S U M M E R  B U C K E T  L I S T

It was a long winter in the Greer household – with me waddling around heavily pregnant, desperately trying to savour the last of my days with ‘just Beau’ (which in reality turned out to be  a lot of snuggling, watching TV, reading books, and visiting cafes for fluffy milk and allthefoodsplease).

And then Georgie was born on the third day of spring – almost two weeks passed her expected due date, as though she was clinging onto her warm cocoon, not at all interested in being born until the weather improved.

And now… we are just 6 days away from the summer-time! Spring – and Georgie’s glorious fourth trimester – is almost over, already.

I intend to write more about her fourth trimester, our wonderful babymoon, and prioritising the adjustment into a family-of-four… but today I want to share with you our S U M M E R  B U C K E T  L I S T ! Because priorities!

I made a decision recently that I need to prioritise what matters most to me, above anything else – and that is quality time with my family, getting out into nature, and having bucket-loads of fun together.

On one particularly long afternoon of cluster-feeding, when Georgie was just born… and I had just finished reading Constance Hall’s book ‘Like a Queen,’ feeling inspired by her discussion around surrender and choosing joy with her children over literally anything else… I got out a pen and a piece of paper.

Right in the centre of this piece of paper, I scrawled “summer bucket list” and drew a cloud shape around it. And, when Nick got home that evening, we listed all the things that came to mind in anticipation of our summer-time with the children. Not a list of things we should do, but a list of the things we could do.

So I stuck this piece of paper under a magnet on the fridge, replacing the list of housework formerly there, and it’s a daily reminder to me to embrace the things I most enjoy doing.

Our weeks are pretty full on – just as yours would be – Nick runs his own Building & Project Management company, often working 12 hour days, and I’m full-time mother to an active preschooler and a breastfed baby. Saturdays come and are a flurry of errands, and housework, and catch ups, and each getting a bit of time for ourselves. But then – Sundays.

Sundays are our family days. Our no work, no commitments, no plans days. We avoid sharing these days with others, cherishing the time as just the four of us. Sundays are our bucket list days. The mornings are for having fun, getting out and doing things we really enjoy – maybe there’ll be a long car journey for the little ones to nap, a place to easily push a stroller, lots of trees and wide open spaces, a picnic to enjoy, and blue summer skies. And then the afternoons are reserved for relaxing – watching TV or a film, reading books, figuring out whose turn it is to mold play dough or build duplo, and later on eating a favourite meal.

The best way to end and start any week. Fulfilled.

What would you put on your own summer bucket list? I’d love to know!

x Hayley

S U M M E R  B U C K E T  L I S T

  • Have a picnic in Cornwall Park
  • Smell the flowers in the Auckland Domain
  • Meet the animals at Auckland Zoo
  • Go for a trip on the Glenbrook Railway
  • Try new foods at the Clevedon Farmers Market
  • Pick strawberries in Kumeu – starts here after Christmas
  • Go on beach trips – to Long Bay, Omaha, Pakiri…
  • Camping in the Coromandel – toast marshmallows!
  • Discover local walkways & playgrounds – buggy-friendly Auckland here
  • Garden fun – paddling pool, sand tray, BBQs + homemade popsicles (try thisthis or this)
  • Water fun at the Albany stadium childrens’ pools (tip: go early!)
  • Go up the Sky Tower on a City trip
  • Catch the ferry to Waiheke Island
  • Build forts on rainy days
  • Walk around Lake Pupuke
  • Walk through Shakespear Regional Park
  • Kids Kingdom, to celebrate Beau starting preschool.

Georgie // a short film

For those who know me well, you will know how much I wanted to conceive a second baby and how it wasn’t an easy road for me. Fertility issues are a silent battle many women are fighting through. I’ve been there and, if you are there too, you have my full understanding.

Having not had any issues the first time around, with Beau, I really struggled with it all – especially the label “Secondary Infertility.” I felt broken, and it took me a little effort to realise I in fact wasn’t broken, and that conceiving Beau ‘without even trying’ was actually just a beautiful and random stroke of luck. It had nothing to do with any accomplishment on my part, nor did my fertility issues second time around have anything to do with a mistake I was making.

For anyone who has conceived effortlessly, it is simply a beautiful and random stroke of luck. And for anyone who has battled, or continues to battle, please don’t lose faith. I can’t tell you if or when you will conceive – but I can tell you that you haven’t done anything wrong, and that you deserve to be a mother more than anything. In your heart you already are. Please don’t stop fighting for it.

This is a film I made for Georgie, yesterday… once I had conceived my second babe, I celebrated every damned moment of it. It wasn’t always comfortable or easy, I gained 20kg overall and struggled with pelvic pain and a bit of antenatal depression and my 9lb 5oz babe needed to be delivered via emergency section because in transition of labour she was obstructed and couldn’t get out, but it was all simply beautiful. And utterly worthy of having the shit celebrated out of it.

Love you, Georgie. I’d go through it all over and over again to get you. You were worth the wait. 

Pregnancy and toddlerhood

Today is tough
I feel I’m breaking
For all I give
Still more you’re taking
You push me on
And on I go
You’re teaching me
There’s more to know
And maybe this is how it is
To come undone & be rebuilt
Through all the cracks
More light is spilt
A greater depth
A sudden tilt
And slowly I now start to see
I’ve more to give
There’s more to me…

A letter to my first born.

Dear Beau

Soon you will be a big brother. I know this is really exciting news for you – you can’t wait to meet your little sibling and to introduce them to our family life, to share your toys and adventures, and to help take care of them. You’ve told me so. You express love at the sight of anyone’s baby at the moment, with a heart-melting ‘awwww’ and big curious, caring eyes.

Beau you have the kindest, most loving nature – and you will be the best big brother there ever has been. How blessed baby is!

But as joyful and wonderful as it all will be, I also know there will be challenges ahead, as you learn the realities of sharing your home, your belongings, and your parents with another person. So this is why I wanted to write to you.

You probably won’t read this letter until you are much older – adult, even. And there will have been many a frustration, jealousy, and fight between now and then. I hope I have managed it well. I hope I was able to hear you, and reassure you, whilst at the same time opening your mind and your horizons and not being able to figure it all out for you.

I hope you still feel as you seem to feel right now – unconditionally loved and adored, admired for your strengths, trusted in your capabilities, and supported through all of your learning and mistakes.

I don’t want to be the kind of parent who highlights your short-comings, who reminds you of times you haven’t gotten it right or have messed up. I want to be the kind of parent who lifts you higher – who encourages you to embrace yourself fully, to know your worth, and not to weigh yourself in terms of pluses and minuses, but as a whole person, a whole being, evolving but brilliant just as you are. I want to encourage you to do your best, but mostly to just be yourself. And to live your life your way.

On your life’s journey you will encounter judgement, and you might be led to feel shame… but I hope that never, ever comes from us. I want you to believe in that goodness we see in you. I hope we are always able to show you that we see it and believe in it, too.

You will long ago have ceased needing our support, or guidance… I have no doubt what a fiercely capable and independent soul you will become, because you already are. But perhaps when/if you become a parent yourself someday you will seek our guidance once again… and I hope you willingly turn to it. I hope our parenting can set you in the right direction, a direction that you will take further still, not highlight a path you’d rather not go down!

I can’t promise these things – but I want you to know that I intend them.

I just hope you know that we did our best.

Because we are doing our best, your daddy and I. Who knows how many mistakes we will muddle through as the years unfold before us… I’m sure a few, though. But I am also sure that we will be able to fix them, learn from them, and love each other throughout it all. I promise that you will always have our apologies when you deserve them, our honesty and commitment always, and our deepest love for far longer than you could possibly know.

You aren’t going to be our ‘one’ anymore. But you will always be you to us. Your feelings will always matter and be considered. Your voice will never be silenced. And I hope you are reading this someday and agreeing – that we have managed to parent you with empathy and kindness.

Our family is about to bring another person into it, and we don’t yet know who they are or how they will change things… but I do know they will be safe and loved, with us.

I’m so proud of our parenting so far, Beau – because I am so proud of you. You are two and a half years old and clever and caring and wonderful.

You are my first born son, and you teach me just as much as I could ever teach you. Thank you for being you and for all you bring to our family.

Here’s to all that is to come, my darling!

Your Mum x

Be you.

Today we have baby’s anatomy scan! It’s usually at this point couples find out if baby is a boy/girl.

With Beau, we wanted a surprise. We didn’t eed to know, and felt it best to let baby introduce themselves to us at birth. It was the best decision; such a powerful moment. It was Beau! It always was him.

This time, for a variety of reasons, I’ve felt a strong desire to know. My senses tell me it’s a baby boy growing in my womb – we’ve even had his name given to us, as if we’ve made a discovery rather than a choice. I’m struggling to imagine a baby girl in our lives, but would of course be overjoyed if she came. Overall, I’ve struggled to connect with this pregnancy – life is already full with Beau. It feels surreal. I felt as though knowing would bring me some clarity, that I would settle into this journey and be able to prepare in a practical way.

I spoke with Nick; we spoke at length over the weekend and last night. He doesn’t feel the same way, but he respects my needs and let the decision be mine. So we were all set!… right until the 11th hour… I panicked and realised, I can’t know! Not yet. The idea of finding out felt to me like I was about to burst a sacred bubble. Halfway through the conversation with Nick my intention turned full circle, and he laughed with affection and mutual understanding, as he witnessed me defend the position I had initially tried to uncover.

And so that’s it, baby! I will continue to nurture us during pregnancy, my anticipation will continue to build, but we will await your own introduction at your birth.

I don’t know who you will be… but I do know you will be YOU.

And you will be loved

We’ll be waiting…!

Dear baby,

You are the second soul to have lived in my womb, and today I saw you for the first time.

Your daddy was there and your big brother, too.

It wasn’t like the first time, when we first saw your brother – although the circumstances were almost identical… I had been asked to drink half a litre of water and not pee for an hour. And so I was sitting in the waiting room, with crossed legs, thinking of nothing but the loo, before I heard my name called… and we all went in.

We had a lovely sonographer – she was really welcoming and friendly. The warm goop was plopped on my tummy, and the ultrasound stick she used to look at you glided smoothly across my middle… and there you were, straight away. Your daddy noticed you first.

I had been nervous this time, so it was with relief to immediately see your movement and to have the sonographer comment on this. You are very much alive and well and growing in my tummy – but I wasn’t flooded with emotion, like the first time. There were no tears of joy, or exclamations of wonder. There was just a calmness and an acceptance.

I reflected on this driving home.

Many people before me have said the same thing that is now being whispered in my own mind… how can I love this baby as much as my first? It’s something that has worried me.

You see, with your brother – it was all magical and wonderful and new. We hadn’t planned or tried for him, he just came – surprising us and blowing our minds. I began pregnancy in great shape, glowing from our recent honeymoon, and every stage of the pregnancy was enjoyable and exciting. I felt so empowered and in control.

Then your brother arrived. And he was more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. And far more lovely. And, despite his birth and those post-partum months being the hardest and most arduous of my life – physically, mentally, emotionally… I loved him so completely and everything was perfect. We got through it.

But now we are on the other side, there are parts of your daddy and I that feel worn down, battered, in need of a tune up.

This time, with you little one, there is no magic or wonder or surprise. We worked hard to get you, we fought for you, and I know exactly what I’m in for. I’m higher risk on account of your brother’s birth (a late stage c-section), and I’ve already put on a fair amount of weight because eating all the bread is the only thing to keep my nausea at bay.

I’ve been caught in a state of despondency – a lack of energy, motivation, and joy. I’ve been feeling anxious about the duration of pregnancy, the endurance of labour, and fearful of all that is to come… because, this time, I know what is to come.

Baby, your imminent arrival won’t be to a new and wide-eyed mother, floating on cloud 9. But it will be to an experienced mother, already with her stripes, and her feet firmly on the ground.

I will in fact be more sure of myself, somewhere on the middle ground, with wide open arms and a wide open heart for you. Always. And of course I will love you as much as I love your brother. Of course I will. But I know my love for you will be different, it will be unique, because it will be yours.

Your arrival won’t be rose-tinted or golden hued – but it will be so resolutely beautiful in all of its raw truth. I know what’s in store… and I know that means not knowing. I know it means allowing you to guide me, and getting to know you as you get to know me. I know that it will be uncomfortable at times. I know that it doesn’t mean I’m failing if I’m not getting it right. I know that doing what I can is doing enough. And I know that I’m not alone.

I also know how terrifying it will be, all over again, to have a part of my heart living outside of my body. But I also know just how much my heart will swell with love at the same time. I learned so much with your brother, and I am about to learn so so much more.

I will be there for you, baby, in every imaginable way, just as I am for your brother – for all the rest of the days of my life, and hopefully beyond. I will always be your biggest advocate, your greatest admirer, and a tireless cheerleader egging you on.

I know already that your life is your own. And we are simply here to care for you, to guide you, and to learn from you. You will enrich our lives and there are no words to express how much you already have.

You are our faith, and you are our love.

Your big brother, he is so excited about you. And he talks about you and kisses my tummy, where you live, every day. You will learn much from each other – and it won’t always be easy for you both – but your daddy and I will always be here to remind you both just how loved you are.

There is another 6 months before we get to meet you, and we have things to do before then. So keep on growing, my little one.

We’ll be waiting,

Mumma. X

Merry Christmas, Beau

Dear baby

It feels so surreal calling you that, now – as you most certainly are not a baby anymore! You are a fully fledged little boy – with your own mind and your own heart – growing more and more every day. But you will forever be my little one.

Today is Christmas Eve and I wanted to start a new tradition for you – I hope to write to you every year, on the night before Christmas. I want it to become something which I can someday gift to you – memories from your childhood.

I have my own childhood memories of Christmas-time. And they are magical. I can still remember the smell of the tinsel coming down from the attic. I can hear the score of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman. And I can taste my Nana’s homemade lemon curd tarts.

And now we’re creating memories for you. Details in your own story, for you to carry with you throughout the years.

This morning we went downtown to the Auckland Fish Market, and you helped us select the best crayfish and prawns for our Christmas Eve dinner – which your daddy then cooked on the barbecue and we ate with our bare hands whilst drinking ginger beer. We watched The Snowman, from my own childhood, snuggled together on the sofa eating mini mince pies and soothing one another when he melts at the end. And before you had your evening bath, we hung an old copper key outside the back door – so Santa can get in, once we are sleeping.

Maybe it’s a key you will someday give to your own children.

Maybe someday you’ll be reasuring them, that the snowman will be built again next year.

I am so excited for tomorrow, my Beau – for you to wake up and call out to us, and for you to run into the living room and see the pile of presents there – just for you.

Tomorrow you will be two years and three months old, and it will be your 3rd Christmas. But it’s the very first Christmas that you will really understand. And I want the whole day to be as magical for you, as all the other days of the year are for me. I want you to know how loved and cherished you are. How much you deserve to be given special things. Because you are a very special thing. You bring a joy to our lives that I simply cannot express.

A few weeks ago – rather fortuitously – you lost your football. So I leaped on the opportunity and told you that ‘perhaps we will ask Santa if you may have a new one?’ I told you what a good boy you had been all year long, and how I am sure Santa would want to gift one for you.

Daddy took you to the Orewa Beach Santa Parade, one Saturday when I was working – and he told me that you stared at Santa in awe, whispering as his float moved away, ‘please can I have a new football, Santa?’

And then we took you to Snow Planet in Silverdale, where your daddy had built Santa’s Grotto at the top of the ski slope. And Santa was there. You went straight up to him, and said hello. Smiling from cheek to cheek. ‘Beau!’ you told him, when he asked your name. And ‘a new football, please,’ is what you replied when he asked. You walked over to the fireplace with him, and he was saying things to you – but I don’t know what they were. They were just for you, from Santa.

At every opportunity since, you’ve reminded me that Santa will bring you a new football. And my baby, he will. You will have a sackful of wonderful gifts, and a brand new football will be sitting right at the top. Nothing will make me happier tomorrow, than seeing your recognition and delight.

So sleep tight, my little one. By the time you are reading this letter you will be much grown – but right now you are my little angel, my darling boy who is still so little and precious, if no longer a baby. And all the magic in the world is about to unfold before you.

I lay with you as you fell asleep – and all the magic in the world was there before me.

Your loving and forever grateful,

Mumma xx

Time out

So – the end of 2016 is in sight! Summer is here in New Zealand and we are all in holiday mode.

2017 is looming on the horizon – promising new beginnings, new energy, and new hope – ours to claim, with a simple turning of the calendar.

It’s been a year where I’ve felt totally out of sorts. Unbalanced; ready but not prepared; willing but unable. There have been a lot of challenges and internal dialogues. A lot of questions without answers. But many lessons learned along the way.

It’s been a year of uncertainty; a year to step back and look at the bigger picture and figure out what’s really happening. What’s really needed. What really matters.

It’s been a year of opening minds and opening hearts. A year that has threatened our faith and knocked our spirits – but not left us broken.

It’s been a year to be humble and grateful and strong.

But I don’t want to be strong for the summer. I want to be soft and relaxed and amiable. I want to rest more, and then get out into nature – swim in the sea and feel the sun and watch it rise and set. Rise and set. And rise again.

I don’t want plans. I want to laugh and sing and dance and play. I want to be with people I care about the most – who are also taking the time out, to rest and play and enjoy one another. Without tomorrow, without yesterday – just for today.

None of my questions have answers – so maybe I’ll stop asking for a while.

My cup feels empty – so it’s time to fill it back up.

Look – it’s not been a bad year, it’s just not been an easy one. After 6 months of uncertainty, I began fertility treatment on 1st September and the last 3 months of the year have been a total roller-coaster.

But as I write this today – on Christmas Eve – I know now how good it has been. How useful and important. And I feel what’s been a gradual sense of calm and peace return to me. It’s so close now I can grasp it and let it embrace me.

And I’m excited and happy! – for everything my life is, and could be. There has always been hope and possibility. And there will always be.

Right now, we are a family of three – who love each other so deeply. We find new joy in one another’s company every day. My 2 year old son, my sweethearted Beau, looked at me yesterday as he sat having dinner with his Grandma (I had been getting ready to take his daddy out for dinner, for his birthday)… “oh mama,” he said, “you have a beautiful dress.” And in response to my red-lipsticked smile, “oh mama, you have a very beautiful mouth.”

I felt so complete.

All that actually matters is this day that we have. Yesterday is over now. Tomorrow’s still to come. And I have finally reached that point, once again, where I am simply enjoying the day that I have; living with all that ‘is,’ not what ‘if.’

I will trust the process and the journey – nurturing myself, being the most well I can be. There is simply no rhyme or reason in the uniqueness of conception – but for everything there is a season. There may well come a time when effort and trying is once again needed – but, for now, I’m just over here… taking some time and letting my own unique story play out.

Where are you at today? Are you OK? Maybe you can take some time out too?

And maybe – just maybe – you might believe that you deserve it?

Sending you all my season’s greetings,
With love and blessings.

VLOG // A point of comparison…

VLOG SERIES // A point of comparison…

Hello you!

I wanted to VLOG for today, as a point of comparison with the VLOG I published last week.

I give an update on my current fertility treatment, I talk about a pretty big “light-bulb moment” I’ve experienced, and I also offer encouragement to any of you that might be struggling with the whole ‘making love vs making babies’ thing… that we definitely are!

Today’s a good day for me, but it’s just another step in the journey.

Sending love and best wishes to you, as always,

VLOG // Just one of those days…

VLOG SERIES // Just one of those days…

Hey you – do you have days like these?

I’m sure you do, and I know they pass, but don’t they just suck?

I decided, once again, to share the video I was compelled to film – sharing myself right in the thick of it, in the hope that it might connect with you. In the hope that it might even help you along your way, just knowing that you’re not alone in this. That we’re in it together.

And – above all – I really hope that you see me as my husband does: “you’re just really adorable when you’re grumpy!” Because, I can tell you this much – I am GRUMPY today!

Which must mean that tomorrow will be better.

Cheers to that!