Thursday, July 23, 2015

Decluttering

This year I have really been striving towards a more hands free life. Phones, social media - all that stuff - can be so addictive and I didn't want my kids earliest memories of me always being with a phone stuck in front of my face. Turning 30 felt like a big milestone and as I've mentioned previously, I've really been craving a more simple existence. Less online clutter. And unless you are one of those few people that manage to only check in a couple times a week, Facebook was totally, completely and utterly cluttering my (already busy) mind.

So, I made a decision. It wasn't easy and had been something I had been thinking about for some time, but could never quite make the plunge. I was always full of excuses, but finally I did it: I deleted my Facebook account. The real deal. No deactivation, no break for Lent - I just pulled the plug completely.

And it may have been the best thing I've done in a long time.

Friends naturally asked me WHY?!?! and for me personally, it was a time waster. Lets face it - who really 'quickly' checks in with Facebook? 5 minutes would turn into 30 and I'd close the app feeling low. It was the first thing I'd check in the morning and the last at night. It sucked time and energy and quite frankly, exacerbated dramas I really could have done without over the years.

So I deleted it.

I deleted it.

I deleted Facebook.

To be honest, the first week or so felt like a limb was missing. I'd find myself going to hit that all familiar space on my iPhone where the app used to be and wondering what I was missing out on. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real, anxiety inducing thing. No joking. But you know, I got used to it. Life felt more simple. I was forced to actually reach out to people to find out what's going on in their lives instead of just feeling 'caught up' after clicking like on a few status updates or photos, and vice versa. People came out of the woodwork. Relationships that were really just holding on via a few social media threads faded and more meaningful connections were found. And gosh, I read 25 books. In three months!!! That really made me realise just how much time I had been whittling away on social media.

A little over three months after deleting my account - a clean break, a true Facebook detox - I decided to start afresh. New (smaller, more close knit) account of people I really am truly interested in staying connected with, not every person I ever went to high school or uni with. No app. Although there is a lot about Facebook that I still don't like, for various reasons I decided to go back. And you know what - within days, I realised something. I hadn't been missing out on anything these past few months. I no longer felt a need to check in all the time to see what people were up to. My 'detox' actually did help me gain some perspective and has helped me determine boundaries because I really don't want to get sucked in again.

This decluttering my online presence really is a gradual process and something I'll need to continually re-evaluate as the seasons of life change. Over the past year I've started taking steps in the right direction however and slowly but surely, I'm feeling the haze of constant random too much information in my brain is clearing. I recently completely cleaned out my Instagram account. I no longer feel anxious if I haven't blogged in awhile. My computer often doesn't get switched on. I only use Pinterest if there's something specific I'm looking for.

I guess at the end of the day, all I want is to be happy and healthy in myself. A good wife. A fully present mama. An authentic friend.

Life is forever a work in progress.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Santa Barbara getaway

This past weekend we took a mini road trip down to the pretty beach town of Santa Barbara. A couple of friends used to live here and we'd heard wonderful things - and I have to say, it certainly didn't disappoint.

















Such a beautiful spot!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This kid.

Austin Mitchell, 16 months. While he can move into a fierce tantrum at the drop of a hat (oh the joys of toddlerhood), I do remain convinced that he is the happiest baby ever. I mean - that smile.










This little guy just continues to bring so much joy to our family!

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekend goodness @ Gilroy Gardens

This past weekend we took the boys to a nearby theme park in Gilroy. Being located in the garlic capital, it's a garlic/fruit/vegetable themed park. Which honestly, was a little odd.... Although I wouldn't probably go back again given I felt it was overpriced for what you get - I'd rather pay a little extra to go to Legoland or Disney any day - we had a great family day out. Things really are getting easier with the boys and that includes day trips. It was nice to all be able to get on rides together, as a family instead of having to tag team it with someone watching the baby.








The best part about Gilroy Gardens however was the water oasis. The boys both LOVED it. There were a couple of sections - but the one with the little pool, splash pad and water slides were the boys favourite. Ollie patiently lined up to go on his first legit waterslide and there was even a mini one which Austin went up and down again. And again. And again :-)




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Friday, July 10, 2015

Seasons

Life is changing. A new season is upon us having moved out of the baby + toddler phase and onto something new altogether. Two busy boys; a preschooler and a toddler. Gone are the days of leisurely park visits where I could chat to my friends while the baby was baby strapped to my chest and my big boy playing independently. Now I'm running around, chasing the littlest as he so desperately tries to keep up with his big brother.

Before having Austin, friends with two kids used to say how hard it was having two. How much busier life was and how crazy it was to get out of the house etc etc etc. I never understood. Secretly, I probably thought they were over exaggerating because even one child (really) is hard work. The fact is, you simply can't comprehend what being a Mum to more than one kid is like until you experience it for yourself. Daily. With no break. There is a certain element of craziness that gets added to an already busy life. Sometimes when I reflect on that past season of my life; mother of an only child, I wish I had appreciated the simplicity a little more. Perhaps napped while he was napping. But naps aside, I wouldn't change the craziness that is life with two kids for anything. Life is harder but life is so full of joy. And now that we are moving out of the baby stage with Austin, things are getting easier with the two boys. They play together. They annoy each other more but there are more and more sweet moments. There is something really special about having two boys, brothers and I'm loving watching their relationship develop.

And in the midst of this new season, I feel like we have a lot of decisions to make. We're both in our 30's now. I feel like that phase of our life where we could just globe trot and move from job to job, country to country has come to an end. Oliver is fast approaching school age. School age. He's due to start kindergarten (prep) in 2016 and that blows my mind. We have three years left on these particular visas. We love our life here, but if it wasn't for the job and our community, I'm sure we'd already be back in the motherland. Australia. The land that as I get older, I long for more and more. Travel is always going to be a part of me, I have a wandering soul and itchy feet and I love nothing more than an adventure. But I'm also at the point where I'm longing to move into a season of settling; finally putting down some more long term roots for our little family.

Sometimes I feel frustrated because I don't know what's ahead of us. I can reflect on seasons past and enjoy the current stage of life but I always think two steps ahead and wonder what next. We have so many hopes and wishes for our family but no concrete plans. I'm a planner, an organizer and it can be hard for me to not know exactly what's going to happen in the next year or two. For a few short weeks this past May, we were thrilled to discover one of our hopes was a reality and we were to become a family of five. Sadly, that dream was dashed far too soon as we experienced another season of loss. One miscarriage truly is enough for a lifetime so to walk that path for a second time hasn't been easy.

I guess what I've been learning this year is that life is never static. Some days I feel like I can hardly keep up with the changes. But you know what, life is sweet. Life is hectic but life is good. One thing I have learned since becoming a Mum is to appreciate each and every phase because it really doesn't last for long. And with each and every changing season, I'm learning more and more to just live and let God. I might not know what exactly is in store for our little family, but I'm sure going to try and make the most of it :-)



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Monday, July 6, 2015

Life lately {hello, July}

Life lately via the iPhone - hello, July...

Baby Austin's first pair of sunnies... He's been rather pleased with his new look :-)



Bike rides with Dadda...


Hiking at Castle Rock...





A blurry Austin (this kid never sits still these days) discovering the contents of popped party poppers for a 4th of July BBQ - would you believe sparklers and the like are illegal here?!?!


And more Happy Hollow fun. Today Ollie rode the frog hopper for the first time and Austin went on his first ride without me - and it was a success. We are loving HH this summer!








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