Friday, April 7, 2017

Eleven months {Anneke Claire}

No, no - just NO! How is my baby girl only a month (actually less now that I'm finally posting this!) off being one?!?! I'm in this weird space right now where I go between wanting to go crazy planning a birthday party and then just being in denial that she really is turning one.

At one month shy of a year old, our Anneke Claire...

Stats... She wears mostly size 0 clothing, although can I say (after almost 6 months now of buying Aussie brands) - sizing here is SO inconsistent. She's still in crawler nappies and I can't see that changing for a while.

Milestones... So. Much. Downward. Dog. Alllllll the time. Sometimes she attempts a little side plank too and falls on her head. Her awkward robotic crawling hasn't really evolved, it's sped up a little but still as stiff as ever.

Sleeping... Eh, sleep is overrated, right? She's been a bit more unsettled this past month, I'm wondering if those 1 year molars are starting to bother her as she's also been super chompy on me. She's on one nap a day now so goes to bed by 6.30pm and has been crying out around 9/10pm quite a bit, sleeps sometimes til around 3am, feeds (or wakes hourly from 9pm) then back to sleep til 5 - feed, back to sleep til 6, 6.30ish and then she's up for the day til around noon. I love her dearly but she is exhausting.

Eating... Breastfeeding around 3 times during the day now? Sometimes more, if she's a little cranky/clingy. After breakfast, before nap and at bedtime. Plus a few times overnight. She always has porridge with yoghurt for breakfast, a cracker or fruit or something boring to snack on for morning tea, a sandwich / veg fritter / savoury muffin / leftovers for lunch, and then whatever we're having for dinner.

Best moment... When she figured out how to wave :) It's a very queenly wave, and pretty adorable if I do say so myself.

Worst moment... The day she attempted to choke on a leaf. We'd been at the library with a friend, she had been crawling around pulling books off shelves and had been at her mouth - I'd checked it, but couldn't find anything. I was leaving at lunchtime, reversing out of my park when I saw her silently gagging in the baby mirror (so thankful for that mirror as she is and will be rearfacing for a lot longer) and then vomited, a huge big vomit everywhere. I threw the car in park and jumped out, grabbed her and she was hysterical - found a tiny tiny leaf on the roof of her mouth :( Lets just say it gave the mama quite a fright!

Loves... Chasing her big bros. Milk arrowroot biscuits. Stealing bits n pieces of mamas morning tea when we're on coffee dates. Daddy cuddles. Pulling all the books off the shelves in the playroom. Breaking her bread into tiny pieces and gleefully throwing them over the side of the highchair to let me know she's done.

Dislikes... Missing out on anything (she has to have the same as everyone or it's tanty time). Getting out of the bath. Long car trips.

Happy 11 months sweet girl. As Ollie says - you are our cutie pie baby Anneke!

Anneke at 1 month2 months3 months4 months5 months, 6 months, 7 months8 months9 months & 10 months...

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Ten months {Anneke Claire}

Hello, 10 month old!!!

2 more days until she's 11 months, I'm doing brilliantly at posting these updates on our cheeky little miss but at least I'm consistently late ;)

Stats... Still won't know numbers until her 1 year checkup, but I think she's had a growth spurt. She's still tiny but feels heavier and quite a few of her 9 month clothes seem to no longer fit overnight, I've been having to re-sort her wardrobe and I'm hopeful she might actually fit some of these size 1 winter clothes I've been buying by the time it cools down!

Milestones... We have EIGHT TEETH! Two more have cut through on the bottom on either side of the two middle ones. I'm going to miss that two toothed grin. She's on the move finally, hands and knee crawling and and getting what she wants (in other words: what the boys don't want her to get). Her hair has had a growth spurt this month - does that count as a milestone? It's super curly in the back and I suspect it's going to be a lot like Austin's.

Sleeping... Overnight sleep has fine (6.30pm-3am), other than when she got a cold. It's so hard when there's this little, sleep becomes very disturbed and mama milk is about the only thing to lull her back to sleep except she gets frustrated while feeding as it's hard to breathe with a stuffy and snotty nose. Morning naps are still hit and miss, but afternoon naps are great. She usually goes down around 12.30 and sleeps til around 3pm.

Eating... Still breastfeeding every few hours, though we are gradually dropping the post nap feed as I am ready for more of a morning noon and night schedule. 6 years of either being pregnant or breastfeeding or both are starting to catch up with me. She drinks water with meals and has 3 solid meals a day, sometimes a snack if she sees the boys having morning tea. FOMO baby does not like to miss out on anything.

Best moment... When she finally (after a couple of months of hands and knee rocking but not putting the full movement together) crawled! She had the BIGGEST grin on her face and spent ages practicing her new skill. She's still not fast but she's so happy she can get places now - pulling books off the shelves, breaking up Austin's train tracks, throwing puzzle pieces everywhere....

Worst moment... Our last morning on our weekend getaway to Noosa. We went out for breakfast and she totally lost the plot. I've never seen her so upset/mad and inconsolable out and about. I'm blaming it on the two bottom teeth that were cutting through.

Loves... Pulling her scrunchy squished up nose face. Huffing and puffing. Bath time. Holding her toothbrush. Biting mama while feeding. Seeing her cousin Sophie walk through the door.

Dislikes... Not eating the same as everyone else. The car. Morning naps. Crawling under the couch and trying to sit up and getting stuck.

Happy 10 months sweet baby girl. We love you more and more each day Anneke - you are our littlest love, our tiniest sweetheart and just bring us so much joy :)

Anneke at 1 month2 months3 months4 months5 months, 6 months, 7 months8 months & 9 months...

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hello, three year old!

Or more so - hello, threenager! We may be in the midst of that joyful phase (the continuation of the terrible twos perhaps?), but even so - this boy is our little sweetheart and on March 11th, he turned THREE!

At three years old, your talking has finally taken off - you chat and chat and have a lot to say, even if it still requires a bit of translating. You are madly obsessed with trains, still - actually, the love has grown even more intense over the past year. Your favourite is Thomas (or nomas as you call him) but you also love pretty much anything and everything to do with steam trains. You love drawing, just like your big bro and your pictures have gotten really quite detailed recently. You mostly love to draw people and (surprise surprise) steam trains. You love squeezy yoghurts and tiny teddies and are forever asking to snack on them, even though I rarely buy the latter. You're full of personality - a lot of cheek - and have a really soft, gentle side. You are always the first one up in the morning and love to snuggle up with mama and dadda early in the morning. You can be a little demanding (hello, threenager) but have sweet manners and forever tell us that you love us. You stopped napping for good right at age two and that has been a not so fun transition. This last year has been full of so many changes for such a little guy; we've really rocked your world. First with the arrival of your baby sister and your being pushed into middle child status, and then moving you to an entirely new country on the other side of the world. It's been a big year for all of us, but especially for you little guy.

Happy Birthday Aus! I remember the day you were born so clearly - I would say like it was yesterday, but to be honest it feels like an eternity ago. You just slotted into our family so perfectly, and it feels like you've always been here. We all love you so much buddy :-)

And a flashback - Austin as a newborn, 1 year old & 2 years old...

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Nine months {Anneke Claire}

Ok, I'm really not good at posting these on time - I blame third child syndrome. But, at the end of January our sweet baby Anneke turned 9 months old!

Stats... Anneke is still wearing size 0 / 6-12 months. She's long, but really quite petite. I've been looking at winter clothes already (not that it feels like we're ever going to experience cooler temps) and I'm doubtful she'll even by in a size 1 by then. It all looks so huge next to her! Weight/height we won't know until her 1 year checkup.

Milestones... 6 teeth, a little bottom shuffling, lots of rocking on hands & knees but no crawling still (phew). She can go from laying to sitting and does so a lot in her cot. She says dadda, mama, something that sounds like drink (when she wants to nurse) and lots of little noises of exclamation that make it feel like she's participating in a conversation with you.

Sleeping... Overnights have settled down, she sleeps from 7pm until around 4am, quick feed and back to sleep until around 6 or 7am. Naps however.... FOMO baby is attempting to give up her morning nap already :(

Eating... 3 solid meals a day and she's on full family meals most of the time now and loving all the table food! She still breastfeeds the same amount, usually first thing in the morning, lunchtime, after her afternoon nap and bedtime plus overnights. She's so distracted though, breastfeeding has become a bit of a gymnastic act as she leaps all over the place (and don't get me started on the biting). She has just figured out the straw sippy cup in the last month which makes life so much easier for water (I can't stand the regular sippy cups, no matter what brand I've tried they leak everywhere).

Best moment... The first time she said mama :)

Worst moment... The days where she refuses to take any nap at all. That makes for a lot of cranky mama moments :(

Loves... Her big girl cousin, Sophie. Sitting up at in the Stokke outside. Swinging. Baby Mum-Mum crackers. Swimming & splash pads. Eating sand. Holding her toothbrush. Scrunching her nose up.

Dislikes... Having her toothbrush taken away. Car trips. Avocado.

Happy 9 months sweet girl. Mummy better start planning your first birthday party!!!!

Anneke at 1 month2 months3 months4 months5 months, 6 months, 7 months & 8 months...

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

The not-so expat life {3 months in}

I started these posts shortly after we moved to the Netherlands in 2010. And while I know we are technically no longer expats, re-entry has been *interesting* and it sometimes feels like we're living in a foreign country, so why not hash out one last post :)

So, life down under - 3 months in.

The good...

- The supermarket. Yes, the good old supermarket. While I might miss Sprouts and TJs, they were not a one stop shop. I couldn't get nappies and regular old toilet paper and toothpaste there (unless I wanted some random organic weird natural herbed flavor). And Safeway... I despised that shop. Coles and Woolies though, woo hoo! Love going in (minus the tiny humans) and love the home delivery service. Someone dropping my groceries on my kitchen bench, yes please - we live in an old Queenslander and have a zillion stairs.

- UBER EATS! It's like DoorDash all over again. In other words: take away for lazy people. Like me :) $5 delivery with so many choices around us, it's been a great service so far.

- So many of my fav shops are finally not only down under, but in Brisbane! Zara & H&M are already here and Sephora is opening at Chermside this year. Woo!

- COFFEE!!!!!! Finally, we have access to an abundance of proper coffee again! And fun coffee shops! In fact, just fun little food places in general. Apparently, there's even a food truck scene here though we're yet to go check it out.

- Kmart! It's like USA Target, but minus the decent clothes and groceries and Starbucks. But the homewares are so fun and cheap, it's kind of addictive going there.

- The beaches. I'm ashamed to say we've only been twice since getting back... three times if you count the Noosa river. But - nothing compares to a Queensland beach. Nothing. Not even Hawaii, Fiji, the mediterranean... Aussie beaches are special, although I wouldn't mind if there were a few less jellyfish. Got my first sting of the season at Coolum and even though it wasn't particularly bad, it still hurt!

- Shopping centres. Firstly, they have air conditioning. Secondly, they have everything. When I used to do groceries, I'd just go to the grocery store in the states. Here, the supermarkets are all inside shopping centres and there's obviously other shops and food and well, it gives us an outing and things to look at on days with not much else to do. I like that I can cross a bunch of things off my list in one place.

- Our closest Ikea is in a shopping centre. Right next to Kmart. Best idea ever!

The bad...

- EVERYTHING IS SO FREAKISHLY TINY. Now, don't tell me that I just got used to American sized things. I swear, the roads here (in Brisbane, Gympie was fine) are barely the width of my car and don't get me started on the carparks. It can take me an embarrassing number of turns to get in and out of a straightforward park in my car which is the exact same car I was driving in the states. The spaces are narrow, there's hardly any reverse room and I feel like it takes forever to find a spot because everywhere is so busy with everyone wanting to be indoors in a/c comfort not to mention that everyone (myself included) wants the undercover or shaded parks because - crazy heat. I'm starting to understand why Mums like minivans so much.... Having sliding doors in these tiny narrow parking spaces would be kind of amazing.

- The petrol stations where you can pay by credit card at the pump seem to be either non existent or few and far between. Which means dragging 3 tiny humans into the store to pay. I've been able to avoid it so far by making sure we fill up when we're both in the car, but I know this is going to be a nuisance long term.

- You have to pay for parking at Westfield shopping centres (after 3hrs) nowadays. Booooooooo.

- HUNTSMEN SPIDERS. Particularly, the ones that LIVE IN MY HOUSE. I feel like we're throwing thongs at one every day. Every time I go to turn on the light in the storage room, I feel like there is going to be one just waiting on the light switch. I'm paranoid.

- Heat and humidity. Oh. my. It's AWFUL. I'm re-thinking summer as my "favourite" season. Winter is sounding pretty good right about now, especially as winter in Qld = summer temps in CA. And the worst part is that the heat starts early. I've been going for walks around 6.30am and even then it's just too hot already.

- Not being able to buy wine with my groceries. Or with my useless but fun purchases at Target. Now I actually have to go into a bottle shop (like Bev-mo). Yes, they're everywhere and always beside a supermarket but still... I miss the convenience.

The hmmmmmm moments...

- The first time I encountered a roundabout again. I kinda missed those good old 4 way stop signs for a moment.

- Seeing all the American things that have made it to the shops in the time we've been gone with their crazy high prices. You can now buy Reece's peanut butter chips and Ben & Jerry's icecream (at $12 a tub!!!! Holy!!!! Given it always used to be on special in Target for what, $3.75?, I'm kind of appalled at the markup).

- Coffee shops (not chains) all seem to close by 3pm?! I guess this is because it's not Silicon Valley with all the techies working out of coffee shops all day/night? Still, I feel like it's kind of early. Mitch starts work at the crack of dawn and finishes mid afternoon to keep on USA hours, and it would be nice to have a coffee shop nearby to go have a little outing to after he's done for the day.

- The first time I took the kids the library. I was sitting on a bench outside at the park after reading the boys a book in the shade (because, it was way too hot to play - 'straya) when the older lady sitting next to me told me I had a lovely accent... What country do I come from?

We're still in a period of adjustment, but - it's nice to be home.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Christmas 2016

It feels like Christmas was an eternity ago. Where did the past month go? Honestly though, I was NOT excited about this last Christmas. Normally I love the holiday season but having just moved house, it felt like a nuisance. I would've been quite happy to delay it for a couple more months. Despite my grinch-ish mood, we did try to get into the spirit - we took the kids into the city one night to meet Santa (best photo to date ;-) although I do miss Stanford mall Santa, that guy was legit!), go to Myers Santaland, see the Myers Christmas windows, the DJs parade and the lights show on city hall. We headed back to the Gympie house to join the rest of the family for Christmas, a few days filled with lots of delicious food (as always - the perks of coming from a foodie family), gifts and family time.

The dreary weather cleared on Boxing Day and so we headed to the river at Noosa before coming home. What a glorious day! I tried stand up paddle boarding for the first time, the kids swam and played with their cousins and we all enjoyed a fish & chip lunch. I'm loving getting back to all our favourite spots that we've missed these past few years!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The countdown is on.

I knew this day would come, but still - I'm not ready. My baby; my big boy; my little buddy - he's starting school in a weeks time. Real school. Had we moved any later than what we did, he would have started kindergarten (prep) in the USA last August. I was even less ready to send him then than I am right now, so when we booked our flights for October I breathed a huge sigh of relief and joyfully un-enrolled him from kinder.

This has meant that I've had three children - aged 5, 2 and a new baby underfoot 24/7 since May and honestly? It's been exhausting. When school went back in August, all of Ollie's little friends started kindergarten and it was hard for him having no-one to play with during school hours. However, I'm SO glad I had the extra time with him at home as it's been really beneficial for he & I both during this drawn out period of change.

Part of me is excited about the prospect of only having the two littlest between 9-3. We can do playgroups, storytime, Mummy & me classes - all the things that I used to love doing with my big boy when he was a toddler. But mostly, I'm nervous. I love an adventure but the older I get, I don't like change. And this move, well, it's been harder on my nerves than I like to admit. I miss familiar places and spaces, and now we're venturing into even more of an unknown. The school life.

It's going to be a transition, for both of us. My big boy is a mixture of excitement - other kids his age! Playgrounds! Art! His mind is eager to learn; a little sponge ready to absorb everything school has to offer. But he also expresses concern - he misses his old friends, he wants to go to his old (pre)school in California.

And while I'm excited for a new routine, I'm already mourning the loss of the freedom we've had together these past 5.5 years. Being able to have lazy mornings in our PJs just because. Going to the shops together. Just having my little sidekick for company and crazy faces. I'm going to miss him! We're venturing into new territory now - strict timetables and homework and packed lunches. Not to mention now holidaying during school holidays... Going to have to start planning our trips in advance!

It's an exciting time nonetheless. Just like with any change, I know with time we'll find our rhythm and this new stage of life will feel old hat. Still, I'm still not sure how we got to this point already. Wasn't it just yesterday we were welcoming this squishy little bubba into the world?

Bring on Monday. We've still got to get uniforms and a bag and cover books, but I've at least got a packet of Kleenex ready and waiting in my handbag!

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