Happy Easter Everyone! I know I have been ‘MIA’ this last month and I have heaps to fill you all in on, but this is just a short post to pop back in, say hi, share some Easter spirit from our neck of the woods and see what everybody else got up to for Easter. Continue reading
This morning I am linking up with our ever patient, super nice blog mentor, Pip Lincolne from the blog ‘Meet Me At Mikes’ who is hosting a little ‘tea party’ in celebration (insert drum roll here please!) of our graduation from her ‘Blog With Pip‘ e-course!
All of us little ‘Pipsters’ or ‘Pip’s Peeps’ as we have become known, are sharing posts today to tell you a few things about our crazy selves! Most of you who follow my blog already know our family pretty much inside out by now as you are either related to us, have been friends – aka have put up with us before – or joined us to be subjected to our ravings over the last twelve months as we planned and headed off on our trip around Oz!
However, if I am lucky enough to have a new visitor today – WELCOME! I made a little audio recording (woot! I learnt lots of new somethings!) at the start of our blog course to share a bit about myself and I’ve included that below as an introduction for any newbies here. If you already know me, you may get a laugh to start your day out of hearing my nervous little voice live on the internet, so have a listen!
You can also read more about us here if you are still interested!
Anyway, today I thought we’d just have a little chat about a few bits and bobs that I have floating around in my head at the moment, you know, just the way we would if I was sitting down with you across the table. We better get one thing straight first though, I don’t drink coffee or really much tea, so soda water and cordial, or a ‘V’ and a banana chic-chip muffin are more likely to be on offer at my place at the moment!Right, so I’m just going to do a bit of a brain dump – list style and hopefully you will find something of interest in there!
1. I’m feeling very sad that I have just about finished posting about our trip around Oz – reading back on this post and this one, makes me just wish for the open road again! So, Matt is on the hunt for a camper trailer for us now to replace ‘good ole’ Karen. Does anybody have some recommendations for us? We will be buying second hand and our current favourites are the Cameron Campers and the All Terrains. I’d love to hear some thoughts on people’s camper trailer experiences!
2. I really, really love following Kelle Hampton’s blog, Enjoying The Small Things and she wrote a great post recently on having identity issues at 35 – it is a long read, but definitely gets the brain a-ticking! Do we all have a bit of a ‘what am I doing with my life?’ moment when we hit our thirties? I know we sure did – surely we’re not the only ones?
3. Are you on Instagram? You can find us on there having lots of fun this month following along with this #photoaday challenge set up by another awesome blogger Fat Mum Slim. It’s a great way to make the time to take a snapshot everyday and try to improve those photography skills!4. Remember I wrote about how this year is the International Year of Family Farming and I said I’d have to think of some ways for us to get involved? Well so far, this is what we have come up with ……………………….
We’ve signed on to learn how to become Rural Champions with AgForce Queensland so hopefully later this year we may go into the local schools and talk with kids about the careers available in the Agricultural Industry, something we didn’t know much about when we were kids, which seems crazy given that we grew up in a rural community! Have a look at this site for more information about the program http://www.futureag.org.au/resources/rural-champions.html
My sister Beth is showing us up with her awesome shopping efforts at her local produce market, so I have vowed to try to work out where I can buy more direct produce from the farm gate up here!
5. It might just be the pregnancy hormones, but a couple of blog posts I read recently were so lovely they made me cry. Check out this one from Seven Cherubs: Fairy Bread and Garden Salad and this Scatter Love Story from Fat Mum Slim.
6. Since we’re having a cup of tea, I should tell you about another great ‘Cuppa With’ that I have had recently! The National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) are running some great free webinars for rural women all over Australia as a chance to network and learn all sorts of things. A few weeks ago I heard all about how to use Facebook for business better and tomorrow night I am hopefully going to get my head around and make the most out of Twitter!
Well, that’s about it on my end! Have you read anything interesting recently? Are you learning something new? Seen anything that made you cry? I’d love to hear about it, tell me about it in the comments, leave a link to a blog post you have written about it, or send me an email! Let’s chat!
This is really such a random Flashback Friday post. I think I’m very tired or maybe it’s the heat, or baby brain, or I don’t know, maybe I’m just a bit nutty, but tonight I’m having a trip back down memory lane to remember all the different cars we have had in our life to date. It’s actually quite interesting to see how our family has evolved through our vehicle choices, and also to see that there are all kinds of ways to get away camping! So, without further ado, here is the Fealy Family history in cars over the last 15ish years.
Lets start with Matt’s first hot rod ……………………………. ‘Little Red Car’. Matt’s older brother did say “are you serious??” (with a few expletives in there) when a 19yr old Matt took him to check out his first car purchase. It didn’t have much of a cool factor but Matt loved this car!!
My first car was ‘Stevie’ the Festiva. Matt helped me buy her when I got my first full time graduate job and Matt finally got out of having to taxi me to netball 3 nights a week!!
Then a baby came along so we decided we needed a ‘family’ car. Introducing ‘Tezza’ Terios.
Then, another baby and another baby, and we thought we might have some more babies, so it was time for a people mover and we found ‘Graham’ Grandis.
With 3 kids and both of us working, it also meant we needed a second vehicle and this is where the second love (after me of course!) came into Matt’s life.
Much as Matt loved his motorbike, when Jack started going to school we realised that it was not very useful for picking kids up on! So after much angst, Matt decided it was time to say goodbye to the bike and hello to ‘Sammy’ Sirion.
Unfortunately ‘Sammy’ turned out to be a bit of a lemon and her engine died after only 2 years in the family so she was turfed out and we welcomed ‘Harris’ the Yaris, who you might remember we sold just last year to help fund our trip around Oz!
Graham the Grandis was of course sold to purchase our trusty stead, Peter Prado who we think will be with us for many more years yet!
So there you have it, a family history in cars! Goes to show that you can still camp without a 4wd, although you probably won’t make it into any 4wd action magazines!
Do you remember your first car? Do you have a car ‘love’?
It will be interesting to see what our kids think of these cars in 20 years time!
Our Sunday Snapshot this week is of our afternoon walk today. We are big fans of the afternoon family walk.
We don’t go far at the moment, with me waddling along. When the kids were babies we walked a lot, sometimes just around the block, sometimes just up the road to take the wheelie bins out, and some days for long jaunts exploring somewhere new. It was a way to fill in time in the afternoons when we were all tired and cranky, but it was too early for baths and dinner!
Now I love it as just a way to get us all out of the house and enjoy the best time of the afternoon here when it cools off enough to be pleasant outside. Matt has been doing some long days in the packing shed at the moment so we love when he finishes early enough to come for a stroll with us all and tell us about his day.
What about you? How was your weekend? Do you like afternoon walks?
This term Lexi started ballet. This world of dance is so very new for us. I have never danced. In fact I am the world’s worst dancer! I am a netball or a swimming club kinda girl! I feel so out of place waiting outside the dance studio with all the other dance mums. I have no idea how to do Lexi’s hair into a nice ballet bun, I don’t know how to braid hair, or do makeup, or even sew costumes, and we had to get the lady at the dance wear shop to find everything we needed for her ballet class!
But, the girl in our family wants to give it a shot and I want to try to let go a little! To let Lexi do something that maybe neither of us will be great at, but it will be just for pure and simple enjoyment and perhaps that is enough. Maybe we’ll only do it for a term, or maybe a year, or maybe it will turn out to be something she loves for the rest of her life. I’m trying not to over think it.
Plus, there’s still plenty of time for her to be an olympic swimmer or netballer yet, right? 🙂
I’m pinching an idea my Uncle Murray started among our family on Facebook, and bringing in a ‘Flashback Friday’ post to the blog. This will be a chance for me to share and record for posterity something that happened in the Fealy Family past.
With all the work that has been done to renovate the nursery over the last week and some sorting of baby things happening, I’m starting to think about the arrival of baby No 4 in only nine-ish weeks time – eeeek!!! That in turn lead to me thinking about the craziness of becoming a mum for the first time with Jack’s birth and I realised that I hadn’t yet posted the email Matt wrote when Jack was born (you can read Toby and Lexi’s arrival emails here and here), so that is what we will kick off ‘Flashback Friday’ with! Seems like it was only yesterday – not eight and a half years ago!“Hi Everyone,
Just a super quick group email (sorry!) to let you all know that at
3:07pm today the 26th of November 2005, Jack Thomas Fealy made his way into
this world! Mum and bub are doing well after a few little concerns that had
us a bit worried. Jess woke me up at 4am after about an hour of contractions
that she though were just “pretty normal”. From there things got interesting
fairly quickly so we made our way to the hospital by about 7am-ish (Thanks
to Jamie who chose the wrong night to stay over!)
Anyway save the details, Jack was born. He was a bit naughty to begin with
because he did not want to breathe for about 2 mins after delivery but once
he started crying he didn’t stop. I have attached a few photos from just a
few hours ago when Jess was feeling well enough to give him his first feed.
He is in “special care” right now which is not like intensive care just
special, and it is only for precautionary measures due to the fairly
difficult birth. Hopefully he will be out of special care in 48hrs or so.
They had to use a bit of suction so please excuse his head shape (it is
already lots better then it was )
Matt, Jess, Jack and Jerry Fealy (yes Jerry has not been forgotten just
You’re probably all wondering what crazy drugs or coffee addiction I’ve got going on at the moment with all these blog posts flooding your email inboxes! Well, the truth is, I’m actually taking part in an online blogging course this month called ‘Blog With Pip’.
One of my favourite blog’s I love to read, Foxs Lane
recommended the course and you all know that my New Years Resolution was to do something fun for me and devote a bit more time to blogging, so whammo – I bit the bullet and enrolled in my very first e-course!
The course is fantastic, albeit a little overwhelming at times with blogging/social media overload! I am learning sooooooo much and hopefully you have noticed a few of the little changes I have started to implement on our blog (all feedback welcome!).
I’ve even gotten to know some new friends and now have a whole pile of interesting blogs to read!!! Check out Heike’s blog for more travelling around oz good-ness, or Cat’s blog for a granny-chic lifestyle fix – Tassie style, or if you want some new jewellery, have a look at the blog of Clare, in St Louis, USA (also great for some snow photos too!). There are heaps more lovely blogs which I will have to share with you over the next few weeks!
So, my assignment this week is to ‘Take Stock’. It’s just a little snap shot of what is happening here in my world at the moment …………………………… no laughing at my answers!
Taking Stock – Feb 2014
Making : Beds!
Cooking : Banana Cake for afternoon tea
Drinking : Soda water and lime cordial – delicious!
Reading: Buddhism for Mothers (great recommendation Stell!)
Looking: at the patio which really needs sweeping.
Playing: Zac Brown Band of course!
Deciding: If I have time to go into town for groceries today
Wishing: for a family weekend away at the beach
Enjoying: having no kids at home!
Waiting: for the electrician to come
Liking: that life has started to settle into routine a little bit
Wondering: if we are having a boy or girl!
Loving: my newly renovated nursery
Pondering: the implications of privacy online vs wanting to blog about our family
Considering: if Lexi should do ballet 2 times a week or netball on Saturday’s instead
Watching: nothing – sticking to our no TV during the week ban!
Hoping: we get a storm this afternoon
Marvelling: at how fast life is flying by at the moment!
Needing: to get tea organised
Wearing: a black maternity skirt that was my friend Shelley’s
Following: Miss Grey Photography
Noticing: that our hedge really needs trimming
Knowing: I am spending too much time on the computer at the moment
Thinking: of four letter boys and girls names
Feeling: guilty that I haven’t done any vacuuming yet!
Admiring: how successful Pip Lincolne is
Sorting: boxes of baby clothes
Buying: a new water bottle for one of the worker’s after Matt ran over it in the ute this morning
Getting: called by Matt on the UHF
Disliking: the heat!
Opening: a new box of laundry powder
Giggling: at this photo which came up on Facebook yesterday; Reason #87 to hire a photographer
Snacking: Saos with cheese and tomato on them
Coveting: an ipad mini
Wishing: that we had got to do more of our trip – particularly WA
Helping: Matt get the dorm ready for some more workers arriving tonight
Hearing: the Semi-Trailer at the shed being loaded up with the pallets of avocados we packed yesterday
Why don’t you play too? I’d love to hear what is happening in your neck of the woods! Copy the template below and paste your answers into the comments on this post or share on your own blog, or Facebook page, via email, whatever! It’s a bit of fun, c’mon have a go!!
If you’ve been following our blog for a while then you know I am a planner. It is of course pretty much a given then, that I am a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I am definitely a ‘reach for the moon, even if you miss you will still land among the stars’ kinda girl! I love to set goals for myself and our family and although we don’t always achieve them, I really believe that they give us direction for our year, a plan towards the things that are most important to us at this point in time.
At the start of each new year, Matt and I usually sit down and come up with a ‘Top 5’ goals that we would each like to achieve personally. We like to have a couple of ‘family goals’ as well. I then put these up on our whiteboard, so they are there in plain site for us all (even the kids now that they are learning to read) to see them. The whiteboard also usually has a rolling monthly ‘to do list’ and our weekly meal plan on it.
We went round the table at breakfast on New Year’s Day morning and asked what our New Year’s Resolutions were;
Lexi – “to build a swimming pool for my birthday” (hmm, think we might have to talk about ‘realistic goal setting’ before next year!)
Toby – “to learn how to ride my skateboard without falling off”
Jack – “to read all of the Narnia Books in the series, even the boring ones”
Matt – “to learn how to better deal with things that don’t work or go wrong”
Jess – “to have some time to myself to do something fun before bub comes”
We have really struggled this year though, to find what the Fealy Family focus is. We don’t have any big holidays planned, we’re not really sure what our careers are doing at the moment, we don’t have a clue how a typical farm year plays out so it is tricky to make plans for going away, we aren’t living in our own home so no major renovating is going to happen, and we’ve kind of forgotten what we used to do for fun!
At first, I was really frustrated by this, worried that we had ‘fallen off the wagon’ and weren’t going to achieve anything in 2014. But, as the first month of the year has gone by already, I’ve come to the realisation that it is ok not to have some major project planned, that this year can just be a year of consolidation. I’m calling 2014 a Building Block Year. Sure, not as exciting as the year we had last year, but I think ‘building block’ years are just as important in the scheme of things for the big dreams! These are the years that lay the foundations for the long term goals to eventuate. This is a head down, bum up, work hard, look around, time out to think and plan, year. I hope this makes sense to all of you, it does to us!
I did manage to come up with a Top 5 for myself which I am going to share here just so you can hold me accountable (and I can check back and see how I went in 12 months time)! These are not ‘I’d like to’s or I will try to’s”, these are my ‘I will do’s for 2014!
Jess Top 5 2014
1. Get the trip blogging finished and blog more regularly. Learn some new blog/writing skills.
2. Get baby nursery organised and baby things purchased and ready to welcome Bub No 4.
3. Re-instate ‘Bell Girls Weekend’ for 2014 (a yearly weekend away with my Mum and sisters)
4. Lose 10 kilos after Bub is born through daily excerise routine (30mins everyday!)
5. Finally print out a photo album of baby photos for each of the kids for their birthday’s.
I’m also going to do this great idea that I saw floating around Facebook at the start of the year;
And Our Top 3 Fealy Family Goals 2014
1. No TV during the week
2. One week away camping, with at least two long weekend camping trips.
3. One ‘family only’ outing per month.
I feel better and much more organised already just for putting these up on here! So, what about you? Do you make New Year’s Resolution’s or goals for the year? Put them down below and I’ll check up on you in a year’s time!!
Just over two weeks ago now, we had to say goodbye to a very loved member of the Fealy Family, our little dog Jerry. I grew up on a farm so I am no stranger to the fact that animals come and go, having seen many animals killed for meat, humane purposes and pest management. So, I was a little surprised by how hard it was to say goodbye to Jerry. We had to have him put down as he was nearly twelve years old and had become too sick, a result of a disease in his gums (yes – he did have the worst set of teeth and smelliest breath getting around!). We have missed Jerry lots these last few weeks. We keep expecting him to be waiting at the door when we get home, to see him curled up in his bed in our room, or come trotting back home satisfied with himself after scavenging some yummy treat off the worker’s in their camp kitchen!
It has taken me until now to feel like I can write a post about him without having to leave the computer in tears – such a sook I know! But, he really was a big part of our family and deserves to have his own post written to remember him, so here it is!
Jerry (also known as Jezza, Jerry Dog and Stinky) was a supposedly ‘purebred’ (we have our doubts!) maltese terrier, born in July 2002 and came to live with Matt and I when he was just over 8 weeks old, not long after we moved in to our very first place together. Matt bought him as a gift for me, along with an engagement ring, and presented them to me for my 22nd birthday. I had once said to Matt during our early ‘courting’ days that all a girl ever wanted was a puppy, a diamond ring and Prince Charming, so when Matt offered all of those things when he proposed, how could I possibly have said no?!?!
Jerry was our first baby, he was our practice run at what parenting would be like. Matt and I argued over whether he was allowed to sleep in the house or not, and after 2 nights of puppy Jerry howling outside our bedroom window, upset at being relegated to an old tv box kennel, we ‘compromised’, and Jerry spent the rest of his nights in his dog-bed at the foot of our bed! Matt learnt that while positive reinforcement when obedience training our ‘first child’ is good, if you over-reward with the doggy chocolate, then you will have dog who vomits chocolate bits for days and who then never responds to a doggy treat ever again!
We are so sad that Jerry never got to meet Fealy Bub No 4. He was very much a part of the baby years of all the kids! Matt and I distinctly remember lying in bed a few nights before Jack was due to arrive and having a conversation about how on earth we were going to love a child as much as we loved Jerry – little did we know! As our family grew, Jerry was always there! When Jack was born he would get up from his bed and follow me to the nursery for every night feed. When Toby was born, Jerry would wake and look at me from his bed with one eye open as I fumbled off to the nursery. By the time Lexi was born Jerry didn’t even wake, a progression much like a certain Dad!
Jerry went everywhere with us. Once we had the kids though, Jerry did get a little neglected. There was the time we nearly left him behind after a BBQ at Cedar Creek and were lucky enough to have another picnicker come running after our car with him. As well as the time that we left him at the park after loading 3 kids, 3 scooters and 3 bikes in the car and we didn’t realise until 9pm that night. We were lucky that he attached himself to another family at the park with a pram who had noticed us and they realised what had happened and handed him in at the vet for us. And the time that we nearly left him behind in the car park at the botanical gardens, we’re not sounding like the best of family for him are we? It was no wonder that every chance he got he would try to jump into someone else’s car!
Despite what it seems, we did love him so. We now miss the looks he used to give us while waiting to be invited to jump on to our laps on the couch, the sleeping ‘nightmare barks’ he used to do which would wake us in the night, the cleaning up of crumbs he would always do for me underneath the kids chairs at the table and the warm cuddles he would give at night lying on your tummy after a hard day at work or with the kids. He didn’t do any fancy tricks, he could not even chase a ball, but he put up with all of us and was a huge part of our family.
Rest in Peace Jerry.
Thanks for the memories little mate. xoxoxoxoxox
We have come to the very tough decision that we are selling our faithful ‘home away from home’ Karen Camper’.
It was always a given that when we ended our trip we would have to sell ‘Karen’ and down size back to our tent set up or maybe purchase a camper trailer. We drew down on our home loan to purchase Karen and know now that our trip is over that we should sell her and put some $$$ back on our home loan – financially that is the smartest thing to do.
We just won’t get the time off to do another big trip like that again any time soon. Our camping trips now will be weekends and hopefully a few extended week or 2 week adventures. Added to that 4 children would be a very tight squeeze in Karen.
So, big sigh, she is up for reluctant sale. Here are the details as per Matt’s ad on Gumtree;
“Meet Karen the Kamper
Karen has safely and very comfortably carried our Family of 5 most of the way around Australia for the last 4 months.
If you are looking for the “Hardly used” or “Never been offroad” camper Karen is NOT it.
If you want a camper that has canvas and vinyl that is perishing, hardened tyres that have flat spots and shockies seals that have cracked all due to lack of use, Karen is NOT it.
If you want a camper for your ‘Round Oz trip, that has already been round the block 3 times and had all the little modifications made to it to prepare it for some real adventure then Karen IS it.
We are the third owners of this camper, each owner has taken her around Australia and she is still rock solid. Some people say poor Karen has never had a break and had a chance to sit in a shed under a tarp and get rusty, dusty and lonely. I say she has probably seen more of Australia then Burke and Wills.
She has all the things needed for full on long term camping, for example:
1. 180L of water on board
2. Gas hot water system
3. External shower
4. Dual water/fuel Jerry can holders
5. Dual 9kg gas bottles
6. Dual spare tyre carrier
7. Purpose built Generator Box
8. Upgraded wind up mechanism (heaver grade cable, pulleys and casing)
9. Genuine Vehicle Componants DO35v2 off road hitch.
10. Fully independant, low manitainence and easy to source leaf sprung and shock absorber suspension.
11. 4 x Quality Maxxiss Bravo 771 off road tyres (all less then 6 months old)
11. 3-Way Fridge (with 2 Gas bottles you’re talking almost 2 months of cold beer before having to find civilisation)
12. 120Ah deep cycle battery (With the 3 way fridge on gas the only thing the battery runs is the water pump and the lights. We never got below 70% on the battery and that was during 9 days of rain so no solar)
13. Anderson Plug for charging Battery from the car or solar panels
14. Dual Exhaust fans fitted to the rear of the Fridge to help remove excess heat.
Thousands and Thousands of dollars of modifications have been made that really are required if you are serious about going bush for extended periods.
Of course there is the standard features:
1. Queen bed one end and Double bed at the other, table drops down to a bed and the design of the lounge means that one side of the lounge is even another bed (child)
2. Full Size Oven (used, used a lot in fact, why do people always say their ovens are never used?? How do you know if it works?)
3. Griller and 4 burner stove
4. Microwave (actually that was never used because we we very rarely plugged into 240V)
5. Bagged and zipped bed end flys both ends
6. Fiama F45s wind out awning (if anyone tells you you need an full sized annex ask them how many times they actually got the 48 poles and pegs and ropes out to set it up? 20 seconds and the Fiama is out, you are in the shade and your cold beer is open)
7. Fold down table (perfect for road side lunch stops)
8. Pull out external BBQ (perfect for road side lunch stops)
I could go on forever. Simply put, if you are in the planing phase of quitting your jobs and thowing the kids in the car and heading out around Australia then Karen will get you there and back comfortably and with ease.
If maybe you are just after a serious long term camper, for the yearly Xmas/Easter trips but have a nice clean, dry garage Karen can sleep in in the mean time, I’m sure should would love the rest.
Eitherway, if you are even looking at this ad, you know that the older (pre-blue colour scheme) Goldstreams where the ones “made like they used to” so you already know just how rock solid and amazing these campers are and know that she will serve you very very well. Karen is a 2003 model, the last of the Maroon colour scheme.
Oh, almost forgot, She just had her bearings and brakes done. And dont worry, she does look a bit dirty in all these pictures, but she has had a shampoo, wash and blow dry and she is looking schmick-o again.”
This is the link to our ad on GumTree – please feel free to pass on the link or our blog to anyone who is looking for a great camper!
We can honestly say, hand on heart, that she was the perfect camper for our trip. Very easy to set up and pack down and oh so comfortable. We never felt crowded or even like we were ever really roughing it!! And we are happy to report that after we gave her a very good clean and finally removed the several layers of dust she had been wearing, she is still in very good condition after all her Fealy Family Adventuring!