Thursday, 10 November 2016

Dear Addison - Two and a Half Years Old

Dear Addison,


I'm not quite sure where half a year went since your birthday but here we are. You have grown in a lot a ways but especially upwards. Still tracking on the 50th percentile line as always and you will probably end up around the same height as me - around 170cm. You hair has also grown a LOT, especially when comparing photos from a year ago! It reaches more than halfway down your back now and is quite wavy, also like mine. Since it is so long we need to tie it back and this proves to be a daily battle, a sticker rewards chart is about to be implemented I think.


Speaking of sticker charts, toilet training is back on in full force. After a good run just before you hit two, you decided you wanted to be back in nappies and we followed your lead. You have now decided that undies are the way to go and quite often use the toilet at home, and you are pretty good at preschool and only have the occasional accident, here's hoping it continues!

You have sprouted all of your teeth now, the 2 year old molars arrived just after you turned two, the bottom ones first.


You are a pretty good eater right now, quite happy with routine. As with most toddlers you have a sweet tooth and would eat treats all day if you could so we make sure to offer plenty of fruit and veges. You most requested dinner is 'Chicken and Peas' which we can fulfill in various forms. You enjoy pasta, noodles and cous cous, and potatoes when they have the skin taken off. You love sauces and gravy and dipping your food in things. You eat the tops off broccoli and cauliflower and really enjoy cucumber. You also really like kidney beans which you call 'jelly beans'. Weetbix is your breakfast of choice although you rarely eat it all. You are good at telling us when you are full and know the rule is that once you are finished there is no more food. You still graze but are getting better at eating at set meal times.


You are thriving at preschool, you go for 3 full days a week while mum studies. You have been going since March and are now very comfortable with the teachers and other children there. You tell me all the other children's names and can identify their parents faces when they come to pick them up. You spend a lot of time outside in the sandpit and riding the bikes. You also love playdoh, stories and duplo and have made a couple of close friends there. Sometimes one of the amazing mums comes in and does some face painting which you have really taken a shine to!



This beautiful tiger was painted at her besties 3rd birthday and she spent the whole day roaring like a tiger!

Another favourite is dressing up. You are getting pretty pro at putting on and taking off clothing (including nappies) and I regularly find you after your (occasional) naps with very interesting clothing combinations and you are very adament in your days outfit. I have been stashing away a box of dress ups that I will continue to add to because I love that you are enjoying imaginative play.


You love being in the shed with Daddy and he is so patient with you and teaches you how to use the real tools. He is so excited of the many years to come and is already planning out projects that you can do together.


Other things you love include: being outside, being a doctor, climbing, fluffies, doing whatever mum or dad is doing (or eating, or wearing), playing with Dolly, playgrounds, water play, sandpits, playing with the hose, not wearing clothes, reading stories, going to the library every week, telling us what to do, pretending to go to sleep in the middle of the day, doing everything yourself and just generally being cute.

There is so much more I could say about the beautiful girl you are, we are loving being your parents, you push us everyday to be more patient and you show us what it is to love someone with all of your heart.
xx

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Book Review - Holding by Graham Norton


Duneen is a quiet, sleepy Irish village where everyone knows everyone and life just passes by. There is Sergeant PJ Collins, the overweight constable who has never had the chance to shine, Brid Riordan, who is an alcoholic and barely keeping her family together, and Evelyn Ross, the youngest of three sisters who never married after the tragic death of their parents. Along with the rest of the town, these three complex but clearly human characters are thrown into a murder-mystery as human remains are found at a new property being developed. The story is revealed piece by piece and although you may have your suspicions, there is plenty to keep you guessing until the end.

This book is written by Graham Norton. You know, Graham Norton of talk-show fame. You may or may not know that he also played a guest role in Father Ted for a few episodes and holds shares in a New Zealand wine company. This is his first attempt at fiction and a lot of people, myself included, were interested in the way that the book would pan out. I was pleasantly surprised by Holding and I would definitely recommend it to others. This is a read-in-one-sitting kind of book. It is not fast paced, but it switches between different narrators often so you want to piece each characters story together and this requires you to keep reading.

Although written by a comedian, it is not a specifically funny book. There are plenty of traces of wit but there is a heavy feel to the characters as they each battle their own secrets and regrets. I enjoy a good whodunnit and this did not disappoint. I found the characters to be understandably the way they are, due to past circumstance combined with small town living. The book is peppered with Irish slang which took a bit of getting my head around but it adds, not detracts, from the story. Overall a great piece of fiction that will leave you missing the town and the people after it ends. 

Thanks to Hachette for my review copy.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Book Review: The Midas Legacy by Andy McDermott



Once again I enter a series 12 books in. I feel like 12 books in a series is a lot to write and I understand the dilemma of character development as the characters age and having them still getting up to the thrilling, action-packed, page-turning antics that drew us in in the first place. I think Mc Dermott still makes it work but I don't know how much longer the series could keep up the dynamic.

The premise is that Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase have calmed down for a few years after plenty of near-death experiences while unearthing pieces of history, including the lost city of Atlantis. They now have a 3-year old daughter Macy but they get drawn into a new adventure seeking the Midas Cave - the place that legends tell of producing gold in unimaginable quantities.

The book is LONG, a big chunker that in no way can you read in one sitting. I think this is why it is written the way it is, there are big, exciting action bits, then it calms down so you feel you can put the book down for a break but know that there will be more the next time you pick it up. There are probably 6-7 big events that happen during the book which is almost overkill for me. I could have happily stopped after the first two if they were drawn out a bit. It felt a bit like a few books in one.

What drew me to the book is the treasure hunt aspect of the story. I love mythology and Atlantis especially, so I will probably go back and read a couple of earlier titles in the series which all seem to follow similar lines. The treasure hunt didn't disappoint.

I found the introduction of the child, and the fact that Nina and Eddie were parents, to be quite hard to relate to. It wasn't that they didn't care about her, they did enormously, but the pull of 'saving the world' took them away from her multiple times during the story. I feel like after one close call I would take my family and hide away for a while!

What I did like was Eddie. He is a British ex-soldier with a witty sense of humour and a potty mouth. His one-liners pop up in the most inappropriate places which made me laugh out loud while reading.

Overall I did enjoy this book, I would have enjoyed it more if it were shorter but the content was definitely action filled and I will be revisiting some of the earlier books. A good holiday read if you need something to fill in a couple of hours at a time.

Available now from all good book retailers.

Thanks to Hachette for my review copy


Monday, 3 October 2016

Book Review - Dr. Knox by Peter Spiegelman

Available now from all good book stores

Dr.Knox is a doctor who lives in the bowels of LA, with a small, run-down clinic which he uses to treat vagrants and the vulnerable. It is funded in part by some off-the-books cash jobs by wealthy clients in a don't ask-don't tell style. One day a scared Romanian women leaves a young boy at the clinic and runs away. Dr. Knox takes pity on them and decides to try and track her down and reunite them. This unravels a tale that gets more and more complicated and dangerous, involving Russian mobsters, blackmail, extortion and a very powerful family. 

I must admit, this book took me a while to get into. It seems a bit different to the crime thrillers I usually read but I can't put my finger on why. The book is well written and very descriptive. This works well with the imagery of LA but becomes less pleasant when reading about medical procedures. It all adds to the story but it wasn't my cup of tea. 

Dr. Knox as a character has many virtues but is also very selfish and because of that, it was quite hard to feel attached to him. He drags in those close to him and puts them in danger and he almost just shrugs this off in parts. The other main characters are much more relateable and you understand their frustrations about the situation.

As the book progressed I began to enjoy the storyline and there was enough suspense and plot twists to keep it interesting and different although I didn't feel the overwhelming need to keep reading, I was able to put it down and pick it up without my mind thinking about it too much.It would probably make a better film than it does a book.

Overall, this book was good. I would read more from Peter Spiegelman and I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a down-and-dirty crime read.

Thanks to Hachette for my review copy

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Book Review - Hop Along Boo - Time For Bed {Belle & Boo}

Hop Along Boo - Time For Bed
This book, oh it is illustrated so well! It is whimsical and creates beautiful dreamscapes for boys and girls of all ages. There are Pirates, Fairies, Cowboys and Ballet Dancers weaved into a bedtime routine as Belle gets Boo ready for bed.

Source

The words rhyme and flow nicely in a sort of quiet, dreamy way and you almost instinctively find yourself whispering by the end. Belle and Boo appear on every page and Addison loves to spot them and talk about what they are up to. She has attached herself quite firmly to the characters and especially loves the rabbit, Boo.





The only tiny issue I have with this book is that on one (only one though) of the pages the writing is black on dark blue which is tricky to read in dim light. If it was written in white then this book would be perfect!

We received the softcover version (also available in hardcover) and it has great quality paper and is standing up well to the nightly readings.

Highly recommended from our household. 


Thanks to Hachette for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Something I have noticed...

Currently I am sitting and procrastinating the afternoon away while an assignment sits half written on my desktop. My poor little blog is looking a bit neglected lately and although I have all the best intentions, time seems to slip away so fast! I will get back to it eventually, I have a few book reviews coming up and I need to do a much needed update on beautiful Addison, as well as where we are at with our house renos.

But the reason I am writing this is because I have noticed something really awesome.

Some backstory...

Addison loves books. She loves being read to and especially loves snuggling up next to you on the couch before bed for the multiple books.

We have been very fortunate to have been given a decent sized collection of books for young readers from friends and family, and I have picked a few up cheaply from op-shops. So many that for the first two years of Addison's life we didn't need to get out library books because she was happy cycling through the ones we had. Now that the board books and touch and feel books aren't quite meeting her needs, we hit up the library once a week. She plays, I choose a few books. She has figured out the concept of library books, that they come home with us for a week or two then get returned.

However I have noticed that she is remembering these books months down the track and references them - "My hippo book with hide and seek - it's from the library". Or "I want to read my pink Spot book - the library one" I find this so fascinating!

But what I am meaning to get to is the fact that even though Addison can't read the words on the page yet, she can pick out almost every book accurately from the bookshelf just based on the colour of its spine or the pictures on the front. No wonder marketing is so effective in young children!

I am just loving the way her memory is starting to work. She is pretty much 2 and a half now and she remembers loads of stuff that I wouldn't have thought she would.

Just some musings from today.

Happy spring!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Book Review - Amazing Daddy by Rachel Bright


Amazing Daddy by Rachel Bright
Published by Hachette New Zealand

Amazing Daddy is a heartwarming children's book which just begs to be added to the bedtime story rotation, especially around Father's Day!

Amazing Daddy is the story of all the wonderful things that Little Panda's Daddy does - making huge stacks of pancakes when he is on breakfast duty, building things in the shed, playing rough and tumble and falling asleep while reading bedtime stories. 

Addison enjoyed this book and she really liked the panda illustrations. It is still a bit advanced for her but she picks up the main concepts and will copy along when we ask her to do 'Daddy's morning grumpy face' and then his 'happy smile'. She also really loves a page near the end which has hundreds of small pictures of Little Panda and Daddy Panda doing all sorts of activities together. She points out the ones she knows - swings, see-saw, in the car, jumping in puddles, making sandcastles. As a parent this page is great because it gives loads of inspiration for activities to do when you get stuck!

My favourite part of the book goes:
 'When he has to go to work, I miss him not at home. So, just in case he's missing me...I call him on the phone!'
This is accompanied by an illustration of Daddy answering said call in the middle of a business meeting with an awkward look on his face. On the table are stacks of paper labelled 'important business stuff' and 'not playtime.'
Amazing Daddy is a cute book that builds up the Daddy in your Little Person's life. It is funny and relatable and even if not all of the assumptions are true in your household, it is a fun read.

Thanks to Hachette for my review copy of this book.