Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places



Atticus the Toddler

I know it’s never quite fair to compare your children, so I’m aware of my parenting phail when I say that Atticus is turning out a little different from Arddun. It seems like such a duh thing to be surprised by — seeing how they are two unique individuals and all — but Tony and I get caught out now and then when Atticus dares to go off the trajectory his older sister took.

Like climbing up on tables before he can walk. Arddun didn’t climb on coffee tables. She didn’t stand in the middle of one and clap her hands after the fact in glee either.

Continue reading “Atticus the Toddler”

A picture and a thousand words (thereabout)

I’m missing Arddun a lot this evening, and so I thought I’d watch this video for the umpteenth time.

If you’ve ever wondered what goes through a toddler’s head sometimes, then here’s a sample. This is Arddun and her Stream of Consciousness.

Turn up your speakers.

Wiggle and Learn

I didn’t grow up with The Wiggles. Never even knew what they were until I got to Australia, and Tony filled me in on the back story. (i.e. “They used to be an Australian band and they had one hit. Then they switched to kiddie rock and roll and became huge.”)

I’ve always had huge reservations about TV “fanchise” merchandising. Not a big fan of children kitted out in Dora the Explora like toddling billboards for Nickelodeon. Their colours all tend to be bright and garish anyways. It’s a little snobby of me, I know. But I think of it as a healthy combination of cost-savings and good taste.

Then Arddun discovered The Wiggles, and I’m now this close to running out and dressing her up like a tea-drinking, handbag-toting yellow polka-dotted dinosaur.

The Wiggles are now a daily feature in our household. They have replaced my pilates workout on TV because I work up more of a sweat jumping along to Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport. It has also provided some mighty cute home videos that only doting parents with a blog account would love.

Arddun calls them the Tiddles. And she’s got some moves.

P.S.: These were taken on the last day of CNY – chap goh mei. That explains the gorgeous ching-chong outfit from her granduncle.


Tony and I double dated with Graham and Penny yesterday afternoon and went off to watch Les Miserable on the big screen. All this was made possible because of this fabulous family affectionately known in certain parts as The Turkeys. Again, thank you for babysitting so we can have some semblance of a date. :)

Anyhoo, while we were sitting through that amazing musical feast of pathos and high drama, this is what the Little Girl got up to:

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I had a good Christmas this year.

A few things made it stand out a little different from previous years.

Having another family to spend Christmas Alone with

Unless we’re in Brisbane or my mum’s in town, Christmas in years past have been the stuff of crickets chirping in the background. We had the occasional lunch with friends during a couple of Christmases before, which has been lovely.

But there’s something about hosting your own Big Christmas Family lunch; doing the shopping, getting prepared, feeding people, opening presents.

Enter New Friends from the States who live 2 minutes from our home, and suddenly there we were – two houses, far away from family, yet close enough to join forces and make pigging out on a whole turkey totally worthwhile.

Shannon and I now have shared bragging rights on cooking our first turkey. The fact that we got the butcher to debone the entire turkey and stuff it with apricots, mango and hazelnuts so that effectively we had a turkey roll that could actually fit in the oven made it all the better. I don’t think that’s cheating. It’s still a whole turkey. It’s still getting roasted. It still tastes the same. Stroke. Of. Genius. For the rest of you who had to saw your turkey in half or stress over drying out your turkey.. well, now you know. Thank you, Lilydale Butchery.

Having a toddler who understands

It’s Arddun’s second Christmas – third, if you count womb time – and I’m starting to understand what the fuss is all about. Now that she’s actually engaging with her toys – instead of ditching the toy to play with the wrapper, ala Christmas 2011 – this Christmas rocks on the present-opening front. I had gifted Arddun with a toy petrol station because she has always made a beeline for the toy cars and ramps in the church building every Sunday. But Daddoh topped it by getting a tea set to go with her new table and chairs (thank you Famiza for the furniture, BTW! It’s a darling set!)

And that’s how Kitty got to have her first taste of plastic tea.

Oooh yes… Brisbane Nanna had also made gorgeous Christmas outfits!

Back view of Christmas dress
Back view
Front view of Christmas Dress
Front view

Arddun is also besotted with her new Little Tikes Trike, which, despite major steering issues, doesn’t dampen her spirits one bit. And as for the petrol station set I got her, it turned out to be rather poorly made so I’m returning the lot and looking for a better one. (There’s a reason sometimes to go for brands you’ve actually heard of.) Still, this little girl was heard making car noises all around the house, only pausing for a quick sip of tea with kitty, before heading off on her new driving adventures with her little black merc.

Which is an encouraging sign for the next bit.

Having a family trip to look forward to

I get massive cabin fever during holidays. I know that a real holiday, by definition, includes getting rested – which is why taking a trip somewhere often defeats this very purpose. But there’s something about staying at home “doing nothing” that drives me absolutely batty when my family has a longish week off together. The mundane can be a terribly wasteful time filler, and a surefire way to get me itchy and grumpy.

So this year, we’re driving to Melbourne to visit long-time friends. The last two days have been a slow build up to a flurry of excitement for the trip ahead. We set off tomorrow. Our very first car trip together!

Speaking of which, I’m gonna call it a night. Plenty of driving to do tomorrow (4 hours each driver!) and we’re aiming to be out of the house by 9am. Optimistic, I know.

But before I go,

Merry Christmas, dearest family and friends – and people who actually read my blog. This has been a tumultous year, but in many ways also, a very rewarding one. I am so glad you are all a part of my life because I have been made richer for it. May the rest of your 2012 be safe and happy and if we don’t get to talk soon, have a great New Year!

XOXO Velle

Carting about

The New and Improved mega supermarket at our local town centre has finally introduced kiddy-sized shopping trolleys. Guess who had a whirl…


For about a month now, Arddun’s been an avid bird watcher. Credit goes partly to the owl decal behind the feeding chair in the corner of her bedroom because she’d been staring at their beady eyes about 4 times a day since we brought her home. But I think the greater influence has been this gorgeous handmade bird mobile that’s been hanging over her cot.

Handmade bird mobile over cot

It was fascinating to watch her make the connection in her little mighty brain that the abstract (owl, stuffed-with-cotton-wool birds) are also the same as those magnificent animals that swoop across the skies, twitter like mad in the evenings, and try to eat your chips when you’re dining al fresco. She points at trees and fully expects or hopes to see birds now. Maybe baby ears can pick out higher frequencies quicker, because she is on full alert as soon as one so much as chirps in passing.

She’s clear, too. She’s gone from saying, “Bur!” to “Bur-d!” to “Birdie!” to “A birdie!” Although there was a week when she called anything that moved a bird. The cat was a bird. The 4 o’clock train was a bird. We were birds.

But none of us is perfect, eh?

When we were in Brisbane, I’m sure she thought she stepped into bird paradise.

Here’s a short of her checking out the birds on Nanna and Grandpoppy’s neighbour’s TV aerial.

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