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Sunday 28 September 2014

Big Girl Food

Look what happened today!

My little baby has started eating solids!

Mathilde has seemed ready for solids for a little while now but I hadn't been ready myself. She just seemed too little and with all the other speedy growing up she's been doing (sitting, rolling around, almost crawling, sleeping in her big girl crib...) I was keen for her to stay a little baby just a little longer. But there was no denying that she was ready. So today we decided not to hold off any longer and started Mathilde eating rice cereal (mixed with breast milk). 

Thursday 25 September 2014

Five Months Old

Much like Little Miss Mathilde and her non-stop movement, month number five has zoomed by... 

Can you believe that at only five months old my little baby is almost crawling? Crazy, right? After a few weeks of rolling to get around, then a week of perfecting her plank position, Mathilde has progressed to the pre-crawl "hands and knees belly-flop" technique. Ok, I have no idea what to call her method of movement! It's almost a crawl but not quite as her legs move together. You can see it on Instagram here. I can see that she's trying to work out how to move them individually but she hasn't quite got there. Judging by the way she's zooming through babyhood I imagine that she'll have crawling down pat within a week. And then be walking the next!

Monday 22 September 2014

Kiwi Crate

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Kiwi Crate. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever tried a subscription service for your kids? We recently tried out Kiwi Crate, and let me tell you, the kids absolutely loved it.

Kiwi Crate is an award winning monthly subscription service providing quality hands-on creative and educational fun for kids ages 4 to 8. Each month's crate includes everything your kids will need to create two or three fun activities plus a 16 page magazine full of activities to extend the learning and fun. And it's all delivered straight to your door. It couldn't get any easier!

Each crate focuses on a different theme such as Music, Color, Robots and Safari. The theme of our crate was Amusement Park and it came with everything the girls needed to create Bumper Cars and Silly Squirters. So much fun!

Both activities were simple enough for Lola to make with a little supervision, but still fun for Ava. The projects included in our crate featured lots of stickers and, like most kids, my girls LOVE stickers so they were a big hit.

Here's a look at the activities that the girls worked on...

Sunday 21 September 2014

Washed Ashore at San Francisco Zoo

Recently we visited an amazing exhibition at San Francisco Zoo called Washed Away.

Created for the The Artula Institute for Arts & Environmental Education under the leadership of Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Washed Away features sculptures of sea creatures made from debris and plastic pollution collected from Pacific beaches. Over the last three years community members have collected over 11 tonnes of debris from Pacific beaches to create more than thirty sculptures. These sculptures form a travelling exhibit and education programs that tours the country to highlight the impact that marine pollution has on wildlife.

Visitors to the exhibition are greeted at the entry of the exhibition by a sculpture of a sea lion pup.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Goodbye Grandma C

Dear Grandma C,

We are going to miss you now that you're no longer with us. 

Even though we've been on opposite sides of the world for almost three years, it was nice knowing that you were there back home. We all looked forward to seeing you on our next visit home. We looked forward to you meeting Mathilde, the youngest of your six great-grandchildren. 

Losing you when we're so far away is hard. I wish we could have been there to say goodbye. To give you one last hug. To be there for Mum. But knowing that you are no longer in pain is a great comfort. Knowing that you're finally reunited with Grandpa after such a long time helps too.

I will always cherish the memories of our time together.

When I think of you I always picture your beautiful garden. You were passionate about gardening and your hard work paid off with one of the loveliest cottage gardens in town. Your garden was a rainbow of colour with something always in bloom. As I child I thought that your garden went on and on forever and I loved exploring it. I was sure that fairies made their home in your garden

When Adam and I would stay with you over the Summer holidays you would take us for walks in the evening. I loved those walks, especially along the river and under the bridges. As we walked along the streets of Strathalbyn you would comment on gardens as we passed by. There was always one garden in particular that you were in awe of. One special garden that you would point out all of the hard work and dedication that must have gone into creating it. One garden that was so beautiful that you always commented "Look at this lovely garden. I wonder who lives here. It must be a lady. A man can't have made such a beautiful garden". Of course, it was your garden.

Every year you came to stay with us over Easter. And every year, without fail, you brought the rain with you! You also brought the loudest snoring I've ever heard! You never believed us that you snored, but oh boy, did you snore! Kylie once woke up terrified that there was a monster in the next room. Of course, it was you snoring.

As a child you had me convinced for the longest time that you were only forty. I never seemed to notice that your age didn't increase as the years went by. Nor did it ever occur to me that you were never really forty during my life time. Forty seemed like such a big number to me at the time. It sounded so old so I believed you, year after year. Of course, now that I am approaching forty myself (eek!) it doesn't seem like such a big number after all!   

You were always busy working on some sort of craft project or other. Lots of crochet, knitted lace, and most recently, jewellery. To this day I can't see a crocheted coat hanger or toilet roll cover doll without thinking of you. 

Goodbye Grandma C.

We miss you and we'll love you always.

I am sure that where ever you are now there are flowers blooming, but they'll never be as lovely as the ones in your garden.  

Monday 15 September 2014

Exploring the California Missions: Mission Dolores, San Francisco

This post is part of a series by a group of California Kid Bloggers on exploring the California Missions. Over the next few months California's missions will be featured by various bloggers. You can follow along here

In the almost three years that we've lived in the Bay Area we've visited San Francisco's Mission District many times. But it wasn't until this Summer that we finally made it to the neighborhood's namesake.

Most commonly referred to as Mission Dolores (after a nearby creek, Arroyo de los Dolores), MisiĆ³n San Francisco de Asis is the oldest intact building in San Francisco. 

A visit to the one of the city's most important historical sites wouldn't be complete without delving into the past a little, so here's your history lesson for the day...

Sunday 14 September 2014

TinkerLab Workshop

Today was a day for tinkering fun.

To celebrate the recent launch of the wonderful kids' creativity book "TinkerLab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors" we headed down south to Los Altos to a fun event hosted by the book's author Rachelle Doorley. The event was held at Helix, the Silicon Valley outpost of San Francisco's Exploratrium

The book launch was such a fun event. First up Rachelle demonstrated making "Slime" which is one of the 55 fun projects featured in her book. The kids were all fascinated watching the simple ingredients come together to make something so gloriously gooey, oozy and bouncy all at the same time. They couldn't get enough of the gloopy stuff. Mathilde especially couldn't keep her hands out of it - but, thankfully, kept it out of her mouth!

Thursday 11 September 2014

Just call me Gappy!

Ava lost another tooth on Monday night. 

That's 3 down and many more to go.

This is the first time that Ava has had a gap after losing a tooth and it feels so weird seeing her with a missing tooth. When her two bottom teeth fell out the adult teeth were already growing behind. They were already about the height of her other teeth when the baby teeth came out so there was no real gap. This time around there's no adult tooth yet to fill the space. In fact, it hasn't even slightly poked through the gum yet. I wonder how long she'll have a gap for?

It must feel extra weird for Ava as she couldn't stop looking at her teeth in the mirror!

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Father's Day Portraits

Last Sunday was Father's Day in Australia. 

I've already shared the card that I made for the kids to give to Kim (you can see it here) but I also wanted to show you the fantastic drawings that the kids drew for their Daddy.

Ava is quite the accomplished little artist and has been drawing beautiful pictures from a very young age. Can you believe that she started drawing pictures recognisable as people before her second birthday? Crazy, right? It completely took me by surprise when I found her drawing an army of chalk people on our driveway a month before she turned two.  

Lola hasn't been quite as keen on drawing as Ava. Her drawings tend to be mostly squiggles and she gets frustrated very quickly if her picture doesn't look like what it's supposed to be. She'll draw if asked to but she won't sit down and start drawing of her own accord. Until now. In the last few weeks everything about Lola's drawings has changed. She's drawing people with bodies (not just heads with arms and legs sticking out!), she has started adding scenery and details, and - the best bit - she has started drawing without being asked to. Hooray! 

So here are the girls' Father's Day drawings. Ava drew the whole family with a beautiful sunset over the water because Daddy likes watching the sun set. Lola draw herself and Daddy at the beach. She even included the blue hat that Kim has been wearing lately (you'll see it popping up everywhere in my upcoming Seattle and Portland posts!).

Ava's Family Portrait
Lola's portrait of her and Daddy at the beach

Hooray for little artists!

Seattle & Portland Trip

Towards the end of the long Summer break we went on a week long vacation to Seattle and Portland.

I had planned on sharing our trip as we went, but apart from writing a post about the Seattle Gum Wall (simultaneously the grossest and most colourful place I've ever visited!) on the first day I just didn't find the time to write anything else. At the end of each day I was just exhausted. Sometimes vacations are tiring. And the kids were tiring. Oh so tiring!

Now that Summer is over and the big kids are back at school and preschool I feel a little less stressed. A little less exhausted. Time to get back into blogging mode.

So lets go back a few weeks and have a look at that trip of ours because, while it was tiring at times, we did an awful lot of fun stuff and saw some pretty amazing things. Seattle and Portland are great cities and we really loved both of them. Oh, and all that rain and gloom that you hear about in the Pacific Northwest? Well, it must've been on vacation at the same time as us as we didn't see it at all. Not a drop of rain. No grey clouds. Just blue skies and lots of sunshine. I think we lucked out and got the one week of the year when it doesn't rain in Seattle or Portland!

To start off, I thought I'd share a quick look at what we did each day of our vacation. Then I'll share more detailed posts on each of the destinations/activities/tourist attractions. Expect to see a lot more of Seattle and Portland coming soon!

Day 1
We started our day with a morning flight to Seattle from Oakland. We headed straight to the Ace Hotel in the Belltown neighbourhood, our home for the next four days and a great spot close to most tourist destinations. We ate lunch then headed out to nearby Pike Place Market and the Gum Wall. You can see my Gum Wall post here. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the waterfront before getting an early night. We were all exhausted from our early start and we had a big day ahead of us.

Saturday 6 September 2014

Father's Day Card 2014 (Australian Edition)

It's Father's Day... again!

As I've mentioned before, lucky Kim gets to celebrate Father's Day twice a year. First up in June for American Father's Day, and secondly in September for Australian Father's Day. Unfortunately Australia and America share the same date for Mother's Day so I only get one special day. Boo.

This year I've been so busy with visitors, vacations and back to school that Australian Father's Day sneaked up on me. With no barrage of ads for power tools, barbecues, electronic gizmos and socks on tv it completely slipped my mind until a few days ago. Sorry Grandpas in Australia, your cards will be a little late. Nothing unusual there though!

If you've seen the previous Father's Day cards that I've made with the girls you'll know that I'm fond of coming up with something cheesy. There was the giant redwood themed "Tree-mendous Father's Day" card from last year, and the baseball themed "Number 1 Fan" cards from the year before. This year is no different with another cheesy caption. I can't help myself. I think I have a problem!

Lately Kim has been a little obsessed with wearing hats. And the girls are obsessed with wearing Daddy's hats when they can get their hands on one. With this new obsession and a cheesy catch line in mind the girls and I set about creating a card involving Daddy's hat collection.

Thursday 4 September 2014

Back to Preschool

Last week it was back to school for Ava. This week it's Lola's turn.

Lola is back at her preschool for another year - maybe two seeing as she won't turn five until just after the school cut off next year. But that's a whole different story...

Monday 1 September 2014

Visitors from Home

The last few weeks have been pretty busy for our family. We had our trip to Seattle and Portland, Ava went back to school this week and our good friends Marta and Mark visited from Australia.

I have lots of posts about our trip coming up soon so for now lets have a look at the fun we had with Marta and Mark.

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