the rambles of a family of five in Australia

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This Christmastide

This Christmas is bittersweet for us – bitter because away from traditions and friends in the UK who mean a great deal to us, sweet because closer to family, back in our own house and expecting joy in the New Year.

We wish you a Happy Christmas with your loved ones, filled with the knowledge of the good news that makes Christmas a day of rejoicing. Love, we four.

God has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

Christmas tree, cut down from our fourth paddock and dragged up to the house one hot Sunday afternoon by R and E. Purty, isn’t she? Ben and Gaynor, the fairy lights are in honour of you and our family Christmas with you last year.

E and Aunty Lolly decorating a gingerbread house. E: ‘One for the house, Six for me’ Aunty L: ‘Just eat those, they don’t taste good. Leave the good ones for the house!’

Stockings, check! Gingerbread house, check! Tea lights, check! Nativity, check!
Our John Lewis Advent calendar. Something we love and remember from Christmas last year.

Christmas verse a day. E learnt this one last year.

H decided that into the Christmas crazy she would insert some calm sewing of bunting. Great fun, yes! Purty, yes! Calm, no.
It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas!
E and S with Aunty Nat, posing with Aunty Lolly’s Christmas camel.

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See how they grow…

We have been very blessed in our two precious children, as of course all parents are, and as we have come to the end of 2012, with all its twists and turns, ups and downs and much packing and unpacking, we have (in the midst of tiredness, frustration and general parenting weariness) found ourselves giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for these two bright bundles who give us great joy, grey hairs and sleepless nights and many moments of utter bewilderment. E and S, we love you more each day and are looking forward to additional joy with you next year.

S in July, scooting around the loungeroom floor. We were beginning to think she would NEVER get up and walk!

E in the backyard, mid-winter, wearing his Fireman Sam helmet and busily ‘fighting fires’. When he ‘is a big man, I will be a firefighter and build things for you, Mum!’

Just part of the buidling endeavours E engaged in when let loose on our firewood stack. Never mind splinters or potential spiders, there was some serious construction to be done. At this stage, S was more of a supervisor than a participant.

She looks positively demure here – our little lady!

Sunglasses make me a rock star!

With a packet of glitter crayons from Lincraft and a roll of paper from Ikea, art is let loose upon our household. Cheap, relatively painless and very very therapeutic!

S, after her nap, wearing one of E’s cast-off hats and cuddling her bunny.

Watching R and E working on the front verandah. Spot the traces of tear-stains at not being allowed to join them.
And then a carefully contrived pose once she realised the camera was out…
Hurrah! We finally figured out a way to use ALL the pieces of track to make a shape that connects. We LOVE Thomas here!

One of H’s playgroup ‘science experiments’. The leaves DID change colour, but not dramatically enough to show up in the photo!

If your keys could double as your mobile phone, you might be smiling like this too…

E, covered in cake mixture after licking the bowl clean.

Big brother, little sister.

Ladybird, Ladybird drive away home…

Mmmm, chocolate icing, yummo!

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Beach Daze

One of the loveliest opportunities we’ve had in moving back to Aus has been a greater access to the beach, even in winter. This is because in MK we were almost as far from the coast as it is possible to be in the United Kingdom, whereas here we are about an hour away from some gorgeous Sydney beaches. H’s parents live reasonably close to the coast as well and the kids have enjoyed our jaunts out for sand, surf and fish and chips with Grandpa and Grandma very much.

Suze playing on the beach at Hawks Nest. It might be mid-winter but the sun was shining and we had a lovely time.

At Clovelly in October, having one of those unscheduled but thoroughly delightful days out. We really should do it more often.
E at Clovelly, having been given the previously unheard of permission to go down to the waters edge on his own to collect wet sand. Can you see the sense of responsibility on those little shoulders?

Clovelly Beach from the cliff path.
At Hawks Nest with Gma and Gpa – E was dreaming about fish and chips for tea, methinks.

Just hanging out with Aunty Lolly.
Clovelly Beach from the car.

Not sure if this was the first dip of the season in our pool, but I know it was unscheduled because we didn’t have S’s swimmers…Not that she minds, of course!
Running along the beach beside Daddy.
Little Miss Curly Top

At Boomerang Beach, on holidays, with the baby beginning to disappear into a little girl.


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Garden Shenanigans

This mulch pile is one of two that we have been working on distributing round our place for the past 6 months or so. E and S LOVE to play in the trailer while R is either loading or unloading it, and it is a sure fire way to have happy, filthy children.

Picking mandarins from our bumper crop this year. Suze learnt to peel and eat them very quickly, and ended up treating the trees as her own personal snack bar. The only negative was the tendency to go for the ones lying on the ground…

Our winter picnic spot in the front garden.

Four peaches we actually managed to harvest before the cockatoos got to them!
Soil and mulch distribution team gets to work…

Some of our plant dreams have been realised with the addition of this black tulip magnolia.

Suze getting busy with her dirt bucket.

The house from Suze’s perspective.

One of our favourite new plants, ‘Hydrangaea Red Ball’ blooming beautifully in front of R’s bedroom window.

One of our million gardenias – one of the nicest things about the front borders.

The aftermath of putting together our new trampoline on a 40C day…

R and kids enjoy some fun in the blessedly cool shade.

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Rob the Builder (and his merry helpers Scoop and Muck…)

Since moving back to our house in June, we have had numerous projects on the go. Mostly, we are quite disorganised and forgetful when it comes to recording progress. However, here we managed to take a few pictures of some of the tasks Rob has had on his ‘to-do’ list. H feels tired just thinking about all the work Rob has managed to complete this year. 

Rewiring the internet connection…

Building the new side fence.

Not sure if it’s nature or nurture or 50/50, but building things is definitely a shared love.

S, very merry at the prospect of a missing front door. H, gritting her teeth at all the flies!

First bit of the frame goes in…

R and E conducting manly door-related work on the front verandah.

Boy heaven…

Side fence complete, except for…
… a coat of paint.
Last view of the old steel french doors – farewell, we will not mourn your passing.

Old kitchen window out…

Ready for its brand spanking new version. Hurrah!

Front door finished and ready for Christmas! Now to choose a paint colour for the rest of the house… we have a grey theme going if you have any cracking suggestions.