Making it Work!

When asked the question – what do you want in a house? most people say 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 living areas, double lock up garage and the like! We are at the point in our lives where those things would be perfect, but you have to live within your means, so for now we have to just make do!

I love our house. It will always have a special place in my heart because it is the first home we bought and the first home our three cherubs have lived in. Our home only has three bedrooms, so when I fell pregnant with Mia we had to make some decisions. Of course we thought about moving. But with moving comes the extra expenses, bigger mortgage and we like to live comfortably so decided to make do with what we have.

One option was to create a space in our room for the baby so Bailey and Sienna could keep their own rooms. I wasn’t really keen on that option….a husband and wife deserve their own space where they can retire to at the end of a busy day! Another option was to put the girls in together, but knowing a newborn wakes so frequently, I didn’t want my eldest daughter to be disturbed by that. So the final option which the kids were all for, was for Bailey and Sienna to share!

At first I wasn’t keen. My husband preferred not either, but is was the most common sense option and I was determined to make it work! We discussed with the kids what they wanted in terms of themes and colours. I had this idea where I wanted to divide the room straight down the middle and one side be a girl’s theme and the other be a boy’s theme. The kids loved that idea so that is what we did! They both kept the theme they had in their own rooms – African animals for Bay and butterflies and flowers for Sie:)

This is how it turned out:

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Bailey has one half of the room and Sienna has the other half!

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Bailey’s side:)

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Sienna’s side:)

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I chose photos to put on the door that depict how close and inseparable they can be:)

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This is my favourite photo of them. They have taken to sharing a room way better than I thought! Good learning curve for them too:)

It’s been 18 months since Bay and Sie started sharing and they both never complain about it. They love the comfort of another person in the room at night when they are sleeping, which may be a concern when they are separated! There were some teething problems at the beginning with going to sleep and waking each other in the mornings, but like anything new they settled quite quickly. The only thing that has been a challenge is a timeout area. Our kids are sent to sit on their bed for timeout so if they are both sent (which has only been a few times) one goes to the laundry and the other their bed!

Sometimes in life we are faced with situations that aren’t always ideal, but you just have to make do and make it work, until the time is right to get exactly what you want! The next move for us will be to either put the girls in together, move to a bigger house or keep renovating our home and build on an extension. I don’t have my heart set on anything at this stage, as long as we are happy, healthy and together…that is all that matters!

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A Surreal Moment in Time!

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My last few days before my nightmare started were spent at my favourite place – the beach!

It’s been almost 18 months since I was delivered the news….”you have a bicuspid aortic valve and a dilated aorta!”……say what!

I was in the third trimester of my 3rd pregnancy when I started experiencing heart palpitations. I remember watching television one night and I said to my husband that I felt nervous like I was about to present a speech to a thousand people! A couple of nights later, I went to bed only to be disturbed by the loud thumping of my heart, to the point where I thought it was going to jump out of my chest! I had a routine appointment that week with my GP who noticed I had an irregular heart beat. I explained to him the episodes I’d been having so I was put on an EEG machine to monitor my heart rate. Nothing serious showed as did nothing serious show in my bloods. I was told to take it easy and come back if anything got worse!

Heart palpitations can be something pregnant women experience so at the time my GP said it could just be pregnancy related. I continued having palpitation episodes so when I went for my 36 week check up at the Mater, my GP wrote a note about what I’d been experiencing. I saw a really lovely obstetrician that day who thankfully was thorough. She agreed that the heart palpitations were probably pregnancy related, but because I’d had two other pregnancies with no signs of them, they wanted to be cautious and run some routine tests.

This involved having an echocardiograph (heart scan) and I had to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours to monitor my heart’s activity! Nothing significant showed up on the heart monitor, but my echo results were a different story! I didn’t have a gut feeling something was wrong, I went in thinking everything was going to be fine. My sister came with me that day. Mum and dad were on holidays and Kane had to work. This day was the beginning of a whirlwind of events……!

The doctor went through my results with me and explained my echo had showed that I had a bicuspid aortic valve when normally it’s tricuspid and my aorta was dilated 4.5cm, 5cm being severe! At first I was shocked that the results weren’t normal like I thought, then there were a million questions running through my mind? What does this mean? How serious is it? Will I be ok? Will my baby be ok?

That day was spent seeing a few different doctors and I was left with differing opinions. One doctor was happy for me to have a normal delivery, but my cardiologist preferred that I have a c-section because this being a rare condition in females meant there wasn’t enough research to support either way! I was told to go away and think about it for a couple of days and come back for a round table discussion with a heap of different doctors in the coming days….what else could I think about now???

I was due to go down the coast for a few days with my beautiful family and nothing was stopping me from doing that! This would be our last family holiday as a family of four and I needed the R n R! The weather was bliss! The kids were having a ball and I was like a beached whale! I wasn’t too stressed over my heart as I knew I was being looked after by the best and they wouldn’t have let me leave the hospital if I was going to cark it on the spot….and then the phone call that changed everything!!!!!

I will never forget this moment as long as I live! One of my obstetricians rang to say they wanted me to consent to a c-section over the phone incase I went into labour over the weekend and the staff needed to assist my case wouldn’t be on! I was hearing words like: aortic valve rupture, mortality, danger, risk, unknown….what the?? I got off the phone and was a mess to say the least! I couldn’t speak. Mum and dad were with me as Kane was meeting us after work. They kept asking what was wrong and I just couldn’t stop crying…the reality of the cards I’d been dealt had finally sunk in!

I wasn’t prepared to make any decisions; one without my husband and two without the advice of the doctors from the meeting that was going to be held! My sister, who is in the medical field, did a heap of research for me and the risks of having a baby via a natural birth or c-section were similar, but again nothing was very conclusive because this condition is more dominant in males. I was left guttered and confused!

Kane and I decided to finish our family holiday and wait to make a decision until after I’d met with all the medical professions involved! I remember the day of the meeting and walking up the Mater Hospital hill feeling sick to my stomach! I walked into the conference room to a round table of various people. The head of the Mater obstetrics started the meeting and I remember sitting there looking around, listening to what was being said and thinking I can’t believe this….these things don’t happen to me, I watch tv shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice where these things happen, but I can’t believe this is actually happening to me! It really was a surreal moment in time!

I left that meeting with a plan. The plan was that I was able to have a natural birth, but had to be induced two days later, which meant hooked up to machines, they wanted me to have an epidural and an assisted delivery….everything I didn’t want. But even though this wasn’t how I wanted to birth my last baby, what was most important was that my baby and I were as safe as possible. And safe I did feel. When I was admitted to hospital, I never once felt unsafe. I knew that all the top cardiologists in Brisbane knew about my case and were on call if anything were to happen. Between all the doctors and nurses I could not have felt more safe.

The day of Mia’s birth was long and tough. I was hoping when my induction started and my waters were broken my body, who’d been there and done that before, would remember and go into overdrive and things would happen quickly….no such luck! I spent a lot of time sitting around and waiting for things to happen that day. I can’t believe I was getting excited every time I felt pain. I kept telling myself every bit of pain got me closer to meeting my baby. I had so many different doctors coming in and going over the same questions as the doctor before – everyone wanted their finger in the pie that day. For the first part of my labour my heart rate and blood pressure were good. My midwife was under strict instructions to let my doctor know if my heart rate and blood pressure went past 100. Once my labour started to progress I went and stood in the shower as the hot water was acting as pain relief….this is how I birthed Sienna so was hoping to do the same, but my heart rate went up past 100 so after that I was confined to the bed….grrrrr!

By 3.30 that afternoon I was finally in established labour and 4 hours later without an epidural and an assisted delivery my beautiful little baby, Mia Natalie Trew entered this world. I was stoked that I did it and a piece to this puzzle was complete. Things didn’t go exactly to plan, but pretty close and my heart handled the whole event! There was talk that after I had Mia I would have to go to ICU or the Coronary Care Unit to be monitored for the first 24 hours, but the hospital allowed me to stay with my baby in birth suite overnight, where I had my own nurse who monitored me. I was admitted to hospital on Wednesday and discharged on Sunday….my longest hospital stay, so I was so happy to go home. I had mixed emotions this time. I remember getting home and my dad came over and I just fell into to his arms crying. Poor man I don’t think he knew what hit him. The reality of everything was really hitting home. I was so grateful to be ok and to have a perfect little baby, but I was always going to be left with a heart condition after it was all over!

The next three months were crucial for my condition. I had to keep a diary of my blood pressure and heart rate readings and alert the hospital if I had any chest pains. I tried not to think about it too much as it was doing my head in! It was nice to go back and speak to my cardiologist at my 3 month check up. When I was first diagnosed with my heart condition, all that was important was getting Mia out so we were both safe. Questions about my heart and what had to happen to fix it couldn’t be answered until after I had her and I waited out the 3 month period! The next step was an MRI. This test was crucial to my treatment plan. I was stoked after getting the MRI results back. It showed that I do have a dilated aorta but my heart has a tricuspid aortic valve and not a bicuspid one like the echo showed!

My cardiologist explained that an echo isn’t as accurate as an MRI so I was granted with best case scenario news!!! This means that instead of looking down the barrel of open heart surgery now, I can be closely monitored with yearly echoes and regular blood pressure readings. The thought of having such a major operation with three small children was so overwhelming. I also have to live a stress free life….mmmm ok….I certainly will try! Thankfully since the day I was diagnosed, my blood pressure has consistently stayed around 90/60 and by losing weight and keeping fit this will contribute to keeping my blood pressure down, which is the key to my aorta dilating any further or not.

This whole experience has been very surreal, but I have learnt so much as well! I appreciate the smallest of things in life now and appreciate everyday I am on this earth being a mum, wife, sister granddaughter, niece and friend. I take time out for myself and don’t feel guilty for it. I look at my baby Mia and thank God everyday she was conceived, because if I didn’t fall pregnant I wouldn’t have found out about my heart until it was possibly too late! If I can give any advice from all of this, it would be to listen and pay attention to your bodies! If there is something that you are unsure of and you know it doesn’t seem right, get it checked out. Life is far too precious and when it comes to your life, you can never be to careful!

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The little girl who saved my life!

Coloured skinnies….obsessed much!

Oh winter fashion you are sending me broke…lol! There is so much out there to fashion this winter and my new obsession being – coloured skinny jeans!! As I’ve stated in my past fashion blogs, I love jeans! Particularly skinny jeans. And what better way to embrace the skinny jean than adding some colour to my collection! It takes me a while to change my ways, but once I do I really go all out!

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I started with one pair, the green being my favourite! At first I thought I wouldn’t really get much wear out of any other colour but then I started seeing them on other people – in catalogues, on tv shows, which led me to my collection! I’m the proud owner of 5 different colours now and I love them all! They are so easy to mix and match with a variety of tops, jackets and scarves that I already had.

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I think the best thing about my obsession is that I didn’t pay an arm and leg for them! I purchased them all from Big W’s Emerson range. They are a great quality, beautiful material and wash really well without losing any colour! Price – $18.86….bargain!!!!! So far each time I’ve worn a pair, I’ve had heaps of people ask where I got them from….I wore my pink ones to work yesterday and they were a hit!

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I still love my denim skinnies, but when jeans are all I really wear during winter, it’s nice to have something in my wardrobe to break up the usual trend that I wear!

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Just Breathe!

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It takes 9 months for a baby to grow in utero and once the baby is born our job as a mum lasts forever, but the one thing that takes the shortest amount of time, but causes us the most grief, is child birth! The idea of me writing a blog about child birth is certainly not to boast about my experience, as everyone’s stories are different and the way each baby is born into this world is unique! The idea of this blog is to get the message out there on the importance of deep BREATHING when giving birth!!!

It took me to give birth three times and a heart condition for me to experience the power of breathing (and a great midwife) when birthing your baby! When I was in labour for the first time I thought I was going to pass out from the pain and breathe – how could I think of anything other than the pain I was in! You’ll never know what to expect the first time nor can anyone really explain it, it’s one of those you have to experience it to believe it moments…..in my opinion – keep an open mind! The clearest memory of giving birth to my first born was pushing, pushing and more pushing!!!!! This left me with the sorest bottom and my pelvic floor muscles were ruined….didn’t help that he was 9 pound 5 at 38 weeks!

I couldn’t sit down properly for days and felt like I had very little control over my bladder. I worked with a physio on building my pelvic floor muscles again but they took months and months to strengthen. I remember doing a body combat class with my sister feeling like I was going to wet myself every time I jumped in the air….not my finest hour lol! Then when I was pregnant with my second baby I thought about labour a lot! You have a better understanding the second time round and my plan was to not push so much but to breathe more! It took me one hour and 15 mins to push my first baby out, so when my second baby came out in 20 mins, I thought for sure that my downstairs would be better off….I was wrong! Again I was left with a terribly sore bottom and the usual poor bladder control and once again I remember doing a lot of pushing to get that baby out!!!! Again giving birth to a 10 pound 2 baby was never going to help the situation:/

When I fell pregnant for the third time, my second child was 2 so a couple of years of healing and my body was back to normal, only for me to go and destroy it again lol! Once again I thought a lot about the labour and had a plan to let my breathing do the work, but it sounds good in theory, putting it into practice is a whole different story! I just kept thinking my second labour was so much quicker than my first this has to be quicker again! It would have been if things went to plan….but they didn’t:( At 37 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with a heart condition. Because of this, I had to be induced and have my labour monitored carefully! The conditions of me having a natural birth and not a c-section, was that I have an epidural and an assisted delivery! I was determined not to have either!

I know most of you would be thinking what a silly choice when my life was potentially at risk! I had faith in my body, who had already birthed two babies, that it wasn’t going to let me down and thank goodness it didn’t! Being induced ruined any plans for the quick labour I envisioned, but once I finally hit established labour things progressed pretty quickly! I was under strict instructions NOT TO PUSH, so of course when I was completely dilated and had the feeling of pressure, what’s the bodies natural reaction….to push! Thankfully I had the most beautiful midwife who took charge of the situation and was very firm with her instructions….”Natalie you are going to have your baby and you are not going to push her out, your breathing is going to do all the work!” It took so much of my energy not to push and so much of my concentration to listen to the breathing cues from my midwife, but I did it! After half an hour of wanting to push until my little poppet was born, I did NOT push her out like I did her brother and sister, I listened to my midwife and used the technique of deep breathing!

I was amazed at how it all panned out and was so grateful that my pelvic floor muscles and bladder control were pretty close to normal. For the first time ever after having a baby, I didn’t even feel like I’d given birth…I was also grateful she was my smallest at 8 pound 13! I knew my body wouldn’t let me down and thankfully neither did my heart! I still remember my midwife and what she said to get me through it…she even had my support people breathing too which encouraged me not to give up! God love them, if only we all knew how silly we looked and sounded lol!

When I started my plan to get fit 8 months after my daughter was born, I was worried how my pelvic floor muscles would go when I ran, but all is great! I’m living proof that a baby can be born through the power of breathing and that we can walk away from giving birth, without having to experience too much difficulty with one of the most delicate parts of a female’s body!

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Middle Child Syndrome…..does it really exist?

Middle child syndrome. People say it’s just a myth and maybe it is. Maybe it doesn’t exist in every household, but it certainly does in ours!

Meet my middle child….Sienna Lynette Trew!

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When Sienna was born she was everything everyone in our family longed for! After having 3 rowdy boys, my sister who lives in Melbourne had twins – a boy and a girl….finally a granddaughter! But we still had all these boys in Brisbane, but at 11.57am, on the 30th of June, weighing in at a whopping 10 pound 2, our little Sie Sie girl was born and everyone was over the moon that a second little granddaughter was to join our family! She was a beautiful baby:) When I gave birth to her I pulled her out and she was placed on my chest and there she stayed with her eyes wide open, not crying, just looking around and checking out the world and the life she was about to embark on!

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Bailey and Sienna were inseparable from the minute she was born. There is two years and four months between them but that gap has always felt much closer! Their personalities complimented one another for a while there, as Bailey was always so highly strung and Sienna so placid and easy going. Sienna was seriously the best toddler that you could come across and many a times while Bailey was having a moment, I would turn to Sie Sie and her beautiful beaming smile would let me know that everything would be ok….she was my shining light in a moment of darkness!

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I always wanted three children, but when Sienna started having all her ear problems like Bailey and then when she turned 2 life started to become easier, our thoughts suddenly turned to – do we really want to upset the apple cart?? Then unbeknown to us I was actually pregnant at Sienna’s 2nd birthday party! I was never worried about middle child syndrome, it was Sienna the most carefree child, how could she ever be affected by anything?? Didn’t things change….! Sienna and I have always shared a special bond right from the minute she was born and one of the first thoughts I had when I found out I was pregnant, was “Sie Sie won’t be my baby anymore:(!” Being a parent feels like a constant guilt trip and this was one of those moments!

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During my pregnancy, Sienna loved being involved with my growing belly and was always so fascinated by the whole baby thing and never seemed jealous at all! I made sure I included both the kids in everything as I didn’t want them to feel left out! Bailey was verbally disappointed when we found out we were having a girl, but Sienna was happy to be getting a little sister. I was about 35 weeks pregnant when Bailey started prep and this was the day that my quiet, placid, easy going girl disappeared and even though she is still in there and comes out every now and again, her heart from the day her little mate went to school, was left with a hole in it! Then if that wasn’t big enough, a few weeks later she became a big sister to Mia! That’s a lot for a little person to process and deal with! This is where middle child syndrome started to come out in our house!

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In my opinion when you have 3 children middle child syndrome seems somehow unavoidable! I’m very conscious of it and tried everything in my power to eliminate it from happening, but somewhere along the way, when I was dealing with a reflux baby and a tired prep student, Sienna become lost in it all! Everything became all about Bailey starting school and along with that came special performances and fetes, homework and awards….Bailey, Bailey, Bailey! Then of course everything is about the baby because they are the most dependent child in the house….Mia, Mia, Mia! No wonder Sienna would just sit and scream at us if she didn’t get her own way! My placid girl who had never chucked a tantrum before the age of 2 and a half, turned into tantrum city, attitude plus and this affected everything then – including her sleep! It was just a spiral of events for a while there!

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These days my little Sie Sie girl still suffers from middle child syndrome. She idolises her big brother and little sister and tries so hard to impress them both all day! She often gets her heart broken by both of them which breaks my heart to see! And we still deal with some behaviour issues, but in general she is a pretty good girl and has improved since starting preschool at the beginning of the year. I make a point of spending one on one time with her, as out of the three of my children, she has missed out on the one on one time that Bailey had before she was born and Mia will get when Sienna goes to prep next year!

Next year is Sienna’s year! She starts prep and I’m going to let her choose a sport of her choice. She spends all her time supporting her big brother at his school functions and football matches, it will now be her time to shine and shine she will! No matter how being the middle child has affected her, she is still my shining light in a dark moment. When Bailey is having a melt down and I’m cleaning up something of Mia’s for the 100th time, my middle child is always right behind me telling me “I’m being a good girl for you mummy!”…..god bless her cotton socks:)!

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My Direction Has Taken a Wrong Turn:/

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It’s quite ironic as I read my ‘Power of the Mind’ blog I wrote a week ago and my last few words read…..”I couldn’t be happier!” and now from my sick bed where I’ve layed for the the past 5 days I’m trying to be happy, but really I’m just feeling really crappy……

I was feeling so focussed, in control of everything I needed to be in control of! My job is so busy at the moment with reports and deadlines due before the school holidays. I was at the peak of my fitness and feeling really content in most areas of my life and then Monday night is where things took a wrong turn!

Of course my husband had a week of work to do away in Moree so it was single parent duties for me, but that’s ok I’ve done it before and I’m getting pretty good at it now:) I left work later than anticipated, but managed to pick Sie Sie up, got home cooked a big batch of bolognaise, bathed and fed the kids and myself, cleaned up, got all the school stuff ready for the next day and the kids and I were all sitting down by 6.30 enjoying cuddles and giggles together!

By 7.30 all were sound asleep in bed and then the time of day which I LOVE was about to be enjoyed. As I got all cosy on the lounge with my iPad and remote I suddenly felt cramps in my belly. I didn’t think too much about it as I thought I must have pigged out too much on dinner! I went to bed at my normal time after The Voice and the cramps were still there! Thankfully I fell fast asleep but then 1.30am approached and my wrong turn became a bad turn of events! I took some panadol and managed to get back to sleep until Mia woke up crying her little eyes out at 4.45am! When I looked at the clock I thought “Nooooooo!” Mummy’s cuddles got her back to sleep and I then went back to sleep and woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus:( I had an hour until I was to leave for work, so as much as my body was screaming “do not get up!” I knew I just had to do it!!!

So I did I got up did the usual – made the beds, got the kids breakfast, took one mouthful of my cereal and have pretty much been on my back since! I couldn’t stand up. I started shivering uncontrollably and once I made it to the lounge not one bit of soul in my body was able to get up! I was like this for 48-72 hours. I went from shivering to sweating, had severe body aches, fevers, cramps in my belly and of course the joys of gastro! I obviously didn’t go to work and thank goodness for my sweet angel of a mother, who came to my rescue until Kane came back from Moree, otherwise my poor kids would have done a lot of fending for themselves!

It’s day 5 now and I’m still not over this awful virus, better, but not a 100%! I’ve had a lot of time to think this week. This is the 4th time I’ve been sick in the last two months. Prior to all of this I hadn’t had anything bad since winter last year! I know it’s the season for it but four things in two months! And I’m the mum, I can’t keep getting sick. My poor little darlings ask me everyday “are you better mummy?” They are use to seeing mummy leading the pack, running, darting from here and there and the only time I reside on the lounge is after dinner at night!

I’m now left feeling weak, tired, drained and overwhelmed at the feeling of picking myself up and getting things back on track! I weighed myself….I’m down to my wedding day weight! Most people would be excited about this, but that wasn’t my goal! I was 24 back then and carried it better, now I look like a sick stick figure which is not what I was hoping to achieve! I have no reserves left and cannot afford to get sick again! I questioned: why me when I’m so fit and healthy? This is it….people who are fit are at risk to not being able to fight off germs and I look back now and I was always sick when I was younger and at the peak of my fitness! You can’t win really! I’ve gone from one extreme to the next where I’m now facing changing my eating and exercise plan to put on weight so I can get back to the fit and healthy me! So my advice is: when losing weight get back to a nice comfortable weight and have room for reserves if you get sick. I was that at my 60kgs, but I’m now playing with fire and have no reserves left!

I know I can do this and I will do this! My direction has taken a wrong turn, but I’m going to turn things around with all the strength and knowledge I’ve gained over the past 8 months and will be back in the right direction in no time!

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Life After Birth!

Having a baby to me is the most wonderful gift you can be granted. My 3 children are the most precious angels and my heart aches whenever I think of them! They are the best thing that has ever happened to us and my husband and I always say, if we haven’t done anything else right in life then we are doing pretty good with the 3 most adorable children we’ve created!

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When a husband and wife decide it’s time to take the biggest step in their marriage and have children, obviously things change! You go from sleeping an average of 8-10 hours a night to 6-8 hours sometimes less and often broken. Your bedtime is now 8.30-9.30 not 10-11. Breakfast is done and finished by 6.30-7am not 10am. Your day’s activities are often planned around children’s nap times, feeds or places you visit have to cater all their needs rather than getting in the car and deciding on the way – although we have done that before! It is a a huge adjustment, but when my husband and I decided it was time, I was so ready for all of that!

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From conception, to morning sickness, to scans, to feeling baby move, to baby shopping, to maternity clothes, to decorating the nursery, to a growing belly that everyone always admired…I just loved being pregnant! Then there were the celebrations of a baby shower and fitting in all the last minute things that you may not get to do for a while – dining out, going to the movies and what every women does…..clean, clean, clean!

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Then the anticipation you’d been waiting for for 9 months….the day you give birth and finally meeting the little person your body had been growing for roughly 270 days! What a surreal experience childbirth is! No amount of reading, watching DVDs or birth classes can ever really prepare you for giving birth as everyone’s birth is unique! Call me crazy but I also loved giving birth! After I birthed all my babies who ranged from 10 pound 2 to 8 pound 13, I felt so empowered like I could take on the world! Those first few hours after giving birth are so precious! The skin to skin bonding time, the first time you breast feed, and the first time each family member meets your new bundle of joy are memories that last forever! As the mother, you sit back and watch everyone ogle over this little baby you and your husband have created and feel nothing but proud!

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Then the day you’ve dreamt about since you use to play mummy and baby with your dolls finally arrives and you get to take your baby home and start your life as a mum! Being a mum is fantastic, I believe the best job you can do, but it certainly is one of the hardest, yet so rewarding! Over time you get peed, pooped and spewed on. You spend your whole time worry about things that haven’t even happened. You deal with tantrums, illnesses, children who won’t eat, refuse to sleep and some days you feel so overwhelmed you ask yourself….why?? Then your precious little one looks up to you and gives you a smile, says mumma, tells you they love you, squeezes you so tight, places a sloppy kiss on your face or tells you a funny story and instantly you know why!

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But after all of this, being a mum is not all that life has come to! Yes it is the most important part of life that absolutely comes first, but not the only part of life! Just because we as mums, have given birth, doesn’t mean we aren’t entitled to have a life after birth! After you have a baby, it can take the first few months, 6 months or second child to even feel as though you are ready to go out for coffee with a girlfriend, dinner with your husband, shopping day with your mum or sister and leave the baby/babies at home! Maybe not for everyone, but it takes time to be able to trust and leave your baby with even your husband, that’s just how us mums feel.

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Generations ago, it was solely the mother’s responsibility to take care of the children and men went to work and had a beer at the pub on the way home! Now society has changed and mothers are encouraged to go out to work or to become apart of play groups and fitness clubs….and I say why not! I think it is important not to forget the people we were before kids and the things we enjoyed to do! Obviously this can take time to fit into the busy schedule of a mum’s life and no one can tell you when to make the decision to start enjoying some time to yourself, you’ll know when the time is right!

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It took a long time for me to let go and enjoy time to myself without feeling guilty! For the first few years of being a mum, one of the only times I’d leave the kids was when I went to work. We’d go to weddings, engagements, hens nights and I’d always make time for our mother/daughter outings or friends birthdays! But it’s really only now that our 3 kids are 6, 4 and 1, I feel ok to go out and have time to myself without feeling guilty. I think as mums we are the the glue that holds our homes together and when we are not there things become unstuck! The truth is most times it does lol, but it’s ok because when we return things all fall back into place again and we are able to move forward because we have had the time to breathe, debrief, regather our thoughts and hopefully have a good laugh!

These days I absolutely enjoy my half an hour each day of running or walking. This is my time to debrief to myself about things that are happening at home, thoughts for my blogs or planning in my head what I need to do for the day. I still love getting lost in my craft work and love baking and decorating birthday cakes and of course having girls days out. But my newest adventure is my blog. It allows me to express my feelings and put into words things I’ve learnt in life so far, in the hope to help others. It’s so important to have a balanced life as life after birth goes on for so many years. For me it goes: being a mum and wife, teacher, daughter, sister, friend and then finding time for me!

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Mix & Match!

Everyone has their own style and taste in clothing!

I’m a pretty casual dresser, but am anal about colour coordinating and have a real issue with things like two different prints worn together at the same time! During winter, you’ll mostly find me in jeans, long sleeve tops, ballet flats and a matching scarf or beanie! One thing I cannot do, is wear everything plain! If I wear all plain coloured clothes then I have to wear patterned shoes, scarf, beanie, or have a patterned handbag…I just can’t do it! That is my OCD coming out lol!

My last fashion blog gave an insight into the things I can’t live without during winter. To follow on with this, I’ve put together some of those pieces and mixed and matched them together which creates my sense of winter fashion:)

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It’s only a small snippet to my wardrobe, but there you have it – neat casual all the way! I do love getting all glammed up in a nice dress with heals, but I keep that look for the races or a wedding! I’m just your average everyday mum that likes to look neat and tidy and of course coordinated, but most importantly comfortable! I always have such a great day if I’m wearing something I love and feel comfortable in!

The Power of the Mind!

I often refer to the saying “it’s mind over matter” as I believe this statement is so true! The mind is such a powerful thing that works over time, day in and day out. It has the capability to work even while we are sleeping. It thinks all day long about anything and everything, yet if we aren’t really on the same page as what our minds think, then things we really want to happen won’t be achieved!

It’s so easy to think I want this and I want that, but it takes strength, determination and dedication of our minds to accomplish what we want. I’m up to the 8th month of obtaining the old me, through healthy eating and exercising, but without my mind being in the place it is right now, I would have achieved very little. Prior to having my 3 beautiful children, I was always so fit and healthy and my mind was in that fit and healthy space for most of my life! Then somewhere along the way while having 3 children in 5 years, my mind was busy focussing on other things and lost its way on that path, but I never stopped thinking about the past and how I use to be!

My mind set after having kids has always been once I’ve had all my children then I’ll work on getting myself back to the old me! My last baby Mia, was 8 months old before the penny dropped and my mind set suddenly changed and it changed for the better! I now crave healthy food and the time to go for my run! I crave challenging myself and improving on my PBs for each distance that I run. There are days where I could eat everything in sight and there are days when I don’t feel like dragging myself out of bed to go for a run, but then my state of mind kicks in and takes over! It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had to work really hard at training my mind back to the way it use to be, but I feel it’s back to where it was and even better!

Now my mind is in a good place, I feel like I have the strength to take on anything. When I go for a run I may not always feel fantastic but I keep thinking as long as I keep going and not stop until I’m finished, I’m happy with that! When I wake up in the morning and it’s less than 10 degrees, I dress in more layers than normal and push past the coldness and go for my run. When I’m running and know I’m close to beating a PB, I push that little bit harder to achieve that! When I wake up and not feel flash I go for a walk instead of a run as walking is still being active! When I feel like eating a loaf of bread or a tub of ice-cream, I think about all the new clothes I’ve been able to buy and fit into and I gladly cut up my tossed salad and fruit! And when I do want to treat myself with a milkshake or muffin I do, because I know my mind has the strength to go back to its healthy ways after the treat!

A healthy mind set not only helps with my healthy eating and exercising but everyday stuff too. I’m only human and I’m not here to say I’m now perfect in every way, I’m the first to admit I make mistakes. Compared to where my mind set was 8 months ago to now, things around the house and the ability to be able to cope with the demands of being a mum to 3 kids under 6, seems so much easier! I now bounce out of bed instead of falling out and then struggle to get to my feet. When I have those moments of not feeling like doing the groceries, housework or cleaning out the linen cupboard that I said I was going to do for five years, I now just do it! And even though I still have many sleepless nights, I have the strength to get through the day without feeling like I’m drowning!

A classic example of the mind being powerful happened yesterday morning…..
I had 8 hours uninterrupted sleep (that hardly ever happens) and then stayed in bed chilling for over an hour. The weather looked a bit dodgy outside but hadn’t started raining yet. I run every Saturday morning and due to having more time up my sleeve I usually run at least 5km, but because of the weather I thought I’d only run 4km. Before I left I felt different, awesome different and I had it in my head that I was going to run a PB. From the second I started running, I knew I had it in me to achieve my 4km in 20 mins that I’d already come so close to a couple of times in the past month. I got to the first kilometer 4.33 (PB) then the second, 9.57 (PB) and when I was 15.25 mins (PB) at the 3rd kilometer my 4km in 20 minute goal was well in sight! I ended up reaching my 4km destination in 19.55 mins even better than I hoped! There were a couple of times where I thought “mmmm maybe not today” but I kept telling myself I can do this and that I did! And the prize at the end….self satisfaction! It’s also nice to get home to my very own fan club who greet me with cuddles and “did you have a good run mum!”:)

No one has the ability to change someone’s mind for them, encourage yes, but it’s up to the individual to control how one’s mind thinks and it takes time for this to happen. The first step is recognising what you want and then from there steps are put in place to achieve that. Those steps can be two forward and three back at first, but in time those steps become easier and easier to the point of it being a natural part of day to day life…..and this is where I’m at now and I couldn’t be happier!

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Sisterhood….a bond like no other!

A relationship between sisters can go two ways – bad or good and thankfully for me, mine is great! I am the youngest of three girls and have twin sisters who are 6 years older. Growing up, like any siblings, we had our ups and downs but most of my memories were lots of laughing, giggling, and getting into trouble for laughing too loud! We always had so much fun together! Having a 6 year age gap did pose some problems at times though, especially when the girls would try and be my mum rather than my sister or when they would remind mum and dad “we didn’t get to do that when we were her age, why should she!” But that’s part of growing up as a family!

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Love my sisters Michelle and Peta!

I was only 16 when the girls moved out of home and for a while there our lives were very different! They were getting married and I was only finishing high school, Pete had a baby when I was only finishing uni and then Shell moved interstate. But the one thing that never changed and is still the same to this day is the bond we all share….our love of laughing! Yes we adore each other and of course we tell each other everything and share all the joys and sorrows of life together, but sisters always know how to have a good laugh together. It’s being able to say what we really feel about something, falling down a ditch or disclosing something stupid that you did or said, all the while we laugh at each other when our stories are told! No one gets our laughter either. I remember one night Kane walked in to the lounge room while we were laughing at something and gave up on us and walked out lol….like I said a bond like no other!

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We only get together a few times a year now but that doesn’t hinder the bond we share!

Now that Shell lives away, the times we are all together are few and far between, but when we do see each other, those times are so special and cherished even more! We are all on the same page now though…..wives, mothers, professionals and our bond is as strong as ever! Our laughter is still alive and well and now we have our offsprings who join in with us!

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Our offsprings:)

Which brings me to what prompted me to write this blog….my two daughters! As I watched them together this morning sharing a kiss and a cuddle, it made me think of the bond sisters share. I feel so blessed to have not only one sister but two sisters and now I’ve been blessed to have two daughters, who will grow up and experience that bond of sisterhood! From the day Mia was born Sienna has absolutely adored her! Mia is 15 months now and Sienna never tires of asking to see if Mia is awake and when the girls are reunited after a nap, you would think they haven’t seen each other for 6 months! It is just so beautiful to watch. And the laughter, well that goes without saying! When I’m in another room and I hear laughter going on between the two, it brings me such joy to hear them do what I love to do with my sisters!

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Sienna meeting her sister for the first time….such a precious moment!

At this age their laughter is so innocent and precious and can quite quickly turn to a pinch, scream or cry! But that also quickly turns back to a laugh and a squeal:) I love watching Sienna share her food or offer Mia a drink of her water bottle. They play games like hide and seek and build blocks together. Sienna loves teaching her the sounds of the animals and always encourages her to keep her socks on or to stop touching the candle on the coffee table. It’s Sienna’s reaction when Mia first crawled and walked and now when she says a new word for the first time, that shows how much her big sister is her biggest fan.They are lost when they are not together and with Sienna going to prep next year it is going to be a hard pill to swallow!

My beautiful girls who are inseparable when together…….

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I know having a sister isn’t like this for everyone and I am very grateful that I have a great relationship with mine. I sincerely hope in 30 years time Sienna and Mia are still laughing with each other, just like my sisters and I still do today!

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