52 challenges in 52 weeks

As per normal tradition, I again have a list of 52 challenges for the year. This is a list of both big and small goals to help me challenge myself. The rule is also that for every item that isn’t completed by the end of the year, $5 is donated to charity.
Last year threw me a curve ball… instead of working part time with a baby at home (the general plan), I got a job working 60 hours a week! I tried to be flexible with the challenges, and still think I did a pretty good job :)
This year my challenges are a bit more achievable given our family circumstances.



1.     Go to a zoo/wildlife park

2.     Visit a touristy place

3.     Crafts with Squirt 3 times

4.     Kid activity out of the house once a fortnight

5.     Try two new crockpot meals

6.     Jump in puddles / Play in rain with Squirt

7.     Do a Christmas postcard


8.     Go on a date night every month

9.     Have a candlelit dinner

10. Write a love letter

Personal Development

11. Read 3 books (including a book from the NYT best sellers list, and one top selling fiction book)

12. Read 2 PD books (including a book in something that interests me, to learn something new)

13. Buy something FUN for myself

14. Wear a dress in public

15. Try a food I’ve never tasted

16. Do something that scares me

17. Cook a 3 course meal

18. Travel outside of Darwin

19. Compliment a stranger and help a stranger

20. Bake cookies from scratch and share them at work

21. Update my will

22. Write a list of everything I appreciate


23. Run 100km over the year

24. Run more than 5km in one go

25. Enter an event

26. Go to the gym

27. Lose 5kg

28. Do shakes for 2 weeks

29. Detox for 1 week

30. Drink 2 x water bottles a day at work

31. Do 10 push-ups without stopping


32. 365 Photography Project and/or 365 photography project for Squirt

33. Finish monthly photos before the end of the next month

34. Get at least one family photo a month

35. Photograph 1 x sunset, 1 x sunrise

36. Complete 2013 photobook

37. Complete 2014 photobook

38. Complete Squirts 2014 photobook

39. Complete the wedding photobook


40. Go to the cinema

41. Watch 3 movies released in 2014 / 2015

42. See a waterfall

43. See a musical (or live music)

44. Fly a kite

45. Have a picnic

46. Find 5 geocaches


47. Review monthly expenses at the end of each month

48. Save money into Squirts account each month


49. Pick a monthly challenge by the 1st each month

  • Jan – No leisure electronic use during Squirt time
  • Other ideas – No fast food/prepared non fresh food,
  • No facebook,
  • Run 3x a week,
  • Weights / pilates every morning

50. Surprise someone (in a nice way)

51. Get a toy from a vending machine

52. Bi-Monthly clean out, pick one of;

  • Tupperware
  • Squirts old clothes
  • My old clothes
  • Boxes in shed
  • Filing cupboard



These are items that I really really hope I can achieve in 2015, but I don’t think I’ll be able to realistically. But I didn’t want to delete them, as I want to try my hardest!

1.     Make a movie

2.     Catch a fish

3.     Donate blood

4.     Keep up to date with my 2015 photobook


You can also find Kelly’s list on her blog. We work on it together every year, so you’ll see similarities!

I can run!

Today I ran! Properly, for the first time in 10 months!!

I headed out with my pre pregnancy sports bra on, hoping to do 1/2s. I did a 'power pump' (a hour long intensive expressing session, with the purpose of increasing milk supply), which left me completely empty. I'm not sure if that was a major factor, but everything felt great.

I was also a bit worried about being back in Vibrams after not wearing them for so long, but so far it's been all good!


It wasn't a super run by any stretch of the imagination, more of a practice run. The 1/2's felt very easy, I think I'll ramp it up pretty quickly now.

And it's perfect timing as I've decided my first goal race is going to be the Darwin City 2 Surf. It's on June 1st and has a 12km and a 4km. I'm going to wait a bit to decide which one to do, I have no idea if I can be ready to do a 12km by that date. I even have a girlfriend who might head up to do it too!

I'll do up a general training plan (mostly based around a couch to 5km, slightly modified based on my previous experience) and will see how I go.

With a 2 month old, any plan has to be flexible, and at the moment my run is usually dependant on whether he's woken in time to be fed and put back down before it gets too dark to run.

I love the sunsets here – this is a quick pic I took during the run :) It really reminds me to be grateful for the awesome things I do have, and reminds me to stop stressing about things I don't.



My first run

First run post Squirt, and I think it was mainly a fail :(

I went out with the aim of 1/2's (1 minute running, 2 minutes walking), but 2 seconds into my run I knew I had no chance. My boobs didn't have anywhere near enough support. Somehow, breastfeeding changes the whole consistency of them! I expressed right before I left, and tightened the sports bra, and I thought they would be ok… But nope.

You can see on the map where I tried to start running.


I also experienced MAJOR self consciousness, I had completely forgotten that feeling! I was never a good runner, but I still ran enough to consider myself a runner. That plus the fact I was in a tiny town where I rarely saw someone when out on my runs, I really didn't care what people thought.

I know that feeling does go away eventually, and I tried to ignore it.

After my first interval fail, I considered stopping my Nike watch, as it wasn't really a 'run' any more. It was something discussed on another running blog today (The Boring Runner) and I thought about it as I ran. And I decided I was still 'running', because I was still doing more than all the couch potatoes. And mentally I was a runner, because I went out with the intention of running. And I refused to give up and just go home, I finished 2.5kms walking, even though I felt self conscious and like I 'failed'. So, I'm still a runner!

So, I have pulled out a pre-pregnancy sports bra… It *just* fits! and feels a little more supportive than the maternity sports bra. So…. I'll see how that goes :)


A new start at running

It's been a while, and some major changes in my life. This being the main one :)


So, when I was pregnant, my husband and I went into immediate 'protect the baby at all costs' mode, and from the moment we saw the blue line, I stopped running. Due to the fact I was in a freezing cold climate, with very little option for exercise, I mostly stopped ALL exercise. Looking back I can see this was a bit of an over reaction, but as first time parents with no close friends or family around, we muddled our way through the pregnancy.

And now, with Squirt just over 2 months old, I can feel the affects of the mistake.

I have just started exercise again, desperate to get running, and have been walking once a day for the last week. One of my 52 in 52 items (list coming later) is to document my running progress after Squirt arrived, so I figure the start is a good start.

This is my day, with my first 'real' proper walk.


I'm hoping tomorrow to try my first run. I had the all clear from the doc a week ago, but what I hadn't counted on at ALL was how sore my boobs are. I'm breast feeding, and we're still figuring out how it all works. But my boobs are very sore, and most of the time, full and huge. I've found a sports bra a few sizes up and it's helped on my walks, so I'm hoping it'll hold up for runs.

I'm also missing all of my running gear – I had them shipped to Australia from Canada (I said there had been big changes), and 4 months later, they're still not here. That includes my running shoes, my running earphones, and all the clothes. All I have here is one pair of Vibrams, and I'm making do with my iPhone and iPhone headphones.

It feels very strange to be starting again…. It wasn't that long ago I was running 10km races every weekend, and trying to work on my speed. But things change quickly. My 50 min walk today has my legs aching, and I get breathless just walking a flight of stairs now :( But I know I can get back there, and most importantly, I know how much my mental health benefits! Even my walks have made me feel more centred.

So, fingers crossed my first run tomorrow goes well.


52 in 52 challenges – 2014

Following my normal tradition, I have again written a list of 52 challenges that I’d like to achieve within the next year.

It’s a little late this year, but I had almost finalised it when I had my first Rainbow Surprise of the year, with my baby coming a few weeks early. But I’ve already started completing them :)

This year I’ve focused mainly on fun, and the original challenge theme, going outside of my comfort zone. I’m also planning on being nice and flexible with them.

Physical Activity
• Enter an event I’ve not been in before
• Learn to kitesurf
• Complete a triathlon
• Go camping
• Donate blood
• Lose 5kg (after giving birth)
• Run/walk 1km every day (after Squirt)
• Update running progress monthly (after Squirt)
• Do 10 push-ups without stopping
• Go rock climbing

• 365 Photography Project
• 365 Photography Project for Squirt
• Participate in 52 photo challenge
• Alphabet photography challenge
• Take newborn photos
• Selfie Sunday
• Finish the wedding photo album
• Make a calendar for Christmas

• Create a wearable gift
• Make a movie
• Plant a section of veggies and grow them
• Blog 10 memories
• 30 day song challenge
• Find 12 geocaches
• Catch a fish

• Go on a date night every month
• Go to a zoo/wildlife park together
• Run together
• Write a love letter to one another
• Have a candlelit dinner
• Go to bed happy with each other every night

Personal development
• Be able to read hiragana fluently
• Read 6 books
• Read 3 PD books
• Bake/cook something different once a month
• Help a stranger
• Become accredited

• Stick to a budget for a month
• Donate $5 for every item not completed

• Have a picnic
• Cook a 3 course meal
• Go to a spa
• Go to a play/music/dance/concert show
• Go to the Darwin show and get a showbag
• Be thankful
• Go on a girls night

• Visit jumping crocodile cruise
• Watch all Monty Python movies
• Watch 10 movies from the top 150 on IMDB
• See waterfalls
• Get a toy from a vending machine
• Fly a kite

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2012

I am so proud to say that I've now finished a Half Marathon!


And I am so glad it was a Disney one.

The morning started out VERY early, with my alarm going off at 3:30am. Luckily I had everything set out the night before, ready and waiting.


And then the first of many many lines, just to get the shuttle bus to the start.

There was a huge bottle neck to get from the car park to the entry area, so Adam said goodbye there and went to find the spectator area.

I followed the crowd to the start line, and started the hike up to my corral. Even though I wasn't the last corral, I still managed to be the one furtherest away from the start line!

The energy in the corral was amazing, even though it was 4:30 in the morning. There were more women than I could imagine, all dressed in tutu's and Disney costumes. The DJ got us all pumped up with some cool music, and as each corral started, the fairy godmother gave us a countdown, and fireworks!


The run itself was very very packed. There was no gaps in the crowd and it made it very hard to pick your own pace. You couldn't walk, or run faster, you just had to go with the crowd.


After the marching band, I had to pull over for a pitstop, it was before the 1km mark even! But luckily it was the only pitstop I needed.

Then there was huge kite butterflies, Jack Sparrow and his ship, all of the princes, Lightning McQueen, the evil witches, Gaston, Tiana, Cinderella, Mary Poppins, Prince Charming, Lilo, the Genie, Meeko, a toy soldier, the Incredibles, the Fairy Godmother and a Gospel Choir. And every single character had a wait line of 30-50 people! I managed to get photos of most of them as I passed (I didn't line up for any), and got photos of the mile markers. All of my photos can be found on my flickr.


I finished with an official chip time of 3:27:22, and had an awesome time. The only thing that could have made it better would have been seeing my boy at the finish line. Unfortunately with all the people, we didn't see each other at all :(

As it was the only Disney race I ever plan to do, I went all out and got all the extras, including the race retreat and breakfasts.

I researched a lot beforehand and couldn't find many details, so here are a few thoughts for any lucky gals doing it next year.

  • The half marathon was definitely worth it. It was incredibly busy, but an incredibly atmosphere.
  • The 5K race was also definitely worth it. I was worried that doing it so close to the half marathon would be asking for trouble, but it was easy. As it was also really busy, it was a nice easy slow run. I used it as a test run, to test out various bits of my costume. I think it also would have been much better to dress up and have more fun with it. I completely didn't even think about it until the day before, but matching outfits with my boy would have been fun.
  • Don't set any time goals, and don't try to PR. If you get a gap in people, you take it, but they are few and far between.
  • Pasta in the Park. The food wasn't great, the entertainment was ok, and we were mostly bored. But I think if you're there with a group of people, it would have been a million times better. The VIP viewing for the show was pretty good, but you could get a view just the same if you arrived a little early. But I think it was worth it purely for the photo opportunities. You can stand in line for 5 mins to get a photo with 3 princesses at the Pasta Party, or you could do it during the race, each one with a 20 minute wait, while you're meant to be running.
  • Breakfast after the 5K. Again, it was ok, the food was average, it was nice having bathrooms with no wait. But the only thing that gave it value was the photos with the princesses. If you're not interested in those photos, I wouldn't bother. The only other benefit was that it gave us something to do while the buses were busy, and by the time we were ready to leave we got straight onto the bus.
  • Race Retreat. I'm kinda torn as to whether this one was worth it or not. I went in quickly before the race, but only to pee with no line. Beforehand, you just want to get to the corrals asap to make sure you're not late. After, it was packed over full, and again the food was only average. But it was AWESOME to have somewhere to sit and take a few minutes after the race. We were squished into a big table with lots of strangers, and seats way too close for any normal day, let alone a day where most of us had just run 21kms, so relaxing wouldn't be the right word, but outside there was nothing. You could sit on the asphalt car park and hope noone stepped on you, or you could stand in lines for buses. So, was having a squished seat at the end of the race worth $99? I'm not sure. Especially if you have a spectator, as it was another $99 for him to get in with me with the ChEAR squad package.
  • Stay in the Park. I really wasn't sure if it was going to be worth it and we almost stayed off site, but I'm so glad we stayed there. It made the entire trip magical, and the shuttles etc make life so much easier.
  • Souvenirs. Especially RunDisney stuff. Head to the outlet just out of Disneyworld. We caught a cab and it cost $22. But the outlet mall was good value, although there were no huge outlet discounts, just normal US mall prices, but the Disney store in there had all sorts of awesome stuff much cheaper than the stores in the park. They also had a huge rack of RunDisney stuff. I hadn't been able to find any RunDisney stuff in the parks, other than the tent after the marathon. There was no princess marathon stuff, but there was generic RunDisney gear.


If anyone else has any suggestions for next years girls, let me know and I can add them!



Royal Family 5km

This morning was the Disney Royal Family 5km. I had signed up for this race with Adam, so he got to experieence a bit of the magic. My half marathon is tomorrow, the day after the 5km.

As I discovered, all Disney races have a very early start. They need to be finished and through Disneyworld before the park opens for the day, so we had to be on our buses this morning by 5:00am. But at least they're organised. We were picked up by the shuttle bus, dropped off at Epcot and strolled easily to the corrals for a 20-30 min wait for the race to start. There were heaps of PortaPotties for a last minute bathroom stop and everyone seemed to understand what was going on.


The 4.30am start was way too early for my grumpy little boy who just wanted coffee.


And then we were off! The race course went through Epcot, winding around a few times to the back of it, and then back around to the front. We came back through under the big Epcot circle, and finished just outside. The course was nice, there were no major hills (there was a tiny one, going up a bridge ofter the water), there was no bottle necks, and there was the Disney parks employees setting up for the day lining the course inside chearing us on.

Along the race there were lots of characters, all available for photos if you wanted to wait in line for them. I didn't like any of the characters enough to wait that long, but I took photos as I ran/walked past.


There was a lot of people, and for the majority of the race there were people banked up in front of you so even if you wanted to run, you had no choice but to walk. But when we had the chance to run, I wanted to be lazy and walk. Adam kept on making me run :P


But then just after the 2 mile mark, we saw Donald Duck. He saw me taking a photo as I walked past, and turned to me to wave and give me a thumbs up!!! That got me so excited I ran the rest of the way :)


And then we were DONE! We got our medals as we crossed the finish line and I got photos straight away. You can see from the redness of my face that it was fairly hot. It was equivilant to a Darwin wet season morninng. It was probaby 25 degrees, and very humid. I loved it, but it was a bit of a shock to the system after running in a Canadian winter.


We headed to the special breakfast that was organised. We got to relax a bit, and there were special princesses to get photos with! They are also so awesome in character, Merida said she always wanted to be a pirate, but her mum said that girls weren't allowed to. I told her that they were on my ship, so she asked if she could join my crew and be a pirate with me. We agreed we'd sail away and have sword fights and make people walk the plank!


So it was a fun race all in all! Adam enjoyed it, which was the point, and I got to have a trial run in this weather before the half marathon tomorrow. I also used it as a learning tool for my gear. I wore my tiara, and decided it's not going to work for 21kms, but my calf compression socks will be good.

Now it's an early night, as the princess half marathon needs a 3am start!


Welcome to Disneyworld!

I'm at Disneyworld!!! To say I'm overly excited is a MASSIVE understatement, and Adam has been extraordinarily patient :)

On check-in, I noticed some kids checking in next to us had awesome balloons with a Mickey holder. I commented to Adam how awesome they were, and the lady checking us in overheard me. Adam told me they were only for KIDS, so the lady interjected, saying that of course I could have one. Her and I started a convo about how in Disneyworld I was ALLOWED to be a kid, and it was even expected of me. The check in lady told me that she liked my attitude :P

She kept checking us in (it's quite a lengthy process), and asked if we had been before. When I said no, it was our first time, she pulled out 'First Time' badges. They're special badges that you wear and when Disneyworld staff notice them, it gives them something to talk to you about, and they go to extra lengths to make sure you love the place. I already knew about the badges, so I mentioned that it was also my birthday this weekend, knowing there is another birthday one! She got excited for me and pulled it out, and gave me a pen to write my name on it. This started another convo with Adam commented on how only kids like to tell everyone it's their bday. I think that's what did it, and the check in girl said she had to go out the back to get 'something' and then we were done.

A few minutes later she came back around the corner with THIS:


Soooooo awesome! It's a little Pluto, with 3 awesome balloons (and the cool Mickey holders). I was so excited :D

The Mickey towels was our display on the bed when we arrived.

Disneyworld really is magical!


My Princess Half-Marathon outfit!

It’s here! Everything is here!
As everyone should remember, for my birthday this year I’m heading to Disneyworld for a half marathon. It’s now only 11 sleeps away, and my t-shirt finally arrived!

Most runners for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon are dressing up as their favourite princess, but while thinking about which was my favourite, I decided I didn’t want to be any of the current disney princesses, I want to be a NEW princess :) A special one of a kind, Jo princess :D

And here is the result.

Princess Jo outfit

I have a layered rainbow tutu that has LED lights. The race starts in the early hours of the morning, so the rainbow lights will look awesome!. And I have a special Princess Jo tshirt, with a rainbow and a running woman. It’s a tech shirt, so should be good for the race.

Just ignore the snowboots and puppy in the photo :)

I intended to get a tiara, but haven’t yet found one online that will ship to me. It’s now too late, so hopefully I will find one at Disneyworld before the race. And I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to wear the shown black running pants, or my knee length ones. I’m not sure what the weather will be like, so will figure that out when we get there.

Do you reckon I look like a unique Princess Jo?

It’s going to be AWESOME!!!

And for the record, my favourite princess is currently Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog. She works hard to get what she wants :)

Running in Jan 2013

One of my 52 in 52 challenges is to blog my running updates on a monthly basis, so here is my update for January :)

January was a relatively good month for my running. I'm very excited for the half marathon in Feb, so have stuck fairly well to my plan. The long runs were challenging on the treadmill, but I've managed to do one 16km (watching a movie), and I also did a hike or two in place of long runs (kinda cheating I know, but its a compromise).

I also stuck fairly well to my challenge of not going for more than two days without a run. Three of the gaps in the picture were actually issues with the ipod, or a hike instead. And I definitely got my challenge of a 10km+ run a month.


I am also very pleased because in January I managed to sort out a rut I was in with the treadmill. I was running so much slower than I usually do, and walking WAY too much. And I just wasn't enjoying it. I was bored watching TV, but I couldn't not watch TV. I was also having issues with my nike watch on the treadmill. For some reason it gets confused when I walk and tracks it incorrectly, so the kms are always way out to lunch. So, trying to deal with the watch, I decided to try using my nano and my nike foot pod, to see if it was more accurate. I stumbled on the solution to all the problems I was having! It fixed the nike problem and now almost perfectly matches my treadmill, AND gives me music, the key I was missing. Listening to the tv was too slow for me, and I need to hear the beat to keep me in rythym. Once I started playing my music again, and put on captioning on the tv, I was back up to normal speeds, and running my 3-4km short runs without any walk breaks :)

But the best part about running in January was the response to this challenge I sent to my friends. They responded quickly, and even though we were partway through Jan when we started, they gave me a run for my money (see what I did there, RUN for my money…. lol). The top one in the list is Tiffany who is going to prove hard to beat! She's leading two running groups a week! But it's excellent motivation. Congrats Tiffany for winning January!



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