Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pen Friends, Where Are They Now?

Yesterday I found myself thinking about the pen friends I used to correspond with via good old 'snail mail'. I wrote to friends who lived only 20 minutes away and then there were friends who lived far away and, I loved writing to each one of them. At what point did I stop sending and receiving letters? What happened? Was there a letter lost in the post, did someone move address, did we lose interest in writing, did busy lives, study and jobs get in the way or, was it technology?
When I moved to Darwin I remember writing to my nanna but sadly she has since passed away. Grandparents are great people to write letters to. Its what they know and its what they did in their day. But I've entered a stage in my life where close relatives are slowly quickly passing away. I've already lost two grandparents in 12 months - but that's for another post. Like our elderly, handwritten letters are fading too. The only other person I currently write to is our sponsor child. 

There's an element of mystery when you write to a friend who you may have only met in the flesh once or twice, and the reason you met was because you were both at the same place for a common reason or interest, a mutual friend even. You know that you both have at least one thing in common. Through each letter received and written there's an unfolding of a special friendship and you're learning about that person with anticipation. 
Today, we seem to stalk for friends on Facebook and hit the 'add friend' button in hope you'll be granted 'instant' friendship. You then scour their profile in attempt discover who they are, photo by photo, status by status, you 'instantly' make up you're own judgement of that person and, who you think they are based on what they have posted. Obviously I do believe a profile says a lot about a person but its all surface knowledge, it's not a close friendship its an acquaintance who we met once and then proceeded to add them on Facebook... to never have another proper conversation with! 
Okay, so maybe some of you use Facebook chat but how often do you chat online with someone you only met once with? Do you get what I'm saying? Friendship on Facebook just isn't deep or intimate enough if you're really wanting to get to know someone and form a close friendship with. 
Social media is merely a stepping stone to close friendship. Other efforts need to be made. That's right, I just said 'effort'. It's too easy to be a Facebook friend, its clicking buttons at your fingertips every so often. A 'like' here and a 'like' there, maybe a comment even.
If there's one thing I've learnt its that friendships require building on and effort (effort you want to put in). Its taking initiative, its making a call, arranging a coffee date, its a meal at your home (which I fail miserably to do) and maybe its a personal handwritten letter. It's making sure you water the seed that was planted so that it grows beautiful and strong. 

I'm feeling like this post is starting to sway from 'writing letters' and turning into a rant about Facebook (which you can read here) but what I'm trying to get across is this:

I miss taking the time to write a letter to a friend. I miss building a friendship through letters and than eagerly looking forward to the day we meet again in person. I miss writing a letter to someone who lives in the same city but who I don't see often. The 21st century is in great need of quality time!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Quit Sugar :: Week 1

As you may already know from a previous post which you can read about here, hubby and I have begun Sarah Wilson's 8 week sugar detox program. I'll just mention that we are doing the program by following her book "I quit Sugar", not via her online program which is also available. You can purchase her book for $25 from Big W if you are interested in giving it a go.

Now I bet you're all wondering how I'm going after my first week (which ended on Monday) of starting the program? It's been surprisingly easy but also challenging. 

What I learnt about sugar this week: 

"its fructose that's the enemy, not sugar, per se". Some of the things that fructose does to are bodies are that it can raise our anxiety levels, mess with fertility and, it makes it harder for our immune system to fight off viruses and infections.

What I changed: 

Although the program doesn't ask you to go cold turkey in the first couple of weeks I did decide to cut out all lollies and chocolate bars. We also stopped having muesli and cut out white breads, rice and pastas and swapped them for brown/wholemeal types.

New ingredients I introduced:

I stocked up on more nuts and bought coconut oil which is one of the 'staple' ingredients for a lot of the sugar-free recipes.

New recipes I tried:

I didn't really get into any of the recipes this week beside introducing eggs and avocado on toast for lunches. Our dinners are already mostly wholesome and healthy. Its the snacks I need sugar-free substitutes for.

What challenged me:

We went to a friends 80's birthday party and I had to resist some very yummy foods including the most delicious and amazing cake you've ever seen! I did have some white bread though. 
The other challenge was going to the supermarket and noticing all the delicious foods such as donuts and alike! 


A few days before starting the program I had started working out but, by the time I had gotten a few days into the detox I started to notice a significant decrease in my milk supply (still exclusively breastfeeding Samson). While I don't think the drop was solely caused by daily 30 min workouts, I do think it contributed. I have been working hard at increasing my supply and won't continue work outs until I feel it has stabilized. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Not Fake, Choosing the Positives

I recently read this article on iVillage and it prompted me to write about why I don't post all the bad bits. I read through the comments that others posted on the article and they were mostly negative toward the writer. I'm not quite sure why it was even titled "Why I fake it on Facebook" because from what I read it just sounded like this mum only shared the good bits, and avoided posting the negative bits.

Well, I'm the same and I agree with this mum [writer]. I don't post all the 'bad' bits either. Nobody needs to know that I forgot to change a nappy before putting bubs to bed or that my 18 mo still can't say 8 words like the charts/stats say he should, or that I've had the same load of washing in the machine for 3 days now!  I know I'm not the perfect mother but I already know that I'm a wonderful mum trying to do my best! That's what we're all doing, right? Doing our utmost best for our children who we love dearly. And if I never saw a negative post from a mum on Facebook I don't assume she's perfect or that shes never served up a Vegemite sandwich for dinner. I think she's just another great mum powering on in her role as mother and that she chose to see and post the good above the bad! 

When I do have bad days I usually make a call or shoot a text to a close friend who's also a mother. Another mum who totally gets that you're in tears because you've been up all night with a baby and you've just yelled at your toddler for - you're not sure what! She's had those days and moments too. 
Why set myself up for judgment and negative criticism by posting to the world! Or why should I post in hope that I'll attract enough attention for people to tell me how good a mother I am and, so that I get a bunch of people sending me messages asking me if I'm alright or need something. But most of the time I don't want or need someone to rescue me I just need an understanding ear. If I'm not alright and I want to talk about it then I should initiate that.  

The [not so secret] truth is, that being a parent is damn hard sometimes! And just today I've had a rough morning! I've got two sick babies who are also out of whack because they both had immunizations on Friday and, I am so tired and sleep deprived because my normally sleeping baby wants my attention at 2 hr intervals! Whilst hanging out the washing that had been in the machine since Monday, Rupert got filthy dirty playing with the pot plants, and in my attempt to wash him in the shower he also peed on the bathroom floor and proceeded to walk through it with his dirty feet. That's just part of my morning. It's also just all normal everyday kid stuff but on those off days it all seems bigger then Ben Hur! 

I am not a perfect mother but I try to choose the positive route. I don't want my facebook page to be a whinge-fest just to prove I'm human. All us mums already know what it's really like behind closed doors anyway. We know non of us have it all together, even if it appeared that way. 
I'm honest about my imperfections with others and I love learning from other mums too. Social media just isn't always the right place for it on a continuous or regular basis. 

So whilst I've just shared about my mundane rough morning as a mum (which I will not be posting to facebook) I also want to share my positive 'tidbit' from today. The picture you see at the top of this post, are wooden play eggs lined up on the tv cabinet. I was so delighted when I turned my head from the laptop to hear and see my Rupert bear counting (in baby lingo) as he placed halved eggs side by side. It was both cute and clever. This is the 'bit' I choose to dwell on and remember.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fun from the 80's!

My dear friend Nicole recently turned 30 and to celebrate her birthday she hosted an 80's themed party! Yes, the radical, bright, eccentric, faddy decade of the 1980's. I was born in 1989 so I can't really say I've experienced the culture but, I do know that it was quite a memorable decade for many and even those who've lived through it have expressed their bewilderment for the fashion that was born. As I chatted with a [middle aged] friend on the topic, I learnt that it was all about being 'loud' and 'casual' didn't really have a place. It was an eccentric period in time where clothing said it all! 

Now, I didn't do much research but with little digging I discovered that people in the 80's posed for photos in the most unusual ways. When I pose for a photo today its about smiling, looking nice and like you're having an enjoyable time but, for those in the 80's it seemed they were all making a statement. I got the impression that everyone did aerobics with Olivia Newton John  or that the girls had swallowed a bottle of glitter, causing an unnecessary amount of froufrou and tacky glam! What were they thinking?!

So onto my outfit, what did I wear? This scares me a little because I didn't spend a cent on my costume. Either the 80's was back in fashion or I was way out of fashion! 

I wore a pair of floral jeans that I bought brand new only a few months ago and, a top that I bought over a year ago but love it so much I wear it to death. This top is my go-to everyday any day kind of top. It was roomy enough to take me through two pregnancies and practical for breastfeeding and looked great paired with denim shorts. But having now worn it with my floral jeans I feel like I have committed a huge fashion crime! 
My shoes were hot pink chucks (Which seemed to have stayed in fashion for years!), earrings were from an 80's hens party from a few years back, pearl necklace and bangles were items pulled from my everyday accessories stash  and, my silver handbag is a bag I've been using on a daily basis since I bought it a few months ago! And well, it wasn't the 80's without big hair so I pulled out my trusty crimping iron and tied part of it up into a very dorky do. 
My makeup was probably a little underwhelming for the 80's but I did the best I could with the colours I could find in my make up kit. I used pastel purple, pink and yellow for my eyes, heavily applied blusher and the brightest pink lipstick I owned.

Having arrived at the party it felt as though I had walked into a crazy period of time! Everywhere I looked there was big hair, dorky side ponies, guys in tight short shorts, girls with heavily applied makeup, guys with creepy mullets and mustaches and just way too many bright colours! Everyone truly looked great crazy in their outfits. 
IT WAS SUCH A FUN NIGHT, and as dorky and bogan I think the 80's to be, I think I understand why the fashion took off. In my 80's attire among other 80's party goers I felt young, bright, bubbly, expressed, eccentric and fun! 

Thanks to the talents of my hubby here are a few pics of how I looked. To protect the privacy of others I haven't posted any photos from the party.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Why I'm Quitting Sugar

I grew up in a family of 'fit' people. My dad and Two of my three brothers seem to have metabolisms that never allow them to carry excess weight, even if they sat around eating hot chips and gravy all day! My other brother, sister and mum are all fit people too, but more of the realistic kind. Like me they work hard to keep fit. Mum dances, walks and does yoga, Jake will run 10 kms up a mountain and Bec has been involved with exercises of the more 'fun' kind like Zumba and spinning (maybe not so fun). Dad, Matthew (brother not hubby) and Samuel, well they are the cool kids who surf and do extreme sports like mountain bike riding down mt. Ousley. They lift weights because they don't have kilos to loose, only muscle to build.
And me, well before moving out of home 6 years ago I was fit too but I didn't work out and the only exercise I did was jogging or walking. But I did eat well and maintained a tiny waist. When I hit the 18-19 mark I noticed a change in my body. I started to fill out and I felt my metabolism slow down. I'd say this would be normal for females at that age. I also found it hard to keep fit and I've only dabbled in exercise like zumba, yoga, polercise, dancing and attending the gym. And although I've never increased a dress size and eat healthy meals I've become a huge sugar addict! In fact I've been a sugar addict since my teenage years, it just didn't seem to affect me as much then. I'm addicted to eating chocolate and lollies on an almost daily basis and its draining my energy and good health! My dad was also a sweet tooth but at nearly 65 years old he is a 'fit freak of nature'! 

My dad lives and breaths all things healthy, he still surfs and his body is ripped! I'm not sure I can even imagine my dad getting sick or ever dying, I'm convinced he'll live forever. 
Because dad lives such a healthy lifestyle its something he doesn't stop talking about or giving advice on. There is not a phone call where my dad doesn't ask me if I'm eating healthy and exercising regularly and, if my husband is also looking after his well-being. He even asks about what our kids are eating! There isn't a parcel I don't receive that doesn't contain health food magazines, protein foods or exercise equipment.
Some years back this really bothered me. I felt like I must have been fat or looking out of shape for my dad to be so full on with my eating habits and my exercise regime. I would say that I probably resented him a little because of it. I knew I wasn't overweight but why was he so concerned? Don't all men know that the way to make a girl feel like crap is to talk about her weight and health?!
Well, I've grown up and matured a little and can see that dad isn't trying to make me feel self conscious about how I look (he thinks his daughter is gorgeous after all) but he is trying to teach me to be conscious about my health and eating habits. He too knows what its like to crave sugar and whilst I think he doesn't have to work hard to be fit, he would tell me otherwise. It is hard work and it does take motivating, mentoring and commitment. 

I am 24. I am female. I am curvy... and I love my body! I'm not into recreating my figure, I like it and I can appreciate that God has created us all to be different and, beautiful in our own way. We're not all meant to be tall, thin dark haired beauties! But of course if I could have designed my own body shape than I'd probably change a few things, that's the 'human' in me. 

I'm not quitting sugar because I need to loose weight specifically, I'm quitting sugar because I want to be healthier, fitter and more energized. I also want to tone up and build strength so, I'm committing to just 30 mins of exercise each day.
So what am I doing exactly? I'm following Sarah Willson's "I Quit Sugar" 8 week detox program.

"Sarah's down-to-earth, practical approach
 makes the sugar-quitting process doable, 
while her recipes make it fun."
David Gillespie author of Sweet Poison and Big Fat Lies

So far, I can say that it's a great book and easy to follow. It doesn't have a 'cold turkey' approach and its not a fancy overdressed or overwhelming program. It really is down to earth. I know a few people who have done the program and they only have good things to say about it. 
Matt has decided to do the detox program also. He unlike me isn't a sugar addict but he does want to be healthier and, lose weight in order to reveal his hidden six pack. The program also helps with weight loss.
We've taken a picture of our current (soon to be before) bodies and recorded our weight and measurements. We intend to update with healthier and fitter stats!

Cravings are hard to overcome and exercise is hard to commit to so I'm blogging my way through the program to help me stay focused and motivated. And knowing there are a bunch of people reading this makes me determined to not fail. You all may think you are doing nothing to help me but in fact you are silently motivating me!

And... just a shout out to me friend Emma! I don't know what it is because your health spamming should really annoy me, but you've inspired me. Maybe its our similar body shapes, or that we used to 'pig out' on sour warheads and sour straps together?! hehe


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Date Night Planning

In a recent post last week I wrote about the new found importance of dating my husband continuously for our entire married lives. 
We've decided to have weekly date nights to help us be more deliberate about spending quality time together. Quality time that doesn't consist of constant facebook checking, email and blog writing, instagram posting, news reading and or TV watching! There's something very refreshing about spending time together where our minds aren't constantly buzzing with media 'noise'.  Oh, and without the noise of precious little ones. 

We've chosen Monday nights to be our date night. It's often the day I don't take the boys out for any activities; it’s our home day after coming off of a busy weekend. It’s also the day Matt takes the car to work which means no drop off and pick up for me. I can spend the afternoon preparing a nice meal for Matt and I and make sure Rupert has dinner that bit early so that Matt and I can eat alone. 

It’s really quite simple having a date night. Babies fed and in bed. TV turned off. Phones and ipads out of reach. Nice dinner prepared. And an activity if we so wish. 
Although nice, date nights don't have to be an expensive fine dining experience or a movie on the big screen. It can be done in the comfort of your own home. 
Last week we had a baked dinner with a glass of wine and played a few games of chess. Monday night just gone we again had a nice dinner with wine and did a puzzle together. We didn't get to finish the puzzle - its 1000 pieces! 

Here is what we've got planned for our date nights in the month of August. It's simple and achievable.

5th - 1000 pc Puzzle
12th - Make sushi together. Something neither of us have done.
19th - Watch a movie "Star Trek Into Darkness" (see what a good wife I am :-P)
26th - Zumba workout


Sunday, August 4, 2013

50 Things About Me

  1. Dated Matt for 13 months.
  2. Engaged for 14 months.
  3. Married for nearly 4 years.
  4. I have 2 sons Rupert and Samson, born 14 months apart.
  5. Purchased our first house in early 2013.
  6. My favourite colour is red.
  7. I once had my hair cut to replicate that of Julie Andrews in the sound of music. Biggest hair fail!
  8. Mother by occupation.
  9. Law school dropout.
  10. Seamstress by trade.
  11. Vomited on my first date with Matt.
  12. I love chocolate.
  13. I think blonde is sexy, brunette sophisticated and I can never decide which I prefer to be?
  14. I have 4 siblings and 7 niblings.
  15. Retro is my style.
  16. Vintage my love.
  17. I like wearing lacey nanna nickers.
  18. I have a scar on my shoulder from a scooter accident which gets mistaken for a hicky.
  19. My favourite flower is the tulip.
  20. I dislike tardiness.
  21. I’m not often seen without wearing makeup.
  22. As a little child I was extremely shy, people wondered if I could actually talk!
  23. I dislike being called 'Jess'!
  24. I was homeschooled after year 4.
  25. I would love to raise a big family!
  26. A white lone hair grows on my shoulder; I call it my ‘lucky’ hair!
  27. My maid of honour pulled out my 1 ½ inch long ‘lucky’ hair on my wedding day! It grew back.
  28. I only like to drink hot beverages from a teacup.
  29. I love opera.
  30. When I was a teenager I wanted to become an opera singer.
  31. I can’t sing!
  32. My husband is a very talented muso.
  33. I’m a crazy dancer.
  34. I like wearing red lipstick.
  35. I threw cupcakes at my wedding.
  36. My jewellery style is ‘art deco’.
  37. I love all things crafty such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting and random DIY projects.
  38. I dislike scrapbooking but do it occasionally.
  39. I like dressing up.
  40. I would like to do some maternity modelling.
  41. I don’t like printed t-shirts
  42. It’s not Christmas without a homemade pavlova.
  43. I like walnut stained furniture.
  44. My dad buys me a new watch every Christmas.
  45. My favourite book is “The Cat of Bubastes” by G A Henty.
  46. I learnt to play piano and the trumpet.
  47. My most desired appliance is a red KitchenAid stand mixer.
  48. I’m a big Tupperware fan.
  49. I like watching period dramas.
  50. I like spicy food. 


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fall in Love Again and Again...

One baby is okay, very manageable but 2 babies well that's a juggle. You are feeding one baby and hubby is wrangling the other baby who seems to have more energy than would be considered normal! You no longer hold hands with your sweetheart because someone is pushing the pram, holding the newborn or walking the child with ants in his pants.
When hubby gets home from work, it’s a passing kiss, quick hug and a sneaky pinch on the bum. It’s back to the stove where you've been cooking that Ossobuco for 3 hours, but surely it’s got to be done already!  You try to speed the process up cos it’s got to be on that Bunnykins plate asap and then has to be put in the freezer for a 1 min to cool. There are tiny fingers waiting anxiously for his dinner and it doesn't matter how many times you say the word "patience", he just aint getting it. So, out of the freezer and onto the table, we try and say grace as a family but we must keep one eye open for the little Bunnykins fork that is nearly poking us in the eye. Seriously, how do you teach a 16 month old patience! We chow down dinner and by now it’s nearing 6:30pm and that's a good thing. Rupert takes a book from the shelf and hops onto daddy's knee for his bedtime story in the bedroom. Daddy reads him the same book he chose the night before, and the night before that and… the night before that! But that's okay, daddy doesn't even need to read, he knows this book off by heart. Into bed, lights out and we're one down one more to go! A quick tidy up in the play room oops sorry no, that's actually our lounge and dinning but only takes a few minutes and we can see that.
Life is certainly fuller with children, it’s challenging, rewarding, tiring, fascinating and exciting and, whilst you may miss the good old days before babies, you never seem to regret having them.

The stats say that the divorce rate in mature age couples is rising. Parents have invested so much love and time into their children (not a bad thing) that once they're no longer living at home they discover their marriage to be somewhat estranged. Life has been so full and busy with raising children that they forgot to continue growing their relationship and friendship.
Matt and I haven't even been parents for 2 years and we already understand these stats. We have a good loving and committed relationship but we don't 'date' anymore. Holding the title of husband and wife and mother and father, we seem to think we're qualified for eternal love and happiness. Not so.
I believe in falling in love with just 'one' person but I also believe you need to fall in love with that person many times over.
 I fell head over heels for Matt when we were dating and it’s for that reason I wanted to know more about him. It’s called dating. But why is it that after marriage we no longer see the need to date and continue to get to know each other? After all we're still individuals and we are still growing and changing.
I am a wife before I'm a mother! My husband comes before my children and when my relationship with Matt is being nurtured and growing strong it allows us to be good parents. We can then be good examples of love and commitment to our sons.

When Matt and I were dating I asked him what his favourite food was, his answer was "donuts". A few years passed and I asked him again, the answer was still "donuts"! But then I asked him just a few days ago and his answer was no longer the same, his favourite food had changed. My husband’s favourite food was now "hot chips"(of all things)! If I had not asked I would have assumed donuts to be his favourite for many more years to come.

 I want to know my husband both through his unchanging habits and through his changing likes.
So, we've decided to date again! We're introducing date nights. A concept not unfamiliar to many of you but for us it is new. With the birth of Rupert we didn't seem to feel the need but when Samson came along we began to feel the stretch of marriage, it subtly becomes all about bedtime stories, dirty nappies, baby babel and milestones. But when there are no more dirty nappies and you no longer have little children to read bedtime stories to, what will we do with ourselves? We must start now. We must engage in each other’s interests together. We must continuously date and fall in love so that when we are old we can show that we weren't just committed by law but that we have always loved as husband and wife should.
We shall never fall out of love but we will constantly try to fall in love again and again.

As it’s a new month I have started to write up a date night planner.  We have chosen Monday nights to be our “date night” and as we intend to have our date nights at home because it is logistically and financially easier, we are having to be a little creative. But this is for another post. Stay tuned.

on one of our dates back in 2007 just weeks after the Darwin Show ordeal.