#635 KK 2017 edition

Why is it that we wait for an occasion to catch up with those we love?

…with those we can’t get a word in with because the conversation is flowing?

…with those that when ones laughs, so do the rest?

…and when one tears, the others follow suit?

…with those who have been there for far too long?

…with those who know us, inside and out?

Tonight, a tad early in November, me and my high school friends caught up for our annual KK catch up. I wish I remembered the year we started doing this, and who suggested it, and what I got that year and what I bought for someone else… but it has been happening for a WHILE.

Life is busy. We have partners. Kids. Jobs. Responsibilities. Being able to match our schedules with each others is a feat in itself, but with old friends, it shouldn’t be a job… it should be a necessity.

Because it is calming. It releases happy chemicals. You purge. You let out your frustrations. You share funny anecdotes. Like tonight, the top stories were:

Silly husbands

Gorged breasts of breastmilk

“Kids say the darndest things!”

12 year old huskies

Roses

Insane concert tickets prices, and finally –

Meat on steroids

All perfectly NORMAL things to discuss with your besties.

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It was a terrific night, and I love my PA pjs, because you can never have too much Peter Alexander.

“I have too much Peter Alexander!”

SAID NO GIRL EVER.

And a pat on the back for me, as I totally rocked the KK I got for my friend.

Score!

It made me realise a lot of life truths, and the biggest one being, the longer you are friends with someone, the harder it is to separate yourself from them.

And I don’t want to separate myself from these girls, EVER.

And we sure as hell don’t need a reason, like Christmas (though it is a bloody good one!) to make an effort to catch up.

Catching up to see each other is an event in itself.

Happy early Christmas, peeps :):):)

 

 

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#611 New neighbours, old neighbours

A pair of brothers, primary-school aged, live next door. Confident, direct, interested. They sat perched on the fence bordering our homes as I put up the washing this afternoon, baby girl on the ground floor trying to scale up our side of the fence to reach them.

“Can we play with her?” the younger one asked.

“Ahhh,” I stalled. I didn’t have any reason to say no, but I had a headache, I needed to start dinner, and I didn’t know where they would play… I hadn’t even met their mother, and so I couldn’t just unceremoniously dump baby girl on her to play with some older boys at her house.

“She’s having an early dinner soon, so I’m not sure,” I bluffed.

“Is that because she’s going to bed earlier?” (I told you, interested).

“No, not really…”

“Maybe we can come over and play after dinner?”

“Yeah.” Push things to after. “We’ll see what happens.”

I then took the washing basket in thinking it was all resolved and nothing would happen, while baby girl jumped on her trampoline and let off some steam.

Well then, I actually started on dinner. And about 45 minutes later, with things well underway, Hubbie home from work and now my splitting headache also far along, I was sitting for a moment on the couch, doing a Bold and the Beautiful catch-up, when something caught my eye out of the front window, some figures coming up the footpath towards the house.

Boys. Barefoot. Bowed heads.

But ready to play with Baby Girl.

I turned to baby girl who hadn’t yet seen them, and when I asked her if she wanted to play with them, here and now, she almost couldn’t believe her stroke of luck.

She led them to the backyard and they jumped away like mad, performing all manner of tricks in the trampoline.

The boys came inside, spoke to us. Looked at our nearby photos, played with her toys. They slam dunked on a basketball hoop we have hanging off a nearby door, and we asked them about their primary school.

They were really gentle and kind with baby girl.

They all played together, just perfectly. And the level of respect they showed to her, just blew me away.

Even besides the impressing me part, I was reminded, and led back to the good ol’ days when I was that young kid. At my neighbours’ house – and I had three friendly neighbour houses who I frequented daily back then – that I knew back to front.

I knew their lives and their families. They knew mine. It was the perfect, best upbringing. Four houses in a row, and all four houses with girls of the same age. It was the stuff of stories. Not even writers could write this stuff and get away with it.

But so too, it ended the way stories do. People grow up. Parents separate. Kids go to private schools and remove themselves. And soon they all moved away.

It doesn’t take away from my awesome childhood memories, and honestly, I have too many. I am still in contact with 2 out of those 3 girls, and even went to their weddings, and they mine, so I think that is a fabulous effort considered.

But I sometimes think, and ponder, how nice it would be for baby girl to grow up amongst that kind of setting. Neighbours her age, where they could spend their days together, outside as kids should, running and bike riding and playing hide and seek within a one block radius, ‘park permitted.’ 🙂

Freedom, and yet safety. Where the parents know each other, know the kids, and all can play together, alternating houses, and yet the parents can still tell their kids friends to ‘go home because we’re having dinner now.’ That kind of honest, direct, freedom.

I thought of all that today. I thought of what I had growing up, and I looked at what was happening now in our house.

The noise, the kids, the neighbours. Her new friends 🙂

The ball rolled over to me as I was chopping cucumbers. I kicked it back to the young boy who took it and slam dunked against the hoop.

Later, Hubbie interrupted their jumping party outside and told them it was now our dinner time. Baby girl waved them off, “bye boys!” while he hoisted them OVER THE FENCE.

Now that’s, a real neighbour. I freaking love it :):):)

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Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

#594 10 Minutes to spare

I had about 10 minutes to spare.

I was at the post office a bit too early, the result of being too damn organised, and so I looked around me at the area in which my work resides, wondering how I would fill the time amidst endless cafes, despite being already-caffeinated (but first, coffee, ALWAYS) and yet not being hungry enough to call in somewhere for an early lunch.

There was no point in walking all the way to work, and then coming back…

Then I spotted sun, and glistening water, through the alleyway up ahead of me, and suddenly I knew how to while away the time…

And so minutes later, I was grateful. Generally speaking, we don’t often have the time to just sit and be in the moment, amidst the busy-ness of life, and so to be so organised as to be so early for work as to be so early for the post office, well, I was going to enjoy this moment of peace and extreme organisation as much as I could.

This was my peripheral vision… from my left

To the centre

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And finally the right

A glorious landscape of water, and boats. I sat there in the chilly air, cold, but with my bomber jacket keeping me somewhat warm as I sat close to the water’s edge on a wooden bench, just taking it all in.

The strong ripple of water.

The rowers competing against one another amidst the endless water up ahead.

The sky-scrapers.

Boats of every shape and size.

The freeway far away, with seemingly few cars, for what was a weekend day.

And then to my right I heard some noise, and coming from afar I saw a young boy with what I assumed was his little sister. I felt a pang of longing as I immediately thought of my baby girl at home, but then as this girl scooted around here and there, the boy keeping a close eye on her, I realised if baby girl was here she would launch herself into the water, and so the longing quickly passed replaced by immediate relief.

Phew.

Yet still, I kept a close eye on them as they passed me by. The boy put his younger sister up on the raised garden bed, and she ran off while he kept close to her side.

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I wasn’t with my baby girl, but I could appreciate the sweet sight of another on the last Saturday of this sunshine-y cold September morning.

And just like that, my time was up. It was 10am. I stood up, and with an invigorated swing in my step, I headed off to do my jobs.

#588 The Greatest Show of All

I LOVED going to the Royal Melbourne Show as a child. My parents took me often, and it was always, ALWAYS, a highlight, every single year. As I grew older I remembered one time where I had a great day there with my sister and Mum too, and then after I met Hubbie we went a couple of times, a night session, and a full-on day session as well.

But we haven’t been for many, many years.

What is there to love about the Show? Why, everything. There is truly something for everyone. There are rides of all kinds, for big kids and small; there are games, again, for everyone, that take out the child in you when the lights flash in your eyes and you observe giant oversized toys that suddenly, YOU MUST HAVE; there is amazing carnival food, as trashy and truck-y as you like, or as discerning and Masterchef-quality as you please, kind sir and madam; there are even animals in talent contests showcasing their skills, entertainers singing or performing death-defying stunts, and then of course, at night, the explosions in the sky.

FIREWORKS.

Well, after what seemed like too long of a break, we went today. It was baby girl’s first time EVER, and weirdly, I had known about a month ago, even before I got my free tickets, that this was going to be our first year to go. It hasn’t worked out for us, or her, any other year, but also, this year I knew she was truly ready for the walk-a-thon that was to be the Royal Melbourne Show adventure, and also, this year she could start to appreciate it. Really appreciate it.

And start creating memories. 🙂

It is so exciting when you start to expose your child to fun things you did when you were young. Hell who am I kidding – I still love to do kid stuff! And I was about as excited as her today, as we jumped off the train about midday and arrived at the Showgrounds.

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It was, a BRILLIANT day.

We ate Showground food of fish and chips, coupled with some glasses of beer and wine.

We watched dogs leap over hurdles and fly through tunnels in high-paced canine comps.

Baby girl went on several rides on her own, and with both Hubbie and I: flying through the air in a row-your-boat contraption, spinning round on a floating mini air balloon ride, going round a merry-go-round track in a car, AND she had her first ever dodgem car experience on her own!

She was the bomb 🙂

We played games, and baby girl fished out some prizes for herself.

We stopped for a well-deserved coffee and sweets break, and found some awesome Nutella doughnuts courtesy of the famous food trucks.

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We went on the GIANT Ferris Wheel, and nearly died as we were perched up top of the world, the insane wind rocking our carriage and making us hold hands, while I actually bent over and encouraged baby girl to pray to God that the wind would lessen.

She thought I was hilarious.

And then the big one, the clincher, the reason for even going to the show AT ALL…

The showbags.

They don’t come cheap. Of course she wanted character ones, which are even dearer than some other kiddie ones, so we let her pick two bags and got an extra pup toy as well.

It had been a big day. We were glad to have taken the train part of the way, so it could take us a fair distance out of the city and to our parked location, before we jumped in our car and drove home.

Watching baby girl, and seeing her response to so many fun events of the day, was absolute GOLD. She now knows, what the Show is all about.

And what’s most important, her memories of them have just started… and they are already beautiful 🙂

#545 Face paint at almost 3(4)

When you write a gratitude blog, you are looking at the happier things in life.

Brighter moments.

Uplifting times.

A flower blooming bright amidst grey concrete.

The rainbow that follows a dark storm.

The perfect coffee to perk you up on a cold Winter’s morning (of course, coffee).

But when it comes to Motherhood and kids, life is soooo off-kilter. There is a lot to be grateful for, but there is also a lot to bang your head against the wall in frustration too.

Take today for instance. We celebrated baby girl’s 4th birthday.

Do I mention how she hid under the table and didn’t come out as visitors came forward to wish her a happy day? No.

Do I mention how she only wanted to stay outside, away from everyone inside, and only came in when she fell and grazed her knee and I forced her to? No.

Do I mention how she screamed with fury when everyone started singing happy birthday to her? No.

No No No.

Because I’m also a glass half-full gal, which makes writing a blog like this, a bit easier, amidst challenging times. Diplomatically speaking.

So, I am grateful that I got a little face ‘decorating’ done today. Of course baby girl refused her face and got her hands painted instead (of course, it’s her birthday after all), but as soon as I organised the face painter to come for the kids, I immediately thought ‘I’m getting something too.’

I thought that, because I am young at heart, and baby girl brings that out in me, even more. And not only do I enjoy her birthday and the fun that these events bring to her, but it is double the fun, because actually…

Baby girl and I share a birthday. What do you know. Double the trouble.

So any excuse for a big party for her, is an excuse for a big party for me. And any excuse to get face painting for her…

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Is an excuse to get face painting for ME.

Bright flowers and blooming butterflies. We focus on the positive things here.

Eternally youthful… I don’t care for growing up.

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#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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#531 Dancing in the kitchen with best man and fam

Ahhh. Kitchen. Dancing. It’s become a synonymously SmikG thing, huh?!?!

But today, we were fortunate to spend the best evening ever with some of our besties. It’s always so easy and entertaining – we have fun, we are relaxed, and all of this even more so because our kids are having fun, and they are relaxed too… so relaxed they ran around the house in circles trying to freeze each other with ‘Frozen’ wands repeatedly.

Like I said, relaxed.

It’s a win-win.

And the end of it brought the perfect culmination of the night, when we took to the kitchen dancefloor (because let’s face it, that’s what it is) quite spontaneously, and started to move.

Hubbie and Best Man got personal… man love all the way.

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There was standing on stools, Elvis Presley poses

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Kids screaming in excited fury!

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And just all kinds of colourful feet moving about on the dancefloor.

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It was freeing, it was happy, it was wild and it was irrationally crazy… yet mostly the vibe was PERFECT.

As it always is in the Best company. Best man and fam. Makes sense 😉