Friday, December 30, 2011

Identifying with The Grinch

Hello hello! I hope you've had a stellar Christmas and have begun recovering from turkey/ham/roast beast coma in time to look forward to the new year. I had a wonderful Christmas and am still finding myself reflecting on the season. 

I love Christmas. Always have, always will. So how did I find myself commiserating with The Grinch do you ask? Well, one of my Christmas traditions is to squeeze as many Christmas movies as possible into the month of December. This year, the list included A Muppets Christmas Carol, Nativity!, The Nativity Story (a favorite of mine), Home Alone I and II, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. On Christmas Eve, with little time left, I caught the latter half of The Grinch who Stole Christmas while dropping by to visit my friends Nick and Bekah. I remember owning a the book when I was very young--probably no more than two like Cindy-Lou Who--that my Dad would read to me. 

Yes...but how do you relate to The Grinch? Ok, ok sheesh, I'll get to the point. There is a line in the story that I've heard many a time but this year it it hit me; struck me through and through as only a poignant statement can do! Ok sorry, I just couldn't resist getting into the Dr. Seuss spirit...

"And what happened then...? Who-ville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day!

And this year, I knew exactly how the Grinch felt...

It was a very merry Christmas for Rhys and I; our Christmas present came early this year.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oh Holy Night...

Hello Blog Friends! 

I hope you are having as lovely a Christmas as I am and, in spite of the crazy-busy season, are finding the quiet moments to remember the amazing birth of Christ. I will keep this post short as my bub is, as I type, waiting to read J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters to Father Christmas by lantern light. 

So I thought I would share this video with you so that we can remember the first and greatest Christmas in history. It's very sweet and the older I get, the more convinced I am that children are the best storytellers. (Disclaimer: This video does not belong to me and I am very grateful to youtube and more importantly, St. Paul's Church of Auckland NZ for letting me borrow it. :)

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees O hears the angels' voices...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How Lovely Are Your Branches

The next order of business was decorating our beautiful, little, tree. I really like color schemed trees simply, because they look pretty. As an added bonus, color schemed trees are easier when you are just starting to collect your own ornaments. One of my favorite color schemes for Christmas trees is blue and silver but this year, I decided to take inspiration from my little Swedish horse ornament that my Mom gave to me last year. It was a favorite of mine from her collection that she very kindly passed on to me. So a red and white color scheme it is. Our tree is now sparkly-warkly beautiful though, it still needs a few more decorations. Now, without further ado:


Yes, we have become those photograph-crazy first time parents. 

My favorite Christmas photo thus far. Doesn't Tilly look like a chubby cherub from a Renaissance painting? 

Rhys very ceremoniously crowning the Christmas tree.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!

"You are as green in winter’s snow, As in the summer’s richest glow" ... and thank goodness for that since it's summer here on the Southern hemisphere. Hello Blog Friends! Happy Christmastide! I hope now that December is here, you are getting into the Christmas spirit as early as possible. Christmas is such a busy time that it can be easy to blink and miss it. I would hate for that to happen so Rhys and I started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving and the decorations went up on December 1st. Another reason I am thrusting myself into all things Christmas is, as I said, that it's summer here in little Aotearoa which makes it feel much different from the Christmas season that I am used to. There will be no dashing through the snow nor any chestnuts roasting on on an open fire. Still, I am determined to make my own little house feel as cozy and Christmasy as--for those of you who read my favorite blogger's blog--you can imagine my parent's house always feels around Christmas. And although Tilly is too young to appreciate it yet, it still is her first Christmas so I want to go all out.

The first order of business was, of course, procuring a Christmas tree. I love love love pine trees and so I am very grateful for their hailed "unchanging leaves." So come with me on this pictorial Christmas tree adventure!

The Christmas Tree Farm. Random fact about the Paper Canary; I've always wanted to have a Christmas Tree farm. 

Charlie Brown Tree

Tilly, perhaps not quite as excited about the tree as we are. 

Found our tree! Rhys wearing a devilish grin as he prepares to cut it down.



Sunday, October 30, 2011


Between a week spent in hospital and a week of adjusting to life back at home, I know this post is overdue and many of you have already seen some photos. Still, as the very proud Mama I of course had to have my own post to show off my beautiful girl. Say hello to the coolest new kid on the block: Tilly Ayla Angharad Lake.

It was a long labour--39 hours--ending in a c-section and I felt a bit like Frankenstein's Monster with all the labour related procedures and various lines and things I was hooked up to but it really is true that you forget it very quickly when you see your baby for the first time. This photo was of my first proper cuddle with Tilly the day after she was born. She spent the night in NICU and I spent the night missing her and trying to convince the nurses to help me into a wheelchair so I could go see her. By the way, the photos are by my very talented husband. Aren't they great?

 Tilly with Dad (I took this one but Rhys made it pretty.) 

 So in case you were interested about Tilly's name,--in case you weren't I'll be proudly waxing on anyway--I thought I'd tell you a little more about it. Myself, I find name meanings so interesting. The name Tilly means strong/mighty in battle. Ayla means oak tree/strong as an oak tree. More importantly, Rhys and I  chose the name Ayla after a good friend of ours who passed away last year. Finally, Angharad (pronounced an-HAR-ad) is a Welsh name that means much loved. Not only do Rhys and I both have some Welsh in our background, the name seems very fitting as our little girl is much loved on both sides of the pond :)

What a crazy two weeks! There were definitely some scary moments during the labour and I feel very grateful for modern medicine and procedures. I also am so grateful for all the support, visits, love, kind words/actions, and prayers from family and friends all over the world. When Tilly came out she needed oxygen, as the doctors and my midwife were explaining this to me, I could feel that my face was worried but my heart just felt at peace and I know it was because of all the people thinking and praying for us.

Rhys and I have loved going from a couple to a little family. Tilly is wonderful and always has us laughing. After all, it's a good thing babies are so cute or you might not keep them around when they steal so much quality sleep time ;) Well there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed getting to know a bit more about my girl. I've certainly enjoyed sharing it with you blog friends. Stay posted; more stories and pictures to come I am sure. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Real Housewife of New Zealand

After a year of moving around quite a bit, Rhys and I are finally moving into a flat of our own once again. We can't wait to set the place up and unpack all of our things. To be honest, it might feel a bit like Christmas since we barely remember what is hidden in all those dusty boxes. Of course the most exciting and anticipated part of moving in will be setting up Baby Lake's room, something I've been dying to do for months. 

Now I mentioned in a previous post that I have been feeling very "nesty" lately. Since I was a little girl, I've heard women talking about this whole thing called nesting. Being a fairly organized person, nesting never seemed out of the ordinary to me. Naturally, anyone would want to prepare a place for her baby to live. I just never understood why nesting was made to sound like some phenomenon.... Now I know. 

But it goes beyond Baby Lake's dream room—which, in my mind's eye, is a nod to Versailles with damask, whites, light blues and pinks and some sort of swan theme—to the delusional. Let me explain. It all started with a pitcher that looks like this.

The pitcher has a matching set of glasses. Now it’s coming up on summer in the Southern hemisphere and when I saw the pitcher, my nesty brain went buck wild. I saw visions of myself as the perfect little housewife in the cutest little house ever. I was out on the deck pouring my friends pink lemonade and in the other arm, carrying Baby Lake who was looking adorable in a sunsuit. Everyone thought I was the Hostess with the Mostest.

Nesting means I need to stock my house with all the necessary garden party wares BEFORE the baby is born. It means I will own a variety of ruffle-sleeved aprons and whisk through my day cooking and cleaning in high heels. I will be the Energizer Bunny. I will be a Domestic Goddess.

I did eventually snap back to reality. Besides the minor detail that our new flat doesn’t even have a deck, where do I think all this energy will come from, especially once the baby is born? Luckily for Rhys, I am not an impulse shopper, even more so because the baby section is just behind home wares. Still, the pitcher and glasses continue to haunt my thoughts…

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Soon to Hatch

Dear Baby Lake,

It's not long now until I lose my internal heating system and your quiet little home is rudely interrupted by an eviction that you might not be expecting. So, I think there are a few things you should know:

I knew from the start that you were a girl, which shows that even if I'm not always right, I am some of the time at least.

I have a feeling that you will be a pretty stellar dancer. I love that you already dance with me to my ipod.

Macdonald's is what we like to call a "sometimes food;" one that I rarely thought about before you came on the scene so don't get too hooked.

Our friends have given you lots of names already: Suzannah, Esther, Rainbow, Sally Lunn, Puddle, and Jamima (Puddle Duck.) Never fear, you have a lovely one waiting for you.

I think your Dad should buy me a Kardashian-sized diamond ring so that when I get disapproving/pitied looks out in public, I can flash the ring and put people in their place. It's ok though; you're worth all the funny looks. 

I dream about you every night.

Your Dad and I already think you are the most beautiful girl in the world.

We can't wait to meet you.

Your Mama

p.s. thanks for the outie. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Slack Canary

In my last post, which was much too long ago, I started by saying how my mom asked me if the canary had flown the coop. This time, she's been asking whether the cat swallowed the canary. How cheeky! Still, a valid question given my long absence from Blog Land. I have however missed you my blog friends. 

At long last, I have finished up working and now have some spare time on my hands that I hope to put into the blog rather than squandering. In the very near future, I hope to share a bit of my musing and whereabouts. Warning! I am feeling extremely nesty (yes, I know that's not actually a word but hopefully you know what I mean) at the moment. I hope you don't mind. 


Joy & The-Ever-Growing Baby Lake 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Busy Canary

My Mom very cheekily asked me on Facebook last week whether "Paper Canary had flown the coop?" Can you believe the cheek? I did laugh but the answer is a definitive no. She has just been very busy doing some temporary editing work. I've also had a great weekend away with Rhys. On June 26th last year, Rhys and I were married. Thanks to our family and friends (especially our epic wedding party) it was the most amazing day...And what a year! Looking forward to see what this year holds. So I thought I would share a *ahem* few photos of the day with you.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Over the Moon

A few months ago, Rhys found this cool and creative idea for finding out your baby's gender on a blog we follow called, "love the Schultzes"  Have a browse; they are a very cool couple that do wedding photography together.

As lovers of all things creative, we knew we wanted to do this for Baby Lake. It was a looooooong wait but finally, last Thursday, we had our much anticipated 20 week scan. At the scan we asked the radiographer to write Baby Lake's gender down and seal it in an envelope so that it would be just as much of a mystery to Rhys and I as anyone else. We even asked them to tell us when to look away from the scan so as not to spoil the surprise. Then, we dashed off to a baker with whom we had arranged to "hide" the secret within the cake. On Saturday night, we had our friends around for Baby Lake's first ever party.

After moving back to Auckland, the party was such a wonderful way to gather our friends together and share our joy with them. We had the best time and both feel positively over the moon.

A million thanks to our friend The Amazing Jade Lee for making the video. We know that in the not-so-distant future, he will be a famous filmmaker and we will make many people jealous that we are friends with him. So keep your eyes open for Jade.


Joy & Baby Lake

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Water Babies

This is a very exciting week coming up for me, and not just because Downton Abbey is on tomorrow, though we, (Baby Lake and I) are both leaping with excitement. The main reason is that I have my 20 week scan on Thursday. Not only do I get to see another session of crazy shenanigans, but Rhys and I find out whether Baby Lake is a boy or girl! While we both tend to lean towards the traditional, neither of us can wait another five months to find out. 

Whenever I think of Baby Lake, immediately I think of Jessie Wilcox Smith's illustrations of The Water Babies. And let me tell you, Baby Lake loves to swim. Late at night, I often feel him/her doing the backstroke; the wall of my stomach seems to be the perfect place to push off. (photo source)

The resemblance between the legs and tummy is also undeniable. I still haven't gotten over how adorable that little body is! Can't wait to find out more about you Baby Lake.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Tuesday nights are a very exciting night for me now that Downton Abbey has finally made its way to little New Zealand. In my quiet life of no longer working full time and waiting for the not-so-quiet Baby Lake to come, I now cross my fingers every Tuesday and hope that nothing comes up to take me away from some quality time with the TV.

While I was visiting my family over Christmas, I was able to catch the first two episodes. Since I couldn't watch it online, and  with much of New Zealand television dominated by Australian and American programs, I was beginning to lose hope of seeing anymore for quite awhile. However, since Downton Abbey was such a success in the UK, it seems that makes it a worthwhile investment for little Aotearoa. *Cue Händel's Hallelujah.* What's more, the ad campaign for it is HUGE! The series trailer, which airs frequently, has a children's choir version of The Police's "Every Breath You Take." Creepy but fitting. TV Guide also did a huge piece on Downton Abby's debut. All the publicity makes sense considering Downton Abby is Britain's most expensive drama ever produced, as well as its most successful period drama since Brideshead Revisited. 
Now the show is finally here and I am loving it. Afterwards, Rhys has to hear me wax on about how stellar Downton Abbey is and how I love the focus on the servants, particularly the hierarchy that exists among them and the relationship between them and the family. Good thing he is such a willing listener. He even (sort of) watches it with me. I'm afraid to say he wasn't as receptive of my confession, yesterday, that one of my favorite characters is Thomas the footman. I know, I know; he's not at all noble but he's a very dynamic character. He reminds me of my cat, Panger Ban; with his perpetually smug expression and the way he always seems to be eavesdropping or at least, up to no good. Besides, isn't the sign of a good story is one in which you have an irresistible attraction to scallywags?
I am especially looking forward to next week's episode since it will be one I haven't seen yet. Unfortunately, by the time all of you across the pond are watching the second installment, I will only be finishing the first *sigh.* 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Road Goes Ever On...

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, not yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."
(J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit)
photo source

In New Zealand, The Hobbit is more than just a movie; it's a great achievement and credit to all the country's various artists, from the film makers to the costume and prop designers, just to name a few. When Rhys and I were living in Wellington, we could feel the buzz in the air as the actors arrived and things started brewing at the Weta Workshop; the design studio where so much of the magic happens.

Since the studios were visible from the house we were staying at, we knew the nights when things were happening. As you can tell from how vague I am being, we didn't know exactly what. There is a saying in New Zealand, that "to kiwis (New Zealanders) rules are just suggestions." I witnessed this first hand when Rhys and I were going to get a pizza and we somehow ended up going down a dead end road that lead to the studio. Unfortunately for one curious kiwi, there were only security guards to be seen at the end of the road. We did, however, get to see some dwarfs in the supermarket. No, they weren't in costume. *Sigh.*

On the odd rainy day, Rhys and I would visit "The Weta Cave;" the workshop's visitor center. The cave holds some cool replicas of weapons and models from The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and some others. Walking around the cave sort of helped us be patient during these next two years as we wait for The Hobbit.

Fortunately, we weren't the only visitors with crazy antics... 
If you haven't seen it already and want to know more about The Hobbit's production journey, check out Peter Jackson's behind the scene's video.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On the Road Again

Hello Blog friends,
for once, my blogging absence has a good reason; Rhys and I have decided to move back to Auckland. So, we have been making our way slowly up from the bottom of the North Island to our old home near the top. We have had a great time staying with friends along the way. Since it's currently autumn in the southern hemisphere, Rhys and I have loved the sunny, crisp, weather on our drive up. Just the other day, Rhys and I were talking about how sad it is that we miss out on autumn in NZ, as there aren't very many deciduous trees. However, over the past two days, we have been blessed and wowed by seeing so many fiery trees along the way. For those of you on the other side of the world, I hope you are all enjoying your spring flowers as we all prepare for Easter. 



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm just a little black rain cloud...

When I was very young, I regrettably sang the "Little Black Rain Cloud" song to my parents, complete with a balloon. Ugh, what a mistake that was! Had I known that they would repeatedly ask me to sing it for guests; I never would have done it. This post is not about dark childhood memories though, but actually just Winnie the Pooh. However, I knew as soon as I brought up anything Pooh Bear related, *ahem* someone was bound to blow my secret.

Moving right along...
I'm sorry Disney, but you just don't hold a candle to A.A. Milne's wonderful creation. Also, why did you change E. H. Shepard’s sweet illustrations? That was unnecessary. Frankly, I think you should give up. Fortunately, years after the fact, many people still keep the spirit of the classic Pooh alive.

I was a stuffed animal girl living the Christopher Robin life and so, I love love loved animal stories, especially one's in which authors, like A.A. Milne who created a whole world for their characters to live and move in. I adore animal stories with maps in the front. What could be more appealing to a child (and children’s-books-loving-grownups) than a pack of animal friends that roam around the 100 Acre Woods having adventures?

A few months ago, I stumbled over this fun webpage. The author has categorized the classic Christopher Robin and friends according to the Myers-Briggs Temperaments Indicator. If you know your Myers-Briggs temperament, you can match yourself up to one of the characters.

As an ENTJ/P, I am most like Rabbit. Fortunately, the real Rabbit is nowhere near as high-strung and cantankerous as he is portrayed in the Disney version. I don't think I am quite as bossy or domineering as A.A. Milne's Rabbit. Still, I think it is a good fit since I do appreciate planning, organization, gathering friends together, and gardening.  I also share his love for the domestic. Rhys is an ENFP. Sadly, this temperament isn't a very clear match on the test. However, in the past he has often been compared to Tigger. Due to my "captianish air" as rabbit, I deem this to be a good assessment. This is very amusing if you think of the Rabbit and Tigger together in the classic Pooh.

What about you, who is your 100 Acre Wood's doppelganger?

xo, Joy