Appreciation, Birthdays and Celebration

In January 2015, Dave and I will have been married for a decade! Given that we have a few other engagements in the new year and I’ll closely resemble a whale, we decided to steal away for two nights in the city before Christmas to celebrate the momentous occasion!
Surprisingly, the usual bout of anti-anticipation didn’t strike during the day on Friday and I was able to genuinely enjoy and appreciate each moment with the kids, knowing that I would madly miss them as soon as we waved good bye. 
All we really had nailed down was the location of the accommodation and two free gold class tickets, so we used the trip into the city to plot our path and plan the festivities. We soon arrived in North Melbourne and found our way to the charming little apartment with a beautiful garden courtyard resplendent with blooming lilies and hydrangeas. 
Having a slight obsession with African food and finding a voucher in the Entertainment book, we decided to head to Nyala Africa in Fitzroy for dinner. The night was very warm and as we stepped into the dining room with its whirling wooden ceiling fans and exposed beams, we suddenly felt as if we had teleported to Africa. The smorgasboard of curries were amazing and I finally got to try Injera flat bread and sample some Ethiopian Shiraz. Dave and I both acknowledge our lack when it comes to engaging in riveting dinner conversation together, however this meal we managed to have a lively discussion on many topics including philosophy, religion, Tribe, work, parenting and sex!
We are not party animals by any means and took the opportunity to head home for a reasonable night’s sleep and Dave taught me how to play Vain Glory, an iPad game he has been enjoying for a while. Alas, our body clocks remained set for a 7am wake up, but the absolute luxury of being able to just lie in bed and not have to rush around plonking weet bix into bowls was enough to make us feel like kings. The day was also made extra special by the fact it was Dave’s 32nd birthday!
Di Bella Coffee came recommended by our hosts, so we strolled over and Dave ordered a coffee. I held out for a cherry danish at Crumbs, a cute bakery in the next street. Next stop was the Queen Victoria Market to find some presents for Eli and Hudson, sample some burek and bratwurst, and wander around the deli section with the delight of a child on Christmas morning!

Turns out walking and shopping at 33 weeks pregnant is a bit tiring, so we crashed at the apartment for a bit before heading out to our Gold Class session of The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay. The experience was very relaxing and luxurious but our enjoyment of the food was definitely not proportionate to the price tag! Two fish tacos for $18.00 is not exactly what you would call ‘good value’. Going out to the movies is not something we regularly indulge in, though, so we appreciated the experience that much more. 
After Dave’s birthday dinner of choice- noodles- we set the GPS to take us to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for the free opera performance being held there. Unfortunately, half way into the City link tunnel (and apparently underground the venue), the voice told us we had arrived. Very helpful. We almost gave up at that point, deciding to find a different spot to enjoy our deli samples from the market, but we ended up driving past the arena on the way and found a semi decent carpark. I was a bit daunted by the walk, so we settled on a park bench and tucked into the fresh fruit, babaganoush, ciabatta and prima donna cheese. A few minutes later, who should walk past but my parents! They convinced us to make the trek and we spent an enjoyable evening reclining on a blanket, staring into the twilight sky, listening to the flawless voices blending into the night. Well, I did anyway, Dave preferred to use the performance as an epic soundtrack to his Simone Weil book!

On the way back we stopped for (very expensive) salted caramel and peanut butter chocolate ice cream from a place in Lygon Street. Dave finished watching ‘Snowpiercer’ and we crashed for the night.
Beanhunter told us that good coffee could be found at Twenty and Six, so we proceeded there for brunch.

We hit the markets one more time and found food stalls galore and a remote control helicopter that Dave may well be more excited about than the kids! After heading through the deli section one more time and armed with a spinach and cheese gozleme, we stumbled upon a busking Spanish quintet playing music that it was impossible not to at least tap your foot to. Before long, a large group had gathered and a few free spirits had broken into dance in the crowd! I’m such a sucker for things like this and it became one of my highlights of the weekend.

On our way back, we snagged some bargains for Dave at DFO and remembered how exhausting clothes shopping is. Our final stop was Savers, though it was comforting to realise I now actually enjoy going there more with the kids! Previously I had thought ‘if only I could just come back by myself…’ but found myself drifting back towards the kids clothes and toys when I had the choice to go anywhere. 
We were very eager to be reunited with Eli and Hudson and that moment when you first walk in and see the absolute joy on their faces is priceless! They both seemed older despite a mere 48 hours passing, and we enjoyed hearing their stories of their time at both grandparents houses. 
Through the weekend, Dave and I had so many good chats about life, philosophy and perspective. We missed the kids heaps but it gave us more appreciation for life as it is everyday, despite the constant intensity. While a weekend like this is amazing, we didn’t feel the need to ‘escape’ our normal lives and reluctantly return to the ‘duty’ of parenting. We had so much fun hanging out together, though, and the time away has enriched our relationship noticeably. Here’s to an incredible first decade together, and the to hope of many more!

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