#1030 The wrapping begins

And the Christmas gratitude continues.

You know there are some people who wait until they have bought ALL their Christmas presents until they begin wrapping them? Hey, YOU may even be one of those people.

I am here to say though, that I am not one of those people.

Part of the reason is because if I waited until I had bought absolutely everything, I wouldn’t wrap anything ’til days before the festive day, since there is always some little pesky last minute thing I need to get.

Another reason is that I have catch-ups leading up to Christmas day, and that too means I need to get my wrap game on earlier.

And thirdly? Well I need to see the Christmas tree filling up with presents as soon as possible. Seeing all that delightful red, green and gold underneath, with pretty ribbons and sparkly stuff, well it just warms my soul.

And for that reason, I started wrapping my first lot of presents today.

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I did it strategically, while baby girl was at kinder… and when she later saw it, she gasped and said “Wait a minute, presents under the tree! I can’t believe it! Any for me?”

And that’s why I had to be strategic 😉

#1028 Nothing’s changed

It’s been a good 4 months since we’ve last seen our ‘best man and fam.’ We always say we need to do it more often, but alas, LIFE happens people.

The kids grow… interests change… news happens around us, and to all of us…

And yet, our times together do not change.

We still laugh.

We still sing.

We still play.

We still love, respect and admire one another.

We still love doughnuts…

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And baby girl still goes to sit next to her buddy when it is ice cream time 🙂

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We definitely won’t leave it for 4 months next time. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

#1026 Kinder photos from the past year

It’s an early post for me today, but sometimes you know in your heart of hearts, what you will think about for days, weeks, even months later, when you look back at a certain day.

And I know what I will think of when I look back on today.

It was the most beautiful day at baby girl’s kinder for her informal graduation ceremony, and Christmas family day. It was an early one this year, because the kindergarten teacher will be off overseas soon, and so they held the party today.

Never mind I am already having kinder withdrawals with 2 weeks to go. Not only will I miss the place terribly, the innocent culture, the amazing teachers, the kids, the community vibe… but I will miss their greenery.

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After the kids sang some very sweet songs and Christmas songs to the parents, and were presented individually with a group photo congratulating them on their kindergarten participation, we took a couple of graduation hat photos, before heading off home with all her Christmas presents and goodies from the day.

I went through one of the bags at home. She had received book upon book upon book. I instructed her to put them under the Christmas tree, and she promptly did so, as I came upon an envelope…

I peered inside.

There were photos.

As I started to pull them out, I gasped, and burst into tears.

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It was tears of happiness. Tears of gratitude. Giant, sobbing, shoulder-heaving tears. I went through the photos, only half a dozen, but photos that showed my daughter playing at kinder. Interacting with others. Playing with her friends. Mucking about on the slide. Posing in capes.

I tearfully went through each one, pouring over it enthusiastically while trying to gain an inside glimpse of her kindergarten life from the brief snapshots I had.

They were soooo valuable to me… because baby girl rarely tells me what happens at kinder.

She will tell me dribs and drabs. Who she sat next to for lunch. Whether she had a turn on the spiderweb swing or not. How many times she went to the loo. She seems persistent to not tell me much at all, and though I try to find ways to ease the information out of her, and the teachers put up photos of their various activities week in and week out, I still don’t get the feedback I so crave.

Which is why I figuratively clutched the photos to my heart when I saw them.

It was a build up of everything. How far she had come. How far she had grown. Where she had started when she started there last year, to today, standing front row during the  songs and singing loudly “there’s a reindeer on my roof!”

I am so happy today. So proud. Time goes on, and sometimes it goes slow, yet sometimes it goes fast…

And it’s on days like today, these brief glimpses within our lives, where we look back and say “wow. Here we are.”

Here we are. ♥

#1014 Scaling heights and shedding fears at Faber

I remember going skiing with my sister and her friends when I was about 16.

It was then that I had to face my fear of steep inclines. A fear I didn’t even know I really had until then.

I had these long narrow skis on for the first time in my life, and after becoming quickly bored by the amateur kiddie slope, I knew I had to move on to something more challenging.

But the next step up was actually down down down… a slope that seemed dangerously steep.

It probably wasn’t. Being next in the skiing procession, it likely was a realistic step 2. But for me terror gripped my heart and made my arms and legs go numb at the prospect of going down it, and it wasn’t just from the snow.

I must have expressed my fear to my sister then – I wanted to ski, go down, do something… but it was so damn steep.

She gave me some sage advice. Advice that helped me through that moment, and advice that you can apply to almost any overwhelming situation in life:

“Just look at the space in front of you. Don’t worry about the next 10 metres, or even try looking all the way down the slope – just keep your eyes in front of your feet.”

I was completely shitting myself, but following her lead, did as I was told.

I made it. Sure, I fell over myself awkwardly a few times, but soon I was sailing down, swerving left and right, and making sure my eyes were safely trained on that small space in front of me, that small space I knew I could accomplish.

Little skiing steps.

I had to overcome a similar fear today… but this one involved looking UP.

It’s been 5 years since my last writing workshop/class, an activity that was severely overdue for this creative head. I headed over to the Allen and Unwin East Melbourne office to partake in a Faber Writing Academy one-day course.

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I absolutely loved every moment of it. The interactivity, the encouragement. The shared and similar ideas, sharp proof that I was on the right track. The writing space provided, and of course, the highly sought after, terrifying feedback.

Wooo.

I can honestly say that once the day was done, I felt with all of my being, that I was definitely on my lifelong path. With so much upheaval this past year, uncertainty and confusion being such a prevalent theme in my life, to find that what I had always known and hoped for, was definitely the path I had to take, the path that was for me, was a true joy to realise.

How did I know?

Just the way you know in the feelings that emerge from such an experience.

Like when you have custard for the first time and you go “mmm.”

Or when you hear a new song and straight off you KNOW you’re going to play it until all those around you start to despise you.

The way you feel when you find love, and that little voice tells you “watch out – this is it.”

It’s that same knowing.

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I’ll leave you with one of my writing exercises of the day that we did off-the-cuff… it tells you more about my journey today in ways that I simply can’t at this heady midnight hour.

Theme? A journal entry. Why, I know ‘a little’ about that 😉

 

THE JOURNAL ENTRY EXERCISE

I thought I had given myself ample time to get there.

6am start.

Local café brekkie. My cappuccino had a leaf design in it, the way all hipster cafes do nowadays, and it reminded me of my most favourite emblem, the tree.

Tall, looming and abundant in nature, its roots expansive and far-reaching, to places our eyes were not privy to.

The tree was the symbol of growth and renewal, and the way in which it bared its leaves for all to see, still stood grandly amidst its shedding, and then found the innate courage to sprout green all over again, was an inspiration to me.

It was to be a similar fate for me that day.

The unveiling of myself. My deepest and most personal stories, a torchlight shone brightly on, magnified and criticised for all my like-minded peers to see.

There’s nothing like being in a room of those who do what you do, to instil the greatest sense of doubt in oneself.

Suddenly, I had 10 minutes to go and this huge mother of an escalator LOOMED before me. What? No one had told me I would have to scale those insane heights?

I clutched the rubber rail to my left at the train station, staring at the man’s orange tiger on his sneaker in front of me, willing the mechanical steps to go faster.

But because I had a fear of steep inclines, of course it took its time.

My journey to the top, body leaning forward at a 90 degree angle, was a brutal one. I couldn’t even look back down to the depths of the platform below to see how far I’d come.

I think I’ll take the lift on my way down.

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And that is why I am a never-ending… work in progress.

 

#1013 Setting up the Tree – 5 year old Baby Girl edition

On the 23rd day of November, my true love sent to me…

A tree filled with baubles…

Lights bright and sparkly…

Reindeers and Santas…

Christmas miscellanea…

Yep, you heard right.

We started our Christmas decorating today.

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You say it’s too early?

BAH HUMBUG.

No way Jose. Have you been to the shopping centres? Have you seen the Christmas decorations in department stores, up since, oh I don’t know, early October?

Can’t you hear the Christmas carols crooning over the speakers???

Oh, I have. And I LOVE IT.

To be fair, I realised only early this week that I wouldn’t have much of a stretch of time next week to do all the Christmas tree and house decorating that baby girl and I revel SO MUCH in. So seeing as today we had nothing on, and of course, there was that other reason to stay indoors, being SHIT MELBOURNE WEATHER (Winter again anyone?) it honestly was the perfect indoor day to get totally festive.

We put the Christmas carols on loud and got to it.

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Baby girl enjoyed helping me set up our main tree.

 

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And she has her own mini tree in her room, which I let her decorate ALL ON HER OWN. Bless 🙂

The nicest moment for me, and something which I will hold dear to me every year now that she is in school? It’s the handmade Christmas decorations that she will be bringing home. I still have a reindeer I made from when I was 8, and you can even almost still read my name on the back of it’s legs, with my grade and room number – 2, and Room 16.

Awww 🙂

Well baby girl brought home a rustic Christmas tree made out of branches and pom poms from kinder this week.

I immediately LOVED IT.

So sweet it is to see the homemade collection growing, and it is something I know I will look forward to each and every Christmas… apart from the joy, apart from the memories made, and apart from the cheer felt at the pretty and beautiful sights around us.

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It may have been miserable outside, but it sure was warm in our house today. ♥

#1011 Feeling good about primary school

I’ve been missing the end of kindergarten, even though we still have weeks left of it.

Kindergarten is just different. Smaller classes. A few teachers. 20ish kids, and since you have been seeing them several times a week for the last year, you know them sooo well, as you do their parents.

The kids can explore. Out in the yard they go, giving grass a haircut, making bird feeders, and watering the flowers. Weekly cooking is a must, and in Winter it is soups and scones, whereas in the warmer months we see things like mini berry muffins and juices.

Although it is a small place, it is set amongst big trees… a big yard. It makes the premises, and everything within it, look that much smaller.

Everything is smaller at kindergarten. And I’ve realised, I like it like that.

Because, with small kids there are small problems. But with big kids… yep, you get it.

It has been a very bittersweet time for me. Because although I am excited about baby girl starting primary school next year, I have been missing what she won’t have, before it has even ended.

Today, during her second transition day at her big primary school… I realised something.

Not THAT much will change next year.

Sure, new school. New kids. Not just a class of 20, but maybe 4 of those. Many teachers. Many yard areas. Longer days and weeks.

But as I looked around the prep area today, I noticed…

The parents. They all looked really nice and respectable. I could be friends with any of them.

The familiar faces. I already knew half a dozen of them, as there were 6 kids coming from baby girl’s kinder. And it wasn’t just the familiarity of the kids, but the parents too, who I got even more acquainted with today.

The yard. Sure the equipment was bigger. But it was still kid-friendly, and there was bark underneath it.

The vibe around us was that of innocence. Naivety. There were still big trees, but this time they were set amongst buildings.

There was still happiness.

This brought me to my conclusion.

They are getting bigger, sure. But not that much will change.

Because they are still our babies.

They aren’t growing up one year all at once.

It is second by second.

Minute by minute.

Hour by hour.

And day by day.

They will still be holding on, and will need so much love and support from us, their parents, during their first year in primary school.

And I think all the parents there, me included, will be so glad to give it to them 🙂

I am feeling more sweet and less bitter, second by second… minute by minute… hour by hour…

and day by day.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

#971 Trampoline sky

From looking down yesterday, to looking UP today.

Have you ever just stopped to stare at the sky? Well, next chance you get, DO IT. Today I tended to baby girl’s trampoline request in the late afternoon, and after a bit of running about and “tag, you’re it!” doing circles in the bouncy sphere, I lay down to stare at the never-ending blue sky.

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Although there were no cloud formations to make out, no birds flying by and certainly no other landmarks or trees in my immediate field of vision (that shot above was of the corner), I didn’t care… the constant blue ‘up there,’ was the most serene and peaceful 6 seconds….

Then baby girl jumped on my hair, and that was just too close. Serene moment GONE.

If you think you can get 6 seconds of this peace, or maybe even more…

Lie down.

Close your eyes.

Then when you open them, stare up at the sky and think how the expanse of sky represents your dreams coming into fruition, and the inherent abundance that lives around us all.

You’re welcome.

Do that in 6 seconds and you’ll be good. 😉