Saturday, May 30, 2015

Boys, blogs and recording memories...

I'm on a major mission to record our memories. 

To notice the little, everyday happenings that tell the story of our life.

It's pretty easy to record the hikes, family visits or special events but I want to improve on recording the small details. 

As well as starting Project Life albums I've also started a personal journal for each of my boys.  This has already made me really  notice what is going on in each of their lives and what I want to record about them.

I feel a bit sad that I have to think about it all so much, I guess for some it comes more naturally but I often get caught up in the everyday crazy of life and days and even weeks used to go by without even taking a photo.

There's also the me that sometimes feels I'm re-forming my life after spending so many years focused only on my family.  The me that is someone aside from that, even though my family is my priority.

It's that idea of balance.  It seems like it's in continual motion.  Going too far one way, then way back in the opposite direction.  It's taking the time to notice what feels right and what feels a little off.  More adjustments.  Maybe a break or trying something completely new to broaden my perspective.

My most favourite people on Instagram are the everyday Mums snapping away photos of their real life.  While it's fun to see people style everything up and make it beautiful, there is something so special to me in the people that find the beauty in what is right in front of them, just the way it is.

That's what I'm working's a journey.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our holiday wall...

One of our goals as a family is to travel.  While we know that there is a huge trend in overseas travel our goal at this stage is to show the kids as much of Australia as possible. 

Our holiday goals are simple and suit us taking into consideration our budget and time.  Having 4 children definitely makes the cost of a trip add up really quickly.  When I first started looking into cost I was confident that camping would be the way to go, and even though that will be our method of accommodation for the most part, I was surprised to find that caravan parks now charge extra per child per night now which really boosts the price up!

A few people mentioned that we could camp in national parks or free camp sights, however I think our compromise will be to stay in the usual Big 4 style caravan parks.

One of the reasons is they are they are usually full of fun things for the kids to do, so if we wanted to have a quiet day the kids can still ride bikes, swim and play.  We will also have access to a camp kitchen which will reduce the amount of equipment we need to bring with us.  Oh and the big one...hopefully clean toilets and showers.  I figure camping will be enough effort without those little luxuries.

So, we're hoping to go for a couple of trial weekends away before our first trip to Bermagui.  That will hopefully give us enough practise before our bigger holiday to QLD!

The kids love having it up on the wall so they know what great trips we have planned.  It also makes it easier when I have to say no to something to point to the wall and remind them that we're saving for our holidays!

Do you camp with your family?  Do you have any great tips or advice to share? 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ethans music soiree...

Ethan had his music soiree on Tuesday night...he's not one to choose to be in the limelight but he did an amazing job!  So proud!

I got big cuddles with this little cutie!

 (I'm sure there's a way to correct this but it's not happening right now...)

Family fun: Kinetic Sand

We picked this up at Spotlight over the weekend and it has been a hit!  So much fun to play with...for everyone!

We were all a little sleepy but it was a nice evening activity that we could all just relax and enjoy.  The boys did a relatively good job of keeping it on the trays so we only swept up a little at the end so it wasn't too messy either. 

Birthday weekend!

I'm now 34 years old!  Do I feel any different?  Not at all...

Saturday morning Michael had to meet the plumber at Homegrown Farm so it was a quiet start to the day.  They basically forgot it was my birthday and were zoning out with computer games. (We told them they could have free time before we went to Melbourne).

Luckily, Michael came home a little earlier than expected and organised some cards and a cute voucher book for me.  Oh, and a nice cup of honey-lemon tea.

Jayden insisted on wearing a suit and didn't take it off the whole weekend.  He looked like such a spunk though!

So we were on the road down to my sisters and she cut and coloured my hair! Woohoo.  I actually haven't had it done since my birthday last year so it was my annual hair cut! Haha.

We drove down to have dinner with my family at Taco Bill, which was a heap of fun.

A sleepover at Pa's followed up with a bacon and egg breakfast and we were off to Nanna's.  The kids had a play there while Michael and I went shopping.

Oh, so not only was it my birthday on Saturday but also our anniversary.  Saturday marked 17 years together - half of our lives!  How lucky is that?  Then, Sunday was our 12 year wedding anniversary.  Honestly, life with this guy has been pretty great.  Yes, we've had ups and downs and challenges and triumphs but that's life isn't it?  The important part is that we've stuck together and love each other more than ever.   I'm so grateful.

So, I mentioned shopping.  I was lucky enough to receive some birthday money so went to Spotlight to pick up some Project Life supplies.  The albums were on sale plus I had a spend $100 get $40 off voucher so I got some great bargains.

Michael and I then headed to Eastland to pick up a few extra things and had some sushi for lunch.

I collected the boys from the playground where they were with their Nanna and we went back to the shops to buys them some new shoes.   They were desperately needed for school but I may have gone a little over the top with some extra pairs...haha.  We finished our shopping off with a smoothies and jumped in the car for our long drive home.

It was nearly 7pm when we got home, but luckily Michael had already arranged dinner.  We had driven separately because he picked up a heap of sleepers for our retaining wall. (Water tanks are our next step!).  The kids had naps of doom in the car on the way home so stayed up a little later watching a movie.  By the time they were in bed, we'd had a little chill out and made everyones lunch for the next day it was nearly midnight! A huge weekend but a memorable one. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Busy Friday... have I gone from normal daily living to super busy?  I'm not a big fan of this at all! Haha.  I'm not even working on Fridays yet!

Jayden goes to Earth kinder on Fridays for 3 hours so I often go home to get a few things done, but today I stayed in town to work on some "High Country Living" stuff.  Yep, another project.  Honestly, what is wrong with me?  No wonder I feel overwhelmed sometimes!

Anyway, then we head home for a couple of hours with our little friend Josie who we watch Friday afternoons.

I heard a knock at the door and Megan, a Mum from up the road had brought me some beautiful flowers to say thank you for watching her daughter the night before.  The bridge was closed for hours the night before due to a car accident and poor Megan was stuck on one side while her daughter who's only 5 was on the other side.  We have switched numbers now in case anything like that happens again, but all I could do was leave a note on her door so she knew.  Such a fright for her but luckily it all ended well.

Back in the car for Jaydens swimming lessons, hiding a free coffee voucher for HCL, picking up the boys from school, picking up fruit and veg, going to the post office to mail an eBay sale, library, Josie was collected, off to a friends to organise a mountain bike for Louis in the big bike hike for next weekend, then made it just in time to drop Louis to his disco at 6pm.  Quickly picked up some supplies for dinner at Foodworks and got home.

Michael also got home late from a huge day working so we were all exhausted.  Luckily, Louis got a lift home so we didn't have to head back out at 9pm.   Life is just a little crazy right now! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

First week at work...

What an interesting week!

The kids and I had a big clean up on Sunday in preparation for the week ahead.  I made up a new chore chart and the kids and I got stuck into it.  It worked really well so I think it's a keeper!
The boys have realised that if we do a little each day it's much easier to keep on top of all of the tidying up and meal making.  I've also began making lunches at night again so that we have an easier time in the morning.

So, Monday was my first day and it went well.  I think I was being tested as the school had a morning tea on for parents and I couldn't go.  I had to really not let the mother guilt get the better of me.  I did spend 5 minutes in each class before I went to work so at least I made the effort.

I collected Jayden after work and we headed home, did all the after school/dinner stuff and then I changed into my Pj's!  I was so tired!  I think that will settle down as I get used to our new routine.  I was pretty pleased that it all went well.  Of course, for the first time in forever Jayden woke up overnight crawled into my bed and then kicked me and snuffled the rest of the night.  Another test? 

Tuesday I did my food shopping for the fortnight and went into town for Ethans swimming lesson.  I also cooked dinner for Wednesday night already because not only did I have work, Dylan had a musical soiree at school followed by Scouts.  Michael and I had to take in two cars just to work it all out.  That's life with kids and activities though I guess.

Dylan with his teacher...

Today I have had a quiet day pottering around which has been nice.  I think I did feel like it was going to be a lot more stressful than it actually has been.  I don't have to go back until next Monday now so it's very cruisy.  That may increase in a couple of weeks, as the snow season is the busy season for work.  Right now I'm enjoying the gentle ease into work life. 

Funnily enough, today I also received a phone call for a small position at the local community centre organising some school holiday programs for teenagers.  Sure, why not?  Haha.  When it rains it pours I guess.

So my mind has been in overdrive adjusting to the new changes after so many years at home.

First of all, I'm already feeling way more grateful for all of my time at home.

I also know that I don't think I would survive with full time work and be able to balance the rest of my home life.

I value my time SO much.  When you are working for someone else you no longer own your time. 

I really need variety in my life.  If I had to work in one role for one person all week I think I would shrivel up and die.  Haha.

Most of all I'm grateful.  So grateful that I've found a part time job that helps with the finances, but still allows me to predominately be a stay at home Mum.  Grateful to find an office job in a small country town that are few and far between.  Grateful that I have a beautiful friend to collect Jayden once a week after Kinder and take him home for a play date with her daughter (who is also his best friend).

I worried for a while there that maybe I wasn't doing "simple living" well if I was having to go and look for work.  Then I realised that there's a difference between simple living and poor living.  We live in the country and want to raise animals and grow food, my family is my focus and I love cooking from scratch.  I also want my boys to do Scouts and have swimming lessons, want our family to be able to camp and travel and I now have this expensive new found Project Life hobby  So, there has to be a balance I guess and it's going to be different for everyone.

Anyway, you can tell this blog has turned into a journal now because I'm ranting.  Haha.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Loves of my life...

Big changes...

May is flying by and I have some big news.

I applied for a part time job in Mansfield, had the interview and got the job!

So, I start Monday and will also work Wednesday and Fridays over winter.  So, I'm excited because it's an office admin job which is perfect and it's part-time during Jayden's kinder days which is also perfect.  The people I'll be working with seem really great as well which of course can make or break any work situation. 

It's also seasonal, so increased hours over winter and much more decreased over summer, which fits in with Michael's busy and quiet times.

It's funny because as soon as I found out that I got the job I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders.  I've been trying to find ways to perhaps work at home or start a business that fits in with the kids and nothing was really working out that well and this position just feels really right.

Sometimes taking the pressure off an idea to make money can make it so much more enjoyable.  I guess it's a little like blogging, I'm doing it for me and the kids now and I feel so much more free.  Before I was trying a little too hard I guess and didn't always feel like I as being authentic.  

So other news...this Project Life thing is slowly become my most favourite hobby.  I received the new subscription kit from Studio Calico yesterday and it is so much fun.  I love all of the products and can't wait to play with them all.  I've also just recently realised there's a whole movement of people out there that decorate their planners/diaries.  Who knew?  If you look on YouTube there are so many videos!  I don't think I'd want to spend the money they seemingly spend just for a diary, but I did add a bit of colour to it and it is much more fun to look at now!

After a heap of dismal weather the sun has come out again for some beautiful autumn weather.  There's even been a heap of snow up at Mt Buller already.

 Last week Louis and  Dylan had a sleepover at the scout hall and I went in early the next morning to go for a walk with them.  Luckily the rain held out and we had a nice walk around town.  It's so nice to be able to do these things with them and they are still young enough to appreciate that I'm there.  I wonder how much longer that will last?

That night I went out with my friend Jenn to see a band.  I was so excited and looking forward to a night on the town and while we had a great time I realised I'm obviously just to old for this caper.  I felt deaf for 3 days and woke up Sunday morning sick.  I was driving so only had a couple of drinks and I felt like rubbish.  Needless to say, I won't be in a hurry to do that again.  I think I'd rather sit around the campfire with some good music playing enjoying the company of my friends and be actually able to have a conversation and a laugh without losing my hearing.  Haha, yep, officially old. 

So yeah, I had a little sleep in Mothers day and woke up feeling rotten.  I'm still fighting off the cough and cold almost a week later.  It's been a shocker.  I received some beautiful cards from the boys and some new pyjamas and choccies.  Jayden presented me with a great pot of dirt.  Apparently they didn't put seeds in, just brought us the pot of dirt.  Haha.  Love kinder presents!

Had to take this photo of the boys snuggled up reading.  I often find them like this after dinner.  We have quite a large couch but they all sit right next to each other.  I love they have such a bond between them.  It's a beautiful thing to see. 

In other news, Jayden was mighty proud of his purchase of a Ninjago Lego set which he paid for with all of his pocket money he'd been saving.  Love that they get to feel so good about that.  Learning about money is such a big life skill to master. 

This blog post is all over the place but oh well.  Michael was able to come and watch Jayden swim yesterday and my goodness that boy had stars in his eyes.  Every breath he took while swimming he looked straight up at his Dad.  It was so cute.  

We came home and the boys returned from school and we showed them Sudoku puzzles.  I'd bought a puzzle book from the library but realised it may have been a little too difficult for them.   It was pretty easy to print some off the computer and they quickly mastered it.  Funnily enough, Ethan later had started the difficult one and was doing really well on it, so I think he's got the concept well enough.  I was just happy for them to have a go.  

So, big changes in store and now I have to make sure I'm super organised now that I'll be out of the house 3 days a week.  I think it should all work out just fine though. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Bits and pieces...

An overview of our month...

April fools...boys woke up to some strange markings on their nose and face...I wonder how it got there?

I often lay out on the boys trampoline and soak up the sunshine...

We dog sat Indi for a week over Easter for our good friends...she is the most gorgeous placid dog and may have been a little spoilt during her stay...

Might have slipped with the bubbles...haha

My gorgeous niece turned 16!  Her and her friends had a fun time in a pink stretch hummer to celebrate! Happy Birthday Kelly!

Ethan did a 4 day swimming intensive.  I was so proud as he was really worried about getting his face wet but he was getting more brave with each day!

Ethan helped make homemade chicken nuggets...

The local fruit and veg shop gave away a pumpkin with each shop so a big pot of pumpkin soup was in order.  What a shame I was the only one that eats it...

I made cheddar "shapes" which were quite yum but needed to be eaten fresh...the went a big too soft being stored...

Dad had the boys giggling at dinnertime with an epic bum drag...

Ethan started his weekly lesson and went right under the water!  Amazing!

We received Jaydens Kinder photos...(These are just copies I took with my phone)

We visited my forever friend Bean and her gorgeous new baby girl Tully.  I didn't take many snaps as I was enjoying my cuddles way too much.  Such a gorgeous family.  

The last week I've been spending a heap of time on scanning old photos and blogging about them (backdated to 2005) and also putting together in Project Life albums.  
You can read some of the old posts here if you wish.  I have a long way to go as I really want to get everything recorded into this blog format.  

I will be cleaning up and even deleting some posts as I sort through the older stuff as I really do just want this blog to be for our family memories.  

I kept going back and forward on the idea of trying to turn it this space into something to earn money from but I've decided against it.  Every time I thought of it as a potential place of business I felt I couldn't write freely and just be myself and ultimately I just want this to be an online journal. 

It's been so much fun looking through old photos and I'm loving sorting through my box of papers and photos and old albums and having everything in one place with one system.  

I can see how obsessed you could become with all of the beautiful Project life cards and embellishments and I think this is going to be a really fun hobby.  I've signed up to 1 subscription site and there is another I have my eye on but I must not go overboard when we're on a strict budget at the moment.  Basically they send you a collection of cards, stickers and stamps each month and it is so much fun to get a box of goodies.  

A good thing to get into over winter though I guess when we won't have as much activity getting out and about.  

So on that note, I'm up to 2002 in my project life album and as I sort out the photos I'll backdate the blog as well.  Then I have an online version of events and the hard copy albums.  I did consider only using a blog considering it would be a lot cheaper, however there is something to be said with flipping through an actual album with your hands and I couldn't let go of that idea either.  

So pyjama day at home today, which is just what we all needed!