Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Birthdays, blessings and breathing through the rest.

It's been a crazy week as usual. My littlest boy's birthday was a very happy one. There was no huge party this year. Just a small family lunch on Sunday and yesterday (his actual birthday) he had a friend come after school. I had to go to basketball training with the eldest so hubby took the birthday boy and his mate bowling. Then we all went to the pub for dinner and home for ice cream cake and trying out the new scooter. At bed time he repeatedly thanked hubby and I for "the best birthday". As a parent that just makes my heart sing. He really is a beautiful kid.  Sure, I had to bite my tongue a few times when I'd normally scold him for not doing what I was asking him (like getting ready for school), or being over-the-top noisy and silly in the car, but hey, if you can't cut the kid a little slack on his birthday, then when can you? ;-) Seriously though, the birthdays of my kids are great days to reflect on what wonderful little beings they are, and what a gift they've been in our lives......even if they are EXHAUSTING at times!

In other news around here, we need a holiday. Especially my darling hubby. He works his bum off in a stressful job and he's pretty worn out right now. Thankfully he's got a week off in November. While it would be nice to go away somewhere, I really think what he needs is a week to just chill out at home and lay on the couch every day if he wants to.

I'm enjoying the warmer weather that we've been having this week. I've been trying to get the dog out for a walk each day, depending on my energy levels. I always feel better when I do - usually there are consequences though. I pay for a twenty minute walk for the rest of the day, and sometimes half of the next day, but I still long to get out there in the sunshine for a short while. It's great to just breathe fresh air and I enjoy looking at all the flowers in the gardens of our neighbourhood. How I miss those days when I took for granted that I could lace up my shoes and go for a run, enjoying the feeling of a strong body and the elation of exhaustion that comes from exercising hard. That feeling of knowing that recovery was certain and I'd be up for more the next day. I still miss it. And even though it's been 8 long years and I've largely come to terms with chronic illness, there are still days when the mourning for my old life swells up and washes over me.

But this is where I'm at and I choose, as always to focus on my blessings. I only have to look around me to know that I am an incredibly lucky girl. I still seek healing and answers about my health every day. 

Tomorrow I'm off to see my rheumatologist again to discuss the latest round of tests (heart, lung, and blood) I've had - to find out if my worsening health is fibromyalgia related or something more. We've been trying to track down what's going on since early this year, but as always, there's lots of signs and clues but nothing conclusive. While I don't like the sound of some of the potential diagnoses that have been suggested, if it is one of those nastier autoimmune conditions (scleroderma or lupus) then I need to know. The consequences of letting something like that go undiagnosed and untreated can be pretty frightening. 

As those with chronic health problems will know, nothing happens quickly in this process. Getting appointments with the various specialists can take months, so extreme patience is required, as well as a steady nerve not to let your mind run away with worst case scenarios. 

So we shall see what tomorrow brings, but for now, I'd better get on with what's right in front of me, and that's two loads of washing that need hanging out. School pick-up time will be here before I know it........and I've just realised I've got nothing to feed them after school so I'd better get off the ipad and get moving! See you soon. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mummy days and art play.

So my return to blogging has been a bit intermittent, but that's the way life is these days, so we'll just go with it. I've been busy playing nurse to my eldest son who has been sick. He had two days off school last week and I made sure he had a complete weekend off sport too. He's running on empty for a couple of months. He first came down with some sort of upper respiratory bug 2 months ago, and despite a course of antibiotics and other natural things to boost his immunity, he just hasn't been able to shake it. The latest manifestation of the illness is a sinus, on doctor's orders he has had 4 days of serious rest, combined with antibiotics. We're to go back to the doc on Tuesday to assess whether a second course is needed. I honestly think he just needed to stop for a bit. He's growing at a phenomenal rate (he's 12 years and 9 months old and now measures just over 6 foot tall!), he's in his first year of high school, he plays domestic basketball and rep basketball.......the boy is putting out a lot of energy and I think his immune system has faltered. Hopefully, if we can knock this sinus thing over, we can build his immunity back up for the last term of year 7 and the start of a new year of rep basketball. 

Anyhooooo, all this means that I've had less time for creative stuff but I always manage to sneak a little bit in :) 

So here's a piece of pastel artwork I've recently completed. 

I have been learning pastel pencil techniques via Colin Bradley Art, and this is one of the projects on his website. I'm really pleased with how it has turned out. Now I can't wait to try my next pastel piece.......this time I want to use more of my new pan pastels. I used them for some of the background in this piece and I think I'm going to LOVE them! 

I'll go into more detail about my recently discovered love for the medium of pastels in another post, but I can honestly say I think they are meant for me. I just love the way they blend and layer. I like the way they can be used in the style of realism all the way to a dreamy "painterly" style. I love that they are a drawing-type of need to use a tool (eg. paintbrush) to apply them - with the exception of panpastels, which are applied with a number of sponge like tools. I've got a long, long way to go but I hope to practise with pastels and become more and more proficient with them throughout the year to come. I think 2015 will be my year of pastels!! Exciting things to come. 

It's my little guy's birthday this week, so I'm guessing I won't get much time for blogging or art. My creative play this week will be making him a birthday card :) So happy to celebrate having that cute kid in my life for 11 years.....I can't imagine life without him. See you soon. xo

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It started with choc chip biscuits.

Yesterday I posted this photo on Instagram: 

Then I went to basketball with J last night one of the other mums said "Well, where are they?" I was caught a bit off guard so I asked what she was talking about.
"The choc chip biscuits! You can't post pics like that online and then not bring us some!" It was said in a joking tone, so I laughed along a bit. I said maybe I'll bring some along to the next training session. But then came the barb. She rolled her eyes, looked at another mum standing next to me and said "Ok then. You know some of us have been at work all day" and laughed. 
I was a bit taken aback but laughed and said jokingly, "yeah, because I stay at home all day and do nothing, right?" 
 But, I have to admit, it stung a little. People look down on you when you don't work outside the home. They think you're lazy. They think you just swan around and do nothing - paint your nails and go on coffee dates. I've written a couple of posts ago about how happy I am to be a stay at home mum, and how it is working for our family, and how we'll keep doing it as long as possible. But I still feel like I have to justify my status to other mothers. Why are we so hard on other women? We all have choices. Unlike the mother who confronted me last night, I choose to forgo annual overseas holidays, girls weekends away, designer clothes, jewellery, manicures, monthly visits to the hair salon for trendy cuts and colours.......and all sorts of luxuries that many other mums choose to have. I choose to live a quiet, simple life. I choose to put my health above my pay packet. I choose to clean my own house and do my own washing and ironing.  I try not to judge working mums for their choices (I've been a working mum and I understand the juggle) but it seems like people think it's fine to judge the stay at home mum. 
I know in my heart that this is the right choice for our family. So why do I feel defensive when other mother's question my choice? We need to give each other a break.....we're all doing the best we can in our circumstances. We make our choices based on what we value most in life. My choices confirm that I value my husband, my boys and my health above any material possession. That's what matters most to me. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I've missed blogging.

About 6 months ago, I decided that I wasn't going to blog anymore. A bloggy friend had expressed concerns about people downloading pics of her kids from her blog and quite frankly it creeped me out. So I set my blog to private and decided that I wasn't going to put my family out there for the public to see.

But in these last couple of months I've really missed my blog. I've missed the connections you make through the blog community. It's different to other online ways of connecting. It's different to Facebook and Instagram. It's less about endless pictures (although I love the pictures on blog posts) with brief captions and it's more about writing, and about telling the stories of the pictures.

Having said all that, I'm going to make blogging a part of my life again. I have edited my previous posts to remove my children's names and identifying information, and I think that in the future my blogging about my family will be very limited. I can scrapbook their stories for them to see and for only our family to share. They don't need all that stuff out there online. I'm sure little bits and pieces about family life will show up from time to time, because that's what my life life. But I plan to be more selective about what I share. My kids are coming to an age when they don't want me blurting their every move on social media or on my blog and I respect that. There are lots of you who know my kids names - you are my friends in real life or online, but I won't be posting those details here on my blog any more.

You can expect to see me writing about me - my creativity through art and craft; my role as a mother, wife and homemaker; and my ponderings about life and the big wide world. I don't need a million followers. I truthfully don't care if I have any followers. I just want to blog for me, and if what I write is of interest to others then that's fine. Maybe we have something in common.
I've carefully considered the pros and the cons and to be honest, I think I can find a balance.

So that's where I'm at. I know lots of people out there who've given up blogging in favour of "easier" social media, but I also see a few people drifting back towards blogging. I've missed it and I'm glad to be back.