Friday, August 20, 2010

Zoom Zoom Zoom!

Last weekend, Lauren had her first ever proper birthday party at Zoom.  I think it was a huge success because she had an amazing time and loved it!  I was a little afraid at first that she might be shy seeing her friends out of context but she took it all in her stride and had lots of fun running, bouncing and zooming around the climbing frames with all her classmates.

We also had lots of opportunity to get to know the other parents a bit better – almost impossible when you are a working mum, especially as I rarely do drop off now. Besides, everyone is always in a rush to get to work, so it’s often impossible to have a chat.

I think a lot of the parents hadn’t realised that we’d just moved from the UK.  However, we are fast making friends!

On the day, the children arrived, gave their presents to Lauren and promptly disappeared into the vast network of climbing frames.  We had to round them up again after half an hour to feed them lunch and cake – an interesting experience!  In this photo, you can see Lauren sitting in the birthday girl seat surrounded by her friends.

Party 001

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cake Marathon

Tomorrow, we are having Lauren’s first big birthday party.  She’s going to be 5 and has invited all her friends from her class in prep; we are taking 26 children to the local indoor soft play centre called Zoom.  Being a winter birthday and not being sure how the weather would be, I didn’t take any chances.  Perhaps if we are in a bigger house next year, we’ll consider something outdoors.

Lauren’s never had a party like this before; this was partly our reluctance to host one for toddlers in a small house with almost no garden and partly because Lauren never asked for one before now.  Lauren has always been a shy child and didn’t really enjoy parties when she was younger.  She ended up clinging to me and not playing with any of the other children at most of the parties we ever went to – if not for all of it then at least for the first 30 minutes.

Since coming to Australia, she has really gained in confidence and is so much more at ease with herself.  I remember taking the girls to the park in the first week we were here – I noticed that the girls were too shy to approach the other children to play with them.  I was really sad to see it.  However, within a short time of starting school and nursery here, they were different children.  I think it’s partly to do with the relaxed and friendly way of life here – their school friends were quick to befriend them and make them feel welcome, and the fact that they are happy and settled, and thus more confident.

So she asked me for a birthday party, and I agreed that she could have one.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wollongong, Sound of the Sea

We call this city home now and have done for almost exactly 5 months.  We love it here and in many ways it found us as much as we discovered it.  When we first talked about coming back to Australia, we had no idea we’d be coming here.  We’d never travelled to the Illawarra back in 2002, and had never heard of the place until my agent first mentioned that there was a job going there that I ought to consider.

This is an aerial view of the city; what a beautiful place!  We live right on the harbour at the moment.  The name Wollongong is unusual – one theory is that it comes from an Aboriginal word meaning “sound of the sea”.

image 

Winters

When we left the UK, it was winter.  Travelling to the Southern Hemisphere, we found ourselves facing another winter.  It’s been a strange year.

It’s almost exactly five months since we came to Australia.  I can’t believe how quickly that time has flown, nor how quickly we’ve settled into life here.  Although we’ve had to adapt to new things, mostly things have felt oddly right somehow.

It’s almost Lauren’s fifth birthday – and her very first winter birthday.  I’m baking a chocolate birthday cake for her – she’s invited 25 of her school friends to a party this weekend, so I’ll be busy getting everything ready for that later.

Back in our last UK winter, we celebrated another birthday - Granddad’s 70th birthday with him in York.  This is Granddad opening his birthday cards and presents in the morning (girls helping of course).