Monday, September 26, 2016

Disneyland

Ok, it's taken me WAY too long to get around to looking at the Disneyland photos, let alone writing a post. What can I say - life happens! And it's been kinda hectic around here to say the least.

Disneyland was our final destination on our little southern California road trip back in July, and we saved the best for last. I'm a kid at heart. I just LOVE Disneyland. This was my third visit to the Anaheim location and fourth Disney trip if you count EuroDisney back in 2008. I really wanted to get the boys there one last time while we are living in California, plus Anneke needed her first trip - who cares if she doesn't remember it, she got to meet Minnie Mouse!


It was a stinking hot weekend for visiting the happiest place on earth, but the upside? It was nowhere near as crowded as I had anticipated. As soon as we got into the park, we headed straight for the rollercoaster that Ollie had been talking about for months: Space Mountain. He was just tall enough and I've got to admit, it gave this mama some anxiety the night before thinking about taking my baby on this crazy ride!!! He's SO brave though and such a little thriller seeker. He rode the ride with a total poker face and was fairly quiet after... But requested to go on it again, so I'm gonna say it was a winner.


This time around we did something new - breakfast with Minnie & Friends. There were waffles shaped like Mickey and lots of characters walking around (scaring the boys, they weren't totally convinced) and other than the fact that I nearly slapped Chip (or Dale?) in the face when he stealthily approached and patted me on the shoulder, giving me the fright of my life while I was breastfeeding Anneke, it was a good start to the day.







Oh, Disney. I'm gonna miss having you so close. Dreamworld just isn't quite the same... Good thing we're gonna be back for visits ;-)








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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Limbo land - here we are again

Random fact: I always thought I'd be a homebody. When we'd go on holidays as a kid I'd just be missing my house and my horses and just wanting to be home. I'd never even been on a plane until I was almost 20. I thought after finishing our degrees we'd just settle down; buy a house; get a dog; have some kids. I never would have thought we'd ever do this travel/expat thing, let alone for so long. I never thought we'd start our family while living in foreign countries. I still remember vividly the conversation Mitch and I had that started it all, back when we lived in Wooloowin. We were out walking around the neighbourhood after work and he casually mentioned that he had options to intern in foreign countries during his PhD and how did I like the sound of southern France? And I mean - who says no to France?!?! So, in 2007 we moved to France for a 6 month internship on a whim, having never been to Europe and speaking very little French. In 2008 we moved back to Australia. In 2010 we moved to the Netherlands. In 2011 we (kinda moved - short 2 month stint) to Switzerland and back to the Netherlands. In 2012 we moved to the USA. And now, in 2016 we are finally moving home.

And, as it happens with international moves, I find myself once more in this strange kind of limbo land. All of our most precious earthly belongings have been carefully packed into boxes by the movers, taken in a truck and (I assume) are on, if not on their way to being loaded in a shipping container and on a boat to cross the Pacific ocean and hopefully find us again in Brisbane. We still have a houseful of stuff - too much stuff in fact, (anyone want things?! Because we've got them and they're going cheap!) so it's not like we're living in an empty box, but still.

Life feels on hold.

I know change is coming, but we're not there yet. But at the same time, we're also not living our 'normal' lives here. I'm simply trying to pass the remaining days with 3 tiny humans underfoot 24/7 and somehow stay sane while avoiding the fact that I'm going to have to say goodbye to some people that mean an awful lot to me just next month. Denial, anyone? I remember feeling like this in the weeks before we left Holland. Deja vu. Just in a much warmer climate and with a whole new level of exhaustion that only mothering three tiny humans while organizing an international move can bring on.

The boys are ready to go. Instead of playing house, they play 'lets move to Australia!' and pack their little bags full of toys which, I hate to break it to them - are going to go to Goodwill next month. Ollie asks me daily if we can get on the big plane tonight, thanks very much. I know the transition is probably going to be challenging for them as for all intents and purposes, my children are American but we've talked this move up so much - they are also ready to be out of this limbo land. And as much as I am sad to say goodbye to this chapter of our lives, I'm so ready to start living again. I spend any spare moments I have - usually while breastfeeding - looking at real estate and cars and picking out furniture for my imaginary home.

It's a strange phase we're in right now. I'm so ready to move on and start this next chapter of our lives, but also struggling with the fact that there are some really, really hard goodbyes I'm going to have to say next month. Good thing we are going to be back (well Mitch - and I plan to tag along with the kids on school holidays!) for visits, as that eases the sadness a little. And hey - anyone wanna meet us in Hawaii? It's practically halfway, and I'm already plotting another trip!

Change is hard people. Some days are easier than others, but even good, exciting changes - changes that you hoped and prayed for for so long, they're still hard.

Moving is bittersweet, that's the understatement of the year.

31 sleeps and counting.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Four months {Anneke Claire}

Once again, in the blink of an eye another month (and a half - whoops, better late than never) is over! It's bittersweet really. I'm practically willing the weeks away, wanting to be out of this period of transition we're in right now with the move, but also don't want our baby girl to grow up too fast.


Stats... At four months old, Anneke weighs 15 pounds 8 ounces (7.03kg) and is 26.5 inches (67.31cm) long. She still fits some 3-6 month (00) clothing but has started wearing 6-9 month (0), mostly for the length and size 2 nappies. She is a tall baby girl! Longer than both her brothers at this age, but weighs less than Austin did.

Milestones... Still not rolling but she's just so close! She's forever swinging over onto her side, her arm just keeps getting in the way from going all the way. She's a wriggler though, and always wakes up in a different position (usually flipped right around) to where I put her down. She always loved being tucked snug under a low blanket in her cot for naps as a newborn but we've had to stop using blankets and just rely solely on sleeping bags now she's moving around in there. She's still crazy strong and loves to push up/stand up while just holding my fingers. We've hit that age where she isn't content to just sit and snuggle on my lap, she wants to stand and bounce and move around and be entertained. She's gotten a lot more interested in toys lately too and will grasp certain ones for short periods, always trying to get them into her mouth to chew. And... We have laughter!!! She's A LOT harder to make laugh than either of the boys were, and her first giggles were much later than theirs too. But they are just as sweet, that's for sure even if she makes us work for it :-)

Sleeping... Of course, I jinxed it saying she was sleeping through. This past month her overnights haven't been as great, sometimes she wakes up quite a lot - either because her mouth is bothering her (I can see the 2 bottom teeth just under the surface) or her big brothers are being noisy and wake her up. Sleep hasn't been brilliant for any of us lately. Some nights she'll wake 4 times, other nights just once. Who knows. We're kinda falling into a rhythm with naps, she goes down for a morning nap 1.5hours after waking and sleeps for about an hour, then takes a longer nap in the afternoon. When we are out and about however, she doesn't like to sleep. Baby girl still has a shocking case of FOMO!

Eating... Still no real routine - I nurse on demand. To be honest, if she's fussy I'll just see if she wants to latch on. Stick a boob in it is kinda my go to solution when she's unhappy, but it works even if it's just for comfort.

Best moment... It had been a rough day with the boys, I was overtired and cranky. I took them all outside to play, lay down on a blanket with Anneke and she just kept giving me this smile. This girl, I'm telling you. She is just such a delight. She's certainly added a lot more busy to our already busy life, but she just brings so much joy to all of us.

Worst moment... The day she woke up with a nasty (through to the mattress) blow out and while I was trying to deal with the mess, Austin decided to wipe his own bottom. With his hand. I won't say any more. Lets just say it was not a fun start to the day. There is too much poo in my life right now.

Loves... When Dadda gets home from work - she loves to snuggle up to him while he makes his coffee. Bathtime. Nappy changes. Ollie's crazy faces (he gets the most laughs). Mama milk. Standing up. The Jolly Jumper.

Dislikes... Sitting still! The bumbo (for more than a minute or two). Taking naps while being worn (she will eventually go to sleep, but after a lot of fussing - she likes her personal space to snooze).







Oh, Anneke Claire. Are you REALLY 4 months old already? I just don't know how to fully describe the joy you bring our family, but I can't look at you without smiling. You're such a sweetheart, full of personality and energy and smiles and you just make me so ridiculously happy. My sweet baby girl. My daughter. Happy 4 months, my little love!


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Monday, September 5, 2016

LA

When my two high school besties heard of our impending move and decided to come over for one last visit (yay!), it seemed to make sense to do our final - while living here anyway - Disneyland trip together, seeing as we've already done Eurodisney and Disneyland Anaheim together before. Despite having been past Los Angeles a bunch of times over the years, we've never actually played tourist there, with the exception of taking a peek at the Hollywood sign from the Griffith Observatory a few years ago.


This time around Mitch and I decided to meet Meagan and Kate a few days before our planned Disney day and explore LA. Everything I'd heard about this city was fairly negative - essentially that it's a big dirty polluted tourist trap, and sadly I now agree wholeheartedly. BUT I had to see it for myself! We stayed in Hollywood and it's nothing like what you imagine. Lets just say they must send through a pretty impressive cleaning crew before the Oscars to rid the area of all the rubbish, trash and dodgy druggos.







We also escaped Hollywood for a day to go visit Venice Beach and Santa Monica. It took forever to get there - LA traffic sure lives up to the hype - but I'm so glad we took the time. Again, Venice Beach was nothing like what TV makes it out to be. It was quiet, dirty, full of trashy souvenir stores and pot. I pretended I saw the Baywatch lifeguard tower and we moved right along.








Santa Monica however - lovely. The pier wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it was much smaller than I had envisioned but the town itself had a really nice feel to it.










So, LA - been there, done that. No need to go again!

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