Autumn - Playing in the Back Yard

Our backyard is:
So many waterholes, to tramp through and to play with the dog.
It always amuses me, that the kids make sure they’re clothed, but barefooted, when we go out to play. 
Only to be stripping clothes as they go, running free, wild (and nude), climbing, splashing, jumping and exploring.
This is what I envisioned as a perfect childhood: space to play.
The dam, for sticks, stones and designs for rafts,

and swimming.
Many walking tracks, also doubling up as awesome BMX-tracks.
Coming up to the end of our forest, our gully, drains into the neighbours dam,
it’s such a serene place, about half a kilometre away from the house,
Just the birds twittering and dragon flies playing around you.
But don’t get tricked, it can get really spooky after prolonged rain, with a river pounding trough.
So many pretty mushrooms.

Checking out all the different types of waterlilly’s that are popping up in the dam and waterholes.
Sophie is in love with the blue tinged ones.
The one spot in the house yard that I’m not allowed to mow,
the kids tell me it makes a perfect spot for hiding games and Jedi fights.
All four kids and the dog are hiding and you wouldn't know if it wasn’t for their giggles.
Two found!
Laura has besides her paddock, the whole 20 acres of forest to roam, the girl loves running! 
Same as with the kids, it’s great for her physical development to have space to roam. The rocky, muddy and hilly ground is making her very surefooted. 

Last week we had her first training session, I enlisted the help of a professional trainer to guide me through the process.
Little miss bossy boots did great, accepting everything we did with her, no fuss. Plastic bags flying, noisy banging, sudden movements, overall touch or a saddle on her back. She was cool as a cucumber.
Until we got the part where she had to actually work. Like a belligerent teenager (that she is in horse years), she didn’t accept being told what to do and especially not by a man!  She threw a hissy fit that was just like any other strong willed three year old and then came back in for a cuddle.
We’ve got home work to do... 


Riding it out

Sander is finally getting fit enough that he can make it through the day without naps, his strength is still lacking, but he’s adamant to go back to work tomorrow. 
At least he’s eating again, has some white blood cells back in his body and can walk again without help. 

The kids all had their first soccer games, they had a ball!
Alex scored his first goal and was high fiving his way around the field. David was a little overwhelmed but did great for most of the session, Sophie a little late (me being frazzeled with other stuff) and Tim did great on a bigger field. 
Photo’s, uhm no... 
Maybe more luck next week, although it looks like we have one starting at 8:30, then the other 3 at 9:30, in three different locations! With Maclean being the furthest to travel (60km). 
Better set up some carpooling... 

At least we have everyone signed up, and 95% of the fees sorted, it's been another big week with spending at least 20 hours processing registrations, money and vouchers. 
I’m having great fun with it, things you enjoy give you energy. And I’m making sure there is some fun down time in the mix. Craft mornings with friends are great for the soul...
This week I'll have to park the soccer stuff and spend my focus and energy on my granola, with the school holidays coming up next week, I have to triple my work load to be able to still meet orders for those weeks. 
One more week, Woody Head is calling...
Seeing our first koala, on our ridge!
Very shy and I didn’t wanted to spook little fella, so no close-ups. It’s great to see them around!
The kids all get to choose their chores for the month, they keep surprising me with the jobs they like to take on. Besides their own responsibilities (school bags, cleaning their own rooms, sport bags,...), they all have to pitch in, with jobs that suit their age.
Our Easter walk, although delayed, was still a great success. The older three are now clued in the fact that you can make magic happen. Leaving little eggs to find for each other.
David was shaking trees wherever he went, when you do, little chocolate eggs fall out (with some brilliant throwing arches from Tim).
 and other little surprises....
 Pizza Party.
with a view...
Midweek walk through the forest to clear the head and cool down in the dam.
Nurse Sophie will look after you when you feel a little off.
End-of-terminitus is real...
Spiderwebs in the mist...



Do you think Alex likes his new quilt Oma Evelien made him?

Sander developed a very high fever on his second day home from Thailand. On the 4th day of fevers we made it to the hospital, to rule out malaria (he was in a low risk area) and to to hook him up on some much needed fluids. Blood work came back, it’s off, but luckily clear of malaria.
Although still very weak, thankfully he’s on the mend now.
Our first Amongst Friends, Gum Trees and a Full Moon 
get-together of the year. 
With Sander still out of action, 
our kids all offered to pitch in so they could still have their night with friends.

It was a lovely evening, a cloudless sky and a beautiful and very bright moon, which gave enough light for the kids to ride their bikes, run around, wrestle on the trampoline and play hide-and-seek in the shadows.
Easter egg hunt for little boys in training for Thailand...

Working in two teams,
each team gets to hide eggs on one side of the house,
then they swop sides to find them, but get to give each other clues...

Halfway through the weekend I managed to stake my foot on a branch while Tim clocked out with a mild fever,
Our Easter walk has been postponed until further healing.
Playing in the sandpit, made with leftover tiling sand...
Making the most of the last warm days.
Enjoying the butterflies
 A friendly horse
Trying to tempt someones appetite,
baking fresh, egg enriched, bread


Rock climbing in Thailand

Tonsai Beach,
which is awesome for:
Rock climbing
Deepwater soling
Island hopping
Cliff faces
and caves
These guys have been friends for 40 years!
After 10 days, it’s time to fly to their own hemisphere, home. 
The wives and kids are waiting.



Alex and Sophie have joined Tim on the Aikido dojo.
Aikido’s philosophy stands for the art of peace (not pieces). 
Self defence, changing the energy of an opponents attack into deflection, without harm.
when it’s too hot to cook...
Dinner, has become a very simple affair at our place, afternoons are mostly filled with after school activities, not leaving much time to cook. Lots of salads, fruit, legumes and a bit of meat.
Corn has been our main carb stable for the last couple of months, making the most of the summer harvest. Leftovers are highly favoured, making the meals a bit more diverse and are providing me with lunch.
Rosie, our free as a bird new “pet”.
Alex’s 5th birthday party, his best friends and whole kindy class!
Dragon fruit in flower, so big!
The dam’s new vegetation along the dam wall is starting to look much and healthier, more important it’s becoming stronger! She’s at maximum level, it won’t need much to start a flood now.
Rainy days and rainbows, Summer has started to pack her bags,
but while I’m sitting here dripping with swear on a muggy 35 degree day, she hasn’t left the building just yet.
Sick days, 
our feisty 3 year old turns into a teddy bear, and only wants me as a pillow.
Inspired by a glut of eggs and a free Saturday morning.
Baking bread with a dark chocolate and walnut swirl.
Expanding the granola, 
now also in the kitchen and on the shelves at A Perfect Blend Espresso Bar in Grafton.
Launching the snack packs, rebranding one of my granola’s, loving a good pun.

Besides, I’ve started developing a new granola, something for when the colder days are upon us.
I love this part of my work.
Biggest Playgroup has come and gone, at least 200 kids turned up for the day and had a ball. 
A big event to organise for the committee, but a great way to showcase where we stand for: play and a strong community. 
 The main bathroom, finished!
Loving our very basic and natural new shower and vanity.
(Much easier to clean too!)
Soccer season,
the admin site of it is keeping me rather busy, many evening and free moment spend, 192 registered!
And now all 4 have decided to play this year!
Coaching session with Alex, lesson 1, there’s no climbing involved in soccer.
Loving the change we’re seeing in Sophie, she has been seizure free for 2 years, and spasm free for a year. Something to celebrate!
Last month we lowered her medication, a risk, but we suspected that they were making her sleepy, making it hard to concentrate, to take on challenges and learn.
Already she has so much more energy, she’s tackling things a school, has energy to play and wants to do things, it’s making my heart sing...
Piano lessons, aikido and now also soccer, because there’s more to life then academics.
I’m trying to hold down the fort, while hubby is in Thailand, with his mate Erik.
Tim spend all weekend building a hydraulic arm, David get’s to test it.
I love it when they challenge themselves while helping and encouraging each other.
Looking at my poor (pumpkin) overgrown garden.
My fingers are itching, but my back is sore, signalling me, it’s carrying enough and wants some down time. So I listen, for now.
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