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Wednesday, 27 June 2012


It has been a little while again since my last blog....has been a busy time moving house, starting a new business and keeping up with Isabel now that she is up and running...literally.  She has decided walking is far too slow and so tries to run everywhere...unfortunately her little legs don't always keep up so there have been several little accidents.  She started walking properly at 13 months and then running about 2 weeks later.

Off & walking

More walking practice with Lyla

In the last few months Issy's language has been developing really nicely.  She has at least eight words she is using consistently (Mama, Papa, Bubba, Max, Up, No, More & Bye).  Her receptive skills also continue to amaze us...she is following instructions and understands an enormous amount.  From the living room I can ask her to go into her room and get her (baby, bag, shoes etc) and she will come back each time with what I have asked her for.  She is loving singing and music and dances around the living room to High 5 and Play School and does all the actions when I sing "Twinkle Twinkle, Open Shut Them, Incy Wincy Spider and I Hear Thunder".

Enjoying Easter chocolate in the Hunter Valley

I guess the 'amazing' part of it all is that we quite often forget that Isabel has a hearing loss.  It is such second nature to us now to look after her "ears" and our nightly routine of charging batteries and using the drying box, checking each week that everything sounds ok with our headphones that plug in to the CI's, constantly reapplying them when she takes them off while playing (or having a tantrum!).  The only time we remember is when someone new asks about them or stares a little longer than usual.  It is interesting that the majority of people that do ask us about them have never heard of cochlear implants and assumed they were hearing aids (which I suppose ultimately they are).

Isabel is also down with her routine, when we ask her if she wants to go in the bath, the first thing she does is hands us her CI's and heads for the bathroom.  The same thing when she is ready for bed, she will hand us her processors and take her bottle before she lies down.  She is starting to get the fact that she needs them to listen, but also that they can't get wet and they aren't that comfortable to sleep with!

Just being cute

Isabel is most definitely a "girly girl" in that she loves necklaces, bracelets, shoes, handbags and pretending to put on makeup.  She will put on of my necklaces and then parade around in front of whomever is in the house saying "Ahhhhh." She loves to try and put clothes on herself and then looks in the mirror smiling and again saying "Ahhh."  It is hilarious.  She also has a very maternal side wanting to feed her babies and push them around in prams.  Our poor dog Max is quite often the victim of her mothering as she tries to dress him in our clothes and give him milk from a bottle.

Being silly with Granny in Sydney

We are doing swimming lessons once a week now and Issy loves it!  Although she can't hear while she is in the water she watches the other kids faces and she laughs and kicks and splashes along with everyone.  She is also getting the hang of the safety entry and exit, she knows to kick when she is on her back and to paddle when on her front which seems to purely be muscle memory after showing her what to do and her watching the other kids.

With besties Lyla & Jade

Loves her Papa

So much is happening so quickly now and it seems Isabel does something new nearly every day.  Its such a fun age and I am loving hanging out with my little mate....will be hard when she starts going to daycare next year....hard for me that is!


Thursday, 5 April 2012

One Year Old

What a year it has been!  We celebrated Isabel's first birthday on Sunday and although it has been the best year of my life for many reasons, it has definetly been one of the most stressful and I am glad it is behind us.

My beautiful One Year Old xx

We have recently returned from the UK, where we were for three exhausting weeks.  Although we were there for a not so nice reason, we were lucky enough to be able to stay with some lovely friends that live out in the country, in a town called Sudbury in Suffolk County.  Issy experienced her first hunt, her first proper 'English Pub Sunday Roast', she was invited to a Masonic (secret society!!) function and she had her own two British Nannies that spoiled her each day.  Not a bad start for the lucky little lady.

Isabel with the Hunt Master

The Owl that goes out on the hunt ("Bird of Prey")

Having a bath in the sink with her 'British Nannies' Amanda & Karen

In Sudbury with Papa

Our wonderful friends Ian & Amanda

Commuting on the train w Papa

Unfortunately the trip home was not quite so enjoyable as Isabel and I picked up Salmonella in Dubai the first day we arrived.  We were both so ill and trying to take care of a sick baby when you are just as sick is no fun at all.  We spent most of our time in bed and at a hospital in Dubai before managing to just make our flight home and then another 5 days being ill once we got back.  Just awful!

On our way to hospital in Dubai...poor sick little Issy

Luckily however we all managed to recover in time to celebrate Isabel's 1st birthday on April 1st.  We held her party at my parents home and had some wonderful friends come around and join in an Easter Egg Hunt and a few bubbles for the grown ups.

Isabel is now totally obsessed with dolls (or 'babies').  She got a pram and a few babies for presents at her birthday and she spends as much time as she can pushing them around and hugging and kissing them.  She holds them up to her and says "aaaahhhhhh" as she pats them on the back.  Very sweet!  She also got her first bike as a present and she LOVES it.

She is now saying 'Papa', 'Bubba', "Mama' and 'Up' consistently.  Whenever she sees an aeroplane or a toy aeroplane she will pick it up and say 'ahhh ahhh ahhh' and fly it above her head.  She loves music and plays with her musical toys (a table that plays nursery rhymes and a singing kitchen!) a lot.  She will press the button to start the song, then look up at me and smile and start to dance or sing.  Melts my heart every time!


I am so proud of Issy, she really is such an amazing little girl.  We have dragged her around the world (a couple of times), she has been through quite an ordeal and yet she is always happy, laughing and playing games with everyone around her.  She will often initiate the games (even with strangers on planes or trains!)....either peek-a-boo or she will get you to chase her around the room.

She is walking between furniture and with her doll pram, but not quite all on her own just yet.  I don't think its too far away though as she seems to get more confident everyday.

She is however having tantrums now when I tell her she can't have something or take something from her.  She will hurl herself onto the ground and then if that doesn't get a reaction she will pull off her 'ears' and throw them across the room.  We have had a few instances when in the pram out and about an ear has gone missing.  I spent one day walking back and forth over the same 3 blocks for an hour looking for it and just as I was about to call The Shepherd Centre to report it missing, I found it.  That has happened 3 times to us hard to keep them on her.

This weekend is Easter and we are off to the Hunter Valley with some friends for a quiet weekend....although I am not looking forward to more travel, I am excited about relaxing with great friends and a few bottles of wine out in the sticks.

Happy Easter everyone.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Lovely Little Piece

We agreed this week to do a story for Campbell Live (a current affairs television show in NZ)....they did an outstanding job and we are so glad we did!  Thanks to all the team involved...a special piece that will be great for Isabel to watch when she is a little older and will hopefully put a little pressure on the NZ Government to pay a bit more attention to a very important cause.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Back to Reality....for a little while at least

After an amazing 3 week holiday we are finally home and although we had a fantastic time it is always nice to get back in your own bed after travelling.

Isabel had a wonderful first Christmas and was completely surrounded by toys...however seemed to be enjoying the wrapping paper just as much!!  I know that once she realises that all of these toys are hers she will be very grateful to all of our lovely friends and thank you all in advance! :)  Being half Scandinavian (Finnish) we actually celebrate Christmas on the 24th and open our presents after lunch on that day.....the lovely part of being 'half' however is that the other 'Australian half' means there are more presents to open on Christmas day for Isabel for many years to come....TWO days of Christmas!!  The unfortunate part as an adult now however is two GI-ENORMOUS lunches/dinners accompanied by desserts, champagne et al and its not so kind on the waist line as it was throughout childhood!

Opening presents on Christmas Eve

Four Generations

Christmas Day was a relaxed affair this year with many of our family away travelling or in New Zealand we just had our immediate family lazing by the pool and eating the mountain of leftovers we had from the 24th.

Isabel and Teddy lazing by the pool

On Boxing Day we all head off in different directions....Mum and Ian to the coast with the Grandmothers and Chris, Isabel and I to Sydney for the start of the Sydney to Hobart on the harbour before Chris went to NZ for a wedding and Issy and I stayed on for some girl time.  After a week in Sydney catching up with everyone we headed for the sunny Gold Coast to bring in the New Year with a few close friends before settling in to our holiday house for 2 weeks.  Isabel is a huge fan of the warm Queensland sun it seems (aren't we all!!) as she really flourished and loved swimming and socialising every day.

Here is a little picture diary of her holiday:  

Baths with little Jasmine Zettler

Watching a lot of Big Bash w Papa and Grandad Lance

Being a clown!!

Turning on the 5am...hmmmm!!

Crawling commences...reverse only at this stage

More silly business

Sailing with Grandad

The lime was not so good after all

Story time with Poppy

Swimming in the new pool

Just being cute

More the big pool

Loving her vegemite toast

First tooth arrives!!  Hurrahh!!

Cuddles with Mama

More cuddles with Mummo

Butter wouldn't melt...such a Daddy's girl!

Issy's listening is doing really well....she is turning each time we call her name now and recognising when we say Mama or Papa (as in she will look in the right direction for each).  She is saying lots of 'eeeee', 'ahhhh', 'mmmm' and 'aaayyyy'.  She waves to people and says 'haayyyyy'....very cute.  She is clapping her hands now when she does something clever and dancing whenever she hears music (by rocking back and forward and laughing).

Peekaboo and hide and seek are the games of the moment and she still loves to read books and sing songs. She knows by heart most of her 'That's Not My (Puppy/Dolly/Dragon etc) books now and will look up at me after we turn each page waiting for the 'THAT'S NOT MY part'....she also wants to turn all the pages herself.

Food wise she is continuing to broaden her that she has her ONE tooth and all! ;)  She loves berries (mostly raspberries and strawberries) and watermelon and still has her little vegemite toast soldier after her porridge each morning.  She is eating all types of meat, but fish and Spaghetti Bolognese seem to be two favourites....occasionally when I make chicken or another type of meat dish she will push the spoon away, but its rare.  I do really enjoy making all of Issy's food from fresh produce, however must say that the little Organic satchels for traveling have been a God-send over the last few weeks.  They are so easy and convenient in those little squeeze tubes and Isabel loves them.  Its so great to be able to give her a real variety of tastes and flavours from 'Spinach, Apple, Broccoli & Pea' to 'Sweet Potato, corn and Cous Cous'.  She lights up when she sees them now....a real 'foodie'.

She is also such a great (and seasoned) traveller.  Whether its by car, plane or even boat (which we recently were on a couple of times over the holiday) she will just play for a little while, eat and then cuddle up to me and go to sleep and then she seems to always wake up with a huge smile on her face ready to do it all again.  Very blessed!  Friends keep telling me that this is it...she is my 'good one' and that the rest will all scream the house down, throw up all the time and never sleep a wink....hoping that is not the case, but enjoying every minute with my perfect little angel all the same!

So after a lovely time away we are back into it....well for 2 weeks at least and then its off to Thailand for some spa detox...after the last few weeks I need it!!


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

4 More Sleeps!

It is just 4 more sleeps till Isabel's first Christmas!!  We celebrate Christmas on the 24th in our family as is the Scandinavian way (for those that don't already know my mum is from Finland).  Everyone is coming to our place this year to eat and drink themselves silly....but this is so much more special as it is Isabel's first and my first Christmas as a Mummy!!  I am off to a bad start and had not done any shopping until yesterday so it will be the usual race around the stores the next couple of nights to get it all done.

We just had a wonderful weekend in Adelaide for my father's 60th birthday.  When we arrived it was 32 degrees so we took Issy down for her first proper swim in the ocean.  She as a little skeptical at first, but then loved splashing in the waves.

All ready for the beach

Bit cold at first

Still clinging on tight

Now loving it!

First family beach shot

With Grandad Greg

What made the weekend even more special was that Isabel got to meet her Great Grandmother for the first time....we had a lovely lunch to celebrate dad's birthday and Isabel entertained everyone.  Her new party trick is to clap and she is LOVING music and dancing.

Showing off her new party trick

With Great Uncle Rob and Great Grandmother Judy

Playing with Charlie

We have had quite a few funny (or perhaps I should say interesting) adventures with Isabel's CIs in the last month.  The first of which was when we were flying to New Zealand and we went to Sydney the night before (as we had a very early morning international flight).  After arriving at our hotel at about 10pm in the evening we realise Isabel is missing one of her processors!!!!  I go into panic mode and am searching everywhere and when we realise its not there we called our Audiologist (Yetta) from the Shepherd Centre to ask what we needed to do.  I was totally beside myself and so upset that i could have missed it.  Issy was wearing a bonnet on the plane and it must have slipped out and we didn't realise till we got to the hotel as she was asleep.  Yetta explained the process and that it was all ok and not to be too hard on ourselves.

The next morning we thought we would try our luck at the Qantas international desk to see if anyone had found the processor over at the domestic terminal.  It was a long shot, but worth a try!  AND IT TOTALLY PAID OFF!  They did find it on the plane and handed it to lost property and once we reported it they had someone bring it over to us right away.  Amazing service and I have to say the Qantas staff were so helpful and proactive in making sure we got it back before we flew.

There have been a few interesting comments of late also.  I was in the bank and the teller looked down and was admiring Isabel and then said to me "Oh how sweet, you have little Christmas earring on her!!" Hmmm.

I was then chatting the other day to a lady in mall who was commenting on how sweet it is that Isabel was wearing a bonnet and that you don't see it much anymore.  I explained Isabel has CI's and its easier to keep them on that way.  She then said "Oh really, gosh, well she looks totally normal!".  Hmmm...thank you I guess!?!

It has been a crazy year with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows....but I am so excited for this weekend to open presents with my little angel...I am sure she will probably be more interested in the wrapping paper than the gifts...but will be fun all the same.

Merry Christmas everyone!!


Monday, 5 December 2011

Happy Holidays!

I can't believe it is already December, the year has flown by so fast and I remember like yesterday frantically rushing around at work in Abu Dhabi preparing for my final event before finishing up for maternity much life has changed!!!!

Although we have not yet bought a house, we feel as if we have settled into Canberra and we are really loving it. We have met so many great people (and re-connected with a few old friends) and we really believe this is now the place we would like to build a home for our family.

Hanging out with Papa

Isabel is doing fantastically.  She has full access to sound and is babbling away.  Lots of 'Ahhh's, & 'Mmmm's and there have even been a few 'Umm-Ma's'.....which of course I think is 'Mama'...not totally convinced she quite knows what it means yet, but I am just so thankful that she is saying it regardless!

Loves her watermelon!

She is eating like a racehorse!  Breakfast of porridge and banana followed by a bottle before her morning nap.  Lunch and dinner menus include all types of veges, fish, chicken, spag bol, casseroles...the works!  She loves feeding herself also and is a big fan of vegemite toast and yoghurt.

She is sitting up very confidently while she plays with her toys and is now rocking forward to her hands and pulling herself onto her tummy and dragging herself along....wont be long till those little legs get up and going!! Unfortunately however, sleeping is still very inconsistent.  She will sleep thru one night and we think 'this is it, woohoo!!' then the next 3 nights she will stir and cry all night.  She can't quite seem to find her rhythm.  To be fair though we have been traveling quite a bit (as usual) with back to back weekends in NZ and then the coast....although its not looking like changing for a few months so for Izzy it is going to become 'routine' to have NO 'routine'.

On the plane to Auckland

Keeping her 'ears' on remains a constant challenge...she now thinks its a game to take them off and wait for a reaction from us.... we try not to react at all and instead try to distract her while we take them out of her hands and put them back on.  Occasionally I will turn around she she will be sucking on them and ill have to really give them a good wipe to get all the saliva off!  Just how splash resistant are they?!!  Hoping she will soon realise that she needs them to hear and won't want to take them off (however I am assured by other parents of kids with CIs that they are the ultimate negotiating tool in favour of the children during tantrums later!!).

The only real CI issue we have had is a few times it seems like Isabel is getting some sort of feedback or interference.  She will all of a sudden jump at every noise and then cry hysterically.  It only last for a moment and she settles as soon as I give her a cuddle, but something is giving her a real fright and I can't quite figure out what it is.  I have checked her settings on the processor remote and nothing changes, the first time it happened I was using my mobile when she was on my lap so I thought that was it, but it has happened a few more times in other situations now also.  All a bit strange, but only happened 3 times in total so will keep watching and see if I can identify what is consistent when it happens.

Isabel had her first proper beach day a few weekends ago at the south coast....she wasn't so sure about the water (it was freezing!!), but she loved the sand and the wind and ended up falling asleep on my shoulders on the walk home.

Enjoying the sand in her fingers

She has been spending a lot of time with Lyla and Jade (daughters of our good friends) which she seems to love as they dote on her endlessly and give her lots of cuddles and kisses...they are also helping toughen her up a little with the occasional over-excited push or pull!  When we were at the coast Jade took off down the hall with Isabel in her walker, her little legs peddling in the air, they somehow managed to miss all the tables and shelves and Izzy was laughing out loud while we all chased after them.

Playing with Lyla and Jade

We are so excited for the holidays which are fast approaching.  We are off to Adelaide next week, then Isabel's first Christmas and then off on our first beach holiday as a family to Queensland...will be so nice to relax for a few weeks and reflect on what has been a pretty unbelieveable year.  I can honestly say this has been the biggest roller coaster year of my life so far and most certainly a 'sliding door moment' for our family.  But fate has a funny way of getting you to where you are supposed to be.  2012 is going to be huge for us for so many reasons....I can't wait!!