Monday, December 29, 2014

Life lately {the silly season}

December is always a busy month, but for some reason this one seemed to go by particularly fast. Life lately...

We kicked off the silly season with Mr Oliver having his first ever school Christmas performance! He was a (very shy) Christmas tree.

Mitch had a short work trip away, and the boys and I kept busy (forever indoors - December was a bit soggy!) with lots of crafting and baking. Ollie learnt how to write his name 'all by myself'. He still struggles a little with the V E R but loves to practice. He started drawing people as stick figures this month and drew a fun portrait of me. Mummy the monster...

We decorated cookies (an American Christmas tradition, it seems) multiple times, much to Ollie's delight.

We visited Santa at Stanford Mall - not once, but twice. The first time we went on a weekend and the lines were too long. I'm glad I took the boys back during the week because this Santa was pretty darn awesome.

We had a lovely visit from my brother-in-law, Craig who had a long layover at SFO on a work trip. Ollie was VERY excited about Uncle Craig coming although a little disappointed his cousins weren't in tow.

We visited local German Christmas markets - nothing at all like the real deal, but a fun little outing all the same.

Ollie and I decorated a gingerbread house - the kit from Trader Joes was really cute!

We had A LOT of rain, including the 'storm of the year' (which really was just a whole lot of rain. Not a real storm in my opinion!). The upside to lots of rain though - other than the obvious need in this drought stricken state - was lots of pretty rainbows, one of which I managed to capture.

And just before our Christmas trip to New York city (more to come on that one!), we did a little pre-Christmas, Christmas morning under our tree for the boys.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nine months {Austin Mitchell}

Hello, nine month old!

At nine months old, Austin is in size 3 nappies, 9-12 month clothing and size 3/4 shoes. Unsure on height/weight as I haven't measured him...

No hands & knees crawling yet, but plenty of rocking like he wants to go, backwards army crawling and bottom scooting! He gets one leg behind him and one tucked in and pulls along on his bottom. Slowly, but he's able to get what he wants finally even if it takes him a long time.

He's really wanting to stand all the time too, he can pull up on my legs if I'm sitting down beside him but mostly falls over when he pulls up on taller things like the exersaucer (and just swings underneath). He's starting to walk along a little when you hold his hands - he just loves being upright!

He's a noisy little chatterbox too - he's started this very loud shouting that sounds a lot like his big bro... He says mama, bubba and even said dada for the first time last week.

It's been so-so. Definitely nowhere near as bad as it was from 6-8 months, but not brilliant. He's just been a bit more unsettled, taking longer to settle at bedtime and waking up 2 or 3 times a night on average, with a really bad night probably once a week. We're just rolling with it though; he's still little and teething just seems so constant that I'm not expecting a full nights sleep anytime soon.

He's still taking 2 naps a day - around 9/9.30am and 1/2pm. The morning one is usually short and the afternoon longer. Some days though he thinks naptime is over at 2pm and will not resettle; those days make for looooong, frustrating afternoons. But in general, the naptime routine is still working well.

The 4pm feed has pretty much been ditched. Some days if he's fussy (ie when naps end early) he'll take it, but most of the time he's lost interest. At 9 months old, he's nursing 3 x day (8am, 1pm, 7pm) and once overnight. It does feel like solids are starting to take over a little more and although he's not quite as adventurous as Ollie at this age (Oliver would practically inhale whatever was placed in front of him no matter the consistency and wouldn't let you assist him; Austin actually likes to be spoon fed things like porridge and tends to play a little more with certain foods, rather than eat them), he's still a great little eater. He's working on his pincer grip; with eating things like peas and corn he's almost got it down pat.

Best moment...
Mitch was away for work last week and this usually means a chaotic dinner/bedtime. I had Austin in the Stokke (and fussing), his serving of soup on the table and was finishing serving up Ollie's and mine when the crying stopped. Ollie was sitting in my seat beside Austin, proudly slopping spoonfuls of soup into his baby brother's mouth: 'it's ok Mummy, I'm feeding him'. Austin was lapping up the attention from his bro; it really was a sweet moment and I'm SO proud of my big helper :-)

Worst moment...
Last weekend Austin went on a breastfeeding strike. It was our first breastfeeding hiccup; he'd never done this before and neither had Ollie, so it was completely new territory and totally stressed me out. I mean, isn't breastfeeding meant to be easy by this point? From 9am one morning until bedtime the following day, he refused to breastfeed. I kept him hydrated with water and he was eating normally, but wasn't particularly keen on a bottle either. You have no idea how relieved I am that he's back to nursing normally again now. We *think* it was maybe teeth causing him pain, but who knows - I was even worried he was starting to self wean, and I'm just not ready to walk that path just yet. I really want to make it to at least a year!

Sitting in front of his big basket of toys on its side and just playing quietly to his hearts content --- Watching Ollie jump --- His dummy (he has a love-hate relationship with that thing. One week he refuses it, the next he won't let it out of his sight) --- Biting mama --- Wiggling his head frantically and watching for a reaction --- Blowing bubbles --- Drinking water out of a regular cup --- Smiling :-)

Bedtime --- Seeing Ollie cry --- Getting in the car (although he's ok once we're moving) --- Having his nappy changed ---

Happy nine months, sweet bubba boy - or baby babe as Ollie loves to call you. Your cheeky side has really shone this past month; you love having all eyes on you and have worked out all the sly little expressions and head shakes to get people looking at you before you break out in that winning smile. You're forever winning over complete strangers in checkout lines with your sunny personality. You truly are a relaxed, laid back little man - although truth be told, you aren't always smiling...

Just most of the time ;-)

We love you, sweet baby babe Austin!

Austin at 1 month2 months3 months4 months5 months6 months7 months & 8 months...

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Miniature ice skater

Oh gosh. Until a couple of weekends ago, it had been a looooong time since I had ice skated - in fact, not since 2012 when our local ponds froze over. Of course, my ice skates made the move with us from Holland to the USA but as I discovered when I tried to put them back on, my feet have grown yet again with Austin's pregnancy and it was almost painful to squeeze them on. Ollie however fit into them no worries... ;-)

Despite growing up in hot Queensland, I love ice skating. There was a large indoor rink in the city where we lived and (random fact) as an adult, a friend and I decided to learn how to figure skate. Yes, 2 grown women in a rink with a bunch of little kids BUT it was so much fun - not to mention a great workout. We took lessons twice weekly and learned to skate backwards, turn, spin, lunge, mohawk, jump... And a bunch of other terms I've already forgotten the name of, let alone how to do.

On the Sunday before last, I felt like skating again so we made plans to meet up with friends at a nearby outdoor rink. I have been wanting to take Ollie skating and although it was kinda exhausting keeping him upright, it was fun!

Perhaps we'll try again in New York?

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Weekend goodness - the Christmas tree farm

Cutting down a real Christmas tree has been on my to do list forever. I had thought we would do it when we lived in the Netherlands, but nope - we settled for a lovely tree from a lot instead! This year we grabbed a Groupon for Summit Christmas tree farm and on a particularly soggy weekend, we braved the weather and headed out to the mountains for our first tree cutting experience!

Once we got home, Ollie was SUPER excited to get out the Christmas decorations. The last time we decorated a tree together, he was only little and didn't really understand what was going on. This age is fun - I love seeing his excitement and hearing all his ooohs and aaahs as each decoration was unwrapped.

Of course, it wouldn't be right to decorate the Christmas tree without some mulled wine... Mitch's speciality. He's spent years perfecting his recipe and I have to say, I think this years brew was the best yet! We even had a grape juice version for Ollie.

My favourite thing about our Christmas tree? It's unique. Like I mentioned on Instagram, it's eclectic. Nothing matches; it's a jumbled mess of memories and I absolutely ♥️ it. Every year since 2004, when we got married, we've each bought a new decoration to hang on the tree. The collection has slowly grown over the years & we've added in extras with our travels, vintage beauties rummaged at European Christmas op shops & Christmas markets. Every decoration has a story behind it. A memory... Our first married Christmas as uni students living in our tiny Brisbane apartment. The year we went to Noosa and feasted by the beach. The one when we lived in France and spent weekends scouring local festive markets for the perfect ornament. The Christmas we found out we were going to become a family of 3... And this year, Oliver was thrilled to choose his own decoration for the first time. Just a hanging snow globe from Target, but he hung it with pride and care.

I'm so excited my favourite season is here. It still feels a little surreal that it's December already, but we are loving it all the same!

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