Loving: Ollie's little voice. A few people have commented to me lately that he sounds really Aussie. It's not just the Mummy - it's the digg-ah, nar-nah etc. He does have a weird (American-ish) accent going on when he says strawberry though... Reading: None of my usual mindless thrillers this month - I just finished Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. I'd actually never heard of her til she spoke at a women's event at my church a couple of weeks ago - I really enjoyed hearing her talk and the book was a quick but enjoyable read. I have since started Diaper-Free Before 3... Eeek! Watching: We just started watching season 2 of Homeland - yep, addicted again. There have been a few Homeland induced late nights happening here lately... That's the problem with watching TV shows after the season has finished - you can just keep going and going (well, to a certain point obviously). Creating: I've been on a bit of a sewing roll - in the space of a couple of days I made a crayon roll, an activity caddy, 2 toddler messenger bags and a play wallet. Oh, I also butchered a maxi skirt (literally - I was trimming the seam and accidentally had too much fabric in my hands and snipped a big hole in the butt. There was no salvaging that one!) and sewed my first ever dress. The dress is so-so. I made a few mistakes and don't think I'll be wearing it in public, but know how to sew it properly next time (and how much fabric to buy, as I didn't actually have the right amount and it didn't quite sit right).
I also did a custom ordered softie (another little Aussie critter) and another order - this time a new design - is underway.
Mitch also put together a backyard chalkboard - pretty basic and quick with a few bits from Home Depot, but Ollie is loving it! The next thing I am getting him to create is a sandbox. Any tips? Thinking about: Why people don't think before they speak on the topic of pregnancy. It's really, really, reallyyyyyyy bugging me right now. I had a pretty rubbish day last week, thanks to a worker at the post office asking me when the baby was due. I'm not pregnant. Can you guess why I had such an awful day? I still get all teary when I think about it. Not to mention angry - I am never game to ask someone that kind of question, as you never know what they are going through. One thing it made me realise though? I have good friends. Lovely, sweet ladies who know how to make me feel so much better and lift my spirits. That is something I am SO very, very thankful for. Making me happy: This weather - it feels like summer is here, and it's only April. I'm a hot weather girl through and through - I often think we should be living in San Diego or even humid Florida (or perhaps we should just go back to AUS!). These balmy days, spent outdoors watching Ollie play while sipping on a cold drink and getting a little sun are right up my alley. Weather really affects my emotions - so I am pretty darn happy about this sunshine! Looking forward to: A Mums night away tomorrow!!! This will be the second time I've left Ollie overnight and I know he'll have a blast having Dadda all to himself. I can't wait to be distraction free once again and away with friends. And.... MEXICO is coming up soon! Bring it on!
Mr Oliver hit 20 months on the 16th! It's weird to think that soon we'll be past the stage of referring to his age in months - is it just me, or does anyone else think that ends at 2? This month, Mr Oliver...
... has hit the repeating stage. A little later then a lot of kids I know, but we're finding it really entertaining hearing him repeat things back to us. It may not always be this cute though... A few new words he's consistently saying though: plug, hose, shovel, hammer, saw, screw (and pretty much any other tool you can think of), chin, cheek, elbow, love, camera, garage, couch, strawberry, raspberry, zucchini, Noah (as in - the ark).
... has really progressed with his colour knowledge. He gets pink & red mixed up a little and still can't identify yellow or orange, but loves telling us (and anyone else who will listen) what colours everything else are.
... has started describing things: 'big truck'! 'green train'! and so on. He's also talking in plural randomly - it doesn't always make sense though.
... is great with sharing his food and loves to feed his little friends, but is not so great with sharing play equipment. If Ollie is on something at the gym and another kid so much as dares to touch it, he goes into crazy face scratching mode. It's not nice and something we are really having to work on!
... has a new love - bugs. It's been all diggers, trucks, trains and cars for months now but it appears he has some room in there for the creepy crawlies. He points out every mozzie and fly around and the other day I caught him attempting to FEED a giant bumble bee that had landed on a toy outside. Ugh!
... has become a great gardening assistant. Well, he likes to think so anyway - Mitch and Ollie do the weeding together, which is sweet BUT now he has started pulling out my herbs and giving them to me, proudly exclaiming 'weed, mama. weed'. How do I toddler proof my herb barrel?!?!
... can be a little demanding at times. We were eating out recently and ordered some dessert. I made the mistake of telling Ollie that cake was coming. Well. It was taking awhile and whenever our waiter walked past our table, Ollie would start shouting (quite loudly!). 'MANS! CAKE! MANS CAKE! CAKE!'. Uh oh...
... is loving home improvements. He helped Mitch put together the chalkboard and every afternoon when Mitch gets home from work, Ollie rushes out to the garage and asks for the tools. We got him his own little kiddy set and he walks around 'fixing' the bike, 'hammering' in some fake nails etc. He's in his element in there!
... developed a slight taco obsession - or so we thought. For about a week, he was running around in circles before bed repeating taco! taco! taco! We couldn't figure it out - yes, he's eaten tacos before, but really? Anyway, one day it clicked - taco = circle!!!
... has got quite a reputation at out local supermarket. We shop at the same store, at the same time every Monday morning. Lets just say Ollie is a bit of a social butterfly - he sees his favourite workers and butters them up every week without fail. They all tell me they've never seen such a happy little guy! (and I'm like yup... Just wait til he has one of his moments!).
Overall, it's been an interesting month. Sleep has been a bit hit and miss (he finally started sleeping through at 18mths but it stopped a month later and we've had some pretty awful nights where he will be awake for hours at a time demanding cuddles), although it has improved a little the last few days. Temper wise, he's certainly had his moments but I feel like the tantrums are manageable right now. He has really hit the stage though where he knows what he's not meant to do, and purposefully does it. He makes sure I'm watching too and does it with a grin. He's also becoming very good with his selective hearing...
It wasn't just the adults that were enjoying the beauty of Yosemite National Park a couple of weeks ago - Mr Oliver was right in his element.
With room to run wild...
Logs to climb...
Trees to play peek-a-boo behind...
What more could a little boy want???
... A DEER!!!
We were watching Oliver play and Mitch was snapping photos - the next thing you know, there's a deer poking it's face in the camera. Ollie immediately shouted BABY GOAT! BABY GOAT! and tried to charge the others.
Last week I wrote a little about our recent weekend away in Yosemite National Park. What I didn't share at the time was the photos - I don't know how a mere photo can do this gorgeous national park justice, but here goes...
Being April, pretty much all of the roads to the north and south of the valley were still closed due to snow. So we were a little limited in where we could go, and stuck to the main tourist area: Yosemite Valley. There's a reason though why this part is so popular; it's said that it has the most scenery per square foot then anywhere else in the world.
It truly was stunning. There's the enormous face of Half Dome in your sights, plus what seems like a million not-so-little waterfalls gushing down around you. We've been a lot of places; a lot of national parks in our time but Yosemite still had the wow factor. And I'm pleased to report that not a single bear was spotted!
My biggest complaint? The crowds. I couldn't imagine visiting here in summer - I even found mid April to be too busy for my liking. The hikes in the valley are reasonably short (with lots of them not exactly being hikes, but strolls along paved paths to the waterfalls) and full of tourists. Trying to drive into the lodge in the evening was horrendous, with slow moving, backed up traffic for ages. We only booked this weekend a couple of weeks in advance and after talking to a few people, it seems we were very lucky to get accommodation and must have just timed it well with a cancellation or something. I would love to come and explore Yosemite again, and being only a 4hr drive away it's definitely on the list - however next time, I want to do the other parts of the park where *fingers crossed* it may not be so crazy busy.
I just LOVE banana muffins. My favourite recipe is this one here from the Aussie food site taste.com.au. I had a bunch of mushy bananas that needed to either be chucked or baked so the other day I decided to make a few changes to my favourite recipe to make it a little more Oliver friendly.
The result - banana, oat & date mini muffins! Like the original recipe, they were super easy to mix up. I substituted the brown sugar for maple syrup, vegetable oil for coconut oil and had pre-chopped date pieces in the cupboard which added some extra sweetness. Personally, I prefer the original - you just can't beat the cream cheese icing! But I'm much more comfortable giving these to Oliver... And I'm pleased to report he likes them too!
I'm a sucker for a good road trip. I don't hate flying, but since having Oliver I've come to realise that he's a lot easier to entertain on the road then in the air. Especially seeing as it means we can stop as often as needed to let him use up some energy...
This post has been a LONG time coming - our Disney/highway 1 trip was over 6 weeks ago and it's taken awhile to (a) get through the photos and (b) remember to write this post :-) Anaheim is only a 6 hour drive from home so we drove straight down on the main, inland (ie straight and boring) freeway to meet my friends. On the way home however, we decided it would be fun to make the most of it with our visitors and spend a couple of days on the scenic highway 1 route - Big Sur country.
A brief detour up to the Griffith Park Observatory in LA to see the Hollywood sign (and the smoggy city) was a must before hitting the coast at Malibu...
And then heading up the coast - past elephant seals, misty waters, deserted beaches & rugged coastline...
Sadly, we missed the signs and drove straight past the part of Big Sur that I was really hanging out for - the beautiful national park with the waterfall straight onto the beach. Oh well... We'll just have to go back one day :-)
I have got to be honest here - I just had the BEST weekend. Yes, that sounds pretty full of myself, I know. But why did I have such a great weekend?
It wasn't the location. It wasn't the hotel. It wasn't the activities. It wasn't the food, or the wine, or any other obvious things...
It was the lack of technology. Earlier this year I felt challenged to switch off a little more often, to not be so attached to my phone and the internet. It's a work in progress - something I definitely feel I'm getting better at, but still have room for improvement. This past weekend we went away to Yosemite National Park and as soon as we hopped in the car, I put my phone away. It went in my handbag and deep into the boot of the car, far from my sight.
And... It was liberating. It was so refreshing. We had no phones. No internet. No distractions. There was just me, my boys and the beauty of God's creation. We hiked, we drove, we picnicked, we got up close and personal with some deer, we watched our boy run wild in the forest, we stood at the base of breathtakingly tall waterfalls and got drenched from the mist.
Did I miss my phone? Not once. It felt so good to be switched off from technology and fully switched on to my family. I don't think technology is a bad thing, not at all - in fact, it's helped keep me sane as a stay at home Mum. I wouldn't want to get rid of it; it can be such a great tool & form of communication. It's just sometimes technology irks me. I'm a country turned city girl (*gulp* - I think) and I love my modern conveniences. But sometimes I still find myself longing for a more simple life. Some days I blab on to Mitch about how great it will be when our kids are past the eating dirt stage (please tell me it ends?) and we can pack up our lives for a month or two and take off to Nepal again, this time as a family. Live simply for awhile.
But that is just a daydream, one of those ideas that even if it comes to fruition, it won't be for a loooong time. So what can I do in the meantime? I'm going to keep challenging myself to be more present & more hands free. I'm going to keep striving to find that balance of being both switched on & unplugged.
Do you also find yourself wanting to unplug from time to time?
Loving: I'm really loving that my family is getting in on this whole blogging thing! My sweet sister (who blogs over at The Happy Sparrow) has been at it for longer then I have, and now my Mum has joined in too at Inspiring Simplicity. She's an artist; super creative and it's fun seeing what artsy things she is up to from afar! Reading: I am currently re-reading Replay by Ken Grimwood. I guess you could call it a fantasty, whatever - I read it a few years ago for a book club and it sucked me in. I'm pleased to say it's just as good the second time around!
Watching: We just started watching season 2 of Call the Midwife - it's a British drama and I kind of got addicted to the first season. I'm enjoying this one so far too, although watching another British show makes me want Downton to hurry up and come back already!!! Creating: I just released my first line of Aussie critters which includes a koala, emu, dingo & Tasmanian devil - you can view these (and more) here :-) A kangaroo is definitely next on the list! Thinking about: The timing of oh-so-many different things. At times, I can be a little bit of a control freak. I like to do lists. I like planning. I would go crazy without my calendar... Right now, I'm trying to figure out when to go back to Australia next, trying to time it with a million other things (including the seasons!) isn't fun and I can't make a decision just get. We'll get there at some point this year though - or at least Ollie and I will :-) Making me happy: We've been working on Ollie's manners and he is finally getting the hang of please (peeeeeeez) with the occasional thank you thrown in too. He is talking so much at the moment, he has something to say about everything and is also full of 'HUGGIES' as he likes to call them - he runs up to me, yelling it out with his arms outstretched and gives me the biggest hug :-) Looking forward to: Where do I start - it's looking to be a busy, but fun month! Our weekend away in Yosemite is almost here! We leave Saturday - this is our first trip there, despite how close it is and I can't wait to see it for myself. Then at the end of the month I have a Mums night away at the coast. And then....
WE ARE GOING TO MEXICO!!!! Eeeee!!! I am super excited! We have been umming and ahhing over Los Cabos vs Maui (both being a reasonably short flight away) and finally booked an escape to Mexico at the beach for 5 days. The last 'relaxing' beach holiday we booked was to Croatia when I was 29 weeks pregnant, and well - that turned out great, didn't it (with me in a dirty, bullet ridden hospital in suspected pre-term labour and kept away from my husband because it's considered women's business only over there. Can't say it was quite the beach vacation I had been imagining). But anyway - this is our first resort style holiday with Mr Oliver... So my vision of sipping cocktails by the pool and reading lots of books all day is probably not going to be my reality, but hey - I can't wait! A family holiday is much needed, as is time in the sun after a loooooong winter (not to mention flu season!).
It's been awhile since I posted this - scarily, almost six months... I wish I could say the motivation lasted, and I was feeling super happy with myself for the summer but sadly it's not the case. It's been a rough season. A combination of being sick off and on since that awful bug at Thanksgiving and cold winter mornings (I mean, who wants to de-ice the car at 6am) meant that my trips to the gym became few and far between. Not to mention all my over indulging on little tubs of heaven Ben & Jerrys...
Right around when we moved house, I had been feeling really unwell. Physically (which for me affects how I'm feeling emotionally). I was overtired and bloated. I could feel that something was off with my body and my fitness levels definitely weren't where they used to be. My clothes didn't feel the same. Then one day, I was having afternoon tea at Ghiradelli and the button popped straight off my jeans as I was just sitting there. Mortified (although, able to laugh it off - thank goodness I was there with good friends!), I realised I desperately needed to make some lifestyle changes - or, buy a new wardrobe...
I got brave and weighed myself. I wanted to cry. I've never really been one to get hung up on what the scales say - after all, muscle weighs more then fat, but the inability to button my previously loose jeans without laying flat on the bed hinted that this wasn't muscle. I was the heaviest I've ever been in my life (non pregnant) and for the first time, I felt truly unhappy with my figure. Worse even then after having Oliver - I was one of those very lucky people who lost all the baby weight really easily (sorry). I think all the cycling and walking I used to do in Holland probably made a difference, but all the pregnancy weight was long gone by the time Oliver was only a few months old. So, it was a shock to have a kid that is nearing 2 and be looking & feeling worse then when he was a tiny bubba.
On that woeful weigh in day, where I wanted to pretend I never hopped on the scales and hide in the pantry eating my 'emergency' chocolate stash and telling myself whatsthepointyoureonlygoingtohavemorebabiesandputitallbackonagain, I instead gave myself a good kick in the butt and decided to make some serious changes. I realised that if I didn't make some changes NOW, they may never happen as I will just keep giving myself excuses. So, I started exercising again. I started watching what I ate. Not restricting, but instead making sure I wasn't eating empty calories and instead filling up on healthier options. I started doing some reading into what exactly I'm putting into my body and you know what, the ingredients in some foods are downright scary (this is what kicked off my motivation to make Oliver's snacks myself, instead of giving him processed foods).
Heck, I even bought a jogging stroller - and used it! Yes, me who DOES NOT run. Ever. (Note: running lasted all of one week until my old knee injury flared up. Gah. I was actually really enjoying it too! Now I'm trying to re-build the strength in that knee, slowly so I can run again). This is the most motivated I have ever been in my life and although I've fallen off the bandwagon a couple of times, I'm starting to see some results. The bloating is gone. My face isn't as full. I can go longer on the elliptical without feeling like I'm dying and push more weights. Hey, I can even run a short distance. I've still got a ways to go, but I can at least go out in public without fear of popping buttons off my jeans.
It's definitely a work in progress, but I am starting to feel healthy again. I am starting to feel better about myself. I am starting to believe that one day, I WILL have the strength to hike those Himalayas again...
This morning I could hear Mr Oliver quietly talking to himself: tum-my... eyyye... hairrrr... nose... arm... and so on. I discovered him sitting on the floor, 3 toys in his lap - correctly identifying the body parts of each toy before gently hugging them.
Sometimes this kid can be rough and tumble, some days he can have full on tantrums that make me wonder if he's one and a half or three, some days the only words he will speak is a determined NO!
But in the midst of the toddlerhood madness, he is forever giving me glimpses of his gentle spirit, his kind soul - and it just warms this Mumma's heart...
This week I have the pleasure of guest hosting Falling for Friday!
THE place to come link up all the fabulous things you are totally obsessing over each week. Whether it be some brilliant new handmade goodness, a totally inspirational blog, or a little video that made you practically pee your pants... whatever it might be... we want to see it! We all love sharing those things that just make us drool, so consider this your formal invitation to join Dawnelle and Kelly each and every Friday!
Here are a few bits & pieces I've been eyeing off this week...
1. I'm a bit obsessed with this DIY wall art! My plan is to give the tutorial to Mitch and hope for the best... I have a big blank wall in my living room that this would be perfect for!
2. Recycled bike wheel clock from Pixel This on Etsy - I bought a Brownie camera turned clock for Mitch from this shop at Christmas and was super happy with the result. I'd love this one for our kitchen.
3. Isn't this fabric sweet?!?! I just ordered a stash of it to make some cushion covers - I think it will match our chocolate covered couches perfectly.
4. I think Mr Oliver would look cute in this little tee from Mama Case Prints on Etsy!
5. Dwell Studio Transportation set - I've been starting to think about a big boy room for the kiddo, I think he would love this bedding set!
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