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Under the stars

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Sunday, 4 May 2014; One Year, One Month and Five Days Old.

Ayla had her first night sleeping under the stars last night and this morning was her first morning waking up at a campsite.

We’ve gotten out of town with a couple of friends for the long weekend and it’s our first time camping with Baby Ayla.

Although we made a few rookie mistakes (like arriving after dark and forgetting to pack the tent but hey, lucky our friends have a big one!), we started today afresh.

After a big bacon and egg cook up the boys went fishing for the day leaving us girls to enjoy a swim in the nearby waterhole, have an afternoon snooze and get into the camping groove.

Ayla loved playing in the sand by the freshwater creek and floating around in the water; she loved it so much in fact that she didn’t even complain when her tiny fingernails started going blue with cold!

After lunch and a rest Ayla spent the afternoon playing with toys on a big mat at the campsite, alongside our friends three year old daughter while we older girls chatted and pottered around.

When the boys returned (without fish) we all headed up to the campground pool where Ayla spent ages laughing and playing with the rock feature waterfall while we adults played a very cruisy version of catch.

By the time bedtime rolled around Ayla was exhausted; she had played and explored and learned til her little eyes were nearly falling out of her head and she fell asleep quickly and easily in my arms.

With Ayla tucked up in the tent at the foot of our swag, I was free to really relax and thankfully there’s not many better places to do that than around the campfire with a beer next to great company after an awesome day.

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Australia Day

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Sunday, 26 January 2014: Three Hundred Days Old.

It’s was Ayla’s first Australia Day today and what better way to spend it than road tripping to Kakadu.

We made the journey in convoy with some friends and no sooner had we entered the park than we were bombarded with reminders of why they call this the lucky country.

We saw dingos, wallabies, goannas, eagles and snakes, I even saw a eagle with a snake in it’s talons, and the flooded wetlands were breathtakingly raw and spectacular.

At this time of year everything is green and growing. It creates a stunning display of natural beauty that makes me feel privileged just to look, and while Ayla may be still too small to appreciate it Hubby and I feel blessed that our little girl has such wonder and adventure on her doorstep.

We spent the day fishing in road side culverts, and at one point we even reversed the ute into a swollen creek so that the boys could use the tray as a pontoon platform for flicking lures.

In the afternoon we relaxed in the resort pool and escaped the heat, where we played beach balls with other holiday makers and Ayla learned to fall into our arms from the edge.

Later, Ayla loved cruising around our hotel room, pulling herself up on the bedside tables and playing with the bed spreads, and when the time came for her to go to down for a sleep she settled nicely into her made-up bed of blankets under the desk.

To top it off we shared a lovely dinner and drinks with our friends and kicked back on the patio as a massive tropical storm front rolled in. It was the perfect end to a perfect Australia Day.

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Monsoon

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Tuesday, 19 November 2013: Two Hundred and Thirty Two Days Old.

We awoke this morning to the very first monsoon of Ayla’s life.

As a Territory baby Ayla will only know three seasons instead of four – the wet, the dry and the build up – and I think there’s something pretty special about that.

Luckily for Ayla, she loves the rain. As soon as she woke up this morning I took her outside wearing nothing but her nappy, to smell, and see and feel the morning downpour.

Ayla was in awe. Her tiny half naked body clung to me in a big hug while her head rested gently on my should and I sung to her softly as we rocked to the cacophony of rain, frogs and thunder.

Ayla drunk it all in; from the rain pouring off the roof, to the puddles forming in the mud and she smiled, wide eyes, the whole time.

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Back into the swing

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Sunday, 17 November 2013: Two Hundred and Thirty Days Old.

Ayla and I got back into the swing of things today, thanks to the help of Hubby and the Territory we call home.

After a sleep in we hit the markets for breakfast then had a fish with a few friends which ended up with beers, a spa and tea.

It was definitely nice to be home, but I can’t help feeling torn.

I can’t help noticing that the world is different these days… families are spread out across countries and the globe and we’re forced to rely on technology to keep us connected.

While I really want Ayla to experience all that’s great about the Territory, and I’m so glad she has such a huge network of suedo Aunties and Uncles, but I also want her to have the real thing too.

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Boating

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Sunday, 29 September 2013: One Hundred and Eighty One Days Old.

Hubby took Ayla and I out “boating” today (I call it boating because we didn’t plan to catch fish) to show us a beautiful place he found a few months ago.

Not only did Hubby show us “the spot” we saw so many other beautiful and amazing things… things that some people will only get to read about but Baby Ayla’s been lucky enough to witness at less than six months old, and she’s certain to witness them again while we live in the Territory.

We saw the sun rise over land while we steamed out to sea in the cool morning air.

We saw patches of the ocean’s surface bubble and boil as schools of tuna chased balls of bait to the surface (we even caught two different species of tuna!).

We saw a school of two dozen or so mackerel chase down our lures to within inches of the boat before diving back to the safety of the deep blue.

We saw two huge turtles playing “leapfrog”… Well, that’s what we told Ayla they were doing (click here for the real story and thank me later lol).

We saw another turtle up close when he was foul hooked on a lure and we brought him aboard to free him.

And all this took place right on our door step!

It was a great day and Baby Ayla took it all ten hours of “boating” in her stride.

But what struck me the most is that we’re so lucky to live in a place where nature and adventure is a core part of our culture and surroundings.

I sure am glad Ayla’s a Territory kid 😉