Monday, 26 January 2015

Nine Months Old

Nine months old!

I know I say it every month, but I really can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. Nine months feels like such a milestone. In just three months time Mathilde will celebrate her first birthday. How is that even possible?

Every day my little one grows a little more and learns a little more. Every day she is becoming more a little girl and less a baby, both in appearance and behaviour.

Mathilde toddles around our apartment pushing her walker, she waves hello and goodbye, she dances to music (usually with her pointing finger in the air), she climbs, she gets herself into all sorts of trouble...

Mathilde's latest hijinx invlove climbing to the top of the ladder on Ava and Lola's bunk beds. She's fine going up but she hasn't worked out how to get back down. For now the ladder is taken down during the day and only goes back up at night. We're going to have to come up with a more permanent solution to stop this little monkey.

Mathilde is really big on pointing at the moment. She almost always has her pointing finger ready to poke at things: faces, elevator buttons, the toilet flusher, other fingers...

She's always working on her fine motor skills. She tries to put on her shoes, likes holding pencils, hits at the xylophone with a stick and tries (unsuccessfully and messily!) to feed herself with a spoon.

Mathilde is still enjoying her swim classes. She's a happy baby pretty much most of the time but put her in the water and she's happy on a whole other level. Water really is her element. She has recently learnt how to blow bubbles in the pool and she is so excited about it. Ok, I'm excited about it too.

Mathilde is so close to being able to walk on her own. She walks along furniture, reaching across to the next chair or table when there's a gap. She walks quite long distances holding onto one or both of my hands. It's slow going but she always looks so proud of herself. And her Toddler Wobbler walker is her best friend. She walks up and down the hallway pushing her walker full of toys. It's so cute.

Mathilde still doesn't have any teeth but, hey, I'm not complaining about that! I'm more than happy for her teeth to take their sweet time. Ava didn't get her first tooth until 11 months and Lola was 9 months when her first came through. Mathilde's gums look a little swollen and she has been a little grizzlier than usual lately so maybe by next month's update her gummy smile will be replaced by a little toothy one.

Nine months! I still can't believe it. I guess I'm going to have to start working on birthday party ideas soon. Hooray!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Grumpy Cat in Berkeley

Today a celebrity was in town.

Grumpy Cat, the "demotivational" sensation and star of several books (and even a movie) was in Berkeley as the special guest at the ribbon cutting of Berkeley Humane's new Mobile Adoption Center.

Berkeley Humane provides care for homeless animals, from rescue to rehabilitation to placement with loving owners. Their new Mobile Adoption Center is a state of the art, temperature controlled RV with custom built modular and detachable kennels. Roll up windows allow the cats and dogs inside to be viewed from the outside, and doors at both ends allow potential adopters to walk through and engage with the animals. This amazing vehicle provides limitless opportunities for Berkeley Humane to bring homeless cats and dogs to communities throughout the East Bay in the search of new families for these lovable animals to join.

To celebrate the launch of "The Grumpy Guide to Life" last year, Grumpy Cat's publisher Chronicle Books ran a nation wide competition to find "Grumpy Town USA", with the prize being a visit from Grumpy Cat herself. Berkeley Humane submitted an entry to raise awareness of the good work that they do throughout the community and to celebrate the launch of their Mobile Adoption Center. With the support of Berkeley's Mayor, the Police Association and Chamber of Commerce, Berkeley Humane's entry was successful and here we are; officially Grumpy Town USA!

So this afternoon we put on our best grumpy faces and headed to Berkeley Humane's headquarters to meet the grumpiest cat on the planet.

The turn out for Grumpy Cat was huge. So huge in fact that we stood in line for a good hour and a half waiting for our turn to frown along with Grumpy. That sounds like a long time to stand in a line for a cat but it was such a lovely day today we didn't mind standing out in the sun for a while. Plus there were delicious snacks available from Whole Foods and plenty of other things to keep the kids occupied. Kim and I took it in turn waiting in line while the other took the kids to check out the kitties in the Mobile Adoption Center, pose for photos in costumes at a photo booth, peruse the Grumpy Cat merchandise, and ride around on their bike and scooter.

It was finally our turn to meet Grumpy Cat. We all tried our best at looking grumpy but it was hard not to crack a smile knowing how ridiculous we probably looked! Lola is a master at the grumpy face so she had no problems holding the look. Grumpy face and duck face are her two default looks at the moment!

After meeting Grumpy Cat we were given Grumpy Cat frown masks that the girls had fun playing with.

Ava and Lola have been talking about Grumpy Cat all afternoon. Move over Garfield, it looks like the girls have a new favourite cat!

For more information about Berkeley Humane and the good work that they do visit their website:

Thursday, 22 January 2015

52 Weeks: Week 3

Week 3: At the playground

We're so lucky to have so many great parks within walking distance of our apartment building. There's one particular park a few blocks from our home that we frequent the most. Ava and Lola take karate classes there twice a week, they like to ride their their bikes/scooters/skateboards there, and several times a week we head to the playground to play.

This week I thought I'd share some shots from our visit to the playground on Monday afternoon.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A Few Days in Los Angeles

On our recent trip to Southern California we spent a couple of days in Los Angeles.

I'll be honest. LA isn't my favourite place but I figured we couldn't travel all the way down there and not see any of the city. Ava and Lola had only briefly visited Los Angeles in the past (a quick breakfast in Hollywood with my sister on the way to Disneyland and a transfer at LAX when we first arrived from Australia) and there were a few things they were pretty keen to see.

Ava and Lola couldn't wait to visit Santa Monica Pier, the stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame, the handprints and footprints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, and La Brea Tar Pit. But most of all, they couldn't wait to buy cupcakes from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM! Ok, I was pretty excited about the cupcakes too!

The girls enjoyed Los Angeles and I must admit that I actually kind of warmed to it a little too. You won't be seeing us moving there any time soon but my opinion of the city has improved a little!

Here's a look at our time in Los Angeles...

We arrived in Santa Monica where we would spend the next few nights late in the day. After an early dinner the girls and I headed to the pier to check out the amusements. It was much colder than expected so we just went on the one ride before the shivering took over. We warmed up with churros and headed back to the hotel to rest up for the big day of sightseeing ahead of us.

The next morning we headed to La Brea Tar Pit. I've been keen to see La Brea Tar Pit since seeing it on tv shows as a kid. Ava and Lola were just as intrigued. While we didn't visit the museum, we did walk around the tar pit and the neighboring Los Angeles County Museum of Art which features many sculptures outside. Across Wilshire Boulevard we saw pieces of the Berlin Wall. The girls were intrigued by the painting of JFK on the wall and spent the rest of the afternoon saying "I'm a jelly donut!"  

We then headed to Hollywood where we checked out the stars on the sidewalk, had fun with the hand prints outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre and caught a glimpse of the Hollywood sign.

Time for some food... We left Hollywood and headed to Beverly Hills for the long awaited cupcakes from an ATM! By then it was getting dark so the cupcake ATM didn't come out so well in my photos (in real life the mesh around the ATM is striped in pastel colours). The kids enjoyed the novelty of getting their cupcakes from an ATM even though we had to wait a little while for it to be restocked. Ava ordered our cupcakes through the touch screen and then the girls watched the journey of our chosen treats from their spots on the shelf to the collection point via the onscreen camera. Much more fun than ordering in store!

We then moved on to dinner. Ava is a little obsesssed with the Bubba Gump chain and had spotted one on Santa Monica Pier the night before. We headed there for dinner and the girls were pretty excited to have their food served in a cardboard boat!  

The next morning the girls were ready for some playground fun and as luck would have it there was a fantastic playground right behind our hotel. Look at Mathilde rock climbing!

After an hour or so at the playground we were back in the car and heading to our most colourful destination yet. Stay tuned for Salvation Mountain coming soon!