The Winter that was…..

In 2020, the year that just hasn’t turned out the way we expected, with scuttled travel plans, home-schooling and lockdowns. It was definitely a different Autumn. Luckily Winter was a little bit more normal, with the kids back at ‘actual’ school and swimming and music restarting. We couldn’t go anywhere much, but there was plenty of time for home adventures and of course a few photos here and there!

June

Winter walks with the fluffies…….

With the cold weather upon us and weekends with no swim meets or birthday parties, there was plenty of time to take our fluffy pets on long adventures up the hill, running with friends and building tree forts!

The big kids love to run, collecting their sticks to add to the various tree forts and cubbies that are littered all over the forest. Zinnia is still hitching a ride, snug as a bug in a rug (or ergo) on Dad’s back…….

You have to poke your tongue out to check how cold it is, when you are Zinnia! Inti and Chimu have plenty of fluff to keep them warm, come June!

Miss Alex now thinks she is grown up enough to walk the alpacas too! Luckily they are pretty tolerant of kids bossing them around, even kids they don’t live with!

There are always fabulous views from the trig point! We are lucky to live somewhere with such awesome trails and forests, literally on our doorstep!

Indoor adventures

With cold and rainy days there is plenty of time to play inside. Soren, is always a fan of box craft and Zinnia still has a shoe obsession, she is often spotted wandering around the house in someone else’s oversized shoes or boots!

Always the fashionista the one glove look was popular as was her continued love of headbands (just like her big sister). Also like her big sister (and brother) Zinnia is quite the fan of swimming. Her enforced exclusion from swims, due to no pools being open, meant she was forced to demonstrate her swimming prowess on the tiled floor!

Winter woolies….

When you live in Canberra you get the option to wear winter woolies for several months of the year. Luckily we have several boxes of them from great-grandparents knitting. So many it’s almost an outfit a day. Canberra didn’t even get cold enough this year for Zinnia to make it through half her stash, but she gave it a crack whenever she could, always a fan of beanies and knitted hoodies……..

Mobile fluff balls…….

Meanwhile the mobile fluffies had no such need for knitted goodies. They are soft suburban alpacas so do own coats for when it’s wet and windy (and they have just been shorn), but are happy to manufacture their own warmth by eating through plenty of food to grow some fleece!

Despite the mild weather, there wasn’t quite enough rain to result in greenery quite yet, so runs outside were for fun and they kept our backyard a soggy mess, filled with straw for their munching and sleeping pleasure!

How can she be 9?

All of a sudden Astrid’s birthday was upon us. I can’t believe 9 years have passed since she came into the world screaming like a banshee. The tantrums are still epic but she is also still as adorable (when she’s had enough sleep). She wanted her annual birthday photos across the road, in the golden Winter afternoon light, with her fluffy friends to help!

Definitely a fan of both dancing and posing is Miss Astrid. She does love her dresses too. With a good collection and nowhere to wear them this year, dancing in the paddock in your good clothes seems like a perfectly sane option!

…….. and the big day arrived!

So let there be cake! Much cake…… Zinnia of course helped. Nothing like the request for a dark chocolate layer cake with coconut buttercream icing and galaxy mirror glaze.

The cake was spectacular, the birthday girl loved all her presents and her gorgeous new dress.

A sleep over was had, and 3 months later I’m still getting over it! Luckily the cake was delicious and the girls all had fun……

Joining in the birthday fun……

Zinnia wasn’t just involved in cake, she loved the balloons too. She might be Astrid’s mini-me, so much like her from the same age, right down to the love of pretty dresses!

My own bike!

Zinnia was finally big enough to crack out the balance bike. She knows what to do and wasn’t content with riding in the house…… out there Mum, now!

…….. and she was off, and (slowly) racing, with her big siblings help!

July

July, traditionally the most miserable month of weather in a Canberra Winter. This year it was pretty mild but that didn’t stop the alpacas from constantly letting themselves in the house to see what we were doing. Yep it was nicer inside!

Almost the end of term……

With school holidays approaching it was sports dress up days, awards all around (one of the few blessings of Covid, not having to go to school assemblies to see your offspring present or get awards!) and a lost tooth for Soren. That one had taken it’s time to come loose!

Zinnia, ruler of the household…..

Meanwhile Zinnia roamed around, keeping us busy with her cheek and chatter. She is fond on Soren’s hairy coo hat (a change from the crazy headbands)…….

She does love her hats, and a new raincoat from Granny too! To be worn whenever possible, even inside…..

Anything my big siblings can do I can do too. She is becoming quite the chef, even if we don’t let her have the really sharp knives yet!

Books, all the books. I even steal Enid Blyton books from my siblings rooms despite not being old enough for them. A few million stories a day will never do……

The cheekiest grin, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. That is how she gets all the treats! When it’s warm enough she loves to be out in the garden. Nothing beats roaming around, digging and watching the bees and butterflies.

Puddles, puddles everywhere….

School holidays, rainy days and plenty of puddles for splashing! In a hot dry Summer we could only dream of this much water on the ground. Kids never get sick of splashing in mud. Luckily I do 3 loads of washing every day anyway……

Bubbles never get boring…..

Who needs toys when you have bubbles? All 3 of them love a bubble adventure. Zinnia can’t quite blow her own very well, but luckily she has her big siblings to help.

Astrid and Soren are bubble masters……..

Zinnia was happy to run around spotting and popping all the bubbles!

When did they get so grown up???

The big two, they fight constantly but can be cute when they want to be…. and do secretly like playing together – at least some of the time!

August

Sisters are the best…….

Zinnia loves her Astrid, or ‘A’ as she calls her. Even when Astrid is tired and grumpy from early morning swim squad there are couch cuddles and sharing of ‘Teddy’ Zinnia’s favourite sleep toy.

Astrid has the curse of the bad eyes, but rocks her new glasses. All the cool kids wear glasses.

They do love each other. Lucky there is photographic evidence of the cute, because in a few short years they will be fighting like cats and dogs (or maybe a few short months?).

But for now, definitely sisterly love and adoration (at least most of the time)…….

Granny’s are also the best….

When they stay over for a couple of days so Mum and Dad can escape for their first kid-free time since Zinnia was born. Despite Zinnia’s initial reluctance she quite liked having 2 days with Granny staying, and Grandma and Grandpa helping out, so we could escape to Bowral. The first day was a 100km ride through the Southern Highlands, on road bikes, without towing kids – it felt so weird! The second day there was pouring rain but plenty of wineries and lots of food!


There are only phone photos because I was too busy eating and riding but it was definitely fun and all kids survived without us, even if Grandparents needed a good rest when we got back!

Zinnia, the dancing queen…..

She might be wearing the same outfits her sister was wearing at 2 and almost 3, but she loves to swish in her cute skirt just the same!

When you know Spring is just around the corner…..

Our double flowering plum is usually in full bloom by the end of August, heralding the onset of Spring. With a mild Winter this year it was in full bloom by the end of the first week of August. We did get our annual photos under the tree. The kids are growing as fast as the tree!

When your family is bike obssessed…

Finally Astrid has her own kids zwift account so she can zwift too! It’s a pain swapping her bike on and off our 1 trainer, so it’s more of a weekend activity, but she is keen to beat Mum and Dad – sooner rather than later!

When she wasn’t riding she was swimming. There have been no swim meets thanks to Covid but Astrid still scored a medal for her music classes. Maybe swim medals will be back soon? ……. and finally lost another tooth! The first tooth to come out since the ones in Iceland and Romania (in April, 2018!).

Zinnia…..

A lover of chocolate, her blackboard, and channelling the 80s with crazy headbands and denim skirts!

She still looks so much like Astrid from the same age it’s freaky. I’ll have to get onto that comparison post. One day soon maybe, now I’ve caught up on all the travel posts and we have no more trips planned.

Zinnia definitely likes to ‘rock the moose‘ the same as her siblings. This is one well-loved moose!

Cooking with Granny…..

Even better than cooking with Mum and Dad, is cooking with Granny. Spring rolls and dumplings are a winner with all the kids.

Anto’s birthday

Another year another chocolate cake. This year it was dark chocolate and orange Chiswick layer cake, with coffee mousse and dark chocolate orange mousse filling, chocolate glaze and chocolate dipped candied blood oranges. It didn’t last too long…..

French day at school…

For the annual (but this year belated) French day at school, Soren got to wear his actually purchased in Paris, hat, scarf, and vest and definitely looked the part. Astrid just went with the colour theme as she has seemingly grown out of her Paris purchases, and we can’t go back any time soon ūüôĀ

She did score a merit award though so that improved the day!

Garden goodness….

With Spring upon us, Zinnia and I spent plenty of time in the garden. Our house has had plenty of fresh flowers to adorn it, with bulbs going great guns this year. Zinnia is more than happy to help collect them. She is already practicing her ‘bike riding with a bunch of flowers’ skills. From experience, one of those things that comes in handy for Spring time bike trips in the Netherlands. Maybe one day soon we can do that again?

…… and yes she does finally sleep in her cot, in her room, all night now. At least when not teething! We might almost be getting used to getting some sleep again. Well until we went and ruined it by staying up all night watching the Tour de France……. but more about that in our Spring adventures. For now that was the Winter that was…..

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