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.

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2013 Recap & 2014 Goals

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I’m back from Christmas in sunny (and incredibly hot and humid) Queensland. I’ve decided that my poor pregnant body does not get along with heat. I spent a lot of time having cold showers and hopping into the pool with the dogs. It didn’t help that the air conditioner wasn’t working. My feet swelled up like beach balls, I was sweating the whole time, and what kind of mosquitos bite you on the face and feet? Annoying ones, that’s what!

Apart from all that, it was really nice to just get away from Melbourne for a little while and just relax and eat a lot of food. At times there was probably more food than baby in my belly.

This year has been quite eventful, even though you wouldn’t be able to tell from this blog’s very distinct inactivity, especially during the second half of the year. I haven’t done or tried a lot of small new things, but there are some reasons for that. The biggest things would probably be buying a house and of course getting pregnant, both massive life-altering and exciting events.

Buying the house was stressful and continues to be stressful as we discover new and stupid things that the previous owners have done. Dealing with banks (still pulling my hair out about how incompetent some of them are), mortgages, not knowing if we had enough money to put together a decent deposit (thanks parentals for the much needed assistance), shifty and pushy real estate agents (I am still getting calls about different properties, sometimes from the same real estate agent that we bought through. I already bought a house you vultures!), and of course the previous owners. We’ve had to fix drainage issues, electrical issues, had to clean a lot of their disgusting filth (and boy there was a lot of it!), deal with their overgrown and disorganised garden (which we are still in the process of doing), fill in the thousands of holes they drilled in the walls trying to mount their TV (okay, only 30, but that’s still like 26 too many holes), and we’re still sending back a heap of their mail (including Christmas cards from their relatives and car registration and bank statements) which they only redirected for 3 months and clearly haven’t changed their address anywhere. In short a lot of our troubles come from the incompetence of our previous owners, which we couldn’t have known before buying.

However, despite all the annoyances (and the horrible pink room, which is 3 different shades of pink) it’s our home now. I think it has great potential and we have a lot of great ideas we want to implement when we can afford to do so. It already looks so much better than it used to. It’s never going to look like something out of a magazine, but it’s ours (after paying off the bank!).

Sometimes being pregnant feels a bit surreal, but she’s recently started kicking, which makes it so much more real. I never understood why you feel so unwell at the start when you’re not supposed to tell anyone. However most of the first trimester nausea is gone and apart from the tiredness it hasn’t been too bad. Although I remember reading that being pregnant means that I’m always going to be in some kind of discomfort, and they weren’t wrong about that. Every day there’s something new and different to deal with and have a mini freak out over until I realise that everything’s just going along normally (thanks doctors, baby books and  helpful internet).

I still can’t quite believe that we’re going to be parents and responsible for another human being. Some days I feel fine about it and other times it makes me so anxious because we really don’t know what we’re doing. I don’t think I’m a very maternal person and even now I still don’t really like holding other people’s kids. My mum always said that it’s different with your own child though. Our lives are going to change so much in ways that we can’t even imagine. I’m lucky to have a lot of support around me though and some very candid workmates who have all been there and done that and are happy to share (and over share) valuable information.

The husband also managed to get a permanent position, which is fantastic. Just one less things to worry about. My work has been good and everyone’s been really supportive of my pregnancy. Everything just seems to be falling into place for us after a few false starts and a lot of stressing. I don’t imagine it will be smooth sailing from here, but I’m sure that the challenges we face in the future, we’ll get through.

There are lots of things that I didn’t have the time or the motivation to achieve this year, so I’ll dedicate more effort to achieving those things. Things like my Project 365, knitting, writing, reading more, eating better, exercising more (to be fair running 300km in total this year wasn’t going to happen after getting pregnant!), playing the piano more, learning languages, drawing… they just never happened. Maybe it was because I’m completely addicted to Pinterest and Candy Crush and that I’m a total procrastinator, but hopefully in the coming years I’ll continue building on these skills and being motivated enough to achieve what I set out to do.

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So here’s what I want to achieve in the next chapter of my life.

Photography

I’ve decided to keep up with the Fat Mum Slim photo a day. I’ll start with January, and hopefully if I keep enjoying it, I’ll continue on. I’ll take it a month at a time, because I think what puts me off the Project 365 is that I just run out of inspiration or I get discouraged because I don’t feel like my photos are any good. I also want to take more photos of the people I love instead of inanimate objects. I need to learn to use my expensive flash properly. I’m sure with having a child soon I’ll be taking photos like there’s no tomorrow.

Blog More

This once speaks for itself. It goes hand in hand with not taking as many photos this year. I have kind of left this alone for a while, and it’s kind of nice to have a place to express my (sometimes very boring) thoughts. I’m also aiming for quality rather that just incoherent rambling, a specialty of mine. I’m still not sure where this is headed, but I’m sure it’ll just evolve naturally.

House Things

There are so many things I want to do around the house, but small steps. We need to set up a nursery, including getting some furniture. At the moment we can’t even decide what colour to paint the place! Painting is a big project as well. I’d like to organise stuff in the house a lot better. The husband still has a lot of stuff in boxes that we just don’t know where to put yet due to this house’s complete lack of storage space (and his extraordinary amount of stuff). I also want to try and set up the garden better. I don’t know anything about gardening, but I want to learn. We have a lot of fruit trees that have become diseased because we didn’t know we had to spray them. We also have to tame the crazy vegetable garden that’s completely overgrown with canola. Can someone please tell me why the previous owners planted so much canola? There is an endless list of things I’d like to do, but these are probably the big ones for now.

Read More Books

I keep starting but not finishing books so more reading is in order as usual. Eventually it would be good to get through all the books on my shelf, but for a start I’ll just finish the ones that I’m already halfway though on my Kindle (which is about 10!).

Knitting

I still haven’t finished the baby blanket or the scarves, so that’s a continuing goal.

Cook New Things

We sometimes get into a bit of a rut with dinners so next year I should start making more new meals, especially the things that I find on Pinterest. I think we generally eat quite healthily, but sometimes (especially this year) we’ve been lazy and have been getting take away more often. We already generally eat gluten free, but I think we need to try more paleo or fodmaps type meals and see if it improves the husband’s IBS. I would also like to set a good example for our future child/children and that involves eating a wider variety of healthy foods and eating less processed crap. I think trying something new or different once a week should be doable.

Exercise Consistently

I’m going to try and make it a goal to do some form of exercise a day, stretching, Tai Chi, walking, swimming, running (after the baby is born), yoga, pilates… Just something. It doesn’t have to be much, but I just want to keep moving around. I would prefer it to be dedicated time rather that just incidental exercise though. I tend to start something, get really involved for about a month until I get sick or injured, and have to start from scratch again. Maybe doing it in smaller increments will help.

Learn/Improve Languages

Still haven’t made much progress on this front. I’m still not sure if I’d like our child to speak another language. In an ideal world that would be great, but I don’t think with my limited skills I would be the one to teach her. I also don’t like the idea of Saturday language schools because I don’t think their teaching methods work, or at least they didn’t work for me.

Stress Less

This will always be an ongoing issue for me. I think I’ve gotten better, but I am still too caught up with worrying what other people think of me. I still worry about how I appear to the world instead of worrying about how I feel about myself. I’ve seen what I don’t want to become in the people I see around, so I want to aim to be happy for myself and not for anyone else. I think worrying less or at least choosing the right moments to worry will also make me a better parent. This post here pretty much sums it up.

There is probably so much more I want to achieve, but this will do for now. It’s pretty much what I’ve been wanting to do for the last few years, to just develop new skills, be happy, be passionate about something, be a better person, and generally to be more appreciative.

So goodbye 2013 and happy new year! I’m sure 2014 will be an exciting year.