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Beachside

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Sunday, 6 July 2014: One Year and Ninety Seven Days Old.

I took Ayla down to the Beer Can Regatta this afternoon where she had a ball playing on the beach.

I don’t know what I was thinking when we left home, but swimwear wasn’t one of them, and within minutes of arriving Ayla was paddling about knee-deep in the ocean.

It didn’t take Ayla long to spy an abandoned bucket and spade which she confidently took ownership of, filling the bucket one spec of sand at a time.

Finally Ayla’s interest in the sand wore off and her curiosity of the water took hold.

Without a glimmer of fear Ayla toddled straight into the sea and up to her waist, with no sign of slowing down.

Fortunately the bay was calm and the waves were more like salty ripples which meant that apart from Ayla’s lack of concern for drowning it was a safe and fun place to play.

We were beachside for a good couple of hours before my back was hurting from bending over holding onto my tearaway, and my brain was hurting from trying to pre-empt her next daredevil tactic!

We made it home and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, just like what Sundays are for.

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Sun, sand and saltwater

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Eight Days Old.

Miraculously, I awoke this morning with a full nights rest and hardly any trace of illness… I don’t know how it happened but my goodness, am I grateful!

It meant that we were finally able to have a family outing for the day, our first one in five days and I couldn’t wait to take Ayla on the short boat ride over to Coral Island for some sun, sand and saltwater.

Ayla had a ball crawling around on the beach and Hubby and I found myself keeping track of her by following the strange markings she left in the sand in her wake!

The water at Coral Island was so clear that when we took Ayla in for a swim could see the fish darting in and out amongst the coral.

Ayla also made friends with a couple of young children who were on the tour with us, and at lunch when they started playing hide-and-seek-tickle with her Ayla was so happy she nearly squealed the place down with delight.

On the way back to the mainland the tour stopped for a snorkel in a beautiful bay where we could hand feed thousands of colourful fish within meters of the boat.

Ayla was mesmerised as she looked down at the water from the boat’s flybridge, seeing the bits of bread I was throwing turn into a splashing, shimmering whirlpool of aquatic activity.

All in all it as a great day out, partly because it’s the best we’ve all felt in nearly a week and partly because we are half way around the world, making special precious memories as a family… and there’s not much better than that!

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Holiday mode

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Saturday, 22 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Five Days Old.

Ayla is much better today, 100% in fact, and the tooth that had been causing her all the grief seems to have retracted into her gums to return and wreak havoc another day.

Hubby is still unwell but definitely better so that meant we were able to leave the resort this morning and check out Phuket Aquarium.

It was fun; Ayla enjoyed it as we knew she would and Hubby was happy to see Barramundi and Mangrove Jack in one of the tanks!

Ayla’s favourite exhibit was the “creatures of the deep” section where there were strange fishlike creatures preserved in liquid in clear Perspex orbs… I think Ayla might have been more interested in the watery orbs than the creatures though.

We escaped the heat of the day in our hotel room where we had lunch and a nap then in the afternoon we took Ayla to the beach to build sandcastles and have a swim.

We had bought a sand play set at the aquarium and a few of the other children at the beach wanted to share it with Ayla which meant we got to meet a couple of other traveling families and it was nice to make new friends.

Ayla played in the sand for ages and systematically destroyed the castles and sculptures as fast as Hubby and I could make them and when the time came to rinse off in the sea Ayla giggled at the waves as the gently lapped her belly.

It was lovely to be on a beach relaxing, and it felt like we were finally getting into the holiday mode we so desperately needed.

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Precious

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Thursday, 20 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Three Days Old.

Ayla learned how to give a massaaaaaage today.

On our way back to the hotel after our morning walking Ayla fell asleep on Hubby’s head again so I seized the opportunity and snuck in for a massage while he put her to bed in our room.

But in staying true to Murphy’s Law Ayla decided she didn’t actually want a nap at all (she must have been “faking” her sleep on Dad’s shoulders!) and I was only about half way through my massage when Hubby and Ayla peeled back the curtain.

Ayla was a little frightened at first I think, watching a strange lady poke and prod her Mummy but after a little while Ayla worked out “if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em!”

With Hubby on the massage mattress beside me, Ayla kept swapping between us helping the massage lady out; if I was getting massaged on my legs, Ayla would be at my legs slapping and pulling at the skin, and when the lady was doing my shoulders Ayla thought it would be funny to tickle me under my arms!

The result was one oil, slippery, happy but tired little baby and not surprisingly when Ayla actually went down for a nap she was slept for a good couple of hours.

When Ayla resurfaced we headed to some night time beach markets at Patong Beach that we had passed yesterday on our way to Fantasea.

It was great! There was everything from carnival games, to shopping stalls, a jumping castle, live music and what seems to be the Thai equivalent of takeaway food… Meat on a stick.

We had a fantastic evening, stuffing our faces with random delicacies, shopping up a storm and having fun with the games.

Hubby even won Ayla a couple of stuffed toys and I’ll never forget seeing her hang off my hip holding on to one of the prizes like it was the most precious, sacred thing in the world.

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Beach babe

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Saturday, 9 November 2013: Two Hundred and Twenty Three Days Old.

Ayla went to the beach for the very first time today!

It was a bit cold and very windy so we didn’t hit the surf but instead found a lovely little bay that was tucked in out of the weather.

Of all things – the sounds, the smells, the swell of the ocean or the birds – it was the sand that had Ayla completely mesmerised!

She kicked it, and grabbed it, and ate it, and sunk into it, and walked on it, and stared at it… The. Whole. Time.

It was hard to get her to look up for a photo, and she was hardly interested in the water at all. And the other kids on the beach…? Meh.

It just goes to show how sensitive Ayla is to learning and experiencing new things.

To us, sand is boring and commonplace (in fact it’s even annoying and dislikable sometimes!) but to Baby Ayla it’s an amazing source of new sensory information; texture, movement, sound, look and feel.

I love how Ayla helps me to see the world through new eyes; she ALMOST got me thinking sand is interesting.

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Best. Idea. Ever.

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Sunday, 20 October 2013: Two Hundred and Three Days Old.

We took a couple of friends out to the shack this weekend and given the stifling Build Up weather and Ayla’s rash I decided to pack the baby bath.

Best. Idea. Ever.

Ayla is now big enough to sit up in the bath herself, and she’s at the age where simple toys provide hours of fun – put the two together and we have one very happy little girl.

It meant I could let Ayla get as dirty as she wanted; I didn’t have to worry about giving her food to play with, or about how much sand landed on her when The Dog walk past wagging his tail.

I also didn’t have to worry about her overheating or about picking her up for a cuddle if I was dirty.

In less than twenty-four hours, Ayla was in the bath about 5 times. She sat there, quietly playing and splashing for ages and it was so wonderful to watch her.

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Fathers Day

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Sunday, 1 September 2013: Five Months Old

It was Hubby’s first Fathers Day today and the three of us had a wonderful day.

Ayla gave her daddy two fishing lures; one to use, and one that’s been changed into a key ring with her tiny toe-prints on it.

After breaky we spent the morning at the Boat and Fishing Show where we had a ball dreaming about big boats, buying gear to catch big fish and planning our next big camping adventure.

After the show, we headed to a beach-side boat club for lunch and a couple of beers.

Despite the 33• temperature there was a beautiful breeze coming up from the sea as we watched yachts and catamarans cruise effortlessly around the harbour.

We could have been anywhere in the world, and we felt blessed we could find such beauty and serenity on our doorstep.

Back at home, we turned on the air conditioning and relaxed on the couch with a movie before finishing off the day with a swim in the pool at sunset.

It was a great day – the very meaning of quality time – jam packed with all the special things in life.

Happy Fathers Day Daddy! We love you xx

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