Thursday, 25 August 2016

Nannie's Visit

Ella's Nannie, (my mom) came to visit us for the first three weeks of August, hence the lack of activity on the blog. I can't believe how quickly three weeks passed us by, and that her visit is already over. It was so great having my mom here. She was a big help around the house, not just with things like cooking and doing our laundry (which I already feel like I'm behind with since she left!) but she also gave Andy and I the opportunity to go out a few times together, which we rarely get to do since Ella was born. However, by far the best thing about her being here was seeing her relationship with Ella develop even further.

We saw my parents in London in July, so it was actually only three weeks later when my mom arrived in Melbourne. Ella and I met her at the airport and Ella gave her the biggest smile and cuddled right in when my mom picked her up. She doesn't normally give out cuddles when you pick her up, so to see her lie her head on my mom's shoulder with a big smile on her face really melted my heart. In fact someone else at the airport commented on how beautiful the moment was. Ella definitely recognised her Nannie, and knows that she is someone special who cares about her!

It was a warm, sunny winter's day, so once my mom had freshened up after her 24 hours of travel we headed over to Abbotsford Convent to meet Charlotte and Adam for a glass of wine. Andy was coaching football but joined us once he was finished, and then we all headed back to ours for an impromptu BBQ.

That week on my first day off we walked to Birdie Num Nums in Carlton, a café with a sand pit and play area outside. I'd read about it in some article or another about good cafés for kids. It had rained earlier in the week so the sand was still wet, and I thought that the toys were in pretty rough shape, but Ella didn't seem to mind. She kept herself busy while my mom and I drank Chai lattés and shared a (very average) piece of carrot cake. I really love the idea of a play area in a café but it was a fair distance for us to get to (about a 45-50 minute walk) so I'm not sure I'd make the trek again without a car.


Birdie Num Nums play area

Walking home through Edinburgh Gardens
On my second day off we took Ella to the zoo for the first time. I purchased a membership which is about $90. You can go to the Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, and the Weribee Open Range Zoo as many times as you want in a year. The coolest bit of the zoo for us was the walk-through Lemur Island exhibit. It is totally open and you just walk amongst the lemurs as they run and jump around you. The exhibits that were the best for Ella were ones where the animals were behind glass. As she can't walk or stand on her own yet, she could look and lean on the glass at the animals without having to be held by us or in her pram. I think the zoo will be a bit more enjoyable for her once she is walking, as she didn't want to stay in her pram all afternoon but we couldn't really let her just crawl wherever she wanted. The best part of the day for mom and I was when she took a nap in her pram and we had lunch, complete with mulled wine and then scones and tea for dessert!




Lemur island
Ella loved petting this stuffed lion in the zoo gift shop!
The Friday of that week my mom stayed in with Ella so that Andy and I could have a date night. We met up with Charlotte and Adam in the city for dinner at Chin Chin. Andy and I had never been there, which is poor form from us. It's one of Melbourne's top restaurants and we have been here for nearly four years! They don't take bookings so you have to get there early, put your name down, and then go for drinks until they call you. We were quoted about a 2.5 hour wait, which was fine as we had a baby-sitter at home, so no worries! Charlotte and Adam took us to a few different bars for some very Melbourne cocktails. Dinner was incredibly yummy. We all went for the "feed me" option which was about $70 each, and they just bring you a range of their top dishes, including dessert. It was SUCH a good night. Going out and feeling like a normal adult was a big treat. You could definitely spot the parents at our table as by midnight when we finished Andy and I were struggling to stay awake, which I don't think was the case for Charlotte and Adam!

The second week we went to Noosa which I wrote about in my last post. Our last week together we stayed pretty local. The weather was nice so Ella had lots of walks and trips to the park with my mom while Andy and I were at work. In the three weeks my mom was here Ella seemed to grow up so much, you could pretty much see changes every day. She is a very confident climber now, and can pull herself up and stand, although she is still hesitant to try and take any steps. She's also started repeating things we say, and when you ask her what a duck says, she replies "kack kack kack" which is super cute. 

It was so special to have my mom visit, and like every time we are together it went by much too quickly. We said a tearful goodbye on Saturday morning, and now the countdown until the next visit is on. Andy, Ella and I are back to our little family of three, forever contemplating when will be the best time to move to Canada, so that our little girl can grow up with her extended family around her (and her English family a much closer plane ride away). It does not help that Melbourne is such a cool city (the most liveable city in the world, for the sixth year in a row), we have good jobs, and feel fairly settled here now. But does that all matter when you don't have your family around you? That's the question we seem to never have an answer to! 

Fun times at our local park
Lots of fun climbing in and out of this tunnel, while Nannie works out how to use her phone!

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