Monday, August 31, 2009

Too tired to think.....

....... so a few photos instead.

Some things happening around here lately:

A little girl beginning to read independently!!!! Saraya is now picking up virtually anything and reading it, and obviously just loving her new skill. Very very exciting!

A little boy beginning to use his creative skills for craft. Last time Mum was visiting (a few weeks ago) Elijah made this little paper house for a tiny cut-out paper cat. He must have worked on it for an hour or more. His imagination is taking him some exciting places!

Watching Playschool and Take on Technology whilst sharing a plate of watermelon.

Walking to the park down the road and...


and flying kites........

and just enjoying life.
And of course, the usual cooking, washing, reading, growing, egg collecting, teaching, creating, driving, learning, dancing, praying, singing, and playing that always goes on!

An Update

Thanks so much everyone for your well-wishes and prayers for Stuart. He is doing better. The pain in his toe over the weekend has at times been excruciating - we are all getting into the swing of running for pain killers for him, for an ice pack, for extra cushions to keep the leg elevated, etc. Sleep has been a bit elusive, but we're getting there.

We were extremely blessed on Saturday afternoon as we first had a visit from Jane (complete with guinea pig = very happy Saraya :)), then from my parents who traveled all the way up from Brisbane to spend the night with us. Totally made our day, considering we'd missed out on our planned weekend away due to the accident! The children were so thrilled to have them here. We'd also had visits from Stu's Dad and two of his Aunts the afternoon before the accident which was so nice!

We don't know how the long the healing process will take. At this stage, the bleeding from the toe wound seems to have stopped which is positive. It had been bleeding more than we would have liked. I'm hoping I'll get better at changing the dressing............. man, I never could have made a nurse!! The nail will take about 100 days" (apparently) to grow back- and will certainly be tender for quite awhile. The breaks will take about 6 weeks to heal. Stu is still using crutches to walk around - though is spending most of his time in the recliner or on the bed. "Great Expectations" by Dickens has come down off the shelf and should keep him going for awhile. :) He's loving it and has said he's going to work through all our Dickens after this one! He's hoping to be back at work ASAP as they have so much going on out there at the moment. Praying the healing is swift for his sake. :)

As for the rest of us, we'll keep taking care of our wounded man of the house, and carry on with life. I'm about to start some reading and lessons with the children and get into some washing and menu planning for the week before we do the grocery shopping.

And maybe at some stage I'll have the heart to unpack our suitcases which were so diligently packed on Saturday morning - before we made the difficult decision to stay home. :(

Onwards and upwards!! Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, August 28, 2009

God is Good

I am totally spent and will keep this brief, but wanted to share how blessed we've been today.

Early this morning I had a friend run into our kitchen to share with me that Stuart had been in an accident on his way to work- had I heard? Our power was out, hence our phones weren't working, so I hadn't heard. All he could tell me was that he'd seen Stuart being lifted into the ambulance on a stretcher, with a neck brace on........... Well, my mind instantly clouded and from that moment everything seemed to go in slow motion. I teared up and couldn't think straight; thankfully he could and told me he would stay with my children so I could drive to the hospital to be with Stuart.

Well the thought crossed my mind as I drove that a lot of people must have accidents on the way to being with someone in an accident - I was driving like a mad woman and had to pray to God to slow me down........... all I could think was "I have to get to him!!!!!" I got there as the ambulance was unloading Stu and I could see straight away that although he was injured, he was okay. He was talking and making the crew laugh (typical of him) and he was okay. I have never been more relieved in all my life.

The long and short of it is that a 4 wheel drive clipped the back of his scooter as he went through an intersection, the scooter flipped and Stu was thrown onto the road - praise God not into oncoming traffic, praise God there was a police car right there and 2 ambulances arriving within seconds, praise God many people stopped and were so helpful to him, praise God our school Chaplain and friend Mark saw and was able to stop and be with Stu then and with both of us at the hospital for the first hour, praise God the neck brace was only precautionary and that he has no spinal injuries. Praise God he is home with us tonight and not in a hospital bed.

We spent most of the day in hospital - lots of x-rays taken - and the results are that he has a broken big toe in 2 places, he had to have the nail removed (big ouch) and it's all heavily bandaged. He has bruising in many places, some bad abrasions and swelling on his legs and ankles - but that is it! What could have been such a disaster all turned out okay.

I am so thankful for my husband. We have been through a lot of things in the last few years and I love him so very very much. Those few minutes of "not knowing" were just so horrifying. Stuart, I love you and am devoted to you and just adore you more than ever. I look forward to taking care of you in the next few weeks. :) You were so brave today. You are such a wonderful dad to our children. You are so special to me. Get better soon!

God is good.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ahhhh, Wednesdays.......

Just a quick post to say "I love Wednesdays!!!!!"

Thank you Lord for music, for dance, for steps to (try to) remember, for a beautiful sweet girl who is so wonderful looking after my children (highlight of their week), and for something special to do with my husband, child-free.

Only 20 minutes to go and I'm outta here!

The recipes I blogged about yesterday are below. :)

Requested Recipes

Here they are!!

Homemade Ice-Cream - the easy way.

Pour 600mls of thickened cream into the container you're going to use to freeze your ice-cream in. Add 3/4 cup of castor sugar and whatever you'd like to use for flavouring - yesterday I used cocoa to make chocolate ice-cream, about 3 tablespoons I'd guess. You could use a teaspoon of vanilla for vanilla ice-cream - or add some peppermint essence and then fold through choc-chips at the end!
Anyway, once you've got your cream, sugar and flavouring in there, you beat it with the beaters until it's getting thick - not too thick, but just a good 'dolloping' consistency!
Then with clean beaters you beat 4 egg-whites until nice soft peaks form. Fold gently through the cream mixture. At this point you could fold in your choc-chips, or maybe berries or something like that.
Place in the freezer and when frozen, enjoy!!!

Orange Cake

Place 3 egg yolks (see why I make ice-cream and orange cake on the same day?), 4 tablespoons of oil, 1 cup castor sugar, 3/4 cup milk, pinch salt, rind and juice of 1/2 an orange and 1 cup self-raising flour into a bowl. Beat for 3 minutes.
Sift in another 1 cup of self-raising flour and fold through.
Pour into a greased round cake tin or muffin pans and bake at 180C.

Lemon Custard Tart

Separate 3 eggs. Beat the egg yolks, then add the grated rind and juice of 1 and a 1/2 lemons, a tin of condensed milk and pinch salt.
Beat egg whites until stiff and then fold into lemon mixture. Pour into an unbaked pie crust (purchased or home-made - I cheated this time and bought a tart shell) and bake at 170C for 40 minutes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where Is Spring????

It seems Winter has gone, and Summer has arrived. So the question is - where is Spring??! I love Spring and am feeling a bit duped that we seem to have skipped it this year. William is too.

Still, we managed to enjoy a big morning of cooking again this morning. The children wanted to be involved and I had Saraya reading and finding the ingredients, following the directions for me, measuring and mixing and being amazed at the way egg whites can be beaten into soft white mountains!
We made two Lemon Custard Tarts (one for a friend!) which used up 6 of our eggs and 3 of our lemons, yay!, homemade ice-cream which I haven't done in years, and a batch of orange muffins to use up the egg yolks left from the ice-cream. All up it took about an hour and we all enjoyed ourselves!

We then spent a delightful couple of hours at my friend Jane's home - thank you so much Jane. :) What a blessing to have such a sweet homeschooling family right across the road!

After lunch and rest time we headed out into the hot sunshine and we all felt so very summery!

Saraya doing the 'Laura leap' from the end of the Little House episodes!

And Elijah joining in.....
Trampoling fun........
I guess we'll get over the missing Spring thing, and just embrace Summer. I can see us heading up to the beach a fair bit in the next few weeks - perfect weather for some exploring!

I feel like last week and this week so far have been filled with some of the greatest family days I can ever remember. We had lovely relaxing time with Stuart home over the weekend, and the children and I are really finding our feet with our homeschooling........... it's working really well and I feel the children (and I) are learning lots in a relaxed, peaceful way. I see a consistent calmness in Saraya which I've rarely seen these past years. She is a very enthusiastic and already semi-independent learner! I praise God for the opportunity to be at home with my children - I know it is a privilege and I do not take a single day for granted.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Beauty in the Kitchen

These are some of the things which were happening in my kitchen this morning.

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos gathering outside the window. There are so many around here at the moment!
2 little boys waving good-bye to their Papa. One of them is wearing a cape. Did you know, he's actually Superman this week?

A big bread-baking session (destined to be a Monday tradition, I'm thinking....) - a huge loaf of wholemeal, soft rolls for lunch, and my first-ever attempt at a loaf of 'Fruit Bread' - it worked!

I just added a teaspoon of oil to the dough on second kneading, plus sultanas and cinnamon - and cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on the top.

My little girl working hard in her Nature Notebook. We will be looking at spiders this week and this morning began with a long spontaneous search in the garage- and the subsequent discovery of an interesting Daddy Long-Legs spider. Lots of observing and reading and thinking and drawing followed.

Now everyone is resting and I'm gearing up for the afternoon activities. Grocery shopping, unpacking etc., dinner preparations - and taking the children to see baby Laura and so I can give Cathy a great big at-home hug!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Praise Point!!!

I am praising God this morning and wanted to share the wonderful news that Cathy has been discharged from hospital this morning!! Gary will be going up to bring her home soon. It's been an up and down few days and this is such great news. I was praying so hard last night that this would happen- still I doubted- but He has answered these prayers with a "YES!" and I am so happy. :) They're coming home.

The miracles this week have been endless and I am simply in awe.

Cathy's Mum lives in Brisbane and desperately wanted to be up here for the birth and care for the other children. Her 7 week contract for work was suddenly shortened to 6. We don't know why (well we really do). She was able to arrive on the Friday morning at lunch time and Cathy literally had her first strong contraction as she arrived.

The midwife Cathy particularly hoped for (a gentle lady who we knew would respect Cathy's birth plan and aid us all in a peaceful birth) was on the afternoon we arrived! As Cathy's face lit up, this midwife told us she wasn't meant to be on- but shifts had been swapped and there she was. She was wonderful.

Cathy's bleeding was a bit concerning and they were threatening a Syntocynon injection which Cathy really really didn't want to have- we prayed for the flow to slow right down, and it did. Literally, right then.

Cathy prayed for a private room- and got one!

Laura's blood sugar levels were low and she was having regular heel prick tests. As the levels started to improve we were told "If this one is higher than a 2.6 she won't need another one". Guess what? It was 2.7

There have been so many more specific prayers answered, but you get the idea. It's just been completely unreal. No, completely real!!! I am reminded of these verses:

"Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find." Luke 11:9

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippinas 4:6

My faith this week has been strengthened even further - we have leaned on Him through all the big and small challenges and He has never left our side. What a week!!! I'll never forget this. And I just can't wait to see Cathy and her sweet baby Home Sweet Home.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Week in Pictures

Early- morning reading in the fog, in a box. :) I woke up one day to find them out here. The Wildlife of the World book is still proving popular!

We're rediscovering Reader Rabbit - Saraya is whizzing through and Elijah is doing well too.

I love the flexibility of homeschooling - and I am being very flexible - we felt like an outing on Tuesday, so went to Mainly Music and had a great time!!! Saraya said she "felt pretty" in her dress and wanted to pose with Elijah. One of my jobs during the week was to re-sort everyone's clothes, and of course we found a few treasures we had forgotten about!

Anyone need some eggs???? This isn't showing you the ones in the fridge in cartons or the ones I've boiled for the children's sandwiches!

The weather has been lovely so the children have spent hours outside each day. They've been very busy playing creative games, jumping on the trampoline (Elijah is getting daring and has been trying all sorts of tricks!), playing in the sandpit with the water, gardening with me and bird-watching. We've seen a few new species in our garden this week and have enjoyed drawing them into our Nature Notebooks.

Harvesting tomatoes - we have to do this every few days to keep up with them!

Saraya has always loved insects, and this week she's been madly collecting anything she can! She literally spends hours just collecting and watching the insects move about in here, asking me to "Google what spiders eat, Mama" (ah, the age of technological children...) and trying to create little ecosystems for her creatures. Not all of them survive, but there's a lot of learning going on here!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Laura Cate is here!!!!!!

Phew!!!! I arrived home just an hour ago and after re-telling the whole event to Stuart, and eating (it had been awhile!) and praising God again and again.......... I am updating for you!

Cathy phoned this afternoon to let me know labour had kicked in again and to think about arranging care for my children. An hour later she phoned back to say it really really had kicked in, full force, and could I please come right over?!! When I arrived I could see that active labour had truly started - and her body was working fast and well. As we gathered ourselves together and slowly made our way to the car, I actually wondered if she may already be going through transition as many of the signs were there. We prayed for wisdom and Cathy felt she still had time and the desire to transfer to the hospital. So we did, and the transition went well. I think Gary may have sped a bit, but hey!

Her labour continued beautifully and just 2 hours after we got to the hospital, baby Laura was born!!! She is 10 lbs 1, chubby, and absolutely perfect. Cathy was a champion and 'breathed out' her big baby so well! I was so proud of her.

I tell you what - in some ways I think it's harder to support someone through labour than to be the labouring woman. I don't know why, but I really felt that tonight! I have a new respect for Stuart and the for the women who have supported me through my labours! Maybe it's the feeling of helplessness, or maybe the lack of the 'good hormones' like the mother gets that give her the endorphins; or maybe it's watching someone you love go through all that. Anyway, I found it to be a challenge but SUCH a privilege and honour as well. It was actually hard to leave them and come home. :(

Sweet little Laura didn't breathe spontaneously - just like William. As the minutes passed I watched and stroked her and prayed prayed prayed, as I never have before over her tiny body. Just as Cathy did for me, I was able to do for her. I don't usually feel comfortable praying out loud when I'm around people I don't know, but tonight it just happened- in front of a midwife and 2 pediatric doctors-, and just as with William's birth, I felt the incredible presence of God right there. I literally felt him fill Laura's lungs with air. Just as Cathy felt with William. I don't understand that but feel in awe of it. The ways in which God's fingerprints were all over this birth have been astonishing. Why do we doubt? He IS sovereign!! He IS in control!! All of the little things Cathy had hoped for were fulfilled (and there were many many details to be orchestrated), and the challenges faced were handled because of His sufficient and amazing grace and love.

Thank you God for this baby!! May she grow up healthy and happy in this precious family you have given her. :)

And thank you Cathy and Gary for the honour of supporting you on this journey. You guys are so special and I love you very much!

It's still Pre-Labour

Well, I have just woken up after a really great sleep (hooray!- even William slept well) and haven't heard anything from Cathy since last night. This means she is still at home, and that the contractions still haven't kicked into that next stage. I'm hoping actually that they've been few and far between and Cathy too has had a night of good sleep.

A long pre-labour can be hard. I have had them with all three of my children. BUT!! I know she will get through this and this sweet baby will come when she's ready! I'm so happy for Cathy that she has put off going to the hospital too early. Nothing worse than sitting around up there with staff hovering over you, putting the subtle pressure on for labour to "speed up". Every woman and every labour is individual and the very idea of 'dilating one centimeter every hour' is terrible to put on to every woman!!! Cathy and I knew yesterday (despite many runs of long and intense contractions, irregular contractions) that she was still in pre-labour so she has had the peaceful experience of labouring at home thus far, surrounded by her family, in her own bed. :) She's been able to get lots and lots of rest which will help her body so much when the next phase begins.

Anyway, I could go on and on about this but I won't! Just thought I'd share a couple of photos of Cathy with Chloe and Declan I took yesterday morning.

Hope everyone is having a good week! I'm planning to spend lots of quiet time with my kiddies today - unless of course Cathy progresses, in which case I'll be over there and the kids will be visiting with friends! Either way it will be a nice sunny day! Happy Thursday. :) And thanks so much for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Please Pray!

UPDATED TO SAY: Cathy has had very gradual but progressive pre-labour all night and today. It's now been about 24 hours since I first went over to be with her - she has had several long brackets of sleep in that time though as her uterus rested, and she is in good spirits and feeling strong to continue. Baby is doing great.
I had trouble catching sleep last night and admit I am feeling exhausted- got about half an hour- hard to imagine being up all night for a second night running, so please pray for stamina for me (and Cathy of course!). I came home and have had my children since late morning (it's now 3:30pm) and need a rest before heading back. Stu should be home soon and that will be possible.
Please pray for a smooth continuation of labour tonight, and for that more active stage of labour to kick in!! We are really looking forward to moving into the next bit. :) Thank you friends.

Just a quick post to say I am waiting for Stuart to get home from work, then heading over to Cathy's home because.......... she's 99% sure she's in labour!!! Hooray!!!!! She is SO ready for this!

Please keep Cathy in your prayers over the next few hours and beyond (not knowing exactly where she's at, it could be awhile yet) - for peace and stamina and a safe, beautiful, natural birth of baby Laura (yes, that is her name!) - and for Gary and myself too - for wisdom in supporting Cathy, stamina, etc. I will update when there is news!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Frame for William

A few years ago I got together with my friend Tamra, and as she generously gave me some materials, I made these frames for Saraya and Elijah.

They include the meanings of their first and middle names, as well as a few other words I chose for them.

Last night I was invited to spend time with my neighbour Trish and a few other ladies, to do some scrap booking. Rather than scrap book (which I don't normally do), I thought I'd take the chance to do Will's frame - and I'm so thrilled with how it turned out!

William means 'determined guardian' (of what, I'm not sure yet! Or maybe we're the determined guardians of him....) and David means 'beloved'. I did have a few rub-on transfers with words such as adorable, small miracle, and baby which I'd hoped to use - but sadly my very uncrafty self mucked up the letters while I was trying to peel off the backing! SO. I used cute little bits and pieces to fill the spaces where those words were going, and I'm happy. :)

They hang in the kitchen and I like how they look all together. Feels so good to accomplish something like this!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Reflecting on the week

What have we been up to in our little homeschool this week?

We have explored a Times Table Grid - I'll put up more details next week; it's been a hit!

We have been reading lots and lots and lots of books together and separately. I estimate that I read to the children an hour a day, Stuart reads to them half an hour, they read to themselves about half and hour, and I read my own books about the same. Saraya's reading has absolutely taken off since she has been homeschooling- and really, all I've done is read to her and have her read to me- all the time.

We have poured over cookbooks, made meal plans, shopping lists, and shopped together.

We have spent time at the park, in the garden, at friends' homes, and of course, at our home.

We have cooked and baked more meals and bread and juiced more fruit than I care to remember.

We have cleaned and tidied and beautified our home all the while.

We have enjoyed the sudden warmer weather (though I hear it will be cold again tonight, and I'm excited- this could be the last cold snap and the last chance to use the fireplace!). The children have had the chance to play in the sandpit in their underwear this week, with the hose on- more than once.

We have sung and made music and danced and dressed-up (well, the children have).

We have learnt about Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic - and made art about it.
We have licked many spoons. Today was mixture for Chocolate Chip Cookies and Crisp Coconut Cookies. About 4 dozen of each. :) Not all for us, though!!

We have allowed the children a bit of time after dinner before bed to pour over reference books - they love them, and tonight it was "The Atlas of World Wildlife", a childhood book of Stuart's!

We have made use of our Little People toys, the Mega Blocks, the baby dolls, and the Box of Lentils with the tiny cars to drive through.


And today, Laura and Almanzo got married.

It was very exciting - the bridal outfits were arranged and adorned while I was busy inside; then there was music and singing and vows before a congregation of two. :)

Home-made rings.

The insisted-upon first kiss! Complete with lots of giggling. :0)

And the farewells as they departed for their Honeymoon....... to New Zealand.

In the Horse-drawn Wagon.


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