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Wednesday 29 July 2015

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

On Monday the girls and I ventured to a popular local spot that we had never visited before; UC Botanical Garden here in Berkeley.

This weekend, UC Botanical Garden had their biggest weekend ever in terms of attendance and it was all due to one special flower. Trudy, the garden's resident Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) or Corpse Flower was blooming for the first time. What makes this flower so special? Well, first of all it takes at least seven years for the plant to bloom for the first time, and then that bloom only lasts for a few days. Second of all, the flower is absolutely massive. I believe that Trudy reached 56 inches in height! And last but not least there's the smell. When the Corpse Flower blooms a foul odor reminiscent of rotting flesh is released to attract flies for pollination. I'm guessing you can tell where the name Corpse Flower comes from!

When I heard about the blooming Corpse Flower I knew I had to take the girls to see it. I mean, how often do you get to see a flower that's bigger than your whole body? Or smell a flower that reeks of rotting flesh? But as the UC Botanic Garden is perched high in the Berkeley Hills where regular buses don't go I wasn't sure how we'd get there. As luck would have it, it turns out that the UC shuttle buses I see driving around town aren't just for UC students (as I has always thought) and there's one that goes right to the entrance of the gardens. Woo hoo!

Trudy's bloom was at its peak on Sunday - and so was the number of visitors. We waited until Monday when I knew it would be a little quieter to visit. While it would have been amazing to see the flower completely open, the large crowds would have been too much for the kids.

Saturday 25 July 2015

52 Weeks: Week 29

Week 29: Brushstrokes Studio

Now that we're all over our jet lag and getting back into the regular swing of things I'm trying to come up with fun activities to keep the kids occupied for the rest of the Summer break.

One thing that we did last Summer that we all enjoyed was decorating ceramic plates at Brushstrokes Studio here in Berkeley. The girls had a great time decorating their plates and were really pleased with how they looked after being glazed and fired. I thought it would be a nice idea to visit Brushstrokes Studio every Summer and decorate another plate. That way the girls will end up with a nice little collection of their very own hand-painted plates.

We headed down to Brushstrokes Studios earlier this week to get creative. Unfortunately they were out of stock of the plates that we decorated last time. I was pretty keen for the girls' to stick to the same kind of plates as last time but I also didn't want them to leave empty handed, so to speak, seeing as we'd spent quite a while walking there. So we decided to paint something different this time around and paint the plates another day. The girls checked out the large assortment of blank ceramic items available and settled on painting espresso cups with matching saucers. We drank a lot of babyccinos while were were in Australia recently and the girls are keen to have them at home as well. Espresso cups are just the right size and we don't happen to have any at home, so that worked out pretty perfectly.

After discussing design ideas and colors, the girls got to work with the paint.

Out and About in Adelaide

During our recent trip to Australia we spent much of our time in our home city of Adelaide. It was so great to catch up with friends and family, but it was also nice to share our home city with the girls. Ava remembers life in Australia before our move to California, but as Lola had only just turned one year old a week before our move she has no memories of Adelaide. And of course, for our American born baby Mathilde, everything was new.

So we tried to get out and about in the city and see as much of it as possible. It was also a great chance for the girls to experience many of the things that we experienced growing up.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Cleland Wildlife Park

Kangaroos and koalas...

That's the first thing most people think of when you mention Australia, right?

We couldn't travel all the way to Australia and not meet some of the country's most well known furry residents. Ava had seen kangaroos and koalas on many occasions before our move to California, but for Lola and Mathilde these marsupials were just something they'd seen in books or on tv. So, during our time in our home city of Adelaide we headed to the hills and visited Cleland Wildlife Park.

Saturday 18 July 2015

Flower Piano at San Francisco Botanical Gardens

Today the girls and I headed into the city to get a little culture in the Botanical Gardens.

Right now (and for just a few more days), San Francisco Botanical Gardens is home to twelve pianos as part of Flower Piano, an installation by Sunset Piano. The twelve pianos have been placed in various locations around the park and are available for visitors to play. How cool is that?

Now, the girls and I are not particularly musical and couldn't play a note to save our lives, but we just couldn't pass up the chance to have a little piano playing fun in the garden. I mean, it's not every day you get the chance to play piano (and I use that term very loosely!) surrounded by redwoods, under a giant New Zealand Christmas Tree, or surrounded by Californian wildflowers. Well, we got to do all of that today (and more) and it was so much fun!

Friday 17 July 2015

52 Weeks: Week 28

Week 28: Back to Summer

After three weeks spent with friends and family back home in Australia we're back... home. Back in the place that has become home and is now home. The Bay Area.

And of course, travelling half way across the world also means that we're back in Summer. Our Summers here in the Bay Area aren't particular hot (in fact, Fall is actually our warmest season) but after Winter in South Australia it practically feels like we're in the tropics!

We've all been suffering from jet lag, especially early in the week, but I've been making a conscious effort to get out and about and be active, despite my brain's desire to stay in bed. The girls love being out and about, and there's nowhere they enjoy being more than a playground. Earlier this week we hit up one of our favourite playgrounds here in Berkeley at Live Oak Park.

Here's a look at our fun afternoon in the playground...

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Sydney Tower Eye

Ok, now that we're back from our three weeks in Australia it's time I got back into blogging mode. I've got so many photos I want to share with you all. As usual, I had hoped to continue blogging during our trip but it just never works out that way. The hotels we stayed in charged a fortune for wifi, tethering to my phone used up too much of my data, we were busy actually enjoying our trip, and, of course, we were so tired much of the time.

So now that we're back and the jetlag is mostly gone I'm going to start sharing like crazy!

First up, let's go back to our first destination: Sydney. I've already shared a few random pics from our first few days in Sydney (which you can see here) but today we're having a look at the city from above; high up in Sydney Tower Eye.

Tuesday 14 July 2015

52 Weeks: Week 27

Week 27: Old Friends

One of the best things about our trip to Australia was having the chance to catch up with old friends.

We had the chance to catch up with lots of friends and family all together at our Fourth of July party which was great. But we also took the time to have a few one on ones (or as close to when you have three kids!) with a few special friends.

Ava and Lola had a special catch up with their friends Milla, Agnes and Elliot. Ava and I met Milla and her mum Nina at mum's group when the girls were just six weeks old and they have been best friends ever since. They have such a special bond that has lasted through several international moves (Milla's move to Norway when they were just babies and our move to California) and the moment they saw each other again it was like they had never spent time apart. We caught up with Milla and co at Glenelg where we used to regularly hang out together. We ate chocolate for lunch at Bracegirdle's and watched the pouring rain from the enclosed balcony. Nina and I drank chili hot chocolates. Mmm... so good! I'd been craving one of those for so long. After the rain stopped the girls ran around in nearby Moseley Square.

Saturday 11 July 2015

Fourth of July in Australia

This year we celebrated Fourth of July with a big party at my parents' house in Adelaide, South Australia. Even though we were out of the country we still wanted to celebrate America's birthday with our little American girl. Plus it seemed like a great excuse to throw a big party with friends and family!

Despite the fact that it's Winter here in Australia, we were lucky to have a great day weather wise. Not quite the Summery weather we're used to for Fourth of July, but the sun was shining and the rain stayed away. Perfect for a back yard party.  

Friday 3 July 2015

52 Weeks: Week 26

Week 26: Cousins

One of the best things about being back home in Australia is that the kids have been able to spend time with their cousins. I grew up with most of my cousins living in the same country town as me so it feels a little surreal that my own kids don't get to see their cousins regularly. Of course, with us living in California and all of our family here in Australia cousin reunions don't happen much. In fact, in the whole time we've been away from Australia Ava and Lola have seen their cousins Grace and Davis once when they came to visit, but haven't seen any of their other cousins. They even have a new cousin who they didn't meet until this week, and of course, Mathilde hadn't met any of her cousins at all until we arrived in Australia.


Wednesday 1 July 2015

52 Week Project: Week 25

Week 25: Sydney

I am so, so behind with my weekly post this time. You've probably also noticed that I haven't posted anything at all in almost two weeks. Slack, I know, but I promise I have a good excuse.

If you're following Little Hiccups on Facebook or Instagram you'll now why I've been quiet. If not, here's why...

...we're in Australia!

For the first time in almost four years we're back home visiting family and friends. It's been lovely to catch up with everyone and in many ways it doesn't really feel like we ever left. Right now we're in our home city of Adelaide (which doesn't  feel like it's changed since we left!) but we've also spent time in both Sydney and Brisbane.

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