Tag Archive for Single Parenting

Planning this year, made me think about ‘My year in Review 2015’

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I’m planning for my 2016 year, yup, I’m a bit late starting, but long Summer Holidays keep my brain at the beach, even when it was back in the Office.

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I started writing this post in the few weeks before Christmas, when ‘if I’m honest’ was not quite myself and feeling a bit sh*tty.

I am someone who can normally keep things in perspective and take things as they come and find the good in most things…

But…I had compounding factors of Car break downs, Daughter being on the receiving end of an electric shock & burn (she’s fine now) and just having had the Carpet Cleaner out to rectify the Sum of 5 Teenagers in the house for a Sleepover + Raspberry Lemonade + Beige Carpet = Carpet Cleaner Bill.  Unexpected crazy bills just before the Holidays!  Yay, not.
But I was in the toilet, yes TMI, reflecting on feeling a bit sh*tty (ha!) and reminded myself, to ‘keep it in perspective’ chic.

Telling myself, “these are minor things tunneling my vision and your coming to the end of a year that has been full of the unexpected, hard times, crazy fun times, many wins, but also many fail’s, changes, growth and a bit of chaos thrown in the mix” so just breath.

So I wanted to reflect on that, breath and then I remembered Jane Yee’s (ex Stuff Blogger) post from years back, where she answered a year in review questionnaire…I set to google it and try and answer these questions myself to help keep myself in perspective.

I wrote it not intending to share it initially, just for myself…that’s why it’s so ridiculously long…but thought I would now share it on the blog as it might help you also reflect yourself when you may be experiencing a bit of tunnel vision.

You can use the same format across a month, year or even 5 years.

Full credit to Jane Yee a good 3+ years ago who answered these same questions and inspired me with them and a host of other review questions from around the interwebs:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/baby/8099629/Jane-Yee-My-year-in-a-questionnaire

 

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Went and met people I didn’t know off the internet…eeek!  😉

Not as dodgy as it sounds…

I went and met my first lot of Bloggers “in real life” at #brunchclub and then multiple other events with NZ Bloggers Network and InstameetWgtn. (Check them out if you are keen)

Hey, incase you are wondering, they don’t all live in their parents basements only coming up for air once a month…every blogger I have met is very-very interesting, live such a huge variety of lives, write about some stuff you have never even thought of before, struggle with the same/but different sh*t in our lives like we all do, are supper helpful and supportive peeps.  Yay Bloggers.

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2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

No resolutions last year as such, but I did have many goals I formed in February for the year ahead around Family, Personal, Work, Business, Writing etc…

I totally plan to do the same this year, as having these written down makes a big difference to me.

But I think of it more like a planning session for the year, rather than resolutions.

Things I have learnt over many years, is do your planning on a SUNNY day.  It makes me feel so much more inspired, more likely to reach further, more audacious with my goals, ready to conquer the world (or at least remembering to clean out my fridge more often), lifted up and ready to totally pull out of my head all the kick-ass things I want to aim for this year.
If it’s raining and overcast, I just want to snuggle under my blanket on my couch-bed and watch old episodes of Gilmore Girls.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, a gorgeous new wee niece was born who I was fortunate enough to go and have cuddles with in September, even though they live 860km’s away.

Sometimes holding those babies and interacting with them at this young age, makes me stare and wonder at just how much my own 15 year old has grown and how these parents new life feels polls apart to my own.

Then Miss 15 has early morning training which feels similar to being woken in the middle of the night by your newborn.  Cleaning up after newborns from poo, food and spills is not to dissimilar to calling in the Carpet Cleaners from Teenagers and their blimmin raspberry drinks.  The fear is the same no matter what age they are, when your heart feels like it’s being ripped out when they hurt themselves.  So maybe life is not that far apart after all…they are just taller!

Oh, and I also have a friend due on Christmas Eve, yay! (baby has now been born too)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

Except for McDreamy in Grey’s Anatomy, I hadn’t really watched the last couple of seasons, but those few episodes had me bawling my eyes out like seriously noisily!  Shonda Rhimes you know how to reel us in and spit us out and reel us back in again girl.

Oh and seeing Jerry getting shot again watching old episodes of Rookie Blue seriously sucked eggs, I liked him and he was just getting his life together with Nash who were so oddly perfect for each other!

5. What countries did you visit?

100’s in my head and in my dream’s, but just New Zealand Road tripping this year.

Wanganui, Palmerston North, Wanaka, Twizel, Queenstown, Christchurch, & Hanmer Springs.

But I did send my daughter to the other side of the world.  Miss15 had 17 A-Mazing days in New York – yes New York…

Almost incomprehensible that that happened…but she had ‘the’ most amazing experience of a teenage lifetime with a great group of travel peeps and I am so delighted for her we managed to pull it off and get her there!

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6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Even more time to be spontaneous and throw plans out the window when we can.  I do it as often as I can, but we need even more of it.

Go for a swim at 11pm down at Oriental Bay…yes we can.

Go have fun at Teppenyaki instead of cooking what was defrosting in my fridge…yes we can.

Go on a spare of the moment Road Trip, cause we feel like it…yes we can.

I sound like Obama, but hey ‘Yes we can damn it’.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

No significant dates stand out this year…I also dont have a good memory for dates if I’m honest, that’s why I rely heavily on our chocked family calendar on the wall & our synced apple calendars to remember things.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Completing the Deep Canyon Wanaka extreme adventure with Miss15.

Seriously one of the scariest out of your comfort zone adventures we have been on yet!!!

Leaping, Abseiling, Crawling, Sliding, Zip Lining and Jumping down a giant canyon/running river waterfall in the absolutely stunning Wanaka high country.

I felt old…as I was ‘the Mom’ on the trip, where most others were near my teenagers age, but man I felt fricken amazing by the end of the day!

It was a total mix between being scared sh*ttless and running on a hugely high adrenaline rush.  I kept thinking to myself “your daughter is watching, just do it, don’t hesitate, just do it” and I made my way through that epic adventure.

I felt so exhilarated at the end & was delighted we/I had done it.  Can’t recommend it highly enough if you are open to pushing yourself.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I isolated myself a little too much for the first 1/2 of the year in 2015.

On one hand it was really-really good for me to just have time, head space and quiet, but on the other hand, I HAVE to keep it in check and no let it be too unbalanced.

I also had an epic fail with a Nailpolish Explosion in my Apartment…long story saved for another day…but that was epic and the effects of it and the contractors dramas that followed for months after made my 30 second touch up before I headed to a School event an epic costly insurance fail!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I get Bullous Papular Urticaria (don’t google it, trust me!), and it completely knocks me for a six, even though it’s a skin issue, but it messes with my inner body too as you just feel so ill with it and the medication (prednisone) totally whacks me around, a feeling of being 1/2 a second behind yourself all the time and like I’m spacey, but at the same time, totally fizzing and wired!

I’m a bit of a right-off for a few weeks while I manage myself through that.  I usually get it once in every calendar year sometime.  There is no obvious reasons for it and nothing you can do to avoid it, it’s totally random.

Miss 15 also shockingly-so received an electric shock to her hand and an electric fire ball the size of Rockmellon hit her in the chest.  It ‘could’ have been way-way-way worse, but she was very fortunate that it wasn’t and only had low grade pain after the emotional shock of it all.  We totally had the best Nursing staff though attend to a Teenager Girl you could have asked for at the A&E too!  Thanks ladies.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My ipad mini* (affiliate links all marked with *) with a bonus I received and some Christmas money.

Seriously I can do SOOOOO much on my ipad mini and it helps me with so many-many things.  I watch shows on the internet while I’m working  and writing on my computer, I stream things to my TV from it, I blog on it, I write on it, I edit photo’s on it, I take it places where I’ll be waiting for a while.

2nd best thing would be my iphone Tripod stand to take photo’s from when you need it really still and a bluetooth remote clicker.  It’s works brilliantly, way better than I even anticipated and it cost like $12.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Petrol…we drive a million miles everyday as we work, live and School in 3 different cities…ok, maybe not a million, but at least 450-600km’s or so-ish depending on the week.  See, it feels like a million-billionty.

Yeah I know it’s a bit nuts, but it was worked into the budget before we made all of those decisions on where to live and School, but it still sucks to go through a 1 Tank and 1/2 each week…

I’ve often pondered…how much would it actually cost to buy a petrol station?…maybe I should focus on that instead of hoping to one day buy a house.

Actually make that I want to buy a Petrol Station…come…Tank Juice Bar…come Dry Cleaners…come Supermarket Click and Collect station…all in one :-)

I could buy this one in Waipukurau for $230,000 :-)

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Hanging out with the people I love the most at different times of the year.

And…I was really-really excited about the surprise “Room Reveal” I did for Miss15 on her return home from New York.

A complete make-over (on a low budget) of all of the types of things she had been suggesting for the last year, turning it from a fragmented, bitsie tween room that wasn’t that appealing, to a clean, cute, chic Teenagers room she was more than happy to hang out in with her friends.

Everyone kept on asking ‘what are you going to do with all that free time while Miss15 was away in New York for 17 days’…reality…no free time…I worked every single waking moment on the the make-over, even only sleeping for 2 hours before she arrived home that last morning.

I felt like I was in my own version of The Block, not sleeping and Mark Richardson was going to call ‘Tools down at any moment’ and make me build a plank to fall off!

Totally worth it though.

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14. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Shake it off* by Taylor Swift and See you Again* by Whiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.  See you Again was played nearly every morning as I was waking/snoozing on More Fm, so it became a bit like my Wake Up Anthem.

But then it was overtaken by this other song* that annoys the heck out of me as it has the high pitched regular shriek in it throughout the song that made me think it was the Fire Alarm and I leapt up to investigate the first morning I heard it on the Radio Alarm Clock!

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) Happier or sadder?  =  Happier.
b) Thinner or fatter?  =  Kinda the same.
c) Richer or poorer? =  Up until last month, a bit Richer, but with these new bills, not so much.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Running, I have such a love hate relationship with it.

I had a really good bought a few months back when I did some early morning running before work, but then nothing much since.

Also would like to have had more relaxed, Hot chicken, salad and Roast Potato dinners with our friends, easy chill food, but with great company.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Supermarket shopping!

Feel like I’m there everyday!

But near the end of the year I got wise & started using Click & Collect for my staples weekly shop…its brilliant :-)

18. How will you be spending Christmas?

Will be in the South Island with Family and Friends and Miss15 will be joining me for our month long hiatus in the South after she has celebrated Christmas with her Dad and his family.  (Have now had our month long Summer Sizzler in the South and it was epic-ly awesome and way too hard to come home from).

I did try hard to try and convince my boss’s to let me have my office here in 2016, telling them it had great ventilation and wonderful 3G.

 

19. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Does in my head count?  😉

Or, on paper?

Or, on Lightbox?  Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) on Suits, I seriously have a crush on you and you seriously annoy me all in one scene.  But you are seriously sexy.

So Nah!

I did though meet someone I really-really-really like alot in ‘real life-life’…

Goodness, did I just say that out-loud on the internet!  No, delete it, because then it makes it real, no put it out there…ok, I’ll leave it in, be brave.

But that’s as far as it will probably ever go as I don’t think he will even really remember that I exist.

I did just cut, paste and delete out the next 19 paragraphs I just wrote on this ‘like-fest’ into a draft on the side…as I am a scardey cat and just not quite ready to say out loud on paper/page yet…

But ok, I copied a few wee snippets back from it…

…”The instant you turned, looked me in the eyes and smiled so deeply when you were introduced was one of the most surreal unexpected experiences of my life…

…Have you had someone look into your eyes and hold your gaze as they talk and it doesn’t feel awkward or weird, it just feels fricken amazing (even though I was having to force my brain/mouth to speak)?…

…I had to make myself look away sometimes, because it was so intense as we talked…

…I will probably never see him again…

…I’m telling myself, he is most probably married…

…Or has like 12 kids…

…Or doesn’t like Gilmore Girls re-runs…

…And wants a partner who has more than just ‘Condiments, bottles of stuff and shriveled vegetables in her fridge'”…

20. What was your favourite TV programme?

I found so many new/old shows this year, as I like to have those playing while I work away in the evening.

  • Rookie Blue (All the seasons from day 1!)…
  • The Bachelor NZ
  • The Bachelorette (Kaitlyn)
  • UnREAL…yup hate to say it, but that fake-reality Bachelor one, it’s terribly-awesome…
  • Parks and Rec (it took me a while to get into it, but oh-my-gosh I’m was so-so sad to have got to the very last episode just last night…I kinda wish I had all of those exact characters in my life for all different reasons.
  • Gilmore Girls (All the seasons, except have the 6th one to go)
  • Lipstick Jungle
  • Suits…love…love…love it…but gosh Gabriel you talk in such a yelly-voice all the time and are always threatening to punch someones lights out, enough already…threaten to teach them a lesson by making them make 5000 sticks of Candy floss instead and use your inside voice (you’re much-much sexier then).
    Louis Litt, I love/loathe you every episode (I think TV programmes needs to be a whole post on it’s own), but you totally help make Suits so awesome.
    Donna, what can I say, I ‘am’ Donna in my head all day long in my job and I’m crushing on all your glorious outfits.
  • Grand Design NZ this is a program that made a really good transition from the original UK one which I also love. I loved seeing all the crazy ideas and passions and dreams on NZ’ers building and the thinking way outside the square (it resonates with my upbringing of building unique houses in unique places).
    I think also Chris Moller had big shoes to fill from the UK’s Kevin McLeod, but he did well, not trying to be the same as Kevin, but likeable, easy to listen to and asked the questions I wanted to hear.

21. What was the best book you read?

I’ve got a few on the go that I am really enjoying, lots of Biographies type ones like David Jason, Beer Grylls, Kerry McIvor (nee Woodham), Nigel Latta the Teenagers Guide…but have to be completely honest…I haven’t finished any of them yet and keep jumping between them.

22. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Rediscovering John Farnahm…so good played at the very top of your Volume control so all the neighbours and their telephone callers can hear it.  I also through constructive parenting ‘made’ my daughter start to appreciate a little bit of Farnahm now too.

🎶 your the voice* try and understand it, make a noise a make it real oh oh yeoh weoh wha oh oh yeohoh weoh weoh….🎶

23. What did you want and get?

I wanted and did transfer my Blog to a new host, found a fantastic backup manager duplicator, bought myself the theme I really wanted and am quietly working away in the background of a redesign on a development sub domain.

It’s not ready yet, but working on it.  Yup, your still seeing the old one at the Mo.

I really wanted that, got it & doing it.

24. What did you want and not get?

New carpet, it’s really really old, really really really marked, oxidised and thin as paper directly onto concrete.

We knew this going into our apartment, but I thought/hoped it was going to happen this year.  My lovely landlord has plans for it, but it hasn’t quite happened yet.

Oh…& a macbook pro to replace my 9 year old old very faithful but failing laptop.

25. What was your favourite film of this year?

Hmmmm…I actually think it may have been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…is that allowed?…seems I’m meant to be ‘adulting’…oh well…I’m owning it, I loved it.
Miss15 won free tickets, so we got indulged with a premier screening with lots of lovely treats too.  Action, loads of humour and a love story.

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Kindof embarrassing, but I can’t for the life of me remember.

It was a Sunday, oh yes that’s right, Miss15 had a big long Rehearsal that day for Stage Challenge, picked her up after, had a super quick maybe 35 min dinner out together then dropped her off to her Dad’s as she had family down she hadn’t seen in quite a while for just that night that was special for them.

You might think, oh well that sucks on your Birthday…but actually it didn’t.

You can read about why it didn’t suck on my article Single parents navigating special calendar dates just like Birthday’s over on Kiwi Families.

27. What kept you sane?

God, Prayers, Friends that get you (me), the most comfortable Bed in the world, my ipad mini, having crazy-ass fun in amongst all the hard stuff so it makes up for the hard stuff.

Being spontaneous whenever we can.  Breaking out into song at completely inappropriate times, but what someone said called for it.  Acting the fool and larking about when there was nothing much more you could do in a situation.

Taking a walk, looking around at the splendor & saying ‘this’…this is why I’m out here ‘this’!

Taking the quiet, when I needed quiet.

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28. What political issue stirred you the most?

I know it’s not very PC to say this, but I’m not politically stirred.

At least I did get to vote this last time though in the picturess town of Wanaka as I there for a 40th, but that was technically in 2014.

Being there though stirred me on to vote!

29. Who did you miss?

I miss ‘THAT’ person who is yours.

I don’t mean who I had.  That has now passed a long-long time ago

I miss having that/a person who is your laughing mate, your cuddlebuddy, your sounding board, your person to share in the delights with, your person to share in the setbacks with, your person whom you look to across a crowded room and you can pick up in an instant from their smile, their eyes or their expression what they are thinking, your person to go on adventures with and your person that always has your back and loves you to the Moon and all the way back down the dirt, your person who loves you fiercely.

That’s who I missed, my future ‘That person’.

30. Who was the best new person you met?

I met a lovely new Blogging friend Lady Loves Cake, she is a super cool chick and write a super awesome blog that makes me hungry.

31. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

Find that balance…

Between Rocking this Mom gig and failing at this Mom gig.

Between being an Amazing friend and being a bit shitty at keeping in touch.

Between knowing when you need time to yourself and when knowing that’s enough.

Between setting goals and celebrating them and between being OK to write them up again next month.

Between having a strong relationship with God and actually getting my ass through the doors of Church more than I should.

Between rocking at buying awesome BD gifts and not sending them for 2 months.

Between reminding myself that you are totally kick-ass at this thing called life and thinking you are dropping ALL the balls.

Keep going.  Do one thing at a time.

If it doesn’t happen, does it actually matter.

Ask myself, what are the priorities?

Always pack your stuff for the next day the night before.

Sleep much-much more than you do.

Hold things loosely when it doesn’t matter, and hold tight the things that matter most as life & priorities change on a dime.

Don’t be afraid to say No whenever you need to…but just as importantly don’t be afraid to say Yes when you need to either.

32. What scared you the most?

Two different types of scared.

1. Deep Canyoning for leaping way-way out of my comfort zone and having to have complete and utter trust in your guides and the edges they were sending you off blind.

2. Seeing the ‘soot’ mark the fireball left on my daughters chest once I ran into her room…fortunately the burnt clothing and soot mark and description of what happened was way worse than what it actually did to her.

Knowing that electric shocks can mess with your heart and can keep burning within the tissue…Mother 1st Aider kicked into gear throwing her in the shower and then straight to A&E.

33. What was the biggest contrast?

Seeing Miss15 and her friends holding hands and saying Grace before they ate their Pizza at their last sleepover, totally un-provoked by me, it nearly made me cry…

Then the same group of them latter that night accidentally spilling Raspberry Lemonade on the carpet…that had me in my PJ’s scrubbing the floor at 3am that next morning (they were still watching movies) and meeting the Carpet cleaning guy that following afternoon as it wouldn’t come out…that required my epic Grace!

You can be so proud and amazing and so peeved off and frustrated within no time.

34.What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?

Learning empathy from their Mother (my Teen)…how that she (Miss 15) worked hard out for 3 hours at my work, and turned around after I gave her her wages and gave the entire lot to World Vision’s Christmas appeal without even discussing it with me.

Oh my gosh it made me cry buckets, as if I’m honest she was being the most un-cooperative, back chatty, end of the year ‘over everything’ teen that night and was really hard work.

She has it tucked away in there for other people when you least expect it.

35.What new things did you discover about yourself?

That I think I might be what they call an introverted-extrovert.

36.What was the best news you received?

Miss15 passing NCEA Level 1 before she even did her Exams, followed by passing NCEA Level 1 with Merit.

She was just hoping to pass, as was I, but to pass with Merit was excellent news.

37.What was your favourite place that you visited in 2015?

Hands down was Wanaka, it always is, it’s seriously one of my most favourite places to hang out.

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38.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

Exhortation – “the gift of encouragement”

I don’t know where it comes from…actually I do, thank you Lord…but it’s just there. Even if I’m not feeling encouraged myself or I’m struggling myself, it just flows out of me in all sorts of situations to encourage others in minor things and major things and I think/hope it has been really helpful to people this year.

39.Which new skills did you learn?

The phonetic Alphabet.  Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta etc…

Always meant to learn it for dealing with things on the phone and my parents and I made it into a car game on our Summer Holiday.  It’s come in very handy since.

Although sometimes I start off good…then it heads this way:

Whisky, echo, lima, lima, indigo…nana, garry, tom, onaynay, nek minnit :-)

40.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2015, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?

A story about Reflection and Hope.

Ok, that sounds a bit floaty fairy…

But it would be filled with drama, intrigue, humour, Simon Pegg, grit, loads of stunningly gorgeous men, food, Gilmore Girls lines, and a wardrobe of yoga pants and Donna’s outfits from Suits…

41.What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?

My drive to work in the mornings…I love that time in the car with just myself for my thoughts.

42.What cool things did you create this year?

My Teen’s bedroom re-model.

43.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?

Took Miss15 and her friend Camping by myself over a long weekend.  We love camping, but are always with Family when we camp down South, which is awesome, but I really enjoyed the overall experience of making it happen myself…well that was until it came time to pack it all up and come home again and then I wanted a billionty helpers…and wished I could just sell my car and buy a new one rather than unpack this packed to the gills one once we got home.

44.What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?

Laughing my ass off, fall off the chair, tears rolling down my cheeks (face, not butt) with some of my best-est longest friends in Christchurch.

45.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?

The complete redesign of my website/blog.  I’ve done a tonne of work on it, but don’t want it live until I’m reeeeeaaaady.

46.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

Telling my Landlord about the damage the Stain Removal people did to our Carpet when they were there to just treat the upholstery and furniture…long story…short version, they did major worse and then worser still damage as their machine leaked everywhere and permanently stained the carpet all over the Lounge and Dinning.  They weren’t even there to treat the carpet, just the upholstery and furniture (see Nail Polish explosion further above).

But my seriously lovely Landlord wasn’t bothered in the slightest and couldn’t even actually see it…

He’s an awesome guy, but I did wonder if it was the ‘difference between Women eyes and Man eyes when they look at things because even my girlfriends have spotted the marks straight away and said – what happened!’.

47.What experience would you love to do all over again?

I would love for Miss15 to go to New York again…but this time I would love to go with her.

I’ve been before, way back when I was 18, but we only had a few days there.  I have SOOOOO much I want to do and explore there.  I would love to see it through Miss15’s eyes and have her show me all what she saw, learnt and experienced.

I also still have secret dreams of one day living there for 1 year.

48.What was the biggest problem you solved?

How to successfully throw my little bag of rubbish into the Apartment building skip from a distance outside the rubbish room…

Because I walked out in bare feet (everytime forgetting my jandals) and not ever wanting to walk ‘into the rubbish scoaddy room floor in my bare feet’…I say successfully, as if you don’t you then ‘have’ to run in in bare feet, scoop down, resting your feet on germ inflicted floor for longer than necessary, retrieve said rubbish bag and miss 2 more times because now your hurrying to much trying to get out of there before 10 second germ rule kicks in and they get on your feet and you are balancing on non-ballerina toes at least so not all of your foot touches.

But, by Joe, I think I’ve now mastered it.  Unbelievably 1st world problem…but I solved it.  It’s all about the swing, time of release and the breath you take the second beforehand…and making sure no one is watching!

49.What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?

This spare of the moment, in a flash purchase of a Blue overtop thing from Shanton in Chch.  It was a size Small…I’m never a size small and weirdly it totally fits perfectly…it’s the single most positively commented piece of clothing I have ever owned.
I feel great whenever I wear it, the colour is a seriously great colour on me that always makes me look healthy and brings out my best features and I love it.  It also only cost me like $29 :-)

50.What did you think about more than anything else?

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but this man that I met back up at Question No. 20…

It’s been a really-really-really long time that someone has captured my attention and my thoughts like he did.  Like seriously 14 years.

But I think ‘He’s just not that into me’ back, as he know’s where I am…but he’s not here knocking on my door…or on my fence…or on my desk…

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My 2016 to come

1.What advice would you give your early-2016 self if you could?

Be gentle to yourself.

Enjoy your month long Summer hiatus, ease yourself back into the new year for a week, but then commit to things, make plans, book dinners with friends, enter Races, set goals, plan rest times, don’t wait, be brave.

2.What do you want the overarching theme for your 2016 to be?

It’s a brand new Day (year) and things ‘are a changing’, this ‘is your year’.

3.What do you want to see, discover, explore?

More trail runs around Wellington, we live in one of the most epic locations for running.

I think I might also want to re-explore the inside of a Gym this year to help me through the Winter months especially and train with Miss15.

4.What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?

To re-master the art of the Water Ski -‘Jump Start’…I can not get it back.  But this year is the year dam-it.

5.Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?

Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

6.What do you want to achieve career-wise?

I really like my job and love the company I work for.  I am very loyal to them and they are great-great people.

But I want to work on my own writing and Business ideas further to be able to get to a point where “one day” I don’t have to rely on having an external job, and being able to work for just myself/own clients if I want/need to in future.

7.How do you want to remember the year 2016 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?

Well that was an interesting unexpected year wasn’t it!

(I just thought in my head…”Well that escalated quickly”…aka Anchorman…but then I’m a little bit scared about what just might have escalated!)

image

8. What’s something I got through that was really tough?

The actual act of walking back in through my Church doors.

I love our Church, I love the people in it, I love God that I know bought me home here all those years ago.  But as I had isolated myself a little too much and had tried to step back from toooooo many things making our life too full, I went a bit far the other way of saying No to too many things (needs to be another blog post).
I stepped back from some of the responsibilities I had a Church and a women’s group and not getting to Lifegroup enough.  There were many good reasons for this as it what was needed for our family at the time to be home a whole lot more allowing that space for Homework and Study…but then I pulled too far that way and got out of the habit of going to the things I needed to be part of.

Actually walking into Church was one of them.  Knowing my heart, time, having God patiently carry my through that and a good friend having my back who picked me up and took me when I asked her, have me now where I sooo sooo know I am to be.

9.What is your number one goal for 2016?

Go on at least just 1 date.

No maybe not…

Ok, maybe…

eeeek, I don’t know…

Happen to know any exceptional Christian Men who want to help me perfect my Water-Ski jump start this year again?…

It’s been a seriously long time…

Someday’s I think I’m ready…

Other days I think, what the heck are you thinking, your a Hot Mess…

I don’t know…

Maybe 😉

 

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Learn about Blogging while Multi Tasking

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I really wanted to listen in the NZ Bloggers Network’s Blogging learning sessions on the Livestream hookup on Video Blogging tonight…but life was getting in the way!

They had You Tuber ‘Aly Ford’ from Psycho Traveller presenting, sharing her insight, tips, tricks and practical advice from her success thus far on You Tube.

Also a member presentation by Callum, Ignatius Manaloto and Steve Milleron on improving blog engagement, simple design and content tips.

But I had to be in 4 places at once and couldn’t do it all.

I was just finishing up at work, I was meaning to be home hours earlier when it was starting.

Multi tasking Single Parenting mode switched on, so made a new plan, I:

• Downloaded the Livestream App onto my iphone

• Logged in

• Hit the link to ‘Basics of Video Blogging – with You Tuber Aly Ford from Physco Traveller‘ by NZ Bloggers Network

• Popped in my Bluetooth earpiece

• Hit Play!

• Quickly finished up essentials at work while I listened to the opening announcements and packed upYay, I was able to listen (& watch out the corner of my eye) in to the Video Blogging event while the following happened over the next hour or so…

• Fired off a few quick comments to engage and shared the link via Twitter and Facebook while listening in• Quickly finished up essentials at work while I listened to the opening announcements and packed upYay, I was able to listen (& watch out the corner of my eye) in to the Video Blogging event while the following happened over the next hour or so…

• Then with my earpiece in and my iphone in my pocket, I closed up my building while still listening in

• Jumped in t
he car and started driving while listening in

• Hopped out at the Urgent Pharmacy (I was too late for a ‘normal’ pharmacy) – walked through the carpark – hit pause – bought what I needed – short convo with the lovely lady there – hit play and kept listening further

• Jumped back in the car and continued driving while listening in

• Hopped out at the supermarket and crossed the carpark while listening in (checking triple for traffic!)

blogging learning sessions      Blogging learning sessions

• Hit pause – while I rang in our takeaway order (yup, no home cooking tonight!) – hit play again while I entered the supermarket and grabbed the few essentials I needed while listening in

• Through the self checkout with my items so could keep listening in

• Jumped back in the car and round the corner to the pick up food – jumped out – hit pause while I picked up – they weren’t in a talkative mood, so I was out of there in 30 seconds – hit play again and back in the car while listening in

• Drove home – into carpark and reversed into my ridiculously tricky angled carpark while listening in

• Gathered all the bags from the car – raced up the stairs and into our Apartment while listening in

• Hit pause to chat with Miss 15 about her day – she was knee deep into her Homework so she didn’t chat for long til she refocused again as she is keen to get in lots of study for her upcoming exams

• Hit play again while I unpacked groceries and my bags from the day while listening in

• Grabbed the Trophy off our Bookshelf that Miss 15 has to return tomorrow and dug in the cupboard seeking out the Silvo while listening in

• Got changed, sorted washing and closed blinds while listening in

• Dealt with dishes and trundled up and down the stairs 6 times doing Parenting/Home/Mom type stuff while listening in

• Hit pause – Sat down with Miss 15 to work on something with her for a bit

• She then focused on her own thing again so I hit play again

• Watched through to the end – wooohoo!

It would have been great to be at the Video Blogging event in person in Auckland, but hooking in via Livestream and listening in (and glancing at the screen sometimes) worked incredibly well.

Sure, I missed a bit, but there was SO much great info loaded into these two presentations that I will happily watch/listen to them again latter.

They had a really great Q&A session at the end too with bloggers asking many things I’m sure we all have wanted to know.

Blogging learning sessions

Don’t have time to sit for 1 & 1/2 hours to watch a Livestream?

Then I encourage you to try what I did next time and listen in while you do other things.

All you need is:

• Livestream website – Desktop, tablet, ipad, iphone or Smartphone
  or
• Download Livestream App (more streamlined on a device) Apple/Android for your tablet, ipad, iphone or Smartphone

• Earphones or Bluetooth Headset
• Sign up to the Livestream site and Login
• Follow NZ Bloggers Network
• Now you are ready to listen/watch/multi task  :-)

If you miss the Livestream totally, you can watch it again latter by playing it whenever you want to.

How cool is it to continue learning about Blogging while doing everyday tasks!

I have been working away tonight and feeling slightly pleased with myself, that even though my day was crazy that I had kicked this multi tasking single parenting lark in the ass tonight…

Then I wondered, why I was so damn hungry?

Crap…in all of my brilliant multi tasking I forgot to eat at all tonight and now it was 11.35pm and I wasn’t going to last til morning.

Finishing this post off now while I eat a Apricot Jam toasted Bagel…so maybe I’m not kicking ass in everything…but it still tastes pretty good  😉

Have you used Livestream before to watch an event?
Did you watch the Video Blogging learning session?

#kiwibloggers

 

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#NZBloggers – Sage – Am I the only one that feels like this?

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Am I the only one that feels like this?

I have virtually no natural desire or urge to COOK!

None, nadda, niltch, zip.

Occasionally the urge takes over and by choice I rock into the kitchen and whip something fantastic up…but that’s few and far between.

Am I the only person in the world that feels like this?

#NZBloggers Sage No Desire to Cook
I LOVE to eat delicious Food.

I love the act of sitting down together with family, friends and people you love to eat, catch up and while away the hours together.

I like buying yummy Food.

I enjoy reading Food Blogs like this one and this one and this one annnnd this one.

I enjoy flicking through the odd Cook book.  I even own quite a few.

BUT

If I didn’t haaaaave to cook, I probably wouldn’t.

Of course I DO cook…you know

…would starve if not

…you know kid needs feeding – like everyday!

…you know vegetables need to be eaten…blahdy blahdy blah

But its very nearly always reluctantly.

Is it just me out here in the internets on my own confessing my dislike of cooking…or are you one of these Mom’s too?

In years past, sometimes I would feel guilty that I wasn’t ‘THAT Mother’ that was a whizz in the kitchen that just LOVED feeding her family with delicious home cooked meals…

But nope, no more, no time for guilt.

I have about a dozen or so dishes that I can cook really well that taste delicious, so that gets us by.

What’s that got to do with the #NZBloggers topic – SAGE (that I’m a month late on)?

NZ Bloggers Blog Greatness ChallengeSource – #NZBloggers

I’m late to the party with the Blog Greatness Challenge…but I was reading through the list and the very first one (from MAY!!!) was SAGE…

I giggled thinking…goodness me what would I write about Sage?

I don’t even quite know exactly what it is?

Or how I would use it?

But thinking about Sage further, I worked out that, I would rather:

…Pay a Cook…than a Housecleaner

…Pay a Cook…than a Gardener (and I also don’t love gardening)

…Pay a Cook…and work an extra hour at work everyday

…Pay a Cook…than even having my dishwasher!

I can’t afford to pay a cook…but maybe one day!  😉

toast
I love the My Food Bag concept, and think it’s a great idea for families (if in budget).  The food looks DELICIOUS!

…but I kinda wish that Nadia would turn up everynight and cook it also for me…

…hey I would even be happy to have the very 1st person voted off MKR cook it for me…

…hey I would actually even be happy with anyone that can wield a pot and whip some yummy food up at my disposal.

Being a Single Parent its just about always ME on cooking.

Yes Miss 15 cooks and cooks quite well.  But reality is, she has a very full schedule not just during the week but weekends too where Homework, Multiple Trainings, Study, NCEA and commitments take priority.
There’s not alot of downtime, so the last thing I want to do is pull her away from finishing assignments to cook…so it’s still me.

Note to future husband out there…start cooking…

They often say “The way to a Man’s heart is through his stomach”…but maybe in my case “The way to my heart is through my stomach”!

Did you always love cooking…or something that came latter?

Sometimes I wonder if in 5 years time, it will hit me and I’ll be like “Ohhhhhh, that’s what everyone is talking about!

Maybe I’ll even learn what to do with Sage 😉

 

#NZBloggers
#BlogGreatness

 

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Summer Time Bucket Lists – What we ticked off in 2013/14

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Summer Time Bucket Lists“Summer Time Bucket Lists” are such a fabulous way to make your Holiday plans.

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They give you tonnes of activities, events, and rainy day ideas both big and small to look forward to and plenty of ideas for when you can’t quite think what you should do that day.

We are putting together out Summer Time Bucket List for these holidays coming up 2014/15, that’s when I remembered I didn’t actually hit publish on my post about last years one (it sat 95% done) “Summer Time Bucket Lists – What we ticked off in 2013/14”!

So here it is:


 

For the first time last year 2012/13 I suggested to Miss 12 (at the time) that she make a “Summer Time Bucket List”…

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Things for her and I to tackle on our holiday that would be loads of fun, a mixture of both big and small ideas as well as things we $Pay for and free idea’s too.

We really enjoyed thinking of things to put on it totaling about 15 things on it all up.  Then we had the fun of her ticking off items like “Bungy Jumping” and mastering Water Skiing outside the wake etc…

So this Summer we made a new Summer Time Bucket List 2013/14 and a slightly more ‘ambitious’ one.

Below you will see how we got on, we still have loads of summer left and hope to get through many more before the sun disappears for Winter again.


1. √ Early Swim out to the Lake Wanaka Raft + treats

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … It’s in our nature to sleeeeeep in, but somehow my daughter (Miss 14) & I dragged our butts out of the Campground & down to the lake to swim out to the raft!

@ 5.55am – yup!!

Our arctic dash was helped along by our stash of Chocolate tucked inside my wetsuit to eat once we got out on to the raft!  (Freddo & Crunchie)

It wasn’t so cold coming back in and Miss 14 even stayed in the water for a bit :-) We were even back in before Challenge Wanaka people ‘uber athletes’ started their practice swim!!

Even though I put this on our Bucket List, it took us til 3/4 of the way through our holiday to finally achieve it (& our last day in Wanaka!).

45 mins later we walked back down to the Foreshore to Kai Whakapai Cafe to defrost some more and get Hot Chocolate!  The early morning swim was a great way to farewell 3 fantastic weeks in Wanaka.

Early Morning swim out to the Raft Lake Wanaka

chocolate treats for the raft

2. √ Foosball – Have a family Foosball tournament

FREE – If you already have it.  It may $Cost you bragging rights though.
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … The competition was hot on the Foosball table and many an hour was spent flipping away on it.  I didn’t win overall, but had a blast trying to.

If I had the space for game type things at my house, it would be a Foosball* table a Pool Table and Air Hockey!

Foosball

3. Single Ski/Slalom Ski

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol.
(Miss 14)

Yes … Miss 14 has been skiing now since she was about 7 years old and has progressed through the different stages over the years.
This year, her aim was to be able to ‘drop one ski’ and ‘Slalom or Single Ski’.

Well … SHE DID and it was hugely hugely exciting.

The day she did it we had head out to an amazing spot way-way up the top of the breathtaking area of Lake Benmore.  We launched off from Sailor’s Cutting and pretty much nearly had the entire Lake area to ourselves.
There was only 5 of us there that day and we had an amazing day on the Lake.

Not only did Miss 14 master the Single Ski much to her delight (and the rest of us), but we also got my wee niece up on the Ski’s for the first time too which was doubly exciting.  You should have seen the smiles on both their faces that day = Priceless.

As all great lakes days, by the time we had all skied our little hearts out, the Southerly was starting to come over and it was a quick dash pack up back into the boat for a very eventful bumpy ride back to Sailor’s Cutting to which we all got nicely wet again from the waves.

To top it off, hilarity continued when the car tried to drive off leaving me 1/2 un-wetsuited/togged hoping on one foot as I was doing a quick change beside the car!  They were as surprised as I was to hear me let out a yelp as I discovered my ‘cover’ was about to be blown with me hopping alongside the car trying as best as I could to cover up.

Followed by me 3 minutes later coming out of the bathroom and attempt to get into the completely wrong car, step in and get 1/2 into the seat before laughed my head off realising my mistake (they had moved further up) and amusing these unsuspecting fellow boaties wondering who their new bedraggled passenger was.
I’ll give myself some credit that the car was very-very similar and also had a boat attached on the back.  I got back to my car to all 4 other occupants giggling their little heads off 😉

If you’re not sure what Single Ski / Slalom Skiing is, have a lookie here at Thomas Degasperi (2 x World Slalom Champion) doing his thing, pause it at 52 seconds…yeah that’s pretty much where Miss 14 wants to be (& the rest of us) :-)

4. Χ Walk up Mt Iron, Wanaka…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Was disappointed we didn’t get to tick this one off.  Going to transfer our future jaunt up Mt Iron to our 2014/15 list as I know that the views from there are spectacular and it’s only meant to take about 1 1/2 hours.

5.  Water – Drink out of the natural spring in Wanaka

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … I knew about the Natural Spring and knew vaguely where it was, but oddly had never been there.  The spring comes out just down on Lakeside Drive between the Playground and the Boat Ramp, on the downhill lakeside.
We tracked it down and they have now made it into a Wanaka feature with beautiful slate stone and paving and easy to get to.  When it’s hot, the kids (& you) can have a wee splash around in the bottom pool.
Not only did the water taste great it was SOOO cold!  So after our long bike ride and nearly empty drink bottles, it was perfect timing.

Tip from Sept 2014 visit:
Cross the road opposite and have a look at where it naturally comes out of the bank and if you venture up through the wee gate and you will find fishes swimming in a wee pond (some really huge ones too).

Wanaka Natural Spring Water

6. √ Late night swim in the lake

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Kinda … It has been a stinking hot day and it was still a really warm evening.  The sun had gone down and it was getting dark…but maybe it wasn’t exactly ‘late night’.

7. Χ Water Ski Jump Start / Beach Start

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Wellington Chic:
Tried … I was fortunate to have grown up with Water skiing almost in our blood.  Our family holidays revolved almost solely around Water skiing and finding the ‘best water’ which all of us kids were more than happy with as we loved it!

Jump Starting was the ‘cool’ thing in the 80’s & what my parents, siblings, cousins, friends and I always did.  What everyone always strived for to have a spectacular jump start and epic ski and master the art of coming in without even getting your hair wet! 😉

I ski as much as I can, but haven’t bothered to Jump Start for over 15 years…You get a little rusty and as you might only get to ski a couple of times a year, I would take the lazy route and just deep water start and drop one.

So this Summer it was my aim to get back into Jump Starting!

I tried & tried & tried to Re-Master the art of the Jump Start again…but alas no!

I think I get at least a point for trying so hard, as one day I had about 23 goes, but sadly this item is not ticked off this year and will be added to the 2014 STBL (but I did get some epic Skiing done, so I’m still super happy and I’m stoked I gave it a good go :-))

Miss 14:
No … progressed hugely this year, see No. 3 & No. 10 but not yet to the Jump Start.  That’s also on her 2014 STBL.

NB: I listed this one as Free, but may cost you Doctors and Physio bills after you wrench your arms out 😉

Here is a picture of me Face Planting it yet again and is probably about try number 21 in the stunning aqua waters of Twizel.

Water Ski Jump Start

Face Planting the Water Ski Jump Start

Here a link to a video of how a Jump Start it is ‘meant’ to look kinda, although this one is off a Jetty, we stand in the water up to our calf/knee.

8. Χ Play Tennis

FREE – If you already have the gear and use a free court
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … not this year.
We really like Tennis, we are not very good at it (even though I did 2 years of tennis lessons from age 14), but we have loads of fun.
My only suggestion for Tennis playing harmony, choose a court that doesn’t have tonnes along side it.  You know, just one court, with 1 really-really high fence all the way round it, so that you not having to run the length of 4 other courts to retrieve way-ward balls every 2 minutes.
You can find Tennis Courts to use at local Schools or you can pop up to the likes of Wanaka Tennis Inc. who have fantastic courts up there on Upton Street.  Court hire $20.00 per hour or $6.00 per person for non-members.

9. √ Go Stand Up Paddleboarding again..

$20 per person, per 1 hour
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Loved it as much as we did last year.  You can read about it here when I wrote about it last, as we loved it alot!
This year we managed to get out x2 times while we were there.  Miss 14 managed to get to go Sup’ing a 3rd time too.
It’s so fun as it can be as relaxing as you want, as energetic as you want or as fun as you want if you want to have races and play around.  It’s also so very easy to learn.

You can find Wanaka Kayaks where we hire the SUP’s from on the Lakeside all Summer long.

 

10. √ Try Wakeboarding for the 1st time

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Whoop whoop, this was so exiting a new water sport to conquer.

Miss 14 did amazingly, getting up her VERY first time and staying on for a full loop.  Much cheering, clapping and hooting and hollering!  She as stoked!

I on the other hand face planted dozens of times and my record was all of about 8 seconds.  But I am still super happy with that as I stood up – I’ll take it.

Has now been added to 2014 Summer Time Bucket List “Stay up on the Wakeboard for longer than 8 seconds”.

Wakeboarding FacePlant

This is me swimming with the fish’s after yet another Wake Board Faceplant!

11. √ Bike the track round Lake Wanaka

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We bike many times over the Summer, but did one big epic ride as far as our legs and lungs would take us from the Beacon Pt side to as far round as we could muster on the Glendu Bay side and then sat and ate Belgium biscuits as you do of course!

If you don’t have a bike already you can hire them from many places around Wanaka. We have used many times in the past Lakeland Adventures which is in the Log Cabin on the Foreshore.  Priced from $15 per hour.

IMG_4428

IMG_4429

12. Χ Sleep under the stars…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Just didn’t happen this year.

On one hand a little gutted, as it’s always such a thing to look forward to.

But on the other hand…Early morning dew…Hedgehogs…Possums…Rain…Thunder Storms…

Maybe we just need to stay somewhere with a retractable roof that has a rain sensor and we would have the best of both worlds!

Added again to 2014 STBL.

13. Χ Roast Marshmallows & make Smores

FREE – Except Marshmallows and Biscuit supplies
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Somehow that just didn’t happen either.

We weren’t camping in places that accept open fires which is one of the limiting factors.  But we still missed out on all of this deliciousness.  If we can’t find a suitable place to have an open fire, then we need to find a place we can safely have a brazier or something.

Added to 2014 STBL.

Toasting Marshmallows - School Camp

14. √ Make Shadow puppets on the roof of the Awning

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … even if it was just by myself one night.

The Bunny, the Dove, the Dinosaur…the peace sign…the OK sign and finally the thumbs up.  I should probably enter a competition or something 😉

15. Χ Introduce Miss 14 to ‘Damper’

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Ahhhhh…..damper an unleavened bread made of flour and water baked in an open fire and smothered with melted Butter and Raspberry jam. Nom Nom.

Kinda for the same reasons as the Smores, not so easy to do it.  But this has also been added to 2014 STBL.

KidSpot have got Recipe for Damper over here that we will use when we make it.

16. √ Play Spotlight…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We were super fortunate to run into in the same camping ground “Old Family Friends grown up daughter who now has a family of her own” that we didn’t know was going to be there.

They have a daughter the same age as Miss 14 and they quickly became great Summer Holiday friends.  So Miss 14 played Spotlight many times with their little gang of siblings.

17. Χ Tyre tube down River

FREE – If you already have the tubes, Lifejackets
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … We did this many many years ago in Glenrock Station, way up in the South Island High Country on the Rakaia river sort of near Lake Coleridge.  It was so so so much fun and definitely got the adrenalin pumping.

But didn’t happen this year.  Added to 2014 STBL.

NB: Tyre tube on the River at own risk.  Plan very carefully.  Don’t tube on a swollen river.  Have a good walk up and down the river first and check it all out. Watch for fallen trees, submerged logs and currents.  Have multiple spotters and pick up people on the shore for you.  Know where you are going to get out.  Get your spotters to put something big and colourful on the river side so you can see it in advance, as the river looks different once your in it.  Ensure you are not going to end up in the sea!

Wear Wetsuit, Lifejacket and Water Shoes as they are a must for helping you get grip to get out and not knock those toes on the rocks.  Have a plan C for if you still over shoot your pick up points.  Lots to plan, but it is fun.

18. Χ Teach my nephew to say my name 😉

FREE
(Wellington Chic)

Tried … But nope he wasn’t quite there yet.  But I did teach him to stack his Stacker toy from bottom to top perfectly everytime (even when everyone else thought he was too young to get that yet).

That’s my nephew, super intelligent :-)

Jump to Sept 2014, he can say my name now, whoop-whoop.

19. √ Don’t get sunburnt

FREE – except for the cost of good Sunscreen
(Wellington Chic)

Yes … I try hard to be really careful in the sun, but usually at least once a year I get caught out somewhere (bad) – but this year success.  I slathered on loads of sunscreen, covered my shoulders alot and found plenty of shade.  Tanned but not burnt.

I got to try out the Oasis Beauty Oasis Sun SPF30 sunscreen this year and it’s kinda fabulous! It has 94% natural ingredients, so great for all sorts of sensitive skins and little ones :-)

I just read on their Facebook page this week that Hardy’s Health Stores are offering “Bring in your old sunscreen and get $10 off an Oasis Sun 250ml”, now that’s pretty cool.

Suset

20. √ Rodeo – Go to our first Rodeo

$20 Adult, $5 under 16, Family Concession $40.  
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Can’t believe I’m 30 something and had never been to a Rodeo!

This year the timing (& weather) worked and it saw us head off to the Wanaka Rodeo and it was actually really cool.

The 2015 Wanaka Rodeo is set for the 2nd January 2015.  Hope to get there again this year if we are in town.

Tip: Take Blanket to sit on and if you need chairs, take LOW ones.  Take extra money for the fab food they have there and the Carni games :-)

Wanaka Rodeo

 

21. √ Raft – Swim out to raft on Lake Wanaka foreshore

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Many many many times.  It never gets old.  See No. 1.

My Tips are: Take a Boogie Board or something to float on.  Even if you don’t have to use it.  It’s always amazing how far out it is.  The one we swam out to in Kaiterteri a few years ago was miles out and way longer than even I anticipated.
In my mind Kids have to wear a Lifejacket & Teenagers have to either be proven strong swimmers or have a Boogie Board attached to their ankle each.  Kids & Teenagers always think it’s going to be a piece of cake and are annoyed that I’m taking a flotation device with us.
But many-many-many of these kids and one teen once have been very thankful to hold on to this Boogie Board part way out there.

22. √ Eat Gelato at least 3 times a week

$$$$Can’t recall the prices, but best food money we spent
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Wanaka has the BEST Gelato shop in the land.

Mr Black Peak Gelato man in Wanaka changes the flavors up everyday so it’s always exciting to see what is on offer. They have super friendly staff, beautifully clean premises, are right opposite the lake and are open until LATE most nights in Summer.

Always leave room for Gelato!

My favourite Gelato combination is Pavlova and Peanut Butter!  Yeah I know, crazy aye!

Black Peak Gelato work out of their Ardmore Street store (just look out for the pink bike) and also sometimes out of their ‘Icecream’ van.

Black Peak Gelato

23. √ Pot – Look for the ‘pot’ every night in the stars

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … When your camping this is one of my simplest, but favourite things to do late at night.

On our last wander to the bathroom before sleep, I would always always look up at the stars and seek out the Pot…and the Southern Cross…and the…actually they are the only ones I know!

I really must learn some more about our Night Sky*.  Maybe we need to add to our 2014 STBL a trip to the Earth & Sky Planetarium in the stunning location of Lake Tekapo.

I’ve just been reading that Aoraki Mackenzie is not only the World’s biggest, but the Southern Hemisphere’s first ever Dark Sky Reserve because of it’s very nearly light-pollution free skies.
Translation: It’s real dark there and you see LOADS and loads more stars than anywhere else – wooohooo!

Yip, it’s sorted, we need to go.  Added to 2014 STBL :-).

24. √ Skim stones

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Any chance we got.
Such a simple pass time, but so fun.  We found the best skimming stones on our Bike Ride on the Glendhu bay side.

As kids, my Mom would be worried that we would knock someone out when we skimmed stones, so she would ensure we all lined up in line with each other first before we started.

It annoyed us greatly when we were kids, as we just wanted to get on with the skimming already, but she saved us all getting concussion from a reckless throw from one of the cousins from left field.

Skimming Stones

25. √ Movie – Discover the wonder of Cinema Paradiso

Adults $15.00, Youth $9.50
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We had heard about Cinema Paradiso for soooo many years from many people, but had never been.
Wow, I’m so glad I finally did as I seriously love it there.

A very friendly comforting place where the walls are lined with both old and new movie posters that we spent nearly an hour perusing.  I just got lost in the memory of all those movies, where I had seen it and who with ;-).

Comfy old Seats make up the rows within the theatre and a Morris Minor Car sits pride of place in the theatre (that you can sit in) and it’s bumper pokes out through the wall to the other side.

We watched the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty* starring Ben Stiller, which we didn’t really know much about going into it, but we both really quite liked it’s quirkyness.  So pretty cool that both a 30 something and a 13 y/o both liked it.

Cinema Paradiso still offer an ‘Interval’ part way through the film where you can stretch your legs, stock up on more food / drink as you have usually eaten it all by then or you are pleased to use the toilet as you have drunk all your drink.  This place is great for a rainy day, when you have had enough sun and want to get out of it for a while or just unwind.

Know for next time:
What I didn’t know about Cinema Paradiso was that they make and sell famous / delectable Hot Fresh Cookies.  I was in-sainly jealous of the aroma that was wafting through the cinema after the interval and will not miss out next time!

Cinema Paradiso

26. √ Puzzling World – Get lost in the maze

Adult $17.50, Child $12, Family Pass $59
Prices are a combo, for both The Great Maze and The Illusion Room
Puzzles on table FREE if you are eating at the Cafe.
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We try to get to Puzzling World every year as we are always finding things we didn’t see last time.

No matter how many years we go, it doesn’t help us to complete the maze any faster though.  This year we attempted to do the Maze the ‘correct’ way finding all the towers in the correct order, this made it even harder for us.

We were in scorching heat this year but were delighted to find the little dead end corner that has a tiny spray system built into it to mist you with cold water to cool you off.

After coming out of the Illusion Rooms which always are a delight, we can spend hours upon hours playing with the 100’s of puzzles on the Cafe tables afterwards.  A great  activity for the young, old and in between and all season round.

Puzzling World

27. Soak in the Hot Pools at Tekapo Springs

$22 Adult, $13 Child
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … It was a seriously impromptu trip as I didn’t think it was going to happen this holiday.  We were staying in Twizel and it was already late-ish.  We floated the idea, looked at the clock and figured it was worth it even for a quick dip.  It’s about 58km away and about 40min drive.  By the time we got there, changed and in, we would still have an hour to soak.

We head off for Tekapo Springs stopping for a Pie from the Service Station for dinner on the way (yup, all class, but needs must).
As soon as we eased our way into the first pool, we knew the quick dash was 150% worth it.

If you haven’t seen Tekapo at Sunset either you are in for treat. Sitting in the Hot Pools looking out over the Basin, the sun has dipped down behind the hills, but is still hitting the hills on the other side of the basin and has bathed it in this unique warm golden, brown hue that is like something out of a photo.  But here you are in this reality in this magical place.

Soak, wallow, turn over, push yourself along to another section, soak, wallow, lift your feet up, sit in front of this jet, soak, wallow, now try this one…yup, that’s the Hot Springs shuffle!

After a while, we get a little distracted and end up trying to dunk each other and then I need to get out and Pee!  What is it with Pools and making me need to Pee even if I’ve just been!  Anyone else?

But then a cold dash back into the Pool to soak some more.  They are open right up until 9pm, so a great after dinner treat.

This was a brilliant idea.

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

28. Χ Race down the Queenstown Luge 

$53 Adult, $44 Child includes ride up Gondola or you can buy other combo’s
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Last year we excitedly ticked this of our 2012/13 STBL and had such a blast with a large group of cousins to race down the Skyline Luge Queenstown track with.  Even in the misty rain all you could hear were laughing and squeels of delight as we shot out of the gate and into the first turns.

But alas, we did not get back there this year.  The pricing may seem steep, but it also includes your ride up the Gondola which is normally $30A, $19C on it’s own. You can spend as much time as you like up at the Gondola, perusing the view and watching all the goings on up there.

We would love to go back again this coming 2014/15 Summer.

29. Have a beer at the Cadrona Hotel, Wanaka

$Just the cost of your Beer or Cider or hot chocolate or Spider + you will probably be tempted by watching other people’s food come out
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … If someone asked me ‘Why do we like the Cadrona Hotel so much, as it’s old, little and way out of town’…I don’t quite know how to answer…except “We just do”.

It makes me smile everytime we drive past it, maybe it’s just the familiarity of that. When you walk in side you are enveloped with a great sense of warmth and acceptance.  It almost wouldn’t matter if you were in your beach gear, your Snow Skiing gear, your Swanni off the Farm or a Space Suit, come on in, take a load off and have a beer.  So we do.

On a beautiful day, there is nothing better than heading out the back to the massive beer garden scattered with wooden benches, fire pits and unique old paraphernalia.  We just sit, spin yarns and chill.

I have been fortunate to have visited many times in Winter too including just recently in September and it’s completely different experience, but the same all enveloping feeling when you walk in to warm your hands and toes by the fire.

It will be on our Summer Time Bucket List every year that we venture to Wanaka :-)

Cardona Hotel Wanaka

30. Χ Paddleboard in Wellington harbour

$25 per person, per 1 hour
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … fully intended to and we planned to many times, but it just didn’t work out this year.

Fergs Kayaks on the Wellington waterfront offers not just SUP hire, but also a wide range of other water sports to be able to enjoy our harbour from.

Been thinking this would be a great way to celebrate the last day of term/school year that’s coming up!

31. √ Go Fishing in Wellington harbour

FREE – if you have the gear
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Kinda … We didn’t actually tick this off in Summer, but we did just a few weeks ago tick it off.

We head down to the area where the new and completely fabulous Apartments are at Clyde Wharf Quay.  I have loved this area ever since I first moved to Wellington some 17 ish years ago!

They have a great new Fishing platform right out the end of the wharf that’s tucked down off the top, so not quite as windy and has tapped water, lights and even a bait cutting chopping platform.  Great location.

When it comes to Fishing, we really know nothing and keep it really simple.  We own just 2x Hand Reels that we bought from The Warehouse a good 10 years ago and they are still going strong.  This time we had borrowed a rod also, but I kinda still liked chopping a changing back to the Hand Reels.

We had tonnes and tonnes of bites, but in the end only caught one tiny-tiny we fishy, like about 15cm long, so back in he went.

But what we did see more excitingly was about 8 Penguins swim, frolic and taunt us in the water.  They were seriously cute and such a delight to see.  I never knew they would be in such a populated area, so it was awesome to see them.

Fishing in Wellington Harbour

32. Χ Go Camping in Wellington

$$$ See below
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Didn’t quite happen this year.  Nearly all of our camping gets done in the South Island, bar School Camps and Church Camps up here.

So we fully intended to at least have a night/weekend of camping somewhere in Wellington.  These were some of the places we were looking at heading.  We have been to all of them before at some point and all have their unique features.

Kaitoke Regional Park – Upper Hutt
$6 Adult, $3 Child Camp Site

We have been out here for Swimming in the River, Day trips and also for me to be in Wedding Photo’s once as a Bridesmaid for an amazing old friend of mine.  It’s gorgeous out there, and has some basic facilities making it any easy weekend getaway and is incredibly low priced also.

El Rancho – Waikane
$28-$34 Camp Site

Ahhh, El Rancho you are a unique gem.  With extra things for the kids to do, a Pool and the beach nearby.  We had our Church Camp here a few years back and really loved our time there.  You must check out the Water Slide!

Otaki Forks – Schoolhouse Flat – Otaki
$6 Adult, $3 Child Camp Site

I always thought Forks was such a weird name growing up!  We ventured here for a short one night Leadership camp for School in Year 8 and I was asked to be Parent help on.  Even though it was only short and sweet it was a great place for a short camp.  Lots of space to spread out and do activities, the river just nearby for swimming and a fabulous crop of wild Boysenberries to pick from.

I wouldn’t camp here by ourselves as its too quiet, but in a group of others it would be awesome.

Castlepoint – Wairarapa
$36 for 2x Adults Camp Site

Each time I have been to Castlepoint I have discovered something new.  I have great memories from here being a School Camp Parent multiple times here in the past.

It’s also where I got to learn how to surf for the first time (well to balance for 5 seconds).  Each time we have been we have stayed at camps further away from here, but I’m looking forward to one day be able to camp in this one by the beach and in it’s centre.

Learning to Surf - School Camp

 

Add all of the above added to Sleeping in lots, hanging out with our Family & friends, Playing with the nieces and nephews and cousins, lots of Eating (all the time), playing Cards (Speed) Bananagram and Heads Up, doing Dishes (all the time), Walking all over the place, going to the Supermarket (all the time – we spend tonnes of time in that supermarket and in Summertime Queues, but they have got clever and now offer Free Wifi, so I can check the news, download emails if I reallllllly want to while leaning on my trolley making new ‘line friends’), spend lots of time People watching, Making new friends, finding new Markets and Fairs, oogling at both new houses and the gorgeous older ones House, Caravan moving, Storm repairing and Flood cleanup’ing led to an absolutely amazing Summer.

So we did pretty good 21/32 things ticked off!

So-so many amazing experiences in that and awesome Summer Memories as well as Mother – Daughter memories.

Can’t wait for Summer 2014/15 and we have been slowing putting things on our Summer Time Bucket List for these Holidays.

Do you have a Summer Time Bucket List?

Even if your staying at home in your own city, you can still make one and fill it with things big and small and there are loads of things to put on it even in your own backyard.

Would love to see yours if you have one, so please post your link in the comments.

Have we inspired your to add any of the above to your list this year?

Any suggestions of what we should add to this years list?


 

NB:
*Affiliate Link – If you see an *Asterisks, that means there is an affiliate link to Mighty Ape, these are marked with an *.

The rest of the links to places, events and sites are just because I love these things and want to share the love in this post:-)

 

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Today this is Single Parenting

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Today this is ParentingI stood in the shower staring up at the ceiling letting the water wash over me until it ran cold.

Averting my eyes from the floor as I knew the stainless steel needed a good scrub and pretending it wasn’t there.

Today this is Single Parenting.

Reaching out to turn the faucet off many times, but hesitating as I didn’t want to leave this comfort, this cocoon of warmth, this moment of respite.

In the mornings in our house, our Showers need to be quick as our Apartment Hot Water tank isn’t the biggest.
So come the weekends (when we are not rushing out to early morning sport, friends or events) I love having long leisurely showers when it isn’t about getting up and ready for the day, it’s just about enjoying the shower.  Today’s shower featured really-really late in my day.

A shower always makes me feel better, even if only a tiny bit, it’s a refresh, a washing away, a re-gathering of thoughts and a small respite from what ever is happening in your life.

I always get a tonne of thinking, planning, decision-making and day dreaming done in my shower.

Today’s shower though…saw me second guessing all the decisions I make for my daughter and I and trying to figure out if I’m just royally messing it all totally up.

You see, my daughter hasn’t spoken to me for most of the day…and I’ve kept my distance purposely to give her some space.

I had made the decision to say no to something she wanted to do and had to tell her that earlier.  I’m more than comfortable with my decision and know this one is right, but it doesn’t make being on the other end of the silent treatment any easier and having my daughter not talk to me still does hurt nonetheless.

But hey, if I was her, I probably would have done the same thing to my Mother, thinking that by me not talking to her that this was going to send her a clear message that she was wrong and that she would change her mind.  Or that this will just show you how much I really don’t like her at the moment.
I’m sure I did this many-many times throughout my teenage years – sorry Mom!

In my shower today I wasn’t second guessing my decision to say no to her request, as I was still confident about that.

I was second guessing if I was “Doing it right”, this “Parenting thing”, this “Single Parenting” thing.

 

Love

 

Things Like:

I’m confident that setting boundaries and having consequences for actions is the right thing.
…But second guess the level at which I set those things and if they are ‘right’.

I’m confident that I love my daughter whole heartedly and try to find ways to show her this daily so that she knows she can always rely on that.
…But I second guess if she will pull on this when she needs it most in the future.

I’m confident that spending the quality time with her, alongside her, being an involved parent, cheering her on throughout her up bringing has been such a huge part in building strong foundations in who she is, how loved she is, how important she is, that she matters.
…But I second guess if it is ever – enough.

 

I’ve been Single Parenting for a really long time, first becoming a Single Parent some 13 years ago now.

For 6+ years of this time I was in a Relationship/we then Married – Single Parent, but then for the last 7+ years it’s been just me completely on my own.

Doing this without backup, without that sounding board, without that support, without that encouragement, without that load share-er and without that ‘hey you are doing ok’ and without that ‘I’ve got your back’.  Let alone the Love part and sharing your life with someone (that’s another post).

Today though, my Shower was my Sounding Board, my Supporter, my Encourager, my Load Share-er and my Back stop.

Sounds cheesy I know, but it was.

It didn’t talk back to me, except to say “awwwwhhhh, here you go, have some more nice warm caccoooney water”.

 

Evening

 

Staying in there for 20 mins right until the water ran out was the best thing for me today.

After getting dressed and ready, my Shower let me go down stairs and curl up behind my daughter and give her a hug.

To which she snuggled into me and said, I’m sorry Mom.

…..scratch that…reality is…..no she didn’t, she shrugged me off, pushed my hand off and grumped something at me!

But, it didn’t matter, I hugged her for a brief moment anyway, let it be and was able to pick up and carry on knowing that as much as I was second guessing myself earlier:

* This to shall pass

* It will be OK

* Tomorrow is yet another day

Today this is Single Parenting :-)

 

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