FYBF – When Flowers Bloom Again

That miracle we were hoping for never happened.

It doesn’t need to be reiterated what an absolute farked up emotion grief is. It’s never the same. Its intensity is unpredictable at best. Ebbs and flows.

There’s not much I can do with this shapeless, dark void. No point resisting it. The only choice is to get through it. The best way my family and I can.

I’ve been lighting a candle, doing some meditating, focusing on love and hope.

FYBF When Flowers Bloom

It may seem futile and new age-ish for some but for me, it’s better than doing nothing and feeling helpless.

Being conscious of not over committing to social events or invitations, I politely decline so I don’t take on more than I can chew, setting aside any feelings of guilt or obligations to others.

If people care, they’ll understand.

Right now, it’s about finding comfort and solace.

I guess it’s keeping a balance of keeping occupied without being too overwhelmed.

Trying to smile again but allowing those moments for sudden outbursts.

Trying not to be desperately miserable but patiently waiting for those flowers to bloom again.

FYBF When Flowers Bloom 2

***Many thanks for all your beautiful messages this past difficult week, especially the flowers from Brenda and Mummy K. So grateful for the amazing friendships I’ve made here. I promise that FYBF will be back to its usual upbeat self soon***

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

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Healtheries #snackosphere After School

***This post is the second of a 3 part #snackosphere blog challenge series for Kidspot Voices of 2014 and Healtheries.  You can read the first post here ***

While the weather here in Sydney has been all sorts lately, when it’s been awesome, it’s been UBER awesome.

Despite this, I like to make sure the daycare pick ups are quick and snappy. It’s an easy 2 minute drive there and by the end of the day, I just want to get it over and done with.

However, to make most of daylights savings, Mr Surfer, has been keen to take a leisurely walk to the daycare and walk the boys back home. It’s slowly becoming a special Friday afternoon family affair.

I was of course dubious at first because hello, witching hour.

Asking the boys to walk an extra half hour home (including a little hill) after a full on day at daycare at the week’s end…who isn’t asking for crazy tantrums?

But Mr Surfer comes home in time to make the scenic 15 minute walk with me and we bring along an ample supply of anti-tantrum rations – apples, fruit rolls and their favourite, chips.

Lately, we’ve been replacing the chips with Healtheries snacks and for after school, we tried the Potato Curls (Chicken flavour).

Initially, I wasn’t sure if the single serve packets would satisfy the twinions’ ravenous after school appetites.

At the same time, I was worried if it would ruin dinner. (Oh my, when did I turn into my mother???)

It’s a good thing the Potato Curls (just released last month in Coles supermarkets) have 70% less fat than regular chips because they’ve become a big hit.

There’s also less than 2% saturated fat as well as wheat and gluten free. As I mentioned in my last post, K-Bear is still isn’t in the clear from his peanut allergy so it’s nice to see that all Healtheries snacks are peanut free.

One little bug bear is its sodium content, being slightly higher (593 mgs per 100gms) compared to regular potato chips (479mgs per 100gms).

It’s all about portion control.

Each Potato Curl packet (at 12 gms) contains 129 mg of sodium while an average serving of chips (roughly 15 chips or 27 gms) which holds 129mg of sodium.

So for us, Potato Curls are a special treat.

Which is absolutely fine because so have these walks home.

Except for that time we got locked out. But that’s another story…

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Contraception to Conception

***This is a sponsored post for IVF Australia and Digital Parents Collective***

A woman’s biological clock. Does it tick louder for some?

Mine was on constant snooze. I’d meet a guy, start to get tingly feelings matched with contented sighs of, “Ooooh, I’ve met ‘The One’!”

Only to have my heart splattered in a million pieces.

While I went through relationships like a pair of cheap stockings, not once did I worry about fertility. I didn’t have to because I just kept hooking up with douchebags, anyway.

Then, at the ripe age of 33, I met Surfer Boyfriend. Blonde, blue eyes, broad swimmer’s shoulders and sunkissed from all that time in the surf, it wasn’t hard to find him even a tad cute.

As for husband/father material? Not quite there yet.

What followed was a bumpy, yet slowly progressive ride to commitment. I’d make demands, we’d almost break up. Then we’d take one huge step forward (moving in together)

A couple years later, I’d start to nag again (who said only wives have that right?), packing my bags threatening to leave, which then resulted in buying a home.

Contraception to Conception 4

By this stage, I was 37. No longer a spring chicken with a very tired finger still on the snooze button.

Speaking from personal experience, when men eventually decide to settle down, the transition is at lightening speed.

Miranda on Sex and the City nails it when she likens men to taxis: “You gotta get ‘em when their lights are on.”

As soon as Mr Surfer’s light went on, he wanted it ALL. STAT.

I had been off the pill for six months and while we were regularly doing the horizontal hustle, not a positive sign was in sight.

My darling future husband didn’t automatically assume that the problem was on my end and instead booked in to get his swimmers checked.

I spat coffee at my work computer screen reading his text that delightfully told me:

“All good, babe! I have triple A rating sperm!”

Through a friend’s recommendation, we went to a naturopath who prescribed us both with disgusting herbal concoctions to drink daily.

It was hippy la-la all the way.

We even had a little baby moon calendar, making up our own little symbols for “ovulating”, “menstruating” and of course, when we had some bow chica bow wow.

All that love making always concluded with me stark naked, legs straight up, in perfect V formation, making sure those little spermies only swam one way.

Back in the 60’s you had a smoke after sex. We drew pretty love hearts. Or performed bedroom gymnastics.

All those sexually active years worrying about unwanted pregnancies. Ironically, there was nothing to worry about.

Knowing that almost killed me inside.

At an appointment with a fertility specialist, speaking of my concerns being pregnant during our wedding and whether I could wait until afterwards, our doctor held no bars.

“You’re not getting any younger, Grace,” she flatly said.

So, we kept trying and trying and trying.

Even the naughty minx in me was sick of all that sex. (I know!!!)

Almost six months before our wedding, a blood test confirmed my pregnancy.

Contraception to Conception 3

The dressmaker wasn’t too happy about having to make alterations to my wedding dress but who was I to even care?

Friends asked why I didn’t wait until after the wedding to fall pregnant. Was I okay walking down the aisle 25 weeks knocked up?

Contraception to Conception

The “inconvenience” of a shot gun wedding doesn’t even come close to the dreaded fear of infertility.

There are some things in life you don’t have any control over.

Fertility, I discovered, is one of them.

Contraception to Conception 2

If you’re trying to fall pregnant, and it’s not happening as quickly as you’d expected, get some tips from the experts in fertility, IVF Australia. Visit http://ivf.com.au/contraception-to-conception

Joining Essentially Jess for #IBOT

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FYBF – The Miracles Edition

Since becoming a mum, there’s the constant worry about the heartache and suffering in this world. Trying to protect my innocent children, sadly it’s inevitable that at some stage, they will see it, experience for themselves.

Just as we’ve spent most of this year grieving and mourning, tragedy has hit my family in Indonesia again.

It’s unfathomable, so unfair.

As the grief sets in, there is anger, repeatedly asking the inscrutable question:

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

And when those circles in my head exhaust themselves, there’s just tears. All over again.

Speaking to my mum on the phone, discussing the dire condition of our family member, she kept talking with hope, like there’s a chance of survival.

Despite the bedside vigil and preparations for a goodbye, my mum’s unwavering sense of faith and steadfast belief in miracles, she’s adamant he’s going to pull through.

FYBF - The Miracles Edition

Who am I to shun such determined conviction?

For a woman who has experienced so much hardship and sadness in her long life, including the tragic death of her first husband during the same car accident she was in, she has also seen her sister fully recover from a week long coma.

My mother, of all people knows that alongside adversity, there are also miracles.

It’s not naïve or airy fairy to believe in them.

In this complex and achingly complicated world, just as we can’t find the answers for misfortune, miracles don’t need explanation either.

They just happen.

Do you believe in miracles? Or is it silly to think they exist? Have you ever experienced one?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

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Polar Opposites

A few weeks ago, I caught up with an old friend from my days in Tokyo along with his wife.

Towards the end of my time there, our polar opposite situations took a big hit on our friendship.

He was happy and lovedrunk in a serious relationship, leaving (what I thought) little time to hang out with me, who – in stark contrast – was very single, lonely and emotionally unstable.

It’s been 10 years since I left Japan and since then, he and his wife moved on to New York. Being a Sydney native though, he makes annual homecomings.

He first got back in touch with me three years ago when I was still trying to get the hang of being a mum of twinnies.

A little reserved on whether I was still in the angry, unforgiving state we last left each other, he seemed secretly pleased that even without motherhood, things had changed.

How can anyone hold a grudge for that long anyway?

While our catchups are still sporadic, we’re warming up to each other again.

Yet, our situations are still very different.

He’s caught up in the fast pace lifestyle of “New Yaaaawk”, a huge success in the financial software industry, making bucket loads of money.

While happily married, there seems to be the unspoken decision to not have children.

Despite all this, he leaves his ego (and man, I remember he could have a biggun!) at the Big Apple and immerses himself in all that is good about his home country – the fresh air, the gorgeous sunshine, the laid back appeal of drinking a beer while watching boats on the harbour.

Polar Opposites

While taking a walk to burn off our hearty fish and chips lunch, the conversation of mental health came up. Mine, in particular.

I was taking a big risk. He could’ve easily slammed me and be done. But I went with my gut feeling, told him about my journey with depression, stress and anxiety and took a giant leap of faith in our friendship.

Initially shocked, he was sympathetic. While perhaps unaware of the stigma with mental illness, he let me educate him a little, gently letting the conversation be guided by what I had to say, actively listening, holding back judgement. Though, it seemed there wasn’t any to begin with. Just pure concern.

We recalled our time in Tokyo, especially the tough times I went through, explaining that it could’ve been quite possible that even back then, I was unwell, not just a grumpy lonely old cow.

And he got it. I even think he appreciated that I opened up, despite all these years of silence between us.

I used to be shit scared telling friends about the state of my mental health.

There’s just that huge fear of judgment.

What I’ve discovered, though is that talking about it is not only cathartic, it reassures me of who my true friends are.

You're only given a spark of madness

Trust me, for all of the many who have openly embraced my unhinged-self, there are those who don’t get it at all.

They get an immediate strike. Harsh and clinical?

No.

Just saving energy and emotion for those worthy of it.

But, I’m glad I’m talking. I need to put it out there. The more I do it, the more empowering it feels.

If you have concerns or seeking support regarding your mental health or someone close to you, call Lifeline (13 11 14) or beyondblue (1300 22 4636).

Joining Essentially Jess for another round of #IBOT!

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FYBF – The What Champions Eat Edition

In the Daily Telegraph’s social pages, there’s a section where readers can report in their celebrity spotting, always in unglamorous places, doing even (shock, horror!) normal human being activities.

“Kyle Sandilands chowing down big, greasy bacon and egg roll in Double Bay”

“Nicole Kidman orders Greek Salad while Keith Urban grabs a whole chook at Charlie Chargrilled Chicken”

“Blake Garvey wearing tight speedos at Bondi beach”

Huh. That last one’s a porky pie. Just making most of the remaining ripples that be The Bachelor scandal (Dun, dun, dun DUNNNN!!!)

I always thought, what’s the point of celebrity stalking when there’s not even any photographic evidence?

Not that I want to see some jackass make more of a fool of himself than what he already has on national TV.

(Blake, what you did to Sam and the rest of Australia was unforgivable. How could you NOT marry her after three dates??!!!)

FYBF - The What Champtions Eat Edition (1)

Making a quick dash into the local Coles before pick up, I suddenly found myself standing behind a young man, dressed in black, wandering through the meat section.

His tall, broad shoulders and overall burly stature was the first giveaway. Then, trying to take a peek at his face without being caught, I recognized the famous profile.

Ian Thorpe!

No, can’t be!

I looked down because when you’re not sure whether Thorpedo – Australia’s greatest Olympic hero – is standing right in front of you, his size 17 thongs (that just barely fit) his flipper feet will eliminate all doubt!

There he was, in all his 6 foot 4 inches Greek God glory, contemplating on whether to buy the $39 per kilo eye fillet steak or splurge some extra bucks and go for the $41 option.

FYBF - The What Champions Eat Edition 3

Now we know what champions eat.

I was so starstruck and flustered, I forgot what I came into the supermarket to buy.

(Oh, right! Basa fillets, basa fillets!)

Yet, I didn’t move an inch from the meat section.

A little bummed that I didn’t get a selfie with the champion (of all the times I left the phone in the car!), later that night when I told Mr Surfer, he made a good point:

“Like that’s exactly what Thorpie needs. Someone sticking a phone camera in his face while he’s trying to buy groceries…”

And he’s right. Let’s leave the guy alone, the amazing sportsman that he is.

So, too bad, guys. No selfies with 5 times Olympic gold medalists.

But how about this piece of meat?

FYBF - The What Champions Eat Edition 2

 

Who’s the most famous person you’ve spotted? Did you get to check out what they eat? Did you watch The Bachelor? Or did you find the aftermath scandal more fascinating?

Neither? I don’t blame you...

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

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The Good Wife

There’s an unforgettable episode in the first season of Modern Family.  It’s Claire and Phil’s anniversary but Claire confesses that she’s an epic fail when it comes to buying presents. Phil of course, retorts.

funny-Modern-Family-Phil-Dunphy-impossible-gifts

At the end of last month, I was faced with the same dilemma.

Can I just say firstly, I’m faced with the  doubly difficult task of having Father’s Day and Mr Surfer’s birthday landing 2 weeks apart.

Admittedly, Father’s Day, I can usually get away with. Daycare has me covered with the twin ions’ assigned gifts (Hand drawn tennis socks…love it!) and their annual “How well do you know your daddy?” interviews (“How big is your daddy?” “Like a volcano…” “How strong is your daddy?” “Like a volcano…”).

And when he says, “I don’t need anything for Father’s Day…” I will ignore all passive aggressiveness that eludes in that tiny statement and take great advantage of its literal context.

No presents? You got it, dude!

Besides – I convince myself – Father’s Day comes with the generic marketing, money spinning ploy.

We all know though, birthdays are a different story.

This year, I was ready to give up, do my usual Claire Dunphy and make him some “Bow Chica Bow Wow” vouchers (along with buying some practical ones from Bunnings, of course).

Then, I remembered the previous weekend as we were walking along the beach, Mr Surfer grabbed my hand and sighed, “Gee, I could sleep for a week.”

Barely finishing the sentence, off he charged again chasing the two little rockets before completely disappearing out of our sights.

So, what should’ve bee glaringly obvious, took a little brain burp on my behalf before paying attention to that quiet plea for respite.

Finally, I got it. And not too long after I found a quiet, reasonably priced nearby boutique hotel that surprisingly had a Saturday night available during the busy long weekend.

I specifically requested early check in and for the room furthest away from the main road, traffic and other humans.

Booked.

And off Mr Surfer went on a much-needed staycation.

He surfed, he went to the movies, he got some sleeeeeeep.

One decent night’s sleep isn’t going to make a dent on the years of sleep deprivation but some is better than none.

Most importantly, what returned home was an extremely appreciative husband who thinks my selfless act totes makes me THE BOMB.

Best birthday present. EVER!

Bestus Spouseus

 

Are you good at getting presents for your spouse? What’s been the worse present you’ve bought? The best?

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FYBF – The Gold Class Edition

The troops are down (Mama G included). Drowning in snotty tissues (me) and dealing with tantrums caused by blocked noses (me and them), it’s gonna be a short one today.

Before the immune system completely shut down, I managed to enjoy a night with mah gurls.

Not just any regular movie date, we went all classy and shizz – glammed up in frocks and heels, greeted at the red carpet with a glass of bubbly before heading up to the comfy reclining chairs to watch the much anticipated ‘Gone Girl’.

FYBF - The Gold Class Edition 2

In the giddy excitement, it took a couple of takes to figure out the little faux pas on the #selfies. Ahems.

FYBF - The Gold Class Edition

We’re not THAT old, ‘mmmmmmkay?

24 hours later and I still have ‘Gone Girl’’s riveting plot and brilliant dialogue on replay in my brain. Maybe that’s the sparkling wine hangover talking.

Or maybe it’s because going Gold Class is the ultimate, memorable cinematic escape.

Les Misérables was my last experience. Sinking deep into the comfortable lounge chair, with the biggest bag of Salt and Vinegar chips and a crispy glass of white, it was complete immersion.

I cried and howled throughout the entire movie, with a safe distance between the blubbering mess I was and the next weepy viewer.

Walking out totally overwhelmed, it took half an hour to remember where the car was parked.

Nothing like falling into the reverie of the big screen and a bucket of popcorn.

FYBF - The Gold Class Edition 3

If there’s any movie you could watch in Gold Class, what would it be? Past classics included! Have you seen “Gone Girl”? (No spoilers allowed!)

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

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Healtheries #snackosphere – Break in the Snow

***This post is the first of a 3 part #snackosphere blog challenge series for Kidspot Voices of 2014 and Healtheries.***

I was initially little dubious about going but calling up Perisher Ski Resort, they assured me that there was enough of the fluffy white stuff. So much so, the ski season had been extended to the 10th of October. So we scrapped in by two weeks.

We broke the road trip down to two parts: first night we stayed at my folks in Canberra.

Then, the next day was another three hours to Jindabyne.Break in the Snow

Staying at the Adventist Alpine Village, our clean, comfortable and cosy chalet was surrounded by roaming kangaroos and spectacular views.

Break in the Snow 2

Alas, by this stage, the twinions were really hyped up about seeing snow – the Frozen soundtrack was on repeat (Oh, Princess Elsa, I wish we could let you go…) and we were really banking on nature not to let us down.

Luckily, by the time we got there the following day, there was plenty of the stuff for the boys to have them slipping, sliding and snowman building.

In replenishing their boundless energy, we took along some Healtheries Potato Stix. While the boys are usually apprehensive to try anything new, they happily munched on these during our snack breaks.

Summarising our awesome weekend, here’s a little video I put together:

While we would all usually gobble down some potato chips to appease grumbling tummies, it was nice to know that Healtheries provide a healthier treat.

The Potato Stix in particular are:

  • Dairy Free
  • Preservative Free
  • Have no artificial flavours or colours
  • No added MSG.

With K-Bear still not completely out of the woods with his peanut allergy (he’s due for a tasting challenge before he starts big school), I’ve been excited by health food snacks before, only to be disappointed by the allergy warning fine print. “May contain traces of peanuts” – Fail!

Being the first thing I checked when I received my package from Healtheries it was a pleasantly surprise to discover that all the products they sent through are indeed nut free. Yay!

Looks like we’ve got some new goodies in our pantry. Tasty and healthy ones at that! Winning!

Have you been to the snow? What was your favourite part? Is the Frozen soundtrack still on repeat at yours?

Joining Essentially Jess for another round of #IBOT!

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FYBF – The Knock Knock Edition

As I write, we’re driving to the snow for the weekend.

My beloved (linguistically impaired) husband is playing a “Learning Bahasa Indonesia” podcast while he’s driving and I’m about to stab myself in the eye.

The teacher’s boring drone is ruining my concentration.

The annoying Indonesian “tinkle tinkle” traditional gamelan music in between modules is causing extreme nausea.

Torture. Doesn’t even come close.

Now, you may wonder why Mr Surfer has to outsource while he has an Indonesian born wife.

If anyone’s seen the episode of ‘Friends’ where Phoebe tries to teach Joey French, then there’s your reference point.

a718c643e271c9b953d03ad4c77eeaf6-1

He asks what a word is in Indonesian.

I tell him.

He asks me to repeat it. S-l-o-w-l-y.

I comply.

Nope. Still doesn’t register.

“How do you spell it? I’m a visual person. I need to SEE it,” he implores.

Oh, right. THAT’S the problem.

My parents who have no patience for me but have saved it all up for their beloved son-in-law, even they’ve given up on him.

The last straw was when my mother asked him if he was enjoying her special homemade fried chicken.

“Enak?” (Delicious?) she asked.

Despite, misinterpreting “enak” for “empat” (Indonesian for “four”), Mr Surfer thought he nailed it.

“No. It’s not four o’clock yet ” he replied while continuing to eat.

You know, I was actually going to write about the twinions and their developments as future comedians.

But, seriously. I just want to jump out of the car right now.

So, while I continue to painfully listen to Mr Surfer’s inability to roll his “R’s”, I present you with the twinions’ very first knock knock joke.

While the boys cheesy sense of humour is akin to their father’s, crossing fingers and toes that they’re linguistic abilities will be a different story.

What’s your favourite knock knock joke?  What have you tried to teach your partner? Was it successful or an epic fail?

 

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

Did you like this? Share it: