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!