“And just like that it was all over!”….

As I watched my husband drive off to work this morning, I said to myself “and just like that it was all over!”

5 weeks of the 5 of us. 5 weeks of adventure, fun and laughter. 5 weeks of my party of 5 together!! It’s been awesome. It’s been hard work at times, especially while in America dealing with tired and cranky children (transition days became my point of hatred) but we made it through and we still love each other lol!

This morning was officially the beginning of the new year for us. Back to only seeing Kane for short periods of time through the week. Back to the kids feeling desperate to see their daddy and spend quality time with him on the weekends as the end of the week approaches. Thankfully I still have another week and a bit before my work resumes and then life will really kick into overdrive again.

It was really sad to see Kane drive off this morning. No tears were shed, but my heart was sad knowing our holiday that we worked so hard for was over. Holidays like the one we’ve just had, only happen every now and again. We’d been planning it for so long and in the blink of an eye it seemed to be over. It kept us focused last year when things were rough at times. How can we top such a thing this year?? Thankfully I have a billion photos to look back on which make me smile every time I go through them.

I love having my husband home. It’s so nice seeing the kids enjoying quality time with their father that’s not rushed or routined. It’s so awesome having another set of adult hands to help with the kids and to prepare meals – Kane cooked most nights when it had to be done…I’ll struggle this week lol! It’s just so nice to be away from the routine of life, having fun together and I’ve been able to run whenever I like!!! But like they say, sadly all good things must come to an end…but the longer the going is good the harder it is to let go!!

I have lots to keep me distracted between now and when I go back to work. First and for most is to get the kids ready to go back to school and after today’s shopping trip I only need to make one more trip to the shops and I’ll be finished. Next Monday is Mia’s first day at preschool and although everything is done and ready to go, I’ll be spending the rest of this week and no doubt many weeks to come reassuring her that I will be back to pick her up!

My biggest project at the moment though, is changing rooms around. Bailey is finally going to have his room back to himself and the girls are going in together. Today I ordered the girl’s bunks and found where I put the bolts for Bailey’s double bed – they were in the bed derrrr lol!! The girls are having an ‘owl’ themed room and Bay is having a lego/footy themed room! This little, well really big project, is going to take me a few weeks to have it exactly right but I endeavour to at least have the beds up and slept on by the end of this weekend!

So it’s been 4 days since we’ve been home and we are slowly settling back into reality. I’ve crossed off a heap of jobs on my to do list, the kids are enjoying being back in their own environment with all their belongings and they love having Sonny home!

At the moment, nothing will top our 5 weeks together, but we still have so much to look forward to! Next month we will be spending time away with mum and dad at Palm beach while on their annual beach holiday. The kids sport resume next month with Bay backing up for his 4th season of footy and Sienna starting her first season of basketball. I’m off to Melbourne in March for our annual girls weekend – this time to see Dirty Dancing and we’ve booked our little slice of paradise at Burleigh for two weeks just after Christmas. I’m sure between now and then there will be some impromptu trips away for the weekend!

So here’s to another year of a crazy busy life with my party of 5…cheers everyone!!

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USA – Week 2…Vegas to New York!

I’m writing this blog on our 6 hour flight to San Francisco! It’s been another early start to the day in order to fly from one side of America to the other to see out our final week. We are tired and starting to miss some of the comforts of home, but the kids are super excited because it’s only a matter of days now and we will be playing in the snow…that’s all Mia has been asking for since we left Disneyland!!! We started this week with a road trip to Las Vegas! I always find this trip an easy and fun one to do – especially once we are out of the city of LA and its billion of freeways that intertwine with one another. Now I can easily say this as I’m never the driver and am so grateful that my husband always braves it for us! It means one less flight and we get to see some of the outback of America! Once you hit highway 15, it’s all the way to Vegas baby!!! On the way to Vegas, in the middle of no where are little townships that exist with nothing but dry barren land around them. We stopped at one town for lunch that had a huge outlet centre and a variety of restaurants to eat at. Lunch was lovely and so was my purchases at the Guess outlet store…this was not planned but such a great find lol! I was supposed to be waiting to shop in Vegas itself!! Due to our little expedition, we arrived at Vegas in dark, but oh what a sight. You literally drive for miles and then in the middle of the desert is big bright lights and a city that never sleeps! It’s a great place to visit and so many things to do other than drinking and gambling, but we never stay long enough to check everything out! But we always stay long enough to shop like there’s no tomorrow, ride that massive roller coaster and see the big and bold sites downs the Vegas strip! It was short and sweet but we had fun!

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20141222-123327.jpg Our next stop for the duration of the week would be New York, one of my favourite places in the world but of course not without drama!!! Our flight for New York was at 7am which meant we had to be up extremely early to be at the airport. We were up and out and at the airport on time. We checked in and got to security where everything went from bad to worse…. When we went to check in, we were going to be charged $25 per bag we were checking on…$160 later!!!! This was a surprise to us as we never paid any of these fees on our last trip and thought this was included in what we had originally paid (will be following this up with our travel agent on our return)! We were advised that we could take some of our check on bags on a carry on to save some of the cost, so we did…but I forgot my toiletry bag was in one of them! Of course I went through security and too many liquids later, they were going to make me throw out half my toiletries and the kids water bottles. I was going to until the lady said I could check my bag in. I asked if I had time and she said yes! What seemed like was going to be an easy task turned into a nightmare! I tried and was knocked back as there was no time!!! Which then I had to throw out my stuff anyway to get back through security!!! I finally made it through security to find myself waiting for a monorail to take me to the section I had to go to…why do people not tell you these things when you are checking in!!!!!!! I kept telling myself you’ll be right you won’t miss this flight, how could you miss this flight! As soon as the monorail stopped I ran with three bags in toe as fast as I could to our gate number which was deserted. There was no one around other than a lady who I asked so desperately “please tell me I can get on that plane!!” Rudely she shook her head and said “no!” It was 6.55am the plane wasn’t due to leave until 7am and it continued to sit there for the next 15 minutes until it took off. As much as I was pleading with the staff that I had checked in ages ago and was told I had time to check one of my bags in and that I was travelling with my family – no one cared! All I was told is that the doors are shut and you can catch the next flight out to New York at 11.45….5 hours later!!!! I was numb. I was upset, angry, mad. Mad at myself as I felt like I brought this on myself. When I watched my family fly away without me, my babies gone, it felt like I was never going to see anyone again. My heart was ripped right out of my chest for a moment. I sat and didn’t speak to a soul until I pulled myself together and kept telling myself it will be ok. I just had to get through this next 10 hours and I would be back enjoying our holiday!! That I did and after being separated from my family for 10 hours, we were reunited and so so happy again!! All was good in my world. We were in New York and about to embark on the awesome adventures this city has to offer and that we did! In the five night stay that we had there, we fitted in almost everything we wanted to. We watched the New York Knicks play the Dallas Mavericks in a NBA match. This has always been Kane’s dream and it was great to see him with his family for full this. We visited ground zero and saw for the first time the memorial garden that has been created in remembrance of the terrible tragedy that took so many innocent lives. This is always an emotional experience – I can’t even imagine what the city went through on that day. We saw all the favourite hotspots…Time Square, Broadway, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, State Library, Macey’s, 5th Avenue and all the exquisite window displays and I couldn’t leave without a little purchase from Tiffany and Co:) My sister and I did the Sex and the City tour…this was fantastic!!! We got to see so many of the major spots that were used to film the show and we got a photo outside Carrie’s apartment building! My favourite show was being lived out – LovEd it!!! But our highlight for the week, which we always love, is our time at Central Park. We love it there. Kilometres of open space with playgrounds, walkways, park benches and hundreds of squirrels running around. Last time we were in New York it was covered in snow, so it was really nice to see the green grass and fallen brown leaves that covered so much of the park. It’s just such a pretty site and I was fortunate enough to run 10k through the park – was the most blissful run I’ve ever run! It was such a special moment ice skating in Central Park with our three babies. Last time Bailey put one toe on the ice and didn’t attempt anymore, Sienna was a baby and Mia wasn’t even thought of. This time both Bailey and Sienna didn’t give up until they mastered it and Mia loved it!! With the help of Kane and I she went round and round several times! It’s one moment in time I will cherish forever!!!!

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20141222-123920.jpg I love New York!!! It’s a place I wouldn’t put my children through again though. It’s very very busy, I mean so busy that unless you experience it you just don’t understand busy when I say it’s busy! And it’s freezing!!! When we got up to leave this morning it was -2 degrees. The first couple of days we were there it was quite bearable, particularly the first day when it was 8 degrees. But by the time we left Central Park yesterday afternoon it was 1 degree and we ended up catching a cab back to our hotel as Mia was turning blue!!! But Kane and I will return one day when the kids are older and can fend for themselves! One week to go…the time is going steady and so much has been done, with still so much ahead of us! Fingers crossed we wake on Christmas morning to snow falling – that would be the icing on the cake for this trip! Merry Christmas to all my readers…I hope it brings you lots of love, joy and laughter xoxoxo!

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USA – Week 1…LA!

I’m writing this as my two baby girls are latched to me asleep while we are a road tripping to Las Vegas!!!

This past week has been amazing!!! 7 nights in Anaheim, LA, staying at the Howard Johnson which is across the road from Disneyland!! We love California and when we visited America last time, California was great but this time I really fell in love. The weather, the theme parks, the beaches…it’s all sounding a little bit like home, which is probably why I love it so much!!

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This week we have spent 3 massive days at Disneyland, a day at Universal Studios, a couple of days shopping oh and it wouldn’t be a holiday if we didn’t end up at the medical centre!!!! Yes that’s right!!! Our baby girl learnt the hard way that no more monkeys really shouldn’t jump on the bed – 4 staples in her head later and she was good to go again!!!! I managed to sneak in a few runs and Kane finally got to see an Ice Hockey match!

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Disneyland…what a truly magical, spectacular, amazing place! It really is the happiest place in the world! Between the endless amount of rides, entertainment and characters walking around, there is never enough time to do everything. We did far more than last time as the kids are much older, but it still didn’t seem enough. But the most important things were done especially getting the kids favourite character signatures and photos…this is always my favourite thing to do to!

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It’s become a tradition now that on the last day we wear our Disneyland gear and get a photo with the one and only Mickey Mouse!!!

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This was our first photo 5 years ago!

It was really nice having my sister, brother-in-law and nephews there to experience it with us this time. They loved having their cousins to go on rides with and it also meant we were able to enjoy some rides too! One of the most memorable moments is always watching the castle light up. The Disneyland castle would have to be one of my most favourite things in the world and at night when it’s shining with millions of fairy lights…just exquisite!

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Universal Studios is always a great day out!! The detail of each ride that has been put in to make them so spectacular is amazing and wherever you turn there is always a character to get your photo with. Our favourite for the day was Scooby-Do he was so funny! The Back Lot Tour was yet again unbelievable. I find movie and show making so interesting…I always wished I was a Hollywood star…clearly that will never happen lol! Another massive 12 hour day was enjoyed by all, particularly as it involved a tour of LA and we got to see the Hollywood sign…although low lying clouds meant the photos weren’t very clear!

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We don’t usually shop much in LA, but this time we bought almost a suitcase worth of stuff lol! We came across a TJ Max, Walmart and Shoe City not far from where we were staying…many, many bargains later and everyone was pleased! Oh and you can never ever go to Disneyland without buying a shirt or two or ok we bought many things this time but we LOVE Disneyland!!!!!!

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We only touched the surface of LA this week. You could easily spend a good couple of weeks there, as there is so much to do, so many places to visit and things to see. We are fortunate enough this time to spend our last couple of nights in Santa Monica in a couple of weeks time…I’m really looking forward to that!

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Road Trip….

If you’ve been following my blog, you would know that our family has dealt with a lot of emotional hardship this year. We’ve gone from losing one of the oldest and dearest members of the family to one of our youngest…all within a fortnight of each other. And if we’ve learnt anything this year, family is truly forever!!

This weekend we went on a road trip to Kingaroy. My cousin and her husband live in Kingaroy. They bought a fudge, wine and cheese business over three years ago and have been there since. We’ve been to Kingaroy a few times now and always have the best time. The aim of this weekend was to have everyone take a road trip and spend time together before the rush of the festive season. There were over 20 of us celebrating an early Christmas in the park yesterday and we had a ball!!!

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Mia’s longest road trip…she really was awesome and we’ve planned to do it more often now:)

This was our longest road trip we’ve been on as a party of 5! Mia has been our worst car traveller. We barely make it to the coast without her cracking it! We were so proud of her. I made sure I had everything charged from iPads, iPods, DVD players and plenty of food and books and I can honestly say we barely needed anything!

We spent our first night having dinner at one of the local pubs…there are so many hotels/pubs in Kingaroy!!! It was so lovely catching up with Megan and Shannon. They have had such a tough year this year and seeing them being able to smile and have fun, makes me so proud to call them family. They are an absolute inspiration to anyone who knows them.

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Ladies of the family…

The kids had a ball at our motel we stayed at. It even had a pool. I recommend anyone who stays at Kingaroy to check it out…Kingaroy Country Motel!

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They lived in the pool any chance they got!

The weather was very unstable but we were lucky enough to enjoy the day we had planned in the park! Megan and Shannon put on an awesome BBQ and we sat around reminiscing and laughing…love family for that reason!!!

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This is some of mum’s side of the family who were able to make it!

Once we dispersed for the day, we cruised around to get dinner…I can officially say I know my way around Kingaroy very well after going to several different places to satisfy everyone’s desires lol. I also learnt that if you resided in Kingaroy, you wouldn’t need to go anywhere as they have everything you need! Big W, Target country, Woolies, Aldi to name a few…they even have a Loot Homewares store – I was super impressed!

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Today was our last day and ended as great as the whole weekend! We went to Megan and Shannon’s for brekky…thank you Shannon for an awesome feed. They’ve done a fabulous job with the renovations to their house, it was great to finally see where they live:) After breakfast we went to their shop and stocked up on their fudge…I’m currently in a fudge coma as I type this lol! Check out ‘Taste South Burnette’ if you’re ever in Kingaroy!

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We had an absolute ball. The kids even said “it’s sad we have to leave Kingaroy!” Lol. We are already looking forward to our next trip. Thank you to Megan and Shannon for an awesome weekend!

Our trip home….
Wasn’t as good as going, but hasn’t put us off another road trip! And we are so grateful we purchased the car we did…so comfy and so much space!!!!
The kids will be in bed at 6.30….and so will mummy and daddy lol!

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We love driving past Wivenhoe Dam and it was also great to see our country side was beautiful and green!

Now to nibble away on all our fudge….

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Surf, Sand, Swimming…Sensational!

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Sun shining days, cool breezes, crashing surf and the smell of the coastal salt air…this is what we were engrossed in for the past week! Burleigh Heads Gold Coast, what a fantastic place to holiday!

It has been three years since we went on a holiday longer than 3 nights and after the ordinary year we had, we decided to treat ourselves and the kids to a 7 night stay at a lovely little resort style apartment block called Key Largo! What a perfect place for children. Only three floors high (we were on the second floor), all the rooms overlooked the beautiful yard and in ground pool. There was so much room for the kids to kick their footy or ride their scooters, it was like a home away from home!

We were so blessed with such sensational weather that we stayed an extra night which sealed the deal to make it the best coastal holiday we’ve ever had! The kids had so much fun where ever we went…beach, creek, pool! They swam, went fishing, collected shells, dug holes, built sand castles, rode their scooters for many kilometers and played cricket on the beach! They also enjoyed lots of quiet time where they would just chill, watch tv, colour in, play cards, listen to music, all things relaxing!

I spent most of my time having a holiday through the eyes of my children, remembering when I was little girl and how much fun I would have with my family when we use to go on holidays! On a couple of occasions I spent some time on my own wandering the shops, where I made a few lovely purchases and I even managed the odd swim on my own and time relaxing by the pool! My favourite spot was sitting on our balcony looking out to the beautiful view we were faced with and of course I got to do lots of running throughout the week!

My husband kicked back and watched a lot of tv when the kids were having quiet time and he was able to enjoy an odd afternoon of horse betting and beers. Although we spent 90% of our time as a family enjoying each other’s company, we all got to do our favourite things at one time or another! But it was the moments where the five of us were swimming in the ocean, strolling along the beach and eating fish and chips together that we’re the most enjoyable!

Here are some highlights of our fantastic getaway….

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On our way…the car was so full we could hardly see the kids lol!

The pool/spa…
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Bay was so proud of himself that he could do a lap and a bit under the water holding his breath:)
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The beach….
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Our nightly walks….

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A day at Tallebudgera Creek….

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Eating out…

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Chilling out….

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Family time….

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Keeping active….

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Collecting shells…

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Little limbs and sand always looks so sweet together!!!

I absolutely love looking through our holiday photos, they do now and will always bring back such wonderful memories! We are already looking forward to our next holiday there, where we will do it all over again and create new memories to cherish forever! It was great saying goodbye to a tough year and seeing in the new year in a beautiful environment…certainly a great start to 2013!

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I’m so blessed to have been able to spend such a fantastic week with the four loves of my life:)

Our Christmas U.S.A Vacation!

3 years ago, my husband and I packed up ourselves and the kids and set on an adventure of a life time to the States!

It was something we wanted to do for a long time and financially for us the timing was right as well as the cost of everything. Our flights were cheap and the dollar was about 93cents. I was quite apprehensive about traveling with a 3 and a half year old and 18 month old baby, but they were super excited that they were going to see Mickey and Mini!!!!!

When we decided to go, we went to a travel agent to help us plan our holiday as we had never travelled overseas before! We had three months to organise ourselves – travel insurance, pass ports, cash passports, flights, accommodation, converting money, packing….there was so much to do, but like everything it got done and we managed to get ourselves ready for a November 27th take off !!!!

The morning we arrived at the airport, I still remember it like it was yesterday! It was so surreal….I couldn’t believe we were finally going to America!!!! We just couldn’t wait to get there and get settled! We had a direct flight to LA – 14 hours and the kids slept for 8 of them! They were so much better than we thought they would be! We kept them entertained with food, DVDs, colouring in and lots of stories!

That moment when we stepped off the plane was also surreal….we were in Los Angeles USA!!!!!!!! I was like a kid in a candy store! For the first 24 hours (ok the whole 4 weeks lol)…it was exciting!!!! Their accents were so strong and seeing the driver on the opposite side of a car and driving on the opposite side of the road was so weird! The kids napped on and off a bit that day but we managed to work our way into their time quite nicely without too much back lash! Even though it’s an English speaking country, so many things were different! The toilets, the money, tipping….we had to learn fast!

We went for four weeks…
We spent a week in LA, 3 days in Las Vegas, 5 days at Lake Tahoe in the snow, a week in Pittsburgh (with our beautiful friends), 2 days in Washington and 5 days in New York which included a white Christmas!

We had the best time! Disneyland was magical, the snow was like fluffy powder, Vegas was bright and colourful on so many levels, Pittsburgh was awesome thank you to our wonderful friends, Washington was pretty and New York – well what can I say other than it is simply the best!

We created the most wonderful memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives! Between driving in snow storms on both sides of the country, being stopped by homeless people, losing Sienna’s teddy (twice), missing trains, being in Washington at the same time the city was closed and hadn’t been in 30 years and spending a white christmas in New York, we definitely had a whirlwind holiday…but it was sensational! And the kids, well they were awesome!!!!! 4 weeks was plenty long enough for them though, but what an experience for them…not many children can say ‘I’ve been to Disneyland!’

These are some of the fond memories that we will always be able to look back on……

Disneyland:

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Not for one second do we regret taking the kids while they were so young. In fact we are busting to go again. Things will be quite different this time though as we have an extra child, but our first two are much older and the beauty of going again now is that they will remember it! I recommend anyone to go to America…it is a great place to holiday!