27 May 2016

Comparison: not always the thief of Joy

Actually, Comparison was very-much-so my thief of Joy after I had my first baby, back in 2011.  But here's the difference, I'm human so Ima comparison the baby poop out of my pregnancies, deliveries and first stages of my baby's lives.  It's bringing me joy, not stealing it.  It's reminding me that 'last time' was (as I suspected) not normal, that it is totally ok, that there's hope and healing in new, yet familiar, beginnings.

The start of pregnancy

Ok, so I was convinced that this baby was going to be a girl because this time around I had morning sickness, nausea and general feeling sick for the first trimester.  I'll admit that I actually only threw up twice, but I FEEL you - every lady out there who went through terrible morning sickness and then went on to have more pregnancies.  You ladies deserve a gold medal.  First pregnancy: no morning sickness: nada.

Mid pregnancy

Last time I had the MOST achey hips ever.  I had an elastic belt that I wore around my pelvis to 'hold my pelvis together'.  It was awful, I'd get pinching nerves up my back and around my tailbone whenever I stood, or walked, or sat down, or slept.  Ugh.  But THIS time, I didn't have sore hips like that.  Sure, they ached a little, but nothing like the last time.  High blood pressure was also a symptom, but not enough of a problem to worry about.

Third Trimester

I was a giant beachball - both times (as I see in photos and the last post) but I felt like a total babe - as you should when you're pregnant!  My first pregnancy third trimester was tough though.  I was very achy, I had heart burn like nothing else I've ever had and my sore hips left me with very little sleep at the end.  My second pregnancy however, gave me water retention to the max.  "They" told me to avoid salt and to drink more water, to move around more and to elevate my feet above my heart.  All of which did absolutely nothing for my achy feet and cankles.  Thank you, but not really, Drs.  How is one supposed to get more exercise whilst elevating their feet, anyway?


First pregnancy: Labour was 36 hrs of only using the gas for pain-relief, exhausted, EXHAUSTED, four failed venthouse attempts, baby's heart-rate declining and an emergency cesarean section.  Baby didn't breathe on his own for about 20 minutes, so there was no cry after he came out. There was only silence... except for a busy theatre.  I don't remember the moment I first held him, the moment my baby was given to me to hold.  It might sound silly, but I was really upset by this fact for a very long time.  That is why this image below is SO special to me.  Second pregnancy: Roy and I walked into the hospital prepared and ready for a repeat cesarean section.  Not exhausted, a peaceful breathing baby, a first latch, an amazing many moments that I hope I will remember for a lifetime.

The first few days of baby on the outside

First time: Oh the agony.  My stomach turned inside out and a baby that couldn't figure out how to latch.  I was up and down, I remember being very active.  Maybe my pain-relief was too good and I didn't realise I had to take it easy... maybe.  I had post natal depression that went undiagnosed and lasted a couple of years as I slowly came 'right'.  Second time:  baby latched, he fed every 4 hours overnight.  I was getting plenty of rest, baby was hardly ever crying.  I made the mistake of letting him nurse and doze and nurse and doze for too long, the latch went south and I got cracked and bleeding nips.  OUCH. But, seriously, the first time my soreness lasted about 5 weeks (!) this time, only about 3ish.  Praise the LORD for wheatgerm oil.  Just sayin'.  So I count that as a plus.  Pain relief was kept at a manageable level, I was so frustrated by how little I could do without being in pain.    No post-natal depression.  I know this because I have been low before.  I didn't really have 3rd-day baby blues this time either, more like a few moments here and there of tears and emotions, but it wasn't a truckload that visited all too often like it was the last time.

This was a custom request I recently made.  India ink and micron markers.

And here I am, my youngest son is nearly 8 weeks old, he slept 6.5 hours last night!  He's usually feeding only once during the night now, long may this continue.  I have been going to a physiotherapist for about a week and already my abs are feeling better than they have since before I was pregnant the first time.  My body is getting better and stronger!  I feel hope and excitement that I'll be able to run and sleep and jump and swim without pain, with strong stomach muscles again.  Praise THE Lord.  For a long time I thought I had a few hernias in my stomach, but the professionals tell me I don't - so, I'm going with that and considering the results of four really painful enough to not want to go again good physio experiences over the last 8 days, I am confident that I am heading down a new track in my general fitness.

A beautiful custom request I made of baby birth details.

There you have it.


09 May 2016


I know, I know, it has been a while (like 3 months - what!).  BUT, here I am!

I was ginormous...

I had a baby...

A very cute baby...

My Mum came to help us out (all the way from New Zealand) and we shared a foot-spa...

The washing pile suddenly grew after she left.  Mum was selfless and helpful, full of cuddles for my boys and her presence has been very missed since she went back home. Thank you so much, Mum!

While she was here, we went to Sedona...

And the Grand Canyon...

I am hopelessly in love with our new family-of-four dynamic...

These boys are so precious...

I have had ups and downs, mostly ups!  This time around things have been SO different.  I'll go deeper soon and fill you in on some gory details, but for  now, know that God is good.


26 February 2016


You were emotional, or shall I say, "I was emotional?"

I was able to get some good work out the door... I helped with a logo design for Brandi Lopez Photography.

I was blessed with an awesome baby shower and awesome amounts of goodies in the mail (most of the edible stuff has disappeared).  Thank you, everyone!

Pregnant hormones are exactly what I'm blaming here.  Sheesh.  Anything and everything can bring a tear, or a down-pour.

It hasn't rained all month (I think).  It's the 26th and they tell me that it's not forecast to rain in the near future, either.  Sad face.

I have been busy, getting so tired that I wake up in the morning, have breakfast, do all the things that must be done, then crash on the couch and have a good little zzz.  It turns out that being nearly 8 months pregnant will do that to you.  Who knew?  Just because I have been "this" pregnant before does not mean, in any way, that I remember these simple things.

I have lovely swollen feet, which I am sure didn't happen last pregnancy, until after the pregnancy.  They can be fine, then half an hour later all blown up, again.  Yay.  When I'm sitting at the table, painting, that's when I can feel my feet beginning to blow up.  Gross.

I passed the glucose test!  It wasn't bad, I just felt sleepy and that was it.  Hallelujah.  And, thank you to everyone who sent a little prayer up for me!

Speaking of sugar, we recently had pancakes for dinner, with a mix of whipped cream, jam and maple syrup.  So good.  Why not?

Many of you seem to be loving this (above) piece that I did.  It is a custom order, but I will do my best to get more made and listed in the shop roomtoflourish.etsy.com .

So, summary of the last month... I'm well.  I'm busy.  I'm not busy at all.  I'm tired.  I'm still pregnant (until April).  I'm emo.  Haha.  Hopefully next month isn't too hard with this heavy belly to carry around.  We are getting very excited to meet our new little guy.  We're still working on a name...

Note to self:  get some slip-on shoes, tomorrow.


19 January 2016

Hello 2016

2016, you are going to be a good year.  I can see many ups, many downs and many more ups during the course of this year.

Expected List for 2016:

- a baby boy in early April
- a lot less sleep for a few months
- a c-section
- many baby snuggles and sweet sounds of baby snuffles
- tears
- laughs
- swimming
- diapers (getting my American words... people know what nappies are, but only after you've kept talking for a while and they figure that, with the context, you're talking about diapers)
- learning a foreign language (American, see previous item)
- our boy starting Kindergarten (again, see previous item.  Kindergarten here is the equivalent of Year 1 in New Zealand).

Hopeful List for 2016
These aren't a given, but I'm hopeful for:

- a not-as-hot-as-last-year Summer
- some more new friends, I'm a little greedy
- baby beginning to sleep all through the night at an early age, months old, like our first boy
- faster recovery from c-section than last time (I'm trying to stay hopeful, last time was, in a word, 'awful')
- a super comfy and cute arm-chair in our lounge (to claim for myself)
- crafting/sewing/drawing/painting to not take [too much] of a back seat when baby arrives
- more blogging than once a month.

Thankful List for 2016

- the support of the people around us
- Mission68 and our awesome Pastors/worship team, volunteers and such that make Sunday mornings  a breath of fresh air (and tears, unstoppable, every time, bring the kleenex, every time)
- His provision of everything we have and need
- my incredibly supportive husband and my sweet boy(s)
- friends who call when I suck at calling first
- Netflix.  You don't have the selection I would have loved but you are enough, and that is enough
- Pandora.  Listening to my boy sing along to worship songs.  I have them on in the background often, his singing is the sweetest thing
- prayer
- peace that transcends all understanding, always.

2016, you are going to be interesting.  I don't think I'm ready for you, but with God, all things are possible.


EDIT:  TODAY I'm doing the Glucose Tolerance Test.  It's going to be a little different than last time, but I'm still expecting to spew, so the word for today is: nervous!  Pray for me!

08 December 2015

Christmas is here

Has it really been that long?!

I've been so busy the last couple of months, namely baking a sweet little baby boy.  Making calendars, crocheting so many different things, painting, crafting, making.  I guess, just the usual.  Here are a few photos from my instagram reel that you might like to have a look at.

If you're interested in a little peek into my online 'wares, go check out my Etsy shop Room to Flourish.  The coloring-book I'm in the process of making, is currently on hold until next year.  I've done about 15 drawings that I love, but I feel like I need about 30 drawings before I'll feel like that's just enough.  Would you be interested in digital images, eg pdfs, if I were to list them individually?

In no apparent order:

A pretty painting (listed on Etsy). 

A quilt top, work in progress.  I'm working on buying pretty backing fabric. 

Another work in progress, a crochet blanket.  It's up to 20 squares, each one about 13inches wide. 

Some Christmas Bunting/Garland that I 'whipped up'. 

Some Christmas Tree decorations, listed in my Etsy shop, too. 

 Playing with watercolor paints.  They turned out so pretty, this photo doesn't really do it justice.

Some more things, made with love, listed in my Etsy shop

A little flat-lay (?) of my beside table, getting that calendar to 'work it'. 

Another play with watercolor, but also sharing a special verse to encourage. 

Enjoying the sun, crochet coasters I made, a cute bow, and my favorite pillow case. 

A picture of  my awesome bag (thank you Mum!) and a cute beanie I made.  Sitting in the sun on a cool morning. 

My son and I made the Christmas cards this year.  We both had a lot of fun! 

I prepared a pattern of an Elf beanie I made, and successfully published it.  Crochet pattern available here

I enjoyed an evening of steam blocking my crochet coasters and crocheting some earrings. 

 I began making a doll.  Just because I want to.  She'll get a wardrobe soon!

A close-up of my desk-top calendars

And last, but not least, some pyjamas I whipped up for my little boy (who loves them, phew!).

Have a Merry Christmas!!!!


19 October 2015

Tonto Creek Hatchery, Arizona

Well, this is more about our little off-road walk than the Hatchery... there were a lot of baby trout in the hatchery, though, they breed them and supply many of the lakes around Phoenix for fishing.  Pretty cool, and all up the road (Tonto Creek Road) towards the hatchery, you can go camping.  It was a very beautiful place to be.

There were a couple of car parks along the side of the road where we parked and decided to go for a wander along one of the marked tracks.

In the photo above, to the left, just out of sight there was a log across the creek for crossing.  To the right there were stepping-rocks which we only noticed on the way back (photo below).  These were much easier to cross.... without worrying that the kiddo was going to fall in.

One of the signs mentioned several types of local wildlife.  One in particular... black bears.  I didn't see any, I have no idea what time of  year they're more or less active, I have no idea how to be properly equipped in case we came across one.  So, in my mind, we were a little silly going for a walk, completely un-armed with pepper spray or anything else to protect ourselves.  Oops.  Next time, though, I'll make sure we're better informed and prepared.  The photo above is of, what looks to me, bear scratches on a tree.  You can tell quite easily that they're old markings and that the tree has had a lot of time to repair itself around the scratches.  These marks were about the height of my shoulders.

I couldn't help but stop every now and then, just to look up and take in the canopy.  It was gorgeous.  The fresh crisp air, the birds chirping, the different colors of the leaves as some of the trees were beginning to change into their 'fall' colors.

Oak leaves.  Now, all around Gilbert, around playgrounds and even in the closest playground to where we live, are oak trees.  They look a LOT different to these trees though.  The ones in Phoenix, where it's so hot and dry, don't grow very tall, the acorns are small and pointy, the leaves are small, about the length of my little finger and look more like a holly leaf.  Basically, the trees in Phoenix and around, have to rely on irrigation.  The sun is hot and heavy a lot of the year, and I get the feeling that oak trees enjoy cooler climates, rain and clouds.

But these oak leaves!  OH!  Big, round, oak leaves that were the size of my hand, reminding me of oak trees in New Zealand.  Each leaf looked so different from the next, I couldn't decide on one to take home, so I decided I could take them all home in a photo.

My 4 year old loves to play with the acorns around our apartment, the small, dingy ones.  He found an acorn in the forest here and called it a 'giant nut'.  I told him is was an acorn, and that's the way they usually look.

There were picnic tables at other rest-stops and even a camping ground that was located closer to the main road.  I am definitely looking forward to going back, either with a tent and ready to camp there, or with some food and supplies for a day trip.