Thursday, August 20, 2015

Our New Zealand Home

We spent a few days looking for houses.We arrived in New Zealand on July 29, I think, and Matt had to begin work on August 3. It was exhausting to do that with three kids, but we finally narrowed it down to two houses in the suburb of Khandallah, about 15 minutes north of the city. We prayed about it and tried to decide which would be best, and then we got a call that one of the houses was not going to be available to rent because the owners decided to sell it instead. So, the decision was made for us. The other house was newer and nicer, but had more stairs and didn't have much outdoor space, and we've enjoyed this house a lot.

I took these pictures back in September, so a few things have changed, but I thought I'd get down what I have and add a few things later.

Here is the entryway taken from the stairs. If you turn right when you walk in, you see a door to the garage and straight ahead a door to a closet under the stairs.
 If you turn left, you see this hallway. The door on the left is the boys' room, the doors on the right going forward are the laundry room, toilet room, and bathtub/shower room. Straight ahead is the master bedroom.
The boys room
The laundry room
The toilet room, with the most ridiculous sink... These sinks are very common, though. We saw them in lots of houses. There's hot water on one side and cold on the other end, and it's so shallow, you can barely fit your hands under the faucet... Luckily, I rarely use these toilet rooms and the boys don't complain.
Bathtub/shower room. The shower is a stall shower that you can barely see in this photo.
The master bedroom. Since this photo was taken, we bought a little red loveseat to go at the foot of the bed, a blue ottoman, and brought a TV down there, so I have a nice set-up for folding clothes and ironing. It has been especially handy on cold nights because this room is much easier to heat than the upstairs living room.
Master bathroom
 Master closet
Turn 90 degrees from the previous hallway and you have this hallway. Straight ahead is the guest room, the door on the right is Marie's room.
Marie's room

The guest room. I haven't taken a picture since we set it up, so that's all of our suitcases and Marie's pack n play that we bought our first night in Wellington because there was no crib in the temporary housing and she slept in it until we got her crib.
I think when I took these pictures, the upstairs was not clean (and probably incomplete--it took a long time for us to get all of our living room furniture. I think the couches came in three separate shipments and we didn't get the last piece until November), so this is the only picture I have upstairs. This is the "breakfast room." On sunny days, this room is quite cozy and warm in the morning with the sun pouring through this window and there's a bar with 5 stools that face the kitchen. I got a loveseat for this room as well because it's a nice place for playdates in the morning, but there was nowhere to sit except a barstool and that's not very comfortable for me.
Here's another view from the kitchen.

That's all I have for now. The next time I clean the house, I'll try to remember to take pictures of the kitchen, dining room, and living room, and hopefully the views from the house as well. I'll have to wait for a relatively sunny day. It has been quite stormy lately and when it's raining, you can see almost nothing out the windows. We keep all of the curtains closed on days like that because heat goes right through them!

Sorry to have an incomplete tour--I'll try to finish soon!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Marie turns 1

I'm writing this almost one year after the fact. I'm woefully behind. Turns out, it's much harder to keep up with a blog when you're doing your own housework!

On Marie's first birthday, we had just spent three or four horrific days house-hunting and had finally decided on a house, but hadn't moved in yet. She received a present in the morning before Matt went to work, I drove a gigantic rental van to our new house (on the left side of the road and the right side of the car!) to use the oven and make some cupcakes, and then drove back to our temporary home to eat dinner (my first ever Pita Pit if I recall correctly) and have cupcakes. We had some candles, but we had no matches, so I knocked on our temporary neighbor's door and luckily she had some. It was a difficult time, but we tried to make it as special as we could.

The night before her birthday, I had this experience that I related on Facebook:
This little lady turns 1 tomorrow. As I held her as she fell asleep tonight, I cried some big, fat tears. I'm not ready! I want to keep my sweet baby forever. My boys have been raising hell lately and I feel like she's the only one left who still loves me. I don't want her to get older!! We all love her so much and I could not be happier that we decided to have a third child. Not sure what kind of celebration I can cook up for tomorrow since we are in the middle of a move, but let it be known: Marie Joy, you are so loved.

I feel similarly still. Part of me wants to go back to her immobile, super squishy days. Another part of me wants to hurry up and have her be independent. And the part of me that I should emphasize the most loves watching her develop every day.

 The boys picked out a talking piggy bank with a British accent that also teaches counting in French when put on the advanced setting.

 I bought this lovely outfit for Marie in China and had visions of doing a photoshoot of her, much like the one I did when she was 6 months old, but the lighting wasn't great in our temporary home and she was MUCH more mobile and difficult to photograph.
 I know the exposure of this one is funky, but I kind of like it anyway.

 I love photos of people with their birthday candles lighting up their faces. Marie didn't understand the concept of blowing out the candles, so we all helped.