26 February 2010

Boy on Bike

If there's one thing I LOVE at the moment, it's seeing Noah zooming (make that hooning!) around Wellington on his bike. Whether its down on the waterfront, at Karori Park, or in the Botanical gardens, it just gives me such a thrill to see how confident and how much enjoyment he gets out of riding his bike. Best Christmas present we've ever given him so far, thanks to Mocka!

We discovered a new part to Waitangi Park this week - the skateboard ramps, and whilst we probably (no definitely!) annoyed the hell out of the skateboarders taking up their ramp space, Noah had an absolute blast and would have stayed there all day given half the chance. Just a shame we had to dash home to put baby brother to bed after an hour's fun.

We're looking forward to being able to take English Grandma down to the waterfront to show off the bike expertise when she arrives...did I mention 12 days and counting? I did already? Oh well. That's how excited we all are to see her.

And also heard out the mouths of babes recently.....(well a 3.5 year old to be exact), whilst I was pointing out the different kinds of dinosaurs on his Land Before Time DVD we rented from the library, I said 'Look Noah there's even a dinosaur that can fly'. To which he replied 'Yeah I know Mum, its a pteradactyl'

Excuse me, what!!!!!!!!!!  I'm still chuckling about that one some weeks later. He sure showed me!

Look what I can do...

It is such a fun 'baby' stage with Mylo right now. After mastering rolling from back to front last week, this week has all been about 'bottoms up' - lifting his bottom up whilst on his tummy and trying to get his knees underneath him. There's some serious determination to want to move, but so far he just face plants his front half into the floor, or ends up sucking on his arm. He can move around in circles whilst on his back or tum, so is often not in the same place under his play gym if I come back to check on him after just a few minutes.

Bottoms Up!

He also loves grabbing his toes at every opportunity, and I have noticed his spatial awareness increasing as he tries to reach out for things to determine whether they are in fact within his grasp, or whether he can move himself closer in order to reach them.

Doing his daily dozens....

Mylo is bouncing in the jolly jumper with great vigour these days, I often put him there later in the afternoon which has the added interest for him of watching Murphy constantly wander backwards and forwards between lounge and hallway as he begs for food from about 2pm-5pm every day - which is not at all annoying! Sometimes I do wonder if it would be easier just to fill Murphy's bowl up so I'm not followed around the house the entire afternoon by a miaowing cat.

Mylo's also trying out new sounds, particularly in the bath at night - it must be the echoing of the bathroom that makes it so appealing to try them out at the top of his lungs. Last week's noises were blowing bubbles and a fake cough, very cute, but then NOT so cute that he decided that 2am was a good time to practice what he'd learnt some more, and I was up and down for an hour trying to get him to go back to sleep!

This week he had his 5 month injections - a necessary evil, but I hate how they make him so tetchy and his legs always seem to swell up something chronic afterwards - poor sausage. This time, he's also come down with a nasty phlegmy cough and he had a rough night on Wednesday night, and couldn't settle for bed for over 5 hours. Last night was much better, but he's still definitely off his food and milk. I think the phlegm just makes it uncomfortable to swallow, and he's just not interested in having much in one go. Thankfully that's the last of the jabs until 15 months!

Poor swollen leg :-(

We also visited Plunket for the 5 month check today, and Mylo's vital stats are very similar to Noah's at the same stage!

Weight 6.76 kg (Noah was 6.84) - this is on the 15th percentile so on the small but cute side of things!
Height 65 cm (Noah was the same)

Clearly he's decided that he's not going to be an All Black forward, but maybe he's planning on being an All White striker instead. Having said that, Noah is now around the 85th percentile for both height and weight at age 3.5, so he has obviously done a lot of growing through his toddler years! And with such a hearty appetite it's no wonder!

As for Mylo's appetite, I've been trying him on various pureed food for a couple of weeks now, and seems to have already decided that veges aren't his thing - how he knows this already though, I'd love to know! It has been a tad frustrating trying to encourage him, so far we've tried kumara, carrot and pumpkin, and I usually end up having to mix them with apple or pear to sweeten them so I can get them past him at all. Potato has been given the BIGGEST thumbs down, which I find strange as you'd think it would be a very bland flavour!

On the other hand, fruit seems to be readily accepted, the lips smacking together after each mouthful is a bit of a dead giveaway, compared to the vegetables which he mostly tries to poke back out of his mouth with his tongue, or blows raspberries at me with a mouthful so that I get showered with bits of food.

So it would appear he has a bit of a sweet tooth. Hopefully not the result of all the chocolate I scoffed after dinner most nights while he was growing inside me! Ah well, I shall try not to get too het up about it, and hope that it is just a matter of perseverance and time getting used to all the new tastes.  I'm not about to waste all the food I have frozen, so it will be eaten one way or another - even if I end up having to make some soup for us out of it! When I look at how well Noah eats now, and when I think back to a few blips we had with periods of fussiness from him along the way, must keep reminding myself to focus on the big picture, rather than getting bogged down with these day-to-day dramas methinks!

Books and being read to are another growing interest. Jackie gave us some beautiful books passed on from her mum with nursery rhymes and songs that have big, bold pictures. He particularly likes being sung 'Incy Wincy Spider' and 'Row Row Row Your Boat'.

Well that's a good place to end what ended up being a rather comprehensive 5-month update on Mr. M. It will be interesting to see how much he changes over the next month till his half-year birthday which we'll be celebrating with English Grandma being here with us too! 12 days and counting till her arrival! Exciting times.

Here's a couple of recent videos of Mylo (apologies for the silly mother noises in the background, but if I edited them out you wouldn't get to hear the cute giggles from him!)

21 February 2010

Huckleberry Fun

To celebrate having GeeGee staying with us for a few days, Mylo turning 5 months old and our wedding anniversary all happening this week, we all ventured out as a family for a cafe lunch yesterday, GeeGee's shout.

We'd heard really good things about Huckleberry Cafe, which opened a few months ago, and is only a few minutes drive away in the suburb of Northland.

It is really spacious inside, has a great kids play corner, and a relaxed atmosphere. It was a lovely way to spend Saturday lunchtime! Oh and the food was good too.

20 February 2010

And on this day....

six years ago, two hearts and lives were forever joined. Aah the memories.

We celebrated this year a little earlier than the actual date with a meal at 3C on Thursday night. This was to take advantage of our in-house babysitter - my 85-year old gran (aka GeeGee) who flew down from New Plymouth to stay with us for 3 nights this week. As Noah and Mylo are her only great-grandchildren, we relish every opportunity to bring the oldest and youngest generations of the family together, and it is wonderful that she is still capable and willing to travel to us. No mean feat for someone who isn't that fond of flying!

After 6 weeks or so on our Weight Watchers diet, it was a real treat to have a night off and not worry about how many points we had already eaten during the day. The only downside of the diet is that both our stomachs appear to have shrunk and can't cope with too much rich food as neither of us managed to finish our main meals, and dessert was therefore also out of the question!

Chilled to perfection

Parent's night out essential accessory - mobile!

The obligatory turn the camera on yourself shot...umm yes this IS who I married!

The evening wasn't without a few hair-raising moments though. Before our starters even arrived, I had a few frantic call from GeeGee as the baby monitor alarm started going off in Mylo's room. This sending GeeGee into panic stations and me having to explain via mobile how to go in and turn the darn thing off to stop the loud beeping - how he didn't wake up I'll never know! We clearly should have done a trial run of the monitor working before we left.

Ahem, it's almost shocking how totally relaxed we are about even using a baby monitor this time round. It sits in Mylo's room but is almost never used, funny given we were still using it with Noah almost until Mylo appeared on the scene. In our defence, Mylo's room is closer to both the lounge and our bedroom so we can easily hear him without using the monitor. Having said that, we bought one of those Angelcare movement/sound jobbies (not cheap!) that senses movement under the mattress, and it was obviously this part that malfunctioned last night. I will get around to testing it out again to make sure it's working properly at some point.......perhaps before we next go out for the evening would be a good start!

17 February 2010

The day breaks..

The day breaks
In salmon hues
With slow metamorphosis
Gives way to blue

Streaks of golden cloud
Stretch their fingers across the sky
Whispers of fog in the valleys
Surveyed from lofty heights

A new dawn, a new beginning
Another gift to be enjoyed

15 February 2010

Tigers and Dragons...and butterlies and flowers?

Today was the Chinese New Year Festival in Wellington, celebrating the Year of the Tiger. Noah and I caught up with his friends George and Phoebe to watch the parade, which commenced with some pretty LOUD firecrackers (we all had to hold our ears), and then some fantastic dragon floats.

After the parade had passed by, we headed on down to Frank Kitts Park to see the start of the celebration showcasing local Chinese talent. The kids attention spans didn't last too long however. The thought of an icecream and some fun in the water fountain proved to be far too appealing.

All the kids got their shoes off in record time and enjoyed a splash around. All was going well until Noah somehow ended up sitting in the fountain, just him mind you, no-one else! Once he was a bit wet, he thought it was hilarious fun to keep sitting down in the water. Well, I was out of reach snapping with the camera before I could stop him the first time, and then once you're wet, you're wet!!! By that stage it didn't really matter whether he was a bit wet or sopping wet. Oh, apart from the fact that I realised I didn't even have spare underwear let alone new trousers for him to wear!

Thankfully, Phoebe's dad Glen came to the rescue with her spare underwear and some jeans with pretty pink stitching, butterflies and flowers to boot! It was either that or Noah could walk 10 minutes back to the car through the centre of town in the nudie which wasn't all that appealing, especially as I could imagine the looks I would get from people being the irresponsible mother of a naked child wandering through town who clearly didn't think to bring a change of clothes!

Oh well, harmless fun, and at least I came home with my reputation as a parent somewhat intact. Once we rolled up the jeans you really couldn't even tell they were girls jeans, so no-one would have been any the wiser! But of course, you my dedicated readers, you know better that my reputation is starting to proceed me! You will all know that I have been found wanting for brain cells more times than I care to admit of late (escapades on the waterfront a few weeks back and trip to town for coffee this week just two clear examples of the obvious air between my ears!) It makes me laugh to think that just before we went out today I actually took the spare undies out of the bag along with a woolly hat and rain jacket thinking 'Oh I'm sure I won't be needing those today!' So you won't be surprised to learn that I re-packed our little day bag with a spare pair of undies AND a pair of shorts as soon as I got home tonight!

10 February 2010

Captured: One cheeky chappy

Yesterday on another MNM (Mum/Noah/Mylo) day, we caught up with our dear friend Jackie for coffee and a yummy cheese scone at Ministry of Food in the morning to help celebrate her birthday. Unfortunately, in yet another nappy brain moment (which worringly seem to occur with great regularity these days!), I forgot to take my credit card and had no cash on me to pay for the morning tea - but for that I blame Mark for taking $10 out of my wallet for indoor football the night before without telling me! Luckily Jackie came to the party or we'd have been in a spot of bother! I certainly don't fancy turning to a life of petty crime just yet!

Although we hadn't planned on going out again, Noah asked so nicely if he could go to 'the park with the big slides', that I obliged with a quick visit to the park in the botanical gardens later in the afternoon.

And captured on camera at the park: one cheeky chappy!

And my favourite.......................

Book Review: Possibly the loveliest children's story ever...

Tonight I read 'Wanted: The Perfect Pet' by Fiona Robertson to Noah at bedtime. It was a Christmas gift from his Uncle Nic who had bought after it got great reviews in the newspaper in Sydney. It has the sweetest storyline and the cutest illustrations and if you are ever in the market to buy a lovely children's book, you couldn't go far wrong with this one!

The basic plot is that Henry, a little boy who already has 27 varieties of frog, is in the market for the Perfect Pet. He thinks a dog would make the perfect pet, so he advertises in the local paper, and waits.

Far, far away lives a lonely duck with no name. He never receives letters, phone calls or emails, and goes to the movies, plays ping-pong and watches the sun rise and set all on his own. He opens up the newspaper and sees the advertisement and decides that if he could pass as a dog, he could have a friend at last. So after creating the perfect disguise, he sets off to met the boy.

Henry is so happy to meet the dog, but all too soon it becomes apparent that his dog isn't very good at doing 'dog' tricks like catching balls, and instead of running after Henry, he can only waddle, then he slips and the the disguise falls off.

The duck is so distraught and sad and admits to Henry that he is not a dog, that he is 'just a duck'. However, Henry carries the duck home and gives the duck a bath and a cup of tea. He then makes a list of all the wonderful things a duck is good at, and decides that, in fact, a duck is actually the Perfect Pet for him.

I am not at all ashamed to admit tears well up in my eyes every time I read this story!

09 February 2010

Recipe: It makes you think

So here we are, a month into our WW regime (that's Weight Watchers for those not up with the jargon!), and well on our way to acheiving our goals of losing about 5kg each.

The fact we have both done so well thus far can be put down to two things. Firstly, we're BOTH doing it, so one doesn't have to watch the other pigging out on chocolate and chips whilst the other suffers in silence with green tea and fruit! Secondly, we are both somewhat (cough!) competitive and can't stand to see the other person getting ahead, so this has proven to be as good an incentive as any! I wonder if this competitive streak has anything to do with being born on the same day?!

Anyway, I digress.

We (read: Mark) made this totally amazing low-point cake on the weekend that is super delissimo and has been gobbled up. Not one bite left only 3 days later.

It's a Carrot, Zucchini and Pineapple Cake, and we found it in the WW Secrets of Success recipe book. In fact, it's the same book that Mark contributed 3 of his own recipes to as the Australasian Male Weight Watcher of the Year 2006 (after losing an amazing 27.8 kg in one year).

Sadly, I can't see us ever making the Jamie Oliver Carrot Cake with Marscapone Cream Cheese Icing ever again, not when this cake tastes so good and is so darn healthy by comparison!

At only 2 points per slice (including icing) it really is a winner. To put that into perspective, here's what else 2 WW points can get you:
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 4 apples
  • 1 small glass of wine
  • Not even one sausage
  • Not even one 20g slice of cheese
And here's the recipe:

Carrot, Pineapple & Zucchini cake
Olive oil spray
WW or Golden Canola Lite Spread 1/4 cup (50g)
Caster sugar 1/2 cup (105g)
Egg 1, lightly beaten
Eggwhite 1
Crushed pineapple in juice 1/2 a can (we just put pineapple slices in juice and blended them)
Carrot 1 medium peeled and grated
Zucchini 1 medium trimmed and grated
Self-raising flour 1 3/4 cups (210g) sifted
Baking soda 1 tsp
Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
Ground nutmeg 1 tsp

Cream Cheese Frosting
Light cream cheese 125g
Icing sugar 1/4 cup (40g) sifted
Lemon juice 1 tsp
  1.  Preheat oven to 180C. Spray a 22cm square or 20cm round cake tin with oil. Line base and sides with baking paper
  2. Using electric mixer, beat canola spread and caster sugar until light and creamy. Gradually add combined egg and eggwhite, beating until combined. Stir in pineapple, carrot and zucchini. Stir in the sifted flour, baking soda and spices.
  3. Spoon cake misture into pan, smooth surface. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and cooked when tested with skewer. Leave in tin to cool.
  4. Make cream cheese frosting. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Beat in juice. Spread frosting over top of cake.
Number of serves: 16. Points per serve: 2. Un-iced cake also suitable to freeze.


08 February 2010

My new mate

My new mate is furry and red.

He giggles and says funny things like 'Yippee-kai-yay'.

Here we are just hanging on the couch together.

Here I am...about to give him a knuckle sandwich, he looks a bit terrified of me.

And here we are, both amused by something funny he has just said.

Patience pays

Several times a year the Capital Trout Centre runs a Childrens Fishing Day. Sunday was the second time Noah has been along, last time he went with Dad it was a bitterly cold southerly during October - our coldest  in about 60 years. Yesterday, although the sun wasn't really shining it was warm and definitely NOT wintry.

The fishing days are so popular with kids around the region that you have to book an hour's timeslot, ours being 12pm-1pm along with a few of Noah's other daycare friends. Once you have registered on arrival, you then wait till your number is called to take your place with one of the volunteer anglers who spends the day helping all the kids get their catch. They had recently brought in 400 new fish from Taupo, so there were plenty available for the day.

However, it really is a matter of luck, this catching fish business! Some children get their fish within a matter of minutes, yesterday they ranged in size from 500g to 2kg. Our fish however, proved to be pretty elusive for the better part of half an hour, but Noah never complained, he waited so patiently. In the end, it required two anglers working on our behalf to bring one in. They just didn't want to bite on the first line, and when we did get one on the second line, he made off with the fly. In the end though, our persistence paid off and Noah had himself a 770g beauty which we brought home and cooked up into trout sammies for lunch.

It is a wonderful experience for young kids who do not live near real trout fishing areas to enjoy. And it's also a great use for an otherwise nondescript piece of land at the rubbish dump. And it can only go ahead thanks to the generosity of the flyfishing club who put on each such open day. Nice one.

04 February 2010

In love with...

Karori Park. Why have I not been there before! Apparently it's Wellington's largest sports field with an awesome stretch of lush green grass, and it was given a major upgrade by the council in 2007. The park is nestled in the heart of Karori, amid surrounding hills and mountains which add picturesque beauty to the place. The two half-mile tracks that run side by side along the periphery of the park invite joggers, brisk walkers and children on bicycles to do a round while others can enjoy the bright green field. The park's ample parking space, cafe, children's play area and restrooms contribute to making this place ideal for an outing.

Today was sunny, a little windy, and after baking some date scones and playing Noah's new 'Surf's Up' interactive game this morning, I decided we should get out and enjoy the sunshine for an hour this afternoon. I've recently put Mylo's stroller upright so he was able to look out on the world, which he did contentedly as we wound our  way round the park.

Noah enjoyed riding down some of the slopes on the edge of the track, spotting the stream occasionally as it meandered alongside the track, and watching the toi toi's blowing in the southerly breeze. The playground is also great to wile away more time, with swings, a small slide, stepping stones, a rotating wheel and even a flying fox (although we didn't have time to try this out).

The cafe looked good too, and we definitely plan to come back and sample the fare on another day where we can enjoy sitting outdoors in such nice surroundings.


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