Thursday, February 28, 2013

#OperationMOVE: Farewell Summer

It is the final February check in already.

Considering I could not WAIT for Summer way back in Spring, for the first time in my life I am actually looking forward to it leaving this year. Running outdoors will do that to you I guess.

In my dream world it would be say 10 - 15 degrees every morning, up until around 10.30 when I'd finished my run. Then a lovely 27, sunny with a light breeze for the rest of the day. And it can rain overnight, that would be okay.

Given that my dream world is just that though, a dream world, I'm figuring ways to work around the weather and still get as much as I can out of each week. I'll be sharing a bit more of that in tomorrow's Autumn #OperationMOVE launch post.

So have you hit your targets for February? I know a lot of us have had additional challenges this month but I've loved the support I've been seeing in our Facebook group. Truly every time I think I might take a day off I think of you all and how much we count on each other to keep moving and I decide not to let the team down. Thankyou for making me accountable.

My February wrap up? 143.3 / 130kms and 1301/1300 minutes. Just scraped it in!!

How about you?

PS Don't forget to save this one to your devices, #OpMOVEPicADay starts tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Mourning

My wise and wonderful friend Marita left a comment on this post last week that really got inside my head.

When we first received my Little Mate's diagnosis I think I was in shock for a while. I overcompensated by reading all of the things and putting on the happiest of happy faces. I even nearly managed to convince myself.

It was a year or so later that I realised I'd been kidding myself. I was not really fine at all. Maybe it took that long for me to really absorb the fact that this is a lifetime diagnosis.

I had been in mourning for a life only imagined.

Every time I've thought about it in those sorts of terms to myself, I have felt overcome with guilt. It is one of the reasons I've not written about it here.

Guilt for feeling so shattered when others have so much more to deal with. Guilt for grieving when my boy is happy and healthy. Guilt for feeling what I was feeling because it seemed offensive given how okay our son is compared to so many other children.

Guilt for feeling so deeply sad, and fear of voicing it because it sounds like I feel the diagnosis has diminished him somehow. It hasn't.

When people tell me how well he is doing with his speech, his eye contact, his social skills I suspect my reaction is not what they expect.

Of course I am inwardly punching the air. I am the proudest of proud parents. But a part of me holds back, the part of me that is terrified to get her hopes up. The part of me that still has moments of denial.

It is a complex thing to explain. A complex thing to feel. And even now I am second guessing myself, worried about the reaction this might receive.

But I will publish it. Because if I have felt like this then maybe someone else has too. And the most important thing in this journey as a parent for me has been knowing that I am not alone. You are not alone either.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When I grow up.

Image Source
It is bound to happen one day yeah?

I have a degree in Education. I taught Grade 5's and Year 12 Psychology before I had kids. I've done some emergency teaching since but not for quite a few years now. I really don't think I want to be a teacher any more.

I am incredibly lucky at the moment to be able to bring in some pin money with this blog. I do not take it for granted and am so happy to be able to draw some income from something I love. I don't know that it is a sustainable long term career choice though. Not unless I get a lot funnier/more soulful/less daft.

I do not know what I want to be when I grow up.

My Little Mate will be at school next year. My Little Miss Thing at kinder the year after. These long years of being a stay at home parent are drawing to a close. I'm so lucky that I've even had the opportunity to be home with the kids as long as I have, and every time the Supertrucker heads out on shift I remind myself of the sacrifices he has made for this to be possible.

It is weird to be 36 and not know what I want to be. My childhood dreams of being either a princess, or a lawyer by day and a doctor by night haven't eventuated, so I need to think more about it.

Are you a grown up? Are you doing what you want to do? What do you want to be when you grow up?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Through the looking glass.

My Little Mate has been doing so well at his new kinder. He loves it and looks forward to going very much. He holds it together beautifully while he is there.

And then he comes home.

He is exhausted I know, and processing so much new information at the moment.

I watched him as he was having a massive screaming meltdown the other day. Unable to stop it. Unable to make it better. Unable to help him.

And in that moment the thought flew through my mind.

How did we get here? How is this my life?

It does not look anything like I imagined it would. Nothing could have ever prepared me for life with an autistic child.

For the longest time I lost myself in it all. I was so busy just coping. Trying to parent this child who can be so 'other' whilst attempting not to neglect his siblings.

Sometimes I feel I have too many children, and as soon as I think it I hate myself for it. But every now and then it just feels like too much. That no matter now much I do or how hard I try I will never be the mother I want or need to be to all of them.

Sometimes, it is just hard.

I wouldn't change it. I'd not be without any of them. But sometimes I look at other families doing normal kind of things and I envy that mother who isn't walking a knifes edge trying to keep her child from losing it. The kids who just run around and play and don't have the resentment that my older children sometimes tearfully tell me they feel.

I tell them they are entitled to those feelings. That it is okay, and that I know they love their brother but I also know that the way things are take a toll on them too. I tell them that I love our Little Mate so much that it hurts, but sometimes I wish it was different too.

It's funny how quickly we adapt really. I can't remember a time that we didn't know my boy was different any more. Maybe because even before we knew, we already knew.

And so I focus on the positives. His speech has improved exponentially in the past six months. He makes eye contact more readily. He plays alongside other children now and again.

But sometimes even those great gains aren't enough. Sometimes it hurts my heart that we need to fight so hard for him. Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish it looked like I once imagined.

And that is okay. Because even while we create new dreams, sometimes we need to mourn the loss of the old ones.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A post about nothing.


So I was watching Seinfeld the other day.

I'm pretty sure I've seen every episode over the years. I remember watching it during my Uni years, and the spinoff lines that would float around the tute rooms. No soup for you!

I moved in with the Supertrucker when I was 22. Way back when the internet still went reweeeeeertttttshkeeeeeeeee and it took about five minutes to load a page. Way back when BBS's were a thing, no pretty forums in the olden days.

I remember many an evening on the couch watching Seinfeld at 7pm. No iDevices, no tweeting unless it was daylight savings and the birds were still out. Just sitting and watching a show together and sometimes having a conversation. Ahh those golden days of yore.

I had two late tutes in my final year. They ran from 7.30 - 9.30 I think. One night we had to do a group presentation. Our group was last and with no word of a lie we told the class we were keeping it brief so everyone could get home for the final episode of Seinfeld. I watched it at my mate's house, from memory it was pretty disappointing. Then we went out and got pissed, because it was Thursday.

For the longest longest time my catchphrase was giddy up. Still is sometimes. My buddy even bought my then baby little mate a T-shirt with Kramer on it along with the slogan. That was a fun one to me.

So where were you for the final episode of Seinfeld? Are those pretzels making you thirsty? Do you celebrate Festivus with the rest of us?

Friday, February 15, 2013

OperationMOVE: Reality Bites

I'm feeling a bit cranky pants at the moment.

I've been taking it easier this week after having some issues with my knee and foot, which in itself isn't a bad thing. But it has me thinking lots of thoughts, some of which are not happy happy joy joy ones.

Here is the thing. I have a back injury that is 5 years old and still gives me pain daily. I used it as an excuse not to exercise for a really long time. I have found that running doesn't make it better, but it doesn't make it any worse either and I am loving running so so much.

BUT having been through the utter agony of the initial injury (which resulted in a few days in hospital off my head on all the good drugs) I am really loathe to put myself in a position that could result in a similar level of pain.

I've thought for a week or so that maybe I need to stop pushing for greater distances when running. I've argued back and forth with myself endlessly... am I thinking this way because I am a wussbag and scared to step it up? Or am I being quite sensible?

I've registered for a 15km run at the end of March and am looking at half marathons later in the year... but maybe I need to see if I can do the 5km run this time and maybe some 10's or similar later in the year instead of pushing so hard for the endurance runs?

I don't know. I really don't. I desperately WANT to be a person who can run a half marathon, but I also want to be a person who has working joints for the next 50 years too.

What do you think? Am I just making excuses? Or should I take some pride in what I've achieved so far and commit to doing 8/10km runs that don't hurt in a bad way a few times a week and try to be happy with that?

ARGH what should I do internet? What should I do?

In other news, it is check in day and because life has been crazy the past week I haven't done the tally board. Sorry :( So please leave your total for the month so far along with your goal and we will track that way for a bit.

For me to date: 68.3/150kms 

Hope you are faring better than I am! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The easiest home made icecream ever!

A while back my Mum was telling me how her Mum used to make icecream with condensed milk, and it was yum.

I would happily eat condensed milk on its own anyway, but condensed milk icecream? Delish!

I played around with quantities a little bit and came up with this recipe. Which I'm sure if you google is pretty much the same as any other condensed milk ice cream recipe and I could've saved myself some time and effort if I'd done that first. But I'm not always all that bright.

I used my Thermomix to make this but I'm sure any decent kitchen mixer would do the job.

You need:

1 tin of sweetened condensed milk
300ml thick cream (suitable for whipping)
Vanilla extract

What you do:

Place the cream in whatever you are using (kitchen mixer, thermomix, whatever).

Set it to whip until it is nice and fluffy.

Pour in a good splash of vanilla extract then whip it for just a few more seconds until it reaches stiff peaks stage.

Pour in the condensed milk. Don't cut your tongue licking the lid.

Mix the cream and condensed milk for about 30 seconds.

Pour into whatever you want to freeze it in. I use a stainless steel bowl personally.

After two hours pour it all back into your mixer and give it a really good whizz for 30 seconds, then pour it back into your freezable container.

After another two hours or so do it again.

And a few hours after that pull it out of the freezer and gobble it all up.

Too easy!

PS are you a condensed milk fan too? I love that it comes in slurping tubes now ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

That Inking Feeling

You already know that I'm a self confessed card carrying bogan, so it will come as no surprise that I sport a few tattoos here and there.

I'm off to get some new ink today, so I thought I'd share my older ones with you just for shiggles.

This was my first tatt. I got it when I was 21 and it is on my lower abdomen. Women, if someone tells you a tattoo is low enough on your belly to not be affected by a pregnancy, they are lying. As you can clearly see.

This was once a pretty little flower, but four rounds of packing on 30kg then losing it again has left it pretty weedlike with a stretch mark running straight through the middle.

I am however hoping to get a coverup tattoo over it down the track.

On a holiday to Brisvegas back in 2000 the Supertrucker and I thought it would be a laugh to get some matching ink. This is on my right shoulder/back and he has the same near his left ankle. Awwwww.

Meanwhile this is also why you should always put sunscreen on your tatts before going out in the sun. Epic fail there Kate.

So years went on and we got hitched and had a baby. On another holiday to Queensland with our then 5 month old baby boy we went back to the place we got the last tatts. ST got an armband with our son's first and middle names and his date of birth (which is also the date of ST's father's death, our boy's middle name is his grandfather's first name). I got this celtic knotwork mother's heart and one initial in it in the classic tramp stamp position.

Because we were only having two children I made sure there was space for one more initial. Whoops.

A few days before Christmas in 2007 my sister and I decided to get some matching tatts, and I had another initial added to my heart.

My sis and I have this one on opposite feet. Because we are cool like that. I love looking at this and thinking of her a state away.

I also had this one done on my inner left ankle. I designed it myself (you can tell right? ;)) and the stars are for our two children... It was done literally days before the conception of our third. Again, whoops. On the to-do list is another two stars and some additions to my back tatt for the other two children we now have as well.

So that's my little collection.

I'm having a celtic symbol done on my arm today along with a small finger tattoo. Because I am an attention seeker an avid user of social media I'm sure the new ones will be popping up on my Instagram feed and Facebook page later today.

PS sorry Mum. I know you don't like them. But I really do :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One of those poo posts.

Not really. I don't love them either.

But I AM going to share some things about toileting.

It wasn't all that long ago that we were convinced we had a number of years of nappy buying ahead of us. Our Little Mate was showing no signs of toileting awareness and when I'd put him in undies just for a try he would not even register when they were wet, let alone that he was the one wetting them.

Over the Summer holidays we would try once a week or so with both the little two, to no avail.

Then one day, my boy randomly used the potty without any prompting from me. In fact I did not know until he came and told me.

Of course there was much cheering and celebration, but a day later it became apparent that it had been a one off and the nappies were back in action.

A month or so passed and I'd resigned myself to the fact that there was no change likely in the immediate future. I did buy some McQueen pull-ups in the hope that McQueen might just prompt some interest.

For a week or so my boyo wore the pull-ups and treated them like nappies. And then, again completely out of the blue, he took himself to the toilet. We have one of those step up seats and he had set it up, used the toilet and flushed it. The flushing is what alerted me to the fact that anything was happening at all.

We started sending him to childcare in pull-ups and with extras in his bag. In that structured environment he used the toilet all day with some prompting. That was a few weeks ago now and we have not looked back.

He did rely on the security of the pull-ups for a while but over the past few days has asked to wear jocks. We have a sticker chart on our pantry that one of the wonderful childcare staff made for us so he has the same chart at home and at care. It is a basic laminated table with laminated disks bearing pictures of Lightning McQueen and Mater so you already know that is a winner.

When I had two young children I really felt that sticker charts, reward systems and the like were not appropriate for children. That training them to do things rather than encouraging their own abilities was somehow derogatory to them.

Oh, how things have changed. I knew everything about parenting then. These days I know very little, and what I do know my Little Mate has taught me. Some children respond remarkably well to reward charts and my boy is one of them. Had he not been ready physically to toilet train it would not have happened regardless of any charts or systems, but as it happened the chart provided the impetus for him to experience success.

While there are still accidents now and again, my son really seems to have got it. And I am reminded yet again that when I let go of expectations and allow him to come to things in his own time, he will often surprise me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pretty Girl

When I asked the Supertrucker to shave my head last week, I ran it by my kids first.

My boys were both very excited and thought it was pretty hilarious, especially given they have buzzcuts themselves. Little Mate really likes our matchy match heads.

Little Miss Thing could not care either way, but my big girl was a little concerned. 'You won't look pretty,' she said. And since then there have been a few times that she has mentioned that I 'look like a boy.'

This concerns me a great deal. Not because I am worried about looking pretty or for reasons of gender stereotyping, but because it is clearly of great importance to my seven year old daughter.

I think both of my daughters are very pretty. Beautiful in fact. I think my boys are pretty damned spunky too. And I throw away lines like 'okay my beautiful girl' without really thinking about it terribly much because I am their Mum, and I'm forever telling them with words and actions that they live in my heart.

But I don't want 'pretty' to be a thing to aspire to. When I call my kids beautiful I am talking about their entire beings, not the way they look. And while I may think that they are attractive (because of course I do) I'm not sure how to balance that out and help them understand that inner beauty is what counts, in a world that is utterly obsessed with the aesthetic.

When I was in Year 8 I was told by one of the popular girls that I was pretty. Pretty enough to be invited into THE group even. Up until that point I don't really remember thinking I was much of anything... not in a negative way, it just wasn't something I thought about.

After that time I thought about it constantly. How to be PRETTIER. What I needed to do for people to see me and tell me again and again how PRETTY I was. It was a vicious downwards spiral from there... one which I've only really dragged myself out of over the past few years. And let's face it I still like being told I am attractive, because if someone else says it it must be true.

THIS is what I do not want for my daughters. For my sons either. But I do not know how to avoid it.

I can watch my words more carefully. I can focus on the brilliant things about them all that have nothing to do with their features, and I do. But is it enough? Can I ever compete with peer groups and the mainstream media?

How do you teach your children the value of who they are, as opposed to how they look?

Friday, February 8, 2013

#OperationMOVE: crank it up.

I know I posted not all that long ago about my running music, but with the amount of kilometres I'm doing at them moment I'm getting bored pretty easily.

There has been some great chats in our Facebook group about music to move to and I'd love to open that up here as well.

This is what my current running playlist looks like:

Yes I know, Eye of the Tiger. DON'T JUDGE ME! ;)

So I want you to hit me with one song that always makes you move, whether you are a runner, walker, group exercise guru or swimmer. What music makes you want to step it up a notch?

Also, check in day! Tell me your minutes too ;) I'll be back over the weekend with the first tally board for February.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Image Source
I was running at the lake the other day (which still shocks me, but anyway) and I passed a number of women going the other direction.

They were all walking individually. Each was talking on the phone, heavily made up, hair beautifully arranged. They would have been a mix of late teens - early 20's and they were all in name brand sports gear. Mostly hot pants and crop tops.

They looked great, don't get me wrong, but I had a little epiphany when I passed the third or fourth one.

I am glad I am not them.

I'm sure they were thinking the same as the woman jogged past dripping sweat, face like a beetroot with a number 5 buzzcut and a toddler asleep in the pram. I would've thought the same at their age. Who goes out like that?

I've spent a lot, too much, of my life trying to look 'pretty' or 'sexy' or more something, anything. And I suddenly just do not care.

Not in a 'not going to shower' kind of way. In a 'I like who and what I am' kind of way.

I don't know when it happened.

I'm pretty sure it can be at least partially attributed to running. Possibly also medication, who knows.

I'm not saying I don't or won't have those moments of feeling lesser. I'm just saying that right now I am stronger.

Strong enough to shave my head and love it, which I've wanted to do for years but have never done out of fear.

Strong enough to look at my body and love it for it's increasing muscularity, and for it's uniqueness rather than focussing on its 'flaws'.

Strong enough to not wear makeup if I don't feel like it, and enjoy wearing it when I do.

Strong enough to look at those reminders of my 20 year old self with sympathy, not envy. Because I suspect their years of self appreciation are ahead of them too.

Strong enough to exchange a glance with the other sweaty, red-faced over 30's runners that says we got this. This is our time.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Letting Go.

It is a week for big things at our place.

Yesterday my big kids caught the bus home for the first time. I spent most of last year telling them we weren't in the catchment for it at 5.7kms from the school, but it turns out I was wrong much to my big boy's delight. There is a stop at the end of our court.

We are not helicopter parents. Far from it. But there is something about dropping your kids off at school and just having to wait for them to get back that feels kind of weird. They used to walk to and from at our old place, but that was less than half the distance of our court alone here.

I don't know why it feels so much like letting go.

My daughter is very sensible and very quick to dob on her brother if he is not. They're supervised onto the bus and it isn't like there is much traffic or anything out here.

But still, I guess it is just another sign that they are growing up. That they need me less.

My Little Mate starts kinder today. Three days a week, five hours each session.

Beautiful Suz wrote a post last week about her heart walking around outside her body, and that is exactly how it feels. I'm leaving my heart there with him, I've cleverly scheduled in a 12km run with the pram after dropoff so if I totally drop my bundle I can blame it on exhaustion rather than being an emo kid.

These kids of mine, they are growing up so fast.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The light at the end of the tunnel.

Image by OiMax

I've been mothering babies for a really long time now.

I love newborns. I adore infants. Even toddlers thrill me. And children are awesome fun. Which is just as well really.

But just lately I've felt a shift. My small girl is two. She is fiercely independant and feisty and wonderful.

She is also no longer a baby. I don't know when it happened, it was so gradual. But I look at her today and she is one of the kids, out playing and running around and terrorizing the dog and all that fun stuff.

She is happy and confident. And I am so proud of her, and just the tiniest bit sad as well.

After 9+ years of growing and caring for very small people, I'm suddenly not needed quite as intensely... Well not in the same way anyhow.

I'm not suggesting parenting older children is any easier, because is isn't. But it's not so physically consuming as meeting the needs of a baby. It is just different.

Because we choose to parent as we do, I have been on call for a very long time. We don't tend to leave the kids overnight when they are little, because we co-sleep and I breastfeed full term. So maybe this feeling has come a little later to me than others.

I won't pretend these choices have always been easy. At times I've felt almost resentful of the fun my friends have had on nights out or weekends away. But I always reminded myself that these years are fleeting. And I was right.

So it is with mixed emotions that I approach this new chapter. And a little bit of excitement too. I'm going away in May with some women I adore, and I can't quite believe that for the first time in what feels like ever I can say yes. I can say that my kids will be fine with my parents, and that I am allowed to go and just be me for a couple of days.

Things are changing around here. And I think I like it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

#OperationMOVE - Fantastic & Fit for February!

So we're into 2013 proper now. School is back, people are back at work, holidays are over.

Which is sad, but kind of good too. I know I let myself slack off a bit over the holidays and found a million excuses not to move when I should have. It's time to kick my butt back into gear and make me/move time a priority again.

With all the running around I'm doing this year between school, kinder and child care it is already proving really important to actually schedule in when I will exercise and stick to it. Where I could shuffle things around a bit and make it up during the Summer, I now need to be a bit rigid because the make up time just doesn't exist any more. Plus I'm spending a lot more time in my car, ie sitting on my bum so I WANT to get out and move when I can.

Because I'm actually training for a real life THING ermahgerd I'm upping the ante this month and committing to 150kms and 1300 minutes for the month.

When I consider that I started #OperationMOVE last September with a 600 minute goal that I pretty much scraped in, it's kind of amazing to me how far I've come. You too?

So tell me mates, what will you commit to for February? Are you going to be fantastic and fit too?