#1303 Homer in hiding

The other day while at the MILs, Hubbie went in search of some personal items he had left behind in his old bedroom, what seemed like eons ago. Baby girl went up to search for him… and came back with an additional, someone.

Something.

Homer.

This massive stuffed Homer doll that was almost as tall as her, had been hiding out in Hubbie’s wardrobe all this time. I have no idea where he got it, only to say that I was definitely there when it happened, and it was probably at some Melbourne festival like Moomba.

Baby girl was rapt.

At some point last night a game developed… it was nearing bedtime and as she left her room to get something, I remained behind with a firm grip on Homer…

But alas, as things happen in sitcoms and cartoons, so too do they happen in real life.

Because I ‘conveniently’ (as all TV plot points are, convenient) fell asleep… and this led to Homer creeping out of my arms and into baby girl’s bed!

D’oh!

She loved it. We repeated the game a number of times in a variety of ways, all with him ending up in her bed, reading a book, and the sight of him like that in her bed made her crack up in laughter every time.

It was funny. We did it this morning. We did it again, tonight.

I ramped up the game when she went to grab a book from her school bag…

I grabbed some ‘friends,’ a blanket, book and beanie, and voila –

20190909_210300

Homer was now fully decked out in her bed.

She could not contain her excitement and laughter as she re-entered. I was meant to be ‘accidentally asleep,’ and yet I couldn’t keep the grin off my face.

He was wearing her beanie, her slippers were now his, and he was covered by a small blanket as his friends gathered around while he read “Thelma the Unicorn.”

It did look very amusing if I do say so myself.

Your kids being happy is one thing… but being the reason that they are laughing is an entirely different feeling.

It left me feeling incredibly chuffed and grateful tonight. ♥

 

 

 

Do, d’oh.

#1119 The Smiggles bag of happiness

We show love for others in our actions.

In our little gestures. The things that we say when we aren’t thinking. The way that our faces light up at the mention of their name.

Today one such thing happened with baby girl. It was the sweetest thing, and although it was told to me second hand by Hubble, it was still the best.

He told me over the phone while I was at work, that when he came home for lunch, baby girl showed him the bag she had packed at the front door.

”Tato… please don’t move my bag,” she had asked solemnly.

IMAG7669

In there? Swimwear, pjs, a book, and an extra dress. She showed him all the things she was bringing with her as we had planned to go to my sister and bro-in-law’s place that evening, and then proceeded to excitedly tell him, and her grandma, that friends of theirs were also going to be there, who she clearly loves.

It was so heartwarming to hear. The words, the excitement, the expression, the action… none of it can lie.

You can’t hide that.

A 5 year-old especially, can’t hide that. ❤️❤️❤️

#1072 Maznik coin

I’ve never been so grateful to find $2.

But it’s all in how it came about. And the tradition that comes with it.

My MIL makes a dish called Maznik, true to the Macedonian culture. It is a pastry with fetta cheese and it is oily, and that is all you really need to know other than it is DEE-LICIOUS.

Oh, and it pairs well with some home-grown fresh garden tomatoes, simply cut up.

The seasonal tradition is that with the coming of the ‘old’ New Year (that of the Orthodox New Year) she makes this Maznik, and somewhere within its circular shape places a $2 coin wrapped in foil.

The coin is meant to represent good luck for the coming year, and if you are the lucky recipient of it, well then a good 2019 year to you.

Tonight after much ado (it’s been in our fridge for a few days, tsk tsk tsk) we took the huge pan out, set it in the middle of the table during dinner, and cut it into 4 pieces. One for each of us, and the 4th for ‘the house.’

Hubbie and I went mad. We were going through our allocated pieces something shocking, from first peering down the ends of the tubular pastry to then not holding back and ripping it apart, pushing down hard to feel something, anything other than fetta cheese. Baby girl sat there patiently, chatting away about how it is so delicious (thinking surely that is why we were tearing it apart) while we went through all 4 pieces in order.

But we couldn’t find the coin.

“Tell your Mum she forgot to put the coin in.”

My hands were greasy, almost dripping from the oil and cheese. I was trying to keep some kind of order within the pan and keep each piece away from each other as we finely dissected it.

“Tato, your Mum didn’t give us the chocolate coin,” baby girl chimed in. She was convinced it was chocolate, and not gold. Ahh, kid life.

I had gone through 3 of the pieces, perhaps 3 times over already. Mine, baby girl’s and the ‘house’s one. I pressed repeatedly on hers again, looking and feeling and pulling apart. I was starting to feel sorry for the pastry… it had looked so beautiful, and now it was reduced to pulled parts.

It would still end up in our bellies though.

I moved on to my piece again. “There is no money in here.” I pushed down hard on the pointy soft end of the Maznik, filled to the brim with cheese. I looked down the tubular crust end. “Honestly where the hell is this?” I kept simultaneously pushing down and pulling the pastry away, until –

“It’s here.” It was a flat tone, but I pulled out the little piece of foil with satisfaction.

Hubbie said a traditional congrats to me, while baby girl went “Ohhhh.”

“It’s okay honey, you’ll still have a good year…” I grinned.

I had gotten lucky. 🙂

I know it was only $2, but that little gold coin represented so much more, and I hoped it would bring abundance, more than any monetary value it held…

We then proceeded to eat the Maznik we had torn to shreds. Nom nom nom.

 

#888 Fussy butcher strikes again

I find it interesting that today I should post about my fussy Hubbie butcher getting ‘at it,’ in my latest Food Reviews post over on SmikG, and then later in the day…

He gets fussy. AGAIN. Like somehow I attracted the fussiness.

If the law of attraction IS at work, please I can also do with holidays and lotsa spending money, thanks 😉

But anyway. My gratitude for today comes not from his fussiness, but rather what came out of it. Because we went out to dinner in Mornington tonight, just doing what we’ve been doing the last month or so of Saturdays… enjoying our family time together and keeping it low-key.

All was good, up until our meals arrived at the table.

His steak.

It wasn’t cooked medium… it was well done.

Ohhh, the HORROR!

Now, let me give you some backstory. The last time we were at this restaurant the same thing happened, and the steak he had ordered then was well overdone too. Even his Mum who had been with us, had agreed – and when a European lady tells you your steak is overdone, you are going to believe her. They eat their meat practically charred.

Back then, they fixed it. Hubbie gave them the benefit of the doubt, and hoped that it was a once-off. Surely it wouldn’t happen again…

So when it did happen again, he was fuming. He didn’t want to tell them though – embarrassing enough as it was that it had happened again… he didn’t want to look like that annoying customer that always finds something wrong with his meal… (hmmm?)

He sat, stewing, silent, vowing to never go there ever again. I sat across from him, the familiar scene playing out in front of me, as I ate my fish.

“You’ll be back here in 2 months.”

He didn’t find it humorous.

A waitress happened past our table, and asked how our meals were. I paused.

“Well, MINE is good…”

I looked at Hubbie. Deep breath. Here we go.

Hubbie was actually the perfect mix of both furious and polite. He told her he was very disappointed, while assuring her that he wasn’t having a go at her – it had just happened before and he felt let down.

I mean, this was serious stuff. He was a butcher! Do you know how seriously butcher’s take their meat…

VERY.

He told her that he had not wanted to say anything, but while she was there, and asking him, well…

She said she would get it fixed, but he was just over it. He just wanted to eat what he could, scrap off the char from the top, and go home. He didn’t want to make a fuss.

Soon, the boss man came.

(I noted it was the same guy from last time, but Hubbie had since shaved off his beard and so luckily he may not have noticed us!)

He was absolutely brilliant. He assured Hubbie that he shouldn’t feel bad about complaining – the reason they asked their diners how their meals were going, was to see if everything was up to scratch. Boss man said he would get him another medium-cooked steak. In fact, they had one ready to go any minute.

True to his word, boss man brought over a brand spanking new pink-in-the-middle steak within minutes. And about 10 or so later –

IMAG2162

Yep. ALL GONE. 

I was actually thoroughly impressed. They totally, had not given up on Hubbie. They were determined to make him happy, and went above and beyond in service and food to make sure he left a content man.

Instead of leaving the restaurant unfulfilled, they made sure he couldn’t say a peep as we exited the doors.

And he didn’t. They had done their job superbly. And I’m so grateful that they restored his faith in restaurant steaks, but also that we aren’t adding yet another establishment to the BANNED list.

Yep. Life of a Food Blogger and Fussy Butcher.

#784 Evening park fun

I’ve now decided something: the best way to end the weekend, one filled with work and commitments and long-drives and rushing and pressure pressure pressure, is…

With a park visit.

And baby girl was ALL too happy to oblige.

Rather, we were obliging her. Before heading back to our side of town, from the other side of town, we stopped over at a park near the MILs place.

And it wasn’t just baby girl getting into it.

IMAG0097

It wasn’t just Hubbie acting like an 8 year-old monkey again.

IMAG0107

But Mama Lion decided to have a swing at it too.

IMAG0110

There’s nothing quite like playing like a child, with your child, to bring out your inner child.

It is always there. Buried deep, just waiting to swing on the swings and climb on top of the monkey bars and act like responsibility is just one L-O-N-G BIG word again.

The best end to the day. 🙂

 

#538 Her first haircut

It took 4 almost years, a not-so-stressed-out Mum, a laid-back Dad, and a girl that not only allowed her parents to put any kind of accessory into her hair, but also wanted hair as long as Rapunzel’s, before this happened:

IMAG5193

Tonight! Our baby girl’s first haircut, and days before her 4th birthday. Although naturally a little unsure when the scissors came near her head, the novelty was in the fact that her grandma was doing the cutting (albeit just straight across the back, but it’s something), and also as I had reminded her aplenty of in the last few weeks, ALL of her friends had had haircuts and LOVED it… or so she was told.

IMAG5201

As soon as she was assured it wouldn’t hurt, and it was fun fun fun! she jumped up on the foot stool and let her grandma get to work. A couple of minutes later and a good inch was gone, and a really pleased and grown-up girl remained.

Awww. My heart. This little girl of ours is really growing up.

😉

#509 Friday night d&m and surprises with Hubbie

Most Fridays we have the MIL with us, which makes for light-hearted, event and people based chit-chat.

“How are these people going?”

“How was work?”

“What are the weekend plans?”

“What will you do on Sunday?”

“Did you hear about that?”

and so on.

Tonight however, it was just US – baby girl, hubbie and I. And quite surprisingly and happily, we started to get into it.

He dropped some surprising statements, which had me slightly reeling – just from the sheer unpredictability of it ever being said.

“What? Are you serious? Seriously, I feel like I don’t know you.”

All good, and nothing bad. Just different, and eye-opening. We got into some d&m, and you know the convo has gone deep and fulfilling, when the dinner sit-down has long passed the eaten food that has come and gone before it.

“Well if I do this, with your talent here, and my knowledge there, we could both – “

Now I was reeling, again. I know this is a whole lot of blah blah blah to the rest of the world, but after our talk I had the most profound sense of I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT FROM LIFE.

We always talk about living life to the full, and cramming as much experience and fun and passion into what we have been given here on earth, yet still, for a man that I know so, so well, he had me absolutely stunned and baffled.

And as I dwelled on it, I realised I loved it.

I’m not a person to stay stagnant, and remain in the same role or field for the rest of my life. And seeing that he is the same, and just like me is open to new and exciting experiences, if only to explore and see where the open doors lead him, well that is equally exciting to watch and be a part of.

I love that we are passionate, we know what we love, but also, we love to keep things exciting, fresh, and moving on.

To be inspired by the man in your life, and find even greater motivation to love him, well…

that is something I am eternally grateful for.

And all from a Friday night convo. All good things come from Fridays…

 

#455 A smaller Mother’s Day

I had this fleeting thought cross my mind sometime Friday, or Saturday. I was thinking of the upcoming Mother’s Day, and how we had ALL this stuff we were planning to do… go to the shops and buy outfits for ourselves for my parents’ upcoming wedding anniversary; go to visit my MIL on the other side of town; AND of course, visit my Mum also on the other side of town.

This was meant to happen after a late Saturday night, a normal sleep-in, and trying to get a never-sit-still baby girl to go along with it ALL.

Yep. It wasn’t likely to go smoothly.

Still, that was the plan. And yet, with all this impending busy-ness on the horizon, and knowing it was all for fun, a little voice inside me said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to just have a little Mother’s Day, just our family?’

Just baby girl, Hubbie and I. No running around. No 15 tasks. Just us.

Sometimes, you need to be careful what you wish for. Sometimes, little voices make a large ripple.

In a quite funny turn of events: my MIL stayed back late on Saturday night, and with her own plans for Sunday, we kind of had our unofficial catch up with her late yesterday evening; and my sister and bro-in-law were under the weather, and having had an up and down baby girl and Hubbie battling cold symptoms as well, we all decided to keep away from Mum and Dad, especially in the lead up to such a big event next week – which suddenly meant, that on Mother’s Day it was just –

Me, baby girl and Hubbie. Just US. As I had thought, so, so innocently.

And as much as I missed seeing my Mum and my sister terribly today, the quiet was quite nice:)

We had a lovely sleep in – no rushing around trying to madly get out of the house. We took some photos at home, drove to the shopping centre, then spent almost ALL DAY there. Not a brief 90 minute session.  I’m talking over 5 hours. Hubbie got some sneakers and shoes, baby girl got some toys, and I got not 1, but 2 outfit possibilities for next week.

That’s because I’m a Mum, and for us Mums, we can’t just go shopping when we like, and likewise, finding something we like in the limited time we have, is even HARDER. As it was it took 3 hours just to find those 2 outfits, so next time we have another event, at least I know I’M SET.

So, this year, a different kind of Mother’s Day. But it seems like my thought came true…. so a word of warning… be careful what you wish for…!

P.S Happy Mother’s Day to all Mums out there 🙂

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

IMAG3759

Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

IMAG3760

I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉

#387 MILs help

I am grateful for my MIL.

Yes, you heard that right. I am grateful for my mother-in-law.

Wait. I think the earth just shifted. MILs aren’t often high up on most women’s appreciation list.

But today, I was. And on many days, I am. There are many grandparents who are neither willing or able to babysit their grandkids. Even if they are willing, many times due to ill health, or other circumstances, they are just not able.

My MIL, is both willing and able.

Which makes us lucky indeed.

I was able to drop baby girl off at her place today, as I had a much-needed hairdresser’s appointment. It was so nice to leave baby girl in a familiar place, not have to worry about the company she was in, if she was looked after adequately, or if she would get up to mischief.

The MILs take care of all that when kids are in their care, after all.

And it was easy. It always is easy with her. She is always more than happy to look after baby girl, not only for some works shifts, but when we have appointments every now and then. Distance is clearly an issue, so I can’t get her to watch baby girl all that often, but when there is something and I really need help, I know where I can turn.

I often wonder about women whose parents live far from them, or with whom they don’t have the best relationship with, and I get sad. In a perfect world, each woman would have a safe place to leave their child when and if circumstance arose, and a grandparent is just about the best babysitting option there is. The fact that mine looks after baby girl, but also after me – as I dashed out of her house late to the hairdresser’s, she handed me a foiled packet of lunch for the road – is really, truly, a God-send.

Yes. I know I’m lucky to have a great MIL. I won’t shout it too loud though, or else the earth’s tapestry may just unravel…