Monthly review: family and friends and sunshine

Monthly review: family and friends and sunshine

Monthly review: family and friends and sunshine

How quickly things change! At the end of my May monthly review I had the following question for readers:

What did you enjoy about the stay at home restrictions and want to keep when they ease?

By the start of July, restrictions began tightening in Melbourne. By the end of July we were back into Stage 3 with warnings that things may need to go tighter. I had planned to head to Mildura for the first week of school holidays with the youngest two children (work and study commitments were preventing the rest of the family from coming) to stay with family and visit friends. I actually became increasingly worried this might not be able to happen as the new COVID-19 restrictions put limits on how many people you could have at a home residence.

One of my sisters was also going to be visiting Mildura at the same time, so our numbers were going to be too high for all of us to stay at our sister’s house, which is what we would usually do. We knew we could stager the numbers in the house if we were to stay somewhere else. One of my most treasured and long-lasting friendships is with a friend who still lives in Mildura and she also happens to have a houseboat. I reached out and asked if we could stay on it while in Mildura and she was more than happy for us to do so.

This turn of events actually made this visit to Mildura one of the most memorable and relaxing for me. Just check out the magnificent view. Being on the water was so peaceful. The boat was moored out of town so it was quiet, in the bush and we were immersed in nature. This did wonders for my mind and soul.

Mildura houseboad

As there were no street lights, I slept in longer than usual and waited for there to be enough light so I could safely run. This meant I got to take in some amazing sunrises. I only stopped on one occasion to take a photo, the other days I just drank it all in. I didn’t need a photo to remind me of the beautiful pastel blues and pinks, they are etched in my memory.

bush sunrise in Mildura

The trip was great for the kids too who spent loads of time with their cousins and doing things they wouldn’t usually do. The kids found some rope and used an old tyre to make a swing. They were super keen for me to try it out!

tyre swing in the bush

This photo sums up what I love most about going to Mildura:

  • The sky is almost always brilliant blue
  • The sun is almost always shining
  • I take time out to play more
  • There is a slower vibe
  • I am outside more
  • We create memories together

Family, friends and sunshine to me are the perfect trio. Over the week I spent such great times with family and my beautiful friend. I loved every moment of it and have treasured it even more since coming back to Melbourne and going into even tighter lock down.

The experience reminded me how important it is take the opportunities where we can to be outside, be with family, be with friends. I am exceptionally grateful I had that week. I am pretty sure I won’t be able to do this next school holidays due to COVID restrictions, but I know the first time I can get back for a few days I will be doing it.

Do you have a place that brings you happiness you can’t wait to get back to?

July monthly review

HabitConnection to goal - Simplify daily life to spend more time with family and friendsQuote - “A simple lifestyle is good for us, helping us to better share with those in need.” ~ Pope FrancisJuly Review
Simplify our evening meals (make one meal a week meat free)With five kids, two being older teenagers and one being an adult I need to cook a lot of food. These three also have who casual or part time jobs, so having family meals with everyone eating at the same time is becoming increasingly more difficult.

The types of meals I cook now need to cater more for different sittings of meal times and also larger volumes so they can eat left overs for other meals as needed. This can be time consuming and I want it to take up the minimal amount of time, giving me the greatest chance of eating a family meal with as many kids as possible.

I need to simplify some of the meals I make to make this happen and I also want to reduce meat intake in the house, so want one meal a week to be meat free as well.
"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." ~ Mother Teresa
You can read the changes I have made to this habit in this post here
Simplify our home cleaning routineWe have the kids involved in doing work around the house across the week, but it isn't as streamlined and as simple as I would like it to be. We also have a different system of contributing to the housework once kids leave school, so I need to work on simplifying how we all contribute to keeping the house clean and tidy. "The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment." ~ Marie KondoWe have developed a good rhythm with home cleaning being led by not only me but Phil too. This is a direct benefit of Phil working from home - he is doing much more around the house, which I am loving!

With everyone at home so much, my aim is not to expect a sparkly shiny house all the time. It has been to keep the house organised and clean but allow much greater flexibility in terms of making use of rooms as needed.

This means we might have a 1000 piece puzzle on a board for a week, or having a LEGO corner in the lounge room. With such tight restrictions on what the kids can do outside of the home, they need to have more creativity and freedom for what they can do in the home.
Simplify my exercise routineRunning will be my focus for 2020 but I would still like to keep up strength training and do some yoga. I need to work out a way to fit this into my life without taking up too much time or feeling like I have too much to do.

Both the strength training and the yoga help my running, so I need to find a way to simplify how I can blend them into a routine.
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." ~ Henry David Thoreau
Being able to run in small groups was short lived 🙁 due to tighter COVID restrictions coming into place again. I was however super grateful for the small group sessions I did get in which helped me run a new 10km PB!

I have been super consistent with doing stretch and mobility type yoga after my runs and at least two strength sessions a week.
Declutter one item a day (can be averaged over a week / fortnight)There are cupboards that are too full, bedrooms that look a little messy because they have too much stuff in them. I find I am spending too much time on managing the stuff of the house.

I want to work slowly over the year to really pare back the belongings we have in the house. I feel much calmer with clear surfaces and minimal mess.
“Three Rules of Work:
Out of clutter find simplicity.
From discord find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein
We organised a hard rubbish collection in July so that was great motivation to get into some harder decluttering. We worked to get rid of some items in the back yard, garden shed, and down the side of the house.
Spend an hour outside each dayBeing outside is so good for me in so many ways and good for the kids too. I find the pace of things slows down when I am outdoors.

With my running I do spend time outside everyday, but often in winter this is when it is still dark. I want to spend time outside in daylight hours and also use this time to be with the kids where I can too - who also benefit from more outdoor time.
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~Lao TzuBeing away was awesome for spending more time outside. Nearly all of my runs were in daylight and through the bush. I saw some of the most spectacular sunrises when running along the river.

I also spent time working outside when I was away too. Being outside in the sunshine is like medicine for me!