Close Call….

I would consider myself a thrill seeker. One who loves adventure and isn’t scared by much – other than creep crawlies!! But on Saturday, for the first time in my life, I saw my life flash before my eyes and it was far from thrilling and I was scared out of my wits!!

I set out for my normal weekend long run at 6.15am. It was a cold quiet Saturday morning where traffic was concerned – clearly people had the right idea to stay in bed all snuggled in the warmth. I had 15k in front of me to get through. I had no expectations other than to not stop and get it done. As I set off I was feeling good. I was reaching each kilometre within 5.15 – 5.30 minutes and I had plenty to think about and good tunes to listen to so the kilometres were ticking by quickly.

Before I knew it I was into my 5th kilometre and making a good time. I was at the part of my run where I was about to cross a main road to take me back into the back streets of Runcorn, to head towards home for my fuel! As I looked to check for traffic, I had nothing coming to my right and only one car coming towards my left. I crossed the first part of the double lane road to the island and waited for the car to pass me. As the car, which was in the outside lane when I first looked passed, I stepped out onto the road to cross the remaining road. What I didn’t realise is that the car had changed lanes!!!

I shit myself!! If I had of taken another step or a wider stride, the car passing would have taken me out. I can’t believe how close I came to being hit by a car! I was so dirty at myself. It was completely my fault as I hadn’t looked for a second time to double-check where that one single solitary car was. There wasn’t another car in sight. I felt bad for the driver who didn’t communicate at all with me and just kept driving. I made a split second wrong decision which could have done some serious injury to me or even cost me my life!

For a moment all that went through my head was OMG, f$&@, OMG, that was so close, f$&@, I’m so lucky!!!! Then for the next 15 minutes my life seriously flashed before my eyes and I realised how serious that could have been. What if luck wasn’t on my side? What would have my life turned into? My children…they may not of had a mother, my husband a wife! I felt scared, frightened, fragile and still so angry at myself that I would put myself in this situation.

I ploughed through my 15k and never stopped like I planned. But I was shaken, annoyed and embarrassed. I’m an adult and should know better. I’m a mum and should be more vigilant. When I came home and told Kane I required cuddles, lots of cuddles and I coped the constructive criticism on the chin from my family and I took the cuddles from my babies all day.

I learnt a valuable lesson from my run and close call. Life is here not to be messed with and no matter what never leave anything up to chance. You have to make sure everyday all your ‘T’are crossed and all your ‘i’ are dotted. I will always thank my lucky stars that someone was looking over me on that cold crisp morning in winter…must of been my guardian angel…must of been my nana!

My message to everyone….be careful, be vigilant and always be cautious!

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Cuddles from my babies were a calming comfort after my close call…my wake up call!!!

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A Letter to Nana….

Dear Nana,

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I saw, touched and kissed your beautiful face. 2 years since you took your last breath on this earth and grew your angel wings. So much has happened in the past 2 years. Lots of ups and downs and there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t wish you were here with us, enjoying in what life has to offer.

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I still find it extremely difficult to be in your home. Your presence is so raw and real and although it brings me comfort, it also breaks my heart and is a harsh reminder of what we are missing! I admire grandad for being so strong. It would have been so easy to walk away from all the memories, but instead he embraces it and has allowed it to help heal his heart, that will never fully recovery from losing you.

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Grandad is going well though. He misses you more and more everyday, but between us all, we make sure he is looked after. He travels with us to watch the kids play sport, relishes in his time at family dinners and enjoys his outings with Kane to Bunnings and the pub!

Mum has been, like always, the glue that holds us altogether. In her darkest days of grieving for you, she always makes sure that everyone else is ok. She is granddad’s sounding board and when he broke his hip, she took tremendous care of him just like she use to take care of you! You’ve raised an amazing women in my mummy nana so thank you!

You should see all the great-grandchildren now:)! Sadly you never got to meet baby Ada who is our newest member to the family! Megan and Shannon’s wishes came true and what a gorgeous wish she is! All the kids have grown so much and are striving to their best potential, especially in their sport! They all talk about you all the time and Mia asks me everyday why did nana have to die?!? Knowing you’re not suffering or in pain anymore is the only thing that puts my mind at ease just a little with losing you!

I miss you so much nana. I miss our chats about TV shows and celebrity goss, swearing together during these chats ended up in many laughing moments and I’d do anything to have that again. I miss the sound of your sweet voice, the touch of your soft hands and your cuddles – they will always be my favourite! I miss that you’re not hear watching our lives evolve and cheering us on with whatever we are doing in life…I just miss you!

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You may not be here in person anymore, but you are never excluded from our thoughts, conversations and special occasions. I hope this letter finds you, wherever you are. I hope that you are happy, content and enjoying the freedom you deserve!

I love you nana – until we meet again….

Nat….xoxoxox!

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A Complete 360….

You often hear “if only time stood still!” I’ve been thinking that so much of late. As each week passes this year, I am getting closer and closer to having my last baby go to school. The shear thought of this makes me feel sick to my core. I still remember that feeling when Bailey and Sienna started school, but I always had another child to keep me busy so I didn’t have time to really feel those raw emotions. 10 years of having babies, watching them grow and develop into little preppies and once Mia starts prep next year, my life will bring a whole new world!

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Last week I saw a snapshot of what my life will be like next year when I drop all three kids off at school. For the first time since before I became a mum, I dropped Mia at mum’s place for some much needed nanny and Mia time (requested by both parties) and then went to the shops. I met up with a girlfriend, we shopped, had morning tea and ended my expedition with an hour massage. 5 hours to myself on a school day – unheard of – and obviously it’s going to be like this everyday!!! I’m not going to lie – I had a great day, but was bursting for Mimi cuddles by the time I picked her up!

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Mia was such hard work last year. There were times when I questioned – how will I ever get through to her going to Prep and still be sane?!?! But since returning from our trip to the States, turning 4 and starting preschool, she has matured so much and her smart and funny character is the highlight of my day. We have so much fun together and our conversations are amazing. She is my mini me, my shadow, the one who I can turn to when the two older ones come home cranky from a big day at school…I think I’ll be spending a lot of time talking to our dog Sonny next year lol!

There will be a lot of adjusting to begin with, but I know I will learn to enjoy time to myself again. I can’t believe my life has almost done a full 360!!! I will go from “mum this and mum that” to silence. Pushing a pram or holding a little hand to strolling through the shops and leaving without indigestion from shoving my lunch down, before needing to go home for day time naps. My time will be able to be spent a lot more effectively fitting in many more jobs as I’ll be able to be a lot more efficient – it’ll be weird finishing a job without stopping 10 times lol!

I’ve already starting putting a few things in place that’ll I’ll be working on from next year. It’s amazing how many options you’re faced with once you’ve been granted time. I was only saying to one of my friends last week – “how can anyone be bored in life – the options are endless!!!!” Some of my options are: studying my masters, starting a fashion blog, relief teaching in my kid’s school, planning our next trip to the States, moving house and of course working on my next running adventure!! I don’t think I’ll ever find myself lost in the silence of all my children at school!

It’s been a long 10 years with the constant health issues all three kids have presented with, but the light at the end if this tunnel is getting brighter as each year passes which is fantastic!! We are getting to such a great place in our lives with the kids. They all so independent and helpful now, I actually get to spend more quality time with them as the cores around the house are now done by everyone! Yesterday was a classic example of this…before we went to basketball everyone was given a part of the house to tidy up and within 5 mins the house was spotless. The girls also cleaned out the car yesterday while Bay did his project and I pottered around doing other chores…a complete 360!!!!

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Looking back over the years I’ve been lucky enough to be at home with my babies, they will always go down as the greatest years of my life. They haven’t been perfect. They have been hard at times and full of hurdles that together as a party of 5 we have jumped hand in hand together. But one thing is for sure, I’ve loved every moment and will always miss this time for the rest of my life.

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My aim has always been to start each day fresh and always put one foot forward in front of the other. Some days this has been simple and other days this has been a drag. But I can honestly say with each step forward I’ve definitely climbed a huge mountain and as I look back at the mountain I’ve climbed, I’m very proud of what has been accomplished. I now will look forward to the new phase of my life and can’t wait to experience the ‘older’ years with my babies!

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My First Half…

Today I achieved something I thought I never would be able to. Not only because of my heart condition, but I never thought I’d have the ability to. But I do and now I can say I have run a half marathon, without stopping and under 2 hours!!!!

I’ve been working towards this since the beginning of the year with 20k as my furthest run which I did a month ago! I’ve been running 15-17k runs each weekend and slowly increasing my pace. I had actually planned to run 20k next weekend, but with so much rain around this week and I’d only run 5k on Wednesday, I figured my legs would be as ready as they’d ever be.

I spend the last two days fuelling my body with lots of water, protein and of course fruit and veggies. I was as ready as I could be. I got everything ready as I do the night before, which included my water bottle, sachet of fruit and a charged watch and iPod! I woke to overcast conditions this morning which I was completely happy about and set off at 6.15. This is how it played out….

I really thought by not running much this week, my legs would be feeling great – not so much. They were a bit achy and when I reached my first kilometre at 5.15mins I was a bit disappointed. By my third kilometre (which was 5.38mins) I was really disappointed! I even remember saying to myself “oh well today isn’t the day – just get these 20k under your belt!” It wasn’t until I got to the eighth kilometre that I was starting to get a nice consistent pace that I felt in control of the run.

It was during this eighth kilometre that I started to make my way home to fuel my body with water and fruit. I didn’t want to at first as it meant going up two hills which made a total of three hills in the first 9k. But thankfully I kept up my pace and even with a dropped water bottle, which cracked the lid and I lost half my water and I almost dropped my iPod, I stayed on track. But after this comic of events, I started to feel sore again. I found myself thinking again “I don’t think I’ll be keeping up this pace!”

It wasn’t until I saw my time at 11k under an hour that I thought “you might just have this!” From there I kept up my pace. My next aim was to make it to 15k which is where I had the rest of my fruit sachet – and note to self – suck don’t pour in your mouth – not as easy as it seems lol! From this point the rest of the run couldn’t have gone any better.

Last week I ran 16k (more hilly) in an hour and a half and this week I hit 16k at 1 hour 26mins. I was stoked with a 17k pb of 1 hour 31mins – my previous pb was 1 hour 36 mins!! By this time I knew I was about 5 mins in front of the last 20k I had run a month ago…I was pumped!!! I was so focused I couldn’t let myself get excited! It wasn’t until I got 17k that I told myself “you are making it to 21.1!!” My goal was to run my first half marathon under 2 hours and if I knew I wouldn’t make this time I would stop at 20k just like I did last time. When I reached 20k at 1 hour 51 taking almost 5 mins off my pb, I knew that I could achieve my half marathon goal.

That last kilometre wasn’t pretty. I was sore. I was ready to stop. I kept looking at my watch every minute and counting down the metres. When I reached 21k I counted down the last 100m from 10 out loud and at 21.1k I stopped my watch and let out the loudest cheer – a couple were walking past and I think I scared them but I didn’t care – I’d just run a half marathon under 2 hours!!!!!

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I was in disbelief. I did it…I really did it!!!! And I know that I can do better!!! This week I got the confirmation from my cardiologist to run the Gold Coast half marathon. As soon as he confirmed it and after a check up with my doctor on Wednesday, who was very happy with me, I’m now all signed up!!! I’m so pumped and ready to take on the challenge again. My aim…to beat today’s time:)

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When I was diagnosed with my heart condition, no one knew how I would be effected. I have many limitations and work really hard everyday to keep it at bay. But one thing is for sure, my heart condition hasn’t made me scared, it’s made me a stronger, more determined person to achieve things I thought wouldn’t be impossible. My heart condition doesn’t control me…I control my heart condition.

To achieve anything all you have to do is believe and never give up!

Have Courage….Be Kind!

This week has been a week to reflect on life and what it has to offer. It’s been a week of devastating news left right and centre and with celebrating the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day, the title of this blog couldn’t be more fitting!

As I sat and watched my childhood favourite story Cinderella on Wednesday with my little girl and mum, the moral and values of this story are ones that every human should be exposed to…have courage, be kind! If only we all did this more readily. It made me stop and reflect as a parent – am I showing my own children this?!? I think I do? Do I use these words?!? Not enough. And it’s my job as their mother, to not only model this behaviour, but emerge them in this language.

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I find myself using the words brave and nice a lot, but my new words now will be courageous and kind. If only every child knew what this looked like and felt like, I believe there would be less crime and hatred in this world. I believe if we were more kind to each other, this would create a ripple effect and filter through as a common denominator. I believe in pay it forward…be kind to someone, that person would be kind to someone else….

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You only have to read some of the awful things that are evident on social media to realise how much hatred is in this world. The biggest one that sticks in my mind lately is the lady that received an anonymous letter from some of her “Facebook friends” letting her know that they were sick of seeing pictures of her baby daughter in their newsfeed?!? What the!!! Who does that? This is an example of 1. No self-control, 2. No tolerance, 3. Too much time to waste and 3. It’s down right mean!!!! The good old saying ‘if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything’ needs to be applied a lot more these days.

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If we were more kind to each other, then just maybe the word “bullying” would start to vanish from the school yard and instead children would have their minds more free to be courageous! Courageous – ?!?! Never give up, strive for your best, have a go even when the odds are against you! Too often you see people just give up these days! When the going gets tough so often you see people just throw their hands up in the air and say “whatever!” ?!?! When and how did this become such a common behaviour?!?!

Anzac Day, is one of those times of the year where you hear non stop courageous stories of the brave men and women who fought for our country to allow us the life we have today…they never gave up! This is also evident in the many men and women who bravely take on a position in any of our defence forces to this day! It was so nice to march with our children for the first time on Anzac Day this year. They proudly wore their grandfather’s medals and asked many questions along the way. If this is one way to help them strive to be their best and learn about being courageous, then it’s definitely worth it.

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I’m so lucky to have seen many people in my life who have been courageous and display courage everyday of their life. For me at the moment, knowing someone who is fighting a health battle with courage are the ones that I hold with the up most respect. My nana will always be one of the most courageous people I’ve met. Watching her and how she handled having Parkinson’s disease, without complaints, but still being able to enjoy the small things in life right up until she was unable to, this makes me want to be the best I can be and never give up!

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Have courage…be kind! It starts from us as parents. We need to believe these words before we can teach our children to do so. If Cinderella can love and live happily ever after, after the tragedies she endured, then I think it’s fair to say we can all try to be more kind and courageous! Cinderella may be a fictional character, but I’m sure we all know a Cinderella…for me it’s my beloved nana!

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A Letter to Life…

Dear Life,

On the day of my 35th birthday I write this letter as a reflection of what my life has held so far…..

When I was born 35 years ago, I was one lucky little baby girl to be born into the most amazing family I could ever ask for. A beautiful, caring and supportive set of parents and two loving twin sisters 6 years older than I. Growing up I always remember my childhood being a happy one. I have many fond memories of road trip holidays, beach holidays and visiting many different places. A major part of these memories always included my loving grandparents – who I adore at no end.

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I had a good schooling experience both primary and high and was lucky enough to extend my education to a tertiary level and become a primary school teacher. I’ve always had many wonderful friends, some who I’ve known since I was really young and some that I’ve known for a short time but feel like a life time!

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I have always been an active person and played sport my whole life. As a child I did almost every sport imaginable, but as a teen my passion was for my netball – making a state team at 12 was my highest achievement and I still wear my QLD jacket to this day! This passion for an active lifestyle still continues today and at 35 years of age, I can proudly say I can run 20k non stop!!!

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But my biggest achievement in life is creating a life with my wonderful husband who spoils me rotten! I have been lucky enough to birth three beautiful healthy kids who are the apple of our eyes. We work hard to have the life we want for ourselves and our children…it’s far from easy but we get through it together. Nothing I’ve ever done compares to this…loving someone is great, being loved by someone – well that’s just amazing!!!

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Through all the goodness of my life, I’ve seen tragedies. I’ve experienced pain and hurt. I’ve lost loved ones and have seen loved ones experience joy in the darkest of their days! I’ve been scared, felt fear, nervousness, anxiousness and have been overwhelmed at many different things. But one thing I have never done is lost HOPE….

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I’ve had many hurdles placed on my pathway during my life journey so far and I make it my passion to jump over each and every one of them. Some are jumped with ease, while others have needed a lot more work put into them. Some will stand for a long time and maybe forever, but it’s my promise that I will NEVER give up trying to jump them!

35 years you have given me so far. I still can’t believe I’m 35!!!! Someone said to me the other day – “you know that’s half of 70!!!!!!!” Bit of a harsh reminder lol! But each day, week, month, year I’m given, I will always work at being the best me and enjoy what makes me happy! I feel blessed every day for what my life holds and am grateful without a doubt. This little thing called life, is certainly here to challenge us, but it’s also here to embrace for its greatness and I have so much greatness to live for!

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But I do have one wish…please be kind. Be kind to the people I love. Suffering is something I dislike seeing my loved ones do and if I only had one wish to be granted it would be that we are all treated with kindness!

Love Nat!

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Courage shown…lessons learnt!

Friday was a long time coming. After hearing about cross-country for the past 4 years, Bailey was finally old enough to compete. At Runcorn Heights, the first time for a student to compete in cross-country is the year they turn 9. Bay has been waiting in anticipation for so long to take on this challenge. He couldn’t wait to start training for it. Due to my work commitments and Bay’s music commitments, he wasn’t able to get to school for the scheduled training sessions, so he trained with me.

We’ve had a ball training together. It’s been so awesome teaching him about something that is my passion. It’s also been a great time to bond and spend quality time together. I’m just so proud of how far he has come with his perseverance and determination. He really inspires me:)

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When we started training together 6 weeks ago, Bay was in quite a bad way. His anxiety was overwhelming and his motor and vocal tics were at their peak. Watching him struggle each day was breaking our hearts and we were doing everything we could to keep him calm and happy. At times cross-country training brought out the best and worst in him depending on his state of mind. But when he was focused he was amazing. To date his longest tun without stopping is 3k and his fastest km is 5.16 mins…am so chuffed for him:)

This past week leading up to cross-country has been a trying one. Anxiety started kicking in early in the week as he was worried that he wouldn’t know where to run. He was worried that he would get lost – which is his biggest fear in life! But once he was reassured by his PE teacher who walked the course with him, he started to settle. Then two mouth ulcers formed in his mouth and the morning of the cross-country he woke with a sore throat.

My whole speech to him all week was “mate it doesn’t matter where you place as long as you do your very best and have FUN!” That is my mantra for everything!!! He had his little heart set on age champion – dreams are free right?!? We all wished things like this didn’t we?!? Bay puts so much pressure on himself to be the best. It’s great to be passionate and have goals, but I worry that he misses the fun of it all!!

His race wasn’t until after morning tea at 11.30 – it was such a hot and humid day, really it was too hot for cross-country! He sat very quiet and patiently watching all the races before him. He was taking it ALL in. As he lined up on the line, the tallest 9-year-old by far, his face told the story! He wanted it soooo bad. The gun went off and all you saw was my son and his bright watermelon shoes shoot off like a canon. The first thing I thought was “not too fast Bay!!”

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He led for a fair bit of the race but the speed he started with was starting to punish him at the half way mark. Mum saw him with about 300m to go and he was hurting. As I stood at the finishing line waiting for the brightness of his shoes to catch my eye, three other boys came round the corner one by one. I was worried Bay was collapsed somewhere on the course but alas, he was still upright. As he ran the last 100m he had two boys right on his coattails, but he never gave up and pumped those legs to cross the line and receive 4th place…that’s when he did collapse….He was pale. He was delirious. He ended up vomiting. He ran that race with every bit of fighting fibre of his being and he did us bloody proud!

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Once he came back to earth and was back to being coherent, we debriefed the race. I told him how proud I was of him for never giving up. I know what running pain, stitches and heat exhaustion is like. It’s so easy just to stop and walk, it’s the hardest thing to keep going and push through that pain and he did! We spoke about the art of long distance running and how you have to pace yourself and not go out so hard and even though we trained to pace and sprint at the end, I think nerves may have gotten the better of him! Although he didn’t say it out loud, I could tell he was disappointed, but after lots of encouragement and praise from so many people, Bay went to bed that night feeling very proud of himself and super happy that Cunningham won the cross-country carnival!!!

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An added bonus was having his older cousin KB as vice captain:)

As his mother, and a running mother as well, this whole experience has left me inspired. If my son can push through that pain he did on Friday, I’ll always be able to as well. So when I set out to complete my 17k yesterday morning, there were times where I was hurting, but thinking of Bay helped me to push through and take over 2 mins off my 17k pb! Kids are inspiring…no mater what age or ability they have, they really are courageous little human beings!!

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Whatever Will I Do?!?!

From the moment I wake to the moment I go to bed at night, my day is full of busyness and endless parenting responsibilities. I feed kids, prepare them for school, fill out forms for school, make and take them to appointments. I take them to school, pick them up from school, help them with homework, cook dinner, make sure the house is clean, grocery shop, wash our clothes, get them to their extra curricular activities and teach two days a week! Each day is different with the intension of the same outcome – making sure we’re happy!

I love my life, I really do. Some days are hard, some days are simple, some days I wouldn’t want to repeat, but I truly feel blessed for what I have! I’m so use to running around like a chook with its head cut off. I’m so use to having someone hanging off me or calling out mum for the 100th time that day. There are moments where I get so tired I just want 5 minutes of peace and I do get that – at night from 7.30 when all kids are asleep that is my time of peace! And of course every kilometre I run helps me to regain and regather my thoughts to start my day. I’m so use to going and going and going I find it hard to STOP!

Then when I get the chance to stop and do something for myself, I flounder. I sit, think and wonder “what are the kids doing?!?” I wander around looking at things the kids would like. As I write this blog I’m on MY OWN on a plane to Melbourne for two hours, where I will spend the next 48 hours without one of my children in the same state as I let alone next to me. Whatever will I do?!? Mums always wish for this time and I don’t know about you but when I’m given it, I struggle to be without my children. After a day at work I can’t wait to get home to the kids!!

It’s been a while since I went away by myself, but this time I feel different and I think it’s because the kids are all that bit older. Normally I start to feel anxious the day before and the morning of leaving them. In the past I’ve almost talked myself out of doing this type of thing and it’s always my husband saying “just go and enjoy yourself!” Well there was no anxiety this time and for the first time ever I was just excited!!!!…..

I’m now back on the plane and I must say although we’ve had a fabulous weekend, I’m extremely excited to have my babies wrap their arms around me. I’ve missed their sweet little kisses and I love yous. I’ve missed the way they make me laugh and our insightful conversations. I know they’ve been loved and nurtured by their father all weekend, but I have wondered…”I wonder what the girl’s hair looks like?!?” lol!

This weekend has been a huge confidence booster for me when it comes to taking time out for myself. I never felt selfish and I didn’t feel less about myself as a mother. We are allowed to have these moments and not feel guilty and what a moment it was! The main reason for this weekend was to see Dirty Dancing. It was our birthday present from mum and dad – the best birthday present ever! The show was unbelievably amazing. Just like the movie – music, lines, costumes and all. And Johnny…well lets just say we had Hungry Eyes for him!

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After the show we went to the crown casino and ate the most amazing buffet. 2 hours of food, chatting and laughing – what more could a girl want and with the most amazing women…my mum, sisters and aunty. No one had any luck on the gambling side, but that’s ok:)!

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This morning we were up and out early so we could head back into the city to compete in the Run for Kids 5.4km race. I’ve been running for 3 and a half years now and this was my first official event. My aim was to run 5k in sub 24 minutes. This was no easy feat as I battled hundreds and hundreds of people, prams, scooters, bottle neck hills and drink stations, but to my excitement I reached 5km in 23.56 and ran the total course of 5.4km in 24.42…what a thrill!!!! This run also brought home how lucky I am to have 3 healthy children. Many people competed in this event today to honour their loved ones. It was quite emotional seeing photos and dates printed on their shirts in remembrance of their babies.

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Our last stop for the day was the always famous Queen Victoria Markets. I must say they aren’t as good as they use to be and I only walked away with a bracelet and something for the kids…my favourite part was my corn on the cob:/ Next Melbourne trip WILL involve a lot more shopping:)

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Melbourne is a great place to visit and we were able to see quite a bit of the city this weekend. I’ve been many times, but it’s always great to see new places and try new things. And of course the main reason we go is to see my beautiful sister and her family. It’s always great to see them as it’s been quite a while since we have! And to top the weekend off the weather was amazing! Cold mornings and nights but sun shining days!

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As I’m half an hour off landing I will enjoy this last moment of time to myself. It has been nice to sleep more peacefully, toilet and shower without anyone barging in, finish a conversation and eat without getting indigestion. It’s been a full on start to this year and this weekend is something I’ve needed to recoup and move forward. I’m all of that now and with only 2 weeks until school holidays I’m ready – lets do this babies and then we have 2 weeks together!

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Come Up For Air….

It’s been a while since I put my heart on the line and disclosed feelings and thoughts that seldomly go through my head, but it’s been one of those months. You know those months where you feel like your drowning in the pressures of life. The ones where everything in your life has steered off track and it takes all your strength not to have a nervous breakdown…but I’m here to say I lived it, I survived it as I’ve finally come up for air!

February..where do I start?!?

February is always the busiest month of the year for us. It’s the beginning of a new school year which encompasses settling the kids in with a new teacher and class mates and this year in particular was bigger than ever as we established new routines. Thankfully Sienna, who has taken months to settle for the past couple of years, started grade 2 so bravely that she hasn’t caused me a worry in the world…this time it’s been Bailey and Mia.

20150308-200344.jpg If you are a regular follower of my blog, you would know that my son was diagnosed with severe anxiety and a motor and vocal tic late last year. This hasn’t caused any problems for him at school until this year. He still manages to keep his anxiety under control at school, but his tics have become so obvious now that they are evident at school. This lead to an early appointment back to our paediatrician who is now referring Bay to a neurologist to rule out any neurological issues.

Meetings back and forth at the school with Bay’s teacher and the Deputy has now seen him settle in quite well. I’ve started him on magnesium as research has proven it to have a positive affect on people with Tourettes. Magnesium helps to decrease the severity in tics and so far I’m noticing some improvement. I also read an article this weekend where folinic acid and vitamin B12 helps reduce anxiety…I’m willing to give anything a try to help Bailey overcome his anxiety.

Then there’s Mia. Oh Mimsy where will you end up I constantly ask myself?!? Starting preschool for this little cherub has absolutely rocked her world. I thought Sienna’s separation anxiety was bad…Mia has taken it to a whole new level!!! It’s been so bad that she won’t sleep or leave my side when she’s with me. It’s taken 6 weeks, but the last two weeks has seen some positive feedback land in my lap! Although she still cries and frets each day she has to go, she is starting to settle better, interact with her peers and show her teachers what she is capable of. This is a far cry from crying all day, refusing to talk to her teacher and pining over me.

Amongst all of this there was some lovely moments spent when we tripped to the coast to spend time with my beautiful parents on their Palm Beach holiday. It was a shame though that I had to take my work laptop and work on reports that had a strict deadline – a teachers job is an endless job!!! But the reports got done and we always have a ball at our annual getaway with mum and dad!

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20150308-200719.jpg Then of course each February brings about my eldest and youngest’s birthdays. This year I made life a bit easier for myself and had a joint celebration with family. Each child had a cake of their choice and for their actual birthday they took cupcakes to school to share with their friends. I feel like I didn’t put the effort in I normally do for my children’s birthdays, but they were super happy and that’s the main thing.

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20150308-200849.jpg Add to this mix the demands my job plays at this time of year, a change in year levels after the first few weeks of school and a lot of things that played out at work that really made me question…why do I bother?!? Oh and did I mention I hit a car in all of this? And amongst all of this the kids sport started up as well as weekly visits to Bay’s therapist…oh and Kane is working massive hours to boot! One thing after the other was becoming a recipe for a meltdown….

I was spooked. I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of a brick that sat on my head and every time I tried to come up for air, every time I tried to see the light and every time I tried to get the wheels back on my track it felt like another brick was being placed on my head! I kept telling myself “you’ll be right”…”just get through this month and then you’ll be able to breathe again.” I really surprised myself as I hadn’t felt like this for a very long time. I’ve always prided myself on leading a well-balanced life with my running being my therapy. Not once have I missed a kilometre planned out in all of this but I still had an uneasy feeling and I wasn’t feeling my happy self at all…what the hell was wrong with me?!?!

As I counciled myself, spoke to many friends and my dear mother…(although I didn’t bog mum down too much with my problems as she’s suffering a terrible knee problem at the moment) I realised what my problem really was….I’m mentally exhausted. Physically I can keep going and going and going, but with everything that’s going on, particularly with Bailey, I’m utterly mentally exhausted. Where things wouldn’t bother me, they did. Where my patience would be good they weren’t. I literally felt like I was having PMT for a whole month!!!!!!

All of this on the back-end of our overseas trip. I loved our holiday. But 3 massive weeks overseas with three kids under 8 after a huge year that was and since we’ve returned we’ve hit the ground running. We haven’t had that time to recoup and recharge like we normally do at the end of every year. But we knew this would be the case when we decided to go to the States. And I guess having an overseas holiday is like planning a wedding. You spend so long planning it, but the event is over in the blink of an eye. You are on the highest of highs and once it’s over you come crashing down.

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20150308-201056.jpg I’m happy to say now that February is over, the major crashing waves that kept rolling one on top of the other has returned to a semi-calmness or should I say the normal amount of busy and craziness that goes on day in and day out at this house. I have really disliked the way I’ve felt this past month and hope I don’t feel like this again. It’s taken a lot of mental strength and self-regulation to overcome the uneasy feeling that sat in the pit of my stomach for weeks, but I’m feeling back to my happy self again.

I’ve had to really dig deep this past month and tell myself that “I can do this!” on numerous occasions. I’ve drawn on the strength of the people who constantly surround me and make my life an awesome one and I’ve reminded myself constantly how lucky I am. I never gave up on myself. I rode the big wave and waited until it came back to a flat. I like flat…flat is good! I’m finally feeling grounded again and back to being the best I can be in all areas of my life!

I’m so use to dealing with one thing after another but for the first time in a while it was all becoming too much. I was fragile but I’ve built myself back together and after running 17k yesterday (my longest run to date) I’m ready to face the rest of the year!

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Mumma Duck and her Three Little Helpful Ducklings!

Who can believe two weeks of school is done and dusted already!!! If this is any indication of how fast the year is going to go, we’ll be putting up the Christmas tree before we know it!!!

How is the hustle and bustle of the school term going for you so far?

Now that we have the first full week under our belts, we are full steam ahead with school and even sport starting as well! From next week we will have something on every day between work, sport and Bailey’s therapy…did someone say holiday?!? What holiday? Feels like 6 months ago we were OS – take me back PLEASE!!!!

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20150208-190451.jpg But what would life be if our children didn’t engage in extra curricular activities?!? I know the answer to that lol but it’s so vital for their development and wouldn’t have it any other way!

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20150208-190620.jpg Now that the kids are another year older and our lives are busier than ever, my expectations of them this year has risen to a whole new level! I wrote a blog a couple of years ago about giving the kids chores and teaching them to be more responsible. While this worked for a while, with Sienna in prep that year, it proved to be too hard and she was completely exhausted and Bay spent his time asking why do I if Sienna doesn’t?!? Cutting them some slack, I stipulated one rule – “no jobs, means no pocket-money, but when I ask you to do something you do it without backchat or arguing!” (This has been a rule since they were toddling anyway)! This has worked well for the past couple of years, but I’ve now upped the anti!!!

During our 7 weeks holiday together, they were constantly reminded and warned how things would be this year. With Mia starting preschool and having them all going somewhere the days I work, means less for my mum to help out with and more for us to be responsible for. We’ve negotiated 5 jobs each with the kids and Mia has 2 jobs and so far our routine is working well. If the jobs have been done well without constant reminders, Bailey and Sienna receive $5 a week and Mia receives a gold coin!

Bailey’s Jobs:

*make your bed

*get clothes ready for school

*take washing off the line

*give the dog water

*take the bins out

20150208-190816.jpg Sienna’s Jobs:

*make your bed

*get clothes ready for school

*check the mail

*feed the dog

*set the table

20150208-190858.jpg Mia’s Job’s: *make your bed

*empty the bins

20150208-191005.jpg Each job helps me immensely in the running of the house from day-to-day, week to week, especially on my work days! And of course the rule of do what I ask without arguing is an everlasting rule for everyone!! I’m really proud of how we work as a team. We always discuss with the kids how important it is for us to work together for our busy life to be. The kids are managing their jobs really well and even doing most of them without being reminded!

I often take the time to look around and watch the day unfold, particularly our morning routine and it’s great to see my little ducklings being so helpful and following in the footsteps of their mumma duck!

I’m really seeing my hard work as a parent pay off as of late and it’s really worth putting in the effort! I know its early days yet and as the term goes by and the kids become tired and more busy, it’s not going to be all roses. But like I always do each and everyday of my parenting life, I will enjoy the highs and hold on tight and not give up on the lows!
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