Thank you for checking out our blog... We are the Oakden's from Christchurch - New Zealand, a little city in a little country that has become synonymous with earthquakes. Since September 4th 2010 we have literally had thousands of earthquakes... people often ask how we are still living here - and how we put up with all the shaking, and the not knowing what is going to happen... But it's simple. Christchurch is home, it's who we are - it's part of us... it's where our little family was created, and I guess that gives us roots to this shaky city. It's going to take a lot more to make us want to leave.

November 14, 2011

Little Miss Attitude

Since Gaby turned the big 5 her attitude has suddenly changed SO much - she's almost acting like a hormonal teenager, which terrifies me.. I didn't think I'd have to deal with this sort of behaviour for another few years.  She just doesn't listen, and when she does listen, will reply with a grunt or a sigh or a roll of the eyes.  I think part of it is that she's tired - but if she goes to sleep any earlier she will be missing dinner... she is in bed at 7pm every night! 

It's funny seeing them growing up, becoming their own persons - and becoming nice and headstrong.  That is what I try to remind myself - she's learning to be her own person, learning to stand up for herself - she's figuring out what she likes and doesn't like... I just wish she would do it in a way that was more... smiley and laughy and non-eye-rolley!

At the same time though, she's also becoming one fantastic little kids - still so sweet with her little sister, so caring... and her personality is definitely shining through, particularly her sense of humor - she definitely has my side of the families sense of humor, which is a good thing (I think).  She thought she was hilarious the other day when she said to her little friend Belle "hey Belle - can I ring your bell?"... I had to laugh, because it was kind of funny...

I'm so proud of her as far as school goes - learning to read and write and spell - doing all the things 'big kids' do.  I wasn't sure I was ready for a 'big kid', but I can tell already that we're entering a fantastic new phase in her life, and I really cannot wait to watch her blossom - intellectually and personally!

November 11, 2011


October and November have been hard months for me for the past 10 years.  November 2nd 2001 was the date that I said goodbye to my first angel, and then strangely enough two of my three other losses, occurred between October 21 and November 19... so in the space of less than a month I have three angelversaries.  Zhavier's anniversary is October 21st (2007), Jayden's is November 2nd (2001) and then Micah's is November 19th (2005).  Of all the days they could fall on, I still don't really understand how they all managed to fall so closely together.  The anniversary of my fourth and final angel is January 6th (2008) - so still relatively close.

I do consider myself healed from my losses - I still think about my four angels, but usually it is just a quick thought here and there, that  I forget about a few minutes later... but the past few weeks, my babies have all been constantly on my mind - I'm used to feeling this way at this time of year though.  I find it hard not to think, and I guess that is understandable...  It's hard to not think about what life was like then and now.. hard not to remember going through each individual loss...

Certain sights and smells make me think of my losses, silly things.. Going to the food court toilets at  Northlands Mall makes me think of Micah - because that is where I 'completed' my miscarriage... and held him... silently crying..  Zhavier it's the supermarket on Moorhouse Ave - we went into there to buy something, I went to the toilet - and found I was spotting.. that was the beginning of my ectopic pregnancy journey.  Jayden it's Montreal Street.. which is where my loss occurred.. I hate driving down that street.  Addison it's my parents house - having morning sickness, but then also noticing I was spotting..

I try not to dwell - but at this time of the year it's hard.  I know that if those losses hadn't occurred, I wouldn't have my gorgeous girls - but at the same time I know that if my losses hadn't occurred, I would have had the chance to hold THOSE babies in my arms.   I do believe that everything happens for a reason though, and try to think of Emersyn and Gabrielle as 'gifts' from my angels... I think that's my way of focusing on the positives, than on the negatives.

I still have pregnancy tests from two of my losses.. Micah and Zhavier, and I have my medical notes from Jayden, Micah and Zhavier...  I have nothing from my pregnancy with Addison, apart from the sad memories of my now ex boyfriend telling me that I had to choose between him and her, and that he couldn't have a child right then... all the tears I shed because of it, and then ringing him to say "well I don't need to make a decision, I'm miscarrying".. and how sad he sounded.  At least he was supportive about it.. though at the time I thought it was more relieved than supportive, but looking back it WAS supportive..

This is just a funny old time of year.  I miss my babies, I hate that I've experienced losses - but at the same time I am glad I have my two princesses, and feel so blessed to have them in my life.  I like to think that a little part of my angels lives on in both of them....

October 5, 2011

Final countdown!

In three weeks time, Gaby is starting school!!!  I don't know how this has all come around so fast - but we are now in final preparation stages!  I purchased her school uniform  a couple of weeks ago, she had her final school visit yesterday and we've started our bedtime/morning routine to get her used to the school routine..  All that's left to do now is wait for the BIG day to arrive.

It's amazing how fast she's grown - from that stubborn little fetus who didn't want to arrive, to this big, running, jumping, spelling, mathematically talented almost-5-year-old who won't shut up!  I adore who Gaby has grown into - she's so kind and caring, smart and funny, everything I could have ever wanted a child of mine to be.  I watch her with her baby sister (who isn't such a baby now!), and I know that Emersyn is going to be the same when she gets older - partly because she loves her big sister so much, and has already started copying things that Gaby does.

Her birthday party this year is on October 22nd - which would have been Brodie's 8th birthday, so it's quite nice to be celebrating a birthday on that day.  What's even nicer is the fact that we are going to have a lot of family here to share the day with us!  Terri is coming up with Bronte and Evan, Grandma is coming up with Arthur (step-grandad) and Aunty Deb is coming up as well.  For the first time I've allowed Gaby to invite more than 1 friend as well - so she's chosen 4 of her closest preschool friends, and two of her closest non-preschool friends.. they're all lovely kids, so I'm looking really forward to it!

No doubt there'll be a big blithery post from me when Gaby actually starts school - and plenty of photos!

August 15, 2011

once again...

we woke up to snow again...  for a city that RARELY has one little snow flurry a year, to get two big dumpings is quite amazing.  This time people don't seem to be quite as excited about it - the atmosphere seems to be more "oh great.. here we go again" than it was last time - when most everyone seemed excited about it, and was out playing in it...  Gaby is more interested in staying inside and keeping warm - but I think at some point we'll get out in it and build another snowman.

Whether you love it or hate it though, you can't deny that it's a beautiful sight.

my first little glimpse this morning
apparently we need to get used to this sight - this polar blast is expected to last through Wednesday... which isn't really a nice thought.. I don't know that we'll get out of the house until the weekend...

July 31, 2011

Creating cuteness

I have started sewing, and have to say I am - really enjoying it... seems it is a lot more fun when you're sewing because you want to, and not because you're being told to by a certain grumpy sewing teacher at high school.

My latest creation is a fleece soaker for my niece, Bronte - I have to say I am really really happy with my effort, it's definitely the best sewing job that I've done.  I hope Bronny enjoys it :)

fleece soaker - made from the off cuts of a blanket I bought for Gaby, that was 'too big', according to her.  Why waste perfectly good fabric, when you can upcycle it?

July 25, 2011

since there's no place to go.. let it snow...

As of around 10pm last night, we officially have snow - for once the weather forecast was right.

the snow at midnight

We had some little sleet showers on and off all day, and then I checked outside at one point and there had been a little flurry, I hoped that wasn't all we would get though... Emersyn woke up at midnight, I looked outside and WE HAD SNOW....  It looked beautiful, and even though it was 'dark' outside, it still looked pretty light because of all the glorious snow that had fallen.  I took some photos incase it disappeared before the morning and Gaby missed out on seeing it - and in the end I woke her up and told her to look outside, so at least if it did disappear, she could say she'd seen the snow on the ground

Gaby's first proper time in the snow
I was almost too scared to look outside this morning, incase there wasn't any snow left, but mother nature for once had been kind to Christchurch, and had delivered us more snow.  I am not sure if I was more excited, or if Gaby was - but either way we got wrapped up nice and warm and went outside for our first little excursion in the snow... It's the first time Gaby has been in snow properly, so it was quite an exciting little first - and you couldn't take the grin off of her face.  Admittedly my grin was rather prominent as well.  I grew up in Twizel, where we got snow a few times a winter, and usually a decent fall - but here in Christchurch we are at sea level and it is rare to get snow - even rarer to get snow that settles.  Gaby had conveniently left her gloves in the car, so it gave us an excuse to take a little walk around the section too.  Naturally Gaby picked up the snow with her bare hands, though I told her not to - she soon learnt just how cold snow is. 

Gaby and 'Lily'
Emersyn just so happens to be sick - and I'm hoping it won't get to the extent that we need to see the doctor - because there is no way we could GET to the doctor...  The roads are all pretty treacherous and my car is kind of stuck in it's parking spot.  Because Emersyn is sick, all she wants to do is sleep, so when I put her down for her first nap, Gaby and I headed outside to make a snowman... actually, her name is Lily - and she is a snow woman.  It was the first time I have made a snowman/woman by myself, and I wouldn't say I am any good, but Gaby was pleased with the results, so that's really what matters.. not my lack of skills.

The snow continues to fall, but it is meant to stop at some point this afternoon - which will be good, as much as I love the snow, I don't want it to get to the point that it turns frozen, and takes forever to go away.  But while it's still here, it's something fun for me and Gaby to do, and a bit of a novelty at the same time.

me and my little snow bunny

July 13, 2011

Official start school date!

Today we got Gaby's official 'starting school' date!  As I expected, she's starting on her actual birthday - so come October 26th I will have not only a five year old - but a big school girl!  I remember it seemed to take forever for her to turn one, but each year since then has seemed to go faster and faster and faster... I hope it doesn't go THIS fast with Emersyn! 

I need to get her school uniform sorted soon - and I can't wait, I know it's going to be a big Mummy-cry-day when she does start school, but I also can't wait to see her in her school uniform, with her school bag - all excited and ready to go.... then getting to school, and being welcomed to the class, the thought brings tears to my eyes, but also joy to my heart.  I'm so proud of Gaby - she's such a well rounded, smart, funny, caring... just FABULOUS little girl... and I really couldn't be prouder of her. 

July 11, 2011

Sisterly love...

Sisters meeting for the first time
Emersyn went to spend the night with her father at midday on Saturday... Sunday morning Gaby went to spend the day with her father - and by the time she got back on Sunday, Emersyn was home and in bed asleep..... This morning when Gaby went in to see Emersyn after she'd woken up, all I heard on the baby monitor was this almighty squeeealllllllll from Emersyn, and Gaby giggling saying "yes Emmy I'm happy to see you - hahaha stop cuddling me"...  It was music to my ears.

Six months into their sisterly love
I love watching their relationship develop, especially now that Emersyn is getting bigger/older and is getting to the point she can interact with Gaby, rather than be a bystander.  If she's tired she cuddles up to Gaby - and usually I get tears in my eyes, because it is such a sweet sight... you can REALLY see the love that they feel for each other.  I KNOW that soon enough there will be fighting and lots of "I hate you" being yelled by both of them, but I hope that in those times, I can think back to THESE times, and relive all these cute moments.

My little lovies having a cuddle in Mummy's bed
I think back to my sister - we had some horrendous fights as kids, but it seemed that as soon as it was out of our system, we were back to plotting against our cousins, or Mum and Dad... or whichever school friend had upset us that day.  I hope that when my girls are our age they have a close relationship like we do.....

There is something so special about the bond between two sisters.  I am just glad my girls will be able to experience it :)

July 10, 2011

My... how fast they grow

I never actually made a blog post about Emersyn turning 1 - and it happened 3 weeks ago now... Oooops.  On June 13 - true to form, we had two big aftershocks [5.5 and 6.3] - both of them I was in the car, and SEEING the earthquake actually happening really did scare the sh.t out of me, and after the second quake,  I decided that was that - we were heading out of town.

the birthday girl, after her 6am bath
So began our whirlwind - puke filled, ear infected, car sickness-ee 5 day getaway, which I hate to say really took the shine off it being Emersyn's first birthday.  The day we drove to Wanaka Emersyn vomitted in the car, the day before her birthday she woke up with a raging ear infection, the morning OF her birthday she woke up covered in vomit and diarrhoea... so really it wasn't a memorable [in a good way] birthday for her.  That said, I did get to share the birthday girl with her Great Grandma and her Aunty Terri and cousin Bronny - so it did have its highlights.  She started getting better the day before we left to go home, but then on the trip home Gaby was carsick for the very first time.  Did I mention it was all in our NEW car?

Mummy's first cuddle with little Emmy-boo
As lovely as it was seeing all our family down that way it was nice to get home, and strangely I have to admit that I MISSED Christchurch while we were away.  With all the footage on the news about the recent big aftershocks, there wasn't really a chance to 'get away' from the quakes, and all the distance really served to do, was make me feel guilty that I had 'run away', when there were sooooo many people up here cleaning up for the third time.  The streets were full of liquifaction - it really was horrible.  Seeing it on the news just made me feel sad.

Mummy and her not-so-little Emmy-boo at 1yo
The past year has gone by so fast - I think that by the time  I got out of the 'newborn fog', the September earthquake happened, and ever since then the earth has been regularly shaking and our lives have been turned upside down at times.  In a way I feel like I missed a lot of Emersyn's first year - I was so focused on other things a lot of the time, that I don't feel like I took the time to enjoy the small things.  But on the other hand - my thousands of photos of her first year tend to tell a different story.

Me and BOTH of my 'babies'

July 3, 2011

the night time diaper debacle... continues...

The stupid earthquake in February seemed to bring with it my what now feels like NEVER ending issue - finding the right night time diaper, or really the right night time diaper combination...  To begin with we were quite happily using a pocket diaper with two mirofiber booster inserts and an extra insert, or a microfiber booster, but then all diaper hell broke loose, and suddenly our tried and true combo just wouldn't work.

Sooooo I got hold of some bamboo trifold inserts and threw one of those in with our microfiber - very bulky - but it worked... for a start.  After that I began putting in two of the bamboo inserts instead of the microfiber - again it worked... sorta... but not well enough.  Eventually I began fooling around with prefolds and bamboo, and recently flats and bamboo [and covers, of course].  Both of those worked better than the bamboo-in-a-pocket combo, so perhaps I am on the right path?

What I know DOES work, is using fleece covers - I have a Bummis fleece cover that works well enough - but I do find if she gets too wet, it leaks out the sides and up the top.  I have a FunkyBumz fleece soaker which I LOVE - it works better than any other cover I have... and I'm also still using my fleece-blanket-cheapskate-cover - and may I add, still without a leak too.

So I generally know I'm okay if there is fleece on top - but preferably a cover with two layers of fleece [as with the FunkyBumz and my homemade pinnable cover].  I BELIEVE that pad folded flats may be the answers to all my night time issues, I have used them the last two nights in a row, and Emersyn has been dry upon waking.  To this point I have been using them inside pockets - primarily because of the staydry layer the microfleece on the inside of the diaper provides.  Tonight we might try something new though...

It's been suggested to me to use the padfolded flats, inside a cover - because the way a pocket goes when it is stuffed to the max, can sometimes cause leaks, purely because the urine rolls right off the diaper - and that makes sense.  So tonight... I'm giving it a go and trying the flats inside a cover, as always with a bamboo booster for a little extra absorption.  I will put the fleece soaker over top - because I really don't want her to wake up at 4am soaked through.... but maybe... just maybe... with the flats/cover combo, I won't need to worry about a fleece soaker.

I think that one of the reasons I've been having so many problems, is that lately Emersyn has been waking up once or twice a night for a bottle - so she ends up having a lot of urine output, and it makes sense that a diaper can't handle 12-14 hours with all of that output.  It can only be pushed so far before there is no more absorbency left.  The first night I used flats inside a pocket, she slept through completely - ie, no extra liquid intake/urine output, and then last night she had one bottle early in the morning - but luckily she still woke up dry.  Obviously one simple solution would be to change her diaper when she wakes, but for some reason it doesn't occur to me, particularly if she's woken me during a deep period of sleep... it's not unless she keeps me awake for a prolonged period that I think "ohhhh.. change her diaper"... so maybe I need to just try to remember to change her diaper when she's up during the night - but that is so much easier said than done, particularly with the sub-zero mornings we've been having lately.  Not that that's an excuse.

What I know works is fleece, flats and bamboo boosters.
What I know annoys Emersyn is the lack of a staydry layer between her skin and the top layer of the diaper
The obvious solution seems to be:  Using flats, with a bamboo insert and some form of staydry layer, and a fleece cover over the top.
Still to work out is whether flats work better for Emersyn when they are used inside flats, or when they are used inside a pul cover with a fleece liner over top of the top flat [for the staydry layer].

I hope like heck that the above little 'equation' is my getting very close to the end of this whole debacle, and finally finding a night time solution that works.  I'd love to find a night time combo that isn't hugely bulky - but right now I'd take one that is horribly bulky and works, over a trimmer option that DOESN'T work...

.... I guess time will soon tell.