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Sunday 30 March 2014

Karate Kid 2... Another Belt Test

Last week Ava had another belt test with her karate class.

This time the kids have been working towards their white belt with one black stripe. The black stripe signifies that they are slowly working their way towards becoming a black belt. Very, very slowly!

After individually introducing themselves ("I am Karate Ava. I am learning the spirit of karate.") it was time to get to work.


Friday 28 March 2014

Flashback Fridays: South-Eastern South Australia

It's been a few weeks since I've posted a Flashback Friday adventure. All of this pregnancy stuff has been keeping me busy and making me feel pretty tired. Only one month to go today!

Time to get back to it. This time let's take a look at a short trip we took from our home city of Adelaide, Australia...

Back in April 2011 we spent a few days in the popular tourist town of Robe, South Australia. Robe is a small town located along the Limestone Coast, a picturesque coastal region in south-eastern South Australia known for its red wines, abundant seafood, amazing caves, rugged coastline and beautiful beaches.

On our drive down to Robe we stopped in Kingston to check out the Big Lobster/Crayfish. If you've ever been on a road trip in Australia you'll know that Australian towns love their kitsch "Big Things". We've had the pleasure of visiting many of these "Big Things" over the years: the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, the Big Orange, the Big Koala... Apart from their gigantic size the one thing these all have in common is that they are extremely tacky! The Big Lobster may just very well be THE tackiest of them all!

The girls and I with the Big Lobster

San Francisco Cable Car Museum

A few weeks back we spent the day playing tourist in San Francisco. We started off the day with a visit to the Cable Car Museum followed by a long walk through Crissy Field to see the SFMOMA On the Go exhibit (which you can see here).

Now if you're going to go to the Cable Car Museum there's only one way to get there: by cable car of course! Ok, so you can get there many other ways too but catching the cable car is definitely the most fun. We hopped on the California line at its start down by Embarcadero and made our way to the museum near the top of Nob Hill. I always suggest to visiting friends that if they want to ride the cable car purely for the fun of riding the cable car then this is the line to choose. There's never a queue and the views down California Street towards the Bay are pretty stunning.  

Monday 24 March 2014

A Lovely Day for a Baby Shower

Today I was treated to a wonderful baby shower by some of my good friends here in the Bay Area. 

We had a lovely long champagne brunch at the Meritage restaurant at The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa. Nestled high in the Berkeley hills, The Claremont is the perfect place for a girl's day out in style. And as you can see from the photo below, we were pretty stylish! Ok, maybe stylish isn't quite the right word for how we look below, but we sure did have fun!

I love a good photo booth

Thursday 20 March 2014

New Hearts in Union Square

If you're familiar with Union Square in San Francisco then you'll be familiar with the heart sculptures that dot the four corners. 

Every so often (maybe once per year) three of the heart sculptures on display in Union Square change over. The sculpture on the corner of Powell and Post remains constant. The existing hearts are auctioned off to raise money for San Francisco General Hospital Foundation and are replaced with new hearts. You can see some of the hearts previously on display here.

For quite some time over the end of last year and the start of this the corners of Union Square were empty. Around Valentine's Day we visited Union Square to see if any new hearts had arrived. And sure enough there they were. Three new hearts; one of them being the girls' new favourite of all time. I think you'll guess which one from the photos!

Here's a look at Ava and Lola checking out the latest batch of hearts to be displayed in Union Square...

"Happy 10th Anniversary!" by Michael Osborne. The girls' new favourite, of course!

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Mmm... Meal worms

Over the last week or so I've been trying to introduce Ava's gecko Cookie to a variety of foods. He is used to eating only crickets every day however it's good for him to have a little variety in his diet. One such "food" that is supposed to be a delicious treat for geckos is the humble meal worm. But do you think I can get Cookie to eat a single one?

I've tried serving the meal worms up with his usual crickets, I've tried giving him nothing but meal worms, I've tried hand feeding him meal worms, I've tried coating the meal worms in vitamin powder in the hope that he'll recognise the smell/taste and eat them thinking they're crickets... So far none of it has worked. 

While Cookie isn't interested in the meal worms one bit there is one little person in our family who is: Lola!

Back in November last year we attended the Bay Area Science Festival Discovery Day at AT&T Park in San Francisco. One of the first stands that we came across when we arrived at the fair was offering samples of a strange treat. When she saw what the sample was Ava wouldn't go anywhere near it, but Lola, hearing the word "caramel" in the title, was more than happy to grab a sample. She crunched down on it, swallowed it happily and then asked for more. I thought it best that she know what she had just eaten: a meal worm. She didn't care what it was. It tasted good and she wanted more. So she went back for seconds. And then thirds. 

Caramel meal worm

Mmm... crunchy

Monday 17 March 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day!

We're not doing anything much to celebrate today however over the weekend we got into the festive spirit by attending the St Patrick's Day Parade in San Francisco.

Last year we took the girls to the parade and they were pretty keen to dress in green (or orange in Ava's case) and go along again this year - mostly for all the candy, stickers and green beads that are thrown to the crowd by the parade participants! So much candy...

Like last year, San Francisco was blessed with stunning weather for the parade. It really does feel like Summer has arrived already. Not a proper Summer of course, but a San Francisco Summer!

Here's a look at the fun of the St Patrick's Day Parade, otherwise known by Lola as "The Clover Festival" or "The Green Parade".

Friday 14 March 2014

SFMOMA On the Go at Crissy Field

Over the weekend we headed into the city to check out a few places we've been meaning to visit. Our first destination was the San Francisco Cable Car Museum (which I'll write about in another post soon) and our second destination was Crissy Field down by the Golden Gate Bridge.

We've visited Crissy Field quite a few times in the past though I don't think I've ever written about it on Little Hiccups. While Crissy Field is a great park with spectacular views over the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, and therefore a popular tourist destination in its own right the reason for our visit this weekend was specifically to check out an outdoor art exhibition. Back in June last year SF Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) closed its doors due to extensive building renovations set to be completed in 2016. While the museum is closed SFMOMA will continue to hold exhibitions around the Bay Area as part of their SFMOMA On the Go program.

The expansive grassy park that is Crissy Field is currently home to one such exhibition featuring eight large sculptures by artist Mark di Suvero. The monumental sculptures date from 1967 through to 2012 and have been brought to San Francisco from all across the country. The Golden Gate Bridge, which has clearly been an inspiration throughout the artist's career makes the perfect back drop to this exhibition.

Sunday 9 March 2014

My Baby Must Haves...

With only seven weeks to go before the newest member of our family arrives I've been starting to think about all the things I need to organise. The biggest one being coming up with a name for her. Really must get cracking on that in case she arrives early!

There are lots of other things that need to be organised that are a little easier. Things that I need to buy. We have a few baby items here that Lola was still using when we first arrived int he US (baby bath, cloth diapers, baby carrier...) but most things need to be purchased again as they were either sold before we left Australia or put into storage.

Here's a look at a few of the items on my wish list at the moment. (Family members wondering what we may need take note!)

Friday 7 March 2014

Flashback Fridays: Singapore Stop Over

Following up from our Indian adventure that I posted last week here's a look at our two day stop over in Singapore on our way home...

Back in October 2009 we traveled with a group of friends from Australia to the south of India for a wedding. Our flights to and from Kochi in India took us via Singapore. On the way to Kochi we only had a few hours in Singapore and just spent our time hanging out in Changi airport, which really isn't such a bad thing as it's an amazing airport - how many other airports boast an enclosed outdoor butterfly house?

On our way back home we were able to take advantage of an amazing promotion that Singapore Airlines were running. For only $1 per person we got one night's accommodation in a four star hotel, free entry passes and discounted passes to a whole range of attractions and meal coupons. $3 for our family to check out the beautiful city of Singapore? Yes, please!

Our flight into Singapore from Kochi arrived early in the morning and our flight back to Australia was scheduled for the following night so we pretty much had almost two full days to explore the city. We were all pretty tired that first day after our overnight flight from India so we took it pretty easy. Plus the humidity in Singapore was pretty stifling. Unlike India though, everywhere in Singapore is air-conditioned so every time the heat and humidity got a little too much we just stepped inside to cool off for a bit.

We started our exploration of Singapore by taking a "bumboat" cruise along the river. Oh, you can bet that Ava thought that name was hilarious and made sure to repeat it over and over! The boat ride took us past many famous sights including the Merlion fountain and the Singapore Opera House which is shaped like a durian, that stinky Asian fruit.

Merlion fountain

Career Day 2014

Today is College and Career Day at Ava's school.

Kids are encouraged to come to school dressed as the profession they'd like to be when they grow up or in the colours of the college they'd like to attend. A College and Careers fair will be held in the auditorium with parent volunteers talking to the kids about their own careers and college experiences.

Ava has been pretty excited about dressing up for today. Her chosen career? She tells me she'd like to be a pediatrician so she can help sick kids, but mostly because "I'd make lots of money and get to live in a big mansion"! I think we might have to ask her doctor if he lives in a big mansion next time she has a check up!

For Ava's pediatrician costume she wore her karate jacket (tied a little differently) with a stethoscope around her neck and an ID tag. She also carried her doctor's kit.

Not keen on feeling left out, Lola decided that she too needed to dress up. Apparently Lola would like to be "someone who makes cupcakes" when she grows up. The chef hat and apron from the kids' costume drawer came in handy for this.

Baker Lola and Doctor Ava

Saturday 1 March 2014

Flashback Fridays: Amazing India

Here it is... The first installment of Flashback Fridays, a look back at our past adventures around the world. It's a long one (unlike the trip itself) so make yourself a hot drink and be prepare to look at a tonne of photos - followed by hours of researching Indian vacations online!


Back in October 2009 we were lucky enough to be able to take the trip of a lifetime to India with a group of friends. A good friend was getting married in Kerala, a tropical paradise in the south of India so we all tagged along for an amazing cultural experience.

Despite the fact that she was only two and a half years old, and that everyone thought we were absolutely crazy, Ava came along for the trip with us. It turned out to be the most wonderful experience for her and more than five years later she still talks about the trip regularly.

Ava in India

Here's a look at our week long adventure in India. Prepare for lots of photos...

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