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I know that Summer has yet again passed us by here in Australia but I am pleased to say that there has been a residual heat hangover into Autumn (which traditional "Melbournites" will say is just not on) but I for one am absolutely loving.

Melbourne is a great city and having lived in Sydney for many years I definitely have the ability to recommend one over the other - but I won't. I will although point some of the lovely things you can do in and around Melbourne, especially with kids.

I have made this little trip across the bay before but the first time I did it, it was by accident. This time, we planned our little sojourn to Sorrento and back across the bay and it was delightful.

On this particular day one of our best friends was down from Sydney and we really wanted to show him what Melbourne had to offer. So we packed a few snacks and drinks to keep us going and drove down Melbourne's west to Queenscliff (which is a beautiful place in itself and deserves a more thorough investigation - mental note: add that to my must do list). The ferry to Sorrento leaves every hour from 7am to 6 pm (but may change during the year - so don't take my word for it, check before you head off) and it was a pleasant journey across the bay.

There is a place to buy coffee should you be so inclined and even a small kids play area on board to keep small people entertained. You can take your car with you (on the ferry) but on this day we chose to travel across on foot and just walk around Sorrento once we got there. The ocean views are beautiful and the ride was relaxing, even with kids (which is something you can't always say).

The views as we came across the water and into Sorrento were spectacular and as the day began to warm up and we spied that beautiful clear water I was glad that I had packed our swimmers and some towels.
We walked around and looked into all the little specialty shops and stopped for lunch at the Three Palms cafe - which was a little more upmarket than we usually go but was delicious regardless. There were lots of child friendly eating establishments on the main street which was a bit of a climb up the hill to reach but not a long one (and again the views were really worth it!)
The view on the beach was just as lovely and there were standing paddle board lessons taking place - I really wanted to give it a go.... maybe next time.
The kids got in to have a swim - nothing deters kids once water is involved and they loved it. They collected shells and played in the sand. It was a perfect beach for smaller people - not so great if you are into surfing or catching the waves into the shore.
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Me and the hubby on the beach. I'm the sun smart one wearing all the sunscreen, hat and glasses. My husband is not.
Before we knew it, it was time to bid farewell to Sorrento and head back across the bay again to Queenscliff and then the drive home. It is a really lovely day and I would totally recommend this for a family day out if you're in Melbourne.


Seeing as we are still looking forward to a little bit more of this luscious hot weather - you may just have enough time to squeeze this trip in before it's layers, winter coats and I am recommending the best place to get a hot chocolate in Melbourne.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
Not only is 2013 already upon us but we are quickly closing in on the end of January and as retailers would have us believe Valentine's Day, Easter and Mother's Day. What!? You haven't seen any Mother's Day cards yet?? Wait ten seconds after Easter Sunday and I'm sure they will be out in full force!! The fact that hot cross buns were out on shop shelves before New Year's Eve had even hit drives me absolutely crazy... OK. Rant over. 

Today dear friends I present my first post for 2013. Dum de da dum! (Imagine trumpets playing and symbols clashing here... the visual image helps with the drama of it all. I want you to have the full surround sound, 3D experience that Mother Load is).

Now first off, you may have been wondering what had happened to me - seeing that I was so prolific with posting in 2012 and you have not heard from me until now. Well, I think I was suffering a little blog post burn out (well, that and the kids are at home .. all day, all the time and it's a little hard to focus on my own special little things) but fear not. I am back in a big way baby!! Motivated and really looking forward to seeing what 2013 brings.

To start 2013 off I give you my holiday show and tell.... I promise it will be brief and interesting. (I was once sent into a Prep - one class to look after the small people while they presented their show and tell and it was neither brief ...... or interesting)

Christmas was awesome. Lots of time to kick back and relax with my family and I know it's not supposed to be about consumerism - but I got my first iphone.... and I love it so very very much. 

New Years Eve - before you start thinking that yours was uninspiring read this - I spent a good deal of the evening combing nits out of my youngest child's hair (God only knows where he even got them) and went to bed early. (Yep I know, party animal)

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I know! Looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth but he was breeding a nit farm .... Motherhood after all is ALL about the glamour.
New Years day was another quite affair and then soon after it was my birthday. Wow, I'm really glad I got that out of the way so quickly in the year (not) so It's all over for me for another year. We spent the day at Barwon Heads frolicking on the beach, it was a little over cast and nobody else really wanted to go... but it was my day and we will go where I want to on my day.  So we went.
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Ice cream cake to celebrate my birthday (yay, my favourite). Look at that cheeky little face waiting to get in on the ice cream!
We headed up to visit my Mum by the beach near Newcastle (visiting a few friends and family along the way). Met a dinosaur, ate too much and had an enjoyable time.
Way too soon we were on our way back home to Melbourne from Port Stephens (near Newcastle) on what felt like the never ending road trip. We stopped in on the Toulouse- Lautrec exhibition at the National Gallery in Canberra on our way past - well worth seeing if you are in the area.
Sorry, to disappoint but the show and tell portion of our show is now over... told you it would be painless.

It's great to be back in 2013 and I am really looking forward to sharing lots of new stuff with you all this year. Most excitingly I will be adding competitions and giveaways to the Mother Load roster - woo hoo - I can't wait, I love giving presents!

Hope your Christmas and New Years was just as eventful as mine.. without the nits.

Cheers,

Lee

(P.S. You can stop scratching your head now - I promise not to mention nits again)
 
 
I decided it was high time I took a break from reality and my everyday groundhog style like life of washing, grocery shopping and taking care of everyone else's needs.  It has gotten to the stage where I can only remember what day it is by the activity in front of me at the time. Oh, swimming lessons - must be Thursday.

I think perhaps I need to work on my idea of a break from the everyday because I brought reality with me. He sat on the plane next to me and made a plane trip of just over one hour feel like we had been travelling for an eternity. Note to self - more activities, snacks, toys and books for our trip home and ask for a cushion, the fact that a two year old sits by the window but can't actually see out only adds to his desperate need to try and escape from the confines of the seatbelt and those pesky, stay in your seat rules they have on planes.

Anyhoo, I have come to visit my mum in Fingal Bay, New South Wales. Which, in case you have not ever been here, is a really lovely part of the world. I wanted to take this time to share some of what we have been seeing with you all - mind you, Mum does live in a retirement village, so don't go expecting any wild party shots.
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Enjoying those tiny little "waves" and the beautiful view
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Three generations squinting into the sun.
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Starting off the day with a play in the park - nice to be warm enough to actually be outside. Oh, how I have waited for you sunshine.
So, now to make some plans for not much for the rest of the week. Maybe some fish and chips by the beach ... maybe some icecream. I'll worry about the gym when I get home. It's just nice to have this time to hang with my mum while I can - her being one of my favourite people and all.

Just case I don't say it enough... love you mum.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
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He looks so little in the plane chair.
The joy of having kids is that you just never know how things will turn out. A perfect example of this happened to our family last  weekend. We flew up to Sydney from Melbourne to attend a friend's 50th Birthday Party and also to see our family. My biggest concern was plane travel with a two year old as you never know how successful that's  going to be. We have only flown once with him on a plane and it was not an experience I wanted to relive, so I was a little worried about it.

Being just over 2, he now gets his own seat and what a joy that was. He was so very excited by this, that the flight was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. We made it to Sydney, we  were visiting friends and family and all was good. Yay!! ..... not so fast.

Now, you see the main issue here is that Evan, our 2 year old, is allergic to peanuts. We are aware of this and take the necessary precautions but we always wondered where it came from and how come he was the only one in the family with any allergies (at all). Anyhoo, Drew our 9 year old ate a walnut and chocolate chip cookie - which wasn't an issue, as we have never had to worry about him and allergies. I mean getting all the way to 9 with no issues we thought we were pretty much home and hosed. Not so, his lips started to swell, he complained about feeling itchy and a stomach ache. So I gave him a little bit of antihistamine just in case. We were driving along in the car soon after this took place and I thought maybe he had just been rough housing too much on the lawn at our friends house with the other kids. I turned around to look at him and his nose had started to swell, as well as his lips and his face had started to turn red. That's when I started to panic. It's a fine line - trying to contain your own panic because you are freaking out and not causing any extra panic to your child. Luckily we pulled off the freeway and signs started to appear for a hospital I didn't even know was there! Thank God it was.

We raced into emergency past all the people who had been waiting for who knows how long and were taken straight in (whilst receiving the hairy eyeball from said people who were still waiting). By this stage he had started to swell further, hives were now appearing all over his body and he was the colour of a cooked lobster. They hooked him up to some machines, gave him a shot of adrenaline, checked his heart rate, blood pressure and what not. After further medications it all seemed to calm down but they had to keep him in overnight for observation and my husband volunteered to stay and sleep on the comfy recliner chair, next to the hospital bed.

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Hooked up and having everything checked.
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Feeling better but still swollen.
So, now we are back home in Melbourne again after what was a very full on experience. Drew has to go for further testing to make sure it was the walnut and to check if he has any other allergies we didn't know about until now. We have been trained up on the EpiPen and are putting all necessary precautions in place and he is fine. It's hard to believe that we had to go through that with the child we thought had no allergy issues and also that people pay good money for swelling in their lips like!

I guess my biggest take home tip is (and know that I have no medical degree) test your child at home with small amounts of different types of nuts so you really know it's not an issue before they go out somewhere and get offered walnut bread or whatever and you are not prepared for it. Luckily for us we already had the antihistamine on us because of Evan's  allergies.

Scary stuff and it's never what you expect with kids.
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This is what he looks like without the swelling (just in case you didn't know)
Hope your weekend was a little less eventful than ours!

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
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School holidays are slowly drawing to a close and it has really seemed like a long time coming. For the most part we have just hung around the house interspersed with visits to the movies, Science Works and heading into the city for Hot Chocolates.

At about this time (towards the end) I have run out of activities and am quite looking forward to the start of the new term and the return of my regular weekly routine. It's hard to find space for yourself and a little bit of breathing room when you are running around trying to keep another smaller person entertained and not drag them to too many of your regular day to day activities ... cause everything you do is so "boring".

Well to add to the mix we have decided to pop up to Sydney for a few days to