Pregnancy Files: First Trimester – (pregnancy after miscarriage)

Now that we’re 12 weeks along I thought it was time to share my experiences.  There is so much information on the internet, yet women still have no idea what to expect and wonder if what is happening to them is “normal”.  So I thought I would make a post to point out that, indeed, every pregnancy is different, people will give you advice, and tell you what to expect, but at the end of the day you have to take it as it comes, and have some great friends or family to talk to when you feel insecure and need a sounding board.

The first thing I noticed when we started to tell people about our pregnancy after the congratulations were expectations of morning sickness.  I imagine this is quite hard for a lot of women, but I haven’t had any, the closest I came was a migraine headache that made me unwell until I did finally vomit.  I learned to tell them I was just tired and lethargic, and to those who asked wasn’t I tired working double shifts at work, I just told them I was exhausted when I arrived, and even more so by the time it was over.  I didn’t also tell them how I can’t always get decent sleep, and I have a sore and swollen chest to the point at 9 weeks along I went out to buy some feeding bras and singlets, and how (warning TMI!) I have had spotting throughout my first trimester since 6 weeks.  The next thing I noticed was the questions.  How far a long are you?  Are you going to have the baby in the public or private system?  Do you want to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl?  Have you had a scan yet?  Are you having a gender reveal?  I hadn’t realised so many people would be interested.

The thing is this is an IVF pregnancy, we had already been pregnant last year.  We had thought about a lot of things during that period, we had an idea of the type of parents we wanted to be, we had an idea of a few things we wanted to purchase, and we’re happy that we live in a small house despite being told we will one day grow out of it.  Which we may one day, but we don’t think you need to have a huge yard and big kitchen to effectively raise a baby or two.  After all there are people who live in apartments, we live in a townhouse, 3 bedrooms and a small yard, but it’s ours and we really like it.  So we had actually thought about it.  We already had a rough idea of how we had planned things would go, but we were already finding things hard to get too excited about, even now (at 14 weeks as I write this) we will worry at every turn, get anxious before the scans that something might be wrong, even after the 12 week ultrasound where everything looks perfect, I still recall the stories of women losing their babies after seeing a perfectly healthy baby at the 12 week scan.

After a miscarriage comes with it a lot of fears on the next pregnancy.  We stressed and worried about the numbers of the first test, but they were great, that was a relief, but only a minor one, for next came the fear that the numbers wouldn’t increase the way they should.  I instantly got excited when they did more than double, they were double what they should have been, but then I scheduled the next test, and more worry as I wondered about how things were going.  Are my symptoms still there?  My breasts aren’t as sore as they were, they don’t feel as swollen as they did, why aren’t I getting morning sickness?  This was my week 5 after finding out at week 4.  There’s something to be said for parents who find out later, we just had more time to fuss over what could go wrong, and with me doing a lot of over time at work, if something did go wrong was it all my fault?  More and more people were finding out at work, and what will I do if I miscarry again?  Last time maybe 5 people knew, but to be honest the support and understanding was amazing, and the staff who know this time around have been accommodating and asking how everything has been.  Then week 6!  Blergh!  I had a slight nausea/more of an aversion to eating about mid morning to early afternoon, and at first I sort of rejoiced. Feeling tired and exhausted, sore and swollen breasts, constipation, pelvic sensations, food restrictions – sadly we were kind of relieved!

The second month:
Then I started to experience some spotting, which of course reminded me immediately of miscarriage.  I went straight to a drop in doctor the next day, who arranged an ultrasound finding a heart beat!  Our soon to be baby was measuring at 6 weeks 2 days and had a heart rate of 103.  However, the celebrations were short lived, we felt relieved of course, and the spotting settled for 2 days, and started again.  More alarm bells, I stressed for 2 days until I finally decided to have another scan thinking this time it must be all over for sure.  Surprise!  Heart beat 124 and baby now measuring 6 weeks 5 days as it should have.  We felt reassured for a short time again, before I got online and started reading about the haematoma they found, which can be common but can also end in miscarriage.

The third month:
The spotting never finished although it seemed a lot lighter at week 11, instead it came and went.  I found I didn’t fit into upper-under garments anymore and had to purchase the first of my maternity wear.  I found myself waking up really early, unable to get back to sleep for what felt like an eternity, only to feel tired during the day, or some mornings, I never got back to sleep at all.  During week 10 I found I was really flat emotionally, I was teary especially in that first day week 10, I don’t know if that was the hormones, or the amount of pressure I felt I had on me.  Struggling to get through working fulltime, plus double shifts, night shifts, finding time to work on my masters degree, barely balancing simple tasks at home and then trying to fit in friends and family.  I felt exhausted and tired in the afternoons, and all I wanted to do was be at home.  Eventually this passed, mostly when my assessment was handed in, but I found from week 11 to week 12 I kind of felt like I had settled into the new feelings, only now to question whether it was too early to have a slight belly bulge, or if this was bloating or have I eaten too much “comfort” food, and started some walking and gentle yoga at home.  Now at 13 weeks, I have more energy back, and realised I have a slight bump!

 

A few tools I have and plan to use:
As part of our journey we decided to document this pregnancy after losing the last one.  We bought a pregnancy journal from a website called write to me, we liked this one because it allowed us to document weekly journal entries, stick photos in for each week, and document questions and answers and appointments.  Hubby and I both make a journal entry each week, about what we’ve done, what we’re feeling or thinking, addressed to the baby.   We also purchased the HP Sprocket little printer, so we could stick in photos of the things we’ve been up to each week. We thought this might be a nice keepsake.  

I also use an app called baby centre.  It’s a forum for pregnant women, and fathers to be to talk about their pregnancy experiences, everyone asks questions about their insecurities, concerns and celebrate reassurances.  It also gives updates on articles regarding things that will be relevant to the progress of your pregnancy, it has a log for names, a record for bump photos and there are different groups you can join.

We have also purchased a few books too.  Of course we bought “What to expect when you’re expecting”, I also bought “Baby love”, and I was advised to get an app called the wonder weeks, which I then learned was a book as well.  This book and app is for learning what to expect as your baby grows, it talks about “leaps” babies go through that explains their development, behaviour, disturbances in sleep and unhappy moments and how long until they will pass.  I’m told it’s incredibly accurate, so we’re looking forward to seeing how our baby progresses in comparison to the book, and we bought the journal that goes with it to track the babies first year.

We have also bought some milestone disks for documenting the pregnancy and babies first year and milestones, I got these from Hello Fern.  We wanted to use them to make an album or photo book, we thought they were a nice addition in place of the cards I see other Mums use as I think they will last for future babies and as a keepsake also.

We are also in discussions about whether we will use cloth or disposable nappies.  I have been doing some research, so far I have found a few items I like on Designer bums and Eco naps.  I have come to realise cloth nappies aren’t just harder work, but they are an expensive outlay, however I imagine the savings will come next year when we don’t have to buy as many nappies.  Designer bums also have an inside/outside playmat that has a waterproof side, so we’re thinking about purchasing one of these too, in addition to the wet bag and changing mat.

 

Despite all the stress baby is fine!

The final chapter for this trimester is our 12 week scan.  Bubba is healthy and we are continuing to tick all the boxes despite the stressed start.  We have been chipping away at preparing the house, clearing the nursery, clearing the spare room for a play room, and soon to empty the cupboards and organise the garage to make room for some of the clutter we’ve been keeping in the house.  It might seem like we’ve been a little premature about preparing, but our baby is due in summer, and I want to get everything ready before I have a big bump and lose the motivation.  There’s something about having everything organised that makes me feel calmer.  For me having a house that’s tidy and organised is psychologically pleasing.

Now back to the study!

NB: I am in no way getting any benefits for endorsing these products, they stood out for me and were things my husband and I liked the look or functionality of, and I thought I could share if anyone else was interested. 🙂

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Pregnancy Files – Week 12

I decided when we finally got pregnant, and it seems to be stuck this time, that I would share my experiences.  I have found that although there are so many pregnant women out there, and there have been a lot of pregnant women in the past, and although there is a lot of information on the internet, we still don’t truly know what is “normal”, and every pregnancy is different.

We finally made it to the 12 week mark!  Our pregnancy has not been without stress, as I imagine many aren’t.  This is an IVF pregnancy so we feel like we’ve spent most of the pregnancytime waiting.  You wait to start the injections, then you wait to find out when to release the trigger, you have egg collection and the 5 days of waiting to see if any of the eggs take, then you have a transfer and have the dreaded 2 week wait to see if you’re pregnant.  You find out at 4 weeks you’re pregnant, and then try to contain the news for the next 8 weeks before you can share it.  Meanwhile, I have been studying my masters degree and working full-time shift work, overtime and trying to balance friends and family who seem to just get whatever might be left over until the semester is over.

My first trimester “symptoms” have been…  Not what I expected.  From the moment I got pregnant, everyone told me “what until you get morning sickness”, and I read on a forum of all these mums to be getting raging morning sickness, so I assumed maybe things weren’t going as well as I thought they were.  After all, my Dad said Mum had morning sickness with her pregnancies!  I did however have the sore chest, constipation, and mild cramping stretching sensations, although, the breast tenderness and constipation is also a symptom of the medication you take during IVF, so I had a hard time figuring out what babywas what.  I had tried to compare with my previous pregnancy, but it ended in miscarriage at 7-8 weeks so I don’t really know what I can truly take from that experience.  At about 6 or 7 weeks I thought the morning sickness had finally kicked in, but I think it was some kind of viral thing, I was on the couch for 3 days taking pain killers that weren’t helping, with a raging headache and nasty waves of nausea, until I finally had a vomit and it all went away.  Then back to “normal”, the occasional food aversions where I had what I could only describe as a sense of not wanting to eat anything, from about 8am until around 12 – 1pm.  Not nausea, but I definitely didn’t feel like eating during this time.  Since about week 8 I’ve been waking in the night around 3am and unable to get back to sleep for hours, sometimes just in time to get a few hours sleep before I have to get out of bed again.  Not to mention setting my alarm, and actually getting up the first time.  I am NOT a morning person, I set 5 alarms, I never wake up early, and here I am this morning, I set 5 alarms and up on the first one wide awake at 7:45.  Craziness!  And, least but not least.  I am starting to feel the beginning of a bump, it feels significant to me, but not that noticeable to others and not so obvious in the mirror, but something I thought would be weeks away yet.

I guess the point I’m making in this post, is there is no “pregnancy template”.  There is no “normal”, and from what I have read, women can have different experiences from one pregnancy to another.  I will make a first trimester post where I talk about the ups and downs we have experienced (including the 12 week scan we have scheduled in 3 days), but I even experienced spotting, which was the first sign of my miscarriage last year, and everything is still fine.  Who would have thought about how common it is, once you mention it to other women you find out about how they had similar experiences and everything continued and turned out to be ok.  We are all unique, and react to the hormone surges in different ways, but the end results is what we’re here for!

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It’s A Rainbow Baby!

So after a long year, including a miscarriage and countless months of hoping we were pregnant again…  We are!  I won’t lie, there are some things that you don’t realise you want until you’re told you can’t have them, and we both always thought we wanted to have a baby someday, until we fell pregnant by accident and realised we were ready for this now.

I always thought I wanted to have a baby some day, and so did hubby, but I guess this made us realise if we keep waiting for the perfect moment we may never do this.  I have been married previously and would have loved to have a baby then, but he wasn’t ready, then I was never in the right position.  I always had family pressure, as they assume being the girl I would marry, have babies and spend my days keeping order in the family home.  Do they even know me?!

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to spend more time around the house, I would have it in meticulous order, clean and no laundry piles, but I also like my job and I don’t want to pregnantgive that up either.

So back to the baby!  As I am an over thinker, of course I have been planning, reading and browsing online stores, books and trying to figure out what it is we think we’ll need in addition to what products we should pick.  I don’t want to buy everything that opens and shuts, I want all our purchases to have a purpose, we are looking at one expensive item that’s not necessary, but that has value to us as it will offer peace of mind, something I don’t think you can truly put a price on.  We have been discussing what kind of parents we want to be, not being critical of those around us, but discussing an idea of the approach we would like to take, and the sort of lifestyle we want to raise a baby in.  I realise every parent starts out with an idea if what kind of parent they think they want to be, and although that probably rarely pans out the way they planned, some babies and children have ideas of their own, at least we can aim for this ideal picture, and see how close we end up.  We have an array of lovely friends and family looking forward to helping us along the way.

At only 10 weeks I am posting this early, but I am also working on a first trimester post to share the insecurities, the journey we have taken, what we have found useful, and of course all the new feelings and unique experiences I feel I have had.  We are both excited, and a little bit scared of what we’re getting ourselves in for, as we start to chip away at some changes around the house, and make new plans for our future, and a bucket list for the rest of this year.

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Creating A Hygge Holiday At Home

What’s wrong with being at home?

Hubby and I have been on holidays now for a week and a half – we talked about going away but in the end we thought about the expense and the opportunity we were giving up to get on top of the house. So we decided to stay home, hang out with friends and family, and do a few things around our house.

We’ve cleaned up the spare room, that somehow became a dumping ground again, sorted the garage ready for council clean up next month, and took a load to the tip, cleaned up the back patio, gave the house a general clean and rearranged out living room in the process of decluttering and really opened the space up. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t spend the whole time working, hubby has been fishing, I have had shopping days planned with friends, and most of all I have enjoyed some time at home.

My Favourite Spaces of Our Home

I think creating a space for yourself in your home is a really important task we all need to think about. I have long been a home-body, but I can’t be in the house if it’s cluttered, messy or untidy. So creating a space for relaxing was high on my priority list, not just for me but a space hubby and I can both relax in. I actually have three spot in the house I like to be in, depending on the weather and what I plan to be doing, but what I like most of all is to get a sense of space and not to feel closed in.

My favourite spot in the morning is on the front balcony, it’s in the shade, there’s a nice breeze because it’s up off the ground and it has a lovely view of the nearby mountains as we are on a hill in one of the tallest houses in our little cul-de-sac. I like to sit out here with a coffee in the mornings and a book/kindle/ipad to read.

The other outdoor space I like is the back patio, last year we paid a builder to put a roof over it so we could use it in all weather, it still has a view, although not as much as we get out the front, but it’s been a great space for BBQ’s, to sit and hang out in the breeze in the afternoon when it’s too bright on the balcony, and it’s comfortable and inviting since we have an outdoor lounge, it’s just a nice spot to get outside.

My third spot is where I find I spend most of winter. Our lounge room. We live in a relatively small house so we don’t have a great big living room, it works out about 4metres x 7metres and has to be our lounge room and keyboard storage area/space, where I also do yoga etc.

What We Did to Improve Our Space

Entry way:

Our entry way is a difficult place to decorate and something we are still working on as we think about what we want it to look like, and the feel we are trying to achieve as we

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This is our photo wall and shoe rack entrance looking into the dining/kitchen

first walk in. But, the first thing you see as you enter our front door is a steep stair case, dark wood stairs and dark bricks on the walls, I would love to lighten the floors one day but we just don’t have the money to take something like that on just yet. Instead we have left that small tiled landing at the bottom of the stairs and attempted to decorate the hall/walkway at the top. Straight ahead at the top of the stairs is a hallway to the kitchen on the left and the lounge room straight ahead, however if you turn left just as you get to the top we have created a homely space with photo shelves, a shoe rack and in the window frames leading to the dining room we have a hanging fern. (Plants are something I would like to add more of, but finding the right ones when you have cats has proven to be more difficult than I would have thought.) I must say we are happy with it so far, but would like to add some more colour with plants, but we also like the practical nature of it too. Having also fixed our shoe issues.

Kitchen:

I have been doing my best to deal with our kitchen and dining space. It has always been

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We already have lovely ambient light from wall shades, but this felt like it added a little something

a hard space as the kitchen is quite small, and the cupboards are not designed well. So I decided to make the best of a bad situation for the moment and we have a plan to try and make improvements maybe later in the year – part of the financial priority list at some point. For now I have rearranged the kitchen, went from a smaller kitchen table to a larger one (that doesn’t suit our current decor or style but that I plan to paint it to make it match), this way we can still entertain, and use it to study while cooking dinner and as a family space. I have also tried to decorate it with gentle light light to make it feel cosy and homely.

Lounge Room:

We really opened up the lounge room to let more light in and to make it feel more open. We have a big modular lounge,

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We reconfigured the lounge placement which really opened the room up

and simply by re-arranging it I have managed to make the room feel bigger with more open space, instead of a “U” shape, it’s now a corner lounge to one side and a 2 seater straight lounge on the other side of the room, opening it right up. It’s amazing how much something seemingly simple has made such a difference. I also opened up the dated venetians so we can see the patio out of the big glass sliding doors, and it has also given the space a different feel again.

Outdoor Spaces:

We are slowly chipping away at our balcony and patio, we have added a few plants to the patio and some comfortable furniture to both spaces. The main goal was to create useful spaces for us to use, since our house is relatively small, it’s nice to have these other zones to spread out in and share with our friends and family.

Spare room:

We have 3 bedrooms and since we have no kids the first spare room is a “guest room”, with a bed, my pole for practicing pole dancing, and my sewing cabinet. It’s also the

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It’s quite a small room, but feels warm and cosy

room where we use most of the storage of the built-in wardrobe for hobby supplies. The third room is the room we had assumed we would keep for a baby, but until that happens and while I have uni this year, that will be the study. So we removed all the clutter, the Christmas trees and decorations are gone now, we tidied up the desk and culled some more books from the bookcase and we finally put the baby supplies we were given last year in a more convenient home in there and out of the garage. With the “for two” chair in there it now looks like a cosy study space, just need to file all our documents but I have at least culled them ready for the two of us to sit and create a system.

Ambiance:

I always loved candles, but we now have four cats and that can be a challenge and a risk, so instead we have opted for wax warmers (ours are from Scentsy but there are other brands and sellers out there), I like the homely scents. We go for apple and cinnamon, or berry pavlova around the main living spaces (lounge and kitchen/dining), and the citrus smells in the bathrooms.

We could also do with some more colour around the house, and less clutter, but we are chipping away at creating our “home” and have plenty of time to figure it all out.
The Benefits of Hygge
I have posted before about how hygge has really taken off, but I can see why. I have always bought furniture for our home that is comfortable and inviting, over something you would expect to see in a display home. Our lounge might be considered to bulky for the space we have, but I like how deep it is that I can lay and sit comfortably with whatever it is I am doing. I read an article last night about how you can create the holiday feel at home by decorating with furniture and homewares you would find in accomodation settings, but that doesn’t feel like home. We like our home to feel relaxing, comfortable and cosy. A place we look forward to relaxing in at the end of the day.

Simple things that make the house feel like a home:

  • Comfortable furniture – I find a lot of designer furniture look nice but not so nice to get comfortable on
  • Textures – I like having a throw rug nearby especially in winter for warmth, lots of cushions to prop ourselves into comfy positions and rugs that feel good under your bare feet
  • Photos and wall hangings – something that personalises the house
  • Smells – we like to burn melts to give the house a nice fragrance and open the house up (windows and sliding doors)
  • Light – lots of natural light

Home should be a place we want to go to, not the place we run away from. Hubby and I have recently talked about what kind of house we would like to see ourselves in for the future, but I really love our house, we both do, and if we can do all the things to it that we have been talking about I think we will really have created a “home” we can be in until we can no longer climb the stairs. At the end of the day a house is a house, I’m sure we could make any house feel like a home with the right dressing, but this was the house we fought so hard to buy when hubby just finished uni and the bank didn’t take his income into consideration ( not being permanent full-time and the difficulties in getting a loan these days), the house that we could easily pay off early, that we both loved and that was way under the budget the bank had offered to lend us. Is it ever really greener on the other side? We didn’t buy some big house as a token of our accomplishments, we wanted something that was ours, that no one could sell from under us, that had the potential to serve our needs and that we could make our own. Isn’t that all we really need?
We have really enjoyed our “holiday” from work this time around. While we didn’t go away, we have a sense of accomplishment, and had a comfortable rest in our favourite space where we didn’t have to live out of a suitcase, spend hours travelling, come home to a mountain of laundry or feel like we needed a holiday from our holiday before returning to work. It really was a lovely break from the usual hustle and bustle of work, and of what is involved in travel, we really got to spend some quality time together and relax in the space we created for ourselves.

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January: In Review – Making sustainable foundations

This post is later than I was expecting to post, but January is only just over, and we used it to set up a few foundations to build upon this year.

Since January is the first month of the year, I decided to implement some foundations, new routines and habits to build on this year.  Keeping in mind my main goal this year was to have more time, for socialising, quality time with my husband and to actually enjoying the house (keeping in mind I’m somewhat of a homebody), rather than working in it.

Diary/Organiser:

The biggest thing I have implemented is having a diary.  It makes things really easy for me, hubby would make plans at the same time we had other things on and so encouraging him to write social plans or doctors appointments in has really made a difference, especially if it’s something we want to go to together as we can make the appropriate requests at work.  I use it for our rosters as well, but we also have a roster app that we can enter our own rosters into and then share, to help coordinate appointments and plans we need to make with each other.  Additionally I have started to use the diary to plan the house tasks, meal planning, vacuuming and laundry.  It doesn’t just have to be for the budget while I really do use it for that too so I don’t miss things.

Meal Prepping and Planning:

Open Notebook and Fresh Vegetables Background. DietIn January I also bought a meal planning notepad from Kmart for $4 and using that to plan meals according to our work rosters.  The rosters are something I have no control over, so we have to prepare to manage meals without buying convenience food and spending more money while throwing out food we’ve bought at home because we weren’t here or didn’t have time to prepare and cook it.

In our house the meal planning realistically comes down to lunches and dinners.  I don’t eat breakfast, yes I know this isn’t recommended, I usually have a coffee and then a brunch anytime from 11am, whereas hubby can’t cope without a breaky.

Breakfasts:

  • Smoothies – for quick grab and go to prevent the drive through
  • Cereal – quick and easy
  • I like to keep oats in the pantry, for cooking in addition to a breakfast option – I like to put oats in the thermie though and I can prepare coffee or do a quick tidy up of the kitchen while it cooks

Lunches:

We are meant to be eating better and healthier, and lunches are the hardest parts in our house.  Hubby doesn’t like to have the same things every day so I had to have a think.

  • Salads – I had to have a think about what do put into them to make them filling as hubby worries salads aren’t filling enough
    • Additionally
  • Wraps – salad ingredients can be used on wraps and alternated to avoid boredom
  • Smoothies – these are mostly for me as I leave for work at 12 and I can drink it on the way
  • Bacon and Eggs – when we both have the day off at the same time we like to have a cook up brunch together
  • Soup – although it might seem odd during summer soup is a really healthy option and something you can freeze
  • Leftovers for work days

Dinners:

Evening meals need to be versatile for us as we spend a lot of our nights having dinner at work, I work afternoon shifts meaning I have dinner at work 9 days a fortnight, while hubby has around 5 a fortnight.  At the beginning of each week, or at the end of the week prior I look at our rosters, have a chat to hubby to see if he has any requests and make a plan accordingly.  I like to incorporate the thermomixes for convenience, hubby finds that and the pressure cooker really easy to use which means when he’s home for dinner and I’m not he can make something that leaves us with leftovers.

This week’s dinners:
While they aren’t that healthy, at least the rest of the week was and I’m planning to make a list of dinners as a go-to for variety.

  • Homemade Pizza – I made the dough and hubby did the toppings, something we consider a good dinner for when we are having dinner together
  • Creamy tomato and chorizo fettuccine – one of my favourite thermomix dinners and a sometimes food, but delicious and provides leftovers
  • Beef stew and dumplings – thermomix and again provides leftovers
  • Soup – I  like to have pumpkin soup and turkish toast at work

House Keeping Routine:

Other than food, the other main issue taking up our time and getting on top of us each get organisedweek is general day to day tasks around the house.  I feel as though because we don’t have a “routine” things get missed, and we spend the time we have trying to prepare for meals and other things like the laundry are struggling to keep up.

Because I have the regular roster, the “routine” part is going to be up to me, and I usually ask and allocate hubby days or times when he’s home to help.

House Keeping Plan/Routine:

  • Grocery shopping and meal prep Mondays – this is my regular day off and I can do a quick shop and prep at dinner time that night – usually planning and cooking two dinners at once to get a head-start
  • Laundry on mornings before work – ideally every second day to keep up and put washing away as soon as it comes off the rack (which is something we usually keep up with)
  • With 4 cats we need to vacuum regularly and since Monday is my “home-day” I usually do a really thorough vacuum then, but we whip around with the stick vac in between, something I need to do every second day also
  • General tidy each night before bed or before heading to work for an afternoon shift
  • Dishwasher – ensure it goes on after dinner (or whenever it’s full) and we usually unpack it either first thing in the morning or while dinner is cooking and prepare to repack as we go
  • Kitty litter at least second daily

While this all sounds very busy, the main thing that’s working this month is spending 30-60mins in the morning for maintenance.  A simple morning routine before work means I can get up at 9am, put on the washing, fold the old washing and put it away, unpack the dishwasher while I make my coffee, prep and start dinner, whip around with the stick vac, hang out the washing and by 10:30 I can sit on the balcony with a book and my coffee for an hr.  Leaving time for yoga in the living room, and a shower before work, or a visit to the gym on the way to work.

Exercise:

One of the big changes we wanted to make while trying to be healthier was exercise.  So we decided we should try and get to the gym, for a walk or whatever we decided to do at least every second day.  For me it means getting up by 9am, and alternating the exercise day with the house maintenance day, or even if it is a house day I can do some pole practice or yoga at home.  I have even recommenced pole dancing classes.

Social Plans:

Making plans with friends was more about having the time available and catching up with coffee, we have holidays coming up and have a family member coming to visit for the first week and a BBQ planned for the second week.

While this all looks like a lot of things to implement, when I usually say making small small changeschanges work the best and allow a routine to be more sustainable, a lot of tasks I was already doing last year. The problem was that I would either manage to keep the house really tidy and organised and meal planning failed, or I would hang out with friends and the house would completely fall apart, meaning I would go out more and rather not be in it or look at it until I had time to get it back.  Now I have created a routine, it really have been easier to juggle and coordinate not being home in the evening, and establish a healthier lifestyle that hopefully we can sustain this year.  Who knows it might even alleviate some of the stress too.

 

We have managed to create a plan to hopefully stay on top of for the year.  No big changes, just building on what we had.  Making sure we use the diary, plan, shop and prep meals according to the roster ahead, we made somewhat of a routine for the house tasks, getting in more exercise and even managed to fit plans in with family and friends.

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|Getting Organised| Laundry

I decided to start with the probably equal-most troublesome area of the house to keep organised. We really struggle with meal planning and keeping the kitchen under control, but lately we have really had trouble with the laundry.

Being shift workers makes any routine hard to follow, I try to plan meals in advance so I’m always organised a day or two in front, but when we get busy we really do fall behind on the washing. For us it’s more about getting the washing washed and hung out, we’re relatively vigilant with the packing away part. I finally decided we needed to find a way to get on top of the washing and stay on top of it, and not on top of the massive pile I felt like we had, so I utilised a post I found on facebook.

Kmart Mums Australia is a facebook group where women share “Kmart hacks” using Kmart products, and ask other women for reviews and inspiration. I was referred to it by a friend who found an awesome post about a food platter presentation for a party she was hosting, she then showed me some other things she had picked up and utilised around her house. I immediately loved some of the ideas I found on the page, and ever since I keep an eye on it and I have a todo list of things hubby and I would like to implement around the house. So I have to credit this laundry storage idea to this group.

Our laundry is really small, something that I would love to fix, but not high on the financial priority list right now. Our laundry pretty much houses a sink, our washing machine, dryer, kitty litter boxes, and had an old hand-me-down cane washing hamper. All our cleaning products were stored either on top of the dryer and swayed with the machines during a cycle, or stuffed inside the cupboard under the sink, while the hamper was like a black hole where things went to get lost and disappear.

Our washing system!

We had a basket in our room that was as tall as my hip, it ended up stuffed with washing and I was lucky to get through half of it, and often in order to sort it items were thrown into the cane one in the laundry to be forgotten. When we needed uniforms, gym gear, underwear etc or the basket was quite full we would try and get on top of it. I had never struggled with laundry before, when I lived alone I did all my washing on my first day off, or on the day before my day off so I could make the most of my weekend, but with two people I now have double the load. We needed a routine! For a household that actually doesn’t have a routine.

What I did:

I recalled seeing a post about a storage idea on facebook, I showed it to hubby and he thought it was a great idea so we went together to our local store and purchased a shelving unit, and three of the washing baskets I had read would fit on each shelf. He put it together and I sorted the washing accordingly.  I found two washing machine loads of towels had been hidden in that hamper, along with gym gear I had lost, socks, underwear and other clothes.

I sorted the washing onto 3 different baskets:

  • 1st = Priority items
  • 2nd = Non-priority items
  • 3rd = Special care items requiring to be washed in cold or on a gentle cycle or hand-washed (husband-proof)

I have been washing 1-2 loads a day to catch up and I’m almost there, the best part is that the laundry looks so much more organised, we have a shelf to store litter deodorisers and laundry detergent. Above all it actually looks bigger and tidier than it did before (even if a bit dated and daggy in the tiles), and, we can see the washing, I can see it growing and I can see when we’re catching up, so no more hidden items lost for months at a time. I’ve even found a spot for delicates bags too. Yes, I am a sad housewife who gets excited about the little things like an organised laundry and pantry. Sad, but true!

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Implementing the 2019 Revolution: January – The Month of Foundations

This post is a little late, I have been chipping away at it since late December, but life kept getting in the way.  So here it is!

My new years’ resolution this year was to have more balance.  Seemingly simple enough, but in a household with 4 cats, and 2 shift workers, although we don’t have any children, we have enough trouble with the basics.

Hubby is moving to a new area at work, which requires him to study, and I am planning to go back to university part-time to finish my masters’ degree while I continue to work full-time.  Therefore, being organised in our house is high on our priority list.  I had plans to catch up with friends and family more often this year, and make time for ourselves as we seem to either do one or the other.

I ordered a new diary for this year after having searched nearby shops unable to find new yrsomething I liked at the end of 2018.  I came across a website called Bullet Planner (I am in no way affiliated with them, I just really like this product), I found I could customise the cover and choose the style of the diary I had.  It includes an array of lists from Christmas presents, birthday presents and birth dates, to goals for the year.  It got me thinking about our goals and resolutions, and made me wonder if our idea of what we want the year to be like really looks the same at the end?  Does it look the same meaning nothing has changed or does it look the same as what we had envisioned?  This diary has made me think about my personal goals, the goals my husband and I have as a couple, the things we would like to change and the experiences we want to share.  It has given me ideas I never usually think about so early, seemingly a great start to being organised this year.

As I listed birthdays, health and fitness goals, and things we want to do around the house I realised I’m already making new years’ resolutions.  The trick to goals and achievement isn’t about the goal itself, but about the process you implement, the dedication and determination you have in making it a reality, and all the little things you do to chip away at it.  Don’t make them too big, unachievable, or expect that because you want to lose weight a diet will be sufficient.  Some goals are a daily challenge, but as I have just done with regards to my achievements last year, look back at your progress.  Do this goalsbefore you make new goals for this year, don’t focus on what you haven’t done, but rather on what you have done.  If you’re saving for something, what do you have?  It doesn’t matter if you haven’t saved the deposit for a house yet, that is a big commitment and takes longer for some than it does for others, but what progress have you made already?  Not only can you do this to see your path to progress but you can also look at this and ask “why didn’t that work”?  Use the past year to guide the new things you will attempt to create change with next year.  I like making a big laundry list of all the things I want to achieve, then look at it and plan them, prioritise the things you want to pay off, make a list of what you want to get done this year, next year and the year after.  This gives you a sense of control, hope, accomplishment, achievement and gratification.  It helps me to write about these things in a diary so I don’t have to bug my husband with it, and I still manage to get it off my chest.

My personal goals for this year are about taking time out for me, creating new habits which is something I talk about a lot but find it really hard to put into practice.

  • I want to make time to read for pleasure (something I have been really good at this year)
  • Have a regular yoga practice
  • Get back to a pole class
  • Spend some time journalling when I need to clear my head
  • Take the time out to organise my week – meal planning, cooking, grocery shopping (something I have been failing at for quite a while)
  • Set clear study boundaries (I am planning to finish my post graduate studies)
  • Save for something big – make a regular savings deposit each fortnight
  • Allocate tasks to share the load

 

I think it’s funny how as you get older and hit certain milestones your priorities change.  Life for us is about enjoyment, not collecting material possessions, but instead having financial freedom, enjoyable experiences and a sense of security.  All things we associate with a stress-free existence.  They become more realistic, and no more wishing we were retired millionaires!  Although, I may have bought a lottery ticket for the week, just incase.

I would like to lose weight like the rest of us, save money and be in less debt.  It seems to be the downfall of this generation, less exercise, more convenience food and spending money we don’t have yet.  The only way to rectify this is the make sustainable changes.  It’s easy to keep up the act while we see progress but how do you sustain it, that’s the real challenge.  I lost 42kgs about 6years ago, but the real challenge has been maintaining it, it’s a lifestyle change, the same as any other sustainable goal.  I hate to be that person that tries to sound upbeat, motivated and hopeful for the new year, but after looking at our achievements and progress last year, I can see some other things we could have accomplished and would like to attempt to make them a reality for the end of this year.

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