Monday, February 28, 2011

Proud Moments as a Father

I've tried on numerous occasions to list every little thing that makes me proud of my children. The average day for me is so chaotic meaning this always proves difficult. Instead I have just decided to take one example from each child over the past week and note what has put a smile on my face. Here they are in no particular order.

SwimmingOn Saturday - My eldest B 10 has just completed a 1-1 squad training session with his teacher, he knows I used to swim competitively and loves me watching him. On completion of his lesson he walked over to me puffed out but far from gasping for air - I asked "Did you have fun" to which he lit up and blurted out "YES!!!" Proud Moment

Still @ Swimming and Mr C 4 was in a group lesson on safety, picture 15 little wee ones lined up on the side of the pool listening attentively to the talk on safety, he breaks eye contact with the teacher to look at me for a split second to give me a wink, then straight back to paying attention. Proud Moment

Miss L 6 was clearing her plate after dinner on Saturday night and after putting it in the dishwasher hugged my leg and said "Daddy you home made pizzas are my favorite" Proud Moment

Miss H 1 has started walking in the past week or so and the time its taken her to switch from walking to breaking into a dance whenever she hears music. Smiling ear to ear the whole time. Proud Moment

Miss P 3 When seeing that I intended start the bus (to move it closer to my car for a jump) came round out the front door to hug me like it was our last good bye, she griped my leg so tight I had to lift her and pop her in the front seat. The look of sheer excitement on her face as we moved the bus 5 feet closer to my car was priceless. Proud Moment

Mr T 8 Has been doing basketball skills for a few terms now. he reminds me of my younger brother, very tall for his age and not the most coordinated. I missed one week of basketball and to see his improvement in just one week was amazing. Getting free throws in, dribbling everything is starting to click for him. After he finished training and came over to me for his drink bottle - I asked "Are you liking basketball" to which his tomato red face covered in perspiration lit up and exclaimed "YES!!!" Proud Moment

These are just 6 moments from 1 day. That equates to over two thousand proud moments I get per year.
That makes me feel very wealthy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


In a family of 8 there is no shortage on birthdays to celebrate. The youngest two women in our house had theirs recently. 1 & 3

Miss H - I can't believe its been a year already!

Miss P - How are you three?

By far the most treasured member of our family you are not short on love or attention

You're always the fastest to pull a tongue out for the camera

You have more personality and character than many adults I know

Your smile reminds me of you're beautiful mother
You're always the first to feel the cold
What? again with the tongue sheesh

You're face is the most animated of all my children, happy, sad, angry, cheeky. For this shot I simple said "show me angry"
First Boat ride
Smiles in the wind

First foods

Both eaten and worn
Content in dads chair
Down by the river in a comfy lap

Your eldest brother has the most special of bonds, he is your guardian, your 3rd parent.

More scripted faces

An apprentice water baby

1 is an age where children are most exploratory. You've been blesses with an audience larger than most have present for your first steps & beginnings of spoken sentences

3 is an age where you want the world yesterday and you are shaping up to be a firecracker. I'm truely enjoying this time as you're personality is by far the most entertaining.

I treasure the fact that we photograph everything and through these posts as I pick some of my many favorite images of you both I am reminded just how quickly my wonderful children grow and develop.

Happy Birthday my little ones

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Music Goodness

Been a while.......

Some 2011 releases I'm hanging for are the next installment front the wombats. I'm diggin the first 2 singles released from their up and coming "this modern glitch" We're big Wombats fans in our fam, its awesome hearing your 10 year old sing a song word for word (Including liverpudlian accent)
Tokyo Vampires & Wolves

Jump into the fog

also the latest album from the strokes "angles"
I'm a big Julian Casablancas fan and the first single "Under Cover Of Darkness" is bitchin (Sorry no video just audio)

Lastly I have to pay homage to some Aussie hiphop in the form of the latest single from Draphts up and coming "The Life of Riley" Rapunzle has a really sweet psychedlic backing to it.

I've previously posted about Drafts collaboration with M-Phazes on his 2010 album "Good Gracious" the best aussie hip hop album of 2010 see here


My 1st job was delivering pamphlets, I loathed it, it was soooo much time spent folding the junk mail, probably about 75% of the work was folding. You folder until your fingers were black from the ink. It gave me enough pocket money to afford the little things, which at age 14 was parts for my bike.

My 2nd job was working after school on Wednesdays at a family owned photo shop, I did general tasks like cleaning up and eventuated to classifying miss prints. (Classifying photos printed in error helped with calibration the machine that developed photos). There were some eye openers working at this store, you would be amazed what people take photos of. I think the store closed down because of the emerging popularity of digital cameras.

My 3rd job commenced half way through year 12 when I started working as a nursing attendant at an aged care facility. I remained at that nursing home for almost 4 years well into my nursing degree. It was a place of many firsts one of which was experiencing death first hand. I had only ever seen a dead body once. It was my grandfather at his wake the year before. In the years I worked i witnessed all facets of life in particular the lower end of human existence, dementia, incontinence etc etc

Seeing so many people who had lived great lives come to an end was a privilege.

My 4th job was my first IT job doing EFTPOS & point of sale support. The hours were good, I worked 7 out of 14 days on 12 hour shifts. I miss working shifts, in particular how much free time it permits you. After 12 months I was made redundant as the contract I worked on was terminated.

My 5th job was doing the exact same job on the same contract with a new company. I went on to stay at this company for the next 5 years working many roles from tech support to management ending up in operations. I saw the writing on the wall and signs that the company was not managing their finances well and left. (They were bankrupt within 3 years)

My 6th job was working as a technical analyst for a company that owned private hospitals. This was a great job, working in a great team for a great company. As things happen this company was bought out by a smaller company looking to expand. There was good and bad in the takeover, unfortunately all the systems I worked with were targeted for lights out.

My 7th job was working for the company that took over the private hospitals business working on a network project interstate. This was a great experience for me personally and professionally as I was able to move my family to another city. It was a great experience however as we were interrupted by a cute little blond boy we had to move home

My 8th job fell in my lap, the stars definitely aligned for this one. I was sitting in Brisbane contemplating resigning from my job and moving back to Melbourne when a phone call out of the blue set the scene for a new job in Melbourne working as a systems analyst starting around the time that we would arrive home. Though far from the best company on earth working there for the next 5 years was great for me in so many ways. I was able to leverage flexible work arrangements for hospital trips. I would have happily stayed there for many years however working for a tyrant and not being able to visualise where my career there was going made it an easy decision to leave.

My 9th job is where I am now, again IT, again as a systems analyst.

What have I learnt in 9 jobs??

  • Most jobs have an expiry date
  • You learn just as much working for a bad company as you do for a good one.
  • People will stay way too long in a bad job if they work with good people

As a footnote I found it interesting that I had this post typed up yesterday but didn't post it everything from here on I added later.

Today I arrived at work today to an email from my one over manager expressing her thanks to me for the work i've done while my direct manager has been on 5 weeks leave. The Head of the departement was also Cc'd on the email and he had responded and also added his thanks.

I've been working in this new role for only 10 weeks and i'd say that's more praise than I received in the last 3 years at my old job.

This new job feels good.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Are We Nomads???

Its taken a while for our little family to find a place that felt right 10 moves in 10 years to be exact. We've lived in Houses, Units, Townhouses, hi-rise apartments and more. They've been in quiet courts, busy streets, CBD, contry you name it we've tried that shoe on at some point.
I joked with MB that its almost like we have commitment issues, not with each other but with where we choose to reside.

In recent years we've accepted that we need to live in country, I need the hills & bush & Mamma Bare likes the ocean but unfortunately finding both let alone being within commute distance to Melbourne CBD (for my work) doesn't exist within our means.

Sometimes this is hard with the location we've chosen. We dont know that many people, we're new to the area, our house is still a ways away from being started and after outings to meet friends like we did on the weekend makes it hard to visualise our dreams.

Sometimes I wish we had of tried a more nomadic lifestyle after we sold our house. We could have bought a bigger bus, made ourselves debt free and taken off for 6 months, a year, two whatever it took. I wish we'd had more courage to take a leap like that instead of opting for wanting the security of our own property. Perhaps now i'd be sitting by a river or on a beach with a beard and long hair instead of being cooped up in my study shaking off a 90 minute commute.

We have 2 placentas in our freezer awaiting burial yet we have had our land for over a year and not buried them.

I hate questioning a decision. Success and failure are clear cut, you make a decision, it was wrong/right deal with it & move on. But wondering is worse, we have ties to where we used to live, but not liking living there is easily forgotten, missing friends and family isn't.

Another goal for 2011/2012 is to not only start & finish our house (obviously). But to more importantly be more mindful of the reasons for why we left our old neighborhood. And channel those emotions for wanting to leave into building our new life "in the hills".

Glad I got that off my chest. You can follow our dream house musings here (I promise updates will be more frequent now)

Until next time.....

Monday, February 14, 2011

16 Years of Valentines

Valentines day is one of those occasions where I'm torn between the importance of expressing my feelings for my soul mate and doing my best to avoid conforming to an over commercialised "hallmark holiday"

In our early years I made a big fuss about valentines day with flowers and gifts coupled with stuffed toys and going the whole nine yards for every feb fourteen. One can amass quite a few gifts in 16 years together. 16 anniversaries, 16 birthdays, 16 Gifts-mases, 10 wedding anniversaries etc. It all adds up and leaves you in a position where there aren't a lot of gifts you haven't already given your partner.

Theres been jewellery, watches, sunglasses, clothes, you name it I've already bought it. Of course there are some especially memorable ones. I was so happy to get Mamma Bare a new laptop for her birthday in 09. It was just hers, not to be shared or co-used with me or the children. I also treasure my leatherman that she gave me on behalf of our first child on my first fathers day.

Unfortunately i've dropped the ball a few times over the years. In hindsight a filing cabinet wasn't the most romantic wedding anniversary present but hey you live and learn.

Hands down my favorite present that I've ever given MB is this simple pendant:

Its a pregnant woman, hand carved out of an unknown substance (Any Ideas??). It was about $12 at an oxfam store and in my opinion sums up the person I adore. My best friend who has become and awe inspiring mother who personifies the essence of woman in my eyes.

There are earrings I gave her for birthday or Christmas years ago that I cant recall ever being worn (something about having a matching dress) but the pregnant woman pendant is worn most days and for me that is so rewarding.

The best present is rarely what someone wants and never what someone needs. Its something that surprises them, a symbol that shows them who they are what they mean to you.

Mamma Bare is so much more than just a strong woman & mother of our children and far more than a simple pendant can illustrate. She is my everything & although I could never say it as often as I think it and I wont be able to find as awesome a gift as that pendant every time.

I hope I can continue to be her eternal valentine and make her as happy as she does me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


As I eluded to in my last post on our trip to the water slide park I pulled up pretty sore after one particular trip down the speed slide.

On the drive home my chest continued to hurt more and more, it got to the point where I had to use a clothes peg on the seat belt to keep it off the left side of my chest. The night came with more pain, I had a touch of a cold and at one stage let out several sneezes in a row. The pain felt like each sneeze was someone kicking me in the ribs. I slept ok (more exhaustion from the busy day) but with Tuesday came further pain.

I kept my movement to a minimum when I was at my desk in the office. We had dinner with family and had 2 beers and felt better until bed time. I spent the whole night trying to lie in a position that didn't hurt. With that night came shortness of breath (made worse when I was horizontal). I dragged myself out of bed and off to work on the Wednesday but spent most of the day hunched over my desk trying to restrict my movements. Lunchtime came and I decided to try and walk it off but unfortunately after the uphill stretch back to the office I was well and truly spent.

On advise from both Mamma Bare and my boss I decided to take myself to the hospital to in the least get some decent pain relief. The doc was confident I had a rib fracture despite not being able to determine which one on XRAy so I took a prescription for some decent pain meds and headed home.

After a day on decent meds i'm feeling better, I wouldn't want to run or make any sudden movements and certainly not sneeze but general activity is more tolerable.

While I'm not young I'm certainly not old and had I been carrying a little less weight and been maintaining a better level of fitness I'm sure I wouldn't be hurting as badly now.

I've been eating healthy since I started my new job and have had little or no coke in 2 months. I've also been trying to exercise every lunchtime with at least a 30 minute walk, this has been coupled with plenty of activity at home, hiking, walking the bike trails with the boys etc. Its a great thing to be fit and healthy. MB has also been keeping up the healthiness with good eating and upping the exercise. Every time I catch a glance of her I'm impressed with how fitter she looks every day.

I hope this rib injury will only see me out of action for a week or so because I don't want to lose momentum that has been gaining speed since before Christmas.

EDIT: Funny thing I had some coke for the first time in ages last night, the combination of 2 glasses of coke and watching a little to many eps of Sons of Anarchy I didn't go to bed til 05:00 this morning. Coke is Evil kids

Until next time.......

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Slip Slidin Away

As I mentioned in my last post we had the "Not Back To School Day" coming up at a water park. We decided (learning from last year) that a 9:30am meeting time meant departure from our house at least 4 hours prior to this. This year we decided to spend the night in a holiday park nearby. I was amazed at our accommodation, we drove down Sunday afternoon and arrived after several detours due to widespread flooding to find a 3 bedroom unit that slept 8 all for $130 (Bargain).

After unpacking the bus MB and the children went and checked out the local parks in a reserve that wasn't flooded while I whipped up some spag for the fam. Another treat was eating outside (a treat for the children and less mess to clean up for mum and dad) this is something we will do more often for sure.

Another treat was having a television, while we have a TV at home we don't have the aerial connected and only watch downloaded movies and some TV shows. So needless to say there were some surprises. I cant believe how many adds there are, and when did Aussie TV get so boring.

After a relatively early night we all rose around 7:30 (when I say rose I mean I had to drag every child out of bed) for breakfast then we headed off for the waterslide park. More floods meant more detours but we arrived on time and checked in. An addition to last year was waterproof wrist bands so home-ed kids and parents alike could identify one another. This was an awesome idea as it meant the children all jelled quite quickly as did the parents.

I was pretty happy with our setup of one wheeled suitcase & a backpack meaning we were able to get in, set up strip the kids of their outer clothing and sunscreen up in a nice shady spot overlooking one of the playgrounds.

There was one incident though. I agreed to race the boys down the highest slide so I gave them a head start before taking an almighty kick off but as soon as I was on my way knew I was going too fast. I hit the first bump and got some air then hit the second taking off about 3 feet off the slide. I came down with a crunch. I hit the bottom and lay there winded gasping for air, the life guard came over and after asking if I was ok commended me on the "air" i got. I put on a brave face and hobbled over to our deck chairs and chilled for the rest of the day with a fair amount of pain on my left side ribs.

Cracked ribs aside we had a ball. I was so proud of the children for how well they behaved and interacted with new friends not to mention the bravery of C & L heading straight for some of the higher and more daunting slides. Miss P was content to play in the water playground as was miss H where Mamma Bare could watch them so I was able to ride some of the bigger stuff with the older children.

Here are some of the highlights

Its important to wear sunscreen (she'll kill me for posting this)

The slide I hurt myself on

Until next time.....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Le Boos

Aside from the Apple shares I bought when I was 19 the purchase of our bus aka "le boos" was probably one of the smartest decisions I've ever made. It was a few years in the making though, with the arrival of baby #2 in 2002 I bought a fairlane v8 (hands down one of the nicest cars i've ever driven) which a scum bag with no license or insurance then ran into (thankfully we had full comp). A replacement 4x4 with more than 5 seats would have been a wise choice but I opted for another sedan, this time a Holden Calais (I will never buy another Holden) which saw us through to the arival of baby #4. At this stage the 4x4 was again suggested but I opted for a 7 seat people mover having hired one for a few weeks when we moved to Brisbane. This saw us through the arrival of baby number 5 but soon needed replacing with the imminent arrival of baby #6.

Enter Le Boos.

I shopped around and looked at the offerings from the other manufacturers that do vehicles over 8 seats, Toyota - too expensive, & no luggage space, Mercedes, too expensive again, Renault no thanks even Hyundai entered the ranks but it was the ford transit 12 seat bus that won out in the end and here are a few reasons why:
  • Easy to Drive- I doubt I will ever buy anything but and automatic turbo diesel ever again its so nice to drive
  • Mileage - She costs about $100 to fill depending on the price of diesel that day of the week, and depending on the temperature and if you stay on 100kmh she wil easily do 8-900 km to that tank.
  • Space - Behind the back row of seats is approx 2 cubic metres of space, what this means is you don't have to fold up a pram, you can carry at least 20 suitcases, you can move house (everything fitted in the bus except the fridge and couch)
  • Sitting up high - You can look over traffic, you can see into cars you can pull out of side roads with ease. This also helps create a sense of extra safety.
  • Vinyl Floors - I'll never clean vomit out of car carpet again
  • Duel zone A/c - The children seem to be a few degrees out from us in the front so on a hot day we have the A/c on full in the back but low in the front
  • Truck Tyres - The bus uses truck tyres which from what I've seen so far have done 50,000km and are only starting to look like wearing on the fronts
  • Portable Change Room - If we go to the beach we can all change in the bus with its dark tint people outside are none the wiser.
  • Portable Change Table - The back floor is the perfect height for changing a dirty or wet nappy
  • Child can separate - With 12 seats we can actually seat 5 children apart from one another
  • You can park in a bus zone
  • You can drive in "Bus Lane" on the freeway (this has circumvented many a gridlocked traffic jam for me)
  • It beeps - The thought of backing over a child be it my own or someone elses terrifies me, there is no sneaking up on someone with the Beeep beeep beeep
  • Cheap to buy - We bought a second hander for around the same money as a late model Tarago
  • Cheap to insure - The 12 seat bus is cheaper to insure than my little 2 door hatchback
We certainly give her a work out, this is from a recent trip over the great divide

She has seen the cold too (and floods)
Why list everything great about a bus? Well for one we met a lovely family yesterday with 6 children who had more or less outgrown their 9 seat land cruiser and reveled in the chance of a tour.

There are 2 things that face large families or people planning large families, accommodation and transport. Of course you can fit 8 people in a 2 bedroom house with bunks and the like but transport is more complicated. Obviously there is the option of public transport, personally I commend any parent that catches public transport with children (I certainly wouldn't)

Extra passengers

The long and the short of it

Where to from here for our bus? Well when asked what I wanted to upgrade my runabout to my first answer to Mamma bare was "ANOTHER BUS" but obviously that's probably not practical. The only negative for the bus is the places you can park, at a guess I'd say you can only park in 80% of the car parks cars can (ie underground/multilevel are out). I must say though I have been drooling over Toyota coasters (24 seats) and hope that down the track I can buy a full size passenger bus and convert it to a camper for our round Australia trip.Have to wait a while for that one.

I do have to replace my runabout though, I'll be getting myself a 4x4 for sure, its no bus I know but I'll make sure its turbo diesel, has vinyl floors and sits nice and high in the least because I've been spoilt by our awesome bus.

Buy a Bus people!!!!

Disclaimer: I wish I bought apple shares when I was 19

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A week gone by and another to come

Firstly I must apologise for the dot point update, its been hot and I've avoided extra PC time.

Miss P turned 3
Its hard to believe its been three years since the smallest (though not youngest) memeber of our family popped out into my waiting hands. While her 1 year old sister isn't far off sharing her clothes she is the bigest personality of our crew by a long shot (not to mention the loudest) We had a quiet gathering with her grand parents and she got some different pressies including a doctors kit that has been a big hit.

I finally got a decent enough break in to go to my fave little specialist shoe shop for some new clod hoppers, In the form of some snazzy boots for work and a second pair for walking around town.

Man Bag
I managed another equally extended lunch break to pick up a man bag for all manner of things I like to cart around. While the brief was simple it had to:
-Fit an iPad
-Have ample internal pockets for headphones keys and coins & phones
-Be waterproof
-Be small enough to be worn on a crowded train
-Have velcro and a clip for security
I scoured the interwebs for all manner of man bag but unfortunately didn't like anything I saw. I remembered where there was a factory outlet for crumpler and while nothing on their website met my needs I decided to have a look in the hope of getting an older model that may tick my boxes. I did in the form of "the soupandsalad son-o" yeah I don't get the names either. (I got the blue/yellow one)
Mamma Bear was ill, in 6 children she has only had mastitis twice and this time was pretty hard on her, mixed in with a few high 30 degree days and plenty of humidity saw her pretty wasted. I felt crap that I couldn't do more for her. She never loses her cool with the children but I could see the combination of being crook and the heat and half a dozen shadows wore her down. Its frustrating seeing people with 1 or 2 children who get multitudes of help all the time, people dont offer to "take 5 off your hands" for an afternoon so mum can rest so we make do. I tried to have all the washing done before mondays return to work as well as taking care of the meals but with a 1 year old you are challenged thats for sure. Heres to no more sickness and a paid babysitter so maybe we can have our first date in well over 3 years

Incense for mosquito's
Living in the sticks means bugs and if you're unfortunate to be a mosquito magnet like some in our family are they can be an annoyances. Its not ideal to close up the house when we get such nice breezes and mossie candles stink so we decided to try some sandelwood incense. I have to say I love the smell and each night I've had a stick burn I've sat next to an open window and haven't had any bites.

Work has continued to be awesome, I'm really getting into working for the government and can really see good in the work people in my department do and indirectly the systems I work on.

Lack of two wheeled action
Its been almost 2 months since I've been for a motorcycle ride, I'm not craving it but am missing it. I'll probably take the Duc for a spin just to give it a run this weekend but wont do any long rides for a few more months. Life is a little busy at the moment for selfish passtimes

The eldest boys and I went for a hike up one of the local mountains yesterday, despite torrential rain we wore ponchos, it was challenging, steep, slippery and the track was more overgrown than I expected, we also encountered several leeches I had alf a dozen on one leg. I think I might invest in a water resistant camera for capturing some of the more active and messy activities we do as there were some awesome photo ops.

And the week ahead?

One of the great things about home schooling (there are so many I could bang on all day about them) is the fact that you're no bound to standard school hours or calendars. Lets face it if you go to a family destination be it the zoo, the beach or even the movies it kind of blows during school holidays. Don't get me wrong I love children (well certainly my own) but when an attraction is swarming with families its not as enjoyable.

Enter home Education, forget the crazy 8:30am traffic as parents flock to their childrens school drop off zones, forget about the panda enclosure that you queued at for 90 minutes, or the noisy movie theater. Its awesome when everything is quiet-er.

Monday we have the annual "Not-back-to-school" meet where by many Home Educators take their broods to a water park down the coast for a day of water slides and aqua cycling and much more. Monday is "Not-back-to-school" day and I cant wait.

The change in jobs and switching to consulting (no paid leave) means that our 2011 wont be as active as 2010 was in terms of me taking days off work for activities so I hope to get the most out of Mondays water fun.

Until next time

EDIT - I should add that by help I meant taking the children of MB's hands for an afternoon. She did receive help via our ever so handy Doula who delivered some herbs and potatoe compress to ease the mastitis.