Looking Forward To 2015

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So every year I make a list of things I want to achieve and at the end of every year I feel like I have very little to actually show for it. I’m beginning to think that I am either very unmotivated (sometimes true), I am easily distracted (also sometimes true), I split my focus too much (I can never seem to finish what I start), I have unrealistic expectations, or I’m focussing on the wrong goals because I’m stuck in the mindset. I’m thinking it’s a little bit of everything, but mostly the last one. I’m not focussed on the right things. I’m stuck in the mindset of trying to do too much and be too big and change too fast. I’m too focussed on achievement rather than just enjoying the ride. That’s what life is, one big continuous journey. That’s the key of what I’ve been missing in these resolutions. I’m too stuck on feeling like I need to achieve great things, when I just need to be who I am and recognise that life is made up of the little things that are pretty special too.

So what do I have in store for 2015?

Photography

I did actually take a photo a day last year (mostly) but it was pretty much all of my darling daughter. I’m still hung up on the photo a day concept, but I’m finding it too arduous and it’s clogging up this site. I’m finding myself posting for the sake of posting instead of actually considering what I’m taking photos of and thinking it through. I’m not happy with a lot of the photos and they’re frankly pretty boring, even for me and I took them! So I’m going to simplify. I’ll only post up what I’m happy with and actually want to post. I’ll still take photos every day, but I want to be more careful and considerate of what it is I’m doing. I don’t want to just be filling a quota and just dumping everything on here. There are so many last minute and thoughtless photos on here and I’m definitely not happy with and this year I just want to do things that make me and my family happy. I should also probably get back into it and take photos of something other than my daughter, as cute as she is!

 

Read More Books

I did okay with this one last year, but only because I was obsessed with all things baby especially sleep. I still feel like I spend too much time online reading small and easy to digest articles instead of proper books. I feel like I’m getting dumber with each passing year, and part of that is that I don’t read as much stuff with substance. I’m just getting little bits and pieces of everything. I also still have a terrible habit of starting heaps of books and never finishing them, so maybe I’ll try to finish what I start, including the dozens of books I’ve started by never finished. Part of reading more is unplugging, getting off my laptop, getting off the internet, and definitely kicking my damaging Pinterest addiction. I suppose what I really want to do is to simplify a little and focus rather than dividing all my thoughts over many different snippets.

 

Exercise Consistently

I know I say this every year but it’s an ongoing project. After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes and forcing myself to waddle around more to keep my blood glucose in check, I now don’t have a lot of motivation to get out there again. It was a tough recovery, which meant I wasn’t as mobile as I probably should have been and add to the fact that some days I’m still in a lot of pain, it’s hard to do any exercise just for myself. The most I do nowadays is going for walks with the little one and lifting the pram in and out of the car. I did go on a couple of runs last year, but nowhere near what I was doing prior to getting pregnant. My core strength is also currently non-existent!

 

Be In the Moment

I spend too much time going over what happened in the past that can’t be changed, and worrying about what is probably never going to happen in the future. It makes me unable to enjoy what’s happening right in front of me. I don’t want to be burdened by all these things that may or may not happen. Instead I want to be a part of what’s happening right now and to be completely available for my daughter and any future children that I might have. Sometimes I worry too much about the destination rather than the journey. It’s so cliche, but true in my case. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that there is no endpoint. Everything is just fluid and always changing. I worry too much about the future and it makes me so anxious. Every time I feel like I’ve figured something out, it changes, so I need to learn to be adaptable and flexible and just go with the flow. Part of this is also just appreciating what is in front of me at the time. I want to enjoy music more and stop splitting my attention. Maybe I should also learn to do one thing at a time and simplify rather than trying to cram more and more things into my day. Time is precious, but I think I could spend it better by slowing down rather than speeding up and becoming overstimulated. I could probably learn a lot from my baby and making things simple. Being around her reveals a lot of truths about myself and the way I choose, or have previously chosen, to spend my time and energy.

 

Be Myself

One of the greatest insecurities is fearing that people won’t like and accept me. It’s silly and I have no idea why I am crippled by these thoughts, but it makes me less honest. It makes me not speak up and to hide what I’m really thinking in case I offend someone or that they judge me. This has never been more relevant now that I’m a parent. I want to be a person that my children can look up to and be proud of. I want them to know that it’s okay to be yourself and that it’s not important if you fit into a mould or if people like you or not. I don’t want to be burdened by expectations or worry so much about what other people think, who let’s face it, whose opinions don’t really matter. If people don’t like me for who I am, then they don’t have to be around me and vice versa. I also don’t want to keep taking so many things to heart. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so why waste energy getting upset when I don’t agree with them?

 

Finish What I’ve Started

I’m terrible at starting projects and never finishing them. It’s like the 10 books sitting next to my bed that I’ve half read but haven’t had the motivation to finish, or the thousands of tabs I have open in my browser that I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around it yet (yes my husband says that I have terrible tab addiction). Actually, I’m not sure if it’s lack of motivation or that I just have a short attention span or that I’m afraid to let go of anything and just hold on forever. It’s probably a combination of all these things and more. It probably doesn’t matter what the reason is. It makes me feel burdened though and this year I want to feel lighter within my own head. I know I have a heap of things I want to do but I think it’s time to get serious about finishing them or giving it away.

On a side note, I did finish my baby blanket (even though the baby I made it for is now almost 3!) and it only has on mistake in it. When I finished it, I was so proud that I felt like making another one. The husband kindly and sensibly said no to that idea!

 

Focus On My Family

This is the big one this year. Everything else comes second. I want to be a good mum and a good partner, neither of which I am right now, but I feel I have the potential to be. It’s probably like wanting to be happy though. It’s very difficult to define such an abstract concept as ‘good’ or ‘happy’ because the goalposts are constantly moving. I suppose what I’m looking at is to strive to improve and change and be flexible with my approach. I want to change the things I’m unhappy with, like my impatience, my tendency to bottle things up, my terrible habit of shutting down when I’m stressed… The list goes on. I suppose what I want to achieve with this is that I need to stop letting the little things get to me and focus on the big picture. My priority is my family at the moment. That’s my big picture and with everything else I just need to take a deep breath and take a step back.

 

There is so much more that I want to do an achieve, but I don’t know if I have the time or motivation to do it all. Baby steps.

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2014 Recap

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It’s been a crazy year to say the least. From my lack of posts it probably feels like I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, but I assure you that I’m still here. My year has pretty much just revolved around this tiny little person who at the moment is rolling around at my feet, determined to make as much noise as possible today. She certainly makes every day interesting. I don’t even remember what it was like to have a newborn, only that no one was getting any sleep in the early days.

She changes every day and every time I think I’ve got her figured out, she changes it up. It’s pretty amazing how fast she changes and grows, and it’s amazing that only a few short months ago she was just a helpless thing that just ate and cried and (sometimes) slept, but now she’s a real little person. She has likes and dislikes, preferences for things, loves to explore the world and is getting more mobile by the minute. I can see some of my and her father’s personality in her. She’s like me in that she wants to be involved with everything and doesn’t want to miss out. She is grumpy when she is initially woken up, but her personality shines through once you give her a bit of time. She takes time to warm up to people but once she does she is warm and happy. She loves to observe the world around her. She’s like Mr Cookie Loves Milk in that she is endlessly curious and analytical. When she studies things she does it with such concentration and intensity. She doesn’t fall asleep or stay asleep easily. She knows what she wants and gets it, including anything with lots of buttons and things to play with (Playstation controller, keyboards, remote controls). Then there are things that she does that are just her own. She can’t sit still and needs to always be moving. She is strong willed, determined and very vocal and she lets you know when she doesn’t like something. She bounces back quickly. She is independent and tries to do things on her own and doesn’t always want to be held, but sometimes that’s what she needs.

She’s a beautiful little person who fills me with so much love and so much frustration, usually in the span of only a few seconds. The great thing though is that she and I are both learning about each other and the world. It’s been a crazily steep learning curve. As she changes I will have to adapt as well, something I haven’t always been very good at. I like predictability and stability, neither of which I have at the moment with her. She is teaching me to be more flexible and to go with the flow. She and I are much happier doing things a step at a time instead of trying to fit a mould. She is definitely not a textbook baby, but I am a textbook kind of person.

So at the moment I have been very preoccupied with her, to the point that I don’t even remember myself anymore. I haven’t worked since March. I haven’t slept a proper night through since I went on maternity leave. Some days I feel like I can’t get anything done. I have been more obsessed with sleep (or the lack thereof) than anything in my life so far. At the start of my leave I was so naive. I thought that I would be bored, but I just don’t have the time for anything. I thought I would be able to achieve so much, learn so many new skills, do online courses, bake, cook, clean, draw, paint, create, read, exercise… So much for that! I’m lucky if some days I’m able to shower, eat, and maintain my sanity. I’m definitely not alone though. There are so many blogs and articles that I’ve read this year (because I really just can’t commit to anything that takes me more that 5 minutes to read at a time) that describe my situation perfectly. I never understood what it was to be a parent before actually being one.

My (currently childless) brother was asking me for advice about parenting and honestly most days I still feel like I’m in way over my head. I didn’t want to scare him about all the challenges that I’ve faced, but I also didn’t want to sugar coat it for him the way people did with me. It made me feel unprepared for the reality of it all. I know every child is different and my little girl could be easier but it could also be harder. I just think that no one has it all figured out and that every day is full of new challenges and wonders. It’s cliche, but it’s easier to be flexible and just go with the flow, taking it one day (or even one minute) at a time.

I waste a lot of time and energy worrying about things that may or may not happen. It’s an ongoing project for me, trying not to worry and to just deal with things as they come up, but it’s also something I’m looking forward to in all the years to come in the parenting journey. I’m slowly learning that no one has it all figured out and we can only do our best to not screw up our children. I’m definitely not perfect, but neither is anyone else and that’s okay.

So I didn’t achieve anywhere near what I had wanted to over the last year with my silly goals and resolutions, but I have become a stronger and more capable person within myself. I have also managed to keep our daughter alive and well for the last 8 months (with a lot of help and support from my husband and family and friends) and that in itself is a pretty amazing achievement! I’m looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings for our little family.

Hiatus

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It’s been a tough month and I’m very behind on my Project 365, for good reason as well. In fact for the last few weeks I just haven’t really taken any photos except of my new bundle of overdue joy. She didn’t want to come out, but we forced her out eventually. She’s happy and healthy and that’s all I could really ask for, coming out at a whopping 4.05kg (huge for someone as little as me).

Me on the other hand am slowly on the mend after nothing going to plan (not that I really had a plan), but it seemed like everything that I didn’t want ended up happening. I had to be induced because she was almost 2 weeks overdue, and after ‘failure to progress’ (horrible term by the way) I ended up with an emergency c-section. To top it all off, about 10 days after, I ended up with a very nasty infection that saw me back in hospital. The first two weeks of my little one’s life on the outside, I spent half of it feeling sorry for myself in hospital, and feeling a bit bitter about how indifferent some of the staff in the hospitals are. Don’t get me wrong, most of my care was absolutely fantastic, but having to endure the emergency department is an entirely different story. Thanks for the endless budget cuts to health you lousy government!

However, I’m back home and bouncing back and hopefully that will be the end of that. The point is that I really haven’t taken any photos for Project 365 over the last few weeks. I don’t even know what the themes are anymore. Hopefully when I’m settled down I’ll get back into it. For now, I’m just going to enjoy a bit of a break in my sleep deprived state and spend a bit of time just staring at my little (or not so little) one, and wondering what to do with myself. Everyone tells you how hard the first few weeks with a newborn are, but no one really tells you how to get through it! Special mention goes to the husband who has been so amazingly calm throughout the whole ordeal, helping me get around when I was in so much pain, and also caring for our daughter when I was in no condition to do so. I am forever grateful for his love and support, and thankful that we have a healthy little one despite all the drama.

Project 365 2014 – Day 96 – A Taste Of Spring/Autumn

Day 6 - April Photo A Day - A Taste Of Spring/Autumn

Day 6 – April Photo A Day – A Taste Of Spring/Autumn

Being in the southern hemisphere, today’s photo is a touch of Autumn. I always know when autumn is coming when the agapanthus start dying off. They still look quite pretty without the flowers I think.

Unnecessary Baby Stuff

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I’ve been on leave for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been good in some aspects (sleeping in, napping when I want, slothing around and catching up on bad reality TV ie. My Kitchen Rules and The Block). It’s also been good because I’ve finally washed all the baby stuff we’ve gotten. I feel like the baby has more clothes than what I do, and that’s a lot! It’s weird not going to work, but also nice. Everyone keeps telling me that I should just relax and enjoy and take it easy, but there’s always a part of me that feels like I should be doing more (still haven’t finished packing my hospital bag and I’m technically at full term now!).

One of the things that has been occupying my time is reading baby books and going on the internet, including my good friend Pinterest. It’s so easy to just Google things, like what I should pack for my hospital bag when I’m stuck on ideas. What’s really annoyed me though is how over-medicalised and generally crazy and over the top some American blogs and sites are. I guess it’s just like everything, to take it with a grain of salt and just use the information that I find useful, ignoring the rest. I still can’t help by find some things really irritating though, just like crazy parenting forum acronyms. I know I should just ignore it, but I think I’ve just got too much time on my hands at the moment. So here’s what is annoying me.

Too much material stuff. How can one tiny little baby possibly need all this stuff? Now I might not really have a good idea of what a baby really needs and what is just convenient, but some of the ‘essentials’ lists are just insane. There is so much baby stuff that they only use for a short period of time, yet people buy this crazy stuff. Here’s a list of really useless stuff that no one needs at all! Every time I walk into a baby store I feel completely overwhelmed with the amount of stuff they have in there. Babies really just need love and attention and you know a few other little things. A diamonte encrusted dummy or a wipes warmer is not something I would consider an ‘essential’.

Too many crazy rules. There is so much angst over whether babies are developing at the right rates and what they are meant to do at what stage and then of course stressing out over it. I can see myself doing the same thing, comparing my child to other children and stressing about it. I just need to remind myself that everyone develops at their own rate and not to stress about it too much. While we’re talking about stress, I don’t know why everyone is so hung up on sleeping through the night. I remember learning about sleep cycles during uni and newborns don’t have sleep cycles like adults do, so why are their so many rules and books and advice on getting them to do something that isn’t natural to them? It’s not forever and eventually they’ll settle. Parents just need to do what works for them.

Too much emphasis on God and religion. Now I’m not religious and I have nothing against religion, but it really irks me when people say that they are just putting their trust in God and it’s not God’s plan to have children, and thanking God’s good grace for getting through labour and the difficulties of coping with a newborn. How about these people give themselves and their partners and support people some credit. It’s not God that got them through. It’s just themselves.

Professional baby photography. Now, I know it’s pretty important to get photos, but I was reading a few posts about there being professional photographers in the US who are affiliated with hospitals to get those all important perfect newborn shots. Don’t even get me started on a ‘cake smash’ photo shoot. Very contrived.

Professional maternity photo shoots. Maybe it’s just me, but I think these are sometimes a bit cringeworthy. Nothing wrong with getting photos while pregnant to remember what you looked like, but some of the poses are a bit… It just makes me feel embarrassed for them. Just like an engagement shoot, I think it’s very American and very unnecessary.

Going home outfits. I can’t believe people actually go out and get crazy designer wear for the baby to go home in. At first I thought I needed to get a ‘going home’ outfit for safety or comfort purposes (keep the baby at the right temperature etc.), but then I quickly realised it was just all for photos and show. Everything has to be ‘picture-worthy’. I think regardless of what the baby is wearing, he or she will definitely be picture-worthy. Just get a random onesie and a blanket and a safe car seat and I think that should be it!

Elaborate baby announcements, gender reveal parties, crazy baby showers. I think all of these are kind of cute, but entirely unnecessary. I hadn’t even heard of a gender reveal party until I started going on forums. What happened to just telling people? And don’t get me started on baby showers. Some of them seem really over the top, when really it should just be about catching up before the baby comes. My workmate was saying that it doesn’t stop there. Kids birthday parties are getting more and more elaborate as well. It feels like it never stops and people are just trying to show off.

Phew, that’s a lot of stuff. I clearly have too much time on my hands, and feeling overly judgmental today! Even though there’s a lot of crazy advice out there, there are some really practical blogs I’ve read that make me feel a bit more sane and more to my liking. Who knows, once the little one pops out I might think otherwise.

 

Also on a completely unrelated note, I was reading an American food blog and there was a post on how to make home-made whipped cream. Seriously? Is this for real? As if you need an actual ‘recipe’ for that. Do they only buy things in canned form? Growing up I had never even heard of any other way to make whipped cream other than, you know, whipping cream. The comments on how amazing this method is astounds me. I also hate recipes on Pinterest that use instant pudding mix, cake mixes etc. Instant turn off.

Project 365 2014 – Day 60 – Yellow

Day 1 - March Photo A Day - Yellow

Day 1 – March Photo A Day – Yellow

We have a whole lot of canola in our backyard that the previous owners planted. I was actually hoping that the hot weather would kill it off, but no such luck. Still going strong and spreading everywhere. One day we’ll get around to fixing up the garden.

Winning

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Overall I think I’ve had a pretty good pregnancy, that is until the last week. Apart from having to deal with the gestational diabetes, which I think I’ve got mostly figured out (limited carbs are okay in the morning, can’t have any at night or it pushes me over), I managed to get gastro last weekend. It was fairly mild as far as gastro goes, but when you’re pregnant, even small things make you feel like you’re dying. Trying to manage blood glucose and make sure I’m getting enough nutrients when I can’t even keep water down is not easy.

So on Monday I pushed through the first hour of work before leaving to see my GP as calling the hospital was pretty much useless. I think I’ve mentioned before that I quite like my GP because she’s very sensible, but also very cautious about things. Some time off work watching bad (but addictive) reality TV, a blood test and a urine sample later, I was feeling much better and I went back to get my results.

Turns out my liver function test was a bit abnormal, which could be related to the gastro or another pregnancy complication. Hoping it’s the former, but I’ll need to have another blood test soon. Also I have a UTI, which I’ve never had before and just thought all my urinary symptoms were just a normal part of pregnancy. It’s hard to differentiate what’s normal and not normal during pregnancy as pretty much everything could potentially just be a ‘normal’ part of being pregnant. It’s frustrating because I don’t want to be a hypochondriac, but I also want to be cautious, and I have a tendency to worry about every little thing.

So I got started on some antibiotics. They ran another culture and turns out that there are two strains of bacteria, one of which is resistant to the antibiotics, so they started me on a different lot of antibiotics. I haven’t taken antibiotics since I was in primary school, and they’re making me dizzy, nauseous, and just a bit upset over everything.

As the husband said, I am totally winning at pregnancy this week. Hoping for a much better week ahead!

 

Project 365 2014 – Day 26 – Fun Stuff!

Day 26 - January Photo A Day - Fun Stuff!

Day 26 – January Photo A Day – Fun Stuff!

I bought this inflatable ladybird for my cousin’s son a few years ago, so when we found out we we having one a child of our own, I was so happy that Ikea was still selling these things. Even if our future daughter doesn’t like it, I love it and think it’s lots of fun. We don’t have anywhere to put it at the moment, so into the cot it goes for now.

Project 365 2014 – Day 16 – Sun

Day 16 - January Photo A Day - Sun

Day 16 – January Photo A Day – Sun

Yet another 40+ degree day. The sun’s been out all day, but it was just too hot for me and I get super grumpy (and sweaty) with the hot weather so I didn’t venture out until the end of the day. However, me being me, as soon as I went outside the clouds came out and I couldn’t wait around for the sun to come back out because we were going out for dinner. Moral of the story is not to put off getting a photo of the day and get it done early on when the opportunity presents itself.

So instead of the actual sun, here are the effects of the sun, dehydrating all our plants.

Project 365 2014 – Day 15 – Black & White

Day 15 - January Photo A Day - Black & White

Day 15 – January Photo A Day – Black & White

Black & White.

I’m usually a person of colour, so I wasn’t really sure what to photograph for today’s theme. When it was actually cool enough after yet another 40+ degree day, I ventured outside and took a few photos, and then converted it to black and white. Luckily our lawn has survived the heatwave so far, enough to even grow some clover. I don’t think I’m a fan, or maybe I don’t have a good eye for it. Some people take amazing black and white photos. I think I need to work on it.

Here’s the colour version, which I much prefer. Such lovely lighting.

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Project 365 2014 – Day 3 – My Town

Day 3 - January Photo A Day - My Town

Day 3 – January Photo A Day – My Town

My Town

Well, it’s not really my town, but it’s something that moves around with us and is a part of everywhere we go (a very flimsy interpretation of today’s Fat Mum Slim photo a day theme!)

My husband and I are terrible gardeners. We killed the beautiful orchid and mint that our parents had given us as house warming gifts when we first moved out. Yes, we managed to kill mint. We bought this yucca on impulse when we were grocery shopping one day. I figured if it can survive living in Coles, it should be able to survive living with us, and it has. It hasn’t always looked its best, but it always manages to bounce back. Hopefully it will stay with us for a long time, wherever we go.

Project 365 2014 – Day 2 – Begins With G

Day 2 - January Photo A Day - Begins With Green

Day 2 – January Photo A Day – Begins With G

Begins with G

Beautiful green grass. Unfortunately the husband mowed the lawn today and the lawn never looks that pretty until a few days after. So I had to get some straggly left over grass growing near this tree stump. I should be thankful that he does stuff around the house though!