Camping 2015: Hot days.

This year we went camping in the first week of February. The best time if you have some leave from work and kids who aren’t school age yet. The massive crowds have gone home to get back to real life after the school holidays and it’s nice and quiet. A lot of retired folk (as evidenced by the sheer amount of older ladies wandering about in their big floral nighties) and young families.

This year was uncharacteristically hot! We weren’t used to this – we’re usually more likely to experience a stiff, cool breeze and a bit of rain. A couple of really bright sunny, calm days if we’re lucky! A majority of the time we were away, the weather was in the mid 30s (Celsius) at least. It got quite warm in our camper van (canvas topped) and we had to leave all of our windows unzipped so the air could get through. It became clear that we would need a strategy to keep cool through the day, because it was just too hot to sit around our campsite in the hot sun – even if we were outside.

We figured out a system where we spent the mornings in the water.

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We would then come back to the caravan park, have cool showers, and get dressed. We could then get into the air conditioned car and drive somewhere for lunch (preferably somewhere with more of a breeze…and maybe some beer) over the heat of the day.

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By the time we would find our way back to the campsite, the weather would be a bit cooler and we’d sit around eating waaaaay too many nibbles (or dinner if we even had any room left in our stomachs). After that, it’d be bed time for the Little Mister and then we would sit around looking at the stars. My mum has this ridiculous app that tells her when every single satellite is going to go over, so everyone nerded it up until we were too tired or it got too cloudy.

Of course, there was also ice cream…

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The Little Mister loved that part almost as much as he loved the beach, of course! Here he is seated outside the local supermarket, next to the ice we had purchased for our eskies (coolers). I kind of love this photo because it kind of sums up how we were all feeling that day – what a sweaty stinker! I wanted to hug that ice!

Basically, we made the most of the fact that we got more time in the water than we had in previous years and we made the hot weather work for us. It was a really amazing trip. We were so relaxed and everything just went well. It was the break I had been looking forward to for weeks (maybe even months). Next year we will have to join the throngs before school goes back (the Little Mister will begin 4 year old kindy – eek), so I am sure it will be a whole new experience to blog about for 2016!

What’s your favourite way to stay cool on a hot day?

Leaving him at day care and finding myself.

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Oh hey, here I am trying to pretend that taking selfies comes naturally…oh the awkwardness!

 

This week marked the Little Mister’s second time at day care.The first time (last week) I put him in for just a half day to ease him in gently. He was so excited when we got there. He wanted to run off and play and he remembered it from the time we’d come to suss it out and sign him up (he’d been allowed to mingle while I talked to the staff and filled out paperwork). He was asking the carers (he calls them his teachers) if he could go play in the cars outside and I had to get him to focus so I could show him where to hang his little backpack and how to put his fruit, for sharing, in the basket. I was so nervous, but relieved he was happy. I knew that saying goodbye would be a little hard for me, but it was great seeing that it wasn’t difficult for him. I gave him a really quick hug and kiss (like they advise), then it felt really odd to walk out of the gate without him! He was taken to the little window that faces the car park and he waved goodbye to me. He said, “Bye bye Mummy!” and he looked so little and cute. As he climbed down from the step at the window, with the help of his favourite staff member (he told me she’s his favourite yesterday haha), I heard him proudly say to her, “That’s my mummy!”

Then I sat in my car for about 30 seconds and I wanted to cry!! Not so much because I was leaving him in someone else’s care. Not so much because I’d miss him (I have had time without him before). Just the sentimentality of him growing up and reaching this big milestone. It almost got to me, man!

I took a breath, started the car and drove home. Five minutes later, I was wandering around my house in a daze. I had spent the previous couple of weeks fantasising about all the things I’d do at home alone once he was in day care (housework and blogging and bad TV watching and home admin and baking and maybe a nap – yeah right – like I had that much time haha). I had decided that his first (half) day would be a quiet day. I’d take it easy. Celebrate getting him to this point in his little life. But there I was. Wandering around feeling a little giddy, but mostly confused. My house was no different to when he’s there, but it felt different and it threw me off! I think it took over half an hour for me to even decide what to do! Apparently my brain doesn’t work when he’s not around? I was overwhelmed with the freedom!

I vacuumed under the couch and felt so excited and smug (but traumatised – OMG). I baked. I sat on the couch and had a bite of lunch, while surfing the internet and watching my DVR. Soon enough, my time was up. I felt excited to pick him up, but secretly wished I could have had a bit longer on my own.

When I picked him up, he was still running around trying to play! It took a while to get him out of there! I saw this as a sign that he’d be ready for a full day the next week and we left. He had a massive sleep after we got home and the next morning he wanted to sleep in FOREVER!

He talked about ‘school’ on and off all week and it made me happy that it makes him happy. He did get a cold he’d picked up from there, but it wasn’t too bad and he recovered in time for round 2!

I was nervous for this week’s full day. I noticed a few positive changes in him this time. He was more focused when we walked in the door. He helped to put his bag on the hook, took his banana to the fruit basket and gave his lunchbox to a staff member to put in the fridge. He was a bit too excited to say hello to them properly and I had to remind him to say goodbye to me, but we can work on that! He waved at the window again and I felt good about leaving him. Knowing he’s happy there really brings me great relief. I have been warned that a few sessions in, kids who started off happy to be left at day care, can suddenly realise what that means and can start to fret and cry, so it will probably take a few more weeks before I feel complete ease!

I had originally planned on running some pesky errands that have been haunting me, but circumstances conspired and they suddenly went away (for that day anyway)! I was meeting my mum at 10:30am to buy my Gran a birthday present and the rest of the day was mine! I headed to Target (not sponsored but wish I was) and wandered around in the same daze I’d been in the previous week at home. It is so ODD. I am used to having to be on a MISSION. An efficient, well organised mission. I must have done about 3 laps of the store before I managed to get my brain working again. I felt so self conscious being on my own! More than when I have a chatterbox toddler in a trolley, pointing out anything and everything he sees at the top of his voice. Go figure!

I spent a whole $29 on two skirts and a top for myself (bargain!). It was pretty awesome trying on clothes alone, I must say.

Long story short, I realised that it was quickly becoming a day of self care. I’d had an emotionally stressful week and I needed to look after myself. I was feeling fragile and drained. I booked a last minute hair appointment and I bought myself a gorgeous blue necklace, enjoyed an uninterrupted chat with my mum and slowly became more comfortable with the wandering alone in the shops thing.

I realised that in recent weeks at home (camping trip notwithstanding – that was awesome) I had kind of lost myself. I’d stopped styling my hair, putting on some pretty make up (a simple little pleasure for me), or doing my nails. I wasn’t even trying to dress nicely. Just chucking on the nearest thing that didn’t smell (yeah I’m a delight). I’d lost inspiration and I felt crappy.

So, this day became ‘the day Kez found herself again’. It was so needed.

My hair appointment ran late, so my mum collected the Little Mister from day care. I felt a tiny bit guilty that it wasn’t me, two sessions in, but I knew he’d love the surprise and he’d be really comfortable with it (what matters most). When I called the day care to let them know, they told me he’d had a great day and had even had some rest time (something he’d struggled to do the week before). Yay! He was stoked to see his nanna and when I picked him up from her house, he didn’t want to stop partying haha.

Sure, I’ll be back to spending my day care days running errands and doing housework soon enough (until I start doing a little casual work here and there that is), but I remembered how to care for myself too this week and I am so glad.

Welcome back, me.

Inspiration: Living a more authentic life.

Sometimes I like to seek out inspirational quotes that make me feel like I can do this whole life thing. Stuff I can meditate on. And by meditate, I mean think about and reflect on. Not actually meditate. Because I am crap at actual meditation, even though I know I should do it more because it does work. Hmm…maybe I should find some inspirational quotes about meditation. That might help.

But today is not that day (sorry Mum).

Today I have put together a handful of quotes (found on Pinterest) around the theme of living more authentically. I think that living a life where we’re really honest with ourselves and others, is the best way to achieve inner peace and lessen the constant mental turmoil.

Here they are. I think I will let them speak for themselves (I won’t add my own personal notes this time because I think these kinds of things can be quite personal and I’d love for you to find your own meaning for them):

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Did any of these quotes resonate with you?

Camping 2015: A-maze-balls.

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While we were away camping earlier this month, Mr Unprepared’s dream finally came true. He’d waited 3 years and finally, it happened.

We visited a maze.

Yep. He’d been going on and on and on about it for years, but it had never worked out. Something always stopped us from going. The weather, time limitations, you name it haha.

He was probably starting to lose hope, poor guy!

This time around, we were lucky enough to squeeze it in on our last day. My dad decided to come along, while my mum opted to sit in a comfy seat in the maze’s cafe and read the paper – not too shabby!

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It really was the perfect time to try such an activity, though. The Little Mister (3) is just the perfect age for it and it was lots of fun.

We told him what we had to do – enter the maze and find our way out the other end – and he embraced the idea, often leading the way and trying to solve the problem. He held the ‘map’ (the informations sheet they give you – which does not give a thing away) and felt very important.

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Handy fact to know about me: I have NO sense of direction whatsoever. I am not even slightly joking. It’s not that I don’t try. I just truly struggle! The only thing I can do is find the beach from anywhere. There’s a certain kind of motivation involved, I suppose! Other than that, I can become quite confused quickly! But that’s OK. I like a challenge…and I travel with others.

We found quite a few dead ends and at one point, it was looking a little frustrating, but there’s something fun about getting your problem solving skills out just for fun and not for actual problems haha.

We made it to the centre of the maze, where there is a really cool look-out. You can stand up there and see the whole maze from a great perspective. It’s so pretty! After that, it was fairly easy to make it out the other side.

Something funny I noticed on the day, was the number of pregnant ladies with their partners (and no other children). It brought memories back of that pregnant-for-the-first-time feeling. You can still get away and do anything you like child free (provided you were physically able), but there’s that excitement about being a parent, getting to do all that fun stuff with your child to be. So you find yourself at places where you want to take your child/children one day, embracing your own inner child! I remember taking a very sneaky ‘baby moon’ where we walked (I waddled) around a really cool underwater aquarium, looking at the other parents who had brought their kids and being excited that it would be me one day soon!  That was some unexpected nostalgia for me and it made me smile.

There were lots of other great little games to discover – puzzles you need to solve physically, giant chess and checkers games and a great area for picnics. Next year we will definitely have to conquer the mini golf!

Mr Unprepared was pretty happy afterwards. Tick that off his bucket list, everybody! Haha. As for the Little Mister, he was EXHAUSTED! We tried to catch a quick bite for lunch at a cafe in town afterwards, which didn’t go so smoothly (Mr Unprepared had to remove him from the premises for a bit, let’s say), but he did sleep in the car on the way back to our campsite, which was such a relief! I don’t want to wish this time away (and I live for his nap times some days), but I must admit that I do look forward to him having more stamina in the future for days like that.

While camping, we often survived by him napping in the car after lunch, or having quiet time in the camper van (or my parents’ caravan) watching a movie (the same one over and over which turned out to be quite economical for us). He just can’t seem to catch a day sleep anywhere except his bed at home (gets too excited about life and doesn’t want to miss anything), these days so we had to adapt. We weren’t worried about the change of routine while we were away – it was just for a week. When we got home we were all so tired that he napped again during the day quite happily!

I highly recommend visiting places like this – lots of fun and they often cater for kids/little ones well! Think, places for picnics, safe places to run and play, change facilities in the toilets etc. Great way to spend the day!

When was the last time you got to embrace your inner child? 

Starting day care for the first time – the what ifs and the possibilities.

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The Little Mister starts day care for the first time this week and while I’ve been excited at the thought of free time (ha – let’s see how long that lasts with the possibility of casual work and all the tasks that pile up each week), I am starting to get really nervous! Despite the fact that he is SO ready and I know he’s going to thoroughly enjoy being the little social butterfly that he is, I am still freaking out a little….because I’m me.

We’re sending him once a week (with the possibility of twice by the end of the year), to help him prepare for 3 full days a week of 4 year old kindy at school next year. We didn’t want to just chuck him in the deep end.

So what silly things have got me all tied up in knots? Let me allow you to view my ridiculous stream of thoughts – uncensored in all their irrational glory…

What if the other kids are assholes?

What if my kid acts like one? He can be pretty bossy and sometimes when he’s tired…well…

What if him being an only child somehow makes him seem more immature than the other kids his age? What if he’s slower to understand some stuff and gets punished for being naughty when he simply doesn’t get it yet? What if they forget how young he is and expect too much (he looks older than he is)?

What if toilet training doesn’t progress OR GETS WORSE?

Selfishly (what? It’s not all about me?), what if I start to think I’m failing at this mum stuff because this is the first time I am open to being judged for what I put in a lunchbox, what my kid wears, how far along he is in his development etc? I mean, hello, I’ve read the crazy Facebook stories people tell (which are in no way related to the centre we are sending our child – don’t kick us out haha).

What if he just gets sick all the time?

OH HOLY SH*T.

BUT…

…then I think…what if he has an AWESOME TIME?

What if he makes lots of friends who make him feel loved and accepted?

What if he makes progress with things like toilet training and giving up a dummy for sleep time, because he can see how it’s done with the influence of the other children?

What if this compensates well for the social skills he might need sharpening up on, being an only child at this point? What if he benefits from having more authority figures he isn’t related to and lifts to meet their expectations?

What if I finally get to look after myself during his time at day care with all those appointments I keep putting off? What if I get the opportunity to do a little work? What if I stop feeling guilty and just GET STUFF DONE?

What if the Little Mister gets nicely tired out and less restless and demanding at home?

What if he gets really ready for school, meaning less nerves for all of us by the time his first day rolls around next year?

What if his immune system gets even stronger?

Oh yes. All these what-ifs.

Truth is, I have no idea what to think or expect because we haven’t gone through it yet! I could be so far off base with half of my what-if scenarios and all you seasoned school/day care mummies are probably looking at me with that “oh bless her – she knows nothing” facial expression haha.

I know I’m doing the right thing and I know that the place we’re sending him seems just lovely and the right fit for our family – I felt such relief when we did a walk-through, the other kids were friendly and not fussed by the Little Mister’s presence, and the staff were so great both in person and in their reliability/accessibility with each point of contact. I know that my charming, sociable kid isn’t perfect, but he is good and he is kind. He has his own learning journey to go on! I know that I am not a big believer of wanting to keep him all to myself forever (oh hell no haha). I want him to get out there into the world with confidence and this is the first tiny step. I want him to socialise well and get ready to learn in a safe place.

Also? Damn, it’s just one day a week. Settle the f*ck down.

So there’s the overthink-everything Kez and then there’s the Kez who has finished writing this blog post (it’s therapy OK?). The Kez who, despite writing about herself in the third person right now (how did that happen?), is quite sane and level headed and knows that on the day everything will be OK. We can deal with whatever gets thrown at us and much more likely than not, the Little Mister benefit greatly from his day care experience. I don’t regret the decision at all and I am actually excited for him (and me – in all honesty)!

You know. No biggie.

;)

How did you feel before sending your child to day care/pre-kindy for the first time?

Camping 2015: On the water. And why can’t I be more like this at home?

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Yep. That’s me on my dad’s SUP (that’s Stand Up Paddle-board to those of you who haven’t been swallowed up by the craze – yet). That’s also me pretending that I’m in Hawaii (don’t ask about the fact that I couldn’t be at my amazing friend’s Honolulu wedding this past weekend – seriously).

Something really weird happens to me when we go camping. I suddenly become fairly ‘sporty’. Almost by accident. I know. It’s weird. All the things I can’t be bothered (*gasp*) doing at home, suddenly become fun and exciting while we’re away! I suppose it’s the fact that I don’t have the same responsibilities and routines on holiday. My time feels nicely freed up and the excuses about being too time poor to exercise or get out on the water melt away. Also, despite living on some stunning waterways, I guess it can sometimes be easy to take them for granted at home, but the novelty of being away makes it so much more appealing. Which I realise is kind of nuts, because we have an almost identical looking estuary system and sickeningly gorgeous beaches literally a few minutes’ walk from our place. Yeah. I know.

*slaps self*

While we were away, I thought nothing of paddle-boarding and kayaking. All in one morning. The conditions were beautiful and I didn’t hesitate to paddle far and wide (go little arms go!). I realised that I really need to embrace that spirit more at home. Not only is the exercise obviously great for me, but so is the water.

It brought me so much joy to see how much the Little Mister loves his beach time too! He would beg to go each morning and to see him splashing around in the shallows, clutching his beloved plastic green watering can and helping Mr Unprepared to build sandcastles (or more like mud castles) was so awesome.

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I don’t know how he saw anything from under that cute hat of his, but he had a ball! I’ve always dreamed of having a child who would love the water as much as I do. It was so different from last year’s trip, because he’s become old enough to hold his own in the shallows, more confident in the water and he just understands so much more how to play in it.

We spent several mornings soaking ourselves, because it was uncharacteristically hot. Last year we had spent ages escaping the biting breeze and the showers, but this time it was all about avoiding heat stroke!

After a while, it became second nature to practically bathe in sunscreen (as opposed to casually slapping it on like we are used to doing – please always do it – I beg you). I bought the Little Mister some polarised sunnies that were on sale in the charming little sports shop (he’s always had UV proof approved ones but polarised seemed great for him to avoid the glare of the water), and some green zinc to add to the experience. He loved drawing it on himself and each day he looked like The Hulk but it was worth it for my peace of mind that his little nose was safe from sunburn!

My parents bought a little life jacket for him last year and we’ve got some good wear out of it, as it takes a child of up to 25kg. It was great when we paddled out further with him in a kayak or on the paddle board. We knew he’d be OK for a moment if he took a little tumble.

Something I’ve really taken from this year’s holiday is that I need to keep the exercise momentum up. It helped to break a really unmotivated phase I was going through before we went away. I need to remember how to holiday at home and how good it feels to get active. Being on the water never feels like hard exercise to me (even when the conditions are challenging I enjoy the work). It’s definitely something I should embrace more.

What holiday behaviours would you love to embrace more in your every day life?

Home again.

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Aaaah. We’ve just got home after a crazy, glorious week away camping. I often say that you have to get away for just long enough that you start to appreciate home comforts again. Not that we were truly slumming it, to be honest. There are smart phones and brewery feeds and goodness knows what else to enjoy these days (usually involving several varieties of gourmet cheese). Not to mention brilliant little barbecues that can cook ANYTHING. But we lived simpler in our little camper van with the pull out beds. With the non soundproof canvas ‘walls’ and the dirt and the wildlife. Living out of a bag of clothes, having to walk to use the toilet or a shower. No way to regulate the weather conditions. No heating or cooling systems besides clothes vs no clothes. Just the river or the ocean. Maybe all the windows open.

There was less stuff to think about. No house to clean. Getting back to the basics. Reading more. Stressing less. Being more ‘present’. More physically active. Quality time with family every day – no exceptions.

As I sit here in my comfortable queen sized bed that doesn’t sway or creak each time we move (keep your minds out of the gutter), with my toddler peacefully slumbering at the other end of the house. As I type this blog post on my laptop (my dear darling laptop), while the TV blares some horrible bogan show at us. As my DVR sits out in the lounge room and records wonderful things. As my internet/wifi gives me almost unlimited data. As the air conditioner keeps us cool.

It all feels a little bittersweet to be home.

Like I say every time we return, I hope to remember how to keep a little bit of that holiday feeling in my every day reality throughout the year.

That’s all I have the energy for tonight, but gosh it feels awesome to blog again after a short break!

x

Sporadic “Newsletter”: January 2015 edition.

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OK, so this isn’t really a newsletter, it’s more of a “newsletter” because it’s not really a proper one. I am far too lazy and unfocused to actually send them regularly. Hence, the fact that it is a sporadic “newsletter”. Basically, this series will just be some random stuff I’ve been doing/thinking about/reading/watching…or whatever. Gee, I’m really selling this. 

Now that we’ve recovered from Christmas and New Year (trust me – a dear friend referred to it as an ‘emotional hangover’ which described it perfectly), it’s been great diving into January with great excitement for all of the possibilities that 2015 might bring. I love that whole ‘fresh new year full of potential’ feeling.

So what have we been up to lately?

Losing actual sleep over toilet training. 

Yeah. I’m not proud. The night before last, I woke at 3am and started irrationally panicking about the Little Mister’s toilet training progress. I have no idea what possessed me as I lay in bed googling the shit out of the situation (or should I say ‘shit-uation’). Maybe the fact that he seemed to keep waking in the night (but not needing my help) because he’d held in his number 2s for a couple of days and was clearly not too comfortable. He has had a phobia of doing them on the toilet, you see. He’d get really anxious and freak out a bit, despite trying to please me. I was starting to worry about how backed up he might be getting and I didn’t want to pressure him and like scar him for life or anything.

So instead of learning that worrying in the middle of the night is not good for you, I came to the conclusion that an incentives chart was what he needed (revolutionary I know). So yesterday we gathered everything we needed. A hanging whiteboard, some dry erase markers and some cool little toy cars from K-mart that cost hardly anything, but would be FANTASTIC bribes to dangle in front of him. He has to get a certain number of ‘ticks’ on his chart to get a reward for various things, like doing wees without us having to ask him to go, wees when we ask him (he has to work harder for this because he’s already fairly good at it), and just one big tick for a poo on the toilet. When he gets all the ticks for a certain task, he gets a little car/truck/helicopter (one of whatever’s in the multi-packs I bought). As he progresses, I will up the ante – wearing jocks all day, standing up to wee, using the toilets at the shops (hey – I’d want a reward for that too) etc.

So on our way home from the shops with all these toilet training incentive supplies, he told me “I need to do wees.” He then held on until we got to our house 5 minutes later (I had offered that we could go to the shops if it was urgent). This never happens. Usually he has to be prompted or he wets his training pull ups because he doesn’t think to tell anyone ahead of time. Then we were home and right before his day sleep, he told me he needed to poo and blow me away with a feather, he did it. On the toilet. No accidents. No hiding anywhere, no crying, no fussing. Yes!

I have heard that sometimes the novelty wears off quite quickly, but I shall remain hopeful and try to keep things interesting and motivational (but still realistically achievable) for him. I don’t think he’d understood the concept fully before, so that’s probably why we didn’t introduce it earlier. The moral of the story? Insomnia pays off. Sigh. I am not nailing this whole ‘functioning as a grown person’ thing haha.

Planning our camping trip.

We’re really excited because we’re going camping soon. I’ve been excited about it since last year! I am looking forward to beach days, fish and chips from the front shop (the best ever) and watching the Little Mister run around. Mr Unprepared has done some stuff to make sure our camper van is ready for another year (it was made in the 80s – the type with the pull out ends) and I have been making some lists. Because I’m good at lists. It should be so much easier to pack this year, because we set so much of it up last time. Such a relief, because I HATE PACKING.

There’s been plenty of beach time at home too.  1743670_10152726859693218_2598099152522802652_n Yep. That’s my fam and that’s our local. A beauty, isn’t it? We’ve also been enjoying my parents’ pool (I recommend that everybody’s parents have a pool haha). The weather has finally started to heat up and while we’ve had some stinkers, it’s still worth it (and I know I only say that as a spoilt person with aircon in my house and parents with a pool). I love the summer.

I’ve been watching a lot of teevs.

Yep. I am loving the fact that now summer has come (and brought with it a lot of lame TV reruns and sports), I can finally start watching everything I’ve recorded on my DVR for the last year or so (I’m not kidding)! I’ve had a massive Parks and Recreation marathon (best time of my life) and now I’m obsessed with the MTV show Catfish. Like the episode where a dude sent a chick money and she bought an engagement ring and sent it to herself without him knowing (rendering them engaged for all intents and purposes) and it got all creepy, or the time a chick was a catfish but then came clean with the dude she was chatting with, but it turned out he was a (transgender) catfish too, but they fell in love anyway. Yeah, I know. Weird and wonderful stuff. If you don’t know what a catfish is, this doesn’t make much sense. Basically, it’s when you lure someone into an online relationship, by pretending you’re somebody else (usually a fictional person you’ve created by using stolen profile pictures and stuff). You’re welcome.

Hey, I’ve had to fill the hole in my life that has been left after I finished listening to the Serial podcast!

Catch up on Awesomely Unprepared here!

Here are some of the blog posts I’ve written lately (and some updates on those situations)…

Happiness starts with us. I’ve been reflecting on what happiness means. The whole toilet training insomnia thing shows me that I need to work on the ‘not stressing excessively’ part, but we’ll get there :)

Reading list. I listed the books I am keen to devour. I am making good progress with Mindy Kaling’s book because I’ve sacrificed some stupid time wasting I was doing before bed (playing a rather addictive word game on my phone). I am really enjoying it, thanks for asking ;)

My thoughts on spiders…and how to kill them. So I confessed to my ridiculous arachnophobia and how to kill a red back spider the Aussie way (hint: it involves footwear). Just last night, Mr Unprepared saw a huntsman spider jump out of nowhere. He emptied his lunchbox (for work the next day) and threw it at the spider, in the hopes of trapping it…but accidentally killed it in the process. It was equally horrifying and hilarious and terrifying. I mean, killing a spider with a lunchbox? Who does that? My husband does. The lunchbox was re-packed (well – a clean replacement one was) and I sat there for the rest of the night, wondering where the spider had come from and how many times I had walked past it. Also, THEY JUMP. Spiders should NOT be allowed to jump. Oh holy sh*t.

What have you been up to lately? Tell me everything! x

Happiness starts with us.

Happy was my 2014 word (although it turned out to be ‘brave’ by the end and that’s not so bad either). I’ve been doing some thinking about what happiness is and how to be it. Probably because my 2015 word is ‘peace’ and I think the two kind of go hand in hand. I then saw the documentary ‘Happy’ and now my brain is just full of inspiration… I’ve been thinking about the things that help to make me a happier person. Ways of thinking and being. I think it often comes down to the choices we make – how we choose to view our circumstances. How we keep things in perspective. Remember this? It’s so true.   3dfecb7a62a145b2f8f0ea0d861021ee

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This quote isn’t designed to make us feel bad about our good fortune in life, but it serves as a reminder that if someone else can be happy with far less than what we are blessed with, perhaps we can choose to be happy too. It can be easy to get caught up in the “I’m not going to be happy until I have…” mentality, always chasing the next thing we don’t have. Sometimes we need to remember the things we are so fortunate to have. Realising we can be happy right now. We don’t have to wait to be happy. It’s a state of mind. We can choose it. It’s not always an easy choice (it can be f*cking hard), but we can find little things that bring us a smile – even in the tough times.

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Oh boy, try telling someone who suffers anxiety about this! It is so much easier said than done, but it is something I strive for and use as a compass to muddle my way back from all out panic. Stress and worry is not going to change the outcome. It is just a strain on your mind and your body. What matters is the actions you choose to take to achieve a goal and how you deal with knowing you’ve done all you can, or the fact that some things won’t go to plan because REAL LIFE.

I think sometimes we equate stress with the importance of a situation. Like we worry that if we don’t worry (crazy huh), it means something isn’t important enough to us or it won’t get done. We could have been spending all that time and energy choosing to NOT FEEL LIKE SH*T and STILL arrive at the same place.

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Oh boy, this has never been more relevant. I feel like today’s world is all geared towards external validation. We forget to love and validate ourselves first. While it is lovely to receive positive comments, great website traffic, Facebook and Instagram ‘likes’, favourites on Twitter, recognition at work and compliments on our outfits, it isn’t going to make us truly happy inside unless we love ourselves already. Other peoples’ approval is just the icing on the cake. If we believe in something, if something makes us happy, then that’s good enough. So you share that beautiful photo – the one you took – that makes you feel like life is so worth living and no-one ‘like’s it on social media? It’s still a f*cking beautiful photo because you love it and it comes from your heart. If it makes your soul sing when you look at it, there is no reason to stop loving it. Don’t do everything for others’ reactions. Do those things for your own satisfaction.

In saying that, be sure to show those who make you feel happy that you appreciate them. Spread the love and it might just come back :)

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Being happy doesn’t mean that everything in your life is awesome or running smoothly. It’s a choice about how we react to the problems that arise. Yes, I realise I’ve taken a quote from a fictional pirate, but it’s still a good one, right?

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Sometimes it is easy to become discouraged because the big thing we wanted to achieve can feel impossible. We can give into the desire to give up or lose motivation. Sometimes, the little things are what really matter. If we can just do what we can with what we have at the time, it is better than nothing. It can pull us out of the hole. It can be OK to realise you’re just one person with only 24 hours in a day and many people to please. Just do what you can. There is no point beating yourself up for not being the mythical Bey-f*cking-yoncé (not the real woman with all the help and the stress we do not see but the seemingly flawless one who gets her name shoved into weird ‘inspirational’ quotes).

Sometimes all the small things can even add up to something massively, amazingly awesome.

Don’t delay your happiness. Life is too short. 

Even if you have to start by seeking help because you don’t know where to start or you’re in a really dark place, that is truly a huge step in the right direction.

x

Reading list.

I’ve decided that I want to try to read more books this year. It’s not a new year’s resolution, but something I’ve been thinking about for weeks. I’ve been spending a lot of time playing this silly word jumble game on my phone before falling asleep, watching bad TV and consuming blogs at a frightening rate (nothing wrong with that), but I also miss the joy of experiencing a good book. I’ve been kind of mentally compiling a little list of stuff I want to get through. We’re going camping in a few weeks, and while I will be busy running around with the Little Mister, there is often some quiet time in the space between when he’s tucked up asleep in the camper van and when Mr Unprepared and I are ready to sleep. I tend to wake early while we’re away too, so it’s nice to enjoy some reading in the mellow early morning before everyone wakes. At least that’s what I’m hoping…the universe (and my little family) may have other ideas!

Here’s my reading wish list:

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Revolution by Russell Brand

He might be a bit nutty and all over the place (his brain must be so chaotic to be inside), I really dig what he says about society, politics and the world’s media. I find myself nodding along when I see him ranting on TV – “YES! YES! THAT’S EXACTLY IT!”

I don’t know if that makes me nuts too, but the part of me that studied social justice at uni goes a little mental when I hear him speak. I’m a few pages in (my awesome brother got it for me for Christmas) and while I struggle to read it without hearing his actual voice in my head the whole time (Essex accent and all), I am looking forward to how the book will unfold.

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Because she’s funny and smart and I’m obsessed with everything she does. Let’s not talk about my recent Parks and Recreation binge. It went on for many days and I laughed. Oh how I laughed. Oops. I talked about it.

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

OMG. I admit to being a few pages into this book too, because I’m disorganised and I started reading it months ago but got too distracted. Mindy is magnificent. So funny. Charming. Witty. Relatable. Honest. She writes the way I’d love to write.

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Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

OK, so I will confess…I’ve never watched her hit TV show Girls. But I’ve seen her do interviews, I’ve read some kick arse quotes from her on a range of issues and I am curious. I know, I know. There is a very obvious theme to the kinds of books I like. I am nothing, if not, predictable. And before you ask, yes, I’ve read Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants already hahaha.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I am usually reluctant to read books before I see the movie adaptations (or even after for that matter) because let’s face it, they’re always different and often the movie is not as good. I love movies too, so it’s a confusing conundrum for me. However, I am thinking this might just be an awesome book. It’s the kind of thing I’d pick to read, movie or no movie. I like a bit of suspense and mystery if it’s done well. I also don’t mind chapters voiced by alternating characters. I find it fascinating how an author can really give them strong voices and delve deep into who they are. I hope this book won’t disappoint…much like the movie is sure to haha.

Have you read any of these books? Any more recommendations? What kinds of books do you enjoy most? x