Our darling Wesley.

Wesley Peter Cresswell

Born: June 3rd 2016

We are so smitten with this little man.  Words cannot express the explosion in my chest when he looks at me, or when I see Mike holding him close.

I never really understood what motherhood could feel like – but wow…it’s powerful.

Those cheeks!!  That gorgeous red hair, curious blue eyes, the cute little sighs when he sleeps…ugh I’m totally in love.

We’re home now, after a week in the hospital.  The birth was traumatic and perhaps I’ll write about it at some point here, but for the mean time I think I’ll leave it and talk to some professionals and see how to cope with the memories.  Despite it being difficult and scary – the joy and relief that Wesley is healthy and safe with us diminishes the fears I have.

His Papa Rick is here now all the way from Canada to meet him, and he’s met a large portion of the Cresswell family…including his great grandma Isabel, nannie Annie and grandad Brian.  We’ll be introducing him to more family soon!

He was 2 weeks past his estimated due date, and upon seeing him in the hospital – one of the midwives exclaimed he was big enough to be going to kindergarten.  He weighed 9lbs…which is massive.  The support we had in the hospital post surgeries was amazing.

The health care system in New Zealand is truly wonderful, and I am thankful we were here to bring Wesley into this world.  Over 20 midwives helped Mike and I care for Wesley and came each night to take him away for cuddles.  They each gave us tips and tricks for raising a new born – and I’ll forever be grateful for thier advice.  I’ve likened it to having about 20 mums on board to help us cope.  With this knowledge our transition home has been very smooth – and while I still have about 6 weeks to recover – I’m pleased at how we’re travelling so far.


Holly, Mike and Wesley

The humble crocus.

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When I was young, I lived in a little white house with my sisters and parents.  There wasn’t much life growing around our home apart from a couple of pine trees, and withering old maples.  There was also a large rosebush that covered the entire expanse of the back fence…it was a thorny jungle and that image sums up the minimalist landscaping efforts – it was a wild world out there – we truly never bothered to tame it.

One sweet little memory I have was of the little flowering crocus that had some how seeded themselves into our barren front lawn.  They were small and light purple, with slender little spiked leaves that poked out at their base.  Each spring I would get excited to see them open on our yard.  To be clear here – there were never many maybe no more than 5.

Well, one year I took notice as the spikes were beginning to sprout from the thawed yard.  I was able to identify them by the slender white line that ran along the length of the centre of the leaf.  My dad too noticed the grass, particularly that it needed mowing.  He mowed over the lot of developing flowers, and I’ve not seen them since.

That is… until this weekend when Mike’s grandma was showing us a catalogue of spring bulbs that she ordered from as gifts to her daughters and son in law.  I noticed the page of crocus and my memories came flooding back.  They are such dainty beautiful little flowers.

I told her and Mike in the moment – of my memory (and naturally of dad massacring them) and thought nothing of it.

Last night – a package arrived… A brown paper bag of mixed crocus bulbs for us to plant in a container that we can pull out of the ground and replant when/if we move.  It was so thoughtful, and I’m so pleased to be able to see some sprout for us this spring.

The image above is the mix – though they look like little onions, they are so much more!

Basically this is one of the sweetest gifts I’ve ever received.  Some of the varieties that should sprout up are: Prins Claus, Cream Beauty, Sunkist, Purity and Firefly.  I think I’ll find a nice pot to plant them in and keep them close to the entrance of our house.

Do you have bulbs in your garden?  What flowers do you love seeing in spring time?

Desert Sound Colony – The Way I Began

Desert Sound Colony – Fire Egg

Desert Sound Colony – Signals

Flowers, advice and a little conundrum.

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Most weekends we drive to Mike’s grandma’s house and spend some time with her and do a few chores to help out.  She has a lovely garden of flowers surrounding her home, which we weed and also mow the lawns.  Often she sends us away with floral gifts, food (she’s an amazing baker) and trinkets.  A few weeks back we popped in and she was out.  We did some yard work for her – and a day or so later I discovered that the garden bed I’d weeded was actually full of seedling flowers!  Such a novice!  She was totally ok with it though… phew.

Yesterday she cut some beautiful roses and dug up a few spring bulbs for us to plant in our own garden.  She knew exactly where the submerged flowers were hiding… It was really nice to sort of inherit these plants.  We gathered some seeds from a tree and have some now germinating in a dark cupboard.

I love that no matter what you pop into the ground here – it’s basically predestined to shoot up and grow like magic.

Mike’s out fishing at the moment – and is keen to bring back some trout.  It was a bit chilly to start this morning…so I’ve been laying in, reading, chilling with Tess and a roaring fire.

Fishing reminds me, Mike taught me something interesting back in February while we were camping in Rotorua.  He had caught a massive rainbow trout, and some tourist gasped in horror when he tossed it (it was beautiful and large) back into the small creek.  He told them (and me too) that the Maori believe you should always through back the first fish caught (and you should thank Tangaroa – the god of the sea and all fish).

I think it’s a beautiful and respectful thing to do.

Later today we’ll go to the local famers market and I’ll hobble/wobble around and admire all the fresh fruit and veg that comes from these fertile soils…and dream of when we will have the ability to grow our own too.

Do you shop at the farmers market?  Is there something you hang out to buy from the market particularly?  I remember my mom used to buy this delicious polish sausage, that was spiced with pepper corns and was smoked… Keilbasa.  At the farmers market here they sell doughnuts, pastries, fried fish…etc.  It always smells amazing… 

Also some memorable moments from yesterday:

I was in the local library browsing books (seriously considering knitting!) when an old man turned to me and asked when I was due.  I said “less than three weeks”.

His response was:   “You’ll soon get through the one day of tears and screams and it will be all over”.

Thank you kind stranger.  Most straightforward pregnancy advice ever!

Last night Mike sat beside our bath tub, while I soaked and we had a long talk about what to expect when the baby starts to make his arrival.  We started on opposite ends of the spectrum in what we expected – and then by the end of our talk – we’d both flipped (not uncommon!) to take on the others perspective and take on suggestions from each side.

I’ve been seriously considering trying to have the baby at home – having been speaking with a few midwives and feel pretty cool with the idea, while Mike is more keen to go to the hospital.  By the end we’d both taken on the others concerns and were in opposite places…  We’re still not sure what we’ll 100% do, but are open to both situations…

Have you had a baby at home?  Was your experience nice?

He then got ready for a shower when I stood up from the bath and I caught this look on his face (horror) and I wondered if something gross was happening that I wasn’t aware of.

“Mike what is it?”  I looked down at my body to see what was stuck to me… I basically see nothing past my enormous belly.

“I just looked at your belly, and felt awful at how big the baby is and how sore it will be coming out – and just want for you and the baby to be safe”.

I remind him that it’s not all baby, some of it is fluid surrounding the baby, and placenta and that I really trust our midwife (she’s been great!) and feel that she will make sure we’re all safe and will be the best person to look out for our family no matter what happens on the day.

We are due in 2.5 weeks – and I’ve been having false contractions.

Shit is about to get real as they say…

As a male partner to your loved one giving birth, do you have any memories that stand out leading up to the due date/birth?  

I have heard that men can feel a lot of emotional anxiety on the day, and that it’s a very difficult time for them seeing their partner coping… I wonder how it will be for Mike on the day.  I know I’d be worried for him too if he were the one to bring the baby into the world…if only!!

The light at sunset…

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Last night, I stepped outside just as the sun was setting.  Almost every night, we enjoy this delicate gold aura that is cast over the trees and fields, it is simply wonderful.

These are some of the images I took then, and also this morning as Tess and I enjoyed our little walk up the road.

Good news – we found out she can stay with us here!  We’ll be working on bringing her kennel over soon and am so looking forward to having my little buddy nearby each day.  She’s so cute in the morning when she says good morning.

About the images…

  1. Moving to a new country, we have tried our best to be frugal setting up our home again.  Here is a porcelain pitcher that I scooped up at a local second hand shop…it’s become our little flower holder…and also death vessel (these flowers are now a week old).  Picked from our driveway.  I have no idea what the tree is called…
  2. As of today I am recovering from a pretty wicked head cold – Mike has been so kind, looking after me, starting/stoking fires and bringing me all kinds of healing natural foods and medicines.  I’m just beginning to feel my nasal passage again!  This couch nook has been my home for a few days… the crackling fire and fresh air from the windows have been a huge source of comfort.  I’ve basically slept in an upright position for a few nights, trying my best not to suffocate in my own boogers.
  3. We’ve planted some fresh vegetables; dwarf tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and carrots are all sprouting in the small planter boxes that we have resting in the Northern sun on the porch.
  4. These last few images are of our neighbours sheep.  They face our home…what I love is the abundance of fresh fruit…and how relaxed these sheep are.  It’s very peaceful to watch them grazing just as dawn hits each day.

My dog Tess.

Tess - smooth collie

Today I spent some time sitting with Tess on the floor of our living room.  I’ve become incredibly slow moving, and getting down to the floor is not something I do frequently now.  Maybe once a day for yoga or when I cuddle Tess.  Today was no exception…

She had discovered some slippery fresh green horse poo yesterday and was wearing this fashionable new scent with great pride as I dropped her off at Mike’s mum (we’re still waiting to hear from the property owner if she can stay with us permanently) at the end of our daily walk.  Before letting her wander the home after our walk back today, I was keen to have a much nicer smelling dog in my company.

I managed to lift her (barely!) and chuck her into the shower for a quick wash – thankfully we have a hose that extends down so it was really a quick job and she was back out in the sunshine before she realised what had happened.

Back to sitting on the living room floor, Tess had dried out in the early autumn sun and was smelling fresh like orange zest.

She was taught at a young age that a snap of the fingers meant to sit, and that if I waved my arms in a flat line parallel to the ground that was the signal for lay down.  I snapped my finger and she obediently sat down and faced me only inches from my face.  Her little brown eyes pleading with me for a cuddle.  In response, I stroked her long nose and repeatedly let my hands linger over her velvety soft ears.

Her right little paw shot up and touched my forearm when I stopped petting her.  So I took this as the signal to continue the nose and ear petting.  Her paw shot up again.

And again.  And again, and again, and again and again and again and again…

I realised then that I’d only asked her once to sit.  And yet she had “asked me” about 10 times to do what she wanted and I obeyed each time, without fail.

In conclusion…  

I think Tess might be smarter than I am, and basically I am here to please her (mostly).