The very first of many, many happy hours spent on the beach during our holidays.
She is so at home here - a beach baby at heart!
She is so at home here - a beach baby at heart!
Running wild and free.... he loves it and he needs it!
I've heard of being born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but a solid gold teething ring?!
How decadent ;)
(Grandma Teresa will do anything for the grandkids including handing over her jewellery!)
Project 52: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.
More highlights from the week that was....
This week we hit the road. Our family of five squished into our little car for our (usually) annual road trip up to Brisbane to visit family and friends - and of course enjoy a little bit of the wonderful sunshine! I was really ready for this break - things had been getting a little too busy of late. I had been feeling quite worn out in the lead up. Maybe it was the long winter getting me down?! We were ready for relaxing quality time with family, time with friends and time for rest. I was so thankful for the chance to refresh in the sunshine!! Holidays are so good for the soul and I think also so important to disconnect from daily life. Getting away gives new perspective to all kinds of things in your normal life and this 're-set' was so welcomed. I also love the chance to adventure with the kids and enjoy so many new experiences with them - they always seem to mature so much when we go away.
A loooong road trip with three kids under six may sound insane and perhaps it is, but the drive always somehow seems to go pretty smoothly, quickly - and even dare I say fun?? Although I would fly in a heartbeat if it was financially and practically an option, somehow we have turned into quite the road trippin' family and have quite the routine down by now. Now, I know life is supposed to be about the journey and not the destination, but when it comes to road trips, I am of the 'let's just get there' mentality. As long as everyone is happy, we keep on driving and don't stop unless necessary, haha. I can't stand the thought of breaking a trip into multiple days and trudging into motels along the way if we can at all avoid it. So we go hard, and always manage to get there in one day! I always tell myself we can just stop at a motel if we need to but so far it's never come to that. One thing that works for us is leaving super early in the morning (well, middle of the night really) so you get some sleep before you go, then pop sleeping kiddos in the car in the early hours and then get a few hours on the road with everyone still sleeping before the day of driving really starts.
So we left at 2am on the Thursday, and managed to roll into my Dad's place at 5.30pm - just in time for dinner! We did Canberra-Brisbane in 15.5 hours (14 hours driving time) with 3 kids under 6!?! Only possible because the kids are truly champions of the road! They do soooo great - they don't complain or fuss about being in the car, or ask to get out or anything (just a couple of 'are we there yets' of course). They just happily cruise along and are always excited about the big holiday we have been talking up for ages!
A huge supply of snacks and activities help, of course :) I have a massive bag of each by my feet in the car- I literally have to squeeze my feet into a small slot for the whole trip haha - but it's so worth it! I just pass back a regular supply of snacks and activities and they are happy. Eli proclaimed at one point 'I love eating adult food in the car'. I guess the "special fancy road trip food" (like cheesesticks which I never usually buy) felt pretty gourmet to him!! Though Lily did announce at one point 'Remember, Eli, the road trip is not all about food, it's about having nice family time'. !!! Mmmm, something tells me she has heard some variation of this herself a few times. (My kids loooove to eat, can you tell?!?!).
They never seem to end up doing too many of the activities I have conscientiously prepared, preferring just to make up their own silly games and songs together. At one point we were informed from the back seats 'We're just having a little Lily and Eli day'. Oh, ok then! One 'special' activity they came up with was using a Magnadoodle. One kid would sing loudly (drone) 'Close your eyes, close your eyes' over and over (AND OVER) while drawing a picture which the other kid had to guess (after opening their eyes at the correct time of course). Slightly painful but I just turned up my iPod!! There was also some very silly singing of some song they made up called 'Everybody knows the Banana Song'. Let me tell you now, nobody knows that song!!
I wasn't sure how Baby Miles would go but he was such a gem - just gurgled and squealed happily in his seat, gnawing on his toys. He would then just drift off to sleep and wake again sometime later. He was amazing! Got road trippin' in his blood, I guess! Such a content, happy kid - never ceases to amaze me. One little trick I came up with was having a bottle of expressed breastmilk ready in the chiller bag I had, so that when he woke for a feed at a time when it wasn't good to stop, Lily got to feed him the bottle from the backseat. She was soooo proud of doing that and it saved having to make an emergency stop in the middle of nowhere!
Another little funny from the trip I noted down was when I was driving and everyone else in the car was asleep or drifting into it. We passed The Big Banana (Australia's Kitsch Icon!!!!) and I heard Eli mutter quietly just to himself 'Dat's a big banana'. For some reason, this had me chuckling for at least 100km :)
Very proud of all three kiddos and glad the trip went so smoothly and safely. Lily proclaimed as we were on the home stretch 'Good driving, grown ups!!'. When I commented about what a great trip it had been and how proud I was of the kids, Lily replied 'Yes, there was just a little bit of arguing' Haha - thanks honey for keeping it real :)
We arrived at my Dad's house in time for dinner and ready to relax. Holiday Mode is switched ON!!
PS Excuse all the little kiddie anecdotes... I just couldn't resist noting a bunch of them down to remember for years to come... what kid doesn't want to reflect back on those torturous long family road trips, right?!!
PPS Do any other parents experience those first few moments of being on holiday where you are like 'YEAHHHH HOLIDAYS! Let's relax!!!!.... oh wait.... we brought the kids with us.' Haha - we find there is always (still!) that moment of re-calibrating your expectations of what a relaxing holiday is now, with little kids who still (apparently) need caring for and monitoring ;) Good thing they are so cute, right? xx
|When we left at 2am, the kids looked like this. EXCITED!!!! A middle of the night adventure, and off on holiday, what|
could be better? Thankfully they calmed down and drifted off to sleep!
|At dawn, they looked like this!!! :)|
|Our happy little road warrior! (iphone pic)|
|Livin' it large - Spa time at Grandpa's house! The ultimate heated pool for kiddies, haha!|
|My darling triplet nephews! I have missed this trio so much! And so grown up now - 21 months.|
I had to bribe them with sultanas to sit with me for 5 seconds for this photo. They are busy boys!
|Alex, Joseph, Sam (I think!) eating sultanas (and dirt)|
|When you have three toddler brothers the same age, there are a lot of games like 'Swinging this palm leaf in your face till someone cries or rips it away from me.'|
|Like father, like son.|
|Deep in quiet play with his animal collection|
|Lily and I helped Grandpa paint the new fence.... and Mark helped put it up. A little holiday handiwork!|
|Late afternoon walks along the beach was one of my favourite things to do. (iPhone)|
|I just love these casual shots of us as a family of five strolling together!|
|So intent on digging up her treasures|
|Chilling out with my darling (and Kaos) chatting|
and watching the kid's play. Good, good, blessed times.