10 Promises I’ve Broken This Christmas

Christmas is pretty much here!! It hasn’t really panned out the way I thought it would.

1. I will not leave all the present buying to the last minute.
Yup. Total fail. I started my present buying last week and (I hope) finished it today. Could have been worse, I guess…

2. I will make all of my Christmas presents.
This probably sounds weird, but it’s actually a Very Good Thing that I’ve broken this one. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting creative…it’s just things tend to get a little out of hand and suddenly I’m making a dozen personalised superhero capes for my nieces and nephews. To help myself break this promise, I cleverly loaned my sewing machine to my sister-in-law, thus removing the temptation.

3. I will send out Christmas cards this year.
Sorry, guys. I love you all, but it’s not happening this year.

4. I will do more Christmas craft with the kids.
…because what all parents really want for Christmas is glitter strewn from one end of the house to the other.

Honestly, I had the best of intentions with this…suffice to say, I’m well prepared for next year.

Still, this year hasn’t been a total write-off – thanks to someone else cooking, we managed to get some gingerbread men decorated.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a98/45180695/files/2014/12/img_0373.jpgThere are actually little gingerbread men under these.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a98/45180695/files/2014/12/img_0316.jpgSee? Men.

6. I will have my house perfectly decorated.
I’m giving myself some slack here – we only moved in five months ago and are still finding our feet. We managed to get a Christmas tree up and put some lights outside…but really, we’re not maximising our home’s potential.

7. I will not go Christmas shopping with my children.
Hmm.
Excuse me a moment – I need to go and laugh hysterically in the corner for a bit.

I’m suffering this year from the realisation that I no longer live opposite a major shopping centre – so for the first time in eight years, I had to park at the shops. That’s enough to make anyone lose their cool.

Then you add in the fact that I no longer have a baby and a toddler happy to remain in the pram – I have a toddler and a child who Will Not Under Any Circumstances go in the pram. In two days I managed to lose three children at the shops – pretty impressive considering I only have two. They were found safely, for the record.

There’s more, but all you really need to know is that Christmas shopping with my kids makes me sound like I have Tourette’s. This week I was that parent tearing around the shops after her gleeful escapees who were dismantling elaborate Christmas displays. I was the parent that everyone looked at in smug pity as my kids threw tantrums that should be measured on the Richter scale. I was the parent who in desperation caved and bought the toy car/reindeer ears/Santa hat/mince pie, rationalising that it would get me home with a few small shreds of sanity.

I was also the parent who realised (after day three of trying to shop with the kids) that it Wasn’t Going To Happen, so switched to late night shopping instead. I was the parent gliding serenely down the aisles, smiling happily at everyone I passed. I was the parent who got to enjoy a hot chocolate with no one demanding that I share. I was the parent who managed to conquer the Christmas shopping and returned home triumphant, declaring I Did Not Need To Return – only to find myself back the next day having a security tag removed from a present.

8. I will not attempt to construct gingerbread houses after midnight.
Okay, this one hasn’t been broken – yet. Last year I was up to 2am sticking mini m&ms on the roof of my delicious abodes. Not doing it this year.

9. I will not leave present wrapping to the last minute.
Again, not doing so badly here…although admittedly, this post is largely about avoiding wrapping. Still potential to keep this promise!

10. I will do all the awesome stuff I did last year.
Okay, so somehow last year I managed to be incredibly organised and do all sorts of cool stuff, including writing an article for a local mums’ page. I happened to have a nearly three month old at the time – I have no idea how I did it. Anyway, I haven’t achieved half of the stuff this year – but I’m okay with that.

So, now that I’ve lowered my (and your) expectations of my Christmas sufficiently, stay tuned for part two: promises for next Christmas.

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Total first world problem…

I just had the following conversation with my husband…

Me: I need you to get an antenna for the TV – the foxtel isn’t working again.
Husband: That’s okay, we can just watch it on the computer.
Me: We can’t get ABC2 on the computer.
Husband: So?
Me: I don’t think you heard me correctly. We can’t get ABC2. Possibly until Monday.
Silence.

I don’t know whether it was concern for his wife’s sanity or the thought of being in charge on Sunday arvo with no respite while I’m at work (probably a bit of both) but bless his cotton socks, he arrived home 30 minutes later with an antenna. He even got it working straight away.

Best. Husband. Ever.

Uhh…hi.

Hi.

Sorry I haven’t written. I’ve been kinda…busy.

Awkward silence.

I’ve thought about it, but…well, never really got around to it. You know how things get lost when you move? There’s that one thing that you never find again, no matter how hard you look.

Well, for a while there, I thought this blog was it.

I honestly did toss up the idea of calling it quits. Not that I don’t like blogging anymore – just that it had been a while since I’d written…and then it got longer…and longer…and well, it reached the point where it was embarrassing. Did I just start again and pretend nothing had happened? Or just let it drift away?

So I was preparing myself unconsciously for the drift. It wasn’t lack of material – far from it. I just couldn’t start writing again. In some ways, I think I’d lost my voice.

Then my mum told me about a new tv series coming out called Outlander. The premise (a WW2 nurse is on holidays in Scotland with her husband and wanders up to the local mini Stone Henge…she touches the stones and wakes up 200 years earlier in 1743) intrigued me, so I set it to record.

By the end of the opening credits, I knew I was going to enjoy the show. I did some research – it turned out to be based on a series of books (currently eight written, potentially another two to come) by Diana Gabaldon. After the third episode, I bought the first e-book.

I pretty much inhaled the books – all eight in seven weeks. That surprised me – I haven’t done that in years. To say I lost myself in them would be an understatement.

So let me tell you a bit about these books. They’re ostensibly historical fiction with a strong focus on romance and a time travel twist. They are by no means teen (or even young adult) fiction. These are written for an adult audience. Seriously. I don’t recommend them for everyone, but I do heartily recommend them.

The big thing about these books? They got me reading again. I’ve read more (recreationally) in the past three months than I have in the past three years.

AND

…they’ve got me wanting to write again.

Those of you who knew me when I was in high school might know I wrote a “novel”. It was really a serial that I’d write a few pages of each night, distributing copies to my friends the next morning on purple paper. When I read it now, I don’t know whether to cringe or laugh hysterically at my clunky, cliched writing – but I loved it. Back then, I knew I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

But 15 years a little (shh) while down the track, I’m no closer to being an author than I was then. I still love writing (hence I’m here!) but being a mum and a nurse haven’t really given me time to do so. On the other hand, it has given me plenty of stories…

But the desire to write has never really died. I guess you could say I’ve had a big case of writers block. Work hasn’t really helped – they kind of discourage creativity in your writing when you’re a nurse.

Anyway.

Since getting into these books, the ideas for stories have started appearing again. Some time in the next five years I may even get a chance to put some of the ideas down on paper. Who knows – maybe I will be an author one day…

Until then, I’m back here writing for you. And my sanity. Thank you, Ms Gabaldon, for helping me find my voice again.

So, now that’s out of the way, I have so many things to share with you…

Special Donations

Packing sucks.

Anyway, I’ve got that out of my system now.

Because I have only moved once as an adult, I scoured the internet for moving tips. One of the most consistent themes was don’t move anything you don’t have to – in other words, cull. I’ve taken that advice – tomorrow we’re taking a big load of stuff to the Salvos.

I’ve taken my donations a bit further this time after finding two great organisations.

Firstly, I came across Uplift. This is a fantastic group that sends new and donated bras to disadvantaged communities where bras are hard to get. I had a number of nursing bras that I’m done with (don’t worry, still breastfeeding!) so I’ve packaged them up to send off tomorrow. Not hard for me to do, and it is unbelievably valuable for these women.

The second one is an organisation that only started this year, but has garnered a fair bit of attention – Angel Gowns. The amazing people behind this idea take donated wedding dresses and turn them into tiny angel gowns for stillborn babies.

I loved this idea the moment I heard of it, but it’s taken me a number of months to come around to it. I’m sentimental and I love my dress. But I know that I will never wear it again. I will remember it the way it was on my wedding day, rather than the way it is now – stuffed in the back of my wardrobe.
Sure, I could keep it in hope of handing it on to someone else – but really, who? I have two sons. I may never have a daughter. Besides, how many girls wear a borrowed/handed-down dress? Shopping for the perfect dress is a major part of the excitement of wedding planning for many brides.

So I’ve decided the time has come. It isn’t an easy decision, but I’m going to do it. My dress will help other families through one of the darkest moments of their lives.

Okay, enough delaying. I need to get back to packing.