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