Thursday, June 30, 2016


 8 years old.  

I can't quite believe it has been 8 years.  Although, it's closer to 9 if I think about the day that we went to Bondi Junction for the 18-20 week ultrasound and the sonographer asked us if we wanted to know your gender, oh I know I replied, it's a little boy.  I was right.    I have been wrong about so many things, but not about you!

At 8 years old you are a true delight. You always have been though. Your love of being outdoors continues.  You have moved on from birds.  Currently you are obsessed with sport.  Specifically soccer, cricket, athletics, cross country running, skiing, surfing and cycling.  When you grow up you are going to be a "champion ski racer and jumper" (actual quote).  

You are quite a character.  You have cut your own hair more times than I can count.   Most children grow out of this in the toddler years or don't attempt it at all!  Not you, I think that the photo above is an attempt to photograph the latest haircut.  You were trying to cut a line in, "like all the soccer players have in their hair." 

You prefer to be outside at all times.  Even if it is pouring with rain and freezing cold I will find you outside, either bowling over and over again at the wickets, kicking a soccer ball into "franklin", playing hand ball against the side of the house or jumping on the trampoline.  You are thrilled when someone agrees to play outside with you, sadly this doesn't always work well with your brother.  It almost always ends in tears and a howling protest of some sort from you.

You play the viola and are in the string orchestra at school, I hope you continue to play the viola for years to come, and that it gives you as much pleasure as it has given me watching you learn to play.  I am so proud of how much you have achieved musically.   

Your best friends at school are Elijah, Scott and Hugh.  Your favourite foods are pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, sushi, sweet potato and vanilla ice cream.  You loathe cauliflower.  I can manage to make you eat almost anything, even mushrooms and eggplant, both of which you are lukewarm about, but the performance you put on  about cauliflower is worthy of an Oscar.  You are a talented athlete and can bowl better than kids much older than you, even better than many adults.  Your current favourite reads are the Harry Potter books,  Deltora Quest, the How to Train Your Dragon books, anything by Graeme Base and your perennially adored, very well thumbed Berenstain Bears books, almost all of which you know off by heart.  You will watch BTN, Top Gear and any sport that takes your fancy on TV but that is quite literally it.  Although, you do also love the Harry Potter movies and drive us all mad, with them.  For when it is your turn to choose a movie for family movie night you invariably choose a Harry Potter.  This is starting to wear a bit thin with the entire family.

You still adore lions and Big and Little will always be your adored side kicks.  I can't even imagine the heartbreak if we lost one of them again.  They truly are part of our family now.  

You are a special boy, little one.  Happy Birthday.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The joy of boys!

 As I haven't written a post about parenting the 'Y' chromosome in a very long time, here is an update:

They break bones, badly.

Both of them.

Probably because they have no fear!  That would be the seven year old up there on the top of that orange pole.  Note all the other 7 and 8 year old boys seem to have remained sensibly at ground level so perhaps it is just that my boys are extreme risk takers?

I often find elaborate "scenes" such as this one, set up in random locations around the house.

Often the "scenes" appear to have been catastrophic.

You quickly learn who all the sports stars are. 

The brotherly love is touching. The 10 year old offered to help the 7 year old find some sponsors for his school Zumba-thon.  For those that can't read his handwriting that would be Bill Gates and Queen Elizabeth sponsoring H some rather large sums per minute.

Yes, the 7 year old was sent to school with this form and yes, I crossed out Nick's additions! 

Every minute of this testosterone loaded craziness is worth it though, especially when you get treated to impromptu music recitals with football cleats on!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Life lately...

My orchids are flowering again, two of them for the second time in a 3 month period.  Friends keep sending me photos of miserable and dead wilted  orchids asking what it is that they are doing wrong.  I seriously have no idea what it is that I do right though.  I did write a post on how I look after mine not that long ago if anyone is actually interested.  I wonder if it is the spectacular antique ginger jars they are housed in.  Speaking of which does anyone know where to source genuine ginger jars from in Australia?  Not, the mass produced ones that you see everywhere but authentic antique jars?  My Mum was telling me that when they were buying these in the 1970s,  way back when they were on posting in Cambodia it was hard to source genuine jars even back then.  I imagine it is next to impossible these days but still, I would love to know if anyone ever comes across them.  I particularly would love to know more about mine as well.

Another view of them bathed in a sunset pink glow a few nights ago.  The sunsets in Sydney have been truly spectacular recently.  

My Mother's Day sleep in came courtesy of Scrabble.  It is a new obsession in this house.  I am secretly delighted as the Monopoly Board has been hurled a few too many times lately and Scrabble is something I would actually choose to play.  My friends used to roll their eyes at me regularly whenever we were on holidays together and I would pull out the board games or a pack of cards. So  I must say I am thrilled that I now have willing and able board game buddies at my beck and call, especially ones that are actually able to play the games I want to play.  I am thinking it might be time to teach them 500 or cribbage.  

My darling boys both chose Cyclamens for me from the Mother's Day gift stall at school, they know me well!  I could not have asked for a more perfect gift from them.  I even love how H selected white and N picked out pink!  I have them together on a shelf in the kitchen and they look so pretty together.  

My Mother's Day gift from Ross was this stunning and ever so pretty dress from Magali Pascal.  Ross chose it for me in Bali a couple of weeks ago when he was over there working (again, lucky thing!!) and I love it!  It pains me to admit this, but I think he might be better at picking out clothes for me than I am.  I feel so lucky and privileged, thank you Ross, N and H, I had a lovely day.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A garden update

Lately I have found that rather than play "catch up" I long to simply document the day to day.  I find myself feeling guilty that I haven't written up the last trip to Canada (almost 5 months ago now, yikes!)  or the most recent school holidays and then, because I don't actually feel like writing about either of those things, the blog just gets ignored.  I am wondering if, rather than feeling guilty about not documenting my life in calendar order, it might be a better idea to just write about whatever I feel motivated to.  That way I might actually end up writing something on the blog, something is surely better than nothing!

Inspiration today lies in documenting the continuing work on the garden at our "new" house.  When we purchased this property the garden was virtually a blank slate and even featured a travertine path that quite literally led to nowhere.  As Ross and I are both passionate gardeners the unloved state of the garden actually appealed to us!  We both saw it as a welcoming challenge and have really enjoyed working on the transformation of the garden.

One of the first things that we addressed in the garden was the problem of the foot path that led to nowhere.

It is the front path that leads directly out from our front door to the street, but it just ended at nothing at the start of the nature strip!  It drove me mad as the letter box was on the other side of the driveway at the corner boundary of the property and there was no front fence, hedge or anything else installed to define the perimeter of the property or to make sense of that bizarre front path.

We deliberated for some months about whether to plant a hedge as a front border, install a traditional wood picket fence or to do a sandstone and picket fence combination.  The sandstone combination won out in the end.  We both felt that the sandstone/picket fence had more of a beach house feel and would ultimately be the easiest to maintain.  Picket fences are hard work, they need regular painting and hedges need frequent trimming.

Ross installing the frame for the wood "pickets" before the sandstone cladding went on.

The pickets going on post-cladding. 

When we installed the stone fence we also relocated the letterbox and chose one that could be integrated into the fence itself.  As someone will invariably ask, the letterbox is the Mr Kelly Integrated Front Open Letterbox from Robert Plumb .  Please ignore the front of the house and the rest of the front garden, that is all still a work in progress!  

In the rear garden the most recent gardening work has focused on building a garden bed that runs almost the entire length of the back of the house and deck.

We have clad this garden bed in the same stone from Eco Outdoor that we used for the front fence.  We also intend to use this stone in the landscaping that is currently taking place around the pool and to clad an indoor/outdoor fireplace that we have on the back deck/living area. 

Ross put a lot of thought into the plants in this garden bed.  Amongst hardy and drought tolerant succulents we have planted lots of sanseveria,  cardboard palms. philodendrons and rhoeo. At either end of the planter box have we selected two mature plants, a multi-headed dragon tree at one end and a frangipani at the other.  We placed the dragon tree at the deck end of the planter box as it is quite a statement plant and will look amazing once established.

The frangipani came from our next door neighbours garden and already looks like it has been there for decades with a lovely aged patina to it's trunk.  The planting of this garden bed has completely transformed the back of the house and I am thrilled with how it has turned out.

Meanwhile, work continues elsewhere in the garden, the pool truly is a construction site at the moment and another stone garden bed is about to be constructed further along the deck.  I am looking forward to sharing these projects once complete also!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Catching up - Bali

Last December, Ross and I popped over to Bali for a whirlwind few days.  Ross had a few days work in Denpasar so, thanks to my wonderful parents, I was able to accompany him on the trip.  As he was working I spent most of my days reading by the pool or wandering through the fabulous shops and gardens.   We also had some wonderful meals out with some of Ross' work colleagues.  Mostly expats that live in Jakarta and that are lucky enough and close enough to have holiday houses in Bali.  Their lifestyle sounded fabulous to me until I heard about the traffic issues in Jakarta.  One family we had dinner with had boys at the British School in Jakarta (where I went to Pre-school way back in the late 1970s!) and despite the fact that the school is only 8km from their house it takes them two hours on a school bus to get from A to B.   My 40 minute school trip (yes, some days it can even take longer, sob!) sounded not so bad after hearing their tales of traffic woe.

The first few days we stayed at the W in Seminyak.  It was gorgeous and as we had a villa with a private pool, extremely relaxing.  I floated about the pool amongst frangipani flowers, read lots of books and caught up on sleep.  It was heavenly.

I did manage to leave the hotel every now and then.  Coffee at the The Corner House in Seminyak became an essential part of each day quickly.  Easily the best coffee we found in Bali and the most charming little cafe to sit in and enjoy said coffee.  It is well worth a visit if you are in Seminyak.  Even the Bathroom is gorgeous!

Homewares shopping isn't too bad either!  This is Kim Soo near the Petitenget Temple.  Lots of gorgeous things to be found inside!

After 4 nights at the W, we moved to the incredible Ayana, famous for the adults only pool and the Rock Bar.  Both well worth a visit and I actually thought that this hotel would be fun to stay at with the kids.  There were multiple pools and the gardens were a delight to wander and explore. The staff bent over backwards to ensure we enjoyed our holiday experience as well.  

The kids pool was being renovated whilst we were staying there so this is unfortunately the best photo I was able to take of it, but seriously how much fun does that look?!  When I showed the boys they insisted that we take them next trip!  

This is the divine adults only pool.  Truly spectacular!

Whilst we were at the Ayana we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary.   11 years, sigh.  I feel so lucky and so blessed. 

So that takes us up to mid-December.  I'll try and add Christmas and our annual trip to Whistler before the year is half over!


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