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 :-)

ER

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!

DSC05004

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

SurfAid Cup – Show your support!

Friends and Family,
Three friends/colleagues and I have entered a team in the SurfAid Cup in Manly on October 31st. The Cup is a fundraising event to raise funds for SurfAid, a non-profit humanitarian organisatin. As a team, we have committed to raising $5,000 for this great cause, and I’d appreciate your support to reach that goal. The event is a surfing

If you’d like to donate, please click here! Any donation is much appreciated!

SurfAid
SurfAid’s core mission is to save the lives of women and children in remote areas of Indonesia – areas connected to us by surfing. They specialise in working in very isolated villages where the maternal and child mortality rate is extremely high.

SurfAid was started by a group of concerned surfers in 2000 who were struck by the needless suffering and preventable death in the Mentawai Islands. Today they are proud that more than 95 per cent of program staff are Indonesian nationals who work hand-in-hand with the communities of Western Sumatra, Sumbawa and Sumba, to bring about positive, sustainable health change while respecting the unique culture and customs of these islands communities.

SurfAid

SurfAid Surfer

West Coast adventures

Since our last post, Jacs and Leo have been having a lovely time hanging out with the Fishers in LA, and I’ve been flying out for the weekends on the west coast. We’ve had some busy weekends, and it has been great fun, but it is lovely to have them both back in Chicago as of yesterday. It is crazy, but we only have 3-4 more weeks in the US, and Jacs and Leo will be heading back to LA in 2 weeks for the remainder of our stay. This weekend, Vik and Mike came to visit, and then next weekend, Keiren and Will as well as a friend from Berkeley, Robbie, and our friends Em and James from Sydney will all be in town so we’ll be having fun in Chicago!

The past month in Chicago hasn’t all been work for me either – I’ve been catching up with my friend Limo, as well as a South African guy from our building, so I’ve at least been able to go out for an after work beer! But let’s be honest, I was really missing my ladies.

This weekend with Vik and Mike has been awesome fun – we really packed a lot in and were sad to see them go just a couple of hours ago. They arrived early Friday morning – I was at work but everyone came and met me for lunch, and then they all went on a river cruise which they really enjoyed. I managed to get out a little early since I went in at 7.30, so we headed over to West Randolph Street to a delicious restaurant called the Publican where we overate lots of delicious meat and drank some yummy beers before walking home (via a stop for donuts at Firecakes!) to have beers in our outdoor area at home and relax which was fun.

Ben, Jacs, Vik and Leo

We then got up yesterday and headed out to Wicker Park which is a fun hipster area with some cool shops. We started with some brunch cocktails, there, then headed up to Lakeview for my favourite Soft Shell Crab Po Boy at Big and Little’s, then wondered over to the Wrigleyville SummerFest for a couple more drinks and some live music. The plan for a quick explore before heading home to relax seemed to evaporate as we decided to stroll a little further up the road to see Wrigley Field, and ended up pub crawling through Wrigleyville which was great fun! We then managed to swing by home for a quick change before heading back out for a delicious dinner of Ramen at Slurping Turtle on Hubbard St, and you guessed it, more beer and sake! What a day!!

Big Mike and Little Leo at Big and Little's

Big Mike and Little Leo at Big and Little’s

This morning, we were all exhausted, but Jacs convinced us we needed more donuts, so off we went to Do-Rite Donuts (her favourite)… the fresh air actually cleared my head and we were ready for a few more hours of fun before Vik and Mike needed to leave. The pace of the weekend continued with our next stop being beer, Chicago hot dogs and Italian Beef sandwiches at the famous Portillo’s restaurant, followed by some shopping on Michigan Ave, Cocktails at the top of John Hancock Tower at the Signature Lounge, and finally some delicious cheese, prosciutto and wine at Eataly which is a cool Italian market. What a weekend!!

Donut Leo

Anyway, the rest of the fun has been out in California so here is what our weekends have been like:

4th of July in Coronado

The Fishers have family down in Coronado (the Leonards and Cristillis) and have spent many a 4th down on the island soaking up the sun and partaking in all the 4th festivities. Bubba’s wife, Christy, is also from Coronado so there are a lot of people to catch up with while we’re down there. I flew in on Thursday night while the crew was at the mojito party. I arrived late that night, so went directly to the Cristilli’s where Jacs and Leo stayed. The next morning we were up for the 4th of July Parade joining Jay and Nichole and their kiddos Roman and Caroline on Orange Ave for mimosas and breakfast burritos. We then hit the beach with the whole gang, bodysurfed the waves and emerged covered in kelp. Gotta get used to that if we’re going to live in California! Jacs’ cousin Tally joined us too and we all went for margaritas and tacos at Miguel’s. That night we had a BBQ at the Cristilli’s and all watched the fireworks at the Plumb Compound. It was such a fantastic weekend – we walked the island and enjoyed the great family time at the beach.

Leo at the Beach

Ben and Leo July 4

LA and Malibu

The next Thursday I flew back out to the West Coast but this time we hung around LA. We joined Brenna and Dutch at Caitlin and Dan’s for a dinner party on the Friday night. Dan even smoked a few chickens which was right up my alley. After a delicious dinner and few too many drinks (for me!) we headed back home to get a bit of rest before our big day in Malibu. A bunch of Haasies rented a huge mansion in Malibu for a bit of a mini reunion so we decided to spend Saturday with them at the beach. The house was huge but what was more amazing was how many people our friends crammed in there! I’ve never seen so many people staying under one roof. It was great catching up with friends and spending the day at the beach. I brought one of Bubba’s surf boards with me but unfortunately the waves were pretty small so it was more of a paddle out than a surf…but at least I got out there. That night the Fisher’s were going to the Dodger game so on the way home from Malibu, Jacs and I stopped for a date night dinner in Old Town. Leo slept the whole dinner which was fabulous. Thanks Leo! When the Fisher’s returned home we all had a glass or five of wine outside on the porch. Their cousins, Rick and Noah, were in town for the game so we all caught up into the wee hours of the night. The next morning Bonnie made breakfast for us all, we went to the country club to watch the World Cup Final and then I had to unfortunately head to the airport!

Relaxing at the Surfrider Beach in Malibu with our Berkeley Friends

Relaxing at the Surfrider Beach in Malibu with our Berkeley Friends

SB Weekend

the week came and went, and I was again on a flight heading to LA for the weekend. Jacs picked me up and we went straight to Peter’s for dinner (the Fishers’ favourite Mexican joint). Matt Henderson was in town so we wanted to be sure we’d be there. It was a great dinner. The following night we decided to spend at the Fisher’s for dinner at home and a few drinks on the patio outside. It is such a lovely place to dine in the summer. Bubba brought some delicious IPA’s over for me to try and we drank quite a few of those :-) The next morning Jacs, Leo and I jumped in the car and drove up to Santa Barbara for the night. Nadia and Jay were heading up there for the night so we thought we’d join them and we could catch up with my buddy Rakesh. We walked along State Street, hit the beach for a few hours, and popped into a few of the wineries along the urban wine trail. We had a delicious Indian dinner with Rakesh and his buddy. We decided to leave relatively early the next morning, but couldn’t leave the area without a trip to the Bagel Cafe. We wondered around IV with Nadia and Jay and showed Leo where mummy and daddy met! Leo slept the whole time in the car, both ways which we were pleased about. After lunch at the Fishers and a bit of down time (shock horror!) Jacs took me to the airport.

Back where it all began with Leonora at the Bagel Cafe

Back where it all began with Leonora at the Bagel Cafe

SF Weekend

Last but not least, my final West Coast weekend we spent in SF for Sami and Alex’s wedding. Jacs, Bon and Leo drove up early to spend the night with Grandpa Lou and Grandma Gita. The next night I flew in and we caught up with some friend’s from business school in SF. We stayed with Leo’s storm parents Chris and Jordan. It was such a quick visit (only a few hours!) but good to see everyone nonetheless. Jacs and Bon picked me up from work and we drove down to Los Gatos for all the wedding festivities. Bon watched Leo for the rehearsal and wedding which was fantastic. The rehearsal dinner at Nick’s Next Door was delicious – lots of drinks, perfectly cooked steak, and mouthwatering ribs! Jacs was a bridesmaid in the wedding so the next day was busy beautifying with the ladies so Bon and I were on Leo duty (except for feedings!). We decided to go to Testarossa Winery since we were in the area. We bought a bottle of wine or two and headed back to the hotel so Mike and I could get ready to meet the girls at the wedding. It was such a fun wedding and a great excuse to catch up with all Jacs’ roommates from college. She was definitely in her element. The girls looked gorgeous, and Sami and Alex couldn’t have been happier. It was so special to be part of it all.

Sami and Alex Wedding

That about covers the past month I think!
xx
Ben and Jacs