26 April 2013

E: Pre-schooler No More

My biggest boy is now ready to become a fully-fledged school boy. My little dude, my first baby, had his last day at Montessori today.

I didn't think I'd be emotional - he and I are both so ready for school - but I've been fighting off tears since I picked him up at 3pm! The end of an era has come upon us. I can't believe that this kid, who was my only baby such a short time ago, is now almost a school boy. That his pre-school time will, in only one more week, be over. Gone. Never to be repeated. I've always known that these baby-toddler-pre-school days are fleeting, but this seems WAY too fast!

See how much he's grown?! E's first day of kindy (March 2011) and his last (April 2013).

It feels a little like Elliot's leaving the nest already! Anticipating the weeks ahead where we will continue our normal weekly routines, but without Elliot, seems strange. I can't deny that the thought of one less little person at home during the day when this next baby arrives is one that provides me with a little peace, but it is still a strange thought. I feel a bit gutted for him, knowing that he'll be missing out on all those playtimes with his friends and fun playground picnics and all that other stuff we do, even though I know he'll be having a marvellous time with his new school friends and his new teacher, learning and growing and changing.

Life goes on, I suppose. You can't ever get comfortable in one place because our places in life are always changing. In another five short years I'll be getting ready to send our last baby off to school. I can't even tell you how strange it is to contemplate that. I am really feeling the truth of that saying, "The days are long, but the years are short." It's not an easy path, this full-time mothering gig (though it is a great one), but my goodness does it FLY!

Mamas, tell me how you felt when your firstborn finished up kindy and prepared for school. Did you shed a few tears like me?

19 April 2013

It's Good. (+ Face Photos!)

Can I just tell you how good it is to be surrounded by SO MUCH family?! So good.

Being an adopted person has meant that my definition of family has never been defined by genetics. Being part of such a wonderful church community has meant I've been surrounded by so many wonderful people who are nothing less than family to us.

Today has looked like this:

Breakfast with these two beautiful people. Little Brother Tristan spent another night entertained by his 4 cousins at his Aunty Heidi's. (We missed him!)

Elliot went to kindy, and I texted a wonderful friend (I have a lot of those...) who said she'd have Rosie for the morning. Then I turned up and discovered she already had another (of another wonderful friend's) two girls for the morning, and she still said yes! She also gives very good hugs.

Rosie and I then had a lovely lunchtime date while birthday present shopping for her cousins. It was so sweet to see her drinking her chocolate fluffy and listen to her chattering away.

Mum picked Rosie up and she gets to have a sleep over at her Oma's house. Today has been good timing for Rosie - quality time with Mummy and lots more with Oma so she can fill up her love tank. It's been a bit tough for this wee middle child!

While I was out picking Elliot up from kindy, at least two people dropped in. (Murphy's Law, right? Because Hayden was sleeping on the couch.) One with baking from school (gingerbread men! With pebbles!) and the other with tonight's dinner. Not only the most delicious-looking lasagne, but also a loaf of freshly baked bread, herby garlic butter and a container of lovely muffins. Spoiled, or what?!

We are taking each day as it comes. Attempting to keep the noise levels down so Hayden's head stays on his shoulders, going out for trips with the kids when that doesn't work, parcelling the kids out to various friends and family for various times and dates, definitely enjoying Milos with baking to dunk!

Hayden's face is looking a hang of a lot better now. Though the photos don't show quite how disgusting his chin wound looks...
L - Wednesday, Middle - Thursday, R - Today

We are coming to grips with the idea that actually Hayden might not be ready to go back to school after the holidays, but we will know more as we see how he progresses over the next two weeks. Honestly, I will be surprised if he is ready. Silver lining - we had a thought today that if it lasts long enough, we might be able to make a claim on the health insurance we've been paying all this time!

18 April 2013

Silly Head + Good Things

Possibly the most random post title you'll find here...

Sometimes I don't like living inside my head. It can get a bit nasty in there. Today I've been finding myself tending towards a disgusting mix of self pity and frustration at everyone and thing around me. I don't like being yucky on the inside.

So instead, I will choose to see the good things. Because yes, on the surface, it hasn't been such a great week. But there are a lot of things that ARE good about it too.

I've really been enjoying spending heaps of time with Hayden. Even if it's a drowsy, bruised and puffy Hayden, he's still the man I love. Nice quiet quality time is just what we needed. He says it sucks, but that's only because the reason we're having so much time together is because he smacked his head on the road. Hmmm, that's true, but beggars can't be choosers, right? *wink*

I keep getting nice surprises at home - like cleaning up tonight (aside: even after having only 2 bigger children home for half the day and there's still tidying to do? Sigh.), putting away the books and realising that my beautiful friends didn't just do the dishes and put away the crap on my lounge floor while we were at the hospital, they did things like tidy the bookshelf and wash out my crusty Milo jar too.

As well as having a freezer stocked with meals, we've also been given some containers of baking. It is SO NICE to be able to make a Milo in the evening and have a nice biscuit to dip in it. It helps when said biscuit is loaded with choc chips and buttons!

(Image here from Milk and Cookies blog. Check out her other cute illustrations!)

It's been lovely to read all the posts from other NZ bloggers who were at the Bloggers Connecting conference in Christchurch over the weekend just been. It's helped me to remember the absolute high it left me with. There's now a post with a linky for all the round-up posts, so make sure to link yours in if you haven't. Or friends who weren't there (or even aren't bloggers at all) go have a look and see what it was all about. Don't forget to check out Dee's Other Conference. She's so funny. Promise my own post-conference post will be coming soon.

The sunshine today was much appreciated. While I didn't quite get my washing out, I liked that it wouldn't have rained on it if I did... Let's hope we have a repeat of that tomorrow. (The sunshine, that is.) Otherwise I'll be looking for a dryer to borrow before I run out of clean knickers...

It's good to see my big boy is ready to start school. Kindy doesn't hold much challenge for him any more, I suspect. He's not fussed on going, which I think has come about since his school visits the last two weeks where he's been able to see what the school classroom environment is like. It's wonderful to see him growing, developing and learning as he become so much more the boy - there's just about no toddler left in him at all any more. Why must babies grow up? I'm excited to see how he'll take the challenge of school and run with it.

Well, I'm off to clear the table and do the dishes. Maybe as a reward I'll have one of those choc-filled cookies I mentioned...

17 April 2013

Support + Love


Hayden is doing alright. His face looks even worse than it did yesterday - he has an enormous black eye. Well, red really, from the blood under his skin. It will turn black, then green then yellow etc as time progresses. At the moment it's basically one big lump from cheekbone to brow bone, with a laceration or two thrown in for good measure. I concentrate on looking at is good eye when we talk. It's easier that way.

He's very tired and a little bit slow, brain-wise. But considering his prodigious brain speed on a normal day, his slow looks like my really good day, so we can forgive him a few mix-ups. He's been to school a little bit (he's a teacher), needing to get a few assessments and classes sorted. He wouldn't be able to relax without having done this, so although he went against my wishes, he did so with my understanding. He's done for the week now and is resting and sleeping often.

I am managing okay too. I didn't cry at all on Monday, but looking at his face yesterday started me off on a bit of a sob. I am very tired, but am remembering to take my iron and vitamin supplements and have been able to rest a bit with Hayden too. No pre-term labour for me!

I haven't taken any photos of him today - I'll do that later! I think it will be interesting to see the evolution of his face as the bruising comes up then goes away and his gashes heal.

Let me tell you how great we've been supported and loved over the last three days.

 Love and Recovery

Firstly, we see the sovereignty of our God as we contemplate how everything went down. As Hayden's principal prayed with us this morning, we thank God for standing guard over THAT corner as Hayden fell. There were two people who stopped to help him straight away and called the ambulance. A very good friend of ours (and school parent) was driving past as it happened and recognised him, so she was able to notify school straight away, who then called me. If she hadn't been there, the ambulance staff or police would have had to look through his phone to maybe find me (as Hayden doesn't carry his wallet to and from school), and I probably would have gotten police on my doorstep or something which would have caused me a heart attack on the spot. We are immensely thankful too that no cars were involved, as that most likely would have meant many more serious injuries. I'm thankful for our friend being there on the scene as that meant that I knew this straight away too.

We are surrounded by the most amazing family and friends - who are family to us too. As I said yesterday, a friend from close by came over straight away to care for the kids while I went to the hospital, another friend was coming over later so she was able to take over, and later in the day, more friends were in the area and able to pick up our kids and take them to their home until Hayden and I were home again and settled and I could pick them up. Another friend texted to say she'd have hot dinner ready, our minister called and talked to me in the hospital and I'm sure spread the word so that our congregation was praying for Hayden. While we were still at the hospital, one of Hayden's colleagues dropped off his busted bike (thankfully not too busted), filled our freezer with meals and got our washing in out of the rain. I have had more offers of meals and laundry-doing.

Mum took me and the kids out for dinner last night so Hayden had quiet, she's taken the big kids out this afternoon and my Dad will come and pick them up for dinner again tonight. This is really helpful as it means we still get to be together with the kids for different parts of the day, while allowing them out to have space to make noise and be normal kids while Hayden has the space to have the quiet rest and recovery that he needs, particularly for the next few days.

So, while we still recognise that Hayden has a serious brain injury here (and a lumpy face), we are thankful that it is not worse. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people. Love and the community that you find in love is one of our most richest blessings.

I'll keep you updated. (And show you more gruesome photos!)

16 April 2013

So Much For The Post-Conference High...

Late Sunday night I came home from The Most Amazing Weekend at NZ's first blogging conference, Bloggers Connecting. (Or Around The Table, or both.) Wow wow wow, it was so good. Kissed the sleeping babes, snuggled next to the sleeping Hayden. Aaaaaaaah, lovely.

Monday morning. Pyjamas on, toast in the toaster, phone rings.
"Hi Jess. I've got Hayden's bike loaded into my car and the ambulance has just taken him away."
Wait. WHAT?! Back the truck up.

The first phone call hadn't come yet, so the person on the end of the phone (bless him) thought I already knew that Hayden had come off his bike on the way to school, was knocked out and cut up. Cue panic stations.

I called our good friends from around the corner and she came straight over; called another friend who was coming later so she had a head's up that she'd actually be looking after my kids instead of hanging out together; put on some clothes - remember, still in pyjamas?

I am very thankful that I knew right from the start that he hadn't been hit by a car, so it was merely worry and mild panic that I felt, rather than terror. I walked into Emergency at 8:30am to see my poor man dripping with blood, eyes closed and big long legs hanging off the end of the bed in Triage. Thankfully he moved or answered a question or something as I walked towards him so I knew he wasn't still away with the fairies. He looked pretty gruesome.

I had to sit down a few times. It's not fun to watch a doctor and nurse fixing up holes on your husband's face.

After a CT scan and a few x-rays, the diagnoses is no broken bones (wonderful) but a bruise on Hayden's frontal lobe, which mean a pretty bad concussion (much less wonderful). We've been told he needs to take it very easy for the next few weeks and rest a lot. Thankfully it's school holidays next week (he's a secondary school teacher) which makes the logistics of this a bit easier. I'm also thankful that I have Hayden's principal and the rest of the staff on MY side, and they have all told him not to come in this week (apart from the tiny bit of organising he needs to do) and that I am the boss for the week. I'm hoping I can stretch that out to two, because my man doesn't do unwell very well. (Does anyone's?)

In the photo below (sorry it's upside-down, silly phone or something) you can see the carnage that was Hayden's cycling glasses. The scratches are over his eye on the side he landed on. The frames of them are toast - snapped right at the place where he has the big gash over his eye, so we can tell it was caused by these. Not sure if the damage would have been better or worse without them...

So we're all feeling a little jaded today - Hayden much more so than the rest of us! The kids are doing great, though it's been hard for them with me away all weekend and then both Hayden and I away while we were at the hospital. We plan to have a slow week, with lots of together time.

And I plan to blog more about the conference! Once I've got some head-space/time. It really was a truly wonderful weekend, so of course I need to write about it!

12 April 2013

Christchurch, Here I Come!

Well, today I'm catching a plane to Christchurch for NZ's first blogging conference, Around The Table. I'm very, very excited, which just trumps my nervousness.

I think I lot of us are anxious about meshing our online selves with our real life idiosyncracities and quirks. It's tempting to want to say, "If you see me doing or saying this or that strange thing, please forgive me!," as many of us have already admitted to on each other's posts and comments. Tell you what, it's good to know I'm not the only one who's feeling that way. It's nice to be reminded that actually, we're all humans.

I know the organising team have put their hearts, souls, blood, sweat and tears into this weekend and it's going to be a doozy! I'm SO looking forward to hanging out with like-minded people, putting faces to names (or vice versa?) and making online friendships into real life ones.

I have a huge list of things to get done before I leave this afternoon and less than three hours to do it in now! Better get cracking... Ladies who are going, see you soon!

10 April 2013

WW: Image vs. Reality

Here I am, back again! It's been a very long time since I joined the Wardrobe Wednesday party. It's nice to be here again!

(Sorry about how some of the photos are blurry.)

I thought it must be high time that I debut my 4th-time-around 23+ week Baby belly. Hello!

I need to be honest, I stopped joining in with Wardrobe Wednesday because I wasn't enjoying it any more. I liked my clothes, but I was becoming discouraged every time I saw my photos. You see, sometimes (the times I'm not in front of a mirror or camera) I forget that I'm not the thin, beautiful person I used to be. This person here:

Well, maybe it's not so much that I forget what I look like now, and more that in my head I remember what it felt like to be that way, and it's saddening to be reminded of my current size sometimes.

But with the commencement of Growing Baby Number Four, I've decided to throw my self-caution to the winds and embrace where I am right now. Knowing (and hoping and intending) that I won't always look like this. My body is doing what it needs to be doing for my family right now, and all too soon I will begin the long hard slog that will be getting back to where I want to be, size-wise.

So for now, this is me. Thanks to a change in eye-liner and subsequent eczema under my eyes, it's a make-up free me, but I can live with that!

K-Mart shoes (love the cute bows!) and maternity t-shirt, thrifted (Sportsgirl) skirt - one of my favs! - scarf from somewhere in London (birthday present from my sister) and sunglasses from I-can't-remember. Have you heard of that shop? It's very exclusive.

Look! What's that up there? It's NZ's first blogging conference, Around The Table! So close!

05 April 2013

I Love Cousins

A busy day today - we have the kid's 3 cousins coming to stay for the weekend today ( so lovely!), so I'm getting busy doing all those things like cleaning the toilet and putting away the washing so that they don't think I'm too terrible of an Aunty.

I love that our kids all love their cousins so much. Every time we talk about seeing them, the kids are SO excited, and they all just get on so well together. They have 4 cousins here in Hamilton, 3 in Pukekohe and 1 little baby one in Christchurch.

We used to always go on holidays with our cousins when we were growing up. In fact, most of my childhood holiday memories have at least two cousins in them! I love that our parents made the effort to spend as much time as we could together, so that now, as adults, we're all good friends and have a close-knit family. I know I would do whatever I could for one of my cousins - because we're family - and I think they'd do the same for me.

Can you pick which one I am in those three photos? Hint: Look for the curly hair.

Our kids have good relationships with their cousins (although we'd love to see more of Baby Joseph in Chch! If only plane fares weren't so expensive...) and I hope that as they grow, they'll only get stronger.

Yay for cousins!

01 April 2013

A Busy Day

As the title says, today has been a busy day. Hayden and I are both weary and footsore, but in that really good I-got-a-lot-of-work-done way. The firewood logs split and re-stacked for winter, the garage cleared and swept (now we can park our car in there. Fancy that!), the magnolia tree pruned (brutally, poor thing), grocery shopping done, pantry cleaned and re-stocked, laundry done and house vacuumed. Ah, feels good.

When Rosie asked me what was for dinner a few hours ago, she also suggested that we have pikelets. So we did. Elliot and Hayden made the batter and I cooked them in my trusty big electric frying pan. Mmm mmmmmm, yum yum. Good idea Rosie.

These are the good old days.