Reflections on 2014

What a year it has been.  I am a big believer in reviewing, reflecting, and making plans to improve, and this seems to be the time of year that lends itself to doing just this.  One of the great blogs that I have come across in my blogging journey this year, Maxabella Loves, has come up with 10 great questions to ponder as the old year draws to a close.  I really loved these thoughtful questions and decided to use them as a way to reflect on the year gone by and plan for 2015.

1. What word do you think best summed up 2014?

‘Transition’ would be the most apt word for our year.  New job for the husband, a big move from Townsville to Perth, living a FIFO lifestyle, all four boys in school (youngest Kindy), first year not working at all (harder than you think), sold a house and bought a new house (actually lived in four different places this year), bought a new car and trying to sell an old car, and trying to work out what we need as a family to be happy.

2. What did you do for the first time this year?

I love to push myself to do things I have never done before, from the small things like driving home a different way, a new walking route, or playing in a different park, to the big things like living in a different state or competing in an event for the first time.  So many firsts this year but the big ones for me for 2014 were:

  • Moved to Perth
  • Survived as a FIFO wife and mum
  • Started a Blog
  • Learnt to kayak
  • Completed my very first Enduro Adventurethon

3. What is one thing that happened that will have lasting consequences?

My husband taking this job with Rio Tinto has been a game changer for our family.  It has opened up experiences that we could never have imagined.  As I announced on my Facebook page earlier this week our adventures are set to continue as we move to a small, remote, mining town of 800 people in the Pilbara region, Western Australia in February 2015.  I am excited for the future and hopeful that this will bring some more happy times for our family.

Panna

Image Credit

4. Was there anything you wish you’d done differently? Why? How?

There is not much that I would have done differently.  Maybe pushed harder for a residential posting a little earlier in the piece to avoid FIFO?  In saying that we have learnt a lot from the experience.  For me I have learnt how to be a lot more self reliant, I value my husband and family time that much more, and I realised that I missed working and will be looking for something as soon as I can.

5. Do you have a favourite moment from the year? What made it special?

I really have had a great year with many fantastic moments but my top 3 moments would be:

The two weeks with my mother when she helped us first move over to Perth were a pretty great way to start our time over here.  It was exciting, new, and surprisingly relaxing.  There were no expectations, no great plans, and aside from finding a house to rent and a school to enrol in, we had no deadlines and no one else to please but ourselves.  We had fun. (Also great that I got to finish the year with a couple of weeks with my Mother-in-Law).

The perfect weekends when Rod was home and it just worked.  The sun was shining, the kids were happy and healthy, we were just enjoying being together.  Throw in a little outdoor adventure and happy days.

Go camping!  Great way to recharge the batteries and have some quality family time.

We made it out alive, one little torch between us.  Let's be honest, it was a little daunting.  It was cold, wet, and very dark in the middle of the tunnel and you just had to trust that there was nothing nasty waiting for you!!

Rottnest4

Kalbarri was another favourite.  It was a beautiful place, so relaxed, we had the Grandies visiting, and it was just fantastic.

Kalbarri 2 Kalbarri3

Warm up walk to Island Rock which is where I started my run and the boardwalk ended.

I could go on and on but I guess the common theme is spending quality time with those nearest and dearest.

6. What lessons has 2014 taught you about yourself? About others?

The lesson I learnt in 2014 was that your ‘village’ is so important.  It’s not just family, it’s friends, it’s co workers, it’s other mums at school, it’s teachers and coaches that impact you and the way your kids are raised.  With the move I lost so many of my support networks and it wasn’t until I lost them that I realised how important they are.  They help pick you up when you are down, help give you direction, empathise with children dramas, they are the place I can drop in and recharge, or where my kids can drop in and I can really recharge.  So I have learnt to pick myself up and do the best I can.  I found it hard to be ‘just’ a stay at home mum.  There is no real yardstick for success as a parent.  Am I failing if they aren’t always happy?  If they aren’t getting straight A’s or doing well at sport?  How do you measure success as a parent?  Lucky this parenting caper is an ongoing process that I am still striving to improve at.

7. How will the lessons from this past year change the way you approach the new year?

The new year will definitely bring more family orientated activities based on the day to day stuff.  More family fitness, more one on one child time, more balance.

8. What do you most want to do in 2015?

I really want to be working again this year.  I also want to train for an event with my husband so look out for that in the new year.  Also striving for better balance, not so much struggle during the week.

9. What do you most want to change about yourself? The world?

I have really felt like I was the Dictator with the kids this year and would like to not be so cranky with them.  I want to enjoy them more and hopefully with the hubby back at home each night with the move to a residential posting this should be more achieveable.  I am still working on my plan to conquer the world but would definitely like to be a part of something that has an impact on a bigger scale.

10. What one word do you hope will sum up what you hope to achieve in 2015?

PROGRESS

Well that is my reflections on 2014.  I would really like to thank everyone that has dropped in and followed along.  It has been an absolute pleasure to share my journey over the last six months and hopefully as I learn more and try more different things the blog will continue to improve.  Happy New Year Everyone!!

celebrate-new-year

Image Credit

7 Ways to get the Kids Active and Outdoors

On my current hitlist I have listed an Active Kids challenge as something I wanted to complete.  Basically, I wanted to have a good hard look at how much time my kids actually spent outdoors and active, and then focus on specifically planning a week of activities that will ensure that my kids are outside and active for at least an hour every day.  I decided to do this in the school holidays initially as it would keep them (and me) out of trouble and there wouldn’t be the obvious time constraints that come with the school term.  In saying that I also want to try this during the school term to see what changes I could incorporate into our daily lives.

There are many reasons that kids, and adults, should be staying active for at least an hour every day and these are just some of them:

  • It helps kids think better (also check out this link too on the benefits of daily activity and improved brain function)
  • It is good for emotional health
  • It is good for motor development and weight control
  • A family that exercises together, stays together…don’t have any research on that one, but it is what I believe!
  • It is fun
  • The great outdoors are just beautiful.  The opportunities for exploring our surrounding areas are all in our grasp if we just make the effort to look.
  • For the most part it is free

I am sure these reasons come as no surprise to anyone so why aren’t we all doing it?  Are our excuses legitimate or have we fallen into a bit of a rut and not thought outside the box about how we could fit it in?  Are our priorities in order?  I like to think that my kids are fairly active but when I took a good look at how much ‘moderate’ exercise they do I think we would only meet the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for physical activity on 4-5 days out of a possible 7 days.  Hence my wish to pick up my game, make a plan for the holidays, and see if I could do 7 days of outdoor activity for more than an hour each day…..

ONE – Mountain biking – Check out your local mountain biking club for information on your closest trails.

Mountain biking - check out your local mountain biking club for information on your closest trails.

TWO – Head to a new park. Have you explored all your local parks?

Head to a new park.  Have you explored all your local parks?

THREE – Head to the beach. Australia is an island people, so for most of us our closest beach isn’t that far away.

Head to the beach.  We live on an island so for most of us our closest beach isn't that far away.

FOUR – Good old fashioned fun at a creek.

Good old fashioned fun at a creek.

FIVE – Find a local bike path – Where does it take you?

Find a local bike path - Where does it take you?

SIX – Spend a day at home – gardening, playing, jumping, riding.

Spend a day at home - gardening, playing, jumping, riding.  In this case they helped us carry and load all our camping gear too.

SEVEN – Go camping! Great way to recharge the batteries and have some quality family time.

Go camping!  Great way to recharge the batteries and have some quality family time.

So there you have it, seven great ways to get outside and have some fun with the kids.  What are your favourite ways to get outdoors and stay active?

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 3

I know, I know, I have been slack with my blogging over the last couple of weeks but I have been in recovery mode after the busy couple of weeks leading up to the end of Term 3….where has this year gone??  I am currently enjoying the school holidays with the kidlets and have made some progress on my current hitlist, yay!!  So I have a few posts that I am itching to share and I will try and complete them this week.  If you have been missing me (you never know, someone might) don’t forget to pop over and check out my facebook page or #theexercisehitlist on instagram which I usually update fairly regularly.

To get back into the blogging groove I thought I would kick off with a quick update post on my journey to Adventurethon Albany which is starting to loom closer and closer.  School holidays has made training a little harder but I am happy to say that I am still managing to keep the sessions up.

WEEK 5

Monday – Rest Day.  Absolutely exhausted after the sleepover weekend for 14 boys.

Tuesday – Ride on exercise bike, 60 mins and 36km.

Wednesday – CrossFit in the morning.  Week 5 run 1 of running program in afternoon while kids at basketball practice.

Thursday – Ride on exercise bike, 45 mins and 25km.  Jog to park in the afternoon with the kids on bikes.

Friday – CrossFit in the morning, Week 5 run 2 in afternoon with my 4 yr old on his bike (before school pick up)

Saturday – Exercise bike 60mins and 35km

Sunday – Week 5 run 3, I ran for just over 20mins and completed 4km without stopping!  This was a big moment for me and I felt quite proud of myself.  Went mountain biking with the kids in the afternoon.

One of the greatest momets

WEEK 6

Monday – Exercise bike 70mins and 41km.  Took the kids to Kings Park Variety Place and to the Anzac memorial.

Tuesday – Rest Day.  School holidays so I took the kids for a beach walk and play.

Wednesday – CrossFit.  Took the kids to a local creek for a play with their friends.

Thursday – Packed the bikes in the car for the kids to ride while I did a run (Wk6,run1) along the beautiful Swan River in Perth. Had a play and a picnic after the run.

Friday – CrossFit.  Preparing for a camping trip.

Saturday – Snuck away for a run around the Lake at our camping spot.

Sunday – Small ride around the lake with the family.  Wet and miserable day.

All in all not too bad considering it is the school holidays.  Nutrition and diet was a complete write off this week, aaarrgghh will have to get back on top of this as soon as possible.  Really struggling to eat the way I need to and will have to get back to recording a food diary I think.  I have one more week of holidays to get through and then I will review where I am at and start stepping up a notch again.

Hitlist No.1 Completed…..Time to Reflect.

I think we all forget sometimes that it is the little steps that make a journey and in taking those little steps we are moving our lives in a new, exciting and somewhat unknown direction.  These items on the hitlist are just one small part of my weekly life.  As a mum of four boys I am often bogged down in the mundane and it is easy to feel like I am in groundhog day and going nowhere fast.  But as I look back at this hitlist, the photos, and the things I have done, I feel a little sense of satisfaction that I am at least moving and achieving something.  I am hopefully giving my boys a love of the outdoors, of enjoying movement in any form and a small taste of setting goals and working towards them.  So yes the hitlist items can be small things, but they are my goals and my chance to scratch out a little time just for me.  I have completed my first hitlist and I have enjoyed each and every item….except maybe the Perth to Fremantle crazy long bike ride!

Wahoooo all completed!!

Wahoooo all completed!!

Just a recap of the items on my first official hitlist…..

  1. Take the kids to Lesmurdie Falls
  2. Indoor Rockclimbing
  3. Complete the Statham Quarry Trail Walk (5.9km)
  4. Try a CrossFit class
  5. Register for an Adventurethon
  6. Complete the Lion’s Lookout Trail Walk (4.0km)
  7. Try a Hot Yoga Class
  8. Complete 100km in 1 week on my Stationary Bike
  9. Finish the Foam Roller and Fascial Release Course
  10. Ride from Perth to Fremantle and back

Ah so much fun…..now to post my new hitlist!!

By the way I am linking up with Essentially Jess’s IBOT (I Blog on Tuesday) today so go check out her fantastic blog and many fresh new blogs!

Riding from Perth to Fremantle….the scenic tour.

When I was planning this hitlist task, in my mind I was thinking that it was only 20km there, fairly flat, shouldn’t be too difficult.  I obtained the map for this ride from The Department of Transport website.  It looked easy to negotiate and recommended timeframes were anywhere between 40 minutes and two hours depending on your fitness level.  On my trusty exercise bike I was knocking over 20km in 40 minutes, no problems.  As we all know an exercise bike is nothing like riding outside, so I thought I would allow an hour there, leisurely lunch…latte….then an hour home.  Even if I left at 10am I would still be home comfortably around 1pm, plenty of time to pick the kids up from school.  What could possibly go wrong with this plan??

I had decided that I would park in South Perth at the Coode St jetty, as it was an easy drive from the Perth Hills and I love that stretch along the Swan River, so pretty.  I thought it would be a fairly simple matter to hook up with the riding path from this point.  Initially I had convinced a local to come with me but things came up and it didn’t happen so I roped my cousin in at the last minute (he had just driven over 5000km from North Queensland to move to Perth a couple of days beforehand, so a local he was not!)

Now the day didn’t start as planned as the day was grey, drizzly, and overcast when the day before had been spectacular.  I dropped the kids off at school and my cousin and I ummed and ahhhed about whether to go but we sucked it up and went anyway, a little rain never hurt anyone!  We had a quick look at the map again, figured we would be able to work it out, packed our camelpak’s, loaded the bikes and off we went.  I will let the pictures tell the story!

Getting ready to ride....quietly confident.

Getting ready to ride….quietly confident.

Too cool for school, haha.

Too cool for school, haha.

First pit stop to pump up a tyre...random windmill.

First pit stop to pump up a tyre…random windmill.

Remember how I mentioned we took a quick look and figured we would be right??  Well we weren't, got lost in the big city, we looked really cool riding our MTB's and helmets in the city.  We did get a map and found the bike path we needed!  40minutes down and haven't even left the city.

Remember how I mentioned we took a quick look at the map and figured we would be right?? Well we weren’t.  We got lost in the big city and looked really cool riding our MTB’s through the streets. We did get a map and found the bike path we needed! 45minutes down and haven’t even left the city.

If you happen to try this ride and you see these...STOP....you have gone to far and you will only get to the end of the docks riding against ridiculous headwind where if you stop pedalling you will literally stop dead.  Then you get to turn around and ride back...and you will be starving after riding for hours!!

If you happen to try this ride and you see these…STOP….you have gone too far and you will only get to the end of the docks riding against ridiculous headwind where if you stop pedalling you will literally stop dead. Then you get to turn around and ride back…and you will be starving after riding for hours!!

It was a lovely ride, just give yourself plenty of time.  We ended up coming back through Kings Park which I recommend.

It was a lovely ride, just give yourself plenty of time. It took us over two hours with plenty of wrong turns on the way there and only took us just over an hour on the way home.   We ended up coming back through Kings Park which I recommend.  And yes, I made it back in time to pick the kids up…just.

Selfie to prove I actually did ride...and I had to laugh at my cousin in the background...I think I broke him.

Selfie to prove I actually did ride…and I had to laugh at my cousin in the background…I think I broke him.