Two months into this whole three kids thing and it’s easier than I anticipated. I’m grateful Silas is really content and easy. What a blessing that is!
What a wild ride these last few years have been. When Abel was born, it was a huge adjustment! I worked as a nanny for a few years and yeah that’s NOT the same as having your own baby. He was around 9 months when the covid lockdowns started here in NZ, and as an immigrant that was so difficult. Not knowing if/when I could see my family again was hard.
Then I got pregnant with Juniper and pregnancy is pretty hard for me, especially the morning sickness. I also find it so easy to worry about the baby and it’s such a relief when they’re born and it just seems so much easier to know they’re okay. We had lots of stress at the end of Juniper’s pregnancy (it all turned out fine).
Juniper’s first year had some ups and plenty of downs. It was so hard. I often felt on edge and anxious. The lockdowns and mandates were one source of stress. Plus more morning sickness because then I was pregnant with Silas – and had just started my photography business.
With Silas’s pregnancy I was determined not to worry so much and to prepare much better for birth and postpartum. It helped a lot, and his birth was so calm and straightforward. I really feel that has carried on to our daily life even after this birth. With three small children there’s always something going on. One thing I’m learning is that it’s not my job to keep my children happy all the time. That’s impossible. It’s okay if they get upset at times. My job is to love them and teach them and show them their need for Jesus and his great love for them.
How many times have I been irritated because my toddler needed the bathroom when I just sat down to nurse the baby, or I just didn’t want to be interrupted? Here’s a funny story. The kids recently had diarrhoea. It wasn’t too horrible but I found myself rushing to take my toddler to the toilet immediately. Like, drop everything and run. I was so relieved and pleased when we made it to the toilet in time. Funnily enough it changed my attitude towards taking him to the toilet, for the better! I shouldn’t get frustrated at my toddler for needing the toilet.
We are still learning and figuring things out but we are doing really well at the moment. Juniper is beginning to listen better, communicate better, and play with Abel nicely. It is a lot easier and I love seeing their sibling bond. Having little children is intense and hard but ever changing too. Just a year ago Juniper was still a chubby BABY.
Another thing I am learning – parenting is not about making your children behave a certain way. Again, it’s about loving them and teaching them and showing them their need for Jesus and his love for them. I can’t expect my children to be ‘good’ and stop sinning if I parent them well. I can expect them to sin, and teach them that sin is wrong and why we need Jesus. Parenting is such a refining process for me. I am always challenged to wonder why I am teaching my children. For a time I floundered, what is right and wrong, why don’t we do this, what’s the reason for that… I’m so thankful for the Bible. God made us, he loves us, he wants what is best for us, and his Word is full of wisdom and instruction.
I have found some helpful resources that really encouraged me recently. I greatly enjoyed the book Risen Motherhood. It encouraged me that having toddlers doesn’t mean I should have a stagnant spiritual life. It encouraged me that Jesus cares about my every day, mundane challenges. It encouraged me that God can and does work through small ordinary everyday people and happenings. And that ultimately my purpose is to glorify the Lord. Another place I found encouragement was Christine Keys’ blog. This post in particular on How to Be a Calm Momwas so helpful to me. It is full of practical, real, helpful tips to challenged me to do better.
Well life sure has been busy this year. Time flies when you’re having fun right? There’s been lots of craziness too (toddlers, man…) but plenty of fun. Let me address the title of this post first since that’s kind of some big news. We had a baby!
After Juniper was born I told Jared, next time let’s not announce when we’re pregnant. We’ll just be like ‘surprise we had a baby!’ that would be so funny eh? So, we did it. We told a few people but never made an announcement, and yes, it was indeed the fun surprise I had anticipated.
My mom came for a few weeks and I’m so glad! We have really missed all my family these past few years being stuck apart because of travel restrictions. The hardest part was not knowing when we could see each other again. Thankfully New Zealand’s border restrictions eased in time for my mom to come for Silas’ birth! Silas was more considerate than his siblings and only waited three days past his ‘due date’ to be born (Abel was 10 days and Juniper was 8). Thank you Silas! Abel and Juniper adored having grandma around and so did Jared and I. The thing you may not realise about a long distance relationship is that once you and your significant other are together, you still have to do long distance. With your friends and family. It’s just not the same as spending time in person, so we really, really enjoyed having my mom here. She also bought us lots of Lego which we are really enjoying. We had some Duplo already for the kids but Jared and I got our first regular Lego and I think it’s safe to say it will not be our last, either.
Thankfully my pregnancy with Silas was pretty smooth sailing. The usual first trimester morning sickness kicked my butt, but once I got over that I felt pretty good, and everything was pretty normal. Juniper’s pregnancy was STRESSful especially the last month. There were concerns over what turned out to be nothing. I’ll have to write her birth story soon! Anyway, because of that I was determined not to stress no matter what happened. It’s easier said than done, but hey, we did it!
I changed my mind about where to give birth a few times. Initially I was determined to have a home birth, then decided to be in the hospital, and at 39 weeks decided to try staying at home. I’m so glad! The birth went so well and there was no need for us to be in the hospital. The hospital was also extremely busy and understaffed and I’m glad we weren’t there unnecessarily.
We decided to skip finding out the sex of our baby and have another surprise (Abel was a surprise, and we found out with Juniper).
I was trying very hard to be patient knowing that babies come when they’re ready, and it’s easier to distract yourself when you have toddlers keeping you busy. My due date was on Sunday, and although I had some braxton hicks the week before, my uterus had been pretty radio silent for days (baby was still moving fine, but no contractions or cramping or anything to signal labour). Finally on Tuesday I started having some mild contractions and I was excited knowing that whether labour was near or not, that was a good sign. I woke up around midnight with the contractions more painful and went back to sleep. Around 2am they were definite labour contractions, still pretty mild and about ten minutes apart, so I stayed in bed and tried to sleep. At 5am I couldn’t stay still anymore during the contractions, so I went in the lounge to avoid disturbing Jared. By 7am the contractions were irregular and hardly uncomfortable, and continued that way the rest of the day. I called my midwife, Jana, to let her know what was happening, so she could get the portable gas from the hospital (I didn’t end up using it!), as I was pretty certain that we’d be having a baby in the next day or two.
Around 5pm the contracations started getting stronger and consistent again. My midwife texted to ask if I wanted her to stop by on her way home, but since I was still handling the contractions fine I didn’t see any need for it and told her I would be in touch when labour intensified. Around 5:30 I called Jared to let him know that Abel and Juniper should stay at his parents that night. He came home around 6:30 and then took them out to his parents’ house. I spent some time in our bedroom labouring, and got in the shower for a bit (I can’t remember if that was before or after Jared got back). The contractions were getting really intense but in between them I felt completely fine so I found it hard to estimate how far along I might be.
Jared got home around 8 and I started crying and having trouble getting through the contractions. Mom came into the room and she and Jared both helped me through the contractions. Finally I told Jared that we should call the midwife. He asked about the timing of my contractions and I told him I didn’t know but it didn’t matter, he should call her anyways as they were very intense and close together now. Jana arrived around 9pm. Eventually she was able to do a cervical check (it was hard to catch a break between the contractions) and I was 8cm dilated. I was encouraged to hear that, as I suspected I was quite far along. I could tell I was reaching transition as I felt shaky and a little sick. My mom kept reminding me to relax in between the contractions. It was so odd because each contraction was very intense and difficult but in between them I could feel perfectly normal. I reminded myself that the contractions were not going to get stronger at this point, just closer together.
I started feeling a bit pushy but I was concerned because this was where I got stuck with Abel’s labour, and I was afraid to try pushing before I was fully dilated. I told Jana and she encouraged me that the cervix was very thin and stretchy when she felt it, so I was fine to push. She called Maran, her backup, to be there for the delivery. I started pushing just enough to help me get through each contraction. I was wedged between our bed and the wall, and when I started really pushing, I moved to the end of the bed where there was more space. The pushes started feeling different and more productive and I got very quiet just focusing. It was so great to just follow my instincts and push when and how I wanted to. My waters finally broke while I was pushing. As the baby started to crown I thought man this is hard work, and the head is really bony, I’m sure Juniper’s wasn’t this bony (it probably wasn’t because my water broke earlier with her labour and her head had more moulding). It was very hard work but I was encouraged knowing that it was nearly over, and I was doing it. Once his head was born, then I pushed his body out, and he was wrapped up in his cord which scared Jared for a moment as his neck looked to be at an odd angle. Once he was untangled and I grabbed him, I could see he was a boy! The name we chose for him is Silas Charles.
After Silas was born, Jana and Maran helped me onto the bed and I cuddled Silas as we waited for the placenta to be born. He took a while to figure out how to latch on and breastfeed. After the placenta was born and the midwives took care of me, I was able to shower and dress and get back in bed. I was so looking forward to a home birth so we could just relax in our own bed after the birth, but we didn’t really sleep at all. There was a bit of meconium in the amniotic fluid so we were instructed to keep an eye on Silas’ breathing and temperature. Well, I was exhausted, but was trying to watch his breathing and ensure he was doing fine, so I hardly slept. Thankfully Jared’s parents kept Abel and Juniper for a few days so we did get some good rest in the following days!
It was so amazing to have a home birth and to have such a straightforward and good birth experience! Abel’s birth was pretty darn traumatic, Juniper’s was ok but not a great experience, and Silas’ was really beautiful, AND the shortest at just 5 1/2 hours of active labour plus the labour earlier that morning. It was the labour to be jealous of. You know when you hear someone had a great, short, labour and think wow that’s great but so not fair… well I finally got that labour.
We have been busy as usual lately. Not necessarily out of the house every day, but busy raising toddlers. Juniper has been walking since January and is really keeping me on my toes. She loves to climb as well and yesterday climbed onto the back of a recliner chair that we have, which would not have ended well.
It is really interesting to see the different personalities that our kids have! Abel was a bit fussy as a baby (I was expecting it to be much harder so he seemed easy, for a newborn) but has been a pretty chill toddler and is rather cautious. Juniper was the easiest baby (still a baby, still hard work, but very relaxed and happy!). She didn’t sleep through the night as soon as Abel did, though, and I did look forward to her being a toddler so she would be a little less demanding. Joke’s on me! Juniper is a very high-maintenance toddler, the stage of always getting into everything and always eating everything seems to be lasting a very long time. She is a real go-getter and feisty. She really lives up to that red hair she’s got.
Abel will be three next month, and it is just so fun watching him grow and learn. He is talking so much lately and I’ve been writing down some of the funny and sweet things he says. He is very thoughtful and encouraging. Often if I am sitting down on the couch he will run to get me a blanket and say, ‘I get you a blanket mummy, here you go, it’s yours!’ His common hilarious phrases are ‘what’s going on here?’ ‘you’re doing great!’ ‘I love you all the most’ ‘oh my goosint!’ (goodness).
Juniper, living life on the edge, literally.
When we initially bought this house, we planned to put up some gates at the edges of the yards, as one of our first projects. Eventually though, I decided it wasn’t that necessary and we decided not to. Now I’m chasing Juniper all over every time we go outside. This week actually, she has been a lot better about staying where she is supposed to, so she is learning!
I planted a garden here and was so excited to grow butternut pumpkins. We got a few tiny pumpkins begin to grow and then fall off and die. I was very disappointed but it’s hard to maintain a garden at the moment. As I mentioned before, I have to chase after Juniper and it’s very hard to get things done when you have to drop everything every few minutes. So I accepted that we probably won’t have a garden for now, and it’s fine. I pulled up the old plants, and Abel has been really enjoying playing in the dirt with this truck that his cousin gave him, so for now I’m just leaving it.
We found these scooters that the kids are eating in this picture, on Facebook Marketplace for free. They’re a little old but work just great and the kids love them!
In January we went to visit Jared’s brother and his family in Rotorua. We hadn’t travelled far since Juniper was born, and she did not enjoy the drive back, but we really enjoyed seeing them and getting out of Northland again! It’s about a six-hour drive, so we don’t go regularly, but ever since, Abel has been asking to go to Uncle Brad’s house at least once a week.
At the beginning of this year I made a goal to read 20 books. I really enjoy reading and I have been making an effort this year to do it more. I’ve been keeping track of them in my Little Red House planner, which I love and use every day! I can’t wait to order next year’s planner. My favourite genres are fiction (I know that’s super broad haha) and memoirs. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, and The Sound of Gravel were both very good memoirs, about heavy topics. I also enjoyed Peggy Vincent’s Midwife memoirs, and for once was fascinated by a non-fiction book, Fast Food Nation. The last book I finished was Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo and I loved it!
I am still doing my photography here and there, and helping my friend with Crate a Celebration more regularly. It’s a good balance of a little bit of work but not so much that I can’t function as a stay-at-home mom, too, which is getting busier as the kids get a bit older. We’re sort of going through two nap transitions at the moment, too. Juniper sometimes has one nap instead of two, and Abel sometimes skips his nap altogether, but neither are fully ready to make the change.
Juniper’s hair has grown a lot this year and the back is long enough for the cutest little pigtails! However, as soon as she realises they’re in, she pulls them out. She had several weeks where she would actually leave a headband in her hair but now she is back to ripping them off (and then trying to put them back on, herself).
We’re having fun with these crazy little kids! We love going to the library too, and were taking a walk almost every day before we got sick in April and completely lost our routine, and apparently haven’t added that part back. There is a library close to our house but we haven’t been able to visit the main branch in town for several months, so when we went there a few weeks ago, the kids really loved it! Juniper especially loved the fish tank and I enjoyed having more books to choose from. The kids sections in the small branch libraries are much smaller. Abel has been enjoying the Magic Tree House books (I read them aloud to him) and Hairy Maclary, Danny and the Dinosaur, and Clifford, among others. Juniper likes walking around chewing on the corners of the books, so we try to keep the ones that aren’t board books out of her reach. And always keep the clear tape on hand because… toddlers.
Yes, it happened. Somehow my baby turned one! We celebrated with a fun jungle safari birthday party. Growing up my mom was the best at making themed parties and we had so much fun coming up with ideas for decor and food and costumes. It’s been fun to do a bit of that myself lately!
Jungle Safari Themed Decorations
In December my friend Mia asked for my help with her party decor business, Crate a Celebration. She comes up with the designs and prints them and I assemble and coordinate pickup. It’s really fun getting to be a bit creative and also to help her out so she can continue using her creative talents even while she’s also working full time. She designed the cake topper, favour boxes, and banner for Juniper’s party and they turned out amazing!
I have been wanting to do a jungle safari birthday party for so long and Juniper’s birthday was the perfect opportunity. She really is a wild one, and she’s young enough to not care what her party theme is, whereas Abel’s last birthday was car-themed because he is obsessed with cars.
After the party I hung the ‘Juniper’ part of the banner in her bedroom. You can buy cheap jungle/safari party decor online but is it this cute, durable, trendy, fashionable, and customisable? Sure isn’t 😉
I also purchased a variety of balloons to make a balloon arch. It’s pretty easy but I also hated making it. I blow up the balloons, use a tapestry needle and yarn to tie them in bunches of four, and then connect all the bunches with yarn and move them around until it looks right. It’s hard getting them all to face the right way so that you don’t see the tied ends though, and my one zebra balloon ended up on the back side so you couldn’t see it. The gold balloons are from Spotlight and the others from a variety of places.
Juniper doesn’t look impressed because she just woke up from a nap!
I grabbed whatever I had around the house that would fit in with the theme as well, to use as decor. Some wooden animals, Juniper’s giraffe teether, wooden beads, etc. It’s a fun way to add more variety to your decor without spending a ton on things you’ll throw away later.
I don’t usually do favour boxes, we’re kinda chill about parties and I hate little junk that will just be thrown away, so we filled these ones with some themed lollies which was really fun! Bananas, snakes, and crocodiles were perfect!
Food For a Jungle Safari Birthday Party
Of course one of the most fun parts is the food! Pinterest is a great place to look for ideas for themed food but it is very easy to customise desserts and sweets, and can be difficult to find fun ideas for healthier snacks. I know birthday parties don’t come often and I don’t mind if my kids eat lots of lollies a few times a year, but it’s nice to have something more filling and nutritious as well because I’m an adult now and know that just eating sugar doesn’t make you feel very good. Sparkling water and juice are a good alternative to soda too!
Food table: Watering Hole
Carrots and hummus: Lion
Chickpeas: Snake Eggs
Cheese and crackers board: Snakes
Sausage Rolls: Snakes
Chips: Beetle Wings
Veggie straws: Grubs
Sliced apples: Crocodile Teeth
Drinks: Jungle Juice
Easy Personalised Decor Using Canva
I used the website Canva to create the labels for the food and this fun poster with photos from Juniper’s first year. After the party I put this poster on Juniper’s closet door and she loves looking at it! I tried turning my designs into templates to share but that’s not possible with a free account so I can’t. However the website is really user-friendly and if you know your way around a computer I think it’s pretty simple to figure out.
A few ideas for diposables – get all white which is cheap and goes with anything, get solid colours that match the colours used in your theme, patterns that coordinate, or themed patterns. I found these party animal cups at Kmart, and the leaf plates and napkins were on sale at Countdown so I grabbed those! The leaves on the table were also from Kmart for cheap so I just used those for decor.
I came up with some fun personalised games for us to play! For the first game, I wrote some trivia questions about Juniper. I couldn’t think of many to be honest, but included questions like what was her due date, what’s her birthday, was she early/on time/late, how far apart are Abel and Juniper, etc. For the second game I found some baby photos and everyone had to guess who was in each photo. I included myself, Jared, Abel, Juniper, and just to confuse everyone, my nephew Monty. Everyone enjoyed the games!
Abel was so excited because of course I started prepping things the week of her party and it was very hard for him to be patient about the balloons, decor, and cake. He may have eaten the chips, lollies, and frosting and left everything else on his plate, but again, birthday don’t come very often and I wasn’t going to spend the party making sure Abel ate a balanced meal. 😉
I really have been MIA lately, but I always say that don’t I? We had a really wonderful Christmastime. My sister and her family came to visit and the boys had so much fun playing together. They flew up to see us, and after we met them at the airport, Jared and I decided to go for a drive to see the Christmas lights. We found a few houses but then hit the jackpot when we drove through a new development not far from where we live. There were heaps of houses with just over-the-top Christmas lights and it was gorgeous. Abel was SO excited. It is so fun experiencing Christmas with a 2.5 year old! He screamed with excitement every time he saw the ‘pricmas ights’ and ‘pricmas tree’s.
We visited several beaches as well, and went for a few walks. Jared gets a few weeks off work during the Christmas holidays and this year has just been great. He goes back on Monday, but we have really enjoyed the extra time as a family, relaxing and enjoying the beaches as well as getting a few things done around the house.
We moved into this house last March when Juniper was just a few weeks old. Do all you can to avoid moving with a newborn, people. It was very hard. Not just her being a newborn so much, but more so my own recovery. Lifting heavy boxes when you just pushed a baby out of you probably ain’t a good idea. Do not recommend. I asked for help as much as possible and tried not to overdo it but it was still a bit much! I planned to organise our sheds once we got a few nice days without rain in the spring (September/October).
I did not. We finally got to it during the holidays and it feels so good to have it done. We did a dump run (kind of hurts seeing stuff just be chucked in a landfill doesn’t it!). Jared got some shelving from Bunnnings and we put it together (actually took all day, did not expect that haha). It’s so good to have all our stuff easily accessible and we know what we have and where.
I’m working in the garden lately, it’s doing okay. I harvested all of our kale to make room for the squash to spread out. I washed it, chopped it, and put it in the freezer for adding to smoothies, or whatever. I weeded all around the tomatoes, squash, and random potatoes that volunteered from the compost, and then I used some seaweed fertiliser. I’ve also been watering the garden with a sprinkler that we bought for the kids to play in (they love it!). Hopefully we’ll see some actual fruit soon! I’m not sure what kinds of squash I have because Abel helped and so I think we have a few pumpkins, one or two cucumbers, and some courgettes. We’ll find out, anyways!
The garden in front of our house is also doing alright. We have a few strawberry plants that have been consistently growing and giving us several strawberries a week which is great! I also have mint, flowers, some lettuce I should probably pick soon, and a whole bunch of cauliflower and broccoflower. There were no heads on the plants a week ago but when I looked again earlier this week there were! I was pleasantly surprised because it seemed they popped out of nowhere. I found a TON of stinkbugs on all the plants, and read that they are hard to get rid of. Not to be deterred, I filled a bucket with soapy water, grabbed a garden glove, and picked off all the stinkbugs I could find and chucked them in the bucket.
We’ve really been enjoying time outside this summer, it just gets a bit hard in the mornings/early afternoon when there’s not much shade in the yard. I bought Juniper a new sun hat last month thinking 6-12 months would fit her great, until I realised she was already 10 months, and yeah, it’s too small already. Whoops!
I have some serious tips though, spoken as a seasoned mom of a 2-year-old and almost-1-year-old (can you believe it?! February!)
Tips for a more relaxing summer with kids
1. Buy sun hats early
When Abel was a baby, he outgrew his sunhat in the middle of summer and needed a larger one. There were heaps at the beginning of summer so I wasn’t concerned, but when I went to find one, the stores were mostly out, or just had the more expensive ones. I thought I learned my lesson this year by grabbing Juniper one in December that would last her ages, until, like I said above, I realised she was already on the bigger end of that size. So, don’t just recall what size your last baby was in the middle of summer, try and remember how old your current baby IS. When sun hats are abundant and cheap, buy the next size up in case they outgrow their current size while you still need sun hats daily! Bonus points if they’re gender neutral so can be hand-me-downs for the next child.
2. Accept that your baby will eat sand by the handful
I like to think I’m a pretty chill mom, most of the time. I do not like to watch my baby eat dirt, grass, sand, but it happens. One of our first times at the beach with Juniper she was eating literal handfuls of sand, just shoveling it in there. Here we are, sitting at the beach, trying to have a good time, surrounded by sand on every side, it’s sand everywhere, there is no way I’m keeping Juniper out of the sand. So I decided instead of stressing and trying to keep her from eating it the whole time, I might as well just enjoy myself. Abel had eaten sand before and he was okay. So Juniper sat there, happily munching away on sand, and the next day had a nappy that was basically entirely full of sand, and otherwise, she was perfectly happy and didn’t seem to have any issues.
3. Garden sprinkler vs pool
We have a small wading pool I got last year for Abel. He loves it, especially when it’s full of bubble bath, but Juniper also loves the water and is in the stage where she loves it so much she’s very high maintenance because you’re trying to keep her safe the whole time. Good solution? A garden sprinkler! For one thing, I can water my garden with it as well. Secondly, it’s amazing for kids water play without having to be within a foot of Juniper because I don’t have to worry about her drowning. Makes outside time a bitttt more relaxing (read: 100x more relaxing) than when we use the pool. (bonus: no moving parts for the kids to break on this one)
4. Drink bottles and snacks
When Abel was a baby I spent a long time trying to find just the right drink bottle. I finally settled on a favourite(linked here) and I want to share it because it really is the best. It’s about $13 depending where you buy it (Countdown, Warehouse, etc.). It has a soft straw so shouldn’t mess with their teeth, the straw can be closed to be a bit hygienic (if that’s possible with babies/toddlers lol), it’s pretty easy to take apart and put back together, every part is washable (just don’t let the small straw part go down the drain) and doesn’t leak. Snacks are just really handy when you have kids in case you stay out longer than intended or need a distraction. I don’t have specific recommendations, just bring food when you go places. 😉
5. Change of clothes and nappies
Now this should be obvious right? Well. For one thing, if you go to the beach I definitely recommend bringing dry clothes so the babies don’t have to be cold on the drive home! Me, I find it easier to just wear my togs on the drive home so I can have a shower and change when I get home. For general out-and-about, it’s good to have a change of clothes and nappies for the kids as well though. I know this should be a nappy bag staple. But hear me out. Abel is potty trained now. He is doing so great, but he has accidents if he’s in his carseat without a nappy on. Like the other day when I forgot to put one on him and he peed like three minutes into the drive (really??). We were walking around some stores so just made him deal with it, hoping his shorts would dry out. They did not, I think they got more wet, and while I had an extra nappy and undies in my bag, I didn’t have shorts or pants for him, and he’s too old to not wear them now. We were going to visit the playground but didn’t want him climbing on play equipment while soaked, so went home and ended up going later in the day. This also happened once at church when I forgot to tell the creche workers he was wearing undies. Just bring a change of clothes for all your kids, all the time.
I know we’re already halfway through the season but hopefully these tips will help you to have a more enjoyable summer with kids!
PS I mentioned a while ago that I had decided to make my Instagram private for close family/friends only, and while I did and enjoyed that, I am feeling confident again to make it public, so feel free to follow me there @tillyvirtue.
Bloobs… wanna take a wild guess? Blueberries, that’s right. Abel loves berries!
Besides eating ‘bloobs’ we’ve been playing outside more lately. It is spring now and some days are really warm. I’m planting a veggie garden this year so we’ve been outside preparing that. We have lettuce planted, and I’ve started some cucumber, courgette/zucchini, tomato, capsicum/pepper, chives, spring onion, and strawberries. They’re inside and I’ll put them in the ground when they’ve grown a bit bigger. The capsicum isn’t really growing but I’ve heard they are hard to grow so I’m not too surprised. We’ll see if any of the seeds germinate. I also have some squash seeds I saved but I think I will plant those later in the season, and focus on the cucumbers and courgettes for now.
Abel loves helping dig in the dirt and he loves having a bath afterwards to get all clean.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the beach, and it was so nice. The wind was a bit chilly and it was overcast but it was so nice to get out and enjoy it. I took some fun photos as well which I’ll share later! We visited the same beach last September so I have some cute comparison photos to share. Ok I’ll just do a sneak peak now. So cute…
It’s hard to believe there’s only a year between these photos!
Hello! We spent a few weeks in lockdown here in NZ and are now in a less strict lockdown (minus poor Auckland who are still in level 4). We decided to lockdown with Jared’s parents so it was easier for him to work from home (they’re his bosses). Abel LOVED being at Nanny and Poppa’s house! Since we came back home he’s been asking to go to their house daily, and asking for Sky (he doesn’t ask for their other dog, who growls at him 🤣)
We got to return to church on Sunday and Abel was so excited to be in the crèche (nursery) again. He has been talking about it since, and asking for his friends by name. So sweet!
I got in on some lockdown baking, but let’s be honest I’m baking all the time anyways.
I’m pretty sure all the little kids I know grew a few inches during the last several weeks! Abel is getting so big and he’s learning shapes and singing along to songs. I got him a step stool today and he loved helping in the kitchen.
He also got this new shirt today and he was soooo excited!
Juniper has three teeth now and has been working on another one for probably six weeks now. She will get on her hands and knees and can move around a lot considering she can’t crawl or move herself forward. Her appetite for food has picked up the last few days and she loves to eat!
Juniper is now six months old, and she’s made some big progress lately! She is in her own room now and the last few nights has only woken up twice (she woke up five times the night before that!). She started eating solids and is loving it, and she can move around quite a bit for a baby who can only roll. She can do a little high-pitched scream and likes to yell. She loves Abel and I just adore their sibling relationship!
Abel’s also been learning lots! He’s been in a ‘big boy bed’ for a few months now and after a few stops and starts with potty training, he has finally got it figured out. It’s such a relief. The day it ‘clicked’ he had a few accidents first thing in the morning and I kind of cried and almost put a nappy on him. But I decided to persevere and he did really well! He hasn’t had any accidents for a few days now.
He is also talking a lot now! He can repeat most words pretty spot on, and can easily put two words together now. I love this age where toddlers are learning to talk and their parents or people who are around them a lot can usually understand them but who else would know that ‘maaaak’ means ‘banana’ or ‘scheeeek’ means ‘sing’.
I really enjoy my new photography business and have done a few photo sessions recently – I need to do a post sharing them soon!
We’re now in a level 4 lockdown here in NZ, and to be honest, as a stay at home mom, that doesn’t change much for me. Except one big thing – I couldn’t order my groceries online because the spots were all filled. I couldn’t take the children grocery shopping because it’s recommended not to. So Jared stayed home with the children while I went and bought groceries by myself. It was kind of luxurious. It didn’t even feel like level 4. There were no lines to get into the store, it really wasn’t busy, and there was only one person in the checkout in front of me.
Juniper has the sweetest smile but she can also be pretty serious when she wants to!
By the way, someone asked if there’s a subscribe button on my blog and I don’t think there currently is but I plan to figure out how to add it.
I’m making an effort to be spending time outdoors lately and it’s so nice! Since we moved to this house, we’ve been busy with a newborn and it’s winter so there’s been lots of cold rainy days. Recently it’s been warmer during the days and I’m taking advantage of it!
Don’t worry, it’s really not too cold, I was barefoot as well. I’m doing some gardening, mainly just weeding and preparing a garden bed so I can plant in a month or two. I had this bright idea to turn the edge of the yard into a garden, where the grass wasn’t growing due to the fence leaning wonky (one more problem to fix, haha). Then I realised that if the grass wasn’t growing, my plants probably won’t grow either. Huh. Bright one, right? Anyways, I guess we’ll find out.
There’s another area near our driveway that gets lots of sunlight and I just took out a ton of weeds so hopefully I can grow something there! I love growing a garden, and it’s been a while since I had a successful one. Gardening isn’t my strong point but I really love it, so I’m trying to learn!
I’m planning to grow tomatoes, squash, courgette/zucchini, and cucumbers.
These wild ducks live right behind our house, and they wander around every property except ours, which isn’t accessible to them. I’m kind of sad to miss out on the ducks, but at the same time, walking in duck poo isn’t very nice, and they might eat the garden? Some day I want to get chickens!
The house where we used to live had a large variety of plants and there was always something blooming! Our current house is not like that but we have a few and like I said before, I’m excited to plant a garden. I currently have a few things growing in our window sill, which I’ll plant outside once it’s warmer and hopefully they’ll be established enough not to die…
Being a toddler is hard, right? And getting molars is especially hard.
I was just looking back at these photos of Abel… less than a year ago and he is already SO much bigger!
I noticed a bit of an issue with the sidebar of my blog so if you notice wonky text, I did too, but I can’t figure out how to fix it, so just bear with me.
I am starting a Northland based product photography business, called Salt & Light Photography. You may notice my website looks a little bit different now, and the home page will now give you the option to go to my blog or to my photography page. Don’t worry it’s still me and I’m still blogging just as sporadically!
Salt & Light Photography was actually my friend Mia‘s idea, and we spent some time creating these photos together as we brainstormed. We’re currently working on a few collaborations with some local New Zealand businesses so we can build our portfolio. I’ve been sick this past week so I haven’t made much progress but as we recover I am so excited to get to work on this, and share the photos with you once we’re finished!
I have thought long and hard about my goals as a wife, mum, and individual, and I’m really passionate about staying home with my babies and also using my skills and working toward short-term, tangible goals. If you’re interested in our photography or just want to follow along, I have an Instagram page,salt.and.light.nz where we’ll be sharing photos! It’s also a great way to learn about kiwi small businesses as that’s who we’ll be working with.