#555 Mindful swinging at the park

Baby girl has just learnt how to swing on her own. Today was the second time she had the opportunity to practice it as we headed on over to the local park.

We had just had a babycino and cap, and a salted caramel ‘something’ to share at the nearby cafĂ©, so we were properly fuelled. As we got closer to the park, I let go of her hand and said “go, run. Be free. Frolic. Be 4.”

Soon she was headed over to the swing, the place of her new-found confidence and extension of never-ending playfulness. She wanted me to give her a big push to get started, and then said “let go Mama.”

(Oh darling. I will never let go).

But then as life would have it, as our children grow up, she wanted me beside her. ( 🙂 ) She motioned to the swing beside her and told me to “sit.”

Soon we were both swinging, sometimes going back and forth simultaneously, other times in opposite directions. It was a still day, the sun sometimes coming out from behind the prevalent clouds of the day. We were silent for the longest time, going back and forth at our varying paces, and my mind wandered over to something I had read the other day.

Mindfulness. What was the quote?

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  – Bil Keane.

The article had mentioned 7 habits to cultivating a happier life. And one of the points that had captivated me had been the act of living in the present. Not worrying about what had passed, and not stressing about what may, or may not come… but concerning oneself solely, with the NOW.

The technique mentioned was to be aware of your palms and feet, and clenching both while becoming aware of your surroundings. It said to try and concentrate on where you were, and if your mind naturally wandered, to not judge yourself too harshly, but to simply gently steer your attention back to where it needed to be.

So that’s what I did. As we swung back and forth, in the quiet of the local park, I clenched the hands that were around the swing chain, and tensed my feet below me that were swinging back and forth in my white sneakers. I observed my body in the almost-too tight swing seat, breathed in the fresh air, felt the warmth on my face, and tried to think of NOW.

A young teenager was nearby, walking home from school in their uniform, and the image before me made my mind go elsewhere. Suddenly baby girl was also a teen, and there were a multitude of concerning issues flooding my mind. How would I help her with her problems? Would she ask for help? Would she be happy? Would she like school? Would she like her Life?

I suddenly realised my scattered thoughts, and ever so gently removed myself from them, taking myself back to the present.

The beautiful present. Of me and baby girl, swinging at the park, with no concerning cares in the world.

🙂

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#543 CafĂ©-ing with Hubbie, ALONE

Oh wow. Like this has not happened, ever ever ever, since before we had baby girl.

In 4 years, have we not sat down at a café opposite each other, just us.

But today, it happened.

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It only happened because Hubbie and I are on leave together, and today was baby girl’s kindergarten day. Score. It was a quick stop, as we were super busy and in the midst of weekend birthday preparations for baby girl… but still, it was a great break, just the two of us, as we sat outside Store Fifteen feeling a decent breeze, with a stronger sun pulsating on through, and a stunning and shimmering beach horizon in the very close distance.

It was amazing, and I can only imagine what we’ll get up to next week during her kindergarten session, when we have NOTHING to plan, and NOTHING pressing to attend to.

…!

#535 Pre-work cafe

A lot of times the photos I display on my SmikG blog as part of my Food Reviews, look something like this:

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And not often do people get to witness the beautifully imperfect behind-the-scenes pics, like this

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The above happened earlier today, a couple of hours before I headed into work. And as I sit here at my desk eating reheated food, I look back fondly, and am grateful for the wayward, spontaneous and cheeky hand that is my daughter’s, representative of all that is crazy, interesting and truly amazing about life.

And those imperfect moments, are actually… pretty damn flawless in my books.

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#522 Kinder days no. 4

“Hooray!” shouted every single parent that existed, at the beginning of this week as term 3 commenced. “Hooray!”

I was one of them. I love baby girl, yet I also love my ‘me time,’ and was looking forward to spending time on my own-some once again.

It was terribly biting and windy, but THAT DIDN’T STOP ME this morning. I walked up and down the Main street, going into shops here and there and getting bits and pieces, as well as a bit of sticky-nose and research that was required.

Look for keep cup in tea/coffee shop – nope not in that one.

Check out pants for baby girl – not Wintery thick enough.

Check out possible cake at The Cheesecake Shop, for baby girl’s upcoming birthday – TBC…

Buy a tattslotto ticket

Go into party shop, ask about balloon deliveries.

Go into herb shop, and come out with brazil nuts at $50 a kilo (no really, there is a shortage and the Unicorn teeth are in at an impressive $59.95 a kilo!)

Take out $$$

Ask Vinnies if they want toy donations – yes they most definitely do.

Bread, groceries…

And ahh, the best moment in my everywhere-morning… THIS:

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For under $10, I got a sensational chai latte and nutty/seedy bar at a nearby cafe, both of which were delicious and filling, and kept me going for even more of the morning, well up until lunchtime. Again I was at the Corner Counter, where I had my first proper chai latte in Mornington a while ago, and so it made sense that I should go there again.

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The sun was shining brightly as I positioned myself by the window, read the daily paper, indulged in some delightful cafĂ© fare, and totally catered to myself. Catering to oneself, when oneself is also a ‘Mum,’ is more than an indulgence – its almost a necessity, something that must be done time and time again, to fill up ones reserves. Ones dealing with every life and crap and annoyances and jobs and chores and responsibilities and drama and stressed and everything reserves.

It was bliss, and I look forward to more fill up reserve days 🙂

 

#520 Coffee time with my girl

“Out,” she said. “Go out.”

I could have quite happily stayed at home and put on the coffee machine: but alas, I listened to my daughter, and decided to make her happy on this occasionally grey day.

Occasionally, because as we headed out the door, the clouds parted and the sun peeked through, helping us along on our babycino break.

We ended up at The Filling Station, where we have been many times before, and which is slowly becoming a favourite. We were actually headed for another café, but its one-week closure decided on the aforementioned café instead.

The coffee is strong, the cakes are unique and delightful, and though the interior space is small, it is cosy, and baby girl had her babycino in true little-girl café-ready style, as we have taught her so many times before.

Her routine:

Eat one marshmallow.

Pop the other marshmallow in the babycino.

Drink some of the babycino.

Fish out the marshmallow with the spoon and eat it.

Drink more babycino.

Eat some cake.

Finish off the babycino.

Eat more cake.

Let Mum wipe my face, patiently.

I love her ‘I-know-not-to-argue’ face as she allows me to wet wipe her mouth, cheeks and forehead (yes it gets there too) from any milk/marshmallow/chocolate dusting remnants. Gold.

And she enjoyed a read while there too. So much a mini-me, combining written material and coffee, tsk tsk tsk. She will be a big Smiggles fan one day no doubt.

🙂

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#507 From the inside out…

I really try to enjoy the time I have with my family when we enter a cafĂ©. For two of us to be there at once, is normal, but when it is the whole 3, our little family unit, all huddled up at a corner table and making waves, with all the bells and whistles, well it’s extra special.

Sure, we’re constantly keeping a certain princess monkey in check.

Sure, her voice is far too loud for cafes.

Sure, we are in and out pretty quickly.

Sure, sometimes the effort feels like more than the gain…

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But then I catch sight of a serene view, and all is calm. Calm in my mind, calm in the café, and calm in my family.

Because family life, IS chaotic life. They are one and the same. And I realise in these serene moments, that I wouldn’t change the crazy, for the world.

I always wanna be in, looking out, with them. Whether we are in a cafĂ©….or whether we are in our World.

 

#485 I love Main street, and let me count the ways…

Number 1 ♥. Random babycino stopover leads to fantastic find.

After our lovely library visit only a few blocks down, we headed down the main strip where again I spied upon the gorgeous blue and green scarves with pom poms I had eyed off only an hour earlier. If I hadn’t read that book about minimising your stuff and the challenge of only having 100 personal items, I might just have gone in to purchase it. Oh well, another day.

As I then observed another shop, which through the windows looked amazing with the clothes that seemed to be yelling “SmikG! SmikG!” I turned to baby girl and said “let’s go in here honey.”

Only she was heading for the shop next door. The café next door. And she was fairly intent on one thing.

“Babycino.”

What had we created? Sure, I won’t lie, Hubbie and I are all for cafes, and got her cafĂ©-savvy VERY early on in the game so we could go to them frequently, often, with no dramas or hesitations from her. But now, she had her own agendas, her own routine, her own requests. She decided, now was the time she wanted a babycino, and there was no getting around it.

I walked over hesitantly, using all manner of excuses.

“Mummy will make you one after lunch.”

“Daddy will be home for lunch soon, let’s go.”

“You need to eat lunch first honey.”

She completely ignored me and placed her library bag full of newly borrowed books on the bench beside her, as she positioned herself permanently there. A waitress from within the café came out to us, holding a bottle of water and two glasses.

“You sitting here?”

“Actually,” I started. “I’m trying to get her to keep walking with me, but I think she’s intent on a babycino.” I sighed and looked at baby girl.

“Do you want me to quickly make one?”

I hesitated for a second before looking back at the friendly waitress. “Sure.”

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And so it was, that we came to be sitting at Dr Fox’s, proverbially smelling the roses, with baby girl sniffing the sprinkled chocolate and marshmallows alongside her drink of choice.

In observing this girl of mine with a mind of her own, I discovered some other little facts. The café was open for dinner a few nights a week; a nearby board told me about their inviting new menu for the colder months; and upon paying inside, I discovered the friendly service continued, with the girl inside being as amazing as the one serving us outside had.

It was only a little place, but it had some awesome character. You don’t need a big space, to make a huge impression. They stole mine and baby girl’s heart today, and we WILL BE BACK.

And the friendly, genuine, and warm nature I’m coming across, from within many of these local cafes, shops and services… I am just loving.

LOVING. I ♥ my town.