Thursday, January 30, 2014

The End Of Our Carefree Days

The past few nights in bed, I've felt desperately sad thinking about Grace starting full-time school in just under a week. There have been knots in my stomach and tears pricking my eyes knowing that our 'do as we please weekdays' are coming to an end and that a new kind of 'normal' is ahead of us in the not so distant future. Washing fresh uniforms, labelling books and stationery and reading through 'new student information packages' has made this reality hit home even more.

No longer will we have the luxury of a few days a week free of schedules and routines.  Our week will soon be filled with school bells, busy days and homework.  There will be lunchboxes to pack, reading books to work our way through and I am sure, one tired girl come Friday afternoons.

Of course, I have kept my feelings to myself.  Any talk of pre-school involving Grace has been filled with positivity as I don't want my emotions to interfere with her own expectations of what should be an exciting part of childhood.  Today I overheard her telling our neighbour, "I don't want to wait until after the weekend to start pre-primary, I want to go tomorrow!"

I've decided to instead focus my thoughts on how to best deal with this change. Rather than dwelling on how much I will miss my precious girl and grieving for our old weekly rhythm, I'm thinking of ways to better accept this inevitable next step and how to make our transition as smooth as possible. Things like slow afternoons enjoying an afternoon snack together, chatting about each of our days and sitting down to an earlier than usual dinner. Pre-bedtimes curled up together reading a chapter of our latest book. Weekends balanced between pottering about enjoying homely pleasures and small outings to parks and cafes and other favourite spots.

In time, I'm sure we'll settle into our new pattern... all that I can do for now is to trust that gradually, we will both adjust and come to love our days as much as we always have done...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Great Magazine Cull

I still remember exactly when I bought my first 'Real Living' magazine.  We had just driven seven hours down to Esperance where Paul had to work for the week.  In need of some good reading material to keep me occupied, I wandered into town and made a stop at the local newsagent where I discovered issue number two on the shelves for the first time.  I curled up on the couch and read every word of it from cover to cover, returning home inspired and with a whole heap of ideas to try around our home.

Since then, I have religiously bought every issue of the magazine (for the past two years I’ve had a subscription) and have bookmarked many a page for future inspiration.  My pile of magazines on the coffee table beside our lounge gradually grew and grew into two and then three piles, weighing the room down visually with its clutter and creating a hoarder-like corner in our home.

Not one to usually hang on to unnecessary items, my collection was one area I was happy to overlook…

Until recently. 

Firstly, my magazine tower was a stark contrast to my simple living mantra.  Secondly, I have chosen not to renew my 'Real Living' magazine subscription. I’ve recently found myself drawn to other magazines with less of a focus on trends and style and more of an emphasis on lifestyle and homemaking articles.  Last year, I discovered 'The Simple Things' magazine. Stumbling upon it was like discovering a publication that had been written specifically for me.

As part of my beginning of the year de-clutter, I’ve decided it’s time to tackle and pare back my stash.  The pile has since been moved to our bedroom where I am gradually working through each issue,         re-reading and tearing out favourite pages and stories to be added to a ‘file of favourites’ and keeping only cut-outs that I really and truly want to refer to again.  I have a feeling this will be an on-going task for at least the next little while...

Is there a magazine you buy without fail each month?  Do you have a hoarder’s stash or do simply tear out pages which are ‘keepers’?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Savouring Our Summer Holidays

It’s taken me a little while to fall into the groove of summer holidays. When kindergarten finished up, there was Christmas to think about.  Between Christmas and New Year’s, Paul was home and it was ‘family holiday time’.  However now, with not long to go until school begins, my mind has been going over and over how to make the most of these final weeks… what to plan to make it memorable for Grace and what I can do to soak up this precious ‘end of an era’ myself.

A few nights ago in bed, sleep didn’t come as quickly as usual and I found myself mulling over my concerns.  The more I thought about it, the more I realised that  perhaps the best way I could spend these final three weeks of Grace being at home full time was to just keep on doing what we’re doing.  Perhaps lazy mornings with the girls lingering in PJs that little bit longer, swims in the neighbour’s pool on hot days, reading books or crafting after lunch and little outings here and there for milkshakes or picnics or playdates with friends were in fact the perfect way to be spending our holiday after all.  Perhaps this simple rhythm, dotted with the treat of a sleep over at Grandma’s or Nan’s and a few days spent at Paul’s Uncle’s beach house were exactly what we needed.  

Come February, Grace and I won’t have the luxury of our one on one time whilst Sophie is napping, outings will be restricted to the weekends and dress-up costumes will remain in their basket until the end of the day. I'm trying to savour these precious moments of ordinary days while I can.  

Holidays don’t necessarily have to be monumental or extraordinary to be memorable.  I've now accepted that simple days enjoying the comforts of home, sprinkled with outings to our favourite spots are the best way for Grace and I to enjoy our time together this January.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Organising Kept Simple

Every Boxing Day, it's become a bit of a tradition for me to sit down with my new diary while Paul watches the cricket, planning out my year ahead, adding in birthdays and anniversaries and reminders.  I remember doing just that last year and Paul jokingly teasing that paper diaries were so old-fashioned and that I was well behind the times.

Back in my teaching days, my diary was always filled with excursions, due dates of projects, notes from staff meetings, to-do lists and appointments with parents.  When I became a Mum, I still carried one around with me (albeit a considerably smaller style) but the jottings in it became few and far between. Last year, it had barely any entries apart from my four hair appointments for the year. I tended to use and refer to our family calendar more and so this year, I've ditched the diary.

I've decided to use a simple format to keep me organised ... a family calendar and my iPhone.  I finally have my dismal mobile phone situation sorted out thanks to a very generous Christmas present from Paul (goodbye ancient Nokia with a pitiful camera and non-existent history of text messages... hello iPhone5!)  I am hoping to jot down any dates if need be on my phone's calendar function when I'm out and about but will use our family calendar as the 'hub' of our happenings.

I've never been one for elaborate organisational systems. I know that these days, I can sync this to that and have everything I need delivered straight to me on my phone.  Only I don't need to be checking my email more than once each day and when I'm out and about with my little ones, I don't pick up my phone all that often anyway.  While I like to keep on top of things, a simple method paired with simple technology seems to suit my needs best.

Do you still use a paper based diary or has your phone eliminated the need for one?

The calendar I'm using this year is The Elli Blog  free printable version

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year Reflections

A new year ahead of me and a fresh outlook.  A year of change, opportunity and hopefully, balance...

Between Christmas and New Years, I always find myself doing the same thing... winding down from festive celebrations, nibbling on leftovers and Christmas goodies and reflecting on the past twelve months. Over the past week and a bit, I've been doing just that...

Initially, as I've done for the past few years, I was determined to uncover a word to guide my year and my actions.  I toyed with 'mindset', 'embrace' and 'now' but in the end, have decided there will be no word of the year for me.  Instead, I want to simply accept each day as it comes... to be grateful for all that it offers and to deal as best as I can with any challenges that may arise.  I want to view changes ahead of us in a positive light, focus on the present moment (as opposed to dwelling on the past or worrying about the future) and to fill our days with fun family times and togetherness.

While I'm a little late, as 2014 begins, I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to visit my space and for sharing in my corner of blogland.  I love connecting with all you like-minded souls, appreciate every comment that you leave and wish you all a new year filled with an abundance of love and happiness...