Friday, 30 January 2015

2014 - Looking back at the moments

I know I'm a little late with the whole reflecting on the year gone by thing but as it is still January (just), it's totally fine in my books. It wasn't until I started scrolling through all the photos I'd taken last year, that it really hit me just how much my kids have grown, how much they have learnt and how much fun we have had together this year. The myriad of experiences reflected in these photos is still only a snapshot of what we have done.

I am so insanely proud of my Gracie girl. She has overcome many challenges last year including overcoming a fear of swimming, starting and completing Kindy, learning how to cope with the ever increasing pressures of school, making new friends and learning how to be a good friend. She has learnt that little brothers can be a real annoyance but they can also be your best playmate (sometimes within the same 5 minutes). Her confidence and assurance in herself has grown and I'm so proud of how she is developing and learning to be aware of how she is feeling and what she needs to look after herself. She is becoming a right little lady but still happy to be Mummy's little girl. You have grown so much Gracie and I could not be prouder.

Ollie Boy, our little ray of sunshine. He lights up everyday with his cheeky smile which you just know is going to be followed by some cheeky act. He certainly keeps me on my toes. He could not be more different from his big sister but I wouldn't have it any other way. His personality has only blossomed this last year. He is adventurous and daring (which we are constantly reminded of by the scars on his face and head after several trips to the emergency room). He helps give his sister courage to do things she might otherwise not be brave enough to try. He has learnt so many words this year and he is now just as much of a chatter box as Gracie, to the point that sometimes between the two of them, I can't get a word in edge ways. Oliver, you bring us so much joy.

Jonathan and I have had many highs and lows this year, as I suppose we all do every year. One thing which I have learnt and something which I am taking into this new year, is that all that really matters is what is happening now, in this very moment. To SLOW DOWN and BREATHE, to soak in everything that there is to experience in each moment. And this will probably mean doing less and learning to say no sometimes. So whilst I love to capture our moments and reflect on them and share them, I'm learning just how important it is to be fully awake in all those moment. Sometimes the camera lens helps me to do this. I can see things in a way that sometimes I otherwise wouldn't have seen. However sometimes it calls for me to put down the camera and fully engage and submerge myself in that moments. The sparkle in Gracie's eyes when she has realised she can actually do something all by herself. The surprise in Oliver's face when he discovers something he's never seen before. Or those giggles. All those giggles. There is so much to experience and explore but there is also so much we will miss if we don't pay attention. Being present moment by moment is also a tool I rely on heavily to maintain a healthy mind and spirit. I am very susceptible to anxiety and it is a demon which regularly raises it's ugly head. Anxiety takes me away. Away from my family. Away from my friends. Away from what is actually happening right now and sends me to an imaginary world full of fears and worry. A world which actually does not truly exist yet somehow seems so real. I spent a very large part of 2014 learning about this imaginary dark world and how to battle it. It's a sneaky world. It creeps up and is very quiet at first and if I'm not careful it can become very loud and obtrusive. The blurr in this world plays hide and seek with peace. Peace which Jesus daily gives me. But when I'm entrapped by this anxious world, this game of hide and seek can last what seems like a lifetime and peace is no where to be found.

But if I am living more quietly and I am actually living by remaining awake to what is real and right now, I can see Anxiety trying to sneak up on me, with those lies and torments and together with an awakened awareness of the present moment, I can stop it from coming too close. No Anxiety, I do not want to play hide and seek today. It's a daily battle. One that can take a lot of energy. But it's also one that I am slowly getting better at with practice. So that's how I'm going to try and live this year. Daily. Moment by moment. I don't want to miss a thing.

What a year it was, 2014. I'm sure 2015 will be filled with just as many high moments and low moments as the last, and we will expereince every one of them as they happen. Right now I'm off to give Ollie a cuddle as I get him out of bed. I love just-woken-up cuddles. They're the best. My moment. Right now.

What's yours?

Thursday, 29 January 2015

A trip to Queensland (post way overdue).

Whoa, so... I kind of can't believe it's been 6 months since my last blog post... whoops! As I'm sure you can probably guess, the last 6 months were kind of insane. Let's see... 3 weddings (one of which I was a bridesmaid), 3 family birthdays, Gracie finished Kindy, Christmas and that list doesn't even feel like it does justice to how crazy busy it was. Oh yeah throw in a trip to Queensland too, for good measure. Speaking of Queensland...

It was almost a year ago when my little (not so little) sister moved to Queensland to be with her wonderful partner Tracey. They live in a breathtaking house at the bottom of Tambourine Mountain about 1/2 an hour inland from the Gold coast. It is a stunning place situated in the middle of the rain forest and one of the most relaxing places I've ever been.

Gracie and I flew to visit Steph in the beginning of December for 5 days and it was such a special time for the both of us. Gracie really misses her Aunty Steph and words cannot describe how much Gracie adores her. I think Steph was a little apprehensive as to how Gracie might be after not seeing her for 9 months, but their connection was almost immediate as we stepped of the plane, and the two of them were inseparable for the whole time.

We played with chickens, goats, dogs, horses and ducks, but mostly just enjoyed spending precious time with each other.





 Checking out the view of the Gold Coast and watching the storm roll in.

 Steph and Tracy

Me and Steph's friend Ali.

High on our list of things to do, was a trip to Seaworld. It was one of the best days we had. Such a blast. We saw amazing animals, doing amazing things and Gracie even went on her very first roller coaster... AND LOVED IT!

Oh and we got a little (a lot) wet in the first 15 minutes we were there. But thankfully the sun quickly came out for the rest of the day and we soon dried off. 

 Patting the Stingrays. This was Gracie's favourite thing from the day (next to riding the rollercoaster).


 The dolphin show was incredible. This was one of MY favourite of the day.

 Gracie feeding the seal.

 Tracey drives trains for a living, so of course we had to ride the monorail!

 This polar bear was breathtaking to watch. He was so playful and such an excellent swimmer!

  ROLLERCOASTER!!! I was too scared, but Steph and Gracie went on twice! I could not believe it, after the first time, I waited in anticipation for Gracie's reaction and to my suprise, she ran up to me shouting "Mummy! Can I do it again?".

 The Carousel was a bit more my speed.

On one of our last days we took a drive up to the top of Tambourine Mountain. I could seriously live up on this mountain (if it wasn't so humid all the time). It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

Thunderstorms were a daily occurrence while we were there and these storms are so different to what we get in Perth. Lots of thunder and lightning shows that go on for hours. 

Thank you Steph and Tracey for having us. We can't wait until we get to come and visit again. Miss you!