January - March 2003

Well its been another very eventful and exciting few months for us - we now have another beautiful daughter, Lydia has just turned two, our huge new deck is now complete, and Brent has built a very impressive new playgym!

Welcome to the world, Emily!!

Our beautiful little girl, Emily Paige Tyler-Davies was born safe and sound, by elective caesarian section, on 3 March 2003 (03/03/03!) weighing a surprisingly light 6lbs 12ozs (a big surprise after her older sister had weighed 9lbs 2ozs!). She is a strong healthy little thing, bearing quite a strong resemblance to her older sister, and has been a very good newborn, sleeping a lot of the time (putting on good weight) and feeding well. The only problem we've had with her so far is the wind and refluxing - but then most babies suffer from this...

Right: Our darling Emily at 2 days old!

Her big sister Lydia has surprised us all by reacting very well to her new sister's arrival - she seems very excited by the baby, wants to hold her and play with her hands and feet, and seems very unphased when I am preoccupied with breastfeeding Emily. We're hoping, but not expecting, that this wonderful attitude towards her sister will continue! The only problem Lydia has had is with me not being able to pick her up (as a result of the caesar) - we've had a few tearful tantrums over this! She is, however, becoming more accepting of this all the time. We're very proud of both our dear little girls!
Happy Birthday Lydia!

It's hard to believe that Lydia is already 2 years old! We celebrated her big day with a party for family and friends at the Lollipops playland, on the Sunday before her birthday. A face painter came along and did a great job painting all the kids faces/hands & arms. The playland put on a feast of goodies for the children and adults, and I'd organised a Maisy cake to be made for Lydia which looked really fantastic, and which she loved (she's a huge Maisy fan at the moment!). Afterwards the kids all had a great time playing inside the rest of the playland. It was a fun day for all!

Right: Lydia considers how to blow out the candles on her Maisy cake as Aunty Donna, Katie and Laura look on.

Our fabulous new deck!

You really need to look at the photos to understand how big this project was! Huge! The site of this project was a large barren sloping area of dry dirt under most of our house, which was totally useless for anyone previously - too dry to consider irrigation, and too steep and dirty to use in any other way (see below).

Entrance from garage...

View back from north west corner...

View down from boardwalk!

We contracted an engineer to come up with the plans for a deck, which ended up including a solid section held up by a retaining wall, where they had to cut into the land below the garage entrance (due to the steep nature of the site and the fact that we wanted to retain as much height as possible above the new deck). Once the plans had been approved we contracted a builder, Grant Hamlet (who does a lot of work for Brent's family) to build it. He later told us it was the biggest deck he's ever built in his 40 years in the business!

It took Grant and his assistant nearly 4 weeks to build it! Firstly the poor access to the site meant that all the 25 holes for the new foundation poles had to be dug using hand-held post diggers and finished off by hand. Large old tree roots were a problem for the men in places, and they had to move all the soil around the site themselves. Quite an effort!

Once the poles were finally all in and the joists went across the top we were able to get a better picture of how it was going to look - it was very exciting! The decking took a while to lay down and nail into position. Then the stairways were added in and the retaining walled section was cleared, walled in and prepared for surfacing. Finally the railings and gates were built around the perimeter of the deck. At one stage Brent had been asked to cut away part of the huge puriri stump that was in the way outside the garage entrance - which proved quite a challenge to both Brent and the large chainsaw he had hired!

The final deck area is huge and will be wonderful for Lydia and her sister and friends to ride their bikes around on etc. However, the real feature of this new deck now is the fantastic playgym that Brent has built on it! It has taken him about three weeks to build, and it really is a masterpiece! For my part, I came up with the original design for the gym, made to tightly fit into the small retaining-walled area of the deck which we had arranged to be covered in a wetpour rubber playsafe surface. I also painted all the plywood sections on the playgym (I was doing this up until just a few days before Emily's birth!). Lydia LOVES the final result and plays with it as often as she can - making the whole project very worthwhile.


View down from boardwalk

View towards North corner

Looking towards entrance from garage

The best part of this whole project is that the playgym and most of the deck is undercover, so the kids can play on it, rain or shine. It's shaded in summer, sunny in winter, and protected from the wind by the surrounding bush - a perfect playspace!

And a hand-painted dollshouse!

Another project I've been busily working on for many months has been Lydia's dollshouse. I bought the kitset house back in June 2002 and finally finished painting it on 1 December! It's a three-story, eight-room mansion, so there were a lot of rooms to paint! I did a lot of extra detail, such as a mock tiled floors in the kitchen and bathroom, extra detailing on the fireplaces and little painted items on pretend shelves in the child's bedroom and bathroom (I did all the painting before assembly). Once the dollshouse was complete I also purchased some wooden furniture and recovered all the manchester to match the colours of the dollshouse. I'm quite pleased with the final result, but can't believe how long it actually took me - over 80 hours!!! We gave it to Lydia for her birthday - she loves it!

Painting the grouting on the bathroom floor


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