IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE

Because I always enjoy a good 'Taking Stock' blog post, I hope you'll humour me and sit a while as I share my news. There's nothing like a virtual cuppa and a chat, and I have lots to share from the last few weeks. #ifwewerehavingcoffee

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE

If we were having coffee these are a few things I'd be sharing from December - my Christmas break is over, the celebrations are finished, the family's gone home, the tree's packed away, and we've begun a new year - which I'm very excited about. But first, because I always enjoy a good 'Taking Stock' blog post, I hope you'll humour me and sit a while as I share my news. There's nothing like a virtual cuppa and a chat, and I have lots to share from the last few weeks.

HOLIDAYING

It's the middle of Summer here in Australia, and the first week of December saw us heading off to Rottnest Island again for our (now) annual holiday. It's a beautiful island with no cars (except a few service vehicles and a shuttle bus). Everyone rides bikes or walks and the serenity is palpable as soon as you get off the ferry. We stay in the same area each visit - about 1km out of the township - which consists of a general store, bakery, a few food places, information centre and a bike hire place; so "town" centre is probably a slight exaggeration. 

I just love lazing around and my husband loves going off on his bike, or for a hike, or snorkelling. It's a beach lover's paradise and the weather has been perfect every time we've visited. Here's a few snapshots of us enjoying an icecream, meeting a quokka, and the beach and accommodation units we stay in. I think we'll probably be back again at the end of this year too. 

Rottnest Islane, Western Australia - sun, icecreams, beaches, quokka selfies, and more. #Rottnest #quokkaselfie

MENTORING

December marks the end of my volunteer mentoring at our local primary school. It's been five years and I think it's time for a break. I spent the last three years with a little girl who has a very messy family life - her mum's out of the picture, dad's in jail, and she lives with a family friend who has no permanent address. It's been a blessing to be a steady part of her life and to be able to encourage her as she moves off to high school in 2020.

These last five years have certainly made me appreciate how much we take for granted with our own families and the stability that we accept as "normal". What children like this little girl go through is tragic and puts them so far behind their peers, but I hope I made a little bit of a difference in her life and offered her some care and attention that she was missing. The fact that she never took a Wednesday off school last year was a testament to the fact that she must have enjoyed our time together - her teacher certainly thought so.

CHRISTMAS-ING

There's nothing better for me than spending time with my kids and their kids - and Christmas is the perfect time to do that for a few days. We had our son and DIL down for a few days with the delightful grandgirls - lots of adventuring and playtime (while their folks took a breather). Our daughter and SIL were with us for a day and it was such a special time sharing lunch together (with my mum and MIL to extend the generations). Lots of extended family time too - our kids always enjoy catching up with the cousins - and all their littlies too. 

Now we're back to just the two of us (plus cats - who are recuperating!) and already missing the little voices and sharing all that love. We hardly took any photos (too busy running around after two very busy little girls), but here's a few pics from the park.


BLOGGING

December saw the end of my WOTY for 2019 "More" - and I found it really interesting finding clarity in why it chose me (which is how it feels). I'm looking forward to a new year and a new word - I've chosen one that's a little bit left of centre to describe what I've been thinking about lately, and I'll be sharing that on Thursday. I'm hoping to have some volunteers to be guests on the blog this year so please email me when you read Thursday's post if you're interested, everyone is welcome and I'm looking forward to bringing back guest posts this year. (My email is leanne.lecras@gmail.com)

Other than that, it's been pleasant having a little break, but wonderful to be back again and I'm looking forward to the  year ahead. 

JIGSAWING

Finished the second birthday jigsaw this month - I love this bookshelf series - so many hidden delights that you discover as you go.

READING

This month has been a bit all over the place, I tossed back a couple of Nora Roberts classics from the late 80's (where the hero smokes in both of them - I found that such a sign of the times - along with the fact that there were no mobile phones or computer references - the heroine is typing her novel!)

I also knocked back Kitty Flanagan's 488 Rules for Life - a humorous look at life through the eyes of someone who likes society to behave in common sense ways - something that is lacking at times IMHO! I also read the final installment in The Chronicles of One series by Nora Roberts (my all time favourite author). It was a dystopian/fantasy series and one I really enjoyed.

Kitty Flanagan's 488 Rules for Life    

WATCHING

Not much on at the movies - but I'll definitely be off to watch the new (and last) Star Wars movie sometime in the next week or so, and I'm planning on taking my Mum to see "Little Women" for a late birthday treat. I've been immersing myself in Chicago Med and The Arrangement on catch-up TV. Both have kept my interest throughout - and that's relatively unusual these days.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Well that's it from me during December. What have you been up to? How was your Christmas? Did you get to spend time with the family, any holiday plans? Are you excited about all that 2020 holds for you? Let me know in the comments because I love to chat.


Because I always enjoy a good 'Taking Stock' blog post, I hope you'll humour me and sit a while as I share my news. There's nothing like a virtual cuppa and a chat, and I have lots to share from the last few weeks. #ifwewerehavingcoffee

To keep up to date with my posts, feel free to add your email into the spot especially for it on my sidebar and I'd love you to share this post by clicking on a share button before you go xx
This post was shared at some of these great link parties

42 comments

  1. Nora Roberts is my absolute favourite author and her last series has been amazing - there's a mini series hiding amongst those pages. I bought myself a jigsaw to do sometime this year - as time allows.

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    1. I just love Nora Roberts (and her other incarnation as JD Robb!) I'm re-reading the "Born In" trilogy atm and loving it all over again. Enjoy that jigsaw of yours - I've just started another one to do over the next few weeks x

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  2. Cute pictures of the kids. Wow, that puzzle! Hoping you are not in danger with the fires. Looking forward to hearing about your word of the year.

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. Hi Janet - the grandgirls get cuter with every visit (and louder - but in a lovely way). We're on the other side of Australia to the fires, but it's still really confronting after having one near here a few years ago. It's all been horrific - so much loss.

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  3. Sounds like a fabulous month. I look forward to your Word of the Year. Your grandchildren look so sweet. Hope you are safe from the fires.

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    1. Hi Kalpana - yes we're on the other side of the country to the bushfires this time. Australia seems to have had more than its fair share over the last few years but these ones have been beyond horrific with loss of life, property and wildlife. We're all praying for rain.

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  4. Leanne, it looks as though you had a wonderful holiday with your family. Many blessings for mentoring that little girl. You may never know the difference you made in her life, but rest assured she is better off because of your attention. I am looking forward to your new WOTY. See you Thursday.

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    1. Hi Suzanne - thanks for your lovely words, I do hope I made a little bit of a difference in her life and that she felt some normalacy and care (something I'm sure was lacking). I'm looking forward to Thursday and sharing my #WOTY too - see you there! :)

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  5. Leanne,

    I love the title and intro topic of your blog "If we were having coffee." Isn't that so true? If you sat down with a friend this is what you'd tell her. So clever!

    The island, Rottnest, sounds amazing! I used your link to check it out and it's so beautiful and teeming with wildlife! I'll be adding the island to my travel bucket list.

    I can't wait to see what your WOTY is. Mine is focus. I tend to not have it, lol. So I'd like to work on it this year. I may send you an email to guest post when you publish on Thursday.

    Best,
    Allison

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    1. Hi Allison - I'd love to have you do a guest post if you feel inclined. Feel free to email me if you want to participate any time during the year. And yes, Rottnest is a lovely place to visit and to stay for a night or two - you'd love it.
      Glad you enjoyed our virtual coffee - I do one as a round up at the end of each month - so hope to see you for another cuppa again in a few weeks x

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  6. Hi Leanne and Happy New Year. Thanks for hosting #MLSTL and sharing this newsy post about your Dec. I pinned it to my making time for people board. Yahoo for you.

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    1. Hi Nancy - Happy New Year to you too - hosting #MLSTL is an absolute pleasure, I love the connections and also the variety of bloggers who share each week (yourself included!)

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  7. Happy New Year, Leanne! Good to hear you had a nice holiday and Christmas time with your family. I'm sure the young girl appreciates and remembers your mentoring. Well done with the jigsaw puzzle. I look forward to your new WOTY. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Natalie - thanks for your kind words. I hope you enjoy my choice of #WOTY and I'd love you to do a guest post if you feel so inclined.

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  8. Rottenest is one place we didn't get to on our visit to WA, your photo of it was lovely. Glad to hear you had a good time. All the best for 2020, Leanne.

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    1. You can add it to your list if you ever make it over here again Suzanne. I'm really looking forward to 2020 and I hope yours is fabulous too x

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  9. Happy New Year, Leanne!! Sounds like a lovely December and I'm glad to hear you're not near the fire zone. We've had so much rain this winter here on the west coast of Canada, I think if we could send it down to Australia the fires would be doused within 48 hours!
    The highlight of my December was the birth of grandchild #4, granddaughter #2, and being able to spend time with all 4 at different times throughout the month. Best wishes for 2020!!

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    1. Hi Agnes - we could definitely do with some of that rain - especially the East coast of Australia - those fires are horrendous! Congrats on the birth of your lovely grandbaby. I think I'm going to have to settle for only having two - so I envy those who have extra ones to love.

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  10. A lovely catch up. Your holiday at Rottnest looked very relaxing. yes, with grandchildren staying there is no rest. We LOVED having ours come and stay but we found three years ago, we had had enough - sadly. Overnights were no longer working for us. We are older and enjoy our nights being peaceful. Nevertheless from 1997 to 2016 we did have various numbers of grandchildren have over nights, weekends and we even took 2 girls on a holiday as well. Love the catch ups when we get to see them now too of course. I didn't know you were working as a volunteer in a school. How good is it to have made a difference in one person's life. Well-done to you. Thanks for returning with the link up in 2020 I am glad we connect like this. Denyse #mlstl

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    1. Hi Denyse - I think grandchildren visits are easier when they're little - and better still if their parents are with them as extra crowd control! It's always a joy to have them come to stay, but also a lovely sense of peace when they head home again. I miss living closer to them, but the visits are certainly a great consolation prize. I think you did well to have had nearly 20 years of grandchild visits and sleepovers and you deserve a rest now! Thanks for your kind words about MLSTL - I really enjoy visiting your link up on Mondays too x

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  11. I love these little catch-ups with you. Your book reading journey reminded me of my favorite author of the 80's, Mary Stewart. Might have to have another go at her King Arthur series.

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    1. I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed that I'm not a more intellectual and "deep" fiction reader Jennifer, but I find that gentle, upbeat, and "nice" books are much better for my mental health and sleep patterns than scary ones or confronting ones!

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  12. It all sounds wonderful, Leanne. I'm so glad you got to spend time with your family. As I've been carrying on a lot about lately, relationships and the bonds we build are so important. My mother made me who I am (quite literally), and my relationships with my husband, siblings, children, and grandchildren make my life worthwhile and joyful. Of course, introvert that I am, I also love the alone time reading and doing things like puzzles. Your mentoring experience intrigues me. How wonderful that you could be a steady, supportive influence for this child. It breaks my heart that everyone doesn't have the loving childhood I did. Here's to a happy January and a new year of discovery and joy! Thank you again for hosting #MLSTL.

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    1. Hi Christie - yes, family is the bedrock of our existance isn't it? I love every moment I get to spend with mine - especially the lovely moments with the grandgirls while they're so little. Sophia said "I love you Nan" this visit and it just melted my heart.

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  13. Your holiday sounds wonderful. I had to chuckle at your comment of your cats "recuperating" after a visit from the grandkids. It's the same in my household. My house is normally so quiet and when our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter comes over and chases our cat around he practically has a nervous breakdown.

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    1. Exactly the same here Amy - cats seem to be irresistable to small children and when they bolt off then the chase is on. I love watching when they sit together and there's all the very careful stroking - that's a wonderful thing for children to learn.

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  14. I always enjoy your catch up posts Leanne and this was no exception! Your little girls are growing up, you're more relaxed and enjoying things, reading, jigsawing - what a great mix of activities you manage to fit in. I'm also pleased to read about your mentoring, what a great role model you are! Happy New Year and looking forward to your WOTY. Sharing for #mlstl

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    1. Hi Deb - yes the grandgirls get bigger and more clever every time we see them. I am amazed at how much they develop in such a short time, while we seem to change very little. December was a really lovely month and January is turning out to be a busy time of post-Christmas catch ups and getting life back on track for another year.

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  15. Hi BBB, Happy New Year and I enjoyed catching up with you for coffee and hearing about your December. It's amazing how quiet home feels when the family leaves isn't it? It can be very tiring having everyone together especially with the little ones, but it's a special time to make memories. I would love to get to Rottnest at some point and looks like you and Ross had a great time. As for blogging, well we are both still here after 5 years. Can you believe it? I look forward to being your guest and sharing my thoughts around your WOTY. Great start to #MLSTL and look forward to another year of co-hosting with you. Shared on SM and enjoy January!!! xx

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    1. It seems amazing to think that we still have stuff to write after FIVE years Sue, but every time I think my well is running dry, further thoughts jump into my head, off my fingers, and into a post. Blogging has proven to be a life saver for me over the last year or so especially, and #MLSTL has also been a wonderful way to stay connected with other bloggers (and with each other!) xx

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  16. Happy New Year Leanne. Great to catch up over coffee again. Rottnest Island sounds idyllic. It’s long been on my list as has WA. Congratulations on all that ypu achieved with the mentoring program. I’m sure you made a huge difference to that little girls life. Watching out for your WOTY #MLSTL Sharing

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    1. Hi Jennifer - thanks for your lovely words, and I'm so glad you're interested in guest posting for me for my #WOTY - it's going to be fun seeing what everyone comes up with in the months ahead.

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  17. Happy New Year...Oh I love Rottnest....how carefree it is and the water so blue. Must go back there next time Im visiting family and friends. Those little girls are so gorgeous xx Hope those cyclones bring rain across the middle of Australia and down the fire zones. We can only hope..Some years it does happen. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Bree - yes Rottnest is a little paradise that feels very laid back and not too ruined by development and tourism. I love the relaxation that descends from the moment we arrive and I even enjoy the ferry trip across and back. And yes, bring on the rain for the East coast - those fires are a nightmare.

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  18. Hi Leanne, Happy New Year! You had a lovely holiday - I would love to visit Rottnest Island someday, it sounds similar to Mackinac Island here in Michigan. Oh, and those warm, sunny summers that were a part of my life for 14 years are sorely missed! There's nothing like a Christmas celebration at the beach or park. I'll still choose family time, though, and I had plenty of that this year, so all was good. Shared on SM #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Candi - Mackinac Island looks absolutely amazing (and far more developed than Rottnest is - maybe Rottnest is its little cousin?) And I'm so glad you got lots of family time in 2019 - the move definitely paid off. We had a wonderful time over those few days at Christmas and I miss all the noise and busyness of two little girls now that peace has descended again.

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  19. Your holiday looks like the kind I enjoy - lazing by the beach, eating and reading!
    I'm glad you got to spend time with your family - especially the little ones. Our neighbours had their grandchildren over for the Christmas season and we got to enjoy listening to the sound of little voices!
    My Mum loved doing jigsaw puzzles and looking at yours makes me want to give it a hand too.
    I was deeply touched at how your volunteering made a difference to at least one life - that's all that matters in the end.
    Thank you for being an inspiration, Leanne. Hugs.

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    1. Hi Corinne - yes, the holiday is always so relaxing and I come home feeling rested and ready to leap into Christmas preparation. The grandgirls are always a delight (and hopefully our neighbours agree when they're playing outside!) It's been lovely reconnecting with you again and catching up on your life.

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  20. Leanne, looking forward to your word of the year for 2020. How blessed that young girl was to have you for a mentor. Rewarding but taxing work--easy to see that you would need a break.

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    1. Hi Jean - I'll be linking up my WOTY to the Pitstop party and I hope you like it - you could always do a guest post if you're feeling inspired!

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  21. Hi, Leanne - What a wonerful catchup. Hooray about the return of the Guest Posts! I am off to discover your WOTY right now!

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    1. Hi Donna - I'm sooooo excited that you're going to be a guest. You write such insightful posts and they're always a hit with blog readers x

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