A New Adventure for Team J

Things are starting to settle down on what has been a month of big changes for our family. As I sit here typing this, we have just clocked up our first week in our new place. So, where will I begin? Last month was crazy. We were packing up our home in the lead up to our posting interstate, I was also trying to continue with my university study and working full time right up to our pre-pack day. Our daughter Tilly was closing the chapter on six years of Primary School, graduating year six and also saying goodbye to all her friends as she was getting her head around the fact that she will be starting her high school journey in another state, away from the friends she has made over the last four years of our posting to Sydney.

The day of her graduation was surreal – I could not link the Tilly standing next to me, holding her graduation certificate with the tiny Tilly who walked through the gates of the school on her first day of Prep, with such swagger and sass. Her school bag was bigger than her, and now she stands the same height as me, and is on the cusp of her teenage years. I sat through the graduation ceremony, in a daze, but holding it together. I cried when the Principal dismissed the year six students from the hall “for the very last time.” The teachers were all wiping away tears…so were all the other mums in the hall.

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Tilly on her first day of school with her cousin Em and little brother Mish (2012) to last month’s graduation with her dad Mike and little brother Mish

That night she had her formal, so we made a big fuss about it for her. She had picked out her outfit two weeks earlier and now she was excitedly getting dressed. I let her wear a little mascara and a touch of tinted lip gloss. When she came out of her room, myself, Mike and Mish all were caught off guard by just how grown up she looked. The little Prep Tilly was well and truly gone. She was driven to her formal in a Corvette –owned by my boss’ husband. Tilly loved it, she could not stop talking about how great the car sounded and all the attention it got when she pulled up the front of the venue. The boys in her class were pretty impressed by her ride.

All the year six kids looked so different now. Like young adults, they were ready for a night of good food, dancing and cake. Parents were not allowed, we had to go off and do our own thing, and this was just for the kids. Mike, Mish and I enjoyed a dinner with some friends before we went in to get some quick photos, have a dance with the kids and then head home. It was a fantastic night for Tilly – she had so much fun partying with all her friends. I exchanged numbers with other mum’s so our kids can all stay in touch. Then that was it.

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Last day of school.

The day of the removal up lift was the kids last day at school. They had their shirts signed by friends and teachers, exchanged Christmas gifts and cards with friends and come the final bell, it was hugs and final goodbyes. Tears and more hugs. I grew up an Army kid and we moved every two years. I hate this part of the life – it never gets easier and I felt so sad for my kids and their friends.

That was that. The next morning the cars were packed, we checked out of the hotel and we started our journey to the next posting. Dwight our cat and Ripley our dog were already in the pet resort in our gaining location of Brisbane. They were flown up the day before the up lift. From all accounts of the pet transport company and the pet resort, they were doing just fine. Our guinea pig, Doctor Who was going to travel up with us – he rode shotgun in Mike’s car. Doctor is 5, almost 6 years old, so in guinea pig years, he is a little old man. He handled the trip really well though. We had a comfy travel crate for him and a portable pen for the hotel stays.

The drive out of Sydney was surprisingly really smooth considering we were heading out on the very first day of school holidays. Tilly and Mish rode in my car and we had it stocked with lots of snacks, cold drinks and audio books – the kids LOVE the Tree House series by Andy Griffith and Terry Denton. We were on the first leg to Brisbane – Sydney to Coffs Harbour. We love Coffs, it is our favourite little family get away spot. So we were all pretty excited to be going back there for a two day mini-vacation. By 3pm that day we arrived in Coffs and checked into Charlesworth Bay Beach Resort. We quickly unpacked and set up Doctor by the big double doors so the cool ocean breeze could cool him down. No sooner had we unpacked, I was running the kids down to the little beach – the very first beach Mish was taken to when he was seven months old (we had stayed at this resort back in 2009 when we had a little family vacation upon Mike’s return from deployment). It was really surreal watching him running into the waves. Last time he was at this beach he was not too thrilled by it.

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We finished off the long day with Thai from a great little place called Memory Thai (Tilly highly recommends the Pad Thai and Mish and I love the Yellow Curry).

To be continued…

 

 

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We love our Fur Kids

I love the look we get when we tell people that as well as having two beautiful human kids, we also have fur kids – there is Ripley, our German Shepard cross bull Mastiff, our rescue cat Dwight K. Shrute and the guinea pigs Doctor Who and Mordicai. I am surprised at how many people make the comment “My gosh! That is such a handfull!” To be honest though, it really isn’t. I think if we won lotto tomorrow, we would buy a great big property and fill it with animals. My husband adores the guinea pigs. When they have play time, he lays down near them and watches and laughs as they popcorn, rumble strut and zoom from one end of the lounge room to the other. I love my Ripley – she chose me when we came to look at her and her siblings, and despite still being a puppy, she is MASSIVE and the biggest sook of a dog I have ever known. I love getting hugs from her, and as soon as I come home from taking the kids to school, Ripley comes in the house and we chill out together whilst I do chores around the house. Dwight was a rescue kitten. Earlier last year, my beloved Bobbi cat passed away at 11 years of age. A few months later, I took the family to the local pet store to support a friend who was running the rescue animal adoption day – where we were swamped by beautiful kittens, puppies, cats and dogs all looking for their forever homes.

Whilst standing off to the side talking to my friend, my daughter Matilda came up to us with big tears running down her face. “Mum! Mum! There is this little kitten over there and, and, and, I just want to hold it because it is being picked on by the other kitten!” My friend organised another volunteer to retrieve the kitten and placed him in Matilda’s arms. She melted. The kitten meowed and licked her ear, and she covered his little face in kisses. My son Hamish then asked for a hold and the kitten melted him to coos and “awwws” before my husband, Mike had a turn at holding the kitten. I stood back, a bit apprehensive as I was still hurting from the death of my Bobbi, but Mike placed the kitten in my arms. I was too wrapt up in this little ball of fur to notice that Mike had snuck off and was completing the adoption papers! The kids were thrilled and we came home with an 8 week old kitten who my husband decided to name Dwight K. Shrute.

The guinea pigs were the first though to join our home. At the time, Bobbi was a little on the slow side and had no patience for the kids. To help give her space, I began to look at little pets that would be easy for the kids to care for. We attended a guinea pig show at the local school, and I watched my kids as they handlers showed them and explained everything there is to know about guinea pigs. The kids and I were sold on these adorable little creatures. My husband, not so much. Back home, I joined a local guinea pig site on face book and began talking to other owners and making notes on everything we would need. One of the contributors was about to put her latest little brood of guinea pigs up for sale and I jumped at the chance. I bought two brothers, and upon bringing them home, the kids were in love. Matilda is a mad fan of Doctor Who and her little guinea pig just so happened to have the same swept over fringe as that of her beloved 11th Doctor, so that is what she named her guinea pig – Doctor Who. Hamish named his guinea pig Mordicai Butternubs. I placed the guinea pigs in Mike’s arms and he was smitten. They are such sweet little creatures that can make us laugh with their funny antics, and despite their plump bodies and stubby little legs, they are incredibly quick and agile! I am also convinced they are psychic – I just have to think about going to the fridge and they start wheeking for the bag of salad!

We can’t imagine our family without the pets. They teach us so much about life, love and especially for our kids, responsibility. I love that Matilda and Hamish will grow up with Ripley, Dwight, Doctor and Mordi. Just one big, happy (and fluffy) family! ❤