Snow...

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Snow snow snow.. So much snow! We've just returned from a lovely few days up in the mountains. It was wonderful to get away and spend some quality time with friends and our lovely little ones.  

Is there anything more magical than the way in which snow transforms a landscape? Except possibly for the looks on the children's faces when they look out of the window in the morning and see that IT SNOWED!!!! 

I think that just being up in the snow would have been enough for me but as an added bonus we even managed a bit childcare tag team-ing to allow us all a bit of free time for snowboarding.

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Ella and her little friend had a go at skiing (the size of their skis and boots was alarmingly cute) and both did so so well. It was amazing to watch their confidence grow and see their pride in all their acheivements. We were pretty proud of them too and it made the enormous effort involved in getting everyone dressed and ready and down to the ski slopes completely worth it!

We built snowmen, made snow angels and caught snowflakes on our tongues. There was also plenty of tobogganing although not enough for some and too much for others

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Three

For Ella's birthday treat this year we took a little trip on Puffing Billy - a wonderful steam train that runs through the Dandenong Ranges. Amazingly it stopped raining and the sun came out for the morning which was just perfect. We chugged along, huffing and puffing, through the trees and over rickety old bridges, with our wellied feet dangling out of the windows, waving to everyone we passed. It was wonderful.

Nanny and Grandpa met us at the station and we all drove back to their house for a play and a slice of birthday cake. The rain started again by afternoon so we snuggled up in front of the fire and played with Ella's new birthday presents. It was a lovely day of full of simple pleasures, just perfect.

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It's still really hard to believe that our beautiful little girl turned 3 last week. It just doesn't seem possible that three whole years have passed since we shared our first cuddles. But they have passed and every day we have watched our gorgeous baby grow into the sweet (yet sometimes very assertive) little person that she is!

I can't begin to tell you how proud of this lovely little lady we are. Of course there are the usual toddler tears and tantrums from time to time - but most of all she is a very caring little thing and so funny and full of joy for life. Her enthusiasm for even the tiniest thing is infectious and makes us see the world with bright new eyes. I doubt that there is a day that passes where she doesn't have us in hysterics over something she's done or said.

Happy Birthday Ella xx

Cousins

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Given that the little ones are still rather too young for the ANZAC dawn service, what better way to show our gratitude to all those thousands of brave young men and women who sacrificed so much, than by taking time to really appreciate the family and the freedom that they fought to protect.

We spent a beautiful day picnicing in the park and topped it off with a trip to the beach where Ella and Anais had masses of fun frolicking in the waves.  I can't begin to tell you how cold the water was, but they didn't seem to even notice. I often think how wonderful it would be to exist in a state where the world was so much fun, so engaging and exciting, that your own personal discomfort was irrelevant!

It was so lovely to watch the girls playing together and to see Jacob and Dylan beginning to interact with one another. It made me think, not for the first time, how grateful I am that they have each other. Ella may not have a sister, and Jacob may not have a brother, but in a way they've each got something better - a cousin.  The excitement from the girls when they hear that they are going to see the other is simply heart melting - I hope that they never lose that. I hope that they will always grow and play together, learning from each other, encouraging one another, laughing, exploring and generally enjoying some girly fun.

I'm immensely grateful for my own lovely sister, and part of me is a little sad to think that Ella probably won't have get to have that same relationship, but I'm hoping (perhaps naively) that Ella and Anais, (and Jacob and Dylan) will get to have all the benefits of having a sister (or a brother) without at least some of the arguments that inevitably go with it!