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Sunday 30 June 2013

Kid Friendly Fireworks

4th of July is almost here again. Just four more days away.

We had originally thought that we'd be spending this 4th of July holiday in Canada waiting for our new visas to be issued. As it turns out, the recent floods in Calgary (where we were booked in for our visa appointment) caused the US Consulate to close down for over a week - right when our visa appointment was booked. For now we're waiting to hear back from the consulate with a new visa appointment. Unless the consulate can squeeze us in early this week (and we can manage to rebook flights, accommodation and car hire at such short notice), it looks like we'll be here in Berkeley to celebrate 4th of July. 

In preparation for celebrating 4th of July the girls and I spent this afternoon up on our roof deck creating some red, white and blue crafts.

Our projects for today: kid friendly fireworks...

Ava with one of her fireworks creations

Saturday 29 June 2013

Fun at Strawberry Canyon Pool

Summer is definitely here in the Bay Area now and I've got the sunburn to prove it!

Yesterday was such a lovely warm day. The girls and I made the most of the warm weather by catching up with friends at Strawberry Canyon Pool high up in the hills above the university.

Fun in the pool on a sunny day

Friday 28 June 2013

Playing Tourist in San Francisco

One of the great things about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is that there's just so much to see and do here. We're always finding new places to visit and we love sharing our discoveries with friends and family here on Little Hiccups.

Having friends and family actually visit us in person (rather than just online!) is such a great opportunity to get out and about and explore San Francisco a little more. Kim's sister and her family recently visited from Australia and we had a great time playing tourist with them.

We spent an afternoon in Dolores Park, ate the most delicious ice cream from Bi-Rite, took in a Giants game at AT&T Park, ate too much chocolate at Ghirardelli Square, walked down Lombard Street, took in the sights of the city from Coit Tower, rode a carousel in Yerba Buena Gardens, made wishes throwing pennies in fountains, ate too much chocolate again and walked and walked and walked all over the city. So much fun packed into just a few short days.

The girls were so excited to see their cousins and had so much fun playing with them. They were both pretty upset when they had to say goodbye. In fact, a teary Ava asked if we could move back to Australia so she can see her cousins more often. Aww...

Here's a look at some of the fun we had playing tourist in our own backyard...

On our first day of playing tourist we met up in Union Square. The girls were a little shy at first when we met up with their cousins but they warmed to them pretty quickly. Lola has been telling everyone about "my cousin Grace" after speaking to her on Skype a few weeks back so she was excited to meet her in person.

Our meeting point on the first day and such a great San Francisco landmark

Sunday 23 June 2013

Children's Fairyland

Last Monday Kim took the girls to a Bay Area family institution - Children's Fairyland in Oakland. 

This got me thinking about the fact that I had a half written post about our first visit to Children's Fairyland back in March. Time to get around to finishing it and posting it I think!

So here it is. A little delayed, but better late than never. A look at our first visit to Children's Fairyland...


Pretty much every person who has grown up in the Bay Area has spent many a fun day at Children's Fairyland and I'm pleased to say that our kids can now say the same.

Ava at the entrance to Children's Fairyland

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Father's Day in Golden Gate Park

Yesterday was Father's Day here in America. We started the day off with the girls giving Kim gifts and cards that they made for him. As you can see, Lola's drawing skills are starting to improve and she's finally drawing people. Ava loves pointing out how much better she is at drawing than Lola because she could draw people before she turned two. Not at all competitive that one!

Showing off the handmade cards

Sunday 16 June 2013

Happy Father's Day USA

It's Father's Day again here in the USA.

It feels like only yesterday that we were celebrating Father's Day but I guess seeing as Kim gets two of them a year (June for USA and September for Australia) it really wasn't that long ago.

Here's a look at the card I made for Kim using photos from our recent trip to the redwoods.

Have a tree-mendous Father's Day

Wishing all the Dads out there a "tree-mendous" Father's Day!

Saturday 15 June 2013

School's out for Summer...

Cue the cheesy Alice Cooper music... School's out for Summer!

Today was Ava's last day of Kindergarten at Berkeley Arts Magnet. Come the end of August she'll be a big First Grader.

Much like the rest of the week today was a day of fun activities at school. The kids had a slide show in the morning to look back on the fun things they've done throughout the year and the new friends they've made. This was followed by a pot luck picnic in the school yard and an extended lunch recess break. This in turn was followed up with a movie; "Ratatouille" I believe from Ava's description.

Here's a look at Ava's last day of Kindergarten...

Arriving at school in the morning as a Kindergartener for the last time

Thursday 13 June 2013

Water Fun Day

It's the last week of school here in Berkeley.

As you can imagine Ava is pretty excited about the upcoming Summer Vacation. What kid wouldn't love almost eleven weeks off school? But before the fun of Summer vacation there's a week of fun at school.

All this week Ava's school is holding fun events for the students. Yesterday the Kindergarten kids celebrated the impending start of Summer with a water fun day. Water balloons, water games, hoses... all sorts of watery fun.

Lots of watery fun

Here's a look at some of the fun activities the kids took part in...

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Redwoods Day Trip

This past weekend we went for a day trip north to the redwood forests.

This trip had originally been planned for a few weeks back to celebrate my birthday which unfortunately was spent in hospital instead. I was a little worried that something else would pop up and stop us heading off on our trip again but come Saturday morning we were on our way without a hitch.

While there are beautiful redwood forests relatively close to the San Francisco Bay Area I really wanted to head a little further afield and drive the Avenue of the Giants and visit a few drive through trees.

I love looking up at the redwoods

Saturday 8 June 2013

Stag Horn Fern Workshop

It's been a while since I took part in any of the fantastic workshops offered by Utsuwa Floral Design in San Francisco so I decided it was time to get back into it.

Last Friday I took part in a mounted Stag Horn Fern workshop. Remember those incredibly retro looking ferns everyone seemed to have hanging off their walls in the 70s and 80s? Well, they're back in all their retro splendour. And we now have one to hang in our apartment.

One completed mounted stag horn fern

Like most of the workshops that I've attended at Utsuwa Floral Design, this project is actually relatively easy once you the know materials to use and how to put it all together.

Here's a look at the workshop...

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Berkeley Super Kids

This past Sunday Ava competed in her third cheerleading competition with her team Berkeley Super Kids.

My little cheerleader

Goodbye Grandma

For the most part, moving to the other side of the world is a great adventure. There are so many new places to explore, new customs and traditions to celebrate and even the most simple every day things can become an adventure - or a challenge depending on how you look at it.

But then there are times that being so far away from your family and friends just sucks.

Like today.

Today my Grandma passed away peacefully in her nursing home after suffering from a stroke over the weekend. I couldn't be there to say goodbye with the rest of my family. I couldn't be there to give her one last hug. I couldn't be there to tell her I love her one last time. I can't be there with my family to mourn her passing and to celebrate her wonderful life. I can't be there for one last goodbye at her funeral.

Today living so far away just sucks.

But as much as it sucks I know that Grandma was proud of her family and the adventures and lives that we've made for ourselves, no matter how far away from home that may be. With six children, fifteen grandchildren and thirteen (and a half) great-grandchildren she always had plenty of love to go around and she made each and everyone of us feel so important.

Knowing that Grandma is at peace and reunited with my Grandpa after nine years is a thought that keeps me positive.

Goodbye Grandma. We love you and will miss you always.

The girls and I with Grandma, January 2011

Sunday 2 June 2013

Berkeley Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival

Today the sidewalks of Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto came alive with colour.

This weekend marked the 17th Annual Berkeley Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival.

Participants are invited to take part in decorating the sidewalks with chalk art as part of a competition. Entry to the competition is free and participants are assigned spaces along the sidewalk. It's all pretty flexible and as long as the spot is available participants can choose where they'd like their assigned space to be. 

Ava staked out a particularly shady spot under a tree near the start of the festival and set about creating her music inspired masterpiece. It's in front of 1625 Shattuck Avenue if you're interested. We were not sure beforehand what Ava was going to draw. In fact, I don't think she knew until she started! She had originally joked that she was going to draw a T-Rex biting someone's head off - lovely! I was a little worried that she'd settled on this idea however after a little staring at her blank canvas she started drawing a guitar. Much more civilised.

Ava's chalk masterpiece

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