Friday, January 24, 2014

The Good Wife Guide - Part 3

First off - my apologies for not posting last week. Things caught up on me. Here is part three...

4. Prepare the children.
    Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces, comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

5. Minimise all noise.
    At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

6. Be happy to see him.
    Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

I am doing these three points together this week. To me they all seem to fit together. It is all about the environment and mood your husband comes home to.

My husband travels almost 1.5 hours to and from work each day. That's 3 hours of travel a day! He leaves the house just after 6am to start work early at around 7.30am. Then he works until 4 / 4.30pm and heads home again so he can spend time with our son before he goes to bed. That is one busy day!

Imagine the noise of public transport. The hours at work amongst colleagues. The busyness of the city. I think making home that bit more peaceful and calm when he gets home is necessary! I have said in previous posts that I want our home to be a haven. A calm place. A refuge from the crazy busyness of the world. I will talk more on making my home a haven, calm place and refuge for others in another post about hospitality.

When my hubby gets home from work he is met with happy smiles and excited cries from our son. At least this is what happens most days when we are not having tantrums! James loves it when Dad gets home! Nick often has to say "hang on buddy, just let me take off my shoes first and get changed" as James just wants to smother him. It is not usually quiet when my hubby gets home which is something I do want to work on. Often Nick and James will settle down for some quiet activity (lego, Wii) while I finish dinner though and have some time out together. As for James being neat and clean - he is usually getting ready for dinner then so has washed hands etc anyway. I'm not sure about the kids "playing the part" of angels though :p

I try to make it a priority to greet my husband at the door when he comes home. This dates back to our days when we were engaged. We completed pre-marital counselling which was required by the church we were getting married at - something I would strongly recommend to anyone getting married! During our counselling we were asked to name three things we would like the other person to do for us more often. One of the things Nick asked was that I greet him at the door when he comes home from work. I had done that several times when he had come home from University and he really appreciated a happy, smiling, kissing woman to greet him at the end of the day. Now days that we are married and living together, it still puts a huge smile on his face when I come down the hallway and give him a big ol' smooch when he gets home. It's one of the ways we keep a "spark" in our relationship. James giggles and thinks it's funny when Mum and Dad have a kiss and cuddle in the hallway or the kitchen. It often ends with each of us putting a hand under his arm and lifting him up to join in the hugs and kisses. He loves it - and so do we.

 It has been famously said...

I absolutely agree! The same goes for Mothers.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

An up / down week

This week has been both good and bad.

The good:

I was incredibly blessed to receive in the mail a copy of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. Wow! It was such a wonderful surprise! I'm thinking that someone who reads my blog has had it sent to me and whoever you are - I am so so thankful! I absolutely love it! I have only read snip-its so far but it's awesome!

Another awesome exciting part of my week was my doctors visit today. I just went for something small but while I was there they got me to jump on the scales and I was excited to discover that I have reached my goal weight of 60kg! I am so excited! So over the past 4 months I have lost 16kg total! Yippeee! I also measured my mannequin which I had set to my measurements in October and discovered that when compared to my measurements now, I have lost between 2-3 inches (5-8cm) all over! No wonder why my dress I wore at a wedding that I made in October doesn't fit anymore! So I have adjusted my mannequin and it is now on it's tightest setting for the hips and waist. Oh dear - better not lose any more or I won't be able to use the mannequin! So I am very excited anyway. I feel so much lighter and now when I pick up my 17kg son (just 1kg more than I used to have in excess weight) I can't believe I carried around all that extra weight! No wonder I was tired!

The bad/sad news this week for me is the Doctor Who experience coming up in March. "Whoniverse" is something I've been so excited about since it was announced in December with the chance to meet my favorite Doctor - Matt Smith! He is going to be joined by Karen "Amy Pond" Gillan and Arthur "Rory Williams" Darvill. Wow what a trio to have down under! This is the first (and most likely ONLY) time they will be in Australia and will be a once in a lifetime experience!

Sadly, prices were announced yesterday and the price just for entry is $150. I was prepared for that and somehow hopeful to be able to sell product and raise the money to pay this and then save up to purchase photographs and autographs in March while there. Unfortunately due to time and other restraints - photo opportunities and autograph opportunities will only be given to those who purchase the $650 Silver tickets or $950 Gold tickets! I am so sad and disappointed! If I had time I would save for the $650 but sadly the tickets will go on sale within the fortnight. It would have been the most incredible thing to meet these people and get photos with them. Wow I get a bit fan-girly giggly just thinking about it LOL. I'm not sure how I'd actually react if I got to meet "Doctor" Matt Smith! I think I'd giggle and just get really flustered! I did much the same when I met Colin Ferguson from Eureka at Comic Con last year!

So yes - I am a total geek / fangirl / freak / Whovian! I still hope and pray that somehow a miracle would get me a Silver ticket but I am working hard to make a general admission ticket possible. Fingers crossed aye!

*Thank you for your comments! I really love to read them!*

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Time for a break

Sigh. Another month. Another failed attempt to make a baby.

But this month is different. This month, I'm ok with the failure. I am a little sad but honestly ok.

You see this year I have made the decision to go back to study. I have one more year to go until I will be a practising counsellor! This last year has been on hold since I got pregnant with James and now that he is starting school, it's time to realise my dream. I made this decision after going through the fertility stuff this month so didn't know if I would be tackling both baby and study at once. Now I know I will be able to concentrate on my study. So we won't be doing fertility for the next 3 months until I wouldn't have a due date during my study. 

I am becoming more and more surprised though that the further I get from our second miscarriage, the more ok I am becoming about not getting pregnant again. I don't know if it's God working on my heart or just changing expectations. I am just getting the feeling that perhaps I won't have any more 'natural' children. I still want more kids, don't get me wrong on that. It's just that I'm starting to feel more drawn and open to foster care and adoption. I've always had a heart to adopt and Nick and I were foster carers in New Zealand before we moved here. With the proposed changes to foster-to-adopt and adoption that Tony Abbott is making, this is becoming more and more possible for us. 

So I'm ok this month. I am looking forward to studying this year and hope to bring some insights from what I am learning to my blog posts. 

*Thank you for your comments! I really enjoy reading them!*

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Good Wife Guide - Part Two

Today I will cover points 2 and 3.

2. Prepare yourself.
    Take 15 minute to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it. 

I like to look good for my husband. Over the last 5 months after our second miscarriage, I have lost 14 kg (2 to go until my goal weight!!) Losing this weight has really helped me to become aware of my personal appearance. I'm not saying in a vain prideful way, but in a way that I look after myself and try to make more of an effort to present myself in a clean, tidy and nice way. I am usually still in bed when my husband leaves for work at 6am. If I have put some effort into my appearance that day and dress nicely and put a little make-up on, he really seems to notice it and compliments me with smiles and sneaky cuddles when he gets home. 

Let's face it. Men are designed to be approving of things that are beautiful visually. This is why the porn industry attracts more male customers than female. I want to be the most beautiful woman my husband has seen all day. The woman that makes him want to come home quickly to spend time with at the end of the day. 
I have also found that it really benefits me to have a few minutes rest in the late afternoon (usually just before he gets home). It's good to put my feet up with my son while he watches a little TV and have a breather before the madness of dinner, bath and bedtime descends. 

3. Clear away clutter. 
    Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up school books, toys, papers, etc and then run a dust cloth over the tables. Over the winter months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

This is something I have been working on lately. I get my son to help and we go through the house at around 4.30/5pm before my husband gets home and just put things back in their place. I must admit though that I very rarely dust and it is something I should probably think more about! I do wipe down the kitchen bench and clear everything away though. It helps us to have the house tidied up from the day's activities before dinner time so that we can eat, play outside with the neighbours and catch up with them after dinner, quick bath and then story time and bed to finish off the day. 
I would LOVE to have a fireplace to have a nice warm spot for my husband to put his feet up and take a breather when he gets home in the winter months. We get more hot weather here in Western Australia than cold so we have air conditioning only installed in our house. In the summertime I will have my husband give me a text when his train is nearly at our station so I can give him a ride home so he doesn't have to walk the 10 minutes in the high heat. If he walks home I will get him a tall glass of ice cold water to help cool him down after his sweaty walk home. 

Who wants to come home to this??

My husband works really hard in often boring and tiring situations at the office. I love the fact that he can come home (when I am organised and following this advice) and find rest and relaxation. I don't want him to come home to chaos and mess so that he has to brace himself before he walks in the door. It really helps our whole household by creating this haven. I definitely get a lift from it! I DO get satisfaction from providing some comfort and care to my husband. I love him and want to make our home the calm port in the storm of life. 

*Thanks to everyone who has been commenting! I really enjoy reading them!*

Friday, January 3, 2014

Reflecting and making changes 2014

2013. Hard year. One of my hardest.

Today I have been sitting in my newly organised and clean bedroom (with drawers!!) in my rocking chair and having some me time while James sleeps (he's TOTALLY going through a growth spurt!) I have intended to do these reflection pages created by a friend of mine - Amanda Viviers - for a few days now but our house has been full and busy. You can read Amanda's blog and download the reflection pages here.

I must say, these pages were great! I had been thinking during the last month that I could not wait to get out of 2013 and move on to brighter futures. My thoughts were that 2013 was nothing but an awful year. While doing these pages and writing down my answers, it became clear to me the good things that happened in 2013. Things that had been overshadowed by the negative experiences.

What was surprising is that EVERY SINGLE ONE of these things were to do with spending quality time alone with Nick and as a family with James. These are the times I value the most. My greatest moments of 2013 were when I was surrounded and spending quality time with my family. Quality time. Not watching TV. Not sitting in the same room on two different laptops. Not sewing while James plays in the other room. Quality time. My surprise weekend away with Nick. The times we have gone out as a family for a special day (even sometimes the movies). Going to Comic Con with Nick and again with James the second day. Our trip to New Zealand. Playing board games with Nick. Dreaming about our future. Talking. Sharing smiles and cheeky grins over the top of James' head when he does something funny, geeky, silly, or intelligent.

And so at the end of my reflections today, I am left not remembering 2013 for the hard year it was but remembering the beautiful. Remembering the gentle. Remembering the kind. Remembering the funny. Remembering the sweet. Remembering those quick secret moments of joy.

Two of the final prompts in the reflection pages talk about what you are prepared to do differently in 2014. So instead of New Year's Resolutions, this year I am just going to aim to work on these areas:

  • Limit TV time. Turn it off when you're not actually purposefully watching something.
  • Monthly out-of-the-house dates with Nick.
  • Walking to school with James to grow in my health and fitness.
  • Allow myself at least 1 hour a week of journal writing or reflection time alone.
  • Keep the house in a better state of cleanliness and order (which I've been already working on the last month or so). Re-do the garden!
  • Be more disciplined with my time.
  • Save money.
  • Value James and spend more one on one QUALITY time with him.
  • Make more of an effort to connect with God. 
  • Make relationships a priority. 
  • Don't be satisfied with 'just passing' my study - aim to get great results!
  • Say NO! I over commit often - I will be saying no more often this year.
  • Be more disciplined with my blogging.
  • Complete at least 7 things on my 30 before 30 list.
Why not head on over to Amanda's blog and do these reflection pages for yourself?

The Good Wife Guide - Part One

Today I will address the first point of the Good Wife Guide.

1. Have Dinner ready.
Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

My husband is ALWAYS hungry when he gets home from work. He travels just over an hour each way to work everyday and by the time he gets home it is around 6pm. This one just makes sense in our house. If I don't have a meal ready by the time he gets home, we eat much later and our son is tired and cranky and well past hungry. That's the practical side of it. 

I am a stay-at-home Mum and yes most of these things are more suited to someone in my situation. I don't expect it would be an easy thing to do if you worked full time. You may even get home after your husband does. This is where the attitude comes in. Of course you don't have to cook each night. My husband shares the cooking and helps out most nights. Let me put it this way for you:

Imagine. You get home after a busy day and pull into the driveway just as your husband also arrives home. Both of you are tired and have had crazy days at work. Both of you just want to relax and unwind. Your husband turns to you and says "Honey, go and lie down or read some more of that book you are reading. I'll sort dinner out". He won't take no for an answer. You gratefully lie down on your comfortable bed and read your latest novel obsession all the while hearing him potter around the kitchen. He comes in to tell you dinner is ready and you go out to find he has cooked your favourite meal all ready for you, just the way you like it. 

Ok. So what do you feel right now? Are you grateful? Relaxed? Impressed? Feeling full of love and appreciation for your husband? He didn't have to do that for you. It was his choice to put you above himself and give you time out. Take that feeling and realise that this is the gift you can give him when you choose to serve him in this way. 

But what about me you ask? What about my needs? Why should he get let off the hook and I do all the work?

It is this kind of attitude that can be lethal to a marriage. Me, Me, Me, Me. If both partners of a marriage went into it only thinking about themselves, what would that look like? How would that help create an atmosphere of love and selflessness? How will that teach your children to be caring and kind?

You can't do anything about your husband's motives apart from nagging him (unless of course he reads this and takes on board the advice as well). All you can control is yourself and your motives. Who knows, just like it made you feel loved and want to be thankful and reciprocate when you thought of your husband cooking for you like that - maybe your actions doing that will encourage him to be more giving as well.