Our Pram is Full

I have learnt a heck of a lot in the last 3 and a half months… I have learnt that babies are resilient as hell, NICU mums are a special bread of lady, that you can get addicted to monitors, that life is precious, that a change in rooms can mean more than just a different view and that gigil cafe at Monash Children’s Hospital can sustain you for 3 and a half months. I have learnt that Dave and I are a better team than we have ever been before, I have learnt that I have a voice and I can speak up, I can advocate and I can do more than I realised… and I have learnt that as much as I wish it was, my experience is not unique.

This week Dave and I are Participating in the Mercy Pram Jam. An event that is designed to raise awareness and much needed funds for research to prevent stillbirth and complications from premature birth. Even though our experiences have been at the Monash medical centre and the Monash children’s hospital, the pram jam is unique in its purpose… and being one of the 4 level 6 NICUs in Victoria, the knowledge gained by them through their research has the potential to impact the whole state… and any research that prevents the heart ache of still birth and the roller coaster of premature birth is a cause worth championing.

Dave and I first heard about Pram Jam in November last year when a Facebook friend of mine posted about her Pram Jam efforts. At the time, we had just lost Joshua, our beautiful first born son. The idea of raising pushing a pram to raise awareness was something that I really liked the idea of. It ticked all the boxes for me… a fun idea, a list worthy item and a good cause. But last year it was too soon… this year we found ourselves with a new baby boy also born way to soon, a tiny warrior with a huge fight on his hands and when we saw an opportunity to raise some money but more importantly awareness, we knew that this year we would be pram jamming. At the beginning of October when Dave and I decided to sign up, I thought we would have had weeks at home with Isaac already… well maybe a week… but there was no doubt in my mind that he would be home for it. As November got closer and closer I realised that there was a very real possibility that we would be pram jamming with an empty pram… not a problem, but not how I had pictured it… but today we are starting, and after 107 days he is home… and I am learning to drive the pram… which it turns out isn’t always as easy as it looks.

We are jamming for Josh and for Isaac, but we are also jamming for those mothers with whom I shared a knowing nod, for the mothers who weren’t as lucky as me and didn’t get to take their baby home. We are jamming for the babies that we left in the hospital who we hope will go home soon… but we are also jamming for the babies who will not. We are jamming with hope that the money we raise will make a difference, that discoveries will be made and that other families won’t have to travel the same path we have. We are jamming because even though I felt alone in my experience, I am not… We are jamming for the mums of the one baby in every 130 pregnancies that ends in still birth in Australia… We are jamming for all the families who lose their babies to the biggest killer of children under five worldwide, being born too soon… We are jamming to make it stop.

So how can you help? Well, just getting this far is a good start… but if you would like to support our Pram Jam fundraising you can also do that by clicking this link… https://pramjam2017.everydayhero.com/au/emma

I am not good at asking for money, in fact, it is something that I really don’t like doing… but this cause is bigger than me. It is something that 2 years ago I would have never thought about, but something that now makes me who I am, a mum of 2, raiser of 1.

This week Dave and I will be walking 20kms across the week… it may not sound like much, but given my novice pram status, our ‘new to us’ baby at home, the fact that I haven’t exercised well in almost 2 years and the very real possibility that my pelvic or abdominal muscles may not make it… it is quite the task and we are only 2kms in… but the goal is good and the cause is better… come pram jam with us.

March Madness

Ok… my super on time Feb reflection seems to be an anomaly, but 2 days late isn’t too bad, especially when you consider that I have been pretty slack with my blogging the last couple of weeks… sorry.  So far this year I am still remembering to blog more regularly than previous years, but just as I feared, as life has gotten busier… the blogs have slowed down… but that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to make sure I did these reflections at the end of each month.  To help me live in the moment a little more and be thankful as things happen, rather than trying to do a big reflect later on… although there will be a little of that coming up in the next week or so.   Anyway, in a another blur of weeks, March is gone and it’s time to give you all an update of the list adventures that it brought with it. Keeping myself accountable to the list each month has really helped me to seek list opportunities when they present… not just to save them up for later… because sometimes later doesn’t happen… this month we crossed another 9 things off the list, which means this year we have already crossed 22 things off the list… that’s a pretty solid start… 8 in Jan, 5 in Feb and 9 in March… maybe this will be the year I finish it all? Maybe…

Here is March’s list contribution.

37. Participate in a Scavenger Hunt – completed: 03/03/2017
I wasn’t really sure if this would happen or not, but when I saw that scavenger hunt was listed as a youth group activity this term, I decided it was now or never.  I had no idea how I would get myself involved, or even if I would be allowed to.  I just wanted to be there.  I offered to anything, collect money, give out clues, serve super… all I needed to do was be there… but I got to be an honorary youth member for the night and went out in a team… and while I may have made them come second because I could not run home… it was still a cracker night.  Plus my team was pretty amazing… what a flipping incredible bunch of kids we have at church!  Thanks for letting me tag along, get covered in off magnum and keep you humble in second place… Hopefully next time I will be allowed to run and we will take our rightful place in first!

78. Check out Hungarofest – completed: 04/03/2017
Late last year Dave and I started seeing advertising for Hungarofest… a biannual Hungarian festival held at the Hungarian cultural club which happens to be around the corner from where we live.  So given that we LOVED our time in Hungary last year, we decided that I should put it on the list and check it out… and… well it was pretty fun.  They knew we were not Hungarian straight off the bat, but they still feed us a ham hock and we got to see the start of their 2hour musical theatre spectacular… Not bad for a whim on a banner we saw in December.

2. Learn to make a paper crane – completed: 11/03/2017
I have always loved origami… but I am terrible at it, I can never hold the instructions in my brain to repeat my creations without the guide and even with the instructions I often find myself getting in a quite a muddle… But while we were down at Inverloch for the long weekend I purchase a new colouring book… a colouring book that was also an origami book.  So after choosing some paper and colouring it in… I attempted to create my very first paper crane… and I think it turned out pretty well.  It’s pretty sweet… I am not sure I could repeat it over and over again without the instructions yet, but I have learnt how to make one paper crane… and that my friends, was all the list required.

96. Improve my 5km time – completed: 11/02/2017
So one month after the 11/02/2017 I had another very slow morning at parkrun… after weeks of getting quicker I have started going backwards again.  So just in case… I am crossing this off the list now… because it may never get better, particularly if my injuries don’t improve.  I am not giving up… this is not a pity party… this is just a realistic chance to cross something off the list when it happened, rather than waiting to see if it gets better and still having to go back to Feb to cross it off anyway…

38. Do some trivia – completed: 12/03/2017
Long weekends are also good for digging out your old PlayStation and crossing things off the list.  After a weekend of Jazz with the Salvo Big Band, Dave and I had our friends Annie and Ben over for tea and we played some buzz.  Annie and I had had a few practice rounds while the boys were at a big band planning meeting, but buzz is always better with a full four people.  I had forgotten how much I loved buzz, and just trivia really.  I like knowing things no matter how trivial or silly they may be… plus  I am also pretty competitive.

18. Play a video game… not on my phone – completed: 13/03/2017
Once the PlayStation was out for Buzz, it seemed silly to put it away without playing some Crash Bandicoot.  Growing up I only ever played Crash when we visited my Auntie Lyndel and Uncle Brad, because they had a PlayStation.  Our house was a Nintendo house, where Mario and his friends reigned supreme… but way back then I developed a love for Crash.  So when I was a teenager and SingStar and Buzz came out on PlayStation, I had to have them… but I also purchased Crash… because what is a PlayStation without him?   Little did I know, that Dave had grown up with Crash and was a boss on the PlayStation.  He quickly put me to shame as we played life for life that Monday Morning.

82. Remember Joshua – completed: 15/03/2017
This one had it’s own Wordless Wednesday but I thought I would still take a little moment to tell you how much I love this little pendant.  One side has Josh’s name and handprint and the other has his birth date and his footprint.  It is something that I can wear without any fuss, but have him close to me all of the time.  I know that I won’t forget him, ever, but it’s nice to have these little reminders of the massive impact this little tiny man has had.  To be able to take him with me physically in a way.  Getting this pendant is only one way we will remember him this year, but it was the first one I could take a picture of… so here it is.

14. Build something – completed: 25/03/2017
It is no secret that I love Ikea… I love everything about it, even the maze they make you take through the store…  So when we found an Ikea voucher at home it did not take me long to pick my next little project.  This totally sweet bedside table to match the bed I built (with Dave) last year.  It is super cute and even though it belongs to Dave’s side of the bed, I still love it.  It looks even better now that it has books on the little shelf, some things in the draw and a single book on the top.  Plus I think Dave is enjoying having his own little table.

67. Read the book of Joshua – completed: 29/03/2017
At the beginning of the year, our Pastor Phil encouraged us to join him reading the whole bible through the year.  I decided that I would start with them and see how long I could keep up, but I didn’t really commit to the idea, just in case I fell behind.  I didn’t want to get overwhelmed by trying to catch up, I just wanted to see how far I could get with out the pressure of having to do it… Anyway, here we are in March and so far I am still on the wagon and up to date, which meant that I got to read through the book of Joshua.  Between all the land allocations, there are lots of gems in Joshua, more verses and reminders of God’s faithfulness for us to hold on to… but I think that Joshua 1:9 will always be my favourite.

So there you go… 8 more things off the list… But not only have I been good with the list, I have also been remembering my daily photos and videos… so here is March in photos…

And one second video snippets:​

Thanks for being another winner March… and hello April!

So Long Summer…

Um… I know I was late to the party with my January post, but I can’t believe that I am already sitting here typing up a reflection for February… how does this keep happening? Time running away… faster and faster… It does seem fitting that I should be typing this so late tonight though… Right now it is 11:07pm and I have just got home from a wonderful evening with my friend Lisa.  An evening that we have used to soak up the last of the summer warmth as we sat outside and enjoyed delicious food and honest and refreshing conversation… the world needs more people like Lis.  After missing the heat of the day today being in an office for almost all of it, it was really nice to spend these last moments of summer outside and warm.  I am hoping that the end of summer doesn’t mean a quick end to the heat… and looking at the forecast, there seems to be some more ‘summer’ days to come… but hey!  This is Melbourne… consistent, appropriate weather is not our strong suit.

The end of summer also means the end of a month… so in my attempt to keep my list posts up to date, to reflect on things in the moment and to celebrate the little things it’s time to say thanks to February and give you all an update of the list adventures that it brought with it.  February has brought some super fun events:

And… My list game has stayed strong this month too… maybe not as strong as January… but not too bad considering it’s almost half a week shorter… and well… life…  But I have managed to cross another 5 things off the list and here they are:

30. Get a Haircut – completed: 03/02/2017
I know this doesn’t sound like a big achievement, but it was… even though I have previously confessed my love for my time at the hairdresser (in fact I have written about the hairdresser 3 times… that’s a lot for a topic that I don’t think about anywhere near as often)… my apparent blog love for the hairdresser has not equated to any kind of consistency over the past 12months… in fact, I did not do anything to my hair for almost all of 2016… in March last year I got a haircut… there was some rescheduling issues… I decided to be a little tight and now… fast forward to Feb 2017… my hair is crazy long and I am so ready for a life changing haircut (and by life changing I mean a small change that I can handle… and not much more).  So here we are… the first free appointment for my hairdresser in 2017 and I am back to me… regular standard long hair Emma… Rapunzel length no more… it was really really long… there is a picture hiding here if you want to check….

26. Have a spa of some sort – completed: 12/02/2017
You can’t really go to Daylesford and not visit the springs… well you can, and I did a number of times while living in Castlemaine, but when you are there for a romantic weekend away, you should enjoy it all I say… so we did, Dave and I visited the Hepburn Bathhouse and while it wasn’t quite a spa… it was kind of… it is beautiful, relaxing and the water is apparently magical… what more could you want for a spa.  Plus it was a good reason to cross something off the list… and I am unlikely to convince Dave to just go on a whim…

12. Go back to school – completed: 17/02/2017
My first call in this year and it feels good to be back.  I had been feeling a little nervous going back to school, there are lots of children… and sometimes just the presence of lots of children sends me to a sad place where I think about all that we should have had with Josh… going back to school was also the last ‘normal’ part of my life that I needed to go back to, so I felt like jumping this hurdle was kind of a big deal… but now it is done, I not only survived the day, but I also survived 2 hours of MacBeth and I think I may have finally worked out the story… so that is 2 wins.

44. Use my new outdoor reading chair – completed: 25/02/2017
For a little while now I have wanted a ‘relaxing chair’ for the backyard, somewhere I could just read or watch the world go by and for Christmas, my brother Dustin and his wife Jess fulfilled my wish.  They gave me a super cool, yellow outdoor chair. Since Christmas I have sat in my chair, I have looked at my chair, but until now… the last week of summer, I had not stopped to read in it… but that is also now rectified… I have sat in the chair and read and loved life… stopped for a little ‘me’ moment… I need to do this more… especially while the weather is still warm.

18. Go on a Picnic – completed: 26/02/2017
On Sunday, I not only had a picnic, but I picnic’d in style at the ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ at Rippon lea Estate and it was wonderful…  There was not a cloud in the sky, and because I am a lazy picnicer I had a food truck lunch on a picnic rug supplied by my lovely friend Annie and just enjoyed the day.  I also got to sing some Jazz standards with the Salvo Big Band for the first time in a number of years and I loved it.  I just loved the whole day… I loved singing, I loved eating, I loved seeing all the teddy bears, I loved the weather, I loved hanging out with Annie and the band… it was just a great day… Probably not the picnic I had imagined when I added it to the list, but a great picnic all the same.

So that’s the 5… I am really enjoying the simplicity of the list this year… just some good old fashioned fun… Oh and just like in January I have been really good at taking my photos and doing my one second video… so here is February in photos….

And one second video snippets:

February, I am sad that reflecting on you means that Summer is officially over, but I have really like you… thanks!

Thanks January…

At the end of each year I find myself in a mad rush to make sure my pictures for each month are collated and sorted, that the list is as finished as it could possibly be… and that I have photos for all of them… and still have time to reflect and take it all in… but not this year… no, this year I am going to reflect as I go… granted I am already a little bit late for January… but it’s a great reason to have a ‘Thankful Thursday’ in February, plus it’s still summer so it’s ok if things are a little slow!  In fact, I think that’s why I haven’t gotten around to writing it until now… because my brain is still in denial that January is over… that summer is almost done… seriously it’s the middle of February… how did this happen?

This year I have been making an effort to cross things off my list asap… also to avoid the rush at the end of the year and it seems to be working out pretty well, a nice casual, but regular pace.  This year, even without my holiday heavy loading of the list that we saw in 2015 and 2016, I have still managed to cross off 8 things… which I think is pretty good, especially since January has also seen me return to real life, with all it’s work and life demands which I had really enjoyed living without since October.  8 things is pretty good though… Here is the run down:

99-img_152799. Clean out the Kikki.K Folders – completed: 05/01/2017
This felt good!  I love these folders, I love the order the bring, I love that everything has a spot and that they make sense… but I hate routinely going through them… so they had been left pretty much abandoned for a number of year… maybe as many as 7 years… too long!  But now they are clean, sorted and accessible… and I am really really really trying to keep them organised like this.  It really does make finding things much easier… but it is going to take some discipline.

23-img_099123. Swim in the ocean – completed: 06/01/2017
I feel like this is the first proper summer Dave and I have had in a few years, we have been in town and it has been hot which has meant heading down to our favourite beach spot, Inverloch, and getting in the ocean.  I really love swimming and I wish I didn’t let my laziness and the effort of getting ready for a swim and getting de-beached post swim stop me from doing this more often… I hope that this isn’t my only month that includes and ocean swim.

10-img_094610. Go back to park run – completed: 07/01/2017
It’s really good to be back!  I like that my exercise for the day gets done early, I like the stats and I love the community… At the moment I am still on restricted running, hopefully not for too much longer, but I am still there almost every week running for a minute and then walking for 5 and repeating until the 5kms is done… which at the moment is slow… but at least I am moving right? And hopefully I will just get quicker which will help me with no. 96… hopefully!

11-img_105811. Go back to work – completed: 11/01/2017
I was going to say that it was really good to be back here as well, which it is and it isn’t… but it is necessary.  As much as I have loved not working, having some routine and structure has been good for me, so in that sense it is good to be back… and equally it has been good to get my brain working on some stuff that isn’t all about me… plus I work with wonderful people, so it is nice to see them again too… maybe it is better to be back than I realised.

img_113097. Do some colouring – completed: 18/01/2017
I am all over this, this year… and I love it… It is much better for me that playing mindless games in front of the TV at night… and I get a nice little sense of accomplishment.  At the moment I am working through a colour by numbers book that my sister in law gave me, which is filled with patterned pages with no indication of the picture that lies within… just waiting for me to colour and work it out.  It is taking all my will power not to look at the back and find out what it will be… but it is worth it.

45-img_128645. Blow some bubbles – completed: 20/01/2017
Something so simple and so fun… all adults should have a go at this regularly… it is just fun… just really good fun.   Seriously… do it… don’t laugh, don’t roll your eyes, just go and get some bubble mixture and give it a go.  I prefer the giant bubbles because you can actually just swing around and make lots of perfect bubbles… but any type will do, just promise me you will give it a go… Oh and just FYI… this list item and the next one were done with the help of Pheebs and we enjoyed both equally.

85-img_128985. Try Daniel’s Donuts – completed: 20/01/2017
Rumour had it that Daniel’s Donuts contained the best donuts in the state… so what else could we do but check it out and confirm.  It turns out that without trying more wonderful donut places I can’t really confirm that they are the best, because I just don’t know… but what I can confirm is that Daniel’s Donuts are darn good and were worth the drive… plus there are lots of flavours to try… I had a white chocolate and raspberry one and it was amazing.

75-img_142775. Make a quiche – completed: 25/01/2017
At the end of last year I became a little obsessed with quiche… I think it was just because they are delicious… but I decided that they couldn’t be that head to make, and that I should have a go… so that’s what I did… Having your vegetarian brother over for a couple of weeks in a row also encourages you to expand you recipe range… so a vegetarian quiche not only fed Jake, but also crossed this off the list.

So there you go… 8 things done and dusted… This year I am also making a little one second video each day to go with my photos of each day, which is a bit of fun… so here is my month of photos:

jan2017

And my video:

January, you have been just wanted I needed, some relaxation, some routine and some fun… and I am thankful for you!

It’s 2017 List Time!

Hey 2017, I have been waiting for you… waiting for a good reason to start lots of things again… all the usual suspects, like getting my eating and exercise on track, but also a brand new list.  I am really excited about this year and it’s list.  I am not really sure why, but it has a good feeling about it, which is enough for me to go with.

This year will be my 9th list… 9, can you believe it? That will take me to 900 things that I have ‘listed’ and attempted.  You can check out all the old lists by clicking the year they were attempted here: 2006, 20072010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 or 2016.  This year’s list is once again full of little goals, 100 of them all up… Some big, some small, some fun, some serious, some new, some re-dos, some very deliberate and some very very random but all things that at some stage last year I decided I wanted/needed/should do this year.

I really love doing these lists each year and the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to have been on some overseas adventures, in fact last year we started the year in Venice and the year before we were in New Zealand, so I jam packed those lists with the things we would do while we were away.  But this year we are regrouping and staying home, which means the list looks a little more like the lists of old… all home grownish, localish fun which means if you live near me… or want to visit me, you too can join the listing fun.  Seriously let me know if you want to help me… crossing things off the list is always more fun with someone else.

I am also hoping (like every other year) that 2017 will be the year that I get more consistent with blogging it when it happens… so that I can remember them all, not just all the big ones… anyway, that’s enough rambling about the list… here it is:

  1. Play some table tennis
  2. Learn to make a paper crane
  3. Do something special to celebrate my 30th
  4. Go on a book blind date
  5. Make Mrs Kaye’s cookies
  6. Have High Tea
  7. No more games in the morning… even if I am sick
  8. Try again
  9. Keep getting closer
  10. Go back to park run
  11. Go back to work
  12. Go back to school
  13. Paint something
  14. Build something
  15. Drink a bottle of water most days
  16. Have a ‘no screen time’ day or hopefully a couple of them
  17. Make some smores
  18. Go on a picnic
  19. Find out how floating lanterns work… how they are made etc.
  20. Go to the drive in
  21. Go Camping
  22. Go on a  road trip
  23. Swim in the ocean
  24. See a musical
  25. Do a fun run
  26. Have a spa of some sort
  27. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years
  28. Help change something at home
  29. Start learning guitar again
  30. Get a haircut
  31. Take a photo everyday
  32. Exercise at least 3 times a week and make the most of my gym membership
  33. Send 20 hand written cards
  34. Eat/make paella
  35. Bake a lemon meringue pie
  36. Get a massage
  37. Participate in a scavenger hunt
  38. Do some trivia
  39. Try those multi fill water bombs and have a water fight
  40. Remember the important things: God, Dave, Health, Family and Communication
  41. Get better at shopping for my body
  42. Watch Hocus Pocus
  43. Go on a bush walk
  44. Use my new outdoor reading chair
  45. Blow some bubbles
  46. Play a board game
  47. Play a video game… not on my phone
  48. Go berry picking
  49. Have 5 different milkshake dates
  50. Try yoga again
  51. Visit a museum/gallery
  52. Blog regularly
  53. Seriously… be on time
  54. Get to work earlier and leave on time
  55. Keep my photo storage up to date
  56. Keep my computer up to date
  57. Meet Baby Lewis
  58. Try to make Turkish Delight… or just eat some real Turkish Delight
  59. Read 16 books
  60. Read at least 3 christian/devotional books
  61. Bake/cook something from 6 different countries
  62. Visit 3 different national parks
  63. Create an outdoor cinema in the backyard
  64. Go to a country town I have never been to before
  65. Watch a sunrise
  66. Get my car washed properly and then wash it least 5 times
  67. Read the book of Joshua
  68. Find some new blogs I like and read them regularly
  69. Cross at least one thing off my list each month
  70. Go to the fancy McDonald’s in Clifton Hill
  71. Finish cleaning out the spare room
  72. Three words… ‘home cooked meals’
  73. Have a spend nothing day at least once a month
  74. Get up at 7am on work days
  75. Make a quiche
  76. Have a non liquid breakfast at least twice a week
  77. Finish Gilmore Girls
  78. Check out Hungarofest
  79. Stop using Eastlink… just leave earlier
  80. Find out if our house has a legit hidden fireplace… or just get some proof of hope
  81. Find out where our local swimming hole is and use it
  82. Remember Joshua
  83. Try the crochet thongs/uggs
  84. Stay at the Langham
  85. Try Danny’s Donuts
  86. Finish sorting and storing the VHS tapes
  87. Blog about being thankful at least once a month
  88. Get my steps up again… ideally to >10,000 per day
  89. Learn how to play a new game
  90. Go interstate
  91. Get both the Europe and New Zealand Photo books ready for print
  92. Finish watching Star Trek Next Gen
  93. Go on a romantic get away
  94. Try 4 more local cafe’s in the search of our new local
  95. Finish my sentence a day book
  96. Improve my 5km time
  97. Do some colouring
  98. Go to bed earlier
  99. Clean out the Kikki.K folders
  100. Be deliberate about filling the house with good things like flowers and music

And there you have it… 2017 I am so glad you are here!