Looking forward

Beginning the year in my usual FIFO (fly in fly out) blogging style…

In the past I have begun each year with a reflective type post with a thought or two on the year that was and the year ahead, like these ones.  This year, all I know about the year ahead is that it is a year full of possibility.  With my youngest heading off to school for the first time (she is so excited!), the oldest beginning grade five at a new school (she was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to the local private school – so proud), the middle changing schools (to one that is closer to our house since our move last year) and the hubby finishing off his PhD (it is due in a few weeks!!?!!) and going back to his crazy work hours, it is a year of change and a new era for all of us in a lot of ways.  I have no idea what it will contain but I have a few ideas and hopes for this bloggy space as well as dabbling in some party planning and crafty projects and getting my kids (and myself) through the changes that this year will bring, along with more space to breathe and slow down and maybe get more than boiled eggs and soldiers on the table for dinner each night.
   
I’ll still be in holiday mode until school goes back and then it might take me a wee while to get us all settled into our new schools and pace of life but then the plan is that I’ll visit this space on a more regular basis in the year ahead.

If you happen to be on instagram or facebook then you’ll know that I’m a lot more regular over there. They are like a quick form of blogging on the run.  

What does this year hold for you?  

* My family looking for terracotta sculptures at Bruno’s Art & Sculpture Garden on a recent visit to Marysville, Victoria.

Blogging and Me

I’ve been a bit of a haphazard blogger of late.  It’s not that I don’t want to blog – I really do!  I write posts in my head all of the time.  I do stuff with the kids, in the kitchen and out and about.  I even take photos and plan to write a blog post about it and I have a thousand ideas in my head for blog posts … but I get to the end of the day and I am just utterly exhausted!  I used to push through that exhaustion and keep going, but I’m working on telling myself that I don’t need to be doing all of the things I think I should be doing, but instead focusing a little more on my mental health as this is my year to breathe, to take things slow and not push myself to the extremes that I have in the past.  

I need to look after myself for a bit and that might mean only blogging here sporadically for a wee while.  I have big hopes and dreams for this space so please don’t think that my lack of regular blogging is a sign that I’m fading out.  I’m certainly not.  I just need to recover from the roller coaster that was the last few years and to enjoy this last year before all of my children are at school.  

I’ll just continue to be random in my posting and plod along for just a small while longer and not put pressure on myself in the knowledge that blogging isn’t the most important thing in my life, it just adds to it.  It adds a wonderful and terribly encouraging and positive element to my life and I would deeply miss it if it wasn’t there.  I’m OK with that.  I don’t need to prove myself to anyone.  (That is a hard statement to make for a perfectionist who actually feels the need to prove herself to herself all of the time!) I blog here at Frog Goose & Bear purely for my own enjoyment.

The weekend before last, I attended the Kidspot Bloggers Masterclass. The main topic of the day was about finding your voice and what is uniquely ‘you’.  Part of doing that is working out why we started our blog in the first place and what is our main reason for doing it.  So I’ve been pondering that for the last week and remembered that I started this blog for me.  I started this blog because I love to share ideas with others. I get a tremendous kick out of inspiring/empowering/encouraging others to squeeze a little creativeness into their life.  I really do. I also started this blog as a way to connect with and be inspired by other like-minded crafty souls in a time where I was really feeling stuck at home with 3 young kidlets.  I blogged in part for therapy.  In the three and a bit years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve achieved my goals.  I think I’ve grown heaps and my confidence in my own abilities has increased ten fold.  

I walked away from the masterclass after listening to the panel thinking that I needed to do more.  To blog more often, be more consistent, to have a schedule, to connect more.  But then after a few days I came to my senses.  It’s ok doing things in your own way and in your time.  To do your own thing.  To be uniquely you and true to yourself.  So that is what I’m choosing to take away from the day for now (along with a whole lot of other really useful stuff that I’ll totally use in the future and the lovely fact that I got to meet and hang out with some beautiful friends and meet some new ones).  

However, all is not lost … If you so desire, you can still connect with me on a more regular basis.  I’m more active on face book if you’d like to follow me there and also on pinterest.  I’m also really excited to be blogging over at Kidspot Village Voices at the moment in their ‘Magic of Play’ Series.  You can catch me there once a fortnight blogging about quick and easy activities for kids along with ways to incorporate kids into your everyday activities.  What could be better than getting paid to play with your kids?!  I will of course still be blogging here at Frog Goose and Bear in the usual sporadic way – we do have a birthday party coming up after all! Stay tuned for some lego party madness!

Also, and this is pretty exciting folks … in a couple of days time I am going to the US with my husband!  In a couple of days I am doing to the US with my husband!  I’m joining him for a week while he attends a small conference in Lake Tahoe and my amazingly generous mother and mother-in-law are staying with our children.  It only came into being just over a week ago.  I am still in shock and taking a while to get my head around the fact that it is actually happening!  Maybe on Saturday when I’m on the plane it’ll start to sink in.  I have never been so unprepared for a trip overseas in all of my life, but I’m not sure that I actually mind.  I have my ticket and my passport sorted and I’ll have my husband all to myself for a whole week.  What more could I want?!

In case you were wondering, these photos are of my kids setting up their own ‘Fancy Nancy: Ooh la la beauty spa’  on a pyjama day this week in the school holidays.  I think I chose to add the photos to this post as I feel they represent in some small way my need for a little, long forgotten, self pampering.

Have you ever done a last minute overseas trip with no planning whatsoever?  
Are you in desperate need just to slow down, look after yourself and take the time to just breathe life in?



P.S.  I wrote this ridiculously long essay of a post as a bit of therapy for myself and to let you in a little deeper than usual.  Just in case you happen to be remotely interested in this break from the usual craft sharing kind of post, I have done a few more reflectively gushy posts in the past here.

A little breather…

Sorry about the suspense folks.  I’m sure you’ve all been hanging out to see how the rainbow crafternoon turned out that I mentioned in my last post … back in January!!  Unfortunately a two month blogging break was necessary.  It seems that I am not quite as tough as I thought I was holding a party two days after moving into a new house and a few days before school started (with a new preppy) on top of 3 weekends away in a row and… and… and… I could go on, but I won’t.  Basically I crashed and burned and am slowly peeling myself off the floor.  So much for a ‘slow’ year with time to ‘breathe‘.  I ended up having such trouble doing so that I needed a trip to the GP for some medication to help me breathe a little more easily.  It seems pushing myself far too much for far too long is taking it’s toll and my body finally said ‘enough’!  Things are certainly looking up though and there is much to look forward to this year!  

My gorgeous daughter, Goose, whipped this nest up one afternoon in our backyard a few months ago and I loved it so much that I had to take some photos.  She’s a clever and creative girl that one.  She was asked recently what 3 words she would use to describe herself and she answered inventive, creative, bookworm.  She sure is and so much more!
We had a wonderful time at Goose’s 9th birthday party and I’m looking forward to sharing the pics with you next week.  I’ve got a couple of Easter posts planned for you in the meantime, so stay tuned!  It’s good to be back.  xo


A New Year… and some breathing space.

In this last week between Christmas and the new year, I’ve been doing lots of sleeping and more sleeping.  I’ve stopped.  I’ve had a quiet week.  I don’t generally do quiet weeks.  They just don’t really exist in my world.  There is just no room for them and I am the kind of person who likes to go, go, go, but it can take it’s toll on a person.  Granny had Goose for five days (they had a lovely camping trip together) Mr FGB was home, we pulled out of our planned holiday with a group of friends and we stopped (as much as is possible when life still keeps moving).  It was nice to breathe.

I can’t seem to start a new year without writing some kind of reflective post to bring in the new year.  It doesn’t seem right to move on without one.  You can find the last two year’s reflections here and hereI see many changes this year.  All positive.  I can’t wait! 

I feel like I’ve been swimming through deep water for a long time and just keeping my head afloat and slowly, slowly, I’ve been making my way through to the other side.  I’ve very much been head down with blinkers on for the last four years just to survive.  Focusing on one foot after the other.  Having my last two kids just over a year apart, having just moved back to Melbourne with a husband working ridiculous hours along with our Mums both losing their husbands within the following 9 months very nearly killed me.  I’ve been slowly, slowly coming back from that place and I now feel like I can look up and see the world around me.  So I’m now at a place where maybe I can spend a little less time wading through the water that at one time was threatening to drown me and just have a rest on the shore line every now and then.

























I have high hopes that this year will be a much needed breath of fresh air.  

2013 – one word.  I’m not so much into New Years resolutions, but I like to give each year a word.  I’ve had the year of ‘me’ (2010) which turned out the be the year of ‘exhaustion’, the year of ‘survival’ (2011) and last year (2012) started off as ‘balance’ which seemed far too unattainable and ended up as the year to ‘shine’.  This year the word that sums up my hopes for the year is ‘breathe’.


breathe.
stop.
slow down.
simplify.
self nurture.  
say yes to my kids and no to others.
space – physical space and head space.
breathing room.

This year I need to breathe.  To take the time to be able to inhale and exhale fully.  













This year there is actually potential for this to happen. I’ll have more physical space and room as we are moving house at the end of the month.  (a quick, but necessary, decision to move to larger quarters – more on that later).  I’m cutting down on a lot of external activities.  Bear goes off to school this year and Frog to four year old kinder leaving me two whole days (well, two whole six hour school days – that’s twelve hours - I‘ve been longing for that for 9 years!)  People have been asking me what I will do with myself – my list is a mile long!   I’m under no illusion.  Life will still be busy.  I like it that way to a certain extent, but my aim is to be a less cranky Mum and maybe, just maybe feel like I’m a little more on top of things and not forever chasing my tail and feeling overwhelmed.  

We have a month of ‘slow’ ahead of us with no routine and more family time, lots of sunshine and sleep-ins.  Of course in all of that we’re still moving house and celebrating a nine year old birthday in there… so not too slow.  Our slow.

 

What are your plans for 2013?  

Do you have a word for each year like me?


P.S. These photos of our family were taken by my lovely & talented friend Susannah on a fun and relaxing morning last month. If you’d like some photos taken of you & your fam and you live in Melbourne – she’s your gal!

THIS SATURDAY I’M GRATEFUL…

* for teamwork – now that Mr FGB is around a lot more, I’m really appreciating the value of being a team in this parenting gig. You can do so much more when you are not spread quite so thinly.

* for breathing – I feel like I can breathe slowly again. Exhale. Not feeling quite so restricted. I’m still living a very busy life, but it feels like a rather dreamy, surreal & blissful existence at the moment – I’m waiting for the bubble to burst – is that sad?

* for hindsight – though it’s never fun while you’re in the thick of it, when looking back over tough times you can see how they have moulded and shaped you into who you have become and help you to appreciate the good times all the more!

* for the gorgeous handmade heartshaped crocheted garland giveaway that I won from the talented Lioness Lady – I’m loving the splash of color it brings – thanks so much!

What are you grateful for this Saturday?

PONDERINGS


I’ve been pondering on the fragility of life lately, the resilience of the human spirit, the kindness of strangers and the bond of community in times of need
The floods have brought back memories and some of the feelings of vulnerability of two years ago when we were hit with another natural disaster of catastrophic proportions. Not flood, but fire. That time, my husband lost his father. We walked around in a daze for a long time.

The water is currently threatening many of the stomping grounds of my youth. As my cousin and his family, whose farm is now underwater, have been battling to save their house & livestock for the last few days, their little community, where I grew up, is coming to their aid.

I’m ever so grateful to those farmers who were our knights in shining armour last weekend. They gave up countless hours of their time with no hint of frustration, even when their own tractor and excavator got bogged. I’m even more grateful to my Dad whose ‘rescue engineering’ and serious generosity is more than I could ever repay. And to my Mum who, as always, was at home waiting to catch her very frazzled daughter.

There are people all over blogland doing their little bit to raise money for those who have lost so much and I know that the recipients are so grateful.

Life can change in an instant and these things don’t always happen to people ‘out there’.
Although times like this can cause me to feel a little fragile & vulnerable, I am in awe of the generosity of people, the strength of community and more than a little grateful for those who are there to catch me when I fall.


A REFLECTION…

For me, the last year can probably be best described in one word – exhaustion.

I have found being a mother over the last 12 months particularly hard and at many times, overwhelming. I had many many days when putting one foot in front of the other was all that I could focus on and even that was a struggle at times.

Paradoxically, at the same time, I have found my family
particularly gorgeous and have felt more content and happy with my lot than I have ever felt in my life. Life is rarely black and white is it?
For a lot of the year I felt a little trapped in my role as a Mum and at many times felt that I was barely holding my head above water. I felt like a single Mum most of the time and found the constancy of motherhood on my own utterly exhausting.

More recently though, thanks to a few changes in our life, some wonderful support from my extended family and friends and some big changes this year with my husbands work, I’ve managed some ‘me’ time and I have been able to focus more on the contentment and joy within the chaos. Blogging has helped too (best form of therapy!).
I still have my moments of course (quite regularly in fact), but more often than not I feel like I can push through, hold my head high (way above the water that threatens to sink me) and enjoy the ride with this stunning family of mine.
It has been reinforced to me over and over again in the last year, mostly in the most ordinary of moments, how much I am just where I want to be. I have been so blessed in all the areas of my life that matter the most to me.

This year, I want to have more tea parties and smell more snails and focus less about the state of my house and feeling like I’m never organised enough because, although I’m far from perfect, I need to stop focusing on the lack of perfection and see that actually I’m doing a bloody good job!

Bring on 2011!

What does the year hold for you?



AT MY HOUSE… {stopping to smell the snails}

At my house I often find myself having tea parties and stopping to look at the small things when I should be doing a whole lot of other much more important things…..

… or should I?

I have a china tea set that was mine when I was a little girl. I have been saving it, still in it’s polystyrene packaging, for my children to be old enough to be extra careful with it. This weekend, while completely overhauling the children’s bedrooms with new bunk beds and the rearranging and finding of homes for a multitude of things, I took these down from the high shelf and as I did so, a plate dropped and smashed. After all these years of keeping it on a high shelf, away from the little ones, it was me, the extra careful adult, who broke it. I think there may just be a simple lesson in that…

I am constantly reminded of the things in my life that I really should be grateful for and to stop worrying about those unimportant things that I convince myself are important.

What lessons are you learning at your house?

THIS SATURDAY I’M GRATEFUL…

for my gorgeous family and friends who made my birthday this week extra special and relaxing.

I find at this stage in my life with all the crazy busyness in our lives that I appreciate more than ever those simple things in life that I once took for granted.

Never again will I not appreciate with all of my being such things as sleep, time to read or just sit and chat, a meal (or a special cake) cooked by another, a handmade or well-thought out gift from someone who loves and knows me well.

Scaling back to the basics you can often find the most important things of all.

When I find myself focusing a little too much on the negatives and feel all too often that I’m drowning in the mundanity and frustrations of motherhood, I look at this blog and I see that there are so very many positives in my life and those positives made up of very ‘everyday’ things are actually the things that I savour more than anything.
Those other things that I wistfully dream of, are but a ‘flash in the pan’ and fools gold.

For more gratefulness head over to Maxabella land.

THIS SATURDAY I’M GRATEFUL….


Thought I’d play along with Maxabella today.
I do see blogging as a form of therapy and I thought it would be a good thing to weekly remind myself of the positives from the week past. There are more than a few negatives at the moment and I’m finding it easy to feel a little bogged down, but I would rather be a ‘glass half full’ kind of person and, as Maxabella says
it’s nice to pause to appreciate the things in your life that are positive and affirming, whatever they may be’.

This week, just when I felt I could barely keep putting those feet one in front of the other, a little ‘gift’ of time or sanity dropped down from heaven.

I am so very grateful for so very much this week…

- that earlier in the week (after I’d been up for 2.5 hours one night with a child who just would not stop crying no matter what we did and another an hour later who was vomiting from too much coughing) that our neighbours just popped in and took all the kids to the park for over an hour and then stayed and kept them entertained and saved the sanity of one exhausted mama.

- that the next night (after falling asleep with one of the kids at 7.30pm and dragging myself to my own bed when my husband got home at 9.30pm) that every single child slept through the whole night! (I’m not sure that I can remember the last time that happened!) The fact that when their father left for work at 5.30am I couldn’t get back to sleep is irrelevant.
- that yesterday when I ran into the back of someone (in my car, first accident I’ve ever had! and I burst into tears because of my current frazzled state) she was completely understanding and even gave me a hug – I ran into the back of her and she gave me a hug! Then I was even more grateful for my MIL who came over for the afternoon, in the middle of her own very busy life, to do my ironing, fold my mountain of washing and entertain my kids.

- that when I woke up last night (at 3am with an excruciating ear ache and eventually woke him up at 5am) that my husband had all the gear and expertise to work out the problem, painfully flush my ear from my usual build up of wax and give me drugs to ease the pain and antibiotics to cure the problem without having to get out of my pj’s or wake the kids.

- that this morning (when I spent most of the time vomiting from the pain of a middle ear infection) that it happened to be a Saturday and he could take the eldest 2 to work with him for a few hours so I could lay on the couch. An unexpected phone call from a lovely friend didn’t go astray either.

- that when we missed out on a free dinner at Grossi Florentino’s tonight (because I wasn’t well enough) my husband was very understanding and we ended up having a great chat about life and where it’s going and how on earth we are going to continue coping for the rest of this year with his ‘out of this world’ current work hours. He’s more than a good catch that one (despite those pesky work hours).

- I couldn’t end this post without letting my mother and sisters know how very much I am grateful for their help and support in this time where I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.

Sorry for long post, but I just had to get that out there. No point having you all think my life is all about baking and gardening or something…. heaven forbid!

Thanks also Maxabella for the lovely ‘cherry on top’ blog award that you passed on to me weeks ago – I am flattered and honored and might just not get around to passing it on, but I know you won’t mind. If you haven’t read her blog – you must, it is one of my absolute favourites!



P.S. I ‘m also grateful for flowers that just pop up in your garden without you having to do a thing and fruit dropped off by more gorgeous neighbours. Sometimes it’s these little things that give you that lift that you needed….even if your table is in need of a sand & polish.
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