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One thing life has taught me is that I HATE dirty floors.   I learned this the hard way – three kids worth of the hard way.   Splodges of dried up Weetbix and other  unidentifiable brown gunk are amazing teachers.  The only thing  I hate more than the look of dirty floors is the feel of  them  under my feet.   It does something totally irrational to my stress levels that leaves me on a war path for the nearest broom. 

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As you can  imagine I’ve invested a bit of time and energy into keeping my floors clean and  crunch free.   It’s not usual for me  to sweep the floors here two  or even three times a day – especially if the kids have been  playing in the sandpit.     Sand is the  worst.    The feeling of it underfoot puts me straight into conniption territory.  (Strangely enough this phenomenon is limited to the four walls of the house.  I’m perfectly fine at the beach. )   

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Anyhoo the point of this post was not self confession, what I really wanted to talk about is the  ENJO’s limited edition floorcleaner.   It’s no secret I love using ENJO products.  I’ve reviewed others and love the fact that they are chemical free and do the job they’re designed for  – eg. clean stuff.   Upfront ENJO does seem a little pricey.   But when you take into consideration its lifespan and not buying other cleaning gear  it doesn’t seem so bad.    I have not purchased sponges or ‘spray n wipe’  in over 2 years now!   And if you can get your ENJO on  sale it’s even better – which is, after all, why we’re chatting today. 

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So back to the  floorcleaner.   To be honest I’d been coveting one of these for ages – but hadn’t gotten around to making the purchase. After all I have a really good steam mop and it does  great chemical free work too.     But now that I’ve got one I wish I didn’t wait.   She’s all kinds of lovely and does great work too.

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So here is my dot-point review of ENJO’s floorcleaner.    My honest and unaffected view of the product after using it in my own home under normal family life circumstances for at least two weeks. 

  • Can anyone say ‘easy to use’.   Wet and gently wring out the cleaning pad.  Snap it on and off you go.  When the floor is clean unsnap and rinse under water, wring out again and leave to dry.    Done.  (Well I guess you should put the mop away – saves broken bones and all.) 
  • It’s totally chemical free.   ENJO fibres work with water alone but are still reported to eliminate 100 percent of bacteria.   (Obviously I have to take their word here – not being a scientist and all .) 
  • It’s lightweight and highly manoeuvrable.   I thought my steam mop was good for this – but I have to tell you this is better.  It’s just like sweeping (and we all know I’m good at that) but cleans too.  Okay you might need to use a little back and forth muscle power on the tough spots – but generally speaking it is seriously easy. 
  • It has special fibres designed to work with your floor type.  Dusting, matt, gloss, fussy, extreme and outdoors.   (This could be expensive if you need all six.)  I have the dusting for sweeping and matt fibres for tiles and lino and that takes care of all of my hard surfaces. 
  • It works really well.    Loving that ‘clean floor’ feeling.   And I am  happy to report my floors feel just as clean as after a steam mop  – but with a lot less effort.
  •  The only downside I can pin point  after several weeks use is that you have to be pretty firm with the telescopic neck of the mop when you’re adjusting its length.    I’ve found it needs more than a gentle twist to keep it securely locked in.   (Just a tad frustrating when your mop shrinks as you use it – but nothing a firmer action won’t solve.) 
  • The biggest test for ENJO is always in the life of the product.  From past experience I can tell  you that you do need to treat your fibres (cloths and pads) with some respect and I’m sure the mop fibres will be the same.    For example you need to wash them in the provided care bags without fabric softener and keep them away from strong cleaning products.   (Yes I speak from experience here!!).

 For a limited time,  ENJO has a great deal – receive a free limited edition green floor cleaner (valued at $99) when you buy any two floor fibres.       (Floor fibres are also valued at $99.00  each. )

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Thoughts of Christmas have been taking up a lot of space in  my somewhat overcrowded head of late.   I love Christmas.  (I’m a fan and will face-off with anyone who disses it.)    I  love almost every thing about  it.    The music,  the food,  the decorations, having family around, making people happy with presents.  What’s not to love?  But I do think, in this day and age of consumerism gone mad, there is some  need for balance.   For me this means sitting back and mindfully thinking about what I want Christmas to mean for our girls as they grow up.   Where do I want the focus to be?   What traditions and actions are important to our family.  

These are things that take actual thought for me.  As opposed to just floating along to the rhythm of Christmas hype lead by the marching bands of  the massive marketing companies employed by big retailers.    (Opps – letting my natural cynicism shine through a little there.  Sorry – Not.)  

So now, for your entertainment and pleasure, I’m sharing my very own top 10 random ways I’ve decided to use to   bring balance to Christmas 2014.

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  1. Before the silly season hits in full force ask your kids to go through their toys and fill a  box to giveaway to others.    It could be a friend, a  charity or maybe the local op-shop.   You could even just pop the box out on nature strip with a sign ‘Free To Good Home’ and inadvertently spread some Christmas cheer.  
  2. Make the decision to be mindful about your spending and indulging in store-bought Christmas hype.  It can be as  simple as pausing for  a few seconds to think before you make the commitment to buy. 
  3. Instead of always looking for bigger and better presents consider adding to collections the kids already have.   A few more horses to the Schleich collection, that gets played with every day, makes more sense than buying something that has the potential to end up forgotten in the bottom of the toy box.
  4. Include some history and meaning in  your Christmas.  For us that means including Jesus  birthday and the nativity.  It also means we explore the story of St Nicolas and how the legend of Santa was born.    For you it could be something totally different. 
  5. Spend some time thinking about new traditions you want to include in your family Christmas.   What is it that you want the kids to remember when they grow up?    Remember you are making memories here and you have a lot of power when it comes to deciding  what they should be. 
  6. Think about how you shop for Christmas.    Last year I was converted to online shopping.   Around this time of year there are sales galore – some even with  free postage.     I like to  shop around from the comfort of my desk and pick and choose the best prices and deals.   I also find it’s much easier to stay mindful and stick to the plan from the vantage point of home.    This year I’ve already stocked up on the above mentioned Schleich Horses from Ozsales and scored some free postage bargains from Target. 
  7.  Who needs fancy pants decorations and a perfect tree?   Well we don’t here.  Our tree is covered in a bizarre collection of decorations the kids have made over the years along with a few memorable ornaments and just a touch of classy tinsel.    I know we wouldn’t win any Home Beautiful awards but I also know just how much each one of those crazy decorations means to the person who made it.  Miss matched colours and crazy collections – that’s just how we roll around here. 
  8. Take some time out to think about the food side of things.    Just how much is enough?  Do we really need an over loaded table?  This year I’m aiming for quality over quantity.   Everyone gets to select one special food they’d really like to be part of the celebration and the rest will be an eloquent sufficiency of family favourites.   No fridge full of left overs this year.  
  9. Plan beforehand to recycle as much of the Christmas debris as possible.  Cards, bottles and paper wrapping can easily be added to the household recycling.   But what other things can be done to make Christmas more sustainable?
  10.  Make stuff at home from scratch.     How about making your own bonbons, place card setting, wrapping paper  or gift tags with the kid.  How much fun could that be?   Set yourself the challenge of only using items you already have at home and see just what you can come up with.  Tip- Pinteret is your friend here. 

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What about you?  Any favourite tips or tricks you use to bring a better balance to your own Christmas.    Would love to hear about them in the comments.   I might be able to steal a few and make them part of our celebration!

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When life gives  you lemons ………

by Caz on November 10, 2014 · 2 comments

Everything is going to  be okay in the end …..  if it’s not okay it’s not the end.  (Unknown).

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Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.  (Unknown).

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In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but  how many moments too your breath away. (Unknown).

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The biggest gift  you can give the people in your life is to be happy.  That way you’ve released them from worrying about you.  (Unknown).

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Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen. (Unknown).

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The polite goodbye (Alzheimers sucks.)

by Caz on October 27, 2014 · 6 comments

There is not much that can compare to the hole left in your heart when your own mother says goodbye to you with the polite calmness and awkward laughter once reserved for strangers.  In an apparent effort to engage in small talk  she gives a coy embarrassed laugh and asks me when my children’s birthdays are.     I want to shout FOR GOD SAKE WOMEN THEY ARE YOUR GRANDCHILDREN.  But I know it won’t help.   I know she knows  – but in that moment she just can’t remember the details.  They’ve disappeared into the fog of a brain living with alzheimers.  It doesn’t help that I’ve already told her (and watched her write in down) perhaps seven or eight times over the past few  months.   In that  moment the details are gone. 

Just in case you didn’t know polite calmness and mothers should never go together.    Passion.  Crossed purposes. Explosive interdependent arguments.  Yes to all of them – but not  over polite calmness.   That is just all types of wrong.

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The thought that pierces my heart more than most is that I know, without doubt, that she still loves me just as much as she always did.  You can’t turn that off.   While huge chunks of her personality seem to be slipping away into the ‘never never’ she is still that same old person she always was.   The person I have loved and hated, treasured and rolled my eyes at.   It’s just that she doesn’t always remember who she is herself.

Confusing hey.

 I desperately wish this process was easier.  But let’s be honest it is simply not.  My emotions are as much of a mess as her memory is.  But I guess that’s the way it should be.    When I give it space, thoughts of my mother forgetting me torment me.   The knowledge that one day I will walk into a room and there will be no light of recognition in her eyes.  I will just be another person.   My kids will just be someone’s kids.  Our family won’t be special to her – we’ll just be people.    It’s to horrible to contemplate – so most days I choose not to.    Most day.   But then some little moment will adhere itself to my mind in post-it-note  fashion and I’m forced to deal with it.    To respect the process and allow it to teach me something new about myself and about what the future holds.  Those days are hard.  I flail around in my messy emotions and try to shed to many tear around the girls.  I try to move on and remember this too is just a part of our journey through life. 

a promise to remember

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Running – the (almost) 10km edition.

by Caz on October 20, 2014 · 6 comments

Today I ran 9.5 kms.    Surprised?   You should be considering my lack of running blog post over the past few months.   Well let’s be honest it even surprised me – and I’ve been there for every run I’ve ever done!

Apart from a few months off over last summer I’ve been hitting the pavement for just over 12 months now.  From the very humble beginnings of running laps of my front driveway, to today almost cracking the 10km mark.   It’s been 12 months of hard work and to be honest there have been a number of times I’ve had to do serious battle with my mind not to throw in the towel – permanently. But something deep down inside me keeps drawing me back and keeps me moving.

Running is such a metaphor for life.  I have learned things about myself in the past twelve month that I had no knowledge of before I stared.  I have found a mental strength I had no idea I possessed. I have learned that I can do things that seriously seemed impossible.

Now let’s get things straight here.  I am no super runner.  I am possibly the slowest runner that ever graced this earth.  But I am still a runner and I am learning to love that about myself.   I love the strength I feel in my muscles and the way running changes my outlook on my day.   I also love that I have three small sets of eyes watching every move I make and that I am inspiring them to know they to can do all things.

There are still many questions for me about my running future.  My left knee is knackered.  It has no cartilage and the bones reportedly rub.  I also have Hashimotos (thyroid auto-immune disease) which means I have to be very careful not to stress out my adrenal with  excessive exercise.   But I am also addicted to running endorphins and the feeling you get when you finish a long run.   I don’t think I could turn my back on all the good that running has given me – even if I tried. 

So today I very almost ran 10kms.  (9.46 to be exact – and totally would have done the extra .54 if Runkeeper didn’t flip out and confuse me!)   I am one happy runner.

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Let’s talk about guilt …..

by Caz on September 11, 2014 · 2 comments

 Well okay – if we have to then.  

Guilt is the other ‘G’ word affecting my life right now.    Guilt and Grief – I suspect they’re a common coupling when it comes to having an Alzheimer’s victim in your family.

I guess for me I am becoming more and more aware that time is short.   The fading has begun and though none of us are sure when, we know the day is coming when our names will be added to the list of those she doesn’t remember.   I’ve seen it starting already and I’m struggling to rationalise the pain it causes me. 

But back to guilt.  Right now I could sing you an entire country and western  song about how many ways I feel guilty.  I should be doing more.   I should be working harder to make her life easier.  I should be the one putting up their hand to be the long-term carer.     I should be careful not to allow my own children to feel neglected – they’re still too young to take second place.  I should be spending less time thinking about myself, my career and my family and more time thinking about her. 

I should.  

I should.  

I should.  

If I let them,  all  of those ‘I shoulds’ could squash the life out of me about now.

The things with guilt is that sometimes you have to listen to it and take the time to measure out just how much of its shouty voice is truth and how much is weighty overload.   I truly should and can do more to make her life easier right now.    I should determine that I am going to let the lumpy bumpy bits of our relationship go and choose again and again not to let her words or actions settle negativity into my soul.  I can do that – I know I can.   And it’s something I know I won’t regret.

With guilt I think the tricky part is in the knowing.  Which parts to keep and which to throw away with the other slimy trash.  My  guess is that learning this is just another step along this journey we’re travelling together – especially as I suspect guilt  and I will be keeping company for a little while to come.

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Fading away ……

by Caz on September 1, 2014 · 22 comments

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Grief and I have lived together before.    As a teenager I lost my big-sister, father and grandfather within the space of four years.  Rough – yes it was.   So much sadness in such a little space of time changes you and I still live today with the impact it all had on my life.   But hey, I’m fully aware every one of us has our own story and many of them are littered with hardship – sadly that’s just the way life is.   My own personal millstone’s name just happens to be grief.

But this time it’s different.  About nine months ago my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  At around about the same time I went into denial and decided that, in the words of Scarlet O’Hara ‘I’d think about that  another day’.    It’s too much.    And because my life is busy with kids and work and stuff it’s not that hard to hide from reality.    Sure my head knows all about it, and tries to do the right thing, but my heart – well that’s another story altogether.

The fact is though that I know for my own health’s sake I have got to get a grip and deal with this.    But if you had a choice to hide from the pain of watching your mum slowly disappear from her body wouldn’t you take it?  

I can go for months just pretending she’s doing fine.  She’s coping.  She’s still  reasonably independent – surely that means everything is okay?   But then something will happen to force me back into reality.  She’ll come for tea and spend most of the night sitting, staring and smiling.  Her conversation is getting more and more limited and her ways more and more structured and intolerant.   Little by little the woman I’ve known all my life as ‘mum’ is simply fading away.  And try as I may to stop it,  my heart is silently breaking.

But as I desperately try to avoid the pain I’m noticing my stress levels rising.    Things in the rest of my life that wouldn’t normally offer any resistance are worrying me.  Deep down I know it’s really mum I’m stressing about, I’ve just transferred it onto something more manageable.  I also know this is not good and will damage my health if I don’t deal with it. 

So here I am. Back to my chosen form of healthy self-soothing – blogging it out.   Perhaps, just perhaps, this is even one of the reasons I stopped writing.  Because when I write the truth comes out of my finger tips!

Mum’s sister came to visit this week and we’ve spent time talking.  It’s been good for me – but hard too because it’s made to face reality.  (Reality can be such a bitch.)  I need to grieve again.  But this time there are no boundaries and no real concept of an end.   How do you watch your mum fade away?    If she had died there would be closure.  Intense pain – but closure too.  This is like chopping your arm off with a nail file.  Slow and agonising.   

Like many mother/daughter relationships ours is fraught with lumpy bumpy issues too.  I love my mum and know beyond doubt she loves me too – but we’re very different people.    Does this make it harder?  Or am I lucky because at least I get these ‘fading years’ to work out my lumps and bumps?  I don’t know the answer – but I have a feeling I’m going to find out.

Today I have taken the first step.  I’ve acknowledged the pain and informed grief that he and I are going to talk about how to get me through this in the healthiest and most holistic way possible.    This is part of my and my mum’s journey through life and I want to be as positive and real as it can be.   No regrets. 

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Print

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Hello Did you want something?  

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Yes us Kangaroos have taken to readings maps – but only after stealing them from little girls hands!

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Pretty aren’t I?

Ballarat wildlife park Kangaroos feeding

 Feeding time at the zoo.

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 The cute factor just went into overdrive.

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What’s up sleep head. 

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 Emu times two.

20140421_094235The bushman’s hut.  

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Post image for Moving Bodies Moving Boundaries {e.motion21 ~  Ballarat}

Today I want to share with you about an amazing, energetic and boundary pushing organisation that teaches dance to children and young adults with Down syndrome. I would love to be able to convey just how special this program is, and how much it means to those involved, but in all honestly I know words won’t do justice to what happens during an e.motion21 class. Seriously, if you could bottle the energy, enthusiasm and delight shown by these dancers you could probably solve world peace before you finish your morning coffee! It’s really that extraordinary.  

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But high wattage smiles and funky dance moves aside e.motion21 is all about sharing the amazing abilities of its dancers and using these abilities to change outdated beliefs about just what a person with Down syndrome is capable of doing. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in our local Ballarat dance group for a little while now. I’ve gotten to know the people behind those massive smiles and been blown away by the skill and dedication of the dancers and their families. I’ve also volunteered in the class room and watched first-hand the commitment and skill of the dance teachers as they present dance and movement to their students with fun, excitement and an understanding of Down syndrome. Such an amazing experience and one I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to be part of.

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 There are many reasons this program is so special.  It was founded out of one family’s need for their own daughter and has grown explosively because it mirrors the needs of many other families. (You can read more about Cate Sayers and this amazing journey here.)  It also connects deeply with the common human love of music, movement and fun and crosses all boundaries when it comes to building self-esteem, peer groups and personal wellbeing for people with Down syndrome. These are not just empty words either.  Last year, RMIT University conducted research in to the effectiveness of the program and the results were eye-opening. (You can find out more about the research by visiting the emotion21 website here.)

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So how did you go?  Can you get a sense of just how special this program is?  I hope so because what e.motion21 Ballarat really needs is for more people to get involved and support the program. That might mean considering becoming a volunteer mover in the classes.  If you have a heart for dance or people with Down syndrome I think this option would suit you perfectly. Full training is offered and the experience is amazing. Or perhaps you could offer a donation. As a not-for-profit organisation money is always tight and all donations, big and small, make a huge difference.  Donated funds are used to train new volunteers, buy dance class equipment and support the dancers to perform in the community. If you are a business owner and would like to be involved, I would love to talk to you about working in partnership to secure and build the future of the program in Ballarat. This might mean sponsorship or ‘in-kind’ donations of goods and services – all support is gratefully received and truly appreciated for the difference it makes.

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 You can find out more about e.motion21 by visiting the website . If you’d like to ask a question or offer support for the Ballarat site you can email me at ballaratrm@emotion21.org.au.  e.motion21 also is also on facebook and instagram – both awesome ways to stay in touch and show your support too.

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Post image for For the love of sausage (gluten free ones!!) + $100 giveaway pack {Congratulations Rachel}

This is a sponsored giveaway for Peppercorn Foods

I love a good snag, especially if it’s cooked on the BBQ.    Not surprisingly  when I embarked on my 2014 unprocessed challenge sausages were one of the things I dithered about most.    Dropping the bread and sauce didn’t really phase me, but the actual sausage that was just asking a bit much.   So as a way of compromise I decided to look for a good quality gluten-free alternative that would help nourish my body – rather than filling it with fillers and low quality meats. 

Peppercorn gluten free sausages

The Pepper Corn Food Company produce sausages (as well as burgers and meatloaf) made from best quality local ingredients that have the heart foundation tick of approval and  are completely gluten-free.    And as an extra added bonus, that really speaks to me, they also use fully biodegradable and compost-able packaging.  Now I think you’ll agreed that’s a huge step in the right direction when it comes to company ethics.

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Peppercorn sausages come in extra lean beef, chicken, pork and Italian style – all of which are available at your local Woolworths.   Don’t be fooled my by cruddy barbecuing skills (I usually leave the BBQ to the Nature Boy) because they cook up a treat and are absolutely delicious.     Their claim to being ‘extra lean’ proved to be pretty much spot on as they didn’t leave a single drop of fat on the grill.  

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Not only are the sausages lean and gluten-free but they are also flavoured beautifully.   Chicken with lime and spices or pork with ginger and shallots anyone?   We cooked up the chicken, pork and beef and then had a small family fight about which one was the best.  It ended up being three votes for the pork and two for the beef.   (Sorry chicken you were good too – just not as good as your sausage cousins!)

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Cannot tell  you how happy I am to have found Peppercorn sausages.  $7.99 per package is a little more pricey than the regular ‘run of the mill’ BBQ snags – but the quality and taste by far makes up for the squeeze on the purse strings.  In future I’ll probably freeze the Peppercorn sausages in small two packs, so I have a little supply for myself when the hankering for sausages kicks in. 

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the giveaway

 Would you like to try out some delicious goodies from Peppercorn foods?   I have a $100 gift pack of food products and merchandise to giveaway to someone who reads this review.   Want to enter?    Just follow the four steps below.   ( PS: If  you live outside a capital city you will receive  a Woolworths gift voucher plus merchandise to the total value of $100 –  as fresh product can not be transported to regional areas).

  1. In the comments tell me your favourite simple sausage meal for the kids or your best memory about sausages from your own childhood. The best comment,  as judged by me,  will win.
  2. Be kind enough to like Peppercorn Foods on facebook.
  3. Follow The Truth About Mummy in any way you like (Facebook, Twitter, Feed, email or Pinterest.)
  4. Please leave an email address  that you check regularly – as all giveaways are redrawn if you don’t respond within 5 days.  
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  • Giveaway is open until Midnight  26th of March 2014
  • No entries will be accepted after this time.
  • All decision are final and based on skill not luck.
  • (Check the T&C tab for full T&C).
  • Disclaimer: This is a sponsored giveaway.    From time to time I accept payment from companies that I feel fit within the demographic of my blog to post about their products.  I retain all  creative rights and all opinions are my own.   Payment does not purchase my opinion. 

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Beading is beautiful

by Caz on March 10, 2014 · 6 comments

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 These beautiful trays of beads arrived at our place a couple of weeks ago and the girls have been using every inch of pester power they possess to get me to let them create with them.

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 Finally this weekend they won and they got to spend a few hours in beautiful beading heaven!

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Needless to say they loved it and spent hours  matching and threading those pretty little beads into necklaces, bracelets, anklets and headbands. 

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 I was truly impressed with what they came up with.  These girls of mine have style – much more so than their mother!

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 A huge thankyou  Craft Direct  for sending us these lovely beading kits  – the girls loved them.    You might like to check out their website for these and other fun crafty activities you can receive by mail. 

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 It also gave me a chance to break out my camera again.  I’ve got so used to just taking snaps with my phone and forget how amazing it can be to use a real camera.

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 Now all three of my little ladies has a unique collection of jewellery they made themselves.  Along with a few random dolls and teddy bears that make their home at our place. 

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And because the boxes are so generous we still have plenty more beads to bring out another day.  Love knowing I have something to pull out when the ‘I’m boreds’ strike.  

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Do your little people like beading? 

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Post image for Parenting: the days are long but the years are short.

So here I am.  A mum of three school kids.  (Thankfully three happy school kids.)  I have spent the past couple of weeks kicking back a bit.  Enjoying space and time to do exactly what I feel like.  I did have a million little projects I thought I’d get finalised before I geared up for work and more study – but instead I’ve just been enjoying listen to the clock ticking and the fridge whirring and doing what ever boring old thing I please.  Blissful.  Ten years of being home with little people and I’d almost forgot how amazing prolonged silence can be. 

Next week I start my new job.  Next month I start a new course at Federation University.  (So I best enjoy this stillness while I can.)   I’m excited about having a new focus and the change it will bring with it – but also just a little nervous to see how it all unfolds.  I’m not sure what it will mean for this little space. I hope to keep popping in and connecting with the blogosphere – but I know it will be much less frequent.  This blog and been such a huge part of my life for the past five years and I’m so grateful I stumbled into writing it.  The friendship, fun and extra income it’s provided have been such a blessing to me and my family.   I’d hate to let go of any of that – so I won’t.

For now though I’m just sitting around pondering it all.   Thinking about the changes that are about the happen and how lucky I am to have been able to spend so much time at home with my girls.  I can still clearly remember sitting at my work-desk day dreaming about being at home with a house full of kids.  I craved it.  Now, ten odd years later, I’m at the other end of the journey and ready to move back on into the workforce.    Before my big girl was born someone told me it would be the hardest and the most  wonderful thing I would ever do, and you know what, they were 100 percent right.  I never done it so tough or enjoyed anything as much as being home with my kids.  Exhausted and frustrated by constantly living life at the end of my coping ability but amazingly glad and grateful I did it.  

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