Leibster Award

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A big thank you to Bel over at Life @ No. 2 for my nomination for a Liebster Award. ‘What is a Liebster Award?’ I hear you ask. Well it’s simple. It’s an award for the little guys in the blogging pool. Those that have under 200 followers on their blog or likers on their Facebook page. It’s a way to reward and support those who are starting out. It has a quirky connection to the number 11 whereby you have to answer 11 questions from your nomination, tell 11 facts about yourself, select 11 blogs to nominate, and ask those bloggers 11 questions. Still a little hazy on the details, or I’ve nominated you below and you want to know what you have to do, go to this blog by Runnin Off At The Mouth for a more detailed overview.

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My questions from the talented Bel:

1. What is on your bedside table? A picture says a thousand words.

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2. What are you reading at the moment? The memory keepers daughter by Kim Edwards, Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall (the stuff on introducing solids) and next in line The Complete Works of Jane Austen. That is of course when I have time to read which is, uh, never.

3. What is your first childhood memory? I’m not exactly sure how old I am but considering its at our first house I would be 3 or under. I am standing in the corner of the fence, leaning over and dangling my mum’s life sized pink panther over the fence, snatching it away when the dog behind us tries to grab it. Not sure how it ended but remember pink panther being around for many more years so can’t have been too bad.

4. Where is your favourite place to escape to?. The country. Doesn’t matter where. I just need tress, green grass, meadows, horses, cows, fresh air, rolling hills. Peace. We will one day get our country property and I know that’s when I will truly feel home.

5. Chocolate pudding or sticky date?. Chocolate, no contest. It’s not desert unless chocolate is involved!!

6. If you had to chose your favourite meal, what would it be and who would cook it?. Oh so hard, so very very hard. Um my hubby’s lasagne, cooked by him of course. It’s delicious and it also means I didn’t have to cook. Although pretty much anything I don’t have to cook tastes amazing lol

7. It’s Friday night what are you doing?. Waiting for the kids to all be asleep so I can go to bed too. So sad I know.

8. Did you attend University? Yep. Went to Melbourne Uni and got my Bachelor of Education (Primary). Also currently on intermission but studying a postgraduate degree at Monash Uni in Psychology. One subject to go and I have another qualification.

9. Do you believe in woo woo? (Spirits, Crystals, Tarot, etc). Very much so. I have had many things predicted accurately by two different psychics (both work at the same place in Bacchus Marsh funnily enough). Things like my Dad’s stroke, having twins (including the female being eldest even though doctors continually said Declan would be born first due to his position), and my Poppy’s health problems.

10. What is your staple piece of clothing? PJ’s bahahaha. Um in all seriousness a pair of dark jeans or a plain long sleeved top. Can wear anything with them, dress them up or down with accessories.

11. Do you believe in karma?YES. I try to treat others the way I would want to be treated and instead of trying to get ‘revenge’ on someone believe karma will come back to nite them on the ass one day. I also try to help anyone and everyone I can.

11 Random Facts About Myself:

1. I have a very varied taste in music. I don’t like just one style and you can find on my play list on any given day rap, rock, pop, classical, instrumental and r’n’b. And that’s just today.

2. If I could be any character from a book it would definitely be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I really admire her strength, spirit and courage. Plus I am in love with Mr Darcy!

3. I feel awkward in most social circumstances and constantly worry what other people think about me.

4. I have a lot of acquaintances but only a few real friends. These people I would do anything for because I know they feel the same about me. These are the people who know the real me and accept me.

5. I know I am annoying. I talk too much and can be loud. These are actually bad traits formed to cover up the fact of how nervous and uncertain I feel around people.

6. I love reading and would rather do this than watch TV or anything else. I can tune out pretty much anything when I read and become one with the story.

7. I once met Robert Jordan (my favourite author) and it was one of the most amazing experiences ever.

8. I am not a big fan of fruit. I eat apples, pears, watermelon, bananas, and cantaloupe. That’s about it.

9. I HATE cooking. With a passion. My version of cooking involves a lot of packets and jars. Quick and easy. Any recipe that has more than 5 steps or even sounds complicated I don’t even try. I will wash 1000 dishes to get out of cooking.

10. I am a perfectionist. People who know what my home and work spaces look like don’t believe this but it’s true. I am so focused on having things perfect there are times I don’t even start. (E.g. Clothes are hung by type – shirts, sub-type – sleeve length, then colour). It’s exhausting and I am trying hard to over come this. My mantra ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be done’.

11. I knew my hubby over 5 years before we started dating and he dated a couple of my friends beforehand (years before we got together though). AND the first night we finally got together we were at The Peel in Richmond for a friends birthday.

The blogs I am nominating for this award (some of whom I know have been nominated previously but trying to get as close to my 11 as possible):

Saradipity -Sarah is new to the blogging world, has a little boy and many stories to tell. She is also the sister of one of my closest friends.

Wild Child On Board – Kathryn and I met years ago when I was working with her best friend at KMart. She is also my very talented hairdresser (ie first person other than my sister to do my hair and have me love it). She has a beautiful daughter and a little boy on the way.

No Frills Mum – Dre and I used to teach together and she has written blogs for very reasons. This is the blog where she shares her motherhood journey and life.

Positivelysarcastic – The title of this blog had me intrigued from the start. I am a very sarcastic person, I think it’s a great medium for humour. She is also a mum of twins, although older than mine, and has twin skin that she likes to call Tonya.

Renovation: Rosedale – After watching Renovation Rescue and The Block my love of renovating resurfaced (it disappeared while doing it myself lol) and so I trawled bloglovin’ for some blogs to inspire me for one day down the track. Ellie and her husband have just bought a house in Austin, Texas. I loved her design inspiration, it’s exactly what I would do if I was fully renovating a house.

Bear Creek Honey – Elizabeth is also a mummy to boy / girl twins and they are only 7 months old. I love read her blog to get an idea of what’s coming up next for me. She is also a big one for musings and talking about life.

Michimama – A new blogger and mum to a young child. She has a great philosophy on life and shares some great parenting related links.

Ladies your 11 questions are:

1. Where is your ultimate holiday destination?

2. If you could have one wish come true what would it be?

3. What are you scared of?

4. Toilet paper roll – over or under?

5. Where did you meet your partner and how old were you when you first started dating?

6. What is your favourite kids show?

7. Who is your hero and why?

8. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

9. Look left, what do you see?

10. Do you have a five or ten year plan?

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

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The Positivity Files Are Dead

20130813-125156.jpgArtwork By Niamh

I’ve been thinking for a while about my 50th post and what it should be about. It just seems like such a milestone and something to be proud of. And I am proud, so very proud of myself, for getting to the big 5-0. So I decided that this post should be about me. Not me the mother, me the wife, me the teacher, me the whatever else. Just me, stripped bear, the real me.

I came to this decision after having a revelation. A revelation about The Positivity Files. I was finding them so hard to write, to keep track of things, to make time for writing them. It’s not that I don’t feel positive or have really great things happen, big and small, every day, because I do. So why was I having so much trouble? Why couldn’t I write these posts? Why was I avoiding them?

It took a while but I think I have figured it out. It’s a little complicated cause that’s how I roll. At the start of the year in this post here I set myself a word for the year, instead of a New Years Resolution. That word was positivity. I chose that word because I felt like I was being very negative at the time. However on looking back I am unsure if it was me thinking I was too negative or if it was people around me telling me I was being too negative. And that’s where my problem begins.

I think it’s ok to share negative thoughts and experiences. I think it’s ok to recognise negative things are happening and express that. I think it’s ok to feel negative when things aren’t going your way. It’s not that I don’t recognise or enjoy the positive things, I do, but I also know that there are crap things that happen. I truly believe that to enjoy and experience the positive you have to allow yourself to experience the negative. Without sadness there is no happiness.

Then there is the fact that since setting myself that word I truly believe the universe has been testing me. Trying to see how committed I am to this word. There are some things that have happened this year that have been truly shit. At one stage I felt like a whole heap of shit was being shovelled on top of me and burying me underneath it. I also felt like I wasn’t allowed to say this because, after all, I’m too negative. That was a bad decision and actually lead me to experiencing more negativity, in the form of guilt and pain. Not only was I going through a crap time I was making myself wrong for feeling like it was crap. Dear Universe, my commitment is wafer thin, perhaps non-existent. Thank you for showing me this.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some people out there who can turn every negative into a positive, who can see the bright side of things, and who truly believe just by thinking positive things will be so. I am envious of them but I have also realised that is not me. By trying to force myself into being someone I am not, by making myself wrong whenever I did feel or think negatively, I was making myself feel worse.

So the dilemma. I could continue the positivity files and create another set of negativity files, but that didn’t feel right either. I could just keep trying with the positivity files but in all honesty I think they are boring and too airy fairy for me. It isn’t something I would personally chose to read so why would I continue writing them? I don’t want to seek out the positive or negative, I just want to experience life, in all it’s forms and with whatever it sends my way. I don’t want to feel wrong for experiencing it my way, or for sharing how I feel.

I have made a promise to myself. I am just going to be me. If I am unhappy with something about myself I will ask myself why. Is it because I feel that way, I think I should feel that way, or others are making me feel that way? Only the first answer is good enough for me to make changes. Otherwise those changes are just going to make me feel worse. I am me and I like who I am. I don’t want to be what everyone else (or anyone else) wants me to be. Well enough so that I am going to work on making sure I am acting and being a way that is what I think is right, that feels right for me.

Have you had any big revelations lately? Do you act in certain ways because you feel it is expected of you but not who you are? Have you overcome this? If yes please share how 🙂

Nesting All Wrong

In the last couple of weeks I have noticed that I am doing what can only be described as nesting. Now I know this sounds very weird, I mean I’m not pregnant and haven’t been for a good 4 months, but I have a theory on this (I always have a theory right or wrong lol).

See when I was pregnant, right about that time when nesting kicks in, I was pretty much incapacitated. I was on crutches, walking was excruciating, hell sitting, standing and lying down hurt too. To get for the couch to the toilet and back was an excursion in bravery and pain management. So I guess my brain decided to be helpful and forgo the whole nesting thing. Pretty nice of it if you ask me.

However my brain must have also decided that nesting was vitally important, albeit not a critical part of this whole growing a baby thing, and so it sat back and waited. It waited for me to recover from my Caesar. It waited for me to get the hang of caring for two newborn babies and a 4 year old. It waited until I started to get myself more organised. It waited for the housework to start being done on a more regular basis. And then it sprung. Hello unstoppable desire to clean, organise, sell off unwanted or unused items, and a never ending shopping spree to spruce up the place.

So far I haven been behaving myself and have bought most of the items second hand or been gifted them by friends (even when trying to force money on them like some kind of crazed ATM). I have sold off the buffet, coffee table that was a TV stand, bar stools and many other items. In their place I have a proper lowline TV unit, a play centre for Niamh with her table and chairs and a new book display unit for the colouring books, reorganised toys and draws, bought an activity table for the twins, and bought a book display for Niamh’s bedroom. Oh and the item that started it all, a new rug so the twins would have warm backs when playing on the floor. This very cheap rug. I love deals direct!!

But the piece-de-resistance has to be my new table that is on order. This beautiful table that I have been lusting after for such a long time. I have wanted a table that looked somewhat like this since hubby and I first moved in together 8 odd years ago! It is just divine, with chocolate chairs and metal inlay details. The big bonus, we managed to get it on sale. I can’t wait for it to come home and live with us. A close second is a gorgeous second-hand executive desk I got for a steal over on gumtree AND it doesn’t have a gross green leather inlay. I hate green. Of course there is no longer a computer to live on this desk, but I’m hoping our tax returns will help provide a new Mac to take care of that problem.

I’m so happy and filled with euphoria over my nesting blitz that I thought I would share some images of my new look living spaces and items.

20130811-225516.jpgMy beautiful desk, at least 15 years in the desiring.

20130815-144525.jpgThe rug, TV unit, and toys organised. There are 5 tubs of baby toys to be rotated, PS3 games in alphabetical order, Wii games in alphabetical order, Wii miscellaneous stuff, an educational games tub, play dough, spare colouring books and paper, and colouring / craft. There is a box of craft odds and ends and the red tub has a baby train set.

20130815-144835.jpgNiamh’s baby swing out of storage and cleaned up. This one is for playing, the other two for sleeping

20130815-144917.jpgNiamh’s craft area. She has a whole room for her toys,etc but this is for the messy stuff I want to watch her do (to stop ruined carpet and/or walls syndrome!)

20130815-145032.jpgThe new book display. This way favourite books can be kept in Niamh’s room instead of spread from the toy room up the hall

20130815-145125.jpgBarbies live here. A. Drawer for dolls, one for clothes, one for the car and other accessories

20130815-145212.jpgHad this for a while but now organised the movies. High 5, princesses / barbies / Disney females, Disney, wiggles and TV shows, kids movies, older kids movies

Now I know I could have “styled” my house and photos but that wasn’t the point. I am never going to win any prizes for a neat and tidy house, or be featured in Home Decor or any other home magazines. I just wanted to show off what I’ve been busy doing. These photos are the real me, tidy chaos and all lol

Have you undertaken any projects you are proud of lately?

Giving Back

I have decided to start a new series on this blog. This series will be of no gain to myself and will not be sponsored. It’s all about me supporting others. I really liked the book Pay It Forward (never seen the movie but want to) and this is my way of following the concept. I love the idea of doing something to help someone for no other reason than I can.

This series will feature blog posts about small businesses, predominantly mumpreneurs (although no sexism here dadpreneurs welcome too) and small business owners who I believe offer high-quality goods and services. I am thinking it will run as an interview with a little bio and links to the businesses. I will also include photos, info and a review of whatever good/s and/or services I accessed.

I am not planning on this being a regular occurrence, like a monthly blog, but will just write a post when I feel I have something to share. I will not be asking (or accepting) ANYTHING from these businesses. However they will be businesses I have used myself previously. I will also not feature businesses that I have not used myself or that I am not 100% happy with. It’s just my way of sharing things that I have sourced for myself that I loved. If I love them maybe you would too, or that’s what my thinking is. Basically, just like in the real world, where I would tell my friends about great services and goods I had received, it’s me telling my online friends the same thing.

I already have a couple of businesses lined up or in mind. In the interests of being open and honest some are friends. Again, I would not recommend just because of this, I’m not into nepotism. Some are also complete strangers. Actually the first two I have in mind are people I do not personally know but were recommended to me through word of mouth.

I’m not exactly sure what to call this series, so any ideas are welcome. Maybe even just Paying It Forward – business name??

If you have a business, or would like to recommend a business you love, that could be included in this series, you can email me their details at: thebusymumma@gmail.com

The FlyLady Is Revolutionising My Life

Ok so I have been promising this post for a while and I have been trying to write it but didn’t know where to start. After having the twins life was chaos for months. The house looked like a bomb had hit it and I had no time or energy to change it. I was unhappy because I was surrounded by mess and clutter, the floors were dirty and clothes were not being washed regularly enough. That was the worst part. Waking up and realising you actually had NOTHING to wear. And not in the teenage way, or the fat and ugly day way. There was literally no clean clothes (that fit post pregnancy) to cover my nakedness. And it wasn’t just my clothes, it was also a Hubby and Niamh. The only ones who always had clean clothes were the twins and that seemed like a daily occurrence what with all the changes of Declan’s vomitty clothes and bedding.

Then one morning I got a chance to eat breakfast on my own (a miracle really). Niamh was at kinder and both twins were asleep. So as I sat and munched some crumpets oozing with honey and had my first cup of tea in forever, I opened up bloglovin’ and started catching up on my reading. It was during this quiet morning moment that I read something that changed my life. It was a small mention, not even the main idea of the blog post, but there was a reference to someone called The Flylady. A reference that was so obscure and hidden that even after days of searching all the blogs I read I can’t find the bloody blog it was so I can give credit. Sorry if I find it I will edit and add it in, I hate not giving credit where credit is due.

This mention of The Flylady was in conjunction with an idea of cleanliness, or was it organisation? I can’t remember. I just remember thinking ‘I wonder what that’s all about’ and clicking on the link. Best decision I have ever made after reading a blog (was going to say I ever made but then what does that say about getting married and having kids lol?). Here was this whole revolution that I had never heard of, never been included in, and I was miffed. I thought everyone knew about this miraculous Flylady and her routines and organisation ideas. Turns out I was wrong so here I am sharing it with you.

Basically The Flylady is a website that helps you get organised and clean one day at a time. They are a set of basic daily routines (usually carried out morning and night) to help keep your house “company ready” (you can tell its American just from that quote lol) and its damn easy to do. There is a section on the website called Getting Started and that’s where I headed. 31 days of things to do to, you guessed it, to get started on changing your messy habits.

Well it’s been about a month for me and I’m taking it slowly, making sure I am actually doing the previous steps before moving on to the next, to make sure these habits stay. Currently I am on day 10 but I have also cheated and read through some other sections and have added things that aren’t yet mentioned in the daily steps. I’m doing what works for me and that’s fine.

The biggest things that have changed in my house:
* People are now actually allowed to use my toilet and I don’t feel like dying of shame and embarrassment
* The doors to the bedrooms are left open because its not shaming what others would see
* My kitchen is clean and I can actually cook in there
* There are dishes to put said cooking on
* There are clothes to be worn so I no longer need to consider becoming a nudist
* The clothes are actually where they belong, in drawers and wardrobes, and not piled in the study or hiding clean and rumpled in baskets
* I feel good about my surroundings and also myself
* I don’t have panic attacks if someone ‘just drops around’
* I don’t need to rush to the supermarket with all 3 kids in tow so we can have dinner (maybe that was the worst part)
* My sink is so shiny and clean!

All from following some very quick and easy routines and advice, by getting myself a little more organised, and through thinking ahead. I won’t go into huge detail, that’s what all those links above are for, to encourage you to go check it out for yourself, but I will share the 3 big things I have taken from it so far.

1. You can do anything for 2 minutes, or 5, and you DO have those 2-5 minutes even if you think you don’t. (Internal dialogue that helps, in a snarky voice “seriously you don’t have time to just … SERIOUSLY????)

2. It doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be done (another internal dialogue and a paraphrasing of a motto from The Flylady, this is actually my biggest helper).

3. Ten minutes of organising myself, thinking ahead,and writing a couple of quick lists, saves me hours of work and trouble.

So go and check out The Flylady, give it a go, then please come back and let me know what you think. For me it’s been life changing and such a positive thing in my life, especially mentally.

Oh and a little tip, unless you like trawling through 30 odd emails a day, most of those testimonials that end up trying to sell you something from the Flylady store, don’t sign up for the emails. You can just as easily go onto the website each day and check The Launch Pad for your reminders and help.

Are there any life changing things you have experienced or stumbled across that you would like to share / recommend to others? And by others I mean me. And by share I mean tell me now and stop being such a life changing hog. Ahem, please 🙂

Living With Pain

Ok so first of all I know I promised today would be the fly lady post and how much she has changed my life (which she has) and I will get to that. But today I woke up and this is the post I need to write today, the most pressing thoughts I am having and the biggest need for me.

There are many different types of pain and it seems that lately I am facing all kinds of pain at the same time. I have had experiences lately that I can only call soul-crushing and emotionally devastating. I have had big choices to make and the pain that goes with those decisions. This pain is something that is personal and something that only I can deal with.

However this is not the type of pain I want to talk about today. For anyone who doesn’t know I have Osteo-arthritis and over the years this has spread from my hips, to my lower back and my knees. It is hard for me to explain to you the type and intensity of pain I experience on a daily basis. It is hard for me to explain what living with chronic pain is like. But I will try.

If you were to ask me what “level” of pain I am experiencing on a daily basis it would be hard to answer. My pain scale is different to someone who does not have arthritis and is different to someone who has rheumatoid arthritis (much worse than mine). Why? Because I am never pain free so to me a level of 3 is normal, a really good day, like nothing is wrong. So I guess you could say my 3 is a pain-free person’s 0. So when you ask me what my level is I will answer based on my own pain scale, not on yours. Today for instance. Today I am at a 7. A 7 for me is bordering on unbearable even with painkillers. If I get to 8 I am unable to function properly and strongly consider asking a doctor for something more. But today’s 7, my 7, is probably closer to someone’s 10. Well as best as I can remember if I felt this way pre-arthritis I would be rolling on the floor in agony. Of course some people may be able to cope with more pain, it is subjective I know, this is just my experience of pain.

When people ask me how I am doing I lie. Well maybe not lie, I just don’t tell them how I really feel. Why? Because after a while, for other people, it gets old. You don’t want me constantly telling you I am in pain. You don’t want to hear how moving hurts and doing just the day-to-day necessary tasks can be close to impossible. You don’t want to hear how getting out of bed can make me want to cry and every step I take is an effort that involves stabbing pain. It’s not that you are a bad friend or unsympathetic, you just don’t get it. I understand. If you were constantly going on about something I would feel the same way. It’s human nature. And so I don’t share what my day-to-day life is like. Because I don’t want to be a whinger, a whiner, a person who has no friends because they are sick of hearing me complain. It’s not a commentary on my friends, they are wonderful people, just a true assessment of how I feel. And anyway, what will that complaining achieve. Nothing. Nada. A big fat zero. Nothing will take the arthritis away. It is here and it is here to stay.

Some days getting out of bed feels like trying to climb Everest. The effort I expend having a shower and getting dressed is exhausting. There are days I have to ask Niamh to put my socks on for me, or help me hook my undies and pants over my feet, because I just can’t do it. There is nothing as shaming and embarrassing as that. It’s not just the pain. Being in that kind of pain is exhausting all on its own without putting in all of that living and caring for others. Some days my joints burn, from the inside, and that’s when I know I’m in trouble. That’s when I know my joints are at their limit and I need to take it easy (as much as possible anyway as babies don’t understand mummy is supposed to be resting). I refuse to let my pain impact on my children. My taking care of myself can not be to the detriment of their health, safety or needs.

What is the worst thing though? It’s actually not the pain (even though it can be debilitating), it’s not the arthritis (although that does suck big time), its not the frustration of not being able to explain how I feel. The worst thing is some of the comments I get. Here’s just a small example of some of the thoughtless things I have heard:

Just take the pain killers / anti inflammatories / something stronger (and I believe the rest being thought is – and just shut up). The short answer, I can’t. I have 3 kids to look after and anything stronger than Panadol really affects me. Who is going to look after my children if I knock myself out, or impair my judgement and ability to focus?

You’ll just have to deal with it and get over it. . This direct quote was actually from a doctor when I was first diagnosed. My sister has sero-negative arthritis with rheumatoid factors and I was experiencing more pain than her. I knew there was something else wrong. After seeing another doctor and getting surgery on the hip I now know a bone spur and torn tendon were to blame.

Maybe if you lost weight it wouldn’t hurt so much. . Yep you are so right, so very right. And yes I don’t always eat the best foods for me but its not a constant junk fest. I’d just like someone to tell me HOW instead of WHAT. It is hard to lose weight when you can’t even walk on a regular basis. This comment hurts not because it is saying you are fat, it’s because it’s saying I choose not to do anything, as opposed to seeing I do what I can, as much as I can, when I can.

You just have a small pain tolerance (then there is usually a comment about how much more pain that person can deal with). You know what. This pisses me off more than anything else. This comment is really saying “You are a wuss and a whinger. It’s only a problem for you. If I was in your shoes I would be fine. It’s not that bad.” Let’s make it perfectly clear. I am not a wuss, I am not a sook, and this fucking hurts. If I am telling you about it it’s actually hurting me more than you could imagine. And just to showcase how tough I am, after both Caesars I was up and walking the next day, three days later you wouldn’t even I know I had just had major surgery. After my knee arthroscope and hip operation I recovered faster than thought, and was doing more than expected a whole lot quicker. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not me!

It’s amazing how unsupportive people can be when you don’t LOOK sick. It’s amazing how unsympathetic people can be towards people who have chronic pain. It’s amazing how little empathy people can have to someone experiencing chronic pain. This is what makes me angry. My arthritis is not going to go away, it’s not going to get better, there is no cure. For me the best I can do is take it as easy as possible on the bad days, and make the most of the good ones.

Now I know this post is sounding very negative, and yes I do tend to have negative thoughts. There are times I have cried and railed about how unfair it all is. How angry I get about the fact that in my early 30’s I have to be careful like someone in their 70’s, 80’s or beyond. But that’s not how I choose to look at my life most days. Most days I am thankful this is all I have to cope with. My arthritis won’t kill me, it doesn’t require constant surgery, I can choose not to take my medications and I will be ok. I am aware that there are other people right now dealing with much worse. People fighting cancer and other life threatening illnesses, people who have lost limbs or been severely injured in accidents. Although I can not bring myself to be thankful I have arthritis I am thankful that is all I have. My arthritis has shown me how strong I am, how I can do things even when I think I can’t, that I can overcome something and do so without making a huge fuss over it or need praise for doing it.

The reason I wrote this post today was to bring some understanding to those who are lucky enough not to live with chronic pain or an “invisible illness”. When you look at someone you may not know what they are going through even if its debilitating. There are many of these invisible illnesses that impact on the sufferer’s day to day life without you even being aware of it. Lupus, arthritis, chrohn’s, food intolerances, diabetes, chronic fatigue, and many more. There are people out there suffering and you don’t know because they choose to just get on with life the best they can. So when someone does share with you how they feel, how much pain they are in, how unfair it is, just listen. Listen with empathy. Give sympathy. Don’t point out how lucky they are it’s all they have, or that there are other people worse off. If someone is talking to you about this what they are really saying is I just need someone to be there and understand.

Today I called Hubby at work and he knew it was a bad day from the strain in my voice, the tiredness and resignation. He also knew I just needed to cry and be told to take it easy. That it was ok to put myself first where possible. He’s really good like that and I love him so much more for just knowing.

Do you suffer from an invisible illness or chronic pain? Or do you know somebody who does? Are we whingers and do we need to suck it up or has this post made it more understandable? Tell me what you think 🙂

The Positivity Files 4

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Artwork by Niamh

Sorry about the month-long wait on this one. It’s not that I didn’t have anything positive happen over the last month, I was just flat out living life with 3 beautiful terrors children. I also didn’t write down things throughout the weeks to make my life easy. This week back to jotting down positive happenings at the end of every night.

* Sleep, blessed, wonderful, amazing sleep. I didn’t realise how truly tired I was until I started getting more sleep. Harper and Declan are steaming towards a full nights sleep with the one overnight feed getting ever closer to a reasonable (for me) morning wake up.

* A change in routine. Because of the later night feeds the twins now wake up around 8, or I get them up. This means feeds are around 12, 4 and 8. This is perfect for us as Hubby, Niamh and I can eat dinner as soon as hubby gets home at 6:30 then move straight into the nighttime routine. Much better than trying to juggle dinner, hungry loud babies who need a bath / shower and a feed.

* Being able to get dinner on the table by 6:30 every night. Seriously I deserve an award for this! First of all I hate cooking, like really hate it. Secondly, the twins go through witching hour (or hours as the case may be) during this time. Getting a half decent meal on the table, that everyone will eat (fussy hubby more so than fussy Niamh) is a miracle!!!

* Our baby swings are the best thing ever. Witching hour is manageable now we have put them together and the correct batteries installed. While Declan is swung to peace, if not sleep, Harper can have a nap and I can get things (like the above mentioned dinner) done.

* Online shopping. This was a first for me. I have never, ever, ever bought clothes online. I am the sort of person who walks into a shop, tries on a million things, and then may walk out with something that looks half decent. Sometimes. This week I got brave and with the help of a measuring tape and a size guide ordered some clothes.

* Bravery. OK I know I’m blowing my own trumpet here but I feel like I was really brave and want to share. Some of the clothes I bought online were too big (another positive yay me) and I needed to return them. So when Niamh was at Kinder for her full day Friday I toddled off to the closest store and returned them. While there I partook in a little shopping, fed the twins (that was my biggest fear, how to feed them both while out) and had a spot of lunch. I felt like superwoman afterward and so, well, proud of myself.

* The resilience of children. This month we had a traumatic event occur when Niamh’s dog Paris, a tiny little teacup chihuahua, somehow got into the yard behind us and was killed by the big aggressive dogs that live there. Although all of this has been absolutely horrible, Niamh is slowly remembering the good things about Paris and forgetting the details of what happened. Resilience and a short memory span for the negatives are great things and I’m glad Niamh has both.

* Nutella pancakes. Do I need to elaborate? Did I mention they also had sliced banana. Going out for breakfast is just the best. When your bestie and her hubby comes too, divine.

* Having a girls day out. For Mothers Day hubby and my kidlets got me a reasonable chunk of voucher from my favourite fat ladies store. To spend said voucher I was also entitled to a day off. After above-mentioned heaven of a breakfast there was a massage at the local day spa and a butt load of shopping. I came away with some gorgeous clothes and a better self-esteem after finding some lovely things that made me feel great.

* Online sales, oh how I love thee. After becoming brave enough to shop online, and after I had a better idea of what size I was at my favourite stores (smaller than I thought and the guide told me yay) I had the confidence to buy some gorgeous clothes at quite reduced prices. My favourite piece by far is a tunic / dress in a rainbow print that is just divine. When I get the opportunity to wear it I promise to share.

* Doctors finally listening, or should that be doctors who know what they’re talking about. I finally saw a doctor who took my concerns seriously and she started the ball rolling with tests. After a couple of confusing face swelling incidents she sent me straight to a paediatrician. Turns out he is the best and she went above and beyond to get me in immediately. This means Declan and Harper’s cows milk allergies were diagnosed before Declan’s allergic reactions progressed to anaphylaxis. It also means we have now started down the road of dealing with the problems my poor bubbas have been having.

* Trusting myself and my parenting. There are a fee reasons why I began to doubt myself and my ability to parent Niamh for her best outcomes. The reasons are not important. What is important is that somebody close to me gave me a mental shaking and helped me get my parenting mojo back. It’s amazing how quickly things I improved between Niamh and I once I started parenting my way and from a knowledge of who she is and what she needed.

* Kinder is amazing for many reasons. The socialisation for Niamh with different children, the learning she has been so enthusiastic to partake in, the sharing of new things when she gets home, the positive experiences she is having outside of home. They are all setting her in good stead for a positive start to her primary schooling next year. And don’t judge me but sometimes that break when Niamh is at Kinder is exactly what need too.

* My mum has been dropping in at least once a week just to check in and make sure I am doing OK. It’s nice to know someone is looking out for me. Even more important is that there have been a couple of times this past month when I have had to call her for assistance and she has come straight over. Help with Niamh when Paris was killed, to look after the kids while I went to the chemist so I didn’t need to take them out in the rain, and most recently to stay with the girls so Hubby could come for a late night dash to the hospital with Declan.

* Sisterly love. I may not see my sister as much as I would like but I know she truly loves me and my children. She even likes my hubby lol. When we do get to see each other it’s so nice. The chats, the relaxing, the understanding. Now if only our kids would be nicer to each other and act like friends instead of siblings.

* My besties. I am lucky to have a couple of really close friends who support me so very much. One in particular has lately become my life saver, knowing exactly what I need and when. Sometimes I think she has ESP!! I’m brewing up a post about her that you should see in the near future.

* Actually on the topic of friends, I am lucky to have some amazing friends who understand what I am going through even if they haven’t experienced it themselves.

* Currently I am having a love affair with boots. So much so that I have gone a little crazy in my acquiring of said boots. In the space of two weeks I bought a pair of black knee highs, a pair of black rouched calf boots, and two pairs of true ankle boots (black and camel) because they were so damn comfy.

* After my shopping spree, both online and out in the real world, I have begun to feel good in the clothes I wear. This is a very new thing for me. It’s actually rare that I feel happy with what I wear or how I look. But after some thinking about what I really like, how I want to look, what makes me uncomfortable and what works on my body, I have started to build a wardrobe of things I love.

* Since changing formulas and having the twins diagnosed with cows milk allergy things are slowly improving. They are no longer congested, there have been no face seeking or throat hoarsening incidents, no more diarrhoea and nappies that no longer smell as if they are filled with road kill.

* Love and hugs from Niamh. Although we have our ups and downs there is nothing that beats the random “I love you mummy’s” and hugs and kisses that I get blessed with on a regular basis. Heart melting stuff.

* Getting brave and considering the future is something that is slowly occurring. Lately I have felt as if our family needs a big change. I’m not sure what this change will be but I am opening myself up to embracing it when it appears in our lives and not running from it in fear. Whatever it is I know something is coming and I am feeling more prepared for it each day.

* I am blessed to have a hubby who makes sure I take time out for me. A shopping trip, a couple of hours at the hairdressers, a massage, a chance to sneak out for a cuppa with a girlfriend, time to sleep. All of these things recharge my batteries and allow me to be a better version of myself.

* I think I may have mentioned this before, but I hate cooking. It’s just not something I enjoy am or very talented at. My repertoire includes things that are quick and easy to cook and prepare, which is probably a very good thing now the twins are here. So imagine my delight in myself and my cooking prowess when I created delicious pizza scrolls in the slow cooker!!

* Kids birthday parties. Seriously they are just so much fun for everyone. The kids have a ball, parenting is stress free (unless tears result, which occurs more often than you think) and the adults get a chance to catch up and gossip. Did I mention birthday cake? And even better, when you leave, lolly bags! Win win all around.

* Time alone with Niamh. We’ve had birthday parties and a visit with my bestie that included all of us having a “coffee tea”. Poor Niamh has the concept right, we just must say cuppa tea too fast for her dear little ears lol. Or perhaps it’s because you ask “do you want a coffee or tea”. Either way I love my “coffee teas” with my boofa.

* Cheeky, cheeky bubba smiles from Harper just melt my heart and make me laugh out loud no matter how inappropriate that laughter may be. She just has a way of grinning at you all open mouthed and gummy, her head turned and slightly tilted to the side, and usually gripping her hands reminiscent of Mr Burns. It’s really hard not to respond at 4am when she should be hurrying up with her bottle and going straight back to bed.

* Declan’s giggles are one of the best sounds on Earth. Even though my little man goes through so much pain on any given day, he can find something to giggle about and melt my heart. He loves his kisses and will chuckle when I bounce him and kiss his face all over. Such a beautiful little boy.

* And I left the best for last. For the last week the twins have slept through the night. As in, they have gone down between 8 and 8:30 at night, and not woken until 7am. It has been wonderful. Now if only I could sleep through the night instead of getting up to check on them, to see if their sounds are because they need me, and of course to pee. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue from now on!!

I’ve decided I would like to make an addition to my positivity files. Each week I am going to nominate something I am going to commit to doing to increase my positivity, feelings of happiness, or increase my general week being. Each week I will add to a list of things I am doing, not just to remind myself of all I accomplish but also to remember that positivity and happiness are things you work towards.

So today I begin my list I start with something simple. To increase my positivity and happiness I will:
1. Have a shower every day.

This sounds simple but its actually about making time for myself to enjoy a nice, hot, relaxing shower no matter how short the duration. A couple of minutes to myself to enjoy all that a shower has to offer.

What positive things have happened in your life lately? What do you do to increase your well being and feelings of happiness? Any suggestions of things I can eventually add to my list?

Twin Misconceptions

I am known to be a very sarcastic person with a somewhat “unusual” sense of humour. People do not always know how to take me or to be able to tell when I am joking. So for the interests of not offending anyone or being misconstrued:

This post is meant to be humorous. It may sound bitchy in parts, it may not be funny to you, you may not get it. These are actual misconceptions I have personally come across and dealt with, and are then honest internal dialogues I have with myself each and every time I come across them. It’s amazing how little people know about twins unless they are one, have a set, or have siblings who are twins.

Are they identical? . Hmm now how do I tackle this one?? I could try subtle but have found the whole one’s a boy and one’s a girl invariably leads to a repeat of the original question. The not-so-subtle sledge hammer type approach of one has a penis and one has a vagina does get some strange or shocked looks, but it does not always lead to understanding. All that’s left is a deadpan “uh no” while internally I laugh my ass off and roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of it all. The worst cuplrits of this are actually adults, kids get it pretty quickly when you explain the impossibility of having identical male / female twins!! The scariest thing is I have had medical professionals ask me this one!!!

How can you tell them apart? Yep another variation on the above! You mean beside the fact that one has a penis and the other a vagina??? Don’t even worry about me, how can YOU not. I’m making it easy on you. One is in blue, the other in pink. Simple really. Unless of course you think I cross dress my children??

My kids are 9 – 18months apart. That’s like twins. . OMFG are you really serious? Like really? Really???? It. Is. NOTHING. Like. Twins. It is hard I am sure, but it is not like having twins. At all. In any way. Ever. I mean for one there are different birthdays (unless you’re talking to someone with interval twins – born days or months apart – I kid you not that exists). You were pregnant twice and did not have the same risks, pains or difficulties a twin mum had. One is on solids the other milk only. One sleeps all the time (hopefully) and is still at that crying for no reason or every reason stage while the other is awake a lot more, can sit up, probably move and somewhere close to walking. I could keep listing reasons but I think you get the point!

Then there are the people who refer to them as “boys” or “girls” as the concept of twins to them means same gender.. This one I ignore. Honestly I do. There’s no point because its usually a stranger and they are obviously colour blind. And when I will subtly use he and she when referring to each child (especially now I know Harper is an old English girls name but an Indian boys name!) it makes no difference. Smile, nod, leave.

They’re not real twins. . I actually first heard this from someone whose best friend had a twin sister. To make matters worse HE WAS A TWIN HIMSELF! This is where I really just want to put on my best teacher voice and ask “What does the word twin mean to you?” This is a huge misconception. Twin = identical. Even if they don’t look the same, same gendered twins = identical. Lets just say I was at a party at the time, he was drinking, and I walked away when we got down to the very mature “Yes they are / No they’re not” retorts.

Did you do IVF / You must have had assistance (e.g. clomid or IVF). This is even after I have assured people my twins were naturally occurring. This really does piss me off. Not so much if its a question (although that is quite rude – lucky I’m an over-sharer and don’t mind) but when it’s a statement, or worse yet someone is arguing with me about the presence of assistance to conceive, that gets my internal bitch stark raving mad. And if you’ve caught me on a bad day I’m imagining slapping you on the upside of your head. Do you realise you are calling me a liar when you question my “no they’re natural”?

Are you sure you’re having twins, you’re not that big. This may surprise you but I found that just as insulting as if I was carrying a singleton and you asked if I sure I wasn’t having twins because I was so big. It made me feel as if I wasn’t “growing” my babies properly.

Linked to the above was “they must be really small, even for twins“. Um no they’re really bloody big actually. 95th percentile at 30 weeks kinda big. I think people should have a filter inserted when speaking to pregnant ladies. Comments about their weight / size are a no no. So are comments about the babies’ weight / size. When you link the two it’s better just to STFU because I guarantee you will offend.

You’re bottle feeding because its easier with twins / You can’t breast feed twins. First of all many women breast feed twins very, very successfully. It’s amazing how capable a woman’s body is when it comes to their babies. Unless of course it’s not. I did not make the choice not to breast feed my body made that choice. It can be a sensitive issue for me now considering Declan’s allergy could be more easily managed if he was breastfed. There are times I feel like a failure. So if you just assume I made the choice because its easier for me, that I am the sort of person who would put my own needs before those of my children, there are two words for you that I am too much of a lady to utter.

There must be twins in your family. This is a big misconception. There is no familial link with fraternal twins, or so I have read over and over again. There can be hormonal problems that can be passed down but this does not guarantee twins. I was shocked, I still am. This is a misconception I don’t want to let go of. Maybe that’s because I like to scare all the women in my family who are either at child bearing age or still too young. Lots of female cousins are still under 20 and I love making them sweat!

I bet its really hard and you’re struggling / You won’t be able to cope. I will be straight with you. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. When pregnant I would work myself up to a nice little panic thinking about how I would cope. It’s no harder than one (if your one is like Niamh was as a baby). My twins sleep better, are happier and are more settled than my first. The upside of already having a child. After I tell you this shut up. No seriously. I am not lying and if you push the point you are calling me a liar. Again. It’s amazing how many people think you are lying. It’s insulting. The whole you won’t be able to cope thing is seriously THE most single insulting thing that has ever been said to me. If you can’t figure out why not only are you nasty and rude, you are also one of the stupidest people on Earth.

No more kids for you! Why? Are women supposed to stop at two or three? Or is it because I have each gender represented? Do you think I wouldn’t be able to cope with more or am a bad mother to the ones I have? Seriously since when is it up to you to tell me when to stop??? It’s like those people who give couples a hard time that only have one child. It’s none of your bloody business!!! I actually like the thought of another (I have a fixation on even numbers) but I’m not sure financially and physically it would be the right decision. But guess what, it’s OUR decision (my Hubby’s and I) and not yours so back off.

So have I enlightened you any on the mysteries of twins? Is there something you were wondering or not sure of that I didn’t cover that I could help you with (if I know the answer lol)? Have you heard any twin misconceptions or old wives tales that I haven’t?

The Positivity Files

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Artwork by Niamh

I have always been an over-sharer, very vocal about what is going on in my life, and some people would say I lack boundaries. I am a big believer in the importance of venting. The release it gives you, the clarity, and a lot of time a new point of view from whoever you are venting to. I’m also not one to hold things back. If I feel or think it, you will probably hear it, unless I think it’s going to lead to massive conflict, then I tend to bite my tongue.

Unfortunately over the last year or so I have noticed my venting increasing and my mind set changing. I have become more negative and jaded. I look at myself and think whinger. It’s not a great realisation or feeling to have. So when Bel over at Life @ No. 2 asked what word we would like to embody our coming year, in lieu of a New Years Resolution, I immediately knew what my word would be. I’m sure you can all guess what it is too…..

POSITIVITY

Unfortunately, looking back at my year so far, especially my blog posts, I know I am missing the mark and have a long way to go.

So I have decided to start The Positivity Files. A dedicated weekly blog where I will detail things from my week that have been good, wonderful, amazing even. Things I am grateful for, that have made my week special, those moments I am truly blessed to have experienced no matter how big or small.

The first instalment follows below:

* I am truly blessed to be a mother of twins. I was terrified of the thought throughout my entire pregnancy and yet now it is a reality I look back and shake my head. I don’t believe I can truly explain how it feels to be a mother of twins. It’s like the most beautiful feelings of being a mother times a million. I feel blessed to have two beautiful babies to love. Two newborns with their beautiful newborn smell, delicious hugs and small moments that only newborns can share with you. The heart swelling emotions I feel when I watch them, even now at a month old, interact and seek one another out. I really don’t think anyone but another mother of twins could understand that what I thought would be a terrifying ordeal is one of my life’s most beautiful blessings.

* I have an amazing husband (even if he does give me the shits now and then). He is such a hands on father, always willing to get in there and do whatever needs to be done. Nappy changes, feeds, taking over at 4:30am when I just can’t soothe a crying or unsettled baby for a second more, letting me sleep in when I am exhausted, and a million more things. He is a wonderful husband but also an amazing father. Niamh idolises him and loves the special things they do together. I just know Harper and Declan will feel exactly the same way.

* I am lucky to have some very close and supportive friends who accept me for who I am. This is actually rarer then you may think. I have a couple of friends who, when I am around them, I can just be me. I don’t have to watch what I say or do, they know who I am, my eccentricities and quirks and they accept them and like me anyway lol. I know there are times when I offend others, never by intent, but just through my passionate nature. Never more than the last couple of weeks have I been so grateful for these people, who I am sure know who they are.

* 4 year old humour, there is nothing like it in the world. The way Niamh can just laugh and experience joy with her whole being. You can’t help but laugh along, even if its just at witnessing her all out mirth. The way she will tell me a story about something funny, or witness something funny alongside me, and with pure enjoyment and laughter look up at me and say “that’s so funny is it mummy”. Not a question as it may sound but just a statement (we’re still learning about contractions)

* Sunny, rain-free days. In all honesty I hate winter more than any other season. Rainy, overcast days just get me down. There is something so depressing about them. So I am happy we have seen the sun so much this week. Not only does it lift my spirits but it also means Niamh can go outside and run around, burning off some of that boundless energy she has!

* Kinder, oh Kinder, how I love thee. First of all don’t judge me for my heartfelt joy of Niamh-free moments. I love my daughter but we both need a break now and then. Kinder allows me to nap, clean or (for now while the twins are so little) take time to do something just for me. Later on Kinder will allow for time with just the twins. Niamh also loves Kinder so much and can not wait to go each week. So all-in-all it’s a win-win situation!

What positive things have happened in your life this week, big or small?

Earning My Tiger Stripes

Bel from Life @ No. 2 wrote a very courageous post about her post pregnancy(ies) body that you can find here. She encouraged other women to share their thoughts and feelings about their own post-children bodies, and bloggers to write their own version of her post and link back, and I thought it was a marvellous idea. So here’s my own journey.

I have never liked my body, not ever. Even when I was in high school and very trim I just felt big and ugly. I always compared myself unfavourably against the other girls and lacked self-esteem or a positive body image. I’ve never worn a bikini (well ok since I’ve had a say in what clothes I wear, I don’t think childhood counts) or figure hugging clothes. My style can be best explained as comfortable body-hiding attire.

20130501-162308.jpg Pre-children body. Nothing to get excited about, something I’ve always been ashamed of. Wish I knew where that dress was though, loving it!

I have struggled with my weight. I mean really struggled. I am constantly dieting and watching what I eat. It’s a source of great frustration for me when I watch so many around me eat whatever they want, in greater quantities than me, and stay slim. I rarely feel good about my body and am truly uncomfortable in my own skin.

So it may come as some surprise to the world out there that I truly LOVE my body when I am pregnant. I love watching my body grow in size and know there is a reason for it. I feel beautiful, feminine and desirable. I lose my negative body image and embrace the experience. I don’t even mind the stretch marks, after all I am not one to show off my belly anyway.

I will admit this time around, however, with the twins, I was a bit distressed about the battering my poor belly button got. In the end I had no belly button at all and after the twins were born it was extremely bruised and sore looking. The only other thing I don’t like is all the hormonal hair I grew over my lower belly. Thick black hairs that sprung pretty much the instant I found out I was pregnant and have hung around ever since. This occurred when I was pregnant with Niamh also, but arrived near the very end and had gone by the time she was three weeks old. No such luck this time.

20130501-162909.jpg My poor battered belly button and the torn scar tissue I suffered. On the upside seems the hair does not photograph. Trust me it IS there, and in abundance!!!!!!!

The best thing about my pregnant body, and post-pregnancy body, is the weight loss I obtain through no effort whatsoever. Both pregnancies I came out of the operating theatre with a weight much smaller than my pre-pregnancy weights. And by much smaller I mean 17 kilos lighter. This time I lost so much weight I never regained my pre-pregnancy weight even at my biggest. Now I know this time around a combination of horrid sickness and an inability to eat much due to there being no room for food in my stomach (twins take up SO MUCH space!) contributed to this. But I want to make it clear I did not diet, watched what I ate, or tried in any way to lose weight. It is just a very pleasing bonus I experience during pregnancy.

20130501-162552.jpg Post-twins belly. Not the prettiest of sights but I’m not fazed by it. I think I was lucky considering there were TWO FREAKIN’ BABIES in there!

So all in all I have quite positive feelings towards my body at the moment. It’s not all that attractive or slim, but there is nothing much that wasn’t already there before I had kids. If anything any negative feelings, unsightly lumps and bumps, or parts I wish I didn’t have can all be attributed to it just being my body regardless of the ordeals I have put it through having kids. As for the fresh marks and scars it now bears due to housing all three of my children while they developed and grew before entering the world, I believe the following sums up my thoughts nicely:

20130425-142423.jpg I’d like to give credit for the source of this photo but I am unsure where it originated. I just stole it from one of the many places on Facebook it can be found.