A Rainy Sunday


Last night the rain came crashing down.  It sounded like bowling balls falling down, hitting heavy enough to cave in the roof.  In the early morning we woke to a bit of a pond drowning our lawn.  We’re loving the little boost to our rainwater tank and hopefully we’ll be sweet for most of summer.

Naturally it’s a bit wet and cloudy outside today – so we’re keeping ourselves entertained indoors. Wesley has been loving story time, and is just learning the enjoy the peek-a-boo game.  He now has two teeth.

We’d intended to begin building some garden boxes from scavenged/reclaimed wood this weekend but may need to get that project started in a few days time.  The past few weeks Mike and I have been planting and growing a variety of veggie seedlings, and will be ready to put those into deeper soil soon.

At this rate it’s looking to be a bit of a movie day.

Is there anything you’ve seen recently you would watch again?  

We have Netflix as well…

We’d love to be exposed to some new films or tv programs.  What’s on your radar?

I thought I’d share some music we’ve been listening to lately…  The first three tracks are by kiwi artists.

Thomston – Collarbones

Kings – Don’t Worry Bout’ It (another Kiwi artist)


The Chainsmokers – Don’t Let Me Down ft. Daya (Hipst3r Edit)

Wentworth – You Don’t Know Me


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 kind of 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 fear.

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

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!!

Heating our little home.

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Last night it rained heavily.  We lay on the couch listening to it pound on the roof and I felt some comfort knowing the rainwater tank we use will be filling up quickly.  Our house is not actually heated (well, only with firewood) and is also not connected to council water, so we are conscious of our usage, and have to be careful when showering.   Often we just shower together (though this is proving to become more challenging as my belly’s radius takes up more and more space – ahah).

Winter is just around the corner so we won’t be worrying about it much longer…there will be buckets of rain!

We did manage to sort out a load of wood when we first moved in, and have stacked that on the front porch, and now two more loads will be turning up.  Mike’s dad has been an advocate on behalf of the baby, and assured us we needed much more.  He’s gifted us with two loads.  It was such a thoughtful gift!

We’ll be stacking the next lot over the coming few days – and I know someone whom will be thankful….for the heat…

My dad will be here in 6 weeks for a months stay, and despite being a bit of a miser on home heating as a teenager – he does complain when he gets cold!  We’ll all be toasty warm this winter, and our baby will probably be grateful as well.

Here are a few tracks I’ve been listening to lately…they all have a similar relaxing feel:

Atom – Stay

Wanderflux – Aubade

Droeloe – zZz

I wasn’t sure I’d be lucky two days in a row, however I did spot this colourful little jumping spider rather quickly up our driveway, yesterday.  I ran back inside and grabbed my tripod and thankfully was able to capture a slightly closer image.  I’m still trying to find a reliable source for identification…but for the time being I think it might be a juvenile trite auricoma?

Also because I’m still obsessed with this film – please check the trailer out:


Pregnant & coping with major change.

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Right, so February was amazing and it was also overwhelming in so many ways.  Moving from Australia to New Zealand and then beginning a month long road trip (whilst 7.5 months pregnant) was kind of a massive undertaking.  To top it all off we moved into a new home and Mike started a new job.

During the flight, move and trip; between the amazing memories and events, I experienced a few moments (4 to be exact) of complete and total panic.  Mike supported me through the brunt of these episodes as they came suddenly and often without warning.  I partially blame these on hormones.  We spoke about the episodes after each one happened, and I even took time to mark them down in our trip calendar to see how often they were happening.

As a first time pregnant person, I feel a huge sense of responsibility and some uncertainty and lack of control about what the future may hold for us and our child… there are so many unknowns.  I know Mike has his worries too.  I guess that’s natural to have worries.

The control freak in me – doesn’t like not having a plan for everything.  This has been a bit of a process of learning to let go and enjoy the ride.  Most days I am enjoying the ride…

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There is also the actual pain of growing so quickly.  My body has been in a constant state of change, and just when I think I’m settling in to a comfortable skin…  bam! that little bugger “pain” turns up again!

I feel like little pain elves are playing games with me and pinching me and cutting me with tiny little knives when I’m not looking.  Some days my hips don’t work right, and other days I feel I’m on the verge of exploding my guts all over the walls.

Getting comfortable is my main priority most days.

I found the days I was most in pain, were the days I cracked.  There was always one small thing that would tip the scale (however it could be a number of items even combined).

  • Too hot (this one is almost impossible to manage at the moment – I’m an active lava filled volcano spewing heat everywhere.  Mike can’t even cuddle me at night – I’m too warm for him to snuggle!
  • I read a particularly sad news article online about a mother and her children and postnatal depression (terrible story) that had me worrying about the condition.
  • Too constricted in my clothes
  • Exhausted or over tired (there two two nights I did not sleep a wink while we camped due to the sheer power of lightning and wind)
  • Cramping/false contractions
  • Thinking about the actual event of giving birth (thankfully I was recommended a great book by Mikes counsin Kat.  I’ve read it since and it really has helped me understand and embrace the event!).  That book “Birth Skills” can be found here.
  • Driving for more than two hours
  • Feeling muscles tearing along my stomach
  • Too full
  • Too much time on my hands worrying about the future
  • Mike saying or doing something that inadvertently hurt my feelings
  • Moving into a new house and cleaning (I’m a bit of a clean freak)

This list is shockingly long… it also has made it a bit harder for Mike.  He told me after he read this that it’s like he’s walking on the tiniest tightrope or..on eggshells sometimes.

In an effort to make things a bit easier, Mike and I slowed the pace of our trip considerably after the second “event”.  I also made sure I didn’t drive the car for more than two hours so I could stretch out, and began to be very conscious of the type of clothes I placed over my middle section.  I now strip down to nothing and cool off or take a shower and wet my hair (being too warm is like…indescribable torture).  Most nights I end up sleeping over the blankets with nothing on whilst Mike tells me he’s cold under our duvet…then I touch him with my fire hands!

Part of my panic was around the “unknown” in birth, so I began reading more, and absorbing positive birth stories to help bring me a more enlightened “I can do this” mind frame when thinking of the big day.  This has been hugely rewarding…

A lot of the uncertainty is still there – and I’m sure it always will be.  Parenthood – whilst it’s exciting and there is a TONNE of anticipation, is also bringing items to consider that we’d never really considered before.

In an effort to be more mindful, I’ve been spending 15 mins each morning practicing meditation and muscle tension relaxation skills that helped me through some tense times last year.  Taking the time to tune out and sit still has been so beneficial.  I always feel so peaceful and relaxed afterward (it generally carries on throughout the entire day).  Also going for daily walks and setting small goals each day instead of burning myself out – and taking the time to rest has been humbling.

The audio clip – if you’re interested can be found here.

The baby is going really well, he is 8 months along today.  His dad talks to him all the time, and confides to him as if I’m not “in the room”.  He makes me laugh…

Mike and I have been reading a birth magazine together, that details the multiple ways parents experience natural childbirth together (it’s something that is encouraged here in New Zealand).  My midwife gave us the copy on loan, and reading this together is partly amusing and also helping us to have more conversations about what to expect on the day/days.

I’ll tell you about some of the more interesting statements he’s made lately…next time.

If you have any positive birth/motherhood stories or experiences, you’d like to share – please feel free to comment or email me personally.  I’ve been taking these in, and have been enjoying knowing there are going to be extraordinary moments we’ll have in our family memory bank soon.