Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Family time down South

From our own little corners of the world we ventured to Southland for Christmas. My sister made the journey from her new home in Booleroo Centre, South Australia. Toby and I from our home in Auckland. All heading to the bottom of New Zealand to gather for Christmas and New Year festivities.

As we were served our water and bikkies on the Wellington-Invercargill leg of our flights Toby and I joked that it was a great date. Mae stretched out asleep on my lap worn out from her early wake up call. It was such a treat to be able to chat and read beside each other without any chores/obligations to fulfill! Funny how sometimes the magic moments happen in the most unexpected circumstances.

Oh Christmas tree....

A little weary from our travels we made the short journey home to Dad's place. Christmas afternoon was low key (cheese on toast for lunch!) as we caught up with each other and exchanged gifts. We snacked and planned the Boxing Day lunch. There were many open arms and warm laps for Mae to enjoy and she happily played with her new toys. Oh what fun she had reuniting with Poppa and Aunty Mary. 

Magical book with lights, falling snow and music. 

Boxing Day morning was sunny and it set the scene for a classic Kiwi Christmas. My sister had prepared a beautiful menu; she and I spent the morning cooking, setting the table and getting everything ship shape for the day ahead. Lunch was a success; delicious food, wonderful company and a charming setting. There is such magic when a home is decorated with love. 

Aunty Mary and a new book. Oh what fun

Beauty created by Mary
Familiar and cherished ornaments decked out the living room while gorgeous floral arrangements delighted our senses. It made a special day even more enchanted thanks to Mary's efforts. Dad too had prepared and made home ready for the day....although still taking it easy after his operation. 

Poppa and Daddy help Mae unwrap her new Tee-pee

Helping Grandma and Grandad with their gifts
The afternoon was spent avoiding the heat and chatting. Mae flitted from person to person rejoicing in all the attention. We attempted to get a few photos for far away relatives which of course is always a laugh with a one year old.......particularly one who has just discovered her finger can fit in her nostrils! Oh my. 

Trying to get a good shot

Cheeky monkey had other ideas!

Never an easy task getting photos of toddlers but always a laugh

There is always plenty to do and sort when we are home. Us girls spend time going through our boxes in the garage as we plan to send things to our respective homes. We also decided that it is time to sell our family crib (holiday home) as we are all so spread out now. A hard decision as it was a place that Mum adored. By the sea (her happy place) and chock full of precious memories. 

Enjoying Poppa's lush lawn

None of us really want to let it go but it will lighten the burden on the family. Over New Years we spent a few days readying the house for sale and honing our board game skills. We reminisced and collected mementos that we may keep. It is always a challenge moving forward but we are learning that doing so does not lessen our memories and connection to Mum. There is a sense of excitement too as we look forward to different places and adventures we might have now that we can gather elsewhere. 
Our beautiful seaside retreat

Making fun while we clean

A cosy corner by the front door

Mae's Grandma Ann and Grandad Kevin have a cosy home not far from my childhood home. We love to spend time there. Mae runs around Grandad's vegetable plot and we discovered a playground at the end of the street. I can imagine in the years to come we will spend many hours watching and playing with our fearless girl. The slide is high, towering above our heads but Mae raced to the top of the stairs (with Daddy assisting of course) and was thrilled at the speedy descent down. Oh boy my heart was in my mouth..this wild girl of mine. 

A trip to my grandparents farm on Scroggs Hills was a big day. My Aunts and Uncles had come to enjoy lunch and dote on Miss Mae. Nana had made a wonderful meal and while Toby caught up with some of our university friends, my family and I spent a few hours enjoying each others company. A trip back to the farm is always so fun. Nan and Pop have tended the garden and sheep as long as I remember. Memories and echos from childhood are everywhere, a place that I hold dear in my heart.

Shooting fun off the deck
The two weeks passed quickly in the end. It was good to spend time with friends and family. It was good to spend time with the special woman that Dad has met too. An old friend of Mum's whom we adore. It is with great grace and sensitivity that she has entered out lives. Her presence has helped Dad find joy and comfort, and to me also. Mae is rather fond of Joh too. She loves to give her cuddles and it is a pleasing to see their bond grow. What a lucky little lady cublet is to have so many to love her. 

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