When we turned up on Monday morning at my sister’s family home in Tamworth, no one was expecting us. After parking our rig out the front, we wandered around the back of the house and knocked on the sliding door where we could see the four kids hanging out. Their eldest daughter recognised us and let us in, and we re-introduced ourselves to the others who quickly started showing their prized collections.

It was a good day to turn up — excellent timing as usual despite no prior planning on our part! Monday was a public holiday in NSW, so both Andy and Carla were at home. Their kids are still on school holidays, and we enjoyed a relaxed day together as two families.

We last saw the Croakers in Brisbane at the end of December 2009, very shortly after Delaney’s birth. That was back when we were house-based, and we’ve changed in so many ways since then!

Carla and Andy have been married for sixteen years and have four children. Their home is a large house on a huge lot out the back of Tamworth. Because we’ve spent time with the Croakers in various other homes that they’ve lived in, it’s great that we finally get to see them in this new place where they’ll probably live for many years. It’s wonderful to see the renovations they have already completed and hear their plans for the future.

Croakers' house, October 2011
The Croakers have been planting native plants in the circular garden out the front of their house.

Croakers' house, October 2011
The Croakers' backyard ends at the fence, but their view extends to the horizon.

Playing with the Croakers, October 2011
The kids like to take advantage of the huge yard and explore all the way to the far boundary.

Elora's room, October 2011
Elora's room is beautifully decorated in aqua with Asian accents.

Elora's room, October 2011
Now that she has her own space, Elora loves to keep her room tidy at all times.

At the Croakers', October 2011
It didn't take long for our girls to discover the wonderland of toys in their cousins' playroom.

Eating with the Croakers, October 2011
Although our visit wasn't pre-planned, Carla and Andy managed to fit and feed all twelve of us graciously!

Thank you for your hospitality, Andy and Carla. We’re glad to have finally come down to see you after promising a visit for so long!