Big Brother Visits

After almost 5 years of David and I living in Melbourne we finally got a visit from my big brother Brian, his fiance Belinda and her son Rourke. Now the only family member not to visit is my little brother, Gregory.

Brian’s visit has been pretty cool cause we’ve done a few things we hadn’t done previously including a trip to Old Melbourne Gaol, Collingwood Children’s Farm and Eureka Tower’s SkyDeck.


On Friday we went to the Old Melbourne Gaol, the entry price of $20 for adults I think is a little steep given half of the gaol is actually no longer part of the gaol but now private businesses. You only really have access to the forecourt (which is open to the public) and a single wing of the gaol. They do have some cool information in there about some of the inmates and while it’s true Ned Kelly was interned and hanged there, the gaol saw many more prisoners who were much worse than him. Just not as dramatic I guess. And I never knew that it was (according to the gaol writings) Kelly’s mother who encouraged him to go off with another bush ranger as she was unable to properly care for him as a child. It was this that started with his life of crime.

Yesterday, Saturday, we visited Chadstone shopping centre in the morning for a spot of shopping and some bowling.

We then went to the Collingwood Children’s Farm, a farm run by volunteers in the middle of the city, on the bank of the Yarra river. It was pretty cool, there were goats with kids, sheep with lambs, horses, chickens, ducks, geese, cows, horses, guinea pigs and so much more. Rourke had a great time chasing around the lambs and chickens and holding the guinea pigs. It was fun to watch and to pat the animals.

Rourke talking to sheep

We then followed up the farm with a trip to Brunetti for coffee and cake and then on to Eureka Tower.

Ereka Tower Ereka Tower & Bees

Eureka Tower’s SkyDeck is 88 stories up inside Australia’s tallest building gives 360 degree views of the entire city, a section where you can go outside on one section and also (for additional cost) go into “the edge”, a box that slides out from the side of the building and then turns clear so you are standing on a glass platform looking 88 floors down. Brian, Belinda and Rourke went out into the Edge.

Federatation Square

We also had a great view up there of the MCG and saw the crowds watching Geelong beat the Western Bulldogs followed by the massive exodus of spectators.

MCG Tilt-Shift

The night was rounded out at Crown with dinner at The Pub.

This morning we had breakfast at Crème and forgot it was fathers’ day so we got stuck outside in the cold wind. Wasn’t the best time we’ve had there.

Currently we’re playing Wii Sports Resort as it is a little too cold outside for Werribee Open Range Zoo (our intended destination), so we’re spending the remainder of the visit inside before the trip to the airport later this afternoon.

Castlemaine Day Trip

Castlemaine Day Trip

Yesterday, David, SueZ and Kathryn all went on a little road trip to the town of Castlemaine Victoria. it was a great day of happy snapping, lens swapping and all round fun.

Kathryn showed us what she is best at, working with people… her unabashed nature and her ability to connect with humans is something I hope rubs off on the rest of us. Kathryn was able to capture some great portraits of random people on the street. You can see Kathryn’s work over at her Red Bubble profile.

Kathryn truly exposes the inequality in gender roles in photography and makes me wonder why there are not many more great female photographers. While she has a natural ability to interact with people, she is also a woman and as such is non-threatening to parents of children who look amazing. We met several such people and kids yesterday and I’m sure she will have uploaded some of her images to illustrate what I am talking about.

David was heavily fascinated by the macro lens and took some great shots. Even the ones that didn’t “turn out” make for some great shows of colour. David has put is his photos on Flickr and has also created a Red Bubble account.

SueZ who thought that she wouldn’t do a good job took some amazing shots. And when she uploads them I’ll link to them.

It was an adventure and we are already in planning stages for our next.

The image above is of carrots, all crazy colours and all carrots.

Castlemaine Day Trip Castlemaine Day Trip.

See more of my photos from the day on my Flickr Photostream. I’m still getting used to my brand new Canon 5D MkII which was a present from my wonderful boyfriend.

Happy Birthday Jacob

Today is the 11th birthday of our nephew Jacob. 11 seems so long ago for me, I guess because it is. From all reports Jake has had a great day, even if he did have to go to school.

It has been almost a year since we last saw Jacob and by the sounds of him on the phone, he’s done a lot of growing in that time. There is talk Jody may make the trek down during te next New South Wales school holidays. It will be great to see Jacob and Maygen again.

So for now, Happy Birthday Jake. Here’s looking forward to your twelth year on our little planet.

So Much Food, So Much Love

And Happy Birthday to SueZ.

Last night we made the trek to Craigieburn to the house of Sue’s Mum to celebrate Sue’s birthday. And what a fabulous night it was. A giant table for a giant gaggle of fourteen people for whom Sue’s sister Lana and her mum had been preparing food for three days.

There was so much food, soooooo much food. Risotto balls, stuffed capsicum, free-range pork and lamb, chicken noodle soup, sautee potatoes, roast pumpkin, lasagne, bread and what was affectionally called “Wog Bread”; kind of a pastry bread. And then came the cakes… tiny raspberry cheesecakes and a two giant Angel Food Cakes with berries and other fruit.

We also had a lot of great conversation and merriment.

Lana and Sue’s mum did an amazing job with the food, it was all deliscious and we have just had another day of eating left overs.

Happy Birthday Mum

Dear Mum,

I know I’m the slackest of all kids, moved away to another state and hardly ever call, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love you and miss you every day.

I’d like to take this occassion, your birthday, to publicly thank you for everything you’ve ever given me.

Far beyond the gift of life you have given me so much in this life. You have taught me to be the man I have become. To have compassion for those around me, to take humans as they are and accept them openly. To see beyond the person before me and to understand that each has their journey to tread in this life and that it isn’t my place to judge them without proof.

And that is only scratching the surface of all I have become because of you.

While I’m not there to celebrate with you, I’m sure my siblings will take good care of you and ensure you have a great birthday.

Love you Mum, Happy Birthday.

– Your Number Two Son.

Make Me a Supermodel

Make Me a Supermodel
Make Me a Supermodel, originally uploaded by tyroga.

This morning we headed into the city after having a somewhat unsuccessful breakfast at Creme in Altona, which resulted in David not having breakfast.

First the eggs came out, and while poached, were rock hard, his bacon was burnt and his english muffin wasn’t toasted, some eggs Benedict that turned out to be. He complained and sent it back. It was replaced with nice bacon but near to raw eggs. Needless to say we left them at the table and went to pay. Thankfully they didn’t charge us for David’s breakfast, cause he didn’t eat any.

We’ve been to Creme many, many, many times and never complained about anything, but this time was just too bad. I’m guessing it will be some time before we go back, and needless to say it didn’t set his birthday off to a good start.

So back to the story of the city… while driving in we saw a huge line that extended onto Elizabeth Street from Collins Street and being the nosey people we are, we had to know what the line was for. Turns out it was for “Make Me a Supermodel” a TV show for Channel 7 and while I’m not sure what capacity Jennifer Hawkins was there in, either a judge or a presenter, she was there.

I jumped at the chance of taking some snaps. Damn problem is I’m still getting used to this new camera, so I didn’t get that many good shots.

Funniest thing though, it wasn’t until I was reviewing the shots that I realised that Jackie Frank the editor of “marie claire” was standing right next to Jennifer Hawkins. I’ve worked for that woman in the past, built one of the first websites for marie clare and had arguments with her about online stuff. And here I am neglecting to notice her. Sorry Jackie.

If you want to see more photos, head on over to my Flickr account.

Happy Birthday David

Today is David’s birthday, as the title would suggest, For me this is the 11th birthday I have had to share with him and I am both happy and greatful for the time he has spent with me. Hoping for many more years to come.

We’re not super big on celebrating birthdays. Since leaving Sydney they have become very low-key affairs, even presents are often neglected. But not out of a non-desire to give, more so because we tend to buy what we really want when we want it rather than waiting for a special even like a birthday to come around.

This year will be a little different, but the timing will be no different. I know what David is getting for his birthday, but I also know I can’t buy it just yet, because it’s not yet available.

And it’s not an iPhone, that’s already ear-marked for the end of the week on July 11. I know he reads my blog so I won’t write what it is here, but I will have to tell him sometime today what it is. Some people already know…

For now it is 7.30 am and he is still asleep. I still have to plan where to go for breakfast and dinner! Better get to it.

Amelie and Elliot; Welcome to the World

On Wednesday May 21, 2008 at around 9:45 am Nikki Waterfall and Ben Thomas gave birth to twins; Elliot Walter Waterfall Thomas and Amelie Waterfall Thomas.

Amelie Waterfall Thomas Elliot Walter Waterfall Thomas
Elliot Walter Waterfall Thomas                                    Amalie Waterfall Thomas

As twins are want to do, Elliot and Amelie decided to poke their heads into the world early and because of this are currently spending a few days in the neonatal ward where sick and premature babies are cared for. In fact they may spend up to two weeks there.

Today we were able to make a trek to Heidelberg to meet the two new humans, only four days old. We had to wash our hands entering the ward and then had to apply a watery disinfectant before we could touch the babies.

Walking in Ben was changing Elliot’s nappy, which looked like a tricky job with Elliot in a humidicrib. But from seeing Ben do it you can tell he’s going to be a great hands on Dad and isn’t going to shy away from the icky bits of having a baby.

Being born a little jaundiced Amelie is currently undergoing some UV treatment, and I gotta say it must be working as I didn’t notice a hint of yellow on her. Her little eyes are covered to protect them from the light.

Ben the new Dad takes care of Baby Amelie
Ben holding Amelie

What was really amazing is holding Elliot and thinking “he’s just like a normal little baby, I don’t know what all the fuss is about”, then turning around and seeing another baby in the ward that was full size and realising that Elliot and his little sister (she’s 15 minutes younger) were about a third of the other baby’s size.

David, Nikki, Ben and Elliot
David, Nikki and Ben with Elliot

I can’t wait to get to know these two little human beings, and seeing on how they come from such wonderful breeding stock I’m certain they will be fine little fellows indeed.

To say I left the hospital feeling a little clucky would be an understatement. I love babies and little kids, I love the way they see the world and the way they approach life. I will enjoy watching them grow.

And if you visit my Flickr, you’ll see a lot more photos of the babies, there are more of Amelie because, well, Nikki as feeding Elliot for a while and I had to do something with the time, plus she’s a gorgeous little bundle of joy.