Feb 6, 2017

Bumpdate 35 weeks (baby #2)

Craving: Cream, whipped cream, runny cream, cream with cream on top, cream in a sea of cream. Oh and carrots, parsley, and fresh-grown tomatoes from our greenhouse. Clearly I am deficient in some kind of mineral. And cream.

Struggling with: Awful heartburn whenever I eat a meal that's bigger than toddler-sized (to the point I can vom from it); those killer leg cramps that won't go away even after limping laps around the house at 3am and popping magnesium pills like Pez; Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) that wakes me up every time I move in my sleep. So sore! I feel like I'm 90 because this 'relaxin' hormone might be loosening up my ligaments in preparation for birth but the pain of it is not very relaxin. See what I did there.

Enjoying: The fact that time is flying and I haven't had severe HG this pregnancy. I feel like I've still had more uncomfortable symptoms than the average pregnancy but still, no HG so, weeeeehooooo. Also getting drawers in our baby room at long last! Just waiting on more sets for the other rooms so that poor Ella can actually sleep in a proper bedroom and not just in a bed that's surrounded by storage piles.

Baby name: I think we might have this chosen because it's probably the only boy's name we agree on. But why are middle names so hard?!

Hospital bag: mostly packed. I packed the bare essentials - PJs, a robe, some lollies, and a bunch of baby clothes and nappies. Have I missed something???!! I'm not interested in listening to music over my own screams, and I'm not naive enough to think I'll have any time/concentration/energy to read a book over the following days. We are hoping to give birth at an actual hospital this time (last time we didn't make it as things happened a bit fast; we ended up at a birthing unit with no doctors on the premises). My midwife wants me in a real hospital for at least 24 hours after the birth based off a few complications last time so the plan is to RACE there as soon as I feel the first twinge. Eeek. Please can it not happen during peak traffic...

Speaking of birth... why does no-one ever talk about how scary it is to be facing birth again?! (JK, please don't talk to me about your scary birth stories, ever). Ella's birth went surprisingly well and straight forward but I'm still nervous. After nearly 3 years of parenthood I've spoken to enough other mums now to realise how many things can go differently to what you've planned... and that freaks me out a bit. If things go straightforward and as well as last time, I'm still nervous about the final contraction before pushing (the one you kind of feel surprised that you survived) and crowning. Ohhhhhhhh man.

Birth plan: Well, I'm not typing it out carrying it around in a clearfile like I did last time ;D. The plan is more to just go with it and hope for the best. My midwife seems pretty in-control and trustworthy so I'm happy just leaving it to her to tell me what to do. And maybe try getting in the tub this time if I get to hospital early enough to be able to move?! Last time I was in a wheelchair from the car to the birthing suite, and then they must have lifted me onto a swiss ball and I was definitely not moving after that point. I just sat there until someone got me onto the bed just in time to push my baby out. Ah fun memories.

Wearing: Just the same dress, day after day, rain or shine, taking a break for just long enough to wash it and put it back on =) Jeans are my nemesis - or anything that clings to my legs actually - so I only wear them when I really have to.

Feeling: Pretty tired and lethargic every day, sometimes also faint and breathless. Baby is sitting really low so walking anywhere, even at snail's pace, is a new kind of torture for my bladder. On the extremely rare occasion that the sun comes out I get a burst of energy and get things done. But usually with plenty of lying down in between.

Ready or not:  I'm feeling ready to have a newborn. Kind of. In a couple of weeks. It's more that I want our bedrooms sorted out (we're mid-swap and it's ugly) but I have to receive and assemble a few sets of drawers first. Once everything's organised, in place, and we have hopefully sold a bunch of our furniture that's currently listed on Trademe... then I'll be ready, and I wouldn't mind if bub came a little bit early. Ella has just become SO independent in the last few months - she now dresses herself, goes toilet herself, packs her bag (not the most practically, but still); takes herself to bed; and wants to do absolutely everything "all by mine self" so I don't feel like we have a baby here anymore! I feel like this 2.9yr gap has been perfect.

Big sister: She seems excited about the baby, she knows it's in my belly, and she's the kind of toddler who dotes on every baby she meets. So I'll think she'll be ok, but still, it's a big transition for my little miss. Luckily she is a total daddy's girl right now so hopefully he'll have some time to give her lots of attention while I'm feeding on the couch 100 hours per day (feels like).

Nesting: I honestly nest better when I'm not pregnant. Most of my life is nesting... and then I get preg and I'm all about drinking milk and cream and antacids, and the intoxicating smell of bleach/bark/dirt after the rain. Why is dirt so good you guys.

So that was my fascinating bumpdate for pregnancy #2. Hopefully after the baby comes I'll have more brain energy for writing entertaining blog posts like in the good old days.... so witty and hilarious. (jk)
ORRRRR this will just turn into a really mediocre mum-blog for people who care about my life due to being related to me. We'll see.

Feb 4, 2017

2017 Goals

Last year was a fun year with a few interesting trips and events, but ultimately I ended the year dissatisfied and unfulfilled.

I was getting anxiety and stress over things that shouldn't be so important, but to me they are. We've lived here for over 3 years without working chests of drawers in our bedrooms, or wardrobe space, or a dining room table that's not being used as an office desk. We've lost our system of meal planning because for the bulk of this pregnancy (at least until around 22 weeks, tho I still dislike it) I haven't been able to face cooking or thinking about meals. We'd gotten into the habit of watching Netflix whenever we had a spare evening which felt so nice and relaxing but ultimately ate the whole evening away and never ended up having proper conversations. Prayer and quiet times felt a million miles away and just difficult. I would wake up whenever Ella woke me up because I was/am always so tired but it meant I never had any alone-time before the day started with a bang. Calum would come home stressed from work and preoccupied with the million things he had on, and I would be stressed from the monotony of daily life in a constant cycle of COOKING-CLEANING-WASHING-COOKING-CLEANING whilst being so tired/sore/sick/pregnant. Basically we were going through the motions of normal family life but it wasn't satisfying and it could/should be so much better........ you get the picture?

Enter 2017.
This years holds so many changes, unknowns, and risks for us, and I think that sense of being all in together for whatever comes next has been good. Technically with a new baby coming and my husband launching out on his own into business stuff (which could be a while before it's up and running) we should have a lot to be scared of. But we're both so excited. 

So about goals. I've never been a big fan because, fear of failure. But this year I ordered some Powersheets before Christmas as a gift to myself and a month after the beginning of the year, after so much thought and prayer, I finally have some goals in place that I'm actually excited about and achieving and have been practicing/refining through January.
One of the concepts in Powersheets is that you choose a word for the year. That seemed a little cheesy/forced to me until today when I was pottering around in our sunny house, a breeze blowing through the windows that are finally open (Summer in Wellington didn't get the memo), listening to Calum working in the garden and Ella helping him so happily, making a quiche for our picnic later today and eating a tomato from our greenhouse... that the words popped into my mind "Seek Peace and pursue it - Psalm 34:14". And that's it - PEACE. Not in a political way (don't freak ;) ) and not in a "world peace" way although that would be great. And not really in an "inner peace" way because that's very individual. But peace in our home, and in our life together.

The past month has shown me that peace comes from a few things in our home. Firstly from having more quality time together and developing that friendship that can slip out of relationships so fast. And secondly, creating a peaceful home by making it welcoming, uncluttered and functional (i.e easy to keep somewhat tidy/less chaotic.)
[My prayer journal, normal journal/diary. and goal-setting book]

I'm so rambling through this post and it's making me mad. But I feel like I need to explain more than simply list my goals!

So here they are, goals that are all designed to create peace in our home and family:

  • Pray every day, using my prayer journal because writing seems to be the only way I can focus my thoughts. There is something amazing about looking back through prayer requests and seeing the ways they have been answered - from the tiny to the huge. I knew that if I could make this a priority, everything else would fall into place.
  • Less Netflix, more quiet evenings of rest, or chatting. THIS HAS BEEN AMAZING. I feel almost guilty for doing things like having a bath, or getting in bed early with a book or journal, but those things are no less productive than Netflix and actually make me feel pampered and rested, and just like life is moving nice and slowly instead of manically.
  • Doing more things together with hubs. Life has a way of making parents really really worn out. We occasionally go on dates but it needs to be more - everyday things. So recently we've started cooking together sometimes; even if it means Ella ends up being entertained by cartoons so we can do so, it's a small sacrifice that means we get to chat and also, working together on something is awesome.
  • Maintain a simple daily routine. If I had no kids, this would be more elaborate, but for now I'm stoked if I can have a shower every night, write in my journal (something I haven't done since errrr about 2004?) and pray. About the shower at night - I don't know why it changes my whole day but it does. Instead of having a shower at any given moment when my daughter was asleep (could be 8am, could be 2pm, could be never :D ) I'm opting to have one every single night after she's in bed. For one, power is cheaper after 7pm with our power company,  for 2, it makes you feel fresh and cosy at bedtime which helps sleep I'm sure; and for 3 it means I can get dressed the minute I wake up each morning instead of thinking "I'll just stay in my PJs until I get time to take a shower" then *....3 days later.....*. Kapeesh? So... my 2017 goal is to shower daily and I wrote a whole paragraph about it because it's that much of a novel discovery to me................................................. *shame*
  • Spend less. There's nothing like being forced into a goal in order to make it happen. :) I'm finding this challenge really satisfying. We aren't eating out, I'm baking our bread and muesli for each week, and I'm monitoring all our spending closely on PocketSmith. 
  • Organise our bedrooms/storage situations. Kind of seems to contradict the point above, but we've purchased some new drawers for the baby's room that are already SO WORTH IT for their organisational ability (I forgot how good it is to actually put clothes in drawers instead of in random baskets...) and we've gone ahead and ordered 2 more sets - one for Ella's room and one for our room. I actually sat on this purchase decision for months before pulling the trigger. I now ask myself "Do I want and need this? Will I want and need it in 5 years? Is it a quality that will last us for hopefully decades?" if the answer is yes, and it's a reasonable price and we've done our research, than we can get it. It has to be something that, if we don't buy it now, we are going to continue needing for at least 5 years. Which means it's worth purchasing now so that we can benefit from it for those 5 years and hopefully many more. We also purchased a food mixer for our kitchen on special (almost half price) and it has been so amazing - that's the only reason I can make decent bread several times per week. Otherwise I don't think I'd be doing it with all the manual kneading that is super messy and hard on your hands too. I've already used it for so many things and it's taken my housewife game up a notch. ;)
So there we go. A really long-winded post about why I am actually choosing goals this year. I feel vulnerable hitting publish since these are so basic and kind of boring, but maybe someone out there will feel encouraged to go for a fresh start this year too! Even IF you are "just" a stay-at-home-mum like me.

Jan 29, 2017

Prepping for baby #2

Just going to quiiiccckkkklly type out this post while waiting for my little-big 2 and a half yr old to wake up.

Baby prep!
When I was pregnant with Ella I was not only significantly sicker than this time but also just didn't make very good decor/furniture decisions. I didn't know our house well enough (having moved in whilst pregnant) and I guess I didn't really know what I wanted. All I knew was that I felt a heap of pressure to get everything DONE before baby came.

The result was I bought a chest of drawers of Trademe that I came to hate (they smelt of old-lady perfume, and to this day I can't smell them without retching. Ah pregnany memories) and they were slightly stiff and not on runners.

Fast forward to this baby, and I've been taking my time with the prep process!

Ella has recently moved into a different bedroom with a 'big-girl bed' which is currently a dump. It was our office originally, and then it was a playroom, and now it will be her bedroom. WHEN I get drawers etc set up. Allow me to grace you with a picture of it's current glory:

Displaying IMG_6043.JPG
[Please oh please may I be able to come back here one day soon and update this with a really nice After shot]

Meanwhile her old room will be the new baby's nursery and we're having a BOY so I was initially thinking that would mean a really boring room (blue? Do I have to do blue?!) but once we got this IKEA dresser last week I started to love it. Long story short but we don't even have IKEA in New Zealand so I was praying about our drawers (as you do...) and was looking into getting some parallel-imported drawers shipped from Auckland when I suddenly checked Trademe and there was a set for $150 instead of $450! And they were already assembled, and local to us. They were the EXACT ones I'd been wanting to ship down. So those are in the room now - IKEA Hemnes and really, really roomy. They look deceptively small in photos - this set is actually large enough to double as a changing table.

[And the drawers slide smoothly! WEEEEEEEEEE]

Other things I'm thinking about:
  • I never figured out an earthquake-safe feature to hang on the wall over the cot. I don't want any picture frames or anything remotely heavy. So I'm thinking of making a simple string garland of stars like these. Will they be easy to make? I hope so :s Craftiness is actually not my pregnancy forte... I save that for every other part of my life.

Numero 74 Stars garland - blue-product
I had wanted to make an awesome (and complicated) hot air balloon mobile but... yeah nah. So much work!

If I had 2-hundy to drop on a baby mobile (I don't) then I would be spending up immediately on this beautiful mobile handmade in the Ukraine:
bear,bear decor,woodland,woodland nursery,nursery decor,baby mobile,bear mobile,organic
It's everything I want in a mobile, and bears (especially polar bears) are kind of a special nickname/theme in our family so it would be perfect. And I love the neutral colour. *SIGH*
  • I've been thinking about these merino baby wraps in lieu of the pile of sheets and blankets that we layered on Ella as a newborn. Anyone used them? Are they good? I would get the double set in soft mint and soft blue, I think! You really need at least 2 of everything for a newborn and their poonamis, #amiright.
  • Baby boy fitted cot sheet. I suddenly realised most of our cot bedding for Ella was pink/floral. I'm thinking a simple ticking stripe would be nice for a boy and found this one for a decent price. It looks simple and quality.

  • Plain newborn socks! I need them - ones that are natural materials (e.g cotton) and teeny tiny and stay on without needing ribbons tied.
  •  Baby coathangers - need more and they're so handy
  • Umm, and, apparently baby boys pee on you while you change them. So I should probably look into some kind of cloth to put on there during changes (that's what I'm meant to do, right boy-mums?????!) 
  •  I swore I wouldn't spend any more money on decor-type items but this basket looks like it would be perfect for holding kids' books. Do you think? It's $16 from Kmart NZ. It looks shallow enough that you would actually be able to see the spines of the books. Currently we have Ella's in a deep square cane basket but I find the rough interior damages the books and any smaller books get buried at the bottom:
Stripe Basket
The thing I love about being a second-time mum is having slightly more of a handle on what I actually need. I'm down to wearing the same dress almost every single day (so comfy, so wearable, so not-sticking-to-my-skin-because-I'm-always-overheated, so easy to pull on and go!) and I'm still using the same L'occitane organic Shea Butter on my belly to try to prevent stretch marks (on my third tin now) and with only 6 weeks to go, I'm feeling like I don't need to buy anything else for myself. Mainly I just want to get these rooms sorted so I don't have to find my way through a maze of giant storage canisters everywhere I walk around here :)
[A blurry mirror selfie for your viewing pleasure. Complete with toddler and "Kwala Bala". Nearly 34 weeks]
[Sometimes I also wear this singlet and leggings-that-look-like-jeans but let's not get all crazy! 32 weeks]

And that was my super rushed, brain-dump blog post of the month. :D
JK, I hope to do more preg updates at some point.

Jan 18, 2017

A big ol' recap

A little/big recap of the craziness that is December+January.

We had a great Christmas and I'm a big Christmas fan... but honestly I'm relieved it's over now and we can move on. No offence Christmas but you can be high maintenance sometimes.

My mum still fills our stockings and it might be the best part - JellyBelly gourmet beans are my love language.

We celebrated at Calum's parents' place with this epic view...

.. and at my parent's place where the views weren't so bad either. I guess there are some perks to living on a city that sits on a bunch of dormant volcanos hills.

As well as opening a few gifts at our own place with just the 3 of us. This year Ella's main present from us was a balance bike which she was super excited about - or was it more the Peppa Pig helmet? We'll never know.
[She rearranged all the low hanging decorations]
 One issue I have with NZ or the whole Southern Hemisphere is that everything happens at once. Christmas + summer holidays + end-of-year-everything-events ... then during winter and that loooong stretch in the middle of the year literally nothing happens. NOTHING. But the bonus I guess is that after the chaos of Christmas you get to take off on your Summer holiday and forget that your house is a dump of wrapping paper and festive decs that you'll have to deal with when you get home, along with unpacking a week or two worth of laundry and/or sand.

This was our first Summer holiday just the 3 of us and it was SO nice to wind down that way. 2017 is looking pretty crazy for us so we were making the most of every minute of quality time together and blissful weather. Ella and Calum were total buddies at everything my heavy pregnant butt wasn't up for - like running up Mt Mounganui (my 2 yr old ran!) and catching loads of waves on their board (my bump was majorly in the way for that).

[The Mount]

We were in the Bay of Plenty and every day was full of exploring different beaches, parks, bushwalks, waterfalls, etc.

[Heading out to walk up Drury Hill]
[McLaren Falls park]

[Can you spot all the people? There are hundreds of waterfalls and swimming holes at the top of this cliff area, and river below]

And then we came back home and I was surprised by how nice and spacious our house is. Maybe staying in a one bedroom unit was good for that?!

2017 is looking big, daunting, challenging, exciting. 
Aside from a new baby due in like 7 weeks (wwhhhhaatttt?!!!) we also have my husband starting out on his own with a new business venture, my toddler starting Kindy and toilet training and moving to a proper 'big-girl bedroom' and it just feels like so many changes are happening at once. We are looking forward to seeing how it all works out!

Anyway, my 2.5 yr old just climbed on my lap and started kissing my cheeks with little giggles in between. She's just figured out how to kiss and make the normal kiss noise and is really chuffed with herself and it's SO CUTE. Sometimes we pinch ourselves with this kid.

And that's a recap of life lately!

Dec 22, 2016

A christmassy day in the [real] life: toddler + pregnant edition.

I can't be the only one who feels suddenly overwhelmed at this time of year. I LOVE Christmas - baking, decorating, getting organised and giving gifts... those are all my favourite things. But it's still 3 days away and I can't believe I'm saying this but.... I'm ready for it to be done so we can all move on. 

Traffic jams, crowded malls, a zillion different end of year events (most of which require you to bring food or gifts), AND the beginning of our summer holidays, booking accommodation and planning road trips with toddlers.... it all gets crazy. Not to mention being pregnant which makes me often feel faint or sore or just plain exhausted.... and toilet training a 2.5 yr old which in essence means, I spend my days trying to convince her to sit on the potty and try to get something out because I KNOW that at any minute it's going to come out anyway and it won't be pretty.... followed by the ensuing debate with a toddler about how pretending to sit on the potty for 0.000001 milli-seconds and then jumping up and yelling"it's not working! the wees is not working" and running stark naked down the hallway to deposit said wees onto the carpet or dining room floor is not a very good strategy... and listening to myself saying things that now seem so normal but surely are weird to the average person like "Just do some good waiting and then do a little push and maybe the poo will come out and you can get a special treat"..... So yeah, Christmas may be the big thing we're all looking towards but I'm just spending my days with a spray bottle of dettol, throwing old towesl over suspicious puddles, trying to convince myself that when my toddler points out a brown stain on our cream dining room chair and announces "Dat's POO mummy!" that surely it's not poo. Surely there's not actually poo on my dining room chair. I'm sure it's chocolate. OH PLEASE CAN IT BE CHOCOLATE.

[Literally she is sitting on a pee puddle]

I feel like a good blogger would write a post about their Christmas decor and show how brilliantly festive their house is but like, would you even notice our "Christmas Decor" (aka fake tree) over all the Duplo, upturned toy baskets and mountains of couch cushions that have been stacked up to make a "slide" off the sofa? I keep thinking there must be some secret to keeping your house clean all the time because everybody else does but holy cheeseballs, I've tried everything and there is literally no solution except me bending down and then straightening back up 600 times a day to pick stuff up off the floor. And I know I've mentioned this before but heartburn/pregnancy reflux is no joke - and aside from not being able to physically squish my bump in enough to double over, and having basically no thigh muscles whatsoever - stomach acid bubbling up my throat and gagging me every time I lean forward is just not ideal. I dream of having a giant wireless vaccuum that sucks up toys and then organises them into boxes. Not unrealistic at all....

[Token picture of peppermint creams that I made yesterday because I am a slave to punishment and must make ALL THE THINGS at Christmas-time like a 50's housewife but one who is really, really tired and should just have not bothered]

Today was my last day of Christmas baking weeehoooo and I THINK it was also my last time venturing into a shop before Christmas to buy a present. At least until Christmas eve when I need to get fresh strawberries for Christmas dessert... along with every other person who lives in New Zealand. See you in the supermarket queues on the 24th, Kiwi friends.

Last year I made most of our gifts from scratch and whilst it was a bit stressful/intense it was actually also quite relaxing because I got to avoid shops altogether! I don't think I even ventured into the mall once. After all the money we've already spent on Christmas this year, I think I'm definitely going to consider making gifts again next year. Or coming up with some kind of strict budget that spreads the costs out over several months. I think having Christmas in the middle of Summer doesn't help because you end up spending so much money in January on your summer accommodation etc too.

Ugh, like, am I ever going to make a point or is this blog post truly going to be nothing more than rambles? I'm really, really tired so, rambles sounds about as complex as I can get right now. What was my point? Was there a point? Christmas is stressful? Probably that. Life with a toddler and a baby-in-the-belly is a whole new level of messy.

[Unrelated picture from my grandma's funeral a couple weeks ago, because I feel guilty for all this complaining and I do LOVE THEM, honest.]

Did I tell you about our guest room that is literally buried in gifts and wrapping paper and potential-nursery-crafts in case I ever get enough energy to do some proper nesting? Or how I can't use either of our laundry baskets right now as they have been used to dump paperwork in, in the hopes that one day my husband will be un-busy enough to sort through some of it, just so that I can partially clear the dining room table so we can eat there? And that those laundry baskets full of paperwork are sitting on our bedroom floor and every time I place a lovely pile of clean, folded, freshly done laundry on my husband's side of the bed for him to put away, he simply dumps it on top of the laundry basket that's full of paperwork and now there is a mountain of clean and/or possibly not clean clothing on top of a mountain or miscellaneous written correspondence?? And it's threatening to topple on top of whatever other random items the toddler has left in our room (husband's bedside table is piled with stories about Tinkerbell and 'That's not my puppy" that I suspect weren't actually his choice of reading material). Or how out of our 8 dining chairs, only THREE have survived to sit at our ginormous table because the rest have ripped or horribly stained upholstery so we've shoved them out of sight into other rooms or under the house? Make that two because one apparently has POO ON IT. 

I knew mum-life would be glamorous but I didn't know it would be this glamorous.
[Hey baby boy MacLeod, hope you're enjoying the zen of my womb while you still can...]

Well, I'd love to stay and chat about absolutely nothing but I have a towel on the dining room floor that has been soaking up pee all day and I SUPPOSE I should pick it up and then get disinfectant and then go downstairs and get some hot water and a mop and then drag my pregnant butt back upstairs with the bucket sloshing on my socks and mop that mess up, but not until after vaccuuming as there are crumbs everywhere that should be dealt with before mopping. OR I could just spritz some dettol on the floor and half-heartedly dab at it with a paper towel and call it a day. You'll never know.