After a 20,000 mile round trip, the Mister and I have returned from what was the most amazing holiday I have ever been on. About 15 ish years ago, a friend of the Mister's headed 'Down Under' to Adelaide to start a new life, and then last year the chap messaged us & said "I'm getting married, I'd love for you to come to the wedding!".
Initially we dismissed the idea because as much as we would have loved to attend, the logistics and expense of it all was seemingly too much. Trying to manage the children with their schools and clubs, care of the dogs, the house, not to mention paying for it all when we are already going away on a family holiday with Mark Warner in October.
But - we thought about it some more, and then the Mister spoke to his parents about the possibility. Provided everything was carefully planned, they would be happy to have the children so that we could go. At this point I had a wibble about leaving the kids for so long and being so far away, even though I know my ILs are wonderful grandparents and would take care of the kids just as well as we do. I had never left them for so long (two weeks give or take a couple of days of travelling) and the thought of it gave me some serious anxiety but before I could back out, our flights were booked. We were going!
Some military planning and a lot of help later, everything was arranged. The children would stay with the ILs as they live close enough to the senior school for the older 3 to walk to & from, my brother & his wife did the primary school run and took the boys to evening clubs, my friend ran E back & forth to gymnastics with A, and two of my wonderful friends offered their help in case of emergency with running around/pick ups just in case (as my FIL is still recovering from a knee replacement op, so is currently unable to drive). Even my next door neighbours pitched in, taking H to rugby on the two Sundays that we were away for. I also meal planned for two weeks, and ordered groceries to be delivered to the ILs house to keep things as simple as possible.
I had to rein in my inner control freak a lot to be able to cope with not being able to oversee everything myself, but the children were absolute stars for the ILs, and I am so grateful to everyone for all of their support and help. Australia is as amazing as I thought it would be - we visited some fantastic places and saw some breathtaking sights as well as enjoying the main event, the wedding on the banks of the Murray River in New South Wales. I am so excited to share our wonderful journey across the world and three states with you all in a series of posts I'll be calling #ShepsDownUnder. Enjoy!