Tuesday, 27 September 2016

5 lessons from walking the dog

I seem to be the one who walks the dog these days. Douglas tried for awhile, but had problems with her pulling away from him and hurting herself. And Steve works (which seems an adequate excuse in his eyes, even on his days off.) So I walk her, morning and night.
It has meant getting back into the habit of waking early (no mean feat when my bed companion often wakes, nixing our morning walk), having comfortable runners, and learning to control a dog, who may only weigh in at 26kg, but when she uses all those muscles to run could easily pull me off my feet!

But as the days get warmer (meaning no early morning scramble to find my jumper again), and it's light before I even get out of bed, I've been pondering the lessons of walking the dog over the last few days. Because there really are lessons to be found in every activity we partake in, we just need to notice them.

I have learnt patience I know this sounds strange, because I have a three year old who can tap dance on patience some days, but Daisy still considers our neighbourhood full of new smells (I follow the same path every day, so I'm not too far from the kids if Steve is at work), and I've had to learn to slow down and let her sniff them out, otherwise she can make the walk harder by pulling against me. A quick sniff often has her moving on again quickly, but she'll drag it out if I don't let her check it out.

There is quiet in the solitude In a house full of kids, finding quiet is really hard. Even when I listen to music in the evenings, there is still quiet from the noise. I often come back from a walk refreshed and ready to face whatever onslaught of "can I haves" they want to throw at me.
The neighbourhood is always changing If we walk at 6am, we rarely see cars or movement (although that house over on the right has a light on from 5am most days), but at 7am cars head out as people head to work for the day. Most Saturday evenings are quiet (we are not a party neighbourhood since the kids moved out of the party house), and we rarely meet any of the neighbourhood dogs outside their fences.

I have learnt to breathe Yep, another obvious one, because everyone breathes, but it only occurred to me a couple of days ago that I was breathing without panting or gasping for air. Sure, that's a sign that I'm getting fitter, but it's also a sign that I'm noticing my breath, and breathing to full capacity, instead of holding my breath as I walk (which I know I used to do)

My jeans fit again I have lived in jeans my whole life (I've even been known to wear them in summer), but about a year ago I had to stop wearing them because they had really become uncomfortable, digging into my weird-shaped after-kids-tummy. But about three weeks ago I just pulled them out from under the floordrobe pile and tried them on, and they fit perfectly. They still sometimes do a weird slip down the tummy thing, but as the tummy is disappearing, the jeans are staying up.

I'm sure this won't be the end of the lessons we take from having Daisy in our life, she seems to be teaching us new things every day (although I'd really love it if children would learn to put drink bottles up high!)

linking with Kylie Purtell for #IBOT
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Monday, 26 September 2016

Hello Monday

hello school holidays We're halfway through the holidays, and while the weekends have kicked my butt because Steve has been at work, during the week the kids have kept relatively busy and well-behaved.

hello job uncertainty There's a process to follow when a company is put into administration (which is one step below what I experienced when my parents business was put into receivership in the early 90s - under administration the business keeps operating, receivership means the business closes it's doors instantly), and we're almost at the end of it. The uncertainty hasn't been alleviated by following the process, because the administrator is following policy by responding to every question with "we're still operating in the hopes of selling the business as an ongoing concern" but the report into what's happened since the purchase of the business 18 months ago was illuminating.

hello fish You might have seen on instagram that Douglas is now the proud owner of fish. It's kind of spurred Steve and I on to finding a place for the huge tank we've had stored for over a year now, because we've been talking about keeping fish since we bought this house.

hello writing I have been making so many excuses lately for not-writing. And while some of it has been relevant and exhausting (Steve's chatterbox tendencies on his days off make it very hard to find the quiet in my head), a lot of it has just been inertia. Or being hyper-critical of my words. And that needs to stop, because there are so many words inside my head, looking to escape!

hello photos I haven't picked up my big camera for weeks now. And while I'm still a happy snapper, just pressing the button instead of using the camera to it's full potential, I much prefer the quality of the printed images from the Olympus than my iphone.

hello Monday, a new start every week

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Thursday, 15 September 2016

10 lessons from 10 years of marriage

If you had said to me 11 years ago that I'd be here today, celebrating my tenth wedding anniversary, I would have thought you were barking mad. Even five years ago, I wasn't sure we would make it this far. But we did, and we have.
As I've reflected on this journey over the last few weeks (because it's so in my nature to obsessively try to work out "why") I've realised that there's no real reason why this has worked. Not one thing stands out. Which means that it's really a mix of everything that makes us us, that has made it worked.
Since the very first day we met, we've had one strict rule - neither of us is under any obligation to stay. I think in part that's come from me growing up with the knowledge that my parents "only stayed together for the kids". It means that we've both chosen to stay.
So, in no particular order, here are ten things I've realised about marriage

you need to fight fair having grown up in a family that fought, and seen relationships around me fall apart because couples couldn't fight, I truly believe that learning to fight with your partner is vital. But fighting fair, making the fight about now, not the past, is vital to making sure issues get sorted out and dealt with, not hanging around forever.

you need to keep talking through all the ups and downs, it's vital to keep communication lines open. Over the last few years, with Steve working away or nights, talking face to face has been really limited, so we've had to find other ways to keep talking (most often on the phone just before I go to bed), and we don't just talk about the kids, we talk about money, memories, dreams and plans for the future as well as tomorrow.
you need laughter one of the very first things that caught my attention about Steve was he made me laugh. And over the years, I've learnt how to make him laugh. And when one person is laughing, eventually so is everyone else.

you need to take time out time apart is vital, because it reminds you why you like each other in the first place. With Steve working away, it's been difficult for us to find this time apart, but I have managed to sneak off for a weekend or two away over the last few years.
there's always a new story I told Steve recently that I'd heard all his stories from the past. They often pop up when we're talking about ideas for the future and contrasting them to the past, and I've heard the one about the three-legged sheep more times than you would think was possible. None the less, he dug deep, and found a new story to relate to whatever we were chatting about, which made me stop and wonder how much else I didn't know after ten years.

find your own interests Steve has never quite understood the importance of having his own interests. To him, I'm his best friend. But he isn't mine. And we have lots of interests that we don't share, which means that when we're having a talking evening, we have things to talk about that the other doesn't know about. I listen to Steve talk about work, and he listens to me waffle about scrapbooking, or blogging, or whatever interest I'm researching this week.
spend time together this seems counter-intuitive to the last point, so perhaps this should be sub titled "date each other" While dates aren't something we've every really managed to pull off (for a period of time there, the only time we got out without kids was when my mum came to visit every other year for Christmas), we do try regularly to have day dates, and now Sophie is in daycare we're managing to spend a few hours each week with each other (depending on roster.)

sex is important it took a long time for me to figure out that this connection was vital. It isn't a matter of how often, but that it happens regularly.
different rhythms are ok Steve has always preferred staying up late (or, more particularly, falling asleep in the arm chair), where I am a morning person (although sometimes grudgingly) who crawls into bed with a book at 9.30 sharp. We've made those different patterns work for us, because it gives us both the space we need for ourselves, and each other.

don't stop loving each other it's ok if you're in the middle of a an arguement, and dislike each other, but don't let that overshadow the things that brought you together in the first place. Once that love starts to slip away, it can be hard to claw it back.
I can't say for sure if we'll still be here in another ten years, but I think right now we're in the comfort phase of our marriage, complacent in it's known-ness. As the kids grow and become more independent, it gives us the space to come back to each other, and remember why we're here in the first place. Not just for the kids. But for each other.

Happy Anniversary.

What's your #1 tip for a good marriage?
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Monday, 12 September 2016

Hello Monday

hello school holidays just spitting distance away at the end of this week, marking the last holidays of the school year, and the countdown to the end of another year.

hello wedding anniversary on Thursday. Steve's working. Again. I'll reflect in a blog post, and Steve will carry on like normal. Maybe one year we'll actually get to go on that cruise we've been promising each other for years that we'll do.

hello Christmas Friday marks 100 days to Christmas (meaning today is 104 days to Christmas.) I've got lots of ideas written in my notebook, but I'm not sure I can pull them off. We'll see.

hello sunshine well, spring has finished in Queensland with a rainy weekend, and we're moving back into the stupid-heat of summer. With that comes bugs, heat exhaustion, and no summer clothes to wear.

hello job uncertainty you might have heard on facebook that Steve's workplace has gone into administration. That just means a bunch of accountants stop you doing business while they look at the books and see if you can make any money doing business. The downside is that in the process, being the transport industry, you lose contracts, making the business untenable to the accountants, so they close it down. They're currently in the "losing contracts" stage of the process, and we're hanging on for dear life again, just weeks away from Christmas.

hello Monday, a new start every week

linking up with One Mother Hen and Denyse Whelan
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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Today you are 7

Dear Riley

Today, you are seven

You are happiest playing with Lego, or dinosaurs

You tolerate sharing a bedroom with Nat, learning her messy habits

You love watching movies with Douglas, and have discovered a love of all things Pokemon through him

You enjoy reading books to Sophie, and playing quietly with her

{but you're notorious for pinching the swing from her when her back is turned}

You share a love of Transformers with your best friend, and can't wait until you're big enough for a sleepover

You still have a lisp from missing front teeth, and love having a go at sports

You're always full of hugs (especially when you're in trouble)

You love school, and gardening, and helping dad around the house.

You always try your hardest, no matter what you do

You are so very loved.

Happy Birthday Riley!
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