Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve

On the eve of Sienna's first Christmas, this little one is getting excited!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Thank you

Sienna is now two months old, and with Christmas cards stacking up in the background, I realised it was finally time to take down all of the new baby cards.. despite the fact that they are still rolling in! I couldn't do so without some photos however (what a surprise!).

We were totally overwhelmed with the number of cards and sheer volume of presents that we have received from all over the world for Sienna. From the UK to Canada to Myanmar, distance has not limited your thoughtfulness and we want to thank you very much. Our local 'ex-pat family' has been very generous too, and we've loved receiving visits from many of our friends and colleagues here in Melbourne.

Here is just a selection of the cards and cuddly toys that we've received over the past nine weeks.. thank you to everyone for sharing in our happiness, making us feel so loved, and welcoming Sienna into the world. She can't wait to throw some smiles your way...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Sienna is lucky to have six cousins on her Daddy's side of the family. Here the eldest (Millie, aged 13) meets the Sienna (obviously the youngest!) for the first time.

No pressure to my brothers but we'd like at least one or two Hague family cousins too please! I promise babies are really... erm.. easy...!!!

The Woods have arrived!

Tom's sister and family have arrived from chilly Britain for Christmas! Luckily the sun came out to greet them so we headed to the beach...

Sunday, 15 December 2013

8 weeks old!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Our little Aussie

We have had lots of questions about Sienna's citizenship status.. is she Australian? or British? neither, or both? Well, luckily for this little lady, she will hold passports for both countries.

Sienna is an Australian citizen by virtue of the fact that Tom and I hold a permanent visa for the country, and she was born here. She will also be eligible for a British passport by descent, as Tom and I are both British citizens. Not only will she have two passports, but she becomes an Australian citizen before her mummy and daddy! We are not eligible to apply until next year. What a lucky little miss!

The logistics of actually getting these two passports has been somewhat complicated. Aside from the difficulties in taking a decent passport photo of a baby (and we did it when she was 10 days old!), the application process is fraught with complexity when you are an unusual case like us. After four appointments, a lot of mixed messages, more queues that I care to stand in, a sizeable chunk of dollars and a lot of journeys around the block with the pram by the grandparents to keep Sienna asleep whilst I did all of this... we finally have Sienna's Australian passport!

This is a bit of an administrative victory for me, and as the first Australian in the Hague family (but not on Tom's side as Bubba's cousins are Australian), I thought we should record the moment with some photos. Of course I did... I do not need an excuse for photos, do I?!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Mean mummy, brave baby...

 Today was Sienna's six week vaccinations... she was a trooper!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

In Bubba's arms...

When Sienna cries, Bubba has the patience of a saint.. he walks around, sings his little songs to her (now called 'Bubba jazz'), and sometimes she rewards us all with some peace in return...

I couldn't help but record how small she is in relation to Bubba's hands..

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

First smile... but not on camera...

After a few days of 'nearly' smiles, we got several proper smiles today! Despite what you might think, my camera is not permanently attached to  me, so I didn't manage to capture a smile to share... I did get a sleeping shot though!

First smiles... 5 weeks 2 days...

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Sienna at five weeks...

How have five weeks passed already since we first met you? 

Here are some special things about you at five weeks old:
- you are desperately trying to smile and have given us a few 'nearly' smiles (captured below)
- you are focusing on our faces and following us when we move
- you can grip our fingers with your tiny hands
- your favourite toys are Zeddy the African horse (aka Zebra), Lewis the Dog, Flopsy the rabbit and your sock monkey! (ok, so maybe those are actually mummy's favourites..)
- your lungs are getting louder and you love to exercise them in the evenings!
- you sleep beside our bed in your little moses basket, but are gradually filling it up more and more each day...
- at your last weigh in you were 3.4kg, but that was at 3 and a half weeks so you must be a lot heavier now!
- just today you have learnt to sleep in the Hug-a-Bub
- you just love bathtime with Daddy when he gets home from work!

Happy five weeks sweet little one...

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

One month

Sienna is one month old today...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Granny Pam's Blanket

Today Sienna had nearly an hour of peaceful 'playtime' on her gorgeous blanket, knitted by Granny Pam... thank you!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

Granny and Bubba arrive!

The Lister grandparents arrived this morning... here are the first cuddles!!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Getting ready for visitors... 25 days old.

We are getting ready for Granny and Bubba's arrival tomorrow, and as I made up the spare bed, Sienna tested it out for comfort ... ;-)

[25 days old]

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Little leggies....

Captured for posterity... they won't be this little for very long...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

On the playmat...

A few photos from playtime today...

Monday, 11 November 2013

The most appropriate gift...

If you know Tom and I well, then you'll be aware that we are both rather partial to a good spreadsheet. A love that has been fostered throughout our careers and has crossed over into our personal lives, including featuring rather heavily in our wedding day. Heck, I even dressed up as 'Excel-sior', the Microsoft Excel super hero for a super hero costume party at work.

I think that's enough context to explain the joy that Tom and I felt at receiving this gift for Sienna from his work colleagues... thank you!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Sienna's first photography session...

I've photographed many newborns, but taking official newborn images of our own daughter was a very special experience... Sienna's debut on my photography website can now be viewed here.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Sienna at home..

Here are a few photos from our first few days at home with Sienna...

(L-R) Just before we left for the hospital, Just after we returned home from the hospital!

Sienna loves her milk time with Mummy!

(L-R, Top-Bottom) Windy smile, in the pram, family selfie, watching American Football with Daddy, First trip in the pram, beautiful gifts from friends

Sienna's arrival...

I'll start this post by caveating that I'm writing it for largely self indulgent reasons.. this blog acts somewhat as my personal record of life experiences, and Sienna's arrival is one that I most certainly want to record. I will reserve the intimate details and my innermost thoughts from this public forum, but there is still plenty to share about the first week of our daughter's life which I want to record for both me and her to look back on in the future. If you'd like to read it too, then feel free.. but I warn you - it's going to be a long one!

Our baby's arrival had one false start. You might say that's not uncommon, but the turn of events in our case was a little unusual. At my 39 week check up the obstetrician decided that the fluid levels around the baby were a little low, and it would be best to induce labour and speed up her arrival. I had hoped to avoid an induction, but for the baby's health I wasn't about to argue. The labour ward was busy however, and couldn't fit me in for two days.. that gave me 48 hours to get my head around the arrival of our little one, prepare myself emotionally and pack, repack and repack again our luggage (one advantage of an induction!). We got used to the idea of 17th October being her birth date - and with it being my maternal grandfather's birthday too, that date had a lovely poignancy about it. We had a nervous night's sleep preceding THE BIG DAY and awoke at 5am for our ridiculously early call time.

Chatter in the car was a little on the light side but we soon got to the hospital for our 6.30am 'booking'. Then we waited. And waited. More waiting. Then we were told that the birth suite was busy with no available rooms for me to be induced. We were shown to a post-natal room to wait for availability, but it soon became apparent that was not going to happen any time soon. Then we were sent home. I was crushed - having prepared myself emotionally for something as major as labour, I was so disappointed that I wasn't going to get to meet my baby that day. We had a scan to check on the baby, and luckily it was considered safe to wait another week. I was rebooked for the next available induction slot.... 8 days away. Cue more frustration. In what scenario does a provider cancel on a customer and the customer then gets put to the back of the list?

Well, they say that everything happens for a reason and this story is certainly an example of that.

We commenced a routine of daily CTG scans to check on the baby's progress, and after 24 hours of attempts to bring on labour (curry, walking, curry, walking.. you know the drill), I gave up and decided what will be will be. Well, that was a damn good thing because sure enough, three days later on Sunday 20th October, I woke at 5.30am with a contraction that felt just a little bit different to the braxton hicks I'd been experiencing to date.

Unwilling to get too excited, I paced around the flat for a while, but by 6.30am I'd woken up Tom and asked him to put the TENS machine on me!  We spent five hours at home as I moved through early labour, but it felt like 5 minutes. I'd been practising hypnobirthing for months, which helped me welcome each contraction as taking me one step closer to meeting our baby, and also made the time fly past. I took two paracetamol, used the TENS machine for distraction, and also had a shower to help with the surges.

(L-R) - Me at home in early labour, One of the many CTGs that I had in the run up to our baby's arrival

By 10.30am we felt we needed to go to the hospital, even though the midwives were keen to discourage me as a first time mother from arriving too soon. As fate would have it, a major sporting event was taking place that very morning, threatening traffic on our route to the hospital. So, with me hanging out in the back seat, Tom diligently navigated us on an untried route through the city to the hospital, avoiding pot holes and speed bumps as best he could. I swear we hit every red light. He swears it doesn't matter, and he's right :-)

A few memories from my arrival at the hospital give rise to some life lessons which you may wish to take note of..
- if you are ever waiting for a lift with a labouring woman, do NOT get in the lift with her! A guy and his coffee got in the very small lift with us and it was not a comfortable ride for any of us!
- if you ever find yourself as the receptionist on a labour ward, don't ask a labouring woman to confirm her address and telephone number during a contraction.. just get me checked in!!

These minor annoyances were soon forgotten when I was greeted by our allocated midwife. Our hospital allocates a midwife on the day - so it's luck of the draw who you get - and by amazing luck I was allocated the wonderful Sarah who had taken our ante-natal classes. I was euphoric, and that was before I'd started on the gas!

Once settled into delivery suite 9 at about 11am, I started on the gas and air to help with the contractions. I quickly became quite high and Tom tells many a funny tale of my expressions of love for both him and our midwife, as well as me exclaiming 'I know why you are laughing at me!' as they were entertained by my enthusiastic yet 'under-the-influence' chatter! The next two hours are a blur and I won't go into the details. There were some wonderful medical professionals, some tense moments, some laughter (as a repeatedly requested an epidural with really only one push to go!), and at the end of it all the arrival of our darling daughter. After such a speedy labour she needed a bit of help to get out without distress, but I was lucky to avoid a c-section thanks to our obstetrician and a pair of forceps!

And so, Sienna May Lister was born at 1.01pm Melbourne time (3.01am UK time), on Sunday 20th October. Daddy wiped away a tear, mummy was stunned by the enormity of the whole experience, and baby let out two little immediate cries to let us know that she was just fine. It was incredible.

She weighed in at 3005g (6lb 10oz), was 47cm long and had a head circumference of 34cm.

We spent a number of hours in the birth suite recovering whilst our post-natal room was prepared, and during this time we made some emotional calls home to let the grandparents know the news. Granny Pam and Auntie Anna were in on the fact that I was in labour, so had hardly slept throughout the UK night time and welcomed the news of her arrival. The grandparents on Tom's side were equally pleased, and we promised to FaceTime as soon as we could.

(L-R, Top-Bottom) Daddy's first cuddle, cuddling with Mummy (first cuddle with Mummy not fit for public display!), weighing in, 3005g,  early photo showing forceps mark on face, early photo wearing outfit from Auntie Anna, first check up with paediatrician Dr Downing, more cuddles with Daddy, 1.01pm.

What followed was four nights in the hospital, where we were afforded a fantastic level of care to ease us into the world of parenting a newborn. We had a hotel-style room with double bed and en suite, but with a team of experienced midwives on hand to guide us through nappy changes, bathing and most importantly, breastfeeding. They were on hand night and day when we need them - including the panic that most new parents probably feel the first time their newborn coughs and spits up! I was terrified she would choke!

(L-R, Top-Bottom) Our hospital 'hotel' room, my care board, Sienna's poop chart!, Sienna asleep in the hospital bassinet, Sienna exercising her lungs

Sienna's first bathtime

I attended a physio class on getting my body back (one session was not enough!) and Tom and I learnt about settling a restless baby. We had welcome daily visits from the obstetrician and paediatrician, and also some less welcome visits from the plethora of hospital 'hangers on' - trying to sell magazines, massages, make overs and yes, baby photography portraits.. erm.. not for us thanks ;-)

(L-R, Top-Bottom) Hearing test, check out the baby headphones, day three weigh in, another visit from the paediatrician, 2.84kg on day three, having her belly button clamp removed.

We had two visitors in the hospital - firstly our close friends the Lobley family, and secondly the partner from my work who was instrumental in bringing us to Australia and has guided my career here - Lisa. We also had a lot of Facetime calls with family back home - thank goodness for hospital wi-fi!

(Top Row) Lou, Ben and Anna meet Baby Sienna, (Bottom Row) Flowers from my work

A few more memories from our stay that I want to record are...

 - me crying more than Sienna when she was given her Hep B vaccination on day 3
- Tom's excellent job doing her first bath and first bottle of expressed milk (she wouldn't latch)
-  our shock at entering the hospital nursery at 2am to get Sienna weighed before discharge, to find upwards of 25 babies sleeping in there under the care of 2 'mothercraft' ladies!

(Top Row) Chilling Out, (Bottom Row) Meeting Auntie Anna and cousins Jamie, Millie and Rosie on FaceTime  

It soon came time to leave the safety of our hospital room bubble, and return home with one extra family member than we left with. I rode in the back seat watching Sienna for the whole journey, and Tom drove extra carefully as a result of us carrying our most precious cargo yet (plus two lilies on the passenger seat threatening to drop pollen everywhere).

(L-R, Top-Bottom) Sienna's going home outfit including 'Prince George' blanket from Granny Pam & Grandad, Tom portering our belongings to the car, official 'going home' family photo, Sienna dwarfed by her carseat, Tom leaving the hospital with Sienna, Sienna in the back of the car.

It was wonderful to be home, even if the first 24 hours were a challenge - she was awake for a large portion of the night time, and our apartment wasn't configured in a very baby friendly way. We'd done our best to set things up in advance, but the thing I've learnt about newborns is that you just don't know what to expect until you've been through it yourself. Tom was quick to make the changes we needed though, and each day has got easier as we've got accustomed to our new roles as mummy and daddy.

Welcoming our first child has been a truly unique experience that is the most challenging but also the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I'm not afraid to say that it's harder than I ever thought it would be, but Sienna you are a longed for addition to our family who we love with all our hearts. Every day is a pleasure and every cuddle is cherished.  Cheesy? Yes. I blame the post-partum hormones. And the fact that she's just damn awesome.

Thanks for reading ;-)

Sienna and Daddy

Sienna and Mummy, Hospital labels

Monday, 4 November 2013

Two weeks old...

Making use of our Baby Milestone Cards (thanks for the inspiration Fiona!), here is Sienna at two weeks old...

Friday, 1 November 2013

Sienna at 12 days...

As we drift along in our new baby bubble... here is Sienna at 12 days...

Monday, 28 October 2013

Sienna at Seven Days

Tom and I are delighted to announce the arrival of our daughter, Sienna May Lister, at 1.01pm on Sunday 20th October in Melbourne! Our little bundle of loveliness weighed in at 6lb 10oz (3kg) and measured 47cm long.

We are overflowing with love for Sienna, and are having a wonderful (read: wonderful but tiring!) time getting to know each other and figuring out life as a family of three.

Today marks the seven day anniversary of her arrival, which was also the first day that I felt human enough to pick up the camera and think properly about documenting these early days in the way in which I know you all expect me to do!

I have an array of images from our hospital stay which should really be presented in advance of this set, but they were snapped across four different phones/cameras and require more time sorting / censoring / narrating than I wish to divert from Sienna right now.

So here are some simple shots of Sienna at seven days - shot in under five minutes whilst Tom made lunch, but hopefully ones that we will look back on fondly in years to come.

Thank you to everyone for the kind words that you've shared with us this week - being able to share this happy time with family and friends has turned amazing into awesome :-)

Friday, 11 October 2013

Wedding Album.. finally!

No less than 21 months after the event, I've finally managed to complete our wedding photo album! Our beloved photographer, Mister Phill, assures me that this is very normal. Well, that's a relief then.

It has been the onset of maternity leave which has finally granted me the time no excuses not to complete the album, as well as an email with a 20% off coupon code for my chosen publisher, Blurb books.

Our friends Kevin & Jordan had used Blurb to produce a photobook of their Australia Blog, and I was so impressed with the quality of the finish, that I knew it would be a good company to use for printing our wedding photos. I used the downloadble 'book smart' software and it was pretty much idiot proof. I was convinced that our book would show up complete with spelling mistakes or mis-cropped images, but no such issues have yet been found!

If you'd like to make a Blurb book, you can get £15 off your first book by using this link if you are UK based.

Here are some photos of our completed book:

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Time for a foodie post...

So it's official, maternity leave has commenced I have have metamorphised (if that's possible in my current physical state) from office profession to SAHM. That's a 'Stay at Home Mum' to those of you who don't know....

For me, this new roles requires a bit of brushing up on my cooking skills. Followers of my blog or friends and family will know that Tom is really the cooking talent in our household. Unless you want to eat pavlova for three meals a day, seven days a week (and *some* people might want to), then I'm not really your woman. Until now.. I am hearby declaring that I'm about to make an effort to get better in the kitchen at SAVOURY cooking!

I started today with a hearty Italian vegetable soup from Good Food. It didn't burn and it tasted nice (well, my taste test sample of one person - me - voted favourably!). Here's my before and after photo, and click here for the recipe.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

As you can imagine, a pregnancy is another excuse for a photographic project for me, and Tom and I have diligently photographed my bump in exactly the same place, same clothes, same time, every week since I first started to show. Now at last we can really see the fruits of some of our efforts.. here is a 15 - 25 - 35 week comparison!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

An update from the 33 week mark..

... so here is the Baby Lister bump at 33 weeks! Not long to go now...

Spring is here...

I took this photo on 31st August... officially the last day of winter,
but judging my the smell in the air.. spring is here!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Christmas in July.. in August

An Australian winter wouldn't be complete without a blog post about Christmas in July. So, better late than never, here are some photos from today's 'Christmas in August' dinner!

Feeling rather overrun with children and pregnant bellies, we decided to keep things simple this year and instead of a weekend away, just hosting a Sunday night dinner locally. We each brought a course, and Tom and I hosted. It was easy and hassle free, which was just what I needed really in month seven of pregnancy!

Here are a few photos from the festivities:

Sunday, 21 July 2013

New Zealand

We've been meaning to go to New Zealand for a long time, and despite it being the closest foreign land to Australia we had never quite made it. Our originally planned December 2011 trip was postponed to make way for our wedding  (and fair enough), and a second attempt to go in December 2012 never really got off the ground because another UK Christmas beckoned. It finally took the ticking clock of pregnancy to force us to book the flights, and attempt to see the country that promised such great beauty as a couple rather than with a family in tow.

We needed to time the trip around Bulldogs' games and my busy seasons, which pretty much only left a small window at the end of May. It would be cold and quick, but never mind - we were finally going to the South Island!

Our itinerary planned to take us whale watching, glow worm hunting, sound sailing and cable car riding. In the end the unpredictable weather and off-peak timing of our trip meant that we successfully watched, didn't hunt, just about sailed but failed to ride - respectively. Two and a half out of four isn't bad, right?!

Tom had been to NZ several years ago as a backpacker, but this was my first trip, and first impressions were spectacular. No where else have I seen crystal blue seas, green rolling foothills and snow capped mountains all in one breathtaking vista. It may have been cold, but it was beautifully clear, and there was a silver lining to everything that didn't go to plan..
- A cancelled 45 minute flight meant a seven hour drive, but along the way we saw spectacular mountain views to which no photograph can do justice.
- The long drive meant cancelling our glow worm trip and two nights in Te Anau, but the upshot was an extra two nights in our smart Queenstown hotel, The Rees, which was pure luxury!
- A day of solid snow in Queenstown meant we couldn't leave the hotel, but I've never been happier to snuggle up in the warm with room service and a DVD box set!

Queenstown in the snow

I was amazed at just how different NZ is to Australia for a country so close. Not just the landscape and climate, but the differences in the economy really took me by surprise. Prices in NZ supermarkets were considerably cheaper than Melbourne, but petrol prices were high - meaning NZ appeared to bear more similarities to the UK than to Australia, in my opinion.

We were well entertained getting familiar with Kiwi accents. Five years ago when living in the UK I would have struggled to tell the difference between an Aussie and a Kiwi. Now I can hardly find a similarity! Whilst on a day trip to see the whales, I was bemused to hear our bus driver announce we were visiting a 'silk colony'. I didn't realise NZ had silk worms, only glow worms. Anyway, turns out our destination was a 'seal colony'! If you think that was a case of baby brain on my part, try saying the words 'fashion shops' aloud... You've just ordered fish and chips in New Zealand!

It wasn't just the Kiwi accent that we seemed to struggle with, and it wasn't just me... Whilst eating in a smart restaurant to celebrate Tom's 30th, he asked the French waiter to explain one of the component parts of his main course. We just couldn't understand what type of ingredient 'sea-sam' was, so the waiter retreated to the kitchen to bring an example in its uncooked form. When we returned with a bowl of sesame seeds we were so embarrassed! It's obvious looking back...

We had a great time celebrating Toms big 3-0, and our Queenstown hotel was brilliant to upgrade us to a nicer room as a treat. They also left Tom a gift on the big day - some local fudge, only four months out of date! Hmmm...

Fergberger, a Queenstown institution

The highlight of our trip was to be a day trip to Milford Sound. Unfortunately it was jinxed from the get-go, with the road to Milford closed for maintenance during off season. Instead we joined what felt like every other tourist in the entire South Island to board a coach to Milfords big sister, Doubtful Sound. The tour company promised a taxi transfer to the bus, and thanks to some fellow passengers from our hotel who thought the 7am taxi call time was a good time to start breakfast, we were last to board. The only two remaining seats on the coach were right at the back - no recline, no leg room and the grumpiest Katie you've seen in a long time! Yes, I am that person that hates to be last on, to any mode of transport, and if it's someone else's fault, they will get tutted at low volume in my truest English way of displaying immense displeasure!

After the two-hour cramped coach ride, I queued for 20 minutes to collect our packed lunches, before we board an hour-long boat ride. Then we were packed onto what can only be described as a 1950s school bus to climb a treacherous mountain pass in heavy snow. We are truly in the middle of nowhere by this point, and I don't fancy getting stranded with the late-breakfasting family. Finally, we make it over the mountain pass and the beauty of Doubtful Sound awaits. Things start looking up when I'm early enough onto the boat to get a decent seat, but we quickly realise the hustle and bustle of 200 passengers is quite distracting from the outstanding natural beauty of the sound.

We also managed to sit behind possibly the most annoying man-with-Canon-dslr camera we have ever seen! He took literally thousands of images, many of exactly the same awful shot - the shutter went off every two seconds without fail.. and as we were behind him I could see every awful image displayed on the preview screen of his camera. Now I know I take a lot of photos, but this man will spend the rest of his life editing that day of shooting, and he didn't talk to his poor wife the entire time..

Where is the silver lining in all of this, you ask? Well, in amongst a 12.5 hour round trip, we had 90 seconds of tranquility, as the captain turned off the boats engines and asked everyone to be silent and take in the surroundings. It was heavenly, even if only for a moment.

 Doubtful Sound, doubtful weather conditions 

Amazing vistas, lots of sheep

If you get the chance to visit NZ, grab it with both hands. I was bowled over by the beauty of the South Island and can't wait to find a an opportunity to go to the North.. Perhaps a little trip for a young Baby Lister is on the cards!

Whale watching in Kaikoura and the SEAL colony