Friday, November 30, 2012

Oh dreaded day

The day I've been dreading ever since Mr Oliver started walking has arrived!

Yesterday afternoon Oliver realised he is now tall enough to open doors. I caught him cheekily opening our bedroom door and running inside. Coming back out. Shutting the door. Opening it again.... Great! Thankfully he doesn't know how to unlock a deadbolt otherwise we'd be in trouble with the front door!

Then just as I was recovering from the realisation that no rooms were no longer off limits for my little explorer, he decided he wanted to climb. For the first time, ever. I had been thinking I didn't have a climber on my hands, but oh no...

It started out innocent enough - first he sat on his little chair. Then he climbed from his chair to his table...


Pleased with himself, he sat up and realised he could now reach the computer desk...


I think he thought the mouse was a remote...


Then in the blink of an eye, he was up on the computer desk bashing away at the keyboard!


Eeeeek!!!!! Nothing is safe anymore... Time to find a new spot for his little table and re-evaluate furniture placement!!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

When will this phase end?

This is pretty much what goes on in our house day after day...

Me: Books are for reading, not for eating.

Oliver: *om nom nom*

Me: Shoes are for wearing outside, not for eating.

Oliver: *om nom nom*

Me: Crayons are for drawing, not for eating.

Oliver: *om nom nom*

Me: Socks are to keep your feet warm, not for eating.

Oliver: *om nom nom*

Me: Sticks are ok to play with at the park, not for eating.

Oliver: *om nom nom*

Me: Mumma's toes might look pretty but - toes are not for eating.

Oliver: *om nom nom*

Me: Biting hurts Mumma. Ow.

Oliver: *cheeky grin*

Me: OW!

Oliver: *bites harder*

Are you sensing a theme here? At almost 16 months of age, Oliver is STILL obsessed with eating everything. I thought (hoped?) by this point kids were meant to have moved past the stage of putting every single thing in their mouth? Not to mention the biting when he's feeling frustrated... *sigh* This phase will end eventually, yeah? Or will I have a teenager who likes chewing the corners off board books and attempts to eat crayons for breakfast...


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

For the love of it

Having hobbies + being a stay at home Mum? It doesn't always work like I wish it would. I've posted before about how I've been challenged to give myself more me time, but if I could I'd have an extra day in the week where I could spend time doing all the things I like to do for fun, I'd be a SUPER happy Mumma indeed.

Some of the things I enjoyed pre-baby I still do for fun - sewing, knitting, reading, baking... Other things have become a little more challenging - hiking, cycling (this one partly also because we no longer live in bike friendly Flatland!), shopping... On my last trip to the mall I dragged the husband along and it was a challenge, even with the two of us to go clothes shopping AND entertain a very energetic toddler who just wanted to run around the shops instead of sit in his stroller! I've since realised that my days of going to the shopping centre and wandering around for the fun with Ollie in the stroller of it are coming to an end...

One thing that I like to do for fun, something that I've been passionate about for years, is travel. Not just the end result, the going away, but also the preparations - the holiday planning. At one point in time, I even considered a career in the tourist industry - I just LOVE planning holidays and have done this for a few friends just for the love of it.

Although we don't get away as much as we used to since moving over here (thank you, dodgy vacation allowance), I still love doing all the research for our getaways. Whether it's planning an international adventure with our little globetrotter or just plotting out a local day trip, I really do enjoy it. At the moment I'm trying to plan some kind of post Christmas getaway (need ideas!) and our trip to Disneyland early next year + girls weekend away. All the planning just adds to the excitement of the holiday - I already can't wait for our next little adventure.

What are your hobbies??? Linking up here!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spare a click?

la petite lulu is now featured on Top Baby Blogs! It's a great site to find some interesting and inspiring reads and I'd love it if you could pop over and vote!

You can vote once every 24 hours by clicking on the link here or the box on the sidebar.

Thanks & happy Monday :-)



Wildfire

Wildfire. It's how gastro spreads and it kinda sums up our Thanksgiving holiday to Lake Tahoe...

Yep. We ALL got sick with a stomach virus, one person succumbing to the illness every 24 hours :-( Even Mr Oliver had his first bout of vomiting. I'd been feeling pretty bummed about it; to go all that way to such a gorgeous location only to be stuck indoors throwing up is a little disappointing. But in the grand scheme of things, there are much worse things that could happen and now (that I'm feeling better), I can laugh about it. Plus, there is always a silver lining - instead of whinging about how much weight I put on over the holidays, my belt now buckles a whole notch tighter then usual :P

It wasn't all bad though. Prior to getting sick, we had our first Thanksgiving dinner. Bacon stuffed turkey, deviled eggs, yam casserole, garlic mash, corn on the cob & pumpkin pie made by yours truly...


We took the kids sledding at Mt Rose...


We watched Santa & Mrs Claus arrive by vintage fire engine at Squaw Creek & saw the lighting of the Christmas tree...


We watched our little marshmallow (Michelin man?) running around happily, grinning & waving at everyone...


And caught a glimpse or two of gorgeous Lake Tahoe!


I think this means we are just going to have to book in for another snow holiday... :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful

Today is a day to be thankful. My life is by no means perfect but I know I have a lot to be thankful for and too often take things for granted.

Today I want to say how thankful I am for this country. I am thankful for the opportunity to move here. I am thankful for the warm welcome we have received, for the new friendships that have been created, for the new (and often challenging!) experiences I am having, for the beautiful scenery, for the freedom that I experience....

Today, I am thankful for America.


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Snow time!!!

It's only Tuesday but I'm pretty excited right now!!! Why???

Tomorrow we are going to the SNOW!!! With the two day holiday for Thanksgiving + the hours Mitch worked on the weekend, we are finally able to have a mini vacation and head to Lake Tahoe with friends for a long weekend. 

It's been a while since we saw snow - not since back here when we had a late cold snap in Holland and I got to do some ice skating...


And the last time we got to make a snowman was wayyyy back here - almost a year ago!


Mr Oliver was such a little guy back then. I can't wait to see his reaction to the soft, white powdery stuff now he's a bit older...

... hopefully he'll stay awake for the building of this years snowman :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DIY fabric photo bunting Christmas cards

With Christmas getting closer and the postal system getting busier, I decided to get my act together and organize some Christmas cards. I'm not the best person at cards - some years I'll do it, others I'll forget. It's a habit I'd like to get into though.

I have been looking on various photo websites at their range of personalized Christmas cards. However, the Dutch in me just couldn't stomach the thought of paying upwards of $2 a card, plus $1.05 postage to Australia when I know that I can do it for so much less myself. Having fallen in love with this card, I ummed and ahhed at ordering the minimum amount but finally decided to have a go at making my own cards this year.

The end result...


It's nothing like the original, but... It's much more me. I wanted to incorporate some of my favourite things - sewing, bunting and our family. They were a little time consuming, but still very simple to make:

1. Insert photos into word & put a letter below each one.

2. Flip the image & letter (this is the time consuming part - it took me ages to figure out how) and print onto iron on transfer paper.

3. Iron each sheet onto plain cotton fabric. Once cool, peel off the transfer paper and cut out each image into a triangle shape.

4. Cut rectangles out of red card (I used a nice textured cardstock I found at Michaels). Glue the top of each triangle onto the card to hold it in place for sewing.

5. Sew a line across the bunting. Here's where I made a couple of errors - apparently stitching will come undone on cardboard if you don't reverse stitch each end, woops.

6. Glue red card onto pre-folded Kraft cards... All done!!!

These were also really inexpensive to make - for 12 cards I used 1 sheet of iron on transfer paper, an A4 size piece of fabric, 2 x sheets of red cardboard and half a pack of pre-folded cards. I had a few coupons I used for the materials I didn't have on hand and I think my costs came to a grand total of about $5.00 for cards and matching envelopes.

I had visions of myself sending these out to all our friends and family but I have to admit, I was a bit over it after doing only a dozen of them - so only immediate family it is this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Feeling festive

Like a lot of people, I tend to complain about how early all the Christmas carols start playing in the shops. I've had a bit of shopping to do this past week and as much as I love Christmas, I feel like I've already had my fill of trees, baubles & carols yet we're only half way through November.

The holiday spirit must have rubbed off on me though because yesterday I felt inspired to create some festive softies.

Meet Sigmund the snowman...


And Gaston the gingerbread man!


I have a few more ideas that I'm working on - I'd LOVE to do an elf on the shelf for Mr Oliver (ok, maybe more for Mitch - Ollie is still a little young to get it) but I'm yet to get an elf that I'm happy with. We'll see how it goes...

In the meantime - all la petite lulu softies are available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/lapetitelulu 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

15...

15 months today - another month further away from one and closer to two years old! Eeeek! This month, Mr Oliver...

... is such a little talker! New words this month include picture (when referring to his painting by Granjohn above his change table), here, chicken (although it sounds more like tooken), read, digger & teeth.

... has a new found love for soft toys (just as well his Mumma makes softies!). He loves cuddling them and rubbing them against his cheek. It's so, so sweet and gentle and seeing him hug his toys always makes me smile.

... is letting us know when he wants something to eat. And not just the excited pant when he sees food/water. Now, when he's hungry he starts saying numma numma numma num num num. Again. And again. While hanging off my leg. Sounds like I don't feed my kid huh? Well, this can happen within 30 minutes of him eating an entire apple. The kid LOVES food! It's snack snack snack all day long.

... has moved on from the clingy stage YAY!!!!! It really was a passing phase. He is still attached to his Dadda though - I cease to exist on weekends and between 5:00pm and 7:00pm. Dad is the favourite!

... had his first real mobility related injury. Ok, it wasn't serious but it was a lot of blood and it initially freaked me out (I was grabbing keys and getting ready to head to the ER). I was cleaning the bath and Oliver was excited and ran in to see me and slipped on some water and smacked his mouth on the edge of the bath. I heard a crack, saw lots of blood and thought he'd lost a tooth. Nope - still 12 teeth and counting and the tears subsided pretty quickly after a Mummy cuddle but it still wasn't pleasant.

... has a new found love for the park. He loves picking up sticks in the sand, climbing on the play equipment, sliding down the slide, rocking on the seahorse and just walking in circles waving to the other kids.

... had his first (of many to come) naughty corner experience. We're currently working on a few issues - biting and head butting being the key ones and it's.... interesting. At his age, he doesn't really understand the concept - in fact, I think he likes the naughty corner because it's beside the front door and he loves trying to dig his fingers under the door *sigh*

... is sleeping through the night (most of the time anyway)! He did his first ever true 12 hour stretch and it was heavenly. Not having multiple wake ups between bedtime and morning is something we could all get used to.

... has got the walking thing down pat - bye bye crawling. He's attempting running but it mostly involves face planting at the moment.

... got his first big boy table and chairs. He thinks he is pretty cool - he loves sitting there every morning to do some scribbling with his crayons or to eat his morning tea.

... played his first game of pictionary. Via Skype. A friend drew some pictures, he had to say what it was. Clever little guy, he knew what they all were! (his favourites - dog, duck, car, digger, banana).

And lastly... Mr Oliver now has a babysitter!!! Success!!!! Mumma and Dadda now get a monthly date night :-)


Happy 15 months big boy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Makes me smile :-)

This morning was one of those mornings. I woke up at 3:30. I woke up at 4:30. I woke up at 5:30 and cracked it, decided to go to the gym and then Mr Oliver woke up too. I fed him. He then decided it was playtime. I rugged up, grabbed my water bottle and left the boys to fend for themselves.

I worked out. Got home, exhausted. Showered. Got out of the shower to discover the pooplosion of the year had occurred. Mitch was holding Ollie at arms length and had to run for the train. I gave Ollie a bath (it was THAT revolting). Attempted to get him dressed. Attempted. He was super hyped up because he had a bath at an odd time of day and didn't want to sit still for clothes but thought running around the house in the nude was a great idea. Finally conquered the baby dressing. Put on some washing. Came out to the lounge to discover Ollie had taken interest in the indoor plant in our living room for the first time and was pulling fronds off the palm and eating them. I saved the plant from any further destruction. Made my breakfast. Someone then decided he was hungry again too (despite having already eaten a whole bowl of weetbix) and needed to share mine. Got cranky when I didn't want to share more then a spoonful. Cried and rubbed a trail of snot all over my clean jeans. I felt like crying - it wasn't even 8am and we had almost 2 hours to pass before going out.

I made a cup of tea, sat down on the couch and thought about naptime.

Then, this happened.


Mr Oliver decided to ditch all his toys in favor of walking around the house with a sock hanging out of his mouth :-) You know, like you do... I had my phone handy and managed to grab a blurry snap before he came up and gave me a snuggle. I had been feeling so cranky, but in an instant this sweet kid turned my morning around. He might push my buttons sometimes but he always knows how to make his Mumma smile :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lunchtime cuteness

Mr Oliver's version of peekaboo...


Working the cute factor for the camera...


Rahhhhhhh!!!!


And... peekaboo with the plate, his new favourite game! (please excuse my recorded voice - I cringe when I hear it and seriously hope I don't sound like that in person!)


Oliver - camera shy? Nope!!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Naptime = me time?

Naptime... One of my favourite times of day. Mr Oliver dropped to 1 sleep a day at only 9 months old and although it seemed early, it was a blessing in disguise. He went from being a shocking cat napper to sleeping a good 3-4 hours every afternoon.

I usually spend this time madly cleaning the house (including my least favourite task - getting under the couches with a broom handle in an attempt to sift out the mornings duplo stash that has made its way under there), preparing dinner, hanging out washing, ironing, responding to emails & messages, sorting through photos.....

Naptime = me time? I wish.

In the past couple of months though I have been feeling challenged to give myself a bit more 'me' time. Re-assess my priorities. It's not like I'm throwing tea parties every other day - no-one is going to care if the pile of duplo is creeping out from under the couch (well, until someone stands on it. OUCH!). It's something I have to work at though - I am a do-er, I like to be busy, I'm actually not very good at being bored (although I wish I was) and my mind is always full of things that need doing. As is my to do list...

But anyway - as much as I do love to relax, I always feel like I have something that I should be doing during naptime. I consciously decided though that I would reduce my to do list for each naptime to the bare essentials - namely, making sure there will be food on the table that evening and that the house isn't tooooooooooo much of a disaster zone. I stopped going overboard in the afternoon tidying though cos lets face it - in the short 1-2hours that Mr Oliver is awake before Dadda gets home, the house once again looks like a bomb has hit it.

So once my big priorities are complete, I have been making myself switch off from all the mundane tasks that I think I should be doing and instead do something I enjoy. At first it was reading - I am a shocking speed reader (it's not a good thing, but I'm not about to get into the technical details) so I can actually knock over most of a novel during naptime. Sometimes it's blogging - I blog because I LOVE to write. It's a form of stress relief for me. So blogging definitely = me time. And a lot of the time it's pinning... I am a self confessed pinterest addict :-)

More recently me time has been getting in touch with my creative side. I know I've posted snippets of my crafty love on here over the years, but I finally feel like I have found my niche in the craft world... I just love, love LOVE making softies. My mind is just bursting with so many new ideas which I can't wait to try out and I feel like I'm killing two birds with one stone here - I love to feel busy so this gives me something that I can actively do BUT it's a 'busy' task that I actually find to be kinda relaxing!

Since actively making the decision to turn naptime into me time, I am feeling so much more refreshed. More energized. More passionate about things. In my first year of motherhood, I discovered that it's all too easy to get caught up in the 'shoulds'. I think my list of things I should do is never ending and if I don't make the decision to have some time out every day, it'll never happen because being a Mum is one busy job. I really want to encourage other Mums out there to take some time out, even if it's only able to be 5 minutes with a coffee and a newspaper, it's important to switch off and let your mind rejuvenate routinely.

So... Naptime = me time? I'm working on it!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Currently

Loving: This season of thankfulness. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia and I have to say, I am really enjoying seeing so many friends taking a moment to share what they are thankful for every day in the lead up to the holiday.

Reading: Does Jip & Janneke or Diggers books count? I haven't been doing any reading for myself lately, but Mr Oliver and I have been reading a lot of story books together. He's finally realised that if he goes and picks out a book (or 10) and hands them to me, I'll read them. It's so sweet - he places the book in my lap saying re re. I'm going to assume that means read...

Watching: We have really been enjoying Call the Midwife and I'm so sad that this weeks episode was the season final! Last night we started watching Person of Interest and it was pretty good, although some of the characters I found a little frustrating to watch.

Listening to: In the spirit of listening to some of my old favourites, this week I put some of the Cat Empire CDs in the car. Talk about bringing back memories!

Creating: Lots! All the softies featured yesterday, plus I have been drafting up a few seasonal ideas that I'm yet to try out. I'm also feeling like getting my wool & knitting needles out again...

Thinking about: The somewhat challenging task of finding a regular babysitter. We do have an interview lined up for tomorrow though that seems promising, wish us luck!

Making me happy: Definitely my gorgeous, smiley little man! He's doing so well with his walking and is so very proud of himself! He spends ages just lapping the house with a toy in his hand and a big grin on his face. Park visits have become a bit more exciting too, we're not limited to the swings anymore - he's loving climbing on the play equipment and even started doing the slide all on his own today. He's also started noticing all the squirrels around our house and gets SO excited when he sees them (probably because he's egged on by me - I still find the furry little pests a novelty!).

Looking forward to: Tonight - spaghetti carbonara (one of my favs) + a bottle of red + white chocolate cake + relaxing on the couch listening to some Swan Lake with my favourite person. The perfect way to end another week :-)


Have a great weekend :-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

For the boys

Mr Oliver has decided that loooong afternoon naps are once again a good thing, so I've spent some time this past week drafting up patterns and sewing some more softies for the shop - including a range JUST for the boys :-)

Say hi to Ricardo the robot...


Pavel the penguin...


Bernard the beaver...


Moe the monkey...


Basil the bee...


Drake the dinosaur...


A speedy little gray car...


And a rocket ship (or two), ready for blast off!



Many thanks to my talented friend & artist Tiff for the inspiration for some of these cute little guys! To see what softies are currently available, check out la petite lulu on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/lapetitelulu

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Weekend goodness

Some weekend goodness - despite the time change (oh how I hate it when daylight savings ends!), it was just what we needed, a laid back weekend...

We bought a little craft table for our artist in the making...


I made my first ever pumpkin pie - totally from scratch, pastry and all (I was kinda proud). It's only the second pumpkin pie I've ever tasted so I don't have a whole lot to compare it to but it's pretty yummy to me...


We caught up with friends over a picnic in the city...


We watched our little man make the transition from preferring crawling to walking... He's getting speedy!


Took a swing...


Relaxed on a slide...


I love weekends :-)


Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's been a while

Date night... It's been a while. 15 or so months, to be a little more precise. In fact, date nights have been so non existent that I can even remember the last time Mitch and I went out for a meal alone: way back here in the pre-baby days. I decided to blow my low salt requirements for a day and we drove into Germany for a schnitzel at our favourite pub.

It's not that we haven't wanted to go out - there have just been a few complications. One of the downsides of expat life is that we've never had any family on hand to babysit. I wouldn't change our life for anything, but not having the luxury of just being able to drop Oliver off with a grandparent or aunty so I can run errands - or so my husband and I can have some time alone - is something that I would love to have. It makes me miss my family that little bit more again!

So, finding a regular babysitter has been something I've been wanting to do for awhile yet it still hasn't been crossed off my to do list. But for the first time, where both Mitch and I are leaving our boy, I knew I'd be more comfortable leaving him with a friend - and thanks to the kindness of some friends, our date night became a reality last night!!!

I do love eating out as a family but it was SO nice to eat a leisurely dinner without having to rearrange the table setting to keep candles, cutlery and salt shakers out of a little boys hands. It was nice not to have to wipe down anyones food smeared face at the end of the night. It was nice not to have to request a table far enough away from people with long hair so that a certain little someone doesn't lean out of his chair and attempt to pull their hair out, but close enough to people that he is entertained by looking at them. It was nice to have a tiny purse instead of an oversized handbag filled with cheerios and sippy cups. It was nice not to have to assess the mess under the highchair to determine just how much extra we should tip above the standard amount. It was nice to wander around the streets afterwards, popping into shops whenever we felt like it and admiring the fairy lights instead of racing to the car. It was nice to be alone...... :-)


It's nice to see you again date night - you certainly aren't overrated, that's for sure :-)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween - take 3 (trick or treat!)

This is my last Halloween post. I promise :)

It ended up being a bit of a mission to go trick or treating last night but SO worth it. Yesterday was not only Halloween but there was also a Giants event on in the city. So.... Trains were nuts, late, overcrowded and Mitch was quite delayed getting home. Then in our mad rush we took the wrong highway driving to our friends house and got stuck on the horrible one that turns into a car park during peak hour. A 20 minute trip turned into 50 minutes and with the train delays and all, we were a little frazzled by the time we arrived. But... As soon as the kids were in costume and we were off, the fun began!

Ollie's little friend loved pushing him around the streets...


We knocked on some doors...


Compared the goodies...


Although no candy was consumed by small children, Oliver did get a little possessive of his stash...



He clutched onto his bag for dear life! Well, for the most part of the night anyway. Towards the end I had a moment of panic when he had seemingly lost his bag of treats. Thankfully, the trike had saved the day and caught it!


So, three costumes, one party, one trunk or treat and one trick or treat later, our first Halloween is complete. Bring on the next holiday I say!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Future equestrian?

Ok, so I don't normally blog more then once a day, but this was just too darn cute not to share!


This morning our playgroup met at a little pumpkin patch. They had pumpkins, a train ride (which I de-railed - apparently adults shouldn't sit in the back carriage!), a petting zoo, bouncy slide and... a pony ride. I'm an equestrian from way back - so I figured, why not start the little guy early :-) I wasn't sure how he'd react but he was such a big boy and rode the pony for a few laps!


I'm breathing a sigh of relief that Oliver seems to be moving through the clingy stage. Recently he hasn't been letting me put him down at playgroup and insists on being carried everywhere but this morning he was such a big boy - riding the pony, patting the bunnies...


And even taking a few steps out in public!!!


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