Things I’m Loving | The Newborn Edition

What an amazing, {traumatic}, and very wonderful 10 days our family has had.  Baby Hippo finally arrived and we named him Nixon.  We are all so in love with him, it’s hard to believe we could be so lucky.

After 5 days in hospital I am loving that we are home.  Nix and I are taking it easy as my recovery isn’t going to be particularly swift, but I have no desire to take our precious newborn out in this freezing weather anyway!

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So much loving all the lovin’ on his little brother that Ethan is doing.  He has surprised me with his complete adoration, patience and concern for Nixon – he has waited so long to be a Big Brother!  I have loved this kid for eight years now and somehow I love him even more as he grows into a new role in our family.

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LOVE busting out my Maya wrap again!  E lived in this wrap until he was too chunky at 18 months old for me to manage him and Nixon loves it too.  It was so nice to be mobile {I may indulge my children with cuddles on demand when they are this little and cute!}.  Would you just look at that sweet dollop of baby in that sling?  I die.

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Finally, LOVING this amaze prize from the delight that is Sophie Slim and Ecostore.  It’s so awesome to have such beautiful products to use with our teensy little man, thank you so much xx

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Sunday. Mother’s Day 2013

Breakfast in Bed

Mother’s Day was perfection this year. Textbook even {until 1am when I finally conceded that sleeping in our bed was a battle I had lost and it was time to try semi-upright snoozing in the Lazy-Boy. Belly-too-big!). Ugh.
Back to perfect Mother’s Day.
There was brekkie in bed with little man, thoughtful, kind gifts of a pregnancy massage and manicure/pedicure vouchers (!!!) and then three blissful hours of adult time, crafting with one of my oldest friends at a gorgeous product launch for ALAS Sleepwear @ The Department Store in Takapuna – more on that later.
The sun was shining, and though real life returned later in the day and slapped us on the ass a bit it was a glorious Sunday x

PS.  I hate that first picture with a passion unlike any other, but there I am people, huge and morning-ified in jumbo sized striped purple flannel PJ’s.  You better be feeling good about yourself right now!

Breakfast

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Happy Mother’s Day to us!

I’m writing this on Saturday evening, the night before Mother’s Day, thinking about what it means to me this year, 7 weeks (hopefully less) away from becoming a Mama of two.
I just read Ethan a chapter from his book, snuggled in my bed, Dave is now reading him a second chapter, snuggled in Ethan’s bed. They are giggling at Dave’s brave attempts at rural NZ place names and 1950’s colloquialisms, they are planning Mother’s Day breakfast and sneaking gifts in and out of rooms…..
Mother’s Day is Ethan and Dave. Without Dave, there is no Ethan or baby hippo on the way, and for him I am so grateful.

Mother’s Day is also about listening to Dave and my Mum conduct their morning ritual – weather analysis; double checking of iPhone apps and arguing about who’s is right when cross-referenced with the weather outside…….. They love it, and I love them both for living together so easily.  Happy Mother’s Day Mum, thank you for everything xx

Mother's Day

2012

For the first time in years I sat on New Years Eve not wishing away the last few hours of the year past, looking eagerly for a fresh start come the first of January. 2012 was different, a very welcome breath of fresh air for our family. A good year.

Tara came from San Diego and spent three perfect summer weeks with us in January. We took her camping in the wilds of The Far North where Dave and Ethan made sure we had enough fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Kauri Forest Hike

Big Snapper

Tauranga Bay Hole in the Rock

February brought with it the start of a new school year for Ethan. He made short work of school swimming sports winning every event he entered, received a Principal’s Award in the first week of school for excellence in writing and continued to excel academically throughout the year. He played a great season of rugby, played in the Barbarians tournament for his school and continued on to the summer touch season with his awesome rugby mates. Term 4 saw Ethan head off to camp without so much as a look over his shoulder at me as I dropped him off! He had an amazing time trying his hand at every outdoor pursuit that was on offer. He followed up on his successes throughout the year with a stellar report and won the Literacy Award for the third year in a row. Ethan does school so very well.

Strawberry Picking Lovely Boy Learning the Trombone

The end of February caught us by surprise as we purchased our first home with Mum; I was so excited about getting that damn mortgage, it still makes me so happy to see those repayments decreasing our debt each fortnight instead of appearing as “rent” on our bank statement.

March saw Dave’s contract extended by another six months, we began packing up our little house for the move just a couple of streets over, Ethan and I attended an awesome Sustainable Coastlines art workshop, and I became the NZ Mummy Ambassador for the Milo Play Movement.  We had the best day at the Kumeu Show where we all braved the sickening rides – never doing that again!

Te Atatu Cycle way

Kumeu Show

Kumeu Show

After the Easter Show in April we moved house, which I timed perfectly with a full foot tattoo (wtf was I thinking?), I completely ignored my birthday and spent lots of time with E before winter set in.

Muriwai Beach

Riverhead River

Foot Tattoo

Moving House
In May we began the house redecorating and renovating in earnest. We survived months of living under drop cloths and amongst sanding dust as every wall in our concrete palace had to be replastered, sanded and repainted. Looking back it was a lot of fun as the house was literally a blank canvas for whatever we wanted to make of it. Rugby began and we all got caught up in Saturday mornings at the fields, this was an interesting season as J5 began to highlight the differences between the forwards and the backs and kids actually began to realise this too.

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June and July seemed to pass in a wintery blur as we were all looking forward to our holiday in Chicago and Florida where we would get to see my brother Hadyn marry his beautiful fiancé Joanna.  While we passed the time Ethan grew crystals, went to Clip n Climb, there were lots of Family Game Nights, skate sessions and the renos continued.  I started {and finished!} a feature wall which I love.

Crystals Rennovations

Winter Frost

Scootering

Feature Wall

After a few hiccups (visa problems for yours truly) which resulted in the boys flying without me and me meeting them in Chicago a few days later, we were all stateside and ready to enjoy an amazing holiday.

We were in Florida in August when Dave found out that his contract had been extended again, this time for 12 months and………….that he would be going to Europe for 6 weeks after only a week home in NZ. We made the most of our time together and spent every minute we could with Dave’s family in Florida and Georgia.

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September saw Ethan prove his most testing as with Dave away he was spinning like a top and pushing every boundary he could find. In the end I just cried. He wore me down. Thank god my mum was here. I survived the marathon of the Auckland Boat Show and then the countdown was on until Dave returned home.

While in Europe Dave visited and worked in Frankfurt, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, Lyon and Geneva and we all managed to survive! Ethan sorted his shit out and the last two weeks before Dave returned were actually quite lovely.

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Dave’s 36 hour commute home was celebrated by Ethan with a Disco Party he planned himself. Limbo-ing with jet lag is top of every weary travellers lust I’m sure! The rest of October was quiet as we all adjusted to being back together again and some big decisions were made for our family.

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We visited Paihia in November, something we have been able to do for the last three years by combining a work trip for me with a lovely family weekend away.
Ethan turned eight and we celebrated with a bang. Dave hired a kick ass gorilla suit and we hosted a Big Foot party for our little Sasquatch. It was so much fun, 8 big boys filled with bravado headed into the bush where upon glimpsing Big Foot they turned into 8 little puddles of mush!

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December felt rushed and hectic. Our whole drainage system was dug up, replaced and we connected to town wastewater in the middle of the tornado that hit.  The build up to Christmas always feels frenetic as it comes so soon after Ethan’s birthday. Hadyn and Joanna surprised us all with tickets to Mary Poppins, Dave and I celebrated our eight year wedding anniversary, on Christmas eve we told Ethan he was going to be a big brother (!!!!!) and this year we hosted our entire family for Christmas dinner. A rainy Boxing Day was most welcome by us all as we cleaned up and relaxed, then enjoyed some glorious sunny days at our fave spot up north.

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2012 we needed you. Our home with Mum is perfect and couldn’t have worked out better for everyone, we worked hard, enjoyed our time off and are so happy with a belated decision to grow our little family.

Thanks so much to everyone who reads along, I love reading your blogs more than I love writing this one, but your fabulous posts and creativity keep me {somewhat} motivated.

Happy New Year!

Happy Absent Fathers Day Dave!

Dear Dave

I just wanted to let you know that even though you are on the other side of the world, stuck in that cess pool Rome, we have not forgotten it’s Father’s day.  This letter may make you a little upset and homesick, because (let’s face it) who would choose to be in Rome?, but I thought you should see that we have celebrated Father’s Day in absentia.  Try to keep your chin up, only 4 more days in Rome then onto Milan, which hopefully will be a little more interesting, it’s such a shame to go all that way and have to eat margarita pizza and gelato ::::my heart breaks for you truly:::.

So, back to Father’s Day.  I really think I hit it out of the park this year, you would have enjoyed everything I planned!

I started off your celebration with a trip to Pak n Save.  I tried to have as much fun as I could while choosing canned fruit because I knew you would do the same for me x  The best part was definitely putting the groceries away, sorry!

Grocery Shopping

I was having so much fun after going to two different supermarkets that I thought “why stop there?  What would Dave like to do on Father’s Day?”.  Fill up the truck!  It was especially awesome when the auto fill kept filling and spilled heaps of diesel all over the truck.  I lolled at that one!

Filling up the truck

Next it was home to cook me you a cake!  I made the best cake ever in my life just for me you!  mmmmm  Pineapple coconut.  Mum and I also whipped up a bacon and egg pie for Ethan’s dinner with the broken pastry from the freezer, spending my afternoon cooking for you on Father’s Day – you’re welcome!

Cake and Pie

After some thought I realised, “Dang, Dave has really cleaned a lot of bathrooms over the last 8 years”.  Hmmm.  You guessed it honey, I took one for the team and cleaned the toilet!  I know, you can thank me later.  It was the least I could do seeing as how your stuck in that hot, boring Rome with all of those dusty relics around…….boring.  Ethan has been really into our Father’s Day extravaganza, though he tried to insinuate that I was faking not knowing where the bathroom cleaners were so I wouldn’t have to do it!  Moi?

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I may have gone a little overboard, but you are the best dad in the world, so when I was out I swung by Mitre 10 and picked up that indoor hydrangea you have been wanting for ages!!!!!!  Do you die?  How much do you love it?

Hydrangea

So, as you can see, Father’s Day in New Zealand was just non-stop, you would have been so tired.  But don’t worry, you just try and keep your spirits up in Europe and I’m sure we can do most of this stuff when you get back mmmmkay?

Love you tonnes

Melissa and E

xxxxx

THE Wedding.

That’s how I’m going to refer to Hadyn and Joanna’s wedding until the end of days because it really really was THE Wedding.

Everything was amazing, beautiful, perfect, on trend and everything just worked brilliantly.  When you glean tid-bits of ideas here and there over the 11-ish months of planning it’s hard to catch a glimpse of the Big Picture.  Jo’s vision was astounding and the execution was flawless.

Dear Hadyn & Jo

We loved your wedding.  We loved being a part of your wedding.  Thank you so much for including us in your special day.  You were both radiant.  I never knew Hadyn was capable of ‘that’ smile.  That “I’ve surely died and gone to heaven because THIS girl is marrying me today!” smile.

I’m so excited to have a Sister-in-Law, and wish you both the very best for your future together.

We love you so much

The Jacks xx

& then a downtown Chicago storm

The reception Ballroom

The entrance of the Bridal Party & Cake Cutting

The Wedding Invitations are here!

One of the strange co-incidences in our family’s life is that my brother and I have both picked Americans as our spouses; Dave is of course from Florida and my soon-to-be SIL Joanna is from Chicago.  Hadyn and Jo are both back in Chicago now, putting the finishing touches on the wedding plans and we fly out to join them at the end of the month.  Of course they already know we are coming as Dave and Ethan are Best Man and Groomsman, but it was still exciting getting the invitations to my little brothers wedding in the mail!  They are stunning.  Jo and Hadyn commissioned the water color painting for the invitations; it depicts the landmarks of all of their travels around the world.

Not long now until we are winging our way to summer sunshine and a very happy day for our wee family!

Wedding Invitation

Hand Addressed Envelopes

Water Color Wedding Invitations

Wedding Invitation and Envelope

Gaming – The Old School Way

Dave now is able to work from home whenever his onerous schedule of meetings allow; which is great. The dogs are happy, the laundry is happy {it gets hung out} he’s happy as he doesn’t get stuck in rush hour traffic. But, he has used all of our broadband allowance, the horror! So until Wednesday, we are cruising at the speed of dial-up or fax?
This makes internetting pretty unattractive which makes everyone spend time together! Hooray!
Tonight E suggested it was Family Game Night and chose Pictureka!
It was such a lovely evening, E was a great sport, played by all the rules didn’t fuss at bedtime. Amaze. It may have been a poor second choice to watching Monster Bug Wars on YouTube, but I’m picking there might be a game request tomorrow night too x

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House Update | Week 3

Things are happening!

Yesterday was about as good as a Monday gets, or at least better and more calm than last Monday.  We can now find our clothes, shoes and television!

A good 35% {I would say} of the interior plastering and painting has been finished, our room, our lounge and office, toilet and bathroom are all freshly painted with glistening white wooden joinery!  Love it, and the half-tea walls.  We are no longer living off the dining room table and huddling in Mum’s lounge, Dave and I have our fab wardrobe in operation and we have sheets on our bed!  (as we had to pack our bedding away every morning while the plasterers were covering our life in dust, we slept with a minimum of bedding).  Life is good.

Three weeks in, and the budget is making me nervous, the bigish bills are starting to come in and though I feel quite sure we have allowed plenty for the reno, I have never spent so much money in my life!  Thank god for spreadsheets and my ever-dependable Type-A personality to keep track of things.

Picking out little bits and pieces for our new home is beyond exciting, I am holding off on any big-ish purchases until rennovating is complete, but accent pieces are allowed ;  )

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Owlton John from Freedom just had to come home with me {pictured with the Dalilah cushion $39 and $25 ea}, as these prints will one day…….I need both of them you see = spendy.

Picking out fabric for the Roman Blinds had to be the most boring, exasperating, difficult task so far.  Picking new guttering was much easier.

Dave and E make everything so much fun, they even managed to whip up a Pancake brekkie on our first Sunday in the new house.  I love our family traditions, they make anyplace feel instantly like home.

A Weather Bomb

One Saturday a mighty Weather Bomb was ‘supposed’ to hit Auckland.  In fact the Weather Bomb was SO big the whole North Island was under a gale warning.  Oh my!

I was quite sure that there would be nothing better to do during a Weather Bomb than to watch movies together and bake yummy treats.  Ethan agreed, though it wasn’t us he wanted to watch movies with.  So off he went, cookies in hand, to a movie date with his wee mates.  I finally got a chance to use my new cookie cutters Mum found for me though!

Louie glues himself to the kitchen floor as soon as one of us pulls the flour from the pantry.  Damn if that crazy dog doesn’t love baked goods more than meat.

In lieu of twiddling our thumbs, we dusted off some errands, found the perfect frame for my Anthony Maxey print {which I will wait to frame and hang in our new house!!!!};

….and we enjoyed a few sneaky beers FOR FREE courtesy of our wonderful 95Bfm Bcards {get yours here}, Hallertau those shocking ribs in January have almost been forgiven : ).

We eventually returned home and Dave whipped up the most amazing pesto from basil growing on our windowsill, cashews, Parmesan, black pepper and evoo.  Can’t get enough;

I cooked a rib roast, snapped an amaze sunset, got so angry when stupid people made my Mama cry and sorted it all out.  Wine anyone?