Archive | January, 2011

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

27 Jan

Well, well, well my little munchkin monkeys of mayhem.  Tomorrow you are both turning the big O-N-E.  No more counting in miniscule weeks or the fly-by months.  You’re off to start your own adventures – living in years –  with the big wide world before the both of you.

It really does seem just like yesterday when Mama and Papa had to have a sit on the bench outside the doctor’s office and digest the startling news she had for us:

“I think I see two…*long pause* Yes, there are definitely two in there…”

Life and its pace has never been the same since.

For the past 12 months all we have known is that everything is times two.  Something squared.  To the power of two.

Double Love, Double Joy, Double Mess, Double Tears, Double Trouble, Double Nappy Changing, Double Chaos, Double Kisses, Double Hugs, Double Noise, Double Laughter, Double Tumbles, Double Donks, Double Bruises, Double Fun…

Of course, Mama has grown many more grey hairs and Papa has aged 10 years.  Friends, family and even random strangers frequently ask: “How do you do it ?” Some days have seen us as walking zombies.  But all of that is temporary, because we know:

All of this multiplying of two equals to Immeasurable Happiness.

From the day of your arrival, you have been our very own Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie…with attitude.

From premmie pumpkins in the hospital, helping each other become plump and strong:

To keeping you clinging close in the same cot.  Avoiding major changes, in fear of disrupting your sense of safety and comfort in each other’s company:

You have never been apart.  Not for a minute.

Inseparable.

Thank you for creating such beautiful memories.  Helping us rediscover the fundamentals of friendship and the magic of sibling love.

We have seen your absolute delight in discovering each other.

We have taken great pleasure watching you explore the world together.

Happy 1st birthday, my gorgeous boys.

May the years ahead be full of many more laughs. May you both continue to learn about the rare and beautiful blessing of being a twin.  Living the invaluable experience of having a constant.

Tougher than MasterChef

24 Jan

Welcome to Mama Grace’s Kitchen !

It is here where the pressure is far more intense than MasterChef and the critique is far harsher than Iron Chef.  This is the cooking gallery that is specifically dedicated to catering for 2 little, yet demanding VIP’s:  Little N and Little K.

Both parents The staff at Mama Grace’s Kitchen is fully committed to excellent service and meeting the high standards of its highly fussy diners.

Allow us to introduce to you our Head Chef, who many of you are already quite familiar with:  Chef Mama Grace.

Beyond her responsibilities of creating the daily menus, Chef Mama Grace is also in charge of the Kitchen’s preparation methods.  In addition, she organizes all the grocery shopping.

Similar to the hurdles that MasterChef contestants encounter in an Off-Site Challenge, Mama Grace is determined to solely use the freshest and best ingredients that this side of town has to offer – despite her tight shopping budget.  As such, shrewd negotiations with local suppliers are crucial:

  • The butcher (Who is given strict orders to provide the most tender of New York Steaks which are finely cut and diced to perfection)
  • The fruit and vegetables grocer (Where only the finest leaks, carrots and parsnips will be accepted, thank you very much)
  • The fish monger (If those boneless Barramundi fillets are not the “Catch of The Day”, we don’t bother)
  • And last, but not least, the Coles Supermarket (For all emergency, last minute peripheral items).

Also, slaving away, working laboriously in the busy kitchen, is Mama Grace’s assistant, Chef Hubby.  He is primarily in charge of pureeing all meat, fish, chicken and vegetable dishes, ensuring that there is a smooth, almost-milkshake, easy-to-swallow consistency. You will often see Chef Hubby wiping sweat off his brow – in an attempt to fight off the immense pressure – while the hand held blender whirls its way through the mixture of baby food cuisine.

Meticulous care is also taken in the storage and packing of these cuisine dishes.  Using especially made, BpA-free, PVC free, microwave friendly every other friggin’ baby friendly and baby danger free feature you can think of containers, all pureed dishes are stored and packed away in the freezer for future consumption.

To catch a glimpse of the high-maintenance diets of our esteemed baby food connoisseurs – behold the below sample menu:

Breakfast – Baby breakfast cereal (apricot and banana) flavoured, gently mixed with baby formula and fruit puree (A choice of either apple and pear with cinnamon or mango, banana and pear).

Lunch –  Pureed beef casserole with delicately sauteed potato, peas and onions, followed by a generous serving of yoghurt and  fresh pureed avocado.

Dinner – Pureed grilled french trimmed lamb cutlets with lightly steamed parsnip and carrots.

Desert – Pureed blueberry, banana and quinoa (chilled).

Due to  the hearty appetites of our little piglets special little patrons, the seemingly endless line of containers pictured below will, in fact, only last 5 days worth of meals. Hence, life in Mama Grace’s Kitchen is constantly in Pressure Test mode:

Chaotic, messy and labour-intensive.

Nevertheless, here at Mama Grace’s Kitchen, we stand firm by our motto:  “Food made with love.” After the hardwork and emotion has been invested into the cooking, the moment of truth arrives.

The dishes are taste-tested…

What are the judges thinking ?  Is it a yes ?  Is it a no ?

Whatever the final verdict is, the evidence is sure to be (literally) all over the faces of our foremost toughest food critics.

Matt Preston, you’ve met your match…

Motherhood: What We Know, What We Don’t, What We Stumble Upon

21 Jan

I keep flogging this proverbial pony…but geez…I am well and truly…exhausted.  I know there are many of you people out there who are probably just as tired or even more so.  And I’m sure you have much more serious reasons – whether it be work, personal issues, the bad sushi roll you ate last night.  But hey, you can write about it on your own blog. (Sorry.  That was crabby, sleep-deprived Mama Grace talking).

As the famous saying goes; “Before it gets better, it gets worse”.  And for several weeks (since Christmas to be precise) it has somehow managed to get worse.  Uncontrollably so.

It had reached its brink early last Saturday morning.  Waking up (yet again) to his almighty shrieking at 3:00 am,  I spent the following 2 hours trying to settle Little K.  By the third hour, Hubby and I played tag team.  Not to say that one got to get any rest while the other tried to settle the screaming banshee precious cherub.  No way.  We just had to give each other a mental break.

So, it was during this brief moment of solitude in the sun room, looking out at the sun rise, watching the red open top jeep outside delivering the morning paper (when else would I even bother to know this trivial piece of information ?), I was at the end of my tether.  For some unknown reason,  I happened to reach out to the bookshelf and picked up Tizzie Hall’s “Save Our Sleep.”  It magically opened to the page: “How to settle a standing 12 month old”

Up until that point, I had barely opened a page of this borrowed book about sleeping techniques for babies.  Nor had I bothered with the other famous authoritative baby-rearing guide, Gina Ford’s “The New Contented Little Baby Book”.  Despite being on loan, both books had just been sitting on the shelf.  They had been untouched for a reason.

Considered as highly experienced midwives and  baby sleeping experts, Tizzie and Gina are well-renowned in the world of parenting for their stringent, “stick to every minute of my military schedule and you will miraculously have an angelic, sleeping baby” approach.

These books had achieved respect and high regard from many parents.  But I had been dubious.  I had firmly decided that I was not going to buy into any of it.  This opinion had been reaffirmed right before giving birth.  It all came about from one flippant comment that a midwife had made during a pre-natal class.

“Don’t bother with those Tizzie Hall or Gina Ford books.  They are completely unrealistic,” she instructed.

I took her word as gold.  Why ?  Because I was 30 weeks pregnant and feeling very vulnerable.  It was the dead of summer.  I was sweltering in that tiny classroom with the broken air-conditioner.  I needed answers.  This midwife gave me one.

So, back to that sleepless Saturday morning.  I read the section that I landed on and surprisingly, it made sense.  I read about the “Lay Down Approach” and basically it teaches the unsettled baby who keeps standing up in his cot and screaming at the top of his lungs – how to get back to sleep.

A simple solution.  No doubt, a time consuming one.  Patience and persistence was essential to achieve success (Ha !  Where doesn’t that apply to parenthood ?).  The whole idea is to help the baby associate the cot as his place to retire in the evenings and nap times.  We’re up to Day 5 and by golly !  It’s working !  Little K slept right through to 5 this morning.  Woohoo !

Anyway, let me get to the moral of this story.

When it comes to parenting – everyone seems to be a big bloody, know-it-all expert.  And as for opinions ?  Geez, who doesn’t have one ?  All of a sudden, a 20 second encounter with random strangers at the coffee shop, at the hairdresser’s, at the mother’s group, at the shopping mall, in the park…still accounts for relentless, unsolicited judgement.

“Uh, thanks for giving me your opinion as to why you don’t think my babies are identical twins but believe me, they are and…where do I know you from again ???”

To further confuse us new parents, there is already an abundance of child-rearing advice and material out there.  I mean, STACKS.  In addition to ALL of this, there are the wide, varied and strong opinions that coincide with the plethora of head-spinning information.

But this is what I do know.  When my head is about to explode from the sleep deprivation, the loss of direction and the overflow of parenting “intelligence” – I’m going to trust my own instincts.  Motherhood is going to be the one time when my intuitive skills are honed and sharpened to its absolute finest and best.

I am not going to let outside influences – no matter how experienced they claim to be – undermine my better judgement in what’s not only good for my children but also for me.

I haven’t pointed out anything revolutionary or news-breaking.  It’s all just common sense.  But in the whirlwind of trying to do the best job I can in the most toughest role I’ve been in – I need a reminder once in a while.

That’s it.  My two cents worth.  Hopefully (cross fingers) tonight good ol’ Tizzie’s method is our saving grace (Haha, no pun intended).

Sleep Little K, sleeeeeep !

40’s Stylin’

18 Jan

That’s right, folks.  Ain’t no hidin’ it.  I’ve even made it blaringly obvious in my blog name:  I am a 1971’er.  And yup, you guessed it.  That means it’s my turn this year to step up in the 40’s Brigade.

Four-Zeroooooooo….Wowzer !

Luckily, the fateful day doesn’t happen until August (the 24th for those who might want to jot that down…).  Foremost coming off the ranks is a dear friend who for the sake of protecting identities (as well as any upcoming faux pas), I will fondly call:  Ms Marshmellow.

Our friendship takes us as far back as university students.  Both studying Japanese, we both landed in Kyoto (Of “Memoirs of a Geisha” fame) on an exchange program with the benefits of extremely generous scholarships.  It was the perfect situation:  Uni student bums, living and studying in a foreign country whilst spending someone else’s money.

Fast forward 18 years and Ms Marshmellow sends me a text to let me know she was planning a get together at Sydney’s uber trendy Opera Bar.

“Just a few friends, quiet drinks.  It’s a NON-BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION,” wrote Ms Marshmellow in her usual low-key manner, emphasizing that there was to be no-fuss or brouhaha.

A few friends ?  Drinks ?  At a swish bar ?  Sounded like a 40th birthday celebration to me…

Arriving at the Opera Bar, and spotting Ms Marshmellow et al at, the background scene looked so familiar:  crowds, drinks, bartenders, pumping, loud music.  And this iconic view :

Well, maybe we were about a week late from fireworks…

Despite the bar scene staying the same, it suddenly hits you that “going out” in your 40’s is significantly different.  There are some stark contrasts that I picked up.

Allow me to share…

Latest threads and trends

Waiting in line at the toilets, I was left aghast at the evening attire of the 20-something gals.

Can I just ask:  How does one manage to keep tugging down their skimpy hemline over their bum, while pulling up their cleavage t0 ensure their personalities are intact and THEN  skip through crowded bars in 5 inch stillettos…all at the same time ???

Or am I just jealous that I can’t get away with that garb anymore ???

iCrazy over public loos

No doubt about it, the Apple phenomenon has swept through every age group.  Our little table of old farts the older generation were no exception.  Pulling out our respective smart phones, there were the usual “ooh’s” and “aah’s” over the latest techie features.

But here’s the key difference.

We weren’t showing off the latest salacious viral video of a rugby player’s public toilet antics.  Instead, we were in complete awe over the latest  “ToiletFinder” iPhone application –  letting users find the closest, cleanest public toilet.  So cutting-edge !

 

Alcohol consumption

Long gone are the days when my liver was made of steel.  These days, all it takes  is a maximum of 3 glasses of *ahem* low-end sparkling wine… and I’m hap-hap-hap-HAPPY 🙂  Shameful, isn’t it ?

Social behaviour

Bouncers are actually lovely human beings.  What a shockingly pleasant surprise !

So polite in fact, that when they were telling us off for stealing the wrong kind of chair for the area we were sitting at, it was with a smile.  Hello, they even tacked on  “please” and “thank-you”.

When did that start happening ???

Chit Chat

Conversations during drinks, no matter how rowdy the bar is, are actually extremely civil.  Yes. Using full, coherent sentences.

Topics mainly revolved around parenting, annoying, noisy neighbours and the in’s and out’s of in-laws.  No updates on “who pashed who at the last party” or “which bro got so totally wasted”.

Continuing the party spirit

Long gone are the days when drinks at one bar meant a natural migration to Kings Cross and the seedy “Beef and Bourbon.”  Instead, our after-party option was to play…wait for it, drum roll, please… “Pictionary”.

Pictionary.  On a Saturday night.  Woot woot ! Go crazy, people !

Unfortunately, having to pick up the boys on our way home, we had to skip the game…*ahem*

Before turning into pumpkins, we headed back to Nulla Nanna‘s who had been baby-sitting for us.  In the car, I was gearing myself up for reality.  There were terrifying images of my twin sons, suffering from severe separation anxiety, wailing and crying for their parents.

But, nope.  They were fine.  Having a ball.  Clearly…

40-Shmorty.  I had an awesome night.  Why ?  Because the after- effects were similar to when I partied in my 20’s and 30’s:

  • I lost my voice
  • The mandatory midnight Maccers run.  God bless the Golden Arches.
  • The next morning, my head was pounding like a jackhammer.  What a cliche.

Turning 40 ?  Bring.It.On.

The Bravest Little Pocket Rocket I Know

12 Jan

Without a doubt, it’s been a devastating start to the new year:  Freaky flash floods leave Queenslanders losing homes and even lives; Innocent people, including a 9 year old girl have been killed by random gun shootings in Tuscon, Arizona…I don’t need to continue.

It can be a cruel, senseless world we live in.  In difficult moments, we look for some light. There is the search for hope.  We embrace any inkling of positive news.

Let me introduce you to a courageous youngster who I like to call “Little Miss E”.  This little girl was born 3 days after our boys and I randomly met her mum, Mama Tim Tam – in of all places – the Mothers Only Breast Feeding Room.  Naturally, during their time in the NICU, parents of premmie babies would constantly meet and share their stories.  (Not to mention the complaints of sleep deprivation).  But Mama Tim Tam and I have established a bond beyond the doors of the hospital.  Along with her adorable daughter, we are almost family.

This is their story of undying hope, unconditional love, loss and unwavering strength.  I am deeply honoured that Mama Tim Tam has given me her blessing and her permission to share their journey with you.

Little Miss E was born 13 and a half weeks premature.  As the surviving identical twin, she arrived into the world weighing a mere 720 grams (That’s less than three slabs of butter) and only 32 centimetres long (Around the size of an A4 piece of paper).

From the very beginning, this little fragile baby was given the daunting task to learn how to survive. Immediately after birth, the doctor’s discovered she was not breathing and had a heart rate of only 20 beats per minute.  Little Miss E was attached to a ventilator immediately.  She started life being completely dependent on breathing assistance equipment.

First photo

So began her uphill battle to live – fighting against the odds.

Little Miss E spent 3 and a half months in the NICU.  (Our boys were only in the NICU for a smidgen of that time – 16 days).  When I think of this vast contrast, I am in complete awe and admiration for a teeny weeny infant who obviously has so much  inner-strength and determination.  (Funnily, she doesn’t even know it yet…)

Each day during those long months, both mother and daughter would face yet a new challenge.  Another hurdle to get out of the danger zone.

Here are some of the amazing facts and milestones:

  • After giving birth, Mama Tim Tam had to wait five days until she was able to have her first skin-to-skin cuddle with her baby.

    Some skin-to-skin-time with Mama, who is holding a puffer...just in case someone needed help with breathing...

  • On Day 19, Little Miss E had her first trial run of breathing by herself – she made it to an hour before having the breathing assistance equipment reattached to her.

    Heavily relying on breathing assistance equipment

  • Day 25 – a  joyous day – Little Miss E made it into the 1 kilo club !
  • “Let the Mountain come to Mohammed.”  After expressing her breast milk for 7 weeks, Mama Tim Tam was finally able to directly breast feed her little girl.
  • After 13 weeks and 5 days – her actual expected due date – Little Miss E was finally able to go home.  Despite all the drips, ultrasounds, canulas, blood tests, doses of morphine, brain scans, x-rays, transfusions, daily heel pricks and other painful medical pokes and prods, this little tyke was – amazingly – left with few scars.

    Finally out the door...

Alongside the above major achievements, Mama Tim Tam shared with me some of the special moments of the early days in the NICU.  Moments that kept the light at the end of the tunnel a little easier to see :

  • One particular midwife managed to get smiles, even sub-conciously, during every visit.
  • Mum’s voice or touch would slow her heart rate, creating a sense of calm and comfort.

    Day 13: With best friend, Zebra...who was bigger than her

  • The soft toy zebra that sat in Little Miss E’s crib was initially bigger than her.  To this day, it still has the little drops of blood stains from the daily heel pricks that most premature babies are succumbed to.

    "Finally...bigger than my buddy"

When the days get a little tough to bear and general moodiness takes its toll, I think of this brave little tot.  She is my source of inspiration.  When I get frustrated about how I can’t seem to shake off that stubborn last 5 (ahem, maybe 10 ?) kilos of post baby/ies fat or at a loss as to how I’m going to muster that self-confidence to chase my dreams and aspirations to be a professional writer, I think of my precious pocket rocket.

Little Miss E’s story of bravery and and her insurmountable will to cling onto life has taught me the endless possibilities of what we can achieve.

Fun and giggles in her favourite toy car

She came into this world with so much against her.  She will never know her twin.  Yet, each time she visits us, her infectious smile lights up our lounge room.  Little Miss E is a shining beacon of positive light.  For me.  For my family.  For many of us.

Gearing up for her first Christmas

In Loving Memory:

This blog post is dedicated to Little Miss Angel A who sadly passed away in utero at 20 weeks gestation.  We love you and think of you always.  We mourn over your lost chance of being an identical twin sister, a daughter, a grand-daughter, a niece and our friend.

The bar is closing…

7 Jan

So, today was the day.  Cutting ties.  An end to an era.  A closing of a chapter.  Just 3 weeks shy of their first birthday, the boys and my working breasts have parted ways.  It has been a gradual progression.  I thought I would be sad.  Surprisingly, I’m not.  I will respect their decision: “Mama, I’m just not into your breast milk, anymore.”

My breastfeeding journey is filled with countless happy memories as well as interesting challenges.  Let’s start with the difficult stuff…

There is one incident that caused trauma and tears:  My terrible, agonizing bout of nipple thrush (Ahem, let me forewarn you that this post is not for the faint hearted…)

The boys were barely 4 weeks old when late one night, I started to feel a sharp shooting pain in my right breast.  The pain worsened as the night wore on.  Sitting on the couch, I howled and cried.  Hubby had no idea what to do with me.

With limited resources at midnight, we made a desperate phone call to the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA).  Although the number we dialled was a “hot-line” I was certain that no one would be on the other end to pick up.  But thankfully, someone was.  After the midwife told me that my symptoms appeared to be nipple thrush, I was ordered to do 2 very important things:

1.  See a doctor first thing in the morning

2. At all costs, keep breastfeeding.

Keep breast feeding.

Are you friggin’ KIDDING me ???????

I felt like shouting down the phone.  I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.  Looking back, I know she was giving the standard advice that a midwife gave to all breast feeding mothers.  Yet, did she have ANY idea of the excruciating, toe-curling pain that I was going through ?  How could I tell her that the agony was so unbearable that each time I was breast feeding  it actually felt as though my babies had razor blades in their mouth – slicing into my nipple ?  (See, I told you reading this wasn’t for the weak).

In any case, I did see a doctor…and begrudgingly, I did continue to breast feed.  So, for almost 2 months, I endured numerous visits to the doctor’s, hours of “taking my gear off” to air out my precious puppies to give them some much needed Vitamin D (a.k.a sunshine), as well as continual usage and doses of anti-fungal creams, tablets and drops for the boys (The boys also needed to be treated otherwise mother and babies would just keep transferring the infection to each other.  Lovely).

Some would call me crazy, wondering why I didn’t give it all up.  I honestly don’t know the answer.  I don’t think I ever will.  Maybe it was just a mix of hazy after birth hormones clouding my ability to make rational decisions and the relentless, self-critical, blinding urge to be a good mum.  I know to stop breast feeding was an option.  I just made the personal choice to keep going.

To bring some yin and yang into this story and before me and my “personalities” completely shut shop, here is a list of some of my more gratifying breast feeding moments:

  • The boys’ tiny faces looking up at me, seeking eye contact, as if asking permission, before diving in for their meal of liquid gold.
  • The three of us falling asleep during a feed – waking up and all stretching simultaneously. Hubby thought it was hilarious.  I think he secretly wished he could’ve joined in.
  • The drunken, content look the boys had after a feast of boob juice.

    4 months old: The boys chillin' after a feed

  • Being able to breast feed them simultaneously in the “rugby hold” position.  It ended up being a popular party trick…

    The Early Days: Still learning how to get that "rugby hold' position just right

  • The interaction the boys would have with each other after a feed – the cooing, the giggling and the eye contact.

I will even happily admit that, albeit my run in with nipple thrush, breast feeding was “pleasurable”.  As far as learning curves go, it has been a motherhood experience that took me to the moon and back.  And no doubt, I will miss the bonding that breast feeding provided my boys and I.

These days, I’m getting to know the twins in other fun ways.  For instance, feeding them their bottles like little lambs is just as memorable and adorable.

Today

On another up-side, I can finally reclaim my beloved breasts as my own property.  (Yay !)  Although, Hubby is adamant that he’s got dibs.  He wishes.

So, my little munchkins, the bar is closing.  Last drinks have been served.  You have both been wonderful patrons.

Christmas Holiday Ramblings

3 Jan

Talk about ending the year with a bang !  Yet, if you think I have tales of fabulous NYE parties filled with champagne and canapés, you are sorely mistaken, my friend.

Having to sacrifice my front seat to an (almost) industrial-sized air cooler, awkwardly-shaped giant breast feeding pillow, Baby Bjorns and a huge plastic tub filled with baby bottles and feeding utensils, I’m squashed in the back seat of our family car, taking position next to my (finally) sleeping boys as I type into my iPad.  We’re driving back home to Sydney after a 10 day whirlwind tour of visiting family – both Hubby’s and mine.  As far as schedules go, this year was no different from any other:  Christmas with Hubby’s family then ringing in the New Year with mine at the “Big Roundabout” (also known as Canberra).  Nothing too riveting, but always guaranteed of little or no travel dramas.

Backseat View: Hubby befriending the air-cooler and giant breastfeeding pillow

This year of course though, there is a slight catch – there are two extra munchkins joining in the fun ride.  Two little people demanding a ton of attention and requiring a truck (or in our case, Falcon sedan) load of maintenance.  Who would’ve thought that just two teeny tiny humans could create such brouhaha ?

Are we there yet ? Are we there yet ?: Heading for the "Big Roundabout"

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but dear people, I am friggin’ exhausted !!!  I’m also feeling jipped off.  Like an irate shopper who missed out on the last pair of Nine West end of year discounted gladiator sandals, my gripe is: “What the heck happened to my Christmas holiday ???”

A combination of sticky hot summer weather, unfamiliar surroundings and a myriad of Christmas commotion have all contributed to the disorder, discomfort and inconveniences of our first family Christmas holiday.  Joy of joys.

Oh, I guess it didn’t help that Little N had a fever of 39 degrees after Christmas, prompting 2 trips to the doctor.  Then, of course, it’s inevitable when one twin gets sick, the other one soon surely follows.  Little K, making his early start to the calls of sibling rivalry, topped his older brother’s temperature one night at 39.5 degrees.  Hence, there was a week of restless, sleepless nights, mastering the tricky juggling act of settling two unhappy, wailing babies whilst administering them with doses of children’s panadol and anti-biotics.  Did I tell you how exhausted I am ?

My dear readers, you will be happy to know there were some positives. One especially, was the life-saving-breaking-the-mundane local swimming pool.  The smiles on the boys’ faces as they splashed and whirled around in the baby pool was priceless.  It was also at this very pool where we introduced the boys to two evils invented by this sinful world: chocolate and ice cream.

"Hmmm...what is this ?": Little N's introduction to chocolate and ice cream

Little K's first ice cream moustache

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there you have it: Summer colds, unbearable heat, mixed in with some fun in the sun.  Just your typical Australian Christmas summer holiday…

At last, the M5 turn off is in view.  Homeward bound.  Sweet homeward bound.

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