Invest Time, Not Money

Why don’t we see what we have right in front of us, before it’s all gone?

As we look down the barrel of 10 months on a very limited income next year, and possibly something similar when I go back depending on how we can coordinate two shift work rosters, I have been thinking about the little things we might like to do as a family, the things we did as kids that we completely overlook now.  Which led to me realising how generations these days don’t take the time to appreciate the little things in life anymore.  We see life through the lens of a camera, yet we don’t have many photos around the house, we have so much stuff but we don’t spend any time at home, and we travel but we don’t appreciate the outdoors.  We look but do we see.  We hear but we don’t listen.  No wonder there’s such a movement for being more present and mindful.  We need to speak because we have something to say, and listen because someone else has something to say, that might just be valuable.  We need to go back to having conversations, rather than listening to the sound of our own voice.

I have been thinking about how busy I always am lately.  I know I read all the time about how we are only as busy as we make ourselves, but no matter what I do I find I still feel 20191110_1456213695830631881340027.jpgas though I’m rushing around.  I make at least 1 day a fortnight for me, and because I work all afternoon shifts I often feel as though I am always meal prepping in the mornings before work.  I see other women who somehow have the motivation to get up earlier to make more of their day, but is that really that effective if they are losing sleep at the other end?  Which makes me wonder…  Is there really a perfect balance of work/home/rest?

In my ever changing and developing attempt to make more balance I have decided there are a few changes I wouldn’t mind trying.  Since I have people always telling me the scheduled 17 days I’m planning to have off before the baby is “due” isn’t enough, and that I need to make the most of that time as it will be my last opportunity to be “alone”, I wondered why I can’t take regular time out to do that now?

Next weeks’ challenge:

  • Take at least 30mins out each morning before work to sit and have a coffee, enjoy the outdoors or read a magazine
  • Take 1 whole day a fortnight (some weeks I only get 1 whole day off) to wind down, rest, relax
  • Make a list of things to do during days off so I don’t spend half the day trying to decide what to do with myself
  • Get outside more – picnics with hubby, walks around the lake/beach
  • Do some exercise regularly – I often leave this as a last priority but I think it would make all the difference in my energy levels

 

In order to make change, we have to implement a change in behaviours somewhere.  For 20191118_1828113230214733437694832.jpgthe most part my goals are just to make more time for my head and body to wind down and relax.  I want to spend less time watching tv, worrying about things and more time getting outside and doing all the things we used to do as a family when we were kids that seem to have been lost over time.  Something as simple as a picnic crosses off so many of these goals, it gets us outside, hubby can go fishing, I can read, go for a walk, or just take some time out.  I think there isn’t enough value placed on simple things like going somewhere nice to have a picnic as a family, be in each others’ company, and enjoying a change in atmosphere.  Even just interacting during dinner with no technology, sharing what we’ve been up to, what is happening with us at work or from day to day, I worry we are all losing that conversation and this is something we want to encourage with our new family.  There are so many things we can do with friends or as a family that don’t cost us a fortune, invest time rather than money.

On that note, I’ve decided to put off the groceries to sit on my balcony with a magazine or some crocheting.  I can do the groceries tomorrow while hubby goes fishing.

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Pregnancy Files: Trimester 2

As promised I am documenting progress on trimester two. I have done a lot of reading and we have been in discussions about what we want to do about many things. I have come to realise there will always be people who want to offer advice, tell you that some of the ideas you have don’t work, or that they are too much work, but I’ve learned to keep a lot of my ideas to myself.

The things they don’t tell you about pregnancy is all the sensations you will have. I have been haunted by mothers telling me how bad morning sickness is and asking me how sick I’ve been… 0%! I have however had sleepless nights, pangs and twinges, sore and swollen chest, constipation, bad dreams, frequent urination, and have been really flat, and also felt fine. Here I am up at 2am because I can’t sleep. We spent the evening with family, where I was so tired, I wasn’t really even concentrating on the drive home, but I got home, head hit the pillow, asleep by 10pm and awake again at midnight.

A few things we are considering leading up to the arrival of our rainbow baby (therefore we have had quite a bit of time to think about this):

Purchases

  • Owlet, but the sensor rather than the webcam. This is a system (if you purchase both I guess) that allows you peace of mind when your baby is asleep. We are still considering buying the sensor sock that monitors the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels as my husband is a nurse in ICU and has seen a lot of babies presenting with complications during sleep. Although this is definitely not a vital item to purchase, we are hoping it will offer peace of mind after a miscarriage and an IVF pregnancy.
  • Modern cloth nappies. We have been taking these into consideration for some time. We will have quite a reduced income while I’m off work, and the thought of the money we will save in addition to not having nappies sit in our bin for 2 weeks (they only empty every 2 weeks here), in addition to the impact on the environment, we have been thinking about starting out with them and seeing how it goes. However, once you start to do some research you find out how much they cost and I guess that can be a bit of a deterrent, but when I found an article indicating disposable nappies will cost in excess of $3000, while cloth will cost $1500 from new born until toilet training, we are leaning towards the cloth at this stage. Plus I highly recommend shopping around, there are some better prices out there, and of course you can always buy second hand if you’re ok with that idea.
  • Bottle prepper. Yes, this is highly a convenience option. We purchased one at a 33% discount and I thought it would be handy for hubby as he feels ill-equipped for when the baby comes. I thought this would take some of the stress out of it, and for middle of the night feeds it preps a bottle in under 2 mins.
  • Breast pump. I have picked one up second-hand from a friend, it has options for electric and manual with a timer on the electric one. The day care centre we are on the waiting list for offers to feed your child formula or your own expressed breast milk, which may be handy if we’re still breast feeding when I have to go back to work. At this stage, given baby isn’t even born yet we aren’t really sure what to expect, for this reason we also haven’t invested in a proper set of bottles. I bought a starter set just incase, and figure we can add to it depending on what our needs are at the time.
  • Baby carrier. I was always interested in a baby carrier. I am planning to assume all household duties while I’m off work and hubby is working, I figure it’s only fair, and this will include shopping. I had imagined a baby carrier would be an essential tool for grocery shopping, freeing up my hands and allowing me to use a trolley. We found the Ergo 360 on Catch of the day for $90 off. I have since been told this is the best option on the market, but I guess we will trial that for ourselves later on, but I also wouldn’t mind a wrap as I have heard they are more appropriately fitting for the first 6ish weeks.
  • Strider pram with bassinet and fitted capsule. We decided to splash out on a new pram, I didn’t want to get the most expensive or the one with the most bells and whistles, but we did settle for one that has the capacity for tandem seats (for later on just incase), it also came with the bassinet that can be interchanged with the seat, and a capsule that can fit directly onto the pram frame when either the seat or bassinet are removed. We thought having a complete travel system would really help, as I don’t want to be stuck at home afraid of upsetting her routine, I want to be able to get out and socialise with friends, do the shopping and hopefully have her routine work around our life. These might be dreams every parent has to begin with, but at the very least I thought having a capsule that can fit into the pram will mean if she’s asleep we won’t disturb her too much.

We have been lucky so far, we have been given so many big ticket items from friends and family that meant we could splurge on some items we might have had to reconsider otherwise.

At the half way mark I noticed a few changes, my belly was no longer resembling pregnancy only in the evening, I also had a bump in the morning. I no longer fit into my work pants, they didn’t even button up, so I had to make a purchase for something more comfortable to get through work. I have had frequent headaches, but they are minor compared to the migraines I usually have to deal with, and I think a lot of it is to do with stress in my sleep waking up with them, and merely getting out of bed and being upright makes them resolve on their own. From week 20 we have both felt our babies’ movements, which makes things feel a little more real, and we find it reassuring everything is going ok rather than waiting for the next scan or the next obstetrician appointment.

With uni now out of the way I can finally start to get our lives on track. I’m trying to get a handle on some kind of routine, ordering a veggie box fortnightly, and doing a proper grocery shop to prevent the daily shopping we have fallen into a habit of doing, plus meal planning! Getting a routine back into the household chores, maintaining a laundry routine, a cleaning regime and getting some time out in the sun. I feel like when I study I spend every moment inside at my computer, I see the lovely day outside, but feel I’m wasting precious time if I enjoy it and leave the study until later. It’s also a hard balance when there’s not much time outside of my work roster. I only get to steal 3hrs in the morning each day before my afternoon shift, and try to keep one of my days off a week for me or for family time, or for both. So it’s so exciting to finally have my mornings back and my days off actually free. I would rather potter around the house cleaning it then spend more time writing essays.

My highlights of the second trimester have been finally being able to enjoy this pregnancy without being overshadowed by study. I am enjoying finally getting some routine back, as it means we don’t have to struggle to keep up with day-to-day tasks like meal planning, grocery shopping and laundry. I have also prepared the nursery, started to pack away the things we bought for the baby, and organised a space in our spare room to relax. I wanted to get the house in order while I can still move around ok with all the bending and stretching, and while I still have the energy.

Now in week 25 I feel as though I am more tired going to work, I am dragging myself around the ward, I am getting light-headed at the gym, and I feel a general sense of lethargy on work days. With only 2 weeks to go before I’m in trimester 3 I have had a few moments where I feel like the reality of pregnancy has actually hit me. We will be solely responsible for this baby in 3 months, I can’t lie, the idea of birthing this baby is really scary to me after hearing so many horrible stories, and sometimes I wonder if having had no issues for the whole pregnancy means I’m not going to have such a good time at the end.

Coming up!  I will get around to making a post about how I’ve been feeling, our nursery set up, and other preparation for being a family.  These may be separate posts or a big one depending on how much time I have and how organised I am at the time.  I also have a few topics/issues I wanted to share.  Watch this space!

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My Study Days Are Officially Over!! – Time to get my Housewife Life Back!

I can’t believe it! I finally finished my Masters’ Degree. Well, I submitted all the units assessments which is good enough for me. I am completely over studying now, and really enjoying my time back. If I find out I haven’t passed, I might have to just deal with that failure! It’s such a relieving feeling to know I can get my time back.

Studying part time while working full-time doesn’t sound so bad, but it’s all the little things that get left behind. It’s the day to day things, the grocery shopping, meal planning and prepping, the laundry, it all falls onto others. My husband has been great, he really picks up the slack, although he doesn’t like to feel as though he’s doing it all on his own, so I can now do my fair share. Sadly I have been looking forward to that, after feeling as though I have been hiding under a blanket of journal articles and living at my computer. Plus what I am assured is “nesting” has apparently begun, though I feel as though I do this on a regular basis when I feel things need a tidy and freshen up!

I have sorted out our nursery, cleaned, organised and tidied the spare room, and on my next 3 day weekend I have plans for the same for the laundry (posts to come). I’m really looking forward to having a clean and organised house. My husband thinks I have control issues, but I think we have no routine with work rosters so it’s nice to at least have a nice cosy space to come home to, and I try my best not to rely on fast food. With a baby on the way in around 4 months I wanted to create new habits. So this is the week I’m getting started.

  1. Meal planning
  2. Grocery Shopping
  3. Meal prepping/scheduling
  4. Maintaining the laundry
  5. Daily tidy up (this is something I learned from the happiness project)
  6. Some time for ME!
  7. Exercise/get outside

I often have colleagues at work ask about how I have time to prepare food for afternoon

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Our meal plan and weekly schedule at a glance, we write on it with a whiteboard marker onto the glass in the picture frames

shifts, but I had to get smart about it.  I don’t like to waste my mornings off in the kitchen or at the supermarket so I have figured out a regime that works for us.

  • Cook 2-3 reheat-able meals, these are usually all in meals, quick and easy, and things that reheat well
  • Pick two appliances and cook 2 meals at once – this could be two dishes in the oven, or a pan meal and an oven meal – whatever you have at your disposal
  • Plan a rough meal regime for the week and shop for it – if the meals are able to be prepared quickly, and you don’t have to go shopping on the way home, you won’t feel like picking up fast food for convenience
  • Pre-prepare healthy, easy to grab snacks

At our house we have a dinner plan, something to bake for snacks (slice etc), and requests. I am currently planning for our upcoming week, so I will post our meal plan, shopping and prepping tips.  We also use a shopping app, for the last 3 years we have used “out of milk” as it allows list sharing, I can update the list and hubby can sync it and pick up  groceries on the way home and vice versa.  We find this really convenient.

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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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