Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Camilla Makes

Give camilla a cellotape dispenser, some paper and some felts and she'll be busy for hours.

When we are out and about, she muses out loud in the car as to what she can "create" when she gets home. She spends hours at her desk, every single day. 

She is determined, quiet, focussed and productive when she is creating. Not a lot can pull her out of her zone.


A fridge, with opening flap at the top and shelves to hold different flavoured milks; Carrot milk, strawberry milk, banana milk, coffee milk and a cup.

Watering can::



The creating continues...

Camilla: Aged 4.5

Friday, April 22, 2016

Big Girl Bedroom

Katie got her very own big girl bed this week! 

The first night was a write off, both of us actually forgot that getting kids to sleep in a bed takes some prep work. We just sort of put her in bed, said good night and turned off the light. Well, obviously that didn't work! 

The following nights we have been going through the routine, making it exciting, and letting her have ownership over her new bed (choosing her duvet etc). The next (and last) two nights she has slept soundly and I'm hoping that will continue for years to come! 

We really do have great sleepers! We have been blessed! 

Its so nice to creep into their room and watch them sleep side by side. Two sisters, it's so precious!

We have been saving credit card points and spent them on matching bed frames for the kids! Its so nice to be able to buy new things for our children. I get a lot of joy out of it! Life must be getting easier, because a few years ago there is no way that would have been possible.

Our third bedroom was being used as a spare room / craft / computer office / storage space in our home. It had no carpet and the floor boards had gaps and were freezing. You could actually feel the draft coming up through the spaces in the boards. Anyways. Two years later, we finally thought to ask the landlord to carpet it. And he did! The carpet was done this week and we moved the two girls in that night. They love sharing a room, and I love having a spare room, so it works well for everyone. This room has slightly more space than their previous one so we can squeeze two beds in. Although there is little room for anything else! 

In the mean time, the contents of our spare / everything room was dumped on the lounge floor. Luckily our kids don't get "into" things and I am able to chip away at finding a home for it. I'm eyeing up a wardrobe so that all of this stuff can be behind closed doors! Ack. This is what real life looks like! 

I really do hate moving! Bring on the day where we can live in a house for 10 years and not worry about tenancy agreements and landlord inspections! 

I'm off to tidy! Have a great weekend! x

Friday, April 15, 2016

What Life Was Like (A Little Red Scooter)

I didn't write about it much at the time, but I need to recall it now. What life was like back then... 2011-2014

When the children were smaller we were (and still are) a one car family.

My husband Graeme needed the car every day to get to work, and for the most part we (myself and the kids) didn't need one. Most things, our friends, church, shops, were within a reasonable walking distance. So most days we loaded up the pram and spent our days walking to and from.

When the kids were born I had some fantastic friends who would offer to come and pick me up for particular social occasions that were across town, which I deeply appreciated (you know who you are), but for most of it I did enjoy getting out into the fresh air. At the time I don't think I thought that, but looking back I can see that pounding the pavement was good for me.

We lived in a low income part of town. Kids loitered, men sat on porches smoking and staring, houses were burnt down and threatening dogs left to roam. I often felt scared for our safety and couldn't wait to move out.

It was normal for me to leave the house in the morning with the pram, and not return until dinner time.

Normal to buy only what groceries would fit on the handles of the pram.

Once after my first child was born, I walked 4.8km (I just google mapped it) to a friends home. She text when I was a few blocks away to say our coffee date wouldn't work anymore, and so I turned around and walked 4.8km home. I had had a baby only a few weeks earlier, and the 9.6km journey took days for my post-partum body to recover.

In my next pregnancy I walked to church for a play group, to the grocery store, to a friends house, and home, a 10km journey. When I got home, I had pains in my pregnant belly, my muscles ached and I feared I might go in to labour.

Some days I would wake up at 6am to breastfeed the baby, load the kids into the car and take my husband to work at 7am if I wanted the car for the day. He was more than happy to do this, but it put strain on our whole day. The kids had to eat dinner at 4.30pm, be in their PJs for pick up at 5pm and would often fall asleep on our way home, meaning they were up until 10pm as is the way with Kids and late naps or we would transfer them to bed as soon as we got home and Graeme would miss out on Dad Time. Often it wasn't worth the effort.

Later we moved homes, out of the rough neighbourhood and into a quiet suburban tree lined street where people washed their cars at the weekend. Suddenly, nothing was close by and our oldest had started Kindy and so everyday became a "drop daddy off at work" day. It was exhausting.

These were all normal events in our lives. We thought nothing of it, because that was how it had to be. But we dreamed of having another option. A scooter, we thought, seemed the cheapest. We watched Trade Me auctions for well on a year, some times bidding and praying that one would go cheap enough for us.

Until one day, Graeme bid on one, to hell with what it costed.

I remember pulling into the persons drive way to pick up the scooter. Transferring $1200 that we didn't really have at the time, that had taken what felt like forever to gather in our savings account. I felt anxious. Scared, almost, like we were wasting money. The rain washed over the windows, the children cried in the back seat from hunger and tiredness as we waited for Graeme to get back from his test drive.

"Are you sure??" I asked him.

"I think its good" He replied.

We drove home and the rain relented. He pulled up at the lights next to us, a big smile filling his whole face beneath that helmet. I snapped a photo to record the event on Instagram.

Don't get me wrong, life was happy back then, the photos recorded and shared tell me so anyway. We were content. But now from a new perspective I can see how much of a grind it was. Everyday, like scraping chalk on the concrete, it wore us down, although I never would have admitted that at the time. In hindsight, I don't know how we did it.

It was only one and half years ago that a little red scooter came into our lives but it changed everything from that moment on. The children are allowed to sleep until they are ready to wake, we drive (and still walk on fine days), we explore, visit friends homes and make spontaneous plans, and we spend our afternoons at home, playing without a deadline, dinner is cooked in its own time and our family enjoys a meal together. Graeme can help with the night time chores - readying the children for bed, reading books to them. There was time for none of that before.

As a woman, it has empowered me to be the woman I want to be; one who is free, who is not trapped.

In the morning I wake to the sound of the scooter roaring into life and speeding off down the driveway, often while it is still dark outside.

Half asleep, I smile to myself. My husband, ever loyal, off to work another day.

I feel beyond blessed.


They walk through my back door, one by one. Some early, some late, it does not matter to us.

As they walk in, without knocking, food is placed on my bench and the children run down the hallway to find their friends.

Women stand in my kitchen, joining conversation that is already thriving, talking above the boiling jug.

Laughter fills the space, as my heart connects with others. I take a breath and feel peace, placing the mugs out one by one in a row.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Autumn Memories

The warm autumn sun, reddening my cheeks and warming my forehead.

Wool wrapped around my body, but the sun warms my bones.

The sky so clear, so blue and fresh.

The leaves a deep green, turning to yellow and red.

These are the moments that fill my heart. That bring peace and life. These are the moments I want to remember.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Noho Marae 2016

Last weekend we took the 2 kids to our classroom where we are learning Te Reo Māori this year on Monday nights for a sleep over and learning time.

They had a ball, although drove me slightly crazy on the Saturday afternoon when we had just arrived. We went straight into learning, into a 2 hour class on comprehension where we actually had to listen and pay attention. Meanwhile, two girls were fighting over felt colours, banging each other on the head with pool noodles and sporadically screaming. Do you ever just think "why did I even bother?"

I'm glad we pushed through because we all ended up have a great time. The kids found their grove, they loved being around Te Reo (Camilla is a keen learner, and Katie has her own confident unknown (but to her its Māori) language she likes to sing in) and on day two we remembered to plug in the tablet during learning times!

It was great to get to know our class mates better, share kai and stories during the Pō Whakangāhau (Evening entertainment). We found the "Māori only" immersion morning really beneficial. Graeme swam through it like a champ - and it made me realise how much harder I need to work than him. We have since thought it would be great to do a Māori only night once a week when Graeme gets home from work. Its just so easy to default into English. We will see how this goes. 

Its a journey that we are all on.

Camilla: "Your Māori Kaiako said "Kei te pehea koe?" to me." ("How are you?")
Me: "And what did you say back to him?"
Camilla: "Kei te wera au" ("I am hot")
Me: "Awesome Milla! Were you feeling hot?"
Camilla: "No, but it was all I could think of saying"
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