I made my own mayonnaise today for the first time. I’ve never bothered before because I don’t have a food processor and I knew that you had to add the oil V E R Y slowly, yada yada yada …

BUT. You can make perfect mayo using a hand (stick) blender. In about 2 minutes, tops.

I know, because I did it today. Here’s the recipe for regular mayo, and for avocado aioli (which is AMAZING and is going to be drizzled over roasted potatoes tonight).

Easy Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk
1T water
1 tsp Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup neutral oil

Put everything in the cup that came with your stick blender (or in a jar that is just big enough for the blender to fit through). Press the button and watch the magic happen! Mayo will appear in less than a minute. Season with salt. Devour.

Avocado Aioli

Make mayo as above. Take about 1/3 cup of mayo, and add to this 1 chopped avocado, 1 clove crushed garlic, a splash more lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend until combined.

I will never, ever, ever buy jarred mayonnaise or aioli again. Never!!
Try this if you’ve never made your own. It’s so easy, and you’ll thank me later. My kids just about fainted with happiness after trying the avo aioli – it’s sooooo good.

I’m gonna say it here.

Some days I scroll through my Instagram feed and I feel a bit sad. I follow a couple of younger (twenty something) acquaintances, and their feeds are always filled with selfies. Now I don’t begrudge anyone the odd selfie or two, and I don’t even have a problem with selfies per se. But (some of) these young girls take it to the extreme. Their selfies clearly have to meet certain criteria before they are posted. Every single one shows off their *perfect* faces, complete with heavily made up doe eyes, perfectly manicured brows, freshly coloured, washed and straightened hair ala shampoo advert, with not a flyaway or frizzy strand in sight, tons of make up (no matter what time of day), pursed kips (that good old duck face or kissy face seems to never get old). Their nails are always immaculately manicured, their clothes are stylish, impeccable and always match their shoes/handbags/nails/iPhone covers.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with having perfect hair, nails or whatever. SOMETIMES. And if I got a manicure or a haircut I’d probably be inclined to show it off while it looked good (knowing full well it wouldn’t look good for much longer than a day). But who actually looks like that all the time?? Nobody! These girls don’t, but the world isn’t allowed to know that.

And then there are the bikini photos. These girls have PERFECT bodies — and they know it. They post endless photos of themselves lying on towels at the beach or posing next to the water, and then they wait. They wait for the onslaught of comments such as “OMG, your sooooo hot” (yes, I deliberately spelled ‘your’ wrong), “Guuurl, that body. Why can’t I look like you?” (to which the poster will respond, “Coming from you! Whatevs! You are so much hotter than me”). All the comments seem to be from girls. I’m sure any guys who happen to view the photos are too busy having cold showers to be commenting. It’s not a joke, man.

The whole social media + narcissism connection is fairly well known by now. Some people would go as far as to say that ANYONE who is on Facebook is attention seeking. I don’t agree, but it’s definitely true that some people are seeking affirmation and approval from others via social media. I talk to my boys often about how important it is that they DO NOT get sucked into the whole “I have more followers/likes/comments” than you thing. I tell them, “post because you want to post, not because you want x number of likes or comments”. I tell them, “don’t post and then constantly check your device to see how many people have liked it”. I’ll drum that stuff into them over and over, because it’s important to me that they understand it.

To be very honest, I am glad I don’t have girls. It seems like being a young girl in today’s society can be tough, especially if you happen to have beautiful friends. Friends who are all on Instagram, posting pictures of themselves in bikinis. Not only that, but the next day they’re posting a selfie in a cafe. They’re eating burgers and fries, and washing it down with pretty looking drinks (in glass jars with paper straws) containing more calories than the burger and fries combined. So they’re clearly not starving themselves to achieve their perfect bodies. Which could easily make a young girl who did NOT have a perfect body and DID have to watch what she ate feel less beautiful. And that’s not okay with me.

We all know that society has ideals of what we should look like. We see these projected onto our TV screens and printed on the pages of the magazines we buy. Many of us strive to reach these ideals which are, sadly, unattainable for most. How can we make things better, instead of worse? How can we tell these impressionable young women that they are beautiful WITHOUT spending hours trying to achieve flawless hair and bodies and faces and clothes? That they have value far beyond their physical looks?

If I could tell these girls what’s really on my heart when I look at their photos, I would say something like this:

To one beautiful girl,

You are beautiful because of WHO YOU ARE. Not because of what I see when I look at you. Outward beauty will fade! Perfect bodies will sag. What’s inside is so much more important. That’s what people need to see when they see you. Your intelligence, inner beauty, kindness, gentleness, self-confidence, grace, humility, loyalty, determination, purpose, generosity, motivation, sincerity, integrity, creativity. These things will last — and they matter far more than your outward appearance.

By all means take care of yourself, your body, your skin, etc. Be proud of what God gave you. But don’t flaunt it. Don’t make others feel bad by drawing attention to it. Don’t abuse it. Don’t use it as a yardstick with which to measure your self-worth. You are more than that. So much more. So let that ‘more’ shine through, and let people see the real you. Let them spend time with you and then think to themselves, “That girl is so kind/honest/genuine”, rather than “That girl has a rockin’ bod”. Let the superficial stuff slide. It’s really freeing. You can trust me on that one.

From another beautiful girl,

Observations and ponderings

Some people drink many cups of tea/coffee during the day. Many, many cups.
Some people need to have 3 morning tea and 3 afternoon tea breaks every day, in order to make copious cups of tea/coffee.
I hardly ever have morning or afternoon tea breaks.
It usually rains when I have left my umbrella in the car.
When I decide to take my umbrella with me, the sun shines and I look like a moron.
I should take my umbrella everywhere! Sunshine forever!
Cravings sometimes go away on their own. Sometimes they don’t.
I am going to stop on the way home to satisfy a particular food craving.
Much of the time, women don’t really support each other. Everything seems to be a competition.
I am not a competitive person.
Aren’t we all just trying to do our best? What’s best for us and our family?
I’ve come to the conclusion that I may never get a smartphone. They’re just not that smart.
I don’t think I will ever stop using pen & paper. Old school diaries and wall/desk calendars and notepads and post-it notes FTW!
Our office always feels like the North Pole or the Sahara Desert, not somewhere in between.
Last weekend I wore jandals all weekend for the first time since summer/autumn ended.
Jandals are awesome.
I love Daylight Saving. LOVE.
Summer is coming. Yay, summer!
Some days are very ordinary. But I quite like ordinary.
Dogs have dreams. Our dog does, anyway. I wonder what he dreams about?
Sadly, I think my Candy Crush days are over. I have been stuck for months and I feel like I cannot go on.
Pyramid Solitaire is my new favourite iPad game.
After a long leave of absence, I have restarted Scrabble online. But only versus my Mum. And the computer.
Getting packages from the courier is very exciting.
I may or may not be expecting a courier package this week. (I am).
Fiji is only 21 sleeps away.
Some people get annoyed with friends who post their holiday photos on Facebook.
I am not one of those people!
I will definitely be posting my holiday photos on Facebook (but not until I get home).

The big ONE-oh

Ten years old, huh? A decade, double digits, the big ONE-oh!“*

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It’s official. Tyler has reached “double digits”, heralding the beginning of a whole new stage called the “preteen” years. That stage has been fun so far with Ethan, and I’m expecting nothing less with Tyler.

Tyler was beyond excited to go to bed last night as a 9-year-old, and wake up this morning as a big 10-year-old. Surprisingly, I’m feeling rather okay about it as well. I thought I would be a weepy mess just thinking about him reaching this huge milestone, but I’m not (yet). While the past decade has gone quickly in some ways, it has gone slowly in others. Tyler hasn’t always been an ‘easy’ child to parent, but as he has gotten older, things have changed. He struggled with low self-esteem from the age of 4 (I know) but we have worked through that, and over the past few years his confidence has soared in so many areas. He has settled into himself, both physically and mentally. I know that sounds funny, but it’s the best way to describe what’s happened to him. He’s always had a cheeky, playful, fiery, stubborn, determined, adventurous personality, and still does. He’s always felt things very deeply and worn his heart on his sleeve, even from a very young age. When he was younger he struggled to control and understand some of the emotions he felt and some of the thoughts he had (e.g. “I’m no good at anything”), but he is learning to do that now. So I am actually really excited about this next stage for him. I think he’ll thrive and relish the opportunities that will come his way. And hopefully his anxiety issues won’t come back to bother him during his teenage years.

Just like his older brother did 2 1/2 years ago, Tyler decided to celebrate his 10th birthday by going to Parakai Hot Pools for the day with his family and four of his best mates. He has always loved the water and Parakai is one of our favourite places to go! We woke up on Saturday morning to the sound of thunderstorms, and were hoping and praying that the weather would improve. Sure, the hot pools are an okay place to be on a rainy day, but we wanted to have a picnic lunch as well. Thankfully, the weather cleared and we had beautiful sunny skies for the rest of the day … until about 30 minutes before we headed home. Perfect!

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The boys had such a great time at the pools, and the slides were particularly popular! I think they spent the best part of about 3 hours on them, and we had to practically drag them away for cake! Three of Tyler’s friends hadn’t been to Parakai before, and they loved the slides so much. To be honest, they didn’t spend much time in the pools at all! I enjoyed a nice soak in the big spa pool though, and gave the slides a miss this time (I wasn’t feeling 100%).

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Tyler had written a list of requested party food, and all items were dutifully provided! The bacon & egg pie was made by Nana, who makes the “best” bacon & egg pie around! We did our cocktail sausage trick (cook them at home and put them in a thermos — they stay piping hot).

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Since Tyler loves the water SO much, he decided on a pool cake (which then became a beach cake after we found a fun idea on Pinterest). Tiny Teddy swimmers and sunbathers, sour ring floaties, cookie crumb sand, fruit roll ups for the towels, a cocktail umbrella and some plastic palm trees. Easy! Unfortunately it was so windy that we couldn’t do candles, but Tyler didn’t mind.

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This morning Tyler asked me to take a few photos of him before school (he’s obviously learned that that’s just what happens on your birthday, so there’s no point fighting it). He requested a few photos with his brother, too.

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On the boys’ birthdays, we always have a family dinner at our place with my parents and sister. The birthday boy gets to chose the menu, and for tonight Tyler has chosen burgers and wedges, followed by cake (this time with candles!) and ice cream.

When Ethan turned 10, the family chipped in to buy him an iPod Touch. So Tyler wanted the same thing for his 10th birthday. We’ll be giving him that tonight, and he is very excited! He was really good about not getting any presents this morning, and happy to wait until tonight to get his ONLY gift from us (and most of the family). I know he will love it, and I will enjoy not having to share my iPad with him! He LOVES music, so although having games on there is a huge drawcard, I know he will really enjoy being able to listen to his favourite songs. He’s got an old, crappy CD player in his room and I burn CDs for him, but having the iPod will be so much better. We did give Tyler his cards this morning, and what Ethan had written inside his one made my eyes go a bit watery:

Dear Tyler,
I wish you a great birthday and hope you enjoy your special day. I know sometimes it might not seem like it, but I really do love you. My life would be like a pen with no ink without you. You are the closest and most precious thing to my heart. Have a great birthday and have lots of fun with your iPod!
Love Ethan xo

Um, SOB!

Today Tyler will enjoy a lunch order from the school canteen (the boys only order their lunches on their birthdays) and he can’t wait for his special dinner with the family tonight. Unfortunately I’m home sick today (and typing this blog post from my bed) but the silver lining is that I get to see more of my birthday day, as I will be here when he gets home from school (yay). I am loving this age, I really am. And I LOVE my boy, he is just the most incredible kid. Definitely not perfect, but definitely all kinds of awesome. I am really proud of the person he is becoming, and I can’t imagine my life without him in it.

Happy 10th Birthday, Tyler Robson! I love you! x

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* Marty to Alex, in Madagascar (Mada-who-har?) of course!

The acting bug …

… I think Tyler might have caught it!

I posted a while back about “What a Knight”, the production that Tyler’s syndicate have been preparing for since last term. Tyler won the T-shirt design competition which meant that HIS logo was featured on all the T-shirts worn by the chorus, backstage crew and anyone in the show who wanted to purchase one as a memento. I already posted a photo of his design (on paper), but here’s a photo of the finished T-shirt:


Tyler was also given a speaking part in the show, which he was really happy about. He played the part of “Sir Cumference”, the inventor of the round table. He had about 11 lines, but actually learned practically ALL the lines for the whole entire production! He seems to pick that stuff up really easily.

Last week was “show time”. They did two daytime performances, for the junior and senior school students, and then two evening shows (to sell-out crowds). Rob, Ethan and I went to watch on the opening night, along with my parents and sister. I took lots of photos, which came out surprisingly well in the dark school hall (a horrible place for taking photos). Tyler’s knight costume was fabulous — made by a couple of talented mums. All six knights had white tunics with crosses on the front, blue cullottes, red capes, chainmail armour, white socks with black ‘criss cross’ laces and very cool shields and swords. I think they looked amazing.


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We were really proud of Tyler, because he showed so much confidence up on stage. In one scene, all the knights came off the main stage, down the aisle a bit, and up onto some big wooden boxes right in front of the audience, where they proceeded to have sword fights with each other during one of the songs. Tyler was loving it!

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I was happy to see him singing all the songs with gusto, and he knew all the words off by heart. He delivered his lines clearly and confidently, and really enjoyed the experience of being up on stage. The only negative happened on the second night, when he almost fainted after the show because he was so hot (he does get overheated easily, but the stage lighting and thick costumes would have made it very warm up there). Rob ended up carrying him all the way home that night, over his shoulder! He was exhausted, after 6 weeks of rehearsing and preparing (and he had played in a rippa rugby tournament that day as well).

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I think Tyler will want to get involved in more stage productions over the coming years. I’m excited about the opportunities he will have at our local college, which is known for its amazing Performing Arts department. This experience has been a great way for him to test the waters and see what it’s like. The year 5 teachers did an amazing job with the show, and I’m really pleased that our kids had the chance to be part of something like that. ALL 126 kids in the syndicate were involved in some way. Some had speaking roles, others were in the chorus, some helped backstage, a few of them did the sound and lighting, and one was the prompt. They all had important jobs to do, and did them very well. I’m really proud of them all!

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Oh, and if you’re interested in watching the show, you can check out the video on YouTube here. :-)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Last week, Ethan was away in Tauranga (about 4 hours drive from here) competing at the annual AIMS (Association of Middle and Intermediate Schools) tournament. This is a huge sporting event involving hundreds of schools, in 17 different sports. This year there were over 7,500 competitors! That’s bigger than the Commonwealth Games, by quite a lot.


Anyway, he left last Sunday (on Father’s Day, of all days) and was away for the whole week. He got home at 7:30pm on Friday night, and I was so glad to see him. I missed him hugely while he was away. Although he took his phone with him, he was … shall we say … erratic … with his contact! No text to say they had arrived safely, and no replies to my messages on Sunday night/Monday morning. Finally received a text after his first game. No answers to my questions, but informative (telling me the score and the team they played, which I already knew thanks to the awesome AIMS website which was updated regularly during the tournament). I didn’t hear from him again until Wednesday! He called me, and said “Gabby (team manager) says that I’m not contacting you”. “You’re not” I pointed out. “Oh yeah”. Anyway, we had a nice long chat (which probably cost me about $10 since he only has a cheap prepay phone) and it was lovely to talk to him and find out that he WAS eating properly, sleeping okay, and having fun! Imagine my surprise when I received another phone call later that day. I hadn’t been expecting that, but he was so excited about scoring the only goal against the TOP team, and he wanted to tell me. Aww.


I had a few more texts and phone calls from him over the following days. His water polo team didn’t finish in the place they had been hoping, but they had some really awesome experiences. They got to play against the NZ rep team, and Ethan scored a backhand goal in that game! The whole journey of raising money and travelling far from home and competing in a sporting event of this size was just incredible, and I know each and every one of them thoroughly enjoyed it! Ethan is captain of the water polo team so he learned a great deal about how to be a good leader, and how to encourage and motivate the team, even after losses. I think he did a great job, from what the coach told me!


The week went by S L O W L Y for me, as I really did miss my boy a lot. I also wished I could be down there, watching him play and cheering his team on. It was great to get updates from the parents who were there, but I would have loved to have been there myself. I’m proud of how well my boy did and I know he learned so much from the experience. Finally, it was Friday. And finally, he was home. Looking older and more handsome than ever.


And all was right in my world again.
I even took him out on a date the next day. This was something that he had been asking to do with me for ages (go to a movie with me) but it just hadn’t worked out. We had such a nice afternoon together.


It wasn’t just me who missed Ethan. Rob missed him too, I think (he didn’t express those “I miss my baby!” feelings quite the same way as me). His brother missed him a LOT. And although Ethan didn’t get homesick, I know he missed us. As annoying as a younger brother can be, I am certain that he missed Tyler. And today proved it.

After church, Ethan had to deliver his pamphlets. He asked Tyler if he would like to tag along. Not so he could help deliver them (I admit, that was my first thought when I heard him ask … there is often an ulterior motive to things when it comes to 12-year-old boys). But to “walk next to me, so we can talk”. Bless! I was so glad that Tyler agreed to go, as he longs to spend more time with his big brother. Ethan, who is almost a teenager and is growing up, doesn’t always want to do that. I get that. But it was so nice to see the shoe on the other foot. Ethan obviously missed Tyler, and wanted to spend time with him. After the pamphlet round was finished, Ethan asked Tyler if he wanted to go and play rugby down at the school. It’s usually Tyler asking Ethan to do that, and lately it’s 50/50 as to whether he will get a yes. So for Ethan to ask was really cool. Tyler’s love language is definitely quality time, and that was proven by the card he made for his brother this afternoon:


My heart could burst about now.

My boys are NOT perfect. They are NOT angels. They do NOT always get along, and they often argue and annoy each other! But sometimes, the planets align and they are truly stunning human beings. Today was one of those days, and I relished every single minute of it.

Anyone out there?

I’m not sure if anyone still reads this thing. But then again, I’m also not sure if anyone (aka ME) updates this thing! Yes, once again I have been AWOL. Forgive me readers, for I have been slack. It has been 3 weeks since my last blog post …

Lots of things have been happening – many worthy of a post – but alas, I still find myself time-poor and unmotivated when it comes to blogging. I can’t really blame Instagram, as some people have been doing. I’ve been decidedly slack on there as well. Part of me thinks it’s time to let this thing die, but when I do find time to jump on here and write, I remember that I enjoy it. And when I manage to find time to read all blogs I (supposedly) follow, I remember how much I love the blogging community. How many friends I have made through it. So then I decide that I won’t stop!

So. What’s been happening in my world? In no particular order …

1. Science Fair. Ethan did his Science Fair project on “Battery Life” and we discovered a few interesting things. Energizer batteries last the longest, and provide the best value for money (measured in hours of torchlight per dollar). Oh, and cheap $2 torches from the Warehouse are great! Our AA batteries lasted for AGES in them. Like, between 45-130 hours. So that’s good to know for the next power cut or camping trip! After some initial reluctance and a distinct lack of enthusiasm, Ethan really got stuck into his project and had a great attitude. At the end, he admitted that he actually enjoyed doing it. Great words for his Science graduate mama to hear.

2. Cross Country. Tyler ran his, and came 6th! He was so proud of himself, as his goal had been to get a place in the top ten. It was a very bittersweet moment for me, as I was not able to be there on the day to watch him run. The first primary school cross country I have missed since Ethan started school in 2007. And the best result either of my boys has achieved. But Tyler and I were both really glad that his Dad and Nana were there to cheer him on and watch him cross that finish line. So proud of my boy!

3. Speeches. As well as Science Fair season, it is currently Speech season at Ethan’s college. He is doing his speech today, actually. He chose to speak about why team sport is good for you and better than individual sport. He wrote the whole thing without any help from us, only asking for our opinions along the way. Although he wrote cue cards for himself, he did a great job of memorising the whole thing. I hope it went okay. He was hoping to do it yesterday with the first half of the class but, alas, he was in the second group. I always hated having to wait while everyone else did theirs; I would much rather go first and then relax!

4. Soccer. The season has just finished. It’s been a great one, with no injuries for my boys and only one game of Tyler’s cancelled due to bad weather. Ethan was the top goal scorer for his team (again) and Tyler was second in his team (mostly because they have a dedicated striker, so Tyler sets up most of the goals instead of scoring them). The official prizegiving is in a couple of weeks’ time, so we’ll have to wait until then to see if any trophies come home with us this year!

5. Water Polo. Ethan is off to the annual AIMS (Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools) Games in Tauranga this weekend with his water polo team. He is the team captain, an honour he was given a few months ago and one which he has taken very seriously. It has really helped increase his confidence and I’m so happy he’s had the opportunity to take on the extra responsibility. He leaves on Sunday (Father’s Day!) and will be away for 5 nights, and I am going to miss him a LOT! But he is excited about the tournament, and I know he will have a great time. His team has done a lot of fundraising this year, and several of my readers have supported them by buying lucky bonus number tickets. The support has been much appreciated. There are 3 teams going from Ethan’s school (water polo, netball and rugby league) and since April, they have raised almost $11,000. They also received a $6000 grant from pub charities, which means the cost per student was only $100 instead of the original $550. So awesome.

6. Work. My new job is going well, and I am enjoying it. I have just about finished my third project (manuscript). The first one is almost ready for publication after undergoing internal review, peer review and revisions. It will be exciting for me to have my very first journal article published, with my name on it!

7. Family Time. Movie nights, meals out, shopping trips, walks/bike rides, coffee dates, road trips, etc. Since I stopped working from home I have been making a conscious effort to do more things together as a family, to make the most of the time we have together. It’s true that quality is often better than quantity. I may have been home a lot more before, but I was often preoccupied with work, and I often felt stressed trying to juggle things and maintain a proper work/life balance. Work was ALWAYS there, whereas now I (literally) leave it at work when I go home! Such a good feeling. I never thought I’d say this, but I don’t think I would want to go back to working from home full time. Maybe 1-2 days a week, but not all the time. With my boys at the ages they are now, I think our current arrangement works better. When they were younger, it was definitely better for me (and them) to be at home more. Funny how things change, and not always when you expect it!

What has everyone else been up to lately? Leave me a comment and let me know!

What a Knight

We are pretty proud of Tyler right now (and he’s pretty proud of himself, too).

There are about 120 kids in Year 5 at his school, and all of them are involved in the Year 5 production (in some way, shape or form). Tyler has a small speaking role, which he was very excited to get. The show is called “What a Knight” and the kids have been working really hard on their lines, songs, costumes, props and stage sets. There’s just under a month until the performances.

ALL the kids in year 5 had to design a logo, and the best would be chosen to put on the front of the official production T-shirt. The shirts will be worn by all the kids in the chorus (and backstage, I think). Other kids can also buy a T-shirt as a memento.

Today the winner of the “design a logo” was announced … and it was Tyler! He had been told by a teacher that he was probably going to win, which actually annoyed me a little bit because I didn’t want him to get his hopes up in case it wasn’t him (but at the same time I didn’t want to discourage him or dampen his enthusiasm and excitement). But it WAS him, and he is very, very, very happy!

Here’s the winning design:


I’m sure it will be ‘tweaked’ a little before it gets put on the T-shirt, so I’ll be sure to share a photo of the finished product once it’s ready. I was tempted to buy an extra one since Tyler’s design is on it, but one will just have to do (and he’ll have to look after it).

Proud mama, signing off.

Love your life

I write 3 posts in 3 days and then nothing for 2 weeks? That’s probably the new normal on this blog of mine.

Lately I have been thinking about a LOT of things. Family, priorities, contentment, happiness. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve read quite a few articles and quotes about finding happiness, challenging yourself, not letting anything stand in the way of your dreams.

I think having goals is a good thing. On a personal level, I thrive on having goals, targets and deadlines in my work environment. I guess I also do in other areas of my life, but not to the same extent.

Some people probably look at me and think I’m a boring person. I never did an OE, I never went flatting, I’ve only lived in 2 houses my whole life (this is the second!) and I’ve been working at the same company for 15 years. You could be forgiven for thinking that I don’t have ambitions, that I don’t like change, that I’m scared to try new things. People may look at my life and think that I have compromised or given up on my dreams, or that I’m living in a rut. That I couldn’t possibly be content or happy.

But guess what? I am. I am content and happy with my simple life, and I like it just the way it is! I feel beyond blessed to be married to an incredible man, and to be Mum to two of the most incredible human beings in the world. What a huge privilege! I love my job, I love my family, I love my friends, I love my country/city/neighbourhood, I love my church. I am fulfilled, content, satisfied.

This is not to say that I don’t have struggles. My life is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes I do feel unhappy. There are still things I would like to do in the future (travel being one of them). If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t actually change anything. I think my previous battles with depression and anxiety have taught me much more than I would have learned otherwise, and those lessons have been invaluable. They have helped me to appreciate the good times more, to count my blessings and to make a conscious effort to find silver linings.

I honestly don’t feel that I’ve ‘settled’ by choosing the life I have. Yes, I got married young and had children relatively young. Yes, my family comes first and that means I don’t necessarily have the time, money or even desire to do other things that I could possibly do if I didn’t have those commitments. But I have my priorities and I won’t apologise for them. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My choices have led me to the place I am, and I am glad to be in this place.

No matter what curve balls are thrown my way in the future, I would like to think that I will always remain grateful for the experiences, the lessons and the growth that will eventually come as a result. Life hasn’t always been and won’t always be easy, but I love mine. My simple life. Warts and all.

Birthday boy

I know what you’re thinking. I’ve been AWOL for ages, then I write 3 posts in 3 days? Yup, that’s how I roll, people!

Today is a special day. It is my husband’s birthday. He is 41 today.

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He is also AMAZING. Like, totes amazeballs. (I literally cringed as I typed those words).

I feel extremely blessed to have Rob in my life. We’ve been best friends for nearly 20 years, “together” for 17 of them, husband & wife for just over 15 of them, and parents for 12 of them. He’s been a big part of my life for more than half of it, which I think is completely awesome. That proportion will continue to grow over the coming years, and I am unbelievably excited about that. I don’t particularly want to grow old, but if I have to do it, then I “wanna grow old with you” (and by “you”, I mean him. Not you. Ahem).

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Anyway, today is Rob’s birthday and I tiptoed out of the house just after 6am this morning, leaving all 3 of my boys soundly sleeping. I did give Rob a hug before I left, but there’s a good chance it was “Sleep Me” I was hugging and that he possibly won’t remember it! On the kitchen bench, I left a container of baking (ginger crunch and cookies) for him to take to work for his birthday morning tea shout, and a wee note saying “Happy Birthday”.

I’ll see Rob when he gets home from work, around 5pm. We’ll eat dinner together as a family, but then he he has to go out. To Youth Group. To watch a movie with a bunch of teenagers. But that’s just the kind of guy he is. He puts others first, ALWAYS. I’m sure he’d rather be at home, celebrating his birthday with family & friends. But instead he’ll be hanging out with an awesome group of kids, being a big kid himself, and making sure they have a great time.

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Because there isn’t a lot of room for celebrating today, we’re going to do it tomorrow! After the boys’ soccer games, we are going to spend the afternoon at Parakai hot pools. Rob’s choice. My family and some of Rob’s family are going to join us. I’ll make his favourite cake tonight (Queen Date Cake) and take a bunch of snacks and drinks. We’ll swim and soak and slide, and celebrate Rob’s 41 years “on this planet” (to quote Ethan’s card). I’m looking forward to at least another 41 more years with Rob “on this planet”, followed by forever-and-eternity with him as well.

So. Happy Birthday, babe! I love doing life with you, sharing all the big and the small moments together. I reckon turning 41 is a big moment! I’m so happy that I get to share it with you, along with all the other moments. As my blog header says, “Life is about moments. Create them.” Let’s create heaps more of them, together!

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