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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TV is Blocking My Creative Flow, According to Julia Cameron

Morning People Have it Gooooood
It's been a week since my last post and I have a confession to make. Matt and I have been caught up/obsessed with Sons of Anarchy. We started over the holidays and are now on the third season.  Last night we took a time off so he could watch some of the Australian Open. I ended up doing a heap of blog research while on the couch next to him. It was the most productive I've been in weeks!

To top it off, on our road trip over the weekend we started listening to the Serial podcast. Between SOA, Serial, and our daughter, I have no idea when my husband and I will have another actual conversation. We either need to rip through the rest of the episodes together or take a small break. Because you know I can't cheat on him and watch ahead.

Another confession: when Hubs and I get way into a show, I try and prep dinner during the day and we race through evening chores like fools so we can squeeze in two, maybe three Eps before lights out. WHO AM I???
Major Spoiler Alert Anxiety while Googling for these Images

Today was Lavinia's first day back at Day Care since December 10th! She cried when I left her because she's going through separation anxiety. It sucks big time. At least there are some familiar, friendly faces at our childcare center. They haven't called to tell me that she has obliterated herself in tears or tantrum so I don't feel too, too, bad.

This morning I was able to organize myself enough to head right from drop off to my chiropractic appointment. His office is above a cafe and upon arriving early I knew I would be able to have a quiet breakfast and a coffee. I even brought my kindle. Bliss. I love doing things in the mornings even though am the definition of-not a morning person. But every once in a while, when forced to be awake and in the world- it's really wonderful. 

I sound like a broken record, but maximizing time is key. Today was about doing the things I cannot do when Lavinia is with me. It's no longer about showering, cooking or laundry- because I can do that all during her waking hours even if it means she makes a mess in one room while I clean up another. So today- I read.

This book called "The Artist's Way," was recommended to me during my blogcourse. The intro sounded preachy and religious but when I read further about how the author battled with alcoholism it made more sense.  In AA they tell you to find a higher power to believe in.  And she explains:

"When the word God is used in these pages, you may substitute the thought good orderly direction or flow. What we are talking about is a creative energy."

"If you are creatively blocked- and I believe all of us are to some extent- it is possible, even probable, that you can learn to create more freely through your willing use of the tools this book provides."

Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

I decided to reserve judgement and give the book a go. It seems like many artists have been inspired by her words- Maybe this is what I can do instead of watching a bunch of sexy bikers ride around and do bad stuff on the television.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Perspective: How A Flat World Becomes Round



Becoming a parent is confronting and forces you to see the world in a different way than you previously imagined. The only thing I can compare it to is hindsight but without the inevitable wisdom. 

Never has anything been more important to me than motherhood. In the beginning I felt vulnerable and unprepared, knowing more about what kind of parent I did not want to be than how to be a parent. The pressure I put on myself was intense and unfair. I’m still not sure about what kind of mother I will turn out to be, least now I'm cool with figuring it out as we cruise.













Sixteen months into my parenting journey I feel my consciousness shifting the way it did when I first became a grown-up.  Maybe it’s a confidence thing or maybe it’s about making informed choices and taking responsibility.


















Upon turning 25 I found my adulthood sea-legs. I negotiated for and bought a car by myself (bringing my Dad along for one test drive.) I ended a rotten relationship (dude wouldn't even come with me to pick up my new car.)  I owned a wardrobe that reflected my personality (bought on credit.) Grad school was ending and I applied for a job that would take me overseas.  I stopped blaming my parents.  The world was wide and waiting. 

Surprisingly, today feels just as full of promise as it did at age 25. I struggled into my 30's- adjusting to a new country, a new name, a new life. Even after all that becoming a parent was next level challenging- but we've made it through that historically difficult first year.











In the first year of parenting time stands still and lunges forward with little predictability, it makes you feel completely uncoordinated. At least now I’m getting used to the mother-dance and its ever-shifting steps. More importantly, I’m finally comfortable with how I'm moving along with it.

My little girl is a mirror. When I speak, I hear her voice now; the drawn-out American way “Bye” sounds like it has two syllables (a bit annoying). Or the way our tone rises when we say “hmm?” Or how she pats people on the shoulder when giving hugs like I do while comforting her. Soon it will move beyond the physical and she will mimic the way I handle change, growth and stress.



















Lavinia sees me more clearly than anyone ever has or ever will.  She makes me want to be a better person, like falling in love, not because I want her to love me more but because I know she will benefit. 

I've cast out a weighty anchor but I don't feel stuck.  In this stillness I have the opportunity to focus on passions I neglected while running around the world.  Yes your travel becomes limited when you have children- for at least another 18 years or so- but that forces you to take more of an internal journey.  At this time in my life I look forward to steering toward my dreams.

What are the moments in life where you felt a change in perspective? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

There You Are

Friday I am going to Hobart with my dear friend. Without our kids.
We booked flights months ago during a Jetstar promotion. Since then I don’t think either of us thought much about it. Suddenly two weeks out- we had not even booked a hotel. (Back in the day I could show up in a foreign country without booking a hotel but not today- today my life is planned down to the minute.)

I felt relieved when she messaged me saying she was a bit nervous about the trip.  Secretly I was too.  Not only will it be the longest I’ve been away from Lavinia but I’m so used to being bogged down by housework, kid-work, multi-tasking, and scheduled me-time that the concept of two days structure-free is overwhelming.

I ddidn'tknow exactly what either of us wanted the weekend to look like.  In the past party-Dawn would be in full effect: Friday night booze shesh and debauchery, followed by morning bloody-Marys, some shopping, a disco-nap, round two and a horrid Sunday hangover.  These days I would be just as happy in a hotel robe sleeping and watching movies...well almost.  I’m not dead yet.  It’s safe to assume our range of activities are going to fall someplace in between those two scenarios. 
Hobart January 2013
My friend and I have big responsibilities now.  We are wife and mother in addition to being daughter, sister, friend and colleague.

This past year we have both worked to transform ourselves, hers mainly physically and mine mainly emotionally, though we've each experienced a bit of both. She coaxed me out of the house when I was struggling with post-natal anxiety and depression.  I listened when she told me about bold health-related decisions she was making.  I am just now realizing just how much our journeys paralleled one another.  The essence:  Internal struggle to pin down an adult identity without piercing our childhood dreams in the process.

At this moment, in a brand new year, it’s rewarding to see goals achieved and look forward to the road ahead- what a wonderful opportunity to celebrate that together this weekend.
Hobart January 2013
She sent me a message today about our trip that said “we are going to be the undiluted essence of ourselves. I propose a toast to the essence of our souls my friend!” which inspired this post.

It’s the perfect plan. Pencil me in.


*The only other time I went to Hobart Lavinia was with me.  I was about 8 weeks pregnant.

Friday, January 9, 2015

An Intimate Post About What Depression Really Looks Like

This is a beautiful blog post about what depression looks like:


It starts off with a response to a highly informative article in The Guardian about how depressed people are not necessarily sad all the time.  They can enjoy moments in life without hunching around in a black cloak of darkness.  People can still experience happiness while muddling through this confusing mental illness.

The Blogger, Sarah, tells the story of being out with her toddler and people constantly commenting on her parenting- which really makes me angry.  I understand that people can be well-meaning but just because you are out in the world with a child is not a written invitation for strangers to comment on your life. New Mothers put enough pressure on themselves without society's misguided 'help.'

Pregnant women and new mothers seem to be fair game when out in public.  How many women have had strangers touch their round bellies? Luckily it never happened to me but I've heard plenty of stories.  I did have a shop owner ask me if I was 'sure there is only one baby in there?" when I was out shopping on my due date. Would it be socially acceptable for a stranger to go up to a woman with her boyfriend and ask why she is not wearing an engagement ring? No.  So don’t ask me why my daughter is only wearing one shoe.  It’s none of your business.

Thank you for Sharing Sarah. X



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Why We Love, Love Soap


I think it’s awesome when people take chances in business and in life.  Recently friends of mine started an online company that stocks unique, natural and organic beauty products that are good for your body and the environment. These two ladies, Celeste & Catherine are super passionate about what they do and it’s quite inspiring.  Yay women-owned, small business!

When I was pregnant with Lavinia I started paying closer attention to the ingredients in my food and beauty products. 

When she was born I was a total freak about not letting chemicals near her perfect pink skin.  That awareness has carried over to the products that I use on myself. Despite feeling quite a bit older- I can honestly say my hair and skin have never been healthier since switching to mainly organic products.  Why didn't I learn about this stuff in my early 20’s??? Could have prevented so much skin drama.

Celeste gave me a bath product to try out on Lavinia and I really liked it so I’m sharing it with you here.

Love Soap is a shampoo (which doubles as a body wash) for little nuggets.  It’s certified organic by the Soil Association. Lavinia has skin prone to eczema so it's great this product is made for sensitive skin.
This Cute Little Gift Box Comes With Bubble Bath Too

The Love Soap smells like citrus and lavender (which always reminds me of a spa)- a perfect calming scent since bath-time is the beginning of our bedtime routine. It’s soft on the skin and rinses off really easily which isn't always the case with products containing essential oils. The bubble bath isn't super bubbly but I don't tend to use very much.
Vinnie Appreciates Natural Luxury
Check out the rest of their exciting range of natural products for home and body: Natural Supply Co.  Thanks Celeste and Catherine!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 A Year In Review




I achieved something this year that surprised me. With reckless honesty I was able to reach out and connect to an invaluable support system.

Last year at this time my little 3.5 month old was experiencing sleep regression and I was losing my mind.  I no longer had the energy to keep my game face on.  The tough-girl facade built up over the last 33 years was crumbling under the weight of hormones and sleep deprivation.

In the past, if I had to fall apart it would be in front of my current partner, the one person allowed to witness my hair letting down. This often sent said-partner running for the hills (understandable) or to other company (not so understandable) and if it didn't I would see how far I could push them until inevitably I ended up alone. It was less damaging when I could only hurt myself.

Until one day I met someone who did not scare so easily. He gave me the space to be able to work on the cause of my issues. I was mostly happy... and then I wasn't.

When I impulsively shared my depression and anxiety on social media I felt ill, as if I had committed the ultimate social faux pas. This decision went against everything I had been taught about being tough. Even worse than that, soon everyone would know I was faking it.

Somehow shoving those skeletons into the dim glow of our computer screens illuminated a strength I never knew I could be capable of.

Ironically showing weakness makes you stronger- a lesson I was able to teach myself by diving into extremely uncomfortable territory.

Then came the rush of support.  Friends I had not spoken to in years, family members, acquaintances from all corners of the world- to say it was humbling is an understatement. So many stories shared from other vulnerable souls dealing with their own demons. It was all out in the open now and we were able to speak about it knowing we weren't alone.

The more honest I am with myself and others- the more I’m improving as a human, mother and partner. Nothing is more important to me.

Looking like you have it all is difficult.  It’s a thing many of my peers struggle with.  We are educated women, told to have fulfilling careers that make us happy and the world a better place. Having children is not supposed to stop us or even slow us down. But it does, and it should.

Having Lavinia literally turned my world inside out.  It shook secrets and scabs out of my pockets that I had been harboring for decades.  I no longer knew myself, it was terrifying and raw.

And with most things in my life- I didn't know how bad it was until it got better. For now I have my bearings again and I’m rowing my ass off in a new direction. Toward the truth this time. Even if it's difficult.

I've changed and grown more in the past twelve months than I have in the last twelve years. Thank you 2014 for such incredible challenges and gifts. I’m hanging on tightly for the next ride.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Most Popular Posts of 2014



From an internal makeover to an external one: http://bit.ly/1xwhN5t

Going public about my post natal depression and anxiety: http://bit.ly/1EMq1tr

Some of my PND risk factors explained (an intense post): http://bit.ly/1rCt5Cx

What I learned in my first year of parenting (giggles): http://bit.ly/1EMqWdr

The supportive response to my first post about PND: http://bit.ly/1K2VOXk