family · parenting

Here we go…

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Tomorrow my baby boy starts school.

 

I have been anticipating this day basically forever and even more as soon as he started kindy last year and now. it. is. here…

He’s a bit nervous. A lot of his friends have already turned five whereas his birthday is not until march. He’ll be one of the younger ones, but with a big sister and the genes of an incredibly tall father I’m not worried. He’s anxious about not knowing how to read, but I keep telling him that’s why he goes to school, to learn. It reminds me of myself, terrified my first day of school because I didn’t know enough.

These holidays have been truly amazing. So much so I’ve been praying in preparation for some sort of catastrophe thats bound to hit soon. No doubt the stress will rise as our schedules become busier  and my study starts up again. I pray that I’ll remember this peace I’m feeling now and be reassured that it will come again (maybe by some miracle it will stay with me all year long!)

Just like for his sister, his teacher sent home an activity for us to do – Things I Want you to Know About Me and for the parents, Things My Parents Want you to Know About Me – here are parts of our lists:

  1. I Like dinosaurs and monster trucks
  2. I live on a farm with pigs and sheep
  3. I love helping with shearing, seeding and harvest
  4. I like playing games on the x-box with Dad
  5. My favourite games are Viva Pinata and Junior Monopoly
  6. I love playing outside with my friends
  7. We have 2 dogs, a sheep and chooks and goats
  8. Our son is an active and energetic young boy – our youngest
  9. He is curious, adventurous and clever
  10. He loves sports
  11. He can be a bit rough
  12. He made some really great friends at kindy and we hope he will be friendly to everyone and make new friends too
  13. We are all excited that he is joining his big sister at school, a new era for our family
  14. Mum is very eager to be involved and helpful
  15. We pray that 2018 is a year of growth and joy

I love being a school mum. I love reading with the kids (when I find the time). I don’t know how I’m going to cope without any children at home with me during the week. It’ll be awesome, and lonely. I can’t believe I’ve made it to this point. I’m excited, nervous, sad and incredibly nostalgic.

Be brave Baby Boy. Be brave Mumma.

parenting · social issues · Uncategorized

Reflecting on our boarder experience

I was planning on doing a post on this topic after watching a Four Corners (ABC) episode* on “Broken Homes’ about Australia’s child protection crisis, in particular ‘resi’ residential care, but this morning my motives have changed somewhat. Our 18 year old boarders mother passed away this week and I feel my strongest first reaction is not so much sadness for her loss (although there is that along with care and worry) but moreso ‘did I do everything right?’

My mother and I received a message from her saying something had come up and she wouldn’t be back from visiting home as expected, when I replied asking if everything was ok she texted back- talk later. I sent another message that night about random local news and then last night when I saw something on facebook stalked and texted asking was she ok, she replied with details of her plan to return.

I don’t feel hurt that she hasn’t told me herself (found out via a facebook post this morning with some of my friends offering condolences before I even knew), well actually yes I guess I do feel hurt and wondering what could/should I have done differently? How can I be there for her now? I think I’m overly sensitive about these things. I havn’t called as I feel maybe she’s kept me at a distance for a reason, but rather sent texts and fb msgs.

I think I’m scared. I know I havn’t been the most supportive person to her. That’s my biggest concern regarding this experience. I entered into it thinking it could be a stepping stone for our family towards fostering and while it has gone well, there have been times when I know I should be doing more, checking in more, talking more but I was tired, I was selfish and it wasn’t my responsibility. After all she was just a boarder paying rent for a room and feed. Yes I wanted to be a friend, family even – but there were times when I placated myself with, I didn’t have to, it wasn’t my responsibility, she wasn’t my child.

After watching the tv show and seeing the horror that is Australia’s care system I am even more pulled towards fostering. That along with all the posters and ads I’ve been seeing this year have been making me consider God’s call. In fact the morning after the show I was going to call our local service and start the ball rolling, even without hubby’s agreement (although being honest about it.) But this would be different to having a boarder. It WOULD be my responsibility. If we took this on, I wouldn’t be able to laze on the couch after a long day and placate myself. I would need to get up and deal with their issues. And as children in the foster system the issues would likely need a lot of time and effort. I’m a far from perfect carer but at the same time I feel confident my imperfections are better than other alternatives for foster children, arn’t they? Could I and my family be helpers to children in need? Or would the business of our lives (our selfishness) leave too little time and effort to give them the love and care they need? I didn’t get to making that call, life got crazy again, but the idea/seed is not going away. If you are the praying type ask God to give me direction and to help me act on His call in his perfect timing.

 

*http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2016/11/14/4572365.htm

 

Post script – it’s been over a week since I first found out and I’ve been blessed with the honour of supporting our boarder and attending her Mum’s funeral. She is ok.

 

 

pps So I literally just pressed publish on this post and this quote came up on my FB feed ‘There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a great one’ …

faith · parenting · Uncategorized

Just another part of farm life

The other morning our son was waking up (in our bed of course!) and his first question of the day was,

‘Harry is a baby?’ – ‘yes Harry is a baby’ – we have good friends with a nearly one year old Harry who C absolutely dotes on but that wasn’t the Harry he was talking about…

‘Harry is dead?’ ahhh ‘yes our Harry is dead.’

‘Roo is dead?’ – ‘yes Roo is dead’ and then he got up to watch cartoons.

These questions just come from nowhere. His big sister had mentioned Harry the other day at our local park where we donated a fundraising brick with all three of their names on it, but other than that we hadn’t been talking about our Harry. And Roo? Well he was an old much-loved farm dog who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Death is everywhere. Just yesterday my father in law had to shoot one of our younger dogs who had yet again been chasing the rams. Three had already been killed this year by the dogs and they are not cheap. My husband explained to me that FIL had chained him up in front of the other dogs and shot him, he was still lying there when he left work for the day. It sounds awful, it IS awful, I feel horrible for my FIL as I know it would not have been a nice job. But the farm is a business, our rams provide our income and the dogs I guess are workers, they need to listen and learn and this dog had continued repeating his mistakes.

My husband last night at tea explained to our daughter that this incident was the worst part of his day. I commented after his brief description to her of what had happened, that we don’t shoot humans.

We also had a pet lamb die recently and C continues to comment regularly ‘Lamby died 😦 ‘

Death tends to be a part of life for farm kids, in addition my children have experienced my grandparents, an aunt and their brothers passing. Fortunately as christians we can also talk to them about the promise of eternal life through Jesus, about heaven. I appreciate that my children are introduced to death early in their lives, that it is not taboo for them. Their comments and questions sure pull at the heart strings though.

 

GJ

 

ps Sorry to the animal lovers, I hope you don’t read into this post cruelty against animals, if you do I don’t think you understand the realitites of farming but I am more than happy to discuss further

pps At 29 death has been following me too closely recently, the anniversary of my friends death through cancer passed recently and I have again lost loved ones this year – is that what happens when we grow up?

pps I have had the time to write this post thanks to hubby driving past on a tractor and picking up C for a ride, both my children and I are so blessed to experience life on a farm

God bless

life · parenting · relationships · Uncategorized

Great Expectations

This blog has been a real struggle, choosing a topic and finding the energy to flesh it out. Mostly I wanted to write about how tired (and GRUMPY) I am but I couldn’t see that being overly entertaining. I’m disappointed in myself, I really want to give this blogging thing a good go – weekly posts or at least fortnightly but it has now been 18 days since my last post. At the same time I know I don’t want it to be an extra pressure of something to do on the never-ending list.

This last weekend was our least busy in goodness knows how long and I’d been looking forward to it so much, but then n.o.t.h.i.n.g. Even after a week of turning down fun activities (Australia vs England netball game, bookclub, Bad Moms with some wonderful Mummy friends) in order to catch up on much needed sleep, I was STILL tired.

We have reached a golden part of the year, a break between footbal and cricket seasons, a time to FINALLY get some bigger jobs done around the house, I have SO much I want to achieve but…but…but….

The topic I actually chose to write about this week was friendships. I spent last week emotionally drained by a hard one, only to find when I caught up with the person involved, that the big deal I’d made it out to be didn’t eventuate at all. I’ve also come to see I’m very jealous of others friendships, particularly what I see posted on good ‘ole FB. I think the answer is devoting time for building my own friendships, unfortunately  I’m tired AND grumpy.  Sorry does seem to be the recurring theme!

I do have great friends who seem to accept me as I am but I want a bosom buddy, even if that’s not really my style. I’m more of a floater, trying to be friends with everyone, at the same time not really getting close with anyone. At a party I flit around from one group to another, chatting with everyone but in some ways no one. Ideally I would love that one friend I could go sit with absolutely whenever and know we can talk or just sit together.

All this said I AM generally content with my friendships, although just lately wishing I could visibly recognise effort others put in versus just me. I also wish I could let loose and not think about the housework I could be doing with free time instead of catching up with friends.

Life’s busyness and motherhood makes devoting time to friendships, let’s face it, even just yourself hard but family and children are worth all their energy sapping-ness. This morning I watched my boy climbing sheep fences, tank ladders and enjoying time with his father and grandfather. This totally makes life meaningful. (And on the housework side of things even if the big jobs didn’t get done on the weekend I still managed to stay on top of the laundry which feels great – thanks Flylady). Plus my hubby hasn’t stopped talking to me despite my snappiness and my daughter is starting to accept my music choices in the car – it’s been a good day.

 

 

* I think routine (already established during the week) helps, wonder what I can do with free weekends to balance letting go and being productive?!?

 

life · parenting · Uncategorized

Snatches of Time

I was just about to have a Sunday afternoon nap. It was the perfect opportunity, Mr. 3 was finally down for a sleep and Miss 6 was set up with a movie in the lounge room. Except I started doing what I often do – checking/justifying if I could indeed give myself a break or if I needed to be using this snatch of time for a more useful purpose.

There was indeed plenty I could be doing housework wise but… it is the weekend so well you know. Then I also knew there was study I could be doing… but again, come on it’s a sunday afternoon. Next I started looking at my week ahead – in town all day tomorrow so really only Tuesday morning for housework, hmmm that’s not a lot of time, enough maybe to keep on top of it but not to get ahead and I am really keen to get my bedroom and study presentable-ish.

I’ve had a good couple weeks of taking things a bit easy, recovering from end of semester, then surviving the school holidays plus I’ve started reading a 7+ book series! Then I started thinking about a possible blog post idea and here I am out of bed typing away.

This is I believe my hardest stay-a-home struggle, justifying how I spend my time. I’m not much of a cook or housekeeper so I don’t claim that’s what takes up my time. I do a little bit of volunteer work but nothing that should be too time-consuming and of course I do work 1-2 days a week but I also spend a lot of time reading or face-booking. And mothering, we all know that’s a hard gig but I’d be lying if I tried to say there was no down-time. It’s unpredictable so you can’t plan for those moments of peace and you never know how long they’ll last but they do exist, indeed I’m hoping I’ve got about 2hours worth up my sleeve right now.

Then I start to feel guilt, I know Hubby doesn’t get these snatches of time during his work day (although he does get sleep ins and lunch breaks!) to do whatever he wants. And here I am out of bed instead of resting my truly weary eyes.

I will go back to bed now, I’m pretty sure I’ll get some time a bit later to hang the washing up, cook tea, maybe organise my study folders and most importantly read??

 

How do you spend your free-time? Do you get the guilts?

parenting · Uncategorized

Getting the Car Serviced

Am I the only mother who finds this an absolute struggle!!

It was Wiggle concert day today – woohoo! I seriously love this band – they’ve come to our country area the last four years and I’ve been there with my kiddos each year.

But first I had to drop my car off at  the mechanics, I was running late as usual, my wonderful friend picking me up though didn’t blink an eyelid and we headed off to the concert town with a full car blasting Wiggles tunes (the teens in the back LOVED it!)

Ten or so minutes down the road I got a phone call to check where my keys were…in my pocket of course! I’m very lucky that one of the workers was happy to come pick them up – no way was I turning around and missing the concert. Needed to workout a place to leave them though… My hairdresser has opened up a dress shop in the neighbouring town – problem solved.

Until we got to the shop and it was close til 10am, ok I know some people at the christian bookshop too, nope closed for this one day (naturally). So finally I decided to trust the local toy shop, they would understand a Mum desperate to get a Wiggles concert, surely?!? Thank you toy shop owner and thank you car shop, I didn’t hear from you again so I assume it all worked out!

We missed the last bell call but got into our seats in time.

The concert of course ROCKED!! My girl danced in the aisles with all her friends and my boy sat absolutely mesmorised. Me? Best seat dancer in the crowd! As a concert die-hard I’ve learnt to bring a few presents for the band so Anthony Wiggle was less than 2m from me 🙂 🙂

Home again with my friend who eventually dropped us and our car seats at my parents. I rang to check if the car was finished and headed off down the street for a few groceries before picking it up, boy in tow.

And there we were ready to pick up the car, no car seats. Fortunately I had a ‘phone a friend’ up my sleeve to dear Dad who kindly packed up our stuff and brought daughter and carseats to the car shop. So many favours from so many friends (and strangers!) A typically day for this famously forgetful Mum.

How do you handle car service days? I hate HATE car seat juggles, thankfully my daughter at 5 now doesn’t need hers bolted so thats something. Also both kids slept in the car and went straight to sleep tonight – hurrah.

 

parenting · Uncategorized

A Harry Good Day

Checking my daughters bag for notes etc. the other morning I found a letter from the school. They are looking at enrolment numbers for their Recpetion class in 2017 and it had been noted that our son Harry would be eligible to start school next year.

Harry is my beautiful son in heaven. He was stillborn 21st December 2011 at 24 weeks gestation.

Needless to say I felt a bit angry and took the note in with me to school. After dropping off my daughter, I made my way to the front desk. Our lovely receptionist was on duty and I shared with her my issue, that I had been sent a letter asking if my dead son would be attending school next year.

I know it was an honest mistake. I had put Harry’s details on my daughters enrolment forms. I hadn’t noted he was stillborn just put dashes n the columns asking what school he would be attending and what year. And I do have a living son although he is still two years off starting school and his name is not Harry.

The receptionist apologised for the mistake and I left for my work day. It didn’t feel resolved, I wanted to explain in more detail….

I don’t always write Harry’s details on forms and most often when asked how many children I have I answer 2. But I do relish opportunities to share about my son, even on an annoying form so while I was a bit horrified to receive the letter, it was also nice to reflect that wow he would have been starting school next year – wow.

Later that day while with I client I heard my phone vibrating a call. When I checked between clients I had a message from hubby and assumed he had called. But then I listened to the 101 message from my daughters teacher.

It was a beautiful message again apologising, acknowledging my grief and sharing their prayers for me. I felt a lot better and proud of the school, particularly the receptionist for having discussed it further and taken action – it really is a caring environment, a great place for my children to be educated.

But the best part of all this – Harry was part of my day, a big part of my day and to be honest, that felt wonderful.

I didn’t want anyone to feel bad or uncomfortable but today I got to acknowledge my precious son and that made it a Harry Good Day

xox.

(related post Genetics)

 

life · parenting · Uncategorized

Just a normal today

Today was just a normal day in as much as each different day can be…

I was home mostly which was lovely and pretty well up to date with study. Dishes were done and the sky started out too cloudy for washing. It was just me and my son. Plus I didn’t check facebook until this evening (big achievement).

Tidied up this morning especially the kitchen table. Made a to-do list, although didn’t check it so more things to do tomorrow.

Tried really hard to make time just to play with my boy. Managed to clean the lounge room while playing cowboys. Got distracted about sun finally peeking through while playing cricket outside but came back after putting on a load. Had cuddles and read a book.

I seem to remember spending more time on the floor with my older daughter but while I would like to make more time for my son I also appreciate that I have more direction now and it makes me feel good to get housework-y stuff done (i.e. I swept the floor!). Now to find the balance. Struggle to spend more than 5 minutes playing though.

Finished off some work notes, planned my calendar and realised I’d need to do more work.

Had a counselling session as part of my counselling study. We are looking at Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and working on my values. It’s been a bit hard as I don’t feel I need counselling right now, life is mostly good but it’s part of my course. Feel for my counsellor who has to work with me and add skype and bad connections to that….well enough said! Today’s session was pretty ok though. Felt I got to tell more about myself, the counsellor commented on a theme of people in my values (career, education, recreation, fun, spirituality, community). Next week we’ll look at relationships I feel I may be putting thinking about that off.

Washing out and into town. Was hoping to catch up with a friend which didn’t work out but for me a good thing as did some more of my college readings. Picked up my daughter from school. Dropped into the bank. Hearing appointment for daughter – it actually made me quite proud, she was answering the audiologists questions and being quite independent. We will be getting a FM system for her to use at school. Errands down the street, including walking and somewhat minimal complaining!

Home, unpacked groceries, brought in washing, cooked tea, ate tea, reader and piano practise with daughter (first time I’d sat with her at piano, she’s obviously taking things in well) bedtime.

Finished my readings, did the quiz (100%!). Really up to date with study now and another home day tomorrow. Think I’ll start a novel tonight.

Just a normal day….

 

ps Just to add that last totally normal parenting moment – my son peed at the dinner table – ahh the joys!

parenting · Uncategorized

Sleeptime Battles

Not the best start to the morning folks. While my children are now (practically) 3 and 5 – sleep time issues are still a common issue. It is particularly hard on my husband who is NOT a morning person.

On New Year’s Eve we put them together in the same room, I can’t say for sure it’s been worse sine then but it certainly hasn’t been easier!

I do think the issues come in dips and troughs (is that even the saying?! *edit peaks and troughs maybe?) but once you are in the midst of them they feel never-ending.

I wish I could remind my dear hubby what it was like when they were younger and literally waking up throughout the night, as it is for sure better than that but we still have constant visitors and battles at both bed time and in the morning.

My 5yo daughter goes to bed reasonably well – after an hour or so (probably increased since having a playmate in her room), she’s just so tired. Our son however…….I believe he would try and stay awake all night.

We put our kids to bed at 7 mostly rain, hail or shine because by then I just need SPACE. When they were in their own rooms we would just shut our sons door and eventually 1.5 hours or so later he would fall asleep (I know it seems cruel to have him in their awake so long but this is parenthood I’m trying to survive). Closing the door is not so easy a solution now as the screaming would wake child no.1 so late nights are common – he often only goes to sleep when one of us decide to call it a night and cuddle with him.

So that’s night time, but wait it’s not over, next we are woken up before the crack of dawn….

This morning Dancing Girl (yep just came up with a new name) came in at 2am – I’m starting to think I really need to take her back but at 2-4am I tend to just roll over. Then Farmer Boy came in so I snuck over DG and cuddled up with him in his bed, then she came back to their room 5.45ish, I asked her to go back to bed with Dad until 6am and then she could go watch tv. Dad however said she needed to stay til 6.30 and thats when all hell broke loose. Lots of tears and bed swapping later I was up with both kids in the lounge by 6.30.

I get frustrated with Hubby as he always wants them to have more sleep, well so do I but I know that once their ‘awake’ there’s not much chance of that happening so I’m more willing to let them up, particularly if there’s a chance the other will stay asleep without them around. Sigh.

On the plus side we did get to sleep in til just before 7 this morning as finally they were that worn out – takes three or so bad days to get to that stage though!!

 

How did/do you survive sleeptime battles?

 

parenting

I’m a School Mum!

This week my daughter started school,  I was a complete mixed bag of emotions. Excited, proud (so very proud), nervous, sad and incredibly nostalgic.

Her new teacher sent home an activity when we collected school book- 10 Things I Want you to Know About Me and one for the parents too, 10 Things My Parents Want you to Know About Me – here is my list:

  1. My daughter is sooo happy and excited to be starting school, I too am excited to begin my journey as a school mum
  2. My daughter can be a great leader and organiser
  3. She is soo eager to learn (most of the time!)
  4. The development of her christian faith is important to us
  5. She loves her brother (3), her grandparents and cousins
  6. We live on a farm with sheep, pigs and crops
  7. My daughter loves performing
  8. She takes her hearing aids off to use a phone, wear earphones and play with a stethoscope
  9. We can’t believe our little girl has grown up – we are so proud of her and love her beyond words
  10. We pray that this is a wonderful year for all of us

Her list

  1. I like doing paintings
  2. My favourite colours are green and purple
  3. Sometimes at home I like to do exercising with Mum and Dad
  4. I like gardening
  5. I love dancing!
  6. I like swimming at Grandma’s pool and sometimes at the beach
  7. I got a bike for Christmas and a Pocahontas dress
  8. I have been learning the piano and trying hard
  9. I like putting decorations on the Christmas tree and playing Christmas games
  10. I really really want to go to school!

Highlights of the week:

Turns out I love readers, makes me so excited that my girl ‘can’ read, learning is seriously fun.

Hearing about my girl playing with her new friends, telling me what her teacher has been teaching them – hope she continues to share with me about her days.

There is finally a positive to having early rising children! No rushes in the morning – everything has gone so smoothly, in fact I’m kinda loving the routine school is bringing to our lives. Early days yet I know.

Lowlight: My son is toilet training, (need I say more!) and wet his jocks and shorts at first after school pick up of the week 😦

 

ps I’m still undecided how anonymous I want this blog to be – think I better learn some photo editing skills though!!