29 August 2012

Happy 1st Birthday!

Can you believe it? My baby boy is one year old today.



My precious, smiley, snuggly baby has been with us for one whole Earth journey around the sun. One whole year. His birth - 4:54am, August 29, 2011 - whirlwind that is was, does seem like it was a year ago. It's been an eventful year, really. But all the growing up in between? Feels like I blinked and it's done!

Tristan, my precious boy. I smiled when I first met you. Not out of relief at the end of labour (you were in such a hurry to get out that I was hardly even IN labour!), but out of genuine, full-blown love and instant connection. I was so excited to meet you, to smell you, to snuggle you.


The very first of our many snuggles.

You have been my cuddliest baby. Content to sit with your head tucked under my chin or resting in my arm for the longest time. Happy to give me squishy baby cuddles whenever I want them - and you enjoy them too! You still sit still on my lap - Elliot was only still when he was sleeping and Rosie is a little busy-body, never still - but you? You're content to be still for a while.


Wrapped up snug under my first handmade pseudo-quilt - started before Elliot was born, finally finished in time for you.




The question I get asked about you most often? (Ridiculously often, actually.)

"Is he always this smiley?"

Yes. Yes, you are. You smile all the time. All. The. Time. And it's not just a little smile. You shine on us with your glorious, light-up-your-face, smile from your eyes, show us your cute teeth, downright beautiful smile. So happy that I dare anyone to not smile back. They won't be able to help themselves.


A few weeks old. Rockin' your smile since Day Two.

Tristan, your Papa and I? We make good babies. We make 'em cute. I happen to believe that my three children are some of the most beautiful children in the world. (Bias? Whatevs.) You are absolutely no exception. Perhaps I should be calling you handsome, and later I'm sure I will, but I really truly do think you are beautiful.



You make a fabulous sibling. You LOVE to follow Elliot and Rosie and join in with their play (probably just get in their way actually, but you enjoy it). Many-a-time have I been putting the big kids in bed and Baby comes rocketing down the hallway, laughing with anticipation, and pushes open the door to be with us too. Then of course they love it when I lift you up and you give them a bed time smooch before I say goodnight. You laugh like it's nobody's business when they run past you, backwards and forwards. They know it makes you laugh so they do it often. They love to make you happy. You have always been smitten with them, especially Elliot. Right from newborn, Elliot could always make you laugh the most. You love to grab his face and give him a huge mushy kiss.




3-way Row Row Row Your Boat


Rosie loves to capture your ear between two of her fingers. It sometimes frustrates you, but you still let her.

Of course, like Elliot and Rosie too, you adore your Oma. When you see her you grin like a monkey and struggle out of the arms of who's holding you to get to her. You're getting better at sitting still on her lap for a ride - when you don't want to turn around a smooch her, that is!


Moving so fast you're a blur!

Baby, you're so many things.


Watchful. Peaceful.

Brave.


Adventurous.
Took my eyes off you for a minute? Down the bottom of the ramp and still going full steam ahead.

Happy. Curious. Loving.

Long-suffering.

My three boys at breakfast one weekend morning.

Aren't I blessed?

My Boy, I can't wait to see what God has in store for you. What kind of mountains your faith will move. Where your God will take you. What He'll make you.



May you always be my Baby. My cheerful gift. My blessing. My proof that God is good to me. My special little man.



Happy birthday, precious boy. Your first one. Enjoy it. You won't remember it; I hope I always will. It's my prayer that we will celebrate so many more together that I do end up forgetting some.

Mama loves you. Always.

24 August 2012

Gift: Baby Shower



My beautiful sister-in-law
(well, technically, the wife of my brother-in-law, but that's just way too much of a mouthful)
is due with their first baby in a few short weeks. Exciting!

A new cousin for our kids! A new NEPHEW for us, woo hoo!

I wanted to make some handmade goodies as a gift, because it's always nice to have a proper reason to sew, isn't it?
(Though I think 'keeping me sane' is pretty close to a proper reason, yes?)

I didn't tell her I was sending my gift down - I wanted it to be a surprise when she got to present time at her Baby Shower - but alas, in my usual style, I left things too late and even couriering it down couldn't get it there in time. Dumb. Anyway, it was still a surprise - and a lovely one, she tells me!

I sewed Baby B up some burp cloths using some vintage floral fabric and a brand new $3 towel from The Warehouse. (I wish I had thought to buy more of those towels because it didn't go as far as I had hoped...)



I also stitched up my first BOY version of my capsule covers - just because I can really! It's nice to sew a big square (rectangle, actually) of fabric with whatever pattern/design I want without it being an enormous complicated quilt. Quite fun!



I really like the colour scheme of this one. The blue and yellow really go well together, I think. The back is a heavier-weight vegetation print. (It's not quite floral. Kinda, but not quite.)





I also tied a matching bow around that lovely cardigan I scored the other week and included it in the package. It all looked very sweet together, if I do say so myself!

Happy baby shower, Neats!

21 August 2012

On First Contact...

Seriously, this is so surreal.

I am not interesting. I am so completely normal. I read about riveting things happening in other people's lives, not mine. It feels like this is happening to someone else, not plain old me.

But anyway, this is my life, strange as it seems just now. I want to start by saying that it is really difficult to write this post knowing that one day, most likely, my birth mother will read it. I am totally comfortable with blogging about MY journey through this, and am really thankful for the clarity of thought that writing about it gives me. But I am aware that this is her journey too, and it's been a very private one for her. My experience of adoption and hers are completely different. Completely. For me, it's been growing up with this Mum and Dad while knowing there's been an unfilled gap. For her it was an unexpected, unplanned, tip-your-life-upside-down pregnancy, giving birth, handing the baby to someone else to raise and then trying to get back to the life you had before and moving past it all but not ever being able to forget. 100%, completely different. I can't write about me without writing about her, but I hope you'll understand that as I write, her need for discretion and privacy will be my highest priority.

-------

Tuesday, August 14, 2012.
A pretty momentous day, really.

We went out in the morning to take Elliot to kindy, checking the letterbox as I went past it. Junk mail. Ugh. These last two and a half months have given me an intense dislike of the annoyance of junk mail and bills. As we drove to and from kindy, I noticed more than usual the amount of Posties out and getting ready for their delivery runs. Putting a letter in a box, lifting their bike off the back of the car, buckling on a helmet.


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2:55pm. On my way down the driveway to pick Elliot up from kindy, I check the letterbox for the second time that day, as had become my custom. I see a creamy white, hand addressed envelope. My heart skips a beat. In my hands I am now holding a letter addressed to me in my maiden name - the only name I'd given in my own letter, because my married name is much too uncommon to be beginning with. I know it is The One. I know it, even though there's no return address on the back. I couldn't help but let out a little yelp. Maybe it wasn't so little because Rosie asked me what was wrong...

I took a few deep breaths. Here is where my self control amazed me. I knew I had to keep it together while I collected Elliot and I didn't want to lose it completely. I looked at the envelope carefully, soaking it in, then put it on the passenger seat next to me and drove down the road, breathing very deeply to stay calm.

As I turned the corner, I heard a still, small Voice say to me, "See, you could trust Me. I was in control of this." You see, my doubts had been creeping in. I was worrying that I'd tracked down the wrong person, that she hadn't received the letter, that she wouldn't ever write back, wondering who I should contact next, how long to wait. Even though I truly felt I was not putting my letter into a postbox but into God's hands, waiting for the unknown was starting to become soul-destroying. Oh me of little faith. I know how great my God is.

I think I drove the whole way to Elliot's kindy with my hand over my mouth. I was in a little bit of shock really, that there actually is a real person behind the name. I've nearly always known my birth mother's name (BTW, let's call her B. B for birth mother, just for ease's sake), but now she was an actual living person, not just an idea. I managed to get to Elliot and gather up his things without a shake in my voice, which is amazing because I think I was shouting inside my head. We stopped at the bakery because I knew I wanted to be alone when I read the letter, and food usually occupies my children for at least the time it takes them to wolf it down and enjoy the treat. Throw Dora the Explorer in to the equation and I knew I had about 20 minutes of space.

Yeesh. I feel uptight just remembering what is was like to sit down and get ready to read it!


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I think I prayed first. I can't remember. And then I opened it. I had a smile on my face - how long I've waited for this moment! It stayed on my face. Her writing is nearly the same as it was 26 years ago; I recognised it. Immediately I hear a happy, open tone of writing and I feel like I can picture her saying all these words. She said it was lovely, though of course surprising, to receive my letter and photos, she's happy that I had a good childhood, she's respectful of my own family and informative of who knows what about our situation.

There are two specific sentences that still make me smile when I read them: one, in the middle, that says she'd be "delighted" to meet me next time she's in New Zealand. Actually, that one makes me tear up, because that's what I always wanted. It has always been my biggest fear that my birth mother - whoever she was, when I didn't know her - would have no interest in me. How heart-filling-ly (sorry, there really aren't the right words to describe this!) reassuring that she does! The second sentence that makes me smile is right at the end. A sentence expressing thanks at me getting in touch that completely reassures me that she is glad I did. I needed that. I'm happy to know that she's happy for this.

And then, when I finished reading it, I bawled like a baby for about 5 minutes. How surreal was that experience?!

I've read and re-read B's letter I don't know how many times. The next step will be for me to write back and we'll see what sort of relationship develops. I hadn't really asked any questions about B in my own letter, so I have a lot I would still like to know. I think I'll just ask them all and leave it up to her as to how many she answers. It's pretty exciting really. And still so surreal. It's hard to reconcile this concept I have always had of 'Birth Mother' with an actual person I am now interacting with.

I can't wait to meet her.

----------


It's amazing now, how much importance I had heaped upon my dear old letterbox. Now, driving up to it, I get a small momentary thrill of anticipation until I realise that I've already got what I was waiting so desperately for. My letter box is boring now. The poor thing is on it's way to once again being filled to overflowing before I stop and empty it.


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Until the next letter's due, that is...


***

Next post in this series here.

Previous post in this series:
It's Coming...

The start of this story begins here:
On Being Adopted...

18 August 2012

It's coming...



I know you've been waiting to hear about my letter.

I've started to write a new post about it, but it's difficult. I feel a bit pressured to get something out there - and that never makes it easy to write - and I also need to do it justice. I'm not going to apologise because I don't think I need to, but I do hope you can be patient with me a little longer while I nut this out!

Do not fret: I am happy, and it was a good read.

Thanks for all your love this week.

Enjoy the picture of my three beauties instead.

***

Next post in this series here.

Previous post in this series:
A reply!

14 August 2012

A reply...

She replied! SHE REPLIED!

She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied! She replied!

I haven't read it yet. My heart is pounding.

The kids are watching Dora, I'm going to open it now.

I'll be back when I have processed this a little bit. And when my hands have stopped shaking.

***

Find out how it was here.

Previous post in this series:
On Still Waiting...

08 August 2012

Op Shop Scores



A fruitful op-shopping trip yesterday!

I was only going there to buy one thing that I knew this particular shop sold (read on!), but who can enter an op shop without browsing just a little?! I had Rosie and Tristan with me so I couldn't stay long, but long enough to score some bargains!

Rocket refills ($1.50), 2 different fabrics, a woollen knit baby cardigan ($3) and some knitting patterns (3 for 50c).

Isn't this just gorgeous? And look! Brand new!


This fabric is actually a reversible duvet cover in really good condition. I love the print on the one side and the pattern on the other. A win-win situation, I feel. I might even use it as a duvet cover! Maybe... I do like fabric. (I think I have a problem, but that would be a whole other post...)



I chose these knitting patterns because I thought they looked cool. No, I can't knit. But I have friends that can! I intend to offer them to a friend, but if she declines, I'll let you know. I just love the styling of each of these pictures, don't you? Hilarious. Also, I would love to see my kids in these, especially the middle one.



The other thing I got but didn't take a photo of is a big roll of newsprint paper. I'm pretty excited about this. I remember as a kid, laying down full length and getting my sister to trace around me on the big old roll of newsprint and then I'd do the same for her and we'd draw in our faces and colour on clothes and other cool stuff. Hours of fun. Hours. Of. Fun.

Here's to coming up with a whole bunch of kids activities to do with/on newsprint paper! Pinterest, here I come! (Follow me here.)

I'm excited to start using some of my new fabrics (I went to Spotlight too...) to make some boy versions of these capsule covers this week. Right, I'm off to do the dishes and put away washing before my dear Man gets home. Sometimes it's nice to make it look like I have actually achieved something during the day!

Love,
Jess


**I'm taking a break from Wardrobe Wednesday until I feel a little more positive about myself. I'm in a bit of an unhealthy rut right now and would like to make some changes. My WW's will be back when I've made some headway.**

07 August 2012

Pretty Little Dolly

So it was my dear friend's birthday. In February.

I started making her a present way back then, and I finished it on Friday. Yes folks, my sense of timing IS that good.


(Excuse the crazy eyes... Note to self - check where eyes are looking BEFORE taking photo.)

Once again, I remembered to take photos! Not many however, as after taking precisely three blurry ones (in my most-brightly-lit-yet-still-too-dim-to-take-good-photos room, the kitchen), my batteries died.

So, without further ado, I present to you Pretty Little Yet-To-Be-Named Dolly.



She turned out different than I had first thought she would - I think that's always the way it goes when you make little people? I had sewn on felt eyes, but when I went to stuff her (sorry Dolly!) they were in a completely ridiculous place (my fault, not the pattern's!) - her cheeks, hence the slight smudge you can see on the right that I couldn't quite get off.

I especially like her cute pink hair, sparkly earrings and stripy socks.

This little cutey was made from my fabulous Wee Wonderfuls book. I actually adapted the pattern that was for a boy doll and turned it into a girl - wonderful what pink hair and a dress will do isn't it? I'm looking forward to making some more and perfecting my eye placement and cheek blush techniques. There'll be another one coming soon so watch this space!

06 August 2012

Styling My House: The Shelf

In my travels around the World Wide Web, I am being exposed to a lot more design - of the house-y kind. I really enjoy seeing the way other people style their homes, and I'm beginning to get a clearer picture of what I like and what sort of 'looks' appeal to me.

I don't know if I could explain what I am liking with regards to my own style, but it's things like put-together but comfy and cosy nooks, well-placed objects and trinkets, matching mis-match-y-ness, handmade details, eclectic collections and really things and places and areas that are thought out but functional and true to the needs and desires of the home and family.

Pinterest credit
Top LR
Middle, L-R: here, here and here
Bottom LR


With this in mind, I informed my husband that I would be embarking on a who-knows-how-long project to beautify our house. While our home is certainly personalised - we have many photos on the walls, things are arranged how we like them etc etc - I would like to see more of a reflection of who we are (or maybe just who I am, because I make the style decisions?) and the skills that we have in the way our home is put together.

Hence my new blog series:



I have started with one small area - because small goals are achievable, right? - of our lounge. We have a small glass shelf (set of shelves? There's three) that holds our nappies + wipes etc, the kids pyjamas, a stack of flat nappies for mopping up spills and wiping faces/noses/noses on faces plus a few assorted other things.

The top shelf, however, always seems to morph into one of those 'hotspots.' A dumping ground for the odds and ends and flotsam and jetsam of daily life. So, in an effort to avoid this by only having things on the top shelf that I really want on there, I took pointers from things I'd seen around the old WWW and 'styled' that stubborn top shelf.

I forgot to take a 'before' shot, so I'm afraid you'll just have to make do with the 'after' ones this time, sorry. Without further ado, the first beautifying project:



I adore those two photos. Especially the large one - our best family photo. The little one is of Elliot meeting his new baby sister for the first time, back in January 2010. The red tree is (thanks to birthday money) from Bed, Bath and Table - my new favourite shop! I love all the nic-naks and quilts. The white vase was a gift from and old work colleague, many moons ago, and the books were the oldest ones on our shelves!

I still get a little thrill every time I see my little tidy, arranged wee spot - and it's been that way for quite some time now! Woo hoo!


*  *  *  *  *

Next up in my series will be these shelves:


They are one of the first things you see when you enter our house, next to the kitchen (to the right of the photo) and before the lounge (glimpsed to the left of the photo). Our wireless modem sits there out of necessity, so it'll be a challenge to work around.

I'm excited!



02 August 2012

A thoroughly below average morning.


We had a thoroughly below average morning. Well, I say we, but I mean me, because it's my attitude that sets the tone around here.

The kids were eating their breakfast while I was getting dressed. They decided it would be fun to make a lake on the table from the water in their cups. (To be fair, I don't know whether the first spillage was deliberate or an accident, but the second was certainly on purpose!)
I completely lost it. There was shouting.

Writing it down and reading it back makes me see how trivial and ridiculous it really was. Afterwards, I removed myself from the general vicinity of the children, calmed down and went back to apologise for my behaviour and pray with them. Damage done, but maybe a lesson in how to be responsible for the way we act?

I am so thankful for the Grace I have received.



The rest of my day is being made better by experiencing lots of small, wonderful things. A vacant double trolley at the supermarket. A church friend just finished her shopping at the right time and she could wait with the little kids in the trolley while Elliot needed help on the toilet. (He's got great timing, that one!) Milk on special. Sour cream and Whitlock's Tomato Chutney sauce with my lunch. Children laughing together. Running into a precious old work colleague who I've been trying to get in touch with for years. A relatively tidy house. The most comfortable pj pants I have ever worn. Three sleeping children. (I can't decide which one is better out of those last two...)

God's compassions are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) - and sometimes every afternoon too. Great is His faithfulness.



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top image source
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01 August 2012

WW: Floral

I don't really have much floral in my wardrobe. Maybe a few pieces with a small floral pattern, you know the kind? Small, repeated, floral-ish?

I was op-shopping last week - intending to go to a different shop, but parked outside the op shop. It wasn't until I was done that I noticed the shop I wanted to go to was closed down and gone! Oh well, I found a great op shop in the process!



Anyway, I found this great floral skirt! It's lovely bright print drew me in and its elasticated waistband perfected the catch. How could I go wrong?!



I got comments this morning* about how lovely it was to see bright colours on these drab winter days we've been having.

Outfit breakdown
Merino: Warehouse
Black top: Millers
Skirt: Red Cross op shop (originally Sportsgirl)
Leggings: Postie
Boots: Farmers

* We attend a wonderful ladies Bible study on a Wednesday morning, if you were wondering why I always seem to get so many comments on my outfits!

Joining in with
Wardrobe Wednesday at SailorSpy.co.nz
at lovely Nin's place, Sailor Spy

Why don't you join us?