Some words on the Sydney Lindt Cafe tragedy and a moment of silence.

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Like many people all around the world, I sat and waited and hoped and wished that the siege in Martin Place, Sydney would end peacefully with no loss of life. Like many people, my heart went out to the hostages in the Lindt Cafe and all of their loved ones. I also felt afraid for the Muslim community and the backlash I feared might come afterwards. As I went to sleep, I felt heartened by the #illridewithyou social media movement but scared for the people still stuck inside that cafe. Like many people, I woke up to the awful news that we had lost two innocent people through the night.

Sydney, I am feeling for you.

Nothing I had originally planned on blogging about has felt right over the last couple of days, so I will take a moment of silence.

xo

Toddler talk.

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I have to be really honest and admit that BC (Before Child) I was really excited for the day I might have a toddler of my own, who just says the most ridiculous stuff. I dreamed of a child that would be my favourite comedy show, day in and day out. I imagined a life where I would be all, “HA HA HA. I CAN’T BELIEVE HE/SHE JUST SAID THAT. HILARIOUS!” every five seconds.

Of course, I probably had quite the rose tinted visions of my future (that didn’t include tantrums over the most weird things or toilet training or me being interrupted EVERY GOD DAMN TIME I SPEAK), but generally speaking, the Little Mister has not really disappointed me with his chatty ways. Even some of the infuriating stuff can seem pretty funny in hindsight.

Some days, it’s all about the “What’s this?” (the pre-cursor to “why” I’m told). It’s constant. And it’s always stuff that he knows.

“YES, LITTLE MISTER. THAT IS A COUCH. THAT IS A DOG. THIS IS A BOOK. THAT IS YOUR NOSE. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME??”

Of course, I don’t really say that. I put on my ‘patient mummy’ voice and say, “Hmm. What do you think it is?”

Aargh.

“I don’t like…” is often uttered in regards to all of the Little Mister’s favourite foods for absolutely no reason at all, with no predictability whatsoever. Usually at the worst time. I think what he means is that he doesn’t feel like that thing right in that moment, but it’s still really irritating! Why you gots to be so difficult, child?

“Don’t know.” Said with the tone of a belligerent teen. An answer for every question he’s too lazy to answer properly. I asked Mr Unprepared where he was getting this annoying phrase from and he answered… *wait for it*…

“Don’t know.”

*eye rolls* He says his reply was a joke, but I’m not buying it, just quietly!

“Bleeeeergh.” This covers everything from foods he doesn’t like, to the idea of getting a kiss on the cheek. I am waiting for the day he says it to a stranger for a really inappropriate reason. In public. 

The Little Mister also comes out with some very random things. He never fails to take me by surprise. These things are usually wildly out of any kind of understandable context and completely irrelevant to whatever is being done or talked about in that moment.

“I have bones. You have bones too, Mummy. And Daddy has bones. Everybody in the world has bones!” He has a point.

I’m doing yoga (pronounced ‘oga’),” as he does a very convincing downward dog, making me wonder if he is actually my child.

“Mummy, you don’t have a willy.” I want to give him the correct terminology for my lady parts (and I have subtly done so) but I cringe at the idea of him yelling about them to everybody in the middle of the supermarket. We all know that moment is coming. It’s just a matter of ‘when’.

And at other times, “Daddy! YOU HAVE A WILLY! AND I HAVE A WILLY!” in a tone quite similar to Oprah giving away cars. Like everybody wins because they have willies.

“I want a sandwich cut in two halves, but NO BREAD.” 
Um OK. I asked him, “How can you have a sandwich with no bread?”
He shrugged and chuckled, “Don’t know!”

Of course.

Sporadically asking for porridge and then not eating it. Every few weeks, the Little Mister will suddenly, unpredictably, ask for porridge for breakfast. He’ll be all excited. He will even retrieve the oats from the cupboard for me (or Mr Unprepared) with the joy of a child on Christmas day. The porridge will be made, then served. He will then show absolutely no interest in it whatsoever. Just walks away without a word. Like it never happened. So we wait another few weeks for the next surprise porridge demand.

When the Little Mister was about 18 months old, he was adorable. WAS. I remember clearly, heading over to Tasmania to celebrate the life of my grandfather who we had just lost to dementia. The Little Mister couldn’t speak very much back then (although he gave it his best efforts anyway), but he would just burst into the sweetest little baby voiced “Row row row…” and the rest of the family would sing Row Row Row Your Boat along with him. It brought him so much joy to initiate a family singalong and it was even more touching when we all realised it had been my grandfather’s favourite song. It’s like he knew. I mean, AWWWWWW.

Now?

“SING THE ROW BOAT SONG, DADDY!”

“Row row row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”

“HAHAHA – BUTT! BUTT! YOU SAID BUTT, DADDY!”

Cue hysterical giggles.

Sigh.

He also makes up songs about poo. The only lyric is the word ‘poo’.

Yesterday (at around 6pm – other parents know what that means), I was trying to explain something or other to Mr Unprepared. Every time I opened my mouth, the Little Mister would run around and yell at the top of his lungs, “EMERGENCY!! EMERGENCY!!” 

I’d try again (one word in)…“EMERGENCY!!! EMERGENCY!!!” *maniacal toddler laughter*

Another attempt, “EMERGENCY EMERGENCY EMERGENCY!!!”

And one more time because I’m an idiot, “EMERGENCY! EMERGENCY!! EMERGENCY!! HA HA HA HA HA!”

Before I could open my mouth a fourth time, the Little Mister looked at me and said in an amused tone, bordering on patronising, “Oh, Mummy. You’re trying to say words.”

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And there’s so much more toddler gold where that came from.

What’s the darndest thing your kid has have ever said? Did you ever embarrass your parents? (seriously I love these stories)

Scary Santa.

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When the Little Mister was one (2012), we trotted down to the shopping centre, thinking how nice it would be for our bubbly, very sociable dude to have a photo with Santa. We imagined him sitting there, looking so excited and happy (his facial expressions are ridiculous and fantastic – he’ll never win a poker game), cameras capturing every magical moment. We would be able to send it out to all the grandparents and we’d have something to stick on our fridge and admire. We got there and he freaked out. There was this jolly guy wearing a MASSIVE curly beard, nothing but his eyes just visible behind a pair of glasses. It was all too much. The Little Mister got a cute soft toy and we made as graceful an exit as we could. Never mind, we thought. He’ll be OK next year maybe?

Fast forward to 2013 and we’d decided not to bother too much. There was a Santa that sat in our little local shopping centre. No fuss. No fanfare. No photographers. If he was there, we’d give it a go. If he wasn’t, no biggie. Plenty of time. As luck had it, the lack of pressure and the fact that this Santa did not have such a big beard worked in our favour. The Little Mister sat on Santa’s lap and all I had was my iPhone (I was unprepared of course) so I took a couple of snaps. Better than nothing! Boy, I treasured those pics! It gave me hope for some professional photography for 2014.

This year rolled around and we thought it was going to be AWESOME. At three, the Little Mister is learning more and more about Christmas and Santa. We told him we would go to see Santa at the shops for a few days in advance (to build the excitement and let him be mentally prepared) and it seemed perfect that Mr Unprepared had a week day off work, so he could share in the moment. It wouldn’t be too busy at the big shopping centre and the Little Mister seemed excited. We got in line and he was happy, wearing his Christmas themed T-shirt and all. We talked about how we’d get some photos and to say “Hello Santa” and tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas (Wiggles DVDs were at the top of his wish list…that day anyway). The people in front of us had their photos taken and the Little Mister seemed really eager to get to the front and greet the jolly fellow in red (we had to hold him back). When his turn finally came…

…he got so shy and he froze and looked on the verge of a freak out! He was given a little toy and we bowed out yet again! Nothing to see here!

It was a little bit of a bummer, but we didn’t force it. Poor kid looked mortified with himself all the way home (we’d told him it was OK if he didn’t want to sit with Santa but he still looked disappointed in himself, bless him). When you think about it, we’re asking our kids (the wary ones anyhow) to go against their instincts! We’re telling them to sit in the lap of a strange man whose identity is quite concealed and have the event photographed! Not to mention, he stalks you all year, then breaks and enters every Christmas Eve, eats our treats and he can be a little on the judgemental side – naughty or nice lists anyone? It’s a little odd, when you really think about it haha. Of course, it’s all innocent fun in the spirit of Christmas (such magical memories to be made) and we know that as adults, but I guess some children aren’t so sure and I can live with that.

I guess we’ll try for 2015, then? ;)

Do your kids like visiting Santa at the shopping centre? Any funny/crazy stories to tell?

Feel good Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank.

Sponsored by GroupTogether

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When I think of Christmas, I think of the act of giving. I think of the ways in which we can show the people in our lives that we care about them and that we have appreciated them throughout the whole year. Christmas to me is about togetherness. In the ever increasingly commercialised world that we live in, we could almost be forgiven for thinking that it’s about ‘stuff’ and ‘money’ and ‘more is better’, but we don’t have to remortgage the house each year to please those we care about. Truly. A little imagination and a lot of love can go a long way (which is what really counts don’t you think)!

Here are some great ideas (if I do say so myself) that won’t break the bank. They are not only fantastic if your budget is a little tight, but for anyone who has a lot of people to share the love with. And? The coolest part? They aren’t tacky, generic crap. They mean something and they’ll bring a genuine smile!

Group gifts.

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I think if I was given the choice between several itty bitty gifts and one thing that I really wanted, it would be a no-brainer. Just think, if your family/friendship group/sporting team etc all put in just a few dollars (whatever they chose to give), it would add up pretty quickly! You could give a loved one a much needed spa appointment, an experience (hot laps in a race car or sky diving anyone?), or that thing they really want but have never been able to justify buying it for themselves, because they’re so wonderfully generous to everyone else in their lives.

There’s even this awesome website called GroupTogether.com which makes it ridiculously easy! It is pretty cool because the organiser doesn’t have to work so hard to make a group gift happen, which is nice because it can take up a lot of time we don’t have at this time of year. Basically, you set up a collection with GroupTogether, it sends around an email to the others in the group and if they want to contribute, they pay online and add to a gorgeous gift card (yes – you don’t even have to rush down to the shops for a massive card and then somehow arrange for everyone to physically sign it at the last minute)! Basically, this helpful website tracks payments and can even send reminders! When the time comes, it will transfer the money to the organiser who can purchase the gift! Yay! That is a lot of brain space saved for us to fill with other festive chaos ;)

I know that group presents aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I find that not pressuring people to spend more than they can give (or judging those who choose not to) and setting realistic targets makes it a really positive experience! GroupTogether is perfect for managing that!

Also? For added feel-goodedness (not a word but I don’t care for your rules), GroupTogether even lets you nominate a portion of the gift amount to be donated to charity! Yes!

Which brings me to my next idea…

Charity donations.

The perfect thing for the person who has everything or needs nothing. At this time of year, I realise just how lucky I am and I try to remember those who may be less fortunate. Every year my mum purchases gift cards from World Vision for the family (isn’t she awesome?). They aren’t just any old Christmas cards, though. Each one can help World Vision to provide anything from school pencils, to immunisations or school books for children in need around the world (you can pick what you want to give). Each time I receive one of these cards, I feel genuine happiness inside – especially since I’ve become a mum. It brings me a warm feeling to know that someone has donated on my behalf to give children the things my child will be lucky enough to take for granted. Other organisations such as Oxfam provide a similar service.

If causes closer to home are more your thing, there are often present drives for charities in the bigger department stores. You can select a gift for a child, wrap it and place it under a tree there. It is sure to brighten somebody’s Christmas day.

You can also simply choose a charity close to your heart and make a donation on behalf of your loved one/s.

Let’s share the love around these holidays.

Home made gifts.

I know. It sounds like too much effort. Or it sounds lame. But, hear me out. I am a fairly average crafter, with very little experience AND I have a toddler. I have managed to somehow fool people into believing that I am actually OK at this home made gift caper and if I can, you can too!

Here are some ideas you can find online (or on Pinterest where I found them)…

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‘Cookies’ that can be baked later :)

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A Sundae kit

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Rein-beer!

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A naughty hot chocolate in a jar ;)

You can also put together great little (affordable) ‘care’ packages – mini manicures/pedicures in a jar (let’s just make peace with the fact that everything’s in a jar these days haha), little survival kits for anything from a frazzled parent to someone who is scared of zombies! Perhaps a uni student, a parent-to-be, or …well, just about anyone! Just get creative!

Oh, and if you do have a toddler like I do, SLAVE LABOUR. They think they’re enjoying some awesome new pre-school activity, but really you are teaching them about Christmas and the spirit of giving and then everyone receives something adorable (because it’s made with love by their favourite little person/people)! Yes. It’s a win/win situation, right there haha.

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Salt dough ornaments

I could seriously go on and on and on and on. But I won’t. Although, you can contact me if you ever want more ideas. I’ll be all over that sh…tuff (I found out on Twitter that I swear too much and I’m on the naughty list – oops)…

As long as you put a little bit of love in it, people will enjoy it x

Something meaningful.

Sometimes something straight from the heart can be the most valuable thing of all. These are one of a kind, very personalised things that no-one else will ever give that person.

I’ve been known to make photo books filled with special memories, and when the Little Mister was a baby, we ordered special little brag books for the grandparents and great grandparents. You can either print the photos out yourself, go to a printing place (for just a few cents per print) and then buy cheap little albums to put them in. OR you can order them as pre-made books online. A lot of websites will run amazing bargain priced Christmas specials and you can get them made at a very low cost.

Here are a couple of other ideas:

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“Open when…” letters to a loved one

These are great for when you need to spend time apart from your partner – perhaps one of you travels for work. Or it would even be great for your kids if you have to be apart for whatever reason.

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Pre-planned/pre-paid (if required) date nights for every month of the year

Oh my goodness. I would love this! Sure, it does cost something some of the time, but the time you would get with your partner (kid free) would be priceless and you deserve to treat yourselves all year round if you are lucky enough to get the child care (this kind of gift would be great motivation)! Perhaps the envelopes could include movie passes, reservations for a restaurant, baby sitting funds, something for a concert etc etc. However, there are a LOT of things you can do for free together too (and not just the bow chicka wow wow if you know what I mean haha), with a little imagination!

Your time/presence.

Last but definitely not least, give your time. Just be there. Show your loved ones how much you care all year round. It is the most important gift of all. You are very special to some people in your life and you can never be replaced. Find a way to be there in spirit, even if/when you can’t be there in person. Turn up when you can :)

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I hope these ideas help a little. The thing I like about them is that you can tailor just about all of them to your budget or your particular situation.

What great gift ideas do you have? Have you tried these things before? x

It’s Christmas month…I mean, December!!

You guys, I am so excited. Why (like you even have to ask)? Because it’s December! Which means Christmas! My favourite time of the year, because it’s kind of like it’s EVERYBODY’S birthday all at once! And birthdays are awesome, am I right, baby jeebus?

Unless of course your birthday IS on Christmas day, in which case it probably sucks a little bit because no-one cares and they wrap your presents in Christmas wrapping paper and don’t even get you separate gifts…I take my hat off to you guys…

I love seeing the decorations, eating calorific treats I wouldn’t normally indulge in throughout the year, the feeling of summer festivity in the air (nothing like an Aussie Christmas) and the giving spirit alive in so many of us.

I know. Some of you probably hate me for being so cheesy right now. But I love all of you adorable little grinches, anyway. Because CHRISTMAS!!!

Since the Little Mister came along just over 3 years ago, I’ve been getting more and more excited to share the Christmas spirit with him. This year was a great milestone year because it was the first time he could help Mr Unprepared and I with the decorating (yay for coordination)! I found myself just trying to soak in that moment and really appreciate it. I had to stop myself from making gooey, lovey dovey “nawwwwwwwww” noises every couple of seconds.

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He really liked putting ALL of the baubles (love that word – baubles – it’s ridiculous) on one tiny branch.

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At one point, he found two of our Christmas stockings, took the idea quite literally and strutted around with them on his feet, like he was the bees knees.

Kind of unrelated: What’s so awesome about bees’ knees? I never understood that saying…

So far, we’ve made some salt dough ornaments to paint and the Little Mister has painted some transparent Christmas stickers for the windows (you can’t really tell what they are anymore and all the colours are quite mixed together but ‘nawwww’). The Christmas tree went up yesterday (a day early), because it was the weekend and Mr Unprepared was off work, so we could do it together.

Christmas cookies were made and distributed to the grandparents (and the Little Mister’s belly and Mr Unprepared’s lunchbox and I might have sampled for *ahem* quality control) last week (OK so I cracked before December despite my best efforts haha).

It was so messy and fun letting the Little Mister take the lead (I was mostly just in charge of measuring and the hot oven).

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This cookie man (above) never fails to make me giggle. The dough was a little soft and stretchy, so some of our cookies were a little bit wonky. The Little Mister affectionately called this one “Daddy”. Very amusing. The longer I look at this photo, the more I laugh. I assure you that my husband doesn’t actually look like that…much…(this is just one of several little tests I include in my blog posts to see if he actually reads it as much as he says he does haha).

Who knows what other crazy crafting/baking ideas we’ll tackle next?! I’ve become a little deranged, but in a lovely enthusiastic way, at least (I hope)? I don’t know who I am anymore. I even bought some Christmas presents in OCTOBER. Are you shitting me??

I hope that this month, we can all share the Christmas spirit with our loved ones (whether they are our actual relatives or our various ‘chosen’ families). Let’s all be a little forgiving, very loving and look out for those who might not have as good a Christmas as we are fortunate enough to have.

Let’s drive considerately, keep our stress in check (especially in the supermarket or with those certain relatives) and remember to show the people in our lives that we care. It’s not all about giving extravagant material gifts to one another, but about giving of ourselves somehow.

Happy December, everybody!

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How are you planning to celebrate Christmas this year? If you do not celebrate Christmas, how will you spend your holidays? Do you go nuts like me or are you more restrained? What does a typical Christmas day look like for you? x

The Book of Kez.

So, I’ve been tagged by the slightly loopy (sorry it’s true), very entertaining (and wonderfully friendly) Pinky Poinker to participate in a post about my reading habits. I really wish she’d tagged me when I was about 7 years old, because I was really in my prime (the word ‘genius’ might have even been thrown around a bit – not quite but almost). I mean, to dob me in when I hardly read anymore is a little mean. Come on, that’s what time machines are for, Pinky. Sheesh. I shall try my best.

Do you snack while you read?

I snack standing up while reading TV Week in the kitchen because it’s the only way I get left alone. I snack while reading my iPhone. Is looking at Pinterest ‘reading’? Because I’m so down with snacking while looking at Pinterest. I mean, reading it. Sigh.

Seriously, though. If you’re talking about books, I don’t really. I like to be completely ‘in’ a book and snacking is a distraction that stops me from being able to hold a book properly. I’m very uncoordinated, you know.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Look. Look at this. This is the work of a very dangerous tween.

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Oooh. What a rebel with a great sense of irony. Watch out.

I found this in a Paul Jennings book recently. I can’t wait to hand my collection down to the Little Mister.

And no, I don’t tend to write in or mark books these days. Because I don’t read any. But also – vandalism etc. You know.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Both. But I do lean towards non-fiction more these days. TV Week is non-fiction, right?

I like ‘true’ stories. I like biographies that make me laugh or inspire me (probably why I love reading blogs). I used to read a lot of true crime, but since I became a parent I’ve become as weak as shit and can’t handle it if it involves children or anything of that nature. Probably a good thing. Means I’m not a psychopath.

Hard copy or ebooks?

Both. There’s kind of nothing like the magic of reading an actual book with actual pages, am I right? Although, I kind of like electronic books because if I go away, I don’t have to pack fifteen books with me (that’s if I have even a hope of getting any reading done). Also, my electronic device becomes its own light. I mean, how clever is that? No keeping Mr Unprepared awake if I’m deep into a story and can’t put it down. No need to balance a torch and a book precariously on my chest while reading in bed when camping (strangely the time I get the most reading done).

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I make up weird rules in my head. Like I have to read until I reach a page where a sentence ends at the bottom. So when I pick it up again, I can just start a fresh page and I know where I am. If it’s a super awesome book, I have to finish a chapter. But then that often turns into a crazy all nighter where the book doesn’t get put down. At all.

What are you currently reading?

Um…I got half a page into Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? …a few months ago? It’s absolutely NOTHING against Mindy’s work. I love her so hard. I know it’s gonna be an awesome book. I just know it! I just haven’t been able to commit. Probably because I stay up too late blogging or reading blogs as it is. I am actually excited to go camping so I can just read at night – no internet to distract me! So that counts as ‘currently’ reading, right? Because I’m part way (well half a page) in?

What is the last book you bought?

The Mindy Kaling one.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

When I was younger, I did attempt to read about 4 books at once. It was because I would get one book, start reading it, get a new book, be too impatient to finish the first one … and so on. What a crazy kid.

Now I stick to one thing at a time. Seriously. I once had a Marie Claire magazine for 8 months and wouldn’t let myself buy a new one until I finished it. Maybe I’m a little obsessive. I probably have massive issues. YEAH. MASSIVE ISSUES OF MARIE CLAIRE I NEVER FINISH.

Do you have a favourite time of day and/or place to read?

You might have gathered that I read at night when I do read. Everything’s quiet. I can hear my thoughts. I can absorb the words.  I like to read in bed. Because, hello. Comfy.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

I devour Jodi Picoult novels. Even the ones I think I won’t like, I GET SO SUCKED IN. She just knows how to create characters and get you thinking really hard about your own morals and values and human nature and the ethics of things. Amazing.

Oh, and also? I would recommend Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess), because I once read that while camping and when there was a funny bit (so like ALL the time) I silent-giggled so hard I shook the camper van. THAT’S how you know when a book is funny (it was also moving and touching and all those weird words that mean you FELT it). Mr Unprepared was not so amused because he was sharing the bed with me. But that’s because he hadn’t read it. He has no idea what he was missing out on.

~

And now I am supposed to tag somebody, so I’m going to be lazy and tag ALL OF YOU. Go on. Do it :)

:)

Guest post: A letter to you. On White Ribbon Day.

Today’s guest post comes to you from a very inspiring person who goes by the moniker of Ms S (of the blog Sweet Soul Survival). She is a friend of mine. We’ve met in person, only the once, but we’ve been online buddies ever since. At the time, I suspected she may be in an abusive relationship, but I didn’t know how to reach out other than to just be there. Since then she has taught me so much. She is so inspiring, because she escaped. She was brave. It’s not easy to leave an abusive relationship when you have been broken down emotionally and threatened physically (which is why you are not judged here), but she did it. She’s not superwoman, but she’s an every day awesome woman like you or me. And we are all stronger than we think. She has written a letter to you all for White Ribbon Day, because statistics say that a percentage of my beautiful readers may be living a version of the hell that she knows all too well. Both Ms S and I want you to know that we’ve got your back. We want you to know it is so very possible to make a new life and that you deserve so much more in this world than you may be given at this point in time. If you are supporting somebody who you suspect (or know) is suffering verbal, emotional, financial or physical abuse, please share this. We hope it makes a difference to even one person x

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Dear Sweetie,

How long have you waited, for him/her to change? How long have you made excuses for his/her behaviour? How long have you been punished by yourself, by him/her, for doing absolutely nothing? How long since you recognised yourself? How long till you smile again? How long does it take for you to be happy again? How long does it take for bruises and scars to fade? How long does it take for verbal lashings to leave your mind? How long will you wait, until you leave him/her? How long until you give yourself the leg up and out you so deserve? How much longer till you see your freedom has always been within reach? How much longer will you see yourself as undeserving? How will you explain to your children, you only stayed for them? How long till you see the beauty in you? How many times will you go back? How long do you think you’ll give him/her off of your life span?

How very long you have struggled to be a sort of happy. How long you have cried in solace. How brave you have been, at home, school and work. How long you have waited for a lull, a silence, to catch your breath and heal. How long you have struggled to stay in front of him/her, clearing a path for their cyclonic outbursts. How tired you must be. How very unhappy you are. How unsatisfactory that you are even suffering. How terribly sad this is what you think love is. How you could have a better life, if you just had an ounce of courage to step away. How far you could go. How strong you are for battling a silent monster. How terribly short your wonderous life truly is.

Do you know 1 in 5 Australian women between 15 and 65 are victims of Domestic Violence each day? Do you know 1 in 3 households are Violent? Do you know 1 in 4 women suffering at the hands of an abuser either are killed by their abuser or suicide because of their Domestic Violence struggles? Do you know what you are living with, is exactly what 100s of thousands of women and children live with daily too? Do you know you’re not alone in wanting an easier life? Do you know although it’s scary, it is the most exhilarating, empowering, enligthening experience to leave your abuser once and for all? Do you know it’s easier than you realise? Do you know you are deserving of a happy, stress free existence? Do you know once you start your journey back onto your destined path, everything just happens effortlessly and wonderfully? Do you know how much easier it is to love yourself after you liberate yourself from your abuser? Do you know, you can always come back from this? Do you know there is someone waiting for you, wondering where you are, how much longer will they need to wait before they find you? Do you know when someone loves you, they’d NEVER EVER hurt you? Do you know every step you take away from the wrong person, is always another step towards the right person? Do you know you deserve that person and they deserve you?

Do you know there is support for you @ White Ribbon Support and Australian Domestic Violence Helpline on 1300 782 200 and for more one on one support with Survivors go to Sweet Soul Survival there is always an Avenue for you Sweetie.

To the women this reaches,

Don’t ever let another human being own you, control you, possess you, crumple you, break your spirit, tell you there’s no one better out there for you, be your oxygen, put you down and belittle you, raise their fists to you, threaten you, blackmail you, keep you dependent, guilt you for being you. Don’t ever.

You deserve the world. The rainbows. The safety of your own world. The love and support of your family and friends. Your inner voice to be heard. Your spirit to be nourished by kindness and faith. Your hope restored. You deserve.

You are a Sweet Soul Survior and we are here to cheer you on!

Share this letter with the women in your life, who you know who need to be reached.

Promise to not be silent about your abuse. Promise to not stay with the abuse. Promise to stand up to abuse. And we’ll promise to stand with you when you do……

Keep Shining, Ms S xoxo

Ms S can be found on Facebook too x

What’s been happening: November 2014 edition.

I have no idea what to write about for this week, so I figure I’ll just tell you some of what I’ve been up to lately. We can pretend it’s my monthly newsletter without me actually having to put together a newsletter and then send it out. Just think of it as the kind of newsletter that hardly ever arrives on time, if at all, but when it does you know I have writer’s block ;)

Birthday fun.

Well, it was the Little Mister’s 3rd birthday earlier this month, so we threw him a little family party. His grandparents, most of the aunties and uncles (plus a couple of cousins) came along and fun was had. I may have over catered (we lived off party finger food for a few days – hell – there’s still some in the freezer), but I was glad to have a drama free cake situation (unlike last year) and I somehow pulled off a bit of a train theme (the Little Mister loves Thomas the Tank Engine).

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It was nothing crazy or over the top – just a bit of fun (thanks Pinterest)! I also made a ‘train’ of snacks that wound their way around our outdoor table (a Thomas train followed by a bunch of snack filled foil tray ‘carriages’ – bit tacky but lots of fun). Everyone chatted away to their hearts’ content and the Little Mister was having SO much fun that he didn’t even eat the chicken nuggets I got just for him (his favourite ‘sometimes’ food)!

I can’t let this go without thanking Sonia of Life Love Hiccups for having a Coles voucher giveaway just in time for me to win it and spend it on the party supplies! That $50 really made a difference – hello, free grocery money! Yippee.

The Little Mister was very spoilt this year, as he’d already celebrated at the joint mothers’ group 3rd birthday bash, then he had enjoyed morning tea with my grandparents (his great grandparents) on his actual birthday! He’s so lucky to have so many loving people in his life. Just as we are lucky to have him!

Nailed it?

I’ve been trying to figure out ways to save a little money, but keep up with my mental health promise to practice self care and maintenance (yes lots some of this includes beauty stuff). So I’ve gotten really amazing at using eBay after years of practically forgetting it existed. I decided that for the cost of about two fancy gel manicure appointments, I could buy just about everything I would need to do it at home forever (using reputable products of course)! My first attempt went pretty well, but I definitely need more practice! I have an LED lamp and everything (which I shall be using responsibly – sunscreen is a must – and sparingly to protect my skin). I’m no professional, but I have the internet and it is full of wonderful tutorials, tips and advice! I love the pampering you get at a salon, but I simply can’t afford it every time and it’s easy to do while the Little Mister sleeps, not so easy to do when you need babysitting each time!

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Uh oh.

I’ve been spending some time filling out enrolment forms for the Little Mister to start four year old kindy in 2016. It’s getting real. This kid is not getting any younger! I’ve been looking into sending him to a day care kindy one day a week for next year too. The Little Mister will be flying the coop (not really that much)! He’s getting so grown up! I think I’ll be a little emotional when I drop him off for the first time. Not crazy lady, overprotective helicopter emotional. But a little sentimental. OK, and a little bit nervous. Although, I’m sure I’ll start to enjoy some time out to get stuff done (efficiently). Maybe even on awesome days I might get to have a nap or just sit on my bum? Wishful thinking?

Cluck cluck. 

This month I will be attending two baby showers. Two weekends in a row! How fun! I’ve had to be very restrained when shopping for gifts. I always want to buy the whole baby store when I go in these days. I don’t get to visit these kinds of shops anymore, now that the Little Mister is a ‘big boy’. So then I get really clucky and almost lose my mind with the cuteness.

Waiting for December…

I’ve also been trying to restrain myself when it comes to the C word. Yes, that’s right. CHRISTMAS. It’s coming. It’s just over a month away now, I’m afraid. I started buying gifts last month. Yes. Last month. I always say I’ll do online shopping, but I never remember or get organised on time to allow for delivery time. So this year I was all over that sh*t. So proud. Where’s my medal? I totes deserve it. Except, getting so excited that early on has been quite testing. I want to do all the blogging and decorating and all the activities with the Little Mister NOW. NOW, DAMMIT. I feel like a little kid who starts asking their parents how many sleeps until Santa comes, like every day. I’ve decided that come December 1st, it’s gonna get so festive for real up in here. You may want to avert your eyes, if you exist a bit on the grinchy side of the Christmas spectrum haha. You’ve been warned!

I’ve been feeling really loved and supported by you guys, lately – so thanks! Some new followers on Facebook and lots of lovely comments here on the blog. You are awesome. So awesome. Give yourselves a hug and pretend it was me. That’s not weird. At all.

Now to end this, with some links to the stuff you might have missed this month :)

Thursday thoughts. I wrote this post on a Thursday, but it’s filled with inspiration that is good for me every day of the week.

How to play hide and seek with a 3 year old. Seriously. It’s the cutest thing you’ll ever do.

Three. A letter I wrote to the Little Mister for his birthday.

I support you: It’s your baby. Feed them however you need to. I wrote this for #ISupportYou week, and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of writing. It was spread far and wide and I’m so glad this message is getting out there. New parents need support, whatever they choose. It doesn’t matter if you breastfeed or bottle-feed. It’s all about the love, everyone. No buts. Put your buts away. Just love!

Let’s catch up – what have YOU been up to this month so far?

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody! x

Thursday thoughts.

Whenever I am feeling a bit “off”, be that anxious, a bit down or really frustrated, I like to find great quotes to fill my mind with and get myself headed in a better direction. I really think that our thoughts are powerful. They determine the energy we put out to other people and they can affect our health. Here are the things that are soothing me today…

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I’ve decided that whenever I am feeling conflicted or I find myself thinking negatively about people or circumstances, I am going to ask myself this question. Is this worrying/resentment etc good for my soul? Maybe not. I must remember to look after myself, rather than expend my energy on being annoyed or worried about other things or people that I ultimately have no control over.

I must do what is good for my soul and keep it healthy.

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I tend to be an over thinker. Which can be a good thing (it’s great for blogging and for having a greater understanding of myself and the people I meet) but sometimes I don’t know how to switch off. I can find myself worrying about the future or over thinking the past. I need to take a deep breath and be here in the ‘now’. Right now is good. Right now I am sitting at my dining table while my Little Mister plays, the sun is out and right here in my bubble of ‘now-ness’ everything is good. What a relief. I must remember to take life moment by moment when it starts getting away from me in my head.

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I must remember that those frustrating little hiccups in life do indeed pass eventually. That dreaded task you have to do will eventually be done with. That stressful deadline for whatever it is will come. And go. That miserable weather that’s getting you down will eventually make way for sunny days. That phase your toddler is going through will pass and that will probably be bittersweet so just go with it. It won’t last forever. Some things pass us by quicker than others, but most of those ‘every day’ type stresses will make way for better things. This quote really helps to put most things in perspective. I feel very fortunate that it applies to my life.

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Oh yes. Our brains can really play tricks on us. Sometimes we can let our inner voice be really mean. I am choosing to not believe every single thing my brain tells me. My brain can be a lying liar with its pants on f*cking fire sometimes. Especially when I’m anxious or angry. I need to always stop and ask myself – what evidence is there that the worst case scenario is actually happening or going to happen? Am I really as awful as my mind is telling me right now? Let’s be honest, probably not. Being able to recognise when this is occurring can be the difference between sanity and…the alternative! It can make the difference between positive and negative thinking.

I need to discriminate between true intuition and false thoughts that are destructive (and not good for my soul – see above).

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Unfortunately, there are people in this world who would rather squash your spirit so that they can feel better about themselves, rather than be inspired to raise themselves up and become better. It can be really helpful to recognise when this is happening. I have made a vow to myself to never lower myself to a level of behaviour that I am not OK with. It’s not worth it just to fit in, make your point or to make peace. The price your soul pays each time this happens is just too great. I am all for compromise, but it must go both ways for the betterment of a situation. NOT because someone wants to put me in my place or make themselves feel taller by standing on my shoulders. Those sorts of people get rather heavy after a while, don’t you think?

I will happily give somebody a hand up or support them as they make great changes, but it won’t come at the cost of my ability to live with who I am.

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Here’s a lovely one. As I look forward to Christmas (sorry to mention it before December haha), this is really important to me. I hope that I can show a generous spirit to those around me. The benefits of being generous of spirit are just too good to ignore! Putting all that positive energy and love out there is a beautiful thing. It’s not all about money or material things either. It’s about sharing your abundance, whatever that might be, with others. It could be a donation to charity or a thoughtful Christmas gift. But it can be as simple as a smile, a listening ear or great thought put into what we do for others. These things cost nothing to give.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

How to play hide and seek with a 3 year old.

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Look behind you!

I just played the best game of hide and seek with the Little Mister. Here’s how each round tends to go…

His turn to hide. 

I count to ten slowly and loudly. The Little Mister has found his hiding spot already. I can hear him from that precise spot counting along loudly with me. If I pretend I can’t find him (in the same spot he hides every single time), he will just yell out, “I’M BEHIND THE [IKEA CIRCUS] TENT!”

I find him jumping up and down, arms everywhere, laughing his head off and being very conspicuous. He acts surprised that I’ve found him each time. Like, genuinely surprised. So of course I act surprised that he has hid there for the fiftieth time.

My turn to hide.

Me: “OK, Little Mister. Now you have to count to ten and then come and find me.”

Me again: “Hey! You have to close your eyes! For the whole time you’re counting! Um…maybe cover your eyes with your hands. OK, count!”

Little Mister: “1-2-3-2-COMING.”

I then run around like a mad chook with its head cut off looking for an emergency hiding spot, because the little monster didn’t count for long enough (although he does usually add another 2 – very considerate).

Once he finds me (after pestering his dad repeatedly to give my spot away), he will scream excitedly in my face.

Then we high five. Of course.

“Again??” he’ll ask.

“OK.”

~~~

I’ve never laughed so hard. I highly recommend hide and seek with a three year old. It’s fantastic for the inner child (yours) and the endorphins. And maybe one day it will be good for my child’s counting skills. But that might take a little while ;)