2017 – Our first year in Australia

I can not believe it has been over a year now since we moved from the UK to Australia. We moved in October 2016. So much has happened in this past year, its been slightly crazy. It only seemed like yesterday my partner came home to tell me he quite his job and wanted to move to Australia.

So, where do we begin, well you can read all about my first 3 months in Australia here living in oz, 3 month update But since then, as soon as Carl’s bridging visa came through he got a job, I then stopped working to take care of Timmy again. Plus I was heavily pregnant and was ready to put the brakes on! We got ourselves a rental house which was basically empty when we first moved in with the odd bit of second hand furniture courtesy of my family. When we moved over here, we came with nothing. Literally a couple of suitcases and that was it. Our house honestly looked like a second hand furniture shop full of mix matched items, nothing went together and we did not even have a dining room table, no blinds or curtains on the windows. It took a little while before our house started coming together. But we were just so happy to be out of our family’s house as it was more then cramped with so many adults and a child under one roof! On our first night we were greeted with a lovely huge Hunstman spider running across the floor, me screaming and jumping on the sofa for carl to kill it. Welcome to Australia. Then only a couple of days later I had a redback spider crawl right next to my leg on the sofa. I was not impressed! I hate spiders with a passion, no matter if they are big or small, they need to go, there is no room in my life for them!

For a while I needed to drive Carl to work every day as we only had the one car which is lent to us from my family, but with the help of my lovely cousin and her hubby we were able to get a second car. Carl got his driving licence and he started to drive himself to and from work. This made life for me so much easier. We love our second car, it is truly a great car. Except for the first week or so, I thought there was something wrong, as when I was diving it, it would not change gear ( it is automatic!) I thought we had brought a lemon. Hmm, nope turns out it was my stupidness and I was driving it in the manual setting. How stupid can I be? I don’t think I will ever live it down. I will be hearing about that for the rest of my days if Carl has anything to do with it. So yes, Carl quickly got settled into his new job, I enrolled Timmy into swimming lessons, which did not last long because when he realised he would have to go under the water at the end of each lesson and that was that. The fight to get him to go every week was not worth it! I found a play group with lots of lovely ladies and even had a night out to dinner with them. I have not been in a while now as on that day Timmy is in school now and I have been very busy. But now Elijah is older, hopefully I can get back into going again! Timmy is in preschool which he loves! He goes to school 3x a week, I call these days my days off, even though I still have Elijah to look after. I gave birth to Elijah back in March, went through a few months of hard times with some postnatal depression. Honestly, I started getting better, then just a few weeks ago I felt waves of it coming back. I ran into a lady and she asked me how I was doing, I burst into tears which I was not expecting! but yes, I suspect it is still with me but i’m aware of it. I think I am going to start to revisit  The Parental Stress Centre you can see my post about them here The Parental Stress Centre honestly, the programme I did with them was exactly what I needed. If there is anyone reading this that struggles day to day, it does not have to be PND but in general. You find being a parent hard, stressful, have anxiety or are even just struggling please look them up they offer different course options, and are seriously affordable. They did me wonders, and ill keep using them to keep me in check and get me back on track when I fall off.

I finished my childcare course from overseas which I started before I knew we were leaving the UK. I have since enrolled into a diploma of childcare via online here in Australia which I am enjoying, but really need to make a more regular pattern of studying! It took me a long time after having my kiddies to decide when I go back to work what I wanted to do. I have now decided for sure child care is what I want to do, so while I am a stay at home mum it is the perfect time for me to get my qualification!

Carl got approved for his temporary Australian Visa, then the company we went through fast tracked our application for a permanent visa, which was instantly approved. Normally you need to wait for 3 years I think before you can apply for the Permanent, but as we had extensive proof we had lived together, and the fact we have 2 children together helped in our favor!

We managed to get a couple of holidays in, we went last year to visit Granny in Grafton with my cousin. We went again this year after I had Elijah to visit her, but this time we turned it into a real family holiday and went to Queensland for 4 days and did the theme parks. Which you can read about here Our Family Trip to Queensland

We have also had a few weeks here and there where we have managed to go down the coast for a couple of days. We enjoy going down south, it is so beautiful. Every time we go down we manage to find something new to do or a new place to visit. Our most favorite place to go lately is Jarvis bay. It is so spectacular. It is well known for its white sand. Honestly breathtaking!

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This is Chinaman’s Beach Jarvis Bay

We had Carl’s parents come to visit us last for 3 weeks. That was super lovely. They got to see a fair bit and spend a lot of time with Timmy, which I know he loved so much as did they. It went so fast.

So, as you can see it has been a fairly busy 2017 for us! Things have now settled down and we are settling in properly. Christmas 2017 was  a really good one. This is the first year we have had our own Christmas tree. The first year, we were on Sark, it was a borrowed tree. The second year we were in Australia visiting family, the third year we were in Bristol for Christmas, that was a tough time personally for me and Carl finding out we had a molar pregnancy and the operation right before Christmas. Miscarriages and Molar pregnancies But we did not bother doing a tree that year as we were going to be in Bristol and that Timmy was at that age where he would see lights and just try to pull them down! Then last year we were at my dads house after just moving to Australia. So this year, we are in our own home, we spent the morning opening presents in our own house right before we headed out to go to dads house for the day. I really enjoyed the champagne and orange juice for breakfast! However dad and Carl were both sick with this horrible bug that seems to be going around, I had it only a couple of weeks earlier.

So today is the first day of 2018, I am hoping this year will be just as good, just as busy and full of amazing adventures! Today I have started a Detox program which i will write about later, as after Elijah i have basically lived of Chocolate and I’m tired of putting on weight and feeling like crap. New year, new me! So happy New years to you all.

LETS DO THIS!

Candice xx

Timmy Time

Now my son is getting a bit older, I am really enjoying playing all sorts of games with him. He actually surprises me with how quickly he learns and what he does know how to do! His memory is insane.

One card game I love to play is UNO. I have loved this game since I was a kid. I found a pack of cards I had forgotten all about and Timmy showed an interest in wanting to play. I thought, oh, this will be fun we will end up just playing snap or memory or something. I was surprised to see when I explained the rules, he got it right away and could play. He is only 3 1/2. Now Daddy, Timmy & me all play together and it is truly a lot of fun.

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Playing UNO with my big man x

I find I constantly underestimate what my son can do. I say “He is only 3, he wont know how to do that!” or ” he is too young, or too little for that”. I am constantly surprised by how fast he learns and when I tell him he is too little or wont know how to play, he tells me “yes I will!” Most of the time, he is right! Is it just me that underestimated my 3 year old? Tell me other mums out there do the same? So this is now a current favorite game we like to play!

Baking is another favorite. Timmy loves making all sorts of things. Cupcakes, cookies, jelly. Mind you, he does not eat much of what he makes, he just enjoys making them. If cupcakes have Icing on them, he wont eat them. In the picture below, he took one bite then said, “mummy you have the rest” He does love to make and eat jelly though, that’s his favorite thing to do. That boy loves his jelly!!

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We love going to cafe’s together. Before I had Elijah we used to go to cafe’s at least once a week. It was one of our favorite past times. Now I mostly grab a coffee on the run or when the rare opportunity presents itself it is good to take Timmy out for a treat just me and him, like old times.

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This may sound odd to some mums, but I LOVE taking my son to soft plays!! He is not a child which run’s off and causes terror among the other children, he is quite happy doing his own thing, playing on his own and letting mum sit with a coffee in peace. Now Elijah is a little older, I am excited to take him to soft play soon also. There is nothing better then going there on a rainy day and letting the kiddies burn some energy while mummy just chills for a bit. It is a great place to meet up with other mummy friends, we catch up, chat, drink coffee, and the kids all play. It’s a win win really!!

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My son also loves playing twister, but I must admit, this is a game I am not totally fond of playing. He is not really good at this game yet, he knows his right and left and his colors but he is a little bit small to play properly just yet. will not be long though and he will be able to play a bit better.

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If Timmy could, he would spend every single day at parks. He loves them so much! He loves the swing best, he can never go high enough! Picnics in the park, now this he just loves! I take his ball and he rolls it down the hill and chases after it. I did take his scooter once, but I ended up with it when he decided he did not want to ride or push it. So I was left pushing the pram and carrying the scooter. We no longer take the scooter!

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Timmy loves to read. Every week we go to library time, they read, sing and do arts n crafts. Then after we go down stairs and pick out a few books to take home. He gets very excited at getting new books. Mind you, he has A LOT of books on his book shelve, but he still loves getting new ones. He will want to read the same one over and over again. He is now at the stage he asks what words mean, or he points to words and asks what it says. But he surprises me, because next time we read that book, he will point to the word he tell me what it says! Nothing wrong with his memory then!

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Reading “The Gruffalo” one of his favorites.

Timmy loves Trains. He got this Thomas Mini’s track for his 3rd birthday and some mini trains to go with it, he has used it so much, i’m surprised it is still standing!! If i ever need to keep him occupied, I pull this out he loves it! Trains are his favorite toys.

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Timmy is currently growing tomato plants, Grass heads and a sun flower!! He loves to doing gardening and watering the plants.

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Visiting family. Every time i pick Timmy up he wants to go to granddad’s house, Granted he only wants to go because he gets an ice lolly and a apple juice. But he does love to spend time around Granddads house.

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A growing bond with his little brother. When Timmy says he wants to give cuddles and kisses to his brother, or help put him to bed or wants a bath with him, it melts my heart. Whenever Timmy walks into the room Elijah’s face literally lights up with the biggest smile on is face. Watching these two together is such a sweet thing to witness, and I love the way they show affection towards each other. I hope they grow to be great friends and have a special bond. Nothing makes me happier then seeing these two monkeys together.

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So these are a few things that Timmy enjoys doing. He enjoys doing a lot, but I would be here all day with things Timmy enjoys. So I will leave it here for now.

Candice x

Deciding to stop breastfeeding

I am extremely lucky with my second son, I was able to breast feed. He was exactly what I had hoped for when it came to breast feeding. He was easy! Unlike my first time with Timmy, which you can ready about  Here I was not so lucky! Elijah I could feed straight away. Although those first few days are really really hard. It hurts so bad like someone is slicing your nipples with glass. I was not confident in my ability and kept thinking I was not doing it right. But It turns out I need not have worried because I was doing fine. Once I knew I was doing it right, things went very very smooth and I was very happy breast feeding. I did not like the Let-downs, Especially in the early days, they hurt! The engorged hard boobs you wake up to in the morning, milk everywhere and baby not being able to attached because there so hard and full! But yet, I loved it, because I knew my baby was growing, was happy and healthy all because of me and my boobies.

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Proud Mummy Breast Feeding

My son has just turned 8 months, and I have decided to stop with the breast feeding and just continue with formula. I have a few reasons for this. Firstly I feel ready to stop. I am ready to stop wearing maternity bras and I am ready to get my boobs back to being my saggy, not filled with milk hard boobs with the let downs. I have had enough! the second is because Elijah now has started to get teeth. He has bitten me a couple of times, mostly he is good and manages to avoid this, but still when he does bite, it bloody hurts!! And the third, is because I feel elijah is very very attached to me. I have no idea if this is because of the breast feeding, I just feel that by others being able to feed him it lets him bond with his dad and gives me a little space as I do feel Elijah is constantly on me. In the night, when he wakes all he wants is boob, he is not even hungry, its a comfort thing. He falls straight asleep on them. As we speak, he just got put to bed, screamed until I went in their and gave him boob. He is fine now!  I have considered giving him a dummy instead, however he has not had one yet, and they are more trouble then there worth sometimes!

I am so proud I managed to breast feed him in the first place. I was so determined to breast feed elijah after my bad experience with Timmy, so being able to is a proud mummy moment! I was not even shy when it came to breast feeding him. If I was out I would find a quiet corner or somewhere not to open and sit there happily breast feeding my baby. It was great not to have to worry about bottles, sterilizing ect I did have a bad public breastfeeding experience with Timmy which you can read here and I was not sure how i would go this time around, but once I knew I was doing it right and I was comfortable, I had no problem feeding him in public. I was always discreet of course, but I was proud and did not care what anyone else thought.

But yes, I feel the time has come to stop breast feeding him. I have not 100% stopped yet, I only breast feed him when he wakes up at 5am and will not go back to sleep without a feed. I put him into bed with me, roll over flop out a boob and he falls asleep on there, as do I! We both get another hours sleep before Timmy comes in and wakes us all up! I feel I have done extremely well in the breast feeding department. I always said I would breast feed until 12 months, because that’s apparently when they recommend you do it until. but I guess when you feel its time to stop, its time!

Candice

xx Life In a Mum Shell xx

Being a SAHM.

Since becoming a mum I seem to be in a ‘Stuck’ phase. I am not who I was before children, yet I am not completely not that person either. Confused? Good, so am I! I have always wanted to be a mum and am so grateful I have been blessed with 2 healthy lovely boys. Personally though since becoming a mum I have struggled to find ‘Me’. Before kids, I had dreams, goals, I was driven and would go for what I wanted. I only had me to think about. It’s a freedom I look back on and see I took for granted. I would be lying if sometimes I longed for those long gone never to be seen again days, of waking up when ever I wanted to, not needing to think of anyone else but me, being able to do as I wanted when I wanted, not a nappy bag or pram in sight. Go shopping for me for clothes that I like and not have to worry about boob access, or to cover my mum tum and not to have to worry about baby sick or food staining and ruining it! However, I wouldn’t change my current life for anything. I’m 3 1/2 years into this mum life, yet I am still adjusting! I wonder if I will ever figure it out, or if it will always be a constant adjustment? Ive wanted to be a mum ever since i could remember, I am living the life ive always wanted yet why do I struggle personally? shouldn’t I be able to handle this with ease, love every moment, not let stress bother me and get me down. nope, life just doesn’t work that way!

I seem to have lost that personal drive I once had. After Timmy was born I struggled for a good 2 1/2 years to figure out which career path I would take when I eventually went back to work. I have always worked since I was 15, I love working. Since becoming a mum, this is the first time I do not have a paid job and rely soley on my partners income, however I definitely work, being a mum is the hardest job ive ever had! There are no days off, no sick leave and it is a 24/7 job! So when I go back to paid work I could go the path I know and have years of experience in and can do with my eyes closed, Reception/Admin. Or I could go the avenue which I have thought about loads but just not done as it requires more studying, and I would be starting over right from the beginning -Childcare. After we moved to Oz, Carl couldn’t work for the first 3 months, I did some temping casual reception work and was bored and hated it. I enjoyed the adult conversation and the break it gave me from being a “mummy” for a few hours, but I hated the mind numbing role. Sometimes the phone did not ring for hours, I sat there bored out of my brains and knew this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I decided childcare it was! So after Elijah was born I enrolled in a Diploma in childcare. It has since sparked an excitement in me I had not experienced in a while for my personal goals and future. I enjoy studying and it feels good to be doing something for me. I have been struggling with the stay at home mum role, don’t get me wrong I love being apart of my children’s early years. I don’t miss out on anything, and im proud as punch watching my boys grow, learn and develop, but I do struggle as one day rolls into the next and into the next and weeks go by and I wonder where the days have gone? what did I achieve? Nothing gets done day-to-day and I have no idea what I’m doing every day! I wake up every morning with  “ill do this and this and sort this” attitude and by the end of the day I am lucky if any of my lists gets done. Staying at home each and every day gives me very little motivation and inspiration, by the end of each day I feel very disappointed in myself for not filling my days as how I intended at the beginning. Most days are filled with washing clothes, washing dishes, repeat about 6 or 7 times through the day, it’s never ending and drives me mad! Then there is the 3 year olds mess, he is a tornado! I seriously can not keep up with him.  From one room to the next, books off the shelf, play dough on the front step, and the back…how and when did that happen? Trains everywhere, Puzzle pieces in different boxes, Lego everywhere plus clothes he has mixed up…my fault…shouldn’t leave clean clothes lying on the floor with the dirty clothes for a toddler to get into and mix up! At any given time one or more….ok so all our rooms look like they have been burgled, it’s just so easy to shut the door and “deal with it later” yep…that door never opens! I want to be that mum that’s got all her shit together, that can cook and have a clean kitchen after, that does all the washing and puts it straight away instead of leaving it for days…ok sometimes weeks until we run out of clothes and search the basket! I wish I always had clean floors and that there wasn’t some sort of crunchy cereal I step on daily that my son dropped on the floor and that I step in daily…hmm, yep, probably should have cleaned that up by now. Every day I set myself up to fail in the house department, I just don’t have the motivation and get up and go to spend all day every day cleaning, sorting, repeat. Seriously, how on earth did mums manage 50 years ago with less appliances, more children, times were harder. Here I am struggling and compared ive got it a whole lot easier! I guess there are a lot more distractions these days, computers, social media, tv ect, more toys and stuff kids have to make more mess (my fault, i keep buying stuff!) I do hate that Carl comes home and is faced with the chaotic messy house and a girlfriend with messy hair, hairy legs and vomit and/ or baby food all over her clothes. It’s not fair on him, but to his credit he rarely complains, in fact he never complains, he only ever sometimes drops the slightest hint when he runs out of socks or underwear or when he feels its necessary I guess. Its sad, ive let my pride in my appearance go beyond acceptable. I desperately need waxing done, hair cut, new clothes and my weight has gone stupidly out of balance. I know im stuck in this rut, and need to get out of it. I have joined a gym, I love doing gym classes, there my time. Something I do just for me, its nice! I just need to get stricter with my eating. I eat mostly out of boredom, it’s a terrible habit!

I’m sure there are many mums out there who can relate. I would love to hear any advice or feedback you have! I love being a mum, but I am struggling to find ‘me’ in my role. I thought I was finding my self after Timmy we had a great routine and I felt on top of it. but once I had Elijah, our routine completely disappeared, and Timmy entered the terrible threenanger stage which threw me a new curve ball I wasnt ready for and then I had a bad spell of postnatal depression which sometimes I still find creeps in. Im blessed to be a stay at home mum, yet I struggle to find the ‘me’ amongst the chaos of daily life. I feel im constantly letting everyone down every day, not enough attention to Timmy and even to carl. He mentioned the other night he misses cuddles -which is all my fault, Im always too tired and just fall into bed exhausted too tired to stay up, chat, cuddle. Ive dropped the ball everywhere. I would be a hopeless juggler as this balancing act is hard work! Through the postnatal depression I fought hard to dig myself out of that hole, but it’s not completely gone, some days are great, others not so much but I’m dealing with it by talking to people, seeking professional help and writing about it along with reading self-help books.

I just wish I could feel comfortable and confident in this role as stay at home mum. Most days I feel like a fraud, like I’m going through my days dazing through trying be something i’m not and failing at it. My mum guilt on a daily basis is ridiculous, I constantly feel guilty over everything. How much time Timmy spends infront of the TV or on my phone playing games, or when he gets himself into a tantrum how I could have handled it better, or I didnt feed him a proper dinner… spagetti tonight kiddo? The only thing I can be sure of is I love my little family so damn much, my boys are my life and my world! They bring me purpose and a love only I can get from them. Their stressful, tiring and exhausting but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything. I guess the rest of the chaos and mess will just sort itself out. well I hope it does! I guess we can’t have it all. I want to be a great mum, I wont sacrifice that to be a great housewife also. I read somewhere once that when your kids are grown, they wont remember the messy house or dishes in the sink, but they will remember the memories and laughter you create together. lets hope that’s true!

lots of love to all you mummas who feel a little lost and overwhelmed, you’re not alone! XXX