Thursday, December 20, 2007

You better watch out...

As Christmas descends upon us I thought it was time to update the blog.

Owen kissing Lily

Lily is growing and getting more sleep during the night (which is good for Mum and Dad). Still not as much sleep as we would like, but what can you expect from an 8 week old?

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Angus and Patrick have almost finished school for the year and have found out who their teachers are for next year. No nasty surprises (that we know of). Since Patrick's teacher for this year is moving rooms next year, he has been using the kids as removalists this week. That a combination of the draconian IR laws and a slack teacher.

So, have a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. We hope to see many of you over the break.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We got a towbar - for FREE!

We got a new Kia Carnival (through salary sacrifice) in July. I recently enquired about getting a towbar on this car. I want to use a bike rack and eventually buy a box trailer (we need one when we go on holidays with 4 kids).

Anyway, the only place to get one was Kia as there was no aftermarket alternative. Or there wasn't until I queried Boronia Towbars.

These guys make aftermarket towbars but hadn't had a Kia Carnival in yet so they hadn't had the chance to use one as a template.

Enter - the Walkers. They needed to car for two days to work out how and where it would be attached and wired, as well as to make a jig from which to manufacture further towbars. For the inconvenience of not having our car for 2 days, we got the towbar for free. They'll obviously make up for that on future towbars they manufacture. Sweet!

Top view

Side view

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

22 days into Movember - 8 days to go

22 days into Movember and my own sponsorship amount is $40. Let's go people! Click on the Movember link to the right of screen and pledge some $$$ for Men's Health. You can also check out my Mo Log and see a picture of my mo. It's coming along nicely.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yay, we haven't been to hospital all week!

Yay! The Friday following Lily's last visit to hospital saw Karen as a patient, due to a viral condition that felt (to Karen) much worse than it turned out to be. The downer was that one of the tests conducted turn Karen radioactive for 24 hours. We found out about this AFTER the test when the nurse said "You're not pregant of breastfeeding are you?" Derr! Shouldn't you have asked this BEFORE the test - especially of the answer to the pregnancy part of the question was YES! So, Karen could not nurse or feed Lily for 24 hours.

Well, we've overcome that and Lily is now gaining weight and growing in all dimensions. She is not yet sleeping through the night, but to her credit she is only 4 weeks old and we may asking a bit much.

Also, the mo' is coming along nicely.

If you feel like you'd like to donate, go here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Movember

Having turned the blog Pink for October, I'm now growing a mo' for Movember.

During Movember (the month formerly known as November) I'll be growin a Mo. I've shaved off my goatee as you can see here. This will be interesting, because the kids have only ever seen me with facial hair! That's right I'm bringing the Mo back because I'm passionate about men's health and the fight against prostate cancer. Why...

Every year in Australia 18,700 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 2,900 die of the disease, making prostate cancer the second largest cause of male cancer deaths, after lung cancer.

The average life expectancy of a man in Australia is 5 years less than a woman (currently 78 compared to 83).

Men access health services 30-40% less than women, thereby denying themselves the chance for prevention and early detection of common diseases.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why we need to make the community aware of Men's heath issues.

To sponsor my Mo please go to http://www.movember.com/nz/donate, enter my registration number which is 109799 and your credit card details. All donations over $5 are tax deductible.

All donations are made directly to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand who will use the funds to create awareness, increase support networks for those men who suffer from prostate cancer, fund research and scholarship programs. (I'm doing this for NZ since I work for an NZ company and we have a company Mo team!)

For those that have supported Movember in previous years you can be very proud of the impact it has had.

Thanks for your support

Michael

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

Karen and Lily were re-admitted to hospital on Sunday afternoon after the home visit from the nurse found that Lily's jaundice levels had again risen.

24 hours under some intense light saw Lily's levels plummet dramatically. As a result, Karen and Lily returned home yesterday for (hopefully) the last time.

So there you have it - our family is once again all together.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Homecoming

After a couple of false starts, Karen and Lily made it home today (Friday 26th October) in time to celebrate Angus' birthday.

Lily's hospital stay was extended due to jaundice. Some photo therapy (sleeping under a light) rectified this and she was given the all clear today.

Thanks to everybody for their messages of congratulations and best wishes. We'll post more photos in the coming days and weeks and hope to catch up with many of you as well.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lily Ruth Walker

Lily Ruth Walker arrived at 8.53am this morning at the Angliss Hospital a Ferntree Gully. We left home a little after 7am and things didn't take very long.

Karen and Lily are both doing very well. Lily weighed in at a healthy 6lb 14oz (3.1kg for the metric amongst us), 43cm long and a head circumference of 33cm. This makes Lily the smallest of the family (at delivery time). Lily is also the fourth and last child for this family.

Present at the birth (apart from Karen and Lily) were Michael, Patrick and Vivien. Our wonderful midwife Jacqui ensured everything was smooth sailing (and even kept one over anxious trainee doctor at bay!)

Here's a few photos from Lily's first day.













Monday, October 08, 2007

Pink time again

It's October again and that means it's time to go 'Pink for October'. Web sites will Go Pink during the month of October to bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, get people talking about breast cancer, and raise money for research.

This is the second year I've turned this blog pink in recognition of this scheme. To find out more, go here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

An update (at last...sorry)

We've done a lot since we came back from Qld. Not surprising, since that was 4 months ago!

We visited Pat, Jenny, Aidan and Rohan in Tasmania during June. We flew into Launceston, picked up a hire car (Nissan X-Trail, I don't recommend it as it was too gutless), drove the Axeman's Hall of Fame (very underwhelmed) and then headed south for Brighton and Pat & Jenny's house.
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It was great to catch up after 11 years! Last time we met it was at Pat & Jenny's wedding and neither of us (unsurprisingly) had children. We took a couple of days trips around Hobart and nearby national parks before heading up north again and exiting via Launceston.

The week before we headed to Tasmania, Owen was in hospital with asthma bought about by a virus. He and Karen spent the night. About 6 weeks after we returned from Tasmania, Owen was again in hospital.
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This time, since Viv and Brian were down, Karen and myself escorted Owen to hospital late one evening. We were released the following morning after more ventolin and observation. The Angliss hospital at Upper Ferntree Gully have been great.

I was lucky enough recently to win a double pass to the Melbourne premiere of the Simpsons Movie. I took Patrick and we even got to have our photo taken with the cast.
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The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square is currently exhibiting the Pixar collection. This has many hand drawn sketches, cells and clay models from several of the Pixar animated movies - including the desk lamp from one of the original short films. Here are a few shots.
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And here are a few random shots of the kids in the city, at the museum and Carlton Gardens.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We did it!

We survived a week on the Gold Coast with the 3 kids - and we visited 3 theme parks.

On Sunday 1st April, Viv, Brian, Karen, Michael, Patrick, Angus and Owen piled onto Bob's airport transfer minibus for the ride to the airport. Using the M4 and M5 it only took 1/2 an hour. Amazing! Once at the airport we checked in and boarded our Coolangatta-bound VirginBlue flight.

Once we reached Coolangatta we were greeted by another Bob for the transfer to our apartment in Surfers Paradise. We settled into our apartment and had a swim in the pool and spa.
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Suitably refreshed we went in search of some dinner and settled on Santino's Pizza/Italian Restaurant in Surfers. From there it was back to the apartment via the local IGA grocer to grab some essentials.

On Monday morning we found our way to the local bus stop and caught the bus to Seaworld - the first of our 3 theme park adventures. This is the closest park to Surfers and we were there in a jiffy.
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It became all too much for Owen shortly after arriving and he slept in his pram for the next hour or more. We watched other people having an up close and personal dolphin experience and followed this with the seal show and Waterski Wipeout (the current waterski show). The kids were all suitably impressed thus far.
After we'd "done" the shows it was time for rides. Patrick and I rode the Corkscrew five times in quick succession due to the lack of queues. Viv, Brian, Patrick and Angus rode in one boat on the flume ride while Owen and I enjoyed the same ride behind them. Owen was most taken with this ride and it was to become his first in a series of many over the coming week. We rode other rides before making our way to the water park and riding the water slides and lazing about the pool. Once we'd finished there we boarded the monorail for the trip to the front gate and home.

Theme park trip #1 successfully complete!

However, later that evening once we had put the children to bed, disaster struck. Angus was awoken from his slumber by vomit all over his face and pillow. Later that same evening Owen suffered the same fate. Owen continued with a few more purges during the following day while still feeling mostly OK. Angus couldn't keep down anything for the next 36 hours and we took him to the doctor as a result. After his doctor visit (or just before, who knows), Angus began to pick up remarkably and was on the road to recovery. As a result we spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the apartment, by the pool and at the beach across the street.

By Wednesday afternoon Angus was feeling well enough to venture out so we headed into Cavill Avenue for a poke around and some dinner. On our way back to the apartment we came across the night markets along the Esplanade. These were interesting and familiar (if you know what I mean).
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So our plan of having one theme park day followed by a rest day was scuttled. We decided after two rest days that we would now have 2 straight theme park days. Living dangerously!

Thursday saw the allure of Movie World too great and we succumbed. From the minute we walked in the gate it was a fun-filled, action-packed day. It started by Patrick, Angus and I going on the Batman 'The Ride' and being tossed and thrown around our little space ship simulator. Very good and the boys enjoyed it too.

We then caught the Shrek 4-D movie. It is 4-D because as well as viewing it in the traditional 3-D, you get other sensory pleasures throughout the film - such as a spray of water on your face when Donkey sneezes, etc.

Owen enjoyed yet another log/flume ride. With his Pooh Bear sandals on he was just on the 95cm height requirement for many rides. Lucky boy.
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We rode more rides, had lunch at the all-you-can-eat restaurant and then saw the Police Academy show. It's an oldie but still a goodie.

Owen is rapt with the cartoon characters that walk around the them parks, as can be seen by his emotive display below.
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He got the biggest thrill of all the following day.

So after more rides and an ice-cream it was off home again to have dinner and begin preparations for another day. The next day was Good Friday and the beginning of the NSW and QLD school holidays. The crowds were to become a bit bigger and we were going to Dreamworld.

Friday morning we rode the bus once more, to Dreamworld this time. We were met at the gate by Kenny and Belinda Koala and Owen couldn't resist.
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Our first port of call was the Imax theatre. Owen became weary of this after about 15 minutes so I took him outside to give the other theatre goers some respite. Well, what a lucky break - we bumped into Dora the Explorer. She happens to be Owen's most favourite cartoon character of all time. And he showed her.
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And yes, the "minder" above was looking at her watch and passed a comment regarding the time Dora had left before her next engagement. Owen could happily have returned home after that encounter - he was so chuffed.

Well, from here we spent the rest of the day on rides and making our way between shows and "worlds". These theme parks are continually updating there layout, attractions and shows. Great stuff.
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Saturday was a more relaxed day and we wrapped up our stay by having a game at King Tut's Putt Putt. 3 courses of 18 holes are available for your putting pleasure. Sunday saw us picked up by Bob, delivered to Coolangatta airport, flying to Sydney where we were retrieved by Bob's Russian offsider for the trip home. All in all a very enjoyable, if tiring, holiday.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What have we been up to?

Since I last posted we've returned from Sydney, spent the Australia Day long weekend by the beach at Inverloch, Patrick returned to school (Grade 3), Angus started school (our little Preppie) and Patrick has returned to cricket. I think the photos say it all!

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We're wearing our Australia Day hats from the Sunday Telegraph as supplied by Auntie Angela

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And then it was off to school for our Preppie - Angus.

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Angus and his fan club on day one of school

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Owen feels like he's missing out

Patrick started back in the U/11 cricket competition.

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Does my head look big in this?

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Sorry for the slackness in updating the blog. I'll try harder. Really, I will.