Monday, February 28, 2011

The Longest Day EVER

Today feels like the longest day ever. I am pretty sure it is not. After all, all days are pretty much the same length. But it sure does feel like it. Boyo has been out today you see. All day. I am so not used to being on my own at home with Munchkin all day. We went for a walk this morning, he's had two (very) short sleeps, we've had morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. He has been a really good kid. But it still feels like the longest day. Why, oh why, did I have to come down with a cold last night!?!? Ah, now that might have something to do with the fact that my small son came down with it on Friday. I have concluded that it is almost impossible to avoid getting the same cold when you live in such close proximity as we do. I spent Friday night in Munchkin's room...pretending to sleep on the spare bed in between his crying, sleeping with me, and more crying. He obviously felt a bit better Saturday, enough for a couple of long sleeps during the day and a really good sleep overnight. Last night he was gluggy though and took a few hours to really settle for the night. By the time he was semi-happily asleep I was feeling decidedly miserable. I don't know how a cold can possibly hit so fast, but it felt like one of those European express trains ran over my immune system! I spent most of the night on the couch, so as not to disturb Boyo too much. I must say that we have a really nice couch for such necessary occassions. But I did miss my bed between feeling hot, achy, dizzy, sore-throaty, and generally gross. The arrival of morning saw an abatement of the majorly nasty conditions, with my current state consisting of a blocked nose that also wants to run (where, I don't know!), a slightly sore throat, and feeling rather flushed and tired. Yup, I do feel rather sorry for myself. I also feel much more sympathetic to my poor boy who experienced all this just days ago without being able to tell me how awful he felt! So it's the longest day ever. I am even thinking of resorting to us watching Hairspray for the rest of the afternoon (a sign of true and absolute desperation on my part!). I think we will be having cheese on toast for dinner. On the bright side, Munchkin is greatly improved over a couple of days ago so I am cherishing hopes that this might be a violent, but shortlived attack. Life will carry on! And Boyo will hopefully be home in an hour!


Monday, 28th February, 2011

ps - I have not forgotten about the Stylish Blogger Award...I have my post half written and was meant to be doing it last night. I went to bed instead. So hopefully next weekend?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Art of Letter Writing

Letter writing is coming to be a lost art, I do believe. I have just today written to our sponsored children. And realised that they are the only people I actually ever write letters to! Everyone else receives text messages, or emails. But there is something so tantilisingly, spine-tinglingly delightful about receiving a letter in the post. Or a card. Or even a package! Ah, now that is a delight few of us receive these days...unless it was something we ordered off Amazon or Ebay! I must make a mental note to pop a card in the post to a few friends over the coming weeks.
The reason I wrote to our kids is that I read the Tear Correspondent yesterday. It left me feeling a little uncomfortable. Convicted, perhaps? Definitely motivated. You see, I have this personal belief that our sponsored children shouldn't just be a social obligation. Send your money off and you've done the deed. Uh-uh. No way. These are real children, with real dreams, real problems, and real emotions. So I've been trying to make sure that I treat them as extended members of my family. Kind of like a cousin. Only to be honest I have very little contact with my cousins. Maybe more like a neice of nephew. I have one neice...a recent ah, 'aquisition'. I made her a toy at the same time as I made my son one. I enjoy watching videos of her latest developments (such as climbing the stairs this week!). I very carefully chose a good birthday present for her and have already sent it on in case we couldn't make it for the big one year old birthday and dedication. But we have decided we will make it anyway; these things are important. So you get the idea. I've only seen her twice, but my neice is an extended part of my life. I like to know what is going on with her, and I do hope that she will feel comfortable and loved in my home (I cherish secret ambitions of cousinly sleepovers when they are older!).

This is what I want my relationship to be like with my sponsored children. I want them to feel part of my life. The issue is that they are so far away. And so easy to forget. I mean, they are not sitting beside me crying (like my son sometimes is). They don't fuss or create over pretty much anything. Neither do I get to see their eyes light up with joy as they run and chase a ball, or learn a new word at school.

Tear Correspondent addressed this issue so well. Helen Manson wrote, "It's hard to feel close to someone you have only ever seen in a photograph and who lives on the other side of the world...When it came time to write back to him, I would sometimes begrudgingly sit down for five minutes and frantically search my brain for something relatively interesting to say that would fill up the 20 lines on the page...Then we moved to Uganda (where her sponsored boy lives)...Here standing in front of me, was this beautiful, precious little 12-year-old boy who was not just a picture. He had a beating heart, dreams and desires; he has things he wants to do and be. He feels sad and happy; he was so...human...If you sponsor a child, my prayer is that you would engage. Engage with them, think about them, make their photo big in your house - give it pride of place, write to them with joy when you get their letter. They are WAITING for your reply! A letter from you, even a sticker, is a treasured item - worth far more than you realise..."

Needless to say I made time to write to my kids today! The letters are sitting there, waiting to be posted tomorrow. It didn't take me very long. And once I sat down and got started, I didn't have to think too hard about things to say either. After all, it is only around 10 simple sentences. I find photos help. I write about the things around us, birds, things we grow and eat in the garden, things Munchkin is learning to do. I printed a whole bunch of photos out awhile back and laminated them into small cards the kids can play matching games with, so I've been sending a few new cards with each letter and talking about the pictures. And I try to write something encouraging or moral - like how good it is that our sponsored boy was helping his grandma, or that I pray for our sponsored girl to reach her dream of becoming a nurse.

We do have our sponsored kids photos up on the wall beside our family ones. But I am finding it all too easy still to forget about their existence most of the time. Yet I know that I can make a profound impact in their lives. Just imagine the difference it makes knowing that someone loves you enough to pay for you to go to school, get immunised, and have a vege garden. But imagine how much MORE impacted a child is when they realise that this person doesn't just have time to send money, but time to give of themself. That this person wants to know what they are learning at school, what food they grow, what games they play, what they want to be one day. That this person is encouraging and believing in them. That this person prays for them regularly. That is what motivates me to try harder, to keep writing letters and to think of some way to include them in our daily prayers as Munchkin gets older. I hope one day in the coming years we will be able to visit our kids overseas. I think that would be the experience of a lifetime, and one I am really looking foward to sharing with my husband, my son, and my sponsored children!


Saturday, 26th February, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Moving On

I have just finished sorting all my son's outgrown things ready to sell. I find myself feeling a little melancholic. I am having to remind myself that we still have our gorgeous boy. He sleeps peacefully in his recently lowered cot while I am busy out here in the lounge. The cot is lowered because he recently pulled himself up against the couch a few times..don't want him to land headfirst on the ground when he first works out how to get upright in the cot now, do we?! He has just sprouted two top teeth, and is trying to work out how to get the tv cabinet open. He loves the peg container and patting the lino floor in the kitchen, or banging his wooden spoon on whatever object happens to be convenient. His daddy loves that he can sit on the floor in the mornings and call to Munchkin, and the little guy will more often than not come crawling over to say good morning (aka slobber over Daddy's foot or arm!). I love being able to kiss and cuddle and wriggle around together without the constant worry of being puked all over. It does still happen, but only occassionally now. So nice not to smell of puke. So, so, so nice to feel I can be affectionate and let him have his face up close to mine!

My son is well and happy. So why I am sad? He is just growing up. It's not like I want him to stay a baby forever. On the contrary, each new phase he gets to, we like more than the previous ones. We are not really 'baby people' you know (some people just LOVE babies, other people - like us - do not). We are super pleased to have survived the first 6months and are really looking forward to getting to know our boy more and more as he grows.

I think I am sad because this signals the end of a dream in some ways. We aren't planning on having another baby any time soon, you see. No point keeping clothes for three years or something, for an event that is highly debatable at present. I would like another child, but I do not feel in any way, shape, or form physically (and therefore also emotionally) up to the whole process. I did not enjoy pregnancy. By all accounts, I didn't have a particularly bad one either, but to me, it was a bit nasty. Mostly due to the huge fluid retention I suffered and the toxic-something-or-other illness I had at the end, which resulted in the awful labour. Which I think I could survive again, if I had to, but not with the pregnancy and post labour issues I had. My body is till kuput. I don't even know if that is considered a proper word, but read it as stuffed, up the creek without a paddle, not a-okay, and you get the general idea. So the thought of another baby freaks me out, big time.

I realise I may feel completely different about this in a few years time, so we are not rushing to conclusions just yet. But the likelihood is small. Small enough that there is no point in storing the containers of clothing Munchkin has grown through in rather a great rush. Hence the decision to sell them. We are fairly tight on money at present, and he needs clothes for this winter, and the coming spring and summer. Knowing him, probably quite a few different sizes too (he is a bit of a bean pole!). So we are selling off the old to a local second hand baby store, in order to buy new. Might even buy them from the same store!

Having written all this down, I am starting to feel a little less depressed about the whole thing. After all, I did say to God that if he chose to only give me one child, I would be happy with that. My son is an incredible blessing, a miracle baby, and I am so grateful to have him in my life. And only God knows what the future holds for our family.


Wednesday, 23rd February, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I recently received a blog award! Very excited!!!
It is the "Stylish Blogger Award" from Elizabeth at Lizzy's Letters.
But I honestly have no idea how to pass it on properly or pick up the cool icon/picture thing (do I sound completely ignorant here, because I so am!), so I will have to find out and get back to you all. Grin. I have yet to learn how to link posts - have received info on how to do it so now I just need to sit down and have a go some is on the to-do list. As are far too many things these days.

I am apparently meant to share 7 things about myself with you too, as part of the award. I will have to put my thinking cap on over the next week. Be ready, same time, same place, next week! what should I share, and who can I pass the award onto?


Sunday, 20th February, 2011

Some Personal Goals

While on the subject of goals, I thought I would share two personal goals with you. I have been finding it hard to come up with goals this year, not knowing Boyo's work situation yet. But these two, I can do anywhere!

1. Keep the dining table clear.
2. Have flowers somewhere in the house at almost all times.

There. Pretty simple, huh? Not quite. Our unit is small (well, okay big for a unit, but still a unit). We don't have a lot of storage space, nor $$ to organise more right now. The dining table seems to end up with a pile of stuff on it. Stuff to be attended to. Stuff that needs to be put away. Stuff that should be in the rubbish or recycling bin. You get the idea: lots of stuff. I find it messes with my head. I actually like things tidy. But I am messy. I admit it, I am not good at keeping things tidy. But I find the dining table particularly important. It is the symbol of family to me, I guess, as we always ate as a family when I was growing up, and Boyo and I have mostly done that too. I hate sitting down to eat (even if it is just lunch on my own) and having to stare at last week's junk mail, or that bill we still have to pay, or the box of panadol that still hasn't made it back into the cupboard. I find it unsettling. A clean table, on the other hand, leaves me with a deep sigh of contentment. My world is somehow in order if my dining table is.

The issue has been that there's not been anywhere to put things that are 'in process' so we end up with a growing pile, that just too easily gets added to. I had given up on it. Then I realised: most of the stuff actually doesn't need to be there. It is there from laziness. Some stuff does, but most I can easily find other homes for. I have therefore decided to add 'clear dining table' to my housekeeping responsibilities on Wednesday nights (which currenly consist of the usual post-baby tidy up and cleaning the bathroom and loo). I figure if I get in the habit of doing it every week, it won't take long. Boyo got home to a pile of stuff sitting on his computer for him to sort through this week. Grin. There's still stuff on the table. But way less. And I can handle that. At least now I don't have to push things out of the way to put my plate down.

Flowers in the house has been something I've been umm-ing and ahh-ing about for ages. I love fresh flowers! But I keep thinking that I should be spending money on something more 'important.' Like food, for instance. But flowers are food. They are food for my soul. Every time I walk past a vase of fresh flowers, I drink in their beauty, savour their colour and shape. I am satisfied. My soul is somehow filled with good things. I have therefore decided that flowers are an acceptable investment of my money. Not lots of money, just a little every few weeks. With a few flowers in the garden, and flowers bought at the local farmers market (for just $4-5 a bunch!), I should be able to have fresh flowers somewhere in the house right through summer. I currently have a bunch of asters sitting on the dining table. Deep pink, dark purple, and creamy purple/white with gorgeous yellow centres. I smile whenever I look at them. Which is often.


Sunday, 20th February, 2011

Blogging and Life in General

I've spent the past week thinking about my blog and where it fits in the scheme of my life at present. I've tried to come up with some times I can blog, and some guidelines for myself so that it remains enjoyable and fulfilling without taking up too much of my time.

Here's why. I realised that while I love blogging, it can end up being something that distracts me from the other priorities in my life. Here are some priorities I have identified (not in exact order of importance, but close-ish):

Me – I came up with 'me' first because I don’t tend to look after me otherwise. There always seems to be something more urgent or important that needs to be attended to. By me, I mean, making sure I get sleep when I need it, and exercise daily, and eat properly – all things that I struggle with around Munchkin’s ongoing needs and the constant pressures of study.

Boyo – because he can end up feeling rather neglected between study and baby! We are together quite a bit, but often not personally connected, so trying to spend more quality time together to build our relationship and enjoy one another's company.

God – because my relationship with him is the backbone and inner strength of my life. He’s also been rather neglected. It’s not that I don’t still talk to him, I do. Every day. Lots. But the listening has not been working so well. Doesn’t help that the Bible sits unopened. So I came up with an idea just now. I’m going to read the Word for Today each morning while Munchkin and I eat breakfast. Out loud. I figure there’s no time like now to encourage my son’s relationship with his Creator. As for other actual Bible reading time (the Word for Today is a small daily devotional), I am trying to do that in the evenings Boyo is at work. Mixed success.

Study – because I need to graduate in 4 years time for all this to be worth it! I’ve been finding it incredibly hard to get back into the study mindset after the summer break. I am enjoying my 2 papers (50% studyload) immensely now that I am 2 weeks in and starting to feel like I am beginning to connect to my study-brain again (it went on complete holiday when it wasn’t needed!). The hardest part of studying is finding the concentrated time to do it in. I can’t read while Munchkin plays. Either I read a paragraph only to realise at the end that I have absolutely no idea what I just read, or I read a paragraph and look up to discover my son has crawled halfway across the room and has something suspicious in his mouth! Crawling baby and absent minded mother are not a good combination. Munchkin’s been sleeping oddly too – sometimes long sleeps in the morning, sometimes short, and resisting the afternoon sleep no end. He desperately still needs two sleeps a day, but you try telling a 9month old that they need more sleep! So I keep thinking he will wake up, and don’t start on the heavy study, only to discover I ended up with an hour of quiet after all. I got up at 5am two mornings this week to fit the study in. And have been wondering why I feel so totally wiped out. Yeah. Combine that with one 11:30pm bedtime (lifegroup – long story), and another 11pm one (did go to bed earlier but was wired for some weird reason and didn’t sleep), and suddenly things are much clearer.

Gardening – because this helps keep our food budget lower and our quality of eating higher. And I like it. It helps keep me DE-stressed. Obviously haven’t been getting enough of that in lately then, have I?!?

Blogging – so finally we come to my blog. And discover that it is somewhere at the bottom of the priority-pile. Sadly. Necessarily. This is a hobby. I would love to have an in-depth blog with gorgeous design and pictures. But blogging takes up valuable time that I need for other things at the moment. When I started this blog, I had few hobbies, no baby, and no study. I was free. I am now fettered. Which makes it sound so depressing, which it isn’t. I have chosen to combine baby and study. I want to be qualified as a teacher. I want to be here with my son. It just means that I have less time for other things, blogging included. Maybe one day I will have more time for it. Maybe. In the meantime, I will still be here, blogging a little bit of me each week.

So here are my blogging goals:
Blog once a week.
Don’t worry whether it is deep and meaningful or not, just share something from my week. Don’t worry too much about linking or other technical stuff…unless someone helps me learn in study breaks or something.
Don’t blog when I should be doing other things.
But do keep blogging, because I enjoy it.

So there you go. I think those should be manageable goals.


Sunday, 20th February, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011


22 squares and counting!

I've been watching a few tv programmes the past couple of weeks, as well as doing a bit of knitting right before bed. I'm rather chuffed with my progress and deciding when I should start putting them all together.


Sunday, 13th February, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011


It feels as if my blogging has been somewhat lacklustre recently. It lacks force, brilliance or vitality (a perfect dictionary definition of lacklustre)! I have been plodding along hoping that things might improve on their own, but now I fear that this may not be so.

Several issues are to blame for my lack of enthusiasm and drive in the blogging world. Firstly, I am now a full-time Mummy. Many bloggers are, I know. But probably most of them are not being a mum and studying. I started study again this week. Only a 50% load this year, which I must say feels incredible! I have no practicums this year. This semester I have only 2 papers. That's 4 assignments and 2 exams. Wow. Compare that to the 6 papers I had last year, and the trouble I had just working out if anything was due this week, and you can understand why I feel so much happier now.

It was a hard decision to make, as we were living day by day with the help of my student allowance. This decision has meant further upheaval which has also impacted on my desire to blog. Boyo is looking for full time work. Now that doesn't sound so bad, does it? The thing is that he has been looking right around New Zealand and even Australia. The thought of moving again is somewhat daunting. I have not felt as 'at home' in a community as I do now since I was a young child growing up in Wellington. So obviously I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave the close contact we have with both sets of parents, the amazing lifestyle of being right next to a beautiful walkway, with a private backyard, my parents garden to potter in, and an absolutely incredible church that has literally opened it's collective arms to us. Yeah, so it has been a bit hard. I think the hardest thing is not knowing what is going to happen. And not having some inclination as to what we 'should' be doing. When we moved to Australia, and then back again, I felt that God spoke to me very strongly. At present, I have a few 'gut' feelings, but nothing concrete to go on. So we've been following pretty much every conceivable opportunity we can think of, and then some. With Boyo being out of his industry for the past 18months, due to the recession and then helping me with study/baby/surviving life, it's hard for him to get back in. We're still unsure whether he will or will head off in another direction instead. So anyway, all the unsettledness has affected my desire to write. In saying all this, the fact that I am now writing about is is a good indication that I have worked through some of the issues and am feeling a bit better about things overall. Still don't know what will come next, but I am feeling more optimistic, less panicked, and more trusting that my Guide has not gone on holiday but will be working away helping us out!

I am also finding that I just don't have the brain space I need to write really good stuff. I mean, I can post pictures of the garden and little bits and bobs here and there, but I'm not getting to the nitty gritty stuff that I really want to talk about...I just don't get enough concentrated time to think it through and formulate my thoughts, let alone manage to write it all down. This blogging thing can absorb a huge amount of time, I am finding, and huge amounts of time are simply something I do not currently possess. At all. If I blog, the washing doesn't get folded (like now) or the baby ends up grizzling because I have forgotten all about him, or my study gets behind. You get the idea.

So, what I have concluded is that maybe I need to rethink what blogging is all about for the next few years. I started this blog before I had a baby. And I'd been wanting to do it for a few years before finally getting started. I really had no concrete aims for the blog, so much of my disappointment has been from unconscious ideas about what a good blog should or should not be for me. Time to think more clearly about it, and decide on some boundaries, expectations, and hopes. So now I just have to find a space to do that in! Watch this space...


Thursday, 10th February, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Free Food

What do you do when someone offers you free food? Accept it of course! Only, what if you already have more than enough of your own? Hmm...

Find some friends and/or family who need it instead!

We were recently offered some cucumbers, lemons, and rhubbarb from someone's garden. The problem was that we already had cucumbers galore from the Big Garden. But we were visiting family that week, and a few quick text messages confirmed that they, and their friends and neighbours, would all gratefully recieve some cucumbers! Sorted. The lemons were also duly divied around among us all. We kept a few for ourselves, and I have been squeezing them to freeze in our silicone mini-muffin trays for using later. Tonight's dinner is salmon rice risotto because for once I have some salmon, some chicken stock, and some lemon juice. It invariably seems that whenever I feel like making this dish one or other of the main ingredients is missing from my cupboards, so I thought I'd get in quick while I know they are all here! The rhubbarb has been cut and cooked, and almost all eaten. Boyo, it turns out, is quite a fan of rhubbarb. I always forget this. There is rhubbarb up at the Big Garden, but while he is happy to eat it, not being gardening inclined he forgets that he can pick some anytime he likes. I also quite like rhubbarb but tend to forget it exists during my gardening forays. Munchkin has informed us that he also likes rhubbarb. At least the great gulping swallows of it would seem to indicate as much. So there you go. It is so nice to receive free food, and especially when you can put it to such good use.

Have you received any freebies lately? What did you do with them?

Monday, 6th February, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to Knit a Peggy Square - Part #2

I thought I would continue with peggy squares, seeing as I have finally downloaded some photos. Now I am not going to attempt to teach you how to knit. That is in my 'too hard' basket just right now. And besides, plenty of people have already attempted it, so you can always find someone else on the web to learn from if you don't happen to have a knitter next door in real life. What I did think might be nice, was to show you a few tips and tricks I have picked up over my years of knitting.
When you knit in garter (knit) stitch, if you want to add another colour, change it when your first tail is on your right. Not here. This is a photo of the front of the square.
If you look at it from the angle of the knitter, you'll see the tails are on the left. If you add a new colour here, you will get a line along the front of your square similar to the one you can see here, as if it was the back of the square (which sometimes you could do deliberately if you want a different kind of look, of course - I have even seen a whole blanket made using the technique).
When counting rows in garter (knit) stitch, each fat line is actually two rows. So I've got 12 rows of blue in the square above.
Here is the front of a finished square.

Here is the back. See all the extra lines between each colour join?

To finish off the squares, all the tails need to be tucked into the back of the square. I take mine up the rows, away from the edges, as I feel they get in the way a bit when I'm trying to crochet the squares together otherwise. I weave the tail (with a big, blunt knitting needle) in and out of one row of stitches, then double back. Doesn't need much, just enough so that it won't unravel itself. Here's one I've just done. Cut off the extra wool after you've finished stitching them in.
You might also notice there is not a tail for every time I changed wool. If you're only doing a few rows of a colour (say, 6 or less) you can just tuck the wool up the side of the knitting and keep going rather than cutting it off each time. If you want it really nice and neat, pull the old colour (the one you just finished with) in front of your current colour as you do the first stitch.
When you go to crochet or stitch your squares together, you might want to know which way around to put them. You can just randomly do them - if you are a nice even knitter you will be able to have some sideways and some top to bottom if you want to. This gives some lovely texture variation. If you're doing a pattern though, it helps to have them all facing the same way. The top and bottom do actually look different. Here's the bottom of one of my squares. See how soft and holey it is? While the top is sort of straighter, a cleaner-cut edge we could say.

Right, that's it folks. I do hope this helps with the knitting endeavours.


Sunday, 6th February, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I have never really been a plum girl. I just didn't ever warm up to them much. I like the deep red fleshed Black Doris plums that my grandfather grew (I think that's the one, otherwise it might have been Omega's). Other plums have never tasted all that good, and so I just ended up assuming that I simply don't like plums.

Well, I am now rediscovering plums. Last year, we got some Louisa plums at the local Farmers Market. They were not for me, but for my parents and hubby. I tried one though and discovered they are quite nice. They're a yellow fleshed plum with yellow skin that gets pink tinges when ripe. After that 'taste' of success, I decided this year to try some more plums. The last few weeks I got some Billington and Hawera plums from a lady at the Farmer's Market. She grows just the two types of plums and picks 500 trees herself. By the end of a season she is heartily sick of plums! Understandably. She told me these plums were red fleshed like Omegas, which sealed it. I had to try some. My verdict? The Billingtons are okay. I thought they were quite nice till I got the Haweras. The Haweras are better. They are also bigger so you get more plum per stone (pip). I have decided to add both to my possible tree-growing list, which is getting longer and longer as the months go by! I really had no idea there were so many different types of plums. I guess some of that is because we get so few in the supermarkets here in NZ. In Australia, I did buy plums occassionally when they were in season - there were often 3-4 varieties to choose from at my local Woolworths supermarket. Still, I imagine that is only a fraction of the number of varieties of plums.

Lousia's are the three yellower ones at the back of the photo, Hawera's are the redder ones, and Billingtons the smaller deep purple/red (they are just a bit bigger than the little Christmas plums). Munchkin rather likes the Billingtons. He can manage to eat one per sitting (minus the seed and skin, popped in his mouth piece by piece as we have discovered plum is a rather slippery customer when faced with small fingers just learning a pincer grip!).

What's your favourite type of plum?


Tuesday, 1st February, 2011

Even More Squares!

I've completed another 3 squares while on holiday, yay! Here they are.

I suspect that may be the end of my knitting blitz for at least a few months though. Grin.

Tuesday, 1st February, 2011