Andy and I are currently on school holidays, which is obviously the best part of the year for all teachers. Not so much for parents of school aged children, I assume. I’m just starting my third (and final) week off, Andy has had one week less. My school has an extra week of holidays during the winter break; it’s a private school thing. We have enjoyed not travelling for once, spending our time enjoying the crisp, sunny winter days together. Ella has still gone to daycare two days a week, which are luxury “days off” for Andy and I. We’ve got lots of jobs done around the house, and spent time doing things we enjoy: Andy is playing golf right now, and so far today I’ve gone to a yoga class, done a bit of school work, and now I’m sitting in a café writing this blog post on my Mac. I’m pretending I’m some sort of freelance writer doing my work. Ah, what a life that would be! (In my mind... In reality I’d probably hate it!)
During the first week of the holidays while Andy was still at work I took Ella to Rosebud, on the Mornington Peninsula. A colleague/friend of mine, Michelle, has a daughter that is the same age as Ella. We were lucky enough to work and be pregnant together, and then have maternity leave at the same time. We saw a lot of each other with the girls when we were on maternity leave and they were little. Michelle and I still grab coffee together at work almost weekly, but now it's much harder to get together outside of work with our toddlers.
The girls had a great time together, most of the time. Their favourite activity together was “jumping monkeys”: two girls jumping up and down in a port-a-cot and then collapsing in a heap of giggles. Ella also loved playing fetch with their dog, Beau. Being normal two-year-olds, they always wanted whatever the other was playing with, so we had to try to manage sharing and taking turns. Sharing seems like a rubbish idea to a toddler. I mean, why would you want to share the best toy anyway?
We spent a lot of time at playgrounds in and around Rosebud. There is a pretty epic park on the Rosebud foreshore, which I didn’t get any pictures of, but there is a good review of here. We also visited the playground in Rye, located right on the beach, which was immense. Both were pretty quiet as it’s winter, but I’d imagine they get pretty packed in the summertime.
We took a trip up to Arthur’s Seat and watched the new cable cars, which give an amazing view of the Mornington Peninsula. We then stopped for lunch at Epicurean and a play at yet another playground (sensing a theme here?) in Red Hill.
Before we left Ella and I spent some time running along the empty, windy beach in Rye.
Still on my week off without Andy, Ella and I took a trip to the Melbourne Museum. Normally I wouldn’t venture here on school holidays with her, as the Children’s Area can be a bit of a madhouse. But we went in the late afternoon, and the place starts to empty out by about 3pm. Those two hours before the museum closes are the quietest (and therefore the best) time to visit , in my opinion.
The first weekend of holidays for Andy was Ella’s birthday, which I wrote about here.
Last week we took a trip to the Werribee Open Range Zoo which was pretty cool. We all have zoo memberships, which gives you entry to the Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, and Werribee. We have visited the other two but this was our first trip to Werribee. The main attraction is a safari tour in an open bus. The wait for this was about 40 minutes, plus 40 minutes on the tour itself, which we thought was too long for Ella. We are planning a trip back tomorrow with an aim to arrive as the Zoo opens so that we can get on the bus quickly.
There was still plenty to see however. There are four lion cubs with their parents, along with gorillas, wild dogs, meerkats, monkeys and hippos. The landscape and grounds are really well done, and there were lots of areas for Ella to enjoy, such as a playground, sand pit (for finding fossils) and a small indoor play centre. Ella is also equally excited by fake animals (statues and the like) as she is with real live animals. She's pretty easy to amuse at this age.
Another morning, Ella and I met up with one of my mother’s group friends, Trudie, at the Collingwood Children’s Farm in our old neighbourhood. I really miss that area! We had a brilliant day at the farm with Trudie and her son. Ella and him were running around, chasing each other. It’s so lovely to see her actually playing with other children now.
We’ve got on the bikes a few times with Ella, once just to get some groceries, and a second time to meet Adam and Charlotte in Abbotsford (again to the old ‘hood!). We went to our old favourite Kitchen for brunch, and I had the most delicious Buddha Bowl filled with all the good stuff: Quinoa and pearl barley, roasted pumpkin and mushrooms, charred cauliflower, smashed avo and a poached egg. Delicious and healthy. To drink, I didn’t want another coffee, so I had their Spiced Cacao, which was a rich hot chocolate made with cacao and soy milk, with hints of ginger. It was very warming on a chilly winter day! I’ve already googled how to make something similar on my own, this version looks like it would be pretty yummy. On the way home Ella fell asleep in her bike seat, which is always pretty funny.
Sunday afternoon Charlotte and Adam invited us over for a yummy roast dinner. Their other friends also came, who have a six-month-old. Ella interacting with the baby was SO CUTE. She was talking to the baby, showing her toys, hugging and patting her. I am gutted I didn’t take any pictures! But it made me really excited that one day in the not too distant future (hopefully - this is not a pregnancy announcement!) she will be a big sister.