Monthly review – my love of the small things

Sometimes we have to learn the same lessons over and over again before they really sink in or simply to just be reminded of their importance. September was like that for me. I was reminded many times that it is the small things in life and spending time with family and friends that brings me the greatest joy.

While my monthly review is quite late, I do look back fondly at this month as it included:

  • The last full week of walking any of our children to school – I wrote in full about this milestone here, but the key takeaway as I wrote at the end of the post was “that as a mum there are so many opportunities for me to turn the mundane into memories. Kids really do love spending time with us and by being present, being calm and being prepared to have a little fun in everyday moments, we can change them from being moments that will go in a blur, to moments that will be etched in our memories forever.”
  • My second half marathon PB for the year – attained a long term goal of running a half marathon under 90 minutes. Just made it with a time of 1:29:34.
  • A grand final win – my husband played in a football grand final (reserves) which his team won – so exciting! And to top it off he won the best and fairest award for the season.
  • Time away with two of my oldest and dearest friends – it was only one night and we only went about an hour from my home, but it was so good to hang out with these beautiful women. It can be too easy to think it is too hard to find the time amongst the full family schedules to carve out time to be together like this, but it is so important to do. It made me feel recharged and renewed.
  • The kids and I slept under the stars – one night during the school holidays the three younger kids and I slept on the trampoline together. We had such a great time doing it, having toasted marshmallows over the fire before bed and then making damper and cooking it on the fire for breakfast.
  • Spent AFL Grand Final Day with my sisters and nieces and nephews – while many in our family were a little heartbroken by the result, it was so wonderful to have the cousins together.
  • Another dear friend came and stayed with her son – we did touristy things together during their stay with us including seeing a movie at the Coburg Drive In and going to the Tulip Festival!

I really couldn’t have asked for anything more in September and it was so easy to fill my gratitude journal each night!

I find the last few months of the year can go by in a blur unless I take a mindful approach to how I spend my time, so I intend to spend a little time reviewing my work plans and personal calendar over the next week to make sure there is plenty of white space, so I don’t have to feel like I am rushing from one thing to the next over the upcoming months.

How was September for you? How do you plan to see out the next few months of the year?

HabitConnection to goal - Detach from the old and embrace the new to nurture a family spirit of adventure.Poem quoteSeptember Review
Practice detachment dailyMy attachment comes from the right place in terms of wanting the best for my family and myself, but it can be founded on beliefs that I hold that are not necessarily true or helpful. Letting go of this belief and creating a new one requires me to detach.

Detaching doesn't mean I stop caring or give up but it means I acknowledge it, explore it, process it, take action to move on and let it go.

Letting go of old or untrue beliefs will mean I can focus on being more supporting and encouraging to the kids.
"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."
~ T.S. Eliot
I really feel I have made huge progress with detaching this year. I don't always automatically detach, but I do regularly catch myself quite quickly when I am attaching too much the kids behaviour or desired outcomes and short circuit it. I am also finding it easier to let go.

There are still some situations that I find I am more triggered by and cannot let go as easily so will continue to work on this.

I have shared it before, but meditation has been the most important factor in me improving in this area.
Develop the practice of mindful listeningSometimes listening can be hard. I think I know what the kids or others are going to say, I have things on my mind, I have something I want to say or I have things I would rather be doing than listening then and there.

Mindfully listening to others shows that you value them and it empowers them to share exactly how they are feeling. I want my kids to tell me about their dreams, their hopes, their fears and their crazy ideas. This won’t happen if I am not really listening.

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
~ E.E. Cummings
Progressing well here, but I have noticed that when I am tired, my listening skills decline.

Now I am aware of this, I know I have to make extra effort to really listen to the kids and not just say the right words in the right spots!
Do something new each month with the familyI love routine and being organised and sometimes I will take the option to spend time on these activities and not leave enough time for exploring something new.

This year I want to try some big and little adventures with the family.
"Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead."
~Rose Milligan
As noted above the younger kids and I slept on the trampoline for the night!

It was a lot of fun. No rain was forecast but two of the kids and I were woken at 2am by a light shower of rain. We decided to give it 10 minutes and see what happened and thankfully the rain stopped and we all slept until the sun rose.
Use deliberate daily practice to learn something new each monthK. Anders Ericsson, a professor of Psychology at Florida State University, is a pioneer in researching deliberate practice. One of his core findings is that becoming an expert at a skill has more to do with how you practice rather than with just performing the skill many times.

To really embrace a new skill I need to intentionally practice, not just do the skill to tick the box to say I have done it. This is a practice I really want to develop and role model for my kids.
"Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there."
I am still currently focusing my learning on my business, more specifically creating more efficient processes for tasks I have to do regularly.
Develop a monthly decluttering habitOur house is relatively uncluttered but we really do have too much stuff.

All this extra stuff takes up space, time and energy - all of which I can reclaim and redirect when I declutter.
"The open space surrounding me
Clears my lungs
Makes me breath
I feel light
Vividly bright and empty
A room to dance in happily"
~Anna Elise
My husband and I worked on our bedroom and he also did a general declutter outside too!

Kitchen pantry is on the list for October.