Tag: christmas spirit

The Happy List #27

This past week has been a mixed bag. Some things have brought great joy and others…well, they can stay in last week, thank you very much! I am so glad that I write this list every week (and grateful to those who read it), because I really do think that it has helped me to think more positively. And not in an insincere, cheesy way either. I can be really picky about what goes on the list, because I don’t write about what I think I should have been happy about. I write about the things that genuinely made me feel happy. Sometimes those things are colossal, life changing things and sometimes the smallest (or most left of centre) things can bring the most joy.

Here goes…

Attending Christmas events with the Little Mister

I love taking him to do festive things. He really appreciates all of it in a way that only a child can and it makes me so happy to relive that wonder with him. We took him to the local Christmas pageant last week and he sat up on Mr Unprepared’s shoulders, watching the parade, squealing in delight at every new float or costume. He danced to the band who were playing Christmas songs and he got to see his first ever fireworks (along with his little friend who had seen them on Peppa Pig before but never in real life – so cute). He found the noise a little overwhelming but I think he felt very grown up. When we asked him what he thought of them afterwards, he said, “They were a bit loud but they were very pretty.”

I loved his mature response. I’ll keep him.

We also attended his day care’s Christmas gathering. I went solo (i.e. minus a husband) and I was a bit apprehensive – sometimes his excitement overwhelms him and he runs me ragged – but he behaved so well. He was actually a delight! I felt a bit guilty watching some friends struggle with juggling two little ones on their own, but then I realised that I’d love nothing more than to feel that struggle so perhaps having the perks of dealing with just one 4 year old are my pay off for now.

I have also discovered that there is nothing more adorable than seeing the Little Mister singing Christmas songs with his little friends. Nawwwww.

Giving myself permission to ignore social media sometimes

Now, I have in no way abstained – I am certainly not that disciplined or extreme. I just realised that I had been picking my phone up instantly for every single notification that popped up for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat (ha – addict much?) instead of just letting things be so I could chill out or just exist in whatever moment I was in. I didn’t reply to everything right away. I didn’t spend hours reading blogs (although I do miss doing that more) in my rare down time. I tried to rest my brain, instead. If I wanted to be a zombie, I let myself be a zombie. It was that simple.

I still posted a fair bit, but I felt like it was more on my terms. I wasn’t just constantly reacting or responding to everything that was sent my way. If I made time for it, it was because I was in the right space to do so.

I hope I can keep that balance. It’s liberating to remember to unplug – even if it’s just for a few hours.

 A couple of nights of good sleep

They’ve been few and far between, but a couple of nights I managed to make it to about 7 hours of sleep and it felt like a huge victory after the last few weeks of interrupted sleep I’ve been having. I don’t want to jinx it, but I am hoping that this is the start of me feeling more human again. Sometimes sleep really does fix a lot of things.

A little bit of exercise is better than nothing

I felt a bit disappointed that I didn’t feel up to running this past week, but I am glad I did something. I did a couple of little mini ab work outs and went for a walk with the fam to the shops and back, and had a laugh doing some hip hop cardio work outs (because dancing is so much fun and I like to pretend I’m good at it – I’m not – and it’s even funnier if I do it in front of Mr Unprepared because he thinks I’m weird and I don’t care). I am feeling my ab muscles this week, but I’m glad I’ve been doing something about them. They have been the missing component of my exercise routine, in terms of wanting my body to (eventually) resemble some kind of toned, fit shape. I always need to feel that smug, virtuous feeling that I’ve done something and that I haven’t totally given up. I am glad I did a little. A little is ALWAYS better than nothing.

Having a nice manicure

I did my own nails yesterday and I’m loving them sick. It’s nothing too special (just a bit of festive gold glitter here and there), but it’s perked me up and made me feel like a ‘finished’ person 🙂

You know what I mean?

My nails are getting long and even though that can irritate me sometimes, I am kind of loving the look of them. I may have mentioned on Twitter that it’s probably only a matter of time before I become a pissed off Wolverine who can’t get a grip on anything (my tolerance is admittedly much much lower than that of the long nailed Kardashians of the world), but it’s fun for now!

Other stuff that’s made me happy:

  • Watching The Interview (that movie with Seth Rogen and Dave Franco). In theory, I should hate it, but it made me really laugh out loud when I needed it. Yeah, I am not the high brow person you think I am. Oh, what? You never thought I was? Well, thanks – you’re right haha.
  • Deciding on a Christmas present to send to my brother (that bastard who moved to Melbourne this year).
  • Knowing that the Little Mister wanted to get me a present for Christmas and knew exactly what he wanted to get me and that he took his dad to get it for me and it’s all wrapped up under the Christmas tree already. So cute. And yes. I know what it is because he told me (4 year olds should not be trusted to keep surprises to themselves haha). He’s already told me what he wants to get his dad, so it will be fun to do that too 🙂
  • Time to write my happy list. Alone. In peace.
  • Work
  • When good stuff happens to people I care about.
  • Conversations with good friends, reminding me of the importance of self care.

What is on your happy list this week? 

 

The Happy List #26

I had a choice between having a nap, working out or writing this week’s happy list. If you’re reading this, you know which one I picked. Honestly, I probably should have chosen the nap, right? I think this time of the year has caught up with me! It might be tiring, but it is fun.

Here are the things that have made me happy this past week…

November turning into December

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It’s not magazine perfect but it was decorated with love (and the help of a very enthusiastic 4 year old).

I have this big self imposed rule where I quite often refuse to do anything Christmas related until it is December (other than some early Christmas gift buying if I am feeling super organised). I’m stubborn about it. I feel like I want my Christmas celebrations to be about quality time, not quantity (i.e. starting in September). It also helps me to compartmentalise all that is involved with this time of year. I can put it in the ‘don’t worry about it yet’ basket for 11 months of the year!

But when December 1st rolls around, I am crazy for all things Christmas related. It’s so much fun when you have a little one. We’ve got the advent calendar (this time it’s a felt one that you can reuse every year which makes me feel very out of my parenting league). The tree is up. I put ‘Christmas’ in the Pinterest search bar. You know it’s serious, when you crack out your Pinterest account haha.

There will be so many more fun things to do in the lead up to Christmas. Yay!

Anniversary date night with that guy I married 8 years ago

I am not kidding when I tell you that we were excited about it for months. Our date nights out are often very few and far between, with us often settling for an ‘after the Little Mister has gone to bed’ date night in. We headed into Fremantle for a delicious and simple dinner at Little Creatures, before going for a nice walk and reliving the good times we’d shared when we’d lived very close by. We weren’t really out very late (we were a little sheepish about how tired we were haha) but it was just so bloody relaxing! Just the two of us, finishing conversations without being interrupted, holding hands. Making things up as we went along. Bliss.

We grabbed some takeaway dessert and came home to watch a movie. We slept in. Not much. But a lot by our standards.

It was so nice to connect as a couple – alone! I’m still bloody tired (you know when you get one OK night of sleep and then instead of being grateful your body decides that it wasn’t enough so you end up feeling more tired?), but I feel loved up and all that spew-in-a-bucket cheesy stuff.

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The best selfie we managed to get. You know when you’re weirdly self conscious about being seen taking a selfie by strangers? And then the wind was…windy and we were laughing at each other half the time.

Hearing the Little Mister singing Christmas songs

It’s just so darn cute. Especially when he’s learnt something new at day care and comes home and performs it for us with pride, using his little kid voice. Seriously. You’ll have to take my word for it. It’s frickin’ adorable.

Maintaining a small weight loss

I’ve been stoked to have lost about half a kilo in the last week or two. I’ve managed to maintain that loss (it is usually a really annoying plateau/hump for me) and even though it’s not much, it’s been really encouraging. I must keep motivated in the next few weeks though. As soon as I conquer a bit of my fatigue, I’ll be hitting it hard again this week coming. Yay. I never thought running would be my thing, but seeing how it’s been changing my body has been so amazing.

Being so proud of the Little Mister when he got his immunisations (and knowing they’re the last ones until he’s much much older)!

I was a bit nervous. The Little Mister had no recollection of getting his last immunisations (he was only 18 months old) so he had no idea what to expect, but all of the awareness of a 4 year old. I had explained to him that he was getting some needles to make him really healthy and strong. I warned him in a clear but gentle way that they would hurt for a second or two but that it would all be over really quickly. It helped that I have been getting lots of blood tests myself lately (my usual disclaimer: nothing to worry about by the way and no I am not pregnant – that’s the point). He was so excited to be such a big boy.

He came with me and he brought his precious stuffed hippo. He was adorable when he asked me if I would stay with him while he had his needles – as if I would be anywhere else. I had to have him in my lap, holding his arms down in a tight hug while two nurses gave him his two needles (one in each arm) at the exact same time – good tactical move for sure. He tried so hard to be brave. One of the needles hurt more than the other and he said a little surprised “Ow!”

Then the needle started to really sting him and he couldn’t hold it in anymore. He cried and looked so sad and bewildered. Oh, my heart!

We had to stick around for 15 minutes afterwards to make sure he wouldn’t have any adverse reactions and that was where the problems started. He was suddenly tired, overwhelmed and becoming irritable (a side effect). He screamed and cried when we had to leave. Like heartbreaking, volume 11 stuff – I am lucky enough to say that it was not like him at all. I had to scoop him up, carry him to the car and lever him into his car seat. He was almost inconsolable.

Later, I told him how he had been so brave and that I admired his courage and he was my super hero. He seemed to not believe he’d done a good job at being brave, but seeing him instantly calm when I told him that he was not in trouble for crying, that I understood that it is hard and even most grown ups don’t like needles, was just a really moving moment.

It might have been a tough day for him to begin with, but it was a lovely day full of cuddles and love and tenderness from then on. I am still so proud of him. I don’t want to raise a boy who thinks it’s bad to cry or feel pain. I want to raise a son who understands that it’s OK to and that true courage doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you do something even though you’re scared. I just felt like he learned to believe in himself a little more that day, you know?

Gosh, it’s hard work raising a human, but so rewarding.

Other stuff that has made me happy: 

  • Watching Elf with the Little Mister – our annual tradition.
  • Hearing about all the fun stuff the Little Mister did with my parents when he slept over for our date night.
  • Realising that the people who stick needles in my arm all the time are so nice and I am so grateful because it can be stressful for me.
  • Seeing the Little Mister in his ‘big school’ (he starts kindy next year) uniform for the first time, all proud of himself.
  • Master of None on Netflix.
  • Cider.
  • Wine.
  • I might have a problem.
  • OOPS.

Haha.

What is on your happy list? 

A Christmas message from (someone who is not) the Queen.

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OK, so I’m not the queen. Unless you’re talking about the queen of procrastination. Because I’m supposed to wrap the Little Mister’s presents from Santa and it’s halfway through Christmas Eve and I haven’t done it and I’m kind of mad because I thought he had elves to do that kind of annoying stuff? What kind of show are you running here, Santa? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?

I am also in no way regal or ‘proper’. I don’t think ‘the people’ would really appreciate my swearing, burping or crapness at sending a thank you note (although I do always show my appreciation somehow I just find it difficult to put that into writing that goes in the snail mail). Truly.

So here are the things I’d like to say to you all, my motley crew of amazing readers…just read the bits that apply (I have sorted my message into categories for your convenience because I’m awesome like that – you’re welcome):

If you do not celebrate Christmas…

I don’t care. I love you, man/woman. I hope you enjoy the holiday and whichever customs/traditions you most value. Have a great day off and spend it with loved ones! Woohoo! 🙂

PS Sorry about all the Christmas stuff – probably bored the pants off you. Thanks for hanging in there. Back to regular programming soon!

If you have children in your life…

Hug them really tight at this special time of year. As 2014’s news headlines have shown us, we are so lucky to have them and they are so lucky to have us. I hope you find joy in all the little traditions and create some very special memories. I know I am out-of-my-head excited to see the Little Mister enjoying all the Christmas wonder this year. He is starting to understand what Santa does and has helped with everything from baking to decorating the Christmas tree, to making gifts for loved ones.

May Santa deliver the presents safely (with no interruptions from excited sleepless children) and may you get some rest before The Big Day. May your children remain lovely, despite the sugar and the probable inability to nap properly.

I hope your day is magical. It really is so awesome to celebrate with children around.

If you are having a tough time…

Maybe you are grieving the loss of loved ones. Maybe you have just had the mother load of bad luck land on your doorstep and it feels like you can never catch a break. Maybe your family drives you f*cking insane at this time of year. Perhaps you struggle with mental illness or you feel lonely for whatever the reason. Just know that I am thinking of you. Do Christmas your way this year. Find small joys. Let love in. You deserve happiness, even if you’re not feeling it – just know you’re worthy of it. Let difficult people know you’re not interested in unnecessary drama or hurtful things. This should be a time of peace, but I get that it rarely is for many people. I still hope for you that you will have a peaceful Christmas somehow. I hope 2015 brings you better things.

If you saw my Little Mister have a mini meltdown at Woolies the other day…

You. Are. Wonderful. Human. Beings. Your kindness and your empathy were just so refreshing. What fantastic people. A little love shared by the baking aisle and then the fridges where they keep the quiches. Oh, you – I have all the time in the world for you. Let’s all be those lovely people at Christmas time. We’re all tired, we all have stress of varying degrees. A lot of us have tired children too. Let’s show a little kindness. We’re all in the same boat. Let’s survive it together! 🙂

A message for all of you…

Often Christmas time is a time of reflection for me. In amongst the chaos, I think about what family means to me. About the memories of my own childhood I’d like to recreate for my Little Mister. I think about how to do it better next year – how to give more freely and creatively, avoid negative stresses and to keep improving on the positives. It’s no wonder so many of us think about our new year’s resolutions at this time!

I hope that wherever you are, however you celebrate Christmas, that you have a wonderful day and a great holiday period. I hope you and your families stay safe and have plenty to eat. I hope there is laughter. Joy. Closeness. A nanna nap (lucky for those who can get it). Loose pants. Comfort. That you are lucky enough to feel the generosity of those around you. That you feel great because you gave too. May your Christmas most importantly, bring you the things that money can’t buy.

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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

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

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Wishing all of my readers a most Merry Christmas for 2013. Thank you so much for stopping by here all year. It’s been so amazing sharing my stories and ridiculous thoughts with you. I really appreciate your support and love!

I hope that your Christmas is spent with loved ones and is full of joy.

Stay safe and I hope you are not too stressed because I want you to enjoy this. It’s important to remember the Christmas spirit – whatever that means to you!

If someone you care about has not had a great holiday season, see what you can do to help them out. A strong support network is always important and I am thinking of you if it is indeed you who has not had an easy time. Some years are definitely better than others. I do know this.

If you do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you a fantastic holiday season anyhow and the same goes – I wish you good health, quality time with loved ones and lots of joy and laughter.

Lots of love from the Awesomely Unprepared family.

xxx

What Christmas means to me.

I love Christmas. I always have. It has never been all about the gifts I’ve received from Santa or my loved ones (although lots of excitement was to be had during my childhood), but it’s always been about love and family. It’s a time of year that we all come together and celebrate each other. It’s a really conscious effort to celebrate the joy of giving. I think I was asked once, when I was younger, what I loved more – my birthday or Christmas. Although, I do love birthdays (no matter how scarily old I get), I knew my answer straight away. Christmas. Of course it was Christmas. Because on my birthday, I was the only one receiving gifts but at Christmas time, everyone was special. Yeah yeah. I’ve always been a corny motherf*cker at heart.

And holy crap, it’s NEXT WEEK.

So what does Christmas mean to me? I was going to write a massive essay on the topic, but I imagine your brain might be frazzled as the silly season takes its toll. Enjoy this graphic 🙂

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Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate this time of year)!

Stay safe and find joy xxx

‘Twas the weeks before Christmas and everyone was stressed…

I found this in my ‘drafts’ folder. I wrote this last December (2012) in the lead up to Christmas. I don’t know why I didn’t press ‘publish’. I think my main message still applies – let’s all make this year’s festive season as happy as it can be and remember what’s really important xx

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Christmas.

I sometimes feel like I’m the only person wandering about just moderately stressed (as opposed to extremely). Am I doing it wrong? I still have a crapload of shopping to do, and while I do worry about whether I’ll get it done in time, I’m fairly confident I can. Maybe it’s the last few years that have helped take the edge off. Five years ago, my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Thailand until the 20th December, so the pressure was off – we just scrambled about when we got home and nothing bad happened! Last year the Little Mister was not much more than a newborn so we ordered a bunch of brag books online for all the grandparents and great grandparents, and no-one expected us to give anything, so anything above and beyond their expectations made us feel like superhumans (we managed to do pretty well considering).

Yesterday, I hit the shops early. I was in a clothing store with the Little Mister strapped into his pram. He’s a sociable little man and he tried to ‘speak’ to a lady who had her back turned. It was just cute babble (so nothing shocking or screamy). The lady jumped a mile. She whizzed around and looked so relieved that it was just a little kid. She said he scared the living daylights out of her and held her hand over her heart, saying it was still beating really fast from her scare. The Little Mister sensed her fear and began to cry (after being so happy and friendly a moment earlier).

Later, I was manouvering my way into a car park. It was a very busy time of day, but there were spots opening up everywhere and I was blessed when a great one (in just the right position) became free. I pulled in, but because of other drivers consistently moving past in the opposite direction (off-putting), my angle was a little off. I decided to put my reverse lights on and adjust my angle ever so slightly so as to make sure there was ample space for both cars that were next to mine. I slowly but surely (and vigilantly) inched backwards (we really are talking inches – it was all I needed) and in the space of 30 seconds two drivers (who had been several metres away at the time) kept beeping their horns at me. They were so sure I was about to hit the lot of them. Their defences were well and truly up.

Everybody is so on edge that the smallest things are spooking them. I just wish I could hug everyone (well the ones who won’t bite) and say that it’s OK to feel the way you feel (who knows what each person’s life story is), but it’s also OK to just slow down. Chill out. Remember what Christmas is all about. Wish the exhausted shop assistant a Merry Christmas. Wish your tired customers a Merry Christmas. Have a laugh when you come face to face with a pram or a shopping trolley in a squeezy store (rather than giving a huffy puffy look of anger). Treat others how you would like to be treated. Tell your family you love them and accept them for who they are. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.The good tidings you receive back will make you feel so much better about the tough things you might be dealing with at the time. You might be having a tough day/month/year but be careful. The innocent person who you might be glaring at or abusing might be having it tough too (they may just have a better attitude about it). Be nice in car parks – I’m talking to you, That Guy Who Flips the Bird at People Who Aren’t Doing Anything Wrong.

Stop jumping at every little thing. Breathe! Take a break when it starts to feel suffocating. Fresh air is good. Step out for a bit! Plan your day out carefully (but take it easy when those plans don’t work out so well). When in doubt, give to others (whether it’s simply kindness or a special good deed). It will make everybody involved feel good.

In the summer time, when the weather is fine.

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It’s finally happened. The weather has changed for the season. It is no longer winter or that frustrating first month of spring where the weather has no idea what it’s doing and no-one knows what to wear or what to do with themselves. It’s that time where I can look at the weather forecast without sighing or groaning, because my “outside of the house” plans have to be changed constantly. Nothing makes me happier than seeing all of those little cartoon like suns staring back at me from my nerdy weather app.

So what’s getting me excited?

Exercise (and hopefully weight loss).

I’ll just say it: I am not a gym person. If I didn’t have to worry about the Little Mister, I’d probably go to a bunch of Zumba classes on the regular, but you won’t find me staring at gym equipment all confused and embarrassed in a gym any time soon (because that’s basically what I would do). Also, it’s a known fact that staring at exercise machines doesn’t actually make you fit, FYI. So I like to build on incidental exercise and get out and about. I’ve started walking more (not as much as I’d like yet but we’re getting there) and eating a little less. There’s something about better weather that stops me from reaching for the comfort food as often as I do in the winter.

I’m a bit obsessed with my new gadget: the famous Fitbit I keep going on about on Twitter. It tracks just about everything fitness and food wise, which is keeping me very motivated. I’m learning lots of cool things the more I use it. Turns out, frantically shopping for dresses which don’t fit (in the knowledge that your husband is wandering aimlessly around the shopping centre trying to entertain the Little Mister) is a ridiculously good work out. I think I should do it more! Maybe eventually the dresses will actually fit me haha 😉

I’ve given myself a goal. I want to lose around 8kg total by some time next February (so far I’ve achieved about 11% of my goal which isn’t much but when you name it as a percentage it sounds really impressive), but I’d be happy to even just lose a couple by the time we have a family wedding to attend just after Christmas! I want to feel physically comfortable, but if I’m truly honest, I also just want to put on a dress without looking in the mirror, feeling bloated and blah. Not to mention my constant paranoia about starting accidental pregnancy rumours – NO! I JUST HAD LUNCH! I really love the party atmosphere that comes with summer, and I want to look my best in a summer dress. Although, I’m not that brave about bathing suits yet.

I love the endorphin rush I get from being out and about more. It really does help my sanity. I’d almost forgotten what that felt like.

More ways to entertain the Little Mister.

I admit, in the winter I get really bored and stir crazy. It’s not so easy to think, “F*ck it – get your sh*t together. We’re going to the park/beach/backyard.” when your toddler is being a little monster. Those little moments are priceless sometimes. Although, you can’t always win. Either the slides at the park are wet (hopefully from rain…), or they’re too hot in the sun! But I’m trying to be positive here 😉

I love that the Little Mister is a November baby because it always feels a bit festive when his birthday rolls around. The weather is nice and everyone’s gearing up for Christmas and fun times.

This year we’re getting him a whole bunch of outdoorsy gifts and I’m so excited for him. He loves being outside and I love that about him!

Christmas.

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I am a bit of a Christmas nerd. Not the super organised kind who has all their gifts purchased by July, but the Christmas spirit kind. I love the fact that I have a little one to build memories with and I love spending time with my family, giving gifts and finding ways to show we care and appreciate them all year round. I like looking for embarrassing outfits for the Little Mister (while he’s still young enough for me to get away with it), showing him Christmas decorations and singing the songs with him. Sure, the songs usually sh*t me to tears, but I’ll do anything to give him those memories. Because I’m a sentimental old(ish) bat now.

Christmas planning does not come without its stresses. We’re usually running around between my parents’ place and the inlaws’. My best laid plans to shop way ahead of time, never seem to materialise (despite me thinking of gift ideas all year). Some people don’t feel the spirit in the same way the Unprepared Household does. But we do it anyway and it’s always so worth it.

I feel like the holiday period starts with Christmas and ends with Australia day (late January). It’s a time for family and friends.

Camping. 

Yep. The first experience didn’t scare us enough, so we’re doing it again! This time, we’ll be taking a camper trailer (the type with the pull out ends)! We’re purchasing it from my parents (they’re upgrading) and while it’s a little weird for me (I was the Little Mister’s age when my parents bought it), it’s such a bargain because I know the love and work that has gone into maintaining it over the years. It will help us to contain the Little Mister better and has everything you need in it (fridge, stove top etc).

Not to mention, no blow up mattress! YES!!!

I have such amazing childhood memories of camping each summer with my family and friends. I love the idea of doing the same for the Little Mister.

Early morning sunshine.

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I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and sometimes I curse it when the Little Mister wakes too early, but it makes me feel better rested (as much as a parent can be) and ready to start the day – much more than a wet, windy, gloomy morning makes me feel! I am that dork who will be driving down the road with a massive grin on my face, just because it’s summer and I’m alive. I can’t help it. Told you. Sentimental (29 year) old bat.

I also love:

  • a cider on a relaxed, sunny Sunday afternoon
  • wearing thongs (flip flops) to the shops without feeling like a total bogan
  • spectacular sunsets
  • tropical cocktails (vodka based of course)
  • the bright colours of clothing, nature and beachy decor
  • good friends returning to our hometown from far and wide
  • eating al fresco
  • mellow evenings
  • pretending I’m any good at water sports

 

 

What do you love about summer?

It’s that time of year again!

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So last Christmas was the Little Mister’s first Christmas ever. So that was really cool. I dressed him in a cute outfit (it was wrecked by lunchtime probably) and everybody clucked over the new addition to the family. He was probably around one and a half months old then (I’m no mathematician). He slept and had his milk. Cried occasionally. The usual newborn baby thing. You know how it is (or not – how would I know) haha.

I like to think of this Christmas (2012) as his second first Christmas. This year the Little Mister is a toddler! He is moving around by himself (when he’s not crash tackle hugging people), he’s eating new foods and he’s ‘talking’ a lot. He understands when something exciting is happening (cue clapping and smiling and whole body wiggling) and he can take in so much more of his surroundings! He wants to know what the world is about and he’s so curious. This has really brought out my Christmas spirit. Last year I felt the excitement of our first Christmas as a little family. This year is all about sharing it with the Little Mister 🙂

I’m really excited about the fact that he can stay awake (sometimes painfully so – but we’ll look at the positives) more, feed himself (my husband and I may not have to take turns not eating on Christmas day this year – a true gift), and run about exploring and playing. SO COOL.

OK, so I haven’t really bought many presents yet (despite the usual good intentions to start earlier – we all know how that works out), but I have really enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree. I might have bought over 150 new baubles this year. Despite already owning a full set. I’ve become a little bit more nuts than I already was last year. I’m starting to get delusional ideas that I might be able to change colour themes EVERY YEAR. However, the storage space in my house (and probably my husband) say “not so much”. However, I am pretty sure this problem will take care of itself, because so far we have lost a few baubles to the bin fairy on account of *ahem* vigourous handling…who could be responsible for that? I don’t know…

The Christmas tree is encased in a big, colourful play pen. Next year we need a bigger play pen. The branches stick out a bit at the bottom and I’m not entirely sure there’s enough room in there for all the presents. The tree looks AMAZING (if I do say so myself) …well, until you glance about half way down, where the decorations suddenly become very sparse. It is the epitome of a childproofed Christmas tree. Maybe someone should invent festive tree decorations that also double as child safe teething toys (BPA and chemical free blah blah blah). Problem solved. SERIOUSLY. SOMEONE SHOULD REALLY DO THIS. DO I HAVE TO THINK OF EVERYTHING?!?!?!

tumblr_me09wqoOGH1rlf48uo1_500_largePic: That kid is about to eat or break something. I just know it.

On another note, it turns out that Santa is just some scary individual who hangs out at the shops tormenting toddlers and babies. His big fake beard and glasses ensure that your child cannot tell if he is friendly or not, so worrying about whether you want the cute photo package that includes wallet photos and a keyring vs just the standard six photo prints becomes the least of your concerns when the bawling begins!

Also turns out that the jolly sounds of “Ho Ho Ho – Merry Christmas” are actually a deep, intimidating boom to a toddler and doesn’t actually make them feel any more joyful. In fact, picture the opposite result.

While other sensible parents might just say, “OK, let’s just avoid Santas from now on”, my husband and I (after awkwardly abandoning the photo shoot with shopping centre Santa) decided that it’s time to desensitise the Little Mister. You know, because we’re totally child psychology experts (don’t ask me about my actual real life degree in behavioural science and my half a degree – totally counts – in childhood education because I’ve just blown all credibility by writing this blog). He clearly hasn’t had enough Christmas-ifying yet! We started saying “Santa” repeatedly while looking positively, dementedly could-possibly-be-smoking-crazy-drugs-but-we-wouldn’t-because-we’re-responsible-parents happy (hoping it will create a positive association). We bought a Santa hat at the supermarket and started saying, “Ho Ho Ho” in various voices and tones to him, while wearing the hat. This brought mixed results. As well as the sight of us being ridiculous.

We started saying “Merry Christmas” a lot and clapping, because clapping means you’re happy. I started showing the Little Mister Santa movies (still waiting for Elf – my FAVOURITE), even though I’m a perfect parent who NEVER lets my child watch a television (hahaha I’m hilarious).

May I add that my father in law wants to dress as Santa for Christmas this year to hand out the gifts?

I’ll let you know how it all works out.

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