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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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Unforgettable

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Wednesday, 1 January 2014: Nine Months Old.

Today is our last day at The Station, and it was hard not to feel sad!

It’s been awesome to escape from the daily grind and although a few dramas from home still managed to find us in the bush, being surrounded by Hubby’s loving, honest and down to earth family has been unexplainably wonderful.

It’s also been fantastic to watch Ayla hanging out with her cousins and second cousins.

Seeing her play with three other babies in a puddle of water left behind by an afternoon storm today was adorable, and watching her take her first “crawl step” this morning was priceless.

Ayla’s definitely going to miss all the activity when we go home, and although she won’t remember the trip her first visit to The Station has been recorded forever…

After todays storm, Hubby and a couple of the men set about fixing a concrete slab out the back that was pooling water.

And just before it set Hubby let Ayla stand on the slab, leaving behind two tiny footprints and an unforgettable memory.

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New Years Eve

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Tuesday, 31 December 2013: Two Hundred and Seventy Four Days Old.

I love New Years Eve, and I’m pretty sure Ayla does too.

I love the sentimentality of closure; reflecting on the year gone by and speculating on the future.

I also like staying up til midnight, just for fun, and knowing that when the clock strikes 12 a whole new chapter of life has opened.

But Ayla loves the fireworks!!

We had two sessions, one just after sunset for the kids and one on midnight for the adults, but little Baby Ayla got to see both!!

During the early session Ayla screeched, and shrieked and oo’d and ah’d as each cracker lit up the sky, echoing off the country around us.

She wore herself out, little chicken, and passed out on her Aunty’s bed.

But as if she knew there was more fun to come, at 11.30pm Ayla woke up all full of beans and ready to party!

Ayla couldn’t have known what we were all going on about when midnight came, but she definitely knew it was something special.

I asked her to wish for a wonderful year ahead complete with challenges that make her stronger, lessons that make her wiser and a heap of awesome adventures.

I hope she did 🙂

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The whole “kid” thing

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Sunday, 29 December 2013: Two Hundred and Seventy Two Days Old.

Ayla’s starting to get a hang of this whole “kid” thing I think.

Although Ayla’s always loved watching other children, she hasn’t really had the chance to play with them on a no holds barred basis before.

But tonight after dinner Hubby and I sat Ayla on the floor along side her 7month old cousin to play with a bright red Christmas bauble.

It was so cute to watch them; both little girls wanting to have the bauble for themselves but being just as interested to see it taken away and held in the hands of the other.

After a while Tilly crawled off onto new adventures but other cousins kept coming by to stop and play with Ayla, give her a toy or say hello.

Ayla hung on every interaction like her world depended on it, and each time a cousin walk off I could see her longing to jump up and follow them.

Other things that happened today:

– We all went for an afternoon swim in a dam near the homestead. There was floating toys and kids everywhere and someone set up a diving plank by wedging an aluminium beam into the side of a parked Landcruiser.

– Ayla choked for the first time, on a bit of biscuit. Thankfully I always keep and eye on her when she eats and I was able to dislodge it really quickly. Very scary moment though.

– We put Ayla in a walker for the first time and she loved it! She hasn’t worked out the walking bit yet but she’s close.

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Non-mobile

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Monday, 30 December 2013: Two Hundred and Seventy Three Days Old.

Ayla is the only non-mobile kid out here.

She is also one of the youngest with the nearest-aged cousins being two girls aged 7 months (Tilly) and 10 months (Jazzy) respectively.

Tilly is happily crawling around, and Jazzy has nailed the crawling stage and is now starting to take her first steps.

Although I know I’m being silly, I can’t help but worry about Ayla and feel sad for her sitting all by herself as her cousins scoot past.

I know that the biggest difference is having other kids to watch and learn from, and with Ayla being our first baby she hasn’t had to get or do anything herself.

Each day we’re out here though, I can see Ayla starting to work it out.

It’s clear Ayla knows exactly what she WANTS to do, but she just hasn’t figured out HOW to do it yet, although I’m sure it won’t take long!

As much as I feel sad and worried, the thought of Ayla being up and mobile freaks me out!

I don’t want Ayla to grow up any faster than she needs to and I’m loving my little, quiet, stationary baby just as she is. 🙂

Other things that happened today:

– The three of us visited the cemetery on the hill behind the homestead where Hubby’s Mums ashes, and his Grandma, are buried. It felt a bit strange because we feel their presence with us always but it was important we took Ayla to “see” her Grandma and Great Grandma.

– Ayla had her feet licked by the long, winding tail of a calf this morning. She thought it was hilarious at first until the calfs course, scratchy tongue started wrapping its way around her leg!

– A massive storm cell hit without warning this afternoon, flooding the low-lying areas with a 44mm downpour and blowing a fierce gale that picked up a massive trampoline and flung it into the sky like confetti.

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Cousin cuddles

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Saturday, 28 December 2013: Two Hundred and Seventy One Days Old.

My new cutest thing is to see Baby Ayla in the arms of one of her cousins.

We’ve finally got in to the swing of things at The Station and during the dinner-time cook up tonight I popped Ayla on the floor to play with some toys.

With around 15 kids out here at the moment, it was common for one of them to stop and sit with Ayla for a moment or two, or give her a quick smile and a pat on the head as they walked past.

But a couple of them had so much love to give that they couldn’t resist picking Ayla up for a cuddle.

My heart absolutely melted when I first turned to see my Baby Ayla being carried by a cousin.

She was being held up by two small arms that were wrapped tightly underneath her arms, and her feet were hanging just inches from the ground.

Ayla was wearing a little pink onesie and with each step her cousin took, Ayla’s body rocked from side to side and her chubby little legs dangled calmly in the breeze.

As awkward as it sounds (and looked!) Ayla loved it; she didn’t squirm or wriggle or cry, Ayla was just happy to hang out, literally.

PS – I spotted a scorpion inside the main house tonight and Hubby killed it with a thong as it was scuttling into the lounge room where the kids were watching TV. It was the third scorpion killed in three days.

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The colt

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Friday, 27 December 2013: Two Hundred and Seventy Days Old

Ayla met her first horse today.

She also met a couple of cows, a cockatoo and a whole bunch of dogs, but the horse was definitely the most special.

In the yards by the homestead are two wild colts, unbroken and fresh, chosen from hundreds of brumbies on the property to become the next two human companions.

It took a long while before the biggest of the colts came close to the fence where Hubby, Ayla and I were standing, and despite being too skittish for a pat from us the colt seemed taken by Ayla.

He stretched out his neck and sniffed Ayla’s tiny hands that were wrapped tightly around the top fence rail.

Then the colt reached even further and tickled his whiskers on Ayla’s cheek.

But when the colt breathed heavily onto Ayla fine whispy hair, and rubbed his top lip against her head, Ayla’s smile beamed and she started to chuckle.

But even Ayla’s laugh didn’t deter the colts curiosity.

I thought the noise and movement might have sent him bolting across the paddock but instead he stayed and learned from Ayla, just as she was learning from him.

It was as if the colt could tell Ayla was somewhat like him; vulnerable, and fresh, and getting to know the strange new world around her.

PS: Ayla also had her first piece of steak tonight; a stir-fry sized cut of Station beef and let me tell you…. Ayla chewed down on that chunk of meat like she had a mouth full of teeth!