Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Memoir of their day

Stuart, Saraya, and the Burmese Python at Australia Zoo!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Some rain, blustery wind and the weekend

Well, "fun in the sun" yesterday quickly became "freeze in the breeze"........ make that blustery wind!!  We still had fun at the pool, but the weather wasn't exactly ideal for babies.  William wasn't too fond of the chilly water and winds blowing on his wet skin, nor of the very heavy rain which followed, with us huddled under a little sun shelter (thankyou Helen!).  Elijah had a great time paddling with this friends though.  And we ended up having a drink at McDonalds on the way home so he was very happy!

The weary travellers arrived home at about 6:30pm last night, with lots of stories of the zoo to share.  There's a photo I'm going to ask Stu to scan in for me today, but I won't tell you what it is until I can put it on!  They had a great, but exhausting day.  Once again watching the tigers swimming and playing with their carers was a highlight. 

Well, the weekend is here and with it the dreaded final 2 days of movie production for Stuart's Prep movie "Joseph".  The screening is on Monday afternoon after school.
Is he stressed?  YES!!
Is he exhausted? YES!!
Do I need to make the children scarce over this weekend as much as possible?  YES!!  So as well as finding quiet things for them to do at home (always a challenge), we'll go out.  This morning Elijah and I are both having hair trims.  Then all the children and I going Christmas shopping.  Now that's something I'm looking forward to!  We might just have to have morning tea or lunch while we're out too.  
This afternoon Stu is taking Saraya and Elijah to visit one of Saraya's classmates who's in hospital this week with severe athsma ............. while William and I are going to an afternoon tea for all the girls in our circle....... lots of conversation, cups of tea and delicious delicacies to be consumed I am sure!  We do it once or twice a year and I'm really looking forward to it.

Tomorrow?  Church in the morning.  Some quiet times with the children through the middle of the day.
And come 3 o'clock, Stuart is ours again for a couple of hours for one of our most exciting family days of the year.  We are decorating the house for Christmas, putting up our Christmas tree, listening to carols and having our traditional Christmas nibbly supper as we work!!  I can't tell you how much I enjoy this time, the transformation of our home and transition into the Christmas season.
Our town's annual Christmas concert outside Town Hall is on tomorrow evening, and Stu has said he will take a couple of hours off to come to this as well!  I'm not singing at it this year , so we'll find a spot together and watch the carols and the annual lighting up of the town.  All hard work, but someone's got to do it!!

I'd better go make breakfast.  Wishing you a happy Saturday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Fun!!

We are off for a day of fun today.

Saraya and Stuart left for school at 6:15am this morning with the hired bus, because....... today is their excursion to Australia Zoo!!  (the home of Steve Irwin's family, and an awesome day out, for my American readers!)  This has been highly anticipated and I know will be a wonderful day for the Preps and Year 1's, teachers and Mums who get to go along and help. *Sigh*.  That will be me one day......

We couldn't let them have all the fun, so the boys and I are heading up to the Hervey Bay aquatic centre for some fun in the sun.  This will be William's very first swim, so Eiljah and I are pretty excited about that!  I'm not sure what Will will think...... he loves the bath and shower though, so I'm pretty sure he'll like the pool.  It's a great pool up there, much bigger than our little Maryborough one- it's heated, plus it has a water slide, an added bonus!

We are meeting friends in Hervey Bay so I'd better go and get organised.  I have a stew in the crock pot already heating, so dinner will be done when we get home, yay!
Have a great Friday everyone!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An honesty award

Last week I received this award from Heather.  Thank-you so much - another bonus of blogging is that sometimes people are touched by what you write!   I continue to really enjoy your blog too. :)

In accepting this award, I need to share 10 honest things about myself.  Hmmmm.  I'm going to try to think of things I haven't shared before on my blog if I can.  This is going to take a bit of thought, but seeing as posts take days lately to write, I'll have plenty of time!  As it is, William has just woken from his nap (for the 2nd time in an hour) so he'll probably be up now and need some Mamma time.  I'll get back to this today I hope!!

Okay, here goes.

10 Honest Things About Me
1.  I'm an introvert.  I'm shy, quiet, reserved, reclusive, all those things.   I much prefer one-on-one conversation with friends, and in group situations I often feel overwhelmed- especially if I don't know the people well.  Throughout my life I have always only had a few close friends at a time.  These days as a Mum I find it hard to find the time to keep up with all the beautiful friends God has given me, and long for more hours in the day to do this!  Chatting in the school car park, plus the occasional phone-call, visit, meal, email or card, given or received, still seems to be enough to bind us together though.... after all, we are all in the same season of life. :)

2.  To tie into the first one, I'm an absolute home-body.  I always have been, though until I married Stuart and he gave me the opportunity to stay home and care for our children, I was away from home more often than I liked, studying and working.  I often thank him for the gift of working hard to provide for us so I can be home.  
I love to be at home.  The peace and quiet, the solitude (well, aside from little ones!), my family, my garden, my books, my music, etc. .......... I sound so boring as a type this............... but this is just who I am.  I try to keep my life simple so I can be home as much as possible.  Also, I find that the busier and more outside of the home I am, the more my house and family kind-of falls to pieces.  Just to keep on top of the housework and washing and cooking etc., and have time to play with the children, I try to be home at least 3 or 4 days during the school week.  This means a tidier, cleaner home, nicer meals and most importantly, more time to spend with my family.  

3.  I have always wanted to live in the countryside.  Although I love my house here in town, and we don't plan on moving anytime soon (maybe never) I still often think about living on land outside of town.  I love being in nature, and feel a bit closed in sometimes.  I love open spaces and fresh air.  We always planned on living on land, and I don't think that dream has died for me yet!  I know my outdoorsy children would love more space to run around in.  We'll see what God has in store.

4.  I take feeding my family healthy food as a challenge.  Since Saraya was starting solids 5 1/2 years ago, and with all the children since then, I have tried to prepare as simple healthful meals for them as I can.  This means loads of fruit and veges, bought locally and seasonally where possible.  I buy most of our produce at the local markets as it's much fresher and cheaper and tastier than the supermarket.   We also grow (in non-baby stages especially!) some of our own vegetables.  I would love to be more self-sufficient.  Elijah has struggled as a toddler with some tastes, but we always encourage him gently and firmly to eat a small portion of everything.  Saraya is now at the stage where she not only eats what she's served, but enjoys a large variety of foods too!  She is our little fruit and salad girl, and it brings me joy to see our perseverance with healthy eating pay off.  Something inside me gives a little thrill when I see really fresh food going into their mouths, knowing this will help keep them healthy as they grow too.

5.  I start listening to Christmas music months before Christmas!  I just love hearing and singing carols, and they remind me of my childhood in many ways.  Really really good memories of Christmas................ my Queensland Children's Choir days carolling and doing Christmas concerts in Brisbane, trimming the tree with my parents, the build-up to "the big day" as we did the Christmas shopping and planned the food, the magic of Christmas eve- that special something in the air, and the extended family get-together we always had at my Nanna and Pop's home on Christmas night.  I love  the Christmas season, and this year it's been fun thinking of some new family traditions to do with my own children as we celebrate Jesus' birth.

6.  Okay, here's one I've mentioned before on my blog but I'm having trouble thinking of 10 things.  
I really struggle with hospitality.  I have beautiful friends who I find to be very hospitable, I have read books on the topic, prayed about it....... but still when it comes down to it, I think I'm just too........ something.  I can't even put my finger on it.  I really don't think it is my house (which I've often blamed, and still want to improve it in certain ways to make it more hospitable), I think it's actually just me.  Still working on this one.

7.  I love love love music.  I love to sing, play the flute and play the piano. I grew up doing all these things, and really need to do more of it around my children so they not only see that it's part of me, but they "catch the vibe" to make music too!  Singing is so portable and I've always sung them to sleep (still do), but the other instruments are getting dusty.......  
I'm hoping to do some carolling with them through December.  We'll see. 

8.  I have a University Degree in Social Science.  It's a Bachelor of Social Science in Human Services, majoring in disability studies.  This is basically a degree in social work, and many of my subjects leaned towards working alongside people with disabilities.  This came about mainly because my sister has an intellectual disability, and the head of the faculty told me there were many jobs in this field of work.  She was right, and I worked through an organisation in Brisbane caring for children with disabilities while I studied my degree.  It was wonderful, challenging and rewarding work.  Those little children are still in my thoughts, and I'd love to see them again to see how they're all going.
Since moving up here and having my family, I haven't worked outside of the home.  If and when all the children are at school, I'd like to actually do some music teaching from home as a part-time job.  Once again, we'll see what happens there!

9.  I was baptised uniting as a baby, and then grew up in the catholic church.  My Dad was uniting and my Mum catholic.  After my parents seperated when I was 14, Mum started taking us to mass.  I always went with my Nanna and Pop when staying with them too, and made a decision at 14 or so to become confirmed as a catholic.  I wanted that feeling of belonging to the church my grandparents and Mum belonged to.  It also meant I could join in communion with them, something you can only do once confirmed.
A few years later I got to know some Christian friends from a baptist church, and really started to dig into God's word.  It was a gradual process, but around the year we got married (2001) that I really got on my knees and asked Jesus into my heart.  Since then Stuart and I have attended a couple of baptist churches, and are now actually settled into a non-traditionalist nazarene church in town!  It's an awesome community church filled with beautiful people who really seek the Lord, and we've all found true brothers and sisters there.  My relationship with Jesus is now an integral part of my life, and I never want to go back to that dark place before receiving Him as my personal saviour.  Praise God I never have to!!  The peace I have known in the last 7 years truly does surpass all understanding.

10.  Last one (this has been written in 3 sessions so far!  My boys are BOTH asleep- a rare event, so Ill try to finish!).........
The greatest desire of my heart has always been to be a Mother.  From a young girl playing with my dolls, to the teenager who always sought out little ones to care for at parties or social gatherings, babysitting etc., I became a married woman who prayed for a real baby of my own. God heard my prayer and blessed us with Saraya just 10 months after we got married. :)  Since then He has also given us our two beautiful boys.  All healthy, all precious and straight from His hands.  I couldn't be more thankful.
The reality of Motherhood certainly isn't the picture I had painted in my mind before Saraya was born, and the first year of her life was a completely humbling experience!  No-one can know what it's like to have your own children until the moment they are placed in your arms.  Anyone with children knows this. :)  Having said that, I am happier right now, at this stage of my life, than I have ever been before.  There are days when I miss the freedom of working a job outside the home, the extra sleep, the choices to just do what I want to do........ but then again, I feel I've been given a strong purpose and responsibility too, and want to take that seriously right now.  There are many other seasons coming for me, and I'm going to try to enjoy each one as much as I can!

There.  10 things you may not have known about me.  Phew.

Now it's your turn, if you feel inclined!!  It's fun and a bit of a brain-stretch.  
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We're back!!

Funny, my last post was all about how I enjoy blogging...... and then I haven't blogged for 4 or 5 days!  :)  Well, we went away for the weekend, to the Sunshine Coast to visit with my parents.   It was a wonderful getaway, spent relaxing and reading and eating and swimming and playing on the beach with the children.  Stu did a little of this, but a LOT of school work on the laptop.  He got all his report card writing done which is wonderful........... speaking of which, I'm supposed to be proofreading them for him today, due to him at 3pm..... and I've hardly been home today..... and I definately should not be blogging right now.....

So, here's a few pics and I'm off to put little boys in for a cooling-off bath (it's SO hot today) while I proofread on the bathroom floor!!  Hope you're having a great day. :)

My littlest prince charming

The table set for our last dinner together on Sunday night

Watching cricket with Grandpa

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why do I blog?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.
I launched into the blogging world quickly, once I discovered it.  I spent several nights many many months ago exploring a few blogs, and suddenly longed to have my own!  Since the day I started blogging, I haven't looked back.  I just love to blog.

It's interesting, thinking about why we choose to blog.  For me, it's a form of expression, an opportunity to put thoughts into words, a chance to capture and record the significant moments of our family's daily life.  I've realised as I've reflected this week that it's really this simple.  It's not a thought-out, predetermined style or format or method.  I don't write for a particular audience, or in the hope of receiving hundreds of comments or of changing people's lives forever. :)  (I know some blogs do this!)   It's really just a place to be myself and write whatever I like.  

My dear friend Cathy left a comment recently on my last rambly sort of post, and said that "If the eyes are the window to the soul, the blog is the movie to the spirit".  How well she put that, and what a lovely thought!

All the blogs I most enjoy reading are vastly different.  Some are poetical, some idyllic, some humerous, others practical and down-to-earth, others inspiring.  They all reach me in different ways, and I enjoy travelling along life's road with these bloggy friends.  My blog is probably a subtle mix of them all, yet still distinctly my own.  It's my safe haven of self-expression.

I have heard people say that blogs are a sugar-coated version of reality.  Well, some blogs clearly aren't as their writers seem to deliberately focus on the negative parts of life, lightened up a bit with humour.  I agree though that many blogs are a bit sugar-coated, mine included.  However, I defend this by saying that I'd rather not waste my time writing posts about cleaning the toilet or driving around town not being able to find a car park or having a small breakdown crying on the kitchen floor because I couldn't think of anything to cook for tea.  To me, these are the little annoyances of my daily life, not my highlights or joyful parts, or hopes or dreams for a better tomorrow.  I actually like my blog because it gives me a chance to focus on the positives!  The little things that make life beautiful.  As a stay at home Mum, days can kind-of go on and on pretty much the same; monotonous, challenging, and often thankless.  Yet I love to be home, caring for my husband and children.  The little daily joys, and the knowing that this is where I'm meant to be, makes it all worthwhile.  Blogging gives me an opportunity to deliberately remember the good bits and record them, and share them!  To take photos of the funny things my children do, or the nice things happening in the garden.

If I'm having a really really hard day, I'll either choose not to blog (often on those days there's no time anyway!) or I'll do a realistic post about the difficulties of homekeeping or mothering or life in general, or how much I hate staying overnight in hospital with sick children. :(
Most of the time though, at the end of the day when I sit down to blog, it's good to think about all the gifts I've been given........ my home, my precious family, and all the beauty around me.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things".  Philippians 4:8  

This verse from Philippians was read at our wedding, and it's one of my favourites.  It's kind of a part of me, I guess.

So here is a question for you, just for fun:  Why do you choose to blog, and what do you like most about it?  Or, why do you like to read people's blogs?   Or, what sort of blogs and/or posts do you most like reading?  
I look forward to reading your answers!!
(and I don't know why Blogger has changed the size and colour of my font......)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Semi-Wordless Wednesday - The Choir sings!

The junior choir from Saraya's school sang at a local nursing home yesterday.  I went along to watch, take pictures, and get teary over seeing my little girl up there!! :)

Waiting to go on.

Elijah finds a comfy seat to sit in and watch.

The peformance.  Waltzing Matilda, Never Smile at a Crocodile, If You're Happy and You Know It, and numerous Christmas Carols were amongst the titles. :)

The party after.

A successful event!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Things that make me happy.......

So many little things were lovely over the weekend.

* A spontaneous shopping trip on Saturday morning with the 5 of us, to pick up a few on-sale items, some early Christmas gifts (oh how I love book stores!), morning tea in the food court (a rare and enjoyable treat)....... and to pick up a certain "boxed item" which will see Stu out with torch and spanner on Christmas Eve!!  (any guesses?)

* A very quiet Saturday afternoon with William as Stu headed up to the Bay with the older children, for a swim.  Precious time with my baby!  Oh, and a late walk at dusk.  And a sandwich for tea.

* Another spontaneous surprise yesterday morning.  We arrived at the theatre to drop Stu off for his initial "meet and greet" day for Wizard of Oz, and discovered we were an hour early.  What could we do for that hour?  We ended up at the big M for coffee while the children had a play.  Yippee for some couple time!  

* While Stu was having a ball yesterday (a good break for him from movie-editing and report-card-writing), the children and I baked our Christmas cake.  This is one of my most favourite things to do all year, and I always look forward to it.  I was grateful the children were really helpful (I usually do it on my own)......... though after the smell of the cake baking for 3 hours filled our entire home, they were a little disappointed we aren't cutting it until Christmas Eve!! :(

* A weeded flower bed as of yesterday afternoon.  The relief I'm feeling over that one is great!  I'll try to get to the nursery this week to fill the gaps between seedlings with some pretty things.  And lettuces.

*  TV time with Stu last night.  Grand Final of Australian Idol next week!

* A storm last night !  Some good good rain.

* And today is Monday which means I am at home.  And I love to be at home.
It's still a little rainy and I can still smell the fruity Christmas cake smell lingering.  Elijah and I have just done some marble paintings for Christmas gifts.  He's been wondering what he can gift people and was happy with this idea!  Rest time is coming and if Will sleeps I will too. 

SO, all in all, I am one happy Mamma today.

Hope you're having a good one too! :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sons of Korah

Today I want to share with you my most favourite band, Sons of Korah.  They are an Australian group of guys who have put the Psalms to music in a gorgeous way.......... their music puts me at peace, inspires me, strengthens me, teaches me new Psalms, and all in all I just love to play their cd's!!!  I was trying to work out how to add a playlist to my blog but haven't yet.. so in the meantime, please click here to hear their music (click "listen" - they have a great selection of samplers from all their cd's), read more about them or purchase a cd.  They tour internationally , and last year we were fortunate enough to see them sing live at a church in Hervey Bay.  They are wonderful!!  

"I will sing a new song to You, O God; Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You".  Psalm 144:9

Friday, November 14, 2008

Feminine Friday - a quote

"The wife, on her part, ought not to be less desirous than she was in the days of courtship of winning her husband's admiration, merely because she now wears upon her finger a golden pledge of his love.  Why should she give up those pretty wiles to seem fair and pleasant in his eyes, that were suggested in love-dreams?  Instead of lessening her charms, she should endeavour to double them, in order that home may be to him who has paid her the greatest compliment in his power, the dearest and brightest spot upon earth - one to which he may turn for comfort when sick of business and the weary ways of men generally.

How shall a man retain his wife's affections?  Is it by not returning them?  Certainly not.  The secret of conjugal felicity is contained in this formula: demonstrative affection and self-sacrifice.  A man should not only love his wife dearly, but he should tell her that he loves her, and tell her very often, and each should be willing to yield, not once or twice, but constantly, and as a practice to the other."
How to be Happy Though Married - being a Handbook to Marriage
published 1885

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Building a Railway Track

Our home is currently having a bit of a makeover in preparation for Christmas.  Our tree will sit in the corner of the middle room in our house (the play area), and I needed to do some rearranging to make room for it.  So the boys room had some changes yesterday too.

The reading / music / dressup "nook"

The little blue table is in here too now, for puzzles etc.
Today I haven't been feeling too well, so Elijah and I (and Will!) spent some time playing on the floor in the boys room.  After some deliberating, it was decided we'd play trains.  

How to build a railway track in  5  easy steps............

1.  Dump everything onto the floor

2. Sit and have a little think about what to do next

3.  Choose an engine and some carriages for your train.  Build your track (winding under the bed of course, for added interest!)

4.  Drag the train over to the track

5.   Play!!!!!

Oh, and do some spontaneous experimenting with the repelling / attracting properties of magnets........... just to add to the learning experience........ :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Old Books

Mum was clearing out recently and asked if I would like these.
I'm a lover of old books, and with titles such as "Uncle Tom's Cabin", "Little Women" (I already have 2 or 3 copies, but couldn't help myself)........... and "How to be HappyThough Married" - yes you read that right, "How to be Happy Though Married"!!! published at least 100 years ago- how could I refuse?  They are happily finding a home on my bookcase. :)

I'll provide some interesting quotes as I flick through that last one- it's bound to be interesting!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Psalm 27:1

Our family memory verse for this week:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?     Psalm 27:1

I have taped this up in a few spots around the house.  Elijah thought it was hilarious, as he went from room to room and found a few copies of this verse.  I realised he at first thought it was the same piece of paper, moving rooms somehow and "following him" wherever he went!   I explained that I had written out multiple copies.  "Ahhh...", he said, the lightbulb clearly going off in his head.  Very cute!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Great Peace - God's Word

Hello friends!  It's really hard to blog at the moment.  Life has been busy and when Stu is home, the computer is his to work on his movie!  So I'm snatching a minute to at least start a post, while my big 2 are having a shower, Will is playing on the bathroom floor on towels, surrounded by bath toys and listening to their banter, and Stuart is outside mowing the lawn.
It's been a relaxing Sunday today.  I sang in church this morning for the first time since having William.  It was wonderful to be back up there.  Will wound up in the sling and fell asleep while I was singing, so it all felt right. :)  We've all had decent rests, doing quiet things this afternoon.  Saraya even had a nap which is unheard of for her.  That will hopefully fuel her for the school week ahead.  We watched an episode of "Little House on the Prairie" after that (while eating icecream-it's hot again today!), which is always a nice thing to do together.  It prompted lots of discussion as it often does.  They are great stories!

I have SO many posts written in my head, I could hardly decide which one to write today.  I've decided to completely copy a page out of my "25 Days Till Christmas Advent Celebration" book, by Rebecca Hayford Bauer for you.  It's a great book for getting ideas, and this particular page talks about passing on the importance of leaning on God's Word to our children.  It struck me this week that I really  want to pass this on to my kids.  I want them to get into a daily habit of reaching for their Bibles as they go through the joys and struggles of life, just as I have learned to do as an adult.  So anyway I enjoyed this passage from Rebecca's book this week, and I thought I'd share it with you today.............

"Great peace have those who love your law", promises Psalm 119:65.  And if there is anything that I could ask for my children throughout their lives it would be peace - spiritual peace, emotional peace, physical peace, international peace; educational, economic, vocational, and domestic peace. "Peace" is truly the great cry of our time, the longing of every heart and the "impossible dream" of each generation.  Yet this Scripture gives a clear-cut course of action for attaining peace in every arena of life.  "Great peace have those who love your law".

Deuteronomy 6:7 further exhorts parents, "You shall teach them (God's commands) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."  What an assignment! And the beginning is the biggest challenge.

We begin to instill in our children a love for God's Word by loving it ourselves- and living it.  I'm not talking about a letter-of-the-law legalism, but a living, breathing, life-changing, principle-shaping Word of God that is applicable to every situation we face.

Begin by involving the Word in your life.  Are you in the Word daily?  Do you apply its promises and commands to your personal life?  We can tell our children that the Bible is important, but we also have to live it.... Kids can spot a fake a mile away!  Be in the Word every day.   Draw on the spiritual nourishment that the Lord has provided.  Let the Word of God in music fill your home and spirit with His peace and joy.  As that happens in us, we can begin to impress a love for God's Word in the lives of our children.

When our children were small, we read a chapter in a Bible story book each day.  We provided them with Bible music tapes as soon as they could talk well enough to sing along, and when they began to read, we gave them a Bible of their own and encouraged them to read a portion of Scripture on their own each day.  We've memorised scripture together, played Bible trivia games at dinner, and applied specific verses to problems each of the children have faced.  Being in God's Word should be simple, interesting, and fun!

What would your children enjoy?  What will "hook" them into digging for the treasure that has been given to us in God's Word?  There's still time to prepare another gift to slip under the Christmas tree!  Ask the Lord how you are to introduce his word to your children and then watch as His peace begins to transform their lives into His image!"

I love books which challenge and inspire me as this one has!
God bless you in the week ahead.  As we go about our daily lives, may we know God's incredible love and peace, and find opportunities to minister to our families and those around us.  As our visiting pastor shared with us today, let us aim high in sharing our joy and enthusiasm for Jesus with everyone we encounter this week.  Rather than burying ourselves in worry and fear and doubt (so easy to do!), let us instead run the race toward Heaven and eternity with our faces and hearts turned toward Him!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas........

I know it's only November, but just today it feels like Christmas is right around the bend.  I feel that adrenalin I always get at this time of year, building towards Christmas time.  Yes, I am an avid lover of the Christmasy celebrations, always have been, always will be!  Today when my boys were napping (and I should have been) I lay on my bed thinking through Christmas gift ideas.  Oh, how I love love love Christmas!!!  AND.......

Today it is hot.  Really  hot!  Summer kind of hot.  My kids will be playing with ice this afternoon after school, and this weekend we're bound for the town pool.
The wind has a certain dry summery feel to it.
There is only 4 1/2 weeks left until the holidays.  Hooray!
My kitchen smells like peaches. Mmmm......

And early this morning at the markets the strawberry lady wished me a merry Christmas!  When I looked quizzically at her, she informed me that this will be her last week as the strawberry crop has run out.  "And", she advised me, "There is only 7 weeks until Christmas"!

And today my little Will is SO much better.  So the world just feels wonderful. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

There is a time for every season

"To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1.

How true this is.  

For now, in our family, this is a time of feeling disconnected.  
For me, a time to dote on William (who, as an aside, is getting slowly better.  He is clingy and not himself, but no temps and more sleep.)  A time to try to get back on top of my domestic duties- a mountainous task, though with the help of meals from friends (thankyou!) it's manageable.  And a time to give myself massive guilt-trips about the way I feel I'm neglecting my older two children.  How is it we mothers are so tremendous at loading guilt upon ourselves?
For Stuart, a time to be completely immersed in his work life.  This means he is living at (almost)....... well, living and breathing Prep.  This is hard on all of us.
For Saraya, a time of spending much more time with her school family than her real family.  This too is hard on all of us, but most of all me!!  I miss her.
For Elijah, a time to just be Elijah.  Praise God, he is such a happy little guy who is more than happy to stay home 7 days a week and just potter around in his imaginary world singing  made-up songs about whatever's on his mind.  He's doing fine.
For William, a time to heal.

That's us this week. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Who would have thought.............

Who would have thought that a tiny little guy like this could cause so much worry for his Mamma?
Well, he has succeeded this week, yet again!  A few more grey hairs on my head I presume, and another year or two off my life for the anxious, sleepless hours spent pacing the floor with my feverish, wailing little bundle.

Yes, that's right..... William has been unwell again.  Nothing like the first year of life for my other two, he's had so much sickness!  My thoughts are that his rocky start to life, plus that first respiratory tract infection at 3 weeks of age have made his system more susceptible to general congestion and "clogging".  I have had around 2 hours sleep in the past three days, and he has had only a little more than that.  We wound up at the emergency department for a few hours last night and it seems Will has a middle ear infection, and possibly a urinary tract infection as well.  :(  They are testing the urine sample in the lab to be certain, and further investigating will follow if needed.  For now, anti-biotics, panadol, breastmilk, sleep as he can get it, and lots and lots of cuddles!  Your prayers would be appreciated for his continued healing.  And for my sanity.........

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Swap Part 2

I can just tell this is going to be a rambling post.  A no-photos, lots of ideas flowing, thoughts pouring out kind of post.  Sorry in advance.....

Today was our Saturday Swap with our Bentley friends part 2.  It was our turn to have a day as a couple (plus baby!) without our kids.  Saraya and ELijah went to have a terrible time with their buddies, doing treasure hunts, swimming in the backyard pool, making craft, eating icecream, having bubble baths, and all sorts of other very non-fun activities.  Needless to say, they are exhausted and now sleeping soundly in bed!  Many thanks to Cathy and Gary (and Chloe and Declan too) for giving them such a great day. :)

After spending a couple of hours at our church's working bee this morning, grocery shopping and dropping our children off, we came home.  The house had an unusual stillness about it without the buzzing of Saraya and Elijah.  It was nice.  I missed them, but I just love peace and quiet so much that I really appreciated it!  Stuart and I managed to fill the day with general pottering about the house, having naps, drinking cups of tea, going out to lunch, having a walk in Queen's Park, and doing a few little jobs we'd been saving for today.  A few pictures got hung, William's cradle packed out to the shed (my heart is aching over that one! :(), the highchair pulled out ready for use by our big 5 month-old boy.............. oh, and of course Stu managed to fit in an hour or two pottering on the computer doing some work on his Prep movie.  A few hundred more hours to go on that, and it will be complete!!  Then onto writing report cards.  Got to love term 4.

Anyway, it was a lovely, quiet, slow day.  We actually both enjoyed the extra bonding time with William.  And it was nice to have some good conversation.  I love going out to eat together. :)
I've been thinking a lot lately.  I mean, I always tend to think a lot but I've been really thinking heaps about family life.  My friend Helen  posted her own thoughts and yearnings the other day about how to achieve a simple life.  We all yearn for it, that peacefulness in our daily lives....... that feeling of being- well, in control.  Feeling on top of things.  Feeling at ease, with ourselves and our families.  Feeling connected in our relationship with God.  Feeling content with what we have.
Stu and I were really super good at this before we got married and started our family.  In our heads, and in our plans, everything was just perfect.   We were going to live an hour or so from Brisbane (the city where we grew up) on a lovely block of quiet acreage, have a nice Queenslander with sweeping verandahs surrounded by cottage gardens; we would keep a few horses, ducks and chooks of course, and maybe a nice farm dog sleeping on the verandah or running around with our children.  Our children would always be happy.  They would always be obedient, helpful, and they would hold my hand with their little chubby ones and tell me they loved me, and thank me for all the hard work I do to care for them.  We would homeschool our children.  I would be up at the stove, wearing my lovely long skirt and apron, stirring vegetable soup made with crops from our garden.  A baby sitting happily on the floor playing with the pots and pans.  The older children sitting quietly at the big kitchen table, independently working on their math and copywork.  We would have many children, a large family, and the older ones would help teach the younger ones.  The smell of the flowers blowing in on the afternoon breeze.  Stuart arriving home from work on horseback, fresh loaf of bread from the nearby bakery under one arm.  A lovely long embrace for me first, followed by cuddles with the children.  They would of course then play happily out in the garden, just like in a painting, while Stu and I sipped tea on the deck and the dog slept at our feet.  The dog, of course, would never smell bad or poo in the garden.  Our chooks would free range, but never ever touch my vegetable patches.  We would set up a little business, a shop, with absolutely no capital.  We would earn very little, but just enough to buy everything we needed plus a few little luxuries.
Because we would choose the simple life, our lives would be simply wonderful.
That was our dream.

It's funny, 10 years down the track, to look at where we've ended up.  The reality of our family life looks very different from the dream.  Sure, there are days where I feel very very content and at peace with my life.  Most days in fact.  Many afternoons where the children DO play happily in the back garden, my baby does sit nicely playing on the floor while I'm cooking dinner, which does have some fresh produce in it from my gardens.  
However, we have not ended up living an hour from Brisbane.  It is too expensive to buy there, and anyway we have fallen in love with this little town Maryborough.
We do not live on acreage.  We own a relatively small suburban block.  It's sort-of on the outskirts of town, but still there's quite a bit of traffic going by.  We have discovered that Stu is not a natural handyman, and he doesn't really enjoy yard work.  At this stage of life, and maybe forever, a suburban block suits us more practically.
We currently do not homeschool our children.  This is still a point of heartache for me, because I still dream of having my children around that kitchen table, close to me.  However, I've had to face that my little girl is incredibly social, and her personality calls for a different pace of life than I enjoy.  She loves to be busy, getting out there with her friends and she genuinly loves going to her school.  She loves to come home to a quiet, peaceful house and enjoys the special times we do spend together.  But, being home all the time simply isn't for her.  School has been brilliant for Saraya, and I've realised that homeschooling her (or any of the children) may never be a reality.  
A large family is also no longer our dream.  The physical reality of caring for 3 young children, the constant exhaustion I feel, plus the physical toll taken on my body in the last 7 years has brought Stuart to the decision that he would like our family to be complete now, as it is.  That is a whole post in itself!
We don't own any animals, despite our children being real animal-lovers.  We don't want to own a dog on a block in town, and although we did have chooks earlier this year, they all died of a chook virus.  Yep, our first attempt at keeping animals was a complete flop.  Are our children keen to get more chooks?  Yes.  Do I want fresh eggs again? Yes.  Am I a bit put off after our last experience?  Yes!!  Once again, the dream was different to the reality.  The chooks were expensive to keep, troublesome around my vegie gardens, and eventually they all died anyway!  Very sad indeed.  We will give it another go, though.  We've learnt quite a bit from the experience and will do things a little differently this time round.

All this to say that I am amazed how differently our lives have turned out.  We've always been big dreamers and planners, full of ideas.  It's wonderful fun to sit and pour over our "brainwave" sheets of paper from back in our pre-married years.  Oh, the life we were going to lead!!  

But you know what?  Even though there are days when I wake up and wonder how I'll ever get through the day; when I desperately want a day just to myself, alone; when Saraya has hurt her knee and Elijah needs help on the toilet and William is crying loudly for a feed and the rice pot is boiling over and the phone is ringing, all at once, and I'm shouting out "STOP world, I want to get off!!!!!!!"............., I am, generally speaking, really, blessedly content!  I feel an inner peace in my heart that surpasses the day-to-day circumstances of my life.  My husband is my best friend in the world.  I feel privileged to be married to him and just love sharing the bumpy road of life with him.  I love the home we own together, and the children we are growing together.  We have a fine roof over our heads, a good income, and beautiful, beautiful children who love and look up to us.  We have everything we need, and more.

This is not exactly the picture I would have painted for my life.  But it is God's picture for me, and I feel so blessed to be in it. 


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