Caravan trip for 2 weeks

Caravan trip for 2 weeks

Hi guys,

I’d like to share with you some things we have planned for the future.

I’ve written in the past about how we like to have regular but small trips to keep us fresh.

In 2020 we plan to travel around country Victoria for 2 weeks with a little camper trailer.

Then we are looking to build up towards a 3 month trip around coastal Australia in 2021.

Emelina will be 6yo. Kyneton will be 3yo and Baby #3 will be 1yo.

Perfect timing!

nana
2017 – Emelina and Nana at Big 4 Coburg

Then in 2022 we want to spend 6 months travelling around Australia.

Eventually we plan to travel around Australia for 1 whole year! This will be when the kids are still in primary school and want to hang around Mum and Dad.

There’ll be a time where they’ll prefer to hang out with their friends rather then their family on school holidays.

So we would like to book them in before they’re too cool ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are some of the places I’d like to see around our beautiful country:

  • The Murray River
  • The NSW Central Coast from Merrimbula to Byron Bay
  • The Red Centre – Uluru/Alice Springs
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Far North Queensland
  • Coastal Western Australia

Plus many many more!

A benefit of being a Big 4 member is that there are plenty of places around Australia where we can dock our camper trailer in a cheaper site with shower and cooking amenities available.

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Bbq at the Big 4 caravan park

Looking forward to documenting the trips ahead and here are some families that I’m following:

Hope you have a great day.

With love,

 

Belinda xo

KonMari & Me

KonMari & Me

Hi guys,

It’s now Autumn and the closet clean out has commenced!

Funny how all the old items lying around becomes such a struggle to giveaway/throw away when you’re faced with actually throwing it away.

When we relocated from Kyneton to Gisborne last year I wrote about how the KonMari Method helped me with decluttering.

Here is a short overview of what Marie Kondo is about:

I have packed most of my Summer clothes away and pulled out my winter clothes from the shed.

I’ve also been dealing with the kids toys because there is so much of it and so little time that they’re actually being used.

We send out kids to our local Montessori school and we have a dedicated simple space for the kids to play.

We are transferring their lessons and environment from School and mirroring those lesson at home.

We are now actively asking friends and familyย not to buy toys for birthdays and celebrations because it will just to a waster of money. I’m not wanting to sound ungrateful but being honest helps everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

So what is the KonMari Method?

It’s a state of mind – and a way of life – that encourages cherishing the things that spark joy in one’s life. Belongings are acknowledged for their service – and thanked before being let go, should they no longer spark joy.

In my last post about this topic in June 2018 Leki and I gave away a lot of things that no longer sparked joy.

Leki struggled but parted ways with over 80% of his Rugby gear he had been collecting over the years. He donated the items to Tonga and forgot all about it.

Then, he saw photos on Facebook with young people in Tonga wearing his Rugby gear when I returned for my Grandma Taina’s funeral in Sept 2018.

It genuinely made him joyful!

Lastly, I have become more conscious with my shopping habits.

I seem to question any purchase for the home. Will I use and will it be worthwhile or will it just be parked in the closet ready to be KonMari’d ๐Ÿ˜‰ down the tracked.

So as the mission of Marie Kondo suggests it is a ‘state of mind and a way of life…’


So I have been preparing for the cold Winter that’s due to arrive in the Macedon Ranges and I’ve written before how it can be 5 degrees cooler here then Melbourne.

There’s also another reason that I’ve dug out my stored clothes but more on that later ๐Ÿ˜‰

How have you applied the KonMari Method in your life?

Have a great day.

With love,

 

Belinda xo

 

Australia Day

Australia Day

Hi guys,

Today is an appreciation post.

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Yeodene, VIC

I live in Australia with my Family in the city of Melbourne.

There are so many things that I am grateful for.

The clean air I breathe, the smooth roads we drive on, the standard of living, opportunities for work, support services and technology available and having my extended Family around me that are easily accessible.

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Forcing a smile before pool time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Australia Day is a time where I spend it with my loved ones.

It also reminds me of how lucky I am to celebrate life here in Australia.

It could have been so different.

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Father Peter O’Toole was very warm and welcoming

I could have been born in the Islands where my Mother is from.

Although it is a happy place it is still a third world country.

Tonga was dubbed the ‘Friendly Islands’ by Captain James Cook on his passage through the South Pacific Ocean and yes it is a friendly place to visit but compared to Australia… well there isn’t any comparison.

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Ky is not happy in the water ๐Ÿ™

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m proud of my heritage and the culture and customs that come with it.

But let me be clear – I’m Australian first and Tongan second.

Proudly Australian but of Tongan descent.

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I spent the Australia Day weekend with my husband Leki’s family at an AirBnb in Yeodene (almost 1 hour inland from Geelong).

We shared stories, made new memories and made time to be together.

We’ll look ahead with great energy and see what 2019 holds for us!

Plenty of surprises I’m sure ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Happy days!

I hope you had a great long weekend and spent some time being grateful for how good we really have it.

With love,

Belinda xo

[UPDATE] ‘Project Breastfeeding’ (Pt.3)

[UPDATE] ‘Project Breastfeeding’ (Pt.3)

Hello everyone.

Today I’d like to update my “Project Breastfeeding”ย post from Part 1 –ย Mar 28 2018 and the following update Part 2 onย Aug 9 2018.

Those blog posts were when my baby was 3 months (Mar 2018) and 7 months (Aug 2018).

This will be my last update on this topic as I’m almost running out of breast milk.

Plus the timing is perfect!

Why?

Today is Kyneton‘s 1st birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

Yep that’s right – I pushed this little boy into the world on this day at around 10:20pm last year.

What a New Year gift! (We’ll celebrate his birthday later in the month)

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Welcome to “Team Sisifa” Ky in 2018!

So reviewing my breastfeeding journey I wrote in my first post that I struggled with regular comfort feeding at night and nipple soreness/blisters.

Those nipple creams were a life saver!

It was then a process of getting into a routine with little Kyneton’s feeding routine.

I first set out to breast feed Ky for 1 year after a lot of lessons learnt from my first child Eme (3yo).

I was only able to breast feed for 6 months with Eme and this time I really wanted to go for as long as I can.

My husband Leki and I researched what we could do to achieve this 1 year goal.

A lot of our research pointed toward being healthy.

That meant eating well, plenty of water, physical exercise and reducing stress! Seems pretty simple when you say it out loud but it’s another story when you try and apply it in your daily routine.

After a lot of educated trial and error I found a great routine within the first 4 months of constant breast feeding.

I went all the way with complete breastfeeding without topping up with formula.

That’s until I noticed Ky preferred my R breast and as a result my L breast didn’t produce as much milk after 4 months.

By 7 months my L breast stopped completely. The R breast was still going very strong though ๐Ÿ˜‰

I continued to breastfeed solid for 10 months when I decided to top up with formula at night – as I couldn’t produce enough breast milk alone plus we had already started introduced some fluids at 5-6 months then solids at 8 months.

At 11 months I began weaning off the breast and he was running on 3-4 bottles of formula per day and eating solid food comfortably with his daily meals.

What’s my formula of choice?

I like Bellamy’s Organic brand.

Ky likes it too ๐Ÿ™‚

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So this is a happy but sad post.

My son is growing and thriving to the point that I’m in my last moments of breastfeeding.

I’ve gone through the process of carrying him inside me for 9 months, then having him attached to me for regular feeding and now I feel like I’m releasing him into the wild to fend for himself ๐Ÿ™ LOL

This “Project Breastfeeding” post was aimed to document my progress with 1 year of that mother-son connection.

An additional benefit is that I can share with you what helped me get through the year.

My biggest take away to continue to product milk is to be happy and healthy.

Cliche but it’s the truth!

Worked for me ๐Ÿ™‚

Who knows if we have baby #3 at some point I might try and aim for 2 years of breastfeeding.

We’ll see.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey with me and thank you for keeping me accountable to my goal.

On to the next one.

 

With love,

Belinda xo

Planning for Baby

Planning for Baby

Hi guys,

This is a true story and it’s a little bit scary for me to share.

We thought we’d have babies easily when we started planning for a family.

We tried for 18 months before we were successful.

Let me start at the very beginning.

Leki and I started dating in September 2007 and got married on November 2011.

We were both 26 years old.

2008
Our 1st year anniversary in 2008

Those 4 years from 2007 to 2011 we discussed all things that young excited couples dream about.

Where we would like to live, buying our first home, holidays, looking forward to events and parties and when we would eventually have children.

We decided to enjoy ourselves as a couple for a few years before having kids… that was the master plan.

So for 5 years we were working away until we started to talk more seriously about kids.

We didn’t feel any pressure from family or compete with friends.

None of that.

We felt like we were in a ‘comfortable’ spot now to start trying.

It was November 2012 and we’d been married for 1 year.

We thought this would be a perfect time for me to stop working and concentrate on the next stage of our lives.

We couldn’t conceive for 18 months.

So after a lot of tough times Emelina finally arrived in March 2015.

When it was time to think about baby no.2 it took 6 months!

Then little Kyneton arrived on January 2018.

Both times it was stressful to think that something might be wrong with me ๐Ÿ™

2007
2009 – Early days at my cousin’s wedding

So here are the main points I would like to share:

  1. Planning
  2. Basal Body Temperature
  3. Be Happy

Planning

We placed a big emphasis on whether we could afford to have children and maintain a decent lifestyle.

We’re not big spenders but we would like to be comfortable.

Working on our family income and making sure we did our numbers gave us a sense of security.

After a lot of thought we felt the time was right to start trying.

Looking back knowing what I know now, I would have probably started having a family earlier.

Why?

We put it off for material things or for the thought that there’s time down the line.

I was wrong.

There is nothing quite like having a family.

Regardless of all the things you may think or hear, once you have your own flesh and blood your world changes.

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2014 – 6 months pregnant with Emelina

Basal Body Temperature

You want to know how we finally fell pregnant?

What worked for us was tracking my basal body temperature.

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Digital basal thermometer cost about $15

Basically there’s a digital thermometer that can detect small changes in your core (basal) temperature.

Our family Doctor suggested using this device you can keep track of your small temperature changes.

Why?

The idea is to track when there’s a spike in your basal temperature which corresponds to the mostย fertile window of your menstrual cycle.

This is when you ovulate (the ovaries release a new egg).

I keep track of my menstrual cycle using an App which can help me determine when is the best time for some loving ๐Ÿ˜‰

I used the Period Tracker which is free to download on Android or iOS.

period-calendar-logo
Period Tracker works well!

So combined with the period app and tracking my basal temperature it gave me the best chance to fall pregnant.

So I had the thermometer next to me on the bedside table and it would be the first thing I do in the morning.

I’d then track the temperature everyday – you can use this table I found online belowchart2As you track your temperature you can see the trend of the readings and we decided to try on 3-5 days when I wasย most likely to conceive ๐Ÿ˜‰


Be Happy

I can tell you that in the first 18 months of trying for baby #1 I was so stressed and scared that I might not be able to have kids.

I was in a really dark place because I had stopped working and was mostly at home. My self worth was very low ๐Ÿ™

I was also thinking about my age and that I’m getting older (approaching 30) and my baby clock was ticking.

Looking back I think I was overthinking things and not looking after myself.

Thinking it would happen for us like a flick of a switch gave us a false sense of security.

I’m not saying I would have continued working while we tried to have a baby but I would have spent that time trying to improve myself.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself, eating poorly and blaming everything and everyone else.

If I had my time again I would have done these 3 things:

1. Start being healthy

Making better food choices, doing things that make me happy and regular exercise would have helped me get on the right path.

I started prioritising my health with Leki when we turned 30 after our daughter finally arrived. We should have done this much earlier!

If we had started getting healthy in our 20s I believe it would have helped our efforts to fall pregnant much quicker!

2. Try for a family earlier

Knowing what we know now we would have started a family earlier. 100%!

3.ย Try not to put too much pressure on yourself

Self explanatory.

I’ve been on a real crusade over the last 12 months to reduce my stress. It’s not something that you touch or feel but it’s something that you can measure by how happy you are.

Some stress is necessary to grow into a stronger person but excessive stress can be very unhealthy.

If I had my time again I would encourage that Belinda to do things that make you feel good about yourself.

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2018 – Welcome to the family little Ky!

So there you have it.

18 months is not a long time for some couples who I know have been trying for years and YEARS and I acknowledge that that’s another level of stress that I cannot even comprehend.

All I can say is that I can understand the pressure that you’re under.

I’d be happy to talk with anyone who is struggling with family planning although I’m not a professional it’s more of a shoulder to lean on so we can compare notes!

I am absolutely blessed and appreciate all the good things that come out of tough challenges.

Stay strong Mama!

With love,

 

Belinda xo

Babyproofing the Home

Babyproofing the Home

Hi guys,

Our little boy Kyneton is now 10 months and started crawling (finally)!

He has sticky little hands that like to explore all sorts of things around our home.

It’s been a couple of years since we last baby proofed the house when Emelina (3yo) was starting to be adventurous so we had to dust off all the protective equipment again.

Emelina had some falls off the couch onto the floor and some other near misses.

Although we believe that accidents can teach the kids a few lessons it’s never nice to deal with the tears ๐Ÿ™

So here are some of the major changes we will be making for little Ky:


Bed

Theย Montessori Method encourages children to explore their environment and to be curious.

In terms of bedding we will look to move Ky form his crib to a single mattress on the floor rather then a ‘big boy bed’.

Here’s what we decided to do sleeping wise with our kids:

  • Bassinet next to Mum and Dad for 3-6 months
  • Move kids to the crib in their own bedroom
  • Progress onto a single bed after 1 year

With Emelina (who’s now 3yo) we had here in the bassinet until 3 months and then in the crib in her own room.

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Early morning fun with Ky and Eme

She was in her own ‘big girl bed’ by 12-14 months.

Kyneton was in the bassinet for 6 months as his sleep was more interrupted then Eme’s.

He’s now 10 months old and we will be planning his move to the single mattress on the ground in the next 6 months ๐Ÿ™‚


Kitchen

Like any household the kitchen is the biggest challenge with baby proofing.

Lots of draws and cupboards, cutlery and sharp objects, big heavy pots and pans, hot oven and liquids and poisonous things under the sink.

Based on our experience with Emelina she started walking around 12 months.

It’s also around this time that we started smacking Eme. Nothing too heavy handed just enough to correct her behaviour.

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Magnetic locks are pretty handy in the kitchen!

So we were able to teach her where the hazards were.

We also had a few protective measures put in place.

We bought some cabinet locks and gated locks.

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You already know we love Aldi!

Living Room

Now that he’s started to crawl we just have to make sure there’s not too many small objects on the ground.

He’s like a little vacuum.

Everything goes in the mouth ๐Ÿ™‚

We let him crawl around the living room on the floor but monitor himย  as he explores his new environment.

Sometimes when he tries to open the TV stand cabinets to poke and play with wires we give his hand a little smack and say ‘No Kyneton’ in a serious tone.

He lets out a little cry and then looks a little confused.

He then reaches out for the cabinet door again and we repeat the little smack on this hand.

He’s beginning to learn that the smack is not very nice and playing with the cabinet door may not be a good idea ๐Ÿ˜‰


Bathroom

I wrote about one of my favourite purchases recently which I picked up off Gumtree.

It’s a baby bathing seat anchored to the bathtub via suction.

Ky really loves baths and looks forward to it but most of the time he showers with Leki.

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Happy times ๐Ÿ™‚

Other then that either Leki or I are always with the kids in the bathroom so there’s always a pair of eyes around ๐Ÿ™‚


To be honest we are more relaxed the second time around.

The first time round with Emelina we were more fearful.

We still take care with how we let Ky explore the house but we aren’t as quick to his rescue.

He’s a pretty happy camper now that e’s crawling and we’re looking forward to when he’s on two feet and running around…

But not too soon.

With love,

Belinda xo

[UPDATE] ‘Project Breastfeeding’

[UPDATE] ‘Project Breastfeeding’

Hello everyone.

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Today is an update on “Project Breastfeeding”.

Read my first installment on this here.

In my breastfeeding timeline my last update was when Ky was 2 months old. He’s now 7 months old so a few things have changed.

He’s got 2 x teeth in the bottom row and he enjoys his regular mashed solids.

My initial goal was to breastfeed Ky for at least 12 months and at the rate I’m going I think I going to achieve this but it’s not without it’s challenges.

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I wrote earlier about my previous challenges in regard to breastfeeding:

  • Running out at 6 months with my daughter
  • Running low at the 4th month with Ky due to my diet plan and stress
  • Trying to lose weight
  • Trying to introduce a regular exercise program
  • Planning my day/week/month so I can manage my time effectively

Here are my 3 main bits of advice I would give myself I were to go through this again:

  1. Don’t assume
  2. Little hacks
  3. Sleep is a priority

1. Don’t assume

Let me paint you a picture.

Imagine you’ve given birth and your new baby is sleeping well, feeding well and there aren’t any ‘problems’ in the early days.

That’s theย Honeymoon Period.

Like all new marriages it’s all good early until your first argument ๐Ÿ™‚

Same situation but with a baby.

My honeymoon period lasted about 3 months and into the 4th month the real world hit me.

I just assumed that everything would continue to be awesome.

Nope.

Ky started demand feeding almost every 2 hours around the early days of his 4th month. He would wake and scream and cry like someone was pulling his arm and the only way (I thought) was to give him what he wanted.

Well that’s what I assumed anyway.

Fast forward a couple of months and I continued to demand feed him at night and I’ve now reinforced this behaviour – BAD MAMA ๐Ÿ™

“Every time I cry my Mama will come and save me” is probably what Ky’s thinking the smart little bugger! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So the result? I have this child who cries every 3-4 hours wanting to be fed or comforted which was made worse when he started teething around month 5 (after Thailand).

If I had my time again I would get on the front foot and conduct some research on whatย might happen.

Not just assume that everything will remain awesome!

I’ve made it my goal to help Ky with self soothing at night.

We feed him well with mashed solids for over 2 months now and he’s a happy camper during the day.

Just struggling with the night time and I blame myself for reinforcing this idea that it’s ok for him to cry and I’ll come to save the day!


2. Little hacks

There’s a couple of things I’d like to update you on compared to my early days.

(a) My diet and supplements remain the same

I continue to eat a wholesome varied diet – modified paleo is what we follow.

On top of that I supplement with a morning ‘booster shake’ which I make myself with various ingredients and finally I add 2 x Fenugreek tablets with water at breakfast.

(b) I have spaced out Kyneton’s breastfeeding

Now that Ky is eating mashed solids at breakfast, lunch and dinner I try and space out the breastfeeding from 4-6 per day to 2-3.

It has been a welcome change as I have more volume within each feed plus it gives my nipples more of a chance to ‘recover’ as Ky can sometimes gnaw and chew on it with his little 2 x teeth OUCH!

(c) Dream feeding

I have come to learn about this thing called dream feeding.

Apparently it’s when the baby is fed when he’s a alseep.

For the most part I’ve been working on pushing Ky’s last feed to as late as possible (my next point) but I will trial dream feeding if my latest strategy doesn’t work out for me.

(d) Pushing the last feed as late as possible

In our daily ‘wind down routine’ I’m washing and feeding the kids by 6pm at the latest.

By 7pm our 3yo Eme is in bed and she can put herself to sleep by 8pm most nights… YAY!

As I’m juggling Ky around Eme I feed him ‘dinner’ at the same time as Eme (who can mostly feed herself) at around 6pm.

I try and stretch the last breastfeeding effort to 9pm so that he’s ‘full’ for longer and I actively avoid feeding him at 2am-3am when he stirs and needs just a quick positional change. If that fails I’ll trial the ‘dream feeding’ I mentioned earlier before he stirs at 2am-3am as my Plan B.

So if I put him down at 9pm I try and get him to sleep right through until 4am-5am where I usually breastfeed him again then Leki takes over and looks after him in the morning.

I then get the rest of the morning off as Leki is usually up early after his good night sleep. He then cooks our hot breakfast at 7:30am and we eat together at 8am.

All this is made possible with how we closely monitor Ky’s sleeping behaviour and the level of his irritability.

Work in progress ๐Ÿ™‚

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3. Sleep is a priority

I know I might have touched on this earlier but sleep is no.1!

I have not been good in following my own advice as Ky is dictating my quality of sleep.

In the last 2 months I have been getting very tired waking over 4-5 times per night as he continues to demand feed.

As a result I’ve been feeling woozy throughout the day and I have chosen not to sleep during the day.

This can sometimes leave me feeling resentful to Leki and Ky because I’m not getting the sleep I need.

But I come back to our original plans when we decided to have another baby and how our home situation would look like.

Leki works full time and I’m at home full time.

He’s agreed to help as much as he can but the priority is to be healthy for work and provide. My part of the deal is to be happy at home and think about ways to make my job as easy as possible for myself.

I’ve really let myself down with the sleep side of the deal so I have done my own research and now working on finding the best method that works for me and my family.

I can only rely on people around me to do so much but ultimately this is my primary job so I need to get my act together.

Leki helps and that’s great. Together we’ve worked hard on Eme and she’s running very efficiently. So I just need to work harder on Ky… and myself.

The result?

Self soothing with Plan B being dream feeding.

You can see there’s a consistent theme here – self soothing.

As you know we’ve managed to get both Ky and Eme into their own rooms.

Eme continues to do really well.

Ky is a work in progress.

I will be giving myself 2 weeks to see how it goes before reviewing my results.

It’ll be tough and Leki is supportive of my effort but I feel I need to get over this hurdle and then I’m down the home stretch!

I’ll report on how I get past this little road block next time I update “Project Breastfeeding” which will be mostly likely after Ky’s first birthday in Jan 2019.

If I achieve my original goal of breastfeeding for 1 year then I’ll have to make new goals ๐Ÿ™‚

The struggle continues!

With love,

Belinda xo

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 withย 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 thatย 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 thisย articleย – “The first generationย builds it. The secondย generation sustains it. The third generationย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me start at the beginning:

backyard
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Laying brck
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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.ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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.

b
Our little outdoor girl ๐Ÿ™‚

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….ย 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….ย 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” ๐Ÿ™‚

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 Emeย “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….ย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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,ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚ How could you not love this cheeky spirit?

I’d be really interested to hear what your thoughts are on this one ๐Ÿ˜‰

With love,

Belinda xo