Thursday, August 25, 2011

Australian Recap 5 - Sydney Aquarium and CBD

Before we went to Australia, Bernard and I wrote this massive list of things that we wanted to do back in Australia. Of course we left it at home, and in actual fact we didn't feel like spending every day in Australia out "doing stuff", but one of the things we really wanted to do was to go to the city and go to Sydney Aquarium

Bernard and I have a photo in this same spot from when we were dating so I wanted to get a shot with the kids. 

Lana really LOVED the aquarium - she could have spent all day there. Maddy on the other hand slept through the whole thing. Good thing she was free ;)

The aquarium was filled with these huge Lego statues, all kinds of things - they were almost more fascinating than some of the fish were!

After a few hours in the aquarium, it was time to catch a ferry back to the CBD. I love the ferries in Sydney, such a great view of the harbour! And what a beautiful harbour it is! Unfortunately, we were there on a really cold, overcast and windy day - but even though we were near freezing, we HAD to sit outside!!

When we landed, we had a bit of a walk around the harbour and took a few more photos...

...and then after some yummy pancakes from the famous Pancakes on the Rocks (open 24hrs, 7 days a week), we went home, very tired after a long day in the city :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Australian Recap 4 - Sydney, Great Nan and the "Beach Park"

After about a week in the Illawarra with my family, it was time to head up to Sydney to spend some time with Bernard's mum.

After a few days at Bernard's mum's house (in which time we took no photos, except for a few of the girls playing together on the floor), we went up the coast a bit further to visit my grandmother, whom all the kids call "Great Nan" (and she is indeed a great Nan :) ) 

This was the first time for Nan to meet little miss Maddy, and since Nan loves a good family photo to hang on her wall (yes Nan, I remember I promised to send you a photo of us - I must get onto that! Sorry!!), she had us all pose on her little veranda. 

Lana took a liking to Nan's dog Cindy...

...and apparently, Cindy took a liking to Lana too :)

We only had one day with Nan at this point of our trip, later in the trip she came down and stayed with my parents for a few days so we got to see more of her then :)


When we were in Sydney, we were driving to church one Sunday and I noticed this fabulous park on the way there. So on the way home, we got some drive through (KFC is SO much better in Australia than it is in Hong Kong!) and went and had our own little picnic. 

The play area was covered with sand and the kids all played barefoot in it. I believe it was Maddy's first time ever in the sand. She seemed to really like it :)

Lana was not so sure at first, but she came around :)

(Gotta love that beautiful blue sky! That's something we don't get much of here in Hong Kong!!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Australian Recap 3 - Symbio

In between Sydney and Wollongong in a sleepy town called Helensburg is a little wildlife park called Symbio. It has been there for years and years - when I was a kid, my parents took me many many times. I got to touch some of the animals, and even milk a cow! It's not a huge zoo, but it's great for little kids, if you want a more "cozy" and "intimate" zoo, or if you just have a few hours rather than a whole day.

What would a trip to an Australian zoo be without an obligatory Koala photo? Unfortunately we JUST missed the time for patting them so we had to let them rest and look at them from behind a fence. Oh well, there's always next time :)

Maddy needed a little feed...

...while Lana was off for a walk with Nanny and Granddad.
Almost ALL Australian zoos will have a kangaroo walk-through area where you can feed them and pat them. This little mother had a baby in her pouch and was the focus of all our attention :) Lana LOVED the kangaroos. Maddy didn't really care either way ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Walking :)

Maddy's been cruising for a little while now - if you missed it, I posted a little video on her birthday post.

She will walk forward a little holding onto our hands - but all baby walkers are much too tall for her to use.

Today, we were at a birthday party (Happy Birthday Kayla!!) and Maddy found these little chairs were perfect for pushing around. I think now I need to go buy one for her to use as a makeshift walker ;) 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Australian Recap 2 - Kiama and Sunset

I have to say that beautiful Kiama on the South Coast of NSW is one of my favourite places to visit when I'm in Australia. Cute little cafes (with REAL Aussie iced chocolates. The kind with lots of icecream, chocolate syrup and fresh cream on the top!), little specialty stores selling souvenirs, toys and all kinds of arts and crafts, some pretty awesome icecream, a great park with lots of grass for the little ones, and who can forget that stunning coastline and blowhole? We went down to Kiama with my dad one afternoon and we had a great time (ANY time involving iced chocolates is a great time for me, and my trip back to Australia involved MANY of them ;) )

We started, naturally, at a nice little cafe...

 Sitting on the table since another baby was taking the cafe's only highchair! (shock, horror)

 Want some sugar, Mum?

Hmmm, I think I LIKE this stuff ;)

Then after our tummies were full of yummy goodness, we went for a short little walk to burn off some of those calories.

 Stopping to read all the signs

Cozy warm :)

Later that evening, we were at my parents' place about to have dinner and God decided to put on a show for us. One of my absolute favourite things about my parents' place is the view - it's a gorgeous view across a lake, with mountains off in the distance. And when the sun sets... WOW! 

Of course we HAD to get some pics with that view...

 Daddy and his girls

Nanny and the girls

What more can I say? Beautiful... Wish we had more of THAT in Hong Kong...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Growing up

These days, Maddy seems to be growing up more and more every day. She's getting stronger, more active, her fine motor skills are getting better...

Some of her latest things to do are:

1. scooting ALL over the house! She will follow us into every room. She especially likes to go around closing all the doors. Could it be a coincidence that Lana also likes to close all the doors? That brings us to:

2. copying ANYTHING that Lana is doing. Big sister is dancing? Maddy wants to dance too. Big sister is clapping? Maddy will clap. Big sister is reading books? She wants to get right in on the action.

3. standing up on anything and everything. Just now, she stood up against a wall! She loves to be standing and it's so cute to watch her stand! 

4. cruising a little. She can only really do this if the height is just right - but I know that it's only a matter of probably a couple of weeks before she gets even better at it! 

5. giving. She will actually share her things with me now, actively giving me a toy, or trying to shove her biscuit into my mouth.

6. nodding/shaking head/waving "hi" and "bye"/signing "more". Maddy has been doing many of these things for months now, but it is more and more obvious that she understands what we are saying or what is going on and responds with the appropriate "sign". If I am getting my bag and shoes, she will start waving to me, completely unprompted. If we are talking and one of us says "no", she will shake her head. She loves to listen and be involved in our conversations. Even though she is not saying any clear words yet, she definitely understands what is going on :)

I'm sure there is many more that I can't think of right now, but I just wanted to share those new things with you all :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Maddy!!

To my darling girl,

Wow, one year already. When your big sister was born, I always said that there was nothing that changed my life more than having children. Becoming a mother is so much life-changing than going to university, than working, than getting married, than moving away from home, even than moving to a foreign country. I thought that becoming a mother for the second time would be a relatively small change, but boy was I wrong about that! You have changed our lives so much more than I ever imagined, just by being you. You have brought us so much joy, so much strength. You have brought so much growth in our lives. You have brought so many wonderful people into our lives that we would never have met if it weren't for you. You are touching so many people's lives. I am so thankful that God brought you into our family.

My pregnancy with you seemed like the longest pregnancy in the world - it was quite an epic journey for us, that pregnancy. And you were so cozy inside of me and didn't want to come out and meet the world. We were so ready for you to be here, ready to know that everything was going to be ok.

I remember so clearly when you were born. I was praying that you would let out a big yell and I would know that you were ok, but you didn't. You were so quiet. I was worried about at first, afraid that we were about to get bad news.

But then you whimpered a little. You still have one of the softest cries that I've ever heard - although you do know how to raise your voice if you really want to make a point. The doctors brought you over to me and told me that your APGAR scores were 9 and 10 - even better than your sisters. I knew then that everything was going to be ok.

I was itching to get up to the NICU and see you, but I had to finish an IV drip first. The nurse put the flow up too fast and I noticed that it was emptying about twice as quickly as they said it would - but I didn't tell them because I knew that meant I could go and see you sooner.

When I finally went to see you in the NICU, you looked so small in there - but oh so sweet! My arms were longing to pick you up and cuddle you, but it would be nearly two more weeks before I was allowed to do so. 

Even from very young, you were so alert and watched everything. You still do. You have intelligent eyes and even at birth, it was as though you understood every word that I was saying to you. 

It's crazy that in the last year, you have grown from this little baby:

into this cheeky little girl:

In the past year, you have had your hurdles to overcome, and you have soared over them all. I hope and pray that you will continue to do so as you grow. 

I love you baby girl!! 


PS - I love your slimy baby kisses that you just started giving me in the early hours of the morning on your first birthday...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Australian Recap 1 - The Plane, and Grass

I never posted hardly ANYTHING about our trip to Australia, besides a few specific events. We have tons of photos that I never shared so I thought I'd do a few little "recap" posts to share them all with you. I can't believe that it was nearly four months ago that we left to go back! And I rarely posted on my blog when we were there (I did 2 posts the entire nearly 6 weeks!). We were having too much fun to blog about it ;)

Anyway - as you all know, Maddy was absolutely fine on the plane. Lana was temperamental, I chucked up, but Maddy was completely fine ;) I think it must have been because she had the most comfortable seat in Economy Class! She could even lay down. And I have to say, this is a situation where dwarfism is a benefit - Maddy will be able to fit into these beds for a LONG time still. Lana outgrew them by the time she was about 10 months old ;)

When we arrived in Australia, we first had a couple of quiet days with my family. My mum had met Maddy once at the hospital when Maddy was only a week old, but had never held her. My dad and my sister had not met her at all before the trip. (My brother who lives in Denmark STILL has not met Maddy - he was last in Hong Kong when I was pregnant with her. He was actually stranded here for an extra two weeks due to that volcano, remember? - but we will see him at the end of next month - woohooo!)

On our 2nd day in Australia, we decided to take the girls down to a lovely, grassy park at the harbour - something SO different to what we do in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is concrete everywhere and we don't get much grass-time. 

We sat on this lovely blue mat that my parents scored for free and we had fish and chips (the first of many, I'm afraid!).

Then we decided to introduce Maddy to grass for the first time.

Not so bad...

Um, I think I'm changing my mind about it...

GET.... ME..... OFF!!!!

After that traumatic encounter, it was time for some cuddles with Nanny and Aunty Ash

Then Lana had a bit of a play in the park while Maddy had a bit of a snooze, and we were off - one of our first cultural experiences in Australia checked off our list :)