Tuesday, 2 May 2017

101 in 1001 - update



It's been such a long time since I looked at this that I hadn't realised my time is up. Oops! And I haven't done very well at all... Oh well! I'm in the process of making a new list, hopefully more achievable as I won't find myself in the midst of a very difficult pregnancy followed by a very difficult birth and infancy of that child. At the time of making this list I really didn't believe we were ever going to succeed at having a baby, so there's a lot of travel on there that, once things changed, had zero chance of happening!

The Challenge:

Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

 

The Criteria:

Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

 

Why 1001 Days?

Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

 

Start date: May 26, 2014
End date: Feb 20, 2017


Completed: 31/101

1 Write a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days! 

5 See a movie in IMAX or 3D 9 August 2014
6 Watch 50 films I've never seen before
10 Read a book in a day

18 Write a hand written letter to someone

23 Explore Paris by night

25 Visit one new state

31 Visit a castle

33 Visit a National Park
35 Travel on a steam train
36 Go to the zoo
37 Go to 5 different museums
38 Visit the Palace of Versailles
39 Spend New Year's Eve in another country

43 Go to New York at Christmas time
44 Visit an art museum

49 Visit a theme park I've never been to
50 Go on a road trip without a pre-set destination

54 Start a new blog

61 Send flowers to someone
62 See a musical
63 Gamble in a casino

67 Have a baby
68 Meet an online friend in person
69 Make a Year in Pictures album

74 Make soup
76 Vote in a general election

86 Buy a new guest bed

96 Don't eat chocolate for a week
97 Create a meal planner
98 Sort out my wardrobe and donate any old clothes


Started: (28/101)

The problem here is that I had a very sudden and unexpected arrival of a baby – and the files I used to keep track of these goals were saved on my work PC, which I left one day and then didn’t see again for a year, by which time we’d had a system upgrade and a lot of my documents were vanished. So I have vague memories of doing some of these (for example, making the lists) but I have nothing to show for it.

 

2 See 10 classic movies I've never seen
12 List 50 favourite fictional characters
13 Make a list of 100 reasons I love my husband
14 Make a list of 100 books I would like to read
15 Write a list of 101 things I've already achieved
19 Write on 20 creative writing prompts.
(2/20)
20 Make a list of 101 things that I don't ever want to do again
24 Visit 5 capital cities
(2/5)
27 Write a list of 20 places I want to visit and why
40 List 10 places I have been, and 10 favourite things about each place
42 Complete the A-Z travel challenge
45 Visit 10 local tourist attractions
(2/10)
48 Have a romantic weekend away in a log cabin
55 Photograph 30 different animals
56 Post 10 tutorials on my blog
73 Take a free online class
75 Watch the Super Bowl

80 Make a bucket list for each season
84 Give a handmade gift
85 Eat at 10 new restaurants
87 Learn to locate all 50 US states on a map
91 Learn to identify all the countries on a map
92 Recognize the flags of all EU countries
93 Learn all the elements in the periodic table
94 Learn all 50 US state capitals
95 Learn 50 new things by clicking the random articles button on Wikipedia
99 Start work on the garden
101 Make 10 things I've pinned on Pinterest
(1/5)

 

Totally failed: (41/101)

As mentioned above, surprise early arrival of baby and subsequent health problems he had meant that time to do things and go places was just non-existent.

 

3 Go to an outdoor movie

4 Spend an entire day watching films
7 Watch 10 movies chosen by my husband
8 Choose an actor and watch every film he / she has been in
9 Read 10 classics I should have read but have never got around to
11 Read a biography

16 Write a list of 100 things that make me annoyed
17 Write myself a mail via www.futureme.org

21 Write a fan letter
22 Make a list of things that I like about myself

26 Visit Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

29 See the Northern Lights
30 Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
(again)
32 Visit Ireland
34 Stay in a 5 star hotel

41 Visit The Shard

46 Visit all the locations on a Monopoly board
47 Take a train in mainland Europe
51 Tour a brewery/distillery
52 Climb a mountain
53 Ride the London cable car
57 Document a "day in my life" in photographs
58 Make snow angels
59 Spend a night stargazing
60 Spend a day at the beach
64 Watch a sunset on the beach
65 Watch a meteor shower

66 Say "yes" to something I would not normally do
70 Build a sandcastle
71 Go to a sporting event
72 Have a spa day

77 Take a moonlit walk on the beach
78 Take part in a blog challenge
79 Have a picnic in a forest


81 Win at crazy golf
82 Go up in a hot air balloon
83 Decorate a mug with a sharpie

88 Get my eyes tested
89 Reach my goal weight
90 Complete the 30 Day Shred
100 Grow my own herbs and/or vegetables

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Friday, 3 February 2017

This Week's Victories 2017 #5


Friday again already? And... What? It's February already? How did that happen?

We've had a fantastic week this week, mostly due to yesterday. After 5 years of internet weirdy friendship, I finally met up with a lovely lady called Claire. And, of course, her amazing little boy Harry. Harry is a heart warrior too, and it was so amazing to finally get Samson and Harry together and watch them play. I think we did amazingly well not to cry, it was such a big emotional thing to finally meet and celebrate our heroes together.

In other news...
-Samson has learned to say 'slipper'
-He had a bit of pear, real pear not pureed, and although it took a lot of chewing he managed it just fine.
-I saw the bottom of the laundry basket! It didn't last, but it doesn't happen often so is worth mentioning.

What were your victories this week?

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Friday, 27 January 2017

This Week's Victories 2017 #4

It's been a strange week this week. I've changed my working days, which has thrown the clock in my mind all out of whack! But it's Friday again, and that means it's time to look back at the week!

- Samson had a paeds appointment, and this is now also 12-monthly as she's happy that he's doing well.
- The animal noises are still going well. This week we've learned 'moo'!

Other than that, it's actually been a really quiet week. But sometimes, that's really nice!

What were your victories this week?


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Friday, 20 January 2017

This Week's Victories 2017 #3

This week has actually been really difficult. I had a few nights of PTSD flashbacks which prevented me from sleeping and made me feel completely horrible - we're talking 24 hours straight of being awake on one occasion with just 2 hours sleep afterwards. But still, it hasn't been all bad...


- There's a third animal noise! He's learning one a week which is pretty good going in my opinion. The latest is a dog says "woof woof".
- We have booked a cheeky little weekend break for March - the 10th anniversary of our first date. It's really close to home (about 30 mins away, that's all!) but it's the change of scenery that's important.
- I had my second counselling session. I cried, but I do feel like talking is definitely helping.
- Samson had a review yesterday with the team who look after his oesophagus. They're so pleased with how he's doing that his check ups will now be 12-monthly.
- I also spoke to his dietician yesterday, who is really happy with how his weight is going and plans to see him in clinic in May and then probably discharge him!!

What were your successes this week?

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Friday, 13 January 2017

This Week's Victories 2017 #2

This is where I look back at the week and what has gone well!


- We're now up to two animal noises - in addition to last week's lion saying "roar", we now have monkeys saying "ooh ooh". Too cute!
- Today is payday, always a good day in my book!
- I have successfully avoided buying a coffee at the railway station all week. I do enjoy one on a morning but sometimes sacrifices must be made!

What were your successes this week?

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Friday, 6 January 2017

This Week's Victories 2017 #1

I'm going to try really hard to post every week about whatever victories we've had - no matter how small!


- This week, Samson learned his first animal noise (a lion says "roar", just in case you're wondering!) and I swear it's just the cutest thing hearing him roar.
- The first working week of the year has been survived!
- I've spoken to my boss and we've agreed a change in my working days from the end of this month. This means I can be at home on a Friday and take Samson to a new baby and toddler group the health visitor is starting up.

What were you successes this past week?

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

2017's Plans and Hopes







This is the first year we've started without something big looming on the horizon - be that IVF, the birth of our little handsome boy, or his heart surgery. This year is a completely fresh, clear canvas; ours to do with whatever we choose.

That said, we haven't got much by way of plans for the year. As much as I love making plans and having things to look forward to, it's also quite refreshing having an almost clear slate. Should we decide to be spontaneous, we can.

Our only real plans at the moment are a couple of trips away. We're taking Samson to Thomasland in February, to celebrate the one year anniversary of his heart surgery. He absolutely adores Thomas & Friends (I think it would be fair to say he's actually obsessed!) so hopefully he'll enjoy being in a Thomas theme park. There's a zoo as well, and we've been wanting to take him to a zoo for a while now so we hope he'll enjoy that!

We've also got a midweek break booked at Center Parcs in September. We enjoyed ourselves so much in November that we couldn't wait a whole year to go again!

As for the rest of 2017, I'm hoping that we get to just spend quality time as a family, making special memories, in whatever format it happens to take. It would also be nice if we managed to finally get Samson's bedroom done - he's still in with us at almost 20 months! Which is fine, but it would be good for him to have his own space.

What are your plans for this year?

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Christmas Tag

I can't remember where I saw this, it's been sitting in my drafts so long. But anyway, who doesn't love a bit of Christmas fun? On with the Christmas tag...

What’s your favourite Christmas Movie?
I can't choose just one, it's not possible. Loved in equal measure are Home Alone, Home Alone 2, and Elf.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?
Yes. Don't ask me to prove it though!

Where do you usually spend your holiday?
Usually at home.

What is your favourite Christmas song?
I love a bit of Shaky at Christmas. And "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses.

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
No, but we do have a Night Before Christmas box. We only started it last year once we had a child to start new traditions with.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. And Rudolph of course!

What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?
I'm looking forward to all of it. It feels like a real family Christmas for the first time, and it's going to be amazing!

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Fake. I've never had a real tree.

What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?
Mince pies, and all the chocolate. Chocolate oranges and after eights particularly.

Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?
Probably giving, but it stresses me out a bit trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone!

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?
Is it awful that nothing is coming to mind? I really can't think of one particular awesome thing.

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
I would always always always say New York, but we were lucky enough to visit the Big Apple at the end of December 2014 and stay for New Years Eve. I'd do it again though, definitely!

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?
I am a present wrapping extraordinaire!

Most memorable Christmas moment?
Erm... trying to sieve blended turkey last year for Samson, so he could have some of our Christmas dinner. And then he didn't even want it haha!

What made you realise the truth about Santa?
I genuinely don't remember. Maybe it was so traumatic I blocked it out?!

What makes the holidays special for you?
I just love Christmas. I love time with family, especially now that we have our own child. I can't wait to see his face on Christmas morning, and to make lots of memories over Christmases to come.



If you want to join the fun and do the Christmas tag, please leave the link in the comments below so I can come and read your answers!

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs

Christmas last year wasn't, if I'm honest, the amazing first Christmas as a family that we've dreamed of for so many years. Samson was unwell for a lot of December, we went to at least one hospital per week every week for over 2 months - not all planned trips, we had a couple of overnighters in A&E - and when we weren't at hospitals or doctors surgeries we were basically housebound to try to protect him from infection and the cold weather. Which meant no looking at Christmas lights and decorations, and no visits to Santa.


This year is so different. Incredibly, wonderfully different. Samson is less vulnerable, stronger, and the hospital trips are less frequent. Christmas really is going to be a wonderful celebration this year, and in order to make the most of it we decided to kick things off early and book a Winter Wonderland trip to Center Parcs for late November.


We've never been to Center Parcs before, as it always seemed a bit extravagant and pricey for just the two of us - but perceptions change somewhat when you have children! Yes it's not cheap, but we figured we'd had a pretty harrowing first year of parenthood and we deserved a treat, so we even upgraded accommodation. We took my mum along with us as well by way of a small thank you for everything she has done and continues to do for us - without her, I wouldn't have been able to go to work and we'd struggle to get anything done at home. A third pair of hands makes a huge difference to us every day!


The Center Parcs at Whinfell Forest is only an hour and a half away from us, which was a big factor in us choosing to go there as we're all about the short journeys! We left home around 12.30pm and arrived shortly after 2pm. Checking in at the arrivals lodge impressed us - they knew who we were and how many of there should be before the car had even come to a stop! We couldn't access our lodge until 3.30pm, so we parked the car in the car park and headed to the village centre for a look around and a bite to eat to pass the time.




When the time came to go to our lodge, the four of us wandered along and we were so impressed with it. It was beautiful. We left my mum and Samson there while we went to go get the car so that we could unload, and we were again impressed with the village and how well signposted it is. You'd do well to get lost when driving to your lodge!




There were so many activities to choose from during the course of our stay, and many I was extremely tempted by for Samson, but in the end the only thing we did at extra cost was the visit to Santa. Not only was it Samson's first time meeting Santa, it was also my first time, so I was pretty excited and not only on his behalf! Santa's Workshop was decorated beautifully, and we'd chosen the 4.15pm slot thinking that it would be dark so we'd get the full effect of the lights, but less busy than the more popular early evening slots. It worked a treat; there was no queue at all when we arrived and we were straight inside to see the elves. Then we were called in to see the man himself - exciting! Samson was a bit hesitant at first to say the least, although the offer of a chocolate coin did persuade him to approach Santa. Only for long enough to grab the coin! We had a lovely photo taken, and then Santa gave Samson a little gift and we were on our way.




That evening was also the fireworks display, so we made our way up to the lake to watch. This was another first for Samson as he'd never seen fireworks before, and his reaction was mixed - he loved the sparkles and lights but wasn't so keen on the bangs. I don't blame him for that.


The rest of our stay was very enjoyable, if reasonably unremarkable. We had a few walks around the forest, ate in some nice restaurants, and finally (finally!!) managed to get Samson to see that swimming is fun and not the devil. We had a couple of really enjoyable afternoons in the subtropical swimming paradise - and, you know what, it's appropriately named! There's so much in there to explore and you could easily spend an entire day there.




Friday came around far too quickly, and we had to go home. Center Parcs has absolutely won us over though, and we will definitely return!





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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

National Fertility Awareness Week #NFAWUK

This week is National Fertility Awareness Week here in the UK; a week to raise awareness about fertility problems and challenge the myths surrounding them.




In the UK, 1 in 6 couples face fertility problems. We were that 1 in 6. You probably know if you've been around for some time, that we had to have two attempts at IVF to have our precious baby. It took us 3 and a half years of trying to conceive - at the time, that felt like 3 and a half decades. Time moves very differently when you're stuck on a rollercoaster that you just don't want to be on. Still, our journey was relatively short compared to others, and we are incredibly grateful that we were able to receive the treatment we did and that it was successful.


There are no two ways about it; infertility sucks. That period of my life - our lives - sucked. It did, however, lead me to meet an amazing group of women (one of them is on the poster above!) who, thanks to the power of the internet and the shared miserable experiences we had, have become a wonderful group of friends. Infertility can be extremely isolating and lonely, but there is support out there and other people going through the same thing, and that helps you through the darkest moments enormously.





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