Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Loving the Library: When time is limited for visits......

Sometimes schedules get full with play dates, errands, appointments and before you know it you've hit the weekend and you realise you've not been able to get the kids nor yourself into the library for a new stash of books and good reads.
Most libraries these days have a variety of opportunities available for you to collect and drop off borrowed items and even browse their catalogue. During particularly busy spurts in our schedules and in times of sickness I often make use of viewing the libraries catalogue online. Throughout that process I'm able search by title, author and subject and more. Sometimes sample pages can be viewed or reviews from other readers. But the handiest thing is being able to place a hold on items, including DVD's, CD's etc. Even if an item is at another branch you can request it be held and sent to your local branch. An email is sent approx 24 to 36 hours later advising my "holds" are ready to be collected. So all I need is five minutes spare when I'm in the area to run into the library, grab my books from the "holds" shelves, swipe my library card through the self-check out and I'm on my way.

If you're limited on time, or perhaps you're a working family, who's time is precious and limited but you'd like to give your children and yourself the gift of reading and good reads, if so it's worth investigating what borrowing options your local library has available to you. At the end of the day community and council libraries are there for you and other members of the community it's an all inclusive thing (obviously you need to hold a library card). So even if you are immobile to major illness or injury many libraries will have program's you can apply to, to have an in home pick up and delivery service available to you.

Basically the message is that, no matter your situation there are lending opportunities available. All it takes is a call to your local library to speak with someone about what services and program's they have available in your community that might benefit you. Give it a try today, you might be pleasantly surprised what's on offer to you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Banana, Oat and Yoghurt Muffins.....

If you've been around the blog for awhile you will know I finally found some love for baking about a year to eighteen months ago. I think I found my confidence with baking when I started to relax (like I do with all my other cooking) and just only take a recipe as a guide and mix things up a bit. As a result I think I've come up with some winning combos and of course with my winning combos I always like to try and make kid friendly and healthy.
1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
100g butter
3/4 Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 - 2 mashed banana
Place flours and baking powder into a bowl (sift if you like, sometimes I bother sometimes I don't). Stir in oats and raw sugar. In a saucepan melt golden syrup and butter gently. Take off the heat and add stir in yoghurt, milk and baking soda. This mixture will forth up a little, so quickly add it to the dry ingredients and add mashed banana. Mix until all ingredients are just combined, don't over mix.

After you fill your muffin tin set aside for 5 mins then pop it into the oven at 180 degrees for about 20 mins. Check at 15 mins though and if they are springing back gently to the touch, they're done.

These are so yummy and like mini banana cakes, and so moist. I don't always use the the full sugar amount, I sometimes swap some or all of it out for fruit juice instead of milk or if I'm using a flavoured yoghurt instead of Greek yoghurt.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend of wondrous moments....

So many of our weekends lately have been peppered with unexpected plans and moments. It's been great. Sometimes even the weekends fall into a monotony of the same old, same old. But perhaps things are changing in our family, perhaps things are settling down and becoming easier....I don't know, either way I'm liking the lovely moments we're having.

Friday as many of you know was Elle and Meg fourth memorial, I had a good day. Probably the easiest memorial day so far (mind you the day beforehand was horrendous, but that's another story). I took the kids to a favourite little op shop of mine on Friday and they were so well behaved while I had a rummage around and I had a laugh and cuddle with the volunteers.

Saturday at a monster Lifeline clothing $2 sale at an indoor sports centre, I rummaged more for goodies. But the biggest thrill of this outing was watching the kids run up and down the grassy hills outside, they rolled down like logs and crawled back up. I chased them and raced them......it was so much fun, it had me smiling for hours. The day was made sweeter with a dinner guest, our lovely neighbour, who gave us a little grace taking Cohen for a walk before dinner. Dinner was chicken and mushroom risotto, made by Ben so I had the night off......it was yum, it's been ages.

Yesterday was full of more smiles and laughter, chasing the kids, playing games and reading. Ben and Cohen enjoyed an afternoon of fishing.......Cohen "caught" his first fish.
The story behind the the "alleged" fish is long winded but let's just say that this smile is priceless and we'll keep the tale of the first fish quiet......wink, wink. Whilst the men fished Sarah and I baked banana, oatmeal and yoghurt muffins and snuggled. A rather perfect weekend if I do say so myself.

I hope your weekend was full of wondrous moments too.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mummy loves you: Elle and Meg's Memorial Post.....

Four years today.
I never pre-plan my memorial posts each year. I just let them free form. Four years, wow. Four of what has seemed to be some of the longest years and the shortest years at some points along this journey.

I had a session with my psych recently and she wanted me to consider and plan for today to be more than a day that sticks me with heavy emotion of all that has happened. I understood her, and I heard her when she said it. I agree with her......well mostly. I'm such an advocate for therapy, I believe in it, I need it, it's been my saving grace. I'm a willing participant in my healing, and generally speaking if I'm given a task or strategy I like to fulfil it and see where it leads me in my healing......for better or worse, I believe it's necessary.
It's because of you girls I have these blessing in your brother and sister
But I do find myself these days looking for answers to evolve organically to what I should be doing or feeling. I've known since my session I should logically be planning today. But I didn't know how or if I wanted to. You see for me today is a sacred day, it's a day of sadness and remembrance but it's a reminder of celebrations of joys, journeys and possibilities. It's a day of all possible extremes of emotions of which all or none can, would or will happen.

All I know in this moment is I am your mummy Elle and Meg I will miss you and I will think of you until my dying day, when we reunite. I feel your love, laughter and cheekiness in every day through your brother. I know he is a precious gift you guided to us. I see the purity of your hearts and love in the desires and needs of closeness in your baby sister. Most of all in each and every day I see you and I feel you, both of you.

Forever in my heart, my sweet angel babes, mummy loves you.
X

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Loving the Library: Pirates Don't Babysit....

This week I'm back on deck with a review of a family favourite the kids enjoy and so do we when reading it. As I've said throughout the series before, if you can stumble upon books for the whole family to enjoy, they are then definite books worth considering adding to your at home library. This weeks book is a story we borrowed from the library a while back and enjoyed so much it's now in our home library.

{pic source}
Author: Melinda Long
Illustrator: David Shannon
Publisher: Koala Booka

A hilarious story about a pirate crew that arrives at the doorstep of Jeremy Jacob's house. The boisterous crew wakes Jeremy's baby sister and they discover that looking after a baby is no easy task.

What's great about this book:
Simply the greatest thing about the book is the pirate talk, language and terms used. It gives the life and laughter to this story and allows the adult or parent reading the story to tell the story with gusto.

Verdict:
The suggested age group for this book is 4 - 7 years old. But once again at the age of 3 years Cohen loved this book and easily followed the storyline. I think there is a lot to be said for stories that can capture a child's attention with hilarious antics and laughs. If a writer can do that, you're onto a winner, in books anyway.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Letting go and taking risks.....

I'm not just talking about myself in the title, I'm talking about the kids too. There are so many terms or stereotypes around these days, for mums or parents who hover over their child's every movement accessing risk of injury or hurt. Although I'm what I'd say is fairly relaxed about kids will be kids play, I do get caught up in accessing every risk big or small from time to time. I know my concerns are mainly due to Sarah being the baby (although she's now 15 months) getting injured in play with Cohen. Smiles and laughter can turn a fun time into tears quickly with an exuberant three year old running about.

But there comes a time when you just have to sit back and take the risk that all thoughts and concerns of big or small injuries or hurt may not happen, or at least not today. Sometimes you've got to sit back and allow your child space to take risks. It's an integral part of building their confidence in accessing risks themselves, and yes I do mean that even for a 15 month old. My job is to minimise risks and but not stifle their enthusiasm.

The kids were recently playing on the fort and it was getting a little crazy, with Cohen leaping and bounding everywhere. I didn't want to call it quits on their play because of my fears, knowing Sarah was going to follow suit shortly. So I added to their play rather than take away or restrict play with further rules.

So I dragged the blanket and cushions from the outdoor cubby to the end of the slide. Of course not long after taking these pics Sarah followed suit by trying to run down and leap off the slide like Cohen. But to a lesser degree because of her size and ability of course. But thankfully what would of ended in tears on the bare grass, ended up in squeals of delight.

I realise some may read this and look at my pictures, and think I should remove all risk of injury. I don't want to see my kids hurt, are they going to hurt themselves? Maybe one day, maybe today, maybe another day, who knows. But I'm right there, if things do go wrong. Risks do have to be taken, cotton wool and bubbles aren't going to build confidences. I think sometimes as parents we do build rods for our backs with all this assessments of risk and removing it. Children can end with environments that don't test their abilities or stimulate them and then they are at your side whining because they are bored. Sometimes I think we just need to take the risk, sit back, trust our children's inner dialogue.......they will attempt feats if they feel confident to do so, just be there with watchful eyes, open arms and band aids if need be.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Little weekend and little people updates.....

Well Friday night was the night of entering into no nappy at night land for Cohen and Sarah's move to her own room.

How did we all go?
Cohen has had dry nights. He is pleased with himself and so are we.
Sarah has slept the majority of the nights in her cot and room, with two hour stints in the wee dusk hours each night, in our bed until I take her back to her cot. The move so far has gone better than we had expected it to. It's early days, but we are hopeful and happy.
How did I go?
Surprisingly well. Had Sarah moved to her room any time before now I don't think she nor I would have been ready. I'm certain I would have many more nights wakeful, compelled to check on her. It's been good timing we've all been ready for it. Sarah is still welcomed to our bed in the early hours, so it's not a end to co-sleeping altogether.
But a new era is slowly being herald.

Friday, May 18, 2012

An evening of big changes and firsts ahead......

Tonight will hopefully mark some bittersweet milestones in our house. Cohen will venture into the no nappy at night territory. He has been sleeping with no nappy at nap times for ages and he has been keeping his night nappy dry for ages, so it's time. The difficult thing is Cohen doesn't like changes to himself or his environment and it takes a build up of conversations and negotiations to have him realise everything will be ok. So we've struck a deal and hopefully tonight we pull it off.

The other milestone we face tonight is the transition for Sarah to her own room. As many of you know we have and still do co-sleep to a certain degree, we've bed-shared with her cot side car to our bed. But for some time now her cot has been on another wall of our room. Her sleep is on the improve and we've found a very gentle settling technique that works for her. She's on the cusp of change herself, but we go into it cautiously. She will likely still be bed sharing with us in the early hours of the morning, but that's ok with us.
Sneaky Peak of Sarah's room
As much as Ben and I follow many attachment parenting ways, we moderate it to work for us, all of us. We believe in our family not only do the kids need to be happy but so do we. So tonight is a big day in this house, I don't know if I will sleep all that well tonight with an ear open to attend to any disturbances......if there are any. But one thing I'm sure I will feel is those little twinges of sadness that one phase is over and new one begins.
My babies are growing up *sigh*.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day moments......

A simple but lovely day, with the people that matter most.
We visited the Mount Tambourine markets.
We wondered, we browsed.

We ate. Oh boy did we eat.
Homemade coconut ice.
Homemade russian toffee.
The worlds best popcorn.......seriously the best.
German sausages.
Cohen enjoyed feeding farm animals and playing on the jumping castle.
Patting horses and a donkey.

Taking in the colours.
Having moments.
Love.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The thing that makes me feel nuts....

As many of you will have picked up on in the past and recently with the odd mention of it here, I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Then there is always the off hand comment about some OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) issues. I have never really elaborated here what my OCD issues really are. Why? Because more than anything else in my life when I talk about this issue it really does make feel NUTS, I mean really, really NUTS.

You see my OCD problems aren't what most people assume they are like having the overwhelming urge to have things clean and in order. Nah that's not me. My OCD issues are based in having ritualistic type thoughts that if I don't fulfill x, y,z message/action that my brain is telling me to do the result will be that bad things will happen.....to put in very basic terms for you.

I'm going to back track a little to explain how I discovered and was later diagnosed with this problem. Coming up four years ago now after I lost Elle and Meg, I read and article in a magazine about OCD I was sitting at my then work lunch table. It followed three different peoples stories with the disorder. One women's story talked about how she would have ritualistic thoughts like if she drove past a funeral home it meant that someone she cared about would die. She would then need to fulfil a counter thought/ritual to prevent that belief from coming true......again to put it basic terms for you.

I read the article and felt sick to my stomach because this story felt like me, it felt like I had been given an answer for something I had crazy thoughts about all my life even as a kid. I copied the article and hid it away for weeks trying to build up the courage to talk to Ben about it and hope that he wouldn't think I was a complete LOON in the process. I needn't of worried about Ben but he was insistent that I talk further with our grief counsellor at the time about the article and my behaviours, which at that point time only served as a temporary measure for this thought process and behaviours when they happened.

So fast forward through, Cohen's birth, two further miscarriages and Sarah's pregnancy, I had a sever spike in ritualistic thoughts and behaviours. For example my brain would tell me I couldn't wear red because it was the colour of blood and if I wore it whilst pregnant it would signify and mean something bad would happen to me but more so and primarily my baby. So not to tempt fate (that's my thought process) I would give in to these thoughts which sometimes resulted in me purging my wardrobe of anything red. Crazy, I know (I like red)! It's my crazy, my minds way of coping during peaks and spikes in emotionally difficult or turbulent times. But that's just a small, small example of the messages my brain sends me at these times, it has been much, much worse in the past.

Since my PTSD diagnoses and me coming clean with my regular psych about two years ago about these OCD thoughts. It's been a lot better managed, I can identify a spike in these stresses, I'm ahead of it rather already in the mix of these thoughts (well most of the time). However as I've recently mentioned some recent stresses and triggers have got ahead if me and I've lost my grip a bit in being ahead of this talk in my head. It gets louder with more stress and lack of sleep. I'm only starting to understand my OCD more now and where emotions for these behaviours stem from or are rooted in. After a recent session with my psych I have the logical and aware understanding that I give into these thoughts when my emotional stamina is low. So I need to work on keeping that in check. I also understand in an aware mind, that my thoughts are nearly always about the end result being something happening to my kids. The stem and trigger of that is clearly the traumatic events surrounding the loss of Elle and Meg.

There you go my confessional about something I really HATE talking about even to my psych. Why I have I decided now to share more of this with you all? Well I know there are readers here who have their own battles with the disorder or other mental health issues. I hope to offer strength and encouragement in sharing this with those readers and others in time who will come to visit us and join us. Although I may have my struggles one thing I know for sure through my ups, downs, dark days and bright days........things can and will always get better by sharing and accessing appropriate support. So please if you find yourself trapped and in darkness, get help, find your light and your bliss. Life is too short to live trapped by these and similar disorders.

See there you go, I hard post to share. I shall slink off now and probably feel totally cuckoo and nuts that I've put this out there now. Either way much love to all those that read. Thank you.
X

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A mummy slump...

I've been a little quiet this past week. The truth behind that is that I'm having a bit of a mummy slump at the moment. A few things have been building up and wearing me down, and I just knew that I needed to take action. On the weekend I had my first session with my psych since before Christmas. In all honesty when I wrote my update post, I was truly feeling that positive and had been for some time about my life at the moment. I still am in many, many respects. But what has got me in a slump is the tricky little "trigger demons" for my PTSD, they attack and assault you when you least expect it and I have been caught off guard and bombarded. Couple that with some VERY challenging parenting days, lack of sleep (Sarah's having a tough time of things again), sick kids, sick husband, family woes and my plate is overflowing like an all you can eat buffet plate.

So along with a psych session I've just stepped back a bit to claim some me time (as there is minimal at present) and instead of blogging in the moments during the day when I have peace like when I'm breastfeeding in the evening or morning, I've been opting for some mind numbing escapism. I've been watching episodes of favourite TV shows on my iPad, eating chocolate, painting my nails and the likes until my time is interrupted by the demands of an ailing family at the moment. Goodness knows why I don't get sick when they do, but at the moment I'm finding it a struggle with the spike in PTSD (and OCD but that's another post), that some self preservation has come into play right now to clear the plate and to allow me to feel my drive again.

I don't expect to feel this way long, I know me I'll probably start bouncing back since I've purged this out to you all, but I'm being kind to myself so if there is a few less posts a week than usual at the moment, you my loyal readers know why.

Tell me what you do though when you're caught in a slump, what do you do to escape?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Loving the Library: Let's Play.....

I'm excited about this weeks Loving the Library post because I'm sharing a book that Sarah is enjoying. It's rather exciting that it's only been in the last few weeks that she has developed an active interest in books. What I mean is that she is now selecting a book and bringing to me or her daddy and climbing onto our lap to indicate for us to read it.

So this week it's a simple, but sweet book.

{Pic Source}
Let's Play
Author and Illustrator: Deborah Niland
Publisher: Penguin Australia

Essentially a picture book about three animal friends and the fun they have at the park together. Introduces young readers to animals, colour and sharing.

What's great about this book:
The bright simple colours and characters are eye catching to a young reader like Sarah at 14 months. The sound words incorporated in the illustrations, introduced Sarah to new sounds that she tried to mimic the sound of.

Verdict:
A great choice of book for a short story time with very young readers. If it can hold the interest of a 14 month old I'm giving a total thumbs up.
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