Sunday, December 30, 2012

Taking Flight

I have always wanted a copy of "Taking Flight" by Kelly Rae Roberts, and for the life of my I can't work out why I have never bought one. But I was doing a bit of blog-hopping today and came across this giveaway.

So to satisfy the entry requirements for the giveaway, I am sharing this button.

Wish me luck.

Before the year ends......

I thought that I should probably get a Blog post in before we bid farewell to 2012.

I had this wonderful idea that 1012 was going to be the 'year of the blog' for me, and that I was going to become one of those really cool 'mummy bloggers' that we've all been hearing so much about. I was becoming obsessed with increasing hits on my little blog, and search engine optimisation, and earning money off it..........what a load of shit! I started my blog to write my thoughts and let my friends and family interstate keep track of our lives. And that's what I will continue to do with it.

In October I tried to participate in Blogtober, where the goal was to blog every day for the month of October. I tried to do that thing that professional bloggers do and plan my posts, prewrite them for publication at a later time. I found that's just not me. My blogging is spontaneous, and not that structured.

I tried to think about getting some structure to my blog by making sure I make a particular type of  post on a particular day of the week......BUST!!!!!

For 2013, I have taken the pressure off. Not just my blog, but my life in general. I had a friend mention recently that I seem a lot calmer and less stressed. I am. I honestly feel awesome! I mean of course I still get some of the usual day to day cerebral implosions that I'm sure we all have every now and again, but considering how I have felt over the past few years, I can honestly say I feel great.

I have taken the pressure off.
No need to impress anyone but me.
Time to put some time back into me.
If I am not happy, the world around me will be a dark and gloomy place to be around (I make sure of that), so I need to be happy.

What makes me happy???
My family and spending quality time with them.
Typing away here for a bit of R&R.
Online communities - yes, I may sound like a computer hobbit, but I have met some wonderful people online from all corners of the world, and I am happy to put some time into those relationships even though they are not 'here'.
Being creative. Again, I have connected with some wonderful creative people recently, and look forward to doing more with them in the months to come.
Friends who are willing to put the time in to me, as much as I am willing to put the time into them. I have this on my wall:

So true.

So my word for 2013 (for those people who do the 'word of the year' thing) is "ME". It's time to put some time back into me. And that's not being selfish, I think it's just being smart.

I hope that you can look back on 2012 and take some lessons from it that will make 2013 as happy and fulfilling as I hope it will be.

Kirst x

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blogtober Day 8 - Prettiness

I have been attempting to clean up the study/craft space/storage area/general dumping ground.

I won't call myself a hoarder, in fact I am pretty particular about where things go and the way things are in the rest of the house, but for some reason this room is my dirty little hoarder's cave.

I am keeping my eye on the end product, as I know that this can and will be a fabulous space once I'm done. I can't wait to share my space once I'm finished.

In the meantime, during my tidying, I came across some tear sheets that I had obviously torn out of magazines for inspiration, and they ended up at the bottom of a pile of paperwork. So inspiring, huh? But the pictures are still beautiful to me, and I thought I'd share.

This first two are from a Domayne ad, but I just loved the way that the tables were displayed and the colours that were used. They just make me smile.

This next one is Natalia Vodianova in Alexander McQueen S/S 03-04. Isn't that dress just AMAZING!!!

Lastly, Mia Wasikowska in Louis Vuitton.

She is a beautiful girl, and that dress just makes me go weak at the knees.

Enough sharing. Back to purging.
Kirst x

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blogtober Day 7 - Failed at "Never Fail"

I enjoy cooking, and I think I'm actually an okay cook. However, if I was to be specific, I especially love to bake. I love the process of creaming butter and sugar, I love playing around with recipes, I love the eating part. I can often be heard singing "Baked goods are my weakness" to the tune of 'Young boys are my weakness". Yes it's true, my knees go weak around cake.

My speciality is cupcakes. That sounds a bit cliched. I mean, EVERYONE does cupcakes these days. I feel so 2008!!!
Seriously though, they are quick, simple, fun to decorate and the perfect serving size. What's not to love about a cupcake?

I have had my standard cupcake recipe for some time.......8oz each of butter, sugar and self raising flour, 4 eggs, baking powder and vanilla. Simple. Light and fluffy. YUMMY!

The problem I have had with my yummy, scrummy old faithful recipe, is that it is so light, that it can flop in the middle during the cooling process. Kind of like a souffle. Then to decorate, I an restricted to using frosting to fill this hole. And if it does keep its shape, it's so light that it can be destroyed with anything more than light frosting. Limited!!! Don't like these limitations.

So I've been on the hunt for a denser cupcake recipe. One that would have more chance keeping its shape in my dodgy oven, and hold it's shape so that it can be decorated by my kids' loving (but certainly not gentle) hands.

During Blogtober I have been reading Blogs that I have never visited before. I stumbled across Debbie Does Handmade, and her recipe for "Never Fail Cupcakes" and thought I'd give them a go. The recipe was for a Thermomix, but I thought that there's no reason that they couldn't be made "Kirsten-mix".
I can't believe it! They failed!!!!!

They sunk in the middle and were gooey and not cooked inside.

They tasted good, but no good for decorating.

So I tweaked a little in the oven temperature and time to bake department, and didn't add the milk. A very basic and simple recipe.

And out they came!!! Check out these absolutely perfect cupcakes!!!

I mean, is this not the most perfect cupcake you've ever seen?

And because they were so perfect and round, they were iced with a sweet, runny icing glaze.

Just in time for afternoon tea.

Couldn't get a photo of the kids eating them, as they basically inhaled them. Too quick for me and my camera.
Thank you Deb, you have supplied me with my NEW 'go to, no fail' cupcake recipe, and my family and I are thankful.

Kirst x

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blogtober Day 6 - Guilty Pleasure

I'll admit to my guilty pleasure, if you admit to yours. Everyone has guilty pleasures. Something that they don't want anyone else to know about. It may be embarrassing, taboo, or just a little bit naughty.
But I have a theory.

I think that nearly everyone has a guilty pleasure to do with reality TV. There is some reality TV show out there that you enjoy to watch, but don't really like to admit to. What is it????

Big Brother?
X Factor?
Dancing with the Stars?

You have one, don't you? C'mon.....share.

Could it be a design show? 60 Minute Makeover?
Real Estate? Selling Houses??
Child Rearing? Supernanny???

Everyone has one.
Even my dear husband, who says that ALL reality TV sucks, loves to sit and partake in a little bit of Deadliest Catch of an evening.
I think he's in complete denial that it's reality TV.

I do like some reality TV, mainly design-type shows, but I believe that this one really hits the mark as a true "guilty pleasure".
You'd better leave a comment and tell me yours.

Mine is Beauty and the Geek.

What can I say?
The girls are SOOOOO dumb naive. The boys are so sweet and completely unaware of how geeky they really are. The challenges. The makeovers. The romances. I love it all!!!!! Australia? USA? Who cares. Gimme! Gimme!!!!!

I am a little embarassed that I've let it out of the bag. Whatever will the school mums say???? Oh well. Sharing a little isn't such a bad thing. Is it???

So now you must share yours. Include a link so that we can all enjoy your guilty pleasure too. The more obscure, the better!!
I look forward to hearing about it.

Kirst xx

Friday, October 5, 2012

Blogtober - Day 5

BUGGER!!! It's Day 5 and I've already failed. Miserably.

I have in front of me a list, a planned list of blog posts. Day 2 contains photos that I have half edited, Day 3 is half-written in my drafts, and Day 4 notes are in front of my ready to be typed.

Procrastinate much?

This is not meant to be my post for Day 5, but here it is.

K x

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blogtober - Day 1

Well it's October. The start of the reinvention of my weeks to come. 

I baked, I cleaned, I read new blogs, I gymmed, I played with my kids, I menu planned, I did the groceries, I kind of made a rough plan for the week - I'm actually pretty darn happy with myself. 
The only thing I didn't do was plan a really interesting and memorable Blog post for the first day of Blogtoberfest.

Well at least I'm here, and I'm typing.
Hopefully I'll do better tomorrow. 

Kirst xx

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You're meant to do what you love, aren't you??

I know we are meant to do things that make us happy, and surround ourselves with people who bring joy to our lives, but sometimes we can get so stuck in the everyday and mundane, that all that goes to the wayside, and we just end up existing.

I often feel as if I am just existing. I get myself stuck in holes, in ruts, that I struggle to get out of.

Lately, I haven't felt so much that I am in a hole, and if I do fall in, I can get out. I've been feeling pretty good about me and my life for a little while, but I still feel as if things are missing.

I popped over to Sonia's blog the other day, and she's participating in a Blog Hop based on the topic of "time". Oh my, how I could write about that at the moment. I'm not going to go into detail, but basically I have trying to get myself into some sort of routine to just fit everything in, and keep myself sane. I mean trying to manage the kids and their stuff, the cleaning and organising of the house and then trying to find time for me (Cal has to fit somewhere in there too). I have no idea how working mums do it!!!

I am on my way though. I participated in The Organised Housewife's 20 day challenge, and that gave me a bit of a kick start and got me to change my thinking about a few things in relation to cleaning and tidying. And I have got myself a basic routine to follow for the week to allow me to get a couple of hours a day (not in the night once everyone has gone to bed) to spend on me. We'll see if it works.

My plan is to start properly tomorrow. October 1 is my D-day. There is a whole LIST of things that I would like to do just for me. Like sewing, painting, exploring my photography, exercising, writing, creating. I am going to MAKE time to do the things that make me happy.
October is IT!

In there was writing. Now I'm no novelist, but I do enjoy tapping away at the keyboard here. I just don't do it that often, and because I don't do it that often, I'm not very good at it. I would love my writing to be better, and I would love to Blog more often. So I have joined the Blogtoberfest 2012 challenge to Blog every day in October.

They say that it takes 21 days to form a habit, hopefully by the end of 30 I will be into more of a Blogging routine as well as doing more of what I love. If I happen to have a clean and tidy house at the end of it, that's a bit of a bonus.

If you want to join me on a blogging adventure, pop over to I Saw You Dancing who is hosting Blogtoberfest 2012. There is a linky list to join, with a tonne of wonderful bloggers that you may be able to connect with and be inspired by.

Good luck to me (no one else will wish me good luck, so I may as well - LOL), and good luck to you if you decide to join me.

Do what you love. Bring joy to your life.

K xx

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To lie, or not to lie?

It's inevitable really. As parents it happens to us all, and you're kidding yourself if you think that it's never going to happen to you. One day you are your darling child something, and they look you in the eye and LIE TO YOU. A big FAT lie. 

I will never forget the day that Ardyn lied to me. I found something (can't remember exactly what) hidden in a corner of her room that I had asked her to be careful with, or she would break it. It was broken. I put it behind my back,went downstairs and asked her where it was? She looked me in the eye, and told me to my face "It's in the box where it belongs. I put it away." "Really?" I asked. "Yeah," she nodded enthusiastically. Then I brought it out from behind my back.

I was stunned!!! How could my beautiful, darling, sweet, innocent little girl do such a thing???? And so convincingly? I was devastated! Had I not known it was a lie, I would have absolutely believed her. Then the questions started running through my head. "Has this happened before?" "How often is she actually lying to me?"

Kids obviously learn to lie to protect themselves from punishment. They know that if they are caught doing something wrong they will get in trouble. Mine now know that if they get caught lying, there's even MORE trouble to be had. They know it's always best to just tell the truth. Or so I thought.

Today, I experienced a new kind of lie. A lie made in the hope that there would be a reward at the end of it. The reward of choice in our house is stamps on a chart. The standard type of the reward chart that can be found in many a household, in that 'x' number of stamps will earn you "y" reward. Ardyn's "y" at the moment is a Monster High Doll that she has been longing after. Earning it should be simple. Do your chores, do as you are asked, do a little bit extra - earn stamps, get doll.

I have been asking Ardyn for YEARS to do something as simple as eat the crusts on her sandwich. Day after day her crusts would come home in her lunch box - and Bailey has taken to copying her. I have been telling them how I would like them to eat their entire lunch, including the crusts. (It's really not a big deal to not eat their crusts, but it's the half a slice of bread that they leave behind with the crusts that I object to discarding.)

A week or so ago Bailey's lunch box came home empty. And the next day, and the next. She had been eating her crusts, so I gave her a couple of extra stamps.

Today, Ardyn's lunch box was empty. When I asked her where her crusts were, she proudly told me that she had eaten them! I must admit I was a little dubious, but told her how proud I was of her and started considering giving her a stamp. Then for some reason I can't explain, the words popped out of my mouth. "No, you didn't, you put them in the bin." Her first response was "How did you know?" then realising her mistake said "No, I ate them."
"Diiiid you?"
"Okay. I didn't. But how did you know?"

Kids can be so oblivious to their own words at times.

"Why did you feel the need to lie honey?"
"I dunno."
"You know we don't like lies Ardyn. Why did you lie?"
"I thought I'd get a stamp."
"No stamp for you honey, and count yourself lucky you don't actually get punished for lying to me."

I had to giggle, it's really just a crust, but I also have to be very wary. We've entered a new level of lying. Rather than lying to avoid something, she's lying to gain something. And she's good at it. Cal can't tell when she's lying, and I'm sure in years to come she'll be able to fool me too.
The next level is lying and actually believing her own lies. That's the one I'm scared of. I was good at it. If you believe your lie, then it becomes the truth and it's not as hard to continue with it.
To this day mum still tells me she doesn't want to know what was the truth and what was a lie in my teenage life. Knowing the truth scares her a little.

How the hell do I stop that one happening? How the hell can I try and convince her that it's not worth going there? I know that I'm blowing a small lie for a small reward up into something far greater, but I am wary. Wary for the future. Wary for her safety. Wary for my sanity.

With any luck that's years away. I think I'm just lying to myself, but not sure if I can believe it this time.

In the meantime, how do I just get her to eat those damn crusts?????

Saturday, September 1, 2012

1 kilo every 24 days

Back on June 19 I tore my calf muscle. Badly. No surgery required, but it's been a bit of a slog trying to get it better. For so long I was bruised and not able to move faster than a walk. I was bruised from knee to ankle for about three weeks, and in a fair amount of pain. I never realised just how often we moved our calves until this.

I was warned not to take it too quickly. That there would be a point at about 6 weeks post injury where I would feel able to move quicker, but I physically wasn't able. Take it slowly. Consciously make your body move this way.

Then it started getting better, and although I felt good about it, my mind still wouldn't let me move any faster than a walk. I was consciously moving a lot slower than I think I was physically able to. I was now facing a mental hurdle. The memory of the 'pop' when it tore, and the subsequent physical limitations that were placed on me....I didn't want to go back there.

I was told that after about 8 weeks I should be able to train normally, and by 10 weeks (with the proper conditioning) would be able to run again.

I'm not going to lie, it's been hard. The thing that has surprised me though is how hard I have found it mentally. I had to retrain my brain to not even break into a jog to get to my child when she needed me, let alone run after her if she was in danger. And then my brain slipped into what I can only term a depression. For the last few weeks I have had 'that' cloud hanging over me and have felt like I am in a hole that's getting deeper and I just can't get out.

I knew deep down that there was one thing missing that would help alleviate some of this ...... endorphins. I needed to exercise, to sweat, to get by brain out of this funk and back into 'real' life. I need to flip the switch back to where it was.

I trained on Thursday, and shit it felt good. I have a really bad habit of doing too much too quickly, so I had to really make sure that it was a relatively easy session. And I also made sure it was one that didn't put too much strain on my calf. I did good, and yesterday felt just the right amount of hurt. I felt like it was a start.

But my start (it seems) was a false one. I knew I should have trained yesterday (lightly) or at least today, but the funk won over and I didn't. Damn funk!!!! I've been thinking today about how to get myself back to where I should be, and then.........

I think that the switch just flipped. Literally about 10 minutes ago.

I was in the shower, berating myself for not training today, and when I got out I weighed myself. Now I have tried to steer clear of the scales for the last couple of months because not only was I not moving much, but I'd also been indulging in pity food and drink a tad too much. Eating and drinking away the funk really hasn't worked.

3kgs. 72 days. 1 kilo every 24 days. I don't think that's at all bad, and then I put on my jeans and looked at myself. I mean, REALLY looked at myself.
I have avoiding that a bit too.
I have grown a little muffin top. My bra is a little tighter than it really should be. My jeans, even though they are meant to be tight, are probably a little tighter than what they should be. My skin is dry, and I have dark rings around my eyes.

FLIP! I really need to look after myself.
Put down the cheese and champagne.
I'll be in the gym tomorrow morning.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One pact, one day, and one miserable failure

Over the last month or so I have been sorting stuff out around the house, in my head and with my body. Spring cleaning, if you will (even though it's still winter). Perhaps getting my house, body and mind fresh in the anticipation of the brilliant spring ahead of us?

A couple of weekends ago I took all of my old kid's clothes and toys and hosted a stall at the Avalon Baby & Kids Market. The plan was to sell everything, but whatever was left at the end was NOT coming back in the house. I stayed strong, priced everything REALLY low, and sold almost everything. Whatever was left was donated to St Vincent's on the way home. I was very proud of myself, and Cal was impressed with the $350-odd that came home with me.

That took such a weight off me. I was really surprised.
And so it started.

Tradesmen have been called to do the odd jobs that have been piling up around the house and I am on a mission to declutter and reorganise.

Case in point - my wardrobe. It's a never-ending source of angst in my life. I have way too many clothes. There's no two ways about it. "Quantity, not quality" I'm often heard saying to my husband whenever he walks past it, shaking his head.

I keep meaning to be ruthless and throw half of it out, really take the time to define my style, but I just can't. There's so many sides to me, I feel that I need to be able to dress them as their mood strikes. But then I can't find anything, forget what I have, and seriously can't fit anything in.

"One out, one in" I often say to to myself - yesterday was one if those days.

There was a pile of clean clothes in our bedroom getting bigger by the day. I had no room to hang them up. I promised Cal that I would have them all hung up a cull had to happen.

The cull wasn't very ruthless, I must say. There was not a redefinition of my style, but I made enough room to fit the clean clothes in.
After all was said and done, I made a pact with myself "Seriously Kirst, one out, one in. Stick to it! Make it your wardrobe mantra."

That was yesterday. Today a package came. A skirt and shirt that now needed a place in my wardrobe. One out, one in. One out, one in. I kept repeating it to myself as I was in my wardrobe finding a place to hang my new goodies.

One out, one in.
Well, that shirt that I was um-ing and ah-ing about yesterday can go. Can't it? I kept it for a reason didn't I? I'm going to wear it. Aren't I? I keep flicking past it, but the weather has been all wrong? Keep it until summer, and then if I don't wear it, it's gone. Great compromise. I'll just pop this new one in next to it.

One out, one in. One out, one in.
What about this skirt that I haven't worn since.......when did I wear it last? Well surely that's an indication it should go? Yep, it's gone. No. Um........ Again, it's a summer skirt, let's see how it goes when the weather is finer.

One in, one out.
How about this denim one? Well, you don't throw away denim skirts! You always need one in your wardrobe. Maybe one of these dresses? Again, wait until after summer.

One in, one.......OH SHUT UP!
Sod it! Hang it up. Get out of here. Deal with it another day.

I'm officially hopeless.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An experiment

While trying to understand how anxieties work, and how to deal with them (so that I in turn can help Ardyn) I'm performing a small experiment on myself.

I have this thing about my house being clean. Not sterile, but at least clean. Clutter I can handle, but not dirt. And as we have moved over the years, the houses get bigger, the number of bodies in them has increased, and it gets harder to stay on top of it with all the other day-to-day things that come with being a mum.

This may come as a real surprise to family and friends who knew me when I was younger, as to be honest, I was terrible at keeping things clean. It was not a priority. Days worth of dishes were in the sink, clothes were scattered everywhere, and washing piled up for days. But I think it had a bit to do with the fact that the houses I was living in weren't mine, I was working, and also not having kids. I have definitely kept things cleaner since we became home owners and parents.

Since we have moved to this house I have found that I am having real trouble staying on top of everything. It's a BIG house, and I find the bigger your house (plus kids), the more "stuff" you tend to accumulate, and the more dirt gets dragged into the house. And a problem that Cal and I have as a couple is that he can't see the dirt but hates the clutter, and I can handle the clutter but not the dirt. The dirt drives me mental!

So to try to keep him happy and me sane I hired a cleaner to come in once a fortnight to clean the bathrooms, mop the floors and dust the place. Then I could concentrate on clutter management and smaller cleaning tasks.

It was all going well - from my perspective. My sanity has been good, and I was getting on top of the clutter. But Cal's nose was getting more and more disjointed that money was being spent on something that he couldn't see the benefit of. He just doesn't care if there is yellow-coloured soap scum making his bathroom sink look oh-so inviting.

So my sanity service was cancelled. *sniff* I agreed to give it a go myself, make a real effort and see how I go.

Today is the day that I can feel my stress and anxiety levels starting to elevate.

The girls and I have barely been home for the last week - but Cal was. As a family we were away the week prior. The 2 weeks prior to that were a mess of dance concerts and a torn calf and me trying to get around on crutches. So needless to say, my house is a disgusting mess. And somehow Cal can't see that?!?!?!?

So while he's out for a run, and the girls are playing quietly, I'm sitting here with the mess all around me writing this post. I'm attempting exposure therapy on myself. Letting myself know that it's okay. That the world is not going to end if I don't vacuum those dust bunnies off the floor. The house won't collapse around me because Cal's bathroom sink is a glorious shade of ochre. Maybe I can try and see the dust layer on the shelves as.........who the hell am I kidding?

Get the Dyson out!! I'm on a mission!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Parenting an Anxious Child

We all suffer from anxieties from time to time. Well, I'm no psychologist, but I think we do. I have certainly done enough reading into managing anxieties to believe that we all go through it in some way. Some people more than others, obviously.

I have anxieties, and so does my 7 year old daughter. I fear that I have in some projected my anxieties onto her. Even though our fears and anxieties are quite different. The good news in though, In trying to help her, I have actually helped myself. I'm probably it the best place that I have been for years. But Ardyn's still need work.

Her issue is dogs - animals in general. She has never been attacked, never had a negative experience with an animal (that I can pinpoint anyway), but has a complete meltdown whenever exposed to them. Strike that, USED to. She's a hell of a lot better now, but that's come at a cost of 12 months therapy and some very hard work from us as a family, and our close friends. We have had a hell of a lot of people on board managing this, and I am grateful for all of them.

Ardyn's therapy has come to an end. Her therapist said that there's nothing more thats he can do. We have all the tools and need to move forward and work through it.
It's a slow slog, but we're getting there. It's a continual process at the moment, and I have to keep remembering that.

Why am I sharing this? Well, if anyone reads this Blog, they know that I share everything (well, just about). But this time I have found a process and a couple of books that seem to be doing the trick. I had to share, just in case you are a parent to an anxious child.

Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance - Christopher McCurry Ph.D
Introduced me to the idea of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and gave me tools to help my kids let go of fears and worries without creating avoidance issues (I have found out that avoiding your worries is not good. Better to accept them and deal with them - sounds simple when you're not dealing with a 7 year old).

What to do When you Worry too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety - Dawn Huebner
Recommended for 6-12 year olds and uses Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help kids become aware of their worries and work out new ways of dealing with them. It is a hands-on workshop type book that has kids writing and drawing their way through their worries. Ardyn has found it very useful.

There is also a heap of stuff on the net, but be careful or you can get overwhelmed with all the information out there. But in taking a positive from that, you can take solace in the fact that you are not alone. There are many parents out there with anxious kids, and I am one of them.

Accepting it, and dealing with it - and sharing.
K x

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who am I kidding????

I'm old. Well I feel mighty old tonight.

A couple of months ago I was asked if I wanted to play on a friend's netball team. I was so excited! One thing that I truly miss since leaving Melbourne was. Y team sports. Not for the sport itself, but it was always a bonus to have a run around, but to spend time with my friends and catch up.

As we get older, get jobs, married, become parents, life understandably becomes busier. It becomes harder to fit in time with our friends. Participating in a team sport allowed my friends and I to catch up in a casual way. W touched base, saw each other, had a chat, and made further plans to catch up.

So to be asked to join a team after living here "teamless" for the past 7 years was music to my ears.

First game I had a BALL! I was haring around chasing my own tail half the time, but I was loving being out there playing in a team. I had a couple of bumps and falls, and came out of it quite sore and sorry for myself the next day. Truth be told, I was sore for a week!

I was really looking forward to the next game, and even though I was still pulling up a little stiff, I was as keen as ever to get up there. Then at the second centre pass I felt my quad go "twang". Bugger! That was me, on the bench for the rest of the game. I was just thankful that it was my right leg and I could still drive.

The Gods treated me well for the weeks that followed. We had a walkover, the stadium had a blackout so games were cancelled, and we had a bye.

So out we went this evening, ready to play. I was so happy to be on the court again!

The game was going well. I was chasing my opposition and my tail, and we were winning! Life was good.
Then I felt something hit me in the calf. I honestly thought that someone had kicked me. I looked around and was by myself, went to take another step........OWWWW!

I've heard about this before, but never experienced it. When you tear your calf and it feels like someone has thrown a rock into your leg or something. That's just how it felt. And while sitting on the bench thinking about how much Cal is going to yell at me, it hit me - it's my right leg. I can't drive.

So after getting one of the girls to drive my car home (thank goodness a couple of them car pooled) I sit on my couch, resting, icing, compressing and elevating, and unable to move without the assistance of crutches. Cal and I are trying to work out how to get the kids where they need to be tomorrow.

I am hoping that the morning will bring the ability to move my foot and possibly drive a car. I don't mind admitting that I'm a little worried, and really want to get to the sports doctor tomorrow too. So much for the errands I had planned to run tomorrow.

I am getting old, and I really don't want to admit to it.
My body doesn't like the stuff that I want to do.
I may need to make some changes.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lovely words

A couple of weeks ago I attended the funeral of a dear old friend. It was a day of tears and laughter, hugs and kisses, and a chance to regroup with old friends.

In the front cover of the order of service was the following poem. I was just reading it again, and the words touched me as much as they did that morning two weeks ago.
I had to share.

Life can be so busy
That the days just seem to fly
And time without those
We care about
Can sometimes pass us by
But in the midst of busy hours
It's always nice to find
That thoughts of favourite people
Very often come to mind
Happy thoughts that make us smile
And brighten up the day 
Warmed by special memories
That are in our hearts to stay
And even though out schedules
May keep us on the go
We qwant to take the time
To let these people know
We're glad for everything we've shared
And want to keep in touch
For people in our hearts and thoughts
Will always mean so much

Although Kevin hasn't been a close part of my life for some years, he was a big part of my life at one time, and I am very sorry that he is no longer with us.

Just as others do, I love you Uncle Kevvy. Rest now.
K x

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Extreme Pageviews!!

When I started my Blog all those years ago, it was so that my parents could keep up to date with our lives after they moved to the other side of the country, and to share my papercrafts creations with the online communities that I was a part of. Then it was handy for family and friends to read about us when we moved interstate. Now, it just contains my intermittent rants and thoughts, a bit of family news, and a photo here and there.

I dont expect huge traffic to my Blog. In fact I am stunned when I get more than 10 hits a day.

Imagine my surprise when I looked in my stats right now and saw that this post has 2,396 views!!!!! Then I laughed - the bloody title could come up in response to all sorts of web searches. Makes we wonder what sort of terms people are punching into Google.
When I looked at the keyword search, they all contained 'boob' in some way - big boobies, teenage boobs(!!), boobs - and they are all from the US, UK or India.

Too funny!!!! Or sad???

Not sure I like this traffic to my Blog though.

GO AWAY PERVS!!!!!!! You've not welcome here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two days down, one to go

I didn't write a post yesterday, as I was having Internet connection issues last night. I am not happy that this post will appear as one long paragraph (bloody iPad)......I'll clean it up at home. (Edit 12/6: cleaned up and is now readable paragraphs.)

Two days into the Expo, and I am having a great time. I came here with the intention of just doing classes and seeing friends (which I have done), but I have ended up having a little bit of a shop too. I figured with the Craft & Quilt show in Sydney next week I'd have no need to shop - much easier to buy in Sydney where I can get it home in my car - but some of the exhibitors won't be in Sydney, so I had to. Really, there was no other choice.

One such exhibitor was Lynette Carroll. You must check out her work. It's amazing! I have bought a couple of kits to complete which will end up as heirloom items for the girls (hopefully). They are AMAZING!!

And I can't walk past the Twiddleybitz stand without getting my wallet out. Their samples are TO DIE FOR. Such amazing talent on their Design Team. (I wish I could paste photos in here. You will have to make do with the links).

My classes have been held by some very talented tutors. Julie Winks, Sonia Thomason, Angella Peardon, Louise Nelson, Julie Van Oosten and Jane Tregenza. I look forward to sharing my creations when I get home.

 I had a goal to not go home with any incomplete projects. I am doing pretty well on that count. There are two that I haven't finished, which were big on technique. Lots of creative playing. So I will do more with them at home. All in all I am very happy with what I have to show for my efforts. I can post to Facebook, so I will pop over to my "I Am Kirst" page now and post some. (Edit 10/6: Damn photos won't load! Got one on there.) 

After I spend all day creating, I get to come back to my room and enjoy the quiet, have dinner, catch up with people if I want.......whatever I like. It's so strange to have so much time to myself to do whatever I like with whoever I like. Strange, but nice. A very rare occurrence in the life of a stay-at-home-mum, and I have taken advantage of this time. On top of all of this "me time" I have managed more sleep than usual, but I am still tired. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not used to having this much sleep, or if the terrible hotel bed has something to do with it (and considering how sore my back and neck are, I think it's probably a big factor).

So tomorrow is our last day. I head home in the evening, but won't get to see my cherubs until Tuesday. I do get to see my wonderful husband, and I am really looking forward to it. (Who-da thunk it!)

Until I get home - see ya!
K xx

Friday, June 8, 2012

Time for some R & R

I have had this weekend getaway planned for months, but it actually couldn't have come at a better time. I am in such need of a little bit of rest and relaxation after the last couple of weeks. I've really been looking forward to it.

 I am in Brisbane for the Scrapbook and Papercrafts Convention. Yes it sounds a little geeky, but I am going to spend three days making art. There is shopping to be done too, but truth be told, I have no interest. Just make art. That's all I'm interested in.

I want to try and blog about the weekend as I go along, but 1) I don't have the best track record with keeping my blog up to date, and 2) I can't work out how to upload photos from my iPad. Well see how I go.  

What plans do you have for the long weekend?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blah blah

Firstly I just want to follow up from my last post..... I have had the mammogram done, and the report states that I have "VERY dense and fibrous breast tissue", but no nasty lumps. All good.

I am currently sitting at MacDonalds taking enjoying their coffee and loving the free WiFi while my car is getting fixed. I thought I'd take advantage of the time that I have and write a blog post I'd been planning, but I can't load the photos that I want from my iPad, and now after trying different ways for some time, I'm frustrated.

 This is all you are getting. My brain doesn't want to work for me and think up anything amusing, articulate or in any way interesting.

Blah. K x

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boobs, batteries and MORE tests

I haven't updated here in a while, and haven't shared my booby stuff. (I don't know what else to call it.)

 I wish this was me, but alas it is not.

Ever since I finished breast feeding I have had the most PAINFUL boobs at certain times of the month. Hormones changes make me moody at the best of times, but when you throw in painful boobs...let's just say that life at our place at 'that time of the month' is not a joyful place. I saw my doctor about it, and she told me that it was just normal hormonal changes.

Earlier this year I noticed that the pain had been getting worse, and not just when "Aunt Flo" visited, and more in one boob than the other. On top of that, I started getting discharge out of my nipples. "That can't be good", I thought.
We don't take chances with our boobies and this sort of thing, so off to the doctor I went.

I see a new doctor now, and she had a poke and a prod and sent me off for blood tests and an ultrasound. We found that I had lots of cysts in both my boobs. One quite large one in my left one, right where it gets sore. Funny that. So I had that sucked out last week and have been waiting on the pathology results for that.

This morning was the morning for the results (straight after school drop off), and a further poke and prod to see how we were going. I haven't been feeling very anxious about it, but I wonder if deep down below the surface there was a little bit lingering. I was a little on edge this morning, but trying to keep it light-hearted.

We went out to the car to start the school run, and when I turned the key in the ignition, there was a sound missing. The usual rumbling of the engine was nowhere to be heard. It seems that when we came in last night, Ardyn had left the interior light on (even though I had reminded her at the time "Don't forget to turn that light out when you come in") and flattened my battery. FOR THE SECOND TIME IN 3 DAYS!!!!!

Do I speak in another language? Are my words not clear? I'd get more response talking to the wall these days. Can you relate? This is a whole other post..........

After trying to jump the car with the help of a friend who came to my aid, we had no luck. She was kind enough to take Ardyn to school with her daughter (now almost half an hour late) and drop Bailey and I at Cal's car so I could take her to Kindy, BUT, with all this kerfuffle I missed my doctor's appointment. 

Why do these things always happen when you have stuff to do?

I managed to get a later appointment at the doctors, BUT the pathology results were not in. Bugger. AND when she did some more poking and prodding, decided that I need to go for a mammogram as there is another mass there she wants checked out. Double BUGGER!!

So back home again.
To be honest, I feel okay. A little flat, but okay. I don't think it's anything, I apparently have 'lumpy boobs', but you can never be too sure. I'd rather a doctor be thorough and find out it's nothing than say it's nothing and find out that it really was.

So now I await the NRMA man to come and start my car. At least I know that can be fixed with relative ease.
I just hope it's not the same guy as the other day.

Monday, April 30, 2012

May is for HAPPY

I stumbled across the 1 Million Acts of Kindness page on Facebook today. I proceeded to their website and had a little read. 

The idea is that you register and pledge to perform Random Acts of Kindness for 8 weeks starting May 14. You need to pledge a minimum of 2 a week, and of course the goal is to have 1,000,000 RAKs performed in that 8 week period all over Australia and help create a happier, healthier and more trusting environment to live in.

I LOVE IT!!!! It's as simple as smiling at a stranger in the street, calling a friend to tell them that you love them or complimenting someone on their outfit/hair/whatever. It's not that hard to make someone feel good about themselves, and it will probably make their day, or week. And they will hopefully share the love and make someone else happy.

It links in with my plan to join in with Seven Cherubs' "Happy Days in May" Project.

For this project you determine a time each day, preferably at night, where you can take a moment to ponder and to reflect over what moment has helped you feel happy during the day and then write it down. Simple. Happy.

Even just the thought of participating in these two projects is making me happy. And happy is good.

For 2012, May = Happy.
K xx

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Will you play with me?"

I envy kids. I envy thier ability to go up to a complete stranger (child) and say "will you play with me".

I love that Bailey and I will go to a park or something and within a very short time frame she is able to come back to me and tell me all about a new friend that she has. I love that at 4 she can't distinguish between meaningful connections and just finding someone to play with in that moment. We lose that ability as we get older, but then again, as we get older we also need those meaningful connections. Or do we? Maybe finding someone to play with that moment is all we need?

I'm feeling a little bit lost at the moment, and I think it might be from a lack of meaningful connections in my life. Or more to the point, lack of a "tribe". I don't have the friends that I greup with here. I don't have a group of friends that I go out to dinner with or catch up for a coffee with. We as a couple don't hav ea group of friends with that we catch up with for meals or whatever. I'm feeling a little lonely.

After moving away from Melbourne 8 years ago, I found it hard to make new friends here. Well, when you're in a strange city and don't know anyone other than your husband and 6 month old, it can be pretty hard. I was told by other people who had made such a move that it would get easier as my kids got older and went to school then I would meet people through them.

So I waited for preschool. I managed to make a couple of really good friends through her preschool. One probably more significant than the others (call her "S"), but I had friends. I had girls to go out to dinner with and catch up for coffee. Then when the kids started school, we all went to different schools, and it got too hard for some reason. Kids go to school = parents going back to work = no time for coffees. :) 
The one more signifcant friend got a new neighbour who they all got along with as a family, and they started spending more time with them than us. Why not? It's easy. They live next door. "S" and I are still friends, but we certainly see a lot less of each other than we used to. In fact, we had planned a night out, it was in the calendar for months, and got cancelled becasue they went away with their neighbours for the weekend. Most of me is okay with that, we went away with them ourselves a few weeks later, but a part of me was absolutely GUTTED!

Then there are the mums I met through dance. I have never been really buddy-buddy with any of them to the point that we'd go out for a drink, but close enough to share some details of each other's lives, and perhaps catch up for a BBQ. Well one had a falling out with our dance teacher, moved dance schools and we have barely spoken since, and the other seems to "ignore" my requests to catch up. By that I mean that whenever I mention that we should catch up, I never hear back, or they are always busy.

There is one girl who I met (ahem) online not very long after moving here. It was on one of those parenting forums, and they were having a local meet up at a playcentre. I thought I'd go along and maybe find a friend, and I did!!! We don't live near each other any more, and trying to get together has been hard. I find that when we do make plans to catch up she cancels about 90% of the time, or I get messages from her saying "I miss you, we have to catch up", and when I try to arrange a catch up, my messages get ignored. To the point that a couple of weekends ago we had organised for her family to come over here for a meal and her daughter sleep over, and for the week leading in, every attempt I made to contact her about it was ignored, and they never turned up. I know life gets busy, but that just hurts.

And now there are the school mums. There are some really great mums there, and one in particular I had a lovely friendship going with. We were spending a lot of time together there for a while. And there are other mums there who I really like, and would love to spend more time with. They all spend time together, as 'the girls' and as families. There are a couple of groups who either know each other through preschool, their kids play soccer together, or have just formed a bit of a group. They seem to have that 'tribe', but for some reason I'm kind of flitting around the exterior, and I don't think at 39 years old I'm able to just do as Bailey does and just say "will you play with me".

They have formed meaningful connections. Some of them as families. And to be honest, truly honest, I am happy for them that they have managed that. I'm not sitting here thinking "poor me", I'm just thinking if there's something I can do to find my own tribe. A group who invites you along for a coffee when the kids are at school, or for a drink after the husband is home and the kids are in bed.

But even short of the tribe, I think that right now, I just want someone who will play with me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Being a mummy of a sisterhood is scary

I don't have any sisters. I grew up as an only daughter with a brother 3 (or so) years either side of me. I was a bit of a tom-boy. I enjoyed football more than Barbie, and loved getting dirty making mud pies and climbing trees. Hosting tea parties, wearing dresses and being 'pretty' wasn't how I rolled.

Duncan and 1 - 1973
Mal, Dunc, Mum & I - circa 1976

Mal & I - circa 1979
I loved the way that I was raised. My mum taught me to be self-sufficient, loyal and honest. Dad taught me to kick a footy, swing a golf club and dance a waltz. My brothers picked on me, but defended me too. I never wished that I had a sister. I have never liked teenage girls. I chose not to associate with them, as I never 'got' their bitchiness and emotional torment of each other.

Fast forward many years and I met a man, fell in love and started a family. We had planned a family of two children, and in 2004 and 2007 out pop two perfect, beautiful, pink, girly babies. The first thing that went through my head was "Oh my God, I am going to have to deal with teenage girls - two of them!" Now at 7 and 4, I really am starting to worry as the eye-rolling and attitudes start creeping their way into our everyday lives.

My "innocent" little terrors
I'm scared.

A few years ago I met a girl who was telling me about growing up with her only sister. The bitchiness, the fights, the cattiness between them. She was not helping me feel any more relaxed. But she also explained how when one needed the other, they were able to put all that aside and still be the best of friends. They would look out for each other, plot revenge against people who had done them wrong, and generally stick up for each other.

If one of them was having an issue with mum or dad, they would barricade themselves in their room and plot revenge against their parents.

I am going to regret saying this, but ultimately, this is what I have hoped for. That under all the emotion and bitchiness, their friendship can develop into a love and unity that will bond them together against anyone who does them wrong. Kind of a one-for-all, us against the world type of attitude.

Lately, I have seen a little of this bond developing. It started on New Years Eve.

We were celebrating with friends, and friends of theirs who we did not know. One of the girls was nasty to Ardyn, and she came over to us in tears. Bailey (at 4 years old) stormed over to the 8 year old girls and demanded to know who upset her sister, proceeded to put a finger in the girl's face, and told her to stop. 

NYE 2011
I laughed and thought nothing much of it, just thinking that it was a one-off.

Then tonight it happened again.

Ardyn was being punished for something, and part of that punishment was having her Nintendo DS confiscated. As I was walking away with it, Bailey came over to me, grabbed my arm, pulled me back and forcefully said "MUM! NO! You can't take it!"

Her little face was so serious that I smile now remembering it (but of course at the time would not give her an inch and took the DS anyway). Ardyn is so sensitive, and Bailey just knows what she wants. And if what she wants is to see her big sister happy, she will do anything (including standing up to mum) to make her happy.
Bateman's Bay - April 2012
Hanging out at home - April 2012
It may have been them against me tonight, and although I don't look forward to the same scenario in 8-10 years, I am glad that they have each other. I really hope that they never lose that. But I also hope to God that they take it easy on Cal and I.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

On the topic of Weight.....

It's been so long since I've regularly updated my Blog, and I've had friends email and message me about updates that they are after. One of them was my quest to lose a little weight - "The Last 5 kgs".

Well the good news is that I did do it, and I did it slowly and meaningfully and have had no trouble keeping it off.  It was pretty easy actually, and I now have a firm belief that if you take your weight loss journey slowly and don't expect to lose weight like a contestant on "The Biggest Loser", you too will find it easy.

First, you have to be honest with yourself about where your downfalls are. Are there any unnecessary inclusions like tobacco or alcohol? Do you exercise? Realistically, do you eat too much or the wrong foods?

Honestly, I don't smoke or drink (1 glass of wine a week - if I'm lucky - is about what it averages out to be), but I wasn't exercising, I drank FAR too much coffee and not enough water, I enjoyed low GI, high carb snacks, and I ate crap (chips, chocolate, etc) late at night, and my sleep patterns sucked.

So, I started moving, cut down the coffee and increased the water intake, ate a LOT more fresh fruit and vegetables, I still eat carbs but I try to make them low GI and keep them to a minimum, and cut out eating after dinner. That was my biggest problem, the late night snacking. As soon as I cut that out the weight started coming off straight away. I still don't sleep, and I don't think I will ever change that one. :)

I joined Weight Watchers too. That just helped me work out what was going in and when. They have an iPhone App that you can just punch in what you have consumed, and it works the points out for you. Send you alerts and congratulates you when you lose weight. It's really good, I highly recommend it. I don't use it any more, but the idea of  'how many points have I eaten' is always with me.

In late August 2011 (ish) I weighed around 74.5kg. In late October, when I started blogging about this I weighed 70.5kg, trying to lose "the last 5kg". I was eating right and exercising, and the weight was coming off. In late January, after having a smart, but still indulgent Christmas and New Year, and not exercising since the start of December, I weighed in at 64.8kg. I now hover around 64.5kg. But here's the thing.....

I don't exercise. The last time I went to the gym was in late January sometime, just before school went back. Since then I have run around an oval on one occasion, and took the opportunity to stop when my girlfriend called. BUT, I still don't eat after dinner, I don't drink as much coffee, and I drink WATER. Lots of water. I eat carbs, but I'm still smart about it, and I have renewed my relationship with fresh fruit as a snack. The best part is that when I do indulge, I just get back into the healthy stuff the next day.

I don't starve myself, I'm just smarter about what I put into me. I have created new habits that ensure that my weight doesn't go up again. So because I'm not losing weight right now, and happy to keep it steady, now I can indulge in a drink every now and again, and maybe have a chocolate without feeling guilty.

If I do put on, I know how to get it off by cutting out those little extras. If I want to lose more (there's another Blog post in that one) I know how to do it.

But what I want to convey to you is that ANYONE CAN DO IT. It's not about "I have a slow metabolism", or "It's in my genes, I come from a big family", it's about being realistic with yourself. If you WANT to lose weight, YOU CAN DO IT. But you have to be honest with yourself and do the work. And that work can be HARD.
If you're not willing to do the work, don't whinge about your weight. Accept it, and move on.

Just before I go, I need to tell husband sits and shovels many many snacks into his mouth. After dinner, before dinner, always. He also loves a drink or two (or three or five). So many empty calories enter his body. These are bad habits he has had for a long time, and I don't think he will ever break them. BUT, he exercises HUGE amounts every week. He lives on input/output. You can put it in, but you have to be willing to burn it off too. A couple of years ago he weighed 118kg, ate and drank like a machine, sat on the couch a lot and wore a 40" pant. He now weighs under 90kgs, runs triathlons, trains like a machine, and the only reason he doesn't wear a 34" pant off the rack is that he is also 6'5" and he has to dress for length. He knows he will put on weight if he doesn't exercise or watch what he consumes, so he keeps the balance.

You too can keep the balance. If you want to do it, start now.
It's not that hard. Really.
But you have to WANT to.
Good luck.
K x

Monday, March 26, 2012

Do you know it all??

Wow! December 3 was the last time I blogged. I know it's been a while, but to see the date right there makes me realise how lazy/busy (you pick one) I've been. I'll get around to that.
Today I have my preschooler home, my big girl home sick and I am taking a few minutes for ME, to write a Blog post - and it feels good.

Anyway, what do I want to talk about? Expectations. Expectations on stay at home parents to hold up the fort. To organise everyone. To know everything.

Or is it a female thing? Could be. Am I over thinking this? Looking too far into it? Is it something that has carried over from past generations? From seeing our mums doing it all??
I don't know.

I am getting a little jacked of trying to keep all my balls in the air at the moment. I find that I have everyone in my family organised so well, that my stuff just gets pushed to the side and I start to look overly disorganised. I'm dropping my balls. I have Uni deadlines looming and have just been given a household organisation ultimatum by my husband.
I don't like to argue (belive it or not) and it's time to kick it into overdrive. I only have 24 hours a day. Maybe I will cut back on sleep.

Anyway, one area of family organisation  "knowing" that specifically gets my back up is birthdays.
Between us we have two children, 4 parents, 1 grandparent, 4 siblings (each with partners), and 11 neices and nephews. That's 26 family birthdays every year. Then there are close friends and their children - the figure is ridiculous. Somewhere between 3 and 4 a month.

I am meant to remember everyone's birthdays, get them their gifts (if required), and remind Cal of said birthday so that he can make the appropriate phone call and look like the good guy. A few years ago he had a real go at me because I didn't remind him it was one of his frirend's birthdays so that he could call him. My argument was that if they are that important to you, you would remember their birthday, or at least right it down. I was told "That's your job." (Along with the many other that I get told are mine as a Stay at Home Mum.)

I made a stand and said that he can be responsible for remembering his families birthdays, and sending their gifts because, well, he's known them longer than me, and he SHOULD know the dates without being reminded. That's only 2 parents, 2 siblings and their partners.
It hasn't worked.

My Mother In Law's birthday was earlier in March. As per my stance, I shouldn't have said anything, but I know how disappointed she would be if her darling son forgot. A little over a week out I reminded him, "Don't forget it's your mum's birthday Tuesday week. If you intend on sending her a gift, get onto it." A week out, "It's your mum's birthday next week. Have you organised anything?" On the weekend prior I reminded him, "Don't forget it's your mum's birthday on Tuesday."

Tuesday came. My hard-working husband got home and I said to him, "So how's your mum? Did you speak to her?" 
"No." Confused.
"It's her birthday." 
"WHY DIDN'T YOU REMIND ME!!!" (Cue mobile phone to ear madly making phone calls to three different numbers to find mother to wish her Happy Birthday.)

Seriously, what more can I do????

Who in your family looks after these arrangements? Do you keep a birthday book/calendar handy that everyone can access? (BTW I've tired this, didn't work.) Am I being overly sensitive and should sick it up as part of my 'job'?