Accidental Ornithologist

Wikipedia tells me that Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds… it’s a word that I would never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would identify with.  If you had told me even this time last year that I would become interested in birds… I would have scoffed in disbelief… it’s just not something that would have ever crossed my mind.  But as I sit at the peddler (taking myself out for brunch and crossing no. 68 off the list) I can tell you that so far on my little brunch expedition I have only seen one type of bird, Common Mynas… I can also tell you that they are an introduced species but that they are different from the Australian, or Noisy Mynas… because now I can tell them apart.

I’m not really sure where this interest has come from, but if I was to hazard at a guess I would say it has been a combination of things:

  • Since having Isaac, I have been walking more and generally spending more time outside.
  • I have also been told ad nauseum that you should talk to your baby because it is good for everything… so we have been talking more…
  • and as much as I hate to admit it, I have an uncontrollable need to know facts… to be a bit of a know it all.  Plus I don’t like to make things up… I have this irrational fear that Isaac will be at school sharing a fun fact and someone will tell him he is wrong and he will look like a tiny fool because mum made something up.

So while walking with Isaac I started to run out of things to talk about… and so I started to point things out.  And it turns out, when you are out walking you can find a lot of things, the most obvious being trees and birds… and while I would love to be able to identify all the plants and trees we walk by, birds seemed like a simpler option.  So I found myself googling birds… and I think it is starting to get out of hand.

There is a beautiful lake about 1km from our place which we have been walking to and around a lot.  Before Isaac was born I think we perhaps walked up there a handful of times, but now we are up there multiple times a week.  It’s very pretty and a good distance… not too far, but a far enough for a good walk… plus I have found a little 5km circuit that I can do which is fun.  Anyway, the point is we have been walking there a lot and most of the time there are the same birds… so I learnt them all… Mynas, Magpies, Gallahs, Cockatoos, Swamp Hens (or as our partially NZ home likes to call them Pukekos), Woodland Ducks, Eurasian Coots and some Spotted Doves.  Not a huge number… but enough for me to remember and talk to Isaac about as we walk.  I have also just realised that this is probably already too much bird talk… sorry guys… I told you it’s out of control… bear with me I’m almost done.

So given my new found interest, I decided that to put on my list to learn about 3 new birds, birds that I couldn’t previously identify… a very nerdy addition to the list… but it’s my list and this is who I am… So what are my new birds, well I am glad you asked…

  1. Little Wattlebird – this is a little bird that used to live in the area that I grew up and I loved the sound of it’s song… whenever I hear it, it takes me back to my childhood home… but I didn’t know what it was until this year and it turns out they are also abundant down where our beach house is.
  2. Gang Gang Cockatoo – I spotted this guy while being a Parkrun tourist at Mullum Mullum… it is a very pretty bird… I think maybe even my new fav.
  3. Royal Spoonbill – This guy has a mullet and a spoon billed beak it’s pretty impressive and I had tentatively popped this on my list of new birds when we went to the Zoo in January… but I was hoping that I would find another neat (oh man… I am getting old) bird that I could find locally to add to this little list of three… because part of my felt like a zoo bird didn’t count. But… Enter summer… and walking at some different times of day and suddenly there have been more birds at the lake… Pelicans, Intermediate Egrets, Little Black Coromants, Masked Lapwings and… none other than the Royal Spoonbill.   I was so excited about seeing the Royal Spoonbill that I went back day after day… I also stopped an old man with binoculars walking into the park to tell him about it because I assumed that the binoculars meant he would be looking for wildlife… who actually knows… he seemed quite shocked by my enthusiasm.  I told you it’s getting out of control.

So three new birds for 2019 and a new hobby it would appear… It has also branched out further than just identifying them though… Isaac now has a plush Sulfur Crested Cockatoo and our house has some new Australian wild life coasters and mugs… mostly birds.   I don’t know how long it will last… but I do know that my walks are getting longer because I keep stopping to see the birds… but that I’m not mad about it… I either need to embrace it until the phase passes… or find a new running track for when timing matters.

My Baby Brother Got Married

There are something things in life you know will probably happen in the future, yet are never prepared for when they actually do… My baby brother’s wedding is one of those things.  Maybe it is because he is the baby of the family, so it’s some subconscious part of my brain thinks that while he is now an adult… he should also still be 10 and watching me dominate at Mario Party.

The fact that I felt unprepared for the event is also ridiculous because this wedding was planned like nothing I had ever experienced before… there was a run sheet for everything, logistics meetings and 1000s of texts and calls to confirm details for the part my little family of three had to play… you would think that with all that preparation I would have realised what was happening… but I didn’t.

I still hadn’t caught on as I helped them move things into their new apartment, or when I sat through a very detailed wedding logistics meeting last weekend.  Not even when I tried on my new dress or rehearsed the song that we had chosen for me to lead the congregation in singing during the ceremony.  The penny still didn’t drop when Dave and I were watching Isaac be driven around in a miniature convertible making sure he would love his trip down the isle and not scream.  Even yesterday as I got my hair and makeup done… I still hadn’t let the reality sink in… I don’t think I actually realised until I watched my my little brother articulate clearly and beautifully all the things he loved about the woman standing in front of him as he read the vowels he had written for her.

Yesterday I got to witness two young people promise to be the moon and so much more for each other, to share their lives, to support and challenge.  To be their person for all time… and it was beautiful.  It was also a really nice reminder of the things that I had promised to my person almost 8 years ago.  But this blog is not about that.  This blog is to admit that I finally get it… he is a grown up… and he is married.  And… because of all of this I have gained a passionate, strong and caring sister who balances and loves my brother better than I could have hoped.  This is one of things that gets quickly overlooked at weddings, overshadowed by the displays of love and affection.  When people get married it’s not just two people who get joined for life, but families that grow… well that’s how it is supposed to work anyway.  Our already complex and large family grew by one and her family.  Which means that while we get one more person to care for and include, it also means we gain one more person on our team, to love and support us, just as we will her.  Marriage is an old, but powerful thing and it is most definitely worth celebrating.

Oh… and just in case you didn’t notice, this event crossed number 24 off my list and number 5 off Isaac’s list which just adds to the fun!

2019… It’s List Time!

How the heck we are already in 2019 I will never understand… but nevertheless a new year means a new list… and I think it is going to be fun.

I feel like… well I am hoping 2019 is going to be a year of home and family, where we get to do things together and make the most of our family time.  A year for good health (minus all the childcare bugs we are bound to pick up), activities and learning.  I am not sure if we will be able to cross everything off the list, but we will give it a good crack.

We are up to list number 11 this year… pretty nuts ey? So if you are new here… firstly welcome… but you might want to check out some of the old lists here: 2006, 20072010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018).  What can you expect from this year’s list?  Well like normal… some self improvement tasks (physical, spiritual and mental), some fun tasks, some things I just have to do and some more baby friendly things… because mum life is now in full swing.

Seeing as Isaac did so well on his list this year he gets another one too, it has been fun to document some of his milestones through here… and I really hope to do a better job of it this year, because really that’s a long standing goal… be better at blogging interesting things more consistently.   Anyway, enough chat… here are the lists….

My list:

  1. Watch a Disney Movie I haven’t seen for a while with Isaac
  2. Re-learn how to do a rubix cube
  3. Bring back date days and go on at least 6 dates
  4. Visit all three Melbourne Zoos
  5. Go overseas
  6. Have a weekend away
  7. Work as a teacher
  8. Use my sewing machine
  9. Do my 50th parkrun
  10. Use our museum membership
  11. Run most of a half marathon
  12. Finish Isaac’s quiet book
  13. Let things heal
  14. Don’t snooze – just get up
  15. Plan at night
  16. Go camping
  17. Walk Dex regularly
  18. Plan our grocery shopping and meals at the same time – preferably weekly
  19. Cook dinner regularly
  20. Moisturise regularly
  21. Finish the scrap books
  22. Consistently exercise at least once a week
  23. Keeps my useless phone time under control
  24. Go to a wedding
  25. Read 7 books
  26. Go to the footy
  27. Make some playdoh
  28. Bake meringues
  29. Finish watching Deep Space Nine
  30. Swim some laps
  31. Write at least 15 blogs.
  32. Make a gingerbread house from scratch
  33. Be ok with Isaac going to childcare
  34. Give Dr Who a go
  35. Eat 5 new foods
  36. Go barefoot on sand, grass, carpet, tiles and concrete and talk about how it feels with Isaac
  37. Read a book to Isaac everyday
  38. Try 3 new restaurants
  39. Buy an item of clothing that you really love but isn’t like anything you’d usually wear!
  40. Memorize a chapter of the bible
  41. Take Isaac & Dexter to the dog beach.
  42. Visit three new playgrounds!
  43. 5 new cafes with 5 new people
  44. Volunteer at parkrun
  45. Do some trivia
  46. Find the dragons nest in kallista
  47. Be deliberate about filling the house will lovely things
  48. Investigate our options
  49. Fill out Isaac’s baby book
  50. Go for a walk with my bestie
  51. Plant and grow some veggies
  52. Update the photo wall
  53. Go swimming with Isaac
  54. Take a picture everyday
  55. Turn off my social media for a week
  56. Lights out by midnight
  57. Finish Isaac’s logs and decide what to do with them
  58. Wear a non-black t-shirt outfit at least once a week
  59. Update our budget
  60. Keep getting closer
  61. Wash my car at least 3 times
  62. Sort out the photo storage and keep it up to date
  63. Keep my desk at home clean
  64. Scan the photos in
  65. Finally finish the bible plan I started 2 years ago… it’s getting embarrassing
  66. Have another brunch date with Isaac
  67. Have a brunch with Dave… without Isaac
  68. Have brunch by myself
  69. Work out what I am allergic to
  70. Get a haircut
  71. Go berry picking
  72. Get my steps average up to 10000 per day.
  73. Cross at least two things off the list each month
  74. Use my gratitude diary and Isaac’s highlights book
  75. Play a board game/card game
  76. Make an iTunes playlist for each season
  77. Have high tea
  78. Get a massage
  79. Have a cup of tea at robinsons bookstore
  80. Learn a new skill
  81. Have a picnic
  82. Go on a family bike ride
  83. Get a tea advent calendar
  84. Learn about 3 new Australian birds
  85. Add a quick 10 minute clean to your night routine
  86. Give something in our house a makeover
  87. Try meatless Monday
  88. Work on my feet
  89. Have a no spend day once a month
  90. Find another way to save a little bit of the planet
  91. Call my grandparents regularly
  92. Turn on music instead of the TV
  93. Boil some eggs
  94. Try one of those meal prep provider companies like hello fresh
  95. Make some banana bread
  96. Go to the movies
  97. Make the most of our weekends
  98. Read for 10 minutes a day
  99. Do my devotions at least 5 times a week
  100. Listen to at least one audiobook

Isaac’s List:

  1. Learn to walk
  2. Learn at least 5new words
  3. Go on the little trains in Eltham
  4. Go swimming
  5. Be in a wedding
  6. Play outside
  7. Cuddle all of my grandparents (including my great grandparents)
  8. Build a sandcastle
  9. Go to the park
  10. Finger paint
  11. Do a puzzle
  12. Go to the library
  13. Play with some bubbles
  14. Do a fun run / walk
  15. Go on a plane
  16. Learn to climb
  17. Go down the slide by myself
  18. Have a big boy bath
  19. Pat some new animals
  20. Go to a new zoo
  21. Go to the museum
  22. Learn the actions to a song
  23. Play with my Mother’s group friends
  24. Sort some shapes
  25. Play with some blocks

Ok… there they are… 2 new glorious lists… let us know if you want to cross anything off with us.