The national sports cheer is “Aussie-Aussie-Aussie, oi-oi-oi!”, and we felt just as jubilant when the “Olis” finally arrived!

We’ve been anticipating a visit from our good friends the Aldrics for MONTHS now. Oli and Ree (we just call them the Olis) flew into Brisbane on Sunday night on the return leg of their holiday visiting family in the UK.

We last saw the Olis in July/August last year, when we visited them in Canberra, so seeing them two years in a row has been extra-special! We’ve been friends with Maria (Ree) since late 1996, and she was the maid-of-honour at our wedding in 1997. She lived briefly with us in the UK, and we were devastated in 2003 when they decided to live in Canberra instead of Queensland.

We spent the short visit talking about homeschooling (me and Ree) and theology (David and Oli), and fighting and sharing (the kids). The Olis were our first real guests in the studio, and it was wonderful for them (and us) to have the extra space in which to spread out and live separate lives without overlapping at crucial sleeping times.

Since the Olis are heading back to cold Canberra, on Tuesday we took them to the beach, so they would have a Queensland holiday to remember. It was a warm/hot day — perfect for the beach. The water was cool but not frigid, and we enjoyed a meal out at Burleigh Heads in the evening.

Lauren, Brioni, 2yo, Micah, 3yo, + Ree, September 2008
We had a fantastic set-up on the beach, with two large umbrellas and a shadehouse to keep the sun off the littlies.

Ree, Oli + Manni, September 2008
We played at Tallebudgera Creek.

Oli and Micah, September 2008
Who needs waves when you have an energetic father? Here, Oli pulls Micah along on the boogie board.

Josiah, September 2008
At five years old, Josiah is very confident in the water and played in it constantly.

Micah, 3yo, September 2008
Micah is almost exactly the same age as Aisha.

Oli and Emmanuelle, September 2008
Oli and Emmanuelle (Manni).

Maria and Manni, 16 months old, September 2008
When we last caught up with the Aldrics, Emmanuelle was a couple months old, so it was wonderful to observe her personality and individuality.

Aisha, 3yo, September 2008
Yep, Aisha's still enjoying eating sand. (When she came to me, complaining that her apple had fallen into the sand, I directed her to lick the sand off... she washed it in the water instead.)

Lauren with Calista, 5 months old, Brioni, 2yo, Manni, 16 months, + Aisha, 3yo, September 2008
We put our girls in flotation vests although they spent very little time in the water.

Oli and boys, September 2008
Oli took his sons out in the canoe.

Brioni, 2yo, + David, September 2008
Brioni is adventurous and loved to go out in the canoe with us. Aisha would run away screaming at an invitation for a ride.

Lauren + Ree, September 2008
Ree and I used the secluded time in the canoe to catch up on important issues. (We did feel guilty at the child-free time, though, and headed back to shore several times to see if we were needed/missed, but David kept waving friendily, prompting us to go out again.)