Chaos, Love and Laughter

On Thursday the kids and I were getting ready to pop over to a friend’s place for lunch when the phone rang.  I picked it up and was surprised to hear that it was my Dad.

Backstory: In 2006, when I was heavily pregnant with Mr S, my brother had a motorbike accident. His injuries sent a clot to his brain. They told us he was brain dead. As a family we had to decide to turn off the life support machines.  This was a horrendous emotionally taxing time for all of us.  Most of all it broke my father’s heart, and not long after Mr S was born, Dad moved away.

[One day I might be ready to do a blog post about this.  In the meantime the short version above is all I can muster up.]

Since then Dad has remarried, and lived in several different places.  At the moment Dad and his wife live on a remote island in the Gulf of Carpentaria (thats right up the top of Australia), so we rarely get a chance to see him and with my busy family life, I  don’t get much of a chance to talk on the phone.

It was a pleasant surprise to hear him on the phone and even nicer still was to find out that he had arrived in Cairns and was staying at my Uncle’s place in the city.

[Truth time. At first I thought it was nice. Then after thinking about it for a while I was secretly upset. At first I couldn’t work out why I was upset. But after I processed it for a while, I realised that because of my fear of rejection and my low self esteem (falling into the trap of believing I am not loved) I was being a selfish pratt.  This automatic fear began just because I didn’t know in advance that they were coming. Just because when they got here I wasn’t their first port of call or first priority. Basically just because the world doesn’t revolve around me.  So as I thought about this, I decided it is okay for the world not to revolve around me. It does not make me any less of a person. It does not mean that I am not loved. So I can either get over this princess crap, let it go and move on or I can let it hurt me for no good reason and spoil this wonderful visit and surprise.  I decided that I can choose the way I feel.  And so I chose to reject that habit of negative thinking and just let go.  And when I did, I felt great.]

Because Dad and my StepMum are are living in a remote community with virtually only a general store, they had a long list of errands and places they needed to go to buy specific things. There were important things they had to do before the shops closed.  So I picked them up on Thursday afternoon to take them shopping and made arrangements for them to come over for a visit to our house on Sunday Afternoon.

In the meantime, Miss O’s best friend phoned up to ask if Miss O could go to the tablelands with their family for the Easter Weekend.  Normally I am happy for Miss O to have a sleepover at Miss H’s place, but I wasn’t too keen on it becuase it was the Easter Weekend. I explained to Miss O and Miss H that I would need to talk it over with the hubster.  Miss O was torn.  She really REALLY wanted to stay with Miss H but she didn’t want to miss out on being with the family, or seeing both my Mum & StepDad in Innisfail, or my Dad and StepMum.

So after talking about it with the hubster, we made a compromise.  We would drop Miss O off on Friday Evening after we visited my Mum in Innisfail, and we would pick up Miss O from the Tablelands on Sunday Morning.  This would give her the best of both worlds.  She was able to be with her friend, and she was still able to see both lots of Grandparents.

I was still about sad about not having her wake up to her Easter Eggs on Sunday Morning with us, but the hubster and I agreed that it was time to encourage her to establish her own special memories and develop a little more independence.

On Sunday The Easter Bunny only just made it to our house just 5 minutes before the boys woke up. Phew! (Also real classy how the easter bunny used our bamboo steamer to put the eggs in). The minute Mr J was up and saw the eggs, he came running out to me to tell me and brought me back into the room to show me the eggs.  Then he woke up his brother and before I could say “Don’t eat any yet”, they had opened and starting munching on the biggest egg in their baskets.  

I was busy trying to do loads of washing and clean up the house a bit so we were a bit late leaving home on Sunday morning to pick up Miss O ( it was about a 2 1/2 hour round trip ) and we didn’t get home until just after 1pm.  As a result we were very disorganised.  Parts of the house were a still mess, so I zipped around quickly trying to tidy up as best as I could then zoomed into the city to get Dad.

The plan was that I would pick up Dad and my Stepmum while the hubster prepared the Webber (Kettle BBQ) so that he could cook a roast pork and veges. I had a Chocolate Mousse Profiterole Cake from Coles in the freezer, which we were going to have for dessert.

I picked up my parents and we were about 2 minutes from home when I got a panicked call from the hubster.  The firelighters weren’t igniting and he couldnt get the coals going.

He was still trying when we arrived, so we all had a go at trying to get the fire going.

In desperation I searched our crapheap our garage and found two half packets of firelighters.  These ones weren’t defective and we managed to get the fire going straight away. Phew.

So once the fire was going, I realised we didn’t have anything to drink, and its usually customary for the men to have a couple of beers, and the women to chat over a couple of glasses of wine.  So I nipped down to the bottle O around the corner and got some beers and wine.

I had just started to relax and had luckily only polished off half a glass of wine, when the next crisis happened.  The hubster took the pork out of the fridge and took it out of the packet and found that it had turned. Ugghh. Its smelled! We had to chuck it out.  I felt like I was chucking 30 dollars in the bin.

We had finally successfully made the fire and the coals were glowing perfectly but we had no meat to cook.

We have a coles less than 5 minutes from our house, and so I jumped in the car and prayed that it would be open and that I didn’t have to drive for another 15 minutes to get to the nearest Supa IGA.  I was sooo relieved when I got to the supermarket and it was open.

I got to the meat section and there wasn’t a great selection of roasts that were large enough to feed the family . They did have legs of lamb, but they still had relatively little meat if you took the bone into consideration. The cheapest one was 25 dollars and I felt like it was a bit of a rip-off.

I walked up and down the meat section a few times and then had a brilliant plan. We would have a trio of meat. I chose a small eye roast which was reduced and was under $10; a small rolled pork loin that was about $13 and a small lamb half leg which was also about $11.  This would give me a lot more meat than just the leg of lamb, for pretty much the same price.  And they would all fit in the webber together.

When I got home, I handed over the meat to hubster and was finally able to relax.  Once the meat was on and the veges were prepared, we took some family snapshots, and then walked down to the park while Miss O showed off how well she was riding her bike, and Mr S and Mr J raced around the park on their scooters.

We all had fun watching them ride and scoot until Mr S had a major meltdown, becuase Mr J kept on ‘winning’. Even though I explained it wasn’t a race (this is the story of my life), the meltdown began to escalate, so we cut our losses and we all came back home to chat and relax some more.  Thankfully after having some quiet thinking time Mr S was able to calm down and enjoy himself again.

The roast meats and the roast veges all turned out just perfect.  I joined two tables together so we could all eat at the one table, and set all the food out in the middle of the table, so we could choose what we wanted, like a smorgasboard. ( I wish I had of thought to take a picture of the food but we were all so hungry it didn’t even cross my mind). We all ate way too much, but it tasted soooo good, it was hard to stop.

I don’t know how we even ate dessert – but dessert is Dad’s favourite part of any meal, so I wanted to make it more special than just the coles cake (which by the way was awesome) so I quickly cooked up some custard and chopped up some bananas and grapes.

It was amazing to see how well the kids bonded with Dad and my Stepmum even though they had only seen them a few times.  There’s just something special about grandparents.

We had lots of lovely conversation and lots and lots of laughs.

It was a great day.

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Beachcombing at Bramston Beach

Today was Good Friday so we took the opportunity to visit my parents, who live in Innisfail – approximately an hour from Cairns.

The kids were really excited to be visiting Grandma, particularly as she was recently in hospital with heart problems. She had looked so tired and drawn when we visited her in hospital after her angiogram and we are all very relieved that she is on the mend.  As we prepared for the drive to Grandma’s house, Mr J told me several times just how much he loves Grandma.

Grandpa G was in charge of lunch, and prepared Pan Fried Salmon and Chips (cooked to perfection!) and Salad. Mr J and Mr S ate everything on their plate!  I was very impressed.

Before we left home I had made a batch of chocolate mini muffins, and a chocolate cake topped with chocolate sauce and caramel, so we had these decadent delights with cream for dessert.  Everything was devoured but for a few of the mini muffins.

Then Grandma gave the kids their Easter Eggs, which they were very excited to receive. They were all allowed to open one each, so were suitably bouncing off the walls for the next hour or so.

Eventually it was time to leave and my hubster was feeling great after such a relaxing afternoon and wanted to go for a drive ‘somewhere’.

I was not feeling inclined to go driving around as my tummy was feeling full and although I was feeling relaxed, I was feeling rather tired. (…This could be because I was on twitter until 1.30 this morning… but I will not admit to that at all…)

So we headed towards home,  the hubster pouting ever so slightly.  After driving for about 15 minutes as we headed into Mirriwinni, I had a change of heart.

I was thinking about Hands Free Mama and her mission to ditch the ‘to-do’ lists and go “Hands Free” – making use of as many opportunities as possible to make memories for her family.

I started feeling inspired and also reminded myself when I decided to begin my journey towards becoming a better mother and a better person, I had pledged to myself that I was going to make time to create experiences, breathe it all in, and enjoy the view.

On several recent trips to Innisfail, Hubster and I had discussed checking out Bramston Beach. Even though I had grown up only half an hour away, I didn’t remember ever going there, so we had wanted to check it out for a while.

As we reached Mirriwinni, on the spur of the moment, without announcing anything to anyone, I decided to take the 17 kilometre detour and turned onto the road to Bramston Beach.

After a couple of minutes the hubster realised we weren’t on the highway and looked up from the book he was reading.  He asked what I was doing, so I explained I changed my mind and decided that we would check out Bramston Beach. I think that he might think I am fickle. I think he found that adorable.

When we arrived at Bramston Beach, I was totally surprised.  There was virtually no commercial development.  One or two streets of modest looking houses, a caravan park and a cute little resort.  It reminded me of the beaches that I used to visit in my childhood, before the Cairns and Cassowary Coast beaches became popular tourist destinations.

The tide was out and as we went for a walk along the beach the kids were in their element!

Due to the recent strong weather there were a lot of shells, driftwood and all kinds of interesting things at the high tide mark.  We all spent a good hour together, discovering cool things like different types of shells, seeds, and the shapes in the driftwood.

Here are some of the sights…

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There are so many things that I can take from todays experience.

What have I learned?

I now know that a spur of moment decision can lead to the most amazing time just being with and bonding with your kids.

I know that I will remember my experience today and use it to inspire me to create more ‘spur of the moment’ experiences more often.

I know that kids will pick up all kinds of crap and try to bring it home will consider all kinds of unusual items to be special treasures and if you let them bring it home you will be the best mummy in the world  and by accepting and validating their choice of a special treasure to bring home they can feel like they are bringing home a special memory of the day.  (Mr J has even lovingly displayed his piece of driftwood on the bookshelf above his bed. I hope there are no creepy crawlies in it).

I know that if I had not made the effort to take a detour today, I would not have been able to make this ‘hands free’ memory.

Linking up with Dorothy from Singular Insanity.

Pop on over to see what she knows, or feel free to link up share something that you know.