Saturday, March 30, 2013

13/52


"A photo of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Oliver: Peek-a-boo!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Currently {28.03.13}

Loving: SPRING!!! It's finally arrived and I'm loving it - Mr Oliver and I have been enjoying many picnic lunches in the backyard and we finally bought a BBQ (or 'grill' as everyone seems to call them here!). Seeing how happy Ollie is in his own outside space - digging, chasing balls, watering the garden, sliding, drawing with chalk - well, it makes me realise that all the effort of moving house was well and truly worth it.

Reading: Today I started reading Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult. I have a lot of her books on my bookshelf so this is one I've read before but not in a looooong time - I'm enjoying it so far.

Watching: We went to the movies on Saturday for our monthly date night - for the first time since I was about 38 weeks pregnant! It was quite different to the cinema in Holland (no intermission, no subtitles, no assigned seating) and the movie (Olympus has Fallen) was rubbish, but it was soooooo good to go to the cinema again!

Creating: I have a few projects on my list but yet to start any of them (still!)! I really want to make a dress like this one here or a skirt/dress like this, a little car carrier for Ollie like this one here and I also have a custom order to design and sew up. Then I reallyyyyy need to get started on re-stocking my shop...

Thinking about: How much I HATE lines. After our trip to Disneyland last month, I felt that I'd had my fill of lines for the year. Then yesterday we all had to go to the IRS to submit a simple form (all 3 of us having to be there to have our passports checked). We turned up 30 minutes before the office had opened, yet it took 7 long hours before we were seen (3 of those 7 hours were spent on our feet, holding a very wriggly & heavy toddler in a confined space). Honestly? It was hellish. It was beyond a joke. We arrived at 8am, were seen at 3pm and out of there at 3.10pm. 7 hours in line for a 10 minute appointment does not make me a happy Mumma. Nor does waking up the next morning with the stomach flu... What can I say - it's not been a fun week :-(

Making me happy: The fact that Mitch was able to work from home today... I'm feeling weak, nauseated and washed out after waking up sick at 6am - there was NO way I was going to be able to chase my energetic kiddo around all day. Although I often whine about how much work Mitch has to do out of hours, I'm so very thankful he's in a position where he has the flexibility to work from home on days like today.

Looking forward to: This week being over! I'm feeling whiney and a bit over it - I'm just praying that Mitch and Ollie can avoid this sickness because we are booked to go on the steam train this Saturday for an easter egg hunt in the redwood forest... Doesn't that sound like fun?!?!


Happy Easter all!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

Las Vegas... It might just be the girls weekend capital of the world :-) Although it initially felt a little strange (like my right leg was missing really) to be childless, the break really was refreshing. Vegas isn't exactly a child friendly city so I'm glad my first experience was sans the little cutie - but it's perfect for 3 girls loaded up with pretty dresses and heels...


With free VIP access, free drinks, shows, bling, the Eiffel tower next door, New York New York down the road, Venice a little further the other direction, shopping - what more could a girl want??? What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but here's a few little snippets from the trusty iPhone :-)












Viva Las Vegas! I wonder where girls weekend part 3 may take us???

Saturday, March 23, 2013

12/52


"A photo of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Oliver: My curly haired boy was sick earlier this week... Resulting in a lot more TV watching then usual while being housebound!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The happiest place on earth

Disneyland: it's been called 'the happiest place on earth' for a reason...


Everyone smiles & waves...


There's cute headgear to be worn...



Rides for the young (and young at heart)...



Characters to meet...



Displays to behold...



What can I say - we had an awesome time! Disneyland definitely caters to the under 5 crowd (and I hate to say it, but Eurodisney is wayyyyy better in terms of rides) but I'm a kid at heart so had a blast. And California Adventure Park - well, Mr Oliver was in Cars heaven and I was pretty darn happy to go on the tower of terror again!


I think next time I'd like to try Disneyworld - perhaps if/when the husband is sent to Florida again, Mr Oliver and I might just tag along :-)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

19...

5 months and counting til my big boy turns 2! At 19 months, Mr Oliver...

... experienced the joy of Disneyland for the first time! Even at such a young age, he had a blast - asking to ride the 'pwane' (plane ride) and laughing his way through a few of the others. He sadly didn't meet Mickey or Minnie - Mumma couldn't face yet another 30 minute line!

... graduated to the toddler nursery at mothers group. He's only been once but he seemed to love having all his friends there and even came home with a drawing for Mumma. It made him seem so grown up!

... more and more words just keep popping out (and others are said more clearly). New words this month include cake, spoon, fork, bix (weetbix), bowl, neck, head, leg, milk, plug, up, down.

... had a blast with our first visitors of the year - he loved them so much, he even said his first adult names: 'meag' and 'kaaaaate' :-)

... has a slight fire truck obsession. Weeks ago we had one pull up outside our house for a neighbour and just last week we had one (sirens blaring, lights blazing and all) come for us, with firemen in the house. Ollie was beside himself with excitement, exclaiming reeaw reeaw truck! reeaw reeaw truck! to the point where I thought he would hyperventilate (and yes, all was well! We called the non emergency line to ask a question because our carbon monoxide detectors kept going off and it seems they take it pretty serious here: not one, but two firetrucks were dispatched and the first was at our house in minutes. Ollie was beyond excited, I was kinda embarrassed).

... runs. everywhere. fast. It's bye-bye walking, hello speedy feet. We went to Alcatraz last week and he RAN the entire way up the island to the prison. Now, anyone who has done that knows how steep and far that is. I was impressed!

... survived without his Mumma for a long weekend for the first time. Whenever I called, he heard my voice and started calling out mama! mama! but otherwise, I don't think he reallyyyyy missed me :-( He's such a Dadda's boy and had a blast having Mitch all to himself for the weekend. I missed him though...

... can correctly identify a few more colours! He's been able to say and identify green for awhile now but this week also learnt purple and black. We're getting there, slowly! Sometimes he gets blue right, but not all the time.

... experienced his first sugar high. I took the girls to Ghiradelli in the city and naturally, he wanted to taste what I was having (chocolate ice-cream in a chocolate coated waffle bowl). I gave him the tiniest lick of my spoon at first but it quickly changed into scoops - the kid couldn't get enough of the stuff. Strangely enough, he was kinda hyper the entire ride home :P

... choose his own toy - all by himself - for the first time at the Disney store. I wanted to get him something little to remember the trip by and he spotted the Chugginton trains. I was trying to get him to choose a less ugly, nice colourful one but he was determined to have the white one. For the first week after buying it, it was hardly out of his hot little hands - he even fell asleep holding it at night. Even now, weeks later, he still asks for it if he can't see it laying around. I really should buy a couple of back ups!


Happy 19 months bubba John!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On my heart: home

I don't know whether to celebrate or cry - yesterday marked one year since we moved to the USA, and a little over three years since we said our goodbyes in Australia. So, it's no wonder that home has been on my heart a lot lately. Where it is, what it means and where our future is headed...

With our time in Holland and our brief stint living in France, we've actually only lived in Australia for less then 2 years since 2007. It's no wonder it feels foreign to me when we visit. As distant as the life we once had there may seem, Australia will always have a special place in my heart. When it all boils down, home is wherever my little family is, but Australia is also home. It's where I grew up. It's where my husband grew up. Oliver may have a citizenship certificate but he has no idea of the land we love and I want him to know it. The funny large island called Australia that lately, my heart has been longing for...

I'm full of mixed emotions right now. I love our life in California. Yes, I miss people like nothing else but this life here has become so familiar. I love my friends here dearly and for the first time in a very long time, I feel like I'm a part of a community. A community that includes a christian community - for the first time since my teen years, I have friends who share the same beliefs as I do and although it's certainly NOT a pre-requisite for friendship, it's encouraging and I feel that being here has helped me grow on so many different levels. However, in recent months I haven't been able to shake a certain feeling. Not exactly of discontent, but more of feeling disillusioned. I've lived internationally a number of times; the expat life is a familiar one so I tried not to have great expectations of what life would be like here before we moved. Yet as much as I love our life here, there are certain aspects of it that make me question whether this is the right place for us to raise our family in the long term.

We came here one year ago with no idea of what we were doing and where we where heading. For once, this wasn't a contract position and that's a scary prospect. When people ask me how long we are going to be here for, I can't answer that question. We both knew it was a good time for us to come live here - while our son is still young and we don't have to worry about him changing schools. We felt that we had 4-5 years up our sleeves before deciding where we wanted to settle permanently. I knew that if we had moved back to Australia when Mitch's post doc was up, like we had originally planned, we'd probably get itchy feet and up and leave again in a couple of years anyway. We came here because we're globetrotters, we have a strong desire to see the world and experience different cultures. And, my husband works in a very specific field where the job opportunities in Australia are very limited but are in abundance right here. Mitch loves his job. In fact, I know he'd quite happily continue working there til he retires. He loves the environment, he loves what he's working on, he loves the challenge, but work isn't everything in life.

What I didn't know when we moved here one year ago is that I'd already have a strong inclination of where I want to spend the rest of my life. A deep longing for the country that was our home for so many years. To be honest, I had been keeping this all to myself. Mitch and I are both open books and love to hash out anything and everything on a Friday night over a bottle of red, but I knew that discussing this particular topic too soon might not allow him to come to his own conclusions. When he recently voiced such similar thoughts to those that had been whirling around in my head for months - well, I felt a sense of relief: we are on the same page here.

It's funny how your perspective on life changes after having a child. If it were just the two of us, we probably wouldn't settle. I wouldn't feel the need to put down any roots; I would have been perfectly happy to flit from country to country, living the life of a modern day nomad. I am an adventurer, I take delight in the unknown. But now, I'm on a different adventure. The somewhat challenging but rewarding journey of parenthood. Since having Oliver, I have felt such a strong desire for him to know his extended family. I love my nieces & nephews so dearly and I hate that they only get to play with him over Skype. I wish that my Mum could sing him his special song in person. I wish that he could grow up knowing hot Christmases, the early morning summer cicada sounds, the smell of a snag cooking on a bbq while listening to the sounds of family chatting, the joy of walking along an Australian beach late in the evening (I'm sorry, NOTHING else compares to an Aussie beach). I also miss my 'old' friends. Some of whom are like family to me, irreplaceable - friends to grow old with.

In addition to finding our feet as parents, we're also raising a third culture kid. Oliver is a funny case. He was born in Holland but has no real ties to the country other then a half Dutch mother and a Dutch birth certificate. He is growing up in America but has no real rights here - he's not even a permanent resident, let alone a citizen. He's technically an Australian by way of descent and has a piece of paper from the Australian embassy in London to certify this fact but he has only spent a little over a month of his entire life in Australia. I love that he is our little globetrotter and I desire for his knowledge of the world to not be limited a small box, but for him to know and respect other cultures. But at the same time, I would love for him to have a real connection to a country like his parents do, a sense of cultural identity.

So, one year in - what's the verdict? We're not ready to up and move countries again. I feel that God opened up doors for us to come to America for a reason, and our time here isn't up yet. I do feel however, that when our visas come up for renewal, it's time to sit down and seriously think about where we want to be in the long term. It's a scary thought. Personally, I feel that provided we tick enough off our travel list here, I will be ready to start a life in Australia again. Maybe that's a feeling of homesickness talking brought on by spending time with old friends again? Maybe not. Only time will tell. But what I do know, something I didn't one year ago, is that I want our children to grow up in the land I love. When the time comes, there is a lot we'll be leaving behind so I know it won't be easy, but whether it's in 2 years, 5 years or 10 years, I want to go home.

Australia, I miss you.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Co-hosting: GFC Collective

Today I have the pleasure of co-hosting the GFC Collective!


Welcome to the weekly "GFC Collective" party! Despite the Google Reader drama, our blog hop is still going strong, and it's still a great way to discover new blogs. So link up and join the fun :)

Not sure if this is the blog hop for you? Listen to what other bloggers have to say...

"Just to let you know, your blog hop is the best I've participated in for gaining new friends!!! I couldn't believe the results!! Thank you!"
- Danavee, This Vintage Grove

"I'm dropping by to let you know that I love being a part of your blog hop! 
 I have been meeting really nice bloggers.  Bloggers who are actually friendly and want to connect! 
I'm putting the blog hop button on my side bar, like, permanently!  Everyone should know about it. 
 Just thought I'd share with you. Thank you."
-Vickie, Oh Abby Day


"Hi BreAnna, just want to say that your blog is beautiful, creative, and fun. The GFC collective is one of my favorite parts of the blogging week. Love meeting new friends and fellow bloggers. We just started our blog and were amazed at how helpful the GFC collective is! Keep up the amazing work."
-Alea and Rachael, Sparkle Your Life


"This GFC Collective Hop is seriously one of the best link ups out there! Through this hop I have found so many great blogs & friends that I wouldn't have otherwise found! Thank you so much for hosting such a fun link up! Please take the time to link up & join along! You won't be sorry that you did!"
-Amy @ Keepin' Up With the Smith's


Autumn @ The Busy Bee

and our lovely co-hosts for the week

Summer @ Oh Summer Candy


Saturday, March 16, 2013

9, 10 & 11/52

9/52


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Oliver: He clomped out of his bedroom right before bathtime exclaiming 'shoe shoe' - he sure is our little Dutch boy :-)

10/52


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Oliver: Slightly concerned look on his face while watching the carousel at Disneyland - he did enjoy himself once he was on there though! (iPhone snap)

11/52


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Oliver: Little boy, big trees (iPhone snap)

This is a little bit of a catch up - I'm a few weeks behind in posting these given our recent holiday!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hello, Bloglovin'

Ugh. Sometimes I hate changes. But with Google ditching Google Reader (plus a bit of freaking out out that GFC may disappear too) and the need for an easier way to organise the blogs I read regularly, I decided it was time to start figuring out this whole Bloglovin' business: you can find me here or just click on the button below to go follow :-)

Follow on Bloglovin

Happy Thursday all!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Co-hosting: Mommy-Brain Mixer

Today I'm super excited to be co-hosting the Mommy-Brain Mixer!

Photobucket
Welcome to the Mommy-Brain Mixer! So happy you're here.
Let's face it, it's fun to share stories about motherhood and our littles. As mamas, we understand one another. At the Mommy-Brain Mixer, we invite your to share about anything and everything motherhood or little people related. Be sure to visit one another. ---->>This mixer is all about building community between moms.<--- This is a perfect place to find great blogs to follow, make wonderful new blog friends, and enjoy entertaining reads!
Mommy MUSTS:
  1. Say hello to our lovely co-hosts Coretta and Luana.
  2. Link up your mommy post, not your homepage.
  3. Visit at least the two links ahead of you & leave comment love.
Optional, but appreciated:
    • Follow your host, Jelli
    • Meet new mama pals with lots in common at the Mommy-Brain Mixer.
    • Link back to the party by adding the button or a text link to your blog post.
Photobucket Button code (copy & paste): <a href="http://www.jellibeanjournals.com/tag/mommy-brain-mixer/" title="Mommy-Brain Mixer"><img src="http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg481/fairyjuliet/mbmbugsbutton_zps8bd75349.png" alt="Mommy-Brain Mixer"></a>
If you are interested in co-hosting a Mommy-Brain Mixer, send an email to Jelli at jellibeanjournals@hotmail.com!
Link on up, Ladies!

Currently {13.03.13}

Loving: Being back in my little space in the blogging world :-) A break has been so refreshing but at the same time, I missed writing and I missed reading all my favourite blogs! My head is buzzing with ideas but I just need to get them down somehow... Not to mention get some photos from our mini vacation ready to upload!

Reading:
I haven't read any books in weeks, but I have a nice big list of my favourite blogs to sit down and catch up on over the next few naptimes - with a cup (or 3) of tea of course :-)

Watching: We're about to start watching season 2 of Homeland - I can't believe I'm saying I'm excited over TV, but I really am! Both Mitch and I really enjoyed season 1 so I'm hoping the next one is just as good... I need something good to watch seeing as it'll be ages til the next Downton is out, boo :-(

Creating: The first thing on my list is a new stash of business cards! After that, I'm going to draft up some new designs... I dusted off my sewing machine this morning and can't wait to start creating once again!

Thinking about: Our next holiday - Mexico? Hawaii? Caribbean? I don't know now, all I want is somewhere tropical and in the near future!

Making me happy: Friendships. I feel really blessed that I've been able to not only keep in contact with some of my high school friends but have them come visit us in foreign countries. Girls I've known since I was 13 years old. It's a pretty special thing to be able to spend time together away from home, not to mention take off on the odd girls weekend... Vegas was awesome! More to come on that one though ;-)

Looking forward to: Our next trip to Australia. Still trying to figure out the finer details of when, but I already can't wait. When I'm so busy with my day to day life here, it's all too easy to forget about 'home'. Having old friends here and well, hearing that occa Aussie accent once again (yes, that's you Meags :P ) has made me remember what I'm missing :-(

And... I'm also looking forward to having a quiet weekend. It's been a full on couple of weeks and this Mumma is tired...


Hope you're all having a great week!

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