Stella Turns 3!

A lot can happen in two weeks. Sorry for the dearth of blog posts. I’ve been a bit derailed by life. More on that later. First, the fun stuff.

My first baby turned 3 years old last week! She is such a big girl now. She is so tall and SO smart. We had our first visit with our homeopath, Debbie, last week. Miss Debbie is pretty amazing. She has practiced homeopathy for 15 years but is also a R.N., having studied at a top school in London and is even a certified Montessori teacher! I pretty much love her and Stella does, too (Phill, of course, still has one eyebrow raised, but he’s coming around). She told us Stella was very advanced for her age, especially with her language expression and comprehension, and that Stella should immediately be enrolled in a dance class as she has the charm and personality fit for the stage. My poppa saw this from the minute he met her because he nicknamed her, “Tilly the Entertainer.” Pop, you were spot on!!

The morning of Stella’s birthday, she was surprised with a massive pile of prezzies and cards from family and friends.

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Princess Stella

Princess Stella

She got some amazing gifts. She is very into princess things, as you can see. And Peppa Pig. And she got her first bike! A princess bike, naturally.

After prezzies, it was off to her birthday brekkie!

Sassafrass and Budga

Sassafrass and Budga

Just too cool.

Just too cool.

We went to one our favorite spots, Hemingways with our nanny Diana (she’s amazing) and our friends Jill, Natalie and Nate. Stella had her birthday babycino and gluten-free toast with jam. She spreads the jam on all by herself!

After brekkie, we happened upon some face painting in the Corso.

 

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Afterwards, Stella, Diana and Budga made beautiful mosaic princess crowns. If Budga were writing this part, she would want you to know Stella was of no help at all and that she and Diana were tasked with the job. Hired help! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just kidding, Budg.

 

Thanks Jerretta for the awesome bday prezzie!

Thanks Jerretta for the awesome bday prezzie!

 

Meanwhile, this dude was busy pulling up on EVERYTHING.

 

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Anyway, back to the birthday girl.

 

The next day was Saturday and we had a low-key (versus years past) birthday party at our place.

 

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We had over Stella’s friends Nate, Natalie, Mila, Kaden & Scarlett. It was our first official party at our place! And, in keeping with true Aussie barbie style, we made sure to serve sausages (Aussie speak: snags) and grilled onions.

 

I’m so glad Stella had an amazing birthday. When we realized we would be here in Oz for Stella’s 3rd birthday, I worried it wouldn’t be any kind of affair. Not that it needed to be, but, you know… I wanted to have a celebration. Wanted her to feel the love and experience the joy in a gathering of people there to celebrate HER. Thank you, Maureen, Buntings, Coviches and Swilleys for making our girl feel like a real birthday princess.

The Simpsons are Down Under – G’Day Y’all!

So, here we are. Halfway around the world. Pretty surreal!

We left Texas almost one week ago but it feels like a lifetime has passed. Our new home, Manly, Australia, is a bustling seaside suburb of Sydney. It’s surrounded on three sides by water and has 18 ocean beaches. It’s winter here now, with Spring approaching. But even winter temps are lovely. Highs near 70 and sunny most days!

It’s an odd feeling, leaving home and starting a new life in a foreign country. It still feels like we are vacation, to be honest.ย The kids have taken well to the change. Stella has loved getting to see her daddy every day. And both of them love all the walking we’re doing. There are children and prams (strollers) everywhere! Manly is such a kid-friendly place.

Since we arrived we have spent lots of time with our dear friends, the Buntings. Phill and Kyle worked together years ago at Message One and then with Dell after they were acquired. Phill is pretty happy to be back in the same town as his buddy. And I am pretty happy that his buddy has such a lovely wife! Jill has been instrumental in making us feel welcome and keeping me from losing my mind. We are really very lucky to have fellow former Austinites to lend a helping hand.

We are currently staying in a serviced apartment (thanks Dell!) so our first Saturday was spent house hunting. The way the rental market works here is a bit funny. You are allowed to “inspect” the properties two days a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The inspections last for a mere 15 minutes (sometimes 20) and you are “inspecting” along with everyone else. We toured four different apartments and loved two of them. We submitted our applications and held our breath. You pay by the week here so we offered just a bit more than asking. The agents will review the applications and then make a recommendation to the owner as to which applicant they believe is the best candidate.

On to the pictures! Our flight over was really not bad at all. It’s a night flight and Stella slept 10 of the 15 hours. Declan did not earn any sleeping awards, that’s for sure. But overall, he slept about 10 hours as well. Phill and I were lucky enough to get about 5. Qantas Airlines is the nicest airline I’ve ever flown! I swear that economy on Qantas is nicer than first on American. Choice of dinner entree, four wine selections and beer, too. Not to mention the crew was incredibly nice and eager to make our experience the best possible. Here are some of my favorite snapshots from the flight over.

My sleepy family

My sleepy family

Declan actually sleeping (!) in the bassinet on the plane

Declan actually sleeping (!) in the bassinet on the plane

iPad = Lifesaver

iPad = Lifesaver

Delirious and silly outside of Customs

Delirious and silly outside of Customs

And, WE’RE HERE!! Hello Manly Beach!

Manly Beach is our backyard!

Manly Beach is our backyard!

Off she goes....

Off she goes….

Sharks at the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary

Sharks at the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary

Peek-a-boo sharks!

Peek-a-boo sharks!

Our first official Aussie barbie! Thanks Buntings!

Our first official Aussie barbie! Thanks Buntings!

Rapunzel, Snow White & Ariel (aka Natalie, Stella & Mila)

Rapunzel, Snow White & Ariel (aka Natalie, Stella & Mila)

Awaiting the ferry into Sydney

Awaiting the ferry into Sydney

Simpsons & the Sydney Opera House

Simpsons & the Sydney Opera House

Gorgeous

Gorgeous

Stella & Nate bonding & the Harbour Bridge

Stella & Nate bonding & the Harbour Bridge

Lastly, two pics from today.

As Phill went back to work this morning, it was just me and the kids today. I took them to the Manly Library for Preschool Story Time. It lasted a full hour and really kept Stella’s attention! At the end was a craft and she eagerly participated. Afterwards we went to my new favorite spot, Pure Wholefoods, for lunch.

Thank goodness there's only one!

Thank goodness there’s only one. Don’t think the world is big enough for two Stellas!

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Sweet little six month old.

Darling little Declan… He had a rough day thanks to teething. I checked out his gums this morning and those white buds are just beneath the surface. In true Declan style, he smiles while he’s crying!

Coming up the rest of this week we plan to find Target (YES), shop the Sydney markets, join Jill and Nate for a playdate, head to the library again and, on Saturday, Jill and I are having a GIRL DATE in the city. No husbands and, more importantly, NO KIDS. Very excited!

Until next time, I wish you G’day…

P.S. YES, I know my blog is lame. Bear with me as I navigate WordPress. ๐Ÿ™‚