New Year… New List…

Happy New Year Everyone!

This New Years has felt a little bitter sweet, it is always such a nice feeling to start fresh and to reset, and this time we not only get to start a fresh year but a brand new decade… the possibilities are endless… but at the very same time there are some pretty terrifying things happening in Australia, we have been traveling around New Zealand for the last couple of weeks and all the news from home seems to be it’s hot and it’s on fire and right now that seem to be impossible to stop and so it feels hard to celebrate when others are sheltering on the beach and don’t know what they will have to return to as they start 2020. It’s hard to imagine what they must be going through. As we flew home last night the plane flew through some smoke from the fires and the cabin began to smell of smoke, it was a pretty sobering reminder of what we were returning to. Dave, Isaac and I are lucky to live in an area that is pretty safe from these types of fires, but my heart feels heavy and powerless to help those who aren’t. So I guess my hope is that the fires will cease and that there will be some Happy New Years even if they are a little delayed. That there would be good soaking rain and that our land would start to heal… that would be a Happy New Year.

To be totally honest it feels a little selfish to sit here and write this blog about all the things that I am going to/hoping to do this year when there is so much going on, but the reality is there is always things like this going on… I am only feeling it more because it is in my backyard… and I will be mad at myself if I don’t do it… and despite all that is going on, 2020 feels hopeful… I feel good about what’s to come, I am optimistic about the future, 2019 was full of adjusting to a new stage in life, new jobs, new routines and new expectations… this year there should be less of that, which hopefully leaves more space for well used time, growth and learning… and because I am still a sucker for a list here are our 2020 lists… Emma’s List no. 12 and Isaac’s List no. 3…

You probably know the drill by now… but just in case… you can get up to speed on all the previous lists here: 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), and just like all the previous lists there is much of the same in 2020’s offerings. Some tasks to help me work on myself, physically, spiritually and mentally, some things just because they are fun, some challenges, and some good old family time. Isaac’s list is much the same… although his is more fun and developmental milestones so that I remember to document them. I feel like I am finally starting to find some balance in documenting and just enjoying and also making space to write about other things as they happen, but hopefully I will continue to improve with that this year too… although really (and again probably selfishly) this is just here for me, but if you like it great. And if you see anything on the lists below we can do together let me know.

Alright, enough rambling… here are the lists:

My List

  1. Make a family plan
  2. Find a better work life balance
  3. Get my steps average up to 10000 per day.
  4. Have a child free night
  5. Find another way to reduce my impact on the planet
  6. Do two fun runs
  7. Read 9 books
  8. Go to a Finders Keepers Market
  9. Find and try 3 new parks
  10. Go camping
  11. Get my VIT locked down
  12. Go to bed earlier Sunday – Thursday
  13. Blog 15 times at least
  14. At least 6 date days
  15. Volunteer at Parkrun
  16. Call / Update our grandparents regularly
  17. Walk Dex regularly
  18. Bake some meringues
  19. Take a picture everyday
  20. Meet 3 new babies
  21. Fish and chips on the beach at the beginning and at the end of the year
  22. Go through and sort Isaac’s clothes
  23. Get a massage
  24. Sort out Kinder for Isaac
  25. Exercise as least twice a week
  26. Go on a family bike ride
  27. Take some family photos
  28. Swim at the beach
  29. Meet the newest member of our family
  30. Be a Parkrun tourist
  31. Winter beach getaway
  32. Play a board or card game
  33. Make a banoffee pie
  34. Do a puzzle
  35. Make photo book
  36. Do some colouring
  37. Cross 2 things of the list every month
  38. Use Isaac’s highlight book and my gratitude diary
  39. See some fireworks
  40. Read to Isaac everyday
  41. Drink at least 1 glass of plain water everyday
  42. Play some badminton
  43. Brunch date alone
  44. Brunch date with Dave
  45. Brunch date with Isaac
  46. Floss more often
  47. Get a housework timing guide… print it out and stick to it
  48. Use the hiking backpack at least 3 times
  49. No games on my phone for 3months
  50. No Facebook or Instagram after 10:30pm on weeknights
  51. Make some cookies with Isaac
  52. Go to at least one of Dave’s school concerts
  53. Do the 10min clean most days
  54. Remember the bags
  55. Complete that 30 day exercise challenge
  56. Swim some laps
  57. Have a perfect month with my activity rings
  58. Do a weekly plan
  59. Get some better coffee tables
  60. Entertain more guests
  61. Finish the scrapbooks
  62. Keep scanning in photos
  63. Reduce the amount of take-out meals we have
  64. Go to a carols by candlelight in the park
  65. Have a no spend day once a month
  66. Earn at least 6 of the monthly activity challenge awards on my watch
  67. Do my devotions at least 3 times a week
  68. Have dinner with our siblings
  69. Make a dip
  70. Make a pav
  71. Make some ice cream
  72. Use some herbs from our garden
  73. Go some place I’ve never been to in Victoria
  74. Go to the NGV
  75. Use my sewing machine
  76. FaceTime our NZ family
  77. Use my bees wax wraps
  78. Buy an item of clothing I wouldn’t usually buy and wear it
  79. Do Parkrun with 5 different people
  80. Paint a picture
  81. Listen to a new artist
  82. Picnic in the park
  83. Stand barefoot on grass and sand
  84. Keep the house tidy
  85. Meat free meal at least once a week
  86. Keep my car free of rubbish
  87. Do an exercise class
  88. Do a trail walk/hike
  89. Make banana bread from scratch
  90. Have a meal with the parentals… all of them… separately
  91. Toast some marshmallows
  92. Edit and finalise Isaac’s logs and maybe publish them
  93. Try one of those shampoo bars
  94. See a new Disney Movie
  95. Keep my phone time under control
  96. Spend more time outside
  97. Keep an indoor plant alive
  98. Use my standing desk more often
  99. Keep my phone clean of excess apps that just waste my time.
  100. Break the next barrier

Isaac’s List

  1. Go 10 pin bowling
  2. Swim at the beach
  3. Visit all 3 Zoos
  4. Check out the traffic park in Lilydale
  5. Go to the movies
  6. Ride my balance bike
  7. Pat a new animal
  8. Ride my scooter
  9. See some fireworks
  10. Swim in Pa’s pool
  11. Go on a train
  12. Draw a picture
  13. Jump… with both feet leaving the ground
  14. Try a new instrument
  15. Dress myself… almost all by myself
  16. Learn to use the toilet
  17. Do a puzzle all by myself
  18. Go on an adventure with Dad
  19. Go on an adventure with Mum
  20. Try one of those cool parks that have water play
  21. Kick a footy
  22. Learn to take a photo
  23. Swap to a big bed
  24. BBQ with Dad
  25. Say goodbye to my ‘num nums’ (dummies)

And there they are… two brand new lists of goodness… here we come 2020

Good News, Great Joy, All People

Firstly… Happy Christmas!  Today is Christmas Day… and I hope that where ever you are that you know that you are loved and that today what we celebrate is for you… it’s Good News, Great Joy and it’s for All People!

It has been a number of years since I have written a blog about Christmas… in fact, if my quick dig through the blog is correct, I have only written about it once on this blog… I did a whole series way back in 2011… but since, there has only been a few references to Christmas time and the occasional picture, but this week as we have been traveling through New Zealand, I have been thinking a lot about Christmas and all that we do to celebrate.  

Before leaving Melbourne Christmas was obvious and everywhere, there were songs, and gifts, food, lights and events and it all seemed to be everywhere all the time… It was quite overwhelming to be honest.  Since arriving in New Zealand I have discovered that over here, this appears to not be the case.  Christmas is much less obvious… perhaps this is because we have been doing touristy things and driving and not really frequenting shopping centres, but it seems to be much less constant here… and not just in one part… everywhere… Sure there are TV ads about Christmas and sales and the occasional Santa… but there is much less caroling, less lights, and generally less Christmas.  And while at first I found this wonderful and much less stressful, as Christmas Day has come closer and closer I have found myself longing for it… for the tinsel and lights, for the carols and community events, for a church to have something on for us to go to… 

Perhaps in New Zealand Christmas is just much more relaxed and they actually have it right, much less about the show and much more about the important stuff, taking a minute to stop and spend time with family? Or maybe being the end of December we’ve just missed it? I am not really sure… but I have found myself longing for the strangest things… homesick in a weird way for my ‘normal’ Christmas… which, in reality, is just as hectic and overwhelming as the weeks I described before we left.  

I have been trying to work out what exactly I am missing… and to be honest, I think it’s a few things… the familiarity of my Christmas Tree and decorations… the twinkle of the lights… and the communal carol singing… because Christmas is a story of good news and great joy… and the songs that we sing declare this over and over again, in beautiful harmonies with the occasional outrageous descant.  

A number of years ago our church’s Christmas series was on the theme ‘Good News, Great Joy, All People’ and it’s a phrase that has been stuck in my head ever since… but I think is mostly because it is true… and it’s adaptable to lots of mundane tasks you might like to declare at home.. for example… Good News, Great Joy, All People… Dinner is ready… or Good News, Great Joy, All People… I’ve finished the washing… see works for everything.  Anyway, at Christmas there is an opportunity to have shared joy with all people over the gift of Christ, the hope of the world, the comfort in his birth and the miracle it was (in fact the older I get and the further into Motherhood I journey, the more of a miracle I think it is).  

This year more than any other I have felt the weight of the world as it groans under poor human stewardship and been prompted over and over and over again to care for the land I live in and the people I live among… That in this difficult world full of pain, suffering, and problems that so often seem too big and difficult to comprehend… Where people seem to shun and judge first and listen second… Where my homeland burns and the land I am in has more rain and cold weather than a summer should or would normally contain… I know of a hope and light and joy that is for all people without a catch… and I have missed declaring this for weeks on end.  I suppose the challenge for me has been how do I celebrate and bring this hope to others without my pre-provided platform… or prompts?  And once again I think I have found my answer within the lyrics of a Christmas Carol… one I have blogged about before here way back in 2011… O Holy Night, but this time it has been the third verse that has caught me each time… it says…   

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is Peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name, all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us Praise His Holy name
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

So that’s what I will try to do today (and every day) to share this light… When Isaac wakes up to his makeshift paper Christmas tree, when we sing with Dave’s Grandparents’ at church, when we break bread with our family on a rare Christmas where we only have one destination to be… I will love, I will be a bringer of peace, and with my actions, I will be a bringer of Good News, Great Joy for all people.  

Tea Time with Em – Dec 24

Well here we are everyone… Day 24… the last day of the Advent Calendar… it’s Christmas Eve… and I am almost out of tea… If you are have endured this review process and are still reading these blogs… congratulations… I will try to make the blog a little more exciting after Christmas… there will be no more tea reviewing for the foreseeable future… I also promise not to do this again… because it turns out that while I have enjoyed the novelty of the tea Advent Calendar when it comes to the teas I like I am actually pretty boring… I just like black tea… nothing fancy… just black tea.

Through this process though I have tried new things, I have confirmed that I am not a fruit tea person and found a couple of teas that I could be tempted by again… and that some of these new teas I can have without my usual one sugar, so that’s a plus… but mostly I have just confirmed that I am most likely to stick to the plain stuff… Thanks for sticking around… I hope it wasn’t too tedious.

Tomorrow for Christmas day my gift to you will be no more tea reviews and my gift to myself will be a regular ceylon tea…

Day 24:

Tea: Christmas Breakfast 
Initial Reaction: I thought you might be hiding here Christmas breakfast… and what a good idea to pop you last…    
Brew Time: 4 mins 
Enjoyed with: a dash of milk
Flavour: Good… There is a lot going on in this tea… and I was hoping for a relaxing finish to a hectic season… but the tea is also hectic… it tastes like Christmas spice… and look it’s probably me not the teas… but I do enjoy a less is more with spice… but it was a fun way to finish… 
Score: 6/10

Bonus review from Dave: Not as festive as I hoped… I was looking for some real excitement… 7/10

Tea Time with Em – Dec 23

Day 23:

Tea: Pumping Pomegranate 
Initial Reaction: Wow… where do they come up with these names?   
Brew Time: 4 mins 
Enjoyed with: boiling water 
Flavour: Good… again, not as sweet as I thought it would be which is a nice surprise… it’s tangy though
Score: 6/10

Tea Time with Em – Dec 22

Day 22:

Tea: Melbourne Breakfast 
Initial Reaction: Hello my old friend!    
Brew Time: 4 mins 
Enjoyed with: Milk
Flavour: I am a fan of Melbourne breakfast… which is good because I am also a fan of Melbourne, Breakfast, and breakfasts in Melbourne, it’s sweet and smooth and just delish
Score: 9/10

Tea Time with Em – Dec 21

Day 21:

Tea: Eggnog
Initial Reaction: In tea? Wonderful… and I love the pink… well done T2… I know it doesn’t look pink in the picture… but just trust me on this one.
Brew Time: 3 mins 
Enjoyed with: Milk
Flavour: I am yet to have any actual egg nog this season… so I’m not sure if this is what it’s supposed to taste like… but there is a LOT of vanilla… but it does taste festive 
Score: 6/10

Bonus review from Dave: much like the real thing if you drink too much of it you’re going to be sick… 2 cup maximum… 5/10

Tea Time with Em – Dec 20

Day 20:

Tea: Sleep Tight
Initial Reaction: Well this is awkward… where having this first thing in the morning because that’s the only time we have today   
Brew Time: 4 mins 
Enjoyed with: Nothing, just good water
Flavour: It’s good… I would enjoy this at the correct time of day
Score: 7/10

Bonus review from Dave: Relaxing… 7/10