Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Living a contented life

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It is so easy at this time of year to do too much. There are so many tasks to complete and people to see and functions to attend. The need to squeeze the life out of the last few weeks of 2010 is a compulsion.

What better time then to re-assess our priorities?

To look at what we are doing and why we are doing it?

"Whatever the tasks, do them slowly with ease,
in mindfulness,
do not do any tasks with the goal of getting them over with.
Resolve to each job in a relaxed way,
with all your attention.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master

We often complete things so that we can tackle the next thing on our list of things-to-do. We rush from one destination to the next, only to hurry along to the next. We are often so tired from the grind, that we don't have the energy to do the things we love. Things we are passionate about.

So when you find yourself wrapped up in the busy-ness this season, try to spare a moment to hold onto the things that help us lead a contented life. To dance in the rain.

Keep things simple.

Look after your relationships.

Find the funny side.

Find joy in the mundane, the routine.

Never stop learning.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Little girl's shoes

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Now that the warmer weather has arrived for more than 10 minutes, I thought it time I investigated the shoe situation for the kids.

I have spoken before about my fortunes with hand-me-downs and shoes have not escaped. I have a whole plastic tub full of barely-worn, possible shoes for the kids to wear in all different sizes.

So on Saturday, with four sets of eyes looking on, I went through the current shoe piles for signs of fatigue, measured the kids feet and looked to fill the gaps. I managed to bag up about 6 pairs for the charity shop, but still have enough shoes hanging around to fit-out a centipede!

Nugget's feet don't seem to have grown much in the past year (I hope he hasn't peaked at size 12? With the Geege's gene pool this is a possibility). He is good to go.

Doo Dah has cast off last year's shoes but has a whole host of appropriately sized shoes to choose from. Game, set, match.

Dew Drop fits a size 6 snugly and has a selection of 3 pairs of sandals (perfect for Summer), but no enclosed shoes to speak of. I will have to review thishis footwear needs into the New Year.

But the Minx. She has the tinniest feet and even though her feet have grown a little she is still only a size 5. We have no girl's size 5 sandals in the stash, just a pair of sneakers, which she loves as long as she doesn't have to wear any socks! I hope she doesn't have her mother's stinky feet.

I found 2 completely new pairs of boys size 5 sandals.

So I have a couple of questions for you. Do I hand on the boy's sandals in the correct size only to go out and buy a couple of pairs of girl's size 5s (pink and blingy)?

Or does the Minx don the Bob the Builder sandals this Summer?

What would you do?

Friday, 26 November 2010

Once a bad sleeper...

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Nugget was not a good sleeper as a baby.

He was happy to sleep on me, in the sling, in the pram (for 40 minutes as long as it was moving) or next to me in the bed. But never on his own. And never for long.

When Doo Dah came along, I was already sleep deprived. Nugget still wasn't consistently sleeping through the night and he was trying very hard to drop his day sleeps too. I won that battle until he was 2 years and 8 months old when we all got sick of pretending.

Doo Dah was a happy little sleeper. He settled well and woke only for feeds. He took his sweet time to drop the 10pm feed (he was more than a year old), but once he did, he just slept. Night after night.

Nugget was about three and a half when I first realised that I no longer wondered if I would see him during the night once he had fallen asleep. But even though he been a consistent sleeper since then, he is still not a 'good sleeper'.

He is often found sleeping at the end of our bed. It seems he has realised that we don't come when he calls out (unless he is obviously distressed) and will take him back to his bed if he wakes us trying to get in, so he has devised a means of 'being with us' without waking us. I often wake in the morning with his little hand wrapped around my foot. It would be cute if he weren't five and a half!

He has a string of nightly excuses. I am thirsty. I need to go to the toilet. I have sore legs. Doo Dah is snoring too loudly. It is too dark. It is too light. There is something in the cupboard. I am not tired.

It is truly exhausting.

As we are nearing the end of the school year and life is super-busy and we are all getting tired and grumpy, Nugget has developed what can only be described as 'insomnia'. He is exhausted, and yet he cannot sleep. He still goes to bed by about 7.30, our night-time routine hasn't changed, and yet he is often still lying, wide awake in bed at 10pm when I check on him.

Night after night.

For at least the last 4 weeks.

That is a very late night for a kindergarten child, and you can imagine how his behaviour is as a consequence. Diabolical.

I just don't seem to know how to help him 'switch off'.

His latest problem has confirmed for me that once a bad sleeper, always a bad sleeper.

Anyone experienced this themselves or with one of their children? Any ideas?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Variety Santa Fun Run

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As you know, I developd a relationship with running this year. Lately, I have been pretty slack and failed miserably to get myself out pounding the pavement. I have a million excuses (that seems to run in the family this week), but still keep my eye out for challenges and I happened upon this.

Variety Australia has an upcoming Santa Fun Run (in capital cities this Sunday, 28th November). Although I can't enter this year as I have prior commitments, it is a damned cute idea. A whole bunch of Santa's running 5K all in the name of fundraising for a cause.

Reg is the main man behind the event and you can take a look for yourself if you Check this video link out!

So if you are not doing anything this weekend, why not register in this year’s fun run?

Variety is a national not-for-profit organisation empowering children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs. With the help of dedicated volunteers and generous individual and corporate supporters, Variety, the Children’s Charity is able to offer three core programs: freedom, care and future. You can read more about these programs on the variety website.

I wish I had known about it earlier.
*Reg’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reg-Wilson/150274355018369

Would you don a Santa suit and run for a cause?

PS: Happy Birthday to Mum! I hope you have another bumper day of recovery :)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Musical Heights

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On Saturday, after another gruelling morning of Little As (just me and the kids), Nugget performed in his school's annual concert. Sister B babysat the twins (thanks Maxabella!) and Doo Dah and I went along with my in-laws, while the Geege kicked up his heels at Stage 1 of the full-day Buck's Party.

We had front row, middle position seats. A great start!

It was a very professional show. Great costumes (with no parental input - phew!). Great lighting, decorations and stage props. It ran on time and everyone seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Impressive.

Every class performed a dance routine, with the level of complexity matching the age of the children. Nugget's class did a gorgeous Christmas routine featuring little girls in glittery skirts and boys in Santa hats. Nugget was all business (he barely cracked a smile) but he knew all the moves and sang along to the song.

There were three levels of bands (Senior, Training and Stage) - mostly in tune and featuring a very accomplished trumpeter (who just happens to have been Nugget's Sixth Grade 'Buddy', S).

There was a school choir with a very well-articulated set of identical boy twins who were both delightful and amusing in their earnest commitment to the songs.

The school Eisteddford dance ensemble did a dance routine that told the story of The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy was a stand-out, as was the boy in 4th Grade who played Michael Jackson in his class routine (I haven't seen a Moon Walk that good since about 1984).

Doo Dah was exceptionally well behaved. He got bored about Act 13, but I had food bribes to get him through to the end (19 Acts).

The Grand Finale was the whole school singing together. 307 students singing in harmony to Come Play your Part. Nugget was all smiles and seemed to really enjoy himself during that 'number'.

All in all it was a fantastic afternoon that exceeded my expectations.

I was a doubting Thomas that a Kindy kid would get anything out of 'weekly dance lessons' at school.

Eating my humble pie now.

Does your school have an annual concert? How did it go for you?

Monday, 22 November 2010

Random act of kindness

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My husband went to a full-day Buck's party on Saturday. Needless to say, he was in no state to drive by the end of the night so he caught a cab back from the city (it is about 30km to our place so I truly do not want to know what that little extravagance set us back!). His car was left near a train station in the inner North Shore.

Yesterday afternoon, the family packed into the VW and headed off on a little road trip to retrieve the Geege's car.

It started out well. We had a lovely game of I-spy. And then, out of the blue, Dew Drop had a massive vomit. We pulled over, cleaned up to the best of our ability, stripped him off and, once some colour had returned to his face, we continued on our mission.

We arrived at Daddy's parked car without further ado (we think he must of suffered car sickness because there has been no further problems) and Nugget and I promptly jumped into the small car and followed the rest of the family back up the highway.

When we were a little way into our journey, I realised that Nugget's car door wasn't properly closed. We had a couple of attempts to fix it but, due to a pesky child-lock, we had no success.

We pulled up at a red traffic light. We had one more unsuccessful attempt and I was taking off my seatbelt to race around to close it, when from seemingly nowhere a lady quickly opened and closed the door for us.

I turned my head long enough to see her jump back into her people mover packed with at least four kids of her own. I mouthed 'thank you' as we both drove off in the traffic.

Random act of kindness.

Totally made my day.

Did you have any nice little surprises at the weekend?

Friday, 19 November 2010

When will it end?

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Four children.

Four nappy-clad bottoms.

Every night.


When will it end?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The bowling bug

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It seems my household has caught the 10 Pin Bowling bug (although I note is is now just called bowling. Showing my age and dagginess with that there reference).

First the Geege came home from work a month or so ago and declared that he and his colleagues were entering a Bowling Comp on Tuesday nights. I must say that I had a snigger and replied that was very 'Homer Simpson' of him, but I was happy for him to be having some down-time with the fellas.

He is loving himself. He hasn't missed a week. Personally, I think it is the beers and disco lights that make his night, but despite his mediocre form, he reports his scorecard with a note of pride in his voice. It is cute.

And now, Nugget has caught the bug too.

He was invited to a Bowling Party from one of his school-friends and he had the 'best time ever' and hasn't stopped raving about it. Apparently so did his BFF and his Mum has been conned into hosting said BFF's 6th Birthday function at the Bowling Alley. Nugget is beside himself with excitement.

We have another two weeks to go until the big day but not an hour goes by that the word 'bowling' or 'racing car games' or 'strike' doesn't slip into the conversation. Excited much? At least it has replaced the daily banter about Fiji (still ready to throttle the Geege for that one!).

As for me, well I have to say I was a little keen to bowl a ball or two when I was supervising at the Birthday Party. And the shoes, what's not to love about a pair of bowling shoes?

I reckon I could happily catch the bug too given half the chance.

Are you a Bowling fan? What is your best bowling memory?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Through lying eyes - Final Part

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When we last heard from my friend and guest post writer, she had started her long road to recovery from anorexia. In this post she completes her remarkable story and brings us up to the here and now. 

After my bout of hospital admissions, denials, and acceptances, my journey seemed to go nowhere for a few years. I just cruised along at my safe leisurely pace of "recovery". I left hospital for the final time accepting of my illness, accepting of the need for recovery, and accepting that life would be better once I was better. Yet that pull of yes, no, yes, no, was still ingrained in my behavioural process.

Four years after my first admission to hospital with anorexia, depression became my primary diagnosis.

 Depression for me was always there, but the professionals never knew with me, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Once I was accepting of treatment, my past unraveled, and yes, I had suffered depression, or the markers for depression, for most of my young life. Hindsight is a fabulous thing.

After four hospital admissions, my dislike for hospital intensified, and it was somewhere I never wanted to return to. And not because it's a place where they make you eat and you lose control of your anorexia, but because of the feelings that arose whilst there. The competitiveness, bitchiness, anger, and full-on hellish emotions you've suppressed for the previous however many years that when in treatment, come raging to the surface in a flurry.

I'd "outgrown" all the behavioural aspects of anorexia. The vying for attention, the food games and rituals, the effort needed to starve and lose weight.....Now my task was to work on the emotional side of things. The real journey to recovery began!

I was now 27 and had another 6 years of recovery to go. If I'd known that at the time, I would have felt this was never going to end...
I stumbled across the person whom I feel has been the most significant person in my whole treatment process, and who has done the hard yards with me. My counsellor of 11 years - she's seen me at my best, worst, and everything in between!! (If she were a friend, she would have bolted long ago, unable to cope with the fluctuations of my life). Together we have worked tirelessly - and exhaustively!

People often ask me, "What was it? What caused your anorexia, what made you get better?". That's something I can't easily answer. Everyone who suffers an eating disorder is different, but for me the cause was an accumulation of childhood anxieties, insecurities, parental influence, and my own fragile personality.

What made me get better was an accumulation also, of events, self-growth, understanding and acceptance, and forming a solid, stable, loving relationship with my, now, fiance - love of which I'd never experienced before. This one came last, the end of my rough ride, beginning the best years of my life.

I've learnt that until you love yourself, you can't expect anyone else to love you.

I now have strength I thought I'd never have. I still have insecurities, shyness, and like every woman, days when I look in the mirror and cringe, but I would now say I'm normal. I have no food hangups, I love life, and I wish more than anything that I'd allowed myself to enjoy my younger years as much as I'm enjoying life now!!
My journey with anorexia feels like it happened a lifetime ago, and to someone else. I look back and feel I am watching a movie. I don't remember a lot, but that has to be my subconscious protecting me. BUT being the meticulous detail person I am, I have it all recorded in almost 20 years of diaries! Diaries of which I can't quite bring myself to read and re-live yet. The first time round was more than enough thank you!

I will leave you with the knowledge that no matter what life throws at you, if your drive to get through it is there, the light at the end of the tunnel will eventually be blinding! Never never never give up. We all suffer adversity and traumas in life, but it's how we come out the other end that matters.

Indeed dear friend. Indeed.

The wraps up our four-part series on anorexia. I hope you have found my friend's heart-felt story and amazing insight into the illness that stole the better part of her youth, as interesting as I have. I can't help but think that she is one of the lucky ones. She survived to tell the tale. My heart goes out to all of you who may have been touched by this terrible mental health condition and to anyone who has lost a friend or sister or brother or relative or neighbour to its clutches.

Please leave my friend some of your thoughts.

I am trying to convince her to put her writing talents to work and start her own blog... maybe after the wedding :)

Please don't forget to skip over to Twin Trials and Triumphs to read my Guest Post today :)

Monday, 15 November 2010

The passage of time

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I stumbled upon my Christmas letter from 2009 while I was sorting through some stuff over the weekend.

Truth is we received another donation of hand-me-downs and, while I am forever grateful for people's generosity, I have nowhere to put the clothes anymore. So the sorting process included some donations of my own, to the local Charity bin and the curb-side Council pick-up pile. It feels so good to declutter!

I also re-discovered the missing wristband from Ben 10's Omnitrix (score!) and the missing tail from my monkey backpack, aka a toddler 'leash'. Two definate wins right there.

Anyway, amidst all the piles of things was a copy of my Christmas letter. It was the first I had written in many years and not a bad little read (even if I do say so myself).

The thing about these methods of communication is that they force you to find the good things that have happened in your year and succinctly piece them together to form a story. I wrote mine like a newsletter with the Geege and I in a box and then a box for each of the kids, with a recent photo.

I reckon if you did a Christmas letter, and only that, every year without fail you could leave a wonderful legacy about the passage of time in your life (and those of your children).

So with only 5 or 6 weeks until Christmas, I think it was fitting that I came across this little treasure because it has inspired me to put together the Second Edition for 2010. Even if I bore the pants off my friends and family with my moment of self-indulgence, I think I will be very happy that I did this time next year.

Do you write a Christmas letter? How do you do yours?

PS: I am the Aussie Mummy Bloggers 'Blogger of the Week' this week, so pop over to their site and check me out! If you haven't already, register for the Australian Bloggers Conference in March, which is being put together by the peeps from AMB. I am going to be there and I reckon it will be loads of fun.

If you are visiting from AMB, welcome and I hope you will drop me a line so I can return the favour.

PPS: At about 9pm tonight I will be a guest blogger at Twin Trials and Triumphs. The passage of time has made it difficult for us to synchronise our link-ups as there is a 16 hour time difference between Kentucky and Sydney! Please stop over and say hello at Mandy's place - I don't want to look like I have no friends!

I have written a little post about Learning to Dance in the Rain. I hope you will enjoy it! And of course, if you are visiting me from there stop long enough to say hi and let me know where to visit you at too.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Unwelcome house guests

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We have some new residents in our home.

They seem like a lovely couple. They go everywhere together and seem to kick around into the wee hours of the morning.

Lately they have been heading out for 'dates' around 10pm and disturbing the neighbours with their raucous return home.

Sometimes they cuddle up in our loungeroom (walls) and you can hear them scratching as they change positions and get themselves more comfortable.

We didn't invite these guests, but they have taken up residence anyway.

We live in a bushy suburb. We have had all sort of native wildlife in our backyard - bush turkeys, quoll-like marsupials, blue-tongued lizards and a whole family of slugs. We have even had possums before, that we managed to successfully encourage to find another home.

These newbies are not welcome.

Do not be fooled by their cute outward appearance. Brushtail Possums can cause house fires by eating through electrical wires. They can disrupt the insulation in your roof and/or walls. They can die in your house structures causing all manner of smells and issues with disposal.

And they are really hard to get rid of.

Even the professional possum catchers are only allowed to remove them and take them 50m from your home. 50m is not a great distance for a possum to travel and they find their way back 'home' quick smart.

The Geege is formulating a plan as we speak and this will involve some heroics or other as he awaits for their nightly exit and then seals up their entry point into the roof space.

I feel mean, but I really don't need to be sharing my home with a couple of noisy newly-weds do I?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Following the program

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If you almost follow the program, you almost lose weight.


How are you going with your weight loss efforts?

* I'm playing along with Diminishing Lucy's Fat to Fit blog hop

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Identity crisis

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I had an interview at the post office on Monday to get my passport (and one for each of my four children). It was a pretty awful experience as I had to take the twins with me and, let's just say, there isn't a lot for a couple of two year olds to do for an hour at a post office.


The whole experience was complicated by my documentation problem.

When I got married, I had no idea what to do about my last name. Would I take the Geege's family name or keep my maiden name?

It was a decision made difficult for me by the fact that I have always been a leftie and a feminist (in a good way) and was 31 with an established career when we married. I didn't really see the need to change my name. The Geege didn't seem worried about it either.

Then I found out I was pregnant. I realised that I wanted to share the name of my unborn child.

What to do?

My simple solution was to keep my own short name, and add my husband's too. No hyphen. Two last names.

I read a couple of posts yesterday that made comment about the hyphenated last name, and have to agree with this post that Maxabella linked to and this post that x0xJ wrote. There is something very 1970's to me about the hyphenated last name. That was my rationale for just going the two names.

But the two names has caused some trouble for me. When I went to supply my identification for my passport on Monday, I realised that my name is represented in three different ways on my credit card (hyphenated), bank account (just the Geege's name) and licence (correct)! My simple solution is a complete mess.

I got a lecture from the well intentioned post-office worker who explained that it was important to have the same name on all the identification. I didn't dare show him my Medicare card which is still in my maiden name.

I had to write a statutory declaration to the effect that all these people are actually the same person. Me. My identity is officially a complete disaster. I have more AKA's than a spy.

Have you had this problem? What has your solution to the name conundrum been?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Female bonding, 1920's style

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I went to a Hen's night on Saturday night. It was a 1920's theme, so I dolled up in my fascinator/head band and beads (thanks Sister B!), a friend threw on a feather boa when I stopped by to pick her up, and I hit the streets in my Mary Janes.

For someone who doesn't like playing dress-ups, it was a lot of fun! I rate the 1920's.

It was the strangest Hen's night I think I have been to, not only because I drove (unheard of in the pre-kids days) but because most of my friends were off the booze for various reasons too. We were the old Nannas down one end of the table, nattering and eating sushi, while the 'young ones' hit the champers. Bizarre.

It had all the markings of a typical Hen's night.

A gaggle of women.

Obligatory penis straws for our drinks.

The Hen drunkedly proclaiming her undying love for her buck.

But it was different too.

The conversation was deep and meaningful.

There was no veil or pink fluffy bunny ears.

Come to think about it, aside from the whole Flapper thing, it was just another night at a cocktail bar with a group of female friends. A chance for some female bonding before my friend gets married.

I'm glad our Hen had a great night. It was wonderful to be able to share in the good spirit of the evening and makes me look forward to the wedding even more. Once I find the perfect frock I will be totally ready!

What did you do for your Hen's night?

Monday, 8 November 2010

These are a few of his favourite things

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I am not buying into the nature vs nurture debate about little boys and little girls because I do think that all kids are unique and develop in their own way, but a while ago I posted about my little girl's favourite things, and I thought it only fair that I now describe her twin brother.

Dew Drop is a 'typical' nearly two-year old boy (if there is such a thing?), but then he is totally not. Being part of a boy/girl twin set, he has been in the unique position of having a strong female influence in every aspect of his day. He sleeps in the same room as his sister. They play together. Bath together. Eat together. Go to daycare together. Something has got to rub off right?

As it stands, the dynamic is that the Minx calls the shots and he goes along with things (unless he really doesn't want to). He is so laid back that he is at risk of falling asleep, and yet his is a temper that enables him to crank out a 45 minute tantrum at the drop of a hat.

He is a boisterous and outgoing little boy, who is often seen in the hair-clips, pink leggings and carrying a handbag (usually Ben 10). If the Minx is getting 'glammed up', he doesn't want to be left out.

He likes to wrestle with his older brothers, eat, read books, play with trains and cars and 'duddle' his Mum.

He walks into a room and oozes friendliness. He owns it. Effortlessly. His deep blue eyes, searching (always searching) and capturing the hearts of those around him. His looks are such that even if he is no Einstein, he will never be alone!

Dew Drop is an important piece in our family puzzle and we are so lucky to have him. He is delightful in a way that you can't learn to be.

Do you have a son? What is he like and how is he different from his siblings?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

I am grateful...for life, smiles and plans

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I am playing along at Sister B's Grateful Saturday linky.

I am grateful that:

I am alive - in all senses of the word.

My children never fail to bring a smile to my face and my heart.

There is always something wonderful to look forward to, even when the now isn't as bright as you might like.

Friday, 5 November 2010

The C-word

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Another friend of mine died this week.

My heart literally hurts.

This dear friend had been suffering with breast cancer for the past 8+ years.

She was stoic and brave and funny and warm and practical and incredibly inspiring.

She was always glamorous, no matter what part of the treatment cycle she was in.

She had a successful career and an optimistic outlook.

She was an incredible mother, faithful and supportive wife and loyal friend.

She was unassuming, yet open and opinionated.

I will never forget her beautiful smile. It would never fail to raise a smile from me.

She leaves behind a gorgeous five year old daughter and equally gorgeous husband. He is now a widow and single-Dad at the ripe old age of 36.

Breast cancer is a bitch.

Cancer puts the C in the c-word.

RIP dear friend.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Happy 6!

It was my wedding anniversary on Sunday, 31st October (while I was on my little blog-cation).

After indulging in a three-course gourmet meal (great for the Weight Watcher!) with my handsome husband on the Saturday night, we had a gorgeous day with our little tribe down at Wiseman's Ferry. Swimming, walking and having a picnic. It was blissful.

I know I have confessed that I am an under-celebrator, but I absolutely loved our wedding day. I didn't LOVE planning it (way too many details for me), but the day was perfect. Our anniversary is one day each year available to indulge the fabulous memories and I must admit that I spent the whole day with a smile on my face.

Our wedding took place on a beautiful but extremely windy Sunday afternoon on a cliff-top on the Northern Beaches.

Here we are exchanging rings. As you can see, I was about 18 weeks pregnant. A maternity bride! How shocking?

It was so much fun! Family. Friends. Frocks. Music. Dancing. Great food. Celebration. Cupcakes. And an overwhelming sense of belonging, love and support. I wouldn't change a single thing about the day (except maybe inviting TICH's 'new' girlfriend of a couple of months because she is still his girlfriend and the sweetest thing. Who knew?).

I remember lying awake the night before the wedding, looking out at the full-moon over the water and thinking that tomorrow was going to be the beginning of my new life. With my best friend in the world. What could be more exciting?

Happy days.

What do you do to celebrate your wedding anniversary?
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