Welcome to Marry Land

Most couples make it out on a date night once in a while. For many couples we know with kids, date night is an essential ingredient to remaining connected, and happily married.

For us, my husband and I, date night comes but once a year; our anniversary. It’s enough of an excuse to ring in a willing family member to take the kids. We savour our together time without kids, melting into each other’s company, and feeling 31 & 22 respectively, the age we were when we met, and fell in love.

This year, we are ten years married. And even better than making it a full decade, our anniversary fell on Friday the 13th. Thirteen has somehow been our lucky number.

A few babysitters fell through. We eventually lined something up. I prepared a surprise Adventure of Love through the hinterland, which all centred on me getting dressed into my wedding dress, and buying champagne while Gregor took kids down the road to friends.

Trouble was, Rosie was onto me, and refused to go. She could sense something fun was happening, and didn’t want to miss out. When I whispered the plan into both my daughters’ sweet little ears, they banded together, and decided that neither would be babysat. They were coming with us.

And so we went. Our date-day of the year, encumbered with two {delightful} darlings.

First stop – the place we married, ten years ago today, out the front of God’s fine Eureka abode, looking over the rolling hills.

As it turned out, having two {delightful} darlings made the occasion even more perfect, because, as they pointed out, they missed our actual wedding.

Little Rosie named our wedding place Marry Land. In Marry Land, snakes get married, the wedded couple dance, and we all climb frangipani trees.

I remember most details of our ceremony ten years ago, up to the feel of the wind whipping our hair.

What I didn’t remember was the ancient frangipani tree, which turned out to be the perfect place to sit under ten years later, in a bed of fallen flowers, with flowers in our hair, drinking champagne. The girls made a treasure hunt out of  flowers. We took slo mo movies of us kissing.

Marry Land was better than I remember. Maybe it was because our daughters were there this time too.

Next stop, Doma Cafe, Federal. We’ve shared many a happy meal in the surprising and wonderful Japanese cafe, in the heart of the hinterland. I got burned in the shade, but still. Nothing beats that halloumi burger.

And then, a bare foot walk to the base of Minyon Falls. Even 100% humidity, and 36 degree heat couldn’t spoil this.


I love that the children come alive as soon as their fingertips touch a fern, or their feet touch the earth. The little fairy door some clever person has carved into a fallen log added more magic. And if you ever go, swim in the waterhole, stand under the waterfall, and look up. The sight of drops falling…

At home, we made Chinese soup, drank champagne and sat in the garden. I asked Gregor what’s the best thing about the last ten years, and he made a few jokes, which is exactly why we work so well together.

I said his legs were the best thing about the last ten years. And the fact that he’s an incredible father to my girls. And a great support to me. I forgot to mention how much I love the fact he washes up every night.

There was more than one raised eyebrow when I told friends and family 10 + years ago I was throwing away my life on a random Dutch guy.

Today, a friend said it was lucky I followed my instincts.

It was instinct, I guess. It was also a lot of luck, and a little work. Like, for instance, recently, when I resolved to use my ‘nice voice’ as much as possible, and not dump my irritation on Greg. Relationship patterns develop without you even realising it, and suddenly they feel unbendable. But they can bend. Neither of us want a nagging relationship, for ourselves, for our relationship, and for our kids.

Anyway, the Adventure of Love, and our trip to Marry Land, kids and all, was the perfect way to celebrate ten happy years together.

Here’s to ten more? I hope.

Tales of a sagging calendar


The days are hot. Our American cousins are here. Our Granny Annie arrives in less than five days.

Christmas is creeping towards us, slowly, quickly…hang on, it’s almost here.

As my calendar hangs from it’s last scrappy page, almost collapsing from the weight of the year, I am thinking about how to sum it all up.

What was this year, and where did it go? And is it true that every year gets shorter the older you get? Because that’s what it feels like.

I know what happened to this year.

I was working. Not for all of it, but unlike previous years where I have worked in and around family at odd hours, I have had actual work days, which I have committed to actual work.

It’s been good. I have liked the structure, and the vague sense of organisation. My older daughter’s gone off to preschool, Gregor’s taken Rosie out for the day, and I have used every minute I have had as wisely as I possibly could.

2014 was productive. Definitely.

But it was also disconnecting in some ways. With work days comes the need to urgently scrabble for family time and down time and time in nature, and with all that urgent scrabbling, my friendships have suffered.

Or maybe, as one friend suggested, we are just entering the second phase of parenting. In the first phase, we hung out with babies, and days bled into each other, as we poured cups of tea for each other.

In phase two, our kids are off at school or preschool. Many of us are back at work, and somehow …Life. Change. It’s neither good nor bad. Just different.

My career and my creative pursuits have also changed and reformed this year.

As driven and as motivated as I am, I am also one to go with the flow, and the flow this year has been speedy and sometimes crazy.

I went to a children’s book conference in May. Janine and I organised the High Tea in July. I’ve run blogging workshops. I went to ProBlogger. Gregor and I started The Quincys.

I have dropped in and out of blogging, and lately, have spent less and less time on my blog and on social media. I’ve needed these things to dominate my life less, and connection to my family and nature to dominate my life more.

I haven’t had that itch to post about every aspect of my life. I rather spend my nights watching comedy shows with Husband and eating Lindt. And that’s ok. Like friendships, and career, and creativity, it’s ebb and flow, and maybe it will all change again soon.

Hope your Christmas decorations are hanging happily, your family is regrouping and your days are slowing as your calendar breathes its last sigh for the year.

If I am not here again, happy Christmas, festivities, family…or whatever it is you celebrate at this time of year. Thank you for reading here this year.

Zanni x


On Father’s Day

When I opened my inbox this morning, there was a flood of posts about Father’s Day. Some people enjoyed it, some people didn’t. These sub-celebrations (sub to birthdays, Christmas and New Year’s Eve) haven’t ever had much of a look in in my family. I have never gone out for a Valentine’s Day date. And I think my mum and dad were lucky if they received a scrappy handmade card on their respective days. There are just too many days that need to be celebrated. I guess our family just chose to focus on a few.

Now that I have a child, though, the days take on a new significance. I am jaded if I don’t get a Valentine or a Mother’s Day present. I feel it is my obligation to give my husband a present on behalf of our two-year-old to thank him for being a spectacular dad. With child comes need to celebrate, repeatedly.

Typical for my husband, the father in question, he spent Father’s Day working. And so our celebratory efforts were minimised. But I did spend the day thinking about what an amazing father he is, in honour of his day. 

This is what I thought.

He is kind to our daughter. I thought long and hard, and I couldn’t think of a single instance when he has been unkind to her. It is a remarkable quality in a person. Try as hard as we might to be kind to our children, occasionally we slip up and get crabby. But not my husband.

He is patient. He works with people with disabilities and manages very challenging behaviours on a regular basis. He also spent eight years as a practicing Buddhist. His capacity to tolerate and to accept anything is enviable. A toddler-quake stirs not a ripple in his calm exterior. He merely sits and waits for it to pass. Kindness in his eyes.

He is funny. Even after the worst day at work, he manages to come home singing silly little songs about whatnot. As I cook, I listen to the stream of giggles coming from my daughter who is in the bath, being entertained by nonsense.

He is wise. So many times, my daughter has rejected his kind, gentle affection and has demanded Mummy! and every time, he smiles fondly at her, with love in his heart and his eyes, and does not take it personally. 

He is the perfect father, who teaches me how to be a better mum. All good parenting suggestions came from him, initially. It was he who thought being separated from a baby who sleeps in a cot in another room was unbearable. It was he who told me not to worry about the two-hour-at-a-time sleep routine I felt I had failed to achieve. Let’s carry her in the sling, he’d said, we know that works. Between us, we carried our little baby all day every day until at last she was happy to nestle into a cot or a pram to sleep. It was he that brought up the issue of smacking children one evening, and said that never ever in ten thousand and one years would anyone ever smack our children. It was he who never wanted our little girl to have to fall asleep crying on her own. It was he who encouraged me to sit with patience and compassion as our tiny little soul lost her structure and melted into a wet teary puddle on the floor.

Because of he, my daughter is sunshine and happiness.

We always joke about how he is number three.

1. Toddler, 2. Mum. 3. as an after thought, Dad.

But, really 3. Dad is the structure that supports us. The glue that binds us. The joke that keeps us happy on the crappiest of days.

So Greg, although we didn’t formally celebrate Father’s Day and I never got around to making pancakes, I want you to know how much we appreciate you and your amazing fathering abilities. You have given Father’s Day meaning and purpose, and have made our lives better, all at the same time.

{He got teary reading this draft}

Please come and join my community at Heart Mama on Facebook.

{Linking with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for I Blog on Tuesday. Thanks Jess!}

How did you celebrate Father’s Day? A biggie? Or just another day?