You will be great at being yourself : A Letter to 16 year old me.

Through a newspaper article I found out about a book called Dear Me in which celebrities write a letter to their 16 year old self. On the website for the book, readers have submitted their own letters, there is so many different ones to read, some beautiful, some sad, all that make you think.

So I thought, if given the chance, what would I write to my 16 year old self?

Well I decided to give it a go, here goes…………..

Dear 16 Year old Me,

Wow 16, it seems so long ago, how much you have grown, changed, experienced, yet I still look at you in photographs and see me there, see a spark of what I was, and what I was yet to become.

I tried to find a photograph of you alone, but most of them you are happily cuddling up to your niece, Jazmine.  Your big sister Tamina has just made you and aunty, something that came as a surprise, and a while to get used to,  but you loved in the end.

That little baby is not so little anymore, now she is 15, not long off the age that you were in this photo (but with much better dress sense then you had!). I look at this photo and I remember the joy of holding her in your arms for the first time, she was so teeny tiny, yet now she is taller than you!

You will happily push Jazmine around in a pram at the shops, bringing many stares and nasty remarks from other people. They all think she is yours, that you are a teen Mum, you will have some really harsh things said to you, it will hurt you, some will even make you cry.

Try not to dwell on it too much, from where I sit now, I realise this was a good example in life for you not to judge a book by its cover.

One day you will become a Mother yourself, you will crave to have your big sister beside you once again, to give you hints of what worked for her, to share Motherhood stories, to just share life. I am sorry to say sweetheart, this wont be able to happen.

In two years time, your life will come crashing down when your beautiful sis looses a brave, hard battle with cancer. You will have a huge ache inside your heart, some mornings as you wake up you will need to remind  yourself to just breathe.

You will feel like you will never get to smile again……………………. you haven’t lost your smile, or your laugh, although it won’t feel that way at the time, you will find many other beautiful things in life, though Tamina will always hold a special part in your life, in fact you will include her name as one of your daughters middle names, this will make her feel very special.

If I remember correctly, right now you feel that you are not so great at anything, you don’t get the best marks in school, you are not sporty, or popular, or have any hobby that you excel in.

You wonder if you will ever be great at anything. Well I can tell you that you will, you will be great at being yourself.

You will find your own passions in life, the things that make you tick, you will remain a bit kooky like you are right now, some people may want to tear you down, but you will remain yourself, and will be great at being the unique person that you are,  don’t ever start to believe any of those people who try to make you feel otherwise.

You will get a really (and I mean REALLY) bad haircut that will seem like forever to grow out but it will (though I am still cringing at the photos when I look at them now!).

You will lose contact with some friends, make some other new ones, and I am happy to say stay in contact with some of the lovely girls you are friends with right now, they will be a huge part of your life, you will feel like you get to “grow up” with them.

Friendship will be an important part of your life, and you will be lucky to call some really amazing people “friends” though they feel more like “family”.

Your heart will be broken, more than once, but please do me a favour, when you meet a guy named Jamie, try not to be too hard on him, regardless of the fact that you think he is just like the others, he isn’t.

You will learn the true meaning of unconditional love when you become a Mummy, you are blessed to have 2 beautiful, healthy, children, a pigeon pair. You will learn the true meaning of “exhaustion” by being a Mum, but it will be all so worth it for the endless supply of cuddles, kisses and moments of hearing the words “I love you Mummy”.

As a 16-year-old you can’t wait to be an adult so that you can know all there is to  know about life, well darling, I have to tell you, I STILL don’t know all there is to know, you will realise that life is just one huge never-ending lesson.

I’m 31 when I write this, I look a little bit different then what you do now, and I feel a little different too, but that 16 you is still there.

Life has been full on, a rollercoaster of ups and downs, highs and lows, laughter and tears, but is has been all worth it.

I must go now 16-year-old me, I wish I could somehow give you a huge hug, and whisper in your ear “you will be ok”.

I do want to tell you one thing though, stop comparing yourself, your body, your ability to others, you are beautiful, exactly as you are.

I love you,

31-year-old Me xx

What would you write to a 16- year-old you?

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Renovating for almost a Decade – Part 1 Bathroom and Kitchen

9 years ago, at the tender age of 22, my husband and I became proud owners of our first home.

It needed a lot of work, there was many things “wrong” with it, hence the reason for the bargain price, but it was also the house in the best condition in our price range.

We knew there was lots to be done, but give it a couple of years and it would all be done, right? Man how I want to go back in time and slap that younger version of me in the head and yell “what are you thinking?!”

9 years on, we still have not got all we want done, and after finally getting bank approval after being laughed out of the bank for the last few years, we have our next stage of renovations about to commence. Building approvals, quotes, materials, schedules, and to be honest, it is stressing me out a fair bit.

Have we borrowed enough money? What if we run out just as they knock that hole in the outside wall, and we are stuck with a hole in the wall for years, open to all sorts of creatures and intruders
(yes I do over think!)

I have been there, I know the stress, I know the drama, chaos, moments of  “why are we putting ourselves through this?!” I also know the feeling of seeing the new area for the first time, the joy of it all being worth it in the end.

We have changed checkerplate bathrooms into cosy ensuites

The checkerplate was an idea of Jamie’s for a “band-aid renovation” to the leaking bathroom we were met with in our new house, unfortunately he forgot to waterproof the wall before applying, so it became a rather huge job to fix. Though it did last us for 6 years.

Jamie closed in the doorway of the original closet sized bathroom and made a doorway in our adjoining bedroom wall, creating an ensuite for us, that we had planned to share as the main bathroom for 6 months or so………………. 3 years later we are still all using it. And the kids eyes light up when they spot a bathtub at a friend or relatives house, to them that is luxury!

Poor fella worked a full-time job and did bathroom renovations in his spare time, with a heavily pregnant wife whingeing as we trudged through the torrential rain each night for 2 months to shower in the shed in the backyard. True to his word, he had it ready before I gave birth, and boy it was a treat to only take a couple of steps to get to a toilet in the middle of the night with a pregant bladder!

We also set out to get rid of that hideous 80s colour scheme pale pink and grey kitchen

I often worry that we perhaps went a bit too orange with our choice, but I do like how the new kitchen brightened the house, and having a pantry to put our food in after all those years of none was fantastic!

All these renovation shows on tv can be difficult, as it is easy to compare how much they do in such little time, compared to how little we have done in 9 years! Then I remind myself, they have paid time off work, sponsors, huge budgets and trades people paid to help them.

Some days it feels like we have not go very far with out house since the day we purchased it, but then I only have to take a quick look in the little photo album I have complied of photos of our progress and realise we have come quite far.

How many years more will be renovating for? Well I am starting to wonder if it ever ends, and your ideas and thoughts change over time, with the needs of your family.

Is is all worth it in the end? Well lets hope so!

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the renovation series!

Mission Statement

Week 3 of  Home Life Simplified Challenge is to create a Family Mission Statement.

To do so we sat down as a family and discussed what we thought we do well, what we think we need improvement on, and what we would like to see more of.

Our little family meeting was rather funny. Kiara is 5 and had lots to talk about, even if a huge chunk of it was not to do with the subject on hand, but she was interested.

Noah is 2 and was coming up with random comments, but was also commenting on trips we had taken as a family that he liked, a ride on the local skyrail that was a fun day for all of us, and even though was almost a year ago, must have held some sort of fond memory in his memory bank for him.

We had lots of laughs together, and the discussion got way off track, but it also showed us what we are good at, working as a team and having fun together, we work best when we are doing that, as I imagine most family units do.

With all the thinking of Family Mission Statements, and personal and family values, we decided to make a “Value Tree”, we decorated twigs with all sorts of collage materials, and hung the words of various values that we feel are important to us. It is now sitting at our front door, a reminder of what we all wish to stand for.

 

 

Our Family Mission Statement 

We will support, encourage and celebrate each family members unique qualities. 

We will also do this in the community. 

We endeavour to interact with each other and the community with kindness, compassion and respect. 

We will not yell at each other when tired, upset or angry, but rather take a moment to ourselves to become calm.

We will use kind words, respect and manners when interacting with others.

We will celebrate and  encourage each family members goals and achievements.

We will respect each others personal belongings and need for space.

We will focus on the beautiful and abundant things we have in our lives and remember to be grateful.

We will make the most of family time.

 

It would have been easy to continue with this statement, to make more of it, but I reminded myself that this was about keeping it simple.

I found by sitting down as a family, we all really value time together, no matter what we are doing, unfortunatley this is not regular, with Jamie having his two days off a week while Kiara is at school, and working long hours the rest of the time.

“Family time” is very rare, so I think the main thing is that we do really need to make the most of it, as it is important to us all.

 We also discussed how well we work when we unite as a team, yet how we can sometimes work on the way in which we communicate with each other.

In thinking of all we wish to stand for, along with our mission statement, I think we best sum up our family by saying:

 TOGETHER,

WE ENDEVOUR TO BE THE BEST PEOPLE WE CAN BE,

IN WHATEVER SITUATION LIFE THROWS OUR WAY.

 

Yep, I’m happy with that! ( now hopefully I will stop talking in my sleep about Family Mission Statements, its driving DH mad!)

 

 

I am linking up with Home Life Simplified 

The Bonus Year

On Monday my daughter starts school.

She missed the cut off by 10 days to start last year. Born 12 days after her due date,  makes it all even more ironic.

Many friends sent their children off to school last year, I was happy and excited for them, yet I could not hold back the silent tears that fell as I looked at all the photos uploaded on Facebook or their little cherubs a dressed in school uniforms, ready for the next adventure life had in store for them.

I was not sad at the thought of having Kiara home for an extra year, I was sad at the things she was missing out on, the feeling of my little girl being left behind a little.

Once the tears had dried, I decided to make the most of our extra time together, to treat this as a year that was just meant to be.

To start with, Kiara struggled with the fact that “all the big kids” had gone to school, and would get upset on visiting friends who’s children her age were at school while she played with “the babies”. She seemed to be a little bored and restless.

Only now, as I reflect on this year behind us, I look at the magic of what it truly was.

I think it was a year for my 2 children to get to know each other better, to play, explore the world and become friends.

At the start of last year, Noah was 22 mths old, still a baby, he and Kiara would participate in parallel play, in which they would play beside each other, but not with each other. Kiara was frustrated that her little brother could not do all the things she could, and that he did not know how to treat her toys properly, or how to share. In fact, at the beginning of last year, Noah could not even talk.

But then that baby became a boy, and a friendship became to blossom. Now don’t get me wrong, I am the Mother of two normal siblings, who fight, snatch, hit, scream and get frustrated with each other. There are times they need to break from each other.

Kiara did attend Kindy 3 days a week, but that still left 4 days, the majority of the week for them to explore the world together.

They packed their backpacks to go on wild adventures into the cubby house in the back yard, learnt the best hiding spots in the house, did arts and crafts together and delved into all sorts of imaginative play.

So, as I sit here, about to send my eldest off to school, I realise that it is not just me as  Mum, or her as a child about to begin a new adventure that is affected.

I finally realise that the complete dynamics of our family is about to change.

I think there is going to be a little boy who will miss the extra time he got to play with, learn from and grow with his big sister.

Sure, there will always be afternoons, weekends and school holidays, and before we know it, he will be ready to head off to school as well.

It has really taken me until now, on watching all the great adventures my two get up to, to realise, that this last year, well it will always be what I call a bonus year.

The moment you laugh as a Parent (and probably shouldnt!)

WARNING, THIS POST MAY CONTAIN TMI (TOO MUCH INFO) FOR SOME!!!

Miss 5 has been complaining of tummy aches for about a week. To start with, I thought perhaps she was constipated, but discounted that when she was actually passing number twos, albeit little ones (see too much info already?!)

My little darling is also known to be a bit of a hypochondriac, I remind her of the story “The boy who cried Wolf” and that one day she will be sick and no one will believe her, but it doesn’t seem to work.

So once again I thought she was putting it on, as it seems the sore tummy arrives right at bed time (a pet hate of Miss 5).

Finally, I decided we should go visit the Dr, just to check her tummy pains out “just in case”. Turns out she had a bowel obstruction, Dr could feel when she felt her tummy, and recommended laxatives, taken at night.

My first question “Are you sure, it will get “everything” moving before bedtime?” The Dr assured me that it would. No one in our family has ever had to take laxatives before, so I was not so sure of the time frame in which they worked.

Sooooo, we come to last night, I give Kiara her dose of laxatives, and we stay up a bit longer than usual for a family movie night anyhow.

She did one number two, but nothing else, and did not seem to have any tummy pains at bed time. I thought no more…………………

Then I get awoken in the middle of the night, Kiara tapping my shoulder and saying in a worried voice “Mummy, I think I pooed myself”. Well, I don’t have to check, the stench is like acid!

I wake myself up and assure her it is ok, and that I will help her get cleaned up, in the light of the bathroom, I find that the poor thing has had a blow out of mass proportions, it was an explosion!

What do I do? I start laughing! So not mother of the year award material!, don’t really know why I laughed, or what was funny about cleaning a turbo shit in the middle of the night, but I laughed. Thankfully Kiara too saw the funny part of it and had a little chuckle as well.

I stopped for a moment and thought of how upset I was as a child when I had diarrhea, and overheard my Mother on the phone laughing about how I was “shitting like a duck”, and here I am now blogging about my daughters mishaps! Oh dear, we do go full circle don’t we?!

So, I clean the poor thing up, go and find her sheets are in desperate need of changing “how did poo get all the way over THERE?!”. I change her sheets, make sure she is comfortable, and head back to bed.

Jamie stirs as I crawl back into bed, he asks sleepily if I am ok, I reply “well it seems the laxatives did the job of clearing Kiara out, it’s like a rocket went off in that poor girls bowels!”

Jamie replies “that’s good, how do you think it happened?”

‘What do you mean?” I say (thinking “how the f#$k do you think it happened?!”)

“Well, do you think it just slipped out, or the poor thing sharted?” (for those of you unaware, a “shart” is a cross between a shit and a fart, it is when you fart and some shit comes out!)

So there I lay, wide awake, 4:30am, laughing so hysterically I can hardly breathe, yet feeling a tad mean at the same time.

Poor little darling has not been 100% today either, and after slowly getting worse with stomach cramps this afternoon, we rushed her to the Doctors to make sure it was not anything serious. Thankfully it’s not serious, but poor thing has a virus that is going around that is causing severe stomach cramps, not unlike labour pains (have had similar virus a few years back, NOT NICE!)

So we head home, let our little one rest on the lounge, and I decide to take this time to interview the family to make our own mission statement for the next Challenge for Home life Simplified 52 week challenge.
I asked the family to each describe themselves and each other. Kiara doesn’t miss a beat, she says “Well I can describe myself by saying I shit myself when I am asleep!”.  Jamie and I look at each other and burst out laughing, finally recover long enough to remind Kiara that “shit” is a swear word!

Parenthood sure is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, cleaning vomit, wee and poo up at all hours of the day and night, sometimes we just need to have a good old laugh at it, even if it’s not meant to be funny!

Have you ever laughed at something that really shouldn’t be funny? or is it just me?!

P.S: Kiara, if you ever read this, I am sorry for sharing this story about you, just take peace in the fact that you will pay it forward one day if you ever have children of your own, keep the circle of embarrassing your child going!

HLS Challenge: Week 2 – Define Your Values

Week 2 of the Home Life Simplified Challenge http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/ was to Define Your Values.

Sounded fairly easy at first view right?

Wrong! This one was a real challenge for me, a real thought provoking challenge, but one I am glad to have worked through.

So here was the list of the Values that stood out most to me:

Balance

Compassion

Fairness

Family

Friendliness

Gratitude

Health

Hope

Humour

Positivitiy

Reliable

Self Development

Then it came to cutting the list down to what I thought was the 5 most important Values to me.

One thing I found important in this excersise, was thinking of what is most important right now, some of these values would have been more important a year ago, but not as high up on the list now, and I think some that are important now may make way to others down the track. After all, our lives, goals and situations are forever changing.

 I do not know if that is how others undertaking this excercise also felt, but I needed to be true to myself and come out with what I thought, rather than what may be expected of me.

So my Top 5 Values ended up being:

Balance

Family

Gratitude

Health

Self Development

Time to rank them in order of what I felt was most important:

#1: Family:  

 My family is very important to me. When Jamie and I first married, I thought of that moment as us becoming our own family, the begginning of our very own chapter, even before we became parents.

I love that by having kids of our own, we can demonstrate our own values, beliefs and ideas with them. We can learn from our mistakes of our past, know what did not work  for us as children, and hope to guide our own the best we can.

For me, it feels like we have been given a fresh, clean slate, every family has its dysfunctions within it, both of us are no stranger to that, and while we never aspire to be “perfect”, we are aiming to be the best we can be.

I also find time with my family very valuable at the moment, with Jamie working every weekend, and only having his 2 days off in the middle of the week, once Kiara starts school in just over a week, there will not be one day a week where all 4 of our family members are at home, and as Jamie works late on the nights he does work, we need to make the most of every little second we have together.

It is not the most ideal situation right now, but its the situation we have to deal with.

 

#2: Health:

  With 2  mild  health conditions, I realise how hard it is to live a normal day to day life when you are not 100%.  I have been in absolute pain, know what it is like to be completely exhausted, and the feeling of just merely “exisiting”.

With proper treatment, I can live a normal life, and I really appreciate that.

I value health as I know how hard it is to function when we are not feeling our best, and am thankful for my health.

I also aim to continue eating better, as well as excersising more, to ensure that I keep my health at the best it can be.

 #3 : Gratitude:

Practising gratitude has become a very important part of my life.  Taking a moment daily to look at all the little things that I have to be grateful for has been a wonderful step in my life.

I am an overthinker, who can sometimes let my thoughts carry me away to a place where I really make a moutain out of a mole hill.

Therefore I do find that being Grateful grounds me a lot, even when it seems there is a lot happening in my life, and things get a bit overwhelming, I can always find something  to be grateful for. Sometimes the snow ball effect into negative thinking is just way too easy to take off,  so taking stock of all the things in my life that are great brings me back to a more positive outlook.

In turn, I am appreciative when others demonstrate gratitude, and have found since I have been showing more gratitude to life, it has been coming back to me as well, I don’t know if its just that I am more focussed on it, but I find that my kids are a lot more grateful as well.

#4: Self Development:

I think as people we always have something new to strive for or work on, we are all developing each and every day.

Personally I find at any given time I may have a few things in my life that I need to work on, or work at.

I value Self Development as it is important to always look towards being the best person you can be at any given moment.

This may include having the courage to try something new, no matter how afraid you are, the ablility to be more assertive when others put you down, learning how to best deal with certain situations or just simply learning something new that makes you a better, stronger person.

#5: Balance:

I value Balance in life, work, family, friends, play, housework, time alone, there is a lot of people and things to cram into our every day life, and I think at times it can become a bit overwhelming to work out how much time gets spent on each and every section in your life.

Balance is important to me, as I can feel overwhelmed if the scales tip too much in one direction, I also want to make sure that there is lots of fun in life, not just the mundane tasks that seem to sometimes take up a large chunk.

I have found that I can work out little ways to balance my daily routine out. If we are having a day at home, and I have spent most of the day doing chores around the house, I can start to feel a bit drained by it all, so I will often make sure I take some time to go outside to just sit, take in the fresh air, feel the breeze on my face, watch the birds fly by, encourage the kids to run around. I have found this is a great excercise for me to balance out my day.

 

So that is my 5 top values! It really was a lot harder to pick then I imagined.

I felt that I picked Values that I need or want in my life at this point in time, but I do think that as times goes on, and situations change, our values may also change as well.

I would like to think I have core values and morals that are forever embedded into me, of being a reliable, honest, trustworthy person, I would like to think these are values that I do not have to think about our rank as they are just who I am.

By approaching this challenge in that manner, this was the only way for me to successfully narrow down to the final 5 values.

 

I am linking up with Deb from Home Life Simplified http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/ for the Home Life Simplified Challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It won’t last forever

Last night both of my children fell asleep in my arms, it was actually quite lovely.

The ironic thing is that at the beginning of my Motherhood journey, I felt stuck in the whole “rocking to sleep” situation.

Kiara was an insomniac baby from the get go, she had colic, and would scream for hours on end, I would spend forever getting her to sleep, being lucky if I could get a half hour snooze out of her. I was up with her on average 6 times a night until she was 18mths old.

I would sit up at night, eyes falling out of my head, feeling like an absolute zombie and wondering how much longer this would go on for. I was completely and utterly exhausted.

Kiara’s baby albums tell a completely different story, if  I was able to get her to finally fall asleep, after hours of trying, I would be so excited that I would take a photo, as it was so rare, leading to us having many photos of the little insomniac doing the rare form of sleeping.

I read every sleep book I could get my hands on, I tried every technique suggested to me, nothing, and I mean nothing worked.

People would remind me “This wont last forever”, yet it seemed to just go on forever and ever. I went to Doctors and Child Health Nurses, they could not find any underlining problem, and would just suggest I let her “cry it out”, I didn’t want to, but at wit’s end I tried this, resulting in my little baby projectile vomiting and pooing herself in distress.

I even rang a national baby sleep clinic, in tears, just whispering to the lovely lady on the other end of the phone “help me, please”.

I felt completely and utterly inadequate in my role as a Mum, I would cry and cry just not knowing how much more I could take.

Finally, she slept through the night, but it was still taking up to 2 hours a night to get her to go to sleep in the first place.

Within months of Kiara finally succumbing to the joys of sleep, I fell pregnant with her little brother Noah. I read more books on sleep, I worried how I would cope if I got another non sleeper, actually, I was terrified!

Noah was a much better sleeper, although I freaked about rocking him to sleep or holding him for too long in case he got too used to it.

Fast forward, my kids are a lot older now, and it feels like a life time ago that I rocked either of them to sleep, they are still rather young, so sleepless nights come, just not as regular as before.

I wish I had some magic cure to get a baby to sleep,  not only so my sanity could have been saved a little earlier, but so I could pass on advice to others with children who are difficult to sleep.

I know how frustrating it is to hear the words “It won’t last forever” when all you want is to sleep, and for that full night of sleep to come NOW!

So it brings me back to now,  as we laid on the lounge room floor, cosy on donnas and pillows last night, Noah snuggled into me, and as I drapped my arm around him, he fell into a deep, restful slumber, it was a nice feeling, a real feeling of peace.

Kiara was then over tired and upset and not ready to go to sleep easily when the movie finished. She had got herself all worked up and stressed out. I offered to climb into bed with her and rub her back as she went to sleep, she liked that idea.

While I lay in bed with my little girl who seemed to be a baby only  yesterday, yet is off to start school in just over a week, I thought of how far we have come, of the nights that I felt I would never be able to get her to sleep without rocking her in my arms.

I am more experienced now, I can see in hindsight that it really did not last forever, (thank god in that case!), that eventually she slept through the night, no matter how long that took.

As I lay in bed, listening to my little girls breaths get deeper as she too drifted off to sleep in my arms, I thought to myself.

“This too will not last forever”

Before I know it, my little girl wont ever need me to hug her to sleep anymore, or my little boy for that matter.

So now we have come full circle, once when I felt trapped in the sleep time routine, now I take nothing for granted.

I will hug my babies to sleep when I can, I will pat their backs and stroke their heads, because it really is true that

 “It won’t last forever”

Week 1: Home Life Simplified Challenge

Week 1 of Home Life Simplified 52 week Challenge is to create a list of the things that went “right” in 2011.

On reflecting on 2011, I realise that I began the year with my own mini “Pity Party” happening, I was exhausted, working shift work, having only a few hours sleep most nights, before getting up to look after two very energetic kids.

I was constantly getting comments on how tired and worn out I looked.  I would look in the mirror and see eyes surrounded with dark circles, pasty skin, and one exhausted woman, I felt I was just “existing”.

Lack of sleep led to high emotions, it was a vicious cycle of negativity, as I felt worn out each day, I would sit and think of all the people who’s lives seemed to be easier than mine, I was one Negative Nancy.

Being physically and emotionally drained led to increase of health problems, decrease of social life, and feeling like I was one of those hamsters running on a wheel, doing the same thing every day, but getting absolutely nowhere.

Realistically, I knew I did not have it anywhere near as bad as other people, and I knew I was currently in the position I needed to be at that point of my life.

 

In May, I commenced my own project of Gratitude :https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alicias-365-Moments-of-Gratitude-Project/166458533413760    I set out to take a photograph each day for a year of something in my life I was grateful for. To start with, I thought that it would be difficult to find things to be grateful for, I thought I would do the few obvious ones, and then run out of things to do, but I was desperate to change my negative mindset, so I just jumped in head first into this project, and I am happy to say, this was my single greatest decision of 2011.

Suddenly I began to notice all the wonderful, small things in life, as I began to find things to be grateful for, my mindset improved, I stopped getting upset about what I did not have in life, and started to rejoice all the wonderful things that I DID have.

Many of the wonderful things were free:

  • The love of my family
  • The joy of being a Mother and Wife
  • Being blessed by wonderful friendships
  •  The beauty of nature, the peace that came with just sitting, watching and listening to a bird in our backyard, or watching a butterfly flying by
  • Allowing  my inner child out to play
  • Taking a moment to be peaceful, still, and just be
  • Knowing that even when everything was not perfect, that there is always something wonderful in my life at that moment to be grateful for

I noticed that my change in mindset also changed my relationships with others, I began to appreciate my role as a Mother, Wife and Friend more, and I importantly began to become my own friend.

 I started to be a lot gentler on myself, I started to tame that inner voice that would put myself down, in doing so, I also realised that I did not really do anything for myself, so I took up new activities, and enjoyed having the project as an excuse to indulge in photography, a hobby I have loved for a long time, but had lost some of my passion for.

Other people seemed to enjoy talking to me more than before, I didn’t feel drained after leaving conversations (my own side of the conversation used to drain me more than anything). The added bonus of starting my gratitude project also enabled me to connect with wonderful people from other Facebook pages and blogs, something I had never imagined doing before, striking up a friendship with someone you havent ever met!

On reflection of 2011, it is hard to make a list of what went right in the year, because in fact, a lot went right, and it was all because I started to practice the art of daily gratitude, which in turn caused a positive ripple effect throughout my whole life.

One simple daily act, made 2011 end in a completely different way to how it began.

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”

~ Frederick Keonig

 

 I am linking up with Home life Simplified 52 week Challenge, click on link below to see more (can’t seem to work out how to do this button thing!)

http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/52-weeks-to-simplify-your-life-syl-week-1/

<img src=” http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/homelife_simplified_52weeks_125x125.jpg”>

Mixing the Genes

Before having children, I didn’t think much about what kind of personality they would have, or really much about what they would look like (probably because I was too busy having anxiety attacks about how painful actually giving birth would be!).

While I think that each individual human being is their own unique person, there is definitely signs to show that genes have a big play in things as well.

In my days of Early Childcare study, we learnt about Nature vs Nurture, the traits that you are born with genetically, compared to how you develop as a person through how you are raised, and what you encounter in the world. This study demonstrated twins that were separated at birth, raised by completely different adopted parents, yet held very similar personalities, likes, dislikes, and pathways in which they had taken throughout life.

So now I come to my children.  Why did I never foresee the “interesting moments” that would lay out for us, with an emotional, insomniac, stubborn  chatterbox (me), making babies with an impulsive, stubborn  daredevil (Jamie).

Well, I can tell you what came from that genetic combination!

Lots of sleepless nights, emotional moments and trips to the emergency ward! As well as lots of foot stomping, hands on hips “I will do it my way!” moments.

I am constantly heard muttering “Life is Never Dull”, and it really isn’t in this house, it is filled with moments of high emotion, daredevil stunts (from Jamie as well as the kids), and more than our fair share of sleepless nights.

On saying this, if I was given the chance to do it all over again, to pick the perfect parts of Jamie and myself to hand down to our children, to make sure they only had our “good” traits, would I do it? No way, not for a moment.

Why? Because each little one of these traits of our children all mix together to make them the little people they are, they force me to see the parts of me that need working  on, the bits of life that make me uncomfortable. While my children continue to grow and develop into the individuals they are, they continue to teach me more of life’s lessons, and some more things about Jamie and myself as people.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have times I fear about what lays ahead of us, only listening to Jamie and his mate telling stories of their wild youth, in which they both thought they were invincible, and what sometimes leads me to wonder how on earth my husband made it to his 30’s, left me a touch stressed about what sort of wild things my 2 will one day get into as well.

Can I stop them making mistakes in life? No, cause some mistakes we need to make, in order to learn from and grow as people.

Will I always have moments of worrying about my children? Yes, I am a Mum, its natural.

Though I must take a moment to remember, they are human, they are unique, these two little beings have their own destiny in life, their own path leading out for them, with many choices that only they can make.

 While the fact that they have Alicia and Jamie as parents reflects onto them throughout their life, at the end of the day, those 2 little people I tuck into bed at the end of the night are the only people in this life who are completely in control of the adults and humans they become.

All I can do it guide , nurture and encourage them the best I can. It is all any parent can do to help shape their children into the best people they can be.