Friday, April 27, 2012

celebrating a mum-to-be.

After weeks of planning, secret lunch meetings and hours of Pinterest surfing, the day finally arrived for Donna's work baby shower. To be honest, when I kindly volunteered myself and my amazing friends to organise this event I don't think any of us realised how big and detailed it was going to be. Our original thought was to hold the party during work, in place of one of our very exciting weekly meetings. However, after planning commenced, my millions of crazy ideas were thrown out there and the guest list was made, the party had become bigger and grander than any of could have imagined. And can I just tell you, my inner party planning self was so excited about that!

Now, on to the party details. As I said before, Donna is waiting until the birth to find out the gender of the baby so we went for a neutral, but FUN, green, white and yellow theme. We made some bunting, hung cute onesies (which also doubles as a gift for the mom-to-be... oh sorry... mUm here in Australia) ordered balloons, bought fresh flowers and used lemons and limes in a lot of the decorations.

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So cute, right?!?

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Of course, we also had a lot of yummy food like these individual veggie cups with dip...

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chicken salad sandwiches on both bread and croissants... (my momma's recipe of course!)

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fresh fruit skewers...

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popcorn and chips...

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ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches...

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and of course homemade cupcakes!

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Okay, so maybe they were made from a box mix (thanks Betty Crocker) but they were still so YUMMY!

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The day before the party, Alyce had done a maternity shoot with Donna and her husband Nathan. As a gift to Donna, Alyce went and had some of the pictures printed and we used it as the centre piece for the food table. Aren't her pictures fabulous!!

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Of course, no baby shower is complete without a few games. We decided to play a few together and then have a few around the room that people could do as they mingled and visited with friends.

In the middle of the room we had a "wishing tree" where the guests were able to leave a wish, words of wisdom or advise for the new mum to be.

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[the naked tree before the guests arrived]
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We also had a guessing game where the guests were asked to guess how many nappies (diapers) were squashed inside a container. This was also another little gift for the new mum as she was able to take all of the diapers home with her after the party to use when the baby arrives. However, we ended up buying "boy" diapers by accident so we aren't exactly sure if she use them yet or not...

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We played the traditional, "how big is Donna's belly game".

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And there were two people who were very, VERY close!

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The next game we played was definitely the biggest hit of the party!  All of the guests were given a clipboard, pen and paper, asked to place it on their heads and given one minute to draw Donna's baby.

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It was hilarious!

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[Carolyn's baby picture]

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[one of the better portrits]

We weren't really sure what Sarah drew becasue it certainly didn't look anything like a baby to us, haha!

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After that we had a quick baby trivia game. Like, did you know babys aren't born with kneecaps?!?

Next Donna opened all of the gifts, which is always the best part in my opinion.  I mean, who doesn't love little baby hats and cute cuddly toys?

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And as a thank you for attending, we handed out these cute little "It's almost THYME" favours. Now I grew these little guys from seeds so they weren't exactly the best looking herbs ever seen, but I think everyone got the point.

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Overall I think the shower was a huge success! Thanks to my amazing friends, it turned out exactly how I had imagined in my Pinterest-idea filled head :)

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When I first came to Australia I worried about making new friends. As an adult, it isn't always easy to find girlfriends that you really feel like you can talk to and connect with. Although it was work that brought me to these girls, I have to say that they are not really my "work friends" anymore. They are much more than that! These girls are my closest friends and I am so very thankful that after three years of living here in Australia, I have found them. They support me, listen to my crazy stories, no longer hear my weird American accent when I talk and go along with my crazy ideas like it is no big thing.

Thank you so much to Alyce, Tynnielle, Sarah and Donna for being my rocks and making me feel at home here in Oz. Thank you for sharing in my excitement when life is great and being there to support me when I need it. Thank you for not running away when I volunteered you to help me with this baby shower and spending an entire day cutting up lemons and peeling carrots so that we could make my crazy ideas come to life.

I love you guys and can't wait to really celebrate when this little baby finally arrives!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

oh boy.

On Saturday morning I peeled my sick self (oh BTW I have been sick... like haven't gotten out of bed sick... tear) out of bed, took a half hearted shower and got ready for my first ever Australian baby shower. As Max said, I had really been looking forward to this shower and should use this as my reason to get moving again (I also think he was ready for me to get my germie body out of our bed and get some fresh air).

Luckily I had shopped for my baby gift pre-sickness and was prepared for the shower.

[Fun baby shower gift idea- instead of using wrapping paper, wrap your gift in a baby blanket. It adds to the gift and from what I have heard, a new mom can never have enough baby blankets! I also used a baby toy to decorate the outside of the present to jazz it up a bit. Overall I was happy with how it turned out and think Donna really liked it too :)]

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The baby shower was at this cute little lakeside cafe in Springfield Lakes (near where I work).

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While my closest work "mates" were there, it was really nice to met some of Donna's other friends as well.

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We played a few baby themed games....

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And put our best "baby guesses" down on paper.  I am guessing she is having a boy... but only time will tell!

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We also drank hot tea out of beautiful china, snacked on triangle sandwiches and little cakes and chatted until the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was great and just what I needed to get me going again.

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For some reason Tynnielle (left) and Sarah (right) find this classic maternity photo hilarious. We are not really sure why but as soon as they found out Donna was pregnant, they started making heart shaped signs over their belly's and laughing uncontrollably.

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It has now become a little joke at work and luckily Donna plays along :)

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I stole this picture from Donna because I didn't get a good one of my friends, but here are my work "mates" from the shower (please excuse my disgusting hair... I blame the cold for this one!).

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Top: Donna (mama-to-be), Alyce, Me
Bottom: Sarah and Tynnielle (making their heart signs again... haha)

It was a wonderful afternoon celebrating a very special "mum". I am so happy I pulled myself together long enough to go because this kind of time with the girls is always worth it.

Now please excuse me as my bed is calling my name.

ps. I have also declared today as the LAST day I am going to be sick. Fingers crossed this declaration holds up because I have a very busy and important week ahead of me!

Tomorrow- Donna's work baby shower hosted by Sarah, Alyce, Tynnielle and myself

Saturday, April 14, 2012

easter adventures on moreton island.

This Easter holiday we headed out to near by Moreton Island for a long weekend of camping with a few of our friends.  Moreton Island is a large sand island off the coast of south-east Queensland. It is 95% National Park and is a four wheeling driving only island where people enjoy camping, fishing, snorkelling and whale watching.

Our trip began VERY early on Good Friday with a 6am ferry trip from the Port of Brisbane to the western shores of Moreton Island.

Good Bye Brisbane....

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Hello Moreton!

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During our hour (and a bit) ferry ride we had a visit from a very special little bunny. He was a few days early but played the harmonica which made every single person on that boat laugh... at 6am... on a Friday.

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As a four wheel driving only island with soft dirt roads, changing tides and creek crossings, there was of course a wall-o shame picturing some of the unlucky island goers from the past.

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Once we arrived on the island and unloaded ol' Betsy (the Landcruiser) from the boat, we headed north to meet up with our friends who unfortunately had to catch the 3AM ferry!!!

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Ryan and Ciara found us the perfect camping spot just off the beach, sheltered by the shade of the trees.

Ryan and Ciara's camping set-up.

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Our camping set-up.

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Jason and Tang's camping set-up.

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Ahhh... home sweet home! Well, for three days at least :)

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Once we were all set up we took off to explore the island and do a bit of fishing.

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Jason and Ryan really love to fish. They own fishing gear, know where the fish are more likely to bite... bait their own hooks....

Max, well, fishing isn't really his thing. He is happy to watch people fish with a cold drink in his hand but wouldn't be caught dead baiting his own hook or touching a live fish.

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But like they say... when in Rome do as the Romans do. So fishing it was.

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After an early morning, long day on the beach and BEAUTIFUL western sunset, we headed back to camp to make dinner and enjoy a warm fire.

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The next morning we woke up to another beautiful sunny day and a bright blue ocean!

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After some breakfast and a few car repairs, we packed up and took an inland track to the eastern side of the island.

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This is the ocean, or "surf", side of the island and it was just as beautiful as the western side.

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[Tang, Ciara and Me]

After a slight detour on a track that I believe (cough, cough) was closed, I found my husband guiding my through my first ever water crossing. If you look closely you can see the very serious, "WHAT ARE YOU MAKING ME DO" look on my face as I try not to become one of those pictures we saw on the barge on the way over.

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It is a good thing my dear husband knows what he is doing and I came out of this "puddle" dry and in one piece.

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After that we headed up to the northern point of the island for the best views of the trip!

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From the lighthouse we could look south down the eastern side of the island. What a beautiful place!

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See the turtle?

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After a hike around the lighthouse we headed to these inland sand dunes (not sure what they were called). They were huge, it was bright and we were a bit hot and hungry by this point. Sand. Cool. Moving on.

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Our last stop for the day: Tangalooma Island Resort for some cold drinks and two HUGE scoops of ice cream!!

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After watching the sunset over the yachts, we headed back "home" for some dinner and another campfire.

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Day three started off with grey skys and a bit of rain. After a slow start we headed to "the desert."

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While the boys explored the dunes in the rain, the girls sat in the cars and read books.

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But just as quickly as the rain came, the sun was out again and we were back on the beach where Max found THIS amazing starfish.

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Okay, well I thought it was amazing :)  I mean, look at those colours! SO. COOL.

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After a quick trip to the southern tip of the island (nothing exciting to report there) we headed back to the north and found these amazing rock pools.

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I am pretty sure these rocks are completely underwater during high tide, but at low tide they make a perfect place to swim and relax.

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As the tide started to roll in, the waves would crash over the rocks and create a beautiful waterfall over the edge.

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See those tiny dots at the back of the rock pools? That is Tang and I soaking up the sun.

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[Jason and Tang]

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Well, that about sums up our first trip to Moreton Island. It was probably one of the most relaxing camping trips we have ever been on. The weather was amazing, we had the perfect balance between relaxation and adventure AND I got a nap in every afternoon!

What more could you really want?

I hope your Easter weekend was full of the exact balance of adventure and relaxation too!
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