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Downhill

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Saturday, 9 August 2014: One Year, One Hundred and Thirty One Days Old.

Ayla started going downhill today… For fun!

What th’?! I hear you say, but don’t worry, I mean that Ayla learned to run downhill this after while our little family were out in the yard pottering around.

I has completely forgotten how fun it was to run downhill as a kid until I saw Ayla do it by accident, pause, laugh, and go straight back to the top to try it again… This time whilst saying “yay” and holding her arms in the air.

Mind you, I shouldn’t really call it a hill, it’s more like a mound of dirt with grass on it, tucked away in a back corner of the yard.

But to Ayla it probably felt like Everest as her little legs got faster with each step closer to the bottom they took her and her little belly poked out front as if gravity was calling her.

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Tiny camper

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Monday, 5 May 2014: One Year and Thirty Five Days Old.

Ayla definitely got the hang of the whole camping thing today, and I think it’s safe to say her childhood is going to be peppered with little getaways like this.

Although Ayla’s nighttime sleeps have been a bit disrupted (understandably though – no one wants to be the first to leave the campfire) Ayla has been happy and playful and content all weekend.

Then this morning Ayla showed us how comfortable she really is with camping when she passed out for nearly an hour on our swag while we packed up around her.

Ayla was the picture of pure relaxation as she slept there in the shade, covered in dirt after a fun few hours and flaked out on her back like a sleeping starfish.

After her snooze Ayla joined us for a final swim in the waterhole before deciding she could drive the truck.

Ayla climbed from the passenger side (where I was trying to change her) to the drivers side, and pulled herself to standing at the wheel in the blink of an eye; Ayla even reached for the UHF radio and when I have it to her she talked into it straight away!

Of course driving was not an option but while we were on the dirt tracks within the campgrounds Ayla claimed her place on my lap in the passenger seat.

As Hubby drove, Ayla stood with her hands on the open window frame looking out at the world passing her by, smiling at the wind tickling her fluffy blonde hair, and looking like she’d been “playing truckies” her whole life.

After a blissful stop at some hot springs on our homeward journey, where Ayla crawled and splashed and had me help her walk her around for ages, Ayla passed out in her chair within six minutes of leaving.

Ayla was so tired and content though, that her head kept flopping forward in the most awkward of positions.

No matter how many ways we tried to prop it up with towels, and no matter how many times we poked and prodded and pulled at her head, Ayla stayed asleep and continued to sleep more soundly than I’ve ever seen her before.

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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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Freedom

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Tuesday, 21 January 2014: Two Hundred and Ninety Five Days Old.

Baby Ayla discovered a newfound sense of freedom this afternoon, and she wasted no time in making the most of it.

Until today I’ve been relying on Ayla’s naps for the time I need to get stuck into renovation work around home, but this afternoon Ayla was far from interested in napping.

Plus, the cool overcast weather left behind by the recent monsoon had created the perfect opportunity for some overdue gardening and presented me an opportunity I didn’t want to give up.

So for the first time I took Ayla and her walker outside, shut the front gate and let my baby girl go nuts in the driveway.

Not surprisingly, Ayla headed straight for the road (hence why I shut the gate) and although it appeared like she was on a mission to escape it could simply have been the downward slope of the driveway proved a slightly easier angle for her little legs to practice on.

But before long Ayla fine tuned the muscles she needed for going uphill and she was off… away and running. In every direction.

Ayla ran over to The Dog. She came flying past me digging up weeds in the garden. She shot back down to the gate when a neighbour walked past, and she tried making friends with next door’s dog through the fence.

The whole time she was running about Ayla had a big joyous grin in her face, her mouth and eyes were open wide and her head seemed like it was on a swivel as it turned around every which way to look for the source of each noise and every breath of wind.

I loved it. Not only because I could see Ayla absorbing so much about the world, and not just because seeing her so happy and excited makes my heart feel like bursting, but because it meant she and I now have a whole new spectrum of things to do together – outdoors.

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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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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 😉

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Aussie baby

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Saturday, 27 July 2013: One Hundred and Sixteen Days Old.

I forgot to make note of Ayla’s first mozzie bites!

As an Aussie baby born into an outdoorsy family I knew it wouldn’t be long before the mosquitos got wind of her delicious baby blood and silky soft skin, but already that time has come.

Ayla got her first mozzie bite last week – right on the side of her head at the hairline – but now she has one on her eyelid and another on her forearm!

I’ve done everything I can to keep the little flying vamps away; usually opting for neck-to-ankle clothes or enclosing her pram with a cotton wrap if I think they might be lurking, but the system has failed me!

Then again, I suppose for an Aussie kid mozzies are part of life, just like sand in your togs, or sunscreen in your eyes.

And for that reason, as I sit here with my sausage sizzle lunch in the Bunnings car park, I’ve decided Ayla’s bites are a milestone not a massacre.