Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not Ready for the Potty

We bought Annabelle a new potty a couple of weeks ago. We figured she wasn't quite ready for it yet, but we wanted her to get familiar with it. Her potty is a singing potty and sings songs when you use it. Within a few minutes of us having it, Annabelle figured out how to make it sing without actually going to the bathroom. Sometimes she's just too smart! =)

Every time I go to the bathroom, Annabelle comes in and sits on her potty. Today when we got home from the beach I went to the bathroom. Annabelle came in and I asked her if she wanted me to take her diaper off so she could go potty. She said "Yesh!" So I did and she sat on her potty and actually started pooping! I was so excited for her. I was cheering for her, but when she turned around and saw what went in the potty she was not happy! She started crying and freaking out. She wasn't done going to the bathroom, but she wouldn't sit back down and she wouldn't let me put her diaper on. So I set her in the tub, cleaned out her potty and then clean the tub when she was done. Needless to say, we aren't quite ready for the potty. At least she is learning what it is for though!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'll Just Improvise!

Every night when we give Annabelle her bath, we tell her she can stay in the tub until all the water is gone. We pull the plug and don't take her out until it's empty. Since she LOVES bath time she learned pretty quickly how to put the plug right back in. We let her put it back in a couple of times and then we take it away for good. She has now discovered that she doesn't need the plug. When we take the plug away she scoots her butt over the drain. Her butt suction cups to the drain and blocks the water from going down. It's hilarious, especially when we take her out and there is a ring around her butt! I guess we need a new rule for when it's time to get out of the tub! =)

Friday, October 16, 2009


Here's another video of Annabelle. She is talking away while she is drawing. She LOVES to draw and color. I think we have a little artist on our hands!


I've been a total blog slacker lately, but it has been a busy few weeks for me. Also we were without the internet for the last couple of weeks, so even when I wanted to blog I couldn't. Annabelle has been walking for a while now, but I wanted to upload a video of her anyway so you can all see her. For the first couple of weeks she walked with both arms straight in the air, which we thought was hilarious. We couldn't decide if she was a gymnast or a ballerina. We're glad she has lowered her arms though. Dave is now trying to teach her to swing her arms when she walks as he is very concerned she will end up like the woman on Seinfeld. =)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dancing and Reading

Annabelle seriously does the funniest things everyday now! She keeps me laughing for hours. Here are two of the latest video clips. One is her doing her bootie dance to the song from the Little People aiplane she got for her birthday. The other is of her reading to us, a new favorite activity of hers. It is so funny! She could do both all day long! Her reading drives Dave crazy because it is loud and endless =).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birthday Concert

Annabelle put on a little concert for her first birthday. My favorite is how she arranges the drums to get the right sound and throws the stick when she's done. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Annabelle!

My baby girl is one year old now! I can't believe how fast time has gone by and how different our lives are from 1 year ago. Annabelle has grown and learned so much in the last year and so have we! She is such an incredible little girl! She has the best personality and is so much fun! She is such a blessing to us. We love you Annabelle!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sharks, Crocodiles, and Cassowaries, OH MY!

We went on a six day adventure up to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. We had a lot of fun and got to see a lot of cool, yet scary things. Our first day we just settled in and went to the beach. The weather was beautiful! It was in the 80's everyday and was nice and sunny. Our second day we took a cruise to Green Island. We spent about 2 hours there, walking through the rain forest and chilling on the beautiful beaches. We then went out to the Great Barrier Reef. We went to a section they call Norman. Our boat hooked up with a pontoon there. We started off by going on a semi-submersible to see all the fish and coral from there. It was nice because Annabelle got to see everything that way. She fell asleep, so we decided to grab a quick bite to eat and head out to do some snorkeling. My Mom watched Annabelle while Dave and I snorkeled. The water was surprisingly warm and we saw really cool fish and coral. We also saw a shark! We were swimming with sharks!! They were just reef sharks, so they won't hurt you, but they are still large and scary. I traded places with my Mom. When Annabelle woke up we all walked down to the underwater observatory before taking off back to Cairns. I loved the trip, even though it was the first time I've ever felt nauseous on a boat. The water was pretty choppy, but I was very glad I didn't get sick as I watched others spewing their breakfasts.

On the third day we took the longest sky gondola ride in the world. It was beautiful! It took us over the canopy of the rainforest. There were a couple of stops along the way where we got to take short hikes and see beautiful wildlife and waterfalls. We spent a few hours in the mountain town of Kuranda. We had lunch, shop at the markets, and went to the Koala Gardens. There we got to hold koalas and hand feed kangaroos. We then took a train back through the rainforest. That was Dave's favorite part of the day.

On the fourth day, it was my birthday, so we went to 4 mile beach. Annabelle, Mom, and I played in the sun for a while. It got to be pretty hot though, so we left and went out to lunch in Port Douglas. We went to the markets there as well. We went into downtown Cairns for dinner. We ate at a great little Italian place and the food was actually pretty good.
On the fifth day we woke up at 4 AM and drove to the Daintree River. There we took a sunrise river cruise through the rainforest. It was a little early and cold, but it was beautiful! We then took a short hike through the Daintree Rainforest before heading back. We spent the rest of the day resting and swimming.

On the last day we went to Hartley's Crocodile Adventure. We got to take a cruise on a river full of big crocodiles! We also got to feed cassowaries (big, mean Australian birds) and see other wildlife. We then went to Cairns and swam at the free outdoor pool by the beach. It was great! We flew home that night and Annabelle slept the whole way. It was a great trip and definitely recommend seeing the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest and all the incredible wildlife and beauty they hold!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Little Monster

This week Annabelle discovered that if you yell into a cup it magnifies the sound. She loves it! She spends most of her days yelling into different objects now, so I call her my little monster.

11 months

I know I've posted a lot of videos lately. I think it is the best way for family and friends back home to actually see Annabelle in action. She is now 11 months old! Where does the time go? We have also already lived in Australia for 8 months, which has gone by much faster than I ever would have imagined. I'm really hoping we get to see everything we want to before we move back home. If time keeps going this fast, I don't know if we will =). We do have a big trip to the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef coming up in a couple of weeks! For now we've been enjoying some pleasantly nice winter weather. We spent Thursday and Saturday at the beach this week, which was really nice.

Annabelle is getting bigger and more independent everyday. She is an "I will do everything myself" child. She doesn't let us help her do anything, which in some ways is good, but it means we have to be even more patient and wait longer for things to get done. She is standing alone now and is trying to take steps on her own. She is getting braver by the day and makes bigger transitions between objects while "cruising." I really can't believe she will be 1 soon. They really do grow up too quick! Below are some recent videos of Annabelle with her new favorite purse.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fruit A-Peel

Annabelle loves her fruit! She loves to eat the whole fruit, peel and all. This is of course perfectly normal with apples, grapes, pears, etc. Her new favorite thing is to eat bananas and avocados, peel and all. I looked it up and as long as you wash them, it shouldn't hurt you, it's just not very pleasant to most of us. In most Asian countries, people eat the entire banana. So I guess Annabelle has just decided to adapt to her new culture in Pacific Asia =). Here's a little video of yesterdays incident.

Monday, July 13, 2009

License to Drive

Since our first video was such a big hit I thought we'd try to upload a couple of more =). One is of Annabelle pushing her car around walking, the other is her driving her car backwards. Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Annabelle the Climber

So let me first off explain that Annabelle is shirtless because we just got home from church and were about to eat and I didn't want her to get her dress all dirty. I also didn't want to put a new shirt on her until after she made a mess eating. We don't let her run around like a Mexican wrestler all the time I promise =).

Annabelle has become quite the little climber lately. She even piles things like books up so she can climb onto surfaces that are too high for her to muscle her way up to. Yesterday she discovered she could climb into her stroller (pram for our Australian friends =)) from the couch. So like any good parents we let her do it under close supervision and captured it on video =).

Here's a picture of her in her Sunday dress as well. Enjoy our little monkey climbing away!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Clever Girl!

Having a sick baby is one of the saddest things ever. They feel awful and there is nothing you can do for them that you aren't already doing. Annabelle has had a cold for the last few days and can't breathe well. She made me so sad today when she was not feeling well and I was holding her, rocking her. She kept crying "mama, mama," even though I was right there holding her. She wanted me to make the sickness go away and I couldn't. It was awful!

She has a constant runny nose, like someone turned on a mucus faucet. It's really gross. I try to dab at it all day, but it still runs constantly. It drives Annabelle crazy because it is wet and probably tickles. So this evening Annabelle pulled a roll of toilet paper off the counter top in the bathroom. She proceeded to put the roll onto her arm, like it was a bracelet. She then discovered she could use it to wipe her nose quite effectively. She wore it around wiping her nose and tearing off pieces along the way. I thought it was hilarious! It was great for me because I no longer had to worry about her wiping her nose all over everything. What a clever little girl and she isn't even 1 yet =).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Proud to be an American (even if we are called ex-patriots =))

Happy 4th of July!!! Today is always a very special day to our family. Dave and I started officially dating on the4th of July 7 years ago. It is also the annual celebration of Fourth of Dimaya in Las Vegas. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a giant fireworks show put on by one of our friends, Brian. Every year it gets bigger and better (though I'm not sure they can top last year, but I'll bet they'll find a way =)). We are so sad that we can't make it this year, we always have so much fun with the Vegas crew. Dave is really going to miss being a part of the pyrotechnics team. Maybe next year......

We celebrated the 4th of July here in Australia though. We attended a celebration put on by the American Society of Sydney. There wasn't a picnic, bbq, or swimming, but there were other Americans and fireworks. We ate some food, socialized, and watched the fireworks. Annabelle was scared of the clown (who wouldn't be), but got a balloon animal out of it, so she was happy. She also got to color and watch her first fireworks. She was really excited at first and would say "oooooo" and point at them. Then she just sat back and enjoyed the show. It was very cute. It was strange to experience the 4th of July in the winter. It was much cooler than last year's celebration in Vegas. The cool thing was it gets dark so early that we watched fireworks and still made it home by Annabelle's bedtime. It did however make us miss home even more today. The 4th of July in Australia, even among fellow Americans, just isn't the same.

We are so grateful to be American citizens. Even though we don't live in America right now we still enjoy the blessings we've had by living there and by still being citizens. We are a little offended to be referred to by the government as ex-patriots. We spent all morning listening to patriotic songs and dancing around our living room. We're dressed in red white and blue, we have American flag stickers, and we watched fireworks. How much more patriotic can you get? ;) Seriously though, America is a great country. I know when you live there it is easy to pick out all the flaws our country has, especailly during the hard economic conditions that currently exist there. It isn't until you leave and go to other countries that you realize how wonderful America is and how lucky you are to be a citizen there.
We also want to take the time to thank all the service men and women who fight for our country. You do a great service to us all and we could never thank you enough! You sacrifice more than we could ever imagine. I also want to thank their families for all the sacrifices they make so their sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, and fathers can defend our nation. It is people like you that made our country what it is. Without you, we wouldn't have such a wonderful, beautiful, free land to call home. Our thoughts and prayers are constantly with you. Thank you!!!

We appreciate Australia as well and the opportunities that living here has afforded us. We're grateful to the people who have been so kind to us and helped us adjust to living here. We're grateful for the freedoms we have living here. Even though there are great things about Australia, even things we will miss when it is time to move home, it will never be America, it will never be home. God bless America and all of her people! WE LOVE YOU!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

TWO Father's Days?!?!?

Any of you who know Dave know that he loves any day that celebrates him (okay, who doesn't?). The fact that his birthday isn't just a day, but the whole month of November should show you how much he loves it. Well, this year not only does he have a birthday month, but he gets two Father's Days! The US Father's Day was a couple of days ago, but the Australian one isn't until September. So we had a special day for him Sunday and we will have another one for him in September. I guess he's so "special that they celebrate him on two continents." (Anyone know what movie that's from? ;)). Unfortunately, Mother's Day is on the same day in both countries, what a rip off! =) Thank you Dave for being a wonderful husband and father. You have made a lot of sacrifices and changes to put your family first and we sure do appreciate it! We love you so much! You deserve two Father's Days!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kiama blowhole

For the Queen's birthday we drove about an hour south of here to Kiama. There is a blowhole there that we have been wanting to go see, but we never go because there is no way of knowing if the blowhole will be blowing when we get there. The conditions have to be just right. So we decided we had the whole day and even if the blowhole wasn't blowing we could explore the area. Annabelle was great and slept the whole way there. It was a chilly day, but the blowhole was blowing!! It was really cool to see. We tried to get a good picture of it, but pictures don't quite do it justice. It's hard to capture the magnitude of it and you loose out on the great sounds it makes. It was a beautiful! We decided to drive over to a beach we could see from the blowhole. We went and ate lunch on the beach and it was perfect. The rocks sheltered the beach, so it stayed nice and warm. There was great surf and it was clean and quiet. Annabelle played in the sand (and ate more than we would have liked her to =)) and we collected some really cool shells. Who would have known that celebrating the Queen's birthday could be so fun ;).

Sweet Annabelle

Annabelle is such a cute girl! Here are a few of the cute and funny things she has done over the last couple of days. She has started kissing herself in the mirror and any other reflective object she comes across (window, oven, etc.). It is so cute! It brings a whole new meaning to loving yourself =).

She has also started talking to the crows that live around here. There are really big, loud crows here and they sound a lot like babies trying to talk. Annabelle's new game is to mimic them every time she hears them and she is delighted when they answer back.

Today Annabelle took a raw potato and started eating it (I had cleaned it off). She chewed on it for half an hour. I can't get her to eat any variety of cooked potatoes, but give it to her raw and it's her new favorite food! She is learning so much everyday and getting to be so smart. I love to watch her eyes light up as she learns new things. I love you Annabelle!!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Socks and other frustrations

So this may seem lame, but I am so frustrated today! It all started with me wanting new socks. Most of my athletic socks are all worn out and have holes in them, so I decided to get some new ones. A simple enough task.... or so I thought. I began my quest for new socks on Wednesday. It is Saturday and I only have 3 pairs of men's socks. How did this happen? Well, I'll explain. On Wednesday I went to Big W, Australia's version of Wal-mart. They didn't have any women's socks in my size. So I tried a few other stores and ran into the same problem. I was also appalled at how much socks cost here. In the US I could get a 6 pack of socks for $6.00 or less. Here I can't even get 1 pair for $6.00. Thursday night the stores are open late here (by late I mean 8:00 PM). So we went to the mall and I again looked for socks, but could not find any women's socks in a size larger than 8. Today I thought I'd try the sports store next to our house, but they only had men's socks and the cheapest pair was $14.00. I tried another sports store and found 3 pairs of men's socks for $20.00. It was the cheapest I could find and the only ones in a size large enough to fit my feet. I know I have big feet, but I have a hard time believing I am the only woman in the area with feet larger than a size 8. It almost killed me to spend $20 on socks I didn't even really like. All I have to say is these better be darn good socks that last a long time!!
I also find it so frustrating that so few companies in the US will ship goods to Australia. There are so many great things in the US you can't get here. You can look at them online, but you can't have them. It is like a cruel joke =). If we had an FPO or APO address they would send it here though. Shouldn't they send stuff to any American citizen living abroad? They should just require a passport number or something to prove your citizenship.
The last frustration of the day is Annabelle's new ability to wreak havoc on everything. She is just so quick lately. I'll give you a five minute sample of my day. She pooped, so I needed to change her, but she wanted to play on the balcony and crawled away. It was raining, so the balcony was dirty and wet, therefore Annabelle was dirty and wet. I picked her up to change her, which did not make her happy. She wiggled and squirmed as usual, but I couldn't distract her with toys like I normally can. Instead she pulled the a wipe out of my hand, mixed it with the dirt on her hands and painted the wall with mud(I was just glad it wasn't poop she was painting with =)). I finished changing her and she threw all the stuff off the changing table. I set her on the floor so I could clean up the muddy mess she made. I looked down and she had taken the top off the Vaseline she threw on the floor and was smearing it all over the changing table and my pants. I cleaned off her hands and she proceeded to take her muddy clothes and try to "clean" with them. I took them away and she pulled all of her clothes out of her drawers as I tried to clean up the other messes. I just wanted to yell "I surrender." I love that she is so curious and that she loves to explore, but some days it is absolutely exhausting. Here's to hoping tomorrow is a more restful, less frustrating day. Here's a few pictures of my adorable, but messy daughter.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


We went to Melbourne this weekend and it was a typical "Ast" vacation =). It was cold and rainy the entire time we were there. Our flight got cancelled, the streets were flooded, there was a major storm during the outdoor penguin parade, the world had a level 4 pandemic flu outbreak..... you know the usual =).
Flooded streets of Melbourne

Overall it wasn't so bad and we did have fun together. We went to Phillip Island, which was absolutely beautiful, even in the rain and cold. We did get to see the world's smallest penguins.

Belle at Phillip Island

They march in together from the ocean at sunset every night to their burrows. It's pretty amazing. There was a huge storm and there is no shelter on the beach, so Dave stayed further up on the boardwalk with Annabelle under a canopy and I went to the beach to see the penguins come out of the ocean. I ran back to Dave and Annabelle just as the worst of the storm hit, but I was soaked. We watched the penguins from under the canopy and then made a mad dash for the car. We succeeded in keeping Annabelle dry and warm, but we were drenched. We drove the 2 1/2 hours back to the hotel cold and wet, but it was worth it.

We also went to the Melbourne Museum, Queen Victoria Market, and the Melbourne zoo. The Melbourne zoo is the oldest zoo in the world and it was stunning. It is set up to feel and look like a rainforest. Everything was completly covered in trees and plants. The paths were all dirt, they had cool outposts and play areas that kids could explore. It was the nicest zoo we've ever been to.

Oh, and I can't leave out the most important stops on the trip. We also got to go to a TGIFriday's, Borders, and USA foods. These places may seem commonplace to those of you in the US, but they are a luxery to us. It is hard to find American foods or large bookstores here and so these places were the highlight of our trip. We loaded up on lots of US goodies and brought them home. Of course they didn't have all of our favorites, but that's what friends and family are for right ;).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mischief Maker

Annabelle loves to explore. She crawls all over and gets into EVERYTHING! She's so quick about it too. I had just gotten her out of the bathroom, only to find her doing this in the kitchen. She has learned to open cupboards and drawers now as well. Luckily, we pretty much baby proofed everything when we moved in, so she can't get into too much trouble. In fact, the only reason the trash can isn't in the cupboard is because it annoyed Dave to have to open the door to get to it. Her latest favorite is the cookie cutters. She loves to pull them out and dump them all over the floor. I'm pretty sure they could entertain her for most of the day. She's so cute!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Annabelle and I returned from visiting the US last week. We went back for my sister Gretchen's wedding. We had a great time being back in the US and seeing friends and family. Upon returning we found that our apartment complex now has a cockroach problem. We have only had a handful in our apartment, but they are large, quick, and just plain gross. Everyone here tells us we should count ourselves lucky if that is the only pest problem we have. A lot of other people here have far worse pest problems. They include, but I am sure are not limited to: Australian Redback spiders (equivalent to our black widows, only they like to be indoors), rats, poisonous frogs, moths, and midgees (small flies that bite).

My favorite incident of the week was when I grabbed my sneakers to put them on. As always I looked inside to make sure there were no little creatures in there. I was saying to myself, you are so paranoid, you don't always have to check your shoes. Sure enough, just then a cockroach crawled out of my shoe. It's just so wrong!! I hate them! I know hate is a strong word, but I assure you I used it appropriately here. We have been doing all we can as individuals to get rid of them and it may have worked because I haven't seen any for a couple of days. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

What's so great about the US? Why do we miss it? The US has great food, all the products you could ever need and then some, great tv shows, family and friends. It also has baby food. What 1st world country doesn't sell baby foods?!?! Apparently Australia. Well, I can't say they don't have any baby food. They just have mixes of 4 or more ingredients, like lamb, carrots, rice, and beets or some other weird concoctions. They don't sell single baby foods the way you need to introduce them to your baby. So on top of everything else I have to deal with living here I also have to make all my own baby food. Awesome! I am so stoked about this ;). I guess I'll look at it this way, living here has made me appreciate all I had in the US so much more!! There really is no place like home!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sydeny Aquarium

We got to go to the Sydney Aquarium, which was pretty cool. It isn't quite as cool as Sea World (you don't get to touch any marine life), but there was a lot of diversity. I think it would be better to visit it during the week, so you could actually hear the classical music they play, but maybe next time. Annabelle absolutely LOVED it! She talked to all the fish and animals. She loved that they would swim right by her. She would point and squeel with delight. I think maybe someday she'll be a marine biologist...........okay, probably not, but it was great to see her so excited.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Australia: What's Different

We have learned that when you move to a different country everything is different. Even things that may seem the same end up different. The food here is so different and will take a lot of getting used to. We've learned that Austrlians think American food tastes awful as well. American restaurants have failed here for that very reason (why didn't we get to eat at Chili's before they all shut down =(). Australia does have good bread and great fruit.

The language here is very different as well. We are learning new words everyday. I need to start an American-Australian dictionary. Below is a list of some of the words we have learned. I put the Australian word or phrase first and the American equivalent next to it.

Goodonya: Good for you!
How you going?: How are you doing?
Dummy: Pacifier
Nappy: Diaper
Pram: Stroller
Way Out: Exit
Docket: Check
Mobile (pronounce Mo-bile): Cell phone
Rubish: Trash
Brekky: Breakfast
Savo: This afternoon
Oz: Australia
Lift: Elevators and Escalators
Chemist: Pharmacy or drug store
Unit: apartment
Bottle Shop: Liquor store (we told some guys how to get to a recycling center =)).
Bogan: white trash
Sheila: a woman
Sheepshager: New Zealander (can you tell they’re fond of New Zealanders?)
Dinky-di: the real thing
No worries: thank you, you’re welcome, it’s okay, no problem and about 20 other things =)

There are a lot more, but those are just the ones we've figured out and can remember right now. Probably one of my favorite stories is from Dave's work. At lunch one day a coworker of Dave's was going off about things people put on cars here. About 20 mintues into his rant Dave was like, "why do people here put French Panties on their cars, I've never seen that?" They all laughed because they were talking about the flowers Frengi Pennies, but Dave couldn't understand them. They eventually wrote it out for him. My embarassing story comes from another thing that is different here, kissing. To greet you and say goodbye, people here kiss on the cheeks. At Dave's company party, his boss went to kiss me (he tried twice) and since I didn't know what he was doing I gave him a cool handshake and patted him on the back. It was very awkward, but I learned my lesson. Now I know people are trying to kiss me, but it still weird, I'm not a fan of it.