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Kangaroo Spotting

30 31 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 37 38 Kangaroo Spotting: September 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday, Hump-day Happiness #mindbodyweek

Represent'n Buffalo- peace!

Doing a post per day makes these challenges busier for me, but also allows me to actively concentrate and analyze what I’m trying to achieve and how I'm feeling about it.

As a result I would recommend that if you take-on this challenge definitely keep a diary. Try not to feel self-conscious about it- only you have to read it. Throw it away afterward if you want to, just write things down. Putting your ideas, goals, and emotions down in black and white will not only allow you to see your progress it also gives you accountability- even if it's only to yourself (and who is more important really?)

Yesterday afternoon was a struggle. I felt really hungry before dinner and I wanted to grab the easiest thing- leftover candy from a kiddie party. I only crave crap like that when I cut down on sugar (want whatcha can't have much?) I had a dip in energy but after my lovely healthy dinner I felt better! Usually in the evenings I retreat into a mute blob on the couch but I found myself doing a few extra chores and getting ready for the next day. I even felt like having a conversation with my husband! Lucky him!
Check out the yummy baked fish parcel I made!
Today I had a dental appointment and somehow tricked myself into going to the gym beforehand (that accountability thing) by telling myself I could use the steam room afterward.  No time for steam but I now have an impressive three day in a row gym streak.
And another interesting thing happened. Since I had my daughter my periods have been far apart- like 30-31 days when I’m typically a 28-day-girl. I got my period today- right on time. Coincidence? I think not. It’s amazing what regular exercise and eating healthy can do for your body in just a FEW DAYS. My sinuses even feel better.

Make the decision to try this now. If I can do it with zero prep work and leaving my schedule the same you can too! All I have done is add a daily work out, clean eating (no processed foods), and writing about it to each day. It’s a little more time consuming but I actually have the energy to cope with it. And I’m in a better mood!

Happy Wednesday- we over the hump! x

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday: Om..Ouch #mindbodyweek

No pain, no gain
Confession: Last night I ate some dark chocolate chips and I will be using these to appease my hormones for the rest of the week…in moderation of course.

Last night I went to bed early and slept late- by the graciousness of my little daughter who slept till 9:00AM today. #highfive Sleep is essential for healing and health so we were off to a good start.

Oh hai again gym!

Went to the gym and took a ripping yoga class with a fantastic substitute instructor. He gave us all little head massages and placed scented bean bags on our eyes during final meditation. My legs were desperate for the stretching after yesterday’s pump class and it helped clear my head too.

When I walked into child-care to grab Lavinia she was learning to Salsa with the lovely Latin woman who runs it. She got her cute little exercise in for the day too. Rad.

We got home and had a healthy lunch (well, one of us did, Vin is on day two of a cereal-only diet). I went with a recipe given to me by a friend who works from home as a hairdresser. She eats super clean and usually has to squeeze in a quick, decent lunch between clients. I used to scarf this one down all the time during the newborn era.

Lunchtime Protein-Packed Veg Bowl

  • Steamed Veggies
  • Homemade Hummus
  • Tuna
  • Feta
  • Sriracha, optional (still working on those pesky sinuses)
This afternoon I felt a little dip in energy- maybe it’s just my body adjusting (in addition to those pesky hormones). I’m still trying to think of a menu for the rest of the week but I’m really struggling (over-thinking much?) I may just grab some meat, fish and veggies and just wing it, after all this is supposed to be about real food and simplicity. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Holy crap my muscles are sore!

Tip: I’m making a conscious effort to keep a full water bottle near me at all times.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday: Improve Food Game #mindbodyweek

Monday- the first day of my week long challenge to pep-up my health. Have I set myself up for a successful week by taking it easy over the weekend? Of course not. There were birthday parties, drinks, lots of food and zero exercise.

The result- I felt fatigued, dry and squishy first thing. The upside is that I will have a stark contrast against how I felt today and how I hope to feel by the end of the week.

Even if my body was struggling, my head was in a positive space. I’m looking forward to tackling the goals set for myself.

Today I hit the gym with a friend from my Mums group. She recently joined and I can tell you, there is nothing like a gym buddy to help with motivation- or lack of cancellation! We took a weights class and I felt better for it. I'm planning on at least two other gym days this week to keep up the momentum.

The other big thing I wanted to take on today is a meal plan. I aim make healthy, whole, clean foods this week. My aim is to stay away from things in packages- even making my own condiments, dressings and sauces. It will be a challenge and I’ll spend a lot of time in the kitchen but I’m sure it will make a difference to my digestive system. So far today I'm not even close to achieving this. I ate decently and managed to avoid the leftover sweets from Lavinia’s birthday party but haven't had a chance to plan or shop. It’s late now so I’ll have to hit the supermarket tomorrow with a list. #foodgameweak

The other thing I’m struggling with today is congestion. It’s been lingering off and on for months which very unusual for me. Today it’s taken on an epic plug- it almost feels like I’m suffocating and I’ve tried everything I can think of without resorting to taking meds or nasal spray. It’s frustrating and I'm over it. 

Went to the gym and booked in for two other days this week.
Achieved a guest post deadline
Avoided sugar and junk (except for the little raw sugar in my coffee)

Work on:
Meal plan for the rest of the week
Get this congestion to clear up

Today didn’t go perfectly but I want to see how a challenge like #mindbodyweek can fit into real-life. No preparation involved, just one week, one health-related goal per day day and the accountability of a blog to stick to it (blog not required).

It's just the beginning.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Just Stay Happy…Damn It!

After my last therapy session I decided to take a break because I didn't feel like I getting much out of it anymore.

I felt like my therapist was basically trying to convince me: 'it's not that bad,' and to focus on the positive- which is fair enough. I do have a pretty amazing life yet sometimes the negativity takes over. Do I feel like I have first world problems- yes I do, which totally sucks.

But comparing myself to those who are worse-off only makes me feel guilty. When depression sneaks up it does not mean gratitude goes out the window, it just means I need to have a little pity party for one. Even if every single one of my wildest dreams comes true, even if I have one eye over my shoulder constantly-once in a while the gloom will catch up. That's just how depression rolls. #annoying

Sometimes it's easier than others to deal with the rough patches. Like this week- I felt really shitty on Monday and Tuesday but today, Friday, my spirits are back up.

I’m starting to (finally) accept that my system is more sensitive than I would like it to be. I’m missing a thyroid- oh yeah that. It was removed when I was a teenager so sometimes I forget I'm not like everyone else. What does this mean for me?  I need way more sleep than the average person, booze is not my friend and I need to maintain a stable blood sugar level. These things are difficult enough to maintain when you have a kid let alone if you have 'the wanderlust.' Let me explain.

There is this part of me that is never satisfied- I have an unhealthy addiction to life. I need things to be so fun/ incredible/ memorable/ emotional!!!! All the time. I don't like to sit still unless I am relaxing within the specific parameters which allow me to completely relax (dishes need to be done for one). I'm high maintenance when it comes to fun.

I drank lots of wine last Saturday night with my husband. We were having a date night in (I can't just have a Saturday night feel like every other night). And I paid for it. For days.

I know hangovers get worse as you get older but this was different. I knew it was affecting my mood negatively. The timing sucked because Tuesday was Lavinia’s second birthday. It also happened to be one of those days where nothing went to plan so by the time she went to bed I was crabby, exhausted and felt like I ruined her day.

Looking for any excuse for my feelings other than self-inflicted neglect, I checked my period diary app. When in doubt, blame hormones. Nope- still one week away from the red light. Then I remembered the last few months, the same thing happened. Exactly seven days out from Aunt Flo I had a serious dip in my mood and energy.

Funnily enough I could her my therapist saying to me, “Now what can you do to prevent this from happening again?” And I started work-shopping what I could do to take better care of my health around that time each month.

Hmmmm. Maybe I was projecting my frustration onto my therapist when I felt like she wasn’t giving me enough sympathy. Maybe it’s not sympathy I need but strategy. Dang it! The expert wins again!

I think it’s about time to dedicate another week to my mental and physical health like I did five months ago: Here's a recap. Back then I promised myself I would take one week each season (or quarter) and do one thing each day to improve my general health and wellbeing. Join me!!  Just use the hashtag #mindbodyweek and let’s get our shit together- together!

Last time I started on Monday and by Saturday I was up early, brimming with energy and feeling well. I want to capture that feeling again.

Monday morning- I'm hitting the gym and I might just make a therapy appointment. Wish me luck.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to Support Someone Who Lost A Child When You Haven't

I have not lost a child so maybe I have no business writing about it-but hear me out. 

Parents who have experienced child loss need support from people who could never begin to comprehend the depth of their loss. The irony is tragic.

So how can we offer better support for something we don't understand? I think one way to do that is to speak about it openly. Child loss and miscarriages happen too-frequently so chances are you know someone going through it.

My greatest fear in life is losing my daughter. I dislike making blanket statements but I know I share this sentiment with all parents. I think that our collective fear is one of a few underlying reasons why the topic of child loss is so taboo.

There are a few common misguided thoughts which surface, almost subconsciously, that may add to our feelings of helplessness and even frustration because we can’t make it better. By acknowledging some of them here along with suggestions on how to help from someone who has lost a child- my hope is that we can all be self aware enough to adjust our thinking and create a safe space for loss-families to share their grief. 

Parents spend energy worrying about child safety every single day. 
Did you cut those grapes in half? Are the power outlets baby-proofed? Are we too close to the street? Is the air safe to breathe? Some of this stuff is within our control but most of it is not- especially when it comes to illness or SIDS. When a couple loses a child they become the physical manifestation of our greatest fear. Facing this reality can be beyond difficult. We may not mean to- but if we behave awkwardly it can make the bereaved parent feel even worse.

We think about the length of a child’s life. We don’t know which is harder- losing one so young, or losing one we’ve come to know so well. Irrelevant. It does not matter if a child has lived ten years, ten minutes or even if a baby has not had the chance to breathe outside it's womb- he or she needs to be acknowledged and grieved. Even an unborn baby will touch the lives of it's parents, grandparents, family and friends. The death of a child at any age means the death of a future. 

We feel awkward and we don't know what to say.
A very close friend of mine had a son who only lived for four days in the hospital. I remember writing to her telling her that someday she would have another chance at having a family- a variation of the old; “Don’t worry you’ll have another one,” comment. Looking back this was an dumb thing to say. Why? Because in that moment I should have realized one child cannot possibly replace the other. I know that now that I’m a Mom. 

I hope we all know that saying, “Don’t worry you can have another one,” is inappropriate on many levels because you don’t really know that for sure- especially if there are fertility issues involved. The parents did not plan on losing their baby and may not have a back up plan.

Note: (My gracious friend never once implied she was offended, it’s only my own hindsight which makes me wish I worded things differently.)

In her grief my friend took to the Internet. She wrote about her experience, of how losing her son changed her life forever. She inadvertently educated those in her life about the emotional roller coaster of losing a son, trying for another, and the scary health complications faced as a result. She wrote about how having her second boy was not a band-aid but actually caused fresh pain. She told us how she yearns to be acknowledged as a mother of two and for her first son to be remembered. She speaks about the struggle to find ways to parent a deceased child when there is no forthcoming advice for that.

It seems like many people didn’t know what to say after her son died so they said nothing at all- which crushed her already broken heart over and over again. 

We need to start listening, really listening, to people who have lost their children. It’s up to us- the ones who do not share that cavernous loss- to make sure we don’t add to the pain with our reaction, inaction or indecision.

Inspired by my friend’s bravery, honesty and strength I wanted to pass along what she has shown me. I asked her “How can we better support someone who has lost a child?” 

Here are some of the answers she gave:

Please stick around. This is the most important one! When close friends and family avoid you because they don’t know how to help- this means to secondary losses for the mother. The loss of a child is more than any person can bare so don’t disappear.

All Mother’s and Father’s grieve differently. You would think there are common sense do’s and don’ts but there are not. The best thing you can do for your loved one is ask what they need. Some may need to talk about it and some may need the opposite. If you don’t know what to say and your words are falling you- just say that. Many times they won’t know what to say either but being honest opens the door to allow the parent to speak up if they can.

When you lose a child, you feel like you are thrown into this club you never signed up for. There are new terms and sensitive ways of speaking about things- for example the term ‘loss Mom,’ or ‘rainbow baby.’ As the bereaved parents navigate through this new speech and communication they must also educate those around them which can be difficult. Just try and listen, and be respectful.

Check in.
Being around babies can be tricky for a loss-parent. Holding someone else’s baby too soon or hearing giggles and cries may trigger post traumatic stress. It does not mean that they don’t love you or your children, they just miss their own. A good way to talk to a friend about this is to say, “I know being around other children may be difficult for you right now but I’ll check back in with you about this later.”

Expect Change.
If you lose a child you will never be the same again. You will have to find a ‘new normal’ no amount of therapy will help you get back to your ‘old self’ again. Remember that everyone grieves in a unique way so pushing someone to ‘get professional help’ or ‘move on,’ will not expedite the process, in fact it may do the opposite.

Be Patient.
In the end the best way to show your love and support is to hang in there. Check in with your friend. Wait for them to be ready to communicate with your and share their needs but please remember to reach out often- don’t put the onus on the parents to contact you if they need something.

Much of this advice is common sense if think about it but I believe the problem is we chose not to think about it. Case in point- I've wanted to write about this topic for many months now but I've been putting it off because it makes me sad, which in turn makes me feel like a bit of a coward.

I can only hope that these words can help some of us learn to be better friends to people with broken hearts.

What to say to the grieving.

What not to say- the basics. 

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

So I was at a cute little cafe, Miss Marie’s in Rosanna, and I saw this ‘Specials’ sign. The place is decked out super cute- kind of a modern industrial kind of way.

I did what lots of artists do and took (stole) this idea as my inspiration to make it my own. 

My hubs was in charge of cutting some spare decking and wood that we had in our backyard into even-ish little rectangles I could use for my lettering.

I laid out the different blocks to spell out “But first, Coffee,” because <3 coffee. Laying out the different colored chunks I could easily spread out the different greyish ones and the warmer colored ones- spreading them out in a way that draws the eye around (I’m always working on composition.)

Get some Stencils
Next came the easy part- not! I already had black and white acrylic paint and brushes- just needed some letter stencils. I dragged my daughter to three different stores before I found them. Spotlight and Bunnings don’t carry them and I eventually settled on cardboard letter cut outs I found at Lincraft. Not ideal but I was too impatient to go online and order some.

Side note: it’s one thing that constantly exasperates me about shopping in Australia. I never feel like I know where to look when I’m looking for something. One would think a craft store and a hardware store were logical places to start! Anyhow, I love living here but I can’t stand being ‘shopping-clueless.’

So with these cut out ‘stencils’- my painting time and precision got longer and tougher. I had to trace all my letters and painstakingly hand-paint each one (I’m not the most patient person so I had to take little breaks). 

I wanted to use a mix of black, white, and ‘wood’ for the backgrounds and letters. After three hours I was extremely pleased with the results.

I started out matching up the colors and letters randomly and it got to the point where I realised I needed to lay everything out and decide exactly what colors I wanted to fill in the gaps. Usually my projects involve more of a random process full of ‘happy accidents’ however in this case planning was necessary.

You can line the blocks up on a shelf or mantel or fix them to a long strip of wood with wood glue or nails. We haven’t decided where this one will go in our house so the letters will likely remain loose for the time being.

What you Need:
14 wood blocks or panels cut to a similar size
Black and white acrylic paint
Brushes- any size you feel comfortable using (mine were pretty small)
Alphabet stencils

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Summer Lovin' Ceviche Salad

It's officially Spring in Australia which means Fall is fast approaching back home in Western New York.

Here's something I tried for the first time last week (who knew ceviche was so easy??) I was in this strange 'in between' space- missing the Summer I just spent in Buffalo while anxiously anticipating Melbourne's warmer months.

This recipe was inspired by this yummy one I found on Foodgawker- I used different fish and fewer ingredients and it turned out beautifully.

I served my salad over watercress but you can try zoodles, quinoa, rice, noodles or nothing at all. Try topping it with Avocado (I did, but mine was not pretty enough to include in the photo).

This recipe would also be delicious with Mango- and I had good intentions to include one but I 'accidentally' ate it while chopping.

Summer Lovin' Ceviche Salad

  • 1 Fillet Orange Roughy
  • 1 Small Tuna Steak
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro/ Coriander
  • A Few Sprigs Spring Onion
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Thumb-Sized Piece Ginger
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1/4 Fresh Pineapple
  • 1 Sprinkle Pine Nuts
Cooking Directions
  1. Slice fish thinly and add the fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, grated ginger and garlic. 
  2. Mix well and place into refrigerator for abut 20-30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime chop up remaining ingredients for the salad and mix everything together right before you serve.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

14 of the Cutest Ways to Announce Pregnancy or Gender

I have been mentally collecting some of the cute pregnancy/ gender/ new sibling announcements that I've seen lately and I wanted to share my favorites with you.

Note: I've specifically selected ones that don't look like they require a team of stylists- which means they could be re-created with ease!

The one of the things I learned with my first pregnancy, along with what 'Babymoon' means, is that new parents are pressured to come up with cute, clever and unique ways to announce the pregnancy on social media.

To tell you the truth I was kindofalittlebit excited about it. Because I’m an expat I share a lot, A LOT, on social media- it keeps me connected to my friends and family in America (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). #lovesocialmedia #overshare

In the early weeks, once I told everyone I wanted to tell in person via Skype or email, I was ready to blast the message out to my wider Facebook community. I wanted to do it in a way that didn't feel forced or cheesy.

After scouring Pinterest for ideas on how to tell the world I was ‘up the duff’ (as they affectionately say here in Australia) I couldn't find exactly the right image. A few of the examples made me tear up (hormones!) and others were way too complicated and time consuming for my tired, newly-peggi butt. 

When I was enjoying some alone time at our local pool inspiration struck and this was the photo I shared on my timeline:
Wow, my nails AND toes are done and legs shaved....I was not yet a Mother.

Simple, honest and not too staged. Happy I was with all the kind messages and congratulations. <3

I’m kiiiiiiind of a control freak so I needed to know the gender of my baby. Keeping that a surprise was never even an option for me. When I found out I was having a girl (the best moment of my life to that point) I was even more siked to share the good news. As you will see in my list below, I really dig the shoe pics, so naturally I went with...you guessed it...a shoe pic.

Yes I bought those little leopard shoes specifically for my gender announcement.

So here you are guys- My personal faves.

1. Move on Over Fur-babies

2. Because rules

3. Vacate the premises
4. Barftastic
5. Shoe timeline
6. Shoe lineup
7. Shoe dates
8. Get messy
9. Balloons!
10. Dr Seuss
11. A little bit country
12. Gamers
13. Autumn inspo
14. Rude awakening
15. Count cuteness

How did you announce your pregnancy?

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