Tuesday, 31 January 2012

End of Summer

Summer is coming to an end.

My babies go back to school on Friday. I am not ready to say good bye to them, to return to the routine of school.

I love the endless days of summer, that bring endless possibilities. Where every day you can wake up and choose your own adventure. Or choose nothing. The choice is yours.

This summer has gone too quickly. I am not ready to let it end, and it makes me sad.

This year will be very different for me. In addition to my babies being at school 5 days a week (which isn't new, I just find it hard), I am also starting to become a thermomix consultant, which I feel both excited and nervous about, and I am going back to study Law. Things will be busy. I am not sure how much time I will have to blog, perhaps none at all. I hope that is not the case, because I love this space, but the reality is that to give my new ventures a chance to succeed, I need to put them as a priority for a while.

I may not be here every day, but I believe me I will be thinking of you all. I will try and stay in touch, but it might be sporadic at best. Or I might be here quite frequently, but with smaller, shorter posts. I am not sure how it is all going to pan out, but I will try and keep you updated.

Love, Sannah

image credit
linking up with Jess's IBOT

Friday, 27 January 2012

I have a 10 year old

Of course deep down I knew this day would come. Yet somehow I am still completely unprepared, and totally bewildered.

People tell you it will go quickly, but yesterday when I woke up, I was suddenly a mother of a 10 year old. I can't believe it has been 10 years. It feels like just a few moments ago that this sweet little baby was in my arms.

Right from the beginning he needed to suck something all.the.time
Oh, so small. And peaceful.

A moose present from Sweden!

3 weeks old and at his first college Toga party

Was he really that small???
My sweet baby...

I don't remember you sleeping in your bed by yourself :)

Ahh yes, that's more like it!

And that. And you get that sleeping with your arms up thing from your dad.
Family photo before your first ever Toga party. You wore a pillow case.
My dear darling Zander. You are the most amazing and special thing that has ever happened to me. Bringing you into the world was the start of the most wonderful life for me. So beautiful, special, wonderful. I love you so much, and I treasure every moment of the 10 years you have been in my life. Happy birthday my darling boy.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Grateful - For Choice

This week has made me realise, more than ever, how lucky I am. And the thing that I have (and most of us as Australians have) that many people around the world don't have is choice. 

 My life is full of choice sometimes.

Should I go back to uni? What should I study? Should I get a job? Should I be a full time mum? Should I try and be a consultant? Should I try and do the couch to 5k? Should I home school? Should I save for private schools? What should I have for dinner?

Sometimes the choices scare me. Sometimes it feels overwhelming.

But I am SO lucky. Because I have choice.

The women who work overseas and only get to see their children a couple of times a year, and miss out on seeing their children grow up do it because they don't feel they have a choice.

People risk their lives fleeing their countries - because they feel like they don't have a choice.

Many people around the world live their lives without choice.

I am so blessed to have so many choices, and today I am very grateful for that. 

Do you feel that you have choices? 
Are you grateful for them, or do you find them overwhelming? 
And have you ever realised how weird the word 'choice' looks when you look at it for too long? 
Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Linking up with Kidspot the home of Maxabella Love's 52 weeks of Gratitude Project.

image credit

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Thermomix (and fear)

At the beginning of 2011 I bought a Thermomix. My blender had finally died, and I was looking for a replacement. I love making soup, and smoothies, so I wanted to get a good one. About 12 months before that, a friend of mine had told me about this crazy machine that she had bought that could do pretty much everything. Needless to say I didn't really believe her. In fact, despite her being one of my favourite people in the world, and someone who I have so much respect for, I thought maybe she had gone a little crazy.

However, over that year I learnt a lot more about them, and saw them on Masterchef. I decided that I wanted one, but couldn't justify it. I thought maybe one day in the distant future our paths would cross. Then we moved to Melbourne. I grieved the loss of my little community in Adelaide. I was miserable. Then my blender broke. I decided that what I really needed was a Thermomix. It would make me happy.

Buying things when I am miserable usually only manages to cheer me up in the short term. My love affair with my Thermomix has been different. My love for it has grown over the course of almost a year now. My passion for cooking has been re-ignited. My children eat far more variety than ever before, and are far more adventurous eaters. My 9 year old said a couple of months ago, I will try *anything* you cook mum. That brought a tear to my eye.

So, at the end of last year I decided to be brave (something I am not very good at), and I decided to become a Thermomix consultant. Unfortunately my training was interrupted by gastro wiping out the family for a couple of weeks, so I am re-starting the training today (arggh!! today!!).

I am excited, because I really do love my thermomix, and want to show it to others. I love cooking, and creating, and want to share this passion with others.

But I am also terrified. Terrified to put myself out there, to be judged, to do demonstrations in front of people, to technically be a 'saleswoman' - I found retail hard enough when I was young! And more than anything, I am terrified of failing. What if I don't get enough sales to make it through the initial period? What if people don't like me and say they don't want demonstrations?

Despite these fears, I am going to give it a go anyway, because I know that I grow when I push myself out of my comfort zone. And, you never know, I might even enjoy it.

image credit

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


 In 2008 we were living in London. In May we got a really good deal to go on a Mediterranean cruise. For 2 weeks we sailed around the Mediterranean and got to see ports in France, Italy, Spain and Tunisia. It was a dream holiday with small children, because we were able to see so many different places, but only had to unpack once.

Our cabin was cleaned immaculately every day by a sweet, young Filipino woman. All the cleaning staff were wonderful with the children, much better than the cross English women they had upstairs in the children's play centre. After a few days, the lovely Filipino maid showed me a picture of her family - her husband and 2 year old son. She worked on the cruise ship to support her family, and only got to visit her baby son once every 6 months. It seemed a common story, that many of the women working on the ship were mothers working hard to financially support their young children.

It broke my heart to hear that she only got to see her baby twice a year. That her baby son was growing up without knowing his mother, because she loved him so much and was sacrificing her time with him, trying to give him a better future.

She also told me how she lived in fear, she was terrified of sailing, and constantly worried that the ship would sink, and that she would never get to see her little boy again.

There are around 16 people missing on the Costa Concordia, and hope is fading fast. When I hear this, I wonder if any of them are crew; if any of them are mothers. Mothers sacrificing themselves for their children; mothers terrified they will never see their babies again.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Values - Week 2 SYL

I did an exercise like this years ago when my second boy was just a baby. At the time I was doing group therapy in Mindfulness because I had been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and was participating in a study at Macquarie university to test the effectiveness of Mindfulness compared with Cognitive behaviour therapy.

I can't remember what I listed as my values back then, and don't know how much they have changed since then, but I do know that at the time it helped me immensely, because pretty much every decision you make, every goal you set, will be (or should be) in some way based on your values.  If you aren't clear on what your values are, then it is virtually impossible to align your goals and decision making with your values.

When I read through Debra Dane's list the ones that stood out as being most important to me were, learning, intuition, dependable, open-mindedness, authenticity, nurturing, family, resilience, self-development, success, integrity, happiness, courage, and originality.

My top five are:

1. Family
2. Authenticity
3. Learning
4. Courage
5. Happiness

Family is absolutely without a doubt the thing that is most important to me on the list. I am pretty sure it was my number one 7 years ago when I did the Mindfulness course. However, although it is number 1 for me,  it is something that I have worked on so much in the last 7 -10 years, that it comes naturally, and my goals and decisions usually reflect that. 

Choosing my second value was more difficult, but at this point in time I am going to choose *authenticity*. Sometimes I feel like I make decisions based on what I think that other people think, and let's face it, that is not the way I want to live my life. I want to make sure that the decisions I make are mine. Not that I think I am 'inauthentic', but I think sometimes I give too much weight to what others think, or what they may think. I also think that sometimes I go along with things or avoid things, because I don't want people's disapproval, or I want to make them happy. I am too diplomatic sometimes, because I want people to like me. I want to have the confidence to say what I really think and be open with my thoughts and accept that some people may not agree with me, and that's ok. 

My third is learning. I am a great believer of the importance of education, both for myself, my husband, and my children. I don't always believe that mainstream education does a very good job of igniting the love of learning. I am embarking on some more study again this year which I feel is important for my value, but I also want to make sure that my children grow up with a love of learning.

My fourth value, courage, I talked about a bit with authenticity, but it is broader than that. It is courage to stand up for my values, to make choices based on my values, to be a little 'fearless', to not be scared of the answer being no.  It is courage to put my family first - ALL.THE.TIME. Because that is important to me. I guess I want to be more courageous with the big things and the little things. I have lost quite a lot of confidence since becoming a mother, and I think one of the ways to get that back is by pushing myself out of my comfort zone and 'feeling the fear and doing it anyway'. 

And happiness is my 5th. If I think about it for longer I will probably move it higher up my list, as I think that it is really important. I had a breakthrough moment last year when someone asked me my definition of success. I didn't find it easy to come up with a definition, and thought about it over the following few weeks. After lots of thought, he shared his definition with me which was 'happiness', and although it may be a bit simplistic, I think there is a lot of truth in it. I would like my definition of success to be happiness. If I am happy then I am successful. If I am happy, and my family is happy, then surely we are on the right track? Conversely, if any of us are not happy, then surely we need to re-assess things. I guess that happiness is my canary in the mine - if we are not happy then something is wrong. 

So there you have it, what may be my longest blog post ever. If you have managed to get this far then - wow! I'm impressed! 

What are your values? 

I'm linking up with here with week 2 of SYL, head on over to read more about values.
image credit

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Theatre Chairs

I love op-shops, garage sales, and markets. I also love antique shops, but can't afford the price tags.
I have been looking for some chairs for a little while. We have a 'breakfast bar' in front of the kitchen, and when I am in the kitchen cooking that is where the children sit to chat or eat (if they aren't in the kitchen helping!). They use the dining table chairs, so I have wanted to put some chairs at the breakfast bar so that they don't have to move the others. Trouble is that I haven't found ones I like that were cheap, until today...

I found three of these at a garage sale up the road. I'm not sure what type of wood they are (mum? help?) but they are sturdy, and I haven't seen something exactly like them before.

Apparently they are Theatre Chairs, and were bought in the 1950s from the Regent Theatre in Melbourne. I love things that have a history.

What about you? Where are your favourite places for a bargain?

{this moment}

Friday, 13 January 2012

Grateful - A Letter to my Mother

Dear Mum,

Thank you for the gentle start that you gave me in life. I am so grateful for your strength, in letting me be little.
I am so grateful that you didn't push me into things that I didn't want to do, that you always treated me with respect, treated me as a person.

I am so grateful that you didn't force me to be a 'Big Girl', that you allowed me to have a childhood, gave me the gift of being little.

I am so grateful that you had the confidence to let me have a dummy, and that even though there were negative comments, you didn't push me into giving it up before I was ready. You had the confidence in me, to let me decide when I was ready. You understood that it was important to me, and that it was important to my development to do it by myself, when I was ready, rather than being pushed into it.

Now, as a mother, I realise how strong you were, in letting me be quiet, and shy. That you provided lots of opportunities for me, but never pushed me into things. You seemed to know that I would do things when I was ready.

I remember 7 years ago, when Zander started preschool, and was so clingy. I couldn't understand why this was, and why I hadn't been clingy when I went to preschool. I couldn't remember any separation anxiety when I was at preschool, in fact I couldn't remember you leaving at all! I remember your calm reply 'I never left you alone at preschool'.

You were always by my side. You were always there for me. You let me grow; you let me understand that people would be there for me, that they wouldn't let me down.

Thank you for the wonderful beginning you gave me. It has made me who I am today. It has made me the Mother I am today. Each day my strength as a Mother grows, and that is because of you.

Love from your Daughter,

* image credit

Linking up on Kidspot, the new home of Maxabella's grateful.
Also on FYBF

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Shameless Self Promotion

The number of followers on my blog has increased by more than a whopping 10% this week.  Considering the meagre number of followers this is probably not too impressive to most people, but makes me really happy anyway.

So to celebrate, I thought I would do a bit of shameless self promotion and list my top 5 posts of 2011

1. Sweet Poison - This is my post where I decided to give up sugar for a bit about a month. I was pretty successful, and didn't give into temptation much at all, but unfortunately had a really nasty flu during it which meant that I was unable to eat for about 3 weeks anyway. I lost a couple of kilos during it, but don't know whether that was just due to not being able to eat rather than no sugar. Since starting to eat normally again though, I have managed to put the weight back on plus a couple more kilos for luck. However, after the flu I was feeling much less tired when I woke up in the mornings and I suspect that this was due to lack of sugar. I would definitely like to cut down on sugar this year, but probably wouldn't cut it out altogether.

2. Which Brazilian would Madame like today? - This was a follow up to my story about deciding to get a Brazilian wax when I was 29 and feeling like a frumpy mum. It seemed to really resonate with people, either people who were big fans of waxing, or people who had thought about it, but didn't quite want to go there for whatever reason.

3. Sweet, Sweet Igloo - In complete contrast to giving up sugar, we did a project as a family to build an Igloo out of sugar cubes, which is something that my middle boy Rock really wanted to do. I bought the cubes and made the icing and my husband the engineer was the team leader in design and construction with 2 little boy helpers. Our little girl was chief taste tester. It was difficult, but really fun and satisfying to complete :)

4. Not another Halloween Post - This seemed to resonate with a lot of people, that we like the idea of celebrating something like Halloween, but don't want to blindly adopt and American Holiday.

5. Pink Tutu Headband - This was one of my few creative posts. I have made quite a lot of things this year, but for some reason don't get around to blogging about them.

Ok, enough self-promotion, I am linking up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for I blog on Tuesdays.

Monday, 9 January 2012

SYL: Week 1

Week #1 Challenge: Create a list of everything that went “right” in 2011 

I find it hard to do things like this, I don't know whether it feels too much like conforming when it is someone else's questions, or whether it feels to self-indulgent to post on my blog, I really don't know why I don't like doing things like this. However, I think really highly of Deb from Home Life Simplified and I thought, what have I got to lose, so decided to give it a go.

What energised you?
Moving out of my comfort zone was something that energised me. It was hard initially, as I was outside my comfort zone in so many ways due to moving which was something I didn't have control of. I had to meet new people, at a new school, new playgroup. I had to get to know a new city. I found this really difficult, as I had been SO happy in Adelaide, and we had been part of a beautiful and loving community, that I actually spent a lot of time grieving over the loss of that at the beginning of 2011 I didn't want to try and replicate it in Melbourne, and found it hard to motivate myself to get out and meet people. While I haven't replicated what we had in Adelaide, I have met lots of really special people, and am much happier than I was at the beginning of 2011.

I have been blogging since the beginning of 2009, but at the beginning of 2011 I was inspired to be brave and go create a public blog. It made me feel energised, and being brave with sharing things on my blog also made me feel energised.
I also got out of my comfort zone and did a photography course, something I have wanted to do since I did photography in year 12 at school. I loved it immensely, and am so glad that I finally had the courage to put it as a priority and do it.

What made you feel happy?
Doing a photography course, cooking, cooking more, buying my Thermomix and learning how to use it, being creative, getting out of my comfort zone and experimenting with cooking, craft, trying to sew, blogging, photography, learning how to edit photos, sharing photos. seeing my children adjust to a new school and be happy there, getting to know new people and find some common interests and values, learning how to keep my house tidier through the Flylady.

What made you feel at peace?
Spending time with my family, taking photos, being at the beach.

What positive people lifted you up?
My husband, many of the women I met through playgroup, school, and through blogs; my children.

What filled your “tank”?
Celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary, trips to the beach, a trip away by myself, realising that having a perfect house doesn't matter to real friends or make your children happy, getting away on spontaneous trips and feeling free.

What worked to bring your family together?
Eating meals together, going to the beach, exploring things together, doing craft activities.

What is something that made you feel excited to dive right in?
2011 the things that made me really excited were photography, and experimenting with thermomix cooking.

What did you learn (positive things)?
That I feel passionate about photography, that I love being in the kitchen.

What are you grateful for?
My beautiful little family. So very, very grateful; each and every moment of every single day.

Despite my initial reluctance, I am so glad that I did this, as it has helped clarify a few things.

I think that a there are a few recurring themes here: I love photography, I love to cook, I love my family, and getting out of my comfort zone energises me. The beach makes me really happy too. 

Head over here to see more about the 52 week challenge.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

One Word

I was just so excited when Maxabella loves announced that she was going to do a linky for people's word of the year.

I was excited, because I had a revelation a few days ago that I wanted to this year to focus on Joy, and in the following days I began to think about it even more.  It came to me in a moment of clarity, and I feel that 2012 is my year to *indulge* in joy; to see it, feel it, hear it, taste it, smell it - totally revel in it.

I want to try and make every minute count. To be grateful of all the wonderful things in my life, and to really feel the happiness.

My quote for myself for the year is:
Think Less. Fear Less. Enjoy More. Live More.

linking up here with Maxabella Loves, head on over to find lots of inspirational words.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Grateful for SO much

I am so grateful for all the wisdom that I find on a daily basis through the internet. With a quick flick of my fingers I can contemplate quotes from amazing philosophers, and read inspiring blogs.

I thought that I would like to share a couple of the things that are inspiring me this week, and that I am very grateful for:

Finding Debra Dane and her site Home Life Simplified and an old post of hers about conformity

Soulemama for her story that resonated with me about being authentic, and how it is important to be able to sometimes say No.

I feel like I am making baby steps to the person I want to become, figuring out the life I truly want to live. This is happening because I am starting to be able to let go a little, be more mindful, more joyful, think less about tomorrow and more about the present, and be less fearful about making the 'perfect' choice.

Joining in with Maxabella, head over here for many other grateful posts.


So, I have been thinking a lot this week about Joy. I truly believe it is the key to everything. Of course it isn't the only element, things like gratitude are also part of the picture, but how often do you stop for a second and concentrate on the joy that you feel?

Do you even know what you enjoy?

I think as mothers we can get so focused on getting things done, making things work, meeting other people's needs, that we forget what we enjoy, and even when doing things we enjoy, we don't have time to feel joy, and don't allow ourselves to feel joy. (I think instead our emotions are plagued by guilt).

When was the last time you felt really joyful about something? 
Real, true, unadulterated joy?

I have decided to do a 365 project, where I will aim to take a photo every day. Rash and reckless, I know.
I decided to do it about joy.  Things that give me joy, and I will try really hard to feel that joy when I look at the pictures.

For some completely unknown reason I felt compelled to blog about it too. Initially I was going to blog about it here, but decided instead to do it separately. It is called 365 Moments of Joy. It is completely in its infancy, but I hope it will change and grow over the next few weeks (and year!), and I would love it if you get a chance to visit.

What makes you happy?
Joining in with FYBF

Dismantling a ginger bread house gives my children joy :)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Thankful Thursday

I am SO thankful and grateful for the school holidays. The lack of routine allows me to clear my head, and frees me up to more clearly see what is really important to me. I am not completely there yet, but I am feeling like I am leaving behind the claustrophobic space I felt I was in at the end of 2011, and am feeling more motivated and inspired to think less, fear less, enjoy more, live more.

Hmmmm... writing that felt good. I might try that again.

Think Less. Fear Less. Enjoy More. Live More. 

Thankful? Definitely.

Linking up with Kate says Stuff for Thankful Thursday.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Things that make me happy #1

 Just this moment I had a little epiphany. I have vaguely been thinking about making resolutions, but I am really not a New Years Resolutions kind of girl. Probably too scared of failure. Then I was looking through my recently downloaded photos and thinking that so many of them are things that make me happy. I feel joy when I look at them.  So, I have decided that in the weeks ahead I might try and blog about the things that make me happy.

I am hoping that if I try and relinquish the goal setting, and instead just concentrate on the feelings of joy, that will in turn make me try and do things that give me joy and make me happy more often.

I have recently discovered that growing mushrooms makes me happy. 

Look at those beautiful swiss browns...

They start looking like normal mushrooms and then you come back a few hours later and they have exploded into beautiful plump lumps of goodness.

I had no idea that growing fungus would give me so much joy...
 What gives you joy?