26 November 2011

Wedding birdies

Some friends of ours from our church got married today. It was a very beautiful wedding: Breony has wanted to have her wedding in her parent's garden since she was a small girl, and today her dream came true!

Garden wedding, tea party style.

Think well established, cosy garden...

 tea cups...

mismatched chairs...

and I got to sit under an umbrella in the sun!
Ha ha ha, no. Not quite like that. Not so cheesy.

Anyway, I digress. One of the crafts I've been working on lately has been a wedding present for the brand new husband and wife, Mitch and Breony!

I have for a while now thought little birdies were super cute and when I came across this link a while ago, I knew I had to bookmark it and think of a super cool type of birdie to make.

And I thought, "A bride and groom pair of birdies? Yes please!"
So without further ado, I present to you
Mitch and Breony: The Wedding Birds edition.

(PS: I think they are cool, but I am very aware of my haphazard crafting skills (and bad photography!). Be kind to me!)

Here they are packed in their box, ready to fly to their new owners!
Never mind that I forgot to put a card with it so had to leave a message on Breony's parent's answerphone telling them to let them know who the random little birdies were from... Oops.

I like them. I think I will be making more birdies in the future! Maybe a mobile for a baby of a friend, or maybe I'll enlarge and shrink the pattern and make a little Bosgra family of birdies?
What do you think?

25 October 2011

Fruit trees and...

It was hard to find a name for this post... I'll go ahead and write it and you read it and we'll see how it all goes. :)

Hayden and I have been slowly getting our garden/section under control and into a semblance of this-is-deliberately-planted-here-ness. And when I say 'Hayden and I,' I mean Hayden. I help him make the decision about what to do where and he does all the work. He's great, my husband.

Just yesterday (Labour Day, here in NZ - or post-World-Cup-Final-hangover day for a lot of people, me thinks!) Hayden went out and bought us some fruit trees. We love the idea of having our favourite fruits available right here in our own back yard! We already have a mandarin tree (that grows really yummy mandarins!) and a small lemon tree (which grew it's first crop of 7 lemons this year!). Now we have grapefruit, feijoa and a double grafted apple tree - Braeburn and Golden Delicious on one tree. (Ha ha, out of interest, spell check wants me to change feijoa to Joanie.)

L-R Apple, grapefruit, feijoa

We decided to make each of our fruit trees for one of our children each. 3 trees, 3 children, excellent.
So we went ahead and did something a little bit special. To explain, I just have to go back in time a wee way, to three separate occasions.

June 13, 2008; January 2, 2010 and August 29, 2011.

You would be correct if you recognise those dates as our children's birth dates! Well, we have chosen to birth all three of our babies at home - and have been really happy we did. Birthing at home has been a wonderful experience that really fit well with Hayden and I and my ideas of how we wanted our babies to be born. The only thing about birthing at home is not only are you left with a beautiful new baby, but also a freshly finished-with placenta... There's no hospital disposal chute here, and the midwife doesn't take it with her when she packs up her home birth bag! Not a major drama, but certainly something to think about that you don't have to if you're at the hospital or birthing centre. So we have had first one, then two, then three placentas in our freezer. (And no, we never took one out and mistakenly defrosted it for the BBQ, like you'll hear from some people's horror stories!)

Top to bottom: Elliot's, Rosie's, Tristan's
(You can't see it in this photo thankfully, but someone chose a see-through icecream container for Tristan's placenta...)

So, the 3 trees, 3 children thing? We decided to bury a placenta under (deep under!) each of our trees and make a special tree for each of them! Elliot LOVES apples, so we now have Elliot's Apple Tree. As Hayden said, Rosie is a sourpuss (but we love her dearly!), so we have Rosie's grapefruit tree. And Tristan is small, round and green? No, there's not really any reason for the youngest two, so we now have Tristan's Feijoa Tree.

Here's where Hayden the workhorse comes in:

Digging the compost in and planting the trees (the day after staying up late and watching a nail-bitingly tense game of rugby, no less!).

Elliot's apple tree (and life-giving organ) getting ready for planting

Rosie's grapefruit tree and icecream container...

And Tristan's feijoa tree and awesome see-through placenta-holder.
(And no, we are not in a tent. That would be the neighbour's solution to not building a proper fence.)

Maybe you think only hippies bury their children's placentas, but we are certainly not hippies (though you might be forgiven for thinking that we are, if you hear about us home-birthing and burying placentas!). Planting our placentas was a decision born (ha ha, very punny) partly of necessity - can't keep a placenta in your freezer your whole life! - and partly because we think placentas are pretty cool - a special organ that forms all by itself, especially for the task of nourishing a baby while it's inside the womb, then knows when it's job is done and heads on out of there! I really like the idea of our kids having a special tree each, especially Rosie and Tristan's as they were actually born in this house.

We went for a garden walk after dinner yesterday. The kids got excited - well, Rosie and Elliot did; Tristan just kept sleeping - and thought it was neat fun that they each have a special tree now! I love doing new special things with our little people.

15 September 2011

Birth story #3

I really should have sat down to write this earlier - after making me wait so long to meet him, Tristan came out in a big hurry! So fast it feels like there's hardly anything to remember!

Rewind back to Sunday the 28th of August.
I wasn't that keen to go to church - everyone is always well-meaning and it's lovely to know so many people care about you and are thinking about you, but it's pretty tiring answering the same questions over and over again: "You're still here?!" "Still in one piece?" "How overdue are you now?" "Hanging in there?" "What are you still doing here?" (My personal favourite was "When are you going to be induced?") But anyway, I braved it and made it through. Very thankful to the kind ladies who remember what it's like to be very pregnant who just asked how I was doing and if there was anything they could help me with. Wonderful :) We had a normal, lazy Sunday afternoon - I think it included a nap - and then I went to evening church while Hayden stayed home to give the kids their dinner and put them to bed. Yes, he is awesome. :)

I came home from church pretty quickly after we were done. I just felt like I wanted to be home, which was pretty normal for these late stages of my pregnancy, but I remember really feeling a pull to be home, rather than just not being bothered going out! I don't remember what we did together that evening - I did make sure we both had something substantial to eat "just in case" we had to wake up and labour that night! We were both in bed by 9:30pm.

Just as well, because 2:50am rolls around, I wake up and am pretty sure I'm having contractions! I kept quiet for a bit, just watching the clock, and they were coming every 5 minutes. I woke up Hayden and told him I was pretty certain that this was it! A trip to the loo to confirm some early labour signs - yes, this was it! I wanted to try and rest a bit still, so I tried laying down but, like I remember with Elliot, the contractions felt twice as bad as when I was sitting or standing so that didn't last long!

We waited a little while, maybe 20 minutes, before calling anybody to come because I wanted to be sure we were well into it - in the middle of the night, you don't want to wake people up if you're not imminently about to deliver! Once I was sure things were progressing - contractions had moved to about 4 minutes apart - I started the round of phone calls.

First up was my sister-in-law Sarah. As the one with the longest to travel (Pukekohe to Hamilton) we wanted her to have the most notice! Sarah had also had a super-awful flu virus, so we needed to assess how she was feeling and if it was wise for her to come. I called her (and she sounded absolutely awful on the phone, poor thing!) and she decided she'd come - yay, happy dance! I've tried to think up a way to explain just how special it is for Sarah to be there at the births of my children, but I can't articulate it. I think she knows - maybe she remembers both of us tearing up in the middle of a family get-together as we talked about it once!

Next I called my Mum to come and get the kids. Maybe they would have stayed asleep throughout the whole thing, but I didn't want to take the chance that they wouldn't and have them wake up at some crucial moment and not being able to concentrate on delivering this baby because I was trying to reassure a scared, clingy toddler! So Mum got straight in the car and headed over.

Lastly, I call my midwife. "Sue, I'm in labour. We're progressing well, contractions about 4 minutes apart. I don't think you need to hurry, but I'd appreciate if you could head over now because I'd love the extra support," is something like how our phone call went. Later she told me that she hung up and said to herself, "Actually, I think I do need to hurry!" Read on to find out how true that was! It was about 3:45am now.

Mum picked up the kids - Elliot woke right up and was very excited to be told that the baby was coming and he was going to Oma's. I think he was more excited about going to Oma's! I texted my sister Sarah in the UK to let her know things were happening. We had organised that she'd call me and we'd chat for a while to distract myself while Hayden was filling the birth pool and getting the kids organised, because I knew there'd be no-one else there just yet.

Sister Sarah (as opposed to sister-in-law Sarah, who is still on her way to our house) called at about 4am and we chatted for half an hour. At this point I was in my pyjamas with a hot wheatie bag on my back and leaning over a swiss ball/exercise ball, belly hanging down like the big weight it was! Every time I had a contraction I'd put the phone on the ground and call Hayden to put pressure on my lower back. They were getting closer, maybe 3 mins (Hayden was timing them, I didn't care at that point!), but I was still able to just breathe deeply through them without needing to vocalise.

At 4:30am I decided that I needed to concentrate on labouring, so Sarah and I said goodbye and hung up. This is the point that the labour train goes full steam ahead, ready or not! Pretty quickly, contractions are coming really close together. I think I managed to make it to the loo to empty my bladder in between contractions, and Hayden managed to make it outside to turn off the tap before I called him back to put pressure on my back again - he didn't have enough time to shut the door behind him though and I could feel his anxiousness that the neighbors would hear that one! (He shut it after it was over.)

The pool is ready - full enough and warm enough - but my contractions are so close that I can't get up and climb in. Here is where things start getting pretty desperate! All of a sudden - literally, from one contraction to the next - I feel the urge to push. That uncontrollable, unstoppable NEED to push that baby down! Hayden told me afterward that this is where he started to get worried that we'd be delivering the baby by ourselves because our midwife wasn't here yet!

I desperately wanted to get in the pool, so I seized the chance the millisecond a contraction finished, peeled off my pyjamas and jumped in. Well, not jumped in actually. Awkwardly clambered in, perhaps. Ah, sweet relief. I LOVE being in the water during labour. You wouldn't think it would make such a difference, but it really does work as a pain reliever. I love being cocooned in the warmth - I think of the water as my safe place. Ha ha, that sounds ridiculous, but I can't think of another way to put it! I feel like I coped the best with this labour out of all three - I remember thinking in the middle of it all that I wasn't really being very loud. I was using my energy to get my baby out, I guess! Hayden has said the same thing - that I was the quietest with this one. Must have been because I was so over waiting for him to arrive that when he did, I just wanted him out, no nonsense! :)

The time now is about 4:45am. I'm in the pool, pushing with each contraction, and Sue, my midwife, arrives in the driveway and spends 5 minutes wrestling with her big home birth bag (containing everything we need to keep us safe and healthy, including Syntocinon, oxygen and resuscitation gear) to get it out of the boot of her car! She said she could hear me from outside and knew Baby was just about here! So Sue makes her way inside as I have a few more contractions. I can tell Baby's not far away from being born and I remember saying, "I don't feel ready for this!" It was going so fast that I hadn't had time to wrap my head around the fact that I'd be holding this baby soon! Sue said, "Well, your baby is!" and that was that - another push or two (or whatever - it went fast enough that we could have counted all the pushes, even from before I was in the pool, though we didn't) and our baby was born! 4:54am - 25 minutes after hanging up the phone to my sister! She didn't believe it when I told her that later.

Minutes-old Tristan Charles

4:55am sister-in-law Sarah walks in the door! She said she got the door and "heard that noise" and knew that he had been born. I'm gutted that she missed it, but SO glad that she was there right away to meet our fresh baby boy and help with the aftermath (you know Mums, the glamorous part!). We were making jokes afterwards about the placenta: Sarah is studying to be a midwife - her dream for a long time and I'm so proud of her because she's doing awesome and going to make the most amazing midwife! - and she had to do a placenta poster later that day (or was it week?), so I said she could take mine and get top marks for having a fresh example! Yuck. :P

Anyway, afterwards was much like my other two - out of the pool (so awkward!), placenta delivery (least favourite part), cuddles with a fresh baby (my favourite part!), Syntocinon injection to help my uterus get back to a more acceptable size (ouch!), more cuddles - skin to skin - and our first breastfeed. Then our little just-had-a-baby routine: Milos and Mars bars! And of course the phone calls to our families to let them know of the newest member.

After getting all sorted, I got into bed with our wee Tristan for some rest while Hayden got the place all tidied up and emptied the pool, then went down and got us McDonald's for breakfast! Yummy!

And that's pretty much Tristan's birth story!
(For such a short labour I still managed to write a fair amount...)
Now we have a 2.5 week old precious baby boy whom we love to dote on and enjoy cuddles with. I can't wait to see what his personality turns out to be like, which of his siblings he'll look the most like and what he'll end up doing with his life. We praise God for the gift of another wonderful son and thank Him for taking care of us so far.

01 September 2011

Welcome to the world!

I thought perhaps this announcement might warrant a blog post from my oh-so-infrequent blogging self!

We have welcomed a new little boy into the world!

Tristan Charles

Born at home on the 29th of August, 2011


4460g/9lb 13oz

Tristan's middle name comes from his Opa (Hayden's dad), who is known as Charlie.

Tristan and I had a very quick labour - 2 hours from start to finish! Hayden was beginning to worry right at the end there that he'd be the one to catch the baby, but we were glad when my midwife Sue arrived - just 5 minutes before he was born! I think Tristan knew I wanted to meet him so much!

There'll be more to come - I have much to write about the journey God took me on during this pregnancy. And 2 whole hours of birth story ;) (See if I can remember anything!) But right now, I'm going to go have a nap - sleep's hard to come by these days!

08 August 2011

Photos with the kidlets

Today I had a little impromptu photo shoot with my kiddies. I am by no means a professional or even particularly gifted photographer like some of my friends. I am a point-and-shoot kind of photographer who has only just discovered that my camera has different modes and that photos look better if you put your subject in the light of the window. See? Not a professional.

Rosie's hair was looking a bit nightmare-ish, so I grabbed a headband to see if I could tame it a little - or disguise it! And then she looked so cute that I got the camera out and began snapping.

And then Brother wanted in on the action. Of course, it's more fun if you pull faces.

LOVE this photo of Elliot - I think he looks really sweet.

03 August 2011

My Birthday Party

I have been incredibly slack at blogging regularly here. Lately I've only just had enough energy to keep on top of things and none to spare for trying to organise my jumbled thoughts into any sort of order.

But now I have a few things that maybe you'd like an update on, so I will attempt to continue on with the blogging journey! Onwards and upwards!

Last weekend (the one just been) I celebrated my 25th birthday. 

Crazy. Sometimes I still feel like I'm 16 and have no idea how the world really works.

Anyway. I had a bit of a party to mark the occasion. I wanted to use it to be able to tell the people dearest to my heart that I appreciate them and the input they have into the lives of my family and me. 

I was feeling a little nervous that it would be a bit of a flop of a party - as I do with anything that I've been in charge of organising! - but I think it went well. People told me they enjoyed it and my friends wouldn't lie to my face, so I'll believe them! :)

I asked Phil and Talia if they wouldn't mind bringing their camera along to snap a few shots of the evening and they generously agreed. Thanks you two!

So here's a little taster of how it all went down. I asked everyone to dress with "a splash of red" because red has long been my favourite colour! So that explains the high number of guests wearing something red, in case you were wondering...

There were a high number of portraits taken of this beautiful lady - I suspect it had something to do with the fact that her husband was the one with the camera! But look at her - wouldn't you? :)

The MOST AMAZING cobb loaf dip, the secret recipe to which I am now privy!
(Thanks Mrs ten Hove!)

My 2 amazing birthday cakes, crafted by the even more amazing Heidi, my sister-in-law. All hail the Queen of Cakes! (PS: Also note the fabulous tooth-picked platter, made by my wonderful, precise husband. Doesn't it look gorgeous?)
 PS: They were/are delicious! We polished off most of the first one (chocolate) at the party, and now my family and I are making quick work of the second one (amazingly moist and yummy carrot cake - with cream cheese icing under the fondant!).

 My wonderful (though a little bit hairy, right?) husband - that's him on the left - who was an amazing help to me before, during and after the party. He spent hours prepping the food with me (refer above for example), and many more hours doing just about all the clean up when my feet and back were killing me and while I was at church the next day. (He had stayed back with the kids because they'd been exposed to chicken pox, so we're keeping them in seclusion until the contagious period is over - in a few days time, wahoo!) Hayden is a wonderful man who I am blessed to be married to - not just because he's great at cleaning up either. :) He's definitely a keeper.

Girl talk!

The beautiful Eden, Momma to wee little Zeke.

Speech time! I had spent literally months thinking about what I wanted to say at my party, only to change my mind a few times about how much I wanted to say, and then leave my speech at home! Ha! So I made a trip to the bathroom to deal with my nerves (and yes, my bladder, currently being somewhat smaller than it usually is) and sorted something out in my head, then prayed that I could get it out without falling over my words! I think it went okay, after all that. :)

And of course, I had to blow out my 25 candles - and I nearly got them all in one breath too! Those 2 rogue silly ones that stayed lit ruined it for the rest of them... Just kidding, oh well! I forbade anyone from taking pictures of me actually blowing them out (HATE the puffed-up cheek look!) but a few sneaked in so I am exercising my right to not publish them! :) I love this photo though - like my belly? - it shows the best bits and cuts out the worst, like my double chin and flabby arms and general boat-like figure right now! Thanks for that! :) (And your father-in-law always makes a great backdrop for any photo, right?)

So thank you all for a lovely evening on Saturday.
And to those of my friends and family who weren't there, I hope you know that I love and appreciate the input you have in our lives as well. I have been blessed with a great many wonderful friends and family, all of you whom I truly believe have been given to me by God.

Soli Deo gloria!

13 June 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Elliot!

I cannot believe it. 

My little baby boy, my firstborn, is three years old today.

How have three years managed to fly by this quickly? I still feel like I just finished school the other year but it was actually close to 10 years ago - WHAAAAT?! I still feel like it wasn't that long ago I was in labour with Elliot and now all of a sudden it's three years in the past! Zooooom!

1:06am, 13th of June, 2008.

That little baby (well, 4020g/9lb 13oz anyway...) tipped my life upside-down. But I'm glad he did, because it's waaaaaay better now. I'm the first to admit that I found life with a new baby really tough.

Really tough.

We had major breastfeeding issues that didn't help either. It took me a good few months, maybe even the entire first year to get my head around what life was like now that Elliot was in it. And I'm not afraid to share that with you. I think it's so important to be honest, to let other mothers know that it isn't easy and you shouldn't expect to be perfect - not straight away anyway.  ;) Just kidding.

Anyway, back to our precious boy. Elliot was a super easy baby. A good sleeper, great eater, not fussy, pretty easy-going. Just what I needed! He's still most of those things - provided you feed him what he likes! - and a lot more besides. 

We certainly have our moments. At the moment we're dealing with anger and roughness, but we keep praying and learning and teaching and know that this too shall pass. Elliot is a real delight. He still manages to melt my heart on at least a weekly basis, sometimes daily. He's a real sweetheart and feel so blessed that the Lord gave him to us to look after and enjoy.

Enough talking, on to the photos!

Here he is, just seconds after he was born.
A bit blue - don't worry, he's pinked up since.
(PS: Those are my midwife's hands, not Hayden's...)

Here he is on his Birth-Day, after a sleep and a bit of a tidy up for us both.

Some close-ups of the beautiful sleeping boy at one day old and two days old.

 People mostly comment on Elliot's wonderful white blonde hair, but we think his most striking features are his eyes.

LOVE these two pictures - and the boy in them!

Self-taken family portrait (please ignore the washing pile behind us...).
Elliot is about 9 months old here I think.

Another family portrait - this one with the help of the camera's timer - and you can't see it but Rosie's here too - in my belly! This was taken not too long before we left Morrinsville, so our super-cute (but tired -looking!) boy must be nearly or about 18 months old.

And here he is on the day he became a Big Brother! Meeting Rosie for the first time - he wasn't that fussed! :)  Came to look at her and give Mummy a cuddle then ran off to play. That's okay, he was still pretty little.

He's a pretty good big brother. We can tell he has the makings of a wonderful protective, helpfully guiding, caring, sharing and loving older brother. Sure, he still hits her a lot (another thing we're working on and praying about!) and they get in each other's way, but I can't wait to see their relationship when, Lord willing, they are grown.

Nothing - and I mean nothing - makes me more proud or heart-melt-y than seeing Elliot and his little sister playing happily together. It really is the sweetest thing. I always loved to watch Elliot play happily when he was our only child, but I never knew how much more depth it adds to family life - and Elliot's character - to see your children interacting together. It's amazing.

Here they are doing drawings for their Auntie Sarah in London. You can tell they were enjoying themselves! (Nice "cheese" face, Rosie!)

Elliot LOVES to help. Loves it. He's still at that great age where you can give them lots of jobs/chores to do because they are just so keen to be helping Mummy and Papa! Elliot loves to help us turn the dishwasher on - little does he know we're just training him up for the day he can fully load it up himself so that dishes can become his job! :)

 Here he is 'helping' Papa build our new deck in the summer of 2010.

His favourite dinner is pasta. Thankfully he's now learnt to use a spoon slightly better so it doesn't end up smeared up all over his face anymore!

He loves his tummy! Anyone who's  spent any amount of time with Elliot will know that he's a thumb-sucker, and you can guarantee that when his thumb is in his mouth, his other hand will be playing with his belly button! Here he is about to give his friend Alana a 'tummy hug'.

Elliot loves his Papa. I love to see the two of them playing together.
I love the father-and-son-ness of it all. :)

And here is our big boy on his first day of kindy! How surreal that day was! Elliot took to kindy like a fish to water - loves it. His speech has really developed and we see his creative skills coming along really well. And it's great for him to interact with other little people. I still do a little double take every time I pick him up from kindy thinking, "Wow, that's my little boy in there. He's so big now! He's just gorgeous!" There's always something about observing your children when they don't know you're there that is infinitely more fascinating...

So, that's our boy. Our big three year old.

I'll make sure I get a good picture of him sometime today to keep for his official 3rd birthday picture. I'm really looking forward to spending the day together. We have some nice plans and I hope he has a cool day. He's so special and we want to make a bit of a deal of him tomorrow. I'll post another post soon with how we've spent his birthday-day!

So, my precious son, your Papa and I love you so much. You are so big now and growing up so nicely - but I hope you know you'll always be my baby! Every day with you, while very challenging, is an enormous joy and delight. We pray that you would grow in to a strong man of God who has a heart that loves Him above all others and always seeks to do His will.

Happy birthday Elliot. We love you!

And I had to leave you with this photo - Elliot wearing one of Hayden's t-shirts, Rosie is a couple of months old. When I was flicking through photos for this post, their expressions made me laugh out loud! Can you say, "Awkward!" Love it!