After 2.5 days of miserable weather, by lunch time today it was beautiful.  So off to beach we went (to meet up with yet another set of friends).  Charlotte had been asking to go to the beach for days, so she was thrilled that we ‘finally’ went.

Australia certainly does have some exquisitely beautiful beaches.  This, I will miss.  Very, very much.



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After our day & night in Canberra, my little love & I got back in the car and headed off to Wollongong to catch up with two more sets of big & little friends.  Charlotte has missed her little friends desperately since we’ve been in Brisbane, so our trip to NSW has already been a source of great happiness for her.  And me, for that matter!

It’s always interesting to watch her interact with new friends – and they are friends too, oh the joy of being a child.  Yesterday, with her first new friend, I witnessed the following interaction:

CJ: You’re my friend.  Elena: Yes.

And it’s as simple as that.

I have now watched her with five different sets of siblings (10 children in all) over the past three days, and she’s played differently with every single one of them.  Kane is a year older than Charlotte, but they clicked immediately and it was so sweet to see them together.  They seemed quite similar in personality, and I have no doubt that if they lived closer together that they would be firm friends in no time.



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Today, the three of us flew (awfully early!) from Brisbane to Sydney.  Matthew went off to work, and my girl and I went on our first road trip together!  We bundled ourselves into the hire car and drove to Canberra to catch up with two sets of friends (both big & little).  She’s a great traveller, and even after getting up at 5am and having already flown that morning, she was all smiles.

It was so lovely, after the frantic-ness (yes, it’s a word … on this blog!) of sorting out Switzerland, flying to Melbourne to finish work and packing the house in Brisbane to be able to just drive.  Nothing but me, my girl & the highway.

Okay … nothing but me, my girl, the highway and a lot of snacks of dubious nutritional value.



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Today (well, today in this photo!) we said goodbye to our home away from home – Chateau Bell: Herston – where we have been staying for almost five months.  It was an absolutely beautiful house, far too large for us to live in permanently but we certainly made the most of it, as much as we could.

I had mixed emotions leaving.  The whole experience in Brisbane has been more stressful than I’d bargained for, so it was actually a huge relief to move out.  But then … this also means that we are one step closer to our big move to Switzerland.  And that’s exciting and terrifying, pretty much in equal amounts!



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My boy works hard.  In fact, he works damn hard.  His phone usually starts ringing before 7am, and he’s still taking calls, sending emails or on conference calls most nights until close to midnight.  Sometimes later.

So this is a rarity.  Actually relaxing.

Ok, so ten minutes after this he was back inside on a conference call (yes, on a Saturday), but still … he relaxed.  Oh so briefly.  And I’m sure it was aweseome.



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Today, Charlotte’s Daddy came back from Sydney, where he’d been for the week.  As usual, his flight was delayed and while he should have landed at 6:30pm, he ended up landing at almost 8pm.  Although it was well past Charlotte’s bedtime, we waited patiently at the airport for him so that they could spend a little time together.

There’s very little that warms my heart like seeing my two loves together.  Despite his constant travelling – I estimate that he’s been away for around a third of her life – they have the most beautiful bond.  He’s a very hands-on, capable Daddy and he adores his girl.  And she adores him in return.

 



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My daughter is, quite simply, a goose.  She’s an entertainer, a comedian, and an absolute quirkasaurus.  She’s a typical Leo in almost every sense – she loves being the centre of attention and she loves to make people laugh.  She’s also incredibly imaginative & creative, and this started at a very early age – I can clearly remember her engaging in imaginative play at twelve months old, which absolutely blew me away.  If I had to guess now what she would be when she grows up, I would have to say an entertainer of some sort.

Her most favourite thing to do at the moment is sing, and dance.  But rarely does she stick to the usual words of the song – she changes them to suit her mood, her surroundings, her current activities.  And always, always, if she changes the words, when she finishes, she informs us “That was a tricky song!”.  Her creativity and imagination are astounding.

Yesterday, in between packing, packing & more packing, I snuck down to visit my girl, who is spending a couple of days with her Grandma & Pop.  Pop was watering the lawn & cleaning the driveway, and it didn’t take long for Charlotte to go from getting her feet wet to the whole shebang.  Of course, this necessitated a song, and a dance!  ”I’m a duck, I’m a duck, I’m a quack quack duck! I’m a penguin! Swim, swim, swim, la la laaaaaaaa!”.

She is amazing.  She rocks my world.

 



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I’m a little lost for words when it comes to today’s photo.  I feel like I have so much to say, but that nothing will come out.  I know I won’t be able to adequately express myself, no matter how long I sit here & look at this screen, and down at the keyboard.

I don’t believe in soulmates.  But if I did, Nichole would be mine.  I have literally never known my life without her in it – she being my cousin, and having been born three years & three days before I was.  She’s more like a sister than a cousin, and she’s absolutely my best friend in the entire world.  In fact, I think if we were sisters, we wouldn’t be as close as we are, as we have managed to avoid any sibling-y type conflict.  I can honestly say that I can’t recall even as much as a disagreement between us.

It’s been a blessing to be in Brisbane the past five months, in that we have been able to spend so much time together.  Nichole has Wednesdays off, and we’ve spent almost every one together – sometimes with Charlotte, sometimes with Jess, sometimes all four of us, and sometimes just the two of us.  And every one has been so special, but bittersweet, knowing that our time together is coming to an end.  Our two little families just fit perfectly together – all six of us pretty much just plain adore each other.

I’ve always looked up to Nichole.  She’s one of my role models as a mother, and a person.  She’s not had an easy life, but she has raised two beautiful children into two incredible young adults and I am so very proud of her.  If I can be half the mother she is, then I will be over the moon.

Nichole, you already know how much I love you.  I cannot wait until you come to visit us in Switzerland, and we can tick off some of the things in your book & do everything in the brochure as well. xo

 



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My poor sweet girl has had a rough trot lately.  She misses our home in Melbourne, and everything associated with it – our actual house, our animals, her friends, her daycare Mum, her cubby house.  In short, she misses her life as she’s always known it.  Her Daddy’s been travelling every week again, and even her Mummy has had to go away a few times.  On top of that, she’s been sick, and in the past week has been struck not once, but twice, with a mystery belly-ache.  It’s a level of pain that I’ve never seen her in before, and it breaks my heart into a million pieces.

I’ve tried as much as I can to keep her as happy as possible, and to find little pockets of joy for her wherever I can.  Scooting to the park, reading stories together, snuggling on the couch in front of Dora or Peppa.  A jump on the trampoline, lizard & turkey spotting in the backyard, a sneaky ice cream before dinner (shhh … don’t tell Daddy!).

And one of my favourite things to do when I was a child – running barefoot through the sprinkler in the back yard.  It takes her a little while to get into it – “But Mummy, I’ll get wet!” “Yes darling, that’s the idea!” – but when she does, she absolutely loves it.  I’m sure it’s done all over the world, but I do feel that there’s something so very Australian about it … especially when there’s a Hills Hoist, some corrugated iron & a garden hose to complete the picture!



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The house we are living in up here in Brisbane has a pool.  I’m a little ashamed to say that we haven’t taken full advantage of it, despite the fact that it’s certainly been warm enough over the past couple of months.  The main reason, I suppose, is that Matthew has been commuting to Sydney ever since it’s been warm enough to swim, and  I’m not a confident swimmer.  Actually, I’m quite nervous in the water.  I don’t want to pass that on to Charlotte, so as a consequence, we’ve stayed out of the pool.  Charlotte hasn’t been able to go to her swimming lessons since we’ve been down here, so her confidence has dwindled as well.

But on Monday, Matthew was in Brisbane, so in the afternoon, my two loves ventured into the pool.  I was upstairs, but I could easily hear Charlotte’s giggles and shrieks of delight.  I had bought her some floaties, and “They help me swim, Mummy!”.  It was so lovely to see our one-time water-baby back in her element, confidently swimming on her own.  The Dora kickboard even got a workout, although we were told “No, that’s not how you use it, that’s my surfboard.”.  As you can see below, no matter how she used it, balance was a little bit of a problem!



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