13 July 2018

5 Years

5 years ago, on 13 July 2013, I placed a ring on Andre's hand, said "I do", and walked out of the church building as Mrs. Santos.


5 years ago!

During our wedding ceremony, a couple thoughts I remember thinking: "I can't believe I am committing to this man forever - "'til death do us part"... forever is a long time! (haha)  My marriage will need to become one of the most important things in my life."

I couldn't have imagined that we would be where we are, 5 years later, continuing to aim to keep our marriage one of our very top priorities.


Some couples who have been married for longer than us make comments at times like these such as, "Oh, just wait until you've been married for 10 [etc] years!" and "Pfft, 5 years?! Spring chickens!"  I challenge those comments this year!  :P  No matter how many years a couple has been married, every year should be celebrated; every year should be counted as a blessing!  Every year is a milestone and one worth reflecting on, while at the same time looking forward to the following many (Lord willing) years to come.

This year I am thankful to have spent 5 years of my life with my husband, and I'm somehow even more thankful to know I will spend the rest of my life with him.


 Photos by John Adams Photography.

~Rachel

26 March 2018

First-Time Parents

Zoe Maria at 2 days old

I wrote this in April 2017, but didn't want to post while my thoughts and emotions regarding this topic were still very raw.  11 months on, and my thoughts haven't changed, so here goes!

*   *   *   *   *

Over recent years I have read many articles that seem to poke fun at how "over-protective" and "careful" and "[insert appropriate adverbs here]" first-time parents are.

Examples include sterilising dummies/toys/various objects that have fallen on the floor before the child is allowed to touch it; trips to the doctor/emergency at the first sign of any possible medical concern; not allowing the child to go within 100+km of a person with mild allergies... and the list goes on.

My baby, my first child, is nearly 5 months old, and, just between you and I, my husband and I have been fairly relaxed with our baby girl.  We let her get passed from person to person when we are with friends; when we thought she had a cold we didn't rush her straight to the doctor; when her dummy falls on the floor we simply suck on it for a second to clean it before giving it back to her.


I have received numerous comments from friends (including other first-time mums and senior ladies), praising me for how relaxed I appear to be with my baby, "especially with your first!"

This is not to say that my husband and I are always relaxed with our baby.  Of course we worry; we are always trying to figure out what to do to stop her from crying; we wonder if she's advancing well. It seems as though we are talking and thinking about our baby 24/7!

Zoe Maria at 1 week old.

Now, to the point of this post.

The many articles that I have read that seem to poke fun at the poor first-time parents who worry about every little thing, and go way over-board in taking care of the child, seem to miss one key point.

These articles are talking about first-time parents, who are just that - first-timers.  The first time any of us do absolutely anything, we can be scared and worried and cautious.

The first time going down a tall slippery-dip by ourselves; the first day of school; the first sleepover at a friend's house; the first move to a new school; the first day of high school; the first time driving a car; the first boyfriend or girlfriend; the first move to a new town; the first day of uni/college; the first time we buy a car/house... this list could go on and on.  When we look at all of these first-time experiences in children, teenagers and adults' lives, we are sympathetic and understanding toward the fears and concerns that the individuals may experience.  Yet, as aforementioned, article upon article and comment upon comment (usually online) continue to make fun of first-time parents for being worried and over-protective.

Surely first-time parents should receive the same support and encouragement that children, teens and adults receive at various points in their lives.  First-time parents have a tiny human whose life literally depends on them.  First-time parents feel the weight of that responsibility immensely.  First-time parents have been thrown into this new world for which there is no manual (although there are thousands of books and articles to help us!).  First-time parents have just gotten a glimpse of a whole new dimension of love, which is wonderful but can also be overwhelming.

Arriving home with our newborn!

May I make a suggestion?

Let us allow first-time parents to be over-protective.  Let us allow first-time parents to worry and stress.  Let us allow first-time parents work together to figure out what their child needs.  

And please, let us not judge them for it.

3 month old toes

By the time baby # 2 comes along, the parents have no less love or concern for the second child; they have often simply learned and grown since having their first!

What is your opinion on these thoughts?  I'd love to hear from you!  Please comment below.

~Rachel

19 March 2018

A Week with my Sister!


Last week Amy visited us here in Queensland and it was awesome!!! It was sooo good spending time face-to-face, showing us our new area, watching her connect with Zoe, having our Bible study together, going on a couple of outings, chilling at home with her, and seeing her amazement at the active life of a toddler and a mumma trying to get things done with said toddler underfoot! ;) Fun!

Wynnum Foreshore with both sisters/aunties!
Fun fact: we did not plan the grey and white outfits!

Southbank!

Brunch is the best meal of the day!!

Auntie + niece love

Walking from Southbank to the Art Gallery

Would you like a cup of tea?

Favourite piece of the day! 
3 of 12 different (yet similar...) artworks of Queensland

We loved seeing the reality of the artwork through the layers of paint

Storytime :)

The air mattress was probably Zoe's highlight of Auntie Amy's visit :P

Chillaxing 

Probably the best photo of the entire week - sooo amazing to have both of our sisters with us!!!!!!!!!

So thankful for this precious time with my sister - nothing beats being with you in person! 

~Rachel

11 March 2018

Holiday: Visiting Family and Friends in SA

In January we spent over a week visiting our family and friends in South Australia.  It was amazing!! The good thing about living far away from loved ones is that every moment spent with them is precious - and this trip was no exception.  I am so happy we got to see all of our grandparents, all of our aunties and uncles, most of our cousins, and all of our close friends.  It makes me smile just recalling the memories :)

On Zoe's and my very first day in SA (Andre came a few days after us) we visited my Granny and Grandpa (Mum's parents) on the farm.  I just LOVE going to the farm!  It's like another world and I just love the country life, and now showing Zoe everything just brings a whole new meaning to the farm.

One of my favourite moments in this whole trip

The cellar in the forefront; the house just behind it

Ready to exit the house yard and follow the dirt paths and explore the dairy and chook pen


The old barn

Picking fruit on the way back to the house

Zoe and Grandma, at the back gate

Zoe didn't quite make it onto Grandpa's lap (1. because she was too shy; 2. because he was as dirty as ever. #farmlife) but enjoyed the food he expertly fed her!

Great-Granny and Zoe

Weren't my grandparents the handsomest couple?!

With my cousins!! Love you girls!

It is ALWAYS a highlight to see Nana and Grampy!  They message us all the time, post letters, photos and gifts, email often, and video call regularly - but nothing beats seeing them in person.  We love you!


Playing with Mr. Potato Head - classic!

Grampy has a great love for pickled onions, so we had to introduce Zoe to the sensation!

Grampy and Zoe bonding over pickled onions

Zoe avoided Lottie (Nana and Grampy's dog) but loved the dog bed

With Great-Nana!

25 years ago with my Pop - Nana's Dad; my great-grandfather. Such love

With Nana and Grampy back in the day! Their love for Zoe is the same (more?!) as it was for me all of those years ago, and it's so special to experience.

Mum, Zoe and I took a drive through the city with my great-auntie.  Love the buildings in Adelaide!




We had lots of catch-ups with friends, too!  Some of them weren't documented in photos, but thankfully others were.

We got to hug Lici (and her bubba ;) ) and see her and John's new home. Thanks for the hot chocolate and lunch, Lici!

The way to Zoe's heart is definitely through her tummy...

Catching up with Auntie Maria :)

Meeting Brooke's twins, Eleanor and Olivia, was the greatest joy!! They are so precious!

Auntie Lorraine playing with Zoe on the Macca's playground!

These two are peas of a pod

MY SISTER TOOK ME HORSE-RIDING!!!!!!!! Best date ever!!! 

Jarryd taking us for a drive. Zoe and I were a lot more apprehensive than we look ;)











Zoe carried the egg inside, no worries. I took it and put it on the bench... SPLAT! 



My family, in our original seats at the dining table :) 

Such precious memories from this fun trip!! I just love seeing my siblings with my daughter... they love their niece so much!

~Rachel