Why I Need To Watch My Step Around Here

Sometimes words fail me with my girls.

“I’ve lost my earring!” squealed Miss10, dripping wet, her eyes darting at the floor around her feet while one of her hands continued to tug at a lobe. “Dad, can you help me find it?”

“Way ahead of you,” I told her, sounding less happy than you’d expect of a Dad who apparently just side stepped six hours of thumping around on his hands and knees.

Not that we’d have found it on the ground anywhere.

Our five kids had been swimming in a friend’s pool with their nine children, which was a bit of a treat for all of us. For the kids, it was the fact they have nine kids so there was a lot of fun to be had. For Tracey and I, it was being able to count this as a bath and not have to worry about showers.


Even I jumped in and splashed around for a bit.

Which was when it happened. The sort of pain you experience if you step on a bindi or piece of Lego, only a few degrees worse, shot up from my heel.

I reached down and, sure enough, something was there.

I tried to brush it off.


But also, effing bloody ouch!

Hopping on the other foot to keep my head above water as balls zoomed ‘playfully’ about my head and Master12 attempted to dak me, I carefully got a hold of the offending bit of thorn-like something between two fingers and gently pulled.

Removing it seemed to take forever but, oh so slowly, it slid out of my heal.

You know how as a kid you’d use your tongue to fiddle with a loose tooth which you’d swear feels the size of a marble and then it comes out and it’s tiny and you’re like ‘where’s the rest of it’? This was like that.

As I brought my hand up out of the water I had visions of a nine inch nail.

It was, obviously, my daughter’s earring.

“I just pulled this out of my foot,” I said with no small amount of showmanship, handing over the misleadingly tiny bit of metal shrapnel.

“No!” Miss10 exclaimed loudly and, I thought, with just the correct hint of indignation. Although to be fair I thought she was indignant at the offending bit of jewellery, whereas… “Dad, don’t you know I put that in my ear?

“I didn’t do it on purpose,” I assured her, immediately mimicking her indignant tone and wondering how I lost control of this conversation so entirely.

“Ahh, well,” she sighed, putting her hand out under my chin. “Did you at least find the back of it?”

When my mouth opened but no words came out she eventually wandered off.

I’d have done that myself but my bloody foot still hurt.

We arrived at the Whittaker’s for Australia Day celebrations so there was lots of activities and opportunities to play. We met this family online after their son Campbell sent our family a bear when Tracey was in hospital. Firm friends ever since, although this is the first time most of us have met.
Traditional game of back yard cricket with bin wickets. Untraditionally, that’s me playing.
Yes, this is me about to cheat and move the stumps.
Son and their oldest, Taylah, starting a war. Luckily there were enough gel ball guns for everyone.
Couple of days after Australia Day we got a Miss6, which brings to mind two questions -where on earth has the time gone and why did we stop having babies?
Because she LOVES unicorns she got to bash one’s head in with a hockey stick.
Miss6 1 Unicorn 0
Miss6 showing off her How To Train a Dragon presents to Campbell’s brother. They decided they could become best friends now they were the same age.
All day, while there was cake and laughs and fun, preparations for Campbell’s Project 365 fundraiser dinner continued. The house was full of donated gifts to be auctioned and fur.


Project 365 Hobart Fundraiser

Campbell with his first ever bear he made when he was nine, and the bear, Menzies, he made on stage on the night of the Gala. He raised $3500 on the night auctioning off Menzies. A bargain. His bears are often auctioned off online for over $5,000. Menzies is named for the Menzies Centre Campbell is raising money for – he intends funding his own cancer researcher there this year. After this event he’s halfway to meeting his goal. 
I had a wardrobe malfunction early on in the piece and Tracey had to stitch up my fly. Sweet bit of luck. As was the second time she needed to fix it up about two hours later. 
Our being in Hobart coincided with the gala so we were asked to come along and, because we were staying at their house in the lead up to the event, we did what we could to help the preparations. It was a fantastic week and we love this family so much. All the stress of putting on a classy fundraiser with over 200 guests and the house was full of fun and laughter. The night was a huge success. Mainly, I’m pretty sure, because I wore a safari suit.
Campbell making the bear on the night on stage.
Stuffing the bear. All this took place while the rest of us ate our dinners. Campbell got Maccas on the way home. No time to eat at your flagship event when you’re the CEO of your own charity at the tender age of thirteen. 
During the auction of Bumble’s bear, this handsome boofhead was sitting across the table from me and, just as the bids hit the high $2000’s, suddenly he starts waving at the stage. “Psst!” I hissed frantically. I know he doesn’t have that kind of money. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” He gave me a look like he couldn’t understand why I’d want to know. “Just waving at Campbell’s sister,” he said. Sure enough, behind the podium was Campbell’s little 3 year old sister. I told Master12 to sit on his hands and thanked the auction gods nobody else saw or we’d have been eating baked beans for the next couple of months. Then I laughed a lot…about an hour later when my heart settled back to a normal rhythm. 
I was invited up on stage for the Bear It All With Bumble segment of the evening, along with Lifeguard Maxi and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman. I think you’ll agree I had the best suit.
Friend of the Project 365 family, Mel Yeates singing on the evening.
Campbell & Tracey, who’s doing that thing with her lips when she smiles which I find so damn hot.
My kids did this. When Tracey was in hospital Campbell sent our family a beautiful bear called Winner Devereaux. They decided they’d take $30 each from their accounts and pay it forward to someone else who needs one next Christmas. I was so proud of them. Then they told me I’d have to put it on my credit card because they didn’t have any money with them. I will be chasing this up.
Event was held at Wrest Point casino. Had to duck out and grab some change for the float at one point and saw this. Guess who’s going to see Jimmy Carr on the 22nd? Tracey’s favourite comedian. I am so far into the good books Tracey might even pitch the gazebo herself.
One of the ‘table settings’ for the gala. Every table had one of the 28 bears Campbell made for the evening. Some of the recipients were even in the room, although most were posted out this week. Meanwhile, I’ve agreed to manage a monthly newsletter for Campbell because he’s the sort of kid whose acts of kindness make you want to be a better person, and while I can’t make bears I can spend a couple of hours every four weeks or so putting something together for him. If you want to subscribe (it’s US$1/month) I’ve set up things here. All the money goes directly to Campbell & his family to help with costs of running the charity so they can keep money donated for bears or kindness cruises totally dedicated to what it was actually given for.
Campbell with another of his creations which he gave away on the night. Our bear is our bus mascot. They quickly become part of the family.
All the bears prior to the gala. There’s a lot of work on this couch. A lot of love too. So happy to get involved in something so feel good.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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