Blessed..

img_8319If you follow along on Instagram you would have seen that I surprised my best friend of 25+ years at a hospital on the other side of the country on Friday. She had given birth 5 days earlier and wasn’t expecting me to fly in for a visit but thankfully we had a number of points that I could use- it was a beautiful (and very emotional) reunion. Her- just given birth and coming off the hormone high that comes with pregnancy and me- 25 weeks pregnant with a baby- we were blubbering messes for a few days.

The weekend was filled with time on the couch watching a newborn baby sleep and feed, kissing her every few minutes, changing itty bitty nappies that look like doll nappies and eating from a freezer full of leftovers from her mum! Liz has been an absolutely champion since giving birth- seriously- I am in awe of how well she has recovered and how well she is nursing Baby Adelaide!

Seeing this little baby brought back so many memories of when I came home with Ava- I was definitely a lot more emotional and uncertain that Liz appeared to be- I remember lots of tears and feelings of adequacy. With your first child you never really know if you’re doing things right- google became one of my most trusted advisories! Liz’s baby, Adelaide, is absolutely perfect. She has 10 fingers and 10 toes- she’s eating like a champion and filling up those nappies just as fast! She has a head full of jet black hair and really long fingers like her mumma! She is perfection..

I came home really early on Monday morning exhausted from the red eye flight but so so happy to see Greg and Ava at the airport! Ava came running to me yelling “mumma, mumma”- I was ready to burst into tears- blame it on the hormones and lack of sleep!

This week has been a pretty standard week for us- lots of cooking at home and family time- most of our church events are yet to start up- I have been reminded so often this week at how grateful I am for God’s many blessings- as lame as it perhaps sounds I seriously can’t count them…

I watched Greg and Ava play in the backyard yesterday- spraying each other with the hose to cool off in the weather- I made them dinner with food from a full fridge that they both loved! I followed a recipe for coffee choc chips cookies, I washed my dishes in a sink with running water, I picked a dress this morning from a closet full of clothes, I woke up to the sound of my daughter playing and talking…I drove to a job that allows me to balance motherhood and being a career woman.. I could go on and on..

Sometimes we don’t realise how blessed we truly are.

We have a large print in our lounge room which says “Count your many blessings”*- in 2019 I’m determined to focus more on what God has blessed me with and nurture and appreciate those then become blinded by what I don’t have.

* The print is from Caravan Shoppe- I’ve posted here before or you can go directly to Caravan Shoppe and purchase here– It’s part of their Woodland Thanksgiving Package.

 

A new baby!

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here and so much has happened!

My husband gave me the whole guilt trip about letting this blog die.. well, here I am trying to resurrect it. WordPress has been less then inspiring so I’m currently looking for alternative platforms- send me your recommendations!

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If you only follow me on here (i.e. not on Insta) you should probably know that I am now almost 25 weeks pregnant! I know- time is flying! I partly didn’t want to post anything as I hadn’t told work yet before Christmas (I was barely showing) but now that everyone knows- here we are! This pregnancy has been great so far- barely any sickness, I managed to travel to the U.S for 3 weeks with only mild tiredness as well as attend a 5 day Conference in our capital city- I truly am blessed with really great pregnancies!

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Ava is getting used to the idea that there is a baby in mummy’s tummy- she has come with us to all of the scans so she often pretends to “check the baby” by putting objects on my stomach and listening for the heartbeat or pretending to look at the tv screen to see the baby! It’s very adorable! She’s also started calling the baby by name which has added a whole new dimension to it!

We are so excited to be adding to our family!

The helicopter mum jumps out of the plane..

IMG_5551.JPGHave you heard the term- Helicopter parent? It’s a mum (or dad) who pays very close attention to their children at playgrounds/out in public- I think we all know them- it goes beyond the general caring for your child to make sure they don’t die while at the park- I’m talking about the parent who is one or two steps away ready to jump in when needed. They are hyper aware, standing at attention to defend and protect their child. Was I a helicopter mum.. am I a helicopter mum? Thinking introspectively- perhaps. I make super conscious efforts not to be when out with friends or at a safe park but sometimes it just happens, especially with the sacredness that comes with your first child.

Last week at an indoor play place I let Ava go. It probably wasn’t the best play area to do so as it is a HUGE indoor area with really really high climbing areas (which she wouldn’t be able to climb to without my help.. I think).. but nonetheless, I let her go. I let her go and play independently- so much so that I actually couldn’t find her at one point. I had seen her enter one area of the large child magnet contraption but not come out so I headed over to see what she was up to. I called her name, I scanned all the little girls to see if I recognized her strawberry blonde hair- I couldn’t find her. My next thought was (though fleeting)- did someone take her.. quickly countered with, no- I was sitting near the door no one could have walked out with her without me seeing..

Eventually we found her coming down a makeshift slide that started up pretty high (how she got there I don’t know) but it was definitely a test at letting her go.

She came running to me, crying, twice because of “the ball.” We’re assuming she slipped on a ball twice, coupled with the fact that we were 2 hours overdue for a nap who knows what actually happened, but all in all she did great.

It took all the will power in me to not know where she was at all times. She’s not even two- what if she breaks an arm or a finger or gets a concussion and I can’t find her.. those were very real possibilities that quickly raced through my mind.. and then my logic kicked in- broken arms mend, broken fingers mend, there’s mum’s everywhere- she wouldn’t be concussed without anyone knowing.

When your little one suddenly becomes independent and starts to do things on her own, it’s as if the moment you have been dreaming about collides with this very real motherly need to be needed.

After a long day of being generally overtired she woke up at 9pm inconsolably crying- I picked her up, carried her into bed with me and we slept the night away.

While I worked on not hovering that day I think she realized I needed to be needed just a little bit extra.

Woven- When friends become family..

My interview this morning is with the amazing Annette! She used to baby sit me as a baby and now has become one of my nearest and dearest friends. Her and her family are family to Greg and I- they are amazing examples of following after God’s will and simply loving people! They pastor a thriving church up on the Gold Coast, parent two amazing boys and work full time as Pastor’s and (Annette works) part-time as a teacher. We seriously adore this family!

IMG_1311.jpegOkay, so- a few standard questions to start with, tell me a bit about your family.

I come from a Lebanese background. My parents and siblings migrated over to Australia in 1971, my siblings were very young! Lebanon was pretty war torn at the time so they migrated for a better life. My dad’s sister had some family here, so Australia was the obvious choice.

How many Siblings do you have?

I have four- three sisters and 1 brother. I’m the baby.

Are you Sydney born and raised?

Yep, I am. My siblings are a lot older than me. I had a great childhood but my siblings, because of the age difference, were more parental. I spent a lot of time with older people which is why going to school was so hard when I first started. I didn’t have many friends my age at the time.

You’re married to Jacob.. How old were you when you both met? I was 15 when we started dating, Jacob was 18. We dated for 6.5 years but our “dating” was so different to today. We were really good friends for a number of years and then got married when I was 21. We always said we would have children after being married for 5 years but I found out I was pregnant just a few months after our wedding!

Now, you have two boys? Yes, they are 16 and 13.

Whereabouts did you have them? I had Josiah at Bankstown Hospital and Judah at Liverpool Hospital.

Were you hoping to have two boys? I was actually hoping for a girl with Judah though in hindsight I was happy to have two of the same gender because the boys have become best friends.

How did you pick the boys’ names? Since Bible School Jacob loved the name Josiah and I loved it too so we knew our firstborn would be Josiah. Judah on the other hand- it wasn’t the original name we picked but someone had already taken it. We were back at the drawing board when we attended a conference where we heard a sermon preached about Judah, Judah meaning praise- it was a powerful service.  We fell in love with the name! We loved the meaning of it and knew it was the name for our second son.

Did you have the boys natural or C-Section? Both Natural! Labour was about 3 hours. For Josiah- my waters broke early, so I was in hospital for 18 hours, but the actual labour was only 3 hours or less.
They were both born on their exact due dates.

You were pregnant at your university graduation- tell us about it! Yep I was! To start with, when I was pregnant with Josiah I had morning sickness for about 7 months. I was working part time and going to Uni full time. I used to catch a train to work in the city, at that time, and I remember getting off at certain stops to throw up on the train tracks and then getting back on to keep going on my journey to work. 1 week after I handed in my last assignment for Uni to become a teacher, I gave birth to Josiah.

Shortly after giving birth to Josiah, I had to finish my prac for my degree- I did my final prac in February when he was 4 months old, and then got offered a full time job. I took the job! It was my first real full job- I worked 3 years full time. Now, in hindsight, I do regret it a little but he was with my mum and mother in law and they formed a close bond.

Josiah was just over 3 years old when I left my job and had Judah. When he was 5 months old, I went back to work part time but at a different school. Because I lived closer to my sister (we had moved house by now)- my sister watched the boys part time. I went back to full time when Judah was about 3 years old and switched to part time when he was 6. I still work part time at a school now.

Coming from a Lebanese background your mum is an amazing cook! Do you have any of her recipes? Well my mum made all her dishes by memory- when she received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, my sister in law tried to record as many recipes as she could on paper.

Here is her amazing, world famous Tabouli! Friends I am telling you- this is hands down best Tabouli recipe you will ever have!!

Sis Ayoub’s Tabouli Recipe

7 Medium Tomatoes

2 bunches parsley, chopped

1/2 bunch of mint, chopped

1/4 bunch of shallots

1 onion chopped finely

1/2 cup cracked wheat

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 lemon juiced

1/2 tomato passata

3/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp pomegranate molasses

sweet chilli sauce or Tabasco sauce

How To

– Remove any stones you mighty find in the cracked wheat, then wash and drain it well by squeezing it with your hands

– Add the lemon juice to the cracked wheat and set aside.

-Wash the chopped parsley and mint then drain well by squeezing out excess water.

-Chop the tomatoes very finely and add them to the cracked wheat

-Chop the onion very finely and rub them with the salt and black pepper

-Combine all ingredients with the cracked wheat and stir in olive oil
You moved to QLD over 6 years ago.. I always thought that because I was born and raised in Sydney I would never move…I never wanted to move but my husband was feeling that the Lord was leading us elsewhere- we didn’t know where though. His prayer was God if you want us to go to another church, and Pastor, you need to speak to my wife.

When he was in Fiji a number of years ago he found out that there was a church in the Gold Coast that no longer had a Pastor- he knew God was calling us there but his prayer had always been that God would speak to me because of the heartache it would entail leaving my family in Sydney.

In the meantime, I had been going through some things and was praying that God would help me to work through these things positively, you know, respond to negative situations in a positive way.

A lady I respect, in my life, came to me in the altar one service and asked if there was anything specific I wanted to pray for. I said no… whatever you feel… she proceeded to tell me about a vision she had had that God was going to move us. The vision was of a really big beautiful house but it was isolated- what she felt the Lord was telling us was that He would move us, and we would be isolated at first but it would be something beautiful and God ordained.
I, of course, didn’t want to feel isolated so I called a prayer partner freaking out that God was going to isolate us! We prayed together and she said something that I remember to this day- she said Nettie, it doesn’t have to be a literal thing that God is going to isolate you but rather that he is moving you from your comfort zone.

The whole time that this is going on, Jacob is still overseas in Fiji.

Meanwhile, he’s been praying every day that God would speak to me

Jacob’s on the plane coming back from Fiji, on Fiji Airways, and he picks up the inflight magazine and there was a double age spread ad which read “If you’re thinking of relocating to the Gold Coast, do it now..” He came home and we went about our day. We were in our room, I was unpacking his stuff and he says “The Gold Coast church no longer has a Pastor.” And I knew… I knew that this is what God was calling us to but of course I was absolutely freaking out on the inside… I said nothing to him for a week about it..

I went back to my prayer partners and I really felt that this was it.. this is what we had to do.

After a week, I approached Jacob and I said I don’t know about you but I believe this is God’s will. He confirmed that that’s what he had been praying for since he first felt the call. We both determined that we would only go if we were released by our Pastor. We spoke to our Pastor, and though we were all really good friends, our Pastor was very supportive of our move!

So 3 months from that conversation we packed up our lives and moved. We never even saw our house before we moved there. We flew up a few times to view some houses but they had all fallen through- the real estate agent let us sign a lease for a place before even seeing it, which is generally unheard of!

Judah got cellulites before we left, the houses we saw fell through, we had left our jobs and had not yet received jobs on the Gold Coast, it seemed everything was fighting us moving but we knew that God had called us.

The whole process taught me so much about faith..

The boys were 10 and 7 at the time, so you can imagine the heartbreak for them. This was a mother’s heartbreak. Leaving Sydney we had some friends come and say goodbye… for about 90 minutes our eldest broke down weeping… which made me weep… As a mum I was crying more for him, but still about the major life decision we had made.

A funny story amongst all this pain… During our cry our 7-year-old (who was happy to move by the way) and my husband were smiling at each other through the rear vision mirror. Jacob decided to put on Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye and from out of my mouth came this scary voice threatening to throw the CD out the window if he didn’t turn it off… His thinking was that he wanted to cheer us up, which I reassured him that this was not the way!

When we arrived on the Gold Coast we were unemployed for 5 months… We used up all our savings. It was a huge step of faith but through it all, God always provided. There were people who knew nothing about the situation but blessed us until we found employment. God knew that we needed these few months to make connections with our neighbours and the people we were going to be pastoring.

Wow.. what a story of God’s faithfulness and your willingness to move!So, you’ve found work..haha.. Yes, I am currently working part time in a role that was created for me. I’m reading coordinator. I mentor teachers and do an intensive reading program. Jacob, is a full time Pastor – going on 3 months. We pastor Gracepoint Church, Coomera on the Gold Coast.

And the boys? They’re both still in school- Judah is really good with co design in an architecture class and Josiah is an entrepreneur! He has sold t-shirts, made his own brand label at 11 and is currently working on getting into a trade. This kid is very savvy when it comes to business… side hustle to the max.

And Gucci…Yes, we have a little dog- Gucci… we’ve had her for almost a year… 9-10 months.

What would you say is the hardest thing about this stage of life and mothering? I find the teenager years can be challenging. Being a Christian mum is so different to how other parents parent their teenagers. We truly have to fight for what we believe in. When your kids are younger you know everything about them, but as they get older I am having to learn to balance everything and let God have the reigns. I’m having to trust God a lot more… all I can do is pray… pray over them and pray with them…

Do you have any words of advice for mums out there? Enjoy every stage of your kid’s life. It goes so quickly… it will fly by. Don’t be so caught up, and busy, that you neglect your kids.

What would you say is your greatest achievements to date? My family, my boys. Although our family isn’t perfect, we have fostered so much love for each other… and what God has done at Gracepoint. From a church of a handful of people to where He’s brought it today; to see what He’s done in people lives. To see people who are new to church and be a part of their spiritual growth. I am so thankful.

So there you have it- we love and cherish this mum and her family! I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about Annette and her family!

Till next time.

xx

Family Photos

We finally took the plunge and had family photos taken! We’re so happy with how they turned out. It was precious being able to document Ava at this age!

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Wedding Gift Ideas

Our 8 year wedding anniversary is only a few weeks away and still, to this day, I can remember some of the gifts we received! From cutlery to a TV- it was all in there. Lately I have been coming across a few gifts that I think would make amazing wedding gifts. Some keep giving- a 12 month magazine subscription while others last a last a lifetime- personalised first home print. There are some great ideas if I do say so myself! There’s a few Australian companies thrown into the mix here too- let’s support small businesses people!

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Magazines- Homelife | Magnolia Journal | Donna Hay

Things- I Love us Print | Tajine | Artificial Potted Plant

Personalised- Chopping Board | First Home Print | Family Drawing

So.. what now?

You’ve finished University, you’ve gotten married, you’ve bought that home..you’ve had a baby.. that baby is now growing up and has officially moved into the toddler stage.. you don’t know where the time has gone, but you do know it has pushed her along to achieve each milestone. It didn’t wait for her to decide to grow up, it simply kept ticking and with it it bringing a new sense of family and love and discovery..

So what now…?

Last week, in the same day, I cried with a friend who had recently experienced a miscarriage and then hugged and cried with friends at the news that they were pregnant.. Only a few days after this encounter did it occur to me how interesting life can be. It’s amazing how broken you can feel in a moment, when even words escape you and then experience such unadulterated joy. Joy for the sense of what your community of friends and family are gaining through this new addition, a joy because you know the amazing happiness that comes with the addition of a little feet and laughs, a joy for the couple who whether planned or a complete surprise are adding to their lives.

So what now..?

Through personality tests it’s been determined that I am very gold in nature. I thrive on lists and goals, I expect order and continually do everything in my power to try and maintain consistency and reliability.. so without a project or something to “do” I flounder around like a fish out of water.. good analogy huh?

We recently re-did the playroom which was a great project to occupy my time and thoughts but now here I am.. floundering.

Has anyone ever experienced this feeling?  Maybe you’re experiencing it now?

The Bible says that “after you have done all”…“to stand.”  Stand! That sounds like a nightmare but obviously it doesn’t mean to literally stand still..I think it means to be content. To look at your life, assess the blessings that flow abundantly and be grateful. Contentment.. do we even know what that means in this generation? Do we ever stop to enjoy what we have or who we have or do we long for more or bigger and better?

I saw a quote on Pinterest a while back it said “if you only have today what you were grateful for yesterday how much would you have?” What a confronting thought!

I challenge everyone to take a few minutes today to consider how blessed we really are. Consider the freedoms we take for granted, the meals we pay for frivolously. Consider the family you’re able to hug and love, think of the friends who have become family, or the children who light up your day. For those of us who work outside of the home- cherish the opportunity that you have to earn money. I’m thankful I live in a country where I have the religious freedom to go to church and actively pursue a relationship with Jesus.. something we take for granted that many in oppressed nations would dream of.

So, what now you may ask? Just stand..

It’s been a while..

Wow.. I didn’t realise I hadn’t posted in 2 months! Life has gotten busy to say the least.. and I’ve been in a bit of a funk. I don’t feel like I have anything very interesting to say.. they say comparison is the thief of joy.. well there are A LOT of amazing bloggers out there with amazing families and kids and DIY projects.. and here’s little ole’ me from the backside of Sydney just trying to juggle one child and a part-time job.. It’s been hard.

Ava tuned one while I was on a bit of an unexplained break- YAY! We had a great week of celebrations with her. She ate way too many sweets and had one to many servings of cake, but I’ve adapted the motto- if it won’t kill her let’s give it a try.. my how times have changed. I didn’t pull out my good camera once for her birthday so you’ll just have to head over to instagram to see a little snapshot of weekend parties!

She has gotten way more talkative! Her vocab is probably around 20 words now.. and her second top tooth has finally caught up to her first top tooth- YAY! Symmetry for the win!

With Ava turning one has come a whole new set of struggles. Last night was actually the worst she’s ever acted- my husband and I looked couldn’t help but look at each other in shock. She is strong-willed and defiant! We will tell her for e.g. not to drop her water bottle off her highchair- she’ll pick it up and throw it over the edge. We smack her hand (yep..we lightly smack her hand), pick the water bottle up and say “no, leave it on your highchair”. This will happen two or three times- by now the tears are starting to fall. She will stop pushing the bottle of the highchair for a minute or two, and then put her hand on it as if daring us to do something. She will then look at either my husband or I in the eye and as if in slow motion push her bottle of the highchair.. argh!! It drives me nuts!!

We love her to death, but we are definitely on the parenting journey. I constantly struggle with the thought of “am i harming or helping her.” Are our boundaries and discipline too soon, or are we actually helping shape her for her 2’s and 3’s?

I don’t think you are ever prepared to become a mum or dad.. it’s so much more than getting pregnant and birthing a child.. you actually have to now raise them..

It’s such an emotional, exciting, overwhelming, crazy role to live out.. One that we are extremely grateful for.. but boy.. is it challenging!

For any mumma’s out there- I’m sure you’re doing an amazing job.. It’s okay to countdown the minutes till bedtime.. It’s okay to hide in the bathroom and eat that chocolate bar.. it’s okay to reminisce about when it was just you and your partner or when you didn’t have to vacuum for the ONE THOUSANDTH TIME! It’s okay to dream of that rug in your living room that was once spotless but is now COVERED with little specs of food.. it’s okay to struggle to remember when you last showered or actually finished a meal or a hot cup of tea… oh sorry.. did I lose some of you there? Guys.. I am totally being real right now.. this journey is challenging.. but if you asked me to do it all over again I would say yes in a heart beat. I would literally give my life for my baby girl..and you know.. the past is never as great as you remember it.. and who else will feed the tiny ants that you sure are living in your rug anyways?

Woven- Two little peas in a pod

For those who have just started following Growing A Bebé, Woven is a new series of stories from the women around me- their stories of labour, love and growing their little families.. I hope you see the imperfect perfect of this experience we call motherhood in the tapestry of stories woven by each woman..

My next guest in our series, Woven, is from a dear friend of mine. We have been friends since we both can remember; we’ve celebrated birthdays, weddings and kids together! We both married Greg’s in the same year as well (a little fun fact)!

Today, I am excited to introduce Rachel Willmott!

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Okay, question number one- how big is the family you come from?  Not very big at all! Mum has 1 brother & dad is an only child. I am blessed to have 2 grandparents still here with us. I am the eldest of 3 siblings.

Can you tell me a bit about your family? Dad comes from Scicily / born in Australia, and has remarried an Australian. Mum comes from Chile / came over when she was 4yrs old.
I’m the eldest at 30, younger sister at 26, brother at 19 and a half brother who is 5 weeks old.

How many children do you have? I have twins girls who are 2.5yrs old and another bub due in August 2017.

Where did you have your children? The twins were born at Liverpool Public Hospital, NSW.

How did you find out that you were having twins? Take us through that first ultrasound! From the very beginning, our girls have made our parenthood journey an adventure full of surreal & comical surprises. The routine 6 week scan was no exception. Having a heart full of mixed emotions coupled with a bladder full of water, I lied on the bed waiting trying not to shed tears, burst out in laughter or pee myself. It felt as though as soon as the sonographer placed the doppler on me he made a very strange and surprised sound. His english wasn’t very good so Greg asked why he made a strange noise? We remember his words as though it were yesterday, “Looks like double-trouble”, closely followed by “Go halve your bladder – too full”. As I sat in the bathroom, my mind was racing through questions like “his english must be really basic”, “did I hear him correctly?”, “how large will I grow?” and finally “why do they ask you to drink so much water in the first place?”.

When I came back, it was confirmed that we were indeed staring at two little peas in my pod. Greg and I looked at each other in absolute shock and somehow had a magical conversation through eye contact. We had joked about having twins, then to see those twin hearts beating was a surreal moment for us. Obviously once we got over the initial shock, the logistics of having twins began to set in. The journey since has been challenging, often fatiguing but above all extremely rewarding!

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Audrey & Evenlyn (The two peas in a pod)

Did you have a Natural of C-section birth? How long was labour? I had natural births for both girls. If calculating from the actual pushing phase: Labour was from 11:00am – 3:20pm = 4.5 hours. My water broke 8am Wednesday & so I spent the night in hospital where I dilated 7cm without knowing it. I was given an epidural Thursday morning & started pushing before midday. Girls were born by 3:20pm Thursday.

How was your pregnancy? I had a great pregnancy, aside from some back/body aches due to being rather large and having to sleep sitting up for almost 2 months. I had regular ultrasounds and appointments so I was always well informed with my personal & twins’ development.

Did you take maternity Leave? If so, for how long? Yes, my Mat Leave was exactly 12 months.

What was the hardest thing you struggled with being a new mum? Sleep deprivation (I seriously love sleep) and my own personal body recovery & healing. I had to be readmitted to hospital 2-3 weeks after delivery due to Mastitis & an infection from the episiotomy. Not pleasant. At. All. All the while trying to juggle two crying babies, two nappies, two bottles, two of EVERYthing.

Did you work outside of the home when you had children? No. Well I wasn’t ‘paid’, but I sure did lots of work 🙂

What do you currently do for work? I am currently working 2 days/week as a Payroll Clerk for a Transport Company. But I’ll be going on Mat Leave again very soon!

What do you find the hardest thing is now, at this stage of life with your children at the age they are? The hardest thing for me at this stage is trying to find the time, energy and motivation to stimulate their inquisitive brains everyday. (and filling out the day-care paperwork so THEY can worry about paint & dirt & inquisitive brains) haha
Having said that, the girls are actually quite easy to ‘talk’ to at this stage than ever before, which I’m finding a lovely surprise.
Don’t get me wrong, they still have their tantrum-like commands and requests, but I find it’s easier to talk and reason with them at this stage.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new mum what would you tell them? Stress less. This coming from someone who doesn’t stress very much! Honestly, I can look back and say that I worried about insignificant things that I read TO DO & NOT to do. But every mother & child is different. It’s so easy for a new mother to fall for the ‘Keeping up with the Jones’ expectation to have everything perfectly under control all the time. So stress less 🙂

 

Love lives here..

There was a time where a messy house would put me out of sorts. By out of sorts I mean, I would go commando cleaning everything up, I would probably get annoyed at my husband and say something I didn’t really mean because why..why can’t me take his shoes upstairs..For me, in my younger years, things out-of-place meant my life was out of place.
My family home never had little figurines or heaps of photo frames out..my mother only got a fridge that had a magnetized door in her late 40s- so there were never little pictures or letter magnets.. My sisters and I joke that we don’t know what happened to our mum because whenever my niece draws a picture it somehow lands on the fridge door for a few weeks.. Like who is she and what have you done with our mother?

It’s funny to think how pedantic I was about having a clean home.. I knew a change was coming- everyone warned me that once I had children it would change. They laughed at my white walls and my light grey couches, they looked at me incredulously when I bought a cream rug that piles so much it’s actually driving me nuts.. Oh, I knew change was coming I was just trying to delay the inevitable I guess…

But..fast forward almost 10 months..I can say, without reservation, that having a clean home is the furthest thing from what I desire.. well maybe it’s dropped a few spots down the list..

I have a friend (if you are friends with me and this mum you will probably know who I am talking about)- her house is kid friendly. By kid friendly I mean, there are kids things everywhere! Downstairs, in the living room, outside.. everywhere. They converted their garage into a massive kids play area (including a huge blackboard wall.. something straight out of  my dreams I’m telling you).. Before having a child of my own, her home drove me insane.. I would itch walking the door, wanting to help organise things, put toys in clear plastic containers, labelled perfectly with a label maker. To organise books onto the book shelf in alphabetical order.. I envisioned room after room of perfectly ordered things… it was like putting someone in a room with pink walls, knowing that they hate the color pink, and leaving a paint brush with a can of blue paint, their favorite color and not giving them the opportunity to paint those walls.. At first you resist, then you tolerate and then you accept.. but..and you knew it was coming..since having Ava everything has changed..

Now, when I walk into her house I see a house full of love- love for children, that shows itself by all the little knick knacks lying around on the ground. The kids’ area seeps into every corner of their home and I secretly love it. It is a home filled with life and love and fun toys and gadgets. It’s a pirate mask and a superman cape, it’s a dragon fighting figure that we haggled the seller down by $2 for. It’s book after book and every kids animation you could dream of.. Love lives in her home..

Remember my beautiful white walls? In our home, where the kitchen meets the dining room there is a sharp corner. In order to make the corner in her walker, Ava has to sidle up against the skirting board and quite literally run the top of the bottom half of the walker along the top of the skirting..the top of the skirting is black, but I can’t bring myself to remove the scuff mucks because for me it means Ava was there at sometime that day..it means love lives in my house.

We had three bath toys for Ava- 3 toys I carefully packed up after every bath time into the soap holder. While they did overflow they still fit, out of the bath, in a corner to keep the bath “clean”.. well that was until yesterday. A quick trip to Kmart reminded me that I needed to grab a few extra bath toys- now we have every letter and number slowly sliding down the side of the bath tub as they dry out overnight. Our attempts at practising the number and letters failed last night- she was more interested in biting them and seeing how many she could fit in her mouth- but honestly, it doesn’t matter.. When I walked into the bathroom this morning and I saw the letters strewn all over the bath, completely clashing with our bathroom design I smiled..because it means that loves lives in my house..

Most mornings if Ava is up early she plays with a Lego set in our bed while either Greg or I get another 20 minutes of sleep. Sometimes, if we’re in a rush, we don’t clean her lego up- we leave it between our sheets and hastily make the bed.. only to find it at night, pulling back the covers. And you know, it doesn’t bother me, I actually love it.. I love finding remnants of my baby, even after she’s gone to bed.. because to have her things strewn over the bed, or in the lounge room means that she has loved and she has played, and she has enjoyed the time she was awake that day…

It’s so easy to see the messy home, or the toys out-of-place. It’s easy to see the dust accumulating or the finger prints on your mirror, but I want to challenge you today to look at the things that you see as out of place or dirty, and instead see them as a reminder of the children you are helping raise. I would rather a home filled with love and a toy or two out of place, than a perfectly kept lounge room any day of the week.

Very early one morning..Lego, our sleep saver..