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Christmas all over again

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Wednesday, 8 January 2014: Two Hundred and Eighty Two Days Old.

Ayla thought it was Christmas all over again when her Aunty Lez and Uncle Cam and their four kids arrived dsto stay with us for a few days.

It was lovely to have our house brimming over with kids.

Ayla and eight-month old Tilly straight away picked up where they’d left off at The Station; playing happily in a puddle of water and eating fallen leaves (mmm….yummy?)

Ayla watched on intently as her older cousins excitedly made themselves at home, and later in the evening as we were all winding down Ayla relaxed on the couch with a book and two year old Billy.

Seeing how much Ayla loves playing with her cousins is slowly making me feel better about putting her in daycare when I go back to work in a few months.

As much as I hate the idea of leaving her, Ayla gets so much stimulation and enjoyment from hanging out with other kids that I know she’ll fit right in.

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Surprise success

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Thursday, 26 December 2013: Two Hundred and Sixty Nine Days Old.

We hit the road at 5.30am this morning, and after 12 hours of driving and 1000 kms, we arrived safe and sound at “The Station*”.

Only three out of the thirty-odd family members knew we were coming so it was great to turn up and still be able to say “surprise!”.

Ayla was wonderful in the car, better than I expected. She cat napped for most of the journey, and when she was awake I just kept changing her toy every hour or so to keep her occupied.

When we arrived I think Ayla was a bit shocked. I can’t recall her ever seeing so many kids in one place, let alone all the eager aunties and uncles just itching to say hello and tickle her chubby cheeks!

But after a bath and a feed Ayla started to get into the swing of things, and before long she was trying her darnedest to squirm out of my arms and into the dirt.

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Paper? What paper?!

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Monday, 23 December 2013 Thirty Eight Weeks Old.

Everyone’s been telling me that at Ayla’s age she’ll be more interested in the paper than the presents on Christmas morning, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to beg to differ!

We had some friends pop over tonight for a Christmas Eve Eve celebration and they came bearing a gift for Baby Ayla.

Just like when she opened her gift from “Aunty” Ali the other day, Ayla was quick to realise there was a goodie hidden inside the crinkly stuff with Santa’s printed on it.

As soon as Ayla saw a glimmer of the sparkling FisherPrice fish tank she was mesmerised, staring at the piece of present peeking out beneath the wrapping.

I had to help her peel the paper back further, and once Ayla saw the whole gift she started squealing and bobbing up and down in delight.

Paper? What paper!?

It might have just been that Ayla’s “Aunty” Kez and “Uncle” Collie nailed the gift selection, or it could be a sign of things to come.

And that on Christmas morning in two days time, we can expect our little house to be filled with gorgeous wide eyes and adorable shrieks of excitement as Ayla opens her presents.

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Rocking horse

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Friday, 27 September 2013: One Hundred and Seventy Nine Days Old

Ayla got her first horse today… A rocking horse, from her Aunty Let and Uncle Bill.

Aunty Let is Hubby’s mum’s sister and they’re from one of the most remote cattle stations in Australia.

So it was only fitting that Aunty Let would be carrying a rocking horse in her arms when she and Uncle Bill arrived at our house for a visit tonight.

It made me teary to see my little girl so happy on the back of a colourful wooden pony and I wondered (errr… hoped!) that Ayla will one day share my love of all things horsey.

For most of my life, horses have given me freedom, independence, confidence and unconditional love.

They’ve taught me about exploration, perseverance, patience, following my dreams and the kicks that cone from adrenaline, and its a passion I dearly hope to pass on to Baby Ayla when she’s older.

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Family is family

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Thursday, 25 September 2013: One Hundred and Seventy Eight Days Old.

We took Ayla to her Uncle Rob’s (Hubby’s cousin) book launch tonight where she got to meet some of her extended family for the first time.

Hubby has a huge family; he is one of three kids but his mum was one of seven, so he grew up with countless cousins, uncles and aunties in his life.

I remember being overwhelmed by the warmth, love and loyalty of Hubby’s when I first met them.

It didn’t seem to matter which side of the family you were from, how closely related you were or how well you knew them, family is family and that’s all that matters.

It’s an important ideal that I want Ayla to understand and value, despite living thousands of kilometres away from nearly all her family members.

So it’s no wonder my heart brimmed with love as Ayla was whisked off into the crowd in the loving and protective arms of her Aunty.

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Chilled out

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Saturday, 21 September 2013: One Hundred and Seventy Three Days Old.

I love how Baby Ayla is so chilled out and friendly.

For the past week Ayla’s happily watched on as Hubby and I got stuck into finishing our new driveway, without so much as a peep about being stuck in her high chair and restrained to the sidelines.

And tonight Ayla was happy to chill with her Aunty Chrissie and watch some footy while Hubby and I went out for a few drinks with friends.

I was so proud when I popped back to see Ayla at bedtime and give her a feed… She was tucked up in her cocoon on Chrissies lap, placid and peaceful and so relaxed, just like a big girl who was taking it all in her stride.

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On Our Own

Monday, 8 April 2013: One Week Old.

Ayla, Hubby and I are on our own from tomorrow because tonight we say goodbye to Aunty Shanny.

Shanny’s been a huge support over this past week. From showing me different ways to hold Ayla when breastfeeding, to being there for Hubby when I had the baby blues; it’s been great to have her experience close by when we needed it.

It’ll be sad to see her go, but it’s exciting to think that tomorrow it’ll just be the three of us!!

At one week old, Ayla is growing more precious every day!

My fears of missing a moment are turning into wonder at what new little quirk she’ll shows us tomorrow. And, as we build a routine for our family we’re learning and growing together which is more special than I could have imagined.