(I read this letter to her on her birthday, in hopes that she may stumble across this one day. Here is a summary of her first year milestones and photos.)
Today Aroha you turn a year old and while you wobble and discover the wonders around you with your new sense of mobility I read to you this little letter. To the eye you may seem distracted and uninterested, as I read this, but I hope your heart will capture a glimpse of the joy, love and yearning that my spirit has for your sweet soul.
You are only but a year old still untainted by the world’s filth and deception. Although physically you have experimented with many natural elements that this world offers from mud, rocks to sand and soil. Aroha, this earth is filled with lots of opportunity to grow and experience many wonderful things, such as the time you took your first step and tasted your first sweet mango. But as you have already experienced life can also bring heartache and sorrow like the time when you fell down stairs, grazed your knee or when mummy had to sleep train you.
My sweet girl you have grown too much and too fast in this year we have been together. But I marvel and wonder with each milestone you reach, how Heavenly Father has enlarged my heart. How did he make my heart big enough to love and care for another human. Sometimes I marvel at myself that I have managed to keep you alive for this long!
This one year that we have been together feels like I have known you for eternity. Although holding you when you were born I didn’t experience what most mothers did; instead I felt anxious and nervous holding a little stranger in my arms that depended completely on me….. It’s truly amazing what constant care for another human does to oneself. Not having a good nights sleep for the first few months, constantly changing your diaper explosions, making you food and caring for you every minute of the day has made my love grow more and more each day. I really do love you more today than I did the day when you were born. When once we were strangers but now we couldn’t do without.
Dear Aroha I want you to know that we can only take it a step at a time. I’m learning how to be a mom and you are learning how to be my daughter. So there will be a mix of tears and laughter and we figure this thing out. Sweetie there are many memories that I will forever treasure, the time when you first followed me with your eyes, I realized that you also cared for me to; Or the time when your surgery was over and all I wanted was to hold you and hug you but all you wanted was my milk.
This first year I want to give you a piece of advice from your (still very inexperienced) mother, that you may one day want to come back to for a few laughs. In this first year of being with you I have learnt is to serve. Service to others no matter who they are will make you love them. You can’t serve somebody and not find an ounce of love for them. If ever you find somebody difficult to love serve them, serve them without a thought of reward, and your hard feelings will start to simmer away. Aroha I love you so much and although I know you will break my heart and drive me crazy in the years to come but I will still love you because I will continually be serving you as a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on and whatever you need me to be.
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. – Mosiah 2.17
Lots of love your mum xo
But wait there’s more… I am super excited to collaborate with these awesome mommas!!! They both have girls as well and share their insights at the different stages they are both at!! I love that we can connect and share insights from each others experiences and learn to grow and be better mothers and wives. So go check them both out!!!
Janet Anderson who is the lovely writer for MotivateMeMOMMY. She has 2 wonderful daughters and has written this posts on “Raising our Daughters”
Kayne Pilling with her witty blog at pillingworth. She is currently pregnant and has written her experience in a post called “Carrying our Daughter”
Hope you enjoyed this little letter from my heart. Did you enjoy this let me know! If you had daughters what piece of advice would you want them to know?
We would love to hear from you! Be amazing!!!
The main reasons why we got to come down to New Zealand this christmas was due to my siblings weddings. They conveniently planned it round the same time so we and other family members didn’t have to make the trip twice in one year. I know they would have preferred to have had it separately so they could actually take time to enjoy the festivities and planning individually but they were extremely kind to do this so we could all be here to enjoy it with them. So in two weeks we had two weddings and the first wedding was my little brothers wedding.
It began at the Hamilton Temple early morning at 9.30am. With little to no sleep for most of the family as there were tonnes of decorations and food preparations the night before then we made the hour and a half drive to the hamilton temple, the rest of the family that couldn’t go in the temple stayed home to finish off the cooking for the reception. Our Temple weddings are slightly different as we get married and sealed in the temple and only those with a temple recommend can go inside. To understand more about our temples click here. Majority of my parents families are not members of our faith and therefore don’t have a recommend therefore were not able to go inside but they have full respect and understanding of this. My brothers wife (Stacey) is a recent convert and is the only member of her family so she didn’t have anyone in the temple to see her get married which was extremely difficult for her and her family, but it was amazing to see all the support from her family and friends waiting eagerly outside the temple for her. When we got to the temple my husband and I were told that our recommends had expired a few days before so this was extremely sad for me as I had been anticipating to be present, and we weren’t able to go into witness their ceremony. But we understood that the House of the Lord is a House of Order and we had to accept the rules even though it was a hard pill to swallow.
After the Sealing ceremony in the temple we went to their reception at Buckland’s beach. Had our typical Polynesian style ceremony with tonnes of food and dancing and craziness. Before we knew it the day was over and now this couple have begun their journey together as the new Mr and Mrs Ahokava. Here are a few of my favorite flicks of the day.
Photo Credit: Elder Reed Spencer
While driving through and enjoying beautiful New Zealand country side we received tragic news that my husband’s sister had just had a large house fire in Utah, USA causing their family of 7 to be displaced from their home. In discovering this our thoughts immediately went to their safety, their belongings, to their beautiful house, to their children, and to their emotional state. Feelings of helplessness, sorrow, sadness and empathy overcame us. Our family who are across the other side of the world and we couldn’t be there to give comfort. The most important news was that they were all safe and were lucky to get out of the house before the roof had collapsed in on them.
Once composed Granny suggested that we pull over to the side of the road and say a prayer for them, to help them feel comfort and peace during this difficult time. During her prayer, one thing that was mentioned that stuck with me was that in all bad things that there is always some good that will come of it, and for us to recognize it.
After a couple of hours, and once the fire had been put out they went back inside to see what the damage was and what could be salvaged. There lying in one of the rooms was a Book of mormon left completely untouched by the flames. Also the eldest daughters set of scriptures and a few photos of Christ were left untouched and unharmed by the fire!!!!
For anybody reading this, they may just think this is fake or just a mere coincidence that this book happened to be untouched by the flames. I too would probably be a skeptic to this story if this wasn’t my family first hand. I don’t know the complete full story, but all I do know is that our life is guided by a loving God who is guiding and protecting us. He also sends us little reminders in mysterious ways that he is there and will never leave us even though it may seem like all hope is gone. Seeing this photo seemed unreal to me that this only happens in movies or other people’s families not my own! I couldn’t help but feel so much love for my Heavenly Father for still giving us a sign that He was still there even though this difficult thing had just happened.
This beautiful house that was once filled with beautiful things, furniture, decor, clothing, accessories, toys, latest gadgets and many more beautiful things. In an instant was purged of all its earthly possessions, only remains are a Book of Mormon in ashes as a little reminder to us all of the only thing we ever need in this life is a firm testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as our foundation will help us overcome all trials, obstacles and give us purpose in this life. This beautiful miracle in this unfortunate accident will forever strengthen the testimonies of this family, their community and all the generations that will follow. I believe in a God of miracles. God is Amazing!
If you would like to show your support, their friend has started up a gofundme page here. Every small donation is appreciated! “By small and simple things great things are brought to pass”
Our homes are where we can protect our families from the world. Our homes are where our children can come for safety and security from all dangers and ruthlessness of the outside world. Our homes are where our husbands come to, for relaxation and enjoyment after a long days at work. Our homes are where we share meals, laugh, talk and even cry together. I am far from a tidy OCD person who has everything in the right place, I am the one to just stuff all my clothes in a cupboard out of sight and out of mind. (That is until I need to dig through all of them again) But I am trying to change my ways and trying to develop better habits especially because my husband is a tidy organized person. I thought I could write some ways to help keep harmony and a wonderful spirit in our home. Our homes should be something our kids and family should be excited to come to not something they are dreading.
1. Avoid Toxins: Whether it’s through communication, words, harshness of tone, loud obnoxious music. Creating an ambience of peace and love is key to setting the tone for a sanctuary in the home.
2. Tidy and Clean: If keeping things tidy is a little more difficult for you, do what I have done. Just get rid of stuff. That means less stuff I need to clean or organize. Problem solved Avoid clutter can also help you be less stressed and relax more!
3. Remove Distractions: Set aside time where it’s no technology time. Its real face time talking to each other and communicating with voices, facial expressions, body and nothing in between.
4. Positive Messages or images: Throughout the house post up photos of the family, or inspirational quotes. Things that help build up positivity and love.
5. Include Plants: Real plants in the home, add a whole new element of fresh in your home. They give you some fresh air and brighten your mood!
6. Simplify: Keep your house decor simple but beautiful. Just because you have space on a wall it doesn’t mean you need to fill it up. Keeping it simple but bold shows you are not afraid of creativity and space to explore and let your imagination fill the blank space.
7. Quiet Space: Ensuring there is a quiet place where you can go away from all the noise and distractions in your home is also vital. Especially if there are lots of people in one house you still need time away to yourself.
This post was sponsored by purepranalabel. Pure Prana Label create unique organic eco friendly zafu’s and meditation cushions, Yoga posters and props. Each item is handmade and unique. A dutch designer specializing in meditation products and yoga inspired prints for the home or office.
Yes you read right.. I am already talking about CHRISTMAS!!! My favourite time of the year woop woop!!! It’s never to early to be prepared right… Nothing is more fun than just doing a simple activity with the family time and time again. Holiday season is a time for family and loved ones to bond,reconnect and build memories. I have compiled a list of my favourites as of 2015
1.. The tree! One of my favourite traditions as a little kid was to put up our fake christmas tree and decorate it as a family with Mariah Carey all I want for christmas and Snoopy’s 1st christmas blasting in the background. My time round we have chosen to cut down or pick a real christmas tree with the kiddies. But there are some that don’t want the hassle of going out in the cold and prefer a real christmas tree. Hilltop Farms offer you a range of Fresh Balsam and Fraser fir Christmas trees ranging from Tabletop (3-4 ft) right up to 8 ft. You can choose a date for you tree to be shipped and Hilltop Farms will deliver your tree to your door. Take advantage of their 10% off before November 1St. If you get a tree delivered your tradition can be the decorating part!
2. Christmas Eve – Making cookies together as a family and having hot chocolate while you watch a christmas movie. My husband’s family would also open a gift which would always be christmas pyjamas to sleep in that night.
3. Presents. My mum loved preparing gifts for the extended family, seeing we didn’t do the whole santa’s gifts we just gave gifts to each other. Christmas eve we would deliver them to people’s houses we would take turns running it to the door. As we got older we got lazy and just waited till they came over sometimes that meant we had lots of late christmas gifts. This year we are going to focus on a less is more mentality and also giving experiences whether it be a restaurant gift card or a gift card to get a luxurious massage, instead of physical things that are usually forgotten about 2 days later.
4. Christmas Story – Reading the christmas story together is something I wish we did this more often. Whether on the night before or on the actual morning taking sometime to focus on the WHY we have christmas can help us all keep a Christ centered christmas.
5. Anything Service oriented – look for something where everybody can feel the spirit of christmas. We all know most joy comes from brightening the day for somebody else. You can invite somebody who is lonely to join you in christmas celebrations, or volunteer at a homeless shelter or elderly home. One year I took my ambitious little sisters to sing and dance and play their recorder while I played the piano at an elderly home. I secretly hoped that most of them were hearing impaired!
6. Lights – Temple lights are what I have always loved to see. We also love just driving through neighbourhoods and looking at everybody’s fancy light displays.
some others are…
– cookies and milk for santa and oats and water for his reindeer
– elf on the shelf
– thankful list
– DIY christmas decorations
– gingerbread men and houses
What are your favourite Christmas traditions?
***SPONSORED POST by Photobook Joy***
This has been on my to do list for the longest time and am so grateful that I have finally been able to make it. I wanted to make this mainly because we have family they don’t live close by and that we don’t get to see often. I also want to encourage reading and help it be a fun activity for her, so seeing these are familiar faces in a book she will hopefully be more inclined to read it.
I also want to add pages where it talks about great grandmothers and more genealogy so that this is something that they grow up learning and understanding and appreciating. I was just reading through the digital copy of this book with her and she is smiling and talking as we go through each page. I believe this is a must have for every baby! Whether you print it out as a book or just go through photos of family members seeing faces and names is definitely something that both you and your baby will enjoy.
Here is the copy of my photobook that I created for Miss A (Myfamilybook) I will also be creating an extended version of this with all the aunts and uncles and great grandparents who have passed on. Super easy I just used word and just kept it simple and plain. I didn’t want it to be distracting as I wanted the focus to be just on the image and the word. A scrapbook photo album is where you would want to get your crafty on.
There are so many fun websites to create your photobook if you don’t want to use word such as photobookjoy.com.my. You can create your book and they can send it out for gifts or for yourself. I eventually want to do this with our book so it can last for all the kiddies, and the life of books don’t last too good in toddlers hands so if you are thinking of using photos make sure you have duplicate photos. Whether you want to make a family photo book or just make a photo album capturing all your memories or even baby’s first year, making a book will always be a treasured keepsake. Beginning next year they will be shipping internationally.
***SPONSORED by Imortafiles***We live in a digital age where we can instantly share a precious memory with just a click of a button. But losing all those precious memories are just as simple. I know there have been many times when I never ended up printing photos of events and eventually just lost all those photographs and memories as soon as the computer died on me. So today I wanted to share a few things to help us preserve those precious memories so they are not all lost forever.
1. Journal – Whether you do it in the form of a written journal, on a word document or through a blog like me. Journaling is an awesome way to record your experiences. Being able to read them and reflect on them and share them with others is always so fun and edifying.
2. Scrapbooking/Photo Albums – If you have an ounce of creativity which we all do this is also a great idea. I personally am not overly crazy about scrapbooks because you just end up with so many of them which then takes up so much space. But it is definitely a fun thing to do with the kids. Even if you end up doing a scrapbook of each child documenting their life from baby till they are 18 and give to them as a graduation or wedding gift.
3. Online Photo Sharing Sites – You can have access to all your photos from anywhere. You can also send them as quickly as ever. They are all organized and dated so you never will get jumbled. But do print out a few precious ones for the scrapbooks or photo albums.
4. Backup Backup Backup- Can’t stress this enough. It’s so easy to lose things and if you don’t have back up you are usually screwed. Don’t make this mistake I’ve done. Imortalfiles have created an easy system to solve this problem. Head over and visit their site!
Preserve your memories, what you forget you can never retell – Louisa May Alcott
***SPONSORED BY Family Orbit***
I thought that this would be a perfect post to write my views on technology and the family. I wasn’t allowed a cell phone until I was 16 and even then I was sharing my dad’s cell phone. (I only got it because my school was a train ride and a bus ride away from my house.) My brother and sister weren’t allowed to get a cell phone until they were 18. (Although my brother always managed to hustle a phone off his many friends.) My parent’s did a pretty good job of “protecting” us from the dangers of cellphones and I am grateful for that but it didn’t completely stop us from getting into trouble. With my family want to take further steps to protect my family seeing there is so much more out there now. As much as I want to keep my kids in a tight bubble where they will not be exposed to anything bad in the outside world I can’t so all I can do is find other methods to protect them.
1. Talk and communicate with your children – There is no better way than helping your children then actually sitting down with them and talking with them about the dangers of technology. There is no right age when to start, you determine your child’s understanding and figure out what they need to know. Ask them about their friends and if they have cell phones, most children are exposed to dangerous ideas through friends at school so help them know how they can handle these situations. No matter how many protections you have in place your children will find a way around it if they don’t know and understand the WHY behind your efforts. Take time to sit down with them.
2. Turn technology into a friend – There are so many apps out there can help you be better parents. One of them is this awesome app by family orbit. It allows for parents to keep tabs on their children without being too invasive. You can see where your children are in real time and monitor the photos and contacts on their phone. It allows you to connect with your family group on a more personal level without having to go to social media. They even have an alert button incase of an emergency. It’s every parent’s dream for protecting their children especially when there is so much going on and you can’t be with them all the time.
Call me a paranoid mother but I just want to do the best that I know how for my family. What are some things you are doing to help protect your children from cyberbullying, pornography and other online dangers? Don’t forget to visit family orbit and download their free app!
Every time I use to picture stay at home mothers I would picture this kind of woman in my mind…
But now that I have become a stay home mum this is how I feel like I am…
I know I should be better at cleaning, cooking, doing the laundry and making sure my house is in tip top condition. But playing, feeding and spending time with my baby and also making sure she doesn’t get a diaper rash or fall down our stairs oh and writing my blog and facebook take priority. (opps) I know i’m not your perfect housewife and you can count that you will never have the laundry done and ironed and organized for you! But I know one thing is I can’t leave my house a complete dump so I have to do something. In terms of cleaning products I have resulted in trying to go the natural route but it has to be easy. I don’t like having or using harsh chemicals because Miss A is getting into everything and it’s just nicer cleaning and not feeling like you are suffocating yourself right…
So the other day I knew it had been a while since I changed her diaper. I was too lazy to do it at her changing table so I just took it off in the living room and just let her run around for a little bit. Thinking it was cute for her to crawl around without her diaper I let her run free free… free my child!! Then you guessed it while she was running free she let loose and peed on our carpet!!! Who knew a minute of letting her be free would do that? So while trying to put a new diaper on her and also googling some natural way to clean our 7 month old carpet I came across this awesome remedy.
Such an easy all natural way to clean. All i did was mixed water and vinegar together and dropped in some lemon oil and once I tried to get out as much of her pee out of the carpet I sprayed the vinegar solution on top and rubbed it in. And done…. like magic!!! If you want to know more natural ingredients to keep in the house check this article out. But definitely a vital for me in my house! Basic ingredients to keep on hand are baking soda, and vinegar and if you have lemon oil that’s a bonus!!!
So you walk in the house nearly tripping over one of the toys, feeling hungry and tired you realize dinner isn’t ready. Your children are running around the house screaming and playing and accidentally spill something on your shirt. Then your spouse greets you with “can you to help out with getting the kids ready for dinner?” You snap with frustration wishing that you had just stayed at work away from the chaos and the mess!!
Does this sound familiar to any of you out there?? Or maybe you have an argument and then later thinking what the argument was even about? Or you remember you snapped because or something insignificant like they didn’t call you back. I know this has happened to me many times before.
Energydrivenler.com have called these scenarios the Relationship Anger Trap – When things may not be going well at work, or in some other area of your life, and you let it build and build until you inevitably fall into this trap. It is usually a sequence of things that build up to the breaking point. It can be easily damaging to both your personal and professional relationships.
The point is we build up frustration points little by little every day and sometimes it can be over several days or weeks, eventually it has to be released somewhere. It’s sad, but the easiest place to release it is with the person you love or people you care for the most.
I know that for me my husband is the easiest one to get angry at, therefore I let my frustrations out on him which is totally not fair. A day may consist of a whiny clingy baby, then my parents or in-laws were frustrating me, my friend may have said something to offend me, the person at the grocery store looked angrily at my crying baby then lastly my husband walks through the door and he sits on the couch!!! All of sudden I get into hulk mode blow up at him for not coming to help me with getting dinner ready and say how terrible of a husband he is. My poor husband has no idea what my day was like then he gets mad at me for just yelling at him. (We are in this downward spiraling cycle) Little do I know he may have also had just as bad a day at school and work as well. RESULT: We both end up going the rest of the night angry and frustrated and not talking to each other… BAM we have been trapped in the Relationship Anger Trap!!! so crazy how small things can just end up in this huge mess right???!
For the unmarried sometimes we treat our parents, siblings or close friends this way and not realize how much we are hurting them. energydrivenleader.com have provided some suggestions…
- Make mental notes of any frustrations that have occurred during the day. Then decide what action you will take, or throw it into the mental trash bucket in your head.
- Never interpret what you “think” someone means in an email – call to clarify. I know I have been guilty of reading a text and made up a whole story that they must be angry at me because they responded this way. Communication is key!!!
- For working parents – before you walk through the door of your home give yourself a good shake (physically do this). Don’t carry tomorrow’s issues into your home. Charles Haddon Spurgeon stated, “It has been said that our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow but only empties today of its strength.” learn more
There are thousands of things a relationship can do for someone. One of the most important is to present a mirror into our own behavior. Positive or negative we have the possibility to grow as a result of our relationships at work and home.
Dr Bob Rausch has developed many courses to help individuals ensure they have a balance between both work and home and to maintain healthy relationships wherever we go. If you are interested in learning more about leadership and ensuring you have the work life balance check out their website here they have many helpful articles for leaders who want to inspire and uplift those around them.