Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Revisiting My Blogging Past: My 7 Links

I was recently tagged by Rachel from Because I said so! in a post of hers. I was rather excited by this for two reasons. The first is that someone tagged me, I must be one of the cool kids. The second is that the concept behind being tagged sounds like a fun one. My 7 Links was started by TripBase, which is a travel blog. Basically, I get to revisit seven of my previous posts and tell you all why they they are special to me. At the end I'll tag five more bloggers so they can share the love too.

My most beautiful post: I don't know that any of my posts are particularly beautifully written, but the one that comes most from the heart is Things I love about my kids. I don't consider myself to be particularly maternal, and it was actually something I was worried about when I was pregnant with Seagull. That's why it's particularly nice to remember all the little things I love about Seagull and Wombat.

My most popular post: This was actually my first ever post, Where did my train go? People must have liked reading about the continuation of my baby brain. I need to remember more of those moments and blog about them, seeing as people seem to like reading about my mother moment-induced stuff-ups. :)

My most controversial post: I don't go in for controversy, so I'm just nominating a random post for this one. Why pancakes have eggs in them was written when I was feeling frustrated at not having any eggs in the house to make pancakes with for lunch. I actually tried another variation of eggless pancakes the other day and they were just as crap. Oh, and I just noticed a typo in that post. Oops, my bad.

My most helpful post: I don't set out to write helpful posts as such, but I would have to nominate Baby-Led Weaning for this link. I didn't even know it was an option when weaning Seagull and I think it's nice when people talk about things that are different to the mainstream that have worked for them. It's working really well with Wombat - he really loves being able to feed himself and loves to eye off Seagull's food.

A post whose success surprised me: This is probably my first post, but as I've already nominated it for another link, I'll go with My Parenting Fail. Seagull got two of his fingers stuck past the second knuckles in the kitchen sink the other week while I was feeding Wombat. You'll have to read the post for more details.

A post I feel didn't get the attention it deserved: This would have to be A poem. Thunder Maker wrote this poem for me one day and kindly agreed to my request to put it up on my blog. Thunder Maker wrote a lot of poems when we first met. Some were about me/us, but he was going through a rough patch at the time and writing poems was his way of coping and working through it. He hasn't written any for ages, so I was really touched when he wrote that poem for me just because he could.

The post I'm most proud of: I have to nominate two posts for this one, purely because I can't favour one child over the other. These are Birth of the Seagull and Birth of the Wombat. The proudest moments in my life were immediately after the births of my boys, so it stands to reason that these are the posts I am most proud of.

Now to nominate five lucky bloggers:

Glowless from Where's My Glow
Georgia from Parental Parody
Tara from Our Whirlwind Adventures...
Jocelyn from Life As Mummy Max
Jacqui from CRAP Mamma

Make sure you go and check out all these awesome mummy bloggers.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Return to Work

I just under two weeks I will be returning to work. This is not the way we had planned things. Our plan had been for me to take 12 months maternity leave, then resign so I could stay at home to look after the boys and complete my uni degree. Given that Thunder Maker's job doesn't pay very well, it was probably always a bit of a pipe dream. In saying that, he had a job he was happy in and while he was happy, I was prepared to do without a lot of things to keep him happy.

About four months ago, the organisation that Thunder Maker works for merged with a larger organisation. It effectively became a takeover and the poo hit the fan very quickly. I'm not going to go into all that was wrong, because that would fill up quite a few blog entries that would be better written by Thunder Maker. Suffice to say that the beginning of the end happened when they changed his working location from our home town to one nearly an hour away. This is costing us 15% of his total fortnightly income.

Thunder Maker has spent quite a while looking for a new job, but nothing has presented itself. Thunder Maker is very picky when it comes to applying for jobs, but even when I looked at job ads for him, I just couldn't find anything that fits his skill set. We were starting to get pretty desperate.

Nearly two weeks ago, I got a phone call from my career manager. I knew I was due for a posting next year. I've actually been due for a posting for the last three years, but have managed to drag out my time in our current location by having babies/going on maternity leave. This was the main reason I had planned to resign. We both really like our current location and neither of us really wanted to leave.

My career manager offered me the posting I have always wanted. It's really close to my Dad, my extended family on both sides (my Mum is originally from that area as well, but moved away after her and Dad divorced) and is only a couple of hours away from Thunder Maker's family.

In light of the fact that we decided to accept the posting, it made more sense for me to finish my maternity leave early so that Thunder Maker could resign and become the stay at home parent for the rest of the year. After all, my job pays more than his.

I thought I'd be sad at not getting to spend as long at home with Wombat as I did with Seagull, and even when I did return to work after having Seagull, I went back part time for the first six months. Yes, a part of me is sad, but mainly I'm excited. I think knowing that Thunder Maker is going to be at home with the boys makes it a lot easier.

Now, I've toyed about whether I should reveal a particular something about myself for a while. It is one of the reasons I chose to blog anonymously. To be honest though, I don't think I can blog about my current situation without revealing it and blogging is helping me to get my head around the massive life changes we have decided on.

If you haven't figured it out from some of the language I've used in some of my posts recently, this one in particular, I am a serving member of the ADF. The RAAF, to be precise.

I really love my job, but thought for ages that it would be better for my family if I got out so that they could have locational stability. To be honest though, I've always been a lot more pragmatic than Thunder Maker (he is the dreamer). He is the one looking for the perfect everything, whereas I'm more concerned with keeping a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food in our bellies.

At the moment, it makes a lot more sense for me to stick with a job I love that pays well in order to ensure my family is provided for. It's going to be really sad to leave the house we bought four years ago and have brought two newborn babies home to, but I'm feeling really positive about the future.

The Fun Weekend That Was

I had such a big weekend that it has taken me this long to get around to blogging about it. It wasn't a particularly good one, either.

I had big plans for the weekend. They involved getting several loads of backed-up washing done (it's been raining lots over the past couple of weeks) and getting my removal inventory done so I could put in my application for removal. Because I'm organised like that.

Thunder Maker's band had a gig on Saturday night. It was the 50th birthday party of one of the band members. We were all going to go, but I realised at the last minute (Saturday afternoon) that unless they had a raised performance area that 2 year olds can't climb, that the band was going to have themselves a new drummer by the name of Seagull. In light of this, I decided to stay home with the boys.

My first inkling that something wasn't right was when I was talking to my Dad on the phone. I had a headache, so I went and grabbed a glass of water. By the time we finished talking, my tummy felt a bit funny. Sometimes it does that when I'm hungry. I was feeling lazy, so I made toast for us all. I only got through one slice before I realised that I was feeling sick, not hungry. I thought it would be a good idea for us all to get an early night and hopefully I would sleep it off.

Alas, it was not to be. I'd just got both of the boys ready for bed when I felt the overwhelming urge to dash for the toilet. With business taken care of, I got some water into me and crawled into bed. Where Wombat proceeded to crawl over me, using me as a platform for his nocturnal acrobatics whilst having a feed. Of course, he would only fall asleep while laying across my torso. Having an 11kg baby sleep across your torso is uncomfortable at the best of times, let alone when you've just been heaving your guts up.

Once Wombat was finally asleep, I needed to make another dash to the toilet, where both ends decided to let go in unison. I did the only thing one can do in that situation - sat on the toilet and ditched the contents out of the bin beside the toilet very quickly. I was cursing the fact that this had to happen on one of the rare nights Thunder Maker was out, of all nights. I crawled back into bed and tried to get warm.

My night was broken by the delerium of my fever and Wombat's acrobatics. At some point, I had a split second of lucidity and thought that Wombat was probably cutting a tooth. Great. Later, I woke up as Thunder Maker snuck into our room very quietly and realised that I'd actually managed to get some sleep in. I told him about my evening and asked for some lemonade. Thankfully, we had a small bottle in the cupboard. I hooked in gratefully and went back to sleep.

In the morning, Wombat was a much happier chappy. He was grinning away, proudly showing me his new tooth. In a strange way, it made the absolute crapfullness of the previous night worth it.

Thunder Maker was kind enough to take the boys off my hands the next day to give me a chance to lay around in bed and recover.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A Decision Made

Thunder Maker and I have spent a lot of time talking about our options since I received that phone call on Friday.

To be honest, I was pretty keen to accept the offer straight up. I knew that it was not a decision I could make on my own though. I knew that it was going to take a lot of talking to convince Thunder Maker to go. Surprisingly, right from when I mentioned it, he was a lot more open to it than I was expecting.

We went out for a lovely dinner tonight at the bistro of one of the local pubs and talked it over some more while Seagull was tearing around in the play area. To my surprise, Thunder Maker said that yes, he is happy for us to go. He just wanted to be sure that it was what I really wanted. As he said, what he is doing is fast coming to an end, he is 12 years older than me, so he has already had a chance to pursue different career paths. Now he wants to give me the chance to pursue mine.

In then end, it was a much easier decision for us both to make than I had initially anticipated. I think that one of the major deciding factors for Thunder Maker is that we will only be a couple of hours away from his Mum. It actually works out quite well, because we are close enough to be able to go and visit for the day or a weekend, but far enough away that we won't be in each others pockets. My MIL is a wonderful person who has helped us out in so many ways that I will be eternally grateful for, but she is best handled in small doses that are spaced apart. And those are words that have come directly from Thunder Maker.

It is going to be fantastic that the boys are going to be able to spend time with their grandparents and be able to develop a real relationship with them. It's going to be great that for the first time in 24 years, I'm going to be living right near my Dad. We have always had a good relationship, in spite of the distance of our respective living arrangements, but I've always wanted to be able to just drop over for a beer and a chat. Dad only has daughters, and is quite happy with that, but he loves that he now has grandsons and I'm thrilled that he is now going to be able to spend time with them regularly. Dad is really into cars and all sorts of other traditional blokey things that Thunder Maker isn't into, so I'm really pleased that the boys are going to have someone around to be able to talk to about those sorts of things.

We have decided that Thunder Maker will hand in his notice at work and become the stay at home parent. I'm in the process of organising to go back to work early. The people at work that I've spoken to are pleased that I've changed my mind and decided to stay. I'm really looking forward to putting on my uniform again and being known as me, rather than someone's mother for eight hours a day.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Baby-Led Weaning

I have a confession to make. I'm somewhat of a lazy person. If there's a short cut to be taken, I'm the first to be taking it (as long as someone isn't going to end up hurt).

I hated making up shed loads of mushed up food for Seagull when he was a baby, only to have him turn his nose up at most of it. When he was about 8 months old, our Maternal and Child Health nurse suggested giving Seagull strips of food to eat. He loved it.

A few months later, I found out about something called Baby-Led Weaning. Basically, it involves skipping the puree/mashed food stage and going straight to finger foods. The theory is that this is how the weaning process would have worked before we got all technicmalogical and invented food processors to whizz the crap out of food, turning it to a messy pulp. If you want it explained better than I can, read this and this.

It occurred to me that this is what I had ended up doing with Seagull and I decided that I was going to do it from the start of solids with my next baby. After all, it appealed to my inherent sense of laziness.

When Wombat was a few months old, I bought a book about Baby-Led Weaning and avidly read it. We were away from home when he reached six months, so we just waited until we got home before starting the process. Every night when we had dinner, Wombat would get a couple of sticks of steamed veggies on his high chair tray while we ate. He would pick them up and play with them, but they wouldn't go anywhere near his mouth.

After a few weeks, something seemed to click and Wombat started trying to shovel food down his mouth. If I forgot to give him something to eat at dinner time (I tended to just put a bit extra on my plate to hand him), he would watch my food like a hawk until I gave him something to eat. A lot of it ended up on the floor, but there was food making it into Wombat's mouth as evidenced by the colourful chunks appearing in his nappies a day or two later.

It gives me great satisfaction to see Wombat eating away at meal times. He is becoming more and more keen to eat food and has been cutting right back on his breastfeeds through the day, although he makes up for it through the night. Baby-Led Weaning makes a lot of sense to me. When breastfeeding, Wombat is totally in control of how much he eats. By letting him feed himself finger foods, Wombat is continuing to maintain control of how much food he takes in and is able to stop when he is full. What's not to like about that?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Decision time

I've found myself at a crossroads career-wise. At the moment, I am on maternity leave from my job. I had been planning on quitting, staying at home with my boys and concentrating on finishing my degree. My current job requires me to move every three or four years, although I have managed to stretch out my time in my current location to six years due to some strategic (although not altogether deliberate) timing of pregnancies. I know that if I go back to work, that I will have to move at the end of this year.

We've become quite settled here; we bought a house just over four years ago, Thunder Maker found a job that he liked until recently (when his employer was taken over by a larger organisation), we have a school in mind for the boys and we have made some really good friends. We really like the lifestyle and the pace of life here.

I got a call from the person who decides where my next move is going to be yesterday morning. He was touching base to see how my maternity leave was going and to let me know where he is going to send me next. I explained to him that I was starting to fill in the myriad of paperwork that needs to be done in order to resign. When he told me that he was planning on sending me to the location that I have been trying to get to for years, I immediately felt conflicted. I said I'd discuss it with Thunder Maker and let him know my decision.

From a purely logical standpoint, it makes more sense to go than to stay. When I'm working full time, I earn more than Thunder Maker. By the time we have to move, Wombat will be about 14 months old, so he won't need me around during the day for breastfeeds. As it is, he is wanting to eat food more and more and feed from me less during the day. We may be able to work things in such a way that Thunder Maker either works from home, works part time or doesn't work at all and does the stay at home Dad thing for a while.

The location that I would be sent to is less than an hour away from my Dad, his wife, my sisters and my Grandma. It's about 2 1/2 hours away from Thunder Maker's Mum, which is a plus. She has been quite unwell with an autoimmune disease that affects the lungs and kidneys this year. Things were very touch and go at one stage, but she managed to pull through. In saying that, Thunder Maker would love to be able to spend more time with her which is just not a possibility at the moment with our current location.

We would only be a couple of hours closer to my Mum, although further north as opposed to south, like we are currently. In saying that, most of her extended family is in the area we would be moving to and she already goes up that way several times a year, so we would end up seeing more of her anyway.

I wasn't sure if Thunder Maker would go for the idea of moving as he has always been quite vocal about wanting to stay here. In saying that, things are not going well in his current job and he hasn't had any luck finding anything else. When I mentioned it to him, he was a lot more open to the idea than I thought he would be. His main concern is that his band are just starting to get to the point of performing for money and getting some material out there and he doesn't really want to leave the band.

Thunder Maker is highly uncertain as to whether he is even going to have a job in another couple of weeks. He sent the big boss a letter the other day to tell her that him spending 15% of his income in travel to get to and from work is not viable. This has happened as the result of the big boss changing his work location from the office in our town to one that's nearly an hour away at less than 24 hours notice. And that is far from the worst thing that has happened since the takeover.

So, now I'm in a position where it seems like my mind may have been made up for me by circumstance. Still, it's a big decision to make.

Friday, 15 July 2011

My Parenting Fail

There was (and still is) something that I really need to blog about and get it off my chest, but as is often the way with two small children, something more dramatic has happened in the meantime. It is somewhat reminiscent of Glowless' incident with Tricky the other day caused by a Parental Parody style parenting fail.*

Wombat didn't have his usual deep sleeps during the day today, more of a quick cat nap here and there. Seagull didn't have a nap at all. On top of that, we went for a walk down the street and Seagull walked nearly the whole way home instead of riding in the pram. The walk normally takes me a good 20 minutes at my walking pace and we were walking at the pace of a 2 1/2 year old, so it was pretty slow and a very long walk for Seagull.

Fast forward to this evening, and both boys are really tired. We all had a bath and got ready for bed. By this time, Wombat was hanging for a feed and a sleep. Thunder Maker is at band practice tonight, so as I usually try to do in this situation, I tried to get Seagull to have a snuggle up against my back while I was feeding Wombat in the bed. Seagull had other ideas.

Seagull has worked out that he can drag our bar stools around into the kitchen. He then climbs up on top of them and helps himself to whatever has been left on top of the bench. I figured that for once, it was all fairly sparse as all dry food items (such as sugar, flour and Weet Bix) had been stashed well out of the realms of a sneaky Seagull.

After a while, some fairly loud Seagull screaming came from the direction of the kitchen. Thinking that Seagull had fallen over and hurt himself, I called for him to come and give me a cuddle, as I still had Wombat attached for his feed. He didn't come. He kept screaming. Then the screaming got so hysterical that it sounded almost like he was laughing. I closed up shop on Wombat (who fortunately stayed asleep) and went to investigate.

I was greeted by the sight of cornflour spread over half the kitchen floor. Nan had made a lemon meringue pie for dessert and left the packet of cornflour on the bench. As I rounded the corner, I saw Seagull up at the kitchen sink, with his toes only just touching the bar stool that he had used to get up there with. I got closer and realised that Seagull had shoved two of his fingers into the drain holes of the sink up to the second knuckles and was stuck. Oh crap.

I gave his hand a tug to see if I could pull it out, which elicited a huge scream. I then pushed the bar stool closer so that his whole body weight wasn't hanging by his fingers and contemplated my next move. Thankfully, common sense kicked in, courtesy of the bottle of dishwashing detergent that sauntered casually into my line of view. I reached over Seagull to grab it, squeezed a heap of it around his fingers and worked it in. The first finger slipped out almost immediately and the second one came out with a bit more gentle persuasion.

Seagull's fingers were big, fat, red and bent at a funny angle. I immediately thought of taking him to the hospital, then realised that Thunder Maker has the car with the car seats in it at band practice. I called the emergency department at the hospital and was told that it was very unlikely that Seagull had broken anything. The nice nurse told me to give him some Panadol, a cuddle and see if he would settle.

By this stage, Seagull's finger was bleeding all over his hand and he was trying to give me a cuddle. Ah, no, not with that bloody hand, he wasn't. I washed his hand off and stuck a band-aid over the bleeding bit. Then I gave him some Panadol. Thankfully, he likes taking medicine and gulped it all down quite gratefully.

Seagull is now snuggled up in bed next to Wombat giving his Teddy big cuddles, apparently not too worse the wear for my parenting fail.

* I say that with much love and humour. Plus, Georgia says that sort of thing about herself all the time. :)

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Just for shits and giggles and because I'm procrastinating from doing the last of my uni work for the week, I've decided to write a post about something that happened pre-children.

Thunder Maker and I went on a trip to Europe. While we were going through security/customs, I thought it would be a really cool idea to buy a toy platypus and take photos of it in various places that we went. Why a platypus? Because I like them, OK?

A toy platypus was henceforth purchased and named Ziggy. I can't remember why we called him Ziggy, but it could have had something to do with the character Ziggy from that awesome show "Quantum Leap". Come on, you know you remember it. And if you don't, shame on you. I'm revealing my nerdiness again, aren't I?

Following is a selection of my photos of Ziggy's trip to Europe:

Ziggy chilling in the QANTAS International Business Class lounge at Tullamarine.

Now, before you all think I'm rolling in money (believe me, I'm not), Thunder Maker happened to have a shed load of frequent flyer points from 10 years worth of hoarding them. We happened to have enough to upgrade our economy tickets to business class for the whole trip to Europe and back.

Ziggy checking out our drinks in business class on the plane.

Ziggy checking out the view from the window on the way to Singapore.

 Ziggy checking out his business class pack.

 Ziggy at the BA Business Class Lounge at Changi Airport.

 Ziggy lazing around a waterhole on the way to Frankfurt.

 Ziggy watching a movie.

 Ziggy at Bodensee in Germany.

 Ziggy eying off our breakfast in Germany. No, not for Ziggy!

 Ziggy outside an old church we went to in Germany.

 Not Ziggy, but I couldn't resist throwing this one in.

 Ziggy checking out the view from Neuschwanstein, Germany.

 Ziggy on the train somewhere in Germany.

 Ziggy looking out the ferry window on the way to Denmark.

We actually started off that morning in Berlin, changed trains at Hamburg, then the train boarded the ferry for the crossing to Denmark. We changed trains again at Copenhagen, but the train had technical issues, so they ditched us at Malmö (first stop in Sweden) and we had to find another train to get us from there to Goteborg.

Ziggy admiring the rock art in Sweden. I really wish I remembered where this was, but we just got packed off in the car one day and taken for a drive to check out some really cool stuff.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Seagull's love affair with 7:30

I think Seagull may have a new love interest. Her name is Leigh Sales.

Seagull's vocabulary has really started to come along in leaps and bounds in the last month or so. He's also starting to comprehend how to answer questions now. He still mimics things that he hears, but he is starting to mimic whole sentences, rather than just key words.

We are super nerds in our house and our night time TV viewing is nearly always ABC1. About a week ago, Seagull started copying Leigh Sales' intro - "7:30, Leigh Sales". He knows that 7:30 comes on after the news, and when he hears the intro music, he now says "7:30 with Leigh Sales". When she actually appears on the TV, he fairly squeals with delight.

The poor little thing was quite confused last Friday night when the state edition of 7:30 came on. He was going on about Leigh Sales during the opening theme and I had to explain that Leigh Sales was not on tonight, it was someone else. Let's just say that 7:30 doesn't have quite the same appeal to Seagull when someone other than Leigh is presenting it.

Seagull was getting all primed for 7:30 on Saturday night and we had to explain to him that Kingdom is on on Saturday nights, not 7:30. That was OK though. Seagull gets quite excited when he sees the ads for Kingdom through the week, pointing him out through the whole commercial. He had lots of cuddles on the lounge with Mama Sidetracked, Daddy Thunder Maker and Bubby Wombat on and off throughout the show and had great fun pointing out Kingdom to us (Kingdom is the surname of the main character of the show for those of you who don't watch the thrilling TV line-up of ABC1 on Saturday evenings).

Last night, Seagull was practically salivating in anticipation of seeing "7:30 with Leigh Sales" again. He was so thrilled when the opening theme started and his excitement reached fever pitch when Leigh appeared on the screen. He was giggling with joy and jumping up and down. The things that excite a 2 year old never cease to amaze me.

Brag post

Yet again, I've been very slack on the blogging front. I've got ideas but I find myself procrastinating. I promise I'll get around to blogging about them. I've been working on some crafty projects lately, so as soon as I find batteries for my camera, I'll take some photos so I can show off my crafty prowess to you all. I probably should endeavour to find my camera as well.

In the meantime, I feel the need to have a bit of a brag about some things.

First of all, I am very pleased to say that I passed both of my uni subjects for last term. In fact, I even got a credit for one of them. Not bad, considering that I got behind with my study in the first week, struggled to catch up, then kind of gave it up as a lost cause in the last few weeks of term. I had been particularly worried about one of my subjects. It was called Physics for Health Sciences and there was all sorts of wrong with the way the course was run as far as I was concerned.

The textbook was pretty crappy in that a lot of the explanations were very vague and there were no worked examples of how to apply the formulae to actual examples. Then there was the sheer amount of work involved - three assignments, weekly multiple choice quizzes, weekly tutorial quizzes and the residential school. Not that the residential school bothered me, but the fact that half the material that was required for it in way of the laboratory manual wasn't even put up on the course website until four days before the res school started. When most of us were already in location attending res school for another subject. It would have been nice if they could have pulled their finger out and organised to have the lab manual printed, bound and sent out to us at the beginning of term like every other lecturer manages to do for their classes. All in all, I felt like there was too much expected of us and that we would have been just as well served to do two assignments and either the tutorial worksheets or the multiple choice quizzes. Don't worry, I said all of this and more in my course evaluation feedback.

With my issues of feeling like I hadn't understood the subject very well and not having looked over the last 3 weeks worth of the course in any great detail, I was worried about how I would do in the exam. It turned out that all of the exam questions were a straight cut and paste from questions from the assignments throughout the term. What was even better is that one of the questions that was worth a quarter of my overall mark was exactly the same, word for word as one of the questions on my last assignment that had only been due in four days earlier. It was meant to be a three hour exam and I finished in just over two hours. I walked out of the exam humming "I'm Walking on Sunshine".

Second term started today and I've already covered all of the work for first week for one of my subjects. I'm doing three subjects this term and have decided to approach how I study a bit differently from normal. Normally, I try to take notes from the textbook, but I end up paraphrasing the whole damn thing. I know it doesn't work for me, so I'm going to focus a lot more on actually watching the lectures online and completing any tutorials/worksheets that the lecturers post on the course websites. One of my textbooks has checkpoint questions throughout each chapter and a "understanding the concepts" section of questions at the end of each chapter. This is what I have already worked through. I know feel like I have lymphocytes, basophils, erythrocytes, etc bleeding out my ears. Ha, funny. I just made reference to bleeding out my ears while talking about different types of blood cells. I'm such a nerd.

After a fair bit of digression, I come to my second point. I've been working on losing some weight. I realise that I really need to pay someone to crack the whip and make me move in order to motivate myself, so I've been attending an outdoor group fitness class. As part of that, we started a nine week winter blitz challenge. Each week we have had a different food challenge as well as an exercise challenge. I haven't done any of the extra exercise challenges purely because I find it hard to get out of the house to do them with two young children in tow.

However, I've found that doing the various food challenges has really got me thinking about the things I was consuming before. I realised when we had to cut out fizzy/sugary drinks in the first week of the challenge that I was actually consuming quite a lot of soft drink. After I spent a week not drinking it at all, I realised that I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would and I have barely touched the stuff since. In general, I'm craving sugar a lot less than I have in the past.

I've been getting a few comments lately from people saying that I'm looking thinner, so I grabbed out a tape measure the other day and wrapped it around my waist. I thought that I'd lost about three or four centimetres until I dug out my measurement sheet from when I first started the challenge. It turns out that I'd actually lost about 10cm from my waist. I was so stoked that I'd lost 10cm in six weeks. There's still another three weeks of the challenge to go, so I'm hoping that I will lose another 5cm from my waist in that time. I didn't think to measure around my hips until a couple of days later and it turns out that I've lost about 10cm from there too.

I'm really pleased to be seeing the results of my work. Before starting out at this whole exercise thing, I really wasn't liking what I was seeing in the mirror as I stepped out of the shower. More importantly, I want my boys to see me making healthy lifestyle choices and to see me enjoying exercise and making it a regular part of my life. Hopefully it will motivate them to exercise for fun when they get older. In the meantime, it will give me the stamina to keep up with them. I'm sure I'm going to need it with two young boys.

Anyway, there you have it. Apparently waking up at 5:30am to go and flog yourself for an hour at a time three days a week before your kids wake up and your husband has to go to work has some merit to it.