Thursday, January 26, 2012

Advance Australia Fair!

January 26th was Australia Day. We celebrated with a trip to the swimming pool. Eliot practiced some of the skills he's been picking up in his swimming lessons. Peter enjoyed cooling off in the pool and spent some quality time with Daddy in the shade while Eliot and I went to the big pool and did some jumping off the side and catching respectively.

Later in the evening we drove up to the church building to meet up with some friends and watch the fireworks. Our church is at the top of a hill and has a great view of the city. Unpredicted storm clouds came rolling in, however, and as the rain began to fall we took the boys and high-tailed it home before the fireworks began. It made me sad because I'd talked up the fireworks to Eliot and he kept asking where they were going to "go boom in the sky." After I put Peter to bed I noticed that we could just see the fireworks (which did not get rained out) from our windows. So Eliot stood on a chair and caught a glimpse of his first fireworks. I think next year he and Peter will both be better prepared to enjoy them more fully. And hopefully it won't rain.

Eliot found a really cool stick while we were waiting for our friends and watching the storm. So the trip was not a total loss :)

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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Boys

The other day my mother sent me an email asking for an update on what the boys are doing right now. I'd been intending to do an EFG (Especially for Grandparents) post anyway so I thought this would be a good time to share some of the new little tricks our little Eliot and Peter are up to. (Note: some of the pictures match up with what I've written about and some of them just show other things the boys are doing these days.)

Motor Skills:

Eliot thinks jumping is the greatest thing ever. He still loves trampolines, but now he loves to jump off of things. The side of a pool, a stool, a chair, the couch, you name it, he's probably jumped off of it (or at least thought about jumping off of it).

Peter has officially moved into the crawling phase and enjoys exploring the apartment. He especially loves getting into the shower. He has started to pull himself up on the couch and enjoys climbing up and over Eliot's step stool. Sometimes when Eliot is still on it.


Peter is still at the age when the quality of a book is based primarily on its mouthfeel. There is one board book in particular that he enjoys. He, of course, loves to chew on it, but if you can pry it's pages apart he also enjoys looking through it because there's a little mirror at the end that he can smile into.

Eliot loves to be read to. His favorites are too numerous to be listed, but some of the titles he is currently into are Winnie the Pooh, Bats at the Beach, and anything by Dr Seuss. He will also sit for a few pages of more advanced tomes like Little House on the Prairie or Wind in the Willows.


It amazes me how much Eliot's use of language has developed even since we arrived here. His sentences are more complex, "Mama get the phone please" and he's experimenting more with subtlety, "Mama watch little bit Curious George?" His phone skills have come a long way as well.

Peter loves to squeal and make a variety of noises. And of course he loves to giggle.


Peter has a strange and compelling fascination with our cordless phone. Whenever he sees it his eyes widen, his little feet kick in excitement, he trembles all over and he clutches at it beseechingly. Once you give it to him he enjoys pushing the buttons and hearing it beep until you eventually have to persuade him to give it up. And when I say 'persuade' I of course mean pry it from his firm grip. He also enjoys rummaging through this and that, and trying to play with whatever Eliot is playing with at any given moment.

Eliot still loves Yellow Bear above all others. He is also fascinated by the way things work and fit together. He 'helped' us assemble the fans that we purchased. He also 'helped' with his crib when it arrived. He likes to pull apart and reassemble his little toys, and I'm sometimes amazed at what he's able to figure out. When we were visiting with some friends they brought out a contraption that held soap for blowing bubbles. Eliot was far more interested in puzzling out the contraption than with blowing any bubbles.

(I love that they're making the same face.)


Eliot loves his swimming lessons. He also enjoys trips to the beach, to the library, to the grocery store and to the park. He must walk but does a good job of holding hands or holding on to the stroller. When he gets tired he'll ride in the stroller and snuggle Yellow Bear.

Peter is pretty much just along for the ride. He seems to enjoy any outing that involves air conditioning. The beach is nice as long as it's not too windy and he can relax on a blanket in the shade of an umbrella. On hot afternoons I take the boys to a wading pool that's shaded with a canopy. Peter loves splashing in the cool water. He's a good sport.

All in all our little boys are doing well and getting bigger every day. Even with the challenges and frustrations, they are delightful little guys and we love them.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A web like a spider's web

When I was a kid, attending Girls' Camp with my church friends, we would sing a song called Spider's Web that had a rather lovely chorus (for a camp song) that went like this:

There's a web like a spider's web

Made of silk and light and shadow,

Spun by the moon in my room at night.

It's a web made to catch a dream,

Hold it tight 'till I awaken.

As if to tell me that dreamin's alright.

Most of you know that the idea of encountering big spiders occupied my thoughts leading up to our move to Australia. And filled me with dread. Everyone I talked to who'd been to Australia, or knew someone who'd been to Australia, had at least one hair-raising story to share. It turns out that none of those people had been to, or known someone who'd been to, Perth. Apparently Perth is the one city in Australia where they don't have big spiders all over the place. So, much to my relief, we haven't yet come across any scary spiders. However...

The spider webs that you find around here are just about the creepiest things I've seen. It's like the spiders that are out there are launching some kind of psychological warfare. These are not the lovely creations that photographers like to hunt up on dewy mornings. These are sinister, fibrous messes. The kinds of webs I'd expect to see in a haunted house. And they're all over the place. I wouldn't want to see the kind of dream these things would catch.

All in all though, I'm very happy that the spider situation is not what I'd feared. The cockroaches on the other hand...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Borrowed House

This afternoon the boys and I went to visit our friends, the Sheleys. We were dropping off a pack n play and a couple air mattresses that we'd borrowed from them back when our apartment was bare. Eliot was excited about the visit, but that's because I told him we were going to visit our friends at the Borrowed House. The Sheleys were the family who lent us their home and car way back when we were still so new (or at least more new than we are now) to Australia, and their home holds a lot of memories for our little family. Diane (Sheley) invited us to stay for a swim in the pool, so we packed the suits and the sunscreen and had a great time. Peter was happy to hang out with me in the shallow water on the steps. But Eliot donned a life vest and enjoyed leaping into the water unassisted over and over again. Needless to say he devoured his supper, snuggled quietly for the reading of one book, and fell asleep the moment his head hit his pillow.

Visiting the home, however, reminded me of the good times we had there and the fun photos we snapped of the boys that never made it onto the blog. So here's a little look back at some of our adventures at the Borrowed House.

Encounters with wildlife.
Story and snuggles in a big bed with heaps of blankets.
Eliot spoon feeding Peter.
Eliot honing his stacking skills.
Peter starting to scoot.
Eliot helping Daddy clean the pool.

Peter enjoying the shade. He's helping with the pool cleaning in a supervisory position.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Visiting the Kangaroos

It's sort of funny to me that we tasted kangaroo before glimpsing any since we arrived here. The other day we decided it was finally time to go pay our respects to one of Australia's most recognized animals. We had heard that there was a cemetery a short drive out of town where wild kangaroos like to hang out and where people like to go and see them. We were told (only half jokingly) that on any given day there are probably more people there to see the kangaroos than to visit the graves. It seemed a little ghoulish, but we decided to take a little family drive and see for ourselves. I half expected to have to sort of sneak a peek on the sly. You know, walking slowly among the tombstones with hooded eyes. Pretending to read the epitaphs while keeping watch out of the corner of an eye for kangaroos. It turns out the cemetery was very welcoming with regards to kangaroo watching and even had signage providing all kinds of information, like you'd see at a zoo. The grave markers were all flat on the ground, so looking out across the ground at the kangaroos you didn't even know they were there. There were kangaroos aplenty and several mother kangaroos with their little Joeys in tow (a baby kangaroo on the move is pretty darn cute, I'm not sure why I was surprised that they made little miniature leaps). Our boys weren't as impressed with the animals as we'd hoped (especially when Eliot realized he couldn't approach and pet them) and the visit was short-lived. But I think we'll be going back at some point during our tenure here.