Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It is SO HOT!!!!!!

Oh my goodness, today has been so hot.  Excruciatingly hot!
The forecast was for 35 degrees celsius for Maryborough, but we are guessing it made it around 37 or 38 - or hotter.  Plus, the humidity was up around 80% for much of the day.  It was bad.

So what did we do today?  What was on the agenda?  What wonderful, exciting plans did we have for our day?  It was a simple plan, easily formulated yet difficult to execute.   
The plan:  TO KEEP COOL............

Will wore only a nappy and the children wore a pair of underpants for the day (actually, they're not in much more than that in bed now either- it's still up around 30 degrees at 8:30pm, yuk!).  Stuart and I wore as little as possible!  We drank copious amounts of cold water and cold lime juice cordial.  We ate through a whole big wedge of cool watermelon. We put water on ourselves every time we washed our hands.  Stu put a spray bottle into the fridge and periodically sprayed the children and me with chilly water (yelps could be heard from miles away!).  We ate vanilla icecream with maple syrup for afternoon tea.  We had every fan in the house turned up full swing, but still couldn't feel one bit of breeze.  
By 2pm we were all going slightly mad.  William had had at least 3 baths, and Stuart and I each a couple of showers.  You'd feel cool whilst under the water but boiling hot again the second your skin dried.  Saraya and Elijah had watched a good hour or more of tv, and we were all too hot to think what to do next.  So we went out to our "liveable shed" (just a one room, unsealed but semi-liveable little shed) which happens to be fitted with an old air-conditioner (the lady who used to live here had an adult son who lived out there).  We took water, and a big basket of library books, and hung out reading for awhile out there.  It was good!

Coming inside again was hard.......... to quote Saraya "Oh Mamma, ouch!!!!  I just lay down on the couch in the living room, and it was so hot I had to jump off 'cause it burnt me!!".   Elijah was crying after walking on the grass outside because the grass was burning his feet.  Yep.  It's been THAT bad.

At 4:30pm we drove to Woolworths just to get into some proper air-conditioning.  We dawdled around the shop for an hour, collecting a few bits we needed but mostly just enjoying a reprieve from the heat.  People everywhere were doing the same.  We heard one lady say she was considering hiding in the shops to sleep the night - her friend commented that she'd have plenty to eat and drink!!

Anyway, at least we have water.  And fans.  And I'm almost finished a favourite book of mine, and think I'll go do so now.  We're hoping to get a half-decent night sleep, our last night of 2008.  Hmmm..... with this heat, I don't like our chances!  

Once again to quote Saraya today, "When is it going to be Winter?"!!!

Happy New Year everyone! :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saraya's bedtime prayer

Usually at bedtime it is me who speaks the words of prayer with the children.  Tonight Saraya wanted to pray.   My heart was overjoyed at her words so I thought I'd record them.

"Dear God,  Thankyou for my cuddly toys and for my cuddly bed.  Thankyou for our day.  Thankyou that I have toys, and a home, and parents.  Our sponsor children don't even have a home, and some children don't have food or shoes or anything.  Amen."

This prompted a discussion on poverty, missionaries, and a possible trip to Uganda to do some work there and meet our sponsor children one day.  I love the bedtime hour with Saraya- it is so often our special, "connected" time of day.  Oh, and a Uganda-trip-planning-conversation with Stuart in the kitchen as we did the dinner clean-up followed.  Thankyou Saraya!  

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Blessed Christmas!

We were indeed blessed this Christmas, to be able to begin our day here in our little home, singing carols - then to open gifts, enjoy a homemade Christmas breakfast, surprise the children with their new trampoline (!!!!), go to church to be with friends and worship our King, come home, enjoy our gifts, wrap a few more, deliver them, go to our dear friends the Bentley's for lunch (Cathy..... you are amazing, and thankyou from all of us!!), rush home, pack suitcases/ tidy up/ water gardens/ lock up the house etc. all in less than an hour, and hit the road by 3:30pm for the next part of our day!!!  Phew!!

The table setting Cathy set up was beautiful.... 
a red and white setting, little gift bags for us all with handmade gifts inside.....
and a scrumptious spread to eat!

Once arriving at the Sunshine Coast, we were able to spend time with my parents, brother, sister, and aunts and uncles and cousins.  SO nice to be with all the extended family!!  After more gifts, drinks and dinner, we travelled the short distance to Mum and Ray's unit to collapse into bed.  What a happy end to one of the best Chrismases I can ever remember!  Hope yours has been a peaceful, joyful time with the ones you love.  Christmas blessings to everyone!! :)

"Hark the Herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King.
Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.
Joyful all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies,
With angelic hosts proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark the Herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!" ~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Christmas movie and Christmas lights

The last few years have seen us start a family tradition of watching the movie "Little Women" together just before Christmas.  It happens to be one of my favourite stories (I love Louisa May Alcott's books), and this version of the film is my favourite.  This afternoon we all sat together in the lounge room, lunch plates and drinks in hand, and shared this old-fashioned Christmassy favourite.  The little boys did really well, just playing on the floor when their interest faded.  Stuart and I (yes, he loves this movie too!) got a tear in our eye in all the sad bits.  And the happy ones too. :)

I made sure Elijah had an afternoon nap, and tonight after tea we all headed out to look at Christmas lights.  The children "oooo-d" and "aaaah-d" sufficiently, and we were all quite amazed at the effort some people put in to decorating their homes for us all to enjoy!  Our final stop at the home with many running tiny model trains was our favourite.......... extremely clever and well set up, with tiny villages and people, cattle, farms, streetlights all lit up, etc.  We spent nearly an hour there!

It's been a delight delivering boxes of Christmas baking to friends this week.  
Shortbreads, rum balls, and little tarts- some raspberry and some fruit mince- with crumble topping, and lots of little Christmas sweets tossed in for good measure. :)  So nice to share at this time of year!  

"Only 2 more sleeps till Christmas!!" (quote Saraya, bedtime tonight.....)

Monday, December 22, 2008

We're Home!!

Late last night we returned home from Brisbane, where we had been visiting with family since last Wednesday night.  It was a full 4 days, catching up with everyone..... plus fitting in some shopping trips in the *big* shopping centre near Mum's house, swimming in the pool, eating some jolly Christmas fare, exchanging gifts............ 
And we also had a trip to the big city for me to go to my Neurologist appointment (following up on the migraines with aura I've been having the past few months).  Unfortunately I need to travel back down to Brisbane mid-January to have an MRI, just to rule out the possibility of anything else sinister going on.  My Dad had 2 strokes under the age of 50.... and the "auras" I've had have gone on for longer than is normal, apparently.  SO, we're just in the process of checking things out.  I need to stay on the medication I've been given until I've had the MRI & the follow-up appointment.

Enough about all that.
Today I'm busy unpacking and catching up on washing; and finding homes for those gifts we received in Brisbane.  :)  We're feeling festive and the next couple of days will be spent finishing Christmas cooking, present wrapping, cleaning the house till it shines (well, maybe)........... etc.!  Hope your week is starting off nicely!

These are Saraya and Elijah's Christmas stockings which Mum made and cross-stitched for them.  
.........."the stockings were hung by the chimney with care"...................  They soon will be!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Will loves his tucker!

Little William isn't so little anymore!  He's up (would you believe it) around the 10kg mark.  He has really taken off with his solids now, and is enjoying mashed banana, avocado, rice cereal, porridge, mashed potato, pumpkin, yoghurt, and stewed apple.  He is still breastfeeding night and day, and now drinking water too in our very very hot weather!

He is roly and pudgy and oh so cuddly.

It's tricky business getting this messy, but someone's got to do it!! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas baking

Christmas baking has started!

Aside from the cake (which the children and I made last month), we have shortbreads, chocolate fudge, and other delicacies to work on over the next 10 days. :)

Last night after the children went to sleep I made the rum balls.  These happen to be my most  favourite Christmas treat.  I thought I'd share my Nanna's recipe.  Nanna was quite partial to the rum, and this recipe has a little more than most others I've read. :)  Mind you, they are very very tasty!  
Nanna was beautiful.  I always miss her at this time of year.

Nanna Cook's Rum Balls

1 375g packet mixed dried fruit
1 tin Nestles condensed milk
3 heaped tablespoons cocoa
10 crushed weetbix
5 tablespoons of rum, and an extra dash for good measure

Mix all together well with hands.  Roll into balls and then roll in coconut.
Refrigerate until firm and keep in the fridge.

Eat and enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saraya and Daisy make a fairy garden

"When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I’m Six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six now,
forever and ever!"
             A.A. Milne

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thrifting in Biggendon

I mentioned yesterday that on our day trip on Wednesday we found a wonderful thrift shop.  You know the *real* thrift shops, where things are so cheap it almost seems like stealing?  
Still, we found some treasures and were more than happy to support Lifeline at the same time. :)

How could I resist the bright orange zoo animal pattern on these soft denim overalls for William? Like new, and only $1-.

Saraya and I found this pattern for old-fashioned pyjamas and nighties for 50c - "oooo Mamma, do you think Nanna could make these for me?".  Well, um, Mum?  What do you think?........... ;)

There were 8 of these teeny tiny little glasses (they may be shot glasses...?) and I bought them all to use for tiny servings of dessert eg. jelly, for little people.  10c each.

A doll with a handmade dress, bloomers and shoes for Saraya $3- (she had a little birthday money left, burning a hole in her pocket.... and didn't seem to mind that this poor dolly has had a few fingers chewed off by what I imagine was a distructive puppy.......)
A koala backpack for Elijah (he loves this little guy & has been wearing it everywhere!) $2-
And a big sturdy wicker basket with handles for me $5- my most favourite bargain.

And finally, these 4 ironstone soup bowls, handcrafted in Japan, are crying out to me from the kitchen hutch as I type.  They were 70c each, deserve to have a good home.......... and will each have soup in them by the end of this weekend.  I can't wait to use them!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An Anniversary Day Trip

So yesterday we went on a day trip.  Aside from having some holiday fun, it was also in celebration of our 7th wedding anniversary which was last week.  Stuart decided to plan a day trip because going for drives of exploration was our most favourite thing to do together before we got married!  We love exploring new places.  I wasn't sure how the kids would travel (it can be variable), but praise God they were wonderful!  Lots of carol-singing and playing eye-spy, and napping.  Fabulous.

Occasionally Stuart will plan something like this entirely without telling me.  I love that.  I love surprises from him!
We headed out west to an area we'd never been.  One of Stu's prep families have just moved about an hour out there, so we popped in for a cup of tea as our first stop.  Very nice!  Biggendon is a typical country town, tiny and friendly.  And we came across a FANTASTIC thrift shop, but more about that tomorrow!
We had lunch at a little cafe with the widest variety of foods imaginable.  It was inexpensive and very very tasty fare.

Onward we travelled to our second pitstop, BanBan Springs.

For those Aussies who know the Aboriginal story of the rainbow serpent, this is where it originated.

The children were fascinated with this Aboriginal mural painting.

Stuart and the children had a game of Boules, and Will and I lazed under some trees for a bit.

Onto our final stop, back through Biggendon and out to Mount Walsh National Park for afternoon tea and a bushwalk.
The track is steep.  And long.  And according to the sign "for experienced and well-prepared walkers only".    Did we let that stop us?  No!!  Onward and upward we went, for a kilometre or so anyway.

With walking stick and bird book in hand (there are wedge-tailed eagles - stunning! we saw 2- and peregrine falcons in the area), Saraya was a quick and masterful climber!  Elijah whinged on the flat ground but once we got going up the track, he was into the thrill of it.  He must have stumbled 4 or 5 times, but just picked himself up and kept going.  If it wasn't for the sun starting to get a bit low, we would have kept going.  Though come to think of it, we were all getting pretty tired.  It was a rocky, interesting trail and we'll definately travel out to walk it again.

Mount Walsh

As far up as we got.

It was great to explore some of our local area, and once again I was reminded of how beautiful Australia is.

Cold drinks on the way home as the sun set, baths and pyjamas, boiled eggs, ham and baked beans on toast for tea.  Bed for the children.  A favourite movie for Stu and I.

A great day, and probably the nicest anniversary we've ever had.  I love you my husband!  Thankyou for a beautiful day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Our little star, with the junior choir last week on Awards Night.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent Calendars

This year we have a few Advent calendars happening.

I would love to one day own one of those lovely patchwork ones with the little pockets, but for now my homemade one for this year is a lot simpler.  I'm finally resigning myself to the fact that I'm just not very clever when it comes to the sewing machine!  :(  All projects seem to turn out to be disasters.  Maybe one day when I have more time to practice..........

Anyway, here is our homemade calendar.

A glass jar, decorated for Christmas and filled with chewy wrapped sweets.
Each day a child (they take turns) chooses a lolly, and the other one searches for the date of the day (I hide it in there just before their hand goes in!)

The number then gets stuck to the corresponding date on the cardboard Christmas tree up on our kitchen wall.  All those little gold squares are slowly turning silver!  The countdown is on, and I'm sharing in the children's excitement!

But really, I love the bit where we get to open a flap on this nativity advent calendar.
This was mine when I was a little girl, and the memories of it are strong and dear!

How are you doing the countdown to Christmas?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

Today our pastor preached on this verse.  And I was surprised, because this is a verse which has been close to my heart this week.

I love this verse from Matthew because in it Jesus specifically tells us to come to Him when we are weary, when we are heavy-laden - when we feel the burdens of life weighing us down.  And what does He promise us?  Rest.  That wonderful, calm feeling of peace that ONLY comes from our Creator, the one who loves us and wants us to feel rest.

Today during a "praise and prayer" part of our service, I put up my hand to share that this week I have been re-convicted of the power of prayer.  Not just in the big things, but the little things too.
I have been having an issue with one of the children over the past weeks, and I have been trying many things to cure it.  Many many things, but not prayer.  Isn't it funny how we can sometimes just not think to pray?  We try to battle on our own.  But it's only when we pray about our specific issues, when we "come to Him", that we feel the peace of God working through us - and we see results too!!!  After weeks of battling in my mind over this issue, I handed it to God just a few days ago.  And of course, instantly things are better!  I know it will be a continual process, but I now know I'm not in this alone.  God has commanded us to pray without ceasing, to come to Him with all the many burdens of our hearts.

As I heard for the first time today, "Prayer should be our first resource, not our last resort".

So today, let me encourage you to pray.  To talk to God about the details, the little things, the hurts, the dreams, the struggles, the disappointments.  Keep on praying!  Come before Him in thanksgiving too.  As we ask God for wisdom and to work in our lives, and thank Him for His guidance and blessings, we are drawn closer and closer to Him. 

And it's wonderful to see just what He can do in our lives.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

All I want for Christmas is.........

.................... a full night's sleep.

It's true that I haven't had a full night's sleep since my pregnancy with Saraya, about 7 years ago.  I dream of it.  No, I dream of a stretch of sleep more than 2 hours long.  Just 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep is all I want.  Even 3 hours would be amazing.  4 hours?  Out of this world.  I know I would wake up, jump out of my bed and start dancing - even if it was only 2am.  
My children have never been good sleepers.  They are great kids in many ways, but they just don't sleep well.  William did for the first 3 months of his life, before our family non-sleeping whatever it is rubbed off on him.  And Saraya and Elijah do go through waves of sleeping well.  

But the last two nights have been hilarious.  No not hilarious, horrendous!!  Funny, the first two nights Stuart has finished all his work and actually come to bed early, both of us longing for some really good solid sleep, and all 3 children have kept waking us up, all night long.  Why?  Well, the first night Will woke at around 11:30pm and was awake until 1:30am- not sure why.  Saraya overlapped him and woke at 12:30am with a sore tummy, and was up until about 2am.  By then I was wrecked, but Elijah woke at 3am and was unsettled for awhile.  Will continued to wake and feed every hour or so as he often does at the moment.  I just have him lying in bed with me as it's easier than getting up and down all night.
So by last night we were all really super tired.  Did the children sleep well?  No, despite the fact that I made sure they had heaps of exercise yesterday to tire them, they had eaten well, drunk heaps of water, used the toilet right before sleep, and even had chamomile tea, they did NOT sleep well.  At all.  It was worse than ever!!!!!!  William was up again before I even got to bed, and was restless most of the night.  Saraya started calling for us before we went to bed as well.  She had another drink.  Used the toilet again.  Had cuddles.  Music.  Prayer.  Stu and I went to bed.  After lying awake for awhile I got to sleep at 10:30pm.  Saraya appeared at 11pm.  She apparently needed the toilet again.  Oh, and again at 12am.  And 1:30am..........
By this time I was ready to scream.  You see, I had told her the only reason she could wake me last night is if she needed the toilet.  Hmmm, there's a link there!
Elijah appeared at about 2:30am, wanting a cuddle.  Stu took him back to his bed, but he was back again at 3:30am.  And at 4:30am when he asked for the toilet, I took him, tucked him back in bed and he asked why the birds were singing?  "Is it morning yet mamma?"  "NO!!!!  It is not!!"

Well, that was it for Elijah.  He was in his room playing until 5am when he reappeared.  Stu got a bit cranky and said he needed to stay in his room to play.  Which he did beautifully, though a bit noisily.  And just before 6am when I heard the back door open I went outside to see what on earth he was doing, and this is what I found.

A completely naked boy standing in the back garden with an assortment of containers, baking trays and bath toys.
"Um Elijah, what are you doing?" I asked.
In the happiest, brightest voice you can imagine he replied, "Oh, hello Mamma!!  Do you remember yesterday at Declan's house?  We were doing water play?  Well, I've got everything ready! Could you please get me some water?"

Do you think I obliged?  Yep, I did.  After all, he had been up and amusing himself for an hour and a half by that point.

And somehow that smile just washes away my crankiness.  Well, almost. :)  I'm trying hard to keep it together today.  It is the first day of holidays after all. 

Please pray we get some decent sleep soon!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

First gifts under the tree

With Elijah's Christmas paintings all complete, tagged, and under the tree, I notice he has set them there with Peter to guard them.  :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

A sweet day

"Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!

Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds"!......
All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing praise to your name."

Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works on man's behalf!.......
Come, let us rejoice in him.

Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.

............ we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Come and listen..............
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.

...... God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.

Praise be to God.........

.......... He has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!" Psalm 66.

"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people; for unto you is born, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10, 11)


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