Saturday, February 20, 2016

Canada Adventure 2016

Hey all,

I decided it was time to post an update on our Canadian adventure thus far.

We arrived safely in Winnipeg after many hours of flying.  Let me just say that if you have little ones and need to fly a long distance the sky couch via air New Zealand is the best!  Due to the sky couch Luna was able to sleep almost the entire flight to Vancouver, while Isaac and I took turns lying down for short rests.  When we got to Vancouver our connection was so short we had to request assistance to catch our next flight.  We were met at the gate with an inside car and two attendants who literally drove us through customs; even before pilots and stewardesses from our flight.  Needless to say we had no trouble with customs which was fantastic.  As we boarded our flight to Winnipeg I could not get over hearing all the familiar prairie accents.  It was so funny to hear CND accents rather than Kiwi for a change.

Luna enjoying Doc Mcstuffins on the plane

Once we arrived in Winnipeg Luna was literally GLUED to the window taking in her first sight of snow.  When we left the plane there was a small patch of ice in the connecting tunnel which I could not drag her away from.  We made our way into the new flash Winnipeg airport and felt elated to finally be in our 2nd home.  It was amazing to take in so many familiar and missed sights and smells.  We were met at the luggage train by our dear friend Shayla...and after big hugs and excited greetings we all put on the winter gear that she had provided for us.  I nearly cried seeing Luna in her snow suit.  It was really special to finally see our kid dressed in winter gear.  When we got outside Luna was IN LOVE with the snow.  She spent the next several minutes in awe...walking through it, touching it and scooping it.  She just could not get over it.  It was so fun to experience that with her.  In the end we pretty much had to throw her over our shoulders to get her in the car...ha!  She has some canuck in her soul after all!

Luna's first snow encounter:

We spent the next few days with our good friends Shayla, Anthony and their kids Xavier and Aria.  Luna quickly made friends with the kids and happily played and enjoyed their company.  It was a perfect way for her to transition to Canada.   The kids soon showed her the ropes of playing in snow. We were so excited to finally catch up with our close friends and it was very surreal to believe we were actually standing with them in person.  We ate yummy food and were cared for with love as we recovered from our journey.  The first morning we woke up to a beautiful snow fall which was magical.  We later went for a walk, pulling Luna behind us in a sled.  It was indescribable how happy we all felt to be back in Canada winter.  I know that sounds strange but it was beautiful and fun all rolled into one.  Luna was ecstatic to be in a sled for the first time and we could not stop exclaiming at how COLD it was for the first time in such a long time.

We then transitioned to our new home for the next six months.  Its a lovely place, spacious and warm and suits us perfectly.  It was also OVERWHELMING the kindness and generosity of our friends who had graciously donated literally everything for our new house set up.  We were essentially drowning in stuff.  Shayla, who headed this up is a wonder woman.  Not only did she organize donations but filled our cupboards with food and toiletries.  It was so honoring and made the transition so much easier.  I love that woman...she is amazing!  It was very fun to go through all our new goodies together.  Luna was super excited at having new clothes, toys and a big girl bed!  She quickly took to the house and our new way of life.  We definitely experienced culture shock in the next few weeks as reality slowly settled in.  I nearly had a panic attack in the grocery store as everything was new and so different.  It was CRAZY to feel like a foreigner in my own country.  I had no idea how much I had actually transitioned to the Kiwi way of life.  It was an interesting discovery that Winnipeg was so familiar, yet I needed to figure everything out all over again.

Most of our culture shock centered around food.  As you know, I am a bit of a health nerd...and could not get over all the crazy preservatives in EVERYTHING!  It was hard to handle.  I literally had to do several very long shops to finally nail down all the items we would buy on a regular basis.   For example....the table salt has sugar in it; figure that one out.  We also had to deal with Canadian bureaucracy culture, which drove us a bit mad but we have slowly adjusted to.  You really do have to have every i dotted and every t crossed here or else.  In comparison to NZ, banking, insurance the works, looks pretty different. It also was quite funny remembering having to wear so many layers of winter clothes!  By the time I had myself and Luna dressed we were both ready for a nap!  Thankfully it has become more second nature though I do look forward to not having to do winter gear with a giant belly.  Not very fun I assure you.

Thankfully life has transitioned and once we got a lot of the resettling stuff sorted life started to make sense here again and a lot of the crazy culture shock diminished.  We were able to source a great car for a good price and driving on the other side of the road has come naturally and easily to both Isaac and I.  We still don't know how to deal with four way stops however...and don't even get me started on how Winnipegers merge...ha!

The best part of being here however was finally getting to see so many dear friends for the first time in ages.  It was beyond special for me to have these special folk finally meet our daughter and know her.  It is amazing how familiar everyone felt.  It literally seemed as if we had just caught up a week ago and no time had passed.  We also had the privilege of meeting many of our friends children and seeing their homes which was super special and wonderful for all of us.  It is exciting to be here and to do life with these special folk.

My midwives are also wonderful, supportive ladies.  I have four different women that I have seen over the course of being here and will be assisted by whoever is on call when the baby decides to show.  The midwives have really enjoyed seeing my NZ literature and log book in comparison to how they practice in Canada.  Though I still miss my fantastic NZ midwife, these ladies are equally generous and will be a great support when the time comes.  I did have to conquer some fear over the medicate first, ask questions later approach in Canada, though this is slowly melting away as I become more familiar with the systems here.  I am feeling very confident about the birth, and am excited to finally meet this baby.  I am huge and ready to be done ha!  Next weekend is my due date.  Please pray for safe and natural delivery.   Due to the kindness of my friends I am literally drowning in baby gear!  Its amazing how well taken care of we are!  Thanks guys!

Not a great photo but you get the idea

I am really enjoying the kindness of Winnipeg folk since being here.  So many people are very courteous and thoughtful which is nice.  I even had a lady pay for some of my groceries this week when I tried to put some back.  Amazing.

Luna, Isaac and I have been thrilled by all the new animals to experience, squirrels being a crowd pleaser first and foremost.  Luna and I went to the zoo and enjoyed seeing so many of the animals in real life that she has only seen in films.  Caribou, wolves, polar bears, seals, arctic foxes, etc.  It was very very meaningful for me to see these animals again.  They stir something in me and it made me proud to be home.


It has been a time of many firsts.  Luna's first try ice skating (which she loved).  Both Isaac and Luna used the push chair to get around the rink as Isaac is also new to skating.  Luna also adores tobogganing.  Apparently when Isaac took her for the first time she went down the kid hill once, then raced up to the big kid hill and went tearing down over and over all by herself.  She also had her first experience walking on a frozen river which was very surreal for her.  She is making new friends and taking everything in stride.  We are so proud of her.  She did go through a period of adjustment and misses her cousins and friends and family in NZ; but thankfully has seemingly fully transitioned to living in Canada for the moment.

Luna and her new friend Eve
First time on a frozen river

 Luna the toboggan machine!

Isaac is loving his job with Design Built, it is a perfect fit and an incredible company.  The workshop he was supposed to start in was under repair, so for the last two months he has been working onsite building houses in the swirling snow.  Thankfully he loves this experience as well as enjoying the crew he is working with. The winter has actually been delightfully mild (-15 to -4), with only a few -35 and -40 moments.  This has been a huge blessing as its been so much easier for us to adjust from NZ level of cold.  Aside from playing outside we have tried to get out into the city and really enjoy what it has to offer before baby enters our lives.

Isaac off to work.  A slight change in wardrobe compared to NZ

Last weekend we attended Festival du Voyageur, which is a celebration of all things Canada and winter.  It did my heart well as it was a culmination of everything I missed about Canada in one event.  We had the pleasure of enjoying fresh maple syrup taffy (literally maple syrup poured into clean snow and hardened) which was a childhood memory of mine and tastes divine.  They had beautiful snow sculptures, historical exhibits, music and even horse drawn sleigh rides.  Winnipeg really excels at embracing and celebrating winter.  There are so many ways to enjoy the season which makes it pass quickly.


Maple taffy....YUMMMM

On a whole it has been a great experience moving back to Winnipeg.  Though we miss our NZ friends and family it is wonderful to reengage with Canadian life and kinfolk.  We will keep you updated on our adventures.   For the moment love to all our friends and family in NZ and Canada.  We will post about our new daughter any day now!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Major Changes

I realize that I am essentially the worst blogger in the world, but today I feel the urge to update you all on what has been taking place in our lives over the last year.  So much has changed and if I write a major post I can finally feel up to date to post on a more regular basis.

Where to start.  Essentially Isaac and I have been working like crazy and enjoying our tree house life.  Auckland now feels like home, we are so blessed with incredible friends and community here.  I feel rooted now, finally having carved out a piece of NZ for myself, graduating from 'Isaac's wife' at last!  I am very thankful that life has transitioned for us as I was definitely over the tumult of our arrival and first year.  Its good to finally feel home at last.

If you were not aware, Isaac works steadily for Meadowlark, a brilliant jewellery company led by a husband and wife team.  He manages a lot of their production, transforming pieces and setting stones which he thoroughly enjoys.  I also have been working a day or two a week for them which has been really nice.

Isaac also is always creating with wood and also makes his own jewellery when he finds the time.


Here are some of his latest creations:

Kauri and Italian Poplar Screen
White Gold and Green Stone Wedding Band

Turquoise and Silver Pendant.  This was my 34th birthday present from Isaac.  He wanted to make me a badge of honor to acknowledge my leather art achievements.  So sweet and totally  made me cry!

Turquoise and Silver 5 year wedding anniversary ring.  (Also cried)

 I have been balancing a full time job at LAPCO Leather with trying to complete shoe orders on the weekends.  This choice was due to needing financial stability and needing to access how to approach Spirocreations in the context of NZ.  I really enjoyed my job at LAPCO, assisting to handle sales, shipping and receiving of orders and general customer leather education.  I also was able to buy oodles of leather at a discounted price...yeow!  This is a very dangerous thing!

I found it difficult to balance Spiro and work.  I was growing weary and needed to take some downtime.  I also needed Spiro to die and resurrect itself as so much of my inspiration was in Canada and I was finding it hard to find my creative flow in the context of NZ.  I am still going through this to a certain extent but have definitely regained some inspiration and have been making and designing heaps at the moment.  Here is a sneak peak at some new stuff which will be on sale soon:

Brand new braided flat

Lamb Shearling Vest

Gold Deer Neck Wrap

Cognac Deer Clutch

Dark Brown Deer Hand Bag

I am very excited about my new creations and also have a few more shoe/boot styles to show case.  I have been very inspired by fur and am trying out some new hand lacing styles.  Stay tuned for more to come!

I also have some incredibly exciting news.  Isaac and I are pregnant!  We are both crazy excited to meet our little one that is growing steadily in my belly.  Its such a beautiful experience to be bonding and growing our little son or daughter.  I am 32 weeks this Sunday and getting VERY big!  Tying my shoes and bending over is a whole new experience!  I have been working hard to transform our tree house into a baby friendly environment and honestly can't wait to meet our baby in two months.

28 Weeks! Woot!

Along with our joy we have had an incredibly sad few months.  I traveled to Canada end of June till August to say goodbye to my father who passed away after a long battle with cancer.  This was an unbelievably hard, and trying time.  I am so thankful I was able to stand with my mom and say goodbye to a man I love with all my heart.  It is difficult to know I won`t be able to place our baby in his arms, he was an amazing loving father and would have made a wonderful Grandad.  The support of my family and friends through this time was overwhelmingly beautiful, I felt so surrounded and loved.  Thank you again to all those who were so gracious and loving to us.  You are in my heart in such a huge way.

Here is a photo of me and my dad in healthier times:

Love you forever dad...miss you.
My favorite picture of my dad at 21  I think.
Had to put this in.  Grade 8 Graduation night!
Dad in NZ
Also love this at 12 I think.

Since returning Isaac and I have been trying to get back to normal while taking time to reflect and grieve in a healthy way.  We have been busy preparing for baby, fitting in as many visits with friends as possible, working hard and spending as much time as we can together before baby comes.  I have finished working at LAPCO and can now focus on Spirocreations full time.  Winter is finally over and spring sunshine is starting to filter through the windows.  I feel very content and excited about where our life is heading next.

Love from us to all you beautiful people out there...we will try to be more regular in letting you know whats happening in our world!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A New Year Begins

Happy New Year everyone!  It has been a long time since the last post and a lot has gone on.  In May I took on a full time job at a Lapco Leather Company in Auckland.  This was very timely as Isaac and I truly needed some stability after such an up and down year.  Since that time, I have found it difficult to balance Spiro time with work schedule.  I am settled into the routine now and feel a new vigor to communicate so here we go!

I have been in NZ two years now...what a feat!  It seems unreal that this amount of time has passed.  Since moving to Auckland a lot of life has finally come together.  I am slowly making great friends and beginning to feel like NZ could be my home.

In light of two years I miss the weirdest things, though hard to put into words...I miss the 'feeling' that Canada gives me...certain smells and sights which I can't conjure up here.  I miss the crisp smell of fall and crunching leaves.  I miss the animals, I miss the sounds of snow crunching under my boots.  I miss having numb cheeks and seeing my breath.  I miss truck stop restaurants and pick up trucks with dogs.  I miss the First Nations community and the diversity of ethnic identity in Canada.  I miss quiet lakes and stately pines, wide straight country roads which go on forever without a hill or curve.  I miss the warmth of my family and friends.  I miss the smell of cinnamon and apples.  I truly miss my amazes me how much of my identity is wrapped up in where I originate from.  I am so proud to be is hard to transition to a new land.

NZ smells sweet and is lush and green.  The bird life is amazing and I adore the Tui's and Fan tails.  It rains a lot here.  The natural land scape is breathtaking and reminiscent of Middle earth.  I love the blend of British and Island/Maori culture.  The amount of tea cup envy is amazing!  I love how people love the outdoors and truly live their lives.  Kiwi's are very carefree and yet interesting mix.  The fish and chips are to die for and the lemons heaven on earth!  I love the amount of bare feet I see and the fact that a beach is only potentially an hour away from any part of the Island. 

I have made some incredible friends and taking a full time job has really helped me to open up and feel capable.  Working at home by myself all the time was not helping me to transition into NZ life.  Though I do feel the grind of trying to balance creative time with means to an end work time, I am grateful for stability.  I am also learning a lot about leather and the leather artisan community in NZ.  Isaac is also working full time at the moment for Meadowlark jewellery as well as making some wedding rings on the side.  We are very grateful for a time of peace and rest.  We are making enough money to survive and feel very nourished in our beautiful home.

looking into our studio space

In Sept of last year we headed home to visit my family and our friends in Canada.  This was an amazing trip, so good for the soul and wonderful to invest again in incredible people.  I ate enormous amounts of dill pickles (can't get this here) and my mothers home cooking!  We had a whirl wind week in Winnipeg(5 w's) was crazy to try to fit everyone in and in the end I wish we could have stayed longer!  Winnipeg has a huge piece of my heart and I truly miss my place there.  The majority of the trip was focused on supporting my mom and dad.  My dad has been fighting cancer for a long time, and due to recent complications with his blood, is now in need of a bone marrow transplant.  If you have any moments over the next few weeks, can you please pray for them both as my father is going to be doing his transplant mid February.  This has been very hard as my heart is quite torn.  Thank fully Isaac and I were able to really spend some amazing time while helping practically around the house which allowed me to be able to return to NZ.  This is another element of marrying into a different land...someones heart is always a bit torn.  I believe in my dad and know he is a fighter.  He also has an incredible family and friend base around him which I know makes all the difference.  (thanks Aunt Linda!)  Thank fully Isaac and I also have supportive family and friends here...thank you guys!

Dad, mom me and Isaac in the wagon dad built.

me and my dad:)

Isaac and I on my parents property
These photos were taken by my beautiful life long friend Tracy of Fathers Eye Photography.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about where to take Spiro as I had lost a lot of my inspiration and essentially needed to let it evolve.  I still am trying to get my act together...classes are on the list for this year, as well as a new range of shoes and boots.  I will keep you updated as I design and put the pieces in place.

I have been struggling a lot with feeling like I 'have a place' or have become 'someone'.  A huge amount of this is linked to having to completely redefine myself in a new place.  The readjustment period really disabled me from being able to move forward in a creative sense and I felt a bit lost for direction.  I am still very keen to begin a masters in Art therapy later this year as well as working slowly to grow Spiro again.  I'm sure you can relate to having a creative dry time...its a bit unnerving and has kept me up late at nights.  Thank you again to all the friends who have kept me sane through this...I have so much to learn.

Isaac and I have worked hard to put our house together...Here are a few photos of our space as well as some of Isaac's latest creations.

Our new bed Isaac just finished making. Note the rigging...there are no nails.

Updated bedroom 

Isaac's studio

Updated Kitchen
Updated Lounge

A beautiful Shaker side table that Isaac designed and made.
My studio

Our new movie corner!

Isaac's new tattoo...bison playing the accordion and smoking a pipe!

I hope that gives you a window into our life....until next time!