Gratitude is more than just a #

What does the word gratitude mean to you? How does gratitude feel? Is it more than just an Instagram caption with a hashtag at the end? Is it more than a few lines in a journal once a month when you can remember? Is it just saying that you’re grateful and not really feeling it? Or are you someone who had mastered the important art of being a grateful person?

In my opinion gratitude is the most important thing you can practise and is the core of a happy life. It is a marathon, not a race, and needs to be worked on everyday. A life of gratitude, is a life of self fulfilment and personal happiness. Gratitude helps to create a balance between your body and your spirit in a way that they work together in harmony. If the mind is ungrateful the body is punished. Without gratitude we worry and we have doubts, and it is worry and stress that lead to sickness and illness. If we live a negative life of stress this can manifest into our bodies.

To live a life of true gratitude is one of my life goals. It is not hard to find things to be grateful for and is as simple as being grateful for the fact that you are alive today. Or for the fact that the sun was in the sky when you woke up this morning, or that it set at night. That you have good clean water to drink and food to eat. It sounds cliche but you can simple be grateful for today.

Lately I have found myself feeling like I am not grateful. It wasn’t that I was actually acting ungrateful or necessarily being an ungrateful person. It was just the fact that I was not being grateful for the things that I did have, and paying gratitude for them. I was thinking of the things that I didn’t have and focusing on the fact that I didn’t have them yet. I have so many things to be grateful for, and as soon as I stopped to think for even five seconds I realised that.

So the fact of finding things to be grateful for isn’t the difficulty, but the hard part is actually practising being grateful on a day to day basis.

In particular recently I had been focusing on my desire to have a third child, and the fact that this might take more time then what I would like in my ideal world. I had been so focused on that third child who doesn’t even exist, that I had forgotten to be grateful for the two healthy and happy children that I do have. To thank the universe, god or whoever for the things that I am grateful for. Isn’t that already a better place to live in, where I am grateful instead of full of worry and sadness.

So I had a realisation that this is something that I need to work on. I know so many people in my everyday life who need this same reminder. I see them acting negatively, and focusing on the difficult or challenging parts of their lives then all of the amazing bits in front of them. Perhaps you do this too? I’m not going to tell you how to be grateful and I’m not going to tell you the things that you can do to practice gratitude. I simply want to remind you to be grateful today, just as I have needed this reminder lately.

So… what are you grateful for today? Think about the, then think about them again tomorrow. I PROMISE you and your life will be happier for it.

Enjoy!

Note – my outfit in the photo above is from the gorgeous Bonnie and Harlo

The night time routine that changed it all!

Whilst we were away on holiday, without the children, we had time to do a lot of things, including of course… talk about our children!  We spoke about how much we love them and how much we miss them.  What we also spoke about was how disappointed we were in our current night-time routine and the changes we could implement for the better.  From the day Ari and Chloe were born I had always prided in a stellar routine.  Yes, I was a routine mum, and I honoured that routine like my life depended on it.  As a result, I had babies and toddlers who slept well, fed well, and I generally knew what we were going to do at each moment of each day.  You guess it, spontaneity is not my strong point!  Though in recent months I had let our routine slip… And now I was paying the price. Poor is at the dinner table, late nights and battling with getting children to bed.  All because I had been too busy to stay on top of the routine that we had previously put in place.  Having time away from the children made me realise how much I appreciated my routine of the past, and the way that it had fit seamlessly into our lives.  So, it was time to make a change… Since getting back from holiday and implementing our routine we have had such success with getting the children to sleep on time, and reclaiming moments as a couple and as a singular people in those night time hours. So, I wanted to share our bedtime routine with you in the hopes that it might help someone in the same situation that we were in.

Daytime – First of all a good night time routine begins with the day time.  Our children wake at about 6.30 to 7 am which means that Chloe’s naptime must happen from 12 until two, or at worst from one until three.  She still needs two hours sleep a day or she gets cranky in the afternoon.  So, for her nap she must be awake by 3 pm in order to go to bed nicely in the evening.  I organise to have lunch ready and her eating by 11 o’clock so she’s got time to enjoy the meal and digest her food before going to bed.

TV Time – We had found that our children had started to watch too much TV, they were asking for it all of the time especially in the evening and this was dragging out at bedtime.  We decided that we would no longer have the TV on during our mornings or days, and it could only be watched at night time for 20 minutes.  For us this is more than enough TV and has created a happy balance where the children look forward to watching a TV show of an evening.  This is except for Ari watching a Disney movie once a week when Chloe is asleep and he’s home.

Night time – 5.30pm – At this time we all sit down to have dinner together. Prior to implementing the routine, we were having the children eat their meals in front of their TV on their own table, whilst I walked around the house doing chores.  As much as I valued this time for getting things done it just wasn’t working.  They were spilling food, things were going all over the floor, they were very distracted and not eating properly, and I often look over and they would be jumping on the couch!  It wasn’t until I started implementing eating dinner at the table as a family that I realise how important it is. Now we have conversations, we talk about our day, the good and the bad parts of it.  They eat their food, they use their manners. They must ask to leave the table when they’re finished and then go straight to wash their hands.  We also get them to be involved in setting the table for dinner.

6pm – At this time they chose a TV show to watch together while I tidy up the table. 

6.30pm – We start bath or shower time, which is quick as we don’t want to waste water and they would drag it out if they could.

6.35pm – We dress them, and they get to choose a book each to read for the evening.  We have a huge library of books to pick from, and I try to mix it up, but there are favourites.

6.45pm – At this time we get them to go to the toilet and we brush their teeth and comb their hair.  Then we start to wind down with either a massage or a back tickle.  We make sure that we aren’t in the room when either of them falls asleep as we want to have them independently falling asleep completely by themselves.  Otherwise we find this creates a bad habit, and they continue to want us into their room as they drift off.  My favourite part of the night time routine is when I jump into Chloe’s cot to give her kisses and cuddles and we talk about our day.

7pm – By this time both children should be asleep.  Of course, sometimes this does drag out, but I find it as long as we stay on top of it then we don’t have any issues.  Now we get to enjoy our evening together, perhaps do a little bit of work or do something for ourselves.

I find the most important thing with a night timer routine is to stay consistent.  Do the same thing every night and don’t stray from it.  Especially with Chloe, if you give her an inch, she will take a mile, so to speak.  So, we have them sleep with the same teddies every night, sing the same songs etc.  Of course, we do all sorts of new things in the day, but at night we keep it simple. 

I hope that this blog post has helped you in some way if you are struggling with your own routine. If you have any questions, please reach out to me on Instagram.

Enjoy!

Small-Signature-Nat

Traveling with Kids Featuring Bubs Australia

One of the most common questions I get asked about traveling with kids is what do we give them to eat and drink.   I have had a lot of experience with feeding my little ones when overseas and at all different stages of their young lives.  Ari just turned 3 and has traveled to 10 countries, Chloe who is 17 months has done 7.  We started traveling with our eldest when he was 5 weeks old and have continued with holidays at least every 6 months since.

With every holiday the food and drink situation has been different because as we all know young children are constantly changing.  Personally, I have found the easiest time to travel and not worry about food is at 0-4/6 months when my children were exclusively breastfed.  Easy as, just whip the boob out whenever required on the bus, plane, tram, train, you name it.  Of course, those days are shortly numbered and now I find a lot more thought needs to go into my children’s dietary requirements.

My first point of call for food and milk (after breast milk) is Bubs Australia who offer a large range of said products.  Once my children have reached the age of purée I have always packed enough Bubs Organic Baby Pouches to cover the whole trip.  They are suitable for both 4+ and 6+ months and are simple to use when on the go.

Other great options are their rice cereal, oats, and porridge which can easily be mixed with breast milk (or alternative) and made into a yummy meal.  These are particularly lightweight which makes them great for packing.

Another product I love is their Barley Lactose-Free Toothy Rusks which are great for hand luggage as they are small to pack and great for keeping busy hands under control.

Once I have started to wean my children from breast milk onto alternative sources I have packed the Bubs Australia appropriate to their age.  I was fortunate enough to breastfeed both children to 12 months so I put them straight onto the Bubs Advanced Plus Toddler Goat Milk.  Being that they are both over 12 months this works great as they can both use the same product.

Bubs Australia believes “that if we can create a love of healthy organic food from the beginning, we will have built the foundations to last a lifetime.”  Their products are certified organic, Australian made and owned, carbon neutral and are BPA free.   AND they’ve certainly made life easier for this traveling tribe!

Small-Signature-Nat

For more information on Bubs Australia click here or to follow them on Instagram click here.  #bubspartner

 

*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here