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Saturday 31 May 2014

Koret Children's Quarter, Golden Gate Park

Last weekend we spent an afternoon in Golden Gate Park. It was such a beautiful. sunny day; perfect for hanging out in the park.

Golden Gate Park is huge. It's bigger than Central Park in New York (something that SF locals enjoy pointing out to New Yorkers!) and contains so many wonderful things to explore. As we always visit Golden Gate Park on foot we tend to stick to a small area at a time. Usually we're going there for something in particular: birthday picnics, exhibitions at the de Young, visiting the Botanic Gardens or Japanese Tea Garden or getting our science on at Cal Academy. Each visit we tend not to venture too far from our particular destination so even though we've been to Golden Gate Park many times there's still so much of it that we haven't seen.

And can you believe that one of those places that we were yet to visit in Golden Gate Park was the Koret Children's Quarter? How was it possible that after two and a half years we still hadn't been to this wonderful playground and carousel? Admittedly, I'd purposely never told the girls that there was a lovely playground and carousel in the Golden Gate Park. Once they know that there's a playground nearby trying to do almost anything else becomes a challenge!

Ava and Lola were pretty excited when I told them that we were going to a playground in Golden Gate Park. As soon as I mentioned that the playground features concrete slides and a carousel (two of their favourites) their excitement levels went through the roof!

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Copycat Tattoos

Back in March my little sister celebrated her birthday. Usually Ava and Lola make hand drawn birthday cards to send to family and friends back home but this time I thought we'd do something a little different.

Ava and Lola love to be just like their Aunty Kylie. In fact, Ava is quite the "Mini Kylie" with her matching blonde hair, glasses and pout. Or as one of Kylie's friends put it recently, Kylie is like a "giant Ava"! Sorry Kylie, but I'm still laughing about that one!

Anyway, one of the things the girls love about their Aunty Kylie is that she has lots of tattoos. And if you know my girls you'll know that they're a huge fan of wearing fake tattoos. We decided to put the two together and make up copies of Kylie's tattoos for the girls to wear.

Birthday Card

Sunday 25 May 2014

One Month Old

Today our little baby Mathilde is one month old!

When Lola was a baby I took a monthly photo of her throughout her first year. You can see Lola's monthly photos here. I plan to do the same for Mathilde so expect to see a "monthly birthday" shot here on the 24th of each month.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Flashback Fridays: Grand Canyon

Back in 2005, well before we ever knew that we'd be one day living here, Kim and I came to America for a three week vacation. With such a limited amount of time we knew that there was only so much we could see and do without having to rush around like crazy. So we chose just a few destinations to focus on: New York, Los Angeles, Disneyland, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

Today let's have a look back at our visit to the Grand Canyon...

Our big trip to America began in Los Angeles where we spent the first few days relaxing and adjusting to the time difference. It's crazy to think that when you fly to the USA from the east coast of Australia you actually arrive in Los Angeles a few hours before your flight left Australia! Of course, on the way back you lose an entire day so it all evens out in the end. Anyway, I'm getting side tracked. As I said, we spent a few days relaxing in Los Angeles before jumping in our rental car and heading across the desert to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We traveled along the famed Route 66 for as far as possible, keeping our eyes out for run down road side diners and other long disused businesses.

Friday 23 May 2014

BAM Runathon 2014

This week Ava's school, Berkeley Arts Magnet (or BAM for short) has been holding a runathon to raise money.

Each class in the school has been taking part in the runathon during their regular PE class. Ava's class (including their teacher) took part in the runathon yesterday. Earlier in the day Ava class had been on a walking field trip at nearby UC Berkeley. I had worried that they'd all be a little tired from the field trip but they were all pretty excited about the runathon and everyone put in a great effort.   

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Maker Faire 2014

This past weekend was a super busy one for our family. Saturday we cheered Ava on in the Berkeley Kids Triathlon and on Sunday we headed down to San Mateo for the "Greatest Show and Tell on Earth": Maker Faire!

We had been counting down the days to Maker Faire pretty much since we visited last year. Ava and Lola had an absolute blast at Maker Faire last year and we couldn't wait to take them again. And this year they had a new little maker to go with them!

Saturday 17 May 2014

Kids Triathlon 2014

Today Ava competed in the 7th Annual Berkeley Kids Triathlon.

Heading to the finish line

You may remember that last year Ava competed for the first time and came in second place for her age group (6 & Under). This year Ava moved up to the 7 & 8 age group. Being one of the youngest (and probably the shortest!) in the older age group Ava was up against some stiff competition this year.

Ready to swim (she's in the yellow)

Ava put in a lot of effort and did such a great job. The girls in her heat were all pretty much in the same league when it came to the swim making it a pretty close race. In the older age groups, which raced earlier, there had been a clear winner a lap ahead of the pack but Ava's group all finished the swim around the same time.

About to finish the first lap

From the swim (where I was told off by security for taking photos!!!) the kids headed to the bike leg of the race. As I had Mathilde in the stroller with me I wasn't easily able to head to the bike track. Instead I headed straight to the finish line to be ready to watch Ava finish. Last year I had run around like a crazy person trying to take photos of Ava in each leg of the race. I hadn't counted on her being quite so fast so I kept missing her as she zoomed past! In fact, we ended up having to re-enact Ava crossing the finish line so I could get a photo! This time I wanted to be ready at the finish line and I was so glad that I was. Ava seemed pretty happy to see us cheering her on at the end of all that hard work. And boy did it look like hard work! Check out that red face!

Crossing the finish line


Before Ava crossed the finish line I only saw one other girl who I knew was definitely in her group cross the line. I was pretty sure that Ava had come in second place again - or at least for her heat (there was one more heat for her age group to go). Ava was also pretty sure that only one other girl was ahead of her and she was pretty excited about the prospects of winning another trophy.

After race oranges

After what I'm sure seemed like an eternity for Ava it was time for the medals and trophies to be awarded. Each kid taking part in the triathlon received a participation medal. Yet another for Ava's already large collection!

Ava was so sure that she'd come in second again but when the third place trophy was awarded to the girl who had crossed the finish line just before her I could tell that Ava's heart sank a little. She hadn't won her trophy. I knew as soon as the kids lined up for their medals that Ava hadn't won a place. There were two girls in the group who I had seen cross the finish line a good 30 seconds before Ava but they were so much taller than her that I presumed they were in the older category that ran just before Ava's group. They were obviously pretty fast as Ava hadn't realised that they were ahead of her either!

Waiting for the winners to be announced

Ava was a little upset with the outcome right after the medals were awarded, as you can tell from the look of disdain on her face below, but she was soon over it and talking about how much she had enjoyed taking part. She did her best and she had fun. And that's the whole reason we were there. 

Ava with her participation medal

Ava now has her eyes set on next year's race for which she'll be one of the older kids in her age group. She figures that will surely equate to winning a place!

The official times should be emailed out to the competitors within the next few weeks. I'm pretty sure that Ava came fourth over all for her age group but we'll find out for sure soon. According to the announcer, Ava's group had been the closest competition of the day with all of the competitors finishing within a relatively short time of each other.

Oh, and next year Lola will be old enough to take part! She's pretty keen to join in but considering that she doesn't yet know how to ride a regular bike on her own (she's a speed demon on her balance bike though!) and still can't swim she's got a lot of training ahead of her! At Lola's age a lot changes in just a year though so who knows, maybe I'll have two little triathletes next year.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Mother's Day 2014

I am so behind when it comes to Mother's Day this year.

Here we are, two days after the big day and I still haven't even finished making the Mother's Day cards that I intend to send off to Australia. Don't worry Mamma and Nanna, they are still coming, they'll just be a *little* late!

Let's just blame my extreme slackness with all things Mother's Day this year on the fact that I've been too busy mothering. Yes, that's right, it's all Mathilde's fault! Maybe Ava and Lola's too...

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few shots of the girls and I celebrating Mother's Day in Golden Gate Park. Ok, so technically we were there for a farewell picnic for friends moving to Sweden but we'll say it was for Mother's Day.

Ava just had to be the tallest in this shot!

Sunday 11 May 2014

Indian Rock Park, Berkeley

Today we visited a beautiful spot here in Berkeley that, up until a few days ago, was completely unknown to me. This spot that I speak of is Indian Rock Park in the hills of North Berkeley.

This rocky outcrop perched in the Berkeley Hills is a popular spot for rock climbing, picnics, family outings, and, surprisingly, dog walking! There were at least three dogs up on top of the rocks the whole time we were there.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Two Weeks Old

Today my little baby girl Mathilde is two weeks old.

First brunch

It's such a cliche but the time is flying by and she's growing so fast. Of course, she's still such a tiny little thing but I can already see just how much she has changed in only two weeks. She is filling out, she's becoming quite alert, she's getting stronger and those grabby little hands of hers are starting to grab at everything, albeit in a rather uncoordinated fashion!

Saturday 3 May 2014

Flashback Fridays: Alcatraz

Today's Flashback Friday isn't going back all that far, or very far away. In fact, we can see it from our apartment building. Today we're going back to our 2012 visit to Alcatraz.

In May 2012 my parents came to visit us for a week. We got out and about and did all of the regular touristy things one does when visiting San Francisco: we rode atop a "hop-on-hop-off" bus trip through the city, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, spent a day at California Academy of Sciences and Golden Gate Park, ate far too much Ghirardelli chocolate, walked up and down far too many steep hills (to burn off all that chocolate!), visited the sealions at Pier 39, took in the views from Crissy Field and spent half a day visiting Alcatraz.

For some unknown reason I've never actually posted about any of this on Little Hiccups. I guess I was just too busy playing tourist and tour guide! Let's fix that by having a look back at our visit to Alcatraz...

A visit to Alcatraz had been at the top of our to do list when we first moved to the Bay Area. However, we knew that my parents would be coming to visit seven months down the track and that it was at the top of their list as well. So we decided to save Alcatraz for when my parents were in town.

During those seven months Ava would ask repeatedly when we could go to Alcatraz. She was so excited about the idea of visiting the island that we could see from our apartment building and just couldn't wait to go. However, as the day approached she started to get a little scared. She knew that Alcatraz had been a prison and she worried that there were still "bad guys" hiding out there. She also started to worry about the boat ride out to Alcatraz. When the big day finally arrived Ava had worked herself up so much about the boat ride that she could not be tempted to leave the apartment unless we promised to take her life jacket with us. I must have looked like the "bad Mummy" on board the boat: providing my five year old, competent swimmer with a life jacket, but leaving my eighteen month old toddler without! In fact, Ava was the only person aboard the boat wearing a life jacket and she continued to wear it after we arrived on Alcatraz - which I'm sure was at absolutely no risk of sinking!

Friday 2 May 2014

Go Extinct! Go Fish...Evolved.

You may remember that a few weeks back we attended Cal Day, the open day at University of California Berkeley. You can see our visit here.

One of the highlights for the girls was playing a new card game called Go Extinct!, an educational game based on the classic card game Go Fish. Both Ava and Lola are big fans of playing card games and they love animals so Go Extinct! was right up their alley - even if it is designed for older children.

We were lucky to be able to take a prototype copy of Go Extinct! home with us and the girls have been having a lot of fun playing it, with a little help for Lola, of course.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Welcome Baby Mathilde

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet here on Little Hiccups for the past week. Well, there has been good reason for my absence...

One week ago today our family of four became a family of five.

The newest addition to the Little Hiccups family, Mathilde Elise, joined us at 9:21am on Thursday April 24th.

She is absolutely perfect and we're all so very happy that she is a part of our family.

I'll write more later but for now here are some photos from Mathilde's first few days...

She's here!

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