Sunday, 26 May 2013

:: sunday thoughts ::

I'm sitting here in one of our armchairs with the feet up in a quiet (but messy!) home as one little girl sleeps soundly and the other is off with Papa for an adventure. He made them a swing last week and tied it onto a tree down at the beach, so that's probably where they are right now. When he was there this morning for an adventure with the other little girl (they're, unusually, having completely alternate naps today) he was quietly thrilled to see other kids also playing with the swing. 

So I'm sitting here enjoying the beautiful, still day, eating a piece or two of some Toblerone that friends visiting from Switzerland gave us this week, and alternating between crocheting and reading, all the while with a head full of thoughts and a neck that is sore from sleeping the wrong way, but slowly coming right.

Our little guy is 30 weeks old tomorrow!! It was one milestone to pass 26 weeks, and it's another to reach the 30's! So far everything continues to go so well that I still often don't "feel" pregnant, unless I need to pick something off the floor, or try to sleep on my back :o) I'm so thankful that this time there are none of the terrifying moments of last time. I'm also realising how quickly time is going now, and that soon enough we'll be back to new baby stage in a whole different way. In thinking ahead I've realised that (I think) I subconsciously thought that having children was like getting married. In that you do it once and that's it. It's funny to realise that we'll have a brand new baby soon, and go through all those firsts again. It's very exciting! (though the getting-the-baby-out part first leaves me with some apprehension!). In the meantime there are upcoming events we're looking forward to, a weekend away to plan, and little projects to work on. As well as trying to organise our home and life and make some wise-over-idealistic choices so that I'm not behind the 8 ball and turning into a stressed-out puddle of tears, which has happened a few times lately. I'm really thankful for family, from Eti to my parents and brothers and sisters, who have all lent a hand in ways that have really been a gift. Not to mention these two, who remind me to find joy in the simple things and relax and enjoy the moment...

I loved watching this little scene unfold the other day. One persistent climber who, after being warned and told to get down time and again, continues to go up to the heights. She made this "tower" and then followed her sister's instructions to knock the tower over and make her cry...

...all the while with her trademark grin on her face at the anticipation of something to laugh about...

This is the face of the fake cryer, who was saying "Oh no, the tower is broken!" They have a fascination for faking at the moment, often doing something mischievous and then turning to one of us and asking that we cry. It was a humourous moment to observe because she was clearly copying me! :o) And there were plenty of giggles from all three of us!

Moments later two fairies appeared, twirling and dancing to their musical ball.

Two fun-loving big sisters-in-waiting who love their little brother already :o) Not too much longer until they'll be able to give him bisous, cuddles, stroke his hair and read him stories.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

:: something for our little guy ::

I've been a long-time admirer of those who can crochet and knit beautiful things. Several years ago when I came across the world of blogging, one of the very first blogs I started to read was Lucy's from Attic24. Her bright, vivacious, enthusiastic approach to life matches her beautiful creations, and she inspired me back then to embrace and add much more colour to our home. While I'm still a very long way off being able to create anything like she does, I'm still inspired to one day get to that point :o) 

In the meantime, this morning I finished my very first crochet project! A knitted blanket with a crochet border for our little guy who will be with us in just over 10 weeks, give or take a couple! It's very simple as you can see, and not at all perfect, but it matches my little skill level :o)

Me being the one who had to buy "Knitting for Dummies" while pregnant with the girls, and couldn't understand the instructions. Somehow I managed to learn from my mum via Skype, though it was back-to-front to me. But being a left-hander, maybe it was what I needed to get the hang of it all :o)

So, there we go. I'm now kinda hooked, so-to-speak, and already have plans for some real crocheting in the form of a granny square blanket and something for the girls to keep their babies warm while ours will be warm and snuggly in this one.

Very excited to finally have something creative to share and to join up with Leonie

Thursday, 16 May 2013

:: je suis très fière de toi ::

I'm so proud of you

Often, during the day, I think of you and am filled with a sense of love and respect for you, knowing you're out there every day working for us, making it possible for me to be at home as our children grow. I'm even more grateful to you because I know you're not working in an easy environment...

Eti managed to almost walk straight into a job here in New Zealand. It was a position we heard of through someone we knew and we pursued it, and a couple of months later he was starting his first job in an english speaking world. It turns out that, in spite of glowing reports of what the job would involve in terms of training and possible future opportunities, he walked into a very messily run organisation. Some issues make us groan thinking "Surely this is not rocket science to anyone?!" with solutions being so easy to spot. Lately I've had to reassure Eti that this is not how all organisations in New Zealand are run!

Eti, what fills me with pride is the way you approach your work each day. You often tell me that you laugh off the terrible organisation of some of the jobs you are given, instead of letting it stress you. I know it's tough to be interacting with people in a second language and to not understand much of the humour that is bantered around among your colleagues. I cringe at the thought that most days you have to go to the head office and wait to be told where to go for the day because it's not properly organised beforehand, and for you to know that others notice you sitting waiting often for over an hour at a time and think you're not working enough. I know you do your very best and you're a hard worker. I'm impressed at how you seem rather nonplussed about it all, brushing off others' misconceptions by saying "What else can I do? If I'm not being given jobs ahead of time and not being trained to do them on my own or sent with someone else?!" Very true. I have suggested that maybe you might like to look elsewhere but you reassure me that when all is going well (which is rare, you confess!) you really enjoy it and so you carry on. In the meantime I bite my tongue and restrain my fingers from making contact with the company to let them know what I think (I guess that might be appropriate at some point in the future with our children, but not so much coming from a wife to her husband's employers!).

So I observe you with a heart full of pride and gratitude for who you are. I admire your ability to deal with it all in your stride, your perseverence to be committed to the company, to observe and learn as you go without the promised training, your humility to ask, even several times, for someone to repeat themselves if you can't understand, that you can be assertive when people treat you without respect, and your ability to laugh when I would most likely cry and want to run home to everything familiar on the other side of the world! I know that, together, we are grateful for this job at how it seemed to be handed to you on a platter, so-to-speak. There are also other things we really appreciate from it, and we do trust there's a reason. 

In the meantime, while you're at work, I often tell our girls that you're a wonderful papa. You're a good and a hard worker, and I'm thankful they have you as an example of someone who is not only fun-loving and adventurous but also committed, loyal, and perseverant. What a gift for them to grow up with, and an example to me as well :o)


Sunday, 12 May 2013


Capturing our two sweethearts on week 19 of this year...

Amélie: her mischievous grin and infectious laughter
Elise: her tender heart and gentle spirit

Joining in with Jodi "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013"

:: two sweet three year-olds ::

This past week we celebrated the third birthday of our little girls. On each of their birthdays, as we will probably do for all to come that we will share with them, we remember the day of their birth. A surreal middle-of-the-night rush down to the hospital, checks, a helicopter flight to the nearest hospital with a neonatal unit, an IV trying to stop them coming, and an eventual emergency c-section bringing two tiny 700 gram babies out into the world far too soon. I won't be putting any photos of the girls from that time, but you can go here and here to see how we celebrated their first and second birthdays with photos and videos from that time. Eti and I were reminiscing last night before we went to sleep how amazing it is that they really show no signs of being born at 26 weeks. The only possible one being that one of Elise's vocal chords is still paralysed, but the most likely theory of the cause of this is that it was damaged during her surgery when she was only 12 days old. And it doesn't seem to affect her in any other way than giving her a soft, sweet voice. Amazing.

We will always be thankful to so many. To God who held us and protected our hearts and thoughts in those days, to an incredible neonatal team of nurses, doctors and support workers who cared so well for our girls and provided us with a welcoming second home for many months, and to hundreds if not thousands of friends and strangers around the world who prayed for our girls and encouraged us along the way.

And now Amélie Hope and Elise Grace are three! Lively, chattering, bright, kind-hearted, determined (did they get that from me or from their fight for life?!), beautiful, tender, empathetic, mischievous, creative, funny, sweet three year olds. These days they seem to learn and add more words to their vocabulary at rapid pace. Last night I sat with Amie on my knee and went through several words saying "Mummy says ____, what does Papa call it?" to see whether/how she is able to distinguish her english words from french. With almost each word she knew "how Papa says it." We often silently beckon to each other to come and watch one of them at play or busy reading stories to themselves. I love this age! All the moments of exasperation at the determination to push all buttons and test all limits cannot surpass the moments of pride, love, joy and admiration that we have as parents to our girls.

Here are alot of some photos from our past year. In no particular order, but some moments we have enjoyed and treasure in our little family, including just a few people who are very special to us...