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!

Top Ten Xmas Gifts 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

So Christmas is only 52 sleeps away, and the panic has begun. WHAT DO WE BUY THE CHILDREN!?!?!? Yeah, I dunno either. I decided to compile a list to help other frustrated parents. Except, I couldn't be arsed covering every age group. It'd take me forever, and I don't wanna. So below I have my top ten picks for Christmas presents for 3 year old girls, and for 8 year old boys.
Seriously, other than these 2 ages I have no idea. Wait, including these I have no idea. But I like the look of this lot, and I reckon my 2 would love any one of these (or, all of them, if their over-spender father gets his way...)

Three Year Old Girl Top Ten Xmas Gifts 2011

A doll. But not just any doll, these are gorgeous Aussie made dolls, really pretty (read: not skanky) and with cute outfits you can buy as added extras. Super cute!

Sand and water play. What kid doesn't like sand and water??

Zhu zhu pets. Now, I can't work these things out. They're weird. But man are they popular!!!

Kitchen... I know, I know, it's stereotypical crap. To be fair, the 8yo boy got a wooden kitchen for his birthday, so I am not stereotypical. Again, any kid loves this sort of role play. You can get plastic food sets super cheap to go with, too.

Leapfrog learning system. My girl loved a little version of this we found once, was just a pen that traced shapes and numbers so I reckon she would love one with stories. You can get them for all kinds of ages, and with all the popular characters.

Dress ups. Another one for lots of ages and both genders. my two have boxes and boxes of dress ups they have accrued over the years. They are one thing that never seems to grow old. They're constantly using them for games, fun, parties etc. Always a winner in my book.

Horse and Carriage - I had something like this as a kid. I reckon any little girl would go nuts for it. So cute!

Craft. Painting easels, packs of miscellaneous crafty bits and pieces, beads... You name it, they'll use it.

Jewellery box. Every wee Princess needs a vanity table with costume jewellery. And every collection of jewels needs a box to keep them in. Personally, I am a sucker for the ones that you open and they have the dancing ballerina in them. Just precious!

Milkshake Maker. This one might be specific to my girl. She freaking loves her milk, especially pink milk. She would LOVE one of these cute milkshake makers. Naww!

Top ten Christmas gifts for 8 year old boys 2011.

Chocolate moulds. Aside from the fact that it is about chocolate (lets face it, even we might steal this one), so many kids are wannabe Willy Wonka's. This little kit has all kinds of fun to it.

Anything NERF. We have at least 5 different kinds of nerf gun in this house. Including one that would put Rambo to shame. I hate the things, myself. I hide when they come out, but the boy loves them.

Anything magic. Finn loooooves magic tricks. Books, hats, wands, kits... All of it. Putting on a magic show at home, at school, for grandma and grandpa - winning.

Nintendo DS. Whether its old school or the new shmancy 3D version, these are brilliant. Finn uses his endlessly, not always using games, but the photos and voice effects keep him amused for ages.

Spykee the Robot. Okay so mine has this already too. I fail at this. But, aside from it needing an adult to put it together, this is awesome. You watch it on a computer screen and drive it about remotely. You can get smaller versions of him that might be easier for kids to put together themselves, too.

Books! Every kid needs books, you can never give or get too many. Great ranges for this age include Zac Power, Captain Underpants, The Undy's, and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid.

Popcorn Maker. Or Donut Maker. Back on the food theme, kids like cooking. Kids like yummy food. So combine them!

Electric Scooter. These are cool, and being electric, no skill in riding and steering and concentrating is required. Throw on a helmet and steer. That's it. I think I want one...

Solar System Mobile Kit. This is pretty cool. What is it about boys and space anyway? Let them get some smarts about space and have fun at the same time.

iPod Touch. Along the lines of the DS, but this keeps the kids off mum and dads iPhones and iPads. No phone element, so no carrier needed, but they can still play all the fun (and occasionally educational) apps and games they love.

So, there you go. I just did your Christmas shopping for you. Assuming you have a 3 year old girl and an 8 year old boy. Otherwise, get shopping yourself. :D

Farewell, shitty October.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How's your week going? This week has been a painful one for me. I was supposed to have a special visitor this week, it was going to be a perfect trip, and it fell apart. It's painful. today I feel that awful sort of tired/worn/flat/ache grief thing. Heartbreak is really, truly, awful. I don't think I will take the risk of offering up my heart again. It's not worth the pain. It all comes back to that bullshit saying - "it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all." Bull. Shit. I so disagree with that saying. I would rather shut my heart off and protect it, than to be hurt again. Just not interested.

That aside, the diet is going well, food is boring, but I am not starving. My stomach is improving and getting better, and the kids are happy. I took them to a Halloween party thrown by a family at school (an annual event) which was fantastic. They live in a gorgeous property up on the mountain. They had a jumping castle, laser light disco and plenty of food and drink. It was incredibly generous and all the dress ups (kids and adults alike) were a lot of fun. Finn is still recovering from some serious exhaustion over the last week or so, so we didn't stay too long but we had a good time.

Hoping this month is a thousand times better than last. Cheers.