Monday, May 28, 2012


It happened. Captain Madison and Pirate Noah and 18 of their merry crew celebrated their six and three year old birthdays with a pirate party in May. And here are the fabulous pictures (thanks to big sister Kelly and Nanna) of the event that was.

It was amaze-balls. It really was.

Having two boys who were born two days apart (and three years) just screams a big combined do, and then we're done for the year. (According to my husband, that's more than enough parties for every two years.)

Madison welcomed his friends out the front and marched them all in. I just loved how the kids used their imagination to look so pirate-y.

First up was fighting with Jolly Roger (my step-dad. And yes, Roger is his real name!). The kids had to fight off the bloody larakin, aka Papa. Then tug-o-war, walk the plank (option for blindfolding or not), and the egg race relay.


The big finale was the treasure hunt. Visiting Hangman's Cove, the pirate's lair, the haunted forest, and treasure cave all for the hidden treasure. (I'm so glad we have a lovely garden to go roaming in.) There were clues, some gold (in the form of edible chocolate), and the kids were riveted looking for that treasure!

Eventually the treasure chest was found (I'm not joking, it took a long time to find!), full of mini treasure chests for each child to take home.

The food. How did I ever organise a party before the existence of Pinterest? Seriously? In days gone by, I was an events coordinator. Organising events came right out of your head, because the internet isn't what it is now. But I'd go back to it in an instant with the resources now on hand for all things pretty and some outright amazing ideas. All the fabulous ideas of food just spurred on the imagination to go the next step. All the Pinterest inspiration and credits for this party is found here.

Oh, and if you want to look super organised, you get your step daughter to take a photo just minutes before the guests arrive, when things are looking their tidiest. I didn't plan it that way, but the timing was perfect! I look like a SuperMum! (And yes, it is all smoke and mirrors!)

The kids are still young, and because parents usually stay for the duration of the party, shouldn't there be food for the big guests too? When I'm at a lunchtime party, I never know if I should eat the food from the party table. Shouldn't there be a written decorum on this. Because I just never know. I don't think these parents should be left hungry, you know? So, I had two tables: the kitchen bench with coffe/tea/chocolate, orange flourless cake, fruit, spinach cob (yes, one of those ones that were big in the 90s), and well... food so the grown ups didn't miss out.

And then for the kidlets. For all things ocean and pirate-y, I made the following:
  1. Sea slime. Lime green jelly with jelly snakes on top.
  2. Pirate ship eggs. Hard boiled eggs with a toothpick and that plastic cheese (these were a winner!)
  3. Octopus in the dip. One red capsicum in french onion dip. Black olives pinned as eyes.
  4. Cannonballs & bullets. Well, maltesers make the best cannonballs. And bullets? Need I say more?
  5. Sea lice lamingtons. These were white chocolate lamingtons. (I promise to share the recipe thanks to Women's Weekly.)
  6. Chocolate sail masts. Grissini sticks dipped in dark and milk chocolate, and then drizzled with white chocolate.
  7. Rainbow fish skewer swords. Fruit skewers in rainbow colours arranged on a flat platter in a rainbow shape.
  8. Pirate cupcakes. I made everything, except the cupcakes. These were made by a gorgeous friend of a friend who also so happens to have her own cake making business called "Sweet Expectations Melbourne". You can visit her on Facebook here. They really were amazing, and a reasonable price too!

And just a gazillion more photographs below, because I am an over sharer. (Plus, my family overseas wouldn't mind some more pictures!)

By the way, no matter how prepared you are, nothing really prepares you for the after party exhaustion. It's overwhelming. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's all the adrenaline and then the collapse at the end.

In my view (and the look on the boys' faces), it was worth every little bit.

Oh, here's our professional photographer, who also so happens to look hot in a pirate outfit (and with her dad)...

Do you do parties in a big way, or prefer the understated party?

Friday, May 25, 2012


Three years ago, Madison had just turned three and Noah had just been born.

You see, my boys' birthdays are three years and only two days apart. Noah was due on Madison's birthday, but decided to arrive two days early. And so, my waters broke while I was finishing cleaning the house. It was the weekend of Madison's birthday and we planned a family party on the Sunday. My husband was on the way to the airport to pick up our eldest daughter. His car had overheated and they had to stop near the zoo to let it cool down. My gorgeous neighbour Trish ended up taking me to the hospital as I had to get there ASAP. We all met up there an hour or so later, and labour began. Leah, our second eldest had left earlier that day for her winter stint at Mt Buller. On hearing of the baby's imminent arrival, she drove the three hours needed to come straight back home.
Seven hours later, Noah arrived by emergency caesarian, Kelly had taken Madison home for some much needed rest, and Steve caught a taxi home when we were safely tucked back in our hospital beds.

I sat in the early hours of the morning in the quiet and the dark with my newborn sleeping next to me. I was exhausted, but deliriously happy. Here was my perfect baby, all safe and sound next to me. We hadn't parted since he was born. With Madison three years earlier, I had gone into recovery and wondered the whole time if I would recognise my baby when I next saw him. This time, I made sure that didn't happen again.
In the next few days, it's funny the things that go through your mind:
  1. Are newborns babies really this small? (How quickly you forget).
  2. Are toddlers really that big? (How funny that your other baby looks so big and grown up once you have a new baby).
  3. Oh yes, labour was that bad. I really hadn't forgotten. The need for another baby was just that strong.
  4. And yes, breastfeeding does hurt. (Just after the pain of labour, it's all relative.)
  5. I just can't help it. On day three I just feel teary over everything. It's all so overwhelming. Like looking at two car seats in your car. (Makes me want to burst into tears just thinking about it).
Three years later, and I'm reminiscing. I look back and wouldn't change one single thing. Every day these lads bless our lives with so much.

Recently, a friend and his wife had their sixth baby. When she was born, his Facebook status remarked at how amazing his wife was throughout the labour, and then he said, "Funnily enough I didn't feel like shouting, 'Thank random biological processes in a mindless universe.'"

That's the thing about life. Once a baby is born, it's hard not to believe in a miracle. I like to thank God for my two little miracles and for my amazing, and beautiful family. There is so much for which I am grateful.

What are you grateful for this week?