Here's to 2017!

Happy New Year!

Sunset on the last day of 2016.

Sunset on the last day of 2016.

I did not make it to midnight. Nor did I try, or ever intend to try. 2017 was going to start regardless, and I was more than happy to sleep as that happened.

I did think I might end up watching the sunrise, and it was a close-run thing, but Amelie, the little angel, managed to put herself back to sleep after some early morning stirring. I would like to take that as an indication of how 2017 might be...unexpectedly smooth sailing, perhaps? I can only hope!

Were you in? Or out? Big night or quiet one? Ours wasn't completely bereft of celebration. Our best friends are up at Juddface Estate with us, so we had some champagne and platter action, as is our unofficial tradition. It was, of course, also our anniversary, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Brick Bay Winery, near Matakana. The back route from our house to Matakana is one of the most spectacular drives, and has the added bonus of avoiding the crazy New Year traffic. All around, a highly enjoyable day.

Ending 2016 as we always do.

Ending 2016 as we always do.

It's now about 12 hours into 2017. I'm sitting in the sun, listening to the cicadas, relaxing on the deck of our little country house. At some stage H1 and I will talk about our plans for the year, our hopes, our dreams, how we're going to handle things like my return to university and work...but for now, I am more than happy to just be.

Enjoying Brick Bay...well, two of us are, anyway. Amelie was getting a little over it!

Enjoying Brick Bay...well, two of us are, anyway. Amelie was getting a little over it!

Yay for 2017! May it bring you everything you want. What are your plans for the year – and have you made any resolutions?

Decorating for Christmas!

We're having our first Christmas in our country house and I just can't wait. The weather turned it on last time we were up there, and you have never seen anyone wanting to return to Auckland less than we did. And we like Auckland! But that place is just so magical in the summer. H1 spent most of the weekend getting the house ready for summer – outdoor furniture out, etc. – and we had friends over for a delicious picky snack dinner and some bubbles in the evening. Oh, and we also decorated for Christmas! So exciting. Some photographic evidence...

Sunrise from our bedroom window.

Sunrise from our bedroom window.

Champagne and Pfeffernüsse. Traditions old...

Champagne and Pfeffernüsse. Traditions old...

...and new. H1 and Amelie taking a break from decorating.

...and new. H1 and Amelie taking a break from decorating.

H1 putting together the tree. Fake, because it gets hot in that house when we're not there!

H1 putting together the tree. Fake, because it gets hot in that house when we're not there!

The decorated tree.

The decorated tree.

Snacks with friends. That chutney is from the Mangawhai markets and is SO good.

Snacks with friends. That chutney is from the Mangawhai markets and is SO good.

Our New York star nestled at the top of the tree.

Our New York star nestled at the top of the tree.

Only a few more days to go...I can't wait!

A few good things

Amelie. OF COURSE, always and forever, but even more so if that's possible. We've got lots of smiles and even got our first giggle the other day. She converses with us regularly now. She's just delightful. I don't always love mothering but I love her to pieces. Makes it all seem so simple.

H1. Watching him with Amelie is just amazing. He's such a fantastic father and wonderful husband – I feel so lucky to have him! Now that Amelie is a little older the fog is clearing somewhat and we find ourselves with both the time and inclination to talk about other things occasionally. Last night he had a function so got home about 8. Once Amelie was settled I joined him in the living room and we had a glass of wine and some lovely conversation. In the early days of having a baby that sort of time is not doable (well, it wasn't for us). So nice getting some evenings back for us like that – I treasure every one.

Summer! Today is the first day of December, and the first day of summer. It's gloriously blue and sunny out there, and looks like we're set for more of the same this weekend (hopefully – the weather forecasting in New Zealand is decidedly iffy, it's not an easy place to predict). We're heading up north to the country house and fingers crossed it's a lazy weekend of sun for our little family!

CHRISTMAS. First of December means it's really fully time to get our Christmas on! I've been ramping up to this for a couple of weeks now and am now ready to go into full-blown Christmas overdrive. We'll be decorating this weekend, as per our usual tradition. The She and Him Christmas album playing, a glass of bubble, some pfeffernusse to snack on, and Christmas magic all throughout the house. Interspersed, this year, with looking after Amelie, who is too young to care at all but will have some great photos to look back on, if I have anything to do with it. I can't wait!

Amelie

I thought I was having a boy.

For no good reason, my entire pregnancy I thought I was going to have a little boy. It was just a feeling I had, based on nothing. I didn't mind what we had, but I thought for sure it was a boy – except when I was struck by uncertainty and wondered if maybe it was a girl.

Intuition has never been my strong point.

At the beginning of October, Amelie Matilda was born, after a relatively quick and brutally painful labour. At least it was quick. I couldn't have done that for much longer. As it was, I tried to outsource the duty of giving birth halfway through the labour, but was obviously unsuccessful. 

They held her up to me, my tiny brand new baby, and asked me if I wanted to tell H1 what we had. I peered through exhausted drugged-up eyes, trying to discern for myself what to say. The silence stretched on until I said, very confused: "A girl?"

It was a question. I didn't trust my eyes. The thought crossed my mind that they shouldn't trust someone who's exhausted and drugged with such responsibility.

H1 was crying. Tearfully, he confirmed it for me. We had a girl. I lay on the bed, wondering why I wasn't crying and whether I should be. Was something wrong with me?

Then the reality of what had just happened hit and as they put her on my chest, I was overtaken by a feeling of the most intense love I have ever felt. It attacked me from all sides, choking me and rendering my limbs and thoughts useless. It was love for her and for H1, love for my own mother and father, love for myself. It was love scary in its strength, love that was and is truly awesome, in the full sense of the word.

Now, I'm amazed that I could have ever thought I was having a boy – because of course it was a girl, of course it was Amelie. There was nobody else it could be.