Clear skies and sun have done wonders for the grouchy moods of late. One of my very favourite things to say as a mother is: "Go, go outside. Play!" Sure, there may be the occasional whine but give them five minutes in the garden and they settle into some sort of play, even if it is reading Tom Sawyer in a tree. We've been in this house almost a year now. In that time it's become very clear what constitutes my ideal in a family home. While living so close to the beach is truly wonderful (and a definite luxury), there's something even more alluring about a flat, fenced backyard that I can see from the kitchen sink. It may be humble in its appearance and sure, there's houses and gardens on all three sides, but watching the children play while I cook or wash-up is so utterly perfect. Next to our kitchen is the back door and then it's only three steps down to the grass. There's frangipani trees, a vegetable patch sprouting cucumber and bean seedlings, an old outdoor loo and a trampoline. The grass is a little patchy and currently riddled with clover and bindis but nothing a bit of springtime tlc can't fix. There's a washing line bathed in full sun, too.
In retrospect, what has been most surprising about our time here is my shift in perspective. The salmon-coloured bathroom and rickety old (very impractical) kitchen with no dishwasher and very limited bench-space don't both me at all anymore. They definitely aren't ideal but they are very small sacrifices for what we do have. It turns out that I really can live without what I once thought was a necessity! We're about to sign the lease again but this time, it's only for six months. As we venture into deep spring and summer, we're treating our remaining time in this beachside cottage as a bit of a holiday at home. Early mornings and late afternoons by the water, barbecues in the garden and evenings on the balcony. The little wooden oven that was once inside will stay outdoors, the perfect excuse for mud pie cooking and green baking. There's a basket by the backdoor for beach toys and garden gloves and the beach towels will rotate from the sand to the washing line and back 'round again.
What's your ideal when it comes to your family home?