House & Home | Lounge #2

I have waited a long time for our very own lounge to decorate and I have loved piecing together the bits and bobs in this room. It’s cosy, bright, comfy and Ethan friendly. I’m in love with this room.
Truth be told, I only sat down in this room for the first time tonight for more than 30 seconds. I find it hard to sit still. I sat and sat and watched tv and didn’t get out of the lazy boy for almost 2 hours. It was mine and it was lovely.

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Holiday | SeaWorld Orlando

After all of the trouble I had getting back to America {read here} and the excitement of THE Wedding {read here} we were ready for some down time.  Of course Orlando is never going to be a lay-by-the-pool, doze off, super-relaxing holiday spot, but we knew we would have some much needed Jack time and just be US!

Anyone who meets Ethan for even five minutes will know that SeaWorld was simply a no-brainer for our little family.  Dave and I have dreamed of taking him there since he was 2 years old and he wore out his first Finding Nemo DVD.  The allure of the ocean has never faded, nor has his love for the creatures that live there.

We weren’t let down in the slightest, which is pretty amazing considering there were 5 years + of expectations to live up to.  The park itself was beautiful, smoke free and easy to navigate.  We never had to wait in line longer than 15 minutes {and that was only once}.  We quickly figured out that going Single Rider eliminates all wait times.  We were also there mid-week and at the very end of summer vacation, so it was just an all round score!

Ethan fed sharks and stingrays, we sat in the splash zones at the Orca and Dolphin shows, I got to see my beloved Beluga whales and we stumbled into every feeding in the whole park – with no crowds.  The rides were amazing, E was still too short for the two big roller coasters, which was just fine by him, so Dave and I took turns braving those.  We did and saw everything there was to do and hopped on the bus to head to Wet ‘n Wild around 6pm.

We had planned a night visit to this legend water park for two reasons; the first being that out trip was slap bang in the middle of summer so any water park was going to be nuts during the day, secondly, admission is half price after 5pm.  Yes we are cheap.  We arrived at the entry at 7pm.  We had two hours until closing and after some discussion decided to charge it.  Such a wicked decision.  We ran around that park like mad people, we ran between all of the slides and managed to ride EVERYTHING with time to spare for about 5 laps along the lazy river before the park closed at 9pm.  We and a blast.  90% of the rides are raft rides so we could all ride together which just mad everything that much more special.  E was such a trooper, he must have been exhausted but he loved every second of our time there and was definitely braver than I.  He took great pleasure in watching my discomfort as I emerged from the pool after the scariest slide in the park {he went first of course and declared it the best thing ever!}.

Our first day in O-Town was ridiculously fun and equal parts exhausting.

SeaWorld Orlando

Shamu

Shamu

Shamu

Shark Jaw

Dipping Dots

Dolphin

Dolphins SeaWorld

Sea Turtle SeaWorld

Ethan Aquarium SeaWorld

Alligator Gar SeaWorld

Dave and Ethan

Manatees at SeaWorld

Ethan and Dolphins

Dave and Dolphins

Ethan and Dolphin

Dolphins at SeaWorld

Stingray Lagoon

Touching a Stingray

Beluga Whale SeaWorld

Antartica SeaWorld

Seal

Mama and Ethan @ SeaWorld

What I Wore

Photos by Ethan, he has decided he is the only one capable of taking my ‘fashion photo shoots”.  Most of his shots were blurry but that’s not really a bad thing;

What I Wore

This is a completely uninspired outfit in that my boots, bag, jeans and jersey are all Country Road, the chiffon ruffle tunic is from The Warehouse {such a great find!}, scarf from Urban Outfitters.

A4A Blog Carnival | Day 3 Challenge Accepted!

I am participating in wegohealth.com’s Advocating for Another (A4A) Carnival – Parenting Edition. This is a month long event where health and parenting advocates write, share and enjoy! The FB page can be found here for more info + grab the parenting prompts here and join in! The blog carnival runs from August 21-28, 2012.

So I’ve gotten behind…..

Parenting isn’t all sunshine and ice cream – it’s hard. Write a post that delves into 3 challenges that you face as a parent.

Parenting is sometimes the most natural, easy thing in the world and the other 95% of the time its just straight up hard. After thinking about this post for quite a while, I feel like my role as Ethan’s mother is as close to being on a theme park ride as any other metaphor I can come up with. Your family is doing great, the dynamics are awesome, everyone’s getting along, making progress and then you hit the depths of tantrums and emotions take over. Such good times!

  1. Like most two parent families, Dave and I are different in every way it is possible for two humans to be exact polar opposites. This is a good thing, but it often makes getting on the same page about our son a bit of a challenge. Dave prefers to take a hardline approach with everything, whereas I’m more apt to pick my battles. This is a reflection of a different upbringings on opposite sides of the world. I would love more Southern manners out of Ethan, a little bit of “Yes Ma’am, no Sir” goes a long way in my book, however Ethan is far too high strung to use black and white tactics with him 24/7.
  2. I am naturally pushy, competitive and self-motivated. I am a perfectionist with high expectations so I really struggle with the amount of pressure I put on E. I find it even harder considering his obvious talents in certain areas. He is a boy who will quite easily cruise along achieving ‘acceptably’ without a firm kick in the pants now and then. How firm and how often is up for debate! The flip side is of course, that though it is important to set the bar high, it is also important for kids to learn to aim high of their own volition and achieve without the ever-watchful gaze of mummy or daddy bearing down!
  3. The single child quandary is one that is taking up quite a bit of head space at the moment. I know E would quite obviously benefit from a sibling (I think!) but I’m just not sure if I personally want to go back to baby phase. Selfish I know, but the one child policy works for me right now. Again, this is another issue that divides the parenting cohesion between Dave and I!

What are some of your own challenges with parenting/step-parenting or whatever your situation may be?

Parenting Challenges

Sunday Love

It’s been a week at home and every day has been been hectic and busy but lovely and New Zealand-ish.

I am loving that this big fat travel folder is stuffed with a to-die for itineray of travel. Frankfurt, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Lyon and Paris.  Dave will be in Europe for a 39 day business trip and though we will miss him horribly, I hope he has the most amazing time and takes 10 million pictures just like I would!

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What’s not to love about Friday nights with friends and fruit cocktails?

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Ethan is all about Lego at the moment.  Which is fine.  But the single minded determination and focus that goes hand in hand with the building is wearing a little thin.  Also the paddy’s of frustration totally suck.  So I am LOVING that all Lego sets purchased on vacation are now built {and built they better stay because Daddy won’t be back on-site for repairs for 39 DAYS!}

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Rugby is over for the season, our team played their last game on Saturday and after an epic battle with Marist finished with a draw which was well deserved on both sides.  The boys had a friendly on Wednesday and as it was Ethan’s first game back, he led his team onto the field and captained for the match.  I love this bunch of boys x.

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Loving lazy Sunday sushi dates with Dave and E before we said goodbye.

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Check these out!  Loving what a wonderful volunteer made for the SPCA’s cupcake day fundraiser.  So cute and yummy.  Cupcake day is tomorrow – Monday the 27th so look out for a treat.

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Things I’m Loving is hosted by Meghan at MNM’s

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

A4A Blog Carnival | Day 2 These are a few of my favourite things

I am participating in wegohealth.com’s Advocating for Another (A4A) Carnival – Parenting Edition.  This is a month long event where health and parenting advocates write, share and enjoy!  The FB page can be found here for more info + grab the parenting prompts here and join in!  The blog carnival runs from August 21-28, 2012.

 Day 2: These are a few of my favourite things

After yesterdays gushing post about my son, he knocked one out of the park with more of the epic bad behaviour we have been seeing since returning home from our trip.   Needless to say he has be banned from TV watching for 3 days and banned from Ninjago toys for the same period.  He got off pretty lightly I think.  I am really struggling with his sassy mouth and the constant back chat.  What I wouldn’t give for a few simple responses of “YES!”.

But I digress.

I have many favourite things about Ethan, here are a few;

  1. Ethan is brave.  He will try anything once, sometimes not twice but always once.
  2. He will eat anything, he has an exceptional palate and enjoys food which makes eating as a family so much fun
  3. He is very loving {when he is not being bad of course!}
  4. Ethan is super complimentary.  He has learned this from his Dad.  He will tell me when I look nice, when my hair is looking awesome, when I need to buy that outfit – his honesty when shopping is def appreciated!  His girlfriend will be stoked one day.  He certainly knows how to make you feel like a million bucks.
  5. Ethan’s perfectionism is actually something that endears him to me.  I appreciate someone who always strives to achieve at their best.
  6. I love Ethan’s legs.  They are thick and strong.
  7. Ethan has the best giggle.  When it bubbles up it is loud and hard to contain.
  8. I love this boys smarts.  Recently while walking the Santa Monica Pier, I had to stop my feet and just look at him.  He was going on and on about snakes, admittedly I had half-tuned him out {don’t judge, you know you do it sometimes!}, but then I realised he was listing all of the different types of Pythons, WITH DESCRIPTIONS, Bubba style.  Amaze.
  9. Ethan’s feet, I LOVE, though 99% of the time they are filthy and torn up – my kid does not like shoes.  Summer, winter the shoes come off as soon as he gets to school.  I’m talking 8.30am.  They never get put back on.  One pair of school shoes has lasted him this whole year!  That’s surely some kind of record.  Even Grandaddy Ray in Georgia (think snakes) couldn’t believe how feral Ethan’s feet were.
  10. I love that boys hair.  It’s as wiry as straw, you can brush it and five minutes later it will look like he just rolled out of bed.  I’m fairly certain you could make one of those sweeping-broom-brush things out of his hair that would last through the ages.  It’s thick and it grows like weed – long may that continue aye Dave!

Are you blogging along?  What are some of your favourite things about your child?

Far North Snapper

THE Wedding.

That’s how I’m going to refer to Hadyn and Joanna’s wedding until the end of days because it really really was THE Wedding.

Everything was amazing, beautiful, perfect, on trend and everything just worked brilliantly.  When you glean tid-bits of ideas here and there over the 11-ish months of planning it’s hard to catch a glimpse of the Big Picture.  Jo’s vision was astounding and the execution was flawless.

Dear Hadyn & Jo

We loved your wedding.  We loved being a part of your wedding.  Thank you so much for including us in your special day.  You were both radiant.  I never knew Hadyn was capable of ‘that’ smile.  That “I’ve surely died and gone to heaven because THIS girl is marrying me today!” smile.

I’m so excited to have a Sister-in-Law, and wish you both the very best for your future together.

We love you so much

The Jacks xx

& then a downtown Chicago storm

The reception Ballroom

The entrance of the Bridal Party & Cake Cutting

A4A Blog Carnival | Day 1 Portrait Post

I am participating in wegohealth.com’s Advocating for Another (A4A) Carnival – Parenting Edition.  This is a month long event where health and parenting advocates write, share and enjoy!  The FB page can be found here for more info + grab the parenting prompts here and join in!  The blog carnival runs from August 21-28, 2012.

 Day 1: Write a descriptive portrait of your child/ren.  Share qualities that make them, them – and include an image!

The hardest part about this post is beginning.

I feel like Ethan is a mini-me in a mini-Dave’s body.  His physicality has always been apparent right from a very young age.  He was always a large child who loved to be held and adored close contact.  He is still a very touchy, affectionate boy, but one who has no concept of the brute force his body can exert!

His feet are broad and high, his little toenails on each foot are split just like his Dad’s are, his calf muscles, thighs, his whole damn body right up to the freckles on his nose are his daddy’s.

Ethan is strong physically but also mentally.  He may be described as obstinate, dominant, stubborn, wilful, precocious, proud and competitive with a sassy mouth, but he is more than that.  He is loving, sensitive, kind and very generous.  He is quick to show his emotions whether they are tears or anger.  His temper is all mine.

Ethan is a very talented writer and artist who loves to read.  Maths is not his thing though he does just fine in this subject.  School is easy for Ethan.  His teachers enjoy him as do his peers and he has a bevy of lovely friends whom he has played with for years now.Melissa and Ethan

Ethan is both sportsman and scholar.  Watching him swim so beautifully is a strange feeling as it is almost at odds with his haphazard, forceful physical presence out of the water.  In contrast, he is so suited to Rugby physically, yet he also needs Rugby for the valuable lessons it gives him in teamwork, respect and being one small part of a greater good.  Swimming is self-discipline, self-reliance and self-motivation for Ethan, Rugby is everything else – family, co-operation, belonging, selflessness.

Ethan is my greatest joy from which I never tire.  He is difficult to understand, and for some difficult to deal with, but I recognize him.  His language, his subtle nuances of personality and his perfectionism are also mine.

I love you Ethan Jack.

{I’m sorry Dave Jack, you are forever stuck with the two of us lol!}

 

 

This stuff only happens to me right?

Today, like every other day, I finished work at 2pm so I could drive the 16km back home and pick Ethan up from school at 2.30.  No problem there right?

At 2.35 I was still searching for my keys.  I had called the school and made sure to arrange for Ethan to head to After School Care {for the FIRST time ever, because I had lost my keys.  The shame!}.  I had called Dave and he was on his way from South Auckland to give me the truck key off his key chain.  Everyone at work was scouring the building looking for my keys.

In desperation I picked up the tissue box on my desk and shook it.  Obviously I had set my keys on top and they had fallen in.  Dumbass.

Anywho, this is what I wore today {don’t laugh, I was feeling brave};

What I wore

  • Pants: Country Road stretch corduroys
  • Shirt: Country Road
  • Jacket: Levis Denim, I have worn and loved this jacket for 15 years now.  I am OLD.
  • Shoes: Sperry Top Siders.  the most comfortable shoes I have ever put on my feet.
  • Watch: MBMJ Henry Chronograph.  One of my very special purchases from our trip
  • Earrings: Pearl studs
  • Hair: French braid
  • Necklace: F21
  • Bracelets: Stacked assorted
  • Bag: Gap

 

Is jet lag on Mondays even legal?

Surely it’s not. Dave and I woke up at 4.37am. On a Monday. With school, work, swimming lessons and a netball game tonight for me, this is going to be the longest day ever.
Returning to work was surprisingly easy, I missed my workmates. When you are used to seeing people five days a week you become strangely attached to them. Ethan also had a great day back, he hopped in the truck after school a changed boy which was lovely and lucky for him as he was a demon child yesterday; I was dreading the drama I thought might accompany his return to school and routine. Instead he has chatted non stop about how great it was to see all of his wee mates and all the welcome back hugs he got.
This holiday was amazing for our family. I didn’t realize how much Dave and I were bitching at each other or how impatient we were being with Ethan until I was faced with the possibility of not being able to travel at all {you can catch up on that here}.
Being able to attend my little brothers wedding in Chicago and watching Ethan bond instantly with his American family was worth every penny of the massive cost of the trip.

      Family is everything

 

      Some people are forever friends even over time and oceans

 

      United Airlines are the absolute worst option long haul

 

    Santa Monica Promenade is the business for escaping LAX during a long layover (and some of the best shopping I have ever seen!)

Those are some things I have learned.

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