Reality bites

I got my daughters back last night after three long weeks, then I put my new kitchen through its paces.

I was pretty happy with how both went. The kids sat on my new $25 Kmart stools at the breakfast bar and chatted to me as I cooked dinner.

I made them chicken stir fry with fresh Dhanghai noodles from the local Asian supermarket. They gobbled them up.

The youngest told me all about her trip and said she’d love to go back to Italy … but only if she could pack some dumplings next time. She was a little underwhelmed by the food, especially the fish which she reckons wasn’t a patch on mine (I’m making homemade salmon fish fingers and oven-cooked fries tonight).

She also said our time on Capri was one of her favourite bits of the holiday, along with the week in Venice with her dad. Bless her, I’d been seeing all their amazing snapshots without me and thinking our first week would pale in comparison.

Post dinner, the kids settled themselves on the stools while I prepped everyone’s lunches for today, chatting happily to me again.

It reassured me I’d done the right thing ploughing ahead with the renovation: my kitchen is now somewhere we can share time together. Previously it was a narrow, dark room cut off from the rest of the house. Now it’s at the heart of it.

The kids also bought me some lovely little gifts on their trip, including this Murano necklace …

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Isn’t it gorgeous?

My gifts to them weren’t quite so fabulous, some chocolate bars from Helsinki airport, some Marimekko slippers from the plane, a pair of groovy sunglasses from Singapore …

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I have to admit that making dinner, washing up and making lunches reminded me that family life is pretty hectic. I was knackered by the time the kids went to bed. This morning will be equally full on: the eldest is meant to be at band by 7.15am, the builders are coming around 8am, then I need to drop the youngest to school and dash to work.

There’s also the matter of my washing machine being broken following the restoration of power to the laundry. A forlorn load of washing has been trapped in it for days as it refuses to either spin or open. It’s a $137 call out to see what the problem is, dammit.

But, those small niggles aside, I’m thrilled to have my family back. The girls’ cuddles are food for my soul.

And hopefully I will start sleeping again after my speech on Thursday morning. I even had a nightmare about it around 2am on Sunday night, woke with a racing heart and struggled to go back to sleep afterwards.

Before DD left he wanted me to read the speech to him but I was too nervous, I even hesitated to give him a copy. But I eventually found the courage and he read it on the plane to Singapore. He assures me people will like it and won’t nod off from boredom.

Fingers crossed.

The organiser informed me yesterday that 400 people have paid $70 a head for tickets. No pressure or anything … gulp …

Are you facing the back-to-school whirl this week? How are you coping?

Song of the day: The Temptations “My girl”

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