I need everyone to cross their fingers. And toes.. And legs and eyes… ah go on. Cross it all πŸ˜Š

It Is Done.

I need you all to cross fingers, eyes, toes, legs, in fact any body part you can muster: four big residency applications have been sent off. (I just hope that I signed and dated and ticked everything that I needed to πŸ™ˆ I swear that having 4 kids has lost me quite a few brain cells. These days, filling out even a shopping list is difficult πŸ˜†)

33 pages per child. My mind is suitably numb. But to be able to gift to our children the chance to live in this place, it’s so worth it ❀

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The boys had to have their medicals this week, to make sure they’re healthy for their residency application. Have you ever tried to get a nearly-8-year-old and a 5-year-old to pee in a pot? Jeeeez, you’d think I’d asked them to go pick up a dog poo 😏

Loads of bribery and bottles of cold water later, we got the required dribble. And yes- once you start, apparently you can’t stop, good job I’m not precious about being weed on. Needs must πŸ™ˆ

The next examination was a cough-while-I-hold-some-body-bits for them all, and the 2nd customer was little Sid, who, instead of doing the required cough, manufactured the largest belch you have ever heard. Right in the doctor’s face. πŸ™Š

We’re definitely a memorable bunch of buggers.

So… the nippers have been at school for 2 weeks! Even SidΒ  (who turned 5 on Waitangi Day- which is the national day of New Zealand, commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and who now thinks the world has a day off because it’s his birthday πŸ˜†) has started. Too bloody cute 😍

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We’ve had a plethora of baking birthday cakes, (Sid =5 and Tom =8! I feel I’ve made a rod for my own back when I let them start choosing what cakes they’d like to have, I swear they confer and try to think up the toughest baking item they can think of! Check out these bad boys…😁 )

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Then there’s been a flurry of school day trips to Water Adventure Parks, not forgetting birthday Flip Out trips and Surf days. Not sure about the kids, but I’m knackered πŸ˜‚

We’ve also birthed some Monarch Butterflies 😍

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And I’ve got a big amount braver, like WTF is this beast? We’ll I battled it and won. Go me. (Picture has the laptop cable brick in for a bit of perspective: the bloody thing was MASSIVE)

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By the way, school here in New Zealand is awesome, the boys are loving it! ❀

I have a year 6 (Ruru Whānau), a year 5 (Kereru Whānau), a year 4 (Pukeko Whānau) and a year 1 (Korora Whānau)Β  and the school is full of happy faces and bare feet. Or flip flops. (Or jandals if you learn the local lingo πŸ˜€) Joe is learning to play football with no shoes on, Tom has been put up a year, Fred has learned to wear a sunhat (!!) and Sid is… well SID. Crazy as ever πŸ˜‚

Homework is optional, they have thw choice of voluntary surf lessons on a Friday lunchtime, and I’ve signed them up for bucket drumming on a Tuesday. What’s not to love? πŸ˜„

Oh, and no one writes in cursive. Apparently that’s a very foreign language πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ my top 3 are going to have to learn to write non-joined up again πŸ™ˆ – good luck with that πŸ˜†

Oooo and I nearly forgot! Best news ever! My mum is coming to visit in a couple of weeks! We’re all very excited! The boys are already planning where and when they will be jumping in on grandma for cuddles 😊 (every morning about 6am πŸ˜‚ Pamela, you have been warned πŸ˜†)

Happy Friday everyone 😊 xx

We survived being without Wi-Fi for a week! Some with a better temperament than others πŸ˜†

Its true. We CAN survive without Wi-Fi. However some members of this family coped better than others πŸ˜‚Β  (hey kids πŸ˜‰)

We are finally connected! The family have retreated to the various corners of the house with their technology and we are back to grunting at each other (rather than having to actually interact πŸ˜‚)

Life is back to normal 😎

During the barren wasteland of Wi-Fi-less-ness, we did get up to a few things…

We found an old pool in the garden shed, and removed the resident cockroach to reclaim some paddling fun..

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We discovered some amazing caterpillars and a few more Praying MantisesΒ  (or is it Manti?)

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We explored the surrounding area and found that the tsunami evacuation routes mean that we’re only about 10 minutes meander from the sea. This place is truly paradise ❀

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(Although shortly after this photo we were assaulted by sea lice, which I can testify are really, REALLY itchy 😯 – they are tiny jellyfish larvae which are small enough to get inside your togs and get stuck there. They then die as you exit the water, emitting their tiny, itchy stinging stuff, and you don’t notice until you are covered in the nasty beasts.. go ahead. Google it. Yuck.)

We discovered that we have THE BEST neighbours… Dawn and Gerry live next door. They are retired, and like to go freedom camping.Β  They are just gorgeous (and I can only hope that our feral kids don’t put them off us too soon πŸ˜†). Not only are they lovely, but Gerry used to repair machinery in a bakery. On occasion, he still gets called in to help, and when he leaves the bakery to come home, he likes to raid the doughnuts.. can you tell where this story is going? YES INDEED 😁 he dropped round to us 8 jam-filled balls of doughy loveliness and 12 cinnamon doughnut rings.. he’s my new favourite friend πŸ˜ƒ

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We had a visit from our lovely old friends from north of Auckland  (love you guys..) and it was great to catch up and meet their children ❀

It was the last weekend of the summer holidays here, and on Tuesday, I finally cracked on with checking out schools. It’s been a lovely dream to have home schooled them for the last three months, but they’re really getting on each others nerves. It’s time to let them shine outside of home ❀

The first school we visited, the kids fell in love with. I had primed them to be on their best behaviour (ok, I’m not ashamed to admit it was bribery) and they all earned themselves a Macdonalds icecream for sure. We had to wait and see whether we’d get a school place (I’ve never been so nervous!) but my unruly rabble must have made a good impression, as we were accepted πŸ€—

The boys weren’t too impressed as we got the uniforms the same day, and this morning they started school πŸ˜‚

Proud mum alert 😊

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They all survived. Fred, I am especially proud of, as his anxiety was through the roof, but he faced it with true bravery, my total hero. He’s adamant that he doesn’t want to go back tomorrow, but we’ll face that hurdle in the morning. Tonight I’m celebrating the victories 🍾πŸ₯‚πŸ˜Š

Here we go again….. πŸ™ˆ

Well, here we go again! Hopefully the last time for a while… for the 7th time in 3 months, we’re moving house πŸ™ˆ

No mean feat for a family of 6! (One with a Lego and action figure obsession! What’s the betting he totally notices any bits that we lose? πŸ˜†)

But look. LOOK. Behold the new Zaturowski home 😍

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We’ve signed up for a while. We can relax! The bad news is that it doesn’t have fibre Wi-Fi tho so we’ll have to wait to be connected.. which may be a blessing as I’ll get my kids’ attention back πŸ˜† (actually the jury’s out as to whether that’s a blessing or a curse πŸ˜‰)

This week, the footie stars in the family had a morning of training and mini tournaments, it was lovely to watch! As soon as the football training season starts I’m definitely signing them up.

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We’ve done a smidge more home schooling.. the kids have learned body parts and done some online maths.. more than that, we’ve had surf lessons, swim lessonsΒ  (Sid is absolutely sure he can now swim; I’m not convinced but he does seem to bob around well in the swell 🀣 ) -I love this crazy kid:

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and dead-things-on-the-beach education…

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I’m going to miss living right across the road from the beach.. but I’m going to love having a place to call home ❀

Deeper down, it’s been a hard week mentally. I think we have all exited the honeymoon period, and hit reality. There have been a lot ofΒ  arguments and tears this week πŸ˜” and that’s not just me πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

The lack of routine was showing, so we’ve put some rules in place. The kids helped to write them and they have the opportunity to earn up to a dollar a day in pocket money if they keep up with their chores. Sounds good and it’s working!Β  Let’s see if this lasts πŸ˜‰

For now, we’re watching Men in Black and enjoying our last bits of WiFi before we move.

We’re off to Papamoa Beach.. See you on the other side! 😍🌊🌊🌞

I think we may just be living in the most beautiful place in the world…. πŸ˜

I think we may just be living in the most beautiful place in the world… 😍

This week, we had a little visitor…. how cute is this guy? 😊

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(It’s ok, he’s on the outside of the glass, and he’s tiny. We’re safe πŸ˜†)

We also had some huge storms, the whole of the North Island was a bit buffeted by high winds and high tides, which were, in their own way, amazingly beautiful to watch and also a little awe-inspiring.. The power of the wind and the waves was more than a little humbling, and during the wash-rinse-spin cycle (24 minutes duration) if the local launderette (yes, I’d more than had enough of washing our stinky undies) I popped to the beach in the rain to watch the high tide roll in.

There was one mad bastard out on a crazy kite surfing mission, and the rest of the beach was underwater with huge white, washing-machine waves sucking in and out. It was stunning, and no photo could really do it justice but I tried.

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We stayed indoors for a bit… with no TV…Β  I think I broke the kids by ‘persuading’ them to do some learning work in the holidays (“oh my god that’s SO unfair”) and after day 3 of rain, I finally cracked and bought another πŸ˜‚

I have to say, the peace and quiet of 4 kids watching a film on the telly is hugely underrated. I have regained some sanity πŸ˜…

We visited Kaiate Falls.. and again we were blown away by the absolute beauty that is on our doorstep..

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I’ve come to realise how totally lucky we are to be here ❀

In other news.. I think I’ve managed to give myself a weird home made tattoo πŸ™ˆ

I had a couple of little critter bites on the back of my neck (remember the mount mauler? Still itchy 😞) and my old lady grey hairs were growing back so I thought I’d better dye them dark again.. can you see where this is going? I managed to drip hair dye down my neck and the bug bites stung like crazy and I now have 2 little black dots that make me look like I’ve been savaged by a vampire πŸ™ˆ Not cool. I hope they bloody wash out.

So, storms are over, my hair is back to normal.. what else is there to do? Ah yes.. visit the most beautiful beach I think I’ve ever seen… 😍

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‘Take every chance you get in life, because some things only happen once” – Karen Gibbs

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No more arguing about taking turns on the Xbox! Extreme measures… πŸ˜’

The good news is… No more arguing about whose turn it is on the new Xbox One that Santa brought us!

The bad news is… It’s because this is what the t.v. currently looks like πŸ˜―πŸ˜”

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It was less than 11 days old.

Have I mentioned lately that I hate Aspergers? 😒😩

This is the result of an instant temper tantrum, Fred vs. The TV… poor television didn’t stand a chance.

Today, it’s not all sunshine and roses and I want to smash something into itty bitty pieces, but instead I will spend the day holding my own temper inside and trying to help Fred get past his own anger and remorse. We all will.

Living with Autism can be really hard some days. Actually, most days. I can only imagine that for Fred it’s even harder, as he struggles with anxiety and flash tempers, his insides must be like a rollercoaster on acid some days, but for his siblings, it’s almost just as hard.

They hear his rage (and it comes out in some very flowery language these days πŸ˜žπŸ™ˆ) and they experience his temperΒ  (it’s usually one of them he lashes out at) far too frequently.

It will sturdy them up and is teaching them patience, and to accept difference, I tell myself (while feeling that parent guilt that trots along next to me every day). To be fair, they are all very understanding and can also calm Fred down, which is a real help.

Sometimes, it’s shite being an autism parent. (And sibling).

So, just for a change, we hit the beach.

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Today was beautiful. We walked, we ate, we played with Keri and her lovely boys, we had fun. Although inside, I was still raging. I’ve really struggled dealing with it, and when we got home, I cried a lot.

Happy New Year; it’s certainly been one to remember… but at the end of the day (as we lie here in bed at 9pm with nothing to watch πŸ˜†) we are all healthy and it’s only the tv that lost the battle. We’re all still here and we’re all still in one piece. And from tomorrow we’ll all be doing a lot more home schooling πŸ˜‰πŸ˜†

It’s no wonder we bloody drink πŸ™ˆ

Only I could get stung on the arse by a bloody wasp πŸ™ˆπŸ

Only I could get stung on the arse by a wasp πŸ™ˆπŸ

Yesterday, we all popped down to the beach to take the boards out (more about those in a minute!) and the kids and I are easing ourselves gently into the water, backwards while trying not to scream too loud at the chill factor, when Tom and Joe start looking nervously at my back and telling me not to move ‘cos there’s a wasp on me. So what do I do? What any normal person would do. I begin the Wasp Dance and start stripping off, while flapping around in the hope that the Wasp will be embarrassed by my moves and bugger off.

I whipped my shorts down to my knees, turned around a few times (it’s quite impossible to see your own back though) then pulled them back up when I realised how silly I must look. Meanwhile the Wasp is obviously caught in my flapping boardies and gets pulled back up, and onto my more-than-ample bum cheek. Well, OUCH. The pain was bloody immense! I whip my shorts off again and flail around in the water for a few secondsΒ  (kids were killing themselves laughing by this point) before trotting back up the beach in absolute bum agony, keeping my stiff upper English lip, before asking mark to check my arse to make sure the vicious wasp had left my butt in peace.

OMG the pain. It stung for ages and parts even went numb. I hate wasps!

And for this story, I thought you might appreciate a photo of the wasp rather than my bum πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

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But let’s get to the good bit!

This week, after waiting for what feels like forever, we finally got our Christmas presents to each other.. our surfboards arrived!

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They are gorgeous 😍

We’ve waxed them, been out on them, been up on them, and fallen off them. We’ve been washing machined, eaten sand and seaweed, and been munched by the Mount Mauler (don’t ask, and don’t Google 🀀)

More than anything, we’ve had a relaxing week at the seaside with the kids… this really is what I wanted when we planned this whole trip. I’m loving it, despite the bloody big wasp sting on my backside ❀😊

Living the Dream.. Underpants and Aspergers πŸ’™

Living the Dream.. I never once imagined that I’d be hand washing my children’s scuddy undies on Christmas Eve. Yet there I was. Up to my elbows in suds. That’s got to be an expression of true love, surely?

This unfurnished house is lacking a washing machine and with 4 kids and a hubby, I can see I’m going to get very bored VERY quickly of mucky grundies.

So.. Happy Christmas Everyone! Guess what Santa brought us? πŸ˜‚

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Joe’s joke teeth were a big hit 😁 (or maybe Santa thinks we need a family dental trip πŸ˜‚)

Kids were up at 6ish (not bad for a Christmas morning eh?) but the first real noise we heard was Fred yelling that Santa had been and that Father Christmas is the world’s worst EVER person (the language was a tad more fruity than that) and that EVERYONE has got bigger, and more, presents than him.

Today, I bloody hate Aspergers. The perception that so many things become a winning and losing scenario is one of the hardest things for me to understand.. I’m not sure how to help Fred to learn to deal with this, but first thing in the morning when I’m just opening my eyes, I’m afraid I don’t respond well πŸ™ˆ

I became Shouty McShouty pants and this was the start to our day. Happy bloody Christmas πŸ™ˆ

Fast forward a few hours and we’ve had even more shouting and tantrums over the new Xbox (the turn-taking Rota isn’t working too well πŸ˜’), some excitement over scooters and slinkys, and lots of chocolate for breakfast. It’s a very up and down morning, and I’m not coping well. It’s 11am. Is it time for a wine yet? πŸ˜‚

Bacon sandwiches for lunch, a spot more child-refereeing, and we drag the kids over the road to the beach to stem the cabin fever.

THIS is more like it 😎

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After a couple of hours in the sea, everyone is a bit happier and I’m thinking that today may be a good day after all. We even managed family cricket 😊

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For the first time, Fred also took part.

This, however, may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back because again, the perception that he’s losing, or that he’s not as good as everyone else, takes over and the cricket bat gets thrown πŸ˜”

Today, I really, bloody hate Aspergers.

Back home for Christmas Dinner BBQ, and Sid decides to have a paddy and not be in any more photos.

At this point, I open the wine, and accept that no matter what we do, our day is always going to consist of tantrums and tears as well as laughter and fun.

Our family is not perfect, but it’s just perfect for me. It’s bloody hard work sometimes, and I can understand why we are the neighbours that no one wants to live next door to πŸ˜† but This Family’s all mine and I love it.

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(Sid’s over there in the corner having his No-Photo Hissy Fit πŸ˜†)

Few more fizzy wines and it’s all good. (Me, not the kids πŸ˜‰)

Happy Christmas 2017 everyone ❀

What kind of idiot arranges to move to an unfurnished house 3 days before Christmas? That’d be Me πŸ™ˆ

So what kind of fool decides to move house 3 days before Christmas? Yep. ME.

Not just move house either, but move to a completely unfurnished house. So what did Joe and I spend Thursday the 21th December doing? Battling the Christmas crowds to find cutlery, bog brushes and bedding. Not that we even had any beds yet πŸ˜†πŸ™Š

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However (said in a very Hannibal Smith voice) “I love it when a plan comes together…” Our beds and mattressesΒ  arrived on the same day we moved in 😎  Β Thank God, as I’ve been stressed to the max about it.

So… we’re in the beachy house.Β  I even splashed out on a last minute Christmas tree which was on offer at $4.98. See? There’s the bonus to being so last minute 😎 super sale Christmas items!

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Our next purchase, a bloody big BBQ. We’re struggling for places to sit, but the priority is that Mark’s cooking Christmas dinner this year, so here she is 😎

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Sid’s impressed πŸ˜‰

Not only has it been stressful moving, but bringing over the secret stash of Santa’s presents has been downright sneaky ninja material. There’s been night time wanders, limbo under window moves, and some whopping, big lies about unsafe wardrobe floors.

Wrapping was done in a rather speedy and untidy manner, but seeing as they’ll only rip it to shreds and leave it all around the lounge, I don’t care.

So:

Christmas tree – check βœ…

Presents – check βœ…

Bbq and huge meat stash – check βœ…

Alcoholic beverage or two – check βœ…

Beach view? – check βœ…

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I think we’re ready for Christmas 😊  Are You? πŸŽ„πŸŽ‰πŸŽπŸ—πŸ–πŸŽ‚πŸΉπŸΎπŸ₯‚πŸ„

There’s always one! (But why is it always mine?!) πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ

There’s always one. But why is it always mine?! πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ)

As parents, we’ve all had that thought, haven’t we?!!

Picture the scene… beautiful weather, calm waves lapping at your tanned toes.. Pilot Bay is a gorgeous family sandy beach: shallow blue water, kids playing happily with spades and sandcastles, tinkling children’s laughter in the air while the adults relax in the summer sun…

Then your second child thinks it’s funny to yell, “SHARKKKKKK” πŸ˜†πŸ™ˆπŸ¦ˆ as he splash-runs his way out of the water.

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I can look back and laugh now, but FFS in that moment, your stomach still drops and the Jaws music still plays in your head πŸ™ˆ πŸ˜‚ and a split second later you need to track down your joker of a son to give him a slap for being embarrassing πŸ˜†

So this week, we’ve explored a bit more, in our efforts to find a place to live. We’ve been up to Katikati and Waihi Beach, and driven through many suburbs of Tauranga, it’s all beautiful and we’re still kinda homeless. The good news is that we have got the beachfront property to rent for 3 weeks, so Santa has somewhere to visit. The bad news is that we still need to find somewhere from mid January. Other good news is that our surfboards arrived! Other bad news is that the courier dropped them in transit and they’re broken 😭 Even more good news is that I’ve ordered some beds to sleep on when we move into the new place next week. And the bad news is that as they are oversized items, they may not arrive until after christmas πŸ™ˆ

As you can tell, this has been a week of ups and downs. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve seen photos of the UK snow and we’ve felt a bit homesick. It feels a very long way away right now and I’m so thankful for the awesomeness of FaceTime to keep us in touch.

On Friday, the older boys all had a family surf lesson with Marc the Spanish Surf Instructor.

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One by one, they all caught some waves, and Joe and Tom are getting pretty good at standing up, the jammy natural dudes.

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I kind of loitered around at the side of them with my board during the lesson, in case Fred needed any help, catching a few waves and feeling pretty smug as I surfed my way in. Marc waved me over at one point, and I thought maybe he was going to compliment me on my immense technique.

Nah. But I’ll take his constructive comments ‘on board’ (get it? πŸ˜‚) as he told me that I need to bend my legs more and lift my arms, because I look a bit like a surfing gorilla. Thanks dude, thanks. I guess I’ll try to take my knuckles out the water and shift my bum closer to the board.

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Speedway! Demolition Derby and muddy donuts… πŸ©

So, tonight we took the kids to their first speedway event, stock car racing and demolition derby! We paid for our family ticket and trotted in.. found some amazing front row seats and sat down. Check us out! Best seats in the house!

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Anyone wondering why the seats around us are empty? πŸ˜‚ We didn’t πŸ™ˆ

First we got our priorities straight and I got in the queue for some mini donuts. The first race began. And as I carried my cinnamon-sugar encrusted beauties back to our seats, the realisation of why we’d got such great front row seats hailed down on me. Literally. Great chunky sods of red mud were falling from the sky, and (as it should be) my first thought is to protect my donuts. (That’s not an metaphor πŸ˜‚)

I’m scuttling back to our seats with a hand over my delicious treasures, with my eyes half shut in case they get hit by a flying mud missile, get there, and the kids are thinking this onslaught is the best thing ever πŸ˜‚

We moved. Lesson learnt πŸ˜† – don’t rush for the front row seats when the pitch is muddy (and full of crazy bloody drivers) πŸ™ˆ

It was a great night though, loved it.

This week, the kids have had a surfing lesson, we’ve been to a river adventure park, and we’ve been hunting for a property to rent.

The surf lesson was put off for a bit because the dodgy huge full moon brought us unusually huge high tides and waves, and the sea was full of itty bitty bits of mashed jelly fish πŸ™Š but they got their lesson this morning and rocked it 😎

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The river adventure park was brilliant- high diving boards, water trampolines, slip n Slide, ‘The Blob’ (giant air pillow in the water that you bounce people off) and all sorts of other such fun things that the kids made us do…

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During the activities, I managed to gracefully faceplant the trampoline air pillow, and I have a gorgeous bruised hooter. I’m pretty sure no one noticed πŸ˜†

House hunting. What fresh torture is this? There are now only 16 days to Christmas, and 13 days til we have to be out of this AirBnB place that we’re in, and we have nowhere lined up yet. I am slightly in panic mode.

We’ve viewed a couple and applied for about 6, but I’m not sure what is putting the agents off; it could be our lack of credit history, it could be our lack of employment, or it could be the fact that we have 4 kids, all at the tender age of between 4 and 11.Β  And they’re male.

I’m sure our super well-behaved brood of boisterous boys wouldn’t be off putting in the slightest πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ

Please cross your fingers, I viewed a property this morning that is only available for 3 weeks, but it means that we’ll have somewhere for Santa to visit. I’ve texted and pretty much begged for us to be able to live there.

Here’s the view over the road out the front:

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Keep everything crossed. Fingers, toes, eyes.

We need a home. Especially here ❀