Tea Time with Em – Dec 02

Day 02:

Tea: Morning Sunshine
Initial Reaction: Doh! I should have opened this this morning… it’s night now… will that effect the taste? Oh but it’s a black tea mix… this could be the one for me
Brew Time: 4 mins
Enjoyed with: Nothing… and then a dash of milk as recommended
Flavour: Sweeter than I was expecting, but not as bold as I was hoping… that could be my fault though we brewed tea for one in a pot for four… would I drink it again… yeah I think I would…
Score: 7/10

Bonus review from Dave: Not as flavoursome as the fruited ones, but still robust in flavour 6/10

Tea Time with Em

Wow… what a lame title… I’ll work on it… but not for blog one.. so in exciting news this year I was finally quick enough to get my hands on a tea advent calendar… and by finally quick enough I mean, I stalked websites and asked shop assistants several times to check on when they would be available and went straight from work to collect mine day 1 of stock… so I have been hanging out to drink my tea almost a month… To celebrate I thought I would do a little tasting review… nothing too deep just a quick run down of all the new teas I try so I know which ones I want to go back to. The thing is… while I love the concept of being a tea drinker and having exotic teas from all over the world… when it comes down to it… I like plain tea the most… nothing fancy, just good old tea… so I am not actually sure I am going to like my calendar because it’s going to test my tastebuds… but who knows… maybe this will be just the introduction to other teas I never knew I needed?

Anyway… here’s how it’s going to work… same questions everyday… gut responses… only occasional explanations…

Day 01

Tea: Mulled Wine Magic
Initial Reaction: Ooooo Mulled wine ey? Will I be breaking my Salvo covenant by drinking this… no, that’s silly… it’s just tea not wine… but it does feel a little naughty… and this is why I have named my blog with such a lame title… it’s just who I am now I guess
Brew Time: 3 mins
Enjoyed with: Nothing… just hot water as recommended
Flavour: Fruity and sweet… but there is a spicy after taste… I am guessing cinnamon
Score: 5/10

Bonus review from Dave: His initial response was ‘ooo that’s a good one’ but he really only started drinking tea this week… maybe he is the tea drinker I have longed to be… or maybe he just doesn’t know what he likes. Better than normal tea… 7/10

List Update… A little bit of Spring

Doing the list updates like this have been very helpful… and like the weather we have been getting in Melbourne… Spring seems to be here in tiny little bursts between full on Summer and Winter… and waiting until the end of Spring seems like too long to wait… so here is the List update for the first part of Spring…. Oh but before we get into that you may have noticed in the Winter update that I included my daily photos for each month… this year rather than putting them all in one blog like I have done in previous years I thought it would actually be better to include it in these… so I have been back and added it to Summer and Autumn too and here you will get to see my photos from September and October.

September

I love Spring… I love it’s brightness, it’s hope, the birds, the flowers and it’s unpredictability… it’s probably the only change I actually enjoy… Spring just feels good… to start Spring off we crossed 5 things off the list in September…

We were able to harvest some veggies from our veggie patch (no. 51, completed 14/09) and while our carrots were a little unconventional in appearance they were delicious. We have also been working on making sure that our house has been deliberately filled with lovely things (no. 47 completed: 22/09)… so much so that we have reorganised the house, swapping the play area and the TV areas around. With the new set up our TV is tucked up on top of the piano out of the way, leaving the stereo and a much more open space in our living area which also crosses no. 92 off the list (completed: 22/09). Isaac and Dave have also been picking flowers for the house which it not only adorable, it’s nice for the house… and just this week our roses have started coming in so there are lots more flowers to come.

September also brought us the school holidays where Dave and I got to brunch together one morning while Isaac was at childcare (no. 67 completed: 25/09) at this super cute homestead in Rowville and with Isaac we returned to science works crossing off no. 10 finally using the museum enough to justify the cost of our memberships (completed: 26/09). I love taking Isaac to the museum, especially science works and this trip was no different, we saw the Lego exhibition and Isaac loved building up the walls with Duplo.

October

October has been a BIG listing month I took a break from social media (no. 55 which you can read about here, completed: 27/10) and after running the half marathon (which was no. 11 on the list and you can read about that here) I had a bit more time up my sleeves and being October a small amount of panic about the volume of tasks that are still left to be completed on the list… so I’ve been doing a lot, getting stuff done and as a result it’s been a good listing month with another 7 things off the list…

Being back on the bookclub train I finally finished my 7th book for the year (no. 25 completed: 06/10)… I have really enjoyed reading some more… here’s the first 7 books I read… hopefully I can still fit a few more in before the end of the year:

  • The Library Book, Susan Orlean
  • The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Kate Morton
  • Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
  • Fight Like a Girl,
  • The Last House Guest, Megan Miranda
  • Whisper Network, Chandler Baker
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman

Just like in the mass media, the climate, the world and all the problems we are going to face unless we make some changes have been on my mind this year… well more than just this year, but it seems to be more and more as time goes on. Over the last couple of years we have been consistently making little changes, last year we finally got a compost bin, we recycled some old VHS taps and CDs and got more deliberate about creating less waste… this year we have continued all of these changes but there is always more to do right… so one of the things we have started doing this year is living without tea bags at home. I love tea and I have lots of loose leaf tea at home, but because tea bags are so convenient I never used any of it, unless I felt like being a bit fancy… I thought I was doing the right thing too because I was even composting my tea bags… but I learnt that not all tea bags are compostable and in my tea of choice the tea bags still contain plastic… so rather than just start throwing them out I decided that it was time to swap to loose leaf. It took a little while to adjust, but I feel like we have adapted… it takes a little more time, it’s a tiny bit more fiddly, but the tea is still delicious, no. 90 is off the list and there is no longer accidentally plastic in my compost bin (completed: 17/10).

Dave and I also got to hang out with one of our best buds Brad and we played phase 10 for the first time in years… just because it was on the list, and it was just like it was years and years ago, the competition was fierce and Dave was cheating, but that was no. 75 (completed 19/10).

To round out the month of October, Isaac and I went on a brunch date (no. 66, completed: 31/10) and it was excellent… I really like these little dates we have… he is such a sweet little dude and his love for baby chinos is real! At our little date he got to try dippy eggs for the first time… he loved them…. there may still be hope for number 93 on the list… so watch this space.

Oh and… as I mentioned in the Autumn update, there is a large Star Trek hole in my life… my brother recommended that I try and fill it with Doctor Who and so I added no. 34 to the list (completed: 26/10)… look I’m not in love with it yet… and maybe I just need to give it more time, but I am 5 episodes in and it’s just not the same…

Ok so now we are in November… two months to go and a heck of a lot of items still on the list…

List Update Part 3… The Winter Edition

Ok, so this is where things usually slow down a little… but I feel like having ‘cross two things off every month’ on the list itself, as really helped keep it in the forefront of my mind… so unlike most years this winter we have continued to power through the list…

June

In June we were able to cross 3 things off the list. With a long weekend and the school holidays starting in June we got the perfect opportunity to cross some things off the list. We had our weekend away down at the beach house (no. 6 completed 10/06) as well as a few extra days down there at the end of the month. During our second trip I finally got of my bike for the first time in years which meant we could cross no. 82, Go on a Family Bike ride off the list (completed 27/06). For Christmas last year Isaac was given a fancy bike seat which we finally got to use, and it was super cute. He loves being on the bike with Dave. I have a love hate relationship with cycling. It’s something that I wish I was good at, because I loved riding as a child, but as an adult… not so much… I have tried different seats and different set ups and part of me is convinced that it’s my bike… but that sounds like an excuse. All I know is when we rode around Rottnest Island a few weeks later my experience was much much better, the riding bit was fun… the sore butt for days after not so much, but I rode without too much hassle… so it must be my bike right?

Oh and I finally got another haircut (no. 70 completed 18/06) and it was good… the cut the colour, it was nice to have fresh hair… I should book in another hair cut.

July

July was about baking and home life… I attempted to cook some banana bread with Isaac for Dave’s birthday as a fun toddler activity…. he did not enjoy sharing the bananas with the cake mix… so it was not as successful as I had hoped but the banana bread turned out pretty good despite the addition of tears (no. 95 completed 18/07). I also baked some meringues (no. 28 completed 31/07) for Isaac’s 2nd birthday party and they were delicious… I LOVE meringues… and I am not sure why I don’t make them more often…. they are always a good choice.

Isaac and I watched frozen together, his first full Disney movie… not our first attempt, but the first one he actually sat through… it’s amazing what being allowed to stay up because you have been refusing to sleep and your parents have finally given in can do… well buddy this was more of a win win than you will ever know. Not only did it cross no. 1 off the list, but it I also loved it (completed 13/07).

The last things I crossed off list this month was no. 13 let things heal. I am a picker which means I don’t leave things alone and they take a long time to heal… if I just left things alone they would be gone in days… but no… I make them stay… but not this year… I have been letting things heal… (completed 14/07)

In total we crossed another 4 things off the list… its been a good listing year so far.

August

We finished our winter listing efforts strongly with another 4 things crossed of the list. Just in time for Isaac’s birthday party I crossed no. 52 off the list updating some of the pictures on our photo wall (completed 01/08). The photo wall has been such a fun was to help Isaac learn about our big blended family nand it’s a nice and constant reminder of our support network, both near and far.

Also for Isaac’s birthday party I purchased a new jumper, and it was bright green… not a colour I would usually wear. Being a Melbournian, my colours of choice are dark at best and mostly black… so bright green felt outrageous at the time, but it fit the dinosaur theme and it turns out I love it… this combined with my new fun earring collection… I’m no longer wearing just coloured earrings, but rotating through a supply of fun Australian bird earrings… the bird thing is getting serious… well and truly crosses no. 39 ‘buy an item of clothing that you really love but isn’t like anything you would usually wear’ off the list (completed 02/08). I am not sure if I am just morphing into my dad and express his love of bright colours in bright earrings, or if I am just getting more comfortable with who I am and what I look like and caring less about others opinions… but I am really enjoying expressing a little more of my personality in what I wear… it’s fun and even if no one else likes them, it brings me joy each time I remember, or catch a glimpse of what I am wearing… it’s a much nicer way to live than constantly pulling and primping and worrying about things.

August was also a month of trying new things… well kind of… I am sure I have tried more than 3 different restaurants this year, but I remembered it was on my list in August, which just so happened to coincide with a dinner with besties, so I took the opportunity to cross no 38 try 3 new restaurants off (completed 09/08). We also visited our third new playground this month so no. 42 was also crossed off the list (completed 17/08). Playground hunting has become a fun past time this year, Isaac loves being outside and he loves the park, so finding a good park is always a win… Of the ones we tried for the list two of the parks were brand new and only recently opened which made it even more exciting for all of us.

So there you go… that was winter… not a bad effort really for the colder months… 11 things crossed off the list… there is still a lot left though, so spring could be huge!

Unplugged for the Week

The week before week I turned off my social media accounts, just for the week… no posting and no scrolling just for 7 days… and to be honest when I popped it on the list at no.55, I thought it would be a breeze…. And then when I made the decision that now was the time, it suddenly felt much more challenging, but I was not expecting it to be as challenging as it has been. So to pass the time and to put some words to my feelings I decided to start writing this blog on day two… and because I love any excuse to do them, I thought I could format it as a captains log to help me through… all because day one was much harder than I expected.

Captains Log – Day 1

Date: Sunday 20.10.19
Today’s forecast: Partly cloudy. Maximum of 16
Sunrise: 6:29am Sunset: 7:42pm

Fun fact about my life that I have never noticed… checking social media is one of the first things I do in the morning… before I get out of bed, before I have breakfast… before I do anything else… but not this morning… I did check my TimeHop because even though that’s linked to my social media platforms it’s just my life… so I don’t think it counts… Not checking it actually threw my morning off… and I very quickly started to realise how much I pick up my phone and habitually check my social media accounts… it’s a lot! In fact thanks to my screen time app I can tell you I picked up my phone 157 times… and while I didn’t open my social media (because I had deleted the apps) I can assure that I went to… maybe 100 of those times. I am not sure why the need to check it is so strong… I don’t post that much, but I do love to scroll… even as I went to bed tonight I felt the need to almost check 1 more time… let’s hope it’s just withdrawal and that it will get easier.

Captains Log – Day 2

Date: Monday 21.10.19
Today’s forecast: Warmer with decreasing clouds. Maximum of 22
Sunrise: 6:28am Sunset: 7:43pm

I am 100% sure that no one has even noticed my absence on Social media… because that’s they way it works right… you get so consumed by what is there, you rarely notice what is missing… and I know that in reality I am probably missing nothing, other than getting jealous of the highlight reels of everyone else’s lives… but I just want to know… I really really want to know… but I have stayed strong… I have not checked… I can get through this… I can break this habit… I can be in control

Captains Log – Day 3

Date: Tuesday 22.10.19
Today’s forecast: Increasing sunshine. Maximum of 20
Sunrise: 6:26am Sunset: 7:44pm

Good news, this morning I thought about social media, but didn’t try to open it before I remembered, this is what they call progress… in fact I got through most of the day without too much hassle… I was reminded that I missed some things when I got to school and someone told me about something they had posted and then again at lunch when I was told I had been invited to an event… but I wasn’t super phased by it, in fact it wasn’t until I got home that I started to miss it again… I took some photos that I probably would have posted, some new material for my highlight reel:

  • I hit a new mum milestone, I carried Isaac’s trike down to child care so he could ride it home… it was a LONG walk home, but it was a fun milestone moment that I usually would have posted.
  • We used our new oven for the first time and cooked and epic roast dinner… definitely post worthy and the one that made me think the most…
  • I finished writing a blog and it was ready to post… but I didn’t want to post it and not see what happened…

I realised that for a lot of this the validation that I get from comments and likes probably means more to me than I realised. Before this week, I think I had considered myself immune to this for some reason… I just thought I was that in to it… I mean I have no current plans of social media domination, but… it turns out I am just as vulnerable to needing to be liked online as the next person… I think this is going to be good for me… even if it just makes me more aware.

I also can’t decided if strava counts as social media… I have still been using it because it isn’t something that pops into my mind when I think about social media… but it is social and you do get ‘kudos’ for exercising from those who follow you… it’s not quite the same, but it’s probably not far off… but I am not ready to forego my exercise stats.

Captains Log – Day 4

Date: Wednesday 23.10.19
Today’s forecast: Sunny. Maximum of 27
Sunrise: 6:25am Sunset: 7:45pm

Ok… just as a side note… you may already know this, but I have learnt that each day the sunrise just gets earlier by a minute… and two at maximum and the sunset gets later by the same… I mean it makes sense… but I had just never noticed it before…

Captains Log – Day 5

Date: Thursday 24.10.19
Today’s forecast: Sunny. Maximum of 34
Sunrise: 6:24am Sunset: 7:46pm

There are photos of Isaac and I on Facebook… we went to a party… I know they are there but I can’t see them… I have to wait… I can wait… but I know they are there.

Captains Log – Day 7

Date: Saturday 26.10.19
Today’s forecast: Windy with showers. Maximum of 16
Sunrise: 6:21am Sunset: 7:48pm

Good news, I’ve almost made it, the end of my 7 days is in sight… and the even better news is that the last few days have come and gone without too much longing… so much so that I didn’t even bother to write a log to distract myself.

To be honest though I am not sure if it got easier because I was learning to live without it or because I had made it half way so I knew I wouldn’t have to wait much longer.

Doing this just for my list has been good for me. I’ve always envied those who live social media free, I think in many ways it’s quite liberating. I have started to pick my phone up less… but only a little… and I would like to think I have been a bit more present in my own life… I have however missed a few things, nothing life and death, but there have been events and messages that I have missed… I have also felt less connected… I think being able to see people’s lives in little snapshots gives you a false sense of community and insight. You feel like you know how someone is going and what is happening in their lives without having to actually communicate with them… which is wonderful for lazy friendships, but not so great if that’s what you’ve been relying on… it’s made me realise that I need to reach out and not just like things on Facebook… and that while, if I’m really honest, my bad social habits will probably return as soon I a re-download the apps… I am hoping that I might be a little bit more aware of what I am actually using it for… and if my connections are more than just 0’s and 1s.

This has been a much greater challenge than I anticipated, but I am glad I have done it… now I just have to work out what to do with my new insight so that it’s helpful and not a waste.

Yes! I am Running,

This time two weeks ago I was enjoy the post run high after running (ish… there was some walking) my third half marathon… and it was emotional. I cried at the start line and I cried a lot at the finish and I have realised that this event had been holding so much emotion within it that I wasn’t expecting.

I am sure I am not the only one that feels like this year is really busy, busier than years gone by, and I don’t know if the world is just spinning faster, or if it’s just what happens when you try to balance work and mum life… but it has been a full year. The last couple of months, in particular, have pushed me past busy into stressed and tired and overwhelmed. I have been working more, Isaac is busier in himself… being 2 is hard and busy… there is so much playing to be done between naps. Dave have also been busy with School and our weekends have been packed with things, albeit fun things, but things all the same. There hasn’t been a lot of downtime. We have also rearranged out living spaces at home to move the TV out of the way and be more deliberate about not watching it, but I am not sure if this has helped with the downtime or made it less relaxing. Anyway… the point of all of this has been that I have been feeling overwhelmed, really overwhelmed and probably since the beginning of term 3 in July, I feel like I have been racing out of control from one event to the next, living by my calendar and just hoping for the best in between. It’s not a super fun way to live… in fact in kinda takes the joy out of all of the events because the next one is already bubbling away in the back of your brain.  

While my life was slowly spinning out of control, I had also been attempting to train for this half marathon… and while I probably took it more seriously than I have previously, making sure that at the very least I did all the long runs and something else, I forgot how hard it was to include training when life was simpler (I know it didn’t feel simple at the time, but I know with hindsight it was). Adding a dependent child in, really stops you from just going for a 2-hour run spontaneously… you have to plan this stuff… especially because Dave needs to do the same run as well. There was a lot to do and not a heap of time… but it’s done and I made it and the relief is very very real.  

I have been talking about doing this half marathon for almost 2 years, using it as a delay tactic to avoid talking about having more kids… because you can’t run a half marathon and be pregnant… (although according to one lady’s race bib I saw while running… ‘Baby on Track’ that’s not entirely true… apparently you can). Anyway, I realised as I stood at the start line that this was the last event in my mind… this was where I had been heading… I also started to panic, overwhelmed by the fact that I was about to run 21.1km and I wasn’t sure how well I would make it… I knew I would most likely make it, but I didn’t know how well, or what that would look like. I was also overwhelmed by the crowd, so many people all ready to achieve this together, people of all shapes and sizes, for all different reasons, running together. I think that part of me was also overwhelmed because I didn’t have a plan for what was to come next… That after this, I was done with events and things, even if it was only for a little bit.  

As I started to run I remembered a song I had listened to on previous fun runs and dug it out of my music collection and pushed play on ‘Home’ by CityAlight… these are the lyrics:  

Yes! I am running
Won’t be long ’til I am home
Yes! I am running
Jesus bring me safely home 

Jesus lead me day by day
Fix my eyes upon Your face
Guide my feet, Lord, as I run
Hold me Saviour in Your love 

Jesus keep me free from sin
Help me fight the war within
Shield me now from fear and doubt
Break these chains that weigh me down
Oh we sing together now 

Yes! I am running
Won’t be long ’til I am home
Yes! I am running
Jesus bring me safely home 

Jesus You have run the race
Perfect love and perfect faith
We are weary, You are strong
In Your grace we carry on
Oh we sing together now 

Yes! I am running
Won’t be long ’til I am home
Yes! I am running
Jesus bring me safely home  

It became my prayer for the first 3km… a very literal prayer from eternal words… that Jesus would guide my physical feet as I ran the Melbourne Half Marathon.  

I realised as I ran how much of the last three years I had hidden in this event, delay, disappointment, fear, and expectation. That somehow if I could get through those 21kms, I could forgive my body for not carrying and birthing Isaac or Josh the way I thought it should have. That if I could just get through those 21km I could prove to myself that I am strong, that I am capable, that I can still do hard things. That if I could just get through those 21km, then maybe I could finally let myself hope and trust myself enough to see a brighter future.  

As I crossed the line, I felt like a weight and been lifted off my shoulders, I fully relaxed for the first time in a long time and it wasn’t just a physical relax because my muscles couldn’t do anymore, but an emotional and mental relaxation. I felt lighter and hopeful but also just so so relieved. Relieved that I had made it, relieved that it wasn’t awful, and relieved that my body hadn’t let me down again… that I was stronger than I believed.  

21.1km is a long way… and it takes a long time, even longer when you run at my pace… but it also gives you a lot of time to reflect and think if you want it and finishing it is empowering.    

2019 List Update… Autumn Edition

Ok round 2… List update here we go… strap in…

March

Once we hit March, our listing adventures slowed down a little, but we still crossed off 4 things… I splurged with a brunch alone and blogged at my old favourite cafe which was no. 68… but I already blogged about that here, and while I thought I might get a few more weeks to do more blogging brunches, I was mistaken as in March I also returned to school to do some relief teaching, no. 7 which was an end to my bonus child free days (completed: 15/03).

When looking up things to pop on my list this year I came across a recommendation for the dragon’s eggs in Kallista so I added it to the list and on a sunny weekend Dave, Isaac and I went for a trek through the bush to find them. It turned out to be quite a trek too as we took a wrong turn very early on and what should have been a 300m walk ended up being a 7km loop, but it was an adventure and we did find the nests… to be honest, they were actually quite hard to find and a little underwhelming after 7km… but we found them and that is all no. 46 on the list required (completed: 16/03).

Our last March list activity was no. 81, have a picnic (completed: 15/03). With daylight savings coming to an end, we decided to make the most of the light, the warmth and the oval across the road and have a fish and chip picnic… judging by our faces in the list picture… it was a success!

April

April was also a mildly successful listing month… we crossed off another 4 things… No. 9, my 50th parkrun, which you can read about here. We also crossed off our third zoo for the year venturing out to Werribee open range zoo, which was super fun and crossed no. 4 off the list (completed: 11/04). I have always had a love hate relationship with the zoo… I had bad date there as a teenager and until now when I have thought about going to the zoo it has always come with a uuuuggghhhh feeling… but going to the zoo with kids is totally different. We took Isaac to the zoo for the first time last year and he loved it and the older he gets the more he loves it. It’s nice to be able to watch him take the lead and decide what he wants to see, plus now that Dave and I are members… and we have been to all three all the trips from this point on are free… and a good day out. Welcome back to my life zoo trips.

This month we also started our brief, but enjoyable love affair with Hello Fresh! I love things that are all ready to go, and I love not having to decide what to eat… so Hello Fresh was a winner for us… but eventually we got sick of it… and it’s pretty expensive, but I now that we’ve tried it, we can keep it in the back of our minds as a back up for whenever we need it again, thanks no. 94 (completed: 08/04)

In April I also went to my only footy match for the year (no. 26, completed: 22/04)… Hawks v Geelong for Easter Monday, I always forget how much I enjoy going to the footy… but I can’t tell if it’s just catching up with my Aunite Barb because we spend a lot of the game just chatting.

May

In May I managed to cross another 4 things off the list… consistency seems to be the flavour of the list this year. I finally volunteered at park run… no.44, which you can read about here, and I took myself out for a cup of tea at Robinsons bookstore at the Glen and it was lovely. While I was there I read… although I read on my kindle which felt a little bit like a slap in the face for a bookstore, but what can you do… I am a messing person and I didn’t want to get food or tea on a book. I love bookstores… but I love bookstores with cafes even more… no. 79 done and dusted (completed: 08/05)

I don’t think it’s a surprise that I am a hard core trekie…. ok, maybe not hard core, hard core, but I do love star trek. Since finishing Next Gen last year I have watched all of Star Trek Enterprise and all of Star Trek Voyager, leaving me with Deep Space Nine and the original series, both of which I have now also finished… I told you, I love it! But all no. 29 asked for was deep space nine (completed: 09/05) so it’s done and some! I do now have a fairly large Star Trek shaped hole in my life, so if you know of a good series I should commit to, let me know.

May also gave me the single greatest renovation to our house… completing no. 86 (completed 12/05) we got a bath and it is great… I mean sure it’s mostly for Isaac and he also loves it… but I don’t think he appreciates it like I do… I also love the bath caddy we got for it… bath reading, or Netflixing with a drink… brilliant, sure my Diet Coke isn’t as fancy as the wine in the picture on the box, but it’s still pretty great.

Ok… so that was autumn… time for another break in writing… hopefully it’s not too long before I write up winter…