Woke early with the kids, who were excited to have the whole day together in front of them. Bearhands and I lay in bed talking about how long our girls seemed to be in cots and nappies and then suddenly they weren’t. When we got up, we had early morning snuggles with Emmett and watched the sun gradually cover the valley. (There’s something seriously sexy about watching your husband snuggle babies. )
Mum and Dad walked up to the big house for breakfast and shared the exciting news that a new calf had been born overnight. Over croissants and coffee we planned the day’s adventures. We were taking the big kids on a bush walk to a cave that Anthony and David had played in as kids. (I’d never been, preferring as a teenager, to stay inside, read books and brood about where I’d rather be.) The Big Sister borrowed my boots and a pair of jeans(!) from my sister in law, and we set off.
There was lots of rough going and rock scrambling, but we made it to the cave, which Anthony reflected had seemed much bigger the last time he was there (ten years ago). We shared pieces of ANZAC slice and reflected on the history of the rock stacks, the species of the tiny snake skin and the giant snail shells, and what spider likely caused the silk-lined holes at the bottom of the rocks. When my nephew found a butterfly wing at his feet, I knew my brother David was with us in spirit. Mum would later tell me that a wedge tailed eagle was circling overhead the rock, but we didn’t see it.
We coo-eed across the valley and got a reply from my Sister-in-law and Mum, who’d stayed back with the baby and to create a cake for my nephew’s birthday celebration.
After lunch, the young boys had a sleep, while the big boys worked in the paddock with the contractor bailing the hay. The girls made party games to play for my nephew David’s birthday.
Anthony caught and saddled some horses, and took the girls and David for rides around the farm. Before he and I went for a ride, we propped my phone up on a rock and snapped a family photo. Gave my knee a tweak as I mounted Peppe, Anthony’s beautiful paint horse, who forgave me all kinds of rusty riding mistakes as we rode around the farm. Ant and I rode along the creek, where we spent countless hours as children and most sentences started with “Do you remember when…?”
After our ride, the quasi COVID birthday party started. There was pass-the-parcel, pin the tail on the moo cow and a version of musical chairs that the girls rigged so David would win. We sang happy birthday and my sister in law’s incredible fire truck cake was greeted with great excitement from the ‘birthday’ boy (who doesn’t turn four until Tuesday).
The adults shared beef stroganoff (our family’s traditional birthday dinner) and strudel after the kids went to bed. I played a few hands of uno, then took my tired body (and sore knee) off to bed to leave the big kids to it.