Friday, July 12, 2013

5 Things I Know About Owning A Dog

What does one do when they are lusting after a third child?

Get a dog, of course. 

Alas, I have come to the realisation that i'm done with the reproducing side of things. Its been a blast, and I will continue to swoon after newborns but only from afar.  After lots of soul searching and consideration we agreed that two is great for us.

ENTER Indiana Jones O'Connor

Indy is a she. Named after Kdog's number one man. She is awesome. Black nose. Black ears. Black feet. Black all over. Except for a teeny tiny white spot in the middle of her chest. Labradors are a breed that we have always loved, great with kids and easy going.

Here are five things I know about owning a dog.

1. The dog will be fine, they adapt very quickly.
2. The kids (particularly toddler) will turn feral.
3. The cat will slowly adapt...very, very slowly.
4. You will love it like it's your own child
5. Peppa Pig will diffuse any psychotic behaviour by feral children. 

Some others that didn't quite make the list...

- There will be a few spillages and surprises to clean up but thats no biggie.
- There will be numerous threats to take the puppy back.
- You will look in the mirror and wonder what the heck you have done.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Six Year Journey

It was an early start this morning. Tuesday’s mean business. Six-thirty every morning I have a hot date....with Shane, my PT. He pushes me further than I push myself. I can wear my ugly pants and pull ugly faces as I strain to plank for more than fifteen seconds, and it’s okay. It’s good. The ugly faces are greeted with high-five’s and well done’s.

The days that follow those sessions are clear, positive and productive days. I struggle when it comes to pushing myself further, I struggle when it comes to believing that I can do it. Today was different. When I trained I talked about me and my story. I told Shane who I was and about the journey I have been on. As the words came out of my mouth, I had that flutter in my guts, the love flutter. I am so lucky. Right here, right now. 

Today marks a special day for Keith and I (also my good mate Andy who turns 27!). On this day six years ago I packed up my car and drove from the Adelaide Hills to Jimboomba, Queensland. I drove alone, through storms, through fear and through joy. I drove to be with the man I love. I drove to start my life. And that my friends, was the best decision I ever made.

If you feel like reading about my story, I have added it below, it was also published over at my mate Baby Mac blog a couple of years ago.

Have a beautiful day friends.


It is 2.47am and I am camped out on the lounge room floor, i’ve set up a makeshift bed of blankets and couch cushions. Olivia has woken with a nasty cold. The flickering night light illuminates the hallway in a faint golden glow. The only sounds I hear are a ticking clock and a running tap. My husband is cradling the coughing babe in his arms, hovering over the bathroom sink, rocking her back and forth, gently hushing her back to sleep as the water trickles down the drain. The soothing sounds of the water is the only thing to settle her. As I lay here in the darkness, I could not think of a better opportunity to start writing our love story, than right now. This single moment, in a haze of sleep deprivation and sickness, I could not love my husband more.
We are your average family. Mum (that’s me, Amelia), Dad (Keith), son (Will), daughter (Olivia), the cat (Puddie), and the horse (Sammy). We live in the ‘burbs, about five kilometers from Adelaide. The horse resides in a lovely paddock up in the hills, about a half hour drive away. Life is peachy, I am fortunate enough to stay at home, full time, with the kiddos. My days are spent snapping photos, baking, crafting, gardening, finger painting, and cleaning. Keith heads off to work each day in the city as a software engineer. Our weekends are filled with relaxing fun times; trips up to the hills to visit family and friends, and the horse of course, cooking scrumptious feasts for our loved ones, lazy days in the backyard pottering in the garden, playing music and exploring the neighborhood. We are simple people, we enjoy life and what each day has to offer. We believe in love, working hard, enjoying the time that we have with family and friends and getting out in to nature. Life with the two kids is pretty cruisey, it has it’s moments of utter chaos but it is manageable, and we think we are done with the breeding side of things.

Now I am only a spring chicken but I have to grow up fast. I guess I have always looked at a bigger picture, I have always been a dreamer and planner. Now, I certainly have not lived a ‘whole’ life yet, I am only in my twenties and I still have a lot more to learn and understand about the world and how it works. One thing I do understand is the power of love, more so now than ever before. I know for sure that every human being has the capability to truly love another human being. Often it is a long and winding road to find that certain person, many ups and many downs along the way. No doubt we have all had our fair share of heartbreak, arriving at those crossroads and deciding which way to go, wondering if you’ve made the right choice. The funny thing about love is, you can always find it. It may be someone, it may be something, it is a feeling, it is a moment. You just know. This is how I felt when I first met Keith, there was no way that I believe we would end up together, married with children. NEVER EVER. But there was a definite feeling there, one that will stay with me forever.
Before I start with the actual love story, I want to share a defining moment in my life, a moment that has made me the person I am today. At that moment, I made a choice to be everything I thought I would not be - a wife and a mother. This moment made me understand that love is love, it doesn’t matter who you are or who you love, if it’s real then it’s real. From this point on I understood that I must follow my heart in order to survive.
I am an only child, zero siblings, just me. I grew up in a loving family, slightly dysfunctional but loving none the less. I was always very close with my parents, able to talk about anything and everything. My Mum and I were super close, I totally respected her and everything she did. A gorgeous creature, with long black hair, mum was a fiery and independent woman, she was outspoken and a little wild. At twenty eight she would ride her motorbike to work, running one of the biggest emergency departments in the country. At thirty five she was a mother and a wife, by the time she was forty she was a full time hospital coordinator. Mum inspired me to be the best that I could be. She may not have been the typical mother, cooking dinners, baking birthday cakes, she was not into that sort of thing. She loved with all of her heart and soul and she worked hard to support our little family. The fourteenth of September, two thousand and five will forever be the moment that I became and adult, the moment I realized that life was precious, the moment I realized you need to follow your own path to happiness.

I was at work for the day when I had received a phone call. It was Mum, she had just finished her week of night duty and wanted to see if I could wake her up when I got home, usually around six thirty in the evening. She mentioned going to visit my grandmother later on that night and suggested that we have a simple dinner of take away pizza.
“Sure ma, no worries. I have to go, it’s super busy here”
“Love you darling”
“Love you Mummy”
I carried on with my busy day, serving coffees and making food. I finished up for the evening, and headed home. I don’t know if it was a sixth sense, or and inkling, but I knew that something was not right. I had that uneasy feeling in my stomach. Mum’s light was on so I thought she had woken early.  However, I soon realized that she had not woken at all, I knew as soon as I walked in to the room, she was gone. I ran, I ran so fast and so hard. I wanted to be sick, my body was shaking uncontrollably. I called the ambulance, I don’t know why but I guess it was the right thing to do. I was totally alone, Dad was on a business trip. I had no one. I laid in my bed clutching a photo of the two of us. I knew, but I still hoped for a miracle. She was 54, a mother, a wife, sister, daughter, best friend. I had to make those calls. Dad, my grandmother Bunga, Nana and Pop. Poor Dad had a work colleague drive him the five hour journey from Mt. Gambier to Carey Gully that night. My best mate and her mum arrived. They helped me with all of the formalities. They comforted me and wiped away my tears, her mum reminded me about the significance of this moment, Mum gave me life, now I was here to be there for her, in her death. 

From that point on, my life was different. Every belief, outlook, idea, and feeling was completely new and uncertain. I was an adult, I had to fight to live, I was totally responsible for myself and my actions. I was no longer that immature girl, the one who didn’t stand up for herself, the one who was a follower not a leader. I made a choice, right then and there, I was going to live my life the way that I wanted to live it. I was going to put my happiness before everything else. I had been seeing a guy for the past year, it was not a healthy relationship, I was sick and tired of playing the emotional desperate girl. I ended things and decided that relationships weren’t for me. I did not have the inner strength to deal with someone else's’ complications, my life was hard enough. I had reached a point where I felt the need to try and grasp an understanding of myself and where I wanted to go in my life. 

When I look back at those months after mum died, it is obvious that I was lost. I knew what I wanted, I wanted an uncomplicated life, I wanted to love and be loved, I wanted stability and children. I wanted to be happy. I had no idea how to go about finding this happiness. Slowly but surely life became a little easier, things had changed, the grief process had worked its way through my body and what felt like overnight, I had become that adult, I was ready for a new life. I don’t really understand how Keith and I came to be together. We still look at each other with wonder and amazement every single day. I swear there must have been another force at work, surely we would be the last two people in the world who would fall in love and live happily ever after. 
Keith is indeed the man I always dreamed of. He is the sort of bloke that likes to keep things simple, a very down to earth man who can have a conversation with anyone. He is incredibly humble, previous achievements go unmentioned, he does not like to brag about his past or the things he has done. He is so very encouraging, he believes in me even at times when I do not, he believes I can achieve anything. He can often see the bigger picture when I become too focused on  the minor detail. A sensitive soul who is easily affected by others around him, I love him more and more, each and every day. You see one thing that is different about Keith, is that he has had a full life before I was ever in the picture, before I was even born.
I remember the very early days, I was hesitant to share my joy, I was in love. I must admit it was lovely to keep the secret to ourselves, it was special and I believe it truly laid the foundation in the end. It helped us understand what it was that we were feeling, if it was a fairytale or not. Believe me it would have been a lot easier for us to forget about it and go our separate ways; I was not looking for love or a relationship, at all, and Keith was in the same boat, he is not a man who needs a woman in his life. In fact he had been single for years before I had come on the scene. I think he believed that his opportunity to love someone had been and gone, he had accepted a life with his dog, horses and guitar and I think he was pretty darn happy about that. Combine all of this with the two thousand two hundred and ninety two kilometers between us, it appeared that this relationship would not workout.

I was wrong, and soon enough I found myself explaining my feelings to my dad, he was pretty darn shocked but he already knew, he said he could see it in my eyes. It was the hours and hours I would spend on the phone each night to Keith that gave it away. He understood exactly how I felt and encouraged me to go and be happy. He said ‘love is the single most important thing in your life, you need love to survive’ this coming from a man who had lost his wife of twenty two years only eighteen months earlier. My grandmother, Bunga felt the same way, she has known Keith since he was a teenager, she loves him like he was her own. She told me to go and grab love with two hands, go and make it work, bugger everyone else.
So, six months after we decided to be together, I packed up my little car and drove the two thousand two hundred and ninety two kilometers from Carey Gully to Jimboomba. I wanted to start a new life, I was making my dreams a reality, I was following my heart. We spent two years in Queensland, we had a beautiful home and a beautiful new baby boy. I soon realized the stresses you go through as a new mum, let alone a new mum without a mother of her own. We decided that it would be best to move back to Adelaide, to be closer to my family. We packed up our lives with our six month old son and drove two cars, the entire contents of our home, the cat and our two horses all the way back to Carey Gully to start over. It was bloody hard but we have made it finally. Thanks to the support of all the mum bloggers out there, especially Beth. I feel like I now have a whole army of ‘mums’ and ‘sisters’ out there. Each of you inspire me to be the best I can be, I finally feel happiness and peace in my heart. I feel that I have created the life that I was meant to have, the life I think my Mum would have loved to have. 

The very moment I fell in love with Keith I was totally and utterly committed to him and our future, his future, for better or for worse. It will be five years this Friday since we committed to this relationship. We have been married for 7 weeks, and have two beautiful children together, I have two amazing step children and three beautiful step grandchildren (yes I am in my twenties!!!!) Love is love. Love is all the arguments, all the tears, all the hesitations, all the vomit, all the blood, all the sweat, all the anger, all the happiness, all the laughter, all the frustrations. It is everything. It is all I need and I wouldn’t bloody change it for anything.

So tell me, what's your story?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Importance of Time

Every morning starts the same. It is a moment I adore.

The rain gently kisses the tin roof, sometimes just a sprinkle of kisses. The light creeps in, wrapping itself around the curtains and spilling over onto the bed and the floor. The air is a little crisp, the tip of my nose is a little cold. A familiar dead weight in the form of a cat, wedged between Keith and I, is soaking up all of our warmth. A little hand reaches underneath the blankets searching for mummy's.

"Morning, Mama"

I gently lift the covers and usher in my beautiful four year old boy. He snuggles in tight, wrapping his little arms around my neck. We kiss and we cuddle. That is the moment that my day starts. In that moment the switch is on.

Once the switch is flipped, I am dreaming of everything that should be tackled that day. Lists are formed within my mind. Time frames. Time lines. Time this and time that.

I've got to get this sent straight away. I've got to make sure I do this by this time. I've got to make sure I get Olivia down for a sleep by this time, otherwise......."

In that moment the bliss and joy of the new day slowly creeps out of my vision, and reality of what I need to do, creeps in.

My old mate Jody got me thinking about the need for time.

We all wish we could have more time; time to relax, time to sleep, time to explore, time to enjoy the sunshine, or time to enjoy the rain. We wish that we could have an extra hour or two in a day. The time to take stock and refocus our mind.

It really is about the quality of our time. Enjoying that moment, completley and utterly. Shutting out all of the other little things that niggle away at our minds. Being present in that very moment is a difficult thing to accept and practice. How often do we sit and stare at the clouds? How often do we take our shoes off and feel the ground beneath our feet? How often do we get down on the floor and really play with our kids - not looking at the clock and planning what we have to get done in the next fifteen minutes? How often do we really shut our brains down from the outside world?

This is the modern age. We have the possibility to do anything and the technology to match. With the awesomeness of this technology comes the difficulty to truly disconnect ourselves and recharge our own internal batteries.

The quality of work is slipping. The little joys in life are often going unnoticed. So many of us are running on little to no inspiration.
I need to sit down and take stock.

Would you like to join me?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stuff I'm Loving :: The March / April Edition

Well then, look what we have here...

It's been a very long time between 'Stuff I'm Loving' posts, time to change that!

:: Current William ::
My boy is now well and truly a little fellow. Reading, crafting, cooking, and exploring are some of his favourite activities. His speech is improving every single minute of every single day. He isn't quite at the sentence stage of things but he certainly makes sure you understand what he is talking about. He is just such an incredible little human. He is a favourite with the preschool ladies, wooing them with his cuddles and charm. Not only is he excelling at preschool, he is is just generally excelling at everything: being a big brother, being kind and gentle, being patient, understanding (super proud mother boast)! He teaches me SO much about everything. Plus this kid totally toilet trained himself in one week - I really expected it to be a long and drawn out process with him. So chuffed.

:: Current Olivia ::
Livvy has lost her baby look. She is well and truly a two year old. Trouble is her middle name, along with cheeky and sweetness. She is chatting away all.the.time. She sings her ABC's, she sings Play School songs, she sings all.the.time. It is great to see both Will and Liv at the same stage with their speech. They are two years apart but learning this important language together, holding each others hands along the way. I will often hear them saying things to each other, a favourite is "no, THAT way". Liv still wakes up during the night. I am pretty sure she just wants to hang out. She is still in love with puppy dogs 'Hairy' and 'Harry' are her favourites. She is the sweetest smelling little darling. She certainly keeps me on my toes, that's for sure.

:: Current Music ::
You know what is awesome, I have totally been getting back into music lately. It had felt like years since I had listened to an album, or had kept up with who was 'in' or who was 'out'. FINALLY I feel like I know what is the haps in the music scene, and thank goodness - so much awesomeness out there at the moment.

Bankrupt! by Phoenix
Homosapian by PVT
Indicud by Kid Cudi
Junip by Junip
The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
vs. Head vs. Heart by Emma Louise
True by Solange
Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeah's
Extended Play by Fleetwood Mac
I Feel Cream by Peaches

Get Lucky by Daft Punk
I Need Answers by Asta
Home by Austra
Your Life, Your Call by Junip
Stoned and Starving by Parquet Courts
Battleships by Bernard Fanning
Everybody Dance by Chic
Riptide by Vance Joy
Demons by The National
Hey Now by London Grammar
Family by Hanni El Khatib
Is This How You Feel by The Preatures
Alive by Empire Of The Sun

:: Current Books ::
I'll I have been doing a lot of 'business' reading. Not so much for pleasure. One that I have been reading for myself and can't put down is 12 Steps To Wellness by Melissa Ambrosini - it is brilliant and easy to read.

:: Current Movies / Television  ::
Movies are another thing that I have completely abandoned since having children. It's like I have four years of cinema to catch up on. I've had the urge to relieve some old favourites of late. Maybe it's the changing of the seasons, the woollen blankets, hot chocolates and cosy knits?! I have gone and alphabetised our DVD collection (there is a lot, trust me, it needed to be done - we actually have multiple copies of some titles because we could not find one in the mass of discs - shameful really!)
The kids are getting into the classics which is nice, Saturday night is family movie night - the kids pick one then when they go to bed we pick one. It is super lovely to have a bowl of popcorn and snuggle up with the gang.

Okay some favourites that have had a dusting off include:
Moonstruck - oh Cher I love you and your hair!
Sliding Doors - wasn't a fan when it was first released, now I love it
Baby Boom - I swear I watched this all.the.time. as a little kid - Diane Keaton has my heart forever!!!
Die Hard - I actually love this movie (i know??!!)
Terminator - obviously Kdog's choice

:: Current Food / Drink ::
Cant get enough of the food lately - and it's starting to show. With all the sickness that has been floating around our place of late, not a whole lot of exercise has been done. I am well and truly running out of room in my clothes, even my wedding ring is getting too tight - shame shame shame!!
Anyway the delicious treats that have caused the winter layering include: roasts - a lot of roasts, Mexican - a lot of Mexican and salads - whilst healthy, not enough of these have been consumed.

Fresh juices have been getting a thrashing here too - you can find out my recipe here

:: Current Triumph ::
My business is going well. I am actually blown away with the small amount of success I have had. Not only have I got the pleasure of photographing six weddings at the end of this year, I have shot a whole bunch of awesome family shoots too. The beautiful Sam from Good Mum Hunting flew me over to SYDNEY to photograph her family - I actually cried happy tears. I couldn't believe I had made it - a photographer FLYING to work!!! The following weekend I spent with the gorgeous Cat from Wouldn't It Be Loverly photographing her darling brood. Keep your eyes peeled for these shots coming real soon. Also photographing various events around Adelaide, including the opening of BLOOM-SPACE at AEAF. Super awesomeness!!!!!

:: Current Lowlight ::
See above comments under Current Food and Drink section. That is all!!

:: Current Non-Mummy Activities ::
Heaps and heaps and heaps. A few that I can remember:
Seeing Neil Young with Kdog
Pub nights with the gals
Mornings at Red Door Bakery

:: Current Autumn Loves ::
Lots of blankets and the winter doona on the bed. Long Sleeves. The rain on the roof. Hot chocolates with marshmallows. The changing leaves. The warming soups

What are YOU loving right now?
Join in and link up if you like.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Greatest Carrot Cake on Earth!

Carrot cake is the bomb. I love all cake, but carrot cake is up there in my top three cakes - closely followed by chocolate (of any kind) and a good sponge.

I used to work in an awesome in my high school and uni days. Their carrot cake was pretty famous, the freshness, the citrusy cream cheese icing...amazeballs.

So when I moved away to another state, I needed to find a recipe that accurately replicated this cafe's mouth watering slice. I searched far and wide, high and low. Too dry, too moist, too many nuts, NO cream cheese icing!!

Then one day ... BOOOOOM.. I found it and it is amazing.

And dead easy to make.

In a big bowl mix :

: 2 eggs
: 2/3 cup of sunflower or canola oil
: 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
: 1 cup of caster sugar
: 1 1/4 cup of plain flour
: 1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda
: 1/2 cup of chopped nuts (any kind are good)
: 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple chunks
: 2 grated carrots
: 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Stir it all together with a wooden spoon and pour into a greased and lined cake tin

or a greased muffin/ friand tin

Bake at 180 degrees for 40-50 mins (large tin) or 20-30 mins (small tin)

For the Cream Cheese Icing:

: tub of cream cheese
: 1/2 - 1 cup of icing sugar
: zest and juice of 1 lemon

Whizz that all together with a mixer and spread on cooled cake.

(in the above picture my icing was rather runny - minimise orange juice...duh Amelia)

Thank me later!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Beginnings of Autumn

Well it appears another Summer has been and gone. The days are shorter and the nights are nippy. Winter woolens are being washed and dried in preparation for the cold. Ugg boots are being dusted off and luscious warming dinners are being planned.

It is time to fuel ourselves with nourishment and protect our bodies from the wintry chill. The kiddo's have battled through some nasty summer-time flu's this year, I am hoping and praying that the winter months are not as treacherous as anticipated.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cherish it.

In every sadness there is a blessing. I believe that to be true.

We do not really know what happens when a life ends, we do not really understand it at all. The uncertainty and uncharted waters that lie ahead in the days, weeks, months, years and decades and some of the hardest to journey through. In my eyes, grief is Australia's best kept secret...(worldwide infact). No one knows how to talk about it, no one really understands the stages, it is really the one time in ones life where anything goes, and it's okay.

When a life ends by choice, the grief can often be harder to comprehend. There is an added layer of sadness to an already bottomless pit of emotion. What could possibly be a blessing in this situation? There is one. I promise. When a life clings to life, literally clinging for days, there is a blessing. A difficult yet easy choice is to be made, with that choice, life is given - to five other people.

Life is a blessing, cherish it. Cherish each other. Cherish your individuality. Cherish the fresh air. Cherish the sunshine.  Cherish your soul. Cherish love.

If you need any help with mental illness contact Lifeline
If you would like any information about organ donation visit this website
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