A New Decade

Today starts the beginning of my thirties. I’ve been reflecting a bit about that notion. People tend to make a big deal about decade birthdays for some reason. When I think back to being twenty, I recall that I did have some expectations for what the next ten years would hold; things that I had hoped would happen in my life, and things I hoped I would do.

Quite a lot of things have happened how I would have hoped, some things happened that I wish didn’t, and a whole lot happened, that I didn’t expect at all. All three of these have changed me and I marvel at how a person can remain the same at their core and yet be so different at the same time. It’s a thing called growth, and a thing called metamorphosis. It gives me a huge appreciation for people considered ‘old’, and for the wisdom and secrets hidden in their stories.

The twenties have been great! They were full of opportunity, experience, beauty, challenge and discovery. I expect the thirties and beyond to offer similar things but in a more constant, flowing way. And I somehow expect them to pass by more quickly, for the days are long, but the years are short as they say… And now being settled into a marriage, motherhood, and a place to call home, days tend to roll on by in their sameness.

It’s this that gives me a motivation to try and make each day count for what it’s worth, make each moment special and appreciated. I want to focus on holding on to being creative, and find time to fit this in each day, and to focus on connecting to God each day, even if only in a small way, despite being busy or fatigued by the trials that life brings. I would also like to do less that has no purpose but to fill time.

If I could keep anything from my twenties that will fade with time, it would be my energy and health, and probably my teeth; if I could only keep one thing that I gained in my person, it would probably be the growth in confidence in who God made me and the talents He’s given.

I am blown away at how blessed I have been. I am beyond thankful.

Today, Darren is busy working, so yesterday we had breakfast together, and went out looking for wildflowers for my kitchen bench. This post’s photos show what we did and found.


We’ve been living in a bus for roughly 6 month now. This past weekend we stayed at a friend’s house while they are on holiday. They needed someone to keep the cat company. They have a lovely, beautiful house which is very spacious with 4 bedrooms for just the two of them except when their two grown kids come home. But we found that we both had a strange sensation while there since we are used to much smaller quarters. 

We found it felt a bit like staying in a hotel. It was a lot of work cleaning up after our stay and the walking back and forth really wore me out. In the bus, all I really have to do is turn around a few times and I’ve put everything away. We also found it to be a cold house. With so much space to heat up, it took a lot longer. It made me think of the costs of upkeeping a place like that all the time. 

I really appreciate our choice to live in a small house, i.e. bus, at least for now. It’s allowed us to plan and spend more time together. I talked with the owners about my feelings and they agreed, since they had a bus for a year or so when their children were young. They have a big house now, because they want the luxury of having an open door policy so that anyone can come visit at a moments notice. 

We were happy to return home. 

Fish and Chips

Fish and chips are a thing that began in Great Britian I think, which is why it’s a thing here in New Zealand. There are fish and chip shops all over the place. It’s a very popular, easy meal and Kiwis everywhere love it. 

What is it? Its battered fish with a ‘scoop’ of chips, or rather french fries as they are commonly known in America. A scoop is usually a nice serving of say the size of both hands cupped together. This is served wrapped in paper ready to take away and eat elsewhere. 

It’s very common for Kiwis to have fish and chips at a park on a nice day, and its also very common to see sandwiches made from this between white bread and tomato sauce or ‘ketchup’.

Today we had fish and chips at a park for tea, or ‘dinner’, our last meal of the day. Darren was asking me if there was anything iconic in America that compared to this. All I could think of was eating pizza. Maybe I’ve forgotten though, haha, is there something like this? 

Boy enjoyed the experience as did we. He loves slides and climbing as well. It was a nice close to the day together. 🙂

Bus progress

I’ve been sewing curtains for the bus. One of the first things we need finished before we can start using the bus even for camping in, is the curtains. This will provide a bit of insulation, but mostly privacy. We are planning to take the bus to Rotorua for Darren’s Nana’s 90th birthday party which is at the end of August, so I’m very busy trying to finish the sewing.

    I got some quotes for how much it would cost to pay someone to make them for us and the total was going to come to over $1000. Even buying curtain fabric and making them from that would be near the same price. So, I found a great deal on thermal curtain backing fabric online and bought some flat sheets and am sewing them up into our curtains. It should cost just over $300, which is more in our budget. I didn’t have many colours to choose from, but liked the royal blue best. I’d love any suggestion for an upholstery colour to pair them with when we make our couch. So far I’ve finished four curtains with eight more to go! Three are up in the picture below.

    Darren has also put in the couch frame. We just need to put proper cushions on it now.

    In other news, on Tuesday I left a pot of beans on the stove and forgot about it for probably 2 hours. I came back to the bus we are living in and found dark smoke thickly filling the inside. I cleared it out as quickly as I could, but despite washing nearly every article of cloth, and wiping the walls with vinegar and sprinkling baking soda all over, the horid smell of smoke remains, and it has been making me feel quite sick. The day it happened Boy started coughing, with me starting the next few days. We have cold like symptoms and I’m note sure if we just picked up a bug at the same time, or if its been caused by breathing the smoke fumes. 

    Anyway, after three nights of hoping the smell would get better and realizing its going to take weeks to really leave, I’ve moved us into the new bus. I’m really very disappointed, because the new bus isn’t home yet, and the other one was. I feel a bit like we’ve actually had a house fire, suddenly kicked out of our home. But, I’m very thankful nothing was actually severely ruined and that we have somewhere to go.

    I’ve had many people express their surprise and confusion at how burned beans could hang around so long and so strong. I did some research and found that smoke from a fire is much harder to remove than cigarette smoke, and that it is very damaging in how it clings to materials. It’s not just burned beans that I had in that pot, but a mini fire. Those beans had reduced to charcoal and ash when I found them. If you could be here and smell it, you would agree it stinks…regardless of the why.

    So, here we are camping in our bus!

    Snow Fun

    Here in the North Island snow only falls in the higher altitudes, such as in the ranges. It doesn’t snow here were we live but last week it came awfully close. We only had to drive 30 minutes to find some but we drove about an hour out to where some of our friends live. They live up in the hills and had a meter of snow when it first fell. When we saw them there was about a foot left. All we got where we live was lots of cold rain but the wind coming from off the hills was bitterly cold.

    It’s winter here in the Southern hemisphere. Just opposite to the seasons in the north. Holidays are not swapped so we are not nearing Christmas, but have to wait until December like the rest of the world. Being American, it’s weird to have Christmas in Summer. I’m not sure I’ll ever adapt. But alas… 

    Boy enjoyed the snow. He especially liked eating it. We made a snowman and threw some snow balls too. When I dropped into the snow to make a snow angel Boy was very concerned at first, thinking I must be hurt to have fallen. He wanted me to get up quick. We had to show him it was ok. Boy’s personality has been really blossoming in the last few weeks. Its very nice to see. His vocabulary is suddenly expanding and he is saying new words often, including some two syllable words. I had been feeling like I was just getting used to him and now he’s changing again. And he’s suddenly outgrowing clothes that were long to big! What a blessing to see him grow. 

    I just finished reading, Woman in the Wilderness by Miriam Lancewood. She’s Dutch and she lives a nomadic lifestyle in the wilderness areas of New Zealand with her husband. They spend months at a time sleeping in tents and huts, cooking on an open fire and hunting and gathering. They eat mostly dried beans, lentils, rice, fire baked bread, along with meat they kill. There are lots of introduced species in NZ that they hunt such as possums, rabbits, goats, deer, etc. They come out to restock supplies in town. They live off the interest produced by their small but sufficient savings. I found the book very fascinating and it has reminded me to enjoy the small things, slow down, look for beauty everywhere, and to spend more time in nature. 

    So, this morning Boy and I drove out to the Pahongina Valley just north of us and walked the Kahikatea loop track. It’s a 1km track through NZ native bush with some Kahikatea trees. These trees were harvested in the early 1900s to be used as butter boxes to transport New Zealand butter to the UK, as the wood didn’t taint the butter and other wood did. There are not very many trees left, but there are some and they are the tallest growing trees in NZ. 

    Boy enjoyed the walk, but he was a little unsure as he kept turning around in the beginning saying ‘Car? car?’ I’d like to take him on more walks like that more often. I wonder if he thought we weren’t coming back. He loves walks around the farm and could easily spend more time than we did outside, but it was a different setting than he was used to. Below are some photos we took and some things we took back with us. 

    For those that don’t know already, we are expecting a baby girl on November 1. I am over the moon excited to be having a girl after having a sweet little boy. Below is a photo from our 20 week scan. I find it interesting to compare her scan to Boy’s. The face and head shape are different. I can’t wait to meet her and see what she’s like. 

    Since finding out we’re having a girl, I’ve gone through Boy’s old clothes and given half away and kept half. Some of the more neutral items I’ve been girlifying. It’s fun! I like girly, but really dont like how pink and purple everything is for girls. It’s all a marketing ploy if you ask me. I hope to dress our daughter in all sorts of colours. Below are some of what I’ve been doing:

    And below is a picture of Boy enjoying some Blackberry sorbet I made from some berries we picked back in January.

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