Goals Update – Week 11 – Lesson: Even a small success is a great motivator.

It has been a month since my last post. No excuses, I just didn’t feel like writing so I didn’t. Not writing however is not the same as not doing and there has certainly been plenty of that going on so I figured it was about time to give my long over-due Goals Update post (so much for at least once a week huh!).

Wow it has been so long I am actually having to refer back to my original post just to help me remember what they all are…
so I am just going to re-list them and include an update (in brackets) after each one:

I give myself one year to…

1. Post a new message on this blog at least once a week – more if I can find the time and have something worthwhile to post. (Pfft so much for this one, though I will try again starting… now)

2. Lose 26kg – I have it there to lose and I can honestly say I won’t miss it! (I have lost 6.4kg! I finally got a new set of scales – fancy ones even – and will be able to keep track much easier now. It is amazing how buoying it is to see positive results. I am more motivated now that I have had some success than I was in the beginning)

3. Improve my fitness – I am nowhere near ready for a zombie apocalypse and I have two babies to look after, I will need stamina. (Ok so I haven’t been working out anywhere near as much as I had intended but I am still doing way more than before (read – before nothing, now something) and that has to count for something)

4. Make it through an entire Pilates workout on the advanced level – I have never made it past the intermediate level and having not done it for so long I am back to beginner, I am sure touching my own toes should not be such a struggle. (Yeah about that… I haven’t actually dug my dvds out of storage yet… but I have been stretching so my flexibility is slowly improving. I still intend to achieve this goal so I guess I had better get on to it)

5. Kick my sugar habit – seriously I rely far too heavily on sugar to get me through the day! I am not going to give it up totally but I would like to get rid of the refined sugar at least. (I never thought I would ever manage to drink my coffee or tea without sugar but there you go, now I prefer it that way. It has also been over a month since my last glass of juice or soda – actually that is not completely true about the soda. I had a glass of diet Pepsi but didn’t enjoy it so I didn’t finish it, so to me that doesn’t count, it doesn’t does it? I have had a couple of cocoas in the evening but it is only once or twice a week, compared to the once or twice a day it was before I am pretty proud of this!)

6. Try one new recipe every week – even if it is just a new version of an old favourite. (This I have been doing, though I am totally crap at taking photos of them. I forget every time! Do you even want to know what I am making if I can’t show you a picture? Seriously, do you? Let me know if you do as I will happily post the recipes. I have made everything from yeast-less pizza dough to tortillas from scratch, sticky lemon chicken, brownies, empanadas, souvlaki and the list goes on...)

7. Complete a craft project every month – I really wanted to make this one a week but realistically most days I am lucky if I can fit 10 mins into the routine. (So this one is a little harder to report on. I have, in true ME form, started many new projects and, as yet, finished none – other than the ones I have already posted about. There are two reasons for this, firstly, I keep finding I don’t have everything I need to complete something and as I don’t want to spend much on any one project I have been putting them on hold until I can find what I need either free or super cheap. This has meant a few things are on a temporary pause. Secondly I am happiest when starting something new so rather than wait til I have everything I need I usually opt to go ahead and start. I am currently working on:
* my lanterns,
* finishing my home management folder,
* putting together a favourite recipes folder,
* a wall mounted herb garden for my kitchen,
* propagating seeds for my summer garden
* a papier-mâché rocket name-plate for Danger’s bedroom door
* a papier-mâché rocket for Danger to play with so he will stop hassling me to play with the name-plate
so just a few things on the go. Actually I don’t think the home management folder will ever be truly ‘complete’ as I think I will still be finding things to put in it years from now but that is ok, the perfectionist in me is not quite ready to share it yet. The Papier-mâché project is utilising things I have around the house, it is just taking quite a long time for it to dry between layers in this cold weather. I will hopefully have that done very soon as Danger is super excited by it and I would like him to have it before he loses interest. I have also found all of the missing pieces to finish my lanterns now hidden among the blankets in a little person’s bed and have done a few so here is a sneak preview before the actual post that I will hopefully be able to show next week..
.)
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8. Find and join (or start) a play group for my children – this I will make time for! There are a lot of children in the army housing but the only family my kids played with moved away so it is time to find new playmates. (I have collected a bunch of CDs of kid’s sing-a-long music I just need to convert them now so I can play them through my iPod and speakers, and get started collecting musical instruments for them to play with. I haven’t taken it any further than this as A-man and I are discussing our options re: moving house, and may end up moving just a bit further away from camp than I will want to travel. I will still likely start one if there are no adequate ones close to where we move but I just don’t know what is going to happen yet)

9. Find a housework system that works for me and stick to it – I am much better at housekeeping since moving to a bigger house but I still have a long way to go to keep the house “company ready” all of the time. (Hmm, where do I start? Well it goes like this… approximately 1 hour before Action Man gets home from work I rush around like a demon-possessed maniac who’s super critical OCD mother-in-law is coming to visit and do all of my housework chores for the day. When hubby walks in the house is clean, calm and dinner is on the way. Eat dinner, get the kids off to bed, collapse on the couch and finally go to bed in my lovely looking house. Following day, rise with the children and proceed to watch in dismay as both they, and A-man when he is home, go about systematically undoing all of yesterday’s efforts, returning it to it’s pre-frenzy chaotic state. Repeat daily) (For the record my Mother-in-law was neither super critical or a neat freak, nor did she suffer from OCD, in fact she would likely have been far more critical if my house, and children for that matter, were always clean and tidy. Unfortunately she passed before Danger or Sunshine were even a twinkle in her beloved son’s eye but she absolutely adored Alpha-D and would spend her whole week planning what crafty endeavors they could get up to in their weekly sleepovers)

10. Graduate – this needs some explaining. I completed a Bachelor of Business degree in Marketing and a Diploma in Advertising many years ago. Somehow I managed to do my entire final semester without my student loan paying for the papers I was sitting and as a consequence I was not allowed to graduate until I had paid for it (and fair enough too). It took me a year to pay it off (no longer being eligible to put it on my loan as I wasn’t a student anymore) and by the time I had done it I forgot all about applying to actually graduate. Now many years later (and not even sure if I can anymore) I thought it would be quite nice to see the certificates on my office wall. (I have done nothing about this, nothing at all)

11. Sell all my excess stuff – I have so much stuff cluttering my life and house it is time to get rid of it. I will donate some but in order to achieve the following two goals I will need to make some money… (Close to nothing on this one too and this is something I need to fix, again starting…now)

12. Clear my credit card – my balance is not high (under a thousand isn’t too bad is it?) but with no income of my own it is a bit of a challenge to get rid of it. I want to do this without eating into our family savings or impacting on our budget at all. All of the items purchased on it were for the family (mostly nappies and baby gear) but I still want to do this myself. (Yep, nothing, still at $206)

13. Save for a holiday – destination to be determined by how much I manage to sell/save over and above clearing the credit card, luckily I have LOTS to sell. I have had only one overseas holiday as an adult and that was only three days and far too busy to be relaxing. It is time for a tropical island get-away I think, well in a year anyway. (just $796 to go before I can start saving for this, gulp)

14. Find a free online or correspondence course to do – I don’t want to work in advertising or marketing when my children go to school so I want to earn some new qualifications even if they are just certificates. At the moment I am thinking event management but who knows… I may find something else that inspires me more. (Do I even need to mention the nothing here? Did you really expect this would be under way? No, me either)

15. Don’t collect the ones. (Actually I am feeling pretty good right now!)

Although not strictly related to the goals above I have started a new, larger scaled project. I guess it is more of a new goal to add to the list so I guess I will state it that way…

16. Become fearlessly frugal.

Ok so this is not my term, I totally stole it, or rather I am borrowing it on a semi-permanent basis. How it works is this: I challenge myself (and my family by default) to reduce spending across all aspects of household expenditure. From groceries to utilities, entertainment and all other variable costs incurred in the course of living, I intend to maintain (at the very least and improve where I can) our lifestyle while spending less. The Spending Less – Living More idea is not new of course, just new to me. I will be starting with a grocery budget overhaul and moving on from there and will document my successes, failures and insights under a new category named, of course, Fearlessly Frugal. I welcome any and all input into this area and encourage anyone reading to comment with their tips and tricks, I will happily share them.

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In 4 Days.

Four days ago I made an important decision. I decided to put my children first. Yes, yes I know as parents most of us would jump up and down and exclaim in horror that of course we do, if anyone were to dare claim that we didn’t. But do we? Really? I mean in every moment of every day consciously and deliberately put our children above anything else. Above watching TV, above folding laundry, washing dishes, checking emails or Facebook or any of the other thousands of little things that make up a day. How many times a day are we guilty of saying “wait” or “in a minute”, “not now” or “can you please get off me I am trying to…”
I know I am guilty of all the above and so many more and I want to stop.

I am not sure there is any single thing that started this change for me but I can point to a few specific occurrences that have contributed.

I was beginning to feel guilty. I was feeling overwhelmed and tired and wanting nothing more than just 30 minutes of time out from my squabbling, attention seeking, in-your-face children and I hated myself for it. My children are not naughty, or even overly loud but they are insistent and I just wanted out, even if only for a few minutes at a time. After sneaking out the back door for what seemed the millionth time that day I stood at the washing line, taking as long as I possibly could to hang the meager load and I wondered what it would be like to have children who didn’t insist on bouncing all over me every time I am in the same room as them. To have children that went to bed at a reasonable hour and woke happy in the morning and didn’t feel the need to start fighting the minute they saw each other. I felt that even though I seemed to be doing ok (my children are smart, polite and reach all the standard milestones months earlier than the average) I must, in fact, be doing something wrong.

Then I started noticing so many updates on Facebook, blog posts and pinterest pins on happiness and how to find it. They all said the same thing. Be thankful for what you have and live in the present. Be thankful, be present. Over and over, be thankful, be present.

Finally I read a collection of heart-wrenchingly beautiful letters written by a grieving couple to their child who died in the womb. It got me thinking, as I gazed at my own children through the haze of my own tears, how very lucky I am.
You see I never thought I would have children, was always led, by doctors, to believe that I couldn’t. Amazed barely covers how my husband and I felt when we found out I was pregnant with Danger. Actually we had an argument that morning and had gone our separate ways to work not speaking to each other. At work I felt, well, odd, and realising I had felt odd for a couple of weeks I took a pregnancy test in the public toilets in the mall. I thought nothing of it as I discretely hid the test in my pocket to read when I got back to my store, after all I couldn’t be pregnant could I? I was merely positively eliminating a possible cause for my feeling different. I honestly thought I was imagining things when the test revealed a little pink cross confirming what I had, til then, believed impossible. At once numb and exhilarated I called Action Man and, ignoring the terse “what?” that he answered with, I told him our good news. I could hear his smile before he even uttered a word. Immediately the argument of that morning was forgotten, he was shouting his joy for all of his unit mates to hear and they, in response, were cheering their congratulations. And my whole world shifted focus.

Suddenly I was terrified! What if I did something wrong? What if some careless or ignorant move on my part caused something to happen to this tiny, impossible, desperately wanted, miracle little argument ender? My baby, possibly my one chance at a complete family. Thankfully I found a fabulous midwife as the last months of my pregnancy were anything but smooth. The delivery, worse, much much worse, though that deserves a post all of its own.
By the time I got to hold my little man for the first time though nothing that had come before it mattered at all. My happiness was complete.

Then when Danger was 9 months old, and growing into such a funny and handsome little character, I fell pregnant again. Sunshine’s birth was the polar opposite of my previous experience. Returning to the same midwife, I had an ally and an advocate who fought hard to make sure that the same mistakes were not made this time around. Sunshine arrived on a calm and relaxed, sunny Tuesday morning. Her ready smile, cheeky blue eyes and flame red hair have brought light and love into our lives ever since. I am lucky, so very lucky.

So as I blinked at my children through those tears of grief for these parents I have never met, for their child they will always love but never again hold, that I thought how unfair it was of me to give my precious babies anything less than my everything when these unknown people would give anything to be able to do the same.
Please don’t misunderstand me here, I don’t mean that I intend to give up all other pursuits in my life and spend all my time just playing with my children (though that would be nice). I am also not suggesting that I will give them everything they want, I want to raise happy children not demanding, entitled little monsters. I am also not saying that I will sacrifice my personal needs in favour of the demands of my children, sometimes the only way to put them first is to take the time to recharge your own batteries.
How can I explain this? It occurred to me that so much of my time was spent physically in the same room as my children while my mind was elsewhere. What’s for dinner tonight, where did I put that box of batteries, will the courier finally deliver that thing I ordered today? My hands were busy, sorting, folding, typing, and because my children were playing around my feet, and I was on hand to separate them when they started fighting, I was deluding myself into thinking I was ‘parenting’ them. It finally occurred to me that all of this bouncing on me, wailing at each other, late bed times and destructive behaviour was nothing more than a plea for my attention. Well Duh! Only every parenting book ever written could have told me that but some things you need to learn on your own.

So I made my decision. I am lucky enough that we can afford for me to stay home and raise our children and that is exactly what I will do. I will still be wondering what is for dinner and where those batteries are, I will still sort and fold and type but as I am doing it I will be present for my children. I will acknowledge them every time they try to get my attention and I will stop what I am doing (even if only briefly) to see what it is they want to tell me. I will not step over or dodge my little girl as she ambles toward me but pause for a cuddle or a tickle. Now when my little boy calls for my attention with his usual “Mummy, Mummy” I smile and say “yes Darling?” and really listen to what he has to say and when my little girl waddles up to me I stop and let her hug my legs while I stroke her hair and rub her back.

In 4 days I have made 2 tiny changes in the way I interact with my charges.
In 4 days my children have stopped fighting with each other.
In 4 days I have seen more smiles, heard more giggles than I can recall in the last 4 weeks.
In 4 days my son has told me some wonderfully creative stories.
In 4 days my daughter has shown me she loves to dance.
In 4 days bed times have gotten earlier, sleeps deeper and mornings calmer.
In 4 days my house has become a little messier, my children a lot happier.
In 4 days I have become a better mother.

Reality Check

I lay on the bed this afternoon, the winter sun streaming in, warm and comforting. I stretched then mirrored the small ash coloured cat curled up beside me and reveled in the contentment flooding through me. My babies were joyfully playing next to me, waving through the window at children on their way home from school and giggling when they got a response, their happy bouncing causing the golden red glow of sunlight through my closed lids to flicker periodically to blue-black. I pondered and marveled on how beautiful this life is that I am living…

Then, as only a small pointy elbow to the gut, driven by the force of a full body slam can do, I came crashing back to Earth. Better go get the dinner on I guess.

Seriously… another one of THOSE days!?!

Me and the kiddy-winks are housebound, full up with a cold. You know the kind, sore head, streaming eyes, nose pouring goop like someone forgot to turn off the tap at the slime factory, really charming. Sick enough to make you feel really crap but not sick enough for the excuse to stay in bed all day and let someone else (hubby) take care of everyone for a change. Hubby is not sick, probably due to him vacating to the spare room at the first sign of a sniffle (not that I blame him), he is at work, making money to pay for all the throat lozenges, tissues and laundry powder we are going through. I feel sorry for him actually (not as sorry as I feel for me right now but sorry enough), he came home for lunch today to find me lying on the lounge floor still in my dressing gown, hair un-brushed, bleary eyed, croaky voiced and with a wad of toilet paper shoved up my left nostril.

Today has been another one of those days. I am not going to bother counting all of the EW moments so far, suffice it to say they have been numerous and disgusting and the day is only half over. I will provide you with just a snapshot of the 15 minutes leading up to hubby getting home for lunch…

I have just cleaned up the 4th nappy explosion of the day. On a mainly liquid diet, necessitated by how difficult it is to breathe with a blocked nose and a full mouth, the children have been eating a lot of soup and drinking a lot of juice. This has the unfortunate side-effect of similarly liquid nappies. We are running out of clothes, fast! Poor Miss R has been hit the hardest, she is just a snot pouring, pooping, puking machine at the moment.

As I am leaning over her wiping last nights dinner from half way up her back I feel the sudden warm rush that proceeds a bout of sneezing and nose blowing. Expecting the standard nasal drip that has been a constant these last two days I hastily wipe my nose on my sleeve – yes I know that is gross but as I had my hands full of shitty baby that was the least of my worries – to find that I am not in fact snotty, I am bleeding. Continuous nose blowing for the last two days has obviously burst a blood vessel as I keep spontaneously springing a bloody leak every few hours and this one is a doozy! The blood is literally pouring and with nothing to hand but wet wipes I make the, admittedly bizarre, decision to whip off my sock and jam the hem of it in my nose. Hey it held the blood back long enough to let me finish getting a new nappy on my girl. Not taking the time to re-dress her into her pants I let her run free in just her top and diaper and instead attempt to stem my crimson fountain.

At this point Master A draws my attention to him as he has finished his lunch and wants down from his high-chair. He is covered in jam. Feeling too horrid to bother with anything more complex we have had jam sandwiches for lunch and I am not sure exactly how much he has eaten but I would estimate conservatively that he is wearing at least a quarter of what I put on his plate. Despite the fact that I am still bleeding profusely I go to one-handedly clean the jam from, well everywhere. He sneezes and, with the kind of precision only a toddler can master, I now have a great jammy booger in the middle of my chest! He is delighted! Not only did he manage to hit Mummy but he also now has a huge booger bubble ballooning from his nose, I feel sick. I am vaguely aware of little hands tugging at my pyjama leg but it is not til I hear the gurgling cough and gag of Miss R choking on her own mucous that I look down, in time to witness her vomit all over my one naked foot. Still bleeding I liberate the boy from his chair, wipe the girl’s face with a wet wipe, mop up my chest and hop to the bathroom to run my foot under the shower.

By now I figure the only way I am going to stop the bleeding is to lie down, so, replacing the sock up my nose with a handful of toilet paper, I do. Two minutes later hubby comes home. “Oh Darling are you still feeling a bit crap?”

“Yeah something like that.”

The importance of toast for dipping and a regrettable lack of fireflies…

My son is quite smart, don’t just take my word for it, others who know him say he is too. He has just turned 2½ and has a huge vocabulary, has spoken in simple sentences since he was 18 months, complete sentences since he was 2. He can count to 15 and can recognise all of them in written form, can recognise about half of the alphabet in written form, knows all the basic shapes such as circle, square, triangle, star, etc but is also au fait with rectangles, pentagons, hexagons, crescents and trapezoids and has been for several months. He has figured out how to open our back door, even though he can’t reach the handle, and how to open the gate on our driveway (gulp). He is fascinated by the fact that caterpillars make cocoons so they can turn into butterflies and insists on going out every morning to say hello and check on the progress of the 3 chrysalis (kwisalis) on our fence. He is very polite, always saying please and thank you and if you thank him he will tell you you’re welcome. He also has great empathy and can often be seen comforting his baby sister with a rub on the back and a solicitous “you ok baby girl?” even though it was usually him who pushed her down/poked her with a stick/took her toys/stood on her/or any number of those horrible things older brothers do to their baby sisters. He understands the consequences of drawing on the wall (cross mummy = unhappy boy) yet does it anyway. Anyone who has met him usually comments on what a character he is – he is a funny little guy, times even deliberately and even his doctor thinks he is hilarious even though I can’t recall a time when has spoken more than 3 words to her. Maybe it is because he delivered those three words with his hands clamped firmly over his eyes so he was invisible?

All bragging aside (yes I will stop now) it doesn’t really matter how quickly he learns that the number on Lightening McQueen’s side is 95 not 59 or that leaving the plug in the sink while he plays waterfalls will flood the bathroom, he is still a 2½ year old with all of a 2½ year old’s views on the way the world should be. Any deviation from that idyllic view will inevitably lead to a melt down of some sort.

Some of these melt downs are predictable – like the small ones that happen if I forget to take the “snakes” (stringy things) off his banana before I give it to him, or the significantly larger ones that happen when I explain to him the Team Umi Zoomi will not be coming back on the television because Millie, Geo and Bot do not like little boys who try to sellotape the cat to the wall – so I guess I should have seen it coming when I presented lunch without the toast yesterday. It was cold and I was tired and the kids were hungry and so whether it was these or the fact that old circuits mean that I can’t run the microwave and the toaster at the same time without both quitting, that caused me to make the, obviously wrong, decision to skip the toast and just serve baked beans and poached eggs for the midday meal. Now this is usually a hit with both of the kids but as I put it on the high chair tray in front of Master A his face clouded. I asked him “whats wrong?” and he looked at me with great confusion showing on his face and asked “where’s the toast Mummy?”. Putting on a cheery voice I replied “You don’t need toast do you? What do you want toast for?”, at this his shoulders rounded, his head stretched forward and shaking his head side to side and looking at me as though I was the biggest moron on the planet he replied “dip, dip, dip!”. I tried to convince him that it would taste just as good as it was, that the bread was ALL the way down in the kitchen and that I wasn’t having any but he wouldn’t accept any of it. The wailing began… “Neeeeed toast to dip”, “Oh Tooooaaaaast”, “it’s Dangerous!” (anything he doesn’t like is dangerous). At the point where he crossed his arms like little vices across his chest, snaked one hand out, crooked his finger and with as much venom in his voice as he could muster growled at me “you HOOK” I gave up. I made toast.

“Hook” is currently the biggest insult my little man can lay on you and he reserves it for when he thinks you are being particularly badly behaved. Captain Hook is the epitome of naughtiness in my sons opinion and to be likened to him shows just how really terrible you are!

Luckily the freshly made toast did the trick and lunch was happily being devoured allowing me approximately 10 minutes respite. Then the next melt down started. This one caught me totally off guard however, as we were presented with a problem we had not yet encountered. In an effort to placate my little terror and ease lunch into a more peaceful affair I had consented to allow the Disney Jr channel to play as we ate. Special Agent Oso was delighting the children by teaching us how to catch fireflies. Upon finishing his meal Master A declared that we should go outside to catch fireflies too.

Sigh

I now had to very gently explain to him that we don’t have fireflies here (no point in using the excuse that they only come out at night and not in the torrential downpour that we were experiencing – he has a good memory and would only keep bringing it up until conditions were right), that they are only in other countries and so we can’t go and catch any. The grief was terrible. How do you deal with tears over absentee bugs? Lots of cuddles later the drama was over but it got me thinking… I believe I am going to have my hands full with this one when he gets to school. The girls are going to love him! He is pretty cute, with thick hair and ridiculously long lashes framing green eyes. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it, is funny, caring and is capable of showing great sensitivity. A ladies-man in the making I think. Oh Dear.

There is porridge smooshed into the couch, cat sick on the carpet and poo in my hair – it is going to be one of THOSE days…

There was no indication when I rose at 5:30 to see my husband off as he left to throw himself out of a plane, nor when I collected Miss R from her cot so she could snuggle in the big bed with me and Master A until a more civilised hour, not even as I lay unable to go back to sleep due to the 3.8 equivalent shaking of the house caused by the trucks rumbling past to the nearby housing development, that the day was going to hold so many, gag inducing, EW moments.

I should have had a clue upon rising again at 7:30 when my 2-and-a-half-year-old son exclaimed cheerily over the biscuit coated fur-ball in the middle of the hall carpet. I didn’t, instead I wrangled my 1-year-old daughter away from it, preempting her desire to pick it up and dutifully cleaned the mess (thank goodness for carpet shampooers).

I could not however avoid the slap in the face that was my next clue. Having finished his morning cocoa Master A had, as usual, filled his nappy. As it was a very cold morning I had prepared oats for all of us and carried them down to the living room for a cozy breakfast in front of the heater and morning cartoons. Unwisely (in perfect 20/20 hindsight) I put the porridge bowls on the couch in order to take care of the aforementioned full nappy. It is my opinion that the nappy companies have it all wrong, it seems that no matter what brand you buy they will inevitably be printed with some loveable furry creature or a quartet of colourfully clad men who sing about over-heated tubers.

They should, in fact, be printed with a bio hazard label and a warning –  Caution! Contents may cause retching, enter at own risk! – To my intense displeasure I found that the chronically mislabeled nappy had leaked and there was fecal matter all over the inside of my wee man’s pyjama pants and on his legs, EW 2. As I am cleaning this and him up I am unfortunately unaware of darling Miss R’s steady progress toward the couch and the waiting breakfast. Catching sight of her last-minute I lunge for her in an attempt to avoid the inevitable mess that will result in her successfully making her goal. I miss. As my triumphant girl happily massages what was supposed to be our breakfast into the fabric of the sofa I look back to discover that, in my frantic reach, my long, untied hair has swiped across my boy’s shitty backside and THERE IS POO IN MY HAIR!!! Cue intense dry heaves… EW 3.

Three shampoos and a deep condition later, seated on a freshly cleaned couch (lucky that shampooer works on furnishings too!) I feel somewhat human again and have a pretty fair idea of how the rest of the day is going to go.

I was not wrong…

I have a bit of time after breakfast before the rubbish truck is due to arrive so I take the opportunity to empty any uneaten leftovers and squishy fruit into our yet unfilled bag. As predicted I reach into the fruit bin and immediately plunge my thumb into a partially rotten cucumber, EW 4. As I carry the now nearly full bag outside to check for rubbish blown into the yard (or brought in by my kleptomaniac cat – he doesn’t care what he is stealing so his most common night-time acquisitions are trash) I stumble while swerving to avoid the sludgy remainders of what appears to be an apple dropped from our tree, drop the rubbish bag and scatter rice and vegetable peelings all over the path (I did mention in my bio on the “about” page that I am clumsy) EW 5!

EW’s 6 and 7 came in the form of further shitty nappies and although they were expected it didn’t make them any more fun. Thankfully I am given a reprieve and there are no more cringe worthy events for the rest of the afternoon or during dinner, bath time or even baby bed times. As would be expected I let this seeming calm lull me into believing that my icky moments were over (for that day at least).

Wrong!

As our bed time came Hubby and I readied ourselves for bed and proceeded to the bedroom. Shimmying Master A into the middle of the bed from his usual sideways position we climb in too, one on either side of him (yes we co-sleep – more on that in another post) and start to settle in for the night. Enter EW 8… emitting a loud groan our boy opens his mouth and out gushes a fountain of vomit! My husband (bless his strong stomach) grabs him up and holds him while wave after wave of half digested dinner comes pouring from our son. I would like to submit here that this be considered EW’s 9, 10, 11 and 12 also, as not only did he vomit on himself (EW 8) which is revolting enough but it was also all over me (9), hubby (10), the bed (11) and our pillows (12). What followed was a blur of showers, bed changes, pillow hunts, soothing cuddles and a very tired mummy grateful that finally, at 1:30am the day was finally over!

 

Goals Update – Week 2 – Lesson: Learn to be your own Cheerleader

What is it about writing these updates that I dread so much? I have employed almost every procrastination ploy I know, short of actually doing any real work around the house, to avoid writing this – hence it being a day late. I probably should actually be working on the housework but then I guess I am using this as a procrastination tactic for that too.

I intend to make a few posts over the next couple of days, however it is this one that I am reluctant about. Maybe it is my need to succeed, not in general terms but is everything I do. If one aspect of my goal achievement is not up to scratch I have difficulty accepting my successes in other areas. I read a quote the other day that went like this… Sometimes people expose what is wrong with you because they can’t handle what is right about you… It was in a post on Facebook by a popular New Zealand personality and she was talking about not collecting the 1’s. That despite the fact that 299 love you it is the 1 that doesn’t that has the power to bring you down. Why is it that the love/admiration/respect of the 299 is not enough to stop the 1 from hurting? I think I need to add a new goal into my list:

15. Don’t collect the 1’s

I am my worst detractor too, I know it. I am not happy unless everything I do is exact. I also know that my reticence about this post stems from only one of my goals not going to plan. Somehow being slim or achieving a steady rate of weight loss has become the benchmark by which I measure all of my success. The crazy thing is I have only just completed week 2 of my set time frame and have already achieved more than in any other 2 week (or probably even 4 week) period of the past year.

After a week of birthday cake and being too busy to fit in much (read: any) exercise I am almost positive I have put on weight. Note here that I said “almost positive I have” not “have”. In an effort to not collect the 1’s I have resolutely avoided stepping on the scales. I don’t want to know what I weigh this week, I don’t want to let it bring me down, in fact I am not going to step on the scales again until the end of week 4! Instead I am going to focus on what I am doing well in other areas, work at fitting more physical activity into my day and consciously making healthy food choices.

Although I said I didn’t manage any exercise I did mow our lawns. I have never actually timed myself but I think it takes somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours to do them. I split the job over 2 days and both times resulted in an elevated heart rate and a substantial glow (who am I kidding? I was sweating!) so I think that counts as a workout – I paid myself as though it was anyway. Current savings toward my new wardrobe – $11.00

I also listed a whole bunch of my stuff online but some of the auctions haven’t closed yet and the others haven’t had payment made so I can’t count them either. That means no change in my current debt status unfortunately. I will be listing more tonight though so hopefully the next 2 weeks (by the time payment is actually in my account) will show some significant improvement. It has been a very creative week though and along with the card I showed last week for my lovely Miss R I also made a similar card for my sister to go with her present (which I will make a post for this afternoon now that she has it) and made significant progress on my home management folders. They are at a stage now where I can show photos so I will post them as soon as I work out how to include a link to the sites I got my inspiration and printable inserts from – credit where credit is due I believe and as these were not my own creations I think that is only fair. I also have made a Mother’s Day card for my Mum but again I can’t show you this until she has it later this week.

There have also been a few new creations in the kitchen, some of them my own inventions too so I will post the recipes for those in the next couple of days. I will also include the recipe and photos for the birthday cake I made for Miss R’s first birthday celebration we held in the weekend. Most exciting though I have plans in the works to start a playgroup/music and movement group for my littlies and the other preschool kiddies in the Army housing area. Fingers crossed there are enough other Mums out there interested in joining as I really want this to work. My Mum started one for my sister when she was a baby and we were living in a small country town with nothing already set up. It was very cool and the kids loved it.

I think that is all to report this week in terms of goal progress. Reading back over what I have written above it doesn’t seem like much, but baby steps will get me there still and in my new determination to believe the 299 I am proud of what I have achieved!

cheer_ese

Goals Update – Week 1 – Lesson: Don’t get discouraged, small achievements still count.

To be honest I am not all that enthused about writing this update. I should be, I have started making progress on several of my goals but I guess the ones I wanted to see the most advancement on haven’t really met my expectations.

I only lost 200g this week. I must say here that I am not at all surprised and I have no excuses, I really didn’t try very hard and made no effort at all to make any changes to my diet. I am not really sure what I was expecting, that maybe having declared that I am going to lose weight my body would be oh so cooperative and secretly ditch the kilos by stashing them subtly behind a shrub or down the storm drain as I walk around the neighbourhood. It didn’t, as I know it can’t, yet I somehow still feel let down just a little. I did however get in three workouts over the week which is about a 300% improvement on the week before so it is not all doom and gloom, though I have yet to bust out my Pilates DVDs. Frankly I think I should just be grateful I didn’t put on weight, last I checked twice baked smashed potatoes and chocolate brownies are not diet food. I am paying myself $1 for every 15 mins of workout I manage to fit in. I need the incentive and I think a shopping spree for a new wardrobe will not only be most welcome at the end of the year but also, most likely, necessary, as I won’t have many clothes left that fit if I make my goal.

I have had more luck with my debt clearing efforts however and have sold quite a few items online. After auction success fees and keeping aside some to pay myself for workouts completed I have managed to pay $160 off my credit card. Not bad for week one I reckon! I intend to list at least as many , if not more, items this week. I would like to double that figure next week… wish me luck.

I have had to put aside my Home Management Folder project. I have searched a long time for exactly the right gift for my sister for her birthday and having had no luck at all I have started to make it myself. I would love to post a photo of it so far but as she reads my blog it might be a bit of a spoiler for her. Considering her birthday was back in March and it is now nearly May I think she deserves to see her gift in all its finished glory and not the deconstructed, half-finished thing it is now. I am seeing her this coming weekend so am attempting to fit what would normally be a months worth of crafting into a week, though with Hubby away for most of the week I have nights to fill. I am confident it will be done. I will share photos when it is firmly in my sister’s possession. I can however show you the card I made for my baby girl who turns one tomorrow!
Cupcake Card

I will post pics of her cake after I make it for the little family party we are having this weekend.

My new recipe for the week was kind of a backwards adventure this time in that, for the first time, I followed the recipe for the above mentioned brownies. I have made these several times but as I am what I call an “experimental baker” I have never (ever) followed the recipe as it is in the book! I have always changed ingredients, added extras and/or cooked it differently. It was nice, not nearly as exciting as my usual concoctions, but nice even so. After making my sweet girl’s cake this week I will however (sigh) be hanging up my bakers hat (metaphorically – I don’t actually own or wear one) in favour of lean cooking from now, for the foreseeable future at least. In the next couple of days I will create a recipes page on here if you are interested in trying any of my culinary adventures yourself.

Oh and “whats for dinner?” – no longer an issue! I made a 6 week (yes a whole 42 days worth with no two dinners the same) of meal plans. For the next 6 weeks I will try to follow the menu I have written and see if it makes a difference to my dinner time stress levels. Fingers crossed…

Decisions

Decisiveness is not one of my strong points. If you continue to follow my blog I am sure this will become quite obvious. Don’t get me wrong, I can make decisions, it is just not often that I am adamant about the decision I have made. Case in point – I toyed with the idea of a blog for over a year before I started this, once decided it took me three weeks to decide which blog site would host it, several hours to decide what it would look like and then another 3 days to decide what the first post would be about. Yes I do see the irony that I decided to make my first post about my struggle to make decisions.

I never used to be so flaky. Once upon a time, in a former life as a store manager, I was a champion decision maker. I had no trouble instructing my staff on the when, where, how and who’s that the store required to be successful, and it was. Now, when my decisions really matter (two little lives are governed by them), I can’t even decide what is for dinner!

So… I decided (I promise that is the last time I will use that word in this post) it was time to really think about what I want next in life now that the major (having my babies) has been achieved. Over the last   three years leaving my job, raising said babies, moving house and having my husband deployed 3 times has left my life feeling somewhat chaotic and out of control. It is time for action! I sat down (not very active I know) did some hard thinking and have set down some goals for me to work towards and hopefully achieve. Here they are in no particular order:

I give myself one year to…

  1. Post a new message on this blog at least once a week – more if I can find the time and have something worthwhile to post.
  2. Lose 26kg – I have it there to lose and I can honestly say I won’t miss it!
  3. Improve my fitness – I am nowhere near ready for a zombie apocalypse and I have two babies to look after, I will need stamina.
  4. Make it through an entire Pilates workout on the advanced level – I have never made it past the intermediate level and having not done it for so long I am back to beginner, I am sure touching my own toes should not be such a struggle.
  5. Kick my sugar habit – seriously I rely far too heavily on sugar to get me through the day! I am not going to give it up totally but I would like to get rid of the refined sugar at least.
  6. Try one new recipe every week – even if it is just a new version of an old favourite.
  7. Complete a craft project every month – I really wanted to make this one a week but realistically most days I am lucky if I can fit 10 mins into the routine.
  8. Find and join (or start) a play group for my children – this I will make time for! There are a lot of children in the army housing but the only family my kids played with moved away so it is time to find new playmates.
  9. Find a housework system that works for me and stick to it – I am much better at housekeeping since moving to a bigger house but I still have a long way to go to keep the house “company ready” all of the time.
  10. Graduate – this needs some explaining. I completed a Bachelor of Business degree in Marketing and a Diploma in Advertising many years ago. Somehow I managed to do my entire final semester without my student loan paying for the papers I was sitting and as a result I was not allowed to graduate until I had paid for it (and fair enough too). It took me a year to pay it off (no longer being eligible to put it on my loan as I wasn’t a student anymore) and by the time I had done it I forgot all about applying to actually graduate. Now many years later (and not even sure if I can anymore) I thought it would be quite nice to see the certificates on my office wall.
  11. Sell all my excess stuff – I have so much stuff cluttering my life and house it is time to get rid of it. I will donate some but to achieve the following two goals I will need to make some money…
  12. Clear my credit card – my balance is not high (under a thousand isn’t too bad is it?) but with no income of my own it is a bit of a challenge to get rid of it. I want to do this without eating into our family savings or impacting on our budget at all. All of the items purchased on it were for the family (mostly nappies and baby gear) but I still want to do this myself.
  13. Save for a holiday – destination to be determined by how much I manage to sell/save over and above clearing the credit card, luckily I have LOTS to sell. I have had only one overseas holiday as an adult and that was only three days and far too busy to be relaxing. It is time for a tropical island get-away I think, well in a year anyway.
  14. Find a free online or correspondence course to do – I don’t want to work in advertising or marketing when my children go to school so I want to earn some new qualifications even if they are just certificates. At the moment I am thinking event management but who knows… I may find something else that inspires me more.

Phew, long post for my first one but now that I have put it all down in writing and made it visible to the world I feel accountable. I guess there is only one thing left to do… okay GO!