#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 :*

#383 Somerville Family Day

We hadn’t yet been to Somerville, a 15-20 minute drive from our house back into bushland, so the Family Day being advertised during the Long Weekend there, seemed the perfect excuse to check it out.

There was something for ALL, which made it a great few hours spent. Cars were on show for Hubbie, the first point of call. Live music came from musicians playing up on the big stage in the centre of the grounds, with rides of all sorts scattered around it, for both the little and big kids. Food stalls were on the outskirts on one side, while craft and a whole other range of stalls bordered the other side.

There were a good number of jumping castles, pony rides took kids around for a walk, and again, FACE PAINTING.

Today she chose to be a “Roar!” Lion.

We grabbed some food – the twisty potatoes that I can’t deny myself, ever

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and wandered around ’til the brilliant sun made us oh-so-tired and ready for some cool surroundings, and home.

All in all, a great Autumn’s day. Definitely a Family Day winner 🙂

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#337 Food Truck festival fun

The Mornington Food Truck festival runs from now, up until Sunday the 29th of January. We ventured over this evening with the MIL, to check out the digs and of course, grab some food truck food.

I had the meaty paella:

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Honestly, for $12 it was underwhelming. (Foodie SmikG is coming out now) I only had one prawn in my container, the portion was meagre at best, and though it was spicy and had some good kick, seriously for that price I expected more than two spoonfuls with a sprinkling of rocket on the side.

Yes, I know we’re eating from trucks, people. But the quality of food FROM food trucks has increased substantially in the last few years, something most people in Melbourne would be well aware of. Anyway.

Baby girl had some chips, Hubbie a steak sandwich, and the MIL also went the burger route, as we sat within the greenery alongside the racecourse, under the shelter of the grand old trees, feeling the cool evening breeze sweep in.

There were rides as well, which baby girl and I participated in yet again… yep, the teacup ride. And baby girl saw some clown heads moving slowly side to side, which she wasn’t too sure about so she just let Mum and Dad win her a prize. Those open clown mouths are pretty scary.

It was a pleasant evening, and to be honest despite the paella, I just wanted to be out and about amongst people enjoying MY town. Nothing gripes me more than seeing people from out of town enjoying our precinct, knowing that we can’t due to time restrictions and work commitments! So just by being there tonight, I was happy.

Grateful. 🙂

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And to top off the night? We took home some Nutella-centred churros from another food truck, and had them at home… they were still deliciously warm and crunchy, nom nom nom.

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(Apologies for the photo, the churros tasted a 1000 times better than what is actually shown).

It was the food highlight of the night, and a lovely way to end our evening adventure.

#276 That reaction, and fireworks

It became a bit of a rushed, bull-crap kinda night after all of the longing and counting down for the day to come.

As soon as I saw the huge billboards on the freeway promoting the Frankston Christmas Festival of Lights, I knew we just HAD to go. I love Christmas. Baby girl loves Christmas. Well she loves presents, and Santa, and trees, and brightly-coloured things, so same same as far as she’s concerned. It was on our side of town too, so it just made perfect sense.

I counted down, for about a month.

Then, a last-minute additional plan meant we couldn’t spend as much time at the Festival as I had originally hoped. Suddenly we were somewhere else for a couple of hours, leaving my dreams of a Festival of Fun, dashed, and long behind me. In its place, walking, starvation, queues, and just plain indecision. We came later, we were hungry, we were rushed and looking for where best to go in very little time, and after some twisted potatoes on a stick (best new festival creation EVER), watching some fairies on stilts, and a quick ride on the teacups, it was time to view the lighting of the Christmas tree and then –

THE FIREWORKS.

It wasn’t her first fireworks viewing. But tonight they were closer, so they were brighter, louder, and being older, she just gets more. I prepped her beforehand, telling her there would be big bangs in the sky followed by pretty coloured light…

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Her face, was priceless. Serious, awe-like… and then tears.

Only for a second! The intensity of the fireworks, both in noise, and just the fact of their sudden ‘being,’ got to her momentarily, and we quickly soothed her by assuring her it was ok, before we oohed and ahhed and then decided best we leave immediately.

I know it wasn’t the night I expected it to be (don’t you hate it when you’re looking forward to something and it all goes horribly awry?) but when I saw that ‘oh’ shaped face of shock, surprise, wonder…

It made it all worth it.

Here’s us on the teacup ride:

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Happy weekend folks 🙂

#272 Random $2 kindness at shops

Baby girl was the recipient of a very little, yet very significant act of kindess today. I immediately saw the “pay it forward” in the action and thanked the lady, even though it wasn’t directed at me… but kind of, it was, because I am baby girl’s Mum.

I had just popped a dollar into a trolley while baby girl had run to a nearby shopping centre amusement ride, this one a pirate ship. I knew it would be hard to tear her away – she loves these rides, and being a pirate ship, when it is her current obsession what with her love of Captain Feathersword, it was to be almost impossible. Not only did I have a bit of shopping to do, but I had put my last gold coin into the trolley. As I tried to explain this logic to baby girl (always to no avail but I still try) she just sat there pressing the buttons in front of her, while two women walked to the neighbouring ‘Claw game’ (you know the game where you try to manoeuvre the claw to pick up a stuffed toy or lolly?)

One of the women looked over as I tried to convince baby girl to leave, and then holding out a $2 coin, she said “do you mind?”

She popped the coin into the Pirate ride. I was surprised and gave a combination of “really?” and “wow thanks,” before encouraging baby girl to say “ta” too, which she did before eagerly turning back to her ride.

The woman walked off seconds later with her partner who was done with the claw game, saying “enjoy your day!” while I reciprocated and gave many more thanks. I saw what she had done, and she had done it well, the proper way: without hesitation, without expectation of anything in return, and with happiness. Baby girl was temporarily appreciative while on the ride, while my appreciation has lengthened and deepened over the course of the day, with acknowledgment that this is what I used to do on occasion, this is what I NEED to do again, and this is what the world needs more of.

I will definitely pay it forward, in more ways than one. Thank you kind lady 🙂

#142 A different candle

I’ve been posting a lot about my parents lately. It’s like some part of my subconscious knew.

The day started off with easy-going, relaxed vibes. I was making chicken soup, with plans to go to the local shopping centre with baby girl and put in a stack of $2 coins while she had the time of her life on those damn shopping centre rides.

But then Mum called. And hours later I was sitting with her and my sister at the docs.

Mum needs to have an operation. Everything is ok. WILL be ok. But in a space of a few hours, I feel like everything has changed. HAS changed.

Mum needs to take it easy. She needs to do less – both now, and after the op while she’s in recovery. Because of that, she and my Dad won’t be babysitting baby girl. There’ll be no more massive pots of food waiting for us. There won’t be last minute dashes to each other’s home while she helps me out. No, none of that.

Now big sis and I will be doing the running.

I am grateful that she is being treated for something that both can be treated, and that isn’t really serious, when you compare it to other things that ops are performed for.

But I also can’t help but think of how this affects me. She and Dad share the baby sitting duties with my MIL. If she can’t babysit, I can’t work. If I can’t work, we don’t have as much money coming in… and if we don’t have as much money coming in, how do we pay off a loan for our future house in our sea change destination?

Do I bid at the auction tomorrow?

Do we move at all?

Do we put this whole sea change of ours off indefinitely?

The questions and the indecision were making me go insane. I had to do something to break the negativity when I got home. After a further 40 minute convo with big sis on the phone, I lit this:

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There was something metaphoric about this candle shining in the dark. I was spellbound. It usually stands behind the TV, pushed far behind it from the days where baby girl’s curious hands would get into too many things. It still remains there, forgotten, pushed out of sight. Tonight I brought it forward.

And then I had my soup. I don’t know what tomorrow, the next 2 months, and the next who-knows-what will bring, but I think I’m grateful… for the change of that candle.

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#139 The bond they share

Usually when a toddler runs hurtling away from their mother at full speed in a shopping centre, you can almost be assured that said mother will soon be soon hurtling after their runaway child.

Not the case for baby girl and I today. I just smiled, tears springing to my eyes.

(Sap).

I knew my parents were nearby. Baby girl jumped on one of those ride-on-cars while another boy sat in the adjoining seat to her, his Mother also unwilling to part with gold coin for his amusement.

“Just wait there baby girl,” I said to her. “Mummy’s just checking something.” I didn’t have to tell her to stay there. I wouldn’t be able to pry her away from the ride if I tried.

I knew the entrance they’d come in from. Surely they would be minutes away, if not walking through the doors right, about… now.

I walked a few steps from her to peer down the long shopping centre corridor. Sure enough, I caught glimpse of a familiar hat, and then soon saw a shorter woman besides the hat. All I had to do was turn to baby girl with a smile and beckon her closer to me with my curled finger.

She excitedly and willingly jumped off the ride. She came to me and I pointed to some faint figures ahead. I knew she wouldn’t see them just yet. But she would see them very soon.

“Go run!” said no Mother ever, except me at that moment. “Go straight ahead, run!”

She started this insane bolt. You would have thought she’d have found the chocolate-covered Wiggles at the end of this rainbow she was chasing, with the speed that propelled her little legs forward. But no. It was her grandparents.

It got the attention of a few passers by, as they sidestepped this running toddler and looked back to wait for the parent chasing them down, only to find me smiling proudly.

I almost laughed out loud when I heard my Mum’s exclamation as baby girl careened into them for a hug. I was beyond happy and grateful. Not only had my parents surprise visit made baby girl’s day, but I know without a doubt that baby girl’s loyal and loving greeting did the same for them.

And then I watched, smiling, as hand in hand they walked back over to me.