Travelling Overseas With 2 Kids

Travelling Overseas With 2 Kids

Hi guys.

Sorry I haven’t been in touch for over 2 weeks.

I was having a great time overseas in Thailand and when we got back we finished up our move into our new home 🙂

Things are settling down now and I’m glad to be back with you!

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Excited to jump on a plane together – Melbourne Airport

Today I thought I would write to you about how we recently travelled to Thailand with 2 kids, a pram and lots of luggage LOL

To begin with we had to prepare ourselves for the long haul.

It takes about 9 hours direct from Melbourne to Phuket and flying in economy class it’s not very glamorous or comfortable.

But, like all things we try and make the best of the situation.

In our group booking we knew there would be a lot of the family traveling with us so if we needed some extra hands then it was great to have them to lean on.

But in the end we wanted to complete the trip ‘on our own’ so that in future when we travel we know we can handle it – but it was good to know there’s a Plan B 😉

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Eme and her cousin looking at the big planes!

So here’s my Top 3 travel tips after our recent experience:

  1. Pre-trip prep work
  2. Games and iPad
  3. Sleep hacks

 


 

1. Prep work

I would strongly consider night time flights both outbound and returning home.

When we left Melbourne at 2pm to Thailand the kids were full of enthusiasm and were hard to ‘contain’. Then, once we arrived at the other end at almost 11pm Australian time the kids were pretty whiny and understandably irritable.

On the way back we left Phuket at 11pm (Thailand time) and the kids were already asleep before we had wheels off the ground! Emelina slept all the way through and Kyneton woke 2-3 times over the return trip mostly to feed.

If possible, try and leave at night time as it’s far easier for the kids and as a by product… easier for Mum and Dad 🙂

Another thing we did was prepare Eme (our 3yo) for the flight by explaining what we would be going through in the weeks leading up to the trip.

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Photo booth at Phuket Airport!

We explained to her in a playful way how big and busy the airport will be and she’ll have to hold hands with Mum and Dad so she doesn’t get lost, smile at the customs officer when they look at her passport, put her watch and travel bag through the xray machine and finally you’ll get to sit on the plane!

We would then mimic how the plane rattles when it starts down the run way and shudders when you take off the ground.

Emelina can be sensitive and can be very cautious in any new environment so when we explain things to her and describe what she may be experiencing we know that she’ll be much better prepared.

We even showed her Youtube videos of families going though the airport and being on the plane with kids of similar age and that seem to do the trick. Eme was very happy and excited when we arrived at the airport seeing her family especially her little cousins about to jump on a plane!

It’s funny now because whenever Eme sees a plane now she says: “We’re going to Thailand” 🙂 I wish Eme!

The last thing I would recommend is getting your passport organised early.

We had a few dramas with our application for Kyneton because the photo quality was not up to standard.

We went to the local Post Office and they were adamant that holding the baby behind a white background would be good enough. What happened? We got declined as his head position wasn’t quite right.

The second time we applied for Ky’s first passport we got declined a second time because there was a slight shadow on the photo – this time it was taken at the local pharmacy.

Finally we managed to get it through on the third photo attempt.

How? We used a white blanket on the ground and then asked the pharmacy attendant to take a photo of him from the top looking down. Wish someone told me that from the beginning. It would have saved us 3 weeks of time!

*TIP – I would recommend organising all your travel documents 3 months before you leave just in case something comes up especially if you are applying for a toddler


2. Games & iPad

On our Jetstar flight (a budget carrier) there are entertainment packages where for $10 you can have access to the TV and cartoons for the kids.

We were in a tough spot here philosophically because we only allow screen time for Eme at night when we ‘wind down’. I wrote about that previously here.

Should we allow it on the plane as a one off? Or should we be consistent?

We both decided on the way there that if Eme could get some sleep on the flight we’ll reward her with screen time.

She was asleep before the plan even took off!

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Haven’t even left yet guys 🙂

I think the excitement of it all and the big build up exhausted her. Poor Eme 😉

She probably slept for 2 hours which meant we had another 7 hours to try and keep her occupied.

I was focusing on managing Eme because she’s more active and required more attention to make the trip for us and everyone around us more comfortable.

Colouring books lasted about 30 mins before she got tired of that.

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Trying to pass the time

Trips to the toilet and walking up and down the aisle with Leki probably totalled 30 mins.

6 hours to account for….

I would probably say she had 3 hours of screen time where she watched 2 movies on the iPad and play some games.

The remaining 3 hours was sleep at the tail end of our trip with the help of our cushion (more on that later).

Kyneton on the other hand was pretty low maintenance.

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Eme watching movies with her favourite unicorn headphones

All he wanted was to be fed every 3 hours and cuddled. He probably slept 4-5 times for around 45 mins each time. The rest of the time Leki and I took turns holding him or one of the family members took him of a little while to hang out.

He was getting a little irritable by the end of the flight and I think it was just the new stuffy environment he was in.

Neither of our kids had trouble with ‘popping’ in the ears at take off or landing although we were prepared with lollies for Eme and breastfeeding for Ky.

Always room for improvement 🙂


3. Sleep Hacks

I would probably say we need to focus more on our sleep efforts next time. The kids were fine it’s more about Leki and I.

Kids first.

I had been doing some research about a product that is an inflatable cushion that creates a ‘bed’ for a toddler.

After speaking to my sister we decided we’d buy one for our toddlers to see if would make the travel a bit easier.

After my experience I would highly recommend Kooshy Kids for your overseas travel if it’s more then 4 hours and your toddler needs a good quality sleep!

*TIP – Just make sure your carrier allows this product as we had a bit of resistance from the flight attendants (we had gained approval pre-flight from Jetstar but the flight crew weren’t informed)

The cushion is easily inflatable with a manual pump in only 10-15 minutes and you can add it as apart of your carry on luggage.

It works by inflating into the ‘negative space’ under your legs when you are sitting on a flight.

We used it in the final 3 hours of sleep that Eme got on the way to Thailand and she was very comfortable in the fetal position.

Unfortunately the hand pump was broken when we used it to inflate some floaties for the pool at the Thailand resort and so we were unable to use the Kooshy Kids cushion on the way back.

The result?

Eme was very uncomfortable with her attempted sleep in the fetal position and she was splayed out across Leki’s lap and her seat on the flight home. Poor girl!

One thing we saw but didn’t apply ourselves (wish we did though) was using the tray tables as a bassinet for Ky.

Imagine dropping the tray tables down, laying some blankets down and putting a baby on the makeshift bassinet. That’s what my sister did on the return flight with her baby but I didn’t think to do it myself.

Next time I will be using the cushion for Eme and the tray tables for Ky!

Lastly, we had focused so much on the kids that we forgot all about ourselves.

Next time we travel overseas I will be doing some research on a neck pillow and one of those face masks with earplugs so I can get some quality sleep. More on that next time.


Well that’s a little insight into our trip overseas.

Although it only covers some of the struggles with travelling with a little family I must say we had a great time!

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We’ll be back!

Not only in Phuket but enjoying our first time on a plane together as a family.

One of many firsts I’m sure 🙂

Have a great day.

Belinda xo

Goodbye Faithful Friend

Goodbye Faithful Friend

Yesterday my little dog died.

I patted her goodbye as I went off to town and when I returned in the afternoon I was surprised that she didn’t run out to greet me. She was getting quite deaf but usually the cat nudged her when I came through the gate and they would both run to meet me. The cat didn’t meet me either and as I stepped onto the terrace I saw the cat watching me through the glass door.

I looked to the side and there was my little dog, lying on her favourite blanket, head on paws, fast asleep. I bent down to pat her and realised she was gone.

Tears welled up, as I remembered the many happy years we had shared…..the day we chose her from a litter and my husband put her in his pocket, the time our small granddaughters decked her with necklaces and tied a baby bonnet on her head as she sat patiently and the way she liked to sit at your feet with one paw resting on your shoe.

Sophy and our cat, Sox, were best friends.

They trotted after my husband as he checked water troughs and fences. They sat, one each side of me, as I gardened or picked tomatoes, then followed me back to the house. Often they were to be found, lying side by side, stretched out in the sunshine.

As Sophy became more deaf, Sox would tap her to make her aware they were needed. Sox is now dogging our steps, obviously missing her companion.

Sophy is buried in our pets’ cemetery, alongside Gyp, the most faithful companion to our boys as they navigated childhood.

Gyp was the ball-fetcher when the cricket ball or football went out of bounds, having learnt how to latch onto the football laces. Gyp was the one our four-year-old painted with his older brother’s model paints and when questioned, claimed “Gyp had got wet and went rusty”. Gyp liked to pose when the camera came out and there are few photos of our boys without him.

How grateful we all are for the wonderful love and companionship these little dogs have unstintingly given us, the empathy our boys learnt from being with them, for other animals, and the sheer joy they brought to our lives.

Sophy was over seventeen years old, fit and active, apart from some deafness, to the day she died. Wouldn’t we all like to live a full and busy life and then gently fall asleep in our old age ?

Farewell our good and faithful friend.

What Happens If My Husband Dies Suddenly?

What Happens If My Husband Dies Suddenly?

Hello everyone.

This post comes to you directly from Thailand while I’m away on holidays.

There are so many things I thought to write about while I’m enjoying time with my family – traveling with kids, things to do in Phuket, a review on our resort or maintaining my standard of lifestyle while on holidays.

Being away with my family makes me grateful for all the good things in my life.

But a thought that I can’t shrug in this time away reflecting is “what happens if my husband dies unexpectedly”.

Doom and gloom sort of subject I know but it’s something that is important to me.

You see I’m a full time stay at home Mum. I help make my house a home. I run the kids around. I enjoy cooking and cleaning. It’s how I best serve my little Family.

Our household income comes solely from my husband.

This is the sacrifice we decided to make once I finished up full time work almost 4 years ago.

I’m at home and he’s at work.

So if my husband suddenly passes away – our family will be in clear danger.

We talked about all sorts of scenarios if this happens.

The result?

Confidence.

Confidence to know what to do if an event happens.

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Here are the Top 3 things we did to ensure our future if either of us or both of us suddenly pass away:

  1. Insurance
  2. Will
  3. Estate planning

1. Insurance

We like to think about insurance as paying for peace of mind.

You can choose to spend some of your money or not. Totally up to you!

There are all sorts of insurances out there for the ‘in case that happens’ scenario.

Private health insurance to cover you if you need services at the hospital.

Car insurance for damage to your car.

Funeral insurance to help ease the ‘burden’ of your funeral costs.

Travel insurance for all the things that might happen while you’re abroad.

Pet insurance for your little family companion at home.

I think there is insurance you can purchase for anything you can think of!

Here is my simple summary for our insurance explained by our family professional.

  • Life insurance

If either of us die then there is a lump sum payment that can paid out to help the remaining family members

  • Trauma and Permanent Injury

This type of insurance covers us if either of us sustain an injury that is permanent in nature.

For example if either of us were paralysed or permanently incapacitated then a lump sum is paid with an ongoing monthly income.

  • Trauma

Trauma insurance is something that will cover you if you sustain a serious injury but you are likely to recover.

Let’s say Leki has a car accident and needs 6 months to recover from his injuries. This insurance coverage is activated as his other insurance policies do not cover this type of injury.

This is a lump sum payment with can also work in conjunction with Income Protection below.

  • Income Protection

This type of insurance product is for when you are unable to work and a regular monthly amount (you have previously verified through your tax returns) is paid to you to cover your expenses while you are not able to work.

Think of Income Protection as your ‘weekly pay’ that you would be getting if you were working. That cash flow would help you buy groceries, put petrol in the car and pay for things that the family needs.

If you got struck down by an injury playing sport for example and you were unable to work for 2 months while you rehabilitated then you can action your income protection insurance.

So there you go.

As I understand it – if you are thinking about your insurance cover when you are ‘younger’ say in your 20s and 30s then the cost of your insurance will remain ‘cheaper’ then if you consider taking on insurance when you’re older and the risk of dying is higher.

I know this all sounds really dark and gloomy but I prefer to think and talk about these things with my family so we are clear on the best plan moving forward.

Just talking about it makes me confident.

It used to be that thing you thought about but never openly talked about it.


2. Will

Through our family lawyer Leki and I organised both our Wills.

It’s quite basic and doesn’t involve too many fancy things but it outlines what should happen if either or both of us suddenly pass away.

We approached the people we trust who we have named in the Will for their approval and counselled them on what our wishes are in the unlikely event that something does happen.

We talk openly about scenarios and what the lump sum payment from our insurances will be used for plus to assist with the ongoing costs of raising our children.

Talking about our game plan and likely scenarios really helped us but also assisted our appointed members on their accepted roles.

This is something that we review every year so that it is updated as we organised our Will when Eme was 1yo.

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3. Estate Planning

What does that mean?

Well, to me it’s about what we plan to do with all our things or assets.

Both physical and non-physical.

You see it may be one things to have all the money in the world but what’s the point if you can’t enjoy it or more importantly pass it onto your children and help set up future generations.

I often think about stories of generational wealth being lost within 1-2 generations.

For example, let’s say your grandparents work hard to establish a business.

Then that grandparents teach their children who grow up and build the business to a new level of success.

Often, once the grandchildren are introduced to the family business all they have ever seen is the success and they tend to ‘enjoy and then spoil’ the success that their grandparents built.

This is not always the case but it’s very common.

I love this quote on this topic with this article – “The first generation builds it. The second generation sustains it. The third generation spoils it.”

The third generation rule stats that over 90% of great wealth over 2 generations lost by the 3rd generation. Crazy!

So from our perspective it’s one thing to have material wealth but it’s just as important to teach our kids about our philosophy of things to set them up for success as best we can.

Simple truths that have stood the test of time.

Don’t spend more then you make.

Work hard for the things you want.

Be happy and grateful for all that you have.

Finish all the food on your plate.

Don’t give up on your dreams.


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So I would like to say that this post is not something you should take as gospel.

Think about your family and what would happen if you get thrown a big curve ball.

How will your family survive and thrive if one or both parents suddenly die?

Have some hard conversations with your partner.

Self educate and ask some hard questions to your chosen professionals in this space.

Try your best to teach your kids and lead by example.

I don’t want to come off as preachy as I’m not a professional in this space but what I can tell you is that I can sleep a little bit easier at night knowing that if something does happen we have a game plan – regardless how painful it may be.

As they say – Knowledge is Power.

Sending you positive vibes 😉

With love,

Belinda xo

[UPDATE] Size 10 Dress By Christmas (Pt.VI)

[UPDATE] Size 10 Dress By Christmas (Pt.VI)

Hi all.

This just in – I’VE ACHIEVED MY GOAL 🙂

I am officially at pre-baby weight 6 months after having my second baby on 3 Jan 2018.

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How did I do it?

Well, this is the 6th episode of my weight loss journey which I update monthly and you can review below the story from beginning to end!

Episode #1 – Jan

Episode #2 – Feb

Episode #3 – Mar

Episode #4 – Apr

Episode #5 – May


The goal of this chain post was to track my weight loss as I maintain breastfeeding for my newborn son Ky for over 12 months


What’s the latest?

Well… I leave for Thailand tomorrow. HOORAY!

I’m 6 months along and I’ve reached my goal of being my pre-baby weight before I fly away for 2 weeks!

Well actually I’m EVEN LESS then my pre-baby weight last measuring 73.9kg! (I was around 75kg before baby no. 2)

So after much thought and goal setting what’s my new challenge to aim for?

Fitting into a size 10 dress by Christmas 2018!

I’m currently floating around a size 14-16 depending on the make and type of dress but I’m going to love squeezing into a summer dress in the next 6 months.

Just thinking about that makes me smile.

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I lost 21kgs in 6 months. What a ride 🙂

Want the know the best bits to how I lost the weight?

Well… here’s my Top 3 bits of advice to help you along your journey:

My Top 3 Advice 

  1. Be happy and find the balance
  2. Be ok with slow results but consistent effort
  3. Celebrate everything

1. Be Happy & Find The Balance

Sounds a bit cliche and overused but that doesn’t make it untrue.

How you feel is the most important measuring stick 🙂

If you are plus sized and happy. All the more power to you.

If you’re happy with being frumpy – no one can say anything to make you feel different.

If you’re not happy being frumpy then only you alone are responsible to improving the way you feel.

Regardless of my body shape I always try and stay happy.

Revisiting my original goal which is to ensure my newborn Kyneton can continue to breastfeed for at least 12 months while I strive to lose weight safely.

I’m now 6 months along and he’s started some mashed solids and going along like a little champion!

Things weren’t always so rosy though.

He had some problems sleeping at night and I was starting to lose volume with my breast milk.

Instead of sulking and being depressed I decided to research with my husband and we are now better informed and better prepared with a ‘power smoothie’, lactation supplements and home made boobies cookies to boost up my supply.

There’s been NO problems with breast milk ever since.

What’s the result of this positive action and research – happiness.

Other times I could find myself in negative self talk and wind myself up to the point where I’d almost eat something naughty just because I can.

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It’s in these times of weakness that I lean on 2 things:

  1. My husband
  2. My tracking sheet

I pointed out in my earlier post on losing weight after my first child is that having an accountability partner is really important.

Whether it’s a friend or your partner – someone is better then no one.

We all have times of weakness or struggle with being ‘good’ so leaning on my husband worked really well for me.

Another strategy is to track your weight loss regularly because the numbers on a piece of paper doesn’t lie.

Imagine seeing your numbers and it shows you losing 2kgs over the last weeks. It will strengthen your drive to stay good and compliant.

So there you go.

Try and have a ‘Plan B’ because will power can only take you so far.

My Plan B was hubby and the tracking sheet 🙂

Hope it helps!

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Mother’s Day 4km Walk

2. Be OK with Slow Progress but Consistent Effort

I touched on the tracking sheet above and I have to emphasise that it is really important to measure your progress (in my humble opinion).

Why?

Because any progress is better then no progress.

Let’s pick the worst case scenario.

Let’s pretend you’ve tried your very best to be good.

On your research you decide to eat really well and commit to regular exercise.

After 4 weeks of being really good you notice that you’re not losing weight, in fact, you’re putting on weight!

What the hell is going on I hear you saying!?

Well the way I see it at the very least you know that you can push through and complete 4 weeks of discipline, you have eaten well and started exercising regularly.

It is at this important cross roads that YOU need to make a decision.

Will I quit or will I battle on?

Quitting reinforces that it ‘didn’t work’. The end. I’m going to be fat for ever.

Or…

I’m going to refuse to give in and dive deeper into what is stopping me from getting weight loss success.

In my weight loss journey over the last 6 months there was a period of time where I struggled to lose weight for almost 3 WEEKS!

I know how it feels to hit the wall despite being very good and sacrificing things for the greater result.

What happened next?

I lost 1.5kg in 4 days and went from being in 80s to the 70s in kgs.

That was a major breakthrough for my physical health and more importantly  my mental resilience.

I know that if I’m in pain and suffering all I have to do is be consistent and persist and the results will come slowly.

That is one of the biggest lesson this experiment has taught me.

And the reward?

Sure it’s great that I feel and look good for my trip to Thailand but what’s more important is knowing that I pushed myself and didn’t take any shortcuts.

Best feeling ever!

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My sister’s birthday at Taco Bill

3. Celebrate Everything

This might be a given but I celebrated everything.

If I had McDonald’s with my family for a little treat then I would enjoy it knowing that I’ve ‘earned’ it.

Sure I know it may not be the best thing to eat all the time but now and then is harmless.

Ditto fish and chips, pizza and other takeaway.

I don’t let the fear of putting on weight slow me down anymore because I know that if I get back into my routine that it’s will come off me after a couple of days.

That knowledge didn’t come overnight – it came with time and patience.

Similarly if I lose weight from being good then great – Hi-5’s all around 😉

But I always reinforce it to myself that the numbers a result of hard work and discipline. If I get caught being lazy and complacent then it can easily change!

Having a tough night with the kids not sleeping so well – no worries I’ll enjoy sleeping with Emelina to settle her because she won’t need me to settle her forever.

Kyneton has been crying and sooking all day but I choose to look at the brighter side of things and try and play with him.

Leki finishes work late and falls asleep early while we’re talking in bed. Although I can get angry I try and remember that he drives long distances and I thank God that he comes home to us safely every night.

I choose to celebrate the good things in life because there’s already plenty of things that we can’t control.

Celebrate everything and be happy.

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#Phuket2moro

With love,

Belinda xo

Moving House

Moving House

Hi guys,

Today I’m going to talk to you about moving houses.

It’s one of those situations that a lot of people can empathise with because it can be a big pain in the backside!

I read somewhere that there are 3 things that people can relate to in terms of ‘stress’ – from highest to lowest:

  1. A family member passing away
  2. Having a serious injury or car accident
  3. Moving house

Changing utility services from the old location to the new one, internet connections, organising mailing forward service from the post office and packing boxes. It’s all a big struggle.

But we tend to look at it in a different light. For example:

  • Hubby and I get review all the old utility fees and see if we can negotiate a better deal with the new connection
  • I see it as a chance to freshen up as I can get rid of all the old things I’ve been holding on to (Yes – I’m a closet hoarder. I like to hold on to old things like they’re never going out of fashion)
  • Sorting through all ‘those things’ at the very back of the closet you can find long lost items. That old cardigan, old photos you completely forgot about and that missing ear ring 🙂

We are preparing to make a little move from where we live in Kyneton VIC 15 mins closer to the big city of Melbourne.

We are still roughly 45 mins from the CBD but a lot things we are involved with are in our new town of Gisborne.

Eme’s school and gymnastics. I’m a touch closer to family and friends and Leki can travel a lot easier between his work locations. Excited much!


So I was thinking about my own experiences moving to and from different houses growing up.

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1985 | My Dad 🙂

Let me start at the beginning:

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1984 | My parents getting married in my grandparent’s backyard

Talking with my Mum she recalls living in a little unit with my Dad in Reservoir (an inner city suburb to the north of Melbourne) behind my grandparents house.

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1992 | 90s fashion is making a come back 🙂

Fast forward a few years and my parents moved in and out of a number of homes but my memories of Heyington Avenue, Thomastown (an outer north suburb of Melbourne) is where a lot of my early child memories were made.

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2004| My Dad laying brick down

I began primary school at this house. I jumped over my neighbour’s fence and played with the dog. My aunty and uncle lived two doors down and my church community was nearby.

A lot of fond memories live here.

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2005 | My sister and I in our ‘back house’

After 6 years living on Heyington Ave my parents bought their first home which is where they currently live in the same suburb, Thomastown.

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2004 | Chilling out with my girls at home

Here I would live out my teenage years, help bring up my younger sisters and cousins, host many families and parties in the backyard, help my Dad build a separate house in the back, finish high school, start part time work at the local shoe store, walk back a forth from the train station at 6am for work in the city.

In my young adult years my older sister and I moved into the ‘back house’ which was a great feeling! We had our own space but I was still in the comfort of the family nest with Mum’s cooking 🙂

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It is also at this home where my husband Leki proposed to me in front of our parents. This home will always hold a special place in my heart!

So I want to also talk about another special time in my life with regards to moving house.

When Leki and I were getting quite serious in our relationship he asked my parents if I could move in with him into his apartment. This was a big deal for both of us.

In many cultures young women are to stay at home until you get married. Our culture also encourages this but it’s not strictly enforced but I always knew I was supposed to stay home until I got hitched.

In the end both our parents agreed and allowed us to move in together.

On November 2008 slightly before my 23rd birthday – I left my family home forever.

Although there was a lot of excitement doing something new I also felt a heaviness in my heart because my time at home had come to an end.

So from Nov 2008 to Apr 2010 Leki and I lived together in an inner high rise apartment in Southbank.

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2008 | Our local Chinese spot on Bourke St Melbourne

This was a great time for me as not only had I just moved out of home, it was right in the middle of the big city!

I worked nearby and Leki travelled to the West for his work. Over the weekend it was an easy stroll to the local night spots, food markets and trendy bars. What a time to be alive 🙂

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2009 | Dinner at Crown Casino

In the apartment was Leki’s brother and his girlfriend (now wife) and although we were all courteous and respectful in our little apartment I think we were all ready to have our own space.

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2008 | My sister-in-law and I on my 23rd birthday at our apartment

So in Apr 2010 Leki and I moved into our first home Caroline Springs – an outer western suburb of Melbourne. It was another milestone for us as we were now a suburban family.

All we needed was the pet dog and some kids 🙂

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2010 | Moving to the suburbs!

In May 2012 we moved from Caroline Springs to a small unit near the airport in Tullamarine.

The small unit allowed us to save $$ and was accessible to work for both Leki and I while we worked hard to establish ourselves.

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2015 | Our little girl Eme in our little unit in Tullamarine

It is in this little unit that we welcomed our first child – Emelina. This little unit was so close to everything, freeways, shopping centres and my local Mother’s Group 🙂

While we were in Tullamarine we decided it was time really think about our lifestyle as a family. Where do we want to live? How do we want the kids to grow up? What else is out there?

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2016 | The Chopped Festival in Maldon with Eme’s Aunty

It was around this time that Leki was offered a working opportunity in the Macedon Ranges. Perfect! This was the sign. After 6 months of thinking about it we took a deep breath and decided to dive in.

We made the tree change to Kyneton – roughly an hour out of the Melbourne CBD.

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2016 | Trentham Falls

On Sept 2016 we called country Victoria home.

We even named our second child after our town – Kyneton! That’s how much we love it out here.

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2018 | Bathing Kyneton in Kyneton 🙂

We’ve hosted birthday parties and sleepovers here.

Met a lot of great locals and community groups. Seen and experienced the great outdoors. Tasted a lot of the local produce. Watched with pride as our little girl roamed free in our sizeable backyard on her birthday parties!

And so it is with a heavy heart we prepare to leave Kyneton to pursue new goals and our desire to be in the country remains strong as ever the only difference is that we now call Gisborne home!

So that’s small insight into our current living arrangement as we look to move soon.

In the last 10 years – from 2008 to 2018 – I’ve moved out of my family home into an inner city apartment, moved into a house in the suburbs, relocated into a small unit block moved onto bigger land in the country and now we make another move.

I feel this helps us to be resilient in moving for future travels.

Who knows, maybe we won’t need to have a fixed address and we’ll caravan around Australia for a while. Or maybe we’ll move back into the city. Or maybe we’ll want to move to the beach? Maybe we’ll explore interstate? Who knows… we might even move overseas?

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2019-? | Where to next?

Whatever the future holds I can only learn from what the past has taught me.

Nothing is certain.

Enjoy each day and embrace whatever tomorrow brings.

With love,

Belinda xo

Kids and Sport

Kids and Sport

Hi guys,

Today I would like to share the first real sport we’ve placed Emelina in – gymnastics.

To date we’ve had her in a short swimming class (Mums and bubs) and other local ‘play’ events but this is her first real effort at weekly sport/exercise.

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How does gymnastics work?

Well to be honest it’s more specialised play at this age 3-4yo group.

She’s grouped together with other kids who are at a similar motor skill, movement patterns, spatial awareness and memory called Comets.

 

We spend 1 hour in the gym per week at this stage and in the Comets group the parents play a vital role in facilitating what the instructor wants from the kids.

As you can imagine a lot of kids this age are very excited and the teacher can struggle to rein in their enthusiasm – especially Emelina 🙂

Once Eme gets the hang of the weekly routine and shows that she’s mastered the movements she progresses to the next group – Meteors.

It could almost be 2-3 years until Eme progresses so a lot depends on how well she responds to her training and if she continues to enjoy it.

Once the kids develop and train independently parents are welcome to watch the kids practice in the observation deck from above.

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Play and observation deck above

But I wanted to go through the thought process on why we picked gymnastics for Eme.

You see, both Leki and I were pretty sporty growing up. I was a keen netballer and Leki played soccer and rugby union.

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Playing netball in 2014

We both played in team sports.

We had our fair share of dizzy highs and tough lows and the thing about sport is that you learn a lot of great lessons along the way.

It teaches how you work together in a team environment for the common goal, how to gracefully accept defeat, make sacrifices for your team members and to always try your best.

I always wondered how I would go in a sport where I only have myself to depend on. So if I ‘won or lost’ it was completely on my own effort.

For example, when I played netball, if I played poorly it wouldn’t be so bad because my team members can help me by lifting their game to a higher standard. Or if we lost because my team mate made a poor decision we would all suffer the consequences.

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3rd Grade | Footscray Rugby Union Club | 2013

In an individual sport I think it teaches you to be even more disciplined because you are only going to get out of it as much as you put in.

I think of athletics, swimming, tennis, boxing, running and plenty more.

Can you imagine showing up to training with only you and the coach working on your skills. It’d be tough work! When you have other people around you in team sport you can be more enthusiastic because they can pump you up and vice versa.

Not so much with solo sports like gymnastics.

So why have we decided on gymnastics?

Because of the discipline.

Of course she’s still young and enjoying running around and jumping about but when she’s of a certain age she will have to knuckle down and really learn to persist. 

No one else can do it for her. She can’t hide behind her team mates if she’s not performing well. She has to be good enough or simply train and try harder.

The other reason is because gymnastics can simply get the best out of your body.

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Our little gymnast

Do you watch the top level athletes at a big international event like the Olympics Games?

My favourite athlete were always the gymnasts. Bodies carved out of marble but as bendable as a rubber band. Not only were they strong they were flexible too! That is something I would love for Eme to have.

Strong mind and body but a flexible spirit because her body won’t be the limitation.

I appreciate all the different types of sports that are available to us but we’ll stick with gymnastics and see how we go. The great thing about gymnastics is that she can use her ‘powers’ for other sports if she decides to try them out.

How did you pick sports for your children? Do you simply pick whatever your interests were or did you leave it completely up to them?

Healthy mind, healthy body 🙂

With love,

Belinda xo

The Smack

The Smack

Hi all,

Today I’d like to talk about disciplining our kids.

Well, at the moment it will be a report on our 3yo Emelina and finding the right balance.

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Our little outdoor girl 🙂

The challenge we’re struggling with is smacking our kids vs positive encouragement.

Let me be honest.

We smack Eme.

Not all the time only when she’s showing behaviour that we want to correct asap.

For example Eme may move too close to the oven while it’s steaming hot and after warning her many times she continues to push the boundaries then…. smaaaaack!

Or she starts to talk out of turn while I’m on the phone and despite my positive reinforcement she continues on and then…. smaaaack!

Every time I smack her I feel remorse immediately.

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Duck lips!

I’m in this strange time in her development where she can communicate (very basic) with me but sometimes doesn’t quite understand what I’m asking of her.

It’s as if sometimes she responds better to the physical pain from a smack.

She learns that what she just did was wrong and rarely repeats the same behaviour.

We’re mindful that we don’t want to reinforce the smack as the leading strategy but only after the positive language and reinforcement has failed.

So for example – every time we warn Emelina that the oven is on and hot now she understands what it means now and will repeat to us “oven is hot stay away” 🙂

Other times though we’ve let her learn from her own mistakes.

When she was 1.5yo and pretty confident moving around our house, she was trying to climb up and down our couch set.

We warned Eme “be careful Eme you might fall”.

She turned and gave us a cheeky smile and tried to climb the couch – one leg hanging off the edge and the other trying to scramble up.

Then she almost got up before her trailing leg wasn’t anchored properly on the couch and she fell flat on her backside and gave herself a big fright.

She burst into tears but then we explained to her again that she needs to learn to be careful when doing dangerous things.

What was the underlying trigger for her memory – physical pain.


If she was naughty and did not listened…. smaaaack. Physical pain.

If she fell off the couch…. Physical pain.


I believe there is value in learning through pain during these early years.

The tough task will be when our children are a little older and able to communicate effectively – then the smack with not be as effective.

I’ve observed over time that as children grow and develop they respond to circumstances differently.

By the time Eme is around 5yo she’ll be able to talk more clearly, express her desires and frustrations better and we can outline our expectations about her behaviour.

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Eme’s little friend “Simba”

There will be no need for a smack at this age onward.

But as she’s 3yo and testing the boundaries we are trying to be extra patient and practice “Curiosity over Judgement” but sometimes a little tap on the backside can set them straight 😉

There is this practice in our culture that if you are naughty when you are growing up you can be sent to live with Family in the Pacific Islands.

It may sound like a holiday but it isn’t. Believe me!

In Tonga,  misbehaving kids in school are often smacked by the teacher – corporal punishment is widely accepted.

A daily practice children often spend a period of the day cleaning the classroom and weeding the school grounds.

Remember that Tonga is regarded as a third world country so the comforts in Australia can be a distant memory. A good way to learn some humility when the child is sent back home after 3-6 months in the Islands!

As often happens both Leki and I got much more then a smack as we were growing up but we turned out ok.

How do you guys discipline your kids? Do you believe in tough love? Or are you totally against any corporal punishment?

Even though we smack Eme when the situation calls for it we do it in a loving way 🙂 How could you not love this cheeky spirit?

I’d be really interested to hear what your thoughts are on this one 😉

With love,

Belinda xo

1 YR Later

1 YR Later

Hi guys,

Thank you for your support of my blog.

It’s been 1 YEAR since I posted my very first blog post 🙂

I remember feeling embarrassed and scared about putting my ideas out to the universe and talking about the things that interest me.

Wow – looking back, I can’t express how much I’ve changed and grown over the last year.

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Sept 2007 – child free days 🙂

I’ve celebrated 10 years of friendship with my best friend, my husband Leki (Sept 2017).

Celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary (Nov 2017).

HAPPY COUPLE AT RECEPTION (2)
26 Nov 2011

Added to our growing family with our second child – Kyneton (Jan 2018).

Watched with growing pride as our 3yo daughter Emelina started her formal education at our local Montessori school and gymnastics classes (Feb 2018).

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Our lil monkeys

Building my little business (More updates to come soon!)

Spent time with family and friends celebrating life…

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…

I’m learning to accept myself.

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The post today is about honesty.

I honestly don’t know how I got this great life when there are so many unfortunate people around me.

I honestly don’t know how I managed to earn my beautiful family.

I honestly don’t know how I got through high school.

I’m not the best at spelling but we work on this blog together so it works out well.

I get confused and embarrassed because I get red easily when I talk to people because I’m not wanting to mix my words up and make myself look silly.

In the end it’s all about how you feel in your own skin.

No one is responsible for your happiness but you.

And if you agree with that then the opposite is also true…

No one is responsible for your unhappiness other then YOU!

With that being said I’d like to review how I can sometimes OVER estimate what I can get done in the short term but UNDER estimate what I can achieve over the long term.

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Heading towards 75kg!

For example after reviewing the last 5 months I had grand visions of losing a heap of weight quickly after having baby no.2 but as I found out it’s a struggle and requires more patience.

Another thing I thought would be straight forward was enrolling my 3yo daughter into our local ‘alternative’ school. I’ve since learnt that there’s a whole lot more that comes with Montessori and to be consistent with Eme’s learning at school – we have to continue her education at home. I’ll have a whole update on this down the track 🙂

But… the opposite is also true.

Something to celebrate for me personally is that over the last 12 months I’ve slowly shared with you little bits of my life and my family that I don’t get to share with most people. I still get nervous sharing some things about me.

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Ky’s Baptism

I’ve written about my troubles with breast feeding, managing my long held anxieties, juggling 2 x kids at home, Montessori school, gymnastics, moving to the Country and being apart of different community groups… something that I never would have imagined 1 year ago!

With all the challenges and successes over the last 12 months I can only imagine how the next 12 months will have in store for me.

I’ll have to wait and see 😉

With love,

Belinda xo

Me Time

Me Time

I was thinking about “me time”. Yes, I can hear mothers of babies and young children muttering “there is no time for ‘me time’”. And mothers of school age children who either work and/or spend precious time ferrying children to sport or ballet or music or just play dates muttering the same. STOP!

Mothers with babies and young children, I know you often use that time to catch up with some household task but try to spend even half an hour of their nap time doing something just for you whether it’s reading, going out into the garden, exercising or whatever. If your child doesn’t nap then early on get them used to going into their bedroom with books or toys with the door closed for an hour for “their special time”.

My husband used to give me Tuesday evening off, I’d go to art class and he was responsible for the children. That time apart from family responsibilities and having adult conversation was a lifesaver. Perhaps for you it could be some other hobby, maybe book club or just catching up with girlfriends where every sentence isn’t interrupted by crying or “Jimmy don’t do that” or “yes darling that is clever”.

Mothers of school age children, obviously if you’re also working you are desperately time poor but at least you do get to have time away and the opportunity to have adult speech. Stay at home mothers usually spend a lot of time helping at school and doing unpaid volunteer work plus the constant ferrying around. Make friends with the other mothers so that if there ever is an emergency or you’re running late you feel able to ask for help.

Keeping sane and having time with your partner/husband is the best argument for establishing set bedtimes for the children. During the week because my husband didn’t arrive home until 6:30 I used to feed the children early, cleaning up and putting our meals aside. Then after time catching up with the boys doings, he’d put them to bed with a story, we’d both kiss them goodnight and then zap our dinner and have it in peace and quiet. On weekends we all ate together, cleaned up together, did family things, went out together as a family.

Every month our parents gave us a Friday or Saturday night off and we’d go out to dinner and perhaps see a movie, go to a concert or dance or catch up with friends. It was good for the children to spend time alone with their grandparents as well. Remember your children will grow up and leave home and you don’t want to find yourself living with a partner you no longer know. Those years after your children leave can be some of the best and freest of your life together.

DO IT NOw!

And seeing I’m on the Advice Wagon, I know it takes extra time but when your young child offers to help with household chores like getting dinner or cleaning etc accept that help. Don’t wait until they are teenagers and then suddenly start asking for or yelling at them to help. Make it an expected thing from an early age.

Most of all take time to enjoy each stage of your life. It passes so quickly. As someone once said “It’s not the destination but the journey that is important”.

[UPDATE] Losing Weight After Having A Baby (Pt.V)

[UPDATE] Losing Weight After Having A Baby (Pt.V)

Hi all.

Thanks for dropping in 🙂

This is the 5th episode of my weight loss journey which I update monthly. Click below to review the story so far!

Episode #1 – Jan

Episode #2 – Feb

Episode #3 – Mar

Episode #4 – Apr

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The goal of this chain post is to track my weight loss but maintain breastfeeding for my newborn son Ky for over 12 months.


What’s the latest?

Well… my original intention was to drop weight from almost 95kg to 69kg within 6 months while managing my newborn son Kyneton.

I’m 5 months along and currently weighing 77.7kg and my adjusted goal is now to achieve pre-baby weight of 75kg by the time we travel to Thailand in late-June.

So I have to lose 2.7kgs in 6 weeks.

I should be able to reach that goal – fingers crossed!

I’ll still work on losing weight down to my dream weight of 69kg over the next 3-6 months. I hope you enjoy the process as I report it to you 🙂

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Top 3 Talking Points

  1. Ky is still irritable at night
  2. BIG improvement with breastmilk
  3. Being consistent

1. Ky is still irritable at night

Our son Kyneton was a dream baby for the first 2-3 months.

He was intermittently sleeping throughout the day but was giving us almost 6-8 hours at night – great trade off!

Then around week 12-13 we noticed he was getting incredibly irritable at night and wanted to feed every 3-4 hours.

Leki thought he may be ready for puree/mashed solids but I was wanting to hold out until he was 4 months. So we held on for another 4 weeks with feeding him solely on breast milk.

In the last week leading into month 4 we started some small samples of mashed banana and mashed avocado.

After a few missed attempts he took to it really well and hungrily ate what we gave him.

So we are now going to review our feeding routine and consider giving him solids with each meal and top up with breast milk.

We will then monitor how he goes sleeping at night as a result of our ‘experiment’.

One extra thing I would like to add is that Leki has been researching on other reasons why Ky may be generally irritable.

Earlier I documented that Ky was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and he was very stressed.

Leki’s research suggested that some babies can be quite sensitive and hormonally imbalanced as a result of the trauma in those early moments in life. As a result, the health of the child can be compromised.

More on that in the next update in June once we have more evidence of what helps/doesn’t work for us 😉

2. BIG improvement on Breast milk

Got Milk?

I have 🙂

Here’s what worked for me.

I’ve established a good base of eating well, having good sleep and monitoring my stress levels.

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Highly recommend

On top of that I have supplemented with lactation support tablets and lactation cookies.

After some research I found that the Herbs of Gold brand had the ingredients that worked for me. It helps boost all the necessary goodies that help my mammary glands produce milk in volume to keep Ky happy.

Lactation cookies were pretty expensive from local stores for only 10 cookies so I decided to make them.

Here’s the boobie cookies recipe/instructions I sourced from Pinterest:

It comes out very toasty and most importantly – tasty! Both Leki and Emelina give their stamp of approval 🙂

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Yummo!

3. Being consistent

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In the tracking sheet you can see there are 2 weeks where despite how good I was being the weight didn’t come off.

I practised my intermittent fasting window of 8 hours, tried my best to maintain a short HIIT exercise program daily and ate very well but… nothing 🙁

Instead of beating myself up I tried to maintain my mindset and kept a healthy optimism about it all.

From the 21 Apr (80.9kg) to 4 May (79kg) I was hovering around the same weight for over 2 weeks! I must admit it was a struggle to maintain my positive outlook because I wasn’t losing and maintaining any weight loss.

But then I got some good momentum over the following week as I steadily dropped down the weight by STICKING TO MY GUNS 🙂

I’m glad I did because I’ve got my second wind 🙂

As I was hovering around the low 80kg for almost 2 weeks it started to come off.

Key take away – BE CONSISTENT!

Here are some small changes in how I run my day outlined below:

  • Usual light breakfast at 7:30am which is slightly earlier then usual
  • My first 10min HIIT session with before or after breakfast (probably doing this twice a week now)
  • Do my ONE thing if I’m at home or I might be out of the house for Montessori/Gymnastics from 9am-11am
  • Have lunch 11-12pm
  • Try and squeeze in my second 10min HIIT session (trying to do this daily)
  • “Dinner” at 2-3pm
  • Fast from 3-4pm to 7:30am
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105cm in May 2018. Lost 5cm in circumference in 4 weeks!

More to share next month as we’re getting closer and closer to Thailand 🙂

#36DaysToPhuket

 

With love,

Belinda xo