Saturday, 30 August 2014

Butterfly Nooooooo

We went to the zoo last weekend and it was awesome.  There is a butterfly exhibit where they all fly around and are awesome, and I think everyone in there really hopes one will land on them.  I have a deep phobia of moths.  I completely hate them and think they are disgusting and pointless.  I did not wish that a butterfly would land on me, but land it did!

I'm sharing these pictures because they are pretty funny.  I was sooooo uncomfortable because I wanted to flail so bad, but felt like killing a butterfly would be bad karma (I'd still kill a moth no problem). 

That's all!  Oh and yes Clementine was very cute throughout the whole zoo experience.  She really wanted to put the butterflies in her mouth.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Some things and some other things

I don't have a very epic topic today, it's been a big week for me and we haven't had time to do anything photogenic.  So instead, I'll share these pictures I took a while ago of the donkeys that live on the property next door to the Somers house.  Anyone who knows me knows if there is a farm animal (or really any animal) within reach, I'm going to try and pat it and feed it grass.

There is a boy donkey and his smaller, lady counterpart.  He never lets her eat any of the grass, what a stinker.  They are the fluffiest, most well cared for donkeys I have ever seen.

Even for a stinker, he has a very cute donkey face.

I want to cuddle him and those ears.

So that's that.  Cute donkeys, maybe one day we will have some of our very own.  Maybe if you are lucky, later today I will write a blog post at work about why this has been a big week for me!  Wait, at work??  What??  Stay tuned!

Monday, 25 August 2014

How to Make Grownup Friends

You know, you probably have a few of those things in life where you think you are really crappy at, but if you think about it a little longer, turns out you're actually pretty ok.

Making friends is one of those things for me.  I am deeply introverted and shy.  I almost never feel comfortable being the center of attention.  But! I've lived in a lot of different places and I am pleased to admit that in every one of those places, I've formed an excellent, close-knit little tribe.  I know this is something most people struggle with, especially when you are older and living in places where you didn't grow up.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, so I made a list of best practice solutions.

1.  Accept that people will turn you down.  This maybe seems like a negative way to start the list, but it's really a positive.  You have to reach out to many kinds of people to make friends, and most of them will be preoccupied, in a bad mood that day, or a little crazy themselves and will not be receptive to your friend vibes.  That's ok!  Keep trying, it only takes one or two awesome people to make friends.

2.  Ask questions.  People love to talk about themselves.  Ask them things.  You should be listening 80% and talking 20% of the time.  Look for parts in the conversation that open up to bigger things, especially if you think you have a similar interest.

3.  Don't make small talk.  I'm not saying don't talk to people, just the opposite.  Make sure when you do, you're talking to them in a way that will ensure they can't give you one-word, nothing answers.  This article, How to turn small talk into smart conversation, describes this well.  For example, don't say "I like your shoes." Say, "Where did you get those awesome shoes?"

4.  Become a regular somewhere.  People are way more likely to open up to you if they've seen you in a regular, casual fashion.  This is why it's easier to make friends at work.  If you have a local cafe or shop that you love, make the extra effort to talk to people there.  We go to a playgroup at the library every week and it's the only place I've been able to meet other Moms.

5.  Watch your body language.  I didn't realize how important this one was until Alec learned about it at work when being trained on how to interview people. Don't cross your arms, fidget too much, or turn your shoulder towards them.  Also, smiles are good.

6.  Don't be afraid of making the extra effort.  You know that point at the end of the conversation where it's all over and you think, I'd really like to see this person again! That's when you go, "Hey, can I look you up on facebook?" Or "Let's meet up for a coffee sometime soon."  Admittedly this is the hardest part (and keep #1 in mind) but when it works, it works.

7.  Reflect on the power of kindness.  If you are nice to people, they will probably be nice back to you.  Being nice also feels really good mostly.

8.  Be patient, really really patient.  This takes time!  You probably won't go to the grocery store this afternoon and find a bucket of cool people.  I think it took me a solid year of living in Melbourne to feel like I had any inkling of friends outside of my family.  It was hard.  It seemed like everyone I talked to already had their own friends, but like I said, it only takes one or two.

Sooo what do you think?  Do you feel like an awkward weirdo in new places too?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and please pass this post on to anyone who might also like it :)

Aaand because this is a blog post and all posts need pictures, here's some pictures of a few of my awesome friends who are all cute and wonderful and I miss them.  (I stole them from facebook)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Happy Weekend!

Finally!  Our girl is crawling AND we have some sunshine and warm weather.  Alec worked from home on Friday so we took a lunch break at the dog park to enjoy the weather.  It was so good that we had to plop in the grass and sit for a while.

Clementine really loves to put the ball thrower in her mouth so I'm glad she had a little motivation and gave us this video.  I can't wait to rewatch it when she's a teenager and get misty over how small and sweet she is/was.  She also got a good taste of some grass and other weeds.. mm, salad!

After a long and crappy winter, some sunshine on my skin feels like a revelation.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that it makes my muscles sing and my whole body feels like it's smiling.  It might be just enough to sustain us through the rest of spring.  Oh Melbourne and your flip-floppy weather.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Blog pause!

As you can see, I haven't posted anything in a while.  Everything is fine, I'm just giving myself a little mental break to reassess and refresh my mental state.  Thank you to everyone who reached out after my post on PPD, it's so easy to forget sometimes how many people I actually have in my life who actually love and care about me.  I'm guessing this is the case for everyone else who is going through the same thing!

All four of us (Me, Alec, Anders, and Clementine) all have stuffy head colds this week, booooo.  Our house has been overcome by pajamas, cuddles, hot cups of lemon tea, medicine, and mounds of dirty dishes.  It looks like the weather will be in the 17-19 range this weekend (that's high 60s for you N Americans) so at least we have some slightly warmer weather to look forward to!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Clementine @ 9 months, 3 days

Can you even believe how big this girl is getting?  The hours are long, but the months are so short.  I met a friend's brand new baby the other day and starting tearing up right there in the cafe because MY BABY ISNT SMALL ANYMORE WAAAA.  Even still, I think she gets better with age.

This is the best time, she's so interactive, her personality is developing sooo much, and she's finally figuring out how to move around.  I thought I'd list a few developments to share with y'all.

-Favorite places are out where she can interact with people, she looves the train and anywhere she can see other kids playing like Nursery Rhyme group at the library.

-Loves hugs and cuddles.  She gives Dad hugs first thing when she wakes up every morning and whenever she feels like it throughout the day.  Occasionally a lucky non-mom/dad person will get one too. 

-Eats everything except potatoes and other boring foods.  She is an adventurous eater and even likes spicy foods (my girl!!).  She eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner on top of boobs.

-Loves animals, especially Mimi the cat.  She giggles uproariously when Mimi walks by.  She also loves Benji, Jess's dog, who makes lots of grunts and loves to lick her toes.

-She has figured out throwing food on the ground during meal time and also that Molly will come by and eat whatever she drops.  Finds this very funny, we are working on teaching her this is not ok.

-Very chatty.  No actual words yet, but lots of sounds and giggles.  She regularly wakes up and talks to herself in bed until someone comes to get her.  She will yell at people in public if strangers don't acknowledge her when she wants.  She has a lot to say!

We think her blue eyes and blonde hair are here to stay, which is just what I looked like at this age!

Her smile is the best thing ever and she smiles all day long.  The happier she gets, the wider and bigger it is.  I am surprised she can open her mouth so big.

Loves toys, especially ones she can bang on something else like these little gears.

Picking dog hairs off of the rug to eat.  Yeah, I don't know either...

The other day I left her on the bathroom floor because she was happily rolling around while I was getting ready.  I came back two seconds later and she'd knocked over the trash can and was eating garbage.  Great!

Playing with toys and looking at Dad taking pictures.

Goof balls

A new favorite game, put toys in grown up's mouth.  Even better if grown ups make growling noises and pretend to eat toys.  

This is often followed by another beloved game, Smash Mom in Glasses with Toy.

She is also discovering what a temper tantrum is, FUN.  She is willful and cheeky (just like her parents/whole family) and we are having to train ourselves not to give into it.  She is already showing tyrant tendencies which is hard for me, because I really just want to give her everything she wants.  I know she is faking it a lot of the time because when she's crying and I pick her up, she is instantly ok.  Gotta work on that one..

So yes, lots of fun things happening.  Ups and downs, but mostly ups.  She sure keeps us on our toes!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

City Date

On Saturday we had an occasion to go to the city and meet friends for drinks BY OURSELVES.  I am not exaggerating, this is only the second time we have done this since Clementine was born.  It should really happen more often but like I said to Anders this weekend, I am not "there" yet.  Baby steps!

I didn't take any pictures while we were with friends because we sort of forgot, but then as we were walking back to the train, I was like "Wait, pictures!"  Carrying around a dlsr is not exactly convenient.

Random shots of walking down Swanston St. and just so happened to catch these skateboarders.  They are brave, I would never ride a skateboard in city traffic.  The crappy weather doesn't seem to phase anyone but me, the sidewalks were packed.  

Funny story, once I accidentally drove down this street (it's for trams and taxis only) while showing some visiting friends around the city at night.  It was so scary.  I thought I got away with it until I got a ticket in the mail, thanks Obama!

Mr. Handsome, just going to point out how long and full Alec's beard is getting.  If I want to butter him up, complimenting him on his beard always works ^_^

Wasn't going to include this one, but then I noticed Alec's hair.  Look at all those greys!  I love it.

Annnnnd me!  I am really trying to work on not looking like a goofball in pictures, but it's two steps forward, three steps back with that one.  There were about 100 pictures where I made silly faces, it was not any easier considering a few hundred people walked by and stared in the process.

This dress is pretty much the reason I brought the camera at all.  I bought it in Tokyo when I went with Anders and I loooove it.  It's so weird and always feels a little dramatic.

So that's our afternoon in the city.  So romantic.  We held hands on the train and made jokes and felt very carefree for a few hours.  Thanks Anders for watching Clementine!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Oh, Life.

This picture pretty much sums up what's been on with me lately.  Sitting on my couch, breastfeeding, trying to figure out what the hell is going on with my computer (like realizing my Photobooth has been open for I don't even know how long??).

In favor of being very frank, I have been rather depressed lately.  And anxious, so so so anxious about absolutely nothing.  It came on strong and unexpectedly and we are still trying to figure out what to do with it.  Everything seems much more difficult than it should be.  Everyone warned me about this possibility but I thought I was out of the woods because everything was pretty great for a long time after Clementine was born.  Then... SUDDENLY.

Let's just call it what it is, POST PARTUM DEPRESSION.  Ugh, gross, seriously.  I don't even know. Besides the uncontrollable hormones and feelings, it sucks because when I have the Sane Kirsta Hat, I say to myself "Self, everything is totally cool.  You have an amazing husband, your kid sleeps through the night, Anders is here, and ducted heating."  I think Sane Kirsta went on vacation for a while.

Here is my list of things I'm doing to get through this (could also apply to How to Survive Winter):

1.  Be honest with people and reach out.  PPD is extremely isolating, sometimes I feel like no one likes me anymore and no one gets what I'm going through.  This is simply not true.  I'm still having a hard time making friends with Moms here, but I'm working on it.  I have a handful of really excellent and supportive friends who have been amazing.

2.  Eat well.  This one's hard for me because when I'm stressed, I forget to eat.  I combat this by making sure we have a ton of food in the house and getting myself into an eating routine.

3.  Exercise.   I still had a lot of back pain after we got home from America, so I started doing Pilates a few times a week.  I do Fitness Blender videos on youtube.  They have all lengths and skill levels and a very straightforward approach that really works for me.  I find that 15-30 minutes during nap time is manageable and does wonders for my whole life.

4.  Get sunshine.  This one is the most elusive of them all because it's winter and it's almost always overcast.  I learned this while I lived in Seattle, if you see some sunshine outside, go stand in that one little sliver even if it only lasts a minute.  It feels so good and nice.

5.  Get help.  Some people might be opposed to this, but I'm seeing a new therapist and she has been mighty helpful.  Sometimes we just need to get all the crap off our chests to an objective observer.

6.  Read a book.  This is my most recent development as I seem to have forgotten how much I enjoy reading since Clem was born.  I read a lot of crap on the internet but reading a book takes focus and dedication.  If I can get through one, I will be very proud of myself!

So, here we are.  I want to close by saying that I'm a fighter, so yes this is really crappy right now, but I'm fully dedicated to getting myself through it.  I know a few other Mommas who are going through the same thing and they are fighters too.  And, you know Alec is a fighter as well.  He has been right there with me the whole time and I really wouldn't be here without his patience and love.

Oh, and look who can support herself standing up!  This little goober is worth all of it :)

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Walking on the Beach

These are the pictures I took on the beach after Anders took over Clem carrying duties.  The beach is pretty empty in the winter, we usually only see a few people out walking their dogs (like us!).

It might be hard to imagine for all yous sweating your butts off in the Northern Hemisphere, but it's winter!  It's freezing at the beach (in a good way).  It couldn't decide if it wanted to rain the whole walk.

The kelp builds up in the winter and is usually mostly gone in the summer.  It helps protect against erosion.  I think someone told me this, no idea who.

The view with your back to the water.

Molly is a ferocious animal who loves to rip apart sponges!  They are plentiful along the beach.  I've never seen her play with anything with such unadulterated joy.

Anders throwing sponges for Molly (which sounds weird when I type it out).

Molly giving the water a little side-eye.  She does not care for the water.

It's nice to walk in the cold sometimes when you have the right jacket and socks and hat, but I'm pretty ready for summer to come back.  I miss the sun and the thought of going to the beach in my regular non-pregnant body is sooooo appealing.  But in the meantime, winter!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Follow me on Instagram!  @kwhawk

It's mostly pictures of Clementine, Molly, and my rainbow hair.


Nature Study 06 / Somers Landscapes

This is the scene on a walk to the end of the driveway, a long dirt path that crosses most of the property. Ummmm I keep thinking of things to say, but really they speak for themselves.  It's big and beautiful and the only thing that makes this walk even better is dog friends.