100 Days of Writing: Prepping notebooks

Prepbook #1:

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I sit in the lazy boy chair staring at my first notebook. An easy little spiral bound green journal. I am equipped with a pen and three different colours of post it notes. Greys is on in th background, but I am able to focus on the task at hand as I have pre-watched this season on demand. I take a deep breath and open to the first page…

I flick through the pages, focusing on Ellie’s story. It is in four parts. Dragon Princess, Daughter of the Sword, Princess Lost and Queen by Right. I have since changed the titles to something that suits, but my early notes are titled as such for easy finding; I carried it on to the present day so I can marry them all together when I eventually sit down to write them.

Tonight is that night. It is the first of many notebooks to take and organise. I have seen a few things that need altering and one that needs to be ditched. However, I am working my way through! I have started – and I am on my way to this scary exciting challenge I have set myself. I don’t know the full specifics yet, but I will work it out and aim to work to it every day.

I got lucky with my first pick – only a quarter of the book is filled with notes. It is close to my bedtime, so it works out. I will do my best to not over do things and still have a family life balance. I end my first night of prep feeling great, knowing that my plan and my story are both on track. I close the sage green cover, lower the footrest and head in the kitchen to make work and kindy lunches.

 

30th July, 2017: Prep work book #2

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Although my 100 days of writing project hasn’t begun yet, l have been aiming to do a little bit of writing every day. Over the last few days, I have written in my current notebook, written letters and postcards and a few things for my blog. Today I was able to get around to prepping another notebook; the boys had gone model shop crawling (yes, it’s a thing) and so after a bit of a tidy up, an episode of vampire diaries and a nice long HOT shower ALONE, I was all geared up to start again! Today I picked up my purple checked notebook. I know this one well, I wrote in it when I was 21 – ten years ago! I knew that there’d be several different stories within, including my Dragon Princess series. I flick through the pages and to my joy I have already been through this one at an earlier date. Out come my trusty coloured post it notes (pink for D.P., green for D.O.T.S., blue for P.L. and yellow for Q.B.R.). I’m glad that this was an easy notebook to get through today as it was fun to read over my editing notes and add a few more while I was in the zone.

 

1st August, 2017

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Today I received the 100 days planner book. Being a Tuesday it is a house keeping day. So there is not much time to have a look at it… also being two days before Max’s next surgery, I don’t have the mind space to focus on it as much as I would like to. So I have made a plan – my 100 days project will start on my 32nd birthday – a kindy day (if all goes well with Max’s recovery and he’s not sick that day!) I’ve had a quick flick through the planner, and see that it is sectioned into 10 day slots. That is what I will do, do a plan for every ten days, and on that 10th day make the next plan and do a recap. Keeping in mind, I will need to allow time for housework, craft and general day-to-day things with Max – I’ll have to arrange a cooking schedule too, so I don’t go nanas when I get lost in my writing and realise they it’s now time to cook dinner or pick Max up from kindy. I’ll have to have a look at making a date night schedule too – as I can’t let my husband think I am having an affair again… in joke! (after saying one night I had a date with a book, I had him come in telling the book “Get your filthy hands off my wife!”) that was a fun night of giggles. Anyways, as I said before, today is a day for housework so better go pack Max’s toys away for the 4th time and get the vacuum out.

Wednesday 2nd August, 2017

Today is a mental health day… Well I’m going to pace myself anyway. I’m actually feeling a bit drained, and if I don’t watch it, my Chronic Fatigue might just rear its ugly head again. So, after dropping Max off at Kindy, I cleaned up his toys, sat down and watched 2 episodes of One Tree Hill and now I am focusing on writing today’s update before doing the dishes and perhaps a nap before Kindy pick up. I need to take my time today, as tomorrow is going to be a big day with Max’s second surgery on his toes, and he’ll be off Kindy for the next few weeks until he can wear shoes again! So, if last time is anything to go by, I will need to arrange heaps of indoor activities for him to do, which means tonight I will be cutting random shapes up to fit a puzzle template set I got for him (plan to donate this to Kindy when he has finished using it) The notebooks below are the ones I did last night while Greys was on after I had put Max down to bed for the night. It was a little emotional journey as there were a few memories that came with each notebook. In saying that, it’s going to be a little hard going through my personal journals – as I know there are snippets in them that I need to collect. Anyway… enjoy the notes below on the books I prepped last night.

Notebook prep: Yearly Diaries

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Yesterday afternoon I tackled the yearly diaries that have been sitting on the dining room table for well over a week. One of my main tasks at the moment is to clear the table completely as it is constantly covered with my current craft projects and our paperwork that I need to sort through. But as most things of mine, before I can put my craft stuff away, I need to sort out my drawers and wardrobe, and before I can do that I need to sort out all of the stuff that is in front of the wardrobe (this consists of things to sell, things to donate and of course that big pile of notebooks I need to get through!) So I dedicated the afternoon to sorting out the story notes in my yearly diaries, only to find that I’ve already done it! Oh well, it gave me time to put them away in storage and focus on the rest of the table…

Prep work: little black book

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Found a little bit of time while I had a coffee. Although I’m not usually a fan of notebooks this size, I remember that for once I really enjoyed this particular notebook. I started writing my in it in 2007, so I was about 21, going on 22 when it began. This is another book that I carried with me everywhere. On the train was where I did most of my writings. It has anything from quotes and story ideas to journal entries and poems I have written. There are also notes in it “call Sue” who’s Sue? I have an Aunty Sue, but I don’t haven much contact with her…. one of my friends mum was called Sue, but again I had no reason to call her. I then come across the lyrics to Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten ” and I am taken back to that moment on the train. In here there are many stories and I get my fill of my other worlds before I have to cook dinner. I found this little gem for dragon princess; “and her adventure began like all big adventures.. with a little touch of disobedience

The brown notebook

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This book was from a time when I thought to organise my story ideas. This book is dedicated solely to Ellie’s story. So it was an easy skim though and post it note session. The gem I found in this book was a few reminders of the training regimen I had designed for Ellie in D.O.T.S. I am really looking forward to writing those parts in full and might steal a few for D.P.

The Aotearoa Notebook

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This notebook was given to me when I was 23 by a guy I had just started dating. My mind was not in a good place, and at the time it was just the nicest thing a guy had ever done for me. He doesn’t know it, but this notebook saved my life. It reminded me why I write, and helped me sort my life out. The relationship with him didn’t turn into anything, as shortly after he gifted this to me he left to work overseas. As we had only started dating, we decided not to wait for each other, but if we were still keen on his return, we’d reassess. He went on to meet his now wife, and even though it took a while after for me to meet my husband, this guy showed me that there are good ones out there and that it is ok to wait. Life found a way. I’m not really in contact with him anymore, but Andy, if you ever do read this, thank you so much. We all meet people at different time in our lives, and even through it wasn’t right for us to be together, I met you at the right time in my life. I can only hope that at some point, I’ve done something similar to change someone else’s life.

The chaotic black lined notebook

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This notebook used to be my Mum’s housekeeping one. I found it when I was 21 and mum said that I could keep it. In it showed the price of bread milk and cheese in the early 80s. I removed the papers and put those into safe keeping or another time – just can’t remember where I put them! I have filled this book with key ideas and Ellie’s story. It will be interesting to see what secrets it holds!

A woman of spirit notebook

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I find it quite ironic that I chose this notebook to write Ellie’s story in. It is a spiral bound book ( which I usually detest) and it looks to be the first notebook I dedicated to her story alone. When I first started writing Ellie’s story, she came to me in a dream. The next morning I woke up and began writing. At first she started out as a pretty little princess who had magical Powers, loved horses and had heaps of friends from different walks of life, you know, the usual story fodder my twelve-year-old self would like to have if she was a princess. By the time I came to this note, I was 19 and had been writing Ellie’s story for 7 years. During this times she had grown from a pretty little princess with no cares in the world, struggled through her antsy awkward teenage years and come out as a girl, who happened to be a princess and grow to become “a woman of spirit”. I haven’t read Pam Houston’s story yet, but it is now on my list of books to read – if only to credit her for inspiration. The book is filled completely with notes about Ellie and her friends, again , another book I am looking forward to reliving.

So now I must leave you; the dishes and more One Tree Hill Episodes await… and perhaps that nap I’ve been craving. If I find time later, I will try to prep more books, as I want to stay on track for my 100 days to start on the 24th of August. (a mere three weeks away!)

Wednesday, 2nd August 2017:

Purple velvet flowers

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I loved this notebook! Every time I picked it up I felt special. There was always something whimsical about writing in it. I have half an hour until kindy pick up, the dishes are done and I have a hot coffee as my companion. Within this book are little ditties, poems and my random opinions on things – it’s my first people watching notebook too! This notebook is from when I was 19 and 20 years old. I went on road trips with my friends, dated my first serious boyfriend and had my first soul draining job. This book allowed me to escape to the worlds I created, all while eating a french-toast banana and bacon breakfast with a vanilla latte on the side.

Pink and grey notebook

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Apparently this is the most comfortable notebook I’ve ever run into… but alas I either lost it early on in the piece, or I didn’t enjoy writing in it as much as the slogan on the front said I would. I only filled in a few pages in this, so an easy sort through.

The Teddy notebook

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I am ashamed to admit this and every time I look at this journal I cringe at the memory. Because this journal was bought with money I stole… well kinda. It was my first and my very last indiscretion. Where we lived when I was a teen, there was a dairy and a post office down the road. At the age of 13 I was in need of a new notebook, so I asked my parents for the money. They both said no, but Dad said I could use my own money if i really needed it.

At the time, I had my own paper run and was earning $20 a month. By my own calculations, I had well over $100 in the account from my paper route. As mum was the joint name on the account, I had to ask her for the card. She said no, and never gave me the answer as to why not. (I later found out that she had been siphoning money from my account to top up bills, so I can only assume that she didn’t want me to find out and have to explain the situation to me – as my parents are not very open about money, it’s no surprise) as a parent now, I somewhat understand the struggle and the temptation of my Sons bank account when our bills fall short.

But I digress… this particular day, I really wanted and needed a new notebook and I had seen a whole stack of them at the post shop down the road, walking distance and easy to pop in and get it. All I needed was the money. So, talking myself into it, I dove into mum’s wallet and pulled the card out that had my name on it. I had never used a card before, but I had watched mum pay with one and put the pin code in countless of times. A little tip to parents: if you have a separate account for your child’s joint account – don’t have the same pin on it as your every day card. Card in hand, I left the house and headed down the road to the post office. I’d just walked out the driveway and I heard my younger sister running after me. I should have abandoned my mission then and there, but I had a lesson or two to learn. Silly me, thought that I was fully justified in using the card without my mums knowledge – it was MY money after all. not only did I know it was wrong, I was naive enough not to realise how easily I could get caught out. And it didn’t help matters that I had my sister in tow. We got to the post office and I picked up the teddy bear notebook. When it came time to pay, I whipped out the card with mixed feelings of importance and trepidation. I should have known I wouldn’t get anything past my eagle-eyed little sister! I froze halfway through swiping as she gasped and exclaimed “does MUM know you have that?!” I brushed her off with a “uh huh” and as a second thought asked if I could get $10 out (a months worth of her pocket-money) as we were leaving, the book feeling heavy in my hand in its brown paper bag, I turned to my sister and gave her the $10 on the proviso that she kept her trap shut. When we got home, we both went to our rooms. Me to begin writing in the notebook and my sister to hide her money in her piggy bank. But when I got to my room, I had nothing to write. I felt so guilty with what I had done and conning my sister into joining me in the crime. I didn’t want to fess up to it, so I thought that if I just put the card away and hid the book, I could forget about it. WRONG. Unbeknown to me, the lady at the post office had over heard me bribing my sister and had called mum at home – while we were walking home! Mum popped down herself, got a copy of the receipt and came into my room to have a chat about it. She showed me the evidence, told me that she had spoken to my sister (who has fessed up the whole thing). Needless to say, I was in heaps of trouble. I learned my lessons loud and clear.

  • thou shall not steal
  • even if it is your money, if you’re told “no” by your mum you had better listen
  • don’t bribe your sister
  • don’t trust your sister will keep quiet even if you bribe her
  • don’t bribe your sister in front of an adult
  • And you will be he one who loses out.

I had to keep the notebook, give mum back the card and my sister still got to keep the bribery money. So yes, every time I look at that book I remember those lessons and cringe. But I didn’t touch the book for another 5 years I felt they that guilty! It’s filled, so I will have to go through and look at it some more, but perhaps I can use the memory and lessons as writing fodder for Ellie’s story!

The plastic leather notebook

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I don’t remember much of this notebook. Only that I got it in 2005 and that I hated writing in it. Yet somehow I managed to fill it up with story ideas. It will be interesting to see if my hatred for writing in this book affected my style of writing.

A world full of stories notebook

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Again a book I started in 2005. I can see that was a big writing year for me. As you can see it has been battered around a bit. I must have taken this everywhere with me. I open the first page and begin to read…

Chinese silk notebook

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It’s been well over a week since Max had his toe up operation and since then, I’ve been sick as a dog with a very nasty cold. I’ll tell you what: looking after a hyperactive three-year-old who should be taking it easy when you have a nasty cold that then turns into a chest infection is no easy feat. Now on my third day of antibiotics (The fourth course in two months) I am finally starting to feel a little bit more like myself. Today the boys have gone out and left me at home to my own devices so I decided to pick up where I left off. Finally, with my emotions slightly in check, I can tackle the pile of personal journals – some of which I haven’t seen or read in over 10 years.

This first journal the Chinese silk notebook goes from the year 2000 until 2005. When I first start to flick through it I noticed that I must’ve started and stopped countless times; I was 15 when I begin this journal and 20 when it ends. The last five years of my teenage-hood are sitting there, staring at me, waiting for me to re-live it. To say I am feeling a little apprehensive is an understatement, but to get and collect all of Ellie’s notes for her story, I need to delve into my past and relieve some of my toughest moments I don’t know how many snippets are in this particular book but I do know many tears and wishes were shared throughout these pages.  I’m a big girl now, so I don’t need someone to hold my hand, but I’m sure that after reading this book, I will want to give 15-year-old Toni a huge hug and tell her that everything will turn out to be well in the end.

So here we are sitting at my kitchen table, my post it notes neatly arranged around me ready to stop stalling and just get on with it I take A deep breath and delve into my past…

… I have only got to December 2001 and I’m already i’m crying. I have read about my first break up, The September 11 attacks and my grandfather’s death. The next year doesn’t look any better as the first couple of months recount a close friend’s younger brother’s illness and his death. A few moments later and I am halfway through 2002 I am 17 years old and I am questioning everything. I am asking myself who I am who the person is that I want to be and the choices I need to make to move forward.

At 17 years of age, I believed my life was a lie I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. I felt like no one gave a damn about me. I thought like I was a girl child alone in a bubble; no one listening, no one caring. I didn’t feel like I had anyone to turn to. I think it was about this time that I really came into myself I realised that I had to choose the type of person that I wanted to be. I first learnt the, that no one else could define me – I had to live up to my own expectations. (even though for the next 10 years after this first realisation I would constantly be struggling with this thought, I would eventually make it out the other side and become the person that was wanted to be).

At 17 I took charge of my Demons. I told them to get lost, kicked them in the balls and showed them that I am no ones victim. I am me. I am strong, and life is worth living.

Velvet leaves journal

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This journal covers from the years 2005 to 2008. I was aged 20 and 23. This covers my first few years out of home and in my first full time office positions. It covers the time I was made redundant, my search for higher study and my first serious relationships. I began dancing ceroc in these years and whenever I hear Taylor swifts song “22” these are the times I relive in my memory. As I open the cover, the first thing I see is my competitors ticket for the South Island champs competition. This was held in 2008 and I came second in biginners dwas. The next piece of paper is a note of Ellie’s story – score! It is a scene from the masked ball in the last book, but I am making progress. Besides the piece of paper, there were more notes for the Ellie’s story written in the journal.

Brown linen journal

This journal goes from 2008 until 2011, from the ages of 23 to 26. It covers from when I moved out of the city after my bad period, to when I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and the first year of my event management degree and coping with my illness. My first long distance relationship I open the cover and inside I find some pressed leaves and a spotted feather. Under that is another hand written snippet of Ellie’s story. I remove the piece of paper and put it with the other notebooks. I begin to read my account of my mid 20s…

Black and white silver lined journal

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I bought this one from Auckland airport when I was waiting for a flight to Blenheim to see my boyfriend at the time. I know I haven’t filled it up, so only about a quarter is written in, but it’s still worth going through, just incase I find some good gems – as during this time a took a lot of long trecks through the local rangers with it and wrote down a few random thoughts and poems about how my life felt at that moment in time. This covers from 2009 to 2013 (the year I met my husband and he brought me a special journal, a pen and a ring on our first road trip to Wellington! So I ditched this journal and wrote In the next one he bought me – seemed quite fitting.

In this silver lined journal, I have come across my valentines tradition – I came up with the idea on my first Valentine’s Day after my break up with my last boyfriend before I met my Husband.

Basically every year I make something nice with an uplifting quote every Valentine’s Day and on my daily walk that day post the 14 pieces of inspiration into a letterbox on my way to my destination. So, confession time – if on Valentines Day, between 2010-2012 you found a nice heart with an inspirational quote on it in your letter box around the western springs area – that was me! I hope it uplifted your day. I have also found and account on “how chronic fatigue has impacted on my life”  It is very confronting on how my life used to be and how I saw the illness then as apposed to how I view/cope with it now… I will write that as another blog post for another time…

The blue wallpaper notebook

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This book I bought in Palmerston North while I was on holiday in 2011. I found it in a tiny little shop that turned out to be like the Tardis! In short, it looked small on the outside and just kept getting bigger and better on the inside. Initially I started writing in this as a journal as while I was on holiday, as I had left my usual one at home. Then it turned into a notebook. I had a quick flick through it, and I still have heaps of space left to fill, but no Ellie’s story in this one – instead I found my notes on another story “the oak tree” – I’ve decided will be my next project after my Dragon Princess series.

The pink moleskin journal

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This is the journal that my husband bought for me on the weekend he proposed. Within these pages, it tells of our wirlwind romance, our engagement, buying our first home, the conception and birth of our son, his first two years and our wedding. I grew a lot in these years 2013-2016. And this is the time I feel I will always look back on and see when I truely became myself and started living the life I always wanted. This journal tells of my Cinderella fairytale, my prince and my villains – and the journey I took with my breath of fresh air. It recounts the obstacles I have overcome with him by my side and the creation of our awesome family and our life together.

Even though it was a good moment re-living these memories, there were no snippets of Ellie’s story. I’m not surprised as the first two years of a child’s life are full on and consume you!

The blue vinyl notebook

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Another one that is only partially filled. This was originally used as my uni notebook for my dance and event management classes. In the few dull boring classes and while I was on the shuttle bus between campus’s I filled it with litttle notes here and there. This is the first book (2009) that I came up with the idea of Martha and Gregory. Definitely a keeper – as they are key characters in the first book.

Burgundy stone notebook

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No Ellie’s story notes as such, but I dedicated this particular notebook for research on trees and herbs. Crucial information needed for this project. My pile of keep books is climbing! (So much for decluttering…)

The spiral butterfly notebook

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Not really a note book as such, it was a visual diary to help with pieces of Ellie’s story. I’m putting it in the keep pile as there is still room for sketches and the ones I have in there are good!

Blue linen notebook

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This is my current notebook- well… one of them! This one I keep on my bedside table for those late night scribbling and ideas from dreams. I constantly have Ellie’s story on my mind now – so the notes are coming fast and freely now.

Gold sun visual diary

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Another one where I’ve thought out Ellie’s story. I’ve marked the pages I think will be useful.

Pink leather journal

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Another one used for research and write prompts. It has one page on Ellie’s story from daughter of the sword, but will keep this out for times I might need help with writers block.

 

100 Days of Writing: Introduction

The other day, I was sorting through my room to make things tidy and to organise my craft items. While in the process of this, I decided to sort out a blanket box that was taking up too much room. When I opened the box, inside was a treasure trove of memorabilia that I hadn’t seen in at least three years – when my Son was born.

Besides a few random items of craft tools, (that I chose to biff due to not needing to use them in the past three years or more) there were piles upon piles of notebooks. I knew they were there, but I hadn’t gone through them in quite sometime. Cleaning put aside, I picked up the first books and I was instantly immersed in the different worlds I had created so many years ago.

 

Throughout the notebooks were a collection of short stories I wrote on the train while I traveled to and from work, a smattering of different story ideas and plots and of course my fantasy series “Dragon Princess”.

After flicking through the pages, and being taken back into Ellie’s world – I knew now was the time for me to finally finish putting her story together. Sitting on the floor in my room, I collected the books, and sorted them into three piles: Notebooks, Journal’s and Yearly Diaries. As I sat there looking at the piles of books, I realised that I had my work cut out for me. Because I remembered why I had kept putting it off again and again. My notes, especially for Ellie’s story were scattered among so many books, and any piece of paper that I could get my hands on when a part of the story popped into my head. Within the pages of each notebook and diary were shopping lists, post-it notes and briefing sheets from the time I worked as an usher for THE EDGE. Much of my writing during that time was done during many three hour musical shows while I was on door. I have The Phantom of the opera, Mamamia and Avenue Q to thank for my vast amount of notes and ideas that flew through my mind while I was sitting in a lost forgotten corner at The Civic.

So, what was I to do with all these notes that were taking up room in a blanket box in their own forgotten corner? I sat there almost in tears remembering my dreams of becoming a writer and for Ellie’s story to be completed, published and shared throughout the world (or at least among my friends and family to enjoy). There had been so much stuff happen to me, that her story just kept getting swept under the rug. It was then I made the decision.

I began Ellie’s story when I was 12 years old. Now, almost 20 years later and a whole lot more life experience behind me – I am going to finish it! I packed the piles of books away into a new box that would be in my way everyday until I finished the book. (well, the first one anyway) I looked online to see if there was a project planner for me, and came across a wall chart and journal set that said “100 Days Planner”.

100 Days of Writing was born.

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The collection of notebooks with Ellie’s Story

I won’t know until I get the book, how I am going to plan it out. But it will be a few weeks before I receive it. Until then, I have decided to do a little bit of prep-work and organise my stack of books that have notes in them for them to be ready and waiting when I begin my 100 days. This is not apart of the international Project “100 Days”. I might do that next year in May 2018 when I know what I plan to do for that. But THIS project of mine, I have decided that I will write Ellie’s story as it was meant to be written, as it has been in my head and apart of me for 2/3 of my life. It is time to let Ellie out into the world – and see if others love her as much as I do.

There it is. My challenge. My personal challenge. Ellie has been with me for very long time, and although I am scared, I know she needs to be set free. To my small amount of readers… I hope you can share my writing journey with me. I think I will need all the support I can get!

Until next time…

Toni.

How To: Take a Swab Test Before Surgery

Threenager needs to have another op on one of his toes, but before he does, he needs to have a few swab tests. He hasn’t had one before, so of course his first one had to be in the  “down below” region. read the list below to see how it all went!

  1. Book surgery and find out swab test is required
  2. Make plan on best approach to take Threenager to the swab test
  3. Pick Threenager up from Kindy
  4. Talk with Threenager about the swab test: “The Lady will use a cotton bud and tickle your bottom with it. If you are a good boy and stay still Mummy will get you a Toy after ok?”
  5. Threenager smiles and says “Ok Mummy! Yes, Toy!”
  6. Drive to the lab and have another chat with Threenager about the swab test, talk him through it again and make sure he understands what is about to happen.
  7. As an after thought, while walking from the car to the lab, remind Threenager that it is his body and no one is allowed to touch it unless he is ok with it
  8. Worry that might have said something over the top, but know that it’s a subject that needs to be broached
  9. Get into the lab and talk to the technician
  10. Find out that it is not ONE swab test, but THREE swabs (Nose, Groin and that place named after a planet in our solar system)
  11. Take moment to let Threenager know the change of plans, and make sure that they are ok with it
  12. While telling Threenager the new plan, lab technician corrects me and tells me that because I am the parent, I will be taking the swabs, while they assist.
  13. Feel heaps better with this change of plans, and tell Threenager “Wow! Guess what, Mummy will be doing it! Is that ok?”
  14. Threenager smiles and says “Yes! Sure Mum, ok”
  15. Take Threenager to the room with lab technician and sit them on the orange bed (Threenager’s favour colour, so a bonus)
  16. Swab one: Take swab and swipe it around each nostril making Threenager wiggle their nose and sneeze. Threenager says “Achoo Mum, Achoo!”
  17. Swab two: Take nappy off and swab groin area. Threenager giggles (so far so good…)
  18. Swab three: Prepare swab, walk towards Threenager who is laying there waiting patiently. Move swab closer to planet named region. Threenager closes legs and calls out “No! Doors Closed.”
  19. Stand there frozen for a moment. Look back at the lab technician who is trying to hold back laughter (and failing) Collapse in fits of laughter. Manage to talk to Threenager and ask them if it is ok to do the next swab – Threenager obliges.
  20. Dress Threenager, wash hands together and leave to go to the warehouse for the promised Toy
  21. Praise Threenager for being brave, and being a very good boy while the swabs were being taken.
  22. Get into the warehouse, Threenager makes a beeline for the toy aisle
  23. Catch up with Threenager and they have a handful of toys
  24. Smile at Threenager and remind “One toy hun”
  25. Threenager stops and looks me dead in the eye “No Mum.”
  26. Take a breath and think that this needs to be held with care, as a tantrum could errupt if not handled correctly. “Remember I told you one toy? Perhaps we can tell Santa you want those for Christmas, and then we can get one now. How does that sound?”
  27. Threenager, staring into the depths of my soul calmy replies “Mum. Three cotton buds, Three toys”
  28. *Mouth drops to the floor* (can’t really argue with that one)
  29. Buy little smarty pants three toys, put two toys away for recovery time while Threenager is distracted playing with his new puzzle.

How To: Organise your wardrobe

  1. Wake up – it’s Kindy day today!
  2. Get Threenager ready for Kindy
  3. Drop Threenager off at Kindy with no fuss
  4. Come home and sit down for a coffee with Trusty Grandpa
  5. Organise a shopping list and meal plan for the week
  6. Clean appliances, bench tops and cupboard doors
  7. Call Dr’s for an appointment (this cough is not going away!)
  8. Go into bedroom and clear pile of clothes and other things blocking the wardrobe (Hubby just got a whole lot of very nice clothes given to him, so of course that’s where you store it)
  9. Put clothes on the bed for sorting later
  10. Wardrobe doors are now clear
  11. Hear the door bell ring
  12. Find a package containing the carousel wardrobe organiser that was ordered for Threenager’s room
  13. Ditch own wardrobe and focus on Threenager’s (swap hanging shelves in their wardrobe to the carousel one)
  14. Finish Threenager’s wardrobe and head back to own wardrobe
  15. Fish out all the clothes that haven’t worn in past year (I use the hanger method – once a year/season, face hangers opposite direction to you, then as you wear them, you flick the hanger around. This way you can see which clothes you have worn)
  16. Throw the unus  e     d clothes onto the bed for later sorting
  17. Pull out all the s pare coat hangers (find 30)
  18. Organise clothes in wardrobe to style and season (the clothes I will most likely need in the next few month at the front so it’s easier to find)
  19. Hang up hanging shelves and put shoes and collection of hats in (clearing the floor in the wardrobe)
  20. Vacuum floor
  21. Break for lunch and get a phone call from Kindy – Threenager is running a high temp and needs to be picked up
  22. Pick up Threenager from Kindy and take home
  23. Retake temp and give Pamol to Threenager
  24. Call Dr and make new appointment for self tomorrow, Threenager can have the one booked for today
  25. Go to Dr, get told Threenager needs to stay off Kindy for a few days
  26. Go home, leave room to itself until Threenager is in bed
  27. An hour before own bedtime, finish cleaning up and organising the wardrobe, clear the bed
  28. End up with four bags – two for the hospice shop and two to load on trademe
  29. Pat self on the back and get ready for bed
  30. Check on Threenager and find they have broken a fever
  31. Change Threenagers pjs and put in own bed while Hubby comforts him
  32. Change the sheets on Threenager’s bed
  33. Heat up rice-bag for Threenager for them to cuddle
  34. Walk back into own room to transfer Threenager into their bed
  35. Find both Hubby and Threenager fast asleep, snoring away
  36. Decide to sleep in Threenager’s bed instead
  37. Have the best nights sleep in ages!

How To: Decide to have a mental health day after a Maximum morning

Didn’t sleep well last night. I dub thee a mental health day.

  1. Get minimal amount of sleep due to head cold/chest infection (must go back to the Dr. tomorrow for antibiotics)
  2. Wake up at 3am and don’t get back to sleep until Hubby leaves for work at 5am
  3. Threenager comes in and decides that it is time the “Lets see how much mess I can make before Mum fully wakes up and realises I am here” game
  4. Hear drawers opening and a little bit of giggling and Threenager talking to themselves (probably deciding on which room to wreak havoc on next)
  5. Sit up in bed to have a better look of the room and discover: Dressing Table items are scattered on the floor, all the drawers are open and Threenager is in the middle of emptying the drawers out
  6. Decide it’s not worth getting too wound up as Kindy day today and should be able to take time to clean it all up
  7. Say Hello to Threenager and call them over for morning cuddles
  8. Have a cuddle for 5 minutes and fall asleep
  9. Wake up to Threenager playing Train with Monkey, all the lights are now on (How on earth did he reach the main light??? he’s way too short and there is nothing for him to climb on)
  10. Realise that they used the superhero wrapping paper roll to switch the main light on (this is now unrolled over the floor – looks like his cousin will be receiving avon garde style gift wrap)
  11. Turn to Threenager to point out the mess they have made – receive a “BLAAAAAAAAH!!!!!” in the face from inner cardboard tube of said gift wrap.
  12. Look at Threenager and debate on creative ways to use the inner tube… receive a brilliant smile and a “Hello Mum! Wake up, Kindy Day”
  13. Throw self back down onto the pillow with a groan and say “Yes, I know – But wait until the birds start singing”
  14. Alarm clock with singing birds tone goes off
  15. Scowl at singing birds
  16. Turn back to Threenager and receive a knee to the eye as they are climbing over my face to get to the phone
  17. Threenager gives me phone, to which I just look at it stupidly – and far too long for their liking
  18. Get a book thrown in my face off my bedside table Oh, Good Morning Emily Writes, Rants in the Dark you say? Game on – I’ll have a coffee date with you after Kindy drop off
  19. Just as I have registered the book, in my hands I then have my dressing gown thrown in my face and the covers pulled off me “Up Mum!”
  20. Start to drag myself out of the bed, have THREE roll on deodorants plopped on my tummy (OMFG they are COLD!)
  21. Discover Threenager has also been in the bathroom (How on earth have a managed to sleep through all of this????)
  22. Mentally bang head against brick wall and tell self off – you’re on Mum duty, no sleeping in when you’re sick – this IS your work… Aww, stuff it.
  23. Hobble into the kitchen, make breakfast and coffee, blow nasty green gunk out of nose, throw tissue away (yup, def need to go back to the dr for those antibiotics)
  24. Turn telly on to find Fresh beat band of spies on (Scooby Doo rip off anyone?)
  25. Allow Threenager to watch that while changing him and getting him dressed for the day
  26. Feed and water Threenager and self
  27. Trusty Grandpa is finally up, ask them to put Threenagers shoes on while I get dressed
  28. Start to walk out the door, Threenager has lost Monkey
  29. Ask Trusty Grandpa to put Threenager in the car
  30. Retrieve Monkey from behind the bed with extender arm (was given this by ACC – BEST. THING. EVER.)
  31. Finally get into the car, drive to Kindy
  32. Car starts shuddering, lights start flashing (Prey that we get to Kindy so that I can drop Threenager off and focus on the car
  33. Park car and drop Threenager off at Kindy
  34. Get back to car and pop the bonnet up
  35. Establish that the oil level is fine, water level is perfect, and the car battery is connected correctly… looks to be the spark plugs
  36. Man in people mover drives past and backs up asking me if I want some help
  37. Tell him what I believe it is, and know how much it’s going to cost (dude must be a mechanic as he was defending the prices that the mechanics have to charge etc)
  38. Manage to get the car started and home safely
  39. Call Hubby and make game plan on repairs and Kindy pick up (looks like I will be walking if Car is not fixed by then)
  40. Walk inside take one look at mess, sit down with coffee, computer and Rants in the Dark, Today is going to be a mental health day.

How To: Dust your Head Board

It’s been a fair bit busy and hectic here in our house hold… Practically June was a write off due to colds, chest infections, random hospital visits and impromptu sleep overs for the Max. So much has happened in the past month or so since I wrote my last post, I honestly don’t think I can catch up with it all!

My Scrapbooking calendar (that I have to update monthly) is stuck on May and I am seriously considering, just crossing “May” out  and writing “July” with the correct dates just to I can attempt to keep track of my life again. I have thank you cards that I have been wanting to write, Max’s baby book I want/need to update and not to mention so much housework I need to catch up on. I finally started getting over my chest infection only to wake up with a raw throat as the beginning of another cold. *sigh*

ANYWAY, enough mumblings about being sick and being behind in housework. Quick catch up about Max – He is now there big 3, going to Kindy three days a week (which in theory will allow me to have a better schedule for housekeeping, write some more, scrapbooking and have some time for myself – so far only been able to do the first) Due to  the awesome little changes that have been going on here now that he is in Kindy for longer – he’s growing so fast! – I now promote him from “Toddler” to “Threenager” (to help stop confusion on future posts) So, what has this Threenager been up to today? See below for todays list.

How To: Dust your Head Board

  1. Threenager comes in for early morning cuddles
  2. Cuddle for a little bit until the birds outside start singing (we have a rule about not getting up for the day until the birds are singing – I have an alarm on my phone that sounds like birds singing, but I’m happy to get up when the natural birds sing, as at least it’s not too early)
  3. Threenager turns on the bedside light and picks Monkey up
  4. Threenager then calls out “Monkey Train Mum!”
  5. Move pillow down so that my hair and head is not stepped on (learnt this the hard way)
  6. Toddler then spends next half hour or so sweeping Monkey back and forth across the top of the headboard calling out “Choo Choo Monkey, Choo Choo!” (just enough time for me to wake up for the day and do my morning stretches)
  7. Headboard is now dusted… just need to shake out Monkey and vacuum…

How To: Teach your Son about the “Energy Train”

Today has been one of those days. I had every intention of doing a little bit of housework this morning, followed by a trip to the local botanical gardens with my Son. It started out ok; I had brought in a load of washing, and hung two out, was just having lunch and mentioned to the Toddler about going to the botanical gardens – which he loves. It is now 2pm (we were going to leave at 1pm) and the energy train has now left the station. For those that don’t know, or haven’t read the rest of the blog – I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue in 2010. I am much better at managing it now, but I still have to pace myself every day so that I can do the things I want and need to do, including taking my Son to places that he can explore, have fun and just be the awesome little kid he is. Today, however did not go to plan. To be honest, they hardly ever do with a Toddler. Without further ado, here is today’s list:

  1. Wake up in the morning and see that it’s a nice day
  2. Feel that today is going to be a moderate energy day, so make mental plan in head to take the Toddler out after lunch to the Auckland Botanical Gardens
  3. Have breakfast and put load of washing on
  4. Have shower with Toddler
  5. Get dressed and bring the washing in that was hung on the line over night – it’s now dry.
  6. Hang next load of washing out while Toddler tips the pegs into his dump truck
  7. Chase Toddler around the backyard to retrieve more pegs
  8. Stop Toddler from emptying out the clean washing onto the ground next to washing line
  9. Finish hanging washing up, turn round to find Toddler climbing up on Trusty Grandpa’s car…
  10. Fetch Toddler and remind him that cars are not for climbing
  11. Get told “Come back here Mum, Get Grandpa’s Duck”(he has a green rubber ducky sitting on his dash board, I have a blue)
  12. Distract Toddler by asking him what he wants with his lunch today, an apple or a banana?
  13. Toddler chooses banana
  14. Make sandwiches and peel banana for Toddler, who decided that he wanted to eat the skin…
  15. Cook own lunch and sit down and eat
  16. Ask Toddler if they want to go to the “Gardens” for a walk today
  17. Toddler very excited, answers “Yes!”
  18. Remind Toddler he will need to help clean up his toys, and put some pants on before we go out
  19. Toddler finishes lunch
  20. Ask Toddler to put plate on the bench
  21. Toddler ignores me
  22. Finish own lunch
  23. Ask Toddler again to put his plate on the bench
  24. Toddler ignores me
  25. Decide to start picking up toys
  26. Put own plate on the bench and ask Toddler to help put away his blocks and tools
  27. Toddler helps put the blocks away, but starts playing with the tools
  28. Decide to put own shoes on to give Toddler a minute, then ask them to put their tools away
  29. Toddler helps put Tools away
  30. Thank Toddler for doing such a good job of putting his toys away, give him a sticker for his sticker chart
  31. Ask Toddler to clean his plate up again
  32. Toddler ignores me
  33. Pick up plate and take it to the bench
  34. Ask Toddler to come to his room for a bum change and to put on pants, shoes and socks, so we can go out.
  35. Toddler allows me to change his bum, but refuses to let me put his pants and socks on.
  36. Ask Toddler if he wants to dress himself
  37. Toddler refuses and begins to jump on his bead and run away from me
  38. Ask/Tell Toddler that they need to help me so we can go to the gardens (if I have to wrangle him into his clothes, by the time it is done, I will have no energy left to take him out)
  39. Toddler ignores me
  40. Decide to leave him to it, tell Toddler that when he is ready to get dressed, I will be in the lounge waiting
  41. Toddler comes into the lounge after 20 minutes of playing in his room and finds me reading my book
  42. Toddler has a meltdown
  43. Put book down and calmly ask Toddler if they are ready to get dressed
  44. Toddler jumps into my lap for a cuddle
  45. Have a nice cuddle with Toddler and ask if they are tired (think he might be coming down with a cold)
  46. Toddler shakes his head and wants his socks on
  47. Help Toddler put his socks on
  48. Ask Toddler if he wants his pants on
  49. Toddler nods his head
  50. Start to put pants on Toddler, but then Toddler doesn’t want them on
  51. Toddler jumps down off my lap and decides to climb the fireplace (it is cold and not on, but he know’s not to do this grrrr!)
  52. Get Toddler down and warn him that if he keeps this up, Mummy’s energy train will leave the station (I.E. I was already starting to lose my energy at the point, but I knew that if he co-operated, I could take him for a short walk in the gardens)
  53. Toddler still plays up
  54. Give Toddler another warning
  55. Toddler ignores me
  56. Go to see Trusty Grandpa in his room, ask him to keep an eye on Toddler for 10-20 minutes
  57. Tell Toddler that there will be no gardens today, as he wouldn’t get ready and help Mummy dress him (tough love folks, seems to be the only thing that’s working lately)
  58. Tell Toddler to go see Grandpa, as Mummy is going for a walk ALONE
  59. Close back door and hear Toddler start new tantrum
  60. Go for a 10 minute walk, stop next to a paddock and watch horses for a bit
  61. Walk home – by this point, calmer but still exhausted from 10 minute walk and the antics of Toddler
  62. Tell Toddler that if he is good tomorrow, Mummy will take him to the gardens then, but he will need to help me.

Chronic fatigue is no joke. It is a deliberating illness that cuts you to the core. It can put a halt to the life as you know it, and force you to make changes and life altering decisions that you never thought you’d have to do. It can isolate you – friends that you used to hang out with a lot, no longer have time to see you anymore, as you are either having to cancel at the last minute or they are suddenly finding that they will have to travel to you more then you come see them (as you may not have enough energy to socialise and drive). It is an illness where you might look fine on the outside, but are exhausted and screaming on the inside. It can cause you to become depressed, as you can find that you are forever mourning and grieving the person you “used” to be, the energy you “used” to have and the things you once did. May 12th is Chronic Fatigue Awareness Day. There is not much help here in New Zealand for those with Chronic Fatigue. There is only one Specialist in all of the country that can diagnose you and help – and the public health system and insurance don’t usually cover her costs. If you are diagnosed, all you can do is wing it until you find out what works for you. It took me three years to find a new life for myself with my illness and make it work for me. I still have my bad days, but they are getting fewer because I now know how to pace myself better. However, I recently had quite a hard time with energy, as you can probably tell by my lack of posts! (having an energetic Toddler can do that to you!) It would be nice to hear from others that have had similar journeys to me – how do you make it work?

How To: Get your Husband to wax your legs

Yes, you read that right. I asked my Husband to wax my legs for me. Before I start the list and tell you how it went, let me just tell you a few things that lead up to this… oh, not so wise decision…

I have recently had an operation in my stomach and pelvic area that has limited my movement, therefore making it practically impossible for me to bend in all the different ways required for me to shave my legs successfully.

In the past, I have tried waxing my legs but always found it messy, sore and ineffective (I think a lot of it had to do with I just didn’t know how to use the product properly, so I opted to shave my legs instead)

Today however, I looked at my hairy legs and thought “enough it enough!” being summer, I was so sick of having to wear jeans to cover my legs (I know, I know – in this day and age you shouldn’t be worried about it, but I like to have nicely shaved legs when I wear shorts or a skirt) So, I went out and decided to buy some waxing strips from the local supermarket, here is where todays list starts…

  1. Get to supermarket and look at the different selections of wax strips
  2. Decide to try a “New” product (Nads Exfoliating Body Wax Strips)
  3. Get home and ask Hubby to help with the waxing process
  4. Hubby gives me the “Are you crazy?!” look
  5. Assure Hubby that I am happy for him to do it, and that I will not be angry at him (no matter what happens)
  6. Hubby still looks doubtful, but agrees with an “Ok….”
  7. Open packet of wax strips and read instructions
  8. These are exfoliating wax strips, so us the exfoliating side on legs before applying (check)
  9. Put the first two strips on and wait for Hubby to come back into the room (and for the wax to cool down)
  10. Hubby comes back in, still looking quite doubtful “Are you sure you want to do this?”
  11. Assure Hubby that I do…
  12. Hubby then rips the first one off
  13. Scream and yelp and crack up laughing (did not think that it would hurt THAT much)
  14. Inspect the wax strip (it worked! took off a fair amount of hair, Yay!)
  15. Inspect leg – still a little bit of hair left in the area, decide to tidy it up later with tweezers
  16. Husband applies the next few strips
  17. Toddler decides to come investigate
  18. Toddler watches his Daddy rips more strips off and cracks up laughing at my reaction (both Hubby and Toddler are enjoying this way too much!)
  19. Start getting light headed from the pain (oh, didn’t you know? I’m such a woose!)
  20. Hubby, after removing more wax strips sees how I’m coping and tells me that I’m better off just shaving my legs
  21. Tell Hubby that he can continue, decide to read the instructions again – spot a “warning” section I hadn’t seen before… It says not to apply to any area that has veracious veins. (I have them on both legs since pregnancy, predominately on my left, so I can’t wax those sections and will have to shave there anyway)
  22. Hubby takes off the rest of the wax strips (in total we used 6)
  23. Decide to finish up shaving legs instead – better to stick with what you know
  24. Spend next hour sitting on a chair in the bathroom finishing up my legs, knowing that for the next little while I will have very patchy legs – at least I don’t look like a warewolf now!

To finish this up, I think to the right person (someone who waxes their legs as apposed to shaving them) this product will work very well… so I decided to give them away on a local pay it forward group. Hoping this will brighten someone else day – that has a higher pain tolerance then me!

How To: Try the new “Black Mask” Trend

IMG_4015

  1. Do copious amounts of surveys online to earn enough points for a fishpond voucher
  2. Buy black mask
  3. Wait a few days excitedly
  4. Finally gets here
  5. Decide to put the mask on and try it out
  6. First, tie hair back
  7. Wash face
  8. Then, get vaseline and apply to eyebrows and hairline
  9. Get black mask from the kitchen (where I had opened the courier bag and left it)
  10. Come back to the bathroom and find Toddler cleaning their teeth – toothpaste everywhere
  11. Clean up toothpaste – let Toddler keep toothbrush so they can brush their teeth some more
  12. Put on black mask, put a thin layer over cheeks and forehead, but a thicker layer over chin and nose area (as that is my problem area)
  13. Take a photo of the mask on
  14. Toddler has a huge grin on their face “Mum! FACE!”
  15. Put the black mask back in the kitchen, so it is out of reach of Toddler
  16. Come back to bathroom to find Toddler has played with the toothpaste some more
  17. Clean up mess and sit down for 20 minutes…
  18. Check face and see that there are still a few spots that need to dry, so wait another 10 minutes
  19. Peel off the mask, expecting a lot of pain and tears
  20. Mask seems to be similar to the other peel off masks
  21. Have mixed feelings of disappointment and joy – it didn’t work as well as was expecting, but it did make skin feel nice and didn’t leave any redness. I give this product a 7/10.

    IMG_4018

 

How To: Have morphine induced dreams

For those that do not know, I have recently been in hospital for an operation. The first night I was pretty out of it, due to the general aneasetic. But the second night in, I was given Morphine based pain killers and they messed with my dreams HEAPS! So, below are the following dreams I had on this particular pain pill… hope you have a giggle like I did the next morning!

  1. First up, the Troll from Dora the Explorer singing “You’ve gotta Toll” – with Dora singing back up vocals. 
  2. Got woken up by the blood pressure trolley rattling down through the ward and it was interpreted in my dream as someone trying to break down the back door
  3. Jennifer Anniston dressed up in a fairy princess dress telling me that she’s my supplier… my pillow supplier!
  4. Then I went swimming with Dory
  5. Toddler some how turned up asking me for monkey, then when I dropped it, it turned into skittles and baked beans and then started popping into popcorn 
  6. The Popcorn from before turned into a zebra with Donkeys voice from Shrek
  7. Had a dream about trying to find miniature models of the Titanic- aparently there is a set and it is very nice
  8. The new yellow flea repellent carpet is now the in thing (had earlier in the day been discussing how to get rid of fleas in the carpet with MIL)
  9. Don’t know what I had dreamt,  but at one point I woke up with a desperate need for the milk in the fridge!
  10. Popcorn, nonstop coffee maker is the new “in thing”
  11. Don’t know why donuts don’t grow on trees, but they make a nice wall decorations
  12. New coloured chalk needs to be grated into sand before we leave (didn’t know where were were going in the dream, but it was important to grate this damn chalk!)
  13. I was in a lift with a lawyer on our way to the courtroom to prosecute someone
  14. Back in high school now and trying to book a meeting with my dean at Massey… glad I woke up when I did- I hated that school!
  15. Singing with SIA and for once I can sing! (Because I have her magic wig!)

Hope you managed to have a giggle – eventually I will write an account on how it is to recover from surgery when you have a Toddler and Hubby and Trusty Grandpa looking after said Toddler… but still having moments of exhaustion and unable to focus long enough to really write it all down! For now, enjoy the above!