Friday, December 16, 2011

Having a niece: Kaia Lee

Yesterday over my lunch break I was in Target when I got a text from my sister that caused a noise to escape from deep in my throat that reached out and scared the lady behind me.

My niece said a few simple sentences that simultaneously made my day and broke my heart. Unprompted she looked up at her Mom and said, "I so excited for Auntie Kerin to come!"

And so Christine asked her, "When is she coming Kaia?

Kaia responded matter-of-factly, "On Sunday, for my birthday party!"

Are you kidding me?? I wish I was going. Unfortunately they are in New England and I am in the Midwest and for this weekend, that distance cannot be changed.

Gosh it's so hard to be away from that kid. She is still at an age in which every time I see her, she has changed. Her hair is longer, her speech is clearer, her interactions are more purposeful, and she has a firmer grip on my heartstrings.

Kaia brings so much light to my family. I imagine that many feel this way, but I do not know how we spent our time before her. She is smart, asking to go on the potty and spelling her name all before the age of two. She is left-handed and seems to have a creative mind and a strong imagination as she nicknamed our old Little People set Merry Playground.

 "I crush them with Lightening McQueen" -Kaia
When I was home for Thanksgiving she would wake me up in the morning to play with our old kitchen set. I spent every available minute with her, getting to know her adorable mannerisms, and hoping I could make a strong enough impression that when I see her again, some of it has stuck.

Cutest flower girl ever.

I make jokes about buying her love but really, I do want to give her things. I want her to be able to hold a giraffe, a book, a truck and know that Auntie Kerin bought it for her. They are place savers until I can get on the phone and then get on a plane. So on her almost two year birthday and even though she can't yet understand all of the words I have written to her:

Happy Birthday Kaia!! I love you so very much.
You are perfect and wonderful and I miss you the second you leave a room.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finding the Words: Preparing to Fly

I struggle to find the words to express what it means to be going back to Australia. It is unbelievable. It is incredible. It is something I have thought about, wished for countless times. And what I hope beyond all else is that while we are there, we are able to fully sink into the opportunity we have been given to revisit the place, on the other side of the planet, where we fell in love, over seven years ago.

I wish it was not just vacation. I wish it was longer. Nick and I have talked many times about going back to live for a year or two. It sounds so wonderful but with family and dogs and school, it has not yet happened.

I have said this before but it is not just the start of our relationship that makes this place special. It is the complete joy that we experienced while we lived there. It is a contentment we felt every single day.

I know this trip will not be like last time. I know that. And that is okay. People have asked me numerous times if I am nervous about going back. I understand the concern. A memory that is so perfect, do we really want to mess with that? Absolutely. Nick and I plan to make this return trip one of many throughout our lives. We want to travel there with our someday children. Maybe when we're retired we will stay for a longer stretch. I love the idea of elderly Nick and Kerin surfing in Bondi or bridge climbing in Sydney. Australia is a vast continent (roughly the size of America) and Nick and I want to know it all.

Great Ocean Road


Great Barrier Reef

Five and a half days at work. I just have to get through five and a half days before I get to leave for almost three weeks. I hate that I look at it like that, but it's honest. The fewer days at work the better, but I am starting to get anxious about the task list I have to complete before we leave.

We get on a plane to L.A. next Friday. The days between now and then look like this:

Today: Work. Gym. Shop for Christmas presents.
Friday:  Work. Happy Hour. Plan rest of trip
Saturday:  Christmas party, Christmas party
Sunday:  Christmas party. Book inter Australia flights
Monday:  Work. Gym. Pack. Brave New Workshop
Tuesday:  Work late day. 4 month wedding anniversary.
Wednesday:  Work. Pedicure. Gym. Laundry
Thursday:  Work. Revamp appointment
Friday: Day off. Brunch with Sam. Drop off dogs. Clean, pack - LEAVE.

I have started doing silly little things to start warming my brain, to get myself in the right mindset. I am streaming TripleJ at work right now. I have added Australian weather and clocks to my iGoogle page. It is 5:30am tomorrow and 65 degrees in Sydney.

A few weeks prior to my first trip to Australia, I received the most spot-on horoscope I have ever read. It said  "What you need to do now is picture yourself above the clouds." As I prepare for this journey I am reminded of that quote and am ready to start lifting off the ground.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Options: What I Would Rather

Things that sound more appealing than sitting at my desk right now:

A picnic. Relaxing, fun, and will forever remind me of getting engaged!

Can never go wrong with this. I keep encouraging Nick to pick his guitar back up.

Laying out on the beach with friends sounds pretty perfect.

Don't get any ideas. This represents sleeping, not babies.

Buddy needs a walk.