Oct Long Weekend 2011

It’s hasn’t quite warmed up yet in Sydney but that didn’t stop us from making the most of the long weekend. Saturday morning was Romani’s 5th birthday party. Then I ran a workshop for a photography studio in the afternoon and Harris and I went out for Japanese tapas (Jubei Izakakya) in Artarmon followed by the great Crazy, Stupid Love after at the movies.

Sunday morning was prep for our camping trip next weekend, and then to our neighbours for a roast dinner. And Monday was spent at the zoo (exciting to see the new chimp exhibit).

Sophie’s 4th Birthday Party

Strawberry birthday cakeSophie had an amazing birthday party with all her Sydney friends yesterday with a ‘strawberry’ theme. My friend Lisa designed all the strawberry stationery and we had strawberry and choc-coconut birthday cake, vanilla strawberry cupcakes, strawberry jelly in tea cups, strawberry meringue parfaits, strawberry smoothies in mini bottles with stripey straws, and strawberries to dip into warm chocolate fondue. The adults had Harris’ delicious pulled pork and coleslaw sliders, and mini quiche and spinach feta filo pie generously provided by friends. We had fresh freesias in vases supplied from a neighbour’s garden. All the kids took home potted strawberry plants instead of goodie bags. The hit of the party was another neighbour’s jumping castle set up in the backyard. The weather was cool but gloriously sunny and the kids had a ball. All the photos here.

Maui July 2011

We had a great week in Maui with Mimi and Pop Pop at the Papakea in Honokowai. Some of the highlights:
* The food – local cuisine ‘lunch plate’, ahi tuna poke from Foodland Farms in Lahaina, Maui Gold pineapples, bananas, Maui Wowy Onions
* Feet in the sand overlooking the ocean at The Barefoot Bar at Hula Grill, Whaler’s Village, Ka’anapali – happy hour 3-5pm – Mai Tai’s and Plantation Lemonade, macadamia and crab wontons with Coleman’s mustard mixed with soy sauce.
* The acquarium
* Snorkelling at Kapalua Beach – seeing huge green sea turtles (honu).
* Penguins at the Hyatt Regency lobby.
* Art and craft market under the huge Old Banyan Tree which was planted in 1873.
We had one night in Waikiki on the way home and managed to drive out to David’s Bridal to pick up my bridesmaid dress for Justine’s wedding. We took a walk down to the beach and found a great bar with infinity edge pool which happened to be the Sheraton Waikiki. It was happy hour, so we sat for some coconut cocktails and early dinner. A lovely surprise to see more green sea turtles right in front of the bar in the ocean.
Photos in the gallery. Maui post up on Bondville.

July 2011

We had a lovely time at Justin’s 4th birthday party (Soccer theme). Photos here in the gallery. Post up on Bondville here.

Rouse Hill Farm

For something a little different, we drove north-west to the Rouse Hill area to visit the historic Rouse Hill Farm. The girls had a great time feeding the chooks and cows, collecting eggs and walking around the farm. Photos in the gallery. Post here on Bondville.

January 2011

Well January went by in a blur. We were preoccupied with the floods in QLD, but managed to have some fun too. We got back from the Sunshine Coast mid-January and had a couple of weeks to get ready before Sophie started preschool. Some of the highlights:

  • Seeing Lah Lah’s Big Live Band at Spiegeltent (part of the Sydney Festival)
  • Seeing a few movies – Morning Glory (Steph), The Fighter and True Grit (Harris)
  • Michaela’s first swim at Lane Cove pool – she loved it
  • Harris and I had a night out starting with a quick bite at the Sydney Opera House Opera Bar and then a hilariously fun Jimmy Buffet concert
  • I took the girls to see the amazing light-filled balloon rooms of Mirazozo by Architects of Air in the Sydney Opera House forecourt.
  • We hosted Craft Day at our place for Sophie’s friends Justin, Aidan, Karsten and Daniel and made rockets out of toilet paper rolls that now adorn boys’ bedrooms!
  • Australia Day we went to Balmoral Beach with a big group of friends for a swim and then had a BBQ with Estelle, Karsten and Daniel at our place.
  • We took the girls to see the Chinese Warriors (well, a small collection of them) at the NSW Art Gallery.
  • Harris had a genius idea to fix the side gate of our house so that Molly couldn’t get out but we could easily get through – no more trudging up and down the stairs to the front door with bags and bags of groceries and a baby on my hip! Or pulling a heavy stroller up those stairs. It’s an elegant solution and has made life so much easier.
  • We went for a swim at the Dee Why baths (ocean pool) and had Fish and Chips on the grass overlooking the beach.
  • Sushi Dinner at our favourite Japanese place, Sushi-Ya, just up the road from us. Photos here.
  • Photos from January 2011 here.

    2010 in Review

    What a great year 2010 was for us. There was lots of change and movement forward, time spent with family and old friends, and new friends made. Here are some of the highlights:

    Harris Steph Sophie and Michaela1. Firstly, we welcomed Michaela to the world just a few days short of 2010. She has of course grown and learned so much this year and is a happy, healthy one-year-old with a sense of adventure. Bit hard to top that one!

    2. Harris got in touch with his inner Bear Grylls and went on a 4-day canoeing and camping trip on the Clarence River with a bunch of guys over the Easter holidays. They braved rapids and learned not to take quite so much beer next time.

    3. Another big step for Harris was changing jobs and starting a new and challenging position in the subscription TV industry. This also meant…

    4. A move for us to Sydney! This time around we are exploring the north side of the harbour as it is closer to Harris’ workplace and found a great house right on the train line, and only 3 stops to Harris’ work. There is a great park at one end of the street and a library and shops at the other. It’s a heavily Japanese-influenced area so we have access to anything Japanese you could imagine (including great sushi).

    Sophie and Steph, turning 35. Sophie turned 3! This was the most exciting birthday yet, and we planned it together for weeks, resulting in a pink morning tea to rival all morning teas. There was a pink buttercream frosted cake, raspberry jellies, meringue caterpillars, and of course pink cupcakes topped with red hearts. The birthday girl wore her favourite purple tutu and is already planning the next birthday. Pics here.

    The cousins at Deep Creek Lake Maryland6. We had a fantastic family holiday to the US when Michaela was only 5 months old. We started with a couple of days in LA where we met up with Justine and Greg. Then a week in Roanoke with Mimi and Pop Pop, and then we drove to Deek Creek Lake, Maryland, for a family vacation with the Hutkins and the Masters. The girls were in heaven with their cousins, and we celebrated Izzy’s 2nd birthday there. Finally we drove to Pittsburgh for a few days with the Gross’ and the Bergers where Sophie made a special friendship with her cousin Rachel. Then an unexpected stop in LA on the way home where we managed to squeeze in a trip to the Zoo. Pics here.

    Bond Family at the Sunshine Coast7. We had four family holidays on the Sunshine Coast at Nanna and Pops’ place. One of them was just the girls, one was just before we moved to Sydney, one was for Christmas/New Years and one was to catch up with Justine and Greg and to celebrate Sophie’s 3rd birthday. We also had some lovely visits from Nanna and Pops to our new Sydney house.

    Hunter Valley weekend8. We had a fun weekend away the Carseldines and our old friend Greta who was visiting from San Francisco. We had two nights at Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley with wine tasting in the afternoon and dinner to the sounds of the Crowded House concert at the winery across the road. On the way home we stopped off at the Reptile Park in Gosford which was fabulous.

    Michaela and Samuel9. We had a chance to reconnect with friends in Sydney and meet some new friends. We shared a birthday party for Michaela with our new friends Bron and Grant and their boys Justin (3) and Aidan (1) at a nearby park. We also welcomed new babies for the Platts (Oliver), Anne and Paul (Max), Claire and Bram (Lily), Jordy and Matt (Emily), and Caro and Glen (Samuel). I got to spend some time at the Zoo and a great meal at The Chophouse with my old work colleague David who was visiting from LA. And we caught up with Brissie friends the Challenors and the Wilsons when we were at the Sunshine Coast in September. I said goodbye to my Brisbane mother’s group who have been a great group of friends to share baby experiences with (and who now all have 2nd and 3rd babies!). And we also farewelled our dear friends Karla and Leon and little Liv who flew back to London after a glorious 6 months with them in Brisbane.

    Harris and Sophie at Sydney Biennale10. Our most memorable meals out: The Red Lantern with the Mullers and the Nielsens, the Thai Spirit House with Justine and Greg and Blue Plate for our 7th wedding anniversary. We had 2 great BBQ’s featuring Harris’ ribs (one for Thanksgiving) and lots of dinners in with the Wilsons. And we had a great night out at the theatre seeing Jersey Boys in Sydney. For a bit of culture, we took a ferry with the Mullers to Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour to see the Sydney Biennale. For a bit of fun, Harris set me up with Amanda, Lesley and Karla to see a game of Roller Derby in Brisbane for my birthday.

    Sophie and Lola at Babies Proms Music for Tutus11. Sophie had an amazing time at the Sydney Opera House seeing the Babies Proms Music for Tutus with Lola and the Charlie and Lola play with Cliona. She went to Zoe and Isabella’s 1st birthday parties, Livingstone’s 2nd birthday party, Karsten, Lola and Lucy’s 3rd birthday parties and had a ball trick-or-treating at Cliona’s house for Halloween. Soph also started swimming classes by herself in the water with her teacher Skye and is now kicking and swimming with her head under water.

    Our garden12. Around the house, we started our first herb and vegie garden in pots and have been harvesting all summer. I finished renovating our deck chairs and pulled out the sewing machine and have started sewing again. Harris has been surfing as much as he can and the rest of the time we have been spending at Lone Pine in Brisbane and then at Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

    Harris Steph Sophie Michaela13. We’ve been so lucky this year to spend lots of time with Nanna and Pops and have lots of lovely playdates with friends – Archer, Ted, Nelle, Lola, Cliona, Karsten and Daniel.

    2011 will be a great year ahead with Sophie starting preschool 2 days a week in February, a trip to Maui in July and some new ventures on the horizon. Hoping for good health and good times for our family and friends for the new year xxx

    Michaela’s First Birthday Party

    Michaela's birthday cakeIt’s hard to get everyone together for a party over the Christmas holidays, so we joined up with our friends the Nielsen’s to host a combined birthday party for our little one year olds Aidan and Michaela a week before Christmas.

    Bron made a blue freckle cake, cupcakes, cookies, bacon and egg pies and popcorn. I made a chocolate and coconut cake with vanilla bean buttercream icing, spinach and carrot-filled brownies, and sausage rolls and Harris made fruit skewers. We set up at a picnic table at our local park with printable bunting and hydrangeas from the garden to decorate. It was a lovely morning and the kids had a ball playing and blowing out candles. Here is my post about the party on my blog.

    Lots of photos here in the gallery.

    November 2010 Photos

    All photos from November here. Highlights below.

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    Washing Up
    12th Nov 2010
    Soph is learning how to was the dishes. Hopefully she will enjoy it more than her Mum.
    Photos here.

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    Hunter Valley
    19-21 Nov 2010
    A 2 night trip to the Hunter Valley (Pokolbin) with Greta and the Carseldines. Went wine tasting (Mt Pleasant was the unanimous favourite) and then listened to the Crowded House concert from our verandah (they were playing at the winery across the road). I only had my camera for the last winery (Pepper Tree).
    Photos here.

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    Reptile World
    21st Nov 2010
    We stopped off at Reptile World near Gosford on our way home from the Hunter Valley and it was excellent. A beautifully kept park with lots of native Australian animals (and some alligators too).
    Photos here.

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    Harris’ Birthday
    22nd Nov 2010
    Sophie made Harris pizza for dinner for his birthday. Followed by Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food for dessert.
    Photos here.

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    Playing at Home
    23rd Nov 2010
    Soph being a butterfly and the girls eating mangoes.
    Photos here.

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    Lola Playdate at Milson’s Point Park
    25th Nov 2010
    Playing with Lola and Archie at Milson’s Point Park.
    Photos here.

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    Our House
    Some photos of our house including our new armchairs and the vegies/herbs.
    Photos here.

    Neighbours BBQ

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    We had a great BBQ on Saturday with 3 other families in our local area, all with 2 kids each. So that was 9 adults 5 kids and 3 babies chowing down on Harris’ famous-in-two-states ribs, homemade coleslaw and cornbread, roast vegies, and a great corn salsa that the Mullers made. The Nielsen’s kindly made gin and tonics for everyone, and the kids loved their organic lamb, mint and rosemary sausages, followed by juice popsicles, cupcakes and oatmeal cookies from the Nielsen’s. All three babies (Aidan, Zoe and Michaela) loooooved the ribs. We have photos to prove it here.

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