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.

20180330_161611

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.

20180225_121939


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.


20180304_114438_013

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

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.

dad
1985 | My Dad 🙂

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.

primary
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.

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.

back house
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.

sister
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 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

toss 007
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 🙂

Yee 003
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.

way 009
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 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

20150328_190457
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?

20160930_125446
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.

20161002_154815
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.

20180107_161344
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?

20180225_121935
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 🙂

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.

c
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.

a
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.

Pics 048
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).

gym
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.

Capture

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.

F [2]
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.

fam
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

Organising Myself

Organising Myself

Hi guys,

Thanks for stopping by.

Today I wanted to give you a little insight into how I try and keep myself organised and how I track things.

With the help of technology I am able to track how my day, week and month go as I can become overwhelmed whenever I lose track of what’s coming up.

So there are a few Apps that I use in no particular order to stay organised:

 

Facebook Messengerfacebook-messenger-white.svg.thumb

For my sisters we have a group chat on Facebook Messenger.

There are 4 of us and we talk about all things sisters do  😉

It’s a great way for us to keep in touch and make sure we are in communication on anything that’s coming up with our individual families.

We talk about our upcoming Thailand trip in June, things within the family we need to sort out and saving dates for celebrations that’s coming up soon!

I wrote earlier about how our time with important people is getting less and less and so I cherish the video calls, texts and time my sisters and I put into staying in touch 🙂

 

Viber

viber-iconOn my in-law’s side of the family they use a social media chat app and it’s updated very regularly.

In the Group chat there’s Leki’s parents, his siblings and partners.

It’s not uncommon that someone would post a little picture of what the kids are up to that day or a message of support if someone is doing it tough or planning for any events coming up in the future.

Recently Leki’s brother posted a little photo of their son having his first babycino which brought a smile to my face!

 

Gmail + Google Calendar

So looking specifically at my own little family – Leki and I sync the calendar app on our gmaikphones (we are Samsung fans!) to our family Gmail account.

This allows any entry into the calendar app on our phones to automatically sync with our family gmail account.

It’s really helpful in avoiding a clash in our schedules or either of us ‘double booking’ a weekend.

Highly recommend using this app!

Screenshot_20180410-190242_Samsung Experience Home
Mar 2018 – Calendar App on Samsung Galaxy 8 phone

You can see in the example photo above of my calendar for March 2018 (which is a calendar-iconscreenshot from my phone) Google has entered in automatically any National or State holidays relevant to Australia making that easy.

You can imagine as the family grows and gets busier with school, sport, celebrations, meetings etc. it may be important to block off time just for myself or for my family so we can try and relax 🙂

I am feeling confident that with developing our system of communication \we can stay on top of it all.

 

Old School Diary

The final piece of the puzzle is Leki’s diary.

He prefers to keep everything in it and enjoys crossing out an ‘item or job’ once it’s been completed.

All the reminders for bills to be paid, birthdays to attend, celebrations and important reminders live in here.

Every year since he was in high school he’s kept a diary and from 2003-current he has a collection of all the diaries documenting what was going on at that time!

I was going through a diary from our early days dating as an example and it reminded me of those early years when we would go to the movies and just hang out. Felt like an eternity ago 🙂

I wonder how we will look back at this time 20 years from now with the diary entries he places in 2018!

20180410_190541

Summary

So when we sit down to eat breakfast every morning I previously described how we always spend this time talking about our day ahead, anything coming up on the weekend or anything else coming up.

We whip out the phone and check any entries on the Google calendar, then check any reminders or notes on the Facebook Messenger and Viber chat groups then double check with Leki’s diary.

Once we know ‘where its at’ we can move forward with our day and be confident we have all our bases covered.

paint
Keeping my calendar free for Eme 🙂

How do you keep in touch with your family and friends? Are you trying your best to stay connected? Remember time with your loved ones is precious and needs to be appreciated everyday.

 

 

Have a great day – with love,

 

Belinda xo

‘Project Breastfeeding’

‘Project Breastfeeding’

Hello everyone.

Today I thought I’d share my thoughts on “Project Breastfeeding”.

To begin – let’s start at the very beginning.

In Mar 2015 I gave birth to our first child Emelina and I had internal struggles with that pregnancy questioning whether I would make a good mother.

I’m not sure where that feeling came from but it may be those situations where you’re unsure of yourself because it’s something new that you’ve yet to experience.

For instance learning to drive for the first time was scary but after a while you hop in the car, turn the ignition and off you go. Starting a new job you have some anxiety about how people may see you or questioning whether you’ll be happy here is always something you ask yourself. Meeting new people you always try and make the best impression and end up making a total fool of yourself.

All those examples and more are instances where you are fearful and unsure before you make the leap of faith.

Simply getting myself together was an effort but now I’m responsible for another little life.

Just that idea alone overwhelmed me.

I have to admit that the first 3-6 months of Eme’s life I was just going through the motions. Wake up, eat, feed her, burp her, change her, nap, eat, feed, burp, change and sleep in repeat.

Then one day it happened.

I ran out of breast milk.

It was like the tap was switched off and overnight we had to move to formula when Eme was 6 months old. I didn’t pay enough attention to what I was doing so I simply ran out of supply.

Maybe it was too easy to give up because my nipples were raw and sore. Maybe I wanted to run out because I wanted to be freed up to do others things. Maybe I told myself that 6 months is enough… or maybe I just honestly ran out.

I’ll never know but this time round I have a better game plan to manage myself and create the best possible outcome for baby #2 – little Kyneton.

IMG-1b27178b0e9b25186afbe440f3f4ab80-V


I believe firmly that it is up to the mother and environment to allow the new baby to flourish.

Feeling stressed? Living in a challenging environment? Not eating well? Not getting enough exercise? Poor sleep? Not keeping your chest warm?

There are many reasons why things are the way they are but it’s up to me to figure out why things are that way.

Am I stressed? Then I’ll try and reduce my stress and reduce the pressure and noise that I place on myself.

Not the best environment to raise a child? I like to imagine myself as the infant. Unable to move myself or be comfortable so I’m very reliant on my parents to look after me. What can I do to keep my baby as comfortable as possible?

Not eating well? Where does baby get their strength and nutrition from? Me. I need to do the best I can to make sure baby is nice and healthy.

Not getting enough exercise? Something is better then nothing. That’s what I tell myself 🙂

Poor sleep? If I’m not sleeping well enough then it will leave me irritable and that will only make things worse for the baby. It can be a chicken and egg situation and I completely understand that but which is easier to control – myself or the baby? Personally I can control my thoughts, feelings and actions more then a little baby.

Chest not warm? In the islands my mother tells me that women keep layers over the breasts to keep them warm. The warmth allows the blood vessels to flow better and help produce more breast milk.

IMG-fad38ea9c7361fa41b755b7b918803e4-V


Above I have outlined a couple questions that I regularly ask myself.

If little Ky is upset or not feeding comfortably I ask myself what HAVE I DONE to make him upset.

Is his nappy wet or dirty? Does he have indigestion from overfeeding? Is he tired? What did I eat 12 hours ago – have I eaten anything different that’s irritating him? Have I been stressed? Did I have a shit sleep last night?

IMG-c60e92cd8e1a30bc4fdd12294b3eff11-V

So with that being said if you are interested in how I seem to be achieving 7-8 hours of sleep with little Ky who’s not even 3 months yet here is my winning formula:

  1. Eat well and sleep well
  2. Reduce stress (physical or emotional)
  3. Breast feeding ‘Booster’ smoothie once in the morning

Ingredients: Almonds, whole banana, tablespoon of grass fed butter, 1-2 tablespoon of cacao powder, ~500ml of coconut water, sprinkle of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal, teaspoon of MCT oil and 2 tablespoons of oats

Pop all that into your blender (we highly recommend the Vitamix blender) and you should get almost 700ml of smoothie goodness which is almost like a milkshake consistency.

In my last post I reported that I have started practicing intermittent fasting with an ‘eating window’ of 8 hours from 8am-4pm. That smoothie in the morning really gives me a kick start for the day along with my light breakfast.

Kyneton requires a feed almost every 2-4 hours throughout the day although I’m trying to stretch him out to 4 hours and I’m happy to have him cry if he’s getting hungry because I find he can comfort feed too which is difficult to manage.

So If I review my typical day in terms of feeding Ky it looks like:

  • 8am – first feed
  • 11am – second feed
  • 2pm – third feed
  • 5pm – fourth feed
  • 8pm – final feed before I put him down for the night
  • 4-5am – early feed

Well that’s my current update with “Project Breastfeeding” and I’ll provide updates later in the year as we battle through teething, introducing solids and any other obstacles that keeps things interesting.

What does your breast feeding efforts look like? Do you have a secret smoothie that keeps your breasts full of milk?

See you next week!

With love,

Belinda xo

Fear Setting

Fear Setting

Hi everyone,

As this post is beamed out to you we are quickly approaching the New Year.giphy-downsized

This is the part of the year which goal setting can become popular. Over the years I’ve been apart of the crowd trying to make big goals for the new year. Although plenty of goals were made very little were successful.

Out with the old – in with the new is the old saying. 

Well this year I’d like to lay down a new challenge. Instead of ‘Goal Setting’ try ‘Fear Setting’ instead.

So what is fear setting? Well this blog post from Tim Ferriss about Fear Setting is where I draw a lot of inspiration:

(A) Define your nightmares – think of the worst thing that could happen to you. Your spouse may die, a life threatening injury, you lose all your money, you lose your job.

(B) Then think about the likelihood of these things actually happening and prevent it. Really put some emotional thought and feeling behind your spouse dying. How would you feel if you lost all your money and you had to start all over again? What would your immediate thoughts be if you lost your job tomorrow?

(C) Then compile your thoughts on a piece of paper and write down your options in determining the best way forward by repairing it. For example, if you always thought about leaving your job write down your actionable plan if you actually pulled the trigger. What other jobs are there that interest you? What are your chances of successfully getting that job? If all else fails what are your chances of returning to your old job? The combinations are endless but thinking about it can help control your fears and anxiety of it happening.

(D) Now list all the potential benefits and costs of taking action or inaction. Review this every quarter, 6 monthly or yearly

Here’s quick spreadsheet for you to track your own fear setting calculations – thanks to Marvin Russell for putting it together!

giphy

So using Tim’s Fear Setting exercise,  here are my Top 3 Fears I entered on June 2017:

(A) DEFINE

  1. Having a miscarriage
  2. Losing the ‘spark’ with my husband
  3. Family member dying suddenly

(B) PREVENT

  1. If a miscarriage does occur I’ll need to arm myself with resilience now. It will be painful to lose a child and I need to find the best support groups if required
  2. What measure do I have in place in case Leki and I split up? How will the kids be affected? How will my family and friends react? I need to work on being in a relationship that is open, honest and respectful
  3. Talk about what the family action plan is if one member was to suddenly pass away. What is the estate planning? What is the family’s position on the power of attorney? What is the legal process?

(C) REPAIR

  1. Educate myself on how miscarriages happen and work on being thankful for all that happens
  2. Celebrate and be grateful for every little success or challenge and approach  disagreements with logic rather then emotion. Open communication between us has to be a priority for our relationship to last the distance
  3. Commit to an action plan on estate planning and ensure regular visits with family so we are committed to an agreed process

(D) PLANNING – ACTION OR INACTION

I can report that I have addressed all these targets made in June 2017. Although it’s not really a one off thing as I’m always working on my fears it’s more so an understanding that unpacking fears and making them a lot less scary makes me stronger in the long run.

Here are my Top 3 Fears heading into 2018:

(A) DEFINE

  1. My baby boy being born with a ‘disability’
  2. Unforeseen complications with the birth
  3. Not being able to lose weight like I did the first time

(B) PREVENT

  1. Am I making the best healthy choices for my body and mind? What can I do to improve my situation? Who is someone I can follow and help educate myself?
  2. Acknowledging that complications can be apart of the process and being ‘ok’ with it
  3. Understanding that having a newborn and a toddler at the same time is a new challenge and I might not have as much time to focus on myself

(C) REPAIR

  1. If I do have a ‘disabled’ child I will love him as I would any child. I will educate myself on his ‘disability’ and encourage him to live his life to the fullest and I will do my best to support him
  2. Prepare for the top 3 complications in birth. Ensure that I have my support systems in place with Leki, immediate family and insurance cover for any worst case scenarios
  3. Find out the minimum but effective dose to lose weight by using my experience the first time round. Educate myself on safely losing weight by monitoring my diet closely but not to the detriment of my newborn son

(D) PLANNING – ACTION OR INACTION

To be completed in June 2018 🙂

Fast forward from June 2017 to December 2017 I can say that highlighting my fears rather then fantasising about dreamy goals has been far more successful for me. Running away from a fear has proved more helpful then running towards a reward.

So in summary – these are very confronting questions you may ask yourself. Your challenges are your own and it’s up to you to decide how you conquer your mountain.

Here is Tim’s TED Talk in full about Fear Setting (13 mins well spent, believe me) 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J6jAC6XxAI

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life’ – Jerzy Gregorek

See you in 2018!

Belinda.

Curiosity over Judgement

Curiosity over Judgement

Hi guys,

Today I’m going to share the ongoing challenge parents face that is discipline and kids. I am only sharing my observations with how Leki and I discipline Emelina and it is an ‘educated trial and error’ process. Your mileage may vary 🙂

One big theme I would like to share first is the mindset or psychology of discipline. The link here can explain in a bit more detail on what I’m talking about but I would like to present this idea in the context of disciplining children.

Our daughter Emelina will be 3yo in March 2018. She is a curious, adventurous, cheeky and a loving little human – she is not special in that regard as it is typical for most children. At this age she will explore her environment and a lot of what she encounters will be for the first time and/or she’s learning how to process something that looks or feels familiar. It is that curiosity that shapes her views on the big wide world.

curiosity
Great quote from Alex Charfen!

On a slight tangent we as her parents have experienced this worldly environment for over 32 years. We already know the risks and dangers that exist in this world. We as parents understand the challenges of pouring water into a cup and the risk of spilling it, we have felt the pain of running around outside and falling scraping our knees bare, we know that sharp pointy things can be dangerous, we have felt that immense fear of being lost at a supermarket with unrecognisable people walking by ignoring you – there’s so many examples of pain and suffering we want her to avoid.

In reality there is only so much we can do to create a sense of safety for Eme allowing her to explore her environment by encouraging a healthy dose of curiosity.

Now let’s present this real life example of how we practice Curiosity over Judgement.

We are in the deep throes of toilet training Emelina. She shows signs of being ‘ready to go’ from nappies to undies. When she has a wet nappy it’s soaked up pretty well and so she’s comfortable. Different story when it comes to a dirty nappy – the feeling leaves her irritable and she’s wanting to be changed ASAP. We’ve used this opportunity to get Eme on the training toilet…. but we’re being met with some resistance.

So instead of getting frustrated with her or scolding her to ‘hurry up’ and kaka our code word for no. 2 🙂 or weewee we ask ourselves why she’s not wanting to use the toilet or how can we help her understand that this is a normal part of growing up. Granted it is a challenge to hold a conversation with a 2.5yo but we feel that should not limit you trying. We talk to her as if she’s 6yo but make sure we do it in a way that she feels comfortable and can process what we’re saying at her own pace.

After our initial attempts – 4 weeks in total – without any activity on the loo we trialled a reward system. Instead of promising nice treats or snacks we said that for every successful effort made on the toilet she’ll be rewarded with an Emoji sticker from the popular children’s movie. The result? Two successful weewees in ONE DAY!

Eme Toilet
Two thumbs up!

I’ve been following the efforts of Susie at ‘Not-Your-Average-Mom’ blog and she has a great perspective on this theme involving discipline and Kids check it out here.

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as ‘terrible 2s or troublesome 3s’. The challenge will always be there regardless if they’re 2yo and not sleeping at night or 6yo and getting bullied at school or 10yo and wanting to try on make up or 12yo and wanting that new flashy mobile phone or having boy trouble at 15yo or falling pregnant at 18yo. These are all very real scenarios and fears all parents of young girls face but it is our responsibility to help these children grow and help guide them as they navigate their own journey. So how can we ensure we can keep them on the right track? While there’s no perfect solution practising Curiosity over Judgement can certainly cushion the fall.

So, another tough situation we experience with our little one is when we’re sitting in church. Now you can picture the struggle here. A church that can be a place of hushed quiet reflection and you have this child who refuses to sit still or wants to go an explore her new surroundings. How can we teach Eme to understand that there is a time to be playful and there is a time to be still and listen?

We taught her why it’s important to spend time together as a family, sing songs of praise and be grateful for the things we have in our lives. Does she understand completely what’s going on? Probably not. But we explain things to her anyway and more importantly show her by being quiet ourselves and being an example of how to be and act in times of quiet reflection. Any time she decides to act up we correct her behaviour and remind her again that this is not the right time to play. We make it up other times during the week by making sure we play with her so when we ask her for 1 hour of obedience we find that it’s not such of a big demand 🙂

So in short it is not my intention to paint this idyllic scenario where we are living error free and that everything is perfect. Far from it. The difference is that I am always striving to have the perfect day with my husband Leki and our little girl Emelina.

Curiosity over Judgement is helping us and I sincerely hope it helps you too!

Happy days,

Belinda.

1 Year Later…

1 Year Later…

Hi guys,

The first weekend in September our town’s yearly celebration called the Daffodil Festival is on and raging for a full week! It’s a great artsy celebration with exhibitions, food, wine and a street Parade! Check out their Instagram page for a quick idea of what it’s about.

The other reason we mark this time of the year is because it’s ONE YEAR since we moved from the big city to the country. In an earlier post I laid out some of the reasons why we moved and I thought this might be a good time to review how it’s been going over the last 12 months.

Here are the Top 3 positives:

1. Community feel

Our first home was in a growth suburb in Melbourne and the make up of the people were mostly young families with both parents away working long hours. We were one of them too (minus the children)! This left little time to get involved in the community as the little time you have available you’d rather enjoy relaxing at home.

When the time came to start a family we both decided that having someone full time at home was a priority. Emelina arrived and I found the need to be involved in an active community to help with her development. This also helped me build a supportive social network other then my family.

The community feeling in the country is something to behold. There seems to be something on every week and there’s plenty of initiatives, volunteer groups and council run programs to be apart of. To give you an idea of our local involvement which is all in walking distance:

Mon: 10:30am to 11:30am – local library ‘Story Time’ then a play at the playground

Snapchat-1004093298

Tues: 10:00am to 11:00am – ‘Mainly Music’ hosted at a local church

Snapchat-1277244920

Wed: 10:30am to 12:00pm – ‘Playgroup’ and then 12:30pm is a community lunch for a fresh $5 lunch and dessert all locally produced

Snapchat-1172596717

Thurs: 10:30am to 12:00pm – ‘Playgroup’

Fri: Alternates between a Rest Day or ‘Activity Day’ which may vary from gardening, walking to the local park or travelling to the big city for shopping

2. Green and open living

We live on a 1/4 acre property with a big backyard. Yes it takes a lot to maintain compared to a smaller suburban home but we enjoy it! When we first moved to Kyneton Emelina called our backyard the ‘local park’ – when she realised it was actually her own backyard she runs around wild and free until she’s hungry or tired. I must admit it can be a struggle to get her inside sometimes!

20160910_164057

[Backyard Fun!]

I used to get frustrated driving to the local shopping centre in the city as it would take 15 mins longer then it should. There was traffic congestion, ill-tempered drivers, poor infrastructure and it would sometimes leave me feeling overwhelmed. Now, I drive along beautiful tree lined streets, lush green rolling hills and there is only two sets of traffic lights in my town 🙂

There is nothing wrong with living in a big city – I guess I was ready for a change that’s all.

3. Exploring food, sights and sounds

I’m fortunate to live in the Macedon Ranges as it’s a foodie hot spot. I don’t mind the odd fast food takeaway here and there but there are some well established and acclaimed establishments in this region. We have slowly chipped away and visited most of the restaurants on the fashionable Piper St which include:

Major Tom’s – an edgy burger joint that have live music on weekends

Mr. Carsisi – Mediterranean cuisine (we hosted my father-in-law’s birthday last year)

Duck, duck goose Larder – My mother’s favourite when she visits from Melbourne

And much more!

In terms of sights and sounds there is plenty to pick from. There are great walking tracks along Mt. Macedon with plenty of wildlife to see. The Campaspe River flows nearby where we often ride our bikes (weather permitting). Trentham Falls is a short 20 mins drive and in winter and spring the waterfall is fast flowing! There is a horse stud at the end of our street and some farms nearby for Emelina to learn about – alpacas, horses, pigs, sheep, dogs, chickens and cats. It is really a blessing!

20161002_155236

[Trentham Falls]

And the Top 3 Down sides:

1. Distance to ‘big’ convenience stores

I’m a shopaholic. It doesn’t mean I impulsively buy (as I tend to shop around until I feel I have the best deal). Most of the time I like Op Shopping which I’ve explained before here. What I have found to be a challenge is when I ‘need’ something quickly from a large outlet like Target I would have to wait a week until I would be able to visit a store as we have one car we share.

This can be a blessing and a curse as I would think over the week on whether I really need something but when I’m able to visit the retail store I can make the purchase without over thinking it! The closet shopping centre is 45 minutes away so planning is essential.

2. Dangers with black ice/bush fires and wildlife

Where we live there are dangers in both extremes in weather. During the summer our region can get quite dry and the tall dry grass can be tinder for a bush fire. Tragedies like Ash Wednesday in 1983 and Black Saturday 2009 which saw this region black with smoke and saw many lives lost! This is obviously scary for a family of converted city slickers but we follow community fire authority instructions on bush fire preparedness. If in doubt, just pack up and leave until the fire is put out!

At the other end of the spectrum there is black ice during winter. What do you think happens when you mix rainfall overnight coupled with freezing night temperatures? Patches of black ice on the road. Neither of us have encountered black ice as the built up roads and freeway are mostly safe as sensors have been installed but you can never be too careful!

FB_IMG_1505548893857

[Running around the Botanical Gardens in Malmsbury]

Lastly, there is wildlife a plenty here! Leki often comes home telling us that kangaroos hopped by as he was driving! They tend to make an appearance either early morning around 6am or at dusk at 7pm. Other characters he comes across are wombats, koalas and foxes although they are rare sightings! The reason why I have them listed as an issue is that they usually hop in your way while you’re driving. Again, this is rare but in the 12 months we’ve lived here – we’ve sighted only 1-2 kangaroos that almost caused an accident. Near miss!

3. Distance from family and friends

It could be worse like living in another State or overseas but distance from loved ones has been a challenge. We live about an hour away from family and friends which can make things harder in planning regular visits.

We make time usually once a month to visit family which has been difficult as we come from close knit families. It is quite a drive to see each other regularly but when we do catch up we carry on from where we left off last. I must say the distance can be an excuse not to see people but we try very hard to visit friends and family when we can.

Well that’s the short summary of how things have been over the past year and gosh it went very quickly! We genuinely enjoy this new lifestyle and strongly vouch for the benefits of country living. Will we be here forever? Hard to know. But what I do know is that we’re happy.

Would you consider a move to the country? Or maybe try a sea change? Or even shifting interstate or overseas to find the lifestyle has been a blessing for you and your family. I’d love to hear you story!

With love,

Belinda.

Planning Holidays 101

Planning Holidays 101

Hi guys,

Today I wanted to share a little insight into how we plan for small but regular holidays to recharge the mind, body and spirit.

I’m a big believer in a balanced lifestyle. We aim to spend 40% of the time ‘working’, 40% ‘resting’ and 20% ‘living’. These percentages don’t look balanced but let me explain:

Working is what we do throughout the working day. Whether you’re punching in 9am-5pm or looking after the family or a bit of both… over time this can can wear you out!

Resting is what we do for the remainder of working day. It may mean some alone time at home, time out with the family or catching up on sleep.

Living is the time you choose to spend doing what you’re passionate about. One of our passions is planning regular getaways so that we are ‘working’ towards something. We see it as an incentive or reward to push hard during those ‘working’ days.

To give you some context we plan little getaways every 3 months. This has been a good goal for us as we book 6 months in advance so we have something locked in. We used to keep a weekend free every so often to have that time at home but it wasn’t the same recharging feeling like getting away from your usual environment.

logo-big4

We are big fans of the Big 4 caravan and cabin sites around Australia. We’ve visited:

  • Coburg VIC site in Nov 2016 for 2 nights
  • Batemans Bay NSW during Easter/Apr 2017 for 3 nights
  • Our upcoming adventure is planned for late-Aug to Echuca VIC along the Murray River for 2 nights!

The last holiday for the year is planned for Dec 2017 in the Mornington Peninsula VIC for 5 nights (Christmas family getaway) – YAY!

As you can see 2017 was jam packed with short sharp trips away which refreshes the mind and re-energises the body.

Once upon a time before the family came along I would prefer a sizeable break for 2-4 weeks in one go but now I find better value and feel more rejuvenated with smaller but frequent retreats! Being able to plan ahead and budget accordingly frees up ‘mental space’ knowing that if you’re working away solidly throughout the year you’ll be rewarded with a little getaway.

17904283_1931140126911969_2645535510544246501_n

I acknowledge that this is a great luxury to be able to get away with your family but it doesn’t have to be extravagant at all. We’ve only started getting away to cabins and caravan parks very recently. Before then we were believers in slogging away for the bulk of the year and taking time off when you could.

The difference now is that we sit and plan the year ahead and commit to regular time off regardless of what’s happening.

How do you organise your family getaways? Do you have any recommendations of campsites or parks? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Belinda.