Cuddles with Juniper

Cuddles with Juniper. The other day I was feeding Abel lunch and reading to him while Juniper played on the floor. She loves to kick her legs and move around, and, apparently, cuddle in her blanket!

She’s also cut her first tooth!

She just turned four months last week and I’ve suspected she was teething for a while now, and I finally felt a sharp edge while she was gnawing on my fingers. She already has teeth, and I feel like she was just born. Soon she’ll be started solids and wasn’t Abel at that stage just a month ago? If you think time goes fast normally, having a baby speeds it up mega. I’m not planning to start solids with Juniper until I have to, and I did the same with Abel. By five or six months though, he was very keen for food and would watch, open his mouth, and grab for food anytime we ate.

When it comes to most things I’m very much ‘go with the flow’. Our Plunket nurse asked me what my goals were for Juniper and I was like… my what? I thought she was asking if I wanted her to be a Dr, or get a 4.0 GPA or something. No, she just meant like in day-to-day baby life. I said, ‘oh, well, I plan to keep her happy and healthy and go with the flow…’. For us, routines work better than schedules. I couldn’t tell you how many naps she typically takes or how many feedings she has, because I don’t really think about it. We have a good routine but I don’t track those things. As for night wakings, I honestly can’t remember most of the time but it’s still a lot, I can tell you that.

I might be a little biased,

but I think she’s just the cutest baby ever. I’m still surprised at her baldness though. Why was my baby boy born with a head full of hair but my baby girl is still bald at 4 months? Don’t worry, I love them just the same. 😉 PS if you want to see a fun comparison, here’s Abel at the same age!

Snacktime With Abel

Snacktime with Abel!

Abel is talking so much lately, adding new words and communicating better all the time. Have you ever talked to a toddler and have no clue what they’re saying but their parents can translate easily? Yes, we are there!

You might have noticed the lack of pants, because we are potty training! Abel is doing really well and although the first day I regretted it every second, we’re now on day three and it’s better.

If you have children you won’t be surprised to hear that I can’t stop staring at every one of these photos and admiring my little boy. It’s such a privilege to be his mum, and it is amazing watching him turn from a baby to a toddler. Now he’s running around, talking, potty training, and just acting much too old. He adores cuddling, and usually when I’m cooking dinner he likes to come hug my legs the whole time which slows me down a little. But it’s the sweetest thing and I love the snuggles!

Lately we have been reading the Little House series aloud. We finished ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ and are now reading ‘Little House on the Prairie’. We are both enjoying it a lot! Abel just turned two but he understands a lot.

I was going to read him another chapter but he grabbed the book from me and wanted to look at it himself, so I just started taking photos of him instead. I’m really looking forward to printing some photos! At the end of every year I make a photo book. I just love it because it’s so nice to have the physical images to look at, and a highlight of memories and moments. Sometimes it feels like we don’t do much exciting but I love taking photos of the little moments like this because they’re just as special. Don’t forget to take photos of everyday life, especially when you’ve got littles who grow so fast.

Car Themed Birthday Party

Last week Abel turned two and we had a car themed birthday party for him!

I racked my brain for a long time trying to decide what theme to have his party, and then all of a sudden I realised it was extremely obvious because he is obsessed with cars. Why I didn’t think of that sooner I’m not sure, but I really think my brain is working at half capacity lately.

Anyway, once I decided on the theme I started searching Pinterest for ideas. My mom is the expert at themed parties so I grew up with them. It was really fun to brainstorm and put together this car themed birthday party!

My friend Mia at Crate a Celebration made the banner and the cake topper. How cute are they?! If you’re in NZ and need party decor, check her out.

I baked a cake and frosted it to look like grass. I printed off a number 2, laid baking paper over it, and traced it with melted chocolate and it turned out amazing! Then I piped the road lines with white frosting. I found a finish line flag online and printed, cut it out, and taped it to two toothpicks.

I made a balloon garland with red, black, and white balloons, and I hung up the car drawings that usually go in Abel’s room. Then I decorated the table with his toy cars, and hung three of the worst streamers I have ever seen, I have no clue why they didn’t twist beautifully. But, he is two. He really didn’t notice that the streamers were twisted funny.

We had some themed food: ‘nuts and bolts’ nut mix, ‘spare tires’ Oreos, ‘racecars’ made from Tim Tams with M&M wheels stuck on with melted chocolate, ‘dip sticks’ sliced carrot and celery with dressing. I also planned to make ‘traffic lights’ by putting kiwifruit, apple, and pineapple on a skewer but the kiwifruit I bought were (and still are, actually) rock hard so I abandoned that idea. We also had ‘petrol’ drinks, and I wrote ‘Fueling Station’ on the chalkboard.

Look at the details on the decorations! I love the letter L has a sign in the background that says ‘Abel Second Birthday’ which is so fun and unique!

Abel was so sweetly looking at the food before the party started and I told him he had to wait. Once he was allowed to eat the food, though, he ate a LOT of biscuits. I don’t know how many, but, you only have a birthday once a year, so I didn’t mind.

I have to admit that the sugar cookies and the cake didn’t turn out as good as I had hoped. But I enjoyed making them, they added to the fun theme of the party, I wasn’t entering them in a beauty contest, and my child was turning two so really didn’t notice that they weren’t perfect. I can be a perfectionist but I’m realising that’s prideful. Fear of failure shouldn’t stop me from making an effort, especially when it’s about something like making my son feel special.

Can you believe how much he has grown in the last year? Here are some photos from his last birthday!

Birthdays and Books

Hi there! Life has been busy lately but I need to stop making excuses and just blog.

Juniper is three months old now and she’s doing great, usually just waking twice a night (“just” hahaaaa). Abel is almost two years old! His birthday is mid-June and we’re looking forward to celebrating him with a car-themed party because he is obsessed. Here’s a link to my blog post with his first birthday photos. Crazy how much he has changed!

I think I mentioned before, but on Juniper’s birth day we found out that our attempt to purchase our first home was successful! We moved when she was 3 1/2 weeks old (don’t do that. Give yourself more time to recover from childbirth before trying to move house). We are really enjoying a bigger home (three bedrooms instead of two, and an open plan lounge/dining/kitchen area) and have already made a few improvements including replacing the roof and the hot water system.

There is a lot on our wish list of house projects but of course we have to take it one thing at a time and as we can afford it. We are so blessed with this house, and house prices are just continuing to go up here in Whangarei and there’s nothing left on the market that’s near the price we got this house for just a few months ago. We are very thankful that it all worked out and we got into our first home.

I have been working here and there on some personal projects, and am keen to start my photography business for real. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the technical requirements and paperwork side of things sometimes, which is why I haven’t officially done it yet. But I think I am getting close to the point of doing so! I had a few photo sessions last year which I really enjoyed, especially this one with my good friend Anna. She was my first friend when I moved to New Zealand when I originally came to visit my sister Adalia for ‘just six months’.

Lately I’ve been making an effort to read more. I devoured book after book as a child and teen but when I started college I didn’t make time for that as much and got out of the habit. Some of my favourite books I’ve read are Misery by Stephen King, and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Amazing writing, scary but not too much (I’m a total scaredy cat. I got halfway through ‘the Dome’ and ‘It’ by Stephen King and had to quit). Rebecca was absolutely stunning. I can’t tell you anything for fear of ruining it but trust me you should read it. To me, it was similar to both Jane Austen and Stephen King. Yes, I know. Two completely different authors and writing styles.

As a child/teenager I loved writing but it’s been a long time since I wrote anything. I’ve been doing a little recently for fun. I decided I didn’t need a whole book outline or good plot to start writing. I just started with what was in my head and wrote a page or two and I loved it. So here’s your encouragement that you don’t need to have a plan or be an expert to just start. You have to begin somewhere, right?

My other favourite books are the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Surely you’ve heard of them. I read the trilogy as a teen and obsessed a little, and watched all the movies. As time goes on this is a book series that I have just enjoyed more and more. Collins’ writing is so good and Katniss is such a relatable character and every time I read the books I feel like I learn new things about the characters or truths hidden in the story. I bought ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes‘ last year when it came out. This book takes place when President Snow was a boy. I was sorely disappointed. It was awful. I gave it a few months and read it again and I LOVED it. Sometime I’ll try to do a review of it here! I have lots of thoughts about it.

Well my baby is waking up so I better go get her up. Enjoy these photos of my beautiful babies!

Easter Family Time

Well, our little Juniper is seven weeks old now. It’s hard to believe! I feel like the older I get, the faster time goes. The end of my pregnancy was so stressful and then we bought a house and moved in, and as it turns out, life with two kids is a lot busier than life with one kid.

We are really enjoying our new house, especially the dishwasher – it really makes a difference! I spend way less time doing the dishes and I love it.

We’ve been in our house almost a month now and are settling into a good routine.

Lately we’ve been going on walks with our friends and it’s been lots of fun! Good exercise and Abel loves playing at the park that’s off the path. He is so friendly and outgoing, you have to keep a close eye on him so he doesn’t wander off chasing a bird or following a new friend.

We’ve been getting lots of sweet smiles from Juniper! We enjoyed having lots of family time over Easter weekend, and getting a few things done on the house.

Abel adores Juniper and every time I lie her down to take a photo, he runs over and lies next to her. It’s so sweet!

I printed these photos for our wall and I love them! I bought cheap A4 frames from the Warehouse and printed the photos from the Warehouse Stationary. The photos of Jared and Abel at Pataua North last year are some of my favourites!

We are doing pretty well, some weeks are better than others but I’ve been feeling really good lately. Daylight savings threw me for a loop when Juniper went from waking up at 7:30 to waking up at 6:30 but honestly, it’s better for me to be up before 7 anyways and I’m used to it now!


Introducing Juniper Eve!

Born 2 1/2 weeks ago, she was 7lb 15oz and 20.5 inches. Her labour was pretty straightforward, but I mean it’s still labour right?! If you know you know.

She and I are both doing great! I’m so glad I was able to have a vbac instead of a repeat cesarean and I’m feeling way better than I did after Abel’s birth. Juniper is eating and sleeping well and a very content baby.

Abel loves his baby sister and has quickly warmed up to her. He’s quick to notice anytime she cries.

The day after Juniper was born we received confirmation that our attempt to buy a house was successful! The new house is about ten minutes from where we’re currently renting and we move this weekend. I’m so excited to get our house set up!

Freezer Meals

As we approach our little one’s due date, I’ve been making lots of freezer meals. I found it so helpful to have these when my son was born. We had about thirty dinners in the freezer and they were a lifesaver when my husband was doing everything those first few weeks, and as I slowly started getting back to normal household duties.

I have lots of cooking and baking in the freezer but apparently I didn’t save all the recipes. I’ll link the ones I did save, and for the others, there are heaps of recipes on Pinterest that look amazing!

Freezer Meals: Baking

With sweet breads, I find it’s easy to bake them now and then freeze. When you’re ready to eat them, just pull the bread (or muffins) out of the freezer and let thaw at room temperature, then slice and eat.

Banana Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Lemon Berry Loaf

Zucchini Bread

Breakfast Cookies

I froze balls of dough for breakfast cookies, since I find they are way better freshly baked rather than baked then frozen. Just thaw and then bake as per the recipe.

Berry Crisp

I used this recipe, and just used berries instead of peaches. I haven’t tried baking them yet but I think they’ll turn out good!

Freezer Meals: Cooking

Chicken Drumsticks

One easy way to meal prep is to buy chicken drumsticks when they’re on sale, whip up a few marinades, and freeze the chicken in a ziploc bag with the marinade. When you need an easy dinner, throw a bag of already seasoned/marinated chicken in the slow cooker, and cook some frozen veggies or make a salad.

Peanut Marinade

2 TB peanut butter

3 TB soy sauce

⅓ cup water

½ teaspoon coriander

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp chilli powder

2 cloves garlic

Teriyaki Marinade

3 TB soy sauce

1 TB water

4 TB brown sugar

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced ginger

Lemon Paprika Marinade


I made the Mexican Chicken recipe below, and used the leftovers to make enchiladas. Simply fill tortillas with the chicken mixture and grated cheese. Top with salsa, cover with foil, and freeze. Bake from frozen or thawed until hot.

Mexican Chicken

I actually left out the cilantro, used a can of flavoured tomatoes instead of salsa, and taco seasoning instead of the spices called for. It turned out amazing but I’m sure the original recipe is as well!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This is one of my favourite recipes ever! The meatballs are delicious and the sauce is tangy but sweet. This is a huge recipe and made 6 meals that suit Jared, Abel, and I just fine.


2.7 kgs mince

3 cups bread crumbs

⅔ cup milk

4 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup minced onion

2 TB minced garlic

1 TB salt

2 tsp black pepper


2 cups packed brown sugar

½ cup cornflour

6 (425 gram) cans of pineapple (juice reserved)

½ cup soy sauce

2 ½ cups red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 260 celsius. Using your hands, combine all the meatball ingredients. Shape into 1 – 1 ½ inch meatballs, placing close together on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until temperature is 71 celsius. Cool meatballs.

While the meatballs bake and cool, mix the brown sugar and cornflour in a large pot. Add pineapple juice, soy sauce, and vinegar; stir. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. 

Add meatballs and pineapple chunks to sauce. Divide into bags/containers and freeze. To reheat, thaw and bake at 175C for 30 minutes, or in slow cooker for 2-5 hours. (until heated through)

Meat and Vegetable Pasta Bake

I made three pans of pasta bake with the following recipe: Cook one bag of pasta as per instructions. Brown 1kg of beef mince. Dice 1 onion, 1 1/2 small zucchini, 1 bell pepper/capsicum, and 1 broccoli stem. Sautee in a few tablespoons of oil until softened. Mix all ingredients together with a large jar of pasta sauce and a few spoonfuls of pasta water. Pour into three square foil pans, cover with foil. When you’re ready to bake, top with cheese and bake from frozen or thawed at 375F or 190C until hot.

Cheesy Pasta Bake

I made four loaf-size pans of pasta bake with the following recipe: Cook one bag of pasta as per instructions. Make a cheese sauce with: 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup flour, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, and hot sauce to taste, 6 cups milk, 1-2 cups grated cheese. Mix with pasta, and if desired stir through any additions such as spinach or cooked meat. Pour into pans. Combine 1/3 cup butter with 2 cups bread crumbs, sprinkle on top of pasta. Cover and freeze. When you’re ready to bake, bake from frozen or thawed at 375F or 190C until hot.

I had more ideas that I wanted to try but just ended up running out of time. I’m 38 weeks now so I may be able to make a few more freezer meals, but if not I feel great about what we do have!

An update on baby girl, she was transverse last week but today she is head down. We went to the hospital for an ECV but when we arrived and they checked her position on ultrasound, she was already head down. Praise the Lord! We are just praying she stays head down so that we can go ahead with our original birth plan.

Abel, just a few days old.
what's in my hospital bag

What’s In My Hospital Bag

I’m now 37 weeks pregnant so I’m well and truly preparing for baby, and of course that includes packing my hospital bag.

When I had my first son, Abel, I planned a home birth. I expected it to go smoothly and so I had a very poorly packed ‘just in case’ hospital bag, which I was adding to last minute when we decided to transfer to the hospital during my labour. I don’t recommend. Pack a hospital bag, regardless of whether you expect to need it.

This time, I am planning a hospital birth. At the moment our baby is lying sideways (transverse), so if she stays in this position I will need to have a c-section. If she turns head down then I plan to attempt a VBAC. Either way, I’ll have a well packed bag so I won’t have to worry about that during labour/immediately postpartum.

I felt a little bit lost as to what to pack because although I’ve had a baby before, like I said, last time was an unorganised scramble to get what we needed, and I had to ask my husband to bring more stuff from home after the baby was born. I found a few lists on the internet that were helpful such as this one. My mom is a birth photographer in Bellingham, Washington, not to mention she’s given birth nine times, so I found this list she put together helpful as well! She’s also put together this birth guide that you might want to check out. I just printed off the birth plan, birth affirmations, and 4th trimester printable.

What’s In My Hospital Bag

Snacks for Labour

You and your husband or birth partner will both want to keep your energy up, during and after labour, so pack some good snacks.

Lip Balm and Hair Ties

Lip balm and hair ties will be handy during labour, nipple cream is a must for breastfeeding, baby wipes are great for everything, and some scented lotion will help me feel human. 😉

Baby Blankets

I packed a large muslin blanket, a soft flannel blanket, and a merino swaddle.

Baby Clothes — Newborn and 0-3

When my son was born, he didn’t fit the newborn pajamas I brought. Thankfully I’d also grabbed one in 0-3m and that fit him well. So this time I brought a bit of clothing in both sizes! I anticipate staying in the hospital for several days if I have a cesarean. Hopefully I can stay less time if I have a VBAC. I packed several outfits just in case. Although this is a summer baby, I don’t know how warm or cool it will be in the hospital so I tried to cover all my bases. I packed the different sizes in separate ziploc bags and labelled them with a sharpie so it will be easy to grab the desired size.

Special Outfit for Baby

I’m planning to take a cute ‘baby is here’ photo to share, so I put aside pajamas, a headband, and a sign with baby’s name. These are in a separate bag inside of my hospital bag so that when I’m ready to take the photo I can easily find what I need.

Change of Clothes for Dad

Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes for your husband!

Clothes for Yourself

Of course you’ll need clothes as well. Anticipating the possibility of staying for several days, I packed enough clothing for that. It’s a bit tricky because barely any of my clothing fits me at 37 weeks pregnant, but I won’t fit my normal clothes right away after giving birth. So I had to find what I can spare right now that will still fit me just a day or two postpartum. If you plan on breastfeeding, make sure to include comfortable nursing bras or tank tops, and shirts that are easy to feed in. I also packed warm socks, regular socks, and underwear, I just didn’t feel the need to photograph that. 😉

I packed four tops, two nursing tanks, three nursing bras, two comfy skirts, two supportive leggings, one pair of warm socks, three pairs of regular socks, and four pairs of underwear.


I packed some reusable and disposable breast pads, baby face washers, Tui baby balm, and white noise machine and charger. I’ll also include my pregnancy book and birth plan.

To Pack Last Minute

I know, I just said I wanted to be well prepared because last time I was scrambling around last minute. But some things I still need at the moment. I’ll be sure to consult my list and grab them when I know it’s time.

Phone and charger, water bottle, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, and purse.

Don’t forget to have your baby carseat installed in your vehicle as well! If you already have kids, make sure you have a plan for who will look after them. If they will be going to someone else’s house, have a bag packed for them as well.

If you do plan to breastfeed, be sure to check out this blog post I wrote when Abel was a few months old!

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

Wow, can I just say that being pregnant with a toddler is busy. If you have more than one child, you can probably relate. My first pregnancy I was working part-time but when I was at home, it wasn’t too hard to make time to relax or to get things done in preparation for the baby. Different story this time around. Abel naps well and he goes to bed by 7pm most nights. But there are a lot of things that are just a lot more difficult to do with a toddler chasing you, and so that naptime every day is a precious commodity.

Anyways, I’ll be 31 weeks pregnant tomorrow and I’m planning to start filling up my freezer soon. With Abel I had about 30 dinners in the freezer, plus some baking, and it was so nice. I remember the first time I tried to make dinner with Abel. Jared was so great about making dinner from the freezer when he came home from work, but one day I decided I would do it. All I had to do was put the rice cooker on, cook some frozen veggies, and reheat chicken curry. It was chaos because I had this tiny baby who needed me RIGHT NOW. I’m reminding myself of that because I’m pretty sure it’ll be even harder when I have a newborn and a toddler, so I want to be well prepared.

I’m not well prepared at the moment, so I’m coming up with a list of meals that are easy and tasty so I can start my freezer cooking. I did make a list of everything I had in the freezer when Abel was born, but a weakness of mine is organising paperwork, physical copies or online, so yeah. I can’t find the document.

We bought a bassinet this time around and it’s perfect! We got this one from the Baby Factory. We chose it because we liked that it’s a bit smaller than most bassinets (I didn’t realise they’re so big!), but has a bigger weight limit than most, so it should last for a long time. It also folds up so if we want to go away for the weekend we can easily take it with us. Not to mention it looks amazing. That gray and natural wood look is very much my style. Now I just need some cute bassinet sheets that don’t cost $60…

Almost a year since this photo of Jared and Abel?! To echo e v e r y o n e , this year has been the wildest. Time goes so fast. Just always. Two years ago I was pregnant with Abel. It feels like yesterday! Suddenly ten weeks until this baby girl is due sounds like nothing. I know it’s going to fly by.

And yes! It’s a girl! We finally decided on a name last week which makes it even more exciting anticipating her birth. We like to keep the name private until the baby is born so we’re excited to share what it is once she arrives!

Playing Outside

Abel just adores playing outside, whether it’s at our house or at a park. I know I’m biased but for real, I think my kid is so dang cute! His little outfit today was just too much, so I took him outside for some photos. I love taking photos of my family especially as Abel is so little and changing so quickly. That said I have barely any photos of Jared and myself, but hey, we pretty much look the same right? 😉

His romper and cardigan are both from – my mom’s favourite place to shop for kids clothes! She sent a package for Abel’s birthday which included this romper. I was so excited when the weather finally turned warm enough for him to wear it.

Abel has been walking for about a week and a half now, and it’s the. cutest. thing. ever. Oh my.

He’s still learning to be steady on his feet and so he still enjoys crawling at times. However, he’s taken up this weird monsterish crawling on his feet and hands, with his bum in the air. It looks like it belongs in a haunted house, just saying.

It might look kind of cute in the photos but when you actually see him crawl, it’s hilarious and so weird. 😉

Since Abel loves playing outside – just in the grass, or on a playground – and my midwife is encouraging me to stay active during this pregnancy, we’ve been going for walks to the park pretty frequently. We have one that’s not far from our house so we visit there often!

Abel is also absolutely happy exploring our own little yard, which is great!

Yesterday I was working on putting together a photo book (with Diamond Photo, I have been really happy with the quality of their prints and books!) and looking through all the old photos of Abel from this year was so fun.