Eco Warrior Wanna Be

One of the things that I am feeling strongly and thinking about a lot at the moment is our health and our environment. I have started looking at small changes that I can make here as a family.

I know that we have to rehaul our diet completely, and start eating healthier full stop, without even taking in the environmental impact of what we’re eating. But we just need to start with the health factor! The baby is almost 6 months, and definitely once the kids go back to school in September, we’ll start to have more of a structure on our days and be able to plan our meals properly. Summer holidays are a bit hit and miss with meals and sticking to menu planning!

But as an immediate thing I decided to change was our deodorants, to more natural deodorants. There are three of us using deodorants in the house, and two were using spray cans and I was using a roll on antiperspirant. So I bought two different brands of natural deodorants, and we’re moving over to these. And I’m impressed to be honest, I’ll post about them a different day, but I really feel that these are a change to help our health.

Another easy change we can make is in our drinks bottles, and in the daily sandwich wrappers (cling film and tin foil) so I’m changing these too. I have other ideas that I want to implement slowly. I’m trying a new more natural foundation, I have ordered some natural skincare products. Then there are cleaning products, laundry options, tooth brushes and pastes and hair and body wash options to name a few! I am obviously not going to just throw out all the products we already have, but I feel that as we use up things, I will replace them with a more environmentally friendly natural version – if feasible.

I am also giving cloth nappies a go. I’m kind of cheating a bit on this one. I’m mainly using disposable inserts – which say that they are biodegradable, but there’s conflicting information online about them (as in how they need to be disposed of to be biodegradable). But a normal nappy takes something like 500-600 years to breakdown in landfill, and this baby goes through so many nappies in a day because she doesn’t like having a damp bum at all. So regardless, a disposable insert that is made of bamboo and wood pulp and potato starch glue has to be better than a fully plastic and gel nappy.

There are all little changes that we can make, and every little change has to make a help, whether personally for our own health or for the health of the planet.

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July Spring Cleaning Week!

This week the plan is to sort our house. The kids have been told they won’t be allowed out to play with their friends this week, unless they do the jobs they had been told they were to get done at the start of the summer… and they haven’t even looked at!

There seems to be an added incentive. Their friends mother has downloaded an app where you can add financial rewards for jobs done, and my kids have been telling me about it all week. So this morning I downloaded it to see what it was like. And since, every time I’ve asked them to do a job they’ve asked will they be getting app money for this?! So they want to be doing jobs so that they get money in their app. Its looking like it might be an expensive app lol.

But I am hoping that having a chance to gut the house and reorganise it will make for an easier day to day life, which in turn will help with my head and mental health. I’m definitely struggling with getting everything done, and I’ve very little time to actually do anything, seeing as the baby is particularly hard work (they all are hard work! this one just wants to be on the go even though she’s not even 6 months yet)

So that’s the plan for this week!

Get happy, or make a change

One of my motto’s in life is that if you’re not happy with things as they are, either make a change or find a way to be happy with it as is.

Don’t live your life complaining about how things are, and make no changes to your life. That’s pointless, and annoying to others around you.

I realised it years ago when myself and one of my friends were complaining about our situations, and I realised we were still complaining about the same things as the year before. I decided what was the point. I thought about it, and decided that I wasn’t going to make any changes (ie move town or change relationship etc), so therefore to make myself happy with things the way they were. So I did.

I’ve started reading a book this week (Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes) and at the start of it, the woman speaking says that she’s married to a professor of happiness (a job I’d love!!) and that basically our levels of happiness are down to our Expections divided by our Reality. And to change our level of happiness, either change your expectations or your reality. Which is basically the realisation I had a decade ago.

It is not neccessarily that you need to lower your expectations, but just change them. If something is realistically not going to happen in your current situation, and there is no way you can change it, change when you want it to happen or how it will happen. On a really superficial level, if you want to go on a ski holiday, but you’re a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom!), not enough spare finances and a 5.5month old baby, then the reality is that you’re not going to be going on a ski holiday this year or next year. So instead of wishing constantly you could go, then plan to go in five years, and look at how you can financially plan for it (ie if holiday is going to cost 5,000 in five years, then it’ll be only 20e a week for the next five years). Now your expectations have been managed, and you actually have a plan of how you can turn the plan into a reality.

On the more difficult side of it, if you hate the town you live in or your family members, they’re not as easy to make a plan to change even down the line. But you can think of different ways to change your expectations and reality, so instead look at the positives of the town you live in and only focus on them. Make a plan as to how to either distance yourself from your family members or find more positive ways to interact with them. Do something about it though is the point, don’t just continue on as you are. If you continue doing the same thing, you will end up with the same result. If you want to be happier with your life, you need to manage your expectations vs. your realities.

Life is busy!

I’d love to get organised for getting on here and actually writing – but my god life is busy!

I’m a mum of 4 kids now. And a lot of days I feel I’m struggling. It is tough going. I’ve an almost 12 year old, an 8 year old, a 4 year old and a 5.5month old. They’re all at different stages, they all want to be doing different things at different times. But they all need to be fed and have their clothes washed – and they all make a mess lol! So my life kind of consists of running around bringing them to their activities, feeding them, cleaning up and doing laundry! Hard to fit anything else in. Particularly as the baby is hard work – she wants to be up and involved in everything all the time. She’s very active already, and you put her down and she pulls herself off her mats and across the floor – usually after dirty shoes!

On top of the day to day running of things here, I’m trying to sort out our finances, plan for Christmas (yes I know its only July, but we’ve a huge list!), do things with the kids, get some my dads accounts done and sort out our house – its so full of stuff, and it is very small (compact!), so I’d love to minimalise. And I’ve recently decided we really need to do more for our health and for the environment, and have taken to looking into eco-friendly alternatives. I currently have hundreds of tabs open on my computer and my phone – and my brain feels like that too!!

Oh and on top of that, I need to start looking after myself too, do something with my weight, eat healthy and exercise, work on my physio exercises for my pelvis and back and drink water. And thats only for my physical health, I need to take care of my mental health too, even having a bath or reading a book, or catching up with friends.

It’s all go here, but hopefully I’ll make it on here more!

Thanksgiving Planning!

I know that here in Ireland, we don’t generally celebrate Thanksgiving. It is an American holiday – and my family thought I was crazy when I first said I was going to start “doing it”.

My reasoning though is that any holiday that is about Giving Thanks, or Gratitude, is a holiday that we should celebrate. A great reminder to be thankful for everything that we have. It also gives us a chance to get together as a family. At the moment, we do a big family Christmas dinner on Stephens Day – but we realise that as the children have their own families and plans change, it won’t be as easy to get everyone here for dinner on Stephens Day. So I thought that at least if we had Thanksgiving Dinner in November and then their Dad’s birthday in January, that at least it should take the sting out of the Stephens Day fading away. (Although we are hoping that it still doesn’t go for a long time!)

So we do Thanksgiving! I decided that we’d have more American style dishes and sides with our meal, rather than our standard Sunday dinners and I definitely wasn’t allowed do the Christmas sides this close to Christmas!! It means I have to do a bit more research and planning for Thanksgiving, which adds to the work – but is also a bit of fun!

So that is what I have been doing today, writing lists and planning the next few days!

Pumpkin Picking!

pumpkin 1

Pumpkin Patches are a relatively new idea in Ireland (as far as I know anyway!). We had planned to go to one last year but couldn’t for some reason, so this year I was adamant we were going to go.

The one we chose to go to was one that we didn’t need tickets for, and no entry fee. You could go and pick your pumpkins, potatoes and corn and pay for what you got. This took off the pressure of paying in advance – although we paid for it because of the giant pumpkins our kids chose!!!

We all got our wellies and waterproofs on and headed through the “haunted” corn maze to the pumpkin field. The kids had great fun running around the field looking at all the different sizes, colours and shapes of the pumpkins. Then they decided that they wanted to get the biggest possible pumpkins – which was an idea we should have knocked on the head, but we didn’t! We’ll know better for future. We did manage to talk two of them down to looking for nicer looking shape and colour ones instead of just the size being the priority. They stood over their chosen pumpkin until we arrived with the wheelbarrow.

pumpkin-2.jpg

You can see the size of the two giant ones, particularly when you notice the size of the wheel or even the “large” pumpkin underneath the two giant ones!

We got a little shock when it came to paying, but they did a bit of a deal for us. And we did end up with 5 big pumpkins in our “trolley”. The farmer was over talking to us, about the amount of eating we had in the wheelbarrow – and even though we only wanted themĀ  mainly for carving, we are going to do our best to use as much of them as possible. I’ve been searching for recipes and ideas, and what is best way of freezing the flesh or the purees. You might be seeing some posts of any successes coming up in the next few weeks!

Pregnancy – how life changes you

So a little bit about my fertility history…. (it is relevant to the punch line, I promise!)

I have three children, but I’ve had six pregnancies. I conceived my first child simply, first month I even thought about it, and it was all fine. I didn’t even know about any issues or complications people had. It took me three pregnancies (one miscarriage and one ectopic) over two years, and lots of months trying in between, to get my second child. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to get a second child, and it was so important to me – growing up as an only child, it was everything to me. But my miracle baby arrived. And my third child took months of trying, one miscarriage and then a successful pregnancy.

I know how lucky I am. Many, many women in similiar situations never get the first baby, let alone a second or third. And secondary infertility is huge, and people rarely know anything about it – until it happens to them. I am lucky. Infertility fullstop is a huge, often untalked about, issue. It affects so many. And people don’t talk about it. I know when I was going through it I couldn’t talk about it. After I got my second child safely, then I could talk about it.

But the problem is that it takes the shine off the whole experience of being pregnant. The fear throughout is there with you the whole time. You know how many things can go wrong. You know what it is like to plan a whole future out, based around an Expected Due Date, only for that pregnancy to be gone, and your future life be torn down around you. Yes you do have to get back up and build a new future life, but there’s always a part of you that gets a little bit lost with those dashed future hopes and plans. Each time.

So the relevance of this story is that I am pregnant. Again. On what I am hoping and praying is my happy healthy 4th child.

But it is very early days. I only found out this week. I haven’t even been to the doctor. Next week I will go for the important early scan to ensure that the sac is in the womb and not growing in my remaining fallopian tube (as you are at increased risk of a second ectopic pregnancy after having one). But I’m scared. I’m so excited and happy about it all, because even though I don’t “do pregnancy” well (badĀ morning sickness and SPD) I do love being pregnant, it is such a special time. A miracle. But I’m so scared for these first 13 weeks. For each week and stage, and constantly questioning every niggle and symptom, and hoping that at each scan they see that things are progressing properly. And almost preparing myself in case. But then the excitement slips in. And I’m just so scared at the same time. It is a really odd feeling.

We haven’t told anyone yet, and although my friends know that I would love a fourth child, they also know that I really wanted to get fit and healthy before getting pregnant so that the pregnancy would hopefully run smoother. I’m not fit or healthier, I’m extremely overweight and only joined back to Slimming World two weeks ago, so I’m hopefully on my way to losing a bit of weight. So nobody thinks I’m ready to get pregnant really I suppose. So it’s our little secret, for the next week or two anyway. I don’t feel sick yet, luckily so it is easier to hide because when the symptoms kick in, it’s more difficult. But I’ve gotten to share the excitement and the fear with all of you now too!