Australia · blessings · challenges · Christmas · daughter · family · grandchildren · Mount Warning · Tweed Valley

Christmas Eve

‘Twas the night before Christmas,

When all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring …

Well, maybe one creature was stirring. Bowie is wondering what all the fuss is about, I’m sure.

And he’s heard that a big jolly guy in a red suit might come down the chimney at any moment, so he’s keeping watch.

After days of preparation, I think we are finally prepared for Christmas Day. This year, Emma had some helpers when she made the gingerbread house.

And baby Eli looks pretty impressed by how talented his mummy is!

After a year that has thrown many challenges our way, as you prepare to celebrate Christmas, I wish you …

… and …

… and everything wonderful you could wish for. ❤

 

blessings · Changes · daughter · freedom · new beginnings · son

So much has been happening in my world lately!

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November has been a time of change, of beginnings and endings, of children growing, learning, and maturing (sometimes trying to push the issue of maturing!) Decisions are being made and confusion reins supreme in my home.

The changes are not bad, just…..well…..changes!

My baby boy finished high school. Now that’s a monumental occasion for any parent, I know. For us though, it’s our last….our youngest child, going out into the big wide world, walking through the high school gate for the last time ever, from the familiar day to day hum-drum world that he couldn’t wait to end, then it did end, and he felt the sadness of not knowing any more where this next phase of his life would take him.

So many emotions, all rolled up in one big “change”. Happy to be free to make his own choices in life, yet not yet knowing exactly what he wants to do. Pleased to know that he is no longer answerable to school teachers, free of assignments, homework commitments, “arrive on time or else you get a detention” threats, yet he still felt a sadness of leaving behind him some of the happiest years of his life.

On the last morning, before he left for school, he posed for me with my new “grand-daughter puppy”, little Forrest. I can’t say that I was thrilled when he told my that he and his girlfriend would be buying a puppy, but how could I resist that cute little face? (The cute little face of Forrest, I mean…..oh, okay, you’ve got me…..I can’t resist the cute little face of my baby boy either!)???????????????????????????????

Here is Adam, all dolled up in a suit, with Forrest (a slightly younger version of Forrest, in late September) the night of the High School Formal.

And then, last week, parents were invited to the official graduation ceremony at the school. More photos were taken, of course, well at least I tried to take photos! My daughter, Emma, wanted to have a photo taken with her baby brother, and Forrest wanted to get in on the act as well.???????????????????????????????

That little girl cannot sit still for anything! She’s a little ball of energetic fun, the whole world is her playground and every creature in it is her friend! Here’s another one of Forrest getting in on the act ~???????????????????????????????

Big brother Ben thinks it’s all a big game as well, so Forrest has an ally! Finally, I managed a “good” photo. I thought it might be fun though to add a few bloopers first!???????????????????????????????

It looks as though, in the last photo, I have asked Adam to “say cheese”….I promise I didn’t! I think he had had enough of photos by this time though…..

Also, on the same day last week, Emma bought a new car! She was so excited…..her last car had been bought in my name, with her being so young…..this one has her name on the registration papers!???????????????????????????????

Oh, she doesn’t look that happy in that photo, does she……I promise she was, we were probably talking as I clicked the shutter……here’s a better one, she’s smiling now ~

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She even bought a new dress for the occasion, which will also be her birthday dress. She has a birthday coming up soon, and says the car is an early birthday present to herself.

So that’s a couple of the big events that have happened in my world lately. It’s been go, go, go every day!

It’s great to watch my children grow, share in their achievements, see the excitement they feel as they make major life choices for themselves. As for me and their father, we are so proud of our four children. Lately, we fall into bed exhausted each night, we worry, we talk, we wonder, but mostly we smile and laugh about the incidences of each day…..

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Australia · daughter · freedom · photography

Pigs, Cockatoos?…..No, Koalas!!

A lazy Sunday afternoon, just the right day to hang around in a tree.
A lazy Sunday afternoon, just the right day to hang around in a tree.

As promised, here is the follow-up to my story and photos of the kangaroos I saw at South West Rocks. But be warned, you may not hear what you expected to about our cute little koalas!

Early in August my daughter and her boyfriend moved out of the house they had rented for the last year and of course, mum and dad’s assistance didn’t go astray in helping them move! It was a long, exhausting weekend, but by Sunday afternoon we could see that we had the biggest part of the task behind us.

Just after lunchtime, Ryan went out onto the balcony and when he came back inside he asked me, “Did you hear that bird screeching just then?” I told him that I had, then he said to me, “I think it was attacking a koala!”

“What?! Why didn’t you yell out to me; I could have taken a photo!”, amid thinking “they have koalas around here?!”

And here's a back view, see its fluffy ears?
And here’s a back view, see its fluffy ears?

Throughout the afternoon we continued to hear the screeching bird, which sounded like a cockatoo. But the weird thing was, we could also hear a pig snorting! Emma wasn’t at all surprised by the pig snort sounds though; apparently at a house nearly, they had a pet pig! (hmm, of course, a pet pig in suburban Gold Coast….why not a dog like everyone else?)

After a while it got the better of me and I told Emma that it was time for us to take a break from the packing and cleaning. Armed with my camera we went on a search for this pig, or cockatoo, or koala….whatever it was, I was determined to get photos!

It didn’t take too long for Emma to spot two koalas up in a tree, just across the road from where they lived. I asked had she ever seen koalas here before, seeing as they had lived here for a whole year I suspected there may have been a good chance they had.

The male koala chasing the female up the tree.
The male koala chasing the female up the tree.

“No, never”, Emma told me. How incredible that their final day living there (when I happened to be there with my camera!) was the day we saw them. This was my lucky day!

Suddenly the pig grunting started again, then the cockatoo screeched! And just at the same time as one koala chased the other up a tree!

Chin up exercises?
Chin up exercises?

What I have since learned is that during the mating season, a male koala will often make a loud grunting sound! Did you know that? No? It was news to me too! And if the female is playing hard to get, or not appreciating the males advances, she will screech like a bird! And here you were all thinking that koalas were quiet little cuddly creatures, weren’t you?

Well, that’s what I thought about them. I didn’t know they even made a sound at all! But they are very cute, rather bulky and fury as can be. These photos are a tad fuzzy as the tree they were playing chaseys in was a distance away from me and with other trees in front of the koalas it was difficult to get a good clear shot of them. I hope you can see them clearly enough though to appreciate just how adorable they are.

They move surprisingly fast when they climb the trees.
They move surprisingly fast when they climb the trees.

So there you are, both kangaroos and koalas do live in the wild in Australia! We may not see them every day, but what a treat it is when we do. 🙂

A typical image of a cute and cuddly koala, just what we imagine they should look like. :)
A typical image of a cute and cuddly koala, just what we imagine they should look like. 🙂
Australia · blessings · enchanting · freedom

Ask and it is Given ~ Kangaroos in the Wild.

What a treat to see a kangaroo coming up so close to my car!
What a treat to see a kangaroo coming up so close to my car!

Around the end of January this year you may remember that I did a series of posts on all things Australian. With Australia Day being celebrated on January 26th each year, it is a great time to take a look at Australian icons, and I really enjoyed sharing some of them here on my blog.

Karma asked if I would be showing you photos of any kangaroos or koalas. I told her at the time that I would see what I could come up with, having in mind that I could take a trip to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, about twenty minutes drive from my home, to take a few photos to show you some of our native animals.

Look, a whole little family!
Look, a whole little family!

Well, my trip to the wildlife sanctuary didn’t go to plan at that time, Mother Nature had other ideas for the people of the Tweed and Gold Coast areas. We spent weeks avoiding venturing outdoors, due to the tail end of a tropical cyclone hitting us!

The worst of the cyclone was over by the end of January, but the wet weather conditions continued for weeks. And what I really wanted you to see was kangaroos and koalas in their natural habitat and not in captivity.  I’ve heard that many of the people in other countries believe that Australians see koalas and kangaroos regularly, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t. Seeing our iconic marsupial mammals, which is what koalas and kangaroos are, in the wild is a huge treat for us too!

I didn’t forget Karma’s request, although I really wanted to see some native animals in the wild! As usual, The Universe responded to my request, and during the space of just one month I have had the privilege to see firstly kangaroos, then koalas, both in the wild!

I could see they were about to jump away and thought I wouldn't be seeing them again.
I could see they were about to jump away and thought I wouldn’t be seeing them again.

The kangaroos I found at a place called South West Rocks, where my son and I stayed a night at a motel on our way home from our trip down south in early July. Adam had been to South West Rocks with his father a couple of years ago when my husband took him there for a surf carnival. Adam loved the area and wanted us to spend a night there, telling me I would find heaps of very cool things to take photos of. I don’t think even Adam expected to see the kangaroos!

It was late afternoon when we arrived and by the time we had booked into our motel and headed out for a drive it was beginning to get dark, so the top photo, as you can see, has been taken at night-time. Regardless, I was thrilled to bits to actually see these kangaroos hopping around near my car!

Kangaroos legs are incredibly strong as you can see here by the way they jump.
Kangaroos legs are incredibly strong as you can see here by the way they jump.

The next morning Adam and I booked out of the motel early, to make the most of our time at South West Rocks before we headed home. First of all we drove to the lighthouse, where I took some photos of the lighthouse and the surrounding ocean. It is indeed an area of great beauty and Adam was right, I found plenty of photo opportunities there.

Next we went to Trial Bay Gaol. I won’t tell you about the gaol or the lighthouse now, but all will be revealed in a future blog post. I will tell you though that the gaol is no longer in use as a gaol!

As it was so early in the day we were the only car in the parking lot and all was quiet around the gaol, as I walked around snap, snap, snapping away with my camera. I walked up to the main entrance of the gaol and as I continued to take photos a movement caught my eye.

They jumped right up to me! Aren't they beautiful?
They jumped right up to me! Aren’t they beautiful?

At first I thought I was imagining things, but no, there they were, a mama, papa and little baby kangaroo ~ a whole family! All three looked very alert and I knew that they had heard the click of the camera and had seen me there, so I stayed still. Low and behold, suddenly, all three of them decided to come over and say hello to me!

I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful they were, with their big black-brown eyes, and the softest of fur. Well, I couldn’t touch them, they were behind the gate of the gaol, but I have touched kangaroo fur before and believe me, it’s very soft. I think it was all too much for the little joey tough as it quickly scurried into mama’s pouch once they had come over to me. The funny little thing, it didn’t right itself in the pouch though, so if you look carefully you will see one long, thin, black joey paw, peeking out of her pouch!

You can see here the little joeys long black hind leg sticking out of mama's pouch.
You can see here the little joeys long black hind leg sticking out of mama’s pouch.

The kangaroos stayed with me for a few minutes. I don’t know if they were expecting food, but I had nothing to give them, so after a short while they jumped away, out of sight.

Talk about magical moments. Anyone would have thought I was a visitor from overseas seeing kangaroos for the first time! It wasn’t just the joy of seeing them though and taking their photo. They were living freely in a wild habitat and not an animal sanctuary, and they trusted me enough to come right up close to me. What a privilege that was.

In my next post I will show you the koalas I saw. There is a funny story to the koalas, and I learnt a lot about them too! 🙂

And here's a close up photo of mama and papa.
And here’s a close up photo of mama and papa.

autumn · happiness · inspiration · Mount Warning · music · old house · photography

Cee’s Share Your World, Weeks 19 and 20.

???????????????????????????????Signs of winter have crept into my part of the world this week and last night really was rather chilly indeed, with the temperature dropping down to around eleven degrees Celsius. Believe me, that’s quite cold for this area!

???????????????????????????????There are definite advantages to cool sunny days though and last night we were treated to another beautiful autumn sunset, so while I share my world by answering Cee’s questions for both weeks 19 and 20, I will also share last night’s sunset with you all. 🙂

???????????????????????????????WEEK 19 ~

On a vacation what would you require in any place that you would stay? (This was a suggested question for Cee to ask, from my blogging friend Carol.)

Usually I have an automatic response to Cee’s questions, but I had to give this one some thought. Coffee making facilities came to mind, but I could go out for coffee, I can live without a television, easily, and all places you stay in have a bed….but what I really would dislike sharing is a bathroom. So that is my answer, I would require an adjoining bathroom in any place that I would stay on vacation.

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If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing short stories, poems or novels?
I don’t believe that I would have the patience to write a novel, but short stories I can do, and I enjoy writing them. When I think about it, every blog post I write is a short story really. I do enjoy reading, and writing poetry too, but short stories are top of the list.

???????????????????????????????What’s your favorite song of the moment?

Oh that’s such an easy question to answer, it’s the song that is playing on constant repeat inside my head! The Australian version of The Voice is being shown in Australia right now, and one of my favourite contestants, Luke Kennedy, sang a duet of the song from Les Miserables, “I Dreamed a Dream”. It hasn’t left my head since that night! I’ve loved this song since I first heard it sung by Michael Crawford.

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If you were to buy a new house/apartment what is the top item on your wish list?

If I were to buy a new home, my number one criteria would be that it had to be old. I’ve always wanted to renovate an old home, a one hundred year old home would be ideal, and I would like to restore it to its former glory.

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Now onto Cee’s questions for WEEK 20 ~

Do you like winter, or not, and why?

Winter, oh how I love winter! I’m a cold climate girl. I grew up in The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, where it actually snows during winter in some of the higher altitude towns. There are four definite seasons in the mountains, each with its own individual beauty, and during summer it doesn’t even get dreadfully hot. I love it!

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Are you a listener or talker?

Definitely a listener, especially when I first meet a new person and don’t know them very well. I think that everyone who knows me well would agree that I’m a very good listener, but I can talk once I get going too!

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What is your favorite juice or fruit drink?

Is there such a thing as chocolate juice? 😉 There should be, but seeing as there isn’t, I think I would have to say pineapple juice. It’s a juice that I don’t drink often, but when I do, I love it.

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What do you have to be so happy about?

My four children. Sure, there are other things that make me happy (like beautiful sunsets!) a day at a time, but ask me any day, of any year, for the last twenty-eight years (‘coz that’s how long I’ve been a mother) what makes me happy, and I would consistently say my two sons and two daughters. They are the highlights of all of my life’s happiest days, and that’s every day.

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