Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Us in January

Us Right Now is about captuing photos of the family unit, and each individual, and embracing their right now as it happens each month. It's the sometimes good bits and sometimes bad bits of life, told with words and photos.
We didn't take a family photo for Christmas Day, so this is the next best thing

We aren't doing well at embracing family meetings, we need to work on this together

We are embracing KIND as our word for 2017, but no one else knows yet
He is happy to be working, but is frustrated by the micromanaging from his boss

He is keen to travel more in 2017, and finally build the deck
She is glad the oven is finally fixed, the freezer is empty of gingerbread apple pies

She is keen to camp more in 2017
He is working hard to keep his anger at bay, even when the noise of the holidays gets too much

He wants to improve his school work and go somewhere fun in 2017
She is missing her friends these holidays, Sophie just doesn't cut it

She wants to improve her times tables, and not share a room with Riley in 2017
He is loving all his Christmas presents, especially the Iron Man action figure

He wants to improve his writing and have a sleep in in 2017
She is loving having the kids home for the holidays, but is way out of routine

She wants to be able to write and improve her speaking in 2017 [as told to Natalie]

(I used this New Years printable from Mumtastic to capture the kids words, and just asked Steve what he wanted from the year.)
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Sunday, 1 January 2017

One Little Word® 2017

I chose SUCCESS at the start of December. I was seeing it everywhere, as I went about completeing the blogging course I was taking, in everything I was reading and feeling as I reflected on the past year. It felt right.

But as I wandered around my local scrapbook shop just before Christmas, reflecting on my word and how I would fit it into my creativity in the new year, I stumbled on this tree template and got the biggest smack in the head from myself! I was looking at the wrong word!

GROWTH was the word that I really needed to be looking at. GROWTH as a person who has belief in herself. GROWTH through this space. GROWTH as a parent of a teenager (and tween, child, almost-not-a-toddler), GROWTH was the better word.

Have you chosen a word for your year?
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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Best of 2016, as picked by me

2016 has been a hard year for lots of people. There just seems to be something in the air that has made it feel like a struggle. Personally, spending so much of the year being low in iron and not realising it (although I had on occassion wondered if that was the problem) really made it feel as if I was viewing the world through cotton wool.

But these last couple of months of vitamin supplements (if anyone knows the secret to not forgetting to take them, please share, I've forgotten again today!) has really changed me. While I'm still tired, it's just from getting up at 5am, and pushing myself to keep reading at 10pm instead of sleeping, not because I'm missing some vital ingredient in my body. And mentally I'm more alert and engaged in my world than I have been for most of the year, instead of just going through the motions (although let me tell you, school holidays are not my friend this week!)

Because I've spent most of the year feeling like my head is stuffed with cotton wool, I haven't actually written many posts. While some would argue that 99 posts to December is quite a lot, at only 1 post every 3.5 days, I would argue that I have so much more to say! But, that average is in line with my total-posts-written-since-I-started average, so I'll take it as a win.

I love dipping into the archives of my blog. When life is busy, it isn't something that I do very often, but when I have time, like today, to sit and explore, it can bring back so many memories (and has always been my prime motivation for writing in the first place.) Back in 2013 I summarised 6 years of blogging in one post, then in 2015 I picked out a few posts that I loved, but I haven't really dived into the archives since then (although when I remember, Vanessa's link up at Bloggers & Bacon is a good way to keep checking the archives)

So, what have I written this year? Well, there's the differences in families with 1 child and 2 or more children, and I mentioned that having kids doesn't get better, just different. I shared more tips for using Facebook groups (OMG! Enough with the shopping in groups!), and the things I've learnt about marriage and from Harry Potter movies, from Daisy and a table.

I baked triple choc muffins that had the teenager saying were better than store-bought, and rediscovered the amazingness that is warm blueberry muffins fresh from the oven. I shared my thoughts on our male daycare teacher (and since I wrote that post our centre has 3 more male leaders in the big kids area that Sophie moves to next year.) I also learnt about how a post going viral is amazing and scary all at once, after our centre shared it on their page, and a few other people picked it up as well.

I've suggested ideas for using hampers at Christmas time instead of stuffing them in the cupboard, and mentioned our large electricity bill (which has reduced by $300 since our clothes dryer and dishwasher both died just after Steve lost his job in October) I've pondered a return to work, and stayed sane with a to-don't list this December, and remembered the uselessness that can sometimes be the best bit of blogging.

And as I write my Christmas shopping list, my thoughts invariably turn towards plans for 2017 (how could they not, I've been working on them for 2 months now!)

But you'll have to come back another day to hear all about those.

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Monday, 5 December 2016

Things I'm not doing this December

I love Christmas! I've been counting down to Christmas since September 16th (100 days to Christmas, just in case you didn't know)
But there's a whole lot of things I'm not doing this month.

I'm not doing an advent calendar. I looked at one of those Cadbury calendars last night. I picked four up (they're on sale at Coles!) Then I put them back. First of all - Sophie will inhale everyone's chocolate in about 3.2 seconds, then Riley will cry (he's still mad at her because she ate his last tic tac. Last Sunday.) Then Douglas will yell because Riley is crying, and Natalie will just hide in a corner with Daisy ignoring everyone. I know these kids. They're better off harrassing me for my stash of chocolate than bickering over who's calendar that is, and who ate who's chocolate (and mummy doesn't have any wine.)

I'm not doing Elf on the Shelf (or any other elves) I reached breaking point last weekend. I spent hours browsing pinterest and etsy and even ebay, trying to find elves that weren't ridiculously priced, to bring some kindness elves into our household. Riley's got some in his classroom at school - elves who bring books to class, and some special lollies, and suggest that the kids do nice things for other people. We so desperately need that. So I frantically asked Caitlin if she had some elves patterns I could borrow, she did, and I thought that was it. But then I looked at the mammoth task in front of me - make the elves, create printables (so no one recognises my writing) move them around every day, and then what? I really want my kids to be kind to each other because they like being kind to each other. I know that's a huge ask, siblings bicker, but I need to find a way to help them. So instead of kindness elves, I started family meetings.

I'm not going ahead with that street party idea I've had in my head for months. As I walk around the streets each day with Daisy, I dream of simpler times. Neighbours say hi to each other, and gather for drinks on Christmas Eve while kids play hopscotch. I've never actually lived it, and I'm not about to start this month. Sure, I can say hi to the people I see early in the morning, or late at night, but to sit out in the street, pretending to enjoy being there and chatting about things not connected to my life, no thanks!

I'm not going to any major Christmas festivities (except 1) Every year as I drive past the signs at the park, I think that maybe this is the year I'll venture out with the kids to whatever-it-is. Then I remember how cranky and hot they are when they get home from school, and how much I don't really want to pile them into cars but just sit at home sucking on icy poles and enjoy some quiet. Except the Carols by Candlelight at our school. Hosted by a local church for the last twenty years or so, we pack up a picnic dinner and head over early (so we get the best spot to watch the fireworks after), check out the market stalls, kick a ball around, and sing loudly (and maybe this year I won't be the only one singing!)

I'm not making any Christmas gifts. I love crafting and making things. And if I was better organised, I make gifts all year round. But I'm not. And I doubt I ever will be. So I'm not making handmade gifts for the kids, or for anyone else. 

But just in case it sounds as if we don't do any fun stuff in December, here's a few things we are doing.

We are having pancakes for breakfast the first day after school finishes.

We are having Santa photos taken at the shopping centre we've been going to since Chloe and I first moved to Brisbane.

We are going to sing Christmas carols (see above)

We are going to watch Christmas movies on hot afternoons

We are going to take the annual Santa hat photo of the kids

We are going to make memories

We are going to be together.

What are you not doing this December?

linking up with One Mother Hen, Denyse Whelan and All Mum Said
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Monday, 28 November 2016

Hello Monday

Hello Monday is where I share a photo from the week that was, and snippets of what's to come this week, in an attempt to change from "Mondayitis" to gratitude.

hello doubt I've been struggling the last week or so with the blogging class I'm taking. I've kept up with all the class instruction, but the actual doing of the work is slowing me up a bit. I'm doubting myself and my ability to finish the work. I'm doubting my ability to actually reach my goals. I mean, for me, they're big goals, for traffic and newsletter and creating that class that's been in the back of my head for far too long. But doing it has me a bit bewildered at the moment. And there's so much stuff going on in the background that I'm letting that noise take over everything. I guess the only thing I can really do at the moment is sit with it, and keep plodding.

hello December I see December in the spitting distance now. 27 sleeps to Christmas. Two weeks until kids finish school.Time to start madly writing lists, addressing envelopes, shopping for piles of wrapping paper, browsing pinterest for ideas you'll never create.

hello housework It's taken me a lot of years to realise that the reason I don't like housework is because it's never-ending - once you've finished, it's time to start again because they've made a mess. But that has ended us in a bis mess of sticky fingerprints on walls, and dust on skirting boards. It's amazing how clean your house looks when the skirting boards are dust-free! So over the next few weeks, I'm planning to attack those sticky fingerprints, and skirting boards, and get rid of them, at least for this month.

hello family meetings I've often tried to embrace the idea of family meeting for our family. But as I pay attention to the feeling of our family, I realise that despite the resistance of some, I need to force this idea down everyone's throats. We start this week. We're going to start with some gratitude, compliments, and hopefully an introduction of something pretty exciting. Then we're going to eat cheesecake, and play card games together. Fingers crossed I cn make it work.

hello cheap electricity bill Despite embracing our large electricity bill, it was nice this month to get a smaller one. Having half the most used appliances decide to pack it in in the same week helped, and I'll embrace my clothes dryer again, but for now I'll relish Steve not whinging this month that it's too high. In fact, because we make part payments all quarter, by next quarter we'll be ahead on the bill for a change!

hello Monday, a new start every week

linking with All Mum Said, One Mother Hen, and Denyse Wheelan
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