#488 The tree in Their yard

Still on nature.

There are many things we take for granted in life, and many that we act as if it will be there forever.

For me today, that forever thing is my parents’ home.

It was the place I was brought home to when a newborn, days after coming into the world. I grew up in that house, and only left years and years and years later, when I got married. It may seem confined and claustrophobic to some, but the years I spent there were some of the most memorable and happiest years of my life. I love that house.

Likewise, their yard. I’ve never really taken much refuge, notice of, or practiced much gratitude towards it, only because well, ‘taking things for granted’ note as above. Assuming it will always be there. Thinking that I will be able to visit it FOREVER.

Things don’t always turn out the way we envision them to be in our little fantasy-lands. Often our fantasy-lands are just that, images in our head.

So today while over there visiting on yet another Friday, drinking a coffee my Dad made me out in their yard, from a coffee pod machine I bought them one Christmas (of course I would buy them something coffee-related) I came upon, and noticed for the second time that day, the spectacular nature of a tree.

It’s the only one in their yard that still has part of its leaves on, and visually striking is the fact that it is prime-centre in the middle of the yard, surrounded by all the other leaf-less, stark grey branches around it from neighbouring trees. I looked at this stunning hybrid Pear tree (my Dad is a supreme Gardener and Handy-Man, so don’t ask) and observed to myself, that it was beautiful. Stunning even.

‘Pear, hold on.’

#482 My sister’s birthday

There are some days, lo and behold, that I get as excited by as I do my own birthday – and apart from Christmas and Easter, these other days are the birthdays of my immediate family.

I mean, who doesn’t want to celebrate one of the most important people in their life, to commemorate the day they were brought onto this earth, and immediately made all things better with their presence?

The day I was so excited to commemorate today was that of my sister’s birthday.

The day was cold and crisp, but the sun was glorious in its strict denial of taking on any Winter gloom. Perfect for her. The rays shone bright on her special day, just as her vibrant and uplifting presence fills those around her with constant joy and happiness.

There were select family and friends. A medium group, but one that knew each other well. Casual combo, sometimes serious, sometimes light, sometimes banter, most times shit-stirring. Food, plenty of cake, drinks and then the few ‘shots,’ a throwback to all the parties we used to down years before we had kids, when we’d go one, after one, after one, after one…

We’ll get to that stage again, I’m sure. This is my family after all.

And then the night ended happily, as is the norm, with baby girl and sister sharing a ride on the egg chair…

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Weee! they went! Round and round, ’til the movements grew slow, the hand went past midnight, and baby girl’s head leant against her aunty’s, eyes drooping as she still tried to watch her fave Explorer on Netflix.

And it was another great night, to celebrate an amazing woman in my life.

Happy Birthday big sis :*

#471 The Box of Barbie Memories

“Why don’t you take home that box of dolls you have?” Mum had asked me. “You said when she was younger that you wanted to wait a bit more, but now she might enjoy it.”

I could see where she was going. When she had asked me about a year ago if I wanted to take home with me an old box of Barbies I had packed away at my parents house when I was a pre-teen, I had said that I’d rather wait until baby girl was older, and ‘into’ dolls more. Also, I didn’t want to be adding another box of stuff to our household, when we already had so much ‘stuff.’

But I realised today, that baby girl was not only older, but she was definitely into dolls: she had two of her own Barbies, given to her as pressies over the last 6 months, and she loved the whole figurine, dress-up, pretend-play games she did with them. It was actually, perfect timing.

When at my parents place, they started looking for them in a wardrobe, and it almost looked like they wouldn’t be found for a little while. When they almost gave up, Dad stumbled across the box.

Just looking at the box, brought back memories: both the box, and the packing of it. With the latter, I actually had the faintest memory of packing it – in that room where it was found, my old ‘first’ room (before my sister moved out and then I moved into her room because it was front-facing and bigger), I remembered placing the barbies neatly against one another and on top of each other, before gently packing it all away… for good.

For another day, another time. I didn’t know then what I would be doing with it in 20 years time. That I would be giving it a new lease on life.

Secondly, the box.

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The Kraft box. My Dad worked there for a good couple of decades, and each year for their annual Christmas party, each employee was invited to the party for a lunch, bringing home a festive box full of Krafty goodies – cheeses, spreads, biscuits, and any other new product that wasn’t even on the shelves yet. I was always so excited when Dad came home from these Christmas parties – I’d come home from school, looking around the kitchen and dining room table, hoping to see a Christmas-y coloured box, with tinsel bursting from the sides. And Dad knew I’d get so excited about it, smiling just as much as me when I finally saw the box. Going through the contents of the box, was a happy, pre-Christmas tradition for me.

Even after he stopped working there, he was still invited, along with other long-standing employees of the company, to a former employees Christmas Party… that sadly, soon stopped fairly soon after, after new management came along. I remember the sadness and disappointment I felt in discovering the goodie box, was good, no more. So this box that I was staring at today, was quite possibly, one of, if not the, last boxes he ever received.

And I’d put my Barbies into it. Memories upon memories.

The only way I got baby girl into the car today was the promise of playing with Barbie dolls at home. So once there, I complied.

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Finding all my dolls, some just that, plain dolls, ‘wannabe Barbies’ and others the very real deal, was seriously like stepping into a time capsule that I myself had buried 2 decades ago. I found dolls I had forgotten about, costumes and shoes I didn’t know I had, and also the barbies that I faintly remembered – and then of course Ken. Who could forget when one got a Ken doll? That was a special thing back in the day.

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(Some funky outfits they had)

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(Check out the blonde ‘fro – yeah yeah!)

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(I won this Ariel doll in a kids mag comp, and I was STOKED… but one of her legs broke as soon as we lifted her out, maybe she should have stayed in mermaid form…)

I told baby girl that she must take extra care with these dolls, and pack them away gently as they were found. I think she knows what to do, but still, I have to make sure these Barbies are under supervision by me or Hubbie when she is playing with them. Even he agrees, saying “they’re old enough to go on club reg.”

Too right.

But even though I’m happy for baby girl to play with my cherished old Barbies, there is one thing I think I’m going to have to change – the box. Old and flimsy as it is, and with the addition of a piece of paper that was on the bottom of the box, where my Mum scrawled Dad’s last day of work at Kraft… I don’t know, but I think I need to put away this box, this special box of so much history and memories, and use it for my own good, and get a new box for baby girl to put all her old/new barbies in.

I know it’s just a box, but it’s what it represents that is priceless.

#386 The age of Innocence

Tonight, baby girl hugged and kissed a star lamp. How much more delightful can she possibly get, at age 3?

When she gets presents for an occasion, usually in bulk, like at Christmas, or her Birthday, it’s not too hard amongst the frenzy of new ‘things,’ to pop a gift or 7 away, for a later date.

I like to draw things out. I can see the insane joy in her face when I later take out her presents, all fresh and brand new and exciting, as it’s suddenly something interesting to play with. She has no idea it’s been sitting out of reach on the top drawer of her cupboard the whole time. The only thing she knows is “Oh! New toy!”

I can get away with it at this age.

She received this star lamp for Christmas. And because she had a little fairy lamp that we were using in the meantime, I popped the star one, you guessed it…

Her fairy lamp was going dim. I mean, I could have just changed the batteries, as I’ve done so many times before. But I needed an excuse to take out the star lamp, albeit another battery-operated one, but what the hell.

It looks a lot like this:

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Only in red.

Hubbie and I put in some batteries and set it up in her room, and then as bedtime approached I asked “do you want a surprise?”

Of course a 3 year old wants a surprise at bed time. Stalling is what they excel at.

So we took her into her pitch-black room, I fumbled with the switch on the lamp, and

Ta-da! The room was alight with a warm glow from her new lamp.

She was rapt. She looked at it in admiration. She held it, carried it about. She hugged it, even doing her “awww” bit as if she were hugging a baby. She then kissed it.

She hugged and kissed her lamp.

And you know what? It was freaking adorable. It was beautiful. She is at such an innocent stage, so naïve to so many of life’s treasures, experiences, and discoveries, and it is precious. She is amazed and takes great joy in the smallest of things, and I find it inspirational.

She sees Nutella on the table during breakfast and exclaims “Oh!” before clapping excitedly.

She jumps up and down when we tell her we’re going to walk  to the park.

She hugs a friggin’ lamp because it’s red, it glows, and it’s a star.

How much more simple can you get? How beautiful life is, when things like this make you happy? When you appreciate them to the degree that they bring you irrepressible joy?

I hope to nurture those innocent qualities in her for as long as I can, for as long as she will let me.

In fact, I hope to keep it alive in me while I am at the task. I actually think this gratitude blog, is helping me to do that too…

 

 

 

#344 Those coasters

My pretties.

They finally arrived today. In what took months, a failed first delivery attempt probably fuelled by Christmas madness and thieving Australia Postal workers, and several talks with both supplier and online site to get another lot out, today, I finally received these.

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They are even nicer in real life. I love the quotes, the colours, and the bulkiness of the coasters. They are so pretty in fact, that I am scared to use them and risk coffee/alcohol staining them forever.

Hubbie thinks it odd there is no felt or soft material on the bottom of each coaster.

Felt, schmelt. Whatevs Hubs. I love my coasters, and you can only use them if you are NICE.

#305 Christmas at my parents’

Today was a long-awaited, yet weird Christmas Day. Definitely not a normal one. But these unusual ones come every so often. Like that one year there were freak hail storms which damaged too many cars, houses and general premises alike. Or that Christmas where we caught a canary, which became Hubbie’s pet “Chrissy” for a good few years. Or that other one, where we threw water balloons at each other in the yard, and made such a mess that Dad told us all off and we got in big trouble.

Hold on, that was last year.

Anyway, we were clearly due again this year.

All my life we’ve spent Christmas Day at my parents’ house. That’s 33 Christmases in a row. That’s a lot of Christmases. They were filled with a lot of family, relos and friends when I was growing up… nowadays our group is intimate, consisting no more of my sister, bro-in-law, 2 nephews, hubbie, baby girl and I, and our parents.

And today, amidst the usual food, cake, opening of presents, D&Ms, some kind of water activity (this year a cactus sprinkler) and endless photo-taking, there was an at-home doctor’s visit, followed by a trip to the 24/7 medical centre; me scolding Hubbie for drinking more than he was eating, and subsequently throwing him ‘looks,’ and 3 hours plus driving time on the road.

I was a little shitty, and feeling under pressure many times throughout the day. But my realisation was this: I wouldn’t pick any other group of people to spend a tense and stressful day with, even if that unusual day had to be Christmas Day.

The tough moments. The ones who are there for you in the hard times, and who make your life easier then – those are the keepers.

I still loved the day, because I was with my group of number 1s.

I hope you all had a magical Christmas Day 🙂

 

#304 Relaxing on Christmas Eve

It came in many forms today:

*Watching baby girl play at the park today in the beautiful summer sunshine

*Making a cheesecake for Christmas Day tomorrow

*Watching baby girl splash about with her outdoor activity table in our yard

*Having a leisurely coffee with Hubbie and baby girl in our yard as well, at the laid back time of 6pm

But my most favourite relaxing moment was when we were eating ice cream on the couch together at the end of the night, watching Carols by Candlelight on the TV.

We were all awake (many times Hubbie has been asleep on the couch for Christmas Eve, from the mammoth butcher week that had passed), we were all together, and most importantly, that made us all blessed.

It’s the little things people. They ARE the biggest and best things.

It’s officially past midnight for my 24 Dec post, so I can now say Merry Christmas to ALL! Hope your day is filled with sunshine, love, laughter, and beautiful people.

Make the most of your day. Eat and drink EVERYTHING. Be Merry.

And enjoy life. Make the most of this festive day, no matter what that may be. Do what makes you happy.

As Hubbie says “we’re live!”

:):):)