16 Oct 2014

Jarryd Hayne Hate

Yesterday Jarryd Hayne announced to the public that he's quitting the NRL to pursue a chance at the US based football sport gridiron

I'm not a big NRL sports watcher nor do I support any particular team, but my husband does. He loves his Parramatta Eels, I guess it stems from going to an affiliated high school, so he's a little devastated that the star player is leaving the team. 

What surprised me the most from hearing of this news was the amount of people online and on social media doubting his ability to make it in the National Football League


I don't get why people would be so ... unsupportive? I remember seeing on one of my social media accounts of someone who quotes positive affirmations statuses discredit his ability to cut it amongst the potential competition. That's not being very .... positive ...  affirmative ... if that's even a correct statement?

I feel a sense to defend Mr Jarryd Hayne and his decision. Not because my husband is a big Parra fan but because I think we need to give this talent some credit and some support.

Firstly, I watched the press conference speech he made addressing his decision. And anyone who did should already understand maybe the number one reason why he's leaving the NRL. 
"I feel like I've done everything I can in the game ... Like I said there's goals but you got to enjoy the journey ..." 
He's not enjoying playing NRL anymore. Anyone whose worked in a job they've stopped enjoying or hate, surely can relate to this. Why stay when you're not motivated? So many people stay in jobs for years doing something they hate - this guy has done something about that, why hate?

So he's going to attempt a career in a different football code. How can people assume he won't make it? How negative is that? It's like telling someone who previously was an accountant and decided to pursue their dreams to open a cafe, that you hope they fail. I don't think people would normally say such things to others, so why would people doubt that he could keep up against the competition in the states? Why hate?

As I mentioned I'm not overly a big NRL fan, but I appreciate talent when I see it. Watching Jarryd Hayne play and seeing him master his skill over the years you can tell he's gifted at what he does. Anyone who thrives at being great at something will want to push themselves, and maybe trying a different sport is his way of challenging and enhancing his talent. Jarryd is at the peak of his career, he's still young, fit and his body hasn't failed him with injuries yet. So of course he's going to consider opportunities that could be life changing. We all have some regret in life where if we had made a different decision, wondered what could have been? Jarryd probably doesn't want to do that with this opportunity. He's seizing his moment, so let him ... why hate?

Lastly, I would like to point out he belongs to generation Y, therefore he's achievement orientated, attention craving and has a high expectation on life. So it's not wonder he's looking out for what's in his best interest. 

Good luck Jarryd. Hope your talent and success will shut your doubters up. We wish you all the best as you have a crack at the NFL. 

Your Fans

14 Oct 2014

The Truth About Having Two Children

A few of my friends are either considering, expecting or recently had their second child. Being one of the first amongst my circle of friends to have had a baby and then another one I'm usually asked what it's like having two children. I've previously blogged about what to expect in those early days but here's some real truths about raising two children ...

1. Your home will be neglected even more
When it was just Eli I cleaned the whole house on a weekly basis. No I didn't do it all on one day I spread the tasks over the week but everything got done weekly. The floors, the bathrooms, the washing, the ironing, groceries and ran errands. With two children it's even harder to get stuff done especially getting on top of keeping your house looking like a show room. It's a combination of lack of time and lack of ... caring. 

2. You will be even more tired but unable to rest
Remember when you had your first child and the advice you use to get about the lack of sleep was to sleep when your baby sleeps. Yep that doesn't happen when you have a second child. Unless your first child is going to childcare or is being looked after by someone most of the time, you don't get the luxury of sleeping when your baby does. I think my boys tag team on keeping me up, only falling asleep when the other wakes up - they do this all day and night.

3. You don't get out
When you only had one child you would meet up with friends for brunch or play dates, you could do the groceries with one child, you would brave going to events as a solo parent with just your child, but with two kids you don't even dare. They're too young and unpredictable to risk being out of the home by yourself. I don't think I even ask to meet up with people anymore because it's too hard unless the parent to child ratio is either equal or higher on the parent side. 

4. You will wonder why you ever complained about the pains of having one child
You thought one child was hard, it's nothing compared to raising two. You think back to that period of time with fond memories and realise how much easier it was. The simplest task is twice as hard with two, (and especially when you're alone) like getting the kids into the car, organising a night out or even getting out for walks.

5. Your heart will double in size
As a parent of one child you wonder how will you love another child as much as you do with your first. I don't know how to explain it but you do ... and as equally. They are so unique and different to your first and that's what you fall in love with. How differently they hit milestones, how differently the look, how differently they find things amusing ... their differences is a welcome experience that opens your heart even more. 

Parents of two or more children what other truths would you share about raising multiple children?

8 Oct 2014

Seasoned Friends

I'm a firm believer that people come into our lives for a purpose. I also believe some people are only in our lives for a season of time; and I also believe that things happen for a reason. I learnt these mantra's from personal experience. There was a period of my life where I did lose some friends, and at the time didn't really understand why our friendship, our dynamics were changing. 

Friendships are like a relationship. You invest your time and your heart into this person. You make memories together, you share your joys, fears and your dreams. So when the friendship ends you do feel a sense of sadness, loss, heart break even.

A few years ago I fell out of friendship with some people. I was thinking about it a few months back and trying to pinpoint what moment if any, where it all came undone. I think a few years ago it would have been clear as day but now, having moved on .. I can't for the life of me remember what happened. I do recall feeling the friendship was one sided where, I felt I was trying more than the other. 

At the time I thought I would never find friendships like theirs again, but to my surprise they were quickly replaced by new friends who I built a stronger connection with. People who were more giving, more loving, more selfless than my previous friends. These new friendships were so easy, genuine and these people really cared about me, despite not knowing me for very long at that time.

As you get older you know who your real friends are and who your acquaintances are ... and that's okay too. I've kind thought being in my thirties I've filtered who my real friends are, but I think there's some people who have reached their season in my life.

Again I'm finding some people harder to maintain a friendship with. For a while I've felt disappointed, rejected, judged and that the effort is one sided. I hate beating myself up with my over analysing the non verbal communication, the fakeness and the awkwardness. 

I'm not stating we're no longer friends ... I'm just done trying to maintain it, done caring. This isn't high school and I'm going to bad mouth you to people, ignore you in public or exclude you in a conversation ... I've just come to the realisation that our friendship reached its season.

Have you experienced friends who have peaked their season recently? How did you approach the situation, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

6 Oct 2014

What School Didn't Teach Me

School holidays are almost over once again ... woohoo the shops and playgrounds can be a little less crowded again!

Conversations of schools seems to be circulating amongst me and my parented friends lately. I don't know why the topic has suddenly increased. Maybe because our children are getting older quicker than we like, and topics and worries of all things "in the near future" crosses our minds.

Ian has an idea of where the boys are going. I have a more simplistic approach. I think ultimately no matter what school you put a kids in, their success in school is determined by the actual child. You can put a child in the best school, be paying school fees that require you to remortgage your house but they may just not be ... smart. Ok that's a big harsh, but lets get real not everyone is book smart. Every child (or person) is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses and some people are more creatively inclined (think Beyonce), or may be gifted with impeccable coordination (think Lebron James). 

This is why I think schools should teach our children other knowledge besides the standard school subjects. I'm not debating the current education curriculum, I just feel we need to broaden the education to teach children life skills that they will probably more likely use and need. I've identified a few skills I think children should learn in school ...

1. How to bounce back from rejection / set back
Now in full fledge adulthood, I've realised life is full of set backs and rejections. Whether its not getting that job you applied for, the end of a long term relationship, death of a close family member or making a decision only to realise it was the wrong one ... life sometimes doesn't pan out exactly how we'd like it to. Over the years I've realised and been surprised how many people actually don't know how to handle set backs very well. They don't have the drive to get their head space in a good place and rely heavily on others to do it for them or simply stop trying. I was fortunate to have grown up in an environment where, even though excelling was of highest priority, when I didn't get 100%, I was still always encouraged. I was taught the skills to recognise and learn from my mistakes; and how to over come feelings or thoughts of failure. It's a skill we constantly use in varying forms throughout our lives. Most people learn it eventually but I think its a skill our kids need to be taught early. I say this because maybe if our kids harness this skill earlier in life they will become more confident. 

2. The impact of saving, spending and losing money
School teaches the value of earning money. They build up expectations that finishing a certain education will allow us to make a certain amount of it. But what I think the school system fails to teach our children is what to do with it once they start earning it. I'm not talking about teaching kids the nitty gritty about investments, but more education establishing good money habits for the future. I remember getting a $1,000 credit card at age 21 and within eighteen months I had maxed it out. Obviously I was spending more than my means and its a lesson I learnt the hard way and took many years to recover from. The education system needs to teach our kids the the value in saving and the impact of debt.

3. Listening to your gut instinct
This is a life skill I'm constantly working on. This ... feeling, common sense, conscious, spirit - whatever you want to call it, is usually right, and we ignore or shut it down instantly in fear or failure or the unknown. We need to teach our children at a young age to listen to that voice inside. Encouraging our children to go with what their instincts builds on their confidence and not be scared to speak up. Harnessing this skill may one day stop your child from getting into a car driven by someone who was drinking; or provide the skills to make difficult decisions; or give them confidence to realise and pursue their calling.

4. Understanding risk
Again now being an adult I've realised life is full of risks and when I think back on my teens even in my twenties I was very risks adverse. I feared the unknown, rejection and failure. I realise now if I wasn't so afraid or understood the risk involved I may have made different decisions. Like never working overseas even though it was something I've always wanted to do. Even as a teen I signed up for a student exchange program and was in the final stages ... but my parents pulled me out (that's another post). It was something I thought about doing in my twenties but never pursued it because I was worried about not knowing if I'll have a job, and not being able to make my mortgage repayments. In hind sight I could have actually gone because I had enough money to cover several weeks of repayments and if all else failed I could've asked my parents to help me out - this is the kind of risk assessment we need to teach our children. We need to teach them there's more than one answer to a situation and then educate them how to rank these options based on their values and comfort.

Sure these skills should not be limited to being taught in school, but especially at home. As parents we're our children's teachers and they are our mirrors so we play a big part in moulding and providing them with life skills. But I remember hitting a stage in life (my terrible teens) where I didn't want to listen to anything my parents said, but I always listened to my teachers.

What life lessons do you think the education system should teach our children in schools? What skills do you wish you learned in school instead of later in life?

29 Sep 2014

Kai's 1st Birthday

I thoroughly enjoyed planning Kai's birthday party. Coming up with original ideas and executing them ... that's what I like doing.

Being a first birthday we wanted to capture this milestone and hired a photographer named Freddy Morales. I first met him when he was taking photos of a friend's daughter's first birthday. I saw his style of photography and I knew he would capture this special day beautifully ... and I was right.

Freddy took some amazing photographs of the day. You can sense the emotions in the candid shots he took of our guests, the beauty in the simplest objects and captured stunning portraits of my family. Here are some of my favourite shots. 

For more information on hiring Freddy feel free to contact him on his email address below. Or to see more of his amazing work please check out his website.

email: fredmoralesphotography@gmail.com

I almost forgot but also a big thank you to my brother in law's bro who pretty much ran the kitchen that day. He came up with recipes for my food requirements and made everything. He even took control of the kids food situation allowing me to focus on entertaining. You were an angel that day (and everyday) and everything was delicious!

Also another big thank you to my fellow crossfitting mama who was constantly helpful leading up to the big day and made chocolate dip strawberries. I think I requested these bad boys just for me and she delivered. 

To my sister in law who made the kiddie bags. You went above and beyond! I got lots of praise for these bags all thanks to you. 

To my extra helping hands that morning and that afternoon who helped set up and pack up. Thank you for always offering your time and agreeing to help out and take in my bossy orders. You know who you are .. love you all. 

25 Sep 2014

Bowtie Themed 1st Birthday Party

Eli had a theme for his first birthday so it was only fair we did the same for Kai's. We joked about doing another Superhero's theme so we could reuse the costumes we had purchased but again that wouldn't be fair.

For Kai's we decided on a Bowtie theme where guests were encouraged to wear a bow tie either in their hair or around their neck. From there the ideas for decorations and food were pretty endless and I actually struggled to pin point one idea and stick to it. If you really want to see where my head space was during the planning process have a look at my pinterest board to see the various things I had pinned.

I found an invite on pinterest and we pretty much copied the design word for word. That is why we didn't pick up the spelling error on our invites for the word neighbourhood which was spelt the American way - Neighborhood. We printed these off and I made some bowties which I stuck onto the invites. 

Originally I wanted to cook as much of the food as possible .. cause I'm over confident like that, but I soon realised it wasn't going to happen especially with two small children to watch over. Plus I didn't know what kind of food I wanted to serve the adults whether I wanted traditional Filipino food or something more western or a combination of both. Kids food I knew I had to cover separately as this was something I learnt hosting Eli's first birthday party. I had a few older kids at his and a few moms asked me if there were any kids food ... of course you need kids food for kids parties!?!

I was driving around one day and was waiting at an intersection when this food truck did this massive 360 spin around a round about that caught my attention. Then it hit me .. "Why don't we have a food truck at Kai's party?" Genus!! No one's done it before and it'll be fun. So I started contacting the various food truck vendors in Sydney to inquire about hiring them for a private function. I think I contacted about five, got responses from three, narrowed down my decision to two and decided on the one based on value and ease of communication. 

We ended up going with Street Sliders. You can go to their page for more information on their menu and catering packages. Pat from Street Sliders was so easy to deal with and worked with us to ensure we were happy and that they met all our catering needs. 

I knew I didn't want to do a candy dessert table anymore but of course wanted to serve desserts. I remember I ordered from a vendor called Looma's a few years back and recall seeing they do mini cakes and pastries so decided to order through them again. What was perfect about their service is they deliver food directly to you, food is always fresh and can take orders 24 hours prior to the day they're required. 

I was stuck on a cake idea for Kai's for ages. As I mentioned I knew ideas for the party were pretty limitless but I knew I didn't want a massive bowtie cake cause to me that would seem a little tacky. I wanted something again, that hasn't been done before, and then I stumbled across an image on Pinterest of this long rainbow cake, and I knew that was what I  wanted. Even though it was really plain I liked the concept and it was long so I could spell Kai's full name on top of it. I had all intentions of making it myself, I even made an attempt at baking a small rainbow cake but again realised I wouldn't be able to do it all. So I asked a family friend who bakes if she could make the cake for me, she agreed.  

For weeks I was researching online where I could find alphabet candles and surprisingly not many Aussie vendors sell them. I found a few but they were not the style I was after, and I found styles I did like but from overseas suppliers who, if they did ship to Australia was charging ridiculous prices. I thought about making my own candles using crayons and even practiced a few times at home but they didn't look as pretty as I'd hope they would turn out. I had to come up with another option. 

Originally I wanted to create a feature wall with using balloons. This was the image I wanted to try and replicate. I thought I could just create the wall on the day. I know it was going to take a lot of effort but thought if I just concentrated on creating this feature wall during the two hours prior to when the party starts it would be achievable .... wrong! Again I soon realised this wasn't going to take an hour or two, these particular balloons were expensive and I learnt we're not suppose to stick anything onto the walls of the hall. So I decided to scraped that idea and not to bother with any decorations. But a few days prior to the party I was second guessing my decision not to have any decorations, so again started sourcing balloons. During my research I found a vendor (Fun Time Party Solutions) who made miniature mega balloons and thought why not have them on top of the cake instead of the candles. So I ordered each letter and a number "1" mega balloon for the day. 

I then found another image and a tutorial on how to create a honeycomb pom pom bunting. I remember seeing these kind of pom poms from party shops and they weren't too expensive so I decided to try and replicate this look. I purchased 40 $1 honeycomb pom pom's from Kmart to create my bunting. 

About a year ago I attended a 1st birthday party and the host had set up a kids table for all the kids to sit at. It was really cute cause they had their own little space to sit and enjoy their food on. I remember thinking it was a great idea so I asked my friend for the vendor's details so I could do the same. Not only did I hire kids tables and chairs from Tiny Tots but also some play equipment for the kids on the day. There was a playground next door to the hall but was suited for older children and many of the kids invited to Kai's party were younger than two.

In my next post I'll share photos from Kai's actual party and how I executed my ideas. 

22 Sep 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Kai

On the weekend we threw a little party to celebrate Kai's birthday, which I will blog about in great detail later .. but today is Kai's actual birthday. 

A year ago I thought we were having a nice family dinner at home but you had other ideas and decided to join us. You can read about Kai's unplanned home birth here

Its true no two children are the same. I think Kai is very opposite to his brother which is a welcome surprise, and exhibits traits unique to him. 

Kai is calm. He has this relaxed, chilled persona about him. He's content to just be, to observe and does not draw a lot of attention to himself. He's happy to play quietly and confidently on his own. He's curious of the simplest things like .. paper, so we're always making sure nothing small is left within reach as he'll most likely put it in his mouth. 

Kai is strong willed. The things his older brother subjects him to I'm surprised he never cries. Eli will yell, hit, push and be rough with him and he never cries. He actually gives as much as he gets and guess who does all the crying ... kuya. 

Kai is sensitive. He needs touch regularly. He looks for human contact if he hasn't had it for awhile. He loves giving tight hugs and getting it back. He smiles a lot but is selective about who he shares a laugh with ... it takes a lot to get this little guy to laugh. 

Happy first birthday my baby boy. You're so easy to love because you're so loving. You have stretched us in so many ways but especially our heart. I love watching you grow and witnessing you ever changing personality. Our prayer is that you continue to thrive, develop and be in perfect health. We continue to seek God's provision for our family and to give us the skills, patience and knowledge to teach, nurture and be role models to you and your kuya.

We love you Kai, happy birthday.