Work

Day 365…

Wow, New Year ’s Eve is here, and I know I say it every year, and in fact every month, but time seems to be going faster and faster.  What say you? Do you feel the same way?

Like any year, 2013 has had ups and downs, but I have high hopes for 2014!

In a quick review, the big thing for us was finding out that Max has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.  This has changed our whole approach to Max’s education, and has made a huge difference to Max.  We appreciate his strengths and gifts so much more now and are constantly thinking about and trying to be creative with helping him with the whole reading, writing and ‘rithmatic side of things.

For the first few months of the year I really struggled with full time work and home and family and felt that I wasn’t doing anything well and all people and areas of my life were missing out.  I kept wishing and praying for big change that would take the need for action out of my hands!  As they say, be careful, you might get what you wish for! Change came, but I don’t think it was what I was after! My work went through a merger, whilst not disastrous, it was a really difficult time with lots of uncertainty and questioning if this is what I want to choose to do (and I do get a bit narky when choice is taken away from me!).  Change is a bit like parenting – you can offer all the advice you want and think you know what people are going through, but until you go through it yourself you really don’t know what you are talking about!! After a long 6 months, we are coming through the other end of it, but I am still questioning what it is that I want to do with my life!  I am sure that answer will come one day…

Just before we went through the merger at work I had dropped work to 4 days a week and that has been fantastic.  It has made such a difference to me and our little household.  It has given me time to breathe, time to research, time to clean and wash clothes, and time to focus on our family.

I have plenty to be thankful for in 2013.  I am so thankful for our discoveries with Max (or should I say…dys-coveries…boom tish!). I talk about this a lot with other parents at school and in our general community and there are so many parents desperate for help with their children that are experiencing learning difficulties.  I could go on for hours, but whilst our school is good and we are happy with it, you really need to put in so much help as and initiate so much action as parents. So that is my band wagon for the moment.

I am also grateful that we have put all parts in place to finally renovate our house in the coming year (albeit on a shoe string budget).

I am grateful for a wonderful friends and family that have shared our 2013 and been part of our lives.

 

I am looking forward to so much in 2014.

  • I am looking forward to finally making our house much more liveable and really improving our lifestyle.
  • I am looking forward to a good year at school for Max which will involve LOTS of maths tutoring.
  • I am looking forward to an exciting start to high school for Ed and hope he has a great year (because year 6 was quite average for him).
  • I am looking forward to a great year 4 for Arch where he will actually try and stretch himself at school (hmmm).
  • I am looking forward to a new baby joining our broader family.
  • I am looking forward to an art class I have booked into for Feb and other creative plans that I have for the year.
  • I am looking forward to living more in the moment and being mindful and appreciating what I have.

So that is my quick year in review and hopes and dreams for 2014.

What about you?

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’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?

 

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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…

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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…

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Hurrah for the weekend…

What a week! The company I work for is merging with another company, with the leaders from the second company coming in to run our company (a takeover of sorts – if that makes sense at all). A part of this is that I have been in a strategy planning meeting for the last 2 days with managers from each organisation planning a way forward. Going down this path has raised so many thoughts and questions, particularly since I don’t know if I will have a role in this new entity. And then begs the question, do I even want a role in this new entity?

I have been going on this journey for the last couple of months, and it has created so many situations and interesting (& bizarre) scenarios that I would love to blog about, but just can’t until things at work are formalised and finalised. But in six weeks’ time, look out for my rants and insights about the world of merging companies and the effect on the people involved!

So what am I doing in the meantime whilst I am in limbo?

Pondering priorities – what is really important in this one life that we get?
Feeling grateful – for my good health and the health of the people who I love.
Looking at all my options – is this an opportunity to following my passions, or make a change that provides better balance? Are there other options available that I haven’t considered?
Deep breathing – whenever I start to freak out at the instability of it all, I take deep breaths!! Many of them.
Enjoying time with family and friends!

Monday starts a new week and who knows what it will bring. Until then it is the WEEKEND! Woo hoo….Enjoy…..

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^^^a bit of sunshine joy^^^

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!

 

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

Breathe….

Breathe in for 3 and out for 6….am repeating this to myself at the moment.  It is just one of those times where there is a lot going on and it is easy to get overwhelmed.  I am generally wobbly physically, but can also get a bit wobbly emotionally!

In for 3…Out for 6…

It seems like it is such a busy time at the moment.  Kids have school things on such as camp, remembering which day they need to take sports uniforms, what day who goes where for soccer training, and the constant annoyance of doing the school lunchboxes.

Then add on parent teacher interviews, and an early pickup for 2 of them (I forgot last time, so have definately remembered this time!). And not to mention an after school detention to remember and pick up a bit later than normal. Grrr.

What day was Max’s drum lesson, Ed’s guitar and piano lessons, and Arch’s violin lesson???

Of course I am doing none of the running around as I work full time, but I need to make sure that we have organised people to do it.

And to top it off, Richard goes to America on Thursday for a bit over two weeks….

So a word of warning.  I will be late to work everyday for that 2 weeks so I can take the kids to school.  Homework may not be done. I may buy wine in bulk. We may have takeaway on nights other than Friday.

So my mantra at the moment is…

Breathe…In for 3…Out for 6…

I hope the Autumn weather keeps on being beautiful like this, and you may find the boys and I having our takeaway dinners down on the beach!

Beach

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!!

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All’s well that ends well…

I guess that on the last day of the year it is natural to look back and reflect upon the past year, what you are grateful for and what you can kick to the curb.

When I look back, all I can think is …….FAAARK!!!  What a year!

It is no secret that I bitch and moan about working full time, having 3 kids, house, husband, kids homework etc.  I shouldn’t really complain though.  I do have a good job, with people I like, and we do good things.  Having said that, I have struggled a bit this year keeping all the balls in the air, and sometimes they drop and smash, but I have realised that at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter.  I now just shrug my shoulders, pour a glass of wine, and move on.  I have become REALLY good at stress management.

But it is more than just the normal stuff that made this year full on.  The year started well, went a  bit pear shaped in the middle, and but has then ended well…let me tell you all about it….

It started in Feb with Ed & Arch starting at a new school.  Max had already been there for a bit over a year and we were so happy with the school (& still are!) that we decided to move the other 2 over as well.  In theory, it started well, in that they weren’t late on their first day, but it took them at least 2, if not 3 terms to settle in, feel comfortable and decide that they liked it. So that was at least 6 months of encouraging them about going to school through to full on threats of taking every single thing they own away from them if they don’t stop carrying on.  It worked.

Also in Feb, I got a phone call my Mum. My brother, in his late 40’s, found the main artery to his heart was 95% blocked and was being flown to Melbourne for an emergency stent to be put in.  Now that all was successful and he is healthy now, but it triggered not only concern for my brother, but there are 5 kids in our family (I am the youngest) and I think it made us all look at ourselves and realise that we are not immortal, and that, oh my god, we are getting to that age where health shit happens!!

In March I got a phone call from the school.  Ed had fallen off the monkey bars, and could I come and get him.  I’m glad it was a Friday when I was working from home.  The poor love looked so pale.  I took him home and dosed him up on panadol.  We had a suspicion he had broken a wrist.  But you know…it WAS the school carnival that night, and he really did want to go.  So the choice was…go to school carnival, or go to emergency at Frankston Hospital…Ed begged for the carnival.  So we poured more panadol down his throat and off we went.  He had a great time.  We had put his arm in a sling, but he took it off so they would let him go on the rides (!), he bought treats and novelty sunglasses, and had his hair spray coloured.  A successful carnival by all accounts.  After the carnival we decided to take him to the late night doctor, but when we got there we found it was the one night of the year they decided to close early.  Sooo…more panadol, and the next morning I washed the colour out of his hair so it was no longer green, and took him off to the Doctor. Doctor got cross at me for waiting overnight (thank god I didn’t tell her we went to the carnival instead of the hospital!) and sent us to the hospital.  Just to shorten the story (because it can go on a fair while about Doctors making me feel guilty, neighbour and friend with his son in the bed next to Ed making jokes about breaking wrists etc), we found that Ed had broken BOTH his wrists.  Yes, both.  Both in plaster.  Yes, BOTH.  I think the realisation of what that meant for the next 6 weeks set into both Ed & I and we shat ourselves and cried!  Poor Ed.  At least he could wipe his own bum (one plaster was up to his elbow, the other up to his shoulder ).  But that was about it. For 6 weeks. And the poor love had his birthday with 2 arms in plaster.  And we had already bought his present.  A longboard skateboard.  Hmmmm. More about that later.

And then another big thing happened.  The week after Easter my gorgeous, incredibly fit, healthy nephew was diagnosed with cancer at 24 years of age.  That started his own journey of tests and chemo.  But as an Aunt who wanted to support but not be a pain in the arse, it was a really hard thing to do to stand on the sidelines and watch.  Probably the hardest this I have ever gone through, and it wasn’t even about me!  I am pretty sure my brothers and sister as Aunt and Uncles felt the same way.  And my poor sister who is his Mum…so hard to watch your son go through that.  But our beautiful boy has come through it with the support of his family and lovely partner, and though I am sure he wished it never happened, these things make you the person that you are.

That led us into winter, which was pretty uneventful.  It consisted of soccer training 2-3 times a week and soccer on Saturday AND Sunday mornings.  I quite enjoyed the soccer season, even though it was bloody cold, it did make us get out of the house.

I had my own little health concern, which I think was paranoia which was started by my brother’s heart probs. Again, to cut a story short, I wore a heart monitor for 24 hours (which is not very slimming), did a heart stress test with nothing on but a pair of knickers and a hospital gown which is left open at the FRONT. Mortifying. And then I realised it was all just stress about a big project at work, trying to juggle kids, their school, dinners, and homework, and a house that is crumbling around me.  I am much better at juggling that all now.  All I need is deep breathing, a bottle of wine and some ‘Rescue Remedy’.  Works a charm.

My Mum called herself an ambulance when she had some chest pains, and spent a couple of days in hospital.  My poor sister stayed by her side for the whole time.  Hospitals are Yuk.  Again, all ok.  I am starting to feel like we are hypochondriacs!!

Getting towards the end of year now…late Oct. Ed and that bloody longboard.  He was pushing it up the hill near our house.  Trips over.  Smashes face into the footpath.  On a Sunday night.  We live on the outskirts of Melbourne down the Mornington Peninsula. No emergency dental care there on a Sunday night.  That is without even addressing his smashed face and swollen lips.  His front tooth that was hanging 5mm lower than the other one.  So I race him to the late night Dental Hospital in the City.  They race him in.  Shove his tooth back up (ugh, awful.  We both cried), glued a wire splint on.  And sent us on our way.  Vitamin E oil worked a miracle on his face, wire splint came off in 5 weeks, and it was another event to add to Ed’s list of injuries (am not even going to start about his infamous eye accident of 2009). FAAARK.

And as I have 3 boys, so there are constant non-event injuries that are forever going on.  Well, that is just Ed & Arch actually.  Thankfully Max is adverse to taking risks and therefore never injures himself, and rarely gets dirty.

My husband decided to leave his job in Oct, bless him.  Not convenient.  The timing to do that is never good.  But in his defence, it was a crap job.  So after a few weeks of no job, and a stressed cranky wife, he got a new job.  Yayyy.  And it is a job he will like, so even better.  But that did mean he had to go to America for 10 days before Christmas and got home on Christmas Eve.  Not great timing.  School was over for the year and I was working.  A bit of a juggle, but my mother-in-law and several friends came to my aide.  So all good.  But again, all’s well that ends well.

There was other good stuff in the middle.  I have been getting back into photography, and had pieces in 2 separate exhibitions, so that was good.  We spent lots of time at the beach.  Spent good family time together.  Spent great times with friends. What else could you want?

So all in all, not a bad year.  Some things could have been better, or eliminated altogether.  BUT…

All’s well that ends well…

Happy New Year to all our friends, old and new, and of course to our lovely families.  Love you.

xxx