PLAIN FACTS

Sometimes I wonder why the hell I continue to keep my blog, particularly when it appears that my thoughts rarely make it past the ever greying matter I call my brain and onto the computer screen. There you have it folks, sums up what shitloads of bloggers and vloggers think but never say, least of all to their audience. Then again as the greying matter turns silver I lack the ability to apply a filter and since that probably isn’t going to change any time soon I guess you will either love this new take or find your way to some love, light and mung beans.

I had a temporary thought of catching you all up with some purple-shaded, meditative-sounding, flower-encrusted story of how life sometimes sucks but nice things do happen to good people but I don’t want to. Simple. So instead here are the plain facts.

Life has handed hubby and I some low blows, some that we thought would keep us down for good and some that still make us doubt our own resolve. If you have been here before you know it already but if you haven’t let me spell it out for you simply. LOTS OF SHIT. The details aren’t really that important, we all have it but some of it gets stuck on your shoes and follows you around.

We don’t make friends with all this crap but we do say hi and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t set up house in our backyard. In fact, we have been hinting at the crap in our lives that maybe it’s time we saw other people and by geez I think it might have gotten the message. Finally, some great things have happened in our lives. We do believe in some of that love, light and mung beans, more than a little faith, and lots of hard work. I don’t exactly know what happened, maybe the balance turned, but we have had a week to outstand all weeks.

Firstly, hubby got a full month of work after what was an eternity of nothing much, he was scheduled for surgery to fix his sinuses, the tax office decided to give me a tidy sum back, and my husband is getting surgery to fix his wrist using a very forward thinking method in the next month.
All I have to say is thanks for the great shit that happens when you least expect it.

Chat soon – I have a rant on my mind and I’m not afraid to use it!

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LETTING GO

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I know this might seem like a no-brainier to some, but just recently it occurred to me that my children are in fact NOT my children. Imagine going sixteen (and nine for the youngest) years thinking that the tiny baby you carried inside your tummy for nine months, the baby you have nurtured now for all those years, really was yours only to have one of those knowing moments when you truly realised that they were in fact NOT your children after all. I know, OUCH right? But there it is, something I have known all along, something I take into account when I make decisions about my child, but something I didn’t really feel deep down in my core until recently. Is this revelation because I now have a child in grade 11 and a child in grade 4? That’s interesting – you could be right…

When we went to Europe late last year we took our children with us, 2 daughters aged 15 and 8. My beautiful 15 year old was pretty independant but still her mothers daughter in the sense that we were unbelievably close and I honestly couldnt really fathom her ever leaving home, along with the fact that so much of what I thought played a role in what decisions she made. I feel like a lioness protecting her cub after almost losing her the year before last when she collapsed in the shower and her heart and breathing stopped. My beautiful 8 year old was both shy and very hard work with her having a myraid of challenges we have lived with over the years…both my girls experience OCD, but Mackenzie also has auditory and sensory processing challenges too which have filled our days with meltdowns and 2hr long mealtimes and bedtimes and to be frankly honest I was more than a little scared of what would happen taking her into overcrowded, touristy places with unfamiliar spaces and food and cultures. What happened next really shocked both my husband and I.

Let me tell you what we saw with our almost 16 year old Lauren. Not to be misunderstood because my daughter is exceptionally more mature and forward thinking than many of her peers and I am immensely proud of how she is progressing (no she isnt perfect by any means and still has her moments of being a pain in my arse – she was never meant to be perfect), however my daughter became even more individual in her own right in Europe. She began thinking way bigger than I had ever instilled and showed a passion for experiencing life in a big way, much bigger than I could have ever imagined for myself at that age. It was as though everything became possible and nothing (not even her mother) could stop her. I have realised through this that when our children reach this time in their lives where they are starting to rebel against our ideas and wishes, and we become frustrated parents of teenagers who long for a weekend off, this is our weaning time to move through what could be a very embarrassing case of seperation anxiety and empty nest syndrome that occurs if they suddenly break free from the nest. I can only imagine the heartbreak I caused my mother by leaving suddenly at the age of 16 to go live and work out on my own – honestly I’m surprised she is still talking to me.

Im still struggling a bit with this new found individuality Lauren has found and riding the rollercoaster of emotions we are both experiencing is what I would call ‘interesting’. (Now Lauren if you are reading this, it by no stretch means I am going to suddenly change my mind about not letting you go to a house party filled with alcohol and no supervising parents – non negotiable). My husband and I have begun to talk about the possibility of Lauren going on ‘dates’ with boys, but we are undecided as to whether we are okay with her getting into a serious teenage relationship when we know she really wants to travel and experience so much in her early years, not to mention the decade of university education she is about to embark on in the very near future. I do know that she is happy at this point to wait until marraige to have sex and is in no hurry to get married and have children so we have breathed a sigh of relief on that front. I guess the jury is still out.

What I am proud of is that this new level of kick-A independence has seen her crave to work and earn her own money, she is dedicated to her studies and is working really hard at that and achieving what she wants, and is taking charge in the changes she wants in her life. I am proud – if not a little sad – that my baby is not my baby…she is an individual in her own right.

Now let me tell you about my little Indigo baby Mackenzie. Mackenzie has been a delightful handful since the day she was born and although I wouldnt change it for the world, I would be lying if I didnt say it has been an exhausting and frustrating ride for all of us – including Lauren as she has had to make adjustments and show great patience with our littlest one. Her sensory processing disorder has meant that textures, touch and experiences are a constant onslaught to her system and her only task each day is to fumble through the best she can. Sometimes a hug from mummy is just not enough, sometimes there is no solution to her troubles but to let her vent and cry, and sometimes she just wants to be like all the other kids. Her auditory processing disorder means that people misinterperet her brains inability to decipher and seperate and process all the input, for insolence and misbehaviour and distraction. She has been called naughty by teachers and family and friends, but when you try to explain it they think that she has trouble hearing so they speak louder which then sets off her sensory issues. Despite this Mackenzie is an amazingly bright, cheery girl who just wants everyone to be happy, and who never wants to disappoint anyone. You can imagine that a 6+ week trip to Europe would have been a struggle for this little one and although it was, something quite extraordinary and unexpected happened during that time. Instead of going into a permanent meltdown as any parent of an SPD kid would expect, she did the opposite! Although we had a few meltdowns and struggles, Mackenzie began talking to people, even in other languages. She climbed a volcano, jumped off a boat and swam to a hot spring, climed the top of the Eiffel Tower, ate strange foods, rode the underground, revelled in the cold temperatures in Switzerland, coped with 10 flights…and began to break the emotional safety straps she had built between her and us.

Now back at home Mackenzie is doing acrobatics, classical ballet, coping with her homework, eating new foods with only a little resistance, speaking up, making new friends, standing up for herself, carrying her school bag and……walking herself into school on her own with us just watching. She is excited about being able to do things for herself now rather than shying away from it and relying on us to be her safety net. Its amazing to see her growing up even though I long for my baby girl who ‘needed me’, but she still will occasionally ask to hop into bed with mummy and have hugs so I can deal with that. I am proud – if not a little sad – that my baby is not my baby…she is an individual in her own right.

I feel good that I have raised individual angels, and although I can feel the shift in the relationship I have with my girls, I know that this is how it is meant to be and that we are not growing apart but are growing – as mother, as daughter, as sisters. This is how it should be – they are not mine, they are just my responsibility to love, nurture and guide.

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ACROPOLIS NOW

Acropolis Now….totally love that old television show! But this isn’t about that, this is about our little visit in Athens.

Well HELLO! As you know I am home sick (although officially this is one of my days off) and clearly my body is wearing thin of my long hours, lack of sleep, and whatever bug little miss 8 passed along to me. My old friend dishydrotic eczma has come to play with a few blisters now burst – I’m not sure what this means for my job but I am hoping that the antihistamines and vitamin e cream might do the trick but I will make a decision this afternoon. The last time I had this my hands ended up covered in blisters making nursing impossible, so fingers crossed and prayers to the heavens this will just go away. So where were we? That’s right, we were on our way to Athens!

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After just a short flight, and by short I mean less than an hour, we landed in Athens and taken to our hotel by our driver which was good because to be honest the centre was ages away from the hotel and the streets really confused us. We were happy to check in and found we were staying in a very lovely hotel with very comfy amenities. We went into the main shopping district and enjoyed having a look around the vast multitude of shops before heading to a restaurant for the most amazing dinner.

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After dinner on our stroll back to our hotel we stumbled across an art shop filled with exquisite pieces of artwork. Talking to the artist we found that the economy in Greece meant that art prices had fallen so low that famous artists work were going for peanuts (still more peanuts than we could pay for), but we found a piece that we loved and bought – even the girls bought a small piece.

Back in hotel we fell asleep very quickly and woke the next day ready to explore all the ancient sites that filled Athens with history and wonder, particularly for my teenager who being the drama buff she is, just loves greek mythology.
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We spent the day travelling by tourist open air bus to the major sites including Temple of Zeus, Theatre of Dionysus, the ruins surrounding the base of Acropolis, and although we were too buggered (after all this was the last stop on a very big trip) to walk up the Acropolis, we did take in its views from the Dionysus restaurant nearby.

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We took the bus also to the seaside which to be honest was not the highlight we thought it would be and paled in comparison to Santorini. The one thing we did notice is the vast amount if stray animals in Athens…however they all looked extremely healthy and well looked after, which was explained by on of the nearby vendors…that the city and the people in it took it upon themselves to care for these animals and in fact one of them had to be put n a diet as it was so fat and they seem to stay close to particular vendors.

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Our highlight for this day was going to a greek theatre show called “Hamlet, That Punk”, a modern take on Hamlet performed by a small greek theatre company. When trying to organise the tickets with my terribly limited greek language, the Director and lead of the performance private messaged me on facebook asking why we were so keen to come to a show we wouldn’t understand the language of. When I explained my daughters love for greek theatre she asked to meet us after the show, and the welcome we got was amazing! They were so excited someone from Australia came and enjoyed their show despite the language barrier, and it appeared the entire cast knew we were in the audience. It was a great show, although probably a little too adult themed for my 8 year old but only in one part of the show where we just covered her eyes lol. When it comes to theatre, language doesn’t have to be a barrier if you are paying attention, and we all understood the storyline. Apart from wanting to be a doctor and forensic psychiatrist, Lauren wants to act…and seriously if you lived with her you could see she has the dramatic makings of a superstar.

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So the next day we woke with hubby and I leaving the girls to chill out whilst we went out for a bit of a stroll and a shop. Then we were off to the airport to say goodbye to Europe and finally travel home to Australia for a 4 day relax in Sydney before returning to our home life…and when we got to the airport that’s when things got interesting!!! Read my post “The Business of Flying Home”. In our next instalment we have our stay in Sydney.

Where is your favourite part of Europe and why? Share your stories and links below…

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Ps…I wanted to add more photos but my computer is throwing a tantrum.

A LITTLE CAPRI

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So. Where were we? Oh yes, my last post in Europe before I interrupted broadcast with the Business Class flight was chocolate nutella in Rome. Then off we headed on the train to Sorrento.

On the train we hopped with excitement rushing through our veins at the next part of our journey. We followed the plan of catching a train to Naples, then changing over to catch a suburban train to Sant Agnello just one stop before Sorrento in southern Italy. Not far out of Naples as we looked out of the window of the run down, over crowded, rickety old train, we soon realised why our wonderful travel agent had refused to book us into Naples and had instead planned a few days in Sorrento. With each station we passed we could see more and more run down, derelict homes missing windows or doors with makeshift covers.

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We saw multiple people (including children and women with babies) entering the train either begging for money or playing an instrument for money. It was sad that these children should have been in school and the flat lifeless look in their eyes was either very good acting or true desperation and despair – to me it seemed like the latter. It became yet another lesson in gratitude and compassion for my children.

When we arrived in Sant Agnello we did spend the first 20 minutes lost and exhausted searching for a toilet. It appears that whilst it is very close to Sorrento and accommodates tourists, it is certainly a cosy little town. We ended up dragging our heavy suitcases for an extra 15 minutes to our hotel before falling in a lump on the couches.

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We decided to enjoy a beautiful dinner in the restaurant attached to the resort and I’m so glad we did. Turns out that it houses one of the regions best cooking school, and is run by a family who prides themselves on great service and high quality produce. Of course Mackenzie decided on her usual Margherita pizza, and this time she was allowed to watch the whole process including the throwing the dough in the air in a spin, the cooking in the big ovens, and of course the enjoyment of her eating it – the whole thing that is!!! We were treated to a taste of Limoncella (odd), and Lauren gave us a great deal of humour trying to figure out how to eat her prawns – aka scampi – and since neither my husband or I are seafood lovers Lauren had to ask the staff (who were already looking a little bemused by her attempts) for assistance. Lets just say that she was not a fan.

We were all a little excited by the trip to Pompeii and after a short train ride we arrived. Luckily we did our research before hand because there doesnt seem to be any toilets inside the Pompeii site, so we ensured every person actually went and did a good wee before we entered. The place is enormous so thank heavens little ones bladder behaved throughout or a tree may need to be watered lol. This historic site was so interesting and we learnt alot about the history of society from this place. Although there were interesting things there including a male appendage carved into a stone to apparently guide the menfolk to the local “ladies” if you know what I mean, and beautiful bath houses and eating rooms, it was also a sad place too. At the time we were there we were fortunate to see an exhibit that had real casts of people found in the excavation, and there were also many excavations currently underway too. How sad that these people were going about their every day lives before their most precious mountain burst forth and ended it all for them.

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The next trip we did whilst staying in Sant Agnello was to Sorrento, which was just beautiful, so we could board a boat to the spectacular Capri Island. We caught a glimpse of the beauty that awaited us just looking at the crystal clear aqua blue water that was beneath the jetty. On boarding the boat and setting off into the ocean it was apparent that the ocean here was far different to the ones at home. When we looked at this ocean it had a deep royal blue colour that was unlike anything I had ever seen. We got even more excited as we saw the Isle of Capri come into view in front of us, and as we rounded the cliff face we got our first view of the beautiful port with homes and budisnesses stretching upward up the rock face. Now the funniest thing was when we disembarked and walked off the jetty, the street was lined with rental/taxi cars….and yes – they were Capri’s lol.

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After talking to the “blue grotto” company that do the trips it was decided we had enough time to grab a spot of lunch at a spectacular restaurant along the waterfront. However when we went out to purchase our boat tickets they had cancelled further trips to Ana Capri due to weather conditions!!! My heart just sank and so did hubbys and the childrens, we had so looked forward to this and I had built up my courage to do it. On a whim I asked if we could hire a private boat and skipper to take us along the other part of the island and to our surprise they said yes! So off we went on our little 2 hour journey on a beautiful boat just the four of us and our skipper. Our beautiful guide just happened to be local, owned a B&B, and was very passionate about the island he lived on. He showed us where Valentinos home was, took us through that famous arch, showed us the spectacular white grotto that as just as beautiful as the blue, and allowed Lauren to jump off the boat into the 9m+ deep water that looked so clear you would think it was 1-2m deep. This place is beautiful, we want to go back, and next time we will stay with our skipper at his B&B where he has offered for us to spend time with him and his family, on his private boat, and where they will include us in their cuisine. My husband and I are very much looking forward to this as he also has young children similar age to our youngest. Capri was so beautiful that the children actually think it is better than Disneyland, and would choose it over anything.

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So it was time to leave and we caught the train journey back to Rome before boarding the Leonardo Davinci Express to the airport, where we boarded our flight to Athens and Santorini. Our time in Italy had come to a close, but it wont be for long I am sure. We had a lovely flight to Athens, and changed planes immediately to fly late night into Santorini Island – but you will have to wait for that installment next time.
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UGLY

Recently there has been a movement by a beautiful woman Allison Grant from Alli&Co and her tribe and its called #banishthebully – a movement to call people out on their shit when they are being a tossed to another person. I do love the concept of this movement and support this movement fully, we should all be able to have our opinions and make our own choices in life without the lynch mob suiting up and drawing their swords – I know this because when I made the informed choice to no longer vaccinate my children after almost losing my firstborn to the side effects, and when I decided that right at this moment I was not a subscriber to chemotherapy for my own health journey, I was launched upon with seething hate from people that I thought loved and cared about our little family….but I digress…back to the ugly side of life. The thing is though its important when banning the bully, to not become the bully yourself – you can stand up against the behaviour without making attacking comments about the bully. So I’m standing here saying I too will #banishthebully – keep that in mind when you read the rest of my exposé of the ugly side of life…

Sure. People show you their lives in highlight reels with the occasion gasp factor and a few bad moments scattered in there to make it seem like they are just the folks next door. People are much slower to show the ugly side to their lives however, in fear that they will be judged, ripped apart, made a mockery of on social media. Can’t blame them really – I mean have you seen the shit fights that occur when someone says they don’t vaccinate their child or don’t agree with chemotherapy in their own health journey? Not only does it not end well but it can often leave even the most emotionally robust people questioning their worth on earth.

So in the essence of over sharing, vulnerability, and a shitload of ‘me too’ – here is the gag reel of ugly moments in life that I’m sure lots of people are leaving out of their Insta-Twit-Face status updates. Brace yourselves! Get a bucket! Don’t pee laughing! Grab a tissue!

I DON’T HAVE ALL MY SHIT TOGETHER – Despite popular belief, everyday I have feelings of inadequacies. Am I a good enough mother. Am I a good enough wife. Am I a good enough daughter. Am I a good enough friend. Am I a good enough nurse. Plain and simple, despite my mostly positive outlook, I constantly have to drag my sorry butt away from the ‘I’m not enough’ party. The constant arguments in my own head about this is enough to light up a Jerry Springer show stage. To be frank (although my names Tammy) we all have these insecurities – you’re not alone.
I’M AN IMPERFECT MOTHER – I try to behave like a responsible parent most of the time but sometimes that baby gets thrown out with the bath water (pfft…not literally silly!). Although I try to parent ethically, lovingly, conscientiously, I haven’t always made decisions that have resulted well – in fact once I let my child speak her mind to her older sister on facebook which was probably not the best decision….I probably old have guided her to have a strong voice to stand up for herself in a different manner but I don’t regret anything because I was doing the best I knew at the time. On another occasion I showed exemplary parental, maternal instinct (insert sarcastic undertones here) when I was sitting on the floor reading my baby girl when I looked at the book thinking “wow that is a lifelike spider” – cue screaming (from me), jumping higher than an Olympic pole vaulter, and me on one side with baby sitting next to (non poisonous) spider, as it dawned on me it was a real spider. Yes. I admit it. I am a dreadful mother.

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I AM NOT A HEALTH NUT 24/7 – Once upon a time I was over 30kgs heavier, smoked, had cervical cancer, rrv/bfv induced arthritis, thyroid disorder, cyst on my brain, pre diabetes, exemplary nurse!!!!! Then I hit a wall when I got to the point where I was struggling to walk from the lounge to the bathroom from the escalating vertigo I’d been experiencing for years and I made a massive change. Shed a stack of weight, got cancer free, stopped smoking, mostly sorted the thyroid crap, etc etc. All of a sudden people thought I was just perfect…especially after we decided to become vegetarian. Let me tell you folks…although I like to make the best nutrition decisions for myself and my family – I’m not perfect (in fact the last couple of months have been shocking!!!). I have been known to eat hot chips, I allowed some ‘naughty’ food back into my house….hell I even scoffed a bunch of chocolate – and not the guilt free stuff I normally make at home. We have had a shitty few months and we sometimes make emotional decisions about our food. We just won’t stay in this state of processed sugar bliss.

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SHIT HAPPENS TO US TOO – Currently as we speak we have had car engines explode, cancer, accidents, times we have had to ask my parents for financial help, worried if we will have enough money to pay the bills, had my teenage daughter have her heart and breathing stop for 2 mins after a collapse in the shower, mysterious medical crap going on with hubby and no clue why, people disrespect us, people judge and hate on our decisions for our family, family dramas….need I say more? We all have this in our lives…life happens even when you’re sending good into the world.

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PLAIN OLD SHAKE YOUR HEAD YOU TOO MOMENTS – You know life brings us so many things that challenge us but not everyone talks about it because either it is still considered taboo, or it’s just plain embarrassing….it’s okay though I’m a nurse – over sharing is just what we do at the dinner table! Anyone can see I haven’t gained my pre baby body back and to be honest I know that part of the reason is because no amount of exercise and nutrition can fix some things, so unless I decide to do that there will be some aspects of my body I have to simply love as they are. For example:
I love the torn fibres in the muscle on my belly that looks and feels much like a run in a stocking ladder – because that belly carried a few beautiful babies…two of which were able to come into the world – the others back into Gods arms.
I love my bladder, my bowel, and my pelvis – they may be a little friendly with gravity these days but my bladder sure does let me know when I’ve had too much time on the trampoline, to many laughs, or when it’s time to do the front door key shuffle….bless that bladder and that 1 hr labour and birth – who said a fast baby wouldn’t be fun!
I love my non-existent libido…because apparently sleep gives me even more joy lol…all I need to say is that birthing a 9’10” baby head to toe in under 3 mins with no drugs is no walk in the park. On the upside my husband agrees with the joy of sleep too…we’re both completely buggered!
I love my cervix….pap smears are never the same after your cervix has been chopped to bits by constant biopsies for 2 years…but she served her purpose and recovered from cancer.

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So as you can see – its not all highlights in life – we are all real, and raw, and as flawed as the next person in our own perfect way. Lets celebrate the ugly life brings as well as the great. After all, you would never know su shine without a little rain x

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SHOESLACES & SUCCESS

When you are a kid, say around five or six years old, success is pretty simple and uncomplicated at the heart of it. Success at five years old is as simple as FINALLY being able to tie your shoe laces. You remember that don’t you? That first time squealing because you got your fingers stuck in double knot you magically tied around them, now wondering why your fingers are turning purple and they feel cold and foreign at their tips. At times during the learning process getting confused as to wear the bunny goes and why you should be tying knots in a poor bunnys ears in the first place. For a long while you would throw yourself to the floor or stomp your feet yelling that you’ll ‘NEVER BE ABLE TO DO IT!!!’ Then that magical day comes and finally the bunny goes where it’s suppose to with no injury to anyone, leaving you jumping and giggling and squealing with unhindered glee. The definition of success really begins to change after that though and continues to change throughout each stage of your life.

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When you are a teenager success really is quite variable dependant on what drives you or what your conditioning is. For some (me when I was a teenager), success is clearly dependant on achievements at school. The depth of success hinged on whether you aced your exams, got excellent marks, and whether you favourite teacher and parents recognised your potential for great things as an outcome of being an exceptional academic performer. This was also applicable to the success desired in those that were athletic and their sporting achievements. For other teenagers success was highly dependant on friendships and relationships in school, sometimes particularly on their popularity ranking. Their desire for public and societal acceptance was first and foremost the most important aspect for feeling successful. It was easy at this time of life to judge the other for their personal success definition but in reality it is a confusing and ahem….interesting time in each of our lives – no right, no wrong, just is. Just when we figure out what we are sure success is we grow up and for some become parents, and although some still have strong definitions on the meaning of success, parenthood often flips everything on its head.

For many, becoming a parent is a great success in itself however for just as many we begin to think both our success and sanity in those first months! When the chaos and change settle into our new norm however our definition of success begins to shift toward this new chapter. Now the mere hint of a baby who feeds well, sleeps, and is healthy is our new success. The first crawl, walk and word fills our conversations. When they grow it is their ability to be resilient, independent and their ability to stick it to the man and create their life their own way – hindered not by unfair societal confines or limitations. (Okay that last bit applies to my experiences as a mother of a strong child but that’s for another time). It is however important to celebrate also our successes in our careers too.

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Last night I attended a beautiful awards night for the company I work for – my ‘day job’ and one that I’m overwhelmingly passionate about. It’s an exclusive night only open to award winners in 6 divisions, 20 year employees, general managers, and executives. We get a beautifully catered dinner, a band, accommodation in a five star hotel, and a buffet breakfast that is more like a restaurant (first time I’ve ever had a Japanese Chef cook me my own gourmet omelette in front of me). I got the priveledge of going as an award recipient of an Innovation Award for Safe Work. The reason I received this was for the Quit Program I implemented across the company throughout Queensland with Q-Healths Quit Program. Many people have now either quit smoking or are on their way with a new determination and it costs them nothing. The way I see it, healthy health care workers equal a healthy health care system. The award now gives me $1,500 – to implement a new program which I have already thought out and will get moving on soon. I digress. So this award really is one of the highlights in my 13 year long health career journey and it gives me a feeling of success at this time in my life. However when I returned to my sunny Sunshine Coast it dawned on me that success is transient in nature.

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As I walked along the waters edge with my family breathing in the salt water, sun dancing on the water like diamonds, I realised the fact that I am just as successful because of this moment, the love that surrounds me, the days that stretch before me.

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How do you define success?

ONCE UPON A VERY SPECIFIC TIME

Once upon a very specific time there lived a very together girl who lived in a well organised castle in an orderly kingdom. Life was filled with blissful harmony for the simple reason that schedules were well constructed and everything and everyone had a place and a purpose. Every aspect of life in this kingdom was dependable, in a predictable way and the girl felt this was very very good.

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As with so many other fairy tales this perfect harmony was not to last for then we would not have what some call a storyline. The girl knew this and continued trying to maintain this sense of order and control until that day when the unthinkable happened. Da-da-daaaaaaa!!! CHAOS!!!!

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CHAOS!!! Yes. This little girl grew up, became the Queen of her castle, and had children….need we say anymore? Well yes, maybe we should see how this very together girl who lived in a well organised castle in an orderly kingdom turned into the frazzle-haired nervous wreck of a mother of two young cyclonic daughters, who is has forgotten what scheduling looks like never mind the disordered, disorganised, disastrous kingdom she calls home.

From the outside her household looks like it is run like a well oiled machine but on the inside it feels like an over pressurised bottle ready to shatter and explode. Before children it is easy to schedule oneself, keep the clean laundry away from the dirty laundry, and it is certainly easier keeping control of most occurrences in ones life. However when one has children there is a sudden onslaught of unexpected dribble, boogers, and vomit on ones clothes requiring last minute wardrobe changes. There are freak rogue tantrums that can wake Sleeping Beauty from her everlasting slumber, and one is quite inept to transport these tantrums in any safe manner to any place but a time out cushion. There are mixed laundry, last minute projects, surprise play dates, missing homework and crazy hormones to deal with…all before breakfast and all before one attempts to gather oneself for the professional career one may have carved out for oneself. Husband? One is certain at this point that the future may not hold any alone time with the King at this point.

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Well the Queen has reached her OCD peak and its time to swing into a little more balance and inject a little more refinement to her status quo by ejecting that which seeks to clutter and clang and cause catastrophe and confusion in the castle (try saying that ten times!). That means out with the old habits, thoughts and stuff, to create space for a new path.

So if you haven’t guessed by now yes I am that girl, and although I’m not naive to think I can control my world entirely, I can restore a bit of workable order and clarity in my life. I used to do a big declutter every three months at the change of season, and to be honest it wasn’t even big because I’m a bit ruthless in this department – evident by my I famous comments to my husband and children “if in doubt, throw it out” “if you haven’t see it in a year it’s clearly not needed” “if you hoard all this unused stuff you have no room for new adventures in life”. This past year however I have been terribly busy, over scheduled, and dropped all my juggling balls. So Captain Ruthless is on the comeback!!!

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Let me outline for you the plan…

1. I want to make things simple and not get stuck on stuff , so I’ve decided to try this 30 day challenge….

500 THINGS IN 30 DAYS

The Minimalists came up with this challenge to help declutter your environment, by getting rid of 500 things in 30 days – check out the challenge ( http://www.theminimalists.com/game/ ). You get rid of 1 thing in day 1, 2 things on day 2, and so forth. If you are worried you will end up sleeping in a tent by day 15 don’t worry – the tent would have disappeared by day 10 and besides stars are pretty when you are trying to sleep! Joking. If I get to a point where I have decluttered everything I can then I will move to decluttering other stuff like habits, thoughts, etc.

2. So to simplify and declutter my life further I need to get a hold of my schedule so I am planning to
> Put up a very large monthly scheduler where the rest of the family can also put their stuff so we all are clear on who needs to be where at all times
> I have already reduced my working days so I can focus on study on Mondays, kids and friends on Fridays, and family/house/cooking on weekends. It’s working well.

3. So to simplify and declutter our finances I am planning on
> Laying out our financial position on paper so we are all clear on where we are
> Searching for more cost effective solutions to our needs and making clear choices on where we spend our money
> Booking in to plan our personal and business financial future and change our financial mindset with Chris Childs team at Think Money on the Sunshine Coast – better yet they offer a free wealth coaching session.

So who is up for any of these challenges? Feel free to share pictures, blog posts, or tips with us all here or on my facebook page.

CONVENTIONAL UNSCHOOLING

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There is no question that our household is particularly in love with Ted, especially my teenager who fights her way through to catch a glimpse or hear those provoking words, and to be totally honest that name sends shivers up my spine. To the beautiful fellow mothers of daughters reading this cringing at the thought of a teenage girl and her 30-something mother swooning over a man called Ted – SHAME ON YOU – get your mind out of the gutter and focus! To those other beautiful souls who have caught on already – high five, you know you want to.

Okay so TED isn’t some hot surfer dude that whispers sweet nothings to an array of young ladies at the horror of husbands, big bothers, or fathers everywhere. However TED seems to have been evoking emotional, passionate and enlightened interactions throughout the entire globe for quite some time now. I love it and both of my children love it, although there was a brief period of time when my 7 year old decided that the familiar sound of drumming and water droplet was the obvious trigger for a Hollywood style sigh followed by “mums watching TED again”. Like water off a ducks back so to speak because firstly I think at least it wasn’t some crappy reality show or even worse a dreadful remake of Beverley Hills 90210, and secondly her sighing lasted a week before she started running to listen to and watch TED again like some little philosophical prodigy.

There have been some very memorable and multi-watch episodes/speeches of TED, generally the ones that are most uncomfortable, controversial, or shocking – because honestly if I wanted tulips and butterflies I would watch reruns of In The Night Garden. Here are some of my favourites (save or share this if you want to watch them later)

SHAME

VULNERABILITY

HILARIOUS STAGE FRIGHT

INGENIOUS STORAGE SOLUTIONS THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND

And then there is this. The hope for our future. The light of tomorrow. Unschooling. In the most radical of ways.

HACKSCHOOLING.

Whilst it would be awesome if you watch the TED talk by this amazing 13 year old I realise that time is of the essence and unfortunately the essence bottle runs low all to quickly, so I will give you a rundown…what would it look like if you could cut and paste the education experience to fit what you wanted instead of sucking in a breath whilst people who now nothing of you try to stuff you in a box that doesn’t fit? I know the usual huffs and grumps are that – it doesn’t work, they wouldn’t be prepared, never get into university, left without a REAL education. What if you looked at what was available in your area though and hacked that?

This is exactly what my daughter has done. CONVENTIONAL UNSCHOOLING.

Yes she still attends school like everyone else, yes she works her butt off like everyone else. But she actually LIKES what she is learning and has no lack of choice either. How? My daughter attends an IB school. This means if she participates (and works her butt off) she can attend any IB uni in the world and won’t need an OP. It means she will leave high school with a diploma. All the while doing the subjects she wants with the freedom to tailor it to her. This program is so good I think I want to do it!

So I went to a meeting this evening at the school and the kids doing this program are passionate, driven, and look to be real game changers. They have taken what is available and chased it. I guess the one word that might make one cringe is the word ‘thesis’ being thrown around like a bouncy ball in a park. Lauren has however picked it up and is running through the playground with it…she is squealing over the vast ideas of thesis topics she could do. So what does she want to do?

“Mum I want to study the brain, I want to be a neurologist. Mum I want to find out what turns good kids into offenders. I want to study how our brains are already wired to heal our body. I want to study how to switch on our creative part like they do when they do electrical therapy”

I’m a proud mother. I’m deeply humbled by the complexities of this beautiful girl that has been entrusted to my care. I know she is going to be a game changer in this world…..she already is.

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A CHILD’S PATH – PART 1

I love my children. Deeply, completely, wholeheartedly. Now for us mothers and fathers there is only one big thing we want for our kids and that is for them to be happy. But what does happy look like? When you nut it out there are specifics that we want for our kids or at least some general ways of being we want for them. For me and many parents out there some of them look like the following

What do I want for my children to grow up with?

– a sense of adventure
– feeling their fear and doing it anyway
– self respect and self love/worth
– being friends with vulnerability
– courage to reach for their goals without hesitation
– living their values

Well if I want my children to grow up with this I have to be real with myself – it doesn’t just magically happen. It happens when they see us being the example, when they see us having the same. If we want for our children we must plough head first into these things and get uncomfortable with our deepest darkest fears and insecurities – or our children will grow up only wishing the same for their children and there we have it another generational plague of insecure beings not realising their potential. It’s time for us as parents to stop hiding behind safety – behind the what ifs, don’t want to’s, I cants, too scareds, blah blah blah. It’s time for us to dare greatly and be.

So are you daring greatly? If not, why? And what can you do to move into the way of being that you want for your children. They are watching – be their compass and there light – I know you can.

RAISING RAINBOW

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I am unbelievably and undeniably in love with my daughters and all that they are, in fact if someone was to tell me that they would stay living at home forever more I secretly would not be sad about that if that is what fulfilled their lives (although with this mammas tough rules I doubt that would ever be a certainty). So considering this fact, it amazes me that I am struggling to write about my youngest daughter Mackenzie.

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I think some of the dilemma I face is that more and more my children are not mine as such, but these precious ones have been placed in my life by devine purpose, despite how much I question my sanity. I am increasingly conscious of trying not to put either of them in a box which for this little human makes describing my little one difficult – but here goes.

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Mackenzie is my rainbow baby. Although she is now 7, I think I will always consider her my sweet baby. Mackenzie is my rainbow baby because colour and light dance within her very being, you can even see it in her eyes and she has been a colourful baby since day one. When I first held her in my arms I felt an overwhelming warmth from within, however this was not that Hollywood instant mother bond everyone talks about because I just didn’t get that with my children – but that’s okay because these are little human beings I had to grow a deep relationship with and get to know. If I slip for a moment and try to make her fit a societal mould, it is then that I have the most grief with her because her truth is not mine or society’s – it is hers. It’s like a lock and key – if you try to make a truth fit into a space that doesn’t match it cannot unlock any potential.

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Since the day she was born Mackenzie has been an energy surveyor. She knows where good and bad energy lives in each of us and her environment – and will run a mile from the yuk stuff. If someone negative or toxic comes into our space Mackenzie will have trouble connecting to them, but will also then have trouble sleeping – waking up with terrible nightmares and will struggle to even settle in to bed. It’s like she feeds off energy and the toxic stuff people share taints her world. She has also always been sensitive to the spirit realm which I guess is similar to what I’ve already mentioned – and when she was younger she would giggle at her grandma whom she only knew for the first twelve weeks of her life, and even now she talks as if she knows her grandma.

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Mackenzie is thought to have auditory processing disorder, picked up by her very clever whole brain teacher in grade one, instead of dismissing her as ‘naughty’ & ‘doesn’t listen’ by her prep teacher. I like to think of her differently however. I truly believe that our children now are growing up with a much deeper consciousness than us, and just really struggle in a world that tries to make them something else. Mackenzie will sit and think very hard about what she wants to write or draw, and will then come out with something quite articulate and well constructed. She is also sensory, very sensory. Mackenzie since day one has had the need to touch everything in her reach. Life is a tactile wonderland for her and she loves nothing better than to touch every surface, every object, everything – feeling the texture of the world around her. This makes for a very interesting shopping trip in a glassware store that’s certain, probably why we don’t do it very often.

Little Miss Macca Moo delights us daily with her vivid and lively imagination, drawing us into her world through the distant giggles that radiate from her bedroom or play area. When she is in this alternate universe that dwells in her mind it is as if nothing else exists, and time stands still for up to hours at a time. Sometimes we can approach her and sit straight down beside her, all the while she continues on with her imaginary play with something as simple as a peg, some toys, or her finger characters. (Yes she has toys she plays with she just doesn’t NEED them to keep her occupied). It is only when she pauses for a moment that she may notice us there, stop what she doing, and smile her great big toothy smile as if she knows something we don’t. She does insist however that of course her ‘play friends’ are not real – although this does not matter to us because it is a joy to watch her play.

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Mackenzie is a loving little spirit too. She has a firm grasp on real love and I have learnt a whole lot from this wee one. She has to be the most forgiving and compassionate person I know, and no matter what someone does to her she is ready to forgive and move forward with fresh eyes and an open heart. But she is an emotional sponge too which weighs heavily on her quite a bit. For example if someone is upset she will ponder this and look at ways to help remedy the situation. It does however result in her also absorbing others emotions which results in abdominal migraines leaving her screaming in agony – this is an area we are especially working on to teach her how to filter others emotions and energies.

All in all I am loving being her mother and try to find a bit if her zest in everything I do. I try to keep in mind that my little rainbow needs lots of colours, textures and music in life, and try to create this experience each day for her. I am such a fierce mamma for my girls and now that my eldest is strong in herself (although I am still her safety net), I am focused on creating the same self belief and strength in my rainbow baby. Those who know her are blessed and mighty lucky in my eyes.

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Love you my little rainbow bright!

Mamma Bear xxx