Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easterfest Day 3

Easterfest 2014 is all over. If you missed it, watch below for an action packed re-cap.

You can also read what our family did at Easterfest on Day 1 and Day 2

I'm not sure whether to be sad or a little bit relieved. Sad because Easterfest is a fantastic festival, great artists, so many things to do and fun. But I am relieved we didn't go today, because as much fun as it was, gosh it was so tiring doing it with five kids under seven - and in particular, you guessed it, the three two year old triplets.

When we were home from the festival, the triplets did sleep well, let me assure you! Alex and I my parenting strategy is just to get in and do things and deal with the fallout afterwards. So Easter Monday was officially devoted to going slow and recovering. Don't tell the triplets, but because they were fully zonked out and taking an extra long nap, they have missed out on a post Easter egg hunt with some friends at a local park. The big boys were happy to go along though - not that any of them needs extra sugar, but that's another story.

Talking of which, sugar is exactly the way Easter Sunday began, with Trent, our living alarm clock, running in and letting us know that the Easter Bunny had came! He then specifically came over to me and made a point of saying, "The Easter Bunny has given me chocolates, not you. Just the Easter Bunny." We tell him every year that the Easter Bunny and Santa aren't real. (Just our choice, no problem with those who don't) It doesn't matter. He simply refuses to believe me. At least he can never say I lied!

Little did he know that after coming in late from a watching the jazz at Easterfest, (See ) I had stayed up late not only filling their Easter buckets with chocolate, but also loading a new game onto their leapsters/leap pad so they had something to distract them at the concert on Sunday night.

The triplets normally are locked in their bedroom in the mornings. (On account of their super powers of destruction if they get up before us.) I didn't trust them enough to leave chocolate in their room with no supervision. They were pretty happy to find the buckets at the door when they woke up!

Small girl emerged without clothes on. She defies fashion trends and has decided she hates onesies.  It is an ongoing battle between her and I at the moment...

Of course there was chocolate for breakfast.

There's only one day of the year you can get away with chocolate for brekky!

Anyway, onto Easterfest. We headed to Mainstage for the church service. As usual it was a brilliant time of corporate praise and worship. Our church traditionally runs the Easterfest service, and there is always a big crowd from Easterfesters and particularly the campers. We were so proud of one of our great pastor's Nat Spary preaching the sermon. Nat shared his testimony about growing up in a dysfunctional home. He was so poor "that we couldn't afford the R in poor and that just left us with poo." Because of the Resurrection that we were celebrating on Sunday, Jesus has set him free from a life of hurt, pain and addictions. He learned that God's love had the power to heal and to save. These days Nat runs an awesome ministry called The Base which ministers to the poor and disadvantaged, to kids who are in a similar situation to him.
This is Nat and his incredible wife Tiff. I had run into them in Kidsworld the previous day!
After church we went home and settled some very tired triplets down for a sleep. The big boys and Daddy kicked back and watched a DVD, so I took advantage of the peacefulness and escaped back into town to watch Jars of Clay at "The Palace" (tent!) It was so nice just being out on my own and enjoying the music. I had to run away a bit early, but I couldn't resist ducking in to have a quick look at the Lifeline tent after hearing such great things about it. I picked up a cute shirt and dress, complete bargains. Yay!

Once I was home I discovered the triplets were still sleeping, (they clocked up a three hour nap, thanks to Easterfest exhaustion!) so I raced madly around the house packing things, particularly warm clothes, (Toowoomba is chilly at this time of year), so we could go out as a family to the final event on MainStage. We were a bit nervous about how we would go with all the kids. As always, we decided to plunge in and just do it. We always have an "Abort Mission" clause that we've agreed to if things aren't going well. A few times, a very few at that, we've aborted missions. But for the most part we find that we get through things, and we would prefer to be doing stuff rather than sitting safely at home and missing out on the fun.
Minus one child in the pic Sunday night.

Having said that, it may be that the people sitting behind us were wishing that we aborted the mission sooner. There was certainly a lot of movement from our little patch on the grass! Thankfully no one seemed to notice or mind the strange attire and state of our kids. Because we had whipped them out of bed and into the car, there were dirty faces, crumpled clothes, Jayden was wearing a girls hat that he refused to take off, the identical boys refused to wear shoes, so ran around in their socks and later in the night, Imogen refused to wear her coat, despite it being freezing. And when she finally gave in, it took her half an hour to get it on because she then refused to accept help. Ah, the joys of toddlerhood! We made it through most of the evening, even if we arrived later than we wished and missed out on Alabaster Box and Jimmy Needham, (I really wanted to hear him!)
Getting towards the end of the night...

Dami Im was brilliant. I loved seeing how genuine and passionate she is about her faith, and she really has the Wow factor as well as the X factor when she belts out a tune!

I was so impressed with how the OC Supertones worked the crowd. They had everyone up on their feet and participating. Even my kids listened and obeyed! (I wonder if they do house calls) As the kids danced around, raised their hands and clapped to the songs, I was so glad that we made the effort to come as a family.

A presentation by the crew from Yes He Is was truly inspiring.

New Empire also rocked the stage. Towards the end of the set, it was apparent that it was time to take the kids home. It would have been good to stay for the Worship Party finale, but this is just the stage of life we are at.

Altogether, I am very grateful that the organisers of Easterfest giving us tickets. It has been a pleasure to share with you about this well organised, fun, inspirational festival that is full of talent, passion and faith. To be honest, it hasn't been easy taking five kids to the festival every day. We were absolutely exhausted by the end. There are a lot of moments I just wanted to give up. When we came home at lunchtime I felt like bawling while the kids were all crying, I had a sore back, I was tired and I was worried because our dog had run away since Friday night, (Thankfully our neighbours on the other side of the highway found him at their place when they returned from camping.) But after a little sniffle (such self control!) I just pulled my big girl pants up, thanked my God for my blessings and kept pedalling like mad, because it's a glorious ride this life and I want to make the most of it!

Just to remind you as I say this, I'm under no obligation to say anything but my own opinions here. Easterfest hasn't sponsored these posts or all my social media contributions over the weekend. I just really want to heartily endorse and recommend Easterfest as a great event for people to go to. As a family, we had a blast. Sure we don't get to do as much as we might like, but everything we did do was awesome. (Cue Lego theme song… Everything is AWESOME!!!)  Kidsworld was so good at keeping the younger ones engaged, it may not feel you are getting value for money when you are stuck in the sandpit, but like my sister said as she hung out with me there on Saturday, "I come here when the kids are young because I want to support this festival in the hope that it will still be here when my kids are teenagers." Her family got a one day pass, but her 11 year old eldest daughter loved it so much her and her father came on Sunday as well.  For families, if you have kids who are in their pre-teen and teenage years, I think they are the ideal age to enjoy the full benefits and value of the wide range of music available. Of course it's ideal for young adults as well if we are talking more than families, but everywhere I looked there was people of every age group. There were a lot of grandparents sitting up the back with us at MainStage also, and they certainly looked like they were enjoying themselves even if their mosh pit days are over!

The big announcement of the festival was that Switchfoot will be there in 2015. The news hot of the press is that until April 30 you can get discounted tickets online for 2015, so it's definitely worth checking out, or letting someone know if you think they will enjoy it. Hop over to the Easterfest and click on the tickets button.

But in the meantime, I loved it, but it's time to take off the festival wrist wear and get on living the life that glorifies that God we spent the weekend proclaiming.

Linking with Essentially Jess

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easterfest Day 2!

Here is what we did on Saturday, day 2 of Easterfest 2014. (Make sure you read Day 1 of Easterfest.)

My plan was to get into Easterfest early, then get the kids home for sleeps, and while they slept I would race in and listen to Jimmy Needham, who Miss Rachael (our former In Home Carer) highly recommended. Then the plan was for Alex to meet me for the evening concert.

It was such a good little plan, but kids and husbands have a habit of changing these things, and we didn't get into the festival until around midday. We wanted the children to see that Easterfest was far more than just Kidsworld, although, quite truthfully, they were more than content to spend the entire time there.  Which made complete sense, it was a child's paradise.
We arrived! The triplet stroller made it a bit easier transporting the triplets around.
So when we arrived we wandered in and watched the talented local Sarah Freeman singing at the YWAM tent. The big boys were distracted very quickly when they spotted that there was a gaming van opposite the YWAM tent. There were much tears when we left that space.

We then went to the Epicentre.  Found a table, parked the massive triplet stroller, got all the kids out. Set them all up with food. And the music stopped.  I could have cried! We should have gone straight to Kidsworld! Because now I had used up my sitting still credits, I had no chance of getting them to sit still for another half an hour to see anything else, so we went to Kidsworld.

Once again, I know I've already spoken about Kidsworld, but I just have to mention it again, I did spend a lot of time there! The SU team did a splendiferous job setting it up for the kids. I particularly noted all the pirate artwork they had for the different stalls with old fashioned games at them. So much attention to detail. My kids bumped into their cousins there, which made Kidsworld double the fun for them, and five times harder to find, because they kept splitting up and going off with various cousins. Luckily, although I was mindful and was head counting constantly, I was confident they were safe. There were adults standing at the entry and exit points to Kidsworld, so I was confident that they wouldn't let the two year olds out on their own and I knew there was no way the four year old and seven year old would leave of their own accordance, judging on how far the bottom lips had protruded when we had left Kidsworld on other occasions.
Me in the sandpit. Again.
We had arranged for Alex's mother to look after the children Saturday from 4:00 through to the evening so Alex and I could get to Main Stage to watch that evenings artists. We were late because Jayden had been desperate to get on the swinging pirate ship, so we had to give him a turn before we left, but you know what happens, if you give one a turn, then you need to give them all a turn!!!
What happens when we leave Kidsworld. Bear in mind that when the boys are like this, it is very hard to buckle them in. We are a spectacle.

Alex raced them home in the van, but Jonty was very much delighted to be given a big boy privilege of staying up late to go to the concert with us.
My big boy and I!
A little later my sister arrived with her minions and they sat with us also.

What a great evening! We got there in time to watch 80's superstars Whiteheart.
Rocking it old skool. Photo from Easterfest Facebook Page

We rocked on to Hawk Nelson I'm going to buy some of their albums I loved it that much. I'm way out of date with my adult music, The Wiggles have dominated our CD player for long enough!
Hawk Nelson (Easterfest Facebook Photo)

Evermore was next. I missed a fair bit of it because my iPhone battery died. I was lost, completely lost! I didnt have a watch, so I didn't know what time it was anymore. Plus I was meant to be meeting the other Easterfest bloggers and I had no way of communicating anymore. I went out searching for a way to recharge and kept running into people to talk to. (In the end my good friend Ness, who is also the Easterfest Director's wife took it and charged it for me. Oh, it was a joyful reunion when it was returned!) between the next band, Alex disappeared to go to the loo. Then Shonlock started. I loved the guy's energy and passion, but his music, I could appreciate it, but it wasn't exactly my taste. I started wondering where Alex was, I knew that there was some good jazz nearby, which is much more my style, and I was eager to head that way. He seemed to be gone forever! He eventually strolled back holding a cup of coffee! It didn't matter, I just loved seeing my son go crazy! Proving that I'm old, my son LOVED Shonlock! I've never seen him so excited and hyped over music before! I'm suddenly getting a glimpse into teenage years with him!
Shonlock (Easterfest Facebook Photo.)

Alex doesn't mind heavier music, so he stayed with Jonty for awhile and then they went home. I headed over and met up with my friend Belinda from B Being Cool and Tonya from The Crafty Mummy. I absolutely loved the jazz Supper Club. We listened to Kristen Beradi and James Sherlock, I so wish we were sitting at a table while they played with a nice bottle of wine, although I'm very thankful that Easterfest is a drug and alcohol free zone. It might be another couple of albums that I need to buy so I can sip wine to that music! Next was my favourite artist of the entire festival - the fabulous a cappella group The Idea of North. Oh my, what a delight. Such a beautiful sound. Great memories from my younger days when I listened to them more frequently. And funny! Oh how I laughed with some of their funny little ditties sandwiched in between their juicy jazz.

After that it was time for bed. I would have really loved to hear Tigertown, so that will have to be one that will be a priority next time. It was probably a good thing that I didn't stay in town until midnight because I had Easter bunny duties to attend to when I got home!

Stay tuned to hear about the conclusion of Easterfest and our activities on Day 3!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easterfest Day 1

Easterfest 2014 is a good one. The children particularly have had an absolute blast! Kids World is amazing!  To be truthful, I haven't even scratched the surface of what's there, but hey, that's to be expected if you take 5 kids to a music festival - especially when said festival caters for the kiddos so well. You're bound to stay in that corner!

The Accountant was very adamant that the lawn needed to be mowed this morning.  It rained while we were away, so the grass was long. He did have a point. After all, I didn't want tigers that have hidden in the grassy pasture of our backyard jumping out of the long tufts and devouring our children.

And so he was out on the ride-on this morning, doing the obligatory rides for each child. Thankfully, once each child had their turn, he was happy to give it a break since the lawn was heavy with dew this morning, so it wasn't easy to cut.

So, we headed into Easterfest. Perfect timing really, we got to line up with my bestie Belinda from BBeingCool.
Belinda has crutches at the moment because she had an ankle re-construction. The poor thing had to explain this repeatedly throughout the day, and I suppose she will be explaining the whole time she sports a moon boot - which she wore with flair, I might add!
Because she is such a lovely person, there was no pretence she didn't know us while our children dropped to the ground repeatedly and did their toddler thing.

Once we got our tickets (Thanks Easterfest!*) We had to deal with the toddler fallout. The two year old identicals did not approve AT ALL to having 'bracelets' put on. Mammoth two year old tantrum was thrown. You know the type where everyone turns to see what the heck is happening.

(Of course, Immy had no probs with the bracelet, thought it was the perfect accessory for the occasion. Look at her showing it off to her little friend that she bumped into at the animal pen later in the day!)

(I do hope she wasn't rubbing in the fact that we had a premium upgrade though!)
We made it as quickly as possible over to Kids World. The boys didn't want to be distracted from their very important tantrum, but within three minutes they gave in. Honestly, resistance was futile with the myriads of exciting activities therewithin! At that point I blew The Accountant a kiss and raced down to "The Forum" to listen to Nanalew, Meekakitty, (awesome you tubers, search them, so cute!) and the dude behind yesHeis (can't remember his name, but he was seriously inspiring) and our very own Toowoomba blogger, The Crafty Mummy.

After that finished, I returned to Kids World. The Accountant was slightly frazzled, but still in control. Seriously, my husband is a legend. I know for a fact that there are many Dads who wouldn't stay on their own with five kids for an hour and a half in a public place. Or Mums for that matter, to tell you the truth the thought scares even me. Alex ran out for a little bit for a look around, and I was very grateful the kids were happy eating some lunch and watching the SU chaplains run a  SUPA club. It was so good seeing the kids engage with the Gospel message.

After SUPA club, we did a few more fun things like play in the giant sand pit, merry-go-round, pirate boat rides, knock-it-down games, petting zoo and a giant shark slide.

Oh, and I shouldn't fail to mention, we met Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber! Christian vegetable royalty! 
With the triplets at first...
I hadn't noticed the duo at first. Toby kept pointing and saying, "Look!" I finally noticed that he was pointing to a person dressed as a tomato. I just commented, "Oh yes, a big tomato." I thought it was really random that they decided to have a tomato walking around the grounds when there was a pirate theme! (In my defence, Bob was standing side on and I couldn't see his eyes!) The boys kept getting excited and watching the tomato. Then Larry walked out and I finally got it!

Then the big boys saw his and joined in. Having grown up on a cucumber farm, I have soft spot for good ol' Larry.
So, altogether a really fun day. Oh, except for the walking out bit. Which was much like the walking in bit. Toby was objecting loudly because he didn't want to leave. Then he screamed blue murder while we buckled him into the stroller. Unfortunately the mega you tubers were right next to us conducting an interview on camera. I don't know why they decided to interview them in Kids World - although I'm glad they did, while they were waiting for the interview to begin, I had a chat with them while I was in the petting zoo. Nothing like shaking the hand of a famous You Tuber with around a million subscribers while a goat is pooping next to you. (The goat had no social graces.) Anyway, to leave we wheeled a screaming two year old through the crowd and went home. Hung clothes on the line, had fish for dinner, put tired triplets to bed, read a devotional with the big boys and said some prayers remembering Christ's sacrifice on this Good Friday. 

The Accountant went in to see the night time action at Easterfest while I'm looking after the kids. I've received a text from him. "Jars of Clay playing some good tunes. The Flood - old classic. Music not to loud so I'm not too old yet!" 

Meanwhile I've been sitting here looking at all the #easterfest2014 hashtags on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and reflecting how awesome this event is. If you live in Toowoomba, or even nearby, seriously it's not too much of a drive for those who live in Brisbane and other nearby South East Queensland areas, you really should consider making a spontaneous decision and coming, you can buy a one day ticket at the gate. 

I'm going to indulge in a little editorial at this point.

The tickets aren't cheap. Especially for families. Some of you really couldn't afford it, and I get that. There have been years that we have not come because of the money also. However, if you do have the funds, consider coming if for nothing else to support the cause. Because how seriously awesome is it that there is an Easter event in Toowoomba, in Queensland, in Australia (because this is the biggest Christian music festival in Australia) that there is an event that proclaims God's name into the supernatural realm of our town/state/country? It is the type of stuff that by just by the amount of worship that comes out of this event, darkness is pierced. 

You might have a family like ours, or be an older couple. I get it that you don't want to spend all that money to sit in Kidsworld or don't have a connection with the majority of the artists. But can I encourage you, your children pick up something of that spiritual dimension just by being in the place. You will pick something up. Just being here allows God to work in your spirit. Just coming is stating that as a family, we support this cause because we want God's name proclaimed. The reason Easterfest tickets do cost so much money is there is soooo much funds that are required to run a festival of this magnitude. If you're just not into this type of thing so you think that it is not value for money, think of it as a donation and think of the value this event is to our nation. If you have tweens or teens, it is excellent value on all accounts. This is absolutely quality music and a super fun venue.

So stay tuned to my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts as I track our movements at Easterfest 2014. We are feeling the Crazy Love**! 

Jars of Clay playing at the concert I missed out on tonight. (sniff, sniff) Glad that Alex is enjoying it! Photo taken from Easterfest's Facebook page.

Are you at, or have been to Easterfest? Favourite moments there?
What type of music is your type?

* Easterfest gifted a family pass to us, and another pass as a giveaway. But everything I have shared about the event is my honest opinion. Because a liar liar pants on fire is something I'm not.
** This years theme for the event!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - 40th Birthday Party

I haven't shared many photos of my husband's 40th birthday party, so I thought it would be a good chance to this Wordless Wednesday. If you want to read a few details on how and what we did, head to my post about Planning a Milestone Birthday Party. But here is the night in pictorial detail.

Immy's grand entrance
The Birthday boy and the whopping big gawdy badge my sister put on him. I wasn't very impressed at all when I  turned around and saw him wearing that. I'm already finding something incredibly tacky for her to wear on her 40th in several years time. Except I wouldn't be that nasty.

The room.
The triplets were ready to eat the bonbonneires (giant freckles) well before dinner was on the table.

Hanging out with my family. Mum, Dad and little sis. (I'm sure she would like me to clarify that she was not the badge giving sister.)

Alex with his family and Toby. His Mum, Dad and sister.

How boys keep themselves amused at parties in the iPad age.

Toby and Imogen packing up at the end of the evening.

Oh yeah, she knows how to work a camera!

Immy had her entrance, Toby had his exit. At the end of the night, he stood at the automatic doors and giggled hysterically at them opening and closing.

My beloved and I at the end of a lovely evening.
Linking up at these lovely places:

My Little Drummer Boys
My Little Drummer Boys

Twinkle in the Eye
Twinkle In The Eye
Ms Mystery Case
5 Minutes for Mom
Mama to 5 Blessings

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Books for the Kids + GIVEAWAY!

This Competition is now closed. Thanks to the entries in the comments section and on my Facebook page. Congratulations to Tanya Clark, Kylie Walters, kookla123, Essentially Jess and Annstruck

This morning I invited a few of the younger children's little friends around for a morning of Easter fun and literacy.

We started by reading a really sweet "Little Mates" book, "Easter Egg Express" by Susannah Mc Farlane and Caroline Keys ($4.99, Published in March 2014, Scholastic Australia). It introduced in the concept of an Easter egg hunt for the morning. The thing I liked about this story was it was overtly Australian and featured bilbies! (My kids didn't even know what a bilby was, despite eating chocolate in years gone by…) The Bilbies were responsible for hiding Easter Eggs for the children to find on Easter morning. They enlisted the help of their friends, and the book is a great example of how teamwork and co-operation can accomplish a task. It's such a sweet little book, and actually would be ideal to chuck in your children's Easter basket. Something to read while they munch on all that chocolate Easter morning.

Once we had discussed the possibility of an Easter egg hunt, we did some craft with the children. I gave them each a Chinese noodle box that I had picked up from a local kitchen wholesale outlet.  Inside were some Easter stickers, foam shapes and animals and Easter egg foil we'd saved from a previous year. The kids were very focussed on glueing them to the outside of their boxes to decorate them.
It may seem like a simple task, but it doesn't hurt approach a task with double capes, bat mask, superman clothing and watch that play superhero theme music. Never underestimate the creativity that is unleashed when combined with super powers.
 Thanks to the help of the super Mummies,

I think the boxes turned out pretty darn cute in the end.

Holding their little boxes the children settled down on the lounge chair for another story while the Mummies hid some eggs.

The book was "We're Going on an Egg-Hunt" by Laine Mitchell. We actually didn't read this book, we listened to it, because it comes with a CD with a lively and funny recording by the popular entertainer, Jay Laga'aia! The children were very attentive to the story, especially the two kindy aged children. I thought they might have been distracted by the impending egg hunt, but the story, which is reminiscent
 the popular tale, "We're Going On a Bear Hunt", truly held their interest. Especially when the Easter Bunny came on the scene!

(Although Jayden thought it was a lion. Big teeth equal lion, according to him, it doesn't matter if they are buck teeth.)

After the story, the kids went on their own Easter hunt. Yum, yum!

And just to complete the sugar high, cupcakes for morning tea.

While the children ate, we had one last book, "There Was an Old Bloke Who Swallowed a Bunny!"

It's a hilarious new story from the duo (P. Crumble and Louis Shea) who created one of my children's favourite books, "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Mozzie". It's a farmyard take on the classic nonsense rhyme as a hungry old bloke looks for a feed -

There was an old bloke who swallowed a bunny. 
I don't know why he swallowed that bunny … 
Crikey, that's funny!

There's a lot of repetition, which is always popular with children. We had our own Crikey, that's funny moment when we got to the end of the story, and found the ending was missing! At some point a triplet had obviously accessed the book, and decided to rip out the last page! Just as well we could work out from the page that remained that the old man had ended up exploding and the animals safely escaped his interior!

So altogether, it was a really pleasant morning with busy and engaged children.

And guess what? You could win one of the books we read today! I have FIVE copies of "We're Going on an Egg-Hunt" book and CD to giveaway to Caitlin's Happy Heart readers.

For your chance to win, comment below** on something you plan to do with your family over Easter.  We're going to Easterfest! (Super Dooper Christian music festival) Hopefully I will be able to report back some exciting stories about our time there. Two year old triplets at a music festival. There's got to be some stories waiting to happen there! Stay tuned!

I would love it also if you could click on my side bar and follow me via social media! (I love Facebook and Instagram best, so I'm very active on them!) Brownie points go to new followers. *Big smiles*

As a lovely Easter surprise, the winners will be chosen Good Friday by a random number generator (18th of February) at 7am. Nice and early so I can email (make sure you leave contact details, otherwise you'll never know if you won!) you before heading to the festival. Please check your emails, because if I haven't heard back from you by Saturday 10pm I will choose another winner. Sorry to my international readers, but this is only open to Australian residents.

What are you doing with your family this Easter?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

** Some people have had difficulty posting. If this is you, please head over to my Facebook page and leave your comment there to be eligible to enter.


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