We’re usually awake around 6:15, and lie in for a few minutes before our 19mo daughter Ashleigh wakes. Once she’s up around 6.30am, we’re all up and getting ready to start our day.
RUN THE DOGS BEFORE BREAKFAST
We live and work on an 1100 acre family beef farm in the Far North (we moved from rural Cambridge after lockdown in May), and farm life is a 7-day work week for hubby. We live quite rural & fairly isolated, near the top of NZ. My hubby, Clint, will often take Ash outside in the morning while he gets the quad bike warmed up and the seven dogs ready for their morning run before doing stock work. She loves to “help” by sitting on the bike before he goes out. Their time together outside is important as he can’t safely take her out working and plus - this gives me a few minutes to prep our breakfast and make myself a fresh, hot coffee!
A BIT OF PT & PLAY
After we eat breakfast, Ash will have a bit of playtime with toys, or a drawing session (a current fave). She usually scoots around the house on her trike, while I grab a few things to pack for her day at daycare. Most days Poppa will drive in about now and give us a wave as he heads out to join my hubby on the farm. I think it's one of Ash's highlights of the day, spotting Poppa and his red ute. After some playtime, I usually try to encourage Ash to use her walker for 10-15mins. It’s a relatively new addition for us and she likes it, but it is hard work encouraging a toddler to stay focused! Ash was born with a rare form of Spina Bifida which affects her leg & her ability to walk or stand independently yet. Eventually, she’ll learn to use the walker for everyday use, but for now, we’re gradually building up to that.
Ash goes to a local daycare a couple days a week, which allows me to work in my design business. Daycare is just 15mins down the road from home and set along the harbour waterfront in Houhora, where Ash gets to play with kids in her age group. I'm all about efficiency so, one of my mum life hacks is to pop a load of laundry on before we leave, (which is often loaded up the night before) and by the time I'm back, it's usually just spinning out & ready to hang! When I'm driving, I'll pop on a podcast from Risen Motherhood or listen to the radio and Ash will sing along.
Once I’ve dropped Ash off at daycare, I head back home and do a quick tidy up before sitting down to work. I run a little brand and website design business part-time, and I love the creativity of projects I work on. Design gives me a 'space' to call my own, in the chaos of motherhood & family farm life. By having an outlet of creativity, I am much more able to give back & be present for my family. A typical work day will involve admin, emails, web design or brand design with lots of drawing involved. One of the best things about both of us working from home, is that Clint will come in for lunch and we’ll usually eat together.
If it’s not a work day, it’ll be me and Ash hanging out at home, doing lots of play inside and outside, or running a few errands in town every couple of weeks, as it’s a fair trek in. Occasionally we have to ditch work altogether and travel to Whangarei or Auckland for a variety of hospital appointments, but that's a story for another day!
Usually hubby will pick Ash up from daycare, it’s something that we’ve always enjoyed, splitting the role and she looks forward to seeing Daddy at the end of her day! After afternoon tea together, we'll usually handover again, as hubby will have a few more farm jobs to tend to.
It’s pretty sunny up in the north, so the afternoon is nicer for some outdoor play, and a quick spot of gardening to pick some leaves for dinner’s salad. Our dog Ridge usually follows us around, hanging out for pats and cuddles - he’s an awesome family dog. I'm a firm believer in outdoor time to help ground us, and it burns off any extra toddler energy.
SNEAKY BEACH SWIM
If we’re lucky, hubby’s afternoon work isn’t too heavy & we try to make time and have a quick swim at the beach, which is only a couple km down from our farm. We are so blessed to live in an area them at allows us to have a bit of surf and turf!! Escaping even for a short time helps us both appreciate our family as well as stepping off the farm for a mental break. There are not too many places to go to stuff within a short drive up here, so we make the most of what's on our doorstep. The eastern beaches up here are something else! However, with a little one, we’re never at the beach too long though, as it’s easy to get cold or end in a toddler grizzle!
Once we get back, it’s a warm bath and then I’ll feed Ash dinner and prep ours while she eats next to me. My hubby will take the dogs for an evening run before feeding them too. We have found at this age stage, that it’s easier for us to eat once she’s tucked up in bed, so our dinner will be prepped and ready to go. I'll pop on some tunes and Ash and I will have some fun with a little dance party too. We like eat pretty healthy- it’s always a salad/veg variation with farm meat or often, freshly caught fish! We can't get takeaways all the way up here (which is good for the pocket) but it also means fish & chips can't get any fresher! Hubby will zip out with the little boat, catch a snapper or two and be back home to fillet and cook it, while I've got some handcut chips cooking.
6.30pm - 7pm
I like to maintain a calm routine for bedtime, so I’ll pop some lavender oil in a diffuser and one of us will read a few storybooks with Ash in the canopy nook to unwind & snuggle. We’ll tag-team toothbrushing and bedtime for Ash, wrapping up her day with some prayer too.
7pm - 9.30pm
Once Ash is in bed, we eat dinner together, catch-up on our day and unwind. Sometimes we’ll watch a bit of Netflix, or do a spot of business paperwork- with two businesses we gotta stay on top! Once the final cleanup chores of the day have been done, it’s time to hit the hay, and start again...
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