Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ethan can sit!

As I type we are on the verge of another physical milestone for Ethan (crawling) and I realised I failed to capture a recent milestone. Ethan can sit! After weeks and weeks of working his core and trying to sit up, Ethan finally achieved it while we were in New Zealand.

At first he needed both hands for support...He then moved to one hand on the ground, his leg or holding his toe...
And now he can sit there waving two different toys round in different hands! Its amazing seeing a baby's development. I think that I will be blogging about full blown crawling in the very near future as well, Ethan can do 360's on his stomach, move backwards, get up on his hands and knees and rock back and forward at the moment- its only a matter of time for him to be following me everywhere! Our little boy is growing up so quickly!

Four generations of Papps men...

As I mentioned in a previous blog Ethan got to meet his Great Grandfather while we were in New Zealand. This was fantastic and we were all very appreciative that Great Grandad made the trip in the very little aeroplane from Takaka to Wellington. It was a wonderful few days that all in the family will treasure forever.

Here are the three generations together at our wedding in Noosa.Roll forward seven years and we get to add our darling little boy Ethan to the mix!
What a good looking bunch of men and a very special photo to get! (Although it was pretty hard getting all four men to look at the camera at once!)
Ethan and Grandad having a little chat while Great Grandad poses for the photo!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Goodbye Pembroke Road...

With the amazing help of Jason's family we spent a number of days getting our Pembroke Rd house ready for sale while in New Zealand recently. It was our first house and I am a little sad to be saying goodbye to it! So this is a little tribute to Pembroke Rd.

When we bought the house I was heavily into triathlon and Jason was training for canoe polo so it was important for us to have a renovated house. Here is the kitchen, all it needed was a good clean and it looked as good as the day it did when we moved in.
The Pembroke Rd house had a great living area, including a wood burner. The living area opens out onto a great deck and had sun from around 10.30/11am each day. All we needed to do to this area for the sale was wash the walls/ceiling, replace the chipped tiles on the fireplace and dry clean the curtains.
The bathroom was small, but cute. While we were in NZ we replaced the vanity with a pedestal basin. While losing a little storage it gave an illusion of additional space! We also touched up the window sill and replaced the shower curtain.
The main bedroom has great sun, many an afternoon was spent reading a book in the sun on my bed. To get this room ready we replaced the carpet, fixed the blinds, added new curtains, replaced the lampshade, painted inside the wardrobe and washed the walls and ceilings.
The second bedroom didn't need much to get it ready for sale, new carpet, minor touch ups to the wallpaper, washing the blinds, painting inside the wardrobes and cleaning the walls and ceiling.
The deck was amazing, I'll miss this a lot. The outside of the house could have done with a paint, but we decided it wasn't worth it.
This is the bit I will miss the most about Pembroke Rd, the views, and all the running trails contained in these hills. Its just not like this in Perth.
While they were a lot of work (while we were living in NZ) and when we were fixing the property up for sale, the gardens were lovely. Again, its just not like this in Perth!
I won't miss the access to the property.... more than 70 steps, plus a path! I am a strong advocate for drive on access now!

And now for the good news... just 7 days after the house went on the market (and one open home) we received two offers. One met our expectations, was unconditional, and settled on 14 December... so Pembroke Rd is officially sold.A happy, and sad, day all in one.

Now, as you will all know, this blog was named after that house... watch this space for a potentially revamped blog/name...

Trip to the land of the long white cloud...

Recently Jason and I took Ethan back to New Zealand, the purpose of the trip was to visit family and friends including introducing Ethan to his Great Grandfather and to prepare our Pembroke Rd house for sale.

Before we were even due to depart we had a couple of issues, I had (in my post pregnancy/birth addled brain) assumed that Ethan would automatically be a New Zealand citizen. But I was wrong, we had to apply for citizenship by descent for Ethan. This included sending my passport, marriage certificate, birth certificate, tax file number and bank statement off as well as Ethan's birth certificate off to the New Zealand citizenship office. I am not 100% sure why they can't just check electronic records for my birth for example! But anyway, after paying the fee and waiting the 20 business days Ethan received his certificate of citizenship!

We decided to fly Qantas for this trip via Melbourne (it saved us nearly $900). This meant we were in for two approximately 4 hour flights rather than 1 long flight to Auckland with a 1 hour flight to Wellington. However, the next issue we faced with our trip was the grounding of the entire Qantas fleet of planes 6 hours before we were due to fly out of Perth. Luckily our first flight (Perth to Melbourne) was a Virgin Blue flight. Unfortunately we had no idea what would happen at Melbourne and I really wasn't keen to be stuck in Melbourne on Melbourne Cup weekend with a baby and no flight ( and potentially no accomodation if we needed it). As it happened luck was definitely on our side and our flight from Melbourne to Wellington was a code share flight operated by British Airways, so we were one of the few lucky ones to fly!

The first flight left Perth at midnight, which was the same time the Queen left (she was in Perth for CHOGM). Luckily we were leaving domestic and the Queen was leaving international so we didn't have any issues with heightened security.

Ethan travelled well, sleeping a lot of the first flight, kicking/rolling around in the hour between flights in Melbourne, and sleeping again at the start of the second flight. We were lucky to have an additional seat for Ethan and at one stage both Jason and I were asleep with Ethan playing on the seat between us, entertaining himself. I was so proud of our little boy, he really isn't fazed by new experiences at all, taking it all in his stride.

We were met in Wellington by Ethan's Gran, Grandad and two Aunties. It was great to see them all again.

Ethan was a very lucky boy, his Gran had arranged a number of loan toys for him for the holiday (as well as some new toys for him to take back to Perth). Ethan loved this one, although it tired him out to begin with (bottom right photo).
He also got to play in an exersaucer! Which he was very taken with! It provided hours of entertainment!
But even with all the fantastic toys the good old face cloth provided some entertainment as well!
It was wonderful being back in Wellington, there really is no city like it! You sure don't get views like this in Perth!

I love Wellington Harbour! I have spent many hours kayaking on it, swimming in it, and running/cycling around it! When we were in NZ we were lucky enough to experience the Guy Fawkes fireworks from Jason's parent's boat Mayling! This will be the subject of a separate blog!While we were in Wellington Ethan met:
  • his Great Grandad (this will be the subject of its own blog);
  • my friend and triathlon buddy Angela;
  • my friend and ex-colleague Megan (and her beautiful 6 day old daughter Caitlin);
  • my friends and triathlon/swim squad buddies Nat and Deano;
  • our good friend Blossom (Mike);
  • Jason's childhood friend Lawrence and his family (Nicci, James (Jason's godson) and Maeve); and
  • Jasons' ex-colleague Janine.
Here is Ethan with Blossom:
Ethan with James and Maeve, James was very enthusiastically sharing his toys with Ethan!
Jason and Lawrence with Ethan and Maeve.
While we were in New Zealand we celebrated my birthday. I was very spoilt. Before I left Perth I got my present from my mum and dad (a canvas and some charcoal to revisit my artistic side). Jason got me an iPad 2 (his sisters getting me some iPad accessories), Ethan got me a photo frame, Jason's parents got me an amazing pamper afternoon, some accesories for my camera and an apron (a special request from me) and Jason and I were treated to a night out baby free. We went to dinner at The Tasting Room. It was a lovely treat! Here we are ready to go out.
Ethan was good with us going out, in fact here he is watching Cars 2 on my iPad, I don't event think he noticed us leaving... a true child of his generation!
Well after a lovely birthday we had an incredibly busy day to finish the house for the advertising photos (the house sale will be subject of a separate blog)... and then we have a day and a half to just relax. True to form, Jason was restless within a couple of hours!

Our flights back to Perth were again via Melbourne and we had an extra seat for Ethan for both legs of the journey! Ethan was very good again, having little sleeps on both flights! Here is Ethan having one last kick around at Wellington airport.
We had a 2 hour stopover in Melbourne and I had arranged to me one of my internet friends (part of my Huggies "due in May" baby club). Her baby Isla is a day older than Ethan. It was great meeting her in person, as we chat everyday online!
So that was our trip to NZ, it was a great time and we achieved a lot while we were there.

Thank you to everyone for helping us with the house!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ethan's first trip to the beach...

The weekend just been was really hot so we took Ethan to the beach for the first time. Both Jason and I love the beach and we hope Ethan is the same. I didn't really think the plan through 100% though so Jason and I were both in denim, so not the most appropriate clothing to be wearing in the water. I am getting better, but each trip I still don't quite remember everything and anything I might need!
I took him into the water the first time, and he didn't seem worried about the water being a lot cooler than at his swimming lessons (probably 10 degrees cooler).
Jason decided to get in on the action as well, here they are checking out the waves!
Jason got brave and decided to see if Ethan wanted more of a swim, it was probably a bit cold for the full swim at this stage, but he didn't cry, he just took it all in his stride. That is one thing we have noticed with Ethan, he takes to new experiences readily and nothing much phases him at all.
And then... the inevitable. Ethan decided that he wanted to taste the sand (just like everything else). We thought that was our cue to go!
All in all it was a very successful first outing to the beach! We'll be back there a lot over summer!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Food, glorious food...

We started Ethan on solids around 4 months old, I was very diligently boiling, pureeing and freezing fruit and veggies. Ethan took to the purees pretty well as well. At the same time I was giving him rusks to help with his teething, as you can see, he quite likes the rusks. I find that they can keep him entertained for around 20 -30 minutes or so as well which is great!

While feeding Ethan his purees I was also reading up on baby led weaning which means letting your baby feed themselves from the start (0r close to the start) of weaning. The key difference between baby led weaning and traditional weaning is the order that children learn to eat. With a puree, they learn to swallow first and then chew, which works fine until they meet a lump. With baby led weaning, the babies learn to chew first and swallowing might come some time later.

So with baby led weaning you just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t. That’s the essence of Baby Led Weaning. No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos… just you and your baby eating the same or similar food right from the start... its not all about finger food for the baby's you can "pre-load" a spoon for them to pick up and feed themselves as well.

Anyway, after all my reading I have decided to give baby lead weaning a good go.

So, for breakfast Ethan either has toast with avocado and marmite, cottage cheese or banana, weetbix soaked with expressed breast milk (soft enough for him to pick up and eat/suck through his fingers) or strawberries dipped in yoghurt.

As you can see, Ethan loves his toast, trying to get it all into his mouth at once!

For lunch/afternoon tea Ethan usually just has fruit (this is not yet a full meal). So far Ethan has had strawberries, watermelon, mango, orange and pineapple. Both his grandfathers should be pleased to note that Ethan LOVES mango (and all fruit really).

Baby led weaning is a lot messier than normal weaning as you can see below, but I can see Ethan's motor skills and pincer grip developing already. Picking up slippery bits of fruit from a high chair tray is not an easy thing to do.

For dinner Ethan simply has what we have for dinner. Last night he chewed/sucked on a piece of steak (until it resembled a grey dish cloth), ate some cucumber sticks and squeezed some sweet potato mash through his fingers. Tonight he had grilled chicken, tomato wedges (the seeds cut out), some baby spinach and avocado, and oven baked sweet potato wedges (the wedges were a big hit).

So far Ethan has had one gag, but other than that it is going really well. I am loving this approach to food!

Swimming Lessons

A few weeks ago Ethan and I started swimming lessons with LifeCare. LifeCare Baby Swim teaches swimming skills and water safety techniques necessary to enjoy the Australian outdoor lifestyle.

The classes are lots of fun, and incorporate skill based activities into games and songs. We do water confidence, floating, kicking, arm action, turning and holding onto the side of the pool and eventually submersion.

Ethan LOVES his swimming lessons, here he is ready to go!The lessons start with splashing water over his face while singing songs with actions.
"Look at me Dad, look at me, I can kick"...
Ethan is pretty relaxed in the pool, especially when he is on his back!!!
The lessons really tire us both out, Ethan is often asleep within seconds of being back in the car! The other great thing is that the pool is just round the corner from Jason's work and he can pop in and watch us!