30 things before 31

Somehow it is my birthday again tomorrow… a whole year has apparently gone by since I last wrote a post like this.  But this birthday feels different and I am not really sure why… usually I start my birthday blogs talking about how I don’t really feel ready to switch over to the next age… but this year I just don’t really feel that fussed about it, which is really strange.  It is super odd… since I was 17, I have had a love hate relationship with birthdays, but now as I turn 31… it suddenly doesn’t feel like such a big deal.  Maybe I have finally grown up? Maybe I am still in denial about being 30 at all… but either way its nice not to be upset about it.

Each year I like to take just a minute (although it seems to be getting longer as I add more and more years) to stop and reflect on how the past year has shaped who I am now.  Things that I have loved, learned or just lived during year 30… 30 of them, before 30 becomes 31 tomorrow.

  1. 30 wasn’t so bad… it happened and the sky didn’t fall, I didn’t fall apart… in fact it was kinda nice
  2. I finally feel like an adult… I know I have been one for a long time now, but I feel like I am actually living an adult life now… trying to save money, considering my long term health, fixing things at home and being more comfortable in my skin.
  3. My body is my body… it’s far from perfect, but it’s done some pretty great things, it may never be the body I want, but it’s the body I am most comfortable in.
  4. Sometimes the things you fear the most, aren’t the things you should have been worried about
  5. It turns out my boys like to come fast and very very early… neither traits they get from me
  6. We live in a country that is incredibly blessed with amazing health care and hospitals
  7. There is a place for coffee in my life, and after years of being an exclusive tea drinker… I am now partial to the latte… I would imagine it’s the sleep deprivation.
  8. Even when you think you have had all you can take… there is usually more, and you learn you are stronger still.
  9. God is good, all the time… and his plans are better, even when you think yours a pretty great.
  10. Isaac is the toughest kid I have ever met
  11. I will do anything to hear a baby giggle, especially if it is my baby
  12. Best laid plans are now a pie in the sky kind of goal… yet I continue to make them anyway
  13. I like making improvements on my house… but the greatest home improvements are when everything has a place in the room in which it belongs… it turns out I am a house micro manager
  14. Banana bread is from heaven
  15. Babies are hard to take selfies with
  16. Motherhood means getting to join a gang of incredible women who you can talk to about anything even if you’ve never met before
  17. You can sit in the same chair all day every day for months if it is with the ones you love
  18. Babies grow fast, sometimes they only wear clothes once, although you can get so much joy from putting a child in a seasonal costume.
  19. Tiny face-washers save many things at many times
  20. Life goes fast… you should always celebrate the small things
  21. Turkish delight milkshakes and pink donuts will forever be sacred
  22. People are good more often they are not, and we are surrounded by so many people who love us and truely do want us to thrive and succeed
  23. Being a mum is better than I could have ever comprehended, although it comes with its own bag of guilt and expectations that I am continually trying to work through and balance
  24. Breastmilk is magic… not just for the baby, but for the mum who can offer nothing else to a baby in NICU… even long after they have left… although not pumping today for the first time in 8 and bit months was acutally really nice.
  25. I am married to the most patient, servant hearted man I have ever met… he has kept us going, kept us fed and kept the house functional… he is also an epic dad and has actually been doing the majority (like at least 85%) of the overnight feeds solo.
  26. I can’t stop crying… everything pulls at my heart strings.  This week I cry at every happy story at the commonwealth games… so many tears it is embarrassing… and don’t you dare show my a picture of a baby in hospital, I will not cope.
  27. I am looking forward to a year of not being pregnant and eating all of the foods (in moderation of course)
  28. I am pretty sure I am addicted to my phone and social media… maybe 31 is the year to get this under control because real life is definitely more satisfying.
  29. Hail does a lot more damage than I had realised….
  30. Even though I am further away from a lot of the goals I had over the last couple of years, I feel like I am simplifying and making way for other goals which somehow now seem more significant, even though they wouldn’t have previously made the cut… I think this is another sign that maybe I have just started growing up.

Thanks 30, you have certainly been another challenging year, but you have also brought a lot of joy and wonder, lets hope 31 is just as joyful, but less dramatic… I feel like my 30s could be my best years yet.

29 things before 30

So tomorrow I turn 30… and just like every other birthday for at least the last 10 years I am not excited about getting another year over… but this year I feel a little more ready for it.  30 has been something that has been looming for a while… 30 years in fact, but more so in the past 12 months.  Something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about and something that I have finally decided won’t be as bad as I think it will be.  So I thought I would continue my new tradition (from last year) to take a moment before it happens to reflect on the year that was 29 before it is gone altogether.  But before I can reflect on the last 12 months… because 30 is also the end of a decade… it only seems right to look at the last 10 years as well…

20-30 is a big time of change… a lot of growing up… and while I don’t think I have being an adult down pat yet, I certainly feel more like an adult than a young adult.  I am not sure if it’s my new found love of a quiet night in? Or my change in thinking around having to stand up and make a change if I don’t like something… but I feel like where I am at now, even though it may not be where I am forever, is an achievement…

20-30 has also been home to some of my happiest times as well as my most challenging…  I have changed and grown, physically, mentally and spiritually.  And while I wish I hadn’t grown quite as much physically… unless I could have gained some extra height… I am thankful for the lessons I have learned and the paths I have taken that have made my faith and mind stronger.

I have done so much in my 20s that I am not sure how my 30s will catch up, but I hope that they do… although, I am hoping our hardest path has already be walked… and the rocky patches ahead will not be quite as devastating.

Since I turned 20 I have…

  • Completed… well attempted to complete my very first list (2007) and since attempted 8 more… I am currently on my 9th
  • Returned to China to hang out with Dad and cross ‘Hong Kong Disney Land’ off my life long Disney visit bucket list (2007)
  • Had my life outlook changed by a uni placement to Bourke (2008)
  • Had 2 massive 21st parties
  • Finished my Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (2008)
  • Started running the Kids Church at Church and had the most epic YP Anniversary of all time with ‘Talkin’ about my generation’ (2009)
  • Continued my red dirt obsession with trips to Broken Hill (2009) and Uluru (2016)
  • Got a job in the country… Castlemaine to be exact… moved out of home and spent a year blogging about it (2009-2010)
  • Had my 5 year and 10 year High School Reunions (2009 & 2014)
  • Starred in Box Hill Salvos “Nativity Play’
  • Got my first iPhone
  • Ran 2 Half Marathons (2008 & 2013)
  • Meet a cute little guy named Dex… and he moved in (2009)
  • Bought my first new car and said goodbye to my faithful Saabie (2010)
  • Experienced some snapshots of Europe… first with the Big Band in Sweden in 2010… then with Davo in 2015/2016
  • Got Engaged (2010) and Married my very own Prince Charming (2011)
  • Auditioned for Broadway (2010)
  • Visited Disneyworld with my new Husband (2011)
  • Visited NZ and my NZ family a couple of times (2012 & 2014/2015)
  • Watched one of my little brothers get married (2012)
  • Said goodbye to my second job as a Dietitian and moved to my current workplace at Link, where I have been able to expand my dietetics skills in to Marketing and IT (2013)
  • Been Bridesmaid for 2 of my best friends (2014 and here)
  • Brought my first house (2014)
  • Graduated from uni twice… one for dietetics and then again for my teaching degree (2014)
  • Watched both of my parents get remarried (2014, 2015)
  • Worked out how to long distance best friend (2015)
  • Recorded my first CD… well sung vocals on a Big Band CD (2017)
  • Became a mum and had to say goodbye to my little man (2016)
  • Got back up (2017)

A big 10 years… but I think the past 12 months have challenged who I am at my core more than any year before and I think lots of the things that I have done over the past decade have somehow prepared me for what happened…  But there has also been lots to be thankful for and I have learnt a lot… so in my new tradition… here are 29 things I have learned, loved and lived in the past year that have helped me prepare for 30…

  1. Birthdays are excellent… No matter how much I have been nervous about embracing them… they are always fun… especially when Dave helps to plan them… tomorrow will be good.
  2. Epic milkshakes are indeed epic… and often overwhelming, they should be consumed with caution… and preferably with no other sources of lactose.
  3. Having a celebrity like a post… even if they are a fake one… is more exciting than it should be… they are just people…but it was Russell Coight
  4. Dave makes driving a bus look grand
  5. Trimester 1 of pregnancy is the worst… it is hard keeping a secret, especially a when you feel like poop and you have to convince everyone else you are fine… lets hope that the next one is somehow easier.
  6. Jells Park is way more beautiful than I ever gave it credit for growing up… I am really glad that it is my local Parkrun venue.
  7. Dex looks great in a bow tie
  8. Family is messy and hard to fit on a wall, but I wouldn’t change any of it
  9. Pregnancy cravings are weird… but turkish delight milkshakes are the bomb
  10. Having Josh was the best thing I have ever done, but it was also the hardest knowing he wouldn’t stay.  Even if I knew what would happen I wouldn’t have swapped those 24weeks for anything.
  11. Colouring really is as good a distraction as they say it is…
  12. I still love my list, and I am really enjoying the simplicity of it this year, lots of local fun.
  13. 29 has been a year of home, embracing family, learning to breathe and dreaming for the future.
  14. This time last year I wrote ‘I am stronger and more capable then I think… I should remember this more often’, this is more true now then ever before.
  15. Whatsapp is great, but seeing your bestie face to face is greater, especially when you have time off to be able spend with them.
  16. I like being in the IT and Marketing teams… I also really like teaching.  I am pretty blessed to work for such great places that encourage me to grow and learn new skills.
  17. Dancing in a strawberry suit isn’t as embarrassing as you think it will be, you should just embrace it.
  18. Dave is still the best person to have ever entered my life.  He is strong, wise and loyal and I love him more than ever… plus he gets even better looking with age… who would have thought that was possible.
  19. I am getting better at throwing things out… lots of times you have to get rid of something old to make way for the new.  I don’t need to be a hoarder to keep the memories.
  20. I have good people around me, my community if vast and wide and I often take it for granted, but Dave and I could not have gotten through the last 6 months without them.
  21. I love the country
  22. I love the AFLW and I am glad I was part of the first season.
  23. I love singing in a recording studio… it makes me feel like a superstar.
  24. New cameras are the bomb… but I desperately need to improve my photography skills.
  25. Practicing gratitude is important… my new daily habit of writing down 3 things is helpful… it’s making me see the good… I should keep this going because I still can’t make happiness, or just choose to be happy, but I can choose to fill my life with people, things and places that make me happy, I can choose to see the good and I can choose to seek better.
  26. I still love blogging… and I think I am getting better at it… I suppose that’s the plus side of honesty.
  27. I love to worship… I love learning about worship and I love Jesus… He is the only one worthy of my worship.
  28. My plans for my life might be good, but as hard as it is to accept sometimes, His ways are better.  Life often seems unfair sometimes and we can’t always see the bigger picture… but we have to trust.
  29. I am still getting better at looking after myself, but just like last year I still have a long way to go… but this remains a top priority.  I can’t do what I am called to do, if I can’t function.

29 you have been a challenge, you have been hard, but you have been worth it all… in fact 20s you have been great… better than I had ever hoped and totally different from what I expected.

I am holding on to the promise that my 30s will bring better things… I hope that I continue to learn more, love more and live more… 30 I am now ready for you.

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.

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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

28 things before 29

So tomorrow I turn 29… and just like every other birthday for at least the last 10years I don’t feel ready for it… but I thought it might be nice to take a moment before it happens to reflect on the year that was 28 before it is gone altogether.  A couple of years ago I saw on Instagram… or maybe Facebook, I can’t remember… but it doesn’t really matter, I saw someone post x number of things they learned/loved/lived from the year of x… that might not make sense, right now, but hopefully it will in a minute.  The point is, I really liked it, and even though I can’t find it again now to say thank you to whoever it was, I have decided this is a good way to reflect… So here are 28 things that I have learned, loved and lived in the past year that have helped me prepare for 29… oh and if this idea was yours, please accept my thanks and let me know so I can say thanks properly.

  1. Hot Chocolate is better with sprinkles… and yes that is a thing… you can add sprinkles to a Hot Chocolate.
  2. I am still enjoying writing my list each year.  I hope this is something that I can keep doing, only as long as I still love it though.
  3. 28 has been a year of travel, little trips, big trips, some close and some far away, but all wonderful. I have seen more, been further and done some pretty incredible things.
  4. I am stronger and more capable then I think… I should remember this more often.
  5. The internet is wonderful for keeping those who move far away, just a little bit closer.
  6. I have been able to expand my skills at work and try some new things and found myself in the IT department for a little while.
  7. It turns out I really like using some power tools… not the ones with saws or blades, but the drill with lots of attachments, that works.
  8. Making small changes at home has made it feel even more like home than ever before.
  9. Choosing Dave as my best friend and partner in crime is still the best decision I have ever made, he makes me a better person and in the next 12months I should appreciate him more.  He is strong, clever, loyal, funny, incredibly hard working and ridiculously good-looking at all times.
  10. Camping isn’t a phase… I really do love it, I love being outside, I love sleeping under the stars and I love toasting marshmallows.
  11. I am getting better at looking after myself, but I still have a long way to go… but I am more determined than ever to get there.
  12. I have learned that life is full of unjust things, some of which affect me and lots which I contribute to, often without me knowing.  I need to pay more attention to my impact on the world around me. I can make it better, even if it’s only a little bit.
  13. Being deliberate about my actions also applies to lost of other things… work, books, learning, devotions and faith… this year I have learnt that it is time to be deliberate about focusing on what I want/need/would like and making it happen.
  14. Parkrun is always worth it, I will always feel better if I get up and exercise, even if it takes 4.5kms of the 5kms to feel that way.
  15. Michael Bolton is totally underrated.
  16. I love having the right gear to do things… especially my ‘adventure gear’ great jackets, pants, shorts, beanies, gloves, torches, shoes, bags… everything you need for adventures… I just need more adventures to use it.
  17. It turns out I know less about a lot more than I thought… this is good news… I have lots to learn and I love learning.  Most recently I have loved learning about WWII, soviet occupation and Australian History.
  18. My spatial awareness is still as terrible as ever… I don’t think this will ever change.
  19. I am a sucker for a competition… this has been good for my exercise in the last 12months… I will do more kms even if it kills me.
  20. I am learning to be satisfied with who I am and where I fit into the world, although this year, while I have found my place in some parts of my life, I have become completely unstuck in others.
  21. For a while now I have thought I didn’t have the time/mental capacity to expand my friend network, but over the past 12months I have met a lot of new people and made some really amazing new friends… it turns out I do have the capacity and the time… I hope that 29 keeps bringing people into my life.
  22. Skiing and bush walking are actually things I enjoy… that is a sentence I ever thought I would type.
  23. There is nothing like the red dirt of the outback.
  24. Sunrise and Sunset are always magical.
  25. I can get up early if I really want to… and I should practice it more often.
  26. Even though my family is complicated at times, it is wonderful, caring, loving and supportive.
  27. I like being in a book club, it makes me read books I wouldn’t usually choose, but usually enjoy.
  28. I can’t make happiness, or just choose to be happy, but I can choose to fill my life with people, things and places that make me happy, I can choose to see the good and I can choose to seek better… I think that is what I have done this year… or at least tried to do.

Thanks 28, you have been a winner… here is to 29.  May 29 be even better… I hope that I learn more, love more and live more.