Theo, 18 months

This is Theo at 18 months. Such a studmuffin!

His brothers and sister call him a muffin for short because “he really likes to eat muffins and also looks like one.” By that logic, they also call him a cupcake and a char siew bao and a mochi and any number of food items that are both squishy and delicious.

He then responds with “MUFFIN?? WHERE??? EAT MUFFIN! GIVE ME ALL THE MUFFINS!!!” He is usually not pleased to discover that there are no muffins to be eaten and it doesn’t end well.

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Theo at 18 months is super fun to hang out with because he gets very emotionally invested in things. He’s got all the feels all the time, which is way too much feels for such a little guy, but hey, I can’t argue with someone who believes in being all in emotionally.

These are the stages of Theo reading a book about a giraffe named Gerald who can’t dance and is mocked mercilessly by all the animals in the jungle.

Stage 1: Okay, a book about animals, I can totally go for that. 

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Stage 2: I’m not sure I like where this story is going.

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Stage 3: Full on frowny-face = WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME READ THIS, MOM???

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Stage 4: I can’t even look at this anymore, make it go away!!

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The story does end on a nice note, with Gerald finding his groove, but by then, it’s too little, too late. Emo baby can’t handle this much sadness in one book.



One of the great things about having a 5th baby is that you can stop being politically correct about things.

1st, 2nd, 3rd baby, you feel obliged to be all “boy or girl, it’s all the same to me, as long as the baby is healthy…” even if deep down inside, you really really had a preference.

5th baby, you’re done with all of that.

Right now, I’m not even going to pretend like I’m the slightest bit prepared to have another boy. I NEED A GIRL. I just had the delight of spending my afternoon watching my 3 boys summon Captain Destroyer to my living room. What’s that? It’s like how Captain Planet is summoned by the combined powers of the Planeteers, except this guy is way more destructive and basically does not care about the environment.

And every time the husband jokes about <insert random activity> with his 4 boys, I try to mask my panic because I know he’s kidding and I won’t give him the satisfaction of watching me fall for it but my involuntary facial twitches will just give me away.

If you’ve ever had a baby, you know that gender isn’t something within your control. You can munch on spinach while facing southeast during the full moon exactly 72 hours before you ovulate with a family of chickens running around under your bed while doing the naughty-naughty, but that’s no guarantee of having a girl. Short of going the IVF route, you just do it and hope that the odds are in your favour.

So the point of all of this is that…YES YES YES YES YES IT’S A GIRL!!!

I can confirm that Operation Baby Hayley is a success and balance to the force will soon be restored. I’m going to have one more of these sweet little things. :)))))

kirsten baby


The best for last


Our last stop for the trip was in Los Angeles and there’s a lot to like about LA – Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, In & Out Burger, The Grove, the palm trees, the glorious sunshine, spotting famous people…it was the best way to round up a visit to California.

We thought it’d be fun to spend a few nights in Hollywood and what better place to stay at than the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel? It’s where the first Academy Awards was hosted and the hotel has seen guests ranging from Clark Gable to Scarlet Johansson. Later, we found out that it’s also the favourite hangout place of Marilyn Monroe’s ghost, so that was um, interesting.

hollywood roosevelt

LA is the sort of place that feels larger than life. If you consume enough movies and TV, you’d recognise many of the places and it’s fun to go on a spot the scene tour around the city.

So here are all our favourite things to do in LA.

The Grove + The Original Farmer’s Market.

The Grove is an excellent way to spend an afternoon even if you’re not of the hardcore shopping variety. I was sort of expecting it to be like an outlet mall style setup but this was one of the prettiest outdoor shopping experiences I’ve had. The whole place was decked out all gorgeous in christmas cheer and everything was so festive. Best of all, when night time came around, the streets would be covered in tiny flakes of fake snow and the kids understandably went nuts.

My kids aren’t fond of shopping but they had so much fun here they were all “you guys should do more shopping!” just so they wouldn’t have to leave.







Venice Beach + Canals Walkway

LA isn’t typically known as a beach destination but we discovered that it has some very spectacular beaches. Such as Venice Beach, which is already gorgeous on its own, but it gets even more street cred when you realise that’s where a very buff, shirtless Edward Norton shot hoops on American History X.






Steps away from Venice boardwalk is a charming little place called the Venice Canals Walkway. It’s a row of houses along a little canal with picturesque bridges and boats.

Kirsten was like “you mean people live here in these houses?? Like everyday they stay here??? Why don’t we bring baby Theo here to LA and then we can all stay here, that’s a great idea right?”

Not a bad pitch by a 7-year-old.





Santa Monica Pier + Boulevard

I have a soft spot for Santa Monica because one of the best memories we have of our honeymoon was walking down Santa Monica Boulevard listening to a guy play this mesmerising tune on the saxophone. I still remember his name – Sha Shaty. We were there for a long time, just sitting by the sidewalk and holding hands, being all newlyweddy and in love.

Over the past 8 years, in good and bad times, we’ll still often talk about that time we were in Santa Monica listening to Sha Shaty on the saxophone. It was like our moment. That’s definitely core memory material, and one of the very best ones.







Well, that just about wraps up this little travel series, thanks for sticking around. Regular programming will resume shortly!