I AM the lucky one….

Three weeks ago I had my yearly echo and today I’m finally getting my results back! What a loooonnng three weeks it’s been. Hoping and praying that my results haven’t changed since I was diagnosed with a heart condition two years ago. All I want to hear today is that my aorta hasn’t dilated any further. I’ve worked hard this 12 months to maintain my fitness and weight loss, which gives me the best chance of keeping my blood pressure down. And have I lead a stress free life like I’m suppose to? As much as you can when you are a prep special Ed teacher and mother of 3 children who are 7,5 and 2!

As I sit here in the hospital waiting room I’m feeling sick and nervous. I was hoping that starting to write this blog would keep my mind occupied but it doesn’t completely stop me from feeling worried. I can’t believe another year has passed. It only feels like yesterday that I was here and another year before that, waiting in the same room. As I walked from the carpark to the Mater hospital and through the corridors, all the memories I’ve lived at this hospital come flooding back….birthing my three children, having a curette after my miscarriage, having half my thyroid removed and the biggest health challenge yet my heart! But with each memory lived the door was closed behind me, this door is different, it’s one that will stay open for the rest of my life. The Mater hospital will be a place I visit indefinitely……

Thankfully my name was called out about 15 minutes after I sat down, which was good as it didn’t give me much time to think! As I took a seat in my cardiologist’s office I felt calm and ready to hear whatever I was to be faced with. We had our usual discussion on how my health has been over the past year. He was happy with everything. My blood pressure was perfect and he is extremely impressed with my fitness and overall well being! AND the best news of all my heart is no worse than last year’s echo….to say I’m thrilled is an understatement!!!!!

As I thank god that I’ve made it through another year, I’m also so very thankful that I’m even aware of my heart condition. Each time I visit my cardiologist he reflects with me how lucky I was to have this picked up while pregnant with my third baby. It is unknown how or why my heart’s aorta is dilated, but he believes I was born with this condition and in most cases you are unaware until its too late. At this time of year I’m always brought to tears as to how different my life could have ended up if we didn’t have Mia…my angel baby!

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I will spend the rest of my life kissing this baby for saving me!!

Like so many people who are faced with health complications, some can be fixed and so many can’t. I feel so blessed that my condition is now known and I now have the chance to live a long healthy life! I AM the lucky one. Yes I have to live the rest of my life with a defect on the organ that keeps me alive, and yes I can’t do EVERYTHING I want to do from a physical perspective and therefore I must be extra careful and cautious, BUT no matter how I look at this situation I AM the lucky one and there are far more people worse off than me!

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So where to from here?…The next step in relation to my heart is to have an exercise stress test, to check to see what my blood pressure does while I exercise. Then I’ll be back to the hospital in March next year for my annual echo. I am to keep doing what I’m doing in terms of keeping fit and eating healthy and I have to keep as stress free as I can. I could lye down and not move and rap myself up in cotton wool, but that’s one: not a life and two: not realistic! I don’t look at this as I’ve been given a death sentence, I look at this as I’ve been given a second chance. A chance to take the best care of myself. And I will spend the rest of my life giving myself the best chance to live a long, healthy and happy life with my beautiful family.

Today I feel blessed. I feel like I can keep going for another year. I feel free again for a while. Free to live, free to love and free to enjoy the simple things in life! Cheers to my heart!

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EaSteR….

Easter is normally one of my favourite times as it’s the only time of year we are guaranteed a 4 day long weekend! But, I don’t know about anyone else, I so wasn’t ready for Easter at all this year! I feel like I haven’t fully recovered from Christmas and with it being earlier than normal, it really crept up on us very quickly! The kids haven’t even gone on and on about it like they normally do weeks leading up to it!!! It’s been such a huge year so far and it’s going by so fast, nothing feels as enjoyable as years gone past, I’m hoping that changes as the year goes on!

But with all this said, I still tried really hard to make this Easter an exciting one that the kids will remember! Up until the day before Good Friday I hadn’t bought a thing!!! Thankfully I was able to complete most of my shopping at late night shopping just in time for
the extra long weekend! The kid’s and I had put our decorations up on the Wednesday and the excitement did start at 2.30 on Thursday which signalled 2 weeks school holidays!!!! 🙂

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We spent Good Friday at the skate park, playground, swimming at mum and dad’s and finished the day off with the boy’s going to the footy and is girls having dinner at mum and dad’s:)

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Easter Saturday was an extra special day as it was my daddy’s birthday! It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since we celebrated dad’s 60th birthday with a fabulous party at my sister’s house. Now another year has past! It was a lovely day spent doing what dad loves to do the best…beers, horse racing and footy…with his loved ones around him:) I made the cake of course and we relished in each other’s company all day!

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Easter Sunday started with its usual tradition of the kid’s Easter egg hunt. Usually we have to race off somewhere for breakfast, but this year we didn’t need to so it was so nice to potter all morning with the kids as we didn’t have to be anywhere until lunch time. On our way to my sister’s for lunch, we stopped in and saw nana and grandad. The rest of the day was spent eating, laughing and playing backyard sports with the kids! Another quiet but fun Easter:)

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Now it’s Easter Monday and the realisation that nothing has been done for three days has hit lol! Washing is
coming out of my ears, the house is a sad sight and the Easter presents need to be sorted and put away…all I can say is thank god it’s school holidays!!! We finished up today spending the morning at Movie World and the afternoon having a much needed rest! So far I’ve put the Easter decorations away and sorted my washing! It’s been a fabulous Easter weekend filled with the things I love doing the most…family time, running, eating, laughing and giving gifts!

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Happy Easter to My Party of 5 followers…I hope your Easter has been filled with all things you love!

From One Term to the Next!

As I sit here in the peace and quiet of my home while Mia has a nap and the two bigger kids watch a movie, I start to wonder how term 2 of school is going to play out. With the school holidays coming to an end and what a great time we’ve had, I can’t help but pray that it starts differently to term 1.

As you know, my prep baby Sienna, suffered terrible separation anxiety at the beginning of the year, but with lots of perseverance from her wonderful teacher and myself, she overcome her emotions and settled so beautifully. The worst part was over within the first two weeks, but then it took another couple of weeks for her teacher to knock down this brick wall that Sienna had tightly built around herself hindering her confidence from shining. By the middle of the term Sienna finally relaxed. Relaxed enough to let her guard down to show her teacher what she is capable of. We saw a huge difference in her at home. She was finally coming home and talking about school and all the wonderful things she was learning…it was like music to my ears!

When we reached the last day of term, I thanked Sienna’s teacher for all the hard work she had put into my daughter and we discussed how far she had come. I felt such a sense of relief that term 1 was complete! Although it was only a short term of 9 weeks, we were all ready for a holiday and to celebrate that Sienna made it through her first term of school….and came out the other end a better student!!!

We’ve had a wonderful time this school holidays. Our Easter long weekend celebrations were fantastic and the kids had a ball celebrating my birthday with me! We’ve gone for bike rides, played at parks, swam, had lunch dates and play dates with friends. We’ve laughed together, chilled together, read books, sang songs, baked and had the odd disagreement here and there, but all in all it’s been a great couple of weeks! Mia has thoroughly enjoyed having the kids home. She plays so hard with them now or should I say bosses them around while playing with them lol, she will be lost for a while when they return to school next week and so will I! I LOVE school holidays. No rushing, no lunches, no ironing uniforms, no homework. Life is cool, calm and collective…it’s like the calm before the storm (of the next term lol)!

Sienna has been pretty good these holidays. She has continued to engross herself in her love of learning which is lovely to see. She’s asked several times when are we going back to school. At first we had to go through each day how many days until school went back. I didn’t think too much about it until the other day when I said 7 days and she replied “that is ages away” I said “yes” and her response as she skipped off was “yesssss!” I instantly thought “oh no!!!”

It’s getting to the point now where I need to start counting down the sleeps with her until school starts back. I need her to be emotionally ready again to tackle another term of school. I feel that Sienna wasted half a term of her learning in term 1 and I can’t wait to see what she will be capable of once she has a full term under her belt. I think I’m worrying for nothing and I believe she will be ok, but Sienna can be unpredictable! I return to work on Monday so for the first couple of days mum will be dropping her off. So far this year she hasn’t cried with mum, it’s only me she cries with. I’m hoping she doesn’t but am expecting her to hold it together Monday and Tuesday and lose it on Wednesday with me!! I just asked her if she is looking forward to going back to school and she said “yes, I just want to go everyday and not have so many holidays!!!” We may just be onto a winner…but like always I’m always ready for the unexpected!!

I hope everyone has enjoyed the school holidays and I wish you all a successful term 2! Ours starts with parent/teacher interview on the second day and Bailey starts the term with a new teacher! I shall be thinking of all the school mums on Monday as the rush of life begins again for another 10 weeks!!!

Some pointers to assist you in term 2:
*take the time now to check all bags, lunch boxes, clothes, shoes, uniforms etc to make sure nothing needs to be replaced.
*rename or relabel if they have worn or fallen off.
*term 2 is the start of the cool weather – buy at least one jumper before school goes back and keep it in your child’s school bag incase they need it!
*on the same note, start to organise their school winter wardrobe.
*term 2 is report card term so the kids will be facing lots of assessment – allow them plenty of chances to go to bed early at night, this will help them from being super cranky after school!
*finally term 2 for me is the term where I expect the kids to do more for themselves – I allow them term 1 to really settle back to school and from term 2 my expectations go up a notch and I really focus on independence,
independence, independence!!!

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To Send or Hold Back…..

This week’s hot controversial topic on several a current affairs shows, is knowing when to send your children to school! Should we send our children to school as the very youngest child (at 4 and a half) or hold them back a year so they are a year older?? As a teacher and a mum, I couldn’t resist but to right a blog on this topic that is very dear to my heart and to give my two cents worth!

Is 4 and a half too young to start full time school? How long is a piece of string? There are so many variables when it comes to children and their readiness for school. As a mum of three children who are all born in the second half of the school birthday calendar year, they will always be on the younger side compared to their peers, with my middle child being born on the 30th of June…the absolute baby of the class! when I fell pregnant and realised when their birthday would be, it didn’t really phase me too much, I was more happy that none of them had to spend another year at home and they would start school like we all did the year they turned 5. Ask me now though and my opinion is some what different!

I believe age is just a number. No matter how old you are, depending on what you’ve been exposed to will depend on your level of knowledge, understanding, maturity and readiness. Genetics play a part in the physical side of growth and cognitively sometimes we are lucky to be born a genius or the complete opposite. And then there is simplicities or complexities of one’s personality which would make no difference to what order a child is – oldest or youngest!

When watching 60 minutes on Sunday night and listening to the reasoning behind why those parents held their children back, I could understand their concerns and reasoning, but I was most impressed with the mother of twins who were 4 and a half when starting prep say “let them be!” When the reporter asked “do we as parents wrap our kids up in cotton wool too much?” she simple and honestly answered “yes we do!” I really loved how she kept it real!

Create the best ‘YOU’!

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Last week was International Women’s Day! How did you embrace the women within you?
I was recovering from a gastro bug the kids passed on…not my finest or classiest of moments that’s for sure lol!

As a women, I think we are an extremely important part of society! Not only are we nurturing and intelligent, we are strong…I mean what man will ever be able to birth the size of a watermelon out of their sacred area?? Without women the population of the world would slowly dwindle so we ARE needed! But we are not just baby producing machines, there is so much more to us!

Just recently I’ve had several people stop me and tell me I look great considering I have three children. One lady asked me if the kids were all mine and then politely said “my you are thin!!” As flattering as it is, it makes me so frustrated and annoyed that the general stereotype for a mum is under dressed and over weight!! Why can’t us mums be fit, slim, healthy and trendy without people being so surprised about it!

Several months ago I wrote a blog called “Yes I’m a mum of three children!”, which highlights how annoyed I get by people’s ignorance when they get a shock that me, oh god forbid me, would have birthed 3 children…that’s right because a size 8 women is so incapable of that…NOT!!! Which takes me to the point of this blog! I’m fed up with people’s reactions and stereotypical attitudes towards us mums. Shouldn’t we be praised and acknowledged for being a good role model for our children? Doesn’t what we do rub off on our children and if we are leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, isn’t that a good thing to pass onto our children?

So as a fellow member of the mothering society I strongly urge you to take control! Take control of yourself and your life and create the best ‘YOU’ that you can be! If you are not happy with yourself, don’t beat yourself up about it anymore, do something about it! And I’m not solely talking about weight loss. That could be one area. You may want to build your fitness, change your eating habits or seek out a new wardrobe, if you know what it is that will help ‘YOU’ be the best ‘YOU’ can be, than start now!

TIPS to get started…
*Set your self realistic goals and keep a regular check of them! Once one goal is achieved set a new one.

*Cut out the crap! If what you want is to lose weight or get back to eating healthy, then cut out the bad food from Monday – Friday and treat yourself in moderation over the weekend! Drink plenty of water and reduce the size of your meals. I also recommend to go on a good women’s multivitamin to…I take rest and restore by Nature’s Way and highly recommend it!

*If your desire is to get fit, pick an exercise that you know you’ll be able to manage in your busy schedule and be consistent with it…like everything consistency is the key to success!

*If you need a new look, the first thing to do is to clean out your wardrobe! Get rid of what you don’t wear or doesn’t make you feel good anymore. Make a list of what you want and write down your favourite colours etc and then go shopping….maybe go through some fashion mags before you go, or just go with what’s most comfortable for you! Westfield shopping centres have stylists that you can go to now.

*Pamper yourself…make sure you make time for pampering at the hairdressers, nail saloon or massage parlour. As mums we spend our days pampering everyone, we deserve some too!

*Most importantly don’t forget about yourself! Yes it was our choice to become mothers and a mother should always put herself first before her babies, but that doesn’t mean we should let ourselves go! If we establish a really good routine at home with great organisation, then trust me there will be time for yourself!

It’s time mummas…time to shut the critics down and change the way people perceive mums! After all when us mums are FEELING our best, we are DOING our best and that is extremely important!

If you do take the plunge today to change something, please keep me posted, I’d love to follow your transformation!

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The Sea is Calm….

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Does anyone else look back (now there children are in school) and think how life was like a constant surge of rough seas??

I do! When the kids were all at home and going from baby to toddler, toddler to a little girl or boy, then the next child would come along and go through the same growth and the next, some days felt like I was swimming in rough seas trying to keep my head above water! It was always one thing after another…teething, allergies, ear infections, common cold, gastro, terrible 2s, feral 3s, mouthy 4s, tantrums blah, blah, blah!!! Some days were so overwhelming, I look back now and wonder how I got through it…but I did!

Then before you know it you have two out of three in school and those rough seas feel like they are starting to calm! Don’t get me wrong, there are still moments of a cyclone, but then there is calm!

Calm moments are times where I like to sit back and take it all in and realise we just may have made it…for now that is lol!

All three of our kids have had a huge growth and development spurt over the last month! So many moments have happened lately where I find myself thinking…finally they are settling, finally they are getting it! It makes you feel like the consistency that has been upheld is worth every word that was spoken and repeated and repeated! The times when I felt like walking away and ignoring something was so worth the follow through that HAS to happen!

I believe as parents there are two things we HAVE to uphold and that is consistency and good role modeling! When a child is born they aren’t programmed into knowing that we don’t throw food or jump on the lounge, say no when asked to do something, use manners, pick up after themselves, speak kindly or that throwing themselves on the floor while screaming isn’t going to them what they want! It’s our role, our responsibility as their parent to model acceptable human behaviour with the up most consistency that is needed!

Working with prep age students has made me realised that a lot of the ‘good old fashioned’ parenting and values are sadly not being utilised like they always were! It seems to be now that as teachers, we have to teach so much of the SIMPLE things at school that I believe should have been taught over the 4-5 years before they start school! Imagine how much more curriculum would be taught if the majority of children came to school with the essential basic skills!! I think for some parents it all just becomes too hard…why hello, who ever said parenting was going to be easy?? It is hard. It has to be worked at everyday. It requires us as the parent to be stronger than the child and most importantly it requires us to show some tough love even if it breaks our heart to say NO, you have to keep thinking they’ll be better off in the log run!

Which leads me to my three children and how extremely proud of them we are! When Bailey came home this week with his student of the week certificate, for ‘always showing a fantastic attitude towards all aspects of his school work’, brought a tear to my eye! Not only as a teacher did this thrill me, but as his mum and knowing I played a big role in this makes me feel like the HARD work I’ve put into my boy (who has been extremely difficult) is paying off! Seeing my prep daughter becoming confident with learning to read and write makes my heart melt…again I had something to do with that! Hearing my 2 year old say ‘thank you’ mummy when I give her something and watching her function in our house like a mini adult – knowing that the back door needs to be closed before we go out and the tv needs to be turned off, without being told to, puts the hugest smile on my face!

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I may have more grey hairs than ever, but who cares that’s what a good hairdresser is for lol, but the consistency that is driven, the follow through that happens, has all been worth it! I’m certainly not saying that I’m parent of the year or the perfect parent, but I do think that the fact that my sea is starting to display some calmness is from the parenting principles of consistency, follow through and good role modeling is starting to have some affect!

For us, having three kids constantly sick from chronic middle ear infections, our eldest who displays a lot of spectrum behaviour, our middle child who is allergic to diary and our baby who had silent reflux which wasn’t diagnosed until 8 months as well as glue ear, proves that we haven’t had the easiest of roads, hence why my sea has felt so rough for so long! But never once did I use any of this an excuse for my children’s behaviour. I always parent in the moment for the future…as this is what parenting is all about isn’t it, setting our children up for the brightest of futures!

We are their parents.
We are responsible for their upbringing.
We are their role model.
We are their manners.
We are their behaviour.
We are their advocate.
We are in control.
We have an extremely important job that just needs to be done!

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All in a Year!

Exactly one year ago I started my blogging journey. I’ve put myself out there to the world and exposed myself as a mum, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I’ve covered parenting topics from breastfeeding to middle child syndrome, I’ve shared my highs and lows with you all. I’ve captured moments of my running achievements and posted pieces about my cake creations and my love of decorating and fashion!

Blogging for me is a great hobby where I can release my inner thoughts and a perfect way to capture my life as it stands. I started blogging in the hope to help people! As a teacher I love to offer something to someone and help them to learn and as my blog’s caption says ‘life is about learning’, it’s nice to know that someone out there could be learning something from the pieces that I write! And even though I started blogging to help people, it also didn’t phase me if only a few people here or there read my posts as it’s a great memory for me to always look back on.

I remember when I posted my first blog, within hours I had people respond…it was a bit weird at first! But from one blog to the next, it became a natural routine of my week! And I’m happy to say that so far I’ve had nothing but positive feedback and a wonderful supportive audience who I appreciate them talking time out of their busy schedules to read what I have to say!

To celebrate my year’s journey, I’ve included my top 5 most read blogs over the year and my top 3 that I loved the most!

Top 5:
Number 1 – Tattoo
Number 2 – Bulging Belly
Number 3 – ‘Jackpot’
Number 4 – Tiger Stripes
Number 5 – 10kg Gone

My favourite top 3:
Number 1 – In the name of ‘love’
Number 2 – Bond of sisterhood
Number 3 – End of Breastfeeding

I hope you enjoy reading over some of my favourite blogs that I’ve written. I can’t believe I’ve posted over 100 blogs now! When I was choosing my top three there were pieces I went through that I forgot I’d written about…always such a wonderful memory of what has been achieved! Once again thank you for your constant support it’s always warmly appreciated! I look forward to sharing more of me and my Party of 5’s life over the coming 12 months!

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Ripped Off!!!

I’m sitting here on the first day of autumn, with horrendous sinus, on ANOTHER rainy day, feeling really ripped off that summer has come to an end:( Does anyone else feel the same?

It was not that long ago we were enjoying ourselves on our ‘summer’ family holiday down the coast with the best weather that we could ask for and now it feels like we’ll never see sunshine again! We’ve gone from one extreme to the next. A month ago our grass was so dead that the kids couldn’t play outside without shoes on and now it’s so green and growing so quickly it could be mowed twice a week!

How hard is it to ask for a happy medium? Mother nature really is in a foul mood of late. From drought to flooding it really has been an unfair situation for so many innocent people of Queensland! I’m SO over everything outside being wet all the time. Mould and mildew sets in so quickly with this weather and trying to get your washing dry is a mission and half (thank goodness for my dryer)! But then I think about those poor people who have lost their houses and all of their possessions and I keep moving forward cause there is nothing wrong with us!

But seriously is the sun going to shine consistently again?? If my memory serves me correctly, we haven’t had constant sunshine since mid January!!! Summer is my favourite time of year where we relish in the fun that is at the beach and theme parks and we swim to the point of being water-logged!! What a disappointing summer it’s been this year! We’ve really only had one good solid month of glorious weather and now it’s autumn, before we know it it will be winter;( I’m not ready for winter – freezing mornings, cold wind, dry skin, germ upon germ and shorter days for daylight…I haven’t had enough of a summer fix yet to go through this!!!

I’m the happiest in summer! Everyone is at their healthiest and because Christmas and holidays are in the mids of it all, summer always brings such a joyous relaxed feeling…and now it’s over:( This constant rainy, overcast weather really affects my mood and thinking and I can’t stand not getting my vitamin D fix a few times a week!!! It also spoils any outdoor plans in the way of parties and sport and don’t get me started about school drop offs and pick ups!!! Bailey started footy training two weeks ago and has trained once because of the rain. His choice of birthday activity this year is to have a sleep over with a few mates…this is today! This afternoon I was entertaining 5 children under the pergola because once again IT WAS RAINING!!!!

But I guess now summer has come to an end, it’s time now to enjoy other activities such as going to parks, having picnics and enjoying our walks and bike rides….that’s if the rain would politely go away for a while! The two things I do LOVE at this time of year though are; the weather is great for running and I LOVE autumn/winter fashion…skinny jeans, jackets and winter accessories…bring it on!!

This blog really is just me whining about this hideous weather that feels like it’s never going to end…sorry to bore you but I feel really ripped off that summer has come to an end when it feels like it hardly begun;(!!!! I’m sure most of you would be with me when I say I’m so OVER this rain…right???

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Am soooo missing the beautiful blue skies Queensland is renowned for;(