Friday, August 31, 2012

Three Things I've Learned In Our Marriage...

Someone asked me a while ago to describe three things that I have learned from our marriage.
Two things immediately came to mind, though they are probably not what you might imagine...

think, think, think
Think, think, think!

THE FIRST, I learned in the early months of our marriage.  When I was startled awake one night by a bad leg cramp..
I immediately pointed my toes, as a friend (?!) had taught me to do a few years earlier.

My new husband, also startled awake, immediately reached down and pulled my toes up.  It turns out that
 the worst thing you can do for a leg cramp is to point your toes!  If not for my marriage, I might never have
learned that!  I might still be pointing away in agony night after night..  Well, whenever I have a leg cramp that is.
(Apparently you need to stretch and lengthen the cramping muscle in order to ease it.)

THE SECOND - is every bit as useful...

My husband also taught me that I can clear a blocked nose by sleeping on my side away from the side that is blocked.
That's it.  I had not known that.  But it has been very helpful to me through many stuffy nights since!

My favorite painting by Frederic Lord Leighton, Flaming June. (The (toxic) Oleander branch in the top right, symbolises the fragile link between sleep and death)
'Flaming June' by Frederick Lord Leighton

may as well be 3,000 things that I have learned from marriage,
but the one thing that comes to mind foremost is the importance of Forgiveness.
To be willing to let go, so that moving forward is possible..

My husband taught me that too..  :)

"Forgiveness . . . 
may be the greatest virtue on earth, and certainly the most needed. There is so much of meanness and abuse, 
of intolerance and hatred. There is so great a need for repentance and forgiveness. It is the 
great principle emphasized in all of scripture, both ancient and modern."

President Gordon B. Hinckley


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Smile that frown away...

Last week and the beginning of this week I was having pathetic-ness 'issues' :)

I felt bored, stagnant, useless, lethargic, fat, and guilty for feeling all of those things.  James was out a lot, our car was out of commission a lot so the girls and I were 'stuck' at home a lot, and I developed a little cloud over my head.

The cloud over my head wasn't a storm cloud, it was a boring, dreary, pov little cloud that just felt sorry for itself.  It couldn't be bothered to storm.  This is what the world looked like:

Image from my 'dreary weather' Google image search ;)
Dumb, huh?  Especially since Brisbane hasn't had a drop of rain in weeks!!

My poor little family!

So on Monday I decided to stop being soooooooooo pathetic, pick my little puddle self off the floor and make this week better!  I decided to banish the pathetic little cloud and create some sunshine around this place.  I decided to become:

Also, from Google images.  Bless Google images :)  That's where all the images in this post are from :)

Ironically, James always used to say I was like sunshine when we were dating.  He even made me a shirt that said 'Little Miss Sunshine'.  Last week must've been a bit of a let down for him - nobody wants a shirt that says 'Pathetic Little Cloud'.

So I actually wrote a list of things I needed to do, to be that little ray of sunshine and disperse my pov little cloud.  Of course, my lists are never short, and I constantly add to them, but here's what I decided to do, and discovered doing halfway through the process and added to the list:

    • First, do the basics:  Read the scriptures, say your prayers, eat a good breakfast, brush your teeth.  These things make a WORLD of difference, even though they seem small!!  This week reading my scriptures and saying my prayers really helped me a lot!!
    • Put an effort into everything - don't be lazy, even if you want to be. Suck it up, and get up.
    • EMBRACE your responsibilities!! :)  LOVE what you do!!  You have to do it anyway, may as well attempt enjoyment!!  (If you really hate it, why do you do it?!  If it's a career you're hating, change it!!)
    • Eat nice food.  I don't mean chocolate (necessarily, or rather, I don't just mean chocolate), I mean make nice meals for yourself and whoever you cook for.  Buy nice meats and veg and put a little effort in.  I sure like eating nice food, and if an extra 10 minutes and couple of dollars means a nice meal as opposed to a pov one, well, I'm cooking anyway!  This week I got up and with Maggie, made a yummy big Sunday breakfast for a change - bacon, eggs, sausages, a big fruit salad, etc.  Yum!  And fun!! :)  The other night when James was studying late I got a block of chocolate, some cream and a bunch of fruit, and then melted the chocolate, added cream and made a fruit salad he could dip into the chocolate while he worked, and I had one too.  It almost felt like we were hanging out together!
    • Do things for people around you!!  Anyone!  Just little things!! Write someone a thankyou note.  Think about people other than yourself.  Do this one a lot, and include your family in 'people around you'.
    • Go outside.  Every day.  No matter what.  A lady who works with people with depression told me a while ago that for some people, even just going out into the sunlight each day helps enormously.  The sun makes you happy.  Light makes us happy.  Fresh air makes us happy.  We feel fitter, healthier, and lighter when we're outside.
    • Turn off the time-suckers in your life!!  Stop watching TV, turn off the computer.  
    • Instead, turn on some fun music and boogie while you work ;)  Be active!!  Your co-workers/children/husbands/friends will think YOU ROCK!!!!*
    • Accomplish something little, every day.  EVERY day.  Something from a long-term to-do list is great.  Things you never get around to.  Cleaning out a little drawer, reorganising a binder, whatever.  Mine today was chopping off my nails.  They grow too fast and annoy me, and I put off cutting them for ages sometimes.  But not today!!! ;)  Cleaning out any old food containers from my fridge works really well here too!
    • Organise/plan something in advance!!  A holiday you'll make reality one day, or in my case this week, the holiday season - I started my annual word document of Christmas presents to make/buy for all the family, so I know who I still need to plan for and how much time I need to make things - great for budgeting, and not feeling panicked and behind come December!
    • Smile!!!  Try smiling at random people you pass in the streets.  Sometimes they'll scowl at you, but you'll probably make someone's day, every day (on a busy street anyway ;)).  Wouldn't that be great?! :)
    • Try something new! - A meal, an attempt at something arty, some new sport or yoga pose or exercise?  Write a little poem?  Talking to someone you don't know?  Just do something out of the ordinary.  I bought my first ever cupcake tin, and Maggie and I are trying them out this weekend!
    • Don't cancel social engagements cause you feel lazy.  Catching up with friends is important, and can really give you that 'boost' you're looking for!  If you feel drained and unhappy after catching up with your friends, find new friends.  If you can't find any, make sure you're not draining people and making them unhappy!!! :)  I love this quote from James Barrie "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".  So spread the love!!  You'll feel the sun shining again!! :)
    • Look fabulous :)  Get up, get ready, and dress/do your hair/get your nails done/work out/do whatever it takes to make you feel like a million dollars!  The extra time will probably be worth it in happiness boost percentage!! :)   Whether you think you're supermodel material or not, you'll always feel better if you've dressed and groomed yourself well! :)

    • Throw out some stuff! - Simplify your life a little :)  Maybe this is just me.  I love clean, half empty spaces :)  GET RID OF ANY CLOTHES THAT ARE TOO BIG FOR YOU!!!  Don't anticipate putting weight back on (unless you're underweight, totally ignore this!) - move on, skinny! :)
    • Count your blessings.  I have a rocking husband and daughters, and another baby cooking.  No excuses for pathetic little rain clouds.  We need to refocus on what we have.  Great job?  Awesome family?  Secure income?  Great teeth? :D
    • DON'T SIT DOWN!!!!  I think that when I'm physically stagnant for too long, I feel stagnant all over.  If you're tired, schedule in a quick nap, and take it guilt free!  Don't waste 4 hours being lazy cause you're tired but have so much to do that you can't possibly have a nap!  Take 20 minutes ;)  Then get up and be active!!! :)
    That's my list.

    It worked very well.  I feel a LOT more sunshiny, and I think poor James is probably glad I'm at least on my way to dispersing my cloud and retrieving my sunshine!!

    I hope you're not being a pathetic little rain cloud, but if you are, turn that frown upside down and smile that frown away ;)  And enjoy the sunshine!!! ;)

    *They might not, they might think you're odd.  But this is irrelevant if you feel great!! :)

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Bonus Post!!

    How lucky are you?!!  I just posted below, but all that talk of light and photography made me think of a cool little trick you might like to know about:

    Whenever we film outdoor interviews at work, we try to schedule them for the morning or afternoon.  Occassionally though, schedules don't work out and we find ourselves shooting bang in the middle of the day. Obviously the light's quite harsh and the cameraman has his hands full bouncing and difusing light to try and make the image come off nicely (the best cameramen can do this really well).

    The secondary problem we have though, is that the poor talent has a terrible time trying not to squint through all of that 'light' the cameraman's bouncing onto their faces to even out the bright light of the midday sun. And trying to speak to camera without squinting when your eyes insist, is a bit of an ordeal.

    So here's the trick:  You close you're eyes, and face up towards the sun (ie. stare at the sun, but with your eyes closed).  Hold this for about 30 seconds, and then when you black back down and open your eyes, you'll find you don't need to squint much for the next little while.  When you start to squint again, just repeat the process.

    This had made life at midday much simplier!

    Of light and seasons

    Well, 2 sleeps to go and Brisbane will officially leave winter behind and head into Spring.

    I must admit, the last several days have been so beautiful and warm and have had a bit of that spring 'smell' in the air so that all I feel like doing is planning holidays and heading towards a nice relaxing Christmas break... 

    Of course, I've got a ways to go yet (4 months to be exact!)

    But as much as I'm looking forward to spring and even summer (since there is such as thing as air conditioning), I must admit I'm always just a little sad to see winter go.  We really do have the very best winters here in Australia.  Apart from maybe a month somewhere in the middle there where it actually does get cold, our winters are pretty much summers - but without all of the heat and humidity.

    But the thing I absolutely love the most about our winters, is the light.  We have the most perfect light in winter.  I've googled to try and figure out why this is and I still don't have a scientific answer (I assume it's got something to do with the sunshine and dry air?), but it's definitely anecdotally true: I work with a lot of cameramen, and it's a given in 'the industry' that if you want to shoot something/someone at it's absolutely best, you'll always shoot it in winter. You get a beautiful crsip image with colours that really pop.  All because of the gorgeous light.

    So grab your cameras and take advantage of these last few days of winter light, and then head inside to your computers, and start planning those summer vacations!  Yay! 
    xo Tammy

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    photo of the month

    I've decided to dedicate the last Tuesday of each month to my favourite photo taken in that month. As you already know I {L.O.V.E} taking photos, in particular scenery, but I am getting better at taking portraits and pictures of my kids too. My photography journey has been long so far (due to lack of knowledge - but I'm fixing that problem), but its one I want to share with you too. I'm open for any tips or hints that can help me along, but more importantly, it will be exciting to see how I grow and develop.

    So here we go .....

    Photo of the Month - August 2012

    My kids love strawberry picking. These strawberries were big, juicy and bright red. I just love the vibrant colours of this picture. Happy memories :)

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Wedding Planning Ideas Part 2

    (Continued from Part 1)
    (Continued on in Part 3)

    You're getting Married!! 

    Fabulous views across rural Cornwall from this Grade II listed Georgian Farm venue. Enchanting Wedding Venue: Early evening sun at Lantallack is one of the most enchanting times to enjoy the landscape. The trees have beautiful long shadows making them look like they're part of a pop up book. The light is warm and golden making for some spectacular wedding photos.    Copyright; Andrew Coulter. One of Lantallack's highly recommended photographers


    Ok, perhaps you're not, but here are a few Wedding planning ideas anyway..
    (Because, ..  sometime... somewhere... somehow...   )


    Wow.  This is a really long post.  I know, because I just finished writing it.  I don't think you are going to have time to read it! 

    I think I am going to have to split it into two again, ok?  (Or maybe three?  It's really long... )

    So - in case you've been holding out for a few  bits and pieces DIY ideas to save money, we'll start with  those.. 


    I love that you can see the 'Target' name on these shoes!  These are cheap shoes that I covered with a scrap of the same beautiful, (and not cheap), beaded French lace that I used on the sleeves of Abby's wedding dress.  The bridesmaid shoes were cheap plastic ballet flats that I covered with the same pink silk that I used for the bridesmaid dresses - which is a nice added bonus when you sew your own dresses.  All you need in order to cover simple shoes is some fabric, scissors, fabric glue, and a careful hand.  It's quick and pretty easy.  You can do it.  Wedding day shoes don't have to hold together forever..


    If you take a trip to your local flower market you can buy all the flowers you will need in bunches, to bring them home and put together your own flower bouquets, button-holes and table center-pieces.   You can teach yourself to make a bridal bouquet by finding a YouTube video of the arrangements you like.  It's not hard!  I've never had any training and I can do it, so you can too.  Doing your own flowers will save hundreds of dollars at your wedding.  If you don't have time, perhaps there is someone in the family or among your friends who would like to give it a go?  (Pre-order to get the colours you've chosen.)

    Wedding Dress

    If you are thinking of making your own dress, let me just say that - as long as you either already have some sewing experience, or are willing and able to follow the directions on a pattern - I think you should be fine.  I've never had dressmaking lessons, and if I can do it, you can too.  It's not rocket science.  I generally make my own patterns now, and find it easier than I thought it would be.  One of the nice things about sewing your own dress is that you can possibly afford a much nicer material than you would be able to buy ready-made, like this medium weight pure silk in Abby's dress.  And you get exactly the dress you wanted and that fits perfectly. (Hopefully!)  I don't love sewing, but when you can save so much...

    Another idea is to either borrow or probably hire a dress.  I have heard that you can hire $10,000 designer dresses for a few hundred dollars.  If I was interested in this, I think I would contact the designers I like.

    Wedding Car

    We all have different priorities, and I know that the wedding car would certainly be more important to some than to others - but this is an area where it is usually very easy to save money.  Unless you particularly hanker for a Rolls Royce or Bentley (and what beautiful cars they are!), the chances are good that you will have someone in your life who has an air-conditioned car that they would be willing to drive you about in.  (This is James' uncle, who drove him and Abby on their wedding day.)

    Invitations and  Place-cards

    With such ready access to colour printers, scanners, good-quality papers and to the internet, it's hard to think of a good reason not to at least consider making your own wedding stationary.
    (Of course, not enough time could be a reason.  Or perhaps 'I don't want to.'  That works too :)
    It's easy to co-ordinate all the stationary.  And it really doesn't take that long to do, considering the money you save.
    If you are interested, the internet lets you browse about to find ideas that you like.


    I wrote about how to make these inexpensive but pretty little candles here.


    teepee ceremony

    Have you ever heard of a 'Pop-up Restaurant'?  You start where there is nothing and you throw up a restaurant in a few hours.  Intriguing thought for a wedding..  although you do have to see if you need a permit from your council.  If it's a go, then you can hire a portable, noiseless generator and bring the party to you.  Although your wedding would be original, you do need to factor in the cost of hiring everything to bring it on site.  (And a wet weather plan.)

    After calling all of the City Councils up and down the south-east coast of Queensland in search of a beach where we could hold a wedding reception, I found that while it is legal to hold a party or get-together for a large group on the beach, you cannot call it a wedding reception.  One Councilor suggested we call it something else :)


    Need I say more?  -  A kind friend who likes to DJ, some borrowed or hired equipment and a play list will save you $

    Do you have any family or friends who sing or play an instrument, who may be happy to provide entertainment?


    I know that none of this advice is cutting edge - its purpose is to remind you that you don't have to spend a huge amount of money to have a lovely wedding - and also to know that you can successfully manage a lot of these things yourself - if you choose to.  This pretty wedding cake was made by my talented sister-in-law for our daughter Bethy's wedding.  But again, a wedding cake is not necessarily hard to make.  (I made my own when I got married, and I made a beautiful one for a friend some years ago, when she was trying to keep costs down.  And if I can do it...)  At the least, you could order a large, (actually quite yummy), chocolate mud cake from Coles bakery, and just decorate it yourself.  Even some white icing, lace ribbon and fresh flowers with look pretty.  You'll save several hundred dollars by making your own cake.

    Touches That Cost Little..   And Mean So Much

                                        Made by Abby

    It's often the personal input that makes the day extra special...

    Like these place cards made for Bethy's wedding.  They are printed on the inside with a personal message from the bride and groom for each guest.  The smiles on the faces of the readers say it all.
    (FYI  I did the flowers and made the place-cards at home.)

    It's time to go...

    You will find scores of Blogs dedicated to wedding planning.  A few that I quite like (I just did a quick search) :

    (Continued from Part 1)
    (Continued on in Part 3)

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Decorating the Nursery - Girl!!

    I was talking to Mum today, about how much I love dressing our little girls in pink.

    a)  People don't ask me how my son is
    b) Baby girls dressed in pink look so sweet and pretty and feminine!!

    When I have a son (Yes, I'm sure this will happen one day) I will love dressing him in blue.  I am completely confident about that as well :)  

    I will also want to do up a fun little 'boy' nursery if it is a boy!! If it is a girl, she will once again be handed down at least the basics from her big sisters.  

    Here's what we did for Maggie:

    One of the things I really wanted in our nursery (and which I want for all of our children's rooms) was a picture of the Saviour - preferably a sweet one of Him with some children.  Mum and Dad brought me this one back from the LDS Church Distribution Centre in the States ... or maybe from Deseret Book??  (I don't know which, but they are here and here and you can find beautiful art on both!)

    My lovely friend Kaili  painted the gorgeous picture above the change table!! :)  

    I painted some little canvases and attached them with ribbon to hang up above the chest of drawers - I copied the cute pattern which was on the cot set and curtains :)  The cot sheet set/curtains etc. are a a line from Kidsline called 'Clothesline'.  If you google Kidsline Clothesline you'll be able to find it.  I have been really happy with it! :)

    Over time things have changed a little - our rocking chair didn't live for too long - it was older and it (we strangely have no idea how) ended up with a giant crack down the seat!  So that's not out at the moment, and I miss the beautiful quilt Mum made splashing its beautiful colours in there!  We also (during Ana's time) swapped around the cot and the chest of drawers, so the drawers are under the framed picture of the Saviour, and the cot is under the canvases I painted (and yes, Ana is still sleeping under a canvas that says 'Maggie'!!).  The things on the bookshelf are also a little different, but we didn't change too much when Ana was born and we whisked Maggie into her newly created bed/toy room!!!

    Decorating rocks my little socks :)

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    I'd tie some string around my finger, but I won't remember what it's for...

    I had a really fabulous idea for today's post.  Like, really fabulous.  I thought of it a couple of days ago, and I've been half writing it in my head for the last 72 hours. It's been getting really good, really polished.  And I was planning to actually type it up this morning to share with all of you.

    Small problem:  Can't for the life of me remember WHAT my fabulous idea was!! 

    I've been racking my brain for the last hour, but it remains curiously and un-like-me-ably empty. *sigh* 

    So how would you like to hear about some good books I've been reading lately instead?!  I noticed a big sale in a bookstore near my house a week or so ago, and when I went inside I was pretty thrilled to discover that it was a legitimately good sale, not just a we-marked-3-books-down-by-2-dollars-hahaha-we-tricked-you-and-now-that-you're-here-you-might-as-well-buy-something-anyway sale.  (Which usually get me, unfortunately).

    Anyway, I've read three of the books and am really enjoying them.  I bought them because they were $7 each and when I flipped randomly through them in the store reading a page here or there, they seemed good. And so far, I've been thrilled to find that they actually are all interesting.  So double yee-ha there: Cheap and Good.

    Anway, here we go:

    BOOK ONE -

    ...Oh dear.  I actually can't remember what the first book was.  I had it a minute ago, but I honestly can't remember what it was!

    Maybe I'm sick.... I think I smell feathers... I probably have an inoperable brain tumour...

    BOOK TWO -

    ...Okay, I can see it in my mind... something about midwives in the east end of London in the 1950s... It's a memoir and it's really good.... apparently it was a NY Times best seller... it became a miniseries on the BBC... the front cover has a picture of 1950s girls in nurses uniforms on bicycles... I learnt a ton about babies and life in the East End Slums in the 1950s...

    No idea what it's called.


    Ah ha! SUCCESS!!! As luck would have it, the book is still sitting in my handbag so I know what it's called! It's called Little Princes:

    And again it's an Autobiography/Memoir (they all were I think... and the first one also had something to do with London in the 40s and 50s... I think...) about a fellow who went on a three month volunteering-in-an-orphanage stint to Nepal, and has ended up opening his own Not For Profit organisation re-uniting children who'd been trafficked with their families.  It's actually a fabulous read.  Not just the story, but his voice.  He's really entertaining and has a witty and relatable sense of humour.  He's speaks with the tone of a regular guy who accidental got mixed up in this charity thing because he really only originally went so he'd look good to his friends and family who were giving him a hard time about that fact that he'd quit his job so he could travel the world for a year. 

    I really love the way his tone maturing throughout the book too - at the beginning the first chapter had me laughing out loud, he jokes about everything and is terrified and just wants to go home where there's no guns, and running water and pizza.  But as he grows up and finds a purpose with this stuff, his tone settles down and his writing is calmer.    He kept a travel blog I think, and so I wonder if he's pulled from that blog which has resulted in the changing tone, or whether he consciously wrote the book that way.

    Either way, I'm enjoying it.

    And I love that I was finally able to remember something for today's post.

    You're welcome to borrow it when I've finished it, but you'll have to write your name down in the 'book borrowing' notebook I'm planning to buy.

    Because I currently have about 15 books out on loan, and I'm having troubling collecting them back because I can't remember who I actually lent them to....

    xo Tammy

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012


    Cousins are those childhood playmates who grow up to be forever friends. (Anonymous)

    A few short years ago, there were no nieces  or nephews in our family. It started with one little girl, followed by 2 more quickly and then one by one they came (and are still coming with one on the way - and for many more years to come!). Having a close cousin, someone you can play with, identify with and hang out with is worth more than the treasure in all the world. Not only are our children blessed to have their cousins close by, but they truly are all best friends.

    As part of a fairly new tradition, the nieces and nephew (poor little boy!) get together and have a photoshoot, for Father's Day for Pop (shhhh ... don't tell him!). Abby had the brilliant idea last year to do this and put the pictures into a photo book. Not only does Pop get to get reminded of his prosperity, but can bring out the book, anytime to remind him of the little people in his life that love him so much.

    Capturing the cousins is a wonderful way to remember (a) how many there are of them at this point in time (b) how old they are and (c) to see how much they can grow in a year. Just comparing last year to this year, you can see how much they grow (especially if they are a baby in the photo shoot) and how many were born in the last year. 

    There certainly is a bond between cousins, and keeping photo memories through this tradition each year, will help us to remember how lucky we are to have these wonderful children in our lives.