Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gluten Free Girl

So it seems my sisters' pedantic concerns all these years for their kids and how they react to certain foods have proven to be correct - who knew?? Yep, I too am now a 'believer' when it comes to the Gluten Free craze sweeping the world. My little Eadie has showed us the difference that what we put into our bodies affects us in more ways than one.

It has been an amazing transformation watching Eadith go from having a sore tummy every day and feeling bloated and constipated, agitated and moody for months and then all within one week changing to a healthy, non-complaining, easy-going, happy little girl. Wow! I was so shocked, I wondered if it was coincidence, but didn't dare 'test' the theory. ;-)

Then, after a couple of weeks of keeping her on a gluten free diet, we let her have one piece of regular garlic bread with the family one night when we had visitors over for dinner, and sure enough, that night she had stomach pains, she was laying in her bed sub-consciously moaning all night, and her mood over the next two days was irritable and whingey. She had reverted back to the way she was before we made the changes, and we were so shocked to realise just how much the gluten was affecting her poor little body, and her personality.

Eadie has been sooo great on this new diet. She has totally adopted her new foods and she even says to people "Is it gluten free? I can only have gluten free", if they offer her any food. I am so proud of her, she is doing so great, and never complains about any of it. She has even said to me "Mum, my tummy isn't sore anymore, and I feel happy now!" That's my girl!!! :-)

My sisters have had their kids on gluten free diets for years, for multiple reasons, and they swear by it. But it was always 'something that they just did' until I saw how it worked in my own child's life. But now one thing is for sure, I'm glad I have my sisters' plethora of gluten free knowledge to fall back on :-)

And thank goodness they make Gluten Free Brownie mixes now!!! Yum!!

Happy Birthday Juan!!

Juan is 33!!! Happy Birthday Babe!! This year Juan decided to have a low-key family night instead of .... wait a minute - Juan ALWAYS HAS A LOW-KEY FAMILY NIGHT!!! :-/

Yep, this year Juan again opted for his comfortable family do, in which he comes home from work, we sprinkle him with lots of love and attention, we eat his favorite meal all together, then we give him gifts as he devours whatever surprise cake I bake for him. He loves it like that, and you know what? Even though every year he turns down my offers to put on a fancy party with lot of friends and family, it's always a great night being all together.

This year I made him my first ever Crouquembouche, which is a French desert consisting of small pastry balls filled with creme patissiere, piled high onto a plate, and drizzled with delicious toffee all over it. Yes, it was as tricky as it sounds, but so delicious, its fame is certainly warranted

Juan loved it, as he did the gifts the girls made for him, and also the two shirts he got from me :-) He may not be the world's biggest party animal, but he certainly is our favorite dad and husband EVER. 

Happy 33rd Birthday Sweetheart! We love you!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Typical Day in the Life of Bel

So as I was looking at all the pics we have taken over the past four months, I came across lots and lots of just Anabel, being her usual self, doing her usual day-to-day thing. She is soooo hilarious, we all just adore her. She is as insanely crazy as she is irresistibly cute,and Juan, myself, and the girls can't get enough of her.

It's actually good thing she is so cute, because she is definitely my hardest and most infuriating child out of the three, and any person will tell you, they have all seen the varied sides of her personality that come out in full force at any time of the day or night. Even the mothers at school have seen her throw tantrums, just as much as the check-out chicks at Coles have seen her have one of her meltdowns. All family members have indeed seen them, and even innocent bystanders are not immune to the wrath that is Anabel when she doesn't get her way or when she wants to be heard. Just yesterday in Ikea we were in a crowded elevator and Anabel was putting on one of her tantrums and shaking the pram as hard as she could (yes, while sitting in it), for that minute she had decided that instead of asking to be let out of her pram she would demand in that manner instead, and I just had to make a joke out of it to appease the eight pairs of eyes looking at me wondering what I was going to do with the insane child. So I decided to just play it cool and joke "I don't know who that child belongs to..." and they all laughed with me as I hid my humiliation behind my 'care-free' smile.

Yep, she certainly gives us a run for our money. But then again, in some ways she is also the easiest baby in the world. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and she LOVES to make us all laugh. If we laugh at something she does one day, you can guarantee she will try and do it again the next day and the next, and wait for our applause again. She is caring and kind, she always asks if you are ok when you are hurt. She is soooo good at going to bed on time, and she loves to play games and with a big variety of toys. She loves to pay complements, and all day long I will hear things like "Mum, you look so pretty!" and "I just love you so much!" followed by a huge hug where she squeezes tight and says "Crunchy Monkey!" (we made it up together, haha). Oh, and her favorite song is Guy Sebastian's "Who's That Girl" which she insists on playing in the car as often as I will let her. No kidding, it can be 10 times a day, easy. More if we have errands out and about... ugh.. But, she is a special little one and we love her to bits.

Here are some snaps we've taken over the past few months. And I'm sure you're appreciating the fact that you can just enjoy her in these still cute pics instead of being forced to endure her tantrums and craziness in the flesh! (take our word for it! ;-)
This had never happened before, so I had to snap a pic!! She is very good with her sleeping pattern, even though naps are sometimes a little tricky, but this day she beat me to it, to my surprise!!

Happy snaps with mummy. She LOVES the camera and wastes my phone battery hour after hour walking around the house taking picture after picture of herself and others. But for the life of me I cannot get her to just SMILE. Instead she just says the word "Cheese", or lifts up her lip to show her teeth. Ugh!

She loves sitting in the trolley as I do the grocery shopping. This is often the end result. :-) 

One of her fave past-times. Shaving cream painting in the bath. It's a fun way to pass an afternoon indoors :-)

Anabel posing just like she sees her big sisters do. She turns her shoulders and separates her little feet to get 'just the right' model look. :-)

Bel loves water, but is afraid of it all at the same time. It took FOREVER for her to come around to liking the shower or the bath, so for her to want to go in a swimming pool like we were here, it was a HUGE step and we are very proud of her!!

Happy 6th Birthday Tori!

Happy Birthday to our beautiful big girl Vettoria! 

We had my version of a low-key yet fabulous, party this year as we had Sarah and her kids living with us at the time. Our usual Saturday-Do just reeked of effort, so instead we opted to avoid school and church friends, and just have her girl cousins come and sleep the night (since half of them were already living with us anyway, haha). So during the July holidays we chose an afternoon for the six little cousins to come over for a girls night of six-year-old pampering and good girly-girl times.

The night began with eating a yummy rainbow cake (which was made as a gift by family friend Rachel Boland and she did a wonderful job, thank you so much Rach!!), followed by decorating and eating yummy cookies, followed by watching a Barbie movie (which stared a girl named Tori, "Super wow!!" :-), after which they ate lots of pizza and THEN put on lipstick and nail polish!! Yes, it was as exciting as it sounds. But it didn't end there! They then posed for photos, and did coloring in, before settling in for the night in lots of different beds where they slept soundly until breakfast the next morning. Upon awaking, they ate delish pancakes covered in syrup, and had a fun morning until their mothers came and collected them.

Phew! I'm worn out just typing it! I think I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking :-)



Happy Birthday Tori!!! 

Lunch in the City With Daddy

I decided to throw this in here because this is such a normal and fun part of our week, I wanted to keep it as a record for our family.
About once a week, myself and whichever girls are with me that day (sometimes just me!!) head into the city to Juan's work and have lunch with him somewhere. It varies according to the location hes working from. If he's in The Valley we will head to New Farm Park; if he's in the CBD, we will head to Roma Street Parklands. This particular day we went to Kangaroo Point Cliffs and the weather was so beautiful I decided to take some happy snaps.

*Tip: The secret to having a quick 1 hour lunch with your husband in the city is to buy the food BEFORE you pick him up and go to to your picnic destination. That way you don't spend half the time wondering where to go and the other half waiting for your food. You can just focus on having an awesome time for as long as possible! :-)

Vettoria's First Disco

Tori was sooo excited for her first every school disco for kids in Prep to grade three. She dressed in her favorite dress, we straightened her hair, I let her put on some lip balm, and off her and I went to the fun night. She was so excited to dance and have fun, and I couldn't wait to see her on that dance floor having a great time.

But then we arrived.... and suddenly our excited little girl had turned into a shy little girl... And despite my encouragement, this is all she wanted to do:

So after about 30 minutes of watching all her friends dance, she looked like this:

Sure, very pretty, but still not having much fun.  And then after about another 30 minutes, she stood up and to my delight we had moved from the chair, to this: 
Where she stood for about another 15 minutes before FINALLY stepping on to the dance floor and let herself have a good time. *Insert exasperated sigh here* 
Sheesh!! I didn't know whether to be thankful that she wasn't a natural 'party girl', or be embarrassed that my child was the only one in the entire room who wasn't 'having a good time'.  During the first hour I did the 'encouraging mother' but by showing her what to do, how to move (yes, it was as embarrassing as it sounds because it actually looked like I was having more fun at the Prep to Grade three disco than my six year old...), then I sat with her and tried to make it out as if being a wall flower was all part of the 'easing into it' plan; I then spent some time showing her how much fun her friends were having, and telling them to ask her to dance, etc, and I even bought her a glow in the dark ring which I was sure would get her in the mood. 

But, nothing was working until she decided after a good hour that she was now in the mood to get up and see what this disco thing was all about. And after standing on the sidelines watching for about 15 minutes, she saw some friends and followed them to a space on the floor. AND THE REST IS HISTORY! She had an absolute ball!!! I was so happy to see her dancing and having such a great time I almost had tears in my eyes. She just loved it. I took some snaps, but she was moving so fast they were pretty blurry. But here's the proof that she got out there and had fun:

The funniest part was when I called Juan after she said she didn't want to dance, and told him the situation. And his laughing words were, "Just like me!". Sooo true! Tori definitely gets her sour-puss-party-pooper streak from her dad. He'd rather sit on the sidelines for the first hour too. ;-) Love ya babe! x

But get this - on the way walking out to the car, Tori help my hand and looked up at me and said "Mum, that was really fun. Thanks for telling me to dance. I didn't want to at first, but I'm really glad I did. Next time if I say I don't want to dance, can you tell me to dance so then I'll have fun?" I promised I would, and we held hands and walked back to the car. True story. :)


We have officially lost the FIRST official baby tooth in the Montes household. How exciting!! Vettoria proudly told us all that her wobbly tooth FINALLY came out one night and it was super exciting to take a pic and hide it under her pillow for the tooth fairy to come and collect. And to Tori's delight she left a real gold coin in its place!! Very special!

The night of the big event we read the book The Tooth Fairy, about a little boy and his sister who are taken to the Tooth Fairy's faraway land in the sky where she shows them what she does with all of the children's little teeth she collects. According to her, they are planted in the sky as little seedlings and they grow to be new golden stars. Needless to say, the next night Vettoria and Eadie were outside staring up at the sky looking for her new tooth seedling, which had indeed sprouted into a beautiful 'new' golden star, sitting right above our house! We see it every now and again and it's still exciting every time. :-)

We now have a second wobbly tooth ready to come out soon, so I think it's safe to say the sky will be full of lots of little golden stars within the next decade as all our girls hand their baby teeth over to the infamous, and very wealthy, Tooth Fairy. :-)

Welcome Home Family!!

 It was a wonderful day when Sarah, her kids, and mum and dad returned home from America! It has been a few months since they returned, and they are now comfortably settled into their homes and their roles again as Grandparents to 16 kids (yikes!), and Sarah has even found herself the Love of her life. Within the first month of returning, who would have thought!?

Although they returned at the end of May, I'll try and fill you in as briefly but as thoroughly as I can in this little post as to their past goings-on. 

So, get this, mum and dad bought the Boland's old house that we actually used to rent off them when we first moved back from Tasmania. It was owned by Leah and Dan Phillips who were in the ward, and when they moved to America mum and dad bought it off them. It's weird but totally meant to be. It's like we have come full circle with that house. Plus it means they are living in front of their very dear friend's Geoff and Carmel Boland, so they will be able to retire happily living there with them as their neighbours. Also, they are in our ward, as are Sarah and her kids, which is great. Oh, and did I mention mum and dad have a pool?? Yay!!

Speaking of Sarah, she has found herself a cute little house for her and her four kids in the same suburb as all of us, so that is great. They were actually living with us for the first month upon return, while they were looking for a house to rent and getting themselves set up etc. It was of course fun, but so much more full on than I ever imagined (no wonder everyone I told said "are you insane?" to which I would always reply, "What? How bad can it be?" hehe. Anabel soon showed me how bad it could be. Grrr!!!)

While they were living with us we had the opportunity to see Sophie be baptised which was lovely. I made her a cake (designed 100% by herself, very proud!), and she even wore the same dress I wore at my baptism. It was very special. 

We also celebrated Lauren's Birthday which was also a fun event! Check out this pic I took of Lu (Lauren) at Vettoria's 6th birthday. haaaa I crack up EVERY time I look at it. Right??! She was trying to do a pretty model pose like her big sis Ava, but it kind of didn't turn out like that... And this is the best part... After I took it she said "Can I see it?" and while trying not to laugh too hard I showed her the pic. Face went from the look of "let me see! I bet I look beautiful!" to .... "Oh.." and she pretended to like it to save face, but really her expression said it all: "That is NOT as pretty as I imagined.." LOL I am STILL laughing at that moment. 

So Sarah is completely settled into her new life and into our Australian Op-Shops. And get this - she has a boyfriend! *Insert wolf whistle here* Its all very exciting and we are absolutely stoked for her. His name is Richard (Rich) and get this - According to mum and dad, that was going to be HER name if she was a boy. How weird is that?  Anyway, we all give our approval, and he makes Sarah so happy, so we are just waiting for the wedding bells now. I'll keep you posted ;-) 

Meanwhile, Sarah and I are told how much alike we look ALL the time. Even at shops where we both go, the shop keeper will see me in the morning and her in the afternoon and look at Sarah and say "Hello, you're back!" to which Sarah has to reply "No, that was my sister". At one shop where we were shopping at the same time, one man was trying to get past me as I apologised for blocking the pathway with my trolley, and then he looked from me to Sarah and back to me, and actually said the words "Oh, there's two of you!". LOL. I'm trying to let the fact that she is almost a decade older than me not affect my self esteem, but rather I am focusing on the fact that she looks a decade younger than she actually is, so therefore we both look like 31 years olds. Which is a total complement because I'm actually 32. Whoo hoo!  

Needless to say, life is better with everyone back in the same country - make that, State - Wait, make that same city.. No wait.. we are all living in the same suburb... Heaven help us! :-P