Category: What We’ve Been Up To

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

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

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

*slaps self*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home again.

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

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

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

It all feels a little bittersweet to be home.

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

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

x

Sporadic “Newsletter”: January 2015 edition.

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

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

So what have we been up to lately?

Losing actual sleep over toilet training. 

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

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

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

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

Planning our camping trip.

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

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

I’ve been watching a lot of teevs.

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

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

Catch up on Awesomely Unprepared here!

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

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

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

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

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

45 Things I did in 2014.

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Around the new year, I like to do a review of the year that has been. Often it’s the unremarkable (and sometimes funny) stuff I find in my day planner. I usually do it month by month, but this time I decided on a brand new way to bore the pants off the few of you who are reading this during the silly season! I wanted to name a thing a week that I did in 2014. That’s about 52 things. Except I was terrible at keeping up with my diary, so it’s a nice round 45.

Before you ask, yes. I am a maniac. A maniac who likes to preserve her memories. I’m also a sentimental fool. Even over the weird, insignificant stuff.

A memory hoarder, if you will.

Here goes…

1. I went for brunch with one of my best friends (we’ve known each other since we were 6). She told me she was pregnant. I was overjoyed. We took the Little Mister to the park across the road from the cafe and I drilled my friend with all sorts of excited questions. When she told me her due date, I flippantly joked, oh no! We’ll be away (in Japan) then! Tell that baby to wait! Of course I let her know I was totally joking and to pop him out way before we got home because no woman deserves to go over-due! Of course, fast forward and he was quite over due and made his appearance after we got home. I felt a bit bad for telling him to wait haha.

2. The Little Mister got his first ever passport this year. Have you ever got a 2 year old to pose for a passport photo? He kept leaning to one side and tilting his head. Or looking away. Or making overly animated facial expressions. Much credit to the photographer, who clicked away furiously, “We’ll get something!!!”

3. Everyone except the Little Mister got gastro. So that was fun. It was our first family outbreak of something. Isn’t that sweet? Is it bad that even though I was suffering from extreme discomfort during my turn with it (Mr Unprepared followed soon after), I kind of didn’t mind lying on the couch all day watching Sex and the City? Parenthood – lowering expectations of leisure time since 2011.

4. I tried to get a head start on packing our camper van before our camping trip in February. I went into list writing overdrive. It was really hard to pack with a 2 year old around. Still, I was grateful that once it was set up, there’d be less to do in 2015.

5. We took our camper van (purchased from my parents) on its maiden voyage (with us). We had a great camping trip and ate ourselves stupid, in between beach trips and brewery visits! Perfect. Oh, and I still can’t paddle board very well, but I pretended I could whenever people passed me in their boats or kayaks. I’m so excited to do it all again in 2015.

6. Made Valentine’s Day cupcakes. I don’t actually celebrate it, really, but I do celebrate excuses to bake. The Little Mister kept stealing the toppers and shoving his hands in the frosting.

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7. My Gran turned 85. That’s pretty cool. I am so lucky to still have my mum’s parents with us. I am grateful every time we are given the privilege of spending quality time together. Especially as the Little Mister has a relationship with them he has a great chance of remembering. Very special.

8. We started toilet training. Oh my goodness. I had been nervous about this since the Little Mister was born, but I soon realised that you just give it a go. Trying it is so much less scary than overthinking it beforehand. We’ve had progress and setbacks all year, but each time he’s ready to take the next step, we just go with it. I am hoping that he will really shoot forward with it in 2015 and I have faith that he will.

9. I attempted to be one of those awesomely organised (I think that’s what my exact opposite doppelgänger from a parallel world would call her blog) people who writes up a strict meal plan each week/fortnight, in order to save money on groceries and resist impulse snacking. I don’t know when I stopped doing it, but I really must try harder again!

10. Mr Unprepared and I dressed up like old people for my friend’s 30th. It was the best fancy dress party I’ve ever been to. We even played lawn bowls. Also, I was so comfortable. Old people clothes are so comfortable.

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11. We took our annual day trip to meet family friends for Easter. A definite highlight of every year for me. The Little Mister did his first ever easter egg hunt in our house. He was so happy because that was the first time he’d ever had chocolate for breakfast.

12. I turned 30. And like the freak that I am, I was excited about it. 30 has been wonderful and significant and full of stuff that has taught me so much about myself.

13. The Little Mister got his final molars and my goodness were they a bitch. The kid screamed all night, every night for weeks. I don’t want to scare anyone, but they were worse than his COLLECTIVE teething experience right up until then. Oh holy hell. We were very tired, all 3 of us. I was reminded of what it’s like to have a newborn and it was great contraception. Since then, the lack of teething has been AMAZING. You don’t realise just how much teething consumes your life in those first few years until it’s gone. So how long until the bloody things start falling out? 😛

14. I nearly went insane planning our trip to Korea and Japan. I had massive DAILY to do lists for MONTHS. It took me so long because having the Little Mister made it really difficult to coordinate. I could only do what he could handle, daily. But I did it. I got there. I beat my overwhelm and I survived to actually go on the holiday! Definitely a win.

15. We attended Mr Unprepared’s cousin’s wedding. It was BEAUTIFUL.

16. During the year I dreamed about my late Nana a lot (she passed away in 2013). Her presence in my dreams has brought so much comfort in times when I’ve doubted myself. I look forward to her visits.

17. We left for our massive month long trip to Singapore, Korea and Japan. HOW NERVE WRACKING AND EXCITING.

18. I went shopping on Orchard Road with my mum in Singapore. Something we’d talked about doing ‘one day’ for a long time.

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19. Korea was beautiful and overwhelming and full of people who thought the Little Mister was some kind of celebrity.

20. I visited the place I was born for the first time since I was adopted at the age of 5 months. Gosh, it was emotional. All these feelings jumped up and I felt very…bruised. It was very confusing at first! I felt happy because I was there and it was an awesome place (hello – they even sold cocktails in little plastic bags and you could drink on the streets – ON THE STREETS), but I felt exhausted and sad at the same time. I name this as one of the defining moments of my life so far. It’s up there with graduating from university, falling pregnant, having a baby, getting married. Big stuff. I made peace with a lot of things on that trip. Like I said, HUGE.

21. I had one of the weirdest pedicures ever. It was in a hotel in Busan (where I was born in Korea). The guy didn’t speak a lick of English and we communicated by pointing at things and looking at each other like we were both aliens. That was just the part where we tried to set up an appointment! I sat down and picked out the colour I’d like my nails. The guy got excited and suggested something else by showing me a photo of nail art in his phone. I agreed – why not. He then put a table in front of me and climbed underneath it. He was shy and didn’t want me looking at him? Who knows. When it was finished, he took a photo of his handiwork, shoved my thongs (flip flops) back on and embarrassed, he shoved me out the door because he didn’t know how to say goodbye or thank you to me. Hilarious.

22. Japan was one of those places I have always wanted to visit. I LOVED it. Sadly, we didn’t have as much time there as we might have liked, but we got to have a taste of Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto. The people – so orderly, polite and COOL. I drooled over the way the women wore their clothes. I’m not talking about the stereotypical cosplay stuff or the Harajuku girls (although they were fascinating too), but just the every day women walking down the streets. So effortlessly stylish. Oh, I wish I’d bought all their fashion magazines before I left. The food. The sights. TAKE ME BACK.

23. While in Japan, we visited Hiroshima. Wow. Do it once in your lifetime. Please.

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24. We had a crazy flight back home from Singapore (where we’d stopped over on our way back from Japan). The Little Mister was so restless, despite normally being a great flyer. The flight attendants were so smitten with him. He went to the back of the plane with them and received extra ice cream (just great for keeping him calm and rested – not haha). He was given gifts galore. Oh, boy. We were glad it was the final leg of the holiday.

25. We set up the Little Mister’s ‘big boy room’. I painted a feature wall. Mr Unprepared assembled flat pack after flat pack of furniture. Finally it was ready and our little boy had moved in. He is still really proud of it to this day. I’m so glad he likes it and it’s so much easier now that he has a full sized single bed. Big milestone!

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26. My Dad turned 60. We celebrated by having dinner at a local Japanese restaurant. We all missed the Japanese food SO MUCH.

27. I attended the hens night of one of my best friends. It was a close group made up of her gorgeous sister in law and a bunch of us old high school friends. It was a big deal and we even stayed in a hotel in the city overnight! We drank shots and saw strippers and danced…we were very classy of course (haha). It was one of those nights where we went home and gushed to each other online that we loved each other so much and shared terrible photos via Messenger for hours. I felt young again (until the fatigue set in of course)!

28. My love of online grocery shopping was revived. Sometimes it was just easier. It was like remembering an old friend. Oh hello. I loved you when I had a newborn and I love you now I have an almost 3 year old who is quite awful when he is having a growth spurt.

29. Got the dog vaccinated. The Little Mister came along (he loves riding in the car when the dogs are in the back – gives him the giggles). We weighed him there at the same time as the dog. Happens every year. Mum of the year.

30. We were invited by the Little Mister’s school to attend an information day and a tour for kindy 2016. This gave me a heart attack because it was a sign that he is growing up. It was kind of funny, because we went to an interview for him while he was still 2! I was assured that his behaviour in the interview would not affect his chances of being accepted haha. He coloured in under the principal’s desk and played with her calculator. It was such a relief that he got a place! Now I get to be in denial for another year before sh*t gets real!

31. We went to a Play School concert. A highlight of the Little Mister’s life so far. Although, he remembers the car park more than the actual concert, because I lost my car…it might have taken half an hour to find it? Not my finest moment haha. Every time I park in an undercover parking complex, he looks at me hopefully and says, “Playschool concert?”

32. We went to a local agricultural show. So fun sharing it with the Little Mister. He got a balloon which bopped us all in the head. We had ice cream. A Peppa Pig show bag was acquired.

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33. I started my Christmas shopping in October. Oh boy, I was smug. Sadly, plans kept changing (which resulted in gift lists following suit) so my smugness quickly dissipated, but that’s a whoooooole other story!

34. We toured day care centres (OK so we only looked at two) for the first time. The first one left me feeling nervous and unsure (I just figured that’s how any parent feels before leaving their kids for the first time), but the second one just made me feel happy. The Little Mister starts one day a week next year! I’m actually excited for him. I think he’ll be happy there. He had a play on the day we checked it out and I signed up on the spot. He didn’t want to go home! One day a week will get him used to me leaving him (before 3 full days the next year at school) and I will get one day a week to GSD (Get Shit Done).

35. My brother did some valuable baby sitting this year. I’ve been really grateful he’s been there to help fill a gap between now and day care starting. I think it’s really helped the Little Mister’s bond with him. So nice to see.

36. Reached the 12 years together milestone with Mr Unprepared.

37. Mr Unprepared took on a promotion at work. Proud of him for doing what makes him happier – it’s different from what he did for so long and it took courage but he did the best thing for him, finally. Yes.

38. Melbourne Cup day was spent at a friend’s house. There were toddlers and babies everywhere but we dressed up a little and had a good day! Life has changed! Oh, and I wore a bird in my hair. Not a real one like my Tasmanian aunty once did, but I made a little effort haha.

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39. The Little Mister had his annual family birthday party. He was very excited and now thinks any gathering we attend is a party for him. I made a cupcake train I saw on Pinterest and wrote him a letter (sure he can’t read yet – minor detail).

34. I attended about four baby showers in 2014. SO MANY BABIES.

41. My mothers group had a hens night for one of our friends. Mother’s groups are wild. Just saying. I might have found myself dancing in a local night club at 2am. WTF. Blisters for days. Best night ever.

42. Celebrated 7 years of marriage.

43. The Little Mister went up a level in swimming lessons. Now he goes in without a parent and has to take turns with a couple of other children and listen to his teacher more. It took about 4 lessons for him to understand this, but we’re making progress. It was a big adjustment and a little nerve wracking for all of us!

44. Attended the local community Carols by Candlelight evening. For the first time in his whole life, the Little Mister was able to stay for the actual carols. It’s a big deal when your toddler can stay out after dark without losing the plot haha.

45. I bought a diary for 2015. Buying a diary for the next year is my favourite thing to do. I’m a stationery nerd.

 

So, how was your 2014? Tell me about the highlights, the milestones and the stuff you survived 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

Father: A tribute to some super dads.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge. Today’s prompt is ‘Father’ x

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Today is Father’s Day and as I sit here, my belly and my heart are full after we hosted lunch for my parents and grandparents. The photo above is the badge/button that the Little Mister gave Mr Unprepared for Father’s Day (which he has worn with pride on his shirt all day). It came with a Super Dad themed card, which he’d decorated with crayons and requested that it be addressed to Super Daddy, love Super *Little Mister*. The Little Mister loves Superman. He doesn’t know much about him, except that he wears a cape, can fly and is big and strong because he eats his vegetables (*ahem* parental brainwashing at its finest). Still, he loves Superman. And he loves his daddy. He truly thinks he’s super.

Last night Mr Unprepared was instructed to stay out of the way because we had secret business to do. We needed to wrap his gift and write in his card. Later that evening, the Little Mister’s secret keeping skills were put to the test.

“Superman card! Daddy is Superman! Super Daddy!” as Mr Unprepared tucked him into bed.

That was also the moment when the Little Mister noticed his dad has underarm hair but we won’t go into that haha.

This morning, the Little Mister brought Mr Unprepared’s present and card to him in bed.

“HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DADDY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY [it’s not his birthday]! OPEN THE BOOK DADDY!”

It was still wrapped. Doh haha.

“What is it?” Mr Unprepared asked, with a glint in his eye.

“A book! With lots and lots of pictures in it!”

Double doh.

Must teach him about surprises a little better haha.

That’s OK. It’s a tradition and Mr Unprepared probably knew what he was getting. Each year since the Little Mister was born, I’ve created a big photo book filled with pictures of the Little Mister for the previous year. That is from the Father’s day gone, to the present Father’s Day.

As we looked through it together, I realised just how many gorgeous pictures I had captured of my two Misters together (one big and one small). How many moments over a year where Mr Unprepared had given the Little Mister his time and shared so many unforgettable moments with him. The proof right there as to just how involved he really is and how much he loves the Little Mister as we make memories together as a family. I see the way they look at each other. It’s just beautiful. That’s my number one, absolutely favourite thing about him (besides the fact that he looks hot when he wears a beanie and lets me force him into watching romantic movies sometimes). Hands down.

The Little Mister loves him so much too. Even if he doesn’t always admit it when Mr Unprepared tries to kiss him when his face is all stubbly and prickly.

As for my dad, I’m so lucky to have had such an amazing role model in my life, working well in tandem with my awesome mum. He does stuff for work that a lot of people would not dare to do – all because he cares. He handed down his love of dad jokes to me and he’s always got some pretty good advice for me – everything from the emotional/psychological stuff to the practical. And when I make fun of him just because I can? He takes it all with a laugh and a great sense of humour.

And Gramps? He’s just great. A real character. He’s 90 next week and I feel so fortunate to have him around. If my dad knows dad jokes? He knows granddad jokes and let me tell you, they are much much worse and I love it. Gramps gave my brother and I movies like Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines. He gave me impromptu maths lessons when I visited as a kid (OK so I didn’t love that so much)! He’s got a crazy Welsh accent. It’s so cool.

I feel pretty lucky.

Do you have some super dads in your life? What do you love about them? 

While I am feeling pretty fortunate, I also send my thoughts to those who can’t be with their dads this year and those good dads who cannot be with their children too x

I need…this cake to work out.

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

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You are getting a look inside my mixing bowl, everybody. I took this shot just before I was going to mix it. I was holding my breath and hoping like crazy that it might still work out OK, even though the Little Mister had poured some water into it, before I could measure the right amount. I only looked away for a second, I SWEAR!

But back to the beginning…

I was attempting to make a beautiful cake called Anne, a  famous creation by Baby Mac (Aussie blogging royalty)! I had been seeing this gorgeous cake everywhere. Instagram and Facebook were raving about it (#anne). It looked so great in all its forms. It looked majestic and…TALL. Do you know how bad I am at making beautiful cakes that don’t look flat and a bit sad? I was convinced that this cake must be magical and googled the recipe. IT LOOKED SO EASY. All the ingredients could be found in my cupboard! And guess what? Father’s Day is tomorrow and Mr Unprepared and I are hosting it and I hadn’t been able to decide on what to have for dessert! Shock horror, I’d considered buying it (that’s mock shock horror – I have no issue with buying everything – you should see the pre-cut and peeled veggies I’ve bought for the roast haha). Now, with such a foolproof recipe, I knew I wouldn’t need to. I could brag about cooking this stunner of a cake from scratch. It would surely be easier than the cake fail I created for the non-the-wiser-ever-so-easy-to-please Little Mister’s 2nd birthday!

That was until the recipe called for a cup of cold water, with half a teaspoon of bi carb soda. I’d put some water in a cup and took a lightning quick moment to measure out the bi carb, when…the Little Mister grabbed the water and poured a mystery amount in, the remainder spilling down the kitchen bench, onto the floor.

I cried out, “Noooooo!”

And then felt guilty…didn’t want to make him feel bad, because he was trying to help and I try to make it my mission not to scar him for life, especially not over stuff like cake.

I then guessed (and I’m sh*t at guessing measurements) how much water was missing from the bowl, pouring it in with the bi carb. The Little Mister was put on dish washing duty (his favourite activity where he feels helpful and gets to splash around in the sink without actually washing a single thing) and I prayed for the best.

An hour later, my oven timer went off and I went to pull the cake out a bit so I could give it the old skewer test. It wobbled. Like a water bed (weird comparison but all I’ve got). Uh oh. I chucked it back in, shut the door and desperately set the timer for another 20 minutes. Perhaps I had added a little too much water. I decided this cake was a write off. It could be divided into pieces and taken by Mr Unprepared to work, where he could snack on it next week. I’ll just make a second cake, I thought. Only, without the Little Mister in the kitchen (who I love so much and usually enjoy baking with…when there’s no pressure to impress people who don’t live in our house).

I don’t know what happened and maybe it’s the magic of Anne, but I appear to have been worried about nothing! She came out tall, perfectly shaped, in one piece and as she cooled, I started to realise this might just still work out (OK so my husband was the voice of reason). Besides, there was a whole lot of buttery frosting to slather on (with some crushed Cadbury Flake chocolate on top to make it fancy as hell).

I can’t wait to show her off tomorrow and I hope the dads of my family will love her.

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I’m sure she’ll look more amazing when she’s sitting all pretty on a nice white plate, but for now, she’s in my cake container, awaiting her debut.

The Little Mister might have freaked me out, but he was full of enthusiasm and love for baking, so he was quickly forgiven and blessed with many samples of the frosting. In case you were worried about him 🙂

Have you made Anne before? Do you think you’d give her a go? Had any cake fails? x

I have no idea where to start.

So I’m sitting here the day after we’ve flown in from Singapore. Our big holiday in Korea and Japan was quite epic. While I’ve been busting to blog about it all, I am finding myself feeling a little overwhelmed and not knowing where to start! My brain has been buzzing with ideas, but when I go to type, I just feel like I cannot even start to put it all together! SO MANY THOUGHTS, NOT ENOUGH WORDS FOR THEM ALL.

I have no idea what order to blog things in, what format, which themes to focus on from the trip and how to capture the real essence of the experience (while also maybe even trying to be a little helpful to other parents travelling with their toddlers). Do I do a photo a day? Lump together ideas like food, sight seeing, etc? Do I make it all chronologically ordered or is that boring for everyone but me? Um…have you met me? Chronic over thinker. I guess I’ll figure it out eventually…but until then…

Here’s a photo of my first meal of the holiday. A nice little dumpling soup in Singapore. We’d flown in, dumped our stuff in our nice hotel rooms, walked straight out the back to a bus stop and caught a ride to Orchard Road (the famous shopping district in Singapore). We needed some sustenance and this was great. On this day we had no idea what we were in for and just looking at the photo (besides wishing I had some of that soup right now) reminds me of that bewildered, OH HOLY SHIT WE’RE ACTUALLY DOING THIS feeling. It’s like a little thrill – an inner voice just yelling, “WOOOOOOHOOOOO!”

And another little inner voice whispering, “You have no idea what you’re doing, do you?”

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So, what’s been happening? April-May 2014.

Some of you may be familiar with these sporadic, “what we’ve been up to lately” posts. I write them to remind myself of precisely that, in the hopes that when people ask me I will actually have an answer and not just an awkward, “not much…you?”
While my life isn’t overly exciting (I haven’t trekked Everest or saved any orphan dolphins lately), it is full. So here goes…

(and please try to ignore the fact that I last did a March-April post and that it overlaps with April-May and I will try to get everything in order at some point but truly who cares because it’s my blog haha)

Easter.

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Every year we go to one of our favourite holiday destinations to spend Easter Sunday with our long time family friends. As in, they truly are friends who are family to us. We used to actually stay there all Easter with our families (since I was a baby/toddler), but now with our busy lives we manage a day trip which makes me so happy. I am so excited that the Little Mister gets to be a part of the tradition. This year he had his very own Easter egg hunt around our house and then we headed off on our day trip. Where he was fed MANY roasted marshmallows. Which made him so so so happy. We spent the car ride home trying to keep him awake so he wouldn’t wreck his night sleep and had that deliciously tired and satisfied feeling when we got home. Don’t you love those kinds of days?

Also, the sunset on the drive home!!!

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I turned 30

My birthday was on Easter Monday so we backed up our big Easter Sunday with a low key family feast at my parents’ house. It had a bit of a high tea theme (with cucumber sandwiches, gourmet roast beef sandwiches and lots of sweet treats). Another lovely lazy day with my loved ones. Only two days into the food fest that is Easter, I felt like I could fall into a food coma forever.

I later had dinner with a handful of girlfriends, but I didn’t mind keeping it understated. Relaxing was my main priority haha.

I got new glasses. 

Now I can SEE! I think it may have been an oversight (or lack-of-sight) that I didn’t wear glasses before while driving. Don’t worry. If you’ve accepted lifts from me any time in the last 8 years or so, you’re alive. So no complaining, OK? And don’t worry, I’ve received a few lectures!

…and a haircut. 

I felt like I needed a change for the big 3-0. So I lopped off my awkwardly medium length balayage locks. Well, I didn’t do it. A professional hair dresser did it. Which is lucky, really. I had my hair dyed very black (as opposed to my normal medium black – there is totes a difference guys) and cut into a really nice asymmetrical bob. I feel so classy, y’all.

(although that was not a classy paragraph).

I baked some cookies using left over Easter eggs as choc chips (upon the advice of Twitter).

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They were delicious. Thank you for asking.

I started ticking things off my massive pre-travel to-do list.

Holy crap. With not long until our massive journey to Singapore, Korea and Japan begins, I have realised that there is so much pre-trip stuff to get done. Every day I have been writing lists in my diary. Lists that keep getting bigger all the time! I’ve been dragging the Little Mister all about town doing errands, making important phone calls and watching Walter Mitty (OK so that’s not an essential but we watched it last night and it totally got me excited to have my own crazy adventures into the unknown).

I’ve still got a bunch of stuff to do…packing might be useful (it’s a little overwhelming when there’s the transportation of a toddler and a lot of days in transit on trains etc to think of). I’m sure I’ll figure it all out soon. When I stop procrastinating. Might have to call my travel savvy mum around so she can sort me out. She has a way of kicking my butt (in the nicest way) haha.

So that’s what’s been happening lately. What have you been up to? Give me the goss! x

Seeing things differently.

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I did something really wild and crazy yesterday. I think it’s because I’m 30 in a few days. Who knows.

Anyhow…

It all started a few nights ago. Mr Unprepared and I decided to climb into bed and watch The Tourist. The movie with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp (a film with something for everyone *wink wink*). Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but the opening scenes involve English subtitles because parts of them are spoken in French. We don’t have a very big TV. In fact, it’s an old little Panasonic fat backed thing with a set top box to make it watchable, because we’re not fussy and I think if we don’t upgrade it then I can tell myself we’re not old people who watch TV in bed. Oh that old thing? We don’t care about that. Hardly ever watch it *cough cough*

Anyhow, I was tired and I couldn’t read the subtitles is what I’m getting at. I tried to blame the small TV. I tried to blame the people who make the movie for not having bigger subtitles. Then it hit me. I’m old and I can’t see.

“Read me the subtitles, Mr Unprepared, please”.

And bless him, he tried. He didn’t even argue. He read them to me. Each and every one. That bugger has near perfect vision.

Which was really actually very annoying. Not his fault at all, but it just was. He just didn’t read the lines with enough feeling. Bad seeing eye man, NO!

I got up and started scrambling around in my bedside drawers. I started muttering and grumbling in an old person frenzy (hello I was missing the movie).

“Where are my glasses?”

“In the bathroom near your jewellery rack,” came the reply.

How did he know that? Anyway, I found them deep underneath some clutter (trust me – it’s not pretty) and blew the dust off. Literally.

The daggy old-lady-trying-to-be-trendy-many-many-years-ago frames felt foreign on my face. I glanced in the mirror and saw the biggest non ironic nerd ever. Shocking. I don’t think I even liked them back in the day when I chose them.

BUT HOT DAMN. I COULD SEE.

Those teensy tiny subtitles were sharp and clear. Angelina was all hot and mysterious but it wasn’t mysterious anymore how hot she was. THE WORLD HAS EDGES, PEOPLE. THINGS HAVE EDGES AND OTHER PEOPLE CAN SEE THEM. AND WORDS. ALL THE WORDS.

What a revelation.

So… yesterday.

I went into a store (which I won’t name but ‘should have gone to…’) and asked about the frames for sale. Before I knew it I had got myself an appointment to have my eyes re-tested and had tried on some new frames, with the great advice of the optical assistant (I knew that was what she was because it said so on her badge). She had some amazing ideas for my face that I would never have thought of and I found myself liking my potential new look…and even considering the fact that I might actually not mind wearing glasses in public if I bought some! I didn’t mind what I saw in the mirror and now I am actually excited!

Also, the glasses didn’t seem as expensive as I had thought they would be. Also? Two for one deal. SWEET.

I SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS AGES AGO (and more often)!

Is it sad that this nearly 30 year old got a massive thrill out of this event? Yes, I called it an event. Stuff like this is an ‘event’ when you’re almost 30. Well, I speak for myself…but y’know. You other 29 year olds can get back to your bungee jumping and boozy tours of Europe while I finish this blog post about *old person’s voice* eye glasses.

Maybe it’s the whole ‘self care’ thing? I felt really amazing taking care of something I’d been neglecting and putting to the bottom of the list for so long. Something as simple as seeing properly. I mean, I can see well enough, but I have been depriving myself of EDGES and DEFINITION for too long. I also liked who I saw in the mirror in those awesome new frames. That girl was cool. She looked like she did cool stuff and knew cool things. She was going places. I wanted to know who is this glorious librarian hipster (disclaimer: I probably don’t actually look that cool in real life but I was enjoying myself immensely)? What’s her story? I liked her. Also, most of all, this girl looked like the kind of person who could read signs and stuff.

I can’t wait to be that girl. You know. The one who can see stuff and things.

Now excuse me. I am lost in a very deep rabbit hole of Pinterest pictures of hot girls in glasses.

So, it’s your turn. What have you done purely just for yourself lately? x