24 August 2009

Counting down...& fun in the meantime

The bump with 6 weeks to go

Well it really is starting to feel like we're getting closer and closer to Baby's arrival now, with somewhere in the region of 4-5 weeks to go. The time seems to be passing fast as our weeks have been full and the weekends even fuller, but at the same time we are trying to make the most of the time we have left as a family of three!

Last weekend we went up to Taranaki to visit GeeGee - it really was a flying visit, arriving Saturday lunchtime and leaving about 10.30am on the Sunday, so not even a 24-hour turn around. Normally this wouldn't have bothered us, but I in particular found the 10 or so hours of sitting in the car over those 2 days a bit uncomfortable as there's only so many positions you can contort a fairly pregnant body into in the front seat of the car. I know that GeeGee loved seeing us though, and she especially loved the hour or so she had with Noah on his own when Mark, Jackie and I popped out to the shops. When we got home, the evidence of what they had been up to was all over Noah's face (he'd found some chocolates we'd left out and gobbled up at least a couple before GeeGee realised what he was doing!). It was also a lovely chance for us all to hang out with Jackie and Noah really enjoyed her company in the backseat in between watching episode after episode of Little Einsteins on the mini DVD player!

Noah also greatly enjoyed the marble race game that GeeGee gave him for his birthday (picked out in advance by us a few weeks back and taken on the journey so that GeeGee could give it to him in person). We had a lot of fun each picking different colours and seeing who won the race, but I think equally as much fun was had seeing if we could get all the marbles going down the chutes in one go!

Fun in the Naki feeding the cat, and playing with marbles and bubbles. Not to be outdone by fun in boxes, a beautiful Highbury sunrise on Sunday and chilling with George and the Little Einsteins

Last week there also was a very nasty gastro bug at daycare, thankfully they managed to contain it on the under 3 side and none of the older children caught it, but it was sufficiently nasty that some of the younger children ended up in hospital with dehydration, and they even had to close that part of the centre down last Friday so commercial cleaners could go through and disinfect everything. Thank you Lord for keeping us safe from that sickness at this point!

The past weekend was also full to bursting with lots of different things, Sally & Olly dropped in for lunch and brought over a single bed they have kindly given us to make room for setting up their own nursery (Sally is due only 3 weeks after me with their first baby - a girl we think!). So Noah finally has a 'big-boy' bed, and we can put his other bed (still the cot with the sides off) down in the garage for a few months before it reappears for round 2 as a cot for the new arrival once he grows out of the bassinet! I also managed a much overdue haircut and then went out to a work pot luck dinner in the evening. Mark planted some strawberry plants in the garden...can't wait for this season's produce, the wineberry and raspberry plants have lots of new buds on them and we even have a few baby lemons on the tree - who would have thought it looking at the sticks and so little foliage it had this time last year! Noah got given a worm farm for his birthday so we used the opportunity of digging over some soil to start our farm with 6 or so wormies. Now we just have to make sure we give them just the right amount of food and water to keep them alive!

I went off to church on Sunday morning, and the boys went up to the park where Noah amazed Mark with wanting to go on the swings (higher, Daddy!) for a long time - he's never been into the swings at all before, but these days he surprises us on such a regular basis that I'm almost not surprised when I hear that he's revelling in previously untapped experiences....! Sunday afternoon we met up with a few daycare buddies at Karori Pool, and then George, Craig and Sophary came back to our place for fish n chips and the boys played happily together...even sharing a bath together before the family headed home about 8pm. Noah's turn will come on Thursday as he's going to go home with George for a playdate and dinner, all part of getting him used to the possibility of being picked up by Craig/Sophary and spending time at George's if it works out that way when baby decides to make his appearance.

This coming weekend, I have an all day church women's get-away conference on Saturday, Mark is out a couple of nights going to an international basketball game tomorrow and some drinks on Friday night, and then we have Brooke's (Becky/Jonny's wee girl) 1st birthday party Sunday afternoon, so plenty to keep us amused as another week passes by in a bit of a blur!

09 August 2009

And the birthday fun continues.....

Noah really has had the most exciting week of his life so far, being the centre of attention all week one way or another with all sorts of fun birthday experiences!

Monday afternoon we took some afternoon tea into daycare and spent about half an hour with the kids enjoying some mat-time. Mark got roped into reading all the kids a story when he accidentally sat in the teacher's chair, and then we sung some fun action songs including 'To fa ta fa'. Noah then got to go up the front and choose a song for all the kids to sing. He was so coy going up the front and shyly said 'Bob the Builder' but sang with great gusto and loved the fact that it was his special turn to choose the song. Then it was time to put the special birthday boy hat on, and sit in the 'king' throne at the head of the table. We all sang happy birthday whilst the cupcake came out with a candle on top, and then the kids dug into their Twisties, grapes and cupcakes together.

Tuesday night, Jackie came to stay so we could go to Harry Potter, and she thoroughly spoilt Noah bringing him gifts galore! He has especially enjoyed playing his new keyboard complete with microphone having all sorts of karaoke fun the rest of the week.

Friday lunchtime Nana and Poppa arrived from Hamilton and we picked Noah up early from daycare and came home for a relaxing afternoon. Noah enjoyed showing Nana how well he could put his Tigger & Pooh floor puzzle together with very little help. Nana & Poppa also brought Noah a very cool mini scooter for his birthday, and he managed to slowly maneouvre a lap around the coffee table which was quite impressive for a first time on it!

And then the preparation for the big 3rd birthday party began in earnest. Mark made the cake Friday night, and then it was all hands on deck to help on Saturday morning. We were a bit worried that our icing wouldn't be red enough (as the normal cochineal red colouring usually just goes pink), so we made a few frantic phone calls to a party place, Spotlight and Moore Wilsons in the morning to see if anyone had the 'red gel' icing recommended by lots of people on the Internet trying to get a true red colour. The lady at Moore Wilsons was most helpful and said the best thing she knew of was the 'Pillarbox Red' colouring which Mark had already fortuitously bought from New World earlier in the week. Phew...so we got to work and were pleasantly surprised at the colour that developed....definitely not too pink for 'Rocket' to look authentic! Although this was mostly a Markie masterpiece, I did help out making the engines, using a steady hand to do the blue icing on the windscreen, and creating the Little Einsteins figurines to go at the front of the cake. I think Mark was VERY relieved when it all turned out OK as all we had to go on was a few pictures on the Internet and had to make the rest up as we went along. Mark said he definitely wants to be the one to pick next year's cake, and didn't look too impressed when I reminded him he'll have not one, but TWO cakes to make in the space of about 6 weeks!

Noah had a great morning hanging out with Nana and Poppa, and as we raced around like crazy they spent time out in the garden taking turns to play 'hide the soldier' and enjoying a lovely mild and sunny Saturday outdoors, it really has felt like early spring these past few days.

We also made some chocolate crackles, cooked up some sausage rolls, and Mark had made some of his special 'Jamie Oliver' chocolate brownie a couple of nights before as well. It was a full on morning in the end, and we were only just finished in time to get going to the party! One of Noah's buddies arrived a little early which meant they could go off and play together on all the equipment leaving us adults to get everything prepared. The facility we went to (Club Physical gym in Kilbirnie) was awesome with heaps of climbing equipment, a ball pit and a bouncy castle....a definite winner with all the little ones and pretty reasonable too as you just take your own food along instead of paying for lots of fried junk food. There was plenty of space and we had the place to ourselves unlike the likes of Junglerama where you're fighting amongst the general masses and it can get very packed! Noah had about 9 of his daycare friends there with their parents, plus two of my close church friends came from Masterton and Plimmerton with their kiddies, and it was lovely to catch up for the first time in a few months!

Given how retiring Noah has been in the past in certain situations, it was just awesome for us as parents to see how confident and excited he was, revelling in his big day. We didn't see him for most of the party as he was far too busy running around having fun with his pals, and getting completely hot and sticky burning up lots energy! We had to stop him a few times to get him to strip off more layers of clothes as his little face turned more and more into a beetroot as the party wore on!

Then it was home to open a few presents, bath and bed as our little 'big' boy was completely exhausted by this time! He wasn't the only one, yesterday was a big day and after being on my feet the whole day it was very nice to relax with fish n chips last night, and then put my feet up for the evening whilst Poppa dozed on the couch, and Nana watched Jackie and Mark playing Sports Resort on the Wii.

This morning we relaxed with Nana & Poppa until we had to drop them back at the airport for their flight home...such a short but sweet visit. A little crazy to think that next time they visit in two month's time, there will be another little kidlet in the house! EEK! On the way home from the airport, we stopped in at the hospital so I could show Mark where he needs to go on the big day, and to also show Noah know where Mummy would be staying for a little bit when baby comes out! Then we got into a very deep and meaningful conversation with Noah on the way home about how the baby would come out....interesting! It started when he asked whether my tummy would crack for the baby to come out and we were trying to explain as best we could but think we just ended up digging ourselves into a bit of a hole....hmmm! Never really imagined I'd be having that kind of conversation with a 'just' 3-yr old! Anyway, Noah seems to be pretty relaxed about the fact the baby will be coming out soon and coming home to live with us, and we have always found the more we talk about things and prepare him for new situations the better he responds, so hopefully the same will apply with this!

We had a fun swim at Karori Pool with George and Phoebe this afternoon (well Daddy & Noah while I aquajogged). This has ended up being yet another crazy busy week, not helped by the pressure of trying to get the baby's room all set up so Nana & Poppa could see it all ready this weekend. But at least it's done now!

Next weekend we're heading up to the Naki for a quick visit, and taking Jackie along for the ride, so that will be fun and it will probably our last weekend away from Wellington for a wee while! Hopefully we can have a few quiet nights in this week before the weekend though. Sleep is starting to become a little more elusive in the early mornings as my bump grows which means I feel a little more tired at the end of each day, but we still don't seem to manage to get into bed much before 10pm no matter how hard we try! Oh well, guess getting used to less sleep is pretty good preparation for what lies ahead!

Apart from the obvious fun and entertainment we have all had watching Noah find such enjoyment in the various celebrations he has had this week, it has also been a chance for us as parents to reflect on the past 3 years. As spoilt as Noah has been with all his presents, we're so NOT about the gifts! For me, seeing the confidence and exuberance Noah has developed over the past few months as he has grown towards three has been such a joy. Although he can still have his moments of initial shyness in new situations, these are usually shortlived as soon as he finds his feet! Yesterday at 'his' party, he was on top form and there was also not even any shyness whatsoever with Nana & Poppa this weekend when they arrived as he dived right into conversation and interaction with them which was lovely to see.

Noah we are so proud of you, and you have brought us so much joy and pleasure these past three years. You will always be our treasured and much loved first born son in whom we delight.

02 August 2009

Our lil guy turns 3!

We have had an awesome couple of weekends, although the usual madness and busy as anything! The highlight of last weekend was our last minute decision to take Noah to see Ice Age. One of the daycare dads flicked an email round late on Friday asking if anyone was keen as he was taking his little girl. I had already made an executive decision that I thought it would be way too scary for Noah on the big screen, knowing how watching 'the grumpy lion' on Madagascar 2 and 'the bear' on Over The Hedge have freaked him out in the past. However, when most of the parents came back saying they had already taken their kiddies, we thought 'oh well, might as well give it a try!' especially as if he had friends to see it with, it might not be so bad! We realised quite late in the piece that it was going to be the 3D version and thought this could either be awesome OR a disaster. Anyway, off we went! I thought that at the least they might have kid and adult sized 3D glasses but no, they were one size fits all, and pretty big for a kid's head. Nonetheless, Noah was an absolute dream, apart from being a little scared in a couple of places (I must admit so was I!) where the big dinosaurs come after the animals, he was transfixed for the entire movie, helped along by a never ending supply of chippies, sandwich and some chocolate raspberry bullets. I think I have only ever seen one other movie in 3D and it really was quite awesome, even the pine trees in the first scene covered in snow looked so close you could have reached out and touched them!

Sunday I headed off to church, Mark and Noah had bacon & banana pancakes waiting for me when I got home from church, then I did a bit of painting of furniture for the baby's room whilst Mark started prepping the room itself before heading out for a short swim at the pool. This week, Noah has had another cold/cough but it hasn't really fazed him other than waking up earlier than usual, and he still made it into daycare every day (which surprised us a little given how barky his cough sounded overnight on Sunday).

I took in a tour of the new hospital facilities on Tuesday night, they are a vast improvement on the old delivery suite and postnatal units. Not only are the delivery rooms brand new and much bigger rooms (all 12 with spa baths rather than only 2 the old hospital had), the postnatal rooms are only a maximum of 2 beds rather than the horrible 4 bedded cubicles most women (including me!) have had to endure in the past. I do recall getting not a lot of sleep last time, not because Noah was up in the night crying because he was pretty sleepy those first couple of nights, but you could guarantee at least one of the other 3 babies in the room was taking a turn to cry throughout the night!

This week we have cracked on with the painting, the furniture is all done, Mark put the 2nd coat on the room yesterday (and just needs to finish off with a coat on the skirting now). We'll move all the furniture back in this week, and put up the canvases (I can't wait!) and take a photo or two. As Nana and Poppa are down next weekend, it was quite nice to have a goal in place to get it done before then, nothing like a deadline to get the motivation going!

Yesterday (Saturday) we went to our annual antenatal birthday party catch up - it was fun to see how much the kids had all grown and we realised that we hadn't seen some of the kids for the whole year since the last party. It was lovely to see a couple of the 2nd additions to the families who we hadn't met before, and I do hope to be able to rejoin in with the Friday afternoon coffee sessions that 3 of the girls and kids regularly do when I'm off on leave with bub. I took my first proper exercise walk in close to 3 weeks yesterday afternoon just a 2-3km walk around Kelburn, and although my foot held up extremely well, I can feel baby is sitting very low in my pelvis so it wasn't an entirely comfortable 40 odd minutes. Not sure that I can really push myself to the hour long up hill and down dale around Karori that I had been doing in the morning, and might have to resign myself to the fact that aquajogging is probably by far the best form of exercise on the joints for me to be doing from now on in until baby arrives....sigh....! I have been doing a lot of stretching in the early mornings too which seems to have helped my foot no end, and although I miss getting a really good cardio workout, I'm sure all the stretching and toning is also good for the body!

And the highlight of the blog (of course) is that today, Noah turned 3!

He has been showing us '3' on his fingers for a few weeks now, and I'm sure we have helped with the excitement and anticipation levels by telling him all week his birthday is on Sunday and that we were going to the zoo. This morning, I came down just after 7am to get Noah, and we went back upstairs and climbed into our bed (our regular weekend treat!). Noah's eyes lit up when he saw a few small packages on the bed, and when we said 'Happy Birthday Beautiful', his response was 'Thank you Mummy and Daddy'. After he had opened each present, we were again thanked and asked nicely 'Please may I open another one?'. His big present was his bike which is still a little on the big side for him but he will grow into it over time, and the thrill of the morning was a motorbike from Andrew (Mark's old boss), Nichola and Maddison which makes cool noises and does a wheelie. We have also had fun reading 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' a couple of times this morning.

After Daddy Bear, Mummy Bear and Noah Bear indulged in our usual chocolate porridge (another weekend treat - Uncle Toby's Milk Oaties with a little cocoa and golden syrup), we had a webcam with Grandma & Grandad before heading out the door to the zoo. We were delighted to catch a glimpse of the moreporks up high in the branches of the kiwi house (a new addition), and enjoyed seeing the baby chimp up close against the glass window. Then we headed to Floriditas to celebrate a brunch for Craig (George's dad) whose birthday was earlier in the week. Noah was in his element hanging out with George and Phoebe.

I somehow found myself at the end of the table amongst the 3 kids which was highly entertaining! At one point when the kids were jumping up to look in the large mirror behind our seat and falling down, pretending to be turtles burrowing into the seat and having all kinds of (loud) fun, I thought to myself that if we wound the clock back to 3-4 years ago, no doubt I'd have been sitting elsewhere in the cafe thinking about how 'noisy' those children were being, but instead I just loved seeing Noah interacting with his buddies, and Phoebe's mum and I were enjoying the 'slice of life' it gave us getting some insights as to the fun they must get up to on a daily basis at daycare!

Of late, I have also been keeping myself busy with contributing to 'Vessel' the magazine for the women of The Rock church. We are putting together the first edition of 2009 at fairly short notice in time for the women's getaway weekend at the end of August. I've had fun with the 'Zest for Life' theme, writing some poetry, contributing our 'Zesty' Lemon & Poppy Seed muffin receipe, and finding some links to uplifting stories and videos on the Internet. One which I really found moving on my search for material was the story of little Eliot. If you type in 'Ninety-nine balloons' onto YouTube or click on the link, you can watch this short and moving 6-minute video of Eliot's life.

We are really stretching out Noah's birthday with Nana & Poppa coming to visit next weekend, and have saved his birthday party for next Saturday afternoon so they can join us for the fun. Mark and I are also hoping to get along to Harry Potter 6 on Tuesday night as Jackie has agreed to babysit for us, might be the one and only 'couples movie night' we get before bubs arrives...less than 8 weeks to go and counting!

Here's a wee clip of Noah's thrown together birthday cupcake we did tonight in-lieu of the real thing next weekend.


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