Join us on our Journey Down Under!

We're an American family living in Australia, where everything seems a little bit turned-upside-down.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Halloween!  I have always found great pleasure in dressing up, and now I share this love with my kids.  McKinley especially loves to dress up. 

Here's my three little goblins this year:



Hagen's First Halloween!


Everest, the Jawa from Star Wars!

McKinley our Little Alaskan Girl!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just in time...

The hat is finished!  And just in time, I might add.  I love it so much, that I even wore it myself at the soccer game this morning when Hagen refused to.  I plan to have him wear it as much as possible through the Thanksgiving Holiday, so hopefully the weather will cooperate a little and give us some fall days here and there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Falling Behind or Catching Up?

 I had the pleasure of going to bed at 8:30 p.m. last night.  It is 6:30 a.m. now, the kids are still asleep, the house is quiet, the coffee is made, so I am going to try and squeeze in a post. 

The past couple of days would not have allowed such a thing.  It would have been like squeezing in an unwelcome guest into a VW bug that was already too full, for a long road trip across the country, where the driver had not slept in days, everyone was hungry, and there was only enough time for potty breaks.  Yes, that's how hard it would have been.  So  I will have to catch you up!

The good news is we are going on a family vacation in just over a week.  I can barely imagine sleeping in a bed I don't have to make.  Eating meals I don't have to prepare.  Sitting around watching my kids play all day. The most pressing task will be waking up in time to save our favorite palapa on the beach, so we will have the best view of El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, and enough shade to sit there the entire day watching the waves.














Well, my time is up.  Kids are awake.  It's time to start our craziness around here.  It was fun while it lasted, daydreaming about vacation is a wonderful way to start the day!

~A

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Itty Bitty Knitted Hats

Not a lot of time to post today, but thought I would post some pictures of a couple of  "itty bitty knitted hats". 

Here is a little daisy flower hat I knitted for my baby if it were a girl. 
Since I had a boy, I gave it to my newest niece when she was born.

It was the sweetest little hat, and I had a really hard time parting with it.





Here's a little hat my mom knitted.  I love the sweet little rosebuds. 



I owe my interest in knitting to my Mom and my Grandma Norma.  I must have been born with the "gene" because I have been interested in sewing, knitting, and all other crafts ever since I can remember.  I have always been really good at making things with my hands. 

My hope to is to knit a little pumpkin hat in the next couple of days for Hagen to wear this fall.  I'd better get started!

~A

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Daddy's Birthday

Amidst the chaos, I was able to pull off a family party mid-week for Daddy's Birthday.  Right in the middle of it all, I said, "next year we're going out for dinner."

The baby fell asleep on the way to the store in the morning, so I drove home instead of getting some necessary items for making the cake.  Once I arrived home and pulled into the driveway, the baby was awake again, but by then I wasn't in the mood for the store anymore.  I thought I would just "make do".  As a consequence, I had to improvise on the cake a little bit, and I wasn't able to prepare dinner ahead of time.  BIG MISTAKE!

The good news is the table was set for dinner by 9 am. 
My ice cream cake "invention" was in the freezer by 10 am.
Presents were wrapped (with Hagen's "help") by 11 am.
I ended up picking up groceries at 2 pm on my way to pick up the kids from school. 
The kids and I walked from school at 3 pm as usual, just missing a huge down pour of rain.
Ran into Walgreens in the pouring rain at 3:30 pm to pick up a photo gift I made.
By the time we got home, it was 4 o'clock.

The kids were starving, but I urged them to wait for dinner.  "We're having a party!" I reminded them.  I had to whip up chicken enchiladas while McKinley worked on her homework, while feeding the baby, and helping Everest with his homework.  I am in awe of this multi-tasking 9 year old!

That's when I received a text reminding me McKinley had a rehearsal from 6-7 pm.  Okay, I'm going to try to make this work...

Soon after, I received a call from the Birthday Boy.  He was held up in traffic and wouldn't be home at 5 pm as expected. Somewhat a relief, but how would we get McKinley to rehearsal?

Baby was crying, homework wasn't going well, kids were starving.... that's when I declared, "STOP!"

RELAX and take care of things one at a time. 
Here's what I did at 5:30 pm to get things in order:

Put the baby in his crib for an evening nap.
Gave the kids an appetizer.
Sent a text that McKinley wouldn't be able to make the rehearsal.
Opened two cervezas to compliment the entree.

I don't know what time we finally ate, but it didn't matter anymore. The Birthday Boy was surrounded by his loving family, and we were "having a party!"  After dinner Daddy and the kids (baby included) even went out an jumped in a giant rain puddle in the driveway.  Now that's what I call fun!

~A


Click on this picture to see details!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Babies

Hagen was a brand new baby when the movie "Babies" came out.  It is a documentary that simultaneously tracks the early development of four babies from different parts of the world.  The movie takes the viewer from each baby's first breath to their first steps, all with very little, if any, dialogue! 

I treated myself to watching it last night, and finishing it up today.  What a treat it was!  I'm glad I watched it alone, as I'm not sure anyone else in my family would have appreciated it the way I did (although Hagen may have). 

I was so happy I had a baby in the next room sleeping while I watched, because watching this film would have made me ache for another!  My favorite of the babies was Ponijao from Namibia.  What a fascinating beginning this baby boy had, so different from my baby, yet similar too.  This little sweetie crawled around in the dirt and played with flies.  He was a happy little guy who loved to dance and smile although the only "toy" in sight was a tin can that he balanced on his head.  His Mom nursed him, sang to him, egged him on while he danced, and her eyes glistened with love when she looked at him.

I also loved Bayar from Mongolia.  It was as if he was meant to fend for himself from the very beginning.  If not protecting himself from his bothersome older brother, it was the livestock both inside and outside the family home he must look out for!  He often crawled on top of places too high for a baby, was strolled out into the pasture to watch the cows for who knows how long, and was even tethered to a bedpost in one scene to keep him out of trouble. 

I won't bother to comment on Mari from Tokyo, or Hattie from San Francisco.  Although they were completely adorable, their beginnings were much like all the babies I am familiar with.  They slept in cribs, ate in highchairs, went to playgroups, and were surrounded by manufactured toys and stimulation.

I was relieved to see that it is not necessary for me to entertain my children 24/7.  It is okay to let them explore on their own, and create their own toys.  It is okay to let them get dirty, and to explore high places.  It is okay to let them feed themselves, even if it makes a bigger mess.

This movie is inspiring, and I recommend it to anyone that has children, or that plans to.

~A

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Soccer Saturday!

Can you tell how much this family loves our Soccer Saturdays? 

Everest had a muddy, slippery, sliding time at his 9:15 game.  It was every 7 year old boy's dream!  To be honest, I couldn't tell you if they won or lost, but I do know they all had a fabulous time kicking that ball around in the soggy grass. 


McKinley's team played a fantastic game once again.  The highlight of the game was McKinley's save as goalie that would have made any professional player jealous.  She was fearless and it showed. I don't have a picture of it to post, but the smack the ball made when she caught it, and the look of accomplishment on her face as she dove for the ball will be forever embedded in my head.  A proud moment indeed!
"Mom, must you constantly take pictures of me? How embarrassing!"



Hagen, well he just kinda hung out like always, wondering what in the world we were all screaming about on the sidelines.


That evening we topped off our Soccer Frenzy with our once a year trip to watch the LA Galaxy play.  If you have never been to a professional soccer game, put it on your list of "musts".  The field itself is enough to make you go "Wow!"  and the player's endurance, stamina, footwork, agility, and skill will keep you watching the whole 90 minutes.  If the game isn't stimulating enough, then the crowd will be.  These fans go nuts for soccer.  It's like a bunch of crazy AYSO parents, just times a couple thousand.  One year we made the mistake of sitting right next to the section of super crazy fans.  They are like a highschool pep squad made up of twenty-something year old men.  They have their faces painted, chant songs, and beat on a bass drum throughout the entire game!  Oh, and did I mention that David Beckham was playing? It was an amazing time. 


~A

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Until I had one myself, I never knew how painful it could be.  Until I had one myself, I never knew just how many woman have suffered in the same way.  Until I had one myself, I never knew I was capable of loving so deeply someone I had never even met.  Until I had one myself, I never knew how utterly alone I could feel.  Until I had one myself, I never knew...

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Statistics say that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I had my first miscarriage in October 2006.  It was a life changing experience I will never forget.  Although my heart has healed since then, I remember the feeling of complete hopelessness all too well.  I thank the Lord for carrying me in his hand during that time of healing.  I can only pray that my story will bring a glimpse of  hope to someone struggling with wanting something so badly, and not being able to control it.

Here are some journal entries from 2009.  They describe how I felt in the beginning stages of my pregnancy with Hagen.  His pregnancy came as quite a surprise, after suffering four miscarriages in a row!

On March 23, I had my first ultrasound. It was like the others I had seen before with my miscarriages. I had a perfectly shaped yoke sac, and the beginnings of a fetal pole. It was too early to see anything else, and I would have to wait a couple of days to find out how things were progressing. On a positive note, my bloodwork numbers looked great, the hcg had more than doubled, and my progesterone levels were excellent.

On March 27, I saw my baby's heartbeat for the first time. It was just a flash, but the heart was beating! My Dr. said we still needed to wait one more week before we were out of the woods...

On April 1, we saw the heart beating again! This time the baby and sac were much bigger, and the heartbeat much more visible. This brought tears to our eyes! Now the Dr. said we could be very optimistic. And we were....

On April 13, we saw a much larger sac and baby, with a very strong heartbeat. I would never tire from that sight!

Today is April 19, and I am 9 weeks, 3 days pregnant. I have to pinch myself every time I think about it.

Although I am very sick to my stomach everyday, and I feel as if I have molasses running through my veins, I am thankful every moment for the gift of life growing inside of me. Not a second goes by that I take this baby for granted. I am still scared of all that can happen in the next 7 months, but for now, all is well and I am thankful!


There you have it, the happy beginning of my precious baby boy's heartbeats.  Not many days go by that I don't look at him in awe and think, "Wow, I am one lucky Momma!" Now he is almost one year old, and I still love to hear his little heart beating.  Sometimes I place my ear on his chest, right over his heart and just listen to that sweet, sweet sound.

Although my story has a happy ending, I am remembering those today who are still suffering.
Please join me in remembering all of the babies that have been lost during pregnancy, at, during or
after birth and pray for continued healing for their parents.

~A

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bedtime Sweetness

Bedtime around here is such a great hour.  I love when all the kids are fed, bathed, and in their jammies.  It is a feeling of such sweet satisfaction.  I know where everyone is, I know where they are going, and I know that all their immediate needs are met.  The lights are low, the television off, the lullabies are playing in the background, and all is good. 


Hagen has learned to turn his "touch lamp" on and off. 



I walked in on this scene in Hagen's room.  How sweet is that?



Last night the kids played on the piano together while I finished up the dishes.  I couldn't help but to capture this sweet moment with my camera.  I always want to remember how peaceful and wonderful our bedtime hour is around here.  In one word.... Peaceful.

~A










Saturday, October 9, 2010

Soccer Saturday

What a terrific day!  Everest and McKinley both won their games... Everest scored a goal, and McKinley played awesome all around the field as a goalie, defender, and forward.  Hagen held his own cup of water on the sidelines as he cheered them on.  He is definitely another future soccer star as he is already practicing moving the balls all around.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sick and Tired!

I like to keep things positive around here, so that's why I didn't post yesterday...

You see, I've been sick and tired. 

I remember my mom using that expression a lot when I was young.  She had four of us to take care of, so she was "sick and tired" a lot!  Now that I have kids, I totally get it.  I walk around wanting to shout how "sick and tired" I am of everything!  Usually I refrain, but every once in a while, it just slips out. 

Today I'm sick and tired of:
dirty dishes
laundry
socks
crumbs
commercials
homework
trash
toothpaste in the sink
mean kids at school
our small yard
carpet stains
slow internet
no time to just "play"

Something tells me I need to go back and read my own advice about Big Buts here:
http://ohsevenheaven.blogspot.com/2010/08/big-but.html

Being "sick and tired" reminds me of that portion of "Bill Cosby Himself" when he imitates his mom being "sick and tired."  It is the greatest!  If you haven't seen "Bill Cosby Himself", treat yourself to watching the whole show.  It will have you ROTFL!  "Dad is great!  He gives us the chocolate cake!"  So true!  Here is a clip of it here that will cheer any parent up:



Like I said, I usually don't like to complain here.  The truth is, things really aren't that bad.  In fact, I'm going to cut myself some slack because I actually am sick with a cold, which has made me very, very tired.  Nothing a little chicken noodle soup, saltines, 7 UP, and some time on the couch watching Bill Cosby won't cure...

~A

Monday, October 4, 2010

Here's what my morning looks like...

Sweet, isn't it?  Even though it occurs a little earlier than I would like, and a little more rushed than I'd prefer, our mornings are sweet.  They generally start with the happy babbles coming from Hagen's room.  He is our only alarm clock.  One by one, we emerge into the kitchen and exchange our "Good Mornings".  Indeed it is!  Everyone knows their "parts" as we play out our morning theatrics.  It is wonderful to have such sweet little housemates. 

~A

Friday, October 1, 2010

TGIF! Week in Review

Ahh!  Friday! What a week it has been!  Here are some of the highlights:

Elementary School Elections:  It was all about the Silly Banz.  Mark kept asking what that had to do with being treasurer.  McKinley just told him he had a lot to learn about Elementary School Elections.



Everest's choice of outfits:  Notice how prepared he is for his getting ready routine.  He has the brush, hand mirror, toothbrush, and toothpaste all set and ready to go.  For the record... I let him chose which item of clothing he wanted to change: the Darth Vader shirt, plaid shorts, or the long pirate socks!  Thank goodness he chose to change the shorts.



Walking to school:
Walking to school is fun, but it can be exhausting! Look how attentive Hagen is.  He sits upright and notices every little thing!  I love every second!

Eating small LEGOS:  No matter where I move them, he seems to find the little pieces!  Another Future Engineer? 


Eating:  Do you think he got any down the hatch?

We bathe him after every meal!

It's been a great week!

~A


Hello again!
Hello?