Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Anniversary My Love

3 years

Lots of friends
Lots of laughter
Lots of tears
Lots of geocaches
7 birthdays
4 homes
4 house-buddies
4 trips to Auckland
3 Jobs
2 cars (1 favourite)
2 sponsored children
2 international holidays
2 big concerts
2 pairs of glasses
1 Church
1 student loan
1 horse tram
1 daughter

My love, thank you for being my husband, friend, adventurer and encourager. Life is long and goes too quickly, I'm thrilled that I picked someone so special to share it with in good times and in bad. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dear Baby, 5 Month Update

This month MiniMoo learnt to roll over, first from her back to her tummy in both directions. Since then she has managed once from the tummy to her back while I wasn't watching. She can swivel around in circles and can even push herself forward - not in a real crawl, but if I leave her to her own devices she can manage about a meter away from where I place her. We moved her into her cot this month and now that she's moving about I find her in many crazy positions, fast asleep. (and laying in the opposite way that I placed her)

She is super attached to us and doesn't often liked to be held by anyone else. Not even the grandies. She will drop her bottom lip while her eyes are searching for her Mama or Papa. Shortly after she will wimper and then cry until she is back in our arms. It fills me with so much joy to know that she likes us, and I love it when her little wet hands grip around my neck and her hot face burrows into my chest. Sweet peace.

She giggled for the first time this month. We were in an evening service at our church while our pastor was preaching. She was beginning to get restless so I turned her towards me and started kissing her open palms. She let out a little squeel of delight, Mr Moo and I looked at each other and then she did it. A full on beautiful giggle. One of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard. We left our worlds and celebrated, while the rest of the church paused to take note of what happened (we were rather excited and loud). I took her into the parents room where she continued to giggle for me, my own private little concert. And since then, up until yesterday (some 11 days later) we haven't heard a single chuckle since. We have been working hard! Finally, the other day, I tipped her upside down and she giggled with surprise! AHhhh!! The best sound!

We started solids at 4.5 months and so far everything she has tried she seems to really enjoy. I thought perhaps it might help her spilling, but it didn't (I was also urged by her doctor to start as soon as I felt comfortable to because she has had a few problems with her digestive system). MiniMoo is a happy chucker, but from feed to feed she is constantly throwing up milk and at 4.5 months, on a day where it was everywhere and I had had enough, I bought some rice cereal in the groceries that night with high hopes. Oh well, life goes on, and she seems to love the food anyway. We have tried rice cereal, avocado, pumpkin, carrot, parsnip.

Our Maori Princess had a Plunket appointment this week where she was weighed and measured and is perfectly on track. We have been away with her twice in the last month and both times were cruisey as! She goes anywhere and everywhere still and I am so grateful for that :)

Dearest Milla Lala,

You have started to push yourself forward on the floor, not a real crawl, but real enough that you can move forward. Everyday I urge you to explore new things and new ways of living.  I am one of your greatest encouragers, "Go LaLa! Go!" I shout. I want so much for you to learn and grow and become a big strong girl, but at the same time I struggle because you are growing. Right before my very eyes. I look back on photos and I realise how little you were and I realise how big you are now and I think "where did that time go?" Honestly my love, you are a pleasure! You are the coolest little baby around, I think we are so blessed to have you, and also so lucky to have such a wonderful you!

I always hear of Mums saying to their teenagers "Well... I gave birth to you and changed your dirty nappy!" Its true, I did, but in the future I may also say "I was covered in your spew!" I'm sure one day I'll look back and laugh and be surprised with just how much spew I clean up everyday. At least its yours!

You have started out to be such a great eater and I am thrilled! You must take after your papa! So far you seem to have loved everything that has come close to your mouth. Rice cereal, pumpkin, parsnip, carrot, avocado. Long may it continue!

And my goodness, your first giggle is possibly the sweetest most beautiful sound I have ever heard. From now on I am praying our home is a place of laughter for you and your siblings to grow up in. Hearing your joy brings me so much joy and peace for myself. Bliss!

I love you Baby Girl. Completely.

Love, Mama xxx x

[[Before you ask, that beautiful wool blanket was knitted by my Mama. Along with almost everything else of the wool variety that you see on MiniMoo]]

[[Next time I have a child I will take photos with something in the frame to compare their size to so you can see they are growing. Lesson learned.]]

Friday, January 27, 2012

Broccoli and Pesto In The Kitchen

Fettuccine Broccoli and Pesto Pasta

YUM! This whole trying something new each week is really achievable and SO satisfying. I'm a meal planner, like, to the ingredient. I only buy whatever I need in the groceries and I know ahead of time what we'll be having for dinner, what I need to prepare, defrost etc. We have a tight budget and I'm not very confident in the kitchen so I have found this works best for me. Otherwise I wonder down the supermarket aisles in a stressed daze not knowing what to buy, and often buy far more than we need. Planning these new meals is really easy, I'm using Jaime Olivers Food Ministry book and each week I flick through and find something new to try. Mostly he uses heaps of ingredients, so I simplify it (so I'm sure the meals could be much nicer) but it means its easier and cheaper to cook :)

This week I made Fettuccine, (was supposed to Tagliatelle?) and I added broccoli, potato slices, pesto and parmesan cheese. I've never made a pasta like this and it was a really nice change from my usual spag bol'. 

The photos are terrible because we ate it at 10pm at night. I know. Pasta at 10, shocking. But we were hungry and I had everything ready to go. I've also noticed that Mr Moo specifically comments about every new meal I've made. Usually he just says "thanks", but with my new ones he always says how much he likes it - A definite motivation to keep feeding my family with new and exciting things! 

Best of all, this only took about 20 minutes from start to eat. Bonus! I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of broccoli. It's usually in most of our meals during the week because Mr Moo eats everything and I cook for him, but I usually dont include it in my meal. So I didn't actually have bits of it in mine, but what I did eat was delish! :)

This year I'm trying to learn more about the food in my kitchen. Each week I'm making a new recipe and this one was taken from Jaime Olivers Ministry of Food (with a few short cuts here and there). Click here to see what else is In My Kitchen

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Surprising Sisterhood Response

All of you blogging ladies are a wonderful part of my life. I feel blessed to be surrounded by your inspiring and wise words, your creativity, your different ways of parenting, your honesty, and most of all your generosity. Every. Single. Day.

You bless me in ways you will probably never know, because you are abundant and you overflow.

Incase you missed it, I put out a call to our Sisterhood. I had this crazy mental idea that perhaps we could use some of that over flow and intentionally bless others. I know!

I posted on my blog very very late one night when I should have been sleeping. I finally fell asleep excited and nervous. What had I started? What if I couldn't follow through? What if something *amazing* happened because of it? I woke up the following morning and was overwhelmed by emails in my inbox. Curious people, people with big hearts, ladies offering their love and talents, others offering their finances. Gossssh.

I already had in mind a little plan, and I emailed a few other bloggers specifically. Not bloggers who read my musings here, or even know of me. I'm sure I was a surprise in their inbox too. A surprise asking for something. That's the best kind of surprise, right?? Well, I was surprised by the response. So many surprises!!

Who the heck knew that if you put it out there - people would respond!??! Perhaps most people are generous, but most just need an opportunity? Anyway. The point is that we are currently in the sneaky process of blessing someone and I wanted to publicly thank those who joint the sisterhood, and I wanted to send out another invite:

Thank you! And would you like to join us?

You can email me for more details to help out a fellow sister (sophieslim@moo2.co.nz). We are all a community here, a big creative, generous, bursting at the seams with abundance, family who looks after each other. And hey, if you don't consider yourself in that overflowing category and you think you could use some help too, why not email me as well? We'll see what the sisterhood can come up with! :)

My new lesson; You never know until you ask. And there is no shame in asking.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weddings on the Wild Westcoast

I'm so proud of my cousin tying the Knot after so many years! We had a wonderful weekend on the wild Westcoast (Take that year 11 english!) celebrating with the family! What a beautiful wedding filled with a few tears, lots of laughter and a whole lot of sun!

The imtimate ceremony was in their own backyard (cooool!) and the reception was on top of a cliff a few hundred meters down the road. A huge marquee was erected and the views were simply stunning! Off that edge it seriously just goes straight down. Scary and amazing!

We took lots and lots of photos. And I had red lipstick on. Very very red. I felt like a movie star!

While we were waiting for the speeches we travelled down the cliff with the buggy (off roading!) It was a perilis journey but we made it there safely with the help of some strong muscles! My goodness, the Westcoast is simply breathtaking. I say it often and I'll say it again, you haven't seen New Zealand if you haven't been to the Coast.

All of this, right below our feet. How could you not want to come and visit?

We loved our weekend away and it was nice to see everyone so shortly after we had just left.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Loving and Hope

On that fateful night when I raised my hand to declare "I have nothing left to lose" I was doing so because I needed something. Anything. Anything must be better than nothing, I thought.

Now I have something. Actually, I have so much. It seems like in the last few years without me realising, I have gained everything.

Having everything naturally causes me to want to hold on tighter. To grasp what I have and to never let go. My faith, my Church, my Husband, my Daughter. Life. I have life, that is a celebration!! I cannot fear it. Fear is no way to live. Fear is not life. Infact, my real life starts after this one. 

Kirsty commented on my post and said that "motherhood is a slow journey of letting go" She couldn't be more right.

Being a Christian has taught me that I should hold on to what God gives me, but not so tightly he can't do anything with it, and not so losely that I drop it.

Last week here in Canterbury a teenager lost her life in a tragedy. You might have seen it in the news. She belonged to our Church and on Sunday her whole family came to our evening service to meet the people who she so often spoke about. Her family were celebrating her. It grieved me to see their tears for their little girl, gone too soon, but it also brought me hope to know that life is here to live.

And for us, this life is not the end. We just pray that our little girl will experience that same hope

Friday, January 20, 2012

Knowing and Feeling - Losing a Love

For the first time in my life I feel as if I have something to lose and that makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Years ago in a church service the preacher said "what have you got left to lose?" And I said nothing, so I put up my hand in response and I gained everything.  Then I knew God and now I know God, and I know that I am saved. I know I wont lose that.

A few years later I married the man I loved and life taught me that life is short, and although we are married on earth some day we will leave each other. I'm not sure if we are married in heaven but I believe Heaven is all about God (not each other). So although it would be terribly horrible and I would go through a whole lot of grief and life would be super hard, I began to prepare myself for one day being without my husband. Whether that was on earth or in heaven. But I know that ultimately I wont lose him.

Then, my beautiful daughter came into this world and my heart was captured. I love her to teeny tiny pieces. I love the miracle of life, how she came to be here, the perfectness of Gods timing. I love her little giggles, her warm hands wrapped around my neck in the unseen hours of the night, her breath against my chest, her long eyelashes, her utter joy over the smallest things, her wimpering cry in a strangers arms. I love who she is and who she has turned us into. And for the first time, I am terrified of life, accidents, evil. For the first time I feel needed and responsible and I can't bear the thought of losing my little one, or her loo]sing me.

I feel the weight of responsibility to teach her about this world and life with in it. To teach her about the saving power of Jesus and to watch her grow into a beautiful strong woman with her own values and passions. I want to be around to do that.

I know, I have a husband. But we are adults, we have wonderful memories already, I know that deep down we would survive (does that sound completely horrible??) But my baby girl growing up without her parents? Or us losing our first born? My stomach is in knots.

Perhaps these feelings pass, or maybe these are the feelings people feel when they say "being a parent is like having your heart walk around outside your body".

Am I just a worry-wort? A scardy-cat? Mr Moo tells me I can't live like this, and he is right. I am my daughters Mother, chosen By God, who I thank everyday. But she is His and He will look after her for us. I trust that and know that. Really, I do.

But knowing it and feeling it are two different things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tikka Masala In The Kitchen

This weeks Tikka Masala wasn't too different - I've made indian before (but never like this!). When I first started out in the kitchen it was my favourite meal - meat, sauce and rice. Perfect. No veges, no funny bits. I knew what to expect and I got it. Unfortunately, I've only ever made indian out of a bottle. Fry up some chicken, dump in the sauce, heat it up and serve. 

I branched out a little from that with this dish. I added a curry paste, coriander (!), diced tomatoes and coconut milk. So exotic! This time around instead of cooking the meat right through and adding the sauce I prepared the sauce, chucked in the meat and then finished off the sauce. I allowed it to simmer for 20 more minutes with the chicken cooking slowly inside the sauce. The meat was so deliciously tender. I've never made curry like that before and I'll definitely be doing it like that from now on. 

I also made popadums! I love them, so salty and crunchy. Yum yum pigs bum! They were pretty cheap ($3 for a box of ten) I just brushed them in oil and chucked them in the microwave for 40 seconds. You can deep fry them, but I didn't have enough oil for that. A nice fancy touch if you're trying to impress some friends or score some wife points from the husband (no such luck this time around I'm afraid)

This year I'm trying to learn more about the food in my kitchen. Each week I'm making a new recipe and this one was taken from Jaime Olivers Ministry of Food (with a few short cuts here and there). Click here to see what else is In My Kitchen

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Grills under the Ozone

I hate having a messy home but a bench full of dishes, food on the floor and chairs scattered everywhere is a great problem to have when 12 of your greatest friends joined you for a barbecue at yours.

We were given a barbecue from an old neighbour and fellow youth pastor a few years ago. It lacked a gas bottle so it sat amongst the elements and spiders for a year. You see, we have never been the barbecue-y types. Mr Moo doesn't enter the kitchen and isn't the hunter gather type. He would much rather dial for a pizza (I guess thats still gathering?). I never thought about the ol' outside grill. I just figured it wasn't his cup of tea. This year we were given a gas bottle and had it filled in prep for our birth.

It turns out, barbecueing is in the blood. In the genetics. Fire. Primal instincts. Whatever. We have had 4 grill ups in the last 2 weeks. We are unstoppable. The best part? I'm not cooking. Sure, I don't get off scott free. I still prepare the food, do the dishes and all that jazz. But its really lovely to sit back and gaze at my handsome man with an oversized slice spatula thing in his grasp.

Tonight he almost served us raw chicken. We have a lot to learn about the grill but it feels nice to be entering another realm of adulthood. Many, many fond childhood memories were made around a barbecue. Its nice to be doing the same.

Oh, and we filled up the birth pool too and had a paddle. It was stinking hot here underneath the ozone hole. I never ended up giving birth in it - can I still call it a birth pool? Or is it just a pool now?

[Thank you to all those who have taken up the call to look after the Sisterhood. You are all wonderful and I feel infinitely blessed. This is what blogging is about]

The Sisterhood

In all of our excess we have been to the petrol station twice in the last week to fill up our [new] car. The same station, different staff. The first visit I sat in the passenger seat while Graeme filled up and ran inside to pay. A member of the staff hobbled infront of our car, he was using a walking crutch and had $20 clutch tightly in his palm. Hobbling one-tenth of Graeme's speed. I wept. A man with such a disability being forced to work on the forecourt. It seemed unjust, unfair. Didn't he have anyone to take care of him? He should be home, resting. Who knows what is wrong with him!? I was angry at the world.

The second incident, I went inside to pay. The man behind the counter was missing an arm. I wept. I didn't feel pity this time, instead I felt a surge of joy. These people are being hired. I know. It sounds so crude of me to think that. But that is what I thought.

It seems that ever since my pregnancy I can't help but notice and feel.

Last week I had a phone call from my Mother to inform me that my brother had not eaten in days. He had no money. Nothing. And he was starving. Did I mention that he had the flu? He did. I wept. I've never seen him so happy to see me as I rushed to his home with groceries in hand.

As I sit here in bed, a little bit sleep deprived and high on emotions and hormones I am furious at the world. How is it that my own brother could live in such poverty (my own freaking brother!??)!? I was angry. And then I thought, if its happening in my own family, here in first world New Zealand, it must be happening in your circles too? (or is it just me?)

I am realising more and more how blessed I am how much excess I live in.

Aren't we blogging sisters? Aren't we in excess of gifts and talents and time and energy and creativity? Aren't we able to help others?

I figure there will be at least 2 types of people reading this.

1) You feel angry like me and want to do something about it. Perhaps you could fufill a need for a fellow Sister?

2) You are in need of your Sisters help, or you know of someone who is.

Maybe its financial. Maybe its not. Maybe you just need a break from the kids, or you just really need that phone bill paid, or you really need a date with your Man.

I don't know who and I don't know how, but perhaps in my wildest dreams this could be a forum to open up and share some gifts. To be honest I don't know what we can achieve, but I know that we wont achieve anything without putting it out there.

You are my Sisterhood. You're invited. Come and be blessed or come and lend a hand. Isn't that what we're here for?

Email me. sophieslim@moo2.co.nz

I really want to hear from you. About anything. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Big Girl Bed

Another mile stone, another tear. My little girl is growing up.

She is 4 months old and we have just transferred her out of her bassinet in our room into her own and her own cot. Breaks ma heart.

I didn't really even give it thought, I just plonked her in there for her next nap and she did fine. I know some Mums ease their babies into sleeping in such a big space on their own. I guess she is used to sleeping in our bed, on our bed, on someone elses bed, in her Pepi Pod (free for Christchurch babies), in her basinet, that I just figured she'd be used to it.

One day after these photos were taken she perfected her roll, so now we need to wedge her in so she will stay on her back. Otherwise she gets stuck on her tummy and cry's the house down. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fajitas In The Kitchen

Recently inspired to get back into the kitchen and try some new things I have been thumbing through Jaime Olivers Ministry of Food

My cooking is bland because when it comes down to it I don't actually know how to cook. I can follow a recipe but I dont know what most foods taste like or what goes with what. Everything I make is mostly stodgey, definitely bland and unoriginal. Its usually meat, sauce and a few vegetables.

This week I made delicious fajitas. We ate them like a salad and I used a taco seasoning, salsa, peppers and gaucamole. I branched out, did something different. And... it made me feel alive. I'm still thinking back to that delicious meal and looking forward to what I will make this week. There was no pasta or potatoes. We even ate outside in the sun on our new outdoor setting that was a Christmas gift! 


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winter Leaf

Unlike last Christmas, this year Graeme and I decided to buy each other a gift. To make it easy and to take the stress out of it, we gave each other a dollar amount to aim for and gave each other a small list of somethings we might like for that amount. I ended up giving Graeme a BluRay of Taylor Swift in concert (he loves it. We haven't stopped watching it since!) and Graeme gave me these earrings with a few other bits and pieces.

I. Freakin. Love. Them.

image taken from Silverlight Felt shop

I'm not much of an earring wearer. They are just a part of jewellery I forget, but I have been wearing these most days since Christmas. I originally saw them in a sponsored post on Dee's blog. I loved them so much, didn't win them, and stored them in my memory bank. When I came to writing my gift wish list they were the first thing I googled. I'm so happy Graeme ordered them and I opened them on Christmas day! And SO affordable! They make a perfect gift.

Go have a look at their felt shop and choose something totally affordable and pretty for yourself! :) (They also have another similar shop on Felt called Whiteleaf.)

You may think that this is a sponsored post, but it isn't. Silverlight have no idea I'm writing this, but I will be sending them an email to thank them so much for my new earrings I opened on Christmas day :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dear Baby, 4 Month Update

I have teared up many times this week thinking of the leaps and bounds our little girl had made in the last month. All of a sudden she doesn't seem like a little new born any more, she has personality, and that scares me a little. I know from now everything is just going to go far too fast and I just need to enjoy every moment.

Camilla is very attached to us so if an unfamilar person holds and and she can't see us she will drop her bottom lip and wimper "maumm maumm", and if she's really terrified she will screw her face up and scream, real big girl tears falling down her cheeks. As soon as she is back into our arms she relax's and is completely fine. Its pretty sweet, and wonderful to know that she actually likes us and wants to be around us. A lot of people comment and say they can see we have a deep bond already. I put this down to many things. Home birth, weeks of skin to skin, lots of attention and physical touch, baby wearing, breastfeeding on demand, just to name a few.

She is a really good talker now, and when she gets on a roll she will have quite the conversation. At this stage I think her voice is quite softly spoken, but I guess that can change.

All of a sudden she is so much more co-ordinated and flexible. She can easily find things with her hands, grip them and pick them up, and she spends a lot of time holding onto her knees or her feet now. She hasn't lifted them up to her mouth but that will come with time.

The other day I was sitting with her and I suddenly noticed how much fluffy hair she has secretly grown recently!! She was born with a lot of dark hair all over her head but it quickly fell out only leaving a small mullet at the back. Suddenly, she has fluffy hair on top that is so much longer than what it was. The difference probably wouldn't be noticeable to the untrained eye, but it certainly is to me.

I guess the big news is that at 4 months and 2 days (on December 30th) Camilla rolled over for the very first time. It happened while we were having a lay in on our holiday. Camilla was wide awake on her back next to me talking away while I was dozing and trying to get a few more minutes of sleep. I opened my eyes and Camilla was on her side looking and me and then very very slowly she rolled over right onto her tummy!! She did it again the next day, and since then we haven't been able to keep her in the same spot! She is ready to move, and once again, my heart broke. My baby, the big girl. * sniff *

This week we also moved her into her cot, but I guess I should write about that in her 5 month update, as this is being posted a little late.

Dearest Camilla, 

You wont remember these months in years to come but I know that they are so important and they will help to shape you into the person you are when you are reading these. Right now you love us as much as we love you - completely. You only like to be held by your Dad or myself, and when someone else holds you, you cry and wimper until you are back in our arms. Its so wonderful to know that you love us.  

Right now in our city there are a lot of earth quakes and I really fear for your safety. I know that you completely rely on us and I promise we will do whatever we can to keep you safe and out of harms way. We've been living with them for a year and a half now and just when we thought they were over and we could move on they have started again. I really hope you wont remember them and they finish bothering us soon. 

Maybe that's why I was so scared when you learnt to roll over all by yourself last week. I knew I could no longer pop you down in a safe place and know that you would stay there. You are growing up and I know one day I wont be able to protect you like I can now. One day you will make your own decisions and have you own way of doing things. Your father and I plan to prepare you for that day, but that doesn't make it any easier. You are our little princess. Our little baby. And you are growing up far too quickly. 

When you rolled over for the first time I was proud too. Scared, but mostly proud. You figured it out all by yourself! You are so strong and inquisitive. We were having a little sleep in while we were on holiday in Westport with Nana and Grandad. You were wide awake and talking away to yourself next to me. I happened to open my eyes and you were on your side and in slow motion rolled over from your back to your tummy. I was super excited and woke your Dad up. We both clapped and cheered and covered you in kisses. You haven't stopped rolling since!!

Thank you for being you.

Love, Maumm (sometimes when you cry for us it sounds like you're saying Mum :) )

pretty photos by my Mama

Friday, January 6, 2012

What's Ahead

I'm one for goals but not one for resolutions. I like to think that I am the sort of person who regularly examines herself and makes changes appropriately, not just on January 1st. That's why when the New Year rolled around I hadn't given a single thought to what my resolutions would be. I'm on a life time journey of change and adjusting. Don't like something? Change it. Love something? Do it more.

Thats me.

2011 was one of the best and worst years. It involved the hardest work and the greatest reward I have ever had and it involved the greatest fear and greatest celebrations I have ever been involved in. Unlike other years I will remember Twenty Eleven. It has been written down and earmarked permanently in my history book of life.

I expect Twenty Twelve to be even more. Challenging... Joyful... Testing... Celebratory... Learned. This marks the beginning of those years that go far too fast.

This is why I am so pleased I have a blog. Often I get to the end of a season in my life and I wonder why I blog. Do I share too much with the unknown world? Show too many personal photos of family members? Some times I get to the end of those seasons I feel that what I do is selfish. I take all of this time out of my day to write about myself. I think that what I have to say is important and perhaps someone else might want to read it. Selfish, selfish selfish.

Then I look like I am now at what lays ahead and I look behind me at the chaos, except that thanks to this blog I can make sense of it; I can look back and pinpoint memories, emotions, inspiration and milestones. Thanks to this blog I have lasting memories and a record of our lives.

Lately I have been feeling that I am spending too much wasted time on the internet. Lingering on my facebook home page reading about dinners, rivalries, beliefs. I am reading blogs I really am not interested in and always searching for new ones. Minutes and sometimes hours slip away. Not that I have all the time in the world, but 5 minutes here and there throughout the day hinders so many things. I will be focussed on something else while I walk past my laptop, I stop to check my blog updates, 5 minutes has past, Camilla wakes up, and then I have no time for what I was originally doing.

I'm not saying I do this all the time but I have noticed that it happens and its not something I'm happy with.

If anything, this is perhaps a resolution... a new way of doing life. I would like to be far more efficient with my time so that when I do have some spare time I can enjoy it not waste it. I would like to check all blog updates once a day and leave it at that. I mention the blogging because I do not want to give it up entirely, I love it and it is a huge blessing to our lives, but I would like to be more controlled with my time on it and use it wisely. I would like to reduce my facebook numbers so I'm only reading what I want to read. I would like to think of a blog post and post it, not think about it for days only to not end up posting it. I would like to have my lap top away during the day so I am not tempted by it. I would like to use that time instead in catching up on home duties, spending time with our daughter, learning more about crochet and a whole lot of other crafts, spending time with friends and going out and about Christchurch.

This year I also want to get more creative in the kitchen. I love to bake but have only started to learn to cook since I've been married for 3 years. This last year my kitchen didn't produce anything interesting. I had terrible morning sickness until June so we only ate take out because I couldn't stomach cutting anything or being near the fridge, and then I had a newborn so it was quick throw together stodgy meals - my specialty. I am aiming to make one new recipe a week (or experiment with an old one). I was given Jaime Olivers Ministry of Food cook book and it has blown my mind. Already I have changed 2 meals this week to include oils and herbs - something I never ever use (I know.)

So. Thats my year. More quality time and more creativity.

What are you doing this year?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pantene Aqua Light Review

I have really thick, coarse hair. Every year I get it all chopped off, and as soon as I do I think "surely I can grow it long and actually do something with it?!" Then I grow it long for 11 months, can't do anything with it, and consider chopping it all off again. While its long its a pain in the bum to wash. I loathe washing my hair. Product gets stuck, it feels unclean all over again, drying it is a whole other can of beans. 

I tried out Pantene Aqua light, its actually for fine hair that gets bogged down by usual shampoos and conditioners, but I figured since mine gets bogged down too I'd give it ago!

The shampoo made my hair extra clean, probably a little tooo clean if you know what I mean. I definitely needed to follow on with a conditioner to tame it back down, and I was pleasantly surprised with the aqua lights effectiveness. It is supposed to leave no residue or weight. And. It didn't. TICK! It's supposed to break down really quickly in water so you dont have to spend ages washing it out. And it does! TICK!

image sourced from aqualight.pantene.com.au

image sourced from aqualight.pantene.com.au

I'll definitely be buying the conditioner again, but I wasn't so impressed with the shampoo. It made my thick hair feel very dry and even more coarse than usual. I washed my hair last night and the hubby said it smelt really nice too! This is definitely a hair specific product that can only be used on the right hair types, had I known this before hand I probably wouldn't have said yes to the review, but there ya go and here I am telling you about it.

Shampoo 200ml RRP $5.10 nz | Conditioner 350ml RRP $8.58 nz

This is a sponsored post. They sent me free product in return for an honest blog post review. Full disclosure.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Gone

My favourite posts from each month of 2011. A year in review.

While only a few weeks pregnant I enjoyed my lack of responsibility and abundant freedom that was available to us while sneakily writing about it on my blog while no one new of our little blessing. Our trip to Westport mentioned in the post was really us going over to tell my parents of our news. Hehe.

February was a slow month for me. We spent a lot of time in Auckland and without power or internet so I was unable to blog. I managed to get my social networking policies blogged about before our big earthquake. We were so lucky to have the first flight out of Christchurch after the quake (already pre booked) and escape up north for a leadership conference but our hearts belonged in our city with our families and friends who were struggling. It was an odd feeling. I wanted to be away but I wanted to be back. I still mourn and feel for those who have lost in the earthquakes. There are still people without working toilets and running water. Thankfully we are fully functional with all of our loved ones still around us (except for those who have sadly moved away).

Amongst the mess of the earthquakes and my emotions I forgot to mention here on the blog that I was with MiniMoo. I wrote this post about how much I loved her Daddy and for a very long time it remained in my "top 5 viewed posts" stats. Through this people realised that I was having a baby and I began to blog about her more regularly. It was really hard for me to make any sense of anything that was going on inside my head, let alone type it out and publish it.

We went to Brisbane in March for a prebaby holiday and to celebrate some family birthdays over there.  It was a really great time for Graeme and I. We love to travel but money usually restricts us. It was really great to get out of Christchurch again and escape the ongoing after shocks. I finally blogged about it in April in this post. 

My largest and most worked on blog post to date and also one of my top viewed posts, The Great Quakes. I finally make some chronological sense of whats happened.

Also, I had a shared baby shower with 2 of my favourite Mamas!

We moved into our new [rented] home after living with the inlaws for many months. We moved in with them when our lease expired, we found out we were pregnant, and I lost a job. It was a blessing living with them but it was also very hard. I desired our own space. We moved into a scummy area behind a security gate and the apartment was everything on our wants and needs list at the time. We've just done a reshuffle so now its no longer a 3 bedroom apartment. We turned the master bedroom into a very small lounge and will be using the old lounge as a sitting room and dining room. It means our bedroom is down next to Camillas when she moves into it and we can get our dining table out of storage and start using it! Hoorah!


We hosted a lot of parties and it snowed! The parties were for Camilla and also a midwinter dinner for members of our connect group from Church. (We hosted a fortnightly connect group for young married couples).

We ended up having two large snowfalls (large for Christchurch anyway) and it just seemed to add on to the abnormal-ness of the whole year. More time off work. More shovelling to be done. I loved having Graeme home from work as I neared the end of my pregnancy.

Of course, August was the birth month of our beautiful baby. Camilla has changed our lives completely and I feel like a whole different woman. I wrote about the birth later but this Welcome Post received so many hits. I wrote it the day after her birth, early in the morning, in the days when they just sleep and sleep and sleep. Throughout my pregnancy I wrote weekly updates from week 20. Week 37, written during August was the most popular one. In it I write about how someone asked me for a cigarette (what the heck is the world coming to??) and also I peed myself at a friends party. Beautiful huh.

We settled into life with a new born baby, we had a few sleeping issues but they were quickly resolved, and mostly we just loved and enjoyed our little precious. We spent hours with her skin to skin, we carried her, rocked her and shared our bed. It was a wonderful month of bonding and I am 100% sure we are still reaping the benefits. Camilla is so attached to us and gets very upset if she is held by someone else and I am not in sight. I wrote about Camillas birth in September and to date it is my highest viewed post.

Right at the end of the month I posted my very first Vlog (Video Log). Camilla had just started making little noises and I tried to get some captured on my webcam. Now she talks and talks and talks. Especially at 7am. Its really cute but some times I'm too tired to appreciate it. Here she is adorable. This is around the time that I started to actually get dressed properly too and take a little pride in my appearance after a long winter or preggo clothes and having a baby. PJs are much too comfortable. Note for the future - set money aside for nice clothes after a birth. Nothing fits anymore (either you've changed or you've stretched everything).

photo credit to Juliet

I went to a bloggy party with other awesome Christchurch bloggers. They have invited me to many things before, they are all so social and lovely, but I was (unusually) to shy and fear ful. I finally got over it, took another blogger and went along. It was so much fun! These ladies are all seriously lovely and I love keeping up with their blogs. I'm so happy I went in the end!!

A very slow blogging month, I was without a laptop for most of it as it was being fixed before my warrant ran out and we went on a 9 day holiday to Westport. My favourite post was definitely my Christmas update. I love love love Christmas. Can't wait for next years already!! In December we also hosted a car park party for our apartment complex which I didn't blog about. We have 30 apartments around us and quite a few people came, it was so awesome!!

Thank you 2011, you were probably the hardest year yet but the one with the biggest blessing. Thank you for bringing our daughter safely into this world and looking after us through destruction and trials. 

I got this review idea from Mama Kats Writers Workshop. Thanks Mama! I've been signed up for a while but this is my first completed prompt.

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