Sunday, 24 February 2013

Ladies day with Miss Teen

"I'm gonna pop some tags. Only got $20 in my pocket...."

So last Saturday was Miss Teen day. As part of my new found organisation I have vowed to spend more quality one on one time with each of my family members. So this day was all planned and set aside for her. 

Firstly we headed to church for a Ladies Brunch. We were uplifted and inspired into action by the beautiful ladies who spoke at the brunch. We had worship and connected with God, together. Something we do not do often enough! She truly enjoyed the morning, which didn't surprise me. She has always found herself more comfortable around adults than kids her own age. Miss Teen was touched by the young children our church helps at the Ruel Foundation in the Philippines. Their lives, and the hardships they go through touched her, and she has vowed to help them, using her pocket money to buy consumables that the Children's Crisis Centre needs all the time. I am proud of her. Hopefully, when our family is more financially stable, we can sponsor a child there and our girls will learn more about the good things that can be achieved by helping others where and how you can. Miss Teen has even said, in the future she would like to do some mission work, to reach out and help others in need. I can only encourage this, and hope, in time, she fulfills this desire.
* (If you would like more information in the Ruel Foundation, use the link above or contact me.)*

After having our spirits lifted, and being motivated into action in our life with God, we hit the town. We went shopping!! Possibly not the best choice of things to do, but still, one we had been planning and looking forward to all week!

But instead of hitting the Plaza like we normally would, we hit Coffs Harbours Op Shops. I wanted to show Miss Teen that we didn't need to spend a fortunes on new clothes in order for her to look good. Also, it was a way to help out others less fortunate than us by supporting local charities, a win win really.

So, the plan was to get a complete outfit for under $50, from shoes to jewelry and accessories. Sadly this day, there was no real selection for shoes in Miss Teen's size, and the handbags seemed to all be new and a little pricy. So, we just used our money wisely & got some nice items! Miss Teen brought $20 with her, just in case she found some things that went above and beyond what I considered a reasonable for our budget. Of course, she did, and spent her money too, but what is pocket money/Christmas money for, if not to spend?!!

We started with Vinnies, which is always a fun place to start! 

We had lots of fun. Trying on clothes, some nice, and some, um, certainly not to our taste! But we left with a small haul! A skirt and shirt for Miss Teen, and a Dorothy the Dinosaur toy and a Dora tshirt for Mini Miss!

We even found Dorothy's Ruby Slippers!

We then headed around down the road to the Westpac Helicopter shop. This one is close to my heart, thanks to their rescue efforts of your truly many years ago! I always support them whenever I can. Then we headed around the corner to Heartfelt. We had lots of fun with hats and scarves in this shop. I was lucky enough to score a lovely dress here, something that doesn't happen very often, being plus sized. So I was very excited!

We then headed into town to share a yummy lunch together, and chat. We don't just talk often enough these days. We shared chips and gravy (such a healthy lunch I know!) an old favorite treat, and chatted about everything. Of course, I'm sworn to secrecy about most of it, so you will just have to take my word for it, we had a good in depth talk! 

But the shops were still calling our names, so off we headed again, to the Smith family. This shop had the nerve to have Miss Teen's dress on a mannequin in their window display! Miss Teen was shocked! After the shock wore off, we found some nice clothes to try on! Again, I was lucky enough to score another dress! Miss Teen scored a nice top.

Then we hit our last shop. The Op Shops were closing their doors for the day, so we missed out on one of our favorite shops, Lifeline, but we headed down to the Red Cross. They have an amazing range in there. Clothes, both used and new at great prices. Miss Teen had a LOT of fun here! Lots and lots of clothes to try on, jewelry, sunglasses. She even found a lovely new Doona cover and pillow case! I scored some new jewelry here and some lovely new books for Mini Miss, as well as Miss Teens haul of 2 dresses, a shirt, a doona cover and pillow case, a pair of Sunglasses, 2 necklaces, a pair of earrings and a bracelet! 

Phew! What a day! With bags overflowing we headed home and only $70 spent in total!

But more importantly I reconnected with Miss Teen. 

We talked. 

We laughed. 

We had fun. 

And I loved every minute. 

We both did.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Organising The Family

The last 6 weeks, since the beginning of this year, our family has just been “going with the flow”. Sometimes this works. Sometimes its good for people to take time out, and just go along with how life is flowing. It’s soothing. It calms and settles the soul. For a little while.

But sometimes going along with the flow means you end up in a dead end, swimming around and around in circles, not moving forward.

That’s when things need to change.

That is where our family is now.

My miscarriage made me realise we have been swimming around and around in circles since coming home from our honeymoon. Our lives have had no focus, no goals, no plans for the future, and as a family, we have stagnated.

Cue me searching on Pinterest. Yes, Pinterest is my own personal inspiration board! It helped me plan our wedding. It inspires many craft activities I do with Mini Miss. Now it’s helping me organise our lives!

Our house was a mess. So I figured that was a great place to start. I found some inspirational websites using Pinterest, particularly Design FinchBrowsing some of the weekly cleaning lists they had, I designed my own. It summed up all the everyday tasks we need to do, as well as all the weekly tasks. I also made a little space to write down some of the fortnightly/monthly/occasional tasks that need doing.

Following on from that, taking into account that we had just finished redecorating her room, I designed a chore chart for Maddi. Being a teenager, she was definitely not going to like any of the standard normal chore charts that you can find online. So, again using Design Finch site as an inspiration, I designed a weekly list for her.

Some things are regular, should do every day tasks. Seriously, if we need reminding to do, then Maddi does too! Then there are also weekly tasks and reminders to do simple things like look after her pets!! So far its working well!

Next I tackled food. We have been eating terribly the last few months. No focus means less care. So using the free printable from The organized home, I started planning our weekly menu, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also has a shopping list section, where as you choose your meals, you write down the ingredients you will need to buy, if you don’t already have them in the house! Being organised like this means healthier eating for everyone, less money spent on the weekly shop as you know what you need, and less money spent during the week as you don’t resort to take away or buying last minute ingredients. 

Now I was inspired! I wanted to plan more!! So I decided each family member should have goals for this year. Something we want to achieve, something to work towards, a focus to keep in mind when doing and planning things. So, I found another awesome printable, from yet another blogger, Prepared not ScaredI made Shane, Maddi and myself fill out each section. I then stuck photos from our biggest event last year, our wedding, to it as a reminder of the things we can achieve if we try, and that at the centre of it all, our family should be our focus. I then laminated them and they have become our place mats at the dining table, so when we eat, we are reminded of our goals, reminded to revisit them every so often and make sure we are doing something to work towards them!

Now, our house has a few issues. It's messy. It's unorganised. But even more, it still looks like a rental property, a stale, unpersonalised house. Not a home. So I have decided its time to renovate. Given that we have a VERY restrictive budget, this is a challenge! But there is nothing you cannot find on Pinterest!! As long as you PLAN it and set it out, step by step, recycle it and make what you can, then it should not be overly costly! (I hope!) So I have designed a folder called “My Projects to Conquer”. Using yet another free printable (I REALLY love my free printables!) from Marta Writes I set up a list of things I would like to get done this year around the house. These are the BIG projects. Things like renovating rooms, redecorating and reorganising. These things require planning, saving and preparation.

So I used another awesome, yep that's right, free printable, from Clean Mama to plan, prepare and cost each task. Some of these I have started filling out, and in fact, the first room is started!!! So as I come across an idea I like, or inspiration for redecorating, I can add it to the appropriate sheet! Then plan it out, budget it, and make sure we have what we need before we start a task.

So now we are organised. I think. I hope. Already the house is cleaner and life is running smoother. We are able to find more quality time to spend with the girls, as a family. I’m finding myself less stressed and no longer lacking motivation. The whole family has come on board (well, the teen is dragging her feet, but then what teen doesn't). Even Mini Miss enjoys cleaning up (occasionally) and feeding the pets. We are focused on our goals, both personal and family. I cannot wait to share each room as it is renovated and finished with before and after shots!

Want to see my Pinterest boards and follow my plans....Click Here!

What are you personal and family goals for 2013? 

Is your home and family running the way you want?

Note: I have not been paid for or in any way rewarded for sharing the above websites, blogs, links. I just feel they helped me, and maybe they can help you too!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

When He speaks and you listen......

So this week has been tough. 

After organising to have a surgical procedure because of my "missed" miscarriage, my body decided to take care of things on its own.

Can I just say, this has been one of the most physically painful experiences I have been through, and yes, I did do 17 hours of labour once! To be all but laid up in bed for 5 days, exhausted and in so much pain constantly has been horrid. And I haven't even begun to deal with the emotional side of things yet!!

But this post is not about the loss of our baby. This post is about when God moves you, speaks to you. So much has happened this week, good and the worst, I don't think it is possible to fit it all in one post! Well, maybe one very long post, but I don't have everything I need for that at the moment, though I can't wait to share :D

For me, this week has been one I think I have needed spiritually. God spoke to me, in fact He speaks to me often, just this time I actually listened, just for a change! So really the difference was, He spoke, I listened. 

For the last 2 years I have been feeling a push to serve our church in some way. I have known it is time to give back to our church who give so much to us and our lives. I have felt it, heard it, known it was there, but have always found excuses to ignore it. After all, I am a great procrastinator!

"I'm too busy"

"I work Sunday's"

"My family needs me" 

"I don't have the time, I can't do it all".......

(In fact, if there was a degree at university for Procrastination, I probably wouldn't have it, as I would find reasons to avoid finishing it!! Its something I am working on changing about myself.)

I've known this push has been towards working on our worship team. I love worship. Singing praise to God fills my heart with joy, makes me feel connected with others in my church family, but most importantly, its where i feel closest to God. Its when I feel all the things that may get in the way of our relationship just disappear and I am focused solely on communicating with Him. My heart is open to share and receive. This is something I feel I should share, and over the past year I have been involved in the Easter Production and the Christmas Choir as I "tested" this calling, this push. I know, I know! Not the best thing to do, TEST a push from God!! I never said I was a perfect Christian! FAR from it!

So when Alyce from church put out the call for new members to join the worship team, I FINALLY listened! I am glad I did. I can feel a whole new level of fellowship and a whole new chapter in our lives beginning. I cannot wait to share my simple joy in singing praise!

I also know that He is guiding Shane, but that is his story to share. All I can say is, although it's scary the first time you really feel that push, that guidance, it is SO worth following, and Shane isn't doing it alone! I will be there encouraging him, supporting him with whatever it is!

This year is going to be AMAZING!! 

God is moving in all our lives, not just mine but Shane's as well. I know, as long as we are listening to Him and following His will, this year will be the best one yet!!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

time to get back into it......not a great way to start

So my blog has been quiet for a few months. 

Since the wedding things, life, has been hectic. We came home from our honeymoon, spent a few days with the girls, then hit the ground running with Christmas, Jamboree for the eldest Miss, my birthday, getting the eldest miss ready for high school, plus I have been working long hours as Back to School is the busiest time of the year where I work.

I'm now at that point, where I have so many things to write about I don't know where to start. Well, I didn't anyhow. And when I don't know what to write, I simply don't write. I have the wedding, the honeymoon (G rated of course), and many more topics yet to be covered.

But today I am blogging to help me heal. 

Just after Christmas, we discovered we were expecting baby number 3. It was a shock for a number of reasons, including my age and weight and messed up cycle, but it was real. We had a scan that dated our little one at 6 weeks. My dates, which were accurate, said that was almost a week behind, but there is such a small margin for error, rather than question it, or worry, I chose to brush it off. I chose to ignore that little voice in my head.

To begin with I was worried, anxious, almost against this little baby, this blessing that God had given us. We couldn't afford it, Shane still doesn't have a job, we have a 21 month old little miss who still doesn't sleep through the night, and in fact, wakes most nights. We are both so tired a lot of the time, how can we manage it? Then the more vain, silly things, like how will we go on holidays with 3, its so much more expensive. We can't expect Gran & Pa to watch 2 of our babies at a time, so no more date nights, no more alone time, no more cruises, no more sleep, the vain silly list was so long. 

Then, as time passed, I grew to like the idea. I had always believed our family wasn't "finished", and maybe this baby, was the final piece of the puzzle. And as mothers always do, I grew to love this baby growing inside me. I dared to dream about its life, how it would fit into our family. I began to plan our future, this little one a part of it. 

Then I had a bleed, then some cramping. Nothing major. I had had bleeding in all my pregnancies, yet I couldn't shake the nagging fear that something had gone wrong. With the bleed and cramping, my symptoms, the nausea and vomiting slowly disappeared. So this week, on a visit to my GP, I asked for a referral for another scan, just to be sure everything was ok. I had managed to convince myself that I was paranoid, and this was a great chance to see my baby again. I should have just hit the 10 week mark, so I was keen to see a little person, arms, legs, a head and that precious little heart beat. 

Yet, deep down, where I wasn't willing to go, I knew it wasn't ok. I had been saying for days, that I didn't "feel" pregnant anymore. When the radiologist brought up the image of our baby, I immediately knew something was wrong. I could see my baby, but it was much smaller than expected, and there was no little flash of the heartbeat. Even at 6 weeks we could clearly see that almost straight away. The radiologist went to get a second opinion, we did an internal scan, but I couldn't even look at the monitor anymore. I already knew. It was making me face that knowledge that deep down, I knew my baby was already gone. 

The last couple of days have been hard. I would say its almost as hard as losing my Mum was. The pain is as raw, the complete and utter loss. That hole in my heart was ripped open again, the one I have spent years slowly healing after the loss of my mum. I have felt so much guilt over the feelings I had early on. Maybe if I had wanted our baby from the very beginning, maybe if I had given up my morning coffee, maybe if I had been stronger, then I could have somehow "saved" our baby. Protected it, as a mother should. I felt like I couldn't even do a mothers basic job. Keep my baby safe and warm and secure, provide my babies most basic of needs, but I couldn't even do that. I failed my baby.

Logically I know none of that is true. I knew, really, from that very first scan, that something wasn't quite right. I didn't "kill" my baby, I didn't "fail" my baby. I gave my baby a home for a few short weeks, then God called my baby home. Why? I don't know. I hate not knowing. But I also know it was God's choice, and I can't question that. I can ask why, but I know, for now at least, the answer to that question will go unanswered. 

I can say, that this loss has shown us, today in particular, just how blessed we are. We are surrounded by amazing family, amazing friends and an amazing church family. The love and support and prayers we received at church today went a LONG way in helping us heal. Knowing our family and friends are all there, sending their love and prayers, helps us heal.

And so, for now, we just try and go forward the only way we can. Take one day at a time. One shift at work, each single day, as it comes. I know, it will take time, but eventually we will heal. We will NEVER forgot our little angel, or forgot the dreams we had for our angels future. Forever we will remember our angel.

Our Little Angel, grew wings at 8 weeks 1 day old. Be peaceful little one, in God's loving care and my Mums loving arms, until we can hold you ourselves, remember we will always love you.