Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Homeward Bound

So it is only 8.00 pm and all is quiet in the world of Watsons, Mike has fallen asleep next to Lola whilst trying to get her to sleep and the other two flaked it as soon as their heads hit the pillow, I finally have a little time alone. Now, whilst travelling, I seems that I have all the time in the world but I have less time for myself, there seems to not be a minute in the day when I don’t have someone around me, there is nowhere to hide in the camper, not even from yourself., there is no other ‘life’ distractions, just the here and now. As I try to reconcile the person I am, I have been for the last 6 months with the person I am at home I am flooded with questions….will I be this relaxed when I get home, will the same things that bothered me at home, bother me when we get home, will I still be plagued by indecision and unhappiness with some parts of my life, or will I just not care anymore.

Will the questions that once kept me up all night still be there when I am home, or will there now be answers, logical thoughts a PLAN.  Whilst travelling for the last couple of months, I have wound down, so much so I think I have nearly stopped thinking, I have relaxed so much, enjoyed just being in the moment, being with Mike and the kids,  not planning anything, not having to be responsible for anything except our little family.

As the kilometers clock up and the line on the map pointing home gets shorter, I find myself conflicted about my return home. I am a little anxious about returning home to a life without a job, without a purpose other than me and my family, also a little excited to start a new chapter of our life afresh.

I am excited to be planning future adventures around Australia, adding places to return to and places we didn’t get to onto the list. I am looking forward to the many trips to camping expos, caravan places and researching where we will go, what we will upgrade to, what lessons we have learnt from our first expedition to not repeat again.

I have loved nearly every moment of this trip. I have loved the anonymity of moving on every few days, of no-one not really knowing you, but I have also loved the feeling of seeing someone you have met before at the caravan park, the instant connection of recognizing a face in an unfamiliar surrounding. I have loved meeting new families who are on the road also, conversing about where you have been, where you are going,  the different journey each of you have travelled to get to that destination. I have loved the serenity of the outdoors, of watching my little girl so happily playing outside, picking up sticks and stones to show me just how magical the outdoors really is. I have embraced the heat of the North, not caring about how sweaty I might be or get, just doing whatever it was that I wanted. I have loved wearing shorts nearly every day for 5 months, feeling the heat on my bare skin and not caring to cover up from the hot sun. I have loved watching my kids play, make friends, laugh so hard until they could burst. I love watching Mike play with the kids, seeing them light up with his stupid games. I love that they groan everytime he says ‘Hi starving I[m dad’, when one complains, “I’m starving”. I love seeing how the kids work through their frustration of being bored, of being sick of each other. I particularly love watching Scarli annoy Oscar as it reminds me of how annoying I must have been to my brothers. (I couldn’t possibly have been that bad!)  I wonder how many times worse my precious Lola will be by the time she starts to annoy Oscar.

I love that Lola’s first words are based upon birds, fish, trees, sky….I love that Lola doesn’t even have to say a word to get her message across,  a look, a grunt and she has the whole family running to be on her beck and call. I love that Lola no matter where we are always puts her shoes on and heads for the door, she will not be kept inside for a long period of time! I love that she has her first bubba that she loves, puts blankie’s over, cuddles and kisses, and defends from Scarlett trying to steal her away. My Lola has grown into such a big girl on this trip, not my little baby anymore.

I love that Scarlett is fearless and fuelled by the excitement of what the day may bring.  She is so full of life and ready for adventure, If you suggest anything with the right tone to your voice, Scarlett will be up for it, she is the first to jump to action, her eyes lit up at the simple thought of doing something with you. No matter how stubborn and obstinate she is, no matter how much she pushes my buttons I always remember just how similar we are and enjoy her spirited nature! I hope that I will remember to be like her more often.

I love that Oscar is quietly determined, a little shy and reserved, but bursting with questions and an inquisitive nature once he is comfortable in his surroundings. I love that he is such a caring brother to his sisters, he is gentle and kind. I love that he is protective and caring of the people and things he loves. I love that although he never wants to go anywhere or do anything, by the time we get ‘somewhere’ he is the first out and exploring the situation, the first to run into the waves, or finding the walking tracks, making cubbies in the scrub and climbing the tallest trees. I love that he too like me, loves his own company, needs his time to himself to play, think and wonder.

I have loved spending time with my children, I love watching Scarlett and Oscar play and Scarlett trying so hard to keep up with Oscar and Lola trying so hard to keep up with Scarlet and Oscar. I love that when you ask Scarlett a question her answer is always ‘whatever Oscar is having/doing).

I will not miss my heart skipping a beat when I hear a car coming and I have lost my line of vision on Lola. I will not miss the morning dash to the loo in my jammies, braless and busting. I will not miss getting up to wee in the middle of the night and the coldness of the night air. I will not miss Scarlett saying she needs to go to the toilet 5 min after I have returned, I  will not miss the bites all over me that have left my legs looking like a scarred join the dots puzzle. I will not miss the the screams of boredom from the kids in the back of the car, Lola constantly trying to ‘hudini’ out of her car seat on the long drives.

I will miss the nights of laughter with my kids when they danced around tent poles and had competitions who could dance the longest. I will miss not knowing what day of the week it was and that being a good thing. I will miss having no obligations to anyone but my kids. I will miss the long car journeys, sleeping with the sun warming you through the windscreen. I will miss the relaxed attitude that comes with being on the road for so long. I will miss waking up in the morning, not knowing what town we may lay our heads down in that night. I will miss lazy mornings and even lazier afternoons.

I am excited to see my family and friends, to ‘move’ back in to my home, to decorate, add my personal touches to each room and meld the old me with the new. I am looking forward to having cuppas with friends, to having adult conversation and ‘things’ to occupy my mind. I am looking forward to family celebrations, Anthony’s wedding, birthdays, Christmas. And as our time away draws closer to an end, I am excited about what the future will bring the Wandering Watsons!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Berry, Berry Delicious

So we left Sydney destination unknown, and unfortunately for my scarli wags had our first incidence of ‘car sickness’ for the whole trip. Poor little Scarlett tried so hard to get it into the sick back, but was not helped by the big hole that was in the end of it!!! OH DEAR!!!! I think we can count ourselves lucky that this has been the first real car/spew issue we have had on our travels to date. We finally arrived at our destination, BERRY! We set up camp in the showgrounds for the low cost of $20 a night for a powered site and hot showers. I was very excited to be in Berry as I had always wanted to come and explore this area and trust me it did not let me down. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this area. The beautiful green hills that roll all the way down to the beach, the amazing views, the gorgeous little towns around the area, EVERYTHING was beautiful. There was also another family that were camping at the showgrounds too and again we all enjoyed our new friends’ company at happy hour every night. The kids had a ball exploring all the old sheds and pavilions around the show grounds, they set up cubbies, ‘man caves’ (as Mike called them) and had a great time playing with their new friends. It is truly a small world as our new friends Paul and Juli are also friends with people we know. 

I particularly loved wandering around the streets of Berry, I found my new house, (once I convince Mike too move and persuade the owners to sell), it has a turret, a tree house and a flying fox, beautiful gardens, a big deck and such a lovely feel about it. I wandered into town every day to feed my coffee addiction (and maybe do a little spot of shopping for my birthday….you know ......just in case Mikie forgets to purchase me something!!!!) My morning walks were full of beautiful sites, gorgeous old houses, amazing landscapes and the smell of spring in the air, even the rain and gale force winds didn’t dampen my spirits. We went to the beach, hung out in KangarooValley and went on some amazing drives through the country side. On the Friday I celebrated my birthday with my gorgeous family and luckily I did a spot of shopping for myself, because lo and behold Mikie said he just didn’t have time to get me a present, I said ‘not to worry love. I have more than taken care of that for you!!!!!’ I had gifted myself some beautiful presents, man I do have good (if not slightly expensive!!!!) taste!  I spent the day doing what I love most, playing with my kiddies, shopping, eating and drinking…life does not get any better!!!!

I did laugh at Scarlett when after she had given me a microwave egg poacher for my birthday, she commented, ‘You love you new egg crack don’t you mum, it’s much better than your arse one!!!’ I wonder who taught her that language!!!!!

After an amazing five days in Berry and the surrounding district we packed up, dodging the rain long enough to remain dry and took off, again destination unknown.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Family, Friends and more Family

Well we left the Amamoor state forest, all set for a few nights at a caravan park at the strawberry farm, however mother nature was against us. It was pouring with rain as we packed up camp and continued to team down on the drive to the sunshine coast, so instead of staying and having a look around this area we decided to hightail it to the comfort of a house and some friendly faces and made the unexpected arrival at Gerard and Julies. Well we did give them a few hours notice (just enough for them to go “F&*^ look at this house, it’s a mess we had better clean up so that the Watson kids can trash it again in a second!!) I did manage to convince Mike to make a stop at the Eumandi markets and the Ettamogah pub before making it to Brisbane, I LOVE this market, Mike says he is seeing Australia via every playground the kids can find and every market I can find! So after a quick bit of retail therapy, we ventured on to the Ettamogah Pub for a yummy lunch and finally made it to Gerard and Julie’s. What a great week we had visiting the Brisbane family. It was so much fun to hang out with everyone, the kids had a great time playing together, and I think the attribute of cheekiness has definitely been handed down the Saunders gene pool, Scarlett and Keeley are running contenders for the title of cheekiest kid, and I am sure that Matilda and Lola will soon be close contenders!

Mike became Kasey’s new best friend, they spent a lot of time watching the ipad, playing the zylophone and singing! I love that under Mike’s gruff demeanor is a softer side that Kasey automatically identified, it was beautiful to watch these two interacting and having a ball. Whilst at Gerard and Julie’s we did very little sightseeing, when we managed to pry our children away from the big screen tv and their cousins, and me away from the washing machine, we did venture to Dream world and White water World for a few days. I managed to once again whimp out of the big rides, and watched with terror as Mike and Oscar conquered some of the more scary rides. I was happy with the tea cup ride in wiggles world and I managed to up my bravery and did the scary waterslides in white water world. We all had a great time and Mike only did a double take once at the price of everything!

We had recharged our batteries, drank copious amounts of coffee made by Gerard the barista, enjoyed sleeping in a house (well everyone except Mike who would kiss me good night and he walked out to the camper that was set up in the driveway to sleep alone) and the convenience of having the toilet in the next room, and, after a great week, of visiting playgrounds with cousins, and competing with Gerard and Julie to see whose kids can stay up the latest (it’s currently a tie), we bid a fond farewell and drove away to Matilda calling out ‘see you ev’ry body’ and a family sing a long of ‘hot cross buns’, heading towards my happy place, Byron Bay. (wow what a long sentence!)

We crossed the border into our second last state on our journey, Mike again forgot my  mandatory border crossing photo and cruised straight past the sign!!! Bloody bugger! We meandered our way through the beautiful hinterlands, with me sighing in contentment as we drove over gorgeous hills and beautiful country side, as we reached Byron Bay my happy place feeling washed over me and I thought to myself, this is it, I just need to convince mike that we are not going to leave this place. We set up camp in the caravan park right in town and loved being able to walk anywhere we wanted. Even the rain didn’t put a dampener on my mood, I was happy, I was in a beautiful spot, with my beautiful family and had a beautiful friend coming to visit the next day. The following morning Binny Bum Fluff came to stay, our cosy camper became a little cosier for the next 3 nights as we welcomed our dear friend into our little home. We drank lots of wine, ate lots of food, played lots of cards, where binny bum fluff whipped me but in the game of sixes and laughed lots.

In true Binny style she knew someone the moment she arrived at the camper, her aunt and uncle where staying there for 3 months so we had a great ‘happy hour’ with them and their friends at the most enviable site in the park, the one with the most spectacular views!!! Binny and I had a great day exploring the country side around Byron, enjoying a morning of retail therapy, Japanese tea and delish coffee in Bangalow, then driving around falling in love with the views from the beautiful hill tops in the region. I think it’s safe to say when I finally convince my hubby to move here, Binny will be a regular visitor! Oscar and Mike loved body surfing in the warm water and the girls made sandcastles and splashed through the little waves as they broke on the sands.

On the Sunday we woke to the kids singing “Happy Father’s day’ to the tune of Happy birthday  to Mikie. We ventured off to the Byron Bay Market to see all the amazing products that were on offer, we had a great time wandering around, listening to some great music and watching the kids having a jam session on the drums in front of the band. We had a great father’s day lunch at the pub in Byron, enjoying the views, even if it was raining, the kids even behaved long enough for us to enjoy eating too! On the Tuesday after Binny had endured the dreaded snot city that were our kids, I bid a sad farewell, thankful that she had come and shared this special spot with us on our trip. Mike dragged me from Bryon Bay kicking and screaming I was not impressed to leave as I think I could have set up here for the last few weeks of the trip, however New Castle and Sydney was looming and the thought of spending some time with my neice and her family and my sister lured me away from this magical spot.

We headed to Grafton for a short overnight spot at my Uncle John’s house. We spent a great afternoon and evening with Uncle John, his fiancĂ©e Barbara and my cousin Jacinta. It was lovely to visit Uncle John, wander around his amazing collections he has amassed over his lifetime and listen to his stories. We shared a delicious meal most of it prepared from their own garden and had a great night. Uncle John had turned his beautiful home into a BnB and Mike and I were lucky enough to get the Honeymoon Suite, yippee! After a great night sleeping in the most comfiest bed we packed up the kid for the long drive to New Castle, to see  my neice Jamee, (aka poo chunks), Nic and my gorgeous great nephews Eli and Fyn.

We spent a great five nights with Jamee and her beautiful family. The kids loved having all those toys to play with and running around with little Eli. I loved getting my fill of baby cuddles from my gorgeous 6 week old nephew Fyn and spending time with the Jarrett Family. We hung out, shopped, went to the toboggan hill near their home and had a great afternoon whizzing down the hill and getting lost in the maze! (lol). Nic took Oscar and Mike to the RAAF airport and showed them around his work which was so lovely. The area that they live in is close to the beach so the kids had a great play at one of the many playgrounds down by the bay. It was gorgeous watching my kids dote over Fyn, Lola would crouch down next to him, look at me to see if  I was watching then inch closer until ever so gently she would touch his face, it was so cute to watch her, she was a real little mummy. Whenever Jamee was holding fyn she would bring a blanket over to her to make sure he was covered and warm, Oscar also loved having cuddles with his second cousin it was really beautiful to watch and if Mike wasn’t shooting blanks these days I might have been tempted to go for no 4!

On the Monday we packed up gave as many kisses and squishes that we could to the boys and Jamee and headed to the big smoke, Sydney. We made a stop not far from New Castle to see an old friend, Bec Thompson, who I went to Loreto with many many years ago. It was so lovely to catch up with Bec, in true Theresa style I rocked up with all the Watson's in tow, with no 'plate', but not to worry Bec was all prepared, there was freshly made sandwiches, cakes, slices and lots of coffee! We had a great catch up whilst my kids played with bec's youngest, Summer. It was so lovely to share a few hours with Bec, chatting about our families and lives that we have created with our families and we left with a full belly thanks to wonderful hospitality. I had to drag Oscar out kicking and screaming, as again he was happy to be playing with a new friend. We made one more stop to put our camper in storage for the week and headed to Aunty Bernie’s (aka the best babysitter in the world!!)
We have had such a great week with Bernie. The kids have been spoilt rotten by their loving aunty, sleeping with her every night, I have loved waking up to the sound of their laughter as the play around with Bernie when they wake up. We have had a great time relaxing at Manly, frolicking in the ‘freezing’ water (it was so warm when we swam last in Byron Bay), we have visited the museum, played at the beautiful parks in Sydney, drank lots and lots of good coffee and wine. I had a lovely day wandering the Paddington market and oxford st with Bernie and her friend the ‘other’ Bernie, looking in beautiful shops and enjoying a lovely lunch (without the kids). On the Saturday night Bernie was on babysitting duty and Mike and I went out for a romantic evening (eg dinner and the movies), we went to see Red Dog, and loved seeing the country side of WA that we had so recently driven across. We then had dinner at a gorgeous Lebanese restaurant to celebrate our 12th anniversary as old married farts.

The kids have loved all the attention that Bernie has lavished on them (and me) and I have loved ALL the yummy food Bernie has cooked us each night, but most of all I have loved her company. Mike has been kept busy ticking of the jobs from Bernie’s list of things for Mike to fix. He even renamed Bernies’ laundry, it is now called Bernie’s shed. (Bernie was regailing this story to her friend Sophie and Sophie responded that her shed is the third drawer down in the kitchen!) He added a couple of new tools to her (very limited) tool box, a thank you present for having us is what he called them!!!  I will miss my sister and I think that when we get back Mike may find himself being a single dad for quite a few weekends, when I take a leave of absence to visit Bernie and enjoy Sydney without the kiddies!

We have enjoyed the last month of being with friends and family and even though we are so close to home, the reality of home is yet to sink in, I feel refreshed and happy to continue on our journey, I am not ready to come home, but I don’t think our funds will last for much longer! We are planning to spend the next 2-3 weeks slowly making our way down the coast, I think after a week of the big smoke, Mikie is ready for a little more fresh  air and a bit more space around him, so back to the confines of the camper and the wide wide open spaces of free camping! 

see you all soon xoxo