Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Missing Friend

I miss sleep. It is as if a long-lost friend has gone on holiday to some remote tropical island, deserting me, and I am left with just noise and pollution and a wistful wish that I could be somewhere else. I try ringing, writing, texting, but conversation is brief, sporadic and entirely unsatisfying. My friend is busy elsewhere. Ah, it is a sad thing.

I head to bed each night in hopes of us being reunited. But all too often, sleep eludes me. Why can't I go to the tropical island too?!?

Seriously, the past couple of weeks have seen a major deterioration in my sleeping patterns. At the moment I am managing around 1-2hrs at a stretch, before waking to intense discomfort. My 5 assorted pillows do not seem to be helping. Even sleeping in a near-upright position no longer seems to keep Munchkin low enough to avoid my ribs. There are small feet. They are bony and they wriggle. I wonder sometimes how Munchkin feels about all this. Is the baby as uncomfortable as me? Can it possibly be??! It does get the better end of the deal overall. I mean, wrapped in a special fluid sack, tucked in the front of all the action...meanwhile my organs get squished progressively further and further into my back. There's only so much room in there you know.

Of course, the other issue is that I'm down to all of 2 possible sleeping positions. Right side, or left side. Legs in the same spot for either...and definitely no rolling towards the stomach or the back. So if I don't wake to Munchkin wriggling, I wake because my lower leg is aching. And with my bump so sticky-outy there's no way I am going to manage rolling over without waking up. It is a major undertaking requiring the use of various pillows, much wriggling and gentle rolling, and general sighing on my part. And then staying perfectly still, hoping that I will remain comfortable long enough to fall asleep again.

Boyo is sleeping okay. He has the spare bed. Which is a good thing, considering he works till midnight 4 nights a week. Last night I finally worked out (at 5am!) that the couch is currently more comfortable than the bed...I got 2 hours of good sleep, woke to roll over, then got another hour before deciding I really should face the day. Tonight I am trying a new plan. I will start on the couch until Boyo comes home from work, get up then for food/loo/stretch, head to bed for however long I last there, then return to the couch later in the early morning if need be. It could be interesting to see how it works out.

Thanks for coming by and reading the ramblings of this sleep-deprived, crazy, pregnant student!

Amy

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Birthdays

Boyo's birthday is coming up. I suspect he might have turned into an adrenaline junkie...last year he had a bungee jump from my parents for his birthday. This year he has told the whole family that the ONLY thing he wants is a skydive. I think he will enjoy it. Just as long as he doesn't expect me to do any of these things with him, I am quite happy for him to do them (I do not like jumping!)! I figure that it is better he has a great time off on an adventure somewhere for his birthday, than gets given lots of stuff that then isn't used (not that this is always the case by any means, he has had many enjoyable birthday presents that still get used frequently, it is just that we are trying to cut back on the amount of stuff we own, and getting more stuff doesn't really help with that!).

Usually I start thinking about what I would like for my birthday after I've organised his. Mine is 3 months later. In my family, we have always been asked what we would like...and my parents have always put a lot of effort into giving great birthday gifts. So here's my list. Now, you will think that this is very, very early and taking planning to a whole other level, and you are right. But let me tell you a little secret that will make you absolutely sure I have lost the plot. I made this list in January. 9 months before my birthday! Yep, crazy lady. The thing is, I was thinking about birthdays and gifts and stuff a lot at that time (I think it was probably a post-Christmas reflection on consumerism that started it all). I kind of just ended up writing a list because I was thinking about it so much. The interesting part of all this is that I have added only 1 item to this list since January...the children's picture books to use in my teaching career. Everything else has remained pretty much just as I wrote it 6 months ago. I think that's probably a good sign that I am on the right track. So here you are, have a chuckle at my birthday wish list!
For my birthday I want:
Chooks
Guinea pigs
An acre or so

As I am not going to be getting any of these (at least for some time!) then I would like the following:

Wool 8ply (double knit) pure wool, or at least 80% wool, any colour, any quantity
For Operation Cover Up knitting (blankets, hats, etc)


Material At least ½m in size per piece is best, odds and ends are okay, cotton/easy to sew/well-wearing fabrics
You could include cotton thread and elastic to sew if you liked…
To sew bags or skirts (elastic waist) for Operation Christmas Child

World Vision Gift Cards
Pigs, chickens, goats, seeds, gardening tools, etc
If I can’t have my own livestock at present then I’d like to make sure someone who needs it gets to have theirs!


I know gift giving at someone’s birthday means a lot and I really do love getting presents, but I am trying to cut back on the amount of stuff I am collecting that doesn’t get used. With our tight budget at present I’m unlikely to be able to get these sorts of things myself as I normally would. With these gifts I then get the double blessing of a gift, that I then get to give on to someone else after I have had a chance to be creative with it! Which is something that I get an incredible sense of satisfaction out of (both the creativity and the giving!).

Other related ideas:
Small shoe boxes (empty)
Christmas or coloured wrapping paper
Buttons (to use with sewing and/or card making projects)
Fabric Ribbons (to use with sewing and/or card making projects)
Excellent children’s picture books (for my teaching career – and because I just love books!)


So there you have it. The wish list of a mad woman. Do you have a wish list (for birthdays or just because)?

Amy

Wrapping

I hemmed my wrap this past week, finally. Not the best sewing effort either, but then who's checking? It is now tucked away ready for use when Munchkin is born. I am looking forward to seeing how well it works, having been through a few U-tube tutorials on a couple of different ways to front wrap Munchkin. My one foray into creativity with this project was sewing our name on it. It kind of looks like a kid's done it, but that honestly was me and my sewing machine!


I love the colours in this fabric! They are so bright and cheery.
Amy


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Feijoas

Boyo and I like to talk about our dream to own land one day. By land, we are usually referring to an acre or thereabouts. While I'd love to have substantially more than that, I have come to realise that owning land is a responsibility, and one which we are not necessarily skilled in. Having owned 2 residential properties, and struggled to maintain them, we have lowered our likely land total from 10 acres, down to around 1. Maybe. We don't want to get land, then find it is just a burden, so we're trying to be a bit more realistic as to what we could manage and enjoy. It will depend on what is available and what we feel capable of managing at the time...we have a few years to wait yet while we both requalify, raise Munchkin and raise a deposit.

But we still love to dream about it. I think for Boyo, the appeal is in the open space, peace and quiet. If we could add a trout stream along a boundary he would be one very, very, very happy camper. The same basic things do appeal to me, but I am the gardener of the pair so the ability to have loads and loads of fruit trees, chooks, and vege gardens is my part of the dream.

When we talk about our land at the moment, we invariably talk about our 'Top 5.' The Top 5 is our list of the very first fruit trees we'd plant. The same thing goes whether we end up buying a 500m2 residential block or an acre, we will plant some fruit trees. We each have our favourites, so somehow ended up with a Top 5 each. The idea is that these are the really special ones that we don't want to be without, the ones that get first priority. They would be followed later by another batch (maybe the Top 10 or something?), but these would form the foundation of our little 'orchard.'

Introducing the amazing feijoa!

On my Top 5 is the feijoa. I chose this because it is just so yummy - tangy, sweet, hard to describe really. My Pa used to grow them up on the Thames coast (among many other fruit and veges on his 1/2 acre!). The other criteria I have for my Top 5 is that I can't buy them easily at the supermarket...making them even more important to grow at home. While nowadays you can in fact get feijoas at New Zealand supermarkets, they are still pretty expensive. They do not store well or ship well. They bruise too easily you see. Homegrown is still best. Feijoa season is autumn, around the same time as Golden Delicious apples...but by planting different varieties you can get a crop from early April through to the end of June. I would so love to do this! I have, in the past, been known to freeze feijoas whole. To eat, you defrost overnight...the skin goes a yucky greeny-brown, soft and squishy, but the flesh inside is still great to eat. I used to scoop it straight into hot porridge for some 'fresh' fruit in the middle of winter. Feijoa juices/smoothies is one of my favourite choices when out at a cafe, but mostly I just enjoy eating them fresh.

My parents have a mamoth, geriatric feijoa tree. It is HUGE. Maybe 5-10metres across and tall. The only problem is that it is very old, and isn't self-fertile like a lot of the newer varieties. Its gorgeous red flowers come earlier than any other local feijoas, so many of its fruit are not pollinated properly, and therefore don't have any pulp. This is very dissappointing, and it took us quite awhile to work out what is going wrong.


A dud one - see how the inside is hard and empty. It's not much fun to eat at all.

To get around the lack of edible fruit, I have taken to collecting the fallen fruit in a bucket (you don't pick feijoas - they fall when they are ripe). I then sit at the table, bucket beside me, knife in hand, with a plate for the good ones and a scrap container for the useless ones, and cut away. I don't mind doing this. What I do mind is going and getting a couple of feijoas and not getting to eat any because they are no good!


Here's a recent pile. Delicious!

I just love the variety my parent's backyard adds to our fruit-eating. We've finished the grapes, passionfruit, raspberries, apples and pears and are just now enjoying feijoas while the mandarins are colouring up.

Do you have a 'Top 5' of favourite fruit you consider the ultimate backyard orchard foundation?
Amy

Monday, May 10, 2010

Welcome to my Supermarket

We did a big shop last week. And by big I mean pretty BIG. Usually we shop for a month at a time at the supermarket, then get fruit and veges, eggs, bread and associated fresh things each week as needed. It is a habit that started when Boyo was paid monthly, and continues to this day. I decided to shop monthly because I do not like shopping very much, so any time away from the supermarket is good time, as far as I'm concerned. I noticed that I would be buying pretty much the exact same items each fortnightly shop anyway, so simply doubled everything and shopped 4 weekly, thus saving myself several hours a fortnight in doubled up time at the supermarket. It works pretty well. I tend to be a stockpiler anyway and have a good shopping list and menu system, so we very rarely run out of anything.

With Munchkin's birth due around the end of May/beginning of June we figured I am not going to want to be shopping then. Neither is Boyo likely to suddenly feel overwhelmed by an urge to shop (he hates shopping more than I do and has only been helping with the shopping the past couple of months because I was finding all the lifting and bending too hard - usually he gets away with helping put everything away at home!). So we managed to 'find' some spare money and did a shop for 2 months. I think the checkout lady was a bit surprised to realise that we were together...his full trolley followed by my full trolley. Comprehension did dawn on the explanation that this is the pre-baby shop. As I was in danger of jamming myself, my bump and my trolley in the narrow space between chocolate bars and conveyor belt, it was somewhat obvious. Grin.

Putting it all away was interesting! The freezer has been reorganised to fit everything, just. I am hoping there is enough room in there for another 2 loaves of my specialty breadmaker bread and a cake or two...it will be a squeeze but we should manage.

Since we have limited space in the open pantry in our kitchen, the issue then became that of where on earth to put everything. Here is the solution: Welcome to my supermarket!

These open shelves were just sitting empty in the garage, between the door into the house and the laundry and freezer area. They have proven to be ideal for our mini supermarket. We've kept all the dried fruit and baking goods in the kitchen as it is less likely to get mice, but the tins and juice will be perfectly safe out here until we need them.

There is something about full pantry cupboards that does my soul good. I like to know that we can eat well, and I can get creative whenever I want to. We used to invite folks round for lunch after church...we would hardly ever have to stop off at the supermarket on the way home, folks were simply told to bring whatever they wanted to if they wanted to, but that we'd eat whatever we found in the freezer, fridge or pantry. And we did. So if we don't manage to cook much after Munchkin is born, we can always eat Watties Spaghetti (it was on special, okay!). The buckets are not for food, but for nappies - our solution to not wanting to spend $30+ on a nappy bucket that didn't have a sealing lid...these were about $3 each.

What is your favourite pantry/stockpile item? Boyo eats tinned fruit each work night after a shift, so we have lots of that. I love dried fruit and nuts.

Amy

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

This is my first (unofficial) Mother's Day. I am told it is the quietest one I will have for many years! I suspect, in fact I am almost certain, that this is correct.

At church today, each woman was given a rose as they came in. Isn't it beautiful?

And here's a little saying from the day.

I think that this year I am only just beginning to realise the enormity of being a mother. And I'm not officially one yet (not for a few more weeks at any rate). I had my parents around here last night, helping me work out how to set the hanging basinet up properly in the cot, and it made me stop and think how truly unique parents are. I mean, friends are great, but there's something about the lengths that parents (or mine at any rate) will go to for their child. I wonder if they had any idea 28 years ago, that their roles as parents would continue for so long and in such great detail? They wrapped me in a shawl, talked to me, fed me, and cuddled me and probably couldn't think past the day when they'd get to sleep through the night again! And here we are, 28 years later, with my mum showing me just how she wrapped me, so I can wrap Munchkin the same. And my dad's there, undoing and redoing bolts, while drinking the ever-present cup of tea. I learned to make pretty decent cups of tea at a young age. I still don't know how to make a half decent cup of coffee. I drink neither.
The role of a mother is never ending. It is a job description without words, a calling above and beyond a career. I am so thankful for my mum, and awed when I consider what she has done and who she is in my life. She no longer has to dress me, but she's spent hours this year browsing SaveMart with me - I have my mum to thank that I am a decently dressed preggy - she has much better dress sense than me! The days of reading bedtime stories are over, but she still sits and listens intently while I talk through the ups and downs of my week. Her words have changed from, "Don't touch that, it's hot!" to those of advice and encouragement to an adult still finding her feet in the world.
To all the Mum's out there - you are to be honoured and blessed. I think of Mamma and Granny and Great-gran and the legacy they have left for us. I think of my friend's Mum's and their hospitality towards me. I think of my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law (congratulations on becoming a Mum!) and the welcome they extend to me as an addition to their family. And I think of my best friend, a Mum of 9 months and another inspiration. All so different, all so giving. It feels in some ways like I am entering into hallowed teritory...the realm of motherhood is not something to be taken lightly: it is hard, it will challenge me beyond my expectations, but I also hope it will be ultimately rewarding to walk beside my child as they grow, as my mum has done for me.

Have you thanked a special mum ('real' or surrogate) in your life today?
Amy

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Unravelling...

Yesterday we (or rather, I) burned the casserole. Today I broke a bowl. One of our only 4. Tomorrow we are meant to be having soup for lunch with our pastors. I will be using Munchkin's bowl. My comment to Boyo was, "I'm a hazzard. Can I please retire temporarily from life," or something to that effect.

It feels as if my sanity and my life are unravelling by the minute. No wonder pregnant ladies beg to be induced! I still officially have 4 weeks to go, and things have gone downhill in an almighty great hurry over the past 2 weeks. Apparently it is quite common for folks to provide meals to a family with a new baby, as a way of helping them cope in those first few weeks. What I want to know is, how do I survive until then? Boyo has offered to do my assignments for me from time to time. Sadly, that's not going to work so well.

At least today the broken bowl did not result in a flood of tears (unlike several incidents yesterday). It is 6:30pm. I have had enough of the day. My back is aching like crazy from cooking dinner, and I've been having difficulty trying to set up the baby's bed properly. I am probably being too fussy.

On the up-side, I got my hair cut today. It was well overdue, and I feel so nice knowing that I actually look presentable. We finished sorting out our budget for the month, and I got a new toothbrush refill...another long overdue task, which means I'm now looking forward to cleaning my teeth before bed! Ah, the joys of small things. My new mobile phone arrived today, and I am now on a plan which means I can text or call people without borrowing Boyo's phone.

I have been trying to remind myself that "this too shall pass" while trying to get hold of the head of my degree to talk exams, study, and baby (I am a week behind with study, and have exams around our due date, so I figure a discussion around about now is probably a good idea). I have managed to get 5 assignments in though, which I don't think is an insignificant matter by any means. And Boyo gave me a really nice, encouraging card yesterday. He knew how badly I needed it. It is sitting on my bedside table, reminding me that he believes I can do this, and that we are in it together. Both rather nice thoughts really and ones that I need to focus on, rather than the tiredness and discomfort. So on that thought I am going to watch a DVD, then go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day.

Amy

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wind up the Light

The Operation Christmas Child stash has not been growing nearly as quickly as I would like.

I put this down to a combination of several things: lack of time and brainpower (study and baby preparation has been somewhat all-consuming of late!), and lack of funds (we are just starting to get properly on our feet after moving into a unit a few months back).

Dynamo, or wind-up LED torches. They fit in the palm of your hand. To recharge them you pull the grey handle.



We did pick up these fabulous little additions a month or so back though. It is quite amusing really...Boyo works at a supermarket, and noticed these cool little wind up torches attached to some Toilet Duck bowl cleaners. In other words, the torches were a freebie if you bought the loo thingy. Now, we don't use loo thingys. We have good old baking soda with essential oil and that seems to do the trick nicely. In recent years, we've moved away from using chemicals at home, so generally they are limited to instances of extreme desperation. Such as stain removal (have yet to find something really, really organic/natural that does a great job), or the kitchen sink blockage this week (I still can't believe we actually went and bought Drain-O...but it was desperate - several lots of boiling water, vinegar, and baking soda plus plunging had not done the job).

So the issue was that I really wanted these cool torches to go in the Christmas Child boxes, but didn't by any means want to have any loo stuff. My parents-in-law gave us a really nice Dynamo emergency torch a few years back, which even has a radio and we've found it so useful to have around - it is also reassuring knowing that we don't have to locate batteries or radio in a civil emergency as we don't tend to have either just lying around. Since then, I have thought many times how useful a wind-up torch would be in the Christmas Child boxes (they ask you not to send anything that uses batteries as they just end up as landfill). I'd never found any that were either a reasonable size or a reasonable price. Until now. So in the end, we compromised. I got the torches, and the Toilet Duck is going to my in-law's church...they have a fair few toilets that they apparently already use these cleaners for, so at least I am not contributing to any extra chemical use. Grin.

Another amusing aspect of the whole story is that we liked the torches so much, that we got 3 for ourselves...one for me, one for Boyo and one for in the car. Oh, plus one for my dad because he is a bit of a torch fanatic. They are getting a good workout too.

Amy