Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beautiful. Happy. Smiling.

I don't think that life is all unicorns and rainbows but sometimes it helps to focus on the very best, most beautiful, happiest, brightest things. Here are some of the things making me smile lately.

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A book.

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Luka, Mum and I were walking past a second-hand shop recently and I couldn't resist a quick look at the kids' books. I picked up some great finds, including this one, Luka's new, absolute favourite book about trucks. He wants to read it numerous times each night before bed. First thing in the morning, he whacks me over the head with it, until we read at least as far as the cement mixer.

But most precious is this sticker, on the back of the book. I didn't notice it until we got it home. It reads, in beautiful, old-fashioned cursive: "To Our Dear Eloise, A great book for little girls... With love, Grinny & Dah"

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I love these grandparents who loved their granddaughter enough to teach her from a young age that there aren't rules for girls and boys. It's a complicated world to raise our kids in without us imposing our stereotypes on them.

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Another book.

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For me, not Luka. It has such a pretty, embossed, hardback cover that I just like looking at it. But it's also a fascinating read - the wartime diaries of May Smith, an English school teacher. These Wonderful Rumours. It is such a different and refreshing way to read history. It includes all the day-to-day life that the history books tend to omit. I'm so enjoying it.
Friday, April 7th: Another crisis - Gosh! We would be lost without a crisis these days - they're dished up to us daily ... There seems to be only one possible end - war and on a horrible and dreadful scale. Oh dear! ... Politics today are a veritable nightmare of intricacy and deceit and are fear-impelled.

Saturday, April 8th: Trot off to Burton, alone, unaided and defenceless on that most nauseating of all missions, Buying a Hat.

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My wall.

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It took me a while after moving in to start to be able to settle in and decorate my house. I love photos and now that I have walls to put them on, I'm going a little photo-crazy. Again from the local op-shops, I pieced together a collection of frames in different sizes and styles. I spray-painted them all a nice, off-white colour and have hung them along my downstairs corridor. They make me smile every time I go past; photos of places I've been, special people (admittedly, mostly Luka), and precious memories.

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I still have more walls to fill...

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Baby shoes!

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In anticipation of welcoming a friend's little baby very soon, I spent a while playing in my sewing room the other day.

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The pattern is from a book (Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby by Anna Maria Horner) that I bought while pregnant but from which I hadn't yet made anything! They took a little longer than expected, but I was very happy with them. All ready for some teeny, tiny feet.

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(Almost as much fun as making them was raiding Mum's substantial button stash and finding the perfect little buttons to go with each pair!)

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Seeing people gather about important causes.

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Luka, Dad and I went joined in a rally against the disturbing, new asylum seeker policies in Australia. Makes me sad that these things happen, but lifts my heart that so many agree are willing to give up a Sunday afternoon to get together and say there is a better way. (More rallies are coming. Find out. Do something.)

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The final block of my quilt finally arrived!

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I'm so happy with it. I now have to decide how to finish it and get it all done. Excited!

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Birthday lunch with special people at Banjo Patterson Cottage.

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Delicious food, gorgeous location, and a glorious Sydney "winter" day.

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Flowers.

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After 13 years in apartments, I'm loving having a garden. The flowers that herald spring are blooming daily. What wonder God has created!

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See? So. Much. Beauty. This post is already far too long, according to blogging rules I'm sure. (We only want to read soundbites, these days, don't we?) But I started and I couldn't stop. I could easily keep on. Go, write your own list. It will do you good.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A very joyous adventurer

My little guy is becoming quite the zoo expert.

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It might sound silly for a one-year-old, but when we arrived at Taronga Zoo on Friday, he seemed to know his way around, showing us which path to take, where to go next.

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It was a gorgeous Sydney day and Luka spent most of the afternoon on my shoulders or his Grandpa's.

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Luka and Grandpa are great buddies and it was fun watching them have fun together.

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Although winter, it was a sunny day so Luka was wearing his sunhat. As his papa said when he saw the photos, he looked like a "very joyous adventurer." More apt words I could not have found myself.

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I know I say it often, but as I watched him absorbing it all - the birds, the lions, the kangaroos, the lampposts, the trees - he was beautiful. So delightfully and innocently beautiful.

Out of the pain of this past year, there is much goodness and beauty. Not just our lovely Luka but so much more. I am reminded of the hope and promise that "it would take our breath away to see the beauty that's been made out of the ashes." (Steven Curtis Chapman, Beauty Will Rise)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Eating and shopping in our nation's capital

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Last weekend.

A little getaway with my sweet boy, my parents, and some friends and some family. We headed down for a lovely weekend in Canberra (supposedly cold but I was not impressed by the temperatures and, in fact, was warmer than I usually am in Sydney!)

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It was a birthday weekend (for mum) and since we had plenty of catching up to do, we took it slowly. I can't say we saw a lot of the Canberra sights other than from the car window. But, importantly, we were extremely well-fed by the friends we were staying with. And we fed ourselves well when we were out!

We had a birthday lunch on Saturday at Benedict House in Queanbeyan.

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It was a delightful house - former convent, actually - converted into a cafe, studio, garden, bead shop, event centre, and general interesting little place with treasures to discover at every turn. Nooks and crannies, just like a real house.

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We had a delicious meal and spent plenty of time wandering through the house, chatting with the owner/chef/book author/jeweller/artist and fun kitchen staff, and sitting in the sun in the garden outside.

To ensure we didn't go hungry, we went home to a delicious birthday dinner (woefully underphotographed), with a divine dessert of poached pears (poached in saffron, rosemary and bay leaves!), chocolate loaf and vanilla custard.

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Recipe is here - you should go make this! Immediately. Yum. The photos don't do it justice.

I had skipped the farmer's markets on Saturday morning (Luka - always up with the crows - went along while I enjoyed a much longed-for sleep in) but there was another market expedition on the Sunday.

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Luka and I happily tagged along.

He cooperatively slept for nearly 2 hours in his stroller while we enjoyed the fabulous Old Bus Depot Markets in Kingston. That weekend was a "creative fibre" theme, and there were some fabulous stalls. I could have bought a lot, but resisted.

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Luka - understandingly - had a fairly consistent fan club trailing him around over the course of the weekend. This child will never doubt how much he is loved!

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This tea cosy did come home with me, as did the placemat it is sitting on. Simply gorgeous things. I do love good markets!

Canberra is a lovely little town. Crazy politics. (Dismal politics lately, but I'll stick to the happy side of it today...) So yes, a lovely town. Hard to believe it's a national capital; it seems so quaint. It's not quite Washington DC or London or Tokyo or Paris. But there you have it. Our little jaunt in Canberra.

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