Resolutions and Getting a life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I've been thinking lately, that my life seems sort of empty. That sounds awful. I don't mean empty exactly, just... quiet? I rely on other people too much and I need to find things to fulfil myself. I need to fill life with hobbies and interests, I think. It's scary. I'm not sure I have the confidence to do it. I found this great blog with a good tip on how to start. Here it is -

List 20 activities that you have enjoyed over the last ten years. For example, going to the seaside, having friends over for dinner, walking in the country.
List 10 activities that you do not do, but think you would like to pursue.

Make yourself a promise now to do one activity from each list in the next month. Write down what you will have to do to fit in these two new activities.
Developing new interests requires a positive approach. Even if things do not work out, you need to be able to tell yourself, “It’s not a failure because I’ve learned something”.

Research has shown that if we have no hobbies or interests to absorb and challenge us, we tend to get stressed, depressed, discouraged, and bored. If we are not careful, a vicious circle can develop in which the less we do, the more miserable we feel, and as we become more unhappy we are less willing to take risks and take up new activities.

1. Taking the kids out
2. Seeing musicals
3. Learning a language
4. Seeing friends
5. Writing
6. Holidays close to home
7. Travel overseas
8. Nights out with friends
9. Cooking
10. Movies
11. Study
12. Self awareness and improvement
13. Working
14. Beauty therapies (mani, pedi, massage)
15. Gaming
16. Shopping
17. Live music
18. Bushwalking
19. Lego
20. Reading

1. Painting
2. Acting
3. Horseriding
4. Boxing gym
5. Darkroom photography
6. Gratitude journal
7. Dog training
8. Meditation workshop
9. Book club
10. Vegetable garden

For January I am going to start a gratitude journal, all that requires is 5 minutes each evening before bed, and I already have this great journal for the purpose. From my other list, I am going to take the kids out. It's school holidays, they will be going insane and so will I. We went to the zoo not long ago, and scienceworks as well, so I think I need to find something new for them. Perhaps Werribee Zoo.

For February I will be starting my Italian lessons, and from list B, I'm going to pursue growing vegetables myself. Tomatoes, cucumbers... Yum. Here goes nothing... :)


Thursday, December 29, 2011

So, I've mentioned before how awesome my friends are, I know. Last night I was feeling left behind. I feel like all my friends have normal lives and are off leading them and I am just... drifting. I was cranky that a friend had plans and couldn't make a movie with me. I spoke to a close friend who reminded me that I could go alone, and that maybe, it might actually be a good thing for me to do. A challenge in the self acceptance I want to nurture. It was very true, and struck a chord. Why is being alone in social situations so scary for most of us? I can shop alone, sure. But talk about seeing a movie alone, or eating at a restaurant on my own and I panic. Why? It is vulnerable, certainly. But we should cherish our time alone, being with ourselves, I'm sure of it. My friend offered this pearl of true wisdom:

It's only when we're truly comfortable with ourselves that we will ever be able to be truly comfortable with someone else.

She's so right. And it's a gift to feel good with your own company. You can always rely on it, you know? Anyway, it turns out that a few friends and my mum and aunt are going to see a movie Friday arvo. But the idea stayed with me, and I wanted to explore it and challenge myself. I feel like this is really important for everything I have been working towards this year and my quest for happy and self acceptance. So I found something else, something I have been talking about on here and in general for months, and I locked in some Italian lessons for myself. 6 weeks worth, 3hours a week. I am nervous and excited! I had texts to buy (thank you every cheap book depository site!) and I am all ready to go come Feb. I'm thrilled too, because one of my besties, has German lessons at the same time so we can hook up for lunch afterwards. This will be great for me, I can feel it.

Photo A Day Challenge

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I may have mentioned the gorgeous Telle at Fat Mum Slim once or a billion times on this blog. She's a brilliant and well respected blogger for a reason, you know! Plus she's a great friend. Anyway, Chantelle has thrown down a challenge I love. It's January's photo a day.

I think it will be a lot of fun, and I'll post them here a weeks worth at a time. Stay tuned!! 4 days to go!

Post Christmas Sales. Or not.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I have an addiction. I am seriously contemplating if after weight loss surgery, I may have replaced comfort eating with comfort shopping. I am unstoppable. It's not a problem as such, I only spend what I can afford, but they're certainly not needs...

Anyhoo, enough justification and concern. The bottom line is, FUN. I have shopped my limit in the post Xmas sales (already, it's only 2 days after Xmas!) I thought I'd show you goodies, a purchase shared is a purchase even more enjoyed, after all.  ;)

First up, I ordered Richard Dawkins new graphic book, The Magic Of Reality. This one is one for the whole family. Finn has endless questions about this sort of thing, and I can't rattle off answers as much as I'd like to! I know I will enjoy it as well, and so will J. Miss RJ has a few years yet ;)

I also grabbed a cheap paperback copy of the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy. A friend loaned me the first book, and I immediately raced out and grabbed the other 2 because I couldn't put them down. Now that the movie is out in March, I want to reread the book beforehand, so I needed my own copy to go with the other 2.

Next up, Kikki-K has a great sale going. I bought their family calendar, along with some stickers for it and a pen to go with. I love that I can allocate each of our names to a column for every date and schedule our activities in individually. Then at a glance see who has what and when. Perfect.

Then I browsed Myers online sale. I found some awesome stuff and snapped them up. A new dinner set which was 50% off so I got 2.

Then, a new sunhat I needed desperately, and a beautiful bracelet. I can see that bracelet matched with my little black dress and a night on the town. It's stunning!
Finally, I spent up at Mimco. A hair clip, and I splurged on non sale items I have wanted FOREVER. A new handbag and wallet. BUTTON LOVE!

Phew! Credit card is now on ice, and I am on a spenders high. Ahh Boxing Day sales, you are lovely.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Monday, December 26, 2011

And so this is Christmas, and what have you done...
Another year over... A new one just begun.

Or, almost. Merry Christmas, friends. Talk about a time for reflection. Moreso than at any other time of the year, we seem to reflect on where we are at around Christmas and the end of the year. I have a lot to think about this year. My heart, my mind and my body have all been through the ringer this year. It has been a real challenge. It was not an easy year, but I feel really excited about the future. Ever since my op, I desperately wanted to make it to Christmas Day. I was so scared I'd have a complication and not be here for it. To have made it through is a massive relief and exciting for me. I was there for RJs birthday, Finns end of school year celebrations, and Christmas. Phew.

For Christmas, Finn asked that we stay home for the day, rather than go and see family and we agreed. It was the best decision, it really was. For the family, and for me personally. We spent Christmas Eve with my family, and it was fun - but hot and tiring. Christmas Day was spent with the kids playing with their toys, eating yummy (and sparse!) food and enjoying time together. That and Wii Sing It Downunder. LOVE.

2012 is going to be an interesting year. I go into it having lost 17kg since October, and I feel great. I still have some niggles that need to settle, but my adventure is beginning. I am curious to see where I am this time next year. I hope I can fit another overseas trip in, and I want to write (though my PhD proposal was rejected for the marks I got when RJ was newborn and Mum was having chemo for cancer, bit unfair but such is life!) If New Years Eve came, and we started 2011 over, would you do the same things again? I have to say that most of it, I would. I'd sure as hell still see NYC! I'd still have this operation. I'd still have worked madly on getting my head straight.

I am grateful for so much.

I am grateful for amazing friends who always have my back, who love me unconditionally, and who support and encourage me every single day. I am grateful for my beautiful children who are healthy, happy, and who want for nothing. They are creative, funny, and smart and so loving. I am grateful for my health, and for knowing it will keep improving as I shed kilos. I am grateful for my family, their support and love. I have so much hope for the future, I have spent a lot of this year thinking about happiness, how t get more, how to be more content and I feel like it is working. I still have my battles to fight, don't we all? But I have come a long way and I know I can keep learning and improving in the years to come. Thats what life is all about. :)

Merry Christmas, and a happy 2012 to you and yours xx

Secret Santa Happiness!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

So my adorable friend, Chantelle, over at Fat Mum Slim, organised a huge secret santa for bloggers, mostly here in Australia. It was a mammoth undertaking and one she pulled off with her usual style and flair. I was assigned the delightful Peggy from Cake, Crumbs and Beach Sand. We hit it off instantly over twitter, and I admired her blog and tuned in regularly. In a stroke of funny fate, we were assigned one another as Secret Santa partners. It was a lot of fun, I loved reading Peggy's blog and finding a gift that would mean something to her personally. I won't say here what that gift was, because whilst she has received my package, she's saving it up for Christmas Day to open.

I have no such willpower. My package from Peggy was barely in the door before I was ripping into it. Look how beautifully she wrapped it! A gift in itself, the wrapping!

And boy did she stalk me well. She read of my knee high sock fetish, and she gave me a gorgeous pair, she also read how I adore elephants, and I love love love the statue she put in for me - trunks up! And look at the gorgeous cylinder of pencils! I can't wait to create something lovely with them, I'm going to use them for my gratitude journal. She also sent me a copy of her eBook which is a brilliant self love guide for working mums - go grab yourself a copy, you won't regret it AND until Friday, 50% of all her sales are going to The Smith Family Christmas Appeal. So worthy and you get a brill read at the same time. Win Win!

Thank you Telle and Peggy for making my Christmas so much more joyful. I feel really lucky to have made a new friend in the process, the best gift of all!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Something weirds going on inside me. When my friends say kind or gentle things, I cry. I think it is because I want to believe them, but struggle to. I wish I saw myself the way that they do, and I don't. It makes me sad. When they say these things, its like it hits a nerve or a weak spot and I cry. I want to be the me they see but I can't believe I am.

I've had a rough week. I'm struggling a bit post op, and my heart has hurt. I guess my core feels rattled. I've worked really hard this year, in fact, the last 2 or so years, at trying to improve who I am, at trying to find happiness and contentment and to feel better about who I am. It feels like I am getting nowhere. I don't think that's entirely true. I can see changes, but essentially, I am still a terrified, insecure, frightened person. Sometimes, I upset myself with the actions I take. I wish I were braver, had more dignity and self pride, and were strong enough to say 'enough' when it is enough. Rather than feel so scared and so alone that I grasp onto things that are not always right for me.

I'm rambling. I'm just feeling really sad, and I'm forcing myself through each day at the moment, waiting to feel well, waiting to find love, waiting to like me. I'll keep trying to focus on right now, rather than waiting. I guess it takes practice.

OPI Addiction

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I think I am developing a dangerous addiction. OPI nailpolishes. It's worrying. I counted up how many I have currently, and I have 17 colours, silver shatter, 8 mini colours and top coat, base coat and strengthener... Oh dear.

BUT THEY ARE SO PRETTY!!!!!!!! I have the following colours... click on each one to see them.

Miami Beet
Just a Little Rösti at This
Austin-tatious Turquoise
Be Mine 
Diva of Geneva
Mother Road Rose 
Tickle My France-y
The Irre-swiss-ables Mini Pack
Wing It
Katy Perry mini pack
Designer De Better
Warm and Fozzie
Rainbow Connection
Excuse Moi
Gone Gonzo
Fresh Frog of Bel Air
Divine Swine
Gettin' Miss Piggy With it

So I decided for this weekends mani/pedi, just a week before Christmas to get MeepMeepMeep with silver shatter on my fingernails, and alternate Fresh Frog Of Bel Air and Gettin' Miss Piggy With It on my toes. Cuteness!


Friday, December 16, 2011

What does friendship mean to you? Have you got a close circle of friends? Or many? How important are they to your life?

Today I had a really, really, really, shitty day. I was really upset, and I was hurting terribly. I reached out, in the form of a fb status. Not overly classy, but when I get like that, I tend not to think straight and just act before thinking. I go from heart not head. Anyway, I reached out and honestly, the friendships I have... They are worth more than gold.

I got so much support, so much love, and so much understanding. While my heart hurts, having these people in my life makes it smart a little less, makes it heal a little faster, and reminds me to think that just maybe, theres a chance that if these people love me so much, maybe there's something of worth in me after all. I know that sounds dramatic, but its not news to hear I have self esteem issues and I genuinely react with surprise to see how amazing my friends are, and how zealous they are in their support and love for me. It really, honestly, makes me look at myself differently.

Can you imagine how valuable that is??? Can you fathom what that is worth??

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh," he whispered. 

"Yes, Piglet?" 

"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw, "I just wanted to be sure of you."

I am so sure of my friends, they are always letting ME know they're sure of me. Thank you, each of you who offered kind words, who offered love, support and encouragement. You will never truly know just how deeply it effects me. I swear I am not a sap but I have tears of gratitude. You are worth so much to me. Your friendship is appreciated more than you can possible imagine. I love you <3

Friends, old school style.

Some of my mates, especially those I've made online, I've had for freakin YEARS. One such lass, is Lea. Lea and I have been mates, must be going on 10 years or so now. Easy. We've met IRL, and we've spent hours on chats and emails and phone calls over the years. The last few have been pretty awesome for Lea, and with life being hectic for myself, we haven't been in as much contact.

But ya know, this is one of those awesome friendships that picks up where it left off as though nothing ever changed. We can go months without a proper catch up, then it just clicks back in and we cruise again. These are the very best types of friendship. Low maintenance for the win!!!!

Anyhoo, actually, first, I have to share this stupid story - Lea and another friend, Sheri and I were all on msn chatting... this was years ago, and somehow we got to making puns on that song "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard" and slogans that we felt could be printed on underwear to make us a killing. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. Tears, wheezing and achey sides laughing it was. That's Lea though, shes fucking funny.

Anyhoo, the reason I am blogging about her today, is coz she's having a shit of a time. After an amazing few years where she met the love of her life, and married him in an amazing surprise ceremony on her 30th, she's just recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I'm pretty fucked off about it, to be honest. Cancer is such a bullshit, arse of a disease. Lea's too young, and got too much awesome in her life to have to jump this hurdle. It makes me stabby. Look, you can say 'well, if anyone can do it, she can' and that's true. The girl has chutzpah you can't even imagine. But that's beside the point. I don't want her to go through this shit. In fact, I am having a tantrum about it and I WILL kick and scream and stomp my feet at the unfairness of it. I'm mad. I watched Mum battle breast cancer and chemo and radio therapies. I saw it drain her, hurt her, and weaken her. I also watched how she changed as a result of it, and she grew soooo much stronger. She is emotionally and physically such a strong woman, I can only imagine how Lea will come out of this. Wonder Woman.

Anyway, keep my mate in your thoughts, send her love and happy, and don't tippy toe around the fact she's scored herself a date with Cancer. She knows it, we know it, and it's fucked. Stay strong for her, don't get emotional - look after yourself or support one another, but don't make her be brave for YOU. Just be the same as ever, if you can manage it, and she'll know you're there if she needs you.

Love you, Leanne.

My sister is awesome

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My sister is the best. She knows I am stuck on liquids and purees for a bit, so she sent me a fantastic gift. A juicer!!!!!

The accompanying card made me teary...

So today I decided to give it a run. So much fun. Here I am all set to juice. I have chopped up apples with skin removed (probably not necessary but my tum is still sensitive), peeled chopped carrot, celery pieces and 2 peeled and quartered oranges.

Put it all in and prepare to hit go.

Voila, 3 seconds later...

Oops, I let it sit a sec whilst I did the dishes and clean up.

No matter, a brisk stir and we are back to this glorious orange color!

Let me assure you it tasted AMAZING. I am stoked. Thank you sister, dear xxx

Happy 3rd Birthday, Rory-Jane.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Miss RJ!!!

How on earth did this happen?! How did you get to be 3?! Ah. You are freaking awesome, you know that? You are such a funny girl, you have everyone in hysterics all the time with your personality. You got mad at your Nan recently, so you approached her with your fists up ready to fight!!! She roared laughing which totally killed your cranky.

You love taking Finn to karate and copying the exercises and shouting "ICH NI SAN SHI GO" as though you are part of the class. You have to be 4 before you can start, a long wait for you no doubt. You do love dancing classes, and recently had your first concert where you danced on stage like a trooper and demanded "want to do again!" for days afterwards. You can be a princess, insisting I paint your toenails when I do mine, dressing up in flouncy dresses and playing with your dolls, and in the next moment you are wrestling Finn or your dad and playing in the dirt.

I often think about the years we spent trying to fall pregnant. I truly reached a point where I thought it'd never happen. It wasn't to be, and that was that. I love that I am stubborn enough to have kept at it until it worked. I am SO glad, words can't describe it. You were worth every second and more. You look soooo like the little girl in my dream when I was trying to fall pregnant, the little girl who told me not to give up trying for her. It's eerie.

You are a bit of a couch potato. Love your DVDs and boy do you love your food! You have taken to calling your favorite person of the moment your "best friend" and it's a title of honour. "Best friend, Mama" you say hugging me and I melt. "Best friend, Finn!" or "Best friend, Jeffrey" (to the cats horror usually!) You and Finn still adore one another and you call him 'Ma' (Mine) less and less, and Finn more and more.

The animals are your best mates, you throw yourself at them and you are quite happy to endure being scratched for a moment of love. You make me so happy. Even when you are a ratbag and god knows you test me in a way Finn never did. Far feistier, far more independent, far more determined. You are like me. And I don't care how much it might bug me as your parent, i LOVE that you have those qualities.

Oh my beewee girl... I adore you. I wohwoo. Always & Forever, Mama xxx

Catch up

Monday, December 12, 2011

What a busy week that was!!!

Firstly, we went to The Wiggles concert last Sunday the 4th, which was RJ heaven. She was able to briefly meet Murray when she handed him roses for Dorothy which made her day. It was a good day but geez they're starting to age.. Yikes. Anyway, we had fun and I survived my first big post op outing. Yay!

On Tuesday, Finn had his keyboard open day, a mini concert where he played a solo, and also got a solo in the group song all of his own, since he taught himself the latter part of the song that no one else knows. So proud. He really has got some amazing skills now, and is playing brilliantly.

On Wednesday we had RJs ballet concert which was absolutely adorable. Kids of all ages performed but the 2 year olds were just especially cute. She loved it and kept saying she wanted to do it again. She has since been showing off her ballet moves to all and sundry at school. Made for the stage this kid. So beautiful!

On Thursday I went to see the dietician and found I've lost a total of 16.3kg now, I am going great guns and am able to go from liquids to mushy foods (trickier than it sounds, most foods still feel too much for me). It's nice to have choice in my diet again, even a small choice. It'll be a long month or so to get back to a normal diet though.

Friday I had to get one of my incision wounds checked, its a bit iffy, but nothing to worry about which was a relief. This weekend we celebrated RJ and Js birthdays since their actual birthdays fall on Tuesday, and no one is around! We have another very hectic week ahead. I will be glad to hit Xmas and fall in a heap I can tell you! Sheesh!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

I am so obsessed by food whilst I can't eat much of it, and my friend, Katie, posted about arancini this week. Hers are healthier than mine, and far better for you, but I thought I would share my tried and true recipe anyway!

I find that to make arancini, it is easier to mould the balls from a baked risotto than a stove top one, and you have to let it cool first. I make risotto just to make arancini, really. It's time consuming but the noms are worth it. My favorite recipe for this is a baked mushroom one - vegetarian ftw.

Preheat your oven to 180c. Put 3c of vegetable stock and 1.5c of cold water in a saucepan. Bring it to the boil, then simmer covered until you need it later on.

Melt 25g butter in another saucepan, and cook about 400g mushys. Mixed mushrooms are good, but almost always just use button ones, because they're the easiest to source! Cook them a few minutes until they brown, then move them to a bowl and set aside. Melt another 25g butter and add a finely chopped brown onion, and 2 crushed garlic cloves until soft. Add in 2c of arborio rice and stir until coated with the oil/garlic/onion mix for a minute or so, then put the mushrooms back in. Next add 1/2c dry white wine and boil and stir until it is all but evaporated.

At this point I get out my baking dish and tip the mix into it, then pour the pre-prepared stock over the top, evening it all out gently with a spoon. Cover it up with foil, and put it carefully in the oven. Bake it for 25min, stir it every so often. Remove the foil and bake it another 5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Remove it from the oven and stir in 1/3c fresh chopped chives and 1/3c parmesan (or cheddar) cheese. Try to resist eating it all. I always set aside a small bowl for my lunch, and use the rest for dinner arancini! Now leave it to cool.

About an hour or so later, you're set to go. Prepare 3 bowls on your work surface. In one, put some plain flour, the next, beaten egg, and the final, breadcrumbs. Cut up some small cubes of mozzarella cheese, and have them handy too. Some people put bolognese sauce in the centre with the cheese, that's pretty traditional, but I wanted mine vegetarian (plus it was easier than working out how the hell to get bolognese sauce in the middle without a massive mess!)

Anyway, scoop about a small handful of your risotto up and start moulding it into a half ball, stick a square of mozzarella on it then grabe some more to cover it up and make it into a ball. Roll it in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs and set it on a plate. Repeat until your risotto is gone!

Next, heat a pan of shallow oil to super hot. Place arancini in the hot oil and turn as it browns, then put it on a baking tray. Repeat until all are browned then bake in the oven at a low temperature for 15-20m until heated through.


Shoppers Delight!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gather round friends, this one is very exciting... Firstly, how good is our Aussie dollar these days? Pretty awesome right? And how wonderful it would be to take advantage of it without the ghastly shipping nightmares and costs - or worse still, when you find the item of your dreams and they don't ship internationally at all. Devastating! Well! Have I got some exciting news for you!!!!!

Emerald City Shipping. 3 words that make my heart flip! Leila will do your shopping and ship for you. Place doesn't accept an Australian credit card? Leila's got you covered. Sephora won't ship internationally?!?! It's a travesty!! But, Leila has you covered. I have used this service when it was run by my mate, Mez. Let me tell you, it is SO simple. I sent her my Sephora wishlist and she sent me an invoice. I logged into paypal, sent her the cash, and 2w later, Sephora goodies were in my mailbox. Freaking BRILLIANT.

Low stress, highly reliable, and cost effective. You cover the cost of your product, the shipping price (which Leila will get for you at the most economical price) and a one off payment for her time and effort sourcing the goods - a bargain of just $15. Freaking amazing.

As a bit of a shopper, this just makes me so excited. I finally have easy access to all the US goodies that have for so long been out of my reach. Sephora, Amazon bargains, the FULL Urban Outfitters range, Zara online, LuLu's, the wonderful Gap, and my most favorite kids clothing store bar none - Janie & Jack (who do ship to Aus but charge far too much, as do some of the others listed here). So many more!!!! (In fact if you find others, do comment and let me know... )

It is also worth noting that given our seasons and US seasons are reversed, we can often get end of seasons sale prices that are perfect for the season we are commencing. Brilliance!!!

Oh my heart she pounds and my hip pocket, she bleeds. Seriously, go and have a look at Emerald City Shipping and get shopping, it's all kinds of happy, especially with New Year bargain sales right around the corner... Enjoy!

The true meaning of Christmas

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Every year, at this time, I try to find something that means something to me, and a way to make a difference to someone whose Christmas is not as magical and blessed as my own.

Last year, we helped out a family who were struggling to find money to feed and buy any gifts for their children. The year before, we sponsored a child through World Vision.

This year, I was really affected by the story of Kristie and Avery. On July 14 2011, Avery was stillborn. The grief that Kristie continues to experience, the unimaginable pain she has endured this year, broke my heart. I don't know Kristie, I know only what I read, but it takes a special person to reach out, in the midst of their pain and offer a suggestion on how to make things better. This post does just that. And it was that post that inspired me, and showed me who I wanted to make my charitable donation to this Christmas.

I had read about the organisation, Heartfelt, before, and always admired the powerful work they do. Heartfelt is a volunteer staffed photographic company, that give the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature and ill infants and children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of their local hospitals, as well as children with serious and terminal illnesses. Heartfelt is dedicated to providing this gift to families in a caring, compassionate and heartfelt manner. You can read more about their work on their website, but you can imagine that when you are going through this, you aren't thinking about creating memories, you aren't thinking about that moment down the track when you think "I wish I had gotten a photo..." But these people are. The cost of a session is only $40. That's such a small amount for something that means SO much. You can donate here.

I had not, however, read about Little Angel Memory Boxes before. These are beautiful ways to honor the loss of a baby, and to create a memorial for the families in grief. Each Memory Box includes:
*Memorial Seeds
*Knitted blanket or Baby Wrap
*LAMB Keepsake Journal- which includes space for parents to record some of their child most precious memories, including hand and foot prints, photos, poems, hospital cards and other special memories.
*Information about creating those final precious moments.

Their service does not stop there, though. They offer a firm support network, to people grieving the loss of a child. Again, one of these boxes is worth just $40. I think that looking at the candle, planting some seeds in your lost childs memory, and recording your thoughts in a journal for some kind of therapy, some desperate way to make sense of chaos, would be worth so much more to someone experiencing this. You can donate to LAMB here.

I am really grateful, that I have never had to experience anything as wrenching as the loss of a child, I cannot even imagine it, I don't ever want to have to. I am so lucky to be excited for Christmas, with 2 healthy, beautiful children, and only good memories. I hope that my small offering is enough to help someone out, it won't be much, but it's the least I can do.

Merry Christmas.

Lovely stuff

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My OPI order arrived today. I have been sweating on it getting here and I was NOT disappointed. Check these babies out!!

I love how bright and fun they are. I love the idea of alternating green and red for Chrismassy toes, too. RJ immediately requested pink glittery toenails. But of course!

The entire muppets range of colours are stunning but I left out the red/pinks since I already have shades similar enough.
So much pretty. With my GHD, my Sephora make up that arrived 2 weeks ago, and pretty nails, I am going to wow soon!

Surgery recovery is going well. I am stiff and sore still, wind pained still, and tired still... But it's going well. It's odd. I want to eat, food still holds great appeal, but I am happy to stick to my liquid diet for a couple of weeks and not take any unnecessary risks. What IS surprising is how little I need to have to fill me. This will relax over time, but right now, a few tablespoons of soup and I am done. WEIRD FEELING. The mental part of it is the strangest and most difficult for sure. Onward and upward (or downward if we're talking scales...)


Operation complete. Well settled in recovery phase.

Just wanted to give a shout to the lovely Kate Says Stuff for her awesome idea to showcase some blogs (mine included!) Its given me some fantastic reading for this stuck in rest mode stage. Such a brilliant idea, love!!!

D Day

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Auto publish for DDay. When this goes up, I will be at the hospital - surgery day.

Let's DO this!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Naww just found this!

It'd be nice to get a vote, but there are so many great blogs on this list, it's nice just to be on the same page!

3 days to go...

... Until surgery day, and they're going to be busy ones. I am nervous and highly strung, need to do some relaxation along the way as often as possible. I wrote a letter to myself a while back, I'll share it today. See ya on the other side, ya'll x

Dear Kelly,

This is the only you I have ever known. I can barely remember a you that comes close to a normal weight. It's not that I expect to be thin, I'll always be large, but where you are now is scaring me. It's an ongoing gradual sliding gain, and in 8 years, I've gained almost 20 kg. If I keep on this path, I know I will be in trouble. Since the latest 7kg in 5 months gain, I have had this horrible reflux/ulcer/whatever thing, and heart palps, and it dawns on me it will only get worse. It's terrifying. I am scared of this operation, too. It all feels a bit surreal. It's drastic. It's scary, but I need help. I remember at uni, when I was maybe 30-40kg lighter than I am now, I was referred to as "Big Kell" - they didn't know I could hear them call me that. It wasn't said meanly. I was being differentiated from another Kelly. I'll always be Big Kell. It's all I ever knew. The ugly, fat, sister. The hide behind smarts and wit because it's all I have.

I want to be ME. I want to let me out, the true me, not the fat me I have always felt. It's not that I don't feel I don't have value now, because I know that I do, weight or not. But, I want to feel confidence to let that real me inside, shine on the outside as well. I want the confidence to just live. I don't want to be sad, fearful, and self conscious anymore.

I want to see my children grow up. I want this so much, for my children, and for me. I want this to give myself another chance. Don't lose sight of your goals, look at those photos and remind yourself why you never want to come back to this. Remember how unhappy you are right now, and have been for so long. At 34, you're going to start life. Remember where you came from, and be kind to yourself. Don't devalue who you were (and are still, at this point in time), just because of weight. You're so much more than that. It's time to let the weight go and embrace being me. The real me.

Love, Kelly.


Friday, November 18, 2011

in·tu·i·tion   [in-too-ish-uhn, -tyoo-]
1. Direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.

Intuition, gut instinct, real truth, divine guidance... call it what you will. Truth is, something of that nature exists. Is it coincidence, or a fabrication of the mind, perhaps? I don't think so, but some would. Sometimes, I can tune into it easily, others it is far more difficult, or impossible altogether.

I know when I have struck on it, it's feeling that's hard to describe. I go from chaos in my mind, anxiety, worry, and fear to a settled feeling of KNOWING something is true and right. It's never failed me. Good and bad. When I think about my surgery next week, I have only good instincts but geez they can be hard to locate and cling to. My mind gets in the way. It doesn't stop me freaking out.

I sort of feel as though my mind is getting desperate this week and throwing every trick at me it can muster. Sabotage, sore stomach returning, boredom... It's as though it is in freak out mode that am actually going ahead with this. It's hard to cope with, because I am constantly fighting a battle with my own mind and trying to keep it on a leash. It WILL be okay, it IS the right thing... Breathe...

This op is a pretty big deal, it'll take quite a while to recover, and I don't know what it'll mean for my every day future. I just know I'm out of choices. I need help. It's this or an early grave. I hope it turns out to be the best thing I ever did. Time will tell.

I have to remind myself, as the past has proven, when I feel scared or nervous, I must focus on my intuition. It never lets me down.

Happy Early Birthday to me!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My 34th Birthday is this Wednesday the 16th. Since J will be working and Finn will be at school, we decided to celebrate today instead. Wow have I been spoiled! I got a Pirates of the Caribbean lego set - since I have completed every Harry Potter set, this was my next collection. Super excited! J took Finn to the local market last weekend and with his own money he brought me some handmade soap and a wire butterfly wall hanging. He spent about $30 of his own money on me. It makes my heart ache with pride. What a selfless, generous boy he is.

This morning the presents kept coming, one after another. I was so spoiled and I loved every one of them. Each is SO me. My bedroom is my haven, it's my special place, so these gifts were perfect. Letters that spelled out my childrens names. Candle holders and candles, knee high socks (my guilty indulgence!), a beautiful Japanese doll with cherry blossoms printed on her kimono, and as you may know, I love elephants, and this is the most beautiful bronze statue in the history of ever!!

But it still wasn't over. I also got a beautiful charm from Tiffany for my charm bracelet. SWOON!!!! It reminds me of Venice. Love it. And a new mug with CBF - SO me "Can't be fucked!" - and a $50 itunes voucher... Seriously, I was spoiled rotten. I'm also being waited on and treated to hugs on tap. Bliss! My 34th year is going to be one of my greatest years!

Being Brave

Saturday, November 12, 2011

So I've been seeing a lot of tweets with the hashtag #OpEleanor recently, from my US tweeps. I was intrigued so I read more. Undomestic Diva started an Operation Eleanor campaign. Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as having said that we should do one scary thing every day. Take a risk. In fact the full quote seems to be -

Anyway, it's been interesting to read and watch people on twitter face some fears, or be brave, and tackle things they might not normally. It's a fabulous idea. This was in my mind yesterday when I heard back from the HDR Coordinator at Deakin regarding my potential PhD (see here). I am not a shoe-in, because my research unit wasn't a great mark. At the time I had a newborn, and Mum was doing chemo. It was all I could do just to finish it. But, I am going to go in and talk to her about it and see what she says. I can only try. That said, I am terrified of being approved. I don't know why this scares me so much. I guess because i know how much work would be in it, and I am worried I won't self motivate enough. This is a huge risk, a huge fear to face. ER would be proud!

She also said:

One smart woman, huh? I think I have me a new role model.

Steven Spielberg's got nothin on Finn.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So, my boy likes making movies. Seriously into it. He's written a script with a few scenes, filmed it, edited it and refined it. He uses computer software to import sounds, and to create effects. His dad helped him to build a huge set for his latest Western epic too, you can see it in the pic, it's pretty awesome. Those saloon doors are real - hinged and all. Very swish. Finn went to a one day movie making class run by Buzz Movie Makers, and had the opportunity to use professional cameras, to act, and to direct, and to use a green screen. He worked with far older children, and loved every moment of it.

He opted not to get a camera for Xmas, preferring an iPod touch instead, which surprised me, he mostly uses the laptop webcam for his filming, but I think he may be surprised by what he can film with the touch. He asked to enrol in the Buzz holiday course which is a full week long thing. I ummed and ahhed - it will mean 4h of driving a day for 5 days for us, but he has little else arranged for the holidays and he will get bored so I caved and enrolled him. Gotta cherish their passions right? Who knows? He might be destined for this. And even if he isn't, he'll know we value what he does.

Happy Birthday Twins

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's hard to believe how fast a year can pass. A year ago today, I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I say that with no exaggeration, there are few things I have gone through that have impacted me as largely and deeply as being present when my best friend gave birth to two beautiful twin boys. It was more than magical, deeper than spiritual. It was amazing.

You can read all about that day here - I felt nostalgic and teary reading over it again. It's a great entry (if I do say so myself!)

These boys are growing into such sweet little things. They each have very distinct personalities, one the showman, one the shy-guy. I am honoured to be their godmother, along with each of their big brothers. I love watching them grow, seeing them become their own people, and wondering what they'll be like as kids, teens and adults.

As they each turn one, I have some words for each of them.

Ollie, keep that smile big, every time you send one my way it melts me inside. You have a light within that is going to shine bright and touch so many. You have the ability to make people feel amazing and I can just tell that will get stronger as you get older. Delight in the happiness and the love that is you.

Bassy, you're a sensitive soul, happy to stand in your brothers shadow and besotted with your Mama. You're going to be a creative, and gentle boy, a bit like that boy of my own. Your big brothers will look out for you, and let you develop into the perceptive and sweet man I know you will be.

I love you, my darling godsons. Happy first birthday xx

Stuff and other things

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brief update on moi. My operation was originally set for Nov 24, then they moved me to the 25th, and this week they moved me BACK to the 24th. Craziness. I hope I get my fasting and admission times correct after all this :) I have 18 days until the operation, and the diet is going okay. I've lost just over 3.5kg, but the food is becoming repetitive and boring. Still a way to go yet. I have moments of freak out over the operation, I just want to be on the other side of it, but mostly I am feeling good about it all.

Bit worried I am transferring my emotional eating to emotional shopping after this weeks Christmassy binge. I best keep an eye on that!

I took the kids to the 'zoon' on Saturday. Zoon is how RJ pronounces zoo, very cute. We had a great time, though it was a pretty hot day and by the time we got home, I was a touch sunburned. Naturally the kids had hats, I just didn't get one for myself! Typical! Here we are at the Orangutan enclosure, where we saw the cutest Mama and new baby Orangutans.

It feels like an exciting time for me. I am focused solely on myself and the kids, and I am excited for the future. My gorgeous friend, Nat, wrote this blog entry for me this week, which made me really centre on what is important. I am grateful that it helped me, and honoured that she sees me in such a beautiful way. I was accepted into a journalism post grad, but am yet to hear back regarding the PhD I was considering, so I am uncertain what I will be doing study-wise next year. Either way, I will be writing, getting thinner and healthier, and enjoying watching my children grow. It's a bright outlook. Brilliant.

48 sleeps?

Monday, November 7, 2011

I know, Christmas again.

I am adding to my must buy list for kids. I have a 5 year old niece, I got her some of these Lalaloopsy dolls. They're pretty cute and quite popular at the mo from what I can gather. I got a few of the mini ones, you can get ragdoll sized ones too.

My 4 year old nephew got this cute Lightning McQueen racing suit. He's Cars mad so it should go down a treat, I'm hoping!

I also had a set of twins and another 3 and 4 year old to buy for, but since their Mama and Papa may read this entry, I'll have to keep hush on those ones!

Also, I found the most amazing bargain for RJ. Check THIS out!! Win!

Christmas Shopping Part 2

Sunday, November 6, 2011

So last post I gave you a guide for a 3 year old and an 8 year old. I'd do an almost 34 year olds list, but you can just head to Tiffany & Co. and we'll call it good.

I found this place this morning and I love love love it. I ordered a gift for Finns teacher, a gift for my folks and a gift for myself from it. The store is called Mad About Christmas and it does the sweetest personalised Xmas decorations. They are adorable! They have gifts for teachers, grandparents, and Christmas aside they also do graduation and new baby etc gifts. I'm yet to receive my order obviously, but I will be sure to let you know what I think when I do.

I also shopped up a bit of a storm at The Christmas Warehouse, where they have a pretty awesome range of decorations and stuff. If I had a money tree, I'd have gotten some cool outdoor decorations this year. How festive I am.

Anyhoo, you can contact me directly about how to get that Tiffany order to me ;) Happy shopping!