Tag: memories

The happy list #2

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Here’s what’s been making me happy lately…

Staying cosy inside when it’s raining outside.

While I’m not really a winter person, I do love the occasional excuse to stay in all warm and cosy, when the weather isn’t particularly friendly outside. There’s something really comforting about having a roof over your head where you feel safe and snug while the rain beats down and the wind rages around you. It’s time for movies and warm food and having absolutely nowhere to go. I really feel lucky to be able to take my shelter for granted.

Re-living great memories of last year’s overseas trip.

I’ve been enjoying the ‘On This Day’ function on Facebook, lately. I’m such a dork, but every day I look forward to seeing what I was getting up to on that date, in previous years. At the moment, I’m cycling through great photos and comments and memories of our trip to Korea and Japan (and Singapore). On this day last year, we were in Hiroshima. All the memories come flooding back in the best way. Everything from the powerful experience of visiting the museum, to the beauty of the city and the fun we had exploring with one of my brother’s old school friends and his fiancee who live in Japan.

I think I’ll feel a bit sad when the memories stop cycling through my Facebook. But that would be an item for a ‘sad’ list and this is a happy list…moving right along!

Getting back into routine (I hope). 

Most of last week, the Little Mister had a cold that wanted to linger. So he missed two of his day care days and he was somewhat quarantined a lot of the time. My plans were all over the place and I had to miss work and a solo trip to the city. Even my time to exercise suffered a bit. It wasn’t that bad (we did get some awesome quality time together and he wasn’t deathly sick – still my happy dude), but it did feel a bit chaotic and not very productive. Now it’s a new week and I’m looking forward to getting my momentum back and feeling more on top of everything! You know, before the next thing happens to break routine again, because that’s life!

A selfish Friday night in. 

On Friday, Mr Unprepared had a bucks night to attend, so once the Little Mister was all tucked up in bed, I had the evening to myself. I’d thought that I’d miss the hubby, but honestly, when I realised I could have some selfish me-time, the perks were quite good! I could stay up later without disturbing anyone (usually Mr Unprepared passes out early because of his cycling routine so I tend to begrudgingly take myself to bed before I’m really sleepy most nights of the week – even the weekends). I watched chick flicks and read blogs without feeling conflicted about how to spend my time. I didn’t have to watch the footy (although our team won so that’s awesome). I fell asleep watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix in bed. I spread out like a happy starfish haha. It was wonderful! Only thing missing was wine, but I couldn’t be bothered going to the bottle shop earlier in the day – laziness wins over wine in this house, quite often haha. It is nice just being selfish sometimes.

Chicken soup. 

I’d been feeling gross all weekend. Fighting off the Little Mister’s cold and eating some not-really-good-for-me food will do that. So Sunday was a great day to detox a little. I ate really simply and made a yummy chicken soup for dinner. I felt SO much better after. It really does have healing qualities, that stuff, don’t you think?

Making plans. 

Over the weekend we booked Lion King tickets for 2016. I am SO excited. The Lion King was a big deal in my family growing up. We went nuts over it. My brother and I wore out the VHS version we owned. We knew all the songs. We had the soundtrack. My parents loved it too. It was oddly a real bonding experience that lasted several years! We even have strangely fond memories of the car breaking down on the way home from watching it at the cinema for the very first time haha.

So we’re all going to go to the musical together (with Mr Unprepared who can finally see our Lion King madness firsthand)! Yay!

We’ve also decided when/how we’ll celebrate our wedding anniversary later this year too. We’re going to spend a night in a nice hotel in the city and get away as a couple for the first time in a long time. So. Excited. We can eat dinner somewhere cool that we’ve heard about but never been to (because kid) and just hang out. The two of us. It will be so good. I can’t wait. We don’t get enough date night time, so this will be a big deal!

A part of me is worried I’ve jinxed everything by mentioning it ahead of time, but sometimes, just knowing something good is on the horizon can be a great sanity saver when you feel stir crazy!

So that’s this week’s list! Tell me – what’s been making you feel happy lately? x

Trip of a lifetime: One year later.

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Exactly one year ago, my family took a very important trip. We went to South Korea. We also couldn’t help but add Singapore and Japan to the list (which were AMAZING), but let’s face it. Korea was where it was at on a very personal level.

If you’re new to the blog, let me quickly catch you up. My brother and I were adopted from South Korea when we were only a handful of months old. We’ve been raised as Aussies and until 2014, we’d never been back to Korea before. The opportunity came up (after years of talking about it) because everyone in the family was free to do it at the same time in June 2014. We just had to seize the moment and book that shit in!

We travelled for a month. Myself, Mr Unprepared, the Little Mister (who was 2 and a half), my brother and my/our parents (adoptive but I prefer to call them my ‘real’ parents because they are).

Looking back on the experience a year later, I have so many mixed feelings! Some of my memories are just amazing. I feel so much pride that we undertook such a crazy journey – especially with a 2 year old in tow. We ate some amazing food, we soaked up the culture. We lived out of suitcases. We just threw ourselves into it and got as much out of the experience as we possibly could.

I feel grateful. I am so glad I had that experience. On a personal level, it really cleared some things up for me. I’ve never had a desire to find my biological family. I mean, never say never, but up until now my feelings have not changed. Going to Korea really made me feel comfortable with this. The language barriers, the cultural differences (travelling with a child really highlighted this). Being reunited with your birth family would be an enormous undertaking. It wouldn’t be that easy. And that’s if your biological relatives even wanted to meet you (there’s a lot of shame). I don’t think I am missing enough in my gorgeous life to be willing to go through so much. I am at peace with that. Really, deeply peaceful about it.

This trip changed my life. I wondered if I’d feel a strange resentment towards the country that gave me up and made me look ‘different’ from a lot of my Aussie peers (a great source of curiosity for the ignorant). Would I want to back pedal and claim no likeness to the Korean people? Would I feel so culture shocked that it traumatised me? Would I feel ugly if I compared myself to their beauty standards (they’re big on plastic surgery and the K-pop image)? Where the hell would that leave me after spending my childhood feeling inferior to my white friends (luckily I’m well over that now)?

Turns out, I realised I own my identity as an individual. A unique person who has an amazing story of my own to tell. I got to go to this strange (to me) and wonderful country and I got to sit on both sides of the fence, so to speak. I realised I’m different everywhere I go! And I’m so stoked with that! I’m just me. I’m not a culture. I am not a race. I’ve never felt more ownership over who I am in my life. That trip made me stronger. I will be eternally grateful for it. It changed who I am because it didn’t change who I am. How’s that for confusing? But do you know what I mean? Realising that visiting Korea wasn’t going to unravel me or throw my identity into chaos and confusion, was so…oh I don’t know the word. It was positively powerful.

There are some tough memories of course. The weird, overwhelming sadness I felt at times. Shit had happened to me in this country. It led me to an amazing life, but shit happened. Shit I’d always wondered about and felt sensitive about (rejection issues anyone?). While I’ve worked hard for a lot of my adult years to understand myself better and to grow through these feelings, visiting there unexpectedly (who was I kidding?) opened up some wounds again. I felt very tender. Add the fatigue and stress of wrangling a 2 year old – probably leaving me a bit more vulnerable – and there were some feelings/moments that still feel very raw to this day. I hope that rawness fades over time.

Sometimes I even think, who the eff did we think we were trying this kind of trip with a small child?!! The things we did! The stress we were under daily! The fast pace of the holiday! Even the child free me would find it a huge task! It really wasn’t the kind of trip you would normally plan, with a toddler in mind. At least not something I (a big chicken) would normally plan! But we just had to do it. We couldn’t waste time. No-one wanted any regrets. This was the trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful that our beautiful Little Mister got to share it with me. With us. How very special.

A lot of fun was had. Some days I just walked around in awe. I couldn’t believe I was able to have such an amazing experience. I wanted to absorb everything I was seeing. Oh, if eyes were cameras, dammit!

So a year on, I feel a bit jealous of the travelling me of 2014 (certainly doesn’t help that my parents went to New York without me – the injustice!!), but I feel happy to be home too. Feeling more settled than I have in a long time.

Hashtag f*cking blessed.

Peace out xo

Reflection on the year that was.

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I want 2015 to be as peaceful as this photo makes me feel x

Look, I am a total New Year nerd. As much as I work on self improvement and celebrating moments all year round, I just cannot resist the allure of December turning into January. I get to use a new diary (whatever’s the cutest at Typo – yay) and everything feels like a fresh start. When I discovered these questions over at Maxabella Loves (and some great answers from Kelly over at A Life Less Frantic) I couldn’t resist. The perfect way to spend a little quiet time (lucky me) on a NYE morning.

Here goes!

1. What word do you think best summed up 2014?

Brave. It probably wasn’t very outwardly noticeable to others, but for me it was a big theme. I started to speak up in small ways and to become more assertive. I learnt to be brave enough to say ‘no’ and brave enough to say ‘yes’. I became braver in sharing more of myself and my life on my blog. I stopped censoring so much. I did things that had scared me all my life and I triumphed. I think perhaps this explains my obsession with Sara Bareille’s song which is obviously called Brave.

2. What did you do for the first time this year?

I visited the place I was born. I had so many unresolved feelings about being adopted. Feelings I probably didn’t even fully realise were unresolved until I got there. Stuff that made me sad. Stuff about my decision to not search for biological parents. Stuff that weighed on me. Which brings me to the next question…

3. What is one thing that happened that will have lasting consequences?

Being in Busan, South Korea (where I was born) was HUGE. I finally know what the people of my birth country are like. I know so much more about their customs, their food, their way of living. I also know about the language barriers. The cultural differences between Korea and Australia – as well as some similarities. I see a little of what could have been and I am glad for what has been. Korea is no longer some weird mythical far away place I have to put on every form ever (which still pisses me off haha). I realise more fully that my identity is MINE. It is not defined by where I was born or where I’ve grown up – that is just a part of it. I am ME from wherever I am from and I am OK with that 🙂 This has brought me so much peace (after 30 years). I cannot begin to tell you. HUGE.

4. Was there anything you wish you’d done differently? Why? How?

I wish I had been less affected by the drama of other people. I wish I had been able to practice maintaining my own inner peace. While I am a very compassionate person, some things just shouldn’t be my battle.

5. Do you have a favourite moment from the year? What made it special?

Oh. So. Many. A vast collection of moments that showed me how much I love the Little Mister – any time my heart burst. No better feeling. While there were many mixed feelings about visiting Korea, I am SO glad we went there (and Japan and Singapore). I am glad we travelled. I am glad we had those experiences. Once in a lifetime stuff. A big highlight of the year. Sorry to keep bringing it up haha.

6. What lessons has 2014 taught you about yourself? About others?

I’ve learnt that I am inspired easily. If I have a tough time, I have the drive and determination to turn it around. I rarely just sit there and give up or wallow. I see obstacles and mentally challenging times as a call to action. I realise now that this is a strength of mine, whereas I think I always took this attitude for granted. I’ve learnt that there are people in this world who are ‘dumpers’ and ‘drainers’ and that it’s entirely up to me how I choose to react (or not react) to such treatment. Take it personally or realise that person is being an a**hole and move on? I think I know what I’d rather do. It’s a work in progress!!

7. How will the lessons from this past year change the way you approach the new year?

I just want to keep building on my personal strength and courage that I have found in the last year or two. I want to be less ruffled by things that do not matter. I want to beat my anxiety.

8. What do you most want to do in 2015?

Keep blogging, have a happy healthy family, watch the Little Mister grow. Chase whatever wonderful opportunities come my way. I love that I don’t know what those are yet. I want to say yes more but I want to say no more. It’s all about getting them in the right balance 🙂

9. What do you most want to change about yourself? The world?

*best beauty pageant voice* I want peace. Peace for the world. More compassion. I want for us to all become less self absorbed and more mindful of others. What we do/say/write affects other people. While we shouldn’t worry too much about what others might think of us when we make the best decisions for ourselves, we should be considerate and kind. A lot more considerate. Remember our manners. There’s a difference between being honest and being an a**hole about it.

10. What one word do you hope will sum up what you hope to achieve in 2015?

You could probably sense this, but my key word will be ‘peace’. Peace in my mind, peace in my family, peace in my community, peace in the world.

PEACE OUT.

OMG ‘peace’ is a weird looking word. I think I have officially typed it too many times – ever have that happen? Haha.

If you want to answer these questions too, please let me know where i can find them – or you can leave your answers in the comments 🙂 I don’t care if they’re super long 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

What we’ve been up to: March-April 2014.

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Sometimes life feels like one big blur and I easily forget all of the things we have enjoyed/achieved or survived! I want to be able to look back and appreciate it all. It’s also a way of remembering what to say when someone asks, “What have you been up to lately?” because I blank out every. single. time.

Awkward.

Friends and family.

In the past month, I celebrated the temporary arrival home of a beautiful friend (who stays with her fiancé in the US). We caught up a couple of times and the Little Mister appears to have a bit of a crush (he won’t stop talking about her)! I miss this gal so much and I am so excited for her next trip home – we’re going to have a hens night!

Mr Unprepared and I dressed up like old people for an old (haha) friend’s 30th birthday party and played lawn bowls badly.

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The next day I backed it up with a kitchen tea for Mr Unprepared’s gorgeous cousin. I tried to look young again, but I was feeling a little ordinary! It was so great to catch up with the ‘ladies in-laws’ and this made me excited for the May wedding!

We caught up with some friends at the beach for a play date and I wish I’d taken photos because the weather was stunning! The Little Mister made a little friend and everyone made sand castles. I still have SO MUCH cuttlefish to clean out of the back of my car (thank you little collectors)!

I had dinner with a couple of girlfriends chatting about everything. EVERYTHING. It was nice to get out of town and driving home was a little exciting (or scary) as a storm had suddenly appeared! The lightning was amazing as we headed down the freeway. I would have taken photos but then we would have died. So sorry.

We celebrated my mother in law’s birthday last weekend and you’d swear the Little Mister thought it was his birthday.

It was great to have a slightly quieter month, with lots of quality time with my grandparents. I love that the Little Mister gets to see them so much (especially as he’s old enough to remember them), so we take any opportunities we can. The Little Mister has become very good at asking for “coffee and a muffin”. He doesn’t get coffee of course (can you imagine?!!), but he’s been brainwashed by all the adults in his life (except me)! Very impressionable haha.

Travel plans. 

Lots was achieved in this area. We booked all of our accommodation in Korea and in a big rush (accommodation options were being booked up by the minute), we also somehow managed to sort out Japan. Now we just have to get the train and coach transport sorted! It’s great because now we can think of all the fun stuff we’d like to see/do. We’re busy figuring out what we’ll be packing and what we’ll be carrying it in with all manner of back packs, suitcases and carry bags! We have an abundance of great luggage, but no idea which combination we’ll use for easy travel! We had several family meetings over whichever weekends we could all get together (we are going with my parents and brother), where everyone sat around with all the Apple products you have ever seen, researching and confusing ourselves with ALL OF THE REVIEWS on tripadvisor.

 

The Little Mister. 

We’ve been potty training. It started off a little rocky (not sure that he was quite ready yet) but he had some developmental spurts and suddenly something has clicked. We just do it at home for now, with nappies while we’re out, but he’s doing great. I learnt that the anticipation of toilet training a toddler for the first time was actually scarier (terrifying in fact) than just mucking in and giving it a go. We took a relaxed and positive approach and it seems to have paid off. It’ll be a while before we’re all the way there, but we’re not rushing – just taking it a step at a time. I get a little bit over the top excited when he takes himself to the potty without my help (or even without me noticing on occasion). So proud!

I have noticed that he is finally teething again. His last ever molar. Last I checked it was a bit bruised under the gum and waiting to cut through. Another of many little milestones.

We had a bit of a fun practice day for our big holiday with him recently. My mum and I took him on the train to the city for the first time. He was so good and only got the littlest bit restless (this was all without the aid of any electronic devices which I’m sure would help even more on longer journeys). We bought some things for our trip and then had sushi for lunch. He was so cute, trying to copy us as he ate his tuna roll. He loved the little fish shaped soy sauce squeezie thingies. Who doesn’t, right? He asks to go on the train all the time now. Breaks my heart to tell him we’re just going to the supermarket haha.

The (well…slightly more) boring stuff.

We’ve been busy budgeting and squirrelling away holiday money. It’s been going better than we expected. Just goes to show that when you pay closer attention to what you spend, there are so many savings to be made! It’s made me appreciate what we have so much more and has made me realise just how much more financially comfortable we can be even when we’re not saving for a trip. I think we’ll do things a lot differently when we return from Japan and Korea. Money has been tight in the past too, but I think it’s easier when you know it’s for a really awesome reason.

While having a family budget isn’t very new to us, we did add the extra meal planning aspect. Groceries can be so much more streamlined when you know exactly what you’re eating each week. You don’t have to buy “just in case” food items or waste as much food. Saving money – yay!

We’ve been enjoying more family time, visiting the farmers markets, exercising together, taking the Little Mister to just about every park ever. Running wild on the beach. We didn’t always have that balance in life before and it feels good.

 

Now that I look at what I’ve written, we’ve been fairly busy in between all the usual daily routine stuff we have to do all week. Sometimes I get all weird and think I haven’t done enough or seen enough people (it’s a weird insecurity that bugs me from time to time and I’m working on not equating being ‘busy’ with feeling important). It’s good to check in with myself and appreciate it all.

So…what have YOU been up to lately? x

Camping 2014 – Daily photos: Beach time.

When we go camping, we have learnt to expect the weather to do almost anything. It’s the kind of place where you can experience a few seasons in just one day. On this trip, the weather was a bit windy, cool and cloudy on and off for a majority of the time, but we got a couple of really wonderful clear days. On these days we did all we could to make sure we had fun on the water. It was fun to watch the Little Mister running free along the sand of the safe little beaches. So much joy! So many happy dances!

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The water was so clear and in some spots it was shallow a long way out, which made it great for the Little Mister to have a splash around. We spent a good deal of time sitting with him in the shallows, getting sand in *ahem* places as we played with the muddy sand and made gloopy sand castles. On one of our beach days, Mr Unprepared asked me if I wanted to get out of the water or go and do something else and for the first time in what felt like months, I completely honestly said, “You know what? I’m all good. I am just content being right here in the moment.”

I wasn’t craving extra stimulation or new activities. I had nowhere else to be. There was no time limit. Nothing dragging me away. It felt so good and it was then that I knew I was starting to relax well into holiday mode.

Besides sitting on our bums in cold water, we also tried our hands at kayaking and paddle boarding.

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Above is a photo of my parents taking the Little Mister kayaking (he’s at the front on my mum’s lap). He would “help” to paddle and he really loved being out on the water in his cute little life jacket. They came back after a short trip and we asked him if he’d like to climb out and go do something else in the water, but he said no quite emphatically and so my parents had no choice but to take him out for another whirl haha. Toddlers are the boss.

Mr Unprepared and I also had fun taking the Little Mister out for a kayaking session and while there was one iffy moment when he said he’d like to get up and proceeded to make an attempt, we had a great time. I couldn’t really help with the paddling and the Little Mister didn’t really understand the concept of paddling in time with your partner, but we made it back to land eventually 😛

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Mr Unprepared and I tried our hands at stand up paddle boarding (we’d had a taste of it the previous year) and as there was quite a stiff breeze blowing the opposite way to where I wanted to go, I may have accidentally (but totally on purpose if anybody asks) ended up on that strip of land you see across the water. My centre of gravity when standing (due to the wind) made paddling difficult so I was on my knees mostly. You wait. When they invent ‘on your knees’ paddle boarding, I will be the champion and you won’t be laughing then. Luckily for me, my mum has any photo evidence of this and I currently do not. However, I did get a photo of my husband showing off.

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Let me add that he is bigger and stronger than I am so he had a totally unfair advantage. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!! Also, I almost paddled over a sting ray at one point so I had some challenges. But that is a separate moment to the time when I almost stood on one in the shallows and my family yelled a lot of nonsense at me that I didn’t understand, which was kind of scary. Mostly because of the yelling and not as much because of the sting ray. Sting rays are lovely except for the whole deadly barbed tail thing.

Anyway, that concludes my photographic record of 2014’s camping experience! You can see my other photos here, here and here!

Now it’s back to real life and routine. Routine that doesn’t involve daily afternoon cheese blow outs and lack of any serious decision making (being an adult is hard y’all). Now it’s time to make the house look nice, save like crazy and prepare for our mid year trip to Korea and Japan! I like 2014 so far 🙂

If you have any questions about what it’s like camping with a toddler, where we actually went or about anything you’ve seen in my photos, feel free to ask! You can find me on Facebook too x

Camping 2014 – Daily photos: Sight seeing.

Even though we’ve stayed at the same place for most of my life (we calculated that we’ve only ever taken 8 years of my life off from camping in the same town annually), there are some spots we just have to visit. You know, just in case something has changed. You never know. One of these spots (which never changes) is the historic water wheel. Which is also a great place to drive to when you’ve started to lose the plot because your toddler won’t do day naps while you’re away and if he doesn’t sleep soon, you’re going to get really grumpy. So you chuck him into his car seat super quickly (before he even knows what’s happening), strap him in while he calls out for his shoes…”Shoes! Shoes!”

…And then you reply a little more menacingly than you intended, “We won’t need shoes where WE’RE GOING.”

When your toddler falls asleep almost instantly from the movement of your car, you head towards the water wheel and it’s a really nice place to sit and relax as you soak in the scenery. Without ever opening your car door, because you just cannot bear to wake your child who hasn’t napped in days. So you take photos through the windscreen and Instagram them to kill some time. Then you drive home and your child wakes up, wondering if he did indeed go anywhere. Job done.

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We visited the water wheel twice in the same day, because later we wanted to show a couple of my mum’s lovely international relatives around. Oh well, I thought. The Little Mister will at least remember this time!

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The weather wasn’t as sunny by then, but I kind of love the way the light fell on the rocks and the water wheel (that thing to the right).

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We also visited the light house (that tiny thing in the distance that sticks up in the air).

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The Little Mister thought it was a castle. Which was quite cute, really.

See my other camping photos here and here x

Camping 2014 – Daily photos: Eat and drink.

Camping sure isn’t what it used to be. I have memories of eating burnt sausages, tinned spaghetti and if we were lucky we had a dessert of canned rice cream. Of course these things taste horrible at home, but while camping we were in culinary heaven! These days we are spoilt. I don’t know if we could quite call it “glamping” yet (or at least I am not willing to admit to it), but let’s say our campsite meal times have become a lot more creative and delectable. In fact, it could be argued that we eat better while camping than we do when we’re at home. I think I tend to justify it because we’re burning so many more calories while we’re away, but I will admit it isn’t exactly cost effective – we have to save that bit more to live like that. Still, we do save a lot of money by camping and being self sufficient in other ways, so…yeah, I’m just making excuses now haha. Also, we stay near a bunch of wineries, cheese places, chocolate companies and breweries. The local produce is spectacular and who are we to deny it?

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I got to sample some great beer and cider one day (mind you – not excessively but I’m a light weight since becoming a parent) when we toured around stocking up the cooler in our car (the weather was a bit iffy so we enjoyed a day of driving and sampling of all the yummies). It was wonderful – especially because Mr Unprepared was the designated driver. However, he may have got his revenge when I *aherm* fell asleep in the back seat of the car next to the Little Mister and woke up feeling a bit green as we were being driven around on winding, corrugated gravel roads while my loving husband ‘explored’. Blergh.

I think the rise of the portable Weber barbecues has played a part too. We noticed that nearly every campsite had one set up. They can be an oven as well as a barbecue, which means you can sit in your camp chairs eating a roast every night if you want to!! Amazing. We had just acquired one using a bunch of gift certificates Mr Unprepared had won through work, so we were really excited to give it a burl. We may have burnt a few things, but we were getting better at familiarising ourselves with its settings as the holiday progressed. Between my parents and ourselves, we were able to cook some great meals!

And of course there were the afternoon nibbles.

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We excelled at eating cheese, cured meats, crackers, dips and many other delicacies. We started off strong at the beginning of the holiday, but the nibbles plates became a little more sparse as time wore on and we realised we just couldn’t handle the enormity of it all anymore! I knew it was getting crazy when the Little Mister disappeared into my parents’ caravan and emerged with a sizeable chunk of stolen camembert in his mouth, looking very smug with his new camping lifestyle. He may not have been as smug when Mr Unprepared had to dig his hand in and recover as much as possible (it was a bit rich for this toddler’s tummy). Fun times!

Pictured above, you can just see Mr Unprepared sitting with his hoodie over his head and his wide brimmed hat secured on top. Unfortunately, this journey was filled with a few windswept, cold days and we were trying all sorts of things to keep the freezing air out of our bones. Later in the piece, some shades were rigged up around the sides of my parents’ annex (where we did most of our ‘living’), which improved things immensely.

Meal times were made a bit easier than last year’s because we packed our IKEA high chair (the ones you’ll find in most cafés these days – lightweight and easy to take apart or to clean). The Little Mister was contained for a while and we were all able to enjoy a meal together like at home. We also packed a little camping chair for him (very cute and panda ‘shaped’), which he was obsessed with. He had to know where his ‘panna’ was at all times and we often caught him trying to drag it into the van or goodness knows where else so he could sit in it and stuff random items into its little drink holder. I am not so sure about this panda chair, though. I am concerned about his lifestyle choices when the Little Mister is sleeping elsewhere…

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Although, my concern may turn out to be a bit hypocritical…

 

You can see some other photos here xx

Camping 2014 – Daily photos: Trees and sky.

I have been trying to think of the best way to document our latest camping holiday, but this is probably not it haha. I’ve decided to bore the pants off you all by posting a photo or two each day until I’ve run out of nice photos. Kind of like when you get invited to a relative’s house and you have to politely sit through their exhaustive slideshow presentation of their ’round the world trip (which they haven’t edited or selected highlights from AT ALL). Just bear with me, OK? 😉

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These were the trees that surrounded our first camp site (don’t ask – we had to move later in the piece – long boring story). These kinds of trees always let me know that I’m by the water – my happy place. One of them is paper bark and I have no idea what the other one is because I am a really crap botanist (or whatever people who deal with plants are called – I wouldn’t know because I cannot keep plants alive). All I know is that I love staring up at them against a bright blue sky and day dreaming (until my toddler yanks me back into reality with a safety related emergency or an attempted run-away of some kind).

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Camping = childhood memories.

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Last year we took the Little Mister camping for the very first time and as I write this we are about to leave for the second (this post will be scheduled so you’ll probably read it while I am away). So even though this is only the second year, you could say it’s already becoming an annual family tradition. I’ve been brainwashed into the camping lifestyle since I was an infant, so I love it. I have so many camping memories and family stories that have been created due to the hard work of my parents (I certainly wasn’t contributing very much other than making a fool of myself haha). I haven’t always loved every single second of the camping experience. There are always ups and downs. Plans that go awry. The occasional withdrawal symptoms from my comfortable life at home. Cabin fever. But all in all, I can’t say I’m ungrateful for each memory. There’s a certain sense of freedom in camping and pride in living so simply and doing it well.

Mr Unprepared and I have just purchased ourselves a camper trailer. But not just any camper trailer. It is the very one that I stayed in from the time I was the Little Mister’s age. I don’t know what came over me, but I somehow thought this was a good idea. My parents have upgraded recently and we were looking for something a little more contained than a tent (for the purpose of housing the Little Mister). It is a little weird being responsible for the very camper trailer that I used to spend all my time trying to avoid responsibility for throughout my youth! My parents looked after it magnificently and even though it’s older than I am, it is in such great shape. I only hope I can do even half as good a job of it and even though my parents are very clear that they will not tell us how to look after it (unless asked), I am still scared of letting them down! It’s a special time capsule of my camping memories!

I am really grateful to my parents for creating such valuable family time, but in saying that, I think they just enjoyed gathering/creating future opportunities to tell embarrassing stories about me (not that I didn’t give them a lot of material quite readily). So I thought I’d just share five of them (in no particular order) so you can laugh at or with me…

1. Matching tracksuits. 

Oh, you should see the photos. My mum who is both practical and good at sewing, decided that it would be economical and quite smart to make my brother and I tracksuits to wear on camping holidays when we were still small enough to not notice the hideousness. She could whip them up in no time, they’d be easy to wear, easy to wash and cost effective as we tore around in them, no doubt causing wear and tear on the campsite. At the time we thought nothing of it. Mine had a sewn on dolphin motif and my brother’s had something else. So it’s not like they were totally the same, right? They were a similar blue green to our school uniforms (because kids want to feel like they’re wearing their uniforms when they’re on holidays) and were track ‘suits’ in every sense of the word. Matching jumpers and pants. To be worn together in all their block coloured glory. Gosh, they really brought out the shine of my big front teeth and the sharpness of my bobbed hair cuts! Thanks, Mum!

It’s lucky I can’t sew too well, because I think I have saved the Little Mister from such embarrassment…unless I subcontract my mum of course…*evil thoughts*

2. THAT solar shower incident.

OK, so I think I was about 10 years old. From memory I think we were camping somewhere in the ‘outback’ with both sets of my grandparents. Picture a craggy bunch of hills with mountain goats hanging off the rocky edges (looking down on me and laughing away – no joke – I could actually see them while I underwent the horrific event I’m going to share). A solar shower hangs from a tree or a pole or something (I can’t quite remember). There are no modern day facilities to be seen. Imagine me in a bad tween mood. Imagine that I probably thought myself too cool to stand in a little bucket and have water poured over me while my whole family looked on (never mind that I was probably stinky and filthy from all the dust and hot weather). There was no privacy whatsoever. Just me out in the open, wildly bright daylight. Well, to be fair, no-one probably planned on looking at me, but I’m sure my bratty squealing didn’t give them much choice. I was unceremoniously stripped down to my underwear and splashed and hosed until all of my dignity was gone. I had made such a big deal out of it that no-one could forget it. Oops. It’s hard growing up on campsites. Forget child starlets who grew up in front of the cameras. I totes had it harder, you guys. I was forced to be with my family throughout most of my budding adolescence. In small spaces. So that’s probably where most of my hideous camping memories come from haha.

3. My brother’s shiny sleeping bag.

I am serious. That thing was the bane of my existence until my parents kicked us out into our own little tents (can’t really blame them looking back haha). I had this big old sleeping bag of my dad’s. It was filled with actual down feathers and while it wasn’t great to look at (military green), I do still actually have it (after a makeover my mum lovingly gave it). However, it was also a quiet sleeping bag. Warm, heavy, cosy and peaceful.

My younger brother’s on the other hand was a new one from the camping store. He got everything new. I had all my dad’s old stuff. Which looking back, I feel privileged about it, but you can imagine my older sibling scorn at the time. Bro Unprepared’s sleeping bag was all shiny and bright blue. It was light weight for our lovely climate and looked really snazzy. IT WAS ALSO F*CKING NOISY.

We had to share the double bed at one end of my parents’ (and now mine) camper trailer and we rationalised that it wasn’t weird because we had our own individual sleeping bags. So you can imagine my joy each night when my brother would toss and turn like a cat, trying to find the perfect sleeping position in his stupid f*cking brand new sleeping bag. RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE F*CKING RUSTLE. I honestly don’t know how we didn’t kill each other. I think a fight (probably just between my parents and I while my very young brother haplessly watched on) broke out almost every night. Eventually my parents set up a bed for him over the convertible dining table, which helped the tiniest bit.

I still have nightmares about it. I shudder when I see someone’s shiny new sleeping bag. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to bring myself to buy one!

4. The time I sat on THAT table. 

My parents actually mentioned this story only a couple of days ago. So fresh (and eternally amusing) it is in their memories. I remember going through a real shitty know it all phase (so most of my childhood and don’t ask Mr Unprepared about my adulthood). The kind that would make a parent roll their eyes so violently that they almost outdid their pre-teen’s eye rolling efforts.

We’d just set up camp somewhere and my parents had erected their sturdy green outdoor table. I had decided I couldn’t be bothered with helping much and was being a bit of an arse (I think the term is witch with a ‘b’). I decided I would hop up onto the green table and take a break. Just before I jumped, my parents said, “I wouldn’t do that – it won’t hold your weight.”

I am sure that I took this as both an insult and a challenge. Screw them, I probably thought.

And then as I sat on the now flattened table, my backside feeling sore and my ego feeling even sorer, my parents laughed and laughed.

“TOLD YOU!”

HAHAHAHAHA.

They still think it’s the most hilarious moment, because just that one time, they won the war. I’m sure that victory would taste sweet. Damn them. They still have the table. They claim they just had to keep it because of that one memory that brings them so much joy.

5. My 13th birthday.

Before I go any further, I would just like to note for the record that my brother became a teenager in Melbourne. Camping in Melbourne, but in Melbourne nonetheless. And what else? The little bugger got sick and couldn’t even enjoy it. What a waste. So ungrateful. I hope he doesn’t read this haha. All in good fun!

So where was my 13th birthday? Sydney? A tropical island? Nope. My birthday was at Coober Pedy (it’s known for its beautiful opals but the mines (above ground) are just not that pretty to look at and there’s nothing around for miles – it looks like the moon but is not as awesome as if I had had my 13th birthday on the actual moon. No, it started with a wake up in Woomera (known at the time for its detention centre) and ended with dinner in a questionable underground restaurant at Coober Pedy. I remember all the adults being quite bemused by one of the waitstaff who would lean over to top up your water, while holding a bunch of steak knives, leaving everyone in fear of being stabbed in a weird underground restaurant in the middle of nowhere…

Good times. I only hope I can give the Little Mister (and any possible future sibling) such amazing memories that will stand the test of time. Gosh, he has no idea what he’s in for 😉 I can’t wait!

Do you have any weird camping memories from childhood?