What happened to Autum?

Well, look at this… I am on a roll! Four blogs in three weeks… outrageous… apparently this was all just lurking just under the surface… and I guess I have that pesky goal of writing 15 blogs this year so I needed to start writing!

This year feels like it has gone both incredibly fast and incredibly slowly all at the same time… and that the saying of “the days are long, but the years are short” has never been more true than in 2020. I think that compounding this is my ever-present sense of anticipation… that we still need to get the year going. I guess that I hadn’t really hit my stride before everything stopped… but it in all reality it probably won’t start again in 2020… not the way I want it to anyway… I can’t go back to the long days of summer and get stuck into some project as the weather turns and just work my way through winter… it’s already here… I am writing this in August… and it’s cold… but there is less to do than ever… but we will get into that a bit later. So while I feel like we should still be talking about summer BBQs and daylight savings, that’s actually long gone… and it’s time for another list update. A list update for the season that happened without me even noticing!

March

Things started to change in march for Melbourne… well probably for everywhere… but at home here in Melbourne we entered stage 3 restrictions for the first time to try and slow the spread of COVID 19… and we did a pretty good job for a while (let’s leave what happened in July for later). And because I have been fearful of all that COVID might mean for those around me and my little family, I welcomed the March lockdown wholeheartedly. I loved the idea of everyone just stopping so we could fix the problem and then get on with things. Whenever I have the option… that’s how I like to deal with my problems… to stop everything… fix it and move on. Of course, that’s not usually how life works… but it seemed that this time it might. I loved the idea of having Dave working from home too, that our little family would be gifted this season of uninterrupted togetherness. I had the internet to connect me to family and friends, but all I needed day to day was with me 100% of the time and it was wonderful. It truly was. In fact, that first period of lockdown might have actually contained some of my most treasured memories and moments.

But of course, the lockdown didn’t start until the middle of March… which meant we did manage to cross off a big community item before the rules all changed. We started March with the Monash Children’s Hospital Walk, which was our second ‘fun run’ for the year (no. 6, completed: 06/03). In January Dave and I had participated in the relief run a virtual event to raise money for the bushfire relief effort which meant our 10km around Jells Park was our second event for the year. Isaac even got to wear a cape and wore his medal with pride for the rest of the day.

In March I finished off my summer project of my yearly scrapbooks… I hadn’t worked on these since Joshua passed away, so there was a lot to do, but now they are up to date to the end of 2019 (no. 61, completed: 15/03)… which I am pretty happy about. I have a love-hate relationship with these scrapbooks… I love to look through them and reminisce, but collecting and remember and putting them together is a slog if I don’t stay on top of it.

Because I suffer from FOMO as much as the average bear, I got sucked into the iso-baking phenomenon pretty early on in lockdown… Dave and I did a big clean out of our pantry and worked out what meals we had already and what items we needed so that we could avoid going to the shops. During our clean out I discovered we had a lot of eggs that were on their way to the bin if we didn’t use them up… so we iso-baked meringues (no. 18, completed: 22/03) and Banana Bread (no. 89, completed: 24/03)… and a LOT of other things, but they were the two that also doubled as March list items.

My last list item in March is a pretty boring one… I counted off my third month of no games on my phone (no. 49, completed: 31/03)… it wasn’t as hard as it had been previously… and certainly helped keep my useless phone time down… but it’s not very exciting to write about… So there you go… 5 things off the list in March.

April

Once we had adapted to lockdown life… we hit our listing stride in April. Isaac crossed another two things off his list and I crossed 6 off mine… not a bad effort considering we didn’t really leave the house!

Dave and I choose to keep Isaac home from childcare so that those who needed to use it could and we weren’t adding to ours or their risk… but that meant I needed to step up my activity skills. I like order and structure and not much mess… well that’s not entirely true… I don’t mind making mess as long as I don’t have to clean it up… so messy play is usually reserved for childcare… where Isaac can make lots of mess without me panicking or having to pack up. But lockdown meant we had to make some changes but it also meant we were able to cross off no. 80 Paint a picture (completed: 28/04) and no. 51 Make some cookies with Isaac (completed: 25/04)… we made some ANZAC biscuits for ANZAC day… they were delish! We also were a bit more deliberate about physical activity… Isaac mastered jumping and scooting (no. 13, completed: 26/04 and no. 8, completed: 27/04 respectively) and Dave and I signed up for an exercise challenge with my brother and his family making us move every day… this eventually led to a Les Mills on-demand subscription… which in turn meant I could do exercise classes from the comfort of my lounge room (no. 87, completed: 04/04).

For my birthday we took some family photos in the backyard (no. 27, completed: 09/04) in which I wore a bright pink jumper that I had purchased in March but hadn’t been brave enough to wear (no. 78, completed: 09/04). I actually love it and it has brought some bright and happy vibes a few times during lockdown since.

We also got to watch a brand new Disney movie… not at the movies like I had planned, but again from the safety and comfort of our lounge room Dave and I watched Onward… and it was lovely in all the right Disney ways (no. 94 completed: 26/4).

May

May was a big month for us… Isaac crossed 3 things off his list and I crossed 5 things off mine. Which again considering we were only allowed to leave the house at the end of the month… it’s a pretty great effort.

The biggest list item for May was no. 2. Find a better work-life balance (completed 08/05). At the beginning of the year when I wrote the list I wasn’t sure what this would look like, but as 2020 would have it this item was done for me… At the end of April, I was told that my role at one of my jobs was being made redundant, the company was undergoing a merge with another company and my role was the first of many that would be a double up once the merge was finalised so… being on the taken over side of the company… my job was no longer needed. To be totally honest even though I knew this was a possibility until I was actually told, I hadn’t believed it. I loved the work that I was doing and I honestly thought I was bringing a lot to the table, and that maybe somehow I would be one of the lucky ones to hold on… but it was not to be… so on the 8th of May I had my last day there and went back to only being employed in one job, rather than the two I had been managing since returning to work after Isaac was born. I went from working 4+ days a week to a regular 2days… in theory… once schools went back… which gave me three weekdays with Isaac that I could be flexible with if I needed or wanted more work. And once I got over the disappointment of my role being made redundant I was quite excited about have some extra space in my life to be a mum… after all… they are only little once. Of course, this was all good provided that schools went back to onsite learning and Isaac went back to childcare… so for a few weeks between the end of May and the beginning of July I was pretty excited about the new balance I had found. Now that we are back in lockdown and there isn’t a huge amount of need for replacement teachers during online learning I have more at home life than I was planning, but I am looking at this as a positive too… although I will confess round 2 is much harder without the breaks that my two days of work provided in lockdown 1.

It turns out though that the extra time was good for listing… we drew pictures and completed puzzles (Isaac’s list no. 12, completed 10/05 and no. 17, completed 29/05). We toasted marshmallows in the fire pit in our front yard (no. 91, completed 16/05) which was a bit magical and way more fun than I had anticipated. I met my 3rd baby of the year (no. 20, completed 26/05) and I finished my 9th book (no. 7, completed 25/05) and that was before I managed to resurrect my original bookclub. This year’s books were a mixture of Reese Witherspoon’s Bookclub books from Hello Sunshine and some self-chosen books… here is the list so far:

  1. Conviction – Denise Mina (Reese’s Bookclub)
  2. Kings Cage – Victoria Aveyard
  3. Searching for Sunday – Rachel Held Evans
  4. Such a fun age – Kiley Reid (Reese’s Bookclub)
  5. The scent keeper – Erica Bauermeister (Reese’s Bookclub)
  6. The Jetsetters – Amanda Eyre Ward (Reese’s Bookclub)
  7. Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe
  8. Autobiography of Jean Luc Picard
  9. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

Since then I have also finished:

10. Jack Charles: Born Again Blakfella – Jack Charles
11. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
12. The Guest List – Lucy Foley (Reese’s Bookclub)
13. Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney (The original bookclub that’s back… it needs a name)
14. A Year of Biblical Womanhood – Rachel Held Evans
15. Educated – Tara Westover (The original bookclub… yep definitely needs a name)

Not a bad effort especially given it’s only August. Although I have found reading to be a great distraction from social media and news… and a good way to fall asleep…

This month Isaac also learnt how to take a photo on the iPhone.. and he is pretty cuffed with himself (no. 22, completed 16/05) and thanks to a very thoughtful Mothers Day gift I am now the proud owner of some reusable non-paper towels (no. 5, completed 10/5). This has shown me just how much paper towel I actually use… and that these non-paper ones are just as good. Although I might need a second batch…

So while I am not sure when Autumn happened… Apparently, it was choccas. Because on top of everything listed above there were also some fun celebrations too… Easter, including Isaac’s first easter egg hunt which was much more fun than even I could have anticipated, Mother’s Day complete with homemade gifts and cupcakes delivered to Mooma and both Nannas and my return to my first craft love… cross-stitch. And even though it has all felt like a bit of a false start, I will continue to look back on this season as one of my all-time favourites, despite its challenges.

When you don’t know what to write… you do a list update

Ok so it’s been a LONG time since I wrote a blog… and to be honest, I have been avoiding it… because what do you write that is even remotely interesting during a global pandemic when you’ve only left the house a handful of time in the last couple of months… and when there have also been lots of other big things happening the world that you also don’t feel qualified to write about…. yeah I was stuck too… but yet here I am sitting and typing, because I think it is important to write something… I need to something to do and I want to use my brain to escape and focus on some little wins we have had this year despite everything else that has been going on…. so in lieu of some wisdom I have learnt, or opinions on things I am only really just learning about myself I have settled on a list update.

I feel like the new format that I tried last year was a winner… so that’s what I am going to stick with, a seasonal update for those list items that haven’t been gifted a blog of their own… which at the moment is all of them I think… anyway, despite the very unusual first half of the year, we have actually managed to cross quite a few things off the list… so lets start at the beginning… January

JANUARY

Far our January feels like a long time ago… a lifetime even, and given that we are in week 2 of Melbourne’s Stage 4 Lock-down I am increasingly glad that I went hard with the list early on. In January 7 things were crossed off my list and 3 things from Isaac’s which is a pretty great way to start…

Despite the poor air quality and the horrible bush fires that were burning, we did some old school summer things… we played games… cards against humanity (no. 32 completed: 04/01), we coloured in (no. 36, completed: 06/01), I did the first puzzle I have done in a long time (no. 34, completed: 19/01) and we swam… specifically I did some laps (no. 56, completed: 29/01) and Isaac in Pa’s pool (no. 10, completed: 13/01).

January also had a lot of family time, we met the newest member of our family, another nephew for Dave and I and a cousin for Isaac (no. 29, completed: 27/01) and we started our resolution of more family updates well with a FaceTime call to NZ (no. 76, completed: 22/01).

Isaac and Dave went on a bike ride while we were at the beach (no. 18, completed: 24/01) and they also tested out his new little BBQ for a summer outdoor feast (no. 24, completed: 13/01). I managed to close my ‘move ring’, a gimmicky little feature of my watch, every day in January giving me my ‘perfect month’ (no. 57, completed: 31/01)… if only it was that easy!

February

February was a bit of a slower month for the list… but not a bad effort. Isaac crossed one thing off his list and I crossed three things off mine.

Two of my items worked nicely with my big thing of reducing my footprint environmentally as I finally used my beeswax wraps (no. 77, completed: 12/02)… I am still getting the hang of these, but I really love the concept… I also really love that my beeswax wraps were made by students at school. And on the same day, I unboxed my shampoo and conditioner bars (no. 93, completed: 12/02) that I had brought in NZ at Christmas, but had been waiting to use as I wanted to finish the shampoo I had in the bottle at home first. The shampoo bars are a hit… they took a little bit of adjusting, but I really like them and they are a good morning reminder of not using plastic for everything!

My other February list item was a bit of an adventure, after booking in a brunch in Ballarat I decided I could also book in a parkrun if I was committed to getting up really early for my drive there. I did commit… and just before our world got a little smaller I was able to be a park run tourist (no. 30, completed: 01/02), visiting Wallaby Track Parkrun, which was beautiful and it turns out very new which made it all that more exciting and worth it.

Also in Feb, Isaac, Dave and I met Isaac’s grandad at the traffic light park in Bayswater (no. 4, completed: 09/02)… also know as Marie Wallace Park. It is excellent! Miniature roads and road hazards… some local traffic and once you have done with that an old steam train and a huge adventure park… I don’t think this will be our only visit to this park. Although before we return we might need to practice some road rules with the toy cars at home… and if we practice we might even be able to upgrade our ride during lockdown and bring the balance bike next time.

So there you have it… Summer… pre lockdown freedom that feels like a myth right now… or maybe a goal… I am not really sure… but it’s been nice to reminisce…

Big Things for 2020

Ok, I know this blog might seem a little strange given that I write a list of 100 goals each year and I have already posted about them, but over the last couple of weeks… maybe even months I have been thinking a lot more about the bigger picture. I guess these are the things that have shaped the items that I put on my list… but because they have been turning over and over and over again in my mind, I thought it might be helpful for me to write it out…

I feel like there is a lot of pressure from life to have things sorted, to get your life mapped out and run the race. Ideally, the path is clear and direct and you run towards it with minimal distractions and obstacles… but that is not how life works. People always tell you that the world used to be a simpler place, but I am not sure that is true either. Life is challenging… that is the real ‘simple’ truth… things don’t always go to plan, things aren’t always what you deem to be fair and people (including myself) fall short of my expectations constantly. But as I get older, and hopefully wiser, I am starting to understand the wisdom of life lessons told to me in years gone by. Things which at the time I received hopefully graciously, but decided that for whatever reason didn’t apply to me.

I have spent a lot of my life trying to be everything to everyone, and in the process forgotten who I actually am and by default what is important to me. Over the last couple of years, I have experienced what my counsellors have labelled ‘trauma’, physical and psychological… and while that sounds awful and it was… it’s made me stronger, more resilient and thankfully more aware of what I actually want in my life and on the flip side, what I don’t. It has provided me with time and experiences that have made me question everything and helped me work out who I am… which I guess has led me to this…

I am long term thinker, which can be, and has been both a blessing and a curse. I am a planner, I like to know what is going to happen and when, but I also like the option of being spontaneous even if I never take it. I feel things deeper than I ever have before and because I also like to fix things, I feel like it is my responsibility to do that… fix it all… I want my life to matter, and I want to make a difference, but I think this looks different in 2020 than it did even 2 years ago. I want to be part of the solution of big problems, but I am learning I can’t take on more than I am capable of. I need to push myself and stretch myself, but I also need to be kind to myself… so in light of all that, I have decided that this year I want to focus on just 3 things intentionally… I am sure there will be other things that come up across the year, but as I sit here today these are the big issues on my heart that I want to make deliberate steps to improve across the year…

Authentic Community

I want to build on the friendships I have and make sure that my relationships are intentional and honest. That if I choose to withhold parts of my life… I want to know why and reassess… I am a pretty open book at the best of times, but that doesn’t mean I am always a good friend. I want to break bread with people, share my life with people, raise my son in community and in turn support and strengthen those around me. I want to be reliable… which let me be clear isn’t always available, but intentional and deliberate. I don’t want to be afraid of my weaknesses in a social setting, because I want to be part of a community that takes me as I am… growing and changing, but flawed… just like everyone else.

Reducing my footprint

This is something that has been on my heart for a long long time… I want to be less of a consumer and more of a partner. I want to learn to appreciate what I have and not constantly be sucked into the ‘more more more’ pull of the world. I want to do right by the earth and leave it in a better place than I found it, not continue to mindlessly contribute to its demise. But I want to do this right… in baby steps… one change at a time. I also want to reduce my footprint in my social and work settings… and while it might sound it this isn’t in direct opposition to my first goal of authentic community… rather it’s about how I approach things, people, groups and task. I often go into to things all guns blazing… full or preconceived ideas, expectations and demands… and to be honest, while most of it comes from a good place, because I am passionate, it’s not a helpful approach… I want to tread softly, to listen first… light steps mean smaller footprints… and perhaps more effective communication.

Slowing Down

Life is short and fast… and unless I chose to pull out of the busy lane, it will stay this way. I want to enjoy my life, not just continue to push to the next task… I like to have things to do, but I want to also be able to stop and enjoy those things… not just cross it off my list. This last one should work really well with other two tasks above, I hope… because community and reducing my footprint takes time, they force me to stop and try new things… I want to simplify my world so that I can contribute to it better and in a more meaningful way. I want to be able to take in the moment… not just spend my life trying to capture a few manufactured perfect ones all ready for social media.

So that’s my three things… not small, and probably hard to measure, but I am hopeful about what my life might look like if I get this right. or even if I just improve a little. I am also choosing these three because they are positive… and they look at big problems and give me a way to help with what I have… I want to be hopefully in 2020, not stressed and tired and sad that the world is falling apart and I am missing all the good bits. I know it’s a lot… but I think it is achievable… and even though I hadn’t really articulated these ideas in my mind when I wrote my 2020 list, there are already a lot of things on the list that will help me work through my big things… for example last month I used my shampoo bar for the first time which I am not only very excited about because it’s one less plastic bottle… but it was no. 93 on my list… simple, sweet and helpful… once I have used it for a while I will let you know what it’s like… but even if it doesn’t work, or I forget to write… it’s a little step in the direction I want to be moving.

New Year… New List…

Happy New Year Everyone!

This New Years has felt a little bitter sweet, it is always such a nice feeling to start fresh and to reset, and this time we not only get to start a fresh year but a brand new decade… the possibilities are endless… but at the very same time there are some pretty terrifying things happening in Australia, we have been traveling around New Zealand for the last couple of weeks and all the news from home seems to be it’s hot and it’s on fire and right now that seem to be impossible to stop and so it feels hard to celebrate when others are sheltering on the beach and don’t know what they will have to return to as they start 2020. It’s hard to imagine what they must be going through. As we flew home last night the plane flew through some smoke from the fires and the cabin began to smell of smoke, it was a pretty sobering reminder of what we were returning to. Dave, Isaac and I are lucky to live in an area that is pretty safe from these types of fires, but my heart feels heavy and powerless to help those who aren’t. So I guess my hope is that the fires will cease and that there will be some Happy New Years even if they are a little delayed. That there would be good soaking rain and that our land would start to heal… that would be a Happy New Year.

To be totally honest it feels a little selfish to sit here and write this blog about all the things that I am going to/hoping to do this year when there is so much going on, but the reality is there is always things like this going on… I am only feeling it more because it is in my backyard… and I will be mad at myself if I don’t do it… and despite all that is going on, 2020 feels hopeful… I feel good about what’s to come, I am optimistic about the future, 2019 was full of adjusting to a new stage in life, new jobs, new routines and new expectations… this year there should be less of that, which hopefully leaves more space for well used time, growth and learning… and because I am still a sucker for a list here are our 2020 lists… Emma’s List no. 12 and Isaac’s List no. 3…

You probably know the drill by now… but just in case… you can get up to speed on all the previous lists here: 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), and just like all the previous lists there is much of the same in 2020’s offerings. Some tasks to help me work on myself, physically, spiritually and mentally, some things just because they are fun, some challenges, and some good old family time. Isaac’s list is much the same… although his is more fun and developmental milestones so that I remember to document them. I feel like I am finally starting to find some balance in documenting and just enjoying and also making space to write about other things as they happen, but hopefully I will continue to improve with that this year too… although really (and again probably selfishly) this is just here for me, but if you like it great. And if you see anything on the lists below we can do together let me know.

Alright, enough rambling… here are the lists:

My List

  1. Make a family plan
  2. Find a better work life balance
  3. Get my steps average up to 10000 per day.
  4. Have a child free night
  5. Find another way to reduce my impact on the planet
  6. Do two fun runs
  7. Read 9 books
  8. Go to a Finders Keepers Market
  9. Find and try 3 new parks
  10. Go camping
  11. Get my VIT locked down
  12. Go to bed earlier Sunday – Thursday
  13. Blog 15 times at least
  14. At least 6 date days
  15. Volunteer at Parkrun
  16. Call / Update our grandparents regularly
  17. Walk Dex regularly
  18. Bake some meringues
  19. Take a picture everyday
  20. Meet 3 new babies
  21. Fish and chips on the beach at the beginning and at the end of the year
  22. Go through and sort Isaac’s clothes
  23. Get a massage
  24. Sort out Kinder for Isaac
  25. Exercise as least twice a week
  26. Go on a family bike ride
  27. Take some family photos
  28. Swim at the beach
  29. Meet the newest member of our family
  30. Be a Parkrun tourist
  31. Winter beach getaway
  32. Play a board or card game
  33. Make a banoffee pie
  34. Do a puzzle
  35. Make photo book
  36. Do some colouring
  37. Cross 2 things of the list every month
  38. Use Isaac’s highlight book and my gratitude diary
  39. See some fireworks
  40. Read to Isaac everyday
  41. Drink at least 1 glass of plain water everyday
  42. Play some badminton
  43. Brunch date alone
  44. Brunch date with Dave
  45. Brunch date with Isaac
  46. Floss more often
  47. Get a housework timing guide… print it out and stick to it
  48. Use the hiking backpack at least 3 times
  49. No games on my phone for 3months
  50. No Facebook or Instagram after 10:30pm on weeknights
  51. Make some cookies with Isaac
  52. Go to at least one of Dave’s school concerts
  53. Do the 10min clean most days
  54. Remember the bags
  55. Complete that 30 day exercise challenge
  56. Swim some laps
  57. Have a perfect month with my activity rings
  58. Do a weekly plan
  59. Get some better coffee tables
  60. Entertain more guests
  61. Finish the scrapbooks
  62. Keep scanning in photos
  63. Reduce the amount of take-out meals we have
  64. Go to a carols by candlelight in the park
  65. Have a no spend day once a month
  66. Earn at least 6 of the monthly activity challenge awards on my watch
  67. Do my devotions at least 3 times a week
  68. Have dinner with our siblings
  69. Make a dip
  70. Make a pav
  71. Make some ice cream
  72. Use some herbs from our garden
  73. Go some place I’ve never been to in Victoria
  74. Go to the NGV
  75. Use my sewing machine
  76. FaceTime our NZ family
  77. Use my bees wax wraps
  78. Buy an item of clothing I wouldn’t usually buy and wear it
  79. Do Parkrun with 5 different people
  80. Paint a picture
  81. Listen to a new artist
  82. Picnic in the park
  83. Stand barefoot on grass and sand
  84. Keep the house tidy
  85. Meat free meal at least once a week
  86. Keep my car free of rubbish
  87. Do an exercise class
  88. Do a trail walk/hike
  89. Make banana bread from scratch
  90. Have a meal with the parentals… all of them… separately
  91. Toast some marshmallows
  92. Edit and finalise Isaac’s logs and maybe publish them
  93. Try one of those shampoo bars
  94. See a new Disney Movie
  95. Keep my phone time under control
  96. Spend more time outside
  97. Keep an indoor plant alive
  98. Use my standing desk more often
  99. Keep my phone clean of excess apps that just waste my time.
  100. Break the next barrier

Isaac’s List

  1. Go 10 pin bowling
  2. Swim at the beach
  3. Visit all 3 Zoos
  4. Check out the traffic park in Bayswater
  5. Go to the movies
  6. Ride my balance bike
  7. Pat a new animal
  8. Ride my scooter
  9. See some fireworks
  10. Swim in Pa’s pool
  11. Go on a train
  12. Draw a picture
  13. Jump… with both feet leaving the ground
  14. Try a new instrument
  15. Dress myself… almost all by myself
  16. Learn to use the toilet
  17. Do a puzzle all by myself
  18. Go on an adventure with Dad
  19. Go on an adventure with Mum
  20. Try one of those cool parks that have water play
  21. Kick a footy
  22. Learn to take a photo
  23. Swap to a big bed
  24. BBQ with Dad
  25. Say goodbye to my ‘num nums’ (dummies)

And there they are… two brand new lists of goodness… here we come 2020