#1426 The city trip

We easily could have had a crap day.

We had a few difficult starts that could have turned us sour.

Like the train station parking.

There wasn’t any.

As it was we couldn’t take our regular line into the city because there were replacement buses at certain stops…

And if you have ever had to take a replacement bus in, you will understand why we never ever want to take a replacement bus EVER AGAIN.

So we tried to jump on another train line.

But every car park was full.

We were on holiday time… but the rest of the world was not.

It was a Friday you see. Business hours applied.

We went to one station, couldn’t find parking, before driving up to the next one trying to get lucky.

We did this at three stations before I said “let’s just drive in.”

I remembered the car park I’d gone to with baby girl when we had our Andy show for the last school holidays.

And we just happened to take the scenic route there.

Boy did it bring back memories.

We were driving along Beach Rd in St Kilda, and I was looking at the palm trees, at the houses facing the water…

AND IT HIT ME.

I remembered going there with Hubbie way before baby girl was around, and how we’d look up at the houses and admire them saying “imagine living here by the beach? Imagine that?”

Well we didn’t live by that beach, but now we lived close to a beach.

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All of a sudden our unplanned drive in was becoming a whole lot more.

We arrived at our car parking destination about 2 hours from when we set off. All the pausing and going from one station to the next and then looking for parking had taken ages.

We could have been cranky. We could have been pissed. Instead we stepped out of the old building, so known to us, and went ‘ahhh’ as the humidity of the day hit us and we spied THAT familiar street.

Lygon street. Our old stomping ground.

Oh wow. We were walking and telling baby girl everything. “Mummy and Daddy used to come here all the time… we used to go there… then we would go there… we’ve been there… look that’s changed!”

It was amazing as all the feelings came flooding back. It was a place that at one time in our life we frequented like twice a week… then it changed to once. LOL. We went there so much the trip there was permanently engrained in our minds. The twists and turns of the street, the best parking spots, and who did the best pasta and steak.

(Not necessarily from the pricey side, and if you know Lygon street you know which side of the street that is πŸ˜‰ )

We stopped to eat lunch at a place we had before, and looking up and down at the greenery on either side of us, I grew misty-eyed.

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I had a revelation.

I even said it aloud: “I could see myself living here.”

Hubbe was shocked. It was a big thing for me to say that. Me, SmikG, so rapt with the beachside that I couldn’t imagine anywhere else.

I clarified… “I love where we live… but one day, maybe in 20 years, I could imagine living here.”

The memories. Oh the MEMORIES! Even sitting at that table, I was reminded that we had sat at that very cafΓ© and at that very table and had a coffee, right before going on a little trip together pre-baby girl… I reminded Hubbie and he said “Yes, I remember!”

“Where were we going again?”

After throwing out some names which weren’t right, he said it was at a spot on the Peninsula.

FACE PALM. Where we live NOW.

The symmetry was freaking me out.

Lygon Street made me feel right at home. From the bear-shaped pizza for baby girl and the handmade gnocchi for me that melted in my mouth, I was in heaven. I’ve always said I was Italian in another life. I am more than confident of it after today.

We shared a coffee after our tram trek into the city-centre, where I had the most delicious and iconic Melbourne themed chocolate…

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Before we went to where we had planned to all along.

A children’s theatre show.

It was Room on the Broom, a production based off the iconic Australian children’s book. It was a present to baby girl for Christmas after we saw how enthralled in the book she was last year… and so that was the point of our whole trek in.

We did so much before that to get there, and it had been an adventure.

The show in itself was another great adventure.

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But then like so many times before, shit hit the fan.

Baby girl wanted merchandise. A tiny $40 stuffed toy witch, or a $25 stuffed toy cat.

I shouldn’t even mention the money. The money doesn’t matter. It was the principle.

She has LOADS of stuffed toys. Do you think she plays with them?

Noooooooooooooooooooooo.

She started the hysterics. The tantrum built. Cries and shrieks. “No I want it!” Stamping of the foot. It is almost hilarious if it ISN’T happening to you.

We’d done so much to get there. Spent so much. Travelled so far.

And now THIS.

I looked outside the open doors as she cried behind us. People crowded through the foyer, some looking over and others dealing with their own demanding brood.

I could see it – gone was the humidity that had enveloped me during my delicious Pomodoro gnocchi as I sweated it out at 1pm…

Because now at 4pm, it was windy and raining and people were getting drenched outside.

I put my foot down figuratively, told her “NO!” and stomped outside.

And instead of –

“But how the witch wailed

And how the cat spat

When the wind blew so widely

It blew off the hat.” –Β 

It was –

“How baby girl wailedΒ 

And how her Mum spat

As the wind blew so widely

and her Mum yelled ‘that’s that!'”

LOL.

She cried as we pulled her along through the rain, pelting down on us as we ran towards our tram stop.

“You don’t need another stuffed toy!”

“Yes I do!”

“No you don’t!”

“Yes I do!”

“No you don’t!”

And as we ran, our feet sploshing through puddles and water sinking through our sandals, our arguing turned into banter, and the water on her face was suddenly from the rain, not her tears, as baby girl started to laugh.

“Yes I do!”

We got some much appreciated shelter from a woman holding an umbrella as we waited to cross the road, and within moments, all was well again.

The wild weather could have thrown us off.

The tantrum, the crying and yelling could have put us in a real sour mood.

But it didn’t.

And all of a sudden, we were full circle in our feelings again. πŸ™‚

It was one of those weird days where it was a little bit of everything, but mostly a lot of fun and crazy.

We didn’t let anything unexpected throw us off our main task of having fun, whether it was a long drive, no parking, wild weather or a demanding 6 year old…

Our task was to make memories, with the added bonus of reminiscing past memories.

It was a happy day. β™₯

 

 

 

 

#1423 Christmas and cake

Not only was today great to celebrate our second Christmas…

But it was doubly great to end on a birthday.

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And THIS cake, was the absolute bomb.

I will not rest until I make this myself.

A sweet, to end a pretty sweet day with Hubbie’s family?

Why, you know I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.

It’s true. πŸŽ„πŸ°β€

#1422 ‘Twas the ‘second’ night before Christmas…

What? She must have her dates wrong you say.

No siree.

It really is the night before Christmas… for those of Orthodox faith.

It’s an interesting thing to celebrate two Christmases throughout your life. It’s a privilege now awarded to baby girl as she joins in the doubled up of festivities.

Growing up, although the primary Christmas we celebrated was on the traditional Westernised date of December 25th, due to my Mum’s background and heritage we were always aware of at the very least, if we weren’t helping our relatives celebrate the Orthodox Christmas day of January 7th.

Seeing as Hubbie’s family is also of Orthodox faith, this acknowledgement and acceptance has grown and continued. All of my life, family and friends around me have celebrated this day… I have been to countless Christmas parties and participated in token Orthodox traditions, drank and ate and been merry on this holiest of days.

Which nationalities celebrate this day you might ask? Well there are Macedonians, Serbians, Polish, Russian, and Greek, to name a few…

I think it’s important to respect and value other traditions, even those that we may not be privy to or understand in the fullest.

Just as living in Australia, I believe that Australian customs should be respected and appreciated by all those who choose to call this country their home, so too do I believe the reverse should be norm: Aussies should respect the traditions and heritage of those with customs and holidays from far off our shores.

Including a different Christmas.

Sometimes I hear a bit of ignorance. One side might discount the other, calling theirs the ‘real Christmas.’

I think this is a bit sad. I don’t think we should be arguing over religion and politics and trying to up our own stance by discounting the other.

Why can’t we all respect each other’s traditions while still enjoying our own?

THIS GOES BOTH WAYS.

Baby girl went to bed tonight excited. She was asking if Santa would come again… I told her he only makes one stop a year, but that there would still be PRESENTS.

We did the majority of presents on the Westernised Christmas day, but I have an inkling she will get something. πŸ˜‰

A second Christmas for a kid? That’s like a second birthday!

She, and we, are fortunate to have double the Christmases, every year. β™₯

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

#1411 Guess… who?

The day after Christmas is usually spent –

nursing a sore head.

nursing a swollen tummy

nursing a tired body –

and as such not much happens.Β 

Around here anyway.

There are new presents to play with and find homes for, a lot of cleaning, breathing out a sigh of relief that Christmas is over, yet simultaneously feeling sad that Christmas is a whole 364 days away…

It’s a well-intentioned catch-up and family day.

And what better family way to end the day than with an…

Old-fashioned game.

Guess which one?!?!

‘Santa’ got this as one of baby girl’s few presents. I LOVED this growing up and as she’s at an age where she’s getting a lot out of board games like this one.

I sat opposite her while Hubbie helped her work out the best questions to ask to eliminate the most people, and we got to work –

slamming the faces DOWN.

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The best bit? The times I won, she was so rapt, thinking that by me guessing correctly she had won.

LOL LOL LOL.

The end of night scoreboard? 2-2.

πŸ˜‰

#1410 Different tree, same love

The tree we used to put presents underneath when I was growing up was much bigger.

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It was a lot bigger than this tree. After I got married and moved out my parents downgraded to a smaller one, what with having no more kids in the house.

Despite the size, the love is still the same.

If anything, it has grown. Love has grown. Family has grown. Memories have grown. I am so grateful to have spent the day with loved ones, doing the best thing possible I can think of…

Which is sitting around a table in my parents backyard, with those that I love, relaxing in the shade and sun, music coming out of the garage stereo as we add to our memory bank and just chill and talk and eat and chill and drink and chill.

And talk.

And love.

Merry Christmas. β€πŸŽ„

#1409 Anticipation for Santa

It’s so much fun looking forward to Christmas day with a 6 year-old.

Everything is so dramatic, and so passionate.

Because as soon as December arrived, it was –

“Oh, how many days until Christmas? That’s too long!”

And today it was the complete opposite –

“YEAH! SANTA IS COMING TONIGHT! I CAN’T WAIT TO OPEN MY PRESENTS!”

(With a lot of jumping up and down and diving into the couch for added effect).

I don’t know how baby girl (and we) lasted the past month with her questions about Christmas and how far it was… but we made it.

Tonight we sprinkled sparkly oats on our lawn to guide the reindeers to our house.

And then as night fell we took a quick drive around the neighbourhood, gasping and pointing at anything shiny and reflective in the night.

There are some seriously cool light displays out there.

Tonight, it’s the traditional spread for Santa and his red-nosed reindeer.

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I don’t suppose I’ll be the only parent tonight downing milk, chomping on carrots and sneaking in gingerbread? (I say as I wipe away my milk moustache… πŸ˜‰ )

Merry Christmas Eve all πŸ™‚

#1408 Fa la la la gingerbread

Christmas vibes only.

Christmas stuff is making me happy.

My recent Christmas songs post has put good tunes in my head, poetic words of an Aussie Christmas surround my soul, and then there is the Fa la la la la top I’ve been wearing every day up to the festive day.

And gingerbread. I am happy with how the gingerbread baking turned out.

The biggest fan of it though is baby girl. She absolutely adores it… my gingerbread that is. Just today she was making all the sounds, doing the “mmm hmm” as she nom nom nommed through a giant gingerbread man-shaped biscuit, and she turned to me and said –

“Mama, I love you gingerbread more than the shop gingerbread.”

WINNING.

#1407 Up in Christmas lights

Every year I like to buy a little extra Christmas something something.

Today we finished off the rest of our lighting additions, with some very festive lights.

Sure the one big sparkly bauble was up there last night… but tonight after a second shopping trip we added another (for balance) and a string of retro lights to the top of our balcony.

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Baby girl and I ran out into the evening night to enjoy our outdoor decoration and revel in the surrounding Christmas spirit.

3 days to go…

#1406 The Christmas carols

My first intention for tonight was to head on down to the local carols in the park for some festive cheer and fun.

‘Twas not to be. Hubbie was tired from work and not ‘feeling it.’

We settled in for a night of carols on TV instead – if I couldn’t have them in person I had to have them someway, right?

“Don’t they do those on Christmas Eve?” Hubbie asked me.

Automatically I responded –

“Channel 7 do Carols in the Domain the Saturday before Christmas, in Sydney… Channel 9 do Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve from Melbourne.”

BAM! Just like that. All Christmas worded-up and everything.

Well I have been watching them all my life, I SHOULD KNOW.

Knowing the Wiggles were on in the first part of the night, we all sat down while baby girl asked repeatedly when they were going to be on.

She totally made up for it when they did arrive on screen, and she danced along to them while we watched her, revelling in her happiness and joy.

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There wasn’t a lot of quiet in our house tonight. We weren’t all seriously watching the carols and singing along with our flashlight features turned on on our phones… we were talking over one another, tuning in and out to songs on telly, singing along to some and talking about our goals for next year and just having the best time together.

We didn’t need no community park concert. We were all we needed.

And then I looked outside and – YES! – our new solar Christmas light was working!

It looked magical πŸ™‚

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My memories of Christmas carols stem way back. Growing up on Christmas Eve I’d sit in the lounge room with my Dad as they played, and Mum would come in and out, busy in her preparations for a big family Christmas lunch the next day. We would then wait up ’til midnight and exchange presents, wishing each other a Merry Christmas, and go to bed excited and buzzing that Christmas was finally here.

They are the best memories.

Well we made some of our own tonight. And though the night actually started out pretty average and flat… as soon as the carols started, something magical occurred in our lounge room.

It was, Christmas magic. β™₯

#1401 Writing Christmas Cards

“Why do I write Christmas cards?”

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It’s a question I sometimes ask myself. Maybe you yourself have wondered why you do it, or more likely, thought about how writing cards is so old-fashioned, and so out-dated, right?

The process for me starts like this.

I need the right pen. Not a cheapie either. I need one that’s a good few dollars and is ‘medium’ only please.

I sit. I sit in silence, and I think of what to write for everyone that year. I will write the same thing for all my family and friends, but still I try to alter it, if only a little, year after year.

I try to write and send them as close as possible to the start of December, but let’s face it that doesn’t happen often. If I know I’ll see someone around that time, I’ll only write their card and hand it to them in person… otherwise I end up sending the majority of them, through post.

Like today.

Secondly, why I write…

Digital is so much easier. Instant. You can forward any Christmas animation onto your contacts, chuck your name on the end and voila!

Christmas greetings done.

I don’t care much for that.

That’s not to say I don’t like getting those messages… but there is something sacred and special about putting pen to paper…

writing a heartfelt message…

writing out all the addresses…

affixing stamps and other Christmas-y stickers on the back to seal the envelopes…

and then putting them all in the bright red post box.

I LOVE IT.

I don’t do it because I expect any in return. Nooo. If I were doing it for that reason I would only be sending out 5, as opposed to 30.

No. It’s not about the receiving.

It’s all about the giving.

There’s something so special about going to your mail box and finding your name on a festive envelope. Knowing you have been wished a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year inside it.

The system of writing the cards also gets me in the Christmas spirit. As time consuming as it sometimes can be, I think this is so much part of my tradition, that if I weren’t to do it, it would feel a lot less like Christmas.

And today, with almost all cards sent, I feel like the countdown to Christmas has really begun.

I can feel it.

I have been sending out wishes, after all. πŸ˜‰

So many people say to me – “I don’t do Christmas cards.”

That’s okay. I don’t expect you to.

But I do them. I do Christmas cards, and whether you give me one or not, makes no difference.

It is a part of my nature… whether it’s because I love Christmas, I love writing, or I love the old-fashioned form of sending and receiving via snail mail…

All in all, it’s a beautiful tradition, that I hope never dies out. If I can I’ll keep it running.

And I hope in a few days time there will be people all over the place, smiling as they open the festive envelopes I sent them.

Because that’s why I do it. To spread the Christmas cheer πŸ™‚

I β™₯ Christmas.