Friday, July 04, 2014

Fun 15: June 2014

How are we half way through the year? Where has the time gone? How did this happen?

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Good luck to me starting uni soon. Back in courses with 18 year olds, hoping like hell that 18 months can get me a job. Thankfully, I'm doing work similar to my qualification at the moment.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
This month I've been crook with an exhausting chest infection. Which makes it a full month since I went to the gym. Oh dear.
Job / Course: Two weeks and I start study - plus I've had three weeks work this month! Awesomesauce
Clothes: My bra size has finally reduced, so I can now start pulling more of the tops out of my storage box - but many of them dont suit my shape, or I just dont like them anymore. Time for some shopping.
Weight: Nausea-induced weight loss as a side effect of antibiotics is awesome. Now to hold it off.
Creative: Success! Completed both assignments for my creative photography course. One is shared at the bottom of this post.
Online: Fail. Seriously so. As always

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Managed about 50% of days
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week - nope. Not even twice this month.
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - Did about 3 this month. Not ideal.
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day - Never even got off the ground with this one

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(last month was poor, so continuing the same again)

5. Book Review: It appeared suddenly in the bookstore - the book I've been waiting for for what seems like forever. So I had to buy it. Its taken nearly all month to read due to it being wordy, hard going at times, and looooong (in conjunction with limited reading time), but boy, Written in my own hearts blood finishes in a MUCH better place than the previous installment. I still want to know whats happened to William and Lord John, but at least I didn't get to the end and yell "you CANT finish it like that!". That said, for a book where the author says she purposely condensed time by not talking about minutiae, it was still a darned detailed book, with a heck of a lot going on - too much. For a book where you first have to suspend belief because its about time travel, I still felt at times that what was going on was just too unbelievable.

6. Motherhood Moment: Taking LJ for his first trip to the Zoo was pretty awesome. He loved calling all the animals "cat". Hilarious.

7. Been there, Done that: A long weekend in Auckland, loads more walking, the arrival of both a new ringsling and a new tula for us to use (that have had no use yet because I was too sore to carry LJ at all), loads more walking, Mark doing the swimming lesson one Wednesday and lots of generally chilling out.

8. Coming Events: Uni! Christmas! (I know, months away, but we are starting to make plans, which is exciting)

9. Links Round-up: An awesome PSA about times nervous blokes should NOT approach a woman they dont know - explains wonderfully why women dont like being approached this way. The awfulness that is gendered marketing, simplified for those of the older generation wondering why there is so much pink in their grandchildrens lives (note, its not your kids fault, its the marketers). Meet my friend Lizzy, who wants to get into multisport (I volunteer to help out as crew BTW). Standard Captain Awkward awesomeness. And finally, how on earth does a drunk consent to sex? Was this because it was a bloke having gay sex that the jury found the assailant not guilty? I am shocked and saddened.

10. Life list update: No action. No love.

11. Wish Lists: More books, although I've actually purchased a couple this month, as well as some music off itunes.

12. Life Lesson this month: Getting well with a clingy toddler is nearly impossible.

13. This time last year:  Struggling with PND quite badly, hating life as a parent. Wanting to run away, anywhere would do. Feeling like I had ruined my life and my body for no good reason. Rough times.

14. Fave memory from the month: Watching LJ have his first fluffy. Hilarious. Will likely also be his last for a while, as it made his eczema really flare up.

15. Photo of the month:
A video I made for my creative photography class.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Creative Juices

I've been feeling uninspired for the last not-insignificant period of time.
So I decided to do a creative photography course.
And it was seriously challenging! I've spent most of the last year only taking photos of LJ except on specific occassions, so it was nice to HAVE to go out and shoot things that were nothing to do with him.

While there, we did creative writing exercises every week, and I thought I would share some with you over the next couple of weeks. Please note this was hand-written, not on a computer, so it takes a bit longer to actually write!

The situation: You are a 10 year old boy. You've done a trade at school - your dads mercedes for an elephant. Write a letter to dad explaining why there is no mercedes in the driveway, without mentioning it was a trade. You have 4 minutes.

You'll never guess what I won today!
How awesome is that!?!
You know I've always loved elephants, so I entered the competition at the zoo to have one at home for a day, and I WON!
We needed to move your car down the road for a while, since we couldn't get Jumbo into the backyard - we had to fence the driveway for him instead.
Its the talk of the town - isn't it awesome?
Love you heaps!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fun Fifteen: May 2014

Oops, a little late...

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: To Jo & Mike for buying their first home! Cant wait to visit :)

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
I've been doing ok. Not always twice a week, but something most weeks, so thats good, right?
Job / Course: On the final countdown!
Clothes: I still have a box of stuff I cant fit due to shape changes, I'm giving it till Christmas this year - anything that doesn't fit then is gone.
Weight: Holding steady. Only 3.5kg to go to get to pre-baby weight.
Creative: Most of the way through a creative photography course, and its really challenging! 

Online: Fail. Seriously so. As always

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Managed about 50% of days
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week - not quite. I think I got at least once a week every week, and twice 2 of the weeks
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - think I got through four this month - so thats good, only about 12 to go!
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day - Never even got off the ground with this one

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(last month was poor, so continuing the same again)

5. Book Review: I went to the central library book sale at the end of April and picked up an intriguing biography for $4. "The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson". Wow. Sure, the start was slow-going for a while, but boy did Mrs S have an interesting life. All I really knew of her was what was shown in The Kings Speech, which showed her in the negative light the royal family wanted. And she is so much more sympathetic and dynamic than that. Boy did the royals hate her. Seriously, the way they treated her and the Duke was a clear precurser to how they treated Sarah Fergusson and Diana Spencer. I've lost a lot of respect for Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother. All in all, a highly recommended book.

6. Motherhood Moment: My second mothers day was more of a success than my first. Mark treated me to a "boquet" of cupcakes (yum), and then we went for a drive because LJ wouldn't sleep before grabbing a late lunch at the Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Newtown.

7. Been there, Done that: A picnic at the top of Mt Victoria one sunny morning, first ride on the back of Dads bike, renovations completed in our bedroom, a day trip to Christchurch, and the last day of May saw us flying to Auckland for the long weekend (man that day was a drama with flights!)

8. Coming Events: Starting uni in July. Junes a quiet month.

9. Links Round-up: Want some inspiration to actually go achieve something? Read this blog post. I'm off to have another read. Might have to buy the poster too. Another yummy treat recipe I need to try. A parenting post I'm going to have to come back to once LJ starts really talking back. Also, correlation is not causation - hilarious.

10. Life list update: Bleh. Need to think up some exciting new ideas I can start working on. Maybe cull to a 40 before 40 list or something.

11. Wish Lists: More books, as always :P

12. Life Lesson this month:  Get on the plane as late as possible when you have a kid with you. Even though you're nearly in the back row!

13. This time last yearWe were trying desperately to settle in to parenthood. I was about ready to start counselling for PND. It was all a bit boring, really. Especially when you compare to this time TWO years ago - when we were in Europe! How has it been two years? Thats the last time my passport got any use - how sad!

14. Fave memory from the month: Definitely the morning tea picnic at the top of Mt Victoria. Was a lovely time in the sunshine.

15. Photo of the month:
So, I've not uploaded much I've shot this month - but here is one from Paris two years ago :)
Old Paris

Monday, May 26, 2014

A different life

Its come to my attention through a series of conversations recently that my Mum and I have done things the opposite way around to a lot of my friends families.

I thought it was normal. Well, to be honest, I never really thought about it till Mark and I got together and I discovered his family had been different. I still never thought we were that unique, till I got talking to a whole pile of friends.

And what was different? Mum went back to work full-time when I was little (somewhere around six months I gather). Turns out that most of my friends parents didn't work when they were little.

Thinking about it, that makes sense. Because daycare didn't really exist, and nannies were few and far between. Kindy wasn't an option till you were three (and even then it was only half days). The only ways to do it were private childcare (nannies and babysitters) or family members who weren't working.

And its interesting, because I've been agonising over the fact that I've not had a job to go back to (and so am not contributing financially to the household), while my friends who had at-home mums when they were little are all agonising over the fact they have to go back to work and dont get to spend as much time with their babies.

One of the reasons this never occured to me when I was younger was that my parents shift-worked - for my whole life till I was at university. Technically Dad still does. So we had babysitters regularly, but Mum and Dad were also often available during the day to be parent help on outings, where my friends parents weren't because they worked. And so I never thought about what had happened when we were younger.

And hearing some of that generation talk about their days as parents to young children recently, I think they had it pretty good in a way. Because most of their friends with similar age kids also didn't work, so I've heard stories of going from Kindy to a catchup and tupperware parties every other week. They weren't as socially isolated as parents. It was easier to organise multiple catchups with people because everyone had free time during most days of the week.

There are 4 of the 12 mums in my antenatal group who aren't back at work - one who is planning not to, and the other two have twins, so are taking longer maternity leave before making a firm decision. And me. And even trying to catch up with those lovely ladies is hard work by the time all the activities the different family groups do (and nap times) are taken into consideration. The plunket-based new-mums group I joined last year has fallen apart as well, since pretty much everyone has gone back to work. My playcentre-based SPACE group has managed two catchups since we wrapped up before Christmas.

So, while parenting has enabled me to meet loads of awesome new people, its also limiting. Socialising outside of mum-groups is hard to organise as well. I added up my socialising time, and got an average of about 5 hours a week in which I get some chance to interact with other adults other than Mark (which includes LJs swimming lessons, antenatal group catch-ups, playgroup and seeing my parents). No wonder I've largely stopped talking, and no wonder this blog has fallen away a lot - I dont tend to have a lot to say, having spent so long alone in my head!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Fun Fifteen: April 2014

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Thanks to everyone for helping us through a tough first year. To those who came to LJs birthday party, to those who sent cards / well wishes / gifts.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in: Exercise: Slowly does it. Gave a balance class a go late in the month, and really didn't enjoy it. But pump class is going well at least.
Job / Course: Just waiting on start of trimester in July
Clothes: Still too oddly shaped to fit things, but also still breastfeeding, so no idea how its going to go.
Weight: Holding steady. Only 3.5kg to go to get to pre-baby weight.
Creative: Starting a course in early May.  
Online: Fail. Seriously so.

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Managed about 50% of days
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week - got it!
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - think I got through three

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(take last month and add one)

5. Book Review: Right at the end of the month, I finally purchased a new book (a real one too, rather than on my kindle, and not a recipe book either!). And it was good - I got through it in 2 or 3 days. Longbourn by Jo Baker is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice - from the servants side of things.
The first two sections are fantastic, really easy reading, as well as adding some entertaining intrigue at times. But those are the bits based on P&P. Section 3 gets a bit murky - being based well before and well after P&P, the story strength is somewhat lacking in places. The end in particular feels like it rushes to a conclusion in a couple of pages, all of a sudden, after so much buildup. And its actually rather anticlimatic.
I did enjoy seeing Wickham as even more of a menace than in previous books, and the reminder that, while P&P makes much of its characters difficulties , the life of their servants is the place where real difficulties are.

6. Motherhood Moment: LJ walked. Very clearly and definitely took 5 or 6 steps. At his birthday party. Then he got an ear infection the weekend after and stopped wanting to walk at all.

7. Been there, Done that: We had a largely around-the-house / around town month this month. We took LJ out for dinner for his birthday, had a party that weekend, went to Civic Square to watch TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk past, had a first trip on the cable car and a first visit to Junglerama, and went to Masterton for my grandfathers funeral.

8. Coming Events: Our antenatal class is meeting up for a joint first birthday party, which will be awesome. We are also off to Christchurch for a day and Auckland for a weekend soon.

9. Links Round-up: Definitely, positively check out this fantastic Video from the awesome photographer Mark Gee, all about dark skies. Fantastic. Farewell to Grandie, the local walking tracks link on the city council website - because I really should go and do some of them. A blog I've only just discovered, and a hilarious tumblr you might want to check out.

10. Life list update: No movement. Again. Such is life. Although I have added a couple of things to it. I need a job so I can afford to get out and do these things!

11. Wish Lists: Another recipe book (Gordon Ramsays Ultimate Cookery Course) and a few books for LJ on my bookdepository wishlist.

12. Life Lesson this month: Sometimes, you just shouldn't read parenting stuff. Because it sucks when everyone elses (same age) baby is doing more than yours. Especially when yours stops doing things they had previously been doing.

13. This time last year: Tired, emotional, new parents. What more can I say? Scarily, this time TWO years ago, we were counting down the days till our trip to Europe.

14. Fave memory from the month: LJs first overnight at his grandparents without us. Bliss.

15. Photo of the month:
I only uploaded two photos this month - oops. But this one is pretty cool. Its from the royal walkabout in Civic Square, well, its from about an hour before they arrived. Thankfully it stopped raining not long after this, but I love the colours and the feeling.
Royal Visit

Friday, April 11, 2014

Its happened

Its been creeping up on me, but the inevitable has happened - we now have a one year old in the house.

Somehow, we have survived a year. LJ has grown and developed. He has a sense of humour (although I still dont get whats so funny about catching my eye while he is supposed to be having his morning breastfeed!), is ticklish and loves being thrown around a bit.

He is half as tall again as he was when he was born, and weighs nearly 3 times as much. He has 4 teeth and a prolific tendency to dribble as they come through.

He is trying hard to start walking. It wont be long now, even though he only started crawling the day after we got him home from hospital in February (when he had bronchiolitis).

A few weeks ago, he started daycare two days a week. He loves it. Loves the other kids and the ladies who run the babies room. The activities (in particular sand, water and paint), and their food. They somehow get two naps a day out of him when I usually only manage one.

He's pretty epic all around, really. So different to who he was as a baby. So mobile, and interactive. Of course, I still dont understand his current obsession with putting balls down my top and then going hunting them!

I think I'm doing ok. Mostly.
I've spent most of the year beating myself up. I pretended I hadn't, but secretly did, set myself quite high expectations. And then, when I didn't meet them, I stopped trying to do anything. Because if I dont try, I cant fail, right? But it turns out I can. Because I wasn't trying, and I wasn't achieving, and I wasn't being.

Its been a rough year in that respect. I would love to have a chance to do it over again, for all the times I've not appreciated, because I simply couldn't. I try really hard not to beat myself up over my perceived failings, but thats really difficult, because its one of the few things I am actively good at! (and no, there wont be another child so I can try and do better next time)

There seems to be some light at the end of that tunnel at least. Even though the fear of relapse, and the sorrow of missing out will always be there, I suspect. I can only keep hoping that its not done permanent, irreperable damage to my relationship with LJ, or my relationship with Mark, which has had its share of rough patches in the last 12 months too.

Every day I become more certain that this life is ok. Its different to what we had, harder. But it has value, and love. And its enough. It will be plenty.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Fun Fifteen: March 2014

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Congratulations to all the ladies in my Due March group, and antenatal group who have hit first birthdays already.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in: Exercise: I'm doing ok. I've been advised to focus more on core strength and less on weight training, and I also know I need to do more fitness work. Might have to find myself a personal trainer for one session a month.
Job / Course: Paperwork done, course and funding talking to each other, all thats left to do is collect my student ID and text books at the start of the semester.
Clothes: Still a work in progress. Motivation must be found.  
Weight: Holding steady. Only 3.5kg to go to get to pre-baby weight.
Creative: I have half a dozen course options that I am looking at, but none start yet.  
Online: Fail. Seriously so.

3. This months goals, summary:

*No coca-cola all month: Fail
*5 gym session: Made 3, plus 2 swims
*Do one thing off my off-line list every day: I should have written down what I did, because I think I failed
*Write two real letters: Nope
*Finish editing the photos I want to do from our Europe trip: I at least got a couple more days done. Only 17 more to go (out of 45 days we were away)

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(decided to stick to simple things this month!)

5. Cafe Review: We've been to Rata at Zealandia a couple of times recently, with LJ pretty much every time. And every time has been pretty good. They have a couple of high chairs (which are always in demand), and a playpen with a few toys scattered around. I've never made it there in good weather, but even in bad weather, its still cool to look out through the cafe blinds to the lower reservoir. Food good, Brioche french toast fantastic, caramel milkshake to die for.

6. Motherhood Moment: The realisation that the end of this month is the last time I wont be calling my baby a one-year-old. Gulp.

7. Been there, Done that: Started the month with a trip to Castlepoint for the races, and rounded it out with an overnight stay on Somes Island with the families group from tramping club.

8. Coming Events: A first birthday, with a party and family visiting from out of town. Easter and ANZAC weekend, which may mean some time away, and will definitely mean some time spent on renovations.

9. Links Round-up: When Cyclone Lusi was on its way here early in the month, Mike shared a link to an awesome world viewer of what the wind is doing RIGHT now, the slightly disturbing "It happened to me" from XOJane, we got to go past this hella ugly superyacht on our way to Somes Island, how to make a tropical cyclone beautiful (using the earth.null website mentioned above), someone close to me was involved in this awful mess in Christchurch, and I spent a lot of time following the GodZone adventure race, which produced some stunning photos

10. Life list update: Nothing happening

11. Wish Lists: Too poor to shop!

12. Life Lesson this month: Life goes fast. 

13. This time last year: I was overdue, and totally sick of being pregnant. I was seriously hating on my body for how I looked, and how it wasn't working any more. And I was finally finishing up writing up my Europe adventure. I should really get around to editing the last of the photos sometime soon!

14. Fave memory from the month: Going out for Friday night drinks and dinner with Mike & Jo for Marks birthday. Was such a treat to be out at dinner and bedtime!

15. Photo of the month:
I've been busy editing old photos, and 95% of my months photos are of LJ this month... So here is one from 2012 I recently shared