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.

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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.

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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.

HandyZann – illuminated headboard

As our 5 year anniversary was approaching I wanted to make something special for my wife. I wanted it to be something we’d used all the time, something we’d see and remember how we’ve been in love for years. Also, I thought it might be nice to do something for our bedroom. Since renovating our home we’ve decorated every room except ours. It’s been a bit of a dumping ground for anything that didn’t fit somewhere else and since we really only sleep in there it hasn’t been a priority.

I was inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest and set about developing the idea for an illuminated headboard for our bed. Our bed is a box box with drawers in it – super practical and functional but not exactly sexy. And we need a sexy bedroom if we’re going to make all these babies!

I decided to use an old door as the headboard. My father-in-law had an old door in his shed which turned out to be the perfect colour and size. I used a plain door, but a textured one would work as well – depends on the look you’re going for.

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Al old plain door was the perfect canvas for a headboard

I decided to write LOVE across the headboard. You know, cos I love her. I’m certainly no artist so I was a little anxious about doing the letters. If I had planned it better, I would have printed the letters onto A3 paper and then cut them out. But I wasn’t that prepared so had to use my grade 4 level drawing skills and do simple bubble letters.

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I’m no artist, the letters are not precise

Once all the letters were cut out I placed them on the door and tried to make sure they were roughly evenly spread. Those who know me know detail is not my strong point and at no point did I use a measuring tape. I just did a visual check and it seemed alright to me. Near enough is good enough and all that.
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I used a bit of blue tac to set the letters in place and then proceeded to spraypaint the whole front side of the door. I hadn’t intended to spray it all, I was just going to spray around the letters, but I got carried away. I used a matte black spray paint because I love matte black and it was the can that was the most full in my stash.

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Matte black spray paint to set off the wood

Once the letters were removed the matte black and wood contrast looked incredible!

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Matte black and wood looks really fantastic – it will be used again!

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Lightning bolt love!

As our sheets are white and spray paint tends to rub I decided to varnish the whole thing.

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Varnish brought out the colour of the wood

When the varnish was dry (I left it 24 hours) I went back and drilled holes in the letters. You have to wait for the paint/varnish to dry or the wood chips stick to it. I knew I had 100 lights and roughly aimed for that number when cutting the holes. Again, it wasn’t precise. It would be easy to measure it all out if you wanted to. Just measure the distance between the fairy lights you’ve chosen.

I used a small drill bit the first time, one just big enough for the bulb. Then followed that with a larger drill bit that did not penetrate the front of the door – so small hole at the front, larger hole at the back. This allowed me to insert the lights easier.

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Holes cut into the letters

It was a tough choice between coloured and white fairy lights. We love colour so that’s what I decided to use. White would work just as well. The best advice I have for choosing lights is to find some with a strong long base near the bulb. It made it easy to push them into place, especially when working with a hollow door like this one.

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Coloured fairy lights to set off the black

I had to place the lights in the most efficient way, so it’s worth laying them out on top of the door and roughly judging where the lights will go, and how they’ll link between the letters, before you place them.

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All the fairy lights in place

Once the lights were in place I moved it into our room and sat it on the bed base. It’s not secured yet but I will do this with some metal brackets.

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In place in our room – the Quinks approves!

All lit up – pretty awesome!
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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.

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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!!

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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!

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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.

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The watering hole – drinks table
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

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Blowing out the candle

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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

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Quinks looking back over the last 12 months

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Quin’s great-grandma getting her roping on!

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Grandma showing off her ball skills

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One of the cutest cowboys – little Rian

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Polly came as a cactus!

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Nathan was the smallest cowboy in town that day

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Quin and her gorgeous mummy

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Our fave dads – Michael and Jared with Elijah and Huxley

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

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Little Eli looking rad in dad’s glasses

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Quin shared all her food with me

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

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Creating art, saying ‘howdy’ to her friends

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

So you want to have a gayby – step 1 – all the stuff that happens before your life changes

Having a family was never a decision we made. Right from the start of our relationship we knew kids were in our future. We had our boy name picked out after three months and Quin’s name chosen after about a year. So while we continued to live a pretty free and fun life early on, we always had in the back of our minds that our lives were moving towards extra little hands at the dinner table.

2008 - six weeks after we met and the day I knew we were going to make babies.

2008 – six weeks after we met and the day I knew we were going to make babies.

Shan was always going to be our baby baker. She is loving and maternal and has the most perfect mama-hips. She had always wanted to be pregnant and I had not, so the decision was easy for us. I absolutely adore children but I have NO desire to be pregnant. My sisters all have awful pregnancies – sick and in pain the whole time. It runs in the family and I’m not taking my chances with it. Of course if Shan couldn’t carry a baby herself I would have definitely done it for her, for us. So that was all decided early on and our lives carried on.

We went travelling. We got married. We bought a house and got a dog. We renovated the house and were busy working hard and saving money. We knew having a baby was going to be expensive – between $5k and $10k – so while trying to save for that, there always seemed to be something else to pay for or something else to organise before we tried for kids. We needed a new car, we needed security screens on the windows, we needed a holiday… the list (and the wait) went on and on.

In March 2011, our nephew was born. We visited him at the hospital and smooched on him for an hour. After that evening at the hospital, the need to have a child became overwhelming. My wife is not embarrassed to admit that she spent the whole next day crying – happy tears for her brother and his wife and then just a whole bunch of hormonal “i want to be a mum!” tears. Shan needed to have a baby. It was a physical need that couldn’t be ignored or delayed any longer.

We booked in to see the fertility doctor the next day.