29 December 2009

Spoilt for choice

We've been able to take a total back seat to photographing our holiday this year, as our ace photographer-in-residence Uncle Nic has been trying out his new digital SLR. I think you'll agree some of the photos we have are MAGIC!

Nic has a real keen eye for a great photo and is considering making it more than just a hobby. We think he has a real emerging talent! A man of many talents, given he also pretty much singlehandedly built Mum and Dad's house (pictured in some of the photos) before he headed over to Australia 3 years ago. He recently finished a bible college course at Oxford Falls CCC in Sydney, and is now biding his time working full-time in a bathroom showroom till August when he plans to head to London both to work and follow the call of God on his life. He initially plans to help out part-time in the London church, before going further afield into Europe, possibly to Switzerland or the Netherlands, depending on where opportunities arise. In the meantime, we've really enjoyed hanging out with him the past 2 Christmases we've had here at mum and dad's!

Back to the holiday though.....although the pictures speak for themselves, the highlights so far have been:
  • Thankfully a very speedy trip north for Mark & Noah on Christmas Eve - leaving Wellington 6am and arriving at 1pm, a great effort considering the traffic on the roads
  • Fantastic weather on Christmas Day - the best in a decade according to the weatherman
  • Football, gridiron, waterfights and kiteflying - making the most of the huge outdoor space at Nana & Poppa's
  • Noah gaining confidence on his new balance bike - 4 days of practice until proficient and speedy. Yesterday he must have ridden nearly a km on his own around the roads
  • Lots of BBQ's, beers and bubbly consumed - although Poppa is still cringing at the thought of the dent in the ceiling due to one particularly effervescent bubbly!
  • The boys - Mark, Nic and Sam have enjoyed many a night playing cricket, American football, golf and FIFA football on the Wii
  • Mylo content to enjoy the buzz and hubbub being amongst the extended family - chewing and grabbing onto everything, particularly enjoying the wrapping on Christmas Day
So many photos to choose from that I've split them into three slideshows:

Outdoors Fun


Me and My Bike

Other Holiday Fun

24 December 2009

The Miracle of Life

Lately I have been given cause to reflect on how our journeys into this world are as unique and individual as the personalities we develop over time.

The night I was in early labour with Mylo, we had our dear friends Shannon & Guy over for a night in, complete with fish n chips and rugby on the TV. They headed off home about 9.30pm with the expectation that we might call in the middle of the night to come and look after Noah. Shannon then kindly returned at 3.30am after I put the SOS call out to her, allowing us to head off to the hospital, where Mylo was born just over an hour later at 5am.

Although we try and catch up regularly, last Friday was the first opportunity we had to sit down and have dinner together since Mylo was born. Shannon and I had both joked via text earlier in the week about the prospect of this sending her into labour too (their first baby due yesterday, Wednesday 23rd December). After a tasty BBQ dinner, we were relaxing around the dinner table about 9pm when out of nowhere Shannon's waters broke. As they didn't break forcefully, she was left to question at the time whether this was in fact what had happened. Nevertheless, we all thought it a good idea that they headed home at this point, home being just a short 5-minute drive away.

I thought of Shannon & Guy during the night when I was up feeding Mylo, but then left it till the respectable hour of 7.30am to text to see how their night had progressed. To be honest, I was fully expecting that they would still be at home, possibly in the stages of early labour. To my surprise and delight, a few minutes later I received a text back to say that Maia Rose St Clair had been born at 12.30am on Saturday 19 December - only 3 hours after Shannon's waters had broken. What an incredible first labour - 3 hours! And they came home just a few hours after the birth - wow, big kudos to you all! I have to admit that I have already been to visit twice since then, and it is just so lovely to see Shannon & Guy as parents, and wonderful that they can celebrate their first Christmas together with their little bundle of joy.

Let us not forget that we celebrate another miracle of life tomorrow, the birth of Jesus. The fact that the living God came to Earth and experienced the limatations of humanity from birth as a baby, should always be a source of amazement and wonder for us. Not to be forgotten amongst the tinsel and reindeer, presents and Christmas pudding. For without this glorious event, there would be no reason to celebrate.

21 December 2009

Gingerbread and Games

Last Wednesday I braved having both boys at home for the whole day for the first time. The timing was perfect in some ways as Mylo had his 3-month jabs the day before, he obliged with a 3-hour morning sleep (unheard of!) so that Noah and I could have great fun making and decorating gingerbread. Not quite the traditional gingerbread men though, as we only had cat and aeroplane cookie cutters!

Noah is going through some real sensory exploration of late, and he can frequently be heard asking: 'Can I taste it?' or 'Can I smell it?', so there was a good deal of flour (yuck!), butter and sugar (OK I get that!) consumed before we had even made the dough. I did draw the line at him trying baking soda and ground ginger though! After the dough was made, we had to refrigerate it for half an hour (till 8.45am). Whilst waiting for the half hour to pass, we spent some time learning about how slow the minute hand on the clock moves, coming back every few minutes to see that it had moved from the 4 to the 5, 5 to the 6 etc. I think it was the longest half an hour Noah had ever had to enudure!

Then we baked the gingerbread and ate one still hot from the oven with our morning coffee/fluffy. Mmmm! Whilst waiting for the gingerbread to cool, we had some fun making a ramp and tunnel out of a box, played football outside, and lay on the ground imagining what shapes the clouds zooming overhead were.

My chief taster covered in flour!

The decorating was again another learning experience, as we chose blue and red food colouring for the gingerbread, which meant we could also get purple too! Noah helped putting the smarties on, although I think it was very much 'one for the gingerbread, one for my mouth'!

After Noah's nap, I had to hustle both boys out the door to Noah's first dental nurse appointment. We had practiced what was going to happen (i.e. keeping a nice wide open mouth and not being concerned about things being poked and prodded) in the bath, so Noah sat very still and obligingly for the nurse. His teeth are looking good (no holes), but she did say he has a bit of an overbite (as do I), and asked if Noah sucked anything at night....hmmm 2 monkeys ever since he was about 4 months old?! Since the visit, we have been making a concerted effort to put George the monkey x 2 to bed on Noah's little couch in his room beside his bed rather than having them in the bed with him. He has coped very well with the transition, although has been wanting to cuddle/suck them more during the day, and has woken up a bit upset in the morning wanting them. And since he has always stayed in his bed till we come in to get him, I think he has thought he can't get out of bed to get them. Bless. So we might have to put one George at the end of the bed so he can greet him in the morning and have cuddles...and then we still get an extra half an hour or so sleep!

Once we'd departed the dental nurse with a stamp on each hand, we dropped in on my friend Tanya and her two girls for an hour or so to round out our first official M.N.M day together. Tiring, but fun!

19 December 2009

Three Months

Another milestone down. Mylo has reached the 3-month mark with not a lot of fuss, apart from those first 6 weeks where some fussing is pretty inevitable! More recently, he has become a very cruisy, happy wee soul who mostly just seems to fit in with what the rest of the family are doing.

Here's a few recent snapshots and statistics:
  • Weight - 5.46kg (Noah was 5.44kg at same age)
  • Height - 60cm (Noah was 61.5cm)
  • Day sleeps - mostly 45 mins, occasionally 1.5 hour naps during day but mostly goes off to sleep unassisted (yay!)
  • Night sleep - usually a 6-8 hour stretch (7.30pm till 2-3am), although we have had a couple of 10 hour stretches which was rather nice for Mum!
  • Likes to chew on his fingers, smile, gurgle and he's trying out all sorts of movements and noises with his mouth which is funny to watch
  • Starting to grab toys on his play gym, easily moves his head from side to side to follow what's going on around him, and likes being up on his change table so he can see us moving around
  • Can roll from tummy to back already and is pretty good with 'tummy time'
  • Mum still breastfeeding, with one bottle of expressed milk/formula before bed where he will drink up to 180ml

All in all, a delightful wee boy! We are now looking forward to see how he develops and grows over the next three months. Thank you God for the gift of Mylo, it is truly a blessing to have him in our family.

13 December 2009

Mummy & son time

As Mylo settles into better routines with naps and gradually longer gaps between feeding, I've enjoyed picking Noah up early a few afternoons the past two weeks.

One afternoon we headed to the recently re-opened City Art Gallery to take advantage of the free entry they offer every 2nd Wednesday to view Yayoi Kusama's incredible, fantastical Mirrored Years exhibition.

You can't actually take photos in the exhibition but I found a few on the Internet of some of the more interesting rooms in the exhibition. I loved the ultraviolet lounge with multi-coloured dots, and the juxtaposed black room with yellow dots opposite the yellow room with black dots. The last room we saw is one of Kusama's most impressive and certainly most immersive pieces at her exhibition. It's called 'fireflies on the water'.

This piece is actually a dark, square room containing mirrors on all four walls, ceiling and water on the floor. Many small coloured lights hang from the ceiling representing fireflies. The lights are ofcourse mirrored everywhere around you to infinity, it's an awesome experience to even just stand and blankly gaze around. Due to its popularity, there is a 'one-in, one-out' policy and you only have 30 seconds or so to take it all in before the door opens and it's the next person's turn.

A couple of days later, the three of us headed off to the zoo for the afternoon. With Mylo in the stroller and keeping an eye on Noah walking around, there wasn't any time to take photos on this visit. However, we enjoyed the new African village complete with goats and chickens that you can actually touch, and we only missed the opening of the zoo's new interactive animal hospital 'The Nest' (see website article) by a few days. But this means we'll just have to go back again soon to check it out!

Today, Noah and I ventured downtown to Wellington to check out the Kirkcaldie and Stains window displays and Christmas shop. It was the first Mummy & Noah outing in a long time, and the 2 hours we had together were very precious. First we checked out the giant Christmas tree and waterfall in 'Pigeon Park', then were entertained by the various bears in the Kirks window displays. We then headed up to the Kirks Christmas shop where we happened upon Santa's grotto. I asked Noah if he wanted to wait in line to see Santa (which he did patiently for ten minutes). However, his stage fright got the better of him and he was a bit dumbstruck when he had his moment with Santa, and he wouldn't let me take a photo of them together. He did manage to take a couple of lollies for the road though!

After a spot of Christmas shopping in Borders bookshop, I treated Noah to a soft serve icecream in Burger King before we headed home after a thoroughly enjoyable mother and son outing! Must do it more often.

And just to end, a couple of recent pics of Noah worth sharing

How grown up does our boy look? (3 going on 13!)

And we're still having coloured bath fun (this was as black as we could get mixing blue/red)

Parties and more parties

Tis the season to have parties. Kid's Christmas parties, work functions, birthday parties, you name it, they're all happening!

Wednesday was 'Dress Up' day at daycare, starting with the letter 'S'. Noah decided to go as a soldier, Rambo style, and we had fun putting together a costume for him to wear! Other children came as soccer players, sunshine, superhero, Spiderman, sheep etc. What fun!

Friday was Noah's daycare Christmas party, and we enjoyed a BBQ lunch before the kids performed a short concert. Then the big man in the red suit showed up with presents for all the children who were extremely excited to see him . I'm not sure they recognised him as one of the husbands of the teachers there, and there was a lot of jostling for position to see who could sit the closest to him as the presents were handed out.

We couldn't resist taking a wee video clip of the concert. The last 2 songs are fairly recognisable as Jingle Bells and We Wish you a Merry Christmas, but the first two are quite clever, and may be a little hard to make out, so here are the words:

A Jumbo Jet
A jumbo jet, a jumbo jet
A heli-heli copter and a jumbo jet
Concorde, Concorde
A heli-heli copter and a jumbo jet

A Ford escort, a Ford escort,
A mini mini mini and a Ford escort
Ferarri, Ferarri
A mini mini mini and a Ford escort

Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the Christmas Tree
Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the tree
Down came the snow and made poor Incy freeze (check out the kids 'freezing' - cute!)
Out came the sun and melted all the snow
So Incy Wincy Spider had another go!

Yesterday Noah and his friends also had a fun filled afternoon at Karori Pool for Aarnav's 4th birthday. As it's often just Mark and Noah who head to the pool for their regular Sunday afternoon swim, the camera usually stays at home. So I made the most of being along for the ride yesterday to get some great shots of the kids and espeically Noah, who spent most of the time in mid-air. As you can see, there's nothing wrong with his water confidence which is great.

Mylo sat quietly in his car seat for the duration, not making a peep, just taking all the noise and action in. He even dropped off to sleep quite happily for some of the time - little treasure!

06 December 2009

Daddy's Toes

Genetics never cease to amaze me. That we are all so individual made up of such complex structures of DNA is amazing enough in itself. But to see the workings of genetics in real life is so much more wondrous than the teachings of any fifth form science lesson.

In our family, genetics is no more apparent than when you look at all of our feet. Noah and Mylo have definitely inherited their daddy's feet. It is evident from the shape of their big toes, the ability to curl all their toes under and the way they can move their little toes independently, none of which I can do!

And here's the proof!

Noah, Daddy and Mylo's Feet - spot the similar big toes

Daddy & Noah curling their toes, and Mylo's independent little toe (just like his Daddy's).
Not the easiest trying to photograph Mylo's toes as he never stops moving them!

As you can see Mummy's feet are quite different!

There were two things I remember from fifth form genetics, one of which was eye colour, you know - how 2 brown eyes could make blue eyes, but 2 blue eyes could also only make blue. With Mark's brown eyes and my blue, the chances of the boys having brown eyes is far stronger - apparently 70%, and Noah's eyes turned a lovely light brown at about eight months old. Mylo's eyes are still dark blue, but as they look just like Noah's did at the same age, I'm sure I'll end up with two beautiful brown-eyed boys :-)

The other genetic example we learnt was tongue-rolling. Tongue rolling is the dominant gene, but I can't roll mine, and I don't think Noah can roll his either, well I've never seen him do it anyway. But I have already seen Mylo on several occasions poke his tongue out in such a way that I'm sure he will be able to.

The fact that our DNA is on one hand so unique to us as individuals, and yet there is also so much predetermined by our parents' genetic make-up is fascinating. I envisage God getting a big mixing bowl out when we're each conceived and mixing in the different aspects that make us who we are - in this case Dad's feet and eyes, and Mum's sticky-out ears - so sorry about that one boys - and there will be no photo evidence of that inheritance!

The bible says in Psalm 139:13-14

"For you created my innermost being,
you knit me together in my mother's womb
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made"

And I thank you, awesome God for choosing to put together the exact combination of cells that created me as I am. Rather than dwell on all the things that I would change given half the chance, instead today I will celebrate my uniqueness. I will celebrate the part my uniqueness has had to play in creating one half of the two beautiful children you have blessed us with.

A Baby Shower for modern times

Yesterday we were blessed with gorgeous weather for Shannon & Guy's baby brunch. Shannon wasn't too keen on the idea of a traditional baby shower, not only because it is a little exclusive for the partner, but also as her girl friends are all in very different circles and don't really know each other well. So instead they came up with the idea of a baby brunch at their house, a drop-in for an hour or four kind-of affair that worked really well.

We had every intention of getting there a little earlier but in the end Mylo's sleep patterns prevented us from getting there much before midday (start time was officially 9.30). Not that it mattered as most people had come and gone or were leaving as we turned up so we got to hang out more with Shannon & Guy than we otherwise might have. I had some fun earlier in the week picking up a few bits and pieces for them, which wrapped in green and red looked very festive and apt for their Christmas baby (due on the 23rd ). I also enjoyed getting the creative juices flowing at the last minute to create a homemade card (nappy brain had set in during the week and I had completely forgotten about a card!). Anyway, I think the overall result was rather cute.


I've told Shannon that it would be great if baby could come early so we can meet him or her, as we head off up north to the family for about 10-days on the 23rd. I think that they would also quite like baby to be early too so Guy can take advantage of time off from running their store Vast Interiors with the statutory holidays that fall over that time. But of course baby gets to have the final say on that one!

Noah and Mark enjoyed a spot of cricket and tennis in their backyard while we were there. And earlier in the day at home they'd put up the football goals Mark received as a leaving gift from APX (way back in January), and had a great kick around together.



Mark also took Noah down to the cricket for an hour this afternoon, and we finished off the stunning Welllington day with homemade burgers on the barbie. Bliss.

01 December 2009

Baby Magnet

Just returned from 3 days away in Hamilton with Nana & Poppa, and I must admit I had forgotten that being out and about with a young baby is an instant magnet for people to want to strike up a conversation...it's rather nice!

First there was the lovely lady at Wellington Airport who stayed behind to help me organise myself as a last-minute poo incident saw a quick change required before boarding the plane so as not to upset my fellow travellers' noses on the journey to Auckland. She even kindly disposed of the nappy for me whilst I gathered up Mylo and all our gear as we made a dash for boarding to be last on the plane! I think she must have felt a little sorry for me as she had overheard me telling Mark on the phone that the cash machine at the airport had just failed to hand out the $50 I had drawn out. After my $200 parking fine the other week, it would seem that me and money were not best friends at the moment. However, as I have subsequently been let off the parking fine after a lengthy letter to the council, now it just remains to try and get the $50 out of the bank!

Then there were my seat mates on the plane (both there and back) who kindly offered to do anything they could to help us get settled including holding Mylo so I could master the seatbelts for us both. It seems everyone has a story to tell you when you have a baby in tow. The young girl in my row told me how her brother had screamed all the way home from the UK when they were returning from holiday when she was little (eek I thought, but luckily the drone of the plane's engine soon sent Mylo to dreamland for the duration of the flight). Then there was the air steward who told me that at age 2 his favourite past-time was chasing his father's chooks around the backyard, I wonder what the chickens thought of that?!

And I can't forget my lovely friend Andrea who drove across Auckland to come and spend a quick half an hour with me at the airport to meet Mylo while we caught up on each other's news before I had to board the plane home.

In this respect, it's almost a shame babies have to ever grow up as these encounters and conversations are such a unique part of life with a very young one, and definitely dwindle away as they grow older.

The time itself at Nana and Poppa's was very relaxing, well as much as it ever can be with a 10-week old, and apart from indulging in a lovely 30-minute massage at a beauty therapy clinic kindly shouted by Nana, I didn't venture too far from the house.

I also must extol the virtues of my trusty sling (from Dulce & Zoet) which I would be completely lost without. This wonderful piece of material has been my right arm since Mylo was born, it's perfect for travelling as it takes up no space at all, weighs nothing and Mylo loves being all snuggled up inside close to me. As well as using it whenever I take him out in the car rather than trying to carry around an unwieldy and ungainly car seat, it's also great for his last nap of the day when he would otherwise protest quite loudly about being shut away in his room. Then, I just pop him in the sling and wander round the house doing little chores and I have even been known to eat dinner with him curled up and sleeping soundly inside. I used it quite a bit with Noah too, and it's going to be a sad day when Mylo eventually grows out of it!



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