Bula from Tokoriki Island

Bula! (Hi in Fijian)

First things first – we have big news to share. Our family is getting bigger! Mike proposed to Vikkee and they’re getting married this time next year. Not only are they getting married, but they also bought a new house and moved in. A huge congratulations on both big life events. We’re super excited for them both, and look forward to having Mike join the family!

We’ve spent this week on the gorgeous Tokoriki Island in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. It has been an absolutely amazing trip – we can’t believe it has taken us this long given that it is only a 4 hour flight away and then Tokoriki is a 1 hour boat ride away. The day we arrived, we stayed one night at the Westin in Denarau Island on the mainland (a nice resort area, but lacks the crystal clear blue waters of the islands), before getting the morning boat out to Tokoriki. Luckily we had just missed Tropical Cyclone Pam that had come through the area, and unfortunately caused serious damage in Vanuatu, but the winds were still high so we had an exciting ride out to the island in high seas!

It was all worth it though, and when we made it to the island and checked in, Jacs turned on the charm and got us upgraded to a beach front room which was incredible – we overlooked a gorgeous view of the other islands and could hear the waves rolling up on the shore! That was home for the next 4 nights. The weather quickly improved, and we spent our days relaxing, having drinks by the pool (and in the room since we’d brought along some wine and gin and tonic :-) ), snorkelling, playing pool volleyball, and eating lots of delicious food in the hotel restaurant. We had made friends with a couple on their honeymoon too, and so hung out with them a bit as well. All of the staff were incredibly friendly and just loved Leo and were great with her. She was having such a blast in the nice warm water and exploring the resort.

Sadly though the trip came to an end on Thursday and we headed home (the boat ride was a completely different experience in the beautiful calm waters with the sun shining down!), but are now enjoying a nice quiet weekend at our place as a family.

Since our last post, we’ve also spent a lovely weekend down in Nowra (about 2.5 hours drive south), where the Clarke’s kindly invited us and a few other friends to their family holiday house on the river for some hanging out and water skiing. Leo’s friends Molly and Sammy were there too so the 3 of them had a blast together.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for this blog, but here are a couple of other photos of Leo from the month :-)

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– Ben and Jacs

Living Light in Bali

Happy New Year everyone! Hope that your 2015 is off to a wonderful start. Last Saturday we got back to Sydney after an amazing Christmas and New Year’s break in Bali with family and friends, and I am now adjusting to being back at work… TK is also adjusting to his first of full time work at his new job and sounds like he is off to a great start. Sadly, Keiren and Will couldn’t join us in Bali, but we still had an amazing group, with Jacs’ brother Louis/Bub and his wife Christy joining us, as well as our friends Jess and Mike from San Diego. TK then had 3 friends come along, and was surprised there by his girlfriend Charlie who has been in Rotterdam for the year. Leonora loved hanging out with everyone, and particularly enjoyed lots of time better getting to know her Oma and Granddad who have been traveling lots.!

Leo and Oma

Leo and Granddad

Leo and Granddad

We had a great end to 2014 since our last post, with the BCG Christmas party as an amazing final evening out on the Harbour at The Island, a floating bar that was a wonderful venue for our Christmas party. The party was nautical themed so Jacs and I were all dressed up :-) TK was brave enough to look after Leo for the evening which was much appreciated!

Christmas Party at the Island

Christmas Party at the Island

The following morning, TK, Jacs, Leo and I headed off to Bali bright and early (I could have used some more sleep) to meet mum and dad and head out to Nusa Lembongan. Nusa Lembongan is a little island 30 minutes boat ride from Bali, and is slower paced. We had 2 nights there staying at the Nusa Bay, where we each had our own bungalow, and there was a pool and the beach so it was a great chance to decompress and relax. The first day, Dad, Jacs and I headed off for some beautiful diving (although unfortunately no mantas :-() while mum, TK and Leo hung out by the pool. The next day TK and I rented a scooter and he dropped me off for a surf at ‘Shipwrecks’ (aptly named for the shallow reef) before we did an island explore.

Off for a dive at Nusa Lembongan

Off for a dive at Nusa Lembongan

The next day it was back to Bali and up to see mum and dad’s new house on the Sayan ridge in Ubud called ‘Living Light’. Mum has done an amazing job and it really is a beautiful place! It is also part of a development with 15 other houses, and all share a lovely pool and community kitchen/restaurant area. Unfortunately the pool was having some teething issues with the rain, but we did get to enjoy it one day while we were there :-)

We were based in Ubud at Living Light for the remainder of the trip and had an amazing time as our various friends and family arrived and left. We had some days surfing in Kuta and shopping in Seminyak, both of which are extremely busy and overwhelming these days, but do have little oases like Sardine where we had a lovely lunch one day.

Lunch at Sardine in Seminyak

Lunch at Sardine in Seminyak

We also had days exploring Ubud and shopping on Monkey Forest Rd (Leo was amazing in the monkey forest – she thought she was one of them and was making all kinds of noises!), doing some yoga at the yoga barn (Jacs even did a workshop with an internationally renowned teacher), and relaxing and surfing at the Komune Resort at an East Bali beach called Keramas with an excellent right break. It was a great combination because everyone could relax, eat, drink and swim in the pool, all while overlooking the surf so I could pop out for a paddle.

Beers in the pool at Keramas

Beers in the pool at Keramas

We also had some fun taking Christmas photos of the boys in some speedos that TK specially supplied!

The boys in their budgie smugglers

The boys in their budgie smugglers

For Christmas Eve, we had a lovely evening with a gathering at Living Light in the common area with friends and guests and a feast of food and drinks, as well as some time hanging out in our house with our family and friends over a few Bintangs and G&Ts (We went through quite a lot of Bintang and Bombay Sapphire on the trip!).

The Whole Group for Christmas

The Whole Group for Christmas

Christmas morning, we then had a lovely breakfast at the house, before doing our ‘white elephant’ gifts. Lucky Leonora (for her Christmas) was spoiled by everyone however and ended up with a huge pile of pressies :-)

Santa came to visit

Santa came to visit

Christmas Breakfast

Christmas Breakfast

On the 29th, we had an amazing family evening that mum had organised with a few of their closest friends at a venue (Anneke’s) where we had a delicious privately catered meal in a fancy tent overlooking the valley, rice paddies and river. For New Year’s Eve, we started the day bike riding down the Volcano from Kintamani (an amazing ride through the villages with Bali Eco Cycling – thanks Christy for organising), and then after regaining our energy in the afternoon, headed out for the most amazing dinner (lucky mum booked 6 months in advance!) at a restaurant called Locavore in Ubud. It was a delicious modern degustation menu, with lots of cocktails being ordered to accompany it. It really was world class, and a great way to celebrate being in a special place! After dinner, ‘the kids’ headed out for some drinks around Ubud to usher in the new year, while mum and dad headed home with Leo to celebrate in a more low key way there. The soccer field in Ubud turned in to an amazing display of unregulated fireworks (I was amazed no one was hurt!) as the new year arrived – it was quite the sight, and TK (of course!) even bought a few of the biggest fireworks to contribute to the display.

New Years Day, we headed down to Keramas for one more relaxing beach day, and at some point we somehow (I’m looking at Bubba) decided that every hour we should have a drink to wish a new timezone a happy new year which turned in to a great fun game! That evening was the last dinner for many of the group, but we had organised quite the farewell with an entire suckling pig (Babi Guling) for the group at a restaurant in Ubud where the manager specially arranged it for us, Kafe Batan Waru. Bubba certainly seemed to enjoy the feast!

Babi Guling Before

Babi Guling Before

Babi Guling After

Babi Guling After

The next morning we sadly had to farewell Mike and Jess and then Bubba and Christy, but it was so wonderful that they were able to come and visit. The rest of us headed down to the beach in Seminyak for one last cocktail and meal at one of our favourite restaurants, La Lucciola, right on the beach by Peti Tenget, where we were joined by Nix and her Fiance (!!) Chris who had just arrived in Bali.

Sadly that brought the trip to an end, but what a great holiday it was!

Hope that all of the rest of you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
xx
Ben and Jacs

Lots to be thankful for!

Thanksgiving has come and gone remarkably quickly, and Christmas is fast approaching. That said, we haven’t posted in a while, so wanted to catch you up on what’s been happening here, and also remember how much we have to be thankful for with our wonderful family, friends and life here in Sydney. This year is a special one for us too since it was Leonora’s first thanksgiving – and we are so lucky to have her in our family!

Leo Toilet Paper

Leo at daycare

We also haven’t posted since Halloween, so wanted to share some photos of our little lady bug. We had some friends over to our place for a great fun halloween party – and Jacs’ cooked up all kinds of treats!

Halloween 1

Halloween 2

For the week leading up to thanksgiving, we had Vik and Mike visiting which was awesome. They arrived on the Saturday morning and we took them straight down to Bondi for a morning in the sun at the beach, since I was hosting a BBQ to thank everyone that had donated to SurfAid.

Bondi

We had a lovely morning, but unfortunately Leo, who had been a little under the weather with an ear ache and cough, was looking worse and worse as the day went on. Lucky for her, Jacs, being the great mum that she has, took Leo to the emergency room where they found (after much testing – poor Leo with all the needles will forever be scared of nurses!) that she had 2 ear aches, tonsillitis and had developed pneumonia, so they decided to keep her overnight on an IV drip of penicillin. Vik and Mike therefore had their first dinner in Sydney as takeout pizza in the ER! Leo is now healthy and happy again which is great :-)

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Jacs spent the night and the next day in hospital with Leo before bringing her home Sunday evening. During the day I took Vik and Mike exploring to Manly to spend more time at the beach and get some Japanese for lunch. I really enjoyed getting the time to hang out, since I was off to Canberra Monday morning.

Out on the harbour

During the week, Jacs, Vik, Mike and Leo continued exploring town, spending lots of time at Balmoral, and even driving out to Casula (about a 45 minute drive) to visit Little Caesar’s for a Detroit style pizza :-) I managed to get out of Canberra a day early and flew back Wednesday evening, and headed straight to the city to meet everyone at the Shangri La for a cocktail over looking Sydney, followed by a delicious (if Spicy) dinner at the famous Sailor’s Thai in the rocks.

Shangri La

Thursday night it was then thanksgiving. We celebrated as a family at mum and dad’s, and my cousin Andy and his wife Josie (who recently moved to Sydney and live a block from us now) came too. The food was an aussie take (Jacs made a delicious pumpkin pie, but for meat we had chicken and kangaroo!!), but the idea was definitely still there and all about how thankful we all are. It was a really lovely evening.

Friday night we took Vik and Mike for one final evening in Manly (I rode the ferry over from work which was lovely!), before sadly having to say goodbye on Saturday morning at the airport after a lovely final breakfast at Bathers. The visit flew by, and was such great fun.

Bathers

Saturday afternoon we wrapped up Thanksgiving with a small thanksgiving dinner with our friends, Nate and Kate, at their house by the water in Manly/Fairlight. We did some paddleboarding and had a lovely casual dinner with them and their 18 month old Camden.

Other than that, we’ve been enjoying as much beach time as possible now that the weather is warming up (although this weekend was all about afternoon thunderstorms!) – getting out surfing and paddle boarding whenever we can. It was sculptures by the sea at Bondi a few weeks ago, which is an outdoor exhibition on the walk from Bondi to Tamarama, so we checked that out. We’ve also had a friend from Berkeley visiting this weekend, Jay, so was great to catchup with him. Sydney is gorgeous this time of year!

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Paddleboarding

We also spent a few nights as a family down in Canberra. Leo had a blast at Questacon – the Science Museum – as it had an interactive area for younger kids where she could splash in the water and that kind of thing. I remember I’ve always loved Science Museums so great to see Leo following in my footsteps :-)

In true aussie style, we were even rewarded for our visit to the nation’s capital by a kangaroo hopping past us on the pavement right in front of Parliament House! Imagine that! Jacs got such kick out of it as it speaks to all of her preconceived notions of Australia before she moved.

Kangaroo

We are going to spend some time in Bali for 2 weeks which we are super excited for. TK, mum and dad will be there although sadly Keiren and Will can’t make it. Excitingly Bubba and Christy will be joining us for a few days, and our good friends Jess and Mike from San Diego are coming along too. It is going to be an awesome trip – you’ll hear all about it soon.

xx
Ben and Jacs

Thanks for your support in the SurfAid Cup!

Last Friday was the SurfAid Cup, so I just wanted to post a quick update on how it went.

Thanks so much to all of you who donated for your generous support (in particular, mum, dad and the Fedeles :-)). The event as a whole raised $140k, and we (team BCG) came in 4th in the fundraising with a very impressive $12,196 – that is going to make a huge contribution to the wellbeing of communities in the Mentawais and other parts of Indonesia.

The Team

The Cup took place on a sunny day at South Curl Curl. With the huge donation effort, we were able to secure 2 x World Surfing Champ Tom Carroll for our team. It was awesome to be able to surf with him. Despite, our best efforts however, we were knocked out in the heats despite some good rides. It wasn’t over there however, as we went in to the runners up ‘Fitness Challenge’, a relay with one wave per surfer. A valiant effort saw us through to the finals, however that was where the journey came to an end.

Ben Surfing

In the end, it was all about having fun and raising money for a great cause, so thanks so much for making it happen.

Check out more pictures and information from the day at the SurfAid Blog or watch the video here.

— Ben

Enjoying some beach time!

Another month has flown by and little Leo is now 9 months old! It is amazing how fast she is growing up, and is now standing up, and just starting to balance for a few seconds when she lets go of whatever she is holding. She also crawls super fast (she’s a handful!) and is loving spending lots of time at the beach with her mum as it warms up here. We had a lovely morning down at Balmoral today :-)

Leo at Balmoral

Jacs is still loving motherhood, and is now also teaching 3 yoga classes a week as well which is going great. She teaches a corporate class at BCG on Friday’s as well as a class at Just Balance in Lindfield, and a kids class for 5 year olds at Burns Bay Cottage.

I’m still working down in Canberra Monday to Thursday, so away from home a lot. We’re making the most of the weekends though, and have been having great time as a family, catching up with friends, and getting in some surfing. My SurfAid Cup charity competition is next Friday, so I’ll post again soon to let you know how it goes!

A couple of weeks ago it was our great friends Rory and Nat’s wedding – here are some photos from it.

The wedding was beautiful, and we were so glad to see the two of them so happy. They got married a few hours drive south of Sydney in a cute little town called Berry. It was a long weekend so we had 3 nights down there with all of our friends which was great. We rented a house with Sarah, Jason & Molly, and Kylie, Matt & Sami, so it was quite the house with 3 babies!

On the Saturday morning, we got out for a surf, and then Jacs went off to get ready with the other bridesmaids, and I joined Rory and the Groomsmen for the day, although we had a relaxing time since we seem to be able to get ready a little faster than the girls. The wedding venue was a gorgeous spot called Jaspers, and since we were both in the wedding party we had a room there for the night after the wedding. It worked really well since Mum and Dad came down to look after Leo during the wedding, and they then had our room at our house in Berry.

The ceremony was gorgeous, and the reception was heaps of fun. I even had to give a speech :-) The next morning, we headed off for another surf with everyone, and then had a BBQ that afternoon and another fun night before heading back to Sydney the next day. Having the extra night with everyone was such a treat!

Hope that you’re all well. I’ll post again soon about SurfAid.
Below are lots of photos of Leo from the past little while.

Ben and Jacs

Settled back in to life in Sydney

Where does time go! Last time we posted we were having an amazing summer in the US, and now (as summer passes and winter approaches in the US), we’re back in Sydney gearing up for the summer – Endless Summer isn’t a bad way to live. I’ll try to keep this brief and share some photos since so much has happened!

Out last few weeks in Chicago were great. Keiren and Will, Robbie (a friend from Berkeley who is living in New York) and Em and James (our close friend’s from Sydney) all came to visit so the party continued! It was a great time and we were sad to leave as my project came to an end and it was time to leave Chicago.

Robbie and Leo

Keiren, Will and James

Jacs packed up and left Chicago a week before me to spend some time with her fam in LA, and then I arrived on a Thursday night so had a long weekend there with all of the Fishers before we headed back to Sydney. It was lovely to get to hang out with everyone again, and we were sad to leave, but loved having the opportunity to spend the summer in LA. It was one final weekend of hanging at the beach, and even going to the Dodgers with another good friend from Berkeley, Aaron, who had great tickets and kindly took us along for what turned out to be Star Wars night at the Dodgers. We also went to check out one of Lou’s bike’s on show at a Bike Museum – Leo was proud to be there with her Grumpa!

Grumpa, Nonna and Leo

Dodgers

Bike Show

Leo Planking

It has been a whirlwind since getting back to Sydney catching up with friends (we had a great BBQ last weekend), seeing family (Mum and Dad are now back from Bali and we’re back in our apartment 5 minutes walk away), and settling back in to Sydney (we’re loving being back in our apartment, and had a lovely evening tonight BBQing with our neighbours). I’ve also been enjoying being near the beach and getting in some surfing… especially since I’ve entered a surf contest at the end of October.

Leo by the Pool

The day after getting back to Sydney, I went down to Canberra for the day with work, but then got to have Friday off to unpack, before heading off again for a boys weekend at the snow for my good friend Rory’s bucks party – it was awesome fun, but I was exhausted when I headed down to Canberra the next monday to start work properly… unfortunately that is where I’ll be working the next few months instead of being in Sydney.

Rory Bucks

The following weekend we were out of Sydney again – this time for my cousin Pasq and Paski’s wedding in Melbourne. It was wonderful to be back in Australia so we could attend. It was a gorgeous wedding, and so great to see all of the Fedele’s. My cousin Andy and his wife Josie (who lived in our apartment while we were away after moving from the UK) were also there, and Andy got some amazing photos.

TK and Leo wedding

Ben Jacs Leo Wedding

Leo and Jacs at the Wedding

Jacs and Leo ready for the wedding

The following weekend (last weekend) was out first weekend actually in Sydney. We had a BBQ and enjoyed being back in town. Thursday night, I flew back early from Canberra and was very happy to be able to make it to Jacs’ citizenship ceremony. That’s right! She is now officially a True Blue Aussie and proudly sang Advance Australia Fair. After the ceremony we headed out for a meat pie and a beer to celebrate :-)

Citizenship

In other big news, Jacs is back at work teaching yoga on Thursdays and Fridays. On Thursdays she is teaching five years olds – focusing on mindfulness, meditation and a bit of asana too. On Fridays she is teaching corporate yoga at lunch time. She’s really enjoying it!

Yesterday, for the first time since Leo was born, Jacs left me in charge of her while she went out to her friend Nat’s hens night. You’ll be pleased to know that Leo and I survived and Jacs had an amazing night out!

This morning, the adventures continued with some indoor skydiving in Penrith (thanks Sarah, Jase, Molly, Kylie, Matt and Sami) – it was great fun! Leo then went for a stroll with her Oma and Grandpa, before we all had lunch together. That all brings us to this evening – After our evening BBQ with the neighbours, we’re now relaxed in front of the TV enjoying some family time before I head back to Canberra in the morning.

Indoor Skydive

Lots of love to you all.
Ben and Jacs