It’s a Gift

Karate Kidding.

It’s March and apparently I’ve already ruined Christmas. Which is odd because historically I haven’t had a lot to do with the planning of this monumental event.

“Dad! What?!” was the first I knew there was a problem in the seats behind me. “Why would you do that?”

What I’d done was to sit at a table with a couple of my friends sipping gin & tonics and talk about family – which, as it can do when inebriated conversations start stumbling about, eventually lead to a discussion on Christmas traditions.

“We sit around the tree and hand out presents one at a time,” my friend told me. “It gives you a chance to make really bad guesses about what it might be. Like if you have a watch sized box you might make a guess it’s a chainsaw.”

“A chainsaw?” I questioned him.

“Well, I knew it wasn’t a jetski,” he said. “Too small.”

“We spent Christmas with a friend’s family a few years ago and they did it all wrong,” his wife continued. “They handed all the presents out and then everyone opened them at the same time.”

“Chaos,” agreed her husband. “No one got to make silly guesses.”

I acknowledged it was clearly the wrong way to go about it – but was immediately outed.

“That’s what we do,” said Master11. He’d been sitting with us soaking up adult banter and having a giggle.

“No, we don’t,” I said to him. Not sure why I was feeling defensive, but there was definitely a whiny defiance in my tone – like eight year old me had just been dobbed in to my mummy for flogging change out of her purse. I turned to my friends. “No, we don’t,” I assured them.

“Not at first,” Master11 went on, “but by the end you’re just handing them out to everyone.”

I was going to explain that of course we bloody do because our ‘everyone’ is made up of a lot more people than most families and I’ve usually been dragged into the family room without even a first coffee of the day. Besides which, I always worry the prawns in the fridge are getting lonely.

Instead I went with a pouty, “You think you can do better?”

“Yes,” he challenged.

“Fine,” I said. “This year you can play Santa’s helper and hand out the presents under the tree. Is that what you want?”

“Really? Hell, yes!” he exclaimed excitedly, jumping at it like a husband at the delete history setting when he hears the missus pulling up in the driveway. “And I can do it any way I want?”

He seemed to be waiting for me to retract my offer, but my head was filling with visions of me ducking into the kitchen for breakfast prawn sandwiches and fresh cups of Joe while the family remained engaged and happy around the tree instead of around me.

“Why not,” I said. I mean, they’re labeled so how badly can he stuff it up?

I should have asked his sister.

“Why would you agree to that?” a shrill Miss13 wanted to know when Master11 chose our roadtrip from Minnie Water to Canungra to inform her of his new role. Suddenly the 300km drive was looking a lot longer.

“It’ll be fine,” I assured her over my shoulder, trying to calm things down. I assumed she was upset at a younger sibling taking on an adult role she possibly saw as rightfully hers first. “You can have next year if you want, but he’s in charge of distributing the presents under the tree this year. I’m sure he’ll do a great job.”

I was proven wrong almost immediately.

“So you know,” said Miss13, getting to the main problem as she saw it, “he’s decided to open everyone’s presents himself?”

“You did say I could do it any way I want, Dad.”

So that’s my big contribution to Christmas 2017. I think I might let Tracey take it from here.

I’m sure, when I explain the mix up to her, she’ll be rather pleased I’ve given her nine months to sort this out.

Rock and shell collecting has become a thing. This concerns me because, I tell them, ecologically I worry they’re doing damage to something. Like my suspension.
These ones aren’t too bad.
But I’ve noticed the rocks getting bigger.
“Daddy, can you help me wiff this rock please.” No.
They do get put to good use though, making fairy rings to attract chocolate. 
Not sure how that works but apparently it’s a thing.
As is the fairy leaving a note. Thank you Karen & Luke. I suspect the lure of chocolate will stop them collecting rocks and shells in no time lol
Speaking of odd things, making blanket castles in other people’s living rooms is apparently something we do now.
Oh, and Master11 might have pulled a knob off the bathroom door. Sorry about that. Of course this meant a lot of time spent making double entendre about pulling off knobs while in the bathroom. I’m sure we were subtle and he didn’t get any of it and he just finds doorknobs hilarious.
The perfect gluten free breakfast burger: a sausage inside two rashers of bacon.
Chasing seagulls on an isolated stretch of beach. Kids might never remember this. I will. Forever.
Doing our morning chores – stocking up on Pokeballs from the Pokestop over the fence for our day’s Pokehunting with the kids
Parked up in front of our friend’s home at Minnie Water.
Luke and Tracey checking out locations for a photoshoot Tracey had booked in with a lovley Grafton family.
We don’t have our bikes with us yet, but Master11 was able to commandeer one for a couple of rides around Minnie Water.
Making waves. Minnie Water and surrounds has some gorgeous beaches to explore.
No swimming for the kids (we’re paranoid much) although Master11 did get a chance to go boogy boarding with Luke and Karen. That’s Karen in the water. No between Luke and the kids. Yep, the dot. I really should scrounge around for a better shot.
I’ve promised Miss7 she can go to gymnastics when we get back so she’s been practicing cartwheels. That reminds me, I should let Tracey know.
Our beach cripple. I suspect Miss13’s sore leg might last a long time. At least until her parents are over trying to take her on bushwalks 😉

Chairs are for less feral kids.
Check out  how she’s looking at him while he plays a game on his DS with her. This trip is so good for these little buggers. They’re still shits though. Obviously.
Pee stop on the way north to Canungra at Woodburn. In my seeking out a coffee for the road I discovered a shop there where a lovely woman (not just saying that because she pointed me towards the best coffee on the strip) who paints and sells tiles – and they’re amazing art! If I had room in our lives for these sorts of things at the moment I’d have bought one.
Set up at Canungra. Our first camp fire of the big lap!
There are many reasons to camp. I only need one – potatoes cooked in the ashes. Not a very arty shot, but I was hungry. 
Moved to a different position on the other side of the oval today to be closer to a tap. Kids and I walked the gazebo over and the wind got it at the last minute. Saved by a couple of legends set up next to us.
Speaking of legends, had a visit from a couple of locals – Kerry and Leanne. Leanne works for LifeFlight who, as you know, were instrumental in saving Tracey’s life when shit went south in October 2015.
Someone say selfie time? 🙂
There’s a fantastic covered concrete area for scootering here at Canungra Showgrounds. $33 a night for our family, includes power, water and easy access to some of the best bush walks in Qld.
There’s even a stage for Miss5 to perform on.
Sunset over a loo. Magical.
Tracey has a few photo shoots in the Gold Coast area so we’ve settled in for the better part of a week. 
If anyone is interested in having some family photos done while we’re here contact her on 0407821071 or [email protected]

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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