Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anabel - 6 months

I can't believe that Anabel is six months old already! She is almost One! What happened to my little baby!?

So far she is progressing perfectly and she is such a happy and content little baby. OK, so maybe the term 'little baby' wasn't the right choice, as she is just under 20lbs and in the 98th percentile for height and obviously weight. I am happy to say though, that her head is in perfect proportion to the rest of her body, so we don't have another enlarged "melon head" on our hands ;-)

She has lots of funny little personality traits, the main one being that she is very happy. She throws her easy smiles everywhere and anywhere, and her chubby cheeks just stretch to their limits with every grin. It's the cutest thing ever, no wonder people are constantly saying, "I just want to bite her cheeks!" all day every day! I want to too... (and I do!)

She is still not sleeping through, unfortunately. Bel is not one of those babies you can just let 'cry it out'. She will simply just keep crying. So I have gotten used to topping her up about three times between 7pm- 1am and then she has another feed between 4-5.30am. It's very tiresome but I think she will grow out of it. She has improved dramatically since she has had solid food for every meal, especially a big meal for dinner.

She loves her food, that is for sure! But one thing is certain - and this is quite funny, as I was exactly the same as a little girl - she cannot stand to eat pumpkin! No matter what is mixed with it, she complains and fusses and pushes it away. This is a big contrast to her usual eating habits where I can't serve the food fast enough for her anxious little mouth! One time I was physically exhausted after an entire meal was devoured within five minutes, leaving me worn out from constantly having to have the spoon ready for the next intake! I had never seen anything like it!

All day we get compliments about how gorgeous she is, and her sisters are no exception. They simply adore her. One of her favorite things is to sit no Tori's lap, where she will happily stay for ages until Tori can't take her weight anymore. One day Tori actually picked her up and held her while walking along, and although I was freaking out, Anabel seemed to enjoy the experience! This of course has become something Tori loves to do - under my waiting hands and watchful eyes...

Eadie can't get enough of her little sister. I'm still not sure whether Bel feels as fondly towards her, though.. Eadie's idea of playing with her is poking her face and eyes and grabbing her hands and making annoying noises like a wounded animal..  And then there's the growling...Eadie is into growling at the moment... it scares me half the time, let alone a six month old who is getting it while Eadie's face is literally pressed up against hers. I don't want to 'ban' Eadie from touching the baby, instead I am just hoping Bel will grow up tough enough so that when she's ready to do proper play, she will be able to handle Eadie's 'games'... Time will tell!

Meanwhile, she is still a 100% Mummy's Girl, and some have even said they have never seen a baby so attached to its mother (not by any encouragement on my part, I can assure you!). But at the same time she is easy to please and loves any  kind of distraction to play with; from a plastic cup to a hankie, she makes fun with anything she is given - at least for a minute ;-)

An Unexpected Call

Something completely out of the blue happened to us about a month ago. While at a YM activity Juan was approached by a member of the Stake Presidency and asked if he and I could meet with him. Having not received any inkling as to what the reason could be, we entered the room filled with intrigue and a little nervousness..  And then suddenly life changed. Juan was called as the second counsellor in the ward Bishopric. What a surprise! 
The call actually couldn't have come at a better time, as my dad was able to ordain him as a High Priest, and they were here for the Sunday he was set apart. Very special. :-)

Juan is excited and looking forward to the experiences he will have as a bishopric member. I think his years of being in YM have helped him prepare for the constant meetings he has every week. But it hasn't been too busy these past few weeks which has been a great blessing because his uni assignments have taken a lot of his time.

Although his schedule hasn't differed too much from his Stake YM Presidency calling, my 'single-mum' experiences have definitely increased. Juan has often had to travel and train in other wards on Sundays so I was slowly getting used to him not sitting with us in Sacrament meetings, but EVERY week is a whole new deal altogether! Looking after three toddlers is no picnic anyway, but then add a quiet room where daddy is in eye-view but completely untouchable, and it's just plain cruel.

My first thought at dealing with this was to sit with Alisha and her family. I tested it out on the first Sunday and realised quickly that it was more of a hindrance than a help, as our kids more more less competed to see who could be the most rebellious... results = not good.

I knew there was only one thing to do. Sit in the back. So every week we take our seat close to the back row where people can't see us sliding in and out with baby feeds and naughty time outs, and I hope they can't see me bribing my kids with lollies to keep them quiet and every activity under the sun to keep them occupied!

It has been a real struggle for me with Anabel as she does not like to be carried by anyone else. Even Juan can't settle her with or without me in the room half the time (just last night I had to leave a R.S activity 15 mins into it because she was screaming uncontrollably for poor Juan alone at home, no joke! Thankfully she fell straight to sleep in my arms and we went back to the activity together :-) 
Having said this, I honestly believe that Heavenly Father blesses me every week thus far with angels who offer to hold her and she actually stays with them! On week two, she even fell asleep in someone elses arms!! She has never even done that with her daddy!! I was shocked but so relieved, and consider it a blessing from heaven.

As every mother with young kids understands, church goes from being a peaceful enjoyable day relishing in the spirit of the Gospel and friends to, without a doubt, THE most stressful day of the week. If you're not threatening or bribing your kids to just be QUIET for what is now the LONGEST hour of your entire life, then you are bargaining and begging your two year old to STAY in the nursery room without screaming the place down. That is, if you're not holding a 20lb six month old in one arm while corristering the Primary through I Am a Child of God, or standing in the corner of the Bishop's office secretly feeding your baby while everyone has their eyes closed, just so she will stop crying while your husband is being set apart! -- No exaggeration.

Even though Anabel still cries when others hold her and Eadie still whines during sacrament and Tori still complains she's hungry, I can honestly say that I have felt calmer, happier, and more at peace during the last three Sundays since Juan has received his call then I have in months. A total blessing.

But having said this,  I have a talk coming up in 2 weeks, so watch this space...

A New Chapter

With a mix of emotions I wish to annouce that we are putting our house up for sale. We have been very busy fixing and 'refreshing' (I found out that's the Real Estate 'sale' word for minor renovations), and updating both upstairs and down. So far we have 'refreshed' the lounge-room with a coat of paint - for the first time we hired someone to come and do it and I now know the pleasure of hired-labor... Ahh, bliss. I will never paint another wall again. Unfortunately we can't do much about the iron print I accidentally burnt onto the carpet (don't ask...), but after rearranging furniture, putting up curtains, getting a floor lamp, and adding a beautiful dark green leafy plant which I have not yet killed, it is looking better than ever. It never ceases to amaze me how a room can go from 'drab to fab' as they say, with so little effort.

We are still updating the kitchen but it is looking great so far. Using tile paint I painted the splashback tiles shiny white and it looks 200% better (although I am still finishing it and procrastinating every day - refer to previous paragraph as to why this is so...). 
We also covered the old 70s print floor with these great lino square tile things that are just awesome for a cheap, quick update. We went for a 'wood look' which looks surprisingly good. It was fun working together with Juan late at night putting it down. But it really did re-emphasise that we will NOT be applying for any house renovation TV shows during our lifetime ;-) 

When he has a spare moment Juan has been busy cutting white doors to size to replace the old chipping cabinets in our kitchen. We first got them cut professionally but when that didn't go to plan we took matters into our own hands, and we now have all the doors on and I am so proud of his efforts. We also have a new circular saw, which is a lot of fun! We have a little more to do with them all but so far so good and the kitchen is really looking great compared to the old worn out 70s look we had before. I'll post a pic when it's all done.

Next we move upstairs.. After a coat of paint in the hallway, bathroom and girls' room they are looking great. We had the bathroom vanity replaced and it has made SUCH a difference. It's big and white and has drawers!! Drawers! Ahh... heaven!  I know, I've been missing out.. ;-)
When we had the vanity installed, the splashback tiles and some floor-wall tiles had to be removed. Enter the resident tiler - ME! Even though I do have 'tiling experience' I admit I hadn't done any since the mission - seven years ago (man, time flies!). But it's like riding a bike, so I just got on with the job. It has gone off without a hitch, apart from the spine-tingling, hand-shaking terror of using an electric tile-cutter for the first time. It was an effort to keep my eyes open as I pushed that little tile through the ear-crushing noise of the spinning wheel!  Let's just say, ceramic tiles being sliced with a metal spinning wheel is not the nicest or quietest sound in the world.. and I was not expecting it!  BUT the job got done and, apart from accidentally using 'Gap filler' instead of Sealer to seal the corners (don't judge me!!  I was in a rush and - ugh, forget it, I'm an idiot...) all went according to plan.
I also discovered an awesome idea in Grout Paint. It is so great, it makes your old dark stained grout look like new again! So I've been on my hands and knees painting the bathroom floor and we are SO happy with the result. After adding some white square storage baskets, the bathroom looks almost new, and every time I walk in I am excited with the changes!

So, that is what we have done so far. You know, apart from dump trips, tidying and all that. Between work and uni homework, Juan has not had a lot of time to dedicate to the touch ups but when he has had a moment we have made great progress and it has made a huge difference. This Saturday is our last full day to dedicate to making this place look awesome because the following Friday is PHOTO SHOOT day (only 1 weeks to go)!!  So we will be starting early and finishing late, hosing down the garage and driveway, painting the back door - let's hope this rain stops! - finishing the kitchen, scrubbing walls, polishing the veranda, and basically making the place sparkle.

It is such a nerve-wracking thing to know your house will be advertised in public. I am so nervous about it! I am a terrible housekeeper, so I will really have to step up my game and keep the place looking good all the time in case anyone comes through, not to mention the weekly open houses we will be having.... That's a lot of pressure for a mother as messy as me!!

Even though the house market is pretty slow at the moment, we really do feel that this is the time for us to move. We are desperate for more space,  so we will be moving out and renting somewhere else if it doesn't sell. We've given ourselves a 3-4 month limit, so the new year will bring with it a new house! I am soooo excited to be in a proper sized house - with a dining room and a backyard!! Ahh! The thought of it just thrills me!! (Easy to please, I know!)

But having said this, we have had four years in this house, and they have been wonderful. Two of our babies were born here (almost literally with Anabel...) and this house went from investment property, to our home. Even though it is tiny, and our dining table barely fits in our kitchen and Juan and I barely fit in our bedroom, it is ours, and it has done well for us. We will miss our little first house.

We plan on staying local as we like the ward and the area, but what the future has for us, we do not know. But we do know this... It is time.. time to move on to, literally, BIGGER and better things; a new chapter in our life. How exciting!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Family Pics

Mum and Dad Hunt came over from America for a three week holiday and it was great to catch up with them again. We are really lucky that they are able to regularly, visiting a few times already since they moved there over a year ago. Even though they were very busy we were able to have breakfast with them here at our place which was great to hang out and have them get to know the girls again a little better. The girls just love them and their company, and talk about them when they aren't here, and ask to see them when they are. It's great when they come over so the girls can get their semi-annual 'grandparent' fix! It's also good for me to get my fix as well! I had no idea how much time I actually spent visiting and chatting to my parents when they lived local, until I now only see them for a few hours catch up during their quick visits. But from what I gather, they are enjoying their time with Sarah and the kids in Utah; Dad is loving being a renovator handiman, and mum is loving making their house a home for them and the kids. Meanwhile we are all hoping and praying that Sarah will choose the option to move back over here so we can all be together again!
We were also able to get some family photos taken by our family friend, Ebony Holzworth. She had taken some pics for a friend of mine and even though Ebony is not a professional, she has a great camera and has an eye for what looks good. We spent an hour in the sun shuffling toddlers and telling everyone to say "cheese" (or in my children's case, "strawberries!" which was my chosen food of choice to bribe smiles out of them). Although chasing the kids and trying to get them to stay still was total chaos, it was worth the effort for these great pics:

 


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Worth the Wait

After waiting in line at the shops for twenty minutes to get her face painted, Tori was 200% happy with the results - and thank heavens even daddy thought the outcome was worth the wait!

Profile of a Princess

Name: Eadith Indiana Montes   
Age: 2 years 3 months old
Favorite Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognaise
Favorite Sweet Food: Chocolate Pudding
Favorite Take-Away: Subway and strawberries
Favorite Movie: Home Alone 2- Lost in New York
Favorite Music: Primary songs in Spanish "popcorn" preferably
Favorite Game in the Car: "Colors" and always wants to find "pink"  
Wake-Up Time: apx. 6-6.30am
Drink: Milk, and fruit juice (although only watered-down at parties...)
Best Friend: (apart from Daddy) Kenzie and Olivia
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Outfit: Her pink "princess dress" with purple shirt underneath and over the top of jeans and wearing her pink gumboots.
Eadie is very good at:
- Sports- catching balls and running
- Making people laugh!
- Eating her dinner and breakfast
- Sharing and taking turns
- Following instructions
Eadie is looking forward to: The next trip to the park!
Eadie loves to:
- Play games with her sister Tori. Whether it is acting out movies, playing in the sand, running, or singing, it is her favorite thing as long as it is with Vettoria.
- Play outdoors. As soon as she gets the chance she is out the door and running up to the first pile of rocks and dirt she can see. Within the minute, her hands are covered in mud and she is throwing dead leaves in the air. She LOVES the feel of anything to do with the earth; flowers, trees, dirt, water, anything that could make her messy!
- Swing on swings
- Splash in water
- Draw
- Do things all by herself
Eadith's Ideal Day Would Be:Waking up and eating a bowl of weetbix, with strawberries. Then watching morning T.V followed by a trip to the park where she would swing on swings and play in the sand for hours on end. She would also like to feed the ducks at the lake. After that she would have McDonald's for lunch, followed by a nap infront of Home Alone 'New York'.  Upon waking she would love to spend time outside playing in puddles and dirt, after which she would love to do some painting and play with playdoh. In her dreams it would start to rain and she would run outside and play in the rain for as long as possible, after which she would have a bath, then eat her dinner, following which she would settle down infront of In the Night Garden and Giggle & Hoot until it was time for bed.
When Eadie grows up she would make an excellent: Nurse. Eadie loves taking care of people. She is always the first to ask, "Are you OK?" or "Did you get hurt?" Perhaps this is because she is often the one doing the hurting ;-) , but honestly she is the most caring little girl in the world. If anyone is coughing or sick she is the first to offer to sympathies and ask if they are OK. She is a wonderful sharer and is often, believe it or not, the Peacemaker. Don't get me wrong, she is often the trouble-causer, but she is also the one who stops fights and arguments in many instances when she forfeits which DVD she wants to watch, or gives more than half of the cookie she is eating, or apologises even when she wasn't the one to start the fight. She never ceases to amaze me how sweet she can be.

Having said this, Eadie is unequivocally, a little Ratbag. She is a troublemaker and as cheeky as they come. But she is also the cutest kid on the face of the planet. I don't know how she does it, but she manages to be as naughty as she is cute, all at the same time. It's hard to stay mad at her for long, even if she has broken your new vase, lost your bank card, drawn on your wall, and squashed your favorite lipstick, all in the same morning. Within the hour you are back to pinching her cheeks and tapping her bottom just to get your hands on her adorable little body.

But despite all of her cheekiness, this will sound crazy, she is is actually a very obedient little girl. I'm struggling to think of examples at this moment, but I know I have thought it again and again. Often, when she is asked to do something, she will do it without question. If she spills something (multiple times a day) and I ask her to pick up, she will - every single last bit of it. As well as this, she is also very independent - to a fault!! No matter what the situaiton, she is desperate to try to do it by herself, and give it at least five minutes worth of her time until she asks for help. Examples of this include putting on her seatbelt, dressing herself, pouring her own water, putting on her own nappy, doing up her shoes, and pretty much every other thing that comes her way!

She is such a funny little girl. She loves to play and roll around with everyone. She especially loves horsey-rides and slippery slides on daddy's legs, and being thrown around as high and as fast as anyone will do it! Having said this, she is quite picky with who she spends her time. Sometimes she gets overwhelmed and doesn't want to say 'hello'. But she usually changes her tune if there is something fun to play with and has attention given to her by only one or two people. She is then fun and happy and more than willing to give anything a go.

Eadie likes to keep things short and simple. Her family and night-time and meal prayers are exactly the same, no matter how hard we try to get her to remember the little add-ons we put in there. Her version is always "Dear Heavenly Father, please bless us all night, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen". Despite its simpleness, it's particularly good if we are ever in a rush out the door or just want them to go to sleep without a fuss. :-)