Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hey good lookin'

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Q&A time - Mr Oliver, age 5

Birthday questionnaire, Mr Oliver at age 5...

1. What is your favourite colour? Red.

2. What is your favourite toy? A dinotruck.

3. What is your favourite fruit? I think... Mango.

4. What is your favourite TV show? Little Einsteins.

5. What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch? Ahhhh... I think... Grilled... No I didn't think grilled... Let me think. Orange juice and peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

6. What is your favourite outfit? I think my dinosaur one that is a green shirt.

7. What is your favourite game? Ah, Risk.

8. What is your favourite snack? I think orange juice.

9. What is your favourite animal? Lion.

10. What is your favourite song? The crazy one.

11. What is your favourite thing to do? I think... Play with... No, eat cake.

12. Who is your best friend? Andre.

13. What is your favourite place to visit? Granny's house. 

14. What is your favourite thing to do outside? Jump on the trampoline with my Mum.

15. What is your favourite drink? I think chocolate milk. Do you like chocolate milk Austin?

16. What is your favourite holiday? When we go to Hawaii.

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Teddy and doggie.

18. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast? I think. Actually. Egg and ham!

19. What do you want to do for dinner on your birthday? I think Chick Fil A!

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Astronaut.

Oh Ollie, today you are FIVE! A true handful. My big boy. My wild one. You are all boy; energetic and full of crazy faces and funny noises and sometimes just plain old crazy. Yet despite your wild side, you know how to focus and you're actually quite shy in unfamiliar social situations. You're an observer just like your mama was as a kid. You love to sit down at your table and draw detailed picture after picture or practice your writing or learn new things in your workbook. You love making things for people and are forever depositing 'jewelry' or other things you think I might love on my desk. You love making treasure maps and jumping on the trampoline and running through the sprinkler. You give hugs and whisper I love you mum in the most unexpected of moments. You and your brother tease each other endlessly but you're also best friends and on the rare occasion Austin takes a nap, you ask constantly if you can wake him up because you miss him and you're bored. And your baby sister - you simply adore her. You tell her she's cute every single day and I hope your protectiveness over her lasts for life. 

Five years ago today you made your very long, drawn out arrival into this world and took my breath away. Our sweet little guy, never did I imagine back then what you would teach us about this old life thing. Dadda and I love you to the moon and back - Happy Birthday, Oliver John!

And a flashback - Mr Oliver at age one, twothree and four...

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lake Tahoe (aka the first getaway as a family of 5)

I like to think of myself as a fairly adventurous person. We've had all our kids while living in foreign countries and have traveled the globe with them, but I've got to say - having a third has really changed our family dynamic. Not in a bad way, it's just different yet again. Life is busier, naturally and this whole being outnumbered by tiny humans thing makes traveling a tad more challenging. Almost enough to make me wanna just be a homebody for a few years...

We decided to do a 'trial' weekend away last month before our longer holiday to LA & Disneyland. Originally we had booked a long weekend to go hiking in Lassen National Park, but it was snowed under so we changed it up last minute to go back to our favourite, Lake Tahoe.

The 4hr drive there was awful. Anneke only napped an hour before waking up and having a blowout all over herself and me while I was feeding her. She then was wide awake and grumpy the remaining 3 hours of the drive and Austin was having fairly constant meltdowns. By the time we arrived, I was losing it. But thankfully - it's Tahoe. Getting out of the car and smelling that fresh mountain air and seeing the lake - well, it's my happy place.

Sleep was a little lacking the entire weekend for all, but even so it was a lovely getaway. The boys played at the beach, we lazed back on our chairs and snuggled Anneke. We ate at our favourite pizza place in the world (Base Camp Pizza in South Lake Tahoe FYI. Their thai chicken curry pizza is to die for). We went somewhere new in Tahoe; Fallen Leaf Lake (which was gorgeous but freezing cold and SO windy, we couldn't hear each other talk so took a quick pic and moved right along). We'd planned to do one of our favourite activities, taking the gondola up to Squaw Valley high camp to go swimming in the mountain top pool, but the high winds meant it was closed. We came home more exhausted than when we left, but it was still a fun weekend :)

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

6.5 years, 2 countries and 3 children later...

It's taken six and a half years, two countries and three children, but...


Truly, I can't believe I am typing those words. So many emotions, butterflies in my stomach. We have one way tickets booked. Come October, we won't be living the expat life any longer... People, we're coming home.

This has been a decision that has been on our hearts for a long time. We've always said we'd decide where we wanted to live long term when Oliver started school - and he's due to start kindergarten here next week / prep in January 2017 in Australia. There were so many things to consider, but at the end of the day, we want to raise our kids down under. I want our children to be educated in Australia. I want them to experience a more relaxed Aussie upbringing. I want Ollie's accent to become Australian. I want my children to know their grandparents, their aunties, their uncles, their cousins. I want them to associate beach days with actually swimming in water that doesn't require a wetsuit to survive, not just sitting on the sand wearing a hoodie in the middle of summer. I want them to think a biscuit is a cookie, not a scone. I want them to know what the rocket clock is. I want them to associate the Christmas season with hot, humid summer days; boxing day at the beach; fresh prawns for lunch. I want them to say Zed not Zee. I want them to know what a thunderstorm is. I want them to experience a more laid back lifestyle, free from the insane pressures that are placed on children from a very young age in "Silicon Valley". I want them to know the delicious experience of a sausage sizzle. And heck, I want them to grow up in a country where kinder surprise eggs are not illegal!!!

To be honest, if it was just about Mitch and I - we'd probably continue to live internationally, for a few more years at least. But the fact is, we're not the same people we were back in 2010 when we packed our lives into our backpacks and set off on an adventure to live and travel in Europe. We've both changed, in a good way. We're no longer just a couple; we're a family now, and our family comes before our nomadic desires. And honestly - as much as I want to keep traveling and show our kids this big old world we live in, I also want to put down some long term roots. I want to buy a house. I want our kids to have a childhood home, and not keep moving from rental to rental. It's time to 'settle down', whatever that means.

I always knew 2016 was going to be a big year for our family with the addition of Anneke, but we've just added a whole lot more busy to the crazy. Moving our family of 5 across the pacific - lets just say my to do list is growing by the day.

Watch out Australia. We're coming for you!

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Life lately

One of my favourite things about living overseas? Having visitors from the land down under of course! This past month we had my two high school best friends come visit for a couple of weeks and I've got to say, they might not even be gone a week yet, but they are already sorely missed. We've been friends since Grade 8 and 11 and it's a bit of a tradition for them to come visit us when we live overseas. There's nothing quite like old friends, and these girls - well, it's special. Lifelong friends for sure :) While they were with us in the bay area, we did a little sightseeing and also crossed things off my Cali bucket list - deep fried oreos/twinkies and cheese in a can, anyone?

We took a girls night out in the city to watch a Giants game, the first time I've EVER watched baseball (and the last - lets face it, this was just all about the beer, hot dog and giant foam finger) although I will say, AT&T Park is pretty spectacular right on the bay...

We took a little day trip over to Santa Cruz and the beach boardwalk to meet up with our Cali favs...

We braved Napa Valley with 3 tiny humans (and the assistance of Mitch)...

And (along with a few shopping trips ;) ) spent the day in San Francisco, organising Anneke's Australian passport with a few stops along the way...

I wonder where the next girls trip will take us??? :)

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Three months {Anneke Claire}

This has been quite the busy month for our little miss (and the whole family) - we've been to Lake Tahoe, LA, Santa Monica, Disneyland, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and have been spending time with old friends visiting from the land down under. Month 2 to 3 seemed to fly by even faster than usual and somehow, my sweet Anneke is now 1/4 of a year old.

Stats... Not sure on weight/height as her next checkup isn't until September, but she's in size 2 nappies and 6 month/00 clothing. She outgrew the baby bath this month as she's so long and is loving baths in the big bath!

Milestones... She's trying hard to roll and gets right up onto her side but no luck in getting over just yet. She's still super strong and has great head & neck control. She's slept through the night (a full 12 hours straight) a bunch of times. She's met Minnie Mouse at Disneyland - that's a milestone, right??? :)

Sleeping... Anneke is by far our best (night) sleeper out of the three. She started sleeping through this month, she goes down around 7pm and wakes up around 6.30am. She still mixes it up a few times a week though and wakes a little earlier around 5am but goes back to sleep for a few more hours after some milk. Daytime however is another story. Girl has a serious case of FOMO. You have to see it to believe it because she's still so young, but she often will only take 1 or 2 short (20-30min naps) in a 12 hour day. And she's happy. No amount of rocking, stroller pushing, car driving will get her to pass out on these days, and unfortunately they happen multiple times a week. However, I'll take it because she sleeps so well at night.

Eating... No schedule yet - she feeds on demand. Sometimes it's every 2 hours, sometimes it's 4 hours. I fed her a lot more often when we were away as it was SO hot in Southern California, I was worried about her getting dehydrated. She only takes 1 side per feeding now and is pretty efficient, except our bedtime feeding where she takes both. I relish that last feed of the day - Mitch is home so I don't have to supervise the boys, I get to just escape to the quiet of the nursery and snuggle and nurse my baby girl for as long as I like uninterrupted.

Best moment... More moments rather than just one - being able to introduce her to Meagan and Kate this past month. When there's a whole pacific ocean between you and your friends, it's pretty special to be able to introduce them to your brand new baby when she's only 2 months old. They met the boys both around 4-6 months, so Anneke by comparison was still little and squishy :)

Worst moment... The blowout of the century while having lunch in The Cheesecake Factory. Thank goodness I had finished my cheesecake by that point because it was the worst blowout I've ever seen (and after 3 kids, that's saying a lot). Lets just say it was a 2 person job to change, the outfit went straight in the bin and when I picked her up out of the carseat, a trail of baby poo soup literally dripped straight on the ground. Truly disgusting.

Loves... Bathtime. Big brother tickles. Change table time. Daddy snuggles on the couch at night. Sucking her thumb. A doll rattle that was a gift from Aunty Martine, she loves it when someone (usually Austin or Ollie) shakes it around above her.

Dislikes... The heat. The carseat. Her dummy. Tummy time.

Happy 3 months our sweet girl! We've all been trying hard to get you to giggle this past month (you're so close with your funny little shrieks) and can't wait to hear that sound come out. You're such a chill, happy little girl - you truly are a delight, Anneke Claire :)

Anneke at 1 month, 2 months... 

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