My Grownup To-do List – Make a Will

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family How to make a will

In the grand scheme of My Grown Up Life, this is the breakdown; I’ve been a mother for 11.5 years and married the same.  We purchased our home 4 years ago and completed our Grown Up prerequisites by adding two dogs and another baby to the family.

Job done! Adulting complete!

Except, I forgot the paperwork.  The Life Admin that you push to the back of the to-do list along with equally exciting things like road tolls, dog registrations, filling out warranty cards and going to the dental hygienist.

And making a will.  I forgot to do that too.

Our family situation is one shared by many Kiwis in that I met Dave overseas, we eventually returned to New Zealand, leaving all of his family behind who live in the southern States of America.  In terms of holidays this is great!  Our boys also both have dual citizenship, which they may choose to utilise when they are older, but for now, we/they stay in New Zealand.

When you have kids, at some point your mind will turn to worst-case-scenario thinking.  It may happen in the middle of the night whilst rocking your baby to sleep, or it may happen after a particularly close call with a bad driver.  It will be confronting and upsetting but at some point, as parents, we will all consider what we want for our kids if we pass away before them.

What Dave and I want, is for the boys to remain in New Zealand without any unnecessary custody issues.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family How to make a willSo, in the interest of adulting properly, I’ve just finalised my very first Will (via an app no less!) to ensure that my little Kiwi kids stay here until they are old enough to decide for themselves against Donald Trump and handguns #kiddingNOTkidding.

I used the Kinly App to create my Will, which is comprehensive, legally valid and took all of 20 minutes max.  Now that I’ve done it, read it and understood it (it’s only 4 pages and in PLAIN ENGLISH!) I can see the massive value and importance in preparing a Will to protect who and what you love.

My Mum and Dad went through the process of updating their Wills the old-school way – multiple expensive lawyer visits etc – when my Dad was already terminally ill.  This heaped more angst and an increased financial burden onto an already very stressful time in their lives – a situation Dave and I are keen to avoid at all costs!

It’s pretty amazing that one of the most important and necessary documents I might ever sign in my life was also one of the easiest to prepare a) by myself b) without the hassle and expense of a lawyer c) in my own time, saving the draft and continuing as need be.

You guys, you could totally smash out your Will using Kinly while you are waiting in the car for the kids’ sports practice to finish! Too easy.

Five Reasons you need to make a Will asap
  1. Leaving clear instructions as to your wishes should help eliminate any family dramas during what is going to be a really difficult time.
  2. Your kids! If you want your kids to be sent to a boarding school run by buddhist monks in Paekakariki, you’ve got to write that shit down! The only way people will follow your wishes is if they actually KNOW what your wishes are.
  3. When you pass away intestate (without a Will) there can often be a delay before your closest relatives are allowed to deal with your estate and get their hands on your millions……..of Little Shop minis.  Help your rellies out but defining who your executors are.
  4. If you want your kindy teacher to reap the benefits of your quilting hobby, you can bequeath her ALL of your creations by specifying this in the Kinly App.
  5. Funeral directives, organ donation……..these are tricky topics to discuss over the dinner table.  You don’t have to talk it out, you just have to tick the YES/NO box in your Kinly App.

Done and dusted.

To try this amazing service and get your adulting admin in line, head to www.kinly.co.nz to find out more and download the app.

WIN WITH KINLY!

I want you to make your own Will using Kinly so one lucky person is going to win a 12 month subscription to the service PLUS a $100 Countdown Gift Card and a $50 Gift Card to Spend at The Warehouse!!!

To enter just comment below – I’d love to hear your initial thoughts about using Kinly to make your Will!

Competition closes 22/8/16, NZ residents only.  Thanks to Kinly for making this post possible!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family How to make a will

These are my people. Even the toddler.

Yesterday I turned 36.

Ok.  I’m cool, just had to let that sink in for a minute.

Having 2 kids with an 8.5 year age gap means that the four of us often go in different directions. If Ethan has a rugby game and it’s pouring with rain, either Dave or I will stay home with Nix. When I depart to deliver E to pool training, battling rush hour traffic on Lincoln Rd, Nixon will stay at home with Mum.  If there are errands to run or events to go to at nap time, one of us hits the road and the other stays home with bubs.  This is how we roll.  But it kinda sucks.  Going places as a family is kinda the point of having, you know, FAMILY.

So yesterday Dave was hounding me all day about what I wanted to do for my birthday dinner.  My lazy-girl inclinations were screaming fush ‘n chips however my birthday girl sensibilities won and I suggested taking Ethan out to eat with Dave and I. I know no-one believes me when I try and explain why taking Nixon to a restaurant doesn’t immediately spring to mind as one of my Top 5 things to do on my birthday, so I won’t even go there.  All I will say is that it is very, V E R Y stressful.

My limited birthday dinner guest list was overruled by Dave and we headed out to eat at The Flying Burrito Brothers with Ethan, my Mum and Nixon in tow.  < I highly recommend TFBB as a kid friendly place to eat, they have high chairs and the food comes out quick! >

Thank goodness!  How wonderful it was to sit down with my favourite people in the world and share great food and appreciate just how lucky we are to have each other.  I’m pretty sure the other diners weren’t all up the good vibes but hey-ho, ’twas ma birthday bitches and I’ll bring my cray-cray 22 month behemoth out to eat if I feel like it!  And, I think I’ll start doing it more often as well.

Dave and I ate out all the time when Ethan was a baby and toddler.  We were living in San Diego at the time and food was cheap plus, Ethan was a very different child to Nixon.  Nix struggles to remain in his high-chair at home for the duration of a meal, so expecting him to do so in the new/exciting environment of a restaurant where there are people to woo, nooks and crannies to explore and food to steal off of every table is laughable.  

But laugh we did.  Our reservation was for 6pm and we were in the car and on the way home by 7pm!  Bam.  I’m not going to lie.  I found it fever pitch stressful, it felt like we were running the amazing race, hurtling towards the next food drop, hoping it would arrive before Nixon lost his shit and rappelled from the high chair.  But we were together on my birthday.  I may not have eaten much of the avocado salsa before Nix commandeered it for his own high chair entree but I enjoyed my shrimp fajitas and my delicious glass of wine and most of all I enjoyed my people.  Being out in public, as a family, with all of my people.  Even the littlest one xx

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This is what I think about that.

  • I think that the first recycling pickup after the holiday period is just the best feeling ever – all of that paper and wrapping and cardboard gone! I love it.
  • I think that getting rid of my Christmas manicure which looked so cute pre-santa and looked so Fran Drescher post-santa was $30 very, very well spent.  Also no new manicure as per previous ‘saving money’ post – sad face.
  • I think that having a 2.4 metre Great White Shark, the apex predator of the entire ocean, cruising in the Auckland Harbour is seriously amazing. I wish I could see it for myself.
  • I think that Spotify is just about the best thing ever!  I switched my Spark plan to one that comes with a free Spotify premium membership and my running playlist has never sounded so good, I can see how a little tweaking and playing on the app will create {eventually} The Greatest Melissa Playlist of ALL Time.  Excite.
  • I think that American Horror Story is just about the most freaky show/movie I’ve ever seen and Dave and I have only watched Episode 1!  Holy shit-balls.  Not sure how far we will get into that series.
  • I think that I’m finally getting my reading mojo back, I’ve got The Kiterunner on my Kindle at the moment and I’m hooked.
  • I think that forgetting to buy a school pool key this summer is just about the most stupid thing I’ve done in a while.  Melting.
  • I think that some people need to get off their asses/couches and get outside/take their kids outside and enjoy themselves. Man the moaning gets tiresome <did i just say that?  Look, it’s amazingly beautiful when you leave your driveway!  This is as good as it gets weather-wise in New Zealand right now and wow, it’s a stunner of a summer!

Muriwai Beach Auckland Mummy Blog NZ

 

Enough & More. 10 Years of Marriage

Last night I got really, shitty, stabby, pissed off & annoyed at Dave.  He had cooked and served up an awesome dinner, beautiful chicken taco salads, and as we were cleaning up I noticed the avocado.

It wasn’t really an avocado – more so the remnants of one.  Half an avocado that had been meticulously sliced and portioned and arranged artfully on our salads and Ethan’s taco’s.  Except there was one slice left.  

What the hell?

Who serves up half an avocado and leaves one sliver left in the skin?  Were you really going to save this Dave?  Wrap it in glad-wrap and put it back in the fridge, only to open it again and spread that last sliver on quarter of a cracker?

Oh my god this irritated me beyond any sensible, rational bounds.  It wasn’t a once off, this happens all the time in our kitchen.  Dave will serve some peas and leave 5 peas in the bowl.  F I V E.  The reason?  He already had enough on his plate.  This was also the reasoning behind the orphaned avocado sliver; the perfect amount was already on our plates.  We had enough.  No more was needed.

I cooled my jets and got over being annoyed, but caught myself thinking about the silly situation this morning as we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.

Enough and More is the odd dichotomy that typifies our decade together as husband and wife.  A wonderful, amazing 10 years that have blessed us with many things, most importantly our two incredible boys.

Dave is enough.  He lives and breathes Enough.  He is always happy, always satisfied, always at the perfect level of psychological homeostasis, never wanting, never coveting, always seeking balance and just enough.

I am More.  Always pushing, driving, trying harder, needing to win, be the best, have More.  Dreaming big, setting lofty goals and ideals for everyone, getting more out of today than yesterday.

Dave had portioned out enough avocado, I would have added more.

I think these individual idiosyncrasies and difference in focus, plus our unwavering commitment to the success of our marriage is what makes us such a great team.  I personally am going to take a leaf out of Dave’s book over the next 10 years and start practicing Enough.  Because I already have more blessings than I deserve.

I love you so much Dave Jack, thank you for proposing, marrying and moving to the other side of the earth with me.  Thank you for the best 10 years I could ever have imagined and putting up with some of my worst days and helping me through them.  You are the most kind, generous and loving man any family could wish for and such a perfect example for your two little boys.  

Thank you xx.

Mummy Blog NZ 

 

Hello Nixon | Extended Breastfeeding a 15 month old

{look away Uncle Kenny, look away!}

Extended breastfeeding

My Little Hippo is still breastfeeding.  I remember saying to Dave and my mum about 3 months ago, “I just want him to keep going until we are done with his surgery and then he can quit whenever he likes”.  Well, Nixon’s surgery was just over 2 months ago and the wee babe is showing no signs of shaking his boob habit.

E self-weaned at 12 months so I had expectations that Nix would behave similarly.  Turns out I was strangely naive to think my kids might be similar in any way!  As a Mother of two breast-fed children, I have always been confident with nursing in public if I have needed to, but actually discussing breastfeeding feels like it has gotten a bit more awkward the older Nixon gets, and it feels like others may have gotten more uncomfortable with the idea as well.

Tough shit I say.

Nix had his 15 month immunisations on Monday  and after a jab in each leg and in one of his arms, he was in full rage mode and almost succeeded in body slamming the nurse {she was quite petite and Nix is not}.  When my babe winds up like that there is actually nothing that will calm him down except breastfeeding, it’s his own little Hulk Mode, and when you’re tipping the 95th percentile that rage can hurt!

We also had the pleasure {?} of our Plunket visit on Friday.  After being verbosely congratulated for my nipple skills, I was told that breastfeeding four times a day was quite a lot at this age.  You seriously can’t win with those chicks.  I honestly give zero fucks about the opinions of Plunket.  They failed Nixon as a baby when he had so many signs of a serious problem {hello Hirschprungs Disease, normally diagnosed as a newborn!} and when E was a toddler all they wanted was to see him drinking formula – wtf?

So anyway, today was a fantastic day of post-imms tenderness combined with teething preciousness, the only time he was at peace was when I nursed him at lunchtime.  He woke up soon after, failing to have a good nap all day, but at least he was able to catch some zzzz’s and forget his baby problems for a while.  

FYI, no judgements here, it makes no difference to me whether you bf or not, how long you did it for, or if your kid loves his bottle.  As long as you’re feeding your children something and loving your babies hard out you’re winning in my eyes xx

Second-hand dog discovers we have a baby!

Dog kisses baby

Louie, our big Shi-Tzu, noticed we had a baby a few months ago and seems to have taken on the role of Baby’s Guard Dog without much hesitation.  Dash is a bit of a ‘special’ dog and likes to take his time with things.  He has refused to acknowledge Nixon until today, when I happened to notice that he was on guard duty instead of Lou.

I can’t believe I happened to snap these shots.  If you’re not a dog person, you’re probably horrified and grossed out right now, perhaps getting all judgy about how I let my dogs lick my baby ……. whatev.

For those of you whose dogs are part of their family, doesn’t this little scene just melt your heart?  Nix was giggling away, loving that Dash was close enough to pull hair….finally!

Surviving the 4th trimester | How Baby & I made it to 4 months……happily!

Phew!

Can’t believe it.  Bebe is 18 weeks old.

4 and a half months ago I awoke to contractions {finally} in the middle of the night and had no idea of the body-wrenching pain and heart-rending joy that was to follow over the next 3 months.  A quiet season of finding out a few things about Nixie, and discovering exactly how different he was to his big brother.  Obviously this wasn’t my first time at the rodeo, but, the 8.5 year gap between babies left me feeling like a first-time mama a little more than I ever admitted.

What I did have, was a bit of perspective on my side.  I was no longer a 25yo in a foreign country with no family and friends with kids for support.  Dave and I are the most settled and happy we have been since we moved our family to New Zealand and having my Mum close at hand for support and baby-snuggling-duties has been invaluable to my state of mind.

I was walking with bub this morning, after a failed nap-time, and was marvelling a little at my calm state of mind and lack of anxiety.  I was able to nail it down to a few key coping strategies that have allowed me to steer clear of the baby blues and just be present for Nixon;

Roll with the punches | Be flexible

Babies aren’t born on time (usually!), they don’t have a schedule and they have no concept of what they should and shouldn’t be doing and when.  Nixon had a lot of trouble feeding in his first month and had to learn how to sleep during the day.  He is still not very good at napping.  Once I stopped obsessing about how long he had been awake vs how much sleep he had had that day, life got a lot better.  Agonising over 45 minute naps simply wasn’t going to change anything, at least it was a nap right?  Recognising that every day was going to be different also took some getting used to.  I am a person that likes and thrives on routine and that time will come for Nixon too, but it can’t be expected during his first 3 months.  If he wouldn’t sleep in his bassinet but would sleep in my arms after breastfeeding, that’s what we did.  Letting expectations get the better of you will only promote feelings of failure.  Let your baby do the talking and listen!

Take advice from varied sources

Nix was hospitalised at 10 days old for Failure to Thrive.  Worst.  Mama.  Ever.  Or so I thought.  Hearing those words sucked.  But not once in the first month of his life did the midwife, nurses or lactation consultants ever suggest topping him up with formula.  We did this with the support of our wonderful GP and it was exactly what our boy needed, some ‘easy’ calories to give him the energy he needed to breastfeed properly.  He needed a single bottle-feed each day for only a few weeks, then armed with a prescription to increase my milk supply {again suggested by my GP} he has been exclusively breastfed ever since.  Plunket have been resolutely single-minded and fixated on benchmarking so no thinking out-of-the-box from them unfortunately.

Exercise

I am lazy.  I am not a gym junkie.  I do not own any work-out videos and this is most definitely NOT about losing baby weight.  But, getting out each day for a walk did wonders for my crazy.  If Nix wouldn’t sleep at home he would always doze off in the buggy.  That 30-45 minute walk was respite for me.  Even if he remained awake it was a period of time where I wasn’t ‘actively’ caring for him.  He didn’t need to be held, fed, changed or comforted, he was quite happy cruising in the buggy and my mind was free to wander outside of the realms of our nursing chair!  If you don’t have a good neighbourhood for walking, pack up the car and do laps around the local park – this serves double duty as a good confidence boosting outing and no pressure practice for getting out of the house.

Reassess what’s important

Everyone tells you “forget about the housework” “leave the washing” “who cares about the vacuuming?”.  Well, chances are, you care!  If you liked to keep your house a certain way before baby arrived then this is unlikely to have changed once you are home from hospital.  The reality is that you absolutely can’t do it all, especially if you are recovering from birth trauma as I was.  But, keeping an even keel is what’s important here and if living in a shambles is going to have a negative effect on your mental health then rally the troops!  I realised that there were three things that if done each day, allowed me to feel like I had control over the house and that I was actively contributing and being a productive member of the family.  Here’s where you interrupt and exclaim loudly “YOU WERE TAKING CARE OF A NEWBORN, YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING ELSE!”.  But see, I did have to do other things and I’m glad I did.  I communicated to Dave that making the beds, keeping on top of the laundry and keeping the kitchen clean and tidy made me feel good, he then knew that helping out with Ethan and Nixon in the morning so I could get those things done helped start my day off on the right foot.  Crazy I know but it worked for me.  Dusting be damned I say!

Try not to over-analyse everything about your baby

I was definitely guilty of this, but TRY not to let paranoia seep in.  Remember; every baby spits up, a lot!  Every baby is going to lose weight, then gain weight.  Every baby will wake at night and not sleep during the day.  Just pat yourself on the back for making it through another day or another difficult night because it will get easier – and quickly!  The newborn fog is a really short, challenging season but you will emerge at the other end equipped with the tools you need to carry on being an awesome mama.

Surviving_baby's_first_three_months

 

Mo money mo problems

As I listened with sadness and horror yesterday at yet another tale of a family we know torn apart by infidelity, drugs and lies I was reminded of the wise words of Biggy Smalls “the more money we come across the more problems we see”;

A man before his time, RIP Biggie.

Anyway, my point is this, you can be happy eating beans on toast if you are together as a family,  It’s pretty hard to be happy eating beans on toast because your husband spent all the money on P and hookers.

I look back at the ten years Dave and I have been together and some of my fondest memories are of times when we were as poor as church mice.  When I first moved to California from Florida I had no wheels and a sweet {but poorly paid} cash job earning $10 an hour.  Luckily I was a smart girl and saw a cutie blue scooter at the local car lot for $300 and sweet talked them into letting me finance it!  That’s right.  I had payments on a $300 scooter.  But I was mobile and as Dave didn’t have a car either we tandemed on the scooter all over So-Cal.  It was awesome and it cost $2.15 to fill the tank.  When we found out I was preggers with E we were flatting and we {still} owned nothing.  we didn’t even have a cutlery set or any plates we could call our own.  But we worked hard and saved hard for 9 months and by the time E arrived we were still living a block from the beach and had our first apartment furnished with everything a little family could need.

Dave has always maintained that if money is the only thing you have to argue about, then you are doing pretty good.  I’m not down-playing the huge stress financial worries can inflict upon a couple, but if your family is all healthy, you can manage to keep the roof over your heads and flour in the pantry for a batch of scones you can find some inkling of happiness everyday.  When we first moved back to NZ the cost of living was so high compared to what we were used to and our one measly wage was Dave’s apprentice rates, we had the grand total of $25 per week leftover after expenses – this was in the days when we were only paying $280 a week in rent!

Keep your family close and be grateful for what you have, just stay away from the P and hookers peeps!

 

Things I’m Loving | Hello!

It has been SO long since I have written a T.I.L post {Hi Meg!} but in celebration of  – hopefully – putting the baby-who-does-not-nap down for a sleep, I will type like a bat outta hell and try to actually finish a post.

So loving our Mountain Buggy and the freedom it gives me.  I know that sounds silly, I mean I have a CAR after all, but being able to get out the door and exercise in a moments notice does me more good than shopping and happy pills combined!  It’s a wonderous thing; fresh air and rediscovering muscles that had turned to jelly over the past 10 months.  I stopped at the Four Square on the way home from our walk today and the lovely owner commented that it was a shame I had gotten caught in the rain.  I must have hesitated in my reply as she looked at me and said “I guess it doesn’t really matter though does it?”.  She could tell that I was so happy to be outside that I could care less about the rain!  Thanks to Abby and Vicki for my awesome storm cover, Nixie stayed warm, dry and asleep the whole time x

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Loving the spring-y-ness that has been popping up in the neighborhood.  Our cars are now dusted in yellow pollen, the magnolias are blooming and everyone is getting excited about the return of warmer weather.  A new baby brings lots of visitors and some bring spring flowers – Thanks Judy for these gorgeous daffodils and tulips x

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Loving new traditions that sneak into family life.  Ever since we brought Nixon home from the hospital, Sunday night has become fish dinner night in our house.  Dave has perfected shrimp risotto and serves it with whatever fish takes his eye that day at the supermarket.  It’s a divine meal, inexpensive and healthy and I look forward to it every week.

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I love seeing Dave with his boys and at the moment Nixon is his wee mini-me.  It’s early days yet, but that baby is the spitting image of his daddy – I’m crossing my fingers Dave has passed on his lovely, chilled out temperament as well as his large head!

Dave_Nixon

My awesome Nana turned 83 this week.  Ethan, Nixon and I loved that we could have lunch with her and one of my cousins on Sunday.  She is such an amazing lady {who is quite besotted with her 11th great grandchild!}, we love you heaps Nana!

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Finally I’m loving that this wee man is over the tummy bug that was hurting him so much earlier in the week.  We had a rough couple of days, the worst so far.  He spent the days crying and most definitely not sleeping at all.  I was so ready for some help at the end of the day when my Mum and Dave would return home.  But we have survived and I keep reminding myself that he will only be 6 weeks old for a mere 7 days!  It’s quite bittersweet when you think of it like that isn’t it?

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PS Nixon stayed asleep the whole time I was writing this!!!!!  Mama’s winning at last.

First Days {or daze?} | Newborn Nixon

Everything is measured in 2 hour increments in our house at the moment.  Life revolves around our sweet little alarm clock who is always hungry and not too fond of sleeping {or of me putting him down}.

I had forgotten how long it can take to get anything done with a new baby in the house as previously simple tasks such as vacuuming can now span multi-feeding/napping cycles.  It’s 12.53pm, Nixon is eating and I’ve been trying to get in the shower since 8.30am.  My last window of opportunity was stolen by a rain shower forcing me to rush out and move the washing from the big line to the covered one.  At least the washing got hung out right?

I am tired.  I just about hit the wall yesterday afternoon and remembered to do that thing that everyone tells you to do before baby is born – sleep when baby sleeps.  I had not allowed myself this luxury yet, not once.  Nix and I napped and woke up to to super happy Dave and Ethan.  They had been to the pub to get a special ‘Spider’ icecream soda to celebrate Ethan’s selection in his clubs Rep rugby team and had together cooked the most amazing dinner of shrimp risotto and gurnard.  It was delish, and just what I needed.

This afternoon we are Leaving The House.  For the first time.  Dave is at the office today and E has a make-up swimming lesson.  I’m pretty darn excited to tell you the truth!