#608 1 year on the beach

Today marked exactly one year since we moved across town to live a different life.

A more caffeinated life:

A more explorative life:

A more beach-y life:

And definitely, a more sunset-y one:

It has been an amazing year, and here’s hoping it only gets better.

It started out as a dream, progressed into a waking nightmare as we dealt with moving, unpacking, and adjusting to life in a older house, with things going wrong, no time for ourselves, and endless renovations/to-dos/life changes.

Once that spell was over (and boy was it a LONG one) things went on the improve, bit by bit.

A year later, we can never, EVER look back. We knew, even in those most difficult of days, trying of times and curse-filled moments, that we had made the best decision for US.

And aside from all of the above pros of moving, the other major one has been the closer proximity to most of our family.

So today baby girl was that touch closer in distance to her third cousin, to attend her 4th birthday:

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(Yes they are wearing the same skirt, it was totally not intended yet so cool when we realised they were twinsies. I CAN’T EVEN).

And then later we made an impromptu visit to my sister’s place , something we never used to do, but a favourite new past-time that is becoming more and more common, from both sides.

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(Baby girl and her Aunty making coffees 😉 )

And suddenly, there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy today. Happy for our move. Happy for this 1st Anniversary. Happy for Life.

Cheers 🙂

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#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 🙂

#582 Movie firsts

My sister took me to my first movie. Batman, with Michael Keaton as the man in the cape.

It always was, and still remains, one of my most favourite past-times and memories with her. Our movie nights, our sister days.

Well it wasn’t a ‘movie first’ for either baby girl or my nephew today, as we took them to see the Wiggles Nursery Rhymes being shown at the Vjunior cinemas.

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But it was baby girl’s first time EVER eating popcorn… did she like it? I’ll leave you with these words she uttered: “No mama don’t touch.”

There you go.

It was also my nephew’s first time sitting through a whole movie, happily! The volume was lower than it usually is in other regular cinemas, much easier to take in without the ear-splitting stereo bursting your eardrum.

And it was our first time, ALL together. With the success of today, I think there will be many more movie days, and memory days.

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(The popcorn cup, I could not touch)

♥♥♥

#566 Messages from the Coffee cup

I have a LONG history with it.

When I was 10, the day after my sister’s wedding my parents threw a huge, informal backyard party at their place for our closest family and friends. There were a lot of people on that sunny January day, and being the excited kid (and flower girl, thank you very much) that I was, I went ape-shit.

Come the fading hours of sunlight, and my tummy was aching. It was a phase of life where if I jumped or ran about too much after eating, it all came up.

And so it all came up.

While everyone was singing and dancing into the night, the sounds of a folk accordion echoing out to me from the garage, I lay in my room feeling like absolute shit. Not only did I actually feel horrible, but I felt even worse to be missing out on ALL THE FUN.

Oh the agony.

My parents brought me a cup of black coffee. No sugar. The plan?

“Drink it. It’ll make you better, one way or another…”

Yep, it was the other. I threw up some more.

My first taste of real coffee. Coming up.

I grew acquainted with it in another way when I was 13, and on my first overseas trip with my parents. Coming from a fairly superstitious European background (and at that age being absolutely obsessed with what the future would hold) I was delighted to no end to find out that my new most favourite aunty over there, could read coffee cups.

Basically an espresso-sized coffee would be prepared for you, using really fine freshly ground coffee beans, and then it was combined with water and brought to a boiling heat before serving.

This was more pleasant. It had sugar. Sure it was bitter and very strong, but I mean, I had to know if that guy I had just met I was going to EVER SEE AGAIN, so I would have drank a sample of someone else’s saliva if necessary for that information.

My aunty would peer into the base and sides of the coffee cup once it had been turned upside down. You see, the thick syrupy part of the coffee that remained on the bottom once it had all been drank, well that was the bit you worked with. Because you would grab your all-important saucer (they have a use, yes), place it on top of your coffee cup, and then with a swift 180 degree turn flip it over and rest, allowing the thick coffee syrup to gently drip its way down the walls of your inverted coffee cup.

I loved the information I got. It was mostly what I always wanted to hear. Some favourable ‘love’ news. Oooooh! Did it come true? I’m not sure, probably not. But it made me happy, made me believe, and I never stopped asking for coffee readings.

Fast forward to today. I actually drink coffee for enjoyment, not just for the sake of knowing my future. I think it’s better that we don’t know some things… that I’ve learnt the scary way. But tonight while at my parents place, Mum made me, Hubbie and my Dad a coffee, and as I drank it, I just couldn’t help myself…

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Flip!

It’s not that I necessarily know what every sign or symbol means in coffee reading. I try to decipher them based on my own knowledge of dream symbols… I figure they might be the same. You scan the walls and base of the cup once the grounds dry, and try to make out any figures…

I immediately found a person on a motorbike. Leaning forward as if trying to get away. And closely next to it is a sweet dog’s face.

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Can you see what I’m looking at? That cluster of black near the top, that is a person leaning forward in a motorbike. And beside it near the bottom of the bike, are some dots: two perfect eyes, a nose and a mouth, and the nose is even within a darker area, representing the muzzle of the dog. The dog is smiling, which is good.

I looked it up in my parents old-school dream journal (of course they have an old-school dream journal) and I couldn’t find any mention of a motorbike or bike for that matter, but it was noted that a dog was good, and if it was at the base of the cup, it suggested a good friend in your home.

There was also a tiny heart which I was unsure of… look again to the left side of the cup, tilt the photo 90 degrees to the right, and there it is… tiny love heart.

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Also a good sign.

I like good signs.

(Can you see anything else? Let me know!)

Anyway I love it. I love what this little tradition reminds me of. Wonderful events, memorable people, and particularly, one of the best times of my life…

Why wouldn’t I want to keep returning to it?

Yes, it is all a bit of fun, but I do strongly believe that there is some truth to it too…

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See that photo? This was taken a month before I found out I was pregnant with baby girl.

A BIG HEART.

Take that as you will 🙂

#561 Pruning roses

Hubbie stirs me about the pruning gloves I have. I asked for them one Christmas from my sister – I then got them – and then I proceeded to not use them.

Every time he came across them, or the mention of unnecessary items came up, he would poke fun at the gloves I use soooo often.

;P

Well, today, I actually pruned.

Following from some advice my bestie gave me months ago near the onset of Winter, I scaled back the thorny rose bushes we have bordering the front of our lawn, as much as I could see fit to. I tried to remember what she had said: clip at an angle; chop away what is dead or dying; and cut it right back in the Winter months.

With 4 days of Winter left (!!!) and on a beautifully still and sunny day, I got to it. Baby girl accompanied me, filling her mini watering can repeatedly and emptying it onto the lawn in front of her, while I snip snip snipped away.

It was therapeutic. I loved it. I always had an inkling that I would enjoy gardening, and today I discovered I just wanted to keep going.

I know it’s not much, and it may not look impressive. I did my best. But that there are 3 of the bushes I scaled back. I’m posting it to hold myself accountable, hoping that they will take to my trimmings and bloom, and then I can post it for all to see.

The 1st and last bushes are roses, with the middle one being a puzzling one. We will have to wait and see what comes of number two. But the number one pic is my current pride and joy, with only one Winter rose remaining…

… and here’s hoping Spring will bring me many more.

Here’s to a new hobby, a new love, a new form of therapy…

Pruning 🙂

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Oh, and those gardening gloves Hubbie’s always stirring me about? I couldn’t even find them today. I need to unpack some more boxes it seems… but it didn’t stop me from getting to it in the end 😉

#547 The Penguin tradition

I was about 8 or 9 when I went with my parents, sister, her then boyfriend (my soon-to-be brother-in-law) and a whole lot of extended family and cousins, to Phillip Island, where as tradition has it, we saw the Penguins.

Today, for the first time in about 25 years, I went back… with the first-timers, Hubbie and baby girl in tow.

I may as well have been a first-timer, it has been that long. Being a Monday we thought it would be quiet. Like, I actually thought, there may be like, another group of people beside us… something like, 25 or so?

Try 25 HUNDRED. Or so.

There were soooooo many people. So many tourists, and buses, and guides, it was like OMG.

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Despite the crazy, we waited in the stands in the surprisingly calm Wintery air, and saw a few groups of penguins approach from the crashing night-time waves. After seeing half the crowd up and suddenly disappear within 20 minutes, we decided too to investigate and see if we could find any penguins who had made their way back from the sea, heading into their burrows and bushy-homes for the night.

We saw heaps. Baby girl was up close and personal with several of them, pressed against the barbed fence that separated the humans from the penguin track, saying “awww, so cute,” as they waddled past, and even waving goodbye to them as they made their way further and further in-land.

It was very sweet. And then once we had had our fill of penguin cuteness, some more adorable overload.

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I mean, when there is something so exceptionally life-sized, it is a MUST to pose alongside it, yes?

Penguin joy passing from generation to generation. I promise I won’t wait 25 years until next time.

#524 Sister’s impromptu visit AND dessert

It was another fabulous Saturday night surprise, when sis and bro-in-law dropped in late this evening. And as much as I love love LOVE their company, there was a little, tiny itty-bitty, (actually not really that small) icing on the cake that topped it off.

Or should I say, chocolate mousse in a bowl that topped it off?

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I am a chocolate mousse girl, through and through. In fact, I think we need a re-birth of this typically 90s dessert. It is sooo delicious, yet oh-so-simple. Sis does a simple take on it, that leaves it feeling very light and moorish, a complete necessity since chocolate mousse that is too sweet is just NOT the way it’s meant to be. Nor is it meant to be cream. It’s meant to have lightness, air, and yes, a mild sweetness to it. Which is why I proclaim hers, THE BEST.

I hadn’t had it, much less thought about hers or any other chocolate mousse in such a long time, that when I saw it outstretched in her hands when she walked in, I didn’t do the obligatory ‘no, you didn’t have to!’ that so many people do when their guests bring food to their house.

Instead, I was –

“Ohhh, thanks! I haven’t had it in so long! Here I’ll pop it in the fridge straight away…”

Tee hee hee.

A couple of hours later, and baby girl was indulging in her first taste of her Aunty’s choc mousse.

SHE DEVOURED IT.

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Like Mama, like daughter.

Although the choc mousse was a pleasant highlight to the night, aside from that we had an awesome time together, the group of us. More music, more singing, more D&Ms… it’s always a fun and memorable night when its with those you love the most.

Tonight’s playlist included:

Baby I’m a Star – Prince

Are You With Me – Lost Frequencies

Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield (random youtube selections were trying to tell Hubbie and bro-in-law something…)

Do I Wanna Know – Arctic Monkeys

And due to some 80s raspy-voiced renaissance, Cyndi Lauper hits made a BIG mark on tonight too.

Sometimes I think, if we were fortunate enough to live right next door to one another, would we tire of seeing each other other all the time?

I don’t have to even think for that answer, really. The response is NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER.

EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER.

EVER.

EVER EVER.

EVER.

..

EVER.

.