Happy Halloween from the cutest little pineapple in the world!

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We’re not going anywhere for Halloween to show off our little pineapple, but I couldn’t resist whipping something up so I could show June her first Halloween costume when she’s older.

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I got the idea from this site. Full disclosure: I wasn’t able to get the top to stay upright. For the picture, I taped a string to it and dangled it above her head, which you can see in the above photo. This is what it really looks like:

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We can’t all be Pinterest moms.

Our little bug is almost five months old!

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In some ways it has flown and in other ways I am quite proud of myself for making it this far. I remember saying to a friend with a smallish baby before (hi, Jessica!), “I mean… I’ve been pretty tired in my life. When I was in school I had a job with a 6am start time, was taking a full class load, was an R.A., and did a few other hours at another job. I don’t see how being a parent could be much more exhausting than that period in my life.” I think I remember her blinking, looking thoughtful, and saying something polite. You are so nice, Jessica. Now, it’s obvious: at that point in my life, if I reached my breaking point I could sleep through a class, or call in sick to a meeting, or just get a worse grade… skip something that would only affect me. You can’t skip getting up with a baby. There is no other option. It’s all so clear now. Miraculously, I seem to be getting used to “running on fumes”. Tiredness is just a part of life now.

Stan seems to have made it a hobby to capture pictures like this.

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and this

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Disclaimer: Stan was changing her diaper, not me.

So here we are! Four months of floppy-turned-squishy-turned-chubby cheeks, four months of breastfeeding (the first two months of which I thought my nipples might fall off), four months of tears (the good kind and the bad kind) and four months of this sweetest little face in the whole wide universe staring up at me like I am the greatest thing ever because I give her food, snuggles, love, and clean diapers.

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Makes me feel a little inadequate, to be honest.

Stan teases me. “You’re with her all day, then you put her to bed and look at pictures of her.” He catches me smiling at her little clothes as I fold the laundry. She makes my heart hurt.

Enough mushy stuff. Here are some pictures.

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Cupcakes in the city with Lieke!

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Tummy time with the world’s #1 toy

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Sweet sleepies

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A daring hike

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A visit to work

Heart. Melting.

Heart melter

And in Part II of today’s blog post, we went camping!

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It wasn’t actually as hard as I was expecting. Once it got dark, she knew it was bedtime and went to sleep with little protest. Here is our sleeping setup:

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We have a small 2-person backpacking tent, so space is very limited! June isn’t rolling and moving around in her sleep yet (she still loves being swaddled) so she didn’t need a whole lot of space. We just cut one of those blue foam pads to her size (double layer) and put them between our two Thermarest pads. Then when she needed to be fed in the night I just did so lying down. Then Stan and I switched places in case she needed to eat again before morning (spoiler alert: she did).

Naps were harder. She had a couple good naps on our hike in the Ergo, and she slept in the car on the 1.5 hour journey. But sleeping in the tent in the daytime was WAY too exciting, so it was a lot of patting, shushing, crying, protesting, and eventually giving up. Evening time was fussy and bedtime was a welcome relief. I initially felt kind of bad for other campers nearby, but no one seemed to mind. I even heard a few other kids crying in the middle of the night, which made me feel better.

When we go home at Christmas (can’t WAIT!) we’ll buy a bigger tent and a portable crib, so that should make naps a little easier and sleeping a little more comfortable.

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In short, I would do it again.

 

On June 4, we welcomed our daughter June Ariane into the world.

Her name isn’t June because she was born in June (which everyone asks, understandably I guess), we just liked the name. Ariane is after her great grandmother on Stan’s side. Hopefully our June will inherit some of her independence and spunk!
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After a long labor (wherein the epidural decided to wear off between about 5 and 8 centimetres, at which point my doctor said that was looking like as far as my body would take me) I had to go in for a C section. Definitely not what I had planned on, but I’m just grateful it was an option.

We sure love our little girl, and she’s growing by leaps and bounds! Here are a few pictures:

Mom and June at the hospital:

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My heart melts:

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Little baby package

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Tummy time with dad

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Milk drunk:

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Not so sure about the bath:

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Hiking with dad:

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I think she’s getting enough to eat!

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My mom has just been for a visit, and we had an amazing time. I miss that woman, and June misses her Nana!

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My daughter is going to be a strong, independent woman. But she can still wear an adorable pink headband, right?

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Starting to smile…

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Smile maybe:

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There it is!

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And if you are curious, the spot on her forehead is a hemangioma. It’s a type of birthmark that can show up after the baby is born, then can grow for six months or so, then slowly disappears. Apparently 10% of babies have them, and they are harmless unless they start obstructing vision or air passages or something. So now you know!

I have learned a couple of things in the past seven weeks. 1. Taking care of a baby is every bit as hard as everyone says it is. Sleep deprivation and crazy hormones are no joke. 2. Living this far from family is HARD. Since Junebug decided to come a little early, and also since I am kind of an idiot, my mom didn’t come until June was a month old. Those first two weeks were absolutely the hardest of my life. Fortunately we have some great friends that have made it bearable, and things have gotten easier. A word to the wise: if someone offers to help you, even if you are embarrassed that you need it, say yes! Embarrassment be damned; you will feel amazing after someone washes your dishes or takes your baby for a walk so you can catch a nap. Then you can concentrate more on loving and enjoying your little bundle. 3. It is so, so worth it. I fall in love with this girl (and her dad) in new ways all the time.

One more picture for good measure: June the bear braves the Australian winter.

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It’s been over a year since I blogged last?? <hangs head in shame>

If anyone is still out there, I’ll just give you a quick update on some happenings around these parts.

I guess I’ll start with The Big One: we’re having a baby! Pretty soon! Sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. Don’t be mad, ok?

Here I am waddling, probably in pursuit of something sweet and fried.

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I’m due June 11, which puts me at 33w 4d right now. Needless to say, we’re super excited and grateful and happy, and a little nervous. But mostly happy and grateful. Last year I miscarried, which was really hard, and I’ll probably write more about that at some point. It’s an experience that has heightened my gratitude for our current situation, but has also contributed to my worrying about every little thing. Kudos to Stan and my friends and family for helping me through my worst worry-wort days (I’m 21 weeks and haven’t felt the baby move in 4 hours – aaaahhh! I ate some potato salad at that barbecue – aaaaaahhhH!!!) My favorite has been my co-worker calling me a silly sausage. She was right.

The nursery will be a pretty simple affair, but I’ll show you some pics in due time.

On to other goings-on, we recently had a most amazing visit from my sister, her husband, and their four kids (and one on the way!!)!

BUT THERE’S MORE.

These jokesters also surprised me by bringing my brother and my 89 year-old grandpa!

It was all too much, and you can see the tears that just would not stop.

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It’s not often you get a surprise like that in your life. (My co-worker said, “It’s a good thing you didn’t have the baby then and there!”) Also, whose 89 year-old grandpa is willing to travel for 26 hours straight to see them?? MINE. He’s incredible. And it was super cool to get to hang out with my bro, too. I miss doof-laughing with him.

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The trip flew by way too fast, and I put on a real show at the airport watching them leave. Just ask Stan and his tear/snot soaked shirt.

Here are some highlights:

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The kids looking super impressed at seeing a koala

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Getting up close with kangaroos

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And “koala-bees” (wallabies)

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Pure joy at the beach

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Tween modelling

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Picking strawberries

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And turning them into a marvellous creation

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Looking cool in Aussie hats

 

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Boogie boarding epically

Taking lots of pics

Taking lots of pics

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Baby shower

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Finding what the Easter bunny left

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Cuddles with Grandpa

More beach time

More beach time

 

Sister time

Sister time

Sister time

Sister time

And lots of eating and hanging out!

An early morning at the airport

An early morning at the airport. Those faces sum up how I felt about them leaving.

Miss these guys already.

What have YOU been up to?

Yesterday marked one year since we stepped off the plane.

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What is this strange place??

It has been an amazing experience so far. In many ways, it was just as easy as I thought it would be. In many other ways, it’s been harder than I think I could have prepared for.

I obviously neglected the blog, which makes me sad. I think for the first few months, it was painful to continue to read and comment on your lovely blogs (the ones I link to on my sidebar, and many more) because they reminded me of home, including the house that I could no longer work on. It had become such a huge part of me. No matter how many cool experiences I had down here, my homesickness and depression were dark clouds hanging over everything. (Not to mention that we had two back-to-back winters, which I think seriously messed with me!) Here are some dark Adelaide clouds to demonstrate.

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Pretty, soul-sucking clouds

As the months went by, I gradually settled in and started to find my place here. I finally got a job, and started volunteering. I joined a few expat groups. I found an awesome gym buddy, and became closer to the wonderful group of people from Stan’s work who so generously welcomed us from the very beginning. Family visited us. I got a little more used to the culture. I stopped pressuring myself to have the “best experience ever!” and let myself be sad about moving here. Finally, the anxiety knots started to loosen (probably along with my bowels, heh heh!) and life started to get back to normal.

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Keep ya head up, ya flamin’ galah!

Just today, I was hit by another wave of missing home, which prompted a few tears. But overall, I still felt happy and at peace. There is a very important difference between depression and everyday sadness. Depression is like when you’re trying to run away from something in a dream, and you know you have the strength, but you just can’t do it. It does not mess around! Sadness is a normal emotion that in some ways actually feels kind of good. (Come on, I know I’m not the only one who enjoys a good cry sometimes.) I can deal with sadness, and let’s be honest, I just wouldn’t be me without it!

Moving on from that bit of General Business, we really have seen and done (and eaten) some cool things, which I plan to tell you about shortly.

But for now, it’s dinnertime.

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Can I start out on the negatives today? Is that okay? Alright. You know what sucks about moving really, really far away? You can’t call your mom when you feel like it. Because when you feel like it, she’s asleep. Because it’s nighttime there. Forget getting off work and calling one of your friends or siblings to vent about the day. Because they’re all asleep!

It’s really hard moving. Yes, it’s an adventure, and every day is filled with new experiences that I don’t regret having. And we have met some really awesome people here. But I can’t seem to shake missing everything about home. I just miss it. It’s a bit of a shock realizing that life goes on when you move away: people get married, they get engaged, kids get bigger, your siblings visit your parents without you… I want to put a ban on anyone having any fun until we get back!

I called my parents the other day. It was my lunch break, so I knew it was approaching bedtime for them, but I also knew that in reality, they’d probably be up watching Hoarders or Toddlers and Tiaras. (They were up, although I’m not sure what they were watching.)

“So do you think you’ll live there forever?” asked my dad, a little too nonchalantly.

I replied, “No way! This isn’t home.”

“Well I’ve always kinda thought that… home is where you are.”

Oh, dad, with your wise words. He’s always been so adaptable and up for anything. Those words have been following me for the past week, and they’re comforting.

Home is where you are.

I guess I can live with that.

 

 

After my gripping post about our new couches, I figured you would all enjoy an update on our entryway! Here’s an artsy pic of it.

And here is a boring shot.

We broke down and spent $100 on that little table. After trolling Gumtree for months, I realized that teeny, thin entryway tables are pretty hard to come by, so we bought this little guy new. I quite like him, though.

You can see that we have our pet paintings (sniffle), our wedding photo, a mirror, some pictures I bought from a lady who was selling a bunch of crap, a napkin holder that works as an outbox, a bowl for keys, and a flower. You know, the essentials.

And now to the fun part, here are some fun sayings I’ve noticed from people at work:

  • “Have a chin-wag” (have a chat)
  • “Spit the dummy/chewie” (throw a fit)
  • “Don’t get precious” (basically don’t be a princess)
  • “Dear” (expensive)
  • “Cheers” (thanks/bye)
  • “Good on ya” (way to go)
  • “Too easy” (no problem)
  • “Ta” (thanks)
  • “phone hookup” (conference call)
  • “Flick an email” (Send an email)
  • “trackie dacks” (track pants)
  • “to dack someone” (to pants someone)
  • “shivers” (expletive)
  • “far out” (exclamation of wonder or annoyance)

Also, the other day my co-worker asked me what I’d brought for lunch, and when I told her peanut butter and jelly, she seemed confused. Not that she’d never heard of a PB&J – more that she’d never seen one. She asked me, “So… do you mix the peanut butter and jelly together? Or do you spread peanut butter on one side and jelly on the other and then stick them together??” The concept of someone not knowing how to make a PB&J cracked me up. This, coming from someone who loves Vegemite!

Also, this, and variations thereof, are common conversations in my office.

“Amanda, will you please post this to Greg Palmer (pronounced “Palmah”)?

“Sure. Greg Palmer. Got it.”

“Yes. Greg Palmerrrrrrr.”

They get a kick out of my hard Rs. It hasn’t seemed to have gotten old yet!

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