#976 The hot water bottle

Some days, it is the simple things.

Who am I kidding? MOST days it is the simple things.

Like a hot water bottle.

Sure, it may not be as effective (or numbing) as painkillers, but in terms of comfortable and supportive assistance, that slight warmth to take the edge off of any doubling-over pain, well it is pretty cool.

Or should I say, warm.

And… there is someone else who is also finding recent fascination with the water bottle…

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Yup. 😉

 

#975 Baking: blueberry lemon cake

I haven’t baked in a little while, purely for the purpose of ‘just ’cause,’ for AGES. Back in August my mass baking was of an intentional and event-based nature, so when I came across some mouth-watering recipes last week, I decided to schedule in my very own baking day.

I think it was all the more enjoyable because baby girl was at kindergarten. I do enjoy when she is in the kitchen with me… I love that she is curious, that she wants to help, and her sheer excitement at the prospect of the finished product. I also want her to appreciate the cooking process, the effort that goes into making things, so that she may appreciate eating, and the food itself more, since she knows where it came from.

But at the same time, as a Mum… sometimes you just wanna get shit done.

You just want to go at your own pace. No constant questions of

“can I mix?”

“can I add?”

“can I taste?”

“can I put this in?”

Just me and MY kitchen. Putting mess and bowls and utensils and drips of batter, wherever the bloody hell I like.

After a couple of hours from start to finish, I got something like this:

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Do you think I got close? 😉

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I am being cheeky, sure. Yes I created it almost spot-on to the recipe photo, and even styled the kitchen magazine-style in the process (check the cake under the dome).

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But the MOST important question… how did it actually taste?
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Well I can tell you this: it wasn’t to my taste at first. It had a definite tangy flavour, what with all that zest and lemon juice in the batter. Which is fine, but then there was the addition of so much extra virgin olive oil, which led to a superbly moist but rich cake.

The berry layer was made from scratch with real blueberries, but the cream was not so… creamy. In fact, light cream cheese was required instead, which made it slightly biting… however this was not too bad in its small quantity in contrast against the lemony cake and mild blueberry jam.

I didn’t expect Hubbie to like it… but he did. He actually enjoyed it. And being a fussier food critic than I, SmikG the food blogger, well that was a massive tick in my book. √

#974 Swimming up a level

It was strike of the ‘floater’ today.

You see, at baby girl’s swim school, there are the swimming teachers who can be found in the swimming pool lanes, teaching and guiding children through their pre-school and primary years as they learn the various techniques and skills required to swim independently on their own.

Then there are what I call, the ‘floaters.’

Most of them are also swim teachers. These ‘floaters’ wander around the indoor swim arena, from lane to lane, sussing out the kids within the classes and observing whether or not it is time they are tested.

A floater doesn’t pop up for a swim lesson on every occasion. I remember when a floater arrived at baby girl’s class many months ago, and I watched as suddenly one of the boys in the class was put to the test. He swam laps, practiced with his head underwater, and went up and down the lane repeatedly until they were content he was able enough to go up a level into another swimming class.

Well today, a floater arrived at baby girl’s swim lane. And I knew immediately, she was UP.

I had only observed 10 minutes earlier, how she was the tallest of the 3 in her class. Sure she is a tall gal, but I checked out the boy on one side of her, slightly shorter, perhaps half a year younger than her. Then the girl on her left, a good 18 months younger, and very new to the class. I wondered, ‘when would a floater arrive to push baby girl up a level?’

So when one did arrive, I knew who it was for.

I watched keenly as baby girl was put to the pace. Instead of the usual firm yet supportive encouragement by baby girl’s swim teacher, it was –

“Keep your head under water! Go go go, kick kick kick!”

THE HEAT WAS ON.

She swam with her head underwater, and that in itself appeared to be fine. Next she had to swim on her back, and here I watched as she went up once in the shorter lane…

The floater bent down to her and told her a few things, ending with a smile. I knew what she would be saying. Baby girl had to hold the floaties in her hand at her side, and not fan them out as she habitually did.

…so again she went, up the lane.

The boy was also swimming alongside her, so I was thinking “is he being tested too?”

Again, they sent baby girl up the lane on her back. I watched her as she kicked as hard as she could with all her might. Near the end she slowed down, but she never sunk down. She kept her back straight, held her arms as close as possible to her body, until her head touched the wall behind her.

I was so proud of her. No matter what eventuated, she had made a stellar effort. She hadn’t given up. She had risen to the challenge.

The swim teacher and the floater conferred with one another. I watched carefully, as they said some words to baby girl… there was smiling, a high five… then the swim teacher found me in the crowd and mouthed something while pointing up.

“What?” I mouthed back.

She pointed up again, and held up three fingers. “She’s moving up to level 3.”

:):):)

My heart soared with joy, and I immediately felt an emotional onslaught of tears coming on. I tried to hold them back.

“Get a grip SmikG. The floater will be here any second.”

I knew this because of all the times I had heard and seen other parents be visited by the floaters and be told their child was moving to a higher level. I had been privy to this once before too.

Sure enough, in a matter of minutes she was over and we were discussing new session times. I was overwhelmed with joy… my girl was growing up and every day it was hitting me harder. She was finishing kindergarten and heading into primary school next year. She was becoming more independent, choosing to do things on her own without help, and responding to challenges and succeeding (like yesterday’s post).

This was yet another thing to alert me to the fact that she was growing up. It was so beautiful, but there was a touch of bittersweet-ness to it. Because she would be needing me less and less, and be doing more and more on her own.

‘But that’s the whole point,’ I reassured myself in my head. ‘That’s what you want.’

It doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard.

I was so proud of her and her effort, and that more than anything, even more than her moving up a level, is what I am most grateful for today. ♥

 

#973 Taking to the pedal

My deep and heartfelt gratitude did not come from our family event outing, nor during the bonding we spent there, the down time at home, or that cheeky ice cream we squeezed in on the Main Street afterwards..

No. It came later on in the day, after much tiredness, frustration, raging emotions, and passionate tempers.

It came when baby girl hopped onto her bike.

She got her first bike after our first Christmas here in our Sea change location. She was almost 3 and a half, and was more than excited about riding a bike that had her fave character, Dora the Explorer plastered all over it.

But, it was HARD. She found the pedals difficult to circle. A couple of attempts here and there, and though we regularly went back to it at the start, the bike soon found its place in a corner of the garage, gathering dust, while baby girl still didn’t have a good grasp on how to ride it.

😦

As it happens often in life, doesn’t it? We buy something, and it just sits there, unused and unwanted. We think something will be a peace of cake, but it isn’t.

Baby girl had said she would ride her bike all the time… and we thought so too… but she didn’t.

It’s always been there in the back of her mind though.

Like the streamers peeking out from the handlebars in the corner of the garage, so too did bits and bursts of other bikes pop into baby girl’s mind, or in front of her eyes, reminding her that she did not ride a bike.

She had one. She didn’t ride one.

It’s been picking up momentum lately though. Kids from her kinder will ride to and from the pre-school. Littlies will ride past our house with their parents. She even watches Disney dolls riding bikes on youtube.

She would say “when can I ride my bike?”

And we would say “you need to practice honey.”

So today… we practiced.

Sure, it was hard at first. The whole motion of turning your legs in opposite directions in a circular motion, combined with steering the handle, and looking ahead, is a very multitasking job! We had to keep helping her with her feet, pushing them around, trying to steer her at the same time, reminding her to go “forwards, not backwards,” and “look ahead,” and “don’t go into the grass”…

She started to get it.

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Just a little bit of encouragement, praise for her getting it, and she was off and running! Or should I say riding! There are still quite a few stops and starts, riding into bushes of flowers, and random sudden brakes… but to see her so happy, riding along in glee, telling me “watch out Mum I’m coming!”…

It just clutched at my heart strings in the strongest way.

And it made this funny, interesting and mixed up day, the best one. 🙂

#972 Resting after the parties

I took the day off work to take baby girl to two kids parties today.

I had been informed well in advance of one, and then when I found out about the other, well I thought “that’s well timed.”

But can I just say… I work less and am more rested when I am at work, working, then when I am home for the day, with baby girl, driving around to first a 5 year-old’s, then a 6 year-old’s birthday party.

Sheesh.

I was ruined by the end of it all. It had been a full, fun day, but boy oh boy was I wrecked. As baby girl went to take her Dad out to the trampoline in the evening (because she somehow had not spent enough of her energy during the day) I took a deliberate 5 minute time-out on the couch.

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Can you see my toes, shining from the glow of the late afternoon sun? Can you see that water far off in the distance? It was a splendid day, and yet having been running around through the whole of it, I could actually not care less about it.

Yes it was beautiful out there. But lying by myself in peace for a few minutes, was more beautiful.

Then I heard baby girl and her Dad yelling and mucking about and talking from the yard… and I guess I am a sucker for punishment. I followed them out. 🙂

#971 Trampoline sky

From looking down yesterday, to looking UP today.

Have you ever just stopped to stare at the sky? Well, next chance you get, DO IT. Today I tended to baby girl’s trampoline request in the late afternoon, and after a bit of running about and “tag, you’re it!” doing circles in the bouncy sphere, I lay down to stare at the never-ending blue sky.

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Although there were no cloud formations to make out, no birds flying by and certainly no other landmarks or trees in my immediate field of vision (that shot above was of the corner), I didn’t care… the constant blue ‘up there,’ was the most serene and peaceful 6 seconds….

Then baby girl jumped on my hair, and that was just too close. Serene moment GONE.

If you think you can get 6 seconds of this peace, or maybe even more…

Lie down.

Close your eyes.

Then when you open them, stare up at the sky and think how the expanse of sky represents your dreams coming into fruition, and the inherent abundance that lives around us all.

You’re welcome.

Do that in 6 seconds and you’ll be good. 😉

#970 The playful rug

Finally, colour.

Although some rooms of our house have new flooring, one family area in particular has lay pretty bare to the bone since our major renovation…

We could have put baby girl’s toys in there where they used to be. But we needed to get a rug first.

So today… the first rug arrived.

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So playful. Pretty. Tribal and funky, and a little bit different, which I think makes it absolutely perfect for baby girl’s toy area.

It looks like my sleep socks are perfect for baby girl’s play area too…