Aussie Halloween Celebration – 2014

Well, another wildly successful Halloween party is in the books. 30 children attended this year, with thier parents. Some returned  from years before and others, we’ve now  introduced to some of the joys of celebrating Halloween.

This was the first year that Brian invited his classmates from daycare. Heather chose to invite classmates from her kindy class last year, along with her year one classmates. I had to limit her to 8 children from each class to keep the party from becoming unmanagable.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, with lots of fun, a few frights, heaps of good food and drink and excellent company.

Not everyone who was invited was able to attend, which is probably a good thing! It was a bit chaotic at times, and organizing the games with 30 kids was like herding cats. Teresa and I are both moderately wiped out now and our home is in desperate need of carpet cleaning and the terrace needs a good scrubbing. Apart from that, we’re in good shape. We’ve still got a bunch of decorations up, but that’s cool as Halloween night is coming up this Friday.

I think I outdid myself with the party decorations this year. As I do each year, I’d been prowling the shops for Halloween decorations for the past few weeks, adding to our ever growing collection.

I had two major additions to our party experience for this year. First, I built a Bat Toss game, where you throw balls with bat wings through the mouths of jack-o-lanterns that I painted on a sheet of mdf. That seemed to go over pretty well.

The biggest addition was my idea of turning Heather and Brian’s room into a Haunted House. To accomplish that, I built an entrance into the room in the shape of witches house that I wedged securely into the sliding glass door from the terrace into their room. The room was blacked out and cleared out as much as possible, with Brians bed going up on top of Heathers upper bunk bed. I made a stuffed person sitting on a chair under Heathers bed, complete with a talking skull with light up eyes that I recorded the voice and laughter for. The rest of the room was populated by a myriad of animated or light up Halloween creatures, skulls and the like. Top that off with a sound system running scary sounds and just add children to complete the magic. The kids absolutely loved it and spend a lot of time going in and out of the Haunted House. I think it turned out well and most importantly Heather and Brian loved it too.

Getting ready for Halloween from Paul Rooney on Vimeo.

Here’s how our place looked just before the guests arrived for our annual Halloween party.

A few minor disappointments and issues led to lessons learned for next years party. Firstly, we need to make sure to put our correct address on the invitiations. I went a little dsylexic on our street address, transposing two numbers. This led to a number of families, all in costume, turning up to an old lady’s house up the road. I’ll need to bring her some flowers or something, to make up for the disturbance I caused to her Sunday afternoon. Thankfully, as I put orange and black balloons out front the people managed to find us regardless.

Another lesson learned is to post a large schedule of events out on the terrace. With all that was going on, I completely forgot about doing bobbing for apples that we were all setup for. Maybe I’ll make an apple pie with the leftovers.

The piñata was too heavily laden with lollies, as it came crashing down early on. Next year, I’ll let all the little ones have a go at the piñata before any of the big kids have at it, aside from Heather.

Heather and Brian had a blast and people are still letting us know what a great time they had, so all the time spent getting ready for it was worth it.

Here are some pics from the day, Enjoy!

Love to all,
Paul

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Super family! The little guy in his mum’s arms put on his superman costume once he warmed up to the situation.

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Awesome costumes!

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 Vamping it up.

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Teresa amazed everyone with her incredible Graveyard birthday cake for Heather. It was yummy and moist too! I had seconds. :)

 

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Heather and her friend, Gracie.

 

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Pumpkin carving newbies getting into the spirit!

 

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Brian’s friend Chloe with a baby jack-o-lantern.

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Heather cheering on our friend, Christian as he takes a swing at the pinata. That’s me in the skeleton costume with him.

 

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Brian having a bash at the pinata with me close by.

 

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Heather has a bash at it.

 

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Group photo time! I went around the house herding everyone out to the group photo. Another lesson learned, next year, make sure that Teresa and Brian are in the picture too! Teresa was helping Brian put his costume back on after going to the toilet. Oops! Sorry you guys! I’ll try to photoshop you two in retrospectively.  We had some more people turn up just as we were taking this, too.

 

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Pin the eye on the monster. A perennial favorite.

 

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Teresa leading some of the early arrivers in a Halloween craft project.

 

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Happy Halloween one and all!

 

 

 

Wilderness, Waterfalls and Family Fun

On Sunday, the Rooney family headed up to the Blue Mountains for a lovely day along the National Pass hiking trail. The day was sunny and warm as Heather, Brian, Teresa and I set out for our bushwalk.

National Pass is a glorious hike through beautiful bushland with breathtaking views across the Jamison valley. As you look over the valley you see the blue mist that hangs in the valley created by Eucalyptus oil vaporizing from the all the gum trees. The trail descends along Empress Falls, then Sylvia Falls and Lodore Falls. The trail then hugs the middle of the escarpment, or cliff face, about half way to the valley floor as it heads over to Wentworth Falls.

At the intersection with Wentworth Falls, Heather and I went under one of the cascades for a very refreshing experience. As it’s Springtime here, the water was extremely refreshing. As cold as it was, Heather was game for multiple dunks under the falls. Brian decided to watch from the rocks with Teresa. After a lovely dip and some sandwiches and snacks we headed up the track, climbing some very steep stairs bolted to the cliff face. The afternoon sun was, for me, a welcome relief, as it beat down on us, drying out my soaking wet hiking shorts.

Near the top, the trail crosses Queens cascade, a wide. short waterfall with a sandy beach surrounding it. This is a popular place to take a dip in the Summer. Heather and I were the only ones hearty enough to brave the waterfall itself, going under the cascade five or six times. We continued along the undercliff track for more amazing scenery as we made our way back to the car.

This was a fantastic day for all of us. Brian, once again, made me very proud as he powered his way through the vast majority of the hike, getting a bit of help from Teresa when we went up a steep section with big steps on our way back up. Heather, as I’ve come to expect, also did great. Teresa and I found the hike to be comparatively easy as it was the first time in seven years of doing this hike that we haven’t carried a passenger on our backs the entire way. : )

Here’s a video I shot during the hike. I hope to post some photos I took as well.

Love to all!

Paul

 

Wilderness, Waterfalls and Family from Paul Rooney on Vimeo.

Join us for a beautiful Spring day along the National Pass trail in Sydney's Blue Mountains. If you enjoy the sights and sounds of waterfalls, do yourself a favor and press play to witness Empress Falls and Wentworth Falls as our family did.

Feeling appreciated

I enjoyed a lovely Australian Fathers Day today. The kids gave me a new skateboard! I haven’t ridden one in well over 30 years, but I did okay at the ball courts today.

Later on, we went to Chowder Bay for some fishing. No catching, just fishing. I got a few nibbles but nothing really took the bait. There were a bunch of Asians on the end of the pier using bits of chicken and small hooks to catch a bunch of small fish and Heather and Brian had fun checking out their catch.

I had a terrific day with the kids and afterwards Teresa took us out for some yummy Korean food!

All in all, a really nice day.

Happy Fathers Day, Daddy!

Have fun with your new skateboard, Daddy!

 

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Thanks, Heather and Brian!

Picking up where I left off 30 plus years ago. After a bit of practice I was pulling off 360′s, (pivoting on the back wheel and spinning in a complete circle while continuing in the original direction of travel) more consistently than when I was a teenager and used to ride all the time. Funny how the muscles remember what to do, and that over time my balance has improved, so now some things seem easier. I went down in a heap at least once and somehow managed to bruise one of my heels, but that’s all part of it.

 

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Brian tried standing on the board and rode it a little, as did Heather, then Brian sat on it and he appeared to enjoy himself, immensely. Later on he told me he wanted me to buy him his own skateboard. Maybe next year, mate.

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Since Brian can’t swim yet, I brought his life vest, just in case he fell off the dock. You can’t see it, but there’s no rail on the side behind us.

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Maybe we didn’t catch any fish, but I had a wonderful time with the kids all the same. Next time we’ll try to go somewhere they’re bound to catch something.

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Ah, what a perfect day!

Is this not the look of a very contended man? I think it is. I’m blessed to have two wonderful children, a terrific wife, a healthy family and lots of love and laughter in my life. What more can anyone ask for?

 

Going along swimmingly

We finally put Brian into swim lessons. He started last weekend and I was so pleased to see him fully participate and not bail out of the class.

It’s early days but I’m hopeful he’ll continue being a good student and we’ll have him swimming before we know it. :)

Brian is wearing the blue swim cap in the video.

Brians First Swim Lesson from Paul Rooney on Vimeo.

Are you ready for some…

Football!

Butt Fumble! Looking forward to more of this in the coming NFL season!

Butt Fumble! Looking forward to more of this in the coming NFL season!