Leaves

Ok so I’m a little late with this again, but the theme for this Friday gone was leaves.

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Around here the leaves are re-appearing on our trees. Thanks to an early burst of spring the fruit trees in our back yard have already blossomed and are covered in a nice canopy of green leaves. We have lemons, tangelos, plums and peaches growing out the back, and although we make good use of the citrus we’ve never really been fast enough to get decent crops from the stone fruits before the birds hit them. The peaches always looked a bit pitted and ugly, so I personally was never that worried about them anyway. Last year however Sprocket and I spent a lot of hours in our backyard, and after 8 years I finally tried them. And boy were they delicious! Turns out we’ve got a heritage variety which is for some reason known inappropriately in NZ as the Black Boy Peach and elsewhere as Peche de Vigne – the vineyard peach. They have a beautiful red flesh, taste amazing and I can’t wait for the tiny green fruit which you can barely see in the photo above to turn into this:

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Foto Friday

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I really need to step up my timing of these, it’s now Sunday night our time but here you go : Clouds.

I was hoping to catch what Sprocket calls “volcano clouds” but we’ve been having some beautiful sunny days this week so there hasn’t been too many of those around.

We are loving Spring around here – having sunny, warm, long days outdoors is doing wonders for our son’s temperament. As he likes to remind us several times a day while doing a spin with his arms outstretched, “I love outside”.

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Foto Fridays

Because I can’t resist a good photo challenge I will be joining in this Fall  Spring Foto Friday Challenge started up by S and Jackie.

I’m already a day late by NZ standards but I’m hoping it’s still Friday somewhere in the US! The first one is sweet treats, so I bring you the almighty Anzac biscuit:

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I know that both my wife and son are quite happy about this week’s theme, and looking forward to afternoon tea time! Edited to add that while I was posting this, the boy snuck up and nicked one off the plate! I was alerted by the loud yummy noises coming from under the table…

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Thoughts on Marriage

It seems I’ve imagined a few posts here over the past few months, including one that I know I did start to write in all the excitement of marriage equality passing into law back in April. Anyway, to catch you up if you missed it, exactly four months ago in little old NZ our politicians lead us to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9pOJ8Bc_-g

(highly, highly recommended viewing to see how historical moments are celebrated Aotearoa-styles)

Like so many other couples around the country we were absolutely buzzing after this – to suddenly have this opportunity that we thought was no where within reach was just incredible. To have the open love and support of so many friends, family, workmates, acquaintances and business was just so special and touching. Not everyone, sure, but more than enough.

We immediately started planning. We found out that, to upgrade our civil union to a marriage, we would need to apply for a license and essentially renew our vows. Okay we thought, it’s a no-brainer, let’s do it…we’ll do it on the first day, just like we did with our civil union back in 2005, and we’ll have a big party to celebrate. We’ve had our big day, we don’t want or need to repeat that but a party for equality? Now that we can do.

For some reason, in New Zealand there is a 4 month stand down period before such laws are actually enacted which means that tomorrow is the first day that same sex marriages can actually be performed. So as I said, we started planning.  

But sometime in the past few months, the significance of getting married has shifted somewhat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still incredibly important but as I said before..we’ve had our big day, the one that we put all of our hopes and dreams into. Since that day we’ve spent 8 1/2 years working hard on our marriage and building our family. We’re married. Sure, we need to say those words (again), sign that paper (again) and pay that money (again) to get the full legal and social significance but it won’t change a single thing in our daily lives. 

I am still ecstatic and proud that my country has come so far, and that we can now marry, I’m just a little surprised to find it’s just from a slightly different perspective than I expected. Luckily for my marriage though, K has been right there with me in the same quandary so in the last few months we have gone back and forth a million times as to what to do – do we have just a simple ceremony with two witnesses on the first day or wait until summer and have a party to celebrate.

It was a really difficult decision for us to make and we were both equally torn. In some ways it felt incredibly important (because come on, it’s marriage!), and in others we just wanted to get it over and done with. Finally just a few days ago we decided to wait and have a fun celebration in summer. We know this was the right decision, but it doesn’t mean that a part of me won’t be jealous of all of those making history tomorrow (but most of me will be very, very happy for them of course!)

Having said that, thanks to what I like to call “when lawmaking meets common sense”, the date doesn’t matter at all in our case. As we are simply changing the form of our relationship from a civil union to a marriage, the legal start date of our marriage will be the same as that of our civil union (as they are both a legal joining).

This means that when we do get married, we will instantly have been married for nearly 9 years.

Which is awesome, because I really can’t remember another anniversary!

 

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Time out

Nope not for the boy this time, but for Mummy and Mama. It’s like something from our child-free days but we’ve had a free night in an Auckland hotel fall into our laps so this afternoon we’re off on a very last minute, exciting adventure. And thanks to Nanna and Poppa we’re even going to be having our first child free night since Sprocket was born!

The last month have been pretty full on around here. K has been in the hospital twice for her heart rhythm issue, we’ve both been sick, K has been away on the first of 3 school camps for the term and we are both pretty well exhausted.

It definitely seems as though K’s heart issue is triggered by stress and good old fashioned exhaustion, and while it in itself is not life threatening there are other heightened risk factors such as stroke that come with it so it has been a worry. She’s not the only one at her work having health issues, and it would be nice if there was a magic bullet to whizz away all the stress or come up with a fabulous new job but there really isn’t right now. We have been trying to come up with ways/routines to try and help but we’ve still got a way to go.

Last week she was away on school camp for four days, and while she was away of course I got sick. Being sick and having sole charge for a very energetic, cheeky and adventurous 2 year old was no fun I can tell you! We were both very glad to pick K up on Saturday night, and she was glad to see us too – it was the longest she’s been away from him without us visiting. I’ve been struggling a bit lately, okay maybe a lot, trying to keep everything together for all of us as well as look after myself and so things have been very up and down. I know K’s been feeling guilty that I’ve had to take on a lot extra but that’s just how life works sometimes. And it’s not like she’s getting any down time either, from the minute she walks in the door at night until she walks out again in the morning Sprocket is all over her, which she loves of course but it’s full on. I’ve been thinking about part time work again now Sprocket’s getting bigger but the reality is right now we’re lucky that I am at home and can focus solely on us. I know if I were working as well, even part time, a lot of what I do now would have to slide. The flip side of that is trying to keep myself balanced and sane, which admittedly is not my strong suit. Luckily I’m surrounded by some great friends who have offered to look after Sprocket for a break, and even my niece who’s home from America for a month has offered to travel down to look after him for us. We keep tossing up whether to move to a cheaper house, in the town where K works, but we really don’t want to leave this neighbourhood. Most of Sprocket and my friends live within a few blocks so we would miss things like impromptu meet ups at the park on a sunny day like we got to do this morning.

Life is very busy with Sprocket, we catch up with friends on most Monday and Tuesday mornings, then Wednesday and Thursday is music and gymnastics respectively. At times it seems like a busy life for a 2 year old but he is such an energetic and social kid that we both tend to suffer for staying at home just us for too long. He is really a great kid, but my goodness he is busy. It’s not just a first time parents/first kid thing either – everyone comments the same, even his aunt who has 5 kids only 8 years apart, fosters pre-schoolers and does at home childcare was amazed after an afternoon with him! He is constantly inventing new ways to give me grey hair, the most recent being figuring out how to open both the back door, and the gate that leads to the road. And he is fast. The other Mums we hang out with are amazed at how fast he is, and he once he’s running he has a one track mind and refuses to stop. It is impossible to let him more than a step or two away when we’re out because if he gets a head start, he’s hard to catch and can easily reach roads/danger in no time. His inquisitive nature is so much fun though, and despite his rambunctiousness he can also be such a gentle and affectionate boy too.

So yes, this time last week when I was sick and K was away things seemed very rough but it’s amazing what a difference a week makes. On Monday night K came home and took over cooking dinner, did the dishes and announced she had got the next day off (very rare for a teacher in term time) and was sending me out of the house to get my hair cut, have a peaceful coffee and browse the shops. It was bliss. A little bizarre not to be carrying a pile of supplies or having to rush through shops but I soon got used to that! I came home very much refreshed and ready to go again. And then this morning she rang to say that someone at work was giving away an already paid for night at a hotel in Auckland for tonight with late checkout and free breakfast included. A couple hours later and it’s all organized, we’re driving up after work and dropping Sprocket off with his grandparents and heading out for a grown up night on the town.

I am so excited and looking forward to this, it’s time out that we need so much but it’s definitely not something we could afford to do at the moment so the timing is just perfect.

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Somehow the title is true. Although it seems

Somehow the title is true. Although it seems like he is changing and growing daily, it is still mind blowing that Sprocket is now 2 years old. He had a great birthday, we were sad that BD couldn’t come up for a visit in the end, but the day was filled with fun and Sprocket had an amazing day. We threw a party for him with immediate family and then a few of his friends and their Mums. He wasn’t so into the opening presents part, despite an early morning fascination with ripping the paper off, but he was thoroughly spoiled by all and definitely enjoyed playing with them. The day was a great reminder of how lucky we are, and how much love surrounds our boy.

Last week we had his final plunket visit, which was all very positive. He has settled into 50th percentile for weight and close to 75th for height. Developmentally he is doing great, he was chatting away to the nurse and checking out the room and toys non stop. He’s now speaking in more and more complex sentences, with at least 4/5 word sentences the norm now. He’s still fearless, and very physically active both in play and tantrums. We had turned up to the appointment with blood in his hair as he had head butted the gate just before we left, and then while we were waiting he again hit his head and cried loudly. And while we were there, he managed to get his head stuck between a sink and the wall – needless to say he well demonstrated his active personality! The next step is to enrol him in kindergarten for when he turns 3 (omg). I need to do a whole post on what he’s up to these days. Nap times have nearly been replaced by quiet time in his room. We still put him down for a nap after lunch, but more often than not he will get up and play with his toys rather than sleep. This actually suits me a lot better as he is quite happy to do so for around an hour, still giving me a break, and if he does sleep inevitably we have a rough night with a very early morning wake up. He still has his moments temper wise, with hitting and heat butting being his go-to behaviour when he’s not happy, but overall he is just so much fun.

We’ve had a very busy few weeks, starting with K being back in hospital with the same heart issue as before. Definitely a warning sign that she is overdoing it at work, so there is some cutting back to do there as well as some other changes at home for all of us. Of course not helped by battles with IRD over her tax while on parental leave in 2011, and then finding out by accident that she doesn’t have a valid drivers’ licence despite having two physical licences in her wallet after they stuffed up her name change. She ended up on sick leave the week before her holidays started, which means we’ve had (or will have by the end of this week) three weeks together. Sprocket has been loving this, and he has definitely been on a Mummy kick the last few days.

We also had a big trip last week down to Wellington for our best friends’ son’s first birthday. It was a mission and a half, driving over 1100 kilometres over 5 days, but we broke it up with a visit to my parents which made it easier. Turns out that Sprocket is a great traveller, we stopped at several playgrounds of course but he had a great time spotting trees, diggers, helicopters, rainbows…you name it. Unfortunately at the end of the first day we had to drive through a notoriously bad 70km stretch of narrow, windy, hilly road which was where we discovered he gets carsick! Yay. Luckily it wasn’t raining, and we found somewhere we could pull over relatively quickly, as he was walking down the road with K in only a nappy while I was cleaning his seat. He was so excited to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s though, he’d been asking about Grandma ever since they stayed a month ago. We had a great time with them, visiting with family friends the first day, our nephew and his Mum the next and then a visit to BD’s parents before we left town. This deserves it’s own post, but for now I’ll just say that we are so very lucky in the relationship that we have with not only him, but also his family. We only see them once or twice a year, but so far it has always been a really positive experience.

Then it was on down to Wellington, and some stress with the motel screwing up our booking so we had to scramble to find a replacement motel. We found one alright, with a pretty nice two bedroom cottage but very questionable “period ornaments” above the beds. Picture massive two person wood saws, scythe, toilet seat (yes), food tins, pick axe, climbing and horse equipment amongst others. Thankfully they were very well bolted on as we had visions of Sprocket waking up in the night in his room and seeing what he could play with!

We had a great time with our friends, and got to spend lots of time with them and caught up properly for the first time in ages which was awesome.  It was cool to see the boys interact a little more this visit, they are both growing up so fast it won’t be long before they are running around chasing each other and playing games together. And no doubt playing tricks on their Mums too 🙂 Sprocket was so good the whole time we were away, he loved seeing everyone and it helped that every house we visited had cars and trains for him to play with. He was very well behaved, with no timeouts needed the whole time and just rolled with whatever changed we made to his routine. He had a couple of very late nights but still we had no problems getting him settled for sleep (of course early morning wake ups made up for that). We all had a great time at the birthday party, Sprocket found a new best bud, a 12 (?) year old boy who was volunteered by his Mum to look after him so we could sit down and relax. It was a very mutual admiration though and they both seemed to have a lot of fun together along with all the other kids. So much so that when I called him in for cake, he ran away from me and jumped into his new mate’s arms! We also managed to fit in lunch with my niece and nephew during our 24 hours there and a trip on the iconic cable car. It was so much fun we forgot to be disappointed that BD was out of town, or maybe we were just so busy – we will definitely have to make our next trip longer.

In a few more days we’ll be back into term time reality, with K being back at school and Sprocket and I being back into our activities. This term we are continuing his music and movement class, which he loved last term, as well as starting back at gymnastics. I’m very much looking forward to that, as we’re heading into winter and it is a great energy outlet, but also as a few of our friends are starting back as well after a six month break.

 

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Big Boy Bed

We’ve had a busy time around here lately, Sprocket has been changing daily and just rocketing towards his second birthday (in just 3 more days).

He’s always been a climber, an adventurer, but to everyone’s surprise he didn’t climb out of his cot until last Friday. We knew it would happen sooner or later, but we were quite happy keeping him in there for as long as possible. We were hoping to delay buying his bed until May, but after plenty of climbing in and out on Friday led to a quick purchase. Luckily we already knew what we wanted, and from where, so it seemed like a painless process. As it happened, it wasn’t quite so painless as the bed came in a flat pack with basically no instructions. But by Saturday afternoon Sprocket’s cot was gone and brand new shiny race car bed in its place.

We decided to just throw caution to the wind and so Saturday night was his first night sleeping in a big boy bed, daylight saving change back to winter time and also a very exciting night out at the hot air balloon festival finale. 

The balloons were amazing, my brother came down for the night and came with us and we met up with some friends too. There was lots happening, including an aerobatic display, fire dancers, taiko drummers, fancy balloons all lit up, plenty of live music, glow sticks, fair food and a wicked fireworks display to finish. The kids loved it, and even though it was a very late night (we didn’t get home til 10pm) they were all so good. 

Of course when we got home we were all exhausted, so Sprocket was happy just to get into bed and went straight to sleep.Tonight is the fifth night in the bed, and he has stayed in bed and gone to sleep quickly every night. This is magic. Sleeping through the night has been up and down, last night he was really unsettled and I was up to him four times before 3am when I decided just to sleep in his bed. I was extra lucky as K was on a course today so had a later start than normal so she very kindly got up with him at 6am and let me sleep in. Naptime has been much better, we had pretty much given up expecting him to sleep during the day, instead being content with him having quiet time in his room. This is much better in his bed than in his cot as he can get out and look at his books or drive a car, rather than being so confined. Of course the last two days he has slept in his bed! 

It’s funny because he’s started seeming so much bigger and older all of a sudden, but now he’s in a full single sized bed it makes him tiny again. But, he does love his race car bed and so far the transition is going far better than we expected. It seems like he really was ready for it.

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