Tuesday, 27 December 2011

All Because it's Christmas Time

"It's time to decorate the tree.... dress it up all sparkly..... shining and shimmering, glistening and glimmering, all because it's Christmas time" (thanks Hi-5).  This is what my M2 (daughter 3.5) has been singing since December 1st this year and is still singing.  It is beautiful (well except for the Hi-5 bit).

So, how was your Christmas.  Ours as a family was great.  We spent two days (one for each side of the family) feasting, exchanging presents and watching the kids.  That is what Christmas is all about.  Or is it?

As I sit down and reflect (and warning - I am not trying to be a downer here, but let's live with "first world problems" for a while) all I could think was how much I dislike the excess.

I went to the shops on boxing day (I KNOW - silly, but needs must, apparently) and there was line ups of kids exchanging their presents and buying more.  

Now before I get all judgemental, maybe some of the presents were gifts of money being spent 
but still..... first world problem.
While I sit here in my (old and shabby) but perfectly acceptable house I think about how lucky I am.

How lucky am I to be able to throw away food that I think "might be off".
How absolutely spoilt am I to think "I would have preferred something else" to what my children carefully chose out and gave to me.

Like I said people - First World Problems.

We spent $75 this year giving presents to World Vision and the K-Mart Wishing Tree Appeal.  
This is nothing. 
I would spend at least that much a month on wine and beer. 

But, in the scope of things, I have to think that every little bit counts.

I have read posts this Christmas about people who have lost friends.
Who have buried their husbands.
Who are missing their mums.

My life is good.

I urge you this festive season to embrace what you have around you.

Currently I am planning for 2012.
I am planning to get fit.
I am planning to try and get my house in order.

I am planning on loving what I have around me, everyday just that little bit more.

Happy Christmas Everybody. 
Here is to 2012.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Grief - I've Held Your Hand

Dear Grief,
I held your hand when my mum said good-bye to her brother. My Dad (her husband and soul mate was away - I was only 19 but had  to "step up).
It was too soon for him to go.
I remember the stigma attached.  
He would have had a red mark near his name because his death was HIV related.

Dear Grief,
 I held your hand when my big brother wept - his fiance the same age as me.  
Taken too soon in a car accident. Motorbikes went by as he walked out of the bridal shop she had ordered her wedding dress from.  I had made jokes about her at my own wedding.
Her kindergarten children that she taught bewildered by her loss. 

Dear Grief
I held your hand when my own mother wept - her mother sadly passing.
I wept my own tears - of guilt.
I should have been there for her more often.

Dear Grief
I held your hand as my husband's Uncles wife passed along.
Her death taken by the bitch that is "cancer".
So soon - her  very own daughter fell pregnant - VERY soon thereafter.

Dear Grief
 I HATE you
And yet you haven't yet really touched me
I know you are there, just lurking
And soon enough will hurt me.

Dear Grief
Please go away - I know we all soon will meet you.
Like my beautiful daughter said
"Why do we all go to heaven?"

I have no answer for that question
All I can do is smile
Smile in the knowledge that I can hold those that I love tight
And enjoy them for a little while.

Dear Grief,
Please don't haunt me - although I know one day you will.
I need those I know and love so well around me,
now and tomorrow still.

So if you need to take someone,  take someone who is suffering.  
Their loss no less meaningful or sad,
but maybe a little less frightening.

So to all of you who have lost someone,
either recently or not,
Light a candle and remember them - 
for their loss should not be for nothing.
 Love those you have around you - for without them you are nothing.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Memories in the Sand

Every year we make the pilgrimage to "the beach" for our 2 weeks of rest and relaxation, after finally making it to the finish of the school/working year (they are one and the same for us). 

Each year as it draws nearer a great sense of anticipation starts to build within the family - especially with M1 who looks forward to the time that daddy, especially, spends with him.  

M1 loves to swim, boogie board, make sand castles and all the usual kid stuff. 

M2 this year is also getting a better understanding of what exactly our holiday means to us.  
This year she has "blow up togs" which means hubby and I can sit on the edge of the pool and watch the kids playing and not hop in unless we want to.  Ahhhh......... bliss!

It is amazing the difference of M2 being just that little bit more independent and able to cope with the rigours (yes rigours) of beach life make to a holiday.   It is tiring going to the beach, going for swims, bike rides, walks and trying to keep up with you big brother. It does generally ensure a sleep through the day though!

I think holidays (or vacations if you are American) are a really important part of childhood.  It is during these times great memories are made.  Traditions are started that will then be followed with your family.  

I remember going to the beach every year for a holiday with my family, well since forever really.

Summers in Queensland are about the beach.
They are about watching the cricket in the middle of the day when it is too hot to be outside.
Summer is about mango's and ice creams. 
This is what are holidays are about.
It is a privilege to be able to share this with our children.
I hope they are storing up the memories and will one day share and pass them on to their children.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Reflections on Modern Life

Modern life seems SO busy.  I wrote about finding the balance in life earlier this year and how we all choose our level of busyness...  So have things changed for me as the end of the school/work year draws nearer?

The answer is yes and no.

Some days I feel like I am totally on it.  
You know those days when you have dropped the kids at school, washed up from breakfast, hung out two loads of washing, cleaned the bathroom, been to the shops etc and it is only 11.00?  
They are rare, but when I have one of those days - I LOVE IT!  
I feel like I can achieve anything and have a great outlook on life.

But, mostly, the days are still the same.  I am NOT on top of it. 

BUT the difference is I am learning to accept that this is OK. 
Because my kids have still been fed, their clothes washed, lunches made, homework done and
the house not falling down.  
I am in  a strange place head space wise at the moment.  Currently I am on holidays with the family.  That should mean less stress and relaxation right?   

Not for me. 

I don't know why., but I seem only to be able to focus on the negative things (M1 not wanting to go and see Santa - when that was the whole purpose of our trip out).  
I know this is hard on my hubby and M1 and M2.

I am just so tired of being argued with, corrected, explained to by a 3.5year old and an 8 year old.  
I know it old fashioned but I just would like for once, when I ask them something for them to say "Yes Mum" - straight away.  
Without the discussion/reasoning/why questions.

However, on a positive note, we all stating to relax. 
I have started my planning journey for next year, which hopefully will be a little easier.  
I know how "good" I have it.  I have a wonderful family (even if they do drive me crazy at times). 
Everyone is healthy.  Everyone is happy.  

I am trying to shift my head into a "Sunny Mummy" space. 
One where the focus is on people being happy.  I am slowly getting there.

In the meantime I am trying to see things through a child's eyes.  Trying to be happy.
  I will get there.   Are you going to come along for the ride????

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Made it to the finish line!

Today is the second last day of school for my M1.  I can't believe he is about to finish year 2.  YEAR 2 I tell you!  Feels like only yesterday I was dropping him for his first day at "pre-prep".

It has been a huge learning year for us as a family - full of all the normal struggles, challenges and unforeseen "things" that life throws your way.  But do you know what???????  We made it to the finish line!!!  And as I said to my kids at breakfast today - yes we are all still alive, happy and friends - you have to be happy with that!

M1 and M2 have done exceptionally well managing the change in our lives this year.  Their continued flexibility and willingness to "go with the flow' has constantly surprised us.  Kids are adaptable - it is us, as parents that worry about the changes.

So, as I start to reflect back on this year, I am really trying to take stock, plan, organise and work out how to "do it all a little better" next year.  The good thing is, next year I have experience on my side.

And that experience has taught me the following things:

1. It is ok to say no
2.  There is no such thing as "Super Mum"
3.  Everyone has to balance and juggle
4. There are happy moments everywhere - you just need to be open to them

For now however, I am thankful that M1 likes school, my family is healthy and I have good friends.

Goodbye school year of 2011 - hello holidays!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Silly Moments - Learning to Breathe Through Them

I have two children, an 8 year old boy (M1)  (well he turns 8 on Friday) and a 3.5 year old girl (M2).  They are great children, but like most other normal kids this age, sometimes they are just plain silly.

Now, normally "silly" isn't a problem - it's just they both decide to enjoy do most of their silly things at what seems to me the most in-opportune times.

Let me explain.  

Morning routines - you know how it is, everyone needs to have breakfast, get dressed, pack school bags and hubby and I need to at least try and grab two minutes together to discuss the day, dinner, drop off, pick up etc.  Fairly standard stuff.  These 2 minutes, when I am trying to talk to their dad is when they choose to express their silly.  Or when I have asked them to clean their teeth.  Or when they have been asked to get dressed, or pack their bags.  You get the picture.

Ditto for dinner.  I am a really big advocate for sitting down at the table together every night to share a meal (dinner or tea, depending on where you are from).  It is a really big treat for them to eat their dinner in front of the tv.  This is family time and when we all catch up on what he have down through the day.

Somehow the sillies creep in again here - as soon as hubby and I want to talk.

Do you have this problem?

Well, I am trying to learn to breathe through these moments and laugh with them.  They are only young, and the childhood innocence of being silly and living in the moment only lasts so long.  That's what I am telling myself anyway).

I am trying my best to not be grumpy mum - but it is a learning curve.  Yes, I know I could have routine charts (have been there and done that with M1 - and yes it worked well.  Maybe next year I will be organised enough to have this done).  Some mornings/dinners are harder than others.

How do you make it through the sillies??????

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Eight Years

What  does eight years mean?
To me - everything.

Eight years I have been blessed to have a beautiful, handsome, smart, irritating, sporty, funny little man in my life. 
He is my son.  And I love him.

Eight years that have changed my life in ways I never thought possible.
Eight years during which I have gone through highs and lows. 
Of loving it and hating it. 
Of wishing I could go back and do it better
Of being sorry I have stuffed it up so often.
But you know what my handsome little man still says to me?

You are the best mum ever!

Well the truth is M1, you have challenged me
and astounded me.
Taken my breath away and left me speechless.

I can not imagine not having you in my life.
You are growing into such an amazing and beautiful boy.

You have your daddy to thank for that too.

You brighten my day and make my heart soar.

I look forward to the rest of our journey together.
Whatever it holds.

Happy 8th Birthday my Handsome Little Man.

I will love you always,

Your super ordinary mum xxxx

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The End of the Happy place Challenge

My last blog on the "30 Day Happy Place Challenge" - thank you to Nathalie at Easy Peasy Kids for suggesting it and inviting us all to be a part of it.

Warning!!!  This post is VERY soppy.  I make no apology for that. 

So what is my final "Happy Moment" 
Soppy as it is, my husband. 
Why - let me count the ways!


He is always willing to give me a cuddle - even after I have been to the gym
He never (ever) complains about the state of the house - and my lack of ability to get on top of it
He is a wonderful father to our two children
He always makes time to listen and talk to me

We traveled through Italy, France, Scotland, Turkey and Greece together and lived in London - making my dreams come true
He is good at pretending
He keeps me sane 
He introduced me to my BFF
He is my rock and the love of my life
He introduced me to my favourite and original happy place - Mykonos!
My ultimate happy place - Mykonos (Plati Yalos Beach)

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.
For all these reasons, and 1 million more, he is my Happy Moment.  What a great one to end on!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Happy Place Challenge - The Final Days

Day 25 and have realised just how much I have come to look forward to this part of my day.  Each day I have found lots of happy moments and it has really helped me shift my mental space into a much healthier place.  Not that I was in a particularly bad place, just my place now is a little better.

The challenge has taught me to value the small moments, to let yourself choose your level of "busy" - even though sometimes you can not control all the factors making you busy, you can control some.  The washing CAN wait (just don't tell anyone you didn't do it!).

I love the fact that some people have come along for the ride and gained some of their own happy moments because of that.

I have learned to love the power of music.
To look at butterflies
Savour my morning cup of coffee
Look forward to morning cuddles from M2
Think that everything has a silver lining - well NEARLY everything.

If you are really forced to, you too can find happy moments, even on the toughest days.

Keep smiling - only 1 day to go I think!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Happy Place Challenge - Days 23 & 24

Wow, nearly at the end of the challenge.  Some days I have looked back and been spoilt for choice and some days nothing has really jumped out as a particular happy moment, so I  figure the whole day must have just been a good day.

So, with that in mind, what have been my happy moments from over the last two days?

Reading birthday wishes on FB
Talking to my BFF and learning about Lindt Cookies & Cream chocolates! Nom nom nom :) 
Realising that M2 is just as OK with daddy looking after her when she is sick as mummy
Getting to mend a broken fence with a friend - felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders!
Reading all the other happy moments on the Easy Peasy Kids "Happy Place" challenge

There are happy moments everywhere.  You just need to be aware of them.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Place Challenge - Day 21 & 22

Yesterday and Today. 
Lots of Happy Moments.  

M1 and M2 showing such delight and excitement at finding a pretty butterfly in the tree - "come and look mummy - it is sooo pretty". 

Reading to M2 while waiting in MBF (of all places!)

The first cup of coffee in the morning.

M2 finding a friend at school and being so excited and happy.

M1 smiling as he saw his Dad watching him receive his award on assembly.

Enjoy some sushi for dinner.

Thank you Nathalie at Easy Peasy Kids for helping me find happy moments in every day.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Spooky Satrday Night - Happy Place Challenge Day 20

Spooks and ghouls visited us last night - and yes I know that it is not Halloween until Tuesday night!

We were lucky enough to be invited to a "street festival" of sorts a couple of suburbs over by some very good friends.  What a great experience it was as an introduction to Halloween for the kids.  They all dressed up (there were 6 kids ranging in age from 3.5 to almost 12) and they wandered from house to house filling up their loot buckets.  Smiles all round... and way to many treats in their buckets.

It was fantastic!

Then, as if that wasn't enough, everyone rocked back here to have a "party".  My kids had decorated the rumpus room with bats and spiders and webs (and carefully cultivated dust) and the excitement was palpable.

The simple dinners really are the best.  We had a nice, easy BBQ after the kids had played.  They then watched "Scooby Doo 2" while we (the adults) chatted happily upstairs.  It was a great night.  M2 not in bed until after 10.00 - in his words "AWESOME".  Staying up late is so exciting when you are 7!

A great mix of friends and family, laughter and memories being made.

Today's writing is not my best, sorry if it is a bit boring, but I am tired after such a spooky night!  Thank you to everyone involved.  I think we just started a tradition xxx

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Happy Place Challenge - Day Ninteen

Yesterday (Friday) was a mixed day for me.  It involved tears and meltdowns (mine), hugs and vomiting, temperatures and a trip to the doctors for M2.

Yet in amongst all of this, having to collect M2 from day care allowed me to get some other things done at home.  Most importantly it allowed me to put the new doona cover on M1's bed, and FIND THE MISSING BEYBLADE! 

He was soooo happy when he got home from school and I told him Storm Pisces had been found.  That was a definite happy moment for me. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Happy Place Challenge - Day Eighteen

My Happy Place on day eighteen was coffee............ we had run out of coffee beans (ARRRRGHHH!) and I could not have my normal, beautifully prepared by my hubby, cup of coffee.  Disaster.

Happy moment when he arrived home later that day with fresh beans, and even happier moment when later that night he made me THE BEST flat white.

Ahh, coffee, you make me smile!

Meltdowns lead to Rainbows

So I had a minor melt down this morning - over the stupidest little thing (it always is).
Why does this happen?

Lately I have felt like I was finally enjoying my children and the happiness
they bring into my life. 

Then all of a sudden BANG! 

A tidal wave hits me and I feel completely knocked off my feet and unable to cope.
  I don't know why this happens or how to fix it.  It makes me want to say, what M2 would call "cold, prickly words".  Mostly I stop myself, but sometimes the words tumble out before I can stop them.  This makes me feel worse.

 I read yesterday about bullying.
How it is like crumpling up a piece of paper and then
smoothing it out when you say sorry.  It is a great metaphor.
The paper can never be the same, no matter what you try.

This is what cold prickly words would do to my children.
They cannot be taken back.
Yes children are resilient, but how much do they remember?
How often can they forgive you?
How do you forget the hurt and confusion in their eyes?
How do they?

I left for work without saying goodbye to my children.  And guess what?
Karma came and bit me on the bum big time.

M2 had to be collected from day care because she was shaking, vomiting and had a fever.  BAZINGA!  Someone up there was telling me to get over myself, suck it up and move on.

I am a strong person, and I love my children.  Sometimes, they just push my buttons.

  So today I let myself cry. 

I cried because I am tired.
I cried because my husband made a stupid joke when I really needed him not to. 
I cried because my BFF lives too far away. 
I cried because I know when I collect M1 from school he will run up to me and hug me, look up at me and smile and say "Hi Mum" with unconditional love in his eyes.
Like he always does.

I didn't actually say anything "cold and prickly" to my children, although I did have a good vent to my husband (who then made the bad joke).

I have realised that over the past 3 weeks, I have enjoyed more moments than I have disliked.  I am getting better at recognising and controlling my emotions. 
That I am human.
That no matter what, my children love me, and I love them.
After the rain comes a rainbow.  Shame sometimes it takes a cyclone for you to see it.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Spiders & Sand - Happy Place Challenge Day 17

What a mixed bag I had today.  It included a funeral, new sheets, Halloween costumes, milkshakes and spiders.  It reminded me that, really it is my kids who give me so many happy moments, if you let them.

In the morning I went and purchased a new doona cover for M2.  Tomorrow I will collect the one on order for M1.  M2 is desperate to get that on, the anticipation is beautiful, a definite happy moment. 

In the middle, I did some grocery shopping, including picking up some Halloween "stuff".  This has caused untold excitement in our house, because this year we are going trick or treating with 4 other "kids" for the first time.  And then, they are coming back here for a party and dinner.  Excitement all 'round!  Another happy moment.

After the middle, I went to a funeral (with M2 in tow) to support an extended family member.  I didn't really know the person who passed away, but I still shed a tear.  My Mum also came with me, so it is a shared experience, which I believe is essential to family life and history.  Afterwards the three of us went for a coffee and milkshake to regroup.  The rainbow after the rain.  Happy moment # 3.

At school collection time, I brought home an "extra" - she plays well with both M1 and M2 and together, they all had a wonderful time trying to scare each other with the plastic spiders I have bought in preparation for Saturday night.  Moment # 4.

I also enjoyed a really good cup of coffee, a chat with a friend and had my husband being at home with me for a third night in a row - a rarity of late.  Now it is time for bed.

So many happy moments.....I hope you had some too!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Happy Place Challenge - Day Sixteen

I am half-way through the 30 Day "Happy Place Challenge with Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids, and am loving it!  This is why:

I love that it makes you stop and reflect on the day.

I love that in each day you find MORE THAN ONE moment.

I love that it has led me to some beautiful blogs.

  Most of all I am just enjoying being extra happy.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Happy Place Challenge - Day Fifteen

 I seem to have lost track of days, but my happy place with Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids is saying "yes".

Yes instead of "soon"

Yes inseatead of "sorry, mummy has to work"

Yes, instead of, "maybe later"

I know we are all busy, but we all choose our level of busyness.  I chose to still contact books for the school, even though I have three piles of washing that needed folding up that "needed" to be done.  Also ironing and mopping of floors

The light in your children's eyes when you join in when they ask you can't be replicated. 

So today, I had a "tea party" with sand and water, was the "child" and also just followed M2's lead.  It was lot's of happy moments.

I hope you had lots too.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

My Happy Place Day 12 - Enjoying the Moment

My son, M1 who turns 8 in November has recently discovered "Beyblades".  For those of you who don't know what they are, basically spinning tops (just don't say that to him) that you battle each other with.

He loves them, loves watching the TV show (read 30 minutes of advertising) and even has his sister hooked on them (she is 3.5).  They try to "battle" these together, not always with a great outcome.

So, where was I going with this???  Saturday I took M1 shopping to buy a birthday present to take to his friend's birthday party on Sunday.  Of course, a Beyblade was the gift of choice.  To say the decision was painstaking is an understatement, but I figured he needed to be sure.  He was also choosing a new one for himself and buying the "battle arena", all with his own pocket money, so I try and let him take his time. 

Of course this led to an afternoon of Beyblade battles at our house using the aforementioned new Beyblades against the old ones etc in the new arena.  You get the picture!  Now hubby and I try to be very present and available to both our children (the state of our house/yard will attest to this) so, with a little enthusiasm we started to battle.  M1 thought this was the best thing, like, EVER!

Did hubby and I love doing this?  Not really, but after what has been a very hectic week in this house for all the normal reasons, it was nice to be able to do something together, that all four of us could enjoy (yes M2 joined in too).  We followed it up by watching "Rio" together as a family.

My point - live in the moment and go with it.  These moments that as parents we roll our eyes at, are actually the ones are children remember and love the most.

So, in the words of Ginko (Beyblade Master) - "3, 2, 1........... LET IT RIP!!!"

Friday, 21 October 2011

Spoilt for Choice - Happy Place Challenge Day 11

Today I feel very lucky.  I am spoilt for choice in my "Happy Moment Challenge" with Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids .

For those of you who have been following this blog, you will know that I have had a couple of big events on at work lately.  This has meant some creative child minding arrangements have had to come into play.  Thank goodness I am lucky enough to have wonderful grandparents who agreed to take my beautiful monster 2 for a couple of nights at the beach.
This lead to "Happy Moment #1" .  When M2 was delivered home safely to me, she was soooo glad to be home, and she gave me the best cuddles, ever!!!  There is nothing on earth like cuddles from your child.

Happy Moment # 2 came from going out with my Mum the same night to listen to a concert my wonderful husband and his students were involved in.  "Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men...."  Five weeks, 150 combined performers from two different schools and 2 guest stars (Rachel Beck and Ian Stenlake) and - WOW!  What an amazing experience.

Music was never like this when I was at school.  So proud of my hubby and his students and all those involved, AND I loved the concert.

So many other happy moments today, I hope you had lots too!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Do you hear the people sing? Happy Place Day 10

My favourite musical of all time is Les Miserable.  Say what you will, in my opinion, it is the best musical written.  Ever.  The music is stirring and emotive.  The themes are believable, the characters likable/sympathetic and, well, I could go on and on (and on, and on).

I have seen Les Mis at least four times (including on Broadway in London) and each time I see it, I love it even more.

Today, I saw my hubby conducting some music from it and my best friend's big brother singing something from it. 

All the while M1 was running around like a lunatic thinking he owned the auditorium where the rehearsal was being held.

Tomorrow night I am lucky enough to see the real concert.

I can't wait.

All of these things combined have given me reason to have a happy moment today. 

Join me with Nathalie @ Easy Peasy Kids in the 30 day Happy Place challenge - I am loving it!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Contact - Happy Place Challenge Day 9

Today my happy place is contact.  And no, not the physical kind, but the kind you cover books with.  (Yes, seriously!)  You see, our school sometimes throws out a call for helpers to contact the new books for the library.  The good news is, it is not the cheap, horrible contact we all struggle with at the beginning of each year, trying frantically to cover our kids school books.

But the good, secret stash, library kind.  The kind they never tell us normal mums about. 

I have started work again this year can't be at the school to help out as much as I have been. 

Contacting books for me is an easy way to help, and I actually find it relaxing.  Call me strange, but it is a satisfying feeling seeing the books covered and ready to go to their new home. 

So today, I collected two more piles of books to cover, and in-between my other commitments I will cover them and return them to our wonderful librarian, ready for a new set of readers.   This makes me feel happy!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Shoot me now.......... or else!

Student free days.  Who needs them!  My master 7.11 (8 in November) was at home with myself and Miss 3.5 today and I have to say anyone who home schools IS CRAZY.

Now, I love  my kids to bits, but sometimes I really don't like them very much.  At all.

Why do they push so many buttons so easily.  If "children are a product of their parents" as is one of my favourite sayings, then my children are going to be manipulative, horrible creatures when they grow up.

Oh, how I hate days like these.  The highs and lows, the agony and the ecstasy and the desire to ask "is it wine o'clock" yet at 9.48am.

On a positive note, I had a lovely chat with one of my bestest friends ever.  And from a completely selfish point of view, I really hope they do move back to Queensland. However, if they do, that is a whole new set of sadness for lots of people involved.

I am struggling today, yet don't feel like I can ask anyone for help.  Why is that????

Tomorrow is another day, and more importantly school is in session.
See you on the other side.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

It's OK to Feel Flat - Happy Place Challenge Day 7

Today I feel very flat.
(keep reading, there are happy moments to come!) 
I don't know why, it just suddenly hit me after lunch.
I had a great morning out with my two beautiful monsters. 
The sun was shining and we enjoyed some pizza.


Sometimes the feeling of what I "have" to do completely overwhelms me.  I struggle with this feeling and the impact it has on all around me.  My children must wonder where "fun mum" went.  So.  What to do?

Acknowledge the feeling and move on.  
Yes, I was a bit grumpy for a while, but now I feel ok.  
Now I can look around and see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I think as mothers we find it hard to turn off and not be consumed by what we feel is 
expected of us. The truth is the world still turns. 

Make time for some zen time in your life.

Remember the Happy Moments from each day - there is always something!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Importance of Saturday Night Wine - Happy Place Challenge Day 6

In honour of one of my "newest" but most special friends, here is my Happy Place moment for Saturday.  Day 6.  Wine.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know wine can be a fall back position for lots of people, and I know it can lead to lots of trouble, but for now it is a great metaphor. It is symbolic for relaxing and unwinding.

Wine, or whatever is your poison, has a symbolic, ritualistic kind of impact on me.  I even enjoy drinking mineral water with a squeeze of lemon, but out of a wine glass.  Go figure!  On a special night I give my two monsters their drinks in wine (plastic) glasses. 

No doubt, years of therapy will follow.

When I  mentioned to a friend that I was blogging about "moments" she mentioned that she had lots of "moments" - hence the Saturday night wine.  Now, friend 1 (F1 we will call her from now on) has a very stressful job, which sometimes has some very sad outcomes.  She however, always sees the good in every situation.  This is a real skill.  I remember once she told me that when she grew up she "wanted to help people".  Look up the definition of social worker in the dictionary people and I am sure this is mentioned somewhere.  She is definitely one of those people, and has grown up fulfilling her dream.

This friend (F1) has helped me see the great things about my son (M1) who is sometimes, shall we say a little challenging, and also just, frankly, been a good friend.  She also brings her iPhone when we go to coffee so M2 is kept (mostly) occupied.  Good friends are hard to find.

Hang on to good friends.  Some of my best friends live a long way away.  I miss them.  It is nice to have one that is close to home.  Paper cuts and all : ) 

That is my happy moment for today.  Good friends.  And if this doesn't make sense, I blame the Saturday night wine.

It's All About Me - Happy Place Challenge - Day Five

It's Friday, It's Friday, gotta get down on Friday - or however it goes.  I have been loving Miss Nathalie's @ Easy Peasy Kids Happy Place Challenge and it is less than one week in.

So far, I have found some new blogs, discovered the beauty in the moon that hangs in the sky at 4.30am and enjoyed early-morning-half-asleep cuddles from my miss 3.5, and today I have had the day off work and had some (in my opinion) well deserved "me time"  - yes fellow Happy Moment Challengers this included a trip to the hairdresser!  Happy Moments are everywhere.

It constantly surprises me how hard it is to remember this sometimes though.

We all need reminding that kids are beautiful, innocent, full of energy creatures.  They are not asking something for the 10th time to be annoying, the are asking to reinforce in their mind what it is or what it does.They are learning their place in the world and we are for good or bad, their guiding light.  Sometimes as a mother this seems infuriating (and tiring and monotonous). 

We as mothers need to learn to live in the moment more and accept that things don't need to be perfect.  IT is so long since I mopped our floors I had to yesterday buy a new mop bucket.  Everyone in the house is still happy though, and my husband has not once complained (even though he may have wanted to he knows the motto - "happy wife, happy life").

I will catch up on the housework (I promise I will) but today, and for the next 25 days, I am making time for happy moments.

Make sure you do too! 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A Full Moon Rising- Happy Place Day 4

I see a bad moon rising - or not!!!  I had to be at work at 5.00am today, which for me is VERY early.  But  every cloud has a sliver lining.  While I was driving down the freeway towards the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, I saw the most beautiful full moon.  It was still high up in the sky and was hanging over the city like an omen.  It was beautiful.  I don't remember the last time I saw and enjoyed a moment like this.

On what could have been a very long day, I feel completely fulfilled about what I have achieved.  I helped run an inspiring event for 800+ secondary school girls and 80+ of their teachers and supporters.

I have learnt more about running an event than I have in the last 10 years (and that includes running events at The Tower of London (yes, The Tower of London - in London) than I could have imagined.

I can cope with pressure, last minute changes, blisters, disgruntled guests and basically anything else that can be thrown at me.

To top it all of, I got great hugs from both children when I collected them today (childcare arrangements were a bit complicated shall we say today) and have enjoyed a glass of wine.

And I have tomorrow off.  Any guesses about "my Happy Place" for tomorrow?

Happy Place Challenge - Day Three

What a great day!  It is hubby's birthday today and one of my "non-work" days.  M2 and I get to spend time together after dropping big brother at school.  I have lots on work wise until tomorrow (a big breakfast event for almost 900 girls) and am feeling very tired. 

However, life goes on and all around me I am finding happy moments.  They have today included, hugs from both my children, watching the joy on the faces of the kids giving "daddy" his presents, sipping a glass of wine after a long day and looking forward to tomorrow.

Thank you Nathalie @ East Peasy Kids for starting and inviting us into this challenge.  So far I am loving it!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Happy Place Challenge - Day Two

Today has been a mixed bag for me... busy at work, preparing for hubby's birthday tomorrow, dealing with children who really know how to "push my buttons" etc, etc.  So whilst trying to juggle all these things, what has been my happy place today?

Well, actually it was sushi.  I had sushi for lunch, and it was the best tasting, freshest sushi I have ever had!

That is my happy place moment for today - nothing deep and meaningful, but still makes me smile when I think about it!  

Monday, 10 October 2011

The 30 Day "My Happy Place" Challenge

Are you a Facebook (FB) Fan?  I have a love/hate relationship with FB because it is what my Dad would call a "time-waster".  It is something that you don't need, but somehow you don't know how you lived without it. Right?  Well one thing I love about FB is getting to know other businesses or pages that help you on your way.

One of these pages is Easy Peasy Kids.  I would never have "met" Nathalie without FB, as I live in Brisbane and she is a Melbourne based beauty.  But I feel like I know her now, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her philospohies and approach to motherhood.

Currently she is running a 30 day "Happy Place" challenge.  It is about remembering and finding one happy moment out of each day and sharing it in the "virtual world".

I have signed up for this, as I have often struggled with motherhood and all it encompasses.

Would you like to come on the ride with me?  Well today is day one, and here is my "Happy Place" thought for the day:

Day 1 - I love when my DD (aged 3 1/2) comes and climbs into my bed and says "good morning Mummy - it's a beautiful day today" and gives me a great big cuddle and smile, even if my eyes are only half open.

What was your "Happy Place" moment today?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Book Club - So much more than just Books!

This year, some friends and I started a "Book Club".  With a few readers amongst us Mums, we thought it would be nice to be able to actually discuss the books we read and the characters within them.  It would seem though, for me at least, that "Book Club" had taken the joy out of reading.  Does that sound strange?

Well, you see, some of the books we read are quite "heavy" and with all the rigours of everyday life, I, personally, was finding it hard to fit in reading at the end of the day.  But, like most things, it turns out that  book club is about way more than books.

What Book Club provides us with is an opportunity or excuse to get together with a "valid" reason.

Let me state up front that all of us in the Book Club are lucky enough to have fantastic partners/husbands who do not be-grudge us going out - it's just if you have a "real reason"  - somehow it is easier to walk out the door at the kids bedtime and leave Dad to deal with.  You know what I mean! 

There is always ironing (everyone irons right?), cleaning, folding, tidying etc etc to be done, and as with all guilt, the guilt of leaving this stuff for another time seems too much sometimes.  So you do the chores and jobs and then sit down in front of some mind-numbing TV, not really watching, or log-in to Facebook to see what you might be missing out on (it's not just me right?) and suddenly it is 10.30pm and you head off to bed thinking about all the things you "need" to get done tomorrow.

Reading and engaging your brain just seems too hard.  Sound familiar? Well....... what to do?

Go out to Book Club!  The rules of book club?  There are no rules to book club! 

What I mean to say is, if you haven't finished the book - come anyway.  If you didn't like the book - come anyway.  If you just need to get out of the house and are not a "reader" come anyway.  You get the idea?  Book club (which we try to hold approximately once a month) is about us Mums getting together.

Yes we DO talk about the book (if only for 20 mins out of 3 hours) and decide on another one, but we also gossip (not in a mean way), catch up, vent, cry, laugh, share stories and re-connect with each other without someone tugging at our skirt for attention (metaphorically or actually). All while enjoying an uninterrupted cup of coffee.

This months Book Club has been postponed because our members were finding it hard to make it, due to other commitments (and funny how our darling partners/husbands commitments always get priority over ours - but that is probably another post) so we are holding it at a members house instead of a coffee shop.  Where there is a will there is a way.  The venue is not important!

The point?  As always seems to be the point in my blogs, make time for YOU!  I love "Book Club".  Even though I find it hard sometimes to read the book, or get infuriated by the book, I love the fact that there is a common thread that joins us all together. It is vitally important that we all hang on to us!

Our next book is taking us all on a "virtual holiday" through France.  Having been there before kids, I am really looking forward to the escape.   Thank you fellow "Book Club" members for being so great.  I really look forward to our meetings, even if walking out the door or reading the damn book is sometimes hard.

Happy reading everyone and see you at the next "meetng"!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

When coloured balls turn into rainbows...

It's rainy and grey outside, M1 is happily playing on the Wii, while M2 is "sleeping" in her room - it is her rest time and it reminds me that the simple things in life really are the best.  I should be washing floors, folding clothes, ironing etc, but instead I am going to stop and reflect for a while.

Recently, I became one of my own worst enemies, slipping into ways that I don't like and into situations which I normally try to avoid.  I became "sooo busy" (my pet hate of an excuse) that I didn't have time to do all thenormal little things.  You know, like language groups at school, or going to the park or baking something tasty (and nutritious) for in the lunchbox.  My paid work had been building up to a major event (2 actually within five weeks of each other) and my 20 hours a week suddenly was more like 30 hours a week.  I was tired, stressed and irritable.  I don't like having to work when M1 and M2 are home (unless they are resting) and it was becoming an often said phrase "no, sorry mummy has to work now - soon").  Of course soon never comes, because then it is time to do the school run, hang out the clothes, cook dinner, help with the homework, etc etc.  You get the picture.  But now my work events are over and I am taking stock.

So what does the title "when coloured balls turn into rainbows" mean?  Well, I have really felt like I had a lot of little balls in the air - and I like to think of them as different colours.  My wish was at the end of my juggling there would be a rainbow, and not a mucky colour of brown on "the floor".  My wish came true!  You see, my rainbow was that I have learned a lot.  I have learnt that people around you will help you if you ask for help.  If you explain to children (older children at least) they too will do what they can - for the team as such.  Also, I have learnt to say no.  No I can't do any more hours, no I am not cooking tonight, we are going to have pizza.  No, I can not possibly do that!

OK, so no major revelations there you are probably thinking, but I have been on a really steep learning curve this year after returning to the workforce, and sometimes you can't see the rainbow, because you are too busy looking at all the different colours.  Stop and look up at that movement, and notice how pretty all the colours are together.  I feel really pumped that my work conferences went so well, with attendances at both events more than expected.  I truly do believe it will, in time, working will make me a better mother.

Now I am going to concentrate on my family life for a while.  I am going to be writing different lists, ones that include de-cluttering and washing windows.  I have an appointment with my kick-arse nutrition advisor tomorrow and have joined the gym - I need some "zen" in my life!    It is time to re-priortise and see if I can now find the pot of gold that is at the end of the rainbow.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

It is all a balancing act.........

I returned to the workforce this year, last having been employed in paid work in 2003 - it was a nice long break and gave me the luxury of being a full-time stay at home mum to M1.  Unfortunately, with everything going up, finances were getting a little too tight and a work opportunity came up that seemed just right - almost too good to be true. Time to take the plunge and become a "Working Mum".

Wow!  What a steep learning curve!  After six months, it is still all about juggling and balancing.  Balancing the desire to be at home with M2 (who now does "school" 2 days a week), balancing wanting to do a better job at work but not wanting to increase my hours, finding the time amongst it all to spend with hubby, washing, ironing, school commitments etc etc.  You all know what I am talking about.  I didn't realise it would be this challenging.  I have come to realise that in this world of being constantly busy - we seem to spend a lot of our time being busy "being busy". 

That is to say - will the world stop if you have to order tuckshop today instead of making a lunch?  Will it end if you really don't send that work email out today or return that one extra phone call.  No, it won't.  Quite simply we have ourselves to blame for a lot of this busyness.  Technology doesn't help either.  We are always available (I will be on email, facebook, mobile if you need me).  Well guess what, business's were able to thrive 5 years ago without their workforce being constantly at their beck and call.

Is it time we said, "my business hours are 9 - 5" and actually meant it???  I don't know, as I am as bad as the next person.  I hate not (dare I say it) over-achieving at my job.  I hate having a pile of washing left unfolded (but I often do).  What I need to remember though, is my stress level impacts everyone around me.  It is up to me to say STOP.  If M1 or M2 ask me to, and I am in the middle of trying to do something, unfortunately I am likely to snap at them - something that is not their fault becomes a sad thing for them.  They didn't ask mummy to go to work.

So from now on I am trying to slow it down to a reasonable "busyness".  One that suits the whole family.  M1 and M2 are not going to remember that suddenly I could afford tickets to the Ben 10 Show - what they will remember is that as a parent I was always available to them.  That is a much better legacy.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Importance of Friends

Recently I returned home after a night out with some dear girlfriends and started to reflect about just how important these friendships are.  I was still feeling sick and had a definite case of  "poor me" syndrome, but with the encouragement of hubby, went out anyway.  I ALWAYS feel so much better after a catch up with "the girls".

I feel very fortunate to say, I have at least 6 "girls" who I would call "friends for life".  You know the ones, friends that, no matter what, would always offer a helping hand, cup of coffee or glass of wine - or all three at once, depending on the situation.

These friends have all come into my life at various times and in various ways and are all important to me in different ways.  Some live a long way away, some almost next door and some I don't speak to more than 3 or 4 times a year.  BUT whenever we get together, whether for the aforementioned coffee/wine/chat or sometimes just a brief hello at school drop-of, it is like yesterday - and like we have never been apart (and not in a scary stalker kind of way!).

What always strikes me about these encounters, as we invariably end up talking about the latest challenge we are facing in our lives as mums (we are all mums of children from 6 weeks through to almost teenagers) is that at any time in our lives we are all facing something difficult.  It may be that one child is having trouble with homework or someone just can't get time to do a decent grocery shop, or someone is facing a very real and life altering sadness.  Whatever it is, this is making their life that much harder. 

Without my girlfriends, life would be a bleak place.  The importance of these friendships should never be underestimated.  We provide each other sounding boards, pats on the backs, kicks up-the-bums,advice and sometimes just a hug and a smile.

So what is the point of all this rambling.  It is to say THANK YOU to all my wonderful girlfriends.  You enrich my life, keep me focused and help me maintain my sometimes shaky grip on sanity.  You make my world (and the life of my children) a much better place to be.  Thanks!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Just another day....

So today was meant to be about me and M2... but as it turns out the whole family is feeling very under the weather and that meant a day at home fror M1, after a trip to the doctor.

What I am wondering however, is what DOES is take to get my children to have a sleep through the day?  They are both so obviously unwell and tired (M1 last night even told us he didn't have enough energy to go to training - unheard of for him) yet, when it comes to rest time, suddenly they can't go to sleep.  I GIVE UP!  I have tried every trick in the book, but to no avail.

Today I needed to threaten M2 with "grumpy mum" (more on that another time) if she did not stop playing with her toys and just close her eyes and go to sleep.  Eventually she did, but by then it was after 2.30pm which means, even if we delay her bedtime she will be up late and then up early again tomorrow morning.  Arrgh!!!  How do you cope with the non-sleepers in your house?  I would love to hear....

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Introducing Super Ordinary Mum

Hi and welcome to my first ever blog.  I have been wanting to write a blog for a long time now, but really just didn't quite know where to start.  So.... here goes, my first attempt.  Do you like my title?  Are you tired of reading blogs by mums who are "super organised" and "super on top of everything" in which they tell you, all you need to do is this?  Well, I love reading those blogs, and let me tell you, one day I am hoping to BE one of those super organised mums/housewives etc.  But for now, staying one step ahead of my increaslingly demanding lifestyle and children is the best I can do.

About me - I am a mum of two children - Monster 1 (7 yr boy) and Monster 2 (3 yr girl) and I love them both to bits. They have changed me and my life beyond belief.  Sometimes too, I find them incredibly frustrating!  I am also a wife, work two days a week (just having returned to the workforce this year after a 6 year absence) and of course do all the other "normal" things a mum does.  Life is full and busy.

Will my blog change your life - probably not, but maybe it will help reassure you that whatever you do each day, as long as you can smile at the end of it and have a nice thought and not a destructive one, it's ok.  We are all just learning and making it up as we go.  Life is for living and a messy house is not the end of the world.  Love the miute, cherish your child/children/husband/partner or whoever or whatever is special in your life, because in the end THAT my friends, is what LIFE is all about.

Keep embracing the ordinary xxx