Preschooler Gift Ideas

We absolutely hit it out of the park with gifts for our daughter Ava this year- she loved almost everything we found for her!

I’ve linked some of her favourite things if you need gift ideas for your preschooler!ONE.png

One- Disney Puzzles, Big W | Two- Kids Umbrella, Sunnylife | Three- Fire Station Lego, Lego | Four- Doctor’s Bag, Big W | Five- Fire Truck, Kmart | Six- Walkie Talkies, Amazon | Seven- Construction Lego, Lego | Eight- Dr Baby Barbie, Amazon

Be careful little eyes..

IMG_8289.JPGOver the past few weeks we have been noticing that Ava (my 3 year old) has become excessively clingy. For example, whenever Greg or I leave for work she gets weepy and ask’s if we’re coming home, she won’t travel in the car with my mum by herself anymore, she doesn’t want to sleep over her house without us.. It was quite unusual for her considering just a month or so ago she was completely fine with us leaving, going out etc

We thought it was just a phase she was going through at 3 years old but a few days ago my Mum had the thought that perhaps it was something she watched on Frozen- we had never let her watch the movie until a few weeks ago. If you haven’t seen the movie, there is a scene near the beginning in which the two main characters (sisters Ana and Elsa) parents’ go on a trip on a boat, they get caught in a storm at sea and never return. Ava asked me what happened to the parents and I told her that they had died (she has understood the concept of dying for a number of months when we attended a funeral earlier this year).

Suddenly it seemed like this clinginess was actually due to something she had seen and thought would happen to her.

I called her over a few days ago and asked her to tell me about the movie Frozen (just to see whether my mums theory was correct.) The first (and only) thing she told me about straight off the bat was that Ana and Elsa’s mummy and daddy left on a trip and died. We were all shocked. It actually broke my heart that she was thinking that mummy and daddy were going away all these weeks and we would potentially not come home..

I quickly reassured her that Mummy and Daddy were not going to die and that we would always come home and anything she saw on tv was just a show and pretend. We went through it a few times and then told her that we were going to go to the gym. She slowly said “okay, okay..”

We’ve had to re-assure her a few times the last few days that we will always come back but it absolutely made me realise that we need to monitor things she is watching more. Her other shows are “younger”- Micky Mouse, Noddy (the inspector), Wiggles…

I guess it’s a wake up call that if you have kids and you notice a change in their behaviour perhaps consider what they are reading or watching- you may never know what their little hearts and minds are remembering and imposing on real life.

A big girls room

Have you ever been stuck in a rut when it comes to a bedroom- you don’t know how to change it you just know you want it changed, it needs a freshen up?

That’s exactly how I felt about Ava and Raegan’s room. Here’s the link for what her room used to look like prior to Raegan being born. When Raegan turned around two months old we moved her in Ava’s room. They both sleep quite heavy so we had no real problems with one waking the other up.

We obviously had to change the layout of the room to fit a cot, single bed and large chest of drawers. I was also getting a little tired of the watercolour dots on the wall. Thankfully they’re removable so we re-located them all to the playroom!

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DSC_0129DSC_0131DSC_0133DSC_0141DSC_0144DSC_0147DSC_0136DSC_0140I DIY added the tassels to a basket I already had been using for Ava’s stuffed animals.

The “you are capable of great things” print relocated from her playroom to her bedroom a well as the fluro coloured tassel garland.

I didn’t have to buy anything additional- by simply switching out pieces we already had I was able to change the room into a little more grown up for our 3 year old while keeping the left side still simple and complimentary for Raegan.

More than just the crumbs.

Most have their ‘me time’ at night, when you have no energy left. You’re giving yourself crumbs which is why you spend it scrolling or watching. My ‘me time’ should be when i’m at my best...png

Do you know who Rachel Hollis is? DO YOU KNOW WHO RACHEL HOLLIS IS? Yes, I was emphatically asking you that question.

I don’t know which instagrammmer it was but someone along the way in the last 6 months snapped a picture of them reading the book “Girl wash your face” by Rachel Hollis. Linked here at Amazon and here at Amazon Australia.. go buy it now..don’t wait just buy it. There are great parts to the book and not so great parts (like with every book) but I can absolutely tell you that it has changed my life!

If you know me in person you’ll know that since the birth of baby number duos I have lost a lot of weight.. I’m talking like 45 pounds/20kgs+.. I totally credit my weightloss to two really really hard but rewarding things:

  • The Sweat App- The program BBG by Kayla Itsines gave me that spark I needed to actually start exercising in the comfort of my own home because like legit, who has the time to go to the gym more than twice a week.. especially with 2 kids under 5.. it’s not going to happen.. Did I mention that my husband was training for a marathon while and after I gave birth? Hello 2+ hour runs..

and

  • Reading Girl wash your face by Rachel Hollis- I don’t remember much of the book to be honest (I’ve started re-reading it) but one thing that I do remember is her saying something to the effect of- “if you plan to workout (at any certain time) and then you decide not to or get too busy you are breaking a promise to yourself.” We can’t handle it when other people let us down or break promises to us why is it okay for us to break promises to ourselves? This simple statement got me through those times where I thought 9pm was too late to workout or putting on gym clothes at 6am when I was so exhausted. Just a year before I probably broke promises to myself multiple times a week- now, it’s rare if I go a day without a run or 28 minute workout.

While I know these two things may not work for everyone they worked for me.

One morning last week I jumped into the car and on a whim decided to check if Rachel Hollis had a podcast. I figured- she’s cool and hip and speaks really well- she’s bound to have a podcast.. and lo and behold she did!

Hello most recent episode called “How to supercharge your morning routine.” I think someone came to my house and looked in our room every morning. I drrraaaggggg myself out of bed about 45minutes before I need to leave the house. I am exhausted you guys.. Reagan is a good sleeper unless she’s sick or teething which has pretty much been our lives the past month. Thank the Lord for my amazing husband who has bared the brunt of this- he has fed her and changed her at unGodly hours of the morning (or night.. it’s all a blur to me). Without him I would have lost my mind.. legitimately lost my mind.

Anyway I digress- “how to supercharge your morning.” You guys.. she drops truth bombs for about 45 minutes straight. The biggest thing that stuck out for me was when she talked about “me time.” At first I scoffed.. “me time”.. she obviously doesn’t have little children because there is no “me time” only “slave time”. But guys she’s onto something.. she talked about how we’re only giving ourselves crumb me time.. as in, our “me time” generally happens at the end of the day after we’ve worked all day, taken care of the kids, showered and fed everyone etc which is why our ”me time” usually involves Netflix or scrolling through Instagram for an hour.. we’re running on fumes by the time we get our time. She suggests moving ‘me time’ to first thing in the morning. Right off the bat.. wake up 1-2 hours before you actually need to wake up and do something that sets your soul on fire!

Guys, I’m going to do it. If words had ever slapped me in the face this was the day.

I can only imagine how hard it’s going to be tomorrow morning but you know if Rach can do it so can I! Haha..

Preschooler Dresses

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I often get asked where I get my 3 year old Ava’s formal/church dresses from. I shop at places in Australia and Overseas such as Cotton On, Janie and Jack, Ebay, Zulily.. really all different places.

I wanted to share some links with you for dresses Ava has as well as other’s I’ve found that are formal so you can bookmark these companies for next time!

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One- Lola Short Sleeve dress, Cotton On | Two- Laura Short Sleeve Dress, Cotton on  | Three- Inga Tulle Dress, Cotton On  | Four- Romantic Embroidered Dress, Zara  | Five- The Maya Dress, Janie and Jack  |  Six- Plaid Ruffle Dress, Janie and Jack  |  Seven- Katanna Lace Dress, Bardot Junior  |  Eight- Cheetah Faux Fur Dress, Janie and Jack | Nine- Animal Print Dress, Zara | Ten- Loose fitting button up dress, Zara | Eleven- Jackered Window Pain Dress, Janie and Jack | Twelve- Embroidered Dress, Zara

Reagan Jean

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My bright big blue eyed girl.

Reagan ‘Little Ruler’ | Jean ‘God is gracious.’

 

 

Heart Whispers

Ramblings from when we first brought Reagan home… (and I never posted for fear of judgement)

A bird lands on the pram next to me as I watch my eldest play in the sand. A quick flick of my hand and the bird flies away. I grab the cap for my youngest’s pacifier- would birds think it’s food? Not sure, but I don’t want to take the chance. I make a mental note to sanitise my hands after touching the handle of the pram.

Her voice cuts through the millisecond of silence- “faster mumma, I want to go faster.. The slide, I want to go on the slide”.. I’m brought back to reality and slow the spinning contraption in front of me down so she can get off. I wrangle her arms around the baby strapped to my chest and lift her off. I watch her navigate through the sand towards the big slide, a little boy nearby catches her eye but he’s quite a bit younger than her, she looks away disinterested. “I want to go on the swing mumma.. the swing.. the swing..” She won’t stop till I acknowledge what she’s said. I push the pram over to the edge of the swing set and gingerly step through the sand to push her. “Higher mumma.. higher..” “Patience” I exclaim .. it sounds meaner then I wanted it to.

You wanted this.. I hear my heart whisper..

The baby on my chest stirs.. I start the mumma bounce- one hand pats her little bottom while I make the white noise “shhhhh” sound for a solid minute hoping that she lulls back to sleep. “I want to get off mumma.. I want to go on the small slide..” “Really? You just got on the swing..” I exclaim.

If you can just make it to nap time.. I hear my heart whisper.

I think in terms of hours now. 3 hours till the next bottle, 4 hours till nap time.. if I stretch bottle number 2 I can get them both to nap at the same time. Dinner is in 2 hours if I do bottle four at 6pm. If I go to sleep right this minute I’ll get 5 hours of sleep or I stay up for bottle number 6 and then get 4 hours of sleep..

You don’t have me time.. I hear my heart whisper..

I lay on the carpet, willing and coaxing my newborn to lift her head.. if she can just look to the left. I can feel the anxiety building in my chest. I’ve googled neck issues consecutive nights this week. I’ve rotated her bed, I’ve called her name- nothing seems to be working. I’ve been on a seesaw of celebration and worry. Was it something during pregnancy, maybe something I ate, maybe she was too squished in my womb.

It’s your fault.. I hear my heart whisper..

I see crumbs littering the floor beside the kitchen.. The vacuum cleaner sits beside the staircase. How are there crumbs already- I only vacuumed an hour ago. Dishes peak out from the top of the sink. I see her bright pink and orange bowl. It was used to house a chocolate biscuit but really only held for decoration. Chocolate crumbs scatter the couch- I say a quick prayer that she didn’t smoosh the chocolate into the fabric.

You can’t keep this house clean.. I hear my heart whisper..

We have dinner guests tonight..as our guests file through the door my eldest runs over to her sister and with a “ta-da” pose exclaims- “Here’s my bubba! She’s such a cute bubba!” I feel tears prick my eyes.. “This is her dummy and her bouncer..This is Baby Raegan..”

These are your girls..I hear my heart whisper..

I stir from sleep, reaching for my phone- it’s 6:05am. I feel a weight near my legs and look up to see my eldest with her Eeyore teddy leaning into the bassinet. A moment of panic sets in until the silence is broken by her little voice “Eeyore.. this is Baby Raegan..” Hello.. hello.. hello baby.. mmwwaa..” I’m lulled back to sleep by her voice introducing Fluffy Bunny..

She has such a kind heart.. I hear my heart whisper..

Family Photos

So I know it has been a number of weeks since I last wrote.. I went back through the site and yikes.. it’s been forever..

Life has gotten a little busier with two kids but to be honest I haven’t really felt the inspiration to pull out the laptop and blog. I’ve spoken to a few people who think that blogging is dying or has died but if it’s dying (or is dead) where else am I going to be able to post something longer than a caption? I refuse to be one of those people who put a “continued in the comments” statement at the end of their essay caption on instagram.. ha!

In the last few months since I’ve blogged we’ve gotten into more of a routine with Raegan, Ava’s started preschool one day a week, I’ve gone back to work 4 days a week and we’ve gotten family photos! Today I’m sharing some of the highlights from our family photos that we absolutely loved. If you’re in Sydney and you need a photographer you should look up Hayley Rafton! We had photos taken with her 2 years ago when Ava was just over 1 so we knew we had to use her again to document our growing family!

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Are we done…?

IMG_2553.JPGLast night as my husband and I divided and conquered showers, bottles and bed times for our two girls he looked at me (as I passed our 3 month old out of the shower) and said “no more..” I knew exactly what he was saying and feeling and wholeheartedly agreed!

I doubt I’ll look back at this post and laugh with a growing belly.. but I guess who knows.. never say never people keep telling me..

My reasoning was- if I didn’t shed tears when I packed away the three zero clothing of Raegan’s or when I packed away the bassinet and baby bath for the last time that that meant I was done.. I’m not someone who has emotional attachment to things- you can ask any of my family members.. new car- cool.. new house- cool.. things can come and go and I really wouldn’t be phased.. what am I attached to? I don’t know.. I’m still trying to figure that out.. but I digress.. no tears were shed, no heart strings were pulled.. I didn’t feel sentimental or overcome by a feeling of loss. It wasn’t a hard or long road like many others I know and for that I will forever be grateful. But all that being said I think we’re done. I never felt “done” after Ava.. I always knew we would have number 2 but this time it seems pretty final.

Only after watching Maria Kondo’s organisation show did I get together little boxes of sentimental things for our family- never assuming that they would value that stuff (if the word stuff doesn’t show you how non-sentimental I am I don’t know what will..haha) later in life.

Deciding not to have more children is monumental- I know. It’s something that I’ve been praying about it and asking for the Lord’s direction on. I’ve seen people mourn over the decision, talk about a sense of loss or sadness but not me and I guess that’s what makes us all unique.  How about you? Do you feel like you’re done or is there a niggling feeling in your heart for another baby?

Everything for Him..

A couple of years ago if you were to hear Christian Mum in a sentence I think most would picture a homely looking woman, perhaps home-schooling her children with a swear jar on the counter.. okay maybe not.. thank you Instagram and FB- the modern Christian mum is young and hip looking, juggles multiple jobs while volunteering at her local church and pre-school. Perhaps she makes grain free banana muffins on the weekends and she posts pictures of cool looking food oh and her kids wear lots and lots of linen and never poxy pink tutus (guilty as charged..) Hats off to you if you are hip and with it.. I find myself striving to be this “modern Christian mum” swayed by Instagram and Facebook. I was listening to a podcast (crazy right.. 2 kids at home and a podcast playing.. it actually only lasted 15 minutes but more on that later..) this morning of a sermon titled “Everything for Him.” It was like a slap in the face if I’m being honest.. The sermon was based on the scripture: “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:3

I am the first to admit that I am struggling with embracing this season of my life. I’ve been on maternity leave for just over 12 weeks now and I can’t say the going has got any easier. It’s not that the girls are “hard”- by no means are they “hard”- we have been blessed with great eaters and sleepers. Having worked outside of the home since I was 16 (minus one year that was spent overseas) it has been hard to put the working Steph aside and take on mum Steph full time. Yes, I still volunteer at Church and have heaps of work there that I love doing, but you know that I mean. I almost resent my husband each morning as he gets his clothes on and leaves the house. I feel a twinge every time I hear the garage open knowing that I’ll see him in 8 or 9 hours.

Today I was really feeling it- that utter spiral of “is this what my life has been reduced to..”, “will I ever get to go back to work..”, “I wonder if I can end my maternity leave early..”, “I don’t want any more children”.. couple all of that with a massive blow out that actually saw me throw out a singlet (it wasn’t worth trying to save), a cold (that I’ve had since Saturday night) and an untidy pantry and spare room. This may seem ridiculous to you but for someone who thrives in organisation and ‘everything in its place’ I was beside myself.. and then I turned on the podcast. To be honest I’m only about 15 minutes in- the kids woke up so I had to pause it until maybe Friday (haha.. just kidding..but really) but just the idea of “all for the Glory of God” made me really stop and look at my life.

If you find yourself in the trenches of motherhood not knowing when the fog will clear or when you may have even a sliver of independence back let me remind you “all for the Glory of God.” From the minute your child makes a noise in the morning it’s go-go-go (today my day started at 6:15am..so I know exactly how you feel).. It’s hard to remember that everything I’m doing is for the Glory of God. As I washed another load of dishes, waiting for the familiar ding of the washing machine to finish the second load…

…hang on…time out…Raegan has woken up…I’ll be back…

Okay back…

..this is life at the moment..full of interruptions..but all for the Glory of God! My prayer is that my kids and husband see the love of God in everything I say and do.. as I cook another meal my prayer is that my family feel the provision of God and know that we are blessed to have what we have. Every dish in the sink means we had food to eat, every load of laundry means we had clothes to wear, every vacuum of the house means we had walls and a roof over our head to live in, every day of maternity leave means we had the finances for me to raise our children full time- when you look at it through the glory of God you really do see it differently..

I challenge you mumma- this week, start looking at things with “All for the glory of God” in mind!

Here’s an iPhone wallpaper I’ve designed to remind you!

Just click on the image and save to your camera roll.