motherhoodfaithfitness

sharing the joys, triumphs and struggles of faith, family and fitness!

A day in the life of a school chaplain, part 1

School chaplain, Christian pastoral support worker, Pastoral care worker, these are the 3 job titles ive held in the last 5 and a half years of working at a local primary school. The job title changes with every change of government it would seem, so I choose to call myself “friend”. 

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what a school chaplain does, so I’ll enlighten you about a typical day. 

I get to school early and run a program called Get Ready Club, where the kids can come, brush their teeth, get their hair brushed and styled, gelled and spiked, plaits, ponytails, and get a little glitter for the day. They earn stickers for each time they come, and can win a prize at the end of the term!  

I regularly have 20 children a day come through, and it’s a joy to see their happy faces coming in, sharing their news and excited to see their friends in the morning. Get ready club not only addresses the physical needs of keeping teeth clean and hair tidy but provides a social and caring aspect at the beginning of their school day, which for some children is a huge factor in whether they will have a good or bad day. 

After the bell goes I help run a Playgroup in the school, we are “SA Playgroup” affiliated and have families from both the school and wider community attend. It’s great to see mums, dads and grandparents bring their little ones along. We are a very friendly and relaxed playgroup, with crafts, free play, fruit and music time. The song time is my favourite part of playgroup, playing my guitar along with the merry band of tambourine and maraca shaking toddlers, who love the songs whether I hit a bum note or sing out of tune, a perfect audience! I attended a music and movement workshop last month and it gave me lots of ideas to integrate learning opportunities like numbers and colours into song time as well as songs that use the whole body, dancing, clapping, twisting, using those large muscle skills, and songs that use fine motor skills like Incey wincey, and Twinkle twinkle.  

 

After singing the goodbye song, we wave our families goodbye and clean up. I then run a year 6/7 boys cooking group, where I take a small number of boys and we make, bake, chop, slice, and prepare delicious and (usually) healthy food. I try to use ingredients that are fresh and good value. Last week we made a vegetable soup for under $8 and it fed the whole class. Cooking is a great time to connect with these young men, chatting about their day, school, sport, home, girls, crazy movies, games and jokes. I laugh a lot! I love hanging out with these boys, and I know they love eating food, so cooking is a great medium to do both, and it teaches them so many kitchen skills that I’m sure their parents and future partners will appreciate! 

So that takes us to lunchtime. As you can see a school chaplain supports, listens, has fun, cares and is there for the school community. It’s not my job to “Bible bash”, judge, be a holy roly or brain wash people, it’s simply to show love, kindness, respect, and grace, just like Jesus said to. 

Part 2 to follow….lunchtime and beyond! 

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Gym success and first veggies! 

Just a quick one tonight, managed to get to the gym sans enfant! Outcome = splits training in quiet room surrounded by mirrors to check form, plus a little flex n twerk when no ones around! Ahhhh no interruptions, no dog hair, no toddler pouring milk over your hair or giving you snotty kisses, bliss! (Though I do love those adoring little smooches too!)

Came home to whip up homemade beefburgers, potato, bacon and pumpkin cheesey bake and picked spinach and lettuce from my garden! The lettuce was so sweet and crunchy, I can’t wait for my herbs and other veggies to be ready, it’s really quite exciting being a gardener. 

Spinach is a great veggie, for smoothies, salads and I like using it in lasagne too. 

And I couldn’t link the gym and veggies in a finer way than to finish with this gem! Popeye the sailor man, with his super strength biceps after eating a can of spinach! 

 

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Flirtations with ditching the carbs! 

For the last couple of months I have flirted with cutting down on my sugar and wheat intake, exchanging my toast for yoghurt and nuts, sandwiches for omelettes and rice for cauliflower. I say flirting with this way of eating, because I know it’s better for me on the inside and out, but the lure of chocolate and pizza can sometime be very strong! 

However I found this amazing recipe which helps me with the chocolate cravings and very filling!

 Low carb choccy cookies  

 

I’ve made these cookies a few times and my grain free/paleo friends have given them a big thumbs up too! And shock horror..the other half and my children like them too!

I got the recipe and lots of info from the website Ditch the Carbs. There are some amazing recipes, sweet, savoury, snacks and meals. 

Next shopping day I’m going to stock up on some of the ingredients for these meals and try to incorporate these into our weekly menu. Ham and egg cups, lamb kebabs, fat head pizza….mmmmm sounds delicious! 

I love the idea of exchanging one meal for a healthier version rather than changing everything and depriving yourself. If I eat good wholesome meals most of the time, I’m onto a winner. 

  

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Our veggie patch, outside time and caterpillar squishing! 

In an attempt to eat more fruit and veggies (number 3 on the 20 things list ), this year we planted a small veggie patch. I dug over a small patch outside our front door (where I couldn’t forget it) added chicken poo from a friend with chooks and waited a day before planting the little green seedlings. 

I took my little boys over to the supermarket, where they were selling veggie seedlings. We chose cauliflower, broccoli, baby spinach, lettuce and some flowers to break up the green and confuse the bugs (I’m told that’s companion planting). Here is our before shot. 

 

The boys loved planting up the veggies and flowers and take great joy in seeing the plants grow, squishing hungry caterpillars, watering and picking  the tasty spinach and lettuce leaves for tea. Since my 2 year old became the chief caterpillar squisher, the ending of Eric Carle’s children’s masterpiece “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” can sometimes become a tragedy..he doesn’t get fat and become a butterfly, because he gets squished after eating the nice green leaf! It’s an awesome book though, I remember reading it when I went to playgroup 40 years ago! So many teaching opportunities, colours, numbers, healthy eating, metamorphosis and art! Totally recommended 🙂 

  
However, I digress… caterpillars are not friends in my veggie patch, they get squished! 

Our patch is now looking great, we’ve added coriander, rosemary, pansies and a couple of tomato and bean plants have appeared from the chicken poo no doubt. 

  
The little patch enjoying some morning sun a few weeks later. 

Here is what it looks like now,holey cauliflowers and brocolli, but beautiful lettuces, spinach and flowers growing. This is the first time I’ve actually had any success in growing veggies, but having it outside the front door is a definite plus, I can’t forget to weed or water it, and I can pick the produce coming in from the car if I like! 

  

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Sleep, free but a mum’s luxury! 

Back in November I posted a list of 20 things that would be beneficial for me to start or continue doing. 

Here’s the picture if you missed it last time.  

 

A fine list to endeavour to follow.

Today I am focussing on number 6. “go to bed earlier” 

My 2 year old son is awake and firing on all cyclinders anytime between 5-5.30am. I have found myself longing to go back to bed mid morning, and if that works and daddy is about, I can do that, but when it’s a work day, or I have several errands, appointments or play dates organised I have to trudge on, wearily. Now I don’t know about you but my mood is severely affected by lack of sleep (or food). Sleep is a great luxury as a mummy, but often at bedtime I’m still bustling about, watching tv, checking facebook, texting friends. So again I’m challenged to get to bed early, switching off the phone and spend that time in a bedtime devotion or writing in my journal. I then wake up a little less irritable and more willing to play cars, pack lunches and stack the dishwasher at 5.30am. I am still using this time to stretch, read my Bible, eat a healthy breakfast and prepare for the day ahead, this is all so much easier when you don’t feel like death! 

  
When I have “enough sleep” (that’s an oxymoron right there) I have energy, I have enthusiasm, I’m positive, I recover from sickness of mind and body much quicker, sleep is awesome! I just wish I remembered that on an evening! Get sleep and the whole world is a better place! 

  

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The Respect Dare, Daughters of Sarah and my new Gym buddy! 

Last year I completed a book called The Respect Dare. The 40 days of “dares” are based on research that both men and women need mutual love and respect to have a happy healthy relationship (Gottman).  As a woman who’s been married a long time, (23 years) I find it pretty difficult to be respectful at times, there are habits that annoy me, tendencies that frustrate me and general niggles that all couples face. The Respect Dare helps you focus on the positive, look for ways to encourage your hubby, and work upon your own “issues”, be they childhood, learned behaviors, cultural expectations, or simple pigheadedness! Our relationship with each other and my self awareness and walk with God deepened and grew over the 40 days. So when Nina released a 14 week course to build women and grow relationships both marital and with God, I jumped at the chance to lead a small group. This course is called Daughters of Sarah.

Last week 4 women and I met together in a church office, huddled around a lap top and eagerly anticipating what we could learn and how we would develop. It is a privilege to journey with women of faith, flawed but hopeful, with dreams and visions of the future, with hearts full of love for God and looking to be transformed and become more like Christ. Our relationships with our husbands will be changed forever, our self awareness will be piqued, our faith journey will be nourished as we walk the path together. We’re on week 2, and I’m blown away by the conversations and discussion so far! Here’s looking forward to the next 12 weeks! To find out more information on The Respect Dare or the Daughters of Sarah course, have a look at the Greater Impact website or Nina Roesner’s blog. I can sincerely recommend it. John Gottman‘s research and website is really interesting and helpful too. 

 As for hubs and I, today we joined the gym together, I’m so excited! I have a gym buddy again. Going back to the gym after an almost 2 year hiatus was like coming home! So many hours spent here, friendships and fun memories have been made, as well as kgs gone and iron pumped. I’ve realised that stretching and working out at home isn’t always productive with a dog or 2 year old jumping on your back or licking your face, so back to the gym it is, and I couldn’t be more pumped! 

  

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Morning routines, a time for renewal and refreshing! 

I have a little boy, who doesn’t like to sleep! I’m writing this as I’m patting his back whilst playing piano lullaby music on spotify. Not only does he not like to go to bed, he doesn’t like to stay in bed either. With daylight savings, his new wake time is 5am. When I say wake time I mean full on, jumping around, telling me hilarious stories, and demanding “I want to eat!”. My mornings have been mostly bleary eyed, in ugg boots and my daggy dressing gown, watching episode after episode of “Paw Patrol” and counting the moments until daddy gets up so I can crawl back into bed. Not a great way to start the day! 

This is what I’m told by society I should look like…ready to face the day, fit, fantastic and fabulous! 

  
In reality, I look like this… 

 
And I bet if you’re a mum of a preschooler you do too most mornings! 

Anyway because I’m such a busy beaver, working studying loving worshipping poling cooking crazy lady, I decided if I couldn’t change my wake time, I could change what I did in it, watching Paw patrol is not on my bucket list, though it entertains my bairn for a little while. 

Then I found a blog post: http://blog.paleohacks.com/the-perfect-morning-routine/ and it is amazing, a little on the hippy dippy side for me but hey, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and check out the ideas for starting your day right. 

So the night before, I squeezed my lemon juice, prepared my chia yoghurt, found a morning devotional, a journal and got my yoga mat out, ready for the morning, I even prepared the weetbix and sippy cup for little mister! 

 
The next day…5am start, I sipped my warm lemon water, I read my 5 minute devotion and journaled 3 things I am grateful for, (how do I stop at 3? I have SOOOOO much I am thankful for!) I stretched on my yoga mat for a few minutes and then went outside.it was still dark, and cold! I took my uggys off and walked in the cold wet grass for a minute. It was a bit chilly, but quite a pleasant experience, not sure if I “discharged all my negative energy into the Earth” but it felt ok, and certainly woke me up! Meanwhile my son was still watching Paw Patrol and was oblivious to the writing, stretching, sipping and walking in wet grass Mummy was doing. All up it was probably about 20-30 minutes. It felt really great to do something productive, meaningful and intentional with the first few minutes of my day, and it certainly set me up to have a more positive and healthful day. I had nourished my mind, body and soul and all before 5.30am.

This week I have tried to continue this routine and it has been great. As long as my son has his breakfast and tv, and knows mummy is there to answer his funny questions and cuddle him whilst I write, he is happy too. 

Multi tasking, ‘finding the time where there is no time’ is an art, and I’m not there yet, but I’m working towards it. As for being tired…yes i am exhausted, but I try to sneak a nanna nap or an early night in most days. I’ve realised that sleep is a beautiful gift I can give myself, and I should grab it whenever I can, and if not…

 
This is my prayer, Now I’m off to squeeze a lemon and get my chia seed yoghurt ready! 

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New dance studio news! 

Starting somewhere new is always daunting, will I fit in? Will I be the oldest/biggest/clumsiest girl in the class? What will I wear? Where do I park? 

Yes I’m a worry wart, sometimes known as a control freak, but I needn’t have been concerned, the new studio is welcoming, inclusive and sooooo much fun! 

We dance in heels, I have the most amazing metallic purple pole shoes, that are in my “gym bag”. As much as I love running shoes, these shoes are the ultimate in fitness wear! 

  

Try dancing in these babies, more over try going upside down!  Yes that extra weight on your feet makes every move harder, but so much prettier I think! 
Every week we learn new moves and then a routine. This term our class is dancing to The White Stripes “Seven nation army”. At the end of the class I am exhausted, sweaty and feel great! The next day I have been barely able to lift a cup of tea, or get out of bed! Nothing better than that DOMS feeling, you KNOW you’ve worked hard! 

  

That post pole grin, Can’t wait to go back next week and do it all again! 

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Shifting the goal posts a little!

Sometimes you just have to take stock of your goals, consider life commitments, family, study, etc and readjust your original plan!
I’m crossing out the running a half marathon goal! Not because I don’t love it or don’t enjoy the thrill of a long run but because of my time constraints, a squeaky knee, and the fact that it hinders my other goal of middle splits training. I also have some other exciting things in the pipeline which will be taking up a fair bit of my time and energy, which I will share at a later date.
As I’ve already done 3 half marathons and a full one, I’m not too fussed at changing this goal. So my alternate goal is another physical challenge, which will complement my flexibility training and will increase both my cardio capacity and strength. Pole practice!
I can practice at home and can sneak in a 20 minute session more easily than building up running kilometres and needing a babysitter to boot.
I will be practicing fundamental moves, building up my upper body and core strength, developing my balance and flexibility.
Here are the current moves I’ll be practicing.

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I’ll probably change these every few weeks and hopefully get stronger, more flexible and confident in learning new tricks!
My dream move is the “Jade” and although I don’t think I’m anywhere near ready to attempt it yet, it’s one I am looking forward to trying when the time comes! (Crash mats, lots of spotters and a very grippy pole, perhaps a helmet too!)

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Current nemesis moves that I have been trying for ages are:
Brass monkey, Pencil and Ayesha!
They will be on my practice list over the next few months too.

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The dreaded Brass Monkey

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Pencil problems!

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Tricky Aysha pole move!
Yep they’re all inverts, and require balance grip and strength..
I’m working on it, 20 minutes at a time!
But by bit, little by little, step by step, our dreams and goals may become reality!
A changed goal is not a fail, it is not a dead end. It can be a sensible and necessary step to take, and one that can lead you to new pursuits.

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My Black Milk obsession!

It started with an eBay purchase. A pair of shiny colourful nylon leggings. A pair of leggings inspired by art, a stained glass window in France. Clothing that is a hybrid of art, design, story and history, that makes me smile!
Here they are, my beautiful Cathedral leggings:

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Then I entered the Black Milk website! Oooh the colours, the pretty designs, the funky patterns! And bought these dragon scales leggings, the kids at work love them, a pastoral care worker with dragon legs, pretty awesome hey!

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eBay has been a way of getting rare or discontinued designs like my Star Wars montage ones.

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I greeted my hubby who is a huge Star Wars fan at the airport wearing these! One way to show someone you love them hey?
As well as these lovely pieces I’ve got shiny silver and black ones, plain black ones, black and white beetle juice ones….and my top favourite, the aurora sky green leggings!

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I once posted a picture of 20 things to do daily, one of these was to wear clothes that make you happy…Black Milk clothing is my colourful stretchy pick me up in the morning, and throughout the day. Some may say I’m too old, too lumpy, I’m crazy etc for wearing them, but who cares, they make me happy, and that’s that!
They’re good for relaxing in, stretching in, walking in, partying in (with heels). They are the total package!

Today was a happy parcel day….my birthday present from my mum and sister came…
Mucha leggings! From the 1898 painting by Alohonse Mucha, “Woman with daisies” (which just happen to be my favourite flower)

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And then there are the skater skirts, the dresses, the shooters….aah so many to love!

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