Spring Time and Some…

Far out… I am super behind on getting these blogs out… it is amazing what being able to travel more than 5kms from home and actually being able to catch up with people does to your down time.

Never the less here we are almost at the end of the year finally blogging about spring time and because we are so close to the end of the year (as in starts tomorrow) I am going to go ahead and throw in December for good measure… so that there is some hope that I might actually not have any bits of list hanging over into the new year… any enough dilly dallying… on with it…

September

September was spent mostly in stage 4 lockdown (which actually started on the 2 August)… with the first announcements about what life might look like post lockdown announced on the 6th of September… but the 5km travel rule still firmly in place… so all of this months list activities were done at home… or very close to it… we remembered to use some of the herbs from our garden in our meals (no. 72 completed 01/09) and we camped (no. 10 completed 21/09) in the back yard which once again was very very very fun… I am actually really looking forward to doing some proper family camping in the new year.

For some adventure… we tried our third new park for the year (no. 9 completed 27/09)… just around the corner… and when Isaac returned to child care Dave and I had a little picnic lunch date in the local national park (no. 82 completed 29/09) which was also wonderful… Another thing I have really learned to value during this whole season is just how blessed we are to live where we do, in our own little place we have enough backyard for Isaac to play and for us to spend time outside whatever the weather and we live in a community filled with trails, parks and wildlife… something I probably hadn’t appreciated as much as I should have until now.

October

We stayed pretty low key as the 5km rule stayed in place until the 18th of October and then after that, we were able to go 25km for a couple of weeks which meant that we could finally see all of our immediate family which was kind of nice after such a long time. While we were at home I continued scanning in our family photos (no. 62 completed 10/10) and reached the pretty significant goal of also clearing out my old iPhotos app… now I just have to back up everything from 2017 onwards… but I am making progress. I also received the photo book I had made (no. 35 completed: 20/10) of Isaac’s time in NICU and our Europe trips and then quickly made more books for each year of Isaac’s life, it’s really nice to have some tangible photos to look through.

Once we cafes and restaurants were able to re-open Isaac and I celebrated with a little brunch date (no. 45 completed: 29/10). But the most significant thing to happen to us in October is that Isaac crossed no. 16 off his list… he learned to use the toilet (completed: 29/10) and wow what a process… but mostly what an achievement! Now for night time…

November

This might have been our quietest listing month… and look it’s probably due to the fact that life returned.. we had places to go, people to see and we were allowed to leave the house… it was wonderful… overwhelming, but wondering… I did brunch on my own though (no 43. completed – 10/11) and I discovered a new worship team whose music (no. 81 completed: 11/11) is just wonderful and great to soak and slow down in… Maverick City Music… just where have you been before now? Oh and this song by Slowly Slowly whose song about Melbourne opening back up after our epic lockdown also hit the spot…

December

Okay… wow… the fact that December is over is really messing with my head, what a whirlwind end of the year! Christmas was back on thanks to the enduring lockdown, which I am so very thankful for, but it has made us busy! Plus this one is going to be a big one because it also includes the year-long ones… which there were quite a few of… but here we go… you know what… it might be easier just to list them chronologically…

90. Have a meal with all the parentals – completed: 02/12
This took a long time to do mostly thanks to lockdown… but we did and it was just as lovely as I had planned…

42. Play some badminton – completed: 21/12
My best mate knows me very very well… for Christmas she gave Isaac and junior badminton set and so we played… actually using the racket might take some time, but it was a form of badminton none the less

37. Cross 2 things off the list each month – completed: 21/12
Pretty self explanatory.. although November made me more nervous than I would care to admit

71. Make some ice cream – completed: 23/12
Ice cream slice counts right? We will go with yes… mostly because it is delicious.

66. Earn at least 6 of the monthly activity challenges on my watch – completed: 24/12
This one went down to the wire too… but thanks to an easy December challenge we made it! If you want the details… well keep reading… if you don’t feel free to jump ahead…
January – Reached my daily exercise goal 22 times
February – Closed all three activity rings 15 times
April – Reached my daily move goal 24 times
May – Close all three activity rings 19 times
September – Reached my stand goal 18 times
December – Reached my daily move goal 22 times

68. Have Dinner with our siblings – completed: 24/12
Just like the dinners with the parents… this took all year but it was also worth it… family is good

21. Fish and Chips on the beach at the beginning and at the end of the year – completed: 28/12
Who doesn’t love fish and chips at the beach… I am really glad that I popped the timing caveats on this it’s a nice way to do dinner… and once is not enough. Plus I don’t think I will ever get sick of watching Isaac’s excitement feeding the seagulls.

14. Have at least 6 Date Days – completed: 30/12
This was almost impossible… but we made it happen… even if it meant back to back dates this week… it doesn’t matter… after 2020 I will never again take for granted alone time with Dave.

83. Stand barefoot on grass and sand – completed: 30/12
I am 100% sure that I have done this earlier in the year… but just in case… and to get some photographic evidence I have done it again… and crossed it off the list.

03. Visit all 3 Zoos – completed: 31/12
Oh and Isaac just snuck in his third zoo today as we made a trip out to Werribee… which means we visited two zoo’s for real life as our good mate Bluey would say and one virtually

Ok… so that’s all the ones that were once off list items… here are all the year long ones..

12. Go to bed earlier Sunday – Thursday – completed: 31/12
I couldn’t tell you if it was definitely Sunday – Thursday… but I am certainly going to bed more consistently earlier…

17. Walk Dex Regularly – completed: 31/12
Look it’s dipped off a bit towards the end, but we were much much better at this… perhaps the best we have ever been so I am giving us the star!

16. Call/Update our grandparents regularly – completed: 31/12
If it hadn’t been the year it has, we may not have done this, but this is another good thing to come out of 2020… I am less afraid of the phone and I have been making more effort to call and send painting from Isaac… it’s a good change

24. Sort out kinda for Isaac – completed: 31/12
Well kinda… we decided not to worry and just to keep him at childcare where he is the pre-kind a room… not the sorting out I was expecting… but a decision nonetheless.

25. Exercise at least twice a week – completed: 31/12
Again we were much better at this earlier in the year, but we have certainly at the very least averaged twice a week… maybe next year I will focus on consistency/

38. Use Isaac’s highlight book and gratitude diary – completed: 31/12
There was lots of catching up but we got there… it’s all written down… and just in case I forget, the more consistently I do this on the day… the easier it is… catching back up is hard!

54. Remember the bags – completed: 31/12
I can’t take full credit as Dave has been doing all the hard work… as he has been doing the grocery shopping… but now that I can go back out the shops I have been better at it…

60. Entertain more guests – completed: 31/12
I know this sounds ridiculous, but I am crossing this off the list because when we have been able to, we have… and in January and early Feb we really made an effort…

63. Reduce the amount of take-out meals we have – completed: 31/12
Except for December I think we have done a pretty good job of this… we have been meal planning and looking forward to one night of take out rather than 2-3 nights plus lunches… probably another perk of slowing down and being home more… that at the restaurants were shut which really hit my brunch habit!

67. Do my devotions at least 3 times a week – completed: 31/12
Just like the exercise there were better weeks and worse weeks, but I have certainly been more deliberate about spending the time in the word.

84. Keep the house tidy – completed: 31/12
When you are at home all the time… you kind of have to… or your mind explodes!

85. Meat free meal at least once a week – completed: 31/12
This has just become part of our regular meal rotation and it is great… plus it’s a good reason to get some good vego meals onto the menu.

96. Spend more time outside – completed: 31/12
I don’t know if it was because I was restricted… or because we have a 3-year-old… but I have never been outside as much in my life… It’s good… I mean it’s really good… for everyone… go outside…. safely… but outside.

97. Keep an indoor plant alive – completed: 31/12
Again I can’t take full credit as Dave has been doing all the hard work… but we have more plants inside than ever and they aren’t dead… it’s lovely.

So there you go… that the list for 2020 and given the year we have had I think it’s pretty great that we managed to cross 73 things off the list, that’s only 6 less than last year… and certainly not my worst effort. This was the first year Isaac couldn’t complete his list and all of them except one could probably be put down to restrictions… There were also a few things on my list that I just couldn’t do this year thanks to COVID, but on both lists, there are also some that we could have if we really wanted to… or remembered too… but didn’t… and that’s just the way it is… so here are the ones that remain un-done… no more complaining… but also no explaining…

My List:

3. Get my step average above 10,000
4. Have a child-free night
11. Get my VIT locked down
13. Blog at least 15 times
15. Volunteer at parkrun
23. Get a massage
28. Swim at the beach
39. See some fireworks
41. Drink at least 1 glass of water every day
46. Floss more often
47. Get a housework timing guide… print it out and stick to it
50. No Facebook or Instagram after 10:30pm
53. Do the 10min clean every day
55. Complete that 30-day exercise challenge
58. Do a weekly plan
59. Get some better coffee tables
64. Go to a carols by candlelight in the park
65. Have a no-spend day once a month
69. Make a dip
74. Go to the NGV
79. Do parkrun with 5 different people
86. Keep my car free of rubbish
92. Edit and finalise Isaac’s logs and maybe publish them
99. Use my standing desk more often
100. Break the next barrier

Isaac’s List

1. Go 10 pin bowling
2. Swim at the beach
5. Go to the movies
7. Pat a new animal
9. See some fireworks
11. Go on a train
15. Dress myself… almost all by myself
20. Try one of those cool parks with water play

The good thing about Isaac’s undone items is that most of them we can just add to his 2021 list… So here’s to 2021… I’m not making a big deal of it… I am just moving in quietly like all the memes I have seen have strongly encouraged me to do.

Advent

Despite having grown up in church and being an avid lover of Christmas, advent and particularly the church season of advent has largely gone ignored by me… I have seen the candles, understood the benefits of the calendar, but it is not something that I have actively sort out, but one of the perks of life being upside down in 2020, this year I have found myself very drawn to the idea of a deliberate season of advent (I’m not even sure if that’s the correct terminology) leading up to this Christmas.

I think that the blessing of being forced to slow down this year, despite my initial intention to do so anyway, has meant that December has not been filled with things to do by late October and I have found myself longing for more Christmas, but I have also had to be a bit more deliberate about how and where I include Christmas this year. It turns out, this has been the perfect opportunity for me to investigate what doing my own deliberate advent season at home would look like… and it hasn’t just been for me.

When Isaac was still tiny I very quickly realised that I am excellent at ‘Commercial Christmas’ Santa, carols, presents, events, costumes, the works… but that often I took the ‘Jesus Christmas’ for granted, it’s always been there, bubbling the background but it gets lost. So in an attempt to not let this trend continue I have spent the last couple of weeks feverishly stitching felt nativity characters for a homemade advent calendar for Isaac so that there is a daily opportunity to remind both him and me that Christmas is about the hope of Christ and the rest is all just extra. But for me, I have purchased a book called ‘Shadow and Light’ by Tsh Oxenreider which has been written exactly for this purpose to help you find a “gentle holiday rhythm”, to give space to stop and to point people like me to the greater picture of Christmas and boy is it great! I feel like in a weird way it has extended Christmas in all the best ways, provided perspective and hope in a season that is often a bit selfish and usually way to busy and because the daily readings are concise it hasn’t created its own kind of burden. Instead, it has reminded me once again (even though I only started week 2 yesterday) what a miraculous event Christmas actually is, so understated and yet so powerful and as a lyric I just heard put it “born in the dirt, sitting on the throne’. This beautiful hope that is offered so simply, worthy of all the praise but not demanding it… offering it.

I am so thankful that despite the pain this year has caused that I have been given this sacred time to stop and reflect for so much of the year, to focus on what is important, and while I know that for many around the world this year Christmas will be spent separated from those they love and perhaps overshadowed by the events of the world. I am incredibly thankful that I can be with those I love, but more than that I am thankful that the hope Christ brings is for all, not just some and that the invitation is always there to come and celebrate the advent of Christ. And that there is still hope found in Him even after all that we have experienced, that there is no circumstance or place too dark for the light of Christ. So I guess I want to invite you to join me in taking a minute to come and adore Christ the newborn king.