Sunday, July 1, 2012

Weekends as we know it...


Apologies for the mish-mash of photo editing.... I am stealing 10 minutes to blog and have taken the pics straight from Facebook. 

Avalon & Daddy chilling in the park on Father's Day // Lucian dressed for a day out // Avalon & I swingin' //   vanilla cupcakes at Maison Blanc // Kid-free shopping for me // Grant & his girl swingin' // 
Our family hamming it up (Lucian in the wrap)

I love the weekends.

With Grant at work 12 hours a day we relish the end of the week and Saturdays and Sundays mean family time and a re-charge of the proverbial batteries. 

We usually do much the same every weekend since we moved here; park play or two, a coffee shop break (or two), maybe some shopping and as of late a trip to the library every 2 weeks to return and borrow books. Not very rock and roll I know, but it works for us. Dinner is usually take-out or something simple with a glass or two of wine.

This time with the kids being small is completely fleeting so we are making the most of it whilst we can.

First haircut + Sausages in the park


Yesterday the girl had her first haircut at 27 months old.
I won't lie, it was a little traumatic for both of us as 'the haircut' is a milestone we hadn't reached and not from  a lack of need either. I just didn't want to cut her lovely locks, her wispy blondish curls, and as a bald baby myself I loved the fact she was born with a full head of hair.
Cut (no pun intended) to months of fussing over clips and hair-slides through out the day and de-tangling every morning, I decided that bangs were the way to go... and dare I say it, she looks scrumptiously cute (and tre chic!)
She seems happy with it too, but that could be because of the lollipop she got from the stylist.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Current LOVES

I thought I would update with our current favourites; what is keeping us smiling, entertained & happy of late...

Gourmet Burgers from here // his new TOMS // Taking Avalon to the park // feeling healthy again // cuddling with his Little Man // Weekends // Reading everyday, currently this // Nannie's Meals // Biltong // the start of summer

The Girl
Going to the park // icecream // Mama & Baby Fox from Jasper //biltong // upsy daisy skirts // cuddles with Daddy during the night // boo boos // The Wiggles // Biltong // Baby Jake // playing in 'Nannie's Room' // Martha // Vanilla cupcakes from Maison Blanc // her new crocs // Ring-a-rosey // Being naked

The Boy
Boobs // kisses and cuddles // clean nappies // bath-time // baby massage // being rocked // lying across Dad's forearm // green blanket // purple blanket // lying on lambie

Pinterest // Kisses from Avalon and her saying, 'I love you Mama' // New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc // my new ring // Great coffee // babywearing with Lucian // My Babymule nappybag // fruit salad // reading a book in the bath // pounding the pavement of our neighbourhood with my iPod // Weekends // Girls Lunch with friends // Nursing the boy // Napping with the girl // Great friends // thrifting clothes // Avalon singing

Current Reading...

Thankful Thursday

My monkeys.

Avalon is 27 months & Lucian is 8 weeks old.


Firstly I need to say I have found it increasingly difficult to find time to write since Lucian joined us. The most I can manage in a day are a few sentences here and there on Facebook (social networking can be done, one handed, whilst nursing a newborn!) Gone are the days I could nurse and READ A BOOK. There is a toddler too, so computer time falls under the category of 'me time' and number one in that category is showering. Then eating. Then I could only wish, sleep.

So much has happened in the last 3 months I could write 20 blog posts but will try to catch up a little here. There are a few events which are post worthy so I will save them for when I have the time to mull over my words. 

Life has changed, and we are moving onwards and upwards in fantastic ways. I come out of what has been an 'intense' (for lack of a better word) period with nothing but gratitude for my life; and namely the people that make it what it is.

Avalon has taken to the change of having a baby brother so well. It has been a challenge, and for the huge adjustment it is, I am so proud of her and thankful it has gone relatively smoothly. Most of the challenges have fallen to Grant and I in delegating our time between the two of them adequately and learning to be a family of four (not to mention somewhere along the line continue to nurture that couple that we are.) 
Avalon is totally and utterly in love with Lucian, and he her. It amazes me the way they 'connect' without really knowing each other- it is there, from day one and I am so excited and privileged to watch them grow together.

My little family is without a doubt my first priority. I feel so blessed to have health and happiness within our unit. We create these relationships somewhat but I can't help feeling a degree of luck must be involved as I still pinch myself that I am 'here'; A loving partner and 2 beautiful children. Blessed is all I can feel.

Just before Lucian's birth I had a lot of stress and upset due to the breakdown of a friendship- it was a truly terrible time as I prepared for Avalon's second birthday and reached full-term within my pregnancy. As always, Grant the voice of reason was and continues to be my rock. I am completely and utterly grateful to have such a kind, reasonable and intelligent partner for life. His integrity is admirable and as I was left to deal with mistrust and hurt, having deep regrets, feeling violated and what I viewed as an attempt to ostracise me from others;  he was right beside me guiding with his words and love. That man always 'does the right thing.' Knowing he 'has my back' is all I will ever need, and when you know from those you truly respect that you have done what is right, what you can to make amends, it is all the validation I could ever need. With his help, and a small group of amazing friends, I can safely say my shoulder is well and truly brushed off and I have forgiven (even when the wrong cannot be acknowledged.) I have learnt many lessons; to trust a select few,  to follow my gut instincts about others and sometimes the best course of action is not the easiest. I must learn to find my voice.

I feel really positive about those that choose to be in my life. I hold my head up high with integrity and know I can only do what I can do. Life is short and everyday I grow. I only hope that I can salvage something from this broken relationship. I am humbled.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless(ish) Wednesday

Avalon at the park this morning...

Currently Reading...

This is great.

I have finished book one already and would recommend to anyone looking for strategies to become more patient and a calmer individual, using Buddhist teachings and principles.

I am working daily on putting this into practice.

Read it now.

A month in the blink of an eye...

Lucian was 4 weeks old yesterday.

I cannot believe how quickly the last month has passed me by; a whirlwind of gazing at our son in wonderment, bonding as a family of four and supporting Avalon in the adjustment to becoming big sister/sibling/one of two children. 

I am stealing a few minutes to blog and update on the past month as both children are napping and my Mother is here to help and cuddle her Grandbabies. No doubt I will write in bits and pieces as I have found having 2 children isn't double the work-  more like quadruple! I am not sure how that happens and am still mystified how people manage but maybe that feeling is designated to the early days.

Lucian's birth went brilliantly and I will absolutely write more on that later.

We took a couple of weeks for a babymoon with minimal visitations from friends and family. It was really important to me to focus on the four of us. We have been spoiled by seemingly endless gifts of clothing for the boy, food for us, chocolate and cake. I have been humbled by the generosity of friends and family and feel so grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives.

Lucian is an absolute gem and as the cliche goes, I am finding it hard to remember life without him.

He has the same 'old soul' look that his sister had, although I am not quite sure they look very similar, you can tell they are related, but very different all the same.

Lucian has a lot of hair, with little golden streaks through the front, a small mouth and steely grey/blue eyes that focus on you and search your face as if he is still trying to figure you out. He smiles with a slight upturn of his top lip and his eyes glow warmly. He is cuddly, soft, a little hairy, yet sturdy too.

He is my 'Big Boy' and both Grant and I joke about our 'Little Rugby Player.' The boy is fairly chilled out, sleeps a lot in the day, but also has moments of fussing, particularly at night. He likes to lie over your shoulder and get a good pat on the back although I don't seem to have the same effect on him that his Nannie and his Daddy do when they employ this manoeuvre.

The past month has also brought its unexpected trials.

After 3 weeks of very painful feeding I sought the help of my friend Paula, a local La Leche League Leader as to whether Lucian had tongue-tie or a bad latch or thrush (or a combination of all three) as feeding him was more pain inducing than labour. After further consultation with a lactation consultant at the hospital, he was found to have posterior tongue-tie and an appointment was made to get it snipped. Unfortunately, that appointment was another 2 weeks wait.

I just could not wait that long as nursing him was toe-curling- I liken it to glass being dragged through my nipples, yep, not pleasant. I have not experienced anything like this whilst feeding Avalon so it came as a shock, and after such a positive and 'easy' labour it really took me by surprise.

I spent alot of time in tears in those 3 weeks and found myself avoiding feeds which is kind of hard when you are feeding a newborn on demand. I was so dispirited and hoped that tongue-tie would be the issue and would be 'fixed.' I was filled with worry that our breastfeeding journey would be over before it really began.

Knowing my desperation, my amazing doula, Rhiannon, asked a friend of hers to do the procedure for us, on very short notice (asking her at 8pm to assist us, she was on my doorstep at 10pm.)

Kathryn is an independent midwife who is trained in separating tongue-tie. I am so grateful she came to us when she did as I could not continue to feed like this any longer little alone another two weeks before the scheduled appointment. The first feed after the procedure was a vast improvement from where we had been, the only other feed I had like that with Lucian was our very first nurse after his birth, skin to skin, laying on our couch in the lounge room. From then on, nursing has gotten increasingly better. We have good and bad feeds as we are both still learning. But we are getting to where we need to be.

Along with the constant support of Rhiannon prior to labour, during labour and during our babymoon and the fact she introduced us to Kathryn, she honestly is a lifesaver. If you know how important breastfeeding my children is to me, you would know what this means to me for this relationship continue. I am forever grateful for her support- she is a wonderful friend to boot.

Grant, as always, has been amazing. My rock. I don't know where I would be without him.

He was a brilliant labour support, as he was for Avalon's birth too. Throughout that 2 week period he was off work he took care of the 3 of us. I know he is anxious to get home to his family every day as he tells me so. We love him so much and as our family has grown, so has my love and appreciation for him.

As I mentioned, my Mum is here for 3 weeks. I can hardly explain what a blessing this is.

My Mum lives on the other side of the world so to have her in my home, sharing conversation over coffee, watching her with her grandchildren, bantering with my husband is a blessed feeling. I miss not seeing her more often than a weekly virtual SKYPE phone call. She has been here 6 days already and has been a domestic star; cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and of course baby holding.

Mum being here has allowed me to get out for a little exercise each day. More than anything this time is needed to clear my head- to banish out the 'cobwebs' of darkness so to speak. As wonderful as this time is, my hormones have wreaked havoc on me and my feelings and emotions are up and down like a yoyo. Grant's patience with me is amazing. It feels great to stretch my legs as I wander the neighbourhood, listening to music on my iPod and feeling the breeze in my hair after weeks of home time and months of feeling so heavy and so tired. With Mum here, we have also been going to our local park daily, Avalon has really appreciated her Nannie (and sandpit) time.

I am so thankful for this time and will of course, feel terribly sad when Mum leaves in 2 weeks.

Over the past month, Grant's Dad came to visit from South Africa. Here for 2 weeks, he stayed with my brother in law about 10 minutes away. Because of the timing of his visit we didn't get to spend as much time with him as we would have liked but it was great to see home all the same as we hadn't seen him for almost 2 years.

We are all adjusting well to being a family of four.

I really hope to blog just as often (or little as it were) as before.

Signing off for now, the girl is chatting away beside me after her nap (I knew I would have to keep coming back to this post!) in just a nappy, eating gingerbread teddie biscuits- it is SO warm here today.

I hope this is the start of our 'Summer' albeit in a very mild Spring.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

He is here!

A very quick update...

Lucian Grant Francis was born on the 24th April at 11.26pm, weighing a very healthy 8lb 14oz (4.020kg)

He was born at home in the birthing pool after 'officially' 3 1/2 hours of labour without intervention. He was caught by his Dad and his big sister slept through all the excitement, meeting her brother about an hour later.

His birth was perfect.

I will write Lucian's birth story in the next few weeks and hope to find some time to blog...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Current musing...

I feel like I need to update. I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks and there has been so much going on that I can't put it all to the blogisphere right now. It has been such a transitional time as I entered the last few weeks of pregnancy but also a huge change in dynamics for some personal areas of my life. 

More on that later. Maybe.

So here I am at (officially) 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I have had a few moments of thinking 'This is it'; once on Avalon's birthday and again last Thursday which led to some interesting moments and frantic phone calls. It probably sounds strange that I even mention a word like 'frantic' but I find myself much more anxious this time than I did leading up to Avalon's birth. I have no idea why? To me, it defies rational. I have worked through my feelings with my wonderful doula, Rhiannon and keep trying to remember to TRUST BIRTH. Avalon's birth was so straight forward I guess I worry about how this experience might be. I also had little 'sign' of labour with Avalon and have several friends whom have had very short labours the second time around so each twinge can take my breath away. Grant is also 2 hours away during the day so I am hoping that things get moving during the twilight hours.

'Spiritual Midwifery' has been read, as has 'Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.' I have re-watched 'The Business of Being Born' and reading beautiful, positive homebirth stories from friends. My emotional and mental preparation is so important to me.

In practicality I am ready for this baby; we have the pool, towels, sheets, TENS machine, music, clothes and the list goes on but I am still trying to get my head around labour and even more so, having a second child. Crazy isn't it? I have only had 9 months to get used to the idea. 

The last few weeks I feel my husband and I have become even closer together. We have had some amazingly open moments of communication and his support during a tough emotional time has been a blessing, he truly is 'my rock.' I am so excited at the thought of having another child with him and Avalon becoming a big sister. I know our family will be 'complete' as we want it and we can embrace this new beginning for us all.

I am pretty sure the next time you will be hearing from me our baby will be here. It may not be for several weeks as we bask in the glow of babymoon but I will be back to share the story of our babies birth.

I hope this blog hasn't seemed too disjointed, I only have a few minutes to check in and just wanted to update. So apologies for spelling and grammatical errors. I might also blame baby brain!

I'll be back soon....

Friday, April 6, 2012

200 Blog Posts...

~ Joy ~ 
Last day of 1 year old

Happy Birthday My Love...

Birthday party with Den Mamas @ lovely Rhiannon's // Opening presents // Marwell Zoo


WARNING: *This is going to be one of those blogs that is really of no interested to anyone but family*

My baby is now two years old. As the cliche goes, 'where has the time gone?'

I want to capture some of what she is doing and who she is. I love her more and more each day and think that 2 years old is my favourite age~ Terrible Twos? Shmerrible Twos!

~ She loves her Dr. Seuss, Peppa Pig, Spongebob Square Pants & Charlie & Lola. Ok. The girls loves TV. But there is nothing sweeter than hearing her sing the theme tune to Spongebob and play her nose like it's a flute!

~She is an avid reader. She now wants to read to herself when she goes to bed as opposed to having the story read to her. At this moment she is still all about Dr. Seuss' 'Time To Read' and also 'Hello Baby' which we gave to her in preparation of her sibling's homebirth.

~ She counts to 14 with ease! She says, 'Oh my Goodness Me!'
She knows her own mind and is very confident. Strangely she has only just started saying 'Yeah' as she had always only nodded her head in agreement. Her latest word? 'Congratulations'... She let's you know what she wants, when she wants it.

~ She sings along to Nirvana in the car and announces 'We are home!' whenever we pull down our driveway.

~ She is obsessed with brushing her teeth, wiping her hands and face, cuddling the cat, seeing her friends and going to the PAAAAARRK! If there is a slide, she is ON IT! She loves animals. Especially ducks.

~ She is very excited for the arrival of baby. I love the way she kisses and hugs my growing belly, pressing her cheek against it and saying 'awwww I love you.' These are the sweetest moments.

~ She loves to eat bananas, yoghurt, cake, satsumas, 'dip dips', Monkey Juice, 'mato Sauce, cake, cake AND cake. Oh, and ice-cream.

~ Her favourite toys are Soft Teddy, Winston, Gary, Tinga Tinga and Baby. She lives for colouring and painting and wants us to draw with her too.

~ She is yet to learn that the laptop is not a toy and will type away as long as you will let her.

~ She excitedly runs to the door as soon as she hears the key in the lock at 7.30pm announcing 'DADDDDY!'

~ I love the mornings with her, hearing her say my name as she wakes or smiles as she opens her eyes.

~ She loves wearing hats. Any hat... And painting smocks.

~ She is very soft in nature. I love that she is so gentle with her peers. She is caring and thoughtful to others feelings.

~ She (sadly) has an obsession with her Dad's android phone. Hmmm.

~ Bath-time is always a hit- playing 'mermaids'; lying on her stomach and swinging her legs back and forth. She loves her frog bath towel and calls herself 'The Green Queen' when she wears it after her bath.

She is a joy every day. Welcome to your 3rd year, baby!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring is here...

~Gostrey Meadows // SLIDE // Waverley Abbey~
~35 + 5 weeks // LOVE // Climbing Trees // Spring lambing at Newlyns Farm~

If you go down to the woods today...

This morning the girl and I headed out into the Spring sunshine to Forest School, an outdoor session run through a local pre-school in Frogmore.

The Forest School is on a Wednesday morning as a drop in two hour session for toddlers, babies and of course their parents/carers. The kiddies are given all weather gear (we rock up in our own Wellington boots) and then are free to set off and have some muddy, forest-y fun! Today we certainly had the weather on our side.

I took along hubby's camera (mine has sadly gone to camera heaven) and took a few snaps of the girl and her bestie having a blast in the great outdoors.
The kids dug in the dirt, climbed over logs, rambled through the trees, roasted marshmallows, went on the hunt for Easter eggs and chicks, as well as sang songs around the camp fire.
We will be going back for sure!