Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekend - yes, please!

Ahhhh... It has been one of 'those' weeks!!! It's a bit of an understatement to say that I'm pleased it's the weekend - it couldn't come soon enough!!!

With a super grumpy baby who resembles a St Bernard with the amount of drool coming out of his mouth, not to mention the toys he seems to be destructing with his gummy chomp (teething?!?! - please, please, please let there be a toothy peg in there!!!!), an overtired Mumma who has a pre-move 'To Do' list the size of Mt Everest, a sick Dadda who not only has an icky head cold but has begun the painful process of some well overdue dental work (figured it was time to make the most of our insurance and get his tooth crowned - a process that began with a root canal almost 8 years ago but stopped when the 'temporary' cap just kept going), and a house that is a bit of a disaster zone (thanks to much culling and packing in preparation for the movers) we are all a bit over it. Bring on the weekend - and some sleep I say.

In the first 4 months of Oliver's life, we were blessed with an excellent sleeper. Even as a newborn, we were getting 8 (broken) hours of sleep a night and when he started sleeping right through the night at 8 weeks old, we thought we were set. Well... Lots of travelling & a spot of baby jetlag means our sweet bubba boy is not only a grump at the moment but isn't sleeping at night! While I was feeling exhausted and sleep deprived, this website put a smile on my face once again. In those early hours of the morning, we tend to relent and Mr Oliver joins us in bed so we can get some sleep...


As you can probably tell by the positions of our pillows, he has already figured out how to take over the entire bed (although this seems to have been his preferred sleeping position this week)...

As much as the lack of sleep sucks (oh and it does - it really does!), he's just so darn sweet it all makes up for it... He's started saying Mama (is that even possible for a 5 month old? I don't know if he knows what he's saying, but I just melt when I hear it) and really, who can resist this face :-) 


Oh, how I love that cheeky grin!!!

Home is...

Lately I've been thinking an awful lot about home - what it means and where it is. Since 2007, we haven't really settled anywhere - with moving temporarily to France, then back to Australia (always with the intention of moving on again after PhD) and now with our time in the Netherlands coming to an end, it's gotten me thinking...

When we lived in France, homesickness for Australia set in shortly after New Years - the excitement of our big Christmas holiday was over, the weather was dreary and we were past the half way point, being on the countdown to our Eurotrip and return to Australia. Living in Holland however, I haven't felt overly homesick. That's not to say I haven't missed people - because boy, I have! (I honestly don't know how people did this whole expat thing in the pre-skype days!) but I hadn't actually been missing Australia itself, not like when we were in France anyway.

It wasn't until a couple of days after we returned to Australia when it suddenly hit me what I'd been missing. The warmth, the sunshine, the language (even the good old occa Aussie accent), the wide open spaces... Yet, I also felt a (teeny) bit homesick for Holland as well...

To a certain degree, Holland has become home in the past couple of years - not our permanent home, but home for now. We've had some amazing experiences here, met some fantastic people and more personally, I have discovered so much more about who I am and where I've come from. Living in the country my Dad was born in and discovering my roots really has been fulfilling, not to mention the best part of the past 2 years... Welcoming our sweet baby boy into the world :-) I know that sometimes having a baby can be socially isolating but I have to say, since having Oliver I have found it to be the complete opposite. It's amazing the people you meet when you have children and the places you can go. Oliver and I keep busy and I really feel that we are in a nice little run of things - only to now be leaving in a couple of months...

Yes, we are about to embark on another journey - this coming March, Mitch, Oliver and I are moving to the USA! Over the past months we felt drawn to moving overseas again, and so with Mitch being offered his dream job near San Francisco - well, we figured it's time for a new adventure! Despite our desire to explore that part of the world, it wasn't a decision we took lightly - there are a lot more considerations with travelling and living overseas as a young family compared to just a care free couple, but with the way that everything just fell into place, we really feel that this is where God wants us to go. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and I am so looking forward to seeing what life in California has to offer... We've never lived as expats in an English speaking country before but I still think there is going to be an element of culture shock!

Home... In the early days after Oliver was born as I was sitting on the couch feeding him, I used to hear this song come on the TV time and time again. I guess it really sums up how I have been feeling - home for me isn't actually a place - although my heart will always remain in Australia, home is wherever I am with my boys :-)

7 weeks and counting - I can't wait to begin our new adventure in California!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When things don't go according to plan...

When I booked our tickets to Australia last year, we had no option but to stop over in Dubai for the night on our way home. Personally, I much prefer just getting it over and done with and flying straight through but considering we didn't have a choice in the matter, I did some googling on this desert city and decided to make the most of our day there.

I had all these grand plans - basically racing around and seeing everything we could possibly see in a hurry - from going up the top of the tallest building in the world, to shopping at the Dubai mall (with a possible quick skate on the ice rink and peek at the aquarium) and going to see the world famous Atlantis Palm resort... If we had even more time, I would've packed my swimmers and gone for a slide down the shark tank water slide at the water park (I knew though that there just weren't enough hours in the day for this one!).

But as they say - even the best laid plans often go astray...

Thanks to a nasty case of tonsillitis on our last week of holidays, and then on the morning we were due to fly out, Mr Oliver waking up with a yukky cough (a trip to the doctor gave him the all clear to fly thankfully), my grand plans for our quick stopover in Dubai didn't quite go according to plan...

Our plane circled for I don't know how long before being able to land (cutting out hours of our time in the city), I was still feeling washed out and revolting, and well, Dubai left a bad taste in my mouth from start to end - starting with the shuttle bus driving gushing over Ollie to the point of attempting to grab him out of the baby bjorn and then trying to feed him a drink of water (he couldn't get past this protective Mumma though!!!) and ending with a waiter in an airport cafe dropping a KNIFE on my poor baby :-( Thankfully Oliver was fine (knife missing all vital parts) but I cannot begin to explain just how sick that made me feel!

Despite my disappointment in Dubai itself (lets face it - it's not the type of place you're going to go for the sake of it, it truly is a stopover city), we did get to see a few of the things I had planned..

The city skyline with the tallest building in the world - the Burj Khalifa...


Up close - we wanted to go up the top (figured that seeing as Mitch went up Tapei 101 when it was the tallest building in the world, we may as well go up the latest record breaker) but tickets were all sold out until the next day...


The aquarium in the mall... Well, at least this huge viewing tank anyway - I figured I'd rather use my energy on some shopping instead...


The ice skating rink - smack bang in the middle of the mall, I reallyyyyy wanted to go for a skate but it just wasn't going to happen...


I think all our exploring lasted less then 2 hours before I crashed... A great deal of that time was spent in the most awesome 'candy' store where I discovered a treat (Whoppers???) that could be my downfall in the near future - Reece's peanut butter maltesers.... Mmmmmmm!!!!!!

The highlight of our somewhat disappointing stopover in Dubai was a big one - Mr Oliver rolling over for the first time!!! He had been working up to it for weeks but only getting as far as his side before giving up. He hasn't looked back since then - now rolling back to front and front to back, our little Santa wannabe is quickly becoming a little mover and shaker...


Dubai.... Next time, we are so flying straight through!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Random holiday goodness...

Spending time with family...


And friends...




Cousins hanging out for the first time...



Meeting new additions...


And spending time with old ones...


Night time photo fun...


Beach. Sunshine. Warmth...


New experiences...




Pure joy...


I.
love.
holidays .
:-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sisters :-)

I'm blessed to be one of four daughters - although I often felt like an only child growing up with such big age gaps between myself and my sisters, I love how as adults we have all come together and can spend time together as friends, not just relatives. 








Sisters are pretty special people if you ask me... Love you guys x

Monday, January 16, 2012

This is why...

This is why I love Christmas in Australia...


Exchanging gifts with loved ones (far too early in the morning of course) ...






Lots of baking, cooking and carving...




Resulting in many tasty treats :-)





Thoughtful decorations...


And the most important part of the day - spending time with family...


This year we were blessed to be able to spend it with both sides of the families at once - McLarens and Gerritsens together, it really was a lovely, relaxed day...






I think a certain little boy had a blast for his very first Christmas!



Although by the end of the day, he was all tuckered out - after all, Christmas is pretty tiring when you're only 4 months old...


A white Christmas is still pretty awesome, but.. There is nothing quite like a Christmas at the Gympie house :-)

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