Tag Archives: Family

6 Years

It’s been 6 years since I last heard your laugh or heard your voice. 6 years is a long time, but 6 years ago today feels like it was only yesterday. The events of that day will never leave me. I still feel the pain and shock of your unexpected passing.

I often feel I want this chapter in my life to end. I am tired of it constantly being in my head and being the pivotal moment in my life. I want to move on and forget that it ever happened. Not to forget you, just the terrible event that happen 6 year ago. The event that changed our lives for ever. I don’t want to be that guy whose wife passed away. I don’t want Alec to be the kid that doesn’t have mother. I am tired of having explain our circumstance to others and I don’t want to feel the constant guilt and regret that I could of done more. One different decision could have sent us in a different trajectory and prevented this terrible event from happening. But I can’t go back in time and life keeps rolling on.

It has been a busy and hectic year. The family continues to move forward. Riding the up’s and downs of  life. We decided to do a major renovation to the house Miranda and I brought together. This will be our home to raise our family.

We moved out of the house for three months and are currently now living in it unfinished. The parts that are finished are amazing with all 3 kids having there own rooms now. But it has been tough at times.

Alec finished year one with flying colours. His reading skills are amazing and his maths is not far behind. He has also found a love for soccer and we plan on joining a club this year. I not sure I want to be a soccer dad.

Over the year Alec has grown into a proper boy. Cheeky, talkative and doesn’t stop moving and loves my dad jokes.

He a very much a independent child happy to play by himself and not a follower. I was concerned early in the year. I thought he was having trouble making friends at school. But it turns out he is well liked he just likes doing his own thing. Walking with him though school he get a lot of hello’s. Especially the girls. When I ask him who they are he replies “just a friend”.  I then ask him what there names are and he replies casually  ” I don’t know “. They all know Alec’s name.

Alec has a amazing imagination. He constantly coming up with plans and idea’s. He gets so absorbed in them and can get a bit upset if they don’t work. He loves Lego and building stuff. I might have company in the garage as he gets older.

As he is growing older and more aware he starting to ask more in depth questions about your passing. I am finding myself  freezing and wanting to avoid the topic. I think Alec sensors this and will change the subject. It’s something I really need to work on. Death of a loved one can be difficult to talk about, especially to a 6 year old who lost his mother.

As another year is upon us Miranda and I are busy getting the house sorted and everything ready for the new school year. It’s going to be another busy year. In all the busyness of life I never forget you or the wonderful and amazing person you are. Even during the times when I get angry at you for leaving me in this mess, I never stop loving you and I miss you with all my heart and sole.

Love Loves

Peter

My Home Climbing Wall

In my early twenty’s I regularly went to a indoor rock climbing gym. I would climb till my arms were so pumped and sore that I would have trouble driving home. I enjoyed the challenge and the exercise. Slowly over time I climbed less, until it was a distant memory of a time before work, life and being adult took over.

Many years later when I was looking for a sport’s activity for Alec. Rock climbing seem the obvious choice. Alec enjoyed it and I started getting back into it as well. Soon I had family members wanting to join us and rock climbing became a bit of a social event.

The bug got hold of me again and I started to improve quickly. I soon found that I needed to climb more than once a week if I wanted my climbing to progress.

This motivation is what I needed to make the decision to build my own climbing wall. I had always toyed with the idea, but as always not enough time, no suitable area and the list went on and on.

The plan for the wall was simple. But it soon turn much bigger and complex project. With a angled section and a overhang.

I started with a bare wall in my garage. I then made a frame for a angle section and screwed on ply wood to box it in and gradually filled in more sections of the wall and some of the roof.

 

Before the ply could be screwed to the wall I had to fix a thread into the timber for the climbing holds to be screw into.

For this I used t-nuts. To fit the t-nuts a 12mm hole is drilled and the nut placed in the hole. Each t-nut then had 3 screws to hold it in place.

This was done to every piece of ply that covered the wall and roof. A total of 283 t-nuts was used. So that meant 283 12mm holes drilled and with each t-nut having 3 screws. 849 screws had be screwed in.

Once the timber work was completed it was time to paint. First I painted the entire wall white. Then the rest of the family help decorate it. Everyone got involve even Hayden.

The next step was to make the wall safe for the kids and myself. With the overhang being 2.6 metres high off the ground. I had to have something that you could fall onto with out getting hurt.

I ordered a crash mat on-line thinking it would come complete. But Instead I got 2 big pieces of foam than a week later I got the cover. To be fare the company I brought it off did ring me to tell me that’s how it’s done. They didn’t mention however the foam would come in two pieces which created I bit of confusion at first.

With the wall finished I have no excuse not to climb. I now also have a small obsession with climbing holds. Over time I will increase the amount and variety to add to the fun. After all I have 283 places to put them.

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Happy Climbing everyone.

Somerset Dam

If it seems like all we do is go camping, well I starting to to think the same. This time we toke the kids out of school on the Friday and made a long weekend.

Somerset dam was or destination and we would be meeting up with family and friends for some much needed relax and family time.

With our complicated family dynamic we try to involve all of the different family groups in our lives. We strongly believe it is very important for Alec and Siannah to be connected with the family of their late parents. We will be spending the weekend with the family of Siannah’s father.fullsizeoutput_1602

Somerset Dam is located 115km west of Brisbane. From our place in the east of Brisbane we have two options. Travel south around the city via the Logan motorway or travel north around the city via the Bruce Highway than on to the D’Aguiler highway. Time wise both are about the same. We decided to travel both way’s. South on the way there north on the way home.

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Selfie time…..again.

Leaving on Friday we had a longer than expected trip. We hadn’t even left Brisbane when we toke a wrong turn trying to find hot drinks for the road trip. Those highway roadhouses can be confusing. We then took the scenic but longer way around Lake Wivenhoe. However we made the most of it and decided to have long lunch at the town of Esk. Good thing we weren’t in any hurry.20200228_115450

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Some play time in the park.

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Not a bad setup hey.

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Somerset Dam

We finally arrived at the relative empty NRMA caravan park on Lake Somerset and set up camp. Later that afternoon the caravan park started filling up and by Saturday morning the park was a hive of activity. Obviously a popular spot for a weekend camp.

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The kids helping set up camp…. I think.

We spent the day enjoying the company of family, friends and the cool water of the lake.

On the Sunday morning we packed up camp then spent the rest of the day down at the water till it was time to leave. We had very tired kids and we knew it will be hard to get them up for school in the morning. But it’s well worth it. After all it takes a village to raise a child.

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These are the type photo’s you get when your 9 month old daughter wakes up at the crack of dawn.

Evans Heads

With a very busy year ahead of us, we decided it would be nice to have a small break and some quality family time before the year kicks off. We found a spare week at the end of the school holidays and started planning where to go.

Our first plan was to go back to Woodgate but with reports of the Irukandji jelly fish  around the area we thought it would be best we head south instead. Evans Heads was our destination. Neither of us had ever stayed here and I had only visited the town once a couple of years ago.

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The in car selfie before we leave is a thing now.

A easy two and half hour drive from Brisbane makes Evans Heads the perfect place for a short getaway. We made good time traveling down the coast along the smooth four lane Pacific highway. Only a small section of road between Ballina and the Evans Heads turn off is yet to be upgraded. But work is well under way. fullsizeoutput_15ce

We arrived and found the caravan park in Evans Heads, checked in and set up home. Well, once we sorted out sites. We weren’t happy with the first site that was given to us, but a phone call to reception quickly sorted it out.

The first two days was spent around Evans Heads. Relaxing, exploring and enjoying everything that Evans Heads has to offer all within walking distance from camp.

 

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On this remote and lonely beach you can see the tracks of the allusive Hayden monster. This animal is fast and with her cuteness will snare her prey with no mercy. ( Read in David Attenborough voice. )

One activity in particular was a huge success. I took the kids fishing and we actually caught fish big enough to eat.

I had taken kids fishing before but nothing serious. I just used bread or meat out of the fridge for bait. I think the kids clued on and I was asked if they could use real bait this time. So a packet of frozen bait prawns were brought and the hand reels rigged with the correct size hooks and sinkers. We were getting serious.

It turns out using correct bait and rigging actually helps. We found a spot on the river and it wasn’t long before we got our first bite on the reel I was holding. Unfortunately I failed to bring in the fish. But it was a little bit exciting.

Not long after Alec got bored holding his reel and deciding to put it down on the rock next to him. Straight away the reel took off. I quickly grab it and I reeled in our first fish. With help from Alec of course. It was good size bream but I decided not to keep it and released it back into the water.

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The action slow down a bit and I spent a lot of the time re-baiting and casting out the lines for the kids. I did try to explain to them you have to leave the hook and bait in the water to catch fish.

Then all of a sudden Siannah realised she had a fish on and all by herself pulled in a another bream. The kids really wanted to keep it so it was the end of the line for Nemo and in the fridge he went. fullsizeoutput_15ca

On our third day we decided to do some beach driving. Between Evans Heads and Ballina is one long beach that joins the two towns. It’s thirty kilometres long and open to beach driving. No permit required just the usual road rules and speed limiteds that have to be obeyed.

While we waited for the tide to go down we explored Evans heads and found a look out.

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Not a bad looking crew.

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Looking north. This is the beach we would be driving on.

The vehicle access to the beach is on the northern edge of the town. It was easy driving with the beach wide with plenty of hard packed sand.

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Tyre’s aired down, hubs locked ready for some beach driving.

About ten kilometres up the beach we come across a rocky section. With the tide still receding it started to get a bit tricky to continue without sending the patrol in for a swim.

We decided this would be a good place to stop and have some beach fun. We put out the awning and camp chairs. Then set about the hard task of chilling out on the beach. Everyone had a ball swimming in the surf, exploring the rocks and playing in the sand.

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After some lunch and with tide all way the down. We decided to keep driving up the beach. I have known for many years about the beach run between towns, and I have always wanted drive it. It being on my bucket list maybe a little strong but you get the idea.

We followed the beach all the way to the southern side of the Richmond river. Ballina town being on the northern side of the river. A large break wall protect’s the mouth of the Richmond river, which the two older kids and I explored while Miranda gave Hayden a feed. We then turned around and headed back down the beach to Evan Heads. A awesome day out. These sort of days are fast becoming our favourite way of enjoying the beach.

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The kids on the break wall. Why is it so hard to get both kids looking normal and the same time in a photo.

The last full day at Evans Heads we spent doing what we did the first two day. With one exception. Miranda showed off her superb culinary skills and showed the kids how to gut and scale a fish. Nemo was getting eaten. The kids found this a mixture of interesting and gross, but the end result yummy.IMG_2154IMG_2156IMG_2163IMG_2166IMG_2167

That night we dressed up and headed to the local hotel for a final bit of fun before the pack up and drive home the following day.

It was great little break and Evans Heads certainly impressed.

The case of the missing Tooth.

I was playing with Alec in the water at the beach when I notice he was missing a tooth.

I ask him where his tooth was and he didn’t even realise he had one missing. After a bit of probing he told me the tooth must of come out when he was eating his sandwich he had for lunch. He remembers taking something out of his mouth that he thought was shell and threw it away.

Alec has had a couple of wobbly teeth for a while and has been super excited with the prospect of receiving a financial windfall from the tooth fairy. Now with the tooth lost he was a little upset.

So we suggested he find a special shell to give to tooth fairy instead. Surprisingly this worked. Alec received his loot for the shell and the tooth fairy even wrote him a letter saying how awesome the shell was.

So if you are down on the beach between Evans Heads and Ballina, keep a eye out for Alec’s tooth. Or a crab with a big tooth.

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Our First Family Holiday.

Christmas time means holidays and holidays means family road trips. As a family we just completed our first holiday road trip, and we didn’t do it by halves.

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We’ve been on a couple of weekend camping trips together. As well as a short trip down to Newcastle, which we flew. This was our first proper holiday. A total of 6 nights, 5 of those sleeping in the camper trailer. Add to this a 800 kilometre drive to get to our destination. Done in one day.

Our destination Newcastle. Miranda grew up in this former steel city and was keen to show off  her home town and also catch up with family.

We prepared for the big drive with plenty of snacks to feed the worms and half a car full of toys and activities to keep them occupied. The kids not the worms that is.

We set off early. Carrying the kids from their beds into the car, trying not wake them.

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Loaded up and on our way.

We made good time. Stopping regularly for toilet breaks and to stretch our legs. Generally the kids were good. Alec is use to be in the car for long periods of time. While Siannah says she “would rather fly next time as it takes sooooo long.”

To make life easier we stayed at Miranda’s parent’s place the first night. This saved having to set the camper up after such a long day in the car. We spent the night and the following morning catching up with family. After lunch we headed off to our camp for the week.

Our camp spot was south of Newcastle on the banks of Lake Macquarie. I don’t know much about the area but a reckon we got the best camp spot.

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Getting some help setting up the camper.

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The view from our camp site.

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Play count the swans.

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Sunset over the water. Could you ask for anything more.

The following day we had a rest day. Tested the swimming pool and had a bike ride.

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Our first bike ride for the holiday. The kids were fascinated by the pelicans hanging around the local fisherman looking for an easy feed.

The following day we went on a little four-wheel drive adventure. Beach driving on the famous Stockton beach.fullsizeoutput_138b

Stockton beach and the Worimi Conservation lands, is a 32 km stretch of beach and coastal dune area north of Newcastle. With a permit you can drive the beach and some of the dunes. A lot of the dunes have been closed off to vehicle traffic in recent years. However a large section on the southern end has been set aside so the big kids can have a play in the sand.

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On top of one of the large dunes.

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The dunes are always on the move.

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Driving on the beach was hard work. The sand was very soft.

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This group of sheds is known as Tin city. They have an interesting history, including being part of the Mad Max movie. Tin City History

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We stopped on the beach and set up the awning for some beach fun.

After we got off the beach we decided to head over to Nelson bay. We had afternoon tea at one of the trendy cafe’s at the harbour and had a small explore. As we were leaving I spotted a sigh to a look out. I can’t resist a good look out.

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A birds eye view of Nelson Bay.

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Um…. Not really sure what is going on in this picture.

The next day we did some more exploring but this time closer to camp. Miranda was keen to show us the local beaches that she grew up around.

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First stop Merewether Beach.

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We had a look at the Merewether baths and the explored the rock pools. It was far to hot to go swimmming.

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Then a short walk along the memorial walk above the cliffs overlooking the city.

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 Lunch on the harbour. I had fun watching the large ships being towed in and out of the harbour.

On our last two days in Newcastle we caught up with friends and family, and relaxed around camp.

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Lots more bike riding was done.

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The kids loved collecting shells.

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 Did some fishing.

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Two minutes later when their realised finishing take patience.

Unfortunately it came time for us to leave. Again we had to drive the trip home in one day. We packed up camp by mid morning and prepared ourselves for a long day in the car and a late arrival home. At least we were able to sit in the air-conditioned car to escape the hot weather everyone was experiencing.

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We still made time to visit the big banana at Coffs Harbour.

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And have a yummy treat. Yum Banana split.

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Still on the road as the sun sets.

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The kids tucked in and asleep as we pushed into the night.

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This is a screen shot of the navigator I use. It was a big drive home.

Now we are home and able to look back on our holiday. We can confidently say our holiday was a success. Not everything went to plan. We had some extremely hot weather, the kids weren’t always angels and we had a small car problem. But as a family we worked together to over come the drama’s and have a great time. Miranda and Siannah survived living in the camper for a week. In fact I think I might have some budding campers on my hands.

Now where will our next holiday be. Maybe somewhere off the beaten track.

 

A Big Change.

As the year comes to an end. An update of the Kethel’s boys is well over due. It’s been a busy year and one of change.

As most of you are aware, Alec and I did a trip into central Australia. While we were preparing for new adventures and adventuring. A lot was going on in the back ground that would change the course of our lives forever.

Way back in early 2017 Alec got a new day care teacher. A lovely lady called Miranda. Or Miss Randa as Alec called her. A couple of weeks into Miranda’s teaching duties the topic of family’s was discussed in class. That afternoon during pick up Miranda pulled me aside. Alec had said “he didn’t have a mother.”

At five o’clock in the afternoon in the pre-kindergarten classroom, Miranda and I had our first of many conversations about a part of our lives that unfortunately we both had in common. Miranda had lost her partner and had a daughter not much older than Alec.

Looking back this was the pivotal moment when everything would change.

Over the next couple of months Miranda and I got to know each other, we often talked during pick up and drop off’s. For some reason I looked forward to picking up Alec more than usual.

We eventually went out on a couple of dates and continued to see each other outside of daycare. I would like to say the rest is history. But like a lot of things in life it is never that straight forward.

I was struggling with the change and Miranda also had her fair share of drama’s in her life. I found it very hard at times and later in the year I broke off the relationship. We still stayed friends and of course we still talked a little. She was Alec’s teacher after all.

I started planning our next big trip and the end of the year passed by with Christmas and the usual end of year celebrations.

In the new year Miranda and I started to talk a lot again. January is a tough time of year for both of us and we supported each other during these times. It was then we both realised we mean more to each other than just friends.

However we had a problem. Alec and I were planning to leave on our next trip in a few months with no set time to come home. We agreed to enjoy each other’s company until I leave and what happens after that who knew. At least we would get that short time together.

Four weeks before we were meant to leave on our trip. I found major problems with the caravan and had to cancel the trip. I was very disappointed not to be traveling but on the bright side I got to see Miranda more. A lot more as it turned out.

Alec and I were spending a lot of time at Miranda’s house. We all enjoyed being a family together. Even if it was only on weekends. It seemed the obvious thing to do was join both our small family’s together. But not till after the trip Alec and I were doing instead of the bigger trip that I had originally planned.

Alec and I left our home to conquer the Simpson Desert knowing that when we return it would be to a new home and a new beginning.

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Attending a friend’s wedding together as a family.

As all four of us move forward in our lives together our unique family is constantly learning and changing as we work as one family. We have been blessed that both children get along really well.

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It’s crazy how well these two get along……most of the time.

Slowly both children are accepting of Miranda and myself in the roles as mother and father. Even if we are called by our first names. We are very aware of not closing out either lost parent. We openly talk about them with and in front the kids. Neither one of us are trying to be replacement. But to be a mother and father figure that loves and cares about them in the absence of their respective lost parent.

Joining two family’s together no matter what the circumstances, is not aways straight forward and is a constantly evolving process. Some of the settle in process is not so fun. While some is. Getting to experience each others hobbies and interest’s is in the fun category. In our case Miranda’s daughter Siannah does ballet and we got to attend her end of year performance. Miranda and Siannah got to experience camping with us. With two small trips away already. Hopefully plenty more to come. Of course a big trip around Australia together has been spoken about. But first some more important things have to be sorted first.

The first one is to wait till our new baby is old enough to travel. That’s right Miranda is pregnant with our child and is due in May next year. All of us are very excited. Alec and Siannah are showing very little patience and want the baby now. In the mean time we are having lots of discussions about names for the baby.Resized_20181112_154418_9839

This new child will cement us as a family. But it’s more than that. Both Miranda and I alway’s expected to have more than one child with our respective partner’s, and having the joy of bringing up the children with a loved one and as a family. We didn’t get that. Both of us have been raising our children alone, lonely and dealing with loss. We have support from family and friends and thank everyone for the help. But it’s not the same as having the mother or father of your child there for help and support.

This time will be different. Miranda, Siannah, Alec, the new one and myself as one family. We are going to laugh, cry, joke, get angry, and love as a family. Go on epic adventures, play, work, go to school, and just live an amazing life as a family.

Next year we may not be crossing the Simpson desert or tackling Cape York but it’s still going to be one hell of adventure. Bring it on!!

 

 Happy Christmas and have a wonderful new year.

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