#1422 ‘Twas the ‘second’ night before Christmas…

What? She must have her dates wrong you say.

No siree.

It really is the night before Christmas… for those of Orthodox faith.

It’s an interesting thing to celebrate two Christmases throughout your life. It’s a privilege now awarded to baby girl as she joins in the doubled up of festivities.

Growing up, although the primary Christmas we celebrated was on the traditional Westernised date of December 25th, due to my Mum’s background and heritage we were always aware of at the very least, if we weren’t helping our relatives celebrate the Orthodox Christmas day of January 7th.

Seeing as Hubbie’s family is also of Orthodox faith, this acknowledgement and acceptance has grown and continued. All of my life, family and friends around me have celebrated this day… I have been to countless Christmas parties and participated in token Orthodox traditions, drank and ate and been merry on this holiest of days.

Which nationalities celebrate this day you might ask? Well there are Macedonians, Serbians, Polish, Russian, and Greek, to name a few…

I think it’s important to respect and value other traditions, even those that we may not be privy to or understand in the fullest.

Just as living in Australia, I believe that Australian customs should be respected and appreciated by all those who choose to call this country their home, so too do I believe the reverse should be norm: Aussies should respect the traditions and heritage of those with customs and holidays from far off our shores.

Including a different Christmas.

Sometimes I hear a bit of ignorance. One side might discount the other, calling theirs the ‘real Christmas.’

I think this is a bit sad. I don’t think we should be arguing over religion and politics and trying to up our own stance by discounting the other.

Why can’t we all respect each other’s traditions while still enjoying our own?

THIS GOES BOTH WAYS.

Baby girl went to bed tonight excited. She was asking if Santa would come again… I told her he only makes one stop a year, but that there would still be PRESENTS.

We did the majority of presents on the Westernised Christmas day, but I have an inkling she will get something. πŸ˜‰

A second Christmas for a kid? That’s like a second birthday!

She, and we, are fortunate to have double the Christmases, every year. β™₯

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

#1412 Made up stories in bed

The three of us have the best time making up stories at bedtime.

We’ll be in our bed, or baby girl’s bed (yes we can all squish into baby girl’s king single!)

We make up stories based off alterations of our name and things that have happened that day,Β or stories we’ve heard.

Tonight Hubbie was Tato Doce, and I was Mama Candy Cane.

Iggle piggle from In The Night Garden was drinking black coffee, and vomited, and there was a girl called Karisa who was going cray cray because it was school holidays. 🀣

The laughs we get out of our stories are priceless. Baby girl can barely get the words out as she tells her story, she is laughing that hard. Then I’ll throw her an exaggerated quizzical look, or I crack up and laugh along with her, which sends her into more of a laughing fit, and then I laugh MORE, and on and on it goes.

Meanwhile Hubbie, the only non-night owl amongst us three, looks at us wearily, yet still amused with that small smile on his face, as his girls go apeshit.

❀

 

 

 

#1406 The Christmas carols

My first intention for tonight was to head on down to the local carols in the park for some festive cheer and fun.

‘Twas not to be. Hubbie was tired from work and not ‘feeling it.’

We settled in for a night of carols on TV instead – if I couldn’t have them in person I had to have them someway, right?

“Don’t they do those on Christmas Eve?” Hubbie asked me.

Automatically I responded –

“Channel 7 do Carols in the Domain the Saturday before Christmas, in Sydney… Channel 9 do Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve from Melbourne.”

BAM! Just like that. All Christmas worded-up and everything.

Well I have been watching them all my life, I SHOULD KNOW.

Knowing the Wiggles were on in the first part of the night, we all sat down while baby girl asked repeatedly when they were going to be on.

She totally made up for it when they did arrive on screen, and she danced along to them while we watched her, revelling in her happiness and joy.

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There wasn’t a lot of quiet in our house tonight. We weren’t all seriously watching the carols and singing along with our flashlight features turned on on our phones… we were talking over one another, tuning in and out to songs on telly, singing along to some and talking about our goals for next year and just having the best time together.

We didn’t need no community park concert. We were all we needed.

And then I looked outside and – YES! – our new solar Christmas light was working!

It looked magical πŸ™‚

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My memories of Christmas carols stem way back. Growing up on Christmas Eve I’d sit in the lounge room with my Dad as they played, and Mum would come in and out, busy in her preparations for a big family Christmas lunch the next day. We would then wait up ’til midnight and exchange presents, wishing each other a Merry Christmas, and go to bed excited and buzzing that Christmas was finally here.

They are the best memories.

Well we made some of our own tonight. And though the night actually started out pretty average and flat… as soon as the carols started, something magical occurred in our lounge room.

It was, Christmas magic. β™₯

#1401 Writing Christmas Cards

“Why do I write Christmas cards?”

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It’s a question I sometimes ask myself. Maybe you yourself have wondered why you do it, or more likely, thought about how writing cards is so old-fashioned, and so out-dated, right?

The process for me starts like this.

I need the right pen. Not a cheapie either. I need one that’s a good few dollars and is ‘medium’ only please.

I sit. I sit in silence, and I think of what to write for everyone that year. I will write the same thing for all my family and friends, but still I try to alter it, if only a little, year after year.

I try to write and send them as close as possible to the start of December, but let’s face it that doesn’t happen often. If I know I’ll see someone around that time, I’ll only write their card and hand it to them in person… otherwise I end up sending the majority of them, through post.

Like today.

Secondly, why I write…

Digital is so much easier. Instant. You can forward any Christmas animation onto your contacts, chuck your name on the end and voila!

Christmas greetings done.

I don’t care much for that.

That’s not to say I don’t like getting those messages… but there is something sacred and special about putting pen to paper…

writing a heartfelt message…

writing out all the addresses…

affixing stamps and other Christmas-y stickers on the back to seal the envelopes…

and then putting them all in the bright red post box.

I LOVE IT.

I don’t do it because I expect any in return. Nooo. If I were doing it for that reason I would only be sending out 5, as opposed to 30.

No. It’s not about the receiving.

It’s all about the giving.

There’s something so special about going to your mail box and finding your name on a festive envelope. Knowing you have been wished a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year inside it.

The system of writing the cards also gets me in the Christmas spirit. As time consuming as it sometimes can be, I think this is so much part of my tradition, that if I weren’t to do it, it would feel a lot less like Christmas.

And today, with almost all cards sent, I feel like the countdown to Christmas has really begun.

I can feel it.

I have been sending out wishes, after all. πŸ˜‰

So many people say to me – “I don’t do Christmas cards.”

That’s okay. I don’t expect you to.

But I do them. I do Christmas cards, and whether you give me one or not, makes no difference.

It is a part of my nature… whether it’s because I love Christmas, I love writing, or I love the old-fashioned form of sending and receiving via snail mail…

All in all, it’s a beautiful tradition, that I hope never dies out. If I can I’ll keep it running.

And I hope in a few days time there will be people all over the place, smiling as they open the festive envelopes I sent them.

Because that’s why I do it. To spread the Christmas cheer πŸ™‚

I β™₯ Christmas.

#1162 Pictures of a Happy Easter

I’ve learnt that a crappy start to the day, week or season does not necessarily mean the entire thing is a write-off.

And given the frustrated moments, running around and sick feelings we’ve all had, the day turned out absolutely…

Eggcelent. πŸ˜ƒπŸ°πŸ₯š

From the Eggceptional home made choc-chip hot cross buns we had for breakfast this morning…

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To the Eggciting Easter hunt around the home…

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And finally, love, laughter and memory-making, (and ALL the brews baking!) at my parents’ house…

This Easter felt like something truly Eggstra.

πŸ˜‚

Ok I stop!

Hope your Easter had you hopping about in happiness too. 😜

#1152 Play date at a new Play centre

School holiday time, means catch-up with the regulars time.

And by no means did we go to a ‘new’ play centre… but it was still novel to us.

And this time, there were 3. Bab girl had as much fun playing with her cousin her age, as they chased each other up and down the indoor play area, as she did doting over her little cousin and letting her help prepare in the play-pretend kitchen.

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It was a great day. Plenty to see and do for the kids, many structured activities to literally move through…

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And we stayed over 3 hours! Evidence of the fun had by ALL.

I love, that these girls will grow up continuing to make these beautiful memories… and so ’til next time… β™₯β™₯β™₯

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#1127 Vino memories

Today, our family gathered at my parents’ house to make WINE.

It was a magical day. The sun shone as we carried buckets of sun-warmed grapes over to be squashed through a barrel… we all jumped into the challenge and in perfect teamwork and harmony we worked together to do the whole lot in just under an hour… and we revelled in the fact of getting our hands right into the sticky grit of it, and feel our day’s work.

It was a wonderful family bonding experience, and something I do hope can become a bit of a tradition as the years go on… but most happily, is the fact that it is not over yet…

Soon, coming to a shed near you… the taste test!

:):):)

#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. πŸ™‚

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.

 

#1045 Christmas at a different place

As far as I can remember, I’ve celebrated every single Christmas in the same place.

My parents’ house.

There was that Christmas my Dad caught a stray canary, which ended up being Hubbie, then ‘boyfriend’s pet bird aptly named β€˜Chrissy.’

The Christmas it hailed golf balls and our cars and the backyard pergola got a beating.

Or the Christmas we went mad throwing water balloons at each other all over the yard, and got told off by my Dad… (oh that was in recent years 😬 )

All those warm Christmases, dancing in the garage, walking to the park, eating, drinking, memory making…

The Christmas I snuck off to see Hubbie-then-boyfriend for a bit. 🀫

The Christmas we drank too much vodka in the first hour. πŸ₯ƒ

The Christmas I drank nothing – with a precious new 4 month old. 😍🀱

The Christmas some of my friends came, and some of my family could not handle the extra crazy. 😜πŸ€ͺ🀩

34 Christmases.

Today was Christmas number 35.

But… it was spent at my sister’s house.

I thought I would feel more nostalgia going into the day. All of these years of tradition, of memories, retreating to the same backyard post-lunch… and it was all changing.

But very quickly, something became apparent to me.

It wasn’t the location. It was all about the people.

Sure the house was different. The decorations would be different. The food and drink would be a bit different, and sure, the location was completely different.

But different didn’t mean bad. It was different, but it was still beautiful. And of course, there was a lot of love.

All of this was present, the beauty, the love… because the people were the same.

As long as I am with my loved ones, I am happy.

Merry Christmas to all. I hope yours was spent with loved ones, no matter where you were. β€οΈπŸŽ„πŸ™πŸŽ…

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#958 Family comfort in team loss

Well, THAT didn’t go as expected.

It is terribly, horribly hard to watch your team lose.

The lead up, the anxiety, the anticipation and nerves and hoping and wishing and praying… it ALL comes to a head when the siren goes off.

To then watch a game where your team is winning for almost the entire time, and then lose by a measly 5 points in the end… IT IS HARD.

We went from screaming in happiness from the first 10 minutes in the game, to walking out of the room and the atmosphere going silent, bar some choice expletives aimed at the biased umpires, in the final 90 seconds.

It is HARD. Soooo hard. But what makes it somewhat easier, is the unity.

The strength in numbers. Because family gives you strength through bad times, and knowing that your pain is also their shared pain, makes it somewhat easier to bare.

We are black and white through and through. We will barrack for them when they are winning, AND when they are losing… and for us and all the other fans, it just didn’t happen today.

It is shit. But we will still take our doughnut, and eat it. Because we are the Magpie Army, and we will rise again.

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