Back to Blogging?

Despite all my best intentions at the start of 2015, last year was a pretty poor year for blogging for me. I can’t have published more than half a dozen blog posts. I found that after writing essays for what felt like constantly in the first half of the year, and then more assignments whilst on placement in second semester, I just didn’t have the headspace to write anything that wasn’t uni related. Coupled with lack of time between uni, placement and family commitments, even if I had ideas to write about, I just didn’t have the time or motivation to write anything decent.

But 2016 is here, uni is finished, and at the moment, I’m unemployed. While I’m job seeking (which may take a while as our state government has put a freeze on all government/public sector jobs unless you are already employed in the public sector, until the new financial year), I’ve got plenty of time for blogging.

I’ve thought about blogging again since the end of last year, but I guess I’ve been scared to? It’s been so long since I’ve written anything here, and I doubt anyone is reading. But at the end of the day, at this stage, I need to write for myself, not for anyone who may be reading.

I read on a blog the other day (I can’t remember which one though) ‘the more you blog, the better you blog’. I think this goes for writing in general, and that the more you write, the more you write, and the easier you find writing. Hopefully that will happen here. I plan on completing a post-grad degree sometime in the future. I hope, that if I keep writing here, when it comes time to study again, writing assignments will come back easily, and that my writing will improve over that time.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. I’m not putting pressure on myself this year though. I’ll just see if the words come, and where they take me.

G. xx

Big kids need attention too.

When you have babies and toddlers, it is so easy to get caught up in their needs, what they’re doing, how much they’re not sleeping, or how often they’re waking at night. Sometimes you get so caught up in the bone wearying exhaustion that goes along with parenting that happens in the early years, that you miss other things that are going on around you.

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Yesterday I realised how much I’ve missed while I’ve been busy parenting twins who still wake at night. Dylan and Mahalia are beyond helpful with Harry and Zach. They play with them in the morning while I have a shower, entertain them while I clean up dinner, let me know when someone has a nappy bomb, and are generally just awesome with them.

We’ve been lax with bedtimes over the holidays, and there’s been lots of hanging out and watching movies on tv. But one on one attention from me has fallen short, and in my sleep deprived exhaustion, I’ve been grumpier than usual.

Yesterday, while eating a snack, Mahalia started crying, without seeming to know why. After lots of cuddles, she eventually calmed down, and told me she was crying because she thought she would get in trouble for getting something to eat without asking. Now, I prefer if the kids ask first before raiding the cupboard as they’re known for snacking just before lunch or dinner, but at other times it doesn’t bother me. It made me realise though that Mahalia’s hanging out for some quality time with me, without toddlers interrupting.

The afternoon was filled with tantrums that only an overtired six year old can produce. She may no longer nap during the day, and we may be taking it pretty easy these holidays, but Mahalia is still up at the crack of dawn, and I think I need to be a bit more strict with bedtime. Both Dylan and Mahalia like to read in bed after being tucked in, but from tonight I’ll be setting a time limit before lights off.

Harry and Zach go back to day care next week, so the last few weeks of the school holidays will be spent doing stuff that’s fun for the big kids so I can fill up their love tanks. Ngala is only two weeks away, so hopefully it won’t be long until everyone is sleeping through the night and I can get rid of might sleep deprived grump.

2014. It’s almost over.

I can’t believe how quickly 2014 is coming to an end. The past six months have been a blur. Trying to find a balance between full-time study and parenting four children has meant that pretty much everything else has fallen by the wayside.

October and November were filled with writing assignments, studying for exams, the exams themselves, and a two week break before I started my nursing clinical placement in December. I had grand plans for blogging during my break, but my brain kind of crashed, and between catching up on stuff around the house that had been neglected for a semester, and having some  time just to be, blogging never happened.

My placement while an amazing experience of surgical nursing, was exhausting to say the least. I finished a week before Christmas, and this year I was unorganised on the present front. It was a mad rush to get the Christmas shopping done on the sly with four kids at home from school and day care. Thank goodness for extended family and late night shopping.

And now we’re two days out from the end of the year, and I feel like I can finally relax, can finally breathe. It’s probably the first time since Harry and Zach were born (16 months ago today!), that I feel like I’m really relaxing. Twins are fantastic, but man are they hard. All parenting is hard at times, but adding twins to a family with two other children already? Takes it to a whole new level. Harry and Zach are reaching an age where they are exploring their independence, they still need me, but not so much as before. All ages of childhood bring challenges as a parent, but I think 2015 will be easier than this year has been. I think I’ll have more time to do things I enjoy, that have been let go in the past year and a half.

I’m not making any new year’s resolutions, mainly because I’ve never keep them. But there are some changes I want to make to my life, some goals I want to achieve, to make life more organised, more enjoyable, more memorable. I finish my degree at the end of 2015, so I’ve got to make a decision early on in the year about whether I’ll head straight into a midwifery post-graduate degree, or if I’ll work as a registered nurse for a bit first. My mind changes everyday, and every nurse I’ve sought advice from has a different opinion. But I’ll leave that for the new year.

2014 has been good to me, but I can’t wait for 2015 to begin.

There is a light…

I knew going back to full-time studying with two babies was going to be hard, I just didn’t realise how hard. Going back to studying has absolutely made me a better parent, more present when I’m home with the kids. But it doesn’t leave much breathing room. Assignments don’t wait just because I’ve been up six times with sick or teething babies. And there’s been a lot of illness here, it comes with putting babies in day care. Colds, (repeated) ear infections and gastro.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like I can start to breath again. Four weeks left of semester, two group presentations, three exams, and three weeks break, then three weeks of prac in December, and I’m done for the year.

I have grand plans for the end of semester and exams. Spring cleaning, clearing out the big kids’ bedrooms and organising toys to donate, weeding the garden beds, and most importantly, preparing for christmas.

I’m pretty proud of myself (almost) making it through, I’m so glad I went back to uni this year. I can’t wait to become an RN, but  man, I can’t wait for the end of semester.

Quiet. Behind the scenes.

Well didn’t this little blog fall off the face of the earth for a few months! I’m not going to apologise though, because, well, life. And priorities. People often say to me that they don’t know how I manage with four kiddos, and twins to boot. I get told I always seem so calm and relaxed, and they don’t know how I do it.

While I appreciate the acknowledgement, they don’t see what goes on behind the scenes in order to stay calm and present in my children’s lives. After 17 months of broken sleep (I’m counting pregnancy here too), my brain doesn’t have the energy to focus on the unnecessary. No knitting, no sewing, photography, and no blogging. When all the kids are in bed for the night, the tv goes on, and I veg, letting my brain have its down time before the cycle of sleep, feed, sleep, feed begins. Sometimes I read, but more often than not, I drown out the day with the tv.

What people don’t see, is the support my husband’s family gives us, to make our lives a little bit easier. We are insanely lucky to live rent free in a house my in-laws own. It was such a relief when hubby left the Navy, and it took months to find a job that suited him, and our family. Our savings would not have lasted as long as they did had we been paying rent. We won’t be here forever, we will eventually need to find somewhere bigger for our not-so-little family, but living here has given us some breathing space as we adjusted to life outside the Defence Force.

I’ve just finished 3 weeks of practicum in a mental health hospital. No 9-5 work day as a (student) nurse. And while Harry and Zach are in day care, prac would not have been possible without my mother in-law dropping them off some days, and picking them up on others. Those late nights, my father, brother and sister in-law would all come along to feed my tribe and put them to bed.

This week begins my first semester back at uni after Harry and Zach’s birth. Once again my mother in-law will be helping out, picking the bigs up from school once a week, and dropping them off another day. We are eternally grateful that we have such a supportive family in our network. My return to uni would not be possible without their help. Sure I could delay going back to uni another year, or go back part-time, but I’m looking at the bigger picture. I want to get back into the workforce, I want to pay taxes to help fund the healthcare, education and infrastructure our family relies on. I want us to once again own our own home, I want breathing space in our budget, I want my children to grow up knowing that if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams. I want to be in a position to support those we love when they can no longer support themselves. I want to give back.

So, I may be calm and have it together, but I have all these thoughts inside my head. I’m like a duck – above the water, a duck’s body seems to glide effortlessly across the surface, while below water, it’s little legs are paddling furiously. I have all this support around me keeping me afloat, and the unnecessary just falls by the wayside while we get through. Because the unnecessary will still be there once the hard days are done. Those other things will wait while my brain rests, and I breathe.

Catch up

Chirp chirp.

Crickets, they’re the only things hanging out here of late. I feel like I’ve got so many things on the go, and not enough time.

We’ve all been sick, cycling through the family like a train set without an off switch. Dylan. Mahalia. The husband. Me. Harry and Zach. Mahalia, again. Everyone seems to be getting over it except me. Just when I thought I was on the mend, bang! Hello sinuses. Breastfeeding means I’m limited to paracetamol and nasal spray. Sleep has gone out the window with Harry and Zach being snot-filled and needing more frequent feeds. Thanks to baby cheesus, they’re on the mend. Pity party for one, happening right here.

I’ve decided to give up the 52 week portrait series, for this year anyway. It was meant to inspire me to take more photos, interesting photos of my children. Instead it’s become a bit of a chore, with me racing on Saturday to get some average photos taken, pretty much the same as the week before. I need to get out of the house more. Ha! I’m rhyming.

Autumn’s here, school holidays have started. Summer is still hanging around for a bit, we’re back in the mid 30s this week. We’ve got plans: the lego movie, a trip to the museum, hanging out at the beach, sinuses to clear. Please, please, sinuses to clear.

Down to my bones.

I am so tired. I didn’t realise just how tired I was until this weekend.

It’s been about 12 months since I last had a full night’s sleep. Part and parcel of having a new baby, or two as the case may be, in the home. The boys are only six months old, but I haven’t slept through the night since I was about three months pregnant with them. The rapidly growing belly, and the squished bladder meant I was waking at least twice a night, usually more, especially at the end.

Harry and Zach usually sleep pretty well at night, going to bed at 7pm, and waking twice for a quick feed, back to bed, and starting the day around 6.30am. I usually have enough in me to get through the day, plus run or do strength training four or five nights a week, before collapsing into bed every night, my head barely touching the pillow before I am asleep. I could go to bed earlier, but I wouldn’t have time to run. Running gives me my me time, and when my days are filled with caring for two little babes, I need that time for myself, to be myself.

Six month vaccinations were on Thursday, which means, going by the last lot of vaccinations, a week or so of more frequent night wakings, and a need to be held more, and less sleeping during the day. We’re about halfway in. I am getting through the day just. I’ve felt guilty for not tying my shoe laces and hitting the pavement the last few nights, I’ve just not had it in me. I’m tired down to my bones.

It hit me over the weekend, I’m running on empty.  12  months of broken sleep, and six months of mothering two babies, plus two school age children, mean I’ve got nothing left in reserve. So when and already low sleep tank is depleted more than usual, something has got to give. That something, this week, is working out. And that’s okay, because this too, shall pass. This too, shall pass.