The year that was -2013

2013inreview

Wow what a year! And how fast it has flown!  We’re down to our last week of 2013 so I thought I would make a year in review post. I did this quiz last year and I really loved having an opportunity to think and reflect about the year just (about) gone. It’s so hard to believe that this time last year, I had a little four month old who was just learning how to laugh and coo. Now I have a very busy toddler who loves climbing and getting into mischief! It’s unbelievable how much things can change over the course of a year. If you like this quiz, please feel free to copy and paste the questions onto your page or blog and fill it out too! It’s nice looking back and sharing your special moments with others 🙂

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

I got married which was super duper exciting! I also made my first online purchase from overseas, got my eyebrows waxed and had a dress (my wedding dress) made for me.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Sad to say that most of my resolutions fell by the wayside. My biggest goal for 2013 was to eat healthy and get fit. Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon midway through the year and never really got back on. I am hoping to get back on track after the new year. We’ve had a very very busy few months that I haven’t had much time to think about my goals or work towards attaining them! But now things are calmer so I will be setting some new goals for 2014 soon!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, unfortunately! But two people in my family became pregnant so I am eagerly awaiting their arrivals in feb/march!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

So happy to be able to answer no to this question.

5. What countries did you visit?

Nowhere really! But we did move from Hamilton back down to Christchurch, which we are so happy about. A very positive move.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Kind of related to the previous question, I had hoped we’d do some travel this year. Ever optimistic though, maybe in 2014!

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 7th (Charlie’s first birthday) and December 3rd (our third anniversary and our wedding day!)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Definitely my wedding and marriage. So much planning went into the wedding and I was so pleased that we pulled it off! I really loved our wedding, it was just perfect. But I have to say that my marriage is probably my biggest achievement of this year. I am really loving being married and so proud to be able to now introduce the Manly One as my husband – I get a little kick out of it every time!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Definitely my weight loss goals. I was going so well at the start of the year, losing weight, eating well and feeling great. As the year wore on, I would workout ever 2nd day, then every 3rd, then only when I remembered and had the energy…. I am so disappointed about this! There is always next year though!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, thankfully!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I can’t really think of anything that we bought but I can definitely name a few things we’ve been given! Our vacuum cleaner, microwave and dust buster to name a few!

12. Where did most of your money go?

Wedding expenses, bills/debt and child maintenance (lol) Even though my grandarents very generously covered a large majority of the wedding bills, a lot of our paychecks went to the Great Cause as well.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I was so unbelievably excited for the wedding!

14. What songs will always remind you of 2013?

If There Is Something by Roxy Music, This Guy’s in Love with You by Herb Alpert and Baroque Again by Graham Wardop, our wedding guitarist.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

 a) Happier or sadder? Happier!

 b) Thinner or fatter? Fatter >.<

c ) Poorer or Richer? Richer! The Manly One is totally earning those ernies! He is an outstanding sales person and bringing in totally rockin’ commissions!

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Looking back, I wish I had practiced better self care. I probably sound horribly superficial but looking good makes me feel good. Wearing make up and pretty dresses makes me feel good. Art makes me feel good. Poetry makes me feel good. My new goals for new year include making time to do my hair and make and I am so eager to go to my first spoken word poetry gig!

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Less rushing. I have felt so busy this and have done a lot of rushing. This new year I must remember to slow down remember that there’s always time to do things if you make it.

18. How did you spend Christmas in 2013?

I was so happy to spend Christmas with my whole family for the first time since 2010! It was really nice being together. We had a BBQ at my grandad’s place and it was lovely.

19. Did you fall in love in 2013?

I did! Love is a funny thing, I find myself falling in love again with the Manly One all the time. Sometimes he will do or say something and it will give me butterflies like the first time we spoke and I find myself even more besotted with him. Our wedding day was one of those days – hearing his vows and seeing the sincerity on his face was incomparable to anything ever.

20. What was your favourite TV programme?

I have a few! I am really lame and always late to the TV programme party. I love waiting until there are at least a few seasons of a series so I don’t have to wait til the next one is out. This year I have enjoyed watching Breaking Bad (loved it!), Downton Abbey, Stephen Moffat’s Doctor Who’s, Skins, Kitchen Nightmares, New Zealand’s Got Talent and Mr. Selfridge.

21. What was the best book you read?

I really didn’t read many books this year! But I have been reading of lot of blogs and websites. I love Mommyish and the art history tumblr Jaded-Mandarin.

22. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I have recently discovered my favourite radio station, thanks to my nan who listens to it in her car! It is called The Attic (96.1) and they seriously play the best range of music. It is run by the New Zealand Broadcasting School and I think it is a student radio station. Lots of great music and very few ads! Brilliant!

23. What did you want and get?

My perfect wedding and perfect husband.

24. What did you want and not get?

I really wanted to travel but it just wasn’t on the cards for 2013!

25. What was your favourite film of this year?

Soooo many. The Manly one and I love movies and watch a lot of films. We’ve only been to the cinema once this year (to see the latest hunger games) but films released in 2013 that we enjoyed were Warm Bodies, The Brass Teapot, Monsters University and Catching Fire.

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 20 this year and the Manly One treated me to dinner and a night out. And as he always does, he bought me a new bottle of my favourite perfume Tresor In Love.

27. What kept you sane?

My family. It has been such a great comfort being with them all again.

28. What political issue stirred you the most?

Rape culture and every day sexism.

29. Who did you miss?

The Manly One! He is currently working full time and studying and it feels like I hardly ever get to see him!

30. Who was the best new person you met?

My new friend Amy and her little boy Ashton. They are so sweet! And also, it was really lovely meeting my brother in law’s girlfriend, Lorna 🙂

31. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013?

This year I have learned a lot from watching my son grow. I have learned to cherish every day because there will only happen once. He has taught me to slow down and enjoy simple things like picking grass and throwing balls. He has reminded me of the importance of trying again – I adore the way he is undeterred by failing. If he can’t figure out how to do something, he will persist until he has mastered it. I must learn to be this way. I have been learning to let things go and to not sweat the small stuff. I have learned to love life every day and to always remember what’s important and what’s irrelevant to happiness.

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16 months or “he’s almost one and a half”

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On the 7th of December, Charlie turned sixteen months old. I know I promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those ladies that continues saying her kid’s age in months past the age of one, but I can’t help it.  I still celebrate each month, each milestone, each and every new emerging skill. I am blown away by how absorbent his mind is at this stage and how quickly he learns new things.  This month his gentle and loving nature has really come out. He gives lots of hugs & kisses now and win’s everybody’s hearts with his stunning smile. He is so friendly and social and just loves animals and meeting new people.

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As he gets older, he gets cheekier and sassier and I really do love it. Having a toddler is absolutely exhausting but so much fun. He truly makes every day special and I love his cheeky personality.  His speech and understanding of language is developing at a quite a rapid pace, he says a few words, not real ones but ones that I understand. I think he really likes being able to communicate with me and enjoys saying the few words he does know over and over.  His favourites are “gooo!”, “coco” (chocolate) “car-car” and “wa-wa” (water) He makes a lot of noise and I know he is working really hard to replicate the sounds I make when I speak.  He has a few expressions that he likes using, when he drops something he delights in saying “uh-oh” and when he is cuddling he makes the sweetest “ooooh oooh” sound. It’s just gorgeous.  Learning to talk is definitely my favourite milestone to date, it’s so exciting because now that he is starting to verbalise his thoughts, I get a little glimpse into his cute little head.

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He loves repetition and this month has been working really hard on initiating the little games we play. His favourite rhyme at the moment is “Toast in the Toaster” and when he wants me to do the rhyme, he shouts “googoo-googoo” which must sound like “toast toaster!” in his mind. He also likes to smell people’s feet and say “pooooo!” (something that we do to him because it makes him laugh” and he loves being asked to point to his nose. In terms of body parts, he knows head/hair, body, knees, nose and eyes which he likes to pretend to wash.  His favourite book is “Wally Woof” and when he wants us to read it to him he brings it to us and says “waaa-woo” He is just so gorgeous and adorable, everything he does makes my heart melt.

He is still an adventurer and explorer and he loves investigating things to find out how they work. He is really good at climbing and his favourite thing to do these days is attempting to escape via any window, open or not. He has recently started to understand and enjoy art and drawing so we’ve been doing that a bit lately. He likes dancing, jumping and running.  He loves being independent and trying to help out in the  house.  His favourite chores are passing me laundry, vacuuming and wiping up spills. He has started to enjoy practicing self care and loves brushing his hair, brushing his teeth and putting on his own hat and shoes.

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Bedtime is still slightly an issue as most nights he still wakes up a few times. I think he has started to have separation anxiety at night time so we have been co sleeping a bit recently. Most mornings after he’s been in our bed,  he wakes me up with a big kiss and cuddle which is really so nice. He still takes up most of the bed though which can be a bit of a pain at times!

I love his personality and I am really enjoying this stage.  It’s so much fun watching him learn and I love watching him blossom. He is growing so fast and sometimes I could just slow it all down. Even though we have bad days and days where we feel so tired that we may pass out, seeing him smile, or holding his hand encourages me to pick myself up and keep going. He is so cheeky, sweet, determined and adventurous. He has an infectious spirit and he never fails to make people smile.  He is so happy and bright and also… he still makes the best faces:

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Open letter to my children

To my son:

I will teach you to be strong. I will teach you to provide. But I will also teach you that it’s okay to be gentle, and I will tell you that when you provide, ensure that you are generous with your love. Embrace your masculinity. But don’t worry if you don’t. Being feminine is good too. Cry if you want, and if you don’t want to, that’s fine as well. Before sports games, write poetry. It will serve you well. Remember that being strong doesn’t always mean being tough.  Know that some women might like it when you open the door for her, but other’s might not. Remember to be a gentleman but  always respect her independence. Never continue anything if a person says “no” or “stop” Never be afraid to tell someone “no” or “stop” if you are uncomfortable. Be kind to women. Be kind to men. Be kind to everyone. Know that it’s okay to have your preferences, but that everyone is beautiful in their own ways. Be tolerant, but don’t be a push over. Stand up for yourself when it is needed. Know that it is also okay to let things go if they are not important. Live your life with honor, with love and with integrity. And even if you don’t, I will still be proud to be your mother.

To my daughter: (if one day I have one)

I will teach you to be feminine. I will teach you to be well mannered. But I will also teach to be strong. I will teach you the names and battles of feminists of suffragettes so you know how far we’ve come. Know that you don’t have to be cynical to be intelligent and that yelling isn’t always the best form of communication. Know that you are allowed to be soft if you want and if you want to be tough, that’s ok too. Wear pants. Wear dresses. Wear whatever the hell you want. Just make sure you that if you choose to wear something, wear it with pride.  Respect men. Respect women. Respect yourself. Respect everybody. Be kind, but be fierce when you need to be. Don’t be afraid to say stop. Always respect someones right to say stop. Know that feminists can be girly and love make up. Know that liking those things doesn’t make you superficial or shallow. Never say that you’re “not like other girls” Don’t get sucked into the hate, support your sisters. Live your life with honor, with love and with integrity. And even if you don’t, I will still be proud to be your mother

DIY laundry recipes

I’ve been on a DIY binge lately so I thought I would share with you a few laundry recipes that I use. A little while ago I made a post about my DIY laundry powder. I’ve made a couple of changes so it is slightly different to the former, but if you want to have a read, you can find it here.
Before I launch into the recipes I want to share  bit about where I got these recipes from and how I became interested in making my own products. When I was pregnant, I read Mother’s Little Helper by New Zealand author Wendyl Nissen. Inspired by vintage mothering manuals, she put together a book full of tips, recipes and advice for raising your baby “the old fashioned way” After I read it I became curious and went on to read her other books – A Home Companion and Domestic Goddess On A Budget. I loved them and they have set off an interest in me that I never knew existed.
I find these things fascinating because my generation has been brought up on pre packaged, store bought products and most of us have never given a thought to making our own. Knowing how to make your own products is a really handy skill and can also benefit our planet and wildlife.  These recipes are a great place to start because it’s proof you don’t have to be a total greenie to get into sustainable living. I believe life is all about balance and if you compensate in other areas it doesn’t matter if you love plastic bags or your big gas guzzling car. Making even just a few changes can have a huge impact to sustainable living as a whole.
Anyway, onto the recipes! These first two recipes are adapted from Mother’s Little Helper which you should totally check out if you get the chance.

DIY laundry powder –

  • 1 cup of soda ash or washing soda (soda ash is better)
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup sodium percarbonate (optional*)
  • 60ml liquid castile soap (I use Dr.Bronners unscented or lavender)
  • 2ml of essential oil (I use lavender or eucalyptus)
  • Food processor (or if you don’t have one you might be able to use a blender or combined by hand while wearing protective gear)

In a food processor combine soda ash and baking soda (and sodium percarbonate if you’re using it) Process until well combined. With the food processor still going, drizzle in the castile soap and essential oils. Continue processing until it looks like it is well mixed together. Store in an air tight container. You will need 1 tablespoon per load or double for a big/soiled load.

*I like to use sodium percarbonate for it’s stain removal properties, however it’s a bit harsher than the other ingredients. This substance is powdered hydrogen peroxide which is an oxygen bleach. Extra care should be taken when using it such as wearing gloves and making sure the area is well ventilated. It’s perfectly safe to use on your clothes (it’s the active ingredient in Napisan/Oxi clean) but it just needs to be handled with caution.

DIY Laundry Liquid

  • 1/2 bar of vegetable based soap, grated (I use Dr. Bronners or Sunlight)
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 1/2 C soda ash
  • 50g or 1/2 C borax
  • I liter of hot water
  • Essential oils (lavender, eucaluptus)
  • Empty milk/plastic bottles
  • A bucket
  • A funnel (optional but it makes getting it into the bottles way easier)

Place soap in a saucepan with the first quantity of water and heat on low until soap is dissolved. Stir in washing soda and borax. Stir for a few minutes until thickened* and remove from heat  Add 1 litre of hot water to a bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill bucket with another 5 litres of hot water and mix well.  Once cooled,  add about 20 drops lavender or Eucalyptus oil (good for woolens) if you are using them Pour into old milk bottles or other containers and set aside for 24 hours or until mixture thickens. Finally consistency should be quite gluggy and easy to squeeze from bottle. Use ½ cup of mixture per load.

* If you’re using Castile soap  it won’t thicken straight away. But don’t worry it will once it’s been left overnight.

Laundry Rinse/DIY fabric softener

Add about 1/2 C of vinegar to your machines liquid dispenser to the final rinse.  You can also add essential oils to give it a nice fragrance.

Stain Removing paste

Combined baking soda and water and apply directly onto stain. Let it sit for a few minutes before throwing in the wash.

Where I buy my supplies

For people in New Zealand, I buy all my ingredients from Binn Inn (a bulk food store) It’s great because I have one just up the road.  You can also find a lot of the stuff in supermarkets on the cleaning aisle. I’m not exactly sure what the overseas equivilant of Binn Inn is but check out your bulk food stores and supermarkets to see what you can find. I also think some of these things are available on ebay.

How I store my cleaners

I’ve seen lots of really cute ideas on pinterest such as making your own mason jar soap dispenser and using drink dispensers to store your laundry liquid in. I don’t do this which is why there are no pictures on this post.  I just stick put them in plastic bottles/containers I have laying around. I do this for a couple of reasons, it’s cheaper, less effort and why send it be recycled when I can re purpose it at home? I do keep the powdered chemicals in tightly sealed tupperware containers for safety reasons.

Precious moments

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This stage in Charlie’s life has probably been my favourite so far. He is taking in everything he sees and hears and is just blooming before my eyes. Each day he is able to express a new want or perfect a new skill and it’s just wonderful. He is so vivacious and his spirit lifts me up when I am feeling too tired or too busy to play. He is so loving and absolutely adores his great nanna. She is so dedicated to him and I feel very blessed to witness their beautiful bond. Summer is approaching again so we have been spending a lot of time outside or at the park which Charlie loves. In the past month, his affectionate side has really blossomed so I have been lucky enough to enjoy many precious moments such as these. I am so grateful for my little man and the life we share together – he truly is my greatest joy.

 

 

Beach

Today we went for a walk on the beach and it was glorious. We whipped off Charlie’s shoes and he enjoyed walking around on the sand barefoot. He was fascinated by the shells in the sand and even though it’s only October, I let him dip his toes in the water – to which he screamed with delight! He is such a curious explorer and I think we will be spending a lot of time at the beach this summer.

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September

I can’t believe another month has been and gone. I say it every month but it really shocks me how fast this year is flying by.  Spring is in the air and it makes me excited for summer, and that’s saying a lot as I usually dread the summer. I am looking forward to spending days at the beach with my family and picnicking in the gardens. I welcome the longer days and warmer weather with open arms. Charlie is growing so quickly, I find it hard to keep up. Every day he surprises me with a new trick and he appears to be blooming right before my eyes.

I love the way his face lights up when he recognizes something; a word, a phrase, a place or a game. Being a baby must be so extraordinary.  Everything is so new and each day is filled with endless excitement. Charlie has grown into such an adventurous wee boy and I love how curious and genuine he is. He’s such a loving and friendly soul and he just adores attention. I feel so privileged that I get to spend my days with him. Watching him play, laugh and explore let’s me see the world as he sees it.

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I love my son’s tantrums

2013-09-11 08.23.39My son exists in a world where having his hair brushed, or being presented with the wrong selection of snacks, or having his arms put through his sleeves are the worst things in the world to him. And that makes me incredibly glad. Not for his distresses of course, for those I sympathise (it must be difficult being a toddler) but it makes me glad because he is still so innocent and so beautifully self centered.

I know it sounds crazy but I just adore how he thinks the world revolves around him – and in our house it does. Infancy is a tiny pocket of the human life span where for just a moment, you are the center of everything and I think that it’s an important phase to have. In time our children learn about others, about empathy, about kindness and selflessness. They will learn how to share and negotiate and communicate their wants and needs in socially accepted ways. And that’s good. As we grow up we need to know these things, they are an integral part of existing in our culture.

But you have admire the toddler for their self expression and ability to just be. No pretenses, no motivation, they just are as they are. I love my son’s tantrums over trivial things as it shows me his innocence. His blindness to the harsh things in life.I love that he is silly and selfish and sassy.  His spirit, no matter his mood continues to amaze me and even though the tears can be hard to deal with, I love knowing that the worst thing he will have to face today is having to wear sleeves.

Sticky table {toddler activity}

A few weeks ago, I wasn’t feeling very well so naturally I had a very busy, very bored baby on my hands. He was tired of his toys, didn’t want to read books or sing songs. I had a few things left from his birthday, so I put together a sticky table to keep him occupied. It worked a treat!

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I used contact paper and my trusty rolling container (seriously, these bad boys are the epitome of multipurposeful…ness) some pom poms, penne pasta and bits of cut up straws.  I laid them out like this and showed Charlie what happens when you place an object on the table and try to pull it off. He got into it straight away and had fun experimenting with the different materials, scattering and pulling at them.  He had such a blast and I got to put my feet up for a few minutes… bliss!IMG_0656

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