A-Z of Gratitude: J is for June 21

I’m so grateful that we have passed the shortest day of the year. Winter solstice has come and gone, so we are marching toward spring!
Yes, we still have two months of winter, but at least our daylight hours are on the rise.
Living in Tasmania we tend to get cold fingers, toes and noses. We feel a tad caged up for a few months, but there are many things to love about this time of year. We have the majestic, snow capped Mount Wellington to gaze upon from our living room window, and it’s only 30 minutes drive to play in the snow. While the air is crisp outside, we enjoy the streaming sunlight that warms the house.

Meals are hearty and comforting as we dust off the slow cooker, light candles and open a bottle of red wine.
We snuggle under blankets while we read or watch movies together.
Board games and card games make a big comeback.
We enjoy cozy days at home in our track pants or if you’re name is Asher, pajamas all day!
Hot chocolates and marshmallows are enjoyed at the “family cafe.” (aka our dining table)

Winter changes our pace and brings us together.
Cold hands, warm heart.

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Back to basics

Having an attitude of gratitude is easy-peasy when things are going as we want them to. But I know that gratitude is an attitude, so today I am thankful for the lessons and reminders that come our way when circumstances are not ideal.
You may have looked at our changing rooms photos from a week ago. During the afternoon I managed to twinge my back. It’s been a niggley that’s developed into somewhat of an ouchy. I’m now under the doctors instruction to rest so that it can repair. There’s a problem with a disc, but she’s very confident that I’ll be sorted in a few weeks.
So in the meantime, I’m sitting here with my granny hot water bottle reading and watching the final of The Voice.
My husband has back pain everyday and rarely complains. This is quite a feat, as all the back pain sufferers out there would know. I am amazed at his ability to give attention to the things that are good, and not feed the pain with attention. Too often we grumble too quickly (not my hubby!!) We whine and complain about things that don’t really matter, like long queues in the shops, or coffee that’s not warm enough. Just the other day a few cars away from us a woman honking her horn impatiently when there was simply nowhere the driver in front could have gone. I was confronted with how cranky human beings can be about things that have no lasting consequence. I don’t want to be that person.
So tonight I am thankful and I’m reminded that horn honking when someone or circumstances slow us down doesn’t get us anywhere. It just tends to frustrate those around us. We all have our “stuff”. That’s just life. But I’m hoping to get through this hurdle without honking my horn too much.

A-Z of Gratitude: I is for Isaac

The moment I saw Isaac for the first time, I just kept saying, “It’s a baby! It’s a baby!” Goodness knows what the midwife thought. I am not sure why I was so surprised that I gave birth to an actual human being. Maybe it was because the idea of a baby was wonderful, but the reality of a baby was simply overwhelming! I was in awe that this tiny person was OURS. When we left the hospital to take our firstborn home, I was waiting for someone to stop me. I couldn’t believe they would let us take him. We had no idea what we were doing, we had no experience and they let us walk away with a baby. To keep. Forever.
It is almost 7 years on from that moment that changed us forever. That tiny baby kept us awake for a year, and we survived. He showed us his determination from day one. He showed us his resilience when he had to wear an eye patch from age 3 for hours a day. He still needs to do this, but for much less time.
He is compassionate, funny and intelligent. He is a bookworm, a Lego maniac and a wonderful artist. He thinks deeply and feels deeply. He also has a degree of unpredictability that has us in hysterics.
He annoys his brother at times, as his brother annoys him. Sometimes it drives me crazy when they upset one another, but then I see something, as I did this evening: both of them on the couch, snuggled into each other. I just stared. It was a moment i didn’t want to miss- they are brothers, they are sons, they are a miraculous gift.
Here are some Isaac moments in pictures. We are grateful for our sons.

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A-Z of Gratitude: H is for Holidays!

School holidays awaken feelings of dread for so many parents. Call me strange, but I dread the holidays coming to an end! We are fast approaching the end of three weeks of school holidays. I know I’m incredibly blessed to have Matt home for these holidays- people remind me of this all the time. Smart decision to marry a teacher;)

Apart from the odd sibling brutality, we have really enjoyed one another’s company. We are all bookworms, so if one of us has our head in a book, it’s a good indication that we want some time out. We have 57 library books out at the moment,  so there’s been quite a bit of “head in book” action.

Here’s a photo story of some of our holiday fun. We had a very simple, relaxed time. Lots of quality time together drawing, reading, creating and relishing the beautiful winter sunshine! The simple things win.

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A-Z of Gratitude: G is for Graffiti

How often have you tried to divert the eyes of your children from graffiti that would make your grandmother’s hair stand on end? Before kids can read we don’t care if they see the “F bomb” plastered on toilet walls or street signs. To them its just another word. Then the hours of sounding letters out pays off, and they can read. But there are some sounds we don’t want them to try putting together.

Graffiti is everywhere, and sometimes it’s worth looking at. The general public toilet graffiti usually bores me. Not that I’m ever hanging around long enough to do a review. I can’t get out of public toilets fast enough (that’s a whole different blog right there)! In saying that, a few weeks back I couldn’t help but notice the beginnings of an advice column happening in a cubicle. I was even tempted to scratch my own pearls of wisdom on the door, but I resisted the urge. My graffiti days are over (and I’ve got a few doozy graffiti stories!)

Today, we saw the best graffiti ever. We encouraged our kids to read it, and no pretend diversions were needed. We even took a photo. Being bookworms, we’d just visited the library. As we left, this is what we saw:

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Bookworms unite!

Wake up calls

Waking up when you have kids can be a new experience everyday.
Us parents hear all kinds of things upon waking, but one of the most memorable for me will be what I heard last week. The lads came into my room and this was the discourse:

Asher: Mummy!! Isaac hurt my brain!
Isaac: I said I was sorry! He slammed his knuckles into my eyeball…

It was a colorful day.
Ah, I wonder what the parents of daughters hear when they wake in the mornings?

Thrifty and Nifty

They say a change is as good as a holiday. I’m not sure about you, but it’d either have to be an insanely cool change or a really crappy holiday to make that statement ring true for many people. We have had some changes around here in the past 24 hours, and I feel like I’m on a holiday. You probably think I need to get out more… I’ve decided that changing rooms is almost as good as a renovation!

My friend Betsy visited yesterday and we were inspired to create a few entirely different spaces in our small home. Matt was outside mowing the lawns and came inside to utter chaos! We did not spend a cent, but it looks like we spent up big. What a wonderful buzz to repurpose and reimagine spaces and pieces. I think I can safely say I’m Queen of Thrift these days:

thrift·y/ˈTHriftē/ Adjective: (of a person or their behavior) Using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.

A rundown of the switcheroo:

We removed a black futon that was sharing our dining space  and put it in the kids play room, which is now referred to as the “kids only lounge”.

Here’s Bets and Isaac enjoying the new space.

We then took the playroom drawers, full of train tracks, dinosaurs and all kinds of imaginative and playful things, and transferred it to the dining area. Sounds crazy? Not when you embrace the fact that kids want to be where Mum and Dad are. It gets tiring trying to motivate children to pack their toys away. This way, they have an area where they can play to their hearts content and they can reduce the laps up and down the hall to pack up.

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Living in a small house means we have to make use of every nook! This area, now a quirky, creative space used to be almost bare and a source of frustration for me. Now it has a purpose! I can’t wait to make use of this new space. This desk used to be in our bedroom, becoming a dumping ground for stuff. Now we have more space in our bedroom, and a new nook in the open plan space. 20120611-213345.jpg

We painted a bookshelf that was a bit useless to the boys (not deep enough!). This sits nicely against the desk and is a neat way to disguise creative mess. 20120611-213452.jpg

I’m happy that my dear grandparents vintage radio now has a place to be admired, and to serve as a physical reminder to me of the many mornings I heard the crackle of radio news while I ate breakfast in their kitchen as a young girl.

Thrifty sure is nifty.

Lazy days at home

We are well and truly in school holiday mode. I remember when I was growing up most days were spent in and around home during school breaks. In our society, days at home can be as rare as hen’s teeth for some families. We aim to have a sustainable pace for the sanity of our family. After a few really late (but fun!) nights for our family, we knew that a home day was in order. No car trips. No agenda.

Here’s a collage of our lazy home day.

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Lego mini fig head count got to approximately 120!

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Matt and I played cards whilst it rained outside.

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Home baked gluten free bread.

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Washing inside, raining outside!

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20120605-195534.jpgDinner was enjoyed by all. Slow cooked lamb casserole, perfect for a cold, wintery evening.

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Isaac has to wear an eye patch once a week to strengthen his weaker eye.

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Now the lads are in bed and I’m in my PJ’s about to enjoy a glass of red. X

A-Z of Gratitude- F is for Firsts

When is the last time you did something for the first time?

Kids have firsts all the time – first ice cream, first camping trip, first vomit in the back seat of the car on the way to said camping trip, first time riding with two wheels, first time drawing on your friend’s walls with texts…you get the drift.  But there comes a time in our lives when firsts are at risk of extinction and become few and far between. This is a sad reality of being “all grown up” for so many. One sure way to remain adventurous and be an interesting and fun person is to keep having firsts!!  What are the most recent firsts you could tell us about? I’d love to hear them!

 

A few of my recent firsts:

Our first night in a caravan earlier this year – usually tent campers, we purchased an old school pop top for some family adventures.

My first taste of octopus terrine with some girlfriends at a tapas restaurant last week. Delish.

My first furniture restoration project, almost completed.

First day at a new job yesterday! This job will be perfect for our family situation and I’m excited and thankful for a new opportunity to work with young people.

The first teenage trilogy I’ve ever read turned out to be addictive! (The Hunger Games.)

No, there’s no jumping out of planes or glacier climbing adventures on my list, but firsts are always an adventure, no matter how tame they may seem. Sometimes a first becomes a lifelong love, other times it’s a case of first and final. Either way, I don’t want my kids to have ALL the fun of firsts.