Thursday, January 31, 2013

#OperationMOVE - January Wrap Up!

Hey movers! The first month of the year is over already, can you believe it?!

Have you achieved what you wanted to this month? Smashed your target or fell just short?

Either way I'm so proud of all of us. Our little group is growing every month and I know a number of people are starting to really see results both physically and mentally from making the commitment to move.

So it is the final check in for January. I'll have the finalised tally up over the weekend and also announce the winner of the fantastic Blackmores pack as well.

I'd love you to tell me what you've loved about #OperationMOVE in January while you are here... will you be making a commitment on the February launch post tomorrow? I'm getting ready to up the ante now we're back in routine after the holidays, and I can't wait to crunch some numbers with you!

PS if you are new here and have no idea what I'm banging on about, read this then come back and join us!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Something's Coming

From the 'things you may not know about me' files.

I love musicals. I adore show tunes. Slowly but surely I'm sharing that love with my children... my big two saw Mary Poppins with my sister a couple of years ago and Annie with me last year. We're all looking forward to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in a couple of months too. Theatre tickets are the most awesome Christmas presents ever, especially when they come with babysitting as well.

But that's not actually the point of this post. Westside Story is, I think, my all time favourite musical and I have had this song in my head for a day or two for reasons that have nothing to do with musical theatre at all.

You may have noticed a new button over there on the right. Or not.

But something is indeed coming. Something great, I think. It's only just out of reach... but I am so looking forward to Friday for many reasons!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The moment in between.

We're in that odd space of time where the holidays are effectively over but the new school year hasn't quite started.

Those moments where last minute preparation is in overdrive and tempers are short.

I am excited, and tired, and relieved and a bit sad. I have a huge knot in my stomach about my Little Mate starting kinder next week... His orientation session is tomorrow. It has been like a shadow following me through the holidays just nudging me now and again, and now it has caught up.

My big kids are looking forward to going back to school. I am too although I will miss their company. We have had the laziest, loveliest Summer I can remember and while I'll have a fight on my hands getting us all back into early-to-bed early-to-rise routines it is worth it for the slow snuggly starts we've enjoyed.

So rather than spend more time worrying, I'm going to think about the moments of the Summer holidays that I will remember best:

- Christmas celebrations with our families.
- Seeing in 2013 with my sister, bro-in-law and gorgeous baby nephew.
- Girl days with my beautiful daughter.
- Hanging out with my marvellous big boy.
- Sitting in the blow up pool with all the kids at the end of a hot day.
- Barbecues galore with people that we love.
- Kicking back and chatting with the Supertrucker while the kids play in the fading light at days end.
- Seeing more clearly the individual relationships between my children, such a blessing.
- Camping out at home, loads of fun!
- Pyjama days, cuddles on the couch and not needing to be anywhere... Blissful.

What has been your stand out moment for Summer 12-13?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bogans and their brethren.

I am a bogan.

I embrace it. I revel in it. I likely horrify my mother with it.

When I was at school bogan was a very insulting word, but like many words I feel the meaning has changed a lot in the (many many) intervening years.

Probably we have Kath and Kim to thank to a great extent.

But to me there are varying levels of boganimity. Let me explain.

The Bogue / Cashed Up Bogan (CUB):

The middle-class upper echelon of the bogan ladder. This bogan has a degree of education and can throw around words like echelon. They can mix with the mighty if they feel so inclined, but they'd rather be having a beer and a barbie than a lovely glass of wine at a posh restaurant.

The bogue will happily refer to the non bogues as posh.

The CUB/bogue has a decent disposable income as evidenced by the car they drive, their jetskis/boat/motorbikes and their presentation. At a glance the CUB/bogue can be mistaken for a non-bogan. This is due to the fact that they dress well, have their hair done at the hairdresser regularly and present nicely. What you don't see is the pack of ciggies hidden in the car. You probably aren't exposed to the impressive vocabulary that encompasses all manner of creative swearwords, unless you are within the bogue's inner circle. In which case congratulations, you are a bogue as well.

The Standard Bogan:

This is the character that once encompassed all levels of bogandom. That oft caricatured trackie dacked, ugg booted, heavily tattoed dude in line at Centrelink.

The key differences between the bogue and the standard bogan are evidenced by the public swearing and the Winnie blues in the shirt sleeve.

But beware before you judge. It is a fine line between the CUB and the SB. Appearances can be deceiving and these groups can shift status back and forth quite quickly.

Beneath many a full upper body tattoo beats a heart of gold, you may just need to look harder to find it.

The Feral Bogan:

The Feral Bogan is in a league of their own. These are the drug dealing next door neighbours who are shattered they can't send their 5 year old to the shops to buy their smokes.

Beware the Feral Bogan, for s/he is capable of acts of aggression that would make a CUB cringe. These can include but are not limited to: slashing your car tyres the day your baby is born (true story), lining your child up on the nature strip and accelerating the car at them (true story), swearing and throwing things at your young children (true story).

If you ever have the misfortune of living beside a feral bogan you will know about it very quickly. The numerous calls to police due to domestic disputes are a giveaway, as is the need to sell your house and move away before your property value drops.

All bogans are not created equal. Whilst the feral bogan gives all others a bad name, the everyday bogan may well be a diamond in the rough so be sure you've indentified correctly before befriending them or running for cover.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

5 things you shouldn't say to a depressed person, and 3 things that you should.

Firstly I think it is testament to the fact that I'm doing better that I'm able to write this post. A while back it would have been a snarky expletive filled diatribe instead. And I'm writing it because I have said most of these things thinking I was being caring and helpful. I now know that when you're sinking, hearing them can be very unhelpful which is doubtless the opposite of the intention.

1. What have you got to be sad about?

Maybe nothing at all. Maybe you have a great life, a home, a car, beautiful children, a fantastic social life. Maybe you have some or none of those. It makes absolutely no difference. Depression isn't fussy, it takes who it takes and telling someone they have nothing to be upset about can make them feel even worse, because they KNOW that and now feel guilty for something that is out of their control.

2. You should exercise. Exercise will fix you.

No one is going to argue that exercise isn't really helpful when you're fighting off the black dog, but it won't 'fix' anything. And it is especially irritating to hear when you are running 35km a week already. Ask me how I know.

3. My friend took {insert supplement here} and it sorted them right out. You need to eat better / get outdoors more / have some acupuncture / etc.

That is fantastic for your friend. Great news. Bully for them.

I can only speak for myself, but before I finally dragged myself to the GP I took every supplement known to man. I went outside a lot. I mostly forgot to eat. Nothing helped. And it made me feel worse that I couldn't fix myself without medical help. Even more of a failure.

When natural means work then that is indeed to be celebrated. But when they don't people need to know that medication and/or counseling are good options too. Without judgement. You'd not tell a diabetic not to take their insulin, depression is another chemical imbalance that sometimes require medical treatment.

4. I had a really bad time once. I know exactly how you feel.

Maybe. It's possible. Or maybe you had the blues for a few days, which is nothing like the soul sucking bleakness of full blown depression. It just isn't.

Your empathy is appreciated (or will be in time) but it isn't a competition. Please don't turn it into one.

5. Aren't you over that yet?

No. I didn't know there was a time limit. Thanks for making me feel like a freak for not complying to some unknown generic timeframe that you have decided is appropriate.

Three really helpful things that have been said to me:

1. I'm here.

Mean it. Maybe physically here, maybe available online... Here without judgement however you need me. I care about you.

2. How can I help?

Maybe you can't. Maybe I can't tell you what I need. But knowing you are willing to help tells me you value me.

3. Are you okay?

If you are willing to listen to an honest answer and want to find ways to support me, ask away.

If you're looking for a 'fine thanks' even though you KNOW that is not the case, please don't ask. It demeans both of us.

My experience is my own and no one else's (obviously) so I can only speak from that. But I know experiencing myself what I knew so well from the outside changed the way I talk and think about depression. It's not what I thought it was and I hope not to experience it again, but if I do I will be far better prepared.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Act your age, not your shoe size.

Big sunnies and filters. The old duck's secret weapon. 
Earlier in the week I enjoyed a bit of a girls' morning with my bestie and my big girl (plus my BFF's 6 week old baby boy, who does not count as a boy yet).

While we were at the hairdressers there was a bit of singing as one of the staff was celebrating her birthday. She was manning the basin next to the one which was surrounding my head, and her client asked how old she was turning. Twenty-three apparently.

Ah. I remember 23. Vaguely.

Anyway later on over lunch my friend and I commented that we'd both picked her as being much older than that, probably around 30.

This then led to a discussion about how shocked we are when we hear of other people being the same age as us, because they look SO MUCH OLDER! And at 36 we are the springiest of spring chickens, surely?

I've since wondered though, if we both are thinking that... does that mean that in fact everyone thinks that and therefore any number of people upon hearing that I am 36 are thinking OMG she looks so much older than me?!

I know I look older than I did at 23. Duh. And maybe I do look exactly what 36 looks like. It is entirely possible. But I still reckon I don't look as old as the other 36 year olds. Probably because the past 12 years or so have totally snuck up on me and I cannot figure out how I am actually 36 anyway when I feel about 24. Maybe 28 at a push.

There is no way I act like a 36 year old is meant to act. I'm pretty damned certain of that. The jumping up and riding trolleys down supermarket aisles that so embarrasses my kids is testament to that, although of course I am capable of pretending to be a grownup when it comes to going in to bat for one of my kids.

So are you a grownup? Do you think you look your age? Do you act it??

Friday, January 25, 2013

#OperationMOVE - Smash It!

Short and sweet today folks. It's our last little kid free day of school holidays and I'm taking my big two off an adventure!

With the end of January just around the corner, how are you doing? On target? Or will you be throwing in come extra sessions in the next few days to make your goals?

Time to suck it up and smash it!

Here's where we stood as of last Friday.

Hit me with your minutes!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Inner Dialogue

Shoes on. Gulp some water. Load up RunKeeper.

Wish that heart rate monitor didn't give me dermatitis. Best leave it. Bugger.

If I sneak out the side maybe Holly won't notice and follow me. Yes! Success! I am so stealthy.

Geez I really can't be bothered today. Maybe... Ah just bloody do it!

The first 500 is the hardest, the first 500... Why am I doing this again?

Ahhh there you go. Found the rhythm. Come on legs just keep moving.

Did I remember sunscreen? Dammit! Stay in the shady bits. Best make an appointment to get those moles checked too, little concerned.

Love this song. Hallelujah, it's raining men... Ah back in the day.

Oh crap is that a car? Pick up the pace, don't wanna look like a complete tosser.

Wonder how I do look. Feels awesome, but suspect look like a tosser anyway. Such an unco, can't believe I can do this! What a winner. I am the best most awesome super runner evah!

In the zone, flicking to autopilot. Fade out.

Ewww was that a fly? OMG it went up my nose! Yuck yuck snot it out that is so gross! Did it come out? Did I swallow it? Oh so yuck I feel sick. Why are flies even a thing? They're so bloody annoying. Yuck my nose still feels itchy. Bugs are gross.

Oh a wallaby! How cute! Hey don't hop this way, you stay over there! Don't come think you can boxing kangaroo me dude, I am a RUNNER. Has it gone? Phew.

Is that a snake? Do not want! Oh goodo not a snake. Pay better attention woman they'll be out all over the place today.

I hope that little boy... Stop. Can't change it. Doing the right thing. It will be okay.

Half way, killing it! I am the greatest runner that ever lived!

Fade out.

Oh hey Kate of 2 kilometers ago, that extra kilometre you did just cos you could? You've gotta do another extra one now because of it you idiot. Thanks so much for that.

Fade out.

Why does my foot hurt? Bugger it that blister is back. Must remember to find out about good running socks . Must.

Are running jocks a thing? I bet they're a thing. Really should look into that too. Running wedgies suck. Wonder if people run commando. Reckon there'd be chafing.

Wonder if the boy will sleep alright tonight. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha! Good one!

Fade out.

Smells like barbecue. Mmmmm barbecue. Should totally have a salad for dinner. Running makes me want to eat salad. Oh I have ice cream! Salad then ice cream. Wonder if there's any chocolate left?

Fade out.

Another car? Two today, busy day out here! Lift those feet. Oh that garage door is open too, better keep moving in case anyone is looking. Wouldn't want them to think I'm half arseing it.

Corner in sight. If you pick it up this last kilometre I'll let you walk up the hill home. Go on! Faster! Nearly there you can do it! YEAH! Sweating bullets. Come on legs not much further.

Ha. I lied.

It's only another 300 metres. You can run up a hill. You can! Just try it. Stop being a whinger. I know it hurts but you're nearly done sooky la la.

YES! I am the best! Where is my medal? This shit is amazing! Why wasn't I doing this ten years ago?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Breastfeeding in Public.

In Australia, a woman is legally allowed to breastfeed her child wherever, whenever and however she wants or needs.

The law does not say she must put a blanket over the baby's head. It does not say she must shut herself into a private cubicle in the annals of a shopping centre. It does not say she may only feed when there is no risk of offending the delicate sensibilities of a society that worships the underwear model but cannot seem to cope with a breast being used to nurture rather than titillate.

She may feed her baby as needed, wherever that may be.

If you take issue with a woman breastfeeding in public, that is exactly what it is. YOUR ISSUE.

That is all.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Gratitude Challenge.

I've had a rough couple of days. I couldn't say why... It sounds weird but I just feel kind of emotionally off centre or something.

The thing with practicing gratitude is that those days that are the hardest are the days you most need to do it.

So five things I'm grateful for right this minute:

* Two little kids squished into a toy car eating icy poles. Funny buggers!

* Glorious sunshine without the extreme heat so many of us have copped lately. And on that, I really can't complain because I don't live in Sydney where it got to 47 degrees last week!

* Relaxed evenings and mornings. I am a morning person so our recent adoption of late nights and sleep ins as a family haven't been fantastic for my own circadian rhythms, but not having to be anywhere most mornings has been a bit gorgeous. Pyjamas are my favourite, pyjama days are the best.

* My Little Mate has been singing a lot lately. It sometimes takes us a while to figure out what he is singing, but his enthusiasm is catching. He is such a sweet kid.

* We are so lucky to live where we do. It is so quiet and lovely... I don't know if I could ever go back to gazing on rooflines rather than trees. There are things I miss about suburbia, but the view isn't one of them.

Right. Your turn! Five things you are feeling grateful for, GO!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sit down, you're rocking the boat.

So with the whole Christmas/ New Years/school holidays gig I've been managing to successfully avoid thinking too much about the boat that we're about to rock like Titanic.

Here's a thing about my Little Mate. When we are home a lot, it can be really easy to forget he is autistic. We have our rhythms, he is happy and confident, and aside from the language thing you'd really not pick him as very different to any other four year old.

And then we leave the house.

Sometimes we have very successful excursions to all sorts of places. Other times I leave trolleys full of groceries in the middle of the supermarket and walk out in tears. There is often no rhyme or reason, or at least none that is evident to me.

I sometimes think about how if I homeschooled he would just be a happy little chapster and I could wrap him in cotton wool a little longer, because this big strapping lad is still my baby as they all are.

But then I look at the gains he has made since we were both forced out of our comfort zones and he started childcare. For a month or more I dreaded dropping him off so much, it was the worst part of my week and I wept buckets as I left him screaming behind me. But things shifted, he adjusted and new routines became the norm. We still have very hard drop offs sometimes, but more often than not he is happy to go and play.

In a few short weeks my son will start kindergarten. He will be attending a lovely small group attached to the specialist school here and I am so happy that the oportunity is there for him to do so.

But it will be hard. Having been home with me for so long, he will be going there three days a week as well as continuing one day at childcare. Unlike other kinder programs there is no staggered transition, he attends full hours as of the first day which makes sense when a number of the children there are as routine driven as my boy is.

I know my son will thrive in this new environment. I also know that it will take time for him (and me) to adjust and there will likely be many tears shed in the process.

And so I'm stringing out these last golden days of my Little Mate being my almost constant companion. He is growing up and I have no idea what the world holds for him.

I do know that I will miss my funny, cuddly, sweet little boy. But if I don't rock the boat he will never learn to swim.

Friday, January 18, 2013

#OperationMOVE: Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels

I remember this popping up on my Facebook feed sometime last year and thinking are you kidding me? Hello, cheese is a thing!

It was attributed to Kate Moss, and is up there with other great supermodel utterances such as Elle McPherson's 'I never read anything I haven't written myself' and Linda Evangelista's not getting out of bed for less than $10 000.

In my life I have been skinny. Dangerously so at times. I've been overweight too. And for me, being overweight was FAR happier than being scary skinny. There's a big difference between having a genetic predisposition to being lean and giving food a power over your mental health that it simply should not have. That quote, to me, is so indicative of that unhealthy mindset.

There's a fine line between respecting food and what it can do to and for your body, and treating it as an enemy to be conquered. I know that all too well. When I read stuff about 'clean' eating I understand it and I know it is helpful to many people in their weight loss goals. For me though, there is no 'clean' or 'dirty' food. There is just food. I think about what I put in my mouth and we try to focus on whole foods for our family health, but I refuse to beat myself up if I eat a Big Mac now and again. I refuse to give food that power over me ever again.

I don't think of food only as fuel, but now that I'm getting a bit serious about training I do pay attention to what my body needs to perform at its best. I don't exercise to punish my body for what I've consumed, I consume to energise my body and reward it with that amazing runner's high. Also because like I said, cheese is a thing. So is chocolate. So are stone fruits and yoghurt. Yum.

Anyway enough of that, it's check in day! How has your week treated you?

Here is where we stood as of last Friday:

 As always, if I've misread or missed you out please do let me know. I've switched comment systems this week with the help of the ever amazing Sharnee (of who am I kidding, I am an epic tech fail and she did all of it!) so hopefully we won't have those issues of comments disappearing any more. Fingers crossed!

Also how did you go with your dare? I kicked butt, you?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


There's this thing where it is sometimes said that the state of your car is a reflection of the state of your life.

I'm staring down the barrel of a costly repair this week, but it's given me cause to be thankful that I have a license and a car at all. You couldn't live where we do without them, but to be honest I really and truly love my car anyway.

I've had a fair few different cars over the years and when I think about it, they do kind of reflect the state of my life at those times.

My first car was a Gemini in canary yellow. It was as old as I was and I was clueless and stacked it after not very long at all.

Then I had a Mistubishi Sigma. When I was on my P's so many people had the same car. It was a bit of a tank to drive but loads of fun as well. Remember those No Fear stickers that everyone had in the mid 90's? I had one in that No Fear font that said 'No idea'. Srsly.

That car got me through many of my Uni years, then when I was 21 I bought my first 'nice' car. A little gold Festiva. Two doors. It was so cute! I'd haul that little car up and down the freeway from Geelong to Bundoora (which is a really long way) many days a week in the year after I moved in with the Supertrucker and was completing my degree.

That little buzz box was cute. Cheap to run, darting around all over the place with nary a care in the world. Fun times.

Then I had a baby. Turns out two doors aren't great for wrangling a capsule in and out of. Plus I ran into a pillar in a car park because I was so damned tired I didn't see it.

The Festy became the commuter, and I took over the Commodore. More room, lots of grunt. Fun to drive but family friendly.

Another baby and a couple of years later I started Tupperising the universe, and with that came a brand spanking new Territory. What can I tell you, I was a good Tupperiser and I LOVED it. My (then) two kids also loved 'Mummy's pink truck'. I felt professional but fun, it was a magical time really in so many ways.

But the years roll by and another baby was on the way, so I handed back the Tuppertruck and we bought my Mum's trusty Verada. It was a bit luxurious, but very reliable and very grown up. Like my Mum really, less like me but lovely to drive nonetheless.

Then there was yet another baby on the way and we needed more space, so the Verada moved on and we invested in a Kia Carnival. The bus.

And look the bus was okay. It was fine. It fit everyone in and had a DVD player. Fair enough the fuel economy was utter rubbish, and sometimes it sucked to park. But it felt a bit symbolic of our completed family of six, and for a while there we really liked it.

Then we moved to the country. And very quickly realised that when the supermarket is a 40km round trip, fuel economy is a big deal. We were very lucky to trade it in and get my now car. The symbol of who I am today maybe.

I love it. I drive an 07 diesel Captiva. She's got grunt. She's noisy and fits everyone on the rare occasion we need her to, but the rest of the time she has lovely bootspace as well. She is gold in colour, reminiscent of that first fun Festy (and a nod to my love of all things shiny and sparkly). She polishes up beautifully but living where we do I'm a bit lazy and don't scrub her up as often as I might.

She does a lot of kilometers. She's reliable and sturdy but still looks really good. She works hard for our family, and is sometimes treated pretty roughly but she keeps on going and will do for many years to come.

So tell me, what does your car say about you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Good Golly Holly

I am not a dog person. I'm not really an animal person even. I'm kind of the opposite. I've never understood how people can get so attached to animals, until recently.

By a series of misadventures, a puppy came into our lives late last year. She was about 3 months old and had been treated appallingly by someone who I think should have to be chained in a room with a concrete floor for a month or so and see how they like it.

I will admit, I was taken by how cute she was. But all puppies are cute right? I felt sad for how terrible her short life had been so far, and we debated long and hard about whether having her live with us was the right thing to do. My sister (who had rescued her from the side of the road where she'd most likely been thrown from a moving car, based on her battlescars) said if things didn't work out she would have her which made our decision easier. I really didn't know which way it would go.

But she's grown on me. On all of us. She is stubborn, sweet, loving and determined. She has a personality.

And then this happened.

There is a relationship there that I can't explain. My Little Mate's body language is subtly different from other peoples. Maybe that is part of it. Whatever it is, Holly (or Holy Shitwell as my son named her) is different around this boy than the rest of us. Gentler, more tolerant, more affectionate. They spend a lot of time together and often when he is at his flappiest they will sit together and she calms him.

I can't tell you how much this unexpected relationship fills me with joy. He understands her, and she him. They relate to each other in a way that is just different. Certainly nothing we see in his human relationships. She is very much his dog. He is her boy.

She was snipped and chipped recently, and he was so concerned about her wound. Almost empathetic. If you have an autistic child who is capable of violence against his siblings just to see what the reaction will be, you will understand why this was amazing to us.

I never thought I'd see the day that I was grateful for a dog. Particularly one as boisterous and crazy as our girl is. But she is part of the family now, and we love her. Yes, even me. Besides, who wouldn't love a face like that?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The things I'd tell you...

The 90's won't last forever.

It might feel like it, but actually they'll fly by. Those people who tell you that these are your glory years? They are right and they are wrong all at once.

You'll never again have the type of freedom you do now, but that won't stop you taking it for granted. You may never get as much sleep as you do now either, but that's kind of irrelevant because who wants to sleep when there is drinking and dancing to do right?

That guy, the one you were gonna be with 4eva? The first one to steal your heart then break it? You'll get over it even though it feels like you never will. And of all the regrets you'll have in your life, he'll never be one of them. 20 years later you might hear November Rain on the radio, and it will make you smile for those golden Summer days of long ago.

You'll make so many bad decisions out of selfishness and lack of self esteem. You can fool everyone else but you can't fool me.

But even though those decisions will hurt you and the people around you, they will shape your future. You will feel sad for hurting people you purported to love and some friendships will never be the same, but the strongest of those will be with you for life and those bad decisions will turn out to be twists in your path, not dead ends. Have faith.

You spend a lot of time trying so hard to be liked. It will be a long time before you understand that the only person who ever had to like you is me. Is you. My heart aches for you, but you will be strengthened by the pain you feel.

And one day you will need that strength, because you will have children. One of those children will be markedly different to other kids, and you will discover that the world really wasn't all that cruel to you however you may feel now. The world can sometimes be very cruel to him though, and the greatest gift you can give him is your strength and your love.

You are okay. For all the daft buggery, you are a good person and one day you will see that.

PS Your Mum was right. Every. Single. Time.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A girl.

I am blessed with two sons and two daughters.

My Big Girl has returned home today from nearly a week of sleepovers and adventures with my in-laws. I missed her enormously. She had an amazing time doing things that are just really hard to do within our own family situation, and I'm so grateful that she got the chance to be the focus of attention and spend some uninterrupted time with my niece as well.

I knew both of my daughters were girls almost from conception. I knew their names. I don't know how I knew, I was way off with my Little Mate, but I knew nonetheless.

Growing up with three sisters myself, I always hoped for a daughter. Once I had one I hoped she would have a sister, because I know the strength and beauty of that relationship well.

She has had a tough year, has my big girl. She is the 'easy' child. The undemanding child (compared to the other three). The one who will go along with what the others want quite often, for the sake of peace.

She is also very strong. She has had to be, and while I know it will stand her in good stead in the future, it can make this stage where girls can become quite manipulative and nasty difficult for her. She says what she thinks. She doesn't always understand the intricacies of the female relationships around her. She doesn't play the game (yet).

I am her mother. So of course a part of me wonders why the whole world isn't in love with her too. But the world isn't like that.

She is loyal and true, my daughter. When she is your friend, she is your friend for life. She loves with her whole heart.

I'm so glad to have her home, my rapidly growing up daughter. I have missed her crazy made up jokes. I've missed her ready smile. She is a (mostly) delightful seven year old, on the cusp of the tween years. Parenting her is such a gift. I cannot wait to see who she will become. Where her life will take her.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


How good a word is oxymoron? I wish I had more cause to use it.

You know what I have always considered an oxymoron? The term 'fun run'. Especially when attached to some ridiculous distance (ie anything over about 1km). I never understood what on earth there was that could be considered even vaguely fun about running.

Until now.

As it turns out, despite many stumbles in the beginning (and a lot of sweat too), running is in fact fun. Not only that, it is soothing, energising, relaxing and addictive all at once too.

Not glamorous. But so freakin proud after my first 8km straight run.
You may not believe me. I wouldn't have believed me not all that long ago. I'd have clicked away because who wants to read about blah blah running when everyone knows it really sucks?

Every time I run it gets a little easier. So I push a little harder. Already I've achieved things I have considered impossible for 35 or my 36 years. I have never felt so amazed by what my body can do (childbirth aside obviously).

So yesterday I registered for the 15km course of Run For The Kids. In honesty, 15km still sounds pretty damned impossible to me. But so did 2 not all that long ago. And so did 5. And so did 8 and I've conquered all of those already.

I'm excited to have something to train for rather than just higgledy piggledy racing the clock. I am not a fast runner. I'm not a graceful runner either. But I am enthusiastic. And over the past few months I've truly realised that when you aim high, even if you fall short you will be better off for having tried.

So today I'm feeling grateful for how far I have come, and excited about where I will go next. I'm grateful that the Supertrucker is so proud of my efforts and supports me 100%. I'm grateful that my children are seeing exercise as a normal part of every day, and are setting their own little goals and challenges as well.

And I'm grateful for sitting on my bum with a coffee and a chocolate having just gotten back from an 8km walk with the kids. Because I've earned them ;)

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Boobie Blessing

I have a really short attention span. I get bored way too easily. I'm over the whole 'I'm grateful for' title already, though not the practice. So I'm gonna change it up and share my gratitude in a more fluent, less listy way each day. Cos that's how I roll. This week at least.

I've been thinking about boobs. I mentioned the other day that I splurged and bought myself a fantastic new sports bra. It was not cheap, but my gosh does it keep the girls in check. A few people asked me about it... I bought the Berlei Ultimate Performance crop (aka the 'strap em in and tie em down bra). I've done a couple of decent runs in it now and not so much as a jiggle. I like that.

Last year my friend had an Intimo party and though I couldn't attend I ordered a miracle bra. My boobs have worked hard and are well deserving of a miracle. Again it was a bit of an investment, but I liked it so much that I bought another two with the rest of my Christmas dosh (and a g-banger that I'll never wear, but it's nice to own a matching set).

I usually buy $10 bras. Some $10 bras are really good! Others are crapola. None have helped shape my ridiculously malleable breasts into a shape I like, so I'm considering my recent over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder splurges an investment into feeling good. I like the way I look and feel in my new bras. I really do. And it does feel a little decadent to spoil myself like that. Very nice.

Four pregnancies and nine years (and counting) of breastfeeding various combinations of my children mean that my boobs don't look like they used to.

Then again nor does my face, or my belly. And that is fine.

The once perky chest region no longer resembles that societal preference for breasts that look like your milk has just come in (preferably without such a thing happening. Plastic fantastic. You know what I mean). Actually they never did. And I think if people want to pay for those boobs and can afford to then that is awesome, but I'll stick with my nice new bras and a body that shows its wear.

For you see, my boobs are working boobs. A bit like working dogs, they may not be the prettiest you've ever seen but they're damned good at their job.

So I'm grateful I've been able to spoil my boobs a bit lately. I know how lucky I am that breastfeeding has been relatively easy for us and while I have moments of wishing they'd slow their descent, I remind myself often that they've nurtured four babies and that's a pretty good effort indeed.

Well done boobs. Well done.

#OperationMOVE: I DARE YOU

Welcome to the first check in for 2013!

Like many of us, I've been finding it kind of tricky to keep moving with the warmer weather. I'm working around the forecasts as best I can but am really missing my longer runs which are a rarity while the bigs are on holidays from school.

Anyway we had a cool change earlier in the week and it fell on one of the first child free mornings I've had this year. As I got out of the car ready to run I dared myself to go harder, to go further, because I may not get the chance again for a little while.

And I pulled off an 8km run much to my own surprise and delight.

Isn't it amazing what we can do when we just decide to DO IT?!

So this week I have a challenge for you. I'm daring you to attempt something you haven't done before. Further, harder, faster, it doesn't matter. But giving it a go does matter, because if you dont try you'll never succeed anyway.

When you leave your check in numbers in the comments let me know what your dare is as well.

Go on. I dare you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I am grateful for...

* My washing machine! Gastro struck our house last night. It was short lived but violent and no one escaped unscathed. I did 4 loads in my 8.5kg machine today and have one left to go. Thankyou modern technology. Thankyou.

* Sunny days - none of us saw much of it due to aforementioned gastro but all the linen and towels are clean, dry and put away again.

* My husband has hoarderesque tendencies. Often it is the bain marie of my life as the anti-hoarder, but tidy I am grateful that he insisted we keep the 8 million old towels I wanted to get rid of because I have used 7 999 999 of them in the past 24 hours!

* We had no appointments today. Except with the couch. Good timing there.

* Aside from obscene tiredness everyone is well again. Feeling thankful for a very short-lived virus, nasty but far preferable to those colds that drag on for weeks. And I am going to anticipate being thankful tomorrow for a good night's sleep tonight because it is going to happen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I am grateful for...

* Dropped the little two at care this morning and was so excited about my first solo run in ages. It was really chilly, around 11 degrees when I started and I thought I'd do 8kms and just run as much of it as I could. I did 6kms straight the other week so thought 7ish would be an awesome effort.

Instead I ran the whole 8kms in around 52.37 and the last kilometre in 5.30! Which tells me even thought I've thought I was working that I can go harder. I've got that 10kms in my sights now and cannot believe myself.

* I did the 12WBT this time last year and while it really wasn't for me, I'd never have discovered that I CAN run and love it. Nothing beats the endorphins at the end. Unreal.

It was also what prompted me to think about what I DID want out of a group fitness type scenario, and come up with #OperationMOVE. There are two things that have come out of this blog that make me feel spectacularly good. One is Autism: In Our Own Words and the other is #OperationMOVE. Proud? Damn straight I am. And so grateful for the very diverse communities both have created.

* We had our new dog trainer come out today for the first time. While it is more expensive than your standard puppy preschool, we felt given our specific needs it was important that Holly be trained not only in basic obedience but to cope with the additional 'pressures' of being loved on by our Little Mate.

I really liked her a lot, and her dogs were an excellent advertisement indeed. Holly found it very hard work but was quite responsive and I can see already that this will be money well spent. If you are in the Ballarat area the business is Beta Dogs and they are impressing me a lot so far.

* For reasons beyond me half the town is nearly inaccessible due to roadworks at the moment. Because of this my planned shop had to be rerouted and my biggles were sadface as I'd told them we would get donut pops after groceries.

Instead we ended up at an IGA and I'd spotted a cafe on the corner, so instead of blech donuts we splurged an enjoyed afternoon tea at The French Kitchen. It was SO lovely having some big kid time and they we're hilarious with their French accents and endless talk of how Parisienne we were being. Unexpected but perfect.

* The Supertrucker has left for a few days and took our Big Girl who is going to stay with her Grandma for a while. She has been very excited. Getting to be the only child for a bit will be so good for her and some time away from the Big Boy will be good for both of them! We're so blessed to have families that want to spend time with our kids and enjoy them, even if it isn't always easy to organise logistically.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I am grateful for...

The view from my driveway this afternoon.
* Our home is safe. If you follow my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter you may have seen a photo from this afternoon. There was (and still is) an out of control grassfire not far from where I live. I will freely admit I had a few moments of absolute fear this afternoon. It has moved away from us now but while I'm grateful for that, other have lost their homes and their land and I hope they will be well supported by their communities.

* I said it just a couple of days ago but I will say it again, I'm so thankful to all the CFA volunteers and firies out there who put themselves in harms way for our protection.

* Today showed me that our bushfire plan is woefully inadequate. I'm grateful that we got this opportunity to realise that the threat is very real where we live without having lost anything ourselves this time.

* Got to spend unexpected time with my bestie and her fam who rushed back from their holidays to help out our local community. Always nice to score bonus baby cuddles.

* The temperature has dropped about 10 degrees in the past half hour or so and it is drizzling. I'm so glad the firies now have the weather on their side an I hope all the areas affected by fire today are made safe very quickly.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I am grateful for...

* Getting out for a decent walk with the little girl and the puppy this morning. Holly gets very silly and naughty if she doesn't get lots of exercise, which is kind of good because it gives me added incentive to get off my bum when I've got the CBF's.

* How ace is a cool shower on a hot day when you've been exercising? Such a simple pleasure that is so easy to take for granted, and yet I'm sure in many countries the idea that we bathe in what is essentially drinking water would be considered grossly decadent. We are the lucky ones.

* Lounging around in swimmers all day, interspersed with splashes in the (little blow up) pool. No appointments. No commitments. Bliss.

* My big boy's social life is just crazy! Which can be vaguely irritating now and again in terms of logistics, but I LOVE that he has friends. Good, caring, lovely friends. The social stuff doesn't always come easy to him, but he has just blossomed over the past six months.

* Skin to skin time with my small one. Fresh and clean straight out of the shower, and just delicious. Enjoying it while I can, like the others she will be grown in no time and I will miss these moments so much.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Breaking all the rules.

Not much to see here folks. Just navelgazing.
For the longest time, I paid attention to the blogging rules. I thought I must if I was to be 'successful'.

Things like understanding my 'niche', promoting posts at certain times of day, writing what I thought would get a reaction. Daft stuff like that.

I've had a little epiphany.

Since I've re-started gratitude blogging daily, it feels a little bit like I've found myself again.

I'm not writing for anyone else. I'm not stressing about how best to increase my reach. Some days, maybe some weeks all that will appear here are those little snippets of my day for which I am grateful. Other times maybe there will be two or even three posts a day, when something moves me to address it.

And you know what? It feels good! So what if my 'niche' is running and autism, which may not be commercially advisable? So what if I'm not 'meant' to post every day? So what if my blog's appeal is limited to my sisters and my Mum?

The things that drive me remain.

#OperationMOVE has been such a fantastic, community building experience and I am damned proud of it.

Sharing our autism journey has led me to new friends, helped me find support and brought about the creation of Autism: In Our Own Words which, again, fills me with joy and pride.

I'll never have the wit of Woogs, the depth of Deb or the brains of Bigwords. But I have myself again. And I have missed her.

I am grateful for...

* Holding hands with my daughter.

* Sunshine on bare skin.

* Slow, lazy mornings and long relaxed evenings.

* Living in a place that still amazes you every morning when you open the curtains.

* Barbecues with mates, barefoot kids running around, sitting back and enjoying a laugh.

This is what Summer memories are made of.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Who are you?

Earworm? Not yet?

Whoooooo are you? Who who, who who?

Now? Better.

So I gather using readers to follow blogs is a bit of a dying art these days. I'll often click through from Facebook or Twitter links if a title grabs me, but I know I'm missing out on loads of good stuff that way.

I've used Google reader for ages and it got crazy out of control, which didn't make me want to check in at all, so it got even more out of control. Rinse. Repeat.

So I've cleared the entire thing and am having a do-over.

I do most of my blog reading on my i-devices and I love the Flipboard app* because it is so easy. And pretty. I like pretty. I hooked up my reader to that and I can flip through it like a magazine filled with articles by my favourite writers. BUT the magazine is empty now and needs to be repopulated!

So because I am by nature a very lazy person, and because I thought it might be nice to share the love, if you are a blogger I'd love you to leave a link to your RSS feed (or your blog address if you don't know it) so I can pop you on my list.

Hopefully we might all discover some great new or new-to-me blogs in there as well!

* Not sponsored in any way, I just really like the app. You might too *shrugs*

I am grateful for...

1. A break in the weather. Still sunny but not feral today. Gorgeous breeze, perfect for kids to play outside and run off the cabin fever of the last few days.

2. The cool change also meant I could get out for a lovely 5k walk with the double pram and my Big Boy on his bike this morning. I don't think I'll ever get sick of the country roads where people move to the entire other side of the road when they see you coming, everyone has a smile and a wave, and instead of the sounds of traffic we're listening to birds, sheep and cows.

3. One of my brothers-in-law and one of my sisters are in the CFA. I'm so grateful that people like them volunteer their time and energy. The bushfire news out of Tassie at the moment is very upsetting, and I hope it is under control very soon.

4. My Little Mate has been talking my ear off lately, and we are understanding more and more of what he says. When I think back to when we moved in May, the changes are just enormous. So so proud of my boy <3

5. The smell of clothes straight off the line having dried in the sunshine. Laundry is my least favourite thing ever, but given that our last house didn't have a useable clothesline I have a whole new appreciation for the one we have here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I am grateful for...

1. Homegrown cherries with a big fat dollop of double cream. Oh yeah. See also: cherry pippers are a thing. An awesome thing.

2. Mooching around with the big kids on a super hot day. Undies all round, couch, aircon, winning.

3. Finally started cranking my #OperationMOVE numbers with an 8k walk/jog on the treadie. Treadmilling is like the least exciting thing I can think of, but I'm grateful to have the option on days like today. Watched Brave with my biggles which kind of make it go quicker.

4. Was blessed with some Christmas money and ordered a bigzillion $ Berlei sports bra that Zoey recommended. Gave it its first run today and it is the business. Given, it is built like a corset just with less snappy bits, but NO bouncage at all. Just need to figure out what to do with my phone now, those armband things suck.

5. Freshly shaved legs and crisp clean sheets. Yep.

You know you are getting older when...

You buy Johnnie Walker instead of Black Douglas because the taste does actually matter after all.

And you are buying a bottle to mix yourself, not premix in a can.

You think back to those party hard days and instead of missing them, you wonder why on Earth you would have been pulling all nighters when you could have been SLEEPING.

Where once you would drink yourself stupid because that was just what you did, now you know that if you have more than a couple of drinks you'll pay for it enormously in the morning when your kids start jumping on your head at ungodly o'clock.

And on top of that the hangover starts before you've even gone to bed.

Every now and then you hear a song on the radio and catch yourself thinking 'They call this music?! Back in my day...'

And you know all the words to every Wiggles song, but you couldn't name the current top 10 to save your life.

You suddenly believe that life actually does begin at 40, because 36 still feels like 26 anyway.

And who made it okay to have wrinkles AND pimples at the same time?! What is with that?

You catch yourself reminiscing about Frogger. And can remember the irritating tune that went with it.

You tell your child 'Just wait until you have a kid your age,' then realise that YOU said it, not your Mum.

How do you know?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I am grateful for...

1. Air con! It is bloody hot here at the moment, and will be for the next little while. So grateful we have air com units at each end of the house. We had to
Turn the second one on today for the first time, but at least the kids will be able to sleep and not swelter.

2. Solar energy. Making me feel less guilty about use of aforementioned air con.

3. Our puppy got snipped and chipped today. My Little Mate was very upset when we left her at the 'Holly Doctors'. I love the relationship between them, it is wonderful for both of them.

4. Salad for dinner, with chicken I had the forethought to cook earlier. My kids will eat loads of salad if it is served in individual bowls, funny buggers.

5. I'm starting to feel a bit energetic again finally. Not enough to go for a run (mostly because I reckon I'd get heatstroke!) but enough that I don't want to lie on the couch all day. Nice.

Guest Post - Ballarat: Possible Australia's Most Important Historical City

If you've been here for a while you may remember me endlessly moaning writing a fair bit about our big move in May last year. We went from the suburban town that I grew up in to a very small country town not far from Ballarat. As a child we often took caravan holidays to Ballarat and my sister was married here a while ago as she lives in another country town nearby. It is an area I am loving discovering... the best thing about being new to an area is getting to play tourist for a while as you find your way around, and Ballarat certainly has a great deal to offer.

When I was asked if I would like to host a guest post about this region I agreed readily, because I am loving finding out more about it myself. I hope you will too. - Kate

Ballarat figures significantly in Australia’s history because it is the backdrop of the gold rush in the 1850s—a period that saw the change of Australia’s role in the British Commonwealth, dramatically changed its population, and also triggered a string of events which gave birth to Australian democracy.

Before the gold rush, Australia was nothing more a British penal colony and convicts made up the majority of its population. Thanks to the gold rush, this population drastically changed as people from all over the world began to see Australia as a promising new land and to migrate in droves.

For a time, Ballarat became the richest city in the British Empire, supplying more than a third of the world’s gold output in the 1850's. Perhaps it was this perceived unlimited profitability which prompted the local British authority to levy unfair fees and policies on the miners. This eventually led to the Eureka Rebellion, the aftermath of which is said to be the impetus for the first instituted political democracy in Australia.

Historic Attractions

With such a rich history, it is only natural to have a selection of historical attractions that provide visitors with an immersive experience exemplifying how life was during the country’s formative years.

Sovereign Hill is one of Victoria’s most popular attractions and the most famous one in Ballarat. This outdoor museum was built on a low hillside and was designed to recreate the gold rush era and is the closest thing you will ever get to being an 1850's gold miner.

Sprawling over an expanse of 25 hectares, Sovereign Hill features over 60 historically accurate buildings and is populated by costumed personnel who are only too willing to interact and answer any questions visitors may have, and they do this in character.

Expect to get dirty as you get down on your knees and pan for real gold in The Red Hill Gully. Be ready to be driven by one of the horse drawn coaches around the complex. Tours such as the gold mine tour will bring you underground to experience how the miners dug for gold.

Blood on the Southern Cross

This light and sound show is a multi-million dollar production depicting the events leading up to the Eureka Rebellion. Set around key locations in Sovereign Hill, this 90-minute spectacle utilises over seven video projectors, 3000 lights, several 10-metre tall lightning towers, and is powered by eight computers.

To get the best out of this show, it is recommended to get a full dinner beforehand and to wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes, especially during cold weather.

Central Goldfields

Ballarat has around a dozen historic villages and the Central Goldfields Shire is a good example of what awaits you when you visit any one of these villages. This quaint little village allows you to forget the busy city life and treat you to a quiet, and stress free afternoon.

Enjoy old fashioned country style meals at one of the many local historic pubs around the area.  For a taste of mystery, you can choose to explore the hidden goldfields cemeteries, or simply bike through historic early goldfields villages. Collectors and souvenir shops are conveniently located across the village where you can seek out antiques and collectibles. You can also visit historic museums or view fine works at the Central Goldfields Art Gallery.

A lot of that which makes present day Australia what it is now is an result of what happened in Ballarat almost 2 centuries ago. The demographics, the political landscape, the economy, even the practice of calling each other “mate” all had their origins in the goldfields of Ballarat. Visiting these historical attractions will not only provide an enjoyable time for the whole family, but it will also give you a better appreciation where you are by learning more about your roots.

This is a guest post for Visit Ballarat. Which I think you should do. And if you do, let me know and we can catch up for coffee yes? Have you been to my local 'big town'? What did you love about it? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I am grateful for...

1. Child care days. We've been so flat out the past few weeks and the loss of routine has been especially hard on my Little Mate. Thank goodness he has this one thing that stays the same for him right now. Also, some time apart does all of us a lot of good.

2. Took the pupster for a walk today, and she pulled me up after 5kms ready to go home. I thought about doing a run after dropping her off but didn't, and am so glad I listened to my body because all the celebrations recently have taken their toll and I am exhausted. Hooray for not pushing myself too hard unecessarily.

3. Another quiet, relaxed day. Slowly getting into the holiday 'routines' (such as they are) and loving it.

4. The tiny pharmacy in the next little town over is so great. I walk in, am greeted by name by the pharmacist who has my scripts on file. He gets them ready within a couple of minutes and that's it. If I need a new script without a GP appointment I can call our doctor who is in the same building, the script is delivered to the pharmacy and I go pick it up. Truly, so much awesome.

5. ALL of my kids ate ALL of their dinner and three of them asked for seconds. Unheard of. Bless you spaghetti bolognese. Bless you.

Grateful Kate

Although I've been blogging here for just shy of two years, I actually began my first blog in 2006. I had that one for quite a few years, along with a couple of private blogs in between.

At one stage I had a daily gratitude blog. I challenged myself to keep it for a full year, and I did exactly that.

Over the past 18 months or so I feel like I've lost a part of myself. My ability to find joy in things has diminished somewhat. When I started this blog I envisioned that, if anything, it would be annoyingly over the top in its sunshine and lollipops because that is how I viewed myself as well.

That was before. This is now. No matter what spin I put on it, life is not quite what I expected. The time since my Little Mate's diagnosis has changed me deep within, and whilst I do not see my beautiful boy any differently, I certainly do myself.

I randomly remembered that blog the other day, so I went and found it. The harder days are obvious because those were the days I was grateful for teeny tiny things. But I was grateful nonetheless. I remember it made me so conscious of what was going on in each day that I could put in that journal. It made me look for goodness, even when it was hard to find.

I miss the person I was then. I miss that ability to find the silver lining so easily.

And so I am going to reclaim it.

For 2013 I am committing to sharing 5 things that I am grateful for every single day. It will probably take me a few weeks to get back in the habit, but like exercising, it is a habit worth pursuing I think.

They will be popping up on this blog. Maybe you will skip them because it isn't your thing and that is cool. Maybe they will strike a chord with you. Maybe they will tell you more about me, about my life, than my regular posts ever could.

I don't know. But I want to find out.

They won't replace my other posts, but be little vignettes dotted in between. Little pieces of me, as I learn to embrace all of my life again, even the hard parts. And remember the beauty within them.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I am grateful for...

1. Despite only three broken hours rest last night, I didn't die of exhaustion (or overconsumption) today. Most excellent. And I did enjoy a quiet half hour snuggled on the couch with my Little Mate, even though it was quarter to stupid o'clock. He is such a sweetheart, my little boy.

2. Due to aforementioned overconsumption, aside from the jobs that HAD to be done I sat on the couch on the verandah nearly the entire day. I never do that. It was gooooood.

3. Having gotten through our first Winter in the coldest place in Victoria (which may or may not be ACTUALLY true, but it certainly felt like it!) I can't tell you how much I am loving these Summer days and the gorgeous long Summer evenings. Best.

4. I keep forgetting what day of the week it is, because aside from child care days I do not NEED to know.

5. So happy to have stumbled across my old gratitude journal a couple of days ago. I'd forgotten about it altogether. Time to get my grateful back :)

#OperationMOVE : New Year, New You

Welcome to #OperationMOVE 2013! If you are new here you might like to find out more about #OperationMOVE before reading further.

There's nothing like a new day to give you that feeling of starting over. A new year is even better! I know I ate all of the things over the Christmas period (and drank a lot of them too). It was delicious and fun but I'm REALLY feeling like I overindulged and cannot wait to get moving again now the celebrations are over.

I found it really hard to prioritise exercise last month and I know a lot of you did too. But it's January now and while lots of us are still in holiday mode that's no excuse not to move it!

I don't do New Years Resolutions, idealism is fun but I live in the real world and I know my limitations. What I AM doing today though is setting some short and some longer term fitness goals to help keep me on track. You are welcome to do the same in your comment when you leave your January commitment if you like.

Firstly, my January goal is to cover 140kms in the month and commit 1000 minutes to moving my body. I'm going to be juggling a bit with my big kids on school holidays, but I am worth it and I will find a way.

My next goal is to manage a 10km run with no walking by March.

My third goal is to noticeably change the muscle definition in my arms and shoulders over the coming months, and focus on my abs and core strength a bit more too. At some stage this week I'm going to get brave and share a photo in our Facebook group so I have something to look back on. Again, I'd love it if you wanted to as well.

So that's me. I am excited! If you'd told me back in September when we started that #OperationMOVE would still be a thing, and a growing thing at that, I'd have been very surprised. I love that we are doing this together. I love the support and camaraderie of our FB group. I am so proud of what we have all achieved!

Let's kick some butt this year!