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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Her and YOU Monday(?)

Hi guys.

Last Monday I wrote this post and I've decided that's going to be my goal for like the next oh I don't know, 50 years or so. That would get boring pretty quick to read about on a weekly basis.

I also, surprise surprise, am finding it difficult to fit in time to blog. I want to blog but I want to blog for fun when I get time and not have an agenda. I am going to keep up with the 52 week simplify your life challenge at Home Life Simplified and apart from that just do a little bit here and there.

So Me and You Monday is being handed over to the lovely Rhianna at A Parenting Life. Rhianna has been, by far, the most active participant of Me and YOU Monday since it's inception and she has some wonderful success stories to share. Rhianna has agreed to take it from me for a little while, and depending on how she goes with it we'll work out whether I hand the reins over permanently or take it back or if she changes it to something else and makes it her own. Time will tell. For now, if you have been thinking of joining up or you have been joining up then "A parenting life" is the place to go. Who knows I might even link up a post occasionally ;)

Thanks, Karlee

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SYL12/2 Our Family Mission Statement

This is part of SYL12 at Home Life Simplified. Last week's task was to write our family's mission statement based on our family members' core values. 

Writing a mission statement was tricky for us. Corey initially said his values were the same as the ones I said last week (faith, joy, peace, love, passion) except fun instead of passion. I thought it would make a more interesting exercise if we had different values so we both re-did the exercise slowly and methodically. To be honest I've done it several times and come up with different answers every time. It's a complicated exercise for someone as complicated as me. Simplifying things is incredibly difficult, so it would seem.

This particular day I came up with values:
1) diligence
2) compassion
3) thoughtfulness
4) dependability
5) I honestly could not choose between growth, education, or pride in our home

On reading them again 1-4 all seem different aspects of courtesy and respect for others and #5 (and 1) are about being productive.

Corey's list was:
1) listening
2) loyalty
3) gratitude
4) understanding and laughter (specifically me understanding when he is joking and not taking offence)
5) balance (he wants more time at home with the kids instead of so many commitments on weekends)

Most of Corey's could be lumped under courtesy/respect too. The other two are on limiting stress.

I realised that the things Corey listed are all things I'm not very good at. This hurt a bit. Actually it hurt a lot. I spent a few days sooking over it but I am genuinely glad he was honest with me. All five of his values could have been grouped under love but it's good to have specific avenues we can work on.  We both do value what I said last week very highly.

So the list of things to fit into our mission statement included:

  • faith  
  • joy/laughter 
  • peace/rest (less stress, less arguing)
  • love 
  • respect/courtesy
  • fun (yes it's different to joy) 
  • balance (family time/work/social/alone time) 
  • forgiveness 
We also have noticed our moods are better when we eat well and the house is not trashed so housework and cooking is very important too, however so as to not overwhelm ourselves with so many things to focus on I haven't mentioned food at all and I barely mention housework in our mission statement either. Educating our children is of huge importance to us but we do it well without really thinking about it so it doesn't need to be put in our mission statement.

So to put all of this into a few short sentences for a mission statement is tricky but this is what we came up with.


OUR MISSION FOR 2012

We will grow in faith by spending more time seeking God individually and as a family.

We will  keep most Sundays free for church and rest so we start the working week refreshed.

We will teach our kids about our God and model His love to them, including repentance and forgiveness.

We will look for the positives in our circumstances and each other and we will make an effort to overlook minor offences instead of dwelling on them.

We will serve each other in love by being considerate of everyone's needs.

We will communicate respectfully, listen intently and be free to confide in each other confidentially.

We will not betray each others trust.

Our home is to be a safe haven so we will take pride in it and clean up after ourselves so as to limit stress.

We will be one in Christ and pray daily for His provision and protection.

We will make time for fun.



 Linking up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM too because

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Me and YOU Monday week 4 - rest in awe

G'day G'day

I am still busy cleaning last minute bits and pieces for our inspection (as was last week's goal). It's not really an inspection anymore. It was going to be but the agent can't be bothered but the owner is still coming. I find it all really weird and inconvenient and annoying but it's just one of those things. Oh the joys of renting.

I haven't done much because I really hurt my back on Thursday night and it hasn't come good yet. 

Yeah it's all fun and games around here.

Corey has done most of the work getting things ready for the inspection. I'm grateful he has but also a little disappointed in myself. I still feel overwhelmed at how much I fail to do. I want to keep the house clean and tidy, be a fun mum, educate my kids, be a "good Christian woman" and be a diligent and devoted wife. It's too hard. All the stuff I have happening in my head is crazy. I really don't have time to blog but I want to. Life can't be go go go all the time. I need something I do for a hobby.   

What I really need though is rest and peace. Peaceful rest. Not sitting down lest my legs fall off rest not everything is cool peace, but a peaceful rest in body and in mind and in my spirit. 

I started Me and YOU Monday so that I could pin point one thing at a time to tackle. I thought I was doing well. Mostly. It has always been hard to pick only one thing and I've never seemed to master anything. The things I thought I had a handle on have come back, first the stress then the language then everything else. The thing is anything I try to do in my own strength won't last.

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." Psalm 127:1

I've touched on this before, that only God can heal us and make us whole and save us from ourselves. I guess I always reasoned it was up to me to ask God to help me with what I said and to still work hard to not mess it up.

At church yesterday morning the pastor preached on peace and rest. He said that first of all we must seek the presence of God. That is where God can give us His peace and rest. We must put God first, not doing things for God or getting things from God, not even having an agenda other than simply spending time in His presence.

If you're not a believer you might find this all a little odd. Even Christians find it odd. We try try try to do things and be self-righteous but we have to go to Him and just spend time with Him. When I do this God will give me direction and purpose. As I spend more time resting with God, I should slowly begin to change in my heart. Soon people should begin to notice I'm more peaceful, more relaxed, and more self-controlled. The values I want for my family and I (ones from Tuesday's post: faith, joy, peace, love, passion;.and also patience, gentleness, thankfulness, kindness, etc etc) will only come from God.

"What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease." (In


(In Christ Alone lyrics)




So the only thing I'm going to be striving for this week is to get into the presence of God regularly. I'm going to wait for Him to tell me what to do, where to start, with regards to all the things niggling away at me. Don't worry, I won't neglect my normal essential duties as a wife and mum (anymore than I normally do).   

You should probably notice I won't be hanging around the blogosphere quite so much. I will keep reading the posts linked up to this. I won't disappear entirely but I want to, no I need to, make God a priority. 

For those who don't believe, how do you re-centre and set priorities? What works for you?



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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Notice anything new?

Hi everyone

So I finally made the time to do up a header for my blog and change the background. I also changed my blog tag line/description and my about me page. Do you like the changes? I'm rather proud of my achievements, lol, so please share my excitement! How cute are my kids by the way.

While I was in the tech mood I made myself a button.


If you would like these gorgeous faces on your site then head over to the side bar and grab my button for yourself.

Thanks for being such lovely readers,
Karlee

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday - 2 under 2

My kids are only 19.5 months apart. They would have been 20 months apart if William didn't arrive two weeks early but I doubt that would have made much difference. Believe it or not I'm really thankful for my 2 under 2 and the way they're encouraging me to grow as a person.

Having 2 kids under 2 cops a bit of a bad rap by some people. The funniest comment I ever got was "don't you own a TV?" Yes we do. Most people stick with the, "you must be busy." Yes I am, you're very observant aren't you. These comments I don't mind too much but it's the whispered, "was it planned" question that gets me a little cranky. 

Not that it's anyone's business but I will clarify, we did plan it thisway. Not that it would have made any difference to our love for William if he had been a surprise. Although Corey and I certainly do have days where we wonder what we were thinking, for the most part I really do love having my littlies this close together.

We wanted to have our kids young and we wanted our kids close together. We wanted them to enjoy each others company. We had a deliberate gap between the two (trust me. They're not 12 months apart like many families) but just long enough for us to feel confident we could care for a second baby. I'm grateful for the gap we did have.

Before we decided we were ready Alexis was already walking and starting to talk. She had a strong bond with Corey and I and her grandparents. She was comfortable spending time with her aunty and uncle and she was an amazing big cousin to Isabella. Alexis was growing more independent daily, beginning to sleep well, and eating very well. Her breastfeeds were mostly for comfort. She had good social skills with the young children at church.So when the time came for my maternity leave to end and my employer would not provide a suitable part time job it wasn't too hard to decide to have another baby instead of going back to work.

As mentioned before, there are moments, sometimes days, when we question what we were thinking. There are times when I fear I may have robbed Alexis of something important, my undivided attention. The truth is though that if it was not for William I would have been back at work this time last year. Whether I had worked full time days (with regular night shift and overtime too or part time nights and weekends I would not have had as much time for Alexis as I do now even sharing with William. I would not have gotten much more sleep either and I certainly wouldn't have been any happier.

In terms of being pregnant with bub number 2 while looking after bub number 1, 20 months is a great gap. Even with me not being entirely healthy during my pregnancy, she got 19.5 months of it being all about her. She had long enough to know how special she is to us. Yet she was still small enough and compliant enough for me to wrangle her on my own. Mostly. She was old enough to spend the day with nanna and grandad when I needed a break but not old enough to refuse to come home again.

She was also young enough when William was born to just accept that she now had a brother and that's just how it was going to be. She didn't really get jealous. She didn't really have any dangerous toys that we had to take off her. She wasn't really getting into mischief or being mindfully disobedient. She's started these things now but William is 3.5 months and a lot more settled so Corey and I have a little more time to devote to disciplining Alexis.     

I'm glad Alexis wasn't much younger when William was born though because of a few reasons.
a) she could walk very well so I didn't have to carry her
b) she was weaned
c) she appreciated the value of reading books or watching tv
d) she could feed herself
e) she could hold baby William (sitting on a couch with me hovering right there) and join in on the excitement
f) she could help me. Really. She fetched me wipes and nappies and nappy bags. She carried dirty nappies in the bag and put them in the bin. She was an amazing little helper.

Now 3.5 months later Alexis is still a great helper. She still loves her cuddles on the couch with her baby brother. She still shows him off proudly to every stranger at the shops or at church. She still has a special nickname for him. Yet it is even better.

Now she jingles his rattling toys for him, she sings to him, she kisses him and they play together. They play peek-a-boo, she does her version of round and round the garden and this little piggy  and they have baths together.   They even have tea parties and play with blocks now that William can sit up in my lap. All four of us read stories together tonight and it was the most fun I've ever had.

Alexis and William babble backward and forwards to each other. It's adorable. As soon as Alexis wakes from her day nap all she wants is 'ugck' (William). For a few days now I've put William in the cot while I changed Alexis' nappy and once I let her down she tickled his hands and feet through the bars and the two of them had a 'conversation', gooing and gah-ing and giggling for close to 10 minutes.

Having William able to play with her in this kind of way is helping to tire Alexis out so she is sleeping better and longer than she used to. Having Alexis to look up to means that William will have a great role model. It also means that he is happy to just be near her and I don't always have to try to entertain him. Unfortunately I don't get much housework done because I always need to be standing right there supervising but it truly is a privilege to watch.
    



Of course there are moments when having 2 under 2 is so hard. Of course there's times when Alexis gets too rough with William and I have to step in and there's a lot of tears from all of us. Of course there's times when Alexis wants to do big girl things when William is cranky/sore/gassy/over-tired and it's so very hard to juggle. Of course I have to keep reminding Alexis that although its great to share her things William doesn't eat food and only has booby milk not her bottle. Of course it's difficult to keep her occupied during William's growth spurts. Of course there's times I feel like I am totally unqualified to be a mum at all let alone to two under two, but thankfully the hard times are getting fewer and further in between.   

I've worked out a few tips for making it easier but that's a post for another day. This one is probably too long as it is and considering it's 3am (I've been up to both kids) I should go back to sleep now. Another busy day is fast approaching. Even though I'll be very tired, I'll be thankful for another day with my 2 under 2.

What are you thankful for today? Check out what others are thankful for with Thankful Thursday at Katesaysstuff.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tea?


Happy Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the good in 2011 and my core values - SYL12 weeks 1 and 2

I haven't had much time to read blogs in months but this morning I was having a bit of online time and realised many of my blogging buddies are doing this 52 week simplify your life challenge at Home Life Simplified.

 
The last thing I want to do is commit to a year long challenge when I'm not even sure if I have the time to keep blogging. This will interfere with all sorts of things? Or will it? Throughout the last month or so the word simplify has kept coming back into my mind. Simplify simplify simplify. It makes sense. I've been terming this year "cleaning up", "decluttering", "prioritising" - all this can be summed up as simplify. So I think I should give this project a go despite my aversion to doing something everyone else is doing. It makes sense.

 
The problem is I'm already 2 weeks behind. 2 weeks is better than 2 months though so I can still catch up. Debra doesn't want us to miss out on the early weeks so I'm going to quickly do them now.


 
Week 1: What went right in 2011
  • William was successfully conceived, carried and born
  • He has brought so much joy into our family
  • Alexis and William have developed such a lovely relationship already
  • Corey and I have focussed on having dates as much as possible and are really benefiting from that
  • I started taking Alexis (and then William) to playgroup
  • We found a lovely home church not far from home (the same place as playgroup) and they have been a wonderful source of support to us
  • We still had a wonderful place to live and wonderful support from our families and although we all battled little sicknesses far too often we didn't have any major health dramas
  • I started blogging in late 2010 but 2011 is when I started to actually get people reading my blog and I met many inspiring people through reading their blogs
  • God has continued to protect our family

Week 2: My top 5 core values

I've been thinking about values a fair bit lately as well. I know what I want to value highly and it feels like what's been getting my time of late has been contrary to what is really important deep down. Recently my life would emulate values such as:
  • comfort
  • security
  • being understood/being heard
  • freedom
  • control
I am choosing to let these go in order to pursue values that really are ingrained into what I believe is important and what I want for myself and my family
  1. FAITH:  faith in God. Living a life that honours Jesus. Trusting in God. Obeying God. Being transparent and raising our kids in a way that shows the love and discipline of Christ.
  2. JOY: There's an old song, "Joy is the flag flown high in the castle of my heart, that the King is in residence there". Joy is what is supposed to make Christianity so attractive to others yet it is lost in many. It's so tragic when a Christian has lost their joy. I want myself and my little family to know the joy that comes only from God. The joy that lasts through any circumstances. I want us to shine this to everyone around us.
  3. PEACE: The assurance of the love of God is meant to bring us everlasting peace. I am done with striving to be better, striving to be heard, striving to get the best out of every situation. I want to be "OK" with me and live at peace with those around me.
  4. LOVE: True love is not only the warm mushy feeling "I love you so much I can't stop thinking about you" goosebumps and stuff. I have this love for my husband and my kids. Anyone can love like that for a season. What is important to me is a lifestyle of love: serving others, protecting others, putting others before myself. When I clean up wheetbix splashes again it's out of love. When I pull the legs straight and take the belt out of my husband's jeans again I should do it without complaining, as an act of love.
  5. PASSION: I had unity here but I have to be honest with myself, passion is a core value ingrained so deeply into me that I can not ignore it. I am a very passionate person. I love like there's no tomorrow but I fight like there's no end in sight. Some aspects of being passionate mean I'm a bit stubborn and a bit of a perfectionist. I'm trying to give up those parts but I can embrace the good parts of being passionate. Instead of my usual "if you're going to do it do it right" mantra, what is really important to me is "if you're going to do it put your whole heart into it".

This week's challenge is to create a family mission statement, which seems like fun. Stay tuned for more!

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listography - 5 tips for bloggers

I enjoy reading Kate Takes 5 listography challenge every week but don't always get to play. This week she said there's no excuses not to. I think I could think of a few but seeing as I want to play anyway I'll let it slide. This week is top five tips for bloggers I've learned along the way.


1) watch what you write

It's often difficult to remember that people actually read your blog, especially when you're just getting started and you have few comments. Even if nobody reads it at the time, the internet is public and permanent, so be mindful of that. It is not a great idea to bag out your mother in law (even if you're only joking around, which I must have been, coz my in-laws are great) in case your sister in law stumbles across it one night and suddenly stops talking to you. Awkward.

I used to ramble and not think much about what came out or the potential consequences. It's not wise unless you have an anonymous blog. Sometimes I wish I had one.


2) if you do write contraversial stuffu be prepared to back it up

I had been blogging for less than a month when a once friend took offence to something I wrote. It shook me. I probably should not have written what I wrote but I wouldn't delete it either because I believed, and I still do, that it's an issue many new parents face. (It's about when you decline an invitation to an important social function because they don't want you to take your baby.)

I've since had people take offence to my views on immunisation and my religion. These two things I won't back down on but I do need to be prepared to answer questions about them.



3) be mindful of the fact that people don't always read things the way you meant

People interpret things based on their experiences, hang ups, whether English is their first language or not and things like that. People who don't regularly follow your blog might also perceive something differently to those who read your posts and know a bit about you. I've had random people question whether posts I've written are appropriate or not and been accused of being downright nasty on a few occasions.

I wanted to give up blogging at times like that because I hate being misunderstood. It's important to re-read your post and see if you did something wrong and apologise that you offended them but if they read you out of context then you don't have to take it to heart.


4) stay true to yourself

Link ups, projects and memes and the like are fun and a great way to get traffic to your blog but only join them if it suits your blog's tone and style. There is no point busting your butt trying to join everything going.

One blogger I've been following since the start of my blogging journey went through a phase of only posting something if she could link it up to someone. It turned me off her blog for a little while but now she is posting from her heart again her blog is better than ever.

It is worth remembering that although linky parties encourage others to visit your site it is your unique content and everyday posts that will encourage them to stick around, come back, or 'follow'.


5) Be positive

So many of us use our blogs as a dumping ground for emotions. Hey it's cheaper than counselling. What I noticed a while ago was a period of so many negative posts coming from a time of my life that wasn't really that bad. I had missed opportunities to record so many happy times.

It makes sense: when I'm miserable or frustrated I naturally want to "blog it out" but when I'm having fun I just enjoy the moment. The problem is I've got friends who don't have kids yet who look to my blog for a taste of what life as a mother is like. So I try to make an effort though to jot down fun moments to blog about when I get a chance. I'm still working on one about my two bubs and their amazing bond.


I will obey the rules of listography and leave it to five. I have so many tips of a more technical nature but I want you to learn from my social mistakes. I thought about combining 1-3 but knowing when to stop fussing over a post is very important too. (Not a tip just a statement. Really.) Other people will probably cover them in their top 5 anyway.

If you've got any blogging tips why not share them by posting a comment or by linking up your own post to Kate Takes 5.

I'm going to join this up to Jess at Diaryofasahm.net because she lets you link up anything you post on a Tuesday. That's a great link up for sure. The button will take you there.


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Monday, January 16, 2012

Me and you Monday - week 3 - lucky me

 Hey all

This past week has been difficult for me. It's had good moments but I'm glad it's over. I didn't set myself any goals for last week and I'll explain why: it was going to be epic. It was bigger than I thought.

We were in Gladstone for the funeral from Sunday to Tuesday. Alexis was sick (couldn't even keep water down) for the majority of the drive home. On Wednesday morning Corey had to leave for a business trip.

So here I was, by myself with 2 under 2, for the first time since before Christmas. William probably didn't remember the last time Corey was away. He might not have even remembered Corey being at work. I don't know how much a 3 month old remembers. I had been up with William for most of the night because he'd slept most of the way home that day. Alexis was restless. It was a hot day with temperature in mid 30s. I was panicking. oh and I was covered from head to toe in mosquito bites that I had reacted to terribly and they were bleeding and oozing with pus and very painful. I'm a bit allergic.

The first little while was very awkward then I was really getting into the swing of it except I had so much needing to be done that was hanging over my head. Going to Gladstone for the funeral was a last minute decision so we weren't able to leave the house in the kind of state I'd like and seeing as Corey had been home only to sleep and do a few quick things like get stinky car seat out etc we hadn't fully unpacked yet. Fortunately mum and dad came to give me a hand from lunch time ish and the next night as well. I wasn't feeling great so didn't get much done but I'm so thankful for mum and dad handling the washing and dishes and cleaning out the grotty car seat.

 Friday I handled both kids on my own fine and even took them to the shops to buy a present for Alexis' friend Mackenna who just turned 2. I also went to the chemist for bite creams and woollies for a few essentials. The kids were feral at Woolworths. Thats a story for another day. I did the best I could.

Corey was not gone long but even with him home it's been tricky. Alexis is pushing our buttons often. She's getting her eye teeth, which must be hurting because she's very clingy at times. Shes starting to get jealous of William every now and then because it must seem to her like I am always feeding. William didn't feed much while we were away so my milk supply reduced which was bad when we got home and he wanted to catch up no all those mixed feeds. Both kids find me a little boring after all the excitement of the summer holidays. Alexis is trying to do everything herself and having tantrums and melt downs at the drop of a hat when she can't do it. If she needs help she needs help "NOW!" and me being exhausted and Corey recovering from a bout of food poisoning hasn't helped.

I'm getting fairly down about needing people to come bail me out around the house so often. I want to be able to keep on top of it but I don't know how. William still wakes often at night (although he only woke once last night!) and even Alexis isn't guaranteed to sleep through. I am physically and emotionally drained. Constantly. I wake feeling tired and I crash every night. If I get both kids down together during the day I nap. If one kid is down the other demands one on one time. If neither is down I have to watch Alexis like a hawk because she loves William so much but doesn't realise how fragile babies are. 

Plus we've been a bit busy and ive been a bit clumsy. I cant catch a break in that regard: when things are good I mess them up. On Saturday arvo I banged my head in the shower. Ouch!!! We had visitors Saturday night which was fun but I ate stuff I shouldn't and William reacted badly to it. The kids were up a little late and got overtired and woke often. We had a party to go to Sunday. It was great until the pouring rain scared us away. It was time to go anyway coz Alexis was exhausted. I let Alexis eat too much sugar because I was more interested catching up with my friends than watching her. She stayed awake the whole way home though of course and wouldn't nap. Late yesterday arvo I was trying to read stories to Alexis when her iPod dock fell off the drawers onto my head. My poor head.

So yeah, it wasn't my favorite week in history that's for sure. Still if that's all I have to complain of I am a lucky girl (no sarcasm).

I had hoped for this week's goal to be to have a nice quiet week adjusting the kids back to normality and trying to set up some boundaries with Alexis to make life more manageable. I had hoped but just my luck I can't have it that way. The real estate wants to inspect our house next week so I have to spend this week cleaning. At least its not too dirty but I need to do a wide spread tidy first. Corey will need to do the lawns on the weekend so there goes our nice relaxing family weekend. Oh well, at least by next week's post we should have the house totally clean. Ish.

I really want to get back to cleaning out the cupboards so it's easier to keep things tidy but that'll have to wait. Part of being a parent is learning which goals to cling to and which to shelve for a little while.

Yeah I am the littlest bit frustrated at the moment. I feel so inadequate. Useless at times. Yet when these kids smile at me it's all worth it. Almost. Pretty much. I love them dearly, I really do. They are both so funny and so clever and so strong and so playful and so sweet. I wish I could be supermum but for now just being slightly-dodgy-but-they-love-me-anyway-mum will have to do. 

Tell me your goals and how you went throughout the week. I'm hoping to read some good news.



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Friday, January 13, 2012

See you later Nanna part 2

I'm not really sure if I should post this or not. I wasn't sure if I should post the See You Later Nanna post last week either and I got compliments on it, so I guess I'm just gonna go with my gut and post it. My apologies to anyone who finds this offensive or inappropriate. 

Well I can no longer say I've never been to a funeral.

Earlier this week we made the long trip north (just under 600km each way) so I could say goodbye properly to "Nanna K". I wanted to be there for mum but I didn't really want to go. I didn't want it to be real. Corey said, "babe it's real whether you go or not and if you don't go you'll always regret it." So he organised, he packed, he drove, he paid, he put up with my panicking and he put up with restless children, just to get me there.

I'm glad I went. I can't exactly say it was a pleasant experience but it wasn't all bad either.

I had to go to my first funeral sooner or later. I had to get over the awkwardness of being in the cemetery. I had to allow myself to cry in public. I had to experience the air of sadness and the helplessness of seeing people upset and not being able to comfort them. I had to experience all this, sooner or later.

In a way this was a bad one to start with because it was somebody dear to me. Moreso, she was someone very very dear to my mum and that was the hardest thing, to see my mum hurting. I wished there was something I could do to make it better for her.  All I could do was be there, with her, and cry.

When I think about it though, if I had to go to a funeral eventually, this was a good one to start with.

  • Nanna K was 94
  • she had a very long, very full life
  • she was very loved
  • she was a wonderful person
  • she was ready to go and her passing was peaceful
  • she was a Christian and we have full confidence she is now in heaven with Jesus and family who went before her
  • it was a nice, interesting, laid-back service where I learned lots about her and my family's history
  • the pastor was sweet
  • there were many people there to pay their respects

I can't even imagine how horrible it would be to farewell a child or a young person or someone killed in an accident or by foul play. I can't imagine how sad it would be to attend a funeral where barely anyone bothered turning up. I can't even imagine the pain of attending a funeral for someone who had no faith or beliefs that would lead them to hell instead of heaven. At least this funeral was a celebration of a wonderful well loved person whose spirit is now in a better place. There were no empty words trying to mask a grim reality but reminders of truths promised to those who love our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

The service itself was outside in the cemetery. It wasn't hot. It wasn't cold. It didn't smell funny nor was there many annoying noise disturbances other than the occasional plane. When it all got too much I could stare at the windmills on graves in the distance. The gentle breeze made them spin and it was a nice touch.
I didn't exactly enjoy it but I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. I cried more tears than I ever thought was possible but there were also times of laughter and times to smile. Some stories shared about nanna were very funny. Some stories about her and her late husband were so lovely. Two of her children told us about nanna's early years, some of her grandchildren shared stories of the fun cheesel-and-choccie-biscuit-bearing nanna that I know and love, and some of her great grandchildren read scriptures relating to heaven.

I was so honoured that my sister Amanda read out the post I wrote on my blog. When I wrote see you later Nanna I never intended it would be used at the funeral and I never realised anyone other than my normal readership would even know about it but somehow they did. Mum's cousins had asked mum a few days earlier if I would share it with everyone. I knew I wouldn't have the strength to read it out loud so I wouldn't try. I was a whimpering mess for most of it without adding the stress of public speaking. Amanda read it for me though and she read it very well. We had compliments both on the words and their delivery and it was nice to work together.    

Some of Nanna's great grandchildren sung a song accompanied by my sister and my dad and it was lovely. The girls (primary school age) chose a simple song that they had recently performed for nanna, "God is good, all the time" by Don Moen.
Chorus: 
God is good all the time 
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine 
God is good all the time 
Through the darkest night, His light will shine 
God is good, God is good all the time 
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/don_moen/god_is_good_all_the_time.html ]
If you're walking through the valley 
And there are shadows all around 
Do not fear, He will guide you 
He will keep you safe and sound 
'Cause He's promised to never leave you 
Nor forsake you and His Word is true 

Chorus 

We were sinners - so unworthy 
Still for us He chose to die 
Filled us with His Holy Spirit 
Now we can stand and testify 
That His love is everlasting 
And His mercies - they will never end 

Chorus

Lord I may not understand
All the plans He left for me
My life is in your hands
And through the eyes of Him I can clearly see

Chorus
They did such a beautiful job. We all clapped. It gave us a few minutes to smile. I was in awe of their strength. They are such beautiful girls, in appearance and in heart. These girls visited nanna regularly, often, even when she forgot who they were and wasn't much fun to be around. They brought joy to her end days. They cried their little hearts out when they heard she was gone and they sobbed at the funeral. They set everybody off crying. That's not a bad thing. It's good to let it out. Yet they steadied themselves to sing so beautifully, and shared that special song with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. They were amazing.    

After the service, the burial, laying flowers on her coffin and trying to comfort each other we took time to compose ourselves before meeting for a BBQ dinner. It was a wake but it was also a chance to catch up with family. We don't see them very often because we live close to 600km away. The beautiful girls from the funeral took my daughter onto their massive trampoline and had so much fun. Is it wrong to have fun at a wake? I don't think so. We celebrated nanna's life by having fun with family. She would have liked it.

As I was watching the girls playing so well together I wondered to myself how much they would change by the time we next went to visit nanna.

Then it hit me.

We won't be going back to visit nanna anymore. I hope we can still keep in touch with the others, even if we are just distant cousins.

I know nanna is gone but it still hasn't really sunk in. I keep remembering over and over again. Yet I keep forgetting too. It's going to take some time.


    

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

she must be exhausted



Happy Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Me and YOU - New Year Week 2

Yes it's Monday again and that means it's time for Me and YOU Monday.

Last week's linky was joined by two new participants. Sporty mummy's New Year Goal is to spend more time with children. She wants to play with and encourage not only her children but many other children in her life. It's a great post, if you haven't already read it you might like to.

Robyn at Slightly More Depth Than a Teaspoon linked up her New Year resolution too,which is to pretty up the house, to make it feel nicer to spend her days in. I can totally understand that goal. Not long after her post she gave birth to her son Charlie. He is absolutely adorable in this pic (link) so I bet the house is that much more interesting already.

The two wonderful regular participants of me and YOU Kristy and Rhianna linked up too. Kristy had a great Christmas month (her December goal) and her year long goal for 2012 is to someway, somehow move into a bigger house. Rhianna wants to pay more attention to detail around the home and realise the importance of little tasks in relation to a better quality of life at home. Her weekly goals included sleep, dishes, washing, having fun with her family and not wasting time online.

My post last week was probably long winded and deciphering my resolution was possibly a little tricky. There are so many little things I want to work on this year. I want to be a better person in many ways. I've decided that focusing on housework will be a good place to start. Most specifically I want to be more organised and waste less time chasing my own tail. So I'm devoting the next few months to cleaning up at home not just on the surface but in the cupboards and forgotten places. That way I can hopefully find a home for everything so we don't have piles of clutter adding to the everyday mess.

My specific goal for last week was to clean up the master bedroom. Corey had a goal of cleaning up the loungeroom. We both had an over-riding wish to enjoy our last week of his holidays and just have fun with the kids. I'm trying to be a good wifey so I'm trying to do things his way. So we compromised. We both cleaned out the top of the walk in robe in our room so we had space to store some toys so we had more space in the loungeroom so we could move things around so we could make it easier to keep tidy and have more room to have fun. I haven't cleaned the rest of the bedroom yet but the wardrobe looks great and so does the lounge. I'm glad we did it this way.

We donated 4 large garbage bags of clothes to charity. We have two big plastic tubs of toys in the space they once occupied. We aren't hoarding toys. Some will be great for William in a few months, some are too difficult for Alexis to use independently and rather than watching her get increasingly frustrated with them we just 'disappeared' them for a little while. Other toys Alexis still loves but we figured at the moment less is more. Besides she's most interested in William's Christmas presents at the moment, naturally.

Since we removed some toys Alexis has actually played better with the ones she has. The lounge room is so big now as we pushed the lounge and coffee table back. We have a big plush rug infront of it that we try to keep clear so we can all sit down together. We set up a special "craft corner" for playdoh and drawing. We have two big plastic tubs as makeshift toyboxes. One for noisy hard toys one for plush toys. Alexis can see all the toys, see which ones she wants and get them herself. Packing up is easier because everything just gets put into the tubs.



We actually started the process on the 30th December (Friday) and I'm glad we did because we were pretty much haven't touched it since Monday arvo. We've been rolling around on the mat in the lounge with the kids, outside having water fights, busy with daily duties (washing, dishes) or having outings. On Tuesday we had a professional photo session to get some "newborn" photos of William. On Wednesday I took the kids grocery shopping while Corey mowed the lawns then we had family over for dinner.

On Thursday my Nanna K passed away so since then we've been getting our heads around that while trying to keep things as normal as possible for Alexis and William. They're too young to understand and they don't need to grieve for a lady they never knew. We've talked about it with Alexis but only from the angle of explaining that the people around her are a little sad.

Given the circumstances I'm not going to make a goal for this week. If I feel the need to distract myself I'll continue with tidying the bedroom but I think with Corey back at work I'm not expecting much free time. Feel free to link up your goal post though, I would still like to read about what you're up to. It'll give me something to keep me awake during midnight feeds.


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Friday, January 6, 2012

See you later Nanna...

On Thursday 5th January 2012 at 1:30am a dear old woman slipped peacefully from this life onto the next. It happens all the time. Death is an unfortunate part of life. This time is different. This time it's personal. This time that dear old lady is my "nanna K" and although it's natural it still stings.

"Nanna K" is my great aunt, my mum's aunty Mollie. Although she is mum's aunty she has been mum to my mum for the last 41 years. She is the only grandparent I've ever known on my mother's side. She has always been, and will always be, "Nanna K" to my sister Amanda and to me.

She always loved us as her own grandchildren. She never objected to us calling her nanna. She was always there while we were growing up and when she moved away we talked on the phone and travelled up to visit her when we could. She wrote long letters in her large sprawling handwriting. We had to ask mum to read them although we enjoyed seeing how many words we could recognise. Her letters were fascinating. We loved going to visit. She was a cheeky, spirited, oppinionated and 'proper' woman. She was strong and independent and she was fun. She hated leaving. She would make a fuss of pushing us out the door but when we backed out the driveway we knew she was crying. She loved us very very much, and we love her.

Nanna travelled down to share special events with us. She was at my sister's engagement party and both of our weddings. She couldn't make it to mine and Corey's engagement party but she sent some money so we could travel up to stay with her. She was always very thoughtful. One day I set her special stove covers on fire (I'd never seen one before) and I was really upset. "It doesn't matter," she said, "it's only money". When we stayed with her we always marvelled how she could be so hard of hearing normally but if you whispered something out of line she'd pick you up on it quick smart. We found it funny that there was almost always a cold cup of tea in the microwave.

Over the last few years Nanna lost some of her memories and some of her agility and slowly but surely started getting worse until not much remained. She never lost her fighting spirit though. When we took Alexis up to meet her last year she had very little memory left. She had no idea who I was but she was still kind and loving and said to me "you're a sweet young thing but I can't hear a word you're saying," just like she always had. It was uncanny. I found a pen and wrote down that I was Louise's daughter and she looked me in the eye, grabbed my arm and said, "MY Louise!?" Five minutes later she was asking me if I was there to visit her. It broke my heart. We left her with some photos and the woman next to her said, "that'd keep her going all day, that's a very nice thing you did".

Even though we'd been expecting this for sometime it is still hard to believe she is gone. She seemed almost immortal to Amanda and I. She was "ancient" before we were born. I'm not actually sure how old she is but she's atleast ninety. It doesn't make it any easier though. I'm sad my son never got to meet her. I'm sad my chidlren won't get to know her personally. Yet I'm glad she left so many wonderful stories behind in our hearts. This is my first real taste of loss (I can never be thankful enough for the fact that I've gone 24 years without attending a funeral) and I'm not sure how to take it.

My husband Corey says to remember the good times. Remember her as I knew her my whole life. That sounds like perfect advice to me. So here's some pictures of the "ratbag" as we used to call her (she was always into mischief). I love you nanna. I always will. Thank you for taking care of my mum. I hope you are enjoying catching up with family and friends in paradise. See you later (although hopefully not for many years. I'm sure you can understand).

in the red on the left with mum and dad (and his parents) at their engagement party

with mum at her wedding


From left to right: dad's nanna, dad's mum, "nanna K" at Manda's wedding

dancing with her grandson at my wedding

This is from Manda's engagement party. This is how I want to remember her.
See you later nanna.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hold on tight



Happy Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Funny things kids do #4: Need to be fed in random places

My posts have been fairly serious lately because I've basically only had time for Me and YOU Monday posts. I thought I might do something a little different on my blog today. It's been a long time since I last posted in the funny things kids do series.

Life as a mum is sometimes serious and full of responsibility but other times fun, random and entertaining. Life as a mum means being prepared for just about anything. The reason why I love breastfeeding is that it takes away some of the planning.

A breastfeeding mumma doesn't need to worry about always carrying bottles, water and formula when she goes out with baby. Breastfeeding means that if mum and bub are together, bub has access to food.

The problem is that babies learn this very quickly. You can't distract them with finding a bib or preparing a bottle. At least in my own experience, when a breastfed baby is hungry they expect to be fed right there and then. I do try to get somewhere comfortable and calm but sometimes bub just isn't content to wait.

So, what I'd like to know today is where is the strangest, most uncomfortable, or coolest place you have fed your baby (or seen a baby being fed). Bottle-feeding counts too but make sure you say in the comment it was from a bottle.

To get us started here's some places I've had to feed William:

  • in restaurants (McDonald's, Hungry Jacks or a 4-star buffet doesn't make any difference.
  • in the car in just about any carpark you could imagine
  • in doctors appointments
  • in the bathroom because I've been bathing Alexis when he's woken up ravenous
  • on the floor of Wiggles World at Dreamworld during the Dorothy the Dinosaur show (while supervising Alexis because Corey was getting our annual passes activated)
  • in a hardware store
  • in a sports store while trying on shoes
  • during the sermon at church
  • at dad's recital
  • on an outdoor lounge at White Water World
  • at the Wiggles concert
  • at the beach
  • in my parents' swimming pool!


As for Alexis, when she was a little bubba she would go from perfectly fine to screaming her little head off with hardly any warning. I had to feed her while standing in line many times in the 14 months she fed for. We have family down south and family up north, and when she was young we took her to meet the relatives. She's been fed at pretty much every rest stop from Kempsey NSW to Gladstone QLD.

We haven't travelled with William yet, I think maybe it taking us 12 hours to do a 6 hour drive when Alexis was a baby might have scared us off. If only there was some sort of safety harness making it legal to breastfeed in a moving vehicle!

I know of people who've breastfed in aeroplanes, trains, busses and boats. I haven't yet because I've never been on one with a baby. I have fed Alexis on a monorail though (at Seaworld). That's probably the most random place I can think of. That one day at Seaworld she fed at the dolphin show, the pirate show, shark bay and the monorail. She's also fed at Movie World during the V8 car stunt show. Remembering all this makes me realise William is actually pretty easy. Haha.

What's your weirdest feeding story?

Joining in with the lovely Jess at Diary of a SAHM for

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Me and YOU in 2 0 1 2

Hi everyone, welcome to the first Monday of the New Year. I hope you've had a nice holiday. I know stay at home mums don't really get holidays but it is almost like a holiday when hubby is home on holidays. Isn't it?

It's great having him around to help with the kids and the housework. Having Corey home must have reduced my workload immensely but at many times it felt that him being home meant extra work for me instead of less.  That's because when he took the kids so I can rest he took the kids but that was it. He is not used to having Alexis playing at his feet while juggling dishes and the like. While it was nice to be told to rest, having work pile up around me was stressful.

You'd think that Alexis and William would have really enjoyed having their daddy home and you're  right, they did. They enjoyed the time with daddy so much that they didn't want to stop to eat or sleep or have their nappies changed or get cleaned up. It's been a whirlwind adventure of a week and a half.

We've had good times such as looking at Christmas lights, playing teaparties, going to dreamworld, watching dvds, reading story after story after story and catching up with friends. It's been incredibly fun, incredibly messy and far too expensive. Although I'm thankful for the good times I'm almost wishing Corey was about to go back to work so that we could go back to some sense of normality.

I know I'll miss him like crazy but there's little things I'm missing now. Little things like children sleeping at night, Corey not changing his shirt several times a day due to baby spew, and me doing housework or having me time or a nap when the kids are napping without Corey trying to get me to play with his space ship (that's not a euphemism, he got a Lego space shuttle for Chriatmas). Yet at the same time I am very thankful that he has another week.

As much as possible I really want to use this week, the first week of the new year, to clean up this place. I don't like starting a new year with a filthy disorganised house and I want to make things as easy as possible to manage when Corey goes back to work. 

Actually my whole goal for the whole year is to clean up my act. I want to be better at everything. Better at housework, better in my faith, better in my relationships and feeling better within myself. I want to lose weight, get fit, get rid of emotional baggage and be more intentional in raising my kids.

I am somewhat overwhelmed by all that I need to achieve. There is so much to do that I could easily throw my hands up and say "I can't do it all so why bother". In 2011 I did that far too often. It's a new year and I want to grow this year so much that by 2013 I'm almost a new me.

I have no idea how to do this. I need to break it up into more manageable pieces so I don't get discouraged. I cannot do it all at once and that's ok. I have to start somewhere so I'm actually going to start off focussing on housework.

For real? That doesn't sound like me does it. I am normally the person who says "I want to focus on spending time with my children while they are young", or "I want to stop doing *insert bad behavioural trait here". Well I've tried that and I keep falling back down because I'm unhappy with the state of the house. I spend the vast majority of my time in this house and when it's cluttered, disorganised and something you want to get away from then so am I. The amount of time I spend looking for clean clothes in laundry baskets or taking things off Alexis that I should have kept out of her reach or feeling sick because we aren't cleaning properly or eating well is unacceptable. I can make excuses about it very easily but at the end of the day I can't fool my own heart.

I want a clean, tidy, fun, safe place for us to live in. Our home should be our safe haven, our sanctuary. I don't want a magazine-style gallery at the expense of fun, but I do want to have less rubbish, less dust, less mess. I want to set up systems to allow cleaning and dusting to be a far easier job.

On Christmas night I lay awake wondering where to put all the toys and I knew we have too much stuff. The kids have too many toys to use at once so I want to start rotating them but the cupboards are full of clothes and bears and junk. We did a good pitch out when we were pregnant with William, but we need to do it again.  I desperately want to declutter. So my goal for the next month or two is to declutter little by little, focussing this week on the master bedroom.

Last time we did it we held a garage sale and things that weren't sold slowly crept back in. This time although I'd love some pocket money from selling my things (it's likely to mostly be only my things I'll clear out) Corey and I are leaning more towards just giving everything to charity.

Donating things instead of selling them will save time but also allow me to be generous and giving instead of stingey. There are so many things we have been given freely and it's time to do the same.

It's going to be hard choosing what to give and what to keep. I have clothes from size 8 to size 20 (easier and cheaper than maternity clothes). I want to drop a couple of dress sizes and we haven't ruled out the possibility of another baby in the future, so I don't know what I might need again. I also don't know what my chest will be like after breastfeeding so I'm not sure if it's worth holding into the little tops I used to like that just don't fit anymore. 

I have to start somewhere though, so why not here. Corey has already prepared a bag of his old clothes to giveaway to help me get started. That's only because a bottle of perfume leaked from the top drawer into his drawer though. Oops. Sorry. I don't even wear perfume (baby spew, poo and stale milk aren't masked by artificial fragrances so maybe I should get rid of those too.

I'm getting the let's-throw-things-away bug. Hurray. Alexis is even asleep at time of writing this (2pm Friday) and so is Corey. It would be the perfect time to start. If only I could get William to sleep. He has learned to cluster-feed while Alexis is sleeping. I can't blame him, it's self-preservation, but it makes it extremely difficult to get anything done. I wonder how long this decluttering/wanting to be a better housewife thing will last if the kids keep tandem sleeping day and night.

Maybe getting the kids to sleep at the same time will be my goal next week but I doubt it. I've been trying since before William was even born and it still hasn't clicked yet. Eventually I'll learn to function with no sleep and no caffeine, right? Maybe the whole not sleeping thing is a good enough excuse for the place being so messy after all.

The most important thing this week is for me to give the kids and Corey a nice fun week of holidays. If I don't get the decluttering done it doesn't matter but I would like to make a start. This year is going to be baby steps but even a baby can walk a long way one foot after the other. Alexis walked for the first time on new years day 2011. Now she runs so fast I can't keep up with her. Hopefully me learning to keep house better will be a little like that.                    


Do you have a new years resolution? For this week me and YOU Monday I'd love to see new years resolution posts linked up to this or if you like the idea of weekly goals and want to join Me and YOU Monday for a while now is the perfect time to start! It can be as big or as little as you like.



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