Stripes: My kitchen.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge xunnamed

About the photo: The only time I have to blog today is this morning, so I was confined to finding a photo in my house of ‘stripes’. I tried taking an artistic photo of my stripy Jamie Oliver tea towel hanging on the oven rack, but that was a fail. I thought about taking a photo of my daggy, striped skirt that I wear around the house. I could not get a good angle on the Little Mister’s IKEA circus tent. The list goes on. Stripes is harder than it sounds! So, here’s a corner of my kitchen. White tiles with black grout. It’s my shamozzle of a corner. A toaster, some cereal that never seems to get eaten, pasta, sugar, a little bit of coffee that only gets consumed when my parents come over (Mr Unprepared is more into tea and I just enjoy water because I’m a wanker). Sometimes there’s a slow cooking crock pot or a mixer shoved in there too. I blurred it out a bit under the pretence of placing the focus on the stripes, but really, it’s a shamozzle. One day it will be pretty.

My Kitchen.

I’ll be honest. I’m very territorial about my kitchen. I must cook in there alone (unless I’m doing a little baking with the Little Mister). I don’t like someone else in there fussing (looking at you Mr Unprepared) while I’m in there. I think it’s true that the kitchen is the heart of a home. Especially these days, with all this open plan stuff. The kitchen attracts everyone – like moths to a flame. Moths that I must drive out with threats and the occasional flick of the tea towel! I always joke that when in the kitchen, Mr Unprepared becomes ten times his usual size, because despite us not being massive people, it feels like I’m tripping over him at every turn!!! Sharing the space just does not work. I know this because we’ve tried.

Our kitchen isn’t particularly big. There isn’t much bench space. The power points for appliances don’t seem to be in the most convenient spots. Storage is juuuust enough. But it’s still my kitchen. It’s better than no kitchen! It does the job. The most romantic thing (well maybe not the most romantic but it rates up there haha) Mr Unprepared has ever done is took me oven shopping as soon as humanly possible after our old oven died. He understood my heartbreak. Good man.

These days, cooking a meal in peace (or baking) is a real treat. Obviously I cook a lot of meals without peace. But when I get the kitchen to myself, it’s bliss. A real luxury, trying out a new recipe, no-one underfoot. The time to do it justice. All the ingredients already in my home. For me, it’s the kind of activity that brings me peace. I know that doesn’t work for everyone (Mr Unprepared is a ‘get everything on the boil all at once and then freak out’ guy), but for me, there’s something nice about timing everything just right, sorting the ingredients out and lining them all up ready to go before I get started.

I am NOT a master chef in any way, shape or form. I go through recipe after recipe, only choosing to cook the ones that have ingredients and instructions that I understand or have heard of. I just cook for the love of it. Oh, and I love food. Eating food is just the best. Probably not always a great thing, but damn, food is delicious.

I think I really got excited about cooking and baking when Mr Unprepared stopped working a FIFO job and was home almost every night (just before I got pregnant with the Little Mister – phew). I had no joy in cooking for just myself and would exist on spag bol four nights in a row or get take-away food (what a perfect model of health – not!). It’s great having people to cook for. People who have to eat what I cook or starve (*evil laugh*).

Now I find such joy in convincing the Little Mister to eat his vegetables (or tricking him into it). He’s my harshest critic. If he likes something, it’s all smiles and ‘YUMMY’. If it’s not to his liking? “BLERGH”. There’s no sugar coating it! We’ve got peas and pumpkin mastered (again), recently. We’ve never celebrated so hard! If only the Little Mister knew how many amazing veggies he happily ate before he turned 18 months old and became picky! We’ll get there. I’ll just need some more alone time in the kitchen… ;)

Tell me about your kitchen! Do you like to cook? 

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In my cup: Some gratitude.

I’ve decided to take part in Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge (click the link for all the information you might need if you’d like to take part too) for the month of September. I’m also going to use the daily prompts to inspire me to blog more! I’ll let you know each time I write a new post, by updating my Facebook page (as I do any time I update my blog – great way to not miss a thing) and you might see the pics on my Instagram too (#fmsphotoaday). 

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About the photo: OK, so it’s not a cup. It’s a glass. It’s how I start my day. I know it sounds really wanky, but I don’t drink coffee to wake up in the morning. I drink water! I’d say, ‘trust me – it works’, but all the coffee drinkers I know would very strongly disagree! I’m really lucky these days, because the Little Mister plays more independently throughout the day now and it’s great for both of us. I get to spend a bit of time blogging (usually first thing in the morning – after snuggles) and not feel guilty about it!

Stuff I’m grateful for this Monday…

So, you know that saying about when someone’s cup runneth over? And the one about seeing the world as a glass half full kind of person? Well, I thought I’d go with that whole theme today and start my Monday on a positive note! Here’s the stuff that’s making me feel grateful and happy…

The first day of spring. Sure, spring never really truly kicks in on the 1st of September like clockwork, but I like what it symbolises and as I write this the sun is shining. One thing that wakes me up even better than a glass of water has to be sunshine. My moods are really easily affected by the weather. When the sun shines, I feel brighter, more alert (even when exhausted), motivated and generally happier as a person. Spring means more of that is coming! I love my Vitamin D and I love to see my world in colour.

A quiet weekend just been. After spending most of our time running around like crazy people since we got back from Korea and Japan, it was so lovely to realise that we had absolutely nothing planned for this past weekend. We got lots of time outside, ticked some stuff off our at-home to-do lists and watched the Little Mister play. We even tested out the new BBQ rotisserie thingie my uncle gifted Mr Unprepared for his birthday (and probably our Christmas come early too because damn it’s flash)! It should work a treat when we host Father’s Day next weekend! Oh, and Mr Unprepared visited Bunnings TWICE so he was pretty happy.

Fun plans for the Little Mister. I am so excited (and I’m sure he will be too when it actually sinks in) because this week, the Little Mister and I are meeting a couple of friends (one my age and one his age haha) to attend a Play School live show. I’ve been waiting his whole life for him to be old enough to enjoy these kinds of experiences. I hope he has an awesome time (although I’m sure he’ll run the both of us ragged)!

The Little Mister’s imagination. Life has become so much more heartwarming, entertaining and hilarious. The Little Mister runs an imaginary shop out of his playroom (where he chooses what you buy and changes the rules whenever he feels like it), pretends he’s going to work (because that’s where Daddy goes), wears a tea towel around his neck so he can be Superman and understands so many more things about the world around him. He’s always been pretty creative but recently he’s had a massive development spurt and it’s so much fun (most of the time). Mr Unprepared and I get so many laughs each day, when we get to see what his latest imaginary play involves.

Also, this:

Electricity. I love electricity. It’s not until it goes out (as it did halfway through me writing this blog post) that you realise just how much you appreciate it. It allows us to have internet in our home (although it is pretty cool that you can use data on your phone so you can tweet about how annoying that power outage is), it is used so that you can do so much around your home: vacuum, washing your clothes, see stuff, watch television, stay warm or cool, bake stuff. SO MANY THINGS. I know there are some old school ways to get around a lot of these things, but I am a modern lady. Hello.

Power outages. Yes. I am grateful that the power went out. At least today, I am. Because then my mum came around for a visit. I made her a very ordinary coffee (you can all hate me even more now coffee drinkers!), which was boiled on the gas stove in a little saucepan, and in return she brought the Little Mister a cute caterpillar shaped meringue from the bakery and we had jam drop biscuits (yum). I got to show Mum the Little Mister’s almost finished big boy room makeover and it was nice to chat. There’s always a silver lining. Thanks, Nanna Unprepared!

What are you grateful for this Monday? Are you taking part in the Photo a Day challenge? x

I like pina coladas…but I’m not into yoga…

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Now stop singing that amazingly awesomely bad but so good song which is stuck in your head (you’re welcome) and read my post!

As per usual, I am trying to get back onto the fitness wagon (I really should wear a seatbelt or something because I keep falling off the damn thing). I have now ridden my stationary bike two days in a row. I know. Right? Try to keep your brain from exploding.

And today I thought I’d try something new.

We all know how I attempted pregnancy pilates back in the days when I was growing a Little Mister? Well, if you don’t then by all means click here to have a laugh.

Well, now I have decided to try yoga. Not pregnancy yoga, because duh, I’m not pregnant (I always feel like I have to throw that out there in case people get the wrong idea). But it’s still all that stretchy, breathey stuff. It’s also supposed to help me to relax and I thought it might help with my anxiety.

Now I don’t know what I was thinking, but maybe I’d watched too many cute youtube videos of small children joining in with their beautiful mummies and thought it would be adorable and the Little Mister would just love to be a part of my exercise routine. Yeah, deluded. Next I’ll start believing I can actually do all of the projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest. Pffft.

I loaded up a yoga work out app on my iPad, cleared away the toddler debris (toys and books galore) for what seemed like an eternity and got started. I picked the option that focuses on helping you to slim your mid section down (all about the abs everybody) and I thought I was living the dream. I was to sit cross legged with my eyes closed and focus on my breathing. The Little Mister copied me. When he closed his eyes, he decided to lie down on the floor and pretend to sleep. Nawwwwww.

After that? After that I realised that I am not flexible. At all. I cannot remember ever being so inflexible. The Little Mister kept telling me my head was facing the wrong way (because he’s clearly an expert), trying to (forcefully) turn it the way he wanted. I tried to remain calm and zen and strong. I was a rock in a stream and he was just the water rushing over me. See? Totally zen. Then he didn’t like my leg sticking out behind me in a cat variation pose (I just had to look that up because I have no idea what I’m talking about). He tried to force my leg back down onto the ground. No worries, breeeeeathe through it. Resistance training?

I thought he’d enjoy being a swaying palm tree with me. I had my arms up in the air, hands together, while I stretched from side to side. He  had a mini tantrum because he couldn’t reach my hands. I don’t even know why he wanted to reach my hands but it was very very important and he couldn’t do it.

I bet if I was a Play School host, he’d do it. Bloody Play School.

During the ‘churning the mill’ exercise (now that’s a good one for the jiggly tum tum), I got a phone call from Mr Unprepared. The Little Mister decided then was the moment to try out random stretchy looking poses he’d invented while calling out, “Ooooooh. Ooooooh. Aaaaaah. Oooooooh.”

Mr Unprepared wanted to know if he was OK.

Oh, and FYI? The Half Boat pose was interrupted with a toddler deciding to sit right up on my lap and give me a cuddle. Which wasn’t so bad (I’m a sucker for cuddles), but very distracting…and impossible.

Cue random cries of “FIREMAN SAM! FIREMAN SAM! FIREMAN SAM!”

…and then I gave up.

I got 20 minutes out of it, so I guess it’s not too bad. I guess I’ll be exercising during his nap time for a while…

I will leave you with a video of pets interrupting yoga and while you’re watching it, I want you to imagine that the pet is a 17kg toddler and you’ll see what I’m working with (only the pets are cuter and don’t whinge hahaha) ;)

 

 

Let’s take it sloooooooow.

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That’s it. It’s Friday. We’ve made it to Friday. I declare this Friday to be Slow Day. What is Slow Day? Well, seeing as I made my own version of this up (literally a couple of hours ago), I suppose I am the only person who can tell you.

Today is about slowing down. No rushing. No ‘busy’. No lists to tick off – I am so good at lists, you guys…well, writing them anyhow. There have been many busy days before this day and there will be many after it. But today I am taking it slow and easy. I figure a slow day is not a ‘do nothing’ day. It’s just a day where I won’t be feeling like a chook with its head cut off. I won’t be freaking out. I will take the stress element out of it. I will do things with  intention. I will be in the moment. I will enjoy it. Speed and deadlines will not be the answer. Moving fast in order to avoid certain thoughts or feelings is out of the question. I’ll just choose to be happy and content.

I’ll always have my SAHM stuff to do, but as I look around, I see a happy toddler and a place that isn’t perfect but is ‘under control’. I have some cute secret squirrel things to prepare for Mr Unprepared’s birthday (tomorrow!!), some meals to plan and some details to iron out, but I’ve decided that none of it is a ‘big deal’. This is absolute luxury. It’s the equivalent of what pre-kid me would have felt about a week away on holiday in a beautiful beach house. Yep. Slow Days are what I dream of when things get hectic.

I thought I’d be bored, a little down and feeling kind of like I wasn’t anchored to anything when we got home from our month long trip around South Korea and Japan (so much of our lives was consumed for months with planning the trip and then undertaking the once in a lifetime journey). I thought I’d be sitting at home, bored, scrambling for meaning and new activities. Oh, Kez. Gosh your funny little expectations are just so cute. I could not have been more wrong. I am so happy to be home. Investing in my life here more than ever before. It’s so great. It’s just HECTIC. I think I may have become ‘yes’ drunk. I should probably pace myself a little.

Hey, I’m going to go so slow that I bought a new slow cooker for the occasion. Yep. I’m even gonna cook my food slow.

The Little Mister and I are staying in and getting back to basics. He’s going to play and use his imagination with what he’s already got here (he is so great at it). I’m going to drink water, wear ‘soft’ and comfy clothing, soak in the calm, blog (you might have figured that out by this point), chip away at the usual daily chores at my own pace with no real sense of urgency. Get back in touch with my feelings and my soul. Centre myself. Watch the Little Mister grow right before my eyes and cherish where he’s at right now. Today.

Today is not about productivity. It’s just about finding joy in the mundane. A sense of calm.

F*ck, it’s like I think I’m like the new Eckhart Tolle or something (I’m so not) haha.

How would you spend a Slow Day? Do you call it something else? 

Oh and I have to confess something. I’ve become a little obsessed with Taylor Swift’s new song (and video), Shake it Off. It’s shockingly everything I’ve ever wanted to tell myself when I feel a bit down, left out of something (FOMO!) or afraid of being judged or taken the wrong way. It’s the ‘cheer up’ song of the moment and to be honest, the video is just damn cute and she’s so funny that my inner 11 year old girl wants to be her friend. The mum in me can only dream of how wonderful the song’s message is for kids today. Especially after I wrote this other post. Also? It’s damn catchy and it sounds like musical sunshine (oh gosh this is just too much for my ‘alternative’ music loving brain to take).

I’ll leave you with this and then I’ll have to kill you because now you know my embarrassing guilty little pleasure of the moment but not today, because today is Slow Day and you can’t really kill people on Slow Day because it probably isn’t good for your zen or your chi or karma or whatever: 

Happy weekend, everybody! x

Words are the new sticks and stones.

Everyone’s heard that saying:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

I’m sure the expression was created with the best of intentions many years ago, with the message that it’s important to be resilient and have a tougher skin when people say mean things (which is fair enough on some levels and that’s for a whole other blog post), but in all reality, words are so important and shouldn’t be given less significance than physical hurts. It is our responsibility to use our words wisely. I know that as the Little Mister grows up, that is one very important thing (of many) that I want him to know.

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While we’re always drilling home the important idea that we must be strong and choose the way we react to a challenging situation or person, we need to remember that we also need to be considerate of what words we put out into the world for others to react to. Should we be hurting them in the first place? Of course not. Will everyone in the world be nice to us and use kind words? Of course not. But should we try to do/be better than that? F*ck yeah.

Even though, we are supposed to all be ‘tough’ and ‘strong’, some of the worst hurts we look back on in our lives can be very emotional or involve something horrible someone has said that has made you feel a certain way. While in my mind, physical violence is abhorrent and should never ever be tolerated, we need to also remember to never use our words violently – even in the heat of the moment.

Words can constitute emotional violence and abuse. Yes. It’s a thing. A very real, awful, damaging thing. People don’t realise it, but physical violence is actually a tool that abusers use to reinforce their verbal and psychological bullying. It can make or break a person’s self esteem, whether it is a child or a partner. You can only put a person down or use controlling language and threats for so long before they start to believe what you are saying, too afraid to escape a situation. According to the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics), one in four women report to having experienced emotional abuse, and one in seven men. We need to teach our children not only to not accept this behaviour from others, but also to never be the perpetrators. It starts now. While they’re young. We need to teach them that words matter.

“Whatever. It’s just words. It’s not like I hit anyone…” should never be uttered as an excuse. Ever.

Personally, my worst memories involve the words that people have used. They are the hardest to shake. Sometimes people don’t mean to use their words hurtfully, but can be careless. Once something is said, it cannot be completely unsaid. We need to think before we speak (or type). Especially in this modern age of social media and internet anonymity. Of trolling and cyber bullying.

Think words aren’t that powerful? That words should just be ignored? That people should just ‘get over it’? Maybe consider these things:

Words can make or break a politician’s career. How many times have we judged them on what they’ve said and whether they’ve meant it or not? How many times have we seen a pollie crash and burn because they’ve said something completely intolerable or ridiculous (I can think of several very recent examples)? Or remembered the politicians who said such powerful things that they are forever immortalised by their inspiring speeches?

Without words, blogs (and bloggers like myself) would not exist (nor would lively debates in the comments sections). Books wouldn’t be so powerful. When’s the last time you read a book and thought, ‘Wow. That was so amazing that I couldn’t put it down. That writer really brought the story to life. I shall never read another book again because no book could ever be as good as the book I just read!’
Unless it was a picture book…I’m pretty sure the words mattered the most. With the exception of 50 Shades of Grey of course – I’ve heard it’s terribly written, but somehow it’s sold about a bajillion copies. Still, it consists of words. Words that make people feel things *shudders*.

Same goes for the scripts of TV shows or movies. We fall in love with, or loathe, characters because of the words they use. The way they speak. The stories they tell. We quote them and they become iconic. Sure, there are a lot of things we can like about movies without even hearing the dialogue (hello Channing Tatum!), but it’s the things characters say that tell us the most about them (um…every word ever in The Notebook)!

Without words, we wouldn’t be sucked into clicking everything on the internet ever. Have you ever heard of click bait? Those few words designed to lure you into clicking a link to a blog about something that’s ‘sure to go viral’? You know the type. If it wasn’t for those ‘You’ll never believe what happened next…” thingies, you wouldn’t waste hours of your life in a rabbit hole of crazy internet stories that may or may not be true.

*ahem* not talking about myself here of course *cough cough*

Words are how we sell something. Sure, people would argue that sex sells, but work with me here. If you walk into a store, who is going to convince you to buy that thing? The person who mumbles, accidentally offends you, doesn’t know what they’re talking about and sounds like they’re lying? Or the person who is confident, well spoken, whose words seem honest and genuine? Communication skills are important.

If we’re worried about a loved one, perhaps they’ve gained a little weight or we’re worried about some of their habits, do our words matter then? Um, hell yes. What do you think makes things better?

“Honey, you’re so fat now. Go to the gym. You’re hurting my eyes.”

or…”Honey, I’ve noticed you are not feeling like yourself lately and you’ve lost a bit of confidence because you seem self conscious about your weight. Is there anything I can do to help? Wanna work out together?”

I know what I’d rather hear!! Even for selfish reasons, we need to consider what our words can do. If the result we want is for someone to do something for us, will insults and put downs really work or will kindness and sensitivity get us the results? The way we speak to someone we care about truly matters. It can definitely make or break a relationship. Tact can go a long way.

Why do people go to therapy? Because talking is important.

I can only imagine how many family feuds began because somebody said something that hurt somebody else. Hello, Dr Phil would be out of business if that wasn’t the case!

If words were not a thing, we wouldn’t be able to sue each other for saying nasty, untrue things about each other in the public eye. If words are not that important, we wouldn’t be outraged when somebody writes offensive things on picket signs at funerals or abortion clinics.

We can’t just stand there, quoting our ‘sticks and stones’ crap while living a life that says we do actually really really care what people say. It would be hypocritical. Language and words exist for a reason.

We care if someone is telling us the truth or lying. We care about those text messages that come without emoji to tell us whether it’s a nice one or a mean one (and we won’t admit that we sometimes lose sleep over it). We care about the passive aggressive tactics someone uses to make us feel bad about ourselves (have you ever seen the mother in law on Everybody Loves Raymond?). Entire social movements and campaigns have been created, based on some careless words somebody has said somewhere in the world. For better or worse.

I want my Little Mister to know that words matter. That he can be strong when somebody uses them badly, but that he shouldn’t tolerate it either. I want him to know that if he speaks ill of somebody it will come back to bite him. I want him to know that he can enrich his relationships by using his words lovingly. That if he speaks out of line, he should be quick to mend it with an apology and a heartfelt, “I’m sorry, what I meant to say was…”

That what he writes on the internet can stay there forever.

I want him to be clever. Not to resort to physical blows over some horrible words that have been thrown around. It’s not enough to tell boys and young men to just punch someone to fix a problem. Even if the other person is in the wrong.

Words are used to convey our emotions. To clarify something. To present ourselves in resumes and job interviews. To tell people who we are. To show we care.

I want to use my words to encourage, inspire and uplift my child. I don’t ever want to squash his spirit or hurt his confidence. My words will matter too. There is a best way to use your voice or to say anything important that you feel (even if it’s a touchy subject or it’s not what someone wants to hear). I hope I can lead by example and that person by person, we might make a difference in this world where people seem to have forgotten that words have so much power.

Let’s think before we add more meaningless noise to the world (and even the internet)! Who’s in? x

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Stuff to love this spring.

I don’t know about where you are in the world, but over here I have been thoroughly enjoying amazing bursts of winter sunshine. Gosh, I love that Vitamin D. I actually wake up giddy when I see the sun out. I don’t know if this is all one big tease before the rains come back or if it’s truly the beginning of an early spring, but it is beautiful. It has got me so excited and inspired. I don’t want to see grey and black anymore!

Here are some of the things I am excited about for this spring/summer:

Neon coloured nails:

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I used to think that neon was kind of tacky, but when applied on well shaped nails in block colours? Divine! I can have a bit of youth on my fingernails without looking ridiculous (can anyone say mutton dressed as lamb?) and I can’t wait to buy ALL THE COLOURS.

Bright lips:

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I always love a good red lip, but I’m really into the idea of trying some pink and orange hues. A bold lip is really in right now and I love that everyone is getting adventurous. While the models pictured above are blonde and well…modelly and I am not, I would love to find the right  shades of pink and orange for my warm skin tone. I love the way a bright lip always makes me feel confident and polished. Like I’ve finished my look. It dresses you up instantly. Also, lipstick doesn’t care how big you are (and let’s face it I am carrying a few extra kilos – oops). It will always fit and make you feel great!

Gorgeous sandals/flats:

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Galibelle

I am in love with the Galibelle brand right now and I just ordered the sandals above! The cool thing? Those straps with the beautiful butterfly like design are all detachable and swappable! I am so stoked because I am going to be wearing all three colours (plus a black one) this coming summer! I love that I can swap the straps to match my outfits. Also? The straps come in small, medium and large which is amazing news for my broad feet (I’m a medium FYI). Some dear friends have brought the brand (which is Brazilian) to Australia and you can find out more on their Facebook page. These are seriously heaven sent because I can never find summer sandals that are both attractive and fit my short, broad feet (because of the designs I imagine they would be just as heavenly for a slim footed person too – magic). I am not being paid or sponsored in any way to promote this (and have not been approached), but I genuinely am in love. Usually I hate when friends try to sell me stuff but this is not one of those times. You do not know how long I have been wearing ugly sandals because that was all I could get. We’re talking YEARS. YEARS! It shouldn’t be that hard, shoe makers. It really shouldn’t. I am beyond excited.

Not wearing stockings/tights/sleeves/jackets if I don’t want to: 

Seriously. I want to go out and not feel like a freak because my legs are bare (in clothing of an appropriate and tasteful length of course haha) or I don’t have a jacket on. If there’s anything that annoys me, it’s winter clothing. I’m not a winter person. I do not do winter clothing. I feel frumpy in too many layers (I think my height and my current weight do not help my cause). I feel like jackets/blazers etc never fit me quite right (I have narrow shoulders but I’m bigger everywhere else and sleeves are always too voluminous or long). I hate trousers, because of muffin top (and yes I have tried every kind of style and taken every piece of anti-muffin top advice and it still doesn’t seem right – except for ONE pair of pants from Target that I daren’t ever wreck). I wreck stockings and tights constantly, despite having worn them successfully all throughout high school. Oh, and most of my shoes are peep toes and while I know that they sell tights with no toes just for that reason, I am never convinced I can pull them off.

I also loathe the passive aggressive comment, “Aren’t you cold in that outfit?”

I’m always, “What? What are you saying? Are you saying I’m slutty because I’m not cold? Are you saying I’ve made a very bad decision?”

*head explodes thus keeping me warm*

So I do look forward to leaving home in nothing but the one layer of clothing. Legs out, just doing the whole walking around thing.

Play time:

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I just love the fun that can be had in the sunshine. I look forward to beach time, playground adventures around the neighbourhood, long family walks, and checking out the local markets on the foreshore on a Sunday. Sitting out in the backyard having a quiet beer/cider, listening to music and watching the Little Mister play. I can’t wait until it becomes more of a regular thing :)

What are you looking forward to this spring? x

Three in three months.

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filling his pockets with shells

Something has happened in the last week or two. Suddenly I realise that my (mostly) terrific two year old is almost three. In three months he will be three years old. That is just positively ancient and very very grown up. I don’t know if I’m ready! I’ve been watching as the baby section of each store I visit becomes a more distant experience (apart from the times I buy gifts for the massive baby boom my friends are having). The toddler section seems to blur into the ‘big boy’ stuff. The Little Mister is getting a big boy room soon (it’s half done). With full sized furniture. No cot/toddler bed. No change table. No port-a-cot shoved in the cupboard. NO NURSERY.

It feels like overnight he has become this new little person. He’s still got the same gorgeous soul he’s had since he was born, but he won’t let me do anything. Won’t let me put him in the car seat. Won’t let me lift him into, or out of, the car. Won’t sit in a stroller (he’s getting so big for it that he can ‘brake’ it by planting his feet firmly into the ground). Won’t hold my hand when we’re out (or even let me touch him or imply in the slightest that I am somehow assisting him in any way). Which makes for great car park arguments. Safety is not a toddler’s priority.

He wants me to read him his bedtime stories over and over for infinity so he won’t have to go to sleep (luckily he does most nights). He tells me when I’m wrong (even if I’m right).

Getting him ready to leave home is quite time consuming. It involves a lot of chasing, firm words (both of ours), grovelling on the ground (both of us), trickery (both of ours) and patience. Shoes and socks? That takes a while. Typically it goes like this:

Me: Time to put on our shoes and socks! Can you sit down so I can help you, please? 

He gets distracted by something. Runs away all cheeky like. Sometimes grovels on the floor underneath the chair in his room. Sits on the chair…facing the wrong way. I attempt to put one of his socks on backwards. He then gets off the chair, grovels around a bit, gets distracted. Repeat for the second sock. He runs off before I can put his first shoe on. Comes back because he realises he is “needing shoes” (he knows shoes mean he gets to go out and do fun stuff). Insists on putting on the shoe by himself. Bats my hand away. 

“Little Mister do it!”

Decides that putting his own shoe on is too hard. Asks me to do it. So I do. I deftly apply the second shoe while he’s already making a move for it. If I’m lucky. 

So if that’s just shoes? Imagine everything else!

The Little Mister refuses to leave home without his car keys. A big, colourful toy set of keys designed for babies (he doesn’t have to know that). He wants to be like me, because I always grab my keys on the way out of the house. Cue meltdown if he’s misplaced them and we are running out of time to be somewhere! When we get home he insists on taking off his shoes and lining them up on the garage step next to Mr Unprepared’s old work boots. He’ll scrunch up his socks and shove one in each shoe. Just like Daddy.

The Little Mister’s imagination has just suddenly become so huuuuuuge. He sees things that the boring adult cannot see. The bubbles in his bath become Peter Rabbit’s house. Dinosaurs. Cafés with coffee served outside on little tables. Couches. Mummy and Daddy’s house. Trees. Train tunnels. Cars. Boxes and washing baskets become cars for teddy bears and trains. I am always calling teddy bear on his toy phone to come and assist because a train carriage has tipped over. The Little Mister will pick up his Mickey Mouse lunchbox (given to him by flight attendants recently on a flight home from Singapore) and jump into his bubble car to go to ‘work’ just like Daddy.

Some mornings, I’ll have had requests to go to five different places (library, playground, Nana and Poppy’s house, the shops, to see his friends) before we (I) can even wake up properly.

Last night he ran around the house wearing an old lady wig (complete with bun) that he found in my wardrobe, lashings of hot pink lipstick (his insistence – he doesn’t see gender – just bright colours and stuff that one of his favourite big people – yours truly – does), a coral coloured handbag draped over his shoulders, his dad’s old sunnies on (upside down of course) and no pants (par for the course). I think a dress up box will be in order soon. Oh, the pictures I could get for his 21st birthday! The joy!

When we go to playgrounds or peoples’ places, if there is a rideable car, tractor or bike, he is going to hog it and defend it to the death (without adult intervention). He has been learning about sharing, but still doesn’t realise it applies to him. He just thinks everyone else should share. We’re working on it! He’s so sweet, in all other areas of playground matters, though. He says sorry and thank you and please (most of the time). It kind of balances out a lot of the ‘no’s or the NOOOOOOOs or the nopes or the nahs that I get served up daily, anyhow.

He is still a chatterbox (always has been), but now the words he uses are getting clearer and occasionally he’ll come out with some hilarious things. He’s learning how to play games. Hide and seek is the latest.

Hide and seek with the Little Mister:
I have to close my eyes and start counting. He goes and hides in the kitchen (the same place he ‘hides’ every single time). Then he runs out very loudly and conspicuously to find me with an excited grin on his face before I even get to the count of five.
I guess he likes doing both the hiding and the seeking all at once. Funny little man. – Awesomely Unprepared Facebook page.

This latest development spurt has been an adjustment for me too! Each time the Little Mister makes a leap, I am forced to catch up. Fast. From my Facebook page last week:

When the Little Mister has a developmental spurt he is usually a bit more of a handful for a little while until he settles into it and let’s just say that has been the issue most of the week! So I reach Friday night and I am all exhausted but excited to have a nice big sleep and wake up a bit more refreshed. So what do I dream about? I dream that I’m toddler wrangling…how (un)lucky!

I’m getting there. While the Little Mister’s crusade for independence (regardless of whether his current skill set can allow it) is certainly a challenge, even for a saint like me (HA HA HA HA HA), he more than makes up for it with his humour, affection and quirky ways. I love that he has so many awesome ‘firsts’ to experience no matter how grown up he seems.

Goodness knows what is in store when he turns 3 for real.

So, if you’ve had a three year old at any point, what can I expect?

Tuesday thoughts.

I’ve decided I need a hit of inspiration to keep me going this week. Here are the things I am going to focus on…

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Sometimes in life we are forced to wait for the things we’d like and just like anything else in life we have a choice to handle it with positivity and grace or we can just be miserable about it and throw our hands up in the air and be shitty about it (making those around us miserable too)! It is what it is, so we might as well find a way to enjoy life in the meantime, see the bright side or even just learn something from it. We are only wasting our own lives if we choose to spend the time waiting being negative, angry or increasingly agitated. If you think about it, we spend a lot of time waiting in lines, waiting on public transport, waiting in peak hour traffic, waiting for someone to call back, waiting for that next great purchase, waiting on someone else, waiting, waiting, waiting! It’s a part of life, because the world doesn’t revolve around me, and I choose to spend it being happy (or at least not an a**hole).

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There’s a saying that ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ and while that’s a horrendous saying (am I right?), it basically means that there is always more than one way to do something or to solve a problem. Our way is not the only way and we needn’t despair if something we try doesn’t work out right away. Perhaps someone else might have a great solution we’ve never thought of before. Sometimes being open minded and having a little bit of respect, tact and sensitivity with others can go a long way in achieving what we want to achieve. You never know just how refreshing another person’s approach might be. It’s good to remember where another person is coming from in a situation. It can prove very helpful when dealing with others. Don’t be too quick to write off somebody else’s perspective. You never know what they might be able to bring to the table.

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It’s so important to look for the good in the people we care about. It can be easy to get bogged down in our own concerns and feelings, but sometimes it can really make another person’s day if we pay them a compliment and really notice and appreciate their strengths. It can really enrich any kind of relationship.

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Sometimes we focus so much on the superficial that we forget about what’s really important. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others who appear to have it all and start appreciating what we have. It’s not about always thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Maybe the grass on the other side has just been spray painted green – we’ll never be able to get close enough to see the truth, because it’s not our grass and it’s aaaalll the way over there. That’s someone else’s grass, man. Maybe it’s time to make your own grass as green as you can. For real. Water that shit and make it grow into something you can appreciate for yourself, not just for how it looks to everyone else. All that stuff about not comparing your life to someone’s highlight reel yada yada.

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To me, a person isn’t just who they think they are. Who I am is what I do and what I say to people. My actions. Just because I appreciate someone or love someone inside my head, does not mean I am showing it to them or making them feel appreciated or loved. Over time, it’s those actions that really prove who the real person is. Gotta make those things work together so they translate to those around me.It’s so important to be as authentic as we can be. To say what we mean and SHOW how we feel. To use our words wisely and sincerely.

Hope you have a great week, full of positive inspiration xx

All images sourced from Pinterest. I have posted them (with links to pins) in good faith that they have not been doctored or stolen from others x 

Why I Write Blog-hop (better late than never)!

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About a month ago, I was approached by Seamus of Dadinating the Country Side to take part in a blog-hop with the theme of ‘Why I Write’. He was so kind and patient as we emailed back and forth, with me wondering if I’d already exhausted that topic in a post I’d written a little while back…on the topic of Why I Write! He reassured me that it was a little different and with that, my arm was twisted (wasn’t going to take much convincing to be honest).

I love reading his blog because it is filled with honesty and humour, it gives a dad’s (and a good one at that) perspective on life with kids and it is pretty cool how he’s made a tree change with his family and he gets to do weird and wonderful stuff like making salami and growing an orchard!

I was so flattered to read Seamus’ glowing review of my own blog and finally after a month of shamelessly reliving my holiday in Korea and Japan through blogging (I really need to let it go haha), I am ready to do my part and complete my contribution to the blog-hop! To be honest, I don’t even know if anyone cares about this anymore and I fear that most of my favourite bloggers have already participated, but I shall do my best! By the way, I would have totally nominated Seamus first if I’d had the chance!

Here we go!

What am I working on?

Right now I’ve just finished documenting my huge family journey overseas to Singapore, Korea and Japan. Now, I’m just trying to get back to real life and finding inspiration in the ‘every day’. I am trying to up my game a little bit and blog more often than my previous once-a-week on average – writing is just a great ritual each day (when I can fit it in).

How does my writing differ from those in my genre?

I suppose my genre is mostly ‘parenting’, but I think my blog encompasses all parts of my life. I don’t know that I’m anything really revolutionary or completely refreshingly unique, but I suppose I am me and no-one else is me or has my exact life or writing style. I talk about being adopted and what it means for me as a grown person and now a parent. I write about life with my toddler the Little Mister. I share how we bumble through life and I try to be really honest about it – for better or…not so better. I don’t believe in stupid ‘mummy wars’ – there’s enough of that out there.

Why do I write?

I write because writing is such a massive part of who I am, that if I couldn’t I would be a certifiable mess (and I’m not even joking). I love sorting my thoughts out by writing. I express myself the best when it’s in written form. I might not be amazing at drawing, painting, or using my hands to create things, but writing? Writing is my way of being creative. It’s an amazing outlet for me, especially in my role as a SAHM or as a mum in general, and I love blogging because I get to not only share my writing with others (and have an excuse to do it regularly) but I get to be a part of a really cool blogging community!

See more of why I write here.

How does my process work?

I don’t know that I have a set process. I’m always looking for inspiration. Sometimes something funny will happen that I want to record, or there will be some kind of event in my life that I want to talk about. The Little Mister might go through a milestone and I might want to share that. I might just have a thought on a certain ‘hot’ topic that I need to vent about. I sometimes write a note on my phone or simply make a mental note. If I don’t have time to blog right then or the mood hasn’t really taken me, I will open a new post and draft a couple of words so I remember to come back to it.

It might take me days to finish one post, because I’m busy catering to the needs of the Little Mister and trying to keep things afloat on the home front, but that’s OK with me! It can sometimes improve the quality of my bloggings because I can look at a draft with fresh eyes the next day.

I just write to my heart’s content! I spend a while proof reading and trying to make sure it’s not too hard to read. Sometimes I’ll edit it a few times before clicking ‘publish’ because I can be a perfectionist. Other times, I will say, “NOW OR NEVER” and click it with my eyes closed because if I don’t I might chicken out!

Who do I want you to meet?

Here are the three bloggers I want to introduce you to. There is no pressure for you to participate in the blog-hop if you do not wish to (or already have), but I just wanted to pass on the love. Let me know if you do, so I can promote the crap out of it :)

Sweet Mama M

This lovely woman is someone I’d definitely consider a friend, even though we’ve never met! She is definitely as sweet as her blog name suggests. Her blog is fantastic as it chronicles her life as a wife and new mama to the gorgeous baby CJ. She writes really useful reviews of great local NZ parenting products and places to shop/eat (and how child/baby friendly they are) too! If only someone would do that for where I live (I’m too lazy for now haha). She sadly lost her mother to cancer two years ago and the courage she shows in writing about her journey through the grief is inspiring. I have no doubt it will help others out there who have been through something similar.

Bec from Seeing the Lighter Side of Parenting 

Bec has been a great inspiration. While she had me at her blog title (who doesn’t want to see the lighter side of parenting in this crazy world?), I have loved watching her blog grow. I love her humour, her honesty and her blogging community spirit (I am so honoured that she takes the time to read my blog too). I was so excited and cheering her on when she popped up as a guest blogger on Woogsworld and iVillage Australia recently. She’s definitely one to watch!

I know she has already participated in the blog-hop but I really wanted to mention her x

Lisa from Two Point Five Kids 

I know it’s a bit of a theme with me but I really really love blogs that include both honesty and humour. Lisa’s blog has both. I love reading about her life as a police wife and mum. She really doesn’t hold back much and I love it. She’s the blogger I wish I was brave enough to be! She has even been known to make me laugh, get misty eyed and say, “OH NO SHE DIDN’T!” (in a good way) all in one sitting! I love her sense of integrity as a blogger too.

A special mention also goes to Bruce of Big Family, little income  who wanted to nominate me, but I was too busy ignoring his email (accidentally of course) while I was travelling – guess what…his blog contains honesty and humour just like all the others I have nominated – what do you know??

We broke all the rules, but that’s OK.

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Before we headed away on our big holiday, things were going quite well in the toddler stakes. The Little Mister hadn’t needed a dummy (when not sleeping) in a really long time and he was toilet training like a little champion! He’d even recovered from his night time anxiety and was sleeping again after a rough few weeks (his last molar not doing us any favours with teething). Things were looking optimistic!

We’ll just give him his dummy and his giraffe blankie (“Giraffey”) when we’re in transit (on trains or planes) in the hopes he’ll nap and we’ll figure out a way to get hold of a cheap potty training aide of some sort (like a toilet seat or a portable potty) to take around the place with us for the hotels. Easy, I thought. 

YEAH RIGHT.

One thing about life is that you can never fully predict how things are going to be when you jump into the unknown. Especially when a toddler is involved!

Of course we got overseas and everything went right out the window! The Little Mister wanted his dummy EVERY minute of the day and everyone knows that Giraffey comes too! It was hard to accept because it felt like a massive backwards step for him. He was dribbling everywhere (despite not teething anymore), you couldn’t understand any of what he was saying on account of the dummy, and he was chewing on it when he was anxious, which seemed dangerous when he broke them. If I’m honest, the ‘from back home’ me was also expecting to be judged for it like I am at the bloody supermarket here. Silly, I know. If someone was to ever judge me, I should have just thought my usual mantra, “F*ck them. I know my truth,” but I think I was feeling vulnerable with the whole ‘visiting my place of birth for the first time since I was adopted’ thing. I wasn’t my fierce mama self and we were all in a crazy, new situation to adapt to. It was no surprise that the Little Mister was searching for more security and comfort too. Besides, it wasn’t even an issue in the end. No-one cared. They still thought he was incredibly cute. They saw past the dummy and blanket and that was it. A kid is a kid. In fact, it was refreshing!

May I also add that the fear of losing the one and only Giraffey was nerve-wracking haha. Our whole family group was always on Giraffey patrol which could be exhausting! Make sure he doesn’t drop it on the train tracks boarding a train! Make sure he doesn’t drop it when he falls asleep in his stroller! AAARGH! We had to rig up a complex (haha) system where Giraffey was attached by the neck to one end of a safety restraint (a wrist to wrist strap designed for parents and toddlers) and the other end hooked over the handles of the stroller (or to him when he was walking)! I have done some scary things before in my life, but nothing was as important as keeping Giraffey in one piece!!

As for toilet training, well that was a bust. We had hoped that he would toilet train when back in the hotel and that we would just use nappies when we were out and about. In our minds, we thought it would help keep his training topped up and we could just be more intensive when we got back home. I didn’t want him to forget any of the progress he had made before we left home.

In reality, this wasn’t going to happen. We were always on the go. We changed hotels every 3 days on average (sometimes more than 3 and other times less). We were always in transit. It wasn’t the ideal ‘toddler friendly’ holiday but we had so much to see and it was a group effort. The Little Mister was often overtired or looking for comfort and familiarity. He was also intimidated by grown ups’ toilets (as opposed to a smaller potty – something we had a hunch would happen before we went away). We did find a rather nifty toilet training seat at Gangneung (where my brother was born) on one of our crazy looking for ‘diapers’ missions, but would he have a bar of it? No way! He did love that the seat had Pororo (a friendly cartoon character) all over it, at least.

Not-so-helpful (or even slightly rational) thoughts ran through my head when I was tired and weary.

What if he never toilet trains again in his life?! What if he takes a dummy with him to high school?! THIS IS A DISASTER! 

But let me tell you, Holiday Kez. Everything will be OK.

The Little Mister was obsessed with his dummy and Giraffey for maybe 3 days when we got home. After that? Back to normal as if nothing had happened. On our first longish outing since we’d got back, I did secretly pack them in my bag in case of an all out, ridiculous meltdown but that meltdown never happened. Awesome.

Oh, and 3 days before we headed for home, the Little Mister asked me out of the blue if he could use the toilet. And sat on it. And did a wee on cue. And was so proud of himself. I wanted to jump up and down and throw a parade, I was so proud of him!

We’ve been home a month now and toilet training is progressing. We had some accidents as he tried to adjust back to winter weather and the need to wear warm pants around the house (he now has learnt how to take them off properly and is working on going on his own without being scheduled or prompted again). It feels like we’ve started again in some ways, but it’s great because he’s a few months older than when we started and understands so much more easily. The world did not cave in on itself. I know am hopeful that we’ll be kicking arse at it by the end of the coming summer. Everything’s coming together. Yay!

Another thing we did while we were away was to try and save money by sharing a bed with the Little Mister. We tried to get twin double rooms in some places and king sized beds in others. Sometimes I shared with the Little Mister in our own bed and other times the Unprepared Three huddled in together. We did struggle in Tokyo with a rather small bed between all of us (the cute little improvised bed we made for him on the floor was great until he woke in the night and thought he’d fallen out of bed and got back in with us EVERY TIME). He got used to being with us in bed and it comforted him as we were in all these strange places, with no room being the same as the last. When we got home? He wasn’t that anxious at all. He knew he was home and while he wanted his room floodlit (I hear it’s a pretty normal phase for this age anyway), he started to settle well within the week.

Discipline wasn’t always easy while we were away either. There’s no place for time outs – something that had been so effective at home. That was difficult. I would have to continue to cuddle him while he played up because we were stuck together, so he’d get more hyped up and think he was being rewarded for his behaviour. It made life harder for us as parents too. We had nowhere for ourselves to get away for a few minutes and cool down when we felt our patience evaporating. We’d feel shitty and be like, “UM – I’M GOING…TO THE OTHER CORNER OF THIS SAME TINY ROOM BECAUSE I’M MAD. DON’T LOOK AT ME.”

Cabin fever did become an issue!

BUT…The Little Mister has come home and is his good little self (as good as a 2 and 3/4 year old can be haha). He hasn’t suddenly become some kind of monster who will never be reformed.

GUYS, WE DIDN’T BREAK HIM!!!

Also, I learnt a lot too. I learnt to just go with it. Remind myself it’s not forever. Have faith in him. Have faith in us as parents. Not feel guilty for not being able to provide him with the creature comforts of home. Remember that this was a once in a lifetime journey and sometimes you have to compromise more. The Little Mister was SO GOOD for a two and a half year old. He adapted as well as he could, with a couple of compromises (i.e. constant bribery and sometimes fast food was the only option) and a couple of tools (dummy and Giraffey). He was happy. He loved seeing so many new things on our daily adventures. He went with the flow as best he could. He didn’t go to bed at the right times and he didn’t always have a day time nap, but he was loved and he was protected and we had a lot of help which we were grateful for. We did our best to keep him happy and catered to (which wasn’t always easy). He bonded with my parents and my brother so well and that was really special. He got to be so much more of a ‘big boy’ and do so many more things than he’d experienced at home. He loved it.

EVERYTHING IS FINE!

While it was stressful bringing a 2 year old on this kind of journey, we learnt so much. If we hadn’t taken the opportunity, citing having a toddler as an excuse (and a valid one at that), then we would never have done something so meaningful with my family and we would have never learnt so much about ourselves and about the amazing places we visited. I feel so happy that we went. I don’t regret it one bit and we feel proud. We could conquer anything now! Although, we’ll wait a few years before doing something like that again!

I will never take the fact that I live in a house (with different rooms in it) for granted again!!

I always say that you make the rules (and routines) so you can break them. This holiday was a perfect example.

Have you ever travelled with a toddler? What weird things did you worry about? Was it all smooth sailing? x