Friday, June 22, 2012


Jonathan had absolutely no use for "tummy time" until a little over a month ago, when he saw his buddy, Sage, crawling. He watched her in total awe and wonder. Since then he has been on an awfully tenacious mission to master the crawl. We're so happy for his growth and development... but it has it's drawbacks.

Now he falls. A lot.

His crawl mission started with a face-first launch onto the floor from a sitting position. We have a tile floor, but we were pretty good at keeping him on the rug so the damage from such sudden launches was minimal.

His first big fall was, as luck would have it, on Mother's Day. Happy first Mother's Day, Katie! Each morning he sits on the bed and watches me do my hair. That Sunday was no different. Fabio was still asleep in the middle of the bed, and Jonathan sat by his side happily playing. I turned around to check the back of my hair and heard a "CRACK!" followed by a split second of silence while I whipped around and then a heart-wrenching cry. Sure enough, he had managed to launch himself completely off the bed in his attempt to crawl. I snatched him up, held him close, showered him with kisses, but he still cried (and so did I). We gave him tylenol, he still cried. Fabio took him in his great big hands, read him his favorite book, and he started to calm down. I asked Google, "Should I go to the doctor when my baby falls off the bed?" She said probably not, but after talking to Fabio we decided that we would both feel a lot better and a lot less like the horrible parents we felt like at the time if we took him to get checked. A lot of benefit for the $40 clinic fee.

So we  called our friends to take our church assignments for us, and headed to the 24-hour clinic. The nurses were so sympathetic and sweet. When the doctor first picked up J, he snatched the man's stethoscope, grabbed for his glasses, and launched forward in another crawl attempt. The doctor smiled and said, "If he's that curious and playful, I think he's fine." But he still did a very thorough check and confirmed his original hunch, then urged us to "be more careful." Well, it's a good thing he said that, because I wasn't feeling horrible enough before and I probably wasn't going to behave any differently. Sheesh! I know, I know... what else can he really say, but still!

The poor little fella had quite the mark to show for the ordeal.

The clinic waiting room at 9 am on Sunday morning. 
He is so sweet!

Sure enough, the next day was his monthly check up, so I had to explain the whole thing to his pediatrician who double-checked him (which I appreciated) and then looked at me and said, "Well you need to be more careful." Sigh.

After the doctor's appointment we went to the grocery store, and as I paid Jonathan decided to announce that he could now tip over his infant stroller by launching forward and doing just that. The stroller flew forward, he bonked that poor little head on the stroller's handle, and thank GOODNESS there was someone behind me in line that caught him just before he hit the ground. I gathered him up, wiped away more tears, put the groceries in the stroller and the baby on my hip, and thanked the man behind me for his help. He smiled, stroked Jonathan's head, turned to me and said, "You should really be more careful." At this point I developed a complex and thought maybe there is a reason everyone is telling me to be more careful...

Anyway, it was an eventful start to Jonathan's new-found mobility. I did, in fact, learn to be more careful. We bought a bedrail, I cleaned out the store by our house of all their baby floor pads, and started using the "big boy" stroller. But that hasn't slowed down the steady flow of "bonks" that seem to rain down on our house. He is so active and so wiggly... and he learns something new every day (some days it feels like every hour). Last week he was playing in his crib while I cleaned up his room when he pulled himself up, looked over the edge at the long drop, then looked at me with a sparkle in his eye and a big smile as if to say, "Ooo... that looks dangerous." I picked him up, put him on the floor, and told Fabio to move down the crib mattress.

Before I was pregnant a woman told me about her now-adult son who, when he was two years old, she found hanging with both hands from one of the living room's ceiling fan paddles as it slowly rotated, with a big smile on his face. To this day, she has no idea how he got there. I keep telling myself that if he managed to make it to adulthood and finish college, then maybe my death-wish baby will too.

Here's hoping!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sydney, Australia

We wrapped up our trip in Sydney, which turns out to be all it's cracked up to be. We loved the funky charm of Circular Quay, the grandeur of the opera house, the beauty of Manly beach... well, we just loved Sydney.

Fabio surprised me by booking a suite with this view from the bedroom balcony.
What a surprise!

The Sydney Zoo is on a steep hill on the harbor, with a ferry stop right at the entrance. 
We rode the gondola to the top and walked down the hill back to the ferry, 
admiring all the animals on the way down. Jonathan was really excited to be at the Zoo.

We up-cycled a game my Mom played with me called "Rose Bud" to be more manly.
Now it's called "Blast Off," but it still involves Jonathan putting his head down and then looking up on cue (with an enormous grin, of course) as I pull his arms into the air.
Love him.

We rode the ferry to Manly Beach...

... where Jonathan and Fabio watched airplanes and clouds.

We couldn't get enough of the Opera House. It is stunning--at night, during the day, close up, from a distant window or ferry--just stunning.

And we went whale watching, checking something else off my bucket list.
Fabio is burning through this list pretty fast these days... I'm going to have to make a sequel.

Mommy and baby humpbacks swimming together... 
Like a giant version of Jonathan and I. 

As cliche as it is to say this, the whole trip seems like a dream now. And even though I found myself waking up the morning of our flight to Singapore thinking, "No! Just a few more days! It can't be over so soon," I couldn't have scripted a more perfect ending.

Going to Australia was really mind-opening for Fabio and I. Neither of us ever dreamed of going to Australia or yearned to see Sydney, like many people do. We both thought, "Sure, it would be cool," but neither of us intended to save our pennies for the trip with a magazine picture on the fridge. (We do have one or two of those, though...) But I'm so happy to took the opportunity to go! We loved Australia and I wouldn't hesitate to go back. Now we wonder what else is out that that we have no idea how much we'll love...

Whatever it is, if we love it as much as we did our time Down Under, I can't wait to discover it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Road Trip, Australia

Along the south-eastern coast of Australia, the Great Ocean Road runs along the seaside from small town to small town, lighthouse to lighthouse. We took several days to drive it, taking our time and staying at little beach and lighthouse cottages along the way.

We thought this sign was really silly the first time we saw it,
but then we almost hit a truck because we were driving on the wrong side of the road.

To describe the drive as picturesque would be an understatement. Every few miles we would stop to enjoy a view like this:

Or this:

Or to play on a beach like this:

Or to see a koala family sleeping in a tree by the side of the road:

One particular koala was so low in the tree that we could have rubbed noses (don't worry, we didn't). We pulled over and eagerly got Jonathan out of the car to see it. They stared at each other for a while, but Jonathan decided the eucalyptus tree was much more interesting than the koala. He grabbed a fist full of leaves and promptly put them in his mouth. The koala watched J eat his dinner, glared at him, and started to growl! We had no idea koalas were so possessive about dinner... We put J back in his car seat, Fabio took a few more pictures, and we continued the journey.

Sometimes we just slept in and watched crazy birds we've never heard of before run around through the cottages' windows. Jonathan probably could have sat and watched them the entire trip.

We eventually turned off the Great Ocean Road and headed north, to the mountainous Grampians National Park. We thought we might hike a little but it was freezing, so we were content with the "scenic lookouts" accessible by car. They were breathtaking, and we were satisfied. We even saw some aboriginal art in a cave on our way out of the park, which I thought was cool, Fabio thought was boring, and Jonathan tried to eat more eucalyptus leaves.

Fabio having a dramatic moment at a Grampians look-out

My favorite view of the trip

Bunjil's Cave, with a drawing of Bunjil.
That's about all we got out of the park ranger.

After that we stopped at a wildlife park in Ballarat. The kangaroos roam free in the park and they know you get food for them with your admission, so they wait for you at the park entrance and follow you around like spoiled dogs through the park until you feed them. We watched one steal a banana peel out of one lady's backpack while she was looking at the wombats! One mama kangaroo even let me feed her little joey while he sat in her pouch. It was definitely a pinch-myself-because-this-can't-really-be-happening moment.

Jonathan got a little jealous.
He thinks he has exclusive rights to being hand-fed by me.

The park was great. It was obvious the employees loved the animals and they were taking excellent care of them, but they weren't so protective that it took away from the experience. They brought out a koala for people to pet if they wanted, and they even let Jonathan pet her. He is really into textures right now, and so he grabbed on with gusto. He came away with a fist full of koala hair that we brushed out of his hand as fast as we could before the keeper could notice. Poor koalas! We imagine they're still talking about that baby that came to Australia and wreaked havoc on their entire race for two weeks...

Fabio was completely enamored with the wombats, so they let him pet one too!

We finished the trip in Finley. What? You've never heard of Finley? That's because it is a tiny farming community four hours "outbush," as they say, in the middle of Australia.

Okay... so why did you go there?

I'm so glad you asked! While serving my mission to Rochester, New York (many moons ago) I was paired with a sister from Australia, Jessica, for several months. I was her first companion in the mission-field and she rocked my socks off. She was committed, hard working, and hilarious. We had a great time working together. We thought we'd never see each other again, since I was from a small town in Utah and she was from a small town in Australia... but we kept in touch and: Voila! My very loving husband drove four hours out of his way to spend a couple days with her and her husband.

We had a great time with her and her family. She and her husband were such gracious hosts, they didn't even mention to us that we were staying with them during their FIRST ANNIVERSARY until we asked how long they'd been married! We went to church with them, had family dinner with her dad, siblings, nieces, and nephews, and she let me come with her to the early morning seminary class she taught. It was the perfect ending to our road trip, to be completely enveloped into an Australian family for two days. Oh, how we'll miss them!

 Their adorable church building

The best part of the trip was having both my boys all to myself to play and laugh together without distractions. I just love those two!

This is proof... we were really there!
Because you know, you can't fake a kangaroo crossing sign.

After all the driving fun, we went back to Melbourne to catch our flight to Sydney to top off the trip of a lifetime.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Melbourne, Australia

Fabio was invited to present at a conference in Melbourne, Australia last month. Jonathan and I invited ourselves to tag along, and we made a trip out of it. After all, one free ticket a vacation makes! We spent 16 days down under, which flew by all too quickly. We found ourselves wanting to go back again even before we left. For those of you who care (read, our moms) here's the highlights:

Brrrrr. First of all, it was freezing. We probably would have been in heaven if we had come from the U.S., but we came from the equator and we thought we were going to freeze to death the first couple days until we finally acclimated. Thankfully I thought to bring a couple jackets and a fluffy blanket for Jonathan.

Lions are J's new favorite thing. We started the trip in Melbourne and while Fabio conferenced, J and I hit the zoo. Jonathan discovered lions and now he is in love. The enclosure had three young male lions and they were quite the show-offs. We watched them for almost 20 minutes, and Jonathan would have watched longer but I got tired from standing.

Aussie-Rules Football is J's new least-favorite thing. Fabio and Jonathan surprised me for Mother's Day with tickets to an Aussie-rules football game at Melbourne Cricket Ground for our trip. We met up before hand with our friends, the Moores, for dinner since they were also in Melbourne and going to the same game. As we walked from dinner to the game, who did we run into but... Elmo himself playing the trumpet! Who knew he lived in Melbourne?!?

Jonathan is not impressed. He smells an impostor.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground is incredible. Huge is an understatement, and everyone there is so excited to be there. We went to a particularly intense game (the two teams from the finals last year, the Cats and the Pies), and the crowd was deafening. Which brings us to why Jonathan regretted his Mother's Day gift. Each time someone would score, or foul, or miss, or fall, the crown would erupt, Jonathan would get scared, and this would happen:

We covered his ears and I held him close, which helped a little. The people sitting behind us realized that Jonathan would get especially scared when they booed. There they were all dressed up in Cats gear with their faces painted and when the Pies scored, they started to boo, saw Jonathan's face and smiled and clapped. Which calmed Jonathan down to on the verge of tears. It was so sweet and kind of them. I really believe Australians are the nicest people we have ever met.

It was electric to be in such a passionate crowd, and we had a great time. The people sitting next to us explained the rules of the game, and everyone did everything they could to help Jonathan, but when it became obvious nothing short of leaving would make the poor fellow feel better, we couldn't stay for longer than two quarters and feel like good parents. As we left the stadium he let out a big sigh and fell asleep. He really is the best baby.

Aussie Food is my new favorite thing. In particular, veggie pies and hedge-hog slices. If you go to Australia you MUST have one of each. Ooooooh... my mouth is literally watering now as I upload the pictures.

St. Kilda Pier, a funky little beach and pier, was absolutely gorgeous at sunset. We went on a whim for our last night in Melbourne, and I'm so glad we did.

Phillips Island is a little island about an hour and a half southeast of Melbourne, and home to a giant community of the world's smallest penguins, less than a foot tall. Each night right after sunset, literally thousands of tiny penguins come in from the sea with full bellies. They hop along the beach and up the hill to their little homes and the Australian parks department has set up a stadium and a board walk so you can watch them. They don't allow photography to protect the little guys' eyes, so I must borrow from the internet for a visual.

It is one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. The boardwalk follows one of their little "highways" and so we just walked alongside them until one by one they veered off to their respective homes. Jonathan has the vision of a T-Rex (if you don't move, he doesn't see you) so he really appreciated this wildlife encounter. He was completely and totally mesmerized watching them waddle along, less than a foot away from him.

We had to chuckle when we parked under this sign. That's really how small they are!

There was also a koala reserve on the island, where we saw our first koalas of the trip. That's right. We saw a lot more later. 

And I fed wallabies and kangaroos--so touristy and cliche, but who cares? It was still awesome! We basically pinched ourselves the whole two weeks every time something like this would happen.



Then we pack up and started on our great Australian road trip...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Grandma's and Grandpa's House

Jonathan and I did survive the great 30 hours of travel back to Fabio and Singapore, largely thanks to all the people praying for us (including several random strangers who met us at airports along the way, couldn't believe how far we were traveling and promptly declared that they would pray for us all day). Thanks everyone!

Our visit was absolutely wonderful. I loved seeing family and friends from college, work, even childhood. It was also a highlight to drive my parent's car, and of course to shop, shop, shop. Most of all, though, I enjoyed watching my mom and dad be grandparents and my house become Grandma and Grandpa's house. Jonathan loved all the things to see and play with. Grandpa even gave him an old remote control of his very own so he wouldn't get jealous while they watched TV together. (Before that, Jonathan kept taking the working remote out of Grandpa's hands, causing complete channel-changing chaos.) They also liked to go outside together look at the trees and flowers in the yard, often coming in with a surprise for Mommy or Grandma.

Grandma brought some of my old toys up from the basement for J. It was fun to remember the toys, and then to watch Jonathan play with them, loving completely different ones than my favorites when I was his age. Grandma is so cute with Jonathan. I love watching them sit on the floor and play together. It brings back a rush of sweet memories from my own childhood.

What surprised me the most was to feel the change personally, as well. The house felt like a Grandma's and Grandpa's house, with a yard full of adventures, fun old toys, lots of stuff to admire and look at, and all the delicious treats and snacks someone could hope for. Mom and Dad were Grandma and Grandpa. It was so natural to call them by their new titles, you would think I'd called them that my whole life. They live up to them very well. Grandpa tells stories and tickles, Grandma plays games and sings songs. We already miss them (and their house) like crazy and we can't wait to see them again... whenever that will be.

Friday, June 1, 2012


These two were thrilled to be reunited when we got back from the U.S. on May 4.

Jonathan was so excited, he started saying his first word that night:

Now his favorite usage is early in the morning, when he's awake and playful and Fabio is still asleep. He looks at Fabio and starts with a whisper "Dadda. Dadda. Dadadda," getting a little louder each time if Fabio doesn't wake up. Eventually he'll escalate up to a deafening yell, "DADDA! DAADDAA! DAADDAAA!" Until Fabio wakes up and plays with him, and he goes back to the normal volume he's using in the video.

It's the most effective alarm clock Fabio has ever had. How could anyone resist this little cutie calling for them, even at 5:00 in the morning?