Saturday, January 2, 2016

Exploring playgrounds this school holidays - Faulkner Park, Belmont

I really don't want to waste this school holidays. It feels like every holidays we sit around home and before we know it school is back and we realise all the time we've wasted!

A few weeks ago I found a list on the Kids around Perth website. It listed 10 awesome playgrounds to visit and so James and I decided we are going to visit each of those playgrounds this holidays.

Today we visited Faulkner Park playground in Belmont, Western Australia. It was super hot - 37 degrees! In hindsight not the best weather to be at a playground in the heat of the day! We have been to this playground before on a cooler day and it was much more enjoyable.

Faulkner Park has a big volcano! This is the main draw card for kiddies! You can walk up it (around and around and around) and at the top is a grate in the middle with "steam" (mists of cold water) coming out of it so that from the bottom of the Volcano it looks like it is about to erupt! Pretty cool!

There are some picnic tables - some with shade - and free BBQ's. The main surface areas are a mix of grass, sand and a few areas of sponge (mainly under the little kids area). Grrr - sand. The nemisis of mother's everywhere. Also gets quite hot on days like today.

In one spot there is a very cool flying fox which James was a little too nervous to use (added to the fact that the seat was very hot!) so Nick jumped on and had a go. I think on a cooler day James will be all for it!

Make sure to pack a towel as there are areas of water spouts which you just know the kids are gonna want to play in! Toilets are available but are a short walk across the car park to the leisure centre so you need to leave the playground. The playground is fully enclosed with child safe latches for the gates so no worries about little ones making a run for it - definitely a plus!

All in all, we really enjoyed this park and will go back again on a cooler day. It would be a nice place to have a birthday party.

James has been begging us to create a YouTube channel as he loves watching channels created by other kids and their parents. So today we filmed and created a video of our adventure to Faulkner Park and have uploaded it to a brand new YouTube channel - Adventures with Darcy Dog.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Being honest with myself

It's taken me some time and consideration to write this post.

I have struggled with Post-natal anxiety and depression since having my first son 6.5 years ago. I got much better and came off medication when he was about 4 years old. Since having my second son a year ago, I have again fought the battle of keeping my head above the crashing waves that threaten to pull me under.

I thought I was doing well. I thought I was fine. Then I started to take on far too much. I trained to become a Kangatrainer. I became a Jamberry Consultant. I started a business making and selling children's clothes. Then my husband started working away Mon-Fri. My 6 year old started really missing Daddy and hence his behavior has been 'challenging'. My 1 year old is sick and miserable and just wants time with Mummy. I'm so exhausted at night that I just go straight to bed at 7pm after putting the kids to bed.

I can't keep going like this. Something has got to give or I will end up in a very bad place.

Why is it that we feel like we have to keep up with everyone else? Why is it that we compare ourselves to others? Other Mums who run businesses. Other Mums whose husbands work away. Other Mums who work outside the home. Other Mums with other kids.

I constantly feel like I need to be able to 'do it all'. Have the family, the career, be an entrepreneur, contribute to the family finances, be an attachment parent...

So as I sit here in tears at the end of one of the most stressful and awful weeks, I have made decisions.

1. Let Ollie and Quinn go. Do I love the clothing I created? YES! Do I enjoy making it? Some of the time. Is it causing me stress? YES! Is it worth missing out on my family and countless hours spent in anxiety and frustration? No. Do I feel pressure from others to do it? Yes. Do I want to do it anymore?... I don't know. It's so hard letting this go. I've been told that anything worth having is worth fighting for and that not everything can come easily / just get handed to you. Talk about pressure!

2. Go back to my Doctor to discuss my medication levels and further counseling. We discovered when my 1 yr old was 2 weeks old that I have a chemical imbalance and a wonky thyroid. I think it's time to revisit this.

3. Blog. Not on schedule. Not consistently. But I find it therapeutic. I find that I am better able to understand where I'm at by writing. So don't expect consistent posts but do look for them occasionally.

4. Focus on my children. I have been told that I need to exist outside my kids, that I need to focus on ME. But the more I think about it, being a Mum is what I've always wanted and what I've fought to be able to be. I WANT to be with my children constantly. I WANT to be a stay at home Mum. I WANT to continue breastfeeding my son until HE is ready to ween (not when someone else tells me!) I WANT to slow down and make family time a priority. I am at the stage where I WANT to be enthralled with motherhood and my children. So I'm going to let myself. Seriously - why do I feel like I even need permission??

5. Focus on finding quiet time with God often. In the midst of being busy, I've lost that closeness I have had with God. I miss it so much and I miss God's presence and speaking into my life. How can I hear from Him if I don't have time to listen?

6. Realise that I am allowed to be the Mum I want to be. Not the Mum others say I should be. Not the Mum I see at school. Not the Mum my sisters are. Not the Mum my Mum was. Not the Mum in the books. All of those women are incredible and I admire them. But they aren't me. They don't have my children. They don't have my exact circumstances. They aren't me.

7. Reconnect with my husband. Last night after he finally got home from a work trip at 9.30pm we did something we haven't done in a very long time. We lay in bed and... talked. Holding hands. No phones. No children. No TV. No distractions. Just talk. Just looking at each other. One thing my husband said has been ringing through my mind since last night. "Hello, nice to meet you". He captured the moment exactly. Who are we now? 10 years married in January. We don't have a "bad marriage" by any means and love each other tremendously. But who are we 10 years later? Who have we become?

So here's to being honest. May it continue.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Made it Mondays - Clean eating biscuits

Welcome to Made it Mondays!

This is a new blog series that I am starting based on things I've made on Pinterest. I will be showing you pin's I have made and sharing with you my tips on them - what worked and what I changed. With over 100 followers and over 1800 pins - I have an extensive Pinterest collection. If you would like to follow me on Pinterest here is my profile.

First up is a batch of biscuits I made for back to school on Sunday.

Here is the Pinterest link.

These biscuits were so yummy and best thing is they are healthy, quick, and only consist of 3 ingredients - oats, banana, and chocolate chips!

They take only 15 minutes to cook and are a great way to use up those old bananas that are going off.
I highly recommend them!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Looking back

I have just spent the last half hour re-reading my blog posts surrounding our journey of infertility and with our miscarriages. Tears formed in my eyes as I was taken back to some of those dark, lonely days. Yet here I sit - almost 35 weeks pregnant - spending my days nesting getting ready to greet this new little person.

For those of you who know us well and have journeyed with us these last 4 years we have tried to add a new member to our family, you will know how hard it has been for us. You may have seen the tears, angry outbursts, hopelessness, and grief. You may have listened as we tossed and turned the different options for growing our family around from IVF to foster care to adoption. You may have held our hand as we lost another little life to miscarriage August last year.

I want to take this moment to say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Honestly it has been such a long journey and I still have days where I can't believe we are here, about to welcome a baby into the world.

Thank you for the meals you cooked us.

Thank you for the play dates with James to give us some rest.

Thank you for listening even when you had no idea what to say in response.

Thank you for crying with us.

Thank you for encouraging us.

Thank you for distracting us when we needed time out.

But most of all, I want to say to those who are still on the journey, to those who are still waiting for their 'rainbow' baby or even their first baby, to those who have suffered loss through miscarriage, still birth and child loss - I want to say to you that I love you so much and my heart is so full for you. I have felt your pain. I have walked where you walked - perhaps not exactly the same steps but a similar journey just the same. I just want to be able to love you in any way I can and yet often I have no idea how, despite having been there myself.

I want to encourage you not with empty words and promises that it gets better or that eventually you will receive your long waited for child. The harsh reality is that sometimes this just isn't the truth of it. I want to encourage you to discover who you are in the middle of the journey. While looking back at old blog posts I found two that brought to light how I spent time doing this just before we found out we were pregnant this 4th time around.

One post I wrote was on Identity. It looked at where we get our identity from which is particularly relevant when we feel like failures due to our lack of being able to conceive and carry a child to full term. Another post was about Reflecting and making changes. I encourage you to have a read and perhaps take this time to really evaluate how you are doing and where you are going. I'm not talking about increasing your self image or trying to justify things. I'm hoping that you will be able to discover more about who God made you to be and who you are in Him. I'm hoping that you will draw closer to Him and get your needs met by Him and not by the flimsy things of this world that can fall away in an instant. I'm hoping that despite what heartache you are currently going through that you will find rest in this time of reflection, that you will find space to grieve and space to process. I'm hoping that by doing these things and taking the time to really look at your life that you will be able to come to a new understanding and a new hope for whatever the future holds, knowing that God's plan truly is the best possible for you no matter how much we want things to be different sometimes. It made me laugh seeing a post two months before we discovered we were pregnant this time around that I had written about putting a pause on our fertility journey and how because of what I had been doing by reflecting and looking at identity, that I was ok with taking this time out. I am not in anyway suggesting the dreaded "just stop trying to get pregnant and it will happen". I know this isn't helpful and don't believe it for a second! I just find it a blessing that when I took the focus off ME and put it on HIM that I became better equipped to walk the path we had to walk.

I pray that you will find some rest and peace dear ones. I pray that things happen for you as you dream they would. But most of all I pray for you to be able to still find the joy and blessing that life is even in the midst of the trials and pain. I pray that you will find there is still life to be lived and that it doesn't have to be taken over by your pain. There is a release waiting for you, a God who wants to carry that pain and burden if you will let Him. So take a leap and let go. Face it and then allow Him to comfort you as you mourn and deal with the hard times. I hope that soon there will be a time when you can look back and see your journey through different eyes, as a journey that built your character.

We also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

*I love reading your comments! Thanks! *

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pancreatic Cancer

Recently my family has been rocked with the sudden news that my Dad has terminal Pancreatic Cancer. It seems to have come out of nowhere and we are all pulling together to help Dad and each other through this time.

My Dad is being so incredibly strong throughout his diagnosis and his Chemo treatment. Whilst suffering through pain and illness, he is still attending his grandchildren's birthday parties, his rugby club's rugby games, and having a laugh with family and friends at church. He is so strong in his faith and it is really inspiring to those around him.

My siblings and I (with special thanks to Steven and Sarah who set it up!) have set up a fundraiser to help Mum and Dad out at this time with the medical and life expenses they are facing whilst not being able to work due to the nature of the treatments and illness. My brother Joe is going to shave his head if we can raise $5k. Our Mum has also courageously put her hand up to say that she too will shave her head if we reach $15k. Several other family members including my husband Nick have said they will join them too to help the fundraising. The more we raise - the more family members that will shave their heads!

If you would like to keep updated on Dad's progress and also check out the fundraising photos and videos that will be uploaded as they happen, please take the time to check out our fundraising website here. If you would like to donate that would also be fantastic - the website is secure and done via credit/debit card using the Paypal system (which you don't have to have a paypal account to use). Please feel free to share this around to help us reach our goals!

Thanks everyone for your support!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Our Children

Today is a special day. Today is the day we were due to have our little baby we lost at 6 weeks last August. It has me thinking about our children.

March 25th 2008, the due date of our first child. I spent the day crying and writing a letter to our precious little one who we named Jessie when we miscarried on the 12th of August at 9 weeks pregnant. We had spent 7 months trying to conceive and were thrilled to find out we were expecting a baby! Sadly a few days after we found out I spent a day in hospital while our baby slowly passed from my body. I hadn't had any symptoms of pregnancy and with my cycle being all over the place we didn't know we were pregnant until I was nearly 9 weeks.

James and I at Taylor Dam in New Zealand, the place Nick and I had gone to cry after we miscarried 2 years earlier.

In August we will celebrate James' 5th birthday! He is our second child even though many consider him to be our first. We will always remember our Jessie even though we never got the chance to know if we are remembering a boy or girl. Of course instead of explaining all of this to most people we just answer with "yes, James is our only child". Sometimes it's just not worth it to get into an explanation with a stranger.

Our big school boy :)

James has been our blessing and our bright spark. We love him so terribly much and are so thankful to have his smiley little face in our lives. He brings us so much joy even amidst the trialling times of parenting. James my darling, I love you!

We recently named our little one we lost in August Bailey. Today we would have been due to have this little one and celebrate his or her arrival. Again sadly we miscarried at 6 weeks. I didn't have any symptoms except extreme nausea but that had continued on from the fertility medication I had taken so I'm not sure if it was pregnancy related as my hormone levels were not very high.

Today we have reason to celebrate as well. In November we will welcome our 4th child! We are incredibly blessed to have conceived NATURALLY with no fertility assistance as we had put off trying while I was in the beginning stages of my year of study so we wouldn't be due before my school year finishes. Sometimes for all our plans God knows a better way and better timing and we will be due the day my oral presentation of my literature review / thesis is due! I am not sure what's going to happen with study yet but we will figure that out. Unlike all my other pregnancies (including James) symptoms this time have been very present! All day nausea and some dry retching (ugh), breasts that feel like they've been hit with baseball bats, extreme tiredness, and crying at the drop of a hat (or Nick saying he didn't like the nursery colours I picked out - he was joking but I burst into tears!) My blood tests have all come back very strong and this in conjunction with my strong symptoms encourages us that this little one is going strong.

At just over 7 weeks, I have had people wonder why we have told some people this early - especially when we have had two miscarriages in the past. Nick and I talked about what we wanted to do and in the end we decided that we really appreciated the support and understanding we got from our family and friends during our miscarriages. It would have been hard for us to go through that alone. Another reason, and my main one, is that we consider this baby to be a real, live baby even from this young. We will celebrate our children no matter how long we have them. If you knew that your child was only going to live until their 1st birthday, would you remained worried, ignoring and not acknowledging that child with your family and friends, trying not to be excited and thankful for that year? Or would you cherish each moment, each milestone, each day you get to spend with that child. For us we are choosing to be positive and to cherish these days. After all, none of us know how long our children will be with us anyway.

So please, whilst I appreciate your concern for our 'premature excitement' - keep it to yourself. We have decided to celebrate this little miracle every day we have him or her with us - both in the womb and once they are born. Celebrate with us!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Good Wife - Part 4

Welcome to part 4!

7. Listen to him.
You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the right time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Ok. First off I will say that I don't agree with the last part of that point - his topics of conversation being more important than yours.

Putting that aside, have you ever come home and been barraged with complaints and quick talk that doesn't let up? Ever think "Gee, just let me get in the door first!"? The moment when your husband gets home should be a moment of greeting and a sigh of relief for both of you. Time to just spend a couple minutes having a kiss and a hug and greeting each other again. Often James will run up to Nick as soon as he walks in the door, jabbering away with quick conversation. Nick will often respond with "just let me put my things away and get changed first buddy". He needs a moment to sort himself out first and not be smothered by information. 

8. Make the evening his.
Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, and his real need to be at home and relax.

This point again is one I have contention with. We plan our evenings together with what we are going to do. Whether this be heading out to a Bible study, relaxing at home, or one of us going out to spend time with friends. I believe that both of us need a time out at night time, one of us from work and the other from a day of juggling our son and study. I do not however begrudge Nick a night out or a night of peace - time to himself. It is more often me going out at night to see friends than Nick so if he ever mentions going out I'll happily agree and encourage him in it. We usually prefer to go out to friends places together anyway. I do understand "his real need to be at home and relax" though. Having had 8 hours at work plus a 3 hour round trip to get there and back - Nick needs and deserves a night of peace and relaxation!

9. Your goal.
Try to make sure that your home is a place of peace and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit

You may have guessed already but yes - this IS my goal. I must be the first to admit here that recently our home has been chaotic with me starting study and with house guests. One of the last things it has been is peaceful and tranquil! There are still times of quiet rest and time to renew though. I haven't been the best at creating this in the past couple of weeks and really feel I have dropped the ball on this one. I find I am getting grumpy and short-tempered quickly and it is something I am going to work on. 

Yes - I want to aim for this goal. No - we don't always have it in our house. Yes - sometimes that is because of me, my fault. No - I am not going to try and hide this. Yes - I want to be open and honest so that you understand that these are guidelines, helpful hints, suggestions that will not always be able to be perfectly followed. I don't hold myself to a standard of perfection. Rather I aim to do my best and hope that the shortfalls along the way can become lessons for myself, my family and others. 

I am a real person. A real woman. One who is flawed in many ways but who also aims to be the woman God created me to be. I won't hide from this world and will share my struggles and triumphs equally when it is appropriate.