’tis the season…

Well hello festive season!

Yes, it is the 1st December, and we launch into the festive season…possibly the most stressful time of year.  But I love it!  I have always felt that Christmas time is like having a new born baby – it is an absolute joy and special time of your life, but you are just too tired and stressed to enjoy it.  Who agrees?

Each year I vow to enjoy it, but usually end up exhausted and stressed and can’t wait for it to be over.  But this year will be different.  This year I have a plan!

So what is it that makes Christmas time stressful?

Well, too many activities on for one.  Everything costs a bundle of money. And I am exhausted – not enough sleep, too much heavy food and alcohol and not enough sleep, and then add worries about the spending of money and remembering each activity.

So what is different his year?

I have done most of my Christmas shopping already, and have done mostly it online. I have also spread it out over a few months, so we don’t get one big financial whack.  We try not to go overboard.  Kids get a present from us, a present from Santa, and then a Santa bag/stocking with bits and bobs. So the boys shopping is pretty much done.  My side of the family is big.  We usually do a Kris Kringle, but this time we have decided no presents. So just the in-laws side to shop for.

I am really making sure I get enough sleep.  This is such a big thing for me as I can be such a flaky sleeper which can lead to all sorts of stress and anxiety (as well as being a result of all sorts of stress and anxiety – bitter cycle).  So for me at the moment, down time and sleep are important.  I like to be an early riser, so I am making sure my nights aren’t too late.

There are so many activities this time of year – catch ups with friends, work do’s, school activities.  I am trying to be mindful and make sure that I enjoy these rather than feeling exhausted.  The point about getting enough rest and down time helps with that.  I also drop activities if I can.  And whilst I would like to make it to all the work functions and consider many colleagues to be friends, when it comes to family and friends, the work ones go on the bottom of the list, and if they need to be dropped, they are.  When the kids say they are not keen on the school disco, I don’t push them to go; I just give a sigh of relief.

I am conscious of practicing mindfulness and gratitude.  I have spoken to the boys about the trap of getting caught up in the ‘season’ and at least once each day we need to stop, take a breath, and think about the things that we are thankful for. I am also very guilty of looking forward and not enjoying the moment.  I am always rushing ahead.  So this year I am deliberately practicing mindfulness.  Being in the moment, and enjoying the moment.  Enjoying my boy’s last year of primary school and his year 6 graduation. Enjoying what could be the last year that my baby believes in Santa.  Enjoying my big boy in his last days of year 8 before he moves into the boy-man world of year 9. Enjoying catching up with friends and appreciating them.

Part of practicing gratitude is giving.  It is hard to give when you feel you have so much to do and pay for at the moment.  It is not just Christmas, but all the school things that need to be paid by the end of the year for next year.  Don’t worry, I get it.  Boy do i get it.  But there are so many ways you can give.  Rather than buying normal cards from Officeworks to go with teachers gifts, I have bought cards from Christian Blind Mission (I try to buy them from different places each year – it was World Vision last year).  It costs the same as a card from the shops, but has a greater impact.  The cards I bought pay for the lenses that are required for cataract surgery.

I know this sounds easier than it really is, but being organised is a big one for me! I review the calendar several times a day and make sure I am on top of everything.  It doesn’t always work though – I thought the sports carnival was last Friday and was all prepared, but it is this coming Friday!  I was a bit disappointed not to get that out of the way! I do list after list – which teachers gifts and Kris Kringle gifts do we still need to get?  What activities and appointments are coming up?  Is there anything going on at work or work trips that will throw a spanner in the works? Where do I need to get others to help?

I am really trying to eat healthily.  Christmas time in Australia is good for that – great summer fruits and veggies, and lots of glorious seafood. And along with that I am actually planning to do exercise in December.  Hah!  We’ll see about that one.

I am deep breathing.  A lot.

So what am I doing this 1st day of December?  I am playing Chris Isaak Christmas Carols, having a coffee, reviewing what needs to be done today, and just enjoying the moment and the sunshine. Oh, and will probably put up the Christmas tree later! (And yes, I am not mentioning all the mundane crap about getting school uniforms and work clothes ready for the week, lunch box food, exchanging something that didn’t fit for Ed’s graduation clothes, getting the school booklist done and paid for, getting Ed to a party etc – everyone has all that stuff to do).

How about you, are you feeling festive?





It’s that time again…

Every 6 months or so I find myself lamenting over time. I don’t mean lamenting for a period of time, I mean being amazed by how fast time is going, how I don’t have enough time, and if I do I don’t enough energy.  I don’t have enough time to do everything I want, and even then I really just want to lie on the couch and do nothing (whilst still complaining about not having any time).

So that time has come around again (boom tish).  And like everyone, I am stunned, astounded, amazed, and baffled about how FAST time has gone.  Not only this year…and this year has flown! But also as I look at a photo beside my bed of the boys when they were little, how fast the last few years have gone!

So let’s talk about this year first. 2013. Nearly 2014.  Can you believe it?  Whilst winter felt like it dragged on, it really has gone by with the click on the fingers. We are now planning for Christmas, trying to squeeze in end of year school events, and work Christmas parties.  This seems to be taking up all the time for the things I would really like to do: spend time with family and friends, and a bit of quiet time reflecting on the year that was, the year to come and being grateful for all that we have.  Sorry, no time for that!

So, now that I am stunned at how fast this year has gone, how about the last few years?? I cannot even begin to express how I feel (actually I can!) about having 2 boys in secondary school next year, and I think my little Arch must have bruises from me trying to grip him as hard as I can to keep him little.

I don’t feel like this all the time.  Usually I am very happy to move forward, and while I loved it when the boys were little, I really try and take some joy in their current age, whatever that may be (except for when they are being shitty – then you can have them). But it has just hit me.  My son is much taller than I am, and he is no longer allowed to get dressed in front of the heater (for everyone’s sake!), and before I know it they will be planning their life.

So what can I do to slow down time?  Not much.  Take deep breaths.  I know that I am usually in a hurry to move forward, so I am making an effort at home and at work, when people want to talk to me, I stop, push my key board away, and focus on the person.  Just because you can multi task, it doesn’t mean that you should.

I am making a real effort to spend time, even if it is just a sliver, on the things I really want to do, be it writing, sewing, photography, or some other such thing.

A girlfriend gave me a bit of advice at my wedding (which her Mum gave her), which was,don’t drink too much and stop every 15 minutes and just think back so you can savour and remember everything.  It is a great piece of advice, which I ignored, had a few drinks, and forgot to do my bridal waltz! So I will try and apply that advice now…

I don’t know if any if this will slow down time, but it might help!

Some pics of our life lately…


Sunday Chores…

Today is Sunday, and I have spent the day doing something that I have put off for the last few weeks. *ahem*, OK.  For the last few months…putting away all the clean clothes that sit in basket in the middle of our living area.  I think it is appropriate that they are in the middle of the living area, because it makes it so much more convenient to get pour clothes each morning. Friends talk about their ‘floordrobe’.  Well, this is our ‘basket-drobe’, though floordrobe sounds better!

It feels so great to have this all done. For a moment I am one of those people.  You know the people.  The ones that are organised with a clean house and they never have to apologise for it.  Are you one of those people?  But sadly it is short lived.  I have a load of washing in the dryer, and another in the washing machine…

Getting these clothes put away led me to cleaning out my wardrobe, which made me learn a few things about myself.

  • I have many pairs of pyjamas.  None of which I actually bought for myself.  They have all been gifts.  No more pj’s please.  And I still wear an old t-shirt to bed!
  • I must have the largest collection of Diesel jeans known to man (& woman). I have bought all these online because Diesel jeans from a retailer are ridiculously expensive. Of the approx. 7 pairs of Diesel jeans, I would say that 1 pair fits me.  And they are the ones I wear on a daily basis.
  • The collection of Diesel jeans is followed closely by my collection of white t-shirts. And yes, every single one has a stain that renders it useless for wearing in public.
  • I have also ended up with a big pile of clothes to go to the Salvos.  Most of those came from the Salvos to begin with, and the rest were hand my downs from my sister.  I like to reduce, reuse and recycle!

After weeks of struggling every morning to find clothes to wear to work, I was being reduced to wearing the same thing every day. I now know that I have heaps of clothes, and I actually know where they all are.

My fear is that in the morning I still won’t be able to work out what to wear to work, because I have too much choice!

What are you doing with your Sunday?


….Come on summer, start already…



My Wednesdays…

A couple of months ago I changed from working full time to having Wednesdays off.  Oh, I love it!  In preparation for all of the extra time I would have, I bought canvasses to paint, fabrics to sew, and glass to mould in my kiln. I had dreams of spending the day taking photos, having a tidy and calm house, and feeling refreshed for the rest of the week. The projects I had in mind, oh the projects! Did I mention my vegie patch? And the exercise, all the exercise I was going to get. The possibilities…

The reality?

Well, I still adore Wednesday. Love it, LOVE it.

I do vaguely clean the house and do the washing (must go and put another load in right now).  And I do re-establish a sense of calm and order to our home and family. I generally get dinner organised early, and make a nice after school snack for the kids.

I try to work on my blog, and research ways of taking it further, as well as continuing my ongoing research into dyslexia and dyscalculia for our Max.

I even bought some great exercise gear from Geometry Active Wear (it is brilliant – really holds everything in!).

BUT…I haven’t taken any photos for ages, my fabric is untouched (and I have some great orange fabric for cushions in there!), my glass has not been taken out of the box, my kiln is cold, and my canvass is still stashed behind the chair in my bedroom. Vegie patch? Non-existent.

And today Arch is sick, so no school for him.  Instead I am sharing my day off with him, and taking him to the Doctor.

But I am patient.  I know my time will come. And when that time does come, I will be ready!


^^^We are hanging out for warm days again…^^^

There is time…

I worry that I am getting old, and that my time is over, that I’ve missed the boat for many things that I want to do or achieve in my life.  Yes I do understand that this sounds ridiculous at 41 years of age.  But, in my defence, whilst I would love to do something like learn a new skill, do a dance class, learn an instrument, go back to Uni and finish my Fine Art degree, I feel that I can’t because I work full-time to contribute to mortgage, school fees and life in general.  I am not complaining about this, but that is the way it is.

And not just that.  I spent a lot of time and effort to get a Degree and Masters.  I want to put that to good use. I don’t want it to be a wasted effort.

But I have been given hope…

At work today I had the pleasure of attending a morning tea for a woman who is retiring.  She would like to keep working, but she has battled serious illness and cancer for the last 2 years, and has decided she wants to live life while she can, smell the rose and spend time with family. She is going to Antarctica in a couple of days time for 2 weeks and then travel to Chile and Argentina for the next 4 weeks. Brilliant.  She is incredibly knowledgeable and quite an amazing and inspiring person. As a Chaplain and a Counsellor, she has had such a positive impact on people’s lives, and even going as far as being life changing to some people.  Not many people can claim that! She is retiring after a very significant 21 years with our organisation.

So how old do you think she is?

She is 71!  That means she started her time at my work when she was 50.  This was a career and life change for her.  And as for the 71, I would have sworn she was only 60.  So maybe there is time for me yet.

I think I need to focus more on enjoying where I am, rather than trying to always rush to be somewhere else in my life. There will be time…

Again, a reminder that life is long, enjoy where you are rather than always looking to the next place to be…

That’s about as philosophical as I get!

Gratitudinal force…

Do you ever practice Gratitude?  I do, but I generally do it quietly, to myself, under my breath.

Well, Leigh, from Six by the Bay  (a local Mornington Peninsula blogger) has started a linkup every Wednesday to share what you are grateful for.  Sometimes we need these tasks diarised to force us to stop and think about what we are grateful for.

So as I am working from home today, and am dashing this off quickly, I ask myself what I am grateful for.  I look at my 3 boys doing various individual activities (which means they are not fighting), and the beautiful day outside (though I am cross that I can hear the neighbours removing beautiful big gum trees for their subdivision – but that’s a whole other matter).

It is a simple one for me today – I am grateful for the flexibility my job gives me.  Though full time, I can work from home when required, such as today – school holidays and husband is away.  Sometimes it is the simple things that make a big difference.

So having said that, I had better dash and get work done!!


tick tock…..

Have you ever read an amaze-balls life changing book that makes you really think about life, and value what you have?

Me too!  But the problem is that I just can’t ever remember what that line was that made me go WOW.

When I have read an amazing line where I think “that’s incredible, that’s life changing….I must remember that”…And before I finish the page I have forgotten!

I can tell other people about how great the book is, and how amazing it is…but I can’t remember why.

Well, I read one of those books yesterday.  A girl at work lent it to me and I read it in one day (when I had a sick day from work – food poisoning – yuk).

You may have even read it.  “The Timekeeper” by Mitch Albom.

There were so many brilliant lines and messages that I wanted to remember.  And because I know myself well, knowing that I would forget, I have gone through the book and written them down!

Now, if you haven’t read it, you can guess that it is about ‘time’. Time is a precious commodity.  People want time to go faster, go slower, wish they had more, wish they had less, want to pack more into the time they have, want time to stretch ahead of them, some people want to live forever and have unending time, and some people want their time to be up.  But time is the one thing that none of us can change.  As we all know, time marches on second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.

So what gems did I glean from this book?  I am glad you asked….


“…Time is not something you give back.  The very next moment may be the answer to your prayer.  To deny that is to deny the most important part of the future…..hope…”


Do you like that one?  I do. I have more….


“Ends are for yesterdays, not tomorrows.”


How about this one…


“…with endless time, nothing is special.  With no loss or sacrifice, we can’t appreciate what we have…”


I do love that one.  Here’s another…


“There is a reason why God limits our days”


“To make each one precious.”


I am guilty of this next one…


“There was always a quest for more minutes, more hours, fast progress to accomplish more in each day.  The simple joy of living between sunrises was gone.”


Be assured… “no-one owns time”…doesn’t matter how rich you are!!


And lucky last…


“When you are measuring life, you are not living it”.


How’s that for gems?  These are things I need to keep reminding myself. Be in the moment rather than always planning for another time.

Love it!  Be warned.  I am now starting to read “Happier at Home” by Gretchen Rubin, the author of “The Happiness project”.  I have read her first one and I got so much out of that book…I just wish I could remember what it was!

It started with such promise…

Ahh, spring time!  It was so lovely and sunny last weekend.  Spring held such promise.  I bought everything to setup new vegie patches.  I planned on clearing out the chook shed for some new chooks and even some ducks.  I was all motivated and inspired.

What happened?

In true Melbourne fashion the weather changed and we are back to cold, dreary, wet weather! Oh well, I can’t always use the weather as an excuse to sit inside and do not much!  And I have been a bit inspired lately, so I must grab that and make the most of it before it all leaks out like sweat….

So what is my inspiration at the moment…

Simple living, vegie patches, creativity, writing, photography, sewing, and after talking to other Mums from school this morning (yes, I blame you Caroline Bailey!) also whole foods and making foods from scratch, how it can affect learning and health…..too much!

What will I focus on?

Simple living and slowing down…cutting back on kids’ activities.  Thankfully we don’t do too much, so a big ‘tick’ on that one.  I will do the vegie patch and chooks next week.  I promise.

Creativity…will focus on writing and photography. Make my blog more regular, and am working on photography pieces for an upcoming exhibition.

Whole foods…will start at the health food shop this morning and get some spelt flour and see what my bread maker can do with it.  I will pay more attention to ingredients and try and make more food from scratch.

So this is my spring time focus.  Now all I need is the sun to come out give some warmth….

Here is a bit of sunny warmth…a photo taken by my 11 year old son, Ed…

A Girl for all Seasons

Wow, winter really is here all of a sudden.  I know everyone is lamenting the loss of summer and dreading the short dark days that drag on.  I too will miss summer.  I love planning days out doors, bush walks, trips to the beach, or just lying outside in the sun.

But do you know what?

I love Autumn too. The change of the trees. Warm days and cool nights. We can get out and go for walks without it being too hot. I can get onto planning my winter vegie patch.

And then comes Winter.  I am looking forward to evenings curled up on the couch reading a book, planning great indoor craft activities, the sounds of rain on the roof, the wild storms.  And the food.  I love planning winter food – soups, casseroles, curries…

Mistress Spring.  I get to plan the summer vegie patch, and try and get our bush garden in order.  The moment the sun peeks out we dash to the beach, the flowers popping their heads out of the ground.

I just love all seasons. I don’t ever really feel sad to lose a season because I love the season that is coming around the corner.

If it is a sunny day, I think “Great, I can get out side and do…(whatever it is I want to do)”, and if it is a cold rainy day, I think “Great, I can stay inside and do ……(whatever it is I want to do)”.

So while Autumn is quickly turning to Winter, I am loving every bit of it.  Don’t be sad for the loss of Summer – enjoy the season you are in.

Will power, please don’t leave me….

School Holidays, a week off work, and I am trying to make the most of my time.  I have a painting I want to finish, and another to start, I want to get my winter vegie patch going (the dog dug up my peas I planted last week!), and of course I have story rattling around in my head that I want to start.  But in order to do all that I really need to get my house in order, get the kids entertained, and stay off the internet!

OK, housework.  What is the bare minimum I need to do to get by?  I have an overflowing laundry that needs to be wrestled back into order, floors are filthy and beds are unmade.  I don’t go for pristine, but I just want some order and a calm relaxed atmosphere.  Oh, and to not be too embarrassed if someone drops by unexpectedly.  Kids are entertained with a movie, so all sorted in that department.  Now, all I need to do is stay off the computer…

I am trying to stay off the computer I really am, but I have just discovered so many great blogs lately that I get caught up reading them (I will post a llist of my fav blogs this week).  Then I check my email, then read another blog, and then am inspired to write a bit, and then might look at Facebook, and then….whoops, the time slipped by again.

Dammit!  I really do need to stay off the computer.  What is with the compulsion to check email, FB and other people’s blogs??

OK, this is the plan.  I am going to do the housework.  The boys have some friends riding their bikes over.  They can all entertain each other.  Then….NO COMPUTER.  I will finish my painting.  I will keep telling myself this…no computer, I will finish my painting… no computer, I will finish my painting… no computer, I will finish my painting… no computer, I will finish my painting…