I’m Back!!!

It’s been weeks since I put my fingers to keys and typed a blog. I have wanted to on so many occasions but the truth is, aside from being super busy all of the time, I’d lost my way with it a bit. I love my blog and what it represents, but writing is one of those things if you don’t have it, you don’t got it. And I truly felt I’d lost it.

As I opened up My Party of 5’s web page tonight, I started reading all the mail in my inbox – lots of positive feedback. I then browsed over my blog’s stats and although I haven’t published a post in a while, there is never a day that goes by without people reading my blog…I’m now over 22,000 views – I’m very humbled by that.

This was the first step in getting me back to what I love to do – write and share ideas in the hope that I help just one person!

A quick rundown on life as it stands…

We’ve had a massive year so far with loads of birthdays, which means I’ve done a lot of baking!! The kids are settled into school and doing really well. Mia is growing and learning more and more each day. At the end of next month they would have all celebrated their birthdays and will be 8, 6 and 3! Life as we knew it with a baby is all but gone. It’s a sad thought, but we have so much to look forward to.

Between my two days of teaching being very busy and full on and Kane working 12 hour days, the working week is a juggling act between school functions, homework, play group and sport. Bailey is playing footy again this year and is having a great year. Sienna has started a netball program that is skills based and is loving it. Mia is our little fish and loves her swimming teacher Josh! I’m still keeping fit and healthy by exercising 6 days a week and maintaining a healthy diet and getting as much sleep as I can. And my husband is in his glory as it’s the footy season!!!

We still ride the rollercoaster of life with many highs and lows but nothing major to complain about. You get knocked down and you dust yourself off and start again…and again lol!

Now I’ve started, my aim is to write weekly posts and In the coming weeks I will be blogging about some of the projects I’ve been working on, how my fitness stands at the moment, dealing with anxiety, fashion findings and how the pain of losing my nana is as raw as it’s ever been.

Thank you to the people who read my blog…I really do hope it helps someone!

Nat:)

 

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“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”

December 1st…when I was growing up, this date was my families traditional date to put up the Christmas tree and turn our house into Christmas time. My husband grew up with a different tradition…November 1st! I know, so early and by the time Christmas arrives the suspense of the whole thing almost kills the kids lol! So we’ve compromised (cause that’s what marriage is about right??) and we start to turn our house into a Christmas wonderland mid November. Because we decorate both inside and out, it takes us almost 2 weeks to get it exactly how we like it! My heart still skips a beat when I start mid November lol…but seeing my kids faces beam with excitement is so worth it!!!

This is how our home evolved into Christmas this year….

The inside….

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Even the kids have their very own Christmas light each…

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The outside….
From this….

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To this….

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Over 2000 lights light up our home at night:)…the kids just love it!!!!

When the first of December finally rolled over we were able to start the count down….

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With so much heartache this year, it was hard to pick myself up and get into the Christmas spirit, but the kids are the best form of medicine and watching them embrace it for everything it’s worth, makes enjoying it so much easier. Our favourite nightly ritual is sitting outside on the driveway with an iceblock admiring our very own Christmas light display:)

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Our Christmas tree is now the popular spot to take photos and read our nightly book:)

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So this is our Christmas display this year…each year we add more and more and create another lot of beautiful memories to cherish.

Our final piece to the puzzle was added this afternoon and now I feel it’s complete….

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I hope you all have a wonderful festive season where you spend your time laughing and bonding with your loved ones…I sure know we will:)!:)!

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Road Trip….

If you’ve been following my blog, you would know that our family has dealt with a lot of emotional hardship this year. We’ve gone from losing one of the oldest and dearest members of the family to one of our youngest…all within a fortnight of each other. And if we’ve learnt anything this year, family is truly forever!!

This weekend we went on a road trip to Kingaroy. My cousin and her husband live in Kingaroy. They bought a fudge, wine and cheese business over three years ago and have been there since. We’ve been to Kingaroy a few times now and always have the best time. The aim of this weekend was to have everyone take a road trip and spend time together before the rush of the festive season. There were over 20 of us celebrating an early Christmas in the park yesterday and we had a ball!!!

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Mia’s longest road trip…she really was awesome and we’ve planned to do it more often now:)

This was our longest road trip we’ve been on as a party of 5! Mia has been our worst car traveller. We barely make it to the coast without her cracking it! We were so proud of her. I made sure I had everything charged from iPads, iPods, DVD players and plenty of food and books and I can honestly say we barely needed anything!

We spent our first night having dinner at one of the local pubs…there are so many hotels/pubs in Kingaroy!!! It was so lovely catching up with Megan and Shannon. They have had such a tough year this year and seeing them being able to smile and have fun, makes me so proud to call them family. They are an absolute inspiration to anyone who knows them.

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Ladies of the family…

The kids had a ball at our motel we stayed at. It even had a pool. I recommend anyone who stays at Kingaroy to check it out…Kingaroy Country Motel!

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They lived in the pool any chance they got!

The weather was very unstable but we were lucky enough to enjoy the day we had planned in the park! Megan and Shannon put on an awesome BBQ and we sat around reminiscing and laughing…love family for that reason!!!

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This is some of mum’s side of the family who were able to make it!

Once we dispersed for the day, we cruised around to get dinner…I can officially say I know my way around Kingaroy very well after going to several different places to satisfy everyone’s desires lol. I also learnt that if you resided in Kingaroy, you wouldn’t need to go anywhere as they have everything you need! Big W, Target country, Woolies, Aldi to name a few…they even have a Loot Homewares store – I was super impressed!

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Today was our last day and ended as great as the whole weekend! We went to Megan and Shannon’s for brekky…thank you Shannon for an awesome feed. They’ve done a fabulous job with the renovations to their house, it was great to finally see where they live:) After breakfast we went to their shop and stocked up on their fudge…I’m currently in a fudge coma as I type this lol! Check out ‘Taste South Burnette’ if you’re ever in Kingaroy!

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We had an absolute ball. The kids even said “it’s sad we have to leave Kingaroy!” Lol. We are already looking forward to our next trip. Thank you to Megan and Shannon for an awesome weekend!

Our trip home….
Wasn’t as good as going, but hasn’t put us off another road trip! And we are so grateful we purchased the car we did…so comfy and so much space!!!!
The kids will be in bed at 6.30….and so will mummy and daddy lol!

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We love driving past Wivenhoe Dam and it was also great to see our country side was beautiful and green!

Now to nibble away on all our fudge….

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Feeling Fragile….

It’s almost here. I’ve been dreading it. I knew it was going to consume me with grief. But I have to live it. I have to feel it. In a year’s time it will probably hit me again or not, maybe a little easier. But for now I am trying really hard to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for my children, for my husband, for my grandad, for my mum and the rest of my family and most importantly for the lady who would dearly love to be here for it….my nana!

It’s been almost 6 months since I lost my nana. The sweetest lady I knew. The lady who taught me so much and loved me unconditionally. The lady who I could tell anything to. The lady I would both laugh and cry with during one phone conversation. I miss her soft touch, her beautiful kisses and her voice. I miss her so much, it hurts more than ever and at the moment I’m feeling fragile and stricken with grief all over again like I did the day I had to say goodbye.

As each day has passed since then, our lives have slowly been going back to normal. You get back into the routine of living and the days turn into months. For a while you start to smile again and enjoy the comforts of your friends and family. But I knew that this Christmas would be hard. I think it really hit me last week when I wrote out my Christmas list and I went to write down nana’s name and I remembered…I don’t have to buy a present for her anymore ;( The littlest things at the moment remind me of a memory of nana, which usually ends in tears and sadness. I find it hard to look at photos and where I was finding comfort in talking about nana, I can barely speak the word without wanting to howl! If I’m feeling this fragile at the moment, I can’t even imagine what my grandad and mum are feeling;(

Christmas has been celebrated religiously around family my whole life and nana use to create the best Christmas for us. She is the only person I know who had a fresh Christmas tree when we were little and she use to buy us the most beautiful gifts that we would love and cherish (I still have my cabbage patch doll she bought for me)! The matriarch of our family taught us how to cook a Christmas lunch that would feed an army and she taught us has to work hard…nana would always be the last one standing in the kitchen!

Over the past decade, it’s been so nice looking after nana and waiting on her on Christmas Day, just like she always did for us. But now, those days are over. We won’t get to celebrate another Christmas with our lady. For weeks now a part of me wishes I could close my eyes and live through this Christmas, but that’s not the answer. Moving forward is about experiencing these emotions. Christmas is about children, family, rejoicing in what we have. We may not have our nana with us anymore, but we will always have her spirit to guide us and her legacy that she left behind.

On the weekend we decorated our house. We put up our tree and covered our house with over 2000 lights. It is usually one of my favourite weekends of the year. But this year felt different. The kids were super excited and that’s what kept me going. I would walk away when I felt overwhelmed and teary and kept going when I felt ok enough to. I have to put on a brave face my children. They are sad that nana isn’t here anymore, but kids are so endearing when it comes to loss. Every night when we go outside to look at our lights, Sienna picks out the brightest star in the sky and says “nana is watching us!” Or she just yells out “hello nana!” 😉

As I sit here watching my precious babies eat their dessert while relishing in our beautiful lights, they will pull me through this fragile state. Christmas will come and we will shed tears, but we will smile when one of the kids says something adorable and we will laugh when someone says something funny. We owe it to the greatest women we know to embrace the festive season. Nana can’t enjoy Christmas and the great things that come with it, but we will do it for her. I can just see her saying “pick yourself up and have always

I will always have the most amazing memories of our last Christmas with nana, these memories will be cherished forever!

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Tug of War…

I’ve…hit…a…brick wall…my brain is in a state of ‘tug of war’!!! We are ALL tired…the kids are a weeping mess. It feels like we’re running a marathon on empty. We can see the finish line, yet it’s still so far away. This year has been a massive one to say the least and with a husband who has had two weeks holidays in two years…let’s just say – we need a holiday!!!!

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I always fall into a trap where I’m torn between wanting the year to hurry up and end so we can be on holidays and enjoy the fun of the festive and holiday season. But then I don’t want it to go to fast as I want to enjoy it and if it goes fast that means my babies will be turning another year older….sigh!!

I find once the calendar turns over to November and between the end of year jobs as a teacher, the end of year things to organise as a parent and everything that Christmas brings, before we know it we’ll be shouting out “happy new year!!!!” But for me this year is different. This year has seen so many highs and some of the lowest of lows emotionally. It’s the year my first born baby girl started prep…and it’s the year we’ve lost one of the most precious people in our lives…nana;( Yes a new year will bring a new start for everyone, but it means letting go as well…tug of war!

I’ve absolutely enjoyed the school year as a mum…having a child in prep is awesome! This year has been even more special as Sienna has had far more hurdles to overcome than Bailey ever did when he started prep. I’ve had the privilege of watching my insecure and shy girl grow and evolve into an outgoing and happy 5 year old, who is nothing like the girl who walked through those prep doors at the beginning of the year. I’m so grateful that by only working two days a week, I’ve had three days where I’ve been able to share in puzzles and games with my little preppie and now being able to help with literacy groups once a week has been a real treat for both sienna and I!

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Sienna has come so far thanks to her amazing prep teacher!

At the end of this week, there will only be 5 weeks left to enjoy being a prep mum. The light at the end of this tunnel is that I get to do it all over again in 2 years time. I’m also at peace with knowing that my little girl is ready to tackle the challenges of grade one. Ask me that 6 months ago and I wouldn’t have been able to give a confident answer, but I’m super confident now…I just want to hold on to the next 5 weeks for as long as I can though;( because once your child finishes prep, they’ll be in grade 3 before you know it…which is my son!!!

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How did I come to have an almost grade 1 and grade 3 child…they were only born yesterday weren’t they?;(?;(

The precious time I’ve had with Mia this year has been so special, as it’s the first time in 5 years I’ve been able to spend quality time with only one of my children, rather than bits here and there. A new year for Mia means making the decision to start her in kindy…tug of war or maybe that one is having to clip the apron strings;(

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Feels like Mimi has gone from a baby to a little lady over night!

I often get into a slump where time (and the lack of it) defeats my thinking. I start to feel sad and down about how fast my children are growing up and how the weeks keep rolling into months and I somehow get myself into a state of panic where I feel suffocated…weird I know, but that’s the control freak coming out in me!!! The past week I’ve felt so suffocated by everything and on the weekend I felt defeated. But then realty knocked on the door and made me realise that I’m in control of whether I’m defeated and that I will NEVER be!

It’s at times like this that I have to put my big girl pants on, take a big deep breath and just take each day as it comes. Knowing that every weekend is busy for the rest of the year is not going to defeat me, rather it will excite me at the possibilities of fun that is ahead of us. The fact that almost everyday for the rest of the year has something on is not going to bog me down, rather I’m going to feel grateful that my life is full of wonderful people and events to create new memories at! The fact that my children are going to get more tired and more irritable as the school year gets closer to finishing is not going to make me lose dignity as a mother, rather I will try and stay as calm as I can…and that goes for keeping as calm as I can with my husband to lol!

I have faith that together we will cross the finish line at the end of the year….there may be a few bumps along the way, but we will stay united until the end! Most importantly if there is ever a time in the year to appreciate the amazing things in life, it’s now. As we venture into a time of craziness, I will remember to stop and enjoy the small things in life. I will try and be the best wife and mother I can be. I will be organised and efficient and do the most important things that need to be done in a day. When I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed I will stop, sit, take some deep breaths and remember the most important things in life are…to love, to laugh and to live like there’s no tomorrow!

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Sometimes they drive me up the wall, but mostly they always make me laugh!

“To me my dad is…”

A mother has a special bond with her children – one like no other, but a father has a special bond with his children as well….

When I was born, I was blessed with not only an incredible mother, I was blessed with the most amazing man who I call ‘dad’!

To me my dad is….
The first man I ever loved.
The first man to ever love me.
The first man to comfort me.
The first man to make me laugh.
The first man to make me happy.
The first man to teach me things.
The first man to protect me.

To me my dad is….
My hero.
Loyal, loving and kind.
Helpful and caring.
Hardworking and energetic.
Thoughtful and giving.
Someone I can talk to and laugh with
The best dad and the best poppy anyone could ask for!

Father’s day is a wonderful day to spend time with our dad’s and reflect on the great job that they do! Everyone’s father plays a different role in their lives. Some are hands-on, some are the main provider so aren’t home as much, some are passive, some are absent and some are just big cuddly bears that love to role around on the floor and have fun! In the end a father’s love is one like no other!

Today I’m grateful for my wonderful father who has always been amazing to us kids and his grandkids – I feel so blessed to have him! I’m also grateful that my children have a loving and devoted father who love them unconditionally – it makes me happy that my children will be able to look back and have the fond memories of growing up that I have:)

Today we created more memories together as a family….

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Happy father’s day to the main men in my life…

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Our Masterpiece….

A dictionary defines a masterpiece as…the greatest work, as of an artist….
Let me reveal our masterpiece – which I think is the greatest work we’ve ever created….
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Our 3 beautiful babies who make up our party of 5!

This week has been another long and busy one (so very normal lol)! But it was certain moments that happened in the week that made me pause and embrace our masterpiece for what it is…

We’ve been working on our masterpiece for 7 and half years now and it will forever be a work in progress. When moments like; watching your eldest wipe your youngest’s ice-cream face (without being asked to), being surprised by your 5-year-old when she took the washing off the line (without being asked to) and hearing your 2-year-old say to her big brother “you played well Bay” after his footy match (without being told to), just makes your heart melt. It’s moments like these that I can’t always capture in a photo, but will forever be implanted into my heart and memory bank! These moments define our masterpiece for what it is.

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Mia excited to see Bailey after his footy game!

We’ve worked hard over the years to instill the values of; love, loyalty, kindness, trust and respect in our children. These are not things that our children are automatically born with, they’ve had to be consistently taught and guided on how to use these values appropriately. There are days where you feel like you’re a tape recorder on repeat – saying the same thing over and over again, but when moments happen where your children are displaying the desired values, it makes all the hard work of sounding like a broken record worth it!

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In saying all of this, our masterpiece is far from perfect. Like any masterpiece, there are days when things flow and work beautifully and there are days that seem disastrous! But that’s where our learning comes from. We don’t let those days make us feel defeated, instead it makes you more determined to work harder on your masterpiece the next day! Like anything you take the good with the bad….I embrace the wonderful moments when they happen and strap on my seatbelt real tight on the days that seem like such hard work!

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I’m so proud of our masterpiece so far. The love we share for each other, the support we give each other and the team work that is displayed within the home is something I love to just sit back and take in from time to time. This week I’ve found myself just sitting and watching with pride as our children, the ones only us created, have displayed some beautiful behaviours and manners. But it doesn’t stop here. Our masterpiece is like a puzzle with a million pieces that we just keep working on until it’s complete. It’s a work in progress, that may never get finished, for as long as we are on this earth, we will always be guiding our masterpiece through life!

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Our babies are so worth the effort xoxo

Establishing a Happier You!

Life is so much more enjoyable when you are happy! To me things flow better, chores get done more efficiently, decisions are made more easily and when life throws a curve ball at you, instead of resisting it and curling up in the fetal position, you have enough mental strength to face it head on! For almost two years now, I’ve been working on a new me – a happier me! Finding out about my heart condition really put things into perspective for me…the mantra I live by now is ‘we only have one chance at life, so it’s up to us to make a good go of it!’

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I’ve always been a happy person who loves to laugh and have a good time, but over the years, I would let things get to me and get me down. I would stress over the smallest of things and crack up at the kids and lose my patients at very little. For a long time there while I was pregnant and breastfeeding one baby after the other, I was running on empty. Lack of sleep, teaching two days a week, raising three children and running a house became overwhelming! For me the turning point was finding out about my heart. Although not a ‘happy’ situation to be faced with, once I got my head around what I was living with, it changed the way I started looking at life! Instead of wrapping myself up in cotton wool, I’m grateful and happy that I know about my heart and I work hard everyday to keep myself fit and healthy to help my condition!

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I believe I’ve evolved over time. I’ve grown to appreciate the small things in life. As normal human behaviour has it, we always want what we can’t or don’t have, when really we should be happy with what we’ve got! These days I purely focus on that. I may not have a huge fancy house, drive a BMW or wear designer clothes…I have so much more to be happy about! I have a loving husband, three beautiful children, a devoted family and a number of fabulous friends…not an ounce of money could buy me that!

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At the end of the day, like anything, being happy is a choice! The first step to being happy is wanting to be. From there it’s up to the individual to do things that make them happy. For me that involves lots of things….
*spending time with my party of 5
*cuddles with my babies
*laughing with my husband and children
*dinner date with my husband
*seeing my babies happy
*spending time with my family
*date with my mum and sisters
*chatting to my mum
*time with my friends and their babies
*running
*keeping fit and eating healthy
*baking and cake decorating
*my nana’s beautiful face
*playing around on instagram apps
*having a tidy house
*getting my hair done
*shopping
*painting my nails
*writing blogs
*knowing I’ve helped someone
*being organised
*the sunshine
*going on holidays…just to name a few:)

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I feel very blessed everyday for what my life holds. And although we’ve been through some terribly sad times this year and throughout my life, I still try so hard everyday to focus on being happy and appreciating what I have. For me positive thinking and patience comes so much more naturally now and I believe my happiness has contributed to this! I also believe that when you are happy, everyone seems happier around you. When I wake up every morning I’m happy, because I feel blessed that I’ve been granted another day with the beautiful people that I love…and then I go like a crazy women to fill my day with as much as I can….and this makes me happy!

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Smile and be happy…we have so much to be happy about!

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Happiness breeds happiness….

Running Free….

Body upright, one foot in front of the other, I can do this!
I have children, I have a husband, I have parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews, family and friends who I need to keep going for!

The past two months have been like a living nightmare that I just want to wake up from. So much devastation. So much heartache. So many tears cried. So much bad news!

Wednesday morning I was awoken to the third piece of devastating news that someone in my dear family has had to endure over the past few weeks. I was left feeling beaten with sadness. Yet again the tears flowed. Just when you think you’re all cried out, your eyes just seems to keep weeping fluid of hurt and despair. I laid under my doona and imagined running away….

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I imagined running free from all the hurt, the pain, the sadness, to a place where it was full of happiness and no stress. Everyone was healthy! There was no such words as death or illness, only fun and fortune! I imagined scooping my party of 5 up and whisking them away to a secluded island where we played in the sun, sand and water all day and couldn’t be contacted by anyone….this is how I felt on Wednesday! Clearly this was a women on the edge of her emotions, who couldn’t bear to see anymore of her loved ones go through pain!

Then I woke up on Thursday and I did run. I ran 5km pretty fast, which helped me to pull myself together. I told myself while I was running that everything will be ok. At the end of this dreadful cycle there will be happiness and good health. We will all come out of this stronger than ever and our family unity will be as tough as nails!

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Now that I’ve kicked my own butt back to reality I’m ready! I’m ready to support my loved ones who are hurting and going through the lowest of lows! I need to be there for my grandad and mum. I need to be there for my other family members who are suffering broken hearts at the moment. I need to be there for my children, who in this disaster cycle look at things so innocently. I need to be a supportive friend to those who need me the most and I need to keep calm for myself. If I don’t keep calm and my heart is affected by all the added stress that is going on I won’t be here to support my loved ones!

From today I’m going to take each day as it comes. Take each situation as it comes and deal with it appropriately. I will stop and enjoy the small things in life. I will accept help when offered and I will stop and breathe when I feel overwhelmed! I will fix a situation where I can and let fate take care of the rest! If I’ve learnt anything over the past month, life is what it is. There is nothing we can do to change a bad situation, but we can make it easier to deal with by being there for each other and only keeping those ‘running free’ thoughts as imaginative ones!

To all my loved ones who are going through a tough time, I love you and am always here for you xoxoxoxox!

Our Pathway Back to Normality!

It’s been over a month now since my beautiful nana passed away. The road back to normality has been bumpy with a few twists and turns. I know it’s going to be like that for a while. Each day starts a new step forward. Some days you feel like you’ve made progress with a couple of steps and then other days you feel at a standstill and even regress a step. It only takes the kids doing something funny to put a smile on your face or the feeling of satisfaction when your house is clean, the washing is up to date and a nice meal has been cooked to feel like you are moving forward. But then it only takes a song, a photo or a smell to bring back a memory – a memory that is so great your heart hurts like anything!

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With the school holidays coming to an end and a new semester of school about to start, I’m hoping the pathway back to normality will start to form shape. Over the past two weeks, having all the kids home and celebrating my eldest daughter’s 5th birthday has started to pave the way for some happy times. We’ve done many things to keep ourselves busy such as: play dates, lunches, walks, movies, trip to town and just relishing in each other’s company!

School holiday fun:

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It’s been nice to do things around the house that I haven’t had time to do. It’s been nice spending time with my party of 5. It’s been nice to get back into my baking and cake decorating again and it’s been nice just to sit back and take in what my life holds and appreciate it!

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Now it’s time to release myself to the world again….bit by bit I’m starting to want to do things again. I’ve enjoyed spending time with some of my beautiful friends over the past two weeks. My running goals are set for the rest of winter and I plan on blogging more than I have been. The past few months has led me to focus solely on the most important things at hand and that has been my loving family. We will continue to be there for each other during our grieving process, but slowly but surely we will start venturing out a little bit more. There are still things I haven’t brought myself to do yet, but I know once the winter months are over and the sun shines brightly more and more, I will feel the urge to do those things.

For now though, as I sit here and enjoy a day of sunshine, I will continue to be the best I can in all the areas of life that I am. There will never be a day where I don’t think of the courageous women I call my nana, nor will I stop shedding a tear from time to time. But I will live life and enjoy it just like my beautiful angel would want me to, all while she travels along side of me each and every day!

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