Writing Again

The problem with not writing for a long time is that it becomes overwhelming to start again. It’s impossible to fill in all of the gaps, but surely I have to say something about what happened in the midst of the blogging-abyss? I didn’t mean it. I didn’t intentionally stop blogging – I just wasn’t sure whether I should keep writing. I read books about blogging and being professional and writing the most awesome blogs ever and making billions of dollars on blogs and became crippled with indecision and inability. I couldn’t decide what (or perhaps more accurately, who) my blog was for. I couldn’t dedicate time and money to it so that it would become the worlds absolutely best blog in the world. And so I stopped. And once I stopped it was hard to start again. But lately I’ve wanted to have something slightly productive to do with some time that I have. Blogging came back up as an option, and even though I haven’t actually worked anything else out about why I’m writing, and how I will do it, here I am again. It feels good!

<<Insert Obligatory Update Here>>

Well… We are currently Candidates/Appointees with OMF International, aiming to leave for Japan in January 2015 (4/5 months away!) and have been doing Partnership Development since the start of this year roughly. Of course, Paul continues to study full time, and is in his last Semester of his Masters of Divinity. Heidi now goes to 3 year old Kinder twice a week (a total of 5 hours) and I continue to look after the girls full time. Pippa is almost 2 chronologically, but most definitely almost 2 in terms of the developmental challenges that parents face with 2 year olds. Enough said!

As I sit here writing, I realise I have a lot more to say about things, but just want to keep this post short. So, thanks for tuning in – I look forward to getting back into blogging a bit more!


Run Melbourne 10K

Me and the nearly 9 month old Pippa post race!

Me and the nearly 9 month old Pippa post race!

Last Sunday was the BIG day.

I had been nervously anticipating Race Day for a little while, and when I woke just before 7am I was considerably pleased that the original forecast for rain & hail had indeed been incorrect, as the skies greeted me with frost and sun. I ran around getting ready, and decided to only eat two pieces of toast for the fear that my usual breakfast of porridge would not sit well in my stomach during the race. I had put my clothes out the night before, pinned on my race number, even making sure I had the right underwear. I didn’t want to run around disorganised in the morning and miss my train. After breastfeeding Pippa, and saying goodbye to the family I headed off to the train station. It really was a beautiful morning, albeit cold!

I arrived at Flinders Street Station at around 8:30, and with my wave of the 10K starting around 9:30 I was fairly confident I had enough time to do the things I needed to do. First stop, like just about every other female in Australia, was the toilet. The line at the Station was huge, so I ran around and found some at Hungry Jacks. There were even lines there! The solidarity of a group of ladies, clearly in their running gear, standing at a Fast Food Restaurant toilets early on a cold winters morning was great. We smiled knowing smiles at one another, and laughed about the hunt for a toilet, and trying to avoid queues, all the while standing in one.

The next step was bag drop-off, so I headed back to Flinders Street, trying to get to Federation Square. It was so congested. Due to safety, we couldn’t simply cross the road at Flinders, but go down via an underpass and there was a terrible bottleneck. It took maybe 15 minutes simply to get over to Fed Square. I was really glad that Paul had decided to come in later with the girls and the giant double pram (which I love by the way), and would be able to miss the worst of the crowding.

After finally getting across to the bag drop off area, and convincing myself that despite the chilly temperature and icy wind, that I was not cold and didn’t need a jumper, I still had about 20 minutes or so until the race, so I had a look around the place.

I have only done a few Fun Runs – maybe 5 all together. But I think this one might have been the biggest! There were stands for all different kinds of things – charities, companies etc. There were bands playing, games happening, and the atmosphere was generally quite exciting. I tried not to get carried away in it too much, not that I could really as I was feeling increasingly nervous as the time approached.

But before heading over to the Start I made my way down briefly to the World Vision tent to say hello to some friends, who had finished the Half Marathon already (!!), and then off I went.

There were a lot of people doing the 10K (about 7,000), and so that meant that despite having 4 waves of runners, it was still very crowded. I began running with a wave and a smile to a photographer, guessing that I might not want to smile in any of the other photos! Those of you who run a bit will know that some days you step out and feel good from the start. Some days every step you take is hard, and your body seems to fight it the whole way. Unfortunately, I felt pretty rubbish the whole run. I’m not sure why – maybe I was a little hungry, hadn’t gotten enough sleep, was not hydrated enough – whatever it was, it was yuk. So I knew I wasn’t going to be making a good time. So I focused on getting it done as well as I could, and tried to have a good time.

Around the 3K mark my knees were feeling sore (sometimes happens, sometimes doesn’t), so I had a short walk break, but no longer than 30 seconds. I did this a couple of times during the run, as my knees respond well to just a little break and then I can keep on going.

The kilometres felt loooonnnngggggg. Each time we came to a distance marker I felt as though I had done double! Not knowing the course well, or ever having run that way, might have contributed to it.

Towards the end (last few K’s) I was keeping my eyes out for Paul and the girls, but wasn’t sure if I was see them. So I was super excited when I heard “Melly!” and say Paul next to the road with the girls. A big smile and a wave made my day. And as I cam back past them, Heidi was out of the pram and waving too, and that really helped me keep going. By that stage of the run I was just trying to finish and have fun. I spoke with a few people running alongside me, encouraging them to keep going, and that they were doing a great job. I would have been thrilled had someone done that to me, so just figured it would help some others along too.

As I neared the finish line (gotta love a downhill finish!) I was quite eager to stop running! I got across the line and moved on through the crowds, collected my medal and show bag, had my tag taken off my shoe, and slowly (gingerly) made my way to the World Vision tent where I had planned to meet Paul. After a little stretch (not enough!), a banana and some water, Paul found me and I chatted with some friends.

It was a great morning, and although I didn’t make the 60 minute time that I had originally hoped for, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was happy to finish in 1:13 – a time that I can hopefully improve on one day! More importantly though, I am so proud, with the help of family and friends, to have raised over $400 for World Vision and the amazing work that they do around the world to help vulnerable and impoverished people. If I had walked the whole thing I would still be proud to have raised the money. What a joy it is to give to others!

I am also so glad to have reached my second (of two) major fitness goals for the year: To run a 10K before Pippa turns 1. Pippa is almost 9 months old, so I have beaten my deadline by 3 months! Yay! And I am happy to be an example of a healthy lifestyle to my two little girls. I love it that when I put on my running clothes Heidi says, “Mummy’s going for a run!” I am FAR from perfect, but I hope to encourage them towards an active and healthy lifestyle.

Finally, thank you for all of the support, encouragement and donations that you have given to this great cause. May we do what we can to make a difference, somehow. Thank you for giving your change to make a change.

PS. In case you were wondering, donations can be made up until the end of August…


Fitness Fill-in & Fundraising

This is the most true statement of all true statements. About running. And treadmills.

This is the most true statement of all true statements. About running. And treadmills.

Quite obviously I have sucked at blogging each Friday about Fitness. There is no denying, avoiding or ignoring it. I tried that for a little while, but have chosen to move on. Ha. So I have oh-s0-intelligently named this post “Friday Fill-in & Fundraising” because I know that a wonderfully creative post title will help you to forgive me more easily. Thank you.

As many of you will know, largely due to the countdown on the main blog page, the 10K is coming up in 6 days!! This Sunday!! And here is how I am feeling.

10 weeks is a long time to be in training. Maybe it’s not really, but I feel like it is. Well, it’s a long time to stay on task with something that is difficult. Perseverance is required. Perseverance is hard. My perseverance may not have been perfect. But I’m still here.

Running is a mental battle. How a run goes depends almost entirely on my mental state at the time, with slight input from my physical state. A few weeks ago I was still struggling to get back into the habit of a long slow run without walking breaks, as I had been doing lots of quick runs-walk break type running/training. So I decided to go for it, and did 7K fairly comfortably and easily. I was somewhere new and different, with a route more scenic than the usual footpaths around home, and had left Paul to bathe the girls and cook dinner, so felt obligated to really go for it and make the most of the run. My mind determined before my run pretty much if it would be a good one or a bad one.

Fundraising is hard. Much harder than I was expecting. On that note, please think about donating to World Vision! I have no shame!

My motivation has risen and fallen – currently low. I am counting down until Sunday, so I can stop thinking about the training I have to be doing, and how it is all going to go. I know I should be getting more excited, and I think that is beginning, but mostly I am just not feeling great about how my training has gone. I am super glad to be raising money for World Vision, and to attempt a 10K race on Sunday, but it’s not been easy.

What I find hard is finding a balance between being sensible, and making godly decisions, and just doing something regardless. It’s hard not to feel like taking time off from running because my girls have been sick, and I have had a cold/cough for a few weeks (almost cleared up now), and with Pippa not sleeping well. So am I just giving up/weak/looking for reasons and failing at my preparation? Or is that wise when I think about my family? Urgh, it’s so difficult to know. Probably it’s a mix. Sometimes I should have pushed harder, other times I made the right decision.

Running on a treadmill is not fun. I have done it once. I did not like it. See above funny yet true picture.

Running is a family sport. In the sense that Paul really supports me well, and without that I wouldn’t be able to do it! If he doesn’t make time to look after the girls, (and then occasionally encourage me to get out for a run), it doesn’t happen.

I have kept at it. I have run usually 2 or 3 times a week, but my distances have not been long, with 7K being my longest. I am hopeful I can do the 10K! Any advice for my last week, having just recovered from a nasty cough? And what the heck do I do if it pours with rain all through the race – cold, wintery, blustery Melbourne rain? I’m not sure how I feel about this very real possibility…!

Thanks again though for all of your support. And please, any amount of support for World Vision would be life changing to someone, somewhere in the world. And encouraging to me. Thanks.

PS. http://runmelbourne.everydayhero.com.au/melissa_jessop

Fitness Frustrations

My running has not gone well over the last 2 weeks. And being in the middle of training for my first 10K this is not such good news.

I teeter between feeling like I have reasons for this, and guiltily suspect they might be excuses. But I think they really are reasons. Maybe. My reticence to even decide what they are shows my inner turmoil!

Last week Paul was studying like mad as he had 3 exams in 4 days. We then had Saturday to pack, and we left our home at 4:30 Sunday morning. So my decision last week was not actually a decision. I didn’t have time to get out of the house because Paul had so much study.

This week, we arrived in Japan late on Sunday night. It is hot, humid and rainy, and the days have been long. But the major factor in all of this has been a certain child of mine who has been up numerous times during the night. Think 10, 12:30, 2, 4:30 etc. so I’m fairly exhausted and in the I frequent moments of time where I could have an opportunity to get out, sleep is winning.

When I think that my reasons for running are health and family, these reasons to have not been out to run are valid. Putting family first in this way must happen. I know fitness is important, and is part of caring for my family. But that doesn’t always mean I can run when I want. The struggle is to not feel like a failure, but to keep going as soon as I can.

My commitment to doing the 10K hasn’t waned, but my ability to run has just at the moment. I’m actually still hopeful to get out tomorrow. Pray that I can! I want to run at least once in Tokyo!!

Fitness Friday #3 & #4

I have to catch up on some Fitness Friday blogs, as life has conspired against me getting them done in the last few weeks. So here goes.


Week 1 of my 10 week training program saw me enthusiastic and motivated…yet unwell. My first run went really well, but this is what the week looked like:

Monday – 5 x (5mins jog/2mins walk) Total time = 35 minutes. Killed it. Ran faster, because I want to run faster. Felt good.

Wednesday 7 x (4mins jog/1min walk) Total time = 35 minutes. In bed all day. Well, as much as one can be whilst looking after a baby and a toddler. No exercise done.

Friday 3 x (10mins jog/5mins walk) Total time = 45 minutes. Still recovering from 2 days in bed/on the couch, and nowhere near ready to do this. Although I feel better than the other couple of days, it’s not simply a case of the sniffles. It’s the achey head feeling that makes a run near impossible.

Possible catch up runs over the weekend – This was a good thought. I was on a Women’s Church Retreat, and had thought I might enjoy a run beside the beach. But then Pippa got sick, and instead of it being a relaxing weekend, I was up at night with a screaming baby, with no husband to help. She also decided to mostly not sleep unless she was in my arms for the weekend. Thus no running occurred.

Feelings – I was so discouraged to not be able to get into my running routine as I had been hoping to. But I kept reminding myself that it shouldn’t make me give up on everything. And so I looked forward to week 2 with optimism, if not a little apprehensively.


I was feeling mostly physically better, although both the girls and Paul have the dreaded cold now, which does impact my ability to get out of the house. Still hopeful.

Monday – 5 x (6mins jog/2mins walk) Total time 40 minutes. Good run. Happy that I could get out, and felt fine.

Wednesday – 7 x (4mins jog/1 min walk) Total time 35 minutes. I run for the first time in the dark. I’m not keen on doing this, as I don’t feel very safe, but it was dusk when I began, and I tried to stick to well lit paths. But I felt great!! I went about 5K, and considering there was 7 or so minutes of just walking in there, I was glad my pace seems to be improving. I felt fine when I got home, like I could have kept going. Great buzz.

Friday – 3 x (11mins jog/5mins walk) Total time 48 minutes. So different to previous run. I am not feeling good again, as the cold has paid me another visit, though not such a severe one this time. I head out late in the afternoon, and manage to get about 20 minutes through the program until I feel sick in my stomach and very dizzy in the head. So I have to walk all the way back. And I am worried because Paul is unwell with the girls both awake at home, but what can I do? So I finish feeling discouraged again.

Feelings – I am so inconsistent! A great run (by my standards) leaves me feeling great, and a bad one, well, just the opposite. But I guess that all I can do is my best, and stick with the plan.

Overall – I’m wondering about the smartness of my desire to do the 10K in 60minutes or less. If I was just thinking about running 10K I think I would feel less pressure. I’m not too bad at the long and (very) slow. Speed is not my friend. But it’s not bad to aim for something, is it? I just don’t want to disappoint myself. But maybe I won’t? See how conflicted I am? Well, I have made the commitment, so maybe I will just stick at it and see how it goes. I am hopeful that I will surprise myself rather than disappoint myself.

On another note, I’m looking forward to spending a little bit of birthday money (from January!) my parents gave me the other day. I’m looking at getting a running case to strap my iPhone to my arm, some headphones and maybe, if I have some leftover, an iTunes voucher. I think music might help me find a good pace. Any recommendations on iPhone cases? Is that even what they are called?

I’m into another week now, and am planning on running tomorrow. I feel like there is always a reason not to run (ie: I have to get up a few times during the night as Pippa is teething, and Paul is still not well, and, well, everything). But I guess there is always still a reason that I should run (ie: health, example, post-run endorphins, mental health, energy). I hope that the latter wins out!

Horses, Wineries & Hot Springs


When I think about the season of my life at the moment, those three things – ‘horses, wine & hot springs’ – are not usually connected to me at all. Until, that is, today. My wonderful husband knows of my love of horses, and horse riding. And so for Valentine’s Day Paul purchased vouchers which included riding horses to some wineries, wine tasting, and then a pass to bathe in some very relaxing hot springs. What an amazing combination! And today was the big day!

The Preparations

We have had the day booked in for a few months now, and our main preparations had to do with Heidi and Pippa. It was relatively simple to confirm that Paul’s parents would look after the girls for the day. The difficult part was working out the how part of that. Initially we had thought, because of breastfeeding Pippa, that we would all head down together, I would feed Pippa, off the Grandparents and girls would go, then we would meet again to breastfeed and so on. A good idea, but one that was not looking particularly relaxing. Then I heard about little Prima-style formula milk you can give babies, and we tried one out a week ago. Pippa was happy enough to drink that from a little bottle, and so we gave Ron and Mary the option of what they would like to do. They chose to stay home, and try feed Pippa the formula. And so we now had a plan!

The Day

We left at about 8am this morning and headed down to the Mornington Peninsula, on this absolutely beautiful day! 25 degrees, no wind, sun shining in Melbourne at the start of May is perfection. We arrived just when we had planned, and at 10am we were all saddled up and ready to get going! I was riding a spunky little gelding called ‘Cashmere’, while Paul was on the gentle ‘Belle’. We were in a group of about 10 (I think) and most of the ride was a fairly relaxing walk amongst some stunning farms, vineyards and quiet paths.

We stopped at two different wineries, and experienced wine tasting for the first time. Neither Paul nor I are particularly interested in wine, and so we were feeling a little out of our depth to begin with, but soon realised that there were others there who were also more interested in the horse riding side of things, and we relaxed. The places were beautiful! We had enough time to sit and enjoy the scenery and each other at both wineries, before heading home again on our trustworthy steeds.

After dismounting and heading to the car, I managed to do some impressive breast pumping in the car – there is a first and a last for everything – and we arrived at the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs in time for a late lunch. Nachos, Toasties and hot drinks were on the menu to fill up our grumbling bellies. We didn’t even get changed before we ate – we were both very hungry! After our lunch that hit the spot, we got changed and headed out to the relaxing baths. Oh my goodness. What a feeling – our tired, weary, sore limbs were restored to health in those amazing baths. I could have stayed all day!

(Although, as a side note, it was very strange to go to a hot spring and mix with men and women, wearing bathers. My only other experience like it had been in Japan, where the sexes are divided, and nudity is the norm. So it was slightly odd for me today. But it still great!)

The Best Bits

Spending the whole day with Paul – talking, relaxing, doing something fun together, and just being together. We haven’t really done a big day out together since Heidi was born, and I have never been without Pippa since she was born, so it was a big deal today. But to connect, and make special memories together with my husband is a really important (and fun!) thing to do.

Enjoying some beautiful weather and creation was amazing. There is something so refreshing to the soul to be out in nature, enjoying many things that God has made.

Heidi and Pippa had a brilliant time with their Grandparents!

Why Bother?

I think it can be a really hard time, especially with a young family, for married couples to be able to spend time together. And yet it is so important. Otherwise life can be simply busy-ness, talking about the kids (although we did do that a little today), and daily comings and goings. To take some time out together, slowly, quietly enjoying conversation and each other – it’s a real shift from kids and family life. It’s so very valuable – and fun!

Thank you

To my amazing husband for a great gift!
To Ron and Mary for looking after our girls.
To God for being so gracious and giving us just what we need (and more), when we need it.


Upcoming Adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun


I lived in Japan for two years after I finished University and I didn’t want to come back to Australia. I had an amazing time. It was far from perfect, never simply easy, and challenges came frequently. But I loved it. It was a time in my life of incredible growth, deep and meaningful relationships, spiritual depth and refreshment, and fun! Throughout this time God grew in me a love for Japan and for Japanese people that has not diminished. I am very thankful that God has worked in Paul’s life to give him a similar desire too. And as such, as many of you may know, Paul and I hope (God willing) to live in Japan and serve God there as long term missionaries.

We have been slowly working towards this idea/dream/goal since we got married. And slowly, step by step, we are getting closer! We are actually in the midst of application forms and medical checks with OMF, after spending at least a year deciding on which mission organisation to apply with. While we have no guarantee of acceptance, so far things are looking good. So it with these things in mind that we have a trip to Japan planned for June.


We had been thinking for a while that we would like to go in January 2014. January, for us Aussies, is kind of the obvious time for international travel. It’s the summer holidays, things slow down a little and there is usually more opportunity to traipse around the place. Recently though, we noticed how good the Aussie dollar and the Yen are doing (for us Aussies anyway), and I jokingly through out the option of going to Japan now. We thought about it a bit more, prayed, emailed, Skyped, talked, prayed some more and voila! Our flights and accommodation are booked, we have people to meet, a friend to travel with and are increasingly excited!

For two weeks in June we plan to visit OMF headquarters, head up to the OMF Language school in Hokkaido, meet heaps of OMF people, see different ministries and hopefully catch up with a couple of friends. We will obviously (or not?) have the girls with us, as well as a friend from church, Alex, who is interested in Mission. I will also be in the full swing of training for the 10K, so am looking forward to running in some new and wonderful places!


It is great to have this trip to look forward to, but it will be different to any other trips. The focus will not be so much on the experiences that come along with a new culture, interesting places and different faces, but with a view to the future. The people we will meet, the places we will go and the things we will see could very well be major parts of our future. It seems a very unique kind of trip to me.

Now that we have planned the trip, we are so very glad to be going in June and not in January. Here is why:

  • June is summer in Japan. Tokyo will be hot and humid, but Sapporo will be beautiful and mild. It will not be cold/freezing/snowy! Yay!
  • Pippa might be crawling in a month (she now sits and almost crawls) but she will not be running around like a 15 month old, giving us two toddlers to handle on a long flight. She is currently happy sitting, cuddling, drinking lots of milk and I am hopeful she will travel well.
  • We now have a summer holiday in Australia to look forward to!
  • Flights were reasonably priced – and we got a good deal too.

I am really looking forward to being back in Japan, and travelling together for the first time as a family of four. Adventures, here we come!!

P.S. I think I may just have to write a little more about Japan, Mission, travel and the like, as I have thought of many different things I could say in this post, but don’t want to write forever! If you have any questions about Japan, or our journey, feel free to write a comment and I will do my best to answer your questions well.

“I find Jesus!”


Today Heidi and I were sitting on the couch together. We were enjoying some mostly quiet reading time. I sat with my Bible, a notepad and a pen. Heidi sat with her little Bible, a couple of library books and some crayons. After making sure she had stopped drawing in the library books (again) we actually enjoyed a few minutes of sitting quietly and reading together. It was quite lovely. As her attention span waned I began thinking of a few things she could do to be a little more entertained.

“Why don’t you try and find Jesus? Where is he?” I said, as she sat with her picture Bible. And so she sat, looking at the pages of her Bible, where most of the very cartoony characters looked quite similar. “I find Jesus!” she yelled, as she looked at the story of Moses. “Here’s Jesus!” she said, pointing at Noah. And so on it went. Just about every page had a man with a brown beard in it, and so, each page had the required exclamation. I laughed a little and went along with it. ‘Yes, he looks like Jesus, doesn’t he?” I replied just a few times.

And then I stopped and thought. I had just been reading through the first couple of chapters of Romans. In Paul’s introduction he writes,

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel he promised beforehand though his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord”. (NIV Rom 1:1-4)

The meta-narrative of Salvation throughout the Bible comes to a climax in the gospels where Jesus is finally revealed as the Son of God, and the final part of God’s plan for the salvation of his people. The Old Testament stories, the well known ones, the obscure moments, and the somewhat dry parts – they are all there to direct us to Christ, whether obvious or not. To illuminate our desperate need for Him, and His absolute ability to meet our needs powerfully and more wonderfully than we could have ever imagined.

Jesus is on each page of the Bible. When we hear of Noah and the Ark, we can see Noah’s obedience to God and follow his example. But we can also see God’s desire for righteousness, and for his people. When we read of Moses and the Israelites in Exodus, we can see the story of a God who brings deliverance to his people. When we read of Jonah finally obeying God and heading to Nineveh, we can see God’s compassion and patience – both towards Nineveh and Jonah. And so on it goes. Each character, page, moment of the Scripture is leading us toward Christ.

When we meet the Jesus in the gospels, we also meet righteousness. We find deliverance. We experience God’s compassion and learn of His patience towards us. So it seemed quite fitting today for Heidi to point to each page of her little picture Bible and say, “I find Jesus!”  Because He is there.

Feeling Weary and Fickle


Last night we had some friends come over for dinner. (Hi Matt & Cazz!) After dinner as we sat on the couch enjoying some hot drinks together Cazz asked me how I was finding life with the two girls and enjoying being a ‘Stay At Home Mum’. I don’t know if I was really able to answer the question well. Which got me to thinking about why it was such a hard question. 

I love being at home with my girls. I am so thankful that we have the means and ability as a family for me to not have to go to work (paid employment more specifically) each day, or even just a few days in the week. 

I am so very glad that I am the person that these two precious gifts get to spend each day with. I want to be the one who is shaping, teaching, influencing and loving them consistently each day of the week.

My girls are a delight to me. They fill me with joy, laughter and enthusiasm for life.

And yet…

I’m so tired a lot of the time. I don’t get enough sleep because Pippa is not sleeping well at the moment. And Heidi is taking longer to get to sleep, and rising earlier. And she needs her sleep, so is consistently a lot grumpier than usual.

I don’t get a lot of down time in the day because now matter how hard I try, the girls just don’t always sleep at the same time.

Now that Pippa is starting to eat solids the mornings just seem to be full and stressful. Breastfeed Pippa, while keeping Heidi happy. Change Pippa. Empty potty. Express some milk. Get Heidi dressed. Prepare some food for Pippa. Feed Pippa, or watch her with some finger food. And so on it goes. Breakfast for me? I usually manage to eat, but it’s not a nice quiet time. It’s hectic! Always hectic!

And the afternoons are tricky too, because I need to start thinking about dinner, cooking, feeding Pippa again etc… 

So it’s really hard. It’s challenging. My patience wears thin far too easily. I want to be the bubbly, happy, fun Mummy who has the days full of Pinterest worthy activities for her Toddler, while bouncing the happy baby on her (perfectly fashionable outfitted) knee. Actually, I would be happy to settle just for part of that: I don’t mind so much about looking amazing. Because lets face it, vomit and other such things find there way into crevices, onto shoulders and over hair in the blink of the eye these days.

I don’t think that parenting will ever be easy, but I think the challenges will change. Right now my challenge is time. Time for anything except for getting through the day. There is so much energy, effort and care required just to keep two little people alive, fed, dressed (mostly) and somewhat content each day. Let alone shopping, cooking, exercise, relationships and any other kind of thing. I am thankful that for the most part the relational side of things is easy at the moment. The girls love me because I am their Mummy. They want to be with me. I know that this is one aspect that can greatly change with years and age. So I don’t take that for granted. But there are some real unique challenges to this stage of life, and I hope (and think) I’m not the only one who struggles with them. When I reflected on my previous post ‘The Small Sacrifices’ I realised a lot of the challenges had mostly to do with having two small children, more than having to do with Paul and I. There is just so little time for anything.

I feel very fickle. Some days are amazing. Like when we had a lovely time at PlayGroup, and after nap time Heidi played outside by herself for about an hour – a miracle! And then there are other days, where nothing seems to go very well. So I feel weary and fickle, and unable to adequately talk about how my life is going. And yet I know this is just a season. That it will all go by so quickly and I will miss the delights of watching these little creatures learning new things every day. From new words and funny sentences, to the gorgeousness of fat baby things – I know it won’t last. And yet, here in the thick of it, the days are long and not always easy. 

So forgive me if my answer to how life is going right now changes from moment to moment. Because that is life for me right now. And I love it – most of the time. 

7 Fun Toddler Ideas

It is hard to keep a toddler happy, healthy and busy every day. Very hard! But lately I have found a few new activities that Heidi has loved. This doesn’t mean she will always love them, or that she will do them for hours, but they have been helpful over the last couple of weeks. So I thought I would share in the hope that someone else out there might get some use out of them.

1. Mud Puddle Fun


There has been a small, round dirt patch in our backyard for a while. I think it used to be the place where a fire barrel was, or something like that. The other day I was thinking of ways to encourage Heidi to spend more time playing in the backyard, and voila! The Mud Puddle was created. I basically just poured water on the dirt, filled some buckets, kiddie watering cans, grabbed some outdoor toys, took off Heidi’s good clothes and let her go. Word of advice: Give in to the fact that childhood, play, and in particular muddy play will be incredibly messy. Be prepared to bath or shower the kids as soon as the activity needs to be done. Heidi has had a brilliant time with the Mud Puddle. She has played with it in various ways for hours. It is a great sensory experience, with hard dirt under her feet, squishy mud between her toes and water splashing her legs. It encourages creative play by incorporating a few toys and a new environment for them to be in. It gives an opportunity for independent play skills to grow too.

2. Playdough Kitchens


Heidi’s birthday gift recently was a huge container of tea set toys, cooking toys and play food. She loves them, and I am so glad that she has been enjoying them – eBay purchase win! But I discovered that when I added some Playdough to the mix that she loved it even more! I am constantly trying to think of activities to keep Heidi entertained while she can sit up at the table during meal prep/clean up time. This was a big hit! There is something about combining two kind of toys that she just loved. And of course, Sophie the Doll was in on the action too – she is a favourite at the moment.

3. Teddy Bear Picnic


While this is by no means an original idea, it is still a good one! The combination of being outdoors, having teddies and dolls nearby, using water, grass, gum-nuts etc in the teapot and cups meant that Heidi had an absolute blast with this. And I have to admit, it was pretty fun for me too.

4. Indoor Picnic Dinner


We don’t usually have Fish & Chips, as Paul can’t eat it most of the time. But one night before going to church we decided we would have an easy dinner and this is what we ended up doing. It was fun, easy to clean up and a great time together as a family.

5. Cubbies From Blankets


A few weeks ago the heatwave of the Never Ending Summer in Melbourne finally did come to an end. But for a month or so it was really too hot to spend much time outside. Especially because water play was not an option for 3 weeks with Heidi’s broken wrist. And so the Cubby began. I simply turned our two couches around (they normally face each other with a coffee table in between), moved the coffee table, made a roof with a blanket, placed a nice soft blanket on the floor and piled in the cushions and pillows. It was lovely in there, that I have to admit that I actually had a little nap in there myself when the girls were in bed! We had lots of little books and dolls in there too – two of Heidi’s always favourite things.

6. Dancing. Lots of Dancing.


Heidi loves to dance, and hey, who doesn’t? So most days, at least twice a day, the music goes on and the dancing begins. Or the spinning, more specifically. And Heidi will run around looking for her ‘dancing skirt’ and Sophie the Doll to dance with her. It’s a great activity for exercise, coordination, and most importantly, fun!

7. Painting Outdoors


I tried a home-made paint recipe today which was fun. It probably ended up being a bit watery but it was perfect for painting the path with. Heidi also liked just rubbing it on her legs and arms. And considering it was made from corn flour, water and food dye – that was fine! We did have the Chalk/White Board easel out with paper, but it wasn’t as popular as painting everything else.

Hopefully some of these ideas will be useful to you! What are some things you do to keep your busy toddler entertained on those long days at home?