No more Babble

No more Babble

I think it’s been pretty obvious for a while, that my blog hasn’t been high on my list of priorities. Which is sort of true. I still spend so much time writing posts in my head and wondering what new ideas I can come up with. I love to write, I love to blog. But the time has come to make the decision to let Abbie’s Babble rest.

I’m very much of the opinion that if I can’t do something well and with my whole heart, then I probably shouldn’t do it at all. I started this blog as a means of dealing with the grief of losing my mum all the while adjusting to my new role as mum of four in a blended family. That season has passed now. My grief will never end and I’ll always be a very blessed mum. But right now, I need to focus on being hands on raising my family and being an amazing wife.

So I’ll say goodbye. And thank you. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have read and commented on my posts. I was always amazed at every comment – that anyone would take the time to read my words and then actually connect enough to say something.

My posts will stay here as I love to go back to read, to see just how far I have come. The memories are real. But for now, I’ll say goodbye. Or maybe see you later … in another form if I feel the need…

Abbie x

 

Girl in chaos

Girl in chaos

This is my girl through and through. She lives in her own frenetically paced bubble. Yesterday when she jumped out of the car I just had to snap this pic – it’s so her.

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In the seven minute drive from school to home she managed to pull everything out of her bag and then scramble inside, barely keeping it all in check. But oh my, she’s gorgeous.

I’ve posted plenty about Nat (she has her own tag) – my firecracker. She doesn’t seem to live inside any set of rules, she battles and challenges me as a parent every single day. Her emotions ALL run to extreme levels  and she’s either on superfast or the total opposite. She loves completely, has a will that is stronger than no other I’ve met, is extremely affectionate (when the mood strikes her), and feels everything to the highest degree.

I love her, the beautiful girl underneath the whirlwind that is Natalie, and almost cant wait to see her grown up. She’s going to be amazing. But hey, don’t get me wrong, she IS amazing now too!

But for now, I’ll deal with picking her stuff up off the bathroom floor (and hallway and lounge and bedroom!), picking my battles with her, and making the most of every gorgeous mama-daughter moment we share.

Beautiful Heart

Beautiful Heart

My daughter is without doubt, the biggest challenge of my life so far. I love her dearly – each and every part of her that makes her … well, … her. But boy oh boy is my intelligent, highly emotional, stroppy, strong-willed girl a challenge to every bit of patience that I have.

She was the dream baby, healthy from the outset, slept through the nights from eight weeks old, and met all her milestones, many ahead of time. Because it was just her and I from when she was only weeks old, she quickly became mummy’s best little friend.

She was so compliant … until she wasn’t.

I don’t know what changed, but about the time she turned four, my little lady found her will. Her VERY STRONG will. Four years later, we’re still trying to find that compliant heart I know is there. But I have to be honest, compliance isn’t the most important thing to me.

Love, respect, honesty, integrity, being a great friend, humility, reverence, generosity. These are important, in a child and in the amazing adult I know she will become.

This doesn’t win me a lot of fans. I’m probably the mum that you hear repeating herself over and over in the supermarket and just want to shake while you yell ‘woman your child is a brat’. I get that. But I don’t care what anyone else thinks anymore. Yes, I have learnt a LOT about tolerance too!

She does have a strong will, but I see an amazing will that can take her far. Stubborn yes, tenacious too. Quick to question yes, an open heart and mind to learn too. Emotional yes, a big heart too. Stroppy yes, hmmmm, not sure I can find an upside to that 😉

I know God has an amazing plan for her life and I don’t want to break her spirit. I know that if I focus only on behaviour of instant compliance, we’ll only be frustrated – I don’t want her to be a robot, she has so much more to offer than that. Besides I also know I’m never going to achieve that. Don’t get me wrong, she still has to respect authority and rules, we just have to go about things a slightly different way. I will let some things slide that you might not, but in the big picture, it’s small stuff on the Natalie scale.

So lately, seeing a few glimpses of the amazing heart I know is in there, makes me more joyful than the words I write can possibly convey.

Over the weekend I received an email from another parent thanking me for raising Natalie to be the good friend she is. HALLELUJAH! I’m not happy for the praise of my parenting (ok, truth, it feels good), I’m really happy that my gorgeous girl is being an amazing friend. Standing steadfastly on the side of her friend who is being bullied, instead of straying to the side of the bully who is relentlessly trying to break them apart.

My girl was bullied for a long time last year, that’s why she’s at the school she’s at now. We’ve spent many hours pondering friendships and talking about being a good friend. I’m so grateful that her bad experience has come to good in that she can help her friend now. Generally in her new school she’s chosen to surround herself with beautiful girls and when the going gets tough, she stands strong beside them. That’s the kind of friend I want her to be. I’m happy.

I’m also happy that yesterday she got angry at me. Because I wouldn’t stop the car and drive back around the intersection – for a third time. Hmmm, ok, I’ll back up. Yesterday there was a man cleaning car windows at the traffic lights. This isn’t a common occurrence where we live so my ever-inquisitive daughter needed to know why. When I saw his pack on the side of the road I explained there was a good chance the man didn’t have a job, maybe he didn’t even have a place to live, so he was trying to earn money. Well, she was ready to jump out of the car then and there and hand over my wallet! She made me drive around the block and back to hand him some money. I did turn around, I couldn’t quash that sort of thinking, but we didn’t catch a red light so I had to keep driving past a second time.

Boy oh boy did my little lady get stroppy and let me have it (verbally).

So we’re not all the way there. Well actually we’re not even part of the way there. But she’s showing that she’s hearing me, the love, the words, the lessons … they’re getting in. I know they’re going to pay off in the adult she becomes.

Isn’t that really what we all want as parents?

Making memories

Making memories

Yesterday someone pointed something out to me. Something really important.

Something that I thought was a slightly funny but inconsequential moment, was actually potentially significant.

Bear with me…

Yesterday on the school run I had fractious kids – I blame Monday! I was pre-coffee and not really up for the noise levels that six kids, mostly boys, can produce (I also pick up another family en route to one of our schools). Drastic action was required.

“Right you lot, if you don’t tone it down, I’m going to blast this truck with opera music. Don’t think I won’t do it…”

Hmmmm, still really noisy. Right then.

And suddenly I had six kids pretending to be opera singers – full voice, full comedy act. I will never hear You Raise Me Up in quite the same way again! We laughed all the rest of the way and everyone jumped out of the car at their various schools in good spirits.

I would have totally forgotten this moment except for posting a smart comment about boys and opera music on my Facebook page. Then someone pointed this out to me:

We weren’t just making happy noise, we were making happy memories too.

Gosh that got me thinking.

How many other fleeting random or silly (or bad) moments am I dismissing that are actually becoming an important part of the memory bank that my children will look back on? I need to become more intentional about the now.

This is all part of a bigger change happening in me, it’s been coming for a while. I blogged about being present and needing to be happy with life in October/November last year. I have made some changes, both internally and in the way we go about life, that have made a huge difference, and now, it’s time to be even more intentional about chasing passion and happiness.

Hands Free MamaI’ve been reading a fantastic book called Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford. I had it sitting on my bedside table for at least a year before it was the right time to pick it up, but when I finally did, it hit me hard between the eyes.

In short, Hands Free Mama introduces a life philosophy, it’s about simplicity, being present and grasping what really matters in life.

I haven’t related so much to a book in a long time – you can see by the state of it that I’ve thumbed through it more than just a few times! I will be reflecting more on my own Hands Free journey in future posts.

I think yesterday was a great example of grasping what really matters. That laughter and happiness on the way to school, that’s good memories in the memory bank.

It’s so important to create those moments, or even better, to have time in life to just let those moments happen…

Not the last bullying post (Part 2)

Yesterday I was going to post an update on Nat after her hideous time last year being bullied, and how bullying is out of our lives. Sadly, bullying is not out of our lives. So yesterday I posted an update on Nat (yay, it’s a happy story!) and now the stuff I’m not so happy to post. But it’s doing my head in so I need a rant…

Two of our sons are still at the school we chose to remove Natalie from. They are doing ok although I saw red (and white and pink and flashes of light, not good ones) when I found out that Nat’s bullies had been placed in my youngest son’s class!!! Thankfully it’s a mixed class and he’s the older year. So far, no drama, but I’m keeping a very close eye on things.

It appears however that other children are still suffering at the hands of bullies, and that some senior management are still unwilling to accept there is bullying at the school. Therefore blocking appropriate action. Recently I witnessed some terrible bullying behaviour on a sports field. Student to student from the same school, no immediate consequence.  I have contacted the school about that particular case, I can’t sit back, my blood boils and my heart breaks. It’s so unnecessary.

Image Background: Lonely Bear City Bench via photopin (license)
Image Background: Lonely Bear City Bench via photopin (license)

I hate that children are going through this stuff – it changes who they become. Bullies will always be bullies unless they are taught (and given consequences) otherwise. The children they hurt become lesser versions of their best selves until they are old enough to look back and realise it wasn’t about them – by which point the damage has been done.

In a further development, the lovely International student who has joined our family for a few months from Thailand, has been experiencing a hard time at the high school she is attending (different school). The students who have been assigned to buddy her have been swearing at her and name calling.

Again, I’m sad. I found myself apologising to our student and to her teacher over and over again that this happened to her. A visitor to our country, with limited English and this is what she gets?! That is not the Kiwi way let me tell you!

Hopefully now that everyone is well aware of what’s going on, including us, things will be firmly dealt with and our young lady can continue her learning in peace. She really is a sweet wee thing – very shy. And only 13 years old, very brave in my opinion to be away from her family and friends  in a country where she barely speaks the language.

I wish I had a magic wand and could take the part out of everyone that needs to be mean and vindictive. I hate bullying. I wish everyone hated bullying. I hate that the people I see at the receiving end are the ‘good’ ones.

There’s a real passion stirring in me over this.

I want to make a difference.

Somewhere. Somehow.

I just don’t know how.

Abbie x

True story

It was one of those if you don’t laugh, you cry moments at 3 o’clock this morning.

I heard PollyCat jump in the window and as soon as she ran into my room, I knew she’d brought me something. That meow, and psycho kitty dancing meant a cockroach, a bird, or a mouse. Oh yay, why does this have to happen when Richard is out of town?!

It does get better.

I jump out of bed, grab a shoe and bravely tell myself I can deal with whatever my darling puss has brought me. Light on. Mouse. Ok, it’s just a little one, I can do this. Then Polly swipes it out into the lounge. Hmmmmm, I could just shut the door and go back to sleep. Then Polly swipes it again and I hear a thump. Oh bother, I know exactly what’s happened, that little mouse has been swept down the stairs, and dropped into the entranceway.

That’s where the dog is.

cat_dog_mouse
Image: Witzige Katzen-Bilder

Now in my house, Polly lives upstairs and Moe lives downstairs. Never the twain shall meet because the dog will quite probably eat the cat. Everyone knows the deal and thankfully, they stick to their own territory. But oh did Polly want to go and get her mouse. She cautiously ventured down three stairs, paused, looked at me, looked down the stairs where the mouse was, looked at me, looked at the mouse. I could almost hear her brain weighing up the risks.

“Your problem cat, you made this mess, I should be asleep, you deal with it” (yes, I was actually having a conversation with my cat in the middle of the night).

At this point I contemplated heading back to bed but a bigger part of me needed to know where the mouse had landed, and in what state. Besides, by this point, the dog was up and sniffing around. If he saw the cat or found the mouse, the whole house would be awake!

Shortly after, I had the dog deposited on a child’s bed, the cat on my bed and the poor mouse stunned but alive behind the blanket chest under the stairs. Well no animal would get it from there and I figured the first place it would run would be out the garage door. I needed to sleep so off I went to bed.

The mouse was gone this morning so all is well that ends well.

Except that I never did get back to sleep. I need another coffee…


Abbie x

Not the last bullying post (Part One)

Background: For those of you who weren’t with me last year, we had quite the saga with our youngest child, Nat, being bullied at school. Long story short, she’s now at a different school. If you want to read the back story, you can read Bullying Sucks, and Bullying Still Sucks.

Here I was, all ready publish a post titled The Last Bullying Post. But sadly I can’t, as apparently I have some more work to do with some more bullies. Hence the title of this post! Ggggrrrrrr.

Firstly, let’s get up-to-date with Nat’s story.

Last year, a horrid final two terms at school, concluded early in a fairly emotional head to head with the school principal who flat out denied that there was any bullying in his school. Hah, whatever! Immediately after that meeting I was on the phone to every school I knew anything good about. This was challenging and a bit disheartening as it was the final weeks of the school year and all schools with prescribed zones (most) had closed their ballots.

I persevered and needless to say, God opened the right doors.

Nat now attends a lovely school which was one of the top two on my favourites list.

Best news yet: I have got my daughter back!

This school, and the particular classroom she’s in, is a perfect fit for Nat. I see such a difference in the dynamics between the children, and between the children and the teachers at this school. It’s very easygoing with young vibrant staff.

As a result, Nat is happy and sparky again, her behaviour at home has improved SO much, she’s eating and sleeping well again, looking forward to school each morning and best of all, making friends. Within four weeks she was already invited to play dates and birthday parties. It seems that where ever we go these days, there’s a new little person running over to us with a big ‘hi Nat’. The park, concerts, visiting random people, sport for her brothers. Yep, where ever we go! Thank you Jesus.

I am just so glad I followed my instincts.

So Nat is on the up. But it seems I’m not done with bullies for now. As this post has gotten pretty long, I thought I’d better make a Part Two which I’ll post tomorrow…

Abbie x

Prowess – I am / You are ENOUGH

Yesterday I posted about being enough. I am enough. You are enough. Even on the days when we feel like we don’t measure up WE ARE ENOUGH.

This morning a friend posted this story on her Facebook feed. This friend has the most amazingly beautiful heart and I’m almost always inspired by what she posts. She is such an encourager (as you can see). Today her words just tied in perfectly with what’s in my head and heart, and what I wrote yesterday.

Tracey Prowess

Here was this amazing woman, a life saver, carer, nurturer, who felt like she wasn’t enough because she wasn’t a great baker. Honestly, if that’s not getting tied up in society’s standards for us, I don’t know what is?! I love that my friend encouraged her so, a complete stranger, but she spoke to this woman’s heart. We should all encourage each other, these opportunities probably pass us by every day.

The word ‘prowess’ really hit me. It means “exceptional or superior ability, skill, or strength”. Yes! We’re all good at something, we can’t be good at everything. And that right there, is probably why we so often think we don’t measure up. We’re trying to be everything to everyone. Which I wrote about yesterday. Don’t do that. Be true to you and who you are. For me, that is my identity in Christ first, everything else second. I can focus on ONE thing and ONE set of standards – especially when I know those standards won’t change.

Remember – you are enough. Now go find someone else to tell that they are enough too!

Abbie x

I’m not enough

I’m not enough

I can’t be all things to all people. I’m always letting someone down. I know that. On some level, I know that trying to be what everyone else wants/needs is a pursuit that will never end well. I also know that I probably place more of those pressures on myself than anyone else.

But don’t we all have days where, in our own heads, we just don’t measure up?

The days I run non stop after the kids so that by the time I get to sit down with my husband in the evening I don’t have anything left to give him. I’ve let him down. The fact that I’m not the uncomplicated daughter/sister my family would like, the woman who will accept anything they say or do. To them, I’m a Jesus freak. I let them down all the time because I’m ‘different’. The days my body lets me down and then I barely function outside of the bathroom or lying on my bed. Those days I let everyone down.

I’m learning something though.

Even though I might fail to my own standards, or even to someone else’s standards, I am enough. Continue reading “I’m not enough”

Our technology take down

Have you ever noticed you were watching something on TV that you weren’t really interested in … but there wasn’t anything else on? Or you get to bed only to think you’ll just check your Facebook page … one … more … time? Or get sick of the kids fighting over who has had a longer turn on the computer and who is going next?

Yeah we’ve all been there. Haven’t we?

Too much technology
photo credit: 128/365 C via photopin (license)

These were all happening at our place which we noticed all the more clearly over the summer holidays – while we were away from home and didn’t have all of our technology with us. There was a lovely calm without the screens and lot more walking, talking, bikeriding and card gaming happening. We as parents loved it, and the kids seemed really happy too.

So we came back from holiday deciding to get out of our screen rut and take control. And it’s been great. The new rules for our kids are that they may only have one hour per day on screens. Any screens – ipod’s, computer games, xbox, tv. I used to be good at monitoring their computer time but they’d just go straight to another screen when that was up! Now the rules cover everything. There are two exclusions – homework doesn’t count, you have to do what you have to do there; and listening to music doesn’t count as screen time (in our family that’s a chill out space that a lot of us actually need).

To be honest, the TV barely goes on any more. When it does, it’s almost annoying. We are all a lot more productive (I know I get a lot more done in the evenings, especially when my husband is working night shift) and the kids are gradually finding ways to entertain themselves that don’t involve screens.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the irony of typing this post as I sit at my laptop … while my ipad is playing music beside me! But the point of our family technology take down has not been to ban technology, it’s to ban the hold technology had over our lives and the amount of time we all spent staring at screens.

I have no doubt we’ll relax the one hour restriction during the winter – the kids all play a lot of sport so are active, and sometimes on a cold and wet Saturday afternoon you just need to sit down and watch a DVD. Fair call 🙂 But so far, I love how this is working for our family. Not saying we’d ever go without technology completely (oh no no no) but getting a little perspective has been super healthy for us all. Well I think so, but I’m confident the teens won’t agree with me there!

How do you manage technology times and turns in your home? We’ve tried white boards, timers, earning time credits and all sorts. Simple black and white time seems to be the easiest way to go. You can click here to see the rules we place around our technology.

Abbie x

Full moon madness (nothing spooky here!)

Yesterday my good friend text me to remind me there’s a full moon on Friday. That’s two days from now. She always gets in touch early in the week to warn me it’s coming up.

Why? Yeah fair question. Do I have some strange moonlight dance ritual I need to fulfil each month? Oh no. So no.

So why the heads up?

Full Moon
photo credit: Under-a-Full-Moon via photopin (license)

Because on a full moon two things happen in our house (same in my friend’s house).

My daughter struggles to hold onto her good behaviour. Seriously, she’s only eight but it’s like she is full of raging hormones. For a couple of days she will cry at the drop of a hat and her behaviour can be super challenging (keeping in mind this is not the easiest child to raise in ‘normal’ times).

To exacerbate this, neither her nor I sleep well when the moon is full. Ah ha, yep, you got it. That means while we’re dealing with her behaviour, we’re both exhausted.

Tonight, I confess, there were meltdowns. She just wound up and up and up and up and then we both exploded. Then I realised part of the reason is probably the lunar phase (ever wonder where the word lunacy came from?!), then I felt bad for not cutting her some slack, and she feels bad for making me feel bad and, oh it’s just messy.

Yeah, not one of our best nights. Sigh.

Anyone else out there deal with anything like this? Sleep issues, behaviour or mood changes around the full moon?

Abbie x

It’s been so long it’s a new year!

Hello hello hello my lovely blog world. Happy New Year!!!

Me and my rock x
Me and my rock x

I have been so super busy since school finished for the summer on 12 December but I have constantly missed the world of blog. I’ve been away from home (still am) and traveling without a laptop which has forced some serious down time. What can I say, much as I miss blogging, having the persistent online distraction taken away from me has been great. Loads of time spent with the family, I’ve already read a few books and taken a lot (seriously, a LOT) of naps! Still doing lots of writing, my journal has taken a hammering 🙂

In the last four weeks, including the last week before school finished, a lot has happened. I only have a short time on a borrowed computer so here’s some highlights as a reminder of posts I want to write/things I want to reflect on in the new year…

  • We’d been struggling with bullying at Nat’s school, I removed her from school 10 days before the end of the year. After a meeting with the school Principal, who completely denied a problem (don’t get me started!), Nat has been enrolled in a new school for 2015. I’ll reflect more on this later as I think it’s something a lot of parents, unfortunately, go through.
  • RoadtrippingWe’ve already traveled over 1,000km this holidays. We have plans for around another 1,700km yet. Much of it with our caravan. That’s a lot of travel in a pretty small country. Good thing our family loves road trips huh?!
  • We had a lovely weekend mid-December to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday and an early Christmas for that side of our family. These people are so special and I’m so honored to be adopted into their family. Being Aunty Abbie to 10 nieces and nephews is just fabulous! Technically they’re not my in-laws, they are my husband’s in-laws (his late wife’s family) but they have wholeheartedly opened their arms, hearts and lives to me, and I love them all to pieces. AMAZING people.
  • I’ve had a REALLY bumpy lead up to the holiday period, this being the first Christmas and New Year since my Mum died. And still raw as we come to the first anniversary of her passing in a couple of weeks. A lot of reflection and I know that a lot of people will be experiencing similar things. I didn’t expect the grief bug to bite me again so hard, but that was probably just naive (or really hopeful!). Still standing, and still moving forward though 🙂
  • I wrote about feeling strong late in November. I feel like I’ve been pulled through a storm backwards since then, but as a new year dawned this morning, those feelings remained. 2014 has been pretty brutal and a year I’ll never forget. Now I’m looking into 2015 knowing it will be different. There is hope. There is always hope, and I’m going to fight hard to stop smothering mine. My focus is on my faith for my strength. A lot to look back on from 2014 and move forward with in 2015, watch this space.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely, blessed holiday period. I look forward to catching up on blogs in February. I haven’t given up on blogging, despite the long absence, I’m just living the summer in the real world with my family. I will be back!

InstagramIn the meantime, I’m a very regular Instagrammer so head on over to my page @abbiesbabble if you want to see what we’re up to.

 

AbbiesBabble

Bullying still sucks

Regular readers of Abbie’s Babble might be aware of our struggles this year with bullying (my seven-year old daughter has been bullied over the last few months).

Unfortunately, things have hit an all-time low and I felt forced to remove my girl from school for the rest of the year (our school year finishes in 10 days for the summer). The last week of the year is fun, and she is missing out. Her bullies and their families carry on happy and regardless.

My heart is hurting and heavy.

I’m sad for my girl who has gone through so much she didn’t need to go through – it should have been stopped. I’m hurt that the school has obviously decided we’re wrong and chosen to stop acting – actually worse than not acting, Nat is feeling let down even by staff now. The other children have told lies, denying everything, and staff are consistently taking their side.

I have seen this other girl who is causing the most grief at the moment and she can’t even make eye contact with me any more (she used to come to my home). I don’t believe for a second that she has a clear conscience.

Nat has been told she can no longer go to her safe place the school sick bay. Sometimes she goes there at lunchtime as it’s safe, sometimes she genuinely needs time out as she does get a sore tummy from stress. I’ve been so worried about her health I’ve had her at the Dr with full blood screens taken to rule anything else out – looks like good old stress.

I don’t understand why my daughter is a target. I don’t understand why the school isn’t stepping up. I don’t know what to do from here on in. I feel physically ill today.

I just want my confident sparky happy girl back. Yes even the girl who will answer me back, ask incessant questions and push me to the extreme with her need to do things her own way. I miss that girl now.

I AM grateful for friends and family supporting us and providing advice. And I know there will be answers/lessons that will come from this.

Dog walking
This is much better than getting a hard time at school!

In the meantime, this pic shows how we spent out morning. Nat commented to me as we started walking “Oh well, at least I know I won’t get bullied today, Moe is just a dog”.

I wonder what it will take to get over this. I wonder how it will resolve.

************

Update: I wrote the above yesterday, our first day at home. Today I’m feeling a lot calmer, still sad that this has happened but I also feel more confident in doing the right thing for my family. I wrote recently how I was feeling so much stronger these days after a few years of high emotion and grief. I think this is a perfect example. I’m already bouncing into action.

I’ve made an appointment with the school principal for next week, I will go in ready and strong (pray for me to be discerning in my words please!). I will advocate for my daughter and, as I believe the school needs to change their stance on bullying, I might just need to be the change-maker. Well, to get that ball rolling anyway. For the next little boy or girl, so they don’t have to endure any time like Nat has the last few months.

I’ve also been public about this with my friends on Facebook. To start with I thought I shouldn’t, like it would be bad for the school. But I’ve always maintained, as with my blog, I live openly. I don’t have anything to hide. We haven’t actually done anything wrong here! The support from friends and family across the country has opened my eyes to the amazing network I do have around me. Sometimes on my lonely days I do forget that. I’m feeling very blessed in that respect. Good comes from bad. 

I’ll keep you posted…

AbbiesBabble

When being yourself equals trouble

Over the weekend I had a great chat with my daughter, quite possibly, the best so far. We had a two-hour road trip and we talked. And we talked.

The. whole. time.

I can’t speak for Nat, but for me, that was so good for my soul. I feel like we totally connected and were both able to say a lot of things that we really needed to. And that perhaps, in the heat of other moments, we haven’t been hearing from each other properly.

We have had a challenging year (two), Nat has faced more than I think a seven-year old should have to face. But that’s life isn’t it? On this trip everything was right, she opened up and we had a huge heart to heart. The details of which I won’t reveal because she asked me not to tell anyone. But she did raise a fair point that got me thinking…

What should we teach our children to do, when our right thing to do, will potentially get them in trouble?

This is a matter of personality – being true to who we are, not pretending for the sake of someone else.

photo credit: Lauren Beck cc
photo credit: Lauren Beck cc

I always tell my children to be true to who they are. To not change their actions, thoughts or personalities because of what someone else has said about them, or thinks of them.

What is the right thing to do though, when this makes them stand out and possibly draws negative attention? My gut says just be you, be who you are, you are beautiful from the inside out, fearfully and wonderfully made, you are smart, you are unique. And I know that as she blossoms into a young woman, the things that make Nat, Nat, will take her great places. But the mama part of me that doesn’t want to see her hurt, almost wants to say, just tone it down.

Some of the things that make Natty who she is, can get her into trouble. She’s feisty, outspoken, strong-willed, quick to question and confident to tell anyone (including adults … actually, especially adults) exactly what’s going on/how she feels/what she thinks. (This is why I was so surprised that she was bullied).

I’ve always treated Nat a bit grown up I guess, it was just the two of us for so long. In her formative years she also had my parents so very involved in her care – she has always been more comfortable with adults and developed a huge vocabulary at an early age. I know she considers adults, my friends, among her friends. She doesn’t see a big difference between them and her.

Nat has become a lot more sensitive this year because of, well, everything really, but especially school and the bullying. Because of this she is already worrying about the next year at school because she knows that a new teacher won’t know her and her ways. So she’ll probably be seen as the trouble kid. When really, she’s just very honest and extremely inquisitive. She understands the teacher-student relationship and the respect she is required to show in school. But she’s still Nat.

I don’t want to tell her to tone it down, to not ask questions and to not offer opinions. That is who she is and that is how she learns. I also don’t want her labelled (again) as trouble. I don’t really know what to do with this one. But I do need to think of something as it’s obviously bothering Nat and she’s going to need a strategy to feel good about starting the new school year in February.

My gut says stay true. I know this is right. I teach it over and over, I know it’s wrong to stray from that now. But my mama heart still says don’t get hurt.

What would you say to your child?

AbbiesBabble

 

To my strong-willed, passionate, very loved, almost-8-year-old daughter

Dear Nat

You have had a rough time lately and I want to encourage you. I want to tell you that you are amazing. I want you to know that even though we do most definitely have our challenges, we are going to work it out. I want to tell you (again and forever) just how loved and special you are to me.

Baby girl in your short life you’ve dealt with a lot. I say that carefully, because I know a lot of other kids have dealt with a lot too. Some of their things bigger. But you know what, in your life, you have dealt with a lot of big loss and change among other things, and I don’t want to take away from that. Nor do I want those things to define who you become in a bad way.

Yes your dad left you, pretty much at birth. I know what it is to be abandoned by your father, not so young, but I understand. I know that it makes it hard for you to trust people, especially Richard. It’s like a part of you, even though you don’t want it, is waiting for him to reject you like your father did. And I know that’s why you are so hot and cold with him. But my darling, you can trust him. He is learning to be your dad as much as you are learning to be his daughter. Please know I chose very carefully, he IS a wonderful husband and father and when you are ready, you will see that. He loves you. He makes mistakes, we all do, but he loves you. He is also sent from God. Harris6 is a family that is meant to be together and nothing will separate us. But know that I understand how you feel, it took me many years to accept my step-father too and you know that I now look at Pop-Pop as my only dad. Hang in there and trust. Trust me, trust Richard but most of all trust God’s plan for our family.

You live your life with so much passion – your emotions are so clearly on the very outside, you feel EVERYTHING so intensely. Good and bad. You are also a VERY strong-willed young lady. More than me and more than your Gee. That’s big, because you know that my mum and I are very strong ladies! These are not bad things. They can be good things if you are willing to learn about them. They definitely challenge me as your mum because at the moment, you want to question and defy pretty much everything I say and ask of you. Some days I feel like I’ve spent the day fighting a battle with you and that’s hard. I have always taught you obedience. How many times do you hear me say ‘obey straight away’? But I’m learning. I’m learning that it’s not your nature. That you need to know the reasons why, that you need to know what’s coming up, that I need to roll with it a little more and the less I fight your fighting back, the more we can get done. I’m trying baby. Every single day I’m trying to be the best mum I can – you hear me pray every night for God to guide me as your parent to help you be the best you can be, and I mean that from the bottom of my big toe.

Even on the days where your yelling and screaming and crying pushes me to the edge of crying myself, I never stop loving you. I never will bubba. I will love you to the end of the world and back. Sometimes I think your behaviour is purely to test this. Especially when I tell you I love you and you say ‘but how can you when I’ve been so naughty’. You will always get the same answer from me. “I will always love you. I might not like your behaviour but I will always love you. Nothing you can do will push me away or make me stop loving you. Same as God”. You don’t need to fear rejection from me baby. I will never do that to you.

Your strong will and passion will see you go far in life. I believe you have leadership inside of you. When you were dedicated Pastor Jack saw and prayed amazing things over your life. NEVER forget that. Sometimes, in the moment, when your emotions are running on super drive, remember that God is always working on us, always teaching us. He didn’t plant these amazing things in you to not use you for greatness in some way. And I will be your biggest cheerleader all the way.

Your Gee was also one of your biggest cheerleaders. One of her biggest sadnesses when she got really sick was that she wasn’t going to see you grow up. Wasn’t going to see you finish school, university, have a family of your own. She loved you so much and I know you loved her too. You are so lucky to have had such a special bond with a grandparent. I know you miss her crazy much, I do too. And that’s okay. You never have to stop missing her. Just know that you always carry her in your heart and she’s watching you from heaven cheering you on in everything you choose to do. Pop Pop is still here and he loves you as much as Gee did. I know it’s hard when he lives in a different town but you still get to see him and we’ll make sure you still get your special weekends with him.

You see beautiful girl, you are loved. So very loved.

Keep living a big life my girl. I think you are learning about friendships now and understanding what it is that makes a good friend. I hope for you to be a good friend and to make good choices about the people in your life. Choose people who make you the best version of you – and do that for them too. Don’t change who you are because of what someone else says or does. Don’t try to be anything other than yourself: an amazing kind and caring person who throws their whole heart into life. You don’t have to be the best at anything. You have to live a happy life and be willing to work hard. Let God direct your path, remain teachable.

Every night before I go to bed I come into your room. I switch your lamp off and kiss your cheek. And in that moment Natty, anything bad we said or did that day has disappeared. My heart grows with a wave of love for you. Together, we can work through anything. I love you so much I can’t even explain. You’ll understand one day.

Be strong, be you.

Blessings

Mummy x

Your than you

AbbiesBabble

Just put the screen down

Social MediaI’m really starting to annoy myself.

Do you constantly find yourself checking for new activity on your blogs, tweetbooks, facetags, instapins and hashmails? 😉

I do.

I can hardly wander past my phone without checking the notifications some days. If I’m sitting “watching” the kids at sport, you’ll probably find me on my screen a lot.

Over at Pendulum World, Marla posted recently about being present with our kids, not letting our own things get in the way of really connecting with the little people in our lives. Because I’ve already been feeling frustrated with my behaviour, this really struck a chord with me.

Like Marla, I love the world of blogging. I do love to write and have found such freedom in expressing myself this way. I’ve also found joy in the community of bloggers (hey you guys!) and love to communicate on my blog and others. I link some social media with my blog (Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest) but I also love to interact with my real world friends on Facebook.

That said, God has given me the amazing blessing and huge responsibility of raising four children within a wonderful marriage. To put all that ‘social media’ stuff before them is just plain wrong. For me. I do think God is really speaking into my heart at the moment and saying, put the screen down, look at your family, they need your attention. And I know He’s right. So I’m called to act.

I have to admit, I’ve tried to be more focused at sport this week. At volleyball I enjoyed actually following the game and encouraging the team. A few times Tom looked over and I was able to give him a thumbs up or word of praise and his big grin was well worth it. Same with Nat at swimming – as she swims past me and takes that one breath where I’m in her line of sight, I see her smile when I wave stupidly at her.

I will defend myself a little here. I do think I’m a good mum. I love my kids completely and my life is pretty well devoted to making sure everyone in my family has what they need, when they need it. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Lately though, I feel like I’ve dropped the ball a bit and maybe that is because my priorities are slipping just a little too far in the direction of what I want, instead of what I should be doing. This balance will be addressed with the changes we’re making in the new year – I’ll post about this in the next few weeks.

So here’s the deal: I’m really focusing on the time between school pickup and dinner. This is to connect with my children and my husband. When I’m out with the kids, my phone is not out (excluding photos, my phone is my camera). When we’re at hockey or swimming or volleyball or whatever, I’m watching them, not my screen. On the rare afternoon that we’re actually at home, I’m going to make a real effort to stay off screens completely in this time. Eeeek, I know I’m up for a challenge in this.

Anyone with me???

Raising Children

AbbiesBabble

 

Thankful Thursday (November 5)

Thankful Thursday

I LOVE:

  • Being a mum – this is a privilege for me. I love looking after my family, teaching and nurturing, providing a safe and loving home for them. Meeting their needs, while definitely challenging, is enjoyable for me. Yes, sometimes when I collapse on the couch at the end of the day, when the washing machine has stopped beeping at me and the kids have finally all fallen asleep I don’t feel it so much, but overall, being a mum is cool and this time, having children at home, is a part of my life I know I will always cherish.
  • My kids – I do love these four little people. I have a different bond with each of them, especially given that one is biologically mine and the other three I have met later in life. But honestly, I see them all as ‘ours‘ and I’m so proud to call myself their mum/step-mum.
  • My husband – well obviously! But seriously, when my first husband left me with a newborn I learnt a lot. About life and about me. I made a decision, for myself and my daughter, that I would not casually date ‘just because’. That I would not settle for just anyone. It was also this time that I entered into a genuine relationship with God. So I waited five years (five long years single!) for this man to walk into my life and it was worth every lonely second. My husband is honest, genuine, loving, patient, caring, loyal …. and I could just keep going. Just know that God blessed me with a man who has all the characteristics to be the perfect husband to me (especially the patience bit, I’m prone to stroppiness). Oh and did I mention tall, dark and handsome 😉
  • Good food – yes I love good food. Fresh food. Healthy food. I love preparing good meals for my family and it’s so nice that they really appreciate the effort I put in.
  • Grace and mercy – God’s unrelenting love, offered regardless of what we’ve done, whether we think we deserve it or not, has changed my life no end. The person I am now is so different to the person I was 10 years ago. I am thankful daily for the work God has done, and I know will keep doing, in me.
  • Our new caravan – roll on summer, can’t wait for some fantastic trips away. SO excited!
  • My pets – I’m one of those people who truly loves cats AND dogs. Which is why I have one of each. They hate each other, but I love them both! Polly is a rescued tabby cat who is the most smoochy loyal little thing ever. Moe is a border terrier who we are caring for while friends are overseas for a few years. He is loyal and super affectionate. I am never alone when my pets are in the house, their affection is unreserved and without conditions. Polly lives upstairs (with a litter tray after we established she had peed in the Lego many times!) and Moe lives downstairs. They make it work 🙂

This is a list of things in my life that I love – it’s not a complete list, not even close, just a small sample. These are of course, all things that I am extremely thankful for.

AbbiesBabble

Remember the golden rule

We have a golden rule in our home. Well, we have a few. But this one, I wish was a universal thing. For our family, we take a Biblical stance. But I’m pretty sure it spans across all religions in some form. Really, it’s just common sense. I believe the world would be a better place if we could all just apply this:

Golden Rule

Or some others way to put this:

  • So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12)
  • Treat other people how you want to be treated
  • Put out into the world what you want to get back
  • Don’t treat others in a way that you wouldn’t want to be treated
  • Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself

We can say it different ways but it comes down to the same thing as far as I’m concerned. We all have the power to make this world a better place simply by thinking about our actions and never treating anyone in a way that we wouldn’t accept for ourselves, our mother, our little sister, our best friend…

Now I have to tell you the gorgeous logic of my seven-year old when applying this rule. Often at home I just have to give one of the kids ‘the look’ and utter the words ‘do unto others…’ and that’s enough to put perspective on a dubious behaviour. So it’s fair to say they know the ‘rule’ well. I recently posted about troubles Nat is having with bullying – part of these discussions have included me telling Nat that she doesn’t have to like her bully, but she does still have to treat her respectfully. Well, here’s Nat’s logic:

“But mum, she’s being mean to me all the time. So that means she is OK with me being rude back to her. You KNOW. Treat others how you want to be treated. She’s fine with mean cos that’s how she treats people.”

What’s a mama to say to that? haha.

AbbiesBabble

On the happiness trail … why I quit my job

Last Monday I let my employer know I would not be accepting their offer to extend my contract to the end of 2015.

Happy Jumping
I’m so happy!
photo credit: Denis Messié cc

And it felt great!

Why would I give away a perfectly good job you may ask? A job that wasn’t unpleasant, that offered good hours allowing me to drop my kids to school and pick them up again at 3pm. Especially in these times when jobs can be hard to come by.

Because I am on a mission to find myself, and to create a truly happy life for myself and for my family. And because my mum told me to on my birthday.

Being out of the home five days a week, even if only while the kids were at school, has put too much pressure on me to be able to effectively run my home. I feel constantly stressed and tired, chasing my tail trying to get things done. This is not happy for me and definitely hasn’t allowed me to spend any time finding myself. My life is totally tied up in being ‘mum’. I am, as all mums are, more than just the mother to my children.

In August I wrote about needing to find myself, about feeling lost and not completely happy and needing to make changes but not knowing what they were. Well here’s one of the big changes, a big step in the direction of happy.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a whine. I know a lot of people have to work full-time out of home and full-time parent as well. I did that as a single parent myself. I’m simply working the life I have. If I sound ungrateful, I’m REALLY not. I’m just intentional about having the best possible version of my life (and that for my family as well).

I have an EXTREMELY supportive husband who recognizes all of this, he does see how hard I work and just for the record he’s awesome at helping out. I’m conscious though that his job is demanding and when he gets home I want him to be able to chill and spend time with the kids. And there are some things that a mum just has to do, that only a mum can see, and this particular mum has pretty high standards (self-confessed, I know it!) and sometimes I just have to do things to get them done right the way I like it 😉 Not to mention that it’s almost impossible to eek out a spare hour for myself, which I have learnt this year, is not a bad thing to want.

And the core of the issue is (pretty sure I’ve said this before), if the mama bear is happy, the family are happy. I have realised this year, as I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, how much I influence the atmosphere of the home. That’s some scary power right there!

Happy Girls!
Happy!
photo credit: simpleinsomnia cc

So, as a husband and wife team, we have decided to take a financial hit, to receive a lot more time in our bank. I am going to study part-time (Graduate Diploma in Management Information Systems, I know, GEEK! I am SO excited) and have a lot more time to focus on my husband, my children, my home and myself.

I know we are fortunate that we can make ends meet on my husband’s salary (it will be tight) and that he is willing to go on this journey with me. I do feel a little self-indulgent taking on study ‘because I want to’ but mostly I think that’s because I’m worried about what other people will think – and I know I need to get over that.

Besides mostly I’m excited. I love to study, I love that I’m going to be able to go on all the school trips, and for me, being able to calmly keep an organised-tidy home, is something I enjoy. It’s hard to explain, but if I have the time, it’s not a chore/stress, it’s a part of my role as wife/mother that I love and take great pride in.

NOW is the time to be happy, I’m not putting it off any longer.

Sign off

 

Bullying sucks

I never thought that my daughter would be bullied. She’s feisty and confident. She’d stand up to someone twice her age and size … or so I thought. But I was wrong because at the moment another seven-year-old girl is making her life miserable. My Nat is being bullied.

From a mamma’s point of view, it’s terrible to see the effect this is having on my daughter.

Gone is the confident (over-confident even) girl, instead she tells me she is ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ and ‘has no friends’. She cries every morning as we leave for school, telling me she’s sick and can’t go today. She has ulcers in her mouth and goes to the sick bay at school with sore tummy (classic stress signs in Nat). One of her teachers tells me she won’t take part in group work anymore. Yesterday she pretended she had forgotten her sunhat so she had to stay on the class veranda – being too scared to venture into the playground.

All of this because of the actions primarily, of one girl. It’s mostly words and manipulation. Girls can be M-E-A-N!

Bullying Sucks
photo credit: MTSOfan via photopin cc

There have been grumblings between Nat and this girl throughout the year but I didn’t take it too seriously. As I said, my girl is feisty, and girls will be girls. We talked about appropriate ways to act, making good choices in friendships, and ways to resolve conflict. I figured it would settle, which it did for a while. And then it came back in force.

I’m so grateful Nat has been honest with me about this from the start and praised her for talking to me about the hard stuff. But even though she’s willing to talk, it’s still so hard to help her to understand that it’s not her fault and there’s nothing she has done to deserve this, that the fault actually lies in the bully – in the midst of it, with her self-esteem at an all time low, she can’t see it.

I pray with her and for her, and we pray for the bully. We role play ways for her to get away from the bully. Her brothers at the same school know what’s going on and she does run to them (she’s never been more grateful for big brothers!). We’ve also come up with a list of ‘safe’ friends she know she can trust, but somehow, even they don’t feel safe to her at the moment. Yes I am in constant communication with her teacher and have a formal meeting tomorrow where I will be seeking practical solutions.

I’m amazed at the damage one small child can to do to another in such a short amount of time. I hate to think how horrific this is when it involves teenagers! I do worry about how this could shape her socially and will be advocating hard for her as she’s too terrified to speak up for herself. Nat wants to change schools but I don’t want to teach her to run away from her problems. We have six weeks until the end of the year and I know we can make it through then we have the summer holidays to heal. I will definitely seek reassurance from the school that the bully won’t be in the same class as Nat next year so she doesn’t have to stress about that all summer.

I’m just so frustrated at being so helpless. I want to yell at the perpetrator and tell her what she is doing to my child. I want my confident happy girl back.

Anyway, I just came here for a rant and I guess I’ve achieved that.

If you have experience with any of this, particularity with young children (Nat is seven) and can offer advice, please please please do leave a comment or email me as I’d love to hear anything that could help my girl!

abbiesbabble [at] gmail [dot] com

Thank you 🙂

Sign off

Thankful Thursday (October 16)

Thankful Thursday

So much to be thankful for. Always. But especially when I haven’t written it here for a few weeks. So here goes, in no particular order, just bullet points today…

  • Two weeks school holidays with my family, only a couple of days where I had all four kids to myself but we made the most of them. Lots of lovely moments with each of the children, and my gorgeous husband who was on leave for part of the time as well.
  • Being able to help friends in ways big and small.
  • Friends who reach out to me when I need them.
  • Nature/creation, and being able to spend time in it.
  • Spring (and the anticipation of summer).
  • Amazingly supportive in-laws.
  • Booking summer holidays – can already feel the memories we are creating with our family!
  • Naps. I love naps. There was time for a few of those over the holidays.
  • That my Gran is in heaven now. Sad she’s not here, but thankful she is in a better place with our Lord.
  • My new fridge which is as tall as I am (1.78m) and that I can fill it once a fortnight.
  • Sunshine. Did I say that? I love sunshine!
  • People who are willing to teach and lead our children (youth pastors, teachers, Brownie leaders etc).
  • A tidy garage and for the day in the holidays where my husband and I could get together and attack it to make it so – we really to make a good team. Messy generally does my head in, it’s awesome having this sorted out.

What are you thankful for?

 

The first Foodie Friday

When it comes to food choices, I tend to follow my gut (no pun intended!). I’m naturally drawn to healthy options … give me sushi over McDonalds any day. I do take my role as Guardian of the Pantry for my family quite seriously as I want to raise an active and healthy family. I did think I was doing really well with my ‘everything in moderation’ approach until that was blown out of the water recently with a lot of media attention to the sugar debate. This really prompted some thinking and a bit of research from me.

So this post is about my thoughts on food. As I’m aiming for a Foodie Friday post each fortnight, it’s probably really important that you know my overall philosophy.

I’m not going to quote facts and statistics back to you. I’m not good at remembering that stuff anyway. But I do know when I read/hear something and it feels right for me and my family. I get that everyone has opinions and philosophy of their own. I respect that and am grateful daily that there are really not dietary restrictions in my home.

I generally make good choices for my family in terms of nutrition. I make sure everyone has a good breakfast, lunch boxes are full of variety, and dinner is pretty much made from scratch. We eat a lot of meat (helps that my husband hunts and we have access to home-kill beef from time to time). I do have a zero tolerance to fizzy and fruit juice, except for special occasions (moderation!). So I’m not doing too bad am I?

There’s been a media storm around sugar here lately. I was already aware of the risks and limited negative benefits of a high sugar diet but had no idea how much sugar there really was in our diet. Some things I thought were good foods, actually really are not – like white rice and couscous!

CoffeeAs I write this I’m stirring half a teaspoon of raw sugar into my flat white. I’m human! But that is, I think, an example that perfectly reflects my approach. I’m not going on a complete sugar ban, I do still believe that all things in moderation is a healthy approach. That’s tempered now with a healthy dose of education which allows me to give my family better options. For example, instead of loading breakfast cereal with brown sugar, most of us now opt for fruit and homemade Greek yoghurt as toppings. I also make my own muesli from fresh/raw sources (and it’s yummy!). There’s still sweetness to suit our palettes but it is now coming from less refined sources.

I know that if I ban anything completely, my kids are old enough to get it themselves and will binge – they love sweet snacks and convenience food…they are kids. I want to encourage a healthy relationship with food so make a point of talking to them about nutrition. The two oldest boys pack their own lunch and I love to hear “I’ve got hockey today I better have some extra protein”. On the other hand I also had “oh mum, enough with the sugar already” as I stopped a third helping of tomato sauce at the dinner table (do you have any idea how much sugar in that stuff!).

Balance is key. I won’t deny, but I will offer ‘better’ alternatives and ‘sometimes’ foods.

So what do I teach my kids:

  • Protein – good! There’s plenty of ways to get it and I make sure these are readily available.
  • Sugar – we love the sweet stuff but we need to get it from natural sources as much as possible (fruit and honey are great in my eyes). Sugar in fruit is fructose (a simple sugar) and it’s packaged with water, minerals, vitamins and fibre – the fibre that slows the sugar absorption by our bodies so we don’t get those highs and lows as blood-glucose levels fluctuate (I think that’s right?!).
  • Carbs – yep, love ’em too! There are good carbs and bad carbs – we aim for carbs that are full of fibre to minimise the negative effects. Brown rice is better than white, wholemeal bread better than white, whole-grains, veges, fruit and beans are best choices. We love kumara, chickpeas, lentils and quinoa, How lucky am I not to have fussy kids?

So here it is, the food philosophy of Abbie:

Food philosophy
photo credit: Edson Hong via photopin cc

Wow, that was really great to actually put on paper. I’m a lot clearer now, hope you can all see where I’m coming from?

Next time I’ll write about some of the changes I’ve made to my family’s diet so far … and how they have been received (which is not all good, even for me!).

Is there anything there that you can relate to? Or disagree with? Please correct me if I’m wrong on any of the factual stuff too! Do you have a food philosophy?

Sign off

Me and my girl

This weekend Nat and I had an action packed weekend as we headed down to the city (Wellington for those of you who know NZ) to see a show. The show was The Sound of Music – I was super excited to introduce Nat to the story and the songs. I was about the same age as she is now when my Nan introduced me to the film, an enduring favourite.

Well, my little lady absolutely LOVED it. I’ve taken Nat to a range of live performances including ballet, ice shows, gala performance, outdoor concerts and heck, we’re blessed we can hear awesome live music every week at church, but this was her first musical theater. I have absolutely no doubt there will be more!

Once or twice a year I make a point of getting away with Nat for some one-on-one mother-daughter time. For the first five years of her life, it was the two of us against the world. We both enjoy these weekends, but since we blended with the boys, we actually really need them too. It’s been a big change.

We’re girly girls at heart and while we both love tramping and the outdoors, and do spend  ton of time with the boys’ at their sports, these times are where we do exactly what we want to do. We managed some crazy road trip singing, a bit of shopping, cafe outings and an enormous buffet breakfast, and treating ourselves to magazines and some down-time in our hotel room.

Nat’s major love language is quality time. I can manage this by devoting a decent chunk of time to her each evening as she goes to bed. Time to read, talk, pray, sing and just be the two of us. She craves that and boy do we hear about it if it doesn’t happen! I’m a quality time kind of girl too so I do understand.

These extended period of weekends, or days if we take them, really re-charge her – and what’s not to love about spending time with my mini-me?! Our relationship comes our stronger and I do hope these will be memories she’ll always treasure. I know I will.

It was bliss. For both of us.We’re already looking forward to the next trip … whenever, or where ever that will be.

What is your love language, or your child’s? Is your language compatible with your child’s? How do you manage that?

Sign off

Thankful Thursday (September 18)

Thankful Thursday

It amazes me how complex we humans are – that I can feel so many conflicting emotions all at once but somehow, manage to compartmentalize, so that the bad does not overcome the good. I have so much to be thankful for, I’m walking in a state of perpetual gratitude at the moment. With that, comes joy. It’s a beautiful place. But then there are struggles with family, watching friends go through rough times, and spontaneously crying as I think of my mum (although this is happening less these days).

There are things I give thanks for EVERY day: family, safety, provision, food, being loved, health and God’s grace.

Highlights from my gratitude journal this week:

  • A lunch date with my husband – a blissful two hours to ourselves. Moments always to be treasured as we intentionally work on our husband & wife relationship in the midst of raising four children in a very busy family environment.
  • That my children are healthy, active and motivated – especially after Sam and Tom did so well at our school sports prize-giving last night (check out the haul of awards).
  • Looking forward to the weekend with my beautiful girl. A mother daughter night away as we go to a show in the city.
  • The ability to help a friend in need – editing a thesis. Believe it or not, that’s totally enjoyable for me and I love that I can help her out.
  • That my children have dreams (I will post more on what prompted this later).

What are you thankful for?

 

Where abbiesbabble is at

Today Wordpress told me I have now published 100 posts. I have 154 people following me. That’s not bad in four months – little numbers for most of you I know but for me, I’m happy. I didn’t do this to get followers but I have to admit, I love it when I know someone new has read something of mine and liked my writing/my perspective enough to want to read more. It’s an honour. I’ve only been blogging such a short time but it’s like I’ve found a new way of life that enhances all the good I already have going on!

The 100 post milestone prompted me to look through the archives. I can’t believe how far I have come so quickly. I started blogging because I was in a hole, getting stuck trying to grieve the loss of my mum/best friend, working out where I fit in my life without her, and in my family (a relatively new 4+2 blend). These were big enormous things – the most life changing defining aspects of my life to date aside from meeting Christ properly and becoming a mother myself.

Map
I’m finding my way again

So yes, my head has been in all sorts of states. Looking through my archive, I hope I haven’t come across as too much of a whiny girl. I’m usually very strong, positive and determined. Actually that should be D-E-T-E-R-M-I-N-E-D. In establishing this place, that is my own, and getting back to journalling, I have worked through a load of stuff and my perspective is much healthier now.

I stand (sit) here now stronger and more focused than when I started blogging back in May. Aside from the healing I discovered in writing, I’ve read so many blogs I can’t tell you. I’ve formed online friendships, I’ve been inspired, I’ve been given (and have taken) advice and reality checks. Thank you blog world for helping me get my sh*t together. Not ignoring my awesome husband who has been especially wonderful and supportive in the process of sh*it togethering 🙂

So what does this mean for abbiesbabble?

To drink tea and to journalWell, I sure as heck am not going away. I’ve changed the look of my pages slightly to reflect a stronger me – the previous headers were just all too soft for the real Abbie. No guarantee I won’t play with this further (hmmm, yes, a distinct probability!). I will continue to journal and to blog openly and honestly about my life and the random things I come across. And I will continue to read and be inspired by other blogs. I do intend to keep an eye on the tone of my blog though – positive and real are what I’m aiming for.

I can see posts with themes of family, faith, food and fun.

FAMILY – well any family has dynamics, mine is no different, especially as a blended family. I include my grief journey with my mum in this category.

FAITH – I walk deeper into my relationship with my Saviour every single day. I can’t and won’t ignore this.

FOOD – I’m embarking on a major sugar reduction in our home. We’re not really too bad but could be a lot better. I don’t doubt we will have some success and some disaster – all blog-worthy! Watch this space anyway.

FUN – well come on, we’re all after a bit of fun. This summer we as a family intend to get into tramping (hiking) which I’m so looking forward to. I’ll share photos and compare blisters if nothing else!

@abbiesbabbleOh, and in case you missed the post, I have a Twitter handle now: @abbiesbabble. The Twittersphere is all new and moves very fast but I’m working it out … I think. Join me!

Loving you blog world – please keep writing!

 

Today is September 11 in New Zealand. Every year this anniversary makes me reflect on what happened in the US and how much the world seems to have changed in that time. I don’t have a lot to say, I just want to acknowledge it x