My Mug List

We’ve all heard of ‘Bucket Lists’ – so what is a Mug List?

Last week a friend and I enjoyed the luxury of catching up without kids for a coffee.  It was an odd feeling leaving the house without my boys, and not having to think about the logistics of where the pram would fit, availability of a highchair and kids menus was  refreshing.  It’s also amazing the amount and depth of conversation you can cover when you aren’t interrupting each other with comments such as ‘don’t eat the butter, please sit down and don’t pinch your brother’.

Over coffee (of course) we got to talking about an all too familiar topic for me… That time on a Sunday afternoon when you look back over your weekend, the precious couple of days you have with your whole family, and realise you haven’t really done anything.  I’m guilty of this, and I’m sure there are plenty of others out there who are in the same boat – well I’m going to tell myself that anyway!  I’m guilty of telling myself, and my husband, that I am going to do this, we must go there – but all too often everyday life gets in the way and it’s easy to find an ‘excuse’ not to go somewhere or do something.  We both vowed that this was going to be our year to not just talk about what we were going to do – but to actually do it.

This gave us the idea of making a list each month of things we wanted to accomplish – whether it be something we wanted to do with our kids, or a personal goal.  We agreed the  name ‘bucket list’ wasn’t really appropriate, and as we were having a coffee (and I was drinking from the biggest mug available), we decided to name our idea The Mug list.

At the beginning of each month, we will write a list of things we want to do or achieve.  It can be anything – activities with the kids, personal goals – the possibilities are endless.  The idea is to display the list somewhere you can see it (and most importantly remember what’s on it!) and you can then make off your items as the month progresses.

For me, 2014 is a year of keeping it simple….  enjoying the simple, everyday moments of life, and trying not overcomplicating things.  That’s why I decided to kick off my list with what I hope will be easy, achievable goals.  I decided to share my list in an attempt to make me accountable for following through, and I’ll share my shortcomings success at the end of each month.

Feel free to join me, what will you put on your Mug List for January?

January MUG list

 

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

My Words…

It’s approaching that time of the year when we stop and reflect on the year that was (or at least feel like we are meant to!) and set ourselves new challenges for the upcoming 12 months.

I have heard quite a few people discussing what their ‘word’ or ‘words’ for 2014 will be, and I have also been trying to think about my own.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about a word which best sums up my year, and I’m going to go with – surviving.

It was surviving through the often conflicting roles of being a Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and Friend…. not to mention, just being me.

The first five months of the year I was attempting to survive the emotional turmoil of yet another high risk pregnancy.

For the first month after Aiden’s early arrival, it was all about surviving each day (and night!) trying to spend time with both Aiden and Liam, as well as have food in the fridge, clean clothes, the ENDLESS expressing and the recovery following my second caesarean in 16 months (seriously they should have just put a zipper in there!).

It was then all about surviving life with a newborn and a toddler. Trying to give them both the attention they need and deserve, and battling with lack of sleep and the unrealistic expectations I put on myself in those early days.

This year was about surviving the mother’s guilt which drops into my thoughts a little too often for my liking.

It was surviving through the rest of my crazy hormonal thoughts and emotions.

Now that I am almost at the end of this year.  I am happy to change my word for 2013 to survived.

Yes, there may still be a couple of weeks until the official end of 2013, but I’m calling it – I have survived…. and in pretty good shape too I think!

As for what my word/words for 2014 will be…. well we have a looong road trip down south ahead of us which will give me plenty of time to ponder this.

 

What is your word/words for 2013?  Are they different now to what they were at the start of the year?

To my big boy

Mothers Guilt…. We’ve all experienced it – in many cases it can even start before the baby has arrived!  I simply love being a Mum to my two little boys, watching them growing up and helping them to discover their world is the most amazing and fulfilling job I have ever had.  My Mother’s guilt is always lurking in the background though – I will feel guilty when frustrated about having to read Dear Zoo for the 15th time, when Liam has toast for lunch if it’s one of those days, for either spending too much time with one of them when the other also wants my attention, or wishing I could spend more quality time with them one on one.

I had been feeling particularly guilty lately for not spending as much ‘fun’ time with Liam as I used to.  In between trying to get him to sleep in his own room through the night, our half hearted attempt at toilet training and the day to day trials of having a toddler and a baby it’s been tough.  To try and ease my guilt, I decided we’d go along to Rhyme Time at our local Library, confident that Liam would enjoy himself and we would have a fun morning out together. This is a letter I wrote to him after our day.

Dear Liam,

I know this year has been hard on you.  You didn’t understand why Mum couldn’t play with you as much when I pregnant with your little brother, or why I had to stay in hospital and leave you at home.  After your brother was born,  you barely saw us for the first four weeks as you were shipped around between different babysitters. Then this tiny little person came to live with us, someone you weren’t allowed to touch or play with, and were always being told to stay away from.

That’s why this morning was important. It was an opportunity for us to enjoy some time together, just like we used to. You love to read, sing and dance.  I wanted to have some fun with you, I don’t want to always be telling you off, or rushing around. For this half hour I want to be able to enjoy having fun and being silly with my big boy.

Once we arrive, you know where to go – straight up the back where all the other little kids are.  You are so excited, there are books everywhere! And you are allowed to pick them up, look at them and I even tell you we can take some home with us!  All by yourself, you pick a book about your favourite things – trucks…. As soon as I see it I smile, you really are too clever.

We find a spot, and even though your friends are there, you still want to sit on my knee.  You are so excited to have found your truck book you are loudly pointing out all the different trucks you can see. Aiden senses that we need this time, just the two of us.  He happily watches us from the pram, all smiles.

As they are getting ready to start, you glance up to see what all the fuss is about.  The music starts, and you pause from your book to see what is going on. The singing starts and you see the other children stand up and start dancing about.

You clap your hands, a huge smile spreading across your face.

You join in the actions, all the while still clutching at your book.

You are so happy, you are having fun

You look back at me to make sure I’m still there.

Watching you wriggle around dancing makes my heart melt.

Afterwards, you run around having fun with your friends, looking at more books – all the while with a big smile on your face.  These are the moments I will remember when I’m getting cranky or frustrated, these are the moments that remind me why I love being your Mum.

xx

music man

Just the two of us

Last night we had an adults only night out (and not in the x-rated way that sentence sounds)!   It was the first time since Aiden was born, and only the second time this year we have been out without the kids.

Party Time!

Party Time!

Since all of our family is interstate, we don’t have the luxury of going out by ourselves very often – to be honest, not at all!  We were very fortunate that Scott’s Christmas party coincided with a visit from my Mum – who was more than happy to look after the boys.

Luckily there were no tears (from either the boys or myself) when it was time for us to leave, and we were even able to get a couple of happy snaps of the four of us before we left.

Scott and I both enjoyed ourselves, it was nice to be out and not having to worry about Liam racing off or getting bored, or finding a quiet spot for Aiden to be fed and have asleep, but we both agreed that we missed them.  We enjoy taking them out with us, whether it be going out for dinner, or going somewhere for an adventure.

Yes it’s nice to have Mum and Dad time, to focus on our relationship, and to remember that there is more to us than being parents.  At the same time though, spending time together as a family of four is something we both truly cherish and enjoy.

Just the two of us!

Just the two of us!

How often do you have a night out without your kids?  Do you spend most of the night checking in to see how they are going?

Stepping out from behind the camera

Recently I was asked for a photo of myself with the boys.  Like many Mums, I’m normally the one behind the camera and while I take a few ‘selfless’ of us all, there are very few ‘proper’ photos of us all together.  I’m also not a huge fan of having my photo taken at the moment, however I realise the importance of having pictures of myself and the boys together while they are young.

Looking through the small (and to be honest, very dodgy) collection of photos of the three of us, it reminded me that I need to make a much bigger effort to have photos taken with both of the boys

I’m now going to be really brave and post some of these stunning photos – this is going to be my inspiration to make sure I get more ‘proper’ photos of the three of us together.

IMG_7269 IMG_8896 IMG_8627 IMG_8295 IMG_8083 IMG_7633

Do you have many photos with your children?  Feel free to share your pics on my Facebook page

Linking up with The Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

Self Confidence

Yesterday’s photo a day prompt was mirror, and all day I was thinking about what kind of shot I could take – preferably one that doesn’t have me in it! You see the thing is I’m not super happy with the way I look at the moment.  I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my body shape/size, and long ago I accepted that I am one of those people who has to watch what they eat and exercise regularly to maintain a ‘healthy’ weight.  I’ve also come to terms  with the fact that I’m also not someone whose weight just ‘falls off’ while they breast feed, in fact for me it is the opposite…. damn you hormones!

The thing is that I enjoy exercising, and I feel great about myself whilst I’m doing it, and afterwards as well… it’s just getting and perhaps more importantly keeping the motivation to do it.  I’ve recently switched to a gym that is much closer to home and has more ‘friendly’ class times and this seems to be helping.

I know that I am lacking a bit of self confidence. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to unrealistic expectations (my due date was around the same as Princess Kate & Kim Kardashian and look at them now….), that we unfairingly (that is so a word!) compare ourselves to others.

A few weeks ago I spent a few self indulgent hours at the hairdresser, and whilst reading the November issue of Marie Claire I came across the article ‘Instant Confidence’. It outlined some simple strategies which researchers believe will improve your self belief/self confidence and let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit more self belief I think.

* Coffee!!!  YAY!!  I’m happy to go along with any research that supports drinking coffee!  Admittedly, I do really enjoy my early morning coffee before the chaos of the day starts, and I do miss it when I skip it (I’m so not addicted).

* Sit up straight – hmmm.. I do agree, I’m trying to sit up as straight as I can now and admittedly I feel a bit more important!!

* Change your hair colour – sorted, appointment in two weeks!

* Clean out your wallet- with the theory being by managing this everyday area of your life, it will help you feel more in control in other aspects of your life. I took this challenge and also included cleaning out my handbag.  Considering I found sultanas that I believe started off as grapes in a container down the bottom of my bag, I’m feeling much more in control!

* Exercise!  Well this one is a bit of a no brainer, and I totally agree with it.  The research they quote is exercising for at lease 20 minutes at the gym will improve your mood for up to 12 hours.  I totally agree with this, I feel so much better about myself (and others!!) after exercising.

I know that I am being tough on myself, and realistically I know that I probably won’t ever be completely happy with the way I look.  It seems as though we are hardwired to always have one aspect of ourselves that we think needs improvement.

In the meantime, I’m trying to work on improving my self confidence and be proud of the way I look – this body of mine has spent the majority of the past three years either pregnant, or being pumped full of hormones for IVF, and has produced four children – so I probably should cut it some slack!

In the end I compromised and included a head shot in my photo, and with the magic of filters, I was pretty happy with how the shot turned out.

So I’m putting it out there – what strategies/tips do you have to help improve self confidence?

mirror

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

An unexpected reality check

I will admit to having my cranky pants on this week.  There have been a few unsettled nights, teething, tears, poo on the floor, a couple of baking disasters and a few failed attempts to get some exercise in.  Yesterday morning I was especially cranky, and decided to head into the city with Aiden to attend the Good Food and Wine Show.

Maggie Beer's Malted Milk and Chocolate Biscuit Ice Cream.... YUM!

Maggie Beer’s Malted Milk and Chocolate Biscuit Ice Cream…. YUM!

When I’ve attended the show in previous years, a highlight has always been attending the ‘Celebrity Chef Theatre’ and I’ve been fortunate to see some amazing demonstrations over the years.  By the time we wandered over the first show of the morning had started (I admit we were late as I stopped for a coffee and a sample of Maggie Beer’s new icecream (Malted Milk & Chocolate Biscuit… Yum!) and we had missed the first half of Matt Golinksi’s demonstration. We settled down in an empty row towards the back, ready to enjoy the show, instead what I got was the reality check that I really needed.

Matt Golinski's cooking demonstration

Matt Golinski’s cooking demonstration

Here is a man who lost his wife and three children in a house fire during the early hours of boxing day 2011. On top of the unimaginable grief he has endured, he has also been physically recovering from the injuries he sustained during the fire – and here is he is almost two years later on stage, talking about the book he is working on and clearly passionate about his life.  Sitting there I found my mind wandering, and thinking about what is really important, and that I shouldn’t ever take things for granted.  It reminded me that we can sometimes make life more complicated and confusing than it has to be, and we can hold onto silly grudges (I will admit to doing this over the past few days).
It’s not always about who is wrong or right, or letting the stress build up when life gets chaotic – what Matt reminded me is that our lives are precious and everything and everyone you hold dear can be taken from you without warning.

As well as walking away with a great summer dessert idea (grilled peaches with toasted brioche and toffee macadamia nuts!), I was also fortunate enough to leave with better frame of mind, and much more positive attitude.

Where is the most unexpected place you have received a reality check?

Linking up with the Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays