Mr. Giggles

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Mr Giggles.

This little giggly one is now near 6 months old.  He finds plenty of amusement in the silliest of things.  He’s curious and is constantly trying to work things out… like his jolly jumper.  I’ve caught him a few times looking up at the main spring and trying to wrap his mind around how he gets the bounce in it and nothing else.

He has a really enthusiastic deep hearty laugh, that I don’t think we will ever tire of hearing it… Some nights before bed I play videos and Mike and I relive the little victories we’ve had getting to this point.  He’s gotten so big.  He’s now over 20 pounds!

Garden Update:

We’ve been harvesting (and eating) loads of kale, spinach, rocket, watercress and multi-coloured frilly lettuce.  The little caterpillars are growing on our swan plants and just about everything we’ve planted has taken root and is growing really well (apart from our eggplant – can’t figure out what’s up with them!).

The sheep have grown just as quickly as Wesley…they are so plump now!

Last Nights Earth Quake in New Zealand

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Last night like the rest of the Nation, Mike and I woke to a light rumbling.  At first I thought it might be the train down the road…but this began to feel just a little bit more aggressive.  Very quickly that vibration started growing and turning into rolling movements.  We ran to Wesley’s room and scooped him up.

I was utterly hopeless in the situation.  I just said “Oh my god” and tried not to fall over.

It was as if our house had turned into a boat on rough seas.  I felt like I couldn’t keep my footing.

Mike calmly got us to the front doorway leading into our home, it’s large and sturdy and the safest place to stay.  He learned in school what to do in these times, I might need a crash course!

As we stood in the doorway the house continued to roll with the earth.  We looked outside and sparks were flying off the power lines up our entire street.

The moon was full, round and bright.  It lit up the trees around our home and filled the sky with a pale light.  Wesley woke quite stunned at the thought of being taken from bed before he was ready.  I saw him look at the moonlight in awe.  Mike ran back and grabbed a wool blanket to keep the baby warm.

Looking out into the sky, we saw the silhouette of pine and aspen trees against the moonlight.  To look at them, the world seems so steady.

It was in this moment, I realised how small and insignificant we are against the power of the earth, nature, gravity…  I just wanted us to be safe and hoped that no one was in danger.

It didn’t last too long, and caused no damage here in this area.  We checked online and saw that the rest of the country was doing ok around 1am, but saw that there were much worse movements in the Southern Island that did cause some damage and evacuations.

I did not sleep well.  My brain was spinning.  Mike promptly feel asleep and Wesley did too (he even sung himself to sleep).

Waking this morning the ground is still and steady the trees are tall and firm.  Almost as if nothing had ever happened.

If you are in New Zealand or even abroad and want to see what is happening this website will give you the location and seismic details of each earth quake.  We live in the North Island several hours North of Wellington.  Checking the GeoNet site it looks like the South Island is still experiencing moderate to severe quakes this morning.  There are reports that state New Zealand experiences up to 15,000 earth quakes each year, but that only 100-150 of these are felt by the population.

We are now going to prepare an emergency kit just in case and are relieved to hear that most people got through this in good health.  To read more about the damages click here.

About the photos:  A very tiny monarch caterpillar is living with it’s brothers and sisters on some swan plants Mike planted when we first arrived (the butterflies love them!).  An apple seed sprouts to life in our kitchen…and the view from the front porch this morning.

Fern Walk, Pohangina Valley

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Yesterday, I spent two and a quarter hours hiking in the Pohangina Valley, on the search for some local native orchids.  While my flower search was fruitless, the hiking was quite stunning and peaceful.  The air was so refreshing, with no one else around it felt like I’d stepped back in time… I found myself imagining what it must have felt like for the original settlers of New Zealand to inhabit and clear this bush for settlement and farm land.

The emerald coloured fern, covered the forest floor and ancient Rimu and Totara trees towered above creating a dark dense walk.  If you’re in the area I highly recommend you check out this wonderful track.

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.