I swear it was January just a minute ago. What a strange and weird year this has been. I feel as though the whole year has been spent in anticipation of the next month, the next thing. It can’t possibly be over, and yet I really can’t wait for it to be done. There have been lovely moments dotted throughout the past 12 months. Cold afternoons spent in the backyard around the fire, warm evenings walking around the neighbourhood. That first beach swim when we were able to travel a bit further to the coast. Watching the kids grow like weeds, their own personalities booming out. A dinner out, just Steve and I. Being chased around the house by a toddler with a book in hand with pleas of “boo! Boo!”. Rather than put pressure on 2021 to be a YEAR – just like that, in italicised capitals – I’m really just hoping to be able to stop and find more pleasure in the simple things. Who am I kidding, stopping isn’t really my thing. But at least I’ll try to be present just a wee bit more.
So how was December?
Cooking: I finally got my hands on a copy of Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s A Year of Simple Family Food from the library and happily spent a night flicking through it and bookmarking a lot of recipes. And that’s about as far as it got. I did make one of her recipes, a fish and tomato pasta with white wine and mint, which felt and tasted fancy but was made in 15 minutes and got a thumbs up all around, so maybe I should make a few more before I have to return the book to the library. That being said, my desire for kitchen time is waning. It’s hot in Brisbane and my house seems to capture and retain all that heat so on my days at home I really just want to defrost leftovers from the freezer and spend the afternoon outside instead.
Jman and I did make shortbread as one of his advent calendar activities which was fun. Shortbread is definitely one of his love languages.
Drinking: It’s summer! So an arvo G&T or cold wine sounds great. So does a giant cup of tea – my Great Grandmother apparently used to say the best way to cool down was with a hot cup of tea. It’s all to do with the perspiration. Maybe she was on to something. Sparkling water with fresh mint and some kind of citrus juice is also tasty.
Reading: I made a discovery at the library recently: The Blythes are Quoted. Short stories and poems by L.M Montgomery. Anne of Green Gables was and remains one of my all time favourite series and it’s been such a joy to have new-to-me writings. Plus short stories are perfect right now thanks to a combo of end of year exhaustion and a teething toddler. I also listened to Dolly Alderton’s new book Ghosts (excellent) and am halfway through my cousin Catherine’s book The Music Writer’s Rescue. It’s also great and not just because she’s family. Oh, and Ashe Davenport’s Sad Mum Lady pretty much ripped my heart out. If you’re a newish mum, I’d read it. Her depiction of new mum life is hilarious while also being slightly too close to home.
Wanting: Those lazy days between Christmas and New Years to be here. Steve and I are off camping with my brother then and I can’t wait! Although that’s not really a want, is it. The same probably goes for Jman’s transition to prep next year. I want it to go as smoothly as possible. He’s excited and I love watching it but I’m also slightly broken hearted at how fast the time is going by.
Looking: Literally: at a new plant and pot I bought from The Plant Lounge with a birthday voucher. I love plants and vouchers so this was a brilliant idea. Not quite so literally – I’m looking forward to taking Jman to see Bluey on stage later this month. He loves live theatre and has been asking to go more since seeing Playschool live in 2019. And then 2020 happened… nevertheless it will be fun. It’s not often he gets solo time with Steve and I so it’ll be really special. I’m thinking we should make a day of it with lunch out, a play at his favourite park and probably ice cream. Yep, that sounds pretty great.
Playing: Again literally: The High Low finale. What a podcast! And not so literally, so many hushing babies at the moment, interspersed with dinosaurs and the occasional game of Snap.
Enjoying: Watching the kids play more together as they grow. This time of year when we’re working small advent activities into each day. The activities are always small: a walk around the block to search for Christmas lights; dancing to Christmas carols; candlelit baths; a visit to a favourite park; making shortbread; but the excitement each day when they open the next drawer is just too cute. I’m also loving exercising until I’m sweaty (not that that’s hard at this time of year). It feels good to be building some strength back up. Playing on my SUP is also up there, which normally involves a trip to the beach, as is seeing my friends. A lot of this is basically to say I’m enjoying returning to doing things that I love.
Savouring: my time working. It sounds weird, but as much as I love being home I also am really enjoying being back both in the office and in the yoga studio. It feels like the myriad pieces are starting to come back together.
Loving: Audiobooks. They are honestly a lifesaver right now when I’m cosleeping more nights than not and so go to bed in a dark room, and when daily demands make reading more than a page hard. I really notice it at work that the words just don’t flow easily when I haven’t picked up a book in a while.
Buying: For once a lot. Christmas shopping has taken on a new dimension this year now that Jman is really into it and we want to give both kids a special day. That being said, I/we have still tried to keep the presents reasonable rather than lots of crappy stocking fillers. For most of the big presents we’ve tried to buy local and secondhand first and have stuck to things we know they truly want. And I’ve also been selling a lot of excess stuff in the lead up to the festive season to make room in the house for it all. It’s a tricky balance.
Watching: Lots of Christmas specials. I love that I can now put on Home Alone and watch Jman go red in the face from laughter. Or Bluey and watch T dance along to the theme music before demanding MORE at the end of the episode. But on the grown up front I’m drawing a blank and instead I’m returning to comfort faves again – much to Steve’s disgust. He’s no Gilmore Girls fan.
Smelling: The tea sitting in front of me and the frangipanis from across the street. I love how the heat makes their scent permeate the neighbourhood. Also the Ivy and Wood candle I had burning this morning. T woke when the garbage truck rattled down the street so we made our way out in the 5am light to wave hello to it. Lighting a candle and putting some music on seemed like a nice way to try and ease my sleep-deprived self into the day. So did a giant cup of tea.
Wearing: My Ugly Christmas Rashie, lots of shorts and t-shirts at home – the more ragged the better because I introduced splatter painting to the kids and have been painted pink more than once in the past few weeks. But I’m also enjoying pulling out the nicer clothes and jewellery a bit now on office days.
Knowing: I need to pull my finger out and finish cleaning the room we’re turning into T’s bedroom. But other than a regular vacuum it hasn’t been cleaned properly in a while so there’s a lot of dusting and wiping down and washing ahead. Maybe it’s because of this that we’ve ramped up the house hunt?
Thinking: That a mango or a piece of dark chocolate would be good about now.
Sorting: All the things. I despise clutter and when you insert two kids into a small house it is next level. So once again I’m purging. A lot has been sold or given away for free on Facebook marketplace. A little bit has been donated although there is a fair whack of eco-anxiety associates with that after learning just how little is sold on with the rest being sent to landfill.
Feeling: Tired and ready for 2020 to be over, but also cognisant of the fact we’re living in a bubble here and I really haven’t been affected like others. Life is almost back to normal and it’s nice. I’m also super excited for holidays and spending time in the family bubble. I’m hoping for a lot of waterfall and beach swims, bushwalks, chats with friends over a wine.
Snacking: On all the summer fruit, fruit mince pies, good dark chocolate, crackers with cheese or hummus. Whatever takes my fancy really.
Hearing: The butcher birds singing. It’s the first sunny day in about four days and they’re happy about it.