December 30, 2009

Sweet Sleeping Baby

Gorgeous baby Ila let me take her picture during her 1st month in the world.

She can sleep like a bear in hibernation - handy skill as the daughter of a drummer.

And she smiled on cue when I cracked a joke, which pretty much means we're friends for life.

x

December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas


May your holiday season be filled with good food


Dear friends to share it with


A bit of silliness along the way


And most of all, true rejoicing as we remember the Light of the world, Heaven's Son, come to earth as a baby to rescue us.
Such love!

C x

December 17, 2009

Pic of the Week.. Cue mornful strings..

A box arrived on our doorstep today & what should it contain? Packets of Aussie lollies, which as a youngster were mostly reserved for Christmas Day.

Eclairs. Minties. Columbines.

These packets of caramel, minty, chocolatey goodness were all I needed to fill-up beyond bulging, ruining any chance of eating Grandma's cold cuts at Christmas lunch.

Guaranteed, I had at least one of these lollies stuck in my teeth till my tongue felt fuzzy from all the sugar.. Along with permanently sticky fingers from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day.

(Notice I said at least one. Gosh.. Are you getting a picture of me as a child? Grubby & chubby? Yup!)

When grocery bags had a hint of these it meant school was near finished, summer had arrived, we could run-around under sprinklers & let watermelon run down our chins. And best of all Christmas was close-by.

On the flip - here it means it's freezing cold, I have to drink eggnog & wear itchy woolen items to avoid becoming a human icicle.

As we face our first ever Christmas alone, without any family, at all, anywhere - (not a hint.. at all.. anywhere) - well, lets just say we're feeling a liiiittle morose & a touch nostalgic.

The upside? No one tapping my hand away from the lolly bowl & no having to devise sneaky maneuvers into the "grown-ups" living room to snag a handful. I shall gorge myself in delightful, grown-up peace!

Oh - and thanks mum!!! Once I'm done lying in the fetal position hugging my childhood teddybear on-top of the lollies, I'll really enjoy them!

x

December 10, 2009

Food GlorioUS Food #3

We were up at 5:30am this morning to hit a bustling LA freeway by 6:15am. Dearly-me... Not surprisingly, breakfast was looow on our list of priorities. (as was communicating & general in-car-smiles, but that's for another time!).

So by 10:15am I was STAR-ving, my stomach was literally composing it's own tune. A good plate of real diner food was a must!

Here is what we found, & loved, & want to pass-on...

Food: Greasy spoon breakfast plates!
Vendor: Rae's Resaturant
Place: Santa Monica, CA

As promised, Rae's serves fresh, quick & cheap breakfast plates all day.

With a homely & charming original 50's interior to perfectly compliment the stomach-filling food.

So there you have it! Rae's... Is there anything better when in a hunger-predicament?

x

December 4, 2009

You're My Home

This day 5 years ago...
Oh, so young & in love.

Today - still in love. And young. Young-ish. Yes?

5 years seems momentous to me*. It's only a small number in counting, but in sharing life & work & travel & living space it feels like a significant amount of time!

I'm amazed at what we've crammed in to 5 years, & perhaps a little terrified of what we'll cram into the next 5! What should I be prepared for? What should my suitcase be prepared for? Do I have appropriate walking shoes?

It's been quite a journey... Some days it's left us feeling homeless & not entirely sure where we belong. Is home here, Australia or somewhere else?

Quite perfectly, with his God-given insight & wisdom, the exact message Reesy gave us on the day we got married has rung very true every day since - we are each others home. With Christ at the center, we have all we need in one another.

I pray the grace of God will take us through many more years to come & keep our home strong.

And thank you beloved rockstar of mine! Your patience & kindness is undeserved.

x

*After reading Nathan's card for our anniversary, complete with sentiments of love & future plans....

Me: aw, thanks babe. Wow, 50 years seems like a looooong time.
Nate: I can't believe that's the only thing you got out of my card.

December 1, 2009

Winner Winner, Turkey Dinner

This year's Thanksgiving adventures took us to Round Top, Texas - a town small in population (77!) but huge in Texan culture, food & hospitality.

Earlier in the year we dropped enough "lonely-Australian" hints with Keely & Gabe that they couldn't really leave us behind! So after a quick stop in Austin, to redeem the Austin Downer of '08, we found ourselves at a picnic table in the warm November sunshine of Texas with the Orr family.

Nate with our lovely & gracious hosts - Tommy, Kelsey, Kathy & Keely
(Gabe is there too! Flying below the radar)


And that was just the beginning... In 3.5 days we were immersed in a land of new traditions, foods, accents & football cheers.


From wandering antique stores, to navigating crowded college football stadiums...

From the making of two pies, to playing washers...


From some lazy porch hangs to some lazy long-horn bulls...

It was like being with family but in a foreign land where we didn't quite speak the language - we loved every second of it & are wondering who we call to book ourselves in for next year!

As is becoming my habit, here are some extra pictures in the oh-so-modern slideshow format.

November 27, 2009

Till I have a second more...

... here is 1 picture chosen from 300+ taken during our Thanksgiving celebrations in Texas.

Gabe, Keely & Nate

I flicked through hundreds of snaps, taken since we arrived here on Wednesday, and I picked this one because....??

I was a little overwhelmed at the quantity of pictures... I have an unshakable love for scenery and objects, which are of little value here... I'm sleepy & need to go to bed... And most importantly, it captures the heart of this holiday trip - three of my favorite people outside at lovely Round Top enjoying a Thanksgiving feast!

I will expand upon this post soon. But first I must sing, sleep & Tetris my way through a 13.5 hr drive home to Nashville.

C x

November 16, 2009

Lego

This past week we were in Nth Carolina! Things of note in an otherwise pretty normal week...

- we were spoiled with warm hospitality from Lisa & Dustin's parents & learned all sorts of insider facts about these two lovely friends, including pictures that span the decades. My favorite kind!
- there was some poorly prescribed cold tablets from Nate at 11AM that made our legs feel like lead-weights & our brains all fuzzy. Not advised.
- and a lego store. LOVE the lego store. It was a highlight.

I lingered for longer than was polite, loudly exclaiming that there were SO many things to pick for the nephews, all the while trying to figure out how I would explain my planned Porter Rd lego-land to Nate. This guy would stand at the city gate, that was a definite...

So many little lego heads waiting for me to pick them a body & hat & tool.

Tell me this - why are the good people of lego-land so industrious? Directing traffic, putting-out fires, tractoring things. There is a definite lack of lego people taking a nap or reading a book.

They had a whole wall of buckets filled with spare parts.


And these little do-it-yourself lego-people makers.

I'm thinking his scowl is on account of his claws-for-hands & nubby head & lack of pants.

And of course the usual fancy displays, putting my own lego efforts to shame.

Oh, the ENDLESS hours spent building lego-lands & matching the box with the parts & trying to get it all to fit. I was seriously close to buying myself the RV / Holiday set for ages 6-12.

I was left feeling a little homesick. And just a touch geeky. But not empty handed! Thank you CJ for an excuse to purchase.

Am I alone in my grown-up love for lego?

November 4, 2009

Forgotten Bruges

This time last week we were in Belgium (so strange) and at the end of another fun-family outing, this time to Bruges.

Bruges was outshone by it's more sparking cousin (Paris) & missed getting some air-time. But now, with the travels all done 'til Saturday & as I re-work the groove in our couch at home, I thought it quite unfair that such a charming & stylish little treasure got overlooked!

So here is Bruges...

It's the Venice of Belgium with canals that wind through the main city.

Beautiful old Flemish designed buildings.

Row-upon-row of fashionable stores & modern design.

And it's the setting for a Colin Farrell movie of death, dark humor & the f-bomb, quite appropriately named "In Bruges". But that's probably not how you should first get introduced to Bruges. It doesn't do it justice. And it will make you blush. And sweat just a little.

Instead, take a boat ride & enjoy the city from the water as the sun sets.
You'll find beautiful & pretty thing in Bruges.

(warning: bicyclists in Bruges have a death wish - more for pedestrians than themselves! Considering that 99.9% of the population are on bikes that's a fair warning).

So perhaps more accurately...


You'll find beautiful & pretty thing in Bruges & a high percentage of fast peddling mow-you-down cyclists.

October 31, 2009

Lovely Paris

With two days off & only a 3 hr drive to navigate, we headed to Paris without delay!

Nate had never before visited the city of loooove, so there were a few essential stops to make first...

And I had last visited Paris as a loner 21 year old backpacker with no one to walk such a beautiful city with or share the many delightful treats.

Hot Chocolate for 2 at Cafe de Flore, in St Germain
(thanks for the tip Helen!)

It's amazing what two-way conversations & a slight improvement in personal attire can do for a gal! Paris was like a new city in the company of my beloved.

At the Louvre

In glorious blue-skied autumn weather we walked ourselves weary, from Left to Right Bank, Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, with a quick little detour to say hi to Mona. (I don't have a picture of that - half of Europe & a good proportion of Asia was also clambering for a look. I thought a panic attack would be oh-so-un-Parisian, so we retreated to higher ground.)



As the lights of Paris came-on, we finally gave our feet a rest & soaked-up the last hours of our Parisian escape. We agreed that maybe next time we should pack a guidebook. Beauty is so much more meaningful with a guidebook. Or is that my conscientious 21 year old self talking??!

We shall have to return & find out...

October 25, 2009

Split-Personality

Since Belgium has two distinct personalities - Flemish & French - it seems only fitting that we experienced two sides to one weekend.

Side A: Enjoying the beautiful, cultural, sugary goodness that is Belgium. In particular we've been in Tervuren & Brussels with good friends the Edward's family. They are a mixture of Sydney & Adelaide in one happy house. We've soaked-up the long talks over coffee & home-cooked meals. And just a few mis-directed photo set-ups at the Chateau de la Hulpe.

Chateau de la Hulpe

We've walked the gardens of the Summer Palace just over the road from where the Edwards live. Too many BBC drama's have left me wanting to "take a turn" around the gardens every day!

There's been Belgium beer & frites at the Grand Plas in downtown Brussels, along with seeing the tourist sites on the myriad of cobble-stoned streets.

Then Sunday's outing took us to Lurven, which has the worlds second largest library, along with one of the worlds oldest universities. As expected, we walked the cobbled streets & looked at pretty buildings there too!

Oh, and the daily intake of Belgium chocolate is well on track. No slip-ups there!

Here is a look-see at a few more pictures if you're so inclined:



Side B: We played 3 gigs over 3 days. Nate has a head cold that we're hoping doesn't completely wipe-out his voice. And I am paying the price of many weeks in different beds & one too many tube steps with a suitcase - I have hurt my lower back & am quite the old-lady invalid! If I didn't look so funny, it would be worrisome!