Friday, April 11, 2014

FFS Friday - Counting Biscuits and No Sleep.

  • I recently subscribed to Runners World magazine, iPad edition, through Amazon. It is a great read. This month's issue is dedicated to the 2013 Boston Marathon. I read it non stop and realised what a privilege it is to have a working, moving body. NO FFS.
  • I've been paying more attention to my body and actually enjoying moving it. In fact, getting downright non-endorphin'd when unable to run. FFS.
  • M calls them 'Dorpins' or 'Dolphins'. It took us a few days to work out what she meant when she asked Mr S 'Daddy, do you get dorpins from riding your bike?'. NO FFS.
  • She throws a lot of threenager tantrums at the moment. FFS.
  • I thought 'Terrible Twos' was... terrible. It was not. FFS.
  • A lovely young couple have bought the house next door to us and have been renovating a storm before their wedding this week. They are completely lovely. I'm certain they think I'm a stalker, as I offer them cookies, tomatoes, zucchinis. I feel like a bit of a stalker doing it, but it's how we roll in the country. I just have trouble remembering their names, and I mixed it all up again today. I get nervous meeting new people and then I'm pretty much convinced they hate me. FFS.
  • I'm not getting much sleep at the moment. Daylight saving can go and get f... take a running jump. M & P have been greeting the world between 5-6am most mornings. FFS.
  • They're both a bit unwell, and last night went a little like...
    10.30pm: lights out.
    12.30am: M awake. Mr S attends. M asleep.
    2.30am: M awake. Making a strange sound. Realise she's sounding like she's got croup. (FFS!) Mr S brings panadol, a vaporiser and a drink.
    3.30am: lights out.
    5am: P awake. Feed, nappy change and back to bed.
    5.30am: lights out.
    6am: Mr S's alarm goes off.
    6.07am: Mr S's alarm goes off.
    6.14am: Mr S's alarm goes off.
    6.21am: P awakens. Mr S's alarm goes off.
    6.40am: M awakens.

  • M and I baked cookies today. I froze 3 dozen dough balls, baked 2 dozen and gave M a sheet of non-chocolated cookies to decorate with sprinkles. She ate a lot of sprinkles, licked the beater, tasted the butter, tasted both kinds of sugar and lost it when I wouldn't let her eat any more ANYTHING. FFS.
  • We baked them, they cooled, we had one each. NO FFS.
  • We were outside and I noticed that M suddenly had a neverending biscuit. I asked how many she had eaten. She said 5. FFS.
  • Her counting is excellent, but 5 could actually mean 7. FFS.
  • She then threw an awesome tantrum about her socks, her shoes, how neither fit, her feet hurt, she didn't want to go outside, her socks, her shoes, her feet hurt, she didn't want to go outside... FFS. It made me think of this:
  • She locked herself in her room. I thought seriously about continuing to garden outside and leave her to it. However, I tucked her into bed, said 'nite nite', closed the door. I came back 15min later to see her snoring. NO FFS.
  • It was 4pm. FFS.
  • I came back again 15 min later to hear screaming. FFS.
  • And finally, M is trying to drop her day sleep.

    I'll let the gravity of that statement fully sink in for you.

    I KNOW. FFS.
Dear Baby G

Sunday, April 6, 2014

100 Days of Happiness - Run, Girl, Run.

In 167 Days I will hopefully be lining up at a start line in Sydney, with Sarah and HB close by. At least, until the starting gun goes off and HB will be off running 4 minute kilometres, with Sarah not far behind.

A month or so ago Sarah sent me a message and said 'I'm doing the Sydney Blackmores Marathon'.
I said 'Wow! Awesome!'
She said 'You should do it with me.'
I said 'uhhhhhhhh what?'

Sarah listening to all of my excuses, declared them null and void and advised me to harden up. Actually, because she is delightful, she did nothing of the short. She listened to my excuses, said encouraging exciting things and left me to it. So I talked to Mr S about it and I didn't let the fact that I've been running for less than 6 months intimidate me (too much) and I said yes.


I am somewhat genetically predisposed to running. As in, I've got gigantic long legs that like to run fast. Now they aren't particularly speedy but they like a good run. Since I've been exercising regularly my hips don't hurt anymore. I know, right?

I downgraded my initial enthusiasm to a half marathon after reading lots of training manuals and books, which advised to be running for longer than a year before committing to a full marathon.

My BRF and I began to up our training, and pretty soon we were running 2km non stop. Then we did the MONA GASP run, which was 4km, non stop.

This week I cheated on my BRF, abandoned my family on Saturday morning and went for a solo run. It's rare that I run in either daylight or solo, so it was such a treat. I aimed for 5km, and after flagging a touch at 3.5km, I looped back to the car, ate some jellybeans, drank some water, found a toilet and kept going. I packed it in at 6.6km - my furthest distance ever!

My recovery has been awesome this time. Usually I'm suffering with shin splints that ache as much as newly engorged breastfeeding boobs (sorry boys, but it's true) and various joints complain. This time? Nada.

There was something funny on my leg the other day when I was getting dressed. I was concerned for a few seconds, and then I realised it was a quad muscle. Oh! An actual muscle! I have great Lady Guns from tending to my veggie garden and lifting two toddlers, and I've had Runner's Calves for a while, but Actual Leg Muscles are very exciting.

Mr S is endlessly patient listening to me waffle on about my Personal Best times and Heart Rate Zones, with a good serve of 'OMG MUSCLES'.

I have not lost significant weight in numbers, but my clothes are fitting nicely these days. My BRF is actively trying to gain weight after our exercise has seen her lose weight! She also looks amazing.

So my 100 Days Of Happiness can begin here. Running makes me so happy. Sewing makes me happy. My little daughters make me happy. My Mr S makes me happy. I love this song - it makes me happy.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

I used to be a grown up.

When M was a tiny baby who cried a lot and I was a new mother who also cried a lot because my baby cried a lot and why can't I fix this... well, my aunt called me and said 'She is learning to be a baby and you are learning to be a mother. That is all. It is okay.'

I still remember the timbre of her voice as she said those words to me and the relief I felt then is still the relief I feel now.

In many ways I suppose I am still learning to be a mother. As M grows into a toddler/little girl/tiny dictator/threenager I am again at a loss as to best roll with the punches. P is strangely enough a different person, so she's not exactly the same as M, making her journey different too.

I went back to my job when M was 20 weeks old. It was agreed upon that I would work from home, and ten days out from my return to work, it was decided that that would't work for my employers. I bandied about with the option of freelancing for them, but that wouldn't work because they feared it would be viewed as a 'sham contract', despite my having been a sole trader in my friend for the past ten years. So we reluctantly found a daycarer and I reluctantly went back to work, and hated it. So tired. Stressed at leaving my non crawling baby with someone else. Tired.

Then I began to enjoy it. Coffee alone! Shopping alone! BEING ALONE! I struggled with my workload and balancing short days with continuity of projects. I struggled with my colleagues who couldn't understand which days I was working, week to week. (I worked the same days every week.) I loved being a grown up again, but I found it so difficult.

I fell pregnant with P when M was 10 months old and my morning sickness was revolting. I carried a bottle of soda water in my handbag at all times and snuck out of the office at 10am every morning for a pair of potato cakes with chicken salt. I ate a lot. Some early pregnancy complications meant that we didn't feel like sharing this pregnancy with the world until we were certain everything was progressing ok. I mean, my gigantic bump at 6 weeks should have been certainty enough, but I hid that sucker under a scarf. At week 14 I handed in my maternity leave form to surprised employers, who looked even more shocked when I took my scarf off to show them that indeed, I was eating for two!

Surprise! Not just fat.

It was a difficult and tiring pregnancy which took it's toll on me early on. In hindsight finishing work in my second trimester would have been a lot easier on my body, but my financial situation didn't allow it. I balanced everything pretty poorly and forgot everything both at work and at home. I pinned a lot of things and spent a lot of time staring blankly at a wall trying to stay awake. At week 35 I finished my last day at work. Two of my colleagues remembered, made me a card and organised an afternoon tea.

Best. Card. Ever.

As the time to return to work approached I still wasn't ready. I extended my leave and thought about what I might like to do come September for my return to work.

A few phone calls later from my employers and I was offered a redundancy. I accepted and all lines of communication ceased, and on the last day of the financial year it was finalised. After five years of service, a place that was a huge part of my life suddenly wasn't anymore. It was a strange feeling. Even though it was an outcome that I was happy with, it still really felt like I was fired.

I'm not entirely sure that my employers actually told anyone of my final departure. I still run into my lovely ex-colleagues who ask when I'll be returning from maternity leave. It's safe to say I don't feel the love!

However I digress. Today I realised something important.

M and I were making brownies in the kitchen. She was sitting on the bench covered in chocolate, licking the beater and grinning at me. There was music on in the background, the kitchen was warm, P was snoozing peacefully in the other room and we were happy.

Photograph (c) Andrew Smyth

You can tell I love her, because I share the beaters and spatula.

I don't have a 'career head' on me at the moment. I'm here, enjoying the moments that make me smile, make me sad, drive me bonkers and make memories. I'm able to enjoy this time fully because this is what I do in the mornings. I get up and spend time with my family. It's because of the ailing print book economy and small business decline that I'm able to do this. I'm so grateful I live in a place that allows us to live and thrive on one wage. M and P are tiny for about five minutes. It's five minutes that I want to grab, bottle and hold on to forever.

Pretty nice, eh?

Friday, March 28, 2014

FFS Friday

This past week saw M's third birthday, with birthday party attached. She's been checking out the character birthday cakes in Woolworths for the past six months for her birthday, deciding each week between Mickey Mouse (Squeaky Mouse), Lightning McQueen (Lightwing Aqueen), Peppa Pig (PEPPA, caps deliberate) and Thomas the Tank Engine (Thomas the Tank Engine). Whilst I was mildly concerned about how the frozen for transport then thawed in store cakes would TASTE and I was not keen on paying $25 for a cake... it was what my firstborn wanted. And if it meant I wouldn't need to spend hours baking and decorating a cake... well...

We go to Woolworths the week before M's birthday and enquire about the likelihood of a PEPPA cake, as that was what Madam had deigned necessary. We are gently told that the decorated cakes have been discontinued and there is a Lightning McQueen cake they can give us for cheap because it's cracked. FFS.


I then offered to make M any cake her heart desired. My cake skillz are pretty mad and they've never let me down before. I am very thankful for the full year of night classes Skye and I took in cake decorating in 2008. She says Peppa. I think of all the Peppa cakes I've seen where her snout looks like... well... a penis. FFS.

Mr S thinks I am crazy for even envisaging such a problem. FFS.

So, with Mothership's supervision and me having endless mini shouty rants of 'I CAN'T TALK RIGHT NOW MUM, NOT TALKING RIGHT NOW, ICING SHIT SHIT SHIT' - this happened.

I gave myself several high fives. NO FFS.

I posted the above picture on Instagram and the first comment was 'You did such a great job unlike the other Peppa cakes I've seen, where her snout looks like a penis.' I KNOW, RIGHT? NO FFS.

M's party went well, although she appears to be blessed with my social genes whereupon worries that no one is coming to party when no one had turned up five minutes after the official start time. FFS.

I had really hoped that my kids missed that one. FFS.

We moved both girls into the same room on the weekend. The first day was appalling, where no one had a day sleep. I went in to check on them and M was going the slide next to P's head. P thought it was glorious. FFS.

All settled down and now they're pretty good. NO FFS.

Aside from today, where P refused to go to sleep and spent 45 minutes singing, bashing the walls, pulling stuffed toys through the sides of her cot and trying to get pictures off her walls. FFS.

She wasn't screaming her head off whilst she was doing this, so it's not too bad. NO FFS.

Today we went to the supermarket and whilst I had M's hand firmly gripped whilst going across the zebra crossing RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOORS, a car sped through the zebra crossing without a second glance. Terrifying. M was two paces ahead of me whilst still firmly holding my hand, and I've never been so terrified and furious all at one. I waved my child laden arms at the car with a look of horror and anger on my face. If her window had been open I would have screamed 'WHAT THE FECK ARE YOU DOING YOU FECKWIT?'. Truly. I had a headache and it was naptime for the chickens. FFS.

The way I moved my arms around it probably looked like I was doing a funny dance. FFS.

L and I have been running like mad women lately. Upon the advice of my GP (a fitness fanatic) I invested in a Garmin factory reconditioned GPS HRM watch. It is glorious and looks giant on my bird wrists. I do love it though. NO FFS.

Did I mention that L and I ran our first fun run on March 16. 4km in 26:54. No stopping! All running! NO FFS.

There was people there from every walk of life and it was one of the most inspiring things I've seen. As we were leaving about 90 minutes after we began, the last of the 4km walk/run were finishing. There was a young man in a walking frame with his two carers/parents. We cheered SO hard for him and he was SO excited to finish. He was closely followed by another disabled woman with her carer. It was so humbling and amazing. NO FFS.

M & P spend most mornings mimicking my stretches. It's so sweet and cracks us both up. M also tries to do push ups with Mr S - and she's got some amazing strength. I can't believe how bendy and strong toddlers are. NO FFS.

I never want to hear anyone tell me how hard exercise is. FFS.

I know I've been guilty of it of complaining about how hard it is for many years of my life, but I eat humble pie now. I find it very hard to make small talk with people who see my running gear and tell me 'I'd love to run, it's just so hard.' FFS.

As the mighty Sarah says 'JFDI'. Of COURSE it's not pleasant, but the gains absolutely outweigh the pain. Trust me. NO FFS.

L and I did an easy 3km run on Wednesday morning. We keep meaning to run further, but after we drop our kids at daycare and have a child free coffee... time slips away and L needs to go to work. FFS.

I came home after our run on Wednesday and 'cross trained' for an hour, listening to Another Mother Runner podcasts. NO FFS.

After I'd moved a tonne of wood, the podcast was still going so I did some trail training around my yard for a km. NO FFS.

Two rows deep, 6' high.

I moved the wood from here, up the path in my garden cart.

I was then exhausted. FFS.

Yesterday my sniffle got worse and I felt remarkably queasy all day. Mr S came home at 6pm, I crawled into bed and slept for a bit. I no longer felt queasy but my skin hurt. Ouch! I tossed and turned all night and whilst I'm less achy today I'm still feeling like crap. Was it the mega exercise Wednesday or something lurking that reared it's ugly head. Either way: FFS.

I'm peeved because I really fancied a run tonight. I'm doing the Mother's Day Classic and I need to keep my training up. FFS.

I know one missed one won't break it, but it feels like it. FFS.

I have a little girl to go and snuggle now, I have a feeling the lurgy is about to visit us all. FFS.

Linking up with Move Fuel Love for our weekly download.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Again, the point form update.

Source: Facebook. I'd love to know where it's originally from, can you help?
Is this perhaps the post where you're not entirely sure that you've got much to say... but here's a template so let's give it a crack?

Making : Five pairs of trousers for DMM, who has shot up 2cm in the past four weeks.
Cooking : Jelly, Peppa Pig birthday cake, caramel slice.

The two semesters of cake decorating classes I took
were freakin' invaluable in a case like this.

Drinking : water, decaf tea, real tea, coffee.
Reading: I've just finished Rich Rolls' Finding Ultra and I love his passion for life and exercise challenges. He lost me at the end with his advice to mix up a green smoothie in the morning and sip at it over the course of the day so as to not eat food that will not best serve your athletic goals. Or eat a baked potato instead. I like real food.
Wanting: the girls to stop talking to each other and go to sleep. They've been sharing a room for four days and it's gone relatively smoothly... relatively.
Looking: outside at the misty hills and the rain.
Playing: Spotify. How did I completely miss out on Spotify until now? HOW?
Wasting: Time. Still toddler food.
Sewing: Trousers for DMM, a birthday dress for DMM, and three t-shirts for myself. I've just bought a stretch twin needle so I imagine that will make it easier.
Wishing: that my non-training days had as much energy as my training days.
Enjoying: watching documentaries about ultrarunning and trail running.
Waiting: for the girls to go to sleep...
Liking: the look of the couch right now...
Wondering: decaf tea or should I chance a Big Girl tea due to sewing night tonight?
Loving: Mr S' eyes. I never tire of looking into them.
That my tomatoes ripen.
A tiny amount of the tomatoes from my garden. I've got 23 plants out there, people.

Marvelling: At myself - at the beginning of the year I couldn't run 50 metres without huffing and puffing, and now Louise & I run 5km in a hit.
Louise and I all loved up after our first fun run.
Needing: Sleeeeeep.
Smelling: Wood fire burning and my new laundry liquid.
Wearing: My wedding rings, which are too big now.
Following: The new awesome FB running group.
Noticing: My posture.
Knowing: That chocolate does not cure all, but I still like to give it a red hot crack.
Thinking: Teeeaaaaaa.
Feeling: Grateful for marvellous neighbours.
Bookmarking: Clothing patterns.
Opening: my mind to setting long term exercise goals. A first for me!
Giggling: at Millie climbing on my lap to whisper 'secrets' into my ears... which are simply silent movements of her mouth and then right at the end she whispers 'I really love you. I love you. I love you Mummy.'
Feeling: Happy, exhausted and content.

Want to play along? I stole this one from Foxs Lane. Such beautiful pictures and stories.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Thing About Grief Is...

Okay okay, it's a legitimate post title, but it's also the title of one of my favourite songs ever. You can hear 'The Thing About Grief' in the background of this very special video.

This week my grief has snuck up on me. Millie and Pip have been drawing together with a box of crayons my great grandmother gave me when I was about 10. She'd won them at bingo and I always kept them safe and special. The box tipped over today and as Millie and I scooped them back into the box a divider fell out. I'd written on it 'Bottom Right Left'. I loved that giant box of crayons so much when I was kid, I didn't get to see my Nana B very often, and I loved the little gifts she gave me. Seeing the girls playing with the crayons and seeing my careful childhood writing on the box (to keep them pristine! I Looked After My Things!) made me miss her oh so much. She would have loved meeting her namesake, Millie Alice to her Mildred Alice, and I see her cheeky grin in my Millie Alice.

I am estranged from my paternal grandmother (Norma) and her mother, Nana B, did everything to be the best grandmother she could be. She died a few months after her 100th birthday, after spending six months in a home. She stayed at home until she was 99 1/2 until her dementia was such that she needed more care. When she was in her early 90's, Mr S and I drove down to see her house in the Victorian hills and help with her garden. My tiny great grandmother (standing only about 5' tall) cracked the whip and exhausted both of us with her energy.

Nana B was a real firecracker. She never married, which in her time was somewhat controversial. Amazingly (divinely?) she had a daughter, and the Blanchard lineage was born. She worked hard, and after her partner, Ted died before I was born, she kept herself busy. There was always a charity to crochet for, a raffle to sell tickets for, a bingo night to attend. She was always partial to a flutter on the pokies. More importantly, she was always there to chat to her family, and remembered every birthday, Christmas and special event.

I miss her so. Her memory brings forth the memories of my Dad too. Ah, grief. You can still sock it to me.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lately. A self indulgent update.

Making : Pieced and quilted everything. Usually cushions. I've been honing my free motion quilting skills.
Cooking : muffins, quiches, lentil soups and naughty Steggles chicken dinosaurs.
Drinking : water, decaf tea like a rock star, Rekorderlig.
Reading: books about running.
Wanting: more time to properly formulate a plan of how best to spend my days. AKA procrastination.
Looking: at my girls and wondering how on earth my body made them.
Playing: London Grammar, Katy Perry, St. Lucia, Justine Clarke.
Wasting: food. Lots of toddler food. Sigh. Thankfully we've got piggies across the road to help keep fed.
Sewing: Quilted pillows for presents, and looking at the darning on Mr S' jeans that needs to be finished.
Wishing: that Mr S and I had more time together where we weren't bone tiredly exhausted.
Enjoying: Running, thinking about running and piecing quilt blocks in my head.
Waiting: For my injuries to heal. 
Liking: the length of my hair right now.
Wondering: if it's worth going back to work?
Loving: Sharing secret grins with Lady Pippa.
Hoping: That this nasty business with Rheem gets sorted out without much more undue stress.
Marvelling: At how quickly Mr S can clean a house, and how unclean the house is when I think I've cleaned it.
Needing: To turn the computer off.
Smelling: Damp misty air.
Wearing: A bandage on my ankle.
Following: My girls around to make sure they don't eat anything they shouldn't (Pip), draw on things they shouldn't (Pip) or overflow the bathroom sink (Millie, washing dinosaurs).
Noticing: That my desk is messy.
Knowing: That everything is OK.
Thinking: That I am hungry.
Feeling: Tired. Endlessly tired.
Bookmarking: Projects to sew, posters to admire and food to cook.
Opening: My kindle at any opportunity to sneak a few more pages in.
Giggling: At Pippa learning to play 'Dragons', where we pretend to be asleep and she roars at us with her arms straight up in the air.
Feeling: Content but hungry. Always hungry!

Want to play along? I stole this one from Foxs Lane. Such beautiful pictures and stories.


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