Birthdays and visits!

Hi all!
We can’t believe it is March already – where is 2017 going!! It has been a wet couple of months here, but the sun is finally back out which we’re enjoying. The rain hasn’t slowed us down though – we’ve celebrated Jacs’ (27th…) birthday, Leo’s 3rd and Milla’s 1st. Mum was here for the girls’ birthday parties which was great fun. For Leo we had a bouncy castle and a bunch of her (and our) friends so it was quite the party. For Milla, we kept it low key with Champagne and Bagels with family, but it was a blast!

Leo’s birthday

Milla’s birthday

Over the past couple of month’s we’ve also done a couple of little day and weekend trips, and we’ve had some family and friends visiting us here:

  • Leo took me to Disney Land (she says she calls it ‘Disney’) and showed me all of her favorite ride. Dumbo still wins, but she was brave and went on Peter Pan and Pinocchio despite some scary characters!
  • The benefit of all the rain and cold has been lots and lots of snow this year. We decided to take advantage of it, and have a weekend up in Big Bear with Caitlin and Felix (unfortunately Dan was old of town). We got a nice little AirBnB in town, and had a lovely weekend – I hit the slopes with a friend while everyone else spent the day playing in the snow. It was certainly more snow than Big Bear was used to!
  • Mum has been over to visit twice the past couple of months which has been great fun – she was here for a week at the beginning of Feb (when we celebrated Leo’s birthday), and was then back for the first week of March (when we celebrated Milla’s).The girl’s loved having Oma around – painting, exploring Pasadena, playing in the house, exploring LA (including a decadent morning at Smorgasburg for all the food trucks). We even lit the fire in the cold weather and made Smores!
  • Our great friend Amanda Collier came through town with work, so we had a fun night of tacos at Trejo’s Cantina in Hollywood, followed by some froyo! It was so great to see her!
  • Amazingly it is already less than a month until Vik and Mike’s baby Sara is due. All the girls headed over to Detroit last month for the baby shower for a few days. I’m excited to get over to visit them in May and meet our new niece!
  • Having been abandoned at home, I decided to have a boy’s weekend in San Francisco – Jason happened to be in town from Sydney, and it was a great opportunity to catch-up with lots of business school friends, as well as Jacs’ grand parents in Berkeley.

    Friends from all over the world

  • Our really great friend Em from Sydney came to stay – we had a blast exploring town (including a crazy day of lunch at Baco Mercat, drinks on the rooftop at Perch, followed by meeting friends in Old Town while Bon watched the girls – thanks Bon!), and a weekend up in Santa Barbara. Luckily the sun came out for a little while during the day and we had the chance to go for a ‘bike ride’ (Camilla looked like a mushroom from Super Mario), I had a surf and Leo enjoyed the pool!
  • Last weekend, Ray (my cousin Wendy’s husband from Melbourne) was in town researching Mindfulness and Meditation studios with his business partner, so we had fun meeting him down in Santa Monica, and also going out to a great dinner in Silver Lake at a delicious restaurant called Pine and Crane.

Phew!

Before I wrap up, here are a couple of other photos from the past few months as well:

I think that just about covers the highlights from the past couple of months. Hope that everyone is well!
– Ben and Jacs

Happy New Year! Bring on 2017

Happy New Year everyone!

Hope that 2017 is off to a good start for all of you. It certainly is here. We’ve had a lovely holidays here in LA, hanging out with family and friends, and squeezed in a quick getaway to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree too (about 2 hours away). Yesterday, we spent the day at Venice Beach with friends enjoying the sunshine, a surf and a picnic on the beach – not bad for the middle of winter. Today is the Rose Parade in Pasadena so we’re having a quiet day and watching that on TV! That brings to an end the holidays – back to work tomorrow 🙁

Juice at Muscle Beach on the 1st

Happy New Year!

Christmas kicked off for us a few weeks ago with brunch with Santa at the Altadena country club – we got all dressed up and Camilla and Leo had on their Christmas dresses ready to hear some carols and meet Santa. It was quite the setup with ‘snow’ all over the floor. Santa and Mrs Claus were very patient with the girls – although it was funny cause both girls are still kind of scared of Santa. With that said, Camilla did play with his beard quite a bit and Leo managed to ask for a Lion, a Dinosaur and a Monkey from a few steps away!

Getting the tree ready

Carols at the Club

Ready for brunch

‘I love my sister’

Meeting the Claus’

Our next big Christmas event was Leo’s school Christmas Program which was a wonderful morning. She sang carols and other songs with her class and really put on a show – we could hear her from our seats. It was so cute to see her up there on stage! At the end, Santa was there too, and Leo repeated her ask (Lion, Dinosaur, Monkey – every time!)

Nonna was still guest of honor!

Such a performer

Proud parents

Singing her heart out

The Christmas celebrations continued the next night with my work Christmas party, which was James Bond themed at a cool club downtown called the Edison, which still had a lot of old power generation equipment, and had a great atmosphere. A really fun night out!

Prom Wall

Ready to party!

All dressed up!

Another fun activity in the lead-up to Christmas was a trip to the Descanso Gardens ‘Enchanted Forest of Lights’ with Caitlin, Dan and Felix, and Bubba, Christy and Lizzy Jane. They turn the gardens in to a set of really cool light exhibits, with 2 of the favourites being the ‘Lily Pads’ that lit up as Leo and Felix chased each other around, and a set of light shows with music as you stepped on the pads. It was cold, but a hot toddy as we walked helped keep us warm 🙂

Keeping warm!

Family fun!

Leo and ‘her best friend’

Christmas Eve, we started the day with a lovely brunch at Uncle Michael and Aunt Rachael’s (where Camilla suddenly worked out how to climb stairs!). We had Bonnie and Lou over for a nice dinner before Leo put out her milk, cookies, and carrots for Santa and his Reindeer. Leo really is now completely aware of it all, and was very excited for Santa’s visit, even though she was still a little scared of him. In the morning, Nonna and Babbo were back at 7.30am to start the Christmas celebrations. Leo checked the milk and cookies and verified that Santa had come down the chimney while she slept, and with that it was straight in to the present opening! What excitement!

Up the stairs!

I’ve been a good girl Santa!

Luckily Santa delivered on the Lion, Dinosaur, and Monkey – even if they weren’t real. 🙂 The girls were also spoiled with lots and lots of other pressies from Santa, Oma/Grand dad and Nonna/Babbo! They were overwhelmed but so excited. By 9.30, we were over at Bubba and Christy’s house to continue the celebrations with a champagne brunch and some pretty decadent food! (Thanks Bubba/Christy for hosting!). After all the excitement we had a quick afternoon nap, before Christmas dinner lasagna feast at Bonnie and Lou’s! What a day!!

Pressie time!

Dinosaurs!

All the girls

In the morning, we got up and got on the road to Palm Springs where we had decided to get a quick 2 night getaway, and we’re glad we did! We spent the first afternoon wondering around town, having a delicious lunch at Cheeky’s (thanks Caitlin for the tip!), taking advantage of happy hour at the hotel, and then an early dinner nearby in town. We then spent the next day exploring Joshua Tree national park, which really was stunning – a cool landscape of rocks and (you guessed it!) Joshua Trees in the high desert. We stopped at a couple of the cool landmarks through the park such as Skull Rock, but the highlight was the 1 mile hidden valley loop – about the limit of our hiking ability with the girls 🙂 Leo was on form though, running around, climbing rocks… and we even caught a first glimpse of snow since there was a little on the ground. We then got really lucky as both girls fell asleep and stayed asleep all the way back to Palm Springs as we took a scenic drive out of the park and through box canyon.

Beautiful landscapes in Joshua Tree

My girls!

The fam in Joshua Tree

Fingers crossed she doesn’t jump!

Another family shot!

After another drink at happy hour, and dinner at Lulu’s nearby and some decadent milkshakes for dessert, we had an early night in preparation for getting up early to check out the Aerial Tramway – each time we drove past there was a 4 hour wait, so we decided being there at 7.30 to get tickets for the first tram at 8, was the way to go and it completely paid off. The Tramway is a 10 minute ride over 2.5 miles up to 8,500 feet where there is beautiful wilderness and hiking, and at this time of year, lots of snow to play in! We put on our snow jackets, and Leo grabbed her sled (a Christmas pressie from Daddy), and up we went! It is a stunning (and if you ask Jacs) a little scary) ride up the mountain with views out over Palm Springs and the other desert cities. At the top, we were greeted by a foot of snow, so after a hot chocolate, got out there to build snow men (we had to build the whole family!), and do a little sledding. It was the girls’ first time seeing snow properly and was so much fun!

View from the top

Loving the snow!

Now that’s a snowball

Now this is how to travel

Enjoying the snow

So much fun in fact, that the next day back in LA, we headed up Angeles Crest above Pasadena to play in the snow with Caitlin, Dan and Felix – Leo just couldn’t get enough of building snowmen!

More snowmen!

That brings us to New Year’s Eve. Bubba and Christy had the great idea to host a ‘Noon Year’s Eve’ party at lunch. Unfortunately it was raining so the bouncy castle had to be cancelled but we still had a blast with all the kids running around having a blast for the afternoon while we ate, drank, and generally had a great time. At one point, there were about 6 toddlers having a dance party! After all of that fun, we didn’t get anywhere near midnight – we were in bed by 8… but it did mean we were up for our beach day on New Year’s Day to welcome 2017!

Now before we go, a couple of other photos from the past month:

My #1 fan

Where does time go – 8 months!

Thanksgiving

Nine months and looking grown up – she has 4 teeth!

Such a smily baby

Hiking in the Santa Monica mountains

Hope that all of you have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s.
Ben, Jacs, Leo and Milla

Our first trip back home…

Hi there everyone!
Happy Thanksgiving! We can’t believe how fast the end of the year is approaching and that we’ve now been in LA for 11 months! We’ve just returned to LA after a wonderful 2 weeks back in Australia visiting family and friends, and popping over to Queenstown for our friends Nick and Fi’s wedding. It was our first trip back to Sydney since we moved to LA, and Camilla’s first! We had such a blast although it flew by so quickly. Sydney really put on the Spring weather for us, so we had almost daily walks down to Balmoral with Oma (gosh we miss being able to stroll down to the beautiful blue water!) for coffee and to use the playground (which the girls loved!), as well as trips to Manly for surfs and strolls (and to use the playground there 🙂 ), and swims in the pool at home (with its ‘exquisitely’ warm water 😉 ). We loved spending time with my parents, seeing them with the girls (Leo was obsessed with her doctor’s kit and gave everyone constant checkups – especially Grand dad). Our very first night, we had an early dinner at Bather’s which was always one of our favourite spots. The next day was beautiful and sunny and we invited all of our friends to come for a lovely day of cocktails and beers in the sun at the Greens in North Sydney which was great fun and a wonderful way to reconnect with all of our close friends, and also to meet some of the new babies! Leonora was having heaps of fun playing with Molly (Sarah and Jason’s daughter) and Sammy (Kylie and Matt’s daughter) – and saw them lots during the trip including many days in the pool and at balmoral.

After a few more days hanging out with everyone, it was off to New Zealand for Fi and Nick’s wedding.

We’re so glad we were able to make the trip! Queenstown is a beautiful city that Jacs’ hadn’t been to and I hadn’t been to since a family trip when I was little. Right from the moment the plane broke through the clouds and we saw the incredible ‘Remarkables’ mountain range, with its snow capped jagged peaks we were in awe. The wedding was 15 minutes drive outside Queenstown at a beautiful golf resort called Milbrook just outside a historical little town called Arrowtown. It was such a beautiful place (although a little chilly!) and we had our first 2 nights staying at Milbrook for the welcome dinner at an Arrowtown pub (where Leo had a blast playing in a little tree house cooking ‘rock soup’), and then the Wedding day. Rory and Nat and their son Lachie, and Nat’s sister and her boyfriend were at the wedding too, so we were hanging out with them which we really enjoyed. Our cottage looked out over the golf course, and Leo could play outside with all of the ducks which was fun to watch. For the wedding reception, we had baby sitters too, so had a really fun night hitting the dance floor!! Congratulations to Fi and Nick! It really was wonderful to be there and celebrate.

The day after the wedding, we did a morning drive along Lake Wakatipu up to Glenorchy (‘Gateway to Paradise’) which is one of the really beautiful drives to do, before heading back to Milbrook for a final farewell lunch at Nick’s parents place, before heading in to Queenstown to our AirBnB with Nat and Rory that was about 15 minutes walk outside town with a beautiful view over the lake. After all the festivities, we had a quiet evening at the house to catch out breath! The next day though, we spent exploring Queenstown including a cruise on the historic TSS Earnslaw Steam boat across the lake, followed by lunch at the famous (and delicious) Ferg Burger. Unfortunately the rain then came in, but we were quick on our feet to a little wine bar where you walk around sampling all of the wines (and whisky) which was a good way to spend a little time on a rainy afternoon. The following day, we decided to do a beautiful drive through the mountains up to another beautiful lake in the town of Wanaka, with a stop at the Cardrona Distillery along the way, followed by a drive back down through wine country to Queenstown after lunch – I think our favourite was Brennan! That night, Fi and Nick joined us for a delicious Malay dinner at Madam Woo for a farewell before we headed back to Sydney the next day.

Our final few days in Sydney were jam packed with catching up with everyone one last time, hanging out with my family, and spending some time with TK (who had been in Cuba for the first part of our trip) and getting to know his girlfriend Di. We also had a lovely evening out with our friends Tom and Lisa celebrating their engagement at a delicious restaurant called Cho Cho San, and then a night out with TK, Em, Leigh, Jacek and La at Spice Temple, one of our favourite restaurants, followed by a lot of fun dancing at Frankie’s pizza – thanks mum and dad for all of the baby sitting! It was such a fun trip, and sad to leave! We do miss it a lot.

Other than that trip, since we last wrote, October was a fun month in LA. I won’t go in to the details but some of the highlights were:

  1. We had our housewarming party with about 40 friends – it is so nice feeling settled, and the party was a blast! We even organized a taco truck to do the food so we could relax 🙂
    The girls...

    The girls…

    ...and the boys

    …and the boys

  2. The following weekend, the parties at our house continued with a 90th celebration for Jacs’ grand dad. He and Gita came down from Berkeley, and we had a big group of family and friends come over for a lovely afternoon party.

    The whole fam!

    The whole fam!

  3. Our really close friends the Browns from Berkeley were in town, so we had a great time out with them in Santa Monica – thanks Nonna and Bobbo for baby sitting!
  4. I did a charity stair climb up US Bank tower – 75 floors and the tallest stairwell west of the Mississippi – in 14 minutes 52 seconds which was exhausting, but the view from the top is spectacular.
  5. We celebrated Halloween with a small party at our house. We were dressed as crocodiles on Leo’s insistence! It was Leo’s first Halloween actually knowing what was going on, and Camilla’s first! Caitlin came with Felix, Nick and Nicole brought Adelina, and Bubba and Christy brought Lizzie Jane, and all the babies happened to come as animals so we had quite the zoo as we trick or treated around our neighbourhood! On the weekend we did also have a more adult Halloween celebration since our neighbours a few houses down hosted a party and really got in to it, and some of our friends had a party too! What fun!

    The Zoo!

    The Zoo!

That’s all from us for now. Hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Vik and Mike are in town, and we’re doing a family Thanksgiving celebration at the Fishers house.
Ben and Jacs

6 months old already!

Gosh! It has been 3 months since we’ve posted. Where has that time gone? We’ve been busy here with a combination of dealing with 2 girls, moving in to our new house, having friends come and stay, getting away for a few fun weekends, and of course, continuing to get to know LA. I’ll keep this short though, since I’m sure we’ll lose your interest pretty quickly!

First things first, we can’t believe that Camilla is already 6 months old. She’s a little darling – such a smiley baby with a gentle temperament. She’s already trying to crawl, and can shuffle across the floor. She also has some teeth coming in (so is sleeping great! 😉 ) She’s growing up so fast!

Camilla is 6 months old!

Camilla is 6 months old!

Next up, I’m sure you’re all curious about our new place. We’ve got a lovely Spanish ‘Adobe’ style 3 bedroom place with a garden that Leo loves playing in (with a swingset all setup!). It’s about 5 minutes drive up to Bonnie and Lou’s so we’re still getting lots of Nonna and Bobbo help, 2 blocks walk to Leo’s school, and a little over a mile to the Club where we’ve been spending a lot of time by the pool. We’re so happy and feeling at home… and the guest room is all setup, so come and visit 🙂

Other than that, since we last posted back in June after returning from Miami / Vik and Mike’s wedding, we’ve been up to lots, but keeping it quick (photos below!):

  • Our dear friends Jacek and Em came to visit us from Sydney, so we had a great time catching up with them and showing them around LA
  • For the fourth of July long weekend, we headed up to the Bay Area to catch up with all of our friends with Berkeley and to celebrate Jacs’ granddad’s 90th. It was a lovely weekend – we stayed at the beautiful Claremont Hotel in Berkeley which is just a 5 minute walk to Jacs’ grand parents house. It was great to be back there and reminisce about our wonderful 2 years living there. The birthday party was really nice too – the sun was shining, and we caught up with the family over a few glasses of wine. Over the weekend, we also got to spend some time with our friends Chris and Jordan, and Andrew and Amanda – as well as many others!
  • Back in July, I had a quick trip to New York for a BCG soccer tournament, which also served as an opportunity to see Keiren and Will who cooked up a feast for me at their apartment. Sadly the rest of the fam had to stay home – would have been great to have them there, but so much fun to see K&W! And in the soccer, we got to the quarter finals which was much better than expected – although I had the cuts and bruises to show for it the next day 🙂
  • We spent a beautiful weekend up at Lake Arrowhead with LeAnn and Michael who kindly invited us up to their house there. Its about a 90 minute drive from Pasadena in to the mountains, but feels remote and is a gorgeous spot. We had the boat out on the lake in front of the house, so had heaps of fun getting out wakeboarding – Leo even came out on a boogie board with me behind the boat 🙂
  • Keeping things busy, we followed that weekend up with a weekend down in San Diego, staying in a cute little Air BnB cottage at Ocean Beach with our friends Caitlin and Dan, and their son Felix (Leo’s bestie). It was lovely and relaxing hanging as a family on the beach. Leo even caught some waves on a boogie board 🙂 We also got to hang out with cousin Tal, and see our friends Jess and Mike and meet their daughter Haley.
  • The following weekend was the labor day weekend, but was time for a weekend at home. Instead of going away, we were lucky enough to have Chris, Jordan and their baby Jack come and stay (it was the first test of our guest room – turned out there is no cold water in the guest shower – we’ve fixed it 😉 ). We had a great weekend mostly hanging out in the garden while the girls and Jack played, and we drank Rose in the sun! It is always a blast hanging out with them!
  • Last weekend, we’d worked up the energy for another weekend away, back to where it all began up in Santa Barbara 🙂 We haven’t been back there since moving to California, and it really reminded us how much we love it and feel relaxed there. The reason for the trip was that Jacs had signed up for a ‘She is Beautiful’ 5K race that a friend from her triathlon team at UCSB organizes. Jacs ran it in awesome time, especially since she was pushing Leo in the pram (and hasn’t had much time to train at all with two girls) – and Leo even got out to run across the finish line which was super cute. We stayed on the beach, and happened to be right at the start line, so didn’t use the car all weekend! I even got the train up from LA to meet the fam there which worked really well! SB really is so much fun, and we love the outdoor lifestyle. What was the ‘urban wine trail’ has also evolved in to the ‘funk zone’ which is a collection of tasting rooms, breweries, bars and restaurants which was really fun to explore – including a delicious dinner at the Lark.
  • Last week, Jacs and the girls, Bon, Al, Christy and EJ all headed down to Disneyland for the day! Leo was still probably a little too young and got a bit scared on some of the rides but generally had a blast and is still talking about it. I’ve still never been – the next trip will have to be a family one!

Other than that, it has really just been fun getting to know LA and really feeling settled in. We’ve been out surfing lots on weekends (well, I have and the girls hang out at the beach and enjoy the sun 😉 ) – both down at Manhattan Beach / El Porto, as well at Venice, and even up in Malibu. I’ve found a few friends to surf with which is great too. We’ve also been enjoying spending days at the pool at the Club – we’re now members, and Leo is such a water girl… and Camilla is getting to be too – and hanging out with friends and family 🙂

Phew! All caught up!
Well done on making it this far 🙂

Hope that you’re all well – as always, would love to hear from you.
– Ben, Jacs, Leo and Milla

Congrats to Mr and Mrs Ilitch!

Well it seems like another whirlwind month here! Not sure where time is flying by, although with the 2 girls we have our hands full 🙂
Believe it or not, Camilla is already 3 months old! She’s a little cutie, and a lovely, easy baby so far (touch wood!) – she smiles lots, has been sleeping pretty well, and is getting strong – we even caught her trying to roll over the other day! Leo continues to grow up fast, and we’ve been having so much fun with her. She talks a lot, and is really putting together sentences – and is certainly an opinionated little thing! I seem to get told ‘Daddy don’t do that, I don’t like that’ all the time – even if ‘that’ is asking her to eat her lunch or something easy 🙂 She starts at her new school this week which she is super excited about – she’ll even be doing swim classes there!

In other exciting news, we’re in the process of buying a house! We should be moving in over the next couple of weeks as escrow should close any day now.

So what else have we been up this month you ask? Lots in fact! Mum and Dad are in the US visiting. They arrived in the US a few weeks ago, just before Jacs and the girls headed out to Michigan to start getting ready for Vikkee and Mike’s wedding. We then had a few days together before they flew out to go and visit Keiren in New York, so we explored LA – one of the highlights was a delicious dinner at a restaurant called Le Comptoir that only seats 8 people at the counter, is largely vegetarian (with vegetables that the Chef grew), and the chef cooks in front of you and talks you through the meal. What a treat!

I then headed out to Detroit for the wedding to meet Jacs and the Fam – my whole family (Keiren, Will, TK, Mum and Dad) all made it which was special too. It was such an experience and a wonderful celebration. We couldn’t be more excited for Vik and Mike! The celebrations began with a family dinner at the MotorCity Casino (where we were all staying) on the Friday night – which Bonnie made pasta sauce for (that’s a lot of pasta sauce) – and was followed by some drinks back in Vik’s suite which was lots of fun. Saturday we then had the rehearsal in the morning which was a great opportunity for me to finally meet all the other Groomsmen! Leo was definitely not co-operating with the idea of being flower girl at the rehearsal and screamed the whole way down the aisle 😉 From there, we walked across the street to Comerica Park (Tiger stadium) for an amazing and unique afternoon – there was a merry go-round and hot dogs in the stadium, as well as lawn games down on the field and the chance to actually run around on the grass, and even go and explore the locker rooms… all while the names of all the guests were rotating through on the big screen! That night, we had an awesome evening at Punchbowl social, a cool bar with a bowling lane that we could use – and yes, before you ask, they did make punch…in a bowl which was very tasty, and apparently quite strong based on my memory of the end of the evening!

The next morning we woke up bright and early for the big day…which was also our 5 year anniversary (woohooooooo! Although, we decided that buying a house could be our celebration! 😉 ). Vik and Mike had each arranged a suite for the groomsmen and bridesmaids to get ready in, so while the girls were all getting their makeup and hair done, the guys relaxed in Mike’s suite and had a beer or two until about 15 minutes before we had to be ready at which point we all threw on our tuxes, and were looking good – although the girls were definitely looking amazing!! From there it was off to the Church for the wedding. It was a lovely service, and the best thing about it was how happy Mike and Vik were the whole time, smiling at each other and so genuinely happy. Leo even did a great job as flower girl, holding the ring bearer’s hand (Lucas), and Jacs’ hand too (the plan had been for them to walk themselves but this worked out too and no one else knew!). After the ceremony, we headed across the road to Comerica Park for the reception. Initially, the Bridal party had a separate area to hang out and have a drink an some snacks looking out over the rest of the guests below. Leo spotted Felix down below and the two of them did a lot of waving and trying to work out how to get to each other which was really cute. It was then time for the big entrance – Mike and Vik came after the bridal party and did a first dance to huge cheers and there were grins all around – while Leo and Felix were reunited and had a dance of their own! It was an awesome setup being in the Stadium for the dinner – Lou behaved himself in his speech, and Jacs and Al did an awesome job in their’s. After dinner the party continued in to the early hours with drinks and dancing under the stars with an awesome band. There was even an incredible fireworks display over the stadium!

The following morning, there was a yummy brunch at the hotel (and I overate on fried chicken!), and then we did a little explore to Corktown, which was an interesting neighbourhood of Detroit with some cool places opening up including ‘Two James’ – a distillery where we stopped for a cocktail. At that point, it was off to the airport for the adventure to continue in Miami!

Our couple of days in South Beach was heaps of fun – it was great to have some time with the family since it had been so long since all the Buchanan’s were together. We were staying just off the beach at the Hyatt Centric, so each morning had some time in the sun (I’m still recovering from some sun burn!) – The beach was beautiful and perfect for Leo since the water was nice and calm. When we’d had our fill of sunshine, we’d explore town – wanders through the art deco building of South Beach, Tacos at a litle place we liked called Taquiza (where we tried ‘Miami Weiss’ beer), and Sandwiches at La Sandwicherie. One afternoon we headed off to Wynwood Walls to see some really cool graffiti displays. The evenings were equally packed – we had a delicious dinner at YardBird (famous for fried Chicken), a birthday dinner for Keiren at Pubbelly for Asian inspired pub food, and an evening with Will’s cousin’s family and their kids which was a lot of fun too! While we didn’t do any proper ‘clubbing’, we did spend some time at some of the local dive bars, including our favourite – Kill Your Idol – where TK and I saw potentially the strangest live performance ever!!

Bright and early on Friday morning, Jacs, Leo, Camilla and I left the family in Miami and headed back to LA for a BCG retreat at a beautiful beachfront resort in Palos Verdes (South of LA) called Terranea where we then spent the weekend which was a nice way to wrap up the whirlwind weekend, complete with a Circus themed party (Leo was a Tiger!) 🙂

Now we’re back home recovering from all the excitement, and mum, dad and TK are coming to visit for a couple of days which will be fun!

Other than that, we’ve been up to the usual – spending time at the beach, visiting the zoo, hanging with Leo’s ‘best friend’ Felix (who she talks about constantly!), and continuing to settle in to life in LA.

Hope you’re all well
– Ben and Jacs

Having fun as a fam of 4!

Hi all! Its been quite a while since we posted, but as you can guess we’ve been busy getting used to having 2 little ones to look after. Looking back, I actually realize that we haven’t even really posted since getting back from Mexico! Don’t worry – we’ll keep this quick, and I’ll let you look at some of our photos from the past couple of months.

Everything has been going really well settling in here. We’re still living with the Fishers in Altadena, and work is going well for me – I’ve actually been based in LA for a change so not traveling has been great. Leonora is going to school a couple of days a week and being a wonderful big sister (so many kisses and cuddles!). She’s also been having a blast with her Nonna, and with her best friend Felix (our friend’s Caitlin and Dan’s son) who she sees every couple of days. Camilla is already six weeks old which is amazing – where does time go! She’s gorgeous, and growing up fast – she now smiles and is getting strong holding up her head. Jacs is being a super mum with the two of them.

Last month, mum and dad came to stay for almost a month which was wonderful. Leo had such a blast with her Oma and Granddad, and we all had a lot of fun hanging out and really appreciated all of their help!

As you might expect for Southern California, the weather has been beautiful, so we’ve been spending lots of time in the sun, at the beach (I’m still surfing most weekends down at Manhattan Beach/El Porto), going to the pool (Leo loves her swim lessons!), hiking around the mountains and canyons around Altadena – it has been heaps of fun!

Other than that, given the amount of time since our last post, here is a quick summary of some other highlights:

  • In January, before I started work, we had a quick trip up to San Francisco to see all of our friends there. We had so much fun there staying with Chris and Jordan, and seeing their son Jack.
  • We celebrated Jacs’ 21st birthday and Leo’s second birthday! She’s getting so grown up
  • Leo, Felix, Dan and I went to Peppa Pig Live – what an experience 🙂
  • I had a quick trip to New York for a bachelor party, and happened to be staying a block from Keiren and Will’s house so had a really fun time seeing them
  • Chris, Jordan and Jack came to visit us in LA
  • We had an Easter egg hunt around the garden and Leo found so many eggs she had to fill her basket twice – she loves the Easter bunny
  • We celebrated my 32nd birthday!
  • Keiren and Will came to visit while mum and dad were here, so we really had a full house 🙂 They managed to come for a whole week which was great since usually we only get one weekend at a time!
  • Hope that all of you are well
    Ben and Jacs
    xx

    From three to four, welcome to the world baby girl!

    Welcome to the world, Camilla Eloise Buchanan!

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    Our dear family and friends,

    At 7.38 a.m on March 7th, we were blessed with another healthy baby girl. Somehow our hearts have doubled in size in one short breath. We’re overwhelmed with joy, love and excitement to welcome our new baby girl to the world.

    Both Jacs and Milla are healthy, albeit a bit exhausted, and recovering well. Leo is smitten with her baby sister and relishing in her new role as big sis!

    We will be in touch with more photos and information once we’ve had time to settle into our new family of FOUR! 🙂

    All our love
    Ben, Jacqueline, Leonora and Camilla

    Camilla Eloise Buchanan
    7 March 2016
    7 lb, 14 oz / 3.57 kg
    20.5 inches / 52 cm