Friday, January 24, 2014

Blog-Free Book Week

This is my last post before I take a bloggy break. 

Last week I felt like I was on a downward slide, but thanks to the grace of God I am feeling well again.  In fact, by last Saturday I was feeling much better and have felt well ever since.  Thank you to those people who prayed for me.

I haven't entirely lost my love for blogging; I have so much to say and a huge backlog of posts in my head ready to be typed here.  But I'm realising that not everyone finds it interesting, so I'm back at the crossroads of deciding what this blog is for.  Is it to entertain others, or is it merely a diary for myself, to record the thoughts and events I may well have forgotten otherwise?  Yesterday's quote seems very relevant to me at the moment.  The palest ink IS better than the best memory because even the best memories forget sometimes.  This blog is a great record of my life over the past seven and a half years.

While I was wondering what to do during my break, it hit me!  Smack!  Right in the face (metaphorically of course).  I should be editing my book!  It's one of my hopes for this year after all (it seems to be one of my hopes EVERY YEAR and I still never get the jolly thing done).  So, I've decided 2014 will be the year of Blog-Free Book Week.  Each month I will blog for three weeks out of four and use the fourth week to do some editing.  Except to start off I'm to be taking a TWO WEEK break from now and edit as much as I can.  Normally the only time I get for editing is when I put Rory in daycare, but I just haven't been doing that lately.  I've realised writing blog posts does take a fair bit of time I could use to be doing something that will make me feel better.

Adios for now!  Blog-Free Book Fortnight here I come!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

The palest ink is better than the best memory.
- Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


My little boy turned one on Sunday.  It has been a surreal feeling as I reflected back on the past first year of motherhood.  So much pain and sadness, yet I am so thankful for him and glad he is a part of our lives.  I think of all the spare time I had before he was born; what did I do with myself?!?  I didn't know what stress was before I became a mother.  I'm now more quicker and efficient than I've ever been, but I'm conscious that I need to step back and do less.  The house won't collapse if the floor isn't vacuumed.  It's ok to sit down and read.  Yes, we need to eat and wear clean clothes, but Rory's childhood won't be here to stay.

Since Rory's birthday was on a Sunday, Duncan and I decided that we would dedicate him on that day.  It was fitting that we celebrate with our church family who have helped us so much.  It was great that other family and friends could journey there to celebrate with us and pray for us and we publicly declared that we wish to raise Rory in a Christian home, knowing that any faith he possesses in the future is a work of God.

Thank you God for our little scallywag who is soon turning from bubba to toddler (he has just started 'cruising', his tottery little legs moving along as he clung to the coffee table and couch).

What a difference a year makes!
Those of you who read this blog regularly may remember this post I did just before Rory was born, declaring that I don't do cakes!  Well, I gave it a shot - not to compete with other mums, but just for fun (knowing I could always just make a round chocolate cake with smarties on it if it didn't work out).  I loved this book as a kid and spent many hours flicking through it.  My poor mum was probably quaking in her boots, wondering which cake she'd be asked to make!  Now the book has been passed down to me for the next generation.

Tada!  A joint effort from me and Duncan.  It says 'Leonard
the Lion' in the book, but we called him 'ROARY the Lion'.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Christmas 2013

We had two Christmases this year for Rory's first Christmas.  It was Duncan's family's turn to have us for Christmas Day, but before we headed to Dunsborough, we had an early Christmas celebration with my family in Albany.

Rory in the Christmas outfit my mum bought him.
Duncan was afraid she was going to dress him up
as an elf!

He doesn't like wearing hats.  Hats are for eating.

With Uncle Tim

Ooo presents!

On our way to Dunsborough.  We had to stop a few times because
Rory was peckish.....or bored.

First swim at the beach on Christmas Day.

He was more interested in tasting the salt water.

We had a family portrait done as a Christmas present for both sets of parents.  Our friend Asha, who is a professional photographer, took it.  Her website is here.

Friday, January 17, 2014


After doing quite well since about mid September, I fear I'm on a downward spiral yet again.

Up until the past week or so, I felt great.  No tears since goodness knows when.

But now I'm crying as I type this post.

Here are the few contributing factors:

  • Rory.  This past week he's been constantly screaming and Duncan and I are struggling to work out whether it's teething-related, it's a new sound he likes and is practising, or if he's just frustrated.  He used to be so good in the car.  He'd go to sleep or stare happily out of the window.  Now he's a little terror who rarely sleeps and just screams.  I literally got a headache from the screaming on our trip to Perth last weekend.  Since he's been crawling, he seems to hate anything that keeps him restrained such as getting dried after his bath, having his nappy changed, or sitting in the car seat or pram.  He's turning one in two days and he still feeds at night!  Usually just once, but shouldn't he have stopped by now?  We've tried everything to get him to give up breastfeeding at night.  We wait to see if the cry is urgent and if it is, Duncan goes in with a sippy cup of water and tries to calm him down.  But sometimes Duncan has been up for an hour with him and he still hasn't settled.  The only thing that will settle him is a feed from me and then he'll happily go back into his cot and settle himself.  Argh!  I just want a full night's sleep again.  He does sleep through the night sometimes, but they are often too few and far between.  This past week he's been protesting every sleep time even though he's tired (but not overtired).
  • Summer.  It's draining.  Part of our house has no insulation because when the roof blew off in the infamous storm of June 2012, the insulation blew out too.  The roof was whacked back on in haste, but no new insulation was put in.  Poor Rory's room is like a furnace sometimes.  Summer also means fires!  They're always a threat out here.  Last summer there was one not far from our house.  When I watch the news, I feel uneasy knowing that could very well happen here.
  • I stepped on the scales the other day.  Depressing!  But I've got no-one to blame but myself.
  • Blogging.  It's depressing me.  I've lost my love for it.  Well, I still love writing, but I'm wondering what the point is when the blogosphere seems so quiet.  I'm 30 years old, yet I feel like a child with nothing interesting to say (well, it's interesting to me, but probably no-one else).  I realise so many of my posts are about postnatal depression and while it's where I'm at at the moment, I get the feeling others are tired of it.

I always get scared when I feel like I'm on the slide again.  People talk about heavy hearts as a metaphor, but mine feels literally heavy, like an anchor in my chest.  I just want to keep crying and I don't know whether to fight it or just surrender to the sadness.

I can pray but I don't know what else I can do.  Surely they can't keep just bumping up my meds?

I've decided next week will be my last week before I bid you all adieu for a while.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Telephone Etiquette

There was one hope for the New Year that I should have added to my list:

Always answer the phone with a smile in my voice.

I'm not a 'phone person'.  I actually get very nervous calling people I don't know well, unless it's for an appointment or something.  While I do ring my friends for a chat, I usually prefer email or Facebook.  That way both parties get to respond when they are able to (particularly good if you're a mum and can't stop to chat).  So when I do pluck up the courage to ring someone and they sound less than jovial, it puts a significant dent in my armour.  They may be smiling on the other end, but unless I can hear it in their voice, I feel like they are annoyed at me for calling.

I'm just as guilty of this.  Many times I have hastily snatched up the phone and barked a hello at the caller.  It's not because I'm in a bad mood, but often I'm on the run and I'm breathless.  I probably sound quite annoyed to the caller.

So now, if I'm not in the mood to talk, if it's 'arsenic hour', or I'm heading out the door and running late, I don't answer.  It's better for the caller to leave a message and I'll call them back at a more convenient time.  Who knows, they may be nervous about calling me and I've just shattered their confidence by being abrupt!  We have caller ID on our phone now so if anyone other than Duncan calls me during arsenic hour, I don't answer.

Here's my telephone etiquette:

1.  Thou shalt not call during arsenic hour unless it's an emergency
For parents of small children, that's the crazy time between 5-7:30pm when dinner, baths, stories and bedtimes occur.  I only have one baby and it's mad enough already.  It's the time when children are overtired and whingy, Dad is getting home from work (hopefully), and Mum is frantically trying to get dinner on the table (oh and throw in a few pets wanting their dinners, too).  So nothing annoys me more than someone calling 'just for a chat' during that time.  Even before we had Rory, I was getting home from work, putting shopping away, getting dinner, feeding pets....I can't juggle a deep and meaningful phone conversation with all of that.  I used to tell Duncan off for calling friends with kids during that time.

2.  Thou shalt not juggle two conversations at once
Occasionally I've been on the phone to a friend and they've said, "Oh hang on, there's another call coming through," and put me on hold.  This is fine if they've been waiting for a very important call, but it's just been another friend of theirs calling for a chat.  So I've been left on hold while they juggle two conversations.  Either ignore call waiting or tell the person who's ringing that you're on the phone to someone else and you'll call them back.

3.  Thou shalt leave short, concise answering machine messages
Often I've come home, pressed the button on the answering machine and stood there for what seemed like ages, listening to a very long-winded message.  I think some people think that they should relay the whole conversation they were planning to have with you onto the answering machine.  I've listened to some very strange rambly messages (yes, there are some regular culprits) where the caller has mentioned every little thing about their day.  I guess they don't want me to call them now that they've told me everything.  Leave your name, number and a BRIEF message...that's it.

4.  Thou shalt not make me speak to someone I don't know
Sometimes I've been talking to someone on the phone and they've said, "Oh my friend Bob is here.  Talk to them for a bit while I check the dinner," resulting in a very awkward few minutes where Bob and I really have no idea what to say to each other because we've never met before or just don't know each other that well.

5.  Thou shalt not go to the toilet while on the phone
Too much information...really!  If you're really busting, excuse yourself and put the receiver down somewhere, or don't let on to the other person where you are and what you're doing.  I've had people announce they were sitting on the toilet and I could hear what they were doing.  That's a mental image I just don't need.

6.  Thou shalt not call about unimportant things at ungodly hours
I've made the mistake of telling some people, "Call me anytime if you really need me."  Big mistake!  Some people's definition of 'emergency' is different to mine.  Calling me late on a work night to tell me your parents are coming to visit and you're excited really can wait until morning...can't it?

7.  Thou shalt not call repeatedly and not leave a message
When Rory was a few weeks old, I was trying to have a nap when someone kept calling and calling and hanging up when it went through to the answering machine.  GRRR!

If you're calling on the phone,
And the person is not home,
Leave a message that is concise
Speak clearly, be nice.

Answering the phone is a choice,
So have a smile in your voice.
Think of the person you're trying to call,
If it's a bad time, don't call at all.

What do you think is good telephone etiquette?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Create In Me a Clean Heart by Keith Green

This is sung regularly at my church.  I love it!  It's my prayer for myself this year (and beyond):

 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God
And renew a right spirit in me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord,
Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation,
And renew a right spirit within me.

Monday, January 13, 2014

5 Favourite American TV Shows

Now that harvest is over, Duncan and I have resumed steadily making our way through all five seasons of Ally McBeal, which I borrowed from our local library.  I watched most of it when it was on TV from 1997-2002.  Duncan has seen little bits of it, but this is the first time he's really watched it properly.  We're often in fits of laughter each evening.

I mainly watch Aussie TV shows, but here are my Top 5 favourite shows from the US.

1.  Gilmore Girls

2.  Full House

3.  Ally McBeal

4.  Home Improvement

5.  Heroes

Which American TV shows (past or present) are your favourites?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Funny

Rory meets....Rory!  Hehe

I love watching babies interact with mirrors.  It reminds me of this pic I included on a previous Friday Funny.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Rachel's 30th

The last 30th I went to in 2013 was in mid December, and it's fitting that the last one for the year should be for my oldest friend.  Rachel and I known each other since kindy days and went to the same primary and high school as well.  It was probably Year 6 (1994) that we started becoming good friends, although we count our friendship since kindy (1988).  Enduring friendships are great; she's seen all of my embarrassing moments growing up which means she could be a powerful enemy as well haha.

Rachel booked out a local cafe in Albany for a private dinner.  My parents looked after Rory so I could go out child-free.  Unfortunately Duncan couldn't make it because of harvest.  It was a lovely, relaxed evening with a harpist providing background music.

I don't have many friends in their 20s left now.

Rachel made her own birthday cake

Opening presents

Hehe I love my placecard.  To Rachel, I'm always Sed

Friends for 25 years and counting

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Three Years...It Cannot Be

Since I said goodbye to thee.

My Nan's memorial plaque at the cemetery in Albany
(her ashes were scattered)

The great grandson she never got to meet

How I remember her

If she'd been alive, she and Rory would be getting ready to celebrate their 101st and 1st birthdays respectively on the 19th January.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Shopping Ethically

Image is from here
Duncan and I watched a documentary on SBS about the clothing industry in Bangladesh last year.  Appalling working conditions resulted in buildings collapsing, killing and maiming many people.  Those who were left amputees could no longer work and had to be financially supported by their families.  Their pay rate was disgraceful.  What really hit home was that I shop at the clothing chains responsible for all of this.  Greed!  It's such a blind spot for all of us.

After that, I couldn't buy any clothes made in Bangladesh with a clear conscience.  Now some Christians would argue that boycotting is not a solution, that if we don't buy the products then the people will be out of work, resulting in them being poorer still.   I was glad to see that Oxfam has released a list of the clothing companies that have signed the Bangladesh Worker Safety Accord.  There is a petition here to sign if you're interested.

But this only addresses the building safety and does nothing for fair wages and workers' rights.  I wish I could shop at some of my favourite stores now that they're on the 'nice' list, but, the truth is, they still fail in many other areas.

Shop Ethical is an online consumer guide (they also have a booklet and a smart phone app available) which details and rates each company behind popular brands according to their environmental and social impact.  And some of them fail big time - oh my!  Definitely a big conscience prick there!  They are evaluated independently (so not by any company seeking to badmouth their rivals or blow their own trumpet) - see the FAQs for how it works.  It's NOT about persuading people to buy the more expensive brands instead of cheaper ones - some of the classier brands receive a bad rap as well.  Nor is it about product quality - the product itself could be excellent, but the company who makes it exploits their workers in developing countries, tests on animals, and uses poor environmental practices.

Now I've taken the hard step of trying to shop ethically when it comes to food and clothes.  It's not easy!  Some 'good' brands are not available in small country towns.  Some of my favourites don't get a good rap. I love a bargain as much as anyone.  It's very tempting to pretend I never saw that documentary, that I never visited the Shop Ethical website or bought the app.

But I can't.  If I claim I love Jesus, then I must love my neighbour.  Not turn a blind eye because I want to shop how I want.  Not continue on my merry way because it inconveniences me, a rich, white Westerner.  Not support companies which exploit people made in God's image for profit.

This is one of my hopes for 2014 and beyond.  We each can make a difference.

This post has been entered in the January edition of the Christian Blog Carnival.  If you're a Christian blogger and would like to enter one of your recent posts, submit it here today.

Friday, January 03, 2014

The Bubba: 9-10 Months

The bubba is on the move!  He started commando crawling at 9.5 months and, although he can crawl on all fours, he much prefers slithering.  He should be in the army!

The house has been somewhat rearranged and bubba-proofed.  Now he's started pulling himself up.  Oh my!

He had his first trip to the pool (and just loved the water), and two delightful visits from interstate friends.

I'm really enjoying this stage.  He crawls around and entertains himself.  I can even get a few things done - it's fabulous!

Future best friends perhaps?  Ebony says, "NOT!"

Where's Rory?

There he is!

Poor tired fellow.

Someone loves his swing - an early Christmas present
from Nanna and Pop.

Yes, peekaboo is his favourite game.  He loves
curtains and all kinds of cloths (we call him
'The Man of the Cloth').
Cuddles for Nanna
Wrestling with Daddy
With his friend Marcus who was visiting from NSW

Attempting a family photo after church (Rory was
very grumpy)

Ahhh a sleeping bubba, finally
Having a great time feeding himself broccoli,
cauliflower and carrot for lunch
A prison for bubbas.
With his friend Ruth from Sydney.  "It's not that funny, Ruth.
Really!" says Rory.

Getting a Christmas present from Santa.


Thursday, January 02, 2014

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Quindon Tarver

Hands up who remembers this song?  Well, it's more dialogue set to music, really.  I was in Year 9 when it was included in the Triple J Hottest 100.  Man, that seems like yonks ago now.

I don't agree with everything in this song, so I've just included the lyrics that I do like.  Some great advice to start the new year.

Ladies and gentleman of the class of 1997, wear sunscreen.
If I could only offer you one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists,
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable,
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh never mind,
You will never understand the power and beauty of your youth,
Until they've faded,
But trust me, in twenty years,
You will look back at photos of yourself,
And recall in a way you can't grasp now,
How much possibility lay before you,
And how fabulous you really looked.
You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future,
Know that worrying is as effective
As trying to solve an algebra equation
By chewing bubblegum.

Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts.
Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy.
Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind.
The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults.
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.

Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can.
Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it.
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room.
Read the directions even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings, they are your best link to your past,
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,
But a precious few who should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle.
For as the older you get, the more you need the people
You knew when you were young.

Accept certain inalienable truths.
Prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old,
And when you do, you'll fantasise that when you were young,
Prices were reasonable, politicians were noble,
And children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.
Don't mess too much with your hair,
Or by the time that you're forty,
It will look eighty five.
Be careful whose advice you buy,
But be patient with those who supply it.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Lyrics sourced from here.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

5 Hopes For 2014

It is with both excitement and trepidation that I announce my hopes for this year and put them firmly in God's hands.

1.  Get fit.  A friend of mine is the local Zumba instructor.  I've always swore I'd never do Zumba.  I'm the most unco-ordinated person on the planet, and anything that involves dancing, I look like I have too many legs all tripping over each other.  But I've decided to eat my words and give it a go.  There's no other high impact aerobic exercise available locally, and I like to exercise with others as it gives me the motivation to give it my all.  Netball is out of the question because there is no team at my level and it hurts my back.  So, there....I'm go to be Zumba-ing it up on Monday nights this year.  Duncan has promised to be home from work in time to look after Rory.

2.  Read the Bible regularly.  Whether I can be a part of a Bible study or not, I need to really feast on God's Word.  I'm not interested in set plans, so I'm going to continue on with the devotional I'm doing, read a Psalm a day, and keep up with the verses and discussion we receive from our pastor via an iphone app.

3.  Finish editing my book!  Surely this has got to be the year!

4.  Shop ethically.  Recently, I've been evaluating how my faith in Christ impacts my grocery and clothes shopping.  Expect a post on this very soon.

5.  Take Rory to playgroup.  I've been putting off trying the local playgroup because friends of mine told me they found it very cliquey.  Now I've decided that I should give it a go and make up my own mind about people instead of listening to hearsay.  A former workmate told me she is planning to go with her new baby so at least I'll know someone.  It's hard at the moment because it's on from 9:30-11:30 and that clashes with Rory's morning sleep.  When he drops to one sleep a day, then we'll go.