Some breathing space.
Time to read
A few outings.
This was Cooper's first time at a beach.
He loved it.
We normally have a picnic sometime after New Year.
On the 5th we headed to Lavender Bay, somewhere we hadn't been before,
and to Wendy Whiteley's garden
where we dodged sprinklers
and discovered treasures.
It was great to be by the harbour again, even if just for a short time.
And we finally got to take that family portrait I'd been wanting for a few months.
Even if it was just a selfie.
I've been decluttering like mad, and trying to incorporate/give up/sell furniture rejected by Laura, she has all new black Ikea furniture in her room now, gifts from her 18th birthday. I've almost reached the stage where I feel that every cupboard, shelf and surface has been checked for items to declutter. I like to think this is the first sweep with more sweeps to come, but I know that's unlikely once school and uni begin again. But perhaps with spaces slightly less cluttered I can cull an item or two from time to time as I can gradually loosen my hold on things.
Emily turned 20 on the 7th, and we celebrated with all sorts of vegan treats
(well, ok some of our treats weren't vegan but hers all were) and I replicated a delicious vegan pumpkin pie we had on Christmas Eve, yum.
She is all about bootcamp and smoothie bowls these days, so I made her the perfect card.
Steve and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a visit to the city, where we had Thr1ve burgers (I had a gingerbread smoothie), then headed to the art gallery to see the Dutch Masters exhibition, which was amazing. So hard to conceive that these paintings were about 350 years old and painted on the other side of the world. I've just read Remembering Rembrandt which was great timing.
(If only it wasn't so tiring standing looking at paintings with other people around ...)
Not this one, of course, because I'm not 350 years old.
And I bought the cutest sundress at Dangerfield. That evening we went out for dinner and saw a movie, The Post. We really needed some time out without girls or dog, just enjoying ourselves, it was great.
The next day I took myself out and dropped off a load of decluttering and bought a plant.
Because the New Me can keep plants alive.
I've also enjoyed some good viewing - Home Fires, Hidden Figures, Death Comes to Pemberley and more; and plenty of internet surfing, largely on minimalist themes and now moving onto education.
And, of course, these holidays have been all about the dog. He's 8 months old now.
Now Steve's back at work I'm responsible for the morning walk, which happens with mixed success.
But mostly with some good solid walking in large chunks, interspersed with Cooper plonking himself on the grass and sitting happily, while I go through all sorts of antics to get him up and going again.
Thankfully after that he sleeps most of the day, except for a play sometime in the afternoon and a good run around with Steve in the evening. At night, Steve and I take him for a good long walk and he gets through the night with just a bit of barking at passersby and possums.
So things have really progressed from those scary months early on when we felt we were being attacked by little sharp teeth all day long.
Here he is having a cuddle with Laura this afternoon.
It's been good to look back at photos now that we're half way through January, and see that I haven't been sitting and/or decluttering all holidays, like I thought I had been. We've actually had a few nice outings. It feels like luxury to be at home with the freedom to do whatever I want, after two years straight of working full-time and studying. Last summer I had the constant pressure to study and write assignments, and I might do the same next summer, but I needed this summer to stop and breathe and take stock, and remember who I am, and who we are, and where we live.
There have been some really hard things this month, also, but they have been balanced out by rest, relaxation, hope, projects at home, and these good family times to remember.