Well, 2020 has certainly been an interesting year. Half way through the year now and I think we can all agree that there has been more than enough drama and disaster for a whole decade! I’m still working my way through the photos and posts from the New Zealand trip in January, but every now and then it’s nice to put together a little collection of photos from what we’ve been up to outside of overseas trips……
I don’t think there is any need to hurry on getting those New Zealand photos finished, there isn’t going to be a lot of overseas travel for awhile. Our tentative plans for this year have all been shelved and we are just looking forward to a day where we can dust off the passports and frequent flyer points again.
Like most of the world, the past few months have been far from normal. Our Autumn was definitely different to the normal ones. We often travel overseas at this time of the year, and although that wasn’t planned this year (at least for family trips, Anto did have some work trips on the agenda) we usually enjoy the Canberra Autumn weather, and colours, with a variety of activities. Well, this Autumn ended up being about life in lockdown. Not what we anticipated even at the start of March, but I still took a few photos here and there of our alternative Autumn adventures.
It was March, the weather was still warm and we were looking forward to finally spending some time outside, enjoying some fresh (and less blisteringly hot) air after a Summer of bushfires and smoke.
The kids were enjoying hanging out together (when not fighting they can be super cute) and school had settled into a nice routine after a few weeks back for the big kids.
Zinnia was enjoying her days at home with Mum, Astrid was swimming like a fish at squad and reaping the rewards at the school carnival. Soren was loving his new teacher and making me go to two assemblies in a row between him and his big sister receiving awards. Life was busy but fairly normal!
The balloon festival
Before Anto headed off to the UK for a work trip, we made it out early one Saturday morning in the first week of March to catch the balloons take off in annual Canberra balloon spectacular. I posted many photos here, a couple of months back. We hadn’t been so keen to drag ourselves out of bed super early after a busy week, but were very glad we did when it was one of the last big public events before everything started getting cancelled!
The kids had a ball, we saw the balloons take off, first try this year, and we even squeezed in an impromptu cafe breakfast afterwards. The last one in a long time…….
UK trips of disaster
A couple of days later Anto was off to the UK for a work trip that was cut-short and rather stressful for all when the Covid-19 pademic escalated rapidly both here and in the UK. Things were being changed or cancelled daily and we weren’t sure what we were going to be able to do the next day let alone next week. The kids were stressed and it wasn’t a fun week. They did get bribed with the odd icecream (thanks Amanda) and hairy coo hats when Anto eventually made it home (a lot sooner than originally planned) via a lot of late night flight rescheduling, and bouncing through airports and countries in lockdown.
The iso-anniversary dinner….
Anto did make it back to Australia, but not before a mandatory 2 weeks self-isolation was imposed. At least back then you could do it at home! This meant our wedding anniversary dinner out that we’d been carefully planning and looking forward to was off (turns out restaurants were ordered shut by that day anyway) and it was dinner at home, cooked by Anto. Schools had shut from that day too, so the kids had plenty of time to help with the cooking and setting up!
So no dinner out, but we got dressed up and had lovely food at home. It was pretty good, except for the lack of kitchen staff to clean up 😉
And iso-birthdays too!
A couple of days later and it was my birthday. No overseas trips this year, but no going out either!!! Oh well, more cake at home (again the kids had plenty of time to cook!) and a takeaway dinner with the grandparents before the gathering limits were reduced even further. Remember that strange time when you had to check every day where you could go and how many people could be in any one place? Oh yes and watching late night press conferences by Scott Morrison to try and decipher what was happening tomorrow? Yes that was my birthday 2020!
The kids keeping busy…..
School was at home now, but the last week of March wasn’t so bad. We had a few things to do, the weather was beautiful and we spent plenty of time outside. Astrid and Soren went on plenty of walking and nature adventures with Grandma for some additional learning – photos by Astrid and Soren….
Meanwhile Zinnia was confused about why she wasn’t going to school drop every day but happy enough to have her siblings home! Astrid had long lists of activities she wanted to undertake now she had no school, swimming or gymnastics to occupy her time. Apparently helping me clean the house wasn’t one of them!
Well March was strange. It stared out vaguely normal and then all hell broke loose. What was April to bring? An awful lot of homeschooling it would appear.
By now the school had set up distance learning and we were drowning in school work. Zinnia wasn’t a fan of Mum helping the big kids on their computers all day but did like Granny coming over to play with her so we didn’t all go insane!
Luckily the weather was top notch for hanging out in the garden, and Granny could read endless books while the other kids procrastinated mum’s patience away with the school work.
Baking and more baking…..
We always do a lot of cooking and baking but with not much else on, the production of yummy treats went next level! Zinnia discovered the helper stool was perfect for assisting at the kitchen bench and aprons were lots of fun. Oh licking the bowl is pretty good too!
Rainy days and alpaca adventures…..
The weather was getting cooler and Zinnia and Astrid were rocking their gumboots! When it rains you must go find puddles to jump in……
Luckily the alpacas are always happy to graze while their human friends run around like loonies and splash in puddles in entirely weather inappropriate clothing! The hot Summer had gone and school uniforms had been shelved for potentially months so the crazy outfits abounded.
Zinnia discovered that she takes after her brother and only knows 1 speed, flat out! There is a reason we normally try and keep her in the ergo. She was a fan of mud though……
Easter – bunnies in lockdown
I did do a little post on our lockdown life Easter with plenty of photos a little while ago. It was an Easter we couldn’t go anywhere, do anything or see anyone but on the upside – schoool holidays so no home learning hell, great weather, egg hunts and plenty of chocolate! The bunnies had fun, lockdown or not……
School holidays with nowhere to go, no play dates or visitors, plenty of time to play (or fight) with your siblings! They love each other most of the time and fight like cat and dog the rest. Luckily there is photographic evidence of the cute times to make up for the other ones……
Like much of Canberra, our garden was decimated by our awful Summer. Smoke, drought and extreme heat and we lost plants and trees that had been thriving for many years. Covid lockdown allowed plenty of time to catch up on those long overdue garden tasks and get it back into shape.
The kids spent plenty of time outside, enjoying the best weather we’d had in months and helping tidy and replant the flowers and veggies.
Autumn is my favourite season in Canberrra, so at least we got plenty of time to enjoy it. At home! Luckily garden centres and nurseries were allowed to stay open!
Long live the tree fort…..
When you have to take your fluffy camelid friends for a walk every day and live opposite some of the best reserves Canberra has to offer, there is plenty of opportunity to build and create. There are several makeshift cubbies and tree forts near our house, and the kids love to contribute and play. Alpaca walks often included time building one of the forts and carrying sticks and logs around. Zinnia even got in on the action!
The alpaca were more than happy to stand around munching while the kids built forts and dragged branches all over the place, they did occasionally try to eat bits of the fort though!
We will make it!
Like most of Australia (it would seem) baking was in full force. We’ve had a sourdough starter running for a few years but the level of homemade sourdough products was in overdrive! Focaccia, bread, pancakes, crumpets. So many carbs! Just to balance it out we had another go at making our own cheese too. A very tasty batch of haloumi was prepared (and eaten).
When not cooking all manner of tasty things the kids were keen on painting. The big kids have had plenty of practice and had their own stash of paints at Grandma and Grandpa’s and added to their collections of hand-painted librarry bags. Zinnia wasn’t so sure. Not a fan of mess she does not enjoy finger painting. A brush is more her style!
Astrid also decided to use her lockdown time to learn to sew (and knit). She completed lots of projects – library and laundry bags, an apron, and pot pourri bags for Christmas presents. My dining room table was turned into a sewing, puzzle and diamond dot picture creation-station!
Back to (home-school) we go….
The last few days of relative peace and calm of Easter holidays were upon us. If you can call three crazy and noisy kids calm……
The last few days of April and it was back too distance learning. We did get into more of a routine and the kids loved no uniforms and endless hot chocolate breaks. There was less love from Mum, and Zinnia (and Granny) but we were hoping this wouldn’t be forever (or even all term)…….
Was April the longest month ever, no I think May was shaping up to be! Why does every day of home-school feel like eleventy zillion hours even when we get through the work by lunch time?
Luckily there was still plenty of time for baking. So much baking, even school set baking tasks. Thank god we love exercise and were riding and walking even more than before or there would have been issues with clothes fitting!
The start of May is also birthday time for Grandma and Granny. No chance of going out anywhere this year so we whipped up a blackforest cake, Astrid practicing her piping skills and had a delicious take away dinner. The upside of nothing open was good restaurants delivery to your house (and our kids practicing their ever-improving baking skills)……
Yep, still no chance of going anywhere. Oh well, lucky I have culinary talent in the house and cute kids. Zinnia showed off her dancing skills after a morrning of presents (and definitely no sleep in)!
Then Anto whipped up a deicious breakfast of epic proportions!
They are pretty cute and do like to get dressed up for events at home! When you can’t go out anywhere it’s even more important to wear those cute outfits 🙂
Getting all three of them to stay still for a photo these days is entirely impossible at times, but does end in hilarity!
Garden glory days…..
The days were getting shorter, and colder but there was still plenty of colour in the garden and all the hard work was paying off with spectacular results. The kids also got plenty of exercise picking up fallen leaves – so many bags of them!
Zinnia – 18 months of cute…
Didn’t she just turn 1? The last 6 months have flown (or at times crawled) by but she is most definitely a toddler now and thinks she rules the household. Of course she does!
She loves to be outside, which is lucky because she also desperately missed going anywhere!!! Ironically, after months of not liking being left with anyone, as soon as she was over her separation anxiety, lockdown hit and we couldn’t go anywhere. She did a bit of time with the grandparents though which resulted in lots of them reading books and being bossed around by a mini-Zinnia!
Already into bike riding in a big way, she has many sets of wheels and is just cracking onto the balance bike now too…….
Also still a huge fan of food, her new favourite is egg in a ‘moo cup’ (cow egg-cup). Why Dad you are always at my culinary service, she says!
Back to school, real school!!!
The end of May saw Soren returning to face to face classes and weren’t we all cheering. Grins all around…….
A week later Astrid’s grade was back too. Evidence of home-school was quickly removed from the house before I could dwell on it for longer than necessary…….
Zinnia was thoroughly stoked to be accompanying her brother and sister to school on frreezing mornings. She was less impressed with not being allowed into the school or to be able to play with other kids, but morning walks in the chariot with mum were back on!
Autumn was drawing to a close and Canberra had turned on the cold for us. Life was a little more norrmal. You couldn’t get a coffee or meal out yet but school was back and a few things were starting to open. Zinnia was thoroughly loving having me back to herself during the day.
We cracked out the European red coat and bear hat that were Astrid’s favourites from her trip to Europe at the same age. No European adventures for this little bear for awhile but they’ll do for sweeping up the leaves and helping mum in the garden. There still really isn’t anywhere to go all dressed up!
Not to worry, a lover of getting dressed up, Miss Z was happy to run around the garden in full European splendour, modelling all the clothes we purchased for her big sister in places further from home, many years ago. She is also pretty happy that we made it through a very strange few months…
Now it’s Winter and It’s most definitely freezing here in Canberra. We might be in for another interesting few months but we’ll all talk about that weird Autumn we had once where it was lockdown life!