Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Three Years Married Today

Three years ago today I married my dearest friend. Today we wait on our second little one to decide when he or she wants to join our little home. Our little girl sleeps soundly in her room. The sun is shining and the house is twinkling with festive decorations.

Photo credit; Fiona Andersen

Exactly how I wished our marriage and home would be a few years in. Filled up to the brim with love and simple pleasures. A vegetable and flower garden in the yard. Children to love on and a partnership that remains full of fun, trust and respect for each other.

Three years married, 14 and half years together. It won't be long til we have been together half our lives! That seems just so crazy.
So today we will eat strawberries and ice-cream in the evening sun, a simple celebration of togetherness. No need for fancy restaurants, lavish gifts or fanfare.
Just us. Together.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Handmade Christmas

This year I have been rather organised for Christmas. With baby due on the first of January the last thing I wanted to be doing was rushing around shopping/making things in the final weeks of pregnancy. So in early November I spent an evening writing out a list of who I wanted to give gifts and then perused Pinterest for ideas on what I could possibly craft.

A few hours later I had a few pages outlining all that needed to be done in time for December the 25th.

After completing the list of people and crafts it was just a matter of hunting down supplies; both in the cupboards and with a trip to the craft store. Online shopping has meant minimal time at the actual shops...a true win when you have an active toddler as a constant companion.

It felt rather over the top having lists and wrapping presents in November however it has made for a relaxed December. It is wonderful to have all presents sent to my international family and friends. Most of the parcels and cards have been sent out those who don't live in Auckland too.

Mr. Fox has been rather amused by the early Christmas elf activity. My sewing machine and knitting needles have been busy every nap
time and evening. Items are being ticked off the lists and it looks like perhaps I can wrap the last presents this weekend. A little Christmas baking to be done closer to Christmas and this elf can put her feet up.

I have of course squeezed in some crafting for baby too. A few wraps whipped up with the over locker; extra big and stretchy. Made from cotton jersey in the cutest prints. Perfect for a summer babe. A stack of bibs for both my big girl and baby are complete too.

Light Summer wraps for baby and gifting. Soft cotton dishcloths.

Dribble bibs and regular bibs. A few with Christmas prints too!
 A tiny little jacket of soft wool has been sewn for baby in fabrics carefully stashed by my Mum. These fabrics must have been particularly special to Mum as they were on the very top of her fabric cupboard. No doubt tucked away with a project in mind for her future grand babies.

There is something so difficult but comforting crafting for my little ones using fabrics and wool that she had set aside to use. I tend to always create multiples so as to tuck away gifts for when my sister has her children. Such a tender thought to be wrapping up littlies in my Mum's intended crafting goodness. Oh how much she is missed.

The pattern is free to print; Molly's sketchbook felted wool baby jacket. It only takes a few hours from start to finish and would be a delightful gift to receive. I have another three cut out waiting to be sewn up after the festive season. This combination of fabrics is scrumptious and pretty gender neutral.
Baby jacket for under the tree.

My favourite project ticked off the sewing checklist has been a child size dressing gown. Mae has been asking for her own but I had been unable to find one I liked. Goodness knows why it has taken me so long to realise it would be better just to make one myself.

 I had enough toweling fabric and a beautiful navy owl cotton print to create a toddler size gown. I used the Purl Soho Kids Robe pattern. A surprisingly easy and fast project. Hopefully Mae will be a cosy wee girl next winter.

Finished dressing gown for chilly mornings.
 Many a few hours were spent stitching an embroidered hoop for my dear friend Larissa. Someone who appreciates a tartan and floral combo.  I loved every minute of my time spent on this project. Crafting without a pattern is my preferred crafting style. I let the fabrics inspire the thread colours and let the work evolve. It has been well received by my friend who is a clever crafter herself. There is just enough fabric scraps to make a smaller version for myself.

Floral and tartan hoop.

With lists shrinking and Christmas rolling round fast I am looking forward to finishing up some projects from the year. That green sweet pea cardigan just needs sleeves and the ends woven in. Depending on when the baby arrives it may just be completed in time to be under the tree for Miss Mae.

There is the hexagon crochet blanket that has been in the works for years now calling out to be done in 2017. And with friends expecting babies next year I'm sure a few new projects will be dreamt up too.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Autumn in the Hawkes Bay

You will have to excuse the fact that I am playing catch up here on the blog. There are quite a few posts that I never got round to writing. This space is so perfect for recording family holidays, it's amazing how many details get forgotten otherwise.

Back in May we flew down to the Hawkes Bay for a long weekend with our sweet cousins; Emma and Roman. It was a chance to hang out properly and explore a new part of the North Island. We purposely chose to go in Autumn hoping to catch the leaves turning colour. Luckily the weather was perfect; cool and crisp but brilliantly sunshiny.

It was Mothers Day here in New Zealand that weekend. We had not long found out that I was expecting again and wanted to celebrate this new little life and my darling girl too. Becoming a Mum has been life changing in almost every way and to acknowledge the wonderful privilege it is to be a parent is special.

That said it is bittersweet day too after losing my own Mum in 2014. I try to remember and celebrate her on Mothers Day (and everyday) rather than getting caught up in grief. I hope to share stories with Mae of her Nana on future Mothers Days and perhaps think of a little tradition to do together to honour her.

We decided on visiting Birdwoods that Sunday. A beautiful place to explore. We ended up taking a few hours there enjoying the gorgeous garden and sculptures. There is even an old fashioned sweet shop for those with a nostalgic sweet tooth. Mae loved the open spaces and her doting Aunt and Uncle. 
Mothers Day with family
Look Daddy, fish!

As the temperature cooled we ventured up to Te Mata Peak, up a long and winding road. We arrived just on sunset, perfect for Emma to do a spot of photography. The peak is scattered with rocks and the views are spectacular. Dusky purples and pinks faded to blue as sun disappeared.

Te Mata Peak, Mothers Day 2016

My everything. Mr. Fox and his girl.
The days went by quickly, as they always seem to when on holiday. We enjoyed the local Farmers Market, oh how I wished I had more room in my bag for some of the tasty treats there. Toby had to return to Auckland a day early due to work commitments. It was not quite right to be on holiday without him.

Having never been to Napier before I was keen to check out the Art Deco architecture. Emma and Roman were keen for a winery lunch. We spent a lovely morning wandering along the waterfront and had a quick trip around the aquarium. It was quite something to see the sculpture of Pania too. It has been on my list for so many years. I was expecting her to be larger in real life but she is nevertheless just as beautiful as I had imagined.

Aunty Emma and Uncle Roman

Pania, so excited to see this beauty in real life.
Emma does photography as a hobby and was keen to get some photos of Miss Mae. So after a yummy lunch at Mission Estate Winery the camera was whipped out. There were quite a few giggles as Mae was quick on her feet and ready to run. Emma took some beautiful images that we can cherish. Oh how lucky are we to have such talent in the family.

I really must get a few framed. It is incredible how much my wee girl has grown and changed in the time since May.  Our time away was wonderful we are really keen to go back there for a bit longer next time. It reminded me so much of Central Otago. Hopefully in a few years we will venture back and we must also plan another weekend away with Emma and Roman too.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Our winter escape to Australia

Way back in the middle of winter Mae and I flew to Australia. Our first trip to South Australia.There my sweet sister has settled her heart on a patch of land and an Aussie guy. 

For five hours we flew across the ocean to Adelaide. My wee girl was so very good; thrilled by the novelty of unlimited TV on her very own screen! That a rather bulging carry on bag filled with new toys and art supplies...and snacks...all the snacks.

In flight entertainment
We arrived at the airport weary but so very happy to see Mary. With the time difference it was nearing bedtime for Mae despite it being mid afternoon. We spent the afternoon at IKEA, such fun to browse the toys and kids furniture before heading back for a quiet evening in the motel.

It is a long drive for a busy toddler from the city of Adelaide to Booleroo Centre where Mary lives. We filled the car with groceries and set out hoping for the little one to nap the majority of three our trip. There of course was a bit of fussing from cublet who was none to pleased to be strapped into a car seat after her plane ride the previous day. Thank goodness for a phone loaded up with childrens' music!

There had been rain recently so the normally golden, dusty countryside was lush and green. A sweet reprieve after the city. The highways turned to sealed roads which gave way to red dirt roads; bumpy and slick after the downpours. It was wonderful to turn into the driveway and finally see the place I had heard so much about.  The house resting near a large Gum tree and creek.

The landscape is so very vast and flat. Such a stark contrast to the scenes I am used to here in New Zealand. Equally as wild and free but just so big. I couldn't get over how big the sky felt when uninterrupted by mountains and bush.  The soil is burnt orange and the birdsong raucous.Yet inside my sister's house it felt like home.

She has spent many hours painting and decorating. Her home is warm and inviting. There is muted pastels with a mix of vintage and modern. Calm, sweet and just so beautiful. A place to build a lifetime of memories.

There are plans for a garden and there are signs of progress every way you turn. I am looking forward to seeing backyard fill with flowers and vegetables. For their fruit trees to grow tall and bear fruit. Most of all I look forward to spending time there with the sweet couple watching our families grow. Reunited every so often despite living so far apart. My children getting to experience rural Australia; a huge contrast to their own urban Kiwi upbringing.

Exploring a 'cave' with Aunty Mary

Oh that winter light

We spent mornings waking slowly, sipping on hot drinks and huddling by the fire. The wind was cold and frost sparkled in the rising sun each morning. We planned our our days adventures and savoured being in each others company.

Sisters separated by the Tasman Sea always have much to talk about. Little Mae enjoyed playing with toys her Aunty had collected for her. Her Uncle Casey works at night so we tried to speak in hushed tones but little toddlers aren't always great at this! When he awoke she greeted him with great enthusiasm "Uncle Cakey". It's fun to see their bond grow.

In the afternoons we ventured out to explore the local areas; Magnetic Hill, Orroroo, Melrose, Port Germein and Port Augusta. One afternoon we explored some of the Mount Remarkable National Park. 

We saw many Kangaroo and 'big ducks' as Mae called the Emus. Mae delighted in the bumpy 4WD trip and yelled with joy as we jolted over bumps. Such a place of beauty, I could see how this place has gained my sister's affection and heart. 

Aunty and niece

Beach fun
We have already begun planning our next trip to South Australia. This time Mr. Fox will come too and of course the new baby too. Despite the trip being many months away I am looking forward to returning with much anticipation.

To get to know the area a little more and to spend more time with Mary, Casey and his family. Miss Mae will be three by then and it is wonderful to imagine that she might actually form memories of her Australian family and travels. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All in a flurry

When my morning sickness faded the nesting instinct took over with intensity. I think my mind and body were so relieved to be feeling energetic and well again. It was clear the house needed a good clean and spruce up. Floors have been scrubbed, walls have been wiped down....anything that could be washed has been through the machine, hung out on the clothesline and back. Our wee spare room has had another purge as we make way for our new little family member.

Sweet little garments drying
It was a pure delight to throw open the windows and let the Spring breeze cleanse the house. As was opening up the boxes of carefully stored baby clothes and linens. All the memories of the newborn phase rushing back swiftly. The tiny items waving like bunting on the line outside a promise of the joy to come. The frantic preparations have slowed to a more gentle pace.

There are Christmas presents to be made and wrapped. The festive shopping I have mostly completed as I really don't feel like joining the masses while in the last few weeks of pregnancy. I have plans to make a Christmas Stocking for the new baby (just in case of an early entrance) and to sew a soft woollen jacket in the palest shade of blue. I am keen to put up the Christmas decorations and tree in the coming days.

A few bibs for Christmas and the new babe.

A small scare a couple of weeks ago led to being monitored in hospital for a few hours. However all has settled again. The midwife has given strict instructions to rest up and do less physically. I'm sure the garden won't wait for me but a few weeds won't harm the vegetables.  I am grateful to have the skills to craft away the pre-birth jitters while on imposed rest.

Miss Mae is very glad to have her Mummy back playing outside with her and goodness it is so very wonderful to feel well enough to do so. We have made up for lost time and spent many happy hours at the park and in the garden together. She is my happy little sidekick in the kitchen and loves to mix and 'chop' ingredients. It brings me so much contentment having her alongside me throughout the day and I'm curious to see how she adjusts to the role of 'big sister' when the time comes.

I have many blog posts floating around my head and would love to do a few 'catch up' posts however time will tell if these fade into the ether or make on to here. In the meantime I'll keep on crafting while my girl sleeps.

Tiny bees to adorn little jackets.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A quiet moment....

My beloved is half way home from across the world. The car is warm while the rain pours down and soft snores from the back create a gentle tempo. A quiet moment to relax for this mummy. Tired from a few nights of broken sleep....molar teeth emerging through red, swollen gums having been waking my wee girl. 

This is our third attempt to run errands this week and the heavy traffic made for a slow trip. An early nap for the a tired babe was inevitable really. And so I wait; thinking I should really keep a craft project in the car for such moments or perhaps have a few podcasts loaded onto my phone. Alas I don't so instead I'll embrace the moment spending a little time writing up posts for the blog. 

The tiny babe in my belly knocks about. Kicks and rolls getting stronger with each passing day. The sweetest feeling. Today is Thursday and my darling is coming home. All is well in my little world.

Monday, August 22, 2016

How fast they grow..........

Nearly two; how on earth can my darling baby girl be nearly two? This thought interrupts my thoughts often during the day. It seems like a mere few weeks ago that we gathered to celebrate her first trip around the sun and yet it is less than a month til we mark her second year.

With Mummy and Aunty Mary on a recent trip to South Australia

Admiring Natures majesty on a walk near Piha
Time is such a fickle thing: stretching endlessly out in front but racing by day by day. Our girl is changing fast, a wild and wonderful toddler. Talking up a storm. She is naturally joyous and so fearless. Happiest outdoors and exploring. We are pleased that Winter is fading into Spring.

"I down Mumma" ...loves to be upside down
The past few months have seen her stretch her independence; sleeping in the cot but with a rail inside of the high side. She resists naps despite still needing them desperately. It is funny to hear her mischief and songs over the monitor she gradually relents to idea of resting. She runs ahead on walks eager to explore and is moving up a level in her swimming classes (graduating from an Angelfish to a Seahorse!).

New words bubble over one another in rush to tell her stories. Stringing together and forming sentences. Continually surprising us with all she knows; numbers, shapes, animals, feelings and colours. We could read her 100 books a day and it wouldn't be enough. Scrapbooks fill up fast with vibrant drawings and toys are put to bed/woken up over and over. Oh what fun she has.
Sneaky ride in the cart
Her Daddy is adored above all else and it is with wonderful excitement that he is spotted at the gate each evening. Makes my heart burst with all the love at the sight of them together. They wrestle and play 'tunnels' under the blankets. He can make her giggle so easily. 

Kelly Tarltons Aquarium

Late night lights exhibition on Daddy's Birthday Eve

There is so much more I could write here as she grows; perhaps though it is the bright spirit she has I want to capture. Just like any other parent I am in awe of my child's effervescence and complexity. So it is with a full heart I will make lists and plan for a small party to celebrate Miss Mae's birthday.

First play in her new sandpit

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A new little fox to join our den................

It's been quiet here in this space.....my mind has been writing posts that my fingers never typed. Since I last blogged we were surprised to find out we were expecting right after our miscarriage. This news arrived in the midst of us processing the fact the miscarriage had been due to a partial molar pregnancy. Something neither Mr. Fox or I had ever heard of. It will mean closer monitoring/testing during and after any future pregnancies to rule out complications. 

The first Snowflake and sweet violets

We crossed our fingers and the extra scans all looked well. We made it to the magic 12 weeks only to find out that the Nuchal Translucency Screening Combined Results showed baby was at high risk of genetic problems.
An amniocentesis was booked for 17weeks and tried our best to remain hopeful. The first amniocentesis failed as they couldn't break the membranes and obtain a sample. A long week later we had a successful amniocentesis.The worry was exhausting for us and our families. 

 Two days later we got the wonderful news that baby is clear of the genetic conditions. It was an incredible weight lifted and at nearly 19 weeks along we could finally start dreaming of our little one arriving! We are still floating on cloud nine at this wonderful news.

Little vignette to celebrate our baby
My bump is growing and we are over halfway now. Our due date is New Years Day! This pregnancy has been really tough. My morning sickness has been hard to cope with and there have been many days of lying on the couch while Miss Mae plays beside me. A few times it has been really terrible and recently I spent a couple nights in hospital for hyperemesis and dehydration.
Thankfully with new medications I am back on my feet again. Taking it easy, enjoying time the winter sunshine and daydreaming of this little ones face. Oh how sweet it is to await this babes arrival. 

A flannel backed knitted blanket recently completed

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pushing through

For the first time in a few months I pushed aside excuses, tiredness, weather and all the other stuff that has been in the way of me exercising. My head has been fighting the craving to just get out there and move.

All that said the main hurdle has been my commitment/motivation. Slowly exercise slid down the priority list. Perhaps the miscarriage knocked me more than I would like to admit. And perhaps broken sleep wore me down. I always knew I just needed to put on my shoes and break through the mental barrier.

Flowering Camellia 
So this morning I did. Despite the wind and a toddler who didn't really feel like heading outdoors. I mustered up the enthusiasm and we walked/jogged around a local park. Throwing in some squats/lunges for good measure. We giggled and jumped, said hello to passing people and dogs. Little miss spotted at least 3 buses and 5 trucks. We admired the diggers and soaked up some Vitamin D.

Of course I feel better, just like I knew I would. The past few months were hard and that my body needed time to heal so I'm not gonna beat myself up for slacking off for a bit. I guess I just wanted to document how good it feels to have been out and sweated just for the sake of it. To stretch out my limbs and let the wind blow away the cobwebs.

I hope that you are enjoying your day and get the chance to move.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Celebrating Someone Special

Mr Fox's family have been here the past few weeks as we celebrated his Mum's 70th Birthday.  It was wonderful to be able to spoil her for a whole week. She is a very special and treasured person in our family. Mae adores her as much as we do.

Before the Birthday dinner at the Viaduct.  Toby, Mae, Grandma Ann and Veronica

The days flew by with meals out and trips to the Aquarium, Butterfly Creek and a special High Tea in Devonport. Ann's sister flew up from Christchurch.  Along with her lovely partner and daughter we were able to spring a couple of surprises, including a cake. It's not easy to surprise Toby's Mum!

The Birthday Girl and her surprise cake

Selecting hats for High Tea

We made a day trip down to the Waitomo Caves a few hours drive South of Auckland. A brilliant day out. The cave tour ending with a boat ride through the glow worms was incredible; magical really as the tour guide sang beautiful Waiatas into the inky darkness.

Mae was in awe of the caves....when we entered she kept repeating "di-di" her word for dinosaur. It wasn't hard to imagine a dinosaur lurking in such an ancient space. In addition to all the adventures we had it was lots of fun just all being together. 

Grandad Kevin, Grandma Ann, Veronica, Toby and Mae. Just outside the glow worm caves in Waitomo.

Miss Mae thought it was rather great to have so many people to entertain. It was the first time she had met her Aunty Veronica and they became firm buddies. I'm afraid it will be quite a shock for her when it is just her and I come next week! Oh how she will miss them all. 

More interested in a baby chick than this gorgeous bunny!

Grandma Ann and Mae watching the Chinchillas

The second week Mr. Fox's Dad arrived to spend time with us before Veronica headed home to Istanbul, Turkey. We were able to squeeze in a bush walk while the sun shone. The rain has set in today; a perfect excuse to catch up on the neglected chores and blog!

Thursday, April 7, 2016


For the first time in a long while the lounge is quiet and still. The little girl sleeps while her Daddy has evening out. And I have an evening to myself. The quietness is not lonely but welcome. The Autumn evening is cool after a bright fresh day and the lamp in the corner casts a warm glow across the floor.

Paint is drying on the fence outside beside the winter seedlings nestled in the vegetable garden. Our local possum has not yet scampered across the roof and the cicada song is ever quietening as the days grow cooler.

Tomorrow Mr. Fox's sister arrives from her home in Turkey and the day after his Mum and partner. The house will be full of voices and laughter; the evenings will be for stories. Tonight is the breath in before the busy two weeks we have planned.

This evening I am reminded of one of my favourite songs; Lullaby by Liam Finn. The lyrics are so sweet and resonate with my soul more deeply now I am a mother.

Try and get some rest
Try and get some sleep
All these roads will take you to me

Try to slow your heart
Try and clear your head
Night is just the day giving in

A sandman parade
All on their way to encompass you
Here I will stay
Though miles away I can protect you

Try and get some rest
Try and get some sleep
All these roads will take you to me

Try and slow your heart
Try and clear your head
Night is just the day breathing in

A sandman parade
All on their way to encompass you
Here I will stay
Though miles away I can protect you                   Lullaby, Liam Finn

Recent Sunrise over our sleepy neighbourhood
Wishing you all a moment of quiet this week.