It is currently the end of the school holidays. We've had the best time just chilling out in Melbourne, a nice change from our usual travel-packed holidays. I can't believe it's the end of September already, which means that Ella will be 15 months old tomorrow. Here's what we've been up to this month:
Reading: I'm in the middle of two books at the moment. I find I can read two books at a time as long as they are not both fiction. My non-fiction book I mentioned in my last post, called All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior. It's a look at the impact of children on parents, and the title is a good description of what it can sometimes feel like to be a parent: a lot of joyful moments, but not a lot of fun. I'm only about a quarter of the way through but I'd recommend it for any parents out there, regardless of how old your children are.
The fiction book I'm reading is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I reserved this from the library about four months ago, and I was 270th on the waiting list. So, it's a popular book. When I finally got notified that it was my turn to borrow the book, I almost gave it right back when I saw the size of it. At over 700 pages I'm not sure how I'm going to get through it by the time my three week loan is up. However, I am SO GLAD I did start reading it. It is utterly gripping (but devastating) and I can't put it down at night, even as my eyelids are closing while I try and squeeze in one more page.
Watching: We are about halfway through Australian Survivor and I'm loving it, but shhhhh don't tell anyone! Andy always makes fun of me for watching it, but when he actually pays attention I can tell he is secretly hooked as well. Also loving Master of None on Netflix, and Season 2 of Narcos. Oh and for the first time I watched the American presidential debate. SO MANY THINGS that could be said about this. I don't even know where to start. I won't bother. Personally, I find it hard to understand how anyone can think that Donald Trump is fit to run a country.
Listening to: A couple of new podcasts (for me): Planet Money and This American Life from NPR, both are ace. Also I've started listening to Optimal Finance Daily and Optimal Living Daily. Both follow the same format, which is the reading of a popular blog on personal finance/life - it's a good way to get a daily dose of current blog posts without having to find them yourself. Each episode is less than 10 minutes long as well, so very manageable.
Wearing: Less leggings, more jeans/real people's clothes. I figured that the "new mom" excuse of always wearing leggings/yoga pants is not valid for more then a year after giving birth. Don't get me wrong, I still love a bit of activewear, especially if I'm not actually going anywhere beyond Woolworths. But I've made a bit more of an effort to wear jeans when going out lately, and it does make me feel more put together.
Planning: Our move next month. Yes, we are moving AGAIN. This will be our fourth, and hopefully last, rental in Melbourne. We are moving a few km further north, to Brunswick East. We wanted a 3 bed, 2 bath house as the plan is to get an au pair to help with childcare next year. (We're also hoping that we will have some extended visits from the grandparents as well!) We move in two weeks time, so lots to be done by then. The good thing about the moving is that it forces a clear out of our "stuff" and we've already got rid of loads, either via gumtree, the charity shop, or throwing things out. It always feels so cleansing when you have a good clear out!
Cooking: Beans! For the first time I cooked dried black beans instead of just buying them in a can (which can be hard to find in Australia). I used this recipe, and Ella loved them! With them I made a sweet potato/quinoa/avocado mix with a coriander lime dressing, and also used them to just make rice and bean tacos. Yum! This is part of my effort to use up lots of our food from the pantry before our move.
Also, I bought the new One Handed Cooks cookbook. One Handed Cooks is a website with baby/toddler friendly recipes that are good for the whole family. Loving the recipes I have made so far. From their website my favourite thing to make Ella is these Turkey Broccoli nuggets. You can put lots of veggies in these, they have a lot of protein, and they are a great "on-the-go" food. Perfect!
Loving: School holidays. They really are the best. We've sent Ella to daycare on her regular days which has given Andy and I some time alone together, which is very rare for us as expat parents. It's been so great.
Hating: Hmmmm, I can't think of anything for this one. I guess that's a good thing?!
Working on: Gratitude. I went to a school leader's dinner earlier in the month and saw Hugh van Cuylenburg from The Resilience Project speak. It was one of the best talks I've been to in a long time, and an excellent reminder of how much I have to be grateful for. I've re-ignited my gratitude joural, writing about three things that I'm grateful for/made me happy each day. I've even got Andy on board this past week.
Feeling: Sad about our move, as I love our area. I'm especially going to miss my yoga studio, my mother's group, and our neighbours. I do wish we could afford to stay in this area, but 3 bed/2 bath houses are hard to come by so close to the city, and cost about $800/week - yikes!
Looking forward to: Ella's first steps. She is so, so close.
Grateful for: My yoga studio, which, as mentioned I will really miss. But it has really got me much more interested and dedicated to my yoga practice, which I will hopefully continue once we move.
Pic of the Month: A rare day out, just the two of us!
Pic of the Month: A rare day out, just the two of us!