Saturday, 21 January 2017

Back in Melbourne for the past two weeks

We've been back in Melbourne from our Christmas/family holiday for nearly two weeks now. Although I miss constantly having family around, I have enjoyed getting back into the routine of our lives here. I have especially enjoyed returning to the southern hemisphere for the summer, and leaving winter behind! Luckily as teachers we don't go back to work until the end of January, and so have still been on holidays these past two weeks.

Ella seems happy to be back in the familiar surroundings of our house. As soon as got back home from the airport she promptly walked over to her little sofa and sat down, grinning from ear to ear. She has spent a lot of time on that little sofa, reading books to herself and playing with all her little toy animals on her own. She is starting to role play more now, she does things like pretend her animals are talking to each other, or tries to give them her bottle, or dummy, or some of her food. It's very cute. Her main Christmas gift from my parents is a toy kitchen, this one from IKEA:


We haven't built it yet - it needs to be fastened to the wall for safety, so we just have to double check with the landlord that we can drill into the wall. It's times like this that I long to stop renting and own our own house!

We have been having typical Melbourne weather since being back. That basically means that it varies wildly from day to day. Some days it is so hot you can barely be outside, some days are a lovely perfect temperature with a mix of sun and clouds, and some days we get a cool change and it feels like autumn is already here. Mostly it has been good though. We've been enjoying lazy summer mornings, keeping our pyjamas on and playing with Ella in the house, or taking her to the park and swimming at our local pool, Brunswick Baths. I've been trying get ahead by cooking and freezing food for Ella, in preparation for the busyness that will no doubt descend on us as we get back into our work routine. I am going to be working four days a week this year, which I will admit I am not looking forward to at all! 

Last weekend we were pretty busy, catching up with lots of friends. On Saturday we checked out Brickvention, a Lego Expo held at the Royal Exhibition Centre in Carlton. The main hall was filled with some very impressive Lego models, including replica cities and very elaborate train sets. This isn't normally my thing, but I'll admit the creations were very impressive.




On Sunday we had an early morning catch-up with my mother's group at the park near Collingwood station. This is where we used to meet every Tuesday afternoon when our toddlers were just little babies. Oh, the memories! We used to just sit on picnic blankets while the babies stayed in one place, happy to just gaze at the trees or play with a little toy. (I'm purposely not remembering the times when a baby would be crying inconsolably, and that mother would have to take it on a walk around the park to calm it down. That happened at least once an afternoon!) They are not so easily amused now, and were running around, playing with cricket bats and balls and climbing all over the playground equipment. Being back there made me really sad that I can't catch up with these ladies and their little ones on a regular basis anymore.

Andy, Ella and I then went for brunch at our old local, Mavis the Grocer. We shared the zucchini and haloumi fritters, and Ella enjoyed a green smoothie:


After lunch we headed to Little Creatures Brewery in Geelong. It was just over an hour drive, and Ella slept pretty much the whole way. It's always a major win when her nap times fall into place with driving times on a packed day out! Little Creatures is super kid friendly, with lots of outdoor seating and a sand pit for kids. There were lots of children running around so Ella fit in perfectly. Our friends with an 8-month-old were also there, and Ella was fascinated with him. She kept pointing to him, saying "baby" which was cute. We spent a good few hours there trying different beers, eating good food, and enjoying the sunshine before heading home.

After a very busy weekend it was nice to have Ella in daycare on Monday so that Andy and I could get a few house jobs done. I'm not going to lie, we also enjoyed brunch in peace at the fabulous Kitty Burns, conveniently located near the daycare. I've been virtuously ordering the "Kitty Greens" (pic below) which still seems indulgent despite being solely made up of green veggies. I've also been sampling cold brew coffee from different locations. Cold brew is coffee brewed in cold water for 24 (or so) hours, and then served over ice. It can be slightly bitter, I guess based on the beans or length of brewing time. I've found it to be smoothest, not to mention presented the best, at Kitty Burns.





Daycare drop offs have been a bit harder since arriving back. Ella gets very tearful when we try and leave, which she never was before. She is obviously used to having us around all the time and is not happy to leave us. Apparently she is okay again a few minutes after we leave, but that still doesn't stop me wanting to cry as well when we say good-bye. Hopefully after a few weeks she will be back into routine.

During our free days we have been working on our citizenship application, which I just finalised this morning. We had to list all of the countries we have visited in the last 10 years, so it took some time to get all those straight! Now we just wait for our application to be processed before we are given a date for our citizenship test. The current waiting time is 80 days.  I also wanted to get some furniture for our balcony so that I can enjoy the lovely summer weather while it lasts. That required a trip to IKEA, which is never a simple or quick task. Andy and I managed to complete this still married and talking to each other, so although long, it was a successful IKEA visit in the end. Furniture bought, we now need to build it, a project I'm hoping to complete this weekend!

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