Miscellany, Moments

December 2016 favourites

A short and sweet wrap-up of my favourite parts of December 2016!

 

Thing we/I did

On a warm and overcast day at the end of the month, we spontaneously decided to head to the National Arboretum to explore areas of it that we hadn’t been to before. We visited the Himalayan Cedar Forest and walked amongst the shade of these beautiful trees, then veering off track to the areas of the Arboretum dedicated to silk trees and cork oaks. We found little caterpillars hanging by invisible threads in the forest, and a twig teepee made by a previous explorer. We then drove to the highest point of the Arboretum, to take in the view over north-east Canberra towards the Brindabellas, where a storm was starting to roll in and three wedge-tailed eagles were circling above the dry land. Just amazing.

Photo I took

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Cedar at the above-mentioned Arboretum. Cool huh?

Book I read

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – rated it 4 out of 5 on Goodreads, but in hindsight questioning if it was actually worth of a 5 out of 5. A very quick read, this is a book about families, books, obligations, desires, love, grief, and other stuff in between. It follows bookshop owner AJ Fikry over the course of many years (for such a small book it really packs it in), and although he can be grumpy and rude at times, you can’t help but be endeared to him. This one will put a smile on your face.

Memory or moment

Our New Years Eve celebrations. We had my sister, brother-in-law and niece over to our house for a bbq, and after the kids had gone to bed we settled in outside for drinking and chatting. We played “The Song Game”, which I made up. It was very simple – I give you a criteria for requesting a song for me to find and play from Spotify, and we take it in turns to request a song. Ie. “a song that takes you back to your childhood”, “a song from the favourite band you’ve seen play live”, etc. Super fun.

Pastime

Watching TV. I think it must have been the laziness of the holidays, but I definitely felt more drawn to doing this than anything else.

Thing I bought

I bought this wallet from Status Anxiety, which I had had my eye on for years, I don’t know why it took me so long –

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Movie or TV show I watched

I’ve started The Crown on Netflix. Still only about halfway through, and although I take the accuracy of it all with a grain of salt, I still like to pretend that it is all real and I’m actually watching it unfold before me. I love royal family stuff.

Song or album I listened to

Revisiting some oldies lately – namely Lily Allen, Grinspoon, and Bush.

 

What was your month of December like? What were your favourite things?

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Miscellany, Moments

November 2016 favourites

A short and sweet wrap-up of my favourite parts of November 2016!

 

Thing we/I did

We took the kids to see the Bite-sized Circus, an animal-free show with just 6 performers, specialising in acrobatics, juggling, feats of strength and balance, and other amazing tricks. I’d been to see this show previously with Moose but this time all four of us went. It was a freeeeeeezing night and I was already sick, but that didn’t stop me enjoying it!

 

Photo I took

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Here’s Little R just before his first ever swimming lesson. He was so excited and laughed and cheered the whole time we were in the water. We’ve just been for lesson #4 and he’s still laughing and cheering just as much. Little man loves the water! I’m so grateful to have back my one day off from work each week, so that we can spend special time like this together – just the two of us.

 

Book I read

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – I rated this 5/5 on Goodreads. It’s a YA fantasy about a realm which is governed by a queen with a special gift. The queen will always give birth to triplet girls, each born with their own seperate gifts, which will usually be either the ability to control the weather, the ability to withstand poisons and create them, or the ability to have affinity with animals. The girls are seperated at a young age though, and taken to different areas of the realm to learn to control and master their gifts. Once they come of age, they will make a performance of their gift in front of the citizens of the realm, and be given a year in which to try and murder the other two sisters, leaving the sole survivor to be the next queen. Now who doesn’t want to read THAT?! It was dark and suspenseful and oh so delicously fantastical.

 

Memory or moment

I ran the 5km course in the Canberra Lifeline Fun Run – my first ever fun run! This has been on my goal list for a few years, I’m so happy that I have finally done it. I ran the course with my sister, and even though it was the easiest one on offer and we didn’t completely push ourselves to run as fast as we could, still the feeling of crossing that finish line was so uplifting. I have definitely caught the bug and want to do this again and again – and next time I’ll push myself!

 

Pastime

Big R bought a Nintendo mini classic, which if you don’t know what it is, is basically a pocket-sized version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) that you might remember from the ’90s. Here’s what it looks like:

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It comes pre-loaded with 30 original arcade classics, including the Super Mario trilogy, Pac Man, Double Dragon, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. I have been having way too much fun reliving my childhood and trying out lots of old favourites and new favourites that I’d never played before. Definitely worth the investment!

 

Thing I bought

I bought this new beach towel from Cotton On, and I’m so in love with it. I have wanted a cool round beach towel for a long time, and now I finally have one and it’s amazing! After I bought it, I came home and immediately spread it out on the floor so I could lay about on it.

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Movie or TV show I watched

Big R and I had a rare night out to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary (thank you, thank you very much), and we saw Arrival at the movies. This was not your average aliens-invade-Earth movie. Very different, with a deep message and a lot of feels. It really left us both with lots to ponder afterwards. A worthwhile watch.

 

Song or album I listened to

I’ve been listening to Bloom by Rufus lately, and the whole album is just exquisite. Good to listen to at any time – in the car, at work, at the gym, chilling at home, hanging out with friends. Special stuff.

 

What was your month of November like? What were your favourite things?

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Moments

Stillness and awe

The other morning, Little R was keeping me company while I got ready. He was happily babbling away to himself and playing with some toys while I got dressed, and I tuned out for a bit, concentrating on what I was doing. Noticing that the noise had stopped, I tuned back in to see him sitting still by the window, gazing at the gusty day outside. The sight stopped me in my tracks. It mightn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re used to an energetic dynamo of a 2-year old circling you constantly, these rare moments of stillness are a sight to behold.

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He was so peaceful, so enthralled. I could almost see the cogs turning in his head as he sat and watched.

I couldn’t resist sneaking out of the room to grab my phone and race back to get a few quick photos, which of course ended up disturbing his daydream. In hindsight I should have just stayed still, soaking up the moment, watching him just like he was watching the trees. I can’t remember another time when I’ve witnessed either Little R or his big sister just sit like that and watch the world as it goes by. Such a small thing, but so beautiful to me.

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I got down on the floor with Little R and we lay side by side on our tummies, looking out the window and talking about the wind and the leaves on the trees. Then he got up and jumped on to my back. I managed to wriggle him off me and get up to kneel, only to have him crawl underneath me, giggling. I nuzzled into his neck with my nose, making him laugh. And I thought “This. This is being a parent.”

The little things.

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Miscellany

Fighting the good fight

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I feel like a stranger in my own corner of the internet! I let this little place go for a long time.

Most of this year has felt like a struggle. There have been challenges, so many challenges. And many times, I felt like those challenges were too big to be overcome, like I should just fold and admit defeat. Because I’d been chipping away at them but the hits just kept on coming. It was too big. Life seemed insurmountable.

There were times when I wasn’t sure how we would pay our bills and afford groceries.

There were times when our family felt like it was breaking apart and I didn’t know if it could be saved.

There were times when I cried myself to sleep, or cried quietly alone in the dead of the night.

There were times when I wondered if I would ever get a win.

There was a lot of hard work and a lot of late nights, for seemingly no result.

There were times when I was beat down, my self-confidence taking blow after blow, my soul and sense of value and purpose disintegrating at the hands of others.

There were a lot of dreams, with no path that I could find to bring them to fruition.

There was yelling.

There was rejection.

And for the first time in years, the shady black dog of depression reappeared, much to my surprise and dismay.

I mourned my missing creative spirit. I KNEW what I wanted to do, and what I needed to do, to feed my soul and feel the wonder of the world again. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t summon the energy or the motivation. And so this place was abandoned along with my knitting, and my yoga, and my other writing projects, and other crafty adventures.

About three months ago, we had some amazing luck. My husband was offered another job out of the blue, and with it came some major positives for our family. More income. More time together. These things combined have lightened the burdens on our shoulders and given us some breathing room and opportunities to do things we couldn’t before. It’s made all the difference.

So lately, I have been starting to fight back against the anxiety and disorder. Each day, I’m trying to take small steps towards what I want to manifest. I understand now that if you want things to happen, you have to seek them out, you can’t trust that they will just land in your lap. And so, my plans are formulating in my head, and I’m doing little pieces here and there to make it all come true. It is taking time, but I’m starting to feel productive and creative again.

So here I am again. I can’t say if I’ll be back again tomorrow, or in a week, or a fortnight. Who knows. And I know I don’t need to make excuses or apologise to anyone, the main person this space is for is me. But sometimes it feels constructive to acknowledge the good fights we fight.

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Miscellany

Growing up – Little R, 2 years

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Little R / 2 years

 

I think the age you’re in right now is probably my favourite – between the ages of 1 and 3. Everything is still new and wonderful to you, you’re still so happy and curious. But you have also moved into full tantrum-throwing territory, if you don’t get your way.

You are deep in the stage of being an absolutely adorable, so-cute-it-hurts toddler. You are usually busy, either on your way somewhere at full pelt, or deeply involved with a toy or a book. It’s only recently that you’ve come into the age where you sometimes choose to play with other children if you want, I’ve only witnessed this on a few occasions, and it’s just so heartwarming to see. You play well with other kids, you especially seem to like being around older kids and they seem to adore you, but you’re also still just as content to make your own fun at other times.

Milestones seem to be found everyday. The transition from single words into short sentences are starting to emerge, as have unique facial or physical gestures as a means of communication, sometimes so slight that only a parent would understand the meaning. Physically, you’re pushing the boundaries of course, and still need a grown-up nearby.¬†You prefer not to hold my hand when you walk, but when you come to an uneven surface in your path you instinctively reach out for me. There’s no more wobbliness when you move around, and most of the time it’s run or nothing.¬†We had to remove our coffee table from the lounge room, because you figured out how easy it was to climb on top of it, and from there, launch yourself on to the couch. There were a few bumps resulting from that, but after the split lip, it was time for the coffee table to go.

 

Some words you can currently say –

Yes, Mummy! Yes, Daddy! Yes, Moo! (for Moose)

Allo, Hi, Buh-bye (with a wave)

Toach (for toast), Milk (although until recently, this was pronounced “Mor”), Iss (for water – go figure), Juice, Treat, Nack (snack), Bick (biscuit), Podge (porridge), more-do (for more food/water/play/anything. Yeah I dunno)

Ta, No, Yes, Pease

Goal!, Catch!, Ball, Kick, Ooszh (shoes)

Baby, Cute, Uh-oh, I Know!, Butt, Fart

Wee-Wee (The Wiggles)

 

You have started to become fussier with food, turning your nose up at certain things (all vegetables, cheese, ham), or more accurately, waving it away with your hand or throwing it away while shaking your head and saying “ew, no, yeauk”. You’re still learning how to use a fork though,¬†and we can’t wait for the day when we finally don’t have to clean up food from the floor anymore after every meal.

You give kisses and cuddles on command now, holding your arms out and puckering up your lips. You’re definitely more affectionate than your sister was at this age, and when Mummy and Daddy see you after a long day at work and childcare, you call our name and come running for a hug. It’s so nice.

You love making funny faces, it always ends up in giggles, for you and everyone around you. You make this scrunched up hilarious face now when you dance, with your mouth all pouty, kind of like an angry duck-face. Your other current favourites, because they make me laugh, are the toothy cheesy grin……

 

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…..closely followed by the wide open eyes + wide mouth combo….

 

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You crack me up kid.

You are obsessed with ball play. All you want to do is throw and kick balls all day long, and you have done ever since you were able to stand and kick. You carry a ball around with you, and will throw it at us even if our backs are turned or we’re not ready. This is probably the area you’re the most advanced in right now – the gross motor skills – you have such good ball control for your age that people comment on it all the time. Your Dad is very pleased about this, you’re showing great promise to be a star sports player!

You also, unshockingly, love playing with cars, trucks and trains. This wasn’t something we purposefully tried to instill in you, your natural attraction to these toys just slowly emerged. You even make the “brooommmm” and “errrrrrrrr!!!” sounds of cars moving and braking when you play with them!

You and your sister play really well together, most of the time. You still have the occasional argument over a toy. You have learnt to become just as rough with her as she is with you, you’re definitely holding your own now. Although I wish you’d stop the hitting. Or that I could find the secret to helping you stop the hitting.

You also love to read – more so flicking through books yourself than being read to, although you enjoy that too. You will sit quite happily and quietly for ages if you have a pile of books in front of you, carefully studying the pictures on each page. The sight makes my heart swell!

You are such a treasure, I don’t want you to ever grow up!

 

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Miscellany

Mindful Sunday

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Sunday is my favourite day of the week. The week that was is behind us, and if I’ve played my cards right, the necessary weekend housework and socialising has taken place on Saturday. That leaves Sunday for relaxing, reflecting, and looking to the week ahead. Sunday always feels comfortable to me, a day to just be.

I’m looking forward to this week. I feel like all I’ve been doing for months is going to work, going to job interviews, and writing job applications. I’m now enforcing a break on myself and I’m so relieved to have some pressure lifted from my shoulders. This will be a week of taking it slower, revisiting exercise, reading, and catching up on Netflix.

This is also a big week at school for Moose. She’s due to be presented with an art merit award at school assembly on Friday, and I can’t wait to be there with Big R and Little R to cheer her on. And then on Friday night she’ll be going to her first school disco, and I’ll be going to my first school disco as a parent. I’m volunteering purely to spy on the littlies, it’s going to be so cute.

Today I’m going to finish off some odds and ends that I didn’t get to yesterday, and then I might take the kids out for a walk in the sunshine later. The trees are changing, autumn colour is everywhere, and leaves are sprinkled across footpaths and lawns. We’re in long-sleeves and long pants, but there’s no need for scarves and coats just yet.

And that will be it, the weekend complete. Simple, and perfect.

 

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Miscellany

Geeking out – Summer 2015/2016

So, summer has actually been over for a while. But you know, life happened, and THEN when I finally got myself into action and started writing this post, something went wrong halfway through and I lost everything I’d written. That gave me a sad. So here I am, writing this all for the second time. Maybe I should just go back to good old pen and paper…..

Onward! Let us count the ways in which I treated my geeky self over summer. Because I read quite a lot over those 3 months, it would be too lengthy to go into detail for all of the reads, so instead I’ll just give you a quick summary and let you know what rating I gave the books on Goodreads. Here we go:

 

Reading

Bitch Planet: Volume 1 by Kellie Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma and Robert Wilson Р3 out of 5 stars

A feminist graphic novel in which “non compliant” women are sent off to a segregated prison-like place known as “Bitch Planet”. Grrrl Power!

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler Р2 out of 5 stars

Family dynamics, growing up, and coping with grief. Oh, and monkeys.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman Р5 out of 5 stars

A dystopian thriller-horror that set my heart racing and had me flicking pages like wow.¬†Something¬†begins to infiltrate the outside world and when people lay their eyes on this something, they go crazy and commit suicide. Don’t go outside with your eyes open. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!

Nick Of Time¬†by Allison B. Hanson –¬†3 out of 5 stars

A rare sojourn into romance for me, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to! It was a bit typical in the storyline and ending, but I liked the characters nonetheless. I received this as an e-galley through Netgalley.

Ms. Marvel: Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona Р1 out of 5 stars

A young girl discovers she has superpowers – in fact, she is Ms Marvel. Thumbs up to more female superheroes (especially females-of-colour), but I just wasn’t captivated by this.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed Р5 out of 5 stars

This book made me feel inspired, confident, and ready to face anything! Technically this would be defined as self-help, but it’s not fluffy or opinionated or judgy like some self-help can be. This is a collection of advice columns from the Dear Sugar feature on The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed.

Craft For The Soul by Pip Lincolne Р2 out of 5 stars

This is Pip’s latest book, with tips for improving different areas of your life through a slightly crafty bent. It was sweet, but I just didn’t feel like it was anything I hadn’t read before. Give it a go though if you’ve enjoyed her previous books.

Only The Stones Survive¬†by Morgan Llywelyn –¬†3 out of 5 stars

I felt like reading some mystical fantasy with great world-building, and this one fulfilled that need. About two different peoples, one invading the other for their lands. Both the characters and the landscapes were well-developed and the magical elements just added to the beauty of the writing. I received this as an e-galley through Netgalley.

Fear Is The Rider¬†by Kenneth Cook –¬†5 out of 5 stars

Read it in one sitting. Well, it is under 200 pages, but still – it was amazing! An edge-of-your-seat, can’t-stop-till-it’s-over thriller, based in the Australian outback. Two lone travellers are hunted by a murderous madman through the isolated and dusty wilds. All of the creeps! Another one I received as an e-galley through Netgalley.

The Martian¬†by Andy Weir –¬†4 out of 5 stars

I finally got around to reading this! Who doesn’t love Mark Watney, I ask you? It was suspenseful, and enthralling, and hilarious. I only left off one star because at times the complex mathematical/technical/scientific parts went over my head, but that could just be me.

Fates and Furies¬†by Lauren Groff –¬†2 out of 5 stars

My disappointment of the season. I had high hopes for this, based on all of the rave reviews I’d heard. But it kinda bored me. I just didn’t care about the characters and what happened to them. It was like it was¬†too¬†literary, just for the sake of being literary. But plenty of people love it, so don’t take my word for it if it’s on your TBR list.

Horrorstor¬†by Grady Hendrix –¬†4 out of 5 stars

Suspenseful horror-thriller in which strange and creepy things happen in an Ikea-copycat store overnight. Naturally, some of the staff decide to stay in the store overnight to try and figure out what’s going on, which is a very bad idea. This definitely had its chilling moments, and even some really dark moments, but mostly it was just a bit of fun.

 

On the online front, here were a few gems that I found recently-

Kate from Picklebums tallies up a great list of things you can save for play and how to use them. Great for those times when you feel like you should be playing with your kids but you’ve run out of ideas!

From the one and only Book Riot, a post that rang my Booktube-addiction bells – 22 favourite booktubers.

And one for all those wannabe gardeners out there (like me) – veggies that you can regrow again and again!

 

Watching

 

I haven’t been watching much TV at all. We finally got caught up on House of Cards, and just as we did….the next season dropped. So now we are behind again!

We watched the first episode of Making a Murderer, because of ALL of the hype, but we just didn’t feel motivated to go back for more? There’s got to be something to it though, I haven’t heard a bad report yet, so I’m thinking of just diving in to episode 2 and seeing how I go.

Also, I haven’t seen it yet but I REALLY want to see the new Jungle Book movie. It definitely doesn’t look like something to take kids to, even though it’s rated PG. But it just looks amazing, and I’m a huge Jungle Book fan, so I can’t wait!

 

Listening

I’ve mainly been listening to podcasts over music! There were some good things rotating on my playlist over summer though. A few of my picks – Ocean Drive by Duke Dumont, Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd, Trust by Half Moon Run, and Dreams by Beck¬†(he’s back!).

 

I hope you’ve been enjoying some good reading, watching and listening lately! Let me know about it in the comments!

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