Thursday, 28 April 2011

Easter Escapade

Last Thursday, the troop headed up North to Kincumber for the ICGC (Inaugural Canberra Gaming Convention - ok so which silly person put the "I" in our convention name?!?!?) for a long weekend full of fun playing board games. The venue this year is Cockle Bay House, a 6 bedroom property with an ensuite in each room. It also comes with a pool and tennis court, a bonus for entertaining all 9 children. The weekend this year was also extra long. The Easter holidays conveniently joined up with Anzac day. We were filled with glee at the prospect of 5 days of gaming.

The Albanys were the first to head up to pick up the keys. We took the opportunity to explore the house and the sprawling grounds. Much to our dismay, it was infested with mosquitoes due to the surrounding creeks. It didn't stop the children from enjoying themselves.

One of the creeks behind the house
The children approve
The property
With the arrival of the families, came the arrival of the games. As was tradition, all the games were laid out for a formal photo. To our horror, some games were left out. I wondered if there was some sort of a conspiracy they happen to all be games that I either enjoy or that I do well in, including bananagrams, Portrayal, Once Upon A Tale, Perpetual Commotion...Hmmm!

Perusing from the top. What to start first...
The weekend, as usual, was filled with fun, laughter, good food and good company. We managed to play 49 games in total. My moment of glory had to be winning Le Havre, a new game which took 3 hours to play. It was a a mix of Puerto Rico and Agricola on steroids. Being the intelligent people that we are, we started at 930pm. I was so tired I could barely think. This was probably key for my triumph over the big guns of Sidney, Jason and Ivor.

Dixit, a new word game
The very apt scoring track
Making hay while the sun shines, which didn't happen very often. The porch just beside the pool. The mothers knew better than to go into the water...
...which was freezing!

Saturday was our special theme night. The theme was "Before Christ". The dress was themed, the food was themed and of course the games were themed....I will let the photos do the talking.

The Flintstones
Cavemen everywhere
Here come the Romans

Feeding the emperor
Chromosome. He delighted in teaching the children about telomeres and centromeres
The winner...the Egyptian!

Who would have thought a Fred Flintstone wig could be so versatile?
Justin Bieber anyone?
Making use of the observatory
The classic Ticket To Ride
Cargo Noir, a new favourite
Jason put to work by Ethel
Jonah doing what he does best
Alas, the five days flew past! The time came to announce the new champion...It was a tie! Jason and I were both equally glad to get our names on the meeple. If it were not for my husband requesting that each person should only count their "top 10" wins, I would have won outright! Grr...There is always next year!

The prize pool

Eagerly awaiting the announcement

Picking a prize. This one?
She approves!
My new beautiful family frame
Why did he have to pick ANOTHER sporting set?!?!?

The whole crew...awaiting the return of the Yeohs next year!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


It has been a while and I don't know where the time went. Things are bad when the DISboards get neglected. I guess I am due for another one of my bullet point updates so here we go.
  • DCL itineraries for the rest of 2012 were released. My eager hopes were dashed as the destinations were rather bland and we were not prepared to go back to the states again just yet. 2013 it will have to be! I now have to remember to move my dummy bookings...
  • Have scored myself the role of co-ordinator for Mother's Group at Church. Not sure if I am ready for this responsibility or if I am the right person. Pray for me.
  • Finally made an appointment for Elliot to be formally tested for giftedness. Relieved that the results confirmed our thoughts.
  • Lost my wedding and engagement rings at the park. Still no word from the police.
  • School holidays have come and gone. Survived!
  • Found an au pair to start at the end of May. Hard to believe that Lanella will be leaving us next year.
  • Farewelled my parents who left for Singapore and China. We will meet up in Hong Kong. Arghhh...plans for Hong Kong not finalised. Note to self to organise transport from the airport to the hotel on arrival
  • Saw Mary Poppins at the Capitol Theatre as part of Lara's belated Birthday celebrations. Was a good show but marred by air-conditioning failure!
  • Still trying to finalise car hire for our US trip in September. Why is it so hard?!?!?
  • Accommodation sorted out for the first third of our trip, including Malcolm's beloved dude ranch. Can't wait!
  • Go the Aussie dollar. Have gone mad shopping online. Now the whole family has a new wardrobe from the US and the UK. Have also bought a GPS from the US at half the Aussie price including delivery, go figure. Buying the Australian maps will only cost an extra $40 so we're still ahead. Have also purchased myself an Epiphanie camera bag amongst other things...
  • The last 5 days have been spent at Kincumber for our annual gaming convention. My name is on the meeple! More to come on this...
  • My Tokina 11-16mm lens arrived today. Yay!!!!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Another Action-packed Albany Weekend

The Albanys only know how to do weekends one way...

Saturday started off with a 745am soccer match. It was Elliot's first game of the season and he was super excited. After being in a team that was unbeaten for 2 consecutive years, we had to prepare Elliot for more frequent losses this year. With a radically different line up from last year, his team had lost 13-1 in the season's opening match the previous week. Malcolm genuinely believed that it was due to Elliot's absence (the Opera House concert took precedence).

Elliot played extremely well and his team fortunately won 4-0 much to the relief of the coach. The coach further fuelled Malcolm's great paternal pride by awarding the best player of the match to Elliot. However, there was no time to revel in the glory. The Albanys had a full schedule of activities lined up.

The team getting ready for their match

Jonah ready for action as well

A very happy Elliot after the win in his new team uniform
It was a brief stop at home for a quick shower and an opportunity to rid our shoes of grass and mud. The washing went on the line to utilise the sunshine and we piled back into the car headed for Eastwood. We had just enough time for Elliot to have a hair cut at a great Korean hairdresser. They love cutting the children's hair and the children get spoilt every time they go. A hair wash, a trendy cut, another wash, and a blow-dry and style with products made for a very handsome boy. I am not biased in the slightest. At $15, it was also great value. The hair cut was necessary as we had a party to go to. We couldn't have a scruffy looking Albany. As Malcolm would say, we are after all, beautiful people...

A new look

We bought Derek a tray of persimmons and it was then time to pick Lara up from ballet. Fortunately, to keep with the beautiful people theme, my parents had the foresight to pack her a change of clothes. And a trendy outfit at that. Not that I would have forgotten...

Off to Newington then for Uncle Derek's Birthday party. We were the first to arrive and thus we were able to enjoy the fantastic spread on the table without having to fight anyone for it! Derek and Laura had made falafel from scratch and chorizo balls amongst many other yummy things. They had slaved away for 2 days to provide a magnificent spanish themed feast.

It had been a while since we had met up with friends from University and we had a lovely time catching up. There were so many babies around which were so delightful! Derek then produced the ultimate Birthday cake, a hazelnut praline cheesecake. It was awesome!!!! The whole afternoon flew by and the time came to go home.

One of the best cheesecakes ever!

And look who's there ready to take the first slice

The children had a date with Oma and Opa for a sleepover. Yippee for us! Over Big Macs and chocolate sundaes, Malcolm and I took the opportunity to do some holiday planning. We had to work out the most efficient way to use our time for our upcoming September trip to the US and to reduce the risk of being caught in snow up at Glacier National Park. Somewhere in our schedule, we wanted to include a cowboy stay. We must have looked at nearly every dude ranch in Montana plus others in Wyoming and Colorado. Our shortlist was thankfully reduced to 2! It was also a relief to book our accommodation for Jackson and Yellowstone. Incredibly, much of the lodging within Yellowstone National Park itself had already been booked out for September. All this planning took us up to nearly midnight!

Today, therefore, has been somewhat of a blur. We didn't wake up early enough for our planned shopping expedition. We were rostered to provide morning tea for church. We then also realised that we had nearly forgotten to pick the children up from my parents' house! Amazingly, we somehow managed to stuff breakfast in, buy the food, pick up the children and arrive at church on time. Call it skill.

Church was a great place to rest and re-energise. As members of the Sydney Cricket Ground, we were given free tickets for the League match of Canterbury versus St George. In preparation for the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, we had an Indonesian lunch at nearby Mascot with the Kohs. We had mistakenly assumed that 75 minutes would be plenty to get to the SCG. BIG mistake. The traffic was horrendous. To make things worse, it started to rain. Both families managed to find parking and we soon met up outside the member's entrance in time for kick off. Again, call it skill...

It was disappointing to watch Canterbury play a poor game, especially against St George. In the wet, it was near impossible to catch up. Having hot chips and a free Sunday paper did not make it that much better. I found it quite amusing though, to witness such well-behaved Canterbury fans. There was a group of young, beefy males decked out in bulldog colours close to us. They watched the game quietly and played "words with friends" during breaks. Certainly not what I expected!

The Kohs quit just after half time and headed home. We followed suit soon after. It was a blessing as Canterbury went on to lose and the rain started to pelt down harder. Traffic going home was just as bad. After we got home, we scrambled together something quickly for dinner, put the children to bed and tidied up the great big mess that is our house to prepare for the first weekday of...the school holidays! Oh joy!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Concert At The Opera House

It was that time of year again...Elliot had graduated from Book 3 of Suzuki piano! So it was off to the Opera House for a graduation recital. The whole family went, along with Lanella, Oma and Opa to watch Elliot perform. I was rather nervous about Jonah's ability to sit through a whole concert without creating a fuss and I wasn't disappointed. I tried to pretend that I was not the parent of "that" child who kept shouting "I want food" multiple times during the performances. The same child, who when not shouting, was banging things loudly together. Lanella kindly came to the rescue and took him out for a walk in the Botanical Gardens.

Elliot did extremely well, considering that another child performed his piece near perfectly before him. We were very proud! So much so that I forgot to take a photo when he was performing. I was probably more nervous than he was. Alright, so I was nervous and he wasn't.
It will be interesting to see how Lara will go when her turn comes around...

Taking photos at the forecourt whilst waiting for the Opera House to open its doors

A reward for the whole family after the concert! Still reeling over a coffee costing $5...

The cause of my biggest angst that day!

Lara enjoying the treat