Saturday, February 28, 2009

A few more thoughts.....

Last night lying in bed I was thinking of a few other things following the post I wrote yesterday!

*  How are our relationships with our children?  I always find their behaviour is more "off" when I am busy, disconnected and not spending enough time with them.  For our kids, this means slowing the pace; making sure we eat meals together, laugh and talk and catch up on the day; sit and read stories/ play together; have plenty of cuddles; and for Saraya- listening to her talk in bed at night!  This has become really precious time with her- she lets out so many little things she's thinking about, and it's a reallly good chance to bond with her and stay connected as she grows.  Sometimes I'm so tired and just want to go do my own thing, but really try to give her this time as I've recognised how valuable it is!  If she's just not settling, I'll say "okay, that's it for tonight, roll over, I'm singing to you now............"  :)

*  Do we have joy?  If we take care of ourselves, getting enough sleep (ha! I know how hard this one can be), exercise, eat well etc., take time out for ourselves, have a positive attitude in general, and hem all our days in prayer........ this leads (for me) to JOY!!!  And I have become aware that when I smile and laugh and enjoy my days more, my children do too.

*  Are the basics covered?  Are the children getting enough sleep?  For most kids, this is 10-12 hours a night!  Do they have a solid routine at home?  Do they feel respected?  Have they been taught to respect you?  Are there consequences if they don't?
There are so many of these!  .............Are they drinking enough water?  Getting enough time outside in the fresh air?  Enough exercise?  Enough free time to just "be kids"?  Are they being overstimulated by too much TV?  This has really detrimental effects on my children!  The best week of our life (okay, Stu accuses me of over-glorifying it, but it was SO good!!) was the week we holidayed at the Animal Farm last May.  My children were so so so happy, so content, never squabbled, slept well, ...... were joyful!!!  We all were joyful!!  They were independent and happy, and so were we.  What do I notice about that week thinking back?  They had heaps of the above- exercise, outdoors, time with us, a slow pace, no TV, plenty of cuddles, time with both parents, boardgames, etc. etc.  Ah, if only every day life could be more like that!  I've spent months since trying to figure out how.  :)

Anyway, all these things for me go hand in hand with discipline/ child training.  If basics like these are covered, we are well on the way to a positive relationship with our kids- and that can be crucial during these years of child rearing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Family rules and consequences

After chatting to a friend this morning, I felt inspired to break from the Jane Austin themed posts today, and write this one.  I hope it ends up being coherent; I'll be writing this in stints!

I read something on Rebecca's beautiful blog a few months ago, about discipline.  It was posted by a friend of hers (I think!), and was basically saying that after some patchy times of disciplining her kids, her family decided to really get things simplified.  They sat down and developed a set of rules and consequences that everyone could understand, own and follow.  It had worked wonderfully for them, and I was keen to give it a try!

During the summer holidays back in December, Stuart and I called our very first "family meeting" with the children.  We'd always planned on having these (after reading some inspiring parenting book pre-children), but had never actually done it.  The children thought it was quite funny.  We kept it fairly light, giving them some paper and pencils and things to do while we chatted things over up at the table.  We included the children in the discussion which worked well to really get their attention and help them feel part of the process.  Stuart led the meeting which I really liked- good to take the backseat for once!  He's usually very prep-focused, but felt  motivated to lead things due to some very poor behaviour he disliked coming home to.  It got us talking, got us all on the same page... it was really good in many ways.

What did we come up with?  3 simple rules, and 3 simple consequences.  These of course are personal to our family; yours would be different- it's whatever is important to you, and works for you and your children.

Many things are encompassed within our family rules.  They are:


This is SO important to us as a family- if you can trust one another, that's a great starting point.  For a child who lies knowingly, the consequence is having something bitter and distasteful on their tongue to remind them only to speak words of truth.   We decided on apple cider vinegar- it tastes horrible, but is actually really good for them!  We have only had to do this once for each child since December, which is a vast improvement.  A teaspoonful later and they really think their answers through now!!!  It has helped to break the habit of lying.


Well, this incorporates so many things.  The way they speak to each other, using manners, being generous etc.  We try to be kind and generous to one another and to them, to set the tone of the house.  Between Saraya and Elijah there does tend to be a bit of competitiveness which we've always found sad.  They do squabble, especially when they're tired.  Sometimes just separating them or reminding them how to speak kindly when things get tetchy is the first step, and often all that's needed, but when one really hurts the other with words or physically, they need a consequence.  We decided removal was the most logical one.  The offending child (or both if necessary!) goes to their room for 5 minutes.  This works wonders in itself for providing time and space to think things through and calm down.  Then on coming out, they must apologise to the other, and offer an act of kindness sometime that afternoon or evening eg. doing a job for the other, getting them a drink if they're thirsty, etc.  This has been incredible for fostering love between the two. They LOVE getting ministered to, and doing the ministering!! It's so nice to watch.  Often cards get made, cuddles too, etc.  Actually, we're a bit off with this one at the moment.  It's amazing how fast we can get offtrack when we as parents aren't consistent.  I need to get back on top of this one- I've been letting things slip a bit and we're paying for it.

3.  OBEY.

Well, this one speaks for itself.
With training issues such as sitting up at the table, chewing appropriately, keeping bedrooms straight, etc. we just give lots of encouragement and reminders etc.  These are ongoing things the children are learning, and we try not to be too hard on them.
BUT, willful disobedience is dangerous as a child who feels they can disobey in the little things will ultimately feel they can disobey in the big things.  eg. road safety, safety in the home etc. may seem little but can become dangerous very quickly.  A child who is used to stopping immediately when asked, or ready to do whatever it is we ask of them, is one who will be safe, trusting, and hopefully ready to listen and obey God too.
A child who looks you in the eye and willfully says "no!" is disobeying.  This is when we feel we need to remind them who is in charge, who is boss, who is leading and training and protecting them, keeping them safe and teaching them through their childhood years.  HOpefully this is something we can train out of our children in their formative years, making the older years run more smoothly and happily for everyone.
The consequence?  Well, this prompted much discussion.  We had made the decision pre-children not to smack at all, mostly following Stuart's study at uni which did not support this form of punishment.  Aside from my occasional willing slip, we had never smacked our kids.  However, Stu could not come up with anything he thought would be snappy, get their attention, be over quickly, and remind them who's boss in the midst of an altercation.  So, we asked the children.  We gave them a few options, talked things through and guess what?  They CHOSE the smack.They said they wouldn't like it, and it would be the best punishment.  We were stunned.  
Both children have had 2 or 3 smacks on the back of the leg since then.  It's only ever for willful disobedience, and done quickly and calmly followed by a talk about what happened and a reminder of how things could have gone if they had obeyed.  It has worked really well, and we have a lot less whinging and whining since.  Elijah comes hopping straight to the bathroom most times now to have his teeth brushed, rather than lying on the kitchen floor fussing about it.  It makes the whole house more pleasant and calm.  We're not stuck trying to work out what to do in the middle of a difficulty; the children know what's expected and what will happen to remind them to do better next time if they make a poor choice.

Anyway, all this to just share and encourage on this rocky road of parenthood.  May you be blessed as you lovingly train and lead your little ones through these formative years!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Visiting Bath

Yes, it's true........ I have visited Bath, home of Miss Jane Austin from 1801 to 1805, and one of the most beautiful, artistic, ethereal cities in the world.  Stuart and I and Saraya (then 2) and Elijah (then 3 months- agh! we were mad!) moved over to the UK back in 2002 with the idea of living there for 2 years.  Unfortunately work didn't quite go the way we'd planned for Stuart.. it's a long sad story, but the short version is that we wound up doing a 2-week trip in a campervan around England, North Wales and Southern Scotland before coming home.  All up we were away for 6 weeks.  

It was unbelievable.   The history, the beauty, the majesty of the places we visited will always remain with us, and we long to go back once our children are grown- just the two of us!

I thought I'd share these pictures of our time in Bath.  I hope you enjoy them!

..... as referred to in many of Miss Jane's novels

As we were travelling we couldn't stay for this- it would have been wonderful!

I bought a tea cosy at the Jane Austin centre, just from the souvenier shop in the foyer- we couldn't afford to actually go into the centre; we had a very tight budget and had to pick and choose what we did!  We didn't even go into the Roman Baths. :)  I never did quite get over that! I mean, who goes to Bath and doesn't see the Baths????!
We did take a tour bus around Bath and learned some amazing facts about all sorts of people who had lived and visited there throughout history...... and even drove down one of the gorgeous lamp-post lined streets where apparently the film "Vanity Fair" was made in the '90s - I still need to see that movie!  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fanny Price

"Fanny Price was at this time just ten years old, and though there might not be much in her first appearance to captivate, there was, at least, nothing to disgust her relations.  She was small of her age, with no glow of complexion, nor any other striking beauty; exceedingly timid and shy, and shrinking from notice; but her air, though awkward, was not vulgar, her voice was sweet, and when she spoke her countenance was pretty."

Mansfield Park, Chapter II

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An essay

As part of the fun Kelly has set her readers an essay task (such a great idea! it worked to break up the monotony of my day...) - to write a piece of our day in Austin-style.  One entry will be randomly picked and a prize sent out!

I decided to do mine in letter format, on paper, and will actually send this to my friend Helen who is currently without internet and missing "blogland" very much. :)  So here goes!

House of Dreams
Tuesday, 23rd February, 2009
My dear Helen,

It is with longing that I write to you this day, for so many weeks have passed since I have seen your smiling face.  How are you faring up in seaside Hervey Bay?  I expect those bonny children of yours are keeping you busy, night and day.  How I would love to come and visit with you soon!  I do hope our health improves as we come in to March.  I am tiring of the various sicknesses ailing us of late.
My throat is aching again today, and so I made the *proper* decision to have a quiet day at home. Elijah is happy- you know my boy, always content to potter at home. 
Those pestersome weevels have moved in again, set to infest and munch their way through our pantry goods.  So today I have taken it upon myself to attack with force, and rid my kitchen of their troublesome presence!  It has been a day hence of sorting and cleaning, and I must say I have rather enjoyed the process. We shall finish the task tomorrow.
This afternoon however, I have had to endure the unpleasant experience of tooth extraction.  Despite my very good dentist's best efforts, I feel somewhat uncomfortable tonight as my body struggles with the sensations in throat and mouth.  I am trusting young William will sleep well again tonight, and allow his Mother some much-needed rest.
Well, my dear, I must away.

With much love and adoration,

Done in haste, but enjoyed!!  Hope you did too.  :)

It's Jane Austin week!

Kelly over at The Barefoot Mama is hosting........................

....................... this week!!

If you are a fan of Jane Austin's novels, want to learn more, or have never read one but would consider doing so (on my recommendation, do it, do it!), visit Kelly's blog to join in the festivities!! And pick up one of Jane's treasured novels if you can!  I'll be doing a few more Jane-related posts this week too.  

I am an Austin fan, though don't know if I could be classed as a "Janeite", quite yet.  I absolutely adore Pride and Prejudice, and there are days when I seriously think I was born in the wrong era. :)  I know my Mother's always thought so.  I watched Mansfield Park recently and really enjoyed it, but have never read it.  This week, amid dishwashing, tablescrubbing, laundryfolding, storyreading, bottomwiping and groceryshopping..... I am taking a trip to Mansfield Park on paper.  My Mum gave me a pile of old books a few months back, and one of them was Mansfield Park.  It's over 100 years old and falling apart, and I have a much newer version on my bookcase..... BUT, I want to be truly transported this week!  I shall finger those old pages with care, and enjoy being lifted from my daily grind into the glorious realm of Regency England.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

End of an era

This is me back in 2002, cuddling a sleeping baby Saraya after a feed, baby advice book by my side, bottle of water always there too.................

I have had a weepy weekend.  This week has marked the end of an era in my life.  William has weaned, and my days of breastfeeding my babies is over.

This was unplanned, though God has been nudging me this direction for awhile- the migraines I have been having seem to be triggered by hormone fluctuations, often from breastfeeding.  I have resisted the weaning anyhow, and am still emotional and struggling to believe this is really "it".  I guess the weepiness will continue for a few more days as my body continues to settle and change.

There is a sense of freedom that comes from no longer being a breastfeeding Mum.......... but then, I have really just loved every minute of it.  I love the bonding. The quiet moments, day or night, when it's just the two of us.  The way they looked up at me and fiddled with my collar.  That sense of nourishing my children, of giving them such good healthy, growing milk.  I didn't have to worry about taking bottles or food with me on outings (for babies or toddlers :)), as my milk was always there!  I could take extra vitamins which could filter through for them when they were sick.  It provided comfort when nothing else could.

The other children were breastfed until the age of 2.  But for William, this was not to be.  God has shown me through William (and that convicting peace that comes) that this is the right way to go this time.  And William has directed things this week, leading the way to this change.

William is doing okay, aside from his cold and cutting 4 teeth in one week......... oh, and going through the adjustment of breast to bottle, breastmilk to formula, feeding through the night to not feeding through the night...........  Wow, actually he's doing very well considering.  I love my baby so much, and ultimately know that no matter what I do, God loves him more and will always be his ultimate provider and protector.  Please join me in prayer for William as his body adjusts over the coming weeks.  Oh, and for me....... for sleep, and comfort, and peace. 

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Day in my Life- February

SO, the other day I discovered a lady who is hosting a "One day in my life" thread each month.  Technically, it's meant to be done on the 14th, so seeing as how I missed the 14th for this month, I'll just run this one on my own, without the link.  Stay tuned for March 14 to join the fun........

I absolutely love finding out how other people spend their days, how they run their homes, what they do with their time.  It's also fun to share and record mine!  So without further ado, here it is.  A day in my life...........  Today:

Woke up at 6am with Elijah beside the bed, "Mamma, I need a bandaid and I'm hungry".  Got up, leaving William and Stu to sleep.  Put on bandaid and made Elijah's breakfast, and helped him dress for the day.
I sat expressing some breastmilk while checking emails.  Aunt B's comment on my last post really lit up my morning. :)  Woke Stu, packed his and Saraya's lunchboxes and made him brekky.
7am- Will woke up.  I sat giving him his milk and read to the children on the couch. 
I then made my breakfast, leftover pikelets from yesterday and an orange.  Made Saraya's breakfast and sat eating with her.
Got dressed, and helped Saraya dress and do her morning jobs.  Packed her schoolbag and put by the front door.  I cleared the dishrack and washed the breakfast dishes.  The children played with the trainset and squabbled.  This is a very big problem at the moment, and worthy of a whole post. :(
Saraya's bus arrived and she rushed out, shoes in hand.  Woops.  Time just flies in the morning!
After waving her off, I made William his cereal and sat up at the table feeding him and reading my Bible, trying to brighten up and thinking of how to help the children with their current squabbling.  Jesus' commandment to love one another as He has loved us really struck chords with me.  Hmmmm....  Lots of thoughts running through my head!

I made a cup of green citrus tea and took my vitamins.  Found Elijah playing in his room, and we had a cuddle and prayed over our day, to be happier and more loving.  I put on a worship cd, surrendered our day to God, and felt better!
8:30 ish- joined Elijah in his room for a play.  Got into a creative game where I was "Marie", the cleaning lady, visiting him and his baby brother.  Managed to get his and Will's and mine and Sraya's beds all stripped and clean sheets on, as part of the game.  Cleaning day today.  Love incorporating my work into play with Eli- great fun, and I get more done!!

I love getting all the beds changed- clean sheets are one of my favourite things!

Checked emails and facebook briefly.  helped Elijah tidy up the trainset.  Put on ABC Kids for him.
I made a cup of coffee and put the first load of washing on.  Tidied under Elijah's bed, the playroom and saraya's floor in preparation for vacuuming later.  I changed Will's nappy and into a fresh singlet,  and rocked him to sleep at 10:15.  Elijah and I made morning tea together (funny fruity faces), then sat and ate it.  I drank my coffee. We chatted and I grabbed another few minutes with my Bible.

10:45am- I set Elijah up with some "split pea" play, some little tiny cups and tiny animals.  I  prepared to write a reply letter to a letter I received from a friend last week.  

When WIll woke he joined us at the table and munched on a biscuit.  He got fussy so I finished off the letter and headed with him outside to do some chores.
Will crawled around while I hung the washing and got the next load into the machine.  We moved the chicks out into their "run" and gave them fresh water and grain.

After crawling all over the garden and into the sandpit, Will was SO dirty, so I gave him a bath.  ELijah was doing some ironing with the toy iron.  I joined him at the table for a play with his game he'd set up for awhile.
I thought about vacuuming (it is Friday after all, housework day) ... then decided we'd have iceblocks instead. :)  It was very very hot today.  We listened to a kids' cd whilst sitting under the fan eating iceblocks- much better.
I then cleaned the bathroom and toilet, with a curious WIll watching my every move.  
I read Elijah a story, then tried to settle a very cross William - ended up giving him panadol to help with those teeth cutting through. He felt better after that, thankfully!  Many tears.
I made a simple lunch of sandwiches and milk arrowroot biscuits with a peppermint tea for me and a pink milk for Eiljah.  Will ate mashed pumpkin. :)

Elijah hopped onto the computer just before 2pm, to play PBS KIDS.  I washed the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and highchair while Will played with the fridge magnets. :)  Took him outside to bring 1st load washing in, hang the 2nd, and put the 3rd into the machine. We moved and fed the chicks, cut some flowers for a vase for my room, and checked the mailbox.  No mail.. :(

I love this photo!!!

I pottered for awhile holding Will, then rocked him and got him down at 2:30.
Helped ELi finish off on the computer, then lay with him on my bed with some books.  Read him a couple then shut my eyes for awhile. He flicked through his books then announced it was time to get up.  We (unwillingly, for me at least) got up at 3:15, and made some cupcakes for afternoon tea.
Saraya arrived home at 3:30pm.  I had promised lollypops (from last CHristmas, the kids found them hiding in the pantry....) and a dvd as a Friday afternoon treat, so they got into that.
I sat down in the living room with them, a cup of coffee (yes 2 in one day, I know, it's bad) and my "Nurture" book which we're doing for Bible study and enjoyed some quiet reading time.  I iced the cupcakes and ate too much leftover icing. :)

 Popped outside to check washing and harvested the remaining corn.

William woke at 4pm and I gave him his bottle.  
The children and I headed outside, I got the washing off and folded.  Had to discipline them again for squabbling/ pushing, and seperated them and talked through all that for awhile.  :(  I got then into some seperate playtime (again), brought William in and started the vacuuming- last cleaning job for the day.  I put the last load of washing into the dryer.  Elijah loves to "put away the cord"..........

Stuart was home and catching up with the kids, so I sat and looked at a few blogs for 10 minutes or so, then dinner was delivered!  A kind friend who homeschools was doing cooking with her boys today, and had offered some of their meal to us.  I gave them some cupcakes in return. :)
We ate dinner of lasagne, salad and fresh fruit, and then I bathed a very messy William.
Stuart did the dishes (sweet hubby) while I took a shower.  Children playing (happily, yay).

I did their night-time jobs with them.  
While Stu settled ELijah, I made Saraya a chamomile tea to help her settle, read her a chapter of Farmer Boy, prayed with her, sang to her, said goodnight to Elijah, gave WIlliam his milk, ate cupcakes and had cold drinks with Stuart (it's still HOT!), tidied up a bit........... and here I am!!!!  Phew!!  It's now 9:30pm and we'll soon head to bed. Stu is reading his script and doing some stuff for work.  He has very long rehearsals tomorrow.

So there you go.  A pretty typical Friday for me.  Probably WAY too many details, but hey, I love details so please share all yours if you decide to participate in the "A day in my life" thread...... more details coming soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today I am marvelling at my littlest little man, William.

I cannot believe that he is nearly 9 months old.  He is crawling fast now, pulling up on everything, jabbering away in babytalk all day long, and becoming very curious about the world around him.  He is enjoying all kinds of different foods, and still loves watching his big brother sing and play.  He loves spending time in Saraya's room (lots of dolly faces to look at, and little tiny things which get snatched away quickly- beads and such), and absolutely adores being free to crawl outside.  He is a dirt-magnet, and loves digging like a wombat in soil and potplants. :)  He finds birds enthralling.  He could sit and watch our chicks all day long.  And he seems to have an interest in toy cars.  

But just 9 months ago (almost), he was a newborn baby!  He was a teeny tiny being who relied totally on me for everything.  I have to remind myself that that tiny baby, and this adventurous crawler, is the same little fellow.

This week he is like a flower, opening up and becoming his own little person.  I always find that going through a sickness changes the children.  They seem to come out the other side more grown, older, and different.  Add to that William's decision to wean off the breast, and it's been a huge week for him (and me).  He is still having expressed milk a few times a day, and is happily drinking from a bottle.  Neither of my other children ever had bottles, and didn't wean until the age of 2, so this is really different for me.  It's bittersweet in many ways.

I took this picture of Will yesterday while he was napping.  He loves sleeping with this soft blanket. He is growing up and changing so fast!!  See the little bruise on his eyelid?  He fell in the bath 2 days ago, and hit his eye on a toy- poor baby.  He is going through that standing up, falling down phase at the moment.  He is so brave!

Anyway, isn't it incredible how these tiny little people develop so fast?  I feel overwhelmed this week by God's creation, his provision and his grace.  And I'm just loving my little man!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A brighter day!

"Why are you downcast O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my GOd."

"By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me-
a prayer to the God of my life."

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble."

"Come, and see the works of the Lord".

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Here in the House of Dreams today, we are dreaming of many things.
We are dreaming of sunshine.
We are dreaming of autumn.
We are dreaming of dancing, and singing, and having fun.
We are dreaming of being healthy again.

Stuart is back at work today after playing Doctor yesterday.  I miss him!  I've wound up with what I've self-diagnosed as "Viral Uvulitis"- in other words, my uvula (the "hangy bit" in your throat) is enormous, swollen, puffy and red raw.  My throat is so sore too.  That whole area is burning like fire.  I wound up at the hospital late late last night seeking antibiotics- I couldn't sleep a wink with the pain every time I swallowed, and thought I'd nip it in the bud- but apparently it's viral so it's just a wait-it-out thing.  Lots of salty water gargling, pumpkin soup eating, and the spraying of Difflam anti-inflammatory throat spray which I may be becoming slightly addicted to. :)  Lets just say I've blurred the "spray every hour and a half" lines a little!  It's the only relief I've been getting.  Anyway, I had about half an hour's sleep all up last night, so today's been.... interesting.
Saraya has still had low fevers on and off.  She also had a few vomits this morning, not that there's been anything in her tummy since Sunday, other than water and a few bits and pieces of fruit here and there.  Poor little baby, she's looked so grey and quiet and little all day today.  She kept down a bit of lunch though, and dinner.  She sat up with Stu and I tonight getting some one-on-one cuddle time and seemed a bit brighter. I'll keep her home again tomorrow for more dvd-watching and colouring in!
William is miserable as can be.  He is cutting several teeth (ugh! timing!) and the virus has given him a very runny nose and difficulty breathing at night etc.  He is clingy.  He's also decided he prefers drinking from a bottle while he's so stuffy so I'm trying to find time to express with the pump..... I really need an extra few hours in the day.........
Eiljah..... is fed up with the lot of us!  He was ill last week but is basically better as of today- and wanting to do more than laze around in his pj's!  So tomorrow I will endeavour to give him a more interesting day.
I notice the swelling in my throat has gone down a bit tonight, and I can now swallow without getting tears in my eyes and needing to grip on to something.  A sweet friend brought us some dinner over tonight and I actually ate it and it tasted wonderful.  Another friend brought chocolate (always welcome, and enjoyed particularly by Stuart!  I also had a little nibble and the sweetness was SO good) and another friend sent beautiful flowers.  Fancy going down to the laundry and finding a big bunch of flowers waiting on the back patio!  Well, they were the 3 highlights of my day.  No, there were 4 highlights- Mum also phoned from Brisbane to see how we're doing.  

I wish I had something more interesting to blog about.  All day today I've been longing to get to the computer to write one of the many posts I've constructed in my head.  But now that the day is done, Stuart is home, William has been resettled for the 5th time, and I"m HERE!! at the computer.......... I write the boring, real details of my day.  This, for now, is my reality, and I must embrace it!!!  And dream of the healthy, happy, energetic days to come.......................

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Mum!!!

We are home.

I am SICK with a throat that is beyond swollen - I actually wonder if there is any passage through there at all?  My glands are all swollen up and I'm achy and feeling pitiful...
William has a goopy runny nose, and Saraya is down with fevers.  She's sleeping lots.  We got home last night, and all new the night would be bad- and it was.  Will is having trouble breathing and feeding because of his runny nose, and he is miserable.  The good news is that Stuart decided to stay home with us today and he is helping me run the ship.  I would be desperate without him today.  He has unpacked the bags with Elijah, cleaned out the chicks, and is now playing lego.  I'm sending him to get groceries soon......
THis is actually the first time I've got up properly this morning and after taking panadol yet again my throat is semi-bearable.  Enough to sit here and blog anyway.

Aside from us dropping like flies yesterday, we had a great birthday celebration with Mum and Ray!  Here are some pics:

with gifts for Nanna

my handsome little brother :)

This is cake I made for Mum- it turned out, thankfully!  Have a great birthday on Thursday, Mum!  I love you. xo

Hope everyone is having a good Monday.  I'm going to go put some washing on and then get some more rest....
Might make a big pot of garlic-y vegetable soup later.  Go away sickness!!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An extra measure of grace.....

Today I am having one of those days where I need to ask God for an extra measure of grace.  You know the ones?  I woke up this morning thinking "I just don't want to do this today".

During the night last night my throat started to become scratchy and my bones ached.  Elijah has woken sounding snuffly.  Could it all be linked to the fever day he had during the week?  William is still waking for at least 3 feeds every night.  I'm trying to be strong and just rock him or do the let him cry for a bit, visit, cuddle, let him cry thing......... but I'm so tired I often just take him to bed with me and feed him.  It gives us both more rest.  

Today Stuart has gone. Again.  He's at rehearsal from 9am until 5pm.  It's Saturday, and I want him home with me.  I want him to play with the children and offer me a cup of tea.  
It's raining outside and my heart feels all rainy too.

There, that's my whinge.  On the up side, the kids and I have some special things to do today.  We have an Almond and Raspberry cake to bake for my Mum's birthday, and bags to pack as we're off to visit her tomorrow.  That will be so lovely.  We have gifts to wrap and washing to complete.

Now Lord, just give me the energy and enthusiasm to do these things..... and some joy to go on the side!  I love my family and am so blessed to have them.  It's just that an aeroplane ticket to a tropical island is oh so appealing right now............

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cleaning Day

"As much as I converse
with sages and heroes, 
they have very little of my love and admiration.
I long for rural and domestic scenes, 
for the warbling of birds
and the prattling of my children."
Letter to his wife,
March 16, 1777

Don't you love this?  It sums up how I feel today.  Homey and happy.
Friday is housework day here in my home.  I have, over the years, fiddled about with various ways of keeping the housework up-to-date, and finally have settled on the "do it all in one day" approach.  Friday is the day.  I prioritise it as such, and the children know it and assist me (with a little coercion....... er, encouragement, at times. :))  Today is pupil-free, so Saraya is joining the fun with us!  We are washing and drying, getting all the laundry up to date.  Beds get stripped and fresh sheets laid on, the floors vacuumed and mopped, the bathroom and toilet scrubbed.  The dusting is done to a fashion.  It is not yet midday and we are nearly done!  Much playing has been done on the side, too.  Little bits of paper and toys seem to be floating about the house, so I've sent the children after their own messes through the morning.  

Friday night dinner is always simple- either leftovers or sandwiches/ wraps with salad.
We tend to eat earlier than usual, and this gets the children to bed early.  

And the best bit?  Friday night is "date night" for Stuart and I.  A tidy, clean and yummy-smelling house, minimal dishes, clean sheets, kids in bed early for the night, a movie, chocolate for certain.....  well, I love Fridays!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Farmer Boy"

Saraya's prayer tonight?

"Dear God, thankyou that I had a good day at school. Thankyou that we had a waterplay afternoon and that I had swimming.  Thankyou that I don't have to come home and do chores. Thankyou that we don't live on a farm!!"

Okay, to explain, we are currently reading the LIttle House books and are up to Farmer Boy. (we're reading them slightly out-of-order...)

This is Laura's telling of Almonzo's childhood (she marries Almonzo as a young woman).
We read the first few chapters tonight, and my goodness, what an incredible story!  He is 8 years old, lives on a big farm with his family, walks about 5 miles to and from school each day in the freezing snowy conditions, comes home and works for a couple of hours doing farm chores (really exhausting chores), eats a big dinner (oh to be able to cook like his Mother!), goes to bed around 9 pm and is up again at 5am doing more chores.  Oh, and then off for the big walk to school again.

And apparently in the wintery 40 degrees below zero temperatures (aagghhhh!!!!), cattle can't be left to sleep all night because they will freeze in their sleep.  So at midnight Almonzo hears his father heading outside ...... in the -40 degree temperatures...... to "exercise" the cattle!!!  He runs them around, whipping their behinds to make them walk and run and warm up enough to then resettle them into a safe warmer sleep until he heads out again for milking at dawn.  Hmmm.

Saraya found this absolutely hilarious, and  I think for the first time ever is fully embracing her quiet surburban lifestyle.  :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A change of plans..

Last night was meant to be Bible study night for me.  You know, candles, quiet music and some much-needed "down time".  Instead, I caught up on the daily chores which
 had become night-time chores: folding, laundry, washing dishes, etc.  Yesterday was a bit of a right-off.  Elijah came down with a sudden mysterious illness.  We were at music, and during the morning tea bit I noticed he was very quiet.  When I picked him up for a cuddle, he had a temperature so we came straight home (didn't want to pass anything on!).  He slept on and off for most off the day, fighting the fever which I tried to keep down naturally with cool cloths and tepid baths.  He ate nothing all day, had one huge vomit (ick, that was fun to clean up....), and went to sleep yet again by about 8:30 last night.  Praise God, he's had no more symptoms, slept well and woke up happy and back to normal this morning!!  I'm so thankful; I detest tummy bugs and was worried that's what it was.  Who knows what it was!  He's being fed on super-good stuff today- we all are.

Anyway, today we were meant to go visit friends in Hervey Bay but are instead having another quiet home day.  I don't mind.  :)  As you well know, I like being home.  And it's rainy outside which makes it even better. We've played trains, had a swing outside in the undercover area, drawn on the chalkboard outside (elijah is quite interested in learning his letters at the moment), and I've done washing, cleaned out the chicks etc. in between.  Saraya didn't make the bus this morning (slow start, mostly thanks to yesterday for me) so we drove her out to school a little late and watched a big truck tipping a new load of softfall into the playground area.  Just about made Elijah's day, I think!  We popped into the stockfeed store and got some more feed for the chicks too.  They are growing so fast!!

I was trying to think of a photo to attach and came up with this idea.  This is all 3 children at *about* the same age, 8 months.  What do you think?  Easy to tell who is who??  Let me know your thoughts!  I was surprised at the similarities actually.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


My heart is aching today as I have just read this story.  Little baby Cora was just a month older than William when her parents found out she had cancer in her liver.  She died, and went to be with Jesus yesterday- only 3 weeks after her initial diagnosis.  I cannot begin to imagine the grief her parents are experiencing.  They simply took Cora to the doctor for recurrent ear infections, never in the world expecting the weeks ahead of them.

Please pray for them as her funeral and burial is today.

This really puts things in perspective.  Life is fleeting and unpredictable.  If we have our life today, and our health, this is something to be truly thankful for.  Our families, our friends.  Today I'm not taking these things for granted.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Having fun at home

Since Elijah has opted not to go to kindy this year, I've had it constantly in mind that I need to give him enough stimulation / activity/ opportunities to play with other children, learn and explore his little world.  Not that Saraya went to kindy either, but then I always knew what she needed, when she needed it!  She is one to make her needs and desires clearly known to the world.  :)  Elijah is different; quiet, passive, content.  I enjoy just pottering through the day with him by my side.  But is it enough?  Well, I asked him myself the other day.  I suggested other things we could do (and will do, from time to time), even suggesting that maybe he could give kindy a go as his friend Ruby is enjoying it so much.  But no, he tells me he likes being home and is happy just being here with me.  I think I'm getting it through my head, relaxing and embracing having this year with him and William (who is becoming a busy, active crawler!).

So this post is:  Having fun at home:  Ideas for non-kindy-goers. :)
(there are so many things to do, but these are all things I did with the boys last week....)

1. Gardening.  This is a great thing to do with kids.  THis week we have one simple job (aside from the daily watering)....... to plant in these 2 rosemary plants.  Elijah likes to dig with me.

2. Join your local toy library, if you have one!  It's a fun outing, and you will end up with amazing and wonderful toys like these, save money, teach the concept of sharing, waiting with patience (you can put your name down for things you really like but are popular).... and get new toys every fortnight!!

3.  Art / craft.... this does not have to be messy!  Last week we enjoyed making and using playdough (Elijah will sit for about an hour with a ball of dough and a small box of animals and small tools to work with). He also did some cutting and pasting.  I sat Elijah down during one of those "Mamma, PLEASE play with me!!" right-when-I'm-cooking moments, gave him a few pieces of blank paper, some scissors, glue, and a box of old cards and stamped pictures.  And he created these!!  I was impressed.

4.  Get chicks!!!  Ours have been popular with the kids, just watching them, helping me with their care (though I mostly do it all), and cuddling them.

5.  Pack a picnic and go to the park.  We did this spontaneously last week and had a blast!!

6.  Visit a friend's house, or have a friend over

7.  Go to the library

8.  Go to the pool.  Saraya has lessons on Thursday and I pack togs for E as well- they both enjoy it!

9.  Play with your little person.  I have now structured our days at home to include a definite playtime with ELijah- and this has in turn helped him play independently at other times!  His favourite things to do with me are creative play with Little People, and reading books- his current favourite is a Pirate "Where's Wally" type book (thanks Grandad!!).  It's good because we do 2 or 3 pages together at one time.

10.  Cook together.  This is something that's great when I'm needing to cook but ELijah wants to spend time with me.  He has his own small kid-size apron, and he stands on a chair to be bench-height.  He loves peeling bananas, cutting soft fruits/veges for me, putting cut veges in the pot, and mixing batter for cakes or pancakes.  He also has fun (and makes an enormous mess!!) washing dishes sometimes.

So there you have it... 10 ideas for this week.

Oh, and by the way... all you need to keep your 8-month old VERY happy is a newspaper.  This is Will this morning after discovering last week's Sunday Mail.  We let him go for half an hour or so, and boy did he have the time of his life!!!!


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