With so many highlights of the past year yet to be documented here on my blog and with a fresh new one having already begun, I figured the best way to get back into writing was with a re-cap of our family's past twelve months...
In April, the four of us had our first ever interstate holiday to northern New South Wales. It was the perfect balance of sightseeing, family time and relaxation. We based ourselves in Kingscliff, a quiet little town with a laid back holiday vibe and lots to explore within close driving distance. Our accommodation was perfect for our needs and the ability to hop in the car and be in Byron Bay in only thirty minutes suited us really well.
Days were spent out and about exploring, taking in new sights and then come the afternoon, we would head back to our accommodation for a swim in the pool followed by a warm bath and some quiet time. At night, it was just a short walk across to one of the restaurants in the Salt Village for tea (such a convenience for us with the girls) and the novelty of room service was also a treat on a few occasions (especially the delicious chocolate fondant dessert!)
Our girls loved the whole hotel experience with the novelty of sharing a room together where they would watch in-house movies and chat and giggle way past their usual bedtime. I too loved the luxury of staying in a resort... no beds to make, rooms to tidy, washing to do or meals to prepare!
Autumn brought with it a birthday each for Paul and I, as well as our tenth wedding anniversary. With much excitement, Grace lost her first tooth just before her sixth birthday. Her ice cream themed party with five friends and three cousins was lots of fun, despite us having to scrap our plans of an outdoor celebration in the backyard when heavy rain arrived. Instead, little ones were entertained with indoor games like 'pin the cherry on the ice cream', musical bobs and ice cream bingo.
As the temperatures dropped and the cooler weather set in with the onset of winter, gum boots were donned for outdoor adventures between the showers. Visits to the river and play-dates on the shoreline were replaced with catch-ups with cousins at the Fremantle Arts Centre. Sophie and I also began regular trips to Fremantle where after dodging puddles and running along footpaths under umbrellas, we would seek refugee from the stormy weather and sit at one of the window seats with our chai and babycino at Ootong and Lincoln.
In Spring, we escaped to Denmark for our annual getaway. Days were spent exploring in the crisp country air - highlights being the natural playground, our long river-side walk down a peaceful track through the bush (where a snake slithered across our path), Elephant Rocks and the ever-popular animal farm. Afternoons were spent enjoying the gorgeous gardens next to our chalet while Paul mountain biked. The girls pottered about in the fairy garden (complete with a real life 'Faraway Tree') and played hide and seek in the beautiful surroundings.
October arrived and with it came Sophie's 4th birthday and a simple gathering with just three of her cousins, perfect for a little one often overwhelmed by crowds. It was a 'girls only event' (as back when we were planning her party Sophie had declared, "I don't want any boys because I don't want any silly!')
The wind-down to the year and lead-up to Christmas meant a busy calendar and lots of social events. Shopping for presents became a priority (often meaning housework was ignored whilst doing so). With the onset of warmer weather, we regularly found ourselves back at our riverside spot for morning tea picnics and sandcastle building. I also had a fantastic evening in Perth one Saturday with my sister and cousin attending the Florence and the Machine concert... such a mesmerizing performance and such a magical voice.
Class parties, kindy orientation, a school concert, extended family Christmas parties and the usual Advent activities like visits to Santa and drives to see Christmas lights all saw the year end on a fun note... and after a wonderful year, brought with them a readiness for the slow-paced, unplanned days of the new year and summer holidays ahead...