All Day, Every Day

Today motherhood kicked my ass.  Well, I might be a little dramatic with that comment but truly, today it seemed there were a lot more tears, heightened stress, things felt rushed and our scooter got stolen.  It’s too easy to focus on these occurrences and too easy to play the mamahood blame game.  We are so incredibly hard on ourselves sometimes.

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What I want to focus on is the fact that I got to savor two coffees…well, admittedly one was gulped down, searing my esophagus, but the other was handmade by my husband in the wee hours of the morning and was sipped in all its splendor.

As the midweek monotony hits us, let’s focus on these fleeting moments of joy, followed by another, then another fleeting moment of joy.

The hard moments try to cling on, but then they’re met with a baby’s smile or a preschoolers bubble bath beard, and suddenly its okay…until there are tears over pajamas that are in the wash.

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Let’s be honest, parenting is much like writing reports (ahem, the teacher in me still exists) where we point out improvements that can be made and combat it with positive remarks too.

All day, every day we experience life and the sooner we embrace what that is for us personally, and what it is for our own little tribe, the better off this life will be.

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Are we there yet?

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Roots & Wings & Other Things

Branching out can more often than not feel like you’re hanging from a limb…or hanging on by a thread.

It seems that our little family generally takes the path off the beaten track, the road less traveled.  This makes for great adventure and whips our conversations with others into high gear most of the time.  At other times, it can feel that although we are taking the bull by the horns, we are also getting thrown around, and it’s our own doing.

That said, we’ve gone and done it.  We bought our first home.

I’m calling it home because it’s not just a house, it truly (yes, even in it’s fixer upper disguise pre-renovation) feels like home.  Our home.  So exciting.

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When we get those shiny keys, or in this case I’m sure they’re slightly worn and character-filled, we can start the initial renovations.  I’m excited for so many reasons: embracing slowing down by completing projects over time, learning to navigate home ownership, honing in on our budget, being in a place to call our own, the sense of pride that comes with doing something your own way.

White paint – oh wow, we are excited for some white paint.

Every nook and cranny and every blade of grass is ours to blissfully enjoy.

With this comes thorough excitement…and utter exhaustion.  Add to this the fact that we will be moving in when I am 37 weeks pregnant with our babe #2.

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Luckily, we seem to like living on the edge, flying by the seat of our pants and all that jazz.  First time around we figured moving countries with a 7 week old was well within our capabilities.  It turns out, it was…though I don’t quite know how we did it.  The whole process seems like a blur of excitement and stress when we reflect back.

This time, have we learned our lesson?  Not particularly.  The slight naivety that it is going to be a smooth transition and our excitement of home ownership helps with the inevitable stinging sensation that this is going to get crazy…fast.

We wouldn’t have this life any other way.

In the past few months I’ve welcomed beautiful friends back into my life who moved to Austin, and I’ve waved goodbye to these same friends that are off again on their own adventures with their families too.

It seems we nomads attract each other, making life heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once.

New friends will bring joy, while road trips across the state and flights across the globe to my gems are still on the horizon.  Consider it how we fuel our wanderlust!

All this change brings with it a wave of emotions as we move away from the known and into a new chapter of our lives.

We are ready.  To jump and see where we land.  To explore a new part of Austin.  To settle into our new place in the world.  To welcome our new babe into our tribe.

At least we think we are, and that’s all that matters.

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Branching out can more often than not feel like you’re hanging from a limb…or hanging on by a thread.

Always choose to jump,

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A Penny For Your Thoughts

I used to love shopping, always entering a store with greedy excitement and a long list of “essentials” to grab and someday discard.  Since journeying on the Debt Free train with my husband when we moved to the States in 2014, that hunger turned to frustration.

At first, it was frustration that our new budget meant I didn’t have enough money to get what I needed.  Read: wanted.  This graduated to the frustration of realizing that I had spent more than the pennies I had earned for much of my working life.

For a long while, I’ve tried to be more mindful in many aspects of life.  Handmade, fair trade, vintage and thrift are creative and happy places in my closet and home and I implore you to seek even the idea of the above.

Today I openly admit that I struggle.  I struggle to say no.  To toys, to trendy decor, to a Starbucks coffee.  It irks me, especially when I think about what life lessons I’m teaching to our daughter.

She sees us go into a store, get things we want and go home.  These wants are merely treats, so why do we feel that we need to treat ourselves all the time.  Why do we search for validation that will likely never come from a purchase, far be it a purchase made spontaneously that won’t necessarily enrich our lives.

It’s not about not treating ourselves, or not spending our hard-earned cash, but rather about growing an awareness of what we are purchasing and the greater impact it has.  We wear the new item, display the on-trend decor, and then…just like that…it loses the shiny appeal we lusted after in the store.

It’s time to find some semblance of balance.  I visited Ten Thousand Villages in Austin, TX and came home with a bohemian fair trade cushion and a handmade basket that told the story of the maker.

These items sit proudly in my home and I am inspired by them, encouraged to be my own maker of things about the home and on my back.

This is what it should feel like. Not the emptiness that comes from busting $90 at Target on…

I actively made notes in my mind en route home, resolving to re-create decor looks I liked, learning to embroider and vowing to sew more clothing for my little one.  I’m now on a creative path again, re-energised and making lemonade from lemons.

I try really hard to use what I have.  Just the other day, I switched out the dining chairs that are unfinished and look, quite frankly, meh (not my finest DIY project and soon to be re-completed with TLC) for the mix and match trend that I was going for…using chairs I had lying around. This was a huge deal, as I’d spent weeks, months even, trawling Craigslist for mix and match chairs to create a farmhouse dining area.  It felt like creative freedom, it felt good.

Moments like these make me immensely grateful.

For spending every cent and travelling the world without regret.  Travel and experiences are something I would never count pennies on.  The wanderer lifestyle has been incredibly huge in defining who I am and a big part of my story in this wonderful world.  Travel far and often, as they say.  We have, in a sense, been “on the road” since my first trip to Thailand in 2004.

For settling into family life in a new country with a new baby and really mucking in to a brand new chapter.

For my husband and his tireless strength when it comes to budgets and money matters.

For the way I grew up, with dad teaching me to always “do the maths” and mum sewing everything from clothing to curtains and our costumes for school plays.  She places the cushions I made for her in pride of place.  It matters to her that I have these beautiful skills and use them.

Happiness comes in the strangest of doses and is found in the smallest inklings of what got us here.

And really, isn’t that all that should be on our must-have list?

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