Saturday, April 14, 2018

Vous etes belles

We would enjoy watching paint dry as long as our beautiful grand-daughters were involved. So you can imagine our joy when we were invited to join in some of their after school craft and homework fun a week or so back.  The girls aren't watching any TV at all during the week now and they seem even more calm and focussed than usual.
 I was instructed on how to make one of these paper constructions too!
 Left handed Abi is a whiz with right handed scissors.

Ella is really into teaching Grandpa how to do some coding on her beloved Chromebook (after clarinet practice).
Talking of beauties.... we've just got back from a few days in Coogee .... enjoying some very late Summer weather and these beautiful coast views (that's Gordon's Bay below)
We've started the process of putting the Coogee apartment on the rental market for a while - hoping we can eventually finance a few renovations to the place (bathroom, kitchen etc). We had a few sad moments as we handed over the keys - we're going to miss this beauty (but only for a while!).  You can see how pretty the apartment looks (unrenovated with its original "charming Art Deco bathroom") here.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Turning 21

Turning 21 is not quite the milestone it used to be, but it's still a great excuse for celebrating being a proper "grown up" at last - especially when the grown up is as special as our young Maddie L.
We've known this gorgeous young woman all of her 21 years (and Sophie all her nineteen years) and her Mum Judy and Dad Jurgen, even longer than that.
The family birthday dinner was at Belluchi's last night. Phoebe and Thomas drove down from Sydney for the occasion. 
Cutting the cake (made by Maddie as part of a family effort) was celebrated after, at home.  The Dad speech is always a lovely part of big "grown up" birthday celebrations. Jurgen's are always very dignified and loving....... as you would expect.

We've been very lucky to be included in lots of big occasions in Maddie's life, and watched your grow and evolve into the smart, funny, spirited individual we all know and love today.
 And she's a great cake maker too!
 Just so you can see what 21 years looks like .......this is Maddie with big brother Thomas way back in 1997.
 I took the pic below of Maddie and Thomas in early 2000 at the vineyard dam at Murrumbateman.
 Sweet Maddie aged 5 and a half ..........
 Maddie and the family spent a term at school in SW France in 2005. We stayed with them for a week and saw a lot of that beautiful part of France with them .....
 Maddie, aged 9 in 2006 at Rosedale.
 And a year later aged 10.....
 Maddie aged 15, with Maggie the Jack Russell.
 Aged 16 and all dressed up for the Year 10 Formal.
 Sweet seventeen .....
 .... and aged 18 at Kirra Beach, Queensland.
 And aged 20 at Christmas drinks at the Hyatt.
Here's to many more happy birthdays Maddie and thank you for including us in so many good times over the past 21 years.

Monday, March 26, 2018

E & A update

We'd missed seeing Ella and Abi for a few weeks so it was great excitement catching up yesterday. Abi loved her new Easter pyjamas and vowed she was wearing them forever. But next urgent job was getting Grandpa's (and my) nails painted. She does a great job - all carefully applied layers and finished off with a bit of sparkle. Lucky Grandpa! 

Ella's big news is her progress with learning the clarinet (she knows three tunes already) as a member of the new Year Five Band at school. Gymnastics is still a big part of her life and she loves making her body move in ways that defy the laws of nature, but look very beautiful nevertheless.
Joshy smoked chickens for our dinner - a process he has been perfecting over the last few weeks. Absolutely delicious!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Birthdays here and there

We're enjoying a birthday bonanza here (and there) this month .........
Last week there were three reasons to celebrate. There was Sophie's birthday on the 14th ....
With a gorgeous cake made with big sisterly love ......
 It all reminded me of a sisters' picture I'd taken a few years ago (11 to be exact) - they really haven't changed all that much have they (still gorgeous)? 
Judy's birthday was next (on the 15th)...... and then ...... on St Patrick's Day in Melbourne it was time to celebrate James's BIG (ending in a zero!) birthday.

The venue was the Union Club Hotel on Gertrude St in Fitzroy (Offspring territory) - Richmond Tigers territory too!
 The Canberra mob was well represented...
 And all James and Fiona's gorgeous family were there .........
 Bib zero birthdays call for funny speeches from the kids .......................

 James and all the family are the fiercest supporters of the Richmond Tigers!
 Happy birthday dear James!
We had to say goodbye yesterday morning in Fitzroy after a wonderful breakfast together. The pic below is special to me .... probably the last time I will see James and Fiona and their lovely family in Melbourne together for quite a while (they're New Zealand bound!). 
We stayed on in Fitzroy for the weekend, loving being in the centre of this lively, hip and happening part of Melbourne. We headed out to St Kilda Beach yesterday afternoon - drinks at the Stokehouse on the beach and then back to town to enjoy fabulous Japanese food at Ichi Ni Na Na on Brunswick Street. This is a wonderful city!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Canberra is 105

The annual week long Canberra Balloon Spectacular started Saturday morning, the start of the Canberra Day long weekend (yes it's our city's 105th birthday weekend). We've never been to the launch of the Spectacular before (it's at sunrise!!), but this year we had no excuse as it's only a 20 minute walk from our place.....

We quickly saw how our early start was going to be totally worth it. I've never seen our National Carillon as a gold ingot before.........

 The entry to the Night Noodle Markets looked quite different at sunrise ......
 Great excitement and billowing flames as the balloons are inflated ......
 and lift off .......

 Nothing but blue skies all around (thank you Ella F.)

Unfortunately the prevailing breeze (very slight) took all the balloons away from our view of the lake towards Yarralumla - too quickly - sigh!

It's been a fun Canberra birthday weekend for us with Enlighten, hot air balloons, the French Film Festival Program and last night's Symphony in the Park event (Canberra Symphony Orchestra accompanied by a Queen tribute band doing all the big Freddie Mercury numbers in a free concert  at Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park) all walking distance for us (woohoo).