7 Years of Marriage

This week my husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. Seven years of marriage feels like it has gone very fast. At the same time, we have been through a lot of ups and some very hard downs in that time.

We have been together for over 14 years, with a few breaks here and there prior to getting married. The last seven years have been the best. Not the most fun, carefree times of our relationship, but the most connected times.

I can honestly say that I love him more now than the day we were married. We have both grown together and our relationship has grown as a result. We have worked out how to best support each other through the hard moments. How to move on after arguments. How to break through those times where we are feeling ‘stuck’. We know what each other needs to be happy and try to give each other the space they need to do those things. We work together as a team.

We balance each other out. We are stereotypical left brain driven (him) and right brain driven (me) and while this can cause a few issues because we are so different in how we think, we are learning to use these differences to complement each other and work better together.

I would be lying if I said that having a happy relationship is easy, because it isn’t. We have to work at it. But it is worth it.

I feel grateful every day (almost) that I married him. Here is to many, many more anniversaries.

Looking back over my wedding photos and looking at my wedding dress in the cupboard I remember how much fun we had on the day. Lots of fun, dancing, and love. I think that for our tenth anniversary I might host a party where everyone comes dressed in their wedding dress or other fancy dress that they never get to wear. I loved my dress and would love an excuse to wear it again. If you know me in real life, look out for your invitation in about three years time!

I Feel Most Like Me When I …

This weeks self discovery question is to finish this sentence ‘I feel most like me when I…’

Have a think about when you feel like you. Is it when you are out with friends? When you are at home with your family? Maybe when you are exercising or doing your favourite hobby? When you are alone?

I think I feel most like myself when I have a day or weekend to myself. When I can choose to do whatever I want. Read, meditate, walk, eat, have a bath. When I am taking time out for my own self care and to tune in to my self and my intuition.  I feel myself when I am relaxed and enjoying a peaceful night at home with my husband and kids. When I am dressed in clothes that I love. I also feel it when I am talking to people and helping them… you can take the girl out of Social Work but not the Social Worker out of the girl…

I would love to know what makes you feel most like you. 

Less Time Distracted, More Time Connecting

The last few weeks have brought multiple reminders that we need to cherish our time with our loved ones and enjoy our time on this earth.

The tragic deaths of six children, women, and men in Melbourne on the 20th January felt very close to home for me. On that day, at that exact time, my eldest daughter was in the city on her way to see her boyfriend. My husband also works not far from there and was not answering his phone when I tried calling to check on him. Six lives lost senselessly. I cannot begin to imagine the pain of their families and friends.

In recent weeks, I have had one friend, from an online group I am part of, lose her child to a terminal illness. I have also had a friend lose a family member very suddenly which has devastated him and his family.

These losses have reminded me that I need to make sure that I show my children and family how much I love them. To cherish the little moments each day that we could easily take for granted. The moments that we are too busy or too distracted to really pay attention to what our children are saying to us. I need to remember to connect with those I love. Sometimes this feels so hard when all I want is time alone or when I need to get something done, but I don’t want to wake up one day wishing I had just paid a little more attention to my family and friends.

I know that I have a bad habit of distracting myself with my phone, browsing Facebook and the internet and then wondering where the last few hours have gone. I am not as present with my children as I would like to be. I often put off playing with them because I am ‘busy’.  I often choose to browse Facebook instead of spend time with my husband. I don’t make time to see and connect with my friends as I would like to. I want this to change.

I am making a commitment to myself to be more present in my life. Less time distracted on the internet, more time connecting with the people I love.

Is this something you need to do too?

What Makes You Feel Alive?

What makes you feel alive? What makes you feel excited, exhilarated, in awe of the world?

Think about and make a list of all of the things that come to mind that make you feel more alive. Can you add more of these things in to your life? When you start to feel like you are in a rut, grab your list and do some of the things that make you feel excited and alive.

Some of the things that come to mind that make me feel most alive are:

  • Being at the beach with sand in my toes, feeling the wind in my hair and hearing the sound of the ocean.
  • Being outside and feeling the sunshine on my skin.
  • Watching my kids play and have fun, or better still, playing and laughing with them.
  • Laughing out loud
  • Sitting under a full moon.
  • When I am fully present in the moment. It might be when I am at the dinner table enjoying a family dinner or when I am having a conversation with a friend.
  • When I achieve something I felt scared to do in the beginning.
  • Doing something I am passionate about.
  • Doing something risky…. although my idea of doing something risky is pretty tame these days!

 

I would love you to leave a comment telling me what you have on your list!

What Do You Love About You?

What do you love about you? Seriously, it is important to think about it. I know people avoid thinking about it because it can feel uncomfortable. There is the ‘I don’t want to seem like I love myself’ fear from our teenage years. We have a cultural norm where we are supposed to put ourselves down and not talk up the good parts of ourselves. I certainly thought this way. You should have heard the negative self talk that used to go on in my head! I never really stopped to contemplate what I actually liked let alone loved about myself… it felt too uncomfortable.

This week, write about or think about what you love about you. For some of us it might be hard. You might have one thing to begin with but keep thinking and listing things. Maybe it is as simple as you like your smile or you like that you are a kind person. You don’t need to show anyone or tell anyone, although I would love to know if you want to share.

DO NOT let this question get you down! Do not start comparing yourself to others. Do not start thinking about all of the things that you don’t like.

This post is part of my weekly self discovery questions. You can find the others here, here, here, and here.

A Slow January

January is almost over. At the beginning of the school holidays it felt like the six weeks holidays would go on forever and now it is almost over. My 5 year-old daughter is starting school next week, and my 3 year-old is going to be starting a preschool program for a few hours a week. After a very slow January I think I may get a shock having to get back to school lunches, school/preschool drop offs, and leaving the house before 9am! If I am being honest, getting dressed anytime before 10am is going to be a shock to my system.

Once the busyness of preparing for Christmas was over we settled in to a very slow, relaxed holidays. For several weeks I didn’t have a car so was stuck at home unless I wanted to walk to the park or local shops. Days were spent playing outside, eating, baking, reading and attempting to avoid too much housework. Some days the kids stayed in pajamas all day, and very rarely was I dressed before 10am (or later). My husband and I spent two nights in the city without the children for a blissfully quiet break. We all seemed to enjoy just pottering around the house after a busy year.

I took the chance to toilet train my youngest. It has been a very long process but finally I think that he has the hang of it. So nice, and so much cheaper, without all of the daytime nappies.

While it was slow and pretty relaxed, there have been some challenging moments. My 5 and 3 year-old’s haven’t spent that much time with each other for a long time and we had many, many fights between the two. My son felt the need to wreck most things that my daughter was playing with. I have also had a very challenging time with my son’s behaviour. He seems to have a natural urge to hit and scratch people (primarily me and his sisters) when he isn’t happy about something. Trying to find a way to stop this has pretty much proved impossible so far. It pushes all of my buttons and is so tiring having to constantly stop him from hurting his sisters or me.

As much as I have (mostly) loved having a quiet summer holidays, I am ready for some alone time again. I am craving silence and I am desperately wanting to get back to some exercise. I have only made it to the gym once in six weeks.

The last week I have been preparing for school. Buying and washing uniforms, baking snacks to have in the freezer for school lunches, picking up school books, and helping my 18 year-old apply for the course she is starting next month. This weekend, like many parents I am sure, I will be contacting the school books, labeling everything, and trying to work out how I will get back in to the rhythm of school lunches/drop offs/pick ups again. It has been 13 years since I last had a child start school. Most of the last 6 years my teenage daughter go herself to school so it really is going to be a bit of adjusting for me. I am not an organised person at the best of times.

How was your January? Are you sending your children back to school or have a child starting school next week?

 

How Have You Grown Since Becoming A Parent?

How have you grown since becoming a parent? Or aunt, uncle, carer, step-parent if you are not a parent? What positive changes has this role brought to your life?

I think that everyone who becomes a parent or becomes a carer of children changes and grow’s because of it. Sometimes we automatically think of all of the negative things that have changed like our bodies, stress levels, busyness, lack of sleep etc. But, there are lots of positive ways in which we grow as people. For example a friend answered this question on my Facebook page and said that she has realised that she has strength she didn’t think that she was capable of. I agree completely.

So, what ways have you grown? Let me know by commenting below.

 

How Can You Add More Fun To Your Life?

How can you add more fun to your life?

One of my desired feelings for 2017 is more pleasure. Part of pleasure is having more fun. So, my question for myself and for you this week is simply to ask you to think about how you could add more fun to your life.

What makes you happy? Laugh? Smile? How can you add more of this in to your life?

This post is part of my weekly self discovery questions series. You can find previous posts here and here.

 

Reflections And 2017 Plans

We are a few weeks in to the new year but I wanted to write about the reflection and the planning for the 2017 that I have been doing.

According to numerology 2016 was a 9 year, which means it was the end of the nine-year cycle that began in 2008. Some would say that this was why 2016 was a difficult year for many people. Clearing out what needed to fall away to make room for new things to come in to our lives.

I used the last week of 2016 to reflect on the past nine years. A lot happened for me in those nine years. 2008 brought a separation from my now husband, a new job, a move back to be near family, my daughter moving schools and suffering anxiety.

The years between then and now saw me move homes twice more, reconcile with my now husband, leave my job as a Social Worker to work from home in a family business. I married, had two more children, brought a house. I have watched my Dad suffer from a devastating terminal disease which took his life in 2011 while I was six months pregnant. I lost my Gran to cancer. I have supported other family members through breast cancer and other illnesses. I have had two miscarriages that left me devastated and been through multiple rounds of IVF. I have also grown a lot as a woman, mother and partner.

A lot happened over those nine years and it was good to reflect on everything I have gone through, the good and the hard times. It made me aware of how resilient I am and how much I have grown through my life experiences.

I am hoping that the next nine-year cycle brings a little more of the happy times and less of the sad times. But, life is a mix of experiences and each experience teaches us something. Honestly, I am grateful to be alive and to experience whatever life sends my way. These last nine years have certainly taught me to enjoy life now, not to be constantly waiting for life to begin. We never know how much more time we have left here.

My 2017 Plans

When I sat down and thought about what I wanted to feel in 2017 (like I wrote about here last week) a few things came to me:

  • I want to feel connected and present with my family and friends.
  • I want to feel that my life flows better. For this to happen I know that I need to de-clutter my house and put some routines and systems in to place.
  • I want to be me. Let myself be seen and not worry about what other people think of me.
  • I want more pleasure in my life. More experiences that make me feel pleasure like massages, sitting by the ocean, more fun, more dancing (pretty sure my sisters wedding later this year will take care of that).
  • I want to nourish my body better with healthier food, more movement and weight bearing exercise.

This year I my 5-year-old is starting school, my 3-year-old starting 3-year-old kinder, and my eldest starting a new phase in her education after finishing year 12 last year. I thought I would join them in their new adventures and have enrolled in a Life Coaching course beginning in May. I am really looking forward to using my Social Work Skills in a new way later in the year. Lots of good stuff happening in my family and my life this year. It will be busy and challenging. I am sure the feeling I want of my life flowing better will be difficult to achieve with all the changes, but I think that is how life goes… full of challenges and good moments. It ebbs and flows.

Do you have any exciting things planned for 2017? Have you thought about how you want to feel this year?