Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking back on 2011

Last year I posted looking back on 2010 and reading it again made me want to reflect on how 2011 has panned out.

Here is the list of what I was looking forward to in 2011, lets see how much of it has come to fruition.
What I'm looking forward to...
  • Xavier going off to kinder next year. he is so very ready and needs more than I can give him at home. it has meant the world to me that i have been able to stay at home and be his sole carer for over 3 years (besides grandma) but he is ready to move away from me and gain a small amount of independence. I cannot wait to see him shine. It's funny this one, as despite me thinking he would settle into kinder life quickly, it actually took him a good 7 months before he actually spoke to either of the teachers. He has become firm friends with a few of the girls in the class and tells me he enjoys going there, however, compared to how energetic and talkative he is at home, he is still like a mouse at kinder. I wonder if being there 3 full days in 2012 will help him feel more at home in the surroundings?
  • trying to get away with the DH and kids for a short break. I don't work all these extra jobs for no reason. Well not a short break so to speak, but a really long 5 week overseas adventure. 
  • finishing ABA training and starting to really help women who want to breastfeed. they say being able to breastfeed your child is the worlds greatest joy, helping another women to breastfeed her child is the second greatest joy. After heading to Sydney to get this finished, I absolutely love my time both on helpline and in the office helping mothers with breastfeeding issues.
  • finding some me time and believing that I'm actually worth it and deserve it. This could be the tricky one...I really think I have started to get there this year. I no longer feel guilty at going to craft night, or to the movies with friends, or even asking my mother in law to mind to kids so that Adam and I can have some time out together. 
So now for 2011 in review. 

  • Qualifying as a Breastfeeding Counsellor and being able to help mums in an official capacity.  I love my work in the office, I love working with Yvette she is not only knowledgeable but also so supportive of me and others. We feed and bounce off each other so well. Not only am I learning about the practical breastfeeding stuff, but also the history and workings of the association. 
  • Finally getting to Tasmania to spend time with Emma blessing the way for the birth of Isla. It was lovely to get away kid free and even lovlier to be so welcomed into Emma's home. Now to get back there to meet Miss Isla in the flesh.
  • Watching the amazing relationship between Xavier and Stella grow. They still fight, a lot, but the adore each other, miss each other when they are apart and spend more time giggling and causing havoc then fighting now. 
  • Squirrels in London. These little buggers are seriously the cutest things in the universe. 
  • Rock of Ages in London. To be honest, I think this show would have been amazing wherever I had seen it. Definately my favourite show so far. Would happily see it again.

  • Stella weaning. It was bittersweet. She breastfed for almost 2.5 years, it was a slow and gentle weaning process, exactly what I wanted it to be, but still the reality of knowing that I will never breastfeed again is still a sad one. 
  • Running out of time while overseas and just not making it to Italy. Oh well, guess it means we will have to come back again to see everything we missed this time.  
  • Paris. I was so looking forward to going to the city of love. But it was dirty, crowded, I constantly felt unsafe and uncertain. I'm glad that I went, but would I go again. No. 

What I'm looking forward to in 2012;
  • Stella going off to kinder next year. She is so ready that its not even funny. Although I do suspect there will be several accident report forms to be signed for my little miss clutz.
  • More one on one time with the kids. With Xavier being at kinder 3 days and Stella there 1 day, it will mean a lot more time one on one with them. Having 2 kids so close together has both its perks and challenges. Despite the fact that they adore each other, they also feed off each other, so if one is happy, both are happy. But if 1 is being a pest, they both completely lose the plot, and its exhausting. One on one however, they are perfection. So I'm looking forward to having more awesome time with each of them and really making the most of the few short years before they are both at school and I return to working more hours. 
  • Even though travel hasn't been all roses with the kids, I fear we may have been bitten by the bug, so I do look forward in getting away somewhere for a short getaway. 
  • Finally getting around to doing our ensuite. Its been 9 years since we moved into the house. When we bought it we said that we needed to redo the bathrooms and kitchen. We did the main bathroom early on, but the apricot and black ensuite is still as ugly as ever. We were going to do it this year, but the trip to England has sucked all our finances. So back to saving and hoping to get a new ensuite before the end of 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday 25th December

Merry Christmas. 

*Can I just preface this post with saying that neither Adam or I can believe that we took barely any photos today. I'm hoping that the family managed to get some good ones I can pinch later, as Stella looked oh so cute in her Christmas skirt I made her*

Stella woke around 3:30am mumbling something about biscuits and Santa, then drifted back off until about 6:30am when she came into our bed for a chat. She chatted on and on about Santa and biscuits and presents. Adam tried his best to convince her to go downstairs to check if Santa had been, but she was certain that she had not yet heard reindeer's on the roof so there is no way that Santa could have been yet.

Eventually Adam offered to go down with her to see, and a little voice from the other room piped up with 'Can I come down too'. This was it, the kids were both up and we were ready to rock and roll.

They got lots of little gifts from us as we knew we were going to have to take it all home with us, (as well as all the shopping I may have already done here and we haven't even been to Paris yet). Stella was rather taken with her Tinkerbell doll but the hands down winner of the morning were their Zhu Zhu pets. I have never really seen the appeal of these before, but watching them scoot around the house, crashing into stuff before backing up and racing off in the opposite direction and the accompanied squeals of laughter from the kids, I now get it.

Asking the kids to get naked for a shower/bath wasn't a big deal, as it rarely is. Asking them to get dressed so that we could go out for lunch however, was rather traumatic. Finally after some pretty intense meltdowns, everyone had clothes on and we headed out the door to a pub lunch.

Grandma & Grandad were very restrained in their Christmas gifts for the kids, knowing we had limited space to bring things home. Stella got a my little pony and Xavier some new matchbox cars (I do hear rumours however, there are more gifts at home for them though). Uncle David & Aunty Teresa were also rather restrained with a skirt and top and a lipgloss/nail polish kit for Stella and this awesome glow drawing board thingy and a dinosaur quicksand kit for Xavier. Aunty Sarah however, went a bit nuts. Luckily for her she had prearranged with Grandma & Grandad to take some of the presents she had for the kids back with them, meaning that we may just get away without having to pay excess baggage to fit it all in.

The pub we had lunch at was on the river Thames so after lunch we collected up the bread we didn't eat and went out to let the kids feed the ducks. The Thames is a tidal river, which really doesn't mean that much to me, but I worked out quick smart what that meant yesterday. When the kids began feeding the ducks the water was about 5cm below the stone bank. within 10-15 minutes, the entire road between the river and pub was flooded and the locals confirmed that during a really high tide you actually get stuck in the pub waiting for the waters to recede. It was insane. I have never seen anything like it before. And this happens every day. I'm not taking slightly wet feet either, I'm taking knee high waters outside the pub. Still now, I cannot believe just how fast the water came up.

We were dropped home and the kids happily played with their toys (minus Stella's Zhu Zhu which she somehow left at the pub) while Adam and I got to tidying up and packing up all the things we didn't need to take to Paris with us. David is going to collect what we aren't taking tomorrow and store it at his house while we are away. We will collect it from him new years day before we fly home.

Later in the afternoon David, Teresa and Sarah dropped back in and hyped the kids up no end. We had to let them just wind down for a good hour before even considering bed once they left.

I burnt pizza we were planning for dinner, so I had leftover pasta from the night before and Adam had soup. We stayed up too late organising bags and waiting for clothes to wash so we could attempt to get them dry before David collects our bags tomorrow.

Saturday 24th December

Adam headed off early to get into Leicester Square in the hope of picking up 4 half price tickets to Rock of Ages. We had heard that sometimes there were big lines but when he got there it was only him and 1 other person. He managed to secure us 4 tickets in the 5th row of the stalls for almost half the price of regular tickets.

The funny bit is, last night he had looked online to see if there were seats available, and it offered us the exact same seats for 69 pound each, we got them for 39 pound each.

It was FREAKING AMAZING! I love going to the theatre, I have seen a fair bit. Had we not had the kids with us on this trip, I would have been at the theatre every second night catching up on everything I have ever wanted to see. Which is almost possible here as there is just so much showing all the time.

The lead guy who played Drew was HOT! And I will admit I rather enjoyed the scantily clad women also. At the start of the show one of the hot women came and sat in the empty seat next to David, but he was scared and refused to suck her icypole. I would have, she was hot too.

It was funny, laugh out loud funny. We sang, we rocked, we got covered in glitter. I adore live theatre. There is something about seeing someone so close that is awesome. I love it when someone tells a joke that is so funny they cant help but laugh at themselves and almost completely lose it. I love it when stuff happens that no one, including the cast, are not expecting. During our show, Lonny (the narrator) dressed Drew as a Christmas elf, which had everyone in hysterics.

During interval I said to Adam, this is the best, when can we go again?
My charming husband groping my boob after the show
I purchased a new suggest work uniform for myself
Yvette isn't keen as it doesn't come in purple
We were able to head out to the theatre only because Aunty Sarah was willing and able to come and sit with the children. They did baking, making cupcakes and decorated biscuits for Santa. She even convinced them to tidy up as well as eat dinner. Stella was in bed when we got home, not asleep, but in bed, which is quite the feat.

Naturally we sat up until some insane hour to wrap presents for the kids and organise the letter from Santa letting the kids know that he had left some of the bigger presents at home for them, a trampoline and scooters.

Friday 23rd December

Today we headed off to the Tower of London. We had saved up our Grandparents babysitting options in order to not take the kids to the tower with us. Its a long day there and in all honestly its just not interesting to 2 small children. While they have done their best to be wheelchair accessible (aka pram friendly) its an ancient castle with cobbled roads and lots of stairs and narrow halls. Sadly, Grandma called around 7am (waking us up) to tell us that Grandad wasn't feeling well so they wouldn't be able to have the kids. I will admit I did entertain the thought of telling Adam to go to the tower alone with his sister as the kids were just going to ruin the day for us anyway, but I wanted to see the Crown Jewels too.

Having to pack for the kids for the day at short notice meant that we were a bit later than expected not to mention the stairs that Adam had to carry the pram up and down from trains. It was surprisingly busy there, its the first time we have had to actually line up to buy tickets to anywhere. A free tour with a Beef Eater is included in the entry price, however, there were about 40+ people on each tour and the kids were just going to be noisy and disruptive so we decided we would just wander at our leisure.

The kids were whiney, as expected and Adam spent a great deal of the day like this;
Daddy is a pack horse
Stella was rather interested in the guard with the machine gun who was guarding the door to the jewels, so we headed over to have a look at him. Clearly not only does my daughter have a calling to spin around every single pole she sees (she is in her element on all the trains here) but now she also has a fascination for men who carry weapons *sigh*
I cannot begin to imagine how boring and annoying that job must be
The crown jewels are pretty much the only place you cant take photos at the Tower. But I will admit I did roll my eyes when on the train Adam came out with "Are you going to enjoy checking out the diamonds in the crown jewels? Some are the size of your ball sack." charming hey? The hilarious bit is that he wasn't wrong. There are some freaking HUGE diamonds in those crowns.

The ravens at the Tower are huge. There is the belief that if the ravens ever leave the tower then the monarchy will collapse. It appears that feeding them fresh meat, including the odd rabbit, isn't enough to ensure they stay. They also clip their wings so that they cant fly away. I also read that raven's mate for life. I always get a little kick out of animals that seem to fall in love and hang together forever.

There is the massive central building at the site, that was once a palace but there are also areas all around that look like your general suburban street. We discovered that they actually are regular houses where the Beefeater's and their families live. Pretty cool I think. I wonder what their addresses are. 13 Offwithherhead lane, Tower of London? The Beefeater's are actually pretty cool. I expected them to be more like the guards, just wandering around being all stern and serious, but they are really great at chatting to the kids, stopping for photos and one tried his best to humour Stella out of a foul mood. It didn't work.
The White Tour (original palace)
Xavier was slightly interested in the canons, so we talked a bit about how they worked (thank god for his knowledge of the result of a bouncy ball into a lego house which made it all much easier) and he really seemed to enjoy the armour. He made everyone around him laugh when he asked in that bumpy bit was to protect the man's doodle (it was a pretty over exaggerated cod piece to be honest).
Xavier was rather taken with this dragon
Adam wanted to do the walk around the top of the outer walls, it was starting to rain, it was cold and the kids were driving me nuts. I suggested that Adam take a child with him and I would take the other one to have a coffee. Naturally, as soon as they were separated, they were both the picture of perfection. Stella and I had a hot chocolate each and despite me buying a muffin to share, Stella pretty much inhaled the entire thing.
Adam took a photo from the top wall of Stella & I sharing coffee.
By the time we were ready to go the rain really started to pick up. We took refuge in the gift shop and bought a few small items then made a run for it to an undercover area. Adam commented on facebook that it was pouring with rain in the following photo, and a friend commented that he had imagined that it was raining in all our photos. However, it was the first real rain we have had since we have been here. There have been patches of light rain for 10 min at a time, and even this rain was all over and done with within half an hour.
Photo by Xavier
Pouring with rain
I have no doubt that Adam really enjoyed the Tower and had we been kid free, he would have spent a whole lot more time there. Personally, it was just one more lot of old stuff for me. The Crown Jewels were cool but the rest of it I could have left and been fine. I have said several times since we have been here though that I really need to get a better understanding of the history of the royals to perhaps understand the significance of it all more. I was tempted to buy a royal history children's book to get up to speed. lol.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday 22nd December

After dragging the kids around to all kinds of things they are just too young to really appreciate, we decided today was about the kids. I had booked tickets to see a Santa panto and Aunty Sarah was coming along for the ride.

The station next along the line from ours is called New Malden. Xavier announced very early on that New Malden was his favourite station and every day on the train he asks if we are getting off at New Malden. Today was that day. We didn't need to go to New Malden, but I had to go and top up the credit on our phones in Kingston before we could head to the lunchtime panto, so Adam and Xavier got the train in the opposite direction and got off and New Malden just to see what was there and just so Xavier could say that he got off at New Malden.

They discovered New Malden has a McDonands.
Stella and I just missed a train at Kingston as I had to also top up my travel card, but it turns out that when we got to New Malden, Adam and Xavier were standing at the exact door of the carriage we were on. I assumed they would have got the earlier train, and even so, whats the chances of them actually getting on the same carriage without even knowing which one we were on.

The panto was small but cute. The theatres big panto is Aladdin, however, my kids have no idea of that story so we figured that the smaller Santa one was a better option. The kids sang along and got into the 'behind you' and 'hello charlie' of the panto, but neither was keen to sit on Santa's knee after the show. He was a wonderful Santa, with a real beard and really did his best to get us pics with him in them. Best Santa we have seen ever I would go as far as saying.
Waiting for the Panto to start
Stella is not at all sure about Santa

Xavier is really not happy about the situation

A Peppa Pig stage show is coming to the theatre next year, and while we wont be here to see it, the kids (and Adam) did enjoy playing with the poster.
Adam & Xavier
Stella & Adam (think she was chucking a fit)

Photography by Xavier

We got back to Kingston and began the hunt for a new suitcase, as the airline broke one of ours on the way over. We also managed to talk the kids into visiting one of the story telling sheds. It was nothing like we expected. I thought it would be people dressed up simply reading to the children, but it was actors actually telling a story. The woman we had was wonderful, she moved around, she made eye contact with everyone in the room, she had the children and adults alike fully engaged in what was happening. And the best bit, it was all over in 10 minutes, the perfect length of time for young children.

We got home, had dinner and 2 exhausted children were in bed before 6:30pm. Yah!

Wednesday 21st December

Today we all headed into London with the plan that I would go and visit Shakespeare's Globe theatre by myself. Adam was going to take the kids to do something else and let me have some quiet time to enjoy the theatre without the kids going nuts. 
Outside the Globe
Another view outside
I have always loved teaching Shakespeare. I love the sauciness of the times and the controversy surrounding his life. The Globe is situated in an area of London known as Bankside. Now its a nice suburb that draws locals and tourists alike, but in Shakespeare's time, Bankside was considered the wrong side of the river. People only went to Bankside for the theatre, brothels, animal fighting and drinking. No-one ever considered actually living there.

The current Globe isn't built on the original site (the original Globe burnt down when a canon prop went wrong during a play and the reconstruction was torn down years later by some religious crazies) but this globe has been built using traditional dimensions and building techniques. Sadly during my tour there were restoration works going on, which meant that I couldn't see all of the stage area but it is still a very impressive building. I'm so sad that they don't run a winter season, it would have been amazing to actually see a play being held there, but we did get the opportunity to watch some actors rehearsing some Shakespeare which was better than an empty stage I guess. I visit sites of significance like The Globe and Stratford-Upon-Avon and the poets corner in Westminster Abbey and just cant stop thinking about how I can organise a school camp to these places once I go back to work. I crave visiting such sites with other who not only appreciate how important they are, but also are as awestruck as myself when there.


thatch roof, this is what caught fire in the original globe

To add the the sauciness of the time, I also learnt during the tour that in Shakespeare's time one of the churches (I don't recall which one and don't want to get it wrong and insult and entire religion) owned all the brothels and allowed their 'girls' to attend the theatre looking for work. These women were referred to as the white geese girls, they wore pale makeup, a white apron and waved a white handkerchief making them apparently look like white geese.  So while women were not allowed to perform on stage due to it being completely immoral, it was perfectly fine for the church to employ prostitutes to scout for work at the theatre.

I did spend up a bit at the gift shop, needing to buy new illustrated versions of Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet (my original book was lent to a colleague who never returned it), I also bought a great "You are quoting Shakespeare' poster a magnet and an "out damn spot' tote bag. Can you guess Macbeth is my favourite.

After my tour I met up with Adam and the kids and we jumped on a train and light rail to Greenwich. Which was nothing like I expected. I'm sure I had in my head that Greenwich was this awesome, cute, funky little village with great shopping, and maybe it is, maybe I just missed that bit, but all I saw was the Naval something or other and the massive hill up to the observatory and the line thingy. (you can gauge my level of interest here, hey?). There was no way that with my knees on fire (still) I was hiking up that hill, Adam didn't even ask me if I wanted to, he knew the answer already, so instead he asked the kids who both wanted to go with him. So I sat in a covered walkway and watched the as far as I could up the hill.
The massive hill to the observatory

Adam and Stella across the line

Bunny had a turn too

I was sitting under the walkways

We got a little lost trying to find the right train back, but a lovely policeman must have seen us looking confused and asked if he could help, the entry to the station was across the road from where were had stopped, so we weren't as lost as we thought. We made it home in one piece and despite claiming we needed an early night, stayed up much later than we should have.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday 20th December

After our late night last night, the kids were up ready to go at 7am, so in total about 6.5 hours sleep. Nowhere near enough for kids who need at least 12 hours to function.

Adam cant just sit still, so he headed into London to continue his mission to get photos of the complete monopoly board.

We had no food in the house, so the kids and I decided to head into Kingston to grab something to eat. It took almost 2 hours to convince Xavier and Stella to get dressed, and ended up in me dressed and walking out the front door without them before they realised I was serious about putting some clothes on.

We bused it into town and ended up at McDonalds, where else would you end up with our kids? The kids had a lovely chat to a woman on the bus and her teenage daughter, the woman was a nursery school teacher, so was wonderful at getting them to share. After lunch I suggested that perhaps we could go and listen to some story reading. Here in Kingston during Christmas they have like little wooden sheds set up throughout the town and people in costume read stories to the children. It's free, but you are encouraged to make a donation to a local charity. The shed is all warm and has cushions and soft lighting and looks rather inviting. I thought story reading would be awesome, but Xavier pretty much laid down on the footpath at the suggestion wailing "I'm too very tired, I must go home and just have a little rest right now". So we came home. Of course once we were on the bus, Stella declared "Mum I thought we were going to story reading? I wanna go to story reading. I wanna hear stories, mum, mum, mum, mum why aren't we having stories?" etc etc. Of course at that moment Adam called to tell me Dave was coming over to collect his suit so it was handy we were on the way home anyway. All the while Stella continued on with the story reading complaints. By the time I got off the phone to Adam the kids had decided that one day Xavier was going to stay at home with Daddy and Mumma and Stella were going to get on the bus for story reading. I did suggest that they both stay home with Daddy and I could go and do something alone, but Stella matter-of-factly informed me "that just not going to work for me mumma." *sigh*

They did come home and crash on the beanbags and watched a kids movie about Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. Which reminds me, we still need to take them to Richmond park (walking distance) to see actual deer. Although at one point Stella got rather upset about Rudolph 'not being able to do anything right' and there were tears when the abominable snowman dropped a log on Rudolph and knocked him out. But all was well once he got to lead Santa's sleigh. *phew*

Despite being so tired, they still both farted about for a good hour at bedtime. I just keep reminding myself that Xavier was just as hard to get to sleep at Stella's age and it will pass.

Monday 19th December

The day started bright and early with Adam and Xavier needing to head off early to David's to prepare for the fun that was to follow.

Teresa is Chinese and in the last few days we have learnt there is a whole world of tradition that goes along with a Chinese wedding. Apparently we got the abridged version, but it was still a whole heap of fun.

The festivities began at 9:15am where David and his 'posse' arrived at the bride's house to complete some challenges set by her bridesmaids to prove he was worthy of marrying her. Stella and I were there already waiting to see what challenges were going to be set. As Adam was one of the best men, David had the option of handing over any challenges that were too hard to the best men to complete on his behalf.

After being dressed appropriately in a Chinese jacket, hat and a big red bow, David was asked to first prove his strength by doing 20 push ups, easy enough, but they added a small cousin to his back while this happened. He was then presented with a plate of small crackers topped with chilli paste and wasabi with the instructions that the entire plate was eaten. He chose to share these tasty treats around his posse. Next the posse had to carry David (who is 6'5") across the street and back, and its a very busy road they had to dodge buses, cars and cyclists. In honour of the stag do, the posse had to perform lap dances for David as well a lick chocolate sauce and wasabi out of a nappy (don't ask). There was passing a jelly bean around the circle, using only their mouths and a drink of soy sauce and wasabi to wash it all down. At this point the bridesmaids decided that he was worthy of Teresa's hand, however, there was the small task of negotiating how much cash David was willing to hand over for her. Once payment had been made, David was allowed to enter the house and carry Teresa down the stairs.

There was food and drink for all before the official tea ceremony began. David and Teresa had to serve tea to family members starting with the eldest and working down. For generations older than them David and Teresa had to kneel to do this, but for their generation, they stood to serve tea. Adam and I were close to the last to be served, seeing as Adam is only 16 months older than David, even though I am younger than both David and Teresa, because I am married to David's elder they had to serve me tea too. In return for serving us tea, we handed them a red envelope with lucky money enclosed.

Adam, David and Xavier then headed back to get suited up for the wedding. Stella went with Grandma and Grandad to get ready and I headed to the hairdresser to glam up a bit.

I'm not scared to say that there were several people worried about if Xavier and Stella were going to come to the party and perform in their roles of ring bearer and flower girl. They had both gotten dressed without too much fuss, which was a positive start, but when push came to shove, Xavier was more than prepared to step up to his very special job carrying the rings but despite all the coaxing in the world, Stella refused point blank to walk down the aisle with the other flower girls.
Yep Stella wasn't going to walk down any aisle.
Xavier was questionable too

The wedding was beautiful. The venue amazing. The meals delicious. The photos will show this better than any words I can come up with. Adam was so nervous about having to give a speech but he totally rocked it. I planned to stay around to see the first dance, then take the kids home. The first dance was an entertaining choreographed number with a series of lifts, all very tongue in cheek, but beautiful and sweet. After the first dance everyone was invited onto the dance floor which is where my plan (or need) to take the kids home ended. They danced the night away. They danced with each other, with the bride and groom, with friends and grandparents and even I got a look in. Adam however, didn't get any love from the kids. They had an absolute blast, and just quietly I think they may have stolen the show with their moves.
Stella sitting next to me rather than walking down the aisle

Xavier got to the end of the aisle, saw Adam and his face lit up

The reception room
Loft space in the reception room
The first dance
Xavier, Stella, Aunty Sarah and Uncle David

Look at how much he loves dancing

Shaking her groove thing

Dancing with grandma

The level of cute of the kids on the dance floor quite honestly made up for all the carry on of the past few weeks. 

About half an hour before we were due to go home, Stella passed out on the couch. It was an easy drive home, to find a fox standing in the middle of our street *shock* we carried children inside, got them as undressed and redressed as we could before hitting the sack for the night.

It was such an honour to be able to be here to witness this wedding. I have always been a big fan of David and to finally meet the woman who has stolen the heart of our Aussie boy it all now makes sense. Teresa is gorgeous, inside and out. She is warm and friendly, funny and outrageous. She has welcomed us into her life with love and excitement and has embraced Xavier and Stella as if she had been there from the start of their time earthside. Xavier and Stella have showered her with the same excited affection, even Xavier, the quiet, reserved boy who sits back and assesses situations before jumping in, just couldn't hold back with his new Aunty Teresa. I cant wait to hear news of them having children of their own, but I really cant wait to hear news that they are going to be calling Australia home, even if just for a short while.

Just before we left we remembered to get a photo of us together