Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Special Week

Over this past week we have had the chance to show a Canadian tourist around our beautiful state. My sister's friend Becky (Rebecca Brown) is visiting from America and she wanted to check out Brisbane after all she had heard about it. We were more than happy to have her stay with us, and the five days she spent here were a whirlwind of busy-ness and fun. After we picked her up from the airport we made our way to get Tori from school and then took the kids to the bike reserve near out house so they could ride their bikes and toy trucks. Even though we had only been there a couple of months ago it was a good reminder of the fun the kids have there and that we should stop by on the way home from the school pickup more often.

Day two we headed to the beach, specifically to see Surfers Paradise. The day was overcast and chilly and the strip was too busy to park, but we got some great shopping in at the Harbour Town outlets. (I'm still dreaming about going back and getting a pair of the most comfortable and gorgeous shoes I have ever tried on.. reduced from like $200 down to $79... I know.. I need to get back there.. :-\ ) Anyway, we were on our way to Burleigh Heads, my fave spot on the coast, when we realised the time, and - ugh, had to turn around to go and pick up Tori from school. *sigh*

Day three we went to Southbank and it was so fun to show off one of my favorite places of all time. It never ceases to surprise me how much joy I get from going there, even just to walk around and play on the toys.

Day four I just HAD to take her back down to Burleigh, but this time I let Tori take the day off school to come with us so we wouldn't have to leave early!! The day was an ABSOLUTELY PERFECT Queensland winters day, and I was so proud and happy with the display the coast put on for our tourist. The girls went crazy in the sand and Tori was actually brave enough to get soaking wet despite the fact that the water was FREEZING and only the surfers dared enter covered in their body length wet-suits!! She is such a mermaid, it never ceases to amaze me.

We ate crunchy chips and probably the most amazing fish I think I've ever tasted. We looked through op-shops, relaxed, and pushed the kids on the swing. We got some great pics of us and the kids, and I wanted to put them here to remember this great day at the beach as a celebration with new friends and for the fact that we live in such a beautiful country where everything we could ever want is right at our doorstep.

Thanks or such a great time Becky, we look forward to catching up with you again on our America/Canada trip next year!! :-)
The girls with their new friend Becky

 Tori took this great shot. Pretty good for a 5 year old, right??? :)

Bel was NOT a fan of all that sand!! Takes after her dad!!

I loved snapping pics of the girls on Becky's awesome camera. I'm totally going to get myself one for Christmas!!

SOOO funny!!!

As pretty as a postcard..

Can't believe we live 45 minutes drive from this paradise!!

Found a perfect spot in the shade to pose for pics

The Smile of a Princess

A few weeks ago we rented out the movie Ella Enchanted. It's a children's 'fairytale' about a young girl who becomes a princess or something. Anyway, it stars Anne Hathaway in her early years and the picture on the front cover looks like this: 

You can imagine how much Tori was desperate to see this movie as it had everything she loved on the front: a Princess, a unicorn, a castle, and a Prince on a white horse. So when I made the comment, "Hey, you look like Ella on this DVD cover", she just beamed.

Well I didn't think anything of it until a few days later when I was taking a photo of her doing something and she did a smile I had never seen her do before. It was then not until a few days later when I was taking more pics of her for something or other that she continued to smile the same smile. It was almost as if she didn't want to smile, and that toothy grin I knew and loved had just vanished. Here, I'll give you some examples:


I know, she's gorgeous with or without teeth... but what happened to my smiley poser girl who learned how to smile in photos by obeying the words, "Show us your teeth!!"
Where had she gone?

This was the smile I was getting for every photo until I would say the words, "OK, now how about a big one showing your teeth?" and finally I would get a grin. So one day I asked her why she wasn't grinning anymore. And you know what she said?
"Because this is how a princess smiles.." and it hit me. ELLA!
"Oh, so you're smiling like Ella does on Ella Enchanted?"
She was. "I look like her don't I mama?" she asked eagerly.
"Yes, you do", I said. And then I explained to her that even princesses have a variety of smiles they do for photos. And it has, thank heavens, since then been a little easier to coax a toothy grin out of her. I tell you, this chickie is so desperate to be a princess, whoever marries her has surely got his work cut out for him. Heaven forbid what her wedding photos will look like when she actually has on a full on princess dress!! LOL :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Worth Every Penny

At a recent ward Relief Society activity we held an auction to bid for services to each other. For example, I offered to make a cake for someone, and they bid with points they scored as a result of doing certain things throughout the month (reading scriptures every day, going to the temple, having FHE etc). So after the auction I got together with the winner and arranged to make a birthday cake for her mum. It was fun doing something simple for someone to who it meant so much.

So from the moment I heard what was up for auction, I knew immediately that I wanted Melanie Alfred's (Cassandra's mum) service to paint a child's art canvas. Needless to say, I held on to the end and won!  So After searching the internet for paintings that the girls would love. I decided I wanted one that depicted my three girls in their childhood glory. So I send this pic to Melanie to see if she could do it:

And she could! I had some requests to change the boy to a girl with short bobbed hair like Eadie's, make the girl's hair in the middle long like Tori's, change the pig to a dog, and add another bird at the top. And Voila! She just up and painted it! I was so happy with the  result, check this out:

Isn't it perfect?! That's my girls! I can't get over it, they're immortalized in a painting! :-) And each character looks just like my little girl: 

Now I just have to find the perfect spot! Melanie, you did an amazing job, thank you so much for sharing your talents with me and my family! We will always love this painting and the memories it brings. :-) 

HaPpY BiRtHdAy ToRi!!

July 10, 2012 marked Vettoria's 5th Birthday, and what a great party it was! 

It was a little different than our usual parties where we invite lots of family and friends. This past week Anabel caught Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, a contagious rash that covers her poor little body. Except for a couple of trips in the car and quick visits to the shops, we have been housebound, and the girls haven't had contact with any other kids for a whole week (!!). Thankfully, touch wood, neither of the girls have caught it, but as long as Bel still has the spots, she is contagious, hence we had to cancel Tori's party. She was surprisingly OK with it; however she was greatly relieved when some family arrived on her doorstep with their presents. When it happened, she excitedly said, "So instead of having a party, everyone is just going to come to my house and give me presents at my door?!"  haha. It's no wonder when Alisha said she would be coming around "some time today" with a gift, every time I stand up or walk towards the door she asks, "Is Aunty Lisha here?". About every 20 minutes I hear a little *sigh* as Tori waits 'patiently' for that knock on the door.. I can't decide whether it's cute... or annoying.. :)

Anyway, despite no friends being able to come over, we still had a great time. Yesterday Los Abuelos brought Tori gifts from them and also Tia Yanci. Tia Yanci bought her a super fun magic painting kit of which is almost empty on the second day... And Los Abuelos gave her two beautiful dresses which she is just obsessed with. Apart from when she was painting, she has been wearing the two dresses non-stop. We had to draw the line and not let her sleep in it - I am not exaggerating. But they do look gorgeous, and since we had to cancel her party we decided to take her out to get another gift (we had also given her a butterfly pillow pet which she begged us for about a week ago), so we hit the shops and searched for the perfect pair of shoes to match her new dress. And we found them!

They have a Big girl heel, "just like mummys!" She is sooo super excited about them, and they simply look ADORABLE. We keep them wrapped in a special box and only wear them if we are not running around. She put them on as soon as she woke up, and, needless to say it's hours later and she is still wearing them - only now there is a band aid on the back of her left ankle.. :)

The whole day was lots of fun. Trying on dresses, buying new shoes, making cupcakes, and she even kept her eyes closed all the way home from the balloon shop until I got all of them hidden in my closet before she opened her eyes!

She and Eadie played with her new paints all afternoon, and to our delight, Daddy came home early for the party! We had Tori's favorite for dinner, mummy's speciality, Chicken Stroganof Pizza, and afterwards she hid in her bedroom while we decorated the table with her cupcakes, candles and balloons. We turned out all the lights and Eadie went and got her from the bedroom. It was so exciting to see the candles lit up in the darkness and her little face light up as well! It was lovely to celebrate the night with just our family. Very simple and very special. :-)

Before dinner Tori had said "We're playing Pass the parcel, right?" to which I didn't have the heart to say, "Actually I hadn't even given it a second thought...", but instead said, "Of course we are! It's a party isn't it?!" and - I kid you not, after racking my brain thinking what gift we could wrap, I went to the freezer and pulled out an icy pole. Juan saw what I was doing..
"Please tell me that is NOT for pass the parcel", he said.
"Juan, I can't think of anything else!" Thank goodness I married someone smarter than me, because he ingeniously responded, "How about money? Here.." and he handed me two $2 coins. Perfect! So off I went and wrapped them. Needless to say, the money was a hit, and both Tori and Eadie won. I'm sure they appreciated it a lot more than a cold melted icy pole!! :-)

Anyway, after pass the parcel we danced and spun around like crazy people to the tunes of The Wiggles, which unfortunately we couldn't click forward to the next song, so between Pass the Parcel and dancing, we heard "Get Ready to Wiggle" about 35 times in a row.... LOL. Nevertheless, it was a fun song to pop to! 

There were balloons everywhere, and smile all round. As usual, I will let the photos do the talking about what a fun night it was. I'm now even more tempted to follow Cassandra's 'party with the family' tradition more often, me thinks! But we'll see how I feel about that next year! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The First Splinter

Tori called me down to the backyard where she was playing in the garden and she held up her finger and said, "I've got a little brown thing stuck on my finger.. It wont come off!" Upon examination, sure enough it was her very first splinter. How exciting! 

I explained to her the process of removal, of which she was terrified, but after a lot of coaxing, a prayer to Heavenly Father asking for help with being brave, and also a promise of some chocolate, she let me tweezer my way to victory. The operation was a complete success, and I was proud not only of myself for pulling it off so quickly (no pun intended), but because she made herself braver than she thought she was. She had to put her trust in me and in Heavenly Father and in herself, and although she was crying and in pain for a short moment, she came out stronger and better for it. 

After we got it out she held it on her little finger and looked at it and then up and me and said, "I'm never playing in the garden ever again...". LOL. So cute.
 Dr. Mummy ready for business...

 The victim and the culprit..

A little worse for wear, but all better.. 

I'm proud of you sweetheart!  


I have to get this in here before I forget... 

Eadith and Tori and totally terrified of BIRDS! I kid you not! It's ridiculous, and beyond funny to just plain annoying! I'm not talking about big scary swooping long beaked ugly dangerous birds.. I mean any bird. A bird flying in the sky, a bird at the window, one sitting on the path we are walking on, a little yellow canary sitting in a bird cage, you name it. It doesn't matter where we are or what we are doing, my girls hate being  near them. I honestly, and in all sincerity do not know how this started. I think maybe one day, I don't know, maybe Tori had a bird come near her and it scared her. Maybe it jumped too close or something. Or maybe it was those birds at Southbank with the long ugly beaks that try and steal your food.. I don't know. And honestly I think Eadie has been feeding off of Tori's fear for three years to the point where she fears them almost as much as Tori. Thankfully Anabel has not caught onto it. She loves them. But it is so bad that while we were at Nanna's house Nanna put out some bird seed so the birds would come and we could watch them, and one bird came and began to eat the food. It was so exciting, but Tori was so distressed about the bird being within a 2m radius of her, she actually ran to the car and shut the door until it was time for us to go. No joke. 

So, you can imagine their horror one day when a bird FLEW into our house!! I know! Of all the animals in the world! I was in my room and the girls had just left and were walking back to the living room when I heard "Ah! Mummy! A bird! A bird!" and I rolled my eyes, thinking they were freaking out at it being at the window like they normally did. Then they said, "It's in the house!! Ahhh!" and all ran back screaming their little heads off. 

What the-?

I went down to check it out, and sure enough there was a BIRD in my house! It was sitting on my couch! I admit, I was actually terrified myself and was afraid it would go crazy and attack us or something. But I tried to keep my cool because you can imagine the girls were freaking out enough for everyone.. (!!). But with every movement I made, the bird would fly around from furniture to furniture and the girls were screaming and clutching onto my legs. I told them to go down to my room, and then I stood there alone with it. 

I decided to try and coax it out by opening up the sliding glass door all the way. But with every move towards the door it kept jumping around, so grabbed Juan's jacket and held it up in front of me in case he charged, you know, as they do :-/ Finally I opened the door the whole way and then I made my way over towards the bird. He suddenly flew up into the air and darted around for a bit, scaring my pants off to be absolutely honest, but to my relief, he flew out the door and I raced over and shut it as fast as I could! "phew!" It was one of those moments that you don't realise you were actually holding your breath until it's over and you breath out and begin kind of shaking.. Yes. It was like that. But of course, I didn't let my kids see that, and as far as they know, mummy is still super smart, totally in control, and completely fearless. :-)

Meanwhile, the experience did NOTHING to help cure my kids of their weird phobia!

Funny Photos

So I snapped these pics recently and it wasn't until now that I realised how hilarious they are:
1) Anabel wearing her new and exciting 'backpack' around the house. No kidding, she wears it for hours on end, exactly like you see it here. It's actually a gift bag we received from someone and it wouldn't stay on her arm as a handbag, so she asked us to put it on her back. She will often hop on the Dora truck and drive around with it on. SOOO funny! 

2) Believe it or not this was taken a couple of days after the first pic, and again Anabel is wearing her 'backpack'! But this pics just cracks me up because not only is she literally 'butt'-naked, but she is wearing a sock on one foot, a gumboot five sizes too big on another, and has a face full of hand-foot-and mouth disease dots, which actually matches her top perfectly... But then I noticed Juan in the background - What IS he doing, you ask? He is actually using the broom to reach under the couch and drag out all of the junk that the kids kick under there! When he stood up he had a huge pile of toys and rubbish, it was shocking. LOL, so funny that we actually have a photo of him doing that. 

Once in a Lifetime..

We recently had a ward trivia night that was a lot of fun and once again reminded me that, despite living my life in denial, I am actually quite a competitive person who really does want to win. Who would have thought? (no, we didn't win..)

Another thing that I discovered was how well my hair spiked into a mow-hawk. That's right! I went as a punk rocker! Why on earth would I do this, I hear you ask? Well, all our tables had themes to create, and ours was the super exciting theme 'Britain'. I was planning on wearing a tiara and calling it a night, but when someone mentioned they saw punk rockers everywhere when they were in London, I couldn't resist letting my hair do what it does every morning after I wake up, and that is, stand it up on the top of my head! I was actually really glad I got the chance to do it, as I'm growing my hair out and wouldn't have had a chance to otherwise! Juan suggested I spray it pink, which was totally cool because it would match perfectly with the pink top I was planning to wear. I hit the streets looking for a second hand leather jacket, but to no avail, so the silver studded belt I found, thick mascara, and the leather wrist cuff I added would have to do. One thing I must say though is that considering the "we don't care 'bout nuttin'" attitude punks give off, they sure do spend a lot of time on their appearance getting their hair to stick up like that! Not a simple feat!

So anyway, my friend Megan came over and babysat the kids and Juan and I took off on our trivia night adventure, me as a punk and he as - what else? - an English soccer player! You will notice the shirt he has on is a plain white shirt that he drew a logo on to make look like the English jersey. Too bad you can't see it clearly, because it was actually a great job. But he was the first to admit that no one said anything about his costume, so he was afraid people just thought he was wearing a white shirt that he drew on to look cool or something. LOL. I'm still laughing at that thought... haha :-)

Speaking of embarrassing, before we left I actually drove through McDonalds drivethru to get us dinner and forgot I had my hair sticking up. I had to wait in the waiting section, and I was wondering why people were driving past and staring at me funny... And then I remembered when I caught my reflection in the side rear view mirror... Eek! A 31 year old sitting alone in a 'mother's car' with three child-seats in the back, sporting a mow-hawk on a Saturday night... yeah... they were staring.. *Shame!*

But there was certainly no shame as I got my tongue out and posed for some pics so I would always remember the night I wore a mow-hawk.. :-)  Yeah.. I'm cool like that..

Big Girl Sleep-Overs

So Tori has now been on her first official 'sleep-over'.And what a special night it was!! Cassandra and I planned for Tori to sleep over at cousin Ivy's house and their excitement was contagious as they squealed and cheered with delight at the news. 

The night started with Tori preparing her over-night bag. She excitedly and very seriously packed it with everything she thought was necessary for a real, big girl sleepover; including the all-important dolly and bed-time story book. :-) This was followed by doing her hair for the event, which she requested was straightened with mummy's hair drier. Then, after I let her put on a little bit of my lip-gloss, we were ready to go!  

Cassandra sent me a pic before the two of them settling in for the night and I admit I felt a little melancholy as I looked at her having so much fun doing something so independent and grown up. 

While I was helping her get ready I felt the impact of what was taking place... another stage was infront of us; BFFs and giggles late into the night... It doesn't seem that long ago that I was in primary school and sleeping over at my BFF's house, and feeling pretty when I put on tinted lip-balm. Nor does it seem that long ago that I sat on the back seat next to her capsule as Juan drove us home from the hospital...

It all happens so fast. Before long she will be enveloped in the world of school and friends, and wearing tinted lip-gloss will be an every day accessory. This will be followed by alone trips to the movies, and giggling over which boy is the cutest. Soon she'll be playing spin the bottle at birthday parties, and talking for hours on the phone about everything and nothing all at the same time. Then she'll be talking for hours with one boy that will make her heart skip a beat. Then she'll be dressing up and laughing the night away as she dances with friends and slow-dances with boys. One day she might even get her heart broken when a relationship ends unexpectedly, or things don't turn out the way she was expecting. She'll laugh and cry and dance and fall, and have to make difficult, life changing decisions.. Her mind will change a trillion times about things that now seem like trivia, and she will stress about people who's names she wont actually be able to remember in the future. She will help people, and she will make mistakes. She will feel triumphant, and she she will have regrets. People in her life will come and go. But one thing will always be the same; tinted lip-gloss will always make her feel pretty. :)

Oh Cassandra, what have we started??