1 Dec 2016

That Sea Change

One of the big changes that I can finally share is we're moving. 

For awhile now we've been wanting to get a bigger home, but Sydney home prices in the areas we wanted to buy wasn't affordable for us, well not on a full timer and start up biz owner salaries. Even after discussing various scenarios with our financial planner, Sydney home prices was always the impacting factor. There were times I thought about going back to the corporate world just so I can have a consistent salary. But when I thought about giving up my business, or not being there for the boys, I would start to get emotional. I couldn't do it. 

Even if I did go back to work full time, I didn't want a massive mortgage hanging over our heads, in addition to the cost of raising a young family. Like I said prices of homes in the areas we did want to buy in had sky rocketed in the past two to three years. 

Friends would know, and maybe I may have even mentioned it on here, but we've been talking about a sea change for a long time. Even before we had children, Ian and I wanted to try living overseas but never did it because there was always an excuse we told ourselves which held us back. Well, no more!

For a good part of the first half of this year we were investigating areas to relocate to. We thought about schools, infrstructure, jobs and the kind of lifestyle we wanted and took those into consideration. We did day trips flying out to areas that we short listed to see if it was a place we could see ourselves raising a family. After a few months of research, thousands of kilometres of traveling, we found a new place we'll be calling home. 

Unfortunately it's just dirt right now and obviously will need to build a home on top of it, but I'm excited about the whole process. I'm excited to move, I'm excited to build, and I'm excited to start our life in a new place. I'm sure there will be challenges along the way, everyone who has built a home has a story, but I say 'bring it!' I love being challenged! 

A few people have questioned why move where there is no support in the form of family, no impeding job to move on to, or just questioning why move to this area altogether? All those fears are on our minds too, but if we dwell on them for too long it'll hold us back from trying. Ultimately we believe this is what's best for our family. It is a sea change for a reason. We don't want to be doing Sydney life somewhere else, we want a different life to what we have here. Not that it isn't amazing already, our priorities have changed and we're hoping to achieve an even better life by doing this move. 

So watch this space. I'll be sharing the journey with you all. The purchasing rules alone is slightly different in another state than Sydney. I'll save that for another post.

22 Nov 2016

Accidental Electronic Device Detox

Just wanted to share a little win I realised lately. The boys no longer play with the iPad's. Not at home, not when we're out, but definitely at the grandparents. 

It all started about a month ago. Eli dropped an iPad on the ground by accident. He was sitting down and had one on his lap. He stood up to grab some food and it fell a measly three inches. The screen cracked, so did hubby. Eli understood clearly he was in trouble and from the countless "I told you ..." statements he heard from his father and I he knew we were both extremely cross. So from theat moment he hasn't asked for it and because he doesn't play with one, his younger brother doesn't want to play with one either. 

Since they no longer get access to one, they're playing with their room full of toys more. They'll say to me "I'm bored!". Which I respond with, "go find something to do then", and surprisingly they go off and play together more. This also means they're fighting more too.

Going out to eat as parents you rely on the iPad. For us definitely when the boys were younger, when they start to get restless we would pull out an electronic device and put YouTube on. Now they have no choice but to sit there and wait until everyone has finished their meals. I think they're eating more because they're not distracted. I think they're more engaged in their surroundings because they're not looking at a screen. 

I'm not sharing this to show that I'm a better parent, far from it. I guess I'm sharing a progress made with my imperfect parenting. It wasn't like we decided on an electronic device detox, it just happened due to a situation. 

Another interesting outcome from this is I've realised the boys do actually like to play a lot. They're always asking me to join them in some made up game using toys and our imagination, or get outside to play basketball or even just play a game of passing a balloon to each other. 

They're very conscious of when I'm on the phone. They'll tell me to get off or follow me around bugging me until I give in and get off.

They do get access to an iPad when they're at the grandparent's homes. They'll ask for it shortly after they walk in. The other week Kai wanted to sleep over at the grandparent's place, and Kai never wants to sleep over. He was telling me to go home while he was holding the iPad. 

I hope we continue this non-iPad environment for as long as we can. Eli starts school next year so I know we can't keep the electronic devices away forever. But I know we can restrict it if we need to .... and the world will still keep spinning.

Next, getting them to eat more veggies. 

9 Nov 2016

Should I Keep Blogging?

(Asking Eli taking a photo of me. He include his Pikachu stuff toy in the shot)

It's been awhile since I've really blogged. 

It's funny the longer between posts the harder, or the more hesitant you become to publish stuff online. The content I spent some time working on becomes irrelevant, or I start to question whether it's even worth posting. 

Maybe I'll keep this post short and sweet just so I can get over these fears. Just like when someone starts going back to the gym, just rock up, have no expectations except getting your arse there. 

So I'm here. I'm little blogger-unfit, or unwell or insecure? It's been a long time since I've shared something personal.

There are exciting and challenging things I'm currently experiencing, and me maybe 3 years ago I would be sharing those things on here, but now I'm a little hesitant. 

I'm hesitant because the internet is evolving so quick and the online landscape is very different to three years ago. I never really use to worry about my online visibility, but with the increase of identity theft you just don't know who's taking your information and doing what with it.  

I'm hesitant because I'm re-evaluating my why? This blog isn't about making money or lifting my profile so I'm sharing my personal experiences for what? 

I'm hesitant because I run a business.  

I'm hesitant because my children are growing up and I've realised I'm creating an online foot print of them that they might not want me to share. Remember people once you post it online, it's on there forever! Will my boys be happy knowing I've shared their allergy episodes when they were babies online? Can it be used against them one day? 

I guess we all encounter these types of questions when we've been doing something for a long time and lose that spark that started it all for us. Just like going to the gym there comes a point you question it all. Usually, when you hit a plateau you need to re evaluate why you work out, or what your new goals are and change it up. 

Maybe I just need to change it up? 

Bloggers, business owners or even if you work for the man but usually love what you do, what do you do, or how do you keep yourself focused on your hustle or doubts? 

28 Sep 2016

Kai's 3rd Birthday

Last week we celebrated my second son Kai's 3rd birthday. It sure doesn't feel like he's only three. I feel like he's older ... it's hard to explain. Sure the year flew however, it felt like he was stuck at two for ages.

He's still a Mummy's boy. Always wants me by his side. It's annoying at times but I've learned to live with it. I may be his favourite person doesn't mean he's affectionate with me. He hates kisses, he's even told me he likes hugs, not kisses. He's very much an introvert. He doesn't like attention and he hides his face when people notice him. He won't even give family members a hello or high five when he initially sees them. 

He's still learning how to handle situations he can't control. Most of the time he reverts to yelling and sulking when things don't go his way, but now when I tell him, "it's okay you don't have to cry" or "tell me what it is you want" he calms down. We're still trying to help him learn this skill and it's been a tiring and tedious process. When I think about what starts the friction between the boys or the majority of the situations where I lose my temper at them, it's mostly to Kai's reactions to situations. 

He's talking more. I've shared my concerns about his lack of verbal communication but he's speaking so much more in the last 9-10 months. Putting him into daycare has helped. We mentioned to the centre our concerns and his attendance there has helped him come out of his shell and communicate more. 

He's actually adjusted to childcare a lot better than Eli did. We could say goodbye and leave the room without tears after a few weeks of starting. He looks forward to going and we can tell he really enjoys himself when he goes. 

He's cheeky. Have you seen his normal smile? It has cheeky written all over it. He tattle's, he annoys, he teases, he pulls pranks and he fights as good as he gets. 

He's definitely more strong willed and persistent. He will repeat whatever he wants until you give in. He will go at it for ages until the sound of his whining breaks you. I like to think I'm mentally strong, but this boy knows how to undermine me.

He still has a big appetite. He's not the fattest kid but he sure does love to eat. He grazes all day and still has room for his main meals. He's not shy to tell you he's "so so hungry" and he's first to come to the kitchen at the sound of food. Surprisingly he doesn't touch anything he knows he can't have. I don't need to hide eating chocolate or ice cream from him cause he knows he can't have it so he doesn't ask. 

We find ourselves talking and reflecting on Kai most nights. Not because we have major concerns about him, but because he's so interesting. His behaviour, his development, his personality, we can't help but discuss how far he's come these past few months.  

Happy 3rd birthday Kai. You make parenting .... hard. But your character, personality, and mannerisms is what's unique about you. I pray you continue to thrive in your development and grow into the person you're meant to be. We love you so so much. 

2 Aug 2016

Happy 5th Birthday Eli

Last week we celebrated Eli's 5th birthday and this my annual birthday post.

Happy birthday Eli. When I think about you, my heart and eyes begin to fill. I’m so grateful to have been blessed with you as my first child. You're sweet, loving, thoughtful, beautiful and intelligent little human. You're a good kid and I'm already blown away by your maturity and loving nature. 

As you've grown another year you've developed more into who you're meant to be. You're heart and mind is a lot more mature than people your own age. I know this because of the way his eyes water up when one of dad’s jokes goes a little too far and you try to hide your tears. Or when you asks me if I had a nap so I could rest. Or when you ask for things but then question whether it's expensive, cause you've heard us say those things in the past. 

You know your place in our family. You help, you contribute and you lead when you need to. You're honest and take in everything we teach you, like not to hide secrets from each other. So you felt you had to tell your dad we were going Pokemon hunting when I told you we were going to sneak out to do it. I'm already so proud of you cause you continue to blow me away with your thoughtfulness, your fearless nature, your maturity and your heart. 

Of course, you're still a five-year-old. You're at a stage where play always involves some form of pretend violence like fighting, pushing, and yelling. For you at this moment being number one is a priority so everything is a race or you have to be the first to do anything. 

I pray that God always watches over you and protect you especially in moments we’re not around. May you continue to thrive, be in perfect health and be that sweet child that you are. I don’t know how we got so lucky with you. 

We love you so much.

7 Jul 2016

Review of Marina Bay Sands Hotel - is it really worth it?

One does not travel to Singapore and not visit the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Hopefully one gets to stay there to experience the hotel, in particular, the infinity pool as this is the only way you will get to swim in it, or even get close to the pool unless you're a staying guest. This actually works in favour of guests as there are so many people visiting the famous hotel. There are bars and a few restaurants at the top, as well as an observatory deck all open to the general public.

21 Jun 2016

Gen-Y Mum Update

I mentioned previously there have been some shifts in my world lately. Ok that statement sounds so grand. I think as we get older and we form regular routines any small change are big shifts to our world, and that's what I really mean. 

Firstly, I've been suffering from something I've been try so hard to hide ... psoriasis. I've been dealing with really itchy skin for a long period of time now. It's gotten to the point where it is every where and I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. I remember getting ready for a kids party I had was taking the boys to and looking at myself in the mirror, seeing the scars and I almost didn't want to leave the house. It definitely affected my confidence not wanting to interact with people. I'm finally getting treatment which is slowly repairing the damage it has done. It's still early days of treatment to try and control this condition. Adult psoriasis is hardly spoken about. I spent so many hours researching into what I had, "home treatments" to manage it and understanding what could be causing it. The worrying probably didn't help my condition either. 

We've been thinking about what we're going to do about our permanent living arrangement. I've mentioned previously our current home was always purchased under the assumption it was going to be an investment, but life doesn't always plan out exactly as you imagine it to be. So we've been talking amongst ourselves, talking to our broker, talking to agents, talking to parents, talking to our family and weighing out options. We've got some big decisions to make. 

The business has shifted ... actually, it's become more precise in its direction. I've decided to focus on particular industries which at the time I thought may be limiting but so far has worked out for the best. It kind of felt like I was starting again initially but because I'm clearer in who I want to target the work has come easier. The business has also put me in situations to things I didn't foresee I would experience, or maybe I was just too wide eye optimistic about everything at the start. Several months on I've felt the hurt and disappointment of losses, rejections, and betrayal. 

CrossFit keeps me sane and I've started playing basketball again. It's been 3 years since I've played and I can really feel the difference as I've aged. I'm trying to ignore thoughts of high expectations on myself and to just enjoy playing again. 

And lastly the boys ... well that's a separate post. They've changed so much since my last detailed post about them. Their characters and personalities are becoming more evident and individual. They crack me up, they make me so mad at times and they test every skill I possess as a human, but I'm so grateful I get to share this season of their life with them.

Enough about me, so how are you? How's things? What has been keeping you preoccupied lately? 

Linking up with Jess

17 Jun 2016

Gen-Y Mum Blog

It's funny when you're not posting as frequently you start to lose your confidence in your writing. I frequently come to my blog desktop and start a new post. I usually blog when there are things are on my mind, and it's not always the heavy stuff either. I've got draft posts about the boys, draft posts on things I've been angry about, draft posts on successes, failures and stuff that's been going on personally. I have so many unfinished posts but as the time between posts grows longer I get more hesitant to finish and publish. 

I get worried about how personal it may be. I made a decision a few years back that my blog content would be less about us personally and more about experiences. I am very well aware of the dangers of putting too much information about yourself or your children online, so a few years back I changed the direction of the topics and content I wrote about. But it's more natural for me to write about personal experiences so I find myself creating more content about my personal life. 

I get worried I would offend people. Like giving my opinions on subjects such as parenting, business, friendships, and marriage that some might not agree with. I recently shared a blog post written by someone else about the dark side of parenting. Someone commented that it was horrible. I wasn't sure what she meant by her comment as I was too scared to probe her for more, but I think that was my first troll-er and that kinda surprised me. The past twelve months there's also been big shifts in my world. I don't know if it's the next phase in life, life as a business owner or simply because I've evolved. I've wanted to share those stories but feared it may upset people. 

I get worried it's not good enough. I remember getting semi-serious about blogging, (which was when I started telling people my blog existed about 4 years ago) and reading somewhere that blogging in Australia then was still very much in its infancy compared to countries like the States. In the past six months alone I sense "blogging" has kind of exploded with so many new faces on the scene who are dominating the industry. I also decided way back my blog wasn't about making money but I still want to publish quality posts that people will want to read and share. I have doubts about my unpublished posts that they are not good enough to be seen by other people. 

I get worried it won't get read. I should stop worrying about posting when really I should worry about whether anyone will actually read it. I like to keep stats of my posts and the past few posts haven't done that well compared to when I was posting frequently. No one wants to read about what to do in Singapore with kids unless they're actually planning to go there in the near future. 

So where does this all leave me? 

I attended a social media workshop hosted by a blogger who use to blog, who also then closed her Facebook account cause it distracted her from the real work she needed to do on social media. Each to their own, but I did think 'How can you call yourself a social media novice if you've turned off social media from your life?' Sure she's still very much involved in social media cause she lives it through her clients, but I've always said its hard to take advice from someone who hasn't or doesn't experience it.

And blogging is very much part of my me and my business. So expect some personal stories, some rants, opinions, kids spam and hopefully a layout revamp in the near future posts. So advance warning, sorry if I offend, if the content is crap and or if you don't agree with me, but I've been holding back from my little space for far too long.  

29 May 2016

Things I Said I Would Never Do As A Parent ... & Did Anyways

They say children change you. It's true. You may not believe it, but you'll eventually realise that you're no longer the same person you were prior to children. I told myself I would be the exception ... I wouldn't let children change me.

Oh, how wrong was I? The "changes" that happens when you become a parent happens to all parents in varying degrees. Here are a few things I know that has changed about me since having children:

10 May 2016

Review of Jen Orchard Gateway Singapore

The first place we stayed at during our trip to Singapore was Jen Orchard Gateway near Orchard Road.

Being our first trip to Singapore we decided to stay close to a main area in the city that was easily accessible by public transport and close to places we can purchase necessities.

There are plenty of accommodation options in Singapore, it really is a matter of taste and budget. Initially, I was looking for a self-contained apartment style room since we were a family of four, but the costs were a little too much for us.

18 Apr 2016

Things to do in Singapore with Children

We recently travelled to Singapore with the boys. Why Singapore you ask, why not Singapore? I've heard it's such a clean place, and that's a rare reputation for an Asian country. Honestly, the reason why we decided on Singapore was based on a promotion on cheap flights.

We decided to spend a decent amount of time there, not having been there ourselves before, and wanting to really experience the place. Plus travelling with young children we accept we need to add some "contingency days" to any overseas holiday we go on. And one of my best friends lives there now so any excuse to hang out with her is an added bonus.

11 Apr 2016

March In Review

Oh Hi! How are you? Long time no ... post.

I draft so many unfinished posts which I never get around to finishing so I'm hardly ever posting. If you follow my Instagram account (@genymum) I'm more active there.

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, and I realise March is a little late. But I had drafted this post a few weeks ago and I want to actually publish something, it's been over a month since I did. 

So here's my March in review

I love spending time with my boys. Yes I am at home with them but when you're so focused on trying to run a business from home it's so easy to ... be distracted. Sometimes I think, 'They don't notice I'm on my phone' but they do. I'm always reminding myself to enjoy them as they are now, cause they won't always be this little and sweet.

I entered the CrossFit Opens again this year. I was hesitant entering because I haven't been in the best form the past few weeks. I'm still going to the box 2-3 times a week but I haven't been pushing myself, I'm just turning up to get a workout. I was sharing this sentiment with the owner of the box I go to and he was saying it's totally understandable. When you start up a new business so you're so focused on that right now that everything else takes a bit of a back seat, even he can relate. Every year as he takes on opportunities to grow the box, it takes up his time to be in the box, as a result he has become less fitter ... which is ironic. It was reassuring to hear that it's human not to be the best at everything you do all the time. Overall I think I did okay in the Opens. There were a few open workouts I think I could have gotten better results if I reattempted it before the cut off times, but that's the problem with always doing them on Monday instead of the weekend before.

The annual Easter hat parade at the boy's daycare centre. Last year was our first experience of this whole hat parade business, and what we learnt was the effort of the hat itself is not really a big deal. So this year I let the boys create their hats themselves. I purchased decorations to create the hat but I let them put it together themselves. It was actually a really stressful process for someone like me who has control issues. Firstly the mess, it was out of control within 3 minutes. There were fluffy balls, feathers, and paper everywhere. Secondly because I am not an arts and crafts person I don't have three pairs of everything, so defusing fights over the glue, scissors and who wanted the purple fluffy ball over the 100 other purple fluffy balls, was enough driving me nuts. Lastly, it took a lot of self control to stop myself from taking over and creating the hats myself. I had to physically move away ... I just couldn't deal.

March was full of celebrations for us. There's my nephew's 1st birthday, my God-son's 2nd birthday, a wedding and of course Easter.

We headed to Singapore for a family holiday. More on that in a future post ..

All these images are from my Instagram account, are you on Instagram? What's your handle name, comment below. I like stalking, I mean following new people.

Linking up with Jess

23 Feb 2016

Review of The Sebel Kiama Harbourside

A few weeks ago my family and I stayed at The Sebel Harbourside in Kiama. It was a last minute decision to go away, so accommodation options were kinda limited because the dates we wanted to go away fell on the Australia Day weekend. We were allocated room 314 and here's my review of the hotel. 

The Positives
  • The hotel is located in a great spot of the little quaint seaside town of Kiama. There was various cafes, shops, restaurants, the rockpools, and the famous blowhole within walking distance from the hotel. 
  • There was a lovely note from the hotel wishing us a happy anniversary to greet us, as I mentioned this upon booking. 
  • Rooms were spacious with ample space for me and my family of four. Our room only had a bed, a table, and a small couch, but we could move around without feeling like we were walking over each other. Even the bathroom was huge.
  • Rooms were clean and serviced every day if you require it. I notice plenty of staff all over the hotel.
  • The gym at the basement level was amazing. They've advertised it as a world class gym, and it's pretty impressive. It was stocked with the usual cardio equipment but there were also free weights, bars, racks, functional training machines, kettle bells, medicine balls, ropes, bands - it did have everything. The gym is used by non-hotel members so depending on when you go it may be crowded. 
  • Each room had a fridge and stocked with drinks and sweets which are obviously not free. 
  • Each room had a balcony with a table and chairs.
The Negatives
  • The shower was a little moldy. 
  • Bathroom basin was so small. For such a big room I don't understand why they installed such a tiny basin. 
  • No safe in the room.
  • Air conditioning was not ducted but a reverse system unit which did keep the room cool. 
  • Our room view was of the street, which was fine as streets were quiet. However, I'm sure a water view room would be nicer.
  • We did find two cockroaches in our room twice. 

Overall it was a pleasant 3 night stay at the Kiama. I would come back to this town again for a holiday as it's very family friendly location. There are many playgrounds and outdoor activities to do, many of the cafe's we visited were delicious, and it's close to other places down south to visit such as Kangeroo Valley, Shoalhaven, Berry, and Jamberoo.

Linking up with Jess

20 Feb 2016

2016 So Far

Ok, when did it February start cause I'm still thinking it's January. 

Posts have been infrequent on this blog lately. I wish it wasn't so. I do enjoy blogging, and because I do take pride in my little online space I only want to publish stuff I'm completely happy with. So because I want quality posts that reflect me, I don't like to rush posts just for the sake of having regular content.  

Life has been a little busier and challenging. Firstly the boys, who are both constantly surprising me with their growth and their personalities. There's Kai who's in the "terrible twos" stage, therefore testing his limits, being unruly and defiant at times. Kai's determined personality makes it hard to discipline him. Kai will yell and scream until he gets his way, and shows signs of aggressive behaviour when he's in situations he's not happy about. Eli has also changed. He's becoming more and more like a little boy and less of a toddler. He's into little boy things, likes to play a little more roughly, and knows what he likes and doesn't like. Making it a little harder to keep him entertained or pleased. He also questions more and very much well aware of what's going on around him, sometimes it's a juggling act trying to figure out how much detail or truth does he need to know. 

We started Kai in daycare this month, attending the same days as his Eli. Naturally he's still adjusting to his new environment, so that means lots of tears ... for Kai. Don't get me wrong all children take time to adjust to going to daycare, but there's definitely a difference in adjustment between Kai and Eli. Kai cries hysterically almost throughout the car ride to the centre. Trying to reason out why he shouldn't go. However since Kai started daycare, Eli has really stepped up to the kuya (tagalog for big brother) role. To help calm Kai down, Eli will tell him "It's okay Kai I'm just next door", or he'll agree to stay with Kai until he calms down, and apparently Eli looks for Kai at the playground during play times they're together. 

Their changing personalities haven't all been challenging. They're also even more hilarious now that we can all communicate and understand each other. Kai has always been cheeky and he knows when to turn it up for a laugh and Eli joins in or plays his own jokes now.  

Me, towards the end of 2015 I felt like I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and trying to put 100% into everything I was doing. As a result, I was starting to put a strain on myself and everything I was doing. I felt like a sh!t STHP cause I wasn't fostering my kids development as much, or cause the house was never cleaned. I felt like a sh!t business owner cause I was always chasing my tail on tasks. I felt like I wasn't looking after my body cause I had put on 4kgs, not eating well and started feeling like going to the box was a chore. I was easily irritable and not really responsive to people in general, even to my husband. I was shutting him out cause I was focusing so hard, and felt I had no time to take it easy.

Two months on and .... it hasn't really changed hahaa ... but I'm slowly trying to be more aware, since this week. I'm trying to eat at meal times instead of when I feel like I have time to, sleeping more even if it means napping with the boys, not force myself to go to the box cause it'll be a waste of money if I don't, slowly get back into prioritising a clean home, and just stop putting pressure on myself to be great at everything.

I've also been educated on the impact all this pressure has on the body internally. How lack of sleep, food and self-pressure impacts various internal systems, and as I get older I'm aware it's the internal health I need to look after as much as the external. 

So that's where Gen-Y Mum is at right now. I also celebrated 7 years of marriage a few weeks ago, registered for the CrossFit Opens which starts in a few days, the business has plateaued a little bit, but that's okay and starting to look at kindy for Eli. 

Life is busy, but I'm grateful and open to more. 

How have you been? I know we all have a million things going on so at times we like to use a blanket response like "Yeh good, same old." Hope things are looking bright for you regardless of what may be going on your life. 

29 Jan 2016

That Time I Put My Kid in Danger

We went away the other weekend. We just went to Kiama, about 1.5hrs south of Sydney. We were celebrating hubby and I's seven year wedding anniversary and I was in charge of planning our celebrations, so I decided to go away this year. We took the boys with us cause our regular babysitters (grandparents) all had other plans too. This is one of the annual issues faced when your wedding anniversary is the same or a day apart from your parents and inlaws. 
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