Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin hacking

On Saturday I hacked my first pumpkin. Why hacked? Because after breaking the special pumpkin carving tool in the first 5 minutes of carving, I decided to leave the remaining unbroken one for the husband and attack my pumpkin with a steak knife instead.


It was an interesting experience. Smelly - having always bought pre-cut pumpkins, I never realised the stench that all the goopy stuff has. Messy - my hands and nails were stained orangey-yellow afterwards. But most of all... It was fun!






I roughly drew my designs on free hand because I was too lazy to re-size the template I had found online. Mitch however...


His template was taped to the pumpkin and he carefully made small indents onto his pumpkin to see where to cut. He then used the remaining pumpkin carving tool to neatly cut out his spider - it even had teeth...

You can guess who the engineer is in our household, huh?



Our pumpkins are now proudly displayed on the front porch. I had been planning on putting them on the table to admire but the smell is putrid. Rotting pumpkins - ugh!


Every time we walk outside, Mr Oliver points to them and exclaims 'ping'! It's so darn cute! Perhaps next year he'll be saying punkin :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Currently

Loving: The enormous bags of chocolate & lollies (all lumped into one term here: 'candy') sitting beside my computer. Yes, yes it's for Sunday but I have been doing a few taste tests just to make sure it's all ok... :-)

Reading: I must go to the library! I haven't been reading anything this week because I haven't been making it to the library on our usual story time day in the past couple of weeks because Oliver has been snotty and grumpy. I have a reasonable book collection but nothing I own is grabbing me right now. I've been reading lots of blogs though - does that count?

Watching: This week - NOTHING! Not. a. single. show. Mitch has been working every night and we like to watch our favourite shows together, plus I've been at the gym most nights. Thank goodness for TV on demand cos I am looking forward to catching up on some mindless television.

Listening to: I discovered George on a CD in the car this week and have had it on repeat constantly. Something I haven't listened to in years but I still enjoy it - and it brings back memories of my uni days!

Creating: This week I've done a few different things. I made the koala + tree halloween costume, a felt fire and a friend & I created a giant cardboard bear. The fire and bear sound kinda random I know but there's a good reason for it! I've also sewn a couple more softies, including the giveaway on my site

Thinking about: Next year - we've now got our first confirmed visitors for 2013! My 2 best friends from all the way back in high school are coming to visit and I am SUPER excited! We're all taking Oliver to Disneyland, doing lots of day trips around the bay area and even having a girls weekend in the tackiest place on earth. To say I can't wait is an understatement - I haven't been able to wipe the smile off my face since getting a text last night to tell me that it was all booked!!!

Making me happy: ME TIME!!! I'm really glad I joined a gym. As exhausting as working out can be, the resulting endorphins are rejuvenating. I've been going at night because the creche hours are really inconvenient and I think I'd rather wait til Ollie is a little older/not so clingy before putting him in it. He is doing better though - yesterday there wasn't a single tear when he went to the mothers group nursery.

Looking forward to: 9:00pm tonight. Mitch's deadline. Finally here. It's been a long week (few weeks actually) of overtime and stress for him, which naturally rubs off on us. The poor guy is running on less then 3 hours sleep today and I don't know how he does it, so yes - I am VERY much looking forward to that deadline being over, as is he! He is working from home today and Ollie was super excited/surprised when we got home from Mother Goose and he discovered that Dadda was still at home... Mitch was working on the laptop on the floor and he crawled straight up to him and snuggled up with a content smile. I love these two!!!



Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween - take 1

This is our first Halloween and although I could live without some of the festivities, I'm actually enjoying this holiday more then expected. I mean, minus the spooky stuff - it's a chance for your kid to play dress ups, there's an abundance of orange, pumpkins are finally in stores and lets not forget about the candy :-)

I feel like I've been a little overwhelmed with our first Halloween - I got so excited I committed to not one, not two but THREE costumes/events. Not that I regret it (yet); it's been fun!

Today was part 1 of our first Halloween: the playgroup party. Oliver and I joined a local Moms Club a few weeks after moving to the area. It's a big group and with my other commitments, I tend to only go to the 2011 playgroup rather then the entire club events. I was told the Halloween party is the event to attend however so after deciding that Oliver's trick or treating costume probably wouldn't withstand a party + the 31st, I consulted pinterest and our wardrobes to see what I could make for minimum effort & cost.

The result - hello, baby koala + tree!


It had to be an Aussie themed outfit of course... I had wanted to do Oliver as Ned Kelly or Steve Irwin but I honestly didn't think anyone would get it. The koala outfit was simple - I already had a grey footed suit and I just ironed a piece of white minky fabric onto the chest. Originally I had been planning to cover one of Oliver's hats in grey fabric and attach ears to the top but it didn't quite work out. Instead, I got some elastic to make a headpiece and attached ears to the side. Not the best koala headpiece, but it was a pretty basic costume. My 'tree' was whipped up late last night when I remembered why there was a pile of green felt and heat'n bond sitting on the ironing board. It was also really simple - I just ironed some leaves onto an old brown LS shirt I got from H&M last winter.

On a side note - notice the tired looks on our faces? Last night I was up til 1am, the husband was working til 2am and Oliver was awake blowing raspberries on us at 6am. I even raced off from mothers group a little sooner then usual today so I could get Ollie down for his nap early (he's pretty flexible, I've done this before and it doesn't bother him). Well. He spent an entire hour in his cot chattering loudly and blowing raspberries. I got so tired of the noise that I went in to put his music on and lay him down - he saw me and started LAUGHING. Lets just say that going into his room was a major parenting fail of the day. Never disturb a happy baby. Happy chatter quickly turned into mad screaming and it was more then halfway through his regular naptime before I could settle him. I was contemplating going as tired Mumma + crazy raspberry blowing sleep deprived baby but realised that it's not really a costume, but more of our reality a lot of the time. Anyway...

The party was a potluck so I decided to attempt some 'spooky' cupcakes (again, thank you pinterest!). My piping was a little rough thanks to my little helper who was tugging on my leg as I attempted to frost them at 8am this morning. Sadly, my tired state resulted in the remaining cupcake (destined to be my dessert) and the plastic container being left on the roof of the car as we drove home... Cupcake is no more :-(


So there you have it. Our first ever Halloween event!


Now to carve some pumpkins and tape together a giant cardboard bear for the next thing we have in store...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lasts

As a first time parent, I've always been anxious about Mr Oliver meeting the next milestone. I partly blame this on those annoying baby centre emails I signed up to while pregnant - especially when the 11 month one started with something like 'by now your baby is most likely walking'. As much as my heart knew that my kid was developing normally, I'd see so many other babies the same age who were so far ahead of Oliver in certain areas that I'd secretly wish the next milestone would hurry up and happen already.

When Oliver was laying still, I wanted him to roll. When he was flat on his back, I wanted him to be able to sit up. When he was upright but not going anywhere, I wanted him to crawl. When he commando crawled, I wanted him to crawl on all fours. When he crawled on all fours, I wanted him to walk. And now that he's walking(ish - don't get me wrong, he's not running around the house and needs motivation to take steps but at least now I know he can do it).... I want my baby back! 

Actually that's not entirely true. With the exception of the tantrums (which have actually improved - after some trial and error I found out that Oliver is particularly sensitive to salicylates), I am loving this age. I love how interactive he is, how he wants to play with me, the fact that he gives me hugs and kisses and grins when I enter the room, I love the sound of his voice and how his little mind is just absorbing and learning so many things...

But what I didn't realise in my anxious-new-Mum state, is that each new milestone also means a last of something. A friend pointed this out recently - how we tend to savor the firsts, but not the lasts. We'd love a whole house full of kids (something I never thought I'd want prior to having Oliver), so I know that if our plans are meant to be, we'll go through all these stages again. But that doesn't mean that I don't feel moments of (happy) sadness that Oliver is done with certain things. 

Nothing can really prepare you for becoming a mother. When it all comes down to it, it's a learn as you go job. I make mistakes. My husband makes mistakes. We learn from them. I often joke that Oliver is our 'test' child. I mean that in the best possible way, but so often I'm discovering things that I would do a little differently next time. The big one being - I want to savor each moment more. Stop being so anxious and wishing the next milestone would be here already. I want to sit back, relax and celebrate each stage for what it is - not only a first, but also a last. 

Because lets face it - babies grow up far too quickly!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cars, trucks & things that go

Since our trip to Australia and watching the road works outside the Gympie house every day, Oliver has become fascinated with things that go. Cars, trucks, trains, diggers, cranes, planes... So long as it has wheels, he's a happy camper.

Lately I've realised that his fascination is becoming somewhat of an obsession... Every single time a car drives past the house, he stops what he is doing and says car (sometimes with a brum brum added in for good measure). When he hears the garbage truck coming, he crawls up to the door and tries to open it to go outside and when that fails, he tries to scale the wall to look out the window. Every time a plane flies overhead (and we are right under the flight path where we live so this happens A LOT), he looks up and says wane. When he wakes up crying in the night - a quick 'where's the truck' or 'did you hear the plane' instantly snaps him out of it and we can put him back down without tears. I'm waiting for the day he realises there is no truck outside and there are no planes flying overhead, but at the moment it's working a treat.

As a family, we've embraced the wheels and things that go are a regular source of play & conversation in our household. The other day I spotted this wooden puzzle at Target that I knew would make Oliver's day. When we got home, I took it out of the bag and the instant he spotted it, he grinned, started his excited 'pant' (it's a very unique noise that appears when he sees something he wants - usually banana) and bounced up and down on the spot.


He loves pulling out all the pieces and brum brumming them all over the house.


There are also a couple of books that we have to read multiple times a day. The first 100 words book is a winner, although we spend most of the time on the things that go page...


And the book FULL of cars, trucks, fire engines, rockets, boats... I don't remember who bought these for Ollie's birthday, but THANK YOU!!!!


I feel like our house is overrun with toys that have wheels, but there are a few that stand out. This garbage truck (made out of recycled plastics, it comes from a Californian company that has some really awesome toys for boys) gets pushed from room to room, filled with duplo, emptied out, carries his water bottle, sometimes gets ridden... I think I can safely say that this is Mr Oliver's favourite toy.


And lastly - just to top off his love for things that go, I flipped the mat that comes with the Stokke table top to discover it has TRUCKS, CARS and TRAINS on the other side (please excuse the avocado toast mess!). Talk about meal time entertainment. This week Oliver has started pointing to the relevant vehicle and saying the word when asked. I'm so proud of my baby boy, I love that his obsession is also resulting in some learning.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Giveaway at la petite lulu softies!

Firstly - I just need to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for supporting la petite lulu softies!

On Saturday I announced that there would be a giveaway when my page reached 100 likers, and... We made it!

Check out la petite lulu on facebook for details on the giveaway - monsieur & madame bunny, a small matching rattle set are up for grabs for likers of my page.


Thanks and good luck!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin extravaganza

In the past couple of weeks I have been seeing some awesome photos popping up of other bloggers visiting pumpkin patches all over the country. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that pumpkin patches exist in Australia (not like here anyway) and we never came across any in Holland either. Yesterday we headed down to Uesugi Farms for our first experience - it was the theme park of pumpkin patches! I had imagined some pumpkins on a vine in a field, perhaps a hay ride or two, but instead it was a pumpkin extravaganza.

We walked in from the carpark to hear loud popping noises - yep, that would be mini pumpkins being shot out of a cannon by knee high children standing on a hay bale... aka the 'pumpkin blaster', I didn't get a photo but it was kinda cool!!!

We moved on from the loud pumpkin blasting to take a stroll through the pumpkin patch...





Discovered some weird varieties of corn...



And some unusual pumpkins - I grew up on just butternut & kent, available year round. Things here are a little different because pumpkin really does seem to be seasonal and there are so many varieties.




Not to mention sizes - from teeny tiny...


... to HUGE!!! That's like, an 800kg pumpkin. 


There were miniature train rides...


And a few other attractions we chose to forgo - well, except for the corn maze!!! We've been to Tazmazia, but I think that's the limit of my maze experiences. This was a maze cut into a giant corn field, Mitch kept referring to a Simpsons episode (ugh) and I kept thinking of that Mel Gibson alien movie, set on a corn field.


Well, we didn't have to eat our way out and we certainly didn't stumble across any crop circles - but it was still lots of fun!

I think I love fall - the apples, the pumpkins, the decorations, the candy overload. It was stinking hot out there though - nothing like the freezing cold Octobers we used to experience in Holland, but I'm looking forward to when we are back to boots weather again.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Introducing la petite lulu softies!

A few of you may remember how my creations were available a few years ago for a short period of time on etsy before we moved overseas. It's taken two and a half years, but I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that la petite lulu handmade softies is back!!!


Like many other crafters, I've now moved from Etsy to a Facebook page. You can find my work here: www.facebook.com/la.petite.lulu.softies

Each softie is unique and is made using recycled fabric wherever possible. They make great gifts for a baby shower, new baby or even the special little kiddo in your life!

And remember - if you like what you see, please feel free to share with your friends!

Friday, October 19, 2012

14...

14 months old this week - my oh my, how the months are flying by! It only feels like yesterday we celebrated his first birthday. In the past month...

... Oliver took his very first unassisted steps!!! We've since discovered that he can only walk in the nude. That's right, he won't walk more then 2 steps unless he has his kit off. Why? I'm not sure. Thinking that his nappy is probably a little bulky or something, so it's lots of walking after his bath and just 1 or 2 wobbly steps the rest of the day. 

... Oliver had the last of his one year molars appear. They started coming through when we were in Australia and it took almost 2 months of sleepless nights, foul nappies and pulling at his ears constantly before the fourth one cut the gums. 12 teeth and counting!!!

... Oliver started fussing over his meals for the first time. We took the baby led weaning approach to solids with Ollie as it just felt really natural and we've been blessed with a really good eater. Oliver has always eaten whatever is put in front of him and loves meal times! In the past week however - he's started fussing a little. He's decided he has a preference for orange vegetables (sweet potato, carrot) and won't eat his greens. He puts his zucchini and broccoli in his mouth and spits it straight back out with a disgusted look on his face. I know I shouldn't complain too much cos he's still eating some vegies, but this is a kid who used to chow down broccoli like there was no tomorrow.

... Oliver took his raspberry blowing obsession to a whole new level. Last night, instead of eating his broccoli, he chose to blow raspberries on it during mealtime instead.

... Oliver has become super clingy. He cries and clings onto me if I try and hand him to someone else and doesn't want to get down and play in the sand at playgroup (my arms are getting a great workout right now). On weekends, he's super clingy to his Dadda and won't have a bar of me.

... Oliver is starting to become possessive of not only his toys, but also his parents! When we were apple picking last weekend, our friends little girl sat down beside Mitch and put her arm around him (super sweet!). Ollie reacted by leaning over and trying to push her off - 'that's MY Dadda'. Possessive, much?

... Oliver figured out how to put the rings on the stacker, put some simple shapes into the shape sorter and this week put 2 pieces of duplo together for the first time! 

... Oliver's vocabulary is growing and growing. He just keeps spitting out new words! Yesterday at the park we walked past a dog and he said dog woof woof. He also tells us every. single. time a (loud) car drives past the house, the garbage truck goes past or a plane flies overhead. I'm so proud of my little chatterbox!

... Oliver thinks he has learnt to play peek-a-boo. Only, he covers he ears every time we say peek-a-boo, not his eyes!

... Oliver has decided that 2 spoons is better then 1 for porridge eating!!! He also loves to take Mitch's spoon out of his cereal bowl and feed Mitch his breakfast... Thankfully he has pretty good aim!

And lastly.... Oliver still has his happy, cheeky grin!!!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sneak peek...


I have exciting news - after a 2.5 year break, la petite lulu handmade softies will be back again shortly!

Just a sneak peek for now as I finalise some of the finer details... Stay tuned!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall fun

Yesterday we did our very first fall activities! We met with friends at a nearby organic apple orchard to choose out some pumpkins for carving...


Pick an apple or two...



... while the bubbas happily munched on some fresh snacks...



A picnic lunch & swing under an oak tree amidst the apples provided a well deserved break...





... before starting our afternoon in the kitchen - an enormous pot of apple sauce and 2 rustic apple pies were the result of a fun days work! 


Sadly, no pumpkins were carved - I think we were a little too ambitious! We've still got a couple of weeks before Halloween though to try out pumpkin carving... I'm excited!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Currently


Loving: The cooler weather! I am a summer girl through and through but last week it was above 30 degrees (celsius) - in October! It was stifling and our house just isn't cut out for hot days like that with no a/c or fans. Although I could do without the current grey skies, the cool change (and being able to wear boots again) is pleasant. It also rained the other night, for the first time in months, and the smell was absolutely glorious! It took Mitch and I awhile to figure out what that pitter patter noise on the roof was because it has become so foreign nowadays! I hated overcast, rainy weather after living in the Netherlands and now I realise that I came to take it for granted - a little bit of rain once in awhile is a really enjoyable thing.

Reading: Ummm... I'm trying to read 'The Happiest Toddler on the Block' as I have recently realised that I have no clue about anything when it comes to toddler wrangling and Mr Oliver is one determined little guy... By trying, I mean that I've read the blurb and I've flicked through the chapters but the lure of my usual suspense novels has been too much. I even returned all of my unread library books in the hope that I'd get motivated to read a parenting book but no such luck so far.

Watching: Oh the joys of fall tv - all our fav mindless shows are back on! I'm really enjoying Fringe right now - it's the final season, lots of suspense and I have to say I'm a big fan because (a) the lead character is not only Aussie, but from the Gold Coast and (b) Joshua Jackson has come a long way since Dawsons Creek! I'm persevering with (boring) Greys Anatomy although I think it should have been axed a few seasons ago. We also watch two short & funny shows every week - Raising Hope & How I Met Your Mother. I'm finding though that there are too many shows I want to watch and not enough time!

Listening to: A lot of Angus and Julia Stone at the moment. It's nice, low key stuff (and Australian too). I've been hearing a lot of Mumford and Sons new album on the radio lately - must buy!!!

Creating: This week I've been making the most of naptime and doing a bit of crafting. I made a wall hanging to brighten up my craft area - 3 embroidery hoops with pretty fabric and bunting, Oliver's halloween costume (Jack Sparrow & his trike will eventually be turned into the Black Pearl) and some softies.

Thinking about: The holidays. Thanksgiving is coming up next month followed by Christmas only a few weeks later. I'm feeling like we should be making the most of the fact that Mitch has 4 days off over Thanksgiving and go away somewhere, but I also want to have a nice dinner (lunch - what is it you are meant to do for Thanksgiving?) here. Perhaps we'll do both! And Christmas - this is the first year where we are being indecisive and can't figure out what to do! I'm thinking though we will spend a few days away with friends in the snow and then have Christmas itself here at home. Sorry, no surprise trip to Australia planned for this year :-( We keep tossing around the idea of New York for either Christmas or Thanksgiving but I think we've left that a little late now as flight prices are just a little too high being the holidays and all. Next year!

Making me happy: My handsome little man! Although Oliver is definitely more challenging these days, he is also more rewarding and way more cuddly. He will quite often stop whatever he's doing and crawl up to me just to wrap those pudgy little arms around my neck and give me a big hug! It melts my heart every time and I instantly forget how frustrating it can be when he is trying to push his boundaries. He's learning new words at frightening rate - he copies what we say. This week he added truck, car brum brum, bowl, and beeeezzz (please) to his vocabulary. I love hearing his voice!

Looking forward to: This weekend! We are going to do our first fall activities - apple picking, apple sauce making & pumpkin carving. Although autumn in California isn't as spectacular as Europe (I miss the beautiful coloured trees), the fall spirit is unbeatable with lots of activities to do. I can't wait!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fabric fabric fabric...

I'm so excited tonight!!! It's been a long week (yukky head cold for both me & Mr Oliver) but tonight I perked up, got out of my trackies and into the car to go to a once a month fabric event, Fabmo. I love vintage fabrics and a lot of my stash comes from op shops but as I have been doing a lot more sewing recently (more to come on that one), my supply is starting to run a little low. Well, that's not entirely true - I have an overflowing tub full of fabric, but it's all run of the mill stuff from the quilting store and it's my unique little scrappy bits that are getting few and far between.

This was my first time going to a Fabmo selection event and I wasn't disappointed. Basically, there was a room full of ends of bolts of fabric, samples of designer fabrics and even tiles, patterns, books and random embellishments. There is no set price - just grab a bag and give a donation depending on how many bags you fill. And the bonus is that you're saving all these awesome goodies from making their way into landfill.

It was HEAVEN for a fabric lover like myself! I was sans baby, so could sift through all the piles at my leisure. I struck gold with some cardboard boxes filled with odds and ends of old fabrics; I even found some vintage Australiana stuff that reminds me of Nanna-ish tea towels.


I think this will tide me over til next month... Fabmo, you rock!!!

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