September - December 2003

Merry Christmas to you all! We're looking forward to sharing our first Christmas together with Emily after another very busy year! Here's what we've been up to in the last few months...

Fiji 2003

We escaped to the Outrigger Resort again in Fiji in September, together with Brent's parents Glyn and Noleine, and Brent's sister's family (Donna, David, Katie and Zack) to celebrate Noleine's birthday. Fiji put on some wonderful weather while we were there - the temperature was just right, nice and sunny and with a light sea breeze which helped us stay comfortably warm.

Most days we spent the morning down at the pool (Emily had her morning nap in her shaded stroller) - Lydia couldn't wait to get her togs on and jump into the water! We had to drag her out to go have her midday sleep with Emily back in the hotel room, while Brent and I relaxed in the next room. Then it was back down for another swim in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon Lydia and Katie would play on the new playgym (a great gym, new since we were there last year) at the Kids Club until they had their Kids Club dinner. Meanwhile Emily had her afternoon nap again the stroller. After dinner, Brent would take Lydia frog-hunting which she thought was great fun (one time she got so excited she accidentally jumped on one...thankfully he survived and jumped away very quickly!) and gecko-spotting. A few nights we got a babysitter in and went out for dinner at the resort's restaurants with the family as soon as the girls were both in bed.

One day we again visited the local wildlife zoo across the road from the resort together with Noleine, Glyn and Katie. The girls thoroughly enjoyed it and were fascinated by all the birds and lizards that they could see up so close. We all agreed that it was one of Fiji's best-kept secrets - more visitors should go there!

All in all it was a fantastic holiday - a very relaxing and fun time for all!

Emily with two of the many staff wanting to adopt her as their own!

Lydia lived in the pool!

Having fun with Nana and Grandad

Emily took to the water with Nana

Lydia's specially dyed Tshirt (bottom left)

Off to the Wildlife Park

One of the gorgeous birds at the Park

Froghunting - "There's one!"

Having fun on the Resort's new gym

Glyn's scrummy dessert!

Emily's Progress

Things still aren't too easy with dear wee Emily - she has lots of problems with wind, and the colic returned after a short absence. The good news is that her reflux problems are well under control, now that we have found a medication which essentially cures it, reducing my washing loads considerably! It's getting slowly better but the wind has become a big problem at night... it turns out that this is a side effect from the reflux medication!!! She's still very petite for her age, an average height for her age, just very slim, and a cute little head which keeps it all in proportion - she looks just like a little doll! We're pretty sure the slimness is from her Dad so we're not at all worried about it now...

None of this is holding her back at all - she's an amazing little girl! She decided in her 7th month to abandon the notion of crawling (she hates tummy time thanks to the wind and reflux problems) and go straight to walking instead! She'd been walking around furniture for some time, her confidence increasing all the time, trying to reach just that little bit further all the time. Then one day she let go of the coffee table and walked across to the couch! We didn't believe it at first, as she was still not even 8 months old! But walking she was! She still takes a few tumbles (particularly when Lydia whooshes past her!), but they are a lot less than in the beginning, and the distances she'll chance crossing are increasing all the time (up to as much as across a whole room!). Every now and again though she suddenly regresses and wants to hold a finger for security (which I actually prefer - its safer!). After a few days of this though she suddenly takes off on her own again! So she's our little record breaker (Lydia didn't walk till just after her 9th month - we thought that was early!!!).

She walked over to me straight after I took this photo (taken at 8 months)!

Lydia's a big girl now!

Lydia hit a major milestone in the last few months by being fully potty trained, in record time and with hardly any accidents! We decided to wait until we were sure she was ready (as most of our house is carpeted!), changed her to training pants for about 10 days, then to panties. After just a couple of accidents she was staying dry all day! Then after about a week I noticed she was staying dry at nights, so changed her to panties at night. Only one accident in her bed since! I'd been really dreading this whole exercise, but it turned out to be a breeze! What a clever little girl!

Lydia's speech is now full on - full sentences, with better pronunciation too. She never stops talking now, and recently she's been asking "what's this" (to learn new words) all the time! Her drawing is also improving markedly, with objects, faces, shapes and letters all becoming very clear to us. She loves painting (she does a lot at Creche), and also dancing and singing (and occasionally yelling out "Yeah!"), which is a scream to watch! She is also very active, loves playgyms and scooting around like a mad thing on her tricycle - showing no caution or fear! Fortunately the deck is nice and safe for her so she rarely comes to any grief!

Mastering the wobbly bridge in Fiji

Coffee Group Christmas Party

Our coffee group (formed around Lydia's birth -originally 13 families with kids due at same time) still meets every Wednesday morning and the kids have a great time playing together while their Mums have another good natter, not just about toddlers and babies but about life in general! We all really enjoy getting together, so we expect this arrangement to continue indefinitely! Virtually all of us now have two children so it can get pretty busy, though family numbers have dropped to 8 since some mothers returned to work.
Click here to meet all the little members of the Coffee Group Club!

This year we hosted the annual Christmas party for our Coffee Group, holding it down on the new deck which has become very popular with the kids! Our neighbour Colin very kindly agreed to dress up as Santa to hand out the kiddies presents and did a fabulous job! The weather was perfect and the time flew by very quickly - no-one seemed to want to leave - so we measured that as being a big success!

Until our next Update...

We hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We've been working on the front garden again over the last few weeks, removing the old dilapidated fence, and moving the side one back to our boundary (giving us another 4 metres or so of garden on one side) which included adding a small retaining wall to level out the new garden area. At time of writing, we're about halfway there, the old fence is long gone, the framing for the new fence is all up and painted (same colour as our new roof), the retaining wall is in and the new garden area has been filled to level with earth. The fence panels have just been delivered and will be installed on Monday. Then we have to plant up the new extension to our garden. It's going to be an impressive transformation once it's all complete!

Above right: Preparing for our front garden project (part of old fence removed,
so we could investigate our land behind it, now part of the extended garden).

We'll share the full story and final pics in our next update, at the end of February 2004. We also hope to share the results of our big planned summer projects which include starting on the re-landscaping of our back garden! It's slower going now that we have two kids to look after, but we'll get there in the end!


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