Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.

Sunday morning, post-sleepover party.  It was sunny, I flung open the doors,  I vacuumed and lit lovely smelling candles, the bebe was sleeping and the 10th birthday party was over {for me at least, Dave was on duty with 5 boys at the hot pools – where’s that laughing-so-hard-i’m-crying emoticon?}.  How jaded do I sound?  Very, I know.  Here’s the deal, we have gone big on birthday parties for so many years, and I can definitely pull them off.  Remember Big Foot hunting in the forest when Dave hired a costume and was actually Big Foot?  Yes, I think our work here is done.

So, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, a few skills you know; I can take some pretty snaps, sometimes people pay me to do this.  I can produce large and small scale graphics and run Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop with my eyes closed, sometimes people pay me to do this too.  One thing I can definately do is make awesome birthday invitations and get all crafty with party stuff.  But this year I didn’t.  No mummy-guilt here, just knocked out a Minecraft invite 5 days before the party {oops} in literally, 6 minutes.  Ethan was pretty much in raptures.  Check.

I have made my blessed first born an awesome cake every year for every party.  He wanted a cheesecake this year which was no problem as I can knock one of those up in a flash  {Cheesecake Recipe here}.  Totally purchased all the ingredients and didn’t have time to make it.  No mummy-guilt here, Dave ran up to The Cheesecake Shop and got them to write “Happy 10th Birthday Ethan” on his store bought cake – in really crappy looking writing – and it was just the best thing ever!  “Look at this”,  E exclaimed to his friends, “my DAD got this custom made!”  “you don’t just buy them like that, DAD hooked it up”.  Yes, DAD totally “hooked it up”.  Obviously I hadn’t been hooking it up enough for the past 9 years to deserve that enthusiastic reaction to cake, but whatevs, there was cake!  Check.

Afternoon tea – Ethan planned the menu; cocktail sausages, grapes, frozen savouries, chips and soda.  Healthy?  No way.  Easy, yes!  24 hours of party food won’t kill anyone and will also help this mummy not kill anyone – everybody wins!

Dinner – Pizza Hut $5 takeout pizzas – still winning!

Breakfast – Pancakes, cheers Dad.  Our amaze Pancake Recipe here

So, to summarize, this is NOT my idea of an epic birthday party.  No perfectly planned menu, no crafts and decor, no Pinterest worthy pics, in fact no pics at all aside from this gem  – can’t see the cake or the birthday boy, the lighting is shit, image quality worse than shit and I have 7 chins!  

Birthday Party - New Zealand Mummy Blog 

But for all of its failings in the ‘Perfect Party’ department, Ethan had an amazing weekend with his friends and enjoyed the unstructured, un-fancy-no photo-opp nature of his celebration and it was a good lesson for me; my expectations can be lowered without the world falling off its axis!

Who even has a 10 year old anyway?

Life is mental.  Then your eldest son turns 10 and life gets more mental and you just get really  o l d .

On Friday E turns 10 and this means {if my maths is correct} that Dave and I have been parents for 10 freaking years!  What the?!  Double whammy actually as this also means we have been married for, wait for it, 10 FREAKING YEARS!  Yup, we sealed the deal in a classy ceremony in a San Diego courthouse with one month old Ethan as best man – as he has remained to this day.

We have had some seriously good times with this kid, he was our sole team-mate for 8.5 years before graciously becoming the best big brother there has ever been.  He is the kid at school that is super smart and kicks ass in the classroom but also goes pretty hard on the sports field as well.  He sung his heart out on stage last night at the APPA choir festival at the Auckland Town Hall, and Dave was just the proudest Dad ever, constantly sending me pics and messages about his awesome boy.  The nice thing about this is that I sung in the APPA choir when I was Ethan’s age 25 years ago and stood on the same stage at the Town Hall!  There he is 4th from the left in green;

Auckland Kids Choir

Shopping for gifts for a ten year old boy is infinitely harder than then the 9 year old I had last year.  For some reason I cannot fathom the item on the top of his birthday list is this;

WWE Spinner Belt

Hmmm.  Confused?  Same.  That’s apparently a WWE Championship Spinner Belt Replica, which will not (sadly) be coming to live at our house post birthday on Friday.  Wrestling belt, wrestling toy guys, some status update on Minecraft.  And that is it.  The sum total of my big guys birthday wish-list is a bunch of plastic, sweaty men in lycra gear.  Scary stuff.  But, compared to that his real birthday present is freaking awesome!  I cannot wait for Friday morning!

 

 

The Circle of Life……

I’ve had a revelation dear reader, and being the giver that I am, I’ve decided to share it with you.

{Truth be told, this philosophical divulgence occurred some time ago, but it has taken 6 weeks to get a picture of that damned frog!}

So here we are.  Is your mind clear?  Are you sitting with an open heart and incense burning {preferably on an organic, free trade hemp mat, but beggars can’t be choosers so read on}, ready to receive the blessing of todays spiritual enlightenment?

The circle of life has nothing to do with Elton John.  Or Simba.  Let’s let that sink in shall we?  No!  You’re good, ok.  Moving on; The circle of life also has nothing to do with birth, death, regeneration, planting your placenta under a tree or anything else completely normal like that.  Shit’s getting cray cray, stay with me reader.

During the last school holidays, Ethan headed north to spend a few golden days and nights with his Nana & Geoff in Waipu.  He loves it there, he can roam free with the big dogs, fish for eels and………catch frogs all day.  We are fully versed in the one-way relationship that comes from having pet frogs; you spend $140 on a terrarium to house your new friends, add to that a budget of $20 on flies once a week, put flies in tank, frog eats flies, frog poos in water, you clean the tank (because Steve Irwin Jr lost interest after day 9).  Needless to say after a couple of years of this we released our amphibious friends and sold our terrarium – because there was no way we were EVER having pet frogs again.  Mmm mmmm, no way. 

Can you see where this is going?  Can you?

Ethan returned from Waipu clutching a 20 litre paint bucket like it was the last bucket of Resene Quarter Tea left in existence.  Inside was the biggest freaking frog we had ever seen.  Despite a generous offer of a frog palace from friends, we were going to need a bigger tank.

So you see reader, the circle of life isn’t a matter worthy of deep, spiritual meditation.  The circle of life is complete when you are purchasing your SECOND $140 terrarium and naming the biggest, fly guzzling creature you have ever seen, Benji. 

The lesson here is simple, don’t sell your terrarium / fishtank / hamster house ever.  Hoard that shit in your garage until all kids are at least 21, then make them take it flatting.  The husband children will always find a way to smuggle more pets into your life, this is how we ended up with Dash, and goddamn it I can’t lose that dog for want of trying.

Namaste x

 

Halloween 2014…….was a week ago, I realize this!

For the first time in like, ever {or maybe 3 or 4 years} Dave was home from work on time to go Trick or Treating with us last Friday.  I think this is possibly due to the cute factor being multiplied considerably this year by #2 being able to wear his big brothers FIRST EVER HALLOWEEN COSTUME!  Some families pass down christening gowns and the like, creating heirlooms out of all that vintage stuff; we’re all class and save Halloween costumes for the future generations!  Wait until our future daughter-in-laws get a glimpse of their baby’s first Halloween monkey suit, worn by their daddy’s, I will be endeared to them forever.  Bless.

Halloween Costumes 2014What a couple of babes!  E gave his book week costume a second showing and was a hobbit, this boy makes my life infinitely easier on a daily basis.  Here’s a little flashback for you, Ethan in The Monkey Suit, Encinitas, California 2006!

Halloween Monkey Costume

The Age Gap = A Very L O N G Week

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Pass the wine.  

For the past 13 months I have been self-righteously patting myself on the back, mentally high-fiving because the huge age gap between our kids has been a huge non-event.  And truth be told it hasn’t been difficult in any of the ways one would expect;

  • Ethan has not been jealous of his little at all
  • If anything juggling a newborn with a very busy 8.5 year old was only minutely difficult
  • E loves playing with nix and vice versa
  • E delights in all of his bro’s developmental milestones and is as proud as punch of his wee brother.
  • These two are so close and adore each other in a way that is going to result in the strongest bond that they will treasure as they grow older.

There has been a storm quietly brewing though.  Stewing and simmering, rearing it’s head every now again amidst protestations against iPad time limits and run of the mill simple requests are being constantly met with opposition and resistance.

It’s doing my freaking head in people.  

I have to admit, The Age Gap problem is real and it’s pretty much living in my head.  Changing channels between the totally transparent requirements of 13 month old Nixon and the ever-changing, complex analysis and head-nodding required to keep pre-tween E on an even keel is SO HARD.  I almost cried and ran to my room about 17 times this week.

Big is going through a phase which apparently requires compulsory attempts at control of all situations and as many arguments as you can fit in the day.  Thank god I have a hair appointment on Saturday as I can actually see my grey hairs growing before my eyes.

So.  That’s life at the moment.  In baby news, Nixon’s bum rash has stopped bleeding and his appointment today with the surgical team went really well!  He also loves meatloaf and making animal sounds.  Yah age gap!

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

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nixon: your last days of babyhood are upon us!  you walk when you feel like it, you talk all day long, you are stroppy and know what you want and you are the most delicious, happy baby we have ever known.  i am so looking forward to celebrating your first birthday this week.  where this year has gone, i can’t even fathom.

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ethan: we headed to waiwera on a whim on sunday and scooped up one of your besties on the way.  we had such fun!  it was a relief to shake off our rather stringent naptime routine and just roll with the punches for a day.  you definitely appreciated having a day that didn’t revolve around your wee brother and it made me realise that it’s ok to throw routine out the window every once in a while.

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

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ethan: you were so inspired by ben smith’s amazing tackle in the 2nd all blacks test against england that one of your favourite new pastimes is watching youtube videos of try-saving tackles.  i guess there is worse things you could be watching right?  nix just wants to watch big red car……

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nixon: trucks, tractors and diggers.  all day.  every day. broommmm. i love it.  luckily – for you – there are many diggers working across the street from us so you can get your digger fix on a daily basis.  it’s pretty cute that one of your first words is “digg-ah”.  you are a loud chatty wee thing my darling x

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

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nixon: such a horrible week for you, more biopsies which really knocked you around resulting in four days in starship.  your hirschprungs journey has just begun but we will be there with you every step of the way x

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ethan: i love the way you look at your baby brother.  you play with him whenever you can, you have never been annoyed, short tempered or impatient with him.  i’m sure those times are ahead of us but i know your love will help him through any situation as you two grow older.  you are so lucky to have each other and the amazing thing is, i know you feel this too.  you have never forgotten how much it hurt when we lost the wee baby before nixie and that makes loving your brother all the more special.

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

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nixon: i was about to dress you when i realised that i really needed to enjoy your baby chub more often. so we turned the heat pump on and you had a lovely play in your nappy and i went a bit snap-happy.  you are such a very scrummy baby!

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ethan: june was a lucky month for me, i won two tickets to the all blacks v england at eden park so opted to let you and your dad have a boys night out.  you guys had some fast food for dinner and rode the train to town where you had a blast watching the first nail-biting test.  it was a timely treat as you received player of the day again at your own rugby game!  you are so handsome and growing so fast at the moment, that’s my kathmandu jacket you’re fitting rather nicely!

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

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ethan: you are having a seriously good year at rugby.  you have settled into your position in the front row, finally, and are using your huge strength and power they way we knew you always could.  your school team won all three games in the first round of this years comp and look set to continue this streak into the next two rounds. 

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nixon: you don’t particularly enjoy the shouting and excitement of being on the sidelines at rugby so we hang out on the far side of the field where you can cheer your brother on in your own special way  – by eating all of his food and messing with the field markers!

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com