Thursday, May 31, 2012

baby love.

Someone in our house is growing a baby... we still haven't decided who it is yet though.

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A few of the books I have been reading lately.

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If you are looking for a fun gift for a recently pregnant friend, I would highly recommend the pregnancy countdown journal my BFF Evan sent me. I am not much of a journal-er, but this little books makes it really easy to keep track of each week, what has happened and how you are feeling. I think it will be really fun to go back and read in a few years or look back on if we decide to have another baby.

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A few baby items that are starting to appear in our house these days...

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We are so blessed to have such great friends and family who send us fun goodies. Thank you all so very much!

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Well, the votes are in and it seems 68% of you would find out the gender of your baby before birth and 67% of you think we are having a boy.

The good news- we will be finding out the gender of this little bean on the 16th June at our gender reveal party!!

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Never heard of a gender reveal party?? Well, neither had I until about 2 months ago when my BFF Ginny had one. It looked like so much fun (we couldn't actually be there because it was in Atlanta) and great way to make finding out really special- even if we are doing it before the baby actually arrives.

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I made these invitations myself using photoshop but the entire idea came from an invitation I saw on Pinterest. You can check out her shop here!

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Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to write a 5000 word research paper on lifelong career development as it pertains to international policy, economic, educational, social and cultural issues here is Australia. I know you are so jealous right now...



Friday, May 25, 2012

random thoughts.

So I don't have much to share this week (as you can tell by my lack of posts...) but I do have some bits of news/thoughts that you might find interesting (or not, haha).

1. I have been feeling really great lately. Like, I haven't wanted to vomit in over a week :) However, at about 7pm every night I break down and basically fall asleep wherever I am. On Monday night I was in the grocery store and let me tell you, it wasn't a pretty sight. By the time I got home to cook dinner I was not a woman to be messed with. Luckily I have an amazing husband who sends me to bed as soon as this starts to happen. Ahh hormones- aren't they wonderful.

2. Max and I both started new jobs this month! Today marks the end of my second week and end of Max's first week. I would like to sit here and fully explain what these jobs entail, but I think we are both still trying to figure that one out. Let's just say, things are going well and we are both looking forward to the next month when we feel a bit more settled in our new roles. Until then all I can do is brag about getting my very own office (finally!) and a door with my name on it. Max's job came with an iphone and a car... but you know, who's counting anyway, hehe. 

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3. I have started making a pregnancy time lapse video that I am SUPER excited about. At this point I pretty much look exactly the same as before I was pregnant so there isn't really much to show. However, the video is already looking AWESOME and I just can't wait to share it. Obviously it is going to be much cooler in November so I am going to try my very best to hold off until then in sharing any bits of it... ahhh... so hard! In the meantime you can google "pregnancy time lapse" and see what I am talking about if you are interested.

4. Byron has started doing some on the job training as part of the carpentry program at his new school. He spent the last 3.5 months learning and preparing and is now out there doing his thing. And he loves it! He came home the other day in shock after having to work for 9 hours... hehe. He has got a lot to learn about the working world but Max and I are so proud of him and happy to see him doing something he enjoys. I have to say that we are pretty lucky to have such an amazing teenager!!! He is going to be a great big brother :)

5. We have started the process of shifting things around in our house to make room for another little person. Max read something, somewhere that said THIS was the time to make room for the baby and let me tell you, the man is on a mission! However, moving things around has quickly made us realise that we might be getting a bit big for our beloved house. While Byron is excited about us moving a couch into his bedroom, nothing else really has a home. This realisation has lead us to a crazy, crazy thought. Is it time we... we... we (dom, dom, dom) think about moving?!?! New jobs... new brother/sister... new house?? More to come on that later...

Well, that is all I have for now.  Happy weekend to everyone!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

ladies of lesiure.

While Byron and Max were off on a father/son camping weekend in a cold, dirty, four-wheel drive park, Mom and I took the opprotunity to do a bit of girly things and spent her last weekend in Brisbane shopping, sightseeing and eating out. We were sad the boys were away but happy to be home instead of camping in the freezing cold!

We went around to a lot of baby shops to start to get an idea of what kinds of things they have here in Oz. And let me tell you- we were shocked by the prices! Sure there were some items that were comparable, but most things were hundreds of dollars more expensive here. Sigh...

For example, take this Fisher Price Spacesaver Swing and Seat- $65 in the USA and $150 here in Australia... for the SAME EXACT SWING.






Or this Britix (Steelcraft) B-Agil stroller- $250 in the USA compared to $400 here in Australia!




Needless to say, our shopping trips left us a little deflated and wondering how much it would cost to just ship things like this from the USA to Australia. I really like to support the local economy but these price differences are just crazy! They actually had a story on the news last night addressing these issues and looking at the mark-ups across all things here is Oz. From itunes to ikea- Australians are paying 50-100% more for the exact same items. WHY??

Okay- off my soap box now :)

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After a few days of shopping we headed back towards the city for some sightseeing. First stop- West End Markets.

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While I normally really like these markets because they have a good range of things, it was just too crowded to really enjoy. There were so many people there that it made just looking at things really difficult.

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The end of the markets led us out towards the Brisbane River so we decided to go for a stroll back down towards South Bank.

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After a leisurely walk along the river, we caught a lift on the City Cat to get a better look at the city from the river.

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The City Cats are a common form of transportation for many city goes. They are like a water taxi or bus that travels up and down the river dropping people here and there. Many people use them for transportation to and from work, but they are also available for tourists like us to pay and ride.

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It was a gorgeous day and the perfect weather for a boat ride along the river!

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For about $5 each, mom and I were able to hop on and off the City Cat for two hours, stopping at different places along the way.

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Part of Brisbane CBD.

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The Storey Bridge.

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We eventually ended up at New Farm Park where we walked around and enjoyed a light lunch at the Powerhouse.

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Overall it was a really relaxing day and the perfect way to round out Mom's stay in Brisbane.

The next day we woke up early and headed for the airport. Departures are always a very sad time for me. It means the people I love are leaving. It means I have to return to normal life and start thinking about work again. In this case, it meant I had to start doing my own laundry and cooking dinner for my family again (funny how when are moms are around we revert right back to being kids again- letting our moms take care of us just like they did 15 years ago).

My mom is the most amazing woman I know. She is kind and thoughtful and loving. She always puts everyone else before herself and has this way of making me feel better like no one else can. She listens but knows exactly when to speak up and tell me when I am out of line. She is forgiving and purposeful and makes everyone feel special and loved.

Max and I could not have been happier to have her here during this time and can't wait to see our families again in November/December to celebrate Byron becoming a big brother again :)

Thank you mom for EVERYTHING you are and all you do. We love you so very much!!! xoxo


Monday, May 14, 2012

to know or not to know... that is the question.

Back when Max and I first started talking about having a baby, the subject of finding out the gender was one of almost immediate disagreement. Bottom line- I really, really, really want to know and Max thinks that we should wait. "It is one of life's last real surprises" he says. And honestly, I can see his point. Years ago no one knew the gender of their baby until the day it popped it's little head out. And back then those people were still able to prepare the nursery, connect with the baby growing inside them, pick a name... all that good stuff.

But the thing is... now we CAN know before hand and just knowing that we could know makes me want to know EVEN MORE :) I want to prepare the nursery and buy gender specific things. I want to narrow down name options to either boy names or girl names and prepare the baby's big brother for what is to come. I would love to refer to the baby as a "he" or "she" rather than an "it" (I could go on and on...)

So, I have decided to take a poll to see what all of you think! All of your answers are anonymous and you can see the results right after you vote. So go, let me know what you think :)

Did you find out the gender of your baby before birth?
Yes
No
I didn't have the option when I gave birth
I have never had a baby
Create your own poll with LearnMyself

If you were given the choice, would you find out the gender of your baby before birth?
Yes
No
Create your own poll with LearnMyself

And now for the most important question.... :)
Do you think we are having a boy or a girl?
Boy
Girl
Create your own poll with LearnMyself

Thanks for playing along!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

just like my mama makes it.

I had a request the other day for a post on how to make my mama's chicken salad that we served at Donna's baby shower. Ask and you shall receive! (thanks for the request Kristin!) 

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Chicken Salad- just like my mama makes it!


Key Players:
1 Rotisserie Chicken (or BBQ Chook as they say here in Oz
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced celery
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup apple pieces (red or green)
½ cup grape halves (red or green)
¼ cup mayo
¼ cup sour cream
salt
pepper


1. Remove skin and shred chicken pieces using a two forks (or forget the forks and use two clean hands as I do!)

2. Combine onion, celery, walnuts, mayo and sour cream in a mixing bowl with shredded chicken. Mix until well combined.

3. Add apple pieces and grape halves and lightly mix (avoiding squashing the grapes!)

4. Add salt and pepper to taste


Helpful Hints:
  • For more colour, use either red grapes and green apple OR green grapes and red apple.
  • If you find that your mixture is lacking a bit of one element, just add some more until you are satisfied. Really like celery… just add some more! The only thing I would recommend is that you make sure you combine equal parts mayo and sour cream.
  • I only use the white meat on my chicken. That is just a personal preference of mine and it totally up to you!
  • This tastes really good on crackers, bread, croissants... or just plain on a fork!
  • For a little extra tang you can always add a bit of honey mustard if that is your thing.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

the last day.

For Jen, Dave and Jack's last day in Brisbane I decided to take them down to the city for a tour of Southbank. South Bank is located directly on the Brisbane River “where the idyllic Queensland environment is seamlessly integrated with the cafes, restaurants, boutiques and cultural experiences that have come to characterise an inner-city lifestyle.” There you can “explore The Parklands, with its lush foliage, public beach, lagoons and picnic areas, as well as Little Stanley’s cosmopolitan strip of restaurants, bars and boutiques, and Grey Street; one of Brisbane’s defining art and cultural hubs.”

In summary, it is a really neat little place where you can go for good food, river views and lots of cool events!


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It was a bit cloudy on the day we went so the views and "sparkle" of the river just weren't the same as on a beautiful sunny day.

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After walking around the area a bit, we decided to take a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane which is a lot like the London Eye... only not as cool, haha.

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The views were pretty good but we all decided that it probably would have been better at night.

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As the wheel spun around, it took us on a little audio tour of some of the near by sights and buildings.

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While I am still glad we did this, I think that once was probably enough. I would give the value for money factor 2 stars (if you know what I mean).

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After a walk around the parklands, we rewarded ourselves in a yummy lunch at one of my favourite buger places in Brisbane- Beastie Burgers!

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They have really yummy unique burgers as well as onion rings and balsamic chips (fries) to die for!

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And before I knew it, I was driving back to the airport, kissing my beautiful nephew goodbye and wondering where the time had gone! Sure this trip was plagued by a pregnant and nauseous sister, a trip to the ER and a very sore back, but even in between the naps and slow paced days we managed to spend some great quality time together. Parents had a holiday. Cousins got to play. Aunties got to take pictures of their favourite nephews. And Mimi's got to tuck grandsons in to bed. It was wonderful and a time I will always cherish!!



I love having my friends and family come visit. It makes me feel so loved and important to know that they have made such a HUGE effort to travel all the way over here to see what our life is really about. I am already counting down the days until it happens again and can’t wait to share our life with the next set of American visitors who decide to make the long journey across the Pacific!

Evan? Ginny? :)

A special thanks to Jen and Dave for taking this time and braving the flights with a nearly 2 year old. Love you guys so much!!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

markets. emergency rooms. sunsets.

On Saturday we all woke up to a beautiful, sunny morning. After a quick breakfast we decided to head out of Noosa to the Eumundi Markets just 20 minutes up the road. The Eumundi Market is probably one of Queensland's most well known markets, full of everything from food to crafts to artwork to clothing. It has just about everything you could think of.

I only ended up taking one picture while we were there, but it was a really great one if you ask me! What a beautiful nephew I have!!!

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After walking around bits of the market, we headed back to Noosa to take advantage of the beautiful weather with another day at the beach. Max and Byron went out for a surf, Dave and Jack played in the sand and Mom, Jen and I went out for a little swim. While the waves weren't huge by any means, the current was picking up and there were a few waves crashing quickly in the shallows of the water.

To keep a long story short, I ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and found myself in the midst of a wave that picked me up and placed me very hard on the bottom of the ocean... head first. With all of my experience as a life guard, years of swimming in the ocean and amateur surfing skills (sigh...) I was hit by bad luck and ended up needing to be placed on a backboard, removed from the beach and taken by ambulance to the emergency room. BUGGER!

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[trying to act like it was no big deal even though I was scared out of my mind...]

While I knew I was going to be okay because I could still move all of my limbs (thank GOD!) I was really worried I had scared my family into thinking the beach was not safe (not to mention I was 11 weeks pregnant and had no idea where my husband was...).

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After a nauseating ambulance ride to the ER, a few hours of pain and some tears of worry, I was reassured my neck wasn't broken and I wasn't going to die (phew!) but most likely had a hairline fracture on my T2 (vertebrae in my back between my shoulder blades) and just needed to take it easy and let it heal.

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Fortunately I was okay but unfortunately I missed a beautiful day at the beach with my family and therefore have no fun pictures to share... except these few Mom took while I was trying not to vomit, haha.

Oh, and this one :) Cousins!!!  I just love them together... don't you?!
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I don't really remember the rest of the night because I pretty much went straight to sleep when we got back to the apartment but I am pretty sure everyone else had a good night... at least I hope they did!!

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The next day mother nature delivered once again with beautiful sunshine and warm waters.

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Surfing buddies :) Love them!!

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The Gilarde Family at Noosa Beach

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Mimi and Jack exploring the beach.

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Unfortunately Max and Byron had to head back to Brisbane that afternoon for work and school the next day so they missed the sunset picnic we decided to have that evening.

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Beachside wine and cheese sunset party on a Sunday night- perfection!

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At about 5 o'clock the clouds rolled in and we thought for a while there that our weather luck had ended and it was going to rain.

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But just like magic the weather cleared up, leaving us with a painted sky full of yellows, oranges and purples.

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[hehe- I love the funny ones!]

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It was THE perfect end to an almost perfect weekend at Noosa. The next day we soaked up our last few hours of the beach before heading home around lunch time.

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