My parents generously hosted a family holiday at a huge house in the country. Actually, it was only 40 minutes from our home, but in an area I've rarely been in. The house sleeps 24 people, but there were 16 of us, my parents, siblings, and all our children.
It was just what I needed after a frantic few months. I taught in my regular library job for 4 weeks this term then headed to another school to be a student teacher again for 6 weeks. When the holidays finally arrived, we did a big overhaul of our stuff for a week in anticipation of a new arrival.
So a change of scene and pace was much welcomed. We ate, walked, read, played sports, card games, piano, drew with chalk, and hung out by the firepit for 3 days and nights, and just generally enjoyed the serenity and being together.
We've just had a restful week away at Port Stephens, staying in an apartment, part of a big house right on the beach at Salamander Bay. It was so good to wake up, walk out of the bedroom and look straight through the apartment to a window full of water, and to sit on the deck and soak in the water views, the ever-changing sky, the boats, the birdlife, and the quiet surrounds. The gardens around the house were lovely too, and I enjoyed going for walks and looking for landscaping ideas in the gardens of the modern houses along the beach. The apartment had some lovely artworks, some by the owner. I'd like to go back there again one day ...
When not walking, I did some crochet, some watercolouring, a little shopping and cooking. We went out for dinner one night, and had movie nights at home the other nights, it was all pretty quiet and lazy. Things have changed since family holidays when the girls were young - there were no sandcastles, outings to the park, or boardgames. We all had our phones and books and activities, which in some ways was unsociable, but in other ways was just fine and kind of what we needed, we're a pretty quiet family. Steve and Laura began a difficult 1000-piece puzzle but didn't finish it, it turned out that sections of the puzzle were missing! I listened to some good podcasts while out walking, and continued reading Ann Voskamp's The Broken Way, (which is great and helpful but the content of which has temporarily left my memory after a day of uni readings today).
After a busy term with school and uni I was well and truly ready for a break. Actually this was our first proper holiday in a year, and the last holiday was shorter and I was sick. It's been a huge year with very few breaks from studying, and just a week at home in July when I didn't have school AND uni. This year I'm studying Teacher Librarianship, which is a much harder course, requiring hours and hours of reading. But the content is good and I'm excited about learning to excel at my job, which I continue to love.
The next few weeks will be very busy with school and uni, then mid-May I'm off to do a teaching prac at a local school to (hopefully) complete my primary teaching course, so it's a huge term ahead, I'm looking forward to July holidays when I'll really have a week off with no uni work hanging over me.
In January, Steve and I celebrated 25 years of marriage with a weekend away at the Crowne Plaza in Newcastle. We had never explored Newcastle before, despite it being so close to home.
It was a very hot weekend, but we still did lots of walking around the foreshore, which we loved; swimming, ship-watching and eating. We had a perfect dinner at the Paymaster's Cottage one night, to really celebrate our anniversary. We got a bit sunburnt and sore, and came home heavier than we left. Newcastle is full of interesting things to see and I look forward to going back some time, perhaps with the girls at a cooler time of year.
Our actual anniversary fell on the day of Steve's dad's funeral, and Steve was well and truly in need of a short break a couple of days later when we had booked to go away. The death was not unexpected, but was still hard for Steve and family. I was thankful that the timing worked so perfectly. We felt so refreshed after dealing with several hard things in recent months and much closer after such a busy year being pulled in all directions. This weekend pulled us together to cope with some difficulties since then.
Having said all that, I'm ready for another holiday ... looking forward to the April holidays in four weeks. Looking at these photos again was just what I needed to keep me going.