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!

2016 – The Wrap Up

Wow… so that was 2016… probably one of the craziest years of my life.  I don’t think any other years of my life have had quite as many extreme highs and lows, and the list has once again been there through it all.  I am really glad that this year I chose to include some of my more deliberate holiday adventures.  I like that it has given me a reason to document them properly and that now I have them sitting right here to look back on whenever I want as many of them have a blog post just for them.

What about the rest… well that’s here too.  Some have links, and some I will tell you about right here, including the ones that didn’t… but they are all there ready and waiting for you to read all about…

  1. Start 2016 somewhere outside of Australia – completed: 01/01/2016
  2. Make a summer fruit platter in a watermelon – completed: 19/02/2016
  3. Send 12 hand written cards/letters – completed: 23/04/2016
  4. Make a lolly cake – completed: 31/11/2016
  5. Rearrange a space – completed: 17/02/2016
  6. Play my flute – completed: 29/12/2016
    This year was the first year in a long time that I have missed Christmas caroling, I didn’t miss it enough to get my flute out during caroling season, but I did get it out this week and play some carols.  It was really nice to play again and to know that I haven’t lost it.
  7. Go to Disneyland – completed: 24/01/2016
  8. Find out is our house has a legit hidden fireplace
    I am pretty sure that we do… but I have no proof and while my intention was to just kick a hole in the wall and find out what was there, some other things came up and I will have to wait a little longer to find out for sure. 
  9. Visit something older than colonised Australia – completed: 14/01/2016
  10. Have tea in London… Queen optional – completed: 19/01/2016
  11. Do a ridiculously cheesy tourist photo with a famous tourist attraction – completed: 22/01/2016
  12. Go to a country I have never been to before – completed: 02/01/2016
  13. Find a geocache – completed: 06/04/2016
  14. Hide a geocache – completed: 06/04/2016
  15. Watch the Prince of Egypt – completed: 18/03/2016
  16. Go in the 2016 Melbourne Marathon festival somehow… 5, 10, half or full
    When the 2016 Melbourne Marathon was on I was 23 weeks pregnant and running was even less of a strong suit than it was earlier in the year.  Maybe next year.
  17. Be a Victorian tourist and go somewhere all the tourists go – completed: 09/07/2016  
  18. See my bestie face to face – completed: 18/01/2016
  19. Get back in the pool and swim at least 5 times
    I am not really sure why I didn’t swim this year… I really enjoy it, I think that maybe it’s the thought of the effort of bathers, towels, public showers and goggles… sometimes it all just seems too hard.
  20. Go to the Zoo – completed: 03/02/2016
  21. Make some kind of festive seasonal dish – completed: 02/12/2016
  22. Use the fire pit – completed: 19/02/2016
    Not only did we use it, but there a perfect circle of dead grass where it was.
  23. Go skiing or snowboarding or tobogganing – completed: 03/01/2016
  24. Do you want to build a snowman? I do – completed: 04/01/2016
  25. Go Camping – completed: 04/04/2016
  26. See some Northern Hemisphere stars – completed: 06/01/2016
  27. Run with at least 3 different people – completed: 27/02/2016 
  28. Make a photo book or our Europe Adventures – completed: 29/12/2016
    Just sitting there waiting for the Christmas budget to cool it’s jets before we print it.
  29. Save money each pocket money
    It was not a good year for our fiances… well Dave’s pocket money card might be ok… but mine not so much.
  30. Go on a bush walk – completed: 05/04/2016
  31. Go to a farmers market – completed: 27/03/2016  
  32. Make some meringues – completed: 03/10/2016
  33. Learn how to spell meringues without having to check it every time – completed: 03/10/2016
  34. Keep my emails under control – no extreme amounts of notifications on my phone – completed: 31/12/2016
    Not at all times, but for most of the year I made a special effort to keep the notifications under control.
  35. Get and keep my photo storage under control – completed: 29/12/2016
    This is one I am really proud of, I love our photos and I am a little paranoid about losing them, but now I have them all backed up and safely stored, I just have to keep these backups up to date. 
  36. Sew something – completed: 30/12/2016
    Let’s not get too excited I repaired a jumper of Dave’s and pair of my pants, but I had to get the sewing machine out and use it to do so… that counts as sewing.
  37. Do some trivia – completed: 05/06/2016
  38. Bake some snacks – completed: 02/10/2016
  39. See a musical – completed: 13/05/2016   
  40. Read 16 books – completed: 20/11/2016
  41. Do a water aerobics class
    I am putting this in the same category as swimming, the whole idea was just too much for me this year.
  42. Do a spin class
    So I don’t really have an excuse, I left it too late and then when I could do a class again, I just didn’t want to.  Bikes and me… maybe we will never be.
  43. Have a BBQ Wednesday
    I wish we had, I really do, but we didn’t.  BBQ Wednesday’s seem a lot harder to organise and make happen than they ever did before.
  44. Go to a state of Australia that I haven’t been to before – completed: 03/04/2016
  45. Touch my feet to some red dirt – completed: 06/04/2016
  46. Clean up my iTunes playlists – completed: 29/12/2016
    Yep all clean, lots deleted and hopefully just the good ones left… I’ll just have to work my way through them again and check.
  47. Visit another international thermal pool – completed: 07/01/2016
  48. Clean my car more regularly
    Nup… it is really dirty and will be until next year… I really need to clean it more often. 
  49. Sort out my 2014 and 2015 scrap books – completed: 12/12/2016
    Turns out there were a few more years that I hadn’t done, but they are done now too… Now I just have to do 2016.
  50. Try at least 2 new park runs – completed: 12/03/2016
  51. Keep my apple things updated properly – completed: 31/12/2016
    This actually took a lot more work than this little list item implies, but it is done.  Laptop, iPad and iPhone.
  52. Go to Inverloch at least 5 times – completed: 15/12/2016
    I am not really sure what to say about this, I went down there 5 times… and really I should do it a lot more often.
  53. Swim in the Ocean
    I really wish I had done this too… but it just didn’t happen, when we were at the beach it was too cold, but when it was hot, we were no where near the beach. 
  54. Have high tea – completed: 09/07/2016 
  55. Walk to the end of a pier – completed: 30/10/2016
  56. Get some Fro-yo – completed: 11/02/2016
  57. Go roller skating
    Also a no for 2016… even though we live right near a skating rink… turns out I am just not that passionate about skating.
  58. Ride a bike – completed: 17/01/2016
  59. Have some pasta/ pizza/gelato in Italy – completed: 01/01/2016
  60. Have some processed meat in Germany – completed: 05/01/2016
  61. See the Myer windows – completed: 21/12/2016
    Dave and I spent a night strolling around the city checking out all the Melbourne Christmas fun… and that includes the Myer windows… but because it was a beautiful night and we went at peak time… I just looked through the very long line and Dave read the book to me.
  62. Go to a place I can’t pronounce – completed: 06/01/2016
  63. Do some more work as a teacher – completed: 29/02/2016
  64. Take a photo with an English Guard – completed: 20/01/2016
  65. Take the Eurostar – completed: 22/01/2016
  66. See an Emu – completed: 05/04/2016
  67. Experience the outback – completed: 04/04/2016
  68. Follow through on the date box again – completed: 27/12/2016
    Each year these seem to get harder to fit in, but always more important than they were the year before.
  69. Go to Sherbrook forest – completed: 09/04/2016
  70. Be on time… it’s time
    I don’t think I could honestly cross this off, but I am getting better and I am definitely making more of an effort to be on time.
  71. Have another Star Trek Movie Marathon – completed: 29/12/2016
    We had planned on doing this a little earlier in the year, but it didn’t quite happen, so this week I sat down and watched the two first movies back to back… which counts as a marathon.
  72. Make my own dumplings – completed: 28/11/2016
    With a trusty Donna Hay recipe which is always delicious.
  73. Be confronted by WWII – completed: 11/01/2016
  74. Go on a Gondola ride – completed: 01/01/2016
  75. Visit a real life old time castle…. like one that would inspire Disney – completed: 08/01/2016
  76. Visit at least 4 museums –  completed: 12/01/2016
  77. See the Berlin Wall – completed: 14/01/2016
  78. Taste some dutch cheese – completed: 16/01/2016
  79. Have a Shakespeare moment – completed: 02/01/2016
  80. Do a 3D jigsaw – completed: 21/09/2016
  81. Ride a Camel… or at least see one in Uluru – completed: 05/04/2016
  82. Have one of those epic milkshakes – completed: 09/04/2016
  83. Have a Random Acts of Kindness week
    This should have happened, and I even started a couple of times, but either forgot about it or started missing days.  Either way it didn’t happen.
  84. Go on  a Road Trip – completed: 06/05/2016
  85. Have a wardrobe purge – completed: 29/01/2016
  86. Do another Pinterest project – completed: 19/12/2016
    This year I made some DIY Pinterest Christmas gifts, including some sprinkle candles and something special for my friend Pheebs.  I like Pinterest!
  87. Help change something at home – completed: 20/11/2016
  88. See some carols by candle light – completed: 11/12/2016
    Thanks city of Monash, they were fun and I learnt that ‘Boomeranging’ fireworks is the best.
  89. Get a massage – completed: 23/11/2016
  90. Keep getting closer again
    I did for most of the year, but the back half of the year has not been great for my weight goals… but I have had some other things on my mind and I can try again next year.
  91. Make the most of my gym membership
    I don’t think I could honestly cross this off either… I have used the gym, but not as much as I could have or should have… I am going to put this with no. 90 and say I will try again next year.
  92. Get my menu planning and home cooking game on – completed: 31/12/2016
    I may have taken me all year… and I may not have written anything down, but at least I now think about what we could cook and plan ahead if I need to go to the shops… which is such an improvement from where I was that this is getting crossed off.
  93. Spend some time in the Old testament (Study at least 2 OT books) – completed: 29/12/2016
    This has been really good for me to do, I think I often forget about how much God has packed into the old testament because I spend so long focusing on the new one… but this year I have studied the book of Daniel and Judges and it has been really interesting.  I have learnt a lot more than I thought I would and I am hoping this is just the beginning.
  94. Eat something from out veggie garden – completed: 22/02/2016
  95. Play some badminton – completed: 28/12/2016
    So despite the very hot weather this week Dave and I went to the oval across the road and played some badminton, just for a few minutes because as well as the heat the wind had a mind of it’s own which doesn’t work well with a shuttlecock.
  96. Make sure I remember my secret list – completed: 29/12/2016
    I don’t think I could honestly say I have achieved my secret list, but I definitely thought about it, especially as the year has been coming to an end which is all this list asked me to do.  The secret list was just one to remind of the perhaps more important things that don’t often make it on to the regular list as they are hard to quantify, but that doesn’t make them less significant.  It included a reminder to slow down, work on my communication and to make time for God, Dave and myself in my sometimes way to busy life.  I have really liked having these little side goals to help me focus on the bigger picture.  We only get a short time on earth and I want to make sure I am making the time I have better and not worse for myself and those around me.
  97. Run 5km without walking
    Another thing I wish I could have crossed of the list but just like number 16 my motivations changed and it just didn’t happen.  It is still something that I want to do, but I think it is going to take a little longer than I had hoped.
  98. Have the parentals over for dinner… all of them… separately
    Well we did have them all over at different times but not for meals.  Well, sometimes we had a mid-meal…. like afternoon tea or morning tea and sometimes even lunch, but not a deliberate dinner.  I have certainly seen them all more this year than last year, and after this year will continue to see them more.  Their strength and support has been invaluable and I am truly blessed to have all 7 of them in my life. 
  99. Be more domestic – completed: 29/12/2016
    So given that Dave is the more domestic one in our household, he was the judge of this one and he says, and I quote “this was your best year so far”… a pretty overwhelming ‘more’
  100. Take Dex on a Doggy Adventure – completed: 07/10/16
    So the photo isn’t great but we took Dex to visit his friend Abe when we went to visit our friends Dust and Jess… he had a great time.  

So there you go… another year of listing done… and I think I have done pretty good… well actually I think this is my best attempt yet with 84 things crossed off.

Here’s to 2017… may it’s list offerings bring even more joy than 2016’s.

Using My Good Days For Good… Finishing The List

Ok so 2016 is quickly disappearing and I figured that seeing as I am currently on leave from work… and I have good days and bad days at home…. but thankfully more good days than bad ones… I am going to use the rest of my good days this year doing 3 things…

1. Working out how to remember Joshua when things are good and joyful
2. Getting my Christmas shopping and planning sorted and…
3.  Finishing this year’s list.

This year’s list got a little ignored when I found out I was pregnant, because I was tired, some of the things were no longer possible and lets face it… my priorities had shifted… but now I am no longer pregnant and unfortunately don’t have little Josh to distract me… so the list has been bumped back up the priority list.  And lets face it… it’s supposed to be filled with things I want to achieve/do/try… so crossing things off it should bring me some joy… and I could do with some bonus joy.

So here is a recap of what I have done… and probably more importantly… what I haven’t…

  1. Start 2016 somewhere outside of Australia – completed: 01/01/2016
  2. Make a summer fruit platter in a watermelon – completed: 19/02/2016
    This one was actually crossed off way back in Feb… and it should have had its own blog because it is glorious… This delicious watermelon bowl of goodness… yep that’s it just on the right hand side there… was made for a girl’s night which I was privileged to lead for youth group… and both the evening and the watermelon bowl were spectacular. 
  3. Send 12 hand written cards/letters – completed: 23/04/16
    This one has also been done for a while thanks to my new subscription to ‘Happy mail‘ which I love… It has given me a reason to write more as well as pretty much the perfect card for every occasion.  
  4. Make a lolly cake – completed: 31/11/16
    Thanks to my Father-in-law and his trips to NZ this one is done… Turns out Eskimo lollies are harder to get in Australia than I had imagined… but once I got my hands on some of those the lolly cake happened… and I have it on the authority of a NZ local… (my father-in-law)… it was pretty good. 
  5. Rearrange a space – completed: 17/02/2016
  6. Play my flute
  7. Go to Disneyland – completed: 24/01/2016
  8. Find out is our house has a legit hidden fireplace
  9. Visit something older than colonised Australia – completed: 14/01/2016
  10. Have tea in London… Queen optional – completed: 19/01/2016
  11. Do a ridiculously cheesy tourist photo with a famous tourist attraction – completed: 22/01/2016
  12. Go to a country I have never been to before – completed: 02/01/2016
  13. Find a geocache – completed: 06/04/16
  14. Hide a geocache – completed: 06/04/16
  15. Watch the Prince of Egypt – completed: 18/03/2016
    This probably doesn’t need a lot of explaining… it happened and I enjoyed it… I had probably talked it up too much in my mind, but it was still good… I really love the music from The Prince of Egypt… just in case you were wondering.
  16. Go in the 2016 Melbourne Marathon festival somehow… 5, 10, half or full
  17. Be a Victorian tourist and go somewhere all the tourists go – completed: 09/07/16
    Dave and I were incredibly blessed by some parents from Dave’s work who spoiled us with a weekend away in the city and it was perfect and wonderful and just so overwhelmingly generous that I haven’t been able to put it down in words and do it justice.  But as part of this weekend we got to hang out in the city and go where all of the tourists go… we visited the National Gallery, hung out at crown, had scones with jam and cream at the Langham and window shopped in Bourke St and the Emporium… just like the tourists.  
  18. See my bestie face to face – completed: 18/01/2016
  19. Get back in the pool and swim at least 5 times
  20. Go to the Zoo – completed: 03/02/2016
  21. Make some kind of festive seasonal dish
  22. Use the fire pit
  23. Go skiing or snowboarding or tobogganing – completed: 03/01/2016
  24. Do you want to build a snowman? I do – completed: 04/01/2016
  25. Go Camping – completed: 04/04/16
  26. See some Northern Hemisphere stars – completed: 06/01/2016
  27. Run with at least 3 different people – completed: 27/02/2016
    My running game was strong for the first half of the year… it’s pretty average at the moment which certainly puts some doubt over some of the other list items, but not this one… I have run with more than 3 different friends, but the first three were Parkruns with Amy-Ruth and Annie and a fun run around the zoo with Kev and Suz. 
  28. Make a photo book or our Europe Adventures
  29. Save money each pocket money
  30. Go on a bush walk – completed: 05/04/16
  31. Go to a farmers market – completed: 27/03/2016
    Do you know what’s even better than a regular farmers market?  A twilight farmers market ’cause you don’t have to get up super early to be there and get things… you can sleep in and still enjoy all the spoils… it’s almost like you can have your cake and eat it too.    
  32. Make some meringues – completed: 03/10/16
    I don’t know why I don’t do this more often… I love meringues! 
  33. Learn how to spell meringues without having to check it every time – completed: 03/10/16
    While making my meringues I also learned how to spell the word… M E R I N G U E S… ta da! 
  34. Keep my emails under control – no extreme amounts of notifications on my phone
  35. Get and keep my photo storage under control
  36. Sew something
  37. Do some trivia – completed: 05/06/16
    There is not enough trivia in the world… I love it… although I am always disappointed if my team doesn’t win… especially if we don’t win a Disney themed trivia night… but despite my disappointment… the trivia was participated in which means it is off the list.
  38. Bake some snacks – completed: 02/10/16
    Being a little food safety paranoid while I was pregnant meant that I made some of my own snacks instead of purchasing them… which is probably just better to do anyway and they are even more delicious that store brought snacks. 
  39. See a musical – completed: 13/05/16
    When you work with a dancer extraordinaire who tells you that she is performing in Australia’s first Amateur theater production of Wicked… you get there as quick as you can, you fall in love with Wicked all over again and you celebrate this friend like never before… that’s what happened in May for me at least anyway.   
  40. Read 16 books – completed: 20/11/16
    Like I said at the top… I have had a little bit of extra down time… and reading is a good way to get out of your own head and into another land… so my book quota is now achieved, here are this years books:
    – The Revenant, Michael Punke
    – The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins,
    – Cinder, Marissa Meyer
    – The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel
    – Scarlet, Marissa Meyer
    –  The Happiness Project, Gretchen Ruben
    – The BFG, Roald Dahl
    – Cress, Marissa Meyer 
    – Simplicite, Dominique Loreau
    – Winter, Marissa Meyer
    – Jesus Is, Judah Smith
    – The Concrete Blonde, Michael Connelly
    – The Black Echo, Michael Connelly
    – Inferno, Dan Brown
    – The Black Ice, Michael Connelly
    – The Last Coyote, Michael Connelly
  41. Do a water aerobics class
  42. Do a spin class
  43. Have a BBQ Wednesday
  44. Go to a state of Australia that I haven’t been to before – completed: 03/04/16
  45. Touch my feet to some red dirt – completed: 06/04/16
  46. Clean up my iTunes playlists
  47. Visit another international thermal pool – completed: 07/01/2016
  48. Clean my car more regularly
  49. Sort out my 2014 and 2015 scrap books
  50. Try at least 2 new park runs – completed: 12/03/2016
    I mentioned before that my running game had been strong in the first half of the year, which made crossing this off easier.  We ran my home away from home Inverloch Parkrun and headed to Westerfolds parkun to celebrate our friend Bram’s 100th parkrun with him.
  51. Keep my apple things updated properly
  52. Go to Inverloch at least 5 times
  53. Swim in the Ocean
  54. Have high tea – completed: 09/07/16
    Technically I crossed this one off when I had tea in London – way back with no. 10, but while we were in the city on our little get away we also had a pregnancy friendly high tea at the Langham… well scones with jam and cream and of course tea… that’s pretty much all you need. 
  55. Walk to the end of a pier – completed: 30/10/16
    Well it’s not much more exciting than what it says… we walked to the end of the pier in Inverloch… and now it is off the list. 
  56. Get some Fro-yo – completed: 11/02/2016
  57. Go roller skating
  58. Ride a bike – completed: 17/01/2016
  59. Have some pasta/ pizza/gelato in Italy – completed: 01/01/2016
  60. Have some processed meat in Germany – completed: 05/01/2016
  61. See the Myer windows
  62. Go to a place I can’t pronounce – completed: 06/01/2016
  63. Do some more work as a teacher – completed: 29/02/2016
    This year has also seen the return of Mrs G.  Still just filling in every now and again, but still teaching. 
  64. Take a photo with an English Guard – completed: 20/01/2016
  65. Take the Eurostar – completed: 22/01/2016
  66. See an Emu – completed: 05/04/16
  67. Experience the outback – completed: 04/04/16
  68. Follow through on the date box again
  69. Go to Sherbrook forest – completed: 09/04/16
    Birthdays are a good reason to cross things off the list… and lets face it, you never really need a reason to visit Sherbrook forest because it is beautiful.  We went, we tried out our new little festival chairs and had a birthday picnic… it was perfect. 
  70. Be on time… it’s time
  71. Have another Star Trek Movie Marathon
  72. Make my own dumplings
  73. Be confronted by WWII – completed: 11/01/16
  74. Go on a Gondola ride – completed: 01/01/2016
  75. Visit a real life old time castle…. like one that would inspire Disney – completed: 08/01/16
  76. Visit at least 4 museums –  completed: 12/01/16
  77. See the Berlin Wall – completed: 14/01/16
  78. Taste some dutch cheese – completed: 16/01/16
  79. Have a Shakespeare moment – completed: 02/01/2016
  80. Do a 3D jigsaw – completed: 21/09/16
    While we were away on our little babymoon in Lakes Entrance I found a little 3D duck puzzle, which if I am honest looked very very lame… which made me think it would be easy… turns out I was wrong, the puzzle was not easy… and it turned out to be pretty cute… but in interest in decluttering our house to make space for baby George we left the little duck for the next guests lucky enough to have our room in Lakes Entrance.
  81. Ride a Camel… or at least see one in Uluru – completed: 05/04/16
  82. Have one of those epic milkshakes – completed: 09/04/16
    So birthday list days are also a great reason to have an epic milkshake… and I am talking mammoth honeycomb overflowing milkshake that hits that the lactose limit harder than you will ever know
  83. Have a Random Acts of Kindness week
  84. Go on  a Road Trip – completed: 06/05
    A road trip to Mount Gambier in SA, with 20ish of our closest student friends from the Jazz Band and Jazz Choir.  Sometimes it’s fun to be a music teachers wife and to go on band trips, especially when the kids are so much fun, incredibly talented and you get to stay at the most amazing homestead in which homemade treats appearing every time you look around.   
  85. Have a wardrobe purge – completed: 29/01/2016
    I started the year with a massive wardrobe purge and then since then I have had another couple, each time clearing out more bags of stuff than I care to admit I had… At first it was just for me to make space to appreciate what I had and to stop feeling guilty about the things I had that I didn’t want or use.  Then the task expanded from my wardrobe to every cupboard and every other room as we tried to clear out space to make way for Baby George… 
  86. Do another Pinterest project
  87. Help change something at home – completed: 20/11/16
    So this was going to be the almost finished nursery… but it didn’t really happen, the nursery is still a junk room and currently not required… so instead, we just built the new bed we brought at the same time as some of the nursery furniture and ‘changed’ the bedroom
  88. See some carols by candle light
  89. Get a massage – completed: 23/11/16
  90. Keep getting closer again
  91. Make the most of my gym membership
  92. Get my menu planning and home cooking game on
  93. Spend some time in the Old testament (Study at least 2 OT books)
  94. Eat something from out veggie garden – completed: 22/02/2016
  95. Play some badminton
  96. Make sure I remember my secret list
  97. Run 5km without walking
  98. Have the parentals over for dinner… all of them… separately
  99. Be more domestic
  100. Take Dex on a Doggy Adventure – completed: 07/10/16
    So the photo isn’t great but we took Dex to visit his friend Abe when we went to visit our friends Dust and Jess… he had a great time.  

So there you go… still a lot to go… at the moment we are sitting on 61% complete… which is pretty good… but it’s going to be a big run home… some may say impossible… but not me… bring it on… hopefully with lots of ‘good’ days… oh and if you want to help with the things that are left… I would really appreciate it…

Listing in the Outback

UluruSo apart from finding my inner Aussie again while we were in Uluru I also had a lot of fun.  When I wrote my list for 2016 there were lots of things I included knowing we were going to do/I really wanted to do in Europe, but I also snuck a view central Australia goodies in as well, knowing that we were also planning on coming here with Dave’s family.  The good news is all of these got crossed off… The better news is I also got to cross off some surprise ones… And I really love an impromptu list crossing!

Just entering the Northern Territory crossed off no. 44 as it was the first time I had ever traveled there, which is a pretty impressive start to a trip.  While we were up there Dave and I went on a 3 day camping trip with Dave’s sister Ness and her partner Hugh, where we spent our days getting up before sunrise to watch it rise in spectacular style and then go bush walking (no. 30) around Uluru, through Kata Tjuta and up and over the Kings Canyon rim, covering about 25km all up in 30+ degrees.  At night we watched the sunset beautifully and then slept under the stars in our own swags (no. 25), and let me tell you there is nothing like the central Australian stars, they are truly mind blowing.  At the top of Kings Canyon I also found my first geocache (no. 13) signed in and left behind my own gift and hid it again for the next geocacher (no. 14).  This was not planned, I had no idea it was up there, but our tour guide asked if anyone wanted to see one and I was in.

While we were out in the bush, I also got to see my first wild dingo.. And a few of its mates, and as we traveled between sites, I saw an emu at Curtain Springs Station (no. 66) and took a little selfie with Nibbles the camel at Kings Creek Station (no. 81).

I love being out in the bush, but I have also really loved the time I have had to hang out with our family, dinners, swims, walks… Sharing, talking and experiencing this together.  On our first night we went and experienced the ‘field of light’ an art installation only opened that week that has 50,000+ lights placed at the foot of Uluru, which was pretty incredible and last night, as our last night together, we enjoyed the sounds of silence, a four course meal out in the open watching the sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta and then being guided through the central Australian stars.  It was the perfect way to finish a wonderful week.  Great food, laughter and a perfect location… I sat with empty shoes off, feet covered in red sand and soaked it all in… I am so blessed to have had this week, in fact this incredible year but even more, to have wonderful family to share it with… And I’m already dreaming of when I can return to experience the outback again.

IMG_1755wm

 IMG_3626wm

From the Back of Bourke to Uluru via the world

This time 8 years ago I was in Bourke, I was young, naive, and a long way from home.  I was out there for a final year uni placement after expressing some interest in indigenous Australian health and closing the gap that exists between indigenous communities and non-indigenous ones.  At the time I had no idea how life changing this trip to the outback would be.  How much it would shape my life, ideas and opinions.  How much I would appreciate the experience and insight I gained while I was there.  Or how much the red dirt would get in my heart, and the hole that it would leave forever after that.

Fast forward to now, and as sad as it is to admit when I came home from Europe I was a little underwhelmed about being Australian, I was ashamed of my history and feeling a little lost, but this week, I have had my feet back in the red dirt and it feels like home.

Last week Dave and I spent our time exploring Uluru on a family holiday with Dave’s family, a trip unlike any we have been on before and my first trip to the Northern Territory.  But this trip to heart of Australia has refreshed my soul. There is still a lot of my identity as a white Australian I am uncomfortable with, but I have been reminded of so much that we can be proud of.

The outback is magical and majestic and I have never experienced anything like it.  The vastness of the desert, the size and scale of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon, the simple beauty of our beautiful country and the incredible ability for life and culture to last even in the toughest and most extreme circumstances.  I have found a new appreciation for our Aboriginal forefathers, and renewed my passion for bridging the gap between Australia’s two currently separated communities.

It is humbling to walk around the rim of Uluru and parts of Kata Tjuta, their overwhelming presence a reminder of how small man really is.  It is incredible to think of the time they have stood and endured, almost as long as Australia has been Australia, these amazing structures have been here.   As we walked through and along the rim of Kings Canyon it is impossible not to be impressed, where else in the desert can you find ferns and permanent waterhole? Or frogs and tadpoles who have waited for rain just for this chance to survive on the top of a desert rock.  I was reminded that while Australia may not have the ‘white’ history of Europe, with buildings and statues from a long heritage that is familiar and , Australia’s history is rich in a completely different way.  It has been around for a lot longer, as has its people.

So while there is still a lot to be done to reconcile all that is Australian, I am proud of this land, it’s people and to be Australian.

Uluru Sunrise

Kings Canyon Sunrise

Kata Tjuta

Kings Canyon

Uluru Sunset

Kata Tjuta Sunset