wind generally behind us, and for the most part – downhill. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and I’d encourage anyone who can ride a bike to enter the event next year, even just to do the first leg.

I can’t help but feel as if the location for the first checkpoint was tactfully selected to be at the exact point where the road turns from wonderful to nasty. The second 40 KM leg was consequently very different – the roads were far less smooth, degrading at one point to a dirt/gravel road for a few kilometres out the back of Stapylton.

As if that wasn’t hard enough, after having ridden about 60 KM, we noticed the first set of riders on their way back from the coast. They had effectively travelled 140 KM in the time it had taken us to do only 60 KM! I watched them fly past in the opposite direction feeling a mixture of admiration and scorn.

20 KM later, we were very pleased to reach the second checkpoint somewhere behind Dreamworld.

Checkpoint 2

We were pretty pumped to be close to the finish, and its a good thing because the final 20 KM was straight into a head-wind! But it was a pretty amazing feeling to come around the last few corners towards the finish. I couldn’t help but to fist-pump the air as I rode over the line!

Overall, it was a really, really fantastic experience, one that I was not only glad to be part of, but that I’ll happily sign up for again. In fact, we’ve got some big things planned for the 2015 ride! Stay tuned!

Posted in bicycle

Happy Birthday Oscar!

Three years out of four, we’ve somehow managed to be out of the house for Oscar’s birthday, and with the timing of our Sydney trip, this year was no exception. Next year, perhaps we’ll manage to stay in Brisbane and throw him a proper party!

Once again though, I hardly think he’d have any room to complain, and we all did our utmost to ensure that his birthday was celebrated adequately. He woke up to find balloons scattered around his room, and then it was straight into the present opening!

Oscar opening presents

Nana had given him $10 to spend on some lollies, so Loui took us to Cavendish House at Willoughby for Oscar to make his selections. Somehow he managed to stretch his purchases to $17 worth so I had to pay on card instead; and if that wasn’t enough, the lovely girl behind the counter gave him a bonus bag of lollies because it was his birthday! Talk about spoilt!

Oscar with his birthday lollies

No birthday would be complete without a good play at the park, so we walked up to one of Jay and Loui’s favourites, affectionately known as “The Tunnel Park”. It was fantastic; the tunnel got much use.

Tunnel park

We rounded the day off with some Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and after dinner we all enjoyed a slice of the rocket cake that Loui had sneakily arranged!

Oscar and his cake

Happy fourth birthday, little bear!

Posted in birthdays, oscar

A week in Sydney

The second of our week-long holidays was a jaunt down to Sydney to stay with long time friends Jason and Louise, who we met way back in 2005 in New York. Oh, how time has changed since then! Like us, they too now have two youngsters, so between the four of us, we had four kids under four!

Staying at a friend’s well established house is certainly a great way to vacation, and Jason and Louise were excellent hosts! They provided airport transfers, full service accommodation, cars and car-seats, and lots of delicious home-made meals. They even went out of their way to destroy their old espresso machine a few weeks before we came down, just so they could upsize before we arrived! Talk about thinking ahead!

Our week could best be summarised as “chilling out and enjoying our time with our friends”. We took a couple of trips into Sydney proper; Oscar was well impressed with the “trains with three levels!” which I have to admit are pretty awesome. Whilst in the mall one day, we took the opportunity to dine at Reuben and Moore in Westfield – easily the best Reuben that I’ve ever eaten. (Jason and Kristy both had the Reuben burger and equally claimed it to be one of their best burgers ever.) We also thoroughly enjoyed our caffeine hit from Gumption Coffee in The Strand arcade – a Durham recommendation, what more needs to be said?

About the only thing on our “must do” list was to visit the Blue Mountains, as I had never been there (or at least, not that I could remember). I figured they’d either be totally amazing, or totally over-rated. It turns out that they’re very much the former!

Three Sisters

We were lucky enough to have a perfectly clear day when we visited, and one of the guides at Scenic World told us that the visibility was about 100 kilometres. Impressive! Scenic World is also home to the steepest railway in the world, at a redonkey 52 degrees! Very much worth a visit.

Our week in Sydney seemed to end as soon as it started, and before we knew it, we were headed back to the airport for our flight home to Brisbane. But it was a fantastic break, and we can’t thank Jason and Louise (and Adam and Emma) enough for being such wonderful and generous hosts.

Some photos from our trip in the A Week in Sydney album on Google+.

Posted in holidays, life in australia

Recent Comments

  • 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!
  • Lisa: Happy 1st Birthday, Leo! The picture w/ the sunglasses is priceless- just gorgeous!!! xo
  • Julian: Challenging pitch, provocative play – that match had it all. Incidentally, the stance I’m holding in the first picture is also the one I use for golf.
  • Tim: Just to let you know I’ve done exactly the same thing. Let’s just say the gentleman behind me nearly died as the shot rung out! Glad I’m not the only one!!
  • Janet: Good luck, my Epson WP4530 is 18 months old and is giving me a paper jam error message. The paper isn’t out and there is no paper jam. I have spent 3 hours inspecting, cleaning and...

Random Photos

Stacey and Wes

The river near our hotel

Flowers

Exiting the Botanic Gardens

Nick and his starter kit

Archives

2015 (4)
2014 (40)
2013 (71)
2012 (87)
2011 (121)
2010 (159)
2009 (175)
2008 (137)
2007 (166)
2006 (235)
2005 (330)
2004 (278)