Another year of pictures. And what a year it has been! Full of two growing boys, school, travels and quality time as a family of four. It is amazing to look back at the start of the 52 Project and see how little my guys look. I can hardly stand how much they have grown. Wishing for a new year of peace and love and empathy and tolerance. Here we come 2017!
On our drive back east from Greymouth we stopped at a natural rock formation called the Castle Rocks. They were massive limestone rocks perched up on a grassy hillside. Some of them were cave like, some of them looked like animals or faces. Some seemed intentional but really it was just the wind cutting into the limestone to create interesting texture and shape. We scrambled up a path to get a closer look and then baa'd at the sheep in our return to the car. It was the perfect way to stretch our legs before getting back in the car for the final push back to Christchurch.
Back in New Zealand and wow, the pictures just do not do this place justice. We drove from the east coast (Christchurch) to the west coast (Greymouth) in a mere 3 hours mind you and the scenery was just beautiful. The mountains are craggy and barren at some points and green and lush at others. The wind was strong and biting but the sun was warm on your back. Rugged and amazing countryside to drive through.
Once we made it to the coast (on a beautiful, bluebird sky day) we made our way down to the Tasman sea. The wind was whipping and the waves were frothy. It was a beach of smooth round and oblong rocks which we all wandered around saying ohh, look now this must be the perfect rock. Only to drop that one and find another all too perfect rock. Huck was especially keen on the rock hunt and at times was wobbling around clutching a rock in each hand. Oliver had a bit more of a discerning rock palate and was quick to share if he in fact disagreed with your rock assessment. Matthew's job was to keep us all in check with the number of rocks we actually left the beach with. I was ready to ship a container home!
When I was younger, I always imagined that one day I would be a Real Adult. I'd have perfect, glossy hair, like a Real Adult; I'd wear shoes that made clippy-cloppy sounds when I walked, like a Real Adult; and I'd just generally sip on wine and be fabulous while I discussed the days events and the stock market, just like all Real Adults do.
Anyone who knows me, even remotely is laughing enthusiastically right now, wiping their eyes and holding their rib cages from all their laughter-induced weeping.
By my own naive, childlike standards, I am not a Real Adult. My hair is an unruly mane that seems to want to arrange itself as it deems fit no matter what I do, my wardrobe is full of soft and flat shoes; and while I enjoy a healthy relationship with wine, my understanding of the stock market is that it's basically some kind of sorcery.
I have Real Adult responsibilities: I have a job (the hardest one I've held, being a mom), I pay my bills on time and I'm generally capable of controlling and managing my own life. I feel a profound sense of accomplishment whenever I complete small tasks, like putting groceries away and driving a car without incident, and I enjoy praise for doing things like showing up on time or even early, because that's just how my brain works.
I assumed one day, as though by some divine miracle, I would simply wake up and be a Real Adult. It would simply be something that happened to me. And, after it happened, with my perfect hair and pointy shoes, I would be forever changed as I entered the world anew as a straight-up, no-limitations, 100% Real Adult.
This hasn't happened, obviously. But to be honest, I hope it never does.
Hey, you may say. I thought this was a note for Oliver? It is. My deepest wish on your 6th birthday for you, Oliver my bubbly, sassy, extroverted wonder of a boy is that as you continue to grow and learn and become taller than your Mother is you, like me find ways to skirt around becoming a Real Adult. That you always keep a sense of childlike wonder, that you always love to travel, that your love of broccoli is always eclipsed by your love of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
You keep me young. You keep me on my toes. Thank you for allowing me to continue to wear my hair messy and don flat shoes and t-shirts. Thank you for keeping me in the magic of childhood and away from becoming a Real Adult.
Now let's whoop it up Aussie style. Hit the beach and eat ice cream at least twice today. I love you, my bug.
Here's the deal about traveling with your kids. It's often a lot of fun. It's often exhausting. And the thing for me that I have noticed in particular on this trip is that being the only girl is tough. I get tired of the constant motion my boys carry with them until the day is done. Why can't we all just sit for a few. Read a book. Play a game. Or god forbid eat a snack in silence. By nature I'm an introvert and I need to be recharged by quiet, solo moments and to be honest those have been fleeting on this trip, particularly this week with Matthew out of town in Canberra.
We had a lovely day yesterday; riding the ferry and going to the contemporary art museum all before getting ice cream and the ferry ride home.
But today, today has been the opposite. We are around the house waiting on Huck's nap to finish and Oliver cannot contain himself. After an early morning start I was looking for a few quiet moments but was interrupted multiple times with requests, demands, and iPad needs. It all just got to be too much for me.
Why can't you sit? Why can't you play on your own? No, you don't need a snack. No, you cannot jump on the couch. I know it may seem trivial and maybe it is, but I needed those 20 minutes of quiet to face the rest of my day. I did not even get 8 mins and my brain and body are no where to being aligned. I feel cranky. And I fear a third cup of coffee will not fix it.
Here's hoping for an afternoon of fun, mutual respect and enjoying the Aussie sunshine (slathered in sunscreen, of course).
Yesterday we went adventuring around the amazing botanical gardens here in Melbourne. We played in the children's garden and strolled through the "fern gully". The magnitude of the trees and the overall lush quality was absolutely breathtaking.
Although we have been having some attitude challenges with Oliver overall this team Lehrer crowd is holding up pretty darn well. I have realized being around my boys 24/7 that I greatly appreciate all of the women in my life. The texts, phone calls and chit chats at book club, Tuesday play dates and after hour wine get togethers are all vital to keeping my sanity. So ladies, I miss you all!
We pack up and move onward to Sydney tomorrow. Onto phase three. Away we go.
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