Quiet Spring weekends

Our winters are over before they really begin. Once again we’re at the start of a long, hot summer, which will be filled with beach and bush walks, swimming and a whole bunch of smiles.

Our little Arlo is not travelling well in the car at the moment (a one hour trip is taking three hours) so we’re staying close to home. It’s refreshing to intentionally leave our weekends free to potter around home and walk by the bay. It’s forced family time that is so soul-filling. We walk and talk. We make pancakes and collages. We dance to Taylor Swift and Play School. We potty train and plant flowers. Our garden has never looked better and our hearts have never been bigger.

I always wanted a family but never imagined I’d love the quiet life so much. When my workmates ask how my weekend was, I tell them “quiet, just hung with the family.” But there’s no ‘just’ about our weekends. It’s simply tough to put into words all the little perfect and vibrant moments that made up our quiet weekend.

As I sit here, at the dawn of another beautiful Spring weekend, I can’t wait to see how it unfolds. I can’t wait to see Arlo’s bobble-head slowly strengthen. I can’t wait to hear Quin’s toddlered versions of ‘magnificent’ and ‘ridiculous’.  I can’t wait to see my wife at her happiest – post-coffee and surrounded by her family. I just can’t wait to be part of the family we have created for two whole days. They make me feel like the luckiest person in the world.

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gaybymama zann michaels breastfeeding week 2014

World Breastfeeding Week 2014: Shan

This is World Breastfeeding Week and I’d like to take a little minute to love on my wife, Shan, who has been able to breastfeed both our babies.

When Quin arrived, we were just so excited and in love. Shan couldn’t wait to begin breastfeeding. We knew it would be a wonderful experience for both of them. At least we thought it would be. Everyone says it’s natural, you won’t have any issues, cracked nipples doesn’t really happen – it will be fine!

The first 12 weeks of Quin’s life Shan suffered severe nipple trauma. I’m talking incredible pain and pieces literally falling from her nipples. She persevered, fed through it all and was then able to breastfeed Quin until she self-weaned suddenly at 13 months.

Breastfeeding is such a gift, such a selfless outpouring of love from a mummy to a bub. It’s on demand, it’s anywhere at anytime. It’s midnight and midday. It’s shopping centres, car parks, bushwalks. It’s sickness and health. It’s for such a short time, in the grand scheme of things, but such an incredible time for mum and bub, and for the partner watching the people they love so happy and content.

I intend to take more photos of Shan breastfeeding this time around. Here are a few of my favourite photos from the last 2 and a bit years of my wife and her mad boob-milk skills. She’s the breast.

gaybymama zann michaels breastfeeding week 2014

Breastfeeding Quinks as a newborn. They both came to love this time so quickly.

gaybymama zann michaels breastfeeding week 2014

Quinks showing us how a real lady drinks her milk

gaybymama zann michaels breastfeeding week 2014

Breastfeeding at the Mumford and Sons concert – so rock n roll.

gaybymama zann michaels breastfeeding week 2014

After a week of intense food poisoning, Shan ended up in hospital and still kept feeding.

gaybymama zann michaels breastfeeding week 2014

After mastering the skill with Quinks, Arlo just slips on and they get on with it like professionals.

What’s in a nickname?

Quin has so many nicknames it’s surprising she knows her name is Quin.

Here’s the current list:

Quinks
Quinkledinkle
Quinkidinks
Dinkle
Dinks
Squid
Squidlet
Sweets
Sweetheart
Sweetiepie
Sweet-pea
Sweet face
Baby
Babe
Baby girl
Darling
Gorgeous face
Squeezie-butt
Butt-butt
Peanut
Peanut pie
Muffin
Button
My love
Kid

These are just the names on high-rotation. She also gets Scallywag, Ratbag, Rascal and Noisy when it’s called for.

That’s only 29 nicknames. That’s not too confusing, right?! She answers to them all so it can’t be too bad.

Has it really been 3 months?

Wow. And here I thought I was (somewhat) good at blogging.

So what’s been happening? A quick catch up:

Quin is 17 months now and we can barely keep up with her development. She’s talking non-stop, she knows exactly what she wants and she loves her babies more than ever. I want to ask her to stop growing because our hearts can barely stand seeing her run so quickly away from babyhood, but with each new day she stuns us with her growth and we can’t help but smile at the brilliant little person she is becoming.

Zann Michaels Quin 17 months
Zann Michaels gaybymama family quin 17 month

Zann Michaels gaybymama quin 17 months

Zann Michaels gaybymama quin 17 months

Zann Michaels gaybymama quin 17 months

Zann Michaels gaybymama quin 17 months

Shan and I are happier than ever. Having such a wonderful kid certainly makes us appreciate our family so very much. You know those moments when you have you pinch yourself because you can’t believe everything you ever dreamed about is finally just your every day? I’ve been having a lot of those lately. Pretty much every day. I just love seeing Shan be a mum. Not only is she smokin’ hot in her mum clothes, she is such a wonderful mummy to Quin. She’s so attentive and in tune with exactly what Quin wants and needs. She gets so excited talking about Christmas because she knows just how excited Quinks is going to be with the few things we have planned to give her. She just knows how stoked our little one is going to be and she’s excited for her. If I didn’t love her already I’d be falling in love with her every time she scoops Quin up and hugs her and smiles at her like she’s the greatest gift she’s ever received.

Zann Michaels gaybymama family brisbane pride

We launched our little business – Crazy Little Thing – a couple of months ago and it has been keeping us really busy. After months of sewing and giving away test outfits, Shan made her first $140 this week in one sale. She’s finding it tough to find time to sew but is slowly putting together a collection of outfits to sell before Christmas.

Zann Michaels Crazy Little Thing Photography

My photography is going really well and I’m so excited to be doing something I love semi-professionally. Having friends who are amazing photographers themselves (looking at you Paper Fox!) or who work for amazing photographers has been a godsend and I’ve learnt so much in the last few months. I’ll be spending several hours being tutored privately by one of Queensland’s best photographers in the coming weeks which will be invaluable.

If you haven’t already, please feel free to check out our new website – www.crazylittlething.com.au and our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/crazylittlethingkids, and tell us what you think. We’re always keen to hear your feedback 🙂

A little snap from a recent family photoshoot on the beach

A little snap from a recent family photoshoot on the beach

This week is the start of four holidays in four months – AWESOME! We’ll be going up the Bunya Mountains for 4 days of bushwalking, bird feeding and general family radness. I’ll be sure to blog after the weekend. Promise 😉

And finally, I’m not going to say exactly where we’re at, but we have started the process for baby Michaels number two. And now you won’t hear about this again until we make the announcement. But know the journey has begun.

ANZAC Day holiday and Mapleton Falls

Yesterday was ANZAC Day so I was up early to watch the dawn service at Redcliffe. It was a massive turnout, at least 1,000 people. None of my family have ever been an ANZAC but they have fought in wars. My dad’s dad fought in World War 2 when he was still a Slovenian national, or a Yugoslav national as it was then. I like that the dawn service brings together people of all ages, races and backgrounds and I get goosebumps every time they play The Last Post.

I used the panorama function on my iPhone 4s to capture these shots from the Redcliffe Jetty. As dawn breaks you can see all the people on the shore.

ANZAC day dawn service at redcliffe - predawn

ANZAC day dawn service at redcliffe - predawn 2

ANZAC day dawn service at redcliffe - predawn 3

Anzac day at Redcliffe - dawn

As ANZAC Day is a national holiday, and it was a beautiful sunny day, we spent it driving into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and walking through the rainforest at Mapleton Falls.

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Where's Quin?

boo!

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The big 1

If time flies when you’re having fun, how fast does it go when you’re having the time of your life? A whole year has passed in what feels like minutes. Our girl is 1 today.

It is a Tuesday today and this time one year ago Shan had been in labour for more than 29 hours. She’d finally been given an epidural and we were waiting for her to dilate the final two centimetres so we could meet our mystery child. It would be another three hours before we finally felt some relief and heard their first cry, found out the baby bump was a little lass and get to hold her for the first time. Every day since has been better than the last.

So Happy Birthday to the greatest kid two parents could ask for!  You’re a little star Quinks and we j’adore you xxx

Quin’s Wild West 1st Birthday

This weekend we celebrated our gorgeous daughter’s first birthday. Her birthday isn’t until Tuesday but we had all of her little friends over to celebrate Wild West style.

A few weeks ago I spent several days making several attempts at these ‘wanted’ birthday invitations. We tried tea water, coffee water, food colouring. It either wouldn’t bond to the paper or it made the ink run so much you couldn’t read the text. The winning combo was: A little bit of coffee with hot water to make a strong mix + a paint brush which dripped the coffee over the page. Then I put them in the oven and when they were dry, burnt the edges with a lighter. The result: perfecto!!

wild west cowboy wanted birthday invitation

Quin’s wanted poster birthday invitations

We spent the few weekends leading up to the party making signs, props and preparing the menu. We decided that we didn’t want to just put out bowls of chips and sweets. We wanted to provide healthy, delicious food that kids and adults would enjoy. My lovely wife was baking for 2 days and made sweet and savoury muffins and chicken mince sausage rolls. We also had a fruit platter, baby animal and rice crackers, carrot and celery sticks, and cheese and crackers. It was all devoured so we think it was a success!

wild west cowboy birthday food

The chow table – food fit for cowboys and girls

We used the custom water bottle labels I bought from Etsy and made up 24 bottles and Quin’s grandma made a punch to keep everyone hydrated. Everyone commented on the water bottles and a few people took them home.

The watering hole - drinks table wild west party cowboy
The watering hole – drinks table
Wild west cowboy party - custom drink labels

Quin’s 1st birthday custom water bottle labels

I made up a bunch of sugarfree goodie bags for the kids to take home. They included 2 stickers, 2 temporary tattoos, a plastic animal, bubbles and a smiley face badge.

Wild west cowboy party - sugar free goodie bags

Sugar free goodie bags

I made a few chalk boards for the littlies to play with if they wanted some quiet time. I upcycled old photo frames and painted the backboards with blackboard paint. What’s awesome about these blackboards is they are sooooo cheap to make. Frames without the glass are always a dollar or less at the charity shop or treasure market.

Wild west cowboy party - upcycled chalk boards

Upcycled chalk boards

We used the old pallets we’ve had laying around for ages to showcase 20 of our favourite pictures of Quin from the last12 months.

Wild west cowboy party - wooden pallet photo boards

Wooden pallet photo boards

The saw horse horses were made from ikea table legs we don’t need anymore and bits of wood I had in the shed. They took about 10 minutes to make and we’re sure every kid played with them during the party.

Wild west cowboy party - sawhorse horses

The roping ring – sawhorse horses

Quin’s teepee which her mummy made her a few months back came out and was as popular as ever!

Wild west cowboy party - handmade teepee

Handmade teepee

The idea for Quin’s gold mine stemmed from seeing a large magnifying glass at the shop. Add a bit of sand, a few painted rocks and some gold pans from Papa and you have a gold mine!

Wild west cowboy party - the gold mine

Quin’s very own gold mine

My lovely wife made these pool noodle ponies. Not only can kids ride them, they can hit each other and no one gets hurt, as we discovered.

Wild west cowboy party - pool noodle ponies

Pool noodle ponies

We bought 7 hay bales from a local farmer for $7 each and I made her some very rough happy birthday bunting. Once it was all set up we were ready to party!

Wild west cowboy party - happy birthday bunting and hay bales

Happy birthday bunting and hay bales

We had such a fabulous morning and we’re so grateful to have so many wonderful friends and family who made the effort to come and get dressed up. All the kids and the parents got into the games and there were no sugar-crash meltdowns – complete win!

All of Quin's friends and family having fun at her wild west birthday party

All of Quin’s friends and family having fun at her wild west birthday party

The wildest family in the West!

The wildest family in the West!

Wishing our beautiful girl a very happy first birthday

Wishing our beautiful girl a very happy first birthday

Quin's wild west cowboy party -Blowing out the candle

Blowing out the candle

Quin's wild west cowboy party - Polly Blowing out the candle

Polly’sbirthday is just a couple of days after Quin’s so we sung happy birthday to her too

Quin playing in the gold mine with little Huxley

Quin playing in the gold mine with little Huxley

Quin's wild west cowboy party - photo pallet board

Quinks looking back over the last 12 months

Quin's wild west cowboy party - saw horse horses

Quin’s great-grandma getting her roping on!

wild west Cowboy party - baby basketball hoop

Grandma showing off her ball skills

Quin's wild west cowboy party - little cowboy

One of the cutest cowboys – little Rian

Quin's wild west cowboy party - cowboy and cactus family

Polly came as a cactus!

Quin's wild west cowboy party - baby cowboy

Nathan was the smallest cowboy in town that day

wild west Cowboy party - lesbian mums

Quin and her gorgeous mummy

wild west Cowboy party - gay dads

Our fave dads – Michael and Jared with Elijah and Huxley

wboy party - pass the parcel

All the kids loved pass the parcel, especially the birthday girl

wboy party - pass the parcel gay dads

Little Eli looking rad in dad’s glasses

wild west Cowboy party - sharing animal crackers

Quin shared all her food with me

wild west Cowboy party - carrying the pool noodle pony

I think Quin loves the pool noodle pony because she can pick it up

wild west Cowboy party - chalk board

Creating art, saying ‘howdy’ to her friends

wild west Cowboy party - baby trampoline

We finished off her big day with the trampoline – she thinks she can jump so high!