We’ve really expanded our board game collection and board game friends recently. This is very exciting to me.

Not a humongous fan of playing 7 Wonders expansions in real life so far but maybe we’ll get used to it.

Teraforming Mars with other Scott. His wife organized for us to play together. She didn’t even come, haha. Fun game, a little overwhelming at first but didn’t take long to get the hang of it. I want to play again.

Agricola All Creatures Big and Small. The two player version of Agricola. Sorta fun, still nearly as stressful as the regular game.

Azul has been a hit with everyone we’ve played with. Seth almost beat us! Now every week at family dinner he asks me if I brought “the fun Spanish game”. PS don’t worry, at least he chooses low carb beer.

Sagrada has also been a hit. I bought it without knowing anything about it other than people like it. It’s similar to Azul. I’m slightly concerned that it will be a bit slow to play with more than 2 players though as some people (aka me) get AP (analysis paralysis) and take 5ever to make a decision some times. We played approx 85 games last week while camping.

King of Tokyo with our new game frands. Unfortunately someone (aka me) had one of the dice in her cross stitch stuff so we accidentally played with 5 dice instead of 6 and the game majorly dragged.

All the 2 player games! For camping. The ones in the plastic cases are Carcassonne and Agricola All Creatures Big and Small. I would now add Sagrada too.

A very profitable castle/token/cloister combo.

We’ve always played that The edge of the table is the edge of the world, unless you want to hold the piece up with your hand for the rest of the game, which if it’s close to the end of the game might be worth it. While camping I built this extension with my Kindle. I think it was ingenious but Rosemarie thinks it’s cheating. Thoughts?

Our trip to Wilsons Prom last year was fun, but too short, so this year we booked a longer stay. Unfortunately I injured myself right before the trip. I irritated my left SI joint and couldn’t walk uphill. My physio taped my butt in a hug, and thankfully it got a bit better every day, so we were able to do more and more stuff every day, but yeah… not ideal.

We stopped at Gurneys Cider on the way down. Same place we went last year but they’ve added a bunch of new ciders, plus the foraged ones taste different every year. I enjoyed my flight a lot. Still have a few bottles in the fridge.

We did a lot of evening walks. Started off with this flat one at sunset, and worked our way up to climbing half way up Mt Bishop completely in the dark. I wanted to see owls and stuff. We didn’t have that much luck except kangaroos (including this one who wanted to follow Scott home).

Of course we saw wombats in the campground as usual though. They make me giggle every time.

Watching the sunset from a look out. So pretty.

The campground was sooooooo noisy at night. I was very happy when everyone left on Sunday morning. If we go back again I don’t want to go on the weekend at all, even if school holidays are over.

But we were happy that the outdoor cinema was open on Saturday night! We watched Bohemian Rhapsody. I enjoyed it.

My new favourite camping food: bibimbap! Just bring a cast iron pan, some cooked rice, mince beef, stir fry veg, gochujang, and eggs and you’ve got a really delicious dinner. Love that crispy rice.

We played A LOT of games while I was still crippled. I beat Scott at everything. :D Carcassonne, 7 Wonders Duel, Agricola All Creatures Big and Small, Azul, etc. etc.

Scott on the beach near our campsite.

We did a bit of swimming. It wasn’t super warm out so it took me ages to get in the water, but once I did it was alright. We had a lot of fun body surfing. Scott wishes he got a video of me doing a front flip while trying to surf on the inflatable pizza. Maybe he can draw a cartoon of it. That surprisingly didn’t hurt my back at all.

PS what kind of skull is that?? It was pretty big!

Finally my back/hips were back to normal so we hiked up Mt Bishop, and around the Lilly Pilly circuit (which was where I was trying to go that night we accidentally walked up the mountain). I liked the Mt Bishop hike a lot more than Mt Oberon because it was more like a trail instead of a road, through very nice forest. We saw a bush kangaroo and plenty of birds and a “brown lizardy thing” as I was mocked for saying on Instagram.

Now that we’ve really done Wilsons Prom, where should we go next summer??

I think I’ve written before about how once a month Scott organises something for us to do. I was really looking forward to the January activity… ATVing! We’d been wanting to go ATVing again, ever since our 50:50 fun/stressful experience in Oregon.

My coworker Rhys came along as well. I love yes people.

I didn’t take many pictures. :/

We started off by taking the scenic route to Gippsland via Tarra-Bulga National Park. It was a nice drive along the ridge of the hills. We did a little hike to a suspension bridge and tried to find lyre birds. We didn’t see any but we called every bird sound we heard a lyre bird, because how could you say it isn’t, haha.

We continued on to the coast and ate some extremely mediocre fish and chip shop food for lunch. Why did my fish burger have like 18 pieces of beetroot but no kinds of sauce whatsoever? So dry.

Do you like my pants bathing suit?? Best purchase I made in 2019 so far.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky but it was soooo windy at the beach it didn’t feel very hot at all. We still decided to swim. The water was incredibly warm so we actually stayed in for a while, but once we got out of the water we pretty much had to leave the beach right away.

We stopped in Sale for dinner supplies and then checked into our cabin. Drinks and games ensued. We played Upwords and Azul and Carcassonne.

The cabin was quite remote and the sky was still completely cloudless so I was really looking forward to some top notch stargazing. Unfortunately the brightest fullest moon I have ever seen in my life was rising exactly as it got dark. Pity. It was so bright I swear you could have read a book by moonlight.

Finally the next day was ATV time! Unfortunately it was way too slow and not that exciting. We wanted xxxxxxxxxtreme and we got zzzzzz.

Most of the time we were driving on paths around paddocks at 10 km/hr. Maybe if it had rained recently and there was more mud that would have been fun? But it was dry AF.

Eventually the dude brought us to a race track on his property and we got to drive as fast as we wanted for a while. I had a lot of fun because I had the best ATV. Scott and Rhys had some fun but still weren’t able to go super fast, and Rhys’s ATV was pulling to the right the whole time which wasn’t easy.

So yeah… ATVing was ok but not great. It’s always nice to get out and do an activity but we all wished it had been a little more exciting.

Well it’s technically autumn here now, although it’s currently 36°C and climbing?? But let’s just quickly catch up on this past summer.

Scott turned 40. We had a big party at our house. I greatly underestimated the number of kids in our lives! Thankfully the children entertained themselves outside by piling up all the gravel in our courtyard. We had lots of food and drinks, and lots of Scott’s family and friends from school and work and everything came by even though it was so deep into Christmas party season. Overall success, imo.

Every second year is a big Christmas at the Jorna household (the other years people go to their other side of the family) and this year was a big one. I think there was about 40 people all together? Bonkers. There was a pinata, wading pool, bbq lunch, and soooooo many children and presents.

The next day we did a very Melbournian thing and went to Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. It was… very boring. Even people that love cricket thought it was boring. Because the grass was too flat and too smooth so nothing really happened. They would hit the ball very conservatively along the ground to just get one run at a time. There were only two wickets and one of them was while we were scanning our tickets to get in to the ‘G.

Scott and I worked through the Christmas holidays and saved our days off for when it wasn’t school holidays. It wasn’t busy at work so it wasn’t so bad.

I wanted to do a “polar bear” swim on New Years Day so we went to Half Moon Bay Beach which is only about 30 minutes away, on the bayside. It was a little busy but it was a hot day and the water was delightful. Plus there is really good fish and chips there.

It has been a hot summer of training. I sweat a lot even in the winter but when it’s >30°C it’s a whole other disgusting story. My face is always purple.

Sadly my coach Rob (in the aqua shirt) decided to retire. We were all very sad. I had one last competition with him 6 weeks ago, and then transitioned to getting coached by his son Adam. It’s different, but not that different, which is good.

We got this sweet bath caddy in the Kris Kringle gift swap thingy. I’m looking forward to when it’s cooler so I can have more baths. It feels nice on my back (which is actually not that bad at the moment btw).

We went ATVing in Gippsland, but I’ll save that for another post.

We also went camping at Wilsons Prom again this summer, but I will also save that for another post.

Scott has been doing hockey lessons and swimming lessons lately. He says they are both very challenging but very helpful.

We made some new board game friends! They are friends of Scott’s coworker (who also likes games) and they know how to play Agricola!! It’s tricky to find games for 6 players though. Last night we played Sushi Go Party, Sushi No, 7 Wonders, Coup, and King of Tokyo. I found Coup really hard, it is pretty much exactly what I am really bad at (bluffing and keeping track of what cards other people have).

On my way to the Aqua concert. :D

I had heard that Aqua was coming to Melbourne a while ago, along with a whole bunch of other 90s pop bands like Vengaboys, B*Witched, Eiffel 65, Lou Bega… but it was pretty expensive and I couldn’t find anyone to go with. I debated what to do for ages until the day before the concert I decided I would regret it if I didn’t try to go. I mean I still love the album Aquarium!!

I still didn’t want to pay a lot though. So I scoured Gumtree and Ebay and Facebook for cheap tickets and the morning of the concert someone finally accepted my offer! They ended up being very friendly girls and invited me to hang out with them since I didn’t know anyone else there. It was very random and very fun!!!!

The venga bus is coming…

Aqua!!! It was so nostalgic. They’re one of the few bands that I actually know most of the words to the songs haha. The tickets were awesome and we got right up close. Very fun night, I laughed a lot. I’m glad I decided to try and go. Would Aqua again.

Our trip to Vancouver was hectic AF. We had checklists, Google documents, Facebook events, a detailed calendar, and group chats just to fit everything we wanted to do (and eat! #nomealleftbehind) on the trip. It worked though, the trip was very successful.

Second meal of the trip: poutine. (First meal was perogies at Rosemarie’s house.) #nomealleftbehind

We tried to see as many as people as we could right away (and beat jetlag) by booking a big table at Steamworks for the first night. Scott’s whole old work team showed up, plus the whole Ryan Ryan and Brian group, and good old Liz and Rob, and Rose and Lauren of course. It was fun.

The next day we headed to Salt Spring Island, and Seattle as well, which I’ll save for separate blog posts.

Scott’s friend Hannah from London just happened to be visiting Vancouver for one overlapping day. We met them for porchetta at Meat & Bread (#nomealleftbehind) and Scott walked all around the seawall with them while I took off to visit my old work and pick up some Darn Tough socks for all my poor Australian friends who I’ve convinced they are the best socks ever and can’t get them here. Sorry, sort of.

The next day dad arrived. We picked him up and made him tag along to the hockey store where Scott got a whole kit. So much cheaper than Australia.

It was a beautiful day so we drove up to the top of Mount Seymour to do a short hike (Dog Mountain). It was harder than I expected because it was so rooty, but we made it. The view from the end was very nice. It was a little hazy but you could still see the whole city.

The next day dad went for a big bike ride, Scott went to visit his old work, and I had training. I managed to keep up with all my weightlifting training while I was gone which was so good because I have a competition coming up next week. Rose actually lives within walking distance of the old gym I used to go to when we lived there and Al was very nice to make space for me. It was so confusing training in pounds again.

That evening we went to the SFU observatory where lots of space nerds showed us stuff with their telescopes. We could see Saturn’s rings!! It was pretty cool. Rose gave us a tour of her old uni and then we had some late night ice cream, yum yum.

Saturday was an insanely busy day. We squeezed in three different events with three different groups.

1. Dimsum with Rosemarie’s friends. Scott is so creative with his panoramas. Can you guess how he took this one?

2. We got the old game gang back together and had a games day like the old days! We played Mysterium, a space dice game, Sushi Go/Sushi No (where you try to get as few points as possible), ate nachos and Smartfood popcorn (#nomealleftbehind), and caught up on all the gossip. Was great.

3. Dinner and games with Lesley and Jean Pierre (not pictured). She made really delicious tacos, and we played Settlers (of course!!). We also played Monopoly Go. I miss having a friend like Lesley around.

Finally the last day of Scott’s trip we trekked out to UBC for one of our favourite Vancouver events, the apple festival. Rose, Lauren and dad had never been! (It was Scott and my fifth time, haha). We tasted all the apples, ate apple pie, drank apple cider, and learned all about plant medicines. I forget what my favourite apple was, but of course it was something kinda mushy. The sales area was completely wiped out so we couldn’t buy anything.

Then we dropped Scott off at the airport. We all wish he could have stayed longer.