Category Archives: Family

Family Time

In case you are wondering where we are – we’re taking some time out and traveling the East coast of Australia (Canberra to Cairns) to visit family and friends.

We’re a few days in and, to be honest, although traveling this sort of distance with a newborn hasn’t been a painless experience, I can say it has been particularly nice just being together as a family without many of the distractions of everyday life.

Just us, the road, and the next rest stop.

Catch you all in a few weeks.

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Lake Walks

If someone told me they had a day in Canberra and asked me what I’d suggest for an activity, I’d highly recommend strapping on some walking shoes and heading out on the 4.7km (3 mile) bridge-to-bridge circuit of Lake Burley Griffin.
IMG_1040IMG_0583Mel and I would walk the circuit regularly, typically once a week on a Sunday, sometimes stopping for a coffee/tea along the way, but since the bub has arrived, putting some time aside to indulge in a few enjoyable pastimes has been just a bit difficult to achieve.

Since it was such a great day outside, and one of my sisters had popped over to visit, it was just the excuse we needed to all jump in the car and go for a walk.

IMG_0651IMG_0644Aside from the national institutions dotted around the foreshore, including the National Library, High Court, National Gallery and various memorials, the lake also offers the chance to spot a range of wildlife that also think it’s a nice place to call home, like this Australian Black Swan that put on a good show for the camera.

IMG_0790IMG_1009IMG_0906IMG_0732Being such a focal point in Canberra for both tourists and locals alike, you never know what you’ll come across down by the lake.  This time we were witness to a flyover by a few RAAF F/A-18 Hornets, marking the 60th anniversary to the end of fighting in the Korean War.

IMG_0976We had such a good time chatting and enjoying the sunshine.  It was just a fantastic day and I really am looking forward to the next time.  We may not have a surf beach in this inland city, but there’s plenty here for those who want to get out and experience it.

Please feel free to share one of your favorite activities offered by the town or city where you live, I’d love to hear about it!

Baby’s room makeover

Well, it’s taken longer than I had ever expected, but the baby’s room is now ready.  The carpets have been steam cleaned, the ceiling, walls, skirting board, door, windows and door trim have all been treated to a new lick of paint.  An additional power-point and dimmer switch installed, curtains hung, and a new light fitting in place.

IMG_9856Not knowing if it is a boy or a girl has meant we weren’t influenced to paint it blue or pink and so we’ve opted for neutral tones.  The curtains were rescued from certain death after Mel’s parents decided to remodel their house, and my mother, being clever on the sewing machine was able to modify them for use in the baby’s room.    Total cost would be at about $100 for paint, and another $100 for electrical parts.  I wish I had a “before” photo to compare it with, but in reality I don’t think I’d share it anyway – it was horrendous, easily the worst room in our house.  Mel is thrilled with the result and can’t wait to get things all set up.  Now to get cracking on the last bits of furniture!

Preparing for the baby

It’s all about the baby at the moment.   We’re now down to about seven weeks before the due date, and there’s painting to do.   Lots and lots of painting.

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When it came to nursery furniture I always had it in my mind that we’d get something pre-loved rather than buy new, and my approach was confirmed when I walked into a baby store and found the cheapest cot they had was about $800!  My wife needed to pick me up off the floor!   So during the Christmas break my mother was looking over the classifieds and found a cot, change table, chest of draws and bookshelf for $170 total.  They had all been painted by the previous owner – a combination of blue, pink and grey –  but it was decided that our furniture should be white, so let the sanding and painting begin!cotbeforehandsandingIt’s taken weeks, but the cot is almost there – just a few touch ups here and there before it can be bolted together and made up with sheets and a blanket.   The change table is on its way too, then I’ll start on the chest of draws and bookshelf – I’m hoping that these last two pieces will be the least fiddly.cotpaintingThere’s also a lot of action happening in the baby’s room.  The carpets have been steam cleaned, the walls washed down, and framed cross-stitch pieces from one of my sisters lay waiting to be hung.   One of my brothers, an electrician, will come over on the weekend and install some double power points, and a new light fitting as the current one is broken beyond repair.  Mum and I will paint the ceiling, walls and trim.  A great family effort overall.  We should have the room and a cot for the baby to sleep in all ready to go by Sunday, then I’ll have just the few other pieces of furniture to finish.dulux tincrosstichDespite the time invested in the cot – I can’t help but get this great sense of satisfaction from breathing life back into something.   Beats the sensation of swiping a credit card any day.weeliebug

Wedding Anniversary

It was our three year wedding anniversary yesterday.  We celebrated with an afternoon tea at the hotel where we were married, and finished by taking a walk in the courtyard gardens, pausing to kiss beneath the tree where we took our vows.

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With less than two months to go until the expected arrival of our first baby, we’ve got so much to look forward to.

Car Servicing

Cars and engines have always been a little bit of a mystery to me.  I know how they work at a basic level, but I suppose I’ve always been concerned that if I start to tinker I’ll mess something up and it will cost a fortune to repair.  As such, every 6 months I don’t ask any questions and take my car straight to the “specialists”, which involves driving it to the other side of Canberra and handing all my money over to the car dealership, for total piece of mind.

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Well that was the old me.  I had a bit of an awakening recently.  Our car is 11 years old now, and probably not worth more than a few grand if I was to put it on the market – who am I trying to impress with dealership stamps in the service booklet?

So as part of my general strategy to become more self-sufficient and independent,  I asked my brother-in-law (a mechanic himself) if he could teach me to service the thing – to which he replied “it’s a piece of cake mate, I could teach anyone to do it.”

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Turns out he’s right – not so scary or difficult after all.  It was only a minor service – an oil filter, 4 litres of oil, and a few minutes to check a few things like hoses, fluid levels, brakes and CV joints.  It cost me less than $50 in parts, which saved me around $170 compared to the cost at the dealership.

It’s good to go now for another 6 months, and then I repeat the same.  It’ll be due for a medium service in a year’s time, and he’ll teach me how to do that one too.

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I’m still smiling about the fact I’ve freed myself from these shackles – there’s nothing like being able to do something for yourself in this world of specialisation and dependence.