I love to sing, la la la la la

I like to sing, by Justine Clarke (ABC Music) is stuck on a loop inside this brain of mine, going over and over and over and over and over.

You see, I do love to sing. Terribly as it may be, I do indeed love to sing LOUDLY. Much to the hilarity of my neighbours, or the builders who are at our place each day no doubt hear my poor-excuse for parenting with singing (instead of yelling “it’s time to brush your teeth”, I quite often bust out “you wake up in the morning and it’s time to go to school, you brush your teeth, ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch, you brush your teeth”).

I can’t sing in key, a note or a tune and I always forget lyrics and then make up my own. You see, I find joy in the everyday chores by singing or humming or, much to everyone’s embarrasment, dancing. The sweet giggles and laughs that come from my boys as they join in, is truly a wondrous experience.

I like to sing, tra-lalala

One for my MAGS

It was Tuesday night. Running night. I haven’t been in the best form recently, due to an unfortunate calf injury. The injury not only made it hard to keep up the fitness goals, but unfortunately it also made it harder for me to prioritise me. You see, running is habitual thing for me – once I’m running, I’ll always get out and go running, providing me the space to think, reflect and just be. But, stop me from running and it gets harder to go running. Queue vicious circle. Alas, time does heal all and fast forward four months, and I’m back at training, doing the track sessions closer to my previous form.

Tonight I found it hard to mentally stay focused and found myself wanting to stop. In an effort top stay focused, I reached in to my thoughts and grabbed one I’d parked: I remembered reading the race report from one of my running crew, and this kept me interested in being out on track. Linda had written her reflections after completing a half marathon, where she was disciplined and had work really hard to be ready. In her race report, she outlined how she had allocated each segment of the race to something in her life she was grateful to, and used the gratitude she felt to keep her going.

Feeling inspired by this approach, and the afternoon I’d spent with Little Mate at his Preschool’s Mothers Day afternoon tea, I spent the next 9 laps of the track being grateful to all the MAGS in my life. Giggles Magoo’s school has coined the term MAGS – Mothers, Aunts, Grandmas and Special women in the kids lives, and I gotta tell you, I was out on track feeling some serious gratitude, reflecting on the women who shape me into the person, the mother, the friend I am lucky enough to be.

I thought of my mother in law, Narelle and how much I miss her. I thought of her smile, hugs and kindness and the sadness we all feel. I thought of her ability to see the best in you, no matter what. I thought of how proud she would be of Grimace and his two sisters. I thought about her life and her legacy.

Next, I thought of my own mum and the difference this woman makes every day to so many people in our community. I thought about how proud I am to claim her as my own mother. I thought about the sacrifices she made for my siblings and I, and how she continues to provide me with nurturing day in, day out. I thought about everything she does for me – listens, talks, acts, loves. It is difficult to put all these feelings into words, but I recognised how lucky we are to have had all this time together, particularly with my kids.

I thought about my sister-in-laws Laura, Kerrie and Wendy. I thought about their smiling faces, their warm hearts and the way they always show me that there are other, completely normal ways of doing things. I thought about their display of ultimate unconditional love for me and our crazy family of four.

I thought about my two sisters, Soph and Dom; two strong and compassionate women in their own right, who inspire me to be the best incarnation of myself.

I thought about the friends I have become close to, since having kids. They say it takes a village to raise a family, and I thought about how lucky we are to have these women who care so much for me, my kids and our family.

I thought about the strong, capable and encouraging women I know through my running circle and felt like I was a part of a bigger family.

I was getting on a roll with my gratuitous thoughts, acknowledging only some of the MAGS that surround me…only to see that I’d finished by final 400m lap, and it was time for a cool down. It was such a nice way to end a track session, and I have so many other MAGS to acknowledge that I will no doubt look to use this technique again, perhaps in the lead up to Mother’s Day. I see such importance in valuing the sisterhood – the connection to each other, the ability to nuture yet respectfully challenge one another. It is the relationships and connections that well and truly extend deep into my soul and shape the very essence of me.

Another run down, another day realised that I’m lucky to live the life I do. Another day I am thankful to all my MAGS xx

A 6-foot adventure filled weekend

Over the weekend, we hiked a section of the 6 foot track, in our beautiful home territory, the Blue Mountains, NSW Australia.

This track is around 42km in its entirety, from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, however we opted for a kid-friendly 7.5km section, leaving from the Megalong Rd/Aspinall Rd interchange, out to the Eco Lodge on the Coxs River.

One of my parenting goals is to have my kids be comfortable walking for longish periods, and for them to have happy memories of our adventures. So, a few weeks back when a friend suggested a few familys walk with the kids on an overnight hike, I’d already said yes before knowing any details. Grimace must have also felt inspired, as he took a rare Saturday off. It meant, that after the 9am soccer match for Giggles Magoo, we could all jump in the one car, and head as a family of four to our overnight adventure. I enjoyed every minute of our Saturday together – it was uncomplicated, and just nice.

Arriving at the agreed starting point, we ate lunch and were soon on our way. The excitement was palpable – and everyone needed a walking stick. As the metres turned into kilometres, it became clear that Little Mate was going to be the end of our group for the entirety of the hike. Initially I found this frustrating (as I wanted to be walking with Grimace, Giggles Magoo and all our friends), but remembered that as Little Mate was the youngest in our group by a whole year, he was physically going to struggle if I compared him to the others. I found my patience, and with that remembered how nice it felt to be out hiking. Little Mate settled into the walk and we soon began to enjoy the scenery together, just the two of us plodding along.

The time of year meant we lucked into perfect hiking temps – warm in the sun, yet a cool breeze across the bare arms. Not being too hot, or cold meant the kids were all happy enough to plod along, chatting about all the things that are so important to 7, 5 and 4 year olds. I do love over-hearing segments of conversation, wondering where the thought has come from, or the fact that has been espoused.

The walk itself takes in passages of National Park and private farm land, requiring us to get over fence-ladders (I’m sure these things have a name, I just don’t know what it is!), gates and cattle grids. It was so lovely to watch the kids garner an odd-level of excitement at the simple act of opening and closing a gate, or rush to the fence-ladder when just moments ago they had been lamenting how their legs couldn’t possibly walk any further.

Perhaps though, the best part of the entire walk was crossing Bowtell Swing Bridge to get to our evenings lodging. Approaching the swing bridge, I was in total awe as I realised the two people crossing ever so casually were two of my loves: Giggles Magoo and Grimace. Step by step, Giggles Magoo confidently got from one side to the other. I was oozing pride, and my heart sang a little more as Little Mate cheered him on, some 500m back down the track. Watching his big brother cross the bridge inspired him to run to take his turn. As we waited in queue (it was peak hour!), I realised that this crossing would perhaps be the bravest thing Little Mate had ever done. I spoke with him quietly about how his worry brain would probably want him to stop walking across, to turn around and go back, to get off the bridge and to find another way across the river. We spoke about how it was going to be hard, but we could tell our worry brains that everyone else was safely across and that we wanted to ger across too. I was refusing to acknowledge my own anxiety about crossing the swaying bridge, some 20metres above the river. Heart in my mouth, I gathered all the courage I could to put on my brave and patient voice and took off with Little Mate, heading as slowly as we could to the other side. It probably took us close to 5 minutes to get from one side to the other, but when we got there, our entourage was there cheering us on. Little Mate beamed with pride; at some point on the crossing he had quietly turned, given me the proudest grin and said “Look mum, it’s finally my turn to be the leader. I’m out front”. Swoon.

We cheated a little by not camping and staying at Eco Lodges, who provided fire, food and water – it meant we could minimise what we needed to carry. We spent a wild (the children) and chilly night at the Eco Lodge, revelling in someone else cooking delicious food, doing the dishes and stoking the fire. The kids ran around in the dark, eager to use their torches to blind us, I mean, to see whatever they could see. After a few hours and a few rounds of stern words, they were all crashed out in our dorm room. Once this occurred, we cracked a few wines and switched between watching the fire and watching the shooting stars.

The next morning was cold, but couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm. You see, cooked breakfast magically appeared! After scoffing a million servings of breakfast, one thousand gallons of coffee and packing our bags, the kids were eager to start the 7.5km hike back to the car. Waving good bye and promising to come back one day soon, we hit the trail.

Kids being kids, they don’t always look where they are walking or putting their tired feet, which meant that most of the kids in our group took a tumble at some stage, but nothing that was too drama-filled. One of our 7 year-old crew slipped on the river embankment and fell into the cold river (after many warnings from the parents to step back). I think the embarrasment outweighed the cold and wet shock, and he carried on quite admirably considering.

Again, Little Mate lagged behind, however Grimace took a turn to walk with him. This gave me the opprtunity to walk with Giggles Magoo and one of his besties. We were traveling, playing a few alphabet games when I hear the unmistakeable slither of a snake. I looked down and saw a giant Red belly black snake heading off the path. It seems the weather was too nice for everyone not to enjoy!

We made it back to the cars for lunch, with only the one meltdown from Little Mate – and I think that was mostly due to tiredness and not having a friend his own age for the weekend (he was sadly the little brother to the 5 other kids). After scoffing down our sandwiches and scroggin, it was back down the highway for us – my three passengers all soundly asleep for most of the way!

It was such a lovely weekend adventure, I can’t wait for the next overnight hike!

2019 – may she run smoothly

The New Year has started. I’ve found a 5 minute window where the kids are doing Grimace proud, playing Star Wars battles with their Santa-gifted light sabers. They’re distracted from their continuous desire to eat or to be close enough to touch me. They’re roaming around relatively unsupervised (they don’t know I can spy on them in the yard from one of the bedrooms – not creepy at all), yelling various Star Wars words at each other – School holidays at their finest.

We spent a leisurely new years period at Manly, beach hopping, ocean swimming and smiling. We doted on the fireworks to celebrate the new year, we spent days with friends watching our little ones play. We spoke about the shit-fight that was 2018 and the sadness that came from the days that passed. We celebrated the good things that came through and reflected on perhaps what we could do differently next time. We were thankful for the friends and family in our life. All in all, the New Years period was pretty great.

After a Christmas period spent wholly with family and the New Year’s time by the beach, my heart is full and ready for 2019. Just to keep me accountable, my goals for 2019 are to write weekly on here (I so miss this space), run 22km in an event that takes place in May and settle into our soon-to-be finished home. All these things are achievable, I just need to allow myself the space to get there.

The oven is beeping at me by now, the children have remembered they are hungry; so it appears my 5 minute window has closed. From our household to yours, Happy New Year. May your 2019 be filled with daily adventures (large or small) that shape you day by day x

all my waste-free food dreams have come true

Pinch me, please. I need to see if this is a dream.

You see, me and my better/other half, Grimace, have been on a waste-reducing mission for a few years. We are obssessed with our portable coffee cups; we did cloth nappies for both kids; we have drastically reduced the amount of trash through composting; and amongst other things, we’ve had a change in approach to consumption of goods. We’re really trying to fight the good fight, and it can be tough going particularly with young kids. But, we’re really trying and have become so much more aware of our consumption habits.

Over the last few years, we’ve been fairly aware of the plastic wastage generated in relation to our food purchases, and ways we can combat some of it – taking reusable shopping and produce bags, having stainless steel straws for the kids, but what has really rocked me is the amount of inadvertant plastic a household can consume with too much difficulty – buying some pasta, dried beans, rice, cheese, biscuits – you essentially buy the food and the plastic wrapping. Now, I know that some larger retail stores accept these types of soft plastic for recycling, but then I’m also aware that there are questions raised around how much of that plastic actually gets recycled. So, what is the answer?

Well, this is where my dreams are coming true. Relax, this is entirely a G rated post. If I mention ‘Nude’ it won’t be in relation to Grimace, rather food purchases. Drum roll please:

Last week, in my local neighbourhood, Nom Bulk Foods opened – and this, ladies and gentlemen is where my Nude food obsession is being satisfied. This is the kind of store that actively discourages plastic waste and encourages you to be mindful with your purchases. You know the type: you scoop, weigh and pay – you can take your own jars and containers to transport the goods home, or of course you can use the in-store paper bags for the purchases. This is literally a business idea Grimace and I had, but for twenty seven reasons, we never got around to enacting our plan. Turns out, being lazy can pay off…someone else invented my dream, and I didn’t have to do a single thing. Well, I will be doing one thing…supporting them! And, if you know me, you’ll know I’m ridiculously loyal and this loyalty will probably mean I remortgage my house and spend it all with them, just to make sure they are successful.

 

Anyway, our quest to reduce our plastic waste just got a whole heap better and I’m one happy member of Theverymoodyhousehold. There are quite a number of these type of stores around the globe, if you’re also feeling fed up by the ridiculous amounts of plastic waste from your food purchases, perhaps check out if there is one close by. And maybe your Nude food dreams can come true too ūüôā xx

one year run-a-versary

Twelve months ago, I was feeling lost and not really pleased with me. I had a day off work for some random reason, and I was scrolling the facebook, probably just trying to procrastinate on life. I mindlessly scrolled down, past¬†an event that a close friend had RSVP’d as ‘interested’.

“Wait a minute, go back. What was that?” I thought to myself. Scrolling back up, I felt a jolt through my conscience. I instantly felt a belonging to the ‘interested’ event, and I challenged myself in that very moment to commit. What was it, you ask, that had me so hooked? A beginners running program, for women, in my local area, aimed at teaching you how to get running. That’s was me. Feeling stale and uninspired by me and my life, I wanted to challenge myself. I had indeed tried running, seeking the thrill of the recreational activity. But, I would lose my breath all too quickly or feel self-conscious of my jiggly bits or that people would look at me running and know I was a fraud. So, I’d just stop and walk.

It took me a lot of introspection and courage to turn up at the local sportsfield on this night, twelve months ago. I think I nearly turned the car around, then nearly kept walking when I arrived. But I took some deep, courageous breaths and urged myself to do it. I walked up to the coach, and introduced myself, only to be pointed in the direction of another lady. This athletic-looking woman I’d indentified as the coach was not the coach, just another runner. Oh goodness, why am I here again? How much of a fool will I make myself out to be? Thank goodness I don’t know anyone here…wait, hello, don’t I know you? Oh gosh…

Ha. Well, I don’t remember my first few weeks anymore, just that I had made the commitment to myself to give the program a go; turn up to the¬†10 sessions, and see if I could get to running 30 mins. After that, I would probably part-ways, be pleased I’d tempted the running thing, and then amble back to my world. I really had no self-belief and couldn’t really envisage reaching that 30 min goal, but the evening away from the family was proving too good; it gave me the much-needed self-care and direction I craved, plus the support from the other women involved in the running group was (and still is) unrivalled.

When I joined Serotonin Running, it turns out I’d found THE most loyal, supportive and judgement-free women. They are strong, and celebrate each others successes. They challenge each other respectfully, cheering you on, because you are there and assuring you that you’re doing an amazing thing. They pick you up off the ground (literally and metaphorically) and they do it all with an arm around your soul. Some of these women are amazing runners, some of them are just social or casual runners. But that doesn’t really matter – you see, it’s not one’s ability that gives the credit, it’s their drive to support anyone out running. I don’t know any of these women particularly well, but I feel loyal to them and their running dreams.

The coach of all these lovely Serotonin runners is one of those beautiful souls, with empathy and understanding, who empowers and gets each individual moving toward the identified goal. Without her, I doubt I would have stuck with running. I probably would have quit when it got too hot, too cold, too wet or too hard.

Tonight marks exactly twelve months ago that I started my running journey. I’m far from running my best. But, I have goals and aspirations. I have achievements and medals. I have an extended running family, and most of all, I have confidence in me. I can’t believe how lucky I was to stumble my way into this community. Turns out Social Media can be useful.

 

School’s (just about) in

On the eve of Term 4 starting , I have joyfully been working hard to get my fridge and freezer prepped for the Lunchbox. I’ve also been using that prep time to reflect on the last two weeks, and how it was wonderfully spent – just the right amount of adventure, interspersed with just the right amount of downtime. I’ve learned it can be a hard act to balance – the joy of doing something fun and exciting can be oh so exhausting, so remembering that School Holidays can also be used to recharge one’s batteries is important. I think waaaaay back at our first School holidays, April 2018, we didn’t get the balance right, and ended up with an exhausted Giggles Magoo back at school. That made for an incredibly long second term for him, and he certainly found the term more challenging than the first.

Having a little more experience in the school holiday department these days (we’re practically pro’s) it was spent with a lot less planned activities, slower mornings (even those dastardly mornings where I’d have to chuff off to work) and of course the obligatory later nights. As we are in New South Wales, we needed to also factor in Daylight savings, or in our case, not factor it in and end up having both Giggles Magoo and Little Mate in bed well after the clock has ticked over 9pm.

The two weeks goes epically fast (particularly for me as a good chunk of it was spent in bed with The Lurgy), and I feel I need to capture some of the adventures before Giggles Magoo grows up more and doesn’t want to spend his time with us (well, me. Let’s face it. It’s my blog and all about me!). We’ve spent it at backyard birthday parties, on bushwalks and gardening in our ‘new’ backyard; we’ve been stuck inside watching movies due to incessant rain and then followed it up with a visit to the local movie theatre to keep a variety in our screen type; we’ve been to parks for play dates and bike rides in the rain because we just.can’t.stay.inside.anymore; we’ve been to the city for dumplings and dinosaurs and trams; we’ve spent it at bowling alleys, at trampoline fun houses and braved high-ropes courses; ¬†we’ve swum and laughed with grandparents; we’ve hung out at friend’s places and even just hung out at our own. Chess and card games have become things: Uno! skipbo! Shithead (which we are unceremoniously calling ‘poohead’)! Snap! Dominos! Puzzles! Lots of my childhood school holiday memories are being re-created, and the reminiscing feels amazing.

All in all, it’s been a pretty lovely time spending it with the boys as they act out their imaginations or read books together or throw lego at one another. I should probably take this moment to insert a caveat: I do have that frazzled and completely-over-spending-all-this-time-together feeling going on, and I secretly can’t wait until that drop off tomorrow morning. But, it is also nice to just focus on the good bits and forget about the teasing and the whining; because none of that is enjoyable for anyone.

So now, I suppose I should go and do what I really love to do (and it is true, I do really love putting the food together)… get The Lunchbox in order.

 

 

 

Stories are strength

Our narrative will survive with stories. Your story. My story. Everyone’s story.

Let us share our stories with those we trust, and then, when the time is right, let us reach out and feel empowered to share parts of our story with a wider circle.

Listening to life stories of others will widen your lense of life, strengthen your empathy or understanding and help you know their legacy.

Sharing your story will keep our alive for generations to come. Your grandchildren’s children will connect to you through your story.

So, tell me a part of your story – let’s keep your legacy going xx

I’m still standing, yeah yeah yeah

A few months ago, desperate for some peace, I switched on a movie for the kids. I hadn’t seen the movie before, and I always like to be aware of what my kids are consuming from the box, so I sat with them for a little bit and watched Sing. Well, my foot didn’t stop tapping, my smile didn’t leave my face and I was feeling all empowered by the characters. Turns out, I loved the movie, as did my little cherubs.

Fast forward a few months, and again desperate for some downtime for a semi-sick three year old, Sing was back on the screen. This time though, it was like a mini-karaoke session. Little Mate was busting out all the tunes, especially the Taylor Swift diddy and the Johnny character song. In the days since, all Little Mate wants to listen to, on repeat, is the cover from the movie of I’m Still Standing, that Elton John classic. Johnny, as it turns out, is Little Mate’s favourite character from Sing. And who doesn’t love the great, big gorilla?

How is any of this relevent? Well, at 7:30pm tonight, I’d set out on a run and I really wasn’t feeling it (45mins of short hill reps. Blerrrrrrgggggghhhhhh). After an intense round of finish work-double pick up-solo dinner/bath/bed, I was so freaking close to chucking the night in. But, my babysitter arrived (thanks Gra) and I was compelled to leave the confines of my comfort zone. I thought, stuff the hill session, I’ll just do an easy run – the main thing is I’m getting out. But, I go to start my watch (so I can track my distance), but it’s battery hasn’t been charged in days and I can’t think of an interesting route to do at night. Fuck it, I’ll do the prescribed hill session I tell myself. I just have to run up the hill for two minutes, remember the spot to run to and repeat it 9 times.

Well, I found I’m Still Standing, physically propelling me up the hill. Singing it to myself, I don’t run with music, I managed to get through the run, and yes people, I was indeed still standing. Just. But, I was indeed happy that I pushed myself.

I find the introspection available to me when I’m running truly inspirational. By listening to, and acknowledging¬†the hardships my body is facing on a challenging run, I further develop the respect I have for myself, and I delve further into the mindfulness realm. I’m mindful of the lyrics to ‘I’m Still Standing’ pumping through the crevices of my brain, I’m mindful of my aching muscles, I’m mindful of my burning lungs, I’m mindful of my legs and will them to just keep putting one in front of the other, I’m mindful of the rocks under my feet, I’m mindful of the beautiful night sky. I’m mindful of the wonderful family I have, in particular my husband and mother, who are both putting themselves out for me to do what I need to do today. I’m mindful of my children, mindful of my attitude toward them. I’m mindful of other people and what challenges they are facing.

And then my run is finished, and I’m Still Standing. And I’m thankful. Thankful for everything. Thankful for my tribe, thankful for my running group and the wonderfully insightful person my coach is. Thankful for everything and everyone that has touched my life, be they closeby or now a memory. Thank you x

Trivial Tuesday night

It is 6.20, Tuesday evening. I’m sitting in my car, music blaring (The Menzingers if you must know) trying to find some courage to keep writing this thing I call a blog before I head off to my running session. You see, by the time I get home from work on a Tuesday evening, Grimace has wrangled both Little Mate and Giggles Magoo to a sporting pursuit for one of the little darlings, and as I’ve got Tuesday Night Track Sessions for running, it just makes life easier for the family if I don’t make a cameo appearance during that horrible** DINNER BATH STORY BED rush. So, I head off and wait out the 45-or so minutes I have before running around the track in this (freezing) cold weather.

On the trip to work today, I started thinking about writing and how much I love the dialogue it provides; and then on the trip home, I promised myself that I would tonight commit to writing something, anything for this little outlet. But, tonight as I sit here with 25mins to bang something out, I’m rather stuck: I just can’t find what to write about. It’s not that I’m suddenly boring, rather I just don’t have any confidence in the topics I choose to write about. If I look at my ‘Drafts” folder, I have more than a dozen posts I’m started over the last months, but just never finished.

I’ve quite often started a post in my mind, only to quickly erase the thought when I can’t get past the opening paragraph. Some of these topics have been about food, parenting, adventures, personal introspection…but, I start to doubt my topic and the level of interesting it possess, or rather my ability to execute a smooth delivery.

A while ago, I actually sat down and typed out a content plan for this little bugger, and I was doing well at sticking to it – the writing was refreshing and I felt inspired. Now, fast forward into mid-2018 and I don’t prioritise the time to write, and I’ve lost my confidence, feeling like I’m waaaaay back at the opening blog post in 2016.

So, here I am, in all my glory. A post about absolutely nothing. But, at least I’ve followed through on my promise to write something, anything… ha.

Anyways, thanks for reading about absolutely nothing; if anything, I’ve enjoyed writing about something so trivial. It makes me feel like my non-writing issue is rather quite trivial, and I find that oddly liberating.

Next post, here’s hoping I won’t be so inane. Maybe I’ll update you on Grimace & Giggle’s Magoo’s overnight hike, or maybe I’ll talk to you about our house renovation journey, or maybe I’ll brag about my two kidlets and how incredibly lovable they are. Maybe I should get back in touch with that content plan?

Night, Night – I’m off running

x

 

**So, full disclaimer here…I don’t think it is actually horrible, I quite love the hustle of this time of day. But, it is full on and crazy and I openly admit, it’s nice to have a night away.