2016 – Photos, Lessons and Thankfulness

Ok so today is the last day of 2016 and I can’t tell you how ready I am for 2017.  It’s not that 2016 has been all bad, it hasn’t.  There is a part of me that will actually miss the things and events of 2016, but I am ready for something new.  Ready to start again.  2016 has held lots of my best and most treasured moments, our travels around the world, new friends, old friends and meeting and holding my baby boy for the first time.  But the second half of 2016 has also been my hardest time to date, saying goodbye to Josh way too soon and learning to live in world where he was and now isn’t.

Much of 2016 was unexpected, but through all of this I have grown.  I have learnt more about myself, who I am, who I want to be, and where I need to make changes.  More about my family and friends, just how important they are, and how much they love Dave and I through both good and bad.  And more about what is important in life, how much trust I have in Jesus and that even though I may not see the whole picture I can trust that this is part of something much bigger than me.  That this year has been and will be way more important that I will understand for a long time.  I have learnt to hold on to the things that I know are true and good and to hope and celebrate joy in really really crappy places.  I know that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

Looking forward to 2017 I must “be strong and courageous! I must not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” (Joshua 1:9, NLT with my paraphrase).  God has this covered, he has Dave and I covered in his love, in his grace and in his mercy.  His love brings joy and peace beyond understanding and circumstance.  We have good things ahead and my hope is that we will see some of these in 2017. 

Usually at this time of year I would right a blog looking back at the year through the photos taken on my iPhone which I am still going to do, only this year instead of writing a highlight of each month, I am going to write about the things I am thankful for.  On most occasions these are also the highlights, but practicing my gratitude and highlighting the blessings brings me a lot more joy than just telling you that something was good.  It’s also better for my brain. So this is what 2016 looked like through the eyes of my iPhone with my gratitude lens on.

January…

I am thankful for:
•  Travel, exploring Europe and having my mind opened to more of the world with the best travel buddy I could have ever asked for, Dave.
•  Meeting new friends.
•  Polka bands and spoons in Austria.
•  Exploring London, Paris and Disneyland with my best friend.

February…

I am thankful for:
•  Warm weather and food with friends old and new.
•  Parkrun and it’s ability to engage my fomo so I actually exercise.

March…

I am thankful for:
•  More food and sharing it with more people – this seems to be a theme of my life.
•  Inverloch and the opportunity that it gives me to step back and slow down.
•  Beautiful cards from Happy Mail that I have been able to share.
• Learning about snapchat filters and the fun they have brought… even though I still haven’t quite conquered snapchat.

April…

I am thankful for:
•  The outback and red dirt and the feeling that I get when I am standing surrounded by it.  By the incredible landscapes and history our home holds.
•  Camping, hiking and exploring new and beautiful places with Dave’s family and how much closer I feel to them after having these experiences.
•  Getting over my fear of bugs, I don’t know how, but I do know it happened in April and now they don’t bother me… at all, it’s really nice.
•  Birthdays and the wonderful excuse they are to catch up with people and eat delicious treats… see I told you it was a theme.

May…

I am thankful for:
•  School and the community that it is, for the wonderful and talented kids, for our trip to Mt Gambier and watching them perform in the Lion King.
•  5 years with Davo as married couple.  Marriage just keeps getting better and better and it is still the best decision that I have ever made, to say yes to him and to get married.

June…

I am thankful for:
•  Finding out we were pregnant, even if I wasn’t quite ready.
•  For work and the fun things I get to do, talks, presentations, adventures and be creative.
•  Bram and Jean and the impact they had on Box Hill Salvos, but also on Dave and I.  Their wisdom, humility and enthusiasm is something that I greatly value.  For Bram and I’s competitive parkrun spirit and his encouragement of my running.

July…

I am thankful for:
•  Anti-nausea medication and the difference it makes.
•  The generosity of friends and the wonderful and relaxing weekend in the city it provided for Dave and I.
•  Catch ups with new, but great friends.
•  The joy of sharing good news with family.  For how excited they were and how much they loved Josh, even before we new he was Josh.

August…

I am thankful for:
•  Sharing my pregnancy with one of my best mates and having an endless supply of food at our shared desk.
•  Scans and how incredibly detailed they are, for seeing Josh move around and starting to get to know who he was.
•  The joy of sharing our news of Joshua with our wider group of friends and family and the amount of love that was poured out.
•  More sunny days as winter started to disappear.

September…

I am thankful for:
•  Cleaning things out and making way, decluttering and letting go.
•  Our Babymoon to Lakes Entrance and time spent with just Dave.
•  The incredible example my grandparents are in their marriage, 60years strong and still so in love.
•  Tiny baby clothes and toys.
•  Another scan and the detail in which we were able to see our perfect baby growing.
•  Turkish Delight milksakes and pink donuts.

October…

I am thankful for:
•  Dust and Jess and the exciting news that our Baby was getting a cousin.
•  Spending time with friends for the grand final, birthdays and mario party.
•  Holding Josh and being about to spend 3 heartbreaking days with him, for how perfectly he was made and how beautiful he was.
•  Watching Dave with Josh and falling even more in love with him as he became a father to our tiny boy.
•  Being able to sing, kiss and cuddle my precious little one.
•  Friends and family that stood in the gap for us as we grieved, for food and gifts that filled our house and for love that was poured out so abundantly.

November…

I am thankful for:
•  Learning to breathe again.
•  Sunny days to spend out on the deck and catching up with family.
•  Gingerbread, Christmas Trees and the Christmas Movie Marathon voting system.
•  Our photo wall and being able to put our whole family up there.
•  Singing to celebrate on of my old teachers at school and the impact he had on our musical lives and just singing in a choir again.
•  Heartfelt and their gift of beautiful photos of Joshua

December…

I am thankful for:
•  Polaroid photos.
•  Having Kirsten home for a couple of weeks and getting to hang out with here.
•  Crafting and blogging and having time to due some fun projects.
•  Perfectly wrapped Christmas gifts.
•  Christmastime – meals, celebrations and time spent with those most important to us.
•  Joshua’s tiny hand prints on our tree.
•  More time on the deck.
•  Summer, heat and our new air conditioners.
•  Time to reflect.

There has been so much to be thankful for and really this is just a snap shot.   Despite the pain and turmoil of moments, 2016 has been pretty good, really good actually, but I am still looking forward to 2017 with the hope of even more joy.  I will be strong and courageous, and I will trust that there is good because I love God and he loves me and will be with me whatever 2017 holds.

2015 – Through the eyes of my iPhone

Wow, here we are at the very end of 2015 and I am pretty sure I still think it’s 2014. But it’s not, I have lived another year and so in blog tradition it’s time to stop just for a moment and reflect… This year’s reflection comes to you from the back row of our tour bus somewhere between Rome and Venice… Oh and like always it’s through the eyes of my iPhone… 2015 has been another super fast and jam packed year, we started in New Zealand and we are ending it in Italy.  There has been another couple of weddings, more changes at work and some changes to the house, but let me show the best way I know how… Through photos…

January…
AVSP4290

Highlight: Everything NZ! Hobbits, volcanos, boats, oceans, families, bikes, adventure and pineapple lumps.

February…

Highlight: Feb 2015 was another wedding month, first Ben and Annie, then Mum and Andy… Both beautiful! Oh and when I looked at the photos for this month, I realised it was Star Trek themed, book ended by seeing the MSO play the Star Trek soundtrack and the death of Leonard Nimoy.

March…

Highlight: I finally started doing some teaching work, just some CRT, but it’s a start!  March was also filled with Dexter… The TV show… as we finished a 7 year process of watching it from beginning to end. Dexter our dog was there too.

April…

Highlight: April was mixed with backyard building, birthday goodness, Inverloch holidays and the footy… It was all good.

May…

Highlight: In May we celebrated one year in our house, but it was also filled with lots of catch ups with the girls as we stared our long goodbye before K moved to London.  The catch ups were definitely a highlight, but the reason behind… Not so much.

June…

Highlight: June’s highlight is a little lame, but that’s ok beacuse that’s how I roll…. One of my tweets was favourited by my favourite podcasters… I loved it!

July…

Highlight: Dave turned 30 and Oz helped us celebrate… It was green and full of ice cream cake.

August…

Highlight: This month Dave and I joined the park run community and the Lewis family killed it at family feud.

September…

Highlight: September brought us an almost finished backyard, a new work site to call home and the beautiful wedding of Naomi and Jacob.

October…

Highlight: Hooray for October! Dave graduated from his masters and that meant a NSW road trip which also included watching Hawthorn win their 3rd premiership and seeing Matilda!  Winner weekend… Winner Month!

November…

Highlight: List madness as the year started drawing to a close, berry picking and the Christmas Gift to welcome the start of all the Christmas goodness that was to come.  made November a winner.

December…

Highlight: I feel like Christmas is always the highlight of December because so much Christmas fun happens… although it may have been pipped this year.  While the Christmas dinners, advent calendars, carols and the abundance of food, family and gifts was wonderful, in December Dave and I started our European adventure and so far, although we have only done 1 stop, Rome, it has been incredible… and there is still a lot more adventure to come!.

So there you go, 365 photos which mean no. 68 is off the list and my year 2015 has been summed up… Bring on 2016!

2014 – Through the eyes of my iPhone

Here we are again at the end of another year and it’s time to have a look back at the year through the eyes of my eye phone… It’s hard to believe another year has passed and that so much has happened. Although I feel like I say that every time I get to this blog, as I am getting older it certainly does feel like time is getting faster. Even though last year was busy, I feel like 2014 has taken busy to a new level! There have been 3 big weddings, some changes at work, a fortnight without Davo and a new house just to mention a few, but rather than talk about it all here, recounting all the moments and emotions, I’ll let the photos do the talking…

January…IMG_2826

Highlight: Bridesmaid Summer Fun! January was filled with bridesmaid goodness in the lead up to Kirsten’s wedding. There were mini bootcamp mornings with Rachel, a hen’s night, a bridal brunch at the red cup and a girls weekend at the beach… What more could you want?

February…IMG_2827

Highlight: February was a big big month with two massive highlights… 1. Kirsten got married and 2. We brought a house! As far as months go… in 2014 it didn’t really get bigger than this!

March…IMG_2828

Highlight: More bridesmaid fun! This month was all about Sia! A French themed Hen’s extravaganza to start the month and a beautiful wedding to finish it. I also got to pretend I was a kid each weekend too, with my Christmas present of Disney Princess Movie Marathons at the cinema.

April…IMG_2838

Highlight: April was a mixed month of birthday goodness, books and footy… and mostly just fun

May…IMG_2843

Highlight: Well I don’t know if highlight is the correct word, because it was a lot of hard work and a little rocky at the start, but certainly the most significant event of May was our house move… into a house of our very own!

June…IMG_2840

Highlight: June’s highlight is kind of mixed in with May’s as it was in June that I really started to settle in the new house and learnt to enjoy creating my own space… with the biggest highlights being some simple things like hanging out wedding pictures and getting our super cute key holder. Oh and the Keith concert that was a good highlight!

July…IMG_2844

Highlight: Dave coming home safe, sound and fired up from Mexico was definitely the highlight of July! It was such an incredible trip for him and for us and even though it sucked being without him, I am secretly glad he went.

August…IMG_2845

Highlight: Again some little things from getting my new cushions, to breakfasts out and days off… it was all good, although one little thing really stole my heard in August, and that was meeting my friend Flic’s baby boy!

September…IMG_2846

Highlight: September brought some improved set ups, including an extra screen at work to help me continue to being extra nerdy and finishing the set up of our gym at home. We were also able to be apart of the beginning of Oz 2015 – which is going to be awesome… maybe even more awesome than our 3am casting. Oh and the Hawks won the grand final… it’s nice being a supporter of back to back champions.

October…IMG_2847

Highlight: Nothing is better in a busy year than a weekend away… which was one of the best bits of October… We also got to do some date day catch ups and to be honest any time I get to hang out with Davo for a prolonged period of time its good!

November…IMG_2848

Highlight: List madness made November a winner. Costco, Bright, apple orchids, bread, flowers, veggie patches and Fun Runs… so much list goodness! Oh and we got a new car… win.

December…IMG_2849

Highlight: I feel like Christmas is always the highlight of December because so much Christmas fun happens and this year was no different… Dinners, advent calendars, carols, and just so much food. Special mentions for this December though go to Dad’s Wedding, which was amazing and magical and just very lovely, and probably should have gotten a blog of its own and also to New Zealand… specifically the North Island where we are currently exploring and which has made this Christmas even more special.

So there you go, 365 photos attempting to sum up a crazy, fun, out of control year!

The 2014 List

I am a little bit excited about this years list, I feel like the whole idea is taking off… and I like the fact that except for the last couple of months my blog has now made it into its forth year… and just because I really love having a list here is my 2014 list of 100 things that I would like to do/achieve in the coming year.

Once again the list is a mix of things, some of them I have attempted in the past and even blogged about them (my old ‘lists’ can be checked out by clicking the year 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2013), and some of them I have never done or at least haven’t done for a long time.  As always it’s a mixed bag of all things weird, normal and wonderful… Things are always more fun when they are done with someone else, so if you see anything on the list that you might want to try… let me know!

Hopefully as the year goes by I will once again be able to tick them off this not so little list and put a photo or a blog up about it… so here it is… the 2014 list:

  1. Do the 1000 steps
  2. Make a loaf of bread
  3. Use my day off productively
  4. Cook dinner at least once a week
  5. Do mine and Dave’s family trees
  6. Try a green juice
  7. Go to two weddings
  8. Eat something from my veggie garden
  9. Run 5km without walking
  10. Be a more informed consumer
  11. Go 1 week without a sometimes food
  12. Embrace home cooking
  13. Read the New Testament
  14. Stop back dating blogs…. Post it when it happens or not at all
  15. Go Low FODMAP for a week
  16. Do another boot camp
  17. Get a sun reflector for my car
  18. Help someone set up a blog
  19. Review the books I read on amazon
  20. Send one handwritten note of gratitude to someone each month
  21. Complement a stranger everyday for a week (different strangers otherwise it would be creepy)
  22. Break a rule
  23. Swim 50km, not all at once, but over the year
  24. Update my resume (Not because I want a new job but to reflect on my accomplishments)
  25. Walk/Run 300km
  26. Buy a house
  27. Do another fun run
  28. Cuddle a baby less than 6months old
  29. Get a massage
  30. Be Vegan for 24 hours
  31. Go in a sea vessel… Kayak, Canoe, Paddle boat… whatever
  32. Go out in country Victoria for the day
  33. Build a sand castle
  34. Write at least 3 letters to my prayer pal
  35. Play a board game with friends
  36. Enter a colouring competition
  37. Make a cushion
  38. Cook fish
  39. Learn a song on clarinet without Dave’s help
  40. Plant something in the garden
  41. Play Mini golf
  42. Follow through with Dave’s Christmas present again
  43. Take Dex for a play date with Abe or Diesel
  44. Learn a song on the guitar
  45. Go to Costco
  46. Try 1 recipe from each recipe book I own
  47. Take Dex for a walk every week
  48. Work as a teacher
  49. Get some fresh flowers to brighten a room
  50. Hire a bike and ride around the city
  51. Get a fake tan
  52. Go to a pump class
  53. Go to a spin class
  54. Do something truly Melbournian
  55. Make my own advent calendar
  56. Find a train free route to work
  57. Get a timer for our Christmas lights
  58. Go to Bright
  59. Put Pa’s videos on DVD
  60. Try Pilates
  61. Use my new paper diary more effectively
  62. Be better at visiting my grandparents
  63. Go to the cricket
  64. Cook all meals at home for a fortnight (no lazy takeaway or eating out just because)
  65. Go fruit picking
  66. Get awesome Christmas jumpers for Dave and I
  67. Start my Australia camping pictures map
  68. Go camping
  69. Walk across the bridge in Kilcunda
  70. Go to a cemetery
  71. Join a book club
  72. Read 12 books
  73. Try some regular yoga
  74. Do 5 different exercise classes
  75. Do a trail walk/hike
  76. Go a month without playing games on my phone
  77. Put some nets on my veggie patch
  78. Take a photo everyday
  79. Get there and stay there
  80. Have a picnic in the backyard
  81. Swim in the ocean at least 5 times
  82. Actually finish our wedding guest book
  83. Update our displayed photos
  84. Keep my corner clean
  85. Pretend to be a morning person
  86. See the movie Frozen
  87. Exercise 4 times a week
  88. See ‘Saving Mr Banks’ at the movies
  89. Have dinner and go bowling with Dustin and Rachel
  90. Do my chores and pull my weight around the house
  91. Just stop picking
  92. Play Super Mario Bros
  93. Save some of my pocket money each fortnight
  94. Cook something from each of my Donna Hay magazines
  95. Try at least one thing from each of my Women’s Fitness magazines
  96. Do my 2012 and 2013 scrapbooks
  97. Wash my car by myself
  98. Go on a push bike adventure with Dave
  99. Finish going through my cooking magazines and either save them or throw them out
  100. Drive a bus

So there you go… thanks to all the people who helped me put this years list together, sing out if you want to help cross something off, or if you have a list of your own I would love to hear about it.

Here we go!

2013 – Through the eyes of my iPhone

Another year done and dusted… and once again it’s time to reminisce on what the year has brought.  It’s kind of overwhelming to look at the year in one go like this.  In many ways it feels like 2013 just started, but when I look at all the things i’ve done this year, it feels like a long time.

2013 has been another busy busy years, with lots of excitement, fun and laughter, some tears and sadness but it has all played an important part in the year that was… and without it.. it would have been pretty boring.  There are still things I wish I had have achieved this year, but there is lots of things that I have done which have been bigger and better than I could have imagined.  And just like the last couple of years I have taken a photo everyday, some good ones, some boring ones, and some in-between, but it gives me a good recap of all that happened in 2013… so here is 2013 through the eyes of my iPhone…

JANUARY

Jan

Highlight: January was fun month full of all good things about summer… sun, friends, family and the beach.  There was a lowlight of my computer dying, but that was outweighed by weddings, new puppies, dinner with family and some time at the beach with rellies from overseas… well played january.

FEBRUARY

Feb

Highlight: All things outdoors – my new herb garden, a new sleeping bag, moonlight cinema, young adults camp, oh and an indoor night with Keith Urban…

MARCH

Mar

Highlight: New apple products – a new laptop and my iPad mini… Fun weekends in Inverloch where Dex met Abe oh and Kate got married… March was a winner month.

APRIL…

Apr

Highlight: My Birthday and everything that went with it… crossing things off my list… although I am not sure if bikram yoga is a highlight or lowlight… but the most exciting moment of all is getting the call that said my best friend was engaged!  So much love and joy in one call.

MAY…

IMG_4838

Highlight: Dave’s school production of Les Mis… hands down… it was simply the best, such a wonderful bunch of talented kids and teachers… well done WCC…. Also Jake got enrolled as an adherent and that was pretty awesome.

JUNE…

Jun

Highlight: Camping… I have decided I love it… I love the tent, I love the adventure and I love our new tradition of timer photos.

JULY…

Jul

Highlight: Jake turned 21… and it was fun!  Oh and there was more camping which was also fun.

AUGUST…

Aug

Highlight: Well actually it’s a lowlight, in August we said goodbye to Dave’s Nanny, which was sad, but it did mean I was able to learn a whole heap about Dave and his family, look through lots of pictures and reminisce which I love.

SEPTEMBER…

Sep

Highlight: September was a big month, we went on another road trip, I got an awesome Tupperware haul, the Hawks won the flag and I finished my teaching rounds.  Overall a pretty impressive month.

OCTOBER…

Oct

Highlight: The highlight for October definitely has to be upping the anti on 2012 and completing my 21.1km half marathon at the Melbourne Marathon Series with my Dad and Davo.

NOVEMBER…

Nov

Highlight: Kempy got married, I got a veggie garden and we crammed in a whole lotta date days…

DECEMBER…

IMG_4826

Highlight: Another December, another year of Christmas being the highlight… In particular this year a special mention goes to Carols by Candlelight, the fireworks and Bruce, my penguin snow globe.  Man I love Christmas.

So that’s it… another year condensed into pictures and a highlight or two… so much madness compacted…

Here’s to 2014… I’m hoping its even better…