12/4/15 – Building Rome…

Over the last week I challenged myself to complete the following goals:

Planning meeting and bonding activities with the children

Today we had our second planning meeting.  The children are really enjoying sitting down and having a ‘special time’ together.  Today we reviewed our planning from last week to see how many of the activities we managed to do whilst I was on annual leave.  I am pleased to say we managed them all! Our first activity was to go on our Spring walk.  Luckily we have had the best week weather wise.  The sun has been shining and it has actually been lovely and warm.  DLP got out her nature spotting books and off we went.  We also managed to sneak in a trip to the park whilst we were at it.  This is my favourite photo from our trip.

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We also went for a trip to Nanny and Grandads on the train so yet again got two activities done for the price of one!  We did Easter baking, sorted new school shoes out and spent their saved up money in the toy shop.  It has been hectic to say the least.

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We also sat down today and made a list of all the helpful things we could do for each other in our household.

Complete the ‘Love in Ten Sentences Challenge

I was asked to do this by the lovely Edwina at http://edwinasepisodes.com/

Here is what I came up with:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/love-in-10-sentences-the-challenge/

Make a start on ‘Writing 101’

I am really enjoying this course so far.  I have so far managed to keep up with the tasks omitting only one which I didn’t feel was suitable for my blog.  I have been off work this week though so it has been easier to find the time, so I’m not so sure I will be keeping up as well from now on.  I will do my best.  Although this course has been fun this week it has also been quite emotional with one particular piece of writing being particularly difficult for me.  However it was also very healing.  I have met some wonderful supportive people this week also.

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/spring/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/room-with-a-view/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/three-important-songs/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/losing-myself/

Write two posts on the first habit – Be Proactive

I managed to get one of these done, but it has been a very busy week.  The second one I had planned needed a little more research so will have a go at it next week.

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/stimulus-response/

My goals for next week are:

  • Doing my best with Writing 101
  • Writing a post about my experiences with reactive and proactive language (a seven day challenge)
  • Completing my Liebster Award questions from the lovely Jim at https://healthwealthlife101.wordpress.com/
  • Planning meeting and bonding activities with the children.

It’s going to be a busy week.  DLP is back to school on Tuesday and MLS is also starting nursery.  He is a late starter as he has quite a big speech and language delay so I am very worried about how he will get on.  I suspect he will surprise us all!  Will let you know.

5/4/15 – Building Rome…

Over the last week I challenged myself to complete the following goals:

Write a ‘Family’ post

I wrote a post reflecting on how my life is like an aeroplane flight.  I talked about what things make my family off course and what things make us stay on track.  I looked at the things which affected us in both positive and negative ways.  I looked at the things I have already done to improve our situation and I looked to the future to find ways of improving things further.  You can read this post here: https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/destination-anywhere/

Have a family meeting with my children

Daddy’s LIttle Princess (DLP) decided that she wanted to call our family meeting ‘Planning’.  This is something they have in reception class at school where they decide on the activities they want to choose for the afternoon.  It seemed quite fitting so we are going to stick with it!

We started off with a little game.  I blindfolded DLP and lead her to a place in the house where returning to the starting point would be a little difficult but not unsafe.  I spun her around a few times for good measure.  I then told DLP that it was now her job to find her way back to the starting point.  DLP tried to return and seemed very nervous and worried.  After a moment I asked her if she would like some help or clues, she said yes.  I then directed her back to the starting point with instructions such as ‘move forward five steps’, ‘turn right’ etc.  When she was safely back I asked her if it was hard to find her way when she couldn’t see and had no instructions, she replied yes.  I then let Mummy’ s Little Soldier (MLS) have a turn.

Afterwards we sat down together and talked about us going through life together as a family and how sometimes we can’t see the future.  We talked about how we sometimes need assistance or clues to help us get to our destination.  We talked about how wonderful it was to have a family to rely on.  I helped them to understand how this was related to the game.

After the game we sat down and brainstormed some ideas for activities for the next week as I am going to be on annual leave.  We came up with the following list:  going on a train trip, a Spring walk, Making chocolate Easter nests, going out for lunch, going to the toy shop, going to the park, visiting Nanny and Grandad, Zentangling, buying new school shoes, school work and reading and arts and crafts!

I have also set the children and myself a little challenge.  We all have to think of one helpful thing and one kind thing we can do for each member of the family daily.

A fun bonding activity

This week we decided to make fairy cakes.  Both DLP and MLS really enjoyed this.  So much measuring, weighing, stirring and seiving was done and a great big mess made.  So much fun!

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Liebster Award no 2

I was nominated again by the lovely https://bekitschig.wordpress.com/

You can read my post here: https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/liebster-award-2-2/

My goals for next week are:

  • Continuing with our ‘Planning’ and bonding activities and complete as many of the activities the children chose as possible.
  • Complete the ‘Love in ten sentences challenge’.  Nomination by the lovely Edwina at http://edwinasepisodes.com/
  • Make a start on Writing 101
  • Write at least two posts on the first habit – Be Proactive.

Destination Anywhere…

th-24The last week has been a bit up and down for me.  I have found myself reflecting on the concept of life being much like an aeroplane flight.  If you missed the post you can read about that here : https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/family-planning/

I am starting to have a much better idea of what I would like my final ‘destination’ to be – although I’m sure my thoughts and ideas will change along the way as I grow as a person.  Also ‘my’ destination will have to become an ‘our’ destination at some point as I slowly start to involve other members of the family.

There are going to be plenty of times when we are going to be ‘off course’.  Just this last week I have had two evenings when Daddy has come home at 2 am extremely drunk when he is supposed to be looking after the kids the next morning (I leave for work at 6am).  So that’s two extra days off work – which I won’t get paid for, not only that I only received a promotion a month ago – so it’s not exactly a good start.  I am also currently sleeping on the sofa because I just can’t cope with his alcohol sweats, snoring and flatulence!  So I’m getting a lot of flack for that.

Other times when we are off course include times of stress.  These are usually for me when I am tired – taking too much responsibility for kids, not sleeping well due to the above, coping with his drinking, sleeping on the sofa!  For Daddy stress mainly boils down to having a bad time at work or dealing with me after he has been drinking! (He says).

Periods of stress then generally lead on to periods of conflict.  We have been snapping and back biting at each other since the drinking episodes, things are just finally starting to ease down again, and everything seems to get forgotten about and we carry on – till the next time.  Really stuck in a rut with this one…

I also worry about the future.  What effect will all this tension have on the children?  What am I going to do once they have flown the nest?  Are we going to make it?

On a more positive note, I have had some great ‘on course’ moments this last week or so.  On the days when Daddy has been able to look after the kids, he has not taken them to the pub with him which is his usual course of action (he doesn’t have more than a pint, but I still don’t like the associations that the kids will think this is a normal everyday activity).  On three occasions recently he has actually taken them to the park!  Three different parks at that.  This is a huge improvement and I hope he keeps it up.  I guess some of my being more positive and supportive is getting through somewhere, particularly surprising as it’s been such a dodgy week.

I have also brought up the idea of a family meeting with the kids and they are very excited about it.  Daddy’s LIttle Princess (DLP) wants to call it ‘planning’.  They do this in nursery and reception class.  So DLP has been drawing lovely pictures all week of the activities she would like to do over the Easter holidays.  Even Mummy’ s Little Soldier (MLS) has come up with an idea!  I know DLP has also mentioned it to Daddy and he seemed to be going along with it!  So more progress here.

Our biggest issue is dealing with the 2 am drinking binges.  Sometimes I deal with this well, sometimes not.  Overall I deal with it much better than I used to.  I used to go crazy – shouting and screaming, ringing him until he had ridiculous amounts of missed calls and him eventually turning his phone off.  That was when I had serious coping problems and most likely depression.

Since those days I decided to calm down.  I learnt about the Circle of Influence and the Circle of concern.  I realised I had more control than I thought.  I realised I could not change him.  I realised that only he could change his addiction – it was out of my circle of influence.  Instead I made him aware of the following ground rules for him and myself:

  • When I’m looking after the children the next day, he may do as he pleases until whatever time.
  • When he looks after the children the next day, he needs to be back by midnight. (He does this more often than not.)
  • He needs to get his priorities straight.  He can be back at a reasonable time when he has to work the next day.  His children should be more important than this.
  • If I have to miss work due to him.  I will take my lost salary from his bank account. (I control the finances as he once got us 27k in debt.)
  • I will not constantly ring him.  It does not help.
  • I will not confront him when he gets home drunk.
  • If I take too many days off work,I may eventually lose my job, he will then be the breadwinner (which he can’t afford).  He will need to accept this.

These things have actually reduced the incidences, and I’m extremely lucky I have an understanding boss.  If anyone else has any ideas, I would love to here them as I need all the help I can get!

th-15I have to keep telling myself it’s never too late.  It has been encouraging to see improvements at this early stage.  I keep trying to remember the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree.  At first you see just a little shoot – maybe even for many years, then all of a sudden you will see great growth and strength.  I just have to keep trying.

29/3/15 – Building Rome…

Over the last week I challenged myself to complete the following goals:

Extending my Brand

I looked into this and thought that it might not suit my particular blog right now.  I already had a gravatar (which I had no idea of and have no clue of when and how I managed it!).  I thought about Facebook, Twitter etc but wasn’t really sure what I would do with them.  I know you can send out a link to your new posts etc, but I figured my followers are already going to get an email so there is no point in bombarding them from every angle.  I suspect that would be quite irritating.  I love Pinterest but again not too sure how it would fit in right now.

If anyone has any thoughts or ideas on this I will definitely take them into consideration.

Starting a Regular Feature

I decided to write a feature monthly called ‘Letters to my Children’.  My March post is here:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/march-2015-letters-to-my-children/

This feature is about the lessons I have learnt in my life and the ones I am learning along the way.  I also want to write things down that I can’t yet explain to my children as they are too young to understand.  So, if one day they need me to explain anything to them, there may be a record of it here.

Please let me know what you think.

Posting Schedule

I want to keep my blog quite flexible and post as and when things occur.  I will try to do at least two posts a week plus ‘Building Rome’ and my monthly feature ‘Letters to my children’.  It will vary.  I plan to do a weekly ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ post at some point in the future.  I also receive awards and Challenges often so will plan to complete one of these a week as well.

Liebster Award

I finally completed my Liebster Award challenge.  I was nominated by the very talented John Zokovitch – http://johnjzokovitch.com/

You can read my answers here:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/liebster-award-2/

My Goals for this Week

  • Write another post for my ‘Family’ page.
  • Start having a weekly family meeting with my children.
  • Plan a fun bonding activity with the children.
  • Complete the questions for another Liebster Award.  Nomination by the lovely https://bekitschig.wordpress.com/

Family planning…

th-24I have been giving a lot of thought recently into what kind of family culture I would like my own family to have.  What am I hoping for?  I came up with the following ideas:

  • I would like my children to be brought up in a stable family unit.  I want them to see what a healthy relationship looks like.  I want them to know that relationships should be loving, respectful and supportive.  I want them to understand that their parents are also separate beings who allow each other space to grow as individuals.  I want my children to understand that their will be conflict and that there are mature, respectful ways to settle such differences.  I want this kind of relationship with my partner.
  • I want my children to feel loved, safe and secure.  I want them to know that I will encourage their development and interests without being overbearing.  I want them to have faith that I will notice what ‘sparks’ them and fills them with passion and I will do everything in my power to support these things.  I want my children to gradually gain independence when they are ready with no pressure.  I want my children to be the best version of themselves they can be and to have solid values and live by their principles.

This is the place I wish to get to.  Reading it back to myself it seems achievable but it will take a lot of hard work and commitment as it is still very far from the place I am currently in.

Stephen Covey compares our plans about the future of our families to the flight of an aeroplane.  The pilot starts off with a flight plan to get to his destination, but along the way their is wind, rain, turbulence and air traffic which makes us deviate from our flight plan.  So most of the time the plane is not even on track at all.  What we have to remember is that barring any major incidences the flight will always arrive at it’s destination.  During the flight the pilot receives feedback which allows him to make adjustments along the way.

Stephen Covey says “The hope lies not in the deviations but in the vision, the plan, and the ability to get back on track.

I look forward to developing my vision for an improved family culture and hope to come up with my very own family mission statement.

So, how am I going to get there?  What will my particular flight plan be?  Stephen Covey says you always need to start with self.  Therefore:

  • I will strive to create a stable family unit and a healthy relationship.  I will be more loving.  I will be more respectful.  I will be more supportive.  I will allow my partner space to grow as an individual.  I will find mature, respectful ways to deal with our differences and I will create this kind of relationship with my partner.
  • I will love my children unconditionally. I will keep my children safe and secure.  I will encourage their development and interests.  I will not be overbearing.  I will notice their ‘sparks’ and passions and I will support them.  I will let my children gain independence when they are ready.  I will not be a pushy parent.  I will allow my children to be the best they can be and I will teach them to live by their values and principles.

They will learn as I learn and I will be a good role model.  I think it is important to involve the children in the process from the start as the habits will then become part of their lives.  I am not ready to involve my partner just yet, but hopefully with time I can become what Covey calls an ‘agent of change’.  I will use the principles in the 7 habits to help me along the way.

Other things I would like to add to my flight plan include:

  • Having a weekly family meeting to plan, communicate, teach values and have fun together.
  • Having regular one to one bonding times with each member of the family doing something they choose to do.

th-15I know I need to be patient.  Stephen Covey tells the story of the Chinese Bamboo tree to reflect this.  The seed is planted and then you see nothing except a tiny shoot for the next four years, all the growth is occurring underground.  In the fifth year the Chinese Bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet!

Winston Churchill once quoted we must “never, never,NEVER give up!”

I completely agree, no matter how far we have deviated from our flight plan, we can always adjust and arrive at our destination.

22/3/15 – Building Rome…

th-14As part of my Blogging 101 course we were asked to choose a blogging event to participate in.  I have chosen ‘Building Rome’ which occurs weekly on a Sunday.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_event/building-rome/

I felt that this event would fit in nicely with my blog.  This event is about setting yourself goals to complete to enable you to get to the place you want to be.  I want to make several major changes in my life to help pull my family back together, so making little changes each week will help me focus on my overall goal.

I’m starting off small.  My first priority is to catch up with my Blogging 101 course.  So here are my goals for next week:

  1. Extending my brand.
  2. Adding a regular feature
  3. Having a posting schedule
  4. Writing my post for my Liebster Award, kindly nominated by John Zokovitch.

Wish me luck – Rome wasn’t built in a day!