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Kangaroo Spotting

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Friday, August 28, 2015

I'm Breaking Up With My Bump

I'll never be a hand model and I'm okay with that.
If you know me IRL you may have noticed this blue, lumpy thing on my right hand. It looks like I've been in a smackdown- and as tough as that makes me look, I'm a lover not a fighter.

Operation Hemangioma Removaloma
I've had this hemangioma (basically a cluster of blood vessels) since birth and it never really bothered me. When I was about ten years old we looked into getting it removed but they told us there was a risk of nerve damage and to a right-handed little girl just starting art lessons, that was too scary.

The blue bulge has inspired many conversations over the years that look exactly like this:
"What happened to your hand?"
"Nothing it's a birthmark."
"But it looks like a bruise"
"I know."
"Are you sure that wasn't there before? I've never noticed it"
"Yup it's always been there."
"But has it always been swollen like that?"
"I can show you baby photos, it looks exactly the same."
"But it's blue, with a red mark..."
"Does it hurt?"
"Can I touch it?"
Sometimes it takes even longer to convince the person that I'm REALLY sure I have had this exact birthmark. Since birth. 

I went through a phase when I would playfully tell people I got into a fight but I got bored of that line.

It's always interesting to me to see if and when it gets noticed. Friends I've had for years will try and convince me that this must be new because they never noticed it before and sometimes strangers will pick it up immediately...I guess we all observe things differently.

For the last few years, the growth has started to hurt occasionally- when someone shakes my hand in just the wrong position or when I clumsily smack it against the kitchen bench.

Now that I'm an Australian resident with great health coverage I decided to see a hand specialist. She seemed really positive about the ease removal and expected it to come out without much risk. I had an ultrasound done so we could see how deep it went because that could affect the length of time needed in the operating room.

I felt excited about finally parting ways with the imperfection on my hand. I would be a liar if I said it never made me feel self conscious. I mean, who wants to walk around with a big bruise-y looking thingy on their dominant hand and have the same boring conversation about it over and over again? Superficial annoyances aside- this morning I whacked it against a corner and was reminded of the real reason I want it gone- pain. 

When I got the results back from the ultrasound unfortunately they were worst case scenario- inconclusive. It appears that the cluster does seem to go down into some muscle tissue which means a longer surgery and a more difficult recovery.

I'll have to get an MRI so we can see exactly what we're dealing with. I had a feeling it would not be as simple as it initially sounded but I'm still hopeful.

Oddly I'm a little nostalgic about separating from my mini mountain. It's been with me always- My Mom used to tell me that it made my hand special, and I believed her.

When the hand surgeon warned me that I might have a little 'S' shaped scar I was like "awesome, any scar will be a huge improvement on bluey (I can't believe I never nicknamed it before now)."

I'm actually super excited at the thought of being able to see my knuckles. I just hope we are able get to that point someday soon. Special fingers crossed.

It actually kind of hurt to do this. Outta my way lumpy!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's Your Mom Style?

Slipped and fell right back into my Mom uniform.

Lavinia and I have been back from the USA for exactly one week. I’m both happy and bummed to report that we are already back in our routine.

Today was her first day back at childcare so I took a yoga class and now sit here writing (at my glorious new Macbook Pro.)

Returning home from America gave me a little extra pep, confidence and a few new items for my wardrobe (what better reason to get out and about than a new outfit?) I wanted to make it a point to explore the city of Melbourne more. Two days in- and we did just that! Straight into town to meet a friend for coffee.

Alas, the weather turned drab so my motivation plummeted. We did have two appointments this week which forced us out of hibernation and into jeans... I tried staying dressed until my husband got home from work buuuuuut fail. 

Somehow I'm in my Mommy uniform again (uuuuggggghhh) and I need to fix the situation.

I love the idea of getting dressed everyday (in something other than sweats) because it makes me feel better about myself. Also it means I’m more likely to go and do something last minute. Are we out of garlic? I can confidently run to the supermarket. Does my sister-in-law want to meet for coffee? I will be prepared to enter society.

When I was suffering from post natal depression both my daughter and I lived in our jammies. It’s funny looking back at her ‘monthly progress’ photos she was often in PJ's. It’s the sad type of evidence which shows that I was struggling. 
Mommy- let's put some clothes on and get amongst it.

I'm no longer struggling but I've sure gotten lazy with my fashion- which sounds superficial but it's not. I believe the way we dress not only expresses how we feel about ourselves but also how we want the world to perceive us. And those two things are important.

In the early post natal months I was limited with clothing because of nursing, then in the months following I was working to shed baby-weight. Recently I realised that my old wardrobe does not necessarily represent me anymore. I don’t have to worry about looking 'corporate' or 'adult' I don't have much of a nightlife...I just want to look like me- so I am trying to figure that out how to do that.

When I was in Buffalo I finished my half-sleeve. It’s something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the guts to for many years. I finally feel confident enough in myself as an artistic person to present myself as such. When I was in Nashville, a cab driver asked my friend and I if we were musicians- I took that as a HUGE compliment.
Rock'n'Roll Mama (oooouuuuuch!)

So what the hell am I still doing in my sweatpants? I don’t know, but I’m going to change that before it’s time to pick up Lavinia.

Even though my family is on a tight budget due to a home renovation (which just started this week!) I decided to really think about purchasing one or two things that make me feel good, comfortable and are durable enough for my Mommy lifestyle. So far my boyfriend jeans have been a great investment. My beloved 1990’s are back in fashion so I snatched a couple flannies and a cute pair of converse. Maybe I'm dressing a little young for a 34-year-old Mother but you know what? I feel a helluva lot better than I did in my sweats and hoodie.

So there you are. Fun/ cool Mom reporting for duty. It took all of ten minutes. (Don't mind my messy spare-room bed in the background, priorities people.)

A little effort goes a long way.

The tools:
A bit of makeup (concealer, bronzer, eyeshadow, mascara and lipgloss)
Boyfriend jeans
Black and white flannel
Blue wool v-neck sweater
Gold hoop earrings

What’s your Mom Style? What’s the one thing you could wear everyday to feel good about yourself?

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jet Lag Buddies

Laying down is what bliss feels like after being upright for two days.

Yesterday when Lavinia and I finally arrived home in Australia I ate, showered, and climbed into my own bed. My. Own. Bed. After nine weeks away it's still the comfiest place in the world.

I didn't want to sleep too long so I had Matt wake me after a few hours. My body completely protested and it took me a full 30 minutes just to open my eyelids and sit up. I needed to wake up so I could at least attempt to sleep through the night.

Adjusting back is strange, I forgot what the door handles felt like or which way to turn the tap for hot water. Lavinia is now taller than the kitchen table. 

The haziness of jet lag is hard to explain. Your mind and body won't cooperate. You should eat but you're not hungry, you need to poo at 2AM, your nerves are raw and you feel completely alone when everyone else around you seems normal.

Usually I expect a little post vacation depression but this time I feel differently. Spending the Summer in my hometown was good for my soul. I aimed to bring that energy, focus and inspiration into everyday life.

But more than that I feel a sense of confidence. Lavinia and I went halfway across the world and back. We survived it together, my excellent patience-testing, traveling companion.

As I write this at 4:00AM while my daughter and I snack on toast and Chamomile tea I can't help but notice how comforting it is to have company when you're wide awake in the middle of the night. Maybe that's the difference this time.

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Get Your Nail Jam On: Jamberry Product Review

Take your nails from drab to fab!

My childhood friend Danielle and I recently reconnected on Facebook (I love finding ways FB can be used for the greater good!) and I noticed she started selling this rad-looking nail product called Jamberry.

When I asked her about it she offered to send me samples to try during my visit to the USA. Naturally I was stoked because I love nail stuff (but have little time for it these days.)

A little purple package arrived with the nail wraps and polish colors I selected (there are like a bazillion patterns and colors- good luck chosing!) I couldn't wait to try them but I kept waiting for the perfect opportunity- I think I expected the whole process to take a lot longer than it did. I was able to do my nails and toes during my daughter's afternoon nap. Lesson learned ladies and gents- don't wait to treat yourself!

Even got the chance to do my tootsies!

I painted my toenails with the lovely paint, nice and thick so you can actually get away with doing one coat. Score- timesaver! While they were drying I managed to read the simple nail wrap instructions and slap those onto my fingernails as well- bam.

The application process was straightforward but my execution needs work. I know this is one of those things where practice makes perfect- at least in this case the practicing results in some really fun looking fingertips!

A little bit of quick Mommy pampering
I thought it would be helpful to ask Danielle what her top application tips were for next time. And this is what she told me:

  1. Make sure the wraps are sized correctly. I noticed this myself during the application. You don't want to stick the wrap anywhere onto your skin or it will lift off and annoy you (so make sure it's not too big.) Trim a little off around your cuticles.
  2. Use purple cuticle pusher to smooth wrinkles while the nail wraps are still warm. Or try this step after the wrap application is complete- simply warm up each individual nail beforehand.
  3. Nail prep is key! Push those cuticles back, including this little hidden cuticle we all have. It's a chalky film that you can scrape off the nail near the cuticle bed. Make sure you get rid of that and wipe nails with alcohol to remove any oils.
  4. General Nail Health. Drink plenty of water and use cuticle oil often after you apply your wraps. Jamberry supplies cuticle oil in your application kit.
  5. Remove with Care. Don't rip or pull wraps off your nails or you could damage them. Allow nailpolish remover to soak underneath the wrap so it can dissolve the glue which hold the wrap to your nail.

For my Aussie readers there is exciting news- Jamberry is coming to the Australian market this October! If you are interested in buying or selling you can check out Danielle's website, facebook page or email her: daniellejams@wintertons.us