#662 Kinder days no. 5

When you have 5 hours to spare after dropping off your child at kinder, Christmas shopping becomes a WHOLE lot easier.

That’s where I headed today after giving baby girl a hug and a kiss before doing the excited stroll out the kindergarten door. To be able to shop alone, is bliss. To be able to do Christmas shopping alone, is well…

even better.

It was great in that I was able to tick more items off my list, have good and long hard thinking processes about others without a certain 4 year-old taking up all my time and attention… oh, and then there was Kmart.

I had a few things to look at in there, and thought to myself casually when I first walked in ‘I shouldn’t need a basket.’

I shouldn’t need a basket. Like geez. The question should’ve rather been ‘do I need a trolley?’

Luckily for me common-sense and past experience prevailed, and I got a basket, which half an hour later looked like this:

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I headed to the registers QUICKLY before I found something else I had to have, and have to convert to one of those pull-along baskets, when I saw something very, very important.

Only the day before was I talking about the Christmas Wishing Tree appeal with a group of women. As we spoke about how great of an idea it was, and how the presents went to less fortunate children and people, I realised that this year I would definitely do it. Each year I genuinely have wanted to, but opportunity and remembering to actually do it, as well as being near a Kmart about December-time, meant I never did.

I didn’t realise how soon the opportunity would present itself.

I bought a dress-up kit for a fellow 4 year old girl, and wrote that it was from my baby girl. I was actually teary as I headed over to the tree and placed the gift down, thinking

how fortunate are we to be able to buy presents for one another and give?

AND

how sad is it that there are people out there that do not celebrate Christmas like we do?

It was a sobering and humbling thought. There are those who cannot afford gifts. They are in life situations, dire ones, that are out of their control, and that they have little power over, and all they can do is watch those around them celebrate the most joyous time of the year.

I always figure: if I can buy presents for those I love, and things for myself, surely I can spare $20 here or there to give to someone in need?

I do this throughout the year when I can, extending a charitable hand to various organisations. But the thread becomes prevalent at Christmas-time, where we pointedly send off letters to organisations that have struck a chord with us, or who are doing work in a field that we feel needs more help and support.

Some people think Christmas is about getting presents. The real meaning of Christmas is to give, and to give with your heart and soul, thankfully and humbly and with gratitude.

So today I am grateful. I am grateful that I was able to get some personal Christmas shopping done for my friends and family. But I am most grateful that someone I don’t know, whose face I won’t see on Christmas morning, will open up a dress-up set and smile gleefully, giving a silent thanks that somehow, through some way, despite all of life’s hardships, the true spirit of Christmas is still alive in their hearts.

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#659 Setting up the Tree – 4 year old Baby Girl edition

Ok, enough tears and doom and gloom and all round SAP.

I woke today, with determination. ZEST. And most importantly…

Festive Spirit. Because it was the 4th day of December, and this most greatest lover of Christmas did not have her Christmas tree up and decorated!

The insanity.

In my defence, I did BEGIN last week when it was late-November, when I laid down the foundations to the main tree, and baby girl’s tree…

You see, I take hours, even days to get it all done properly – because, OCD. I set up the basis, the branches first. And then I go back to lights, decorations, and then there is a condition known as Perfect Ornament Placement Disorder…. yep.

And then I decorate the house. Banners, Christmas paraphernalia, little lights, Santas in all forms… I am NOT like those people who post their trees on facebook. They have one tree in the corner of their living room with some tinsel and three kinds of same-shaped baubles in varying colours from the same 20 pack box they bought at Kmart.

No. The Christmas decorating is an artform. The Christmas decorating is a tradition. The Christmas decorating, is an experience.

So today in true festive spirit, I donned the traditional Christmas decorating hat (really just a Santa hat but it’s become the norm now) and put on SIA’s latest Christmas album (by the by, AMAZING) and got cracking.

I must admit, the hat got in the way as I was winding the lights around the tree, and for all of 5 seconds I removed it… and then I asked myself “do you like Christmas, or are you a scrooge?” and I put the hat back on, irritating or NOT.

Then some more SIA vibes wore off on me as I went on decorating

until it was baby girl’s turn. See I had the most fabulous idea months earlier, when lo and behold in said Kmart (I never said they weren’t good) I came across a mini Christmas tree… and the Christmas lover in me, clapped her hands excitedly and with much joy at the prospect of a special tree just for baby girl’s room.

I didn’t need to encourage or convince her, AT ALL.

So we got cracking on her one too. I already had some baubles I don’t use anymore (i.e. I got over-excited one year as all Christmas-mad people do, and bought too many baubles before deciding on my Christmas tree colour scheme… yep, the colours are super important) and as well as some other special pieces and a bauble she picked the other day from the shops, she got to it. (She had to wear ‘the hat too… for all of 2 minutes it lasted).

When she was done, I said “baby girl stand next to the tree.”

NEXT TO.

This:

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She cracks me up.

Once a couple of hours had passed, I was fairly pleased with our efforts.

Never mind the house is a complete pig-sty and our fridge is in our lounge room because LONG DRAWN OUT KITCHEN RENOS, but who’s mad, frustrated, pissed off? NOT ME NOT ME NOT ME.

No, we are festive and Christmas-ready, and that’s ALL that matters.

 

#656 Long drives lead to Friday Night

Friday nights are the epitome of Dreams Manifested.

It always signals the end of something tiring, mundane, routine, demanding or difficult.

In my case today, it signalled almost the end of driving.

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Photo by Michael Coury on Unsplash

I’ve been driving all over the place for 2 days. All good things, but it is getting exhausting and frustrating at this time of year. I have some more set up for me tomorrow, but having this little in-between break called Friday Night, where I chill-axed with Hubbie and baby girl, eating takeaway and reminiscing about SIA, it was just what I needed.

And tomorrow’s driving road leads to… The Wiggles. If the insane storms that have been predicted by the weather bureaus fall flat on their winds, that is…

#589 Signs of Spring no.2

I was looking forward to something special in particular. I knew the time of year was upon us, and so as I waited for the familiar ‘sign,’ I took snapshots of some other bits of garden beauty:

And soon, as I did this, one morning I went out to my car, and there it was.

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The tree had started to bloom.

It’s not even our tree. It’s our neighbour’s tree, but the branches tip over into our driveway, and welcomingly so… I had been thinking of this tree for a while in the lead up to Spring, as I remember distinctly this time last year, we had bought the Sea change house, yet we still didn’t have the keys as settlement was still weeks away… but we couldn’t stay away from it nonetheless.

On one visit, I was astounded at the brilliant bright colours this tree produced, and back then, especially so since everything was so novel and exciting and fresh, it really felt other-worldly.

And it wasn’t even our tree.

This year, each day I see it it grows fuller with beautifully flowering petals. Close up you would say there are only two colours, but from afar, I can see three: white, pink and the elusive lilac. It is so colourful, so uplifting, so vibrant.

(Left to right, shows the progression of the flowering tree over a span of days).

I know it is not my tree, but I love it like it is so. And yes, I know the expression, “the grass is always greener on the other side…” but with this tree, peeking over onto our side, I just happen to think we have the best view 🙂

 

#579 First Christmas Tree sighting

I had heard of rumours that there had already been sightings of Christmas trees in some Department Stores.

You know those people who see Christmas decorations appearing after mid-year, and groan and shake their heads in dismay and exclaim “too early!”

I AIN’T that person.

As baby girl and I approached Myer this afternoon, I could say finally, with certainty, that I actually spotted one: the elusive, too-early seasonal festive tree.

And I was overjoyed.

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“Baby girl, look!” I said. “Can you see what’s over there?”

I pointed up ahead. This was a test, you see. She had passed with flying colours last year. She has been getting as excited as me every year for Christmas, and the older she gets, and the more she understands, this Christmas joy in her grows. I want her to get to the level though, where she is rubbing her hands in excitement as early as late August.

Some Mums put their kids in pageants. I put mine through an extensive “love/joy/merriment/laughter festive Christmas” programme.

She had a pensive look on her face as she peered ahead.

“Christmas tree!”

Pass. Good job Princess. She hadn’t forgotten.

We walked in, with me exclaiming about how early we were seeing this tree. Another Mum who had also walked in ahead of me, was staring incredulously at the tree. She turned to me open-mouthed.

“I can’t believe it!”

I smiled, nodding…

Yeah. Um, it’s soooo surprising. Soooo early….

I cannot lie.  I am rapt 🙂

#564 Spa ‘me’ day

I have had the most splurgiest of splurgee splurge sessions today.

I went to the Peninsula Hot Springs.

For anyone that doesn’t know what the Peninsula Hot Springs are, they are a collection of thermal mineral waters that flow into pools and private baths in the Fingal location on the Peninsula, that make it the prime real estate of bathing, and other luxurious treatments such as massages.

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I not only bathed today. But I massaged. AND I ate.

It all started with the voucher I received from Hubbie for my birthday… last year. Yep, I am continuing my wait-’til-the-last-possible-second tradition of fulfilling a gift voucher by waiting until the last day possible to use it. And today I used it before its expiry date of tomorrow, so at least I’m being consistent.

Not due to lack of want, NO. I love the Peninsula Hot Springs. I’ve been there once before many many years ago, and now that we are locals and an approximate 30 minute drive away, I’d love to make this as common a luxurious tradition as humanly (and monetarily) possible.

For me it’s always been about the TIME. Finding time to do something for myself, and making sure baby girl is occupied or there is someone to look after her, and simultaneously trying to find ‘me’ time outside of ‘family’ time, because DON’T GET ME STARTED on Mum guilt…

So today I put Hubbie’s voucher to good use. I followed a lovely lady into a hut within the trees occupying this forest oasis, and had an hour-long Peninsula vine massage…

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Followed by a lunch in the Bath House café, where I sat unapologetically in my white robe, with only a pair of disposable knickers underneath, true story.

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Because nothing says relaxation like not removing your terry white robe to eat a very distinguished lunch menu. Tee hee hee.

And then I had about an hour to spare before kinder pick-up, so I went through the Bath House pools, intimate bathing spaces for those only 16+, and tried out some steaming hot baths, one of which was a mere 40-42 degrees Celsius.

Thin branching leaves and trees enveloped the entire Bath House area, so that it felt like a little private piece of watery heaven.

I had been all on my own, and it had been a day for me. I left feeling clear, fresh, rejuvenated, and seriously, those minerals had really changed me. They had done something to me internally, and I felt lighter for it.

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I felt all brand-new. And that is certainly something to be grateful for.

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#548 Returning to Island time

I wrote a post very early this year about a photo I took while on holiday with Hubbie at Phillip Island, many many many years ago.

Not only did this photo stay with me due to it being taken at a highly creative and deeply personal awakening time for me, but its strong and subtle message of taking it easy while being on an island, sang an especially sweet song. It spoke of not just relaxing into the moment, but allowing all worries and stresses to melt away as you succumbed to the slow-down pace of a more mindful part of the world.

Well today after about 5 years, we were back at Phillip Island.

Then it had been a still and sunny, though cloudy January day.

Today it had been a grey, incessantly rainy, and hair-flailing windy August day.

Then there had been an abundance of tourists everywhere lapping up the scenery.

Today there had been few overseas people about, the streets mostly empty and quiet.

Then the shops and cafes had been bursting with livelihood and excitement amongst the best time of the year.

Today there were more shops blackened and closed, than were open.

Then I had taken my sweet time to take the best shot possible of my favourite pic, angling the camera just the right way to get the best light, while using the poster’s message to take it slow and take it in, in my task.

Today I had forgotten about the poster on the passing building until we were nearly past it, and I made Hubbie slow down in the middle of the round-a-bout while I made a mad scramble for my phone and took a hasty shot of it again.

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I didn’t even get ALL the words in.

And yet I didn’t care. The people, conditions and comparison didn’t matter to me: all that was important was that the poster, the message was still there. And as long as that poster was in that same spot, that meant it was always going to be island time.

And it forever will be, rain, hail or shine.

(The background tree photo on my SmikG blog is of the Phillip Island iconic trees on the main strip, an ode to the time when an especially important story and group of characters came to life in my head…