1 Aug 2014

July in Review

I haven't done one of these in a few months. Here's a snap shot of my month of July via Instagram. You can follow me on insta on @genymum


  • 1/07 - Short family holiday to Queensland. 
  • 2/07 - Checked out the Reebok CrossFit gym in Queensland. These members don't mess around. They're pretty serious about their workouts, even the coaches are tough as a few of my reps didn't count cause I wasn't squatting low enough. I've realised I need to push myself harder and not just give up when it's uncomfortable. The experience was eye opening but has motivated me to want to work harder and get stronger.
  • 17/07 - A year ago we were in Hawaii
  • 11/07 - Checked out the annual Winterlight Festival at Parramatta. They key attraction to this place is the outdoor ice skating ring and if you don't plan to get in there and skate there isn't else much to see and do. So remind me not to bother going next year until the boys are big enough to enjoy the ice skating ring.
  • 29/07 - Eli's 3rd birthday!! We celebrated by going to the Wild Life Sydney Zoo. We were suppose to have family over for dinner but Ian and Kai weren't feeling the best and opted for a quiet night in. 

31 Jul 2014

Life Trough: Three Year Old's

A lot of my good friends have had children now. Some ask me for some advice on things based on my past experiences, but mostly because I'm one of the first to have children amongst my circle of friends. 

When they're going through a rough time I say the one thing I use to not understand at the time; "It get's easier." And any parent will agree to some point, I mean everyone's experience is unique and different. But babies don't stay newborns forever so things do pass. 

There's a saying ... life is full of peaks and troughs, and right now in my parenting world I'm going through a trough. It's call having a three year old. I blogged about my experience of Eli's "terrible twos" but the drama with a three year old ... it's a whole new level that I'm struggling to deal with. 

*sigh* 

Where do I start? 

Epic tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants or he hears "No!" to his demands. He's selective about obeying instructions. He's forgotten the manners we've taught him and every request sounds like a rude command. Getting dressed takes so much time now. There's a tug of war fight to get his clothes off, a chase around the house to get him to put his undies back on, and loud threats to get new change of clothes on him. He's so much more vocal and loud about how he does things. He talks back with smart arse responses like "Oh kaaay. Don't get maad" ARGH!! 

It's a real test of my parenting skills and patience. It's hard to keep a cool head when you're subjected to the above behaviour constantly in addition to looking after another child ... it does my head in some days. I've had to send him to my parents and stay over night last week cause I just couldn't deal with the ... defiant behaviour anymore. 

I'm just waiting and looking forward to when I figure out this new phase and I'm more equipped and expectant to handle his behaviours ... he is only three for twelve more months.

Any advice on how to deal with the tantrum threes?

29 Jul 2014

My 3 Year Old

Today is my Eli's 3rd birthday.

This past year, I feel like we've really seen a ... development growth or change in him. His first two years, yes he learnt how to walk, speak and understand language. But this past year he ... changed from being a baby to being a toddler. His vocabulary exploded and we actually have short conversations. His understanding grew and we can explain things to him and he gets it. His memory is surprisingly sharp, and the things he repeats from what he saw or what I said ... it's surprising to hear. 

Our personalities are inbuilt, we can't fake it and we can't deny it. As a baby he was always cheerful, always smiling and laughing, and now he's cheeky and still always smiling. Everything is a game and laugh for him. I could go on and on comparing his personality as an infant is still evident today but just more ... developed.

Eli, today you're three years of age. You are one amazing child. 

You challenge, surprise and teach me something new everyday.

I don't know who you get your personality from. It's so infectious, honest and beautiful. 

Keep growing and doing what you do. We seem to have more power struggles at the moment, but we're just adjusting to letting you do more; and you seem to be adjusting to listening to what we say as you have realised you have a choice. 

We'll both get older but I'll never forget my first night at the hospital with you. I didn't sleep a wink. I just held you in my arms and looked at you the whole night because I couldn't believe you were mine.

Happy Birthday Eli! I love you.


17 Jul 2014

A Year Ago

Can you believe it? A year ago today my family and I left on a plane bound for Hawaii. I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time and now that I think about it, I was probably delusional to be going anywhere overseas. Not that women who are pregnant shouldn't be enjoying themselves and traveling. It's just that I'm such a risk adverse person now and the thought of what I did seems so .... risky to me now.

I think I now understand the fear and anxiousness my husband felt throughout the holiday. I knew I really wanted our family to travel overseas after I was let off at my last job; and I guess finding out I was pregnant shortly after fuelled my desperation to travel.

I do want to convert the travel journal I kept during that trip onto this blog. I'll eventually get to it and hopefully it won't be too far off that the information I wrote is still current and valuable. In the mean time you can re read about our family holiday to Hawaii here


15 Jul 2014

Long Driving With Children Under 3

We recently went to sunny Queensland for a week. I have family up there and when I was a lot younger my family would travel up frequently; and now that I have a family of my own we find ourselves making the trip often as well. Personally, I love Queensland. The warmer year round temperatures, the beaches, how cheaper everything is compared to Sydney; and I guess it's feels like home, having once lived there too. 

Again we drove up to Queensland. It just made sense economically to drive up when petrol is covered under our car lease. Plus if we flew not only would we be forking out money for fares but also a car rental, car seats and insurance. Then there's the hassle of carrying luggage and equipment, with two kids under three onto the plane ... no thanks. 

The drive to Queensland from Sydney is roughly about 10 hours without stopping, depending on who you ask and which route you take. I've been asked by a few people what's it like long driving with two kids and what advice do I have? So I've put together my tips on how to survive a long haul drive with children:

1. Pack lots of their favourite foods and drinks - even the food you don't like them having too frequently. The more bad it is for them the better, as this will distract and satisfy their boredom the most. This will also minimise the need to stop to get food.

2. Load the iPad or tablet with their favourite shows, movies, games or music. Eli watched a few Play School episodes online and played the Sesame Street Alphabet game until he got over it. 

3. Keep them comfortable. Put them in comfortable clothing and shoes. It was cold the morning we left so we also kept them warm with blankets. Place within their reach anything you think they need that will keep them comfortable, such as their favourite toys. 

4. Talk and have conversations with your children, given your child is already talking or thrives in conversation. Eli likes to be included in our conversations. If Ian and I are speaking and haven't addressed him in awhile he'll interrupt us and say "Talk to me!" We just spoke to him throughout the ride to keep in entertained and to pass the time. We asked him what he did last at childcare? Who is friends were? What's his favourite thing to do there? A conversation we probably repeated four times during the drive. We used the long period of time as an opportunity to teach, as we asked Eli to count as far as he could and tried to teach him the days of the week and what he did that day of the week. 

4. Play games with your children. If they're old enough you could play car games or maybe even create new one's together. Eli was entertained by the mountains he saw outside the window, so we'd make him count how many he can see. Not an overly interesting game but hearing his answers, then probing him to elaborate more on his responses, again distracts him from the long drive. 

5. Stop frequently and get everyone to stretch their legs. Admittedly this was something we didn't do only because we decided we would gauaged how our boys were doing to determine when we would stop. We agreed we would stop for toilet breaks, meals and for out of control crying. 

6. Play their favourite songs in the car. Have their favourite cd or tracks ready to play when you need another form of distraction. Sing along and encourage your child to participate. 

7. Be flexible and have realistic expectations of how the experience will be. I actually thought the worst and so I was pleasantly surprised of how well the drive ended up being. We were also open to potentially staying over night somewhere in the event we felt the boys were not settled and had had enough of sitting in the car.

8. Drive over night. This tip was actually recommended to us and crossed our minds. However decided not to do it because we feared we'd get "lucky" and they wont actually sleep during the night drive. Plus we would not have gotten any rest during the day leading up to the drive that evening. Driving over night does make sense because this is the period of time they're mostly sleeping anyways but I think its a strategy best suited for kids a little older or maybe infants. And if parents got rest during the day too - don't drive if you're tired parents!!

Overall I think the key to successfully driving for several hours with children is having lots of distraction strategies in place in the event they become restless; and being open to stopping frequently if required. For us we just let the boys be and enjoy the ride, pulling out one of mentioned strategies above when we noticed they were getting bored. The drive up we only stopped for petrol and an hour for lunch and we arrived at our destination in 11 hours. The drive back we stopped three times and for longer periods of time and end up arriving home 12 hours later.

What are your tips and recommendations for long haul travel with small children? What worked and what didn't work for your family?

10 Jul 2014

Networking

They say 70% of jobs aren't advertised, it's who you know these days. So I created a LinkedIn account. Why? I don't really know ... cause I don't really know when I want to go back to work and what I want to do either.

I keep changing my mind from go back to my previous professional life (and probably hating it); starting my own business; doing something totally different; and or studying. My over confident self tells me I could do it all ... but my reality time pressed self reminds me to choose ... something.

I actually avoided creating a LinkedIn account for years. I had this fear that people might judge my past experiences. That those I make connections with will look through my work history and doubt what I had put in there. I don't know why? I would never lie about my experience ... maybe embellish on somethings but who doesn't do that? No one is going to toot your own horn for you, you got to do it yourself - something I learnt during my career.

Another reason why I haven't created an account is because I don't really make work friends. Don't get me wrong, I do befriend people I work with, but once I move on I don't keep in contact with them. I always get stuck in teams where I'm the odd one out, whether it's I'm the only female, the youngest, the asian or (previously) didn't have children. So of course since we don't really have anything in common, the friendships don't last once I or they have moved on. There's only been two jobs in my whole working history that I maintained the friendships I made at that place of employment. So now with LinkedIn where I have to "connect" with past fellow employees I feel kinda ... weird. 

Then there's the people I worked closely with but dislike. What if they see I'm connected with someone we both worked with but we're not connected? 

To me your work is personal. I know it's just a place we're paid to do a particular task over and over again, but we spend so much time at work and what I do with my time is personal. Another reason why I feel it's personal is because I can admit I am different at work. I have mentioned previously I am naturally quiet, but at work I'm not so quiet. I know I can be passionate about my opinions and decisions when I'm at work - its just part of the job. I need to be able to take in information, recommend, influence and negotiate - and that's just the skills I need to deal with people everyday. 

I've dealt with difficult stakeholders and team members who I don't agree with. I've gotten positive and constructive criticism thorough out my career. And although I don't think I've ever burned bridges where I worked, as I make connections with past colleagues on LinkedIn, I can't help wonder what's their last impression of me and my work.

And where can you change the privacy / security settings? Is it not like Facies where you can put your account on maximum security setting, so people who you're not connected with can't see details of your profile. I'm already getting spammed by recruiters. I don't like that 'Who's Viewed Your Profile' setting I can't stalk ... well I can, but then they'll know .. ha ha

And does my profile pic have to be me in a suit like everyone else? ha ha

I shared these thoughts with my sister and she thinks I'm over analysing LinkedIn. I can't help it. It's in my nature ... its what I use to do for a living.

Are you on LinkedIn? What are your thoughts on it? Is it useful in finding roles or just another tool we can use to snoop on other people?

8 Jul 2014

I'm Still Here

Hey.

I know it's been several days since my last post. To be honest I haven't even attempted to write anything. I just haven't felt like blogging.

Most days right now, taking care of the boys all day is so mentally and emotionally draining that I'm spent by the end of the day. I don't feel like talking, writing or thinking. I just want to curl up in front of the television and watch mindless tv and just not have to hear my own voice.

They've both more demanding I really just try and keep up with them. I'll go into it in more detail some other time.

I've also been using my free time to start planning (i.e pinning like crazy on Pinterest) the boys birthday celebrations. I have so many ideas and good intentions like cooking every dish but I've realised that's not possible and now outsourcing as much as possible. So again my spare time has been absorbed, but I love it! I love researching. I'm in my element coming up with ideas, researching and successfully finding vendors for these ideas.

We're also away at the moment, back at my uncle's holiday home up north. I had no intentions of posting but the boys have been sleeping early every night and I hate to waste these golden opportunities. 

We love it up here. The property is a street away from the beach, caf├ęs and shops. The weather isn't as cold as Sydney, although it's been pretty warm back home too. And its just a nice alternative to life at home right now. When I get back and have everything planned and under control I will aim to post more.