Sales Galore!!!!

A common sign that is hanging in shop windows at the moment boldly exclaims – sales, sales, sales!!!! I love end of season sales, it always makes me wonder why I even bother purchasing stuff at the beginning of a season! If only we had enough will power to wait until now we’d have so much more money to spend!

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The fashion this winter has been awesome! From tights, to coloured skinny jeans, to long flowing cardigans. Yet there has still been the oldie but goodie stuff around like boots, ballet flats, jackets and jeans! I’m so looking forward to the warmer weather, but I will miss wearing my winter attire!

You think by now we should have reached our limit of needing anymore winter clothes, but I don’t know about anyone else, no matter what time of year if I find something I love and is a bargain price I’ll gladly buy it! I’ve spent my whole winter trying to find a nice quality hoodie, but I’m still searching and am about to retire until next winter! On the weekend I was told to check out Cotton On, so after work yesterday I stopped in at Browns Plains Plaza….I came out with everything but a hoodie – oops!

I couldn’t help myself but the bargains were calling my name! I only had a small amount of time and had to get some groceries, but I still managed to purchase two pairs of shoes, a jacket, cardi and two tops for a total of $60!!! Most of the stuff I bought were originally priced at $40 and came down to as low as $5!!!!

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My jacket was $40 reduced to $15 at Big W…it came in navy blue as well, I think I’ll go back and get that one too:)

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I did go into Cotton On but didn’t purchase a hoodie….I do love these three items though:) $15 cardi and the two tops were $5 each!

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My shoes were the best bargain….$10 each from Famous Footwear!!!

Imagine if it wasn’t a work day and I had more time to shop….omg!!! It’s clear to me that these days, there is no reason why anyone can’t dress respectably or make sure their children have shoes on their feet. I bought Sienna a beautiful coral pair of high top shoes at Big W last week for $3 and a red and white spotted pair for $3 as well! There are sales galore at the moment and there is nothing better than walking out of a shop with a bargain in your shopping bag!!!!

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Our Sleeping Baby Is Looking Down on Us!

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Miscarriage. It’s a word that you hear so often these days. The statistics are quite high really with 1 in 8 women miscarrying and as small as 1 in four as a lot of miscarriages happen in the first two weeks of conception so aren’t actually recorded down, as women wouldn’t always realise they were pregnant. It makes you wonder why? What are we doing to our bodies? Is there something in our food? Is it contraception methods we used before wanting to fall pregnant? Lifestyle? My reason for writing this blog is to give women hope. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Up until then I had hardly heard of anyone having a miscarriage. But once I started to tell people, suddenly so many women started sharing their stories with me and I went from feeling so alone to feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Once I knew there were others around me who had experienced the same emotions of this particular loss, it actually helped with my healing process.

This is my story………
It’s been over 7 years now since I miscarried. We’d been married for almost 6 months. I couldn’t wait to start trying for a family of our own. If I had it my way I would have started on our wedding night, but we decided to wait for a few months and enjoy just being a married couple. A few months later, it was the start of a new year and we were on holidays so we figured there was no time like the present. I was hoping to be like the line of women in my family, who were instant breeding machines, but no such luck! Three months later though we were thrilled when the ‘YOU ARE PREGNANT’ line showed up on the stick! You cold not wipe the smile off both our faces, we were over the moon and couldn’t help but share our excitement with our family and close friends. Then the smile was wiped off my face when I was struck down with terrible morning sickness from the start! But I still smiled because I was going to be a mum!!!

Even though at this stage your baby is the size of a grain of rice, it is still a life and a life that you somehow bond with straightaway. From the minute you are given the confirmation of your pregnancy, you instantly start to plan in your head and you can’t help but love this life that you and your partner have created! I was just over 6 weeks when I started spotting. I remember it so clearly as I was at work and it was my birthday!!! I kept telling myself that everything was going to be ok. I went to my GP who ordered a scan and told me to go home and rest. I felt so helpless and completely useless for not being able to have any control over what was happening. I had a scan which showed nothing more than the fact that there was an embryo in my uterus with a heartbeat. This left me feeling very hopeful that everything would be ok. My GP was quite hopeful too and wanted me to have a week of bed rest and feet up, but he also told me that if anything was to happen at this stage of a pregnancy there is nothing they can do.

During the week I spent in bed I kept spotting on and off but nothing too serious. I kept telling my little baby rice grain to hang in there. It wasn’t until the sixth day in bed I work up feeling really positive that everything was going to be ok….this was obviously the calm before the storm. Mum had come over to check up on me and I felt like I was feeling better. I was sitting out the back on our garden bed in the sun and then things begun. I started getting period like cramps and I knew something wasn’t right. Within about half an hour or so from that first cramp, I passed a large blood clot and that signaled to me that my little baby rice grain couldn’t hold on anymore – I was 7 and a half weeks pregnant:( I went to the emergency department at the Mater Hospital who took great care of me. My blood test results confirmed that I had miscarried and I was booked in for a D and C (curette) the next morning! The whole thing happened so quickly and all I remember is I was left feeling guttered! It’s the worst feeling when something you want so desperately is given to you and then taken away from you without anyone having any control over it!

Arriving home from hospital was hard as it meant life had to begin again. It was the beginning of the healing process and the beginning of picking yourself up and moving on. I was so lucky as Kane was extremely sensitive and supportive of what I was going through and my family and friends were a huge help with all of their beautiful words of prayers and best wishes. Facing people for the first time was hard. Going back to work was the hardest. And of course everywhere I looked someone was pregnant or announcing they were pregnant. I was so happy for them but so sad for us! I felt so alone and even though my husband was experiencing a loss to, we physically go through something they’ll never know. But one thing that helped with my healing process, was talking to other women who had experienced a miscarriage as well. My beautiful mother was my rock as she had had a miscarriage at 16 weeks which was far more devastating then what I was going through. Mum had to give birth to her baby and had already felt it kick and was showing before she lost her baby. This allowed me to be thankful that I didn’t reach this point and that no matter how much pain and sadness I was going through, there is always someone else out there worse off than I!

A month passed and my cycle went straight back to normal. One good thing that came out of all of this was that I knew I was able to fall pregnant and this is what kept me positive. 6 weeks after I’d miscarried we were given our little miracle and today he is 6 years old….Bailey Kane Trew:) I often look at Bay and think if we didn’t have a miscarriage our only baby boy wouldn’t have been born. Since Bailey we went on to have two healthy baby girls, Sienna and Mia who are 4 and 18 months old. Of course with each pregnancy I always had an uneasy feeling that I would miscarry again, but I tried to not let that spoil the joy and excitement of what we were going through. I often wonder what our first little baby was and what it would have been like but now I have this vision that our baby that is sleeping is always looking down on us!

There is hope at the end of a miscarriage and I as well as so many women around the world are living proof of that. It makes me sad when I hear that someone has had a miscarriage, as it always brings me back to the day I was left feeling guttered and helpless. But with great support, determination and a positive attitude, the family you have always longed for will be created. The day I miscarried I remember thinking if I only have one baby I would be so grateful and grateful I am as I’ve been blessed with three of the most precious angels, which have helped us create our Party of 5!

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“Somebody please talk to me!”

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When we first enter the unfamiliar world of parenting so many people are quick to give us advice on feeding, changing, sleeping, dummies, bottles and the like, but where is the advice on simple things and extremely important things like how important it is to speak to our children! I’ve been teaching just over a decade now and one common deficiency I’m seeing more and more is the number of children who are coming to prep with a lack of oral language skills!

Whether it be their lack of ability to ask a question, respond to a question, follow an instruction, speak in simple sentences or being able to be understood, are all problems little people are facing when entering the school system. From the second our babies are born into this world, their little ears are responding to noise and the most precious gift a mother can give to her baby is her voice!
I think the problem is we forget to talk to our babies until they start responding first with a noise or a word, but a babies first response without noise is eye contact and listening to what is being said to them! We know ourselves if we are unable to use our voice we use eye contact as a way to communicate and we attain information by listening and that is what a baby does.

I can’t help myself, from the time my babies take their first breath I’m in their face talking to them. Between a nappy change, feeding, bathing, burping and playing, these are all perfect opportunities to bond with our babies and expose them to language. I’ve always taken these opportunities to sing a nursery rhyme, tell them about the wonderful things of the world or simply explain what I’m doing – “mummy is going to change your nappy”, “it’s bedtime now” right from birth my babies have heard cues like this. Our babies are like sponges and they are learning from a newborn. It’s amazing as they get older you see the benefit of talking to your baby. My youngest is almost 18 months and her language is evolving everyday! Not only is she communicating clearly through a variety of words, her receptive language (understanding what we say) is fantastic! Last year when my son was in prep, one thing his teacher always complimented him on was his oral language and my daughter’s preschool teacher just recently said how well she holds a conversation.

It makes me think that so many wonderful mothers, who if educated properly on this subject, would take it on board more. It’s common knowledge that reading to our babies as early as in utero is so important for our children, but very rarely do you read a lot of information about just generally talking to our babies. We are already a part of a world where speaking is becoming less and less due to an abundance of technology compared to even 10 years ago! It’s so easy to forget to do something so simple especially when life is so busy all the time, but if we made a habit of it and integrated talking to our children into our day to day chores and routines, it wouldn’t seem like work then.

It makes me sad to think that there are so many babies being born who spend their first five years with very little exposure to a wide variety of language and that all they needed from day one was someone to consistently engage with them. Our babies need to learn how to communicate orally as god knows by the time they are 10 and discover all the ins and outs of technology, talking becomes less and less. I always wondered when my babies were little babies and would look up at me, what they were thinking….I’m sure they were saying in their head “somebody please talk to me!” and that is what I’ve always done!

Mia only days old listening to me…….she doesn’t seem very interested in what I’m saying, but she will thank me one day for all the stories and bits of information I’ve told her:)

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My Cake Album!

I look at some of the things I do now and think how much I’ve changed! I guess it’s more that I’ve evolved over time rather than changed. I’ve always been able to cook and bake but have never had a passion for it. It was one of those things I did every now and again or I’d be right into it for a while and then I’d get bored! Then I became a mum and I had more of a reason to bake….especially birthday cakes!

I’ve always baked and decorated my kid’s birthday cakes from when my first born turned 1. I look back at the first few years and think OMG I really have evolved lol! Then I had a little girl and I think it was the fact I was able to play around with lots of pink and pretty things that I started going out of my comfort zone and creating something really special for my little ones:) At first I stuck to just cupcakes but by the time my daughter turned two I wanted to prove to myself I was more than just about cupcakes!

Since then I’ve made cakes from a designed cake tin, numbers, a horse track, two and three tier cakes and have done many themes! Originally I only created my cakes for my children, but now when there is a special event in the family I’m the cake lady they come too:) I even did my daughter’s christening cake last year (it only took to the third child to finally have a go)!

Here is a preview of the cakes I’ve baked and created over the past couple of years:

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Before I do a cake I start with the theme of choice and then work from there with colours and decorations. I believe it’s not just about the cake. I use my large chopping board as my cake board and decorate that as much as the cake. I use my love of scrapbooking to help create the touches on the board which I think go nicely with the cake! At first I concentrated more on the decorating side of things and only used packet mixes, but as of late I’ve been experimenting with different cake recipes and baking from scratch!

I love doing my cakes and I know I have many more ahead of me. With each cake brings about a new experience. I have two special ones to do in the next couple of months, my nana’s 80th and my mum’s 60. These are sure to be special as they are for two very special women in my life. Keep an eye out in the future for any updates of future cakes that I create:)!

20120919-122458.jpgMum’s 60th cake:)

20120919-122552.jpgNana’s 80th cake:)

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Sister inlaw’s 18th Star Wars themed cupcakes!

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Halloween masterpiece;)

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My very first Christmas Cake!

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Christmas Cupcakes!

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Mia’s 2nd birthday cake!

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Bay’s 7th birthday Xbox cake:)

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30th Broncos cake:)

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Easter Masterpiece….choc chip cupcakes with buttercream icing and mini choc eggs and glitter dust to decorate!

Dad’s lolly cake:)

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I even made my own birthday cake and cupcakes this year:)

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It’s been two months since I baked or decorated a cake or cupcake. We’ve been through some very tough and sad times of late with the passing of my nana and other family tragedies. But this week we’ve spent celebrating my daughter’s 5th birthday!!! Over the past couple of weeks I’ve done a batch of cupcakes for Sienna and her class, a cupcake masterpiece for her birthday party and my very first rainbow cake! All were loved by my daughter and it was great to get back into doing something that I love!
Here are the finished products…

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My Mid Year Resolutions!

Sometimes, well let’s be honest most of the time, life just keeps traveling too fast! I mean for goodness sake it is almost Ekka time again!!!! Before we know it tinsel and Christmas carols will be staring us in the face and ringing in our ears literally! Where has this year gone or should I say why does it seem like each year flies by faster than the year before???

I don’t know about everyone else, but I felt like I started this year on the back foot! I went back to work in January after having 13 months off having my third baby and because last year consisted of a whole whirlwind of events, one – I wasn’t ready to go back to work and two – my household really wasn’t ready for me to either! We are half way through the year and I finally feel like I’ve got my act together! I don’t dread going to work (most of the time lol), I’m becoming more organised and on time and all three kids have settled into the routine of me going back to work!

I feel like the past 18 months has been a complete blurr…..which could have something to do with my burning tired eyes lol……so now that I finally feel like I’ve come out the other end, I’ve made some ‘mid year resolutions’ with myself, as I was quite in denial that a new calendar year had even begun when it did and my head space was only just coping with starting a new routine in life let alone fixing stuff that was already happening!

They are…..
*I will make sure I stop and enjoy my beautiful family:
Just recently we went through a massive month of one thing after another. Parties, football carnivals, reports, sickness, birthdays! I felt like I barely had time to breathe! Even though I get to stay home five days out of seven, some weeks I feel like I hardly get to spend quality time with the kids! They are growing up way to fast before my eyes and I’m determined not to miss anything and embrace my family for who they are! By last Saturday I had had it and I forced myself not to do much except for play with the kids….it was awesome! So Saturdays are my do nothing except for relish in the love and care Kane and the kids give me and so far it has been awesome:)

*I will listen to my body:
Since April until now, I have been sick several times. The kids have been spreading their germs as they do, but somethings have taken me longer to get over than usual. As we all know as mums we put ourselves last and get lost in the busyness of life until we get ill and realise it’s time to get a reality check. I’ve learnt now to rest when I can and stop worrying because if something doesn’t get done, there is always tomorrow!

*I’m going to start saying “no!”:
I have this problem where I find it hard to say no! Even if I’m busy and someone asks us to do something, we do what we can and fit it in. I’ve come to realise that there are just times when I have to say no!

*I’m making sure everyday I treat myself:
When I started loosing weight, it took a lot of will power for me to give up some of my favourite treats. Now that I have reached and maintained my goal weight for a few months, I happily treat myself to my favourite foods (within reason) without feeling one bit of guilt!

*I’m going to take my husband out on a date:
Before Kane and I became parents, we had the best social life and spent so much of our time going to the movies, out to dinner and generally just hanging out together. That gets pushed to the side once little people come into your lives, but I think it is still important for a husband and wife to go out and enjoy themselves once in a while. I am going to make sure Kane and I go and see the last Twilight movie together and maybe we might even be able to start a date night routine once a month or so!

*I’m going to make sure I start to be on time:
If you know me well, one of my worst traits is being late! It’s never intentional, my problem is I try to fit too much in before I go somewhere. I start the day on time but some how I always find myself racing around in the end like a chook with its head chopped off. From now I will do the necessities first and leave the rest for a later time or if I have time once I’m ready to go!

My mid year resolutions are only a snap shot of what I want to achieve by the end of the year. I still have cupboards I want to clean out, a toy room to redecorate, scrapbooking to finish from years ago, but I figure you have to start somewhere. I know I’ve jumped on the ‘resolutions’ bandwagon quite late in the year, but I believe if someone is attempting to make a change to something, you can never be too late! I think it’s better to attempt change when you are really ready, in order to have a chance of experiencing success!

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3 Generations of Queenslanders!!!

On page 72 of this week’s issue of the Southern Star is a story that involves three members of our family. 48 years ago my father started a trend. That trend was being selected to play for the under 12 school boys Queensland rugby league team. 28 years later I was selected to play for the under 12 school girls Queensland Orchids netball team and only two weeks ago, my nephew was selected for the same team his poppy was all those years ago! It is with such pride and excitement that we share our story as it’s not very often you see three generations make a state team at the same age!

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Dad started playing football at the age of 9 for Cannon Hill Stars. He is the eldest boy of seven children but was the only one to play representative football. He was only an average built child at the age of 12, but through his speed and great defense, he was selected to play for his district, region and then finally his state. Dad continued making ways with his footy and was again selected for QLD when he reached under 15s. He then played his senior football for Wests where he retired at the young age of 22 due to a reoccurring knee injury! This was a heart breaking decision for him, but his family came first. He later went on to coach instead.

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I was 7 when I started playing netball. I sat on the sidelines for many years watching my sisters play so by the time I started playing I was so familiar with the game. I grew so quickly and was always the tallest for my age. I represented my district, region and then state as a shooter, but by the time I reached my mid teens everyone started growing past me and ended up a centre court player. I played representative netball up until I was 19 when I was struck down by a back injury and was sidelined from playing premier division State League. I later returned and played for a few more years before starting a family of my own.

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Sebby originally played union when he was 7, but with lots of encouragement from his parents and uncle Kane, he started his first year of league at the age of 8 for Logan Brothers where he still plays today. We’ve watched this talented young boy grow and develop over the past few years and with the help of extra training sessions from his poppy, he has turned into a brilliant player who has a very bright future ahead of him. Our family are so proud of Sebastian and can’t wait to cheer him on as he represents QLD in Mackay next month.

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It’s a great achievement to represent your state and something every child who plays sport dreams of doing. Our family has always lived breathed and ate sport, so it’s inevitable that we were going to make a good go of it and it helps when we have good sporting genes! There are 6 grandchildren still to come through the ranks and Sebastian as the first grandchild has set the bar high! It would be awesome to think more of the grandchildren would be chosen for a rep team. And if the trend keeps going, just maybe one of our children’s children may follow in our footsteps but if not, 3 generations of Queenslanders is pretty fantastic!

Teacher By Profession….Mother For Life!

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I’ve been a teacher for almost 11 years now…longer than I’ve been a mum! Before I had children of my own, my life was teaching and my children per say were my students! Pre-children I loved being a teacher! I would go to the ends of the earth to create a unit of work or innovating activity for my students to gain a learning experience from! I would spend my days being not only a teacher but a surrogate parent to some, nurse, psychologist and the like! I planned excursions, camps, multicultural events, coached netball and made many a phone call to parents regarding their child’s well being!

Then I became a mum. My love of teaching never left me, but something did change and that is the way I think now! I’m not for one second trying to imply teachers who are mums are better than teachers who aren’t, but since becoming a mum, I look at things differently now and am quite a different teacher than I use to be! Pre-children I was such a control freak really when I think about it, but it worked and I always got the best results out of my students academically and behaviourally! I would ring a parent or refer a student for a problem and it didn’t affect me as bad as it does it does now!

For the past few years I’ve been teaching in special Ed or behaviour positions so I’ve found myself in many situations where my heart has ached for a child…I’ve become such a softy and even though I’ve always been an empathetic person, now I’m a mum my empathy has changed if that makes sense?? I always think now imagine if that was my child or me receiving the phone call! I tread so lighting around parents now and how I approach a subject as the child in discussion is their baby just like I have babies!

Being a teacher can be a good thing and a bad thing when you are a mum! We have a good knowledge of so many areas that can benefit our own children, but then we know too much about other things and the worst thing a teaching mum does is diagnose their own child! We spend so much of our time hoping and praying that our children aren’t going to struggle at school, when provided we allow a safe and supportive environment from the day they were born, we sometimes just have to realise we don’t always have control over this!

Then that day finally arrives for your own child to start school and your professional role has to take a back seat while your mummy role takes precedent! It was weird at first being a school mum. You feel as the ‘teacher’s’ child, they should always be the best role model and doing the best in the class! I soon let all those feelings go because I didn’t want to put my child under anymore pressure than what kids are already under these days!

My son is in grade one now and up until last month I haven’t been in the position that I as a teacher have had to corner a parent during drop off or pick up! It was those handful of words that you dread to hear from your child’s teacher….”I need to speak with you!” I’ve been waiting for this moment though. You see my son Bailey has always presented a lot of behaviours on the spectrum and although he is perfect at school and leaves those behaviours and melt downs for home, I’ve been waiting for the call to let me know those behaviours have been presenting at school.

Of course I expected the worst and any experience of being a teacher didn’t matter at all, as this time I was the mum being delivered the information. Thankfully it wasn’t anything relating to his behaviour. This one moment that a teacher took to speak to me though has led to a chain of events. She was concerned about his hearing and understanding what she was saying, we had a meeting with Bailey about this and things improved a little. I then took him to my GP to see if he needed an auditory processing assessment done, he noticed Bailey’s ears are full of fluid again and after having a hearing test, we found out that Bailey has a complete blocked ear and one that isn’t very flash! A trip then to our ENT ended in us now having to wait to see if the fluid will drain otherwise he will end up with his fourth set of grommets!

My poor boy has obviously been sitting in class and not hearing things as clearly as he should. The mum in me wants to hug him tight and wrap him up in cotton wool, but the teacher in me is working hard to make sure he is in a learning environment that can cater to his needs at the moment! Thankfully Bailey goes to a wonderful school with a very supportive admin and his teacher is just fantastic! This situation has highlighted even more to me how important a teacher is in our children’s lives and more importantly how important it is a parent and teacher work together!

We have been through so much with Bailey and even though my professional job deals with children like Bailey all the time, nothing prepares you for when things happen to your own child and the shoes on the other foot. I am so
proud of his achievements so far and as I read his first report card yesterday it brought a tear to my eye how awesome our son really is! I am a teacher by profession, but I’m a mother for life and I try everyday to make sure I distinguish between the two roles as best as I possibly can!

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A Change Is as Good as a…..

Since deciding to get off my butt and finally regain the fit healthy me I use to be before becoming a mummy over 6 years ago, I’ve achieved a lot when it comes to my running! I’ve taken almost 10 minutes off my pb for my 4km run that I started 6 months ago and I can now run up a hill without losing the feeling in my legs! Plus my longest run I’ve done so far is 6km which I never thought I’d do!

Why run? you ask…there are lots of reasons why I’ve chosen running as my main form of exercise. I love to run because:
*I feel free…free from the worries of the world!
*I can think…think about my blog topics and projects I’m working on!
*I feel energised…to get through my busy days!
*I feel challenged…to improve on my pb each time!
*It makes me happy…that I’m doing something for myself!
*And I love going for a run because I can!

Running is one of those exercises that can become boring at times. I spent the first few months running without music so I could solely concentrate on my breathing. I look back now and think how did I do it, I couldn’t run without my tunes now! I’ve been running the same 4km route for 6 months now and I challenged myself to running it in 20 minutes. It took 5 months but I finally ran it in 19.55 mins. I always said once I reached that point I was ready for a new route!

Prior to this I was already starting to get a bit bored with it, so I started a new route that included hills, as my original route had hardly any! I’m happy to say I’m so glad I challenged myself to what I call my ‘hill run’ because I now have a positive spin on running up a hill! It also helps that I tell myself when running up a hill “once I’m up I have to come down!” Busy roads surround where we live, so if I run one way I have to cross a railway but is quite flat (which is what I’ve been doing) and if I run the other way I’m challenged with hills! But I’m ready for the challenge!

Last Sunday I started running my new route and even though it is harder than my original route, I’m loving the new challenge! I feel like running and I are friends again. I’ve managed to run it three times now and have taken over a minute off my pb which is now 21.07 mins:) Now when I run I think about my new challenges. My aim is to run from one end of warrigal rd to the other which would total at least 6km….but my biggest challenge to myself is to hit the 10km eventually!

I’ve recently started to run to my parents house when we go there for a visit, while my husband and kids drive. This is something I want to continue with to various places! It’s just another reason to run:) plus if the day is crazy busy and that is my only chance to run I’m certainly not going to pass the opportunity!

I don’t want me wanting to keep fit and heathy to be a chore. I want to happily do it! I was happily exercising for a long time but just recently felt like it was becoming a chore. I realise now it wasn’t me or the exercising, I just needed a change. Now I know for next time when I’m feeling like that again I will seek out a new challenge and mix it up! As the saying goes a change is as good as….for me it’s a new lease on running!

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Who else has made good progress with their fitness lately?

A Starting Point.

5 months ago I decided to start my own blog. The idea came from a thought when I was out running. At first I had plans to create a fitness fan page on Facebook to help motivate other mums who were trying to get their bodies back after having their families. But after talking to my lovely Neighbour Lolly, she suggested blogging. What’s that I ask? Technology is obviously not my biggest strength in life!

After procrastinating for a bit, I decided to give it a go. Lolly helped me create my blog and start me on this new journey – a big shout out to her:) The idea of me starting a blog was to have somewhere to write my life stories and to have someone read them and judge whether my writing is good enough to read! This being because I’d love to write a book one day!

It took me a little while to establish a routine and discipline with producing pieces that sounded good enough to read. I haven’t hit a brick wall with topics yet, everyday something pops up and I write it down. But I am amazed at how much I love blogging. I always preferred maths when I was at school and writing assignments was never something that sparked an interest for me, but now I consider myself a writer!

I’m very appreciative of the support and positive feedback that my audience has given me. Whether it be about the quality of my writing, the layout of my blog or how the pieces I’ve published have been truly touching has enabled me to write with confidence.

Another moment of me not keeping in touch with technology….when Lolly asked me if I was interested in making money from blogging I answered with “can you do that” lol! How did I not know this? Have I been hiding under a rock or something? Lol I never envisioned making money from publishing my blogs. Like my blog’s caption says ‘Life is about learning’ and if I can teach someone something from reading my blogs than I feel like I’ve earnt something by doing that! But recently I received an email from two companies who read and loved my blog and are willing to give me a go! Surprised I surely was, chuffed as well!

It’s nice to know that what I’m writing is worth reading. My aim now is to keep building my audience! With each blog brings about new followers and now that I have started a fan page on Facebook and linked my blog to Twitter and Pinterest, hopefully this will attract a broader range of followers as well! My latest edition to my blog is my logo. I created this to use as the face of my blog….something that people will remember!

So where to from here? I’m just going to keep on living and blogging! Since starting this journey back in March, this is my 31st published piece and I have had over 3500 views of my blog by people right around the world! Hopefully one day my blog is highly recommended around the world, but for now what I’ve achieved so far is a great starting point!

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My logo I created for my blog:)

Head over to ‘My Party of 5’ fan page on Facebook and ‘like’ my page to keep up to date with everything relating to my blog:)

40 Years and Counting!

I write this piece with absolute pride, as the two people this story revolves around are my wonderful parents!

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45 years ago at the young age of 15 a boy met a girl and took her out on their first date…a football match:) and from that moment on, they started a beautiful journey I would like to share with you!

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After 4 years of ‘going steady’, a handsome Gary Keith Winters married a beautiful Carol Ann Holpen at the age of 19. They made such a stunning couple on their wedding day even though dad was in a terrible car accident weeks before and had his arm in plaster!!

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Once they tied the knot and declared their love in front of all their loved ones, dad was sent to Singapore to serve in the army and mum being the supportive wife she is, went with him as he was to be away for a year! What an experience…19, newlyweds and living in Singapore, I know I wouldn’t have been ready for that at such a young age!

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Once they returned from Singapore they spent the next couple of years working hard to buy their first home…our family home that we grew up in and the home they still reside in today! They first became parents at 22 to twin girls, my sisters Michelle and Peta. Mum only found out after she gave birth to Michelle that there was another baby to be born! Imagine being told “Mrs Winters you have another baby in there you need to get ready to push again!”….”ummm no thank you, I only ordered one!!!!” Ahhh thank goodness technology has improved lol! Then 6 years later after suffering a heartbreaking miscarriage in between, I was born!

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Growing up in the Winters household meant lots of love, laughter and joy! The girls and I have truly been blessed with such wonderful parents who are so selfless and loving! They always worked so hard to provide a roof over our head, food on the table, clothes on our backs and always gave us the best holidays, birthdays and Christmas! The best childhood memories anyone could ask for!

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As we grew older and started to achieve great things with our sport and academics, mum and dad always supported us and again worked really hard to help us make our dreams and goals come true! We were all so lucky to have magical wedding days and the support of our parents when buying our first house, car and making the decision to start a family!

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Throughout all of this the one common factor that my parents relationship has sustained is love! They are still the most selfless people I know and they still work really hard to help us all out and now it’s not just three daughters, it’s also three son in laws and 7 beautiful grandchildren! But the love my parents share is even greater than the day that boy met a girl and took her out on their very first date!

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Now that we are all grown up, moved out of home and have families of our own, it’s mum and dad’s time to relish in each other again. They have such a great life together and it’s so nice after 40 years of marriage that they still make each other laugh and enjoy spending time together – be it at Diggers on a Friday night, on holidays at Palm Beach or spending time with their grandchildren!

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Which brings me to ask the question….can high school sweethearts last the distance?? So many people are quick to judge couples who have been in a committed relationship from a young age….”they won’t last!”, “what would they know about love, they were so young when they started going out!”, “they’ll get sick of each other eventually!”

I believe high school sweethearts or young love can last forever! Who says that you can’t have one true love?! How many people divorce that aren’t high school sweet hearts?! I really don’t think it matters if you are high school sweethearts or not if you love someone and want to be with them forever, it is possible, but like everything you have to work at it and make an effort! Marriage isn’t easy, it’s about flexibility, working as a team and compromising…..even my parents know that. They’ve had their ups and downs but never once did they give up!

I feel so blessed that I have two wonderful role models in my life that I can look up to and be inspired by! I’ve had exposure to wonderful parenting, a great marriage and now fantastic grandparenting! Kane and I are high school sweethearts and I can only hope that in 30 years time we are as happy and in love as my parents are today!

How many of you out there married your high school sweetheart or first love?